Harry gave Xander a look the next morning. "Do you need a mediwitch?" he demanded.
Xander grinned, patting him on the head. "I've had worse on patrol, Harry. I'm only sore. I've had advil." He sat down and looked at Sam. "They ran into your dad?"
"Twice last night. He's very sorry that they had to have one of those talks too."
"Yeah, so was I. I'm expecting Giles to call ranting after they apologize."
"Probably," Sam agreed. "Need some muscle rub?"
"I'm okay but ask around lunch when the advil wears off?"
"Sure." They looked at the cops, who were giving them horrified looks. "We get hurt worse than this during most fights, guys."
Xander nodded. "I've gone on patrol with bruises like this and still managed to stake vamps. This is nothing." He went back to his lounging, smiling at the Chair when he walked in. "Fudge trying again?"
"Not yet. He's hiding in his office. Did you intend to blind a good many people?"
"Just a flash to get free. It was that bright?"
"Or the magic got pissed at them," Danny told him.
Xander shrugged. "They probably deserved it for the other slayers in training they've been ruining for centuries." He looked at the Chair again, shrugging a bit again. "I'm sure it'll come back sometime."
"Probably. You're very dangerous."
"Only when you fuck with me," Xander promised with a grin. "The same as most of us in here are."
That got a nod. "I'll let that be known. The aurors wanted to know what happened."
"A brawl. They didn't like me jumping in to help their slayer with her job. I didn't care about their opinion and they've been trying to kill her for a few years now. See, she wasn't raised by them so she has independent thought and emotions that they haven't made her lock up yet. So yeah, not really of the good for their continued problems."
"They train slayers?" Mac asked.
"They take them from their families, put them with a Watcher who raises her until she's called. Then she's turned into a tool and sent out to fight every night until she dies and another is called," Sam told him. "Or so we hear."
Xander nodded. "Basically. The Watcher can get too attached, at which time the girl's taken from him and ours was fired for giving too much of a damn. He's still doing the job. Buffy told the Council to blow her when they started shit on her."
Horatio frowned. "No one steps in, like CPS?"
"Who said they train them in the US?" Xander asked. That just got a nod. "If some are trained in the US then they're probably hidden so CPS can't find them. It's not a camp environment, it's one watcher, one slayer until death do them part. Has been since they made the first one back in caveman days. We had to summon her spirit to help us with the Initiative. She was not a happy slayer by any means."
"I'd like to hear more about this," Mac said calmly.
Xander nodded. "We'd like the girls to be given to reasonable people who didn't turn them into future robots."
"So would I," he assured him. Xander grinned and tossed over a book. "What's that?"
"The location of all the slayers-in-training. Tara summoned it for blackmail. That way they wouldn't try it again."
Mac smirked. "You guys don't play nice, do you?"
"Can't. The other side doesn't. If we do, we get killed."
"Good point." He tucked it into his bag. "So, we've gone over the law book." He pulled out copies. "These are the ones we want to change. Any with purple brackets we want to change to fit better and be more realistic or more clearly written. We photocopied the pages with the ones we wanted to keep so it could be condensed."
The Chair looked at the thin stack of pages then at the various laws. He blinked, nodding some. "These are the base laws."
"Ninety percent of what we took out was put in by Fudge," Horatio told him.
Tony grinned. "It was interesting reading. Did you know that he had to make it illegal to sleep with any inhuman creature? We weren't sure if that was because he wanted to sleep with one or if it had been a problem for a while."
"Some of them are cross-mating capable," Harry told him. He looked at Xander. "Do you often get beaten up like that?"
"Now and then."
Harry shook his head. "You're insane."
"Someone's got to do the job," Xander pointed out.
"Maybe but I still say you're insane."
Xander nodded. "Could be. Too many times hitting gravestones with my head." Sam snickered. "I have."
"I'm sure you have." He gave Harry a gentle smile. "Sometimes you have to get hurt to fight the good fight. It's happened to all of us."
"I got the plague," Tony told him. Harry shuddered. "Exactly. Every job comes with risk of injuries. They just do dangerous jobs." He looked at the Chair again. "What did he want to screw that much?"
"Probably his house elf," he said quietly, getting a few snickers. They got back to the laws. They had left in the pertinent laws. "I see you left in the one Xander complained about but you want it changed?"
"We think that it should go something like 'if you marry it should be someone who can help keep your family strong' instead," Stella told him. Danny nodded at that. "It would keep some people marrying like Draco's family has but not all of them."
That got a nod. "We'd be expected to enforce it."
"That's why we put in 'if you should marry' instead of making it 'you will marry'."
"That does sound reasonable. Do we have the suggestions written out?" Horatio handed those over. "You five are certainly efficient."
"Happiest paperwork I've done recently," Horatio admitted. That got a grin from Mac. "I hate paperwork."
"You and me both," Mac promised. "Think we can get a house elf to do them for us?"
"I'm about to replace Eric with one. They wouldn't flirt with women the way he does. It causes problems."
Danny snickered. "I won't tell him you said that."
"If we have to arrest another ex-girlfriend of his I'm going to tell him that myself," Horatio said blandly, cracking Stella up. "Want him, Mac? We'll take Stella so she can get a tan."
"Mine," Mac said dryly. "Though I will come poach if you want."
"Two newbies at the same time," Tony teased.
"Never mind. One's more than I can stand with Speed off on injury leave." He sighed, leaning back some. "A few we weren't certain how to word it. That was the best we could come up with."
"I think we can polish them," the Chair assured him, smiling at him. "Did you check in with your people?"
"I tried but they all screamed so I hung up and I'll call during our lunch break," Horatio told him.
"I called Flack, he's still complaining," Danny offered.
"I talked to Gibbs, he's throwing a fit about the Initiative stuff. That DVD was Willow-fied according to Abby but they got the full files from her."
"Figures she wanted to know who was accessing the information," Xander said with a small shrug. "We definitely don't want them to do it again and we don't want your people on our doorstep for having to stop them."
"You won't be arrested for that," Tony promised. "Gibbs made sure of it." Xander grinned. "Want some more tylenol?"
"I'm good. Thanks though." He looked at the Chair. "What was our next topic? The Dark Lord? The aurors? The paper that said I was sleeping with Draco?"
Horatio coughed to hide his smile. "It did say that."
"I let Draco have the paper and he went to scream and rant at them and his mother for telling them that," Xander said with a grin.
Harry looked at him. "They might be destroyed. Draco is just as much of an evil bastard as his father was," he pointed out.
Xander grinned. "Not really. Lucius has not a brain or a clue. Draco has a brain, he simply doesn't use it yet." That got a slow nod. "We'll see where he ends up after he finishes growing up. He might surprise you a bit."
"He's always going on about purebloods," Harry said.
"Yeah but he's been trained to do that. His parents trained him that way." Harry caught the clue. "We'll see what he's like after he starts to think for himself and all that good stuff."
"Fine. Can I still paste him in the halls the next time he picks on 'Mione and Ron?"
Xander shrugged. "If he starts it, finish it."
"Thanks, Xander." He grinned. "Have someone like that?"
"I was picked on. I got it out on the vamps."
"Ah." He took his copies of the laws they wanted to keep. "What's this one turning the bank back over to the goblins?"
"It's because Fudge made it illegal for the goblins to fully control the banking system when he was in Goblin Relations. He put a Ministry official in their board to help him control them and the money flow," the Chair told him. "That was during the first war. They protested but this council wasn't as strong then. We couldn't overrule him. Without half the seats taken we were more advisory. It was a major move on his way to the Minister's spot."
Harry nodded. "Would the goblins mind that? Or would they start having problems like hiking fees?"
"I don't know. We'd have to talk to them to see what method they'd like that to take," the Chair told him. "Very good question however."
Danny coughed. "We weren't sure what would happen so we were expecting to talk to someone about most of them." That got a nod. "At least a judge or someone to advise us on any heavy changes."
"Make this our choice of how to change it then go to an advisor to make sure it would be acceptable to the courts, then ratify it formally?" the Chair suggested. They nodded. "That's a sound idea."
"The judge I saw was upstairs by two floors," Xander offered. "The goblins seemed willing to help us somewhat at the least so getting one in to talk about that issue should help." They all nodded at that. "I'm all for asking people about what I don't know."
"Good. Then we'll make sure these are what we want. We'll let him advise us on how to change those so they're worded appropriately, then we'll ratify the changes," the chair said. "Anyone disagree?" No one said anything. "Xander, can you ask him to come see us later?"
"Sure. After lunch, about two?" That got and he went to do that, finding him in his office. He smiled as he tapped and leaned in. "Have a few seconds?"
"If you need me to. What's wrong?"
"We're done looking at some really ridiculous laws. Like the 'you can't wear polka dots' law."
The judge smirked. "I see you didn't like it?"
"No. We also have a good percentage of officers on the Founders Council and they didn't like it either. They're looking at simplifying things." That got a smirk and a nod. "We've done the cut and paste thing to get down to the base we want. There's some that need changes but we don't want to cut. We'd like you or another judge to come down say around two if you're not busy to advise us on the wordage that would be most useful to the judicial system."
The judge blinked. "Already?"
"We went through with a marker," Xander said bluntly. "Honestly." That got a slow nod. "So are you busy around two or is there someone that might be better suited if you don't think you can help us?"
"I think we can and a few of us can come down about then," he decided. "Thank you, Mr. Harris."
"We hate stupid laws," Xander assured him. "There's a few really horrible ones. Why can't you give house elfs ear massages?"
"It makes them go into heat."
"Oh. And the problem with them going into heat is? Is it a population control thingy?"
"No. Simply considered disgusting. That one was written against those who like their house elves too much."
"I think we can put in a clause saying you can't do your house elf unless they agree."
"They're subservient and would do anything for their masters."
"I'll let them know." He grinned. "Two?"
"Is good for us. Would you like us to bring down the headmaster? He's part of our court as well."
"Damn he gets around. No, let's keep it at three or less of you guys. That way you don't get into a fight."
"Sure. I'll let them know that." He smiled, watching the young man walk out, shaking his head once he was gone. That was going to be one strong fixing.
Xander walked in. "The no sleeping with a house elf clause needs to stay in," he said as he sat down. "They're subservient and the judge said they'd do anything to make their masters happy. That's the reason for the no ear massages rule."
"We can rewrite it so it's better worded and easier to enforce," Horatio assured him. "We were talking about proxies in case we're called back to work."
"Family based or one of us?" Xander suggested.
That got a nod from the chair. "Those are acceptable solutions. I would caution that your family can do some serious damage."
"Draco might not fit under the current adult clauses. I'd never leave it to them unless I had a good understanding of where they stood on many issues. Even then they'd have to swear a blood oath to me not to screw up things and to vote like I would." That got a gape from the chair. He grinned. "I'm used to wiccans but I do know the power of oaths." That got a simple nod. "Then again, I'm not doing much beyond my construction job and I can get a new one when I get back. Or even my old one. We've always got openings."
"Good point," he decided. "Would that be acceptable to the others? You hand your proxy to someone either on the council or someone in your family who would vote as you would?"
