Date:Thu, 14 Feb 2008 04:25:28 -0000
Subject:[imaginings] If I may offer up a plot bunny..
I have an idea. Not entirely sure where it came from.. but here it is.
What if Xander and Sam Winchester were actually reincarnated souls. Xander was James Potter and Sam was Lilly Potter.
My idea is that someone, be it Willow (and can't we all see her making yet another magical mistake?) or a well meaning Hermione/Ginny, cast a spell to give Harry the protection of his family.
Lo and behold Xander and Sam appear to Harry.. and magical bonds form between them. Mate bonds between Xander and Sam.. and child bonds between Xander and Harry and Sam and Harry.
Needless to say Xander and Sam get the powers that James and Lilly had.. though I would like to see uber protective Alpha Xander as the father.
I think it would be cute, both Xander and Sam showing Harry how to use guns.. how to kill demons.. and Xander teaching Harry how to snark at the big bads.
If you really wanted to get funny with it.. you could have them all turn into some sort of demon/lycan clan/pride...
Harry as a young were lion.. the big floppy paws.. the cute messy mane.
Note: All Shadwmage's fault. The only way this works is if Xander was seventeen when he graduated high school, which is entirely possible depending on when his birthday was. Sam would be a few months younger. We moved HP cannon forward as well. So I guess that's how this one works out. Thanks to Loyde and Neverwill for the soul explanation when it was asked.
Hermione got frustrated with the insistence that Harry Potter, her best friend, had to go back to his miserable, horrible, muggle relatives who didn't give a bit of a care about him. She had to find something to do about that situation. So she was in the library after hours with Harry's invisibility cloak and a few other things. The books she needed on familial bonds wasn't in the restricted section and no one was coming in here tonight. Even Filch, the caretaker, had gone to bed for the night. Her own familiar Croonshanks was on the watch for anyone coming in here to check on the small light her wand was casting under the cloak. She finally found the section she wanted. It detailed what the protection of a family could do for Harry. She heard a polite cough and looked up at the Headmaster, taking off the cloak since he could clearly see through it and he was petting her cat. "They're not his only family."
"Lily cast the charm."
She sneered. "She never would have wanted him with that pair. Not if she loved her son. No mother would and if you're right and she sacrificed herself out of love for her son then she surely wouldn't have cast it on him." She stood up, taking her familiar back. "Other than that, they can't be the only family. There are distant cousins I'm sure."
"If you could find one I could see if the bond was present," he assured her. "We looked for years."
"Really? Before or after dropping him there the day after his parents died?" She walked off. She might be having a girl outrage moment but she'd be damned if she'd let that go on. Harry came back worse every summer he had to spend there. She had found a charm a few years back to find family members. She snuck in to put back his cloak and took some of his hair. Harry woke up, blinking at her. "I want to try something," she whispered. "Needed some hair."
Harry nodded. "Why tonight?"
"You'd have to leave in two days." He put on his glasses, sitting up to look at her. "It's to test for other relatives." His eyes lit up. "Join me in the Room of Requirement." She snuck back out and over to gather what she'd need and headed off to the special room. Harry joined her there once he was dressed. "Good." She put him in the center of the figure she had drawn. "This isn't our form of magic, understand, but it is very powerful. It's been used for centuries according to the book. Usually used to find other heirs to the family line in case of problematic estate heirs."
"To find out if people like Lucius Malfoy screwed around and had a little biter out of wedlock?" he asked. She nodded. "I doubt my father did."
"It can also tell cousins, Harry. Anyone of the blood." He smiled at that. "They can't *possibly* be any less decent than your aunt and uncle." She got to work casting the spell. It came up with a few distant relatives, so she wrote down the names that showed up suspended above Harry's head. But there was a small gold heart suspended as well. She frowned. The spell hadn't mentioned that. She touched it and it opened, showing two pictures that changed. "Oh, my God," she whispered. "It's real?" She cast the charm to see about those two. They were strong. They knew about magic. Neither was close by but that was a good thing in her book. She looked at Harry then cast the summoning charm on the small gold heart. Two explosions ripped next to Harry, one on either side. The two men that appeared wobbled but stayed standing, one reaching for a weapon, the other had a stake in his hand. "Gentlemen, calm down. I've summoned you because I had to."
"Why?" the one on the right asked. He shifted his grip on the stake. "And where exactly is here?"
"Why do you have a stake?" the other guy asked.
"Because I was on patrol and it's most useful in my life."
"A stake?" the other asked dryly. "Not a knife?"
That one stared at him. "If you must know, I live on a hellmouth and I was doing demon patrol," he said dryly, giving him a look.
"Dude, I hunt demons and spirits. We don't use stakes."
"Really?" The first looked confused. "Our vamps all go to dust with stakes or beheading."
"Ours from dead man's blood."
"Huh. Must be different species. You are?"
"You first," he said dryly.
He smirked, holding out his free hand. "Xander Harris, White Knight to the Slayer in Sunnydale."
The man swallowed, shaking his hand. "Sam Winchester."
"I've heard of your family. It's an honor."
"I was about to say the same."
Harry coughed. "Hermione, would you like to explain how two American demon hunters are my relatives?" he asked dryly.
"Easy, Harry, they're the reincarnated souls of your parents." They both stared at her. She backed up at that. They were scaring the crap out of her and the one with the stake clearly was going to use it on her if she did not explain quickly. She handed Sam the spell. "I did that to find his other relatives. The ones that have a blood bourne protection suck, to put it plainly. They're not fit guardians. Nor are they decent human beings. I've wanted to cast multiple spells on them for it. I went looking for relatives and you two showed up as the reincarnated souls of his parents." Xander stared at her. "You're his former father. The other was his mother." She crossed her arms. "If you can't protect him, can we manage to move the blood protection onto others of your family? I think we can," she finished patiently. Harry was gaping at her. "Quiet, Harry."
"You scarily remind me of Willow," Xander said, helping the kid up. "Hi, Harry. I'm Xander, this is Sam. Let's figure out what the wonder wicca here did. Okay?" Harry nodded slowly. "Are you a witch too?"
"I'm a wizard," he corrected.
"I'm used to nature witches and you're a witch even if you're male."
"Oh!" He nodded. "I've heard rumors about that but it's not practiced over here. It's nearly forbidden."
Xander snickered. "We'll see what Willow says." Sam choked back a laugh. "We will." He looked up. "Wills, 911, family style!" he called. A redhead woman appeared, giving him a look. He handed over the spell. "Talk with your younger clone there while Sam and I talk please? Then we'll figure some things out."
Willow nodded slowly. "Why?"
"Because apparently I'm the reincarnated soul of this one's father and he needs help."
"Okay then," she decided, looking at Hermione. "Let's talk, dear." She walked her off to talk to her.
"Is she going to yell?" Harry asked quietly. "She was trying to help me."
"She's more apt to slap her," Xander assured him, putting an arm around his shoulders. "Sam, I know you have family and a family demon."
"We do but we're hunting for it." He stared at Xander. He could feel...something from him. "Have we met?"
"No. Not that I know of. Ever been to Sunnydale or Oxnard? Those are the only two places I've been."
"No, I haven't." He swallowed, shifting closer. "You seem familiar, like I know you." Xander grinned. "Oh, shit, Dean." He called his brother's cellphone. "It's okay, I'm okay, it was a witch who needed help really badly for another kid. Well, since they're British I doubt you could drive to where I am, Dean." He frowned, listening to his brother rant. "Sorry! Not like I asked! No, apparently I have a son alive from my last life and I need to help him. I'm here with two of the Sunnydale crew, the ones that help the slayer." He pulled the phone away from his ear, wincing at the screaming.
Harry gave him a confused look. "Electronics can't work in the school."
"We're special and we commonly bend the laws of physics, probability, and reality," Xander said with a smirk. "What's after you?"
"Voldemort. Half the Ministry sometimes. The papers. A few of the other students."
Xander blinked. "Voldemort?"
"Their uber bad guy, was a ghoul and got brought back recently," Willow called. "Major Nazi wannabe."
"Huh." He nodded, looking at the kid. "How does he die?"
"Apparently I'm supposed to be able to do it. Don't know how. No one will tell me anything."
Sam blinked, looking at the kid. "They expect you to kill someone but won't teach you how?"
"Exactly," Hermione said, stomping back over there. She outlined everything she had told Willow, including what she knew about Voldemort and his current helpers. They both stared in open mouthed shock. Dean was hearing it too. Every now and then the phone groaned. Then she went on a rant about the Dursleys. Harry was mortally embarrassed but it had to happen. These ones would be such better guardians.
Xander blinked, then at Harry. "You'd have less troubles on the hellmouth, kid."
"I don't know about that," Sam said dryly. "I think we can settle for a few weeks and work on his skills, at least during the summer holiday." His phone ranted so he hung up on his brother. "Sorry, Dean's being a prick." He grinned. "We can help him."
"We're in our summer slowdown," Willow offered. "Why don't all of you come to us? We have apartments and things. Buffy's gone for four weeks to visit an aunt none of us knew about but who's sick."
Sam blinked. "That's not such a bad idea."
"How I get to America?" Harry asked.
Xander pointed at Willow. "Her?"
"Can she?" he asked her. This was very confusing and he didn't know magic worked this way.
She snickered. "I so can, Harry." She smiled and pushed Sam at Xander magically, making them stumble together and for some reason kiss. "Ah, the bonds the spell reawakened." She stared at Hermione. "There is a coven in Devon, England. Find them, young lady. You need tutored." Someone pounded on the door. "Am I clear?" She nodded quickly. "Do not make me come back."
"Good." She gave her a short hug. Then she smiled at Harry. "We need your stuff, don't we?" She concentrated and everything appeared, already packed, the owl in the cage. "That yours?" He looked then nodded. His wand was on top and he put it into his pocket. "Good, then let's go. Guys?" They quit kissing. "Now that your past lives are reasserting themselves, let's go?" They moved closer and she moved them all. Harry had one hand on his trunk and was holding the owl's cage. The owl ended up staying as they found out when they landed.
Harry blinked at the empty cage. "Hermione will send Hedwig to me I guess."
"Of course she will or I'll go spank her," Willow said. Harry gaped. She smirked. "What?" She walked off.
"Fair warning, Harry, that is witchly PMS," Xander said in his ear. "Just nod, smile, and don't let her do any spells on you. Okay?" Harry nodded. "Good. Wills, heading back to my place."
"Have fun." She waved. "Spike, go with Xander to make sure he's all right!" she yelled across the cemetery.
"You're loud enough to wake the dead," he called back. But he was heading that way. Not like he couldn't smell the blood too.
Xander handed Sam his spare stake. "In the heart, leave Spike alone, he's a group mascot," he said dryly. "I'll explain more later." He helped by picking up one side of Harry's trunk and they walked off together. His home wasn't that far away. There were only a few vamps in the way. Fortunately he had moved out of his parents' basement recently. He sighed as he walked in and they walked in behind him. "Good. Thanks, Spike." He closed the door and locked it.
"How did the wards go over?" Harry asked.
"Willow put them on the chain. So whenever I put on the chain it activates." He grinned. "Willow does the improbable for dinner. I do it for breakfast." He put the trunk down in the spare bedroom. "There you go. It's probably way late. It's eight hours difference to this one. So that means it's got to be four a.m. for you since it's eight at night here." Harry nodded, yawning some. "Go nap, Harry. Sam and I can talk for a bit." He nodded, going to do that. Xander looked at Sam. "Hi."
"Hi. What was with the kissing? I usually like girls."
"Probably the past life stuff. It's a new topic for me. We deal with other stuff instead."
"Huh. Us too." He shrugged. "Can I have the couch?"
"Sure. That'll work. We'll introduce Harry to Joyce Summers tomorrow. She's Buffy's mom."
"Does she know?"
"Oh, yeah. She's like an extra mom. She'll be freaking out about grandbabies." Sam smiled. "Need the shower?"
"Could, yeah." Xander pointed. "Can I borrow some sweats?"
Xander looked him over. "You're taller than I am. Let's try the sweat shorts." He went to get him some and a t-shirt, plus some boxers. "There, that do?"
"That's great. Thanks, Xander." He grinned and the boy went to his room to rest for the night and call around to find out a few things. Sam went to take a shower, coming out feeling less dusty from the intense traveling they had done. "Is there a ministry like his here?"
"Don't know. Then again, if there was, I'd expect them to have stepped in by now with the hellmouth going rogue now and then."
Sam grimaced. "You'd think, yeah."
"There's a school in Salem, we can find out from them," Harry called quietly.
"That'll work too," Xander said happily. "We'll do that tomorrow." He came out to talk to Sam. "We need to set custody and protection. The kid needs trained," he said quietly.
"Dean and I have worked with a few witches."
"I work with Willow and Tara. I'm having Tara work with him tomorrow. I love Willow but she's a bit...impulsive. Like his friend is. She's very 'magic cures everything' and Tara isn't. She was trained traditionally."
"That's fine," Sam agreed happily. "Dean should be here in about four days. We were in lower Texas."
"That'll work," Xander agreed. "Buffy won't be back for a month so we can let Joyce fuss. I learned from her."
"That's fine, Xander." He smiled at him. "Relax, whatever happens will. You and I have both fought a lot of bad things. We can help him."
"Yeah. We can." He smiled and took another kiss. "Call your brother back. He'll be worrying about where you are. If he storms in here I'll let Willow change him." He walked back to his bedroom, leaving a snickering Sam on the couch.
Sam dialed Dean, still laughing. "I'm okay and back on US soil. No, I'm not there. I'm in Sunnydale with Harry and Xander. Harris. White knight to the slayer Buffy." His brother whimpered. "Apparently in our last lives, Xander and I were the parents of a young boy named Harry. Harry has a destiny to kill an evil wizard and no one's taught hm how to do that yet. A witch in his school called us and we're going to be working on his training for as long as we can. Yup, we're here. Thanks, Dean. Sure you go swear. Though, I met Rosenburg and she seemed pretty nice. Chewed the witch that called us a polite new one." He laughed. "Good. I'd expect that. I'm here." He hung up and got comfortable, thinking about things. It'd do good to pass on what he knew and he could learn to like the quiet, shy kid. Especially since it seemed like the quiet and shy parts were because he was scared and uneasy about this. Like he was.
Hermione opened the door and smiled at the irrate Headmaster and caretaker trying to get in. "Harry's reborn parents have him. He's eminently safe. They're both hunters. The one witch the one called is very powerful. They're all powerful enough to get a cellphone to work in here." Dumbledore gaped at that. "So he's safe and they'll work on his protection." She walked off. Dumbledore grabbed her arm and she stared back. "What?"
"Where is he?"
"In America. With Sam and Xander."
"You gave your best friend, Harry Potter, to two strangers?"
"Who have the reborn souls of his parents? Yes. They're both demon hunters." He let go, going pale. "One works with a very strong witch. She showed up to bring them back to the United States. The blood bond was already forming. Their souls recognized each other. His recognized them. Now, if you'll excuse me I need to send Hedwig to him. For some reason she couldn't be taken right away. They tried but it didn't work." She walked off with the owl flying out to land on her shoulder. "Come along, Hedwig. We'll send you to see Harry." She smiled and let Ron write out a note to send with hers when she woke him up. She showed her the address. "Harry's here, Hedwig. Only got to Harry. Don't let anyone know where he is." The owl took the letter and flew off.
"Where is Harry?" Ron asked, looking confused.
"I found the reborn souls of his parents. The two men they were reborn as are both very strong, upstanding, demon hunters." Ron gaped, whimpering some. "Harry's with them."
"Mum will scream, Hermione."
"So will McGonagall but the bond's already been shown. The witch who came to move them to the Americas was very strong and she pledged to help Harry learn what he needed to know. She hunts demons as well. They were strong enough to make muggle technology work in the room of requirement." He gaped, whimpering again. "He's safe, Ron, and with good people who won't treat him wrong. Ones who might even help him win."
"I'm not getting between you and the adults. I don't need screamed at. You tell my Mum too." He went back to bed. This was too much for his brain. It hurt now. Poor Harry!
Harry woke up and put on clothes, heading to the kitchen to start breakfast. He found Xander in there drinking something from a mug. "Morning," he said quietly.
"Hmm," Xander said since his mouth was full. He watched Harry, then stopped him. "Harry, I can cook my own," he told him. Harry gave him a look. "Really. I cook for myself. Cook for yourself. Sam can cook when he wakes up."
"But nothing, Harry. You're not my slave. If you were I'd make you go shopping with the girls instead of them dragging me." Harry blushed. "Good. Now, make your own. I've already eaten. I've got to go to work soon." Harry nodded, fixing his own breakfast, putting back the extra things. Xander frowned. "Eat however much you want, Harry. Really." He finished his coffee and put it into the dishwasher, getting a horrified look. "What? Not like I want to do dishes." He grinned. "When you're done, rinse them off and put them in there. Three things for today. If Giles shows up, he's an older British guy, tell him everything you can. He's a good research person and he can find what kills Voldemort. He's a Watcher." Harry looked clueless.
"He can explain that to you if Willow doesn't. If Anya shows up, she's my girlfriend, just nod and walk away. Don't let her tell you sex stories, torturing men stories, or anything. You'll never hear the end of them. That's how she ended up being my girlfriend. She wouldn't go away. Third thing, if someone of your people track you down, American or British, have them come see me. Okay? I'm at the construction site on third." Harry nodded at that. "Good boy." He walked him over to the window. "That is third avenue. Go up ten blocks and you're at my site. Go up it three blocks, turn left, and go to the Magic Box if no one shows up by ten. That's Giles' shop. Take Sam with you. Give him the same warning about Anya. Good?" Harry nodded. "Then go eat like a normal teenage boy, Harry. I can afford food." He grabbed his stuff and headed out.
Sam looked over the back of the couch. "Give me another hour and we'll go."
"No thanks." He put his head back down. "I'll do coffee later." He let himself drift back off, enjoying not having Dean snoring next to him. Even if the couch was a bit short. Harry puttering in the kitchen didn't annoy him. When he got up the second time he took a shower and came out in a towel to borrow more clothes. He gave Harry a nod. "Go ahead. We're not the sort to tell you to not take a shower." He made some coffee and sipped a cup while Harry went to take a shower and clean up. Sam smiled, finishing his first cup and getting a second. He made himself some breakfast and ran the dishwasher once Harry was out of the shower. He looked at Harry's clothes. "Okay, two things, that's really baggy. Go borrow one of Xander's t-shirts. He won't mind. Secondly, we're near the desert and it's late spring. It's going to be roasting today so borrow a t-shirt." Harry blushed but went to get one, coming back in it. It was a little bit less big. "We've got to fix that. No way can you fight in clothes that big. Ready?" Harry nodded so Sam put on his sneakers and grabbed everything, walking out with Harry. The door was locked with his lockpicks and they headed off. "Which way?"
"Third, up three blocks, turn left, go to the Magic Box."
"Should I bark?"
Sam smiled. "You get the smartass from my big brother." Harry laughed. "Relax. It's just as strange to us as it is to you. We'll figure it out and beat the bad guy together." He walked him up there, taking in all the sites. "It's a pretty town for being the most evil place on the planet."
"Why is it evil?"
"Have you ever heard of a hellmouth?"
"Well, a hellmouth is a portal to the multiple dimensions that make up what most people think of as hell. It's basically a weak spot in the wall between the dimensions. The town has one. It radiates the power from the other side, which is bad, and draws bad things here. Things like vampires, demons, bad witches, that stuff."
"So it's like Defense Against the Dark Arts here?"
"Every day," Sam agreed. "Most of my kind of hunter won't even come into Sunnydale. It's considered too dangerous. The good thing about being here is that Xander works with what's called a slayer. She's destined from birth to fight the bad things."
"No, with normal weapons and super strength. The current girl, Xander's friend Buffy, is on vacation. Xander fights with her and so does Willow, the redheaded babble patrol from last night. They're big news in the community because girls like Buffy aren't supposed to have helpers. Then Willow and Xander jumped in." Harry moaned. "Exactly. She's the longest living slayer ever because they jumped in. From the rumors and hero worship by the *good* demons," Sam said, turning the corner with Harry, "Xander is her backup and planner. Willow does the same stuff you do but Xander does the same stuff Buffy and I do, like I do, meaning without special skills. Now, personally I think Xander's insane because he had a stake last night. Staking someone is like stabbing them," he explained at the confused look. "I prefer distance weapons. We were taught to shoot if possible and stake or stab as a last resort. Xander's people apparently don't use long distance weapons hardly ever. Which is why I think he's slightly insane."
Harry swallowed the spit he had. "How can you hunt these things?"
"The same way people have been since we started to walk upright and be bothered by demons, Harry. Someone has to. If you have a class on Defense Against the Dark Arts, it's the same thing your teachers probably do."
"Our teachers have been morons with one exception," he told him.
Sam laughed. "A lot of the big names in the business get that way because they take credit for other's work."
"Met one of those my second year. He's in a mental ward since his memory charm backfired."
"Ah. Yeah, there's that sort. I was surprised Xander had heard of my family. We've been demon hunters since I was six months old but I didn't think we were that well known."
"Wow. I, um, well, somehow I managed to defeat Voldemort when I was a year old. No idea how. It's what left me the scar and connected to him. He killed my parents but the killing curse didn't work on me for some reason. It rebounded or something."
Sam considered it. "They're supposing something your parents did saved you?"
"Yes and then there's a blood protection between me and my mum's sister. It's supposed to protect me, that's why I'm to live with her."
Sam laughed. "There's many protections blood can give you, Harry, but that's not one. Being here is probably going to shield you better. After all, if your bad guy knows where you are, all he has to do is set fire to their house."
"As far as I know he doesn't."
"Does your Ministry?" Harry nodded slowly. "Does he have people in the Ministry?" They stopped outside the shop and Harry nodded again. "Then it hasn't occurred to him, he's too arrogant to want to kill you that way, or he's too confident that you'll never be able to defeat him."
"I've met him in lesser ways the last few years. Not last year, but this year, a few weeks back. My first and second year too."
Sam looked at him. "That's arrogance. He wants to make it look like a fair fight, even though it's not. He's probably been nagged about being beaten by a toddler." He grinned. "Which is a good thing to do. Demoralizes his troops and makes them think about whether or not he's worth serving. Ready?" Harry nodded so they walked inside. The woman behind the counter started to say something. Then she stopped and frowned, looking confused. "Xander sent us."
"How do you know my orgasm friend Xander?" she demanded.
"Apparently in his last life he used to be married to me in mine and this was our son."
She let out a wail. "Giles!" He came rushing out. "Them! It's not right! He's mine! They can't have him!"
Sam grinned and waved. "Sam Winchester and Harry Potter, Mr. Giles. Xander told us to come brief you so we can help Harry with some training and research."
"You can't have Xander even if you were married to him in your last life," she spat.
"I like girls," Sam told her. "Chill. Before you stroke out." She pouted and stomped off. He shook his head. "Last night, a witch at Harry's school cast what sounds a lot like a paternity charm that's extended. It found out Xander and I are the reincarnated souls of Harry's parents. Harry has a destiny to destroy their bad guy, the same one who killed us last life, but no one's training him how to do that."
"Dear," Giles said, frowning. "That's a bad thing. How did yo get here, Mr. Potter?"
"Xander called her Willow?"
"Ah," he said nodding a bit and looking smug. "I know her. Very well."
"Hermione called them to help me. She didn't want me to go back to my muggle relatives since they don't really like me."
"I've heard that said around."
"Then can you clear it so the local Ministry won't be bothering him while we train him?" Sam asked.
"Yes I can," Giles assured him. "Though his headmaster is probably throwing an absolute tizzy."
"Hermione's lucky if her bum isn't blistered," Harry said dryly. "Ron's mum alone will do that."
"Best friend. Ron Weasley."
"Of Arthur's brood?"
"You know Mr. Weasley?"
"Through mutual contacts. Let's work on that for now and then we'll figure out if your evil problem is something we can help with, Harry. I dare say at the least we can help you learn more spells."
"Xander wanted Tara to work with him today, Mr. Giles. He said she was a classically trained witch and might be able to help?"
"She's a bit shy but a very strong witch in her own right." He called her. "Tara, Rupert. We have a young wizard here who needs to be worked with and Xander wanted you to do so. Are you busy today?" He smiled. "At the store, dear. Thank you, Tara. See you soon." He hung up. "Come along, boys. Harry, want some tea?"
"Please." Giles put on some water and sat down to get the full story out of them. Then he made a call and let Harry record a message through them. It was going to be an interesting challenge.
A tired looking middle-aged man walked up to the Ministry's phone booth entry and dialed to get down into it. He let his wand be scanned then he headed to the proper office. "Arthur," he said as he walked in.
"Steven!" He gave him a hug and pulled back to look at him. "Long day?"
"Rupert Giles, the present slayer's watcher, woke me early to let me talk to a young man he thinks you may know. A Mr. Potter."
He nodded, putting the tape down to let him hear the message. "Got it from Rupert and he put the boy on with me. He thinks someone's going to be throwing fits."
"More than," Arthur agreed. "They about called out a manhunt. I don't know what Hermione was thinking."
"She was thinking about saving her friend from some grossly negligent and evil relatives," he said dryly. "So said Rupert."
"Oh, dear. So she found new relatives?"
"According to what Rupert found out, she found the reincarnated soul of his parents. One of which is on his team. The other is another demon hunter. They've got the boy and he's safe. Rupert's agreed to help with his training; he does have some witches with him and can use magic himself. He's a sorcerer and accomplished in Nature and Chaos magic."
"Very. So he can teach the boy. He assured me the two with the soul issue are both very good. He watches over the one who helps his girl. He'll be safe there."
Arthur sighed. "I'll let them know."
"Thank you, Arthur. He didn't want anyone to worry. Especially your wife. He thought his friend Hermione might not be able to sit for a bit if she got her."
"Already happened," he assured him, getting a laugh back. "I'll the proper people know."
"That's what he wanted. He does not want agents showing up on his door to arrest him or the boys. They might get a bit...violent to protect the boy. He did warn me of that. They're very protective of him already. He said he cast to check the blood bond and it's present." Arthur gaped. "That means he's got blood protection."
"I'll definitely let them know."
"Good. Thank you." He shook his hand. "Call for lunch sometime soon." He left, going back to his office in the Watchers Council building.
Arthur went to break in on the Minister for Magic's news conference. He cleared his throat. "I've heard from a friend who's heard from Harry Potter," he said. The Minister glared at him. "He's safe. He's well protected and he's safe. The spell the witch cast found other relatives of a sort. It's been checked and the blood protections are already on them. They've agreed to help train the boy and protect him at least for this summer."
"Name your source," the Minister demanded.
"Harry himself. The boys who are watching him called a mutual friend and that friend recorded a message from him. He's getting to see some of the Americas and he's safe. They're going to teach him what they can and will be protecting the boy, even if someone of us comes for him. They've got witches near there and they'll be working with Harry."
"A mere witch?" he demanded.
"The witch in question hunts demons. She could teach Defense and do a good sight better at it than most of the last few could. Remus Lupin might even know of her. They ran in some of the same circles from what I've heard rumored."
"You know where he is?"
"A bit. Not fully. Nor am I going to tell you. The boy is safe and protected, even with blood protections, and no one can hurt him over there."
"You're certain?" a reporter asked.
Arthur nodded. "Quite. One of the people there is a watcher who knows magic as well. He did ask that I send him his summer homework. That way he could get it done."
Fudge growled. "How dare he."
"He wanted to be safe. The witch who cast it did it out of love and sympathy. He'll be fine and I dare say anyone who popped in who looked threatening would be toast." He walked off. The minister stomped in a bit later so he rewound the tape and played it for him, making him sneer. He called Dumbledore on his floo and played it for him as well. "He's safe, Albus. Very safe."
"How did you get that?"
"I have a friend who knows someone where he is. One of us who went to the Watchers Council. There's a Watcher there. He had the lad call so Molly wouldn't worry."
Dumbledore grimaced. "I do not like this. We don't know what they could be teaching him or letting influence him."
"The two boys are the reborn souls of Lily and James. I doubt he's getting into much trouble."
"I'll have the Americans get him back," Fudge decided.
"They might ask why we want him back," Dumbledore warned. "And why he left."
Fudge turned purple and left. "And don't you do it either," Arthur warned the headmaster. "He's safe and happy. He wants to learn from them. You heard him."
"There are coercion spells."
"Which Harry can throw off," he pointed out. "Since they have the blood protections they can't mean him any harm, Albus." He hung up and called Molly, letting her listen. She sniffed. "Albus is going to try to pull him back."
"I won't put up with that but I do want to hear from the boy in person."
"There might not be a floo, Molly."
"Fine, send him an owl."
She smirked. "I'll do that." She went to send him one with Ron's owl. Pidgewidgeon always had too much energy. Making it to the Americas shouldn't be any problem for the tiny owl. Before she sent it off a body appeared in her back yard. She grabbed her wand but the girl looked up and smiled.
