New Banes, New Hells on Earth.
Greg looked over as his desk phone rang, reaching over to grab it. "Yeah, Sanders?" he said tiredly. He rubbed his forehead. "Yup, sure. No, she's fine. Just on bedrest. No, she's fine. We've got people helping her now and then. Thanks though." He smiled. "No, I'll be going on leave right before she's due," he admitted. "Thank you for the offer. I've got to run some DNA, so I'll let you go. Sure. Thanks again for offering me more leave time, Sheriff." He hung up and went back to running the sample in front of him. He was listless and he knew it, it was like that time he had managed to do a potion that blocked magic for a week. He had felt the same way then. He hated it but he had to work, it took his mind off his wife's fragile condition. One of the twins had decided to try to come out early and it wasn't sitting well with them. And especially not with her. She was fretful and antsy. Of course, each time he checked on her she got worse, but he was her husband - he was supposed to worry.
He glanced at the apparition near the door and shook his head, getting back to work. Why couldn't the dragon go with Lindsey?
Philip looked up as he walked in the door of the school, finally getting out of the wind. "Hello," he said, removing his cloak. "I'm here to see Lindsey Willows." The guard nodded, swallowing hard. "Is she in trouble?"
"No, sir. Are you family?"
"No, delivering something from her family," he admitted with a smile. "I'm Philip Callahan." He shook the guard's hand. "I only need a few minutes."
"Fine. Please follow me to the office, sir." He led the way into the office. "Ma'am, this is Philip Callahan, he's got a delivery for Lindsey Willows."
"That's fine." She smiled at Philip as he came in. "More books?"
"A few," he admitted with a boyish grin. "But also some fudge from Alex, Harry, Ron, and Dawn and a few posters from Ron's collection since he's getting some new ones. It seems they're both following Chuddly now."
"Cannons. Quidditch team?" he said dryly. "Ron's best friend plays on it and she's adopted it as her team too." He smiled. "It'll only take a moment."
"That's fine," she agreed, sending a summoning charm out to the girl. It would find her no matter where she was. She came jogging in a few minutes later. "This nice young man has things from home for you."
"Cool! What's up, Philip?" She gave him a hug. He was a nice guy. "Is Hermione still trying to stalk you?"
"Not now," he admitted dryly. "I moved into Hogsmeade and she's still working in London." He pulled a bag out of his pocket and enlarged it. "There you are. Some fudge from the boys and Dawn. Some of Ron's older posters so you can increase your Chuddly collection. Harry got him some of the promotional stuff," he said with a wink. "Plus that language charm and a book on Latin and one on Spanish to help ya some more." He touched her forehead. "Are you all right? You're warm."
"I was in math and it's blasting heat right now," she admitted with a grin. "Thanks, Philip."
"Not a problem. My own Ma used ta send me cookies and things all the time my first term. I remember how much it helped," he said with a wink. "I'll let you get back to class. Remember to call Dawn this weekend too. She's at Alex's and wanted ta hear from ya."
"Yes, sir." She gave him another hug and watched him walk out, then walked her treats up to her room, finding a piece of fudge to nibble on. "Hmm, had house elves help I bet," she said happily. It was the perfect fudge texture and had the perfect amount of nuts. Besides, none of Alex's crew could cook. She locked everything in her wardrobe then went back to math class in time to switch classes, still nibbling her piece of fudge. A few people gave her odd looks. "One of my pseudo-uncles sent it," she said happily. "Along with a few posters and books." She walked into her science class and took her assigned seat, finishing quickly since they couldn't even have bottles of water in there. The teacher was a bit picky about such things. He gave her a dirty look and she shrugged. "Treats from the kinda-family."
"Wash your hands thoroughly," he ordered, pointing at the sink. "Food brings in germs and I won't have germs in my spotless classroom."
She gave him a long look, then got up to wash her hands. "You know, they make drugs for OCD," she said quietly. "They really do." He looked stunned so she dried off her hands and went back to her seat, starting on her next project in there. It wasn't that hard, she had done this last year in school. It was actually kinda boring in many ways. She had thought being a witch would mean different classes. And here she was stuck in a boring science class that was so far behind what she had been doing. She looked at the teacher. "Can I move ahead?" He shook his head, lips pressed firmly together. "Fine, make me be bored with stuff I've already done."
"You'll continue to do them until you do them perfectly, Miss Willows," he sneered.
"I'm up to my expectations. My mother's the criminalist, not me." She went back to her notes, waiting while the others traipsed in and the bell rang. She was doing Transfiguration notes but he wouldn't notice.
"We are moving onto human anatomy," he announced. "We will be starting with the fetus and moving onto the nervous system. Start reading now," he ordered. Everyone opened their books and moved onto the next lessons, reading them so he didn't have to touch any of their germy desks. He paced through the room, careful not to touch anyone or anything with anything on him. He stopped beside Lindsey's desk. "Have you done this?"
She looked up at him and nodded. "Yeah, eighth grade science, the normal level. Plus, ya know, I used Mom's books on homicides to help me now and then. They had some really good stuff on the circulatory and nervous system, plus some stuff on the general anatomy that was needed to work a crime scene. It was easier than the textbook." He shuddered and went back to his carefully maintained germ-free space. Now she knew why Greg had pushed her to go to a good school. Maybe she'd ask to transfer. She raised her hand and he glared at her, nodding for her to speak. "Sir, are we studying the effects of things on the body or just the general body stuff? Greg wanted to know if he should send me a book on healing elixirs or not. He asked the last time I talked to him."
