The next morning, Hermione got the books she requested from her mother's library, carrying them up to the teachers. "Here," she said with a smile, opening the encyclopedia. "This is what we recorded from it even though the US did it." She found the entry and let the astronomy teacher read it, watching her go pale and shake her head. "The Russians got into space first but the Americans made it to another heavenly body first."
She smiled and handed over another book. "On the current space studies. I went through an astronomy phase a few years back, Professor." She let McGonagall have the encyclopedia. "The standard beginning place to start any paper topic so you know what you're looking up in the library." She sat down again. She was hungry. She thought only boys had that bottomless pit stage. Girls had a more dainty version. She wasn't allowed to eat like Ron. "Did your mother never teach you *any* manners?" she demanded finally.
"I'm starved," he complained but his eyes showed he was doing it to irk her. Which was working. She huffed and dug into her own breakfast instead of watching him devour everything but the table. She was certain if he could pour syrup on the plate, he'd eat that too. She looked at Harry, who was half asleep. "Nightmares?" she asked quietly.
"Strange feelings all night," he hissed back. "I'm fine, just sleepy." She nodded at that and let it go for now. He'd work out what was going on later on, when he didn't have Potions in a few minutes.
Draco walked into the meeting in the Room of Requirement that night sneering. "Space ships?"
"Yeah, muggles have a lot of them," Ron said with a smirk. "I flew a great number of light space craft on Atlantis."
"But .... that city sank," Draco said.
"Yes, in the Pegasus galaxy," Hermione said with a grin. "Our last two lives were spent there." Draco shuddered. "No matter what some hidebound American overly religious sorts think, it wasn't faked."
"Thinking about it, they might be wizards," Harry said. "They don't like technology of most any sort, they like to live in segregated societies or start cults, they're secretive."
"Hidebound, immigrant wizards?" Ron said. "Could be."
Draco shook his head quickly. "Prove it."
Ron found a picture he carried, showing it to him. "That's Ronon and Teyla. They're natives of Pegasus. We helped her people and rescued him. They were both on my exploration team for the city."
"How did you do that?" Hermione demanded.
Ron smirked. "I had it mystically injected into something I'm always wearing. So it came with me." She scowled. "I'll teach you how to do that."
"I can't go get one of Jeannie, can I?" she asked.
"I have one of Jeannie and the kids," he assured her. She smiled at him. "I generally get a few each life."
"Interesting," Hannah said.
"I snuck some of yours from your room too," he told her. Hannah batted him on the arm.
"I send anything I want to keep to a storage area once I can," Harry told them. "It's specially created for me."
"So you have tons of first edition comics?" Luna joked.
"No, the last time I was in the forties and fifties, I didn't really get a chance to collect comics. Now, some of the later ones I do have but I think they may have some leaking ink from some of the ancient books. I haven't checked in a while. The demon only lets the anti-aging and warping spell go on things he thinks are important. He's a historian who hates magic and tech too, even though he's a demon." They were all staring at him. "What? I won it in a kitten poker game."
"There's a brain warping thought I hate since my former cat would hate it," Hermione said.
"As much as I like cats, I'd rather have them eating them than people," Harry told her.
"Me as well but I still loathe the idea."
Draco rubbed his head. "What's the city with all the spires?"
"Safra," Harry told him. He wasn't sure what Sanda was doing. "That's where Sanda and I met. They were flesh eaters too." Draco shuddered. "A good eighth of all demon species are flesh eaters of some sort or another."
"I'm seeing a university looking building? It's like he's walking toward it."
Harry considered it. "I'd have to see it. That's not that specific." Draco tried to project the image but it came out in a child's art project way. Harry looked then changed it some.
"Oh!" Harry nodded and changed it, getting a nod from Draco. "That's the market hall in Safra. Why?"
Draco shrugged. "He's showing it to me."
"Huh. Sanda, don't hurt him." The other boy shook his head quickly. "Just spit it out and quit being cryptic then."
"A stall... Fruit that looks like orange oval balls? Behind there was a doorway?"
Harry grinned. "Poker hall." Draco shook his head. "No?"
"Under the table was some sort of stairs that led to an alcove?"
"Huh. That was special but not for us. We weren't allowed down there." Draco looked at him. "Figures he snuck out to see it. I've never been down there that I know of."
"There's a stone obelisk with funny squiggles on it. I can see them on three sides and it's glowing?"
"Oh! That thing. It's a tooth from an older one that was considered a messenger and prophet. They carved protections to his name on it."
Draco rubbed his forehead. "It's somewhere around here. I'm seeing a storage room and house elves."
Harry blinked and summoned it. "I wonder who went to Safra." He put it aside and summoned any other demonic artifacts that might be in the castle.
Ron looked at all the things that came in, staring at a few. "Bloody hell," he muttered. "This is bad."
"This is very bad. I wonder which headmaster it was," Harry said. "We need to bring this back. I'm shocked nothing tried to get into the school to take it back."
Draco blinked a few times. "Why would they?"
"Three of those are considered holy," Luna told him. "Even hunters know not to go near it."
Draco looked confused. "What hunters?"
"There's demon hunters," Luna told him. "Usually they've been bothered or hurt by something demonic. Usually it's a family's calling. Most of them roam and all that. Though I'm not sure if this realm has a Council," he said, looking at Harry.
Who nodded. "Yeah but Buffy was never called here."
"That's good I guess," Ron decided. He patted him. Harry grinned at him.
"Why would someone do that?" Draco asked.
"Because some of them kill people," Luna said. "Like my mother in one of my past lives."
Draco nodded slightly at that. "So you ran around wherever hunting demons and now you're...." He waved a hand.
"Not quite the same," Harry said with a grin. "Technically redemption children aren't demonic, even if the head wish demon does send us on assignments. We were all born human."
"Oh. Okay," Draco said. "So... How can you tell the difference?"
"Any being can be peaceful. I go on the intent of their actions," Harry said. "Some of the flesh eaters use methods other than eating people. Some take thrown away flesh from hospitals or eat cats or something. Some of the warrior clans are at peace right now. For them they're like what you know about goblins."
"Interesting," Draco said weakly. "Okay." He nodded and walked off rubbing his poor head. He ran into Bill Weasley. "Potter found demonic artifacts. They're in the Room of Requirement."
"Take a headache potion," Bill ordered as he walked around him. Ron had told him something about what had happened when Bill had made him. He found the room and knocked semi-politely. No answer. "Let me in or I'm bringing all of us," he called. Ron opened the door. He walked in and stared at the artifacts. "What the fucking hell are those doing in a school!" he demanded.
"We have no idea," Harry said. "Draco's sometimes passenger told him."
Bill growled, coming over to look. "Not that one!" Ron shouted, making him back away. "If a human touches that it'll start a demon war for profaning the sacred thing."
Bill stared at him. "What?"
Ron grinned. "A few of those are considered holy by the demon species who hold them."
Bill stared at him. "Why?"
"We have no idea how or why they're here," Harry said. He looked up.
"Not in the school," Bill warned. "I'd hate to clean up the mess or explain this to an auror."
"Fine," Harry muttered. He got everything packed in a box and floated it out. "C'mon then," he ordered. They packed up for the night and took the box outside to the ward limits. Professor Williams was out there having a smoke. "Draco's passenger told him about some holy demonic artifacts in the school." The teacher gave him the strangest look but followed. Once they got outside the wards, Harry looked up. "I summon thee, Tiberius!" he called. Nothing. "I found your people's holy tooth!" The demon appeared, staring at him in horrified awe. He grinned. "For some reason it was in this school of magic. A school full of children."
"Why?" he demanded.
Harry shrugged. "I don't know. When was it stolen?"
"As far as we know it still sits in the alcove." Harry handed him the box to look through. He didn't touch a few things but he found the sacred tooth, staring at it. "It is it. Oh, dear."
"We just now put them in the box for ease of carrying and so we wouldn't profane anything," Hermione said.
"That is good of you, young woman." He nodded. Then he did a double-take. "McKay? How did you get in that body?"
She smiled and pointed at Harry. "Look more closely on him."
The demon looked at him and whimpered. "Oh, dear Dark Ones." Harry beamed. "We're all doomed!" he wailed.
Harry patted him. "Sanda keeps possessing one of my yearmates." He grinned. "And it wasn't our doing or an assignment."
"We heard," he whimpered. He started to cry. "We're all doomed."
"I'm going to visit Sanda's temple some year soon," Harry told him. "So I can get the rest of my stuff out of his closet, like he ordered me to."
The demon stared at him. "Sanda? The Sanda?" Harry beamed and nodded. "He's dead. The Peace Child died," he said carefully like Harry was mentally unstable. After going through so many human lives, who knows how he was warped.
"He said he was killed and trapped for another millennia," Ron said.
"Oh," he said weakly. He took the box. "I will bring this with your respect to the Council in London."
"Please. I know they must miss them."
Hermione smiled. "How did you know me?"
"Your life here is getting into things he shouldn't. Including an enclave that was hidden from all humans' view for their own health."
"We had to rescue him from one," Professor Williams agreed. He lit up another cigarette.
"Those are bad for your species," the demon told him.
"Mate, I'm a curse breaker. We don't die of old age. I'll enjoy it while I can," he shot back.
"Good point. Are there more?"
"I only summoned any demon tainted artifacts," Harry said.
"We can search and bring it somewhere," Bill offered.
The demon wrote down the address and handed it over. "The Council. Thank you." He took the box with him and went to wail on his wife. Because they were all going to die soon and he'd hate missing her.
The demonic council in London looked over the box. One of them summoned the sobbing demon back so he could explain things. When he did, a few of them went to cry as well. A few set up shrines to Sanda so he could calm the Warrior Child down. And all the others with them.
A few wanted to know why so many redemption children were in this one lifetime. When they found out what had happened they decided someone needed to teach that old man some sense. How could he have doomed humanity and demon kind that way?
Harry looked at his cohorts and mentally sighed. They were all trying hard not to stare during another of their marathon research sessions. "What?"
"Summer," Hermione said simply.
"It's nearly the holidays so we have to start making plans," Hannah agreed.
"I have *no* clue," Harry said with a grin. "I know Ron's family is going to Egypt."
"With Bill up here, not likely," Ron said. "Maybe Romania to visit Charlie."
Hermione looked at him. "My parents will probably want to go back to France this summer."
"I'm wondering if Asia would be a good place for the Dursleys," Harry admitted.
Luna grinned. "I can see if you can come visit us."
"Sure," he agreed with a grin. "I'm going to send Hedwig with you or Hannah anyway. That way the Dursleys can't get near her."
"That'll work," Hannah agreed. "My mother might mind but I'll explain it." She shifted. "Send us postcards, Ron."
"If I can." He looked at his books, then at Hermione, who smirked. "Can't we have a day off?"
"After the tests."
Bill came jogging out. "Harry, need to borrow you." Harry nodded, getting up and following him. Hermione would take his school bag to their next class. Bill led him to the chamber. "It locked three guys in there." Harry opened the sink and they went down to open the main door. The pounding stopped when the door opened.
Harry looked in there, then sighed. He spat something in Ancient. The magic swirling around stopped. He cast something else and it killed the being trying to call the chamber's magic stores to it. Harry stared, then pulled something out of his jacket, using the wand to cast something else. The power imploded and they were all hit with goo and bits of deceased being that had been the mother of the basilisk. Harry spotted something and walked over the mess to open it. "Huh." He walked off nodding. "I need a bath."
"Thanks," Bill said, waving weakly.
"Not a problem," Harry chirped with a smirk at the slide. He summoned his broom and flew up to the bathroom. The girls in there gave him an odd look. "The curse breakers got stuck." He landed and walked out carrying his broom to go take a shower. Professor Flitwick spotted him, tipping his head to the side. "Chamber."
"Oh, I see." He nodded once. "Are they all right?"
"Bit messy but something was locking doors on them." He shrugged. "They needed me to open the door again."
"Of course they did," the professor agreed. He went to check on the curse breakers. They were covered in goop as well and looking happy. A few were even high-fiving each other. "Did we find something nice?" he called from the doorway.
"We found a ritual room with a very ancient book of rituals," Bill said with a smile. "Plus some decaying clothes."
"Found a trap door," one called as he fell down it.
Bill looked over. "Figures since you do that on about every job," he joked. He went to look. "Huh. The basilisk's lair has some stuff too. Anything good?" he called down.
The cursebreaker lit his wand and nodded. "It's gross but a lot of shed skin. A few bones....." He bent to look at something. "Something shiny and tarnished." He dug it out and held it up. "That's a chalice of some sort." He tossed it up and Bill floated it the rest of the way up.
"That's cursed, I can feel it from here," Professor Williams called. Bill and the other cursebreaker got to work on themselves and the chalice.
A tiny demon appeared and took the chalice from them. "That's not for mortals." He disappeared.
"Okay then," Bill decided. Professor Williams got the curses broken on the boys and they had a new area to look around in.
Flitwick shook his head. He remembered being that insane when he was working with the bank. Thankfully he had aged into a better and safer state of mind.
Harry was thinking about his summer's plans and how he was going to handle the Dursley issue. He could 'accidentally' send them to Asia. Or even South America. That would be suspicious looking though. He could 'accidentally' charm them into not knowing he was there. Hell, he could slip away and travel if he wanted.
Professor Williams sat down across from him at the library table, staring at the kid. "Someone at the Ministry wanted me to talk to you about what you're probably thinking about."
"I didn't know you used occulumencary," he said with a grin.
"I don't, Harry." He stared at him. "There's a bet going on about what your relatives are going to do this summer."
"Can we find a way that I don't have to go back?" Harry offered.
"I don't know," he admitted. "If we had a definitive way of proving that it wasn't a good thing, probably. Since the people who want you there are now... indisposed." Harry grinned. "Outside of Fudge."
"Does the wizarding world actually have a CPS-like agency?"
"No. That's a muggle agency, not ours."
"There's a few things that we can do. Including naming you a new guardian."
"Did they have a will? That's bothered me. That and the whole Sirius Black thing."
"You know, I don't know. I can ask. We have about two weeks before it'd be too late to file things." He got up and went to floo the bank from his office. "I've been talking to Mr. Potter." The goblin nodded. "Where did his parents' will send him?"
"To the one in prison."
"Who never got a trial."
The goblin tipped his head. "That's not possible."
"It is possible. They still won't give him one."
"Interesting. Let me look into that."
"We're trying to make sure the kid can go somewhere else this summer. It'll keep accidental trip making plans down."
"We heard. Let me look into that matter." He hung up and started in that family's book of inheritance. Sirius Black was still listed. Which wasn't right. He brought the book to their legal department. They admitted they had a few entries like that. He asked him about the Potter estate too. They had no idea what was going on with it. The books were sealed.
Harry looked up when the official owl showed up a few days later. He took it from the Ministry owl, petting it and giving it a bite of sausage. The owl flew off. Harry read the letter and snickered. "Hell no," he said dryly.
Ron snatched it to read while he drank his pumpkin juice. "No, not likely."
Hermione took it and read it then smirked meanly. "No, I don't believe that will happen." She wrote a note and copied that letter for whoever was getting it. She used Hedwig to send it off and then they got back to breakfast. The temporary Headmistress was staring at her so she walked up the letter with a mean smirk to hand it to her. "I don't believe that's legal."
She read it and nodded. "No, it's barely legal but a fairly ancient practice."
"Yes, but that would depend on him having another relative."
"Mr. Potter was a pureblood," McGonagall told her. "That means there's probably distant cousins."
Harry grinned. "Probably," he agreed. "But I have some ideas on that subject." She was looking stunned. He smirked evilly and got back to breakfast. His evil drives were going around in happy circles chasing their tails. Since the Ministry found his relatives negligent and he had to be shifted to another relative's house.... Well that left him a lot of options.
Harry looked at his options that night. He could... find a relative. He could 'make' a relative. He could.... Well he could totally screw things up and make the ministry howl. Which was a pretty thing.
Draco stomped in and sneered at him. "Your former boyfriend...."
Harry snorted. "He wasn't my boyfriend, Draco. We were friends and saved each other. The times we fell into bed were pretty rare and usually before we married in that life." He stared at him. "Want to help me make a simulacrum?"
"No!" he sneered. "That's illegal, Potter."
"It's that or Minister Fudge thinks he can pick my relative to live with."
Draco snorted. "Not likely."
"Yup. My feeling on the subject." He snapped his fingers and wrote a letter. Then he summoned an imp to bring it. No imp. He summoned it again. No imp. He summoned D'Hoffryn. No D'Hoffryn. So Harry decided to enact his plan. He took over D'Hoffryn's powers. He also stopped him from bleeding his energy until he died. The horned head vengeance demon showed up to sneer at him. "Not like I'm going to let you die." He smirked. "I might even give it back in thirty days." Draco was looking horrified. Harry grinned at him. Then at D'Hoffryn. "You pledged to help us."
"Damn it," he muttered.
"Don't worry, I'll only renovate some things so they work better."
"Happy headaches, Xander," he sneered. "They gave me plenty."
"You can have it back sometime," Harry said happily. "For right now," he said, adding onto the note. "Please? That way I can handle this next obstacle and not have to *deal* with the Minister?"
D'Hoffryn looked and sighed but nodded. "Fine." He disappeared to take that artifact to someone. He sent one of his former minions to handle the rest.
At the Ministry someone screaming in fear wasn't really expected so when it started they all stared at the direction it was coming from. When it turned out to be Minister Fudge being chased by flying, biting creatures. "Pixies," one of the aurors said. They cast a freezing charm but that didn't even slow them down.
"Rabid pixies," another one said, casting something else.
Their boss looked at them. "Are you two stupid?" he demanded, casting at them. It killed half of them. The aurors cast that same spell at the rest of them. One of them hit Fudge but he might survive it. Medical people ran over to help him. The aurors moved to clean up the rest of the pixies. Which was when the next torment showed up.
A demon appeared and groaned, snapping his fingers to take his minions back. "The one he torments pisses others off by having to fight back," he said dryly. "They would all like things to quit happening around him." He looked at Tonks since she was strolling his way and shuddered. She smirked and waved. "That's just wrong on so many levels." He disappeared. Then had to come back to get the three hellhounds.
Tonks shrugged. "Nice that they're scared of me already," she quipped. Her boss looked at her. "Don't have to work as hard to be scary."
"It's your hair," her partner assured her.
She swatted him. "My hair's fine." Minister Fudge let out a loud groan. "You might ask the possession ward people." The medical people sneered. She pointed at the demon that had come back to get another thing that had appeared. "He's demonic and took the rest of the beasties with him."
"Some higher demon is not pleased that he's tormenting a mortal he thinks is neat," the demon told them with a scary grin.
They ran their patient out and right up there. It could only help save him.
Tonks looked at the demon. "Shoo." The demon nodded and left. "So, anyway," she told the boss. "Night, boss." She walked off. Her partner followed shaking his head.
The head auror looked at her. "Any idea which one they're trying to protect?"
"Who does every evil thing want to touch or fight, boss?" she called back.
The head auror resisted the urge to bang his head against a wall. He hated that kid and all that was going on around him!
Unfortunately it wasn't evil so he couldn't stop it.
Draco called his father for his weekly check-in. "I'm still whole and mentally sound," he joked lightly.
Lucius stared at him. "Why wouldn't you be and what is that on your neck, Draco?"
"Protection marks," he said bluntly. "Because there's an ancient spirit who's taken a liking to my body." His father glared so Draco shrugged out of his shirt and sweater, letting him see them. "I went to a professional who deals only with these sort of protections." He put back on his shirt and smoothed down his hair again. "Professor Snape had tried but he messed up a few."
