Something To Remember Me By
//You might wonder why I, Draco Malfoy, last son in line to inherit the humorless bastards of the universe's treasures, am here. It can basically be summed up with a simple thought I've had many times since that blasted portal opened. That stupid bastard and his minion of stupidity. Yes, I am speaking of a certain Headmaster and his little bright child of hell. Or possibly from hell with the way he looks sometimes, but I'm not going to dwell on him. If I do, I'll get upset again and then I'll end up licked.Licked? You want to know why? Because three weeks from the end of my last year of school, a mere nineteen days before exams would be ending and I would be free, a portal opened one night as we were all piling in for dinner. Now, that's not a usual thing - even in a school of magic - but *no*, *I* had to be caught in it. I will never run early for another meal in my life. I've thoroughly learned my lesson from this one.You see, the portal didn't take everyone who was early. No, it took myself, one other seventh year, and a first year who's since been eaten. I probably shouldn't say much about that, I'm sure her parents would be quite upset with that fact and I've since learned what grief was living with a group of warriors. Yes, I'm sure her parents would be very upset at her becoming fertilizer. Not even her wand or robes were left. Not a pretty picture and even the prat Weasley got sick from it. Sigh, yes, I did get sucked in with the second worst possible human being I could ever get stranded in an odd world with. Ronald Weasley. Now known as Vigdeon. Why you ask? Well, let me tell you. When we fell through the portal, Ron had his wand out to try and move some of the younger students out of the way. Me? I was trying not to die from this. So therefore I was knocked out when we came across. They decided that Ronald was a real wizard and are now treating him like a hero and teaching him combative magics and other things. Me? I got stuck with a dragon. When I woke up, after about a week, I found that a young dragon had pounced me and had refused to let me go. So, instead of learning the higher magics and using them for my own ends, I'm now the pet of a dragon. You see, she, yes a she, believes I'm her pet. Me, Draco Malfoy, Dragon of Bad Faith, the pet of a young female dragon. I should probably curse myself to death, but she's promised to harm my remains if I did.//Draco felt his hair being moved as his tent opens to admit his new owner. "Done doing the disgusting things now?" he asked dryly."Most pets and riders like to watch their dragons eat," she complained as she laid down around his back. She could now curl up all around him and often tried to do just that so her head was in his lap. "You should go play with the other pets, Kitten.""For the last time, I am not a kitten. A kitten is a small, furry creature that you can put in a bag to carry along. I am not that small. Nor is my animagus form a cat." He frowned at her, so she licked up his nose. "Eww!" He wiped his face off. "Why do you persist in doing that?""Because you remind me of a kitten I saw once," she said simply. "It was nice." She sniffed him then put her head back down in his lap. "Are you going to make more human smelly stuff, or are you going to learn to cover it up like real dragons?""It's too bad you dragons don't know what gas is," he said darkly, pulling back up his journal so he could use the back of her head as a writing table. "Hold still," he warned when she wiggled."Not there! I've got an itchy spot and it's irritating it," she whined. He moved the book and used his wand to put some oil on the spot. "Thank you, Kitten. Um, Draco," she corrected with a grin."Why am I cursed with you?" he asked."Because I liked you. You have pretty hair and you're very strong. Only the strongest of the Holy Warriors can be pulled through the portal. It's something that'll one day get me a big, huge mate who'll help me make many baby dragons for more Holy Warriors to ride.""I'm not a Holy Warrior," he sighed, yet again. "I've never been a warrior for the light. I never want to be a warrior for the light. I'm a dark little bastard who has no concern for other's well being. Get it right, Reievan."She snorted, warming his stomach again. "Sure you're not. Then again, some of the other Warriors who have come through haven't been that pure either. That one dark one is your leader.""Dumbledore was dark?""Him?" She snickered. "No, Snape! Invetrion here to the others. He went to the Academy and everything when he was pulled in. He helped end the last Dragon War.""Snape?" he asked in shock. She nodded. "When?""When he was younger than you. They said he was just a boy, but he was quite strong. He had Vigdeon's place. You, my brave little pet, are much more happy with me. I know you are.""Of course I am. I could be learning more things to make sure I survive. I am a wizard too in case you didn't remember.""Then why don't you ask the others to teach you?" she snapped. "They can do that too. It's just the special ones who learn Battle Magics."He sighed and stroked her neck, calming her down before she toasted him. He never wanted to go through that again. "I shall, Reievan, thank you. Now, hold still and be a good desk before I find a saddle and bridle to ride you around the camp." He opened back up his book and went back to writing, rereading the last few lines to get his train of thought back.//Forget that bumbling crock of bad taste. I know who to curse now. It appears my *beloved* head of house was here already. Yes, Snape. He and I will be having words when I get back. If I get back.You may ask why we're still in this same place? Because if we don't, we may never get back. The portal only works in this one spot. Weasley and I are both in agreement, we're not moving our tired, fed-up asses out of this spot until the portal opens again. I will be going home and I will be going back to kick some ass.//"You know, we don't have to stay," Reievan noted softly. "The Wizard's Academy has portals to all sorts of places and they did teach a few people from your world.""You mean Dumbledore did go here?" he asked dryly."Well, he went there. I think he had a fling with an elf maiden and they expelled him if I heard right from my parents. One of them was there then.""Is this like a normal school, like where we were?""No, it's a higher place of education. You're expected to have already passed out of your apprenticeship to get in there. It's very hard to get into, but many in the camp are saying that Vigdeon could use that sort of help. They say he's about to pass outside of their usual training here. That he's studied the combat magics before.""No, he's just a tosser who's jumped into someone else's battle to get hurt all the time and gain attention," Draco said darkly, glaring in the direction of the teaching tent."That is the definition of a warrior," she noted, closing her eyes. "We should sleep. We have formation drills in the morning, Draco. We'll have to do better or else they'll try to get me to choose a new pet. I keep telling them that you're not bad at riding, just at the physical battling that's expected of us. The Trainer doesn't seem to understand.""Of course not. He still thinks I'm some weakling who really desires a sword," he said bitterly, closing his journal and tucking it back under his sleeping furs. That was one good thing about having his keeper. She hated to eat the furs off the beasts so she skinned them and he got first pick of the best of them. The rest were given to the other riders since their beasts mostly didn't mind. So he had a good foot-thick pile of sleeping furs to snuggle into each and every night. If only he could reach them. He could hear the non-delicate snoring going on and that meant he wasn't moving again that night. He pulled over the top few to pad the hollow he found himself in and to cover himself with. It was self defense, her scales were very sharp and he'd gotten cut more than once. She shifted, putting her head back against his stomach, and he fell asleep that way.***Two days later, Draco stormed into the teaching tent, sneering at the man sitting in lotus on the floor. "Ronald," he snapped. No answer. "What? Too good to answer to your name now?" he sneered."I'm trying to meditate, Malfoy," he said tiredly. "If I don't, then the teachers are going to yell more and I'm tired of being bitched at because my illusions aren't that great at the moment.""Ooh, getting bigger than you used to be?" he said snidely.Ron turned to look at him. "Malfoy, do you really want to be the single person behind the lines casting spells, hexes, and illusions while *everyone* on the other army's side is gearing for you? Because that's what I'm training to do. Being the big, fat target so guys like you can be part of a group," he said bitterly. "Helpful, yeah, but it's still really boring. I'd rather be riding a dragon most of the time." He closed his eyes again. "Your choice. You can *always* be the target instead."Draco shuddered. He hadn't thought of that. "Fine. But I want in on some of the teaching. We are both wizards and it's not fair.""Hey, get the dragons to teach you. They're magically active, even yours is," Ron sighed. "Once you start to teach her, she'll teach you back. Who knows what you can learn from them.""Really? Because mine doesn't seem to think much of magic.""That's because she knows she'd lose you," Ron said, giving him one of those 'dumbass' looks he had been getting a lot of recently. "Go, teach your dragon magic. She'll start to remember her magic and she'll teach it to you.""Whatever," Draco said, storming out and going back to where his dragon was being washed. "Too tired to splash everything in sight today?" he asked her, sounding a bit more gentle to his ears.She yawned, letting out a bit of poisoned gas and steam. She could blow either as he had found out when she had nearly cooked him a few times and had nearly killed him a few others. "Bored.""Good. Then you can help me practice with my wand." She gave him a long look. "I need it or else I'll forget while we're here."She leaned down to get into his face. "It's about time," she said dryly. "I was wondering when you were going to ask to be taught the creative magics." He looked stunned. "All those who can change their shapes have at least a touch of it. Women do tend to lord over that area, but men can touch part of it if they have a good enough imagination." She snuffled his chest. "We'll start with basic exercises after you bathe as well." Then she used a forefoot to drag him into the river, dumping a chuck of soap on his head. "Here, wash.""These were my last clean clothes," he said, his jaw clenched."Then you'll be learning how to do laundry first," she said smartly, wandering back to their tent to get dried off. "I'll be waiting. Let out all the human smelly stuff out here please.""It's a natural body process," he called after her. "My stomach's not used to this food.""Not my fault," she said happily, pouncing the tail of one of her elders, only getting a dirty look in return. "My rider needs practice with his magic.""Your rider has magic?" the elder dragon asked. She nodded. "For how long?""He has a wand like Vigdeon. He came from the same school." She smirked at the now- disgruntled elder. "I made a very wise choice I think. He'll need help since he's not a combat mage and he's not exactly even a battle mage. He prefers to attack then hide.""I prefer to attack then watch the chaos," Draco called. "Get it right."She flipped her tail at him. "So you see, I did make a very wise choice. Even if he does have problems staying on my back without a saddle.""You do know he wants to treat you like a mare?" the elder asked dryly. "Putting a saddle on you to break you to the harness?""Let him try," she smirked. "He knows better and we'll deal if he gets beyond himself. This way, maybe we can go to the Academy together.""Perhaps," the elder said, watching Draco. Then she looked at the practice the other Holy Warrior was going through, watching him get frustrated. "Does their school not teach battle magic?""Nope. Draco said it was more geared toward the nicer things in life. Like potions and things. He said he excels in them.""Interesting. We may be looking him over to change positions then." The elder dragon wandered off to talk to some of the other elders.Draco came out of the water, pushing his hair back and walked over to put an arm around her. "Nice job," he said in her ear. "Thank you for that.""You're welcome. Now, go do that thing humans do so you don't stink up the tent." She flapped a wing at him. "Then we'll work on drying and cleaning spells. The furs could use it anyway." She headed into their tent to roll around on a few of the furs. He'd be drying them anyway and they were very soft. She would have to make him sleep in the bed tonight instead of curled up inside her body. He needed to sleep and she wanted to sleep on the furs from now on. Really, such silly things. Not moving simply because she was around him.***That night, Draco let out a growl. "I still can't get this! Why can't I get this? I'm a powerful fucking wizard, I should be able to do anything I can set my mind to!"Reievan nudged him with her nose. "It's all in how you think of it," she said quietly. She looked into his eyes. "When you dream of your future mate, what do you see?" she asked abruptly."Usually I leave her faceless," he said dryly."Why?""Because none of the people around me thrill me that much," he said with a shrug. "My housemates may be pure, but they're not much to look at.""It is often that way when a line inbreeds," she said sadly. "The higher dragons have had that problem before as well." She nuzzled his shoulder, getting a friendly shove away and a frown, but it was better than the glares he used to send her way so he was adapting to her finally. "This takes the same amount of imagination as calling your mate into being or even creating a portal home, Draco. This is more about thought and desire than your wand, which is rather cute, if small. Maybe you should enlarge it to full size.""It is normal sized," he retorted, but he closed his eyes to try it again. The smell of wet fur was still bothering him and he wanted it gone. And then suddenly it was. He looked at the pile of furs. They were still there, but the top two or three, but the rest of them were clean looking and smelling."Nearly," Reievan offered dryly. "Now go find the other two and your diary.""It's a journal. I'm not some bloody Hufflepuff girl," he complained as he got up to get the stupid things. He found them in Ron's tent and snatched them back, taking the journal from his hands before walking off.Ron snickered, shaking his head as he looked over at his teachers. "I'm guessing he got frustrated.""With as wet as those two were, I'm not surprised," his main teacher agreed. "Now, you can learn how to clean the air in here. Concentrate and focus, Vigdeon.""Yes, sir," Ron sighed, slumping down as he concentrated on getting fresher smelling air.***Draco looked over as Ron cast something, noticing he was finally doing it right by the look on his teacher's face. So he decided to add the next level by casting a simple hex at him, a leg locker curse since he was dancing around. Ron shot back an offensive blast of power meant to make Draco swell up but Draco created a shield wall so it hit that instead, and cast another hex at him. Ron's eyes narrowed and he cast a shield wall to catch it then cast back a more major hex, something to make his body go flat like everything inside it had been pulled out. His shield wall buckled but held mostly. So he cast something meaner with a cruel smirk."Enough!" the teacher yelled. "What are you doing?""Isn't that what he's going to have to deal with on the field?" Draco asked smartly, smirking at Ron. "Well, at least you managed a credible shield wall finally."Ron growled and pounced him, pummeling him as they rolled around. "You bloody asshole," he shouted, hitting him in the face. "I'm tired of you. I'm tired of your whole house and I'm sick and bloody tired of you!"Draco got free because his dragon pulled him out of the way. "What did you think you were doing, Weasley! We're wizards, not some stupid ass muggle! We don't go around hitting each other.""There's something to be said for hitting," Ron said, taking another swing at him, getting him on the jaw. He was definitely coming out better in this fight. "I'll get you yet," he called as he was drug off by his teacher and sat on a stump, being stuck there.The teacher looked at the boys. "Not friends?""Hell no!" Ron snorted. "I hate the git. He picked on me all the time for shits and giggles.""Don't worry, Weasel, I'll go back to it when we get home," Draco sneered back."Enough!" a senior mage in the combat group yelled. "Malfoy, since you've proven you have the capability to learn the combat magics, you'll start taking lessons with Vigdeon. I'll expect you each and every afternoon. In return, Vigdeon may learn from your dragon as well. In the mornings you're still working with the trainers. You're hopeless on your dragon's back from what I've seen.""I'd do better if she was flying," he said snidely. "It's not like my sort use riding beasts.""You fly?" he asked, looking amazed."On a broomstick," he agreed. "I'm one of the better ones in the school. Don't believe me, ask the git.""Draco, get are children," his dragon reminded him."Not get, git," he said, saying it more clearly. "Like tosser, wanker, or asshole." He looked at the teacher again. "When do we get to go home?""When the portal opens again," he said smartly, looking him over. "Fine. Reievan, can you fly?""Of course," she snorted."Then take him for a fly. It may help calm him down some." She shrugged and lifted Draco by the back of his shirt, walking him off so he could put the harness around her neck and back, then they readied. He watched as Malfoy straddled her, wincing at the uncomfortable position, but he shifted upward some. She took off and he wobbled, but it was better than he did on the ground. He released Ron and waved him over. "He really does fly?""We use broomsticks to fly. I'm guessing that there's a difference between a stick and a much larger back." The teacher nodded, that was probably true. "He does look much more comfortable up there and he's left me alone again." He went back to his lessons. "Go again?""Why? He was right. You will have to do that while others try to hit you. We'll start again with him tomorrow. For now go meditate and work on your concentration. Creative magics take more imagination." He walked over to talk to their leader. "Is this wise?""Yes," he said patiently. "If he's strong enough to not worry about someone learning his true name to use it against him, then he's more than strong enough to learn both. As is Vigdeon." He glanced back at the tent. "Make sure he learns the practical skills first. That way he can do his laundry without having to take the day off to do wash." He walked off, going to talk to the dragon trainer, who was watching them in disgust. "Vigdeon admitted that they fly on broomsticks in his world.""Why would anyone want to fly on a broomstick?" he asked in disgust.Draco hovered, glaring down at him. "Because we don't have thinking dragons in our world," he said impatiently."Land, boy, let's see if you can stay seated on the ground." They landed and Draco did a bit better this time. "Fine, you'll be in the flying corps I guess," he grumbled, walking off shaking his head."Have you never ridden a riding beast?""No, why would I? They're not exactly the norm in our world these days. We haven't used those since they got horseless carriages. They go much faster and don't need to be shoveled after." He slid off the back, stretching to pop his own. "Well, that was certainly better," he told his keeper. "Next time, try not to wiggle so much?""I have to flap my wings," she complained. "Sit further up my neck. It'll help that." She looked at the head teacher, then smirked at him. "And you thought I was touched in the head," she sneered, walking her pet on. "Come on, we can work on food things while I eat.""Eww.""Tough.""Fine." He followed her out to the food pens, watching as she grabbed a sheep and sat down to eat it from the stomach up."Want some?""Are you mad?" he demanded, glaring at her. Her answer was a giggle. "Never mind." He shook his head and went back to their tent, going to imagine himself clean and dry again. This magic by imagination stuff was much easier once he got the hang of it. He was sure it'd become more useful the longer he practiced. His first attempt at food hadn't gone that well, but he had finally gotten something that tasted like butterbeer and scones after his sixth attempt this morning."Don't do fruit, or else you'll only be able to conjure fruit," Ron said from the doorway. "My teacher said to tell you that. He said he's seen it happen in the past.""Bully for him," Draco said dryly. "Feel better now?""Yeah. She heal you?""No, I did. I do know the same minor healing spells you do. Or at least I paid more attention in that class than you did," he said dryly."I learned them at home," Ron smirked. "That's the beauty of older brothers." He scratched the back of his head. "Malfoy, I want to call a truce. While we're here we're going to have to get along. We're the only ones here with wands and the teachers don't understand about using them in the least. They do all theirs with their minds." Draco nodded, lounging on his furs. "If you could stand it, we could call a truce and not pick on each other for a bit longer. At least outside of hexing each other in lessons," he finished with a small grin. "What do you think?""I think it'd help you a lot to be hexed a few times," Draco said dryly. "If I must. Since no one will ever know.""No, no one will ever know," Ron agreed. He stepped closer. "There's another thing. We're going to have to move soon. There's a war coming this way. There's another group marching on ours.""Oh, bloody hell," Draco complained, sitting up fully. "When?""We're moving late next week. The scouts just reported that they've seen their scouts. So they're about a week away at the least." Draco sighed, shaking his head. "If you could get up to snuff on the battle magics, you could cast from Reievan's back. That would confuse and help a lot, plus keep you mostly out of harm's way.""I'm sure we'll have our own maneuvers to go through," Draco said tiredly. "But we can try. I'll talk with her tonight about this.""Thanks, Draco.""Do not let it go to your head, Weasel. I still loathe you and everything you stand for."Ron smirked. "So? I can't imagine Harry doing this. He'd have died by now." He shrugged and walked out, heading back to the teaching tent. "He agreed.""Good. Then we'll work with him and the trainer to get him up to speed," the lead combat mage decided. "We should be able to get him up to speed by the end of the week, before we move. You two will have rear guard positions anyway, you're not trained enough for anything else."Ron nodded, that made sense to him. "Fine. Can I work on that cleaning stuff? His clothes actually looked and smelled nicer than mine do after I wash them.""Sure, Vigdeon. Sit down and concentrate on it. The same as you would for an illusion spell, only with different intent." Ron nodded, sitting down to consider how best to imagine his clothes clean and whole again. The teacher watched him, shaking his head at how carefully Ron had to picture things. It would get easier for him after the first hundred times. Practice was a good thing.***Draco got his first look at the other army and nearly flinched. Nearly, if he had others might have seen and he couldn't allow that. So he stood his ground, leaning against his dragon's side. She was edgy and jumpy, but he was forcing himself to stay calm. They'd be in flight, not much would be able to get to them up in the air. He checked Reievan's harness again and then his own clothes. It had been amusing when they had handed him a sleeveless vest and he had asked where the shirt was. Everyone had given him an odd look. So he had figured out that any color, as long as it wasn't the other army's colors, would be fine and had put on one of his black shirts under the dark green leather. How his dragon had killed something that had leather for skin that color he wasn't sure, she only gave him one of those 'dumbass' looks when he had asked if it was a natural pigment or not. The order to mount up came and he slithered up her back and across her neck, getting comfortable on the small pad she had graciously allowed him to have so he wouldn't have to worry about more cuts on his inner thighs from her scales. She took off and he had to make a grab for one of the reins, but he knew what he was doing now. He had drilled all week on aerial maneuvers. He was nearly as good at them now as he was as a seeker, as long as Potter wasn't around.He looked around in case the goody-goody showed up, but no sudden portals had opened to save Weasley from having to fight this time. It did give him an idea to make the battle easier however. Conveniently enough, the other army's banner was purple so it was easy to turn them all into Hufflepuffs in his mind. Those mealy-mouthed morons that invaded his space, tried to talk to him, and made his day go bad by giggling about *everything*. Them and their girls, who only ever wanted to snuggle and cuddle, but never have sex. It was so very wrong in his view of the world to want to cuddle but not have sex; not that he could stand cuddling but if it got someone into his bed he could put up with it for a time - like two minutes maybe. Below them he saw archers pull up their bows and growled, destroying those that he could with a whip of flame sent down at them. How dare the stupid Hufflepuffs play with weapons! They'd only end up hurting themselves then whine at him until he fixed them!He saw the battle mages start their wondrous illusions, watching as walls, trees, and even some mythical creatures appeared in front of the other army's charge. Very few of them stopped at the illusions, but others were casting harm and pain spells. Things like lightening bolts from out of nowhere and colored waves of air that ate at the people it touched as long as they were wearing purple. So the fact that he wasn't was a very good thing. His aerial unit maneuvered closer to the other side's mages and tried to hit him with their own modified crossbows, but they were shielded while they worked. Draco growled as their line broke and a few people ran, then as the wizard's shield flared out to get a few of the dragons, who fell screaming to the ground. No, this was not happening! Not to him, not to Reievan. He wouldn't allow it to. So he put his mind to it and decided that this time the wizarding way would have to suffice. He put away his crossbow, earning a glare from a warrior who saw him, and pulled his wand, casting a hex at the other wizard. It got past his shield, but it had meant to only annoy him. It had been a test of his powers against this other person. He broke away and headed back to the mages. "Ron!" he yelled, getting his attention. "They're not immune and they can't shield against our wands!""Bloody great, Draco. Can you take over for a few of the mages? Do something flashy?""Fine," he called, heading back to the battle. He tried a few mass-cursings, but they had little effect on the other army. So he got frustrated."Use what I taught you!" his keeper yelled back. "It's time, Draco, show your human rear parts!"He smirked his most cold smirk and started to concentrate on what he knew would scare the little Hufflepuffs below him, creating a troll he had once seen. He did it very well, it was very real. It had bashed in a few heads before attacking both sides."Fall back!" Ron yelled. "It's real!" Their side retreated with only one missing warrior. Ron concentrated and created another creature, this time a dragon. He knew a lot about dragons. Charlie was constantly sending home pictures of himself and the beasts. That one went after the other army like they were food, which to his kind of dragon they were. The other army broke up and ran away screaming, but the dragon did get to eat the other mage and a good many of them and the troll lumbered after them happily. It was a good game to him, his dinner was running away."Land!" the Head Battle Mage yelled. "Now, Malfoy!""Dear, I believe he's a bit upset with us. Do you think you could land and not land in something icky, like guts?""Sure." She landed where they had been lining up and got out of the way of the larger dragons, only stopping to smirk at the Head Battle Mage. "Still think he's not as good as Vigdeon?" she sneered, heading off to get cleaned up. Vigdeon thoughtfully got her free of the harness, letting it drop into the ground. "Thank you. Can you unbuckle the spurs too?" He nodded, doing it for her while the Head Battle Mage started to shout at her pet."How did you do that! What did you do! You created a real being!""No shit," he said dryly. "It worked, didn't it." He shrugged. "I only meant to drive them back. It worked, get over yourself. By the way, they can't shield against those of us who have wands. Might want to take that into account next time." He strolled off, gathering up the harness to wipe clean. "Good job, love. Very nice flying. Nearly no shimmy this time at all.""Thanks, kitten.""Kitten?" Ron snickered.Draco looked at him then shoved him into a pile of mud and blood. "She's demented, it's from dealing with people like you all day." He flipped his hair back and moved on to help her get clean. She had grabbed a few warriors in her claws and they needed to be cleaned between the toes probably."Vigdeon!" the Head Battle Mage snapped. "What was that creature?""That was a Norwegian Ridgeback, sir. It's a dragon from our world. We don't have thinking ones yet." He grinned at him. "Right pretty, huh? My brother takes care of them." He went to strip off the heavier outer robe, putting it carefully back in his tent. Then he came back to help the healers. He had some experience with it after all. He'd been injured many times. The other mages turned out to be mostly fine. Two were dead. The group had lost about sixteen warriors all told. The other twenty injured would probably be fine if they could heal things on them. Or even close the wounds so they wouldn't get infected. He came out and found Draco attached to one stump complaining loudly at the older dragons to leave his alone. So Ron gave him a look before walking over there. "Hi," he said, worming his way between them. "Reievan, Draco needs to get cleaned up. He's sweaty and nasty. Think you can do that?" She nodded, smirking at him. "Thanks. He's much more a person who likes to destroy egos and moods than real battles." She wandered off, going to unstick her pet and take him to the lake to bathe with the others.Ron looked up at the bigger dragons. "What did you think was going to happen? Draco's a wizard. His kind are bred from birth that the only thing that matters in life is magic and how pure of blood you are. I doubt he's ever seen a weapon before we came here. I'm fairly sure he never hunted and I know he's never killed before. You and the commanders should have expected that we would have both related back to our home magics first. That's how we've trained for the last nearly seven years. Draco is a dueler. I'm a fighter. It's a different mindset but you should have all expected him to do this sort of thing. Hell, I'm surprised that he hasn't bugged anyone to let him at a library. He's frightfully good in classes. We both did what worked and that's the end of it as far as we're concerned. Now, you can either accept that and leave him, and his dragon friend, alone or you can get in his face and watch him become pissed and start to take out his aggression on you lot. He will you know. He did it on me for *years*." He walked away, going back to the healer's tent to see if he