Dean got the owl letter a week later, looking at it. "Sammy!" he yelled. Sam came jogging down the stairs. "Harry needs picked up."
"Let me grab my shoes." He went to do that, finding his wand and staff at the same time. They walked out together, heading to the Impala. "Any idea where we're going?"
"Little Whinging, in Surrey."
"Hmm." Sam pulled out his phone and called someone. "Xander, how do I get to Harry's house?" He took down notes. "From where?" He nodded. "I can do that." He hung up. "Let's pick up Xander."
"That's a good six-hour drive." Sam looked at him and suddenly them, the car, and all that were in front of Xander's place. Dean got out to check the weapons, nodding before shutting the trunk. "Guess not."
"It's a two-hour trip from here," Sam told him. Xander came bouncing down the stairs and got into the back. "What did the letter say?"
"Just asking for us to come get him. He couldn't stand it."
"His aunt and uncle are like my parents," Xander admitted. "All buckled up." He handed over the directions. "Off mapquest."
Dean grinned, driving them off. At least he was on the correct side of the road this time. He had been practicing at the other house. "Which one is he staying with?"
"I've got a spare room," Xander offered.
"So do we and the aunts seemed to like him," Sam said. "Guess that depends on why he needs saved."
"His relatives are like mine. Of course he needs saved," Xander said.
"Need yours put away?" Dean asked.
"Giles said he had it done." He grinned. "Willow got to happy dance and everything."
"Cool," Sam agreed with a grin back for him. "What else has been going on?"
"I helped Tonks by dropping a tracking charm after I went to look at him. He's got a partial self transformation into a snake. At least his face. Worse than Cobra Commander ever did."
Dean snickered at that. "Good to know."
"He rules by fear so Willow's looking at how to remove the mark that he uses to bring them to him. Also, Harry's connected to him somehow mentally. She's looking at blocking that too."
"That occulmencary stuff would be about that," Sam said.
"Okay. I'll write her an email later once I find something on that." Dean turned onto the highway. "I'm thankful he doesn't live somewhere farther away."
"Definitely," Sam agreed. "Did we change to British plates, Dean?"
"Good. I don't want the car confiscated."
"That would be bad," Xander agreed. "Speaking of, your dad said he's raiding my stuff out there for weapons."
"When did he say that?" Sam asked, turning to look at him.
"Last night when I called over about that vision to see if they had anything. He was getting ready to leave and said he was raiding it for some new stuff."
"No. I don't really want Buffy using a gun when she has PMS."
Dean laughed. "That might be dangerous."
"To each and every male she runs into," Xander agreed, cracking them up. He shifted. "Ohh! Fudge went to ask Giles if I always consorted and slept with demons." Sam cackled at that. "Giles told him about my past dating history and said he hoped this one was nicer."
Dean cackled too. "That's so bad."
"Fudge apparently ran from the Magic Box and back to his office. Giles was not comforting at all."
"It could be worse. You could be dating," Sam quipped with a grin.
"Yeah. I need to find someone to wake up next to. It's not good to wake up without snuggles."
"You'll find someone and we'll make sure she's not possessed or demonic," Dean promised.
"Thanks, guys. You're really neat." They got off the highway and they watched the very mundane buildings go past. They finally made it to Harry's relative's house and parked in the driveway. Xander nodded at the nosy neighbor. "Coming to see a friend." He grinned and she waved then disappeared. He looked at them. "Who wants point?"
"I got it," Dean said, walking up to the door, the other two behind him. A skinny woman with way too much neck answered. "Ma'am, we need to see Harry on some business stuff."
"Business stuff?" she sneered.
"Yes, we sit on the same council," Sam said smoothly, smiling at her. "We need to talk to him about the next vote."
"He doesn't do any such thing."
Xander shifted forward with a small sigh. "You know, if you actually looked at the boy, you'd be damn surprised, but I don't think you're capable of taking that good of a look. So let us in and we won't destroy the house." She gasped and stepped back. They walked in, finding Harry locked to a stove. "You yelped?" He undid him then gave him a hug. "Go pack." He nodded, going to do that with Sam's help. Dean followed. Xander looked at her, frowning some. "You do know that we can turn you in for child abuse?"
She sneered. "We've taken care of that boy."
Xander snorted. "Yeah, and I so believe that. You know what, if you did, then your own son should be treated the same way." She stepped back, going pale. "I think that would be fitting."
"No, Xander," Harry said. "Please don't."
"I am. It's not worth it," Harry said, getting in his face. "Please?"
Xander looked at him then nodded. "If you're sure."
"I don't care enough to care."
"Fine. Finish packing." He went to do that. Xander looked at her. "You're damn lucky. Remember, those of us who've been there do tend to show up at the worst moments to giggle when their abusers fall." He went to help Harry. "Hey, Hedwig." She hooted from her locked cage. He got that lock undone too. "There we go. Anything else?"
Sam looked at the broken trunk. "I think we could use a bag or two."
Xander pulled his staff. "Please fix the trunk so we can get Harry out of here? And find his staffs and wand?" Both staffs flew in and one of them fixed the trunk. The wand was in pieces but Dean caught it. "We'll see if someone can fix that." They finished packing the boy up. "Need anything else?"
