Xander looked around the spotless house, smiling at the elves. "You guys did great work. I'm so proud of you." They all smiled. He handed over peppermints, something he had learned from Horatio. "What's next?"
"Moving here?" one said.
"I need to keep some stuff in town." They snorted and went to move all his stuff plus get the furniture out of storage to replace the beds that had people die in them. Xander went to look outside, smiling at the garden. The grass was trimmed instead of being waist high. Some flowers were planted and the bushes were trimmed nicely. He heard the doorbell and went to answer it. "I've got it," he called. He opened the door, smiling at Sam. "Hi. Come in. They're done cleaning." He led him to show him the common areas, getting a smile for them. "Didn't they do a great job?"
"They did a wonderful job, Xander." He got led to the garden, sighing in pleasure. "This is going to be great to meditate in." He grinned at him.
"What did I miss?"
"Stella came over to talk to a judge about the various cases, just as a deciding factor to see which one we would use. Since we're on the Council it has to be done here." Xander slumped. "And the judge said that while odd, there was no harm in seeing us married to you so the Wizengomet probably wouldn't grant the petitions."
"If we went to the US?"
"They won't be recognized. It'll be an international squabble."
Xander grimaced. "Not good?"
"Of the ending treaties sort," he agreed. He sat Xander down on a bench, looking at him. "Draco did have a point. It's not a formal wedding. We can still date others. We just have to be more discreet and Dean can't screw half a sorority house anymore. We'd have to do that anyway to not embarrass our families."
"He did? That's skill."
Sam grinned. "From what he said, they were all drinking and it happened." He sat beside him. "So we have to make some plans. This creates some strong alliances on the Council. It could change a lot of stuff."
Xander shook his head. "We agree on most everything. It's Patricia and the new Minister that scratch each other on the itchy spots."
"Instead of just their backs?" Sam teased.
"Yup, because you can itch in other spots and not be able to reach it too." He grinned back. "Sorry, speaking from experience after being possessed by a furry."
"What sort of furry? I could see a puppy dog. You kinda bounce like a puppy."
Sam blinked. "That was unexpected." Xander smirked at him. "Though you are a huge predator of the dark side." He shrugged and leaned against him. "So what're we going to do about this?"
"Be discreet when we want women?"
"Why can't we go to the US?"
"Being on the Council gives us British citizenship for magical matters, no matter that we're US residents. Since it'd be a wizarding court, they'd have to take that into account."
"The one Tony talked to never said that."
"She's going to ask over there too. Just in case." He pulled Xander closer, letting him cuddle. He looked upset. "It's not so bad. You get used to Dean's mouth."
Xander looked at him. "I'm more worried about hurting you two again."
"If you get that desperate, we'll tie you down," he decided. Xander nodded. "How is Draco's wedding going?"
"They hired someone for the local one. The one in her homeland will be planned by her. He's agreeing to anything she wants within reason. She is *so* going to run over him." Sam laughed but nodded. "It'll happen right after his graduation and with hers being this year she'll have the year to plan everything. She's coming up with her mother to look over the Manor to see if they want to hold it there. He was worried about his mother's roses."
"I'm sure he can explain it to her."
"I hope so. She seemed nice enough." Sam nodded, stroking his arm. "You're doing really good if you want me to pounce you again."
"I'll remember that for the future pouncing," he teased. Xander grinned back. "If we have to leave it are you going to be really upset?"
"No!" He smirked. "Though if you do find a great girl we'll figure out some way to marry her since this won't be a legal one."
"Well, since there was a consummation, it will be," he admitted. Xander sat up to look at him. "She asked that too since using the lust potion is like being raped, that would mean that they condoned people being forced to marry their rapists. The judge didn't like that argument. He argued she had the ability to tie herself down. Then she pointed out that none of us knew those were possible, and she had been at work. That the dosing had been done with malicious intent by someone who was in jail for it. He said that argument may be better received, but she managed to fight off the conception part. She blandly told him about birth control pills. He blushed but said he'd have to remember that for his own daughter. So we may really be stuck."
"We'll manage," Xander decided, slumping down some. "You won't go complaining about everything like Anya, right?"
"No, I only whine at Dean."
"Then I'll accept that as long as you don't whine about me lacking in the bedroom in public like she did or become a money hoover."
Sam frowned. "Why did she complain?"
"Not enough orgasms."
"You nearly killed us and she wasn't getting enough?" Xander nodded. "Why?"
"Over a thousand years as a demon."
"Oh." He nodded, giving Xander another hug. "We'd never complain about anything but too much sex, Xander." He grinned at that. "Is your staff having problems?"
"No. It's off visiting the graveyard." He pointed. "I can feel it."
"Okay, that makes more sense." He gave him another squeeze and smiled. "So we're cool?"
"Sure. Are you guys going to move in with me or not? I do have the bigger house."
"We're talking about that. You kinda live further into the middle of nowhere than we do."
Xander pointed at the woods. "Go two miles that way and it's the edge of a city that has clubs, strip joints, and bars. The bus only comes a few times a day but I hiked that way and found the bus stop. I even went into town. It was pretty. Small city instead of larger one."
Sam beamed. "Dean might be very happy. Is there a garage for the Impala?"
"Nope. There's an old stables though."
"I was going to ask if you needed a horse to get around in here."
"Not really. I'm not using most of it. Ooh, did you get to see the library?"
"Only under the sheets." He let Xander pull him up and in there, gasping then sighing in pleasure when he saw it. "Oh, this is a wonderful library." He looked up. "It's larger than Stanford's stacks." It extended so far over his head you could fly a broom in there. The room was big enough to hold a football match on the ground floor. He literally could not see the tops of the shelves and the roof looked kind of tiny from where he was. Now if only he knew how to fly.
Xander gave him a hug. "I thought you might like that."
"I so very much like this room. Can we move a bed in here?"
Xander blew a raspberry on his neck, getting out of pinching range with a grin. "I might be talked into a daybed." Sam grinned and went to call Dean over, dragging him into the library.
Dean looked up. "Now if only we played quidditch," he said, frowning some. "How many stories are there?"
"I don't know. I haven't climbed up that far," Xander said happily. They both smirked at him. "Willow peeked and told Giles so if we have to we might have to do some research for him now and then."
"That's fine. I like research," Sam promised. "Think Harry can teach us to fly?"
"He or Draco could," Xander agreed.
They all beamed and went to floo Harry. It was a Saturday, he was free. "Harry!" Sam said happily. "You free today?"