could help. When he saw the open wounds being bound he pulled his wand with a sigh and sat down next to the most seriously injured one to start off with his injuries."Vigdeon, not him. We're making him comfortable," one of the healers said gently. "Even if you could heal him, his people demand that he die if he's that injured.""Sure, I'll work on someone else," he offered, letting her lead him to the next hurt person. This one hadn't even gotten cleaned up yet so he sat down with a damp cloth to wipe away the blood and check the wounds before he worked his wound closing charm. Those were handy things to know and Hermione had found them for him. He sighed, wishing she were here. She had studied a lot more of the medical stuff than he had. He looked around but she didn't appear. "Damn, just when we need her too," he muttered as he worked."Who?" the warrior asked quietly."One of my buddies. She's a book nerd but she's the one who taught me how to heal simple cuts and things. What I'm using on you now." He patted him on an uninjured spot. "You'll still ache but you won't be bleeding.""Thank you, Vigdeon. You are quite good. Was the dragon yours?" He nodded, grinning shyly at him. "Very good work. Not as nice as ours.""No, ours are mean and they like to eat people," Ron admitted, then he winked. "They're not as smart either. Don't much think, only attack and eat and rut. My brother watches their sort at home.""That's got to be dangerous."Ron nodded. "Fairly, but my other brother's a curse breaker. Then there's the prat and then the twins above me, plus a sister below me.""My mother had a small family too. She only gave birth to twelve children." Ron's mouth fell open. "Seven of us lived to adulthood. Only two girls. The rest are strong sons who're mostly mated. I decided I didn't want to farm.""I can see why, but do you want to keep doing this?" Ron asked.His patient shrugged carefully. "It beats milking cows and sheep each day, twice a day.""Good point," Ron agreed, smirking at him. "Now, any others?""There's a bad one on my back," he admitted, letting Ron help him move. Ron hissed. "That bad?""The arrow's still in there. Oy, could use some help here?" he called quietly. "He's got an arrow in the back." One of the more senior healers, a stooped old man, came over to help him by pulling it out. Ron sealed the bleeding under his watchful gaze then sealed the wound. He put the man onto his back and decided he must be asleep. He looked at the healer. "Did I do it wrong?" he asked hesitantly, noticing the look he was getting."No, Vigdeon. He passed out from the pain. He still lives. Come, we will discuss what you have done." He forced the boy to come with him back to his patient while they talked. A few minutes later he lifted his head. "Malfoy!"Draco strolled in pushing back his wet hair. "Eww, that's blood," he said, looking slightly sick from the sight of blood on one warrior's arm stump. He covered his mouth and ran out to get sick."Never mind," the healer sighed. "Too bad we can't call that other warrior back to us," he told Ron."Hey, I think the school would love doing without Madam Pomfrey for a few weeks," he offered with a bright grin. "If we can figure out how to do that, I'm sure we can get Harry and Hermione here and maybe her too.""I'll ask the mages. Maybe it would help."Draco stepped back inside. "What did you need?" he asked calmly, like he hadn't just managed to lose everything he'd eaten so far that day."Draco, do you know the healing cuts spells?" Ron asked. Draco shook his head. "Not even the one for minor scrapes and shaving cuts?""I don't shave.""You don't shave?" Ron asked, looking stunned. "What do you do, do a depilatory charm?" Draco nodded. "Wow. The last time I tried that I removed all the hair from my eyelashes down." Draco shrugged, looking even more calm and a bit smug. "Eugh! Eww! Don't tell me you shave *there*!" Draco shrugged, looking even more smug. "That's just nasty when the hair grows back.""That's why I do that charm every single morning," Draco noted. "Sorry, Weasel, I only know how to reduce bruising.""Fine. Have fun and play with your dragon," the healer ordered. Draco nodded, leaving them alone. "Did he just admit to shaving everything?" Ron nodded, looking a bit green now. "I'll have to remember that for when the mages make you go kill those creatures you brought." He noticed Ron's look. "It's not like they won't hurt the surrounding countryside," he pointed out dryly. "That would make it our responsibility to fix and you created them.""You guys really don't have trolls?""Our trolls are small and nasty," the healer noted. "Yours are that big? That was as big as a giant."Ron nodded. "Yeah. I know a half-giant. He's kinda nice, he teaches us about magical creatures.""Ours are simply big and stupid," the healer said with a shrug. "You'll still have to deal with them.""Fine," Ron agreed, going to the next one to help him as much as he could. He left anything overly serious to the real healers, hoping they could magic some of those injuries better. If not, he *really* felt sorry for some of those guys. He was rudely grabbed and drug outside by his teacher and placed beside Draco. "Let me guess, we've got to go stop the troll and the dragon?""Yes, now, before it finishes destroying a village we'll have to repair. As is, we may have to make some sort of reparation to them.""There are warriors in there with missing limbs, why not let them," Draco said, heading over to where his keeper was sunning. "We're off to deal with the constructs. Want to help?""I wouldn't mind getting another look at what your dragons are like," she admitted. She noticed Ron had commandeered someone's battle mare and snickered. "He'll kill you.""He knows I have her," Ron said dryly, mounting her easily with the aid of a stump."How did you do that?" Draco asked in amazement. "You ride at home?""One of our neighbors had a pony, we used to go over ride the old thing all the time," he said with a shrug, heading off. Reievan walked after him. "You could fly so Draco doesn't fall off," he suggested when he noticed how much trouble Draco was having staying on the shoulders of his friend."I need some sort of interface between my gloriously round rear and her sharp, flat scales," Draco said bitterly.Ron looked over the beast. "Can't you move up about another six inches? There's a natural dip where her neck meets her body.""If he does, I can't move," she offered. "Perhaps he should have a horse to ride around on the ground.""Or maybe I should find a saddle for you," Draco said, glaring down at her. "I swear you do that on purpose.""Kitten, we're all like this," she said patiently. "Even the older ones. Eventually you'll have a worn spot in my scales, it simply hasn't happened yet.""Give it time, Malfoy, it's only been six weeks," Ron agreed. "Not near enough time for your round ass to wear a spot on her bones."Draco simply glared at him as they followed the trail of destruction. They found the dragon and troll wrestling around. "Is that a stupid dragon?""The troll probably jumped her," Ron sighed. He looked at them, then at Draco. "Do we decreate?""If you try, then you could destroy the countryside," Reievan cautioned. "Decreating something is a very particular business. You know how to know what you're getting rid of at the cellular level. That way you only take it out." She settled down to watch. "There is the option of banishing it if you think you could," she offered. "You'd have to send it somewhere not on this plane though.""How would we do that?" Draco asked."You'd have to think very hard about sending it to the other area you wanted it to go. You'd have to know in great detail what would be needed to give it an idea of where to land, otherwise it'd stay."Draco looked at Ron. "Where?""Outside in the pens?""I can't imagine that," Draco complained. "It's basically a blank place with rails. Plus, if there's animals so it could throw it off.""You want to send it inside the school?" Ron asked in shock."Or to the pitch," he offered."Yeah, but if there's a game, then that's going to mess it up as well." They looked at the wrestling creatures and sighed. Dumbledore was going to kill them. "Entryway?""Do you know each painting?""Great Hall?""Best yet," Draco agreed. "I'll take mine, you take yours." He pictured the Great Hall down to the exact mass of students as he usually saw it, then pictured the troll in the middle of it. He heard a great roar and concentrated on the desire to send it there, but there was silence and he could feel the snickering underneath him. "What?" he asked, starting to pout as he opened his eyes. "Wow, it worked.""I'd say," Ron said in awe. "Wow. I hope we only drew them from there and didn't cause a lot of damage." Draco gave him a long look. "I pictured it empty," he defended. "It could be running at a different speed so it could be in the middle of the night or during classes or something.""Hmm, I hadn't thought of that. I pictured it as it usually was when I saw it," Draco said with a shrug. "I'm sure the teachers can save everyone from anything too dangerous." Ron gave him another of those shocked looks. "I can't picture it other ways. I don't know what it looks like when it's empty.""The fact that you're not worried about the others in our school is worrying, Malfoy. Have I ever told you that?" Draco considered it then shook his head as Reievan turned around. "Well, consider it told to you. You're odd and scary.""You're just jealous because I get results," he snorted smugly. "They'll be fine. The teachers do know what they're about. Let's go back to the tent, Reievan. I need a nap now. I'm dreadfully tired.""Then lay yourself down my back and hold on," she ordered. He shifted, letting her cradle his exhausted body. "Are you all right, Vigdeon?""Just fine so far," he admitted with a yawn. "I'm used to going without sleep. Let's get back there quickly though." He urged his mare into a faster trot, heading back up the trail of destruction to the camp. He got off and handed the reins to the rightful owner, then trudged into his tent to collapse on his pile of furs. They were much higher since he had made more of them. They were very soft too. He slid underneath the top one and snuggled in to rest, needing it now. He'd get up for food.Draco was asleep by the time Reievan got back to the camp, so she had to have help to get him off her back, but one of the older dragons plucked him off and handed him over so she could put him into bed and curl up around him. Vigdeon had the right idea, she was tired too.***Back at the school both warriors came from, the student body was in an uproar as a full grown troll and a full grown dragon both appeared in the middle of the Great Hall. The teachers had to act swiftly before anyone died, and the heros remaining were not happy with what they had to do to keep the Slytherins from getting eaten by one of the beasts."Why does the dragon smell like Ron's aftershave?" Hermione asked, frowning at the bound and stunned beasts.No one noticed Snape and Dumbledore giving each other a look. They knew what that portal meant, and the beasts reappearing was the clue they needed to figure it out. Especially since they both knew that neither of those beasts were native to that other realm. "Harry, Hermione, that is a very interesting question," Dumbledore agreed. "One I'm sure we'll be finding the answers to soon.""Could whoever took Ron have sent it?" Harry asked, starting to really get worried. It had only been a few hours and he was already really worried but this was going to send him into a blind panic soon. He knew the Dark Lord didn't have them. He hadn't felt any gloating through their bond, but he knew that something bad was going to happen if they didn't get Ron and Malfoy back soon."They're both fine," Snape assured them, going to get Hagrid to help them move the beasts outside so they could be disposed of."Yes, quite interesting," Dumbledore mumbled while he was staring at the creatures.
Chapter Two.Draco looked around the tent he found himself in this time. The army they had started out with had been merged with the one they were presently part of because there was a full war going on. So he and Ron were being drilled extensively on the magic they'd need to use against the elves and he was also being drilled in further maneuvers with Reievan. He and Ron had taken it upon themselves to drill each other with their wands. No one here could deal against them and the elves probably wouldn't either. Since they weren't sure why the elves were attacking the humans this time, they were fairly clueless about the elves and what they might and might not know. They had agreed that trying it in the middle of the battlefield would probably not be the best option, especially if they could retaliate with similar force. The boys looked at each other, then at the teachers around the mage's tent, grimacing at the ones watching them.Draco raised his hand, getting one's attention. "Do we know if they know of our kind of magic as well?""One of the former Holy Warriors was with them for a time," he admitted. "We do not know if they have defenses against that."Ron nodded. "Okay. Then do we have a battle plan in place?""Yes, do not construct something real this time," their head mage ordered dryly, glaring at them. "What did you do to them?""We sent them back to our world," Draco said with a shrug. "What's one more dragon and one more troll?""We heard it was a giant," an enthusiastic young apprentice mage offered. "Was it?""Our trolls are like your giants, only dumber," Ron told her. "The same as our dragons don't speak, think on higher levels, or work with humans. They tend to eat them actually. One of my brothers works with them." Ron smirked at Draco. "You remember me working in the healing tents?" Draco nodded. "Did you know that around here a family of twelve kids is considered small?"Draco looked horrified and let out a small whimper. "Damn! I'm so glad I'm not from here. Though your family should fit right in," he sneered. Ron shoved him. "Keep it up, Weasel, I will turn you into something and then feed you to my dragon.""Try," Ron smirked. "The last time you threatened that she said she wouldn't eat me because she would never eat a changed creature unless she was in heat.""For mature mages, you two play too much," the senior mage of the bigger army said in derision."We're barely eighteen, twit," Ron said with a snort. "Go away and leave us alone. We know what we're doing tomorrow, and we'll be doing it without someone having to babysit us, not like the apprentices.""Just don't stick us with the apprentices," Draco said firmly, glaring at the senior combat mage. "Is there any luck in finding out what this whole shite is about?""No," he said grimly. "All we know is what we told you. About six months ago the elves started attacks on some local villages, destroying them totally. When the King sent someone to them to try to stop the attacks, they nearly killed him before sending him home. We tried another time and it didn't go much better, we've never seen him since then.""Therefore we're down to kicking the shit out of them and making them run crying back to their trees," another mage said with a touch too much glee.Ron looked at the senior battle mage, noticing the dirty look he gave to the younger fellow. He coughed. "If we could capture one of the higher ups, would that help?""It would infuriate them and they'd fight harder," the apprentice offered gleefully. She was just too happy to be stood most of the time. "Elves are fiercely protective and will smash anyone not of their group who touches one of theirs.""We'll keep that in mind for when we start to win, boys," the senior mage noted calmly. "Good idea. Now get back to work on our sort of magic.""Yes, sir," they sighed, glancing at each other. This was futile. They each felt it in their bones.***Six months later, as the last fully trained combat mage fell, Ron felt himself losing his temper in a more permanent fashion. He'd had enough, this was going on forever and it was long past time for it to be over. There was no way he was going to stand by and let this happen, not to the people he had grown to like and accept as part of his group. He shouted at Draco, a wordless scream, which made everyone stare at him. "Enough!" he shouted finally, raising his hands. The unfettered and enraged powers going through his body reacted to his emotions and the skies broke open with a rainstorm like never had been seen. Both sides retreated and Ron reached out, with Draco's help, to grab one of the commanders from the other side. He felt their mages struggle and mentally slapped him, sending him spinning into a tree, and took the commander anyway. He walked forward to where the man had fallen, letting Draco grab their commander on the way. The King was here and Draco and Reievan decided to grab him instead. Draco was even nice enough to create a rain shield in the middle of the field. Ron stepped over one last body to get to the heaving body of the elf. "I've had enough," he hissed, his eyes showing his rage. "I've had enough of this shit. You guys started this as a war, give me one damn good reason why I shouldn't do like before and bring something here to kill you all!" he finished with a shout. The elf gave him an odd look but he did stand."Calm down, Weasley," Draco said patiently. "We tried to talk about this a while back. Why did you start attacking the humans this time?""They attacked us first!""Rubbish! You never asked us to try them for any such thing!" the King shouted."Shut up!" Draco yelled, stunning them all. He looked at the elf. "When one of you misbehaves in the human world, who judges them?""The humans," he sneered. "Usually harshly no matter the offense."Ron caught on. "Then why aren't you allowed to do the same when you're attacked?""Because they're human," the king snorted.Ron grabbed him and forced him to look at the battle ground. "Do you think any of the bodies laying out there right now give a damn about humans or elves?" The king pulled away and he saw Draco stun a few guards coming for them."You are a called warrior?" the elf said with a small sneer.Draco glared at him. "Yes, we are. And we're tired of this shit. It's keeping us here. Our own world is at war and you pulled us from it. Granted I wasn't fighting in it at that time, but you still pulled one of the *heros* from the side of the good guys." He looked at the king. "If you have the right to judge elves who do misdeeds in the human world then they should have the right to charge humans who do things against them. That's common fucking sense. Get over your hatred and your petty fears of magic and elves and quit wanking off to them each and every night. If you had left them alone, they would have left us alone. Now that you've lost a good third of your fighting force due to this love/hate thing you've got with them, do you really think you're doing a good job!" he sneered. He noticed another elf coming their way. "Bloody hell, he's dressed like Snape," he said bitterly. "I am so going to kill him when we get back. Remind me of that, Weasel.""Agreed," Ron said dryly, moving a bit so the other elf could step under the protection. He felt it expand so Reievan could come in. "Who're you?" he asked bluntly."His liege," he sneered.Draco popped him one in the mouth. "Only I get to sneer at him, asshole." He sneered at Ron. "Did you toss a fit?""Sorry, but it was time." Ron crossed his arms over his chest. "I've had enough, haven't you?""Definitely and I'm sick and bloody tired of wars," Draco agreed."We've been invited to the Academy," Reievan offered gently. "If we all live."Draco smiled and patted her on the neck. "Thank you for that bit of good news, love." He looked at the new elf. "So, *liege*. Is this your idea of shits and giggles? Burying your people I mean.""No, I did not want the war. Your people attacked us.""After you destroyed some villages," the human king shouted."Oh, shut up," Ron said dryly. "You know, we looked on the map and couldn't find those villages. I'm guessing that was the family of the people who hurt theirs." The Elf King nodded. "If we can settle this today, will you go back to the forests and leave the mangy, stupid humans alone?" Ron asked."We'd love nothing further," the commander agreed warily. "There is always a reparation though.""Fuck reparation. You've killed a good two-thirds of our army. We've wiped out some of your villages and over half of your forces. There's no winner in this sort of war. Surviving isn't winning," Draco told him. "It's not like you want the human's lands or families." The elves shuddered at that thought. He looked at their boss. "Do you really want the elven villages? They're going to be foreign and you'd never live up a tree.""We live in the trees, not up the trees," the commander said dryly. "Do you know of other Holy Warriors?""We were called during supper," Ron told him. "They weren't calling specifically for warriors. I heard our former mages say they just opened the portals and hoped. They got a first year too, a child of eleven." The elves hissed."Exactly," Draco sneered. "And then they got me as well." He looked over the two elves' attire, then at the commander. "I do know one who may have been here. Severus? Sound familiar." The king swallowed. "He's my head of house and Potions teacher. He's third most powerful in our school. Dumbledore heads it." The Elven commander spit and muttered something."We heard he had taken up with a maiden," Ron said with a shrug. "We all know he's a bit odd in our world." He looked at their boss again. "Would you mind calling a truce before the rest of us die? We're fighting over what some criminals did. That's as dumb as fighting over who a daughter wants to marry and which child is the inherited one.""Many wars have been fought over both of those," the commander offered.Ron looked him in the eyes. "Not by smart people and not by people who have been in real wars," he said simply. The commander nodded, that was true. "This is like two toddlers pissing on each other. Bloody well kiss and make up.""Before we enforce that order," Draco agreed. The Elves looked at him. "We created a real troll and a real dragon from our world. Our trolls are like your giants. Our dragons aren't smart and they like to eat things that scream and try to run. They pounce them like cats on a mouse. Your choice of course." Then he did a scary thing and smiled. He looked at his dragon. "Reievan, dear, you stink. Go back out into the rain and get clean." She huffed but she refused to smell bad.Ron looked up and diverted a bit of the shower, making it stronger over where she was standing so she could get cleaner faster. "There, that should help, Draco.""Thanks." They looked at the stubborn human, who swallowed. "This is Vigdeon. I am Malfoy. You are all fucking toast if we're forced to work together another damn moment in this stupid ass war.""If you do, then we'll gladly go to the Academy and have them send us home," Ron offered with a bright grin. "I'd like to see my mum again before our world is destroyed. My sister might not even be married by then.""Why are you doing this now?" the elf commander asked."We wanted to do this six months ago but no one would let us. Fortunately I'm now the senior combat mage," Ron admitted.Draco noticed the commander over all the troops of the human side stomping their way. "Incoming," he said bitterly. The man had wanted all the mages to die, thinking that they weren't helping by being practical."What are you two doing!" the commander complained as he walked in. "I did not give you permission to break ranks or to start this storm!""Oh, shut up," Draco said with a sneer, making the man stop and stare at him in shock. "We're tired of this. Vigdeon is now the senior mage. You pulled him from a war to save all our kind, including his family, to come screw with us here. He's a bit pissed. I'm a bit pissed." The man backed up a step. "So, now this will be ended. One way or another. We have had enough. Get it now?" he said coldly."Calm down, Draco. He can't help being a dimwit," Ron said soothingly. He mitigated the rain, letting it ease off. "Why don't you go dry Reievan off? She could probably use it and for you to check her feet and scales.""You're sure?""Vastly. I've had to stare down the Dark Lord, I can hex these four into compliance." Draco snorted but he did leave him there so he could baby his keeper some. She did deserve it. She had helped him pull double duty for the last few months.Ron looked at his commander, creating a chair. "Sit," he ordered, pointing at it. "We're calling off the war or I'm going to destroy everyone on both sides. My world has wizards who like to torture for fun. Including Malfoy's father. Feel damn lucky you got me to even him out.""I will not sue for peace," the king said stiffly."You'll bloody well sit down or have your heir take over," Ron said firmly, staring him down. "Ask me if I care which one." The king snapped his fingers and someone brought him his special chair while Ron made some for everyone else. "I believe Draco's right. This war is for idiots who are obsessing over what they can't have. In your case, I believe you always wanted to have an elven lover and never could find one to take you on. You act like that to me.""I pay you....""Since when?" Ron snorted. "The pay's a good five months behind right now. Besides, I'm leaving after this. I can afford to be brutally honest. You fucked up. You're a major ass fuckup and you're hurting your people by doing this shit. You're taking farmers from the fields and that means that people will starve this winter. Not that you'd care because you have enough money to buy everything you want, and what you can't you'll steal. You can't afford to keep the army up and yet when your neighbors realize this you're going to have to call it back into being against an invader. We've already heard intelligence that the surrounding countries are starting to send spies to see if we'd be an easy takeover. Since you've just managed to get the greater majority of your combat mages killed, I'd say yes."The king looked shocked, then whimpered. "Malfoy and I aren't staying here to help you. We could care less. Maybe the next people will give a bit more of a damn about the people who do the actual fighting and the those little people who your empire rests on top of. Otherwise you'll fall quickly and hard. He'll probably laugh, I'll only feel sorry for the normal people who get hurt, like those who are being left out in the field."He looked at the human commander. "Order them to remove the bodies. There's a lull, they can do that. Those people deserve an honorable burial." The man gaped at him so Ron slapped him as hard as he could. "Now!" The commander squeaked and ran out. He looked at the Elven one, who was concentrating on something. "Good, we'd heard you could do that. No fighting except to defend yourselves." The commander nodded, looking calm. He looked at the two kings, then back at the human one. "You started this shit. It's up to you to be the bigger man and end it. Your people are dying. Their people are dying but I'm guessing that they won't have starving children this winter like you will. This may be your choice, but it needs to happen now. If it does, then you might have enough time to get some of the harvests in still. If not, then your people are buggered and there's going to be even more mourning this year.""I don't have to do what you say."Ron gave him a long look, then stood up. "In my world, there are spells that are called Unforgivables. Ones that can cause such pain that it drives you insane within minutes. Ones that can make you do what the caster wants, no matter what it is. Ones to kill you in a heartbeat without evidence of anything more than a spell. Malfoy knows all of them. His father likes to use them on others for fun and games. I'm the nice one here. You can have me or you can have him when you become unreasonable. There will be peace or there will be no country left for you to rule. Your choice, King. I've had fucking enough." He looked at the Elven king. "What would it take to end this?""Just to ask for it to end and to agree that we have sovereign rights in our own lands," he said simply. "No more coming in to rape, pillage, or destroy.""Seems fair enough and fairly reasonable," Ron agreed, glaring at the human king. "You?""They have no right....""In their own kingdom, they do, the same as you do," Ron said coldly, making him flinch because some lightening just hit outside the bubble. "That's their kingdom. You can no more tell them what to do in their kingdom than they can order you around in yours." He glanced over as he saw a figure on a horse moving closer. "Who's that?" he asked the Elven king."The owner of these lands. He's outside of his own country and fighting on this one's. I'd say he's not pleased. We have nothing against him," he said dryly, smiling at his old friend. "This is Vigdeon, one of the Called Ones. He's trying to stop this horrible mess.""As I heard from the others. Your friend has been taken captive.""Do they have his wand?" Ron asked. The other king looked stunned. "Do they have his dragon?" He nodded at that. "Fuck 'em then. Draco won't fight for much but he will destroy over her. She's probably his only friend in the world." He heard shout and looked back there, nodding at the mass of bodies flying away looking broken and dead. "See." He looked at the new king. "I'm trying to stop this bloody fuckup. Are you going to help or hinder it?""No, I want to help it actually," he admitted, smirking at the young man. "This King is outside of his kingdom trying to take over other lands.""Malfoy thought he had a deep seated desire for Elves," the Elven King laughed."Possibly," the Elven commander agreed with a shrug. "Makes more sense than most things." He glanced around. "Is his heir around?""I have no heir," the human king snarled. "He's weak!""Good," the other human king agreed happily. "Then he'll want to stop this too. We'll let him dispose of his father in the time-honored traditions." He bowed to Ron. "Thank you, Master Mage.""Not yet," Ron said dryly. "We've only been doing this for a while. Tell me, where is this Academy? Is it here or in his lands?""It's on the other side of ours," the Elven king offered. "We can guarantee you safe conduct.""That's all I really wanted," Ron agreed. "Draco may beg and plead for a hot bath and the like," he admitted with a boyish grin, "but he's a spoiled princess anyway some days." The Elves laughed, the King shaking his head. "He is. Just ask his dragon, who calls him kitten. He hates it." He smiled at the new King. "Can I leave this in your hands and leave his land alone in his hands? I'm worried about his people starving this winter.""As do I. You have my word, I don't want that craggy, nasty, dusty little kingdom. It can barely sustain itself and it'd always be a hindrance to any other kingdom. Thank you, Vigdeon." He held out a hand and Ron shook it. "Have a good trip.""We'll certainly try," Ron agreed with a grin. "I'm heading back to the mage's tent. Hopefully Draco will be calm by now," he sighed, heading off through the mud. Once he got safely inside he cleaned himself off and turned to look at their things, which were already packed. "We're leaving?""We are. Reievan called the Academy and they've agreed to talk to us both," he said calmly."You okay?""Fuck no.""Fine. The Elven King said we could have safe passage since the Academy's on the other side of them." He tipped Draco's chin up but Draco moved his face away. "You had a moment of rage. We've all had them. You could have killed them and you probably didn't. Good job." He went to pick up his packs and put them over his shoulder. "Reievan ready to move?""She is and she's picking you out a horse she said," Draco admitted as he stood up. He was tired, you could see it in his whole body, but he was still unbowed by the stress and strain. "Where are