He snorted. "Those supposed cures don't work."
She shrugged. "So you say but I've seen him heal people in the past and he is a Potions Master. As proven by the European Potions Board." He looked stunned. "I've seen some wicked potions in my time around him. He's got neat stuff that heals baby bump bruises too. I was wondering how that worked actually."
"Baby bump bruises?" he sneered.
"Yes, he's got a toddler who still runs into things so he's created something to take care of the minor bruising. Something topical in Vicks Vapo-rub, that's all I know about it." She shrugged. "It's works great. I've had to use some on some gym injuries."
"You have *potions* in this school?" he asked in disbelief. She nodded. "Why? That is antiquated and old fashioned, Miss Willows. No *real* wizard today believes in such things."
"Really? Would you like to tell that to most of the curse breakers, most of the European witches and wizards, and half the healers in the world? Or even the Wiccans, who I'm assured are sometimes real, if not altogether there." His jaw dropped. She nodded once and went back to her reading, shaking her head. "Progress at the expense of things that work isn't progress, it's meaningless."
"Do you watch *quidditch* too?" another student sneered.
She looked at him. "I have a very good friend who plays on her house team," she told him. "So, yes, I do. It takes skill to maneuver a three-inch-thick piece of wood in a manner that wins games. Why, don't you watch sports?"
"Quidditch isn't a sport," he laughed.
"Whatever, dude, it's your mental problems. Just don't force me to watch football. Why would I want to watch an excuse for aggressive tendencies and violence to be exposed to the world?" she asked dryly when he snorted. "All it is is a bunch of men proving that they're more caveman-like and that they can play with balls while wearing pads and spandex. You wanna watch football, watch Australian rules football. No pads and a lot less referee interference." He looked stunned. "Yes, there is a world outside the US," she said sarcastically. "Welcome to the wider world, Holmes. Would you like a map?"
He went back to his sneer. "I bet you know how to use a quill too."
"Actually, I did learn but I prefer gel writers," she said snidely. "They're smoother and don't drip ink everywhere." He gaped. "Sorry, but Ron made sure I knew, just in case I needed it for something." She shrugged. "It's a handy skill to have. I could write with a stick in wax tablets if I had to. He's said he's had to on the job as an apprentice curse breaker. It was the only thing available to make notes on." He shuddered and went back to his own reading.
"Ron?" a female asked quietly. "Weasley?" Lindsey turned and nodded, looking bland and emotionless. "You know the Weasleys?"
"Yeah. I'm good friends with Dawn. She plays on her house team." She grinned. "It's not that bad. My sponsor is one of the Weasley's friends so I met them through him and my mom, who helps them sometimes."
"With what? She's a muggle," the teacher said bitterly.
"Yes, but she's also a kick ass criminalist and a very nice woman to people like Tipsy Ramvette-Weasley. They're buddies," she said with a shrug. "They met when people tried to kill my sponsor. The Death Eaters hated him for being himself." He gaped so she went back to reading.
"Do you know Potter too?" the boy sneered.
"Only met him two or three times. He's a nice guy but he's really shy and kinda quiet when he doesn't know you," she said as she read. "His Great-Uncle brought him and his other trainees into Vegas for a short vacation over the holidays."
"Oh." He pouted. "I'm betting you don't know them."
She pulled off her locket and opened it, letting him see the picture inside. It was her, Dawn, Alex, and Ron after a shopping trip. They all had ice cream cones. "Answer that question enough for you?" she asked as she put it back on and made sure it was closed.
The boy pouted at the teacher. "She does. She was sitting on some dark-haired guy's lap while *Weasley* was patting her on the back."
"That was my first shopping trip to a wizard's shopping area. Alex was getting his trainees restocked of some stuff they'd run out of in Tibet." She turned the page. "Aren't we supposed to be reading, not chatting about the people I've been around for the last year?" She came to an entry that made her frown and looked at the teacher. "This directly contradicts our Defense text, sir. Is there a reason for that?"
"This is correct. Defense is another archaic subject," he said firmly. "Keep reading. You'll see why."
"Sure, fine. Whatever," she sighed, going back to her reading. She knew enough about vampires from Dawn that she skimmed it. "Sir, the demon's able to be controlled somewhat," she mentioned.
She looked up again. "Should I call in William the Bloody? He's still got that stupid chip in his head." He shook his head, backing against a wall, which made him shriek and head for his in-class shower to wash off the germs he had come in contact with. "Just spray yourself with Lysol," she complained as he stripped down.
"You know William the Bloody?" another girl asked.
"Only through Dawn. I'm supposing I could ask her to ask him. He's sounding like he's bored in LA since they haven't had an apocalypse for months. She said he was anyway." She continued on. "That's another not right thing. Arterial spray is with the pump of the heart, not when it relaxes. Mom said so."
"What does your mother do?" the first boy asked cautiously.
Lindsey turned to look at him. "Mom's a criminalist. She goes to crime scenes to find evidence and figure out who did what and how. She's commonly called a scene tech since she doesn't specialize. My sponsor is a DNA tech. He runs lab samples to find DNA and things. He's also a Potions Master."
