Arthur walked into his son's office and closed the door. "Son, I would like to beat you soundly about the head until you get some sense. How could you do this to me?"
Percy smiled at him. "I had no intention of doing anything to you, I didn't plan this. As you know, the Ministers voted last month in case something like this happened. You were voted in." He leaned back, putting his pen into it's special holder. "The only suitable people were me, you, Arabelle, and Minister Fermier. Who would you have chosen, father?"
"I picked you. At least you'd make things run smoothly."
Percy snorted. "I won't be in that seat for a very long time, if ever. My second job scares people and my first one bores them to no end. I'm sure no one seriously considered me, or Minister Fermier."
"He's a nice man and very well liked in his department."
"Father, if you look up slimy lech in the dictionary, his picture's beside it. He's even hit on Arabelle."
"Jealous?" Arthur asked with a smile. "That's always a good sign."
"Father, quit matchmaking and let's address your complaints. Then you can complain about my lack of a love life."
Arthur sat down. "She's asked my permission to kidnap you and steal you for a weekend away."
"Wonderful, but what about my daughter?" Arthur grimaced. "Fine, I'm sure you'd watch her since you're in on it. You were the best candidate at this time. At any other time, you wouldn't have been chosen because we all know you like your department but this time you were the best choice available. If there had been another choice, I'm sure we would have taken it."
"Minister Fermier is very good," Arthur reminded him again.
"Yes, father, but he's managed to staff the muggle part of his department with the lowest of the low and their slime has rubbed off on him. Look at that one Ginny dated." His father shook his head. "She's better now. I deigned to talk to her last week and she was sincerely sorry about her past mistakes."
"I'm sure she was, the same as she was after the first one. How long will this one last?"
Percy smirked. "I think this is a permanent change. She's been forced to grow up recently and it's changed her outlook totally. Even though Ravena nearly died to make it happen, and then she yelled at her mother in the infirmary. Quite impressive from that girl."
"She and Ron will make an excellent couple."
Percy snorted. "If they live that long. Harry had to run up there because he got a threat against Agatha's life and had to warn the children."
Arthur looked upset. "Why?"
"More World Cup nonsense. Someone sent Harry a dead bird and a dead snitch in the same box along with a letter. Law Enforcement took it and is investigating, but they're not sure they can protect him, so he went to warn the children to be careful while they played."
"Anyone attacking at the school would be insane," Arthur said hotly.
"I know, and so do you, but these people aren't from here, father. They probably haven't heard that the school has some very fierce protectors or that there are guardians in our family. They may not even realize the connection between our family and Harry's."
"Hopefully no one will try anything at that last game."
"Which is Slytherin vs Hufflepuff if I remember right." He checked his calendar. "Yes, Melvin's set to play next weekend." He looked up. "Which means Agatha and Ravena are both going to be in the way."
"Or possibly Melvin if they know anything about the family."
Percy waved a hand. "My son is very well protected. Simone and the rest of them will be there no doubt. I'm sure anyone who comes onto the field will be very sorry," he finished with a smirk.
"Good news. Call me and we'll go up together." Arthur stood up. "I still don't want it."
"Then appoint someone in six months and go back to your old job."
"Percy, you're not that naive."
"No, but I think the position suits you. You were dealing with a lot of petty arguments recently, now you've got some petty people arguing. It's not that different, father, really." Arthur frowned. "Would you like to have dinner tonight?"
"No, I think your mother's planning something special for dinner. I'd hate to ruin it with this news."
Percy laughed. "Want me to call mum and tell her how we voted you in last month and never told you?"
"Yes, that way she can hit you."
"Fine. I'll tell mum for you. Have a nice lunch, father, and remember that you'll be followed for the next week, not only by my people but by a reporter or three as well." Arthur mumbled something that sounded like a swear as he walked out. Percy turned to his small floo next to his desk, sending some powder into it. "Mother," he said, using the newest speed dial feature that the Ministry was trying out. Her head popped up. "Wonderful news, mum, he took over this morning. Still a bit upset about it and all that, but he's fully accepted that we voted him in and it's now his job."
"Percy, you shouldn't upset your father that way."
He smiled at her. "I'm not the only one who voted for him, mum, I just got to give him the good news. Did you hear how the arsehole died?" She frowned at his word choice but leaned closer for a spot of gossip.
George led Xander and the kids into the store and stopped. There were people waiting on them. "Shh," he whispered, leading Xander back to the nest and tucking him in with the kids. He came back out. "Problems with the game?"
"Madam Rosemerta suspended me because she said I was being intentionally mean," Simone sighed dejectedly. "I agreed to tone it down so we only won by two hundred-eighty points."
"Damn, that's not much at all," George agreed, giving her a hug. "Remember, dear, those people have to work tomorrow and they're doing it for fun. You should always pitch your game to your opponents, it makes it more worthwhile and meaningful."
"Yes, Uncle George. Was Uncle Xander really tired?"
"More like he's worn out," George told her. "He's had a long day." He patted her on the head. "So, ladies, I know you're here to get my man's hands on you, but it'll have to wait until tomorrow."
"We're hiding Harry," Fred told him. "He's gotten death threats now if he plays in the next game."
"He says he is," Alicia agreed, stepping up to give him a hug. "How is he?"
"Xander's better. He's still feeling like she betrayed him. He'll work it out. He'll be giving the backrubs later this week."
"That's fine, we'll be rotating out through the week so Harry doesn't have to work in the shop," Katie said with a smile.
"He's used to it," Fred told her.
"We did tell him we'd hire him if he ever got over chasing the shiny ball. Did Draco get back yet?"
"Back, been through, and gone again," Fred told him. "He came back and dropped off the death threat he received as well since he didn't want the Law Enforcement people in his house. Father took it. Have you seen a paper yet?" George shook his head. "Ladies, you might want to get ready to catch him." He waited while they grabbed George. "The asshole died." George sank a little bit. "The former Minister of Magic was shot by his wife during their court proceedings. She hadn't been lying, he had kept her under the Imperious curse on and off for the last thirty years. Father took his job." George tried to sit down but the strong hands kept him up. "Percy got to give him that news."
"Is Percy still living?"
"He was here earlier, so I'm assuming no one brought him back as a zombie. He was smiling too much for that," Fred assured him. "Arabelle McKinely was with him."
"The head over Mysteries?" Angelina asked. Fred nodded. "They're dating? I know they've been seen together."
"She's trying. He's being coy at the moment." Fred reached over and tipped up George's chin. "Father's settled into the new job, but there's also more news." Katie summoned a chair and sat their burden in it. "Someone showed up from an insurance agency, along with a lawyer. Said something about a settlement. Something about Xander and that most horrible hospital from hell." George nodded slowly. "They're settling all debts before dying off. They seemed to think that your husband was owed."
"He's owed a lot," Harry said as he joined them. He smiled at George. "You'll have to tell me where you went, you look relaxed. Stunned, but still relaxed."
"Father is the Minister of Magic?"
Harry nodded. "They took a vote last month when the old one's behavior started to get horrible again and voted your father in behind his back. They were simply waiting for the right time. Congrats, George."
"Wow. I guess we won't have any more trouble with the aurors."
Fred laughed. "No, no more trouble with them. Percy's laid into them about leaving us alone and they've agreed to keep the idea of sending one of Xander's students to us whenever anyone in the family has trouble. They've decided that we can usually handle it until they get there, even with a slow response time." George nodded. "Did you hear the second part?"
"Draco said he was having fun taking them down," George told him. "How bad can it be? A pittance to show that they were wrong isn't so bad. We could use it to expand a bit again."
Alicia tapped him on the shoulder and George smiled up at her. "It's not a little bit. They had a goblin with them as well. Expect to see them tomorrow."
