A/N: I am so, so sorry to all of my readers for the formatting of this chapter before with all the weird symbols and such. I should have caught it and I didn't. Thank you to Argonaut986 for bringing it to my attention and for reviewing every single chapter in this long-neglected story. It made my day getting an email about each one. Unfortunately the original author's note thanking others for following and favoriting and reviewing has been lost in the gibberish but you know who you are and I thank you so much for staying with this story. I hope inspiration for this story returns soon and I can properly thank you with well-deserved chapters.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Logan took a bite of steak, glancing at the two empty seats beside him. He nudged Storm, "Where's Mystique and Snape?" Storm looked over, "I don't know. Professor McGonagall said Mystique left her office after her last class. She assumed she came to dinner." Both missing parties entered through the door behind the table. Both sat down like they hadn't missed almost all of dinner. Mystique reached for a sandwich, ignoring Logan's curious glance. "What?" She snapped. He shrugged, "What happened to your arm?" Her gaze slid to the still slightly visible cuts dotting her arm. Her blue skin lightened in her version of paling and she swallowed nervously. Unconsciously, she spared a glance to Snape. He didn't look at her but shook his head ever so slightly. Mystique looked back to Logan, taking a bite of her sandwich, "The stupid caretaker's cat jumped me." Logan smirked and went back to eating.
Logan watched as his students filed into class, glum looks on their faces. "Hey Half-pint, why the long face?" Kitty sighed, "It's all these exams! And they're really hard! In potions we had to brew a potion from memory and guess what Professor Snape chose for us to brew? Forgetfulness potion! That's like, totally sick!" Logan frowned, "Well you can all relax because my exam is easy." Kurt nudged Kitty, "Easy like Danger Room sessions?" She giggled and then gave a sheepish smile when Logan looked to her. "No elf, easier."
Kitty blinked in the bright sunlight as the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws exited the school and entered onto the school grounds. "Mr. Logan what are we doing out here?" Logan led his class to the grassy area beside the lake. He held up a mesh bag of dodgeballs, "I borrowed these from the X Mansion. Here's how this works: I ask a question, everyone answers. If you get it right, you get to throw a dodgeball at me. If you get it wrong, I pelt you kids with dodgeballs." Everyone's faces lit up and Kitty squealed, "So like, no written test?" Logan smirked, "Nope. Then I'd have to grade something. I'm not gonna punish myself. And you get two chances to use your books." This brought on another cheer and Logan opened the bag, "Let's get started."
Dumbledore glanced out his window facing the lake, crystal blue eyes falling on the students laughing and dodging dodgeballs that Logan was throwing at them. "But Mr. Logan we didn't get that one wrong!" Logan shrugged, "I'm the teacher Half-pint, don't question me." He chuckled as Kitty phased through another dodgeball and then was hit in the back of the head with one thrown by Kurt. "Kurt! That's not part of the rules!" The blue mutant laughed, "Bet you can't get me Kitty!" She giggled and raced after him with a dodgeball.
Dumbledore's eyes crinkled as he smiled, watching the students start a game of dodgeball. "What an interesting exam." The kids were still laughing as they "fought" and Logan had leaned against the beech tree that grew close by, watching with an amused smile. Dumbledore clasped his hands behind his back and turned away from the window, striding to the door of his office.
Logan glanced up as Dumbledore approached the group, a smile visible through his beard. "What do we have here?" Logan motioned to the students with one of his hands, "The kids just finished their exam and now we're having a little fun." Dumbledore chuckled, "Quite an inventive idea for an exam." Logan shrugged, "Well I've never been one to follow rules and there was no way I was going to make a test just to sit in silence for an hour. Sorry if this breaks some 'exam qualification.'" Dumbledore smiled, "Oh no Mr. Howlett there is no set way to give an exam. As long as it properly evaluates the amount of material the students have learned, which I must say, yours seems to do just fine. Personally I've never liked practical examinations."
