Inside the Nottingham –Ye old trip to Jerusalem- a pub claiming to be the oldest pub in England. It was build right inside the side rock left over of a castle. From the age of the building it may even be the oldest. Robin informed him there are 20 other old pubs that claimed the title ‘Oldest pub in England’ and each of them had a good reason for its claim and no real evidence.
Ye old trip claimed it was founded 1189 AD.
It did have some unusual features. The model of a Galleon a sailing ship, which reeked with a bad luck curse, was encased in glass to stop visitors from touching it. It was a dirty as hell model.
Robin nodded. “The local legend claims that anybody who dusts it, dies.”
Xander snorted. No wonder, the curse was touch based. “Must have belonged to a Dark Witch,” he whispered.
Robin nodded. “We think so. A dark Wicca that managed to lure away all the three fold pay back and make it so it attacked anybody who touched the ship model. Even non-magical believe it’s magical. See that chair?”
“It’s also magical, but what type?” Xander asked.
“No idea how, but that’s a pregnancy charm. A Wicca spell somebody made long lasting on the chair. Locals trying to get pregnant come here and sit in it. It’s rather weak, but still strong enough to be noticed.”
Xander snorted amused as Robin showed him the hidden part of Ye old trip. A part where Wicca often hung out together and during the dark ages it had been a hiding place.
“Yo Robin,” an older woman, around fifty with her graying hair in pigtails, said. “Who’s you friend`?” She waved wildly and added, “Sit down.”
“That’s Screaming Bella, a good friend of mine,” Robin explained, looking amused.
“I hate that NAME,” Bella said. “WHY just because I’m a bit LOUD do they have to INSULT ME?”
Xander nodded, “You get louder when you drink also?”
Bella nodded enthusiastically. “SURE DO.”
“Sorry Bell. Me and Xander are getting to know each other,” Robin said. “He is Cordelia’s ex.”
“That scrawny guy is the HERALD?” Bella said as silently as she could, which meant everybody looked at Xander.
Xander sighed. “Thanks Screaming Bella.”
Once the darkness had fallen the two walked out or better wiggled out. It was a glaring Hermione that awaited him by the bike.
“Sorry. Sandra got to find a ride home,” Robin said as he wiggled away drunk as a skunk.
Xander caught him. “No not yet. Helimoniana. give me the… the sober over potion smoker up potion.”
Hermione glared as she opened the emergency potions pack and found a small pack anti-drunk potion. “Of course, we will talk about this later Xander.” She had waited for hours.
Xander nodded weakly. “Sure. Bottom up.”
Robin nodded. “For the queen,” he yelled and drank. “Good God and Hearn in the forest. That tasted bad.” He then turned a bit green. “Got to find a toilet,” he said while rushing away.
Xander blinked then he too had a look of utter panic on his face. “Toilet… got to go,” he said and then was rushing away.
Hermione giggled. The boys should have learned the down side of that potion. It flushes out the alcohol from the body the natural way just in an extreme magical speed.
Considering the distance she peeked. Yep… both were standing behind a tree reliving themselves. At least they didn’t do it in their pants.
A short moment later Robin and Xander took their farewell as Xander drove to pick up an artifact containing a Horcrux.
At the beginning she was silent and then she asked while holding back her irritation. “Did you become friends?”
“Yeah, he is a nice guy. We talked sports and books. He writes a book too, did you know that? We had a beer. I think it’s in the law book somewhere about guys that have dated the same female and are friends must take a beer.” He was silent for a moment then added. “They do so in the movies.”
“Name one movie,” Hermione said with a grin.
He was silent again. “I just know… I think it was in a movie.”
Hermione sighed. “Well your mission was getting to know him. Are you still jealous?”
Xander grinned. “Hell yes. But I’m getting over it. He is a great guy and will not stand in my way when I visit later.”