"That seems most reasonable," Harry agreed. "That would also keep some people from pressuring me."
"Yeah, I was wondering about that," Xander admitted. "The judge I asked said that the headmaster's on the judicial council as well?"
"We have a large judge's panel called the Wizengomet," the Chair told him. "It decides very hefty matters. Like you Yank's Supreme Court."
"Why is a headmaster on it?" Danny asked, looking confused.
"He got voted on a long time ago by a Minister for Magic. He's defeated a Dark Lord in the past. He's considered a national hero."
"Which is his natural job? What did he start out doing?" Sam asked.
"He started out teaching Transfiguration."
"So he's looking for a political career as well?" Horatio asked, looking confused.
"He's already got some pull," Harry assured him. "He and Fudge butt heads too. Dumbledore's making sure some of us fight the current Dark Lord."
Horatio just nodded at that. "It sounds like he's going for Minister himself."
"I'm not sure he's not," Harry admitted. "Now and then I have some doubts."
"We'll get into that," Sam decided. That got a mass nod. That wasn't right to them. "Is headmaster a publically appointed job?"
"Inherited. You move up the hierarchy until it's yours," Danny told him. "Or at the one I went to it was."
Harry nodded. "Here too. Snape is our Potions teacher. He can tell you the current line. I know McGonagall is his deputy."
Xander just nodded. "Even worse than Snyder."
Sam patted him on the arm. "No flashbacks."
"Sure." He looked at the Chair. "Later on?"
"We'll get into that nearer to when we talk about school matters," he agreed. An auror slid in and closed the door. "Yes, Auror Smith?" he asked her.
"Sir, I was sent to see if we could get a statement from Mr. Potter about something that went on at the school last night."
"Something happened at the school last night?" Harry asked. He gave her a confused look. "What happened?"
"Two students were caught under Imperious."
"I didn't do it and unless it was a Gryff, I wouldn't realize it."
"One was. Miss Granger was found to be under one this morning."
Harry snorted. "Fat chance. 'Mione can shove it off." She looked stunned. "I taught her how I do it and by the end of the year with the Death Eater pretending to be Moody she could. So can Ron."
She blinked. "The headmaster reported she was under it and he removed it. He wanted to see if you knew who had put it on her."
"She was mouthing off about Slytherins last night. She wasn't under it then."
She just nodded. "Interesting. I'll let him know that. Thank you, Mr. Potter. Mr. Harris, the Ministry official in the Watchers Council said they're very sorry and they're not going to attack you again. Clearly having you go against their intended laws was working well at the moment and they wish you to continue as long as they never have to see you again."
"Sure, I'm all for that. Travers is one person I could do without." She nodded and left. He grinned at Harry. "I wonder if they have the official hyped on their usual thing or if he was a plant?"
"From what we know about the Watchers Council they could've suggested it so they could get information from him," Sam pointed out. "One of their own people sent over here to work until their plan was pulled and he was allowed back."
"Could be," Xander agreed. "They're like that." He patted Harry on the back. "The Watchers also had a definite book on various curses that said that particular one has to be reapplied every six months. Plus you can build up a tolerance against it." Harry gaped at him. He grinned and nodded. "Another crossover person studied it."
"That's interesting," he said. "Can I see it?"
"It's in my bag from yesterday."
"I'll pop around to get it before I head back tonight."
"Come for dinner, Harry," Xander offered. He grinned and nodded. "If you have to, you can crash on the couch like Draco did last night after Tara fed him." He grinned at the Chair, who was also giving him an 'interested' look. "Sorry for interrupting."
"No, that's an interesting bit of news. I'd like that book too." Xander pulled out his phone to text Tara, getting the book a minute later. It was tossed down to him. He looked it up in the index then at the facts as presented. "He truly did study it by using it repeatedly." He frowned at the information. "Very interesting indeed." He looked at a few other ones and the information was very good for what he knew had gone wrong in the last war. "May I hold this for a while?"
"As long as I get it back. Giles wants it back."
"Of course." He tucked it into his bag. "Now, let's get back to the laws as they stand. Does anyone see anything that should have been left in?" Everyone shook their heads. "Then let's get lunch in for now and we'll go over it when the judges get here."
A house elf appeared with sandwiches. "Twirpy made them himself," he announced. "No tampering."
"Who asked you to tamper?" Sam asked.
"No one. Making sure. Aurors said it would be good idea if Twirpy did."
"Thank you," Sam said, taking his to nibble on. Xander did the same. The others gave them odd looks after their first bites of the strange meat. "I've had to eat MRE's," he pointed out.
"They taste like it," Mac agreed. He dug in. He was hungry. Stella let him have hers. So did Danny.
"Tastes like base food," Tony sighed, digging in too. Horatio let him have his. "Thanks, Horatio. You sure?"
Xander pulled out something and tossed it at Horatio, making him catch the trail mix. "I nibble during meetings and we always nibble during research." He finished up and dug out some water to drink. It had been foul. Like magical spam.
Harry looked at his headmaster the next morning. He had been summoned back to the school before his next meeting. "Yes, Headmaster?"
"Harry, are you feeling all right? You stayed in town last night."
"Xander invited me over for dinner last night to look over a copy of a book on the various curses and how they were formed, their duration, and how you build an immunity. One of the Watcher blokes studied it and he got a copy from the Watcher he works with."
"Xander? You've mentioned him."
"He's from the hellmouth out in Sunnydale. He now heads Draco's family." Dumbledore looked a bit upset at that. "He's very honorable and he's pushed to have Lucius put in jail. He's stopped Narcissa on both our behalfs. He's been working on Draco to make him think for himself so he can see what sort of man he'll grow up being. He's not a bad guy and he's got five years of combat experience on the hellmouth fighting with a slayer. There's another demon hunter on the new council as well and he's offered to go over some strategy stuff and self defense with me. The officers have been offering their help wherever they can too." He shifted, crossing his feet. "They've been very nice to me and Xander even found the standards of adulthood before the legal age. Did you know I happen to qualify under a few different statutes?"
"I hadn't," he admitted, pulling down his law code book to look it up with a muttered spell. It opened to that page. "This one?"
Harry looked then shook his head, flipping back to the other one. "That one, Headmaster."
He read it then blinked at the boy. "It does seem that you've managed to obtain it already. Mr. Malfoy as well possibly."
"Xander wasn't sure and wasn't going to ask him. He figured if he wanted that sort of notice he'd come ask him." He smiled. "Right now we're going over the silly laws that have no reason to be on the books. I really don't know why someone coded it so no one can wear polka dots but it's ridiculous. The officers on the board have gone over it and have asked a few of the judges for advice."
"I hadn't heard that either."
"They felt you'd be very busy here, sir. They got some of the ones with offices in the building to help them with some wording changes." He stood up. "Now if you'll excuse me I'd like to check on Hermione. Someone told me that she had been found under an Imperious command, even though she can throw it off."
"She can?" Harry nodded, grinning a bit. "That's good." He closed the law book. "How drastic a change is it? I can understand the silly laws being eradicated by them."
"The new book will be about a sixth of that one," he said, nodding politely before he left. He ran into Ron and Draco staring off down at the bottom of the spiral staircase. "Quit," he ordered. "Ron, leave him be. Draco, Xander didn't say he needed help today but we're going over some of the more stupid laws that have been put onto the books. Things like you can't wear striped underwear really did annoy the officers on the panel." Draco snickered at that. "They're going over some wording changes as well. Do you want me to floo Xander to see if he needs help today?"
"No, I'm fine being in classes today, Potter. Any other good news?"
"Have you looked at the statutes to declare yourself an adult? Not the law establishing the legal age but the 'but' clauses as your head of family says."
"I hadn't. Where are they?"
"About page 500 or so. There's a whole list. He wasn't sure if you qualified or not. He did say he was going to let you come to him if you did and let him know if you wanted to be known that way or not."
"That's reasonable of him," Draco agreed coolly. "Thank him for me."
"Of course." He smiled. "Did you also hear that the Watchers decided to have a ...talk with him about how he's doing on the hellmouth? We all offered him pain killers yesterday but he waved them off."
Draco gave him an odd look. "Really?" He nodded. "Interesting. I'll floo him later, see if he needs me after lunch so I don't get filthy in Magical Creatures." He walked off. "Thank you for that bit of gossip."
"You're welcome. We'll be taking a tour of the school after we're done with the stupid laws." He looked at Ron and grinned. "See, easier," he said more quietly.
Ron smirked. "He's not happy."
"I don't care. I don't head his family." He grinned brighter. "So, how's classes been? I can tell you that the meetings are often more boring and dull than even History is."
Ron snickered. "That's good to know. Need help? Hermione's in a snit."
"I got told she was Imperio'd."
Ron shook his head slowly. "Not that I've heard and I would've. We've been together the whole time."
Harry grinned. "Good. We're going over stupid laws. Apparently you can't wear dark underwear either. We're not sure why that's in there or the rule that say you can't bugger a dragon." Ron burst out laughing, patting him on the arm. "Exactly. We'll be doing the school stuff after this. Let Hermione know so she can beat everyone in the tower until they clean up that day?"
"Sure, Harry. Having fun?"
"Well, so far we've taken a trip to show the Chair what modern women are wearing. That way we can ease that problem into fewer issues later on. He was horrified. Wanted to get up and dress some of them." He grinned at McGonagall, giving her a hug. "I'm off for more boring meetings over stupid laws we have."
"Really, Mr. Potter, no laws are stupid," she huffed.
"Really? Then can you explain to me why we're not allowed to wear dark colored underwear, striped underwear, or polka dots anywhere but on a feathered hat?"
She blinked. "I concede, those may be stupid laws," she decided after a moment's thought. He nodded with a grin. "Going back?"
"We have a few judges who're helping us with some changes. There's one that says I have to marry someone within my family to keep it strong and pure. I'm not so sure I want to do that. Xander and I might have to decide which of us is marrying Draco and another member might have to marry his brother or father."
She shuddered. "Please fix that. The very thought of you two getting together is horrifying."
Harry grinned. "Yes it is." She pointed at the floo. "Thank you." He headed off to the Ministry. If this is what having a job was like, he was going to be bored forever once he graduated. He walked in. "Sorry, Headmaster wanted to talk to me. I told him we'd probably be up that way after we got done with some of the stupider laws. Then I noted the polka dot and striped underwear ones. Xander, Draco said he'd look over that part you found me and tell you if he qualified or not and if he wanted to be known as such."
"Thanks, Harry." He grinned. "You okay?"
"I'm fine. How's Tara?"
"She's doing fine but she's back with Willow for the day. Willow needed some spell research help." He looked at the Chair. "Okay, we're here. Have the judges figured out anything?"
"We're being too literal," Mac told him.
"Well, literal seems to be a good thing. Little wiggle room. Clear cut. Easier to understand."
"The law doesn't like that," Horatio said. "It's also not in the proper format. He'll have them for me next week so we can go back over it."