"Mostly. I have to study for term tests. Why?"
"The library's too big, we have to fly," Dean told him. "Unless there's a mirror or something up there."
Harry blinked. "The library's how big?" Xander nodded. "Can't, I'm in the common room. I can't floo travel from here." He hung up and came back a minute later, coming out of the floo. They led him that way, letting him appreciate the wooden floors and all that. He stepped into the library and stared. "That's not a mirror." He looked around. "I could've sworn I heard Hermione squeal in pleasure." They laughed and he unshrunk his broom, lifting off to go up. He even counted. "Eighteen stories," he called down. He floated back down and landed. "How do you find books?"
"I don't know." He went to floo Draco. "Have you seen the library?"
"Mine," Xander countered.
"Oh, that library. No. Big?"
"Eighteen stories," he said.
Draco smiled. "You can fly in there."
"I don't know how to fly."
"I'll teach you during the holidays. If you don't make Potter do it first," he said, catching sight of him.
"Term tests," he sighed. "Go into the library and say 'I want a book on ...' then name something. That's how you bring the books down to you."
"Shoot. Don't have to fly to find a book?"
"You can if you know it's up there."
"So someone needs to make an index?"
"It should be in a large red book. Ours is."
Xander beamed. "Thanks, Draco." He hung up and went back in there. "I want a book on vampires." Sixteen books floated down to land on the single table in the room. "That's cool." He looked then put them aside. They shelved themselves again.
"You may not live in here, Sammy," Dean ordered.
"Yes, Dean. Think we can put an internet port in here?"
"If you put in electricity and the phone line," Xander said, giving him a look. Sam pouted. "Seriously."
"I'll see if it can be done since we're near a small city."
"Can I borrow a book on domestic charms?" Harry asked.
"Harry needs a book on domestic charms." The vampire books all reshelved themselves and one floated down for him. "That's a good clause to know," Xander decided. Harry grinned and took it back to the floo so he could go back to his studying. "Can he still teach us how to fly?"
"We'll learn over the holidays," Sam said happily. Xander beamed at that. "Then maybe Dean can see quidditch in person instead of on the radio."
"The guys have their game coming up next week."
"Can we go?" Dean asked.
"I'd assume so." He went to call. "Headmaster Dumbledore, Hogwarts." His head appeared. "Headmaster, can we appear for the game? Dean's never seen quidditch and neither have we."
"Of course, it's in two weeks," he agreed. "When did you plan your tour for?"
Xander shrugged. "We make each next meeting at the one we're in due to work schedules."
"That's fine. Give me a bit of warning and we can even do some dusting."
"Sure. Do we have to buy tickets?"
"No, admission is free. Go to Hogsmeade and walk up, Mr. Harris."
"Thank you. And thank you for letting us borrow Harry for a few minutes." He hung up and bounced back in there. "We can go. Floo to Hogsmeade and then head up. It's in two weeks."
"We have a meeting that day," Sam pointed out. "An afternoon meeting."
Xander pouted. "That's mean."
"We'll get out in plenty of time," Dean assured him. "We usually do."
"We're going over the proposed health department stuff," Sam said.
"Still shouldn't take much time," Xander pointed out. "Draco said his last one lasted three hours."
"Sure." He went to floo Horatio, getting the time of the meeting. Then Harry again. "Good news, the meeting's at noon," he called. "We should be able to make the game since it starts at three."
"Even better," Dean agreed, going to look at the books. He liked the moving picture books. Even the dirty moving picture books. The first one he pulled out was clearly one of those and the pictures were fairly anatomically correct. He giggled at a few of the positions.
Xander grinned at him then went back to his browsing. It was all good for him. Sam came back to get back to his research. He called down books on the demon that was hunting them, sitting down to take notes on his laptop. He could recharge it later.
Horatio appeared with the boys in Hogsmeade, following them up to the school. He frowned. "That tower is still leaning."
"They moved the class," Xander offered.
"It's still dangerous."
"It won't fall off until the spell's fully exhausted," Xander assured him. "I did ask the people who did the evaluation. They're doing it over the holidays so they don't trap any students."
Horatio nodded. He found a seat with Xander and Sam in the Slytherin box it seemed. He nodded politely to a few of the students giving him odd looks.
One looked at Xander. "You're Draco's head of family, aren't you?"
"I am," Xander said, smiling at him. "You are?"
"Blaise. I share a dorm with Draco." He shook his hand. "First match?"
"For all of us." Dean came jogging up the stairs and sat behind Xander. "This is Dean and Sam, and that's Horatio. Sam and Horatio are on the council with me."
"That's wonderful," he agreed. "Are you rooting for Potter or Draco today?"
"Both," Xander said. The kids all smirked at that. "Can't play too many favorites, guys." They nodded at that wisdom. He tensed when Dean grabbed his shoulders but he looked and found the kids flying out onto the field. "He has got to teach me that," he said in awe.
Dean stared. This was looking like a fun sport.
Blaise leaned closer. "The seekers, Harry and Draco in this case, look for a small, gold ball that flies around by itself," he said quietly. "If you catch it, it ends the match." Dean nodded at that. "It also awards you a hundred-fifty points. The ones with bats are beaters, they deal with the bludgers, which come at you to kill you." Dean nodded slowly. "The other ball is called a quaffle and it's tossed by the chasers while the keeper guards the goals."
"How many periods per game?"
"It goes until the seeker catches it," another kid said. He smiled. "My dad likes basketball for some odd reason."
Dean nodded. "It's not a bad sport. Not much violence though."
"You'll get plenty of it this game. We're arch rivals you know," the other kid told him. Madam Hooch tossed the quaffle up and Gryffindor took possession, leading the charge toward the other goals. Horatio winced when one bludger hit a girl but she kept flying after tossing it off.
Dean kneaded Xander's shoulders, watching raptly as the playing went on. He could definitely like this sport. He hissed as Harry fell but he got back up and went back to it again. A foul was called and a penalty shot taken and blocked. Then the regular game went back to it. Xander leaned closer to Sam so he kneaded their shoulders instead. Horatio was leaning forward, resting his arms on his knees while he watched. Then the seekers took off and fought for a bit but Harry caught the ball. They all cheered and Harry grinned. Draco gave them a dirty look but Xander grinned at him. He rolled his eyes. They landed, shook hands, and headed for the changing areas.
Xander pounced Draco for a hug. "You were great up there!"
"Still didn't catch the snitch," he complained.