"He's the Wizard of Blood then," one girl in the back said, sounding firm. Lindsey nodded, grinning at her. "Does Alchemy work?"
"Apparently for him but he said it's hard as hell to make a stone. He had one that was tainted by someone breaking into his personal lab a few years back and it took him nearly forever to clean and repurify it. Right now, they're waiting to hear if it's twins or triplets. They think there might be an echo effect going on. Greg admitted he had one of those when he was born." They looked impressed at that. The teacher ran out, going back to his quarters. "Is there anything in here on veela's differences?" The top student in the class shook his head. "Shoot. I wanted to know what made them so different."
"It's that touch of magical creature in their line," he said simply. "It does odd things to the mind and body. You know one?" She held up two fingers. "Two?" he asked, looking stunned. "Who?"
"Draco Malfoy-Dumass and Greg's wife, Emilia. Consort Veelas." He looked impressed, smiling at her. "Emilia's presently having problems with the babies though so I'm kinda worried."
"Veelas usually have hard pregnancies," he admitted. "My mother studies them as a hobby. She said that they're fascinating creatures but that they're not nearly human enough for most interactions. Do you think one of them would stomp her ideas flat?"
"That would be better coming from Draco," she agreed with a grin. "He's good at stomping on people. It used to be his favorite hobby."
"Miss Willows," a glowing dot said as it entered the room. "Miss Willows to the office for a visitor."
"Again?" she sighed. "Man, and I thought my mom was over protective." She gathered her things up and trudged that way, stopping to get a new bottle of water since she probably wasn't going to be going back to science class. She found the Headmistress behind her desk and glanced around. "They left or you wanted to chat?"
"I wanted to talk to you, Miss Willows. I know your education so far has been in those stuffy, *old* ways but we do not practice them here."
"That's not my fault. I happen to like quidditch." She got gaped at and shrugged. "It's a thrilling game. Much better than baseball, soccer, hockey, or football. Though I do like basketball." She sat down, dropping her things onto the floor. "Sorry if it bothers you, but I'm not going to give that or my friends up. I happen to like being friends with Dawn, and her fiance and her fiance's friends, and Greg's friends. They treat me like a human being with some sense sometimes. For that matter, shouldn't we be studying things like what magic is and what it does and how it does it? I mean, is it a matter of will power, or of focus, or simply something philosophical like imagination?" The teacher groaned. "Sorry, I'm guessing that's for later, but I've gotta do something. I'm bored!"
"Miss Willows, those matters concern the old ways. Today's *modern* witch and wizard are just like everyone else."
"Yeah, because everyone can float things with a piece of wood?" she snorted. "I'm not changing, you might as well get over it." The Headmistress looked stunned. "For that matter, I saw something in my room that worried me. Why was there a military recruiting brochure?"
"They do recruit from among the students," she admitted. "Most decide not to go, however it does have its benefits."
"Sorry, not what I want in life. I'd rather be a cop first, or like my mother. Actually, I'd almost rather go work for the Weasley twins most days, they seem like they have fun while they work and research." She got a third gape and grinned. "It's interesting. They take a few things and turn them into these wonderful ideas that people want to kidnap them for. That's the sort of charms and transfiguration I want to study, not turning bobbins into thimbles or changing my clothes around. Which is neat and all, but why? Just go shopping!"
"I think, Miss Willows, that this may not be the proper school for you after all," she said calmly. "I will be calling your sponsor in a few moments to see if he'd like us to recommend you to Iowa. I'm sure you'd like it more out there. I know they expressed an interest in your skills."
"Aren't they the one run by that military freak?" she asked. The Headmistress' lips thinned. "Ah-ha. Nope. I think I'd rather go to Salem or Canada." She stood up and gathered her things. "I'm going to my dorm room now. I'll expect to see my sponsor when he gets in." She walked off, quickly making plans. Once she got inside, she tossed everything into her trunk and did the locking spell that Alex had taught her. No one else at the school knew it. She pulled her wand as someone knocked on her door, opening it. "You are?" she asked calmly, noticing the shiny buttons on his uniform. "I'm not going to a military school, sorry. That is not my choice in my life."
"You don't get to make that decision, little girl."
She snorted and pointed her wand at him. "Bet me. Stupify." He shrieked and went down and she grabbed her phone to run out of the school. She paused at the guard. "Just give me a minute to make it onto the street," she pleaded. "I'm not going to the military." She ran out, heading for the nearest place with people, dialing her phone on the way. "Ray, help. It's Lindsey. The military's after me. They're trying to conscript me for not being a modern enough witch." She stopped to glance around. There was a shopping center nearby. "I'm going into the Plaid Market K-Mart. I'll be back in housewares. There's always places to hide back there." She checked the traffic before heading to an intersection and across. "Thanks, man. I owe you. No, just me. My stuff's locked in my trunk back at the school." She hung up and made it across the street, heading inside. The security guard headed for her so she put her wand back up her sleeve and pulled him aside. "My mom's a scene tech in Vegas. There's someone after me. There's a cop coming to pick me up. I said I'd be in housewares. Which way?" He pointed, looking stunned. "Thanks, you didn't see me." She calmly walked that way, heading back to hide among the curtains and sheets.