Xander shrugged. "Sure. Let us know. What else is on the agenda today?"
"The Dark Lord stuff is coming," Harry announced. "I called out last night and someone I know who has it will bring it over to your house tonight, Sam." He nodded at that. "Please find him for us?"
"If we can, Harry. We think there's a way to cancel the resurrection spell."
Harry beamed at him, getting up to hug him. "I love you."
"You're welcome. Sit down before some snoopy reporter thinks we're getting married."
"Better than some of the ones they thought I was with. Draco started a rumor I was seeing my friend Hermione but we had broken up and I was under so much stress I was going odd in the head." He sat down again. "All right, what else was going on?"
"The Headmaster wanted us to look over the school," Mac said with a small smirk.
"He's probably on his way here," Harry told him.
"Even better. Less interfering officials," Danny said with a grin. "Shall we? Can you lead a tour?"
"Sure," Harry agreed. "If the Chair wants us to?"
He shrugged. "Better to have that done now so he can lay out what he wants to change later on. That way we have time to consider it." He smiled. "How is this year's stand-in defense teacher?"
"Don't ask," Harry said bluntly. "Just don't. It's nice she's covering what Remus Lupin did three years ago less competently than he did. Speaking of, the werewolf laws?"
"Being looked over," he assured him. He pointed at Sam. "At his insistence."
"Thank you," Harry told him. "The trial thing?"
"I'm having files pulled," the Chair assured him. That got a smile and a nod. "Shall we travel, gentlemen and Stella?"
"Sure," she agreed. "How?"
"Want to floo and walk up, let the staffs apparate us, or fly up in ministry cars?" Harry asked.
"Floo then walk. That way we can see the castle's outside," Horatio decided. The others nodded it was fine with them and they left to find a floo port. The Chair knew where they were so it was good for them. They came out and looked around the town. "This is quaint and nice, very peaceful," Horatio said, looking around, sliding into his sunglasses.
"Very nice," Xander agreed. "It's like my hellmouth without the bad magic and demons." They all gave him tolerant looks. Sam patted him on the back. "Which way, Harry?" He pointed and they walked up the path with him. Xander slowed down, looking around. "Hey, um, Harry? What's with the dark magic?" he called.
"It's the forest. It protects the school."
"Uh-huh," Sam said.
"It's been here since the school's founders, guys."
"Uh-huh," Danny said, looking around. "Okay then. Catch up, boys." Sam and Xander caught up with the group, both of them having their hands on their weapons, just in case. "You two are paranoid."
"Yeah, but that's a good thing in our lives," Xander defended.
"Good point," Mac agreed. "Calm down. I'm sure they won't hurt the school."
"We're not students."
"True but we're not going to hurt the school either." Mac gave them looks and they relaxed slightly. "Thank you." They came out the other side and the boys relaxed but Horatio was staring at the castle.
"There's an illusion on it to make it look broken down," Harry told him.
"I'd hope so. Is that one tower leaning?"
Harry looked. "We must be inside the shield. Yes, it is. We have Divination in it." He grinned. "The castle is magical and slightly sentient. It won't fall in."
"Is it safe?"
"As far as we know." He walked them up to the lawn area. "That's our grounds keeper's hut. His name's Hagrid and he's very nice. He's the first wizard I met. Came to get me from my relatives. He teaches Magical Creatures. Xander, Sam, please don't kill them?"
"Sure, don't let them eat us," Xander agreed. That got a nod and they walked in, looking around. He stopped to look at a wall. "Could use some minor maintenance. The grout's fuzzy." He walked on, making mental notes. He nodded at the giant man. "Hi. How are you today?"
"Hagrid, this is Xander, one of our new Founders Council members. He holds the Malfoy family staff."
"Morning," he said politely. "Do you like creatures?"
"As long as they aren't attacking me I don't mind them in the least," he said with a grin. "Is your class a mandatory or an elective?"
"Mandatory for the first five years," he said proudly.
"That's very cool," Xander said, making him relax. "I hope the kids enjoy it." He pointed at the leaning tower Horatio was still staring at. "Does anyone do routine maintenance on the castle? I noticed some of the grout on the outer walls was furry."
"The castle should do it itself."
"Then we'll have to see why it's not," Horatio said calmly. He smiled at him. "It looks like your students are drifting off." He looked then went back to it. "How long have you been in construction?"
"Little over a year," he admitted. Horatio handed him a pen and notepad. He grinned. "Sure." He started to make notes. Harry led them to the greenhouses, letting them talk to the teacher and a few students over there. She was very nice but flustered. She had to go save a student from a human eating plant. He nodded politely at Draco since he was out there, making another note about a broken panel in the roof. Then they went into the school. Even Horatio had to blink at the lack of light. He looked up at the windows then at Harry. "Are all the rooms this dark?"
"No. Some of the rooms are very light," Harry assured him. "It's dark in the entry to keep the paintings from fading." He pointed at the walls of paintings that were nearly crushed together. "We have a large collection of what's known as living paintings. They're imbued with magic so they can talk back to you in limited ways."
"That's pretty cool," Danny said. "My school didn't have these." They walked on, Harry leading them to another classroom, where he ducked in and came out with a teacher. "Morning."
"Good morning. The Headmaster is away at the Ministry," she admitted, smiling at Harry.
"That's fine. Unannounced visits means that no one has any time to change things for it," Mac told her. "This way we get a real feel for the true school." She nodded that she understood.
"Can Mr. Potter escort us around so we can be nosy?" Sam asked.
"Of course. He's been here now for five years. He should know his way around." She smiled at him. "Do behave."
"Of course. This is not only our Deputy Headmistress but also our Transfiguration teacher. Would anyone like to take some of the back seats in her class?"
"Right after lunch would be better. I have first years then," she told him. "This class has no empty seats." That got a nod from everyone. "Go ahead on your tour. I'll make sure the house elves know you're here for lunch." They walked on, Xander stopping to look at a blank painting them making a note. "She's probably left to tell her other painting that you're here," she told him.
He grinned. "I'm more concerned about the hole she's hiding." She came to look then tutted. "I know it happens. I do carpentry so I'm the note taker." She nodded at that. "Nothing bad." He grinned and walked on, catching up with the others. Harry was showing them the Great Hall. He looked up like everyone else was. "Hmm. Wonder if it shows when people fly in."
"Yup," Sam said, pointing. "There's a flying car." They all nodded and left, heading off to the next area - the dungeons. "This is cheery," Sam said sarcastically. "Really, really Addams Family cheery."
Xander snickered. "It so is." Professor Snape came out. "Professor, we're touring today. Is there a reason they put you down here? Is it structurally based? I know you were complaining about people blowing potions up."
"That is one reason, that and so any ambient magic released can be soaked back into the ground," he admitted coolly. "It's also because my house is down here." He looked at Potter. "Did you want them to see Slytherin?"
"If you wish, Professor. I'd leave that up to you and show them Gryffindor anyway."
He nodded. "That is reasonable. Did you need to see my classroom?"
Xander nodded. "For just a minute, to make sure you don't have anything that needs fixed?" he suggested.
Snape stared at him. "The castle does that on its own."
"Then why is there a hole in the wall in the entry?" he countered. Snape gave him a horrified look. "This way it can be addressed and we can find someone who can do the work and help the castle fix itself."
"That is ...thoughtful."
"I work carpentry." He gave him a look. "Need anything?"
"A larger room and a better ventilation system." He let them into his room. "All work will stop while our guests are here," he announced. "We do not want to blow them up with your mediocre potions." They looked around and he followed Stella. "This is our storage area."
She looked around. Then at him. "Does it need to be expanded?"
"I could use it," he admitted. "I will not push for it. There's not many empty spaces down here. Taking out a wall would be most disastrous."
Xander pointed at one. "That one's not load bearing. It could be done easily enough and then a new one put up further back." He looked at him. "That would give you at least another ten feet of room. Or we could arrange it so that was your office since you'd have your back to an outer wall. Then you could add that area out here. It'd give you a view of the door as well."
Snape tipped his head. That was a suggestion he could like. His paranoid nature would like that. "That may be helpful."
"Draw up ideas for us, Snape," Xander said plainly. "Include any rooms and any fantasies you have. If we have to, we can pare it back down with your authority." That got a nod. "Are all the students doing okay or does the curriculum need tweaked?"
"They're all hopeless," he said bluntly. "Even making it all doltproof would not help."
He nodded. "That's reasonable then." He smiled. "Thank you for your time." Something exploded. He and Sam, plus Mac and Horatio, all had their guns pulled within a heartbeat, pointing them at the scared student, who wet himself. Stella and Danny had theirs out a blink after the first group did. "Would blast shields help?" Xander quipped.
"Indeed. I do need to redo those spells." They put up their weapons and nodded, leaving after thanking him. He calmed himself down. "Clean that up," he snarled. The student burst out crying. "Now!" The student ran for a mop to clean up his mess. He calmed himself further. "The rest of you get back to work."
"Who were they?" one student asked timidly.
"The new Founders Council that just got called." That got a shudder. "Work, do not think up bad things. I can do worse." They got back to work, the one mopping finishing up and heading to the bathroom to clean himself up as well. Even though Professor Snape would be taking off points for that.
Harry led them into Gryffindor. They had done Slytherin just before lunch, after charms, defense, and the elective classrooms, giving him time to have someone clean up any messes. "This is my house. As you can see, Hermione thinks she's a house elf," he teased, getting swatted for it. "It's usually clean enough. I'm sure they've all seen a common area before, Hermione."
"It was filthy and Ron left out quidditch magazines," she complained.
"He's like that," Harry chided, smirking at her. She huffed and stomped off. "Follow her up to the girls' side if you want to." They did that. Harry led the others to the boys' side. "This is my dorm," he told them, letting them inside. The others in his dorm were in there. "Who gave us a free period?"
"McGonagall demanded it, Harry," Ron said, waving a bit. "Hello. Welcome to our dorm. We're under orders to behave or else she's changing us in the next human to inanimate lecture."
Horatio coughed. "Can she?"
"And back," Neville said grimly. He smiled. "We even freshened the room so it doesn't smell like a boy's dorm."
Mac smiled. "Relax, boys. Most of us went to college and lived in a dorm too. Some of us were even military and lived in barracks. This is pretty nice. Why the curtains?"
"There's a chill in the winter," Ron told him. "Stones don't trap the heat enough sometimes."
"Can that be fixed?" Horatio asked.
Harry looked at him. "Some of us would beg, including some of the Slytherins since they're down so far."
Xander made a note on his third page of notes. "We can talk about that. It shouldn't be too hard to do something." They all nodded. He grinned. "Anything else need fixed in the common room or up here? Things like holes, loose stones, that stuff?"
"One of the stairs on the girls' side is loose," Ron said. "It's supposed to all slide down so we can't get up there. It doesn't thanks to that one."
"Is that a problem?" Danny asked with a smirk.
"Not for some of us," Dean said dryly from his bed. They all laughed. "They might like it fixed though. Girls are allowed in here if we want."
"That seems uneven," Stella said as she walked in. "Hmm. Less cheery than the girls' side."
