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Take it to the Man in the Moon

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 There are a great many sorts of witches and wizards in the world, including those who are both witch and wizard, and those who are neither and yet still certainly of a sorcerous quality. A well-travelled person could tell you that there is nearly no comparing a country-born tiffany to a well-heeled city glinda, but couldn’t deny that both were still witches not to be trifled with. Anyone who disagrees has most likely not had the pleasure of being on the wrong end of a sparkly stick with a star on it or of a well-wielded walking stick. Wands, the experienced and possibly slightly singed can assure you, still work whether they have glitter, skulls, or glittery skulls on them or not. 

 Witchiness - or wizardness or whatever sorcerous quality the individual in question feels applies - is not something that can be bought in a shop. A pointed hat made of deep purple felt, covered in iridescent glitter and sparkling celestial objects, can certainly help an individual feel witchy; but another witch might have bought a bright pink sunhat or frugally decided to make do with a nice sparkly hairclip and yet still hold themselves with the exact same amount of “Don’t Mess With My Lettuce.”

 Outfits and store-bought accessories may help, but a witch is still a witch whether they’ve dressed themselves up in their most witchy outfit that day or not. Even if they’re having a very off-day or a break, and have switched their (for example) regular sensible black dress or their (for another example) sharp pinstripe suit in favor of well-worn sweatpants and an old t-shirt with a notable yellow mustard stain, witchiness can be worn with just a flutter of eyelashes or a grey-bagged glare.

 A princess, for example, would still be a princess even if their hair was a half-burned mess, their crown was crooked and bent, and they were dressed only in a dirty paper bag. Princessness, like witchiness, can be worn just as well by a fat young man as it can by a young woman over six feet tall, regardless of clothing. In fact, it is the sooty princesses wearing paper bags who are still determined to outwit or outlast dragons that are most likely the most princessy of all. Almost certainly they are the most dangerous. 

 Witchiness is not something that depends on gender either. Should you decide to become a more worldly, well-travelled person, you will almost certainly meet a male witch, a female wizard, and an individual of indeterminate gender who is neither but still certainly magical - and then more besides. Often, this will happen without your knowing exactly which the individual is. This is fine, as knowing exactly which sort of witch or wizard or sorcerous being a person might be is often hardly important and always really none of your business; the only truly important part is to retain all your manners and grace.

 Even if a person is apparently or largely non-magical, politeness is still recommended. Magic comes in a great many forms. There are witches out there who have never touched a wand in their life and never cast a spell with instant, visible, flashy results, but they have a respectable witchiness about them all the same. It would be a great rule of life for people to go about treating each other with all the respect due someone who could turn other people into frogs with a wriggle of their fingers. 

 Minerva McGonagall, for example, was a witch from the slow tap of her fingers against the kitchen table to the glint of her oval spectacles as she readjusted them and then readjusted the bundle of blankets in her arms. She was a witch from the damp hem of her sensible dress to the quiet thunk of her boots as she crossed and uncrossed her legs under the table; from the black strands of hair streaked with silver escaping her tight bun to the weight of her glare as she matched unyielding, judgmental stares with her younger brother.

 Malcolm McGonagall, on the other hand, was very clearly a wizard. He was a wizard from the dust on his rectangular spectacles to the impressive bulk and swish of his fluffy, arguably hideous bathrobe over his brightly colored tartan pyjamas. Everything from the curl of his long, black hair to the way he scratched absentmindedly at his beard, all while keeping Minerva’s stare evenly and unblinkingly, said very clearly that: “This is a wizard. He is very powerful, very wise, very tired, and not above waiting around and being annoying as necessary for as long as necessary to get other people to see sense.”

 The storm outside battered at the windows, which had all their curtains carefully drawn.

 As was often the case when dealing with stubborn younger siblings, it was the elder one of them who broke first. Minerva didn’t let up on her glare an inch, but she did sigh – heavy and deep – and speak first.

 “Malcolm,” she said, in a voice that would quail thunder immediately and potentially hush even the unruliest of students. “Answer when yer asked a question, y’unbearable bugger. Will ye take the boy or no?”

 “Fer the night or ever fucking after?” Malcolm inquired, politely.

 “The night, Malcolm. The night.

 “Och, we~ell, I’m just so busy, y’know? Should’ve stolen a babe on a night y’didn’t have to teach the next morning, ye silly cat. Should’ve planned this out better, Minnie; y’always were too impulsive. Better just take the boy t’school with ye.”

 “Malcolm, fer fuck’s sake.”

 "Well, y'stole 'em, aye? Where from? How much of a secret is this? It's nae gonna be one night lest'ye take the babe t'class with ye and y'know it. What am I gonna tell the neighbours while I sit yer new kit?" 

 "Dinnae tell 'em. If y'cannae hide 'im, still don't tell those nosy nitpickers a cursed thing," Minerva answered immediately, near incredulously, as though she couldn't imagine why her brother would dream of deviating from a near-perfected family attitude of impenetrable obtuseness and "mind yer own sheep or I'll give you a reason to mind yer own business" standoffishness. 

 “Eh,” Malcolm said. “I s’pose they’ll all be pissed a’morrow from partyin’.”

 And, as though summoned by a burning of the ears so powerful as to have given ample warning – hours, perhaps - to appear at a reclusive farm in the highlands, there was the sound of scrabbling at the door. The scratching and scraping at the wood and the lock made both Minerva and Malcolm stiffen. They listened intently; Minerva’s ears did not move, but Malcolm might have insisted he saw them flick upwards anyway. With each scrape in the dark, a tail that wasn’t there lashed back and forth.

 After a familiar voice muttered a quiet curse and the scraping continued past the first minute mark, relief flowed through the McGonagall siblings. Malcolm sighed heavily and Minerva glared at him for not immediately going to answer the door.

 Malcolm looked indifferently back at her and waited, for he knew exactly what sort of intruder sought entry at this time of night. The sounds were not that of a dangerous picklock trying to gain entry, but rather someone who had all the means and permission of entering, who was not even an intruder but someone who lived within, but was probably seeing at least three locks and couldn’t figure out which one opened a door that they could have sworn only had one lock when they had left for the bar many hours ago.

 “…Rob’s home,” Malcolm said, unnecessarily.

 “Rob’s drunk,” Minerva replied.

 Malcolm looked indifferently back at her once more for good measure. He looked at her like someone who was very politely not understanding why the person they were speaking to had paraphrased something they’d just said as though it were something new. What she had said was just as unnecessary.

 The lock turned and the front door came open with a low creak and a heavy groan of wood, and from those sounds rose a bopping hum and the tap-tapping of someone dancing their way in. The door was closed, but the musical mumbling continued and a shadow in the hallway did a clumsy but impressive jig. As