we sleeping tonight?""For all I care, we're bringing a tent," Ron said with a shrug. "Let me talk to Gravanis. He's our old troop's master of holding stuff." He headed out with his packs, noticing that everyone got out of his way. "Gravanis make it?" he called to one of his former comrades. The man nodded, glaring at him. "It's either this or both sides die on someone else's lands," he noted calmly. "Both sides already have orphans and those who grieve. It's too much now. I left it in capable hands." He walked off to the quarter-master's tent, patting the canvas before walking inside. "Gravanis. Malfoy and I are leaving. Can we steal a tent?""Of course, Vigdeon. We've got a few extra now." He looked at the boy. "I understand. War is unholy and unclean. It should have been stopped sooner.""We wanted to do it sooner but you know why we didn't." He accepted the roll of fabric. "Did Reievan actually ask about the horse Malfoy said she's picking out to take along?" The older man laughed, shaking his head. "Then I'd stop her. I can walk.""No, it'll make up for the missing pay we can't pay you," he offered, holding out a small bag. "It's all we can afford for all you've done. You're one hell of a mage, Vigdeon. The Academy will be easy for you. Watch for the backstabbing." Ron nodded, tucking the bag into his belt and taking the other sack he held. "Food for you and the horse should already be outfitted. I'll make sure Reievan will have her harness and things. We have extras now."Ron nodded, giving the man a hug and a hard clap on the back. "Thank you. I liked you a lot. I hope I don't have to run into you again in an official capacity, unless you need me." He turned and left, heading out to meet up with Draco by the paddock. "Gravanis gave us a tent and he said he'll make sure she's got a full harness set since they've got extra.""Beats having to carry it," Draco agreed dryly, pointing at them. "She said one of those four were good enough."Ron looked them over, smiling as he came to the two biggest ones. "Well. The red one and the black one are both pretty." He put down his things and walked inside, going to let them sniff him. The red one reminded him of his brother Bill's hair but she was skittish. The black one glared at him so he grinned at him. "Don't like me at all, do you?" he asked with a grin."Vigdeon," Gravanis called. "Not them. They're commander's horses.""The red one needs some gentle people," he called, heading back. He looked at the nag, then at the quarter-master, grinning at him. "Must we?""No, I'm just letting her out here. She'll make pretty babies with the males in here and she's got good lines. I've got one for you. C'mon." He led the way to a covered stable, letting out a tall, leggy, pure black horse that almost looked blue in the dim torchlight. "Here, have him. He's still a bit wild but he'll be fine with some gentle handling.""I've never had to break one in before," Ron admitted, stepping forward to let the creature sniff him. "Hi. What's your name?""Well, right now it's Dammit, get off me," Gravanis sighed, scratching his gray head. "He likes to bite a bit now and then.""Oh, wonderful," Draco said from the doorway. "Will he hold Weasley with how hefty he is? He looks delicate."One of the elves came in and looked at the horse, then snorted. "He's in need of castration.""That's mean," Ron told him, smirking at him. "You remind me of someone." The elf looked shocked. "You do.""I may, but I do not know you.""He's got the Headmaster's nose," Draco agreed, leaning against the doorway. "Just find one already.""Fine," Ron agreed, walking down the aisles. He found one in the back, wincing at the condition of his coat. "Ow. You all right in there?""He got hit with an arrow. He'll be fine, Vigdeon. Though if you want to heal him," Gravanis offered with a smirk.Ron pulled his wand and worked on the open sore, cleaning it up for him. He pulled out the horse, looking at it. "He's also lame and he's tired. You can tell he's tired.""Fine."The elf coughed. "There is a Courtier's horse outside," he offered. "It is more than suitable.""Actually, I like some defiance, but I want to look handsome, like I'm some novel hero," Ron said with a smirk. The elf looked stunned, then burst out laughing, making the quarter-master jump then snicker himself at the sight of the elf rolling around on the floor."In that case, I've got you one," Gravanis offered, leading him into a side tunnel and coming out with a *huge* black horse, just like the first one in the barn, only bigger. "The other's Da." He handed over the reins and watched as Ron stroked the soft nose and whispered to him. "You'll look tiny on his back.""I will," Ron agreed with a grin. "Wanna go with me, big guy? We can go riding if you want. Get away from all this nasty war stuff for now." The horse nuzzled him and let him bridle him then saddle him. Ron walked him outside, taking the bags to hitch to the back of the saddle. Reievan could carry the rest in a stomach pack, which Draco had already filled with necessary stuff. Ron nodded at Gravanis, leaning down to give him a hug. "Thanks, man.""You're welcome, Vigdeon. We want to hear great things from you. You and Malfoy both. Just remember to watch out for the games at the Academy.""I'm here to escort them," the elf noted. "My King said so.""Sure," Ron agreed. "Are you riding too?""Of course," he snorted, whistling to bring his mare. He noticed Ron's horse giving her a long look. "Do not even think about it, you lout. My mare is delicate and you'd hurt her." He climbed up on his mare's back and they rode off, ignoring the others watching. They heard a shout and he had to stop Ron from moving. "The human's heir was found. He probably just stabbed his father. If the war had restarted, we'd have heard that by now," he said calmly. Ron nodded and continued forward, following what little he could see of Reievan's tail. "He is an interesting mage.""He's learning the creating stuff mostly and battle magic as a backup. I'm doing the opposite," Ron offered. "We're both from Hogwarts.""Ah. I have heard of that place. It is said to be quite pretty.""If we get to go back, maybe you can visit for a bit," Ron offered. "We do things vastly different.""We shall see, Vigdeon. There are those there I would like to meet." He glanced around but couldn't see the dragon anywhere. "Can you talk to him, tell him not to get too far ahead of us?"Ron whistled loudly, stunning the elf until he wiggled a finger in his ear. Reievan flew back. "No getting too far ahead. We need to stay kinda close to our host here.""Fine," Draco agreed. "I found a lake and we were going to bathe if that's fine?"The elf looked at him. "We do wash in it so it shouldn't matter," he offered. "Don't scare the maidens.""I don't do virgins," Draco said dryly, turning his keeper around to take her back to the lake. He got her stripped off and into the water with a slap, weathering being dragged in by her tail. "Hey!""If I need scrubbed, you definitely need scrubbed. Cleaning spells do not make you totally clean. You stink like a fish. Bathe, kitten."The maidens watching in awe giggled. "He does not look like a kitten," one of them called.Reievan smirked at her. "True, but he snores like one when he sleeps. This is Malfoy, mage." Draco gave a half-hearted wave of his hand before dunking himself. "The war was stopped by him and Vigdeon, who is riding this way with someone to give him safe passage to the Academy."The maidens giggled again. When Ron and his escort got there, they had rings of flowers waiting for the horses and were more than happy to pet Ron's horse for him while he bathed and changed into some lighter traveling clothes, modestly behind a tree of course. You didn't despoil virgins when you were visiting and passing through.
Chapter Three.Ron and Draco dismounted outside the Academy's building. It wasn't very big outside, but the elf gave them a long look. "Should we just walk in?" Ron asked."Probably, yes," the elf agreed. "I'll be out here with the horse. Reievan, I hope you have a good learning session.""Thank you, kind one," she said, smiling at him before releasing her pack and following her pet inside. Inside the building was much bigger and nicer. Someone coughed and she glared at the tiny pissant. "We have been told to come here to attend and for them to be sent home. The Headmistress wanted to see them as soon as they got in.""And who're you, you stinking beast?" the boy snorted.Draco pulled his wand and slammed him against a wall. "Much more polite than you are and obviously better bred," he snarled. "Do not task me again, boy, or find that my wrath is greater than hers." He nodded so Draco let him go, watching him run away leaving a trail of wetness."Been missing being the badass?" Ron asked dryly, looking over as a door opened. "Are you the Headmistress or a professor?" he asked the young woman."No, I am your guide, gentlemen, and lady. This way please. Lady Reievan, have you mastered another form?""I'm trying to master being smaller," she offered. "I haven't gotten it yet.""That's fine. You'll need that one sooner instead of later." She led them into a large room with a single table set up and four teachers behind it. "Here they are, Headmistress. Vigdeon, he who stopped the latest elf war. Malfoy, his cohort and Dragon Lord, and his consorting beast Reievan."Reievan put a hand on Draco's shoulder. "That is the correct way to introduce me," she said quietly before he could attack this one as well. She looked at the teachers. "May we get our things and have Vigdeon's horse stabled for him before we begin the tests. It is rude to keep our escort waiting.""Of course," she agreed. "Come back here in ten minutes. The stables are around the side of the building," she said, pointing. They nodded and left to do that, Ron finding that inside was oriented differently since the stables were on the other side from where she pointed, their escort had pointed that out to him. They appeared a few minutes late, but with their condensed packs. "Thank you. Nearly on time.""He was fussy," Ron said with a shrug. "It happens." He crossed his arms. "What should we do before the tests begin? Or are you just going to send us home?""There is much you have yet to learn about being a combat or a battle mage, Vigdeon," she said in quiet reproach."I know that," he snorted, frowning at her. "Then again, we weren't asked to come here. We were taken.""Ron, leave it," Draco said quietly. "I want to stay if possible. There's much to learn here.""If one of you stays, the other must," one of the professors offered. "We can tell you that time does run differently in your world. There it may not have even been a full day yet."Ron looked at Draco. "You sure?""I am. Reievan was invited to study. I want to learn and you could learn more things to help the great bloody hero at home."Ron nodded. "That's fine. You've had good instincts so far about things like this." Draco had kept them from being kept by some witch with an enchantment to trap young men. He had also kept them from having to die at the hands of some creatures. He definitely had the touch to discern dark magic. He looked at the council again. "We want to be tested as students then.""Very well. We can do that. Now, please preform a Constantine Shield," one of the teachers said haughtily."We know them by effect, not by name," Ron said, already tired of this. "We learned the practical way, so we wouldn't die." The professors looked horrified at that. "Think of us as barbarians if you want, but sorry. We were called by a battle company and we went from them to a full blown war recently.""Fine. That blue shield that guards against arrows," the professor sneered. Ron and Draco both created one so thick that they couldn't hear the teachers through it. That set the tone for the rest of the tests, which went for three days straight. By the time they were done they were tired, hungry, and ready to drop from exhaustion, but they had made it in. They were shown up to a room."Since you're a late admittance, you'll have to share with some other students," the Headmistress told them. "We go on a house system here.""We do at Hogwarts too," Ron told her. "Points and all.""We don't do that here," she said firmly. "Here is more like college to use your world as an example." She opened a door. "Here's your house. Have fun. I'll have your schedules sent up tomorrow." She watched as they walked inside, the smaller dragon behind them. She had taught the dragon how to change down in sheer self-defense of the furniture.Draco walked in and looked around, noticing the people staring at him. "Late admittance. Sorry, we were stopped by a war.""You're Vidgeon," one boy breathed. "You stopped the last Elf war." Ron gave him a long look. "My brother was an apprentice mage in there.""I worked with him a lot," Ron said, shaking his hand. "This is Malfoy. He helped me a lot." Draco snorted. "The dragon's Reievan. Which are our beds? Not to be rude, but we just done with three days of testing." The others hissed. "Exactly.""There's seven beds.""With us that makes thirteen bodies," Draco said calmly. "Do we time share? Because that is rather sickening to think about.""No. It's first come, first bedded," one of the older students sneered. "You'd better learn. Here you're a nothing, boys."Draco glared at him, then slammed him back against a wall without his wand. "A Malfoy is never nothing," he said in a deadly calm voice. "That's why we rule the world from behind puppets." He looked around, then looked at Ron. Then at Reievan. "Creating?" She shrugged and they got together to create a room for them off the side of the fireplace. They walked in and dropped their packs, going to bed instantly. Draco remembered to shut the door and lock it before he fell asleep but not much else.***The Headmistress looked at her newest students. "I know this is not how you do things at home but you may not create permanent fixtures in this school, boys.""One, we're not boys," Ron said dryly. He was feeling feisty again. "Two, if you had given us somewhere to have beds, it wouldn't have mattered.""Three, next time you drag us from a class, have a real reason," Draco warned. He walked out, Ron following him back to class. He sneered at the teacher, who hated them already. "Sorry, she objected to us making our beds last night." The teacher looked stunned. "Next time we'll anchor them better."Ron sat behind him, whispering in his ear. "How about in a pack? Make it shrink up each day?" Draco gave him a startled look. "Sorry, I was flipping ahead." He shrugged. "Ask Reievan.""I shall," he agreed, both of them turning around to pay attention to the teacher teaching them things they'd already done a lot of."You *created* your room last night?" he asked calmly. Draco nodded. "How?""Together.""With the dragon?""Her name is Reievan and yes," Draco said firmly. "We'll be anchoring it differently next time.""Fine. Good in fact. I want to see you both after class. Your next class can wait.""It's on battle magics," Ron told him."I'll tell him myself," he said firmly. "I need to know where you really are. I don't think you need in here.""I might. I still have problems with my concentration.""Again, that's a whole different class. This is mostly theory starting off at the bottom. Stay after class, gentlemen." They both nodded and paid attention to the lecture that the dragon had given them a bit differently. They guessed it was the difference in how the dragons viewed the world and how humans did. Her way was much more in tune with the world around them.***Ron walked into their battle magic class first, handing over the note. "From Professor Dunwitty, sir. He demanded.""Fine. Sit." He watched as Draco and Reievan walked in. "A dragon doing battle magic?""Sometimes you must, especially when you're with a battle group," she said dryly, taking her spot next to Draco's seat, between him and the wall."Very well. Vigdeon?" Ron nodded. "That shield you created last time. Do so again. It was very thick and a fine specimen for being so tired.""It get thinner and finer the less tired I am," he admitted."Fine. That's even better. That shows skill, not just power." Ron nodded and created the shield around their desks, watching and listening as the teacher tested it and lectured on it. This time he could hear and see through it, things were only tinged slightly blue. When the teacher told him to drop it he did, pulling it back against his leather vest in case he needed to bring it back. It was now there, but more asleep so it wasn't constantly drawing his power to run it. The teacher gave him an odd look. "As noted, sir, we just came from a war. Our teachers taught us that trick.""It's a good one," he agreed. "Can any of you other students tell me what they did?" No one said anything. "I'm sure you're not that stupid. Try," he snapped. One girl in the back raised her hand. "Yes?""They shrunk it, Professor?""Close," he admitted grudgingly. "Malfoy, explain," he snapped."We made it quiescent. It's still there and he can pull it up at a moment's notice, but it's not actively being used. He's got a light tether into his ground line for it to keep it active.""Very good," he said, looking slightly impressed. "I heard you were very good at illusions." A wall came up around him with a trademark Malfoy smirk added in for good measure. "Firm, yet not totally solid. Real enough to give a charging warrior pause but not so real that you'd have to clean it up after the battle.""We learned that lesson after we created a troll and a dragon from our world, sir," Ron admitted. "Our trolls are as big as giants and more stupid. Our dragons aren't much smarter." Reievan snickered at that."Interesting. First attempt?" Ron nodded as the professor broke the illusion, making Malfoy groan. "Hmm, put too much energy into it?""No, sir, just realizing that my wand is in our room, which is presently closed off.""So create a new doorway," he sneered.Draco gave him a look. "That's a good idea, sir. Thank you." He looked at the wall behind his friend and created a new doorway, going in there to find his wand and change his shoes. His older boots were more comfortable, scuffed or not. Then he came out and attached it to the backpack he was carrying, sinking the room into it after encasing it in a bubble. Then he sat down with a smirk. "That was a helpful suggestion, Weasel.""Oh, bite me, ferret. I had just as much work into that as you did.""Enough," the teacher demanded. "You're both *battle* mages?""I'm a warrior at home too," Ron told him dryly. "We've got a wizard who likes to torture and kill.""I'm staying out of it," Draco said smoothly. "My father's his right-hand bastard.""Oh." He blinked a few times. "Very well. Double majors then," he said, nodding. "Good enough. Stay after class, boys.""But that's lunch.""You can create a room and can't do food?""We were told that if we started on fruit we might get stuck there forever," Ron admitted with a impish grin. "I'd hate to only be able to eat pears all the time."The teacher nodded. "That can happen, I've seen it," he agreed. "We'll let you go to lunch late. It won't take too much time."They nodded, this was starting to become a pattern.***The higher level combat mage professor sneered at them. "So, they jumped you years ahead of yourselves. I wonder why.""We just came from a war?" Ron suggested."Oh, apprentices," he said with a sneer. "Think you're better now?""No, he's Vigdeon, he stopped the war," Draco said impatiently. "I don't have to put up with this. I don't put up with it at home and I don't put up with it here," he sneered back when the elf sneered at him. "Bow, asshole, before I have my dragon snap you in half."He backed away. "Fine, then you're half-trained barbarians at best.""Hey, we would have been more trained but the senior combat mages all got killed," Ron said tiredly."Why!" he shouted. "That was bloody irresponsible!""Not us. The commander over us refused to allow us proper people to shield the mages and he refused us guardians. We were physically overrun once," Ron told him seriously. "I ended up being the senior combat mage the day I stopped it." The elf took a step back, looking him over again. "Yes, us. The half-trained barbarians. We learned from a battle company. We're still learning from real warriors. We're also learning creation skills from Reievan."The elf pursed his lips but looked them over. "Very well, then you may have what it takes to succeed in my field. Were either of you in battles before then?" Ron raised his hand. "Why? You're obviously still a child.""Bad wizard trying to kill us all to take over the world.""Megalomaniacal imbecile with an inferiority complex about his heritage and a deep seated desire to destroy what he is by torture, rape, and less savory means than the first two. Dark magic the full way. Sir," Draco added as an afterthought, still sneering."Ooh, big words," Ron taunted. Draco glared at him and hit him on the arm. "You still hit like a girl," he teased with a grin. "Didn't even hurt, Malfoy.""Weasley, shut it before I shut it for you by making you love your new stallion too much," Draco threatened."Boys," the elf in charge snapped. They looked at their teacher. "Not friends either I see. Interesting. Almost as good as the last one I trained.""Severus?" Draco asked. The professor nodded. "He teaches Potions and heads my house. He's a spy.""Oh, bloody hell," the elf said in awe, sounding just like Snape when he said it. Ron giggled. "You, quit. What is your real name?""I was warned never to give it out," Ron said immediately."Fine. Your family name then.""Weasley.""Very interesting. Yours?""Malfoy.""You use your real name?""I'm not scared of anyone finding out who I am," he said with a small shrug, looking a bit bored. "Can we get on with it? It's late and we'd like to go to bed sometime tonight.""I heard about your room. Fine. You now have me all day tomorrow. The day after, you're going to have the dwarf who teaches creation at the higher levels. Your problems were noted and he said he's seen it before." He handed over two schedules. "Go to bed, boys. Bring your dragon tomorrow, Malfoy.""Reievan?" he called, opening the pack. She crawled out with a yawn and he put the opening against the wall, enlarging it so the doorway opened again. They walked in together and he pulled the pack inside with them, turning on the alarm clock before they fell into bed. It had been a long day so far.The Combat Mage, First Class, looked impressed. "Well. They won't need much tutoring. Only to watch for the normal stupidity, like locking themselves into a bubble universe to sleep." He went to see his fellow professor, letting him look at what they had done. He was a combat mage, he only dealt with creation when he had to take apart something."Interesting," the dwarf muttered. "Based on the dragon's principles. Not surprising really. They left a small gap, it's not totally closed." He looked at the elf. "How are they?""Cocky. Young. Experienced to a degree but sure they don't know it all yet. Malfoy has an attitude. Young royal probably. Vigdeon seems like he was a farm boy or something. Reminds me of that Dumbledore idiot that debauched one of our maidens, but with the seriousness that Severus showed when he was here."The dwarf looked impressed. "Good. Then they'll be a pain to teach and retrain." He waved and went back to his cavern underground to sleep for the night. He'd be seeing them in two days and he'd need his rest.The Elf went back to his room, closing his door gently so as not to startle his bonded familiar. "You'll like them, sweets, they're very different." The created mixed creature opened an eye, then went back to sleep.***Draco faced off with the headmistress again over their room. "You said I couldn't put up a permanent structure, and I didn't. I anchored it to something and it goes up temporarily. Frankly, if you weren't trying to drive off the students by frustrating them then you wouldn't have these sort of problems." He stood up. "You know very well that you can't block temporary construction or else you can't do the homework for the creation classes. Therefore this is no different and you have no right to complain. If you do, then oh well. I don't deal well with those who think they can get by me. Nor do I do well when woken up atrociously early for no reason. At least Ron got to go for a ride." She opened her mouth and he glared at her, making her swallow. "Do we have a clear understanding? Or else you could send us home right this instant. Which you can't do because your only teacher of creation can't create the portals. We heard that in the hall last night while you were talking about how long it'd take him to learn." He left, going out to brush off Reievan's scales and then to go for a fly. He waved down at Ron. "She's relenting. I was straight with her.""Good job," Ron called back. His stallion snorted so he got down, looking at his hooves again. "Who the bloody hell touched you?" he demanded. He glared back at the stables, then walked his horse around the paddock, watching how he stepped gingerly on one foot. He pulled his wand, canceling the spell that was keeping part of his hoof up, which relieved the problem. "Well, they'll just have to deal," he said grimly, going to ward his horse and his horse's things. "That's right, Stud. We'll be fine. Yes, Ron will take care of you," he promised quietly. "I'll smite those nasty students if they try anything again." His stallion nuzzled his shoulder so Ron chuckled as he created a few sugarcubes, handing them over. "There you are, Stud. You'll be fine." He looked over as Reievan landed behind him. "Someone spelled him to walk funny.""Need help on the stalls?""Remember who my brothers are?" he asked with a cold, mean smirk. "I've had to learn how to protect my things since I started school. There are many things I know how to do."***Ron looked around the dining hall as a few students came in funny colored, swollen, and wincing as they walked. He stood up and clapped. "So, were you admiring my stallion, or were you playing with him?" he asked loud enough to be heard. They, and a few others gasped. "I do protect what is mine. He is mine. I will kill you if you even think of harming him," he said calmly, not even having to sneer at them. He was talking to them like Lucius talked down to his son. "Next time, I'll go for more than embarrassment. Next time, I'll go for injury and possibly death. This is your only warning." He sat down and picked up his grape juice to sip. "So, how'd I do? There's still loads more to come," he said with a smirk when Draco started to open his mouth."Interesting." He watched as the particularly swollen student started to cough up slugs and frogs, snickering. "Remembering our second year?""Fondly," Ron admitted. "There wasn't a real war then.""Good point," Draco admitted. One of the others screamed as she inflated, starting to curse Ron in a few languages. "Tcht. Language. Very unmannerly around other students, isn't she?" he asked dryly. Those around them backed away quickly, staring at them. "I agree and I will do worse for those who hurt Reievan while she's studying. She won't have to bother with you lot at all by the time I'm done with you. Remember, I'm the mean one."A few of the students ran crying to the Headmistress, who had no sympathy. This school was a constant contest for position. Vigdeon had surpassed them. She did go to warn them not to cast anything fatal and their answer was good enough. If the students continued after this sort of warning and the other few spells she could tell were on the stall and the horse itself, then it was their own fault. Most of those students were third and fourth generation, their parents understood too.***Ron settled on his bed, working on his creation homework, which was to create a new painting for their room. It had to have texture, at least six colors, and it had to be artistic. Whatever that meant. His earlier attempt had been to copy the Fat Lady, the portrait that lead into Gryffindor's tower. She wasn't quite right considering she swore like a sailor, sounded kinda gruff, like she smoked a pipe all the time, and she was wearing green, Draco's contribution to her that he couldn't change. His teacher had been impressed but then told him to do it on his own. And now he was stuck. He got up and went to talk to the teacher again, sitting there watching him lead a younger student though an exercise he had done his first week, cleaning their bodies with magic. The teacher gave him a look so he shrugged, waiting until he was done to butt in. "I can't do it. I don't know what you want.""Hmm. Let's try something. When I say clothes, what do you think of?""Practical. Sturdy. Knit sweaters from my mum in the wrong color," he said dryly, shrugging. "I'm not the rich boy Malfoy is.""No, I can tell you're not. Fortunately we've had this problem before." He led Ron down to his cavern, showing him some glowing crystals he had arranged around the place. "Do you think they're beautiful?""I think they're pretty but I think beautiful is a human term," he admitted. "The same as I think handsome is.""All right. Now, can you imagine a picture that has a beautiful woman in it?" Ron scrunched his eyes closed, then sighed and shook his head. "Why not?""Because this isn't my thing, sir. This is like a minor thing for me to study. I'm here to learn combat stuff. I need to learn that. This is to make my life easier, or to help me when I need it, not to make my life more wealthy. Otherwise I'd think up money.""Hmm, morals. Good. Fine, I can stick with the practical with you, Vigdeon. Things like weapons, food, not fruit though, nasty stuff that to conjure or create, and shelter. Things that you'll need." Ron grinned at him. "Though sometimes pretty things make you keep going.""Isn't that what girls are for?" Ron asked dryly. His teacher burst out laughing and patted him on the lower back, all he could reach. "I need to get one of those anyway. I'm lonely and bored with only Malfoy around. I don't like him that much, we're simply allies. He's already getting girls.""A girl is a good reason to go on," he agreed. "They're also a very good reason to disappear now and then. Try for a boy, you might like it.""Eugh!""Sorry. Just a suggestion. Now, let's change your assignment. Make a weapon of some sort and decorate it. Make it flashy, give it some class, but make it decorated when you create it." Ron nodded going to do that on his bed. He shook his head. It was an interesting pair, especially if they weren't together. They fought like lovers at times. He adjusted one of his crystals and set them humming, settling down to listen to the sweet vibrations.