"You have other great skills. Catching a little gold ball is only a minor one." Draco smiled at that. "You do know that you're teaching us over the holidays, right? Even if Harry can't?"
"Of course I will. Are they moving in with you?"
"We're talking about it," Sam admitted, giving him his own manly, back slapping hug. Draco looked confused. "Manly hugs require pounding you. Dad said so."
"Your father's nuttier than Xander."
"Only some days," Dean said dryly. "Good game. You can teach us how to play too, right?"
"If you're any good," he promised. "I should shower and change. Are you staying for a while?"
"If you want us to," Xander promised.
"No, go. You can fuss over me during the inspection tour." He looked at the divination tower then Horatio. "We only got two lamps." He smiled at that and Draco went to take a shower and ignore his teammates' complaining. Not like they could beat Potter either.
Xander woke with a groan, looking at the woman floating above him. "What's up, Altera?"
"There's a strange man here to see you and the house elves aren't properly trained to send them off."
"His energy signature is wrong."
"Might be John," he decided, climbing out of bed and getting dressed so he could head downstairs. "Not John. Huh."
"Where might Colonel Sheppard be?" he asked coldly.
"Last I heard he was going home." The man blinked. "I'm assuming he went back to base. You are?"
"He's mentioned you," he said, then he yawned.
"Still in bed at this hour?"
"I was up late doing Watchers Council research for them. I only got to bed at five." He looked at his staff, which had floated down after him. "Any idea where John and his staff are?" The staff hummed pleasantly. "Base?" No flash. "Family home?" No flash. "Wherever he was hiding that the staff couldn't reach?" That got a flash. "There he is." He looked at him again, seeing the incredulous look. "The staffs would know."
McKay spluttered. "That's totally illogical!" he shouted.
Xander looked. "You don't look like a Romulan or a Vulcan." He frowned. "Are you half?"
"No!" he sneered. "I'm a scientist."
"So is most of the board. They're all forensics people. I'm not. I have no idea how it did it. The staffs are very old magic. They're nice though, they do help protect us." He looked at the staff. "Think we could contact him?" The staff floated over to a mirror and charmed it. "I love you." He gave his a hug, then grinned at John. "The huffy Romulan here wants you back."
"I'm fine, Rodney. I meant to go back to base but it brought me home when I said home." He grinned. "It's kinda neat really." He patted his staff on the head. "You're a good staff." It flashed brightly. He grinned at his buddy again. "Xander, tell Mac to be expecting an email in a few days. It has to go from us to Cheyenne and then on." That got a nod. "Rodney, go back to the base. The ship's probably ready to leave. If not, Sam said she was going to beat you this time for staring at her."
"Fine. You will be explaining this to me."
"Sure." He watched him go. "Sorry. He's a bit high strung," he said quietly.
"Did you get to meet Willow yet?"
"Only for a second when she popped in to give you cookies for stealing a weapon."
"She's like that all the time." That got a smirk. "We saw quidditch," he said happily.
"Congrats. Is it fun?"
"It's great fun. Flying and multiple balls, a few hoops, some violence. Balls that want to kill you or anyone that gets close enough." John laughed at that. "Dean's getting off on quidditch."
"I'll have to catch a match the next time I'm in town. Which probably won't be for six months...."
"Hmm. Too late for the season here but Harry said there's pro teams so maybe we can take you to see one."
"That'll be fun. Any other good news?"
"You're going to miss the school inspection trip. Horatio's not pleased."
"I might be able to make it back for that," he said with a wink. "Gotta go, it's dinner here."
"Have fun and be safe. No bad aliens coming to eat you hopefully." He hung up and went back to bed. He was tired!
John went to dinner knowing that the week long trip back to Atlantis was going to give Rodney enough time to build up a good head of steam so he'd better be ready for him to yell at him all night when he got back. He'd have to save up calories now. Though he hoped Xander was right and no human eating aliens were coming anytime soon.
The Inspection trip was called and everyone gathered, even John. They were gathered in Hogsmeade this time and Patricia was already complaining.
"Is this really necessary, Horatio?"
He pointed at the castle in the distance. "Look at the one in the rear, on the right." She looked then groaned. "It's tilted. The spells are starting to wear out. Only some of them have been fixed and Dumbledore wants us to let him make some changes."
"This way we can do both," Sam said. "Plus it's a nice walk and a good time to check on them. After all, some year all this is theirs."
"Fine. I suppose he doesn't know we're coming?"
"He knew we were coming sometime this month," Xander corrected. "We told him sometime this month." She sighed as she followed them up to the school, noticing Xander had a notepad and his previous notes. "Have to make sure things are safe. We had safety features not working last time." The looked at the pitch. It looked very pretty in the snow. He looked at Hagrid's class. "Does anyone else hope they have warming charms?"
Horatio nodded. "I would." He smiled. "Hagrid, nice to see you again."
"Nice to see you too, all of you. Up for inspection?"
Xander nodded. "Plus to hear ideas that the headmaster has. Are the kids cold?"
"Nah, got the breeze moved," he said happily. "Warm enough with cloaks."
"Would something like an open shed help?" Xander asked. "Or maybe just a roof and side walls?"
"Could, yeah, I cou' use one for 'ome of the animals that stay outdoors. Good thinking." He smiled and they went to check Herbology.
It was relatively warm in there but the ceiling panel was still broken. Xander checked the walls as they walked past them. Still fuzzy. He noted that too. They walked into the entryway and one painting screamed.
"Interesting defense technique," Sam said. "But probably useful." A teacher came running. "Just us."
"Oh, good, she thought you were barbarians here to take her hostage for her purity." They all smiled at that. "Where to first, gentlemen and ladies?"
"Let's do it in the order we did last time," Xander told her. She nodded, leading them on the tour since the Headmaster had ordered her too. "No classes today?"
"The headmaster wanted you to have a good guide this time since Mr. Potter is in class."
"That's fine," Horatio agreed. He stopped to look at the hole in the entryway. It was gone. That was nice. They headed down to the dungeons and he was freezing. "No heat?"
"We do try," she admitted. She tapped on the portrait. "The Founders Council, Severus."
"Everyone stop what you're doing and put down your wands," he ordered. "You will not work and blow someone up today." He let them inside. Xander looked around, including his storeroom. "I did get some more room," he assured him.
Xander smiled. "That's good but is this the only warm room in the castle?"
"I have the only class down here. Heat is not wasted where it's not needed."
"No freezing pipes that burst?"