George's face fell. "Tomorrow Xander and I have to pack."
"Bet me," Harry snorted. "Albus is back. He's a ghost, but he's back in charge. Things have snapped back into place like he never left. Even Tara's been forgiven for her problems."
"Not by Xander," George said dryly. "Xander has a lot of will, he won't be going back unless he has to."
"Albus said he was finishing out the year at least," Harry said helpfully. "He also said he wants to talk to Xander personally because he warned Tara to watch over him."
"I don't know what to tell you, but Xander's going to fight going back," George told him. "He feels like Tara betrayed him. She was like his sister."
"Then he should know that families fight," Katie said firmly.
"Katie, he was an only child," Fred told her. She grimaced. "From bad parents. There's every chance that Xander will have a lot of spare time to do our backs this week."
Draco slammed in then turned and slammed the door. He noticed the people and shook his head, heading back for some comfort with Xander.
"I'd say something was going on again," Harry said dryly. He looked at George. "You give him unrestricted access to your husband?"
"Xander thinks of him as a son, I trust him that much." He smiled. "Though Draco is very cuddly in the middle of the night." Everyone looked stunned. "It helped when he was pregnant. Morgana got fairly fussy on occasion." He stood up. "I'd best see what that's about." He headed back to his room.
"I think I've had my yearly quota of shocks," Angelina said quietly. "He really turned into a good guy?"
"No," Fred said, shaking his head, Harry mimicking him. "He's decided he can be gentler with the family and is an asshole to everyone else." He grinned. "Would you mind pouncing Oliver this week instead of waiting for him to get off his bum, Angelina?" She blushed.
"He'll never go for it," Harry told him, shaking his head. "I think Oliver's scared of women. He doesn't understand them very well."
"All he knows is groupies," Katie snorted. "Not fine and real women like we are." Angelina blushed even brighter. "You only wanted to be a groupie?"
"No!" She swatted at her friend. "I'd like to see if I could start something with him, but I don't make the first move."
"Then you're going to be waiting an awfully long time," Harry told her, reaching over to pat her on the shoulder. "I caught Oliver giving a girl a look like she was an alien earlier."
"There's always the Xander method," Fred noted. Everyone looked at him. "Back when Percy was dating Kandy, that first summer after Ron and Harry's graduation, he brought her over for a week of visiting to meet the rest of us. Xander decided Percy needed a kiss so very badly that he...encouraged it. And they couldn't stop. He ended up breaking her in on mum's table while Xander and George went at it on the floor because of a small backlash problem."
Harry snickered. "I can see Xander doing that. Did you know that he used that spell once on Ron and Draco back at school? Got 'em to quit fighting."
Katie burst out laughing. "On your table? Percy?" Fred nodded. "I never would have figured him for the sort."
"Oh, no, Ginny's not the only one who's had sex in public in this family," Fred said happily, pointing at the back. "Those two were caught snogging out in back of Madam Rosemerta's one night by her, and they didn't break it up when she told them to. So the beautiful woman brought out a cheering section. George didn't come out of the lab for a week that time. The next time was less than that I think."
"They had sex on Draco's lap while he was preggers," Alicia blurted out. Everyone looked at her. "They did! I heard Draco using it as a taunt."
"Probably just Xander's head in his lap," Fred told her. "Xander got that way with George and George's head ended up on Charlie's lap once at the Burrow. Mum was not pleased."
"I want a relationship like that," Katie sighed. "Wonderful sex, cuddles, and someone who understands me. And not just the shopkeeper side and not just the chaser side either."
Alicia pushed her at Fred, making them stumble together. "Go for it, babe. He knows you better than anyone." She smiled at Angelina. "Would you like a closet or a small room?"
Fred spluttered and Harry cackled. "Alicia! She doesn't like me."
"Bet me, I thought you weren't interested." He blushed as she moved. "Oh, really?" she asked, smiling at him. She kissed him, just a test, and he rolled her underneath him.
"I'd say that snogging in front of people thing runs in the family," Alicia said, eyeing Harry.
He backed up a step. "I'm only an adopted Weasley, not a real one."
"So?" She grabbed him and kissed him hard, making him melt. "So?"
"I..." He coughed and looked at her. "Alicia, I'm still not ready to be the socialite you need."
"I like quiet times, but you need someone who drags you out of the house for award banquets."
"Otherwise you'll be stuck there," Angelina agreed, coming over to hug him. " I know the world is a scary place, but you've got to come back into it. At least let her try. You might find you like it now that the kids are in school."
"Besides, I can fly around and tease you some more," Alicia said, tapping him on the nose. "Think about it, Potter. I'm still here."
He pulled her closer and hugged her. "I haven't had anyone since Hermione."
"Which was a fucked relationship, even you have to admit that," Angelina noted. Harry looked at her. "Hey, I had one of those myself. My husband never went dark and swore allegiance to chaos, but he was still a bastard. It's hard, but a good woman will gently lead you out into the light of day and make you have picnics again."
"Maybe, but I'd rather go for those long flies," Alicia told her. "They seem more intimate. You can talk and it's like the wind holds all the secrets for you. It's not so much like confessing as being blown free." Harry nodded. "Tomorrow?"
"Sure." He smiled and withdrew, back into the hallway. "There's someone coming and I don't know them."
Angelina looked out the window. "That looks suspiciously like a walking stone. Draco, I think it's one of your former minions."
Draco came out, running his fingers through his hair. "That's Goyle. Let me talk to him before he taints this place." He walked out and closed the door behind him. "You needed something?"
"I was coming to see you. I figured you knew what was wrong with my daughter," Goyle said, looking at the store behind him. "You hang out with the Weasleys?"
"Oh." He shook his head. "My daughter's been sending home some fairly depressed letters. She said Agatha, whoever that is, has been helping her. Can you talk to her? Or get me in to talk to her?"
"Sure. We'll floo up right now." Goyle looked impressed. "I'm a professor and parents can talk to their children when they feel it's necessary. Even if your father never did."
"I heard the new Headmistress was a pisser."
"She's out and Dumbledore's ghost came back." Draco led him inside. "We're heading up to the school. I'll be back later. I can't take Ron bitching at the walls tonight." He saw the speculative look. "Ron's room echoes into mine from across the bathroom." He led the way by floo, coming out in the staffroom. Severus was making himself some tea. "Have you noticed Ms. Goyle having any problems?"
"She's been picked on a bit," Severus said, turning to look at him. "Did Xander get back?"
"He's asleep. Totally worn out." Goyle came out of the fireplace. "I'm going to get his daughter for him."
"That's fine, use the room we usually reserve for parent meetings. You might have him talk with Agatha as well, or your own daughter. Ravena generally watches over the younger children." He nodded at his former student. "Are you still hiding?"
"More or less," Goyle agreed, not looking at him. "I know it's irregular, but the last letter worried me and I just found it. Her mother hid it because she thought my daughter was being a baby."
"That's fine. We understand about such things."
Draco tugged on the other father's arm and led him away. "We've seen a lot of parents this year because their daughters were being harassed. This isn't abnormal at all." He walked down the quiet halls, raising his eyebrow when he saw Iggy sitting on the stairs. "Problems?"
"Daddy's broadcasting nightmares and I'm in the tower tonight so I can't sneak back and slip in with Simone," Iggy said with a slump. "Besides, I'm meeting Ravena because she's been having nightmares and I want to see why."
"That's fine. Tell her I'd like to know about this as well," Draco told him.
Iggy shrugged. "We were going to see what they were about and if they were visions before you got told. That way you'd worry less. She could just have a fantastic imagination." He stood up as Ravena slipped out of the shadows. "Come on, darkling, we'll walk down to the dungeons and back while we talk." She nodded, smiling at her father.