"It happens. They're girls," Harry said with a smirk. "They probably decorated."
"They have lighter stones and more sunlight." She looked at the bed. "That's heavy. How do you guys clean under them?"
"The house elves do it once a year," Harry told her. "They'd like to do it more often but students get in a snit when their beds are moved."
"It's what little privacy and private property you have," Stella agreed. "It all works?"
"Oh, sixth year's third stall in the bathroom doesn't work," Ron admitted. "Only goes cold water."
"Is that on purpose or a problem?" Xander asked dryly.
"Could be on purpose," Ron admitted. "But the boys complain a lot when it's the last one open in the mornings."
Xander nodded, making a note of that. "I can see how that'd be a problem." He smiled. "Okay, we're going to...."
"Lunch," Harry said. They nodded, heading down with him and the boys. "Then Transfiguration for a while, then up to Divination, Horatio?"
"Please. I want to make sure that tower's safe." That got a nod from everyone.
"If you do, can they have stairs instead of a rope ladder?" Ron asked.
Dean punched him on the arm. "I like the ladder. It lets me look up skirts," he hissed.
Horatio looked at the boys. "While that's a consideration, is it difficult for students to attend classes?" They sighed and nodded. "What about students who are on crutches and things?"
"They don't usually have to use them for more than a few days," Ron told him. "Madam Pomfrey can fix broken bones and the like pretty quick."
"What about those who have physical handicaps?" Xander asked.
Ron frowned. "I'm not sure if any witch or wizard has them."
"I'm sure there are," Horatio said. "We'll ask about it." That got a nod and the boys all relaxed again. "We have nothing against boys being boys," he assured him quietly. "We need to make sure it's safe so no one dies."
"Then make the big git who's hunting Harry go away," Neville said firmly.
"That's a topic we're looking into," Sam assured him with a look, getting a lot of relaxed boys. And Hermione. They walked into the Great Hall. "The ceiling does mimic very well. That's good work." They looked and found an empty table. "Headmaster, if you don't mind, can we eat with the students?"
"Of course. You can pull them up to your table if you want to talk to them," he assured him.
Sam smiled. "How would you know what worries the students if they're not free to talk about things?" he countered. He walked over with Neville. He seemed like a nice boy. He sat next to him and smiled. "Hi, Sam Winchester." They all stared at him. Xander sat down across from him. "This is Xander Harris. We're on the Founders Council. Don't mind us. Gossip away. We were your age not too long ago." They all just nodded slowly.
Xander snickered. "Guys, I'm surrounded by girls all day every day. Relax. We're not mean. We're not here to make things bad or worse. We're here to do a physical tour to make sure things work. There's no holes, those things." They all nodded and smiled. "So don't treat us any differently. Okay?" They nodded. "Good. Now does anyone have anything that needs to be fixed in their dorm rooms? We've heard about the cold shower in the sixth year's boys dorm."
"The safety measure for the girls needs fixed," one older girl said. "The boys have been a pain about coming over." Xander made note of that. "I don't know why it doesn't work."
"Someone said something about a sticking step?" Xander suggested.
"Third one down does stick in position. It only wiggles," Hermione told them.
"Do we think it's odd that the girls are allowed in the boys' dorm?" Sam asked.
"That lets us decide if we're going to do things but protects those girls who don't want to associate themselves with boys," the same older girl said. "Plus the younger kids."
Xander leaned on the table to look at her. "Do you think the boys would take advantage of them?"
"They haven't been," she admitted. "I can see the point of having it on both sides." They nodded and smiled. "Though it would make it inconvenient when we need to get books for them."
"Then we'll take that into account," Xander agreed, making a note. "Anything else?"
"Can we have a makeout room again?" one fourth year asked.
Hermione growled. "That's disgusting!"
"He's at the age that those thoughts come up, Hermione," Sam explained. "It's a natural urge. It's not like he can really go on dates around here."
"He can escort his chosen girl to town," she said primly.
Xander looked at her. "You're muggle born so I'm going to assume you've heard of good dates. How would that rate on your scale?"
She grimaced. "Poorly. It's still not done and is against school codes."
He nodded. "Sneaking around and not getting caught makes you smarter," he agreed, looking at the boy. "Finding ways to get what you desire anyway is one way to grow brains. You can use the lessons you have, higher lessons, warp lower lessons, and use regular sneakiness to get that need taken care of." The boy sulked but nodded.
"I did," Sam agreed. "My father was really strict on that stuff when I was your age. Sneaking around him made me better at what I do now."
Xander nodded. "Sneaking around with Cordy helped us too," he agreed.
"Please don't tell them about your exes?" Harry begged.
Xander snickered. "I won't. I doubt they need to hear that." He looked at the table. "Anything else need fixed?"
"The attic has a draft," one of the Weasley twins said.
"Are you treating Harry all right? Our mum would be furious if not," the other told him.
"We had a nice dinner last night. Harry slept on the couch. Tara's a very good cook." They smiled at that, nodding a bit. "Tell your mother I'll help Harry however I can. Sam too."
"That's a ..."
"Good idea," they agreed together.
"He could probably use some help studying since this is going to put him dreadfully behind," Hermione told him.
"If he needs it, we can help," Sam assured her.
"Where did you go to school?" one of the first years asked.
"Stanford. I don't usually use magic in daily life. Didn't know about my other family actually."
Xander nodded. "I went to school in Sunnydale." The higher years all gave him horrified looks. He grinned and waved. "Yes, there." They just nodded en masse. "It's cool, guys. I'm on the slayer's team." That got a sigh of relief from a few of them. "Sam does the same thing."
Sam nodded. "A lot, all over the country."
"Wow. So you don't use magic?" one girl asked. Sam shook his head. "Why not?"
"It's not necessary to do what I do." He pointed at something. "I've been seeing ghosts. Are they problems?"
"They're house mascots," Hermione told him. "Please don't trap or banish them, Mr. Winchester."
"Sure, as long as they're not a problem."
She shook her head. "No. Not a problem."
"Except Peeves," one first year girl pouted. "He's a poltergeist."
Sam smiled. "I'll have to ask and see if the headmaster wants me to work on that." Xander made a note. "If so we'll help. If not maybe you can negotiate with him to leave you alone? Sometimes they will do that if it amuses them." She beamed and nodded, going to find him and do that. He looked at that Ron kid and nudged him. "Eat. Or else you'll pass out later and we'll have to make note of that too." The others ate and they dug in too.
Xander got up and headed over to Slytherin to sit with them. "Guys, since I've got the fixing list and I haven't heard Stella ask, do we need anything in your house fixed? Loose stones, showers that don't work, that stuff?" They all sneered at him.
"Shut it, you lot," Draco ordered. "He's the holder of the Malfoy Staff." Xander nodded. "There's a few things I knew of in years past. I'm not sure if they've been fixed or not."
Xander sat down beside him, showing him the list he had already. "That's what we found when your head of house took us." Draco added to the list. "Cool with us. Anything in the upper years?"
"Haven't been in them yet," he said with an evil smirk. "Pansy, anything you know that needs fixed?"
"The globe's off in one room," she said. "Seventh year girl's side." Xander nodded, making a note.
"I noticed you guys needed more light," Stella said. "Is that something that could help? Make the house easier to study in?"
Draco nodded. "The common room could use a few more lamps."
"More than a few," Xander snorted. "How many of you guys get depressed in the winter?"
"We'd never show it," Draco said calmly. "It's not the Slytherin way."
Xander stared at him. "There's no weakness in admitting you have a problem and getting it fixed. Not fixing it leads to a greater weakness as it gets worse. Then you become undependable due to it. Even injuries." That got a simple nod. "Bright lights or like you have now?"
"We could use a few good bright lights overhead," one of the seventh years told him. Xander nodded, making note of that. "Are you touring the other houses?"
"If they need or want us to," Stella said with a smile. "If not I'm sure we can get a list from them. We might do it right before we go. After this we're sitting in on Transfiguration then heading up to do Divination."
"The rope ladder is the most fun some of the younger kids get," one said bluntly.
She laughed. "So I've heard."
"I still say sneaking off to get that need met makes you smarter," Xander told them, giving that one a look and a small smirk. He got one back. He looked at Draco. "Did you look it over?" He nodded. "Do you?"
"I fit but I'm not ready for that yet."
"Okay. Tell me when you are."
"Would you have a minute later on to speak on something?" Draco asked, looking serious.
"Of course. Before we leave good or now?" He picked up a roll and nibbled. "We can talk now if you want." He nodded, walking out with him. "What's up, Draco?"
"There's a marriage contract coming due and as head of the family you have to ratify it," he said quietly.
"Yours?" Draco nodded. "Then either come get me Saturday or bring it to me then. We can go over it at your place or mine." Draco nodded. He stopped him. "I'm a practical man but I will be going over it in depth, Draco. Including your feelings on the subject. I'm not your father. Understand?" He shook his head. "Then we'll talk then. Call me and we'll figure out where. Tara's at home tonight." He nodded. "Now, go finish eating. I'm going to look at more of the stairways. There's some illusion stairs. Oh. Question came up." Draco turned to look at him. "What do witches and wizards born with a handicap or who end up handicapped do around here? Some of the classes aren't easily gotten to even if you're walking right."
Draco shrugged. "As far as I know they don't come here. Never have."
"Where would they go?"
Draco shrugged. "They may not be allowed to study. An infirmity like that wouldn't be wanted in the bloodlines."
"Usually birth defects aren't that genetic as it was told to us in biology."
Draco gave him a smug look. "Pure bloods would *never* accept such a child," he chided.
Xander nodded. "That's what I thought you'd say. What about those people on crutches?"
"They make it somehow." He walked off, going back to his lunch. That was an odd question.
Xander looked at the headmaster, presenting him with the list. "That's the spots we know that need fixing."
He sighed, looking it over. "I can get our caretaker on much of it." He looked at him. "This grout problem isn't natural?"
"No and it's weakening the bond between stones," Xander told him. "That's why Divinations is leaning."
"We have people who can work on that level of spells, we'll see what's going on with it. We definitely don't want things to be unsafe."
"Us either," Horatio said. "A question was raised by a few of us. What do handicapped students do?"
"They train at a day institution in London," he admitted. "It's fully set up for them." They all nodded. "It's a very nice facility."
Xander gave him a look. "Is it a *facility* or a school?"
"More a facility. Most of the students there are severely injured from the inbreeding; I'm sure most of you have seen on the family charts you've been looking over." They all nodded. "That's so they have somewhere to harness whatever magical eminations they're putting out so they don't hurt themselves and others."
"What about those who don't have mental difficulties but a physical one?" Horatio asked.
"The teachers there have a way of determining that and training them." That got a nod. "I'm sure you could tour that one as well. As well as any other day schools we have around."
"We probably will," Xander assured him. "It was told to us that you were asking about updating some things. What things? Generally speaking."
"I was going to ask about updating a few rooms. Their fixtures are extremely old. There's also a need for a few more house elves. We'd like to add a few courses to the curriculum and the Board of Regents haven't been agreeable."
