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Tim had chosen a night at a quaint local pub with excellent reviews for traditional British food cooked well for their last evening in London. He'd thought about going out to a fancy restaurant or theatre but figured after the heavy formality of the wizengamot Hadrian would prefer something quiet and simple. Though he quickly found that the pub was not so quiet as it had appeared at lunch time, the local ale and the food were excellent and the whole ambiance of the pub was warm and welcoming. Perhaps a little too welcoming to be natural.
"Is this one of your properties?" Tim asked curiously.
"I honestly don't know. Probably, I do own property not far from this area of London. I've never been here before but the magic does feel familiar, I can feel protective elf magic wards. I haven't heard about any other magical family making money from warding muggle rental property, though I suppose most witches or wizards in Britain would keep it deathly quiet for fear of being shunned. But there seem to be more wards here than most of my properties usually have, whether that's because this is a pub and they need more protection to keep their patrons safe or whether it's owned by someone else in the magical world I don't know," Hadrian replied. "Let's not worry about it tonight and just enjoy our meal. We can look it up or ask one of the elves tomorrow if you're still curious."
Tim smiled and nodded. The food was worth the rave reviews he'd found online. Tim was quite spoiled when it came to food at home, Hadrian was an excellent and enthusiastic cook who was interested in a wide range of cuisines and the house elves had been learning extra skills from him so the meals they made when Hadrian didn't have the time or the energy were also very high quality healthy meals, and they made sure Tim always had access to a nutritious packed lunch and dinner when he was working a case so he didn't have to resort to whichever takeaway was quickest, or worse eating from the vending machine when they didn't even have time for that. But due to the years of starvation as a child Hadrian's stomach didn't digest fatty foods easily and he never cooked them and tended to avoid restaurants that fried their meals, so well prepared fried foods like the fish and chips on offer in the pub were something he rarely got at home and fried food of this quality was a real treat for him. Hadrian was also happy with the traditional Shepherd's pie, though the real treat for him was the homemade treacle tart.
They both had a little too much to drink and were in that happy stage of drunkenness where everything was wonderful and hilarious, after eating Tim tried to teach Harry to play pool and Harry trounced him at darts, and after a wonderful stress free evening they caught a taxi back to the motel because Hadrian was a little too intoxicated to apparate them safely.
Hadrian handed Tim a sobering potion to prevent a hangover in the morning as they prepared for bed, drinking his own before cleaning his teeth and casting a mouth freshening charm to get rid of the last of the taste. Tim grimaced as he drank it and Hadrian cast the mouth freshening charm on him as well before kissing him deeply. Tim got the hint and picked Hadrian up and carried him into the bedroom. Hadrian used magic to strip them both and prepare himself and opened his legs to cradle Tim's hips. "I need you inside me, I'm ready for you," he murmured.
Tim thrust inside Hadrian with a slow smooth stroke, burying himself deep before stopping to let Hadrian adjust to the intrusion. The spell prevented injuries but Hadrian was still maddeningly tight. Tim wanted to take his time on this last night they were alone together without work in the morning and other responsibilities.
Hadrian arched up and began to rock his hips demandingly. "Please," he moaned, trying to break Tim's determination to go slow and make this last.
"You feel so good," Tim moaned speeding up a little and holding Hadrian's hips down firmly denying him the frantic pace he wanted.
"You feel amazing," Hadrian replied, leaning up to bite Tim's shoulder, making him lose control, coming himself as he felt the flood of warmth fill him the way he had craved for.
Hadrian cleaned them up magically with a wave of his hand and snuggled into his husband, "Love you," he said smiling tiredly.
"I love you," Tim replied kissing him softly as he fell into deep and restful sleep.
"Hadrian always thought that one of the best things about any trip whether it was for work or a holiday was the moment he returned home to his family. Even after all the years with Tim, having a home where he was loved and wanted was a source of delight and comfort to the green-eyed wizard. The most disconcerting thing about arriving home after this holiday was the way they had missed the children so much but nobody in the house seemed to have missed them. Of course, it was because with the time turner they'd only been gone about 6 hours not two weeks so while the children were happy to see them arrive home as they were every day, only the sleeping twins had the patience for the extra cuddling that their parents wanted to indulge in. They'd had a great two-week break and Hadrian felt refreshed and eager to take over care of the twins and the other children again though he did agree to let the elves help more with night time nappy changes and resettling and to take over for an hour in the afternoon while Daisy took her nap if he felt the need to have a sleep and he began to use the time-turner more often to get a weekend away relaxing with his husband so he wouldn't get so tired and run down and their marriage wouldn't get so strained again. He loved his children and would do almost anything to make sure they felt loved and well cared for but they weren't worth risking losing the love of his life by over prioritising the children's needs over their relationship unless it was necessary.