"I'm good," Harry said, taking the owl. He turned and found his uncle there with two officers. "I'm leaving."
The officer on the left coughed. "Boys, what are you doing?" he asked politely.
"Rescuing the boy from the abusive assholes," Xander said honestly. "Because what they do is wrong." He walked Harry out, taking him down to the car. Dean and Sam got the trunk. Everything went into the trunk but Hedgwig and Harry then he turned to look at them again. "Officers, it is wrong to handcuff someone to a stove, right?" They nodded. "He was when we got there." Dean handed over the note. "They have another child in the home as well but I've heard he's the prince of the family. CPS or someone might want to take a look."
Harry got out. "Xander, please?" he asked.
"Is he being harmed?" the officer asked him.
Harry snorted. "He's never denied anything and he's a great bully who ways about three times you. If you count letting him get that fat, making him into a bully by letting him learn on me, and never teaching him that he can't throw fits at our age, then yes."
The officer handed back the note. "Are you coming back?"
"Not if I can help it," Harry said. "I didn't want to come back this year but my headmaster said I had to."
"He goes to a reform school!" Harry's uncle yelled.
"I do not. I go to a very nice boarding school. The closest I get to reform is detention for being out of my house after hours for a snack."
The officer just nodded. "That's fine then, boys. You didn't threaten the family?" He nodded at the staff in Xander's hand.
"It's like my worry stone. I didn't threaten anyone. I did promise that boys like me show up when they least want them to."
The officer nodded. "Someone get your parents?"
"Some friends," he said with a smile.
"Decent of them. Take him and go, boys. You're how old?" he asked Harry.
"Sixteen in a few weeks."
"Then I can't really say much. Make sure he's well taken care of, he makes it back to school, all that stuff."
"Of course," Xander assured him. "I'm not going to let him starve or anything. I have a very nice guest room in my place."
The officer nodded. "Thank you, sir." They watched them get into the car and leave. He looked at the aunt and uncle. "You'd best be thankful they didn't threaten you. Boys like that will do that to save another one."
"Hooligans," she sneered.
"No, not with the clothes that one boy was wearing. He was wearing designer clothes and they were well taken care of. He clearly didn't steal them." He walked off to make his report, his partner with him. He heard the door slam and smiled.
"Are we turning them in?"
"Yup. Their son too." He saw the extremely fat boy down the block barely on his bike and stared back. "I'm guessing that's the son."
"I'd say the boy was right. He's three you. Or me."
"That's probably unhealthy for him." They went to make the report to their boss and the other officials who would have to know.
Molly Weasley rolled out of the floo with her wand out. "Give me Harry Potter," she demanded.
Xander quit drinking his coffee to look at her. "Woman, put it down before I send you home the hard way," he snorted. She sneered. He got up. "I'm protecting Harry. Who the hell are you?"
"Xander, that's Ron's mum!" Harry called from the bathroom, coming out to look at her. "I'm fine, Mrs. Weasley. They rescued me. Please quit pointing a wand at my fellow council member?"
She huffed. "I only want to protect you, dear."
"I know but they're doing it very well too." He grinned. "All right?"
"Fine." She glared at Xander. "You'd hit a woman?"
"If she's attacking me. That makes her a legal target."
She shuddered. "Fine. He's coming with me."
"No, we're working on something to help hide him better. He can come see you and your son in a few days," Xander told her. "It'll take about two days to finish the spellwork to hide him so no one can track him."
She gaped. "You can't do that!"
"I can't but my friends can and they're working on it now."
"How would the headmaster find him!"
"Why can't he ask?" Xander asked.
She gaped at him. "Well, I don't know," she admitted. "He checks on him all the time though."
"Really? Then why didn't he see Harry being chained to the stove? Literally."
"I don't know," she admitted, starting to frown. "Maybe he only has a check on his physical health."
"Then he'd note that he hadn't eaten in two days?" Xander suggested.
She blinked. "He hadn't? Harry!"
"Not his fault," Sam told her as he came out. "Okay, Tara's ready for you again, Harry." He went back in there. "She said he'll flash really brightly for a second then be muted."
"That's fine. Half the Death Eaters know where I live anyway," Xander said dryly. "Having that demon pop them here showed them."
"Good point," Dean said from the kitchen. "Harry, want some coffee?"
"No thanks. I'm told it'll stunt whatever growth I have left."
"Dude, we grew up on it. Didn't hurt us," Sam told him.
"Think it'll make me shoot up that way?" Harry asked.
"Not with what your body's been through," Xander said. "I'm surprised I'm as tall as I am." He went to make him more food, making him eat it while Tara worked. She smiled and closed them all out of the bathroom. He shrugged and went back to his own meal. "Want a sandwich, Mrs. Weasley? Are you related to Arthur? Harry introduced us."
"He's my husband. And no, dear, I'm not hungry. How long?"
"I was going to let Harry study some stuff that I've got here," Xander said. "Sam said he could work on Harry's hand-to-hand defense work too. If it's a problem, Harry's more than welcome to stay with me. Most of the rest of the council said the same thing."