Ray opened his phone after hanging up and called the number in Vegas. "It's me," he said in greeting. "Lindsey just called. Said something about not being modern enough and the military trying for her?" He winced. "I thought so. No, I'm going to pick her up. She said she left everything back at the school. Yeah, I'll bring her back here." He hung up and stood up, going into his lieutenant's office. "Sir, I've got to pick up that kid that I'm watching out for. Someone just tried to snatch her. Someone military." He nodded, waving him away. "Thank you." He headed down to his car, driving a bit faster than normal. He did slow down when he noticed that cabs were getting out of his way. They didn't usually do that, not even with his lights and siren on. He found the K-Mart easily enough, it had a military jeep outside. He walked in and looked at the security guard. "Which way to the sheets?" he asked.
The guard moved closer. "She's back in the shoe department right now. They're tracking her, officer."
"Detective actually. Thanks." He headed back that way, grabbing Lindsey as he walked. "Come on, kid."
"Yes, Ray." She followed him out, stopping to buy a candybar and a soda so she wouldn't look so suspicious. He gave her an odd look for it. "Lunch," she offered sheepishly. "I was in science class."
"Fine," he agreed. "We're going back to the station."
"Is that a good idea?" a man behind them asked. Lindsey spun and Alex grinned. "Hey, Linds. Probs?"
"Military," she said, pointing at their jeep. "No station?"
"No, go," he said, smirking at her. "Let us handle this. How would you feel about Canada? Greg wanted to know." She beamed and hugged him then left with Ray. He leaned against the side of the jeep, getting stunned looks when the MPs came out. "Hey, how ya doin'?" he asked, smirking at them. "Do you see me?" They nodded. "Do you know me?" They shook their heads. "I'm a curse breaker, I'm known as Carnage. You just tried to snatch my niece." They stepped back and their commander stepped forward. "I'm a bit pissed at you guys at the moment. You tried to snatch a fourteen-year-old girl. Are you desperate?" The commander growled and Xander stunned him without pulling his wand, then moved closer. "Get it right. I'm the danger if you continue this campaign. Don't believe me, look up Sunnydale in your records." He pulled his wand and pointed it at the jeep. "Praemium Totalis," he hissed and it blew up. He looked back at the commander. "I've done that to others before. This is your only warning. Stay away from Lindsey. Forever." He strolled off as if nothing had happened and the MPs didn't make a move on him.
"I'll see you in my regiment yet," the commander called.
Xander turned and looked at him, then smirked and shook his head. "I doubt it. I'm a bit gay you see. I doubt my consort would like that. But by all means, ask the others who I am so you know." He gave them a cheerful wave and continued back to the school. The guard gave him a look of awe. "I'm a normal man with a temper," he said happily. "The military is going to leave us alone or die trying to figure it out. I'd confess about any part you played in that drama."
"None," he said sadly. "The Headmistress is behind it all, sir. Are you Carnage?" He grinned and nodded. "The others are in her office."
"Good. Then they probably don't need me. Sandburg, Sanders, and Methos are usually enough to convince anybody. Having Callahan here will only make it worse." He strolled that way anyway, smiling at them. "I got to blow up stuff, I'm a happy boy now."
"Good. Go up to her room and make sure it's all packed," Blair said grimly. "We're having a discussion with her."
"The guard said it was her who called in the military."
"She's one of the General's apprentices," Greg said tiredly. "Please, Alex?"
"Sure, Greg. Then I'll go sit with your wife so you can have a nap." He went up to her room, following her magical traces, and found it fully packed. He grabbed her trunk and hefted it down the stairs, going back up there to check all the usually forgotten stuff. Toothbrush in the holders, things in the desk. Places like that. He found nothing and that made him happier. He did go take back a few things from one girl but she didn't seem to mind too much, she handed it over without saying anything. "Thank you, young lady. Now remember, the military will only get you used and killed. They're like that." She nodded mutely and he headed down to pack those into her trunk too, handing it over to Greg. "There you go. Ray has her safely at his work by now."
"Thank God," he muttered, heading over there to help him. On the way he stopped at the Canadian embassy to drop something off for Lindsey, her application. "That's got to be priority rushed back up North to that special school," he requested. "It's a matter of saving a girl from a life of misery here in the States." The mountie on duty gave him a dumbfounded look. "Is Fraser here?"
"Yes, sir. Hold on please," the mountie said, going to retrieve him. Fraser came out of his office, looking happy. "Him, sir."
"Gregory. What's wrong?"
"The military tried to snatch Lindsey. Can you forward her application up there for us?"
"Of course. I can fax it over for you directly," he promised, taking it off the desk. "Is she all right?"
"Ray's got her. She showed some good sense." He clapped him on the arm. "Thanks, man. Come see the twins soon. They're anxious to get out." He left, heading up to the precinct. It was only a short hop, which was good because he was exhausted. He walked in and Lindsey ran for him, hugging him hard. "Hey, it's all right," he promised. "No more poser schools for you." She looked up at him in shock. "You're going to Canada. Your mom said so. It's a nice school, a lot like mine was, and it makes Salem look puny," he vowed. "Seventy acres of stuff, including some horses." He walked her inside and shook Ray's hand. "We were worried, but I didn't think it'd get like this. Thank you."
"Not an issue. I thought they got off that kick."
