"All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R. Tolkein, The Fellowship of the Ring


Harry glanced at Hotch as he locked the car behind them. Hotch was opening the door with his key, back to Harry. "Anything else important I should know about?"

"Nothing world-changing," Hotch said far too dismissively.

Harry narrowed his eyes. "Really?"



Hotch, to his surprise, smirked slightly at him. "Go ask your brother where Kiyo laid eggs."

Harry's eyes widened, and he shot past Hotch as his father held the door open for him. "Jack!" he called, hurrying up the stairs to his brother's room. Hotch shook his head behind him, amused.

"Where's the fire?" Sean asked on the couch. "And there is a fire, because the two of you can't be in one place for more than a couple of minutes without something going wrong."

Hotch waited until he'd closed the door behind himself and settled on the cushion beside his brother to quietly say, "One of the snakes on the property laid eggs a week ago."

A frown came from Hotch's opposite side on the recliner. "What snakes?"

Hotch smiled to himself. "Didn't you know that both your grandsons are Parselmouths? Snake-talkers?"

Ethan Hotchner scoffed. "Don't be ridiculous. Sean, he's just bullshitting you."

Hotch gave his father a long, cool look, and then Sean ruined it by shrieking beside him and pointing frantically at the large, russet snake that was lifting itself onto the coffee table in front of him. Zagreus paused, tongue flickering in annoyance at the source of the loud sound, then slithered up until his whole body was curled on the table and he could raise himself up to look Hotch in the eye.

"Is that one poisonous?" Sean whispered loudly. "I can never remember."

"Snakes are venomous, not poisonous," their father replied dryly, without any concern for his older son's safety despite his proximity to the large snake.

"And yes," Hotch said. "This one's a copperhead, and it once tested its venom on an intruder. Of course, so did the other venomous one, and the other three, but the coroner made it sound like both had potent venom."

"What 'other' venomous one?" Ethan demanded.

"The timber rattlesnake. She's calmer, much less likely to bite."

"What's this one doing?"

The snake's tongue was flickering in and out.

"Not the faintest clue." With a look in his brother's direction, he added, "He's not going to bite."

"How sure of that are you?"

"He knows it would be rather distressing for Jack and Harry, and he adores both of them. All the snakes do, really."

"And you didn't think to mention we were going to be sharing the house with a couple of venomous snakes and their not-so-venomous friends?" his father asked dryly.

"How does that work with Hedwig?" Sean interrupted. "Shouldn't she be trying to eat them?"

"They came to some agreement a long time ago," Hotch replied offhandedly. "I don't know how."

"Who's Hedwig?" Ethan asked, resigned.

"Harry's owl. It delivers letters."

Ethan deadpanned at Sean, who grinned back at him, enjoying the full benefits of the truce that Ethan had to follow while he was under the same roof as his grandchildren. "An owl."

"Yep!" Sean cheerfully replied.

"I hate this fucking house."

"You invited yourself over," Hotch reminded him.

"Much to my regret."

"Hey, now, we were getting along so well five seconds ago," Sean said. "Let's not kill each other."

Draco twirled around again on the swivel chair, legs tucked up slightly to avoid hitting the legs. He drifted to a stop, then kicked out again to get momentum going.

After a couple minutes of this, Garcia reached over with one hand and stopped him, eyes never leaving her screen. "I have more reason to be concerned about this than you. Calm the frick frack down."

Draco let out a sound that was half-groan half-sigh. "I just don't want to do this," he whined.

"Well, suck it up. She'll be here any minute."

"You know, most of the magical community thinks we've already done this."

"That's because you haven't been living with them. She still hasn't officially signed over the paperwork yet." She reached over and poked him in the side of the head to push him out of his sullen mood at the thought of that. "And hey, if she doesn't, I can just kidnap you."

"Kidnap me," he repeated doubtfully.

"Yeah. We'll use Reid as a distraction because apparently all the Death Eaters think he's adorable, and my mocha god will come in and steal you away. And she won't be able to break into Quantico because Rossi'll spew bullshit on her from the window so she can't get in."

"From the window- That makes me sound like a princess in despair who needs to be rescued from her tower!"

Garcia took a pointed sip of her coffee.

Draco caught a flash of movement out of the corner of his eye and turned as a little bundle of fluff tumbled past him, scampered up the side of Garcia's chair, and nestled into the corner of her neck, hidden by blonde, blue-streaked hair and the edge of her jacket. Garcia put a hand over her mouth to suppress a giggle at the ticklish feeling, and the creature purred louder in response to the motion. She moved her hand to awkwardly pet Lafla, who snuggled in closer to her.

"I didn't know you were stopping by," Draco said as Luna stepped in. Ginny was right behind her. "Where's Blaise?"

"Waiting in the bullpen. Garcia called us, said it might go better if your mother met someone she knew first."

"Prentiss's idea," Garcia immediately said.

"Hey, as the only one of us who's been reliably going to class," Ginny said, nodding her head towards her friend, "Luna's got something to tell us."

"There's a New Year's celebration, for everything that's happened in the last year," Luna said. "It's taking place at Hogwarts, and the headmistress would like to formally invite all of you to give you awards for services to the school. Professor McGonagall told me to tell you first, since she doesn't think Hotch is going to be too agreeable to any more publicity." Draco was already smirking at the very idea of it.

"Is that what she said?"

"I think it was implied."

The small ridges along the boggart rippled as it took a deep breath, causing Garcia to stifle another giggle.

"She's not really expecting any of you, though, not since all of you are still intensely hiding from the magical world's obsession over you. Besides, everyone else who was supposed to get an award isn't going to be there either."

"They'll be at the Warrington estate, or back here, right?" Draco guessed and Luna nodded. The Warrington estate had been turned over to those orphaned by the Silent Massacre in Cassius's will. Besides its original inhabitants, it was now also filling with more students who were orphaned by the war. Blaise, once he had gotten back on his feet with his mind functioning soundly once more, had taken over its management.

"She thought it'd be nice to check, just in case."

The two newcomers waited in the office and talked a little more with the original pair, until Garcia felt Lafla's fur stand on end. Wordlessly, Luna collected her boggart, who slipped up Luna's arm and hid behind her neck as she felt someone else approaching.

"Nice seeing you!" Ginny said, waving to Garcia. "And, Draco, do we have a set date we're all heading back on?"