"I think it'd be safer if he stayed with us. He's used to sharing a room with my son Ron."
He shrugged. "He can come stay with us if he wants. After all, by the law he is technically an adult even if he isn't old enough." She gasped. He stared her down. She nodded her acknowledgment of that fact and that Harry could make his own choices. "We all want to protect and help Harry. Sam, Dean, and I have all been in battles and we're sharing our experiences. Plus I think a real vacation could help the kid. He's uptight and tense. Horatio has a nephew about his age and I can ask if Harry wanted to go see him for a few weeks as well. Miami's a pretty city and I'm sure Harry would love to have a real vacation on a beach."
She considered it. "We might need him closer."
"The staff can get him. We have a meeting in three weeks."
"True." She nodded. "That's fine, I can accept that. It'll be safer for him anyway."
Xander nodded. "I'll call him now." He called over there. "Hey, Lucia, is Horatio there?" He smiled. "Sure, have him call me back. Tell him I was asking for Harry so he could take a real vacation. Thank you." He hung up. "His house elf took the message. He's in a meeting."
"He took a house elf back to do his paperwork?" Sam asked with a grin. "Really?"
"Really. Him and Mac. Mac took Floppy."
Sam giggled. "I'm sure their police departments must love that."
"They're good house elves. Mac said he had to remind Floppy to write in American English a number of times. His higher ups didn't like the forms being filled out in Arabic, French, or anything else. Horatio found another wizard on his staff and one who knows thanks to a cousin. Mac found another wizard in his people too."
"Wonderful," Dean agreed. "I still can't see a house elf in a PD. uniform." He shook his head quickly. "By the way, remind me to beat your ass for sending me two house elves to follow me around like a parade."
"They stopped three people trying to kill you," Sam said. "Or else I would've stepped in."
Dean gave him a dirty look. "I could've."
"Long distance weapon, Dean."
"They can tell demons too," Xander said. "One noticed my necklace. Another one recognized hellmouth taint on me."
Dean shook his head quickly. "That might be helpful but we can't travel with one."
"How are you liking British ghosts instead of American ones?" Xander asked, eating a bite of food.
"They're generally more polite before they kick you around but otherwise they're about the same," Sam said with a grin. "Any good demons you've seen?"
"Only the few that've come after me. I told you what I saw when I helped Tonks, right?" Sam nodded. "Tape's in the bedroom." He went to get it. He grinned at Molly. Harry yelped then came out glowing brightly. They watched as it slowly faded and he looked like every other boy in the world. "Can you still use your wand?" Xander asked. Harry did a simple candle lighting spell and it worked. He blew it out. "Good. Mrs. Weasley, can you do the tracking charms?" She tried one and frowned, shaking her head. "Even better. Tara, is he done?"
"With me." She leaned out. "You're right, they can learn."
He grinned. "Is it hellmouth taint that removes certain curses?" She nodded. "We might have to take that into account then." His phone rang. "Hello." He grinned. "Hey, Horatio. No, a real vacation. You shouldn't have to do more than make sure he eats. Sure, we can do that. Can you check on him? Thanks, Horatio." He hung up. "We can send you to Miami for a few weeks. That way you can relax and do nothing, even worry, for a few weeks. He said to set you up in a hotel room and he and Lucia would look in on you."
"I can take a real vacation?"
"To a real beach with a real ocean," Dean agreed. "Miami's a very pretty city, Harry. Lots and lots of pretty women to stare at too."
Harry blushed. "I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught her."
"Maybe you'll figure that out." Sam hit him on the arm. "He might!"
"He needs a real vacation, not a sex vacation," Sam complained. "Come on, Harry. Let's find out how to get you to Miami and set you up a hotel room."
"There's a decent wizard's travel agency up in Diagon," Molly said.
"Then we'll go there," Sam agreed with a smile. "C'mon. You need some new clothes anyway." They headed out together. Tara trailed behind them, talking quietly with Sam about spell research.
Molly led them into the travel agency. "Here we are. This is my adopted son. He's getting to visit some friends in Miami."
"In Florida," Xander added. "In the US."
"We can do the portkey and any other reservations he may need," the travel agent assured him.
"We have a friend but he said it'd be easier if he got a hotel room," Xander said. "Our friend works a lot of long hours."
"Of course. Is he of legal age?"
Harry grinned. "Technically I qualify as an adult even though I'm nearly sixteen."
"Even better. We can handle that easily enough. Just lie and say you're eighteen, Mr. Potter." He went to make arrangements, letting Harry pay for it. "Now, it'll leave tonight so he'll need clothes." Xander nodded, and everyone took Harry shopping next. They came back and watched Harry leave a bit later, waving at him.
Harry landed in a park, smiling at the different smells in the air. "This is much different from London."
"Very," Horatio said, looking over from his reading. "A bit later than I thought."
"They made me shop for two hours. Dean said Sam shops like a girl. Then Mrs. Weasley tutted at me about the shorts being so short and the shirts being too tight."
Horatio laughed. "It happens." He stood up. "Did they make you hotel reservations?" Harry handed over the sheet the agent had given him. "That's a good hotel near a beach." He looked at the boy. "I will be watching you for bad behavior. No drinking, no drugs, no prostitutes, Harry."