***Draco looked at the sword on Ron's bed, snorting at it. "You missed a spot.""That's so I could put my initials there," Ron said, running a finger over it to put the stylized 'V' he was using as his signature on it. He picked it up, and it went limp in his hands, which made Draco giggle madly like he was high. "Hey!" he complained. "It's not like I know what I'm doing with some of this stuff!" He tried to strengthen it but it wasn't working. He sighed and undid it, doing it over, this time concentrating on it being straight and strong, but it ended up with a curve on the end - a very nice corner to the left. He groaned and put it down, putting his head in his hands. "I can't get the hang of that.""It may be a matter of practice," Reievan offered gently. "Creation is hard, Vigdeon.""It may be, but it's not my thing." He stood up, creating the other as well out of one of his spare blankets, then took them to the teacher, making him give him an odd look since it was during dinner. "I can't do it," he offered. "Weapons aren't my thing either, sir.""It's a wise person who knows his limits," their combat teacher noted dryly, looking at the swords. "Well, it's clear you were never a warrior.""I tried to imagine them straight, strong, and firm but they ended up this way." Ron shrugged. "Beats me if I can figure it out.""It could be that we've found your limit," the teacher noted calmly. "Not everyone can work with all materials. Many can't work with metal or wood. You can work with wood but larger metal pieces are probably beyond you." He gave the young man a gentle smile. "As you said, this is your secondary focus. You're about as good as you can be on the creation side anyway. Can you make a glass of water?" Ron concentrated and created a glass, then created the water in it. "Very well. Then you can survive on that. That's a normal level for such skills." He picked up the glass, smiling at the decorations. "It is very pretty, if a bit uneven in the carvings. Good job, Vigdeon. We'll start on food tomorrow then I'll release you from my lessons back to Professor Alathander's classes alone.""Thanks, sir," he said with a relieved grin. "I don't think I could do much more. This is making my head hurt.""It often does," he agreed gently. "Sit and eat.""Let me get Draco. He's probably having butterbeers and Bertie Botts again for dinner," he said with an eye roll. He headed back into their room and they came out for dinner, Draco shrinking their room back down again so no one could interfere with it.Draco walked up and created a full plate, with steaming hot food and a cold side dish on it, presenting it to his teacher. "Sorry if it's a bit salty, I still don't have that down yet," he said smartly. His teacher looked stunned so he smirked and shrugged. "I've been doing this part for a bit now. Camp food is often sickening or simply rotten and prone to making one ill.""Then we'll let you do the more theoretical now," Professor Alathander offered dryly. "You seem more and more elf-like every day, Malfoy. I'm impressed. Next we'll be putting you into proper Elven clothing and making you grow your hair out." Draco gave him an odd look so he smirked at him. "Don't think so?""I doubt it.""Just do something about the gel," Ron called up. He smirked at Draco. "It needs to go.""Oh, blow chunks, Weasel. I like my hair this way.""Boys," Alathander said firmly, and they stopped the fighting again. "Thank you. Your next lessons together with me will be Draco creating shields while you throw spells, Vigdeon. Advanced battle preparations.""Our first group trained us in that," Draco admitted. "We could still use some practice. I still miss the frequency of some spells.""Good. I can help you with that," Alathander agreed firmly. "Go eat. You need to eat things that aren't created more often.""I do." He sat down across from Ron, next to where his dragon was reading. "Eat, Reievan, not read.""I have a test," she complained. "I'm farther behind than you two are.""Now," he ordered, taking the book from her. "Eat. I'm not telling your parents that you wasted away to nothing by studying. They'll have my hide for a rug.""Fine," she sighed, digging into the food in front of her. She got up and found one of the servants, getting her usual platter of meat. "Thank you." She took it back to the table and set it down in front of her seat, leaning in to gobble it down. She was really hungry, her kitten had been right about that. "Draco, my humanity teacher said that I have to wait to read the whole book before I start to ask you questions, but I'm nearly done. Can I start that soon?""Of course," he agreed. "You could even ask the redheaded imbecile across from us," he assured her.Ron nodded. "That's true. I looked in it and it does have some odd parts.""I wondered what that whole 'howling at the moon while dancing around' ceremony that you all did was about. I've never gotten to see one."Ron blinked a few times and looked at Draco. "Is that a muggle thing?""No, it's an ancient thing," he sighed, shaking his head. "Reievan, we haven't done that sort of thing since back when we were still wearing furs daily as clothes. Long before we built houses to live in." She looked hurt so he shrugged. "We don't. I'm sorry.""There are some celebrations where we do dance and sometimes even do it outside," Ron offered. "But there's no howling.""Oh." She pouted at them. "What about the marking traditions you have? Do you still paint each other to show clan markings?""Um, no," Draco noted. "We don't usually go around in clans anymore and we have more advanced ways of marking group affiliation, including our clothing choices and colors. What we drive, where we go to eat. Things of that nature."Ron nodded. "How old is that book?""My copy was written just last year," she offered, shrugging a bit. "All I know is what I read.""Reievan, when you first got Draco, you remember watching those guys, right?" Ron asked. She nodded. "That's what a normal clan is like, only less military. Usually groups form about that way, with someone leading and the rest kinda following along. Usually they're smaller and only contain the same race, but that's about how it usually goes.""Oh." She brightened up. "So I can base it on what I saw back at the camp?" Draco nodded patiently. "Hmm, but they didn't do much dancing around the fires except at the holidays.""Neither do we," Draco agreed. "Humans have found civilization and culture since then. If your teacher doubts then he needs to get into the field to do research and watch humans.""Our advanced Muggle Studies classes do that at home," Ron agreed. "We get a week watching everything a muggle does under a veil so they won't see us watching them. That way they have to act normally.""Doesn't that make them paranoid?" Reievan asked. Ron nodded and shrugged. "Then why do it?""Because you can't find out what they're doing otherwise, often they don't even know themselves," Draco noted. "Humans are creatures of habit. We do the same things the same way each time we do them. We're like that.""But each of us has our own habits," Ron offered.She nodded, looking wise. "Okay, I get that part. Draco always walks into the bedroom and goes to the bathroom first. You always get up and slap the alarm to give it more time, even when you're already awake." Ron nodded, grinning at her. "Then why does the book say that you're still hunting for food daily?""Because we used to. That's all primitive man, Reievan. They did those things. Modern man is quite a different creature. The same as ancient dragons were quite unlike you." She went 'ah' and nodded, digging into her dinner again. "You can tell your teacher I told you that as well. I don't want you with funny notions like those. It'll only hurt you in the long run.""Yes, Draco. Thanks, Kitten." She cleaned her plate and stole some of Ron's food since he was eating so slowly. She smirked at him. "Thanks, Vigdeon.""Welcome, sweetness. Want to help me groom Stud tomorrow?""Sure," she agreed happily. "I could use some fresh air.""You could use some sun and some exercise," Draco agreed firmly. "We'll do that tomorrow before classes." He flinched as a bell rang above them, looking up at the head table when he heard the groaning. "Either that's an invasion bell or something major just went on," he said calmly.Ron looked up at their combat professor. "Professor Alathander, was that something that Malfoy and I need to worry about?" he called. His teacher gave him a long look. "Just wondering, sir.""No, it's not a battle," he assured them, smirking at him. "Aching for more bloodshed?""No, just making sure I didn't have to get up before dessert," Ron admitted with a grin. He dug out some dessert and ate it before the sweet-hungry dragon could. "Mine," he growled when one paw came toward his plate. "Eat the rest. You don't want Draco to get *fat* do you?""I'm thinner than you are," Draco said dryly. "Reievan, you may smack him around so you can have his dessert to spare his poor stallion his girth if you want."She giggled. "You two are so cute, you should start dating." They both shuddered at the thought of that. "Fine. You're ignoring it, but you'd be cute together.""Sweetness, we're not suited," Ron reminded her. "He's a git and I'm a nice boy. Good boys like me don't go for surly bastards like your kitten. We go for nice boys and girls. Mostly girls. Draco's a lech who goes for whatever has an open hole.""I do not!" he protested, looking quite hurt at that. "I have impeccable taste in lovers. You'd never see me with some skinny, whoring slut who was only in it for my money and skills. I actually hold conversations with my lovers.""Haven't gotten any recently?" Ron taunted. Draco growled and Ron smirked at him. "Poor baby. Maybe we should work on Reievan turning into a girl for you. She's used to your nasty ways and could probably keep you nicely bedded."Draco snarled and created a cage around the other wizard, which Ron fought and broke, and that started the duel. They didn't stand up but the hexes and spells went back and forth across the table, both sneering at the other."Enough!" Alathander yelled. Neither of them stopped but Reievan gave him a helpless look. "Knock them both out," he ordered.She snorted. "I don't want to become someone's pretty wall hanging or a carpet," she reminded him. She ducked one curse by another student trying to butt in and Ron got him back without looking and without stopping his most present assault on Draco's body. "If you injure him, I'll have to ride his stallion or have him ride me," she tried. They both frowned at her momentarily then went back to their heated exchanges."I said enough!" Alathander yelled as he stomped down to break them up. They both got him, shocking him more than anything. Then they went back to what they were doing. He shook himself free of his shock and put a shield between them, making them both glare at him. "I said enough," he growled, making them both flinch and lean away from him. "That is completely lacking in manners, even for humans! This is a dining hall, someplace to have some peace and quiet while you digest your food. If you want to duel, go outside."Ron swallowed. "He started it!""Oh, that is so mature!" Draco sneered. "I'm not the one who taunted me about my prowess.""I can and will kill you both," Alathander promised. "I said enough." They nodded, digging into their desserts. "Thank you." He flipped back the braids beside his face and went back to his seat, shaking his head at the other teachers. "I thought Invetrion was bad.""Still, it was amusing," the creation teacher said gently, smiling at him. "Did you catch what they were doing?" He nodded, grimacing down at their mutual students. "They're much better than we believed.""Perhaps, but they're also lacking in manners. Dining should not be an adventure or something to be survived.""True, but now we know what they can do so we'll have something else to exploit. That way we keep ahead of the students."Alathander snorted. "Only if you can learn portals faster than that one.""I've decided to study them with him," he said calmly. "It can only do good for me." The elf beside him shifted one of the braids that all warrior elves wore behind his ear. "It's not like I'm more determined than he is. Or rather I should say Vigdeon is. He's got family and a war to go fight in back there. Malfoy had power and influence that he doesn't have here. It will be interesting to see which one gets homesickness first.""Vigdeon's already had some," Alathander admitted quietly. "He missed his sister the other day.""Then they're nearly ready?" the Headmistress asked. "They're quite disruptive."The teachers shrugged. "Soon," Alathander noted. "There is more to teach them."The creation teacher nodded. "Much more to teach them. Plus much more to learn from them. Their world doesn't have dwarves. They have goblins who run the banking and gold industries. I have no idea how they compare on the precious metals and finding things like metals. Though we now know that Vigdeon can't create them," he said with a touch of humor."Are we sure about Malfoy?""He *has* money," the Headmistress snorted. "Even here." They both looked impressed. "I would like to know how.""It's the last of our pay from the last war," Ron called, smirking and waving at her. "Anything else you want to know about our personal lives?" Draco kicked him under the table and scowled at him. "Oooh, doesn't he look cute, Reievan?" he cooed, making her crack up but walk away. "Hey! Who else am I gonna get on my side.""She's my dragon," Draco reminded him coolly. "I can and will have her eat you.""He'd taste funny," Reievan called back. "Draco, can you please open the bedroom so I can take a nap? I'm very full.""Of course." He pulled off the backpack and opened it against the nearest wall, letting her into the bedroom then closing her in and putting it back on. "There. Now what should we do?""Oh, some of us have an idea," the creation teacher called, smirking at both of them. "You've now got some extra homework, boys." They groaned. "You've proven to have adapted beautifully to the new schedule we've set. Therefore it's time to pile on some more work. Vigdeon, go tend your horse then we'll be working on light creations. They're perfect for the upcoming holidays." They groaned and nodded. "Yes, I believe setting them against each other is the only test left," he said, looking at the teacher involved. Who shook his head. "No?""No. Malfoy hates Vigdeon. They're old enemies, they've simply called a truce. Vigdeon is the Warrior that was called, Malfoy was here because his world apparently needed another creationist. Apparently the third they said was brought across as well was an extra warrior." He straightened out his shirt. "We should probably force them to work together or to give Vigdeon more experience. He's learned about all I could hope to teach him but patience and cunning.""He's too young for patience and too nice for cunning," the other teacher pointed out dryly. "Just look at how nice he is to the other students.""Good point," he sighed. "Now, that is another set who would do credit to the elven lines and lands.""Then take him to hunt down that person who challenged you," a female teacher down the table suggested softly. He looked down at her, raising an eyebrow. "He has experience, but I doubt much of it has to do with duels. He seems to have honor so therefore could be trusted in such a situation. Besides, you know no others would go with you.""True," he agreed grimly, glancing at the other elf on staff, who turned up his nose and went back to his meal. "Fine. We shall do that. It will give you time to get Malfoy fully trained." He looked down at the table, noticing that the student next to them was all but asleep on Vigdeon's shoulder. "Vigdeon," he called. Ron looked up so he motioned him closer. He strolled up there, giving him a smart grin. So he wasn't afraid of him, that was interesting. "You are accompanying me to a duel later this week. None of the other teachers wish to go and I will need a second. You are one of the top students.""Be truthful, I am the top student," Ron snorted. "The only one you've got near my level of skill and experience is *her* and she'd never go for a real battle because she's here to learn how to protect her lands.""True, but there are others with less attitude who could use the experience.""Then you'd have to watch your back too," Ron agreed. "When do we leave and how long should I pack for?""Hopefully just two weeks. It is a bit of a ride.""Agreeable," Ron said, nodding. "Some of my clothes aren't visiting quality but I'm sure I can fix that somewhat.""If the material is old, you can't transform it into something better," the creation teacher warned."Oh, I won't be, but we do still have a bit of pay leftover from the last war so I'll probably pop down to the market to find a few new shirts." He shrugged and went back to his seat. "I'm going with Alathander when he takes a duel later this week. I want my green shirt back.""It's my shirt.""I created it.""I did!" Draco said hotly. "I made it for myself, it's mine.""I made it and it fits me better than it does you," Ron said dryly, smirking at him. "It also looks better on me. You made it the wrong shade of green for you.""It's my house color," Draco complained."Draco, we're not at Hogwarts right now. Right now, you're not a Slytherin. You don't have to uphold the house.""I'm always a Slytherin," he said, his eyes narrowing. "Even when we graduate members of our house still stick by each other.""Only if it's for your own gain," Ron pointed out. "Or they're Death Eaters. Besides, isn't loyalty a Hufflepuff trait, not a Slytherin one?""The house is always loyal to each other, even when we have to go through another member to get what we want. We're just a bit more gentle to our own members.""Killing them is gentle?""Depending on how you do it," Draco growled. "We're not all like that, Weasley.""I know. Just saying that you don't have to uphold the finer traits of your house here. No one would ever know if you didn't wear a shade of green that didn't look good on you. Besides, it's too dark to be Slytherin green, it's more tree green."Draco rolled his eyes. "You're still not getting my shirt.""Fine. Then give me back the rest of my pay and I'll shopping," Ron said smartly. Draco gave him an odd look. "You had the pay bag last.""You didn't take yours out of there?" Ron shook his head. "Oh. Hmm.""You spent it all!""No!" He snorted. "I've barely spent anything. I thought you had already taken yours out however. It's in Reievan's pouch at the moment.""Good. I'll still need some of it to go shopping. Most of my stuff is worn through anyway.""You can't fix them?""Not with how worn out they are. Have you seen my last set of good clothes?""They do look ragged," he agreed with distaste. "Fine. You can have the rest so you don't embarrass our teacher.""I'll only need a few outfits, Draco. Not a whole new wardrobe."Draco waved a hand. "Bet me. You need much more than a few pieces. I'll see what I can do tonight with some of the older things and a few of the leftover things we brought with us. Maybe we can transform some things. The market was really expensive even when you did haggle.""Fine," Ron agreed. "Maybe I'll find a side trip to make some money while we're gone. There's got to be a way somehow." He looked over as their teachers came down to their table. "We're discussing the state of our finances.""We heard. The market is always expensive. There's a cheaper one on the way and I'll have to stop for some oils anyway," Alathander offered."As for transforming the old clothes into newer ones, they'd have to not be worn thin yet," the dwarf said kindly."Now, as for money making, there are things that can happen," Alathander offered. "I do know of a town that's presently begging and pleading some nice combat mage to come live with them for a week to take care of whatever is taking out their children."Draco shuddered. "Eww. Creatures."Ron snorted. "Creatures don't bother me unless they're spiders," he noted as he stood up. "I wouldn't care to if it's not going to be a problem. We've still got stuff we've got to get. Reievan probably needs stuff too.""That's fine, I'll talk to them on your behalf. I'm not sure what's taking the children there." Alathander smirked at him. "Remember to buy decent clothing. You don't disrespect the person you're dueling by showing up grungy and dirty.""That's usually what we call putting them down to let them know they're not worth our effort," Draco told him."Then let me amend my statement. That is not how an elf duels," he warned. Ron nodded, he could understand that. "Thank you. I'll be leaving in two days. I'll have that information for you tomorrow." Ron nodded again. "Good. Get yourself to bed." They walked off together, both of them knowing that something was going to have to be done soon. Those two would drive them both insane if not stopped.
Chapter FourRon rode up on his stallion, his sweaty hair flying everywhere in the breeze. "Before you say it, I haven't had time to change or bathe in recent days. There's no inn this way for the last six days." Alathander scowled at him. "Hey, I did the work. Biggest damn spider I ever saw. It was taking the kids to host the future baby spiders. We got most of them free but a few were still dead. Took me nearly forever to fight the stupid spider." He shuddered. "I hate spiders.""Alathander," an amused voice said from the other side of the clearing. "Finding friends among the humans now? Lowering yourself to consorting?""He's a student," Alathander sneered. "Back off, Vigdeon.""Sure, teach." He climbed off his horse and took off his shirt to wipe off his hair and face, then changed into a better one. "Sorry, no inns in the last six days," he said with a sneer for the elf on the other side of the clearing. "Not that I think you're worthy of bathing, but my professor says that's not how you duel when you're an elf.""Vigdeon," Alathander warned."Sorry, sir." He leaned against his horse's side. Then he hobbled him by a forefoot and took off his bridle, attaching it to the saddle so his poor baby could eat all he wanted to. "There you go, boy. You munch for now." He patted him on the side and created a shield as a blast came his way, looking up at his professor, who was glaring at him. "What? He needed to eat!""That was not me.""Yeah, but you told me I was not to interfere unless he broke the rules of single engagement," he repeated. "Like the orcs I took out on the way here." They both looked at the other elf, who looked a bit scared now. "Oh, by the way, I'm told I'm supposed to introduce myself to you, that way someone in the afterlife can keep score. I'm Vigdeon." Then he smiled brightly. "Wizard from another world.""Dragon crap," the elf complained. "You had to bring him?""I always bring a second for honor's sake," Alathander sneered as he got off his horse. His shook her mane and started to nibble too. Stud nudged her out of some of the clover so she shoved him back, seeming to glare at him. "Horse, if you think about defiling mine, I will have you as a rug.""It's a natural urge, Professor. It's not like he can help it," Ron complained. "I don't want to castrate him. It's a horrible thing and it'd break his spirit. Please don't hurt my stallion? I'll even be good in class and not attack Malfoy.""You have two of them?" the other elf asked, looking horrified. "How?" He looked him over. "Never mind. You had to let your grooming go. It's obvious how you stand them." He sneered at Ron. "Feel better for bringing down a noble elf, boy?""I don't think I have. I've learned a lot from him. Mostly about things that I'd only heard about before, like honor. Otherwise you might be dead by now." He tied back his hair. "Can't we just stomp him? This is rather annoying, professor. I'd rather go have a bath.""I'd rather you bathed too," Alathander noted dryly, giving him a long look. "Behave, Weasley.""Yes, sir, I'm trying to." He crossed his arms. "How many more rounds of sniping do we have to go through?""None." He turned and looked at the other elf. "You called me out. Now, are you finished with your petty baiting, mongrel? Or shall we stand here and get more filthy from these surroundings while you practice your infantile wit?"The other elf's eyes narrowed and he pulled out a staff. "We'll see who gets filthy.""Ooh, it's a compensation device," Ron said with a snicker. Alathander groaned at that one. "It is! Reievan always says our wands are so small so we can't use it as compensation.""That dragon needs her head examined for putting up with Malfoy," he muttered, raising a hand. The other wizard sneered and sent a bolt at him. Which Alathander stopped and left hanging in the air with a bored look. "Is that the best you can do?""No. Not in the least." He sent a construct next, watching as it leapt out of the crystal on top of his staff, going for Alathander. Who didn't look the least bit worried. His shield stopped it so it paced and snarled, trying to get through the shield.It saw Ron and started for him but Ron snarled back and sent a bolt of lightening at it. "Do not even attempt to try me, kitty. I'm not the nice one my teacher is." It backed away from him as soon as the other wizard ordered, going back to testing this new threat. Ron looked around, sensing the danger and put up a shield behind them just as the arrows started to fly, casting offensively back at the orcs coming out of the woods. "I took out ten of you, how many were there!" he complained, casting furiously at the idiotic creatures. They tried to charge but got a charge when he electrified the shield around them. Not enough to kill them but to stun them. He got a few more while they were recovering, then let out a battle yell and attacked full force, a whirlwind starting up to come eat these things. The whirlwind had teeth in it from the rocks and sand and branches it had picked up off the forest floor. It ate anything that entered it, including the orcs. He almost lost control at one point in time but then it went away from the horses, getting a few more orcs that were hiding in reserve in the woods. He let it go and took a few deep breaths to calm himself, staring at the woods again. "C'mon. I know you're out there. I can feel you watching," he called. Another wizard walked out and stared to cast so Ron cast back, going back-to-back with his teacher. "Sorry, sir," he said at the surprised nudge. "Old habits and all that." He moved away and got the idiot harder, making him scream in pain. "Good," he sneered.
Alathander defeated his opponent, leaving him lying bleeding on the ground after the creature had been turned back on him for losing control, and turned to watch his student. Ron was sweating and shaking, but he was keeping up the shield and doing a credible job of hitting the other wizard. "Hit his staff," he ordered. Ron glanced at him but broke it near the bottom by using a rock tossed by magic. The staff flared and they all shaded their eyes. The other wizard holding onto it evaporated as all the magic released through him into the ground. "Impressive.""Thanks." Ron dropped the shield, then flopped down to look at him. "I'm tired now.""You should be. That whirlwind was very impressive. It distracted my opponent as well." He helped him up and onto his horse's back, rebridling it and taking off the hobble. "Come. We'll rest at my family's house tonight. It's not far from here. That is why I picked this spot for the duel." He climbed up onto his horse, he was in a bit better shape but he was tired as well. He cast a spell to create a rope back to the other horse's bridle, guiding it with that while Ron fell asleep. His family's retainers were watching for him at the edge of the lands. "I need my mother to tend this one. He is weak and tired from his battle. Orcs and another wizard." They gasped. "This is Vigdeon." One of them went running back to the house while they continued to ride up to the home. His mother was waiting on them with her ladies in waiting, and he let them help him down then get Vigdeon. "He's simply tired, mother. He had orcs earlier then orcs and a duel as my second." She nodded, herding them both inside and to the baths to get them cleaned up so they could go to bed. Alathander fell into his bed before he reached the bathroom but he didn't care. Beds were nice things after a duel. He had worn himself out shielding against the construct.The next thing he knew his father was shaking him awake. "What?" he groaned, sitting up."Your mother had your sister put you into bed properly," his father noted when Alathander noticed he was naked. "Who did you bring home?""Vigdeon. He was my second in the duel earlier. He's a bit tired. He had orcs and a wizard.""Hmm. I've heard many things of him from our King.""How is Uncle?" he asked through his yawn."Better now that the war has stopped." He handed his son a robe. "Bathe, then join us for dinner, son. You have clean clothes in the closet, as usual.""Thank you, father. How is my student?""Still asleep. I was heading there next.""Watch out, he has combat experience as well.""That's fine, son." He smiled as his son slipped out of the bed and into the bathroom, shaking his head. He didn't like his son's emphasis on fighting instead of beauty but he was very good at it. Even if it did mean he got hurt all too often. He'd have to ask about that new scar on his back. He went down the hall to wake up the other one. He found him yawning and stretching. "Finally awake?" he asked with a gentle smile. Ron nodded, looking at him. "Are you mute?""No, sir," he said quietly. "Thank you for letting me rest and letting me use the baths. It's been a long ride with no inns.""That's fine, Vigdeon. Get dressed. It's nearly dinner." He smiled at the obviously shy young man. "Do not be afraid of me. After all, I the other parent of your teacher.""Yes, sir." He slid out of the bed and dove into his pack to find something appropriate to wear to a formal dinner. He found his leathers and shook his head, putting them back."That would be fine. Wear a different shirt however," he instructed, leaving the boy to dress himself. Vigdeon was obviously not from a powerful house. Those clothes in his pack spoke of simpler folk, like farmers and craftsmen. He found his wife in the study. "How do you like the newest student?""I like him quite a lot. He's very respectful," she said gently, smiling at him. "He is not as much of a human as we were told.""He is fully human, but not the sort to push it in one's face," a familiar voice said from the doorway. "Professor Alathander sent for me earlier," he said calmly when the parents looked at him. "Something about Vigdeon being a pain and being late?""No, not yet. He showed up right before the duel," Alathander said from behind him. "You may stay though. It gets you out of the school. Plus, my father can tell you many stories about Invetrion. He joined our household for a bit."Ron came down the stairs tying his shirt's strings. "I still say it's surprising that Snape was like that. He's never seemed relaxed in his life as far as we can tell.""He goes by his surname in your world?" Alathander's father asked. "He seemed quite impressed with his name once given it.""Probably no one would use it since they remember him as a child," Draco said with a shrug. "I go by my surname here. I am Malfoy.""I heard of your line.""My father's the same as what comes out of Vigdeon's horse's rear. If not worse.""That's putting it really nicely. I'm impressed," Ron said dryly, hitting him on the arm. "No Reievan?""She's sleeping on the lawn. She hasn't had much chance to get out recently.""Good point," Alathander noted, leading the way into the dining room, nodding politely at his sisters. "Boys, these are my sisters.""Thank you for your help earlier," Ron told him with a bright grin. "I hope I wasn't too much trouble while I was asleep." The younger one giggled and blushed. "My own sister's probably about the same age you are." Alathander pointed at a seat so he sat in it. "Yes, Professor. I know the whirlwind was a bit much but the orcs seemed never-ending.""They usually do in a battle," he agreed. He looked at Malfoy, who sat on his other side, nodding at him for that. "Ladies, these are my two students. Malfoy and Vigdeon," he said, pointing at them."You have very pretty colored hair," the older one told Draco. "Is it a usual color where you come from?""No, it's much lighter than most peoples'," he said with a small smirk. "Both of my parents are blondes though.""My whole family's full of redheads," Ron added with a grin for the younger girl. "You do remind me of Ginny kinda. She's nice too unless you're a boy or Malfoy.""Oh, be real," Draco said sarcastically. "Your sister is a blight on the bum of humanity, Weasley.""Only because you're you," he retorted in a fakely sweet voice. "To everyone else she's very nice. Then again, she feels the same way about you as you do her. Gee, I wonder why?" he said dryly, smirking at him."If you weren't such an easy target it'd be harder," Draco retorted dryly.Alathander shook his head. "Now you know why my sanity is slipping." The girls both laughed. "Enough, boys. Before I have to spank you like your parents should have done.""The two right above