"That probably depends on when Hotch is done obsessively counting heads in his house. I'll ask Harry. I mean, theoretically we could go back without him, but...well, it's about the same time we'll be getting all of the Weasleys and others with hypervigilant parents back too."

Ginny nodded. "Let us know, then."

"Most definitely." The light lines around his eyes went lax, and Ginny shifted to the side as she heard footsteps coming down the hallway behind her. "Mother," Draco greeted softly.

"Draco." Narcissa's eyes flickered around the room, obviously trying to hide any surprised reaction at all the muggle technology and managing it quite remarkably.

"Mrs. Malfoy," Blaise said coolly by her side, having led her down to the office, "correct me if I'm mistaken, but I believe you've never met Ginny Weasley or Luna Lovegood." He gestured to them in turn, and Narcissa nodded cordially to each. "And of course, this is Penelope Garcia, our resident technological mastermind."

Garcia smirked briefly at the term, said in such professional tones, and got to her feet. "Hi."

Narcissa stood there for a moment, obviously not sure what to make of the woman before her but politely not saying so. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you."

"The same to you. Um, this would be your first stint in the muggle world, wouldn't it?"

"Yes," Narcissa replied. "I've never had the occasion to cross over, particularly not into the muggle government's realm."

"Ah, if you'll excuse us," Ginny said, grabbing onto Luna and Blaise subtly and tugging them towards the door. "Have a good morning, but we better get going." She nodded to Narcissa, and when Malfoy-nee-Black turned away from them she waved enthusiastically at the other two and mouthed, "Bye!"

Draco smiled briefly at her then turned back to his mother as the door closed behind the trio. Narcissa seemed entirely able to ignore them, which no one could blame her for. They were an even odder combination than the Gryffindor trio.

"Draco tells me you work in...communications?" Narcissa said, almost tentatively.

"In a sense," Garcia replied. "Most people in the muggle world carry phones and computers, especially in America, but those are traceable so I can hack into them and see what people are doing or where they're going. It can let me tell the rest of the team where someone's at, or what they've been looking into."

Narcissa blinked a couple of times. "Is that how you found everyone..."

"During the Silent Massacre?" Draco finished. "Yeah. Hermione had a phone with her."

Narcissa looked like she was just now beginning to understand how Draco had made the decision to leave the Malfoy family behind.

Ethan Hotchner and his two sons finally reached the expected degree of tension that was irreconcilable and Ethan turned back for home, cheerfully saying that he'd be back at some point to see his grandsons. He and Hotch had managed not to murder each other thus far, and Sean agreed it would perhaps be best that they not push it further.

"You know," Harry commented, "it was almost like he was sticking around in case something happened."

"What was he expecting to be, a meat shield?" Sean asked before his older brother could say something worse.

Harry was positive that he wanted to keep a close eye on the workings of his son's family to clarify that yes, it was in fact a functional group of people who got along without the abuse that had taken place under his own roof. By the end, Harry had kept a small tally of the times he'd seen Ethan look at his son with something akin to a grudging respect. He kept that to himself, though.

Sean reluctantly admitted that he had probably better get back to work. He'd told his boss that his nephew had cancer and was going through pretty rough treatment for the last couple of years, which had gotten him some leniency. "Now that everything's cooled down," he said, "I probably shouldn't use that excuse anymore. Know what that means?"

"No?" Harry replied.

"You've got to come to the restaurant and meet my boss. It'll give me some sort of validity."

Harry grinned and promised he would, and Sean left shortly after.

Before the end of the week, Harry found himself suddenly scooped up into a hug by someone he realized that he had not thought of for the better part of a year, he realized rather guiltily. "Hey, Aunt Jessica," he said when she finally released him.

She looked him over quickly, face slowly growing more horrified. Her eyes scanned him again, taking in the scars that were visible, and turning pale as she caught sight of the ones that disappeared under his shirt, particularly the ones from Greyback's claws on his neck. "Dear God, what happened to you?" she whispered. "Sean told me all of you were back, but he didn't mention..."

"Er, it's a long story," Harry said, exchanging a look with Hotch and expressing gratitude to the universe that they'd manage to rectify Hotch's "zombie-poltergeist" situation, which would definitely have thrown Jessica even more. "I don't think you really want to know."

She assured them that she really did. They did their best to give her the PG version, without mentioning alternate worlds or dark lord doppelgangers. She told them she changed her mind, and that she actually hadn't wanted to know and could they please scrub her brain?

With no one left to receive an impromptu visit from, Harry decided it was time to return the favor. "I'll be gone only a day or two," he promised, and Hotch nodded reluctantly. Harry grinned at him. "Oh come on, I'll be back before you know it. And hey, maybe I'll manage to convince him this time that you're not an abusive jerk."

"Yeah. Thanks for that, again."

"Well, maybe you'll think twice about dying next time," Harry replied, beaming.

He spent the morning at the Ministry in meetings. Somehow, his actions had culminated into doing the thing he had said he wouldn't do, and he realized in the middle of one conference that he was discussing potential methods for restructuring the justice system to ensure fairness and consistency. A mental review of his schedule told him that his next meeting involved discussing legislation that was coming up for review. His afternoon had been purposefully free, however, and he darted down to the Department of Mysteries and through the Veil before he could properly consider what he was doing.

He showed up on Haley's doorstep first. "Hi," he said right before she pulled him into a tight embrace.

"Harry," she breathed, then let him go. "You never stopped to see us before you left!"

"Yeah," he said awkwardly, rubbing the back of his head. "Everything got out of control, and it just... Sorry. I wanted to come see you sooner but I had to get things sorted out back home first."

"Well, now-" She looked him over. "Come get something to eat."

"I'm either getting fed or forced to sleep. Or asked if I'm abused," Harry said as he closed the front door behind him. "I'm beginning to accept that this is my life from now on."

"The war's over, isn't it?" she asked as she brought him into the kitchen.

"Completely done. Nothing left. All over. Except a few stragglers, that is, but it's close enough that we're tentatively celebrating. Unfortunately, they put a bunch of us in charge of some reconstruction efforts because we were the only ones who appeared mildly competent."

"That's terrible," she said, frowning. "Your childhood's gone."