"Such as?" Horatio asked.
"For *both* sexes, right?" Stella asked. He gave her a startled look. "Boys won't live with their mothers forever and even they have to figure out how to do the laundry and cook."
"That is a good point. The Board does not like it however."
"Would the board consent to having you update the quills for real pens?" Xander suggested. "And notebooks to keep better notes?"
Mac looked at him. "I was watching one kid try to keep up with one. He was doing okay."
"I tried, it takes a while to get adjusted to one even if you do use a fountain pen. It puts the kids who don't live in the world behind right off the bat and lets everyone know even if they don't."
"That's a good point. Also, how about updating some of the curriculum to better reflect the actual muggle world? Muggle Studies was teaching things from the seventies like it was presently in use."
Albus blinked. "We're behind?"
"They didn't even mention a computer," Danny said dryly. "The rest of us use them every day in some way or another."
"Oh, dear. I'll have to look into that one. The pen issue as well. What would you suggest instead?"
"Pencils? Fountain pens? Regular pens?" He shrugged. "It shouldn't be too hard to figure out. They might even be cheaper. The quills I saw earlier in a store window were really expensive."
"Fountain pens would be about as expensive but would last longer and be easier to use. They have some that carry the ink inside them even."
"Roller balls still work better," Sam quipped, cracking the others up. "Or laptops."
"There's no electricity in the school for some reason," Xander pointed out.
"It won't work here. The nature of the protective shield prevents it unfortunately."
Xander nodded at that. "Okay. Good to know." He made a note about that. "What about the heating issue? We've heard a lot of complaints about lack of heat in classes and towers."
"That is one we've been working on. What would your suggestion be?"
"Radiators aren't fully efficient but could be helpful," Mac said. "That's hot water running through exposed pipes to heat areas. Radiators are coils of pipes to give you more space for heat to come off of. It could be diverted on the way to the showers. It won't take up that much room and if it's a closed system instead of going to the showers you'd be reheating the same water over and over."
"I doubt we could put in baseboard heat, Mac," Danny pointed out dryly.
"I know. Or air conditioners for those hot days when you're boiling inside the stones."
"I also wanted to mention, no one knows the fire drill plan?" Stella said.
Albus blinked. "Fire drill?"
"In case a fire starts in a room? To get the students outside the school quickly? It's a first step of any safety plan."
"I don't think we need one."
"If that one tower falls in it could compromise three different classes and one common room," Horatio said bluntly. "You'll need an evacuation plan."
"Also helpful in case of attacks," Xander pointed out. "The common areas are good but not that well hidden. Does the school have a safety plan in case of attack?"
"He wouldn't dare come here."
"Bullshit," Xander said bluntly, staring at him. "I'm calling up five years of experience hunting on a hellmouth, Headmaster. They will come here. Here is powerful and a symbol. If they can bring down the school it's a symbol that they're stronger. It'll create more fear than anything but taking down the Ministry building."
He nodded slowly. "That is a good point. Are you helping Harry?"
"Wherever he needs me to. All he has to do is ask."
"Thank you. I will look over those ideas later. Let me copy that list." He magically copied the list and handed it back to him. "Thank for this as well. I'll get the less than general suggestions to you shortly."
"We'll be breaking soon for a long break to get our real lives straightened out then come back for monthly meetings," the Chair told him. That got a smile and a nod. "Once we get the law code updated again."
"I heard something about that."
"Nearly done," Xander said proudly. "Harry, are you coming for dinner?"
"No, I think I'll stay here and calm people down. I think you scared some when Trelawany looked at you and had a spontaneous vision about Death."
Xander grinned. "It seems to follow the Sunnydale group around. That's why Buffy's not dead yet. He appreciates her in her tiny skirts." Tony smacked him on the head. "Hey!"
"Stop it." He looked at Harry. "See you in the morning."
"Of course. Have a good talk with your supervisor."
Tony smirked. "I'll probably be smacked in the head too." They walked off together chatting, checking over the list. Tony stopped at the magical creatures pens, looking at something. "What's that, Hagrid? It looks like a worm with a giant butt."
"It's a blast ended skwert." He poked it and it blasted off a few feet to get some more peace. "The first years learn it."
"That's an interesting animal." He grinned. "Thanks." He jogged to catch up to the others, letting his staff take him since the others were. He landed behind his seat, pulling the person in it out of it. "Hey, boss." He sat down, looking at them. "Did anyone else want to start humming the Addam's family theme song?"
Xander and Sam both nodded. Danny cracked up and nodded.
"I do agree, they could use some updating," Horatio said patiently. "Mac?"
"A lot of updating." Stella nodded. "Especially about gender equality."
"Definitely," she agreed. She looked at the Chair. "So?"
"It's about the same as when I went," he admitted, shrugging a bit. "Nothing much has changed."
"Even though everything else has?" Xander suggested. He sighed and nodded. "What do you think about home ec., Stella? It's usually a pretty easy and satisfying class when you cook."
"I liked it," she admitted. "I think it'd be good for them. As long as all of them got it. Make it a first year mandatory? Or whenever they get a free period?"
"Third," the chair said. "That might be workable. I don't know. I'll ask Albus." He made a note for himself. "What would you teach? Homey spells and cooking?"
"That'd help around the tower too," Danny said dryly. "We lived in real dorms, not like that. Some of those needed scrubbed and the house elves were saying they couldn't. They were nearly crying that they couldn't scrub well enough."
"Think we can get a house elf to come do the paperwork?" Stella teased.
"If at all possible," Horatio agreed, smirking at her. "Gibbs, nice to see you again. We're nearly done then you can smack Tony on the head."
"I wasn't planning on it. Does he need one?"
"He said you'd be doing it," Sam said with a grin. He looked at the Chair then around. "Anything new?" They all shook their heads. "Then let's let Tony go be spanked or whatever so his boss is happy and the rest of us can go eat." They nodded and broke up, heading back to their places.
Tony looked up at him. "The school uses quills and ink pots," he said bluntly. Gibbs shuddered. "No electricity. No heat. And that's the best." Gibbs shook his head. "Exactly, boss. Dinner?"
"Sure." He walked out with him, nodding at the auror he had been escorted by. "Any new information on the worst of the problems?"
"Harry's getting us some." He gave him a look. "They're having a 'don't you worry your pretty little heads about it' attitude, boss. So we went to the source." That got a nod. They were stopped by another auror in the halls. "Tonks," he said fondly, giving her a perfunctory hug. "What's up? This is my boss, Jethro Gibbs."
"Sir," she said.
"I'm only a Gunny, don't sir me," he said dryly, making her laugh. "I was in the Marines."
She saluted him. "Better than I got for training then." She handed Tony a file. "Harry said you wanted that?"
"Want dinner?" Gibbs asked. This was a source who'd be able to answer questions.
"Sure, I could eat." She walked out with them, the other auror peeling off to make a report. "Sorry about them but they want higher jobs and I just want to get it done."
Tony looked at her. "Gibbs scares FBI agents like that." She smiled and Gibbs smacked him on the head while he read the file. "Thanks, boss, I've been missing those."
"You'll get another one later. No pretty girls?"
"I've found a very few pretty girls. They're all students however. So I didn't do more than look."
"The uniforms are horrible," she agreed.
Tony gave her a look. "Have you seen muggle fashions?" She nodded with a grin. "I pick up women like those."
"Not much here for you then. When are you guys gonna start the alignment marriages between families?"
"Some families don't have that many people. Beyond that, we can work together and whoever we appoint with the staff's help will be able to work with someone." She gave him an odd look. "I'm not always going to be available. I do undercovers and stuff." She gaped. "I'm an agent too, Tonks, and a former detective," he said fondly, grinning at her.
"He does pretty good at undercovers," Gibbs admitted. They came out of the elevator and into a phone booth. He looked then shook his head and they walked out together. "I don't want to know who was watching _Get Smart_." They walked around, taking the long way so Tony could pick up some food he guessed. "So you'll pick a proxy or second or whatever?"
"Yup. Let the staff help me pick one so I have someone I can lean on when I'm not here. Xander's going to be doing the same thing. He'll have to reappear for apocalypses. Which he said happen way too often for my liking."
"I finally got through his files and you're right, they do." They shared a look. "You done yet?"
"Then no." He went to get a few more things so they could check out and head back through the Leaky Cauldron to his condo. He waved at Tom. "Tom, this is my boss, Gibbs. If you see him, call me please?" That got a nod. "Thanks." He used his charm bracelet to get them into the alley then down to his apartment. "Ah, home again." They went to the living room, letting him put up food and start dinner. "No food allergies, Tonks?"
"No, mate. Thanks."
"Welcome." He got back to work.
Gibbs looked at her. "How involved are you?"
"I'm in Harry and Dumbledore's group against orders."
"Tonks, honestly, how bad is your department doing?" Tony asked, turning to look at her.
"We could use a foot that wasn't attached to Fudge."
"Can I nominate for that?" Tony asked. She nodded. "Then I will if we have more problems. They didn't want to share information at all."
"Of course not. It might get them banished by Fudge to the top reaches of the country to look for skwerts or something," she said dryly. "He said back in his early days that they were evil creatures and should be treated as such."
"Tried to stick his finger in the wrong end?" Tony asked dryly.
"Possibly. Or something else. No telling about him when he's been drinking." She looked at Gibbs again. "We think we can handle it."
"Who's teaching the kid the stuff he needs to know to fight?" Gibbs asked. "Tony told me he's not getting special training."
"Snape's teaching him occulmencary."
"He's attacking him to make him put up shields," Tony corrected in a sing-song voice.
"Aw, bloody hell," she muttered. "They're not?" Tony shook his head. "Then I'll start if I have to."
"You might have to. Sam and Xander are both interested in helping. Horatio wants to help if he starts a real campaign. Mac too. You've got most of our council behind you, Tonks. Tell us what you need to do, beyond training Harry."
"Can you remove Fudge?"
"We were told the people after him were just as bad," he sighed.
She slumped. "Might be. Definitely possible." She looked at Gibbs. "Think you could give some lessons?"
"I think if you guys need it I'm nominating him to take over," Tony said dryly. "He's got more than enough experience dealing with these things after being a Marine and then an NCIS agent. Speaking of, boss, how's the director?"
"Pissed at your continued absence."
"Not like I'm not needed. We'll be done with the major stuff soon then one weekend a month for meetings."
"That'll work." He looked at her. "What else can we give you?"
"Do you guys have a way to monitor stuff from a distance and tape it?"
"We have for over forty years. We can do video and audio."
"I need to learn that stuff."
He smirked. "There's ways to do that I'm sure." She nodded. "Learn from DiNozzo. He's good at AV equipment."
"Thanks, boss. Have you been petting my movies for me so they don't feel lonely?"
"Abby has and consider yourself smacked."
"Yes, boss," he said cheerfully. He brought over plates, handing them each one then going back to get his own. "Drinks are in the fridge when you want something." He sat down to eat, looking over as his floo discharged Xander. "Problems?"