"Hi, are you Molly Weasley?" She nodded slowly. "Then I've got a letter from Harry for you." She handed it over with a smile. "We can't figure out how to get a floo hooked up but he wrote it out for you so you wouldn't worry." She smiled. "On the back of it is the phone number there. It's international so you'll need that sort of plan to call I guess but he's safe and he said he'd write soon." She disappeared with a small crack of displaced air.
Molly sniffled, sitting down to read it. She smiled at it. Harry assured her they were both barmy but good men. They were going to protect him and teach him many things this summer. She wouldn't kill them right off but she would be tanning their hides when she found them. She went to the school and handed the headmaster the letter. "From Harry via a witch I didn't know. Though she looked like family."
"Do you trust this to be from his hand?" he asked her.
"Yes. That part for Ron was all Harry." She got a house elf up there. "Can you get Ron Weasley please?" It disappeared and Ron came back. "Letter from Harry, dear."
"Brilliant of him." He read it, smiling at the part for him. "That's Harry." His mother smiled. "We should use this to call off the manhunt."
"I will. Wanted to let you two have it first." She looked ta the headmaster. "Leave him there for a bit, Albus. The boy can get away if he needs to." She took it through the floo to the Ministry. She walked it into the new press conference, nudging a reporter she knew from school. "From Harry to myself and Ron." The reporter read it then made squeaky noises while waving it. The others read it and took pictures of it. She took it back and put it into her skirt pocket. "He's perfectly content to stay where he is for right now. No matter what anyone wants. If these two are good to him, let him stay since his aunt isn't."
She walked off, heading back to her house. Let them bother her adopted son! The Ministry would be ringing after someone investigated his home life. Dumbledore would be in for it too! She wrote a nice letter back and tied it to the owl's leg, sending it off. "Have a good trip, Pidge." She decided to make a steak pie for dinner and got what she needed to do that. The WWN station on the radio was showing an absolute uproar at the Ministry. Especially since one was calling to see why Harry's aunt wasn't nice to him. She smirked. "Take that," she muttered.
Giles got finished looking at the bonds among the three young men. He wanted to sigh in exasperation as a ranting female voice got louder. Then another one started to yell back.
"Shut up or I'm bringing whoever this past life is to the forefront so he's not Xander!" Willow yelled back. "I can't concentrate with you whining and moaning about him being yours! If you don't quit, I'm going to start complaining as his best friend!"
"Cute friends," Sam quipped.
Xander shook his head. "I hate it when they go together." He got up and went into the bathroom then came out to put the bottle of midol in front of her, staring her down. "Quit screaming. We can't concentrate either." He stared at Anya. "I haven't seen a collar and ownership tags yet, nor will I be. You're my girlfriend, not my slave owner." She whimpered. "So shut up, both of you."
Giles came out with the other two boys. "It's not often they rile Xander but when they do it tends to destroy things. If you three are going to fight, go into the alley."
"He's my boyfriend," she told Sam.
Giles shot an untipped crossbow bolt past her nose. "I said take it outside." She slunk off. "Xander?"
"I'm not having this fight. I'm not ownable." He looked at Harry. "You have better taste, right?"
"I haven't even kissed a girl," he complained.
"You're a fourth year, it's not expected of you unless you're desperate to carry on the family name or you're breeding for the empire," Giles said drolly.
"Someone might want me to breed more Potters but I have no idea about girls."
"No man ever shall," Giles assured him. "I don't and I'm much older than you." Harry smiled at that.
"And if you ever end up with a girl like Anya, run," Xander told him, cracking him up. "Okay, Giles, what do we know?"
"The bonds are there. They're fully formed between you two. I also checked on the small cage of the hyena taint your carry and she seems to like him as well. I dare say them showing up is going to be painful for someone." Xander nodded at that, crossing his arms over his chest. "For now, let's work on training the boy."
"We need to get him clothes that fit," Sam told Xander. "And me a spare outfit."
"You do look good in my clothes," Xander teased him, getting a smirk back. "You too, Harry." Harry blushed. Xander ruffled his hair. "It's fine. I have spares. We have thrift stores. We can even hit the demon thrift shop." Giles moaned, slumping and shaking his head. "He doesn't like me going there because last time I bought a possessed romance novel. Though Anya sold it for three hundred bucks and I only paid fifty cents for it." He smirked at the older man.
"It was still trash."
"Yes, but people like demon possessed trash." He looked at Harry, then at Willow. "Tara?"
"It'll be another hour."
"Cool. Then let's take him shopping for clothes." He walked them out, stopping at the bank. He had an account that was locked, had no debit or ATM privileges, you had to walk into the bank to get the money out of, and didn't have Anya's name on it. That way she couldn't dip into it. He withdrew a few hundred and took the boys shopping, manly style. Including teasing Harry about putting him in ugly seventies clothes. Which he didn't seem to mind too much about but Sam shuddered so it was still fun. The demon thrift shop was nice. It was clean, a bit dusty smelling, but nice. It had a lot of clothes. Some other things. Xander found Harry most of a working altar set as well as nearly new sneakers and a few other things. One box called out for him so he stroked across the top. "How much for the capturing box?" he called out in the demon language used in there.
"Three dollars," the owner called back. "Is there something in there?"
She shrugged. "Still the same price." She watched as Harry tried on things. "Get him some that are a bit bigger so he has room to grow. He should grow some this summer."
Sam frowned. "Not a language I understood, sorry, ma'am."
"She said give him some growing room," Xander said as he came back with a basket full of stuff. Sam looked then stared at him. "He'll need an altar set."
"Sure." He nodded. "What else is back there?"
"A lot but I'm not allowed in the demon weapons." He shrugged. "Or else I'd buy them all and give Buffy something to play with." Sam shook his head, going back there to look. He looked Harry over, then nodded. "When was your last growth spurt?"
"Don't know. Been a while."
Xander frowned. "Is that due to malnutrition?" Harry gave him an awkward, shy look. "Fuck." Harry flinched. "No, don't do that." He gave him a short hug. "We're going to see the demon healer in a few minutes. Sam?" He came out of the back with a few new weapons. "Presents?" he asked hopefully. "So much better than flowers." Sam smiled and handed one over. "I like you." He gave him a hug and they got Harry some things that were a bit bigger. "There. Now we can change your hand-me-downs out once we take these home and wash them." He brought things up and paid for them, stroking the weapon Sam bought him with a goofy grin. They left and Xander grinned at Sam. "Harry needs to see a doc."
"He's fourteen and can't remember when his last growth spurt was."
"Uh-huh. Do we have one in mind?"
"Yeah but it's at the demon clinic."
"Sure. Did we remember boxers or briefs?" he asked Xander.
"We can hit Wal-Mart later." He walked off again, Harry under his arm. "C'mon, son."
Harry looked up at him. "That is still really strange to me, Xander."
Xander grinned. "It'll loosen up, Harry. In a week you won't be able to tell you're not a Harris by birth."
"Why not a Winchester?" Sam asked, looking amused.
"Because you were the wife the last go round?" Xander teased with a smirk.
"I'm taller and stronger than you this time," Sam assured him.
"I doubt the last part but I won't argue taller." He smirked. "Remember, I work construction and use a sword more often than you do."
"Which is seriously f-ed up, dude. No distance weapons?"
"Well, yeah, but not since we had to use the artillery on the Judge in the mall."
Sam repeated that without sound, then shook his head quickly. "That's just wrong on so many levels, Xander."
"It's Sunnydale," he reminded him.
"Good point. I'll have to warn Dean about that." Xander gave him an evil smirk. "Sure, I'll even tell him that. He'll get a kick out of that story. He always wanted to get the little giggling things at the mall who try to pinch him."
Harry shook his head. "Um, isn't that wrong or at least illegal?"
"Yeah but you'll have to meet Dean to understand him, Harry." He put his arm over the boy's shoulders as well. "You'll get used to Dean. We've been hunting demons since I was six months and he was four."
"I started just before sixteen," Xander told him. "Speaking of, want to learn how to fight?"
"You can?" Harry asked.
"Yeah," they agreed in unison.
"Xander can show you how to use a sword. I can show you how to use guns, though Dean is better."
"I can use one; they're impractical around here," Xander defended.
"We can spar to see who gets to teach him self-defense and then gun stuff," Sam decided with a grin. Harry let out a small whimper. "We won't let you be in danger, Harry, but this could help you protect yourself."
"Could get me in trouble when I punch Malfoy in the nose for being a prat too," Harry pointed out.
"No, guys like him are why pranks were invented," Xander said with a grin. "Nothing says 'you're an asshole' like having the life scared out of you."
"There's a set of pranking twins in the school already."
"You can get ideas from them I'm sure," Xander said with a grin, getting one back. "We'll work on that while Tara works on spell stuff. Maybe you can do both forms of magic."
"There's more than one form?"
"Oh yeah," Sam said. "There's your sort, Willow's sort, pure Wiccan magic, chaos magic, a few different blends of magic together depending on where you are in the world and who colonized your part. There's some that's more religious than not."
"Chaos is fun, yet can be dangerous," Xander told him. "It's why I have the memories of a soldier, thanks to a Halloween." Sam gave him an odd look. "A chaos sorcerer charmed the costumes so we'd become whatever our costume was. Buffy became an airhead. A seventeenth century airhead." Sam snickered. "At another time he put a mind youthening potion into some candy bars the band was selling. Turned Giles and Buffy's mom into mental teenagers again. Punk Giles was kinda fun." He grinned at Harry. "Willow uses a blend of magics, her own special blend, but Tara's a straight, traditional Wiccan, which is a good place to start from and explore from there if you have the gifts. Beyond that, she's nice, she doesn't do magic for every little thing, and she's sweet. She's also shy and stutters. She shouldn't make you uncomfortable or you her. She's Willow's girlfriend," he offered with a grin.
"That's fine with me," Harry said, nodding some. "I don't care who shags who as long as it's not in my face."
"Good," Xander said with a grin. They walked into the apartment and Xander pulled Anya off the couch and tossed her out. "I'm still not your pet." He slammed the door and grinned at Harry. "Go ahead and change, Harry. We'll put the rest of the stuff in a thrift shop." Harry nodded, going to do that. Sam walked off to call Dean and turn down the soap opera playing. Xander got a soda from the fridge. Harry came out with one of the plastic bags full. "We good?" Sam said bye and hung up. "Cool. The place on eighth and the demon one are both on the way so you can donate to whichever." He walked him back out, letting Harry drop the old, huge clothes at the demon thrift shop. Then Xander walked Harry into the demon clinic. He coughed and the receptionist gave him a horrified look, backing away slowly. "You don't have bad people today. This is Harry. I need an Arbrith to look him over for general well being and all that."
"My last life's son."
"I see." She nodded and went to get the healer, who came jogging out. "Him, sir."
The huge demon that looked like it had breasts even if it was male, bowed to Xander, who bowed back. "Is he unhealthy?" she asked in English. Xander explained what he thought in the common demon language he knew. He nodded quickly and walked them into the back to a room. "Sit, please," he ordered. Harry sat on the table. "He's how old?"
"Fourteen," Harry said.
"A good age." He smiled. "It will not hurt."
"No blood work?"
"No, none needed. I can read blood and tissue." Harry blushed. "I can have them leave if you wish."
"No, they're fine." Xander took off his shirt and turned around, looking back at Harry, who nodded he understood what the scars he had meant. Xander put back on his shirt and sat down again. The healer looked at Xander. He shrugged back. Harry smiled. "He lives with this really loud bint now."
"I know of her," he assured him, giving him a look. "One such as Anyanka tends to drive one nuts."
"I had to toss her out earlier because we had the 'I'm not a pet' discussion," Xander told him.
He laughed. "Many would wish. You would set a good price and your pups would be well loved as well." Sam growled so he smiled. "I meant no harm. There are those who would pay dearly to have him as their own." He turned and put his hands on Harry's head, reading his whole body. On the table a scroll appeared and started to write down arcane symbols. He pulled back to read it, then looked at him. "You need nutrition help."
"I'm okay while I'm in school," Harry told him.
He looked at him then at Xander, saying something in demon. Xander smiled, looking at him. "Earlier nutrition was bad so you're not growing as you're supposed to. He wants to put you on a special Spongara protein shake. That's a special, high protein, low fat mushroom. They taste like crap but it can help your body heal and possibly catch up to where it should." He said something else. "Or he could try to heal the tired muscles and bones he can feel, but that could keep you shorter than you should be."
"If he tries to heal him will the shakes help?" Sam asked.
He shook his head. "No, I can heal overtop of the shakes but it would seal off fixing that problem when I'm done. He won't grow much more. About your height, Knight." Xander nodded he understood that. "Perhaps a few inches less if I heal but his body is too tired to grow as it should at this moment."
"Are they expensive?" Harry asked.
Xander looked at him. "Not that much."
"I have some money in the bank," he countered.
"Harry, hush," he ordered. Harry slumped. "I can do it. It costs less than Anya going shopping with Buffy." The healer snickered at that. "It does." He grinned at Harry. "Up to you but without it your body's still tired and falling behind."
"Are we talking overnight growth?"
"No, normal growth once your body adjusts and soaks up what it needs so it's no longer tired," he told the boy. "Did you battle recently?"
"With Voldemort in a cemetery after some Death Eaters raised him," Harry said quietly. The healer wobbled and Harry grabbed him. "Easy, he's still over there."
"If you have information we could use it," Xander said casually with a grin.
The healer looked at the special boy. "I know not the other one," he said calmly, "but this one and the one he helps protect have beaten many things and they can teach you much, even if it seems not to be appropriate or necessary. Many times has this one saved everyone by doing something stupid. It is said that if he favors your side and fights with you, then you shall not lose, even in the most dire of circumstances."
Harry smiled. "I like him even without all that."
The healer beamed. "Good. He needs more who like him without that. And a better girlfriend because I can feel the exhaustion from here." She gave him a look.
"Really? It's been four days since Anya and I played," Xander said dryly. "Though she is still walking funny." The healer giggled and blushed. "She asked and I did it for her. Totally her idea." He stood up. "Which way do you want to try, Harry?"
"Do they taste worse than a potion?"
"No," Xander said, shuddering. "They taste like bitter cotton candy."
"Then can we try them for a few days?" Harry asked.
"It'll take about a week to show real improvement you can see in a mirror," the healer cautioned. He nodded at that. "If they do not work within two weeks, I will heal it instead." She went to get him some of them, handing them to the one she didn't know.
"Take one now," Xander said. Harry took one, shaking it slightly before opening it and drinking it. The disgusted look was comical but the healer's new test said they were working. "Good. C'mon, Sam. Thank you." She bowed and he bowed, so did Harry. "C'mon, we'll have the Harris vs. Winchester sparring match." The healer gave Sam a look then backed away slowly.
"What?" Sam asked with a grin.
"It is said you are one who was tainted and called by a Higher."
"Really? Wish someone had told me that," Sam said dryly. "Can you send Giles anything you know about that?" She nodded quickly. "Thank you." They walked out after Xander said something else in demon. Xander paid the twenty dollars for the visit and they left. "Low co-pay."
"They know most of the demons here work crappy jobs." He put his arm back around Harry's shoulders. "Let's make sure Tara's there." Harry smiled and nodded at that. "Good."
"Did you tell her to turn them into CPS?" Harry asked.
"No, to tell Mr. Weasley since you knew him. If something needed to be done, he can do that in whatever way the world you live in works." He gave him a look. "Before I go and burn them out." That got a nod and a small smile. They walked back into the magic box and a blonde young woman jumped up. "Easy, Tara. Unless Willow goosed you?" She blushed, shaking her head. He grinned. "Harry, this is Tara. Tara, this is Harry. I'm sure Willow babbled about him already." She nodded. "Good. He's got the special mushroom protein shakes if it makes a difference."
"It..it..it shouldn't," she stuttered.
Harry walked closer. "No need of doing that. I'm not scary unless you're Draco Malfoy in disguise." She gave him an odd look. "Are you?"
"I've heard of him," she whispered.
"I go to school with the blighter, Tara. Whatever you heard is probably less than the truth." She ducked her head. "So unless you turn into him, we're good." She smiled. "Xander, what am I doing?"
"She's going to search for other forms of magic," Willow told him, coming out of the back. "That way we can see if you can do wandless magic or any other form of wanded magic. Then we can work on teaching it to you." She beamed. "I remember the 'shroom shakes."
"Harry needs them," Sam said, putting them down. "Xander and I are going to spar for the right to teach Harry self defense. Should we hit the alley?"
"Buffy has a practice space set up," she said cheerfully. They nodded and headed in there while Tara got Harry back into a quiet corner to work with him. They'd be fine and Tara would gain a lot of confidence in her own magic by teaching him. Her squeak a few hours later made her go back there. "Hmm." She looked at them. "Lots and lots of possible magic."
"Quite," Giles said as he joined them. "I see chaos, necromatic? Have you been playing with dead things?" he asked.
"The scar on my forehead links me to Voldemort," Harry told him. "He was a ghoul or something before his people brought him back a few weeks ago."
Giles frowned, settling down next to Tara to weed out what was the boy's and what he was borrowing. "Yes, well, that looks much less scary to teach. It seems you do have a gift of chaos magic and wandless natural magic, like Tara does, but you can also use another form of wanded magic if taught properly." Harry blinked at him. "It's a demonic form but not harmful and really not that hard to learn. It was created by those demons who created the early civilizations, before the wars tore the demons apart and they turned into a raving horde without manners or much thought." He stroked down the boy's messy hair. "Not that hard to teach you and a lot of protection if you could master some simple things."
"Can it help me block him out of my head?"
"Indeed, we can do that," Giles said firmly. "As I taught Buffy, I can teach you." The boy beamed. "It's not that hard."
"Occulmencary is hard. It's very hard to hold up a shield."
"Dear, if it is, you're working against your mind," Willow assured him with a pat on his back. She heard the door jingle and went to look. "Hi, Joyce. What's up?"
"Xander said I had to come meet the new Scooby."
"He's back here working with Tara." She led the older woman back there. "Harry, this is Joyce Summers, Buffy's mom. She knows about all this stuff and helps her daughter and us whenever she can."
"She makes great cookies," Xander called from the practice area. "And she wanted a son. She said so."
Joyce smiled in that direction. "I have you for a son, Xander." He came out to give her a hug. "Why are you bleeding, young man?" she demanded, tapping a foot while checking him for other bruises.
"Sam and I are sparring to see who gets to teach Harry self defense. He's better than I am."
"I see. This...Sam?" Sam leaned out with a grin of his own. "Hmm. Well, you're cuter than Anya," she decided.
"Anya's about to be spanked," Xander told her. "She went on a 'you're mine' rant."
Joyce looked at him. "That doesn't surprise me, Xander." She stroked down his hair. "There, better. I'll get to know Sam later. Harry, would you like some lunch, dear?" He gave her an uneasy look. "Yes, my treat, and no, you can't say no. I'm the mother of the group and you're part of it now." She pulled him up and walked him off chatting about things to get to know him. She even told him about her daughter, which made him relax and admit a few things to her without having to outright say them. She hated the Powers that chose a child to do an adult's job.
"Sam, can you teach me that move you used?" Xander asked.
"Sure," he agreed, going with Xander to the practice area to show him a lot of things he hadn't known before. Clearly, someone was falling down on training here too. Though Xander did beat him with a sword, throwing knives, and crossbows.
Giles and Tara gathered books while Willow got the ones she had in her dorm room back for the son of the group. He'd be spending some time learning from them all she was sure.
Albus Dumbledore was not amused in the least. There was a smirking Minister for Magic and three other officials in his office at the moment with some scroll. "What, may I ask, does that scroll have to do with anything?"
"It's written in a code of some sort," the Minister said. "The only thing we understand is that it's about the Potter boy and somehow it lists his family as having been horrid to him."
"Yes, which you wanted agreed with," Dumbledore said, shocking him. "Or don't you remember ordering me to leave the Potter boy with his relatives. I thought it best that he be raised without the hoopla you all created around him but you thought they were just perfect muggles, Cornelius. If I remember right, you've even been to their home. Pretending to be some sort of salesman if I remember right." The minister went pinkish- purple in the face and neck. "May I?" The official handed it over. Dumbledore unrolled it and frowned. "We need a good translator. This isn't in a code, it's in an ancient language. We have books in it in the Archives at Oxford." He looked at them. "Do we have anyone?" The other officials shook their heads. "Very well then. Perhaps I could find one." He called Arthur Weasley. "Your friend in the Watchers Council, could you have them come to me about a matter that needs translating?"
"Of course. What needs it?"
"A scroll. Some sort of note about Mr. Potter's health we think."
"I'll get him right away." He glanced at the others, nodding at the WPS worker. "Do talk to Molly, Brigit. We've been there and keep rescuing the boy." He disappeared to call his friend.
The next morning's headline of the Daily Prophet read 'Harry Potter found alive, healthy, but undernourished from school meals' and no one was happy about that. But the ministry did get to stick its nose into something and complain about all the desserts the children got.
Harry looked up from his studying when the shop's door opened. "Hello."
"Hi," he said, looking around then at the boy. "Do you work here?"
"No, but I'm studying here and Sam's in the back."
"Psychic?" Dean asked dryly.
Harry frowned. "They exist?"
"Um, yeah. You are?"
"Harry Potter - as Xander put it, your almost nephew, kinda."
Dean snorted. That sounded like the stuff Sammy had said the guy babbled at him. "Okay. Would *you* like to tell me what's going on?" He wasn't going to yell at the little kid but he could demand answers.
"I've learned over the last few days that transforming me into something hurts like a bugger and taking Willow's fun away from her gets me changed into something reptilian. So, no." He smiled. "Willow, tell Sam he's got a visitor?" he called.
"Sam, he's here!" she shouted from the back. She came out to smile at him. "Hi, Willow Rosenburg."
"I've heard," he said, shaking her hand. "Since Harry said you wanted to tell me, can I have a short summary of what's going on?"
Willow led him off. "Sure, I can do that." She went into the whole tale, babbling it to him on the way back to the practice area. Sam gave her an amused look. "See, there's Sam. All safe and Anya-proofed since she thinks he's going to take Xander from her. Again." She patted him on the back. "Is Harry studying?"
"He was reading."
"Good." She smiled and went back to her book shelving.
"I would've told you more but taking her fun means I got turned into a bunny and a kitty. She pets very well though. You should try it sometime."
"No thanks, Sammy." He looked at the other guy, who was snickering. "You are?"
"Xander Harris, his husband in our last life."
"No wonder you have those chick moments, you were a girl in your last life!" Dean said, finally understanding it. Sam smacked him on the shoulder. "Hey! Quit touching the prettiness, bitch."
"Shut up, jerk, before I have Harry turn you into something. He's not great at it yet."
"He'd have to be a snake of some sort so I could still talk to him," Harry said as he came in. He pointed at something in the book. "I'm told they're mythical."
Sam looked then shook his head. "No, they're not. They're rare but not mythical." Harry nodded, going back to his studying. "Did Joyce want us for dinner tonight?"
"With him when he showed up," Harry said as he walked off.
"Cool with me. You wanna eat with the slayer's mom and all us?"
"She's on vacation and Joyce thinks of Harry like an extra son," Xander said. "She adopted all of us."
"Okay," he said slowly. "We needed adopted?"
"No, I needed some of my later artillery warehouse when I was Harry's age, but oh well." He gave him a look. "I promise I'll treat him very nicely."
"Uh-huh. We're still traveling."
"We can stay here for a bit," Sam offered. "They don't use projectile weapons very often. Usually crossbows." Dean gave him a confused look.
"Guns aren't as effective," Xander reminded him. "You tried to shoot the demon last night and what happened?" he asked with a smirk.
"It screamed and tried to take my head off," Sam sighed, shaking his head. "Then it tried to grope thanks to Anya."
"She does want a threesome. Said it's the only fair way to solve this dilemma she thinks we have."
"Stop," Dean ordered. "Please?" They looked at him. "From the top and slower than she did?" He knew he looked confused. Sam had that unholy look of glee that he got whenever he wanted to teach Dean something. Xander went over the whole story and he was babbling too. Sam went over it slower and more simply when he looked at him for a translation. He felt his forehead. No fever so he wasn't hallucinating this whole problem. "We're sure the blood bond exists?"
"Yeah. I'm still straight but I think tying Xander up would be fun."
"Anya would like it too much," Xander said dryly.
Dean rubbed his poor, aching forehead again. "We're doing what?"
"Teaching Harry," Xander said.
Dean looked at him. "What are we teaching Harry?"
"Everything because his school sucks ass even worse than Sunnydale's does," Xander said dryly. "They want him to defeat the bad guy and can't get competent teachers to tell him how to do that. They even employ one of the turned bad guys as a teacher and let him threaten, smirk, and damage the kids, plus try to lower Harry's already low self esteem. The only competent person there is apparently the nurse."
"Shit," Dean muttered.
"Yeah, and they're taking a kid who learns like I do and are trying to make him stupid, unable to do anything, but he has to defeat their bad guy that's even scaring demons. I'm *so* very close to siccing Buffy on him."
Dean blinked. "That'd be a bad fight if he's human."
"He's partially transformed into a snake."
"Never mind then. Will weapons work?"
"No. There's some sort of thing holding him steady on this plane and alive somewhat. That's why he was a ghoul before."
"If we can find them and destroy them, we can destroy him however we want to," Sam told him. "The main problem is that no one's giving information and they all think Harry was lying when he said the idiot was back."
Dean groaned. "So we're doing what?"
"Training Harry in all sorts of magic," Xander said. "Plus self-defense, weapons, and anything else we can do without Anya teaching him about sex."
Dean nodded once. "Why not?"
"He looked twelve."
"His relatives," Xander said simply. They had told him why the witch had called them. Dean nodded once. "So, sorry, but we need Sam for a bit. You can stay. We're on summer slowdown."
"Sure, we can do that," Dean decided. "For a bit."
Xander grinned. "Good. Giles, Dean is here," he called.
"I heard," he yelled back. He walked in and shook his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Dean. Your family's reputation is very well known among some of us." He smiled at Xander. "Is the lad supposed to be reading the demon magic book today?"
"Whichever one takes his fancy. We've given him the basics and wherever he wants to look he's good with us," Sam told him. "As long as he doesn't try to destroy the world or go to black magic."
"Have you made any other plans for the two of us?" Dean asked.
"Not yet but if you want her, Anya could be dumped by Xander and you're good enough I guess," Sam joked with a smirk.
"I'm more than 'good enough', Sammy. Or didn't you hear the last few brag?"
"Anya's in a special category of her own," Xander told him. "Including nympho and former demon." He wiped his sweat and tossed Sam the towel. "There you go, Hot Rod. Let's get the kid and go to the park?"
"Dude, isn't this the hellmouth?" Dean asked.
"Yeah, and?" Xander asked.
"Wouldn't that be dangerous?"
"Only at night and who said they're going to attack me?" he asked dryly, giving him a look. "As my ex said, as if!" He walked off. "Harry, quit staring at dusty and obscure knowledge. Let's go play in the park."
"Sure." He shut the books and carefully put them back before going with Xander to play in the sunlight.
Sam looked at Dean. "It's really the vampires you have to worry about, Dean," Sam said as he pulled on his overshirt. "C'mon. It's pretty for being so dangerous." He walked his big brother out, taking him to the nearest park to watch the boys swing.
Dean sat next to Sam in the park, looking at his little brother. "This is weirder and more fucked up than most Winchesters ever get," he said quietly.
"Yeah, but Harry's a good kid with a crappy fate. He needs us even if we weren't his parents in his last life." He looked at him. "He's having to drink special shakes because the demonic healer Xander found said his body was tired." Dean slumped. "We had to get rid of his hand-me-downs. He's got talents and skills but no one over there wants to deal with it beyond how he can fly."
"Yeah, they use brooms." He grinned. "Harry's got his with him. We were debating about being able to do that here because no one pays any attention to anything here."
"His people's CPS or whatever?"
"We're working on that." He gave him a shoulder nudge. "You've got to admit, if I had to pop up suddenly with a kid, he's a good one to have."
"He is. No diapers," Dean joked, giving his brother a look. "You'd better be glad Dad's gone or else we'd both be screamed at for this."
"Dad would go tear his school and headmaster apart," Sam said. "Every last bit of it. He'd have fun doing it."
"Yeah. That sucky." He smirked. "Their defense against the dark art teachers have been crap three-out-of-four years." Dean moaned. "That's who's supposed to be teaching him this stuff. His transfiguration teacher sounds like a hardass but she seems to give a slight damn. His potions professor is one of the former bad guys. He sneers, puts down the kids, looms over them to make them feel like they're idiots and then calls them idiots." Dean growled. "Some of the others are okay but the divination teacher keeps saying he's going to die. He's got a vendetta issue he's stepped in the middle of because his best friend is one kid and another pureblood snob sort is always on their case. Then again, the snob's father is a bastard and one of the bad guys." Dean shook his head with a sigh. "Xander thinks that the Ministry is going to try to cover up the bad guy being back. It has so far and the press is trying to eat him alive. So we'll see."
"How long are we teaching him for?"
"I may not have given birth to him in this life, but I feel like he's my son, Dean."
Dean nodded. "I get that. We can teach him how to shoot and all that stuff." Sam smiled. "Then what? He joins us?"