"Why would he need to?" Lucius asked impatiently.
"Because an ancient spirit named Sanda, or the Peace Child, keeps trying to visit someone up here. Since Mother was bred to be a sacrifice that *charming* trait passed on to me."
"Excuse me?" Lucius demanded calmly. "Are you talking about *demons*?"
"Well, a few redemption children," he admitted with a sigh. "Sanda was one of them but was sacrificed a very long time ago. He's been showing up to talk to his fellow redemption children. Mostly he's been trying to calm Potter down. Apparently Potter's making evil plans. Again." He blinked a few times.
Sanda showed up and smiled. "Do not worry, Lucius Malfoy. I will not harm your son. He is merely the best conduit I have to talk to those who were my friends before. It has helped calm down a few of them before they take over all of humanity for the insults paid to our lines." He grinned. Then he disappeared.
Draco shook his head. He looked up. "I don't want to know what you two did way back when!"
His father cleared his throat to get his son's attention again. "I will be there in a few moments, then we will speak," he said firmly. He hung up and called an auror he knew. Who actually knew about Potter, though Lucius wouldn't know that. "My son has apparently taken up with an ancient spirit named Sanda who likes to visit some redemption children in the school."
The auror nodded. "We can go check him, Lucius. Not a problem. I'll meet you there in a few minutes." He hung up and went to get his gear. He hated Potter. A lot. He was bringing much too much attention to the bad things in the wizarding world. Though he had no idea how Potter had talked the Malfoy bratling into helping him too.
They showed up and found Draco bouncing a glowing ball of orange power on his hand in awe. "Demonic magic now?" his father demanded.
"Actually, it's Potter's ball of glow. I asked what the differences were and he created it to let me test it." He smiled at his father. "It's not actually darker magic."
"No, their kind isn't," the auror admitted. "Other demons, yes. But Redemption Children come out of the vengeance demon sects."
"Actually, D'Hoffryn took them over after Potter's original body killed their original overlording demon," Draco corrected. He shook his head as Sanda showed up. "And then my little asshole warrior child decided to take over this one's power for refusing to help him when he needed it. He never learns. Though it's nice it won't kill D'Hoffryn this time. Even if I do have to go find someone else to torment Fudge." He cleared out and Draco smirked.
"Sanda," he explained, going back to his testing. "They're in the Room of Requirement again." Professor Williams walked past him and took the ball of energy. "I'm testing that."
"Yay," he said dryly. "Malfoy, Auror," he said with a nod. "Are you here to encourage Potter not to destroy some people for trying to make him go back to his relative's?"
"No, more about my own son's continued possession streak," Lucius said dryly.
"You can't block out a spirit like Sanda," the professor said dryly. "His spirit's trapped and right now, most of us are willing to let your son be a conduit as long as he keeps calming down Potter's desires to rend people for however he got screwed up."
"You have no idea," Draco muttered. He took back the ball of energy to play with, leading them up there. The auror used their emergency key to get in and they found the kids studying some very ancient books. "People," Draco warned.
Harry looked up. "Morning, Auror. Malfoy." He nodded and got back to his reading. "Fuck this," he muttered. "Anyanka!" She appeared. He grinned when she started to whimper and give him the horrified look. He beamed at her shudder. "We done?" She whined but nodded. He held up the book. "That treaty? They broke it." She smiled. "Go make them sorry by the legal limits of the treaty so they sign a new one and beg to be nicer. Or else I'm coming up there."
She kissed him on the cheek. "I saw about us over there." She disappeared, taking Hallie with her. Hallie always had good ideas on how to torture people.
"Sorry, they broke a treaty," Harry said. He smiled at Draco. "Want a second one?"
"No, this one's fascinating," Draco admitted. The defense teacher took it back again and put it into his pocket. "Are you sure you want it that close to you?" he taunted with an evil smirk.
Professor Williams looked at him. "I've had nastier near there, Malfoy. It comes with being a curse breaker. You know, you show some of the better traits," he said dryly. Lucius shuddered and shook his head. "He could."
"He's incredibly curious," Harry agreed. Hermione snickered. So did Ron.
"What is going on?" Lucius demanded. "And why is it infesting my son, Potter?"
Hermione found the book with the Redemption Child myth and handed it over. He read it and sneered. She smiled. "Someone on the side of the light decided to use us as their little war party. They abridged the rules. Your son just decided to be too curious for his own good."
"No matter how much we, and Snape, tried to make him stop," Ron agreed.
Lucius stared at him. "You're what?" Luna smiled and waved. His eyes got large and he stared around.
Harry nodded. "Dumbledore really did screw the pooch since him doing that took off all the protections keeping Ancients out of the wizarding world," he said blandly. "We've had to make a few pass on already."
"Who was that bloke in the overcoat?" Professor Williams asked. "I know he's Luna's guardian angel and all that."
"The archangel?" the auror asked to make sure.
"He's stopping the spot visions for me." Luna beamed. "He's very heroic for that. Though our next lives, my brother gets the creepy mind powers back."
"I'm looking at ways of making them stop," Hermione assured her.
"Thank you." She leaned over to hug her.
"Awww," Ron and Hannah teased, getting lower powered glares from Hermione and Luna.
Lucius cleared his throat. "Are all of you...." They all smirked and nodded. "Oh, dear."
"Yeah, we'd be on vacation right now if it wasn't for Dumbledore," Harry said dryly with a happy grin. "Professor, how did you want me to come up with some suitable relatives?"
He shrugged. "As long as you don't make them out of inanimate objects, I don't think anyone would rightly care, Potter."
"Sure, we can use a toad or something," Hermione decided.
"Someone like Fudge would check," Professor Williams reminded her.
"He's ... Someone got very upset with him," Ron said with an innocent, good boy grin.
"Knew you'd be a hellion with the way your twin brothers are," the auror complained.
"You're welcome for Pettigrew too," Ron quipped.
"Figured that had to come from a twisted Weasley mind," the auror said.
"Bill thought it was absolutely brilliant," Professor Williams said with a grin. "Served 'em both right."
Hermione looked at the auror and professor. "Is there a way to take a photograph of a single image in a pensieve?" she asked. "It could help someone immensely and help stop a lot of grieving somewhere else."
The auror considered it. "I know we can't."
"You'd have to project it. Someone in Italy's ministry was working on that idea for trials," Professor Williams told her.
"Brilliant," she said with a smile, pushing her hair back behind her ears. "I'll look them up."
"You won't find anything here," Lucius told her.
"No but I can write them," she said.
"What're you lot doing now?" Professor Williams asked. "Since you've gotten the person who brought you here out of the way, you've tormented others for helping his plan, and you've handed us plenty of horcrux. Plus helped us find the storage area full of compulsion-filled wedding night gear for muggle born witches."
Lucius gave him an odd look. "There was?" he demanded.
"Yes, to quiet some of us with modern ideas," Hermione said dryly. "Apparently I'm not the first muggle born witch who realized that things are terribly behind the times here in the wizarding world. If half of all university graduates at the higher levels are women and women here only push out babies, there's a bit of an inequality there that's going to start causing social strife here in the wizarding world. I doubt you want to go through what the US did in the sixties," she said dryly at their heated looks.
Professor Williams snickered, shaking his head. "Not likely. I was a young lad and my mother was muggle so we had tele. Some of those things looked like fun but it was hell on everyone." She smiled and nodded.
Castiel faded in. "Luna, I have news you will not like. Please don't beat me?" he requested.
She looked at him. "What? Is my geeky brother going to die?" she asked.
"With her next life being in this same realm, they may overlap and they can't do that in the way they'd interact." Harry shuddered. "So we'll end up shortening this one a bit so she can move onto that one. That way they can't meet in about ten or fifteen years."
Luna nodded. "Maybe we'll meet up in that one?"
"Quite probably," Castiel agreed dryly. "I think you'd like helping his next incarnation a lot as a career." He patted her on the head and smiled. "Thank you for not beating me to death." He disappeared. He came back to look at Draco, bowing slightly. "His brother Samuel will be going to see someone you knew, Peace Child." He disappeared again.
"That's going to suck for Sam," Sanda/Draco said dryly. "But I'm sure he'll have a lot of fun for the most part. He can even pretend to be Dean." Luna smirked at him. "Though it figured that that's how that happened." He looked up. Then shook his head and faded. He came back and stared at Harry and Hermione. "Good plan," he told her. "Do it soon?" She nodded. He looked at Harry. "Calm down, give it back, and just call on Hedral or someone." He disappeared again, leaving Draco rubbing his forehead.
"Hedral probably won't be acceptable," Draco muttered as he rubbed his forehead.
"No, probably not since he's bright orange," Harry agreed. "I'll find someone to take their places since the Minister personally decided I can move relatives to someone more suitable."
Professor Williams cackled, shaking his head. "That's sucky as plans go," he told Harry.
Harry shrugged. "It's less obvious than them going to Asia."
Lucius snorted. "Your father had many cousins," he said dryly.
Draco looked at him. "We could let the group have the garden house," he said dryly. "That would look good on us, give Mother someone to talk to when she tries to correct Hermione's modernity issues with telling everyone things they don't need to hear, and would let us calm down the future problems. You took over?" he demanded.
Harry beamed and nodded. "Yeah, I did. In thirty days I can decide to give it back." He shrugged.
Ron looked at him then shook his head. "You're barmy, Harry."
"Thanks, Ron," he chirped.
The auror shook his head. "Lucius, that may be the most protective thing you can do for the wizarding world."
"I'm not mean to anyone who's not plotting against me, outside a few things that need correcting," Harry quipped. "Like my godfather never having a trial and your boss's son being hidden in his house." Lucius stiffened and so did the auror. Harry grinned. "Did we ever tell you how we know about all this?"
"When he was our son in the last few lives, we read the books to him," Hermione said dryly.
Ron nodded. "Though quidditch is better in person than in any book."
"Shite," the auror said, staring at them. "Crouch.... His son died."
"His wife died. She was sick anyway," Harry corrected. "His son is in his house."
"Super shite," he muttered. "Can you prove it?"
"Ask the house elf."
"Winky does take good care of her boy," Hermione agreed. She concentrated and couldn't get them.
Harry looked up. "Hey, can I have a copy of the HP books from my last realm?" he called. A set of them appeared in front of him. "Thanks." He smiled and handed them to Lucius. "Aren't you so glad Dumbledore summoned me to be his warrior?"
"I think I have a migraine," he admitted, taking the books.
"If everyone leaves us alone, Voldemort is gone, all the wrongs are fixed, then we have a vacation life," Harry said with a smile. "I'm told that my true mate might even be here somewhere. Sanda keeps nagging me about that and really I could use a good mate. Since my last few lives have been short on relationships. Only one out of the last ten saw me nearly married. The rest I didn't really get a chance."
The auror nodded. "I can see that." He took the books. "Where?"
"Book five for Crouch. Book three for Sirius," Hermione said. She stared at him. "Use the basilisk to kill the horcrux. Watch out because it's really powerful and can kill a strong wizard."
"Yes they can," Professor Williams said. He looked at the titles. "I wondered if we found the chamber by accident or not." Harry beamed. "Nicely subtle, thank you. Better than the Pettigrew thing."
"We didn't want him in our house anyway," Draco said sarcastically. "If we had known about his...interests earlier you could've had him last year or so."
"Can we still have Professor Lupin next year to teach?" Hermione asked. "At least he did teach us things. Not that you're not good, Professor Williams."
He looked at her. "How long did Lockhart stay?"
"Until the day that we had to go down into the chamber to rescue Ginny," Harry quipped. "In the spring."
"Shite," the auror muttered.
"He memory charmed Ron but it backfired," Harry said with a grin. "St. Mungos got him for a very long time."
"Excellent work there," Professor Williams said.
"Welcome," Hermione chirped.
The auror cleared his throat. "Are you all on the original team of children?" They shook their heads. "How did that happen?"
"We volunteered," Luna said. "Better than a boring afterlife watching the higher ups try to destroy humanity again."
"Have we made sure they can't do that here?" Hermione asked him.
"Yup, found Dad, sent word to him," Luna said with a happy smirk. "It's *real* pleasant scrying him to see his reaction. I wrote him a nice, long letter about what had happened in our realm and told him bluntly I was a redemption child. That I was solving a future problem so I didn't have to watch it happen and stop it. Dad here also has a daughter, who's freaked out a lot. Sammy scried them too and he was stunned stupid but happy enough with a little sister. I'll send it in a few years, when it's closer to a time when he can do something."
"Fits with your current thing," Ron taunted with a happy smirk. Luna reached over to slug him on the arm. Ron just chuckled.
"Merlin, you're all insane," Draco complained.
"It's all fun and games until the angels start an apocalypse battle," Luna quipped. "Using your family."
"I'm glad me showing up there stopped that," Harry chirped with a grin for her.
"And gave us a lot of headaches learning more about slayers and other supernatural oddities," Dean agreed. "Did Dad float off somewhere when we went to Atlantis?"
"He and Joyce went to nag the slayers," Hermione said.
"Even better." She shook her head quickly. They all grinned at her. "I can see my dad nagging Buffy about her skirt length."
"Joyce did," Harry agreed.
Lucius knocked them all out with a spell. "Can we unpossess them?" he asked calmly.
"Nope. Redemption children are born into their new lives, not possessing anyone. Outside of how Potter got brought but I doubt we can do that to him."
"Actually, you being their monitor over the summer might be the best thing yet," the auror said quietly, looking at him. "It'd give you a leg up on the chaos they sow so you can help control it or twist it to your own ends, plus help keep Granger's modern ideas down a bit as well."
Lucius sneered. "I do not want them in my home. Beyond the fact that Narcissa would kill us all, it's not done by someone in my social station."
"Fudge said it had to be a relative. You're technically third cousins or something," Professor Williams noted. "And I bet the kids have plans of disappearing for part of the summer to do fun things that they want to do."
Sanda woke Draco up. "I've asked Harry to please get the rest of his stuff out of my temple closet. Mostly because I think he can use the porn I put in there to cheer him up." He smiled. "Some out-of-the-way house would be for the best really."
"Get out of my son," Lucius ordered.
Sanda cackled. "Lucius Malfoy, I'm one of the original chaos and warrior mages created back during the demon wars." Lucius shuddered. "Don't worry, I'm letting your son see relevant things that will make him stronger and a better being." He smirked. "Your son will be just fine." He faded again and Draco went limp again.
"This is going to kill me from a stroke," Lucius noted.
"I'm thinking about drinking myself to death," the auror offered. "Wanna join me?"
"I may," Lucius decided. He made the room make a floo so he could call home. "Narcissa." She blinked at him then at the bodies laying in the room. One was snoring loudly so she knew he hadn't killed them. "Draco has been possessed many times by an ancient spirit."
She blinked a few more times. "Excuse me? My son has done what?"
Draco sat up and looked at her. "I'm Sanda. The Peace Child, ma'am." She stared at him. Lucius knew she knew about that myth and the real history of them because she had taught him about them. Narcissa did so love reading about the stranger and more evil things that history had come up with. "I'm here to help the others calm down. Your birth's circumstances led to this one being even more open. I'm working very hard not to harm him. I'm even teaching him about other forms of magic."
"I see," she said.
"Fudge has screwed up and gotten himself demon tainted," Lucius told her. She cackled. "Indeed. It has been suggested that we were a fit guardian for Potter. By putting him and his little horde of redemption children in an out-of-the-way house, it may help them calm down and quit plaguing the people who have caused them to come here."
She considered it. "We'd never live that down."
"We can use the beach house," he offered.
She considered it. "Our son?"
"Would probably be associated. Some are already making note," he sighed. "The one that he's been possessed by was one of the first warrior mages." She shivered. "The others in here are all Redemption Children, Narcissa."
She stared. "Isn't that Lovegood's daughter?"
"Yes. The Abbot elder daughter. The youngest Weasley male. A muggle born witch. And Mr. Potter."
She snickered. "How did that happen? From the myth they're not supposed to be the warriors."
"Dumbledore. Which then led to more ancient spirits getting in, and they've been trying to kill wizards," the auror told her. She sneered. "The one at the Ministry? They're here because however Dumbledore did that weakened the protections we had against their kind."
"Vesuvius was one of their kind hating the school there," Professor Williams told her. "They don't rightly care about extra wizards or witches who might be hurt."
"It would give them a safer place to battle and they'd probably sneak off for some traveling," Lucius told her.
"Is it well known that he's being possessed?"
"Fairly," Professor Williams said. "The other teachers know it. A few others have realized it because Sanda's real open about things while trying to keep Harry calmer."
"Harry's also known as the Warrior Child, Alexander," the auror told her. She gasped. He nodded. "Dumbledore."
"Oh, Merlin," she muttered, rubbing her forehead. "Yes, they may use the beach house as long as they are very circumspect. Can we help protect Draco?"
"He has a full back of protection marks," Professor Williams said. "The only thing that can get in is Sanda. Before, he was probably really open. Granger found someone who specializes in magical protection rites and sent him."
"That's acceptable then," she decided. "No one can probably keep out a spirit that strong and perhaps he'll learn some of the ancient, forgotten magic that would make him more powerful and able to be looked upon like Merlin was." They all smiled. She hung up and went to get a large drink and have a headache in her suite.
Lucius looked at the professor. "I'll put in the formal paperwork," he decided. That got a smile and a nod. "The others can *visit*."
"Of course." The three of them left and Lucius let them wake up. They all felt the temporal spell take hold and sighed. "At least they're studying," the professor decided. He wasn't sure if he wanted to know *what* they were studying but maybe their grades would improve.
Castiel showed up to Tonks, making her tip her head to the side. He moved out of her way. She grinned at him. "There's news you have to hear."
"Are they going to start that plan here?"
"No. They realize it's futile. No, your next life in this realm will be intersecting with this one. There can be no chance of meeting yourself or things could happen so we will be removing you from this one in approximately ten years and two months to go to that one."
She stared at him for a moment. "Approximately?" she joked.
"Yes. I don't know the exact day but they're talking about a Thursday."
She shook her head. "Okay. And then I recycle and go to the next one?"
"Yes. Which is tricky, and may remind you somewhat of Dean." He grinned. "But at the start you will be giving hope and later on you'll be giving more hope, even if the person needing it doesn't understand why."
"That's fine since I'm mostly backup here. Do I still get to meet Remus? There was some UST there."
He smiled. "If you wish. The children did ask for him to teach next year." He disappeared, going to stop Luna's newest vision.
She sipped her beer, shaking her head. Angels were all strange.
Luna's father looked over at the reporter that was jogging up to where he was getting groceries in a market. "Yes?"
"Mr. Lovegood, what do you say to reports that your daughter may be part of the redemption child myth?" she asked.
"Of course she is. She's the reason I had hope after her mother died. The only reason I kept going and didn't join my wife," he said quietly. "Beyond that, if that myth is true and she is, then I'm happy I raised her correctly." He walked off.
She smiled and made that note, taking it back to her editor.
The elder Lovegood shook his head. Luna had told him about that and the visions before he had sent her to school. It was odd it was becoming more common knowledge now but it was good of her to save him as well. Perhaps she'd marry someone nice who could take over the paper for him some day.
Lucius stood up in front of the Wizengomet, staring at his fellow councilors. "I have a call to make," he noted. They all quieted their pre-meeting bargaining. "I hereby make a call to remove Cornelius Fudge as Minister for Magic and remand him to the custody of the spell damage ward at St. Mungos until they are satisfied that he is healthy. I also add the same stipulation for Albus Dumbledore as I have been told he has been playing with forces that led to the spiritual being attacking the Ministry a few days ago."