"Major ones. Lucius just escaped prison. Voldemort got them all." Tonks ate one last bite then hopped up and went to check. He looked at the two agents, shaking his head. "Fudge just announced on the radio that it's a drill."
"Uh-huh," Gibbs said dryly. "How bad is this?"
"He's gotten back all his people that we've captured so far," Tony admitted. "I toured the prison. It's horrible, boss. They have these creatures that suck out your happy memories as guards."
"Who were on Voldemort's side last war," Xander told him. Tony whimpered. "Exactly. We're in deep shit and Sam and I are meeting later." He disappeared through the floo, going to Sam's house. He turned on the radio in the kitchen then turned to look at Sam.
John listened to the standard government 'this is just a drill, no need to be alarmed, the prisoners aren't really escaping' message. "Please tell me it's really a drill?" he demanded.
Xander shook his head. "The guard creatures at the prison were on Voldemort's side last war. We had over thirty Death Eaters in custody according to Harry. They're gone now." Both aunts started to sniffle. "I've got to tell Harry." He looked at Sam. "Let's plan it."
He nodded. "Whatever we can do."
Xander nodded. "Thanks, Sam." He disappeared, holding his staff. He reappeared in the middle of the Great Hall, walking up to the head table, pulling Harry on his way. "The Minister for Magic is announcing that the prisoners weren't just released and the dementors aren't gone, it's just a drill," he said quietly. Dumbledore got up and headed to his office. He looked at Harry. "Sam and I are doing what we can on our spectrum. Got it?" He nodded. "See us tomorrow after the meeting. Let us know how bad it is."
"Agreed. Did Tonks...."
"Gave it to Tony earlier."
"Even better. He's former military?"
"Military cop. His boss is former military. Long term, has command experience military. Mac too." Harry nodded and relaxed. "Remember, you have us, Harry. We know shit you don't and we'll help you with whatever we can. Including Willow if I have to beg."
"Thanks, Xander." He gave him a short hug. "You'd better go. Fudge is going to start swinging wildly to control the rumors."
Xander snorted. "What's he going to do, have me eaten?" He shook his head, then disappeared. He had to watch the rest of his family. Lucius had been there. Narcissa was one of them. Draco might end up there. It was now a full war. This was not a good thing. He sat down and called Willow. "It's me. We might be needing extra help. Because the bad guy over here doing what Hitler did just got his prisoners of war back," he said bluntly. He listened to the current crisis. "The black case is in Giles' back closet, Wills. Use it." She said that to someone, who moaned and went to get it. "The pin you'll need to reinsert is in his jewelry box. He removed it so Spike couldn't play with it. If you need me to I can hop back for a few hours but I might be needed here. Yeah, I need help. Tracking spells? I don't know yet. Thanks." He hung up and considered it. Then he went to Tony's to get that information file, taking it home with him to look over.
Tony smirked at Gibbs. "He plans for that group out there."
"Figures. How did he get military codes?"
"Sam said a possession."
"Like something he owns?"
"Like someone used him as a Xander suit." He ate a bite of dessert. "So, how's Abby?"
"Good. Pouting but okay. She misses you."
"I know. We'll pare back to lesser meetings once we fix some laws. They had some stupid ones. Like not wearing striped underwear stupid."
Gibbs moaned, shaking his head. That was a bad sign. Tony handed him the law book and he flipped through it to look at the ones crossed out. His agent was doing a good thing for this world at least.
Xander walked in the next morning, handing something to Harry. "That's where they're siphoning power from. I asked and Willow found it for me. They've got to be either connected to it somehow or near there."
Harry looked then smiled at him. "That'll help." He went to floo that to his Headmaster. "Xander's friend Willow found out that someone major is siphoning power off this point," he said, handing over the note through the floo. He smiled at that information. "That means they're connected or close by according to him."
"Either would be doable. We'll have to look, my boy. Thank him for me."
"Of course. Is there anything else I can ask of them?"
"Have them start thinking up plans. We've got to find them quickly."
Harry nodded. "I'm sure they are." He hung up and walked back in there after Tony.
Tony slammed the door once Harry was in. "Can I please appoint Gibbs over the aurors? They're not doing anything today but playing cards." The Chair gave him a confused look. "That wasn't a drill." He swore. Harry shook his head too. "Where do you need us?"
"We need to recapture them, keep them with humans instead of dementors, and then keep pressing to get more of them into custody."
Xander and Sam both unrolled scrolls. They glanced at each other's then took them to look over. "Yours works better in woods," Xander admitted.
"Yours is a better general battle plan. We thought it'd be a running battle."
"Probably a combination of both," Mac said, coming over to take them to look at. "Good job, boys." He frowned. "Woods?"
"They're hiding at various supporter's houses," Harry admitted, taking them to look over. "We don't have that large of a force, guys. Maybe twenty if we're lucky."
"Sam's is scaleable, mine's for a standing in a field battle, Harry." He nodded at that, going to bring them back to Dumbledore too. He looked at Mac. "I'm used to battles. Sam's used to running battles. My running battle is 'get them and don't trip'." Horatio laughed. "It is."
"So I've heard, Xander."
He grinned. "Finally got the background done?"
"Yes I did. I had someone ask a few people in the same business in our neck of the woods. They were quite interested."
Xander just grinned his most innocent grin.
"Of course, half of it said that you're always tripping and you make magic go screwy," Danny added.
"I can. That might be me or the area. Not really sure." He shrugged. "I do what I do best, guys. I'm an end game, nothing gets past me fighter." They nodded. "And I do what's necessary, like at graduation."
"Let's hope it's not this time," Horatio told him.
"Let's," Xander agreed, grinning at him. "Okay, Mr. Chairperson. How are the judges coming?"
"Horatio?" he asked. "You were liaising."
"We are done," he admitted, handing over that copy through the others. Each one read it then passed on a page as soon as they got done. By the time he got them all back Xander was frowning. "I know a few had to be left in. He said it would cure lesser problems they've been having."
Xander nodded. "I still don't want to marry Draco."
"Me either," Harry said as he came back. "By the way, he's tense and pacing."
"Bring him here," Xander ordered. Harry nodded outside. "Draco!" He came in. "We need an independent person opinion. Read the laws." He took them to read, sitting in his usual seat. Xander looked at Horatio. "The one about wandless ones I did not like."
"They're scared of your friends' sort," Mac told him.
"While that's nice, there's probably just as many of them as there are this sort of witches and wizards. Are they scared that they don't have wands or that they're female for the most part?"
"Probably a combination," Horatio admitted. "We did leave it down to the point of them not being legally recognized witches for the purpose of any legal action, but that leaves the bank alone if they care to recognize them. Which would give them a different sort of legal recognition."
"I still don't like fear mongering in the law," Danny admitted. "I get what each side is saying but Xander's got a point. Who sits overtop of one of his friends' kind when they go bad?"
"Their coven or a higher coven," Xander admitted. That got a slow nod. "It's not an institutional setup. I realize that but I think it's short sighted. Especially since that would leave off chaos people and they tend to get in the way when you don't want them to. Plus they're only getting stronger."
Horatio considered it. "He would like that one to stay in but he could see how that one may be a referendum but not a law."
"That I'd like better," Xander admitted. "But I still can't vote for it."
"That seems like a reasonable compromise," the Chair agreed.
Draco looked up. "The wandless ones don't go to schools, right?"
"They're taught by their coven and usually a relative," Xander told him. "It's often passed down. If not, a teacher is usually drawn to one that's strong. Like Willow. Giles has been teaching her for years and keeps forgetting to take books from her."
"Which is relatively scary with how powerful your friend is."
"Without her being that powerful we'd have been screwed many times. She can close the hellmouth. That law says that your Ministry can go over and arrest her for having to do that."
"Which is a point but we don't know how to deal with their sort," Draco pointed out.
Xander shifted to look at him. "The problem is that you shouldn't have to deal with them. They have people in place to do that. There's one in Devon from what Giles has been saying recently. They do a lot of teaching and training. They also rein in the stupid ones. But if they're not legally recognized and one has to testify about a cure or something, how would they?"
"That's a point," Draco agreed. "But if you give them the same rights they'd have the same responsibilities. They'd need training, have to be able to pass their tests. Can't act against the common good."
"What about those who can do both?" Xander suggested. "Would this harm their standing as well?"
Draco considered it then nodded. "It probably would. Changing it to say that the wizarding world, as it stands presently, does not recognize any other sort of witch or wizard who does not use a wand in the practice of magic would be better. It leaves room for interpretation. Especially if you add that you know some can do it but enough is not known to make sure that they uphold the same standards we do and while some may be good we cannot be sure how many are. Therefore we would be skeptical and not grant them legal standing until further information is gathered and certain questions were answered."
"I like that better," Xander admitted, looking at Horatio and his people.
"It could be stated more smoothly," the Chair admitted. He wrote it down and reworked the phrasing, handing it over. Xander read it then nodded, handing it back. "Then that would make a good referendum. Horatio, mark that one out?" He took the pages back to find that clause and mark it out. "All right. Are there any other laws we might not like?"
Sam raised his hand. "You have a clause in there that grants spirits as intelligent beings. What happens when you have one that you have to send on because they're harming others?"
"Hmm. Most of the time we banish them."
"I was taught to banish then salt and burn their remains," Sam told him. "They can't come back that way. They're forced to move onto the afterlife."
He blinked. "That's a bit extreme."
"We deal with ones that hurt others," Sam pointed out. "Not the granny living in the attic but the ones throwing kids into walls because they moved into the wrong house."
He considered it. "How does that one read, Horatio?" He handed it over turned to that page. He read it then nodded slowly. "That's how it was stated before. Wasn't there a clause about what to do with stuck spirits in the last one?"
"Yeah," Danny said, digging it out. "Here." He let him read it. "We could add that." He let Sam read it, getting a nod. "Would that do?"
"That would work for us. As long as we're not going to be arrested for having to push one on when they get violent."
"We can add that on," he agreed, copying that onto the forms. That got a smile. "Anything else?"
"The National Hero's clause?" Harry said, looking amused. "Do not include me. No matter what anyone says. Please?"
"Too late," the Chair said with a smirk. "You were included when you defeated him the first time."
"It was something my parents did," he complained.
"So? He still died. If Xander fell into a well and his doing so led to the rescue of a few dozen people he would be included as well."
"Don't joke about that," Xander said, starting to frown. "Those things happen around me. I don't make them happen."
The Chair looked at him. "I should hope it doesn't."
"Us too," Sam said with a grin.
"Gee thanks," Xander said dryly.
"Welcome, Xander." He patted him on the back. "Just don't date, okay?"
"Sure, I'll pick up a good time girl or something in a club instead," he said, giving him a look.
"You're the one who dated the former vengeance demon," Sam said dryly.
Draco poked Xander on the arm. "Former vengeance demon?"
"Yeah, we just broke up. She didn't want to be with a wizard. I dated Anyanka when she got rehumaned."
Draco got up and went to beat his head on a wall. The former head of his family must have been insane to code the staff so it would pick Xander.