"He knows he has to go back to fight the evil thing. He's working himself up to kill him. He's a nice, gentle kid who isn't sure he can do what he has to do yet. Even though the bastard killed someone in front of him."
"Yeah, when they resurrected him."
"Wonderful. Anything else I should be aware of?"
Sam pointed at someone. "Yeah, that's a wizard. Harry's people wear a lot of Victorian clothes and it's too early for vampires." Dean looked then he smirked at his brother. "Be right back." He got up and walked over there. "Hi, Sam Winchester," he said with a smile. "Why are you watching my kid?" The man gave him a look and backed off. He smirked. "Keep going. Watch me get Xander." A dark blur pounced the man and brought him down with a growl. "Hi, Xander."
"Hi, Sam." He grinned down at the wizard. "Hi. Who're you?" he asked with a smirk.
"Um, guys?" Harry said. "Can you let the auror up?" He pulled Xander off him. "Good afternoon."
"Mr. Potter. The Minister wants you back on your home soil. Today. He does not think these two are good influences on you." He sneered at Xander. "No wand?" He got punched and went down, passing out.
"Don't need one." He shrugged. "Let's take him back to the Magic Box." They nodded and carried him off.
Dean gave them such confused looks because someone waved and said hi even though they were carrying a body. Harry gave him a nudge. "It's like that here."
"That's just...freaky," Dean decided.
"Hmm," Harry said with a nod. "You get used to it though." He got the door and let them carry the guy inside. "Mr. Giles?" He came out of the office. "An auror."
"Charming to meet him when he wakes up I'm sure." He gave the boys a look and Sam pointed at Xander. "I had figured that much," he assured him. "Do sit him up so Willow can chat with him." They did that and Xander went to get Willow while Harry and Sam went back to playing in the sunshine with Dean following to get to know his nephew. Giles smiled because the boys were ever so cute today. Harry had picked up on Sam's walk and was instinctively trying to copy it. Willow and Xander came out of the back and Xander left again. "Willow, dear...." He waved a hand.
She poked him until he woke up. "Xander is very protective of what's his. Since the blood bond protections are there, Harry is Xander's and Sam's. If you'd like to prove it you can. If you want me to tell you about what's been going on, I can. I would suggest you not piss Xander off about things though. He tends to growl and growling is bad for everyone."
"Willow," Giles chided.
"It is not." He looked at the man. "Good afternoon."
"You're one of us?"
"Rupert Giles, Watchers Council." The man went pale. He smirked a bit. "Watcher to the slayer Buffy. Xander is my girl's backup and helper. Samuel is a demon hunter. You're lucky. Very lucky." Both boys could have caused him serious harm but he wouldn't tell him that so the poor guy wouldn't be terrified of them.
"I see." He stood up and walked over. "The Minister said this is not a fit environment for the boy."
"How would he know? Has he been here?" Willow asked.
"Then how would he know?"
"He has relatives in his native country."
"Yes, and because of them, Harry has to take a protein shake so he can have normal teenage development." The man gaped. "How old did you think Harry is?"
"We all know how old he is," he snorted.
"Have you seen many fourteen-year-old boys that small?" Giles asked.
"Well, no, but his father wasn't a huge brute. Quite slender really if I remember right."
Willow nodded. "Harry hasn't had a growth spurt in two years." He moaned, slumping some. "Because of them."
"The Minister still wants him back on native soil."
"So he can make fun of what happened?"
"It didn't," he ground out.
Willow looked up then summoned a death eater. She had been preparing to do this anyway for Xander later tonight so she could get information. Then she brought him out. He had even been in the hood and robes. Was marked, all that. "Really? Then explain this one?" The auror made squeaky, fearful noises. "Uh-huh." She shook the man. "We wanted to talk to one of you anyway." She walked him off. "If you're coming, come on," she ordered. "We wanted information and you guys are idiots at the higher levels. We'll see if you are the lower too."
"Willow!" Giles complained.
She gave him a look. "What?"
"How did you summon him?"
"With magic," she said impatiently, giving him a look. "Welcome to the Hellmouth. I'm Willow Rosenburg, white witch to the slayer." The man passed out again. "Pusssucker," she muttered, floating him with them.
Giles moaned and called his friend. Someone had to stop the idiots.
They were having dinner that night, even though Dean felt a bit strange to have a 'mom' figure mothering him, when he looked out as the door opened. "Geez, mom, did you adopt a whole starving family?" the blonde girl complained as she walked in.
"Yes, dear, I did." She gave her a hug. "How was my sister-in-law?"
"Cranky over dad being a bastard. The usual. But she's more healthy now." She looked at the others. "Hi, Xander." He waved since his mouth was full. "Mom, did I get two really tall brothers and a younger brother?"
"Not quite," Sam said. He grinned. "You want the long or the short version?"
"I'll let Willow babble at me for the long version. Taking her fun means I get irritated with all the new pets in our dorm room."
Xander burst out laughing and nodded.
"We've learned that," Sam said with a grin. "I'm Sam and this is my brother, Dean Winchester."
"Like the demon hunters?" she asked, looking confused. They smirked and nodded. "Did we have a problem and had to call in help, Xander?" she demanded. "Because I would've come back sooner if you had told me!"
"A witch at Harry's school did a paternity spell and found out Xander and I are the reincarnated soul of Harry's parents. He needed help and we're teaching him," Sam told her.
"He's got a you sort of destiny but only one bad guy," Xander told her.
"Stupid Powers," she muttered, getting a pat from her mother. "Anya? Or is she freaking out."
"She kept going on rants about Xander being hers, not mine, and now wants to have both of us to prove it's going to be okay," Sam told her.
"Figures. It always comes back to sex with Anya." She looked at Harry. "But we probably should keep you two apart."
"No, I spanked her when she started on sex and torture tales with him," Xander assured her.
"Good! That's a good daddy thing to do," she decided. She sat down and looked at her mother, then at her plate, taking it to eat. Dean gave her an odd look. "She always feeds me. She's my mom and she was done anyway if she was talking."
"I let her get away with it once a month," Joyce told him. "Otherwise she gets swatted." She smiled at Harry. "I do believe those shakes are doing you good, Harry. You look a bit taller and more thick with muscle. Not fat though."
He smiled. "Thank you, Mrs. Summers."
"Joyce, Harry. If I can mother Xander, I can mother his son." Harry gave her a shy grin.
Buffy grinned back. "Welcome to the family." Harry grinned at her. "What sort of bad guy do you have?"
"Bad wizard," Xander told her. "He's a wizard. Tara's been teaching him and we've been letting him do the book thing all around the store."
"Good!" She smiled. "Tara's a good witch. Now and then Willow becomes the scary witch because of her temper but Tara's a good witch."
"She's been very good to me," Harry agreed happily. "I've learned a lot. Mr. Giles is even teaching me how not to turn into a prat with chaos magic."
"Even better." Buffy dug in. "Anything going on I should hear, Xander?"
"Nope. Patrol's been pretty clear. Sam and Dean use weapons when they hunt demons and spirits so Sam's been trying but I've been teaching him the approved methods while he helps teach me things in self-defense I didn't know."
"That's cool. That'll help when the frat boys hit on you this fall," she said dryly, smirking at him.
"Who says I won't hand them to Anya?" he shot back, making her choke. He gave her a look. "She's trying to insist on sharing me."
"She's wrong," Buffy said. "Sharing like that is wrong. You're not a t-shirt or a sword or a pair of shoes. It's wrong."
"Not always; it can be fun," Dean said.
Buffy blushed, shaking her head. "Still wrong even if it is fun. That's bad girl things like Faith did." Xander sighed and nodded. "You did not!"
She blushed. "You did?"
"No comment." He gave her a look. "Though, ask Giles."
"He did?" she demanded, giving him a horrified look.
"Good!" She beamed. "Because I knew my watcher wasn't freaky that way. In many others but not that way." Her mother patted her on the back. "You either, mom. Even though you and Giles did get smoochy time and I did not want to think about that tonight," she moaned, rubbing her forehead.
Xander laughed. "You know, we did hide some of that candy."
She gave him an odd look. "It had better stay hidden, Xander," she said, staring him down. He gave her a smug look. "I mean it."
"If they want it, they can ask," Sam reminded her.
"No, even if they ask, it can stay hidden," Buffy told him. "I'm the slayer and my word is law." She got swatted by her mother for that. "It was too weird," she whined.
"You still need to loosen up, dear. You need a new boyfriend."
"They took Riley to jail with the others," she pouted, eating again. Xander added more to her plate. "Thank you, Xander."
"I'm starting to see the daddy impulses though."
"If I feed you, you look better, you can find a man if you look better, and then Willow can go spend time with Tara and quit being scary from lack of snuggles," he shot back with a look. "She's starting to agree with Anya."
"That's bad. Sure, she can have Tara snuggles since I'm back and we won't bother Willow for days."
Xander grinned. "Good plan."
"Hell yes." Joyce swatted him. He grinned. "Even Giles called Tara and asked her to pounce Willow." He finished his dinner and looked at Dean. Then at Buffy. "It'll be Dean's first patrol tonight. Wanna go there then join us?"
"Sure. We can look like an avenging army tonight."
"Only if I go to England," Xander said with a sweet, good boy grin.
She shuddered. "Maybe I'll go on patrol with Dean while you and Anya or you and Sam or even you, Sam and Anya go have some snuggles of your own."
"Harry can stay here tonight, boys."
Sam shook his head. "It was a wizard who showed up earlier, Joyce. Willow has him."
Buffy finished eating and stood up. "Let's go save England from Willow. Before she babbles the queen to death." They finished up and followed her, but she paused to give her mom a hug. "We'll chat when I get back. Shouldn't be too long to save him and send her back to Tara." She walked off, chatting with Harry about what was going on in his bad guy's world. She shared some of hers, earning many awed looks. If he was older she might've dated him. He clearly understood what being a slayer meant. Dean was giving her awed looks too so she smirked. "I'm more than good hair and cute clothes."
"I can tell. We've heard some very impressive things about you." She beamed and gave him a short hug then they moved on. A quick stop at the Magic Box to send Willow to Tara, after she gave Buffy hugs and babbled at her for a few minutes about what was going on, then they picked up weapons and left.
Harry got left at the store, like usual. "Local rules say I'm not old enough to patrol yet," he told the auror. "Are you all right?"
"It was incredibly mean to leave me with her."
Harry smirked. "You brought it on yourself, mate. Not my fault. Feel lucky you have skin and not fur." He sat down, looking at him. "Did we report back?"
"I have. The Minister is not pleased."
"Bugger him if I care," Harry said dryly. "If I can, I'm taking this year off to study here. It'll do me good not to have to beat Malfoy in the halls."
"You have OWLs this year."
"I can come back to take them."
He gave him an odd look. "They can snap your wand if you're not in a legal school."
"Are there home schooling regulations?" The auror frowned, then shrugged. "Then we'll have to see. Do you think I've grown any? Joyce did. She's Buffy's mum and Buffy's the slayer."
"I don't know," he admitted. "You do look less scrawny than before though." Harry beamed at that. "Do they treat you well?"
"I don't have to clean anything but my own room, I don't have to make anyone else brekkie or any other meal. I don't have to avoid bullies except the vampires. It's been good for me."
"You deal with vampires?"
"There's one who helps the group. Mr. Giles, isn't Spike in?"
"He's downstairs. He snuck in through the sewer earlier. Spike!" he bellowed. "Sun's down and Buffy's back."
Spike came up the stairs with a cigarette already lit. "Heard the bint. She good?"
"Looked fairly relaxed so it was a good vacation. Harry's auror friend there wanted to meet you. He doesn't believe in vampires."
Spike looked then went to demon face while taking a drag on his smoke. "Really?"
"Spike!" Harry chided, cracking him up. The auror spluttered. "He's not going to hurt you. He'll tell Xander if you try to hurt me, but he won't hurt you." He grinned at the auror. "I am learning a lot about how to defeat bad things. They do it nightly here. Both my new parents are demon hunters actually."
"Heard of the Winchester clan," Spike agreed. "Pretty big news. They say the tall one's smart and the other's mouthy but good with weapons."
"It's one way," Harry assured him. "Xander promised to teach me to use a sword."
The auror shuddered. "This is just too strange."
"It's the hellmouth," Spike said dryly, smirking at him and going back to human face. "What did you expect?" He looked around then at him. "Should probably let you go before Red gets back."
"She has my wand. We had no idea people used magic without wands." Harry floated the wand over without using his. "Oh, dear."
"They found out I can do a few forms," Harry said smugly. "See, I am learning magic. I can and will write the Salem academy to see if there are home schooling rules. That's not a problem. I'm sure I can be up to OWL standards fairly easily. Sam nearly went to law school and Willow's quite brilliant. So's Tara, even if she doesn't want to admit it. Xander is in practical matters. You can tell them I'm doing just fine if you want." He jumped up and wrote a few letters. "Here, please post these for me so no one worries?"
"I can do that," he decided, looking at him. "We still think you've lied about him."
"Then you explain what happened to Cedric."
The man winced. "I hadn't thought about that."
"Fudge doesn't think ever." He shrugged. "He did come back. I fought him then. I fought him my first and second year as well. Fudge can bugger himself for all I care and quit doing his house elf." The auror gave him a shocked look.
"Learning the whelp's mouth there, mate," Spike said happily. "Good on you."
"Bite me, Spike. Oh, that's right, you can't," Harry shot back with an evil smirk, getting one back from Spike. The auror disappeared. Harry beamed. "Let's hope that doesn't cause more problems."
"At the worst, your Minister will have him arrested or put in under a mental health warrant," Giles told him. "I did alert the watcher who knew your friend that he had found you and that we had been talking to him all day. He said they'd pick him up and get his memories just in case."
"That's bloody brilliant."
Giles smirked. "I do try now and then but I'd rather focus on research and let Xander do the planning."
"Usually comes out strange but good," Spike agreed. "Her Blondness?"
"Patrol," Harry told him. "Escorting Willow back to Tara for a bit." Spike walked outside snickering. Harry got his new book out and went back to what he was looking up. He suddenly had a thought and got a small headache from it. "Bloody hell, I'm turning into Hermione," he muttered. Giles burst out laughing. "I am."
"You can learn how to patrol later this week. Summers are usually safe. It's the spring that gets us."
"Charming." He grinned back. "Always?"
"Nature's rebirth gives new energy to even the evil ones."
"Good point. Wonder if that's why I face old Tom every spring." He shrugged it off and went back to reading. "Think we could summon this one to eat the blight?"
"No, Harry. Not unless you have Buffy along as well to kill the demon," Giles said patiently.
"I could ask."
"You might. She might like to get out of the states." He got back to work on his order for the store, watching over the boy. Because he knew holy hell was breaking loose on patrol with Buffy back and Dean being so confused and uptight. Truly, he had thought Samuel was but Dean was a bit tense.
Xander waited until they had dropped Willow off and walked off again. "Okay, let's session," he decided.
Buffy gave him a look. "You're going to warp him, Xander."
"He needs our protection and our help," Xander countered as they walked on. "Spike's crypt?"
"Or another. I don't care." She waved a hand. "Not like they won't flee in terror from your ugly shirt." Sam snickered. "They will." She gave him a look, then Dean. "Relax, sparky. It's all good. We're in the summer slow down after the usual spring apocalypse." She stopped Xander to look at him. "Explain it to me, Xander."
"Ever feel so connected to someone that you vowed you'd protect them?"
"Giles. A puppy once."
"Put those together and add what your mom goes through every night," Xander told her.
She sighed. "Fine. You're still going to warp the kid. His world probably isn't like ours."
"No, it's all magic with idiots in charge and a bad guy with a pureblood rant going," he assured her. "Living in Victorian times in some places." She shuddered. "Exactly! They aren't teaching Harry a damn thing about how to protect himself! I doubt a childish hex to cause a prank is going to save his life in a battle. Help some, maybe, but not save him."
"So they're trying to get him to kill the bad guy without teaching him how to kill the bad guy?" she asked.
"Like telling you it's your duty to kill vampires but not teaching you how to stake," Sam told her. "He might be able to find a few alternative methods but not great ones and he's still got to figure out the things that are holding him here."
She pulled her hair back into a ponytail. "Okay. Willow said the bonds were fully formed. So for you two he feels like your kid, right?" They nodded. "Does it go between you two? Because hearing Anya complain is going to drive me nuts."
"We're trying to keep that one down since we're both het," Xander told her.
"Please," she said, holding up a hand. "I don't care. Be like Spike for all I care and search for a hole as long as you don't have to make one." Xander smirked at her, arms crossed over his chest. "Really. I don't care. Who'm I to care? I slept with Angel and made him go evil."
"That was the curse and he had to know," Xander told her.
"He said he didn't," she defended. He gave her a look. "He said so," she repeated.
"Uh-huh. I still say he knew."
"And you knew about Willow," she countered.
"Could you have stopped him?"
She considered it then slumped. "No."
"Exactly." He patted her on the head then grinned. "I say we send Spike to torment him for a few more days. It'll make Spike happier and Angel miserable so he can't slip his soul for a few weeks."
She gave him a look. "What did Cordelia do this time?"
"The usual crap. She called up to tell me how good your ex is in bed."
"He wasn't *bad*, I guess. Better than Riley but not world shattering." She shrugged. "It was only the once and I was a virg. Better than Riley was good enough I guess."
He nodded. "In return I let her talk to Anya about how great I am in bed." He smirked when she burst out laughing. "So you'll help?"
"Of course." She swatted him. "Where are we in his physical training?"
"Barely. We're waiting to see what the protein shakes are doing for him," Sam told her.
She looked at him. "He needed them?" Sam nodded. "Do his people have CPS?"
"Yup and I told the healer to send that to them," Xander admitted.
"I wondered what you told her."
Xander grinned. "Been there, done that, wanted someone to step in. Doesn't work real well around here though." He looked at her again. "He's fourteen."
"He looks younger." Xander nodded. "So he's on the spore and mushroom demon shakes?" Xander nodded. Dean gagged. "They're harmless and they don't taste too bad. Xander had to go on them once for an injury. I had one by accident; they're grown like carrots in caves."
"They're not sentient," Xander assured him. "They're basically demonic mushrooms with very prickly spines to protect themselves that can poison you if you get that part instead." He looked at her. "So."
She shrugged one-sided. "If you and Sam go with Anya's plan, oh well. Not my sitch. I'll ignore her like I do when she talks about your tongue." Dean gave her an odd look. "He hasn't met Anya yet?"
"Yeah but she ran off when she started on Sam and he glared." He smirked. "She's having a fussy day. You got to miss them going off on PMS rants at the same time."
"Had my own. That's bad enough." She looked around. "Hi, Spike," she yelled. He came strolling over. "What's up this week?"
"Nothing much. Small attack planned on the hospital for parts." He put out his current cigarette. "We good?"
"No one died yesterday," Xander told him. "No one raising tonight. Therefore, I call a Bronze hunting night."
"I need to change," Buffy pouted. "You should've told me."
"Fine. We'll let you change. You've got that blue skirt at the shop."
"Good point. We can go put up the bigger weapons." They walked back that way. "How many while I was gone?"
"Ten, twelve, that's about usual."
"Cool. I had no idea why my aunt wanted to see me. She said she was ill."
Xander gave her a shoulder nudge with his and a grin. "They teach divination at Harry's school. The teacher thinks he's going to die."
"Nope, that violates every Scoobie rule. No getting dead on my watch unless I go and don't come back this time." Dean whimpered. She smirked. "He did it." Xander nodded. Spike moaned. "And he had to drag Angel by cross-point."
Spike nodded. "Never saw what you did in him."
"Tall, dark, mysterious. Nicely built, all that black, the leather coat." She moaned. "Soul clause. Have to remember the soul clause."
Xander smirked. "Cordy doesn't make him that happy."
"She made you miserable. No wonder!" she quipped back, making him laugh. They walked into the shop. "Hey, Giles." She gave him a hug. "We're hitting the Bronze to hunt." She went to change clothes and found Harry was going with them. "You sure?"
"It's a Friday, the girls his age will be there. About time he learns how useless pickup lines are." Xander walked out with one arm over Harry's shoulders. "It's all right. We'll deal." Harry nodded, grinning at him. "No going to the bathroom with anyone. They're probably a vamp."
"Good boy." He ruffled his hair. "Hey, Buffy, can you make his hair look less messy and more tousled sexy?"
She fixed it with some of the gel in her purse and it was better. "There we go." She smiled. "Consider me like a pushy aunt, Harry. You'll start working with me next week." He nodded, still smiling.
"Me first," Sam ordered. "Get him used to self defense first, Buffy."
"Sure, I can spar against you too, Sam." She beamed. "Or do you prefer Sammy."
"No, only Dean stays unhit when he calls me that."
She laughed. "Good to know." She smiled at Dean, who still looked confused. She pulled him closer. "The Bronze is the only all-age club in Sunnydale," she explained. "Since no new vamps are coming up tonight, a lot of them go there to feed on the teenagers. All that hot blood and the hormones. You can sex bait and it works really well there. I get a few every time we go. You can also play pool, get hit on, get a drink if you're old enough. They have band nights. It's mostly where we spend our nights when we're not in the mall. Hunting vampires in the mall is harder unless they're perving at Victoria's Secrets again. They do that now and then." She smiled. "Since I know you know what you're doing I'll ask the important thing, got a stake?"
"You can stake yours? Ours takes dead man's blood."
"Different species," Sam told him, handing over one of the thin stakes he had. "Concealed easily." He looked at Harry. "If one bothers you, signal us somehow." Harry nodded. "Good." Xander nodded at the bouncer, who moaned. "Ex?" he teased when they got let in without cover.
Xander pinched him. "Still not gay, Sam, or you'd be bent over the pool table by now."
"I hear *way* too much about your sex life from Anya," Buffy complained. "I don't need to see it too."
"You have in the past," he shot back dryly, giving her a look.
"I know and I had to find the brain bleach because she was in your lap getting pleased for a while in the middle of the shop, Xander."
"Her fault. She jumped me, not the other way around."
"I don't care! I don't want to watch living pornos." She took Harry with her. "C'mon, I'll teach you how to dance. All the pretty girls over there will be impressed."
Xander headed for the floor as well. "Later, guys. Talk all you want." He found a likely target and she sneered so he walked past her to move with someone else. The vampire followed because he was the most nummy thing in there on the male side.
Sam found a table and got them beers, handing one over. "Here. You look like you need one."
"Yeah." He took a sip, then looked at the label. "Microbrew?"
"We're in Southern California, Dean. Of course it's not swill." He took another sip and sighed, watching Harry. "He clearly inherited Xander's rhythm problem."
Dean looked at him. "You good?"
"Nope. Want to kill a headmaster for putting the kid with his aunt and uncle, the bastard twins." He took a drink and put the bottle down, looking at him. "You?"
"Freaked, still." Sam pointed subtly and he saw the vampire feeding. "And? We sitting here?"
Sam led him over and seemed to trip into the vampire, staking her. "Oops, sorry." He watched the teenager run off. He strolled back to the table. "She'll be fine. There's a code of denial around here."
"It's that strong?"
"Xander walked through town last night with an openly carried battle axe," Sam told him, giving him a look. "One cop sneered, one waved." Dean moaned, shaking his head. "Welcome to Sunnydale, Dean." He nodded and let Dean be enticed off by the vampire. He watched Xander come back inside without his 'playmate'. He felt a cool hand against his neck, looking back at her. "Hi, who're you?" he asked with a grin. "I don't think I know you, yet."
"The scruffy kitten will not help you this time," she said in his ear. "Nor the hissing kitten." She screamed as she was pulled off by her hair.
"Hi, Dru," Buffy said with a grin. "How're you today?" She walked her outside, finding Spike tracking them down. "Looking for her?"
"The stars said to come warn the kitten the worlds will shift and he'll be different," she howled as she was drug off.
"What?" Spike asked.
"Miss Edith and the stars talked. The scruffy kitten will be hissing soon and the others will not let them be as they were. They'll destroy the dark together, no matter who comes. The matriarch will rule the house and the cub." She stared at him. He shuddered. "They must be warned before we're all destroyed as well. The primals will not be pleased."
"Sure," Buffy agreed. "We'll see about that. Any other orders from the stars?"
Harry walked out, staring at her. "You're a seer?" he asked calmly. She nodded, stroking over his hair. He ducked his head, backing up a step. "Can the matriarch help me defeat him?"
She purred, leaning down to sniff him. "In you and of you, kitten, but not all yours. It will be done and those you know will be safe. Pity about the prophecy and your godfather if you go after the shiny bubbles with him." She stared at him. Then she smiled. "The world will shift when you find your gateway key. Then we'll all learn. Family bonds are special and interesting. Like the Power of Three, the family is all and all that's not." She got free and ran off, Spike following to make sure she left. And possibly to get a decent shag.
"Wow, less coherent than usual," Buffy complained.
"I need to write that down," Harry ordered. She took him inside and got him some paper and a pen from a studying girl. He wrote down everything he had heard. She did the same. They crossed out the dual mentions.
Xander looked over his shoulder. "Looks like the hyena's coming out," he said quietly.
Buffy glared. "You had better not try to hit on me again if she does, Xander. Or eat a pig or let anyone eat a principal."
"Yes, mom." He looked. "Power of Three?"
"A family of witches up the coast. Giles was researching it. We should go back, huh?"
"Anya walked in," Sam told them. He looked it over then frowned and wrote notes on what he knew. Dean added one part "Gateway key?"
"No, we stopped that prophecy," Xander told him. Buffy gave him a dirty look. "I did." He pointed. "My hyena."
Sam nodded. "Okay. Huh. Looks like if we work on something together it'll be the easiest way to help you, Harry." He smiled. "Fortunately I know something about magic."
"Xander doesn't do magic," Buffy told him. "It messes up around him."
He looked at her, then shrugged. "It didn't during the calling of the First Slayer spell."
She gaped. "It didn't. Hold on, she stayed around."
"That was because of you, not me."
"Crap." She huffed. "Fine. Giles?"
"One hour more. I'll warn him and read it to him so he can stun us with his brilliance," Xander told her. She beamed and went to have fun with Harry. It was an important lesson to be learned. He looked at Sam, who shrugged. Xander called Giles and read it to him. "From Dru. See you in an hour." He hung up on the spluttering. "Okay, we're good." He dragged Sam with him onto the floor so he and Anya could talk. They needed to work this out. This stress wasn't good for him.
Anya pouted. "Is it time for the threesome?"
"I'm a one-on-one guy, Anya. Threesomes are Dean's thing."
"You can't have him. He's my orgasm friend," she said with a worse pout.
He gave her a look. "I'm not about that. There's more to life than sex."
"There's money and he makes good money."
Sam rolled his eyes. "There's more to it than that too," he told her. "Money and sex are nice but not critical to survival."
"Bet me. Hard to pay the rent without money," Xander quipped. He let them have each other while he went to find someone else to play with. He was tired of their arguments. He still had to figure out where Dean was sleeping tonight. They'd figure it out later he guessed.
"See, you make it so I can't get orgasms. That makes you evil," she sneered.
Sam pulled her closer, staring into her eyes. "So says the demon of over a thousand years and millions of destroyed souls," he shot back coldly. She whimpered. "So lay off, Anyanka. Before we have to have a real talk." She went limp in his hand. "Good girl. I haven't bedded Xander so he's still yours. No more shit against me or Harry. Am I clear?" She nodded quickly. "Thank you. I'm glad we could come to this sweet, gentle understanding." He smiled. Xander popped him one on the back of the head. "Hey!"
"No threatening her. She's human now. We're going to all get along or none of you are going to be in any shape to do more than whine after I take a paddle to your asses." He gave Sam a look.
"Just getting her off mine and Harry's case."
Xander growled at her. "You've been saying things to Harry?" She shrank back. "Anya?"
"He's not yours."
"He is. That's the only discussion we're having on this topic. Accept it or pack." She gave him a pitiful look. "I'm serious."
"Yes, Xander. I'll behave. I just miss you."
He snorted. "Then play with the dildos, Anya."
"I like you for more than the sex," she defended. "You listen to me and help me be a better human."
"We do talk," she reminded him.
"Now and then. I still won't have you hurting the cub. Am I clear?" She nodded, pouting some when she looked down. "Or Sam. You two work this shit out or you can both move." He walked off, sliding in behind Harry. "Don't booty dip like that. Only girls do that," he said in his ear, getting a grin. "Is Anya bothering you?"
"She's a bit freaked and slightly jealous. I've heard worse."
Xander gave him a hug. "Even if it weren't for the reborn thing I'd still think you were neat and adopt you." Harry beamed at him. "Okay?" He nodded. "Good. I told them to work it out or I'm going to smack them both around." He let him go. "Like this," he said, showing him how to move. One girl sneered. "He's my son, woman. Jump off before I toast you." She scrambled backward and fled the club. He grinned, winking a bit. He helped the kid learn what to do. "There you go. Now go hit on the pretty blonde girl." He pointed. Harry shifted over to make his way over to her, nodding a bit shyly. She grinned back so he danced with her. He moved closer to Buffy, pulling her against his front. "I told Anya and Sam to work it out or I'm beating them both," he said in her ear. She giggled. "I did."