"Why would I want to?"
"Most college students who come down on spring break hit at least one of those vices."
Harry shrugged. "I wouldn't know what to do with a girl if I found one."
"Fine. We'll talk about that." He walked him off, taking him to the hotel. "This is Mr. Potter. He's here for a vacation."
The check-in guy looked at him. "Is he of age?" Harry handed over his paperwork. "Oh, I see you're barely eighteen. That's fine, sir." He checked him in. "I see you're prepaid and it's all taken care of, plus there's a hundred dollars on the tab for pay per view movies," he said with a smile. Harry grinned back. "Relax. If you're that tense, you really do need the vacation." He handed him the key. "That's your room key. There's a list beside the phone to call down if you need anything, Mr. Potter. Please enjoy your stay with us."
"Thank you, I hope I will." He let Horatio walk him up there, looking around his room. He had a view of the ocean. "That's beautiful."
"Very," Horatio agreed, sitting in one of the chairs. He wrote out a list. "This is the local Gringotts, as I've been told and shown recently. This is the local Ministry office if you have problems. This is where I am and my cellphone number." He handed over something. "That has two hundred minutes on it in case you have to call someone at home. It won't charge you more for long distance." Harry nodded. "Do you need to know how to work anything in here?"
Harry looked around. "I think I can figure it out. My relatives are muggle, even though I don't get to watch tv." Horatio gave him a long look. "Dean, Sam, and Xander came for me earlier."
"Ah. Good." He stood up and gave him a short hug. "Call me soon and we'll have dinner. I know the first few days you'll want to explore and look at the women on the beach." He smiled. "Be safe and call if you need me."
"Yes, Horatio. Thank you."
"You're welcome. Next summer you can see Mac. New York has a lot of the world living there." He left him alone, going back to work.
Harry unpacked and checked to see how long he had. He had eleven days to explore Miami. He decided to change into some shorts and a t-shirt, like Dean had made him buy, and head down to the beach. The sneakers were a bit less than comfortable but they'd get better as he wore them he supposed. He took his room key and headed out.
"Sir, if you want, we can hold your room key for you," the check-in boy said. "That way you can't lose it."
Harry smiled, letting him hold it for him. "Thank you. How do I get to the beach?"
"Go left outside the door then three blocks. I would suggest some sunscreen however. You're a bit pale, sir."
"Harry, please." He looked around. "Sunscreen?"
"The pharmacy on the way would have a good selection." Harry nodded, heading out to look. Xander had some of his money changed over to muggle money for him. It had been a good exchange rate day. Sunscreen was expensive but not too bad. He got a small bottle and paid for it then put it on as he walked up to the beach. The view was beautiful and inspiring. The women.... well he nearly lost his mind and went to dress some of them but that was even more inspiring. He wished he had a camera. Wait until Ron saw this!
Professor Dumbledore walked up to the nibbling three men. "Boys," he said.
Xander looked at him. "He's with Horatio in Miami taking a *real* vacation. Horatio said he headed right for the beach and nearly tried to dress someone in a bikini but he's staring in awe now."
Dumbledore shook his head. "I'm assuming you're talking about Harry?" Xander nodded. "There were protections on the house...."
"Which don't mean a damn thing if they're going to kill him anyway," Dean interrupted. "Since they had beaten the boy earlier for not waking up at dawn to make their lard asses breakfast, oh well. We had him protected even better than you can."
"Molly told me that. How does that charm work?"
"Ask Tara. She found it," Xander quipped. "She explained it and Harry said it'd be a good idea. We had Mrs. Weasley check when she came in demanding to have him back." He gave him a look.
"They may not have been decent but they are his relatives."
"So were mine. They're presently under investigation too." Dumbledore stepped away from him. "I know you wouldn't normally put up with that but just because he's useful doesn't mean he's a tool, Dumbledore. Really. The boy still has to grow up. Part of that is learning how to be a boy and have some fun." He paid then walked off.
"We all agreed it would be better if Harry had a real vacation so he knew what fun was," Sam said quietly. "We also bought him clothes that fit him. For once." Dumbledore nodded at that, looking embarrassed. "Let's quit using him and let him grow up."
"Horatio's watching over him."
"Horatio is not a strong wizard."
"He has a wizard in his people and Horatio is every bit as protective as Xander is," Dean assured him. "He also has a nephew about Harry's age. He's having fun, for once. The muting charm will protect him. He'll be fine. We'll be calling to check on him."
"Good. Let him know I'd like to know how his vacation went when he gets back." He left them alone.
"Go find Xander?" Sam suggested.
Dean nodded, going to find Xander wherever he had huffed off to. He found him watching kids on a playground and sat next to him. "Sunnydale was so screwed up that no one saw. We see here. Sam and I have both turned in bad parents to the system." Xander looked at him. "Need to talk? Sammy's good at that stuff."
"I'm fine. Thanks, Dean."
"Welcome. Now, let's finish lunch. I'm starved." Xander smiled, heading back with him. He nudged him. "You don't have to go back."