"They'll never be fully off that kick while there's someone power hungry higher up," he said quietly.
"What about Alex? He just blew up their jeep," Lindsey said, glancing around.
Greg hugged her again. "He'll be fine, Linds. Trust me, he'll be just fine." He grinned at her. "Come on. Blair's got your trunk. Benny's faxing your app, and I think it's time for lunch. I'm damn tired."
"Of course you are. Your woman's having problems," Ray agreed. "Need a ride?"
Greg yawned, but waved a hand and shook his head.
"Bet me," Stan said as he walked in. "Alex said you have a room for the night. That the twins are staying with Emilia and Draco. So go nap!" He smirked at Lindsey. "What did you do?"
"I disputed some of their thinking on how things should be and I told the science teacher with OCD that he needed drugs," she said dryly. "They decided I wasn't modern enough for them. Half of my class didn't even bring a ..." She trailed off, remembering they were in public. "No one brought anything to help them *work* on things," she explained. "I was kinda bored."
"I knew I had bad feelings about them," Greg noted, walking her out. "Which hotel?"
"The big one up the street. Can't miss it. It says Radisson on the side," Stan said, walking behind them so he could drive them over there. "The others'll be there tonight, they promised they'd never wake you up but they'd be checking on you." He walked them inside and nodded at the check-in girl. "Sanders and Willows?"
"Yes, sir. Just sign the register please?" Greg nodded again and did so, handing over his credit card. "That's not necessary, sir. Someone's already paid for the suite." She smiled at Lindsey. "What sort of school was it that upset you so?"
"Stupid one," she said dryly. "Putting me behind when I've done all that before and then some. They didn't want me to learn anything and it showed." She took the keys and led Greg to the elevator, letting him lean against the wall. "Emilia would kick my butt if you fell asleep there," she warned.
He grinned at her. "I know. My girl's a kicker." He got them onto the elevator and up to their room before collapsing on the bed. "Watch something," he mumbled, already halfway asleep.
"Sure, Greg." She went to watch tv. She had missed it.
The Headmistress walked into her office later that night and found a single light on. "What is going on?" she asked as she tried to turn on the main lights. She turned to look at the man sitting in her corner chair under the light, gasping in shock. "You!" It couldn't be, not him.
He leaned forward. "You're upsetting a very nice young lady," Harry said quietly. "One that I find quiet enjoyable to be friends with. Also, you're upholding traditions that never were traditions and never will be. That is beside the fact that you're aiding the government in destroying the few wizards over here." He leaned back, looking quite comfortable. "Those of us in the rest of the world are tired of this nit-picking nastiness you have for the finer things in life. You wanna be a techno-witch, go for it. I hear that's big among the Wiccans at the moment," he sneered. "If you're going to run a school, run a real school, not a haven for posers."
She opened her mouth again and backed away. Harry continued relentlessly. "I already disabled all the spells in this room, including your summoning charm. It pays to have my own wand. Your students should know that joy too. Even though we all know who burnt down the local wandmaker's house with him in it." She swallowed and backed away another step. "This haven of mediocrity will be changing back to excellent hands. I hear your Board of Regents has had enough. Enough of many things." He stood up and she burst out in tears, pleading for her life. He snorted. "You're not worth the effort of a curse, lady, much less the strain to hide your body. Leave the real wizards and witches to those with real skills." He waved his wand and disappeared, and the lights went back on.
The Headmistress sat down, clutching her knees to her chest. "What have I done? He's evil. I should have destroyed him. I must destroy him and what he holds dear to release them."
Someone coughed and she turned, then shrieked and backed away from the man standing there. "You!" she said, pointing.
"Me," he agreed happily enough. "Did you think I was the nice one earlier?" he sneered. He pulled his wand. "We're letting Harry vent at the moment, but I think you're a bit too dangerous to go on. Obliviate totalum," he hissed, flicking his wand at her. She grabbed her eyes and screamed, falling onto the carpet in a heap. "Good. Much better." He left, long before the guard got up the courage to come check on her. If he was even still there. "Maybe we can turn this back into a language and charms school again. First thing's first though, they'll need wands." He went to report to the Board, who had allowed him this special gift. "She's done for," he said, calmly twitching his robes into place. "She thought I was nice."
"You are usually," Sloan said bitterly. "What did you do, Philip?"
"Good enough," Sloan decided. "I need the help of a decent educator."
"Get Blair," he said wisely. "Watch him because he's a Guide without his Sentinel, but get his opinion on the matter." He smirked and walked away, heading to the hotel for his shift of Lindsey and Greg watching.
Sloan looked at the other board members. "Onto the next point. Has anyone seen Dumass since he left?"
"I believe he's the reason the Pentagon was closed early today," one of the board members said dryly. "Something about humongous demons singing show tunes and Barry Manilow I believe. Some even in drag hitting on the nice generals." He smirked at Sloan, who was chuckling quietly. "That boy does have an imagination."
"I heard he likes to send odd little gifts too, things like stripping house elves," another board member admitted. "Especially to those who it'd make cry. Now what?"