Draco gave her a hug. "I'll see you tomorrow, dear. Behave for your cousin." She nodded and let Iggy lead her away. "Come on, Goyle."
"She's a pretty girl."
Draco nodded, looking back at her. "That's my third daughter, Ravena. The last daughter Ginny and I had together. We made some stunning children." He opened the portrait and walked in. "I need to see Ms. Goyle and Agatha," he told the Prefect in the common area.
"Ms. Goyle is somewhere in the house, we're not sure where, we're looking for her right now, sir. Agatha's on a rip and the one doing the searching."
Draco walked to the bottom of the boy's staircase. "Ryan!" Ryan scrambled down them. "Find Agatha and Ms. Goyle, now. Do not make her do it alone."
"Yes, sir," he said, scurrying back up them.
"You still rule the house," Goyle said in appreciation, looking around. "Even though you're more gentle now."
Draco looked at him. "Threats aren't always necessary. Sometimes the velvet glove approach works." Agatha came down the stairs dragging a boy by his nostrils and a sobbing girl. "What happened?"
"He had locked her in his trunk and was taunting her. Do something about him before I do," Agatha said. She let the girl go, watching as she launched herself at her father. "Hers?"
"Yes. How long?"
"The last week. Ravena tried to stop him, but failed, so she told me. I tried a more subtle approach earlier but it didn't work." Ryan came stumbling down the stairs with two more bodies. "Oh, yes, and them as well."
The portrait door opened and Snape walked in. "Did you find them, Agatha?"
"They were the ones picking on Ms. Goyle and two other first years. Have the shits before I deal with them." The conscious boy whimpered in fear. She smirked down at him. "Did you want me to punish you instead?" He shook his head and got free, heading to hide behind Snape. She wouldn't attack *him*.
Draco smiled at Agatha. "Very well managed, my dear. You deserve a treat. What would you like?"
"My blue book back?" He shook his head. "Then how about I get my toy back." Ryan whimpered. "Not you. My actual toy. It's much more pleasing to me. It doesn't whine when I demand my own pleasure."
"I can agree to that," Draco agreed. "Severus?"
"It's in my office, in my second desk drawer. Have Ignatius get it for you. He was headed that way." She walked past him, blowing a kiss in his direction. "Carry these slime out to the entryway," he told Ryan. "The other two first years?"
"Are fine," Ms. Goyle said from her father's arms. "They were in the closet, he was going to get them later."
Draco tapped her on the head and she looked up at him. "You should have told me. I would have expelled them immediately." She nodded, looking scared. "You are not to blame, but you will come to me from now on, young lady. Any of you may come to me for help with such matters. Forcing yourself on a girl is the utmost in stupidity. A real Slytherin never has to do more than pay for it, and most of us only have to do that at their lowest or if they're stupid and sickening or incredibly desperate." She nodded, relaxing some. "Do we need to take you upstairs to the infirmary?"
"No. They didn't touch me. They said they were going to do that once we were second years, then work their way up until we could only have them." She sniffled again. "I wanted to tell you, or Agatha, but they said they'd kill us and our familiars. I'm still missing my owl."
"He's at the house, he refused to come back. I'll get you a new one," Goyle promised, patting her gently. "Draco, may we have a private room?"
"Of course, right this way," he led them to a small unused Prefect's room and turned on the lights for them. "Here we are. No one stays in here right now. Talk as long as you want. Tomorrow's Sunday." He left them alone. Severus looked at him. "He's a father. Even if he is a bastard, and that room does still have a charm on it to make loud noises if something wrong is going on." He walked over, hefting one of the slight bodies up to carry it out. He wanted to have a talk with these boys.
Snape shook his head, looking around. "Let me know if anything else of this sort happens. I want to have a talk with such people." The students in the common area nodded, looking scared. He smiled at them. "Such versions of evil is not allowed. Remember that." He swept out, going to deal with those three, once they all woke up. If they all woke up. It looked like one of them was missing part of his head. It turned out that his face was partially caved in. That girl was fairly amusing.
Draco looked up as a man walked up to his table in Diagon, so he kicked the opposite chair out. "Sit, Flint. What did you need?"
"Just a word." He sat and looked over Draco. "No classes?"
"Not for the next three hours, I'm just off practice." A baby cooed and he glanced down at the small carriage. "Did you want to get out?" he asked her. She cooed again so he lifted her out, settling her in his lap. Flint, his former captain, looked at her, then at him. "This is Morgana, my youngest."
"Oh. She's cute." He shook his head. "I really can't imagine you as a hands-on parent, Draco."
Draco shrugged. "I know my children much better than my father did me. It keeps the Weasley part of their heritage from tainting them too much. What did you need?"
"My son's starting next year."
"Then you instruct him that he will be seeing me if he has any problems. Goyle's daughter forgot that lesson and she was nearly harmed. I look over all of the children in the house, even the ones of Death Eaters."
"You don't try to change them?"
Draco shook his head. "I let everyone who asks me see both sides of the conflict. Yes, it was something that could have gotten me a lot of attention, it could have made me even more popular among my social circle. It could have even netted me a wife from that circle. Though I'd be dead by now or rotten inside to the point where I was now like my father. I haven't changed my beliefs any, Flint, I simply don't go out attacking anyone anymore."
"Yet, you hang with the gryphon-borns at the school, and Harris. Everyone says you're like his son."
"He adopted me in front of his clan." Draco gave him a smug look. "What makes you think that the first Head of our house would have minded?"
"They're the ultimate crossbreed, they're not like us!" Flint said hotly.
"Salazar was adopted by one himself. Only the most pure families were allowed to crossbreed, to have extraordinarily powerful children." Flint's mouth opened. "Including my own."
"No way," Flint breathed.
Draco nodded. "I found out about four years ago, when my daughter's life was threatened. It does explain my ability to do the work Ginny Weasley started."
"Well." Flint blinked a few times. "You still don't like muggles though, right?"
Draco smirked. "I can find a use for one percent of the British ones. The American ones I find less use for, but every once in a great while they come out with an extraordinary one of their own. The rest are nothing special and should be used to keep the servants alive. Too much inbreeding starts to weaken lines, as certain pure-bloods have shown over the years."
"I heard about Parkinson's daughter. Too bad about her."
"Is she seriously mentally ill?"
"Pansy said so. She had her daughter blocked from her power and institutionalized. I thought it might have been her vanity and desire to be the only one getting attention, but I saw the girl, she's lost. No mind to speak of and prone to violent attacks. If she had been born a creature, she'd have been put down."
"Was the father pure?"
"Purer than your bloodline was supposed to have been."
"My bloodline was occasionally intermixed for variety. Otherwise the sixty families in my social circle would have interbred so often that we'd all look like the Hapsburgs of Austria when they lost control of their interbreeding. Jaws too large to eat with, too-small brains. I could have been born with the brain of a gerbil." Flint snickered. "It's true," Draco said with a light hearted shrug. "That's one of the reasons why I let Ginny continue to talk me into having children with her. A different circle, though no less pure than my own line. Every bit as suitable genetically, plus we made beautiful children."
"Yes, you do," Flint said, staring at Morgana, who was drooling heavily. "She needs cleaned off."
Draco grabbed the spit cloth and wiped her mouth, chin, and chest off. "Don't drool like that, he'll think you adore him."
Flint shook his head. "I know I'm not good enough for any of your children."
Draco nodded, staring him down. "Or any like you," he said quietly. "Even though only one of my children is interested in settling down at the moment, there will be no Death Eaters in her future. My princess will not be stuck with an evil bastard like my father, or your father."