"Mom might like that."
"Possibly." He gave her a squeeze. "Let Harry get his mac on and we'll go bug Giles." She nodded, heading off the floor with him. Anya and Sam were talking in a dark corner, arguing it looked like. She sighed and he shook his head. "I gave them an ultimatum. She was saying things to Harry. I've had enough." Dean gave him a look as he came over from the pool tables. "Anya and Sam are driving me nuts. If they don't quit, I'll let you baby them after I paddle them to death." He sipped the beer on the table. Harry came back blushing. "She grope or kiss you?"
"Kissed me. Invited me back tomorrow night?"
"That's cool but you still get to have a chaperone." Harry nodded. "Buffy can do it. She's permissive." Harry blushed again. "You said good night?"
"I told her the parents were massing to leave and she invited me back." He grinned at Sam as he came back over. "Not happy?"
"Not about you. Anya." He shrugged. "We good?" They nodded. "Then let's go figure out what the batty seer meant."
"Very batty seer. She has tea parties with the stars," Buffy complained. "Angel made her that way and then a mob in Prague made her worse." They looked at Anya, but she was pouting. "Magic Box?" she mouthed. Anya waved them off. They walked out, Xander and Sam protectively around Harry. So when the vampires jumped them in the alley, Harry was easily put into the protected center. Dean had to move to get one of them but Harry had a stake. He ended up having to use it and stared in horror at the body that turned to ask.
Xander gave him a hug from behind. "It's normal to freak and want to puke," he said calmly, letting the boy do that. He followed to calm him down. "C'mon, we'll talk while the others talk about Dru." He walked Harry off to talk to him. The first kill was always the hardest.
Buffy stopped Sam from going. "He's good at this talk. He had to give it to Cordy and Oz both." He nodded, staring after them.
Dean dusted himself off. "I didn't mean to shift that far."
"They're slippery." She shrugged. "It was bound to happen sometime around here. Better now, especially with him having a destiny. Xander can help him so he won't go all kill crazy and things." She walked them on, taking them back to the Magic Box. "Did we find anything?"
"A bit about the power mentioned." He looked around. "The boys?"
"Harry ended up having to stake one when we were ambushed coming out of the Bronze," Buffy said. They walked in a few minutes later. "There you are."
"Here we are," Xander agreed happily. He smirked at Giles. "Anything?"
"Not a lot but some." He took the paper from Harry's pocket and looked it over, seeing the blush. "Was she pretty?"
"Very but we only danced."
Giles looked at him over the edge of his glasses. "Modern dancing and sexual action have much in common. As long as you don't end up pregnant, Harry."
"I'm a guy," he said, cracking a smile.
"It's the hellmouth, who knows what could happen," Buffy teased. "Even that."
"Thankfully Anya doesn't know how," Xander quipped.
"No, you can't have kids with her," Buffy ordered, staring him down.
"Yes, Mom. I'll get permission before I marry." She nodded. "Keep it up, I'll turn someone else evil."
"As long as it's not Sammy," Dean ordered.
"Hey!" Sam defended. "I'm not evil!"
"I don't care, dude. And yes you are, especially when you're grumpy and pouty."
"He's pouty?" Buffy asked him.
"You have *no* idea about the Sammy pouty face. Or his sullen bitch face either."
"Seen that one," Harry admitted, earning a dirty look from Sam. "What? I did."
"At Anya." Xander gave him a dirty look. "We worked it out."
"Good!" He looked at Giles again. "What do we know?"
"The world shifting isn't literal."
"Good!" Buffy said happily.
"It's more a world view shifting and I believe it is a magical revelation. It does say that Xander would have to turn primal for a bit to protect the family but otherwise it'll be fine and Harry will have help defeating his evil nemesis."
"Even better," Harry agreed. "I have Ron and Hermione with me usually."
Giles looked at him. "Ron Weasley? The one you mentioned?" Harry nodded. "His parents let him?"
"Let never really comes into it because I can't stop him if he's trying to help."
"Ah, one of those. We went through that with Xander."
"Who saved all your asses by taking out the bomb and zombies who were trying to blow you up," Xander said sweetly, smirking at him. "And what did you learn from that incident?"
"It'll come for you anyway?" Buffy suggested.
He looked at her. "At least Faith was sweet enough that night."
"Eww! You had sex with Faith?"
"My first time. Then she kicked me out and I went to handle Jack and his bomb."
She gaped. "Was it bad? I never have energy afterward."
"No, it was okay I guess. I got off, she got off. She did most of the work." He shrugged. "I slammed the car into some demons trying to take her out."
She just nodded. "I don't care, never do it again, Xan. Please? The other were bad enough but Faith is all skanky and things." Xander popped her on the head. "Hey!"
"Faith and I understand each other very well, Buffy. Remember, you had a good mother who gave a damn." She slumped but nodded. "Lay off Faith for doing the same thing you did with Riley after patrol."
"Oops," she muttered, blushing some.
"Uh-huh. So lay off Faith."
"Yes, Xander." She looked at him. "Only the once?"
"The other time she tried to kill me and you thought a vamp had gotten me."
"Oh. Sorry." She shrugged. "I had head-up-the-butt-itis."
"Uh-huh." He looked at Giles, who was giving him a horrified look. "What?"
"You slept with Faith?" Xander nodded. "Why?"
"She wanted it. I was easy in those days," he said dryly. "Prophecy from the batty vampire?"
"Oh, um, yes. You did get tested....." Xander growled. "Never mind. I'm sure you were safe, as you are now."
"He could've made her have baby slayers," Dean joked.
Buffy shuddered. "Oh, god, that's a bad thought. Mommy Faith with a baby Xander drawing demons for her to kill." She covered her face, whimpering. "Make it stop? Please?" she begged. Harry gave her a hug. "Thanks, Harry." She looked up. "Am I going to have to help?" Giles shook his head. "Then I'm going to go talk to my mom. Night, guys." She wandered out, going to tell her mom that thought and make her stop it for real. Her mom could stop bad thoughts. She was that great.
Xander grinned at Dean. "Thanks. She hasn't had one of those in months."
"I'm not sure it's a good thing for her or the town, Xander," Giles said firmly, scowling at the boys.
"Everyone needs a bad thought now and then. It makes you reboot your brain and clears out the cobwebs when you clean it out."
Giles walked off shaking his head. "Go home, boys. I'll see you tomorrow."
"I start work again on Monday," Xander called after him. "Okay, let's go find a place for Dean to crash."
"They can share my bed," Harry offered. "I'll take the couch since it's too short for Sam anyway. Or you can share with one and Dean can take the couch."
Xander grinned. "We'll figure it out when we get there." He walked them back, throwing his stake at Spike when he saw him heading for the same place. "Go sleep at Buffy's. Dean and I gave her the ultimate bad thought and I'm full."
"Fine," Spike muttered, heading that way. Once they were out of sight, he rubbed the small injury the boy had given him. "I'll get you back for that some year." He went to Buffy's finding her babbling at her mother. "He does it so you clean the other bad thoughts out, bratling."
She gave him a look. "I had the thought of Xander knocking Faith up and her having a baby Xander that drew demons for her to hunt while breastfeeding in the park at night."
Spike gave her an odd look. "Are you drunk?" he asked finally.
"No but I want to be."
"We can fix that." He handed over the pint from inside his jacket. Joyce took it and poured it out. "Hey! Had to nick that."
"No alcohol in my house, Spike. Thank you anyway. Buffy, dear, go take a bubble bath." She went to do that. Spike went down to the basement when Joyce scowled at him. She rinsed the bottle and it got tossed into the recycling bin then she went to have her own headache in peace and quiet. The house was nice and quiet while she was in the dorms.
Dean looked at his little brother later that night. "You're still doubting?" Sam asked, sitting next to him on the couch.
"Just a bit. How did the souls get back in time? You were both born about a year before Harry was. He said is parents died on Halloween when he was really young."
Sam nodded. "I've been looking into that. There's two good options. A few books say that souls have no temporal hold. They can go back in time to get to their next body. To them time is less than an illusion." Dean nodded slowly at that. "So it could be that. It could be that whatever drew the demon to me called out to that soul and it was exchanged when the demon showed up. I don't know about that part but I'm doubting it."
"The soul could be what drew the demon to you," Dean agreed quietly.
"Could be. The other theory Giles and I discussed was that whatever spells they put on Harry to protect him sent their souls back to a set of new parents so they could get back with their son and protect him further. With what Harry says about his Aunt Petunia, I'm pretty sure Lily knew that her sister was a bitch."
"Skinny, nosy, harridan bitch who treated Harry like a slave," he said with a small sneer. "I want to go find her and kill her. Xander was figuring up how much explosives he needed to do their house one night so we could get all three of them." They shared a look. "Lily knew that someone would send her baby to Petunia if she died. I doubt she liked it but she figured it'd be possible and moved to protect him by making sure she'd come back to a body that would run into his again somehow. He has a godfather that he's written to but he hasn't heard anything back yet. Sirius is technically wanted by the cops too. The bad guys framed him beautifully for Harry's parents' murder and the murder of another thirteen or so people." He shifted to look at his brother better. "There's a few protection spells that would do that to their souls. They loved their son enough to sacrifice themselves to save him. It's part of why he wasn't killed like they were and it rebounded into the asshole."
"So the asshole...."
"Voldemort. Charming name. Can't they come up with better ones?"
"He probably thought it was scary." That got a snort and a head shake. "Harry said no one over there says his name. He's He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named or the Dark Lord."
"That's pretty pathetic."
"He's a good one at raising fear, Dean. He liked to attack families in the middle of the night and leave his mark hanging over the house when they were done killing and torturing people." Dean shuddered. "Demons probably like him a lot for his attitude against anyone not fully a pureblood. Then again, neither is he." They shared a look. "Classic hate crime scenario taken to a full-blown vendetta war, complete with minions."
"The kid's parents were standing against him?" Sam nodded. "They were obviously hiding when he attacked?"
Sam nodded. "They had their house hidden by a spell that meant only one person and them knew where it was. That's how they framed Sirius, thinking he was the secret keeper when he wasn't. Harry found out last year the minion who did betray his parents is still alive. He managed to barely get away from being captured. He had been hiding as a rat for years."
"That's a handy skill," he said grimly, considering it. "So, is the soul yours?"
"Yes. Giles did some investigative works. The soul's the only one either of us have and it's still very tied with Harry. The blood bonds to protect him are present. Their world is throwing massive fits, dude. Like sending the auror earlier, politicians yelling, the headmaster's plotting, and Harry said he's somewhat good at it."
"Of his school, who leads the group of fighters against Voldemort," Sam said dryly. They shared an amused look. "Harry's first year, his scar starts to hurt. Somehow, even though there's telling spells, sensing spells, and wards around the school, Voldemort the ghoul edition was on the back of his defense teacher's head." Dean shuddered. "Exactly. They had a philosopher's stone." Dean moaned, shaking his head at that slowly. "Voldemort wanted it. The school set it up behind a protective series of tests. When his scar started to hurt, the Headmaster told Harry not to worry about it. It was nothing." Dean slumped, shaking his head. "He and his two friends made it through the maze the teachers had set up, which was oddly configured to their specialities. One's like Willow and brilliant. She's the one who summoned us." Dean smirked a bit, nodding some. "She got the logic puzzle. One was a flying test. Voldemort used to fly okay. Harry's the youngest person admitted to a school team in the history of the school since he got a spot on the quidditch team his freshman year."
"Game played on brooms with three four balls, three hoops, two teams of seven, and it gets rough. Harry said he's fallen and broken bones, and no one expected anything different to happen. Much rougher than football and since you're flying it's a longer way to fall."
"Sounds dangerous, yet slightly fun."
"It's the wizarding sport." He smirked. "He has a few posters in his trunk. They look pretty cool." He gave him a shoulder nudge. "He might be able to teach you, I'm not sure."
"We'll see. Only two tests?"
"A giant chess set and his buddy Ron is a chess genius. A mirror Harry had found earlier that showed you what you most wanted to see." Dean stared at him. "Some plants that tried to mummify you but Hermione knew how to get past it. It was covered in their first year lessons."
"So the headmaster's got plans or he's got issues?"
"Probably." He gave him another nudge and a grin. "Harry's a good kid, Dean. You'll like him a lot when you get to know him. The team here is like a family and they've already adopted us."
"I guess you're like the bride Xander married." He gave him a look. "It's still strange, dude."
"It is," he agreed. "Then again, no matter which way it happened it did. He's my son now."
"I can accept that. He seems okay." He smirked. "What about our search for the demon?"
"I figure it's either going to be drawn here thanks to us being on the hellmouth, too irresistible to pass up, or I'll get a lot of research done on the demon while we're here. Mr. Giles is a former Watcher. He's got a lot of sources and a lot of contacts about various demons. I'm sure I can find more on it. Maybe even another weakness or a way to trap it and kill it safely." He grinned. "I've been sending Bobby book recommendations."
"I know, dude, he called to complain that you thought he was rich."
Sam beamed. "He's got a lot of books that Bobby doesn't. Willow's trying to put some of the information online for other hunters but she's actually doing her school work so that gets in the way."
Dean shook his head. "This is fucked up in the extreme, Sammy."
"Well, yeah," he admitted with a grin. "But fun. I'm enjoying being a dad. I didn't think I was going to." Dean gave him a look. "In the future, Dean."
"Uh-huh." He patted him on the arm. "We'll work it out, Sammy. Though, I do want to talk to Dad's ghost just to see the look on his face."
"Harry said his school has ghosts," he said with a mean smirk.
"House spirits, other spirits, all sorts of ghosts and a poltergeist."
"Uh-huh. Is someone doing something about them?"
"They like to watch the students," Harry said from the doorway. "Do you mind, Dean?"
"Nah, kiddo. I don't mind. You need your parents. We needed our dad and you need yours." He nodded and Harry came out to join them. "I just wanted a better handle on what was going on. Sammy's started to babble too so I didn't get a good grasp earlier."
"That's fine I guess. You're not mad?"
"No. Not mad, Harry." He grinned at his nephew. "We'll turn you into a real Winchester soon enough."
Harry smirked. "Sam said I'm growing into yours and Xander's mouth." Sam snickered, laughing. "Can you teach me about guns? Sam said you're better than he is at them."
"Of course," he agreed. "It's one thing each and every Winchester has to learn, Harry. We'll teach you and Xander."
"Xander knows some," Sam told him with an evil smirk. "He got possessed by a soldier's spirit at Halloween one year."
Dean nodded slowly. "Then why doesn't he use them around here?"
"They're not that practical. When I first met him, he had a stake. He had been on patrol when Hermione called us."
Dean blinked. "They always stake around here?"
Harry grinned and nodded. "Yeah. They all do."
"Xander said it's being here. Giles thinks it's the hunting that's doing it, but that's how it's done," Harry told him.
Dean nodded slowly. "Huh. Well, we'll integrate weapons and carry stakes just in case," he decided. "Go to bed, kiddo. Sunup comes early." Harry nodded, going back to bed. Dean looked at Sam. "If you had to give me a nephew, at least it's a great one to have."
Sam smirked. "He's a good kid." He stood up. "Night."
"Night, bitch." Sam walked off shaking his head. Dean got comfortable on the couch, thinking it over. Harry had a sucky fate coming and someone needed to help the kid get past it and move onto a real life. Hunting wasn't for everyone and Harry was a nice kid. The sort who'd have nightmares from the duty. So they'd help and he'd have a slightly strange nephew. He looked up at the ceiling. "Wonder if you're yelling or laughing, Dad. Think you can get out of hell and go to his school to scare someone? Sounds like they need a combat boot up the ass."
Thankfully no one answered him. That would be bad on the hellmouth.
Harry looked up as a wizard appeared, pulling his wand. "Xander!" He didn't know this one. Xander pounced and the wizard went down. Sam got the wand and put Harry behind him, against a wall just in case, gun out and in hand. Harry calmed himself. "That was not a happy revelation."
"Really," Xander said, pulling back from beating the wizard. "Who the hell are you to threaten my kid, mister, and why shouldn't I kill you?"
"Auror," he croaked in a broken whine. "Sent."
"Uh-huh." Xander got up and stared down at him. "Welcome to Sunnydale; Harry's my son now." He took the wand back then pointed it at him. Harry made unhappy noises. "I know what I'm doing." He cast a spell he had found in a fantasy novel, which was pretty cool and had good monsters. It made the guy forget everything but the fact that Harry was Xander's son and then sent him home. Xander tossed the wand then smiled at Sam. "Gun? Still?"
"It's how I was trained," Sam reminded him, releasing Harry.
"Fine. Can you shoot wizards?"
"They never think about guns," Anya said from the counter. "Where did you get that spell?"
"The book I got for Christmas." He beamed and walked off again. "Harry, want some milk?"
"It's time for another shake," he called. "Thanks though." He found his mushroom shake and drank it down with a grimace. The bitter cotton candy flavor wasn't that great. Dean took it to sniff. "Protein to help my body catch up."
"I heard. Smells nasty."
"Tastes better than some potions I've had in the infirmary." He tossed out the bottle, watching as it disappeared. "Huh." He tossed out something else and it disappeared too. "Is the trashcan supposed to be some sort of portal?" he asked.
Sam looked. "No idea. Around here, I wouldn't doubt it."
Xander came out to look then gave Sam an odd look. "What?"
"The trash disappeared."
"Yeah, we have a trash eating demon who gives us info now and then. We let him steal the trash so it gets recycled." He walked off, taking Harry with him. "Come on, time to work on your physical skills."
"Let me," Dean ordered. Xander gave him a look. "I'm better than Sammy and I helped train him with Dad."
Xander looked at Sam, getting a nod. "He did."
"Fine but I'm watching."
"Sure. I'm not going to hurt the nephew." Harry grinned. "C'mon, kid." He took him to the practice area to work with him. Buffy came to help but that was fine. She snorted at one move so he used her to demonstrate. That led to them sparring and him being on his back.
Harry frowned. "You moved too fast. Can you do it again so I can see what you did?"
"Sure," Buffy said happily, pulling Dean back up to attack more slowly. Dean fought back harder this time. She still made him and his smirk hit the floor but it took longer. She pushed back her hair. "I needed that." She walked out. "I practiced, Giles."
"Good, Buffy. Now go lift weights," he ordered patiently. "Or help me stock."
"Or go find what you need for your dorm room," Xander told her.
"Shopping! I love shopping. C'mon, Harry, I need to shop."
"Harry needs to learn self defense," Sam said patiently.
"He can learn later," she said with a pout. "I need an honest opinion. Xander lies to keep me from beating his butt." She pulled Harry with her. "I can tell Xander dressed you because ugly t-shirts are not genetic. We'll fix that. Mom won't mind. Much."
"We got him sneakers," Xander called after her, waving a bit. He grinned at Sam. "He's growing and she's bored. It's better than us having to go watch her try on bras." He went back to spar with Dean. He had to make sure the guy met up to his standards for training his son.
Sam shook his head, looking at Giles. "Are they insane?"
"Yes, it's all due to hunting here," he said blandly. Sam cracked a smile. "Soon you'll be just like them."
"He's not the Borg. Thankfully." He went to get to his own research. They had a lot of books on various demons. He had sent a lot of information to Bobby on some demons he only had minimal sources on, plus the names of a lot of books he needed and how much Giles charged for them. No matter how much he complained, it could come in useful.
Albus Dumbledore paced back and forth next to his desk. The American auror who had went after his student had come back afflicted with a very strange spell. He knew who he was and what he did, he had all his training memories intact. The only thing he remembered about where Harry was that he had a very overprotective father that said he was his now and that the guy had beaten him nearly to death. It clearly wasn't a good place for his special student to grow up. Ron Weasley came rolling out of the floo with his father behind him. "Ah, Ron, Arthur. Nice to see you. Why the visit?"
"Ron wanted to know if he could go visit Harry."
"I...." He paused to think. "That might bring him back sooner."
Ron looked at him. Then at his father, who knew and understood what he was thinking. "I'm Harry's best friend. I should get to meet his new parents," he said. "Make sure we don't have to pull another rescue."
"That would be a good idea." Dumbledore sat down. "Let me call the American aurors. They know where the boy is and won't tell us. Said it's too dangerous."
Ron gave him and odd look. "Harry's there and safe; it can't be that dangerous, Headmaster. The charm you have on him reads content." He pointed at it. Then he looked at the old man. "Let me talk to Harry. He might want to come back for school this year or he might not. I don't know. I know his last letter said he's learning a lot about different forms of magic and self defense. His father hunts demons."
"Demons?" Arthur asked. Ron nodded. "What else do we know?"
Ron pulled his father down to hiss in his ear. He knew *exactly* where Harry was and Hermione had told him about the town. He pulled back to look at him. "He's safe."
"Good. I like that. I'm not thrilled with this idea."
"At least I told you about it before it happened," Ron offered with a grin.
"I'd have let your mother have you otherwise, Ron."
Ron shrugged. "Whatever has to happen does, Dad." He looked at the Headmaster. "I need a Ministry portkey to go."
"We need the address."
Ron smiled. "Get me to the Americans, I can get there from them." Dumbledore glared. Ron smirked back. "Harry clearly wants to stay, Headmaster. They're helping him learn things that can take down You-Know-Who. I'm going to check on my friend."
"Cornelius is being a bit of a pain," Arthur told him. "Can you get him one?"
"Very well," he said, finding something to make a portkey out of. "This will get you to the auror's office in the United States, Ronald."
"Thanks, Headmaster. See you at the welcoming feast." He took it and left.
"Molly shrunk everything into his pockets. I think they planned this together."
"It does seem like one of the ideas she used to have in school," Albus agreed. Arthur gave him a smug look. "Hopefully he can talk Harry into coming back where he's protected."
"He's very well protected by what they know."
"It reads content, not safe, Arthur."
"Did it read safe while he was here?" he asked, then he flooed home.
Dumbledore glared at the charm and went back to his usual paperwork for the summers. All those letters to be signed.
Ron smiled at the auror who looked up at him. "Had to transfer over here. I'm going to Sunnydale to see a friend."
"Are you old enough to apparate?"
Ron grinned. "Gonna arrest me?" he teased.
"No, that's too much paperwork for a minor thing," he said blandly.
He smirked. "Ron Weasley, mate. Best friend of Harry Potter." That got a few shudders. "I've heard about the town. Is there anything I should worry about?"
"It's nighttime out there too," he told him. "Don't let anyone near you who you aren't sure is alive."
"Hermione said that." He shrugged. "Thanks. Can I?" He waved a hand. "Oh, did Harry ask someone about home schooling?"
"We sent him information the other day. It got passed on from Salem."
"Decent of you. Thanks." He disapparated. He landed a few minutes later woosy and stumbling. "Damn, hate that." He looked around. He was in a park. There was a building going up. "Hmm."
A female voice coughed. "You just...appeared. Using the hellmouth?" she asked dryly.
"No." He turned and smiled. "In to visit a friend. Any idea where the Magic Box is?"
The female vampire gave him an odd look then vamped out. "You'll never make it."
Ron pulled his wand. "Scapulous." Her head came off and she turned to dust. "Really? You sure?"
"Don't talk to the ashes; if they talk back it's a bad thing," a male voice said, giving the boy a long look. "Why are you in my town, boy?"
"Here to visit a friend. Which way to the Magic Box?"
The guy looked at him. "You're one of Harry's school friends?"
"He's mentioned you. I'm Sam."
"Even better." He beamed. "Can I talk to him? Everyone's dead worried about him. Think he's a toddler again."
"Don't tempt Willow. She's in an odd mood." He walked him off. He even called ahead. "Harry's got a visitor. On the school patrol route. I have no idea why he appeared out here."
"It was the only picture Hermione could find for me," Ron told him.
"Oh. That makes more sense." He hung up with a grin. "Getting into trouble?"
"No but Hermione's having second thoughts about this. She's worried he'll never come back."
Sam looked at him. "He's going to be lucky if we don't take a field trip and go back with him."
Ron snickered. "He could use it." He looked around the town. "It's pretty."
"Sometimes," Sam agreed. He walked them into the Magic Box and let Harry have his friend to hug and pound on. "There you go." He smiled at Xander. "That's Ron."
"That's cool. I remember the mini-Willow." Sam giggled at that description. "Did she get to the coven?" he asked once Ron was let up.
"The ones in Devon? Yup. They're writing letters back and forth with her to temper her ambition and mind."
"They are kinda uptight," Xander agreed dryly. He held out a hand. "Xander Harris."
"Ron Weasley." He shook it. He looked at Harry. "Are you coming back this year?"
"To take the OWLs. Then we'll have to see."
"I guess that makes sense. You're getting a better DADA education than you ever could at school."
"Think we could get Buffy to go teach it?" Harry teased Xander.
"She'd get to look pretty every day and have kids stare at her in awe, but she'd freak out having to teach." He shrugged. "Suggest it."
"The Ministry set down a new rule saying that they had to approve of all new teachers. Put one of their own as the DADA teacher this year," Ron told him.
Harry snorted. "Auror at least?"
"No. An under-minister. The book is dreadfully thick and boring. Hermione's already read it."
"Wonderful," he said grimly. "Any other cheery news that makes me want to stay?"
"They're still saying you lied."
"Bugger 'em," Harry said.
"Eurgh," he said, looking disgusted. Harry laughed. "Thanks for the mental image, Harry."
"He gets it from his dad," a female voice called from the back of the shop.
Ron pointed. "Anya," Harry said. "Xander's girlfriend."
"Ah. Hermione told me everything while I was getting her ice packs. I think Snape enjoyed the paddling a bit too much."
"I thought your mom would've."
"Possibly, but Dumbledore said he had first right since she sent a student out of the school with strangers."
"Poor her. She okay?"
"Now. She explained things and her mum went off on Dumbledore for making you go back there every year when it was obvious what was going on. Had someone help her file charges of neglect and accessory charges. He's not on the Wizengomet anymore so they went easy on him and gave him a warning. Her mum was not pleased and sent owls to each and every single parent telling them how the headmaster supported child abusers. Hermione's mortally embarrassed but oh well. Enrollment's down," he finished dryly.
Harry laughed. "I'm not coming back until OWLs or sixth year."
"Wish I could. Mum would freak though."
"Go study with Bill or Charlie."
"Hadn't thought of that." He considered it then shrugged. "So, how's it going?"
"Good. We're doing okay." Buffy walked past and handed him a shake. "Again?"
"You forgot your dinner one." She smiled sweetly. "Now or I'm telling Xander." Harry gulped it with a grimace. "Thank you. We want you to grow up big, tall, and strong. Otherwise Xander's going to baby you forever."
"I doubt he'd stop even if I was ten feet tall," Harry told her.
"Probably true but he won't fuss if you're growing."
"Good point." He let Ron laugh. "So."
"So," he agreed, smirking. He pointed. "Anya?"
"Ah." He nodded, walking Harry over to a couch so they could sit and talk.
"You two can share your bed, Dean can have the couch, and I'll be with Sam," Xander called from the back room a few hours later. Harry blinked at the time then blushed. He grinned. "It's the middle of the night." He walked them out, Sam guarding them. Dean was back at the apartment making a snack. "Dean, this is Harry's friend Ron."
"Hey," he said, "hungry?"
"Not at the moment. Thank you though."
Dean smirked. "Good manners, kid."
"Mum tries really hard." Harry snickered and bopped him on the arm. "She warned me too." He looked around. "Let's go talk?" Harry nodded, showing him to his room.
Dean watched them go then looked at Xander. "Couch?"
"Couch or you get to cuddle up with me and I do cuddle," Xander quipped.
"I'll take the couch. I only let those with breasts cuddle." Sam snickered all the way to the bathroom. "Night, boys." He settled in to watch some tv while the others got ready for bed and headed to it. Xander had to start work in the morning. He could babysit the boys for a while he guessed. Sam wanted to check out the library at the college for an obscure reference. He listened to the boys chat and smiled. It was good the kid had real friends. Friends were good for you and Harry needed all the help he could get. He had a thought. "Hey, boys?" he called quietly. Harry came out to look at him. "Didn't the walking pile of dust say something about the Power of Three?" Harry nodded slowly. "How many friends do you have?"
"Two good ones that fight with me.... Oh, you think?"
"Don't know. Ask Giles?"
"I can do that tomorrow."
"I'll be here to walk you guys over." Harry nodded, heading back there to tell Ron about the prophecy. Dean laid down once he was done, turning off the tv to sleep for a few hours. Xander's nightmares woke him but he fell back asleep when he heard Sam grunt and pounce him to hold him so he'd quit flailing. Xander woke him up again when he got up for work but Dean could doze through the noise. Xander dropped a dishtowel on his head on the way out the door, earning a smirk. Dean drifted off again until Sammy got up to go research then he took a shower and got the boys up and moving. Giles smirked at him. "Had a thought. Harry can explain it." He went to get some coffee. Xander's place had been out. Dean went to look at the want ads. He could do some day work for a few days so they had some money when they went on the road again. Giles handed him something. "Xander's site?"