Mystique scowled at Logan when he entered the teacher's lounge and he nodded to her, brewing himself a cup of coffee, "Well how did exams go for you?" She wrinkled her nose in disgust, "Well all the first years had to do was turn a mouse into a snuff box and only one of them managed to set their desk on fire so I'd say they went well. And what about you?" He sat down across from her in one of the arm chairs, "Well I asked them questions and if they got them right, then they got to throw dodgeballs at me and if they got the answer wrong then I got to throw dodgeballs at them." Mystique looked at him oddly, "You're allowed to do that?" Logan sipped his coffee, "Dumbledore approved."
The great hall was filled with excited chatter as students and teachers ate their end-of-term feast. Halfway through, Dumbledore stood and swept his arms wide, commanding quiet. "Well this certainly has been an exciting year! We must humbly thank our dear friends from America for traveling all this way, and it gives me great pleasure to ask that they return." He glanced at the X-Men and Mystique who all nodded. The crowd of students erupted in cheers and applause with the transparent forms of the Hogwarts ghosts scattered throughout the hall joining in with silent claps. Eyes twinkling and a smile visible through his beard, Dumbledore turned back to address the the students once again, "Now before we all head off to a last night in the castle, it is time to reveal this year's winner of the House Cup!"
The banners overhead that indicated that Ravenclaw was the winner and the blue-and-bronze table erupted in cheers, tossing their hats into the air while the other houses (minus Slytherin) clapped for them. Dumbledore waited until the commotion had died down before dismissing everyone to a final night at Hogwarts.
Kitty paused in boarding the Hogwarts' Express, turning and racing through the crowd to Hagrid to give him a hug goodbye. "Thanks for like, everything!" The large man chuckled behind his beard, "S'Nothin'. I'll be see'in ya next year righ'?" Kitty nodded, "I'm so excited!" Hagrid ruffled her hair, "Ya bett'r get on the train before it leaves ya!" Still waving brightly, Kitty boarded the train and waved to Hagrid until the Hogsmeade station was out of sight. She turned and walked down the corridor, stopping outside the compartment with Charlie Weasley and Rogue playing Wizard's Chess while Kurt ate a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans and Jean and Scott played Exploding Snap. She entered and sat down next to Charlie, snatching some chocolate frogs from next to Kurt.
"I can't believe we're going home." Rogue sighed as Charlie's queen knocked one of her pawns of the board, "Yeah I mean we were here for a whole year and now we're going home. I'm gonna miss the castle. And all my new friends." She smiled at Charlie who had just won the chess game. He leaned back, "I'm glad you guys came to Hogwarts. Bill always made fun of me and said I'd never make any friends but I showed him." Kitty set her third Dumbledore card down on the seat, "Bill's like, nice and all but he seems like a jerk to you." Charlie shrugged, "That's what siblings do." The X-kids exchanged knowing looks as the train sped through the countryside to Kings Cross Station.
Logan gave a deep sigh of relief as he stepped into the X Mansion, dropping his trunk as the kids rushed past him. He grunted but couldn't help a small smile as he too returned to his room, completely candle-free and insulated, with claw-marks on his door and pens in the ceiling. Tossing his trunk on the floor once more, he flopped onto his bed, relishing in the idea of sleeping in. Someone knocked on his open door and he glanced up at Storm who had an amused smile on her face, "Not missing the castle?" Logan pushed himself up on one elbow, "I'm not gonna lie, I miss the firewhisky." Storm chuckled and continued down the hall to her room while Logan lay back down, ignoring the sounds of the kids unpacking and chatting to fall asleep.
Fists pounding on his door and someone chanting his name woke him groggily, and Logan blearily sat up just as Kitty poked her head through the door, "Mr. Logan! I got a letter!" He buried his face in his pillow, "That's great Half-Pint, go tell someone else." Kitty ignored him and came to sit on his bed, bouncing up and down in excitement, "A letter from Hogwarts! So did you! And like, everyone else!" He clenched his fists around the pillow case, burying his head further, "Great. Go away." Kitty yanked the pillow of his head, "Get up! We have to fly to England! You can sleep on the plane!" She tossed the pillow on the floor and left the room, skipping all the way. Logan sat up, rubbing his face with his hands. Was it time already? It seemed only yesterday they'd gotten home. Blinking the sleep out of his eyes, he swung his legs over the side of his bed, ready to get up before Kitty came back and dragged him down the stairs.