Hermione considered the facts. She did more or less forced him to do it and she did leave them alone so that they could get to know each other. Honestly she couldn’t really be angry at him. “You own me, big time Xander. Big time for letting me wait all alone like that, I think a date, some food and a movie will work.” She grinned even if she wasn’t angry she could profit from it. Beside Robin got her thinking guys like Xander were rare.
Xander nodded grateful that his dead by Hermione hand had been delayed. “Will do.” He gave her a paper slip Albus had given him. Well him and Harry each. “Read the paper and think about it.”
Hermione frowned but then read. -12 Grimmauld place can be found between Nr 11 and 13 Grimmauld place.-
Hermione blinked. “What?” she asked, wondering if the place was protected by the Fidelius charm and this was some kind of clue. It could not be that, could it? The Fidelius was a difficult charm to cast and only a handful of Wizards had the gift needed to cast that spell. Sirius Black didn’t have it. And would he actually allow Albus to cast it, consider how much Sirius disliked Albus Dumbledore?
“Just think about it. The place is protected by the Fidelius charm,” Xander replied. He thought she would have figured it out by now
Hermione frowned. “I’m surprised. Did Sirius manage to cast this himself or did he actually had Albus’ help?” She knew from Harry’s stories that Sirius Black almost hated Albus nowadays.
“Yeah… war gives you strange be companions.” He fell silent. “Uueee Sirius and Albus in bed. Eeee. Old people.”
A short time later with the bike on silent charms and ignore me charms. It was better than invisibility charms as other drivers saw the bike, but ignored the bike as much as they could without risking themselves or their cars. They don’t accidently collide with it as they do with invisible objects.
No 11 and 13 was what they were looking for. Both of them read the note again and looked again. This time focused on what was written and suddenly it looked like no. 11 and 13 jumped away from each other and a whole new house appeared between them.
The inside led them in to a long hallway lid by chandelier and gas lamps. Wallpapers were peeling and a worn thin carped on the floor. The moment they entered the door a portrait of an ugly woman started to scream at them “Get out mud bloods. Thieves, scum, dirty blood get out of my home.”
Hermione and Xander were about to turn when… “Welcome. I’m sorry about the portrait. Mom was awful as she still lived. Being a painting sure didn’t improve her,” Sirius Black said. He waved his wand, causing the curtain to cover and silence her.
“Oh my. We’re not to late are we?” Hermione wondered.
Sirius shook his head. “No, the rest of the gang is already here. We only miss Dumble.”
“Why not remove it or are you found of her?” Xander asked pointing at the portrait.
“I wish I could remove it, but it’s has a permanent sticking charm to the wall,” Sirius replied.
Xander grinned and turned to Hermione. “Any idea on how to remove it?”
Hermione shook her head. “No one, except destroying it or damaging the wall.”
Xander nodded. “Exactly, if we use magic to cut down part of the wall.”
Sirius looked thoughtful. Albus wanted him to keep the painting in hope of gaining information from it. It was a valid reason. Another one was the fact that as Lord of Black he was honor bound to keep a minimum of paintings around the house. And his mother had hidden all paintings she didn’t agree with. She didn’t destroy them as the wards were bounded to the paintings. Destroying them would have destroyed the wards of Grimmauld Place.
He sighed. “The wards of Grimmauld Place are bonded to the paintings. If the lord of the house destroys them willingly he also destroys the wards. Mother had hidden the more socially acceptable paintings. If I’m to keep the wards active I’m forced to accept a certain number of paintings. All which mother has chosen because she liked them.”
“What happens if a stranger destroys a painting?” Xander wondered.
“Most of the time, nothing directly. But the wards do become a bit unstable until a replacement painting is put up on the wall,” Sirius replied and then added. “Let’s go to the kitchen.”
“Sounds like a weakness in you wards,” Hermione said.
Sirius grinned. “You may think so. Thanks to the paintings being bounded to the wards each painting has the ability to cast one single weak spell. Mother’s is a voice enchanting charm. So she can scream better and work as a warning system. Others can cast anything form a jelly leg curse or a stinging hex.”
Moving past the dining room he pointed inside. The room was covered with paintings.