me own a joke shop," Ron said with a smirk. "I'm an angel compared to them. They created a swamp in the middle of a hallway before they left the school.""Do you have siblings as well, Mage Malfoy?" the older sister asked.He shook his head quickly. "No. Oh, hell no. I'm an only child and it's a wonderful thing. In our world having a large family like his is not the 'in' thing.""There's only seven of us," Ron pointed out. "I've met warriors with twelve and nineteen." Draco looked horrified. "Then again, they're farming families so more food gets put in when you've got more helpers.""How would a woman stand that?""It's not easy to have children at all," Alathander's mother noted as she came in. "We're lucky we have the three of them still. We nearly drowned one of them at birth.""It's not my fault I wasn't a daughter," Alathander said smugly. "Besides, I bring great honor to the family name, mother.""You do, but you could be doing so much more with your life, son," she complained. "You have such talent and you waste it on dirty wars.""Warriors are warriors so that normal people don't have to fight," Ron said simply. "If it weren't for us, then others would be forced to fight. People who make beautiful things for others to enjoy would be wasted and die in spirit if not in actuality by the horrors we take on so they don't have to.""Very eloquently said," the mother agreed, smiling at him, "but it is still worrying for a mother.""Of course. Any good mother should worry. We do dangerous things as a matter of daily activity. I routinely have to snatch my sweets back from Malfoy's dragon partner." She laughed at him. "You think I'm kidding but she's got a bad sweet tooth sometimes. It's dangerous trying to eat my own pies."Malfoy nodded. "That is true. Then again she does it to you because she knows she can't do it to me.""Hey I don't mind being the plaything of your dragon," Ron said with a grin and a shrug. "I like her better than you anyway.""Boys," Alathander warned. "Sorry, they're working on a truce right now.""We've seen diplomats being much less polite about such things," his little sister told him. "Do you have a miniature of your sister? Like a portrait?" she asked when he looked confused.Ron nodded and pulled his wand, summoning his wallet to show off his family pictures. "That's in age order. Bill, Charlie, the prat Percy who we don't speak to, the twins Fred and George, and then Ginny after me.""Wow." She flipped through them, smiling as the pictures waved. "They're so pretty." She giggled as the girl in the picture giggled. "I might like your sister.""She'd probably love you guys. You guys are cute, smart, and not against her because she's good in Defense classes and potions.""Your sister?" Draco asked."Yeah, after the basilisk nearly got her she made sure she was great in defense and potions seems to work well for her.""Wonderful. Maybe she'll be a mediwitch.""Maybe. Mum suggested it and Ginny's considering it. She said they're needed with the war at home.""Hopefully it'll stop once you get back," Alathander offered. "Between you, your friend, and Invetrion it should be quickly done.""I can only hope so," Ron sighed, tucking his wallet down the back of his shirt and his wand back in his waistband. "It's gone on too long already.""That I can agree with," Draco noted. "I'm not taking a side when I get back however."Ron nodded. "I expected that much. Can we borrow Reievan if she wants to help?""That's supposing she comes with us," Draco pointed out."She said she wanted to for as long as she could.""We'll discuss that later with her while we're in our rooms," Draco noted. Ron nodded, looking at their hosts again. "We're sorry, but sometimes these things have to be aired or else he'll get funny ideas.""You're not a battle mage, Mage Malfoy?" the younger sister asked."No, battle magics are my secondary focus. My primary is creation. I started my lessons with Reievan not six months after we got here.""That's interesting. Why do you study combat then?" the older sister asked."Because we landed with a combat group first," he said with a small shrug. "It still comes in handy, even at home with the war going on. For right now, I know more than enough to deal with some annoyances in my life and to protect myself. Then I'll settle into a life of quiet creation and beautiful things.""I'm supposing that means that you're not marrying Pansy?" Ron asked.Draco shuddered. "Eww. No! She looks like one of those we saw at that temple for those were born oddly. I'd prefer someone pretty and smart, not just cunning.""So I'm guessing it's not going to be a current Slytherin since most of them seem to look like one of Othagard's worshipers," Ron said dryly. The mother looked confused. "His house is full of people with very pure blood lines back centuries.""Ah. Yes, that can come with problems," she agreed sadly."Is it against their religion to mix?""No, it's against their type's wishes," Ron told her."You are one of the pure bloods, though I hate to admit it," Draco pointed out bitterly. "A distant cousin no less.""True, but that can be said of the whole wizarding world in Britain at this point. There's only about two thousand of us total including the muggle borns." He looked at the mother. "Those who take stock in their purity don't like to see it stained in any way.""It is often that way when one gets those notions," the father agreed. "Your war, is it over that?""No, it's mostly his kind against the rest of us," Ron told him with a small shrug. "Though their leader isn't pure.""He is so. He was in our house.""For his skills and being the heir of Slytherin. Not for being pure. His mother was a witch and his father a muggle who tossed him into an orphanage.""Oh." Draco considered it. "So he's wiping those out like him?" he asked finally. Ron nodded. "Why?""Because he hates what he is nearest we can figure," Ron said with another shrug. "Harry saw it.""Oh. Potter verified this?""With Dumbledore.""His name is not said among our kind," Alathander said firmly."Sorry. He's the headmaster at our school at the moment," Ron said dryly. "Put Harry with relatives I'd like to torture. Keeps him there too.""Hmm. Then something should be done about that mortal," the elf sneered. "He is not the sort you'd want around decent people.""I'm sure he's changed in the time he's been back there," his mother said calmly. "As has Invetrion."Draco nodded. "That's putting it mildly.""The greasy git is not what you'd think a battle mage would be," Ron agreed."Invetrion was always very fastidious while here," the father said, looking confused."Now he's a spy and he teaches potions," Draco told him. "He also doesn't wear his battle mage braids often.""If ever," Ron noted. "I've never seen his hair any way but down and hanging."Draco grunted. "I'm sensing the so unsubtle hints of my father's teasing nature," he complained."Or Potter's father," Ron admitted. "They used to like to pick on him.""That's where I heard that name!" Alathander exclaimed. He looked at Ron. "Is the boy different from his father?""Looks just like him but his parents died when he was just a baby. They were fighting the Dark Lord and he came visiting one night. Harry's baby magic killed him kinda for about thirteen years and then he came back. Harry was raised by some muggles who are better not discussed because it makes people upset and want to kill them." Draco gave him a look. "Really. If you knew you'd be pissed too and never pick on him again, or else he'll snap some day soon." Draco shrugged and went back to his looking around. "Harry's not like James," he said quietly. "For all that he looks like him. I've fought beside Harry since we were first years.""But you're children!" his father said hotly.Ron nodded. "It had to happen. It was only us who knew what was going on. Whenever we told the adults they didn't listen. So our first year we defeated the Dark Lord possessing someone's body with their permission. The next year Harry defeated him when he was in soul form trying to kill my little sister. The next year it was his minions. The year after that they brought the imbecile back and Harry had to face him alone. It got another student killed. The year after that they were trying to drive him insane until an attack. Then it was the minions at the ministry, including Malfoy's father. The year after that it was another battle. This year's battle hasn't happened yet but we knew it was coming and he was coming to the school.""Only days have passed in your world, if that much," Alathander offered gently. Ron looked at him and he nodded. "Really. Invetrion was with us for nearly eight years and he got back three and a half days later. You've been here now for about a year.""I can only hope you're right," Ron admitted. "Otherwise I'm going to have to take Harry's place if he's dead and avenge my family if they're gone too." He swallowed then forced himself to stay calm."It won't happen," Alathander noted. "I will talk with Inventrion myself." Ron shrugged. "You don't think he'll help?""I'm not sure he can help. As we said, he's a spy right now.""He's probably changed a bit since you knew him last," Draco said diplomatically. He still couldn't see Snape as the warrior these people had seen him as. "Enough of this depressing topic, let's talk of happier things. Did you get paid for dealing with the creature, Vigdeon?"Ron wiggled a hand a bit. "They gave me clothes, food, and a few piece of gold. They were a pretty small village. And of course it *had* to be a huge, gigantic spider that not even Hagrid could like.""Of course," Draco agreed, nodding. "How was the duel?""Orcs and wizards as a secondary attack." He looked around. "Is my horse all right? I haven't checked him since this morning.""He's fine. We put him in the pasture with our son's horse." Alathander groaned, covering his face. "What?""She's nearing being in heat," he complained. "Ron's horse is huge.""They'd have pretty babies," his little sister said with a grin. "Besides, it's too late. I went to get them some grass and found them together. He's quite strong, Vigdeon.""He is," he agreed with a grin for her. "I wanted to look like some foolish novel hero on him.""And you do," Draco agreed dryly, smirking at him. "People underestimate you all the time because you look like a foolish hero sort. At least until you open your mouth, then they know you're a foolish hero sort. The sort they write songs about." Ron shuddered and shrank down a bit."There's songs about you?" Alathander asked flatly."Not by my choice," he defended quickly. "Those stupid bards at the camp got me.""Bards are want to do that," the mother agreed happily. "Our son has a few about him as well.""Mother!""It's the downside of being a combat mage I suppose," Draco told the sisters, making them giggle."As opposed to the one about your virility and strength?" Ron taunted."What can I say, she was satisfied," Draco said smugly. "If she liked it enough to write a song about it, I'm more than pleased with my performance." The girls both giggled and blushed. "Sorry. I would never touch anyone's sister. It would be rude," he assured the parents with his most winning smile."His dragon would mess up his hair if he did," Ron agreed, winking at the mother. "Reievan has a wonderful sense of propriety. That's why we're unsure why she puts up with Malfoy.""I can kill you while you sleep," Draco said dryly. "Or simply lock you in our room and never let you out, creating a new one for myself and Reievan.""Then you'd have to give up your sweets," Ron said with a mean smirk back at him. "No more butterbeers for breakfast for you.""Fine, you're a useful amusement for my dragon."Alathander coughed. "This is their best behavior. They apologize for being barbarian humans," he told his parents. Both of whom laughed."They're entertaining," his mother assured him, smiling at him. "I can't wait until your uncle comes over tomorrow." Alathander whimpered. "Son!""Mother, we really do have to get back to the school," he reminded her."One more week won't make a difference.""It will. The books on portal making are coming in soon," Draco told her. "Our teacher can't do them yet either.""We have a few good volumes in the family library," the father said smugly."Just don't introduce him to the nice girls. They'll squeal and he'll have to show off," Ron told the mother. "He doesn't like nice girls at all." She burst out in giggles, patting him on the hand."It will be an interesting visit I see," Alathander said, shaking his head. "Are either of you engaged yet?"His younger sister giggled. "No, silly. But if I offer to take the Mage Malfoy from you and teach him elven magic do you think he could stay?""You'd have to ask my dragon. She claims I'm hers," Draco explained."Her kitten," Ron snorted."Weasley!"Ron simply smirked. "I feel a bit more energetic now.""It's the mischief energy you create each time you pick on him," the older sister explained with a bright grin. "Maybe if he stays you will?""Nope, sorry. I can't stay. Harry needs me and I need to help my sister find someone I approve of to marry that's not Harry.""You won't let your best friend date your sister?""I don't want anyone to date my sister but things would get weird if she dated my best friend. Then I'd have to hear about his love life with my sister. I don't think I can take that.""If she's so nice, have her date Longbottom.""Um, no," Ron said, shaking his head. "Not going to date Neville either. Again, I'd have to hear about her sex life with them.""Does she want to live the life of austerity as a priestess somewhere?" the older sister asked."No, but that's a great idea, I'll try to talk her into that," Ron said fondly, grinning at her. "Thanks. Think I could get Variana to take her in?"The mother stifled a snicker but Alathander patted him on the back. "We all feel the same about our sisters. I had to intervene when one of my best friends nearly took up with my younger sister. He's centuries older than she is but he still thought it appropriate." He glared at his sisters. "Leave my students alone. They still have to go back to their world.""We're only picking on them," they complained."Though they do look like fun," the younger one said with a smirk for her brother."I'd kill them first.""We'd do it for you," Ron promised. "I'd never touch anyone's sister. Especially not my favorite teacher's. It would be wrong."Draco nodded. "And awkward when we'd have to do odd things to keep him from killing us in classes."The father chuckled. "It's good to know that you both know how the world works." He rang a bell and a servant brought out a tray, setting out plates in front of them. "Eat."Alathander looked at Ron, then switched plates with him. "I doubt your stomach could take the moss in that.""Thanks, prof.""Eat, Vigdeon," the mother said gently. "The only way to fight off my daughters is to be stronger than you were when you came in." He ate heartily, making sure she approved of his manners. "Good boy," she praised, patting him on the hand.***A few days later Ron was wandering around the gardens when he was pounced. He restrained his first instinct, which was to put someone on their back and try to kill them. No one here would be attacking him. He glared at the girl he had flipped over his shoulder. "Don't do that! I could have hurt you!" She giggled. "Would you do that to your brother? I'm about as well trained and experienced as he is in real war situations. Do not try to pounce me! I can hurt you and I don't want to!" He stomped off, going to sulk in peace."Vigdeon, I'm sorry," she called. "I was just being playful." She started after him but a larger hand caught her shoulder and her big brother shook his head. "No? I didn't mean to upset him."He nodded. "I know." He walked after his student slowly, giving him time to calm down. "Vigdeon." His student glared at him. "You wouldn't have hurt her.""I nearly tossed her onto the ground and stomped on her.""Yes, but you stopped yourself. Do you know why?""The fact that her perfume hit me as I was tossing her. I don't like to hit girls. My mother would kill me if I did.""Then your instincts took over and prevented the tragedy from happening.""It's still not right!" He flopped down, looking at his older, wiser teacher. "Does it ever get better?""Not even after you retire," he sighed. "This is the other pitfall of being a combat mage, Vigdeon. The fact that you could easily hurt those around you. All warriors share that fear and that knowledge. Any training that you have, be it physical or magical, can make you dangerous at some inopportune times. Like in the middle of sex when someone scratches you." Vigdeon groaned, holding his head. "Never done that?""I try very hard not to.""Eh. That's a personal problem I can't comprehend. Battle mages are usually about as welcomed as warriors since we do just as much work." He smirked at the shocked young man as he joined him on the ground. "You never noticed that?""No. All the camp's followers giggled and pointed at me.""Interesting. What about back at home?""There's I'm me. And the me there isn't one that girls like to look at." He leaned back against the tree he was sitting under. "Maybe that's true for most of us but Malfoy gets a lot more tail than I do.""Hmm, then again he also goes looking for it. He's used to having people want to be with him for the wrong reasons. You're not. That's understandable but fairly wrong to think about in some ways. You have no girlfriend?""I have a friend who is a girl but the one time we nearly kissed she decided to get sick instead. Even Harry doesn't date.""Then that is doubly tragic. Every hero needs someone to come home to at the end of the war. It gives you a reason to fight on. ""Or, it gives you a reason to run away from them," Ron paraphrased. "I already had this talk with the creation teacher. Professor Andalain also suggested that I find a girlfriend, or a boyfriend."Alathander laughed. "I don't think you'd go for that. Not for very long anyway. Maybe companionship during a campaign but not permanently." He smirked at the young man. "Does it infuriate you that she's pretty and wants you?""No! Merlin, she's like my little sister! That's just...icky!" He shuddered. "I could never go for a girl like my little sister, and especially not a friend's sister." He curled up some. "Don't give me nasty thoughts like that, Alathander.""Fine." He shrugged. "I won't. I wouldn't have protested if you had said she was pretty.""She is, she's beautiful and smart and kind, but she's still like my kid sister.""Hmm. Perhaps you need a woman of your own more than you think.""I don't need that, not during the war. I'll lose focus, I'll get killed, or I'll get someone else killed." He shifted some so he could curl up a bit more. "I don't want to be the reason why the war ends for someone other than the other side.""Which is a good thing, but you're still not seeing the problem. Having a woman by your side isn't a distraction.""Yeah, it is. They demand your time. They demand your attention. They toss fits for no reason, and then they get mad when you have to do something.""Did you have one of those?" Ron nodded. "Oh. I'm sorry.""So was I after about a month. The sad thing is most women are like that around me.""Then perhaps you should come back here after your war is over with. You could go visit your family if you wanted to. I'm not sure Malfoy would be going back permanently. He has more to his life here.""There he's got servants, a mansion, an incredible fortune, and all the power he can horde.""Yes, but if his creation abilities don't work there, then what does he have?""All of the above," Ron snorted. "The Malfoy name is long and full of slimy bastards. His father's presently got the head of our government all but sucking him off each and every day while thinking it's all his own idea. I have...the war. I've got sports maybe. I've got my family.""Those are important things to some.""Well, maybe. My family definitely but the other two I could probably live without if I had to. Which I may because of the war." He put his head down. "I don't mind being a combat mage. I'm good at it. I suck at the creation stuff about half the time because I don't have the imagination I need. There's not much else I can do. I get that.""But you don't enjoy it," Alathander finished. Ron nodded, turning his head to look at him. "We all had to face this point, Vigdeon. It matters not who you are or where you come from. Eventually you get tired of the fighting. You've been fighting now for six years on and off. Then you come here and you walk into a combat group to get trained for more war. Wars that aren't even yours.""Yeah, but I can use what I've learned here.""Yes, but it doesn't make you happy.""Yeah, but there's nothing really that will for a long time." He grimaced. "Before you say it, a girl isn't the answer to that either.""I wasn't going to press that point actually. Do you know the difference between a combat mage and a battle mage?""Battle mages see the bigger picture. The strategy and all that stuff. Combat mages only see the combat. They're the duelers, the ones who want to do the actual fighting. Battle mages provide support to many areas of the troupe.""Very good. Which are you?""A battle mage," Ron snorted. "I've worked with the healers. I've worked with the people who put up tents. I've even dug latrines out of necessity," he said with a small shrug. "I already knew that. That's not an issue. The issue is that I can hurt people without meaning to.""Your instincts will guide you, Vigdeon.""How can they when I don't hear them."Alathander grimaced. "That is a good point. If Malfoy were to do what my sister did, what would you do?""Kill him," Ron said simply. The elf beside him raised his eyebrow. "I would. We may have a truce but I know as soon as we head home he's going to go back to starting crap with me and my housemates. That's the way he is.""Maybe. Perhaps he only did it to seem like the others of his house.""Maybe, but I doubt it. He takes too much enjoyment out of that.""Perhaps," Alathander agreed lightly, smiling at him. "Now, about my sister?""I'm not touching her, Alathander.""No, you're not. I appreciate that by the way, but you could be nice enough to escort her on a ride later if you wanted. It'd get you away from all this stuff." He waved a hand around. "We know this isn't your ways and she's going to the main village to see a friend.""Fine," Ron agreed. "Let me change clothes.""Go in that, Vigdeon. No one but us knows you're here. No one would expect anything from you beyond you being a mage trainee. They're notoriously poor," he said with a wink. "All they know is that two of my students are up here. Even here there are many redheaded mage students.""Sure. I'll go saddle Stud." He stood up. "Does it get better?""Once you're with the same person you start to hear the instincts and they learn not to pounce you without warning," he said with a small smirk. "Now go be a big brother sort for my sister.""Yes, sir." He headed back into the house, looking at the women in the entryway. "Professor Alathander said I was to escort one of you on a trip to the village.""We're both going but we can go on our own. There's no danger between here and there," the older sister pointed out."He wanted to let him get out of the house," Malfoy said from the stairs. "This is not his sort world.""Fine. Is your stallion nearby?""In the paddock. Let me put the saddle pad on him." He walked out, going to put on the lesser saddle and bridle. His horse responded well to him and it was a pleasure ride. He didn't need his saddlebags full of components and things. He hoped. He swung up and walked his horse out to meet the young women in the carriage out front. "That's pretty.""Thank you. Mother made it years ago," the younger daughter told him, grinning at him. "You really think I'm beautiful?""You may be but you're still like my sister.""Fine, then I'll pick on you like I do my brother. Your shirt's on funny." Then she smiled sweetly as he straightened out the lacing holding the front closed. Her sister poked her. "He yelled at me for trying to pounce him.""As he should. He's still human and still a combat mage.""Actually, I'm a battle mage. I do strategy as well," Ron told her."It's the same thing," she said bitterly."Not always. Battle mages are more flexible. Combat mages are those who only fight. Shall we?" The younger sister took the reins and he rode beside them, watching the woods. Outside the gate was still a wild area and even here had animals and creatures. They made it to the village a few minutes later and he waited with the carriage while they went inside, watching the town like they were watching him. It was odd, everyone was kind of dressed like Snape and they were all stiff and uptight. He climbed off his horse's back, patting him on the side so he could lean against him."Vigdeon," a young elf said as he walked over to him. "Why are you here and dressed like that?""I'm with Professor Alathander at the moment and his sisters are inside. I escorted them to get out of the house.""Ah." He nodded, looking smug. "How do you like the Great One, Alathander.""He's nice enough. He gets me most of the time but he just nagged me that I needed a girl in my life." He shrugged. "We get on well enough and I can learn a lot of stuff from him.""You're being very understated today," he said dryly."I'm still a bit tired after the duel I was seconding for him. There were orcs.""Ah." The young elf nodded. "I understand. Any sign of the portals reopening?""Malfoy's studying that now. Hopefully within six months. He's usually pretty good with that stuff." He stretched, popping his shoulders as he stretched up. "Sorry. I haven't done my physical training in a few days.""That's fine," he agreed happily. "How is Reievan?""Up at the manor house with Malfoy. Though I think she's out for a fly at the moment.""Interesting." He glanced around. "They won't hurt you.""No, but they also don't know me and I'd like to keep it that way. It's embarrassing."The young elf burst out laughing and swatted him gently smirking at him. "You sound like a maiden.""Yeah, well, it's still embarrassing," Ron said, cracking a grin at him. "You're just odd some days.""Thank you, Lord Mage. Any other words of advice?""Well, apparently the whole school seems to think I need to date. So I'll pass on that advice. A girl gives you a reason to come home after the fight and a reason to go fighting in the first place." The elf burst out in giggles, shaking his head. "Or so they tell me anyway." He smiled at the young man walking over to them, recognizing the signs that he was going to try something bullying. "Yes? You needed to talk to my friend?""That's Vigdeon's horse.""Very good," Ron agreed. "So?""Does he know you have it?" the elf sneered."Considering I'm him? Probably." He smiled and nodded politely at the young woman walking up behind the wannabe bully. "Did you have a question or a statement to make? I'm here doing a favor for my professor by escorting his sisters around.""You're not Vigdeon! He's a warrior!""No, I'm a battle mage, get it right. I don't carry a sword, a bow, or a staff." The woman snorted, rolling her eyes. So he created a small light. "Here, it looks like you lost one. Unless it's supposed to be uneven?" he asked at her disgusted look."It's asymmetrical, not uneven," she said haughtily.He tossed it onto the side of the carriage. "Sorry, I'm a battle mage, not an artist. I know nothing of art and don't really think it comes in handy in the middle of a battlefield. It's something for the home, when you're retired." The girls came out of the house with a few male elves. "Ready to head home?" he asked quietly. The men sneered at them and the girls slapped them for it playfully. "Sorry, boys, Alathander said I was to escort them. That means until I take them home. So no shagging in the woods today if that was your intention and nothing too rompish. I'd be made to report it," he said at the older sister's odd look. "You know how your brother is.""Good point." She climbed in and her sister got in beside her, with the two elves sitting next to their girls. "We're going for a picnic in the woods," she told him. "You don't need to escort us.""Bet me. Your brother would kill me." He climbed up onto his horse's back. "It was nice seeing you again. Hopefully I'll have time before we're banished back to the school to come chat some more? Or you could come up to see Reievan. I'm sure she'd like that. She got frustrated with Malfoy again today." The elf that had escorted them to the school smiled at that. "See you soon." He turned his stallion and followed the carriage at a light trot. The carriage wasn't going that fast and he weathered the dirty looks. He knew what an escort did. He had instructed some escorts for his sister in the past. They took the wrong turn back to the house and he gave the carriage a thoughtful look, but gamely followed along. He hoped he didn't need the other saddle. He really did hope he didn't need it. He saw one of the guys prick the younger sister on the back of the neck and growled, urging his horse closer. "Where are you going to picnic?""Go away, human," one of the men sneered. "You're so far beneath us I can't even shit something as nasty as you are." His buddy laughed and they got the other daughter, then urged the horses into a run."Bloody hell!" Ron complained, urging his horse to follow them. He cast a barrier spell in front of the horses, making them turn to the side, and followed them. That carriage was a bit faster than he had expected. Fortunately a horse was faster than two horses and a carriage. He caught up with them and grabbed the reins, slowing the horses down. One of the elves cast something and his shields came up automatically, then he tossed a sleep spell back at them. They obviously expected something worse since they were caught off guard. "Like I'd hurt you with the girls in the carriage." He looked up and whistled, hoping Reievan could hear him. "Malfoy! Reievan!" A few elves on horses came running. "They knocked the girls out," he said when the bows appeared. "I'm their escort, you can ask their big brother, Alathander."Malfoy landed, Reievan breathing hard. "What's happened to them?""The boys pricked them with something then took off. I stopped the carriage and put them to sleep.""Good job. Fairly easy and not something they'd expect, Vigdeon," Reievan panted. The elves backed up a few steps. "Someone go get Alathander. They're his kin and we're his students."Alathander's mother came riding up. "There you are!" She looked at the carriage, then the mages. "What happened?" she asked.Ron shrugged. "Alathander asked me to escort them so I could get out of the house for a bit. They went into town to where these two were. They came out, tried to brush me off, I followed anyway because I know how scary your son is and that's what a proper escort does. They knocked the girls out and took off with them. So I stopped the carriage and I knocked them out with a sleep spell.""I see." She checked them over, nodding. "Well, I know one of them was going to try to elope, but the knocking them out is not proper courting behavior." She looked at the guard that someone had went to fetch. "The girls were knocked out so their escort worked to stop the carriage and the boys with them. Simple sleep spells.""The younger daughter had something rubbed or pricked into the back of her neck," Ron told her. The guard checked it then glared at him. "I didn't do it. I've been on my stallion, not in there with them. I was told to escort so I did.""And you did very well," the mother agreed, smiling up at him. "What are you wearing?""Something clean?" he guessed, then he shrugged again. "I pulled it out of the bag. I was wandering in the garden until your daughter decided to imitate her cat and pounce me.""Fine. We'll fix that when you get home, young man.""Yes, Professor Alathander's mother.""They are yours?" the guard asked."They're my son's students," she said with a smirk. "Vigdeon, Malfoy, and the dragon is Reievan. She's Malfoy's consort dragon.""I've heard of them. Why put them to sleep?""It takes the least amount of energy and almost no one expects that spell to be used in combat. It's handy, gives you a way to question them without summoning back their shades." Everyone gave him an odd look. "I'm a battle mage! I have to think this way!""Calm down," Malfoy ordered quietly. "We were out flying around when we heard him whistle. Nothing changed except for the addition of extra people.""I think I sprained my wing," Reievan complained. "You're loud, Vigdeon!""Sorry, sweetness. Let me see?" She lifted it and Ron dismounted, going over to look at it. "Yeah, it looks like you've got a bit of muscle strain. Why don't you become small and get into the back of the carriage. Malfoy can ride behind me back to the house." She nodded, letting Draco get off and take off the riding pad so she could shrink down. Then she climbed into the back, sniffing the girls. "Are they supposed to smell like they're in heat?""Oh, really?" the mother asked, glaring at the young man the guard was shaking awake. "You did what to my daughters?" He squealed and backed away from her. "I'd tell me before I let Vigdeon have you for further target practice. Then I'll hand you to my son, Alathander, or my brother, the King. Now, tell me or else!""We were going to make sure they would remain ours. Then that stupid human stopped us!""I've heard enough," the guard decided. He looked at Vidgeon, who canceled the other sleep spell. "Thank you.""As have I," the mother agreed. "You are not to see my daughters again. If I find out that you've given them something to stimulate a mating urge in them I will kill you. You know that, correct?" They nodded, backing away from her. "Run, now." They ran off into the woods. She got into the carriage, taking the reins from the guard. "I thank you for your help in this matter. I'll have them examined and if I find Molasses sap in their system I'll tell you.""Yes, m'lady." He got back, nodding at her and her entourage. What an odd group. She traveled with humans? Her? A lady of the Court?"Vigdeon is very impressive, even when he's not in battle gear," one young woman noted.An older woman nodded. "Very impressive. Even for being a human." They turned their beasts around, going back to their own pleasures. The guard would be telling the boys' parents if they didn't hear it from the gossip chain first.The guard shuddered once he was alone. He hated dealing with battle and combat mages. There was something wrong with anyone who would pick that as a specialty to use their magic on.