Hank stifled a yawn as the sun just started to rise, gulping down half his coffee while absently reading the paper. An owl pecked at the kitchen window and he let it in, expecting more letters to be attached to it's leg like the one before. A newspaper was in its beak, and a small leather pouch was tied to its leg. He took the paper, opening up The Daily Prophet and scanning the moving pictures as he took another gulp of coffee. The owl pecked his hand, "Ow!" It twittered angrily and pecked him again. He moved away from it but it followed him, pecking his arms and head. He swatted at it but it persisted even as Jean and Scott came into the kitchen.
Jean giggled and reached into one of the kitchen drawers, pulling out a copper Knut and putting it in the pouch attached to the owl. It ducked its head and then flew out the window. "You have to pay it or it won't leave." Scott held up his hand, showing off several peck marks, "I learned the hard way." Hank unfolded the wizard's paper fully, "Thank you Jean, ready for another year?" The redhead nodded, "Did you get your same teaching post?" Hank nodded and finished his coffee, "So did Logan. Storm was given an assistant Herbology post, seeing as Professor Sprout has returned." Scott hummed in thought, "Any heads up on what we'll be learning this year?" Hank smiled, "Nope. You'll have to be surprised."
The rest of the group stumbled into the kitchen shortly thereafter, some, like Kurt and Rogue, still half asleep. Kitty held up a letter, "Wanda and Pietro are coming back too!" Rogue stifled a yawn, "Why are you talking to them?" Kitty pouted, "We agreed to get along and Wanda isn't so bad. She says Magneto is dropping them off in Diagon Alley but Mystique will take them shopping." Logan grumbled under his breath, "She's coming back?" Storm sipped her coffee, "Be nice. Have you heard from Laura?" Logan nodded, "This is her third year. She's been staying at a boarding house and I offered her to stay with us next summer." Storm frowned slightly, "Without consulting us first?" Logan raised an eyebrow, "Since when are you so paranoid? Relax. It'll be fine. Like dealing with a younger, smaller, girlish version of me." Storm smiled into her cup, "That ought to be a nightmare."
Hargid's great form didn't greet them when they exited the X-Jet, but they didn't need a guide as they trooped through the streets to the selectively-visible Leaky Cauldron. It was busy but not crowded when they entered, and Tom gave a wave before returning to serving. Professor X, who'd accompanied them on this trip, read over the list of supplied for the students, "All of this is available in Diagon Alley?" Logan nodded, hands in his pockets, "You have no idea what you missed Charles."
They filed into the back alley and Hank tapped the bricks slowly, stepping back as the wall shifted away to reveal the wizard street. It was just as colorful as before, with many parents and their children crowded at windows and doorframes of the many shops. Gringotts stood out clearly at the end of the street, tall and proud, the sun glinting off the white marble. Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour was surrounded by tables and chairs crowded with children. Ollivander's storefront was devoid of window shoppers, but one only needed to go once, if they were lucky, and the front display of its single wand was hardly anything to gawk at. The most crowded storefront was by far Quality Quidditch Supplies, with children and adults alike trying to glimpse the newest broomstick on the market.
The group split up, and because of the addition of Professor X, Logan was free to go on his own. Storm took Kitty and Rogue to buy books, Hank took Scott and Jean to get cauldrons, and Professor X, Kurt, and Evan headed to the Apothecary. Logan gave a short wave, nodding absently as Storm called out that they'd meet at Madame Malkin's in an hour.
Logan passed Ollivander's, giving a small wave to the wand maker. His destination was the Leaky Cauldron, but as he glanced to the opposite side of the street, that desire vanished. A single crooked sign pointed down a dark alleyway, Knockturn Alley scrawled in partially faded letters. Suppressing his curiosity, but not enough to walk away, Logan entered the dark of the alley, surprised by the drastic change in appearance and atmosphere.
The bright sun that had shown in Diagon Alley was swallowed by the dark of Knockturn Alley. There were very few shops clustered about, with a shady looking pub at the curve leading to the end of the alley. To complete the ominous feeling the street provided, there were three sets of stairs, leading down further into the dark. Shifty looking witches and wizards stood in the corners and under the flickering streetlamps, giving him dirty looks as he passed. Logan descended the stairs, passed Moribund's Pub, and rounded the corner, finding several more dingy shops.
