However, once his shock subsided he used his cellphone to take a picture of the scene in front of him and sent it to Brian …
A wolf made of smoke jumped down from the treehouse it was in and trotted across the river and forest. After the short trip he found a different dwelling in the trees and jumped into the living room segment of the treehouse. The wispy wolf just stared at the tall 21 year old blonde man kneeling on the ground next to a white haired witch and a brown haired man sitting on the couch.
The green eyes of the young blonde man looked up when a little occamy flew out of his hair and spotted the smoke wolf, "You ok, dad?"
"Yes." The wolf said softly before shifting into Brian, albeit with more gray hair. "I just realized how much you've grown-"
"Don't talk like that!" The white haired witch, who turned out to be Aster, scolded. "I'm not going to get nostalgic now. If I do, I'm going to cry. Get over here and hear your first grand baby's heartbeat."
Brian smiled as he went towards the couch where Tom was sitting, "I'd love to! Where's Draco and Cedric?" He asked as he watched the healer press a smooth squishy orb against Tom's slightly swollen belly. It was sending pictures to a little screen that was floating over the coffee table.
Julian chuckled, "Now that they're done fighting I believe they're getting dressed."
"Fighting? About what?" Brian asked with an amused smile as Aster searched for the baby in the belly.
Tom laughed, "Draco is accusing Cedric of being a seer." He exclaimed as a lovely basilisk, Opal, slithered onto the back of the couch and nuzzled his neck.
"He is! How can he be right about so many things and not be a seer?!" A 21 year old Draco exclaimed as he came out to the living fully dressed.
Cedric pouted, "I was joking!"
"You joke a bit too much." The deep voice immediately caught everyone's attention and they turned to see Severus at the floo with Silvia and Sophia. "Are we late?" He asked as he gave Obi, who was perched on the potion master's shoulder, a scratch behind the ear earning a purr.
Julian smiled and hugged his godfather and aunts, "You're right on time."
"Yeah, you can settle something." Draco said and turned back to Cedric. "He joked about the four of us getting together." Cedric said pointedly.
"I said that to tease your jealous ass." Cedric muttered sulkily.
Draco huffed, "You teased about Tom being the first one pregnant. You teased about, very specifically, a museum being made. Not to mention that crack about a swarm of pixies delaying our graduation ceremony a few years back."
Brian raised an eyebrow in amusement, "Perhaps there's something there."
"Quiet, everyone." Aster said as she fiddled with the gem she held against Tom's belly. "Found it!" She exclaimed excitedly and that comment was promptly followed by the little fluttering sound of a heartbeat coming from the screen. "There she is."
Julian grinned, "She … a little girl. Sirius and Remus will be sad they missed this."
Severus smirked, "They should've taken more care when visiting a sanctuary especially since it ended up being the very one the old Hogwarts acromantulas live at. Those two were swarmed because they spoke too loudly about the new exhibit."
"Really it serves them right, but they were very lucky." Silvia commented with an amused smile.
Sophia nodded, "Yes, Hagrid managed to save them and they got away with only a few scrapes even if they were forced to stay at the hospital. Let them babysit so they don't feel left out." She suggested with a wink knowing the babysitting will be more for the occasional break for the parents and not for Sirius and Remus.
However, the four parents to be noticed a tense feeling in the air. Julian looked from his dear godfather and his father. The auras he saw told him everything he needed to know. It didn't matter that a reasonable level of trust was reached between everyone in the last decade. If Sirius and Remus wanted to ever babysit they'd have to fight Brian and Severus. Also, no matter how amused they looked right now, Aster, Sophia and Silvia were also ready to fight for babysitting rights.
"I suppose we should do some shopping to finish the baby's room." Brian said as he helped Aster up from her seated position.
Tom chuckled as Opal excitedly nuzzled his neck, "Yes! Yes! We have to check out this new museum exhibit too. Opal is dying to see it." Tom said as he stood up with the basilisk, who has grown several inches in the last 10 years, followed behind him.
"Of course." Julian said with an affectionate stroke of Tanzanite's scales. "It's supposed to be a kind of a dedication to her so we must see it."
The group of humans and familiars headed to the floo. After all of them flooed over to Hogsmeade they walked down the pleasant street. As they got closer to their destination everything became a bit more busy and for a good reason. After all, a lot of people wanted to see the new exhibit in the Hogs Head Museum.
When they finally reached the lobby inside the museum they found a spot to sit. Severus and Julian went up to the counter to buy the tickets. As they waited they looked around the renovated former inn.
"This place just keeps getting bigger. Where do you think this exhibit is?" Tom asked as he looked at the counter.
Everything was clean and the floor was shiny durable tile, but kept most of its original features. The old tables were gone and had some comfy benches in its place. Off to the side of the counter was a map showing all three floors. It's that map that Aster was looking at.
Aster's finger tapped the map, "Where is the new exhibit?" Once she said that a little animated wand picture moved over the map's surface to the room everyone wanted. "It's on the third floor and far in the back."
"Got the tickets!" Julian said as he and Severus returned to the main group.
Everyone went through to the next room, which was much more open than the cozy lobby area. They passed a series of photos that commemorated the Tri-wizard tournament. The first three were of Sally winning each round of the first tournament. She was recognized as helping to bring the whole of the magical world together. On a pedestal next to the picture was the very squid trophy from the second round, which she donated to the museum.
Julian smiled, "Sally is officially the new host for the annual Tri-wizard tournament."
"Really?!" Cedric gasped and chuckled. "Oh she'll be great for that!"
Severus nodded, "Agreed. It'll be even more interesting with even more schools wanting to get involved. Cornelius told me 5 other foreign schools are seeing this as a good chance to show off their students' skills. They'll all be part of the next tournament."
"That's a really good sign!" Julian exclaimed cheerfully.
As they continued wandering through the exhibits they went by various things commemorating the slow changes in Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beaxubatons. Most of the items were pictures of the tutoring sessions and summer activities worked out with all schools. Even Gringotts had a gold textbook and quill given to the museum in their honor. After all, they opened their doors to help spread what they knew of the world and help students study in their library. As a result technology and education advanced quickly through magical Britain and each step was documented here.
"Oh Merlin. Can we just take the elevator straight to the top?" Draco groaned as they all went in the elevator and Silvia immediately hit the button for the second floor.
Cedric smiled sheepishly, "I'm not fond of this floor either … not since they added that."
'I wish to see Mama's model!' Opal hissed and stubbornly left the elevator the second the door opened.
Tom sighed, "You guys wait by the replica of Fawkes and we'll be right back." He said as he passed the sign claiming that this floor was dedicated to the rare creatures in magical Britain. Right next to that sign was a life sized figure of Fawkes who is living in the ministry under Cornelius' care and quite happy.
"I'll go with you." Julian said not wanting to leave his pregnant lover alone. He looked at the molding on the floor against the wall. It was an interesting snake skin pattern and it got thicker as he followed Tom.
Just around the corner was the very thing that unnerved people. It was a life sized replica of the biggest acromantula in the world. The very one Hagrid affectionately named Aragog and became a zookeeper to care for him and his kids. Hagrid was sad when the massive spider passed away, but still loves his zookeeper job and continues to care for all animals including Aragog's kids. It was very lucky for Remus and Sirius that the half giant stayed there, but there was nothing the sweet zookeeper could say to make the acromantulas replica any less creepy.
Julian patted Tanzanite on the head when the occamy growled, "It's just a replica … a scarily realistic replica." He said and they continued past the other replica including flying horses, unicorns and a three headed hound.
However, the most impressive was actually the one that started right outside the elevator. The scaled molding was actually the tip of the tail. It got bigger as you went towards the head which was all the way on the opposite side of the room. Not only was using the basilisk replica to encircle the entire floor an awesome way to show off how big Persephone was, but it made it easy to find the elevator.
Tom smiled sadly at the replica of Persephone's head, "They did an excellent job capturing her likeness." He said when he felt Julian's arms wrapped around his waist from behind. After relaxing a moment he looked at Opal, who was staring at the massive eyes of her mother. "I miss her too, but she promised to keep in touch."
When the stubborn basilisk was finally freed from the healers she decided to not just sit in a sanctuary. She actually volunteered to help in an educational program. Turns out not having the deadly trait to her eyes opened up a few child friendly opportunities. Her babies stay at a lovely sanctuary and she visits frequently especially when her mate, Oscar, isn't working. Unfortunately, that meant Tom and Opal didn't see her often unless it's this replica.
"She's proud of you." Tom said happily before crouching down to pet Opal.
Julian nodded, "Wonder how she'll react when we tell her about the new exhibit." He said and chuckled as an excited little basilisk zipped back towards the elevator. "Wait for us!" Julian exclaimed as he and Tom swerved around a few other people and exhibits as they raced after the basilisk.
'Hurry up!' Opal demanded as she approached the rest of the group.
Aster scoffed, "Don't tell us to hurry up! We were waiting for you!" She exclaimed, but she still hit the button so they could get in the elevator once Tom and Julian were spotted.
You could feel a bit of the growing excitement in the air as the elevator took them all up to the third floor. Everyone eagerly got out once those doors opened. They passed the sign that said the floor was for the history of magical Britain.
It had a summary of many famous and infamous wizards including Voldemort. Thankfully, Tom never cared enough to connect the dots with school and his new family. Even now he just walked by anything like that and followed everyone to the far back where the newest exhibit was tucked. It was called Fall of Dumbledore. However, the first thing you saw was something very beautiful.
"Oh, Opal … you should see this properly." Tom said and everyone clearly agreed because they all helped the serpent onto Brian and Julian's shoulders, who were the tallest people there.
What they wanted her to see was a beautiful mosaic made of gems that took up nearly the entire wall. The star of the painting was Opal and it was a very colorful, and yet, accurate mosaic that scaled her up to be the biggest thing in the exhibit room. As an extra touch the artist used actual shimmery opalescent gems for her scales and pink gems for her eyes. In the mosaic she was looking at her audience and her body was stretched out to relax in the sun.
"It's amazing." Tom said and took a picture of Opal next to her mosaic counterpart. He smiled at how excited his familiar looked. "Now where's th-" Tom's jaw dropped when he finally took his eyes off the mosaic to see what else was in the exhibit.
Severus looked at what caught Tom's attention and burst out laughing the second he spotted the one replica in the entire museum that wasn't life sized, "Oh dear Merlin! He'd hate this so much!" He managed to say through his laughter as everyone else laughed too.
On the wall was a 12 inch tall stone statue of Dumbledore. He was holding a vial as if he planned on smashing it and wearing a fashionable dress suit. It had no color and was just plain light gray stone. To make it harder to spot it was on the white wall next to the mosaic, a portrait of Fawkes fighting a dementor and a tv screen. Your eyes wanted to go to everything except the tiny statue.
"Is that really what he looked like?" Draco asked, a little disturbed by the statue of the skinny old man in the classy clothes.
Julian looked at the tv screen, "They're playing a pensieve."
Sure enough they all looked at the screen and saw the minister talking to Dumbledore who was disguised as Rita. The two were in the original Hogs Head Inn and not alone. The memory had wrinkles across it and was clearly that of an Auror hiding under an invisible cloak near the minister. This Auror saw everything.
Dumbledore's purse and glass were taken by other invisible Aurors, but the extra vial was revealed from the fake cleavage. The Auror stepped forward to possibly protect the minister and was immediately startled by something that launched up from the floor. The thing that nearly hit him was Opal, who landed on the minister's shoulders. Of course, her weight made the minister double over, but not the Auror watching. He saw Opal look straight into Dumbledore's eyes and her eyes glowed.
In an instant steam came out of Dumbledore and suddenly he not only looked like himself, but he was also turned into stone. It was a gaze that wasn't deadly like Persephone's used to be, but it did have more power than her father's gaze. So much more powerful that, instead of just turning him to stone, it burned away the Poly Juice potion in the wizard's body, which created the steam and turned Dumbledore back into himself.
The shocking change did nothing to stop the other hidden Aurors who were mid tackle. Their momentum made them unwillingly collide with the statue, effectively shattering the rather brittle stone. The Auror, whose memory this was, rushed forward and grabbed the stone arm that held the vial with the explosive potion. Once the vial, and arm, was safely put aside the Auror saw the minister taking a picture.
Brian gave a nostalgic smile, "I still have that picture." He said and showed off his cellphone's wallpaper, which was of the rubble of Dumbledore.
"This was perfect." Julian said, but that's when he looked at the time on his dad's phone. "We should do some shopping."
"Yes! Let's go and we can have lunch somewhere on the way!" Aster said excited to help work on the baby's room.
As everyone walked away a tiny Tanzanite landed on Opal's head after she was set down on the floor, 'Our humans need so much protection.'
'Yes, but we'll be there every time.' Opal hissed in amusement as they followed their humans to protect them through whatever came next …