"The house elves take care of those."
"Oh." He nodded, looking around. "Did they shrink your ceiling?"
"I put on extra charms for this one."
Xander nodded. "Anything you need noted?"
"Not at this moment."
"Thank you for your time, Professor," Sam said, smiling at him. "Is hers supposed to be about to boil over?"
"Stir," Snape ordered her. She stirred with her wand until it went back down. He let them out and shook his head. Meddling people. He called Slytherin's elf to make sure it was clean and tidy. He'd be leading them through there later he had no doubt.
Xander came up the stairs last and smiled at the headmaster. "Still haven't fixed the girls' stairs?"
"That's in the works for the holidays," he admitted. "Did we find new problems?"
"Six," Stella said, handing them over. "After talking to the nurse."
He looked and went pale. "No one informed me."
Xander looked then pointed. "You told Harry that one was a boyfriend." He went more pale. "The others?"
"I'll bring this to Severus right away."
"Thank you," Stella said, smiling as Patricia sat down. "Things don't look like they're getting worse. Beyond that one problem." He nodded. "Any problems you want to note to us?"
"No. I'll have them all fixed when the spells are recharged over the holidays," he promised. Xander handed over a copy of his amended list. "Still not enough light in Slytherin?"
"There's shadows as big as I am," Horatio told him. "No one can study like that." That got a nod. "Now, you had proposals for us?"
"I do." He dug them out and handed them over. "Some will take both yours and the regent's board to grant, some only take yours."
Horatio read them then handed them on. He watched how Xander and Sam reacted. Xander had a good feel for taking care of children. Sam did too. Sam was also more educationally inclined among those two. Xander cleared his throat. "Are there other schools?"
"Two. Much smaller but they're day academies and closer to where a good group of the students live."
Xander looked at them. "How will this increase their ability to work later on, especially considering we're instituting civil service exams?"
Dumbledore blinked. "When?"
"We're writing up a sample test now for approval," Sam said. The Minister gave him a look. "We are. We're doing it with a few of the teachers and some people in the Ministry's education department." That got a nod from him. "We were pretty for the exams before, Minister."
"I don't mind as long as they're fair."
"To everyone," Xander agreed. "Men, women, pure and not." That got a quick nod. He looked at Dumbledore. "We've been made aware of the prejudice levels against anyone not of a pure family, Headmaster. How they can't get jobs in the Ministry without being exceptional. That leads to a lot of idiots in places that they can screw things up. Is this something that would enforce that divide?"
"I would certainly hope not. I do support all students getting a good education."
"Then why, when I asked, did they say that only two-thirds of those muggle born who show gifts are educated in a magical school?" Sam asked. "They couldn't answer that one."
"If they're not very strong, it's been felt better for their emotional well being. I'm sure you had your problems in high school."
"We moved so frequently I don't have one to call home, Headmaster, but I did nearly graduate Stanford until a personal tragedy struck me. That's an ivy league college." He nodded at that. "Wouldn't teaching them be better for them?"
"We think that the other students will pick on them for being very weak witches and wizards."
"Are they given any education?" Horatio asked.
"There are home school programs," he assured them.
Horatio nodded. "I looked into that other school. The one for the handicapped magic born?" That got a terse nod. "The ones who don't have difficulties studying don't get taught anything. They have some very bright students who are there due to a physical handicap, not a mental one."
"That should be a Ministry issue. I'm not over that school." Horatio pulled something out of his jacket pocket and handed it over. "I did help set up the curriculum, yes."
"There was no allowances made for differences in skills?" Xander asked. "I've seen a few witches that could destroy buildings by sneezing. I went with Horatio and Mac, plus Stella and Patricia. You had six down there that were more than strong enough if allowances were made for a physical handicap that hadn't been corrected, even though four seemed as though they could be. We were wondering if you'd like to set up different curricula for them? Since you sit on their board and you're over their educational standards as well."
"I can look into that, yes," he agreed.
Xander smiled. "Thank you for that." He pointed at the list. "That's your copy. So you can refer back to both to see what had been fixed. Did you ever decide about home ec.?"
"I'm not sure it's practical. Most students will have a house elf."
"Not really," the minister said, giving him an odd look. "Home ec.?"
"Domestic skills class," Xander told him. "Cooking, laundry, mine included sewing. Harry and I were talking. He was thinking the seventh years could use it and Professor Snape thought that might be the best time if you did institute it. It'd give them an easy class and an easier grade that year. Plus give the boys a way to show off to the girls by cooking them brownies or something."
He nodded. "I have breached the subject with the regents. They weren't sure it was necessary."
"It's usually a pretty fun class," Stella said with a smile. "It's also good because it means kids won't starve when they move away from home. Plus girls can figure out how to cook before they poison a boyfriend."
"That is a good reason," he agreed. "I'll discuss it with them again. You'd want both sexes to take it?"
"Yup. Both sexes have to eat and do laundry. Best to teach them. It'll give the charms teacher a break probably."
"That it might do," he agreed, looking like he was thinking. "I'll definitely ask around about it." She nodded. They left, taking his suggestions with him while he slumped in his chair. "How many more of these do I have?" he muttered. A house elf popped up with a note that said 'one a year once you get things fixed'. He smirked at the handwriting. "Mr. Harris has very good ears." He put it down and called a staff meeting to discuss things. He walked in. "Severus, we'll dig out some lamps for you," he said before he could sit down. He passed down the list. "This is the current list of what they found problems with. They also suggested that we teach the seventh years, of both sexes, a domestic skills class. One that includes practical things like cooking and laundry skills."
"They could us it," Professor Flitwick, the charms instructor said. "All the students could use it really."
"It was pointed out Severus said it'd be an easy grade their final year?"
"As they put it to me, I did offer that opinion when asked when it would be best shoved into the schedule. It would give the little brats a class they could not worry about studying for. Most of them have at least two free periods a week. Take one of them."
"I've agreed to talk to the regents about it." Minerva McGonagall held up the 'once a year' note. "I asked how often we'd have those as they were leaving. That was their answer."
"Do we think Potter complained?" Snape sneered.
"No, I think Mr. Malfoy said a few things about the lack of lights."
"No, I was in there. The redhead looked around and shuddered, saying he thought it looked like a crypt. Mr. Harris told him there weren't any sarcophagus so it couldn't be. He said it looked like a master vampire's lair. All it needed was a disco ball."
"I'll have more lights brought down," he promised. "Are there any new comments?"