"Now, we restart the school in the finer fashions it once held," Sloan said simply. "Perkins, I want you to find everyone from the old years and find us teachers ASAP. I want good teachers. Even if we have to use Sandburg we will. He'll be stable for a bit longer. I want a curriculum set up immediately and I want those children to be fitted for wands and brooms. I want at least two house elves in that school by the end of the week. Understood?" She nodded, making notes. "Good. General, I want you to call off the dogs before we beat them with a newspaper. I find them tiring and emotionally unstable." He nodded briskly. "Excellent," Sloan near-purred. "Any other suggestions?"
"Uniforms and robes?" Perkins asked.
"Next year. This year there will be a robe requirement. Over the jeans is fine." She nodded, making another note of that before getting up and leaving the room. He looked at the other woman in the room. "Get me some of Dumbledore's extra pool of teachers if necessary."
"I know a great Defense teacher," she offered. "He's a werewolf."
"Good point but that's what got him in trouble before. I'll write him personally through Molly. Leave Carnage to me, William." She stood up and walked out, heading back to her demonic realm. Her son was making her so proud. She nearly wanted to sniffle. She traipsed around, sending William a few teachers with ideas, then went to LA personally. "Remus Lupin," she said quietly, making him jump. He gave her a wide-eyed look and slowly backed away from her, making her smile. "Good instincts, boy. I like that in Chicago's Defense teacher. Go, now. You're needed. They're fixing the tragedy." He backed up another step. "Sloan said so, boy. Take the doggy with you and let Buffy help if you'd like," she said with a smile. "I'm sure my son would enjoy that." She winked. "Be there by tomorrow." She disappeared, leaving only a small dark place on the floor where she had been.
Remus mentally checked all his organs, then went to the bathroom before packing. He had heard about that already from Dawn, who was pummeling Spike to keep her temper in check. He walked into the main sitting area and cleared his throat. "I was summoned to Chicago to teach," he said quietly. "Alex's mother suggested me and that I bring Sirius and Buffy with me."
"No bloody way," Spike snorted. "Take Buffy, but not my muttly friend." He kicked at the dog, who growled and changed back, pouncing him to try and win this fight this time.
"Who else would you play with," Sirius agreed.
"Fine, then I'll take Spike and Sirius," Remus offered.
Angel beamed at him and went to help him pack. He'd be getting rid of both annoyances! "Don't let me forget to cut your last check, Remus. You've been a great help and you're saving the world a lot of trouble by taking them with you. Have fun with them, really."
Remus snorted. "You'll be fine. They'll want you to visit."
"Hey, there's always an apocalypse waiting to happen. I'm sure I can put it off for *years*." He all-but danced down the hallway. No more Spike! No more Sirius! No more being pounced by them and tortured by their idea of fun and games! No more beer breath! "Actually, I think I can pull up a bit of soullessness on cue if I need to," he offered.
"The idea is to teach the students, not to scare the magic out of them," Remus said, giving him a gentle pat on the arm. "I'll try to keep them with me, but you know those two." Angel nodded, looking a bit less happy. They'd be back some day, he was sure of it.
Lindsey looked around the school she was visiting, smirking in delight. "Now *this* is what I'd expect from a school of magic!" she said firmly, smirking at her mother. "Plus they've still got computers." She patted the nose of the horse pulling the carriage before climbing into it, letting Greg on one side and her mother on the other. "Is this like Hogwarts?"
"Oh, greatly," Greg agreed. "Just more snowy," he admitted with a grin. "Go," he ordered and the horse turned them around, heading back to the school with them. The driver was the horse and he knew just where to go. They got out and he helped Lindsey and her mother out, then led the way inside, taking a deep sniff. "Yeah, this smells right. Potions, burning hair from charms, and candle wax."
"Plus the odd fried mind from the computers crashing last night," a higher-pitched voice offered. "You are?"
"I'm Gregory Sanders," he said, looking down at the diminutive woman. "I was taught by Finius."
"Ah. The Wizard of Blood and your sponsored child," she said, nodding politely at Lindsey. "What are you good in?"
"Mouthing off to teachers," Catherine said, giving her daughter a look. "A specialty she'll be dropping."
"It's not my fault the science teacher had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or that he stripped down to shower in front of his classes," she said dryly. She held out a hand. "Lindsey Willows. Greg thinks I'm going to be good in Transfiguration and Charms. Which do you teach?"
"Transfiguration," she said smugly. "How did you know?"
"Dawn taught me how to see auras and I see a dragon in yours."
"Very well done, Miss Willows. I'm sure you'll fit in here very well." She looked at Gregory, who handed over the vault key, handed Lindsey her trunk, and winked while handing over a broom. "Thank you, Wizard Sanders. Are you staying for dinner?"
"I wouldn't mind talking with the Ice Princess," he admitted, smiling happily. "Sev said his sister was here."
"She's in residence but she is far from happy with her brother at the moment," she warned.
"Salivina has never been very happy with anything," he reminded her dryly. Then he walked down the halls. "Learn to fly and then I'll talk Alex and Ron into teaching you how to play," he offered as he strolled off.
"Sure, Greg." She smiled at the small teacher. "Can I take the tour and do we have somewhere to leave my crap?"
"Of course. Let's get you sorted." She led the young woman off, her mother staring around. "Not as many paintings. They seem to influence the electrical currents at times," she offered. "It's the soul energy in them." She led them into the Headmistress' office, smiling at her. "This is Lindsey Willows. I believe she'll be quite an asset."
"I'd still like to take the tour and ask questions," Catherine offered calmly.