"Vampires took out ten of their workers in the last month."
"I can do that." He took it, glancing at the boys then at him. Giles nodded he'd watch them. "Thanks. Sammy's at the college." He left, going to apply. Xander gave him a look. "Day work so we have funds for the hunting."
"Can you lift and hammer, all that?" Dean nodded. "Know how to brick or lay pipes?"
"I'm better at bricking. I can weld though. Learned on cars."
"Go do the boiler. The boys?"
"Good." He whistled. "Paul!" He looked up. He nodded at Dean. "Newbie who can weld cars?"
"I need 'im," he called, waving a hand over. Xander put a hardhat on Dean's head and he walked over there to get to work. Xander wrote down the time he got there and kept an eye on him. He wasn't a bad worker. He'd have to keep him if he could. It'd make Sam happy. Xander mentally slapped himself. He knew Sam wasn't staying. He had no idea what was wrong with him. "Stupid bond," he muttered. "I'm still straight." He hired another day worker. Not a great one but he'd do for a few days. They got back to work and were nearly on schedule at the end of the day. He looked at them. "Tomorrow, eight," he ordered. They nodded and left to shower off the sweat and stink while he went to check the site and saw where Dean had drawn protection marks in one out of the way corner. Xander added his own then left. He ran into Dean going into the Magic Box. "You do realize that's directly overtop of the hellmouth?"
"Who put a school there?" he demanded.
"The old mayor. We're just rebuilding it on the same site." He gave him a look. "It used to be under the library. Fortunately no one in this town reads." They walked in and found the boys in a tickle fight. Xander watched. "You want Ron or Harry?" he asked quietly.
"Ron." They dove in to help their chosen boy. The boys shrieked but managed to get out of the way while Xander and Dean attacked each other.
Buffy walked in and frowned. "Are we fighting over Sam's purity again?" she demanded.
Xander waved with the hand he was blocking with. "Tickle fight grown up style."
"Oh." She walked over and put them both down, staring at them. "Keep it up, help me move into the dorm. Including the weapons." She walked over to Ron, then nodded, dragging both boys with her. "Mom wants Harry and his buddy for dinner. Go have fun! Have fun with Sam's butt sex, Xander."
"I am not!" Xander defended.
Harry cackled. "You're so mean, Buffy."
She smirked. "I have to get it out somehow. It'd be tragic if I went evil after all this time being such a good girl on the side of the light." She walked them into the house. "We're here, Mom."
"It's nearly ready. Go clean up, boys," she called from the kitchen. Harry showed Ron the bathroom and she smiled at Ron. "It's nice to meet you, Ron. Though you do look a lot like Willow." She served dinner and got to know her boy's friend. They had a lot of things to get to know about him.
Sam looked at Xander later that night. "It's getting worse," he said. Xander groaned but nodded. "We have got to figure something out before I jump you, Xander." Xander blushed, looking at him. "What? You're sexy and hot."
Xander blushed brighter. "Glad you think so, Sam. You're not too bad but no fur on your chest."
"None of us are hairy." Xander gave him an odd look. "You, me, and Dean."
"I'm not going to sex your brother up."
"Probably a good idea. Buffy seems to like him."
"She could use him too. She might break him in half but it'll be fun." He finished his soda. "So what do we do? Because I'm still with Anya and I'd hate to break it off if we went for the threesome. Because I'd have to."
Xander looked ta him. "Yeah, I would. She'll switch and it'll be you and her, therefore cheating."
Sam grimaced. "I'm not sure I could take that. Then again, us getting together would be cheating too." Xander nodded. "I don't know."
"I know. Me either." He ate another bite of dinner. They were having 'grown up' food tonight since Harry was off with his buddy with Buffy babysitting. He looked at him. "If she breaks up with me, she gets her powers back and I'm toast."
"I know." He grimaced. "If it didn't devolve into anything but a threesome?" he suggested.
Xander shook his head. "She'll want to try to break you in. It won't work." Sam sighed but nodded. "I don't know."
"We need to figure this out. I woke up licking your pillow."
Xander grinned. "That's a cute image."
"Trying to taste you." He sipped his own soda. "I don't know, Xander."
"Me either. Anya's scared that this will ruin whatever sort of life she's built."
"Anya and you are both scared," Sam corrected. Xander gave him a look. "Really." He smirked. "Anya needs to hit someone up and be a mistress. It'd make her happier."
"Probably but there's no room in today's world for courtesans."
"Good point." He took another drink then went back to his steak. "We should talk with her."
"Telling her this might be enough for her to feel scorned."
"She said she tried to call D'Hoffryn. He didn't answer."
"Hmm." He chewed his current bite. "Why not?" he asked once he swallowed.
"I'll ask her. We should talk, you're right about that." Sam nodded. "So we'll have to see."
"Sure. Might as well get my ass kicked tonight. It's been weeks."
"You keep forgetting you're not two-dimensional in a fight," Sam said patiently. "Things come up behind you."
"That happens when you go out alone or with one person."
Sam shook his head. "All of you are insane."
"I was born here. I have an excuse. What's yours?"
"Oh." He grinned and Sam grinned back. "We're so screwed up."
"Yup," he agreed, eating another bite. "But we're good at how screwed up we had to become."
"We are. We're some of the best there are at being in our screwed up lives." He finished up and got up to get another soda from the fridge, then came back. "Think the boys will giggle all night again and keep us up?"
"Don't know but I feel really ancient and parental."
Xander laughed. "Me too but it's nice to have someone I can fuss over. No one else lets me."
Sam patted him on the hand. "I can't stand much fussing unless I'm injured but fuss if you want." Xander grinned at that offer. "Now, how do we talk to Anya?"
"I don't know," he admitted. He sipped the soda. "Was it the spell?"
"I've been looking into it. The spell found us but being in the same room and focused on each other started the bond."
"Oh. So not the spell."
"No, it's a side effect of the souls."
"Anya," he agreed. He grabbed his phone to call hers. "You busy?" He smirked at her short answer. "Talking with Xander. Want to help us?" He hung up. "She's masturbating but she'll be over in a few hours."
"That's not that unusual," Xander said, shaking his head. Sam gave his hand a pat and he smiled. "Thanks, Sam."
"Welcome, Xander." They looked over as Dean came in. "Anya's coming over soon."
"I'll take the boys to the Bronze," he said, grabbing a few things so he could hunt if necessary then he left again. He could not deal with Anya, did not want to be in the same room as Anya, and Anya freaked him out in some very bad ways. There was no way he was going to be there when she was crying.
Ron looked at Harry as they walked with Dean, who was not being chatty at the moment while he watched out for bad things. "So, anything I should be warned about?"
"Don't let Anya tell you stories about her last job," Harry told him, making Dean laugh so hard he had to stop and rest against a building to hold himself up. Harry smirked. "Should he?"
"Not unless he needs to know how to torture someone," Dean agreed, smirking at him. "You have Xander's mouth, kid." Harry just smirked back.
"What did she used to do and is she still torturing others?" Ron asked, trying to stay calm. Okay, maybe this wasn't good for Harry to be around. He was starting to see Dumbledore's point now.
"Anya used to be the vengeance demon over women scorned," Harry said with an evil smirk. "She lost her power center about two years ago now." Ron gave him a confused look.
"Basically, if you screw around or you hurt your girl and she calls on Anya, makes a wish, Anya got to do it," Dean translated. Ron nodded slowly. "Women you screw around on get vindictive, Ron. They have wonderful ideas of what they want to do with you when you hurt them. Usually involving your death or the death of your dicks."
"Think about what Hermione would do if the first boyfriend she has cheats on her," Harry suggested.
"She'd find a really ancient curse and do it to his whole family. Probably one that would make him intangible so no one would be able to touch him again."
"With normal girls who don't have magic, Anya did that for them," Dean told him.
"Ah!" He nodded. "That makes more sense. Without magic, someone's got to."
"Exactly, though most of them probably deserved it since they screwed around or hurt their women." He walked the boys on, smiling at the looks Ron was giving Harry. "She misses her job, Ron. She likes to talk about it, in great detail."
"Which is why I don't want to listen," Ron said, getting it. Harry nodded. "She get you?"
"I spent the day helping her stock the store and she told me how she could use each and every object in there to hurt someone. If I ever need it for someone like Malfoy, I've got some *wonderful* ideas." Ron snickered, punching him on the arm. "Hey!" They paid the cover to get into the Bronze and they waited while Ron gaped in awe at the girls writhing on the floor in scanty clothes. "That's how Americans dance." He led him out to see if he knew anyone. The girl he liked was out there and he grinned, making her wave them over. "This is my best mate Ron from school. He came to check on me. Think we can help him learn how to move better? He's better at sports than I am. Has a lot of older brothers too."
She smiled. "We can try. Let me get one of my posse." She looked around then texted one of her girls. She came over and cooed at Ron, taking him to show him how to dance. She did the same with Harry. His adoptive parents had done a good job with him and now she could finish it. Maybe. He had a chaperone again but not the parents. His uncle if she remembered right. Who seemed a bit cool since he was off playing pool. So maybe they'd teach the boys how to have *real* fun like most teenagers.
Dean walked the boys into the house later, shaking his head at Sam's curious look. "Should we find them a motel to be grounded at?"
"We did what?" Sam asked them, making Harry shrink down.
"The girls wanted to take the dancing outside to the beach," Ron said with a blush.
"You're too young for drinking or sex," Sam said, rolling his eyes. "Damn it, I really do sound like a parent. Should we worry about hangovers?"
"I let the boys finish their first beer and be grossed out at the taste," Dean admitted. Sam gave him a dirty look. "I got you your first six, bitch."
"Yes, jerk, and then you sicced Dad on me the next morning. Really not helpful." He looked at the boys. "Hit the bed." They went that way. "Succuba?"
"Whatever. Anything else that would make Ron's mother yell if we were going to tell her?"
Ron leaned out of Harry's room. "Not going to tell mum?"
"I don't need your mother yelling at me either," Sam said dryly. Ron sighed in relief. "As long as you behave."
"Yes, Sam. Thank you." He went back to his bed.
Sam shook his head. "They okay otherwise?"
"I got the vamps who were saying in another year the girls would make good fun," he said, shrugging a bit. "We had a talk on the way back about self defense, how being drunk makes that harder, and all that."
"Good. That's all we could do." He went back into the bedroom. "Anya's here but she's asleep."
"That' fine. I'll be careful in the morning." Dean took off his boots and laid down on the couch, listening to the boys get ready for bed. Harry had to use the bathroom but that was fine. Though the boy needed help in the fine art of sneaking. He'd have to do that this weekend. He let himself sleep, tired after a long day of work and playing with the boys. It had been nice how the cops had arrived mere seconds after he had taken the boys away from the beach party by snatching them so the girls wouldn't see. Hopefully their mothers would set down some laws so they wouldn't be future food sources. They deserved it for sneaking the boys out, or trying anyway.
Ron walked into the bathroom then backed out with a blush. "Sorry, didn't hear anyone," he said, fleeing back to his bedroom. "Think I just met Anya."
"Brunette with blonde streaks?" Harry asked tiredly.
"Yup, naked in the bathroom."
"She does that," Harry agreed, making himself sit up. He put on his glasses and looked at Ron. "She'd only complain if you stared, Ron."
"Think Hermione's built like that?"
"Not yet. She's still growing into hers."
"Huh." He looked toward the bathroom then at Harry. "Back to the shop today?" Harry nodded. "Is that all you do? You're turning into Hermione, Harry. I expect to see curly hair any day now."
Anya knocked then leaned in. "He gets plenty of fun but Sam said that you two are to learn something about demons with Spike today." She smirked. "Try not to learn just the swear words. They make Giles clean his glasses a lot." She closed the door and walked off. "I'm done, boys; take a shower and I'll walk you over. Sam's doing an errand for Buffy."
"Sure, thanks," Harry called back, heading to take a shower. He'd let Ron gather himself after having stared at the naked woman who had clearly been flashing tits when she had leaned in.
A while and a mini food fight later that Anya had started and they were back at the shop. Harry looked around then headed into the basement with Ron. "Spike?" he called. The blond vampire came out of the shadows. "What're we supposed to learn other than demon swear words?"
Spike laughed. "We can do that. I'm to take you boys to teach you different demons. There's a kitten poker tournament and it's a handy skill to have sometimes." He led them to the sewer, enjoying Ron's horrified look. "Not like there's shit down there in Sunnydale, mate."
Ron smirked at him. "Why not?"
"Mayor made them demon freeways." He climbed down and Harry did too so Ron, of course, followed Harry. He wasn't about to let Harry get into trouble on his own.
Upstairs Anya was happier. "They're gone."
"That's good. That special order is being picked up in an hour. Since it's a wizard from his home, it'd be better if all the participants in that play had left. Speaking of drama...." He looked at her. "Did we work things out?"
"We did, kinda. Sam's very possessive and so is Xander but we're still figuring out more things to do than the threesome idea. Though they do snuggle at night and it was hard to get free of them. They've both got very strong arms."
"I'm sure they do." The expected pick-up showed up. "Ah, Mr. Malfoy." He went into the back to get his order. "I have to pack the candles still. You wanted black and red?"
"I did," he said, grimacing at Anya. Then at the shopkeeper. "Do we have any gall from a bezoar?"
"We may. Let me check. Anya?" She went to gather the candles. "Pillars, Anya. Casting circle quality."
"Of course." She came back with a small box of them. "There you go. One's a blessed one but I can change that out if you want."
"No, that would do admirably well," he admitted, taking the box to examine them. One had a chip so she changed that one out. He paid the shopkeeper and took the small jar of gall to put into the other box. He looked around. "I heard rumors that Mr. Potter appeared over this way."
"Yes, but he's off having fun today at a tournament. His fathers are dreadfully protective," Giles assured him. Xander walked in and tapped the guy on the back. "Xander, be nice."
"I won't hit him. Unless he comes after my son." He stared Lucius down, getting a head tip of acknowledgment and a sneer. "My girlfriend Anya does that better. She was a demon for over eleven hundred years." Lucius flinched. "As a matter of fact, the boys have been excellent in learning many lessons." He smirked. "I hear your son likes to torment the boys actually. Pulling pigtails of the girl you like?" Lucius stomped off. "Coming near Harry means that I have to react," he called, waving after him. "Come back to us again the next time you need things to summon demons." The door shut and the man disappeared. "Putz."
"Why are you off work?" Giles asked, giving him a look.
"What? I'm being good." He smirked. "By the way, we ran into a few more of the bezoar eggs. Want them?"
"Yes, I would."
"Good. Come get them. He'll be back. Everywhere else would report him to the ministry for doing what he does." He strolled off. "Bring a cooler. They're cold for some reason."
"I shall." Anya squealed and went to get one while he got some protective gloves. That way the little brats didn't try to take him over this time. The construction foreman nodded and let him into the site to poke around the basement area a bit. It was most nice of him since those could be sold for many purposes. Whole or not. He gathered the twenty eggs and took them back to the shop. Where Anya had put word out they had them. Someone was already waiting. "They're a bit chilled for some reason," he warned. "I haven't gotten to check the quality either."
"That's fine." He looked. "Hmm. Interesting." He picked one up. "Good weight. Probably didn't get sat on long enough. How much?"
"The going rate is five hundred for a whole one," Anya said happily. She loved selling expensive things.
The redheaded man handed over his credit card. "I'll take this one." She rang it up, letting him sign the slip and take his card back. "Thank you both." He smiled and left. He had many things they could use this for.
Giles and Anya smiled at each other then got to work checking the quality. Only one was cracked so he put that one into a jar to pickle it. That would make them major money from the demon community. They were considered very special treats used to bless weddings in some species. He called Spike. "We have eighteen bezoar eggs and one that I just started to pickle. If you could announce it, yes. Thank you, Spike. The boys can come back whenever you're done with them." He hung up and went back to labeling the new item. Xander brought in something and then shook his hands once it was out of them, heading back to work. Giles looked. "Blessed iron?" He checked it over. "Oh, dear. From that blade that broke years ago. It got spit back out." He made a tag for it too. Since it had broken in the kraken that guarded the hellmouth and had been sucked in for a while, it was worth quite a lot to the right sources. Though he would not sell it to someone who planned to do nasty things with it. He did have ethics.
Ron reappeared in Dumbledore's office, handing back the portkey. "Harry's good. The magic shop where he's staying is very educational. They even taught me how to use some of the things in there. Learned how to pickle bezoar eggs too." He handed back the portkey, and then a letter. "Harry's staying over there until his OWLs then he'll be back. They're teaching him a new form of magic, one that works against most creatures who're changed, demonic, or formerly dead. They thought it might be useful." He walked off, heading out to the floo to call his mother. "Mum, I'm back." She waved him through so he rolled through and out in his house, standing up to be dusted off and give her a hug. "Harry's parents are pissesrs, mum. Great guys, but absolute pissers. So's everyone else out there. Former demons, vampires, a slayer." He shook his head. "He's learning a lot."
"I'm glad." She gave him another hug. "Come tell me more, dear. Former demons? You can do that?"
"She lost her job when she cast a bad wish. Anyanka, over Women Scorned? She's his new father's girlfriend." She gaped, staring at her son. He nodded. "I tried very hard not to listen too closely to any story she told, mum."
"Good boy." She gave him another hug. "Hungry?"
"Oh, no, mum. Trip turned my stomach." He sat down. "Could use some tea." She got him some and a few cookies too, earning a smile. "Harry's happy and content." He handed over her letter and the pictures he had taken. She smiled at them. "Mum?" She looked up from reading. "Harry suggested I could do the same thing learning with Bill since we know this year's going to be a screw up already thanks to the Ministry." He took a sip of his tea and put it down. "Their teacher's not right."
"No, she's not."
"And me being there, that'll just make sure I get detention from her. She probably doesn't like Dad. I know the Bones girls are spending the year doing some traveling education stuff too from what Hermione heard."
She considered it then nodded. "What about Hermione?"
"Charlie?" She swatted him. "She could out stubborn dragons."
"It's not her field, Ronald."
He smirked. "So? Bill's isn't mine but it might be dead helpful." He took another drink. "Plus maybe the start of following him into the field."
"I don't like his."
He gave her a look. "Mum, not like I can do what Dad does all day. It'd drive me barmy within weeks."
"I know." She considered it. "I can talk to Bill. Explain things. See if he'd let you come for a while. When would you come back?"
"OWLs with Harry."
"That is acceptable because you'd have to take them." She went to call her second son. "Bill, dear, do you have a few moments?"
"Mum, I've got a lot of time right now."
"Oh, dear, you weren't fired, were you?"
"Cracked my knee, mam. Healer said I have to keep it still for two weeks. I'm really bored. What's wrong? Harry and Ron do something again?"
"Not funny," Ron called, coming into the living room. "Hermione did a spell and found Harry's reincarnated parents." His big brother blinked at that. "Who're in Sunnydale at the moment."
"Harry's where?" he demanded.
"There. A very nice Xander Harris is his reincarnated father and another demon hunter is his mum." He sat on the couch, curling up into a corner. "Harry's spending the year learning with them."
"Learning what?" he asked.
"Many things. Including how to dance. Buffy helped teach him." He smirked at the gape of awe. "Her mum's adopted Harry as an extra son, said she always wanted boys." He finished his tea and put the mug beside him. "Harry thinks I should do the same thing with you. Especially since the Ministry has decided to appoint a defense teacher; one of the under-ministers. To supposedly uphold the standards at the school. There's also a push to get Dumble out and Fudge keeps saying Harry lied. Even with a few attacks from what we've heard."
Bill swallowed. "You're sure you want to do that, Ron?"
Ron leaned closer to the fireplace. "Think about it. It's not an auror they put in, Bill. They put Fudge's second in." Bill shuddered then grimaced and reached down past where they could see. "She'll take it out on me because I'm a Weasley and because I'm Harry's mate. Harry's coming back for his OWLs and I wanted to do the same. He had some good points that you'd be better teaching me charms than even Flitwick could."
"You're supposed to learn a lot this year," Bill told him. Molly found the day's paper and held up the headline. Recent attack was not death eaters, it was imposters trying to uphold the delusions of Harry Potter. Bill moaned. "I can see why, Ron."
"It'd help. Harry's learning a lot of stuff. They've got other forms of magic out there. They've got a very nice young woman who practices Wicca who's been training Harry. It's hard as anything but he's learning."
Bill nodded. "I can see why. What about Hermione? She's part of you."
"She can do some foreign study. No kids of ministry people are going to be there this year according to what she's heard. They warned her."
"Crud," he muttered. If he swore, his mother would soap his mouth. "Let me clear it with the bosses. They've been complaining about Fudge again so it might not be a problem. Give me an hour, Ron."
"Sure," he agreed with a grin. Bill's head disappeared and he looked at his mother. "I learned a lot about the more harmless demons there, mum. They have a tamed vampire and he took us to watch a few of them playing games."
"I don't think that's safe."
"They're all scared of him. He works with the slayer."
She blinked. "Why ever for?"
"The government over there put a chip in his head. He can't eat people," he said dryly. "Harry's Da helped the slayer take down the ones who did that."
"Good!" She gave him a pat. "You were safe?"
"Yes, mum," he sighed, shaking his head. "We had chaperones whenever we were out of the apartment. Even just to the store and back."
"Excellent. It seems they really do care for Harry. Much better than his aunt and uncle." She went to make herself some laced tea and have a few of the cookies. She hated that this was going on again. Her family was going to be ripped apart by this. She would not stand for it, even if she did have to take Fudge out herself.
Ron came in and gave her a hug. "Not like Bill will let me get into trouble, mum," he said quietly. "He'll even talk to me about girls, and how not to date Hermione." She laughed, reaching back to give his head a pat. He gave her a squeeze and got more tea then went back to the couch. Traveling had worn him out. Bill called up and waved him through. "Let me get two things." He ran upstairs and got his trunk and put all the bags in his pockets in there then grabbed a few other things and came down with his school textbooks. "Thanks, Bill."
"Welcome, Ron." He took the trunk and got out of the way so Ron could come through. It was a long floo but necessary this time. He gave his little brother a hug, getting a yawn back. "Tired?"
"Had to apparate and then portkey back from Sunnydale this morning." He looked at him and turned to wave his mother. "I'm here, mum." He turned it off and took his trunk to carry off. "Did you know the slayer likes to shop? She dragged me and Harry both a few times. Made us help her pick out clothes she looked cute in. Bras too."
Bill spluttered. "The slayer did that?"
Ron looked at him and nodded. "She did. She's like that according to Xander." He shrugged. "What do I know? The only girls I know are Hermione and Ginny."
"Neither one are standard girls."
"Are the girls who wanted us to go drink beers on the beach with them normal?"
"Did you now?" he asked dryly.
"One and then Dean caught us and had the cops come get the others."
"You get yelled at?"
"Talked to. Sam did. He's Harry's mum reborn."
Bill shook his head. "That must be strange."
"Strange? Strange is that Xander is dating Anya. Who used to be Anyanka." Bill stopped to stare at him, mouth slightly open. "Those things happen out there. Dean kept saying he was going to make sure Harry went for normal girls instead."
"Might be a good idea. Is he all right?"
"He's learning a lot," he said smugly. "By the way, any kitten poker games around here? Spike got me hooked on it and I'm not too bad."
"No!" he said firmly. "No playing poker with demons, Ron." He walked him off, going to straighten his brother out so he was a normal Weasley again. Then they'd work on teaching him whatever he and his fellow cursebreakers could. If Harry was learning demon magic, Ron clearly needed to learn how to counter it and keep Harry from blowing the school up whenever he got frustrated.
Six months later, Xander and Sam stared at each other across the working spell they had set up earlier. Anya had figured out what the Power of Three warning part of the prophecy was about. Shared blood to make the blood bonds real as well as soul bonds. The family was all and all that was not; the gateway key that opened the power to help Harry win his fight. So now they were here waiting to be joined by blood as family. Anya was casting the spell for them. Tara was watching over them because Willow was freaked out. Anya finished it and handed Sam the dagger.
He looked at it then used it to slit his thumb. Xander took it and did the same. Then Sam stared into Xander's eyes. They could join thumbs. They would be like brothers then. Instead, he let Xander suck on his thumb. He took Xander's to suck on and it was good. The power joining them was flowing through them. He could tell the power was turning Xander on and it was nice. He finally pulled back when he couldn't get more blood from the wound. Xander bit him to get a bit more than let him pull his thumb out. Sam grinned. Xander smirked back. Anya cast the second part of the spell, calling up their past lives more easily. It merged more with their memories. It'd be like a dream to them but it worked well enough.
Xander shivered as the magic moved through him. He was still pretty open to it, even with how Willow tried to protect him. Tara stepped forward to strip the protections off Xander for now. It finished opening him up and Xander started to glow. Sam checked himself, no glow. Xander opened his eyes and stared at him, the green glow now out. Sam was terrified for a second then shifted closer, letting his mate sniff him. She huffed in his ear then faded. Sam smirked and Xander shrugged a bit. Between them the bond was set. It was stronger than cement. Anya let Harry into the circle and they pulled him between them, casting the blood bonding on him. Stroking their new cuts over his forehead.
Harry shuddered when some of Sam's blood dripped into his scar. He felt a twinge, then nothing. It was totally blank. Though he did feel something new in him. Something moving, questioning. Anya and Tara came to cast something specifically on him, letting the power of the gateway spell move through him. The demon that wanted Sam wasn't going to get him but they had moved it to the link instead. Now the demon was linked with Voldemort. Served him right for harming Sam's mother and girlfriend. Dean stepped forward to join them, looking down at the boy. Harry smiled back and Dean gave him a short hug. It acknowledged him as part of the family since Dean was now considered the head of it.
Tara stepped closer to do the last part, merging the lines together. No more Harris line or Winchester line. Now it was a merged line. Two who were bound and one brother who was amused at them most of the time. Plus one slightly confused son. She smiled as the magic potential in Dean flared but he calmed it back down, giving him a look. He shrugged so she let it be. During it, Harry's had fully opened and he glowed with magic. Xander glowed as well. Sam glowed but not as strongly. Xander could do a few forms if he wanted to learn. Sam one, Dean possibly two. There was a slight leaning toward chaos magic in him.
She cast the final bit that sealed the line together. She heard a demon scream somewhere but oh well. They deserved it for making poor Harry be a slayer of evil. She loved Harry like a nephew. She stepped in to hug him, drawn to do so by the spell. The guys grinned and hugged her. "Oops," she whispered. "I didn't mean to join in that way."
"Suck it up, you're family now," Xander teased.
"That's right. An honorary Winchester," Dean teased, giving her a hug. He nodded for Harry's benefit. "Ice cream?"
"Could use some." They walked out once the magic was fully absorbed and took Tara to have ice cream with them. "I had a question," he told her. She gave him a look. "Animagus stuff?"
She blinked. "You can?" she mouthed. He nodded. "Presently?"
"No but my father did. All his friends did in their fifth year. I was thinking about it last summer."
She shrugged. "It shouldn't matter," Sam said.
Xander nodded. "It might change what you had to show the new focus. Speaking of taint, Sam." He smirked. "You had the demon linked with Voldemort?"
"Keeps him from torturing the family."
"Good point. Have to get Willow onto that one."
"She's looking," Tara squeaked, blushing at that.
Dean gave her a small nudge. "Thanks." She smiled. He held the door of the ice cream place for them. The shopkeeper saw Xander and headed for the chocolate fudge ripple, while the others decided what they wanted. Anya came in later to sit with them. They were still awkward but they had a pretty decent threesome thing going on most of the time as far as Dean could tell. They finished up and went to sleep. Dean watched as the two soul spirits came up while they were asleep, going to watch over their son. "We take good care of him," he pointed out gently. "You can't get more fussy than Sam and Xander."
"I know," Lily assured him with a smile. "It's not the same." She went to hold her son and then let his father do it. Their baby was getting so big. The potion had helped him reach that final growth spurt and now he was nearly five-eleven, though he was skinny as a rail. With muscles because they were working on his self-defense training.
"He should get more magic with his wand," James said.
"That's coming soon, dear."
James frowned. "The other's helpful but he has to keep up."
"Giles has a plan."
"A good one?"
"A very good one." She smirked. "He worked on it with Willow. By the morning he'll know a lot more." She stroked his cheek. "This new body is cute." He blushed. "I should pounce."
"Don't you get enough of that, woman?" he teased playfully.
"Never, you know that." They went back to babying their son. She even folded his laundry on him. Sam hadn't and Xander had made Harry do his own since he had discovered why girls were nice in the middle of the night. Her poor boy never folded things the way she wanted. "My stupid sister," she muttered.
James gave her a hug from behind. "We'll get her, pet. You know that." She smiled at him. "We should ask the witch that cast the paternity charm to cast a legacy one as well." He tweaked her ear with his teeth then they went back to helping Harry have a dreamless sleep. That link being cut had been the most beneficial thing.