"The lack of heat was mentioned a number of times," McGonagall said, handing it on.
"Harris asked about freezing pipes."
"If I remember right, wasn't he in carpentry?" Flitwick asked. The other professors all nodded. Dumbledore let out a small moan. "So he does know of what he speaks, Albus."
"I know they were worried about the Divination tower falling into Hufflepuff," Madam Sprout said. McGonagall nodded she had heard that too. "That was very nice of them to worry about my students."
"We worry about all students," Harry said as he uncovered himself. "That's why we went to visit that one facility for those who have birth defects and found that even the ones who could think and reason well weren't being taught." He looked at the headmaster. "Horatio was *livid* about that. Cited some mistreatment as well to the Ministry. He wrote a ten-page report on that to the Ministry." Dumbledore moaned. "They'll be looking over the other schools soon from what I heard. They came here first because here is the oldest on the continent and often bragged about." He looked at the teachers. "Yes, home ec. would be nice and you could have a house elf teach the cooking parts really. One of the good seventh years teach the others the household charms that are common usage."
"I'm very good at them and cooking," Professor Sinistra said. "I don't have a heavy class load and it's not like there'd be homework. I might be able to teach that class." That got a smile and a nod, plus a note made. "Mr. Potter, how are your grades?"
"About the same as usual, ma'am. The Council isn't interfering with my studies in the least." He smiled at her. "Actually, I'm learning a lot that I didn't in History of Magic looking at the background of some things." He smiled. "Horatio did send a note saying he'd like an update when the holidays were done if everything was fixed. Their next one will be during the summer. As will be future ones probably if things are all fixed and tidy." He smiled and walked out, carrying his cloak back to his house.
"He's a smug brat today," Snape sneered.
"The Council was most firm in some of their opinions and they are taking good care of him, helping him become quite a strong willed young man," McGonagall said. "He was thinking about talking to the Watchers about their program the other day."
"I thought he wanted to be an auror."
"To rid the world of darkness. They killed Voldemort's ghoul last weekend, Severus," she countered.
"I felt." She smiled. "Is he truly gone?"
"He was kept in containment the whole time. They had a monitor on him and it said he was still in there and unliving until the last moment. Harris and Winchester were quite helpful in getting him into the proper mood to fire the right curse. It went off well and they checked, then they sank the containment chamber into the ocean. No one recorded where. All they said was it was over comfortable diving range."
"So unless we start living at the bottom of the ocean, that one's gone?" Madam Sprout asked. Dumbledore nodded. "Good. One less worry. Now all we have to do is watch for the next one to come through here."
"I had been thinking the Malfoy boy might turn into one but Harris has done an incredible job straightening him out," Madam Pomfrey said. "I haven't seen a single case of bullying in the last four months due to him."
"He's happily engaged, taking orders, and doing well in classes, plus not bullying. I think we may have seen the second coming of Merlin," McGonagall said dryly. The mediwitch bopped her on the arm. "It's good to see him only fighting slightly with Mr. Potter, but Mr. Weasley looks very confused."
"Of course he does. His brain does not work that well," Snape pointed out. He stood up. "Are we done? My students should start appearing for dinner soon." That got a nod and most of them left. Dumbledore was left to think of what to do next since he had no political hold over these young men who now ran his world. It wasn't something he was used to.
Xander followed Stella back to her place, smiling at her for the niceness. "Thanks, Stella. I wanted to make sure we're up to educational standards. I sucked in school but it wasn't just my fault."
"I know. Don's coming over soon." She smiled when someone knocked on the door. "Who is it?" she called as she went that way.
"Chinese," the man called.
"I didn't order." She looked out the peephole, then motioned Xander over. He looked then shook his head, turning his staff into a sword. "Check across the hall. They order all the time," she called.
"No, it was this apartment." They had to move back when the door shook. It exploded inward and Xander grabbed the guy, tossing him and stabbing his buddy with the sword. He fizzled but the human gaped at him.
"No, I don't think it was us," Xander said dryly. "Who're you, who're you working for, and what did you want with Stella?"
"You her boyfriend?" he sneered.
"Coworker." He stepped on the guy's throat, making him gag and gurgle. Then he eased off. "Next time is a full minute. Who? Why? Time's ticking and I'm too young to have patience yet."
"Stella!" someone shouted.
"I'm good. Xander has 'em." She looked at him. "Well?"
The man spat something and Xander moved his foot back, making him try to scream but choke. "Not a good answer considering I understand that demon language. Even if you have a fucking army of them, they won't save you." He eased up then leaned down. "Next chance to tell me what I want to know. Or it'll be a minute and a half. I know how to summon spirits and rip them apart, I can do it to yours for what I need to know."
"Gravis!" he shouted before the foot came back. "He sent us. He wants her. Said she's powerful!"
Xander snorted. "Gravis is a what?"
"Vampire. Master Gravis, wears a pink rose." He sobbed. "Please? He'll kill me."
Xander snickered. "Uh-huh. Anything else I should know before *I* kill you?" The man blinked at him. He grinned. "Let me reintroduce myself. I'm Xander Harris. Buffy's Xander." He pushed down again and the man choked and gagged until Xander pulled his foot off. "We killed Gravis last year. Who, why, and I'd do it now. My patience has *snapped*, little boy." He stared down at him, sword at the ready. The man spat something. Xander said something else and the man's eyes went wide. "Had to learn how to read the books somehow. And? Waiting's not my strong suit."
"Belinizor. He needs an heir. She's powerful enough for it."
"Why tell us the first guy?" Don asked.
"Mortal enemies," Xander told him. He looked down at him again. "Belinizor is a what? A Gorg?" He nodded quickly. "And he's where?" A pebble was held up. "Anything else I should know?"
"His army will destroy you!" he shouted.
Xander snorted. "Yeah, I keep hearing that. Yay them." He let him go then kicked him in the side, making him scream in pain. "Don't attack women. It upsets *real* men." He looked at Don. "After I'm done might I have a few minutes to ask you about educational stuff and what you'd expect a school to be teaching?"
"Sure. Can we do that now while we wait on the cops to arrest him?"
Xander grinned. "Probably not. But it won't take me that long. Promise." He blew a kiss and activated the pebble, taking himself off to the small sub-dimension. "Oh, dear, I'm home!" he shouted. Then he laid into the first demon. He had had enough and this was not going to happen to his friends. He got to the main guy with only small injuries and cast a blessing at him. He had done good in his lessons with Draco and Sam. The demon screamed and flailed, trying to get to Xander. "That's for Stella." He did it again and the demon died. He walked over the carnage, going to rescue the others he probably had hostage. He found them. Then he leaned on a bar. "Captain Cornflakes. Good to see you again."