"Sure, babe," the Headmistress said happily, waving a hand. "We don't really measure up against the ancient honors of Hogwarts, but we're pretty dishy in our own rights."
"Were you a Hufflepuff?" Lindsey asked.
The Headmistress laughed and nodded. "How did you know, ducks? I went on an exchange program. C'mon, it's nearly tea time and we can do the tour afterwards. Our visitor's quarters are excellent and fairly sweet to nap in too," she shared as she led them down to their version of the Great Hall. "Oh, Bo, I have the feeling she'll be in your house, love. This is Lindsey. Lindsey, this is Bo, he's one of our resident ghosts. He's a hero of the War of 1812. He defended the school against the Puritans who came up to civilize and correct us."
Lindsey grinned. "Good job. I'd hate 'em too." She bowed. "I'll probably be seeing you soon, sir."
"Of course, m'dear," he agreed, grinning at her and winking at Catherine. "Quite a strong one you've got there. Can't wait to see her on a broom." He floated off, going to gossip with some of his favorite students. It was nearly tea time after all and what better way to spend it than this?
Greg looked at Catherine as they walked into the station together. "It was a good decision. It's a very technical and very vocationally oriented school," he reminded her. "Besides, she found six other girls *just* like her within an hour of being sorted. Plus two boys who were sniffing her like Dief does a dish in the fridge." She cracked a smile at that. "See, she'll be fine. It's not that much farther away and I can always get you up there." She gave him a hug then went to the lockers to find her gun. He walked into Grissom's office. "We're back. She's safely in Canada. She was having a squeal-fest with some of the girls when we left." Grissom smiled at that. "Plus, she liked it on sight."
"Good, Greg. How's the wife?"
"I called her last night but she was feeling fussy, didn't want to talk. Why?"
"Because your mentor was here earlier looking for you," Warrick said behind him. "Catherine looks down. She okay?"
"Lindsey loved Canada," Greg said with a small smirk. "Walked in and pronounced it the sort of school she had expected it to be." He went to call his house. "Hey, Prof, why are you in town? Did Hogwarts fire you or did it refuse to let you in after another drinking binge?" He listened to the quiet words. "Is she all right?" He swallowed and stood up. "Coming. Yeah, right now." He hung up and jogged back to the office. "The Prof is there. He said Emilia's in real labor this time. They're doing some time stuff on her belly." He waved. "I'll be back sometime soon. Maybe." He left from right there.
The sheriff came further down the hall, then looked at Sarah. "Did Sanders just disappear?" he asked, looking confused.
She gave him an honest and smiling shake of her head. "No, Greg's perfectly normal. He just runs really fast when it's about his wife. You know she's been having problems, right? Oh, I heard back from Cassie. She said she'd *love* to come back for a formal interview for day shift. She said Cascade's about to go into hell as far as she can tell. There've been six different hostage takers at the station alone. She said it's gotten really bad."
"I'll call her later," he agreed happily, ignoring the disappearing act for now. "Gil." He smiled. "Is Sander's wife all right?"
"He said she's in real labor and they're having a hard time stopping it," Warrick admitted. "We'll be moseying around later I suppose." Then he shook his head. "Did I just use mosey as a verb?" Grissom nodded, smirking at him. "Never mind. I need a nap and a soda." He went back to work. He called the house, just in case someone should know these things. Maybe they'd make him forget Cassie too. Greg hated her too. If not, maybe praying for it as a miracle would count.
A few hours later, the station rocked as a muted explosion went off in the parking lot. Everyone tried to find a reason but there wasn't a single trace of any explosive. The man they'd found in the parking lot had said something about a truck backfiring so everyone ignored him. Grissom looked up as the man walked toward him. "Don't you need permission to enter buildings?"
"Those are vampires and only in dwellings," Ethan said smugly. "We've successfully timed the babies until they were only two weeks early. Two boys. Both showing Mastery potential." Grissom broke out in a smile. "He asked that I come cover for him this time. Where might the annoyance be?"
"The Sheriff went back to his office," Sarah said as she walked around him. "Hey, Ethan. Enjoying your new life?"
"Quite a lot actually. I find many *enjoyable* things in my present life." She gave him a look so he leered at her. "I could show you I suppose. I'm much better for you than your spouse, Sarah."
"You might, but you're too damn big to be human," she said snidely. "I find that I like little men. They pay more attention."
"Guys, making me ill," Grissom noted. He went to call Greg's house. "What do you need?" he offered gently. "I've already filed your papers, Greg. What else did you need? Food, soda? Pain killers?" He smiled. "No, I thought you might have enough of that. Want Catherine?" He smirked. "Fine. We'll all be over tomorrow at sunrise." He hung up and went to check on the sheriff. There was no telling what Ethan would do to him. He found the man entranced and on his knees, giving Ethan a worshipful look. "Not at the station," he ordered.
"Of course not," Ethan said smugly, moving them both back to his house. The man had offered his wife as well, it was a nice gift for him. Some humans were quite generous.
"Luna will be kicking his butt for that," Nick said dryly, making Grissom look at him. "When are we expected?"
"Just after dawn. We'll ride out together to see the boys."
"Sure. I'm sure Cassandra will need some attention by then." He strolled off, going back to work on his usual lab.