The head of the meeting in Dumbledore's absence looked at him. "Explain that please?"
Lucius sipped some of his tea and put the cup down, staring at the group. He told them what he knew about Dumbledore resurrecting Potter, which led to that shield going down and what that spirit was. How a few had been attacking the school as well. Most of them grimaced. He also admitted it had led to his son being possessed by an ancient warrior mage's spirit but the spirit had shown no harm to his son so far. A few gave him pitying looks. Lucius smirked. "He is learning quite a lot from it. He has a full workup of protection markings now so no others can get to him."
"What is that spirit's name?" Augusta Longbottom asked.
"Sanda. Apparently he's a warrior mage from back during the pre-human ownership of this plane times." She gaped. He nodded. "My son has sent me some wonderful notes about traveling to Turkey to view a few of the former areas Sanda lived in. Plus Sanda has been teaching him the differences between the types of magic." He sat down. "Which would not be possible if Dumbledore hadn't meddled in necromancy."
The head auror nodded. "I saw the one here. It was a nasty thing," Crouch told them. "Took some heavier spells to defeat it, which Fudge hated us using. Of course, something had some demons attack him for someone he was picking on."
"Yes, and it was suggested that I'm one of the few suitable guardians for that one," Lucius said dryly. "My beloved wife has granted him use of our beach house for the summers. That way we don't have to associate and we don't have to do more than let a house elf deal with him."
"Means you won't be taking a sudden trip to Africa then," another member quipped.
"Quite," Lucius agreed dryly.
Augusta Longbottom stared at him. "Really?"
"Fudge put out a decree that since Potter's aunt and uncle weren't wizards they weren't worthy to raise him and ordered that he'd have to be moved to a more magical family," the chairman noted. "I think he was hoping for himself so he could work on Potter."
"I doubt that will help," Lucius said dryly.
"Me too. The kid's stubborn." He looked around. "Any naysayers or those who want to make a statement against the call for action?" No one said anything. "Then we'll vote. All in favor?" Most of the hands went up. "It appears passed."
"I make a motion," Crouch said, standing up. They all stared at him. "It has been brought to my attention that some of the people in Azkaban have not had a trial. Which is a travesty of justice. There's been a lot of pressure that Fudge was sneering at about one in particular. Even the victim's son is pressing for it as he wants to hear what happened."
"We can overturn Fudge's rulings for the last few months."
"That would cause three major problems," Crouch noted. "Including Potter's residency. Since we've heard a vengeance demon showed up about them while they were in Africa...." A few shuddered. "Exactly. I want to motion that we look at the prisoner log and check against it for trials."
"How many are missing trials?" the chairman asked.
"I must protest. It could lead to other problems and after this long, they can surely not integrate back into society."
Crouch stared at him. "If you're worried that someone will implicate you, I wouldn't be." He looked at them. "The press is still attacking us about not doing a trial for Sirius Black. We need the better publicity since we have that important trade talk in a few weeks." They all nodded they remembered. "So let us at least do his trial as a sign of good faith."
"Are we sure he's guilty?" one asked.
"No," Crouch said. "And that's another good reason to do it. Someone found Peter Pettigrew, who Black supposedly killed, is alive." They all stared. "They found him as the Weasley's pet rat actually. Though someone up there.... well, the boy that came up before us last week made him break his long-held cover." A few shuddered. "Exactly." He sat down.
"So we're sure something's wrong there. It'll look good on us," the chairman said. "Any other good reasons? He's got to be insane by now."
"If we don't, Potter's going to keep pressing in the press and who do you think the people will support?" Crouch noted. "Our job is hard enough without the public attacking us. I've had two aurors attacked by thrown fruit today because of that situation."
"How certain are we that it wasn't just Pettigrew escaping and forgetting or something?" Augusta Longbottom asked.
"Very," Lucius said dryly. "I had someone go talk to him from my solicitor's office to get a statement from him. He's mostly still sane. He claims Pettigrew blew up those muggles and he wasn't their secret keeper. Since my solicitor got him under veritaserum...." She moaned, shaking her head.
"Pettigrew admitted as much when we questioned him but Fudge was trying not to get him a trial either. Kept saying it'd upset the people."
"No, Pettigrew has a trial tomorrow," the chairman said.
"Can we do it today?" Augusta asked.
"We have too much to do today," he admitted. "Unless we want to press back all those votes we've been pressing back for the last week?" She shook her head. "Then we'll do it first thing tomorrow." Crouch nodded. The chairman looked around. "Anyone not in agreement that we at least give that one a fair trial since there's evidence that we put the wrong guy away? At least for part of his crimes?" They voted for him to have a hearing the same day. But to keep them separate so one couldn't attack the other.
Harry smiled at the news Professor Williams handed him Sunday. "Thank you," he said quietly, taking it back to the table to share it. Ron beamed. Hermione smiled and reached back to hand it to Hannah, who'd give it to Luna.
Luna beamed at them and looked at Draco, who was pouty. She handed him the note before walking out. He read it and nodded. He wrote that to his mother. She was his cousin or something so she should probably know.
"Why did that crazy Ravenclaw hand *you* a note?" Pansy sneered.
Draco looked at her. "Because of my intervention when we had that animagus discovered, he was put on trial. Which freed a cousin that hadn't had one and shouldn't have been in jail." She gaped. "It was decent of them to let me know that." He sipped his juice. "Beyond that, that crazy little Ravenclaw is incredibly good at research and reads Latin fluently."
"Oh." She blinked a few times. "So she's someone we can bully to help with homework?"
"No. If you ask she might. I caught her reading something severely ancient the other day." Something strange was making the hairs on his arms stand up. He looked around, noticing the others weren't getting the same thing. He searched for the connection he had to Sanda, who told him that was a really bad thing. He looked around, spotting Potter doing the same thing. Draco walked up to the teachers' table. "My protections are making me itch," he told Snape, staring at him. "Sanda said that's a very bad thing."
"Let us start the school day," McGonagall ordered. The students gave her funny looks but did troop out after a few last bites of breakfast. Now, without the students, she could feel the wrongness too. "What is that?"
"Sanda doesn't know, just that it's probably not a happy thing," Draco admitted. He looked at his table. "Go to class," he ordered. A few sneered.
"We have free periods," one smirked.
"Now," Snape ordered. They glared at him but stomped off. Snape noticed Potter was staring at a corner and mentally sighed. "Potter, do you think you're exempt?" he demanded.
"No, I think it's a really bad thing." He got up and shot something at the feeling. Draco did the same thing. "Draco, get Hermione. Now." Draco shot another spell. The being tried to block him. "Dusty!" One of the house elves showed up. "Get me Hermione Granger now." He shot another spell at it. The house elf cowered but ran to get her from Charms. The teachers were trying but nothing they could do was helping more than making it grow. Hermione opened the door and shot something at it. That made it scream and attack in full view. A few of the people gasped and Harry called up extra power to blast that thing back into the dark ages. Kind of literally. Hermione shot it at the same time so it showed up dead. Harry went limp, looking at her. "Can you make me my own gear bag?" he asked her.
"I'm already working on it, Harry. Are you all right?" He nodded. "Draco, are you all right?" She walked over to him because he was leaning down and panting. "Oh, dear, you've exhausted yourself. Madams?" They came down to get Draco. She checked her gear. "I need to recharge it. I can pop around somewhere tonight." She came back to Harry's side, who was looking at something in the bag. "What are you doing?" He found what he wanted and shot it over Madam Pomfrey's and Draco's heads. The being that was appearing shrieked and exploded. "Oh, them again."
A new man appeared and stared. "Who are you...." he started, sneering at Harry. He paused. "How did you do that?"
Harry put the thing away and stared back. "Because it was legitimate." The angel shuddered. "I'm thinking about handing it back. Look deeper, angel." The angel did and gave him a horrified look, backing off. "Yeah, I'm a bit pissed again. Especially since you guys said you were going to keep the ascended out."
"I said no...."
Castiel and another angel appeared. "He did," Castiel told him. He looked. "The one that's just watching is still here."
"I feel," Harry admitted.
Castiel looked at him. Then he huffed. "Give it back, Harry."
"When things are fixed."
"Fine." He looked at the angel beside him. "Look at his last few." The angels did that and the one with him shuddered and twitched. The one that had tried to proclaim himself king shuddered. Harry waved a hand and he went home. Castiel smiled at him. "Thank you for being so gentle."
"Clearly he needs counseling for his bad ideas," Harry said dryly. The higher angel nodded that might be a good job. "Are there others?"
"Two," Castiel said. "They will not come when we are here."
"You are more than welcome to stay in a guest room so you can help control Miss Lovegood's visions," McGonagall said with a smile. Castiel smiled back and nodded after looking at his superior angel for permission.
"That would be acceptable since she is important," Michael said. He looked at Harry. "You do intend to give that back?"
"Probably. Depends on how pissed off I become."
"Good point. What changes were you going to make this time, Warrior Child?" Harry made a list for him and handed them over with a grin. "Three fundamental protections and two others. Interesting. I will bring this to the others so they may help." He disappeared.
Harry came over and fed Draco some energy. "There, that should help," he said quietly. "He's probably got the mother of all migraines though."
"That's fine, Mr. Potter." The nurse led Draco off to bed. Harry grabbed his and Hermione's bags, leading her off talking about what she still needed to build and how to get them recharged while at the school.
The professor looked at Castiel. "I believe she's in herbology, Angel Castiel."
He smiled. "She's complaining about thorny plants that try to grope because she's not Sam." He smiled and went to check on her. He touched the plant and it fled. He touched her on the head, making her relax. "It's the ivy-looking vine that makes it come faster and harder," he said in her ear, getting a grin and her moving that plant away from her. He walked out, going to visit the animals. He did miss animals. They were some of his favorite works. Hagrid had good taste in them as well.
Luna grinned. "He said that plant can start visions faster," she told the staring teacher.
"I heard you had spot ones, Miss Lovegood. I didn't realize I had that in here." She moved it to the head of the table so Luna couldn't get anywhere near it. Luna beamed and got back to her planting duties. The teacher looked. She did have a fine hand with the plants.
The temporary Minister for Magic showed up at the school to sneer at McGonagall. "I hear you're taking in travelers?" he asked snidely.
She stared at him. "I see no harm in providing a room for the person who's stopping a student's brain-rending spot vision problem. He has proven himself protective of her and the other students. I'm fairly certain he's of a very high moral fiber. I'm also certain that he'd never hurt a student." He glared. She stared back. "If Castiel is here, then perhaps he can also stop the things that tried to attack students this morning."
Harry walked in and threw something on the guy, making him scream. "It's not *my* fault demons can suddenly get into the school," he told him. The demon glared then noticed what sort of power he had. The demon gaped in horror but had to bow. Protocol demanded it. "Out! Now!" It fled. "Wards, Professor?"
"I have no idea how I'd do that, Mr. Potter." He found the book and let her read it. He went back to class. She found what she needed and enacted it. That would make sure their kind could not get in again. Castiel came up and showed her how to get into the wards so that was handy as well. That got firmed up and it was better. She smiled and he grinned back before going to nag Luna about something to make her huff and stomp off. She needed more fun in this life.
John Winchester took the letter from his landlord's hand, looking at it oddly. "I don't know anyone in England." He went up to their rented apartment and sat down. The kids weren't due out of school for a few hours yet. John opened the letter after checking it for anything beyond paper. When it turned out to be paper he read the opening page. His mouth flopped open and he reread it. "What the fuck?" he demanded.
Luna appeared, smiling at him. "Well, yeah," she admitted. He glared at her. She held up her wand. He slumped. "That was as it happened in another realm. That's why I got changed." He stared at him. "Though we didn't have a sister there." John nodded once at that. "My Sammy's okay. Saw her the other day."
"In this life. We kinda opted in for redemption children status." John's mouth hung open again. Luna grinned. "It's kinda neat. We helped save Atlantis last time."
"How did you even know about them?"
"Sammy got given one."
"Oh," he said flatly.
"The little shit drove us nuts. And the angel with us. I think Cas kinda cracked a few times actually." She stared at her father. "I scried first but that was what happened and how it happened. Including why it happened." John skimmed it, face growing cold. "Keep going. You'll get more pissy." John found the 'why' part and stiffened, shaking his head. "Yeah. So...." She looked around then at him. "I remember this place," she said with a smirk. "I gotta say, being a girl isn't too terrible yet. Though I'm not giving my present father any grandchildren. Ever."
John stared at her. "How likely is it that it's switched?"
"Well, since Sammy's twin sister is actually one of us," she said dryly. John slumped. "Because *you* needed it too." She smirked. "I'm totally screwing with the system here but it was necessary. Anyway... We did scry. Stop the headstone thing first, Dad." She disappeared because she felt someone coming up the stairs. Probably herself.
John read the notes, not minding when his eldest son read over his shoulder. "Okay, so we do the headstone thing like she said," Dean said quietly. "Then we find the fucker and ghost him."
John shook his head. "You three are going to Bobby's as soon as we're done here. You can do school from there so he can ward the other two." He looked at his eldest son. "That was you in a future life breaking rules."
"I got turned into a girl? Eww." Dean grimaced. "That's gross, Dad." He smirked. "Am I hot at least?"
"She looks like she's twelve, Dean."
"Then maybe later I guess." He went to make them something to eat. "By the way, I'm taking my GED tomorrow."
John rolled his eyes. "I wish you wouldn't."
"Yay. I'm still doing it and then I'll do vo-tech stuff or help Bobby." He handed over one of the sandwiches. "You sure you don't want help?"
"No, not yet. I need those two protected." Dean nodded, eating a bite. "Find my phone?" Dean handed it over and he dialed Bobby's from memory. "I have information and we're heading your way in about two weeks. I know where the demon's plan is going to start." He hung up on the spluttering. Bobby would never turn away the kids, even if they were fighting.
Thankfully, now things would be different.
Hermione got another strange look from a female teacher for having *thoughts* of all things and decided she had to deal with that once and for all. She could not let her present culture's people be so...backward. She couldn't stand being a girl in this society. It was going to give her worse problems than her allergy to citrus had.
So she came up with a plan to fix it somewhat. After lunch she paused by McGonagall's seat. "Professor?" The teacher put down the mug she was drinking from. Hermione smiled. "It seems many girls are not aware that there are women who work as well as mothers. Would it be possible to invite a few older women in to talk about their lives? Perhaps Mrs. Weasley as the pureblood stereotype and a female Ministry worker? My mother would also join I'm sure."
"That's not a bad idea," she said, looking down at the muggle studies teacher, who nodded she'd like that too. She smiled. "I'll send out owls later this afternoon. It would be good for the young ladies to understand their options. Very well thought out, Miss Granger." Hermione grinned and walked off to go to class.
"How would we get her mother up here?" Professor Williams asked.
"Double floo would be easiest and I know she can," McGonagall said. "Hermione admitted she had done that from Diagon this summer to go to a bigger bookstore."
That got a nod. Everyone who had the girl in a class understood why she had wanted to go to a bigger bookstore.
Mrs. Weasley smiled as she came in with Mrs. Granger. "Merry," she said, shaking her hand.
The other woman on their panel smiled back. "Molly. And this is?"
"Hermione Granger's mother. They wanted a view of what muggle women did. She's in my son Ron's class."
"Pleasure to meet you," Mrs. Granger said with a smile, shaking her hand.
"Are you a wife and mother or do you work in your people's Ministry?" Merry asked.
"Actually, no. I'm a dentist." She smiled.
The other woman gaped. "Really?" She smiled and nodded. "Wonderful." She pointed. "I guess we can pick our own seats."
"I'll take far left as I probably won't get many questions. Most of the girls probably had mothers who do about what I do."
"I'll take far right," Mrs. Granger said with a smile. "Polar opposites on the ends." They nodded and arranged things. A house elf brought them glasses of ice water. "What are you?"
"A house elf," Molly said. "The school and more wealthy family homes have them to do the kitchen and yard work, those sort of things."
"There's days I'd kill to have some help," she said, patting that one on the head. "It's so adorable!"
"Adorable is not Trusty or other House Elfs," the house elf told her. "Trusty and other house elfs are magical creatures."
She smiled. "My daughter's Hermione Granger, Trusty."
Trusty giggled. "Granger girl is very loud sometimes. But very smart. Mother of Granger did good job with Granger." He disappeared.
She looked down at Molly. "I didn't insult it, right?"
"No, not in the least." She smiled. "I'd consider that a compliment in a lot of ways." The girls from all the houses walked in and sat at their tables. Molly arranged them a bit better with a swish of her wand. "Good morning, ladies." A few waved, some smiled, and some said 'good morning' back.
Professor McGonagall stepped up onto the dias. "It was thought that some of you young ladies should learn that there's more options than an arranged marriage or the like," she said, staring at them. "These are Molly Weasley, Mrs. Mitchell, and Mrs. Granger." She pointed at each one. "Each one has a different sort of life so you are free to ask them questions about what you could be doing in the future." She stepped out of the way.
Molly smiled at them. "Since I probably have the most simple day, let me start. Most of you have mothers who probably do the same things I do. I get up about dawn, fix myself and my husband breakfast. Then he leaves for work. If the children are home they get up next and eat, then find ways to annoy me for the rest of the day. If they're not then I make myself a pot of tea, start soaking any of the laundry, check the rooms to see if anything needs straightened up. I do the laundry, make myself some lunch once it's hung out to dry, then do any shopping for the week I might need. I work on dinner and fuss at things until my husband comes home for a good dinner." She smiled at Mrs. Mitchell. "Merry?"
"Unlike you, Molly, I do work at the Ministry." She smiled at her own daughter. "I get up about the same time, cook breakfast and all that. I start anything baking for dinner that night in a very low temperature oven so it can safely cook all day without me watching it or I put on some soup. Then I go to work in my department as the assistant." She beamed. "And the Ministry is hiring young women to even out the gender imbalance some people have complained about." A few girls giggled. "I catch lunch with my friends and coworkers, then I finish for the day and head home to finish dinner, straighten up things before my husband comes home, and then we have dinner and deal with any remaining details that need to be handled before bedtime."
Mrs. Granger looked at her. "Would you say the majority of the women in the Ministry work in a job like yours or in higher, more field work related jobs?"
"Well, the ones I tend to lunch with are the archivists and a few other assistants. There's a few female aurors and healers. There's a few who head or sub-head their departments."
Molly smiled at her. "The last Minister before Fudge was a woman actually."
"Yes, but at the time she was one of fifteen working in the Ministry," Merry told her. "She tried to make the rules less strict but it was fought greatly by the Wizengomet. More jobs for women were added about fifteen years ago when someone blackmailed half the Wizengomet and their wives stood behind the young women needing and wanting to work. So many widows couldn't find anything at the time. A lot didn't have the family left to help them with their children either. So it was seen as a practical way to keep them from going to the poor house." She smiled. "The preferential hiring of widows and orphans was removed about three years ago so it's now more even for women wanting to work. Though you still have to work your way up and prove that you have the skills for any sort of job."
One muggle-born witch raised her hand. "Mrs. Mitchell, if it's been a very long day does your husband help you with the cooking of dinner and the housework?"
She smiled. "I don't know many men that would, dear."
Mrs. Granger shook her head. "My husband's helped me a number of times if he knows it's been a very long day for us. He's a deft hand at baking meats and putting in casseroles I've frozen ahead." She smiled. "It's his household chore to vacuum, since he's a bit picky about how it gets done thanks to carpet marks, do anything that needs fixed around the house, and take out the garbage weekly."