To his immediate left sat a store with dust and grime covered windows, obscuring much of what was inside. A sign above his head stated, in peeling letters, Borgin and Burkes: Established 1863. Logan pulled open the decrepit door, hearing a rusty bell above his head ring once. If it was possible, the inside of the shop was worse than the outside. The floor and all furniture inside was covered in a thick layer of dust but he could still see the items for sale within the many glass cabinets.
Shrunken heads, bones of many kinds, vials of questionable substances, and other odds-and-ends that Logan felt for sure were just as bad as those he could see. A mummified hand stood upright on a pedestal and after watching it slam on the mantle of the old fireplace to kill a fly, with no assistance, Logan steered clear. A rather beautiful opal necklace lay in one case, a tag reading "poisoned." Logan scowled at the objects sold and left the shop, finding himself back in the hostile alleyway.
A witch sauntered up to him, looking every bit the wicked witch from fairytales. "Are you lost? I could help you." He moved away from her, "I'm fine." She and a man from the shadows approached him again, "Are you sure? We could help you." Logan growled under his breath, "Back off bub." She cackled and reached out as though to grab him but he dodged her, unsheathing his claws, "One more step and I cut you to ribbons." She and the man cowered away from his claws but still eyed him maliciously as he backed out of the alley and back into the sunlight.
Someone tapped his shoulder and he whirled around, claws still extended and a scowl on his face. Arthur Weasley took a step back, hands raised in surrender. Logan sheathed his claws, "Sorry." The other man smiled, "Quite alright. Logan right? Arthur Weasley, we met last year. What were you doing down Knockturn Alley?" Logan glanced behind him, "I took a wrong turn." Arthur nodded, "Dodgy place that is. Are your kids here?" Logan nodded, "Yeah they're getting supplies." Arthur nodded again and the two began walking down the street, "Molly took the kids to Flourish and Blotts to get books."
"Bill and Charlie right? When do your other ones start?" Arthur rubbed his chin in thought, "Fred and George don't go for another five years, so they'll start during Charlie's last year. Percy starts in only two years now and Ron will start in about seven years and Ginny in eight. It feels like forever but the time does fly!" He put his hands in his pocket only to remove one to put it to his forehead, "Oh dear. I've left Molly with all the kids. She'll kill me." Logan chuckled as Molly Weasley exited the bookstore with all seven kids, as well as Storm, Kitty, and Rogue who were chatting with Charlie. Molly fixed her husband with a stern glare, "And where did you go?" Arthur nervously ran a hand through his thinning hair, "Well you see, um, I-" Logan piped up, "He was helping me. I got turned around and ended up in Knockturn Alley."
Storm raised an eyebrow as she poked her head around the tower of books she held, "You got lost?" Logan shot her a look as Molly tsked under her breath, "Well it was good of you to help him Arthur. Knockturn Alley is a shady place; don't want to be seen down there." She was absently brushing the dirt and dust of Logan's shoulder. "Well now, are you all done with your shopping? Have you eaten?" Charlie rolled his eyes, "Muuuummmm." She swatted his shoulder, "Don't whine Charlie." She turned back to Logan, picking up Ginny as she did, "Now then, where are the rest of your kids?"
Professor X, Kurt, Evan, Hank, Jean, and Scott all showed up seconds behind each other and were reintroduced to the Weasleys. Ginny wiggled in her mother's arms until she was put down, skipping to Professor X and pulling herself onto his lap as she'd done last year. Molly shook her head, "Now Ginny-" Professor X cut her off, "It's alright Mrs. Weasley." She looked like she thought otherwise but said nothing.
Kitty glanced behind her and spotted a familiar pale head and waved excitedly to Pietro who tugged Wanda's sleeve, leading her over. "Hey Kitty!" Kitty beamed, "Hey guys! Did you like, just get done shopping too? We just have to get robes." Wanda gave a reserved smile, "We got all our stuff. Mystique took it back to the Leaky Cauldron. We're staying there until school starts next week." Kitty gasped, "That's a great idea! Professor! Professor! Can we stay at the Leaky Cauldron until school starts?" The Professor smiled, "I don't see why not."