"Hopefully she'll find someone to treat her well." Flint stood up. "I'll tell my son to talk to you and pass the word on through our generation. Most of us swore that our parents converted us without our permission, that's why we're free."
"Sixty of the students in my year and the three years before mine were arrested in that first year after Voldemort died," Draco told him, stunning him. "Another fifty have been arrested in the sixteen years since. There's approximately thirty of you left, Flint, and I do mean it. Not a one of you is fit to be near my children. Not even Simone and Denver, or Ravena."
"I heard one of yours finally made it into the house," Flint said with a mean smirk. "Proud of her?"
"The fact that she's the second most powerful female in the house, even with Shey Ravettena there? Definitely. My daughter Ravena is a wonderful young lady and a Goddess in her own mind. She's already chosen her mate and he seems ready to agree. I'll accept him as good enough, he's not at all like his father most of the time."
"You're letting her date a Potter?"
"Ron taught her everything she knows about being a seeker and a dark little creature. He appreciates her for who and what she is. Besides, she has him tied around her finger and is enjoying it."
"What about Simone?"
"She needs someone like her Uncle, Charlie Weasley." He shrugged. "I haven't found anyone yet. There's a few very interesting young men that her uncle knows, he's thinking of introducing her. As for Denver, he wants to lead the life I nearly did, before I got him and Simone. Anastasia will settle down with a suitable mate, and Lucien is presently hunting Xander's son William."
"Not actually. William was adopted by the couple. It's no more incestuous than Potter and my Ravena." He patted Morgana on the head. "As for her, we'll have to see. Perhaps she'll adore women the way Lucien does boys." He smiled. "I'm satisfied with my children and their futures."
"I see. Would you consider the Phlegminton line?" Draco shuddered. "Their son is very nice."
"He's a slimy bastard and will not treat my daughter well enough. Think of her needing someone like..." He pulled up his fondest wish of a relationship for his daughter. "Crosswind. Someone like their daughter, only male. I will demand grandchildren."
"Most of the kids in your year are getting ready to send their first child on to school."
"Some of us started early. I enjoyed being able to chase after them and now I'm enjoying having a more stable life. I'm looking forward to having grandchildren actually. Then I can hand them back for the nasty parts." Morgana had just wet herself. "Did you have to do that?" he asked her. She cooed at him and grabbed his finger to squeeze. "Fine, I'll change you in a moment." He looked up but Flint was gone. "Hmm. Oh, well." He settled her into her carriage and changed her efficiently. Then he paid his tab and left the table to go to his lunch appointment. Ginny and he had a lot to talk about.
Xander walked into his old home and stopped when he saw who was curled up on his couch. "Go away."
"Xander, talk to me?" Tara pleaded. "I'm sorry. Albus said to watch out for you, I didn't think to try and take care of you."
"Yay. Some people think I'm not only necessary, but that I'm needed and wanted." He headed up to pack his son's room first. He found a ghost waiting on him. "What do you want, Albus?"
"Xander, finish out this year at least," Albus said, sounding reasonable. "We can't exactly find a replacement for you at this late date."
Xander sat down in the rocking chair, then slammed the door without touching it or his wand. "I want her to go away. Not from the school because I wouldn't do that to Severus, but away from me. I can't take that shit anymore."
"I know you can't." He smiled at the young man. "If I were still human, I'd offer you a hug."
"I could use one right now," Xander admitted.
Albus slid into the body. "This is as close as I can get. It's a good thing that you're so easily possessed." He finished sliding in, letting his essence fill the younger man with his warmth and calmness. Then he floated back out, feeling better himself. "How was that?"
"Not bad. You weren't even cold."
"I learned how to do that first. I thought it would be rude." He settled down. "There aren't many things I regret not doing. I didn't get to shag the woman I wanted senseless. I didn't get to pass on my genes, and I didn't get to ride one of those muggle roller coasters. It's not the same when you're not solid."
"Gravity doesn't work as well on you I guess," Xander agreed with a faint smile. "As for the second, there is a way." Dumbledore straightened up. "Willow said something about it in a letter to Tara. There's a way to take some of your DNA and make it into a sperm, then implant it in an egg and then implant that into a woman. It'd take a powerful witch to carry your child, but it can be done."
"I'll have to think about that. Thank you for the information. Any cure for the first one?"
"Buffy mentioned that she could touch the nearly dead, so how about pulling her out of her body and doing it when she's like that? And hey, with magic, you might even be able to knock her up." Dumbledore laughed. "It's an idea," he admitted with a faint smile.
"You always did make me feel better about things, Xander. Even when you're at your lowest points. I want you to stay." Xander opened his mouth and the ghost leaned closer. "I know it hurts, and that it's hard. You are not the only one who nearly lost Tara in their lives. Severus kicked her out of their bed if I saw right. Her own son is ignoring her and not calling her mother anymore. She thought she was doing right."
"If she was being herself, she would have seen that she was going bad and corrected it. Did you warning her make her think differently?"
"No, Xander, it was the meaning she took from the words. She thought I meant that you were going to suddenly go bad. She never thought about less apocalyptic meanings of the phrase. She is sorry. She's miserable because she knows you'll have a hard time forgiving her for this problem of hers." Xander nodded. "It will be hard, but you do have the support of those who love you for no other reason than because you're you. She is still one of those though, and you should let her apologize." He could see he wasn't getting through. "I can send her away if you want."
"That wouldn't be very fair to Severus," Xander pointed out glumly. "I like him."
"I know you do, he's been a wonderful mentor in your life." Xander looked up at him. "You think I didn't see you treating him like a favorite uncle?" Xander shook his head. "I did, and so did he. It mystifies him sometimes, but he understands about needing something to cling to so you can find reality again." Xander nodded, slumping down. "Let him soothe the break between you. Severus might lock you in an airless room if it isn't done soon enough to suite him, but I think he'll be able to see past his frustration."
"He's frustrated with me?"
"With the situation. Tara has been moping about, his words, and he detests it. He hates having his happy illusions shattered."
"I didn't want to hurt him."
"Xander, this wasn't your doing, not this time. It was the situation." Albus could see this going very wrong very quickly if he didn't correct that assumption. "You didn't do anything to hurt his relationship. You even left Iggy with him." Xander smiled again, he liked Iggy and Severus as a team. Good, very good. "Severus wants an end to this situation, he's even stopped being jealous of your relationship with his wife. Or that of Draco and his wife."
"A lot of people seem to be jealous of Draco."
"He is very sexy and a lot of people are insecure in their relationship. Men like Draco are easy targets to feel uncomfortable about because they have qualities that most women seem to want. Even your own mate." Xander sighed. "It's an easy jealousy to have. Most people feel comforted by it on some tiny level because it validates the problems they see in themselves and their relationships. But enough about the normal people, Xander, and onto the extraordinary."
"I'm not extraordinary," Xander protested. Albus stared at him until he hung his head. "I have some great training from unusual sources for odd circumstances. That's all."
"If you say so. Some of us see something different. You're very powerful and you have the will to harness that power to do the unimaginable. You've managed to raise a few children, some who aren't even your own, who will become people of great renown. You've managed to bring a sense of fun back into this school that hasn't been found since before Harry started. The children adore you more than they do even me." Xander shook his head and the ghost laughed. "They do. You're not the one who has to discipline them, I am, so therefore they see you as a higher figure. More of a parent or possibly a brother. You give the children a reason to have fun with their studies, even when you make them have nightmares." He stood up. "Now, let's talk to Tara. Perhaps you can settle this today before Severus has to hurt you both and then put you together to heal." He followed Xander down the stairs and found Tara gone, but two men and a goblin standing there instead. "Who are you?" Dumbledore asked.