"I know. Except for whatever funky prophecy I've had recently." That got a nod. "But I'll be fine."
"Good. You'll be fine and we'll all be fine." He led him back into the Leaky, finding Sam talking with some woman who should *not* be wearing that outfit. He nearly shuddered. And it was robes too!
"Excuse us, Miss Reporter, but can we finish our dinner without you pumping us for information too?" Xander asked as he moved around her.
"Are you making alliances?"
"Talking about vacations," Dean covered.
"What did the headmaster want? We saw you with Harry Potter earlier."
"He's taking a vacation," Xander said. "Somewhere no one knows him. It's good for everyone." He stared her down and she backed off. "Anything else? You can pounce Harry at the next meeting." She nodded, walking off. "You'll never find him. Don't try. Give the kid a chance to have some fun," he called after her. He dug into his dinner. "I really should do something about some things."
"Like?" Dean asked.
"Lucius bought the Daily Prophet a few years back." He ate a bite, shaking his head. "I believe in free press. I know I do."
"You do," Sam agreed. He grinned. "What else do you own?"
"A lot of shit. They finally got the full list of holdings to me yesterday. I can buy Draco a really good wife who I like and who'll make him too stupid from all the sex to do more than get good grades in school because it'd please her and he'd get more sex."
Dean snickered. "You sure about that?"
"Yup." He looked over as Draco stormed in. "Morning. In a snit?"
"Very." He stared at him. "Father owns a broom store?"
"Yeah. He did. He also owned the Daily Prophet."
Draco gave him an odd look. "You're joking."
"Well, damn it!" he decided, stomping off again.
"I've got the full list at home if you wanted to see it," Xander called after him.
"Thank you, Head of Family." He left, going to bother his mother. "Did you know that we own the Daily Prophet?"
"Your father got annoyed with them when they were a smaller paper and bought them out to fire a reporter who said he looked bad," she said dryly.
"Where are the profits going?"
"Into the regular vault I suppose. We can ask." A paper landed beside her so she looked at it. "Into the regular vault. I didn't know we owned a broom shop."
"Apparently that's how he bought the team's brooms." He took it to look over. He glared at the note at the bottom. "He cannot buy me a wife."
"Some women can be bought, son." She gave him a look. "It may not be a happy marriage but it would be one."
He handed it over. Then he went to sulk outside.
She read it over, nodding at what it contained. "I didn't know he owned the shop she was in. We might be able to use that to get clothes instead of rent. I need something new." She put it aside and went back to her needlepoint.
Horatio looked at his wizard on staff. "We have a visitor in town that no one needs to know is here but I need to be able to find him just in case."
Ryan Wolfe looked at him. "Which Council member?"
"Ooh." He grinned. "Is he a nice boy? The papers say a lot of crap about him, H."
"He seems very nice. He headed straight for a beach earlier."
"Hmm." He cast the usual tracking charm. Nothing. "Interesting."
"He was with Xander before this so there's the possibility that they did something with the pagan stuff."
"Probably," he agreed. He tried it again, using a more powerful one he had gotten off an auror. Still nothing. "Let me see your staff for a minute?" Horatio let him see it and lay a finger on it to test it. He picked up a pebble then cast a complicated charm, letting the pebble sit on the staff for a minute, then altered the charm a bit to find any other staff. He smiled when it pointed. "He's by Hacienda?"
Ryan held up the pebble. "This will find any staff in the city. But yours." Horatio nodded at that. "So unless someone else pops in that's where Harry is. Whoever hid him did it very well. Even the spell the aurors use didn't work."
"I'll keep that in mind. Thank you, Mr. Wolfe."
"Welcome, Horatio." He watched him leave, grinning some. Harry needed a vacation and he was going to go nuts at the bikinis. He did at that age.
Harry looked up as Horatio sat next to him. "I'm in awe," he said, nearly whispering. "They're like some mystical creature."
"Many men think women are like that, Harry," he said with a smile. "You have a sunburn."
"I don't care," he said, grinning madly at him. "Xander has some really good ideas."
Horatio nodded. "He can." He stood up and pulled Harry with him. "You can't live on the sight of bikinis, Harry. Let's get you cleaned up and we'll have dinner." He nodded, walking back to the hummer with him. He smiled when the boy patted it. "Know someone else who has one?"
"They're almost myths where I'm from." He climbed in and checked himself in the mirror on the sun visor flap. "I really am burned."
"You need to reapply sunscreen every few hours. Tomorrow I suggest you find indoor things to stare at."
"Do you have museums?"
"Many of them." He took him back to his hotel, watching Harry get his key with a smile. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, sir." He watched him walk the boy up to his room, shaking his head. "He'll learn about sunscreen soon."
Horatio got Harry into the shower and picked out clothes, then looked at the money he had dropped on the table. "Someone underestimated how much he'd use." He decided to take him to the bank on his way to dinner. Harry came out in his clean clothes. "Let's stop at the bank so you have enough for a tour tomorrow as well."
"Xander said he wasn't sure how much I'd need but he said that should do me at least two weeks as long as I didn't get too souvenir happy."