"Yeah, I suppose." He smiled slightly. "But honestly, I wouldn't have traded this for anything, not after seeing what happened here for the magical world. We did a lot of good, and we stopped a lot of terrible things from occurring. I'm satisfied with that."

"Hmm." She pulled out some leftovers from the refrigerator and got a plate out. Her expression shifted a couple of times as she let her thoughts run their course, and he let her think things through while she got the meal ready. "Since your father's...back," she said, "are you living with him again?"

"Of course," he replied calmly, awaiting the accusation.



"Well, would it be better for you to stay somewhere that you'd be protected? You were endangered several times that you were with him," she said, neatly avoiding the statement that Harry knew Hotchner would be making when he went to see him.

He paused, thinking over the proper wording for his response. "If I left," he finally said, "it would be because I'm too much of a danger to my family, not the other way around. Any work that follows him home... I'm prepared to deal with it. Maybe I'd say something different if the last couple of years hadn't happened, but as it is – no, I'm happy where I am." He could hardly blame her for being distrustful of any version of her ex-husband after the one in this world had made a choice that got her followed by a serial killer.

"If anything goes wrong," she said, interrupted awkwardly by the ding of the microwave, "would you consider living here?"

"Miss me?" he cheekily asked before he could stop himself.

"Well, yes," she admitted and he was startled into a grin.

"I've brought home more trouble than my father has," he pointed out. "I'm not sure that'd be very safe for you and Jack."

She set the warmed plate of curry in front of him and handed him a fork. "I lived for a year from a killer. For my kids, I'd do it again."

"But you shouldn't have to," he said gently. "Have you gotten settled back in yet?"

"Yes," she said. "It was quite interesting to explain the situation to my old boss, but once she understood what had happened she was quite willing to take me back. Jack's returned to his normal school, and he's actually a bit ahead in some of his classes because of the school he was at under witness protection so he's doing well. What about you?"

"I'll be going back to school in a month or so. We need to get some things worked out in the government first, and..." In an undertone, he said, "Well, Dad needs to stop doing a headcount every five minutes and mother hen us a little less before I feel comfortable returning."

Haley blinked rapidly a couple of times. "Really?"

"He's understandably a bit twitchy about keeping the two of us close for a while. I think he'll get over it by the time next term starts. Or maybe he and I will devolve into PTSD attacks, but I'd like to hope for the best."

The next stop was to a small apartment near Quantico. The door was locked and the alarm set, so he felt a bit awkward breaking in but he'd been assured it was all right. He sent a message to Hotchner warning him that there was someone in his flat so he didn't come home and have panic at seeing someone there, and then gave in to having no life and started doing catch-up homework.

Hotchner jumped when he opened the door and saw Harry sitting at the kitchen table, prompting the latter to raise an eyebrow. "I did text you," he said.

"My phone's dead," Hotchner admitted, trying to be subtle as his hand drifted away from his gun. It was rather impossible to do so, considering that he was balancing a plastic cup of coffee in one hand and his go-bag in the other, evidently having just returned from a trip.

Harry snorted. "Pass it over," he said and Hotchner did so with only a trace of suspicion. A couple of moments and a spell later, Harry handed it back. "Charging your battery is no longer necessary."

"You didn't have to do that," Hotchner said slowly.

"Sorry, but your habit of letting your phone die is starting to get a bit annoying," Harry admitted without any reluctance. "Dinner's on the stove."

Hotchner glanced over, blinked a few times in surprise, and then decided not to ask where Harry had gotten half the ingredients from. "How long have you been here?" His tone did little to hide how much he dreaded the answer. Or rather, it would have done a lot to hide it if Harry hadn't been living around profilers practically for years by now.

"Since eight in the morning two days ago," Harry said calmly and he heard Hotchner wince so badly behind him that some coffee slipped out of his mug and hit the floor. Without even looking, he waved his wand towards the ground to clean it up. "I'm kidding. I got here a couple of hours ago."

Hotchner let out a breath that could have either been a sigh, a groan, or a silent agreement with himself not to kill Harry unless he got way too annoying.

"Seen Haley yet?"

"This morning. She says hi."

"No, she didn't."

"Well, no, but maybe it was implied."

He knew he was making light of their divorce and all the hard feelings that ran between them because of it, but at the same time, he knew he couldn't see their relationship as it was without hurting. From the look he saw Hotchner give him out of the corner of his eye, he knew Hotchner was fully aware of that too.

"How've you been?" Hotchner asked and Harry found himself describing what had happened since he'd left this world for what was probably the thirtieth time at least.

"What's happened over here?" Harry asked.

"A couple of things. Have you stopped by to see the magical world here yet, or were you planning on doing that as you went back?"

Harry snorted. "How about never? They've all got attitude problems."

Hotchner decided not to say anything about how Harry's own attitude the first month they'd known each other. "Harry Potter contacted me."

Harry paused. "How'd he manage that?"

"I'm not entirely sure, especially since he used a phone instead of an owl or any other magical communication and I know he didn't ask anyone for my number while he was here getting help from you. At any rate, he's living with Sirius Black and Remus Lupin right now. He wanted my advice on prosecuting the Dursleys, and it doesn't seem to matter that I know next to nothing about British law."

"I'll give you the same resources we're planning on using before I leave," Harry said, smirking slightly. He was still facing his homework, back to Hotchner while he worked around the stove. "Sorry, our pathetic little leechy selves tend to latch onto anyone who gives us any concern. It's an unfortunate habit."

And a classic abuse sign, but for once Hotchner didn't pounce on that. Maybe he'd finally come to the conclusion that his alternate self had never intentionally caused his son harm.

"Right... Anyway, he seems to be doing well with Sirius and Remus. What?" He frowned at Harry's muffled laugh.

"You first met Black right after he'd gotten out of prison in our world, so he wasn't exactly fit to be taking care of anyone at the time. You didn't get along with him until you both discovered how I'd been taken through the BRP, and then you two united just to go after Mundungus Fletcher."

"In this case, we've united against the Dursleys. They're a piece of work."

The growl that entered Hotchner's voice made Harry turn around and look at the alternate version of his father. "What's got you so badly against them?"

Hotchner turned sharply, an incredulous and almost outraged look on his face. "What the he- What on earth do you mean by that?"

The shift to avoid cussing almost made Harry smile, but he tilted his head to the side instead. "I mean, you've never even met them, but you're just as angry as..."

