- Disturbing Imagery
London, December 19, 2152
The stench required a Bubble-Head Charm.
Harry picked his way slowly through the rubble that surrounded Grimmauld Place. Two weeks had passed since a mad terrorist had destroyed London and many of the cities in England. Thirteen days since the same terrorist destroyed coastal cities in the United States. Twelve since Australia’s coasts lay in ruins; ten since Japan was destroyed. Eight since Paris, Oslo, and Copenhagen.
They’d lost track after that.
London lay in ruins, bodies smashed under concrete and stone, charred and burned in some places to ashes.
“This is … unreal,” Harry’s companion and husband, Merlin Emrys, murmured. “I haven’t seen the like since the second world war.”
Harry looked grim. The standing rule for venturing from Glastonbury or Hogsmeade required magical travel in pairs, so he’d brought Merlin along to check the wards on Grimmauld and see if anything of Diagon Alley could be salvaged or used. “I hardly know how to find Diagon without the tube and a good sightline.”
Merlin closed his eyes and stretched his senses. “Southwest,” he murmured. “I can sense magic that way, and if I recall the old map of London, that’s the direction we need to go to get to the Leaky.”
“Line-of-sight apparation?” Harry asked, looking that direction.
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” Merlin mused. “Something might look stable from here, but actually be very unstable.”
“True.” Harry held out a hand. “Let’s take a walk, then.”
They made their way slowly across the rubble, checking for structural integrity as they went, listening for any survivors, though they had little hope of those. Humanitarian aid had been impossible; emergency services destroyed along with the population. Doctors or healers of any skill level were in short, precious supply.
It took two hours of hard slog before the pair spotted The Leaky Cauldron. The dingy building looked solid, and the brick walls on either side of it extended backwards along the block, then angled to make a kind of a diamond shape with the Leaky at the front, encasing a space they could only assume was Diagon Alley. “It looks smaller than I thought it was,” Harry said thoughtfully.
Merlin nodded. “I remember when they put it up. It was meant to be just a pocket space in London, really, a central location to collect supplies. See how the walls join on the other side of that block?”
“Right,” Harry said, looking. As they drew near, Harry saw that piles of rubble rested along the outer walls, but the bigger piles of stone and concrete rested a good block away. “Wards?” he asked.
“I think so,” Merlin said. “There must have been a bubble of space there that repelled the worst of the damage from the surrounding areas. I don’t remember that being there to begin with.”
“Might have been added during one of the 20th century wars,” Harry speculated. “A little clean up?”
They each raised a hand and swept rubble aside to join the piles farther out, revealing the front door. They approached cautiously, and Harry covered Merlin’s back as Merlin opened the door.
Inside, the pub lay clean and intact. Curiously, though, Harry spotted refuse in a corner and the remains of a meal on a table. He nudged Merlin and pointed. Merlin’s eyebrows rose, and he cleared his throat. “Hello?” he called out. “Is anyone here?”
Footsteps sounded from above, and a young voice called back, “Who wants to know?”
“We’re friends, here to help, if it’s needed.” Merlin turned his hand, and Harry saw several life signs from above them. “We’ve access to food and shelter. We came to see if there was anything left here.”
A older boy, likely a teenager, poked his head down the stairs. Black eyes in a pale face looked out defiantly. “Where you been the last couple of weeks, then?”
“Trying to survive ourselves. Helping others,” Merlin said. “I’ve a pub that remains intact at Glastonbury, and we’ve got a school in Scotland we’re sending survivors to when we find them.”
Some of the life signs on the second floor drew closer to the stairs as their leader slowly straightened himself out and stepped down to the first floor. “How’d you get here so quick, then? London’s hell and gone from Scotland and Glastonbury.”
Harry smiled. “Magic.”
“Hmm.” Hard black eyes met emerald green. “Like this place?”
“Very like,” Harry agreed. “Why don’t you all come down and we’ll have a chat and a cuppa?” Harry drew a teapot from one pocket and a packet of tea from another, and gestured to a long table in the center of the room. “I’m Harry, and this is Merlin.”
The boy sniffed, not letting the tension ease from his shoulders a bit. “Billy.” He jerked his head toward the stairs. “It’s alright, then. Come down,” he called back.
Harry set up his pot, filled it with conjured water, heated it, and added tea. Merlin summoned tea cups from the kitchen, and as they laid the table, they were joined by nine children, all obviously younger than Billy.
“How’d you all find this place?” Harry asked as he began passing cups down.
“Mummy,” one little girl said simply.
“I saw it when the bombs fell,” a young boy mumbled. “Me mum didn’t, but she told me to run for it and I did.”
Billy raised his chin. “Knew about it for ages. Kip here when I can’t get a place to stay anywhere else.”
“Are there any adults here at all with you?” Merlin asked.
“Not here,” Billy said gruffly. “Might be some back that way.” He pointed toward the back of the pub. “Heard ‘em the first week. Then it went kinda quiet.”
Merlin and Harry exchanged glances. That didn’t sound good.
“Right,” Harry said. “Do you all want to stay here? Are you safe? Or would you rather come with us to the school?”
All the little ones looked at each other. The youngest, who looked to be about four, lisped, “I want my mummy.”
“We know, Sally,” Billy said gently. “But I don’t think your mummy can be here right now.”
Tears pooled in big blue eyes. “But can I have a mummy?”
Harry’s heart melted. “Sweetheart, I think we can find a mummy for you if you come with us.”
“Yeah, right,” Billy snorted. “Never trust a grown up.”
“But Billy, if they can help…?” Another older boy cajoled.
“Billy,” Merlin started. “I can tell you’ve been on your own for a very long time, but it’s clear these young ones have not. You’ve done a great job taking care of them the last couple of weeks, but let us help you. Let’s get you to my pub in Glastonbury. There’s a doctor there, and food, and we can find you places to sleep with families if you want them.”
Billy looked around at the hopeful faces surrounding him, then sighed. “Fine. How we get there?”
“More magic,” Merlin said. He drew a rope out of his pocket. “We’ll turn this into something called a portkey, and when you all grab it, I can send you to my pub. We’ll go with you and make sure you get settled. We’ll have to come back here, though, to see if there are any other survivors in the Alley.”
“Right,” Billy said. He took a deep breath. “Is magic why we could see this place?”
“Yes,” Harry said simply. “I think it quite likely that you all have magic, and could see this place, and because you did, you could be saved here.”
Merlin nodded. “See?” He put up a hand and turned it. Nine magical cores glowed softly, and two adult magical cores were near blinding. “We all have magic. This pub is magic. At my pub, there are mostly people who don’t have magic, but there are some who do. We’re all helping each other now.”
Billy clenched his jaw. “Right. Right.” He looked up, overhead. “There’s another little one up in the smallest room. He’s hurt. I’ve been doing me best, but. I don’t know what else to do.”
Harry put the kettle back down from where he’d been pouring another cup. “I’ll go up and take him to my daughter-in-law. She’s a doctor.”
“Thank you,” Billy said. He unfolded his arms and gestured to Harry. “He’s up this way.”
Harry followed Billy up the stairs while he listened to Merlin talk to the other children about magic and the school he was headmaster of in Scotland. Billy led him to the smallest room in the back part of the pub, and opened the door.
On the bed, a small boy of about six or seven lay, red-cheeked and sleeping. A clumsy splint dressed the little guy’s left leg, which was swollen and shiny between the bandaging.
“He’s been running a fever, off and on, and I’m pretty sure his leg’s broken,” Billy said softly. “His name’s Ethan. I grabbed him as the bombs fell outside and ran for the door of the pub here, but he was panicked and we fell into the place as another bomb hit. I think that’s when he broke it.”
“I’m no healer,” Harry said, crossing to where Ethan lay, “but even I know a fever’s not a good sign with an injury.”
“No, sir,” Billy agreed. “Does he have magic, too?”
Harry cast the spell and saw Ethan glow softly. “Yes, which is probably why he’s not sicker. His magic’s helping him. With your permission, Billy, I’ll pick him up and take him to my Lisa. She’s a doctor, and she’s based in Grantham. I’ll have to do something called apparation to transport us there. I turn a heel and we’ll disappear. But I’ll come back as soon as I can for you so he doesn’t wake lonely.”
Billy hesitated. “Can you take us both at the same time? The other kids’ll be behind us, right?”
Harry paused in thought. “I can. Can you make yourself useful for Lisa?”
“I can,” Billy affirmed.
“Very well,” Harry said. He snapped out his Patronus. “Tell Merlin I’m taking Billy and his charge to Lisa, and will be right back.”
Prongs bowed his head, and bounded down the stairs.
Billy’s eyes were huge and round. “Wow.”
“Yeah,” Harry grinned. “Magic’s great.” He picked up Ethan gently. “Grab on to my elbow, please.”
Billy did, and Harry turned a heel.
Prongs appeared in front of the startled group of children and spoke with Harry’s voice. “I’m taking Billy and his charge to Lisa, and will be right back.”
Merlin nodded. “Well, that’s settled then. How about the rest of you? Any other hurt?”
Shakes of heads “no” followed him.
“Then I think it would be best to transport you all to the magic school,” Merlin said thoughtfully. “We’ve other families there, and there’s plenty of room. As you’re magical, we’ll want to restart your education as soon as we can, too.”
Sally got up from her seat at the bench and went around to tug on Merlin’s jacket. He bent to listen to her whisper in his ear, and then he nodded solemnly. “Of course, sweetheart. There’s always room for your babies.” Merlin straightened out. “If you have anything you’d like to take with you, such as Sally’s baby doll, go and get it now please. We’ll organize ourselves in this very spot in ten minutes.”
A chorus of “Yes, sir!” echoed through the room, and the children scampered.
Potter House, Grantham, Dec. 20, 2152
Billy, Harry and Ethan popped into existence in the Potter House foyer. Lisa, William, and Harry Two remained largely in their home, protected by their wards, and Lisa used the space to operate a basic medical practice. Harry and Merlin had adjusted the wards to allow for patients and their families to present in the front yard, foyer, and sitting room, which had been turned into a treatment room.
Glastonbury’s clinic had been pressed into full service, and its two doctors and four nurses were kept busy by the survivors who needed help. Word had spread, slowly, that Wales and Somerset were largely intact, and survivors from around Britain were making their way that direction, largely on foot. Grantham, on the opposite coast, was closer for those who heard that a doctor was available there, so it made sense for Lisa to maintain her space as an aid station.
William kept track of people, fed those who came by starving and shell-shocked, and sorted some for movement to Hogwarts or to Glastonbury, depending on need. The kitchen at Potter House had been quietly expanded with magic, and the pantry stocked with staples. With a wry nod to Gamp’s Law of Transfiguration–remembering Hermione’s attempts to make mushrooms palatable–Harry had brought in sacks of flour, oats, salt, sugar, and other stuff, then multiplied it.
In effect, Potter House had become the east coast beacon of hope for Britain’s survivors, and William’s porridge pot stayed ever-full, even as he doled out gallons of the stuff.
Harry Two divided his days between the three spaces. Merlin had not yet started his task of educating young magicals; survival and aid had to take priority. But Harry Two’s irrepressible nature and cheerful willingness to make friends with everyone came in handy at Hogwarts, where young families, some injured, had gone to stay. And his willingness to run, everywhere, came in very handy at the pub on busy days, when he could carry messages from Arthur to others in town.
Communications systems were largely down, and runners were necessary.
Harry called out as he appeared in the foyer, and William greeted him from the kitchen.
“Lisa’s with a patient just now,” he said as he appeared in the doorway. “Who’s this, then?”
Harry gestured with his chin. “William, this is Billy. He’s been overseeing the care of a number of children who found shelter in the Leaky Cauldron in London. Ethan, here, is the most injured of the lot. We’ve brought him to see Lisa.”
“Poor lad,” William murmured, looking from the flushed little face to the clumsy splint. “I’ll take him, Grandpa. You need help with the others?”
“Merlin and I can handle it,” Harry assured him. “Billy, here, will be your runner and assistant today. If you don’t mind, that is?” He looked at Billy.
“No, sir,” he said.
“Well, it’s good to meet you, Billy,” William said, gently removing Ethan from Harry’s grasp and looking upstairs. “Touch my shoulder, and I’ll bring you through the wards to the family area. This lad needs a bed. And then we’ll let Lisa know he’s here.”
“You’re in good hands here, Billy,” Harry said. “William is my great-grandson, and he’ll take good care of Ethan.”
“Thank you, sir,” Billy said, then paused. “You don’t look that old.”
Harry laughed. “Magic.”
Billy gave a slow nod. “Right then. I’ll just help Mr. William.”
“Do that, and thanks,” Harry said. “I’m off to help Merlin.”
“Go on, then,” William said, and started upstairs, Billy’s hand on his shoulder.
The Leaky Cauldron, London, Dec. 20, 2152
Merlin took another head count as children assembled around him, some bearing dolls or other stuffies, others blankets and a small bag or two. He looked up as Harry popped into existence in front of him.
“All settled?” Merlin asked.
Harry nodded. “Ethan and Billy are with my grown-up children. Billy is going to help at the aid station while Lisa helps Ethan heal.” He pulled a rope from his pocket. “Are all of you ready to go?”
“Yes!” A chorus of young voices made them both grin.
“To Hogwarts, Harry,” Merlin said quietly.
Harry tapped the rope and said “Portus!” He held it out. “Everyone grab a bit. Have you all got a good hold?”
Vigorous nods. Merlin and Harry quietly checked to see every small hand had that bit of rope. “Hold on tight!” Merlin said, then nodded to Harry, who muttered, “Hogwarts!”
Hogwarts Great Hall, Dec. 20, 2152
Cassiopeia Malfoy looked up from her perch at the head table as an assembly of nine child and two adult magicals portkeyed into the Great Hall. She rose, a stately elder with silvered hair and grey eyes, to greet the newcomers.
“Headmaster,” she greeted Merlin solemnly. “Mr. Potter. Whom have we here?”
“Ms. Malfoy, I present to you nine new students, all magical, all orphaned, found in the Leaky Cauldron in London,” Merlin said formally. “They are all in need of families, and I thought it best to bring them here.”
Cassiopeia smiled warmly. “I’m glad to meet you, young ones. I am Cassiopeia Malfoy, the Chatelaine of Hogwarts, and I will help you get sorted.”
Merlin looked at his young charges. “Ms. Malfoy helps organize things here for me. She makes sure everyone has what they need.”
Sally looked up with her big blue eyes. “I need a Mummy, Ms. Malfoy!”
Colder hearts than Cassiopeia’s would have melted, and she smiled. “Well, it happens I know some mummies who need girls and boys to take care of. Shall I get them for you? Or would you like to eat first?”
An older boy said, “Food, please.” He looked around. “We’re all fair starving, though we’ve done our best.”
Cassiopeia clapped her hands once, and an elf popped up. “Please lay a meal for these hungry children,” she directed. “And send an elf to my grandfather’s home in Hogsmeade. Let him know to assemble families willing to take in additional magical children and bring them here.”
“It will be done,” the elf said, bowing low before popping away.
In seconds, food started popping up on what had once been the Hufflepuff table, and Merlin led his charges to it while Harry conferred with Cassiopeia.
“Do we have enough families for all nine?” Harry asked quietly, listening to Merlin settle the children in and help them dish up.
“It won’t be a problem, Harry,” Cassiopeia said. “Few of my generation, and none of the next, risked having children of their own given their closeness. They’ll be glad to have new magicals to care for. For that matter, Harry, you and your spouses should seriously consider having children with the young women who are of child-bearing age in town. If we want to bring magicals back, we’ll need more new blood.”
Harry opened his mouth, closed it, then cleared his throat. “We’ll consider it.” He paused. “We are already raising an infant magical whom I rescued in London, as you know.”
“Yes, your Phoenix,” Cassiopeia smiled. “Still, all of us should be as productive as possible if we are to expand magic again.”
“As you say, Cassie,” Harry murmured, thinking about how that would work.
“Harry,” Merlin said, coming up behind him. “I think we need to head back to the Leaky. We still need to investigate the Alley for survivors.”
“Right, yes.” Harry stepped back from Cassiopeia, thinking about her grandfather. Draco had been a big part of his life before Ginny Weasley had potioned him into marriage. The thought of his line, the Malfoy line, dying out? It made him immeasurably sad. “I’ll discuss what you’ve raised with my husbands.”
“Please do, Harry,” Cassiopeia said wistfully.
“Back to the Leaky, then, Merlin?” Harry held out a hand.
“You drive, dear.” Merlin took the offered hand and winked at his husband.
Harry rolled his eyes, and turned a heel.
The Leaky Cauldron, London, Dec. 20, 2152
Merlin and Harry proceeded cautiously to the back of the pub, and tapped the bricks that would reveal Diagon Alley to them. The magic faltered; the bricks refused to move. Merlin exchanged a glance with Harry, and the pair combined magic to try again. Their hands glowed as they tapped the bricks in order.
The brick archway shuddered, hard, and rolled back to reveal a graveyard.
Clearly, some magical adults had managed to get this far. The alley was littered with bodies and body parts. “Splinching?” Harry asked quietly.
“Likely,” Merlin replied.
They picked their way through the street. Wards on secured buildings had held; no one was present in WWW, or in the other boarded buildings. Of course, that meant that no help could be found within, either. Merlin cast his revealing charms at intervals as they made their way slowly through space, finding no life signs in the main thoroughfares.
Until one, slight light, appeared in a nook near Gringotts once stood.
Cautiously, Merlin and Harry approached to find a young woman, with flaming red hair, lying unconscious. Harry cast a diagnostic charm to find that while her magic was helping her, she was clearly in a bad way and in need of immediate assistance.
“Take her to Lisa?”
Merlin nodded. Harry lifted her and turned a heel. Merlin followed.
Potter House, Dec. 20, 2152
Harry called for William as he popped into the Potter House foyer. Billy ran down the stairs to greet them instead.
“They’re settin’ Ethan’s leg,” Billy explained. “Needed stronger hands than mine, I guess. Who’s this?”
“We’re not sure,” Harry said. “Found her back in the alley behind the Leaky. The only one still living back there, at a guess.”
Billy looked at her with fresh eyes. “Haven’t seen her around there before, I don’t think.”
Harry nodded. “She needs some help.”
Merlin, who’d popped in right behind Harry, cast a diagnostic spell. “Dehydrated. Malnourished. Otherwise healthy, but her magic is what’s keeping her breathing at this point. Lay her down on the couch and I’ll see what I can do while Lisa’s otherwise occupied.”
Harry did as he was bid and backed away as Merlin conjured a glass of water and started to dribble it into her mouth. She barely stirred, but she swallowed.
“Yeah, that’s it,” Merlin muttered. “No miracles here, Harry. It’ll take her time to recover and we have to help her regain her strength slowly. But I think she’ll live now that she’s sheltered.” He continued to dribble the water into her mouth as Lisa came down the stairs.
“Oh, what do we have here?” Lisa asked, using hand sanitizer from a station she’d had William install on her living room wall.
“A survivor from London,” Harry said. “Merlin thinks she’s mostly just dehydrated and malnourished. Food and water was scarce in the Alley these past two weeks. We didn’t find anyone else living.”
Lisa noted the careful way he put that, and nodded to herself. Found many dead, then. “Right, let me start an IV and get her fluids up, and then we’ll get her some broth. Can you get a soup pot started for me, Grandpa? You’ve a good hand at soup. I had a local trade me some root vegetables and an old ewe for medical services.”
“Of course,” Harry said, and went for the kitchen.
Merlin continued his dribbling. “She’s swallowing.”
Lisa nodded. “That’s good. We can work with that. But the IV will help her faster.” She turned to Billy. “Can you please go help William with Ethan, Billy? I think he’d like to see a familiar face. We’ll get him some broth, too, as Grandpa gets it going.”
“Yeah, alright,” Billy muttered, and took himself up the stairs.
“How many did you find in London, Merlin?” Lisa asked as she pulled an IV kit out of her emergency stash and drew the girl’s hand toward her. Briskly, she tied off the girl’s arm, tapped a vein, and taped down the entry point for the fluids she’d deliver. She didn’t have much saline left, but this was a clearcut case of need.
“Eleven children including Billy and Ethan. We took the rest to Hogwarts. They’d taken shelter in the Leaky, and they’re all magical,” Merlin said. “This lass here. There were other adults who’d made it to the Alley for shelter, but there was no other assistance to be had there. A lot of them had splinched as they tried an emergency apparation, so there were body parts littering parts of it. We’ll have to cleanse the space if we need to use it.”
Lisa nodded absently. “Still, it’s good to know the lay of the land there. Other magicals will try to migrate there I’d guess, if they’re seeking shelter.”
“And they know about it,” Merlin agreed, backing off to let Lisa have the room she needed to set up the pole her bag of saline would drip from.
Harry came back in. “Soup’s on. I enchanted the pot, so you won’t run out no matter how many stop by for it.”
Lisa paused in her work and grinned. “I never get tired of that kind of statement, you know.”
“I love magic,” Harry agreed.
Hogwarts, Dec. 20, 2152
Twenty extended families of magical folks still lived in Hogsmeade. The names were nothing like the old Sacred 28–though a remnant or two from those families still hung on. Finnegan, Malfoy, Thomas, Creevey, Parkinson, Longbottom, Jones, McDougal, Kent, and Lupin remained among them.
Cassiopeia Malfoy, the only granddaughter of Scorpius Malfoy and his wife, Megan Jones-Malfoy, believed that at 60, she was far too old to marry and bear children at this point in her life. Her grandparents had raised her after their son, Draconis, and his wife, Elizabeth, died in a potions accident. As she’d grown, the numbers of magical people in Britain had begun to dwindle. The marriage pool had been limited, and she’d not been interested in those she wasn’t related to. Instead, Cassie had built a life of research, and books, and learned to manage the Malfoy estates.
All qualifications that made her eminently suitable for Chatelaine at Hogwarts.
Four-year-old Sally, however, had reached into her heart and squeezed.
Scorpius Malfoy watched his 60-year-old granddaughter interact with the young sprite that had stolen her heart, and shook his head softly. “Cassie,” he said quietly, “I think you’ve found a daughter of your heart.”
Silver eyes sparkled as she looked at her Granddad. “I think so, too.” Cassie looked down at Sally and scooped her up. “Can I be your new mummy, Sally?”
Sally’s lower lip trembled. “Can I ‘member my old mummy, too?”
Cassie hugged her tight. “Of course.”
Sally sniffled, and nodded. “Okay.” She snuggled into Cassie’s neck. “You’re pretty, new mummy.”
“Thank you, dearest.”
Around the Great Hall, middle-aged magicals, most of whom had no biological children of their own, mingled with the children rescued from London, allowing their magic to shift around them and seek compatible magics. In the end, all but one of the children found a home with a Hogsmeade family.
Seven-year-old Clay flitted from group to group, but none seemed quite right to him or to his magic. He pouted a little, but as the front doors to Hogwarts flung open, he gasped.
His magic tugged on William Potter, who stumbled a bit.
“You’re my new daddy,” Clay informed him as he ran up to cling to the man’s leg.
Harry Two, who’d come into the hall with him, narrowed his eyes, and reached out with his own magic. They clicked.
“Yep,” Harry Two said. “I’m your new brother. And we’re going to have FUN!”
William groaned, and the older Harry, who’d come in behind them, chuckled.
“Good luck telling Lisa she’s got a new son, son,” Harry consoled him.
“Thanks, Grandpa,” William said, then bent to pick up Clay. “Hello, then. What’s your name?”
“I’m Clay. I’m seven years old and very pro-co-shus,” Clay informed his new father. “That’s what my mummy said.”
“I see,” William said, thinking about finding counselors for the newly formed families and their offspring, who would likely have some kind of PTSD. “It seems rather likely, at that.”
Harry One smiled at his family. “It’s good to meet you, Clay. I’m your grandpa Harry, this is your brother Harry Two, and your daddy. His name is William. You have a new mummy, too. She’s a healer named Lisa, and she’s helping your new friend Ethan feel better right now.”
“Oh, can we go see, Daddy?”
William nodded. “Sure thing. She’ll want to meet you straightaway.”
Clay wiggled to be let down and ran toward the door. “Come on!”
Harry caught Cassie’s eye and nodded toward the door. She smiled at him and acknowledged his arrival–and departure–before the immortal left, trailing his grandsons.
Potter House, Dec. 20, 2152
Lisa was startled to see her small family reappear in her foyer just minutes after they left for Hogwarts, plus one.
“Oh,” she said, smiling. “Who’s this?”
“Our new son, Clay,” William informed her, green eyes warning her not to be too surprised at the development.
Lisa raised an eyebrow and looked down at the young lad, whose glowing hazel eyes mimicked a puppy’s. “I’ve always wanted another son,” she admitted, grinning at him.
“My magic says you’re my new mummy,” Clay informed her, wiggling. “It really likes you and new daddy.”
“Then I guess you belong right here,” Lisa confirmed, scooping Clay up into a hug.
Harry Two reached up and touched Clay’s ankle. “Come on, Daddy,” Harry Two said. “Touch Clay.”
Bemused, William took Clay’s hand, and a flash of golden light settled the matter.
Merlin came down the stairs just as the light settled on them. “Ah! A magical adoption!”
Harry One nodded. “Merlin, meet my new many times great grandson, Clay.”
“A pleasure to meet you,” Merlin said, smiling widely. “I’m married to your grandpa, so you can call me Grandpa, too.”
“Wow!” Clay said. “This morning I had nobody and this afternoon I have everybody!”
The family laughed.
“How are Billy and Ethan, Merlin?” Lisa asked.
“As well as can be expected,” he said. “Ethan’s fever is down, and Billy is sitting with him. As soon as they’re both well, we’ll take them up to Hogwarts and round the pub to see if we can find families for them, too. Our red-headed guest is coming around, though. I thought you’d like to examine her for yourself.”
“I would,” Lisa said. She gave Clay a squeeze. “Mummy has to go see a patient now. Get your brother to show you his room. You two will have to share for the moment.”
“Cool,” Clay said.
Lisa watched as her adult patient started to wake up. The fluids had done the trick, and the patient’s magic was doing the rest.
Bright blue eyes popped open. “Where am I?”
“Relax,” Lisa soothed. “You’re in good hands. I’m a Healer. My family found you in Diagon Alley and brought you back to me. I’m Lisa Potter.”
“Potter?” The red head shook her head. “There are no magical Potters left.”
“Well, I married into the family, but no, I don’t have magic. My son does, though,” Lisa assured her, leaving off information about Harry until she knew more about the patient. “And you are?”
“Oh, sorry.” Blue eyes closed again, then reopened. “Iris. Iris Macklin Granger-Weasley.”