"My husband's not very mechanical but my younger brother does household repair work so we just call him," Mrs. Mitchell said with a smile for her. "Your husband cooks?"
"Yes. He told me most of the world's greatest chefs are men so he can at least put a chicken into the oven if it's been a very long day at the practice." She beamed. "When Hermione was little he also took the time to teach her to read when she was three. That way she could sate her curiosity about what we were reading. She was forever asking us what we were reading when we were going through our professional journals and the like."
"Hermione is quite the reader," Molly agreed happily. "Whenever she's over she lets the boys go play on their brooms and watches them while reading something."
"I'm ever so proud of her for that and her interest in going toward medical fields or scientific fields when she's graduated," Mrs. Granger said with a beaming smile at her daughter.
"Mum!" Hermione complained lightly.
"So, Mrs. Granger, what do you do all day?" Molly asked.
"Well, my morning starts a bit later than both of yours but I don't have to be at the practice before nine. Whichever of us is up first starts some tea and the other gets a shower. Then we switch and that one makes breakfast." She smiled at the girls. "We look through any bills over breakfast and talk about anything in our schedules for the upcoming day, or complain that they're so packed." She grinned. "That's usually when he volunteers to make dinner. He sees fewer patients because he's seeing speciality mouth problems and I see a lot of children for routine check-ups." She saw a hand raised. "We're both dentists." The girl nodded. "We're the type of doctors who take care of your teeth and any mouth problems. Just last week I saw a horribly impacted tastebud that was infected on a child about your age. Much too much sugary things and he kept biting his tongue there."
"There's a small dentistry just off Diagon," McGonagall told her.
She smiled. "I talked to them. They don't do things in a very *modern* way. We have access to medicines and tools that they haven't heard of. By the way, since I do know, I'd be more than willing to take on patients from the wizarding world." She smiled at the girls. "A boy with a healthy mouth not only has respect for his mouth and body but does tend to be a better kisser." They giggled. "Well, I spend most of my day at the practice. Until about four-thirty or five on a normal day. Then I go home, usually stopping to drop off any dry cleaning like my professional jackets or pick them up if I had dropped them off. We go home, eat dinner, do any straightening up that's bothering us. Then we watch some television or read until bedtime. We tend to do household chores on Saturday or Sunday since we're on call but don't actively see patients those days. That's also when I do my marketing," she said with a nod for Molly.
"What's a vacuum?" one Ravenclaw pureblood girl asked.
"It's a machine that will suck the dirt off the floors and lets you throw it out," Mrs. Granger said. "It's a great invention. Saves me a lot of sweeping and worrying over things in the rugs. We have carpet through most of our house. With the vacuum we can do the whole thing in under an hour."
"How do you beat that many rugs for spring cleaning?" another girl asked.
"We don't, dear. If it's that nasty, we can rent a carpet shampooer. It scrubs the carpet for us and we have to let it dry. That gets out stains and makes it look better in areas where we've walked too often. Muggle carpets do have those that you can remove and clean that way but carpet through the whole house is hitched down. No rolling them up to take them to the laundry line and beat them. Then again, I have a dryer so I don't need a laundry line. I know some women like things that are sun dried but I consider most of them crunchy."
Mrs. Mitchell smiled. "I've seen magical washers and driers. Is yours hitched to the wringer?"
"No. The muggle systems spin on their own. No wringing. We mostly gave up those sort with the wringer back in the 1940's. Every now and then you can find someone with an old one in the country. Mine I drop in clothes, detergent, set it, shut the lid, turn it on and walk off for half an hour or forty-five minutes. Then again, when Hermione's home that's one of her chores for the week." Hermione nodded. "That and her bathroom."
"I could use one of those," Molly sighed. "Arthur can't find one that's been approved."
Mrs. Mitchell took a pen and paper from one of the girls and wrote down an address. "That's where my husband's been looking for ours. They use less water too. Plus no hauling water. They hook directly into the water line." She handed it over with a smile. "They do get things much drier than you can with a wringer."
"Or if you're like my mum, you take everything to the dry cleaner and they wash it all for you," one girl quipped. "But you pay a lot for it."
Mrs. Granger nodded. "All too true. I have to get my jackets for work cleaned and that's about twenty pounds a week. Which I think is about four galleons with the rate they exchanged for me last time at the bank."
"They do regular laundry?" Molly asked.
Mrs. Mitchell smiled and nodded. "We had a small fire in our bathroom thanks to a candle getting too close to the towels when my husband had to soak an injured leg. We used the muggle laundry near our house out of convenience. They charged about two pounds a pound for regular laundry then about five or six dollars per each dry clean only piece."
Mrs. Granger nodded. "That's about what mine charges. I've used it the day we've come back from vacation because we were too exhausted to do more than order take-away and stay sitting." Hermione snickered. "You as well, young lady."
"Me especially," she agreed.
"What's take-away?" one of the purebloods in Hufflepuff asked.
"There's certain restaurants that focus on quick food that's not totally healthy or great tasting but you can order and take it home or some of them deliver," Mrs. Granger said. "Half of ours is Asian food of some sort, with the occasional pizza for Hermione."
"They're not restaurants like you'd go to with your family," Molly assured her when she looked confused. "Nothing like the Castle's Walls in Diagon."
"McDonald's is nearly everywhere," another muggle born told her. "I'm almost surprised there isn't one in Diagon." A few others laughed at that. "Or a KFC."
"Awful chicken but we found a great place that does fried chicken in an Amercian Southern style," Hermione told her. "It's even near her office so we can order for lunch. Much better than KFC. It tastes like real chicken. Plus it comes with things like really fluffy herb biscuits and greens."
"Cooked salad, yuck," her mother said with a delicate shudder. "I don't know where you got the taste for those things, daughter."
Molly snickered. "Greens?"
"Things like dandelion greens," Mrs. Mitchell said with a smile. "My husband took me to the Carribean for our honeymoon and I had some there. They're strange but basically a cooked salad in texture. Some vinegar and they're better than we do with spinach here. No cream sauce or anything. You fry them in a pan with some garlic or something and then serve them warm." She smiled at Hermione. "Where is that?" She wrote down the address and gave it to her. "Thank you. The second?"
"A Jamaican place my father vowed never to go into again because he got *such* heartburn from the spices." She smiled.
"That would be wonderful." She tucked it into her bag. "I'll have to make the husband take me."
"It's a sit down place," Hermione's mother warned. "But I can't be sure the old woman in the kitchen isn't a native witch. Her hair's always held up by this feathered wand thing."
"Interesting. I'll have to pop around there." She smiled at her. "Do many muggle men do the housework?"
"There's more that are handling some of those tasks since usually both parents work these days," Mrs. Granger said. "I've even seen some newly married couples where the groom picks out a lot of the registry gift list for the kitchen. There's a lot of people pushing to go back to the more cooking at home, natural sort of foods instead of things like take-away."
"Then again, we only get take-away maybe twice a month," Hermione said.
"True. And remind me to start on your cooking education this summer, dear."
"I had Home Ec, Mum."
"I'm sure, dear." Hermione rolled her eyes but smiled about it.
"Are the kitchens in muggle homes very different?" one girl asked.
"I've seen Molly's kitchen," Mrs. Granger said. "She has a stove that you have to feed wood into." Molly smiled and nodded. "Mine plugs into the outlet and I get constant heat without having to monitor the fireplace. Now, hers will probably last forever and mine will last about fifteen years, but if I want to cook something I fill a pot and turn on the burner or the oven."
"Which is much more handy," Mrs. Mitchell assured that girl with a smile. "I have a gas range myself. We have gas lines into the home for our water heater, our stove, and a few other things." The girls nodded at that. One of the slytherin girls looked very confused. "You know how some houses have gas tanks that you refill for the heating system?" she asked one. She smiled and nodded. "Well, ours doesn't have a tank and comes directly from the company. We pay a fee monthly for the gas we use. We use it for more than heat though. Our hot water heater runs on it, our stove, our grill out back, and our heating system."
"Oh," she said weakly.
"Arthur and I thought about putting in that sort of heat but it's very expensive to fit a house that's already built," Molly said.
"Yes, it can be. Running pipes if you're going with a heated water radiator system or vents if you're not."
"Though I do adore ours for the simple fact that it has an air conditioner attached," Mrs. Granger admitted. "We have forced air. That's when the heater warms the air and forces it through vent lines throughout the house. It comes out of small registers that you hide on the floor."
"Wow," one girl said. "Can we do that?" she asked McGonagall.
"I do not know if there's a magical version. That would be something to ask someone like Mrs. Mitchell's brother who does home work."
"I think he said someone's working on one but I'm not sure if they've got it done yet," Mrs. Mitchell said with a smile. "Its very handy. You can set a temperature and it'll keep the house right around that temperature."
Mrs. Granger nodded. "It's wonderful. I leave mine set at sixty-eight all year long."
"You can cool yours?" Molly asked.
"Yes, that's what an air conditioner is for." She grinned. "It cools the air the same way it heated it and sends it around the house to cool the rest of it."
"That's marvelous," she said. "We definitely could use that. We have a central fireplace and it heats the house. The upstairs gets it radiated from the central chimney out."
"Percy's room is next to it because he was always cold," Ginny quipped. A few girls chuckled. "Bill's next to it too because he likes heat thanks to Egypt."
Molly nodded. "Definitely." She smiled at her daughter. She looked at Mrs. Granger. "Hermione and you were talking about some things this summer."
"We talked about many things. I try to keep a very firm line of communication open with her. Which topic?"
"Oh!" She beamed at the girls. "In the muggle world, there's pills or shots that can make sure you get pregnant only when you want. Not just because you enjoyed your husband." A few moaned at that. She smiled at Molly. "I found a mediwitch at the hospital who had worked with a muggle practice in the past. She identified a lot of witches before they could come to notice. She said that it usually does not seem to lower your magical abilities but if it does it's only during your usually fertile times and that's only by about ten percent.
"She did advise some systems over others. Including the IUD, which is really for older women instead of growing girls. Your own people who deal in women's issues have something similar but you still use a metal thing instead of ours that's plastic. She did say that the pill wouldn't adversely affect more than about fifteen percent of all witches that way."
"So, a bit of fluxing of your magical strength throughout the month but we get that anyway," Mrs. Mitchell said. A few girls nodded they knew that. "Interesting."
"The methods range from a daily pill, to a weekly patch, to a shot you take every three months or the IUD that can stay in up to a few years."
"Very interesting." She smiled. "We'll have to talk about that this summer," she told her daughter, who nodded quickly.
"Ginny and myself as well," Molly agreed. "That way she has a nice round two or three, as many as she wants."
"None for another ten years," Ginny assured her with a happy grin. "Or more."
Her mother smirked. "Are you planning on working, dear?"
"I'm considering it. It depends on how I end up in school, doesn't it? What about things like healers and aurors? Do they usually only go to unmarried women?"
"When they start their training, yes," Mrs. Mitchell said. "They'd expect you to spend long hours studying. After you're fully trained, then you could find a nice husband, dear. A lot of them do and keep working until they have children, then take a few years off before coming back." She looked at Mrs. Granger. "How do you do education of the younger children?"
"Well, there's the option of pre-school and daycare. Daycare basically takes care of the children and pre-school is teaching them the skills they need to succeed in school. We also have compulsory education starting at age five or six, depending on when your birthday is. So the children spend all day in school and then come home. There's programs to help or even daycare-like places that watch them if you need them there until you finish working.
"Those would help them with their homework or give them time to play. For the truly wealthy there's still governesses and the like. Daycares can have anywhere from two or three children to up to forty or fifty in the same center of varying ages. Hermione's daycare had twenty-three I think total and they focused on learning through play. Then we all plan on how to get our children into the best schools we can. Right now she'd be in a prepatory boarding academy if she wasn't here."
"So you have places where you pay someone to play with the children, watch over them, teach them things while you work?" one girl asked.
"Yes," Mrs. Granger said. "They were especially helpful when Hermione's father took a year off to go do charity dentistry work in Africa. She was a bit early. We had planned for me to have her after he got back. Instead we messed up one night and she showed up but I encouraged him to go. It's good for everyone and it's a great learning experience." She smiled. "I did some of mine during my residency in southern India. I'd love to go back some day but her father hates the heat and refuses." Hermione snickered, nodding. "But maybe we'll go next year or so," she decided.
"How do you become a dentist?" Molly asked.
"It's another type of medical degree. I went to my undergraduate degree for four years. That's typical. I actually had to take an extra semester to get in a few extra classes I wanted to take so I started during a summer term. Then you take your tests, graduate, get accepted to dental school like you would going for a medical degree. So that's another four years plus a year of residency afterward. Then you're a free dentist to set up a practice or join one that's already established."
Mrs. Granger smiled. "I loved university. You get exposed to all sorts of ideas and people that you didn't even know existed. I learned a lot hanging out with the art students but that was the seventies and things were ... a bit odd back then." She smiled. "I went to Cambridge for my bachelor's degree."
"We do have a magical portion within there for a few degrees," McGonagall told them with a smile of her own. "That's where I did my mastery. Is that little French bakery still on the corner by the library's walkway?"
Mrs. Granger beamed. "They turned it into a coffee shop in my day but now it's a coffee, tea, and pastry shop. We used to go there at night to listen to poetry readings and the like. We even got some of the hippie poets from the states some nights."
"So you spent eight years of extra school to do what you do," one of the purebloods asked. Mrs. Granger smiled and nodded. "Do you feel that you missed out on anything by not marrying younger and having a larger family?"
"No, dear. I wouldn't have met my husband if I hadn't gone to dental school. I met him during my next-to-last year. We shared some classes. Though, even if I had been more marriage minded, I still would've stopped at two or three. Preferably one of each. Having one is quite a lot of work." The other mothers nodded they agreed. "I have no idea how Molly manages it with her seven. It would've driven me nuts, even without the added pranks from the magical outbursts." Molly snickered. "Most muggle women don't have large families like Molly's. There's some but a lot of them are due to religious restrictions or encouragements. There's some Catholic families that have ten or so, but the average number of children in England is I think two and a half across the country."
"How do you get an average like that?" one of the Ravenclaws asked. "With a half a child?"
"An average is when you add up all the counts," Hermione said. "In this case, you'd add up all the children born in the country then divide it by the number of parents to see how many the average is."
"Oh!" She nodded. "That goes into statistics." Hermione smiled and nodded. "What's the average in the wizarding world then?"
Molly cleared her throat. "Due to so many pureblood families only having one or two, the average is fairly low. Though Arthur said someone did an average of muggle borns and half-bloods that came out about three of them for each pureblood born."
"Quality over quantity," one Slytherin girl quipped. One of the older ones swatted her.
"No, it's because so many were widowed thanks to the last war," that older ones told her. "You can't have a child without a father around."
"Well, you can," Hermione's mother admitted. "But the sperm has to be specially stored and there's doctors who can do that." They all gaped. She smirked. "We have storage companies that do that and eggs for donation purposes. So if the father's infertile but the mother wants another child, they can agree to go to a bank, pick out the applicant that has the best traits that they want, and use that instead of his own. Then a doctor would insert it."
A few girls gaped. "Young women can also donate extra eggs for those women who can't get pregnant because their own won't work or they've had to take medicine that kills their fertility. There's even some surrogates who can carry it for you if you need them to. I know one who had to do that because his wife had cancer and couldn't."
"I'm sure that's very expensive," Molly said.
"Yes, but if you're that desperate for a child and can't or won't adopt, then that's your only option," Mrs. Granger told her. "I personally would like to see more adopting children but some people feel that their child has to come from them, not from someone else. There's women who spend hundreds of thousands of pounds getting pregnant because they can't do it the natural way."
One of the slytherins looked at her professor. "Is there any way magic can do the same sort of thing? Because a lot of pureblood families might like that so they have the possibility of later heirs from those who're lost."
McGonagall shrugged. "You'd have to ask a medical person who was familiar with their system to see that."
"The mediwitch I talked to about birth control may be a good place to start. She was Marilyn Evans-Pritchard."
The girl wrote down that name. "I'll ask her. It could be a serious help for some families after another war."
"It could, yes," McGonagall agreed quietly. She smiled at the usually quiet and intending to get married right after school young woman. "Does anyone else have any questions for our three mothers?" She saw the door open and an unexpected face show up. "Excuse me." She went to remove the former headmaster. "You should have told us you were getting out of the hospital, Albus. We would've gotten things ready for you."
"What was that?"
"A few mothers of our students giving girls ideas on what they could do with their lives. That way they could make a solidly informed choice."
"I don't believe that's wise," he said. "That could ruin the whole system, Professor."
She snorted. "It's not just widows who work, Dumbledore." She saw someone jogging her way in hospital white robes. "Did he escape?" she demanded.
"Yes, he grabbed one of the nurse's wands," he complained. Dumbledore tried to fight him but she stunned him. "Thank you, Professor."
"We only want him well," she said calmly. She patted Albus on the arm. "We want you well and healthy so you can come take back this crappile of complaints. Do get better faster, headmaster." She summoned the nurse, who came jogging over once she saw why. "Can you help him, Poppy?"
"Definitely." She summoned a stretcher and got him onto it then they floated him off so he could get Dumbledore back to the hospital. She came back adjusting her hat. "How is the talk going? Are they diffusing strange ideas?"
"It appears that we were wrong about a few of them. Birth control does work on witches. Mrs. Granger asked a few of our mediwitches in London."
The nurse gaped. "It does?" She nodded. She walked in there. "Mrs. Granger, who did you talk to? The one I asked had no information on that topic."
She found her card and let her copy it. "She works at St. Mungos now but she was working in a private practice before that."
"Why can't we get tampons?" one girl asked the nurse. "The pads are disgusting."
"What are tampons?"
"Internal blood flow controlling devices," Mrs. Granger said. "I didn't think to bring any because I didn't need one myself. I'll send Hermione a box?"
"That would be wonderful, thank you." She smiled and left, going to floo that nurse. Apparently she was behind in some of her knowledge.
Mrs. Granger smiled at her daughter. "When you start to need some, I'll send you some if they haven't gotten any by then."
"Thanks, mum," she said, ducking her head. That was a topic she didn't want to think about yet. "You might also mention the point you found out about puberty."
"Well, I did find out that pureblood girls do go through it later," she admitted. Both the other mothers looked at her oddly. She smiled. "There's some unfortunate girls who either no one gave The Talk to or who were enticed much too young who have children by Ginny's age, Molly." Molly gasped. "There's some girls having babies as young as eleven. In parts of Africa, girls get married off at about fifteen. The same as they did in the Middle Ages here in Europe. It's incredibly wrong but one of Hermione's muggle classmates is having her second child. Apparently her mother is a failure."
"I'd say," Mrs. Mitchell agreed. She considered it. "I was about seventeen when I finished my womanhood transformation."
"Most of the pureblood girls are around sixteen," McGonagall noted. "Is there any idea why?"
"Some people think it's the preservatives that some companies use in the food. Some think it's because of pollution from industry. Some people think it's because you're fat but I don't fully believe that one." She smiled. "They found that girls who grow up in a city tend to hit that stage first, on average of about six months to a year before their country-raised counterparts. But even the girls who grow up in farm country and never leave the farm still hit it and are through it by fifteen these days."
"Do they raise the children?" Molly asked.
"That depends on the child and the parents. Some adopt them out. Some have their parents adopt them. Some do raise them and struggle to complete school. It does mean that they're probably not ever going to have a great paying job. And there's a suspicious lack of fathering going on because usually the fathers run the other direction. Even if they're old enough, shotgun weddings aren't done much anymore."