Life settled back to normal or a new better normal for them. Tim went back to work but was careful to give Hadrian and his family adequate time and attention even if he had to use a little help from the time turner to make time. Heather finally moved into her own home and loved the independence and freedom of living on her own and the opportunity to have peace and quiet whenever she wanted it, but was still over to visit and help with the children most days, and Tim or Hadrian and the children visited her frequently. The twins grew and thrived and started sleeping better and life slowly returned to a more normal routine for the family.
Hadrian was careful to alter the date his next birth control potion was due to take into account the repeated weeks. He wasn't ready to have his condition permanently reversed but he wanted at least two years to totally regain his fitness and recover before he decided if he wanted more children.-o0o-
To everyone's surprise Jethro offered to host Thanksgiving dinner that year. Tony was the most shocked, in all the time he'd worked for Gibbs, the boss had never hosted anything at his house without being nagged into it by Abby.
Tim frowned at the mention of Abby and at the next opportunity to talk to Gibbs on his own expressed his concern. "Teddy still remembers the things Abby said and did last time he saw her. I cannot subject him or the other children to her vitriol again. I'm sorry Boss, the last thing I want you to do is choose between members of your family but if Abby is coming to Thanksgiving, then Hadrian and the children and I will not be there. I'm not trying to guilt trip you and we do have somewhere else to be so don't worry about us. Mom wants to host a Thanksgiving dinner in her new home and I'd feel guilty about not being there if I came to yours," he said, calmly waiting for Gibbs to explode.
"I understand Tim, of course you cannot take Teddy into a situation where he doesn't feel secure and welcome. I'm glad you spoke to me about it and that you have other plans," Jethro said honestly.
"Thanks Boss," Tim replied, and turned his attention towards what they knew of the case.
Abby was pleased that Tim and his husband weren't at Gibbs for dinner. It was almost like old times with Gibbs, Tony, Ziva, Ducky and Jimmy. It took a while for her to realise the awkward silences occurred as everyone tried not to bring up Tim and his family or events that had happened at other 'team-family' meals that she had been excluded from, and she was saddened to realise that the others missed having Tim and the children there. They were part of this family.
She realised that she'd made a huge mistake treating Tim's husband and his son the way she did. It had broken their family, and she'd only been trying to save it. She had to admit that being married was good for Tim over the last few years. He looked fit, happy and confident in himself.
"Why didn't McGee come to dinner?" Abby asked.
"I believe Timothy and his family are having dinner with his mother's family," Ducky said calmly.
"He didn't want his husband and children to have to listen to you attack their family," Ziva replied.
"He didn't come because of me," Abby asked not sure if she felt guilty over the fact or furious that the whole team wasn't together.
"He let me know he had other plans and wouldn't be offended if we chose to have you come instead of him," Jethro said.
"You would have chosen him over me?" Abby whispered hurt.
"It would have been a tough decision but the situation was of your making. You're the one who couldn't have a peaceful lunch with Tim and his family present last time, and upset the children. Tim was prepared to ignore you and his husband only got involved to defend Tim from you," Jethro admitted.
"It was just so sudden. Like the man had cast a spell on Tim," Abby said.
Ducky looked at her scrutinisingly. He'd never had any hint that Abby knew about the wizarding world. She believed in magic, ghosts, vampires and any number of myths that had leaked across into the mundane world but her knowledge of these all seemed limited to popular fiction tropes and he'd swear that she didn't have a scrap of magical power.
"It wasn't sudden, you and the team had just pigeonholed Tim into what you believed he was and refused to take notice of anything that didn't fit with your view of him. It had been years since McGee was the person you thought he was and he and Hadrian had been together for quite some time before McGee chose to let you and the team know," Jethro corrected her.
Ducky visited Tim that night. He had small presents for the children as always but Tim wasn't fooled by that. Ducky visited often but never without an invitation or asking to visit in advance.
"What happened at Gibbs today to have you rushing over here to talk to me in person that couldn't wait until Monday?" Tim asked.
"Why isn't Gibbs or Jimmy with you?" Hadrian asked. "Is something wrong?"
"Dinner went quite well my boy and there wasn't a problem Gibbs needed to be aware of," Ducky tried to reassure them.
"Then what alerted you to a problem?" Tim said. The elderly man was quite perceptive to subtleties in a way the trained investigators on the team may overlook in their teammates.
"Abby mentioned worrying that your husband had cast a spell on you, Timothy, when she first found out about your relationship. It may have only been a figure of speech…" Ducky said.
"But you weren't sure and came over to ask?" Tim said annoyed.
"I thought it best to be cautious and warn the two of you of the direction her thoughts have taken. I understand that your relationship only seemed sudden to Abby because she'd never paid much attention to your activities outside of work unless they concerned her," Ducky said placatingly.
"I can't vow to have never cast a spell on Tim but I promise you that none of them were behavioural control spells and I've never given him a love potion or attraction draught," Hadrian replied. "Other than perhaps a sleeping charm when he's overtired and his mind won't shut down to let him sleep and that was done with his permission."
"Oh no my dear boy. I didn't mean to question that," Ducky said contritely. "I've rarely seen a couple genuinely so compatible and so much in love."
"You were questioning whether Abby knows of the magical world?" Tim asked.
"She shouldn't. She's actually on a watch list of people who cannot be trusted to find out about our world," Hadrian said frowning.
"I didn't know Abby was on the list, did you put her on?" Tim asked. "She isn't big on social media or likely to talk to the press."
"No she was already on it long before I met her. He tendency to try to prove things, her scientific mind and her habit of babbling loudly and shouting about confidential information without checking who is around put her on the list," Hadrian replied.
"Does that mean you will need to investigate Abby," Ducky asked.
"It means I will need to pass on our suspicions but investigating who knows isn't exactly my area of expertise, nd I'm too close to the situation so it's better that someone else makes any decisions that need to be made," Hadrian replied, pulling out his phone and sending a text. "I suggest you try to forget about it, the problem will be dealt with."
"I didn't want to ask in front of Ducky but how exactly do they investigate whether someone knows something?" Tim asked later that night.
"Legilimency and oblivation," Hadrian said wincing.
"What?" Tim demanded.
"Legilimency is the art of searching someone's memories, they'll set Abby up to meet an expert who will specifically target looking for all memories involving magic and then if she doesn't know anything the encounter with the investigator will be wiped from her memory. If she knows about magic, then depending how high she is on the list of people who are not allowed to know, they'll take as many memories of magic from her as they can safely without damaging her mind or leaving noticeable gaps and also compel her never to think about them again or share the information with others," Hadrian explained.
Tim gaped at him in horror.
"Keep in mind that this is only done to those who have proved themselves untrustworthy when it comes to secrets like magic. People who would put either the entire magical society or magical children at risk through their actions. Getting put on the list of people who are not allowed to know requires a serious lack of ethics or breech of someone's personal rights. Whatever Abby's behaviour to me has nothing to do with why she's on that list, and there are different levels. The investigation has to occur but if Abby is found to know something she shouldn't, the reaction will be proportionate to the level of risk Abby poses the magical world," Hadrian reminded him gently.
"Abby works for a federal agency. She wouldn't be able to do that if she wasn't capable of understanding confidentiality and not talking about classified information and she loves children, she'd never hurt a child," Tim replied frowning.
"She has hurt Teddy with her treatment of us. Enough that he gets upset even seeing her from a distance," Hadrian reminded him.
"She didn't intend to upset him, she'd never knowingly harm a child," Tim argued.
"If she speaks without thinking and shared the information about magic or the wizarding world, or her opinion that I'm a magical user with the wrong person she could easily put all our children at risk," Hadrian replied. "She also has black marks on her file for trying to hack into and find information she doesn't have the clearance to access, and for using the government databases to access information for personal reasons. Gibbs has smoothed things over for her more often than you realise."
"It just seems to me that your thoughts should be private," Tim said.
"Yes, I agree they should be. But the Legilimencer will only be looking for memories of magic, at most they'd get some extra memories of nonmagical magicians or watching movies and reading fiction about magic. They're not going to be looking for all her deepest secrets, dreams or fears, and it won't be anyone she has ever met in any capacity before or anyone who knows of her personally or as a colleague. The Legillimencer will also take an oath not to share any information they find from her mind that's not related to a threat to the safety of our world," Hadrian tried to reassure Tim.
"I'm really uncomfortable with the fact that she has to go through this because of us," Tim admitted.
Hadrian sighed. "It's not because of you. Abby got herself put on the list of the people who are not allowed to retain knowledge of magic before you met me. Ducky was right to tell us about Abby mentioning the thought that I was using magic to affect your feelings and behaviour to me and once I heard him, I was mandated to report it for investigation. If she doesn't know then the worse thing she's going to remember is a boring interview and a mild headache for a couple of hours."
"But if she wasn't thinking about me she wouldn't have mentioned it," Tim said.
"She wasn't worried about my influence on you. She's just annoyed that you stopped being susceptible to her manipulations and she can't believe that you just got over your crush on her because of her behaviour and started acting in your own best interests," Hadrian said dryly.
Tim sighed. "You're right."
"Are any of the others on the list?" Tim asked.
"Your sister Sarah is as you know and your father is also on the list not to be told anything more than he already knows and spelled not to be able to talk or consciously think about magic, and there's an Anthony DiNozzo on the list, but he's too old to be Tony, nobody else at NCIS, or in your extended family."
"Anthony DiNozzo Senior is Tony's dad. He's a bit of an unsuccessful con artist in a small way and surprisingly naive at times. He's got himself caught up in a couple of investigations. You're right he'd probably try to find a way to take advantage of magic, or would accidentally tell the wrong people about it if he knew," Tim said.
"What happens if Abby knows too much about magic to take her memories safely and she refuses to take an oath not to pursue it?" Tim asked.
"I'm not sure, that depends what sort of threat the investigators determine she is," Hadrian replied. "At the very least, she'll be spelled not to be able to talk or think about it the way your father has been and she'll be monitored to make sure she follows the rules."
"You don't think that spelling her will be enough?" Tim asked.
"It should be enough to prevent her being able to talk about magic in general but if she is genuinely worried that you were bewitched in some way and the investigators can't convince her otherwise that worry might be enough to break the spell when it comes to seeking help for you," Hadrian explained.
"And if she isn't genuinely worried about me but pissed that my relationship with you stopped me from following her around like a kicked puppy at her beck and call?" Tim asked.
"I don't know. The investigators will be able to tell the difference, but if the emotion is strong enough it might still override the spell to keep her from talking about it," Hadrian replied.
"They won't be able to convince her of anything she's determined not to believe," Tim said.
Hadrian didn't say anything, if Abby was truly considered a threat to him then the threat would be neutralised if not with obliviations, compulsions and magical vows if she had the magic for it then with potential incarceration. Even in the American Auror Corps, Harry was considered a hero and threats to him personally and his family would not be tolerated. He hoped that Abby was not a threat to them but if she was truly still holding a grudge against him for removing Tim from her manipulations after all this time she might be irrational enough to be.
"What would happen if we're in the middle of investigating a case and suddenly realise it is a magical crime? I don't think that Abby would hand over everything and just forget the case. She's used to Gibbs refusing to surrender cases he believes even partially fit under NCIS jurisdiction," Tim asked frowning.
"Well, it could be like the case I took over, where the suspect and all the evidence just disappears, the Aurors would wipe or alter all of your team's memories if that's what they thought was needed to protect the knowledge of magic. A minor change in the memories of the last few days or even hours wouldn't harm anyone. To make Abby and your team believe they'd apprehended their perpetrator and filed all their reports with a minor compulsion not to follow it up," Harry replied.
"Would they change my memories too? So I wouldn't know my team had their memories interfered with?" Tim asked.
"Only if they thought it necessary, they'd prefer to just compel you not to bring it up," Hadrian replied. "If it weren't for Abby there would be no reason for your team not to be read into a case with joint jurisdiction or given the details of why the Aurors are taking over the case, but Gibbs at least would need his memories altered since he's so protective of Abby, and he and Tony are both too good as investigators not to notice if one of them suddenly didn't have memories everyone else did. But why bring it up? You already knew this is how we work. We were lucky none of them had seen anything that couldn't be explained away last time, and the case got taken over before any evidence reached Abby."
Hadrian received the report on the investigation several weeks later. Abby had no concrete knowledge of the wizarding world but a deep belief that magic, spirits and ghosts did exist in the world the way a lot of deeply superstitious or open minded people did. While she identified as Catholic and regularly visited the convent near her apartment, she also had friends who were wiccan and pagan and accepted their beliefs and even dabbled in some of their rituals and ceremonies. She was no immediate threat to them. She would just rather believe that Tim had been enraptured by a spell rather than have to accept that her own behaviour had ended their friendship.
Tim was relieved when Hadrian shared the results with him and Hadrian chose not to tell him that the investigators were still concerned enough about her threat level that they'd interrogated her under truth serums and legilimancy and obliviated her of the memories of that interrogation, shored up her mental health and left a pair of monitoring charms on her, one to inform them if she was interacting with genuine witches or wizards, and the other to monitor her mental health so they'd get a warning if she had a psychotic break. Hopefully the mental health shoring charms along with subtle compulsions not to find Tim and Hadrian's relationship suspicious or a threat to her would be enough to bring her back to being able to interact with Tim professionally, or at least not deciding that she needed to stage an intervention to save him from his marriage.
A/N: Thank you to all those who reviewed followed or favourited this story for your support.
Stay safe everyone.