In England, Voldemort was howling in pain as the demon attacked him for daring to break his bond. He finally made him understand that he had not done it. Both their victims had been taken from them. A plan was made and an alliance started. The demon knew where the boy was and who had him. It was easy enough to have his toadies go get the boy. That would leave poor Samuel open and grieving. After all, not even a slayer could stand against their kind. He opened his eyes to look at the worried minions. "Someone has seen fit to break the connection I had to the boy," he sneered. "He is in Sunnydale, in America, in the state of California. He can be found at a store called the Magic Box."
"Lord," Lucius said, stepping forward. "I have been there."
"You did not bring him back?" he said, glaring at his minion.
"I went to assess the protections the boy had around him. His parents are reborn and the blood protection is on them. There are some very strong witches there, including ones who do things without wands. The boy was being tutored in demonic magic." Voldemort sat up and leaned forward at that. "The witches Emerson and McClay are both fairly strong. Were they wanded as is proper they would have been in my class." Voldemort tipped his head at that. "There is said to be one stronger than they joined there. Plus there are many rumors about that slayer and her knight." He sneered. "The knight is a medium. He has been possessed and keeps gifts from them. It's also said that he has attacked those who came to check on the boy."
"Why would this ...knight bother me?" he sneered.
"He's the reborn soul of the boy's father." Voldemort stared. "The boy will be back for the OWLs. He has already made arrangements to come back before their usual spring apocalypse starts so he can take his tests. The shopkeeper, the Watcher who owns the Magic Box, used to be with that Rayne bloke." Voldemort shuddered. They had searched him out as an ally and nearly been destroyed by the misfortune he had brought onto them. "Whatever the boy learns, you have learned more and he is not learning proper magic. Only those offshoot brands. Nothing with his wand."
Voldemort considered it. "When is he due back?"
"April. Late April. Him and the Weasley boy both, Lord. He went to study with his brother, the curse breaker."
"Do we think they can merge them?" he asked.
"Not immediately. They're not psychic with each other or bound."
"Interesting." He leaned back to consider it. "I would rather have him stopped before he learns too much."
"Yes, Lord, but his family and those around him will fight us. A slayer cannot hurt us as she's human but others can and will. The reborn mother and his brother are both demon hunters. Well-known demon hunters."
"I talked with the demon who made them such," he sneered.
"Others have said that they hold the soul of vengeance in them."
"This upcoming apocalypse?"
"Happens every year," Lucius told him. "I have no idea what this one is about, yet."
"Hmmm." He considered it. "Them being distracted would lead to the boy being unprotected."
"Yes, Lord." He stepped back. "Because the auror who Dumbledore sent after the boy still has no memory and the knight does not usually use magic. He is however tainted by the hellmouth."
Voldemort shuddered. "Is he powerful?"
"We can't tell," Lucius said. "I only saw him for a moment, long enough for him to threaten me, Lord."
"We should find that out." He picked a few. "You five, go to Sunnydale to assess the boy and his guardians for weaknesses." They nodded and left to pack and leave. He looked at Lucius. "What of your son's report from the school?"
"The Grand High Inquisitor is abusing her power and the students, Lord. The Granger girl has fled to Beaubaxton's for the rest of the year."
He smirked. "As is fitting for an impure witch to do." He considered it. "What if they do come together?"
"There is no bond between them but friendship. That can be beaten. My son reports Weasley commonly pushes the Potter boy aside whenever someone takes notice of him out of jealousy."
"Pity but we'll see what can be done." That got a nod. "Make sure they stay there. There was something odd in his head about three warriors."
"Yes, Lord." He went to have his spies report on their physical presence.
Voldemort rested. He would take a pain potion later when people weren't looking. That demon had been rather strong. He'd have to kill him soon so nothing could upset his plans for domination. Opening a devil's gate? Indeed, not good for his plans.
Willow landed in Cairo, looking around the ancient city. She nearly bowed to the ancient powers she could feel here. It was clearly watching her to see what trouble she was going to bring. "I'm here to find someone," she whispered, heading off from the shadow of the ministry. She found the local Gringotts and smiled, walking inside. "Hi, I need to speak to one of your local cursebreakers please," she asked politely. The goblin stared at her. "Um, I probably can cast a translation charm." She pointed at a door to the right. "Thank you." She went that way and saw the 'information' desk that way. The door behind it was for cursebreakers and she went over there, tapping on it before opening it and leaning in. "Is this where I come to find one of the local cursebreakers to talk to him?" she asked the goblin in there.
He looked at her. "Relative of Bill Weasley?" he asked.
"No." She walked in and shut the door. "Adoptive aunt to Harry Potter. He's the one I need to speak with, him and his little brother."
"Did something happen? There's many who think it would."
"We'd never let anything happen to Harry. We wanted to know if Ron could come over for a few weeks."
"I shall send for Bill. You may sit," he said, pointing at a wooden chair.
Willow cast a stabilizing charm on it and sat. "Thank you."
He gaped. "You would be?"
"Ah. No wonder. Welcome to Gringotts."
"From what Harry said, if I had money I'd move it to your bank."
He smirked. "It is nice to hear." He sent an owl to his cursebreaker's home and got him through the floo a few minutes later with Ron behind him. "This young witch wanted to extend an invitation."
"Willow," Ron said, coming over to hug her. "How's Harry?"
"He's just fine but he's learned a lot and wants a winter break. He thought you might too. If you're not doing anything for the holidays?" she asked Bill. "If you wanted, you're more than welcome to come with us. That way you can make sure the boys are behaving and tell your mother before she sends another screaming envelope about lack of letters and how she was sure Harry had been turned."
Bill laughed. "Sounds like mam," he agreed, shaking her hand. "Bill."
"I've heard about you from Ron." She blushed. "I don't think I'd mind the trip. Ron, you?"
"No, it'd be nice to meet up with Harry again."
"You won't recognize him. He's grown," she told him. "He's as tall as your brother now and learning a lot from the Winchester side of the family. Even if he does dress like Xander." Ron snickered and nodded. "He's still too skinny but we're working on it."
"We'd be delighted. Are you sure it's no problem?" Bill asked.
She snorted. "You can have mine and Buffy's dorm room. She's staying with her mom for a few weeks even though we're in the winter trimester. I can stay with Tara." They smiled. "Or you can rent a motel room but we'll have to ward it against vamps and things. Up to you, even if we would have to tell the dorm people you're visiting relatives of mine. They won't mind. Almost no one takes this term of school."
Bill nodded. "Let me go pack us a bag or two."
She smiled. "Cool. Can you have my portkey reset?" she asked the goblin. He took it and reset it for her. "Thank you. Should I take Ron?"
"Go ahead." She left with him and Bill shook his head. "Ron said she was hyper." He went to pack a bag and head off from his place. He landed in the Magic Box, looking around the store. "So much more compact than the market." Anya jumped. "Ron not come back here?"
"Willow took him back to the dorm. Let me call." She did that. "Willow, there's a guy here looking for you and Ron. Sure, I can do that." She hung up. "Harry, take this one to Willow's dorm please?" she yelled.
He came out of the back. "Bill!" He gave him a hug. "Welcome to Sunnydale." He walked him out. "Any idea which room?"
"She mentioned she and Buffy were sharing one."
"Her actual room, not the one she shares with Tara then." He smiled. "What?" The other man was staring at him.
"You've really shot up."
"I had to drink these nasty mushroom shakes for months to do it but I have. Now if only I could gain weight and I quit tripping now and then." He frowned but cleared it up. "Sam said he did the same thing and he's taller than I am. So's Dean. I'd feel short but Xander's only an inch taller so I guess I'm fine." He smirked. "Shocked, huh?"
"A bit. You didn't used to babble, Harry." Harry grinned. "Learning a lot?"
"Quite a lot. How's the school? I know Ron's written the twins a few times more than I have."
"They left. The defense teacher that named herself headmaster made them leave in a huff. Mum was not happy but when she filed a protest with the Ministry they tried to sneer. Dad's not happy with the Ministry for it."
Harry coughed. "It'll be better soon. How's the Order?"
"Going," he admitted. "Are you learning regular defense?"
"I am," he said proudly. "As well as how to use a gun, a bow, a stake, a sword, a battle axe, and how to spar with a slayer until she pouts about being sweaty." Bill stopped to stare at him in confusion. "My new parents, Sam and Xander, are demon hunters, Bill. I've learned their ways as well as regular defense. Plus the slayer locally spars with me at least once a week to keep me in shape and able to help patrol."
"Are you patrolling?"
"Only on easy nights. She said I'm too young to do the hard things. Slime demons are really nasty and mess up your clothes a lot." He nodded. "C'mon, few more miles to hike."
"Sure." He followed him, smiling at this new, confident, self-assured, calm Harry. Who babbled about many things, including girls. He even blushed as he waved at one he saw. She giggled as she waved back so he was sure there was a story there. "Girlfriend?"
"No. She tried really hard but her big brother remembers Xander and doesn't like him so technically we hang out at the Bronze on Friday nights. Though she does try awfully hard."
"You don't need a girlfriend yet, Harry."
"Have to do it sometime. I'm told I'll never understand them so I should enjoy the ride while I'm young and pretty." Bill stared then burst out laughing. "Honestly. Once I get to be Dean's age you have to work to make the women hit on you. He does." He pointed at the college. "That's where we're headed. The brick and cement one." That got a nod and they hiked across the campus.
"What's that building?" Bill asked about the one with the crime scene tape around it.
"That's where the fuckers in the government used to live while they were doing torture and experiments on demons. Things like putting behavior chips in vampires' heads so they can't feed or hunt." He looked at him. "Did Ron mention Spike?" Bill swallowed but nodded. "They did it to him. Horrible people. The slayer's team brought them down after they found out. They had to save a friend from them." He gave him a point. "That is Buffy. Buffy!" he called, waving. She smiled and they met on the path. "This is Ron's brother Bill. Oldest in the family. Bill, this is Buffy Summers."
She smiled. "I love the accent." She shook his hand. "Harry, sparring?"
"Tomorrow? Ron's in too," he said with a slight pout. "It's Friday."
"Fine, take Ron to the Bronze with his big brother. Make sure you've got another chaperone who can handle any stakage." She ruffled his hair. "You're too tall. It's no fair you're taller than me." She walked off. "See you guys later. Nice meeting you, Bill."
Bill watched her go then looked at Harry. "That's her?" Harry smirked and nodded. "Well, she's a tiny thing mam would feed to death." He watched her back again. "Cute though."
"Very. We even had to help her shop a few times. Ron was very amused at Victoria's Secret." He walked him into the dorm and up to their room, letting Bill knock. Willow opened it and gave him a hug. "Missed me in the two hours already?"
"Yes. You can help me carry things down to Tara's room." She smirked.
"If I must," he sighed. He helped her while Bill and Ron got settled in then he came back. "There, now that they're gone. Ron, it's Friday so Bronze night. We'll need a chaperone but I can probably talk one of them into it."
"Sure, Harry. Could use it. There's no clubs like that in Cairo."
"Ron, the women there are supposed to be chaste and unseen by other men," Bill said dryly.
"Good point." He shrugged. "How's it been, Harry?"
"Pretty good. The auror who showed up last month nearly ended up stripped and hanging from a flagpole by his nuts but he came during final exams so the ladies were not pleased with him. Xander got cranky because they were cranky. Dean hid. Probably the wisest thing to do really." He sat on the foot of Ron's bed. "When we go back we've got to bring heaters with us."
"I like the curtains," Ron complained mildly. "It gives you some privacy."
"Not really. You can hear everything through them. Though the last letter I had from Ginny said Dean kept *them* up." Ron snickered at that. "So, how's Cairo been?"
"Great. It's an ancient city and it's wonderful. Loud, crowded, messy and noisy, but it's great."
"He's been a good boy most of the time," Bill promised with a smirk. "You?"
"I try so very hard but Dean teaches me how to prank and then Xander teaches me how to prank Dean back." Ron laughed. "It's been good for us. Where is Hermione?"
"School of French Snobs according to her," Ron said, handing over his last letter. Bill had packed it for him. Harry read it with a grin then handed it back. "She's not hitting on the blokes so the girls thinks she's a lesbian." Harry snickered. "You look different."
"I'm happy and relaxed. It's been great being here. They even cut the bond on the scar." Ron gaped. Harry smirked and nodded. "Cut the bond Sam had with the demon that wants him too. We figured they could fight about it and destroy each other for a bit."
"I'm sure the Slytherins like that," Ron said dryly.
"I've been learning a lot," he said, shifting. "Not all Slytherins are evil, Ron." Ron gave him a heated glare. "They're not. Even if Malfoy is by heritage, not all are. Some are even being pressured into going." Bill nodded. "Spike had to make me see that. He said a part of growing up was to quit seeing everything in terms of bad/good, houses, or other small conflicts. To instead see the people behind them."
"I..." He slumped. "You may be right."
"We'll have to see how they are when we get back." Ron smirked at that. "We will. I'm going back two days before OWLs so I have time to take the train up. You?"
"The same. Meet at the Leaky?"
"We should. Meet with Hermione too since I heard she's coming back."
"She said she is. What about the Inquisitor, Harry?"
"Let her touch me," Harry said dryly, giving him a look. "Sam has *vowed* to come rearrange her molecules if she so much as breathes on me wrong. Then he'll fix the school so there's good teachers."
"She got rid of Trellwany."
"Yay her. And?" He shrugged. "I can dump divination by Xander's orders. Buffy's got better visions. Sam too."
"Wow. He does?"
"Yeah, he does."
"Wow." Ron straightened up again. "We should show Bill around before dinner."
"I have no idea what we're doing for dinner," Harry admitted. "I guess you guys can come home. Let me call Dean or Sam to make sure." He called. "Dean, Harry. Ron and Bill are in. Dinner?" he asked at the 'we knew that, so' question. "That's what I was wondering, yes. Are we having a joint dinner?" He winced at the 'Xander's throwing a fit at the crew' answer. "Sure. Well, let me know. If not, we can go to the Double Meat Palace or something." He hung up. "The crew did something stupid and Xander's having to yell."
"The Double Meat, Harry?" Ron complained.
Harry looked at him. "They're under new cooks since the last one got eaten by the vampire he tried to poison."
"Let's hope I don't get the runs this time too," Ron said dryly.
"You've eaten worse in the field with me," Bill reminded him.
"That is the one thing I miss about the school. The food. Oh, wrote Hagrid recently?"
"Yup, just last week. I try about once a month." He grinned. "Everything's going okay so far. Fang's doing good. He wrote Charlie to hear how Norbert was doing." That got a nod and a smile. "How is Charlie doing?"
"Another day, another bout of singed hair," Bill quipped.
Ron looked at him. "Should I even *mention* the firebird you ran into last month in a tomb?" he asked dryly.
"I don't care as long as you don't tell our mother, Ron."
Harry laughed. "I haven't been telling her half of what goes on around here. She got very upset when I said the girls were making me go bra shopping with them. Called them hussies. I had to help Tara distract Willow before she went to scream at her for it." They laughed. Willow versus their mother would be a match they'd have on the WWN radio stations.
Xander looked over as Harry came in with Bill and Ron. "Sorry, Harry."
"No, dinner's on. Didn't mean to worry you. The crew decided to mismeasure a room they were laying." Dean winced. "At least it wasn't your crew."
"No, Sammy and I are smarter than that," Dean assured him. Xander nodded at that. "You better?"
"Yup. After nearly finding a flogging whip." He took another sip of his soda. "Hi, Ron."
"Hi, Xander. This is my big brother, Bill. He's the first born." They all waved. "Can we really Bronze tonight?"
"I need the stress relief, so yup." The boys grinned. "Dinner's nearly done. Sam's in the shower. Get cleaned up when he's done. Show them your room, Harry. And clean it so the old clothes can go to the thrift store again."
"Yes, Xander." He walked them into there to do that while they looked at things. He handed Ron something. "Willow charmed it so it will work in Hogwarts." Ron beamed and sat down to play the game he had going. "Don't lose my spot unless you get me a higher level." He finished sorting things and putting them away. Sam leaned in with a smirk. "Sam, this is Bill, Ron's big brother." They shook hands. "Bronze later?"
"Could, yeah. Xander about yelled himself hoarse earlier." He pulled out. "Go clean up for dinner, boys." They did that while he finished getting dressed.
Bill stared at Harry doing...something indecent on the floor with a girl and looked at Xander, who was smirking. "You're letting him procreate?"
"He can't get out of those pants that fast." He sipped his beer. "Besides, he's just dancing. If he heads for the bathroom, the backroom, the alley, or the dark area under the stairs, he's in real trouble." He pointed at Buffy. "She taught him and that is how American teenagers dance, Bill. Relax the thong, dude." Sam pulled him out there. "Fine, I'll come destress too." He grinned, letting Sam make him happier. "Anya wants to come over tonight."
Sam leaned down a bit to get next to his ear. "That's not a problem, Xander. Even if we do keep the boys up." Xander smirked and moved closer, pulling Sam's hips against his. They hadn't gotten past groping but it was comfortable between them.
Ron slipped his leash from Bill and went to hit on a pretty girl he remembered from last time. "Hi."
She blinked. "Weren't you here this summer?" He nodded with a grin. She snorted. "You got me in trouble with my parents."
"No, I didn't."
"They busted the party we took you too. You disappeared."
"Harry's Uncle Dean pulled us out of there by our hair. He might've."
She sighed. "Pity. You were cute."
He shrugged. "He's not my uncle. I got dragged off being yelled at. My big brother's here instead." He pointed and she moaned. "I've been with him in Cairo." She moaned more and let him dance with her. Then she let the girls who wanted to play with his hair have him. Nearly pouting. She had tossed away the pale skin and red hair, plus the accent to die for. Oh, well. Maybe she'd get the other one. She went to tease Bill into dancing with her. He was stiff but she had taught his little brother so she could teach him.
He was still stiff five songs later but looser and he didn't ask her how old she was. Which was nice. Being in a restrictive country he probably needed to see any girls he could. She asked him and he explained how girls in Cairo acted and it was a pity they couldn't go out without a chaperone but more for her to gain if she could get him to loosen up. The bastard uncle who had gotten her grounded said something in his ear a few minutes later and he blushed, excusing himself. She pouted and pulled him closer. "Age is just a number. I'm very mature."
"But I don't want to be arrested, miss." He nodded politely and fled to sit with Dean. "Thanks for the warning, mate."
"Not a problem. For all that she's sixteen it's still illegal around here." He texted Sam and Sam said something to her, making her go pout. He put up his phone and went to play some pool. Bill could handle himself for now and they were watching for vamps. A few came up to him but Harry led one off to stake. Buffy got another one before taking Bill to teach him how to dance, making him blush since she was more than old enough to hit on him. No women he was around came onto him like this and she wasn't even really trying to be sexy. A few hours of wearing out enough hormones to kill several of his coworkers and they were headed back to the dorms, where Buffy got them in with a word to the monitor - who only smiled and told them to flip the sign if they were showering. He and his little brother both went to bed and it was nice. It wasn't the most comfortable bed but it was nice.
"Just don't keep me up moaning her name," Ron complained, flipping onto his side.
"I'm not Charlie," he complained but he smiled. His brother had learned a lot being with him for the last few months. Including his mouth. He'd have to learn to hide that when he went home or else their mother would soap it on him.
Harry and Ron worked on the new spells they had been given together. It was pretty cool. Ron had learned a lot about warping spells and Harry had learned other forms of magic. Hermione had written them and said she was bored but couldn't come over there, somehow she had heard, but she did make some suggestions about areas they could look into. So they were and it had proved useful, for now. Mostly to get into trouble around town. Willow had given them dirty looks but Harry had grinned and she had huffed off to complain to Xander, who shrugged and said it wasn't any worse than her thing with bunny rabbits that used to be people. She had walked off sulking so it was all good, even though Xander had given him his patented 'be careful and don't get caught' look. Harry had beamed as he walked Ron off. It was so much nicer to have parents who wanted you to get into trouble.
It was also funny that Dean was the uptight relative in the trio.
The new spell was cool. It'd make vampires go purple and glow in the dark. Make it a lot easier to find them on patrol, that was for sure. Buffy had looked it over when Harry had found it and giggled so she'd let them try it one night soon. He and Ron got to work learning it and it was cool. Ron had even figured out how to make it applicable to Malfoy once they got home. Because that blighter would never change. They snuck and did it on Spike, who complained and ranted and yelled for two hours until it wore off, then he congratulated them and swatted them on the head before shoving them out of his crypt. They ran back to the store and it was all good for them.
Sam walked in talking to someone. "No, Missouri, we're good. We're still alive and all that. What makes you think we're in trouble?" He snickered. "No, that's not Dean, that's Harry. Apparently I used to be Harry's mom." He hung up on her choking and spluttering. "Boys, what did we do?" he asked with a grin. "The psychic who just called said you were being bad."
"Make Spike glow neon purple in the dark," Harry said with a wicked smirk.
Sam cackled and gave them a joint hug. "I'm so proud. Show it to Dean later." He let them go. "Ice cream?" They ran after him to go get a treat. The ice cream guy gave him an odd look. "We're home schooling and Ron's his friend. He came to visit for the holidays."
"Does the new principal know this?"
"Why would I care?" Sam asked.
"Because he wants all kids in the school and he's trying to end any option of home schooling."
"Harry's only here until April and then he's got to go back for a bit. Then he'll be back next summer I'm assuming. If the principal doesn't like it he can come talk to me in person."
"Sure, I'll let that be known." He got the boys what they wanted and watched the small family walk out. "You shouldn't test that one," he muttered. "He's worse than the old mayor."
Xander looked up as someone walked onto his site. "Can I help you?"
"Are you Mr. Harris?"
"Yup. What's wrong?" He leaned against the table he had the plans spread out on. "Guys, take ten," he yelled. He looked at him again. "New job, sir?"
"No, I'm worried about the child who is not in school."
"Harry's home schooling due to some academic issues in his last one. He's also a British citizen and he'll be going back to take his standardized tests in a few months. Other than that, I doubt I want Harry in the school here since we're so under performance levels we should be shut down."
"You graduated," he said dryly.
"Yes, unfortunately I did. That's why I'm working here." The man growled. "Now, anything else?"
"I'm sure the boy can't pass our tests."
"Really? The only one he might not be able to pass is science and I can have his aunt work on that sometime this summer. Other than that, the British system is usually much better. Unfortunately he had a problem with a teacher who believed in torture being healthy." The man nearly drooled at that. Xander stood up and moved closer. "You can try whatever you want, but I don't think it'll work. Really." He stared him down. He took a very blatant sniff. "By the way, how's the clan's matriarch? She loves Harry. Saw him on patrol recently and stopped him to talk about the situation back at home." The man went pale and fled. "You have a nice day," he called, waving after him.
"Who was that?" Dean asked.
"Principal of the junior high. He wanted Harry in school."
"Why? He's doing better than they are. I looked at the tests and I got most of that in fifth grade."
"All the local schools are that way. The only thing he's not getting is science."
"We can have Sammy go over that." He called him. "It's me. The local junior high principal was just bothering Xander. Yeah, and we think he can pass since they're so piss poor except maybe science. That'll work, thanks." He hung up. "He and Willow can go over it today." He clapped him on the back. "This new plan sucks."
"Not my doing," Xander said dryly. "It's nice there's no room for anything to live in the ceiling this time though." He looked at the guys. "New principal and Harry's home schooling." They nodded and got back to work. Xander went over the next detail of the job, which was creeping him out. "Why are we putting the bricks in a magical configuration?" he muttered. He frowned and looked at the boss, going to talk to him. "I know you know what happens around here."
"Have known, Xander. Why?"
"The bricks for the entry are magically encoded," he said quietly. "Can we mess up one or two of the bricks?"
"If we don't there's no telling what'll happen."
"Have your buddies find out."
"Can I have the plans?"
"Go for it. I'll have them move to the gym." He went to do that while Xander took that sheet of the plans to the Magic Box. "Guys, forget the bricks for a while. Go work on the gym. Something needs to be clarified on the plans." They nodded and went to do that.
Xander walked the plans into the Magic Box and spread them out in front of Giles, pointing at the drawing. "How bad and how do I mess them up without doing it blatantly?"
He looked then at him. "They're soul capturing marks for a body that's died." He got the book down to make sure of it. "Yes, the full mark. Any body that dies in whatever building that is the soul will be captured and held."
"It's in the entry of the new school," he said flatly.
Giles snapped the book shut. "Excuse me?"
"Yeah. I need a way to make it void without making it look like we screwed up the job."
Giles sighed and nodded. "All there has to do is be an extra dot in this one." He looked then drew one. "You can make it a border and catch most of the marks. All but this one here."
"Can it be done in a paint that's nearly the same color as the walls?"
"It can," he agreed happily. "That would conceal it wonderfully. As long as it's done at the same time as the bricks."
"Usually we paint long after we brick."
"When the last brick is laid the dot must be also."
"Does it have to show? Can I put it under the paint?"
"It must show."
"I'll let the boss know." He flipped the page. "Anything in this doing the same type of thing or harmful?"
Giles looked then pointed. "Your pattern under your basketball hoop is a capturing circle. Fairly old style though."
"Thanks, Giles. Just break a line?" Giles nodded. "Decent." He took it back to the site to tell the boss. "Break a line in the pattern under the basketball hoops," he told Dean when he found him. "Make it so you have to use two pieces of wood instead of one whole one. It's an older style of capturing circle." Dean nodded, making sure of it. He went to find the boss, finding him talking with the new mayor. "Got it fixed, boss."
"Thanks, Harris." He gave him a look and Xander shook his head subtly. "The boys doing okay?"
"A lot. It looks fine. They're starting the floor from the center and going out so the half pieces are all under the bleachers. That way it's the prettiest." That got a nod from the mayor, who smiled. "Let me guess, the principal got onto you about my son home schooling?"
"Harry goes to school in England most of the time. Unfortunately this year one of his teachers decided to name herself the Grand High Inquisitor." The mayor shuddered. "He'll be going back for tests then coming back."
"I can understand that. That one?"
"Big push to get her out."
"Even better. Can't have people like that near the students or they don't learn anything."
"Oh, Harry's learned tons with us," he said with a grin. "We've even taught him how to match clothes." The mayor walked off laughing. Xander pointed at the marks. "We have to paint a dot at the same time the bricks are laid. It has to go overtop of the paint. We can make it a border or it can be nearly the same color as the wall but it has to be done at the same time."
"Damn it." He considered it. "We can paint, brick, and then paint the dots. You or your henchman can go behind and paint the dot." Xander nodded, going to get Dean to do that with him. They could do the job together and it'd be okay. It was nice Xander had hired his new family because they were competent and kept the site safer.
Harry ran in later that night. "Attack at the high school," he panted. "So much faster with my broom."
Buffy ran out with Xander, who was calling his boss on the way. By the time they got there, the whole building was starting to be sucked in. Buffy called Willow. "It's open and sucking the school." Willow got to work on the spell to close the hellmouth from the store and the sucking stopped. She looked then at Xander. "You built it stronger than the last one."
Xander groaned, walking over to one of the cops. "I'm the crew foreman. What the fuck did you do to my job site!" he shouted. The cops all flinched back. "Well? I'm waiting!" This is what they were expecting to happen so he'd play along to keep the cover on the group being there.
"We don't know. Some vandals, probably kids, were breaking in and that started to happen. Did you maybe goof?" one demanded.
Xander picked him up and shook him. "I had it built to Kyoto earthquake standards. The school wouldn't have caved without someone doing something bad to the foundation and even on that I used redundant backups since someone tried to blow it up while I was a student." He put him down. "Now go figure it out before I have to!" He ran off to tell his boss that, and his boss sent in the fire department to look. Xander's boss got there. "They tried to say we goofed, boss; already corrected that one at the top of my lungs."
"Do I have to wait while you're bailed out of jail?"
"Hell no," he snorted. He looked at his boss. "Vandals."
"Ah. Didn't your senior year nearly get blown up?"
"Yeah, one of the football players planted a bomb in the basement. That's why I insisted on the Kyoto standard and the extra in the foundation."
"Works for me. Safer too probably." The fire chief came out. "What happened?"
"Looks like a sinkhole opened underneath the basement and started to suck it in. Good construction job, guys. Most buildings in town would've caved in fully. The roof's a bit cracked but holding."
"I pulled down the Kyoto standards and used it with the architect," Xander told him.
"Good! We like that with all the earthquakes we have. Didn't feel one tonight but sinkholes happen I guess. City Council won't be happy."
"As long as they don't try to say it's our crew's fault," Xander told him.
The chief looked then back at him. "If you guys had done it wrong, it'd be rubble. I'll make sure they know." He went to make that call, finding most of them already there. "The guys did good or it'd be in bits and pieces."
"What happened?" the mayor demanded.
"Looks like a sinkhole, Bob. It took out a good portion of the basement and the foundation layers. That's what sank in the center. I tell you what, if it wasn't up to Kyoto standards they'd have to start all over again after removing all the debris. We'd have rubble instead of a partial building."
"Damn. I wondered why they upped the foundation."
"Earthquakes," the fire chief said bluntly. "So talk about it but they did good work." He left to make his report. He hated sinkholes. They kept happening. Maybe they should move the school to somewhere safer?