"Harris," Riley Finn sighed. "What are you doing here?"
"Killing things that wanted to take a friend. Where's he keeping his harem?"
"Medical by in the back. Get us out and we'll help."
Xander looked at him. "I don't trust you." The man gave him a heated look. "Sorry, still don't trust you. I still owe you for fucking around on Buffy." He walked off, finding the women cowering against the wall. "Relax, I work with slayers and I'm here to bring you back to your own world." He turned and killed the demon, making him scream in pain as he fell. He looked at them again. "Come on. We'll free the military guys on the way out. That way they can feel useful." He pulled one up. "You'll get medical attention first," he assured her. She nodded and the others slowly stood up, coming with him. "Are we missing any?" They pointed and he went to get the two pregnant ones, bringing them with him. He undid the cages on his way past. "Fall in behind the women, guard them until we can get the portal open. Two are heavily pregnant. Argue with me and go back in the cage and stay here until Willow remembers you." They kept up and only a few were trying to get up. Xander walked over them, giving them looks. They quit and Xander found the place he had come in at. He touched his pendant and focused. "Willow, ready for pickup and delivery of some hostages, they need medical support," he whispered as he called.
A portal opened. "You can't stay out of trouble, can you?" Dawn demanded.
"They came for a friend. Bite me." He gave her a hug. "A gorg had them." She grimaced. "Wanted heirs." That got a nod and she got them out of there. The military got a shove in one direction, the ladies got led in another one and Xander walked out, then went back to Stella's. He wiped himself clean when he saw the looks he was getting. "Sorry." He did a cleaning charm and grinned. "Better?"
"Much," Stella said. "No ick on my carpet."
Xander looked then cleaned it too, grinning at her. "I'm getting much better."
"You are. I'm proud." She gave him a kiss on the cheek. "How many were there?"
"Sixteen women, two really pregnant ones. Some Initiative guys. Not a big." He shrugged. "Smaller demons." He looked at Don. "If I give you a curricula can you see if it makes sense based on what you were taught?" He nodded. Xander patted himself down until he found it, handing it over. "Should be clean."
"All but one edge," he said, sitting down to look at it while the patrol guys finished up. He frowned "What year is this?"
Don looked at him. "No." He shook his head, calling someone to send him something. They appeared behind him on the counter so he handed them over. "Our standardized test prep books. Grades seven, nine, and twelve." Xander beamed. "What do they take?"
"Fifth and seventh years. Fifth year depends on higher classes and seventh is for things like jobs."
Don nodded. "Makes sense. We were doing this in tenth at the latest." Xander nodded.
"We knew there were problems, Xander," Stella pointed out.
"A lot," Xander told her. "That's Harry's advanced curricula." She moaned, sitting down again. He looked at Don. "On the back are the standard mandatories and then the optionals. Do they seem reasonable?"
He looked then shrugged. "I took most of them through tenth then specialized. Creatures was junior high. You could specialize in it later but not then. Potions was only high school." He sat down to write the years he had taken it and when it was usually offered or mandated. He handed it back. "How bad is this place?"
"This is Hogwarts," Xander said. Don whimpered. "We had to suggest home ec."
"Not a bad idea. I found it very stress relieving and it came in handy when I wanted to make any girlfriends cookies."
"That's what I thought too," Xander agreed. He shrugged. "I don't know. I came from a crappy school system."
"We'll handle it," Stella reminded him. He nodded, accepting a hug then he went to bug Horatio. She looked at him. "Hi."
"Hi. It's good he was with you."
"I could've gotten them."
"You have a sword?"
"No. I didn't know our staffs could do that." Hers hummed in her hand and shifted. "Okay. I'll let Mac teach me how to use you then." It changed back. "Thank you." He smiled at her. "Xander's right, they're pretty smart."
Don led her over to her couch so they could talk. He could fix the door problem in a few minutes. After Mac ran in being frantic once he heard. Otherwise Mac would rip it down again.
Xander landed in Horatio's office. "Hi."
"You have one of us on staff, right?" He nodded. "I wanted them to look over the curricula." He waved the books. "Got these from Don." He let him see what he had found out so far. Horatio grimaced. "Exactly. And that's Harry's advanced NEWT stuff."
"Damn it," he muttered. He paged him. It took a few minutes since he was getting ready to go home. "Mr. Wolfe, would you please do me a short favor?"
"Sure. What's wrong?"
"Look at that and see where it relates to your studies back in high school and junior high," he said. He handed the paper over. "On the back are the mandatory and optional classes the students have to take."
He started there, noticing the numbers on them. "Hmm." He took a pen to make his own notes. Then he went back to the other side, pulling his own study guides to him to find certain things. He handed it back. "That's what year?"
"So eleventh here?" Ryan asked. Xander nodded. "Does that mean it's the advanced lessons?" Xander nodded. "I'm sorry for the kids."
"The teachers are nice enough," Xander admitted. "But they're falling behind."
That got a nod. "I can see that. Good luck. Why do you have blue stuff on you?"
"A demon wanted Stella and I went to protest on her behalf."
"Oh. Cool. As long as I don't have to clean it up." He waved and left. "Night," he said as he walked off.
Xander let Horatio see it and he slumped. "Ministry? The one here?"
"Start with the one here. Can you get sample NEWT and OWL questions?"
"Sam can. He's working with them."
"Get them, bring them to the main office in DC. See what they have to say." That got a nod. "Then we'll compare and see about the other schools."
"Yes, Horatio. Thank you for honoring my quirks."
"Good education is essential to finding a good job, Xander. Even if your school sucked this one won't be. Too many of us like education. Talk to Patricia too." He nodded, disappearing to talk to Sam. Horatio shook his head. "Something has to be done," he muttered.
The next afternoon, Xander got dressed up and went to talk to Patricia, smiling when she opened her door. "Got a few? Horatio and I were talking to Harry and we got to wondering about some things."
"Educational things." She nodded, letting him inside. He looked around. "This is beautifully decorated, Patricia."
"Thank you. It took me many years to get it perfect." She led him into a drawing room, sitting down with him. "I know you and Horatio don't appreciate Hogwarts."
