AN: Sorry it's taken so long for an update but thanks to jjordan for resparking the muse for this.
After a few minutes of laughter Amelia cleared her throat getting everyone’s attention, “What is actually going on here?”
“Repairing the Black Family while damaging the Malfoy name. It’s such a shame that Lucius couldn’t do his duty well enough to keep his wife from petitioning for dissolution of Marriage, for his son to choose his Black heritage over his Malfoy title. If only he’d taken better care of his wife and child,” mocked Sirius.
“Someone needs to start at the beginning,” ordered Amelia.
“It’s a long story,” said Sirius with a look to Xander. Xander gave a slight nod so Sirius started explaining. The others added in relevant details until Amelia knew enough about the big picture with the exclusion of the actual prophecy so see that war was clearly coming once more.
Amelia sighed, “This doesn’t look very good for any of us.”
Snape snorted but refrained from commenting. He was in the worst position of all of them, the most dangerous one as well, trapped between two egotistical mad men. One wouldn’t hesitate to kill him out-right if he learned his true loyalties while the other wouldn’t hesitate to sacrifice him for the greater good.
“We’ve dealt with worse, with a hell of a lot less time to prep, less fighters, less support, less everything actually and we aren’t dead yet. We don’t know what his mugwumpiness is up to so the worst case scenario is we’ll be fighting a war on three fronts. It’s difficult but not impossible definitely when every side is fighting each other or massively incompetent,” said Xander with a dismissive shrug.
Dawn and Faith nodded their agreement while Connor rolled his eyes. The four were used to war. Dawn had lived her entire existence in the war zone that was Sunnydale, she might have memories of before Sunnydale but everything real was from Sunnydale and after. Connor had fought his entire life for survival. Xander had been fighting since he was fifteen and Faith since she was sixteen. A new enemy didn’t change much in their lives.
“Three?” asked Amelia.
“Fudge’s administration, as corrupt and imbecilic as they are, is denying the dark tosser is back, eventually they’ll get smacked with the awareness stick but until they do they’re enemy number three. Actually, from what I’ve noticed so far of the wizarding world even when they pull their heads out of denial land they’ll probably still be enemy number three. The Gandalf wannabe is playing games we don’t agree with so until he pulls his head out of his ass and realizes we’re not chest pieces he’s enemy number two. Moldiebutt and his minions are enemy number one even if they’re keeping in the shadows for now,” explained Xander.
The witches and wizards blinked owlishly at Xander. Even with everything they’d learned in the last few hours they were unprepared for Xander’s casual dismissal of the wizarding world’s main players. Some of them weren’t familiar enough with the muggle world to catch all the muggle references Xander used. A few were but his Scooby speak was more than they could handle. They got the main points even if they didn’t understand the references.
“Where do we start?” asked Tonks.
“We start with a planning session, possibly a full Scooby session now that we’re all here. Are there any others you trust not to run to Dumbles, Fudge or the tosser?” asked Xander to Moody, Amelia and Tonks.
Moody rolled his normal eye. Tonks looked thoughtful but gave a shrug.
Amelia shook her head, there were a few aurors she trusted but the ones she’d want present were already involved. The few possibilities outside the aurors branch would have to be vetted very carefully before she made any type of overture to them. She did have one request though, “Would it be possible for my niece Susan and her friend Hannah to join the other children in training?”
“That’s not a problem,” agreed Dawn, “Hermione, Luna and Ginny have been brainstorming who else would be good additions to the training sessions and they were on the list. We just weren’t sure how to go about inviting others. Draco, are there any other Slytherins you would trust?”
“Crabbe and Goyle don’t want to follow in their fathers’ footsteps but their sisters are too young for Hogwarts. They step out of line and it’s the girls that will pay the price,” offered Draco quietly. “Nott wants out at any cost. He’s not a killer no matter what his father wants. Zabini and the Greengrass sisters are neutral but they’d join Potter’s side before the Dark Lord. I’d want to trust Bulstrode but she’s not a fighter and her parents are helpless against an attack. Her mother’s a squib and her father’s barely a step above.”
“If we could protect her family?” asked Xander.
“She’s halfway to being a medi-witch and she’s top of our year for potions. She’d be worth it,” answered Draco.
“Draco, Dawn, Connor, go brainstorm with the rest of the Scrappies. Make a list of everyone you decide on and don’t let the hot heads start a fight. We’ll figure the rest out later. Mom, Miss Morgana if you would take Lady Black to the manor and settle her in,” when everyone nodded Xander turned to Amelia and said, “Madame Bones, you’re more than welcome to stay but you probably want some time to digest everything we’ve told you. Before I forget,” Xander pulled three Scooby style portkeys out of his pocket and handed them to Amelia, “These work like portkeys but we’ve modified them. They’re untraceable and when they’re activated they’ll work through anti-portkey wards. The activation phrase is Scooby HQ. We’ll have one of the Hogwart’s kids waiting for the girls at nine o’clock if that’s alright with you.”
“Thank you. I have to agree with your assessment. I do need some time but the girls will be here tomorrow,” said Amelia as the three teens along with Moody, Tonks and Sirius headed out the door. Jessica and Morgana led Narcissa out the door in the opposite direction. Faith walked out as well leaving Severus as the only one still present when Xander asked, “What are you going to do about Sirius?”
“Fudge won’t let the search stop but how is he going to know if anyone’s actually looking for him,” answered Amelia as she headed out.
Severus raised an eyebrow at his still stationary son.
Xander gave him an innocent look but made no motion to move.
Severus sighed and said, “Eventually someone is going to notice something’s up with Potter.”
Xander looked thoughtful for a few moments before he said, “We’ll deal with it when it happens. For now Harry’s safe and getting the kids trained up takes president over everything else. What did McSnakerson want last night?”
“General gloating without much substance. He’s not nearly as confident as he wants everyone to believe. He’s planning to hit Azkaban at some point in time but nothing is concrete yet,” answered Severus. Severus’s status as a Death Eater was not nearly as well-known as Potter and his friends thought. The few students that were aware of that fact were aware because at least one of their parents if not both were marked as well. The general population might think him an asshole of the highest order but his trial had been private and the records sealed back when Amelia was just an Auror. Xander had masterfully manipulated the debriefing so Madame Bones got enough information to see the big picture without betraying anyone’s secrets.
Xander shrugged and said, “Even if we have the warning we’re not going to stop him breaking out his followers. Ten to twenty mentally and physically deficient psychopaths that have spent the last fifteen years surrounded by προδομένοι (prothomeni- Greek for betrayed) aren’t worth it. Definitely when the προδομένοι (prothomeni) would just as soon follow old Snake-y.”
“They did last time,” agreed Severus.
Changing the subject Xander asked, “Did Giles tell you that Dumbles offered him the Defense position?”
Severus snorted and said, “He’s getting desperate. If he can’t find some fool to take the position the Ministry will assign someone and he so hates it when the ministry involves itself in his little kingdom.”
“Giles said no but that he’d ask for volunteers among the ranks,” added Xander.
Severus sighed yet again and asked, “How exactly do you plan on teaching the upper years?”
Xander smirked and said, “Faith would be coming with me of course. Willow and Oz offered to come as well so I’m pretty sure the four of us can handle it as long as you don’t mind continuing with the tutoring at Hogwarts. I’m pretty sure between Willow and me we can take over your first, second and third years so you can help us out with the upper years.”
“You do know that the position is cursed right?” asked Severus instead of agreeing or disagreeing out-right.
“Yep, figure between the four of us the curse would get too confused to actually do anything,” answered Xander.
“I’m going to regret this so much more than the bloody tattoo,” said Severus before he walked away.
Xander managed to hold in the giggle that wanted to escape until his father was out of earshot. A few minutes later he went to find the rest of the Scoobies.
Dawn and Connor led Draco to the gym that had been repurposed as a wizarding obstacle course while Draco thought of the group he was going to face. Most of them hated Draco Malfoy but he wasn’t a Malfoy anymore. He wasn’t all that worried about the Golden Trio. Draco had watched them very closely over the years and he was pretty sure that if Potter accepted him the others would eventually follow.
That’s not to say he wasn’t expecting hostility, he had spent the last four years antagonizing the Gryffindors with none of them taking it lying down. Granger had broken his nose and even Longbottom (as pacifist as a Gryffindor ever was) had taken a few shots against him not that they hadn’t been deserved. Draco had played with Lovegood a few times as a child while staying with his god-father before and even after Mrs. Lovegood had died. They weren’t friends but she’d never been one of his targets and the few times he’d run into his housemates bullying her he’d manipulated them into stopping. The youngest Weasley and the Weasley twins were the only truly unknown factors here. He hadn’t paid the youngest Weasley much attention over the years but he’d heard she was a firecracker. The twins on the other hand were crafty, charismatic and utterly ruthlessly when they felt like it. They’d run into Flint, Pucey, Warrington and Montague tormenting a first year and cursed the shit out of them sending the four Slytherins to the hospital wing without breaking a sweat. That had been when the twins were lowly second years and they’d only gotten better over the years. The warning to steer clear of the Weasley twins had become a standard part of the Slytherin introduction to Hogwarts given to first years (and as a reminder to the older years) their first day.
The Gryffindors were scattered and sprawled as if they’d dropped where they’d been standing at the end of the training session. Potter and Granger were slumped back to back, eyes closed; heads resting on each other’s shoulders at what Draco assumed was the finish line. The twins and Ginny were laying half-on and half-off a wobbly bridge style obstacle, the twins on one end and Ginny on the other end. Ron and Lovegood were reclining in a foam pit and Longbottom was sitting on a high beam twenty feet above the rest twirling his wand absent mindedly.
Neville was the first to spot them offering a hesitant smile as he calmly swung off the beam and landed gently on his feet with a light bounce that indicated the presence of a cushioning spell on the ground. The rest of the Gryffindors looked over to see what caused Neville to abandon his preferred perch of late. Two weeks into training Xander had gotten a gleam in his lone eye that the kids were starting to dread and spent an afternoon brainstorming with Adam, Sirius and Remus. The next day the kids had entered their gym to find an elaborate crisscross of planks and perches set up in the rafters above their regular obstacle course with a glamor spell that would conceal the entire set up from the ground but didn’t hinder the ‘sniper’ looking down when activated.
Today’s training exercise had Neville up high sniping the others as they tried to get to the finish line using purely defensive tactics. It had started as a group effort but traps controlled by Buffy and Remus and sniping by Neville had dwindled it down to just Harry and Hermione making it to the finish line. Ron had gotten caught by the ‘quicksand’ spell on the foam and told them to continue on without him. Luna had stayed with him attempting to get him out and she had succeeded but Neville had subsequently knocked them both back into it. The twins had gotten overconfident on the bridge with the finish line in sight and Neville had used it to knock them out of the running with Ginny falling to collateral damage.
Buffy had called the session to end as soon as Harry and Hermione crossed the finish line and the glamor hiding Neville deactivated. Harry and Hermione had dropped while the others hadn’t bothered to move from their already prone positions. Buffy and Remus had gone over successes and failures before calling it a day and leaving the kids to relax at the same time Xander ended the meeting with Madame Bones.
Everyone greeted Dawn and Connor with a wave or a nod before focusing on Draco. The lack of surprise at seeing Draco in their territory was slightly less disconcerting than their lack of hostility. What he didn’t know was that the Scoobies had spoken to the kids that morning explaining the possible repercussions (good and bad) of Xander’s lunch meeting. They’d spoken mostly of second chances used for good, few stories of missed opportunities and even a few bad choices they all regretted. Luna had shared a few stories about Draco from before her time at Hogwarts and a few of the times he’d gotten his housemates to leave her alone. All in all it had been a hell of an eye opening conversation for the kids.
Harry stood and helped Hermione to her feet before they headed towards Draco. The Weasleys, Neville and Luna headed over as well staying slightly behind Harry as he stopped directly in front of Draco, held out his hand and said, “I’m Harry Potter.”
Draco was slightly flummoxed as he took Potter’s hand and said, “I’m Draco Black.”
Harry let go of Draco’s hand and offer him a grin as he said, “Welcome to the madhouse, Draco.”
Draco’s response of, “Seems like a good place to be, Harry,” was enough to rouse the rest of the group into taking turns (re)introducing themselves to Draco Black and welcoming him to the fold. The twins grabbed a hand each and shook clapping a hand on each of his shoulders in an over the top production that left Draco more than slightly disheveled and laughing.
“They always like that?” asked Draco pointing at the twins currently giving Hermione the same treatment they’d given him.
“Yeah, just roll with it,” offered Harry.
While Ron said, “They’re normally worse.”
Dawn snorted and at Draco’s confused look she said, “They remind me of Xander.”
When the group finally settled down Dawn said, “Xander wants us to brainstorm who you all trust enough to join the group and on a side note I recommend we come up with a name for the group.” (review with suggestions on the group name and members please)
Amelia had a very busy night after she arrived home. Hannah was staying with them for the rest of the summer while her parents were visiting family in America. Neither girl was upset at being conscripted into a new training regimen for the rest of the summer. Hermione while not a close friend was always willing to help tutor them when they asked, even when they’d followed the rest of their house in shunning Harry last year. They’d known better but house loyalty had been bandied about enough that they behaved like sheep and both of them were ashamed of themselves for it. Neville had even told them off. Harry had been unsurprisingly understanding of the whole thing, treating them the same as he always had polite but distant. This was a chance to get to know the Harry that Neville talked about, a chance to make amends and they weren’t going to waste it.
AN: Again I apologize for the horrendusly long wait on the update and please review with suggestions on the group name and members.