Hotchner was quiet for a long moment. "Because you were so nonchalant about telling us that your throat was scarred from metal they'd starved you into eating. If the Dursleys here were half as bad, than there's no way I'm letting them get away with what they've done."

Harry nodded slowly. "Okay."

He didn't expect anything else, but Hotchner provided it anyway. "Besides, if things were slightly different, what happened to Harry Potter would have been my responsibility anyway. It wasn't a big change that caused you to be my son."

Harry sat quietly, a strange thought occurring to him. "Hey," he slowly said. "Knowing what you know about both worlds, and how badly things went... Would you rather have never known about magic? About how incompetent some of the most powerful people in the world are?"

Hotchner put his back to the kitchen counter so he could fully face Harry and leaned his palms on the edge. "I could be happy both ways," he said after a long moment. "I was happy both ways. I can't say I'd rather have this knowledge taken from me now. It really isn't that different, since magic doesn't affect me much."

"Well, what about the war? Would you have rather stayed out of that, like you did here?"

"Personally, yes. No one sensible wants to go into a war. But if I had investment to get involved, then there's nothing that could have stopped me. It sounds like profilers did a great deal of good in your world during the war, and I would not have minded being a part of that."

From his tone, he already knew the next question, but Harry asked it anyway. "Again, after seeing what's happened in both worlds, would you..." Hotchner waited calmly, and Harry searched his gaze beseechingly for some answer that he knew wasn't there. "Never mind," he sighed, turning away slightly.

"Harry," Hotchner said quietly and he looked up at him. "I regret not taking the wrong bag that day I got into a fight with Nickelson. I wish the Hallow would have given my line magic if I meant I got two sons."

Harry blinked rapidly as the meaning behind his words settled in, and he nodded abruptly. "Okay," he said, unable to get across what he wanted to say. "O-Okay."

Hotchner smiled slightly at him, and as he turned back to the stove, Harry realized that it was the first time he'd seen that look on the man's face.

Hermione sent out an official day to gather all the stray Hogwarts students back at school to get them out of the public eye and back into education. It might have been harder to herd everyone back, but the Weasley family decided to hold a celebration to commemorate it and gathered all of them to the Burrow for a feast. Stomachs full, the kids collapsed on various pieces of furniture around the house that night and in tents that had been pitched in the yard, sometimes sharing four to a bed, and were roused in the morning to go back to Hogwarts.

Once they were there, it took less than three hours to gather the entire QDA in the Room of Requirement without sending a single text message or patronus. Absolutely no one was surprised.

"Don't take my railroad!"

Harry ignored the indignant squawk from the direction of the Monopoly board and its psychotic players, instead heading over to a corner he hadn't frequented in what felt like years. Really, he hadn't gone there with the sole purpose of relaxing since fourth year, so the statement wasn't wholly inaccurate.

"How's everyone's 'break' been?" he asked and grinned as the other three stifled groans.

"I'm going to die," Draco groaned. "I keep getting attacked by reporters every time I step foot in a public place. I was hiding in Garcia's office by the end."

"Speaking of which..." Ron said. "You got the papers signed, didn't you?"

"Well, of course," Draco said, rolling his eyes. "Did you doubt Garcia and I?"

"If I did, I shouldn't have."

There was a short scream behind Harry. "One day," he said calmly, "I'm going to burn that board in an exorcism ritual."

"I want proof that that thing's dead when you do," Ron said quickly.

Draco's phone vibrated and after glancing at it the Slytherin got to his feet. "Hey, I'll catch up with you later," he said.

"What? Where are you off to?" Hermione demanded and Draco paused.

"Well, um, someone might have broken into Hogwarts..."

"Ooh, let's go see Elle," Ron agreed, pushing himself off his chair and hurrying to stand by Draco. "This'll be fun."

Draco rolled his eyes but the other two were also getting up so he succumbed to having tag-alongs. "Fine," he said. "Harry, don't look so eager. You just saw everyone!"

"I just saw the current BAU. I haven't seen Elle in months," he replied. "Now quit chattering and lead the way, why don't you?"

Elle was not alone in her break-in. Reid was next to her in a corner of the library, and Harry could hardly be convinced to believe that Madame Pince had not noticed the two walking in, like Elle claimed.

"She let us in because I spent so much effort trying to protect the library," Reid muttered and Hermione beamed at him.

"You two are something special," Ron said.

"It's been months since I've seen either of you," Hermione said, pulling out a chair and dropping into it. "How have you been?"

"Surprisingly happy to be back to normal work," Reid chirped up immediately. "Much less immediate action and a lot more planning and deduction. You know, what I was actually trained to do."

"But you were introduced to this library for your troubles, so I hardly think that you left ill compensated," Draco pointed out.

"Oh, I never said anything against that," Reid agreed. The stack of books beside him was a rather stark testament to his statement. "I don't think I'll ever get used to the floo network, though, no matter how convenient it is."

"The first time I used it, I plopped out in Knockturn Alley," Harry said. "Probably almost got turned into Boy-Who-Lived stew by some hag, but Hagrid pulled me out of there."

"I feel like I need to compile a list of things your dad should never hear about," Elle mused, "but I feel the list would be so long I'd become very depressed."

"Probably," Harry agreed.

"Can't we just make portkeys for them?" Draco asked, glancing at the other three.

"They couldn't use them without a witch or wizard to activate them, I think," Hermione said, shaking her head. "It'd be more inconvenient. Besides, Harry's already made enough illegal ones that we should probably hold off on that."

Everyone looked at Harry, who blandly said, "So I made about thirty to take me to various places around America in case something goes horribly wrong. Sue me."

"I'm sure the Ministry would hate to do so, considering your glorified status," Elle said, amused. "Hey, Reid, when are you heading down to bother Snape?"

"Er, probably about now, before any of his classes start," Reid replied slowly. "Why?"

"I was going to look something up in case students come in here soon, so I suppose we both better hurry."

"I'll go with you," Hermione volunteered to Reid, pulling the strap of her bag over her shoulder. "Just in case you get stopped in the hall or something, which I don't think will happen but would be rather strange to explain. There are still some students here who never saw you, after all."

"Fine with me," Reid said.

"I've got to see Snape's face when he sees you broke in again," Ron said without pretense, hurrying to get up and avoid being left behind. Draco brightened at the prospect and followed them.

Harry raised one foot to start after the trio, a grin already across his face, but a thought made him pause and he stayed where he was. "I'll help you find what you're looking for," he said to Elle instead. "Before the first years come in to harass you."

"Oh, my knight in shining armor," she said dryly.

"We have a lot of knights in shining armor around here, actually," he replied and she rolled her eyes at him.

The other four left, quietly talking amongst themselves, and Elle moved over to another row of books to start scanning for a certain title. She sent Harry off in another direction to gather some books on the history of the foundation of international magical governments, which he decided not to ask about, and they met back up where they had started a couple minutes later.

"So what's up?" she asked without glancing at him, sorting through the books quickly.

"I just realized I haven't really seen you on your own since you kept checking up on me in the first world we found," he said, sitting on the edge of the table. Elle didn't stop what she was doing, though he saw a new tension in her shoulders."I was so out of it back then that there were a few questions I didn't think to ask and I thought that maybe I should just try to forget about it but... I think it's going to bother me more if I don't find out for sure."

"Ask away," she said, tone too casual.

"When you came to visit," he asked slowly, "were you keeping me on suicide watch?"

Her hands stopped their motions.

"And did you make sure I stayed connected to Hotchner because you knew I wouldn't kill myself while I was attached to him?"

She closed her eyes and her hands clenched into fists on the table.

"Thought so," he said quietly.

"Harry," she started carefully.

"I get it."

"No, you have to understand," she said. "We'd already lost so many people, and you and Blaise were both pulling away from everyone so quickly and so harshly that we thought you two were going to be the next casualties. I love Blaise, we all do, but I couldn't do anything for him. I didn't know him as well as others did, and I knew that he was around the rest of us enough that maybe we could wear him down. But you were out of our reach, and every time I went to see you..."

"I was getting worse, and I was dying," he agreed. "It's all right. Really, I understand."

"No, it's not all right. I knew that if we stayed around you longer, you'd just learn to fake everything and we wouldn't know how you were actually doing. You had to be on your own, especially if you were ever going to learn that you had to stop taking care of others and start thinking about yourself while you were...in that state. But if you were too much on your own, you'd have opportunities, and we didn't want to give you that."

She took a deep breath. "So, yes, I told Hotchner that I knew you wouldn't run if you were still attached to him, and that your magic would calm down if someone consistently stayed in between your magic and you. He thought I meant your unconscious magic that was trying to kill you; I don't think he ever knew I was worried about a conscious effort." She finally looked up at him. "I didn't want you to know about this."

"If this were anything else, I probably wouldn't be exactly pleased that you were all so focused on me when you had other things to be worried about, but... I understand this. You had a lot more to lose than I did by not doing anything. And I'm glad all of you knew me well enough to get that I needed help." He glanced away, almost guiltily. "As for keeping me handcuffed to him... You were probably right."

"You pulled through on your own," Elle said cautiously.

He gave her a look filled with dry humor. "Now come on, the survival bit? I managed that. Forgiving my father? I wouldn't have done that if not for you, Elle. I don't think you know how much I owe you for that. Can you imagine how horrible it would have been, if I hadn't forgiven him by the time he came back? If he went through all of that, and then discovered I hated him? If he returned and I couldn't get over how much pain I'd been in?"

"I helped a little."

"You saved me," he corrected. "Perhaps more than you know. I would never have been able to forgive him if you hadn't made me consider what happened from his view, or any view besides my own, really. I was in too much pain for logical thinking."

"You would've managed it."

"Eventually. But it would've hurt a lot more if I'd gone through all of that on my own, the forgiveness and the dying. So... Thank you."

Elle smiled briefly at him. "You're one of us, practically. It's not like I could have just let you go off on your own like that without any guidance. Once a kid of the BAU, always a kid of the BAU."

Harry paused. "What do you think's going to happen when someone else eventually joins the team? I mean, if the BAU continues what it's doing now, occasionally taking magical cases, they'd have to introduce a newcomer to the magical world, but how would they explain the war and everything else?"

Elle snorted at the idea of it. "A lot of coffee and the offer for psychiatric help once the explanation's been given." She tilted her head at him. "Is it weird, that everything's over?"

"It's not over until all the trials are done, and we're still missing a few Death Eaters." He grimaced. "There's been no sighting of Lestrange. I'll bet someone's hiding her."


He snorted lightly. "After everything, I don't want to be arrogant, but I think we can handle her when she shows up again. I know Dad's still looking for her, even if he claims he's leaving her case to the magical authorities, and I know that one day she's going to try to come after us again. But we know more than we did before, and as long as we don't get cocky or slow, we can win against anything she throws at us."

"If I knew any less about what she'd done, I think I could possibly feel sorry for her when she shows up again," Elle said. She went back to sorting through the books, calmer now that she knew Harry wasn't holding her scrutiny over him in one of his worst moments against her.

"What about you?" Harry asked. "How's everything been?"

"Transformations are getting less painful. I've been at the Ministry a lot because of that werewolf legislation they're trying to get passed. No one seems to care that I'm not actually an uncontrolled werewolf anymore, and they keep using me as an example for a good citizen of society. That cure's circulating through research groups now that more people are hearing about it, so maybe it's going to hit the markets soon."

"I hope so."

"Yeah. I'm still doing my own research with Draco, and can I just say how weird it is to be working with so many teenagers all the time? It's worse when you guys know a lot more about something than I do. My ego's really taking a blow. Or it would be if you guys hadn't taken over your own government, killed a Dark Lord, outmaneuvered some of the brightest minds in your country, etcetera."

"We're special."

"You're something."

The winter passed without incident.

Well, it passed without incident considering what Hotch now considered to be an 'incident.' No one tried to kill his family, the Unsubs were all nonmagical, and not a single Dark Lord rose. Strauss once made an offhanded comment to him that she was sorry their workload was so terrible after he had just returned from the dead – eight times. He told her it was a refreshing relief.

Harry informed him that Gideon was having way too much fun with his new post as one of the DADA professors. Gideon had also unofficially been made the muggleborn go-to man, since he could best explain the differences in the worlds for them. The elitist response that should have been present never happened, since many of them had to admit that he'd already taught them very well as the DADA professor under Umbridge.

So when his phone went off at three in the morning, he knew it could only be a case.

It wasn't a case.

"Hotch, tell Harry to get over here right now," JJ said urgently on the other end.

"Do you need the rest of the team?"

"No, just Harry. Tell him to hurry."

Hotch put her on hold and called his oldest son as he sat up and started grabbing clothes. The phone rang, long enough that it went to voicemail. He hung up and moved to try again, but the phone vibrated in the next instant.

Behind Harry's voice there was an undercurrent of loud noises in an echoing chamber that he was rapidly moving away from. "Sorry, I was in the Great Hall."

"JJ needs you."

"I can have a group of us in less than five minutes-"

"She said she just needed you."

"I've never been to her house."

"Get here and I'll drive you over." He snagged his keys off the bedside table as he spoke, shoving them into his pocket.

"I'll be right there."

Harry hung up, and Hotch went back to JJ's line. "He's coming. What's going on? Is it safe enough for me to bring Jack?"

"You'll see," JJ said, almost annoyed. "And yes. I've got to go. Will, Will, grab that, get it before he- Ugh, I've really got to go." Then she hung up on him too.

Hotch woke Jack up, shaking his shoulders urgently but gently. "Jack, buddy, I need you to wake up." Jack stirred slightly, and Hotch shook him a bit harder. "You can go back to sleep in the car, but-"

There was an odd sound from downstairs that he'd learned to recognize as the sound of a portkey.

Jack sat up immediately. "Harry?" He looked at Hotch. "What's happening?"

"We need to go help JJ."

Harry was waiting impatiently for them in the living room, shoving the portkey into his pocket as he did so. He perked up when he saw them. "Jack's coming with us?"

"We're all sticking together," Hotch said firmly, and he ignored Harry's grin. "Grab the keys." Behind him, he heard Harry mutter an accio in the direction of the kitchen while Hotch opened the front door and locked the house.

There was a popping noise in front of him, and he glanced up to see Harry already waiting by the car door. Jack hurried to his brother, effortlessly moving with his sharper senses despite his lack of sight. Harry ushered him into the back seat while Hotch opened the driver's seat door.

"Hey," Harry called and Hotch stuck up his hand to catch the keys midair. As he slid into the seat, put the keys in the ignition slot and turned the engine on, he took a moment to tell the side of himself that dismissed magic as cheating that Harry's assistance was certainly useful whenever he needed something to happen faster.

The drive to JJ's home went as quickly as he could manage without breaking speed limits too badly. He was sure, however, that Harry was switching some of the lights to their favor since they never hit a red light. Within what felt like a couple of minutes and an eternity, they were pulling into JJ's driveway.

"Jack, stay here," he ordered. "We'll be right back." Harry was already getting out of the car, but he waited until he got a nod from Jack before he hurried after Harry. His oldest son locked the car behind them with a dismissive wave of his hand and was knocking on the door with Hotch just a few steps after him.

Will opened the door a couple of seconds later and ushered them in. "Upstairs, second room on the right," he panted, face red like he'd been running for the last hour. The Hotchners followed his directions, and almost immediately skidded to a stop, bewildered.

The room was turning colors as they washed, from mauve to a horrible yellow to neon green, as half the objects in the room hovered between waist-level and eye-level. The crib had been secured to various parts of the room, including the window ledge and the door jam, through bungee cords. The rest of the items for the baby's room had been completely abandoned to the wind, and a couple were flying around at rather dangerous speeds.

"Help," JJ said flatly from where she was holding onto the crib with both hands and leaning all of her weight on it. Despite her efforts, the crib was still shakily hovering above the ground by a couple of inches.

"I think Henry's got magic," Harry said wisely.

"If I didn't know you, I'd have some rather choice words for you about the obviousness of that and more important concerns right now."

"Finite incantatem," Harry said, waving his wand. A couple of objects dropped to the floor. "Hm. One second."

"Do you remember this happening with Harry, or Jack?" JJ asked as Harry moved closer to her, casting protection charms around her and the crib in case a flying object came near them.

"No," Hotch said. Will came up beside him, carrying more bungee cords. Before he could use them, Harry cast sticking charms to the bottoms of the crib legs and combined his weight and JJ's to force the sticking charms to connect to the floor. "The first time I noticed something odd was when Jack started speaking parseltongue." And when Harry had started dueling the Woodsmarked Killer right in front of him, of course.

"Dad," Harry said cautiously. "Do you think this could have anything to do with...?"

The wand, Hotch realized. He lifted his head slightly in understanding, eyes widening.

"The way you too do that is a bit disconcerting," JJ said, no longer having to lean on the crib to keep it from going airborne. "Are you sure you two don't have a telepathic connection?"

"That'd be easier on the phone bill, surely, but no," Harry said. "Well, I guess this could confirm that..."

"But why would it have shown up so much earlier in Henry than either of you?"

"Well, the source of your line was, practically be definition, invisible. Hers has been anything but invisible."

"Source of what line?" Will asked.

Hotch and Harry exchanged another look, and then Harry turned away to start settling the items back to where they were supposed to be one by one. "The Invisibility Cloak gave my line magic because it was afraid it would never be passed on. Similarly, the Elder Wand knew it wouldn't be used if its owner was nonmagical, so it gave your line power too. JJ became the master of the Elder Wand when she took it from Dumbledore, the night she went into labor."

JJ stared at him for a long moment, and then she looked at Will. "I hope you liked magic while we were at Hogwarts."

"What's one more magical child when we've already got another twenty or so?" Will asked and JJ smirked in agreement and approval. "I'm not used to anything else by now. What wand is this, by the way?"

"The Elder Wand, one of the three Deathly Hallows," JJ said, and launched into an explanation. Harry spent the time soothing the room back to its normal state, one hand up with its palm towards anything that could hit him while his wand moved, sending restorative magic towards the charmed objects floating and flying around him.

Hotch watched his son working, a slight, soft smile coming over his face. With one hand protecting himself and the other setting everything back to normal, all of Harry's attention was divided but he wasn't straining nearly as badly as just about anyone else would have been. Hotch had heard murmurings since the beginning of the war about how strong his son was, and he had no illusions about the power Harry was wielding. His son was just cautious about how he used it.

A flicker of movement caught his attention, and he glanced to the side and saw JJ looking at him with a smile. He raised an eyebrow slightly at her and her smile widened before she turned away to watch Harry try to set everything back to normal.

"Harry, promise not to blow anything up in the next five minutes?"

"I'll try not to."

Hotch glanced at Will and JJ. "I'm going to bring Jack in. We brought him, just in case."

"I'll go with you, if you don't mind," Will said. "Nothing for me to do here."

They had reached the bottom of the stairs before Will came to a halt. "Your son doesn't have any way of hearing us from here, does he?"

Hiding his amusement at the very nature of the question, Hotch said, "He does, but he's not going to."

"What're the problems, with having a magical child?" Will asked immediately.

Hotch frowned slightly. "I'm not sure that should be your focus," he said cautiously.

"What? No, I'm just asking about problems so we know how to deal with them. I know the benefits must outweigh any consequences."

"You're sure?"

"The first time I ever saw you smile was watching your son, and the happiest I've ever seen you was about twenty seconds ago." Hotch blinked for a moment, startled. "So, problems?"

"Well... I think you're going to have issues with a lot of unintentional magic, like this."

"...What problems do you have with Jack and Harry?" Will asked when Hotch didn't offer anything else.

"I'm going to have a heart attack if I don't get used to apparation," Hotch said.

"That's it?"

"Mine are old enough to be smart about how they use their magic. You're going to have other issues, I expect."

"And...since he's got magic from a Hallow, like Harry and Jack do... Is he going to be stronger than normal?"

Hotch sighed, shrugging slightly. "I don't know. These two incidents are the first times a Hallow have given families magic, as far as we can tell. Harry's stronger than normal, but it seems like that's because of his experiences and training."

Hotch brought Jack in and got him settled on the couch in the living room, where he almost immediately went back to sleep. Harry finally finished putting the room back to normal, and JJ collected Henry from his crib. The three of them came downstairs and went into the kitchen, where Will was making coffee for everyone.

"Sorry about calling you out so early," JJ said to the Hotchners.

"It was seven my time. No problem," Harry pointed out.

Hotch waved off the apology. "You would've done the same." He glanced at Harry. "Don't you have class in a couple minutes?"

"It's Binns," Harry said unconcernedly. "He won't notice." He pulled out his phone as he spoke and added, "Probably should let someone know where I'm at before they go storm the Ministry or something. Again."

"I heard someone was starting a campaign to get you to be the Emperor of Magic," JJ said and Harry made a soft noise of protest.

"That petition needs to die a horrible death."

"I'm sure you're more than capable of fending off the hoards of attention from your adoring fans," JJ said calmly and Harry gave her a mournful look. "Oh dear. What happened?"

"I spent last Tuesday alternatively hiding in McGonagall's and Gideon's classrooms and sprinting around the school."

Hotch tried to muffle a snicker but some of it slipped out. Harry graciously did not point it out.

"They ambushed me on Wednesday."

JJ clapped a hand over her mouth, shoulders shaking.

"Well, ask a teacher for help?" Will suggested awkwardly when it became clear that the BAU agents weren't going to offer advice.

"Snape laughed at me. So I took to staying near him whenever they showed up because most of the group would back off and he stopped laughing once he had to threaten to hex a few. His suggestions were, uh, illegal, and required some potions ingredients that are on Ministry-restricted lists. Gideon just kind of patted my head sadly and pushed me back out of his office."

Henry woke up and immediately started crying, and JJ shifted away from the others, rocking the baby in her arms and murmuring softly to him. Will watched the two for a couple of moments, smiling softly. Hotch glanced at Harry and caught the wistful expression on his face, then turned away with a pang of forlorn longing. Of course, he realized, he'd never seen Jack as a baby, and he'd never gotten the opportunity to play that guardian role of big brother when Jack was too small to take care of himself.

There were a lot of things Harry had missed out on, Hotch knew, but all of a sudden, he understood something else. There was a lot that Harry had gotten in the last couple of years that no one else could ever have claimed. A student organization, over a hundred strong, at his beck and call if he so desired it, who relied on each other like family and often trusted each other more than their own kin. A blood family whose loyalty and strength had been tried enough times that no one could ever worry about its weakness. An experienced group of adults who not only treated him like a fellow adult but also like an equal, not out of politeness but out of refined respect. All that and so much more, made with Harry's own hands whether he realized it or not.

There was a shuffle behind him and he turned to see Jack sleepily walking over. "Sorry, buddy," Hotch said, reaching out to rub his shoulder as he came to stand between him and Harry. "Did we wake you?"

Jack nodded. "He's loud," he said, not gesturing but somehow making it understood that he was talking about Henry.

"Your brother was louder," Hotch said and Harry looked scandalized.

"Really?" Jack asked doubtfully.

"Oh yeah. He screamed the first week he came home and it sort of tapered off after that."

"Well, I'm glad I wasn't around then," Jack replied and Harry put a hand to his chest like he'd been shot.

"So unfair," Harry said, glancing at Will. "Can you believe this?"

"You'll live," Will said.

Harry turned to JJ. "Do I get any sympathy?"

"Considering how behind on sleep I am because of this little guy... No."

"Ugh, such a mean group."

Jack turned to JJ and Will, his sense of smell probably alerting him to their presence. "Hi!" After spending months with them during the Hogwarts siege, the two had claimed a special place of attention for him.

"Hey, Jack," Will said. "How've you been?"

"Good," Jack said, some of the tiredness beginning to leave his voice.

"How old are you nowadays?"

"Almost eleven."

Will glanced at Hotch, eyebrows going up with an unspoken question. "Jack's going to Hogwarts with Harry next year," Hotch said.

"Excited?" Will asked Jack.

Jack shrugged slightly. "I already know it really well, so not really. It won't be that different."

"You'll have class, though."

Jack grinned. "Yeah." He turned his head towards JJ, like he was about to say something, and then he paused. "Why's his nose so red?"

"He's been crying a lot," JJ said, absently thumbing Henry's bright nose for a moment. The infant reached up and touched her hand, quieting a bit. Harry smiled at the image, but Hotch paused.

"Jack," he said slowly and his youngest son looked up at him curiously. "Can you see what color his hair is?"

"Blond," Jack said after glancing at him quickly.

Harry's head snapped around, focusing on Jack. JJ and Will went quiet.

"Can you point to the lowest cabinet door near you?" Hotch asked, trying to keep any urgent emotion out of his voice.

He should have known better than to try that with someone who's hearing was so excellent and Jack tilted his head at him with a small frown. Without saying anything else, though, he pointed at the cabinet door.

"Jack, can you see?" Hotch asked. The rest of the room was waiting for the answer with bated breath.

Jack nodded like he'd just been asked a particularly stupid question.

"You could see colors before, but you couldn't tell what they were or what you were looking at," Harry said quickly, rambling as he tried to clarify. "Do you know what you're looking at now? Is everything in focus?"

"Yeah," Jack said obviously. "I figured out how to shift my eyes without shifting anything else, so they fix it."

Hotch crouched in front of him. "Can you show me?"

Jack nodded. The light of the kitchen reflected gently off his eyes, and as Hotch watched, the point of entry for that light into his lens changed as the orb's convexity and concavity adjusted to a more lupine shape. Behind him, where Harry had moved, he heard a soft gasp. His son's eyes were now the form that had become so familiar over the last few months after the lycanthropy treatment, but even as he watched, Jack was making the shift back, and the eyes were human again.

"When did you realize you could do that?" Harry asked.

Jack shrugged. "A couple of weeks ago."

JJ laughed silently on the other side of the island as Hotch's eye twitched.

"You can see again," Harry breathed. "Why didn't you say anything?!"

Jack shrugged.

"Jack fixed his blindness and Henry got magic." Will paused. "I'm making pancakes."

"Yes!" Jack cheered.

When the carb crash came an hour later, Hotchner shepherded his lot to the living room while JJ and Will tried to get Henry settled upstairs. Harry sprawled on the couch and Jack moved into his wolf form and dropped himself onto Harry's legs, head resting on his brother's stomach. With a couple of deep breaths, he was asleep.

"He's not blind anymore," Hotch murmured, still hardly believing it.

"I love magic," Harry sighed. He glanced upwards, where they could hear the low voices of Henry's parents. "If they don't mind, I'll cast a charm on the house so I'll know if he's using magic, and I can create a portkey here so I can come fix anything that goes badly wrong."

"Looks like you'll be supervising two underage wizards for the next couple of years."

Harry snorted. "Already supervising the lot back at Hogwarts. What's two more?" His fingers stroked through Jack's fur mindlessly, comforted by the feeling of his brother's back rising and falling with each breath.

Hotch watched him for a moment. He'd known that Harry had sought out signs of life from those around him, particularly during and after the war, since he'd been the subject of much of Harry's scrutiny. He'd always thought that it had given Harry comfort, but he had to reconsider that now. When he'd returned without working lungs, Harry had hardly paused, instead adapting within an instant. Now he couldn't help but wonder if Harry found signs of life to prove that he was still alive, that Harry had actually made it through the whirlwind of battles and everything else to come out the other end all right enough to be amongst the people who moved and breathed.

"I should probably get back to Hogwarts soon," Harry admitted softly. "History of Magic only goes for so long."

"I understand," Hotch said and Harry smiled sadly down at his brother's head. "Once you get him off you."

The blandly spoken words caught Harry off guard and he had to stifle a snort. "Yeah, there's that," Harry agreed. "I'll leave once he wakes up." He shook his head. "He's not blind... For weeks and he didn't even-!"

"Not mentioning something," Hotch said slowly, eyes moving up to the ceiling thoughtfully. "I wonder who he got that from."

"Hey, I resent that comment...mostly because it's true...but there's still resentment."

Hotch raised an eyebrow at him.

"Well, maybe not. More like resignation and defeat."

"I thought so." Harry smiled slightly, then bit back a yawn. "Get some sleep, Harry," Hotch suggested. "I'll wake you up when Jack starts stirring."


"Sleep. You look like you need it."

"I always look like I need it."

"You almost always do." He reached over and ruffled Harry's hair. Harry leaned into the gesture subtly. "I'll confirm there was a small catastrophe if anyone asks back at Hogwarts. Now sleep."

Harry, unsurprisingly, refused the suggestion quietly. He turned his head to look straight up at Hotch. "I think I'm going to do it. Everyone else was right."

"Have you considered the consequences?" Hotch said, not even bothering to ask what he was talking about.

"Yes. The issue right now with introducing the magical and nonmagical communities is that the former would be completely swamped by the latter. But if we take the process slowly, the magical community should start to grow quickly when economic benefits come in from a larger market."

"It sounds like you've spoken to our local economics experts."

Harry smiled briefly, but it was strained. "I think it'll work."

"If it goes wrong, it could go very badly."

"We'll do it slowly and we can back out if we need to. Do you think it'll work? I mean, I'm probably going to do it anyway, but..."

"I think you'll pull it off, if anyone can," Hotch said. "Just be thorough, be careful, and mobilize support. If the magical community isn't enthusiastic about it, you won't get anywhere with it."

Harry nodded. "We'll let more people in the government in on the secret, and then we'll add to the list of family members who can know. Word of mouth might just carry it from there, but internationally we're going to have to make sure everyone else is making similar moves. Britain can't just come out about it before the rest of the world by decades. That could be a catastrophe."

Hotch brushed the bangs off his head as he kept talking, discussing the details Hotch hadn't gotten around to pondering yet and considering who might make a good ally for it. Hotch let him go, no longer trying to get him to rest. There were plans and plots and schemes swirling over their head, hopes for what he could accomplish within a couple weeks to make gains in a couple years. Beneath Hotch's hand as he stroked Harry's head, he could feel a burning ambition to create something good to offset all the evil he'd seen done by the secrecy of magic.

Someone would turn the situation around and use their new knowledge of magic to create mischief, or to take the lack of a Statute to control anyone without magic more easily than they ever could before. There would always be those people. But for everyone else, it was a chance to grow into a more wondrous society than they had dreamed possible alone.

Harry's hair was soft between his fingers. He leaned against the physical contact, perhaps even consciously, as the hand he hadn't wound into Jack's fur gestured in the air. At some point, Jack woke up and rested his chin on Harry's sternum, watching him animatedly talk. Jack's eyes flickered to Hotch's and the two of them shared a grin.

Maybe the war was over and the dark lord defeated.

That didn't mean there was going to be downtime at the Hotchner house.


Author's Note: This was originally the final chapter, but it ended with Hotch telling Harry to go to sleep and Harry finally got some rest. After thinking about it... I don't think that would have happened. None of them are going to rest, I mean, really.