Xander raised his hand. "Why do you want me?"
"We're here about the settlement due to you as part of a class action lawsuit," the lawyer said, stepping forward. "If you'd sit down and read through these papers, we'd be more than happy to release the money to you."
"I don't need any," Xander told him. "I got healed."
"Yes, sir, and the judge was most offended because you had to go to a muggle hospital to get healed," the second man told him. He smiled. "Would you like to call your husband? There's a great deal of paperwork to give you the settlement due to you for your horrible experience. The turnover of such an amount of money is very technical and stringent."
Xander got up and went to the floo, calling the shop. "George?" he asked when Fred answered. Fred shook his head. "Need George. No George?"
"I'll try to find him, Xander. He's shopping right now for your son's birthday."
Xander nodded. "Need George badly, Fred."
Dumbledore shifted closer. "Fred, there are people here about the settlement and the number that I saw on the paper was quite impressive."
The floo shivered as a body walked out of the image. George waved at his twin. "Send Draco or father please. I think this is a legal matter." Fred nodded and his head disappeared. George looked at the men, then at the goblin. "How bad is it?"
"We're authorized to give you reimbursement for your medical expenses."
"Someone paid those for us," Xander said, starting to frown. George pulled him down onto his lap, giving him a hug. "I don't want to think about that time in my life. I really don't."
"I know. We're also allowed to add in money for pain and suffering," the lawyer said.
Xander made a deep-chest whining noise. "I don't want to talk about it." George let him up and he walked off, going to find someone would comfort him. He ended up in the dungeons, looking for his son. "Severus?" he called. Severus came out of his office. "Is Iggy down here?"
"No, he's down in his private room. What can I do to ease that horribly confused look on your face? It's disturbing."
"There's people here about my first hospital stay after the lightening incident. They think I want money."
"Everyone thinks that others want more money."
"But I have money."
"I know you do," Severus soothed, starting to get worried. Xander was using that 'little boy' voice again that he only got when he was teasing or in shock. Draco came down the hall with Ron right behind him. "He said something about people here offering him money because of that hospital."
"I heard," Draco said, leading Xander away. "Come along. George wants a cuddle." Xander nodded, following him docilely.
Ron smirked. "He's stunned. They're offering him enormous amounts of money to end the lawsuit," he explained. "It's a nice sum. Equal to his treatment costs plus pain and suffering from what George said."
"Well. That would be a tidy sum."
"We're talking *major* money," Ron told him. "Like Malfoy sort of money."
"Ah. No wonder he looked shocked. Perhaps he'll send your parents on a nice vacation."
"Maybe. Father might like that." Ron walked away, going to help take care of the stunned Xander. He walked into the tower in time to stop Xander from running. "What's wrong?"
"They keep upping the money," Xander said pitifully. "I just want to forget."
"I know you do." Ron led Xander up to the nest and climbed in behind him. "It's all right, let George send those men away. Everything will be fine." Xander nodded, relaxing in his arms. "No nightmares, Xander," he whispered, using a trick he used on his kids. "No bad dreams can come near you while I'm here." He looked at the door when someone walked up to it. "Not now. He needs to rest."
The goblin walked in. "It's done. Have him sign here," he said, handing over a clipboard.
Ron nudged Xander. "If you sign that, they'll all go away, Xander." Xander listlessly signed the form where the goblin pointed at. "Anything else?"
"Just this." He handed over a large brass key. "His husband has another keys. We'll be expecting him sometime tomorrow to finish the forms." Ron nodded. "Thank you for your help."
"Not a problem. Tell his mate to come up please." The goblin nodded as he walked away.
"It's a pretty key, and bigger than mine," Xander said, handing it to Ron. "You can have it."
Ron snorted. "I think I'll wait until you're better."
Xander rolled over, trapping Ron under him. "You need it for the triplets," he said reasonably. "They'll need stuff for school, and for after school. And since you're not making a great salary, at least not what you're worth to the rest of us, we're going to help the kids." Ron glared and Xander grinned. "Because they're family too. I'd do the same for you but you'd get pissed and try to hit me. So we're providing for the kids schooling until you manage to find a lot of money and are comfortably well off." He nodded, it was settled in his head.
"I don't need it," Ron protested loudly.
Draco walked in and sighed. "I thought I was the only one who you did that to in the nest," he said dryly. Ron glared at him. "You're taking it. We were doing it behind your back, now we're doing it openly. After all, the children will need money for their education after they graduate. They're being raised around brilliant children and can't help but pick up something." Ron's glare got hotter. "You never know, you may end up with an Ignatius of your own."
"I can handle it."
"Of course you can," Xander agreed. "But we can help. They're our family too and we're pushy gits when it comes to our family. You're taking it because I said so. All of it."
"He can't take all of it," Draco told him. "It'd look odd." He walked in and gently removed Xander from Ron's body. "Come rest. It's time for a nap. George will be up in a bit." He climbed in on Xander's other side, holding him still. "You rest, Xander, I'm going to stay right here."
"Can I hog Morgana?"
"If you'd like." Draco watched as Ron left. "That was nice. He took the key with him," he whispered.
Xander flipped over and hugged him. "He needs it. I don't."
"I'm not sure George didn't want some of it. It was quite extensive, but you can probably give Ron part of it." Xander smiled and put his head on his 'son's chest. "You rest, Xander. I'm staying for a bit. Until Morgana needs me to rescue her from the angry one."
Draco smirked as Ron walked in with Morgana, holding her at arm's length. "Problems?"
"She was trying to play with the goblin while they finished up the paperwork." He tossed down the key. "George said I couldn't take that one."
"That's because you're getting one of your own," George said, handing it to him. "To the secondary vault. I want to see my nieces and nephew in some new clothes with some new toys tomorrow, or else I'm going to have to spoil them myself." Ron glared at him and crossed his arms.
"Or else I get to," Xander said, waving an arm. "He smells good, George."
"I'm sure he does. He has his cologne specially made for him." George climbed in behind his mate, hugging him too. "Draco, you can go."
"He's staying. He smells nice and is comforting like you." Xander shifted so his butt was against his mate's hips. "Cuddle me?"
"Of course, Xander." George looked at Draco, who smiled and waved his daughter's hand. "You can help Ron find clothes for his darlings. Gwen's falling out of my shirt at the moment."
"Fine," Ron said, storming out.
"He'll come around," George assured Xander, who was sniffling.
"I'm not happy, George."
"Then we'll give more money away," George assured him. Draco stared at him like he was insane. "That monastery could probably use some, and Xander loves children. Maybe a donation to a good orphanage." Xander nodded. "We'll talk about it later, with the whole family."
"How much?" Draco asked.
George shook his head, holding up two keys. Draco smirked. The keys went into his pocket again. "We'll deal with it later," George told him. Xander snored and they sighed. They wouldn't be moving for a while. Morgana managed to get her father free by dirtying her diaper a few minutes later, but that was as far as he got. Xander hunted Draco down and picked him up, bringing him back to the nest.
"Put me down!"
Ron snickered. "You look like the damsel in one of Ginny's and mum's books," he laughed.
"Fuck off, Weasley."
"Mine," Xander said sleepily, settling Draco back into the nest. Then he climbed back into the center and snuggled in. "No nightmares."
"You won't have any," Draco agreed, looking at George.
George smiled and shook his head. "You're part of the family, learn to live with it."
Draco settled in when he heard Morgana making happy noises. "I suppose Ron found her."
"Probably, or Minnie. She likes her." George was pulled closer so he snuggled in. This was a good feeling. "You sleep, Xander, we'll talk later." Xander made happy noises and blew a kiss.
Bill laughed from the doorway. "We need a camera."