“Each of them is able to use a minor hex, jinx on an ‘intruder in the defense of the house of Black’ yell or rather in defense of Lord Black,” Sirius said.
Xander looked in the room and saw over twenty paintings, twenty angry, ugly and evil looking paintings. “No real magic spells?” he asked.
“No, the wards can only afford to give them minor spells. Still it’s said even the Dark Lord Merwyn the Malicious who attacked the Black family house during the medieval age was forced running. The combined spell fire from the black wizards and witches alive and in paintings got too much for him. It’s real difficult to fight against people casting killing curses if you are already jinxed with the jelly leg jinx and the crying eye jinx. The kitchen is down those stairs,” he finished.
Hermione nodded. She heard about the crying eye jinx, it was like tear gas. A person jinxed by it was almost blind from all the crying he or she was doing. It was also used by healers if a person got something in the eye and by potion masters if you got splashed by some acid in the face.
Xander nodded. “I can see that, a constant distraction.”
The kitchen was a great big cavernous room with a large fireplace in one end a large wooden table in the centre, pantry and stow by the side.
“Who was it now?” a short plump woman asked.
“Hermione among others,” Sirius said, curios what would happen.
“Hermione,” the woman yelled, rushing over giving her a hug. “I’m so ashamed about what Ron did. I hope you don’t hold it against us.”
“No Mrs. Weasley, never. Ron actions are his, not yours. Beside Ginny, Fred and George are such good friends. I don’t understand how Ron could be so different,” Hermione said with a smile.
Molly Wesley turned around letting Hermione free. “And who is you friend?” she asked suspicious. Hermione was a far too good girl to be out with a strange hooligan.
“Let me introduce you to Alexander Harris. Everybody calls him Xander. Xander this is Molly Weasley,” Hermione introduced the two to each other.
Xander smiled. “It’s a honor to meet you. All of you children, except one, has become trusted friends. People I gladly fight to protect,” he said to Molly.
Molly swallowed. She had mixed feelings. First he looked older than 14 and he was dressed in almost skin tight leather, the kind Muggle riding bikes would. She could see instead of normal leather it was dragon leather and he had killed. More than once if rumors were correct. He also was involved in taking over the government with those Wiccan witches. Also her son had tried to murder this young man.
But the young man had also saved her husband and managed to get Fred and George to study. He was teaching them new magic no one knew about. And his title a title that was proven was ‘The White Wizard of Sunnydale and protector of the innocent’. No not a dark lord, just a scary white wizard.
She was silent for a moment. He was friends with Hermione and Harry and the rest of her brood. She had heard only good, but frustrating things from Albus. So… she gave him a hug. “I’m so sorry about what my son did. Its…”
Xander hugged her back. “Mrs. Weasley. I have already forgiven Ron. I survived with no permanent damage done.”
Molly looked surprised. “I thought you would be all fire and brimstone.”
“He attacked me, not my friends. That’s why I can forgive him so easily,” Xander said honestly.
Molly blinked then slowly nodded. “Is it true that you massacred a poor man right in front of the Wizengamot?”
“He wasn’t a poor man. He said girls like Dawn should be killed,” Xander said. “And the other pure-idiots refused to understand. The Wicca gave them a ‘give up or die demand’. I made them understand.”
Inside Molly Weasley theory clicked. That young man would, like Harry, forgive many wrong things done to him, but hurt his friends and he would get furious. Unlike Harry who used stunning spells Xander seem to use less civilized magic if angry.
“Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione began “please don’t go there. The Ministry of magic had attack people he had an honor debt to. If I knew what I know today of the dragon-ladies I would have killed them myself.”
Molly was silent, that had surprised her. “Could you explain?”
Xander pulled up a paper. “Here, the origin of all dragon-ladies, read it.” He was so tired of explaining it all again and again and so came up with this small book.
Molly read and it did take long before she was crying. “Those poor babies.” She handed over the paper to Sirius who read it with a stone faced look before giving it to the next person, which was Mad Eye Moody, the real one. He read it and got a shameful look on his face before turning it over to Remus Lupin then Arthur Weasley William or Bill Weasley and last Kingsley Shacklebolt.
As they read it Xander presented himself to them and them to him.
“So if this is true. Then all of us have a wizard debt to them,” Mad Eye said. So many generations died to keep them safe in their little hidden enclave. No wonder the Wicca wanted to kill them all. Hell he wanted to kill them all and he was one of them.
“It’s true. I’ve seen two Slayers in my life. Buffy was the first and then Kendra until she was killed in combat. We all own our life to them. And the Ministry of Magic decided they should treat them as animals. Just thinking what they did and what some governments most likely still do in secret angers me,” Xander said.
“Well did you know the Wizengamot made a vote today. Knowing that there are magic forms that have their own hidden world they considered calling themselves Ministry of Magic to be wrong. It’s now Ministry of Sorcery. Your books have become extremely popular. The first three at least, the forth wasn’t that well written. I’m sorry son, but it’s the truth.”
Xander blinked. “Alright. I’ve rewritten ‘Three sisters’ in two different books one aimed at the young readers and one thicker aimed at adult. They came out today. Some people have gotten a pre-printed exemplar.” He wondered where his exemplar was. “Hermione, did an Owl drop by my bike with my exemplars?” He wonder.
Hermione blushed. “Um yes,” she said, pulling up a package from her never full pocket. “Here it is.”
Xander ripped it open. “In here lay not only my exemplars, your first edition pair also lies in here,” he said pulling up two books.
-Sisters three. About the magic- a thinner book with a picture of three children walking.
One holding a wand and a book, one holding a cauldron and a book and the last one was shown with a staff and a book. All in happy colors as the children were walking towards the rising sun.
“I chose that picture because you could see it was children. Only the clothes make it difficult to see if it’s boys or girls. And just the whole picture seems to say. ‘Let’s have fun’,” Xander said.
The adult passed around the show and tell example of the book. He had hidden his real first edition copy already.
Molly smiled. “It really looks like they are going to have fun. Most likely stolen their mother’s wand they have.”
Arthur laughed. “We know all about that sort of mischief.”
“The child version to introduce and compare all forms of magic in a easy to understand way. It also tells how all is related. What a Wicca is unable to do and sorcery can help them with. It includes some amusing jokes. “
–Three paths to walk. About the magic.-
The front was a simple picture of a pathway. On each one stood a person with their details hidden in shadows. You could see a wand was glowing in one hand and a staff in the other one. The last looked unarmed.
“That’s actually Fred, George and me. Colin sat on a broom to take the photo,” Xander said. “If you wonder why the troublesome two suddenly gotten all this money, it’s because I paid them to stand model.”
“A dramatic looking picture and thanks to the shadows surrounding you all its difficult to see details,” Arthur said.
“Yeah, that’s the meaning. It’s supposed to look like people, not male or females,” Xander replied.
“What do they contain?” Mad Eye asked.
“The same more or less, but with some more adult information like rune writing and potions that cross the boundary. How rituals often can be easy to translate and of course the theory of combined rituals, where the caster takes advantage from the difference in Wicca, sorcery and high-magic to gain extra power. “
The fire suddenly started to burn with a raging fire and turned green. “That’s must be Albus. I better put the food on the table,” Molly said, rushing away to get the food ready.
As Sirius returned it was indeed Aldus Dumbledore with Minerva McGonagall and Harry Potter after them and last but so short that all of them missed him was Filius Flitwick. They had all a grim look on their face. Harry’s was pale and looked sick.
“Harry… what is it?” Hermione asked worried.
“Mr. Potter is perfectly fine my dear,” Albus said. “It was lucky that Filius and Minerva hunted down the dark artifact. Tom had put a deadly curse on it that not even we expected,” he said.
Minerva held up her arm it was bandaged and wrapped. “I put it on. The urge was to strong. Mr. Harris, Xander, could you see if there is anything you can do? Or this curse will take my life,” she said.
Xander nodded a bit pale. Then cast first his standard analyze spell. “Albus, I need information about this curse. I need the curse if you can.” He then looked back at Minerva. “HOLD,” He said. “I try to slow down the curse, but I need more information.”
Minerva looked at her arm, it seemed frozen not by cold but like it was turned in to stone or just frozen. She couldn’t explain the feeling.
Albus hesitated. Then nodded as he took forward –Dark magic the most vile- “Page nineteen. Do be careful and never use any magic from that book.”
“I do my best,” Xander said, taking up a note book and pencil.
Molly looked at Albus. “Is it wise of you to let him read something that evil?” she asked as she put the food on the table. All adult started to take food, eager to eat. It really was more of a night time dinner, but they always started with something to eat.
“If Minerva’s life is to be saved, his odd way of doing things may be our only hope. There is no way among wand wi.., no… among sorcerers to save her.”
“Hmm. Good food,” Xander said, not even noticing he was eating from Kingsley’s food.
Hermione giggled. “He is in his research mode. You could paint him pink and he would never notice.”
Kingsley pushed the food over to Xander and took new food. “I noticed.”
“No, colors will not help,” Xander mumbled while chewing and reading.
They all blinked.
“But you did get the object?” Mad Eye asked.
“Should the children really be here?” Molly threw in.
Harry and Hermione looked insulted.
Xander was doing Arithmancy and noticed nothing. “Good question,” he mumbled.
Hermione was about to protest when papers started to fill her dish. “Xander... What are you doing?” she asked.
“Yes, that’s good,” Xander said while reading the numbers and double checking them with his calculator. “I think I can do something,” he said and then started to check a book of high-magic healing.
Hermione sighed. “Could I get a new plate?”
Molly nodded. “Men.”
“But he said he may be able to do something and that’s more than we can,” Albus defended Xander.
The rest of the dinner was silent expect for more and more paper filling the area in front of Xander.
All around him the other members and Hermione moved away leaving room for his paper notes. Now and then he stood up re-read some paper, studied it and the paper next to it. Numbers and runes were written in different forms and combinations all over it.
Hermione, Harry and the adults slowly started to see he was modifying a spell. One group of numbers was the dark curse in both rune scribes and in its artitmantic break down form. The other was different take on a high-magic healing spell, broken down as he tried to adapt it to fight the curse.
Molly removed the last of dinner as they waited. Molly looked a bit irritated the boy had stolen Kingsley food and not eaten it, just taken a taste of it and then forgot about it.
Scratching his head Xander looked up. “Well once I healed her as much as I can do you think we can eat dinner then?” he said, looking quite hungry.
For some strange reason the others started to laugh.
Xander was honestly confused. “What? I haven’t eaten the whole day, I’m hungry,” he said.
It only amused the others more.
Molly smiled. “Sure, I make something special for you.”
Xander nodded. “Good news, bad news and helpful news. In that order Minerva. Good news I can save your life, bad news… the dark magic will not go away without taking something with it. I can push the curse back in the arm. It spread already through your arm in to you whole body. I can push it back and save your life, but you will lose your arm.”
He could also offer a child no more than one year old and put the curse inside the child saving Minerva and the arm, but that solution felt morally wrong.
“My arm or my life,” Minerva sighed. “I take my life thank you. The helpful news?”
Xander grinned. “The helpful news is that I have the magic and the knowledge to give you a new arm.”
Harry blinked. “The Voldemort spell?” he asked.
“No, there is a spell in here that will allow you to regrow lost body parts, but it will take a month or two before the new arm is fully grown.” He then stood up. “If we’re going to save you we must act now. Time is short and we are running late.”
“Let’s do it outside the kitchen,” Minerva said and so Sirius escorted them to a ritual room.
Harry and Hermione worriedly joined them and so did most of the gang.
Xander called down energy until he was glowing as he pointed his wand at the black curse eating Minerva alive. “Be gone,” he said, sending a thunder light bolt inside the arm pushing the darkness down towards her hand.
Suddenly without warning Minerva screamed in pain as most of the arm below the shoulder exploded in blood and dark rotting flesh.
“Heal,” Xander said quickly. “Recover blood, REGROW,” he cast the regeneration spells. Then let the magic go as he powered down. “That was harder than expected. Only a hand or so was supposed to go Boom. Instead the whole arm was destroyed. The curse was stronger than I thought.” He picked up his note book looking at it. “I get more and more impressed by Voldemort’s raw power in sorcery. That amount of strength in this curse should not be possible.” He wondered how it could be.
Albus looked over Minerva who was fallen unconscious. “She is fine. The curse is gone. And I do believe her arm is re-growing.” Albus brilliant mind knew the answer Xander was seeking the ring held the resurrection stone. A stone created by Death itself, naturally the nature of that stone enhanced the power of the curse.
Behind them a battle between paranoia and battle instinct was being fought.
It was battle instinct that won, barely. “Kid, can you heal my lost leg?” Mad eye moody said.
“I have to cast an analyze spell first before I can say yes or no,” Xander replied.
Mad ye looked at Albus.
“I trust him with my life. Even more important I trust him with the life of others,” Albus said.
Mad Eye turned to Filius and asked, “Do you trust him?”
“Yes I do,” Flitwick replied.
Then there was silence and then a bit more silence.
You could see Mad Eye’s emotions fighting each other in his one remaining eye. Then he asked, “Could you heal my leg and eye, if possible?”
“Let me cast the analyze spell first,” Xander replied and he noticed Mad Eye’s wand was pointing at his head.
“One wrong spell kid and I curse you dead,” the paranoid old Auror said.
Xander nodded “Analyze,” he said, taking the chance to analyze both leg and head and slowly the information transformed in to readable facts. A decay curse in the left leg had caused the whole leg up to his knee to rot away and an explosive eye curse had taken his right eye and a fear curse was constantly active in him. All those information stood around him.
Moody sneered. “That the fear curse is still active is news to me. I thought they got rid of it.”
“No, your will power keeps it passive, more or less. I don’t think you had a good night sleep in who knows how long,” Xander said.
“1978 when the bastard Voldemort cursed my leg off and made my eye explode. I got him good. He almost lost his arm that battle,” Moody mumbled.
Xander looked at Albus and said, “I’m not so sure about the fear spell. A person he trusts can more easily remove it. Do you think you could?”
“If you allow me Alastor?” Albus asked his old friend.
Mad Eye Moody nodded at Albus. Albus then put his wand at Moody’s head and whispered a spell. “So, it’s done,” Albus said.
“Can I cast the healing spells now? The eye is a bit more complicated to heal. The curse has made a mess inside your head. I can do it. I just have no idea how long it’s going to take after I cast the spell. It could take half a year or a week. It will regrow, but I just have no idea how long it will take.”
Mad eye nodded. “Do it. My magical eye has always been painful, but needed as it was to useful not to use with my leg handicap. But every since Barty Crouch used it during his imitation of me the eye seems to get stuck.”
Xander nodded. “Well I can cast an instant replacement charm. It only lasts a week, but during that time an animated magical construct will be working like an eye or a leg. Combined with the re-grow spell and you don’t have to wait.”
“A week you say?” Mad Eye said. “Do the re-grow and show me the instant replacement charm.”
“RE-GROW,” Xander said, casting a overpowered re-grow spell. “Replacement,” he then casts and Mad Eye blinked as a new leg pointed out from his knee cap.
“Remember you real new leg is going to take around a month to re-grow. This is a magic created construct and it will fade away after a week.”
The old Auror mumbled, “Hm... I keep with the healing spell and wait.” He then took a deep breath and continued. “Thank you and sorry I threaten you.”
“It’s forgiven. Now I smell food and we still have not gotten to the artifacts we are about to destroy,” Xander said.