***Alathander opened the door to look at his students. "What did you do?" he asked casually."Stopped your sisters from being kidnaped by their boyfriends," Ron said bitterly. He headed up to his room. "Your mother ordered me to change. She gave my shirt a horrified look.""Yes, my mother always did care quite a bit about how I looked," he noted, looking at Malfoy, who was watching. "Where's Reievan?""She sprained her wing when we were going to Ron's rescue. He got nervous when there were twenty elves with bows pointing at him after he knocked the boys out.""Ah. Good. Some of them probably would have shot him and then he'd have to defend himself, which would become messy." He closed the door and went back to the study to tell his father, who had sent him out. "Mother's checking them for molasses sap probably. I'm sure they'll be back soon." He got comfortable. "Vigdeon got scared by having twenty elves with bows pointed at him.""It's good he still knows fear, son." He looked at his son. "Are you staying for the season this year?""Hell no, Father. I don't like pain that much. I couldn't stand all the simpering elf maidens giggling, cooing, or singing at me." His father smirked at him. "I'm only three hundred, father, give me some time before you make me take on a horrible wench for a wife.""Son, women aren't an enemy force to be conquered or eliminated.""Bet me! Again, Father, I'm only three hundred. I have time to settle down yet. Besides, I doubt any of the simpering, brainless maidens around here would like to settle down at the academy with me.""Your uncle offered you a position in his Court as a royal combat mage.""Father, I'd sooner go home with Vigdeon and Malfoy. I like teaching. I've always liked teaching. I certainly wouldn't ever go to Court and live the dull and horrible life of pain and misery there. I'd hate the politics I'd have to get involved in. As a teacher I get to sit back and watch the students play politics. There I'd have to kill anyone who trifled with me. I'd sooner go shack up with my bonded brother, Invetrion, than go to Court. You can tell him I said that as well. In those words if you need to. What a ghastly idea. Don't bring it up again and don't tell mother, please.""It would do you good, son. Give you a reminder of what being an elf living in the elven world is like.""Father, mention this again or mention it to mother and I will go home with the boys to help them fight their war. So unless you want me to leave right this moment, I'd stop now.""Fine," he agreed, sounding mildly disappointed. "It is a fine offer for you, son. It would help the family name quite a lot.""I'll see you next summer holidays, father. Tell mother I love her and that I'll expect letters soon." He walked out and up the stairs. "Boys, pack. Before I'm forced to go to Court to be the new royal combat mage."Ron came out with his packs over his shoulder, pulling on his shirt as he walked. "How is Malfoy getting home?""I think I've figured out the portal system," Draco admitted as he followed, still closing his packs. "I'll try to make one on the front lawn between the two ornaments." He headed out that way, working on his spell as he walked. He got to the statues and created the portal, looking around the room it was in. "Hmm, not quite correct." He decreated it and started all over again."Remember, it's dinner time there," Alathander yelled as he headed for his horse. The carriage pulled up and Reievan scrambled out, heading for her pet. "Sorry to leave so suddenly, mother, but things are just coming up." He kissed her on the cheek. "You two behave. I will not be called home for a forced marriage. Especially at your ages." He grabbed his mare and saddled her, heading out as soon as he was done. Ron was right behind him. They rode out together, both of them shaking their heads. "How could my own father try to sell me out that way? To Court of all places." He shuddered. "With the simpering, cooing, supposedly talented maidens who want nothing more than me to break them in to say I did it and to try to trap me into a marriage.""Now you see what I do about women?" Ron asked."Definitely. I had forgotten that part of it. Being away from that life is a blessing. Never, ever take a court position. It's a fate worse than death, it's boredom to death by doing pretty illusions to amuse and titillate. Not even Malfoy could stand that one." He shuddered again and his mare shook herself too. "Good girl. Come on, let's go home. We can go play with Wenchie tonight.""Wenchie?""My familiar. One of my students created her for me," he said with a bright grin. "She was a wench so it fit.""You mean it's not far back to the school?""About six hours if we're not in the middle of a bad rain.""Decent." Ron sped up, letting his horse canter. "Come on then, it's dinner time."Alathander laughed and followed, enjoying being outside with his student. He was very full of life. Even as a boy he hadn't been like that, most elves weren't.***Draco looked up as his teacher and co-student walked in eight days later. "How far off the beaten path did you go? We got here within hours of my first attempt.""Oh, we got caught in the center of a battle over lands," Ron said dryly. "The edge of the forest had a village.""Had?" Draco asked dryly."Had," Alathander agreed. "Though it wasn't us. It was the dragon that got woken up while nesting who stomped it and then we had to battle her too. Gods, I ache." He headed to his rooms. "I'll see you both tomorrow at breakfast. We'll resume the normal schedule.""Then you won't see us for two days," Draco called. "The Headmistress wants to talk to you about an offer she received.""She can blow me," Alathander called back. "I'm for a bath. She can bring me dinner if she wants me that badly.""Oh, really?" the Headmistress called from her office, opening the door. The elf smirked at her and nodded. "Get in here now.""I'm going to my baths. I stink like a troll. I ache in places I haven't in years. If you want to speak to me that badly then you can bring me dinner and we'll chat while I soak. I do not work here to please you." He stomped on. "Remember, students come here because of me. I can always set up my own school! Eat, Vigdeon!""Yes, sir." He headed for the dining hall, knowing that even if it wasn't meal time that he could filch something from the kitchen. He stopped when he saw a portal. "Malfoy!" Draco came strolling in. "Get Alathander. That's Filch's office." Draco looked stunned but went running for their professors while he got his dragon and the backpack/room. Ron tested the portal, wincing at the energy coursing up his hand. "Is this normal?""It's not open yet," Alathander said from behind him. "Where is that?""The Caretaker's office." The scene slowly changed. "That's the Great Hall. It's where we eat. There's no teachers. Malfoy!" Draco came back with Reievan. "Can you open it?""Yes, I can," he offered calmly, working on sticking the portal and opening it. He looked at the teacher. "It's been a pleasure, sir." He shook his hand. "Ready, Weasley?""Yeah, let's do this.""Wait!" Reievan complained. "My books!""Get them quickly, sweetness, if you're coming with us. I'm sure Draco can create a portal back for you." He stepped through.
Ron looked around the Great Hall, seeing all the younger students, and almost none of the sixth and seventh years. He glared at his table. "What happened?" he demanded, stepping fully out."You-Know-Who felt the magic fluxes and he attacked," one young Hufflepuff said, starting to cry. "They're fighting outside.""That's fine. We can help with that." He looked back at the portal. "Thanks for everything, Professor. I'll miss you and your unique lessons.""Oh, not that fast, Vigdeon. I found a teacher in my rooms and my things packed. Give me five minutes. Start without me. You too, Malfoy.""I need to hold the portal stable," he noted quietly."Fine. I'll be outside. We jumped from one battle into another. The school's under attack.""I'll kill the bastard," Draco sneered. "Go, start without us."Ron nodded, heading out of the Great Hall. He saw the nurse and stopped her. "Where?" She gaped at him so he shook her a bit. "Where!""Out front, toward the pitch," she said, pointing with one shaky hand. "Don't go out there, it'll breach the defenses if you open the front doors.""That's fine. Um, if Reievan brings my horse, just leave him somewhere I can clean up after him. His name's Stud." He walked up to the open walkway nearest where he wanted to be and jumped down, landing like a cat on three paws. He stood up and dusted himself off and hurried to where he could hear hexes being cast. He walked around the corner and into the middle of it, blocking a particularly nasty Killing Curse in the making. "Ah-ah-ah. None of that now," he said with a cruel smirk. He cast a shield between the two sides, then one behind the other side. "Harry!" Harry's head popped up. "Where? Now!""This side, Ron!" Ron jogged over, and raised his hands. A large dragon appeared, stomping through the other side between the shields. She got a few of them killed, a few more injured, and then she was stunned stupid and fell over on top of another."Wow," Harry breathed. "Ron, where have you been?""Learning battle magic, Harry. Is he here yet?""He's here. I can't find him though.""Then we kill and hunt," Ron said simply. He heard a shriek and looked up, nodding at Malfoy. "Get the suckers!""Get off that dragon!" Charlie yelled."Oh, shut up!" Reievan called back. "I want him up there!" They dove for another few wizards, letting Draco loose his spells on them.Ron grinned at his best friend. "Right neat, what?" He started to work again, getting the majority of them to block them off so they couldn't run and they couldn't hit anybody else. He felt a disruption coming and groaned, throwing a destruction spell, one that destroyed the ground you were standing on by making it explode. The ground exploded, killing the wizard trying to disrupt his energies. He grimaced and kept it up, getting more and more of them tighter and tighter together. Finally someone saw what was going on and hit them all with a curse he was very familiar with. Which made him look over at Professor Snape. "Invetrion. Good to see you still alive," he said fondly, smirking at him. "Vigdeon. Professor Alathander's latest student." The man swallowed. "Malfoy up there is a creationist but we both switched to the other side as a secondary focus. Shall we? Do you want shielding or casting?""Shielding. I'm better at it.""Deal." Ron turned and went after the other side again, switching to the offensive curses and spells he knew. Learning it on the battlefield was very helpful in many ways. "Harry, there is he! He just reappeared!" he called, pointing. Harry ran that way and Ron gave the other wizard a look, then over his shoulder, before taking off after his buddy. "Wait, Harry!" He blocked a shot and shot one back at the wizard, knocking him cold. "Now!"Harry pulled out a dagger and cut himself, then started to chant, putting his hands on the cold body. Voldemort screamed and thrashed but Harry held on until the body quit moving and then until it dusted up. He pulled back, wiping his hands on his pants, then looked at Ron. He pulled his wand and cast at the people running their way. "Ron, shield, wall, something!"Ron raised a hand and a wall appeared, letting them slam into it. He smirked at them and waved. "Hi, guys. Welcome to Hogwarts. How are you today?" Harry gave him an odd look. "I was just with elves, Harry. These pitiful beings have nothing on the attitude they can have. Though you'd like Alathander. He's a neat guy. Another battle mage." He gave the wall a shove, shoving them back into Alathander's spell to kill them. Then he waved as most of them fell down. He smiled at the remaining few. "We accept surrender."One of them raised her wand and Draco got her from above, sneering at his mother. "Sorry, dear, did that hurt?" he called. "So sorry." His dragon landed so he could look down at his mother's limp body. "So, dear, do you like my new friend? We're also friends with elves and dwarves." He nudged his friend and pointed. "That's a Pansy.""You're right, she is one of Othagard's priestesses. How hideous!" She blew a stream of poisoned gas at the children, making them choke and pass out. "There, that's much better. I'm so sorry you had to live with them, Draco. You're much too pretty to be seen with them.""Yes, but they made me prettier by comparison," he reminded her, sliding down her side to land. He looked around at the mop-up going on. "Think we're needed? I'm rather hungry.""Me too." She followed him up to where the others were waiting, nuzzling her favorite teacher. "Hi, Professor. Thank you for the help.""You're very welcome, Reievan. That was quite impressive.""Much better than the days when Draco could barely stay on her back," Ron agreed dryly as he joined them."I can still kill you, Vigdeon.""Oh, blow me, Malfoy.""Boys!" Alathander snapped. They quit and looked at him. "Thank you!" He looked at his former student. "How do you put up with them in that mood? And where are your braids?""The bands are in my jewelry box. I couldn't wear them here," he said, looking ashamed of himself. "I got sucked in.""We all make mistakes," Alathander said patiently. "That's why you're human." Snape glared at him so he gave him an infuriating grin. "Now, go get your bands so I can properly do your hair for you. Right this instant!" He hurried off. "Students," he complained. "Never enough to just do as they're asked." He looked at the smirking Ron. "Why are you so happy?""Because the war is now in a mop-up stage. Harry here got the bad guy just now.""Malfoy, get away from that dragon before you hurt her," Charlie snapped as he limped over."Oh, do get over it. She's mine!" Draco said firmly. "Reievan, this, obviously, is one of Weasley's many brothers. He deals with the stupid ones we have here.""Interesting. I've seen a few of them but I was wondering if they were hiding their intelligence or maybe that was just the way Vigdeon was creating them.""Malfoy, get away from her.""Human, I want my rider here. I chose him to ride me. He's my pet." Charlie gave her a long look. "Do you see who is speaking to you right now?""Yes, but I also know him. He's not respectful of any creature, thinking or not."She got down next to him. "I can always swat my kitten if he tries to hurt me. I'm good at that. Just ask your brother Vigdeon." Ron nodded quickly. "See?" She looked over at the cough, noticing the old man with white hair and beard. "Wow. You do look just like the poster of the defiler wee saw at the elven village. Next time, marry the girl.""Oh, I don't know about that," Alathander said dryly, glaring at Dumbledore, who flinched. "Good. You do remember me." He sneered at him. "Do not task me, human, or my students. Inventrion, Malfoy, and Vigdeon are all mine. I will teach them as I see fit.""Hey, it beats Divination any day," Ron agreed happily. "Or Potions." His horse was led out by his sister. "Hey, Stud. There you are. Were you a good boy?" He patted the soft nose, grinning at his sister. "Yes, you can ride him now and then if he allows it."She looked stunned. "Ron?""Ron?" Alathander asked."Real name. Remember, we don't have use names here," Snape said as he came back with damp hair. "I even cleaned it again for you.""Good. Sit!" Draco created a chair while buffing his nails. "Show off."Draco blew a kiss. "Love you too, Professor Alathander." He smirked at Charlie Weasley. "Yes, he's an elf. Are you going to tell me to get away from him too?""Behave, Draco! He was trying to protect me. That's a noble profession," Reievan complained. "Those who care should always be congratulated. He didn't know that I chose you." She nuzzled him then turned her head to the side and sneezed up a fireball, startling Ron's horse."Hey!" Ron forced his head down and the horse calmed down. "Thank you!" He looked around. "C'mon, I'll put you next to the greenhouses for now.""Oh, no you won't," Madam Sprout ordered. "He could get sick and die from some of the things down there. You'll put him out by Hagrid's hut.""I don't want him that close to the forest. He's a randy sucker who might take a liking to the centaurs." He settled for a lawn closer to the front of the school, in the entryway but off to the side. "There." He let him go and put a magical collar on him that would keep him inside the gateway until he took it off. "Go romp and eat." The soft nose came up to nuzzle him so he patted his friend gently. "Don't worry, I won't abandon you. It's dinner time so eat. Then I'll introduce you to the nice people and ward you again so the not-so- nice can't touch you." The nose nuzzled harder. "Fine, I'll eat out here." He created a blanket and plate with a steak and potatoes, sitting down on it while his horse cropped the grass."What is that beast doing!" Filch yelled. "Get him out of here.""Shut it or I'm toasting your cat," Ron warned. "He's hungry. It's been a long, strange few days. I'm certainly not going to have him eat where there's bodies lying around littering on the grass. He'll be fine. He's a nice horse that way. Used to come to class with me." He ate a bite of his steak, smirking as his teachers walked in. "He wanted to eat out here.""That looks good. Malfoy, make some of that.""I'm not the bloody servant," he complained, but he created the food for them all the same. He walked around Filch. "Did you piss yourself?" he asked in disgust. He sat down next to his teachers, looking at Snape. "So, did you do the creation classes as well?""No, I took the priestly healing lessons.""Man, they could use Madam Pomfrey over there," Ron sighed. "I had to heal some of the warriors. They weren't even doing the muggle stitches." Snape nodded. "It was interesting though. We landed with a combat troupe right off.""You did?" Snape asked, looking at Draco and his companion. "No wonder you're a rider.""Aerial unit," Draco said proudly. "Then she started to teach me her magic and I got into the battle classes as well. We minored in the other's sides." Ron nodded. "He makes the most amusing swords. Either limp as overcooked pasta or with odd bends at the end. He amused our creation teacher to no end.""Oh, Invetrion, my parents send their love," Alathander noted as he grabbed some more food. "Good job, Malfoy. Did you create or call?""Called from the kitchens. Everything except for the steak. I don't like making meat. It's very complex and I always seem to get the texture wrong. That I called from my house and had it cook on the way.""Good job, Mr. Malfoy. Ten points to Slytherin for living and learning things." Alathander nudged him, giving him a long stare until he sighed and slumped. "Ten points to Gryffindor as well for the same thing. At least you learned something.""Quite a lot. Ron's an excellent battle mage," he said proudly. "He helped me in a duel. Took out some orcs. Took out a dragon who was trying to eat us and the villagers. Took out part of a town that was trying to kill us and the elves behind us. Took out the elves who then tried to kill us."Malfoy looked at him. "Got bored?""No. We were only riding home when we got sucked into the middle of it. And then a woman came up and asked if I'd father her next child so they'd have a strong guardian." Draco looked stunned. "Fortunately, Professor Alathander had an idea or two and told her I had taken a vow of holy celibacy. Got me out of that pickle quickly." He shook his head and his horse gave him a look. "Yes, I know, you wanted to suck up to nice looking woman because you kept trying to stick your nose down her shirt," he said, patting him on the thigh. "Go eat, baby. You need it." His horse went back to nibbling. "Sorry, battle stallions are often attuned to their rider's moods." Reievan sighed and leaned back, resting against where his stallion was eating and sleeping at the same time. "Get comfy, sweetness, it's going to be a long night." She nodded, flipping her tail at him. So he created a sweet stick and handed it to her, earning a smile. He created his own and nibbled on it. Professor Snape looked at him. "It's self defense. Otherwise she'd steal mine.""You warped another one I see," Snape told his old friend and bonded brother. "How is Wenchie?""Coming through now if it's the odd cat creature," Ginny told them. "Should I bring it out?""She'll find me," Alathander noted. He looked her over, then looked at Ron. "You're right, she is a great deal like my younger sister." Ginny gave him an odd look and headed inside. "Any real causalities on our side?""A few wizards, a witch. This year's Defense professor," Snape said casually. "A few aurors.""Tonks?" Ron asked. Snape shook his head. "Good. I like the woman, she's neat and a great person to share stories with I bet.""Ron!" Bill yelled."Eating!" he called back. He looked at the professors. "Oldest brother. Then Charlie. Then the prat we don't talk to. The twins, then Ginny.""Ah, a small, tidy family where I come from," Alathander agreed. Bill gave him an odd look as he joined them. "The usual size for less wealthy families is ten to fifteen children.""Those poor women," Bill said, then shook his head. "You are? I'm Bill Weasley, Ron's older brother. I'm assuming you had control of him recently.""Professor Alathander, Battle Mage." He shook his hand. "He did mention you a few times over the year that we had him over at the school.""Plus eighteen months in and out of combat," Ron said bitterly. "I still wish we had been able to stop that war sooner.""The majority of that kingdom survived, Vigdeon. Calm down about it. You did what you could to stop the fighting until you were put in charge." Snape choked. "Bad commanders giving orders. Didn't let them do shields. Didn't give them a combat unit to protect them. Vigdeon ended up in charge of the combat mages there for a bit and stopped the last elf/human war.""Where?""Thranstantine and our home. We charged a few humans who attacked us.""Ah." Snape nodded, looking at Ron. "Very well done. How long did it take you?""Six months until I was the one in charge, and then about two hours of ranting and a massive temper storm, sir. Another local king had to intervene as well since we were on his land. The elves didn't want it and the human king was soon fixed.""I have to ask, Professor Snape. Why don't we do what the academy does? At least in our house?" Draco asked."Because I wouldn't put up with the whining from the first years who would swear that their parents said they were supposed to get a bed or the whining from the girls who got pregnant so they could share a bed with their new husbands," he said coolly."Good idea, sir. I hadn't thought of that. I probably would have killed someone in my first year if I hadn't had my own bed.""Yes, I could have seen you as one of those whining first years," he said snidely, smirking at him.Draco looked at him, licking off his fork. "Remember, I'm a creationist mage now, sir. You're a battle mage. Do you think I won't get you back?"Alathander threw a cooked carrot at his head. "Stop it, Malfoy.""Yes, sir. Just friendly teasing. Just like with Vigdeon.""Friendly?" Bill choked. "Ron?""Hmm?" He looked at him. "Nothing. Forced cohabitation and danger. We're not friends." Bill relaxed because the world hadn't altered to some other strange dimension and taken them all with it this time. He looked at his teachers. "So, why did you leave the academy?""Because I had been replaced by some snide little woman who was redecorating my room." His familiar trotted out with a student in his teeth. "Let the little girl go," he said patiently. His familiar whispered to him. So he grinned at the girl. "She says you've got the makings of a good combat mage. You should humor those gifts." She passed out. "Hmm, maybe a temple guardian then." He looked at a few of the students staring at him, then at his friend. "You really do lord over a whole temple's worth of Othagard's people, don't you?" he asked conversationally. Snape burst out laughing, shaking his head."Who?" Bill asked."God over those who were born malformed and diseased," Ron told him. "About half of Slytherin with their humps, squashed faces, and the like.""Oh, okay," Bill said, starting to look confused. "Where the hell were you? Mum and dad were frantic, Ron!""Hey, I'm not the one that triggered the portal and I'm not the one who they wanted. Feel lucky we came back. The other kid that went with us got eaten by a dragon in heat within a few minutes of getting there."Bill swallowed. "Fine. Would you like to explain this is greater detail to our parents?""I'm going to be here with my horse and my teachers. If they want, I'm going to be here most of the night probably, unless Stud there wants to come inside and up to our room." He grinned at Harry as he came over. "Sit, eat." He created more food for him. "I mean it," he said when Harry just stared at the plate. "I made it just for you. Eat it now.""Yes, Ron." He took a careful bite then looked at his friend. "When did you learn that?""Um, about fifteen months ago," Ron admitted. "Their time. Reievan taught us.""Who's that?" Bill asked. Draco pointed at the napping dragon. "Okay then. Ron, I'll find Mum and everyone so you can explain things to them. Nice meeting you, Professor. Please tell my parents if Ron wasn't a good boy while he was there." He wandered off to find their parents.Harry snickered. "Wow, Ron. I think that's the best trick I've seen so far today.""It is kinda, huh?" he asked with a grin. He looked over as people stomped out of the castle. "Hmm. McGonagall, an auror with Tonks, oh, and the prat," he said bitterly. "This'll be pretty."Alathander looked at the people stomping their way, then back at Ron. "Which is your head of house?""The older one in green," Snape said without having to look. He ate another bite of dinner. "This is quite good, Mr. Malfoy. You obviously called the best of the best.""I tried," he noted with a smirk. "Was my father there?" Snape shook his head. "Well, then I guess I'll just have to deal with him later," he said with a smirk."Professor Snape?" McGonagall asked once they got to his side. "The Headmaster would like to see you.""I'm eating with my former professor, Minerva. He can come find us. He is aware of elven manners and customs." He looked at Tonks. "Feeling better?""Much, thank you for the potion last month." She looked at Ron, who grinned brightly up at her. "Where were you?""Across that portal thingy. It leads to Professor Alathander's world. We ended up with a combat troupe, and from there went to war, then from there went to an academy for magic where we met him and our dwarfish professor." He grinned as his horse came over to nuzzle him. "This is Stud, he's my battle stallion.""So I can tell," McGonagall said, frowning at the horse until it moved. Then it came over to lip her sleeve, making her pat it on the nose. "Yes you're obviously a member of the Weasley clan. You're very adorable for not being a redhead. Now eat some more and rest. I'm sure we'll have a time finding you somewhere to stay tonight.""He can stay here. I shielded him so he can't leave this area and can't be hurt by vindictive students."McGonagall blinked. This was Ron Weasley? He had problems changing thimbles into buttons. She looked at the obvious newcomer she hadn't met. "And you are?""Professor Alathander. Battle mage. Their teacher for that. They came in very well trained from their time in combat.""I see," Tonks said, looking at Ron. "We like to record such things.""Buy me a real beer and I'll gladly spill all the stories I can remember," he promised with a cheeky grin."I'm nearly as old as your mother, Ron.""Bullshit," Minerva said dryly. "You're no older than Charlie is. Though I do not believe that it would be the best possible relationship for you. Mr. Weasley is a bit impetuous. How on earth did you manage as a combat mage, Mr. Weasley?""I had some experience and the wizards who opened the portal decided I was the one they were going to train since I had my wand out and Draco was unconscious. That's why he was picked as Reievan's pet.""Which is the dragon trying to nap before anyone has to ask," Reievan put in."Now that's a neat damn trick," Tonks said in awe. "Cool beans as the muggles say.""Mine," Draco said smugly."I thought you were hers," Alathander said with a smug smirk for his student. Who glared back, so his smirk got more amused. "Aren't you?""I'm still trying to sleep. Leave my kitten alone please, Professor, before he has a fit of temper and tries to duel you.""Yes, dear, you rest. You battled hard with your consorting human. You deserve a rest.""Thanks." She flopped over onto her stomach, curling up around the startled horse. Stud was used to it though so he waited until he heard the first snore then gently stepped over her tail and wandered off to find more grass.Harry looked back at his friend after watching the horse. "Yours?""Yup, that's my battle stallion, Stud." He beamed at his horse. "He's a good backup in combat too. Got him after the war." He ate another bite of dinner. "Eat, Harry." He picked up his free hand, frowning as he pulled his wand to do the healing for his palms. "Stupid git, you cut too deeply; you could almost see bones!" He switched hands, working on the other one. "There, now eat.""Yes, Ron," Harry agreed with a grin for his friend. Ron