The mayor walked over to the two construction people. "How long will it take to clean up?"
"Six weeks," Xander said. The boss looked at him. "Just to clear the center? Six weeks. As long as we don't have to tear it all down. Though, the sinkhole's going to take some filling in."
"Can we use the rubble?" the mayor asked.
Xander shrugged. "Depends on why the hole. If it's a drainage problem and the bedrock underneath was hollow, maybe. If it's a continuing problem? Nope."
"Shoot. Well, we'll look once the rubble is out of the way."
"We'll need the city's dump trucks," the boss said. That got a nod and the mayor left. "Six weeks?"
Xander looked at him. "Christmas is in two. Most of the guys wanted that week in between that and New Years off." He shrugged. "If we finish earlier, it'll make it us look good." He smirked. "Besides, it'll take that long for the insurance, boss."
"Good point." He went back to his truck. "Thanks for the heartburn, Harris."
"Welcome, boss." He waved and walked back to Buffy's side behind the caution tape. "Sinkhole."
"Amazing," she agreed, shaking her head. "Lots and lots of cleaning, Xander."
"Yup." They walked off, running into Dean. "Six weeks to clean the center where the sinkhole was."
"It'll take that long?"
"That long for the insurance company too."
"Good point. Good thing they did that walk through yesterday." They walked back together, Buffy getting a few bright purple, glowing vampires. "I'm starting to love that spell. Makes it so much easier." They went back to the shop to talk it over.
Sam looked up from his reading. "Part of the apocalypse was to christen the school," he pointed out. They all smirked. That would lessen it. "So we'll have to see."
"Yes we will," Xander said, sitting next to him to see what he was reading. "Ah, that thing. Back again?"
"Researching in case it does."
"That's fine." He grinned. "Six weeks of cleaning up the sinkhole's mess."
"The office and the gym are still up," Dean told him.
Sam moaned, shaking his head. "Equipment?"
"The roof's still holding. We got praised by the fire chief because it wasn't in rubble."
"We do good work," Sam agreed. "Maybe they'll let us shift the school over some so it's not directly over the issue. Put the football field there."
Xander smirked. "That's almost evil but most cheerleaders are evil anyway."
"Hey!" Buffy complained. "I was one, mister."
He looked at her. "Are you denying you have evil days?"
She considered it then sighed, walking off shaking her head. "I can't do that." The guys all smirked at her back. "I'd quit smirking," she said without having to look. "Before I have one tomorrow."
"Sure, take Harry shopping," Dean quipped.
"Hey!" Harry complained, frowning at him. "Why am I going to be sacrificed?"
"Because they'd leer," Buffy said with a pinch to his cheek. "Besides, your sneakers are dead." She beamed. "So we'll go after I get done with geology."
"Give him your textbook for a while," Sam ordered. Harry moaned. "Have to know it if they make you try to pass local tests." Harry nodded, taking her textbook to go over. It wasn't that hard. The college's sports people all took this section of geology. Sam shook his head. "We never had that easy of a class at Stanford."
Dean looked at him. "That's because you went to geek central, west coast division." Xander cackled at that. "If you had went to a normal school it'd be different."
"I was inches from getting a free ride to law school, Dean." Xander stared at him. "I was," he said, suddenly self-conscious.
"Wow. Way more brains than me."
Sam bopped him on the shoulder. "Don't say that. Just because I'm book smart doesn't mean I can do the things you and Dean do." Xander grinned and gave him a hug then went to get some milk.
"Leave me some milk," Giles called after him.
"Can't," Xander called a minute later. "It's spoiled." He came out. "So I guess I'll go home to get milk." The others went with him.
Buffy shook her head. "They're a very tight family but it's strange seeing Xander wearing a plain t-shirt."
"I do believe Dean won the bet to make him," Giles said, going back to reading. "If you're going out, pick me up some more milk?"
"Sure, Giles." She went to do that and patrol. It was her job after all.
Harry and Ron met again in April in Diagon. Harry appeared and put away the illegal portkey, meaning the ministry didn't make it, so he could look around. No one had noticed him yet. That was incredibly nice of them. He had even gotten new uniforms at the shopping area in LA so he didn't have to go to Madam Malkins. He was wearing the outfit Buffy had picked out for him; she had insisted it made him look less skinny and highlighted his muscles and his eyes. He hated to disappoint her. He saw a gangly redhead strolling up the alley and smirked. "Bill sent you through the bank?"
"We were in the field," he said, giving him a hug. He pulled back. "You're keeping weight on?"
"Some. Very little and Joyce moans." That got a nod. "Seen your mum yet?"
"Not yet. I was going to owl Dad for lunch."
"That'll work," Harry decided. "Get rooms?"
"We can. Bill gave me a few galleons."
Harry smirked. "Xander did the same to me even though I have some." Ron snickered. "It's nice." They headed that way, smiling at the shocked looking innkeeper. "Our year off did us good. We learned a lot."
"The bushy haired whirlwind is taking a nap," he told them. "Two rooms or one, boys?"
"I'm not his," Harry said dryly, cracking Tom up. "Put us near her please." That got a nod and they paid for their rooms. "Thanks."
Ron wrote out the message for his father then went to drop his trunk. They came down to find the twins staring at Harry. "He's not even your brother," he joked.
The twins stared at him.
"Grown," the twins said.
"Both of you," one said.
"It's a nice change even if mum will think you're too skinny," the other finished.
"It's the nature of the growth spurts," Harry said. "I'm finally keeping weight on." They sat down and was nearly pounced by a bushy haired, chattering whirlwind. "Hermione!" Harry said, pushing her off. "No clinging, woman."
She gaped, staring at him, then at Ron. "Well, you've both grown but you're much too skinny. Someone must not have been feeding you enough."
"Bloody hell, woman, I ate more than Bill and the rest of his crew combined," Ron complained. "It'll come back in a few months. It had to go to the height." He gave her a look, getting a smirk back. "See you're still short." She hit him on the arm and he smirked. "What did you learn in France?"
"Not enough. Their library was *dreadful*. You?"
"I went over most things Bill could teach me and the official list." He sat down. "The Egyptian list is *much* harder than ours."
"The one for Salem too," Harry agreed from his seat. Hermione sat across from him next to one of the twins. "Before you ask, I learned quite a lot. The Magic Box is fully stocked for research sessions and with three witches, Xander, Sam, and Dean, I learned more than my fair share."
"Are you certain?"
"Yes. They even tried to teach me physics."
"That's wonderful," she assured him. "Did you learn it?"
"Frightfully boring," one of the twins said. Harry nodded. "Get any flying time?"
"Not really. We had the time and the space but I spent the time learning how to do what my fathers do. They're pretty neat for being demon hunters." They all stared so he smirked. "They are."
"They taught you how to?" Hermione asked.
"Yup. Both how to banish and how to make a spirit move off the plane too. Let the Bloody Baron bother me again." She giggled. "Not kidding."
Ron shook his head. "Dean and Sam taught me too over the holiday. Bill was very amused but he said it'd come in handy in his life too." She gasped so he looked behind him, nodding at the idiot standing there. "Yes?"
"Shouldn't you be in school?" Lucius sneered.
"Tomorrow. When we go back to take the OWLs," Harry told him. "Today's a free day to get things fixed." He smirked. "How was your winter, Mr. Malfoy?" He walked off, nose in the air. "Pity about your hair being so tangled. Looks like fairies got into it, doesn't it, Ron?"
"Quite," he agreed blandly, looking at Harry. "You picked up the bad lessons too, Harry."
"Shit happens," he said dryly, making Hermione squeak. He gave her a look. "Direct quote, dear." He smirked. The twins giggled. "Now, we're waiting on your dad, then we can eat. Because I'm starved. That's a long portkey." Ron nodded at that. Arthur came in and they waved him over then Harry and Ron went to order lunch. The others would get some of the sandwich platter but the two boys ate most of it.
"I remember that stage fondly," Arthur said dryly, looking at his elder sons. "You two went through it at school thankfully."
Ron swallowed and looked at him. "Bill said he did too or else Mum would've had to given up cooking because she was exhausted after him and Charlie."
Arthur nodded. "She nearly did after Charlie." He sipped his butterbeer. "How did your year off go, children?"
"It was dreadful. The girls were more concerned about boys and the library was absolutely miserable," Hermione complained. "No ancient charms or runes. No runes class period. I had to order books. I think my mum about went spastic when I asked her to order fifty books for me." Ron and Harry shook their heads and Ron paid Harry a knut. "You were betting?"
"That you had to buy over twenty books to get them in another language," Harry told her.
"No, I read and speak French, Harry."
"Figured you did but half the books aren't in French."
"Good point. There's one language I did not understand. I brought a book back in it so I could look it up."
"Let me see," Ron asked. She went to get it so he looked at the twins. "How's the shop?"
"Doing good," one said.
"Want a summer job?" the other asked.
"Sure," Ron agreed with a grin.
"I'll be back with the parents until school this fall," Harry said. "Dean insisted." They all stared. "Dean's my uncle. Sam's brother."
"Ah," Arthur said. "Are they nice?"
"Incredibly so. Dean taught me a lot and helped with my physical training as well. Just in case some unwise person takes a swing at me." He gave Ron a look.
"Wasn't me the last time." He ate another bite. Then he chewed and swallowed. "Wasn't the last one the girl you wouldn't sleep with?"
"Her brother. When I told him she was crying because I wouldn't, he apologized and went to yell at her instead. I only bruised him." Arthur gaped. "He's twenty-three and came at me with a stick," he defended. "Most rude of him."
"I'd agree. Your parents?"
"Let me out alone," Harry said grimly. "We were all at the Bronze but they had to take care of an issue so I got to hang out by myself for an hour."
"Ah. Well, you could probably handle that."
"Of course. It's just this one picked up a broom and took off the sweeping end to hit me with it. Though I did hear he and Xander had a talk later that night and the guy did apologize again."
"Good," Arthur said, smiling a bit. "They sound overprotective."
"Ask Bill," he snorted, making Ron choke. "Not our fault the girls tried to get us to go out to the beach again." Arthur gave them a look. "We said we'd get into trouble. They tried to pull us out of the club. They met them at the end of the alley and made them very sorry for trying to take off that way." Ron nodded, sipping his butterbeer to clear his throat. "Bill laughed after the girls had pouted off home. He said Xander was the most overprotective parent, even worse than Mrs. Weasley."
"That's good then," Arthur decided. He looked at his youngest son. "Did you get into trouble?"
"Not when I could help it. Bill tried really hard to keep me from flirting and those things." Hermione came back and handed him the book. "Hmm." He flipped through it while he chewed. "Not any of the six I saw this summer."
Harry looked over his arm. "It's a demon language but I don't know which one," he told her. "Xander would. Willow definitely would. You should photocopy a page and send it to her. She might be able to point you at a translation guide."
"Demons have languages?" she said, looking disgusted. "I thought they all grunted."
"No, some are really ancient and built civilizations," Harry told her. "Some do grunt and point, that's usually so they don't have to have a translator." He ate another bite. Then he swallowed. "There's over eight thousand demon species, Hermione. There's about fifty languages. A few very common ones that Xander speaks enough of to get his point across when he has to ask questions of some of the harmless ones."
"There are?" she demanded. Harry nodded. "Prove it."
"The mushroom shakes that fixed the height issue I had was given to me by a demonic healer." She gaped and let out a slight whimper. "Xander also took me to the vampire's thrift shop. Pretty decent clothes. They all want to look tough so they change out their old clothes for leather and stuff." He ate another bite, watching her freak out. "Even then there's a lot of higher ones that are quite intelligent."
"Anya," Ron agreed.
"That's right, Xander's girlfriend Anya used to be a vengeance demon. She's quite intelligent but behind the times horribly. She's still getting used to being human again. It's been eleven hundred years so we don't mind much." He smirked. "There's a reason even Watchers specialize, Hermione. It's because there's too much for just one person to know. Like our teachers, they have an area they deal with more closely and have general knowledge of the rest."
"I see." She frowned. "Do you think they're a good organization?"
"Not with the current administration and how they treat their girls, but some of the individuals are nice. I've met two and they were both fairly nice and fired for being fairly nice." She rolled her eyes. "Exactly but they serve a purpose so they're being changed from the inside. Unless certain ones come to Sunnydale again and then Buffy's going to have Willow make some new pets." He ate another bite while she squeaked.
"For real?" one of the twins asked.
Ron nodded. "Upsetting Rosenburg leads to new furry things. She changes them back but it's almost instinctive now. Over the holiday, a whole frat decided to pick on her and her girlfriend for being together."
"Horribly drunken idiots," Harry agreed, shaking his head.
"Who ended up fairly fluffy until they sobered up," Ron finished. Arthur gaped.
"No one from the American Ministry showed up?" Hermione asked.
"I asked on my way back this summer," Ron told her. "They said their version of magic doesn't work as well on the hellmouth." Harry nodded quickly at that. "And if they want to handle the problems, as long as the rest of the world doesn't go, they only have someone there watching. If she's anywhere else she's in deep but not there."
"Because half the time they can't tell what she's doing anyway. The hellmouth covers it," Harry agreed. "Though it can grandly warp spells."
"The hair dye spell go wrong?" Ron taunted.
"Shut up, you, before I remember that Willow taught me how to have new pets for Hedwig to play with." He gave him a look but Ron smirked. Harry smirked back and pulled his wand.
"Boys," Arthur warned. "You will get in trouble for that here, Harry."
Harry leaned closer. "Here they don't have a way to catch any other form of magic," he said quietly. Arthur gasped. "I asked Bill and he said the system was only designed to find wanded magic and the reason they could catch us off-school was because of a spell the school put on our wands when we accept the first letter. It transfers from the letter to the wand when we're holding both. Which is gone now on mine and Ron's." He leaned up again. "Dean is *very* paranoid about the government trying to interfere and it getting people dead. He had mine and Ron's fixed."
"It'll be put on again once we enter the school," Hermione said with a flick to push back her hair. "Mine did when I took mine off."
Arthur gaped. "Hermione Granger!"
"What? It's indescribably rude in my opinion. Not like they catch Malfoy doing his off school." She gave him a look. "The rules apply to all or to none."
"Hear hear," Ron agreed dryly. "When did mine get fixed?"
"When Dean found out that it was drying out."
"Oh. That was nice of him to find the wood conditioner." He nibbled his last sandwich, letting Harry have the last one on the plate. "Need me to pay part?"
"I got it already." Harry smirked at him. "Xander gave me my allowance."
"Good of him," Hermione said dryly. She looked him over. "You look tasteful in that outfit."
"Buffy picked it out." She giggled. "She did. She's the only girl I know who shops half of every month."
"Some girls are like that. They tend to be shallow," Hermione said patiently.
"Or they appear shallow to fool others so they don't have to deal with the problems girls like you have," Ron told her. She gaped. He smirked and nodded. "Being shallow means that you don't get problems dumped on you or people tend to underestimate you."
"Which is very helpful in her position," Harry agreed.
"I hadn't thought of that," she admitted.
"Spike said it's a sign of growing up," Harry told her.
"Bill wanted to rip Spike a new one for letting me go play cards with Clem," Ron told him.
"I heard," his father complained.
"I made my allowance," Ron shot back, giving him a smug look. "Besides, I learned a lot about many species, Dad. It helped me a lot in Cairo when we ran into one and Bill nearly freaked out since it looked scary but it was in pain. Helping it got me patted on the head and then it left the marketplace."
Arthur moaned, holding his head. "Don't tell your mother, Ron."
"I'm not stupid, Dad. That's the twins." They both reached over to swat him. "You're the ones who do things to make Mum scream."
"Not to," the twins said, finishing together.
"Try being the operative word?" Hermione suggested smugly. Arthur gave her a dirty look. "Her last letter to me was a long complaint about the twins."
"She probably thought you'd understand thanks to the boys," he said, patting her on the shoulder.
"Should probably get you back to work, Dad. We've got to go pick up a few things," Ron told him with a grin. He checked his watch and nodded, heading back. He looked at the twins. "Closed up?"
"Paying attention to the shop's spells." One patted him on the head. "Pop around tonight for dinner." They all nodded so the twins left, leaving the golden trio together.
Hermione sighed, pushing her hair back again. "I should braid this mess."
"Maybe a trim?" Harry suggested.
"No, then it becomes horribly tangled and frizzy."
"They can trim it so it doesn't," Harry told her. "Or straighten it." She gave him a dirty look. "Willow has one she mixed up for someone Tara knows. It's all herbal, won't burn the hair or scalp. She said it works very well."
"I'll have to get it from her."
Harry pulled out the small thing Willow had given him to type in that message. She sent back the formula a few minutes later. "There you go." He let her see it. "Use the down arrow key." Ron gave him a dirty look. "Willow got it at a buy-one-get-one-free sale. She has the other. In case we need help."
"Will it work in the castle?"
Harry nodded. "She said it will. So will my gameboy," he said smugly.
"The blokes will love you then." She copied down the ingredients onto some paper in her pocket. "Let me get this and try it." She handed it back to Harry. "I'll see you two at dinner then we'll catch up?" The boys nodded so she left.
Harry looked at Ron. "Did you remember her being so frantic?"
"No. Not really." He shrugged and finished his butterbeer and the rest of her sandwich.
"Sharing germs, Ron?" he teased.
"I'm still hungry."
"Ice cream while we go look at books?"
"I know Bill set you some homework."
"Good point." They finished and left a tip then went to get some ice cream before the books. "Think the parents are moping?"
"Of course. Xander pouted all last night watching me pack. He also threatened to pop over as soon as I needed him, apocalypse or not. Not that we think it'll be so bad this year. Minor sacrifice in the school."
"What happened to it anyway?"
"The hellmouth opened and sucked some of it in."
"Darn. That's got to suck for the crew."
"They filled in the sinkhole it created with the rubble and are rebuilding it on top of the area, just off to the side. Now it's not under the school, it's next to it." They got their ice creams and ate it on the way to the bookstore. "Xander was concerned we'd have an attack while they were distracted."
"That's because he plans things for her and he's right, it's the better time. If so, what're we doing?"
Harry looked at him. "I live by the Scoobie rules now: don't die, make sure you can't die, snark at the enemy, take time off to have fun during the bad times, stay calm because there's worse, and if you think it can't get worse you've made sure it will." Ron gaped then giggled. "That's how they do it."
"Hmm." They walked into the bookstore and Ron pulled out his list. Harry pulled out his and they went to find their books and price them. Harry found a few older copies but almost nothing on his. Ron found most of his but it was expensive. He went to see if they had any that were used but found Bill had gotten him a gift certificate for them. Plus two galleons so he got a few comics and a fun reading book too. Harry got his and they left together, going back to the Leaky Cauldron to pack their new books into the bags. Shrinking charms were wonderful. Ron came over to check Harry's trunk. "Who shrank those? They're smaller than Bill's."
"Willow. Her and Tara. They had to sit on it to close it so Willow made extra room." They shared a look then giggled. They heard Hermione come back and smelled the potion a few minutes later. She followed the directions and only a few strands remained a bit wavy when they saw her later. "Missed a few?"
"Looks cute anyway," Ron promised. "Needs trimmed though."
Harry dragged her out of the muggle side of the Leaky and down the street to a hairdresser. "My friends." She looked at Hermione then at him. "She just straightened it with a herbal straightener."
"I can trim it so it looks better," the stylist agreed. She pointed at the sign. Harry put down his allowance card. She ran it for the fee then handed it back and took Hermione to fix her dreadful non-hairdo. It looked like she let it grow without any shaping. She could even fix the few wavy stands so they looked better. It took an hour but Hermione came out looking much better. The boys both smiled at her. "There we go. Good for the summer. Get another trim before school starts, dear, or if you want to maintain it very closely before your summer holiday and then before school starts." She let the redheaded boy with the messy hair tip her and watched all three of them leave. "I didn't realize bedhair was that much in fashion again." She went to check the books. Then again, they were boys. They'd learn to take better care of their hair when the girls wouldn't date them because of it.
Hermione got out of the carriage first, looking at the teacher there to meet them. "Professor McGonagall." She gave her a brief hug.
"I like the hairdo, Hermione."
"Thank you. Harry dragged me last night." She touched it then smiled. "It does look darling and once I had it straightened it behaves much better." She let her see the two boys bickering as they got out. "Oh, really, boys," she complained.
"You're not my mum, Hermione. You're not as tall or as cute as Sam," Harry quipped, cracking Ron up.
"I remember him. How tall is he?"
"Six-three," Ron told her.
"That's very tall." She floated their things and the boy shrugged at that. "Shall we?" she asked with a bright, happy smile.
"We should," McGonagall said. "The headmaster wanted a word."
"Of course." They walked with her, going to the office.
Harry pointed. "Buffy had one of those come to life and ask her to come get the vampires bothering his building," Harry said quietly, pointing at the gargoyle at the bottom of the stairs. McGonagall gave him an odd look. "She woke up with it on her bed."
"Interesting." She opened the portal and let them climb onto the rotating stairs. She followed, looking both boys over. Harry was certainly taller and well muscled. Ron the same. Hermione was growing into gracefulness. Their year apart had done good things for them. Including gotten Harry glasses that he could see from and that weren't ugly. "Headmaster," she said before Hermione opened the door. The trio walked in and Dumbledore gaped. "Don't they look smashing?"
"They certainly do. The boys could use a bit of weight."
"Happens to all boys," Ron said. "Part of the growth spurt. That's why we eat our weight in food each day."
"You certainly did," Hermione agreed. She rolled her eyes and looked at the headmaster. "I think we'll do quite well on the OWLs, sir."
"I do hope so. Beaubaxtons had very good things to say about you, except for a few fights, Miss Granger." The boy snickered.
"I wasn't about to let some tramp who was sleeping with the potions teacher decide I was a lesbian because I wasn't hitting on the fairly homely man in the treat store we were allowed at." She sat down and properly crossed her feet at the ankle. "I do know my own tastes and those who tried to force me got what they deserved. As the headmistress agreed."
"I see. That is what she wrote and then she praised your organizing the library."
"It was dreadful. Madam Pince would be appalled."
"Of course she would." He looked at the two boys. "Did you have a good year off?"
"Learned quite a lot," Harry promised. His little blackberry device rang so he pulled it out of his pocket to look at it, earning gasps from the two adults. "Hmm. Willow said their apocalypse is tonight and they'd email when they were done so I won't worry." He sent back an 'okay, I'll be on' and turned it off so it could go back into his pocket. "Willow's work," he said with a smile. "Cheaper than phone calls. International calls are hell on the vault."
"Are you keeping in touch with them?" McGonagall asked.
"I'm going back this summer too," he said with a grin. "Dean said I'm old enough to go on a hunt with him and Sam. They decided they'd hunt during the time I'm in school and hover in Sunnydale the rest of the time unless something comes up."
"Dean?" the headmaster asked.
"My uncle. Sam's brother." The headmaster gave him a wary look. "What?"
"You do realize you're not really related?"
"And yet my parents came out over the holidays during a spell so we could talk with them. They loved the idea and were trying to plan vengeance on my aunt and uncle." He leaned closer. "By the way, my aunt is adopted," he said, staring the old man down. Dumbledore spluttered. "They came out during a merging spell and mum told us that." He straightened up again and grinned. "Since the merging spell I'm really more of Sam and Xander's son but the others love me even for my bad taste in t-shirts. Now, are we back in the dorm?" he asked McGonagall.
"Of course. You haven't been resorted."
"Brilliant. Then let's go unpack. It's nearly dinner and we're all starved." The other two followed with their things.
"Did you know that?"
"No. The blood protections were in place," he said quietly.
She pursed her lips. "It should be looked into." She left to oversee her students. They were greeting the trio and asking what had happened. Thankfully they had gotten rid of that horrid woman the other day when a Slytherin had stepped forward to complain about the torture he had undergone. Fudge was not looking good in the press. She stopped Harry going to dinner. "She's out. You can come back next year."
"I have every plan of it," he promised, smiling at her. "Just the summers and holidays I need to go home. They do need me to lighten things up. Especially in the spring." He walked past her, heading to the dining hall. He found Dobby and gave him a short hug. "You cook exactly like Joyce does and she's an excellent cook. She's the slayer's mother." The house elf squealed at that compliment and gave them extra that night. That was a compliment a house elf could like, being told they cooked like a good cooking mother. Harry sat down and looked at Neville. "Missed you just now."
"I was doing extra in herbology. How was wherever you were in the Americas?"
"A bit strange. The hellmouth is nothing but strange but it's fairly nice really. Everyone ignores things going on. We've walked around with swords and they just smiled and waved."
Ron nodded. "They walked in carrying a body in the past and one of the officers waved. I had no idea the town was that bad."
"The citizens like to ignore everything and those who know hide." He looked at Neville again. "I learned a lot."
"I hope so. It's said You-Know-Who is going to be at the Ministry tomorrow night."
"Bloody inconvenient timing with OWLs starting the next day," Harry said. "Frightfully rude." He looked at Ron, who gave him a confused look. "What?"
"You sound like Mr. Giles."
"He was the only Brit there. We bonded." He smirked. "I could sound more like Xander but the slang would drive you nutso, again."
"Good point." He nodded, handing over the potatoes. "Food." Harry dug in and they ate, letting Hermione have things since she was once again reading while she ate. Ron finally took her book and put it down on his other side. "Eat! There's no reason to starve yourself. The book will be there later."
Harry patted him on the back. "Way to sound like your mum, Ron." Ron blushed, shaking his head. "Though he's right. You really shouldn't lose any more weight, Hermione."
"Girls get the same growth spurt you two are in the middle of. May I have my book back?"
"After you've cleaned your plate," Neville told her. She huffed but did it and Ron handed her the book back while she ate seconds. He shook his head. "We're all too fussy."
"I learned from the best. Sam." Ron cackled, punching him on the arm. "He is. Even Dean said so."
"Those two are funny when they get going," Ron told Neville. "Dean is Sam's big brother." He nodded once, getting that. "They play fight and call each other names and it's all in fun. The one real fight we witnessed, a vampire tried to take advantage of Sam stomping off. The vampire got turned to dust and Dean ranted only he was allowed to hurt Sam. Sam just rolled his eyes and said that Xander could too, but he was too nice to."
"You have to meet them," Harry said with a grin. "Highly overprotective. Even while clubbing they all hovered from a distance."
"You... did what?" Hermione asked.
"The only place to hang out with other teenagers in Sunnydale is the mall, which meant shopping with Buffy and Willow, or the Bronze, an all-ages club. I spent about every weekend there talking with the girls and other teenagers. I even learned how to dance like a normal one."
She blushed. "Oh, my."
"Bill said the same thing when he saw me doing it," Ron agreed, cracking Neville up. "He was not amused and mum wouldn't be either but I did learn how to make girls like me." He grinned.
"Now if only you could figure out how to ask them out," she said dryly.
"Hermione, ride back with me on the train?" he asked. She spluttered. He blinked his big eyes at her with a grin. "I did learn. Spike taught me."
She patted him on the arm. "Wasn't he a vampire?"
"He doesn't hunt humans," Harry told her. "He taught us quite a lot. Including how to swear in a demon language so we wouldn't get out mouths soaped." She went bright red and shook her head, going back to eating.
"That is damn handy," Ron muttered. "Kept Bill from doing it too."
Harry grinned. "Willow didn't."
"Willow made you shop in punishment."
"Well, yes, but she also let me go into Viccy's and touch whatever I wanted and she answered questions about why women wore trashy things like that." Neville choked. "Sorry, Neville."
Hermione looked down at him. "Because men have little imagination."
"That's what she said. Though she did pick up something nice with my help for her anniversary with Tara."
"She's with a witch?"
"Beautiful wiccan named Tara. She's a wonderful girl. Love her dearly. She helped me learn a lot of focusing exercises. Plus a lot about herbal potions their kind use. That's where the straightener came from. She's better at them than Willow, who doesn't like to measure."
"I'm sure that must be fun when she brews."
"She only has to for small spells. They don't use many potions over there." He shrugged. "Not that useful I guess." He dug in again. Snape was glaring at him. He grinned at Neville. "Few more days and we're home free."
"Staying?" he asked.
"I have a massive birthday party coming according to Buffy so I have to go home. It's wonderful. I have a good room. The girls think the accent's cute because they don't talk like us. I'll probably spend a lot of time doing weapons drills this summer. My aim's still a bit off with a crossbow. A bit to the left no matter how often Dean tries to help. My swordwork has greatly improved however. I'm able to hold my own against Mr. Giles and he was taught properly by his people."
"Swords?" Neville squeaked.
"When only beheading will do," Harry quipped, giving him a look. Neville spluttered.
"I saw him, he does look good," Ron agreed. "Very manly."
"You said the same thing to Buffy and she nearly cried and burned that outfit," Harry told him.
"I couldn't think of anything to say. She's as tiny as Ginny and delicate yet she's using this huge sword and very good with it."
"Hmm," Harry agreed. "She is." He dug in again, shaking his head as he got thirds. Neville gave him an odd look. "It's the growth spurt."
"We all have it," Hermione told him. "I would like to hear more about those special mushroom shakes you had to take."