Harry leaned out of the chamber. "He said she's the first one that didn't try to kill him. So she was the nicest apparently." Draco thumped his head a few more times. "Introduce him to some nice girls. It'll mean he'll stay." He went back to his seat. "Draco's going to have a stone imprint on his forehead."
"I've done that a few times," Xander admitted.
"Dean too," Sam said with a grin. The cops just gave them dirty looks. "What?"
"Neither of you two should date," Stella said.
"By the laws I'm supposed to be dating someone who's good for the family," Xander said dryly. "That means I can date you and turn you into an evil bitch." He beamed. "Wanna?"
"No. You're a bit too young and hyper for my tastes, Xander. Thanks anyway."
"Sure, let me know. I'm fun and Anya used me as a sex toy often enough that I'm pliable when asked nicely."
Draco walked in and zapped him until he fell asleep. "My head of family is very sorry. Apparently one of them got him again." He looked at Sam. "You seem to understand him, why don't you date him?"
"I like girls and I'm getting over my girlfriend being killed by the demon who's after my family," he said honestly.
Draco shuddered. "I will never hunt like you two do." He sat down. "Should we make an announcement?"
"Does anyone have any other laws we have problems with? Sam, do you know if Xander had any others he was wary of?"
"Just the marriage one since some of us aren't looking forward to it," Stella suggested.
"Unfortunately that can't be removed without a larger than average stink," the chair said. "It's what we all hope to do, find someone that will be good for our family." He checked it. "They removed the time clause. It'll be fine if you want to wait a few years, Stella."
"Sure. I hope I can." Someone slammed the door open and she drew her gun as the guy pointed his wand at the Chairperson. The others got their guns up and out about the same time he started to fire. Harry got him with a hex first, making him scream in pain. "Nice shot, Harry."
"Thank you." He stood up, looking at him. "Dark Mark." He looked at the stunned chair person. "Someone check him. Tonks!" he bellowed. "Death Eater in the Ministry!" he yelled when no one came. Some aurors came and he pointed. "He tried to hex the chairperson of the council."
The aurors stared at him. "What did you do?" one demanded.
Xander was woken by Sam. "He defended our chairman," Sam told him. "He had his wand out, was halfway to saying crucio and we all drew on him. Harry got there first." Xander blinked at him. "Someone should check him."
Xander went to look. "He's in shock. Mac, got anything to drink?" He pulled out a bottle of juice and handed it over. "Thanks." He got the chairman on the floor, helping him drink it. "Shh. You're safe. We'll protect you too." The man blinked at him. "You're safe."
He shook his head. "I'm not."
"You are. We know you are." He let him drink the rest and stood up. "If you leave him there much longer, we'll have to try to change him into furniture, guys. Just so he won't get away." They led the guy off. Harry fired a binding at him, making sure he wasn't going to be getting away. "Good idea." He looked up the hall, finding an auror stomping their way. "That man burst in here to fire on our chairperson. How did he get into the Ministry?"
"We're not sure. Everyone all right?"
"I could use a check I think," the chairman said calmly, standing up. "Thank you all for protecting me." They nodded. "Horatio, until I return, you are in control."
He nodded. "I'll do my best."
"Thank you." He let himself be led off, still sipping his juice.
Xander sat down. "Okay, we need help."
Tony nodded. "Anyone mind me putting Gibbs in charge of the LEO people?" No one said anything. "Last chance?" Horatio looked at him. "He'll help."
"He will," he agreed, Mac nodding beside him. "Will they put up with it?"
"Yup. Next situation. Fudge. Anything?"
"Make him in name only," Sam said, tossing something over. "That would make him unable to write new laws. It'd return the power where it once was instead of where he usurped."
Horatio looked it over and looked it up in the law codes. "I do see how that was done. That would mean he'd be in here with us."
"We can outvote any stupidity," Xander pointed out. "Sorry about the nap." He slugged Draco on the shoulder. "Don't do that again. I'll make you marry Buffy." Draco shuddered. "Can I see?" It was tossed over. He read it then nodded. "That would help." He tossed it to Harry, who read it then passed it on.
"Any dissent on Sam's request?" Horatio asked. Everyone shook their heads. "Then motion carried. Tony, with yours we'll wait to have him here." That got a nod. "Draco, how would you like to deliver that?"
"I'd like to live," he said dryly. "Let Dumbledore."
"He hates Fudge and his problems," Harry agreed. "That could work."
Tony grinned. "Definitely."
Headmaster Dumbledore walked up to the news conference a few hours later, coughing to get attention. "The Founders Council has found a clause that you created due to the lack of proper heads of families being chosen, Cornelius. Since they are now reformed and vowed to the service of our people, they have repealed that clause." Fudge went pale. He handed it to him. "As was intended, the Minister for Magic is part of the Council, not above it. They expect you to show up tomorrow to talk about repealing some baseless laws and making two new referendums." The press stared at him. "As pointed out there were many laws that were laid for no reasonable excuse. I have no idea why people aren't allowed to wear polka dots but they found that coded in the books as well." That got some notes taken. "The Founders Council has looked them over and has found some restatements plus some laws for no reason so they've taken the law code to task. It's much simpler to understand now." He looked at the Minister for Magic. "They start at ten in the morning, Cornelius. They await hearing your ideas for the betterment of wizardkind."
"One seat's still unfilled," he said coldly.
"Yes, the Diggory boy's death meant the last of that line. Especially when his family had a house fire right after filing against the Ministry." He turned and walked off. The boys had been quite correct, this would get him out of his hair for a very long time. He walked into the auror's office, seeing all the horrified looks. "The Council also wanted to know if you would like a consultant from America, one who was a Marine and is now a government agent over certain military crimes."
"DiNozzo's boss?" one asked. Dumbledore nodded. "He's not a bad sort. Listens to information."
"I think we can handle it," the head auror stated.
Dumbledore nodded. "That's fine then. They're doing the final vote on the new laws tomorrow. It's much simpler now. Many less stupid ones. Like no dark underwear. I do wonder why that was coded into law by Minister Fudge." He walked off chewing on a lemon drop.
Xander leaned in a minute later, grinning at them. "Want an advance copy? We all agreed on it so we only have the last vote tomorrow. That way you guys can ask us any questions before we break for the day."
"Please," the head auror agreed, coming to get one with him. He saw the much shrunken book. "We cut that many?"
"We cut that many," Tony agreed. "Some were dually stated. Some were seriously stupid." The head auror took one of the 'visitors' seats so he could sit down and read it. He grinned at Xander. "Dinner?"
"I was going to invite Sam and his family over."
"Come eat with us, Xander. Dean's cooking and he said it was fine."
"I'm sure. Tara can come too."
"She's still back helping Buffy blow up a major demon with artillery." Horatio gave him a look like he wasn't sure he was sane. "It works."
"I'm sure it does. Was it necessary?" Xander nodded. "No other method?"
"Not that they could get to immediately. Unless they're in Ancient Greece."
"Will this work?"
"Yeah. That and a spell. It'll work. They're probably on the clean up by now."
"That's good at least. Collateral damage?" Mac asked.
Xander shrugged. "Wasn't there. Buffy instinctively knows how to fire any weapon. We do try to minimize it but the town ignores it. There'll be a story about another gas leak tomorrow probably. Sunnydale's just like that."
Sam nodded. "We've all heard stories about that."
The head auror looked at him. "Yes, it was killed according to the American aurors. It's a bloody mess. Goop all over town. Two civvies went to the ER but both're probably fine. Everyone's saying how bad it was that a chemical explosion went off like that and got the cemetery. Who knew bodies looked that horrible after a few years." He went back to reading.
"Sounds like Sunnydale, yeah," Xander agreed. He grinned at Sam. "Wanna come hunt with us for a while?"
"No thanks. We've got one we're hunting."
"Giles is a former Watcher. If he doesn't know what it is he knows where to look to find it."
Sam smiled. "I might take you up on that offer." The head auror burst out laughing. "Which one?"
"The typo on law 131." Tony looked then shrugged. "American spelling?"
"It can be adjusted for British spelling," Xander offered. "I can if no one else can." He took it to look at. "Yeah. That's a British-ism for ass, guys." They all groaned. "We'll pick another word."
The head auror made that correction and kept going. It was fairly simple. "How many votes are left?"
"Tomorrow's," Horatio assured him. That got a nod and they finished the reading. "Any other problems?"
"Nah. Translate it into Brit spelling for Fudge. He won't be thankful or agreeable if he has to read it in that state."
"I can do that," Xander promised. That got a nod and it was tossed over. "Any other business tonight?" No one said anything. "Horatio?"
"I agree, let's go home for the night, people. Tomorrow will be a busy day." They all left, Xander grinned at Draco and thanking him quietly for his help earlier before following Sam home.
Draco looked at Potter. "He's insane."
Harry nodded. "I think hunting demons for so long did it to him. I'm hoping this war doesn't turn me that way."
"Too late," he said dryly, heading for the floo.
Harry snickered behind him, going back to the school. He'd get him back when he wasn't so tired. Or let Ron do it for him. That could work so he'd get a nap.
Fudge stormed in the next morning. "What was the meaning of that. You did not have to do that in front of the press!" he shouted.
"We tried to do it in private, you brushed him off," Mac told him simply. "You left us no other choice." He looked at the empty chair and the staff sitting in front of it. "How long before it goes to choose another one?" he asked quietly.
"Twenty-four hours," Harry said. "I looked it up." That got a nod. They all looked at the staff then at Horatio. "Does this leave you still in charge?"
"Until we can vote when the new member gets here," he agreed.
"Why are you in charge?"
"He was the chairperson and he put Horatio in charge while he was gone," Sam said simply. "Sit, please. We found your chair in the closet and had it cleaned off for you." He looked at Horatio. Then at Xander. "Get it done?"
"Barely." He handed over the new copy. "My printer's about out of ink so I need to print a better copy but that's a good working copy. I stopped to buy new ink and it's with me in my bag if we need it today. I had Willow charm it to work on ambient magic instead of electricity."
"It looks fine," Mac assured him. "Along with a list of changes?" Xander pulled out his laptop and printer, printing that off after a few seconds of clicking and waiting. "Thank you." He looked them over, checking the copy with Horatio and Danny reading over his shoulder. "The two referendums are in the back. Good job, Xander."
"Thank you, Mac."
"Minister Fudge, we went through for some severely limiting and stupid laws that had no reason to be in the law code," Horatio told him calmly. The man opened his mouth. "There is no reason to code what colors people can wear. Or what pattern. That is against free will. We don't care who looked bad in it." He handed over the amended copy. "As such we also found some that had been stated more than once and ones that were now defunct because the world had moved on. After all, slavery is not exactly the issue it used to be and stating that no wizard or witch shall own slaves freed up ten pages of how to own one and do it legally."
"But.... You can't do this!"
"We can do this," Harry told him. "The same as Lucius did with you." He leaned on the table. "Unfortunately we also found some other laws that led to the direct raising of Voldemort." The man whimpered at that name. "Not saying his name makes him a stronger boggart, Minister Fudge."