"I'll be out of university," Hermione noted. Her mother beamed at her. "If not later."
"So premarital relations are more common," Mrs. Mitchell said.
"Yes. A lot of muggles, boys and girls, don't appreciate the fullness of marriage. They tend to marry later. A good majority tend to live together before the wedding as well."
"Like being handfasted but not officially," Hermione called.
"The average age for marriage among muggles is now in the late twenties. I think it's twenty-six or seven for girls and just slightly lower for boys." Molly shuddered.
"Because most women want the education and the work," one of the girls said. Mrs. Granger nodded. "I'm betting they also put off having children for a few years?"
"Usually. The ones I know didn't have a child for four or five years after their marriages. A lot of people kept nagging them about when they were going to have children," she admitted with a smile. "Which frustrated them a lot. Also, with as many of us as there are, there's a group of people who don't have any at all."
"There's a lot of muggles?" she asked.
"There's almost six billion people in the world, dear," Mrs. Granger told her. "Spread around the world. London has about ten or eleven million of them." The girl shuddered. "China has a billion people all by itself and India's not far behind. That's one very good reason why some muggles do intend to wait until they have children. Until they've saved up a lot for their expenses, the parents have had all the wild adventures they wanted to have, all that."
"It would make all those first baby costs cheaper if you had saved up," Molly agreed. "Otherwise your first few years of marriage will be scrimping and saving. Even in wealthier families. Because buying your own house is expensive. So is setting it up with all the furniture and gardens."
"Some muggle weddings alone can cost up to fifty-thousand pounds," Mrs. Granger said. "The dress can sometimes cost that much in more wealthy families. Some girls are willing to pay for it to have that fantasy first wedding they've dreamed of."
"How many do they usually have?" Pansy demanded.
"That depends on if you figure out you can't stand him and divorce him," Mrs. Granger said. "Some people like Molly and I, I don't know about Mrs. Mitchell's marriage status, manage to have one that they cherish their whole lives. There's some that marry in haste and then regret it. Then they divorce and try again. Sometimes up to five or six times. There's no law limiting the number of times you can get married as long as you divorced the last one first. It might stop some of them and make them think more if there was but that's not up to us."
Mrs. Mitchell coughed. "Actually my husband is my second one. My first one died in a brooming accident shortly after our six month anniversary," she said. Mrs. Granger patted her on the arm. "I believe I made a good choice both times." She smiled at her. "Muggle girls date first, right?"
"Yes. You usually date a few different ones until you find one that you like, then you see them exclusively until you either decide they're the one to marry or you break up and try again. I dated five men before I met Dan." She grinned. "Two art students at university to get my own wild urges out. That's when I realized I wanted someone steadier like Dan was."
"Many pureblood girls are in arrangements," Molly told her.
"Not to be indelicate or snooty sounding, but is that because of all the past intermarriages?" Mrs. Granger asked. "Hermione told me about helping you plan for your family reunion."
"Some," she admitted with a smile. "I'd love for my boys to find a good witch overseas due to that, but I'd be happy with *any* daughter-in-law at this point." She looked at Hermione, who pointed at Hannah, making Molly gape in awe. Hannah nodded with a small smirk. "We'll talk later, dear." Hannah grinned.
"I just hope my girl finds someone decent that I won't have to kill for mistreating her," Mrs. Granger said. "Because I may be a dentist but if her choice for husband hurts her I'll show just how much pain your mouth can cause your body."
"Not ready for that yet," Hermione quipped. "I'll date some wild art students myself first. Right after I backpack to all the world's great libraries."
"I like that idea, dear. I took a great many trips during my college summers by rail. I even made it footsteps into Communist Russia. And promptly nearly got arrested because I didn't have the right paperwork for that, even though the train was only passing through and I wasn't getting off. I couldn't even be confused for one of James Bond's girls but they still got suspicious because I'm British." She smiled at the other girls. "There's a very good rail system all over Europe. You can buy a rail pass to let you go nearly anywhere. Get a passport, a bag, and pick a city. We've even connected our rail system to the ones in France by the Chunnel."
"Chunnel?" one pureblood asked.
"They built a rail tunnel under the English Channel," a muggle born in her house told her. "So the train goes under the Channel's bottom to France." The girl squeaked. "Or there's the ferries."
"Or if you can afford it, airplanes, but that's expensive and most of the bigger cities' airports are crowded, loud, and partially disgusting," Mrs. Granger agreed. "Last time we went through the one near Paris, it was like some Chaos God showed up and declared it his new home temple then ordered everyone to be ruder than usual." Hermione cackled, nodding.
"How many countries have you been to?" Molly asked, looking down at her.
She counted. "Nineteen but if you count different areas in India, which can be like a totally separate country based on the dominant religion of the area, twenty-two. Plus we summer in France for our holidays most years." She smiled. "I've been through, on the train, another ten or so but I didn't get off, just saw the sights as the train rolled through."
"Do you encourage that?" McGonagall asked.
"I do," she said with a grin. "It's wonderfully broadening to see how others do things and what they consider important. I met some very strange folk but I also met some of the nicest ones. When I was in Italy I helped an older woman who had just dropped some laundry. She nagged me about how I was helping her fold things so she taught me properly then introduced me to her son."
She grinned and winked at the teacher. "He was very cute, but he was interested in a stay-at-home wife and I knew I wanted dentistry by then. He also wanted a leggy, perfect woman like Sophia Loren, but I was not that ideal." The girls looked clueless. "I should send Hermione a book on the screen goddesses of yesteryear. Very classy, intelligent, beautiful women. I consider them a much better role model than half the ones in movies today."
Hermione summoned something and it came floating in. She caught it and flipped to an article, bringing it to her mother. "Comparing the classy ones then and now." She went back to her seat. "I was reading it for the hairstyles," she admitted at the odd looks. "Mine does nothing." They all nodded they realized that.
Her mother brought the book down. "This is Sophia Loren. She's an Italian screen goddess and most men would fall at her feet to worship her as their ideal woman." She let them pass that around and went back to her seat. "Some of the modern actresses have that same style and class, but too many are doing stupid things for publicity like not wearing underwear and then getting out of a car in just the wrong manner." McGonagall choked. She nodded. "There's been more than one. It's called a wardrobe malfunction." McGonagall nodded quickly, getting some water to clear her throat. "Plus there's a whole generation that seems to do nothing but drink and party. Or do drugs. I'd rather my daughter want to be one of the older style instead."
"I'd love to be Audrey Hepburn, Mum, but I'm not that graceful, tiny, and my hair's never going to do that."
Her mother smiled. "We can tame your hair, Hermione. I just haven't wanted to ruin it with straighteners and you can't bring a flat iron here."
"Good point. I have got to work on that problem." McGonagall glared at her. "It'd be nice to have music and an alarm clock sometimes." A few of her housemates nodded. So did some of the Slytherins.
"Would you have had a second child?" one of the girls asked Mrs. Granger.
"I tried for almost a year but it wasn't meant to be. Hermione would've been a fantastically overprotective big sister," she said with a smile for her daughter. "But I couldn't get pregnant." She smiled at that girl. "Sometimes you may want but it won't work. We even thought about adopting at one point in time but it was a lot of paperwork and then you can get used to a child that the system refuses to let you adopt and all that.
"We talked about it for nearly five years before we decided it'd hurt too much to get a new baby and not be able to keep her because some social worker said that we work too hard or something. The social worker system is a bit...red tapish. There's a lot of rules, regulations, and the enforcement varies by which ones are paying attention to which case. They're all overworked and a lot of times go for the easier answer, which isn't always the best."
"Why does this one have a baby that's a different color?" one of the Slytherin girls asked.
She got up to look. "She's visiting children in Africa. It was a well-televised charity tour." She smiled at the girl. "Though, not all that uncommon. There's people from almost every single country now in England. They do intermarry sometimes." She went back to her seat.
"Mrs. Granger, do you miss not staying home with your daughter like Mrs. Weasley does?" one of the Ravenclaws asked.
"No. I knew what I wanted. I was mature enough to work toward my goal. I certainly could have taken a year or two off the practice to stay home with her but I felt I do more good helping people and she needed to get out to be among other children. Though she did come to the office with me more than once. She used to horribly con our receptionist out of her sugar free peppermint candies." She smiled. "I would've went nuts sitting home all day like Molly does. I need to be out, doing things, talking to people, helping people.
"Being a stay-at-home mother like she is would've seriously ruined my mind when I went round the bend after Hermione nagged me for three hours. There were plenty of days when I didn't want to be a mother because she wouldn't quit fussing about something I didn't and couldn't understand. I firmly believe that some people are meant to be stay-at-home mothers. They have the maternal instinct, they can stand to be in the house all day with the baby, they can stand doing all the housework all the time like she does.
"I also firmly believe I'm not one of them. I never was. Even as a child I wasn't the 'let's play house with my dollies' sort of girl." She grinned. "Most women and girls have some level of maternal instinct. The trick to finding your happiness is to figure out where your level is set and if you're happy with that. If you're not going to be happy sitting home all day then find a job that will give you that satisfaction and plan on having a baby someday, when you're ready. Nothing outside some very old traditions say that girls have to have a baby at nineteen and then one every single year until they either die from it or they can't have any more.
Molly smiled at her. "There were many days when the children, especially the twins, drove me 'round the bed, dear. Really. I let the bigger boys handle it and went to scream in the orchard."
"Yes but I don't have an orchard and my nearest neighbors would call the police the first time I started to scream." Molly snickered. "I couldn't do it. I'd probably have taken off with her on some whirlwind backpacking trip for most of her childhood just so we weren't in the house all day long." Hermione was snickering. "But seriously, girls. Do what makes *you* happiest. If being a wife and mother is it, then I wish you all happy marriages and very little strife within it. If being a working mother is for you, then I hope you find a wonderful career that makes you happy like myself and Mrs. Mitchell. I hope you have a good husband who wants to help with things, and maybe he'll want to stay home and raise the babies." She beamed. "Some fathers are stay-at-home fathers now. It's almost fashionable." A few girls gaped but a few giggled to. "Honestly."
Mrs. Mitchell nodded. "I know a few who had to retire and their wives went to work instead so the husband does all the wifely chores and does the cooking. It's not unheard of. Though I do agree. Find whatever makes you happy. I knew I couldn't stay home all by myself, even if I could have afforded to after my second marriage. I was used to getting out there, seeing people every day, doing more than another load of wash or sweeping the same room for the fifth time in a week. I honestly am in awe of any woman like my mother and Molly here who can do that. Though I may take Mrs. Granger's idea of a rail trip soon. It sounds exciting." She smiled at her. "What will you do when you get grandchildren?"
"Sob brokenly for a few days with Hermione and then remind her she'll do just as fine of a job as I did, if not better since she saw where I made mistakes." She smiled. "You?"
"I'm coming up on that dreadful point in about four months." Her daughter moaned. "He announced it last night at dinner. You might want to send him something but she's in distress and sobbing about it. She wanted to wait a few more years. Though he's not making her quit working so that's very good of him."
"You know, some of the other European countries actually give a few years of paid maternity leave."
She nodded. "She's in Germany right now and looked into that. Her bosses swore so she said she'd be taking very little time off and he can take time off." She smiled. "He is looking forward to doing all those things with the baby like walks in the park."
"Did you remind him diapers and colic come first?" Mrs. Granger quipped.
"No, I decided I'd let him be happy and not shatter his dreams for a few days. He'll remember that his sisters had it eventually." She looked at her daughter. "You can wait, correct?"
"I'm looking at the auror academy, Mother."
"Excellent." She beamed. "I like that idea. There's a few now so have you written to them?"
"Not yet. I'm going to before the end of the year so I can get their take on what it really takes."
"Good." She smiled. "I like that bit of intelligence." She smiled at the girls in the room. "So, are there other questions, ladies?" They all stayed silent. "Then I wish you a happy Saturday since it's still bright and sunny outside. I hope we've given you some things to think about as you make your life's choices, and I hope you make ones that you're happy with."
Mrs. Granger smiled. "If you need information that muggle girls your age might have, just ask Hermione to send me an owl, ladies. Girls your age all over the world have to think on the same things." The girls clapped and left chatting with each other. She hugged her daughter. "How close are you to those girlish moments?"
"Not very," she said dryly. "I have no version of feeling strange down there, Mum." It was very..odd sometimes having a mother that wanted and demanded constant communication, honesty, and did supportive things. Unlike her original parents in every possible way.
"Good. I'm not ready for you to start dating yet." She smiled. "I'll give your father your love."
"Thanks, Mum." She hugged her and her mother left, letting Molly get her home. She shook Mrs. Mitchell's hand as well. "Thank you."
"It's not a problem, Miss Granger. I wish the women of my mother's generation had been honest with me." She smiled and left talking with the professor.
Ron was lounging in the doorway when Hermione turned around. "Done talking about girl things and babies?"
"Yes, I believe we are." She smirked at him. "Though it was more 'this is your life options' sort of talk than all about boobs and periods."
"That's good I guess." He walked out with her, meeting the rest of the group and a lurking Malfoy. He stared at him. "If you want to join in, quit lurking. Be a man and walk over, Malfoy." He sat down on the bench. "She didn't even stop to nag."
"She gave me a hopeful look when we got to wives so I pointed at Hannah," Hermione said with a smile.
"Brilliant!" He beamed back. Hannah giggled as she joined them. She had went to get her cloak.
Luna drifted by reading something upside down like usual but it wasn't the Quibbler or a book any of them recognized. Except for Harry, who took it from her. She glared at him. He stared back. "It's important."
"It's not important. It's dangerous." He grinned. "I'll feed you to Ron's brother's dragons if you try to bring one back."
"I'd never do that. The dead should stay dead, Harry." She took it back and walked off again. "By the way, there's midnight ink."
"I knew that. I helped write the damn thing," he complained. She smirked at him and continued to walk around the group muttering. Harry listened then rolled his eyes. "I have a privacy ward up, Luna."
"Not a good one."
"Fine." He looked at the other two girls. "Feel better?"
"It was a good talk," Hannah assured him, grinning at Hermione. "Think you'll ever get that magazine back?"
"Probably not but it's not a cherished relic or anything. Is there a book on hairstyling?"
Harry looked at her. "Have *I* been through the library?"
"Good point." She went to ask one of the Ravenclaw upper years. "Is there a book on how to straighten hair with a potion or something?"
"Now and then Witch World Weekly has something. Or Teen Witch's Annual."
"Thank you." She walked off thinking about it. If she had to, she'd make her own damn spell. She hated her hair. Ron subtly swished his wand, making her shriek and attack him when her hair got pulled up into a braid standing straight up. "Ron Weasley, I'm going to murder you!"
He laughed and fended her off. While he was doing that, Harry changed the color and Luna made it a beehive. So now she was a pink-haired version of Marge Simpson. She swatted them too before stomping off. No simple 'finite' was going to undo that monstrosity.
Neville spotted her and stared, head tipped slightly. "Ron?" he guessed.
"Ron, Harry, and Luna," she huffed. "Can you uncharm it, Neville?" He tried and shook his head. She sighed, going to McGonagall. "It won't be uncharmed."
"Oh, dear." She pulled her closer. "Well, I see a lot of hairpins." She helped her bring it down. The color wouldn't go away. She could change it to something more...natural but she couldn't change it back to its natural color. But the frizzy curls had been pulled straight for a while. She taught the girl how to put her hair up in a stylish bun and it was better. Hermione gave her a quick grin, a thank you hug, and then went back outside to finish beating up her friends. McGonagall smiled. That was a very good thing she supposed. Hermione made a fiery looking dark brunette.
Lucius pulled his son from the school for the holidays, staring at him when he came in. "Are you alone?"
"Sanda's back watching over Harry. He's thinking too hard he said. Sanda said that's usually the sign that Harry's going to break out into mischief or a battle." He smirked. "I also left a time delayed paint bomb in his trunk for giving me a headache."
Lucius awkwardly patted him on the shoulder. "At least you're getting back at him for this trying ordeal."
"I've learned a lot. Especially about the pre-Merlin history that started with the demon courts and what magics they could wield. Did you know to kill Sanda and Harry's first life, a few demons diverted a comet so it'd hit the tower they were in?" His father shuddered. "They could do very scary things we cannot."
"I'd hate to see anyone who could," Narcissa said as she joined them. "Let me see the marks, Draco? Who did them?" He looked around then took off his sweater and shirt, letting her look them over. "Very finely done. I can barely feel the magic in them."
He looked back at her. "Each year on solstice I need to bleed a bit, wipe it over the marks, and then say the small rite to recharge them. It'll be a very thin coating though. And it'll hopefully hurt less than when Severus tried to do it both times."
She smiled. "I don't see any botched lines."
"Mother, he had to remove the skin on my back, regrow it, then start again. Thankfully I was unconscious. I wish I had been for Snape's." He put back on his shirt and sighed, looking at them. "I'm starved and tired and I can't decide which is worse." His mother chuckled, leading him to the table.
Lucius shook his head. At least his son's drama queen tendencies were better and easier to deal with. "Have you learned many other things, son?"
"Quite a few. Though he won't teach me any spells. He said I have to go to his temple and pull the books out of the closet like any other student." He nibbled on a bite of roast. "They did a very good job, Mother." She smiled. He looked at his father. "May we go to Turkey this summer, Father?" His father stared. "There's three possible temples. One in Turkey by the coast, one in Syria which has muggle problems, and one in upper Africa. I'm nowhere near ready for that one."
"I'll consider it. Where in Turkey?"
"Safra." He winced. "No, that's where they were. There's a demon city with a portal that only the Old Ones could use named Celedin. It's near where Safra was/is out of time." He ate another bite. "He said he's paying attention here because we have three of those thrice damned ancient spirits here." He considered it and got up, heading to the floo at a run. Sanda said that was a bad thing. "Hermione Granger, Gryffindor common room." No answer. "Ron damn it Weasley." He popped up. "Sanda said there's three here."
Ron nodded. "We just blew up another six and Harry said he's going to paste you for that color bomb." He smirked. Harry said something and he looked back then at him. "Can Sanda cast the grounding spells?" Draco considered it then nodded. "Can you?"
"Yes. He's teaching me."
"Do it to them. That'll link them as a living soul again instead of ascended."
"I can do that." He hung up and went to cast them out of the garden. His mother gasped. "Whatever Dumbledore did let Ascended beings back into our world and they hate magic. They said to ground them," he said through gritted teeth. That one was fighting him. A flash appeared and two disappeared then the other one screamed and wailed but it was grounded. Which Lucius then killed. Draco panted, looking at the flash of light. "You're Castiel."
"I am." He stared at him. "Luna asked me to help you. There's another but it's the one that's been watching. I'm not sure why he is interested in you, Draco Malfoy." Draco nodded at that and Castiel disappeared.
Draco went limp, leaning on his father's arm. "That's Luna Lovegood's guardian angel Castiel."
Lucius looked at him. "I wish to hear more of this. Let's go back inside so you can rest." He walked him in there and put him in his seat. His mother already had a restorative potion ready. "I found the book on those beings but I could not figure out what Dumbledore did to let them back in."
Draco drank the restorative then half of his cup of tea. He looked at his father. "Potter didn't survive. Dumbledore pulled Alexander on purpose from his rest." Lucius shuddered. "They were thankfully between lives. Unfortunately in another realm where they had just saved Atlantis in another galaxy."
"That's not possible," Narcissa said.
"Actually, Mother, Granger proved that muggles have visited the moon and other planets by less personal means. She has pictures of their city there and the space craft, all that."