was never going to fully change. He ate another bite of dinner, looking over at the shocked people staring at Ron. "We had to learn that last year.""Came in handy since the healers over there don't heal that way," Ron agreed. "I saw some nasty injuries while we were gone.""Trying to eat," Draco said firmly."Fine. Be that way then," Ron said with a smirk. "Did you know he got sick his first time in the healer's tent, Professor Snape?""As did I," he agreed calmly. "It's like that when you don't usually see injuries like that on a daily basis." He patted Draco on the back. "You seem to have managed very well for being in a strange land and with Weasley.""Thank you, sir."Dumbledore came down to join them. "Ah, there you are, Severus. I thought I told Minerva to invite you up to dinner.""She did, but as you can see I'm eating with my teacher and the fellow students of my teacher.""I can, and I'd like to talk to him as well," Dumbledore agreed. "We'd like an account of how bad the boys were over there.""Oh, they disrupted the natural order. Since we're still playing with the beds at the academy, Malfoy and Vigdeon created their own room.""It makes packing so much easier," Draco agreed. "I'll pack your things later, Weasley, and send them over.""That's fine. Or we can open it and do our own," Ron offered. "Though most everything was still in my packs.""Speaking of, I had Neville take the saddle and bridle upstairs to Gryffindor," McGonagall told him. "Since I doubt I could convince you to send him to your family home?" Ron shook his head. "I thought not. Very well. Do not ignore your lessons for the pleasure of your horse. You still have two and a half weeks left until your NEWTs.""And word is, if you don't pass them you're not going to be able to use any magic, boys," Tonks warned. "Fudge about shit himself when he heard you'd gone that way and come back just now. He said you either pass your NEWTs or you redo your last year as regular students.""It's been over a year for us since we've studied anything in this sort of magic," Ron complained."Then I'd be studying hard to remember," Snape told him. "I do not want to see you again next year, Mr. Weasley.""It'd be a year off," Draco pointed out dryly. "A year of no battles.""True," Ron agreed, nodding quickly. "Shit, you and I could both teach Defense now.""That position requires you to have graduated," Dumbledore gently reminded them. He looked at Alathander. "Though I do believe you are qualified. Would you like to stay for the rest of this term? We can discuss next year over the summer.""Fine," he said, waving a hand. "Anything's better than having to go back home and take up a formal Court position." Snape shuddered. "Uncle offered me the opportunity to be his newest royal Combat Mage.""Did you run away screaming?" Snape asked dryly."Nearly. He had my father ask me. I told him off then stomped off before he could tell my mother. Who, by the way, was chewing my sisters a new one. Vigdeon here was wonderful. He stopped their boyfriends from snatching them off into the woods to mate with them so they'd have to marry them." Snape raised an eyebrow at Ron."I was a proper escort. They knocked one of the girls out and I stopped them to make sure nothing happened to them." He looked at the castle doors. "Oh, shit, it's an official courier elf." Alathander looked, then groaned and shook his head, waving a hand. The elf trotted over, handing over a scroll. "Thanks. Want some water?""No thank you, Vigdeon. I am quite well enough without it." He nodded politely to everyone but Dumbledore. "Sire, your father said either you come home immediately or else he's going to disown you as an elf.""My father can...." He took a deep breath. Draco licked his fingers and stared at a nearby doorway, just far enough away so a shouting match wouldn't be overheard. "Thank you, Malfoy." He walked that way, going to yell at his father. "Father. I'm not taking up a court position. I loathe the court. I loathe everything about court. I'm not going. I have been offered a position here to teach by the defiler. They actually let him run a school full of children." His father gaped at him. "So either you can tell my uncle politely that I refuse or you can tell him impolitely that I refuse, but I'm not going to court!"His father looked hurt. "Think of all it could do for the family name, son.""Then marry off one of my sisters!""One of them will be marrying her boyfriend soon anyway," he said bitterly, glaring at something off to the side. "Tell Vigdeon that the younger wishes he could come back for the wedding but we know it may not be possible.""Oh, I don't know. The war here is mostly over with. We could probably come back for the wedding if we had to." He grimaced. "Molasses sap?""Six months ago.""Oh, really?" he said dryly. His father nodded. "Hmm. Well, at least you'll have grandchildren from one of us. Of course if it turns out to be in my area I'll take them on as my apprentice, father. I'm still not coming back to take up a court position. I said I'd rather stay here and I meant it." He glanced back. "Besides, Invetrion needs me, father. He's sulking. He didn't even have his braids in. He got sucked in after being sent back home. He has yet to realize that he's human, so therefore fallible.""Son, elves are fallible too.""Father, if uncle is there, you can put him on. I'm sure he'd like to hear my reasons in person." His uncle came around to look at him. "No. I'm not going anywhere near those simpering, whiny, stupid, cooing, untalented hacks that like to attach themselves to those with power. There are maybe sixteen real elves in your court who are adults and I don't like them either. I'd rather stay here.""It would be a boon for your family name, Alathander.""It may be, but I don't care. I'd rather die of torture than die of boredom there. If you need me, send for me. Otherwise, I'll commit suicide before taking up a court position. I'd start my own school first.""Very well, nephew, I will accept your decline of my generous offer. How about Vigdeon? Is he available?""He just got through with the majority of this war here and got told that he'd have to pass the normal student tests at the end of this year in two weeks, or else he'd have to retake his last year over again.""That's unfair!""That's human politics, uncle. The human's leader is scared of him. I have no doubt he's scared of Invetrion as well. By the way, I'm marking Malfoy and Vigdeon.""That's fine. They deserve it. When you come back for the wedding, bring them." The portal was shut from their side.Alathander shook his head as he walked back to the picnic. "You're all invited for the wedding. My little sister is presently giving my father his first grandchild." Ron choked on the water he was drinking. "Molasses sap is very strong on elves. She's still early, only six months along." He looked at Ron. "I just turned down my uncle's gracious offer of a court position for you.""I'll hug you for that later," Ron agreed with a smirk. "The same as I'll get around to giving you one for saving me from that tavern wench."Malfoy snickered. "I'm sure he did it so he wouldn't have to listen to you.""Unlike those of us who *had* to hear you?" Ron snapped. "Leave my love life alone, Malfoy. Or else we'll start to compare." Draco wisely shut up. "Thanks." He looked at the teacher. "I'll have to have your help picking out what to transfigure my clothes into for the wedding. That way your mother can't give my shirts any more looks like she did before we left.""We'll go shopping then," Alathander promised. "Mother will make sure of it." He looked at Dumbledore. "I do suppose I could accept your offer to teach the rest of this term. Both boys will need extensive tutoring to get ready for their trials in a few weeks' time.""They're tests with a practical component," Draco corrected. "Not trials.""Trials would be easier," Ron agreed with a small sigh. "I'm guessing Hermione's going to jump us soon. Harry? Is she injured?""She got knocked out earlier. She's fine, just still asleep. She was on hall patrol when the attack started so they got her first.""I'll go up and visit soon then," Ron said with a bright grin. His horse came back and nuzzled him so he scratched it under the chin. "Hey, Malfoy, can you make him some carrots or sugar cubes? He's been good and deserves a treat." Draco handed over three carrots. "Thanks." He held up the first one. "Want some, boy?" His horse took a large bite, then flattened his ears and backed away from the person coming through the gateway. "Shh, that's Hagrid. He's a sweetie. Hagrid, don't wake her. She's been studying hard recently," he said to break his stare at the dragon. "Come meet my battle stallion."Hagrid came closer, holding out a hand so the horse could sniff him. "Hello there. How're you? You seem very nice.""This is Stud. He's a great friend and a good backup in a battle. Even lets me cast from his back most of the time.""Tha's good then," Hagrid agreed, patting the horse on the top of the head. "You're a good horsie. Ron, who's the dragon's keeper?""I'm her rider, she claims she's keeping me," Draco corrected sternly. "Her name is Reievan and she'll be up and aware tomorrow so you can talk to her then.""Thanks, Malfoy. Right nice of you." He grinned at him. "She's a beautiful one.""I'll tell her you said so. Just don't give her a swelled head. She's prone to flattery.""I'm still trying to nap here," Reievan complained from under her wing."She talks?" Hagrid asked, his eyes lighting up. "We don't have dragons like those here!""Tomorrow, Hagrid. Let her nap. She can be a cranky bitch at times when she's tired.""Sure. Not a problem," he promised with a grin for them. "Professor Dumbledore, sir, the aurors are finished carting off the bodies. We've carried all ours inside. We're still missing some." He glanced at Ron, then at Percy, who was still standing there. "One of the twins isn't accounted for, sir. The other's knocked out.""Who the bloody hell touched my brother!" Ron yelled."Oh, shit," Alathander said, creating a shield around them. The lightening struck outside the gateway but more than close enough to spook the horse. "Vigdeon, calm yourself," he instructed quietly. "We can track them. Twins are unique that way. We can track the bond between them using some blood. Have someone gather some and a silver plate with a lodestone." Ron gave him a long look. "Now. Time's wasting." Ron nodded and got up, running into the school to get what he needed. He passed his mother and shook his head, speeding up. This wasn't the time for discussion. Alathander looked at Draco. "I want you and Invetrion here guarding this establishment. Between your skills and his skills you should be able to shield against another full assault until I can get back. I'm going with Vigdeon to make sure he doesn't do something dumb, like kill them all and not leave someone to get information from.""Good idea," Percy agreed. Ron came out carrying a small silver plate carefully, handing it over. Then everyone watched as he concentrated and changed his clothes to leathers and a t-shirt. "Ron?" he squeaked."Shut it, Percy." He looked at the plate as his teacher cast the small charm, getting the direction easily from it. He linked into the spell, then grabbed his horse and pulled himself up. "I'll see you there, professor." He turned him around and had him canter off, starting into a gallop once they got clear of the school's walls. They were close by. More than close enough to ride since he couldn't apparate. He rode up on their pitiful party and growled, starting to cast fireballs first. His temper called the lightening back down, lighting up the area and a few of the bodies. He felt another powerful person come in and shielded against them automatically, then glared back at the supposed wizard. He shot him point blank in the chest then turned back to his destruction. He finally found his brother, and another two students, and got them out of there, backing away. The aurors would be here soon. He destroyed the building, making those able to scream in fear. He sneered down at them. "Touch what's mine again," he sneered. The aurors showed up so he let them have the other two students, letting Tonks get his brother back across his stallion's back. He cantered back to the school, letting his brother lay there for now. The best medicine for whichever it was was his twin. Twins were odd like that. He rode up, panting hard. "I hate magical overuse. Get him. He's knocked out and had a few cuts and bruises."McGonagall pulled the twin down, letting someone do a floating charm once she had him. They hurried him inside, Percy following for now. "Molly, Ron found him," she called as she passed by the knot of family.Outside, Ron was patting his friend on the side while he used his shirt to wipe down his horse's sides and back. "There, I'll brush you for real tomorrow. Go nibble, you deserve it. I'm gonna be right here." He sat down, leaning against Harry's side. "If I pass out, do not move me away from him. He'll get pissed and attack," he said quietly. "Just put up a shield in case it rains."Harry nodded, watching as Ron fell asleep against him. "Is this normal?""Extended spell casting without prior preparation can knock one out," Alathander admitted. "He'll have a headache when he gets up. Make sure he eats then. That should cure most of it."Harry nodded. "Yes, sir. I'll guard him tonight. Gryffindor will be pretty loud anyway and I don't want to be up there right now.""That's fine, Mr. Potter," Alathander agreed. He looked at the horse, then at the rider nearby. "Did his brushes come with him?""His saddle's up in Gryffindor according to McGonagall.""Fine. If they're not up there then he can make some more."Draco sighed, taking the hint and creating a brush and curry comb. "Here.""Good job, Malfoy," he praised. "You can take hints. We were wondering with the way the princess had been hunting you.""Where's the fun in that?" he asked with a small smirk.Ginny came out, looking pale. "Is Ron all right?" she demanded."Just fine. Exhaustion. Nothing more complex. He went into a rage and destroyed most of the others.""Fine." She took the brush and comb, going to groom the poor horse so she had something to do. She wasn't allowed in the infirmary. It'd help her wear out the worry. "Stud," she called. He looked at her. She waved the brushes. "Want some attention? I'm your rider's little sister." He came over to snuffle her, then tried to stick his nose down her shirt. "Hey! I'm not that sort of girl!" She smacked him lightly on the nose then shook her head as she walked to his side to start on it. "You're a big sucker. You must cost a fortune to feed.""Only in the winter," Alathander noted. "And Ron can create hay if necessary." She gave him a look. "Your brother is very talented. Easily one of my better students in the two hundred years I've been teaching.""That'd be a switch. Ron's not usually a good student. I'll be sure to tell Mum that before she takes your head off for making her baby son dangerous." She smirked at him. "Nothing personal of course.""I've handled mothers before," he sighed, rolling his eyes. "They always overreact.""Just like yours?" Snape asked dryly."Well, yes," he agreed, shaking his head. "My mother is the worst at it sometimes. Vigdeon had to get her calmed down the last time she went off on my calling. He pointed out that it was better for him to do it instead of some farmer who was needed at home or some craftsman who made pretty things and would be warped by it. Got her calmed down quite nicely during dinner.""Weasley clan alert," Malfoy muttered, nodding at the doorway where most of the clan was coming out.Alathander stood up and straightened out his clothes, smiling and bowing to the obvious mother of the group. "I've been told that I should tell you how well your son did while he was studying under me. He is quite a mage and is quite skilled in many areas. He took to studying under me without much problem, not even with me being an elf. He studied quite hard and learned quite a lot of what I could teach him."Molly looked him over. "Sucking up won't stop me from swatting you for making my baby boy dangerous.""He was already dangerous when he came to us. He was half-trained by a battle troupe. All he knew was combative magic and a bit of creation from the dragon's teachings. With me he learned other things as well. Including how to get around people like irate mothers." He smiled sweetly at the father's laugh. "He's not been in much trouble. When he was he managed to solve it before anyone else could step in. Ron is quite the battle mage. I'll be graduating him tomorrow night, once everything has calmed down.""Battle mage?" she asked, frowning. "He is?" Alathander nodded. "Hmm." She glared at her son, noticing he was asleep. "Exhaustion?""Great exhaustion. We had just come home from visiting my parent's home, via a three- tiered battle on the way back, when the portal opened and we jumped into this battle. Then he went to get your other son. How is he?""He'll be fine once he's treated. They had him under a painful curse for a good bit." She stiffened up. "I still do not like the fact that you encouraged him to fight.""I got him after that decision was made, ma'am. Besides, no mother likes their son to be the one fighting.""Mom, don't pick on him. He was helping us earlier," Ginny called."What is that?" Molly asked."Ron's horse. His name's Stud. Ron looks like some novel hero on it."Molly groaned, covering her face. "Ronald Weasley, get your ass up!" she yelled. He jumped and looked around, a ball of power forming in his hand. "Ronald, you may not keep a horse!""Mum! He's my battle stallion! He's my backup and we're right neat together! I've had him now for over a year. Besides, I'll let Ginny ride him now and again." He looked at his horse, who was giving him pitiful looks. "Ginny, ease up on him. He's got a sensitive coat.""Sorry, big guy." She patted him then went more gently with the curry comb. The horse twitched but let her do it."Even more gently than that," Ron said patiently. She slowed down and the horse relaxed. "Thank you." He looked at his parents. "Yes, I'm a battle mage. I'm damn good at it. I'm happy with it. If you're not, I'll go make a house somewhere for both of us. I can do that too you know." His mother looked stunned."Can we save the fighting for when some of us aren't trying to sleep!" Reievan shouted."Sorry, sweetness. My mum's a bit worried about me now.""As she should be. You wake sleeping dragons, that doesn't show much sense, Vigdeon." She huffed and put her head back under her wing, so she could go back to sleep. She lifted her head and sniffed. "The portal reopened. I smell elvish perfumes.""Oh, that's just wonderful," Draco said dryly. "Reievan, would you like to sleep down in our house tonight?""Hell no," she snorted. "I don't want any of them to touch me. I might snap and hurt them." She settled in again, smiling as someone covered her with something warm. "Thanks. It's chilly out here.""You're welcome," Molly agreed. She glared at her son, then at his hand. "Put it away," she ordered. He looked at his hand, then shrugged and used the power to create a pretty glass of water for his mother, handing it over. She rolled her eyes. "I'm still quite upset with you, Ronald.""Mum, I've been doing this since my first year here. Now I'm a bit better trained at it. I'm good enough to take out orcs and rampaging dragons when I have to. Otherwise more people would have died. Now, you can be pissed all you want. You can even nag for a bit, but the first time I get tired of it I'm walking out the door and going to visit Charlie to try and provoke intelligence in his charges." She scowled at him. "Tough!""We'll discuss this after the school year ends, Ron. You'd better be passing your NEWTs, too.""Mum, I spent over a year in another academy and eighteen months in combat before then. I've got some studying to do. Let's not set extreme expectations for me, okay? I'll be doing good if I don't kill everyone during it out of frustration. I'm not Hermione.""No, if you were, you'd be upstairs with a concussion and babbling in baby talk," the walking twin noted dryly, looking him over. "Cute. Leather suits you, Ron."Ron looked down at himself, then shrugged at his big brother. "It's comfy. I've had to sleep in it before too." He looked behind everyone and groaned. "Professor, I do believe it's an honor to meet your uncle again," he noted."Oh, blast. Uncle!""Nephew. It has come to our attention that this school has given our world a great many warriors and if you're staying for a bit then I should probably at least take the death sentence off the defiler of purity and innocence.""Mum, this is my professor's uncle. He's a king. His guardian is one of his commanders. I met him when we were stopping a stupid war that the humans started." She swallowed and curtsied. "King Gromalian, this is the greater majority of my family. My mother, father, big brothers Charlie, Bill, Percy, and one of the twins. Ginny's grooming my horse." Ginny waved. "Please excuse them, they were going to perform an exorcism to make sure I wasn't possessed since they just realized I'm not a little kid. Mother, before you say anything, I'm not dating an elf nor am I marrying one.""Go back to your nap, Vigdeon," Alathander said gently. "You need it. You're hyper." Ron nodded, flopping back down and using Harry as a pillow again. "Uncle. A diplomatic mission was more extensive than necessary.""No, it's not, Nephew. Now let me handle some things." He looked at the warriors sitting around, then at his nephew. "You never graduated two of them?""I'm doing it tomorrow night! We just got done with another battle!""Fine, calm down," he said calmly. "I mean no harm and no insult." He smiled at the parents. "Your son was quite instinctive on the battlefield and the main reason that the war ended in our favor. Even though he was fighting on the other side he fixed it in the favor of us being left alone again once he found out why the stupid humans had attacked us. He's a very good boy. You should be proud of him for being such a strong mage and such a strong warrior. Then again, if I could, I'd have him at my court with my nephew." He smiled at him. "There's an invasion of those things again, nephew. We do need you to handle it. Bring Vigdeon and Malfoy so they can come for the wedding. It's next week you know." Alathander groaned. "Time does run differently here, nephew, remember that. Now, gather your students so we can leave in a few moments. They can nap tonight in the palace before I send you out. You as well if you'd like to come, Invetrion. We always enjoyed our talks." He looked at Molly. "They'll be back in the morning. In that time, your son will have lived another six to seven months. He'll have attended a wedding or two. He'll have gotten a chance to graduate from his training. He'll also have a chance to learn more from my nephew. I'll be back in a few hours your time to tell you how it's going, then we'll be coming here to talk to the defiler." He nodded and floated the boy up and after his teacher, letting his guard get the horse.Ginny went running for his tack, coming back with everything. "Here, they came off him.""Thank you," he agreed, smiling down at her. She blushed and he chuckled. "You are quite young yet." He walked off with the horse, pulling it through the portal. "We may have to slow him down to their new time," he noted."I was going to do that tonight," Malfoy noted. "For Reievan as well." They headed for their rooms, Ron's horse following his floating body. "You should be outside."Stud lipped him, then bit him on the cheek before trotting after his human. Someone had to watch out for him. He took on orcs and was happy about it.***Ron walked back through the portal with his horse and his horse's foal, which the other parent had made him take since he was a big horse already. His hair was longer and he was dressed better this time. His two braids were both tied behind his head at the moment and the silver clasps on them glowed in the muted candlelight. "Greetings from the elfhame of Greenwood." He let his horse go, trusting him to find outside with his baby boy. He got out of the way so Malfoy could come out and headed up to the main table, handing over a letter for Dumbledore. "Your official pardon, as negotiated by Invetrion. There will be some crossover students starting next year." He nodded at his head of house. "I did take the time to study for the NEWTs. I might actually pass most of them. Can I eat now, I'm starved. The wedding had fussy damn food that wasn't fit for fairies.""In a moment," Dumbledore said, looking at Malfoy, who also had the two long braids, though his were pushed back behind his ears. "I would like to know what happened.""Think Cornish Pixies with an attitude," Malfoy said bitterly. "Biters, every last one.""Nasty little creatures that wanted to eat their way into you and burrow in to become snuggly and warm," Ron agreed. He looked over as Reievan walked out. She was a bit bigger now. "I'm sure Stud managed to find the outer doors. You want to sit outside and stare at the stars?""No, not right now." She shrunk down and nearly all of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw let out an 'aww' of surprise and awe. "It's not that amazing. You should see it when I change into a leopard." She bowed to McGonagall. "Wise one, we bring greetings from Invetrion as well. He'll be back shortly. He's gathering something in the woods with Alathander." She settled in next to Draco's chair, looking at his plate. "Eww. Vegetables." He patted her and created a large chunk of meat for her. "Thanks, kitten.""Welcome, love. Now behave or else I'll make you stay in Slytherin with me.""Eww."Ron smirked at her. "You could come stay with us. Harry and Ginny would probably love to help you study humans again.""Where's the fun? Since I learned that you don't howl at the moon and dance around fires it's not quite as impressive or exciting."Dumbledore blinked a few times. "Very well then. Mr. Malfoy, I trust you and your friend can make do in a guest room since I don't believe that you'll want to be in Slytherin."He shrugged. "Let them try something." A few of the remaining students glared at him so he sent a flash of power up the table, creating a large snake, which hissed at them. "I'm sure they'll behave," he said coldly, smirking at them.Harry looked at the snake said something, then giggled as it crawled down to curl around one girl who had been bothering Ginny recently. She screamed and hit at it, sobbing at someone to help her. Draco canceled it and Harry looked at him. "Can the rest of us take lessons in that?""Ask the dragon or ask the elves," Ron said with a grin for him. He looked back at Dumbledore. "Anyway, the wedding was nice, if fussy. The elves were stuck up until they realized which humans they were being polluted by. All but one young man who's still quite pissed at me because I snapped on his ass and he had to run crying to my teacher." He tightened the ponytail of his braids. "Then again, Alathander told him to get lost and to quit whining like a baby elf." He smirked at Dumbledore, who choked. "Surprisingly enough, it's the little brother of a friend of mine. He seems to know a lot about this world too." He looked at McGonagall. "Am I staying upstairs or should I make a tent outside to be with the horses?""As long as they stay outside, we'll be fine," she assured him, giving him a long stare. He simply grinned. "Your mother's waiting on you to call her up for a chat tonight, Mr. Weasley.""That'll be after I eat, Professor. Anything else?""Tonks said that you can't hit on her when she deposes you about what you did over there.""That's no fun either," he complained, going over to sit beside Harry. He grinned at Hermione. "Hey. You missed it. I was in the land of the perpetually pretty, yet fairly shallow people. Lockhart might have fit in there fairly well as long as they didn't realize he wasn't an elf."She blushed. "You're so terrible," she complained, shaking her head. "How was it?""A battle. A wedding that I had to attend. A lot of elves who sneered at me until they figured out who I was. Another six or seven battles. A duel with one boy who wanted to make his reputation. I'll have to thank the twins for giving me the ideas I used on him." He shook himself out of those thoughts. "Ginny, I'll let you help me gentle the little guy over the summer," he promised. "His ma's owner was not happy when he saw the size of the colt. Said he didn't want his daughters to get any ideas from riding a big stallion like mine." She blushed and giggled, shaking her head. "So, anyway, we've got to name him. Right now he's baby." He looked over as his teacher and Snape walked out of the portal and it snapped shut. "Crap, I forgot the trunk," he called, smirking at his teachers."It's in Malfoy's pocket, as it has been all along," Alathander said patiently. "I refuse to try to go back for it. My mother might find more supposedly suitable women." He looked at Dumbledore. "Read that." He patted Snape on the shoulder and looked at the students, then sighed and shook his head. "Only a few good combat people among you.""Yes, but you can run special lessons for them," McGonagall said calmly. "Come sit, Professor. All Ron told us of the wedding was that it had fussy food and it was full of elves who only liked him for what he could do."He nodded. "Basically." He walked around, taking the seat next to her. "My sister was beautiful. My mother cried and used it to try and set her remaining children and Malfoy and Vigdeon up. Invetrion seemed to scare most of the elf maidens into silence after the first day when he drug himself in bloody and a bit banged up. The music was fashionable, and therefore boring to most of us used to more lively fair. The groom and most of the men in attendance snuck out to party in the woods. Ron had the worst hangover in the world during the wedding.""You have the celebration before the wedding?""No, we have them on both sides. A wedding is rare. We're slow to breed and she's pregnant so it's a happy thing, even if I do want to kill her new husband. I'm sure I'll have that pleasure some day soon actually. He sneered at her and Malfoy got him. It was a very pretty punch. Then my sister shrieked so Ron got him while she was yelling at Malfoy." He smirked at her. "Then again, he should have known enough to keep it in his pants. You don't touch an elf maiden unless you *really* want to meet them at the end of a moss or grass aisle." She snickered at that. "My other sister looked wonderful and the boys were paying her not a bit of attention until Vigdeon took her out onto the dance floor and made her giggle. Now she's the top maiden in the elfhame. It's quite stunning. When we left she was beating the boys off with a stick, literally. They were trying to break a stuffed toy to get the candy and they kept trying to feel her up.""Won't your mother be upset?""Only if she doesn't marry one of them," he said with a smirk. The doors slammed open and before anyone could draw breath to scream the four combat mages had already taken the man standing there down and out."Oh, shit," Ron sighed, shaking his head. "Hey, Professor, if I have to hide for hurting him, can I stay with your mother? At least until she tries to fix me up again?""Sure, Vigdeon. Though I don't think it will be a problem. You only cast a levin bolt. Malfoy cast the fireball.""I cast the fireball," Reievan sniffed. "My kitten got him with the one that took his skeletal frame away.""Don't look at me, I only inflated him," Snape said with a smirk at the dragon. "Very nicely done, Reievan.""Thank you, Professor." She smirked at Draco. "See, he likes me.""Of course he does. You're good in his areas," Draco agreed, patting her gently. "Good job. It was a very compact fireball. You didn't even toast the other students. Pity that you didn't, but good job