"Nasty things. Bitter cotton candy tasting. They helped though. The tiredness my cells had was cured and it spurred on new growth since it was time. Helped me quite a bit even if I did spend a month and a half drinking them twice a day." He ate another bite, shaking his head. "I have no idea what's in them other than it was some type of special mushroom the healer knew about."
"Interesting. Do we have any left? I'd like to take a look at it."
"No, I drank the last one in front of the healer and she said I was doing much better and was back on track for growing."
"Good." She smiled and finished up. "I'll see you boys upstairs." She went to get that other book and take it to her favorite librarian. "This is the language a good third of the books in France are in. Is there a translation guide?"
She looked then at her. "It's a mythical language that's attributed most to a long dead demon society," she told her, walking her to a translation guide. "Here you go, Miss Granger. I did hear good things about how you fixed their shelving problems. Really, they don't hire good, English librarians and they should. There's none better."
"That's true, there's not," she agreed, taking the translation guide with her. She was horrified but that was still impossible. Demons weren't intelligent species. No matter what they said on the hellmouth. She read the introduction and it said the same thing so she sighed. Some day she'd have to prove them wrong but not today. She wanted to know what this book on conjuring was about. She dug into it, quickly learning. It wasn't that difficult a language. Much easier than English or Russian.
Harry woke up to a poke to his foot, looking at the person poking him. "What?" he mouthed.
"An attack at the Ministry."
Harry sat up. "Your family okay?"
"Only aurors in," Ron admitted. "Headmaster wants you."
"Why? We cut my link."
"Doesn't matter. You know that." Harry groaned but got up and headed off once he was dressed, Ron right behind him. They were admitted to the office and walked in together. "What happened?" Ron asked. "And why call us?"
"We know it was death eaters," Dumbledore said. "They're after a prophecy that involves Harry and Voldemort."
"Then let me go ask for it," Harry told him. Dumbledore gave him an odd look. "What? Wanted me to take off on the thestrals with a few friends? I got warned if I did that Sirius would die, Headmaster." The old man gaped. "Druscilla is a seer, though a batty one, and she told me all I need to know." He looked at Ron then at him. "We can go after the OWLs to get the prophecy if you'd like." Ron nodded.
"Who is this Drsucilla?" Dumbledore asked calmly.
"Spike's mate. One of the four Scourges of Europe." He went pale. "She came to check on her baby Spike and had tea with the stars and her dolly, Miss Edith, who told her."
"Truly batty," Ron agreed, rubbing his forehead.
"Never wrong though," Harry told him.
"That's good. Just cryptic?"
"A bit but we got most of it figured out. The only thing left to worry about was which three it was talking about. You, me, and Hermione or Sam, Dean, and Xander."
"Really?" Ron asked, frowning. "Why would they help?"
Harry turned and smacked Ron on the head. "They're my parents and family, Ron. Why does your mum worry when you follow me into danger?"
"Good point," he said, rubbing the sore spot. "Those new muscles make you mean."
Harry smirked. "No, James was mean. Just look at what Snape turned into because of them." He looked at the shocked looking headmaster again. "Yes, I had to learn to accept that James Potter was a bastard now and then to weaker students. Particularly that one," he said dryly. "It's part of growing up to quit idolizing others and learn their reality, strengths, and weaknesses. He had many strengths but a strong dark streak that made him pull pranks like stripping charms in the middle of the great hall."
"Eww, Snape naked?" Ron asked, shuddering.
"Ron, focus?" Harry suggested, smirking at him. "Not the time to have the bad thoughts." He looked at the headmaster again. "If I had been there tonight, Sirius would've died. This way, he's still alive somewhere."
"He'd like to see you."
"I can pop around after OWLs. Not like I have a reason to stay here that extra week." Dumbledore glared. "There's not. I'm not in classes." He shrugged. "We can go tomorrow or we can go see if there's any hanging around if you really want us to. Though, the link's severed so I can't feel or hear him anymore. We severed mine using the one Sam has to the demon that's tortured his family to get Sam." Ron squeaked. "It wants Sam's special skills." He looked at the headmaster again. "Which would you want? Especially since we have OWLs in the morning."
"I can give you both a makeup day. Go to this town," he said, handing over a note. "We need a reliable scouting report."
"Sure thing," Harry agreed, summoning his broom and Ron's. They headed off together, both of them shaking their heads. Sometimes the old man scared the crap out of him for some reason. They found the town not far away and found the death eaters fairly easily. They were starting a bonfire to play with the muggles in. Harry sent Ron sneaking off to call from a floo. Harry considered it then he cast a spell he had been working on learning. It worked, it froze them all. The muggles ran off and he waved. "This way." They ran that way to hide in the woods. Harry waited while the aurors came then nodded at Ron to meet them. "Go ahead. You called." He walked off, tracking the feeling of the local magic. Something was seriously wrong. He ran into the main residence and sneered. "Really?" He stared then he snuck carefully closer. The stuff Tara had put on him was keeping magical alarms from feeling him. He didn't count on them having an alarm to detect hellmouth energy and that nearly got him but he managed to get away before being captured. He jogged back to the town, leaning on an auror's arm. "The manor, up the road about two miles," he said, with a point. "There's more there. Lots of magic floating around."
The auror frowned at him then gaped and did a double take. "Potter?"
"The headmaster sent Ron and me. That way. Two miles."
"Guys, Potter thinks he spotted more," he called. "The manor house." The others apparated that way and caught a few before they left. Harry followed and he followed once all those were gone. He found Potter and Weasley staring. "What? We miss some?" he joked.
"Hidden room in the basement," Ron told him. "I was in there once." He looked at him. "It's through a dowager's portrait. Last time I knew it was in the hallway but the kid bragged they moved it every few months." The auror stared at him in horror. "She and mum were friends for a bit." He pointed at the greenhouse. "There's magic stuff out there. Artifacts."
"How would you know?" he demanded.
"I spent the last year studying with my brother Bill." He gave him a dirty look. "Think I can identify an artifact by now."
"There's a spell going on," Harry called. "I don't know what type; it's not British or anything I'm used to." He cast a shield and the spell hit it, letting it be drained into the ground. "Thank you, Tara," he whispered. He concentrated. There was another one but he knew this one. He cast at the demon, making it cackle and appear. "What? Bored?" Harry asked. "Not enough in the US?" The demon attacked and Harry grabbed his blessed knife off his back beltline, going after him. He was so glad Dean had drilled him to always grab a weapon when dressing. "Ron, could use something bigger and holy," he yelled.
"How?" he called back.
"My trunk, Ron!"
Ron blinked then apparated back and called it to him. He found the shrunken box of weapons. He pulled that out, shrank the trunk into his pocket, then disapparated back there. He tossed the box down and it grew as soon as it hit the ground. Harry backflipped back to get a blade and go after the demon. The aurors were staring in horror. Ron made the demon appear and they all flinched. "Harry, Voldemort!" he called, then realized he had said the name. "Huh. Not that hard." He grabbed something, tossing it to him. Harry shot the demon. "It dead?"
"No. It takes a special colt to do that." He faced off with Voldemort, sword in one hand, wand in the other, gun in his back beltline. "Morning. Did we get you up? You clearly have not had your beauty sleep." Ron snickered. "Though I'm not sure it'd do much good with that face or those clothes."
"You sound like a fairy," Voldemort sneered.
Harry shrugged. "What do I care for your opinion, Tom. Not worth it." He snapped his fingers. "That's right, you think you're the Big Bad. Hate to tell you but Spike coined that term ages ago. Long before you were born."
"I am Lord Voldemort."
Harry yawned. "Yay for you." He waved. "And? Bored now." The aurors were staring at him.
"They taught you the wrong lessons, boy."
"Really?" a voice said from behind him. "What wrong lessons?" Voldemort turned and exposed Xander standing there. "Hi, how are you? Sunnydale Protection Society. Here to take care of the insanity." He punched him, knocking him down. "Touch my son again, snaky. Watch me pull up the reason that in another universe I'm the favored childe of the Master." He pulled a gun and shot him, making him shriek. "Hey, you can die."
"Those things are still tying him," Harry called.
Xander smiled. "Willow, Harry." He pointed and the rest appeared. "See? She sent me ahead." He walked over the body and looked at the demon. "Nice job." He gave Harry a hug. "Step back. Adult work."
"Yes, Dad." He handed over the sword. "Have fun." He leaned on Ron and it was better. They could watch them others go at it like the aurors were. Fudge appeared and started to shriek so Harry cast a silencing charm at him. "Have a headache already. Still have OWLs in the morning, dude."
Dean smirked. "Sounding more and more like a Winchester every day, nephew."
Harry smirked. "I should. You teach me how to prank, jackass." Yes, he was sounding like one of the Winchester clan since he was back to using Dean's pet name. He cast at the idiot getting up and moved out there to face him. "Let me guess, the prophecy you tried to get is about how only I can kill you?" Voldemort smirked and nodded. "Hey, Dad, can I have the sword?"
"When I'm done." He threw something at the evil wizard and he screamed. "Harry."
"Fuck the prophecy. Sit down." He pointed. "This is adult work, not schoolboy work. This can be your job in a few years, son."
"Yes, Dad," he sighed, stopping to give Sam a hug. "The apocalypse?"
"Pitiful," he said, shrugging a bit. "Saved the sacrifices, saved the demons being possessed by the higher thing. Killed the higher thing. It went." He walked his son off to the side, handing him back to Ron. "Hold him for a few." He went back to join in with Dean and Xander. Together they cast the killing hex at the demon. Though Dean had been blessing him a moment ago to make him scream. The demon died and turned to ash. They looked at Voldemort, who was trying to crawl away. He walked over and kicked the man onto his back, letting Lily have her say. "You had to try to kill my son? You had to begin a self- fulfilling prophecy? How stupid are you?" she sneered from Sam's mouth. Her voice was even and clear. "I'm sorry but no one, pure or not, should bow down to a creature like you. Real power means not having to make demonic deals, Tom. Pity you never learned that. James has more power in his little finger thanks to you making us martyrs."
"Now, now, Lily," James said as Xander walked over. "Let the boys handle him. Torture is a man's job." She snorted and crossed her arms over his chest. "It is. Torture and all that nastiness is a man's job. Gutting and making miserable is a woman's work." He smiled at Harry. "Since he made you his last piece, we have to let you cast it, for all that I hate that idea."
"We did cut his line to me."
"Yes but it still exists, Harry," James told him. "You can never fully remove a taint like that." He held out a hand and his son walked over. "I do like that shirt on you. You remind me of me, only more fashionable thanks to your aunts." He gave him a hug. "Think you can?"
"I think so. If not, they can take him into custody." He looked down then at his father. "I'm sorry they captured me last time."
"You're a boy. You shouldn't have to worry about these things," his mother said. "I'm fairly pissed at Albus for making you." She took the wand from Sam's pocket. "Shall I then?"
"The power of three," Dean called. "The matriarch rules the house."
She smirked at him. "I do like you, Dean. You make a good uncle for my boy." They joined hands and cast the killing curse together. Lily and James cut off the links to the things holding him there and Harry cast a charm to dissolve him into goo. "Hmm, slime. Not good."
"Not able to be recreated in the same way either," Harry told her. Then he cast the purple glow charm and she giggled, hugging him. "Thanks, mum."
"You're welcome, Harry."
"I'm still proud, son. Even if the girls do make you look like a nancy." Harry gave him a look so he grinned. "Have to be tough and strong."
"Let him keep on weight for a while, James," she said with a swat. "You had the same growth spurt and you looked like a scarecrow the entire time." She went back to hugging her son.
James gave her a shove. "My turn, woman." He hugged his son. "We are proud, Harry. Very proud." Harry smiled at them. "But it's time to go again. Xander can swear in a few demon languages. Have to help that boy find a better mate if he won't take Sam." He faded.
"We do love you, son," Lily said. "And I don't mind if you follow them as long as you're safe."
"Yes, mum." She smiled and faded so he looked at Sam, then at Xander. "Hi."
"Hi." Xander gave them both a hug. He looked at the goo. "Cute." He walked him back to Ron. "All yours." He waved a hand and Sam and Dean picked up the weapons. "C'mon, let's go see this school of yours. I wanted to talk to your teachers."
Ron whimpered. "Must you?"
"Has your mother?" Dean asked. Ron nodded weakly. "Then we have to too. It's the good family thing to do." He smirked and they all disappeared together.
When they landed, Ron handed Harry his trunk. "They'd kill me if I had left it out here." Harry grinned and the adults nodded.
"Buffy would be *very* pissed and make you go shopping as a punishment for days on end. Even shoe shopping," Sam said, looking perfectly serious. Ron giggled. They walked up to the school and Sam looked at the stern looking woman standing in the doorway. "Harry, this is?"
"Professor McGonagall, head of my house," Harry said. "Professor, these are Dean, Sam, and Xander," he said with a grin.
"Why are you two out of bed?"
"Dumbledore sent us," Ron told her. She glared. "Truth!"
"It is," Harry told her. "To go scout the Death Eaters."
She groaned. "Albus, I'm going to skin you," she muttered.
Xander grinned sweetly. "Me first." She gave him a horrified look. "He had to send boys?"
"He probably thought they'd try to go anyway," she told him.
"No, I got Dru's message about not being at the Ministry. That my godfather would die if I had." She went pale. "He had Ron wake me and he sent us."
"I'll get him later," she said. "Come in, gentlemen. I assume you want to make sure this is a fit school for Mr. Potter?"
"Yuppers," Xander agreed, walking inside with them. Xander yawned. "I hate being possessed."
Harry gave him a hug. "You do it wonderfully."
"I know." He smirked. "Just wait until the hyena comes out next time to sniff you." Dean and Sam both snickered. "It happens now and then. She wants to play." McGonagall gave him an odd look so he smirked. "Hi, Xander Harris, white knight to the slayer in Sunnydale." She went very pale. "This is Sam and his brother Dean Winchester." She went even more pale and whimpered a bit.
Harry stiffened and looked around then at Sam. "I think Hermione's doing something." He and Ron rushed off, the rest behind them. They broke into the house because neither remembered the password and found her casting. Harry tackled her, Ron finished undoing the spell and Sam made the potion safe. "Hi, Hermione."
"Harry! I was trying to prove that the book was wrong about it being from a dead demon language."
"By summoning a very high demon to talk to?" Xander asked. "Are you suicidal?"
She glared at him. "It can't be right."
"Why? Because you're human?" he asked dryly. He leaned down to get into her face. "Keep it up, watch me summon something to have you. You just endangered hundreds of lives by breaking the protections on the school. I don't care if you're trying to prove your pet theory right or not; you clearly need to master the concept of common sense first, girl. Or else people like me will have to come stop you." He hauled her up to look at her. "Now, go to your room. I'm sure the professors are going to want to talk to you tomorrow about all the demons you just let into the school." She stomped off.
Harry and Ron shrugged, sewing up the hole she had started by moving the energy around a bit. "That should help."
"Probably too late if any of the kids are demon marked," Sam sighed, looking at the professor.
"How would I know?"
"Ah. Okay. Willow!" he called quietly. She appeared in fuzzy slippers with green goop on her face and in shorty pajamas. "The same one who called us decided there can't be intelligent demon species so she was going to call one."
"Frick," she muttered, summoning the girl down to her. "Let's go talk, dear." They disappeared. They came back ten minutes later and Hermione went to cry in her room. "There's three demon-marked kids that I can feel but only two made it inside. Or maybe the kid's marked to two of them. Not real sure but he's downstairs somewhere."
"Slytherin," she moaned, going to wake up that professor. "One of your students is demon marked," she said when he glared and opened his door. "They got in thanks to Miss Granger trying to prove a point."
"I know which one that is." He led her down there and looked at the young man with him oddly. "You are?"
"Sam Winchester." He smirked. "Demon hunter. I can get Dean if you want but I'm better at exorcisms and the magic stuff if we need it." Snape sneered. Sam stepped closer. "I've been hunting demons since I was six months old with my father and older brother," he said quietly. "Your student is being eaten. Do we have time for the pissing contest? Because you don't impress me. I've faced bigger, badder, and more deadly. Now, shall we?" He waved a hand and stepped back.
"Very well. We'll see what you can do." He let them into the house and went to the fourth year it was. Sam doused the demon feeding on the boy in holy water and the boy snarled at him. Sam stepped forward to do an exorcism. The demon howled and screamed, making the boy writhe, but oh well. Sam was stronger. The demon gave up for a bit, panting. Sam looked down at him. "I can keep going or you can give up the boy."
"His father promised him."
"His father's a fucking moron and a piss poor human. Go eat the father. Let the kid have a chance. Then maybe he'll come back."
"No, he's mine." Sam started again and the demon was pulled partially out but he kept a hold on the body. A new man walked up and handed Sam something so he used it, making the demon howl as it was pressed against his chest. "Who are you!" he shouted as he started to come free.
"Sam Winchester and my brother Dean," Sam said with a smirk. "Now, out of child, bitch." He went back and Dean helped by dousing with holy water for him. The demon finally came free and floated off.
"Oh, no," Xander said from the shadows, using a capturing urn. "Willow wanted to talk to you too." The demon screamed in fear. "Good. Glad you know about her." He shut it and looked at the professors. "Hi." He smiled sweetly. "Let's bless the kid?"
"I can only do one you'd do on a baby," Dean said.
Xander moved forward to do one he had learned and the boy fell asleep. "There, all better now," he soothed, stroking his hair. "We'll talk with your father too." He straightened up and looked at the other curious faces. "Anyone else got demon marks?" he asked the room in general. "At least three were felt."
"One in the next year," a blond boy sneered. "Why should it matter to you?"
"Because that's what we do," Dean told him. "Which one?"
"She indebted herself to a succuba," he said with a small shrug. "That one?"
"He'll be fine," Xander assured him. "Are you related to a vampire named Spike?"
"If I was, no one in my family would claim it."
"Pity, you look just like him. Dru would leave him alone if he had more family." They walked out to talk to the girl but hers was consensual. Her head of house would have to deal with her. They went to Harry's house again and it was nicer. Warmer certainly. "Are those kids being punished by being frozen to death?" he asked the teacher.
"That's where their house has always been placed."
"Must suck to be them. No wonder they're so nasty." He went to check on the boys then came down with a grin. "Fast asleep."
"Let's find you a room," McGonagall said, leading them to a guest room. "I'll have that box of weapons brought to you."
"They're Harry's," Xander told her. "He can use everything in that box, ma'am. We made sure of it." She shuddered. "You guys wanted him to solve your problems. Of course he had to learn. Fighting evil is like that." She moaned as she walked off. He looked at the brothers. "I call the couch."
"I got the bed on the left," Dean said.
Sam looked at Xander. "You sure?"
"Yeah, I'm a bit pissed. I'll have nightmares. No reason to kick you to death." That got a nod and Sam climbed into his bed once he was down to boxers and a t-shirt too. Xander kicked back, relaxing and calming his mind. He was a really overprotective parent. He probably should give Harry more room since he was nearly fifteen. Well, maybe when he was sixteen and Dean taught him how to drive.
Harry tapped on the door a second time, looking at the house elf that answered. "Good morning, Kreecher."
"Creature?" Sam asked.
"Kreecher. He acts like the other. Sirius!" he bellowed as he walked in. The others followed. His godfather padded in and stared at him, still in dog form. "Don't make mum and dad come back out to yell at you, Godfather. They enjoyed it much too much yelling at Dumbledore."
Sirius changed back. "That's really cool. I need to learn how to do that," Xander said, looking at Sam. "Think we can find the books?"
"I saw it," Dean admitted. "It does look damn handy as long as you remember your human parts."
"Who are these strange people, Harry?" Sirius asked.
"Well, that's Xander. He's Dad reborn. That's Sam, he's mum reborn. That's Dean, he's Sam's brother so my uncle." He grinned. "They're the family I was staying with last year."
"I see." He stared at Xander then at Harry again. "How do we know this?"
"Hermione cast a paternity spell and found them," he said, shifting his weight to look at his godfather. "Even the aurors saw my parents in them, Sirius."
"You're trusting aurors?"
"They were there when we turned Voldemort into goo. Purple goo." Sirius shook his head quickly.
Xander shook his head, then gave him an amused look. "You and James used to do what in the fifth floor east corridor of the Hufflepuff tower?" he asked. Sirius blushed. "Ah. That stuff."
"You did? Were you nearly my mum?" Harry teased.
Sam looked at Dean. "Looks like he inherited your mouth."
"Dad would be proud," he shot back with a smug smirk.
"Not really. He tried to cure yours often enough."
Dean snickered. "We can do a seance and ask him."
"Willow said that would let him float around," Harry told him.
"Not really," Sam told him. "Not unless she screwed it up. Was that an admission, Harry?"
"No idea. I asked her about seances to talk to a few others who had died in the last battle." He shifted his weight and looked at Sirius. "I figured you'd want to see me before I went back to Sunnydale for a while and meet them. Was I wrong?"
"No, I wanted to meet them a long time ago." He looked at Xander. "Can you manifest James?"
Xander shrugged. "Usually only when he gets pushy. If I try it, you have an equal chance to get the soldier, the hyena, or him."
Sam held up a finger. "Hold on." He patted himself down and came up with his journal. "Tara sent it to me when I asked." He did something on the back of Xander's neck with some oil and Xander blinked, giving him an odd look. "He wanted to talk to you. Before he bit one of us."
"I'm not in that form," Sirius said dryly.
"I can bite in this one and so can you," Sam said dryly. "It just hurts more in the other one." Sirius laughed. "There you go."
Sirius looked at the boy, seeing James tolerant look in the unfamiliar eyes. "I should beat you."
"You should beat the whales and his aunt," he shot back dryly. "I'm keeping this one from doing it. Do it for me and make us all happy."
"Leave Aunt Petunia alone," Harry sighed. "They've already ruined their lives in the press and in other creative ways. Someone even tried to run over Dudley but he bounced."
"The blubber bounced off the car," Harry said grimly. "Hermione told me."
Sirius sighed then hugged his old friend before smacking him hard across the face. "You said we'd never tell Lily about that week."
"She already knew," Sam told him. "She was spying and thought you two looked cute."
Sirius blushed again. "I *so* did not need to know that," Harry complained.
Sam shrugged. "Don't yell at me."
"Yup, you're Lily," he muttered, shaking his head. "Was this relationship natural before?"
"We met thanks to the spell and it clicked," Xander admitted. "Right now we're in a threesome with my girlfriend Anya."
"She's been bragging about it being fun," Harry told him.
"I'll spank her later," Sam sighed. The house elf jumped out at him so he hit him on the head with a fist. "Don't try that. I'm used to demons and ghosts." The house elf whimpered, hiding behind his master. "Sorry."
"No, he's old and senile. Only loved my mother. She was a not so silent supporter of the dark lord."
"Pity she died," Harry said dryly. "Anyway, we've got four days before we're due back in Sunnydale. I was going to offer to stay here with you."
"Why are you going back? Albus would let you stay here since the danger's gone."
"I want to stay with them. They never doubted I was their son and treated me like it," Harry said quietly. "Even if Xander won't let the girls do more than cuddle on the dance floor and Dean gets highly overprotective of me going on patrol. They're my family but you're still my godfather and I'd like for you to join the oddball bunch that is my family."
Sirius smiled. "Got room for Remus?"
"We knew another werewolf; he's off getting control of his wolf," Xander told him. "I can write and see if he'll share it." Sirius gaped. "The last time we saw him he wasn't changing unless he got pissed." He wiped his mouth off then looked at Sam, who canceled it. "Sorry," Xander said, back to himself. "There's also a lot of easier hiding in Sunnydale. Including Oz's old cell for the full moon cycle. With all the other demons, who cares about a werewolf?"
Sirius swallowed. "We've heard there's hunters."
"Yeah, a slayer, me, Willow, Dean, Sam, Harry," Xander said dryly, giving him a look. "I'm the slayer's backup, Sirius. If you two want to come, come." Sirius smiled and nodded. "Maybe he'll make Willow feel less bad for a while." He put an arm around Harry, smirking some. "We should go find a local club."
Harry moaned. "They're going to find out and follow us," he complained.
"Ignore them. They're putzs who couldn't get a better job than the Daily Prophet. If they were real reporters they'd be working for a better quality paper."
"Maybe but they can still make my life a living hell," Harry complained.
Sam smirked. "Not if we see them first."
"Good point. Anything else we had to do?"
"I want to go do something," Xander admitted. "But it'd be considered rude."
"What?" Sam asked, giving him a confused look. Xander just smirked. "That's a bad sign."
"The Council's over here."
"Ooooooh," Sam said with a wince and hiss. "What did Buffy want you to do?"
"Flip him off." He winked at Harry. "Wanna?"
"No, that would get me blasted in the press."
"I will," Dean said. "Sounds like it'll be fun." Xander beamed at him. "We'll let you guys talk while Sam plays protective momma bear. Be back soon, guys." They left, taking the rental car to the Council's building. "What are we doing?"
"You'll see." Xander parked and they snuck around the building to the back atrium. Then to the office next to it. Xander peeked in then nodded at Dean. They stepped into view and waved, then Xander turned and mooned Travers, turning back to smirk. "From Rupert," he called with another cheery wave. "He said you haven't been able to see an ass forever because your nose is so far up your own. That way you remember what they look like." They skipped off giggling. Security tried to stop them but Xander only beeped and waved as they pulled away. Dean was still cackling beside him. "He deserved it. The little hole licker."
"That's so bad, Xander. Childish, but bad."
"Yeah, well, we can't all be the Big Bad. Didn't we bring Spike?"
"He snuck off while we dealt with Voldemort. Said something about someone he wanted to see in London."
"Well, we'll see him someday soon I'm sure. He'll be missing Buffy's ass." Dean choked. "You didn't know those two were doing the horizontal dancing stuff?"
"No," he wheezed.
"Yup. For a few months now really." He turned onto another street. "We need to find a good club before we go back. Give Harry some time to talk to his godfather."
"Sure. What about that one?"
Xander looked then at him. "Yuppies?"
"If they've got a table I can make dough. You and Sammy can be hit on by classy chicks."
"Anya gets her powers back if we do," Xander said in the same tone of voice.
"Oops. Forgot that. Biker bar?"
"I don't think Sirius or Sam would like that."
"Good point." He pointed at one up the street and they cruised by it then shook their heads and went to find somewhere more fun. Near an art college they found a demon bar but they decided not to do that tonight. They found another one and it looked nicer. Dean memorized the directions on the way back to the house and they went to clean up and grab the kid. Sirius followed but he was horrified with the dancing. Even worse than Bill had been.
Harry got off the train that fall with a stretch. "Another year of this," he muttered.
"This year and next," Ron agreed from behind him.
Harry looked back. "You finally kept weight on."
"I had the flu last week," he defended. He shrugged. "Joyce tried really hard but things are going bad this year." That got a nod and a punch on the arm from Ron. Hermione got off the train and she looked serene, peaceful, and semi hippie like. She had on a long dress under her school robe and her hair was longer, twin braids beside her face with flowers on the headband holding it back. "Where did you travel to, the sixties?" Harry asked.
She looked at him. "Well, yes. Do you think it suits me?"
"I think we can't see a bloody bit of tit or arse, Hermione. How people managed to pick up all the lovers they had I'm not sure." She growled and hit him on the arm, earning a smile. "Nice to have you back. C'mon, Harry's starved because he had the flu."
"As usual." They got into a carriage and both boys looked away as she transfigured her clothes back to what they were. Then she braided her hair fully and put the headband into her carry-on bag. "There, better."
"Much," Harry said. "Did you mean to go without a shirt?"
She looked then squeaked. Ron sighed and took off his to let her wear, shaking his head. "The smart ones forget the practical things. Bill keeps forgetting to eat."
Harry nodded. "Willow too." She was finally settled and Ron had pulled out his white t- shirt to put on for now. They headed inside.
"Potter, I want to speak with you," a whiny voice shouted.
Harry turned to look at him. "What's wrong, Malfoy?"
"How dare you take off like that after that disgusting show! Children will be looking up to you!"
"That's how muggles dance. We were at a muggle club and the girls were very nice to correct me when I tripped over my feet. I was off having fun. They should too. It's good stress relief so we don't look like we've aged ten years, like you do. Now, anything else? I had the flu last week and I've starved."
"You're going to warp wizarding society. How dare you!"
Harry yawned, a move he had caught off Xander, then changed him into a rabbit. "Really? You think?" They walked into the Great Hall and Harry presented him to Professor Snape, his head of house. "Draco was turning himself into something and botched it I think." Snape gave him a disgusted look. "You take him or I give him to the Hufflepuff first years." Snape snatched him, making the rabbit squeak in fear. "Have a good time with him, sir." He went to find a seat and sat down, looking at Hermione, who was shaking her head. "The first years would love to have a pet rabbit."
"Don't tempt them, Harry."
"Fine. I won't." He smirked at Ron. "Stopped to see the twins?"
"For a bit but Dean taught me more." They smirked at each other then looked around for good targets to prank.
It was their year to shine as normal boys.
Even if Hermione would sigh and shake her head as she fixed the spells they cast.