Narcissa stared at him. "Muggles are very pushy."
He nodded. "Yes, they are, but they do come up with some fascinating ideas. Father, you need to talk to Miss Eversome about what she learned and her idea. I don't believe her parents would like it very much but it could be very handy."
"For what?" Lucius asked.
Draco finished his tea. "Did you know that muggles have a way of storing seeds? Male seeds? And eggs?" His father blanched, shaking his head. Draco nodded. "So that later on, someone could have their child. Like if perhaps they died in a war?"
"I'll talk to her tomorrow," he decided. He could see the uses of that and how it could help a great many families. "How would you harvest them?"
"In muggle women, they give them some sort of medicine that makes them release extra eggs then they do an exam and pull them out. For men, they have a cup they then freeze."
"Ah." He nodded. "It wouldn't take too long then." He looked at his wife.
"That would be a great benefit to a great many families that could use some extra heirs," she agreed. Lucius nodded. She went to call that girl's family to talk to her mother. Her mother was scowling but Narcissa told her how she had learned of it and what a benefit that could be. Her own family needed a male heir and didn't have one.
Lucius looked at his son. "I want the specifics on where in Turkey." Draco nodded since his mouth was full of beef. "Are you learning anything?"
"From Snape, McGonagall, and Williams. Flitwick I'm already ahead in." He grimaced. "Professor Williams is hard on everyone. His test nearly killed a few of the Hufflepuffs. One passed out during it from the stress and strain."
Lucius smirked. "It's good practice for the OWLs and NEWTs."
"That's what he said. Plus it was harder in his day."
"Quite," Lucius agreed. "You've had two years of bad teachers."
"I learned a lot about all sorts of nasty creatures from Williams, Father. Apparently all curse breakers are very blunt, very honest, and happy when they survive. You should've seen what they found in the Chamber." Lucius grimaced. "A very ancient book of rituals."
"Has the board seen that?" he asked.
"I think only the bank has seen it to preserve it for scholarly reading over."
"Good. I'll look into that." Narcissa came back. "They found a book of ancient rites in the Chamber."
"Excellent. We can go read it at the bank." She smiled. "Your yearmate is very happy to be able to explain her idea and her father decided it was a good idea even if he didn't want his daughter thinking of such things."
"She needs to marry a second or third son of some lesser family so he'll take her name," Draco noted. "Unfortunately Weasley and Abbot are true mates."
"Well, there's always the other three younger ones," Lucius said dryly.
Draco had a thought hit his head. He looked up. "I do not want to know what Potter does in the shower, thank you," he called. It changed. He rolled his eyes and looked at his father. "He sent the wrong one. He's picking on Harry again." Lucius shuddered. "Did you know the crucio is demonic magic based?" His father spluttered. "Which explains why so many that have had it done to them and who cast it no longer can father children. Apparently it does taint the user."
"You were born after my first use," Lucius said dryly.
Draco pointed at his mother. "If I'm a stronger born sacrifice than she was....."
"It magnified what she had and went into you," Lucius sighed. "Interesting. Any other notes?"
"The Imperious was a healing spell for those who went insane or something. The death curse was ... he's saying a Viking invention and he should ask Anya?" She appeared, staring at him. "You're...."
"Anyanka." She smiled. "Sanda asked that I come explain something to you since I'm between calls?"
"The death curse. He said it was Viking in origin and I wanted to know if using it tainted the user," he told her.
She considered it then nodded. "It probably would, Draco. It was originally created for a Godly war to rend the other side's lesser, ungodly warriors. Basically against the Valkyries and the Warriors of Valhalla's halls." She stared at him. "The one who used it during a battle had it deflected back at him by Balfor I believe and it killed him."
"Then why did it turn the Dark Lord into a ghoul?" Draco asked.
She smirked. "The cursebreakers have that answer. They only have to try to destroy them. But that's a very good question, Draco. You are learning a lot from Sanda." She patted him on the head. "Never make me come to see your wife or mistress." She disappeared.
He shivered. "Maybe I'll go gay." His mother cleared her throat. "Anyanka, over Women Scorned, Mother."
She blinked at her husband. "I thought I recognized her."
"I let the others have her," Lucius complained. "That way you wouldn't have to call her on me, wife."
Draco looked at him. "You threw over Mother for a mistress?" He looked at his mother then at his father. "Are you blind? Or is she the sort that runs you over in bed, Father?" Narcissa squeaked and blushed, ducking her head but shaking it. "Sorry but Professor Williams told the boys in my year about girls while the girls were being talked to about womanly things and their futures. I learned a lot about what women like, need, and will hold you down to get." He poured himself more tea and sipped it. "I had no idea Potter read filthy magazines either but Anya came in to teach us what women liked and didn't like when Williams got tongue tied at one of Weasleys' questions. She was *quite* blunt. Much more blunt than a cursebreaker." He finished his tea and got more.
His mother got up and kissed him on the head for that compliment to her beauty and prowess in bed then went to her room to blush in private.
His father waited until they were alone. "I've never had a woman beg for anything, son. Most women do not."
Anya reappeared and sat down to correct that oversight. Then his wife would be happy and less uptight. He could tell others so their wives were getting the good stuff. Draco listened and ate during it, even though a few times Lucius wasn't sure *he* was old enough to hear some of that information.
"I asked Weasley. He said some people can charm those things to vibrate," Draco chirped with a smile. "For the witches who need it." His father swatted him. Anya beamed and went into an in-depth use of vibrators for him. Draco managed to eat half the cake before his father realized and sent him to bed. He and Anya stayed up comparing torture methods. She was.... incredibly scary and it was exciting. He learned a lot from her.
Hannah showed up on Draco's door. "You called?" she asked dryly.
"My mother needed a suggestion on where to shop."
"I'm heading there to find something nice myself." She beamed and took Narcissa with her. Narcissa was blushing but the lingerie shop was very nice. Very eye opening for Narcissa. And Hannah. She had no idea girls had things like this. Especially not the bras that even Rodney would've called feats of structural engineering prowess. She handed Narcissa something and pointed at the changing room. Narcissa went to look at herself in the mirror. Hannah picked out her first few bras and paid for them. Narcissa came out and paid for hers as well. Then they dropped Narcissa off at her favorite dress shop so Hannah could go home. She ran into an ambush of her father and uncle. She stared at them. "Mum said I should go bra shopping."
"I agree," he told her. "We need to talk about your future spouse, Daughter."
"I'm marrying Ron Weasley, Father." He laughed. She stared at him then did something that no student could do. He gaped in horror. Her brother was stunned. She called the scroll to her and looked at it before handing it over. He read and swallowed. She smiled. "Ron's my actual mate," she said quietly. "Which is why you've probably gotten rumors of us hanging around with him and Harry."
Her father carefully rerolled it. "So...." he started then stared at her. "I see."
She nodded. "I was called into this life to encourage others to have hope and to find the joy in things." She smiled. "To encourage them to find life."
"Because Dumbledore screwed the pooch when he did something to Harry as a baby. It let in those spirits that keep attacking people. Also, there was going to be another war." Her father moaned and sat on the stairs, staring at her. "There won't be now. We agreed on that."
"Just you two?" he asked quietly.
"Luna." She smiled. "She was actually pretty tough in her last life. This time, the spot visions are ruining her mind." She shrugged. "Anyway." She beamed. "So I'm here to encourage happiness, encourage people to refind a reason to live life, Father. Me and my true mate."
"How...." He licked his lips. "How long have you known?"
"Since I volunteered. Whatever Dumbledore did changed things. This isn't the normal way things happen. Usually no one would know but the myth prophecy would show up suddenly and people would start to wonder." She sat down across from him. "In fact, there's a few of us right now because of the way Dumbledore messed up. Usually it'd only take one. Then I'd meet my mate somewhere when we were older so we could get back together. Or so I'm told. This is only my second assignment. I volunteered a few lives ago."
He nodded. "We were hoping you'd marry a lesser noble to raise the family up."
She patted him on the hand. "I have a sister."
"Is she?" Hannah shook her head with a smile. "Then that's wonderful." He stared at her. "What about when you're older?"
"I'll live my life like any other witch but at the same time I'll pick a life that will encourage others to find happiness. I was thinking a marriage counselor or something. The wizarding world could use one."
Her father nodded. "If you mean someone wives could go complain to? Yes."
"Actually, it could be for both husband and wife to talk their problems out with. To help them settle arguments and the like."
"Interesting idea." He considered his daughter. "What about before then?"
"I was born into this family because they thought it was a good place to help from. That's one reason I'm a Hufflepuff." She smiled. "Though my dickhead mate is too busy playing pranks right now. He's enjoying this growing up thing." She shrugged. "I'm waiting on him to grow up too."
"It could be years since he's a Weasley," he pointed out.
"I know. Though he is a fighter. So he's got that strength underneath the goofy, prank playing, flying exterior." Her father smirked for a minute. "I'm still your daughter. I was born into this family, Father. Even if I am a recycled soul."
"Good point." He patted her on the knee. "What did you buy?"
"Things to make Ron's mouth go dry and him to stare in awe long enough to quit eating." She smirked. "I swear he's a pig right now."
"All boys go through that." He stared at her. "Your grades?"
"It's my first magical life," she said quietly. "My last one I was American and in the military."
"Oh." He nodded once. "That's interesting to know." He stared at her. "How does that change anything else?"
"Not a bit." She smiled. "I'm still your daughter by birth. They just decided I'd be born a bit recycled."
"That's fine. I'll set it up with your sister." He stood up. "I don't want to see anything happen before you've graduated. He may not come over for more than teas. You will act like a good girl."
"I'm not really looking forward to that stuff, Father." He snorted. "I was a guy before. Both lives." He shuddered. "Yeah. So let's not even consider that I'd have that thought before I'm very ancient. Too ancient to give you grandchildren."
He patted her on the head. "I like that idea best, Hannah. Anything else I should know?"
She held up her allowance bag. "I only spent half of it."
"Then you did better than your mother had hoped." He unfroze his son and they went to the office to make plans for the second daughter. That one had a higher calling, like being a religious sort. That's how he'd think about it. She was still his first daughter.
Hannah sighed and took her bag upstairs to put into her trunk and change into one. She had to get used to wearing a bra. She didn't like it, but she'd have to try. She grimaced. "How do women not mind this?" she muttered. She spotted Hedwig waiting and let her in, taking the note. "Thanks, Hedwig." She petted her and let her fly off. She looked at the note from Hermione. She was complaining about bras too. Luna too. So apparently all of them could get used to it. She sent an owl to Tonks. Sam had to go through the same thing so maybe she had ideas.
"At least it's not a corset," she decided. She would've started Women's Liberation in the wizarding world so she could burn corsets if she had to wear one.
Harry looked at the pouty girls and sighed. "First, underwire hurts," he said quietly, making McGonagall flinch. It was the holidays and almost no one had stayed outside of them. "Secondly, did you get them fitted?" They pouted but nodded. "Then wear something without underwire. Neither of you need structural support features." They blushed and ducked down. "Thirdly, thank everything it's not a Victorian corset." Hermione shuddered. Luna whimpered. He grinned. "Really." They nodded. "Also, sit up straight. It'll help where they dig into your ribs." They sat up and sighed, eating dinner.
McGonagall cleared her throat. It was just them at dinner that night. Snape had already eaten and left. "Do you ladies need some girl questions answered?"
"I hate bras," Hermione told her. "I truly hate bras." McGonagall laughed and nodded. "They hurt, they don't feel good. It's too tight."
Luna nodded. "The wires poke me in the wrong spot. The lady said they were supposed to be comfortable."
"Underwire is not ever meant to be comfortable," Harry said. "It's for support. Like bridge wires are." They both snorted. "Hey, feel lucky neither of you are larger like some of the girls are. If you were as well built as Sissy Sensals, you'd be in more pain."
"How that girl does it I'm not sure," McGonagall admitted. "There is the corset option. They're not that bad and they do firm up your waist as well."
Hermione looked at her. "No. Thank you anyway. I don't think I could stand that."
"Some of the strapless ones are like that," Harry told her. They all looked at him. "Remember me talking about B and W?" They nodded. "And how they shopped and dragged me with them to be their approval committee?" Hermione shuddered. Luna whimpered. "Exactly. If it's not comfortable, take them back and get something more comfortable."
Luna nodded. "I can do that." Hermione nodded. They finished up and got their bags, plus the receipts, taking them back to the store. McGonagall watched them aparate with awe but they'd handle that later. She looked at the saleswoman. "They lied and said they were comfortable."
She smiled. "Not all bras are comfortable, ladies. Let's see what you bought." She looked them over and got them something else. That helped and they both sighed in pleasure as they got out of the fancy torture devices. They couldn't exchange those but every woman needed a bra that made her look like the Alps sometime, even young ones. They went back to school feeling better. It was so cute! She loved the first time bra buyers!
Draco looked up, grimacing. "I'm only old enough to appreciate the effect. I'm not old enough to need to know how they pick them, Sanda," he muttered. He flipped over and tried to go back to sleep. Apparently Sanda didn't understand women's clothes either. "Go ask my mother."
Sanda floated in there, finding her brushing her hair. He pulled up some energy to appear in her mirror, making the brush pause. "Why do women wear such things as bras?"
She blinked at him. "Because men appreciate the effect and to cover up that time and gravity has taken hold of our bodies. Are you teaching Draco about those?"
"A few of the girls in the group had to buy some and they are confusing."
"They probably are to them as well. I'm assuming you're Sanda?" He smiled and nodded. "What did your women wear?" He created a picture of some of the villages he had been in. "Men don't like women who look like they're saggy," she told him.
"Back then either but it meant they were good mothers." He grimaced. "It's still strange."
She nodded. "Yes they can be. But necessary if a young woman wants to keep a man's interest." She put down her brush. "Then again, married women wear them so our husbands retain interest."
"In my people, husbands were interested or the wives chopped them up."
She smiled. "I nearly have. He learned quickly but now and then something nice or sensual would draw his attention back where it belongs."
Sanda just nodded. "I still don't understand."
"Then go ask one of the young ladies."
"Then I'd have to borrow your son and it seems like you don't like me doing that."
"Should my son get hurt because of you or something you show him, I will make sure that your afterlife is very...uncomfortable." He grinned and disappeared. She took off her dressing robe and strolled down to Lucius' office. He was reading and didn't look up when she cleared her throat. She rolled her eyes and walked off.
Draco walked past her on his way to the kitchen. "Mother, go in there and sit in his lap if you want his attention. You know how he is when he reads."
She pinched him on the cheek. "Thank you, my son." She strolled back in there. Lucius glanced up then dropped his book and stared at her, mouth slightly open. She smiled. "Like it? Miss Abbot helped me find it."
He nodded once. "Quite a lot, Narcissa."
She smirked. "Good." She strolled off. "Perhaps the ...devices in my bedside drawer will as well."
He put his book on the desk and blew out the lantern before following her. "I don't believe you need those." He heard his son snicker. "Go to bed, Draco."
"I'm just getting a few cookies," he called. He waited until he heard their suite's door slam shut. "And avoiding any noise." The house elves stared at him. "Mother and Father should have breakfast in bed tomorrow." They nodded. "Something romantic and easy to feed to each other if they wish." He sipped his milk, going up there once he realized they did have a silencing spell up. That was very kind of them. He did not want to hear his parents having sex. Even if Sanda was showing him images of him and his past wives, and the few times he had regenerated into a girl. That was weird. No wonder all the women in Potter's harem were weird.
Lucius woke up when a house elf came near him, scowling at it. "What?" he snarled.
"Son said to give you breakfast up here." He held up the tray. "Nice things but not too messy." He took it and the house elf came back with a pot of tea and two cups, putting them on the other side of the bed. Then he disappeared again. He watched in awe as the heir locked them in there then walked off smirking.
Lucius felt the spell. "I'll get that spirit yet." Narcissa hummed, stretching as she woke up. "Our son decided we needed breakfast in bed."
She smiled. "He was always a very thoughtful son." She sat up and pulled back on the nightgown since he had liked it on her more than her naked. She knew she was a middle aged witch now. No matter how well her body was sculpted it still showed its age in places. She took the tray and opened the covers, smiling. "That's very thoughtful of them." She fed him a bite, making him less grumpy. She got them some tea as well and they settled in to eat and talk about Draco. They eventually moved to the small table in there. It was easier and they didn't have to worry about spilling tea on the bed.
Lucius looked at his son on Sunday night, when they had finally gotten free. "Son, tell me about the girls in that group?"
"Hermione 'know it all' Granger, the Lovegood heiress, and Abbot-future-Weasley?" he said dryly. "Why?"
Lucius considered it. "Abbot is from a good family."
"She and Weasley are true mates."
"Oh." He watched his son sip his tea. "What about Lovegood?"
"Father..." He sighed. "No. Beyond the fact that her last life was as a male so she's very confused about womanly things, I could not put up with her father. Nor her spot visions that apparently send her into a slight case of madness that only her guardian angel can cure. I believe there may be some true mating going on there as well, or was in that other realm. As for Hermione 'know it all' Granger? She's going to university, possibly a muggle one, to work as either a surgeon or back into the scientific fields." Lucius shuddered. "Apparently in her last life she was some sort of engineering genius for space ships and the like."
Lucius sighed. "I'm worried that you'll never find a good wife with that extra spirit."
"Sanda was married about every single life of his, Father. I've heard much too much about his former wives while he was trying to figure out the problems that the girls in the group have."
Lucius nodded. "Your mother said he asked about female undergarments."
Draco nodded. "That's still confusing him."
"It does me as well." He sipped his own tea. "Why did your mother buy that?"
"To gain your interest again?" Draco guessed. "Even if your marriage was arranged, she does want the husbandly interest now and then, Father. Sanda said it's a lot more fun when you're not thinking about conception. Which is a horrible thought," he complained at the ceiling. "I don't care if that's why Weasley's mother had so many children."
Lucius snickered. "Me either." He sighed as he drank some more. "Is there anyone you are interested in?"
Draco looked at him. "You know I'm only a second year, correct?"
Lucius nodded. "We had the list narrowed down by the holidays that year to Narcissa or two others. It was decided my next year."
Draco shook his head. "I'd rather not, Father. Or if I must, I'd rather have a woman from somewhere else. That way we get new blood and all. Like the great Weasley family reunion coming up, there's not many we're not related to."
"Good point." He considered it. "Greek witches are said to be pretty and have fiery souls. Italian ones as well. German witches are said to be sturdy but I'm not sure what they meant by that." He shook his head quickly. "Maybe a Turkish wife? Some of them are said to be very modest and quiet."
"I'd rather have one that stimulated me for more than an heir making session." He finished his tea and his sandwich. "Someone who wanted to talk to me, read with me, travel with me maybe?" Lucius nodded slowly at that. "Someone who was there for more than the money and the name?"
"That may be possible but I'm not sure, son."
"Well, at least we can ask them. Go through a solicitor or something."
"That could be, yes." He considered it. "It would be nice if there was someone closer who would understand."
"Unless I take in Potter...." Lucius looked horrified. Draco smirked. "Not much there, Father. Bill Weasley perhaps."
"I'd hate to curse you for either of those choices." Draco smirked. "I did read those books."
"Harry still wants the tournament so Bill meets her. And hopefully we'll manage to save Cedric since the Dark Lord won't be rising here."
"Granger got me a copy when I started to work against one of their ideas that I deemed stupid." A house elf popped in with cookies and a glass of milk. He nodded at it so it disappeared. "Though I'm still going to beat Weasley for getting me into that situation to catch Pettigrew."