"That's a simplified, easy to understand code of laws. We've already agreed. You have more than enough time to look it over. The judges we worked with liked it quite a lot. We did turn two of their suggestions into referendums but they should be binding all the same from what they said when I checked last night," Sam noted.
"You're not an adult, Potter."
Xander tossed over something. "Directly copied from the old law book, Fudge. He fits four of them, that gives him adult status. We did keep that, right?" They all nodded. "That lets Harry vote his own seats."
Fudge spluttered. "How...!"
"I'm still the only heir Sirius had," Harry said dryly. "Since he never had a trial the head of family staff was never removed from his care. The only thing that can legally remove it is the intentional causing of harm to the family. Since he never got a trial that didn't happen and I'm now his only heir. The judge agreed with me when Narcissa Malfoy brought that point up."
Fudge growled. "You won't get away with this. I will not stand...."
"Then don't. Sit," Xander ordered, making him do so. "Hmm." He looked at his staff. "No doing the compel thingy, staff. Not unless I ask." It bobbed in his hand. He looked at Fudge again. "You can not vote or you can vote after you read. The aurors liked it. We liked it. The judges liked it. The goblins will probably like it since it frees them to do their job again."
"You have no authority!" he shouted, standing up again.
"Then take us to court, Fudge," Xander said dryly. "I call for a vote on the new laws since he's refused to read them."
"Seconded," Sam said casually.
"All those against?" Horatio asked.
"Me," Fudge sneered.
"All those for?" Horatio asked.
"Me," the rest said.
"Then I do believe that is carried." He took the book back. "We'll get a formal copy printed up tonight. Do we have a printing office, Harry?" He nodded. "Can you get someone to do that for us?"
"Percy Weasley. He helps Minister Fudge. He should know who to go to."
"That'll work," Xander agreed. "That'll give him a helper he can trust not to do too many bad things. House elf!" he shouted. One appeared. "Percy Weasley needs to be here. Please get him for us?" It nodded and disappeared. He looked at Horatio. "Now, anything else?"
"Just the Dark Lord issue," he said dryly. "Boys, do we have things in place?"
"We can counter the resurrection," Sam promised. "We've seen it done before and we've had to counter it in the past. We made sure through a lot of contacts, including talking to Xander's Mr. Giles. As long as we can trap him we can do that. The application of a curse to bind his soul at the same time would be for the best and keep it from happening again. He'll turn back into a ghoul and we'll have to deal with that issue. I'm researching that now."
Horatio nodded. "I'll want a complete report on how to do that." Sam took Xander's printer to print that out for him. He smiled. "On the ball as well. Thank you."
"Not a problem. We worked it out together last night." He handed it to Harry first, who leaned back to read it. Someone tapped on the door then opened it. The skinny redheaded man looked around then moved to his boss's side. "Are you Percy?"
"I am. What did the Founders Council need of me?"
"To print the new code of laws," Horatio said. "With only one negative vote it was carried. Pending a hearing by any court of law he wants to get, it's the new one." He handed it over. "If the printer has a problem, Xander should have another copy on his computer?" Xander nodded at that.
Percy swallowed, glancing at his boss then at him. "If the Council demands. Should I expect to tell him to hold off due to a legal challenge?"
"We had three judges sitting in to help us," Horatio told him.
"The full Wizengomet will have to sit on this," Fudge sneered, stomping off to call them. Xander waved after him.
Percy smirked at the boy. "You talked to my brother."
"I did. He seemed like a nice boy."
Percy smiled. "My mother will be pleased at that." He looked at the small book. "This is the only volume?"
"It's the only one needed," Tony told him. "Once you took out things like what pattern people could wear it was a lot smaller."
Percy nodded at that wisdom. "I can see why. I'll give it to them but tell them to hold off for today. That way he can call the Wizengomet together." He left, carrying the precious thing to the printing office. "The Founders Council said this is the new law book as of Minister Fudge challenging it." The printer nodded, taking it to put onto his desk. "We expect the challenge in the next few days."
"That's fine. I can hold off until it's done." That got a nod and Percy left. He sat down to read it. It was a lot simpler than the last one he had printed. No typos either, that was very nice of them.
Horatio took the forefront for this argument. "The Founders Council charter does state that we can unmake laws that are unsuitable. We did find many outdated laws and many that were not suitable to be laws. We had three of you down to advise those of us on that sub-committee."
"What experience do you have with the law?" one asked.
"I'm a Lieutenant with the Miami-Dade Crime Lab. I'm an officer of the law. The rest of the committee are as well. One's presently a federal agent and a former officer. The others are like me and officers who find things through science."
She blinked. "That's interesting. The staffs picked you?" Horatio nodded, holding up his.
"Very interesting," Dumbledore agreed. "What was the problem with them choosing before?"
"They were locked on a room with a shield around them," Xander said simply. "A prior minister hated that they were overruling him and causing some dissent because they were apparently picking people who were open to new ideas. So he had them diplomatically stolen. This current Minister for Magic made it so they could not get out and choose a new one when one was needed. That left the Council with less than a majority and Lucius Malfoy in control."
"Is he not in your family?" Dumbledore asked. Xander nodded. "Do you know where he is now?"
"If I did he'd be on his knees begging," Xander said dryly. "I'm well known as a fighter for the light." That got a look from most of the judges and Horatio. "I am."
"You are. Still not the time or place, Xander."
"Point. Sorry. Bit too much like combat."
One of the judges coughed and snickered. "Now and then." He looked at his copy of the laws. "This is much simpler. I do see that two of the ones we asked for came out as referendums?" He read them over, nodding. "Both stated so they could be changed at a later time when and if new information came to light." Xander nodded. "I know you work with those wandless ones."
"I do. I also know that they have people who watch over them. With what you guys know about them, you need to gather more information to make a credible, legal decision that won't impact the future too meanly. We don't want to code fear or genocide into the laws."
"Good point," he agreed. He handed it on. The others read through the simplified code and nodded, mostly. A few scowled. "The real issue here isn't what the laws are but whether or not the Council has the ability to do so," he told the one scowling.
"You don't plan to make it mandatory to marry?"
"Some of us do work," Horatio told him. "I have been married. Twice." That got a groan. "With no legal children from them. While it'd be nice if we did, I cannot force anyone to marry. As long as there's a good choice for our second-in-command we have time to wait on marriages."
"Good point," that one sighed.
"Some of us didn't plan on it happening anytime soon," Stella offered. "I'm very highly respected in my job and having a husband would hurt that. If I find someone I will marry but I'm not going to start hunting for one."
That got a nod from that one. "That is reasonable and in line with the modern world. I noticed that the clothing laws were all gone."
"Fashionable taste will change," Tony pointed out. "No matter what you do the modern world will intrude and the women there do wear fewer clothes. Things are slowly moving that way in your own world. Having restrictive clothing laws only makes it more difficult on those who live in the modern world."
"True." He looked at the others. "Again, though, that is not the question before us. The charter, as it stood, has always said that the Minister for Magic was a member of the board."
"Which we fixed to be so again last night," Horatio assured him. "After someone came in and attacked our chairman."
"I could not find him before that press conference," Dumbledore admitted.
"That's fine, Albus," the chair of that board said. He looked at Fudge. "No matter what you want, it is your job to be part of the Council and the Founders Council does make new laws. Before, when the staffs were locked up and couldn't choose new members, was one thing. Now there is a council and they are taking back their traditional duties. You had a vote."
"He was our only negative vote and he refused to read them," Horatio told her.
"He also tried to have us arrested for supposedly stealing the staffs, even though they got free of the shield he had put around them," Xander offered. "Plus tried to outlaw the council all together."
"Doing so will end the Ministry," she admitted. "I saw the refusal of those laws." She looked at the law books, smiling at the evenness of them. "Those who advised you did good work crafting them." Those three smiled and nodded. "The laws stand. Minister Fudge is part of the Council, not the full council." She banged her gavel. "Any dissent?" No one said anything. "Then please print and announce this." She looked at Horatio. "Being a chairperson is hard work. Are you ready for it?"
"I am. We work well together. We can only hope the next one who joins us works as well with us." He bowed. "Thank you, madam."
"You're welcome. Do have a better evening, gentlemen and lady."
She smiled. "I'm one of the guys most of the time." That got a small laugh from Danny. "Thank you." They walked out together. "How are we doing the announcement, Horatio?"
"Xander, may we borrow Draco?"
"If he wants. Draco!" he yelled. He came walking up the hallway. "Would you like to make the announcement?"
"If you want. That's fairly daring."
"I can," Fudge sneered.
Xander looked at him. "I was going to let you save face and not have to do it."
"If he wants to, let him. He's used to the politics," Draco said with a smug look. "Or we could appoint someone to announce things for us."
"Do we know of someone who can?"
"Let Potter. He likes his fame," Draco sneered. Xander glared. "Or at least he seems to," he corrected. He wasn't sure he wanted to be on this one's bad side yet. He was still trying to figure the guy out.
"Not really. I wish they'd leave me alone," Harry told him. "You too by the way." He walked past him. "Who's the head lawyer for the Ministry?"
"I said I will," Fudge announced, huffing off with the book. A formally bound copy was gotten easily enough and he went to make the announcement. He walked into his press room and up to the podium. "The Founders Council today has finished weeding out laws that have no bearing on today's wizarding world," he announced. Everyone stared at him so he waved the book. "The new book of laws is shorter, more simplified, and easier to get to. New copies will be printed over the next few days. We'd like to thank them for finding so many frivolous rules." He would not mention most of them had been his. He would sulk and plan how to get them back later. "Their hard work will be appreciated by many judges I'm sure."
"Is that an advanced copy?"
Tony strolled in with a box. "The printer was checking the first batch. These should be the official copy but the council will be checking one tonight to make sure." That got a nod. "So this is it as far as we know."
They got books to look over, nodding at some of the easier laws. "Who worked on the new laws?"
"Three judges from the Wizengomet and five members of the Council," Tony said.
"You are?" one asked.
"Tony DiNozzo, head of the Family Mercator."
They scribbled and stared at him. "Any other announcements from the council?"
"Right now, we're going to break for a few days once the first printing is checked, that way those of us with a real life can go get it settled. We'll be moving back to less frequent meetings so we can deal with our lives and do what the books command, finding help for the families. Some of us are moving more locally. Some of us will travel back and forth. We'll figure it out as we go along." That got a nod.
"Who is the present chairperson?" one reporter called.
"Horatio Caine. He's the redhead in sunglasses." That got some more notes taken. "I do know that the head of the Malfoy family is going to be moving closer as soon as he can get things settled at home. Horatio has to go back to Miami for a bit so Xander will be helping him for now until more of us can move closer again." That got a nod. "As for the rest, ask Minister Fudge." He smiled. "I'm off to dinner and some light reading." He took a copy and walked off to compare it. It was correct so they signed off on it and let it be known it was official. Then they went back to their own homes to deal with their real lives.
to part 4