Horatio smiled. "That's half the fun of a vacation, Harry." He watched him gather everything and headed out with him again. "I have something at home for the sunburn." He smiled at the bouncing young man. "My sister-in-law and nephew will be eating with us tonight."
"Sure. Is her spouse coming?"
"He's unfortunately passed on." Harry gave him a hug. "Thank you, Harry."
"It's hard when you lose relatives. I know I wish I hadn't lost mine." That got a nod and they walked out together. Horatio drove them to the bank and he walked inside. "Hi. I'm on vacation from England. I need to get into my vault and have some money changed over please?"
The goblin looked at him. "We can do an automatic withdrawal for you, sir, then change it over. There is a twenty Pound fee."
"How much is that in galleons?"
"Six and a half at today's rate."
"Is the rate going to get better?" Harry asked.
He laughed. "We'll see. You need it in Pounds?"
"No, I need it in American money."
He nodded, taking his key to look at. "You're the Black heir?" Harry put his staff on the counter, getting a gasp. "Sir, you have a vault over here."
"You have a cousin who lived over here." He called someone over.
"I have a friend waiting on me in the car. Can I get him?" The goblin nodded so he ran outside. "I'm finding new relatives. I have a vault here?" he asked Horatio.
"I have no idea." He followed him inside, nodding at the goblin he had met recently over his family's situation. He had moved one of the vaults over here. "There is one?"
"There is one. It's not terribly large but there is one and the former owner is dead. No heirs given," the goblin admitted, walking them back to his office. He pulled up the account so they could see it.
Harry blinked. "That's larger than the one my parents left for me."
"Mr. Potter, I used to work in the London branch. You do know you have *three* vaults from your parents? One that's full of furniture and things?"
Harry slowly shook his head. "No, I hadn't."
"Yes, you do."
"I'll talk with them when I get back."
"That would be acceptable to us." He let him sign the forms. "No other heirs have claimed these. They were to go to his favorite nephew, but he died and so did the rest of the family."
"Bellatrix was recently kissed and Andromeda is married to a muggle," Harry corrected. "I'm Sirius' heir."
"We weren't told." He looked it up. "He said that his heir could not marry a muggle so that leaves her out. That does leave you the only heir of that part of the family." He let him have the keys. "Now, you were here to get some changed to American money?" Harry nodded with a small smile. "We can do that. We'll move the rest to your regular vault."
"Please." He shook his hand. "Can we go down?"
"How much did you need?" the goblin asked. "It'll be faster if you don't have to physically carry it. We're near closing."
"He's on vacation for the next twelve days," Horatio said.
"Then I think half should be good." He went to do that and came back with an envelope. "There you go. Muggle money, American version, and it should be enough to let you buy whatever you need." Harry smiled and nodded. "One last form. We'll transfer it back once you're at home." He let him sign it and they shook his hand before leaving.
"I'm very surprised," Harry said once they were in the hummer. He looked. "Those are bigger bills."
Horatio looked. "Have the hotel put that in the safe," he ordered. "That way you can't lose it." Harry nodded. "For now, put it in the glove box, Harry." He did that and they went to his house. He smiled at his nephew running out to greet them. "Hold on." He got out, helping Harry out. "Ray, this is Harry. I work with him on that new council I sit on."
"Hi, Harry Potter," Harry said, shaking his hand.
"Ray Junior, Horatio's nephew. C'mon. Lucia cooks *really* good. Even Mom said that. She's still freaked out by her but she said she cooks really good." He led him inside, chatting about various things to see if they could talk about anything.
"I sat all day on the beach," Harry said with a grin.
Ray laughed. "It looks like it." He got him the aloe gel from the fridge. "Put it wherever it hurts, Harry." He went to the bathroom to do that. "He goes to a boarding school?"
"It's the only option," Horatio told him.
"The school's by a very small town in Scotland."
"Wow." He brought Harry onto the porch once he was done, going back to talking about things with him. The boy at least knew what most sports were, even if he didn't play. They could talk about soccer.
Harry smiled at Yelina. "His first vacation."
"He's very young."
"He's an orphan. His aunt and uncle had been raising him until some mutual acquaintances rescued him this morning."
"Rescued?" He nodded. "Ah." She went to introduce herself to the boy. He'd relax soon. She went to check on dinner but Lucia ran her out. "Horatio."
"Cooking is her job," he reminded her patiently, giving her a look. They watched the boys laugh over something. They could get along for now.
Professor Snape walked up to Xander where he was in the park. "Where is Potter?"
"With Horatio. I talked to him last night. He got a bad sunburn his first day on the beach but spent it staring at the women like they were a mystical creature." He grinned at him, making room on the bench. "Horatio had him over to dinner and introduced him to his nephew. They spent today going around some shops Ray Junior likes and then a museum. They're going to go back to the beach tomorrow to stare at the pretty women some more and Ray will teach him how to body surf."
"Riding the waves back into the shore on your stomach instead of using a board to help you. It's a lot of fun."
"You're from near a beach?"
Xander nodded, smiling some. "There's one just up the road from Sunnydale. I spent a lot of time loafing off there and body surfing. He said Ray made him get a camera so he can come back with pictures for everyone. He said the view was inspiring."