"He was upset because they made him take money from his time in that hospital."
"Which time?" Bill asked, coming in to sit on the bed. Morgana bounced in his arms. "Calm down, little girl. It's okay and you can get back in there today." He handed her over to her father. "What happened?"
"After he called the lightening, he got sent to a mental hospital," George said quietly. "They decided he had done it to himself."
"So they didn't treat his burns," Draco finished. "Not even wrapping them." Bill winced. "That's why his scars are so horrible. He had to take himself to a muggle hospital."
"He had to escape because they kicked us all out, and knocked me out," George told him.
"Did you get anything?" George nodded. "How bad was it?"
"The judge nearly put someone in jail when he heard about Xander having to escape and go to a muggle hospital. He noted that he would be more healthy if he had gotten decent treatment from the start. Which is true. If he had gotten a healing potion immediately, he might not have any scars, or a fake knee. Leaving it for three days exacerbated the problems."
"Three days unwrapped, without pain medicine, and without any treatment to make sure the burning stopped," Draco corrected. Bill shuddered. "The judge was ready to kill them when he saw the pictures that were taken from the muggle hospital."
Bill shook his head. "That man is tougher than I am. I whined when I had a broken leg. I can't imagine that sort of pain."
"He complained some," George said with a small grin. "I spent a lot of time cuddling him."
"Hopefully he'll use this money for a bit of pampering," Bill said, standing up. "What happened to Ron?"
"Xander said he's adding to the fund we set up for the triplets," Draco told him. "Ron's pissed because he thinks he can do it alone."
"He probably can, but he doesn't have enough money to save."
"I'm fine!" Ron shouted. He walked in. "I've stared saving some. Not a lot, but it'll grow over time."
"Ron, Ravena's wand cost almost twenty galleons," Draco told him. Ron winced. "You'll let us help because it makes us happy. You don't have to touch it but it will be there if you need it." Ron opened his mouth.
"Get over it, Ron. Remember how much it cost when Iggy got sick?" Ron pursed his lips, looking a lot like his mother at the moment.
"You look like mum when you do that," Bill snorted.
"I can curse you, Bill. Remember that." Ron turned and walked away. "Do it if you want, but I'm not touching it."
"Thank you," George called. "I'm allowing Xander to put in a few thousand."
"How much did you get?" Bill asked.
George pulled out the keys and handed them over. "We're going to check tomorrow."
Bill looked at the numbers, the different numbers, then shook his head. "No wonder Xander was shocked."
"Oh, no, they kept adding more money on as Xander protested. We started out with enough to cover what would have been his medical costs."
"Which was a lot. Wesley nearly bankrupted the Watchers over it," Draco told him. George looked at him. "It was nearly a million to take care of him. Burn care is expensive."
"Replacing his knee cost nearly six hundred galleons," George agreed. "I guess it makes sense." Bill stared at him. "That was the second one. It's why we were worried about Iggy's schooling costs."
"I can see why. I've never had anything that cost over a few hundred to treat and that was covered by my insurance."
"Ours wouldn't cover this," George sighed. "Xander brought it on himself by calling the Earth lightening. They refused to pay anything."
"Hell," Bill said, looking disgusted. "Goblins run those too."
"Of course they do," Draco agreed. "Why would any wizard or witch do it?"
"Muggles do," George offered.
"They don't have a choice," Bill noted.
"Are you sure?" Draco asked. "They don't know who runs the upper levels."
"Good point," Bill agreed with a smile. "How was Ginny?"
"Beautiful. Changed back. Wanting to take a minor role in the business." He shook his head at the worried looks he was getting. "It was hard to resist, but I did. She was her old self again and it was tempting, I'll admit that, but I don't think I want her back."
"On some level, she still stirs you," Bill told him. Draco nodded. "Is it real though?"
"I have no idea. She was the more adult version of the spitfire that used to fix my life by yelling at me." He smiled sadly. "I don't know what I want to do about her."
"Take her as a mistress," Bill suggested. "Find yourself someone who moves more than your loins and deal with them. Ginny's lost her last chance."
"She's done what she said. She's changed back to the girl she used to be, only the older version. It'd be like turning my back on that younger her."
"You'll work it out," George promised. "Even if it does take you three weeks like it did with the decision about Morgana." Draco nodded, comforted by that thought. He had time. Ginny wouldn't expect him to make such a decision instantly.
Ron looked up as his bedroom door opened and Xander walked in. A key was put into his hand, and then the dark haired man left. "I'm handling it."
"Tough shit!" Xander yelled. "If you get fussy, I'm telling your mother that you won't let us help the kids." The door to the tower opened and then slammed.
"Shit, he's on a rip. Hate to be a student today." Ron turned the page of his book, then tossed the key toward his dresser. It fell behind it. "I'll get it later," he told himself. It floated up and landed back in his lap. "Get over it, Buffy."
"Were I her, I might," an amused male voice said.
Ron looked up at the Headmaster. "Are you going to make me take it?"
"They want to make sure that everything will be taken care of if something happens to them," Dumbledore said gently. "Think of it like an insurance policy that you can withdraw from. Though I would get the children some new clothes. Minnie just snuck downstairs in one of your shirts and went to help Severus. One of the second year Ravenclaws is bringing her back right now."
"She's supposed to be in the nursery."
"Good point," Dumbledore said with a smile. "But you still need to discuss leaving the classes alone. Don't you have one today?"
"Lupin wanted to teach this section." Ron put his book down. "I guess I should get them some new clothes." His paybag was handed over. "Thank you, Albus."
"Helping you take care of those sweet little creatures is no more demanding than helping take care of Ignatius, Ryan, and Adrian." He disappeared, going down to tell George that Ron would follow orders this time. George smiled at him. "Xander?"
"Is on a mission to get rid of as much of the money as he can," George told him. "So far, he's talked to Gringotts about setting up a vault for the children's school needs, all of them. I'm letting Bill calm him down, or at worst Percy."
"That's wise. That way you don't have to get into the middle. Ron has the key again and he's looking at it as an insurance policy that he can draw from when necessary."
"Ron's got the same amount of stubbornness as the rest of us," George said fondly. "I should go back to work. Will you watch out for Xander? If he's thwarted wrong he'll throw a massive fit."
"I'm sure it will be fine." Dumbledore watched as the craftier of the couple walked away. What a good way to redirect Xander's attention.
Bill caught up with Xander and stopped him, looking him over. "Why are you pissed?"
"I don't need it, Bill."
"Point, but it's yours."
"So I'm getting rid of some of it," Xander said happily. "Even though your father is pissed."
"I'm sure dad wants you to take care of your own future first. After all, you do have two more children to finish raising." He walked with Xander, noticing he was heading for the bank. "What're you doing now?"
"I'm setting up a trust vault for all the kids the family has or will ever have. For school needs and emergencies, things like that. Arthur was supposed to come help me, but he got pissed. So I'm expecting Percy any second now. Want to help carry?"
"Not particularly, but I can do that." Bill looked over as Percy walked down a side street. "Problems with dad?"
"He's had a bad day. Said something about a damning picture of George and it's making his blood pressure climb."
"I saw that one," Xander said grimly. "I'm heading there next." He smiled sweetly at Percy. "Come on, I want to do this and you have lots of work to do." He walked on, not noticing that Bill and Percy shared a look behind his back. They followed Xander into the bank and to the manager's office.
"I want to set up a vault for any children in my family for school needs and emergencies," Xander was saying as they walked in. "All the Weasley clan, and any that they adopt."
"Harry's kids don't need it," Bill pointed out.
"Or Draco's," Percy agreed.
"Shush." Xander turned back to the goblin and smiled. "Please."
"You didn't want the settlement?"