"We do. Horatio and most of the others are very pro-education. I went to a crappy school and I'm a hands-on person so lecture classes never did anything for me. Even if Sunnydale's education hadn't been in the toilet." She nodded at that. "What we got to wondering was our NEWT level classes versus the American ones. Sam's been working with the education department recently on what they want for their part of the service exam. He saw that scores are about the same and that made him happy, but they didn't rate them against other countries really. We do that compulsively in the US."
"To rate yourself would show areas you're lacking in." She leaned back. "Why is this a problem?"
"Because I went, with Sam and Horatio's knowledge, to talk to a few wizards the others know in the US." She nodded slowly. He handed over the study guides. "They take three standardized tests. Every other year counting backwards." She flipped through the highest one, frowning. "I brought Harry's NEWT curricula with me when I asked, just to see what he, the first one, thought of the subject matter being taught. I figured it might've changed, we might be ahead of where he was since he's Danny's age."
"Okay." He handed over the paper. She looked at them. "The numbers out from them?"
"The pencil are the first, the blue pen are the second, the red pen are the US Department of Magical Education standards for when those things are taught." He shifted some. "Don's the one who gave me the study guides, Stella's friend. He went in New York."
"That's a good academy."
"The other one went to Orlando."
"A fairly decent private academy," she admitted. She looked at the red numbers. "They're teaching some of these in ... what are these grades?"
"Twelfth is seventh year over here."
She counted backwards a few times to make sure she had it then looked. "We learned this one in our third year," she said, pointing at one. "I know they've had defense teacher issues."
"That's not an issue. That's a problem," Xander said. "Look at the potions." She looked, then nodded. "They only take them in high school over there. That's the last four years. Sam and I both went there, him to ask more relevant questions than I could since he's been to college. Snape is the only one who is teaching at the same level as the US's standards. McGonagall is trying. Hers is a year or so behind depending on which thing. That might be how she arranges things."
"But the rest... Charms?"
"Charms is like hers. I have the feeling that may be not pushing the students. That may be how he arranges things. Notice one of this year's is a fourth year over there but one's a seventh year. Hagrid's teaching all the first and the last two year's creatures. I honestly expected some backlog. A bit here and there. Our NEWTs are their third year exams though."
She sighed, looking at him. "That is a problem."
"And it's not just Hogwarts. Sam asked about the other two before I came over with the Ministry here. They were horrified. They think the Americans are pushy."
"You lot can be," she agreed dryly.
He shrugged. "We've all learned in our daily lives that it makes things happen."
"Good point." She looked at the books again, going through the easier one. "This is as hard as my OWLs were." She looked at him. "What did you want me to do?"
"I want us to take a good, long look at the curricula sometime soon. With teachers. Like we're doing with the civil service stuff. I want to see them look over the standards in other places, like those test prep books. Then I want them to compare to what we have here and see if there's a way we can keep up. I'm guessing not many of us get jobs overseas, even in British companies?"
"No but there's that quota here. At least seventy percent of your employees must be born somewhere within the British Empire." He nodded at that. "If we're right, we're creeping behind even farther."
"I don't know much about school. I freely admit that. Can we look at the ones like the French school?"
"I can do that, plus some of the smaller academies as well. Ours?"
"Have to teach to the NEWT and OWL tests. We overhauled the law our first year. Let's made education our second year?"
"I can see doing that. I'll talk to the ones I vote for and let them see this. Can I hold these?"
"Please do. Sam has a copy of all that too." She nodded. "I'm sure the people I left him talking to are not happy in the least."
"It's all right, Xander. Sometimes these things happen. Remember, we've had two wars." He nodded, standing up. "I'll call around. Let me compare them."
"Thank you. How are you feeling?"
"Much better. Thank you, dear." She escorted him off, watching him disappear. Then she went to talk to her husband. "Did you know our students are behind?"
"Figured it a bit with the lack of proper defense teachers." She handed him the third year standardized test prep book. "What's this?"
"For their third years in the US. That's their version of their third year OWLs."
He flipped through it, frowning. "I got some of this our seventh."
"Exactly! We're falling behind. Xander and Horatio went to look at this. They're not even ours and they're finding all these problems!"
He gave her a hug. "Sometimes an outside view sees issues that a closer one doesn't but you have the power to get things fixed," he reminded her. She sighed and nodded, resting against his shoulder. "We'll fix it so we're the jewel of the magical crown again," he soothed. She smiled and left him there to start calling around. He went back to looking. That was sad. Very sad.
John looked up from reading as Xander walked in. "We're visiting."
"That's fine. Read away, John."
"Sam saw some stuff at the education department that shows we're a bit behind everyone else. Like our sixth years are taking third year classes according to the US." John winced. "I went to talk to them with Sam. We're so behind."
"It happens. The two wars meant not focusing on education."
"It's not just that! The only teacher who was teaching to a higher standard was Snape! A few it may be how they arrange things, but the rest are doing junior high work! How are they going to get jobs?"
"Remember, it's not just *your* problem, Xander. You have others to talk about this with. Call an education conference."
"We plan on it." He sat down, looking at him. "Either the US pushes themselves or we're so far behind over here it's not funny."
Patricia came out of the floo. "Sorry, conference?"
"Patricia, this is John, Sam and Dean's father. John, this is Patricia, she sits on the Council for us and votes proxy for a few people as well."
"Pleasure, ma'am," he said, shaking her hand. "You know, Xander, Sam's very good at education stuff. I had to move the boys every month or so for most of their school careers and Sammy still won full ride scholarship to Stanford."
"I know. That's why I'm letting him ask the smarter questions."
Patricia smiled. "There may be hope. There's an education conference in four months in Leningrad, Russia. I've managed to talk to the person overseeing reservations. They don't usually include us but with the assurance we were looking to update the curriculum he managed to make four seats available. I thought one should go to someone in the Ministry."
"Sam!" Xander yelled. He appeared. "There's an educational conference."
"We have four seats that can go. Is there someone in the Ministry you'd like?"
"I like Abellette Mansford. She seems nice. She's got a teaching degree from a muggle college. She's been working on updating the NEWTs with some questions that hadn't been seen dozens of times."
"Her, Snape because he's at standard for the US?" Xander suggested.
"What about the other schools?"
"There was a Professor Collins from that small day school by Leeds. He teaches Herbology if I remember right."
"I did like him," Patricia agreed. "He seemed to care about the students. Would you want a headmaster?"
"No I think Dumbledore has a lot on his plate already," Xander said dryly. She smiled at that. "He's a headmaster and a judge."
John frowned. "How?"
"I'm not sure," Xander admitted. "But he does both."
"That's probably a lot of work for him," John agreed. "What about a good other teacher from another school?"
"Actually I was thinking McGonagall or Flitwick. She's a deputy headmistress. He's very good in his field and both are nearly at standard as well."
She considered it. "I'll let them decide between themselves," she decided. "Can we agree to defray the costs?" Xander got up and went to the office, coming back with a handful of gold, which he handed over. "That should pay most of it, dear. Thank you." She kissed them both on the cheek then left.
Xander looked at Sam. "The third year test is the same as her NEWT exam," he said quietly.
"Hopefully the kids can still get jobs," he said. Xander nodded, pulling him down to cuddle. "Hi, dad."
"Son. You all right?"
"It's been a long day," he admitted. "I should get back for another half an hour. Dean was drooling on a broom magazine the last time I saw him."
"I'll call him over then. Have fun. Dinner?"
"We can eat here," Xander suggested with a grin. "My house elves cook very well and they think I'm an army." John smiled and nodded. "Cool. I won't have to eat alone tonight." He went to tell them that the others were coming. "Sam, invite the aunts too if you want," he called before he disappeared.
John shook his head. "He's besotted."
"He's lonely," Sam corrected quietly. He left, heading back to work. "Sorry, Patricia got a few people seats to go to the educational conference coming up in Leningrad." She squealed and hugged him. "Yes, I suggested you. Just so you can see how far behind we really are." She smiled and they got back to work on the civil service questions.
Patricia came out of the headmaster's floo after a trip home to talk to the other man and pay him for the four seats. "Headmaster. Ah, there you are, Professor Collins. I'm sure Sam can tell the other one. I have been asking around about educational standards and there happens to be a conference this summer in Leningrad." She handed Collins a pamphlet. "You are paid to go to it so you can report to us and the Ministry, which will have one of the four seats, so we can see if we need to make educational changes."
"They didn't invite us," Dumbledore noted.
"I asked why. He said it's because we're behind." She handed over a test prep book to them. "That's the US test prep book for third years and their test." He looked at it, frowning at some of it. "Exactly. Some that was on my NEWTs."
"Some of it's still on the NEWTs," he admitted, handing it over. "Finny and who is going?"
"Abellette Mansford in the education department. She's been working on rewriting the NEWT tests. Professor Collins. Mr. Harris wanted Professor Snape because our investigations said that he's teaching nearly at the US standard. It was also suggested that we could decide between Professor McGonagall or Flitwick for the other seat. Both are high in their fields. Both are near the standards set by the US, but some fall below and above. It was suggested it was more how they organized than not being up to higher standards. Whichever one you think would like to go or let them decide."
Collins smiled. "I'd love to go. Even if I will have to put up with Severus sneering at the other potions people." He handed it back. "I'm appalled they push their students that much."
"Our students are competing with theirs for jobs." He winced. "Exactly. Xander suggested we've spent most of this first year on law matters, we can spend our second on education."
He nodded. "I can see that. We clearly need some if third years are taught that."
She nodded. "These come from their department of magical education."
"Oh, dear." She nodded. "Can we talk to the others, Albus?"
"Of course. I want the students to have the best education possible." He sent a house elf for them. They all showed up within a few minutes. "Mrs. D'Ortens has a proposition for two of you three."
"There's an educational conference coming in Leningrad." Collins handed over the pamphlet. "We have four seats. One's going to someone in the Ministry. One is reserved by special request for Professor Snape since the people looking into this found that he's teaching to a higher standard than ours. The last seat would go to one of you two, Professors."
"What standards?" Snape asked. She handed over the book. "This is for which test?"
"The US's third years take that test. Potions is only the last four years over there."
"It takes me seven years to cram four years worth of knowledge down them?" She nodded. "That's up to standards?"
"You're teaching at the same year they are. Even if they do start later," she said. "The other two have things that are and aren't but it was suggested that it's how they organize and what has to be taught what year instead of falling behind." Snape nodded at that. "The only requirement for that is that we're going to be looking at educational standards and we'd like reports of what went on and analysis of ours versus theirs. You may be called in to talk about it when we do."
"Who is going for the Ministry?" McGonagall asked.
"Abellette Mansford. She's updating the NEWTs and working with Sam Winchester on what her department needs to know to get a job with them for the civil service exams."
Collins smiled. "That might improve the Ministry greatly."
"Indeed," Flitwick agreed, looking at the conference. "I would gladly help the Council and the Ministry update our standards but not much will apply to me. As Minerva is also a deputy headmistress it should go to her."
She smiled. "Are you sure?"
"Quite, dear. There's no discussion of charms at all it appears."
"Thank you, Filius. I'd love to go. How much will it cost me?"
"We've paid for your reservations, your fees, and your travel costs." She handed her the brochure. "The rest is up to you. Basically food and souvenirs when they're not provided."
Snape smirked. "Malfoy?"
"Harris. He suggested you personally."
He nodded. "The boy did ask me what needed to be updated in the curriculum."
"Sam's father told me he had to move because of the demon hunting he did. He had to move the boys very often, usually about once a month or so. Samuel still managed to win a full scholarship to a prestigious ivy league college." They looked impressed. "Xander hated that his school was below standards even for poor schools. Those two are aligned so it's reasonable they're working with Horatio's knowledge when Sam found out."
They nodded. "I'd love to," Professor McGonagall promised. "When are we taking up these matters?"
"This summer. It'll be our second year's main topic." She nodded at that wisdom. "By the way, someone took Mr. Potter's sixth year curriculum around with them to a few former students the other board members know plus to their department of magical education. That's how we found out what they teach." She handed over the study guide. "That's for the test their third years take. I have the other two at home."
She looked through it. "That's on the NEWTs," she sighed.
"Oh, dear," Flitwick said, taking it look through. "We'll do what we can." She smiled and handed out the rest of the reservations to them before disappearing. "Are we really this far behind?"
"That's why they never invite us," Collins assured him. He stood up. "Pleasure as always but I have tests to grade. I'll see you this late spring." He flooed back to his school, going to gloat to his headmistress about his conference reservation. Even if they would be sneered at all weekend.
"I would like those reports as well when they're finished," Dumbledore said. They all nodded and left, going to talk about what to pack. He considered it. They were that far behind? Third years could beat his seventh years? The Council was right to twit him over things it seemed. Even if they were nosy and annoyingly chipper.
to part 13: