The Squib Job

Summary: "Let's go steal your past."

Spoilers: All of HP and season 1 of Leverage

*hp*lvrg*

Nathan Ford couldn't resist a puzzle. He always had to win against all circumstances. His intellect, education, determination, and (let's face it) ego had propelled Nate to the heights of his career and had plummeted him to his lowest when he couldn't save his son. Nothing he had learned in the Magical world could save Sam and though the Muggle world did have treatments, they were out of Nate's reach.

Nate had quit his job. He quit the Magical world and he had, in all truth, quit his marriage long before Maggie had served him papers. Nate had left behind his wand with everything else. He had been trying to quit life as well when he had fallen in with the Leverage team.

Now he and Maggie had closure in Sam's death, they worked together and had destroyed the man who let Sam die. During their last goodbye, Maggie had given him a box of mementoes from their time together as a family, including his wand. Nate had been prepared to hide all wizard-related items away, never to be found, when he was reminded of a puzzle that he had never solved: Parker.

She was right there, sleeping on the couch, and no one else was around. Nate was pretty sure he would have an answer to a good portion of Parker's social and mental issues within three diagnostic spells.

Nate tried to focus on finding a new client; he tried to focus on anything but the closeness of answers.

Screw it.

Nate had never been good at ignoring temptation, why start now? He retrieved his wand (hazelwood for knowledge or wisdom and the whisker of a selkie, good for transfiguration) from its hiding place and with a wave of it confirmed his first suspicion: a wizard had obliviated Parker of her prior life when she had been a child and then dumped her on the streets.

Parker had occasionally used wizard terminology when she had never shown any knowledge of the Wizarding world. She had never shown the slightest hint of magical inclination. She also used British terms when she had never really spent time with a Brit or in Great Britain. With a wave of his wand Nate confirmed that someone had removed her accent right along with her memories.

The reason why was astoundingly easy to deduce: Parker was a squib. When, as a child, she had failed to produce magic she had been removed from the rest of her pureblooded family and had been cursed to forget her whole life. Once her very identity had been removed, along with any clues to her history, she had been dumped in the American foster system.

Nate had seen enough of Parker's records to know that she had been cursed with bad luck concerning families.

Parker had been smart to run away, even at such a young age; her foster homes would have devolved until she would have been murdered. The mastermind buried his head in his hands.

What Nate couldn't comprehend was why the wizard family had bothered. Why hadn't they just killed Parker and been done with her? How early had they known that she would never be able to work magic? As far as Nate knew, only the headmasters of Magical schools had the only fool-proof method of detection until the child matured to a certain point.

But then again, off of the top of his head Nate could think up three different ways to get a hold of the American school invitation list and he couldn't imagine Dumbledore had been too security conscious before Voldemort had resurfaced. Spying on the list to discover whether or not a child was listed was certainly doable.

Nate sighed. He had solved the puzzle – anything more would be a gross invasion of privacy. He looked up . . .straight into Eliot's eyes.

Those eyes were serious, wryly amused, and knowing.

"I've always known you were the most dangerous person in any room because you could outthink pretty much everyone. It's not much of a surprised that you are also armed with a weapon that's only limited by the wielder's force of will and imagination. You didn't need to be any more dangerous." Eliot wasn't whispering but his voice was so low that Nate had to strain to hear him.

Nate couldn't match the tone and didn't want to risk waking Parker. He jerked his head to the kitchen and knew Eliot would follow him there. Nate pulled out the whiskey and poured himself a generous serving before turning to Eliot with an empty glass. The Hitter accepted his wordless offer with an equally silent nod. Nate hadn't had a drink in months, but this might be worth breaking the streak.

"What do you know of us?" Nate asked.

"To disarm, destroy the wand immediately or to kill from a distance."

Nate wasn't surprised by the analysis and by Eliot's priorities. "There's an entire hidden culture."

"And they feel superior over anyone not in it."

"Naturally," Nate's frustration boiled to the surface before simmering down to something manageable. "Parker was born in that world."

Eliot blinked, for once, completely floored. "Are you sure?"

"It makes sense."

"You got that from the colors you were waving over Crazy Girl's head?"

Nate considered for a moment Eliot's past experiences with wizards and the situation the hitter had witnessed. Nate was damn glad that Eliot trusted him enough with an unfamiliar 'weapon' pointed at an (unconscious) teammate. "They made her forget her first six? Maybe eight years of her life. They ripped it from her along with anything that could have hinted toward her identity. And then they dropped an amnesiac child on the streets of a different continent."

"What do we need to do to steal back Parker's past?"

"Eliot. Her parents probably did it to her."

Eliot's face hardened as he began to imagine the severity of the situation. "How sure are you?"

"She doesn't have any sort of shielding or hiding spell on her. Someone took all of her early memories and didn't bother replacing them with anything. They needed to take them all which means she probably grew up in a magical household. A very magical household. Her parents could have found her if they wanted… or if they were alive." Nate was hard pressed to find a palatable explanation.

"Why?"

"Because she's not magical. At all."

Eliot leaned against the kitchen counter and sipped the drink he had accepted just to keep Nate talking. He was thinking, and thankfully, silently. "Shame the family name?" the hitter guessed.

"And then some. By law, she's not allowed to inherit."

Eliot narrowed his eyes to tiny dangerous slits. "We should steal Parker's inheritance, the money in the least. Could you plan that? We wouldn't be able to help much with the culture separation. Can you figure out who her family is?"

"With her blood and a couple of ingredients, within a day or two. But should we? We don't have a right to open up that door."

"But she should know the door is there," Eliot argued.

"To eternally be outside looking in?"

"To hide the options is to remove the choice. You said that it has to be her choice, not ours."

Like always, one never knew Parker was there until the thief revealed herself… by stealing Nate's wand. "Swish and flick." Her execution was perfect, like one trained over and over, but as with every previous time Parker had touched a wand, nothing happened. The muscle memory was still there even if the actual memories had been stolen. Then the thief twirled the wand like a baton. "What is this?"

Nate sighed and gave the truth which would divert even Parker. "It was supposed to be Sam's someday."

Parker put it down immediately. "Sorry."

Nate slid the wand into his sleeve. It felt familiar and foreign against his skin. Like Maggie's kiss against his cheek had been. "I shouldn't have had it out."

"Maggie gave it to you," Eliot said.

Nate nodded and considered his full glass of alcohol.

"Parker," Eliot started and Nate switched his full attention to the thief to read every tell. He set down his glass and focused. "Nate's found out a little about your family, where you come from, and it's not nice or pretty. Do you want to know more?"

"Why would I?" Parker looked utterly mystified and Nate could literally Ismell/I the compulsion spelled on her psyche. It was that strong.

Eliot was reading Nate's tells and spotted the evidence of magical meddling. What orphan didn't wonder about their family? One's whose brain had been rewired not to. Any further questions to Parker would be making the decision for her. Damn her parents. Damn them.

Nate reached for his whiskey. Eliot moved it out of reach. "We're not done yet. Parker. Your family messed with your memories and even made it so that you would think that you didn't want to know anything about them."

"Kinda like Sophie getting you to make her tea?" The thief was trying to understand, but any basis for comprehension had been ripped from her.

Stolen, Nate's mind whispered to him.

Eliot accepted that and added, "but much much more. Nate figured it out."

Obediently, Parker turned to face Nate, with trust on her face.

"It's going to be an ugly, horrible story," Nate warned.

"Does my family need stopped?" Parker asked. "Are they the mark?"

"I don't know who they are yet," Nate bit out. "I don't know what crimes they might have done."

"Child abuse and abandonment, to begin with," Eliot grumbled.

"I might have brothers or sisters?" Parker perked up. "Out there with no memories too?"

Nate worked the odds in his head. "Unlikely, but possible. Your siblings likely would be our second generation mark."

"Well then, we have to stop them. I don't want my family ruining lives."

"Is that your final decision, Parker? Once we start, we can't erase what we've done."

"Why would we want to?"

"Okay. Let's go steal your past."

*lvrg*hp*

Eliot had been right when he had described magic as confined only by will and imagination. If one had the magic to start, like Nate, there was a work-around for everything.

Creating the family tree from blood wasn't supposed to work when the initial blood was unmagical. Nate had the will, education, intelligence, imagination and time to make it happen. He destroyed two bed sheets with spell mishaps, but the third sheet inked Pavo Malfoy at the bottom and then filled in the names of her parents, grandparents and every other blood relative that could fit.

Pavo Malfoy, that was Parker's birth name. Nate had never met any of the Malfoys since they were too good to stray far from England, but their reputation stretched around the world. Once again, Nate was surprised that Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy hadn't killed their squib child. How had they explained Parker's disappearance to friends and family?

Nate took a step back and viewed the family as a whole. It was a bit of a surprise to see the Potters and the Weasleys, war heroes, on the same tree as people that would throw away their daughter. Parker had one brother, Draco, and two nephews. Nate would have to see the family in action to be sure, but that was probably their in. The family tree was color coded. Pavo was written in blue. Draco was written in red, as was both of their parents. The tree alternated between blue and red and Nate didn't see an obvious pattern as to why. He would have to research the people involved to see if it was important information.

*lvrg*hp*

Sophie had crossed wizards a time or two. She wasn't inclined to share the stories, so she had lost the contests. Hardison was completely surprised and enthralled… and pissed. He didn't like that there were databases that he couldn't hack. He knew that he wouldn't be of much use during the con but he refused to be left behind. He would be there for moral support and an extra pair of hands and an extra person to run the con when needed.

Nate very carefully scouted out the merchant shops and residential area of Diagon Alley, before choosing to rent an apartment that overlooked the street. It was across the street from the Weasley candy and trick shop. Due to the occasional explosions, the rent was cheap and the volume of pedestrian traffic was high. He picked a time when most wizards would be someplace else, ie a professional quiddich game, and moved the Leverage crew into the rooms then. He would have to investigate the Malfoys from here. Eliot and Parker could help with some of the skulking but Nate would have to carry the bulk of the burden. The good news was with a little tweaking on Hardison's part, the earbuds worked within the magical world. Somehow, with all the time, the hacker had on his hands, he managed to connect to the Muggle internet from their apartment. He continued to monitor the outside world.

Sophie monitored the Magical world. She sat at the window and observed. She was watching every nuance. She needed to be able to pass herself off as a witch soon, without having any magical capabilities. During the days, Parker sat beside her, entranced at the wonders below. At night, she would steal into the trick shop, picking up anything that attracted her attention for Nate to explain. Right before morning, she would return it all. (Or almost all, Nate had decided to keep a couple tricks in reserve.) She was quickly learning all of the ways that wizards protected themselves from people like her and how to overcome it. Nate had a suspicion that the Weasleys were as amused at the game as Parker. They never reported the break-ins and were apparating quicker and quicker to each of the thief's hits.

Always with a large grin on their faces.

Wizards.

Meanwhile Nate took Eliot as his bodyguard and the two skulked around the dark alleys listening to rumors and starting new ones. Everyone seemed pretty pleased that young Draco Malfoy was the defacto head of the Malfoy household. His father was still around but on permanent house arrest for his involvement with Voldemort in the last war.

The majority opinion was that Draco wasn't as smart as his father, he wasn't as hard as his father, but he seemed to be doing a good job getting his way. Despite the heavy fines levied on the Malfoy family, Draco had maneuvered them to their strongest financial position in twenty years. Everyone agreed that he was a better father to his two boys than Lucius had been to him, hands down. Considering what Lucius had done to his own daughter, Nate didn't think Draco had much competition. Nate saw several opportunities and approaches in the rumors, but wouldn't decide on one until he saw the mark for the first time.

Hardison wanted him to pry the family out of their homes, but wizards didn't work like that. Nate set the hacker to looking for future clients and settled in to wait. Sooner or later, the Malfoys would come to town and Nate would see them. Eliot had become a somewhat familiar face on their street as he 'aimlessly' wandered. Nate would spell him in mild and obvious ways so he appeared to be a wizard losing his magic.

So Eliot was pitied and given things. No one was surprised by his grumpy demeanor. And he could spot anyone coming and going in Diagon Alley. He spotted the Malfoy family coming and immediately, Nate went to the window to watch unobserved.

Malfoys seemed to be a typical pureblood family, flashing money and turning up their nose. They were sure to talk to all the 'right' people. Draco Malfoy actually pushed Eliot out the way. He was lucky that Eliot was undercover, or the hitter would have bashed his face in. Then Nate's impressions changed.

Nate saw how the older son was given freedom and the younger son was coddled… and protected by his father. He saw Astoria distancing herself emotionally from the boy and Draco's worried looks. This… was not what he had been expecting. Then Eliot reported that in pushing him, Draco had actually slipped a knut into the hitter's pocket. Nate started his approach, knowing certain things.

"I'm changing the plan," he whispered, knowing the earbud would pick it up. His team protested but couldn't do anything else.

Nate walked right up to the Malfoys, wearing a wistful smile of a senile wizard. He leaned down to the youngest boy. "Well, now, aren't you the spitting image of your Aunt Pavo?" he said. It wasn't a lie. Parker was evident in the tilt of the youngest Malfoy's nose, the angle of the jaw and in the shape and color of the eyes.

The boy was holding his father's hand and giggled behind Draco Malfoy. "I don't have an Aunt Pavo."

"Are you sure?"

He nodded, "But Grandmother always spells me with what she calls Pavo's curse. It's to make me land on my feet, like a cat."

"Like a cat," Nate echoed. "Does it work?"

Caelum Malfoy nodded again. "I can jump off anything. Grandmother's really good at the spell."

"Oh," Parker breathed on the communal channel. She saw the resemblance now.

"I bet she is," Nate remarked.

Caelum's name was written in blue. Just like Parker, he was a squib. Nate had accidentally mapped all of the wizards and squibs related to the Malfoys. Some purebloods would pay good money for the information.

Nate told Malfoy, "I have something you need to see." He didn't look down at the smiling Caelum, but Draco did. He understood. With some impressively sly manipulation, Malfoy sent his wife and eldest son away to 'do their shopping so they all didn't waste their time with the barmy old wizard.' They would meet up at the ice cream parlor afterwards.

After they left, Malfoy smoothly moved Caelum to his less dominate hand and held his want steady in his right. Malfoy nodded that Nate should lead and he did. Straight to the team's headquarters in the wizard world.

Eliot followed and stayed out of sight. Nate suggested that Sophie make herself scarce too. The mastermind liked having and ace up his sleeve, no matter the first (and second and third) impressions.

Parker and Hardison were waiting, wiggling like puppies. Parker threw her arms around a startled Malfoy. "You're not the mark!" She dropped her brother just as quickly as she had picked him up. Caelum, she swung around madly. "We're going to have such fun jumping off everything."

"Are you Pavo?" Caelum asked.

"You can call me Parker," she told him.

Malfoy caught his son, midswing and held him back. The smoothness indicated many hours of practice. He offered his hand to Parker.

"I'm Draco Malfoy."

Parker shook it enthusiastically. "I know."

Hardison nudged her arm. "Hey, Han, you're supposed to give your name."

"Oh. I'm Parker."

"He's more interested in your other name, Parker," Nate told her.

"Oh. Pavo Malfoy, but really…"

Malfoy's ring flashed green at her words. Parker slid it off his finger as quick as any lift. She examined it closely. "Why did it do that?"

Malfoy gently reclaimed the ring, "Because you told the truth."

"Huh. I need to steal one."

"They only work if you're magical, Parker," Nate informed the thief.

"That doesn't mean I shouldn't steal one."

Malfoy's face fluttered between several permutations of knowledge and fury. "You're my sister, aren't you?"

"Yes. Can I have my nephew back? I want to play."

"Please?" Caelum begged.

Malfoy huffed. "Yes. But you be respectful to your Aunt Pavo."

"Yes, Father." The boy raced to Parker's side, "Aunt Pavo, what can we jump off of?"

"Everything," Parker promised.

"Parker, nothing taller than two-times his height this week," Nate ordered.

Both Parker and Caelum groaned in disappointment.

"Why don't you show him your padlock collection," Hardison suggested.

"Sure, I'll time you," Parker told Caelum, "I'm positive you can be faster than the last kid I taught." The three hurried off to Parker's room. Parker was surprisingly good with children, as long as one didn't mind her teaching lock-picking. Draco didn't bat an eye at the suggested lessons.

"What happened?" asked Malfoy. "That's not how normal Muggles act, is it?"

"Memory spells took her first seven years. And a bad-luck curse made it impossible to have any normal life."

"You've already ended the curse, but the rest is irreversible."

"True."

"Could you identify the wand used?"

"I didn't think it was important. There was no hiding spell on her. If someone wished to find her, they would."

Draco frowned at the idea of his parents… he switched his focus from his sister to his son. "I will not do the same."

"If not," Nate questioned, "what will you do?"

He saw the angry retort die on Malfoy's tongue and a sneer fade from his expression. Malfoy wanted to snap at him but also didn't want to burn any bridges. Nate would be Malfoy's key to Caelum's success in the Muggle world. Malfoy didn't have any other contacts that he could trust.

"How did you know?" Malfoy controlled his temper and redirected the conversation.

Nate was willing to accommodate. To a certain point. "About Parker or Caelum?"

"Both."

"Parker, I've known for a while. I've caught clues and then finally did a couple diagnostic spells. I saw Parker in Caelum."

"How did you know she was a Malfoy?"

"There's this Muggle test for DNA. Parker ran into you a week ago and lifted one of your hairs. The test was conclusive." Hardison had insisted, but the results hadn't surprised any of them.

"But you had to know beforehand, the muggle test was merely a confirmation. What wizard way did you connect Pavo to the Malfoys?"

Nate finally relented. He should have known that Malfoy would want to see some spellwork to be convinced. "I made a family tree out of her blood."

"A squib's?" Malfoy was impressed. "I want to see the tree."

Nate nodded and dug it out of the closet. He folded it over so that Draco could only see his immediate family. With a swish of his wand, Malfoy could see the whole. Nate could swish his wand too. The sheet folded back over and stayed that way. "I am not giving you a weapon against half the wizard world. I am only giving you confirmation to your suspicions."

Draco nodded and smirked. He touched his son's name. "We have to go. Caelum!"

"Father," the young man exclaimed. "I can pick a lock in ten seconds! That's almost faster than alohomora!"

"It is," Draco agreed. "But your mother and you brother are more concerned with how long it will take you to eat your ice cream. We must leave."

"Ahhhh,"Caelum moaned. "Aunt Pavo is fun."

"You will see her again soon, but I have business I must attend."

"Yes, Father. Bye, Aunt Pavo, Bye Mr. Alec," he waved at his new friends.

The thieves waved back.

Nate walked Draco and Caelum down to the main street, placing the bug on the collar of Draco's inner robes as they walked down the rickety stairs. They walked to Fortescue's for the promised treat. Astoria and Scorpius were waiting. Caelum took off running to Scorpius, delighted to tell him about his new talent. Draco watched him go with a heavy heart.

"Good bye, Mr. Malfoy," Nate said his farewell.

Malfoy sneered, Nate was beginning to realize that he sneered as a default, when he didn't know what to do. It was an anti-social defense mechanism. And as a con-artist's tool, ineffective most times. "I will be in touch," he tried make it sound like a threat. It fell flat.

Nate shook Malfoy's hand and then waved to Caelum. He wished them the best.

The Malfoys would need all the wisdom of the Wizardary world to face the days ahead.

*lvrg*hp*

"How's the bug?" Nate asked Alec.

"No problem."

"It's likely that he isn't aware of the advances of the Muggle world. He wouldn't imagine that we could do that. Update me on his actions."

"Malfoy sent his oldest son home with his wife but he took Caelum to someone called Potter."

Nate did a spit take of epic proportions.

"Yeah, Potter was that surprised to see Malfoy, especially since he was asking for a favor."

Nate raised an eyebrow to prompt Alec further. "Well, he doesn't trust us, and he doesn't want the kid near the rest of the family while he scouts the battle lines when he breaks the news. He trusts Potter not to hurt the kid. Even told him that there was a possibility that Caelum was a squib. Potter promised that the kid would have a wonderful time. Malfoy went from there to his parent's house. When he confronted them with Parker's story, his father kept saying they should have killed her just like a Malfoy patriarch had killed his brother and uncle. Draco's mother wanted all the updates on Pavo's life. Malfoy talked to his mother privately and she confirmed that Caelum was probably a squib. She's got some sneaky housing plan that I'll let you decipher; I don't know the laws she's dodging. As for the wife, Malfoy just walked in the door to his house."

"What's going on, Draco?" the team could hear the wife before Malfoy closed the door. "Why did you wander off with that barmy old wizard? Where's Caelum?"

"Where's Scorpius?"

"I sent him to his room with a new toy. He'll stay there. What did the wizard want that was so important?"

Malfoy whispered a confidentiality spell and said, "The wizard had information, Astoria. And information is always worth a second look."

"About Caelum," Astoria pronounced. "Merlin, people are beginning to suspect. How much is he wanting in blackmail?"

"He doesn't want any blackmail. What are people saying, Astoria?"

"That Caelum is a squib. He has never showed any magic. He should have by now. People will talk when he doesn't get his letter to Hogwarts."

"That's several years away. We have time."

"I suppose we could say he's sickly and keep him at home until he turns eleven."

"And then what?"

"I'll find somewhere else for him to go. Where he won't reflect on our name."

"I wasn't aware that you had such extensive contacts among the Muggles."

"You know me, Draco. I always get my way in the end."

"One of the reasons that I married you."

"What did the wizard want?"

"To offer another way out. It's a good time for him to join Muggle school children."

"I've never seen that wizard before. How did he guess that Caelum is a squib?"

"He didn't say," Draco lied.

"He mentioned a Pavo. Who's she?"

Draco paused before admitting, "Apparently, my sister."

"She's a squib too, it's she?" Astoria's voice rose in pitch and volume.

"Yes," Draco confessed. "She is."

"This is all your fault," Astoria hissed. "You Malfoys produce squibs. Caelum is a squib because of you."

"Who's Starling, Astoria?" Draco replied. The woman gasped immediately. "I'm sure your sister, Daphne, would appreciate an investigation months before her wedding."

Nate was impressed; he recognized the name, a child from the Greengrass family that had died at the age of eleven. And if the coloring of the names was any indication, he had been a squib as well. Draco had not been given much time with Nate's genealogy project, but he had spotted inconsistencies and compared them with what he knew. And used them to a devastating effect.

"You wouldn't!"

"Don't fight me on Caelum's inheritance and it will be forgotten."

"I only have one son," Astoria declared. "I will never acknowledge any other. Do what you will, Draco, you will anyways, but don't expect to ever look at that… thing again."

"Accepted."

Astoria wasn't ready to surrender yet. "It's not welcome in this house. Never again does it enter my house. Does your father know what you are planning to do, Draco? To give a squib money? An inheritance," she sneered. "Maybe I should owl him." It was a significant threat of her own.

"My mother knows," the wizard replied, "And she can handle my father."

Astoria finally flounced away.

They heard steps for a while, a door open and close and then a sigh. They heard rustling for a while.

"That's cold, man," Hardison shook his head. "She wanted to kill her own son. She now refers to him as an it. And his dad still wants to kill Parker and probably Caelum if he found out. Is there any way we can make her and the elder Malfoy pay without it bouncing back on the okay ones?"

Nate shrugged, trying to come up with a workable solution.

"Father?" a new voice was picked up on Hardison's microphone.

"Yes, Scorpius?"

"What are you doing?"

"I'm packing up Caelum's belongings. He's going away for a little while."

"Because he's a squib?"

"Why do you ask that?"

"You're only packing his non-magical belongings. And Grandfather and Mother have been talking and they aren't as careful as you are to prevent eavesdroppers."

"Father should know better."

"Yes, he should." The Leverage team could hear the shaking exhale of the child. "What about Caelum? I know what Grandfather wants to do to him, and Mother… but what will you let happen?"

"He's going to go to a boarding school and he's going to become great and he'll make the Malfoy name known among the Muggles."

"Oh," Scorpius whispered. "Can Caelum do that on his own?"

"He's going to have help," And Malfoy's voice was firm with conviction. "I'm not certain of the specifics yet, but he won't be alone."

"Good. Will I be able to owl him?"

"Again, I'm not sure of the specifics but I won't cut off communication."

"Why not?"

"Excuse me?"

"Father, you have never professed a love for Muggles, why aren't you furious? Why won't you cut off communication with Caelum? Why won't you do what Grandfather and Mother wish with him?"

Malfoy whispered the same confidentiality spell as before. "Our secrets remain between us."

"And us alone," Scorpius intoned.

"I was worried that Caelum was a squib and have been for a while, years. That doesn't make him any less a Malfoy or my son, but I had no way to care for him. I plan on communicating with my son, both of my sons until the day I die. I see no reason to cut off communication between you and Caelum. Now, I'm seeing options."

"Mother won't be pleased with me owling Caelum, why won't you hide him away from me?"

"There's no distracting you, is there?" Malfoy sounded proud.

"You taught me to press when others demur."

"By example," Nate murmured to Hardison.

Malfoy admitted, "I did. Scorpius, there apparently has been a squib in every generation of the Malfoys going back four generations. There's been one on your mother's side for longer. At least one of your children will probably be a squib as well."

"Oh," Scorpius breathed. "If Caelum is out in the Muggle world, he can raise the Malfoy squibs."

"And he can do it in a manner befitting a Malfoy."

"And if any of the squibs have a witch or a wizard baby, we can take them in, can't we, Father?"

"That's the plan."

"I like that plan, Father."

"I'm glad that you approve," Malfoy's voice was desert dry.

"Since I'm going to get all of Caelum's magical things, can I pack some of my non-magical things for him?"

"That would be appropriate."

"I'll be right back."

And Nate and Hardison listened to the quiet of a man packing up his son's life.

"Wizards are weird," Hardison grumbled. "The kid had to ask to give his brother a gift good-bye and that's on top of Caelum's family wanting to kill him."

"Purebloods," Nate corrected. "Purebloods are very much concerned with perception, especially when they choose to do the right thing. Malfoy's going to be a pain in the ass during negotiations."

*lvrg*hp*