"Good for him. He's been safe otherwise?"
"Horatio told me that the American Aurors spotted him and nearly went spastic until someone stepped in and told them he's on vacation, no one can find him magically, and he's under Horatio's watch."
"How does that charm work?"
"Ask Tara, it's her stuff." He went back to his book. "Did you ever get the updated plans done?"
"They'll be presented at the same time as the rest of the headmaster's ideas."
Xander looked at him. "How do you feel about home ec. classes being taught to everyone?"
"Cooking, cleaning, sewing, how to do those things."
"Sounds like a class many witches should take and might actually pass," he said with a slight sneer.
"Boys too, Professor. After all, we do live on our own too. Not everyone has a mother they can go running to for meals."
"That might raise some Gryffindor's averages beyond what they presently are. Some Hufflepuff's too," he decided. "When would it be taught?"
"We thought sometime when you had a free period. Not you specifically but a student," he corrected at the horrified look.
"Do it their last year. They usually have at least one free period and it might be an easy class, less stress on them. That would let the students finish with a good average I suppose." He adjusted his robe. "Has your friend made any progress on her research?"
"She says she has but I've been chewed out for letting her into Diagon so I can't call her here." He gave him a look. "Want to come to dinner with us tonight?"
"If I must."
Xander grinned. "I'm not a bad cook, Professor. I passed home ec. very well. It was the only one that year but I did pass it very highly."
Severus shook his head. "If you say so. What time?"
He checked his watch. "I should probably do a bit of shopping. Say two hours or so?" That got a nod. "I'll see you then. You can floo or just walk up somehow." He grinned, heading off to buy food. He knew what Willow wouldn't eat and the Professor was probably not going to love California cuisine but oh well. Trying new things was good for you. It wasn't like he was going to try to make exotic things like sushi. He found what he wanted, even though it was really expensive over here. Still, it was food to them. He took them home, getting to work on the dinner. Snape appeared nearly exactly two hours later. "Willow, he's here," he called. He went back to fixing dinner. "How do you feel about avocados?"
"I've never had one," he admitted. He looked in the bowl. "That does not look that appetizing."
"It's a sauce, Professor. Willow!"
She appeared pouting. "I was having snuggly time." She looked at the Professor, smiling. "I think I have a way to loosen it at the very least. I think it will be a two-step process." She went back to get her things then bring them back. "What I found is this. Does this look like the process he's using to make the marks?"
He shrugged. "He keeps it secret. All I know of it is that he uses his wand and burns it on there."
"Then it's probably this one," she said, letting him see that information. "If so, we can cut the binding down to nearly nothing and then leach out the contamination, which means we could cut the rest fully," she finished happily. "Xander, what are you cooking?"
"What sort of salad?"
"The sort you like. Quit fussing at me."
"Fine." She went back to finding what she was doing, outlining the spells she'd have to use, why and how, and what it would probably feel like.
Xander finished up and put things on the table. "Food." He got ice water and brought the pitcher out. "Filtered water, Professor. Filtered the ice too. The water here is gross."
"Muggles do put a lot of chemicals into their water," he agreed, helping Willow into her seat. He was a gentleman sometimes. Xander sat down and he looked at the food. "What is that?"
"That is taco salad. It's a bit messy but it's very good," she told him, dishing it up. "It's beef, seasonings, some vegetables, and you can put things on top. Do you prefer sour cream, avocados, or salsa?"
He gave her an odd look. "We don't have food like this."
"Oh. Well, try it with some of each," she offered, making her own by crumbling the chips. "You can also eat this as a snack by using chips to dip it out." She looked at the bowl of brown sludge. "Refried beans?" Xander nodded so she took some of those too. Then she dug in.
Snape carefully ate a bite once the others had. It was a different taste. The meat itself wasn't too spicy but the toppings could be. It was also creamy in some areas and crunchy in others. Most odd. He did eat while he read, looking over what information they had. "Do you believe someone of our sort of power could do this?"
"I believe he's been using my sort of gifts," Willow corrected. "I don't know if you guys could do that. You might have to make a whole new charm. I haven't studied your arts and Xander's still going through the first level books. I'm assuming that'd be advanced magic."
"Most likely. Can I bring this back with me to talk to our Charms instructor?"
"Sure. It's always better to get a second opinion." She smiled then at Xander. "We finally figured out the funky vision you had." Xander gave her a stare. "There's a prophecy saying the First Evil might come but it'd take someone being resurrected wrong to do it." Xander got her something and let her see it. "Yeah, that'd do it," she sighed. "We'll have to kill him to cancel out the prophecy."
"That's how they raised Voldemort from the semi-spirit state."
She moaned. "Your bad guy over here?" Xander nodded. "What was he before?"
"Some sort of ghoul that was living on the back of someone's head and feeding off snakes and unicorns."
She gave him then the professor a look. "How was he raised?"
"His loyal followers wanted him back," he said simply.
"Well, poop." She read that over, going over the rite. "Are the neater notes Sam's?" Xander nodded, eating another bite. "He can do that I guess."