"I don't want to think about what I went through there. Every time I said something, the sum kept getting higher. It's distressing."
"Of course it is, Mr. Harris-Weasley. Which key did you bring with you?" Xander handed it over. "All of it?"
"Just a quarter should be fine," Percy said quickly, patting Xander on the shoulder before he could open his mouth. "By the time the children are ready for school, the interest should have grown greatly."
"George said I could turn over half," Xander told him, giving him the begging look.
"No, Xander, because you don't know how much helping William will cost. You could need a house to hide us all or something."
Xander snorted. "We have one of those, it needs more work, but it's going well."
Bill shook his head. "You and your emergency plans."
Percy looked at him. "I was sure you had one as well."
"I did, when I was in the field."
"And now you deal with people who are getting death threats," Percy pointed out.
Xander poked him on the stomach. "Draco will rescue him and send him to us so we can hide him if necessary." He looked back at the goblin, who had the most amused look on his face. "Family," he noted.
"I've never seen a more entertaining family." He quickly found the paperwork he had started earlier and handed it over. "Is that suitable?" he asked. Xander read it and nodded. "Then we'll take you down so you can take out however much you want to add to this new vault." He looked at the two brothers. "You as well?"
"If we're hauling, we should have Charlie here," Bill said dryly. "He hasn't hauled in a while."
"Good point," Percy agreed with a smile. "Xander, can you do one of those thought stream things and find Charlie? I heard he was in town for a conference or some such."
"He's in Devonshire with a former coworker for his wedding," Xander told him, grinning. He zapped Charlie, waking him up. He told him what was going on and asked if he wanted to help. Then he giggled. "Charlie's still in bed and said he's too naked to carry anything, but he'll meet us in a while for lunch."
"We can wait, right?" Bill asked. The goblin nodded. "Then we'll wait. Or we'll go down and get some money out so you can see how much is in there and then we'll plan." Percy squeezed Xander's shoulder until he nodded. "Good. Then let's do that. We'll even get you something funny. Something your adopted son will hate."
Xander grinned. "Really? I can have a print robe?"
"If you'd like," Percy agreed, mentally cackling with glee. He wanted to be there when Draco saw it. "Come along, we'll do it this way, that way Charlie can help us haul the gold around."
"Okay." Xander stood up. "That's okay, right?"
"Yes, Mr. Harris-Weasley, just fine with us. Most of our hauling carts are busy anyway." He watched as the family left then put his head down on his desk. That man was aggravating. At least the goblins working down there wouldn't get bad backs from this transaction. That had to be a positive to this situation. There always had to be a balance on the ledger.
Xander looked up as Madam Malkin walked up to him. "I want something fun and cute," he said, holding up the robe he liked. She winced and shook her head, taking him away from the day-glo blue robe, leading him over to the less hideous section instead. "But I liked that one," he told her.
"I'm sure you do, but it would glow in the dark," she told him, patting him on the hand. She looked around. "No Mr. Malfoy?"
"Nope, and I want to get something to make him wince," he said happily. "So I'll need something for him as well."
"Of course you will." She let him look through the large print rack, watching as he picked out two robes that were probably for him with the colors. She noticed his eye kept going back to the blue one and shook her head. "We have a much better one," she assured him. "I once thought your husband had sent it to us actually." Xander's face lit up. "This way, it's an original." She pulled him to the stock closets and pulled one out. It was a brilliant grass green, with silver trim which lit up and was done in the softest silk. When she moved it into the light, it started to change colors with the rise in temperature. "It's like one of those muggle mood rings," she told him. "The trim will always be silver and it's charmed to light up whenever touched by any skin." Xander beamed. "Do you like it?"
"I *love* it," he told her. The door opened and Charlie walked in. "What do you think about this one for Draco?" he asked.
Charlie looked at the robe and winced. "He'll kill you, Xander."
Xander cackled. "Not if his kids like it." He handed over his two new robes and let her ring him up. "We're going to move money after lunch."
"If you're buying," Charlie agreed, starting to smile. He saw something he'd been looking for and went over to check out the jacket.
"Nope. Don't even."
"Why not?" Charlie asked. He looked at Xander, who was smiling. "Fine. Who's getting it?"
"I can't tell you that, but it's not me." Xander paid the wonderful woman and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "I'll be back tomorrow probably. His kids will love that one."
"I put it in a gift box," she assured him.
Xander grabbed Charlie and took him with him to Fred's former girlfriend's restaurant, meeting Percy, Arthur, and Bill there. "He liked the one I picked out for Draco," he said with a smirk as he sat down. Elizabeth waved from the kitchen and he waved back. "I'm glad she still likes us."
Percy looked at the bag. "What did you get, Xander?" The bag was handed to him.
Xander looked at Arthur. "Would you like to come with me to fix that picture?"
"No, son, it's not that bad. No one believes it anyway." He patted Xander on the hand. "Please don't destroy them."
"I wouldn't do that, I'm simply going to make my feelings known." He smiled again. "Are you going to help us carry?"
"Xander, you don't have to."
"Yes, I do."
"No you don't, Xander. It's fine, we can afford to send all the grandchildren through school if something happens."
"Yay. I don't want the money. Deal with it." Arthur wisely nodded, he could see a pointless argument when he ran headfirst against it. "Thank you." Xander looked over at Percy's stunned look. "What?" he asked innocently.
"Never wear either of those around me. I may not keep up with fashion, but it would make me look hideous next to you." He handed the bag back after Bill had checked it out.
"You mean the other two were for him?"
"I like them," Xander told him, grinning as the waitress brought them drinks. "Can I have a beer?"
"No. You have an appointment tomorrow," Percy reminded him gently. "They'll be taking blood."
"Good point. An iced tea?" The waitress rolled her eyes but went to get it for him and a glass of water for Charlie. "What are we eating for lunch?"
"One of those assortment trays," Bill told him. "Calm down, Xander. Everything's good. Even George will be pleased with the present." Xander relaxed.
Charlie slung an arm around Xander's shoulders. "He said I couldn't get a new jacket."
"No, you can't," Bill agreed. He smirked at the shocked look. "Xander found the shopping area for his type and I found you something for your birthday."
"Wonderful news. How did you get in?" Arthur asked.
"Draco drug me and Ron along," Bill said, sipping his mixed drink. "The leather shop owner was expecting him and Ron to come in and get outfitted for fighting as well."
"I got a new outfit like my old hunting one," Xander told them. Percy shook his head. "I look good in leather."
"Yes, you do," Bill agreed, nodding. "If I liked blokes I'd have taken you away from George in that one black set you were wearing the other day."
"Do you know someone nearly staked me the morning after we got back? I was in the same outfit we left in and my new cloak. I even came in from the outside. She thought I was a vampire."
"Did you hurt her badly?" Charlie asked.
"I broke her wrist when I took the pencil from her and got her in the stomach when she charged me." Xander shrugged. "Not too bad. Easily fixed and she apologized as soon as she got free of Madam Pomfrey." The sampler plates were put on the table, along with a big tray of Xander's favorite pasty nibbles. "Thank Elizabeth for me," he told the waitress, giving her a smile. She blushed and headed back to the kitchen. "So, eat," he said, handing Bill one of the pastries he was reaching for. They ate it all, talking about the kids and various jobs during the meal. Finally, Xander burped and pushed back. "I'm full."
"If you get sick on the ride down to the vault, I'm making Bill paddle you," Percy told him.
"Not me?" Charlie asked.
"We'll need you and father to hold him," Bill told him, winking at Xander. "Tip?"
"I've got the bill, you guys leave a good tip." Xander picked up the check and patted himself down, then looked around his seat. "I had money on me."