Dawn sat up and squealed, startling Ginny and Luna, and half the rest of the library. "Emilia had twins!" she said happily, hugging her buddies. "Just the two! They're both creating the echo!"
"Yes!" Luna shouted, hugging her back. "You go, Greg!"
"Girls!" Madam Pince yelled. "What are you doing?" She hurried over to them. "What happened this time?" she asked primly.
"Greg had twins. There was a narly little echo from both of the twins that made it seem like a trio, but they're only twins," Dawn said happily. "Plus, the temporal stuff worked wonders. They're only a few weeks early now instead of months."
Madam Pince relented and smiled at them. "Good. That is excellent news and more than worthy of a celebration, but do not do so in my library," she reminded them, going back to bother, er, help some of the other students.
"How did you know?" Ginny asked. Dawn gave her a confused look. "You're not marked yet you knew as it was happening. How?"
"I don't know," Dawn admitted. "I'm guessing it's like how I thought I knew Blair when I first met him and how I sent you that message about Harry's wand." She shrugged. "Not a present worry for me."
"Oh, contraire, my sweet," Luna said with a smirk. "It is time for us to put on our Hermione wigs and to go into super-research mode."
"Do I have to wear the glasses this time?" Ginny asked. "They made my head hurt last time."
"I don't think we'll need that much power," Luna assured her, grinning as she stood up and headed to the circulation desk. "Madam Pince, may I please have that book on the Key? I wanted to show it to Dawn since she's run into it before."
"Of course, Miss Lovegood. Such *pure* and *holy* things are very good for you to read up on," she praised, getting the restricted book for her. She was old enough and Albus had told her she could have access to anything that she deemed would encourage Luna to stay on the light side of the lines. "There you are. Remember not to take it out this time. It was most upset with you last time."
"Yes, ma'am," she agreed, going back to her seat and handing Dawn the book. "This is what happens when you work in a magic library. You find some wondrous things hidden in the back shelves of the Charms section."
Dawn looked at the book in awe, then grinned at her. "Thanks, Luna. You're a great near-sis." She settled in to read it. Forget her Potion's paper, this was much more interesting and even Sev couldn't complain that much. Especially since he'd be tired from the spells to help Emilia and might even miss class tomorrow.
Ginny grinned at Luna. "You're good," she praised. "Got anything for me?"
"Well, there is a way for you to have kids without being touched, and still being able to be with the unicorns, just not the little ones before they're weaned," she offered. "Besides, someone threatened to take over the world by mixing Greg's DNA with Dawnie's, but he'd have to be the mom." Dawn broke out in loud giggles, nearly falling out of her chair. "Seriously. They're taking it as a threat."
"If we do, I call dibs on putting it into Alex's body," Dawn said with a wink for her cohorts.
"That child would be hell on earth," Luna said thoughtfully. "Think my Ethan snuggly would love to be a Godfather?"
"He'd probably beg and blow for it," Ginny said dryly.
"Ladies!" one of the Slytherins said in shock. "What are you talking about?"
"Someone threatened to take some of my DNA and some of Greg Sander's DNA and make a baby with it to rule the world," Dawn said with an evil smirk. "We think we should put it into Alex's belly. You?"
The poor Slytherin looked stunned, then slowly backed away from her. "There's no way you're a normal girl, or a Hufflepuff. That's an evil thought! I'm turning you in!" she shouted, running for the exit.
One of the older Hufflepuff males tripped her and winked at Dawn before going back to his comic. He had owed her a bit for beating up on a bully for him.
The Slytherin got up and ran out crying. That was a thought so bad not even Dumbledore would be able to save the world. Not even Harry Potter wold be able to! She ran into Professor McGonagall and clutched the front of her robes, sobbing pitifully. "They want to force Miss Summers and that nice young Potions Master to have kids," she sobbed. "It's the newest dark plan to take over the world! Not even Potter will be able to save us!"
McGonagall patted her gently on the back. "I'm sure it wouldn't work," she soothed. "Don't worry, we'd warp the child correctly before it was old enough to be dangerous," she promised. "Come along. I'll help you downstairs so you can clean up a bit."
"Mr. Malfoy would be ashamed of me," she agreed bitterly. "But that's a horrible thing and Miss Summers was joking about putting it into that Alex's stomach!"
McGonagall shuddered. "Never fear, child, he hates children," she said, trying to calm her down again. The Headmaster found them on their walk. "Were you aware of a plot to force Greg and Dawn Summers to have a child?" she asked bitterly. He shuddered but shook his head. "There is one."
"Perhaps I'll have Severus gather what information they have. That would be a horrible child."
"Uncle Sev said he's found one worse," Harry said as he strolled up the hall. "If Luna and Ginny have a kid, who then mates with Ron and Dawn's kids." He smirked at his former teacher.
"Oh, dear Merlin," she breathed. "That would be child that would break the school! There's no plans for that, correct?" Harry shook his head and the adults relaxed. "Thank you. Try to keep it that way, Harry."
"Are you lost?" the Slytherin female asked, able only to get a small sneer in place.
"No. I was looking for Dawn."
"They're in the library."
"Thanks, Professor. Good evening, Headmaster." He turned and strolled back that way, going to share the good news, at least until he heard that Dawn already knew. Then he called Hermione for them to have her help them with the research. She was in the Ministry's archives after all.
To Part 8