"How?" Lucius asked.
"I'll not share that since you're eating," he said dryly.
"I heard... Oh, yes I did hear," he admitted then shuddered. "I was absent for both trials."
"McGonagall made a joke about them sharing a cell so they could be more friendly."
Lucius swatted him. "That would be bordering on an evil thought. You...."
"Weasley set it up when the student blackmailed a first year in his house. Then he told me to watch him. Which is why I bound them right after Pettigrew changed."
"Good! Salazar would've killed them for that."
"I nearly killed them for that," Draco admitted. He ate a cookie and drank some of his milk. He frowned. "Why would I dunk them?"
"It softens them," Lucius said dryly. "I've seen children do it in the past with those cookies with the frosting in the center."
"Oh, interesting." He tried it then nodded but went back to his usual way. He looked up then at his father. "Sanda said I should be married off like a true warrior mage at sixteen so I can make a lot of little warrior mages."
Lucius smirked. "You're allowed up to three heirs, Draco."
Draco snorted. "Sanda said one of his lives had four wives, a husband, and twenty-three kids." Lucius whimpered. "Apparently they really needed more warrior mages."
"Apparently. You may not breed like a Weasley."
"Thank you!" he said, beaming at his father. "And please don't find Ginerva Weasley acceptable?"
"She is a pureblood but no. I would not do that, my son. Any more than I would sully us with Hermione Granger's blood being mixed in." His son handed him one of his cookies, earning a smile. "Your mother and I will start looking at young women slightly younger than you from those areas after you're back in school." He walked off eating the cookie.
"I don't need a harem," Draco complained. "Women today don't allow that, Sanda."
Lucius shook his head. "No they do not. Your mother nearly killed my mistress more than once." He walked into the study. "Our son has requested that we look overseas, perhaps in the Mediterranean region so there is no relationship to them."
"That would be good for the bloodline and they're usually pretty girls," she agreed. "I can start looking that way. I have a school friend who married into a wealthy Libyan household." She got back to her reading. "Any other requests?"
"That she not be after the name and the family money."
"Many families that way are more wealthy," she said dryly. "Perhaps one of them would like to get some legitimate English contacts."
"Sanda said he would destroy anyone who wanted the Dark Lord's phone number, whatever that is," Draco said as he walked past the room. "Oh! Okay, I get that. You know, I know there's scarier out there. I personally think it's Potter in a rage." He looked at his father. "See if you can find him one too? He's looking for his true mate. It might make him calm down. Before the curse breakers find another hidden chamber full of evil things." He beamed as he walked off.
"What did he find?" Lucius called.
"I have no idea but Sanda started to hiss that it was evil and of course he found it. He's just like that!" He went up to his room and slammed the door.
Lucius shared a look with his wife. "Let me go as the head of the Hogwarts Board," he decided, going to change and head to the school. He came out into absolute silence. It wasn't late enough for everyone to be in their houses. He heard a quiet bell tolling and groaned. "Damn it." He went to be nosy. The headmistress stopped him. "I am the head of the board, Temporary Headmistress."
"They found it when a student stumbled into the room because it's made with a key for her family's blood." Lucius shuddered. "And promptly nearly died. If you could find it, I would dearly love to know which headmaster before me put these things here. I know I'm not the only one either."
"If I find it was Dumbledore, he's staying in the hospital," he sneered.
"We sent him back when he managed to escape."
"Good!" He saw Professor Williams walking their way helping carry a stretcher. "Should I summon aurors?"
Williams nodded. "Could be," he said, handing the student's limp form to the waiting hospital people. "It was set to her blood. She fell into a pile of cursed things. I'm going to strangle whoever put them here." The hospital people nodded and took her off. He looked at Lucius. "May I have your son for a few minutes so I can have Sanda? I can't break one for the life of me and Potter's off... snorkeling or something. No one's sure where he apparated off to tonight."
"I'll summon them both." He turned and found Harry had appeared with Draco. "How...."
"About an hour from now I came back to find the problem. Hermione still has her time turner." He grinned. "I can't go back any farther to help her and I'm not sure why it didn't summon the last time we tried."
"Good idea," Williams said, walking them both off. He showed them the pile. And it was a pile of shiny gold things.
Harry squatted down to look at something. "Cursed in Greece. Looks like Midas' people cursed it."
Williams huffed. "Thank you."
Sanda looked. "A few things are from earlier." He walked over to one and picked it up, making it wail and scream. Williams covered his ears.
"Stop. It," Harry ordered. It stopped. He manifested his power. The rest of the artifacts wailed. "Out! Now!" Any spirits fled. The few bad demons that they contained he killed on the way out.
Draco looked at him. "Weren't you going to give that back?"
"Sometime." He smirked. "D'Hoffryn's still threatening me with a harem of women like Anya."
"Understood," Draco decided. He put things down. "They're still cursed but not possessed and not demonic anymore," he called. "Except for whatever's in the hidden doorway." He opened it and they both stared. Harry manifested a sword and Sanda took it from him. "You can't kill it."
"It's a mini, portable hellmouth."
"Which is why you can't kill it and I'd hate to see what would happen if you accidentally opened it, oh great Hellmouth Child," Sanda said sarcastically.
"Hermione!" Harry yelled, bringing her running when it reached her ear by magic. He pointed. "Portable hellmouth to play with?"
"Wonderful!" she said happily, taking it out to look over. "I need a capturing box." She found one and uncursed it then stuck the portable hellmouth's jar inside. "Thank you, I needed something new to fuss with." She walked off.
Professor Williams snatched it. "In my office only, Miss Granger." She huffed. He glared. She stomped off. "You can come play with it tomorrow."
Draco shook off his helper, looking at Harry. "You lived on a hellmouth?"
"And hunted beside a slayer," he said dryly. "Helped stop an ascension that life, helped stop the First Evil and Glorificus..... Yeah, born and bred in that life actually. I still carry that taint."
Draco looked at his father, looking very confused. Lucius looked at him. "Can't we weed that out, Potter?"
"Nope." He beamed. "It's been three lives now." He walked off. "Hermione tried *really* hard the next life I had because it screwed up something on Atlantis very badly when I had the flu."
Lucius nodded once, then walked his son off. "Would you like to change schools to Drumstrang?" he asked as they walked.
Draco looked at him. "Sanda would still find me, Father."
"Yes but you'd be away from Potter. I'm not fully certain he'll end up sane."
"He plans on playing quidditch this life." He beamed.
Lucius nodded. "Good!"
The curse breakers all nodded. They liked that for Harry's future too! Less work for them.
Bill strolled up. "Hey, guys, did I miss something while I was letting my mam feed me to death?" he asked, smiling.
"Oh, just the usual," one of the others said dryly. "Potter and Malfoy handled a whole room of cursed stuff that nearly killed a student."
"Ah." He nodded then shot something at Potter's back. Harry drifted off. "That solves that. Boy clearly needs more rest." Williams laughed but clapped him on the shoulder. "Before mam sets him up with a wife to cure his funny mental problems."
"I don't think even Lovegood could do that," one of the others joked.
"She said once she changed his diapers so it can't happen," Bill said with a grin. "Not sure *how*."
"Me either," the others decided. They took artifacts to clean up, box up, and then hand to the bank. They still hadn't gotten the full school scanned. They had barely gotten the areas around the classrooms. There were whole towers and floors that hadn't been touched in ages. Outside maybe by Dumbledore. Or Fluffy. They had found that cerebus in the strangest places.
Hannah smiled at her father's shocked look on Christmas morning. "Not a good outfit?"
"It's very nice looking, Hannah." He blinked a few times. "You look very...mature."
"I know and it sucks badly." Her father stared. She shrugged. "It does!" She sat down. "Beyond that, it itches." Her mother patted her on the shoulder. She mentally tallied up her presents. Her parents hadn't gotten her anything. So they were reacting badly to the news. Still. But that was fine. She had gotten them something. She'd have to write Harry after their lunch to see if he had any idea how she could undo the harm she had done. This first life outside the usual stuff he was used to was not going his way.
Harry smiled at the goblin coming up to talk to McGonagall. "Good morning," he said in Goblin. The goblin stared at him. He smiled and let some power flash.
"How are you in this school?" He blinked at the obvious scar. "That's not possible."
Harry handed him the memory crystal. The goblin sent it to his guards, who read it and sent back a report. "I see. You also have business?"
"I was going to ask for an appointment actually."
"Agreed," he decided. He nodded. "Next week?"
"Whenever's good for you, Master Goblin."
"I'll send notice." He walked around the boy and to the office. He bowed to the headmistress, who was good in her dealings with the bank. "You wished to negotiate further services?" He put his briefcase on the other chair then sat down.
"We are finding a great many things that should never been put into this school full of children." She considered her next words. "We aren't really looking toward paying fees to see them safely locked up."
The goblin nodded. "It already fills a good sized vault with the curse breakers' own things."
She smiled. "Can we work out a deal on how to get rid of the things that aren't too dangerous? Nothing that could hurt a new owner or humanity?"
He nodded. "There's been a few of those. Some ancient and some not."
"I would give the scholarly sort a way to study the rest. Perhaps in a museum?"
"I know of one that would like that," he admitted. He felt the power and heard a scream, wincing. "Why do you have a demonic higher lord here as a student?"
She stared at him. "I don't know. Which one was it?"
"It appeared to be Mr. Potter."
She rang a bell and a house elf popped in. "Get me Mr. Potter immediately, and if that was him making someone scream it had better have been a prank."
"New spirit," the house elf said, looking down. "Not like the others. This one was trying to take a student."
"Tell him I'd like a report. Immediately." The house elf popped off to do that. She looked at the goblin. "Are you certain?" He nodded. "Hmm." Harry knocked then walked in. "What was that?"
"That was Miss Sivela's offering mark being called in. The scream was me taking the mark off her before the demon could finish trapping her as his new toy."
"All right," she said. "Why are you reading as a demonic power, Mr. Potter?"
"Because if you summon them three times and they don't come you can do that, Professor."
"It would've had to been a very powerful demon in your case," the goblin said.
Harry beamed. "You don't know." The goblin shook his head. Harry looked at the shelves and found the book he wanted, finding the section and handing over the journal. The goblin read slowly, staring at him afterwards. He grinned. "He should not have done that. Especially since it broke Merlin's Shield."
"And with where he put me," Harry added.
"No wonder he's in the hospital."
Harry grinned and nodded. "Definitely. I plan on giving it back sometime soon. Ron's nagging and if he doesn't quit nagging I'm going to give him a temporary job." He beamed. "Right now I'm fixing things so the girls like Hallie and Anya have an easier time finding those who *truly* need them versus just everyone calling. They all said it was necessary and are helping me with that. Plus I'm enforcing a few treaties that got broken but D'Hoffryn thought were too sensitive to deal with. Frankly, they don't want me to do what I did last time." He looked up then at him. "Sanda said something about an account in Safra's bank and the Tower's underground? I have no idea. I was learning how to fight and pretty young then."
The goblin sent that message through the portal in his briefcase. He nodded once. "Prove you're who you are."
Harry repeated his true name. All of it. Then the next ten names he went by. The goblin held up a hand to stop him. "If you want I can explain how the portal in town works."
"No, I believe you. Why do you radiate other energy, Mr. Potter?"
"I was on a hellmouth a few lives ago. Born and bred there."
"Then I went from fighting beside the slayer there to saving Atlantis." He grinned. "There."
The goblin stared then nodded. "There is an account for Redemption Children."
"Cool! Will it cover things like tuition for the ones that need it and housing for the summer?"
"You're too young," McGonagall stated.
"I can ask someone to fill in," Harry offered. "We were thinking about traveling anyway."
"You'd probably be better off with security," she said dryly.
"Sure, we'll take Tonks," he said with a grin. She gaped. He let her read the journal entry. She shuddered at the end. "We have *got* to find that shield and have it reset. And I have to keep my powers until then because Sanda's still in ghost form and neither Draco's or my present live's bodies can channel that much energy."
The goblin cleared his throat. "I know where it is. It's written in our histories. Goblin children visit it yearly. As a matter of fact, some just went but nothing was noted about it being broken."
"We've had about fifty ascended beings showing up to cause harm," Harry said. "Thankfully, Hermione was Rodney McKay in her last few lives."
The goblin tipped his head to the side. "That is very weird."
"We were about two realms to the left."
"That explains much." He nodded. "It's near Stonehenge. At the Hidden Castle."
Harry nodded. "We'll port there tomorrow to check it out."
"Thank you." The goblin smiled. "I will arrange for the other Redemption Children to know of what they can and cannot do with that vault." Harry wrote down a list and handed it over with a grin. "Why?" the goblin asked, staring at it. Harry pointed at the journal. "Then he truly will not be coming out of that bed he is in. Before he destroys the rest of us claiming he's doing things for the Greater Good."
McGonagall nodded. "I can agree with that."
"Can we keep Fudge there too?" Harry asked the goblin. "Really?"
"We'll see." The goblin smirked and Harry hugged him before walking off. The goblin looked at her. "That is very interesting business and the Elders will want to know. As well as any proposal we can work out between us to help fund some renovations in the school."
She smiled. "We'd dearly love that. We have whole parts of the castle we can't get into. The curse breaking team has been working every day and still hasn't managed to get into most of it. We only use a third of the castle."
"I've talked with them. They've asked for some help. How is the Peace Child around?"
"He keeps possessing Mr. Malfoy."
"Ah. His father must be pleased."
"That's not what I'd call Lucius most of the time," she said dryly. The goblin laughed and nodded she was right. They got down to business about how to auction things off and how much went to each entity, plus where to store the other things in a museum so others could study it.
The trio of Ron, Hermione, and Harry landed and Ron started to shiver. "I thought it was cold up in Scotland." He wrapped his arms around himself under his cloak. "Where's this Hidden Castle thingy, Harry?"
"Have I mentioned you sound like a British version of Buffy sometimes?" Harry joked, scanning around them magically. He found it and it wasn't going to become noticeable. "Hermione?" He pointed. They hiked that way, her taking readings with the scanner she had managed to make for herself.
"Definitely Ancient technology, not magic," she said. She found the access code and got them into the courtyard. Which was warm, sunny, and there wasn't a bit of snow. She stared at Ron, who was giving some of the plants a strange look. "That's the thing that nearly bit you."
"I'm not staring at it. I'm staring at the blue bug on it."
Hermione looked then killed it. "Iratus. Wonderful. Be careful," she ordered. She took point since she could get them in. "Harry, shields," she ordered.
He pushed the demonic magic back and let his natural magic from his first life flow up. The castle tried to keep him out even harder. He touched it. "The Ascended are harming humanity," he told the castle.
Ron stepped forward and got them inside. He was still an ATA carrier here. They found the throne room/special chair to handle functions. Ron sat down and got comfortable, closing his eyes. He interfaced with it. The AI was startled but he showed her pictures of his last two lives and she settled down. He explained it and they got directions. She did ease up on Harry for now once he had explained it. The Ancients had hated him and Sanda. Ron got up and looked at Harry. "They knew you two."
"Figures they watched us struggle a few times. The arrogant pricks could've stepped in. We would've loved it." Ron nodded and led them to where it was. They were wrong on both parts of the bet. It was partially magical and partially technical. Hermione could help with that. Ron took one side. She took the other. Harry siphoned power into them. The simple obelisk glowed and then went dull. Hermione panted, shaking her head. "I can't reinitialize it."
Ron nodded, holding his side. "Me either." Harry helped him with the stitch in his side.
"Okay then we do this the Ancient way," Harry said. He stripped down to his pants and underwear, shivering a bit in the breeze that was being let in. He concentrated, pulling up the old rites he knew. He summoned a bowl and a knife, cutting his arm to let it drip down into the bowl. He was handed a brush by Ron and painted symbols around it. He found some scratched in but they weren't the same thing. He moved counter-clockwise then did a row of them clockwise but twisted thirty-three degrees off the original set.
He got more blood from his chest and painted runes on the obelisk itself. Then on his body. He gathered all the powers he had, from the hellmouth taint to the demonic to the original powers. He was a warrior mage, not just a warrior. He had taken the time to study when he kept living life after life as a warrior mage. He knew things Sanda hadn't ever learned. And now it was time to use that.
He called everything to him, including the demonic magics the old Courts held sway over. Then he walked the circles muttering the incantations. The obelisk started to glow on one side. Ron and Hermione got out of his way. Another round and another side glowed. Harry was getting louder and louder, and starting to glow himself. On the last circuit the last side didn't glow but the tip started to glow. Harry stepped into the ring of runes and went back to it.
Finally the last side glowed. Then the blood symbols burned a short, intense burn. It carved them onto the obelisk and the ground. They heard something screech and grind but Harry wasn't paying attention. He changed his chant, going into the other half of the spell. That was more dangerous. The obelisk was built by Ancients, who hated his kind. Or demons. He could feel the air change as something tried to form around the obelisk and him. He shattered it with a blow and went back to it.
His back went onto the obelisk as he chanted, studying the attempt to drop a static plate around them. He broke it and Hermione finished destroying it. Harry finished up and the whole obelisk groaned, shifting some. It also burned Harry's back but it restarted. All the Ancient tech started as well.
Ron thought it back into standby mode.
Hermione waited for a few heartbeats to make sure it was safe. Then they moved Harry away from the obelisk. His back was a mess. The runes on his chest had caused thin, weak scars. She pulled out the medical pack she had brought to help him.
The castle's AI appeared, bowing to them. "That was very good work, children. We have a medical bay if that would help that one."
"Please," Hermione said. They got him in there, Ron coming back for the shed clothes. Hermione used the scanners to read his health, fixing a few things. Including the new blood pressure problem and the taint it read. She patted Harry hard on the head. "Let it go back, Harry. Before it kills you."
He stared at her. "I will when it's fixed."
"If you don't, you can die."
He shrugged. "I'll be fine."
"Not necessarily." He nodded. She shook her head. "It reads us as a redemption child and not you."
He grinned. "They never have, Hermione." She gaped. "What does it say?"
"Warrior mage," he translated.
"We know he is one," the AI assured her. "Why he has that taint...."
"It's the stupid hellmouth taint," Ron realized. They got that weeded out again. It helped a lot. Hermione could heal him now with the hand unit. Another unit came out to help them.
D'Hoffryn appeared, looking at Xander. "Fine, you were right. I'm very proud that you haven't killed us all, Harris."
Harry grinned. "Are the treaties fixed?"
"All but three things." He made a list for him to see.
Harry pointed. "We need that one. Hannah's family is looking at her like she's a real demon."
D'Hoffryn nodded. He went to fix those three things. Including adding to the orders for the goblins. He came back. "It's fixed." He let him see the forms. Harry nodded. "Then we'll go to the temple?"
"What?" Hermione demanded.
"He has to hand it back and appoint me at the temple." The demon looked at her. "We can do that within minutes then come back here." She and Ron shared a look then nodded. He took them with Harry's powers. Well, his powers again soon. They appeared in Celedin, Harry patting Sanda's temple's wall. His appeared and he patted it as well. Harry fixed them both and the mystical fountain in the center of town. It was his fault it was broken. His and Sanda's last fight. He and D'Hoffryn looked at the portal. He looked back at his two younger children. "Mortals cannot pass."
"We're not mortal," Ron quipped.
"Not like things like this aren't usual to us," she agreed. She shifted her pack. "Though I want to dig through the closets in both temples later." Sanda's laughter echoed out of his temple. Harry grinned at it then took their hands to lead them through. She and Ron shivered. "What?"
"Only Old Ones can pass through," Harry told her quietly. They found themselves in a dead city's gardens. He led them to the temple. It was halfway across the city but it was on top of a large foundation and a lot of stairs. They got a good look at the city.
"Then how..." Ron asked. "When they tainted you." Harry grinned and nodded.
"That's why the Ancient Courts hated this idea. He and Sanda were infused with essence of two of the Greater Ancients. Things that the Courts of the time couldn't even claim," D'Hoffryn said. "Ones from my time and before my time."
"We started the whole pyramid shape thing too," Harry admitted. "They took it from us and the gou'ald took it from them." He opened the temple and walked in. The spirits in there gasped. "Shut up," he called. "At least this time I didn't destroy all the demons." The spirits fled. Harry walked up to the altar. He took a deep breath and then went into the prayer and spell to change it over. He finished and looked at D'Hoffryn. "You are hereby appointed to the duty and responsibility of head of the Vengeance demons and Redemption Children," he noted. A thunderclap went off. He shared blood with him and then collapsed.
D'Hoffryn smirked but took them back to the old castle. "No one will ever be able to summon one of you like that again, Harris. I've already made sure that knowledge is forbidden here and every other realm." He disappeared.
Hermione scanned him again. "Exhaustion."
"Two really hard and powerful spells," Ron noted. She nodded. He stiffened, hearing someone in the castle. It was a human footstep. They shared a look and she handed over weapons. They moved out of sight, leaving Harry there as bait. He'd encourage it. He was like that. The man that paused in the doorway made her freeze but Ron still zat'd him. "Hey," he said with a grin. She swatted at him. He smirked. "Interesting." They frisked him, finding his wand. "Very interesting."
"Well, different realms," she sighed. They moved his things to a bed and went back to fussing over Harry while they waited for this realm's Rodney McKay to wake up.
He blinked a few times then sat up, staring at the children. "You're not children."
"We are," Ron said with a smartass grin. "Just not normal children." He held up his wand. "What is an astrophysicist and engineer doing here?"
"Too many Ancients have shown up in one area. I came looking for tech that was broken." He snatched his own wand, staring at her. For some reason she felt familiar. Which led to one logical, fantastic conclusion. "How did I do that?"
She grinned. "I'm not from here originally. Though it's interesting I'm a wizard here." Rodney gaped. She smirked and crossed her arms over her chest just like he did. He scowled and did it back. "Did you get that letter I sent for O'Neill?"
"I did but I don't know him."
"Yet," she corrected. He gaped. She nodded. "There's big things in your future. Just you wait, Rodney."
"Hmm. How would you know?"
"Because we helped save Atlantis?" Ron guessed. He scratched the back of his neck. "In two different lives?"
Rodney gaped at him. "Then it's real." Both kids smirked and nodded. "What are you?"
"Redemption for those who need it," she said dryly.
He considered it. "I saw that myth once."
"I volunteered. It seemed nicer than being bored in an afterlife of my own making."
He just nodded. "True." He looked at the other one. "Even I recognize him. What happened?" Ron told him. She filled in more details he'd want. He considered it then nodded. "I'm a warding specialist. If she can get into the wards, there's a maintenance and a reveal one. There almost always is with wards of that age."
Ron smiled. "We'll let her know. So how did you find the castle?"
"And can you help me with something I'm still working on?" she asked. "I need another great mind and while the redhead menace might've once had a math degree he's letting his brain rot this life."
"It's been seven thousand lives for me. I deserve a vacation to just play quidditch and drink butterbeers," Ron complained. "Harry does too!"
"Harry needs a nap," Harry muttered.
Hermione smiled at her self from this realm. "I'm working on how to recharge electronic things within the wards without bothering them."
He nodded. "I figured that out a few years ago. What else did you work on?"
"ZedPM power sources," she said smugly. She showed him something. He moaned and took it to examine. They shared a bit of information. He knew she couldn't tell him everything but she could give hints and roadsigns. Plus she could be a penpal if he needed one. At least she'd understand when he was frustrated with mundanes.
Ron looked at the geek meeting. "Don't encourage her to start the civil liberties revolution in the wizarding world for a few more years?" he asked.
Rodney looked at her. "Good luck if you do. I'd almost like to see them go into hippie times." She snickered. "Science when you're done?"
"I'm torn between that and prosthetics. I didn't want to run into you."
"Yes, it can cause problems but you'll be terribly bored without engineering."
"True," she agreed. "I was going to tinker in the garage. I had to explain airplanes and space shuttles."
He nodded. "That's why I'm glad I went in Canada. It's much more modern." By the time they were done, Harry was almost awake. The castle had recharged everything and she had gotten the forming lab that it had to make her a few things. Plus she brought the things she couldn't make with her. Rodney set a monitor on the shield and then went home. He had to get himself ready for the great things that would come some day soon.
Harry blinked awake, looking at his friends. "How long was I out?"
Ron grinned. "I was about to roast you for dinner, Harry." Harry moaned, shaking his head as he sat up. He winced and hissed. His back was mostly healed but it still had a lot of deep tissue bruises.
"Let's get back to the school," Hermione said. "Before someone else wonders." They nodded and Harry got redressed. She and Ron set the castle back on standby mode and programmed who could come in to mess with things. They didn't need some unknowing ATA carrier to mess with it and destroy humanity. They apparated back to the school. There was a goblin waiting. He handed Harry a scroll.
Harry looked at it then grimaced. "I'll gut him later."
The goblin laughed. "I'm sure you will. Thank you for handing that back."
Harry grinned. "I want access to mine. He could not touch mine."
"No, he could not. He moved that all into yours."
Harry shook his head. "We need one for the other Redemption Children to use." The goblin handed over that information. Harry grinned and nodded. "That'll work." He looked at the other sheet of parchment. "Hey, I can buy a summer home," he quipped.
"You own one," the goblin said. "By your parents' wills." He stared at him. "Though the Elders are not sure what the ethics are in this case."
"My children, if I manage any, would be Potters," he said quietly.
"Agreed. They were hoping on that solution." He bowed. Harry and the other two bowed back. "Do come to us when you need to set more up."
Harry took some of Ron's paper and Hermione's pen, writing out a statement, handing it to him. "Would that be simple enough?"
The goblin smirked. "Very simple. We will arrange it. D'Hoffryn?"
"Is being a bitch," Harry said dryly. "And smug too." He sent a spell winging out. D'Hoffryn bellowed wherever he was. Harry grinned. "I had to pull up the skills I've had hidden and locked down for *years* to restart the shield."
"Oh." The goblin blinked. "What of your account that you and Sanda started?"
"I probably have interest in it," Harry mused. The goblin nodded once. "Please. Though we'll be traveling so it can stay at that branch." He grinned. "Traveling's one way to get away from the Dursley's."
"indeed," the goblin agreed, making that note. Harry signed it in his true name. The goblin nodded and left. The Elders would be pleased. They hated dealing with that ancient vault and crypt. The crypt could go to the current holder of the spirit. The vault could go to both of them. Draco showed up to complain with Sanda using him as a puppet again. The Elders turned down his request. The poor boy pouted too much.
"Dinner?" Harry suggested.
"Dinner," Hermione and Ron agreed.
Castiel walked past them and hugged them. "Thank you for that service, children." He smiled and disappeared. He now knew how to solve Luna's visions. The Castle had a way. He had considered it mythical. It was nice Xander was still screwing with reality.
Luna's father looked at her when she returned. "Who was the strange man that just kidnaped you?"
"Castiel." She grinned. "He had a way to stop the visions for good."
"Excellent news." He hugged her. "Is that the angel you said had a slight crush in your other life?"
"I'm not sure if he did or not. We worked together a lot and he lived in our house after he couldn't go back."
"Interesting. He was adorable." He smiled at her. "Now, tell me about this vision stopping method?"
"It's in the Hidden Castle, Father."
"Oh, Dear. In Merlin's Hidden Castle?" She smiled and nodded. "Then I won't mention it. Is it in Dover? That's where everyone wants it to be. Or in Camelot."
"About ten miles from Stonehenge. But you have to have a special sequence in your DNA to find it."
"Ah. So the myths of a second Merlin show up again," he said smugly, going to start that story.
She grinned and went to fix them dinner. It was the least she could do while her father wove the truth into a story that no one would want to believe. If people knew that there was a method to his madness, they'd be horrified and stunned. Plus no one would read the paper anymore. No one wanted to read *truth* in the news in the wizarding world. Fudge had taught them too well. They'd spend a lot of time undoing it but that was how life went for them.
Harry, now a sixth year, walked up to Draco in the halls. "Want to help me with a project that will make every single higher up scream?"
"I'd loathe being beaten and cursed by my father for it, Potter." He stared at him. He had gotten better reading Potter over the last few years with Sanda's help.
"Your father might appreciate it."
"No. And Sanda says whatever is going on inside your head needs to stop." He walked off.
"Okay. I don't really need help for this." He strolled off. "But I need the tiny alabaster and onyx crypt from your family's vault."
Draco paused then looked back at him. "Hell no, Merlin!" He snorted. "There's no way you'll get that." He walked off to write his father just in case Potter was serious.
Harry made his plans. He could get it easily enough. He had enough favors owed that he could get it from a bunch of sources.
Ron, who was for once not attached to Hannah's lips, hips, or tits, grabbed Harry's arm and walked him off. "What're you planning now, mate? The only thing that makes Malfoy scream that way is Sanda sending him to a brothel."
Harry grinned. "Just a bit of restructuring."
Ron smirked at him. "I know you better than that."
"Maybe." He smirked and got free, jogging to class. He hid out until well after curfew, waiting on McGonagall to go to bed. Once she was, he snuck up to the office, looking at the phoenix in there. "Fawkes, can I borrow a few ashes?"
She stared at him, shaking her head.
"Please? I want to do something spectacular and I can almost promise it'll make you and everyone else happier." She glared, shaking her head again. "I only need a tablespoon of them. I promise I won't be like the twins. It's for a summoning spell." The bird glared harder. He petted her, making her coo. "Pretty please?" She bit him, making him stifle a yelp. "Fine." He grabbed the sorting hat and dropped it on her head while scooping up a few fingerfuls of the ashes. The bird shook the hat off and glared at him.
"It'll be fine and it'll mean you can have a playmate." He checked her and undid the spells on her. "Does that help any?" She nodded, flaming up. He covered the egg and watched it hatch then her start to regrow back into a full phoenix. "Thanks, love." He fled, going to the Room of Requirement. She set up an unholy racket but that was fine. He summoned the crypt too. Then he had an imp put it back once he had an equal measure of the ashes of the Midnight phoenix.
Hermione stomped in. "What are you doing?" she demanded.
He grinned. "I'm going to summon the Sunrise Phoenix. It'll create some balance." He beamed.
"There's three mystical phoenixes," he said as he worked on his rune set. "There's the Midnight One, a pure black phoenix. Some consider it a bad omen but not all of us. Lucius' father trapped it when it died. There's the Midday Phoenix, who is upstairs pretending to be a humble familiar. And then there's the Sunrise Phoenix. She's been gone for a while but can be summoned back by using the ashes of the other two. Her main purpose is to balance the other two. Since we've only had one, the balance is out of whack. Which is one of the problems D'Hoffryn has been having." He stepped into the runes and finished them then put the ashes down, starting the complex summoning charm. Their long suffering, curse breaking defense teachers showed up with Ron and Draco. "Hi."
"I'm *so* glad I broke the curse on the position," Williams said sarcastically. "That's why I never get any sleep."
"You can nap. I'm doing a balancing thing." He shrugged and got back to it. Then there was a flash. He smiled at the Midnight Phoenix stumbling out of his ashes. Williams started to swear. The ashes lit again and a tiny little blue/gray phoenix appeared, then grew and stretched. She flew up to stare at Harry. "I know you're a wise old woman," he assured her, petting her. He picked up the Midnight one once it grew. "The same as I know that you can sense where balance is missing." She chirped and let the being pet her and her friend. The other one flew in and took Harry's spare shoulder, nagging him loudly.
"Sounds like you," Draco joked to Hermione. Who hit him on the arm. "Hey!"
Harry took them outside. Midnight was cheering up the night. He sat with them on the roof until sunrise. All three trilled to greet the rising sun. Waves of magic flowed from the roof. The professor was yawning but making notes. That way someone could paddle Potter to death for this. Once they were done all three went for a fly around the castle. Professors McGonagall, Snape, and Flitwick were staring in awe from the front step, wands limp in their hands.
"Potter!" Flitwick yelled.
Harry looked over the edge. "We needed some balance. Even D'Hoffryn complained. Even you have." He grinned. "Now they can go find their new partners. Also I removed the binding on Fawkes, Professors. That way she's not bound to the patient in the curse ward. Since I deserve chocolate, I'm going to the store. Get you anything?" He disappeared.
The teachers stared at each other.
"I saw we lash him to a tree and whip him," Flitwick noted.
Snape looked down at him. "When did you get possessed by Filch?"
McGonagall snorted. "I'm all for paddling the boy but I doubt it'd do any good."
Castiel appeared, smiling and waving at the birds. "Go find a new companion." They flew off. He smiled at the teachers. "Even the Hosts of Heaven and Hell have complained about the lack of balance. Only Alex and Sanda knew the proper summoning." He shrugged. "Though you'll be able to punish him greatly for being bouncy on the chocolate." He disappeared again.
Luna came out holding her head. "Your companions are in the US!" she shouted. She walked off still holding her head. "I hate Sammy's creepy mind powers," she complained when she ran into someone by accident. Not like she could see through the vision headache.
"Let's get you to the infirmary," her house's prefect noted. "You haven't had a spell this bad since they blocked the visions off, Lovegood." She walked her that way.
In the US, McKay was on his back porch in Colorado Springs drinking coffee when he had an unexpected visitor. He stared at the bird, then shook his head. "I do not need a Phoenix of Doom. Even if I am a bit dour and very sarcastic, I'm not that dark." The phoenix trilled and sang to him, making him pet her for the excellent music. "If you touch the cat, you're a dead bird and we'll see if you're tasty." It's cries sounded like a laugh so that was good. The bird followed him inside. Rodney apparently had to get things to have a pet bird as well as a pet cat. They made instant friends so that was good. And the training squirt bottle worked on the bird as well, so that was excellent. He got ready for his day, pulling an envelope from his safe. His younger self had given it to him. It was time to tell him.
Rodney walked up to the colonel, staring at him for a minute. "Can we talk?"
"Of course. As long as you don't bitch at me. I got it enough this morning from the wife." He had met Rodney in a bar a few years back and they were tolerant friends. They walked off to the alley between buildings. "What's wrong, McKay? You're down in grunt territory instead of the geek village you had built."
"I got some information from a source that I cannot explain to you." Jack nodded once at that. "It is not mocked up. I made sure of that and they did prove their source to a satisfactory enough detail for me."
"Get on with it," he sighed. "I don't need the disclaimer."
"Well, yes, you do," he said, handing over the envelope.
Jack opened the envelope. It was a picture of him and Jack beside a gravestone. Jack stared at the gravestone, which was the center of the picture. He licked his lips. "She's just now pregnant."
"I noticed," he admitted.
Jack looked up. "This has really got to be a fake."
Rodney shook his head. "I wish. Like I said, she proved it to a satisfactory standard on my scale."
Jack looked at the picture, then carefully put it back. "How?"
"Gun. Your gun." Jack stared at him. "That was under your bed."
Jack tucked it into his pocket. "I'll take it as the warning it is."
Rodney put a hand on his arm. "That's why I warned you. Apparently she saw you and how it tore you up, Jack. How the trauma led to horrible things and then led you to a project you adored but it nearly killed you as well. It was your noble way of sacrificing yourself." Jack nodded. Then stared oddly over his shoulder.
McKay felt something land on it and nuzzle him. He looked at her. "Didn't I say to stay home?" She sang and hopped over to nuzzle Jack. "I have no idea. She showed up this morning."
"What is it?" Jack demanded.
"A phoenix." He sipped his coffee with a smirk. "She's a Midnight Phoenix to be specific. Very rare. There's usually only one alive at any given time."
Jack looked at him. "I didn't know you believed in that crap?" Rodney pulled his wand and made him bounce up and down. Which upset the bird so he stopped it. Jack calmed himself down. "So the picture...."
"Came from something in that field, yes. From an alternate reality if you believe it. Though, that project did see many of them I'm told." He smiled.
"Jesus H. Fucking Christ," Jack muttered. He shifted his shoulder. "Can you sit on him before you crap on my uniform, bird?" It nuzzled him again then hopped over. "Thank you. You're a bit heavy." He looked at McKay. "How would things change if it doesn't happen?"
"You're still the best bet they have and I'll make sure that when it's time, someone still comes for you for the project." He smirked. "Daniel will be pissing you off majorly every few weeks as you run from people shooting at you who want to keep him." He walked off. "Go home, Midnight. If normals see you we're both in trouble." She flew off. He rolled his eyes. "I need to go recruiting soon. Are you going as my loyal guarding slave?"
"Fine, whatever," Jack called, walking off shaking his head. But he made sure he had that envelope. That would not be a scene he'd ever live through. Never.
Sam sighed when she spotted D'Hoffryn lurking. She wrapped up what she needed to and went to gather a few things like John and Xander had told her to. She sent things to where they needed to be then turned to find him. "Am I forgetting anything?"
She called someone. "I'm going on undercover assignment and it's real dangerous. Come plant sit?" She smiled. "If you don't hear from me in two days, I'm probably dead," she admitted. "Thanks, mate." She hung up and D'Hoffryn took her with him. The body there dusted up.
Sam smiled because he was back in his own body for a few minutes. "It'll hurt this time. You're going a bit farther away than Pegasus."
"That's fine," Sam agreed. "Just, can I be a boy? Girls are really weird from the inside."
"You will be." D'Hoffryn set the spell and sent Sam.
Sam appeared outside a floating police box and crawled through the locked door, cooing at the older man in there. The new information he had said that it was just after the Time War and this one needed a reason to go on. Which was his job description. The old man was staring at him oddly, using his sonic screwdriver to see what he was. Sam crawled right up to him and patted him until the guy picked him up. Then he hugged him and cooed at him.
The older Doctor sighed and hugged back. "I thought you were myths." The baby cackled. "Figures." He cuddled him. "What should we do with you, young one? You can't stay here." Though he'd travel with him for a bit. Something inside him was unknotting and unraveling. It made all the squishy feelings he hated to admit he had come back. He was nearly crying. He didn't realize it but the baby was patting him and it was all right. He knew that he had a reason to keep going because others needed him. Especially this one, who needed him to change him. When the baby peed on him, he burst out laughing and smiled. "I deserved that," he assured the baby. "Just for that, I'm putting you on a world where you can have your own babies some year."
So many years in the past and yet only a hundred and fifty in the life-line:
Jack Harkness looked around his hub and sneered. "I'm having Luna redecorate," he decided, going to flirt with Ianto. "I have someone we need to recruit," he teased with a smile.
Ianto grinned back. "Who?"
"Name's Luna Lovegood. She's a witch."
"Really?" He looked her up. "Huh. She's pretty."
"That's not why I want her here, Ianto." He winked. "Don't worry about that." He walked off to go back to his office. Luna had just graduated last year. She and Hermione were finally back from their backpacking trip - Hermione had insisted. Now Luna had nothing to do but the paper. They had plenty of weird things going on in Torchwood and Luna's father's paper would be an invaluable ally.
Plus he missed his dickhead brother and the others.
Well, if she couldn't come, they'd hook up again next life cycle he decided. But he was going to get at least some of them into his hub. Ianto would enjoy them a lot too.
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