"Do you still have the key?" Arthur asked. Xander patted himself down again and shook his head. "Then let me get lunch."
Xander pulled his wand and frowned, then summoned his key and his money pouch. The pouch was distinctive because of the embroidery on it, and the key had a unique number so he didn't get anyone else's. He settled the bill and stood up, weighing it in his hand. "It's emptier than it should be." He shrugged and put it back into his robe pocket. It dropped out.
"At least it wasn't stolen," Charlie offered, taking the bag and the key from him. Percy took the key from him and put it into his own pocket. "Fine, be that way then."
"This way Xander can't get into it again today," Percy told him, patting him on the back.
The waitress came over and found a thirty percent tip, which made her smile. The bill was a knut short so she kicked it in from her tip, but that was still a great one. Elizabeth smiled at her and shook her head. Apparently they were that way.
Xander led the way back into the bank, and the manager smiled at him. "Even more help, a wonderful thing. Are you ready?" Xander nodded and burped again. "Did you need something for that?"
"No, it'll settle," Xander assured him. "It's just the air in the bottom of my stomach being pushed out of the way." He followed the goblin down to the new vault, wincing when he saw all the money.
"A third to a quarter, Xander," Percy reminded him.
"There's no way this is normal," Charlie pointed out.
"They gave him money to settle the debt over what happened to him when he was burned," Arthur said gently. "There's another two." Xander looked at him and shook his head. "Yes, there is. George gave me a set of the keys for safekeeping yesterday. He was just as shocked as you are, son."
"Okay, I want to be able to walk in there," Xander decided, looking at all the gold. "Since there should be grandchildren in a few years, it'll be welcome." Arthur groaned. "What?"
"Who would be having children at that age?" Arthur asked.
"Melvin and Andrea," Xander said firmly. "Then probably Ana next, or Ravenna and Ron, then Iggy in another nine years. Plus Simone and Denver sometime by then. We're going for the fifty year record, you know that."
"Fifty year record?" Charlie asked as he loaded up the bag in his hand. "Hey, Xander, can I borrow a few hundred to get a whole new wardrobe? Big Red clawed mine up last week."
"Charlie!" Arthur said sharply.
Xander looked at him. "Only if I get to dress you," he said with a grin. "Leather or do you need dragon hide?"
"Wearing dragons around dragons tends to piss them off. Which is why she got me the other day. I had a dragon patch on my jacket and she ripped it to shreds."
"Are you all right?" Bill asked, visibly shuddering. He had gotten as close as he ever wanted when he had been attacked.
"Yeah, fine. We stunned her before she got to my skin. Made it through my old jacket, my pants, and a few rips in my outer shirt."
"Sure," Xander said, smiling at him. "I'll take you with me tonight. I *need* that chainmail."
"I'm sure you do," Percy agreed lightly, smiling at his family. Xander was so very predictable sometimes. "Let's do this quickly. Arabelle is holding down the office for me today." He dumped one bag behind him and it was loaded into an extra cart. The cart took off. "Well," he said, watching it.
Their cart goblin and the manager shook their heads. "It will be in the vault," the manager said, pointing his finger down the tracks. The goblin was now regretting that problem of his. He watched as an inroad was made into the vault, smirking when Xander wanted to take more but everyone protested. He accepted the order to take another 'thousand or two' from the vault and add it over with a curt nod, then led them to the other vault, watching as the cart goblin opened it and the bags were floated inside by Percy. Very nicely done. He handed the relevant paperwork and the keys to the male head of the family, then left them at the bank upstairs. Xander had taken more with him, he had a large bag in fact. What an amusing set of humans.
Xander drug Charlie into his new favorite place, the leather shop, then smiled at the clerk, who came over to hug him. "This is my brother-in-law Charlie and he works with dragons," he said. "One of them tried to eat him recently."
"Of course!" the clerk said, sitting Charlie down after measuring him. "How much does he need?"
"I only get a trunk of stuff at our dorms," Charlie told him.
"I'm sure we can find what would work best. Do you wear those muggle jeans?"
"A lot," Charlie agreed. "They're tough and don't need constant care."
"Ah, a sensible man even. Xander, try this one," he said, handing over an outfit. Xander went into the changing room. "Let's see. You're taller, and broader, but more muscular." He picked out a few pairs of pants, then a few shirts, and then a purely fun outfit, handing them off. "Try those on." He let Charlie into a changing room. "Xander, how many more brothers do you have?"
"Percy won't wear leather. You met Bill, Ron, and George. Fred is George's twin, plus there's Ginny," Xander said before coming out. He tugged on the jacket, then shook his head. The clerk shook his head as well. "Plus there's the adopted family of Harry."
"Harry won't wear leather either," Charlie called from his dressing room. He came out. "I think they're a little loose."
"They'll shrink about a size when you first wash them," the clerk told him. "That should be perfect after you wash them. Remember to wear them for a few minutes to loosen up the weave before you leave the house." He hustled Xander back in to get changed and went to find him some of the new hunting clothes. That boy was built well enough, he would fit elven clothing. He handed over a few outfits to each of them, taking the discarded suit from Xander back to the rack. He whistled when he saw Xander emerge from the dressing room. "My, that suits you well."
Charlie came out and stopped to look at Xander. "Damn. I want to look like that in any outfit."
Xander beamed. "I'm cute."
"It's a good thing you're married," Charlie told him. He looked down at his own outfit. "Are they too loose?"
"No, those are just right," the clerk assured him. "Try on the others."
"Fine." Charlie went in and came back out with that fun outfit on, eyes wide. "I look like I'm selling myself."
"Ooh, I like," Xander said, pinching the tightly woven shirt. "And it's as hard as armor."
"It's got some kevlar woven into it," the clerk told him. "It's nearly bulletproof."
"For working with dragons, I like that idea," Charlie told him. "Got any more?"
"Of course. If those suit you, I've got that same shirt in a few colors. Let me pull some down for you." He looked at Xander, who nodded and went to try on the other outfit. "Are you walking around with him?"
"Definitely. George would get pissed if I let him get taken." Charlie smiled and went in to look at the other clothes, handing out the elven ones. "I can't wear that look, I look like I'm a giant oaf. It seems to enhance every fault I have."
"Elven clothes often do that," the clerk agreed, going to get him more of the kevlar line. Xander came out in a different, pale cream outfit and he had to wipe off some drool. "I like that one on you."
"Me too," Xander said, turning to look at his butt in the mirror. "I'm taking all those."
"Xander, you just bought clothes."
"Yeah, but this way we won't have to do laundry as often." Xander smiled at Charlie. "What do you think?"
"I think I'd better find myself someone for the night," Charlie said honestly.
Xander giggled and took the tags off, handing them over with some money. "He'll take whatever fits him."
"Good enough." The clerk rung them up and handed over the small amount of change. "Zora has something new in if you wanted to stop and get a treat."
"I was headed that way anyway. I saw some chainmail that I adored," Xander told him, taking the bags. "You look good in that, Charlie. Come on. Come see my new armor."
"Xander, you don't need armor," Charlie sighed, but he followed him. The joke shop was enlightening and the woman at the counter purred at him, telling him he was as cute as Ron was. The armor shop was nice, but a little dusty. He did manage to keep Xander away from the chainmail, but he couldn't stop him from buying a new weapon. A multi-cartridge crossbow. Complete with already filled cartridges. How very Xander. They walked into the bookstore and he sighed in delight. It was wonderful.
Xander looked at the cashier, handing over the rest of the bag. "I'm bringing my son back, he'll be bringing him home." He winked and left, heading to steal Iggy. And Raena since they were together. He dropped them off and went to see the lovely ladies of his quidditch team. They drooled for him, it made him feel special.
To Part 8: