Harry was shopping for school. It was more fun this year. People were happier. Things had settled in well. Draco wasn't being annoying even though Xander and Stella had volunteered to take them both school shopping. Draco was pointing out his opinions on his future wife. Apparently Xander had found some pretty women with brains who weren't all that impressed with Draco but it would be good for him to have a woman that could finish his training. At least to Harry's way of thinking. He looked at them. "Do I have to hear Ron do this much complaining about his future one?"
"Weasley may be a pureblood but there's no way his parents will contract his hand. He's the youngest son. The older ones all had careers lined up by now. He'll be lucky if he marries. Then again, they probably wouldn't be too ashamed if he married the mudblood," he sneered. Xander smacked him on the head. "Ow! You learned that from Gibbs," he complained.
"So?" He gave him a look. "Company manners, Draco, or I'm spanking next and cutting your allowance."
"Can we go back to the way it was?" he asked hopefully.
"Once he's fully dead and gone and so is Lucius," he assured him.
"I might be married with a son on the way by then," he complained.
Xander looked at him. "If you have a kid with anyone in the school they're going to be tragically inbred," he pointed out. "Unless you found a nice muggle or halfblood girl there?" Draco gave him a horrified look. "Exactly." He stared him down. "Do not say such things in front of Stella or myself."
"Yes, Xander." He pouted but they kept shopping. Stella had a good eye on what would look good on them. Nearly as good as his own. "Stella, can you *please* get Potter things that aren't hanging off him like he's been tragically ill?"
"My aunt and uncle gave me my cousin's hand-me-downs," Harry said quietly.
"Is he Jabba the Hut?" Stella asked.
"Nearly," Harry admitted.
She shook her head. "You were doing good this summer."
"That was Dean's doing," Harry told her. "I don't care as long as I'm not naked."
"Now you have a position and am image to uphold," Draco said firmly. "As a Founders Council member you may not look like a slob or it reflects badly on the rest of us."
Stella looked at him. "Why would you care?"
"My mother was a Black. I refuse to be associated with people who dress like slobs!" He looked at Xander. "Or someone who wears ungodly shirts like that. I did not buy that one. Please?" he begged her.
She smiled. "I think we can do that."
"Not much choice in the uniform," Harry said dryly. She gave him a look. "Really. Only some off-class clothes."
"Uh-huh." She led them into the robe shop, making Harry quit fussing. She smiled at the seamstress in charge. "They need fitted for school. Harry's grown an inch this summer and finally put on some weight. He also needs off-time clothes. We have summer stuff for shorts and stuff."
"Some t-shirts too," Harry told them.
Madam Malkin looked at him. "We can do that. What about what he's wearing right now?"
Harry looked down at his shorts and t-shirt then at her. "I wore it to Miami and I looked hip there," he said with a grin.
She snorted. "This is not Miami, wherever that is."
"It's a city in Florida where all the pretty people play," Stella told her. "This is normal summertime wear, ma'am."
"Not for local customs. He must've went muggle to buy those." She put him onto a stool and looked at him. "Still a Gryff, right?" Harry nodded. "Mr. Malfoy, take the next empty one."
"Yes, Madam Malkin." He glared at a first year, letting him have the next open spot instead of her. He climbed up there. "He's on the Founders Council you know."
"I refuse to wear robes in my off hours unless it's necessary," Harry said when one came for him. "School robes, not formal robes unless we're having a ball or something."
She pursed her lips. "You should uphold the wizarding standards, Mr. Potter."
He glared at her, hands on his hips. "I want to be comfortable. It'll be for hanging out in the common room and sneaking down to get more food from the kitchens. Not for formal things. I have clothes for formal things. Unless we're having another ball?"
She shrugged. "I hadn't heard yet. Fine." She got him his school things then worked on the off-time clothes. Xander was snickering. "Other Council members could use the help too," she said, staring at both of them.
"I'm comfortable and I'm staying comfortable," Stella told her. "I can't work in a dress like yours. It'd keep me from chasing criminals."
"You're an auror?"
"I'm a detective and a criminalist. Half the time I'm on a scene of a crime picking up evidence and the rest I'm in a lab."
She sighed, shaking her head. "Still showing a bit much of your body, dear."
She looked down then at her. "This is demure for me. Get over it." The woman huffed but went to dress both boys. She looked at Xander. "Am I looking slutty today?"
"No, I like that top on you. You look good and actually look pretty and feminine in that outfit. It makes you look like a girlier girl instead of your usual tough one. Must work well with the crooks when they try to outsmart you."
She pinched him on the cheek. "Quite often. You should see Floppy. He's been making Don fat with cookies."
Xander grinned. "Buffy said if and when I came home I was to bring at least those house elves and any others I might've picked up."
Draco looked at him. "Do not bring them over here," he mouthed.
"No, if the hellmouth falls in they're going to next active one. Which they think is Cleveland."
"Where is that?" Harry asked.
"Ohio. Near to where Tony works."
"Halfway between me and him," Stella told him.
Harry nodded. "Is it a pretty city?"
"Don't know. Never been there," she said with a smile. "I'm sure someone can find you pictures online, Harry." She walked over to look him over. "Robes cover up any good back and butt muscles. It's a shame." She straightened out his sweater then nodded. "That fits you. You don't look like too much of a dork." She grinned. "All uniforms do it. You should see me in mine." He held up the tie. "Aww."
"Not really. Strangles me," he complained. More clothes were brought out and he sighed. "I only get one trunk."
"I have three, I simply shrink two so they fit inside the other one," Draco told him. "You can do the same."
Draco nodded. "I even brought a chair to read in last year."
"Did Snape yell?"
"He was amused and told me if my grades went down he was burning it on me."
"Sounds like him, yeah." He let the fitter do her job, heaving a few sighs when the more formal clothes came back. "I can't get messy in those."
"Sometimes you need better clothes," Stella reminded him.
"I have clothes for that."
"Beyond your uniform, Harry." She gave him a pat and looked at Draco. "Those are not your colors."
"I know but it must be endured until we graduate. My off duty clothes look better." He looked at Xander. "We did take money out of the bank?" He held up the money bag, letting Draco snatch it to look. "I'll probably need more, Xander." He held up his own allowance bag, letting him look at it. "What did you buy?"
"A new bed. Mine's crappy." He took it back. "That's sixty-two if I remember right."
"This stop will run him twelve," Madam Malkin assured him.
"See, we can afford that and ice cream." She came at him. "Don't even try. I'm happy with mine and he made me do major shopping a few months back."
"That shirt is very loud."
Xander looked down then at her. "Is speaking to fabric a skill like speaking to snakes?" She gave him a dirty look and walked off while Draco cackled.
Harry looked over. "I wonder if it's considered as evil as being able to talk to snakes."
"Only on those who don't listen," Stella soothed. She helped Draco down so he could hit the bathroom. "So bad, Xander."
He grinned. "I'm missing my taunt the vampire days. Spike's not here so I can't pick on him."
"Pick on Danny. He could use some good taunting."
"I can do that." He grinned. "We have a meeting this weekend?" She nodded. "That's cool." He paid for both boys from his allowance and they went to get the other stuff. Harry gave him an odd look. "You haven't been to the bank."
"I have so." He paid him back and went to buy his own schoolbooks.
A female came out of the shelves. "Harry, why are you with that git?" she demanded, giving him a hug and glaring at Draco. Xander smacked her on the head. "Hey!"
"Leave Draco alone. He's agreed to be polite today," he said, staring her down. She backed off.
"Hermione, this is Xander and that's Stella. I've told you about them."
"Charmed to meet you both even if you are with Malfoy."
"Um, Hermione, Xander's the head of his family," Harry said.
Draco shook his head. "Let her have her opinions. I have a wilder life than she'll ever lead and I'm more satisfied. Someday she'll be wondering where she went wrong to be so boring and old before her time, Potter." Xander gave him a look. "I was polite."
"You mostly were," Stella corrected.
"For him, that's polite," Hermione assured her. She smiled. "I've heard you've been easing some of the restrictions for some of us who want to move closer to the muggle world?"
"Mostly we took out the clothing laws," she agreed. "There were some really stupid clothing laws."
"Including how you could commit homicide and call it self defense if they were wearing purple polka dots," Xander agreed. Stella nodded at that. Draco gave him an odd look. "As coded by Fudge as a favor to someone who used that in their defense. He decided he snapped and they were sick since they were wearing polka dots. It's also when he wrote the law saying it was illegal to wear polka dots except on a hat."
Draco shuddered. "I can't see what my father saw in that man."
"He was a minion and he didn't stand in the way of things," Xander said honestly.
"Good point. I could use some more minions."
"Get married first, then gather minions."
"Yes, Xander. When am I meeting the last one?"
"October sometime. We're finalizing. I'll pull you out that day." Draco nodded. "You do like them so far?"
"I've liked all but that one. She's a bit driven and only wants me as a sex toy and someone to walk around with at parties so she can make social contacts."
"Did you like the Hindu girl, Bindi?"
"I did. She was very sweet and blushed a lot," Draco said with a grin. "She seemed very nice. Very good manners."
"Won't let you run over her," Xander added.
"That as well. Plus she wants children. That bodes well for my future."
Harry shuddered. "Can we please stop talking about marriage contracts before someone tries for me?"
"As the head of your family someone probably should but we'll help you if they show up," Stella teased.
"Thank you. Don't want to date someone like Anya."
"I'm phenomenal in bed thanks to her," Xander taunted.
"Doesn't mean I need that sort of pressure," Harry shot back.
"True, a normal girlfriend first," Xander agreed. "Then one who'll kill you in bed."
Stella swatted him. "Behave. He can date normal girls."
"No he can't, he's horrible with them," Hermione assured her.
"Tony's been helping him," Xander said with a grin. "He gets a lot of dates. So does Dean."
"Dean has helped and Sam told me how he knew it was a special thing." He finished paying for his books and they left, waiting on Draco. "Um, Xander. Would you happen to have a scythe on you?"
"I'm not a slayer, Harry." He looked where he was pointing and swore. "Let me lead the sucker off." He handed Draco the bags, then gave them to Stella instead. "I'll be home later, after I lead him off." He took off jogging, using one of the emergency exits out of the alley to lead the Bringer off.
Draco sighed, shaking his head. "He needs to do less dangerous things."
"What was that?" Hermione asked.
"A Bringer. A super vampire," Harry said. He looked at his list. "Owl food. Parchment?"
"I could use some," Draco agreed, leading that way, glancing around just in case. "I wonder if a cutting hex would work on them the same way," he mused as they walked.
Harry shrugged. "Ask Sam. He has all that research because he was helping Willow."
"I'll do that this weekend," he decided. They got their last few things and Draco headed back to Xander's while Stella took Harry and Hermione back where they should go. He flooed Sam. "Would a cutting hex work on Bringers?"
"I don't know. I'll look at that. Did one show up?"
"For Xander, of course. Why? He's not a Watcher."
"He's part of the slayer's team and part of the prophecy, Draco. That's why he had the vision."
"Fine. Anything I should worry about?"
"Only if he starts having more."
"Even better. Thank you." He hung up and sat down to write to the potential wives. He needed to know more about them before he agreed to any of them. One meeting would not a happy marriage make.
Xander landed beside the counter in the Magic Box, looking at Giles. "Why are they still after me? Being part of the prophecy doesn't make a damn bit of sense since mine's a consequence, not fighting her."
"I don't know, Xander. I have no idea. How many now?"
"I just escaped my third one."
"I'll look into it deeper. Are they still after that Harry boy?"
"No. He's fine now. Getting ready to start school again. Oh, tell your friend Draco does like his friend's daughter a lot. Said she was polite and very nice. He's writing letters to all the ones he liked before he goes back to school." That got a smile and a nod. "Am I listed somewhere else in the system? They haven't been bugging Willow this way, right?"
"No but the hellmouth could be masking her."
Xander frowned. "Not making a lot of sense if it is." He shrugged. "Let me know. Please?"
"Of course. How are things otherwise?"
"Narcissa's funeral was ornate and flower filled, just like she wanted and planned. Draco was stoic but I got him drunk that night and he let most of it go so he's back on healthy emotional territory. We're doing okay but I did get to mark a lot of the family off after all the arrests. The family's thinned out incredibly." Giles laughed. "We're still waiting for the last few things so Harry and we can kill the ghoul. Then we'll see what's going to happen."
"Good boy. Tell the boys that their father wants to hear from them."
"They're heading this way after the next meeting," he said with a grin then he disappeared, landing back in the apartment. He found Draco in the kitchen. "You need to learn how to cook."
"I'll have house elves."
"What happens if they get sick?"
Xander made a buzzer noise. "Women like it when you spoil them with special dinners, Draco." The boy slumped. "It'll be easy." He washed his hands. Draco washed his then they got to work on one of Xander's favorite dishes. Draco caught on well. He did good in potions so measuring came naturally to him. They ate dinner and Draco finished his letters before hitting the spare bedroom for the night. Xander smiled, he was being a good cousin to him.
Harry finally made it onto the train and flopped down. He leaned his head back and used his wand to lock the compartment. "There, better," he sighed in pleasure. Someone knocked. "I'm tired!" he yelled. They walked on. Must be one of the Gryffs or a new kid looking for a compartment. He yawned, settling into the seat, getting comfortable. Hedwig hooted at him. "I know, they were mobbing us," he agreed quietly. "I don't know what I did this time. Maybe Hermione will tell me." He yawned again and laid down, curling up to nap. "Wake me when the lunch trolley comes," he told the owl. She hooted gently and watched her human fall asleep.
Hermione broke into Harry's compartment with Ron, clucking her tongue. "He must've been mobbed again," she sighed. She petted Hedgwig through the cage then sat down next to Ron. "How was your summer?"
"Less exciting than his."
"Xander made him go on a real vacation."
"I saw the pictures before those things came for Ginny," he said with a grin. "Have you ever worn a bikini?"
She blushed. "No comment." Harry snorted and blinked at them. "Why were they mobbing you this time?"
"Some sort of announcement. Not a clue why," he said tiredly. "I need to finish my nap."
"Sure," she agreed. She saw Malfoy walk past then back up and come back. "He's sleeping."
"Xander asked me to look out for him," he said dryly. Harry glared at him. "Yes, you, git. What did that one woman push through?"
"She managed to push through an initiative to make it more popular to have multiple children. Gives them a break on tuition."
"My mum loves it," Ron agreed.
"I figured it was sensible to do if they had more than four kids," he admitted. "The other stuff I can take or leave." He looked at Draco. "Why is he worried?"
"They headed back to the US," Harry said, looking confused.
"Ring hunters," Draco said dryly. He leaned on the edge of the doorway, crossing his arms over his chest. "He didn't figure you'd know how to handle girls that were in it for the ring any way they could get it."
"Well, no," he agreed, making himself sit up. "I'm not all that good with girls yet. Tony did help some."
"He should know." He smirked. "If you need help with a persistent problem let me know so I can tell him. He thinks the girls will start to react soon."
"So it'll be like he's a male veela?" Ron taunted.
"Exactly like what you did to the veela during the Tournament," Draco agreed. He looked at Harry again. "Xander also thinks that some girl's going to try to trap you into marriage by getting stuffed up."
Harry shook his head. "I'm not ready for that yet. I don't care what she wants."
"They can be persistent, Potter," he said smugly. "I've had more than one that knocked me down and had me."
"Against your will?" Hermione snorted.
"No but I do wish they had better timing now and then. I needed to get homework done that day." He strolled off again.
"I'm not sure if I like this new smug Malfoy," Hermione complained.
Harry grinned. "He's great fun at getting Xander to growl at him. Or to go do something other than plan."
"I'm sure he is," Ron said. "You two hung out?"
"I like Xander. Xander's his head of family. We spent a lot of time together this summer planning things."
"Now and then." He smiled. "He's been explaining wizarding things to Xander for a while too. Helps out now and then. Even if Danny does give him odd looks for some of his comments on some of the laws that Fudge wanted to put back through Patricia."
"How bad is it?" she asked.
He grimaced. "She wants to keep everyone the way they were ten years ago. When she was closer to our age. Fudge does too because that makes him look stronger. Since he's about to be kicked out as Minister in a few weeks, he's worried about how people will see him."
"What did he do?" Ron asked. "All the paper said was there was a scandal and the whole Founders Council had sued him in the Wizengomet."
"He dosed some people with a lust potion."
Ron gave him a horrified look. "They didn't do it in criminal court?"
"They did after the civil one. That meant that no one had to share what went on. Though he was not amused when he heard what he had caused and how badly he had screwed up. Stella was going to rip him to pieces for it. The judge said he had to have a clean handover by the end of next month, that way things could be arranged and handled before the next guy stepped into his mess. Then he gets to go to jail."
Ron smirked. "Wonderful."
"We were going to clap," he told him. Hermione rolled his eyes.
"No, he's right, 'Mione. That's the same as taking away someone's ability to consent," Ron told her. "That's illegal."
Harry nodded. "He got it from both ends and he's in deep for that stunt of his."
"Did it get you?" she asked.
"It has an age clause built into it. It was a few weeks before my birthday."
"That's good at least."
"The best news is that we have all the Death Eaters we found in jail," he said quietly, reaching over to close the cabin door again. "Voldemort's in a small cube waiting on us to finish killing him." She gaped. "Sam and Xander helped and so did a lot of the others. Sam and Xander planned most everything. Now all we have to do is deal with the prophecy his bringing back started."
"Which is what nearly killed Ginny and us," Ron finished. Harry nodded. "She's shielded, right?"
"Yeah, they shielded her, Ron. She's safe and I don't think they can get into the school."
"Good." He relaxed. "Why the hurry?"
"Bringing back a body wrong can lead to letting some very evil things back onto this world, even beyond whatever evil person was raised," Harry said. "Xander's tied to the group out on a hellmouth with a slayer. Those same things that went after Ginny destroyed the Watchers Council's building and are trying to kill all of them." Ron shuddered. "Him being raised started off a greater evil trying to come back. Those Bringers are his minions. So if we see one on the grounds, we need to know immediately. We're still not sure why they tried to come after me that once. My family hasn't been Watchers in centuries." Draco walked in and slammed the door shut. "Problem?"
"Goyle." He sighed, sitting down beside Harry, looking at him. "He wants to kill you for getting his whole family arrested."
"They were housing the Dark Lord and serving him like he was the queen!" he defended. "That wasn't me. That was the aurors. Have him talk to them!"
"I told him that. He tried to hex me so I'm taking my head of family's advice and walking away."
"Good idea," Harry praised, grinning some. "Are you taking Xander shopping for the holidays?"
"Bloody hell yes. The man wear atrocious clothes around me. I nearly went blind in the shirt he wore while he took us shopping."
Harry laughed. "What did you think of Stella's outfit?"
"I agreed with him. It made her look more delicate so she'd be underestimated at work. She looked nice in it though. It suited her coloring and figure very well."
"What does she do?" Hermione asked.
"She's a CSI, that's a detective who uses science to find criminals. She works in a felony lab with two of the other board members, plus Horatio does the same thing in Miami."
"She's a criminialist?" she asked. Harry beamed and nodded. "Then she's got to be a strong woman. Being an officer is hard enough but that's harder still."
"Is that like an auror?" Ron asked.
"She basically does what the aurors who do spell checks and investigative spells do, only she does hers with muggle science," Draco explained. "I had to explain it to Patricia too."
Ron nodded. "Okay, that makes more sense. How many of the board do that?"
"Five. Mac, Danny, and Stella work together. Horatio works in Miami, he's the one I had watching over me on my vacation." He dug out the pictures and handed them to Draco. "From there. You wanted to see. Tony does the same thing but he does less of the science and more of the investigative end; he does his for the American Navy and Marines when they have problems. Xander and Sam hunt demons. Patricia's family does art appraisal. Then there's me and the next Minister of Magic."
"I thought there were eighteen," Ron said, looking confused again.
"Patricia votes for them because they're more minor families and they have some sort of agreement from when Lucius was on the board. He apparently annoyed them to death."
"I would've paid to see Xander beat him," Draco agreed. He held up one. "Sunset over the ocean?"
"Upside down, Draco. I took that from my hotel room." He turned it around and it made more sense to him. When he got done Harry handed them to Hermione. She gave him a look, holding up a picture of a bikini. "That nearly trapped me on the beach," he defended. "Horatio had to come rescue me my first day. I got a very nice sunburn staring at that." The door opened and he looked up at Goyle. "Yes? Wanted to see the pictures I took in Miami too?"
"No," he sneered.
"That was the auors," Harry told him firmly. "Not us. Don't take it out on Draco or me. After all, I can write myself an exemption to the law if I have to hurt you." Goyle stomped off. He looked at Draco. "Are you moving into our dorm too?"
"I hope not. You're all messy." He got up. "Thank you for keeping my temper for me." He left, going to hex Goyle to make him leave him alone. Crabbe too since he was plotting with him. Then he went on his Prefect rounds. His head of family would be proud of him and he had promised rewards during his first weekend in town.
Harry grinned. "Yes, Xander's bribing him and finding him a wife."
Ron shuddered. "Better him than me." He finished looking at the pictures then handed them back. "Did you have fun?"
"Lots of fun," he said with a grin. "I got to see museums. I met Horatio's nephew. He's a great guy, about our age. Totally muggle but nice. He showed me around and helped me buy my camera. We totally ate ourselves sick a few times on Cuban and Mexican food. He even took me to the nude beach." Ron's mouth fell open. "Not all pretty women but they're all there to enjoy being in their skin. Looks don't matter much to them so they're happy. We played some beach games. He taught me to body surf. It was a great two weeks."
"Good," she said happily, smiling at him. "You needed it."
"Yes I did. Now that it's nearly over, it's a lot better." He laid down again. "Wake me when the lunch trolley gets here?"
"Of course." She pulled out a book and Ron pulled out a magazine, letting them watch over him while he napped. At least until he started to have a nightmare and then they tried to help. He woke up with a gasp, holding his forehead. "Harry?" she asked. "Are you all right? Was it a vision?"
"He's out." He patted his carry-on bag, finding his cellphone. "Damn it, no signal!" He got up and went to find Draco. "Do you have a signal?"
He frowned, pulling out his phone to check. "I do. I guess where mine bounces off space or whatever it would." Harry snatched it and found the number he wanted, dialing it. "What happened?"
Harry listened to Sam's cheerful greeting. "Check him. Someone broke him out, Sam. My scar just went off. Someone got him out. On Draco's phone. They won't work at the school. Please?" He nodded. "Thank you." He hung up and handed it back. Draco gave him an incredulous look. "He's still a ghoul. We have all his people."
"Let's hope he doesn't possess whoever lets him out."
"Or a Bringer."
"That would be worse," he agreed, rubbing his own forehead. His phone rang so he answered it. "Draco Malfoy speaking." He handed it over. "It's Xander."
He listened. "Are we sure who yet? The first time I saw him he was possessing someone and living on the back of their head, Xander. Please?" He nodded, leaning against a wall. "My scar woke me. Let me know? They won't work at the school. We'll have to turn them off. Sure, if he cares to. Can you walk down to the apparation barrier tomorrow to check for messages?"
"If he wants."
Harry nodded, handing it back. He walked off, getting some chocolate off the trolley. Then he sat down to nibble it while he thought. Ron gave him a nudge with a foot. "He's out. Someone got him out of that locked case in the auror's department." He took a vicious bite and chewed while watching out the window. Draco came back thirty minutes later. "New news?"
"Fudge," he said simply.
"He wasn't marked. They checked."
"No, he's possessed. They have him in custody but not the other, Harry."
"I'll let others know when we get in," Harry decided.
"Xander did. He's throwing an ungodly fit at his place right now. Willow's too busy to try to track him and the others can't."
"What about the witches that did the masking charms?" Ron asked.
"Sam's calling them to see." He looked at Harry. "Calm down. He's not coming this way."
"He was feeding on unicorns before," Harry reminded him. Draco nodded, walking off, leaving him to think and plan. "Hermione, tell the DA members?" She went to do that. He knew Xander and Sam would let the others know, especially Tony since his people heard things from all over the world. They'd be okay. They would be because he was Harry Potter and if Xander could withstand dating and sleeping with demons he could help him defeat the bastard once and for all.
"You'll get him, Harry," Ron promised.
Harry nodded. "We will." He got some more chocolate and came back to finish his thinking and planning. Hermione came back later on and they sat around to wait until they got to the school. At least he couldn't take over the school now. "Any idea who our defense teacher is?" he asked.
"No," Hermione admitted. "I'm still wondering what charms Quirrel used on his turban to hide him from the Dark Arts wards on the school."
"I think that it's wearing out like the other charms on the school," Harry said. "When we took the tour, we found a bunch of things that were starting to fall apart, including the Divination tower." He paused. "I hope they fixed it. Horatio was really pissed that it was leaning."
"Let's hope they fixed the stairs on the girls' side," Hermione complained. Harry nodded at that. "Well, we'll see soon I suppose."
They got comfortable and waited on the rest of the ride.
Xander walked into the next meeting of the Founders Council, handing Horatio something. "Harry has detention with Professor Snape and cannot be here today. He asks that Tony or Mac vote for him."
"That's fine with me," Tony promised. "How are you doing?"
"I'd be doing a lot better if we knew where the stupid ghoul went to."
"They can't track him?" Horatio asked, frowning a bit.
"The Devon witches could for a bit then they lost him. He possessed someone but he was near a mall at the time so he could be on everyone. So if you know someone and they suddenly start wearing large hats, look on the back of their head. He did it to a Defense teacher before."
"I read that book," Mac said dryly. "How did he get past the dark wards on the school?"
"The school's over a thousand years old," Danny said honestly. "Like the repair spells, it's probably getting a bit thin."
Xander nodded. "That's what Harry figured too." He nodded politely when Patricia and the new Minister for Magic walked in. "Good afternoon."
"Afternoon," he said pleasantly enough. "Are we missing people?"
"Harry has detention with Snape for doing what he was supposed to. He sent a letter with his choice of Tony or Mac to vote for him."
"Tony's agreed to," Horatio told him. "That reminds me, I did want to see what had been updated at the school. I think we need to make sure that the repairs weren't forgotten."
"Don't they have a board of regents?" Patricia asked.
"Half of them are in Azkaban," Xander said honestly. "Draco can't take his father's seat for the next year. That board isn't meeting until around Easter anyway." She nodded at that. "I'd like to know if the aurors have anything new. I asked and got blown off."
"Reasonable. Do they at your home?" Mac asked.
"Nope. It's weaker but she had moved onto step two by the time we got him."
"So they're facing a lesser apocalypse?" Tony asked. Xander nodded. "Are you going back?"
"If they need me to. I'm told John does a credible impersonation of me but he won't wear my hawaiian shirts."
Stella laughed from her seat. "That might be a good idea. They might infect Sam or Dean."
"No, we'd have to hit each other if we wore clothes that loud. I still don't know how you snuck around in them."
Xander grinned. "No one pays attention to me. Even the girls sometimes."
Sam shook his head. "I do. You date scary women and I'm watching to make sure you don't date anyone else," he promised. Xander beamed at him for that.
"Off topic, boys. Since we're all here, let's start this meeting. I call it to order. To the agenda for today. We have to take any petitions about laws that need to be reset. We need to set the next meeting date. I want to talk to either Harry, Draco, or someone we trust at the school to make sure the changes have been made and things fixed. We need to ask an auror for an update on the Voldemort situation. Does anyone have anything to add?" he asked.
The Minister for Magic frowned. "We're still involved?"
"Fudge let him out of the locked case," Xander told him. He moaned, shaking his head. "We're pretty sure he's possessing someone but we can't tell who. We're working on it but whenever I ask I get funny looks and blown off."
"We'll get one down here to make a report," Danny agreed, heading to do that for them.
Horatio smiled. "While he's gone, when's a good time for the next meeting, people?"
Mac pulled out their schedules. "The system spit out a bad one for the next month," he admitted. "Depending on which weekend either Danny or Stella will have to take a day off." He let him see it to compare with his and Tony handed over his. "Looks like we can do this weekend but we're all on then," Mac said.
Horatio looked at Tony. "Can we get Gibbs to shift your on-call weekend?"
"Maybe. We've got a major terrorism case right now."
That got a nod. "So you won't be taking time off except for today until it's settled?" Tony nodded. "All right. We'll call if we need you that day, Tony."
"Thanks. Gibbs said he didn't mind if he didn't need me but the nature of the beast means I might be needed to go on a raid within minutes."
"We understand," Mac promised. He pointed at a block. "Danny has more leave time. It's six weeks from this meeting but it might be doable. If we go with a month, that'll leave Stella needing that weekend off. She can trade or take it off, whatever." She nodded at that.
Horatio looked at them. "Any scheduling conflicts with anyone else?"
"We have a visit from the Bulgarian ambassadors in five weeks," the Minister said, handing over that schedule.
Horatio looked. "The weekend before?"
"We'll be setting up but I can come down for a few hours. The meetings have been relatively short."
"That'll work," Mac agreed. "Patricia?"
"I'm open if you are," she reminded him. "Sam, Xander?"
"We'll be heading back to the US for a while after this meeting but I can make it back for anything," Sam promised. "Even if we're in the middle of a situation Dean knows I've got to be here. Unless we're under active attack it should be fine."
Horatio nodded. "You're staying, Xander?"
"Unless they call, again a moment's notice sort of thing." Danny walked in with Willow. "Good news?"
"They wanted a report from us. They didn't like the fact that she was torturing Spike for the blood she needed before they stepped up the assaults against the big boogerhead."
"No idea where he is according to them. They've scanned and think he went to a muggle and then transferred once he found a witch or wizard he could use."
"We should ask the hatmakers and Madam Malkin, plus the other clothing store places. They've got to buy new clothes sometime."
Horatio nodded. "They might be of help but we're trying to keep this one under wraps until we're sure," Danny told him.
"Didn't we do that before?" Sam asked.
"Yes but for different reasons. Everyone thinks he's dead," Danny told him. "He will be within a day of us finding him so it's not that big a lie. They can excuse it as some of those things that Tony and Harry have been gathering."
"We've got all but two known, possibly up to six total if he hid more than Dumbledore thinks," Tony reported. "We're going next weekend to find the rest."
"Let us know when he's gone." He looked at the Minister for Magic. "Do you have a problem with us formally setting the meeting date on the sixteenth?"
"I do," Danny said. "I'm off that weekend due to a friend's wedding on Saturday. It'll be an all-day affair, it's a friend from a large, Italian family."
Horatio grimaced. "That would spread out next one out to six weeks," he told him.
Danny shrugged. "I can set a proxy that weekend."
"If that would work for you," Horatio agreed.
"Then let's do that if no one has any arguments and I'll let Stella or someone vote for me."
"Agreed," Horatio said, making note of that. "Anyone have any problems with the sixteenth?" No one said anything. "Good. Do we have any laws that need to be looked at or petitions for new ones?" he asked, looking at the Minister for Magic.
"The current ones are nice," he admitted. "But they don't leave much room for interpretation."
"We had three judges help us set the language," Horatio told him. "The five officers agreed to take on that job and formed a sub committee."
He nodded. "I can see that. It was a good job but I used to be a lawyer and I'd hate them. There's no wiggle room."
"The law should be clear cut. It means that scum doesn't get off on a technicality as often," Sam told him.
That got a nod. "True. So far my review has been pretty decent. You really did condense a lot of the old stuff that was outdated and took out a lot of Fudge's rules."
"The man made some pretty stupid rules," Danny pointed out.
"True. He was pretty hated for that around here. Patricia, have you had any complaints?"
"No, Dwayne. I haven't heard a thing. I have been looking into the proposed department additions that the others have made." He looked curious. "We were talking about a department to oversee things like shots for school and diseases of the carnal nature."
He nodded. "Could help. The muggles have shots for stuff?"
"All sorts of things, mostly to prevent totally, some are to lessen cases," Stella told him.
"Interesting. I'd like to look at those proposals."
"They weren't formally drawn up. It was mentioned during discussions that the wizarding world could use them," Xander told him. "It was a health department system, CPS, and civil service exams."
"We were giving Patricia and those she votes for time to look up those institutions to see if she could come up with good arguments against them and see for herself how much of a need there was."
"Civil service exams?" the Minister asked.
"For Ministry or other governmental jobs. That way it goes to the most qualified, not the one with the most relatives," Mac told him. "Started in Ancient China and most countries use some sort of service exam for higher, non elective government offices."
"So, no more incompetent people?"
"Or less. They'd have to pass a test and an interview," Sam said.
"That could be good for the Ministry," he decided.
"I had someone send away for the exam that the Americans take for government service. It won't work for us," Patricia said.
"The idea will even if the same questions won't," Tony corrected. "Of course we can make it specific to the department you want to work in. I don't expect people wanting to work in Species to need the same test as someone who wants to be in the mailroom."
The Minister nodded slowly. "True, and it's not that hard to do," he agreed. "I'd like a formal proposal and sample test questions drawn up."
"Right now we're at the kicking it around to talk about it stage," Xander told him. "The next step would be to talk to the other Ministers and Under Ministers to get their ideas and test questions could be done from that when they say what they *need* in their departments."
"So a general section and then a specialty section for various departments," Tony said. "Not a bad idea."
"Once you have it I'd like to look it over," the Minister agreed. "The same with the Health Department idea. What they'd be over, if we had any research on these shots the muggles take, all that."
She nodded. "I've started to gather that one. I still do not like the CPS idea, boys. Usually other family members handle it when a parent gets too rough with their child or harms them."
"Most people like that learn it from their own growing up," Stella told her gently. "So it'd be repeated only by a different tormentor. They could also make sure all orphanages were up to a good standard of care. I visited one and it was nasty. It was filthy. The workers had no training. I wanted to tell them to mop. Plus they said any child that came out with magic was less likely to go to any sort of school for training. Then what do they do?"
She nodded. "I can see that point. I'm still not favorably inclined toward it because it could take a lot of what's family business and put it into the open."
"No our records are sealed," Danny told her. "Usually by court order."
She tipped her head to the right. "That is better. I'll keep looking into it. I don't know many who do those things." Xander tossed over pictures. "You were following people?" she demanded.
"Taking pictures here in Diagon before the school rush. Every one of those would've been a CPS case in the US."
She looked through them, looking very unhappy. "That's fifteen pictures out of over nine hundred families that week."
"CPS shouldn't have to deal with more than the five to ten percent who do bad things to their kids," Xander told her. "The rest they leave alone."
She huffed. "I'll talk to them. I have talked to a few case workers in the muggle system. They were happy to give over information when I said I was looking into as a career. It does take some training."
Stella nodded. "It does but it means that the six kids who've been in the Prophet for dying in the last month might not have been."
"Which is important," the Minister agreed. "You work with them often?"
"Sometimes. I also grew up in the foster care system. Xander's had family that should've been caught and didn't."
"Dad got a lot of calls about the way we moved around and bruises from our training," Sam told him. "Some are very good. Some are on a crusade. Some accuse before all the facts are in. They're still human but the system itself is a good one. We can make sure that the ones who'd accuse without good cause aren't hired."
"It wouldn't even have to be a large department. Forty cases per social worker, two to oversee the orphanages and their standards."
"If only about five percent of families need that sort of help then we could start with ten people and see if they needed more," the Minister agreed. "Again, something I'd like to see in writing. Concrete plans."
"We were going to make a separate meeting for that closer to the holidays," Horatio admitted. "That would give others time to research and talk about it with those she holds the proxies for."
"Which is a good standard to set," he agreed. He looked at her. "Let me know so I can see it when we go to committee?" She nodded at that. "Good. Thank you. What was up next? Hogwarts or another school?"
"That one," Xander said. "We went on a tour."
"Albus been falling down on the job again?" he asked dryly.
"The repair spells are starting to wear out," Xander told him. That got a wince from Patricia. "Your predecessor went with us. We did a complete tour and came up with six pages of notes on things that needed fixed, some dangerous situations, some suggestions, and presented them to the Headmaster. He was going to be coming to us with ideas to improve the school beyond what the Regents could approve of."
"Safety has to be looked at," Patricia agreed. "Six pages?" Xander pulled his copy out of his bag and passed them down to her. She read it over, handing off the pages when she was done with them. "Some of those are minor."
"Some are but minor things turn into major things. The problem with the Divination tower was a minor thing too. Before it could've been solved a lot easier. Now, they might have to rebuild the tower if they can't fix the repair spell or the repair spell can't handle it."
The Minister winced. "That'll be costly."
"Exactly," Xander said. "Some were suggestions. Slytherin could definitely use more lights."
He smiled. "I've heard that complaint. Do we have a report?"
"With permission I'd like to either talk to Harry or Professor Snape," Horatio said. "We can floo him."
"Works for me," Sam agreed.
The Minister nodded. "It's a Saturday. That should be fine with him. Even if he is a bit cranky." He went to set the floo for them, then came back to his seat once the professor's head was up. "Professor, we had some questions."
"May we speak with Harry or yourself, Professor?" Horatio asked.
"You may speak with me. Potter is in detention." The view was widened on his end. "As you can see, he messed up again."
"I heard why," Xander told him. Harry shot him a smirk then shook his head. "First of all, the list of repairs and suggestions. How many were done?"
"Sixteen," Harry called. "The Gryff girls' staircase is still broken. I had to beat someone sneaking in the other night."
Snape turned to glare at him. "I have not heard such rumors."
"The headmaster said it was some boy sneaking in to see his girlfriend. Since she was screaming that she didn't know him loud enough to wake Hermione up the hall, who came and got me, I'm doubting that, sir." He looked at him. "It was a Ravenclaw. He had need of Madam Pomfrey once Ron and I got him for her."
Snape sneered at him. "Boys being boys?"
"I doubt it. They're not together. No matter what the Headmaster thinks. Even if it was fixed it's not that hard to get up there." He went back to his scrubbing. "I did hear Draco say Slytherin got two new lamps. Both dim."
Snape nodded. "That is true. The Headmaster is claiming that all the problems this summer distracted his attention from that list," he admitted. "Professor McGonagall brought it up during our pre-term meeting."
Horatio nodded. "When did he say they would be fixed?"
"He said he's calling in a specialist to look at the spells. He did move Divinations however."
"The classes it'll affect when it falls in?" Xander asked.
"Are still there," Snape admitted. "It's not leaning any worse at the moment."
That got a nod from everyone. Harry yelped. "Sorry, it bit me," he said.
"Did you use your wand to transform the table?" Snape demanded, turning to look at him.
"No, sir, it's the same set of teeth that bit Neville last week." He showed him the bite. "May I please be excused to see the nurse? I can see bone this time."
Snape looked then nodded, muttering as he left.
"We were watching and he didn't have his wand," Xander told him calmly. "It's still on your desk." Snape looked then muttered something before turning around. "A prank?" He nodded. "Is that something that can be fixed by a teacher or something someone else needs to fix? We can add it to the list if you want."
"No, she can fix it," he assured them, crossing his arms so his hands went up his sleeves. "Are there other concerns?"
"We would like to know what he'll be doing about the necessary repairs within a month," Horatio told him. "If you could pass that on." That got a curt nod. "Have any new ones shown up?"
"Two or three new holes from pointless wand waving and mock duels in the halls due to the house wars," he admitted grimly. "One painting needs repaired."
The Minister added those to the list. "They told us Albus had suggestions?"
"He's writing them out for the next meeting. He had plans of being there for the next time."
"We're meeting on the twenty-second I do believe it was?" Horatio said, looking at the calendar he had marked. "Twenty-third, sorry." He looked at him. "Work schedules got in the way for a sooner one."
"As they do here," he admitted. He looked around then back at them. "Are there other matters of interest?"
"Let him know that we're pretty sure the ghoul is on someone's head," Xander told him. "Nobody's sure whose."
"I can do that as well." Harry came back in. "Are you suitably bandaged?"
"Yes, Professor, but she did say to not scrub with that hand."
"We'll see," he sneered.
"Rubber gloves?" Xander suggested.
"The rubber or coating could react with some of the ingredients."
"Okay, if you say so. That's your area and I'll trust your expertise," Xander said happily. That got a happier curt nod. "Are there other matters we should hear of? Massive new disciplinary issues? Events I have to prep Draco for?"
"We are having a winter ball this year. He's already deciding on whom he's asking and what he's wearing."
"That's fine. Let him tell me then. Anything else we can do for you, Professor?"
"Not at this point. Should there be, are you local?"
"Unless I'm called back. It wasn't fully stopped, just lessened."
He gave them a grim look. "Then I hope he has mercy on them when he appears."
"We know how to stop it once it happens," Willow assured him. "We can fight him. It takes seven slayers and we have over thirty slayers in training right now."
Snape gave her an interested look. "Then you do have a plan?"
"We do and we shouldn't need Xander. We've got a lot of fighters at our disposal right now." That got a nod. "Plus he's got a cellphone and so do Draco and Harry from what I've heard." Xander nodded at that.
"You'd have to take it outside the non-electrical field. Past the apparation barrier. Draco called a couple of nights ago and pouted that you weren't home."
"I was off on a date," Xander said. "He's got voicemail waiting."
"I'll let him know later," Snape promised. "Should I hear anything that you need to, I'll let the Council know. Good day." He hung up on them.
Xander looked at Horatio. "Is the headmaster stalling?"
"It's expensive to look at those sort of spells," the Minister told him.
"Get someone experienced and use it to train others," Xander said. The Minister gaped. "Don't you have a unit here that deals with that stuff?" He nodded slowly. "Let them look at it and then use it to train others."
He smiled. "That's not a bad idea. I'll suggest that later." He smiled at Horatio. "We have a very loose meeting style."
"We've learned how to work together and those who jump in usually have some very good ideas," Horatio told him. "Feel free to as well if you feel you have something to add to an argument."
"I shall." He looked at Willow. "You're not one of ours, right?" She grinned but shook her head. "Didn't think so."
"I've seen scarier than that professor at two in the morning," she assured him. "Okay, I'm done with my reporting duties. Xander, can we keep those house elves?"
"I don't care but they're Draco's so I'll check. If not I'll let him help me find you some." She nodded. "Thirty slayers, another twenty watchers, all the Sunnydale crew, in one house," he told the Minister. That got a shudder. "I let two of Draco's elves go help them with the food stuff."
"That's probably kinder," he agreed. "Saves sanity." He looked at Horatio. "What else was on the agenda today?"
"That was all that was on our agenda today. Unless we had new business no one noted before?"
Sam raised his hand. "I want kept up to date on the Sunnydale thing when I'm here."
Willow nodded. "Your dad can. He took over as camp mommy." She disappeared.
"That's a bad picture. I'll have to share that with Dean," Sam said with a grin.
Horatio shook his head. "Let us know if you can't get back in time, Sam."
"I will. Minister, did you have anything new to put on the schedule?"
"Are we going to be introducing you lot to the ambassadors?"
"Eww, society stuff," Xander said honestly.
"If we're here, and it's necessary, some of us can fill in," Horatio told him. "Most of us do not like those sort of events."
"It is the easiest way to find mates."
"Not this again," Stella complained. "FYI. Mac's a grieving widow. Horatio lost his last one within the last year. I'm not looking forward to it and I'm putting it off for my career. Sam's fiancee was killed by the demon that's hunting his whole family. Xander's unnaturally drawn to demons because he grew up on the hellmouth. Patricia's already married. Danny dates vapid little things with little brains and work's been too hectic even for that recently. None of us want a society spouse. Not even Tony, who only dates beautiful women and then dumps then when they get serious on him. And don't you dare do what Fudge did and use a lust potion."
He gave her a horrified look. "That's what got him fired?" She smirked and nodded. "He should've been in jail sooner!"
"The judge wanted a smooth handover and wouldn't let us tear him to bits," Xander said.
"That might've been nice but still!" He looked at her. "Your career?"
"I do the same thing Danny, Mac, Horatio, and Tony do and I do it brilliantly. I don't need a husband to screw up my world or my reputation by doing mushy stuff in the labs. I do the same sort of work and I do the same amount of arresting as they do."
He nodded slowly. "Is that like being an auror?"
"Like the aurors who do the checking stuff with the spells," Xander said. "Only they use science. We've had to explain this one before."
He just nodded. "I've loved watching them work. Think I could have a tour? See if we could use any of it?"
"Sure," Mac agreed. "Give me some warning in case we're having a field work day." He nodded at that. "I'm not looking forward to her marrying either. She's my second in command and she'd have to take time off for that plus it'd stress her out with the wedding, the newlywed arguments, and all the sex she'd be having that first year. I'd never get anything done."
"Floppy can do some of the paperwork for me," she offered with a smile.
"He could," he agreed. "He's been bored. I'll let him help you with your backlog. Horatio, how is Lucia working out?"
"Quite well. My Chief loves her more than he does me and Ryan spoils her with peppermints all the time. The Chief's wife even wanted to take her shopping. I had to rationalize it as she wasn't being given clothes but better uniforms to wear to work."
"I'll have to try that with Floppy," Mac said.
"Buffy graciously let one of the ones out there borrow a shirt from her since it had stains but Kneady thought it was beautiful."
Mac smirked. "That's an even better idea. Thank you both." He looked around. "Any other new business?" No one said anything. "Then let's get back to work, people. Our cities don't pay us to do this." They all headed out once Horatio had closed the meeting's notes.
Xander grinned and hugged Sam. "Have fun in Sunnydale. Watch out for vampires. You can stake ours." He pulled back. "Tell Dean to embarrass the girls. They need it now and then." He left, heading back to his apartment and part time job. He was putting together little circuit boards at the moment. It didn't pay great but he was okay on money for right now.
Sam grinned. "Such a goofball." He sent himself home then hugged the aunts before sending them and the car to Sunnydale.
Sam walked into the Magic Box and looked at the mess. "I take it the Bringers were here?" he called. Someone came out with a gun. "Hi, we're John's sons."
"He said you're Brits," he sneered, raising it.
"No, he said we were in England," Dean corrected. "Clean your damn ears, dude. You're pathetic and your form sucks." He hit him and he fell, the shotgun coming out of his hands. "Dad would never put up with that." He looked around. "We're back!" he shouted. "Hide all the cute chicks!"
"Dean!" Sam complained.
"Thought I heard overblown egos, but it could've been more watchers," Buffy said as she came out. "So you're John's boys. He said lots and lots of bad things about you two."
Dean smirked. "Probably only half true, sorry."
"Just don't hit on my sister, Dean." She shook their hands before looking down at the whimpering guy on the floor. "I see you've met Jacques."
"He has bad form with the shotgun," Sam told her.
"Well, yeah. He won't take instruction very well either. He's about to be vamp food if he keeps it up." She hauled him up. "Help us pack, we're heading back to the mansion."
"Mansion?" Sam asked, moving to help her carry boxes out to their father's truck.
"Angel's old place."
"Ah." He nodded. Xander had mentioned that place. "Willow back yet?"
"She called from the coven. They're trying to find the ghoul again." She waved as John stomped over. "One of them hit Jacques for standing wrong."
"Better than I did. I took a kendo stick to him for his bad posture." He hugged both sons. "I see you survived being a politician again."
"For now," Sam quipped back with a grin. "Have to go back in six weeks." That got a nod. "We're setting up a good CPS system, a health department system, and civil service exams."
"From what I've heard, it might not be enough to help."
"They're changing but it's slow. They're still stuck in Victorian times, Dad." He took the box from Dean to load while he got his own manly hug. "Xander's fine, Buffy. He was really pleased that Draco wanted to kill his relatives and Dark Mark their house for him. He bragged in Council."
"Draco was not amused. I didn't think anyone could sneer that much," she told him. "Willow introduced them."
"Poor muggles," Sam moaned, shaking his head.
"You're even using the lingo, I'm impressed," John said smartly.
Sam smirked. "I have to deal with people who want to hear my ideas too." John walked off shuddering. "It's not that bad. We're putting home ec. into the school once it's finally fixed!" he called after him.
Dean pinched him on the arm. "Behave. They'll think I'm like you and I'll never get to flirt with the pretty ones."
Sam looked at him. "You could always go hit on Xander. After all, he went on a date the other night."
Dean gave him an odd look. "When you two were dosed was one thing."
"No, please go date Xander," Buffy begged, grabbing his arm. "The next one might end more than just him. Please?"
He grinned at her. "Not my usual style. Maybe Sammy could since they worked so closely together all summer on the battle plans."
Sam smirked back. "He's a very nice guy who could use a lot of hugs. I'm still straight."
John came back. "Why is that suddenly being called into question?"
"Xander's dating," Dean said. "While they were dosed with lust potion was one thing."
"Lust potion?" Buffy asked. "Would that be like a lust spell Xander had been under? By his own hand I might add."
"No, this is something that makes you snap and jump whoever's nearest. Even if they're not your type, your sex, or if either of you want it," Dean told her. "The head guy over there decided they should all be settling down so he dosed the whole Founders Council with it. Xander, Sammy, and I were together." John gave him a stare. "I protected Sammy by jumping Xander. Xander's got a lot of energy and a lot of stamina."
"We heard," John assured him. "Anya's still complaining that she dumped him and about all the sex she's missing."
"The aunts called a healer. We were near a matching set of heart attacks," Sam told him honestly. "He wore us out, Dad."
John nodded. "At least there's no kids coming."
"Xander can do many things but he cannot get pregnant," Sam quipped.
"He'd better not be able to," Buffy said.
John patted her on the back. "It'll be okay, Buffy. I promise it will be." She nodded, going to heft more boxes and make the Watcher actually work. "You two okay?"
"We're good," Dean promised. "Took us a day to calm down and feel normal. He's in jail. He's the one who released the ghoul on his way to jail." John shook his head. "He was their Minister for Magic."
John snorted. "Politicians. If you two turn into one I'm beating you both senseless." He walked off, going to help haul boxes. "Come on." They came to help him with it.
Harry walked up to Draco, poking him on the shoulder to get his attention. "Xander said you have voicemail waiting. He was on a date when you called."
"Someone let him date?" he demanded. "Who in the bloody hell was that stupid?"
Harry shrugged. "No clue. He said he had been on a date when you called so he called you and left voicemail."
Draco stomped off to floo his head of family. He got around Snape. "Xander Harris," he called once he tossed in floo powder. "You're dating?" he demanded when his head popped up, lollipop and all. "What are you dating?"
He twirled the lollipop and moved it to the side of his mouth. "So far she seems like a nice human girl. Didn't set off any of the demon senses I have."
Draco snorted. "I doubt that. Not with what you draw to you and what you're drawn to."
"She didn't. She's not a witch. She doesn't believe in that stuff. We talked about ghost stories since she was interested in that stuff. She thinks I'm a cute foreign boy."
Draco glared at him. "We'll be seeing."
"If I get serious about her I'll let you meet her and check her for demon taint. You know, usually I get this speech from girls," he said dryly then his head disappeared.
"Don't you dare throw something," Snape warned from his desk.
Draco looked at him. "Do you know what he's dated in the past?" he demanded, pointing at the fireplace.
"His last girlfriend was Anyanka, Vengeance over Women Scorned! She was a human for a while!"
Snape shuddered. "Young men often have bad taste."
"That's not the first one! He said she was the first one who didn't try to kill him! I do not want the family in one of the other cousin's control!"
"At the moment, you're his defacto heir. It may come to you," he pointed out.
"There's eighteen cousins still left, Professor. There's a very good chance that it may not since two are older and have their own businesses."
Snape nodded. "That is true."
"Better to have the one you know than the one you don't who might wreck my life and not help me find a wife."
Snape smiled. "Are you looking forward to it?"
"I'll have sex without worry. Yes." He walked off shaking his head to sulk on the pitch for a while. His head of family was insane. He couldn't commit him or else the staff would be passed on. That was considered being a threat to the family. Why did he have to get stuck with the nutty one? Why not someone like Horatio? Or even Sam? He seemed nice enough for a mostly muggle guy with no fashion sense and bad hair. A school owl flew out and deposited a chocolate frog, making him smirk. Someone was looking out for him. The note on top made him snort. //Harry said your head of house is slightly insane and driving you there and you needed this more than he did. Even if he did want the card.// He opened it and bit into the head, nibbling while he looked at the card. He didn't have it yet so it went into his pocket. At least his mother's head of family was more kind and responsible. You'd never see Potter dating demons. Possibly not anyone but never demons.
to part 10