anyway," he finished with a smirk."Naughty boy." She swatted him with a wing. "Behave before I let Vigdeon's sister oil me later."One brave student looked at the bloated bag of skin on the floor. "I think it's Minister Fudge, Headmaster.""Pity we couldn't hurt him more," Snape said sarcastically."You know, for some reason I don't think there'll be another attack on the school ever again," McGonagall noted dryly, smiling at her new friend. She liked this elf. "Welcome to the staff. If you need more help than Severus can give you, just ask.""Thanks," he said with a grin, winking at her. She blushed and giggled like a school girl. He noticed the headmaster's shocked look. "What? I like having friends. Friends are good. They don't try to stab you in the back.""True. At the school you last taught at, that was very likely. Especially from the other combat teachers.""The stupidity guild hated me," Alathander sighed with mock tragedy. "They think wielding a sword is just as hard as magic. Then again, they were a good diversion for myself and my students while they worked out," he said smugly, smirking at Snape, who snickered. "Don't remember helping them practice by calling things from the woods?""Oh, I do," he agreed smugly. "Quite fondly.""Malfoy called a giant in." Snape gaped at Draco, who gave him a smug grin in return. "Vigdeon about called the whole forest down on them the last time. They thought they were so hot for taking out five dark dwarves. So Vigdeon calmly called out for some creatures in the woods, bringing a troop of those pixie things we just got done destroying and about fifty orcs. Plus a few goblins and a troll like yours for good measure. Then he calmly grinned and strolled off, leaving them to it." Snape looked at Ron, who grinned and nodded. "I've never seen the old bitch at that school run quite that fast in my life. It was rather amusing." He looked at McGonagall. "Did you know that my old school used to set the students against each other? They used to stick thirteen of them in a room with eight beds." She opened her mouth. "They got to play politics all the time. There were plenty of exercises in how to hurt your roommates to keep your bed. Malfoy and Vigdeon got past all that by creating their own room. It's quite comfy, even though it needs aired out after that last dinner with the dwarves." He coughed, shaking his head. "Never, ever eat with a family of dwarves. You won't like the aftereffects of the very tasty food."She was stunned for a moment before bursting out laughing. "Oh, Merlin, I thought the twins were bad!" she gasped, clinging to his arm."I've wanted to meet them to give my uncle a neat new toy," he noted happily. "He loves pranks.""They're both still upstairs," she gasped, calming herself down. "Oh, dear. That was too good. I want to hear all about those things. If only to keep them from happening to the next Weasley across that portal.""It won't be me," Ginny piped up. "Headmaster, shouldn't someone remove Minister Fudge before he gets hurt worse. If he's still living?""Yes, that is where being a headmaster comes in handy," Alathander agreed smugly. "Less politics being a teacher. That's why it's my favorite job in the world.""That and you get to torture students," Snape reminded him."That too. The fighting naked in the snow lecture is always quite moving!"McGonagall leaned closer to him. "Can you change forms?" He smirked at her, nodding. "Want to go for a run later? I'm a gray tabby cat.""Ideal," he agreed with a grin. He looked at the table. "Vidgeon, your mother's pacing around somewhere close by. Shouldn't you at least greet her?""Sure. Just let me eat first," he complained, digging in again. "Remember not to pounce me, guys. I'm still a bit jumpy.""Sure, Ron," Ginny agreed, grinning at him. "We'll wait a few days before we pounce you." She looked over as a house elf brought the baby horse back in. "Ooh, you're so cute!" she cooed, getting up to pet it. "Aren't you so adorable!""Take him outside," Ron said firmly. "He doesn't belong inside the school." He looked at the house elf. "His da?""Outside, same as last time," it said respectfully. "Yous need things?""No, I'm good on things," Ron assured him with a wink. "Oy, Malfoy, I need that stupid damn trunk that was given to me. I want Bill to break the stupid curse.""Fine. Come get it." He patted himself down until he found them all, handing over the shrunken trunks. They were like skipping stones. The curse kept them small and called those pixie things to you. Who knew what was inside. "Tell me if it's something nice. Remember, we agreed to share them.""Sure." Ron strolled out with them, heading up to the infirmary. He handed them to Bill with a grin. "Here, more work for you. Interesting stuff. They summoned these nasty little pixie creatures that liked to burrow into you after eating you hollow." He walked over to hop up onto his brother's bed, holding out a hand and calling a small box. "For you. From the stuff I found with the trunks. Oh, Bill, if there's neat stuff inside I agreed to give Malfoy half since he carried them around." He grinned at Charlie. "Reievan had another growth spurt. She's making Slytherin ill by eating in front of them. We're back now." He grinned at his mother when she coughed. "I saw you. I was waiting on a hug." She hugged him so he pulled something out of his pocket. "Snuck it out of a nest," he said proudly. "Didn't even wake the dragon. Did it to piss off some minor mages who were trying to show off. It was right under her teat." He grinned at his dad. "Hi, dad.""Ron." He gave him a hug, noticing the new muscles, the stronger frame, and the firmer body. He pulled back to look at him. "You grew a lot.""No, I bulked up," he sighed, shaking his head. "I'll never be the tiny, powerful little guys like the elves are. Then again, that's probably a good thing. Or else I'd be miserable most of the time when blokes hit on me.""What's this?" the twin on the bed asked weakly."A puzzle box. Supposed to hold a great source of mischief and mayhem. I thought of you when I found it. I thought maybe you two could use it.""Oh, we can," the standing twin assured him with a smirk."Good, Alathander's uncle wanted you two to make him some new pranks. He loves pranks. Likes exploding things too.""Really?" they asked in unison. Ron nodded, smirking at them. "Good," they agreed.Ron's mother grabbed him by the ear. "Ronald, I believe we need to have a talk.""I'm sorry, mum, but I had to bring back the foal. His ma's keeper said I had to. That his daughters would want to be warrior women if they rode him!""Foal?""Um, not the discussion?" he guessed. She shook her head. "Dirt!" He grinned and looked innocent. "But I've been good. I stopped a lot of people from getting hurt really badly. And I helped settle in a new orphanage the other day. And I even got to help some apprentice mages. I was nice to them, didn't torture them or anything like I did the warrior idiots at times. I got to learn how to use a real bow and I was really good. Even Alathander said so and he's so parental sometimes it's not funny." She scowled at him. "I didn't wench my whole time there, mum, honest. I even turned down girls when they tried for me. I was a good boy.""I'm sure," Bill said dryly."I was!""Ron, you just helped take out Minister Fudge, that's not a good boy," his father said patiently."He startled me. He's the one who banged the doors open like he wanted the attention. You can't do that around battle mages recently back from combat, dad. We react. Like every other veteran." His mother squeezed his ear and he winced. "Mother!""Ron, come along," she said, dragging him with her to another room. He pulled out another present and handed it over with a grin. "Ronald! Where did this come from?""A dead dragon's lair." Charlie growled. "She attacked us! It was self defense! She tried to eat Reievan! It was either fight or be dragon food! She was jealous because Reievan was cuter and her mate was watching her.""So you pillaged?""Not just us. The local village she'd been terrorizing came up to get most of it. We only got a few things that we liked. It's handier than carrying money and having to change it."His mother scowled. "I do not like this attitude shift, Ronald. You are not like this."He kissed her on the cheek. "Mum, I'm not a little boy anymore. I'm a full grown man who's been in more battles than you think, even here. I'm a veteran of many wars and many political moments that nearly got my balls cut off. I'm not the innocent little boy you put onto the train all those years ago. I probably wasn't then, it's just that the twins seemed so bad after Percy." Her scowl got deeper. "They did. You would have toasted Charlie or Bill for the flying car thing, or the chess game in my first year. I'm a man, mum, and a mage. I'm a battle mage. I'm good at it. Finally!" She softened some. "Now, I'm not changing. If you want, I'll go find a house for myself and my horses. Though I did promise Ginny could help with the foal." He shrugged. "I've got stuff I can live off of."She slapped him, then walked off. "You leave the Burrow again, Ronald, and I will beat you senseless.""Yes, mum," he agreed, holding his cheek. He waited until she was gone to rub it. "Damn she's strong." He looked at the twins. "I used you as inspiration to take care of a little boy who wanted my reputation. Whenever you can find a test subject I'll redo it so you can see if you can mimic it." They smirked at him. He turned and found Hermione standing there. "Hi, 'Mione. You okay? I heard you had a head injury." She kissed him and then sighed, walking away shaking his head. "Try that with Malfoy. He might like it," he called with a grin. "He needs better taste anyway and Reievan would *love* you," he explained at her odd look in his direction. "She's studying humans.""I'll help her later," she agreed, leaving the family alone. "It's not him," she pouted at Ginny."Of course not. That'd be like me taking up with Percy." Hermione gave her a hurt look. "Think about it, Hermione. Try for Dennis. He's nice. Or Dean. He's a pisser.""Seamus would gladly go up for the kiss test if she asked," Seamus said from down the hallway, puckering up. She sighed and rolled her eyes but tried him, and went limp when he grabbed her to snog her for real. "See?" he asked with a bright grin. "I was right.""You're insufferable.""But fun and you need more fun, Granger." He led her off. "C'mon, we can hear Ron's stories later. We'll use it as a break from the studying." She grinned at him and walked off with him. "How did you find that spell anyway?""It came to me while I was babbling at the stars. It was like someone told me."He chuckled and gave her a squeeze. "Let's go see if they tell you anything else."Ron looked out in the hallway, grinning at their backs. "Good. She needs someone like him. Ginny, we've got to name the foal soon.""I heard you for the first time," she complained, walking inside. "I don't get a present?""I couldn't bring back an elf, but there'll be a few coming next year and they'll be pretty and amusing, plus like humans.""Really?" she asked with a smirk. "Think they'd like me?""Hopefully. One of the guys I talked into it seems to be one I wouldn't mind you dating. He's nice, decent folk. He escorted us to the academy and laughed when I blushed at the elf girls trying to hit on me but he's not one to womanize and flirt around. He's very steady and very smart. You'd like him." He patted her on the back. "Bill, any luck yet?""Not yet, Ron, I'm still looking them over," he said absently while he used a special set of glasses to look over one of the trunks. He kept finding the same mark on them, all but one of them. He had a feeling and worked on breaking the curse on that one, which made them all expand. They heard the yell. "I think he missed a few," he said dryly, pulling out a lock pick to start the harder work. He hated locks. The trunk popped open and he winced, closing it again. "Ron, where did you find these?""In a cave.""What sort of cave?""Troll if I remember right." Draco limped in, floating the other trunks with him. "You missed three?""They were small!""They've got stuff in them," Bill told him. He counted the trunks. Nineteen. He looked at Malfoy, who had opened one and was staring at the bodies."Hey, it's one of them. Can we animate it for Hagrid?""Only if I get another one for personal use," Draco said with a giddy grin on his face. He searched the others, taking the few he wanted, and some for his dragon, leaving the rest for Ron. "A reward. So you quit looking so shabby all the time." He hurried off to tell her his neat idea. She'd love it! He could see his father's face now. What a fitting reward he had found.Ron shrugged and looked at his, then at Bill. "Think you could sell some of that for me? I have the feeling I'm going to be building a barn soon." The twins laughed. "If only so I can sleep with my horse again.""When do I get to meet this wonderful new brother?" the twin in the bed asked."As soon as you get your big butt out of that bed and can make it outside, or else I'll have to sneak him in," he assured him with a wink. "You'll like Stud. He's a sweetie as long as you're not picking on me. He tried to eat a warrior for me because he was picking on my hair." He tightened the ponytail again. "So, should we go back up to the house?" Ron's father snorted and pulled over a stool, sitting him on it. "What do you want to know, dad?""How was the wedding? Did you meet any nice girls?"***Ron walked out of his NEWTs and found his professor waiting on him cleaning his nails. "I passed.""Good. Your mother threatened to kill me earlier by making me marry your little sister." Ron snickered and hit him on the arm. "You done?""For now. I've got a practical tomorrow in Herbology. Want to go for a ride?""Sure. At least Uncle managed to send me my horse. By the way, Mother says the foal will be going to her nephew, who is a Ranger. We'll have to send the filly back as soon as my mare lets her go.""Wicked. She needs a good warrior on her back." He nudged his teacher when they ran into Snape outside. "Enjoying some sunshine to take the gloom of the failing grades away?"He looked at Ron, who was once again in leather pants and a vest. "That isn't your uniform.""I'd go barmy if I had to wear a tie," Ron snorted. "Ties are not for me." He whistled, bringing his horse trotting up. "C'mon, let's go for a ride, big guy." He climbed up, shifting some on the bare back. "To the woods? Around the school? Down into town?" Snape raised an eyebrow. "He'll need a tour guide and you said you hate Hogsmeade.""You're still a student, you may not take off whenever you like.""Oh, give it up, Invetrion. I'm going to be with him. How much trouble can he get into?" Snape gave him a long look. "There won't be any fairy wine or succuba this time, I promise." He looked around. "Apple?" She came trotting up to him to nuzzle him. "Want to go for a ride with Vidgeon?" He climbed up onto her back, riding beside his student. "So, this village. Any tavern wenches?""I dare you to call Madam Rosemerta's girls that to her face," he teased, smirking at his teacher. "They're nice girls who don't put up with students any." They let their horses walk down the driveway to the forest and the path to the town, watching the woods for anything else that might come out of it. There had been a kidnaped goblin the other day who was disoriented. It had clung to Ginny like she was a Goddess. They made it into town to intercept the person running away from the crowd. "I'm having a flashback," Ron said dryly, making his teacher snicker. "What?" He looked down, recognizing his brother. "What did you do to piss off the town this time?"Percy panted, leaning against the warm horse flesh. "I was only talking about the twins and what they had tested on me earlier." He looked up. "That was mean to give them those ideas!""Next time, don't make Mum cry," Ron said with a shrug. He grinned at the crowd, waving at one person. "Madam Rosemerta, come meet my teacher. Professor Alathander, this is Madam Rosemerta. She's the woman who owns the local pub. That's like a tavern only cleaner.""It's a great honor to meet such a well respected woman in such a tough job," he said, bowing over her hand to kiss the back of it. "Vigdeon has assured me that your...pub is not at all like the cheap taverns we had seen in our travels. That you have respectable women working for you."She laughed, and swatted him gently, smiling at him. "You're a tosser, Professor. Absolutely no shame.""Of course not," he said with a wink. "Where's the fun in that?"Ron giggled. "Isn't that the same phrase that got us into that wrestling contest with the ogre?""It's the Battle Mage mantra for our times off," Alathander said smugly. "Or don't you remember your version when you got those priestesses after you?""How was I supposed to know they weren't wearing knickers? They were holy virgins who taunted the men by saying anyone who could make them give up their Holy ways could have the treasure.""Yes, and quite a treasure it was," Alathander said smugly."So you and Malfoy said. I wasn't about to debauch some virgins. I heard what happened to the Headmaster." Alathander burst out in giggles, shaking his head."I'm sensing a story I might even let you have real beer for, Ron. Let's go to the Broomstick and I'll buy the first round if it's a great story." She looked at the horses. "They can be petted by the town's kids. They'll love 'em.""We've got two foals up at the school too," Alathander admitted, walking his horse after her. Ron got down and led his own after him. "He could relax. There's no cannibal pixies or orcs around here.""I'm sure he knows Ron well enough to know that he needs guarded. Especially when he looks like that," Madam Rosemerta said with a grin for the young man. "You're definitely not a boy any longer. Oh, Tonks is in, Ron. She's drinking to get ready for another bout with Malfoy.""Eh, Malfoy hung out with the warriors and the rich kids. Mages get into all sorts of trouble that the warriors can only gape at in awe." He held the door, letting the tavern mistress in first. "Which one should we tell, Prof? The Holy Virgins? The Temple of Light? Those stupid fishermen who tried to get Malfoy to believe the fish were talking and healing people?""Start back at the beginning, Ron," Madam Rosemerta ordered as she put beers down in front of them. "If you need something sweeter or anything, just tell me, Professor. Hey, Tonks, Ron's gonna tell a story from his time over there. Wanna come listen?""I'm not sure I want to with the way he was talking earlier. Holy virgins?""That was kinda funny," Ron agreed with a grin. "Sourpusses too. Had an edict from their Goddess that any man who could make the priestesses at that temple break rank and actually ask for a man to do something for then they'd earn a great treasure." The guys listening laughed. "Yeah, that's what we thought too," Ron agreed dryly. "Turns out we were wrong!" The crowd roared at that, making Ron grin at Tonks. "Of course, I used what I had learned from pranking the Slytherins. Wonderful things, wind storms that blow up skirts. Wore *no* knickers, except one had a golden chastity belt. It nearly got us beaten to death by the virgins, but we managed to escape most of them."Professor Alathander smirked at her. "It was quite odd weather. Ice in the middle of the summer heats. The one in the chastity belt pleaded for us to cool it down because it was burning her.""And what did you win?" Tonks asked. "Surely not the maidens."Ron grimaced and shook his head. "Not me. I'd never do that. Don't like maidens. They blush and giggle. So I let Malfoy and Alathander here have whatever it was. Good thing too. It was a Naga and the maidens. She was their treasure, and she wanted kids. I've never seen Malfoy scream and run like a little girl before. Even his dragon ran." The crowd giggled, someone patting Tonks on the back hard enough to fall into Ron's lap. "Easy now. I'm fast but I never like my women to run from me." He smirked at her and settled her in his lap. "Then again, it still can't top drinking with the dwarves." The crowd giggled at that. "You wanna talk about some strong liquor.""Dwarves brew their own special grains underground. Dark grains, dark alcohol, and darker hangovers," Alathander agreed, rubbing his head. "I still have nightmares about those nights. Ron, don't I remember you dancing?""Probably. You probably also remember getting jumped by the Dwarf's daughter too." He smirked at him. "That is one thing a small reputation is good for. I don't have girls tossing themselves at my feet and drugging my liquor to make it even more potent." He looked at the silent crowd. "Do you know what a drunken mage is like? It's like constant spinning colors that seep from their skin. By the time we got out of there a week later, their walls were so colored they were blind." The guys laughed at that. "Seriously! I swear. The king's daughter throws herself at Alathander. A young dwarf wanting to learn magic *tosses* himself at Malfoy's feet and begs and pleads. He's got to drag this kid around for days, honestly. Every time the kid saw him he clung to his ankle and made pleading noises." He raised a hand. "And what came for me?""That horrible cat woman," Alathander said with a shudder. "I like my students but you're on your own if she comes back."Ron smirked at him. "She got fleas off the horses. She won't be coming back, Alathander.""Cute was she?" Tonks teased."If you find eight-inch, razor sharp claws and teeth cute, yeah, I guess. She decided I was a catnip treat and tried to pounce me. Another very good reason why we're not allowed underground any more.""What's the other reason?" Tonks asked. He whispered in her ear and she went bright pink and wiped off her ear. "Ron!"He leered at her. "That liquor is really potent and it wasn't me, it was Malfoy!""Eww, that's just...." She shuddered. "Ick!""That's okay, she came for him and he beat her up," Alathander said smugly. "The dwarves were not impressed that their favorite cave guardian was beaten. They challenged us to a drinking contest. We were already drunk.""Some more than others," Ron snorted."True. Their shots are like thimbles and I'd had about a jug. Too bad they don't realize that mages bleed the alcohol off with the colors. About six kegs later, the King finally fell down. Now, he's chosen by being the one who wins a drinking contest like that one.""Which is why we're doubly not allowed down there," Ron finished. "I gave up a few pints before he did, but Alathander is their new king by their laws. That started a riot and nearly caused a war. Small tunnels and small guys with hammers and axes. Not that much fun to hit, especially not drunk.""Yes, but your entertaining style of cursing them to like each other was very neat," Alathander assured him with a smirk. "I didn't think there were gay dwarves until you, Vigdeon.""They sure seemed to enjoy it," Ron said smartly, smirking up at Tonks, who was now giggling. "I couldn't cast really well; I was bent nearly in two while running. It was off the top of my head. Now they pick their king by a whole different standard. We got to see the first one being picked. He lasted the longest through the most blokes.""Thank Gods it wasn't me or it would have been a political incident as well," Alathander said smugly, putting his feet up in the chair. "Go on and tell 'em about the fairy wine, Ron.""I'm not the one who called the damn succuba," he reminded him coolly. "That was all you. It was your sister's wedding. You and the other elves decided that her new husband couldn't possibly have a clue."Tonks swatted him. "You've got to let me come next time, Ron. That sounds like fun. Did you get to kill the demons?""No, they tried to wear him out. Six of them latched onto him to suck him dry. They came to blows over him. The one who won got stopped by Reievan before she could hurt him. Ron was too damn drunk and horny to do anything else. Good thing the sober one was a mage.""Good thing it was a dragon and female." He looked at Tonks. "I noticed something. Everything I create that has a sex is male. There a reason for that?""You have to understand what you're creating," Alathander reminded him. "No man will ever understand a woman that well.""Don't worry, we feel the same," Tonks assured him. "Tell us about a battle.""Dragon, orc, villagers, or elves who wanted my ass nailed to a wall for being his student?" Ron asked, giving her a squeeze."Dragon. Are they all like that?""Unless they're in heat, then they're senseless beasts like the ones we have here. Then again, they're also cranky bitches when you bring another dragon into their territory. Everywhere we went, even into Reievan's home territory, there were jealous dragons who wanted a piece of us. Not Draco because as a rider he's sacred. They can steal him from her. They wanted us so they could steal him. Sixteen different times. Three nesting. One jealous one who thought Reievan was going to steal her man. Two who thought Draco was going to steal their riders for his own pleasure. And all of them who wanted to toast little me and my poor horse." She giggled at the look on his face. "Honestly. I swear. He's still got a thin patch on his side from the last one. Ginny found it the other day. She was jealous, wanted Draco for when she went into human form. Apparently strong mages are powerful aphrodisiacs." Alathander grunted and nodded. "So she hit on him, Reievan and she got into it. Reievan was knocked out, with Draco. Alathander wasn't with us so I had to go get Draco, stop the man-stealing dragon for Reievan, and manage to survive. A fifty foot golden dragon with foot-long talons and teeth that'd make any piranha proud." He pulled one of his pocket, handing it over. "I carried it for good luck. You can borrow it." He winked at her and looked at his teacher. That's when he noticed he wasn't there. "Where did he go this time? Bloody elf tricks!""He's getting another beer," Alathander yelled back, making the crowd laugh. "Cuddle the woman on your lap for now. Tell them how you beat the dragon.""Easy, I smelled good and she tried to snort me so she choked when I got stuck in her nose. Came out covered in bogies. Really sickening stuff. Then, what does Malfoy do? He opens his mouth to laugh. I pulled him over just as the dragon puked from all the choking." He smirked at Tonks. "That was a pretty sight." She laughed, shaking her head. "It was. Dragons puke purple and orange. Stuff'll eat through metal too." He smirked. "And he didn't have any clothes with him. Oh, and did I mention that the puke is also something that inhibits magic for *weeks*?" She burst out laughing, clutching him to hold upright. "Yeah. That was *really* pretty. Even Reievan got into that act. Refused to let me make him any or even any furs. You know how there's always a wind when you're riding? Well, apparently it's worse when you're higher up and going faster. His paleness was nothing compared to the wind burns and the leather burns from her harness, but that cool wind did mean things to his body. He complained that he didn't unshrink for days after he finally stole clothes. Which I made sure he sent back," he said smugly."Can I come next time, Ron?""Sure, Tonks. We'd have fun together." He beamed at her and looked over at the stunned people. "What?""A naked Malfoy?"Ron nodded. "A naked Malfoy for *weeks*. There weren't any real villages for three days ride from the dragon's cave. Reievan refused to let him snitch things at the first few. It was only after he caught cold that she let him steal pants and a shirt. No knickers, but definitely pants and a shirt. Seems she got some sort of thrill out of it. She likes to pick on her pet.""You weren't there to stop them, Professor? You told Molly that you tried to keep them out of danger.""Most of the trouble the boys got into was their own doing. That visit was while Reievan wanted to go home and show off her rider. I don't enter Dragon lands because I know that they'll want to keep me. That would cause a problem for my uncle and I'd never hear the end of it if I had to be rescued." He handed Ron his second beer as he sat down. Then he handed an extra one for Tonks. "Here, for you." He grinned at her. "I think you'd have fun. He could teach you how to use a sword and we'd use you as our warrior backup.""You could even ride on the back of my horse with me for a bit," Ron offered with a bright grin and a wink. "Stud won't mind.""Ron!" She swatted him again so he chuckled, and since his mouth was next to her ear she shivered. "Ron, maybe I should find my own chair.""Why? I'm comfortable. You weigh less than the average tavern wench who tries to sit in laps and you're cuter and smell better too.""That was a compliment in case his fumble-handed meanings pissed you off," Alathander added when she looked stunned. "Ron, that comparison has gotten many men hit.""Hell, it beats being told that I'm a strong girl," Tonks said with a shrug. "So I'm prettier and smell better than the floosies who hit on you. Any other compliments?""You're obviously a better woman. You're smarter, faster, stronger, and scarier than most of them, though I did meet a few scary damn wenches while we were traveling." He shuddered. "But you're also nicer, sweeter, and more happy. Plus I find you sexy as hell, something I didn't them." Her mouth fell open. "What? Sorry, not meant to insult, just don't hit me.""I'm not!" she squeaked. Madam Rosemerta laughed at that. "You hush! He'll tell more stories later. After I work him over a bit." The crowd sighed and wandered off so she kissed him. "Not too bad for being out of practice." He whispered in her ear, making her chuckle evilly. "Really?" He nodded. "Well. Maybe that can be fixed. But only if you take me out tonight.""I've got an herbology practical tomorrow.""Hmm. Night after?""Sure." He kissed her for real this time, doing the best he could. She moaned and clutched his leather vest again, shifting some to get more of it."Like I didn't have to see enough of this with Malfoy and his women," Alathander sighed, rolling his eyes.Madam Rosemerta handed him a sandwich with a wink. "I'm sure they'll have to breathe sometime. I doubt she's lost enough to try him right there.""One never knows with a mage. He could already be inside her," he said smugly. "We can change the clothes that you're wearing." She blushed and walked away. "Ron, no sex in front of me. You humans are odd creatures who need lessons in love and I'm not up to giving them today.""Gee, Professor, I didn't know you liked me that much," Ron taunted, panting hard as he rested his head against Tonk's shoulder. "If I had, I might have been better able to ignore the wenches."Alathander smirked at him. "You couldn't handle me.""He seems well able to handle everything else," Tonks said with a silly grin. "Oh, Ron, my boss wants to know if you want a job. No training needed, right into the field.""Ask my mum.""Sure." She kissed him again and moved closer, making him one happy mage. He swallowed her squeal when he changed her clothes and started to tease her. "Ron!" she complained between kisses."I can take 'no's, but that sounds like you're calling my name in passion," he teased. He did more and she dove back in."We do have rooms upstairs," Madam Rosemerta called. Ron went running past with Tonks in his arms. "He's strong for being his age.""He also made her lighter so he could carry her that way," Alathander said smugly. He flipped a coin at her. "Here, because I didn't need to see that either."She laughed, looking at it. "These are pretty. Elven?" He nodded. "Well. I might just have to keep that one around for show then." He grinned at her. "Eat, professor, or else the other teachers will pick on you for being so thin. Not even Severus is that tiny.""I'm eating," he promised, taking a bite. It was a good sandwich. He'd have to remember this and bring his mother down here if she ever showed up.The End.