"He said they've had to do it before. The problem is getting close enough," Xander told her. "He has almost no imagination for how people would do that. He blocked out the usual travel methods but not sneaking in. I snuck in with an invisibility cloak and got into his face."
She smirked. "You are the best at annoyance, aren't you?"
"Well, yeah," he said with a grin. "Got tape of him too." She went to watch it.
"Eww," floated out a minute later.
"He's evil, what did you expect," Xander called back. He looked at the teacher across from him. "Aren't you glad you don't have her in classes?" he hissed.
Professor Snape smothered the laugh but nodded. "Quite. I have enough bouncy, hyper children blowing up my classroom as is." He ate another bite. "Why are there two of the red sauce?"
"The one in the blue bowl is hotter."
"It can get hotter?" Xander handed him the spoon so he dipped his pinky in and took a taste, shuddering as he put it back down. "People eat that?"
"Daily," Xander agreed happily. "And hotter. That's only medium."
"They like the fire," Willow said as she came back. "That's disgusting. Why do a partial self-transformation?"
"I'm not sure if he did it on purpose or not," Snape admitted. "If so it was to gain power."
"Huh. Well, we see worse bad guys than him. I'm sure between Xander, Sam, and you guys we can figure it out with us researching behind Xander's back." Snape nodded at that. "I will be bringing more about this First Evil prophecy so we can make sure it can be handled by killing him."
Xander nodded. "Please do. We have a meeting in three weeks. I'll have the session closed and we'll talk about it together."
"Sure. I'll be there." She kissed him then smiled at the professor. "I'll see you then? Will that give you enough time?"
"Then I'll see you then."
"Listen for bad guys in Miami for us?" Xander asked. "Horatio's down there with Harry. I know the muting charm works but I don't think there's any vamps or anything."
"I'll check." She smiled and disappeared.
Xander smiled. "There, even better. Even the stuff Sam and I deal with won't hurt him."
"That is most acceptable." He looked at him. "If the two are combining...."
"The prophecy would have to happen in Sunnydale. The Seal's imbedded in the hellmouth, Professor." He shuddered. "That doesn't mean her minions can't cross over here to hit someone, like say the Watchers Council. Or that they won't come after you guys or even Voldemort for standing in her way. We're going to have to let the others know. Just in case it appears over here as well."
He nodded. "We should probably tell the American Aurors."
"If I knew any I would. If not, Horatio or someone can brief them once they head home."
Snape nodded. "That is sensible."
"I try. Finish up. I bought a pie. Cherry." He nodded, finishing his dinner then letting Xander get him some pie. Dean appeared looking confused. "Sammy send you to pick up girls again?"
"I don't know. I touched his doorknob and got sent."
"Phone's on the table charging."
Dean went to call home. "Aunt Cordelia, why did I end up at Xander's?" He listened. Then he nodded. "Ah. The staff wanted him to have personal time. Okay. I'm here if he asks." He hung up. "So, anything new?"
"Willow thinks she can cut the Dark Mark off. The funky prophecy dream I had may be about the First Evil prophecies." Dean gave him a horrified look. "We're going to go over it at the next meeting. It'll give her time to finish her research."
"How? Doesn't that take a botched resurrection?" Xander waved the paper. "Oh, no." Xander nodded. "Aw, shit."
"Basically. So we'll be discussing it in three weeks. You might wanna warn your circle."
"Can I make international calls?"
"Check my minutes. It's prepaid so I didn't have to deal with that."
He looked then used Xander's laptop to get online and buy him more minutes. He input the codes, smiling when it came up. Then he took it into the bedroom and shut himself in. "Ellen, Dean. I know we're in England, Ellen. I'm in London and I just heard bad things. Is Bobby there?" He frowned. "Can you conference us in?" He nodded. "Please. Because we think the First Evil prophecy might be coming. We do have one. It's the bad guy where we are. We're working on this problem then one of the slayer's team started having prophetic dreams. Please." He waited while she conferenced him in. "Bobby, Dean. No, not now. I'll call later from mine. I'm on Xander's cellphone. The First Evil prophecies were about a botched resurrection? One who came back wrong so it let her into the world, right?" He listened to him find it and read it off. "Our bad guy over here, Voldemort, is one. One of the slayer's team started to have prophetic dreams starting out with 'from beneath you it devours'. Yeah, so it's apparently going on. Does it say *anything*?"
He nodded as he listened. "Okay. We have Sunnydale, which Dad knows. He was there getting some research help from Mr. Giles, the watcher over Buffy. Get with him, let him see them. Let him know if it happens the seal's in the hellmouth itself. Which Xander said is underneath the old school. I'm not sure where in town it is but I'm guessing it'll be bad. They might come for any white lighters to eliminate the threat too, Bobby. So be damn careful and put the others on guard, Ellen. Send me what they look like so I can do the same thing. We're going over it during the next meeting in about three weeks. Sure. The cell's with Sammy. His staff wanted some private time with him so it sent me to Xander." He grinned. "That'll work. I'm here. Ellen? Can you pass on the news?" He nodded at her certainty. "Just be careful. I don't know how we'd kill these things yet." He hung up and thought. This was going to be so bad. So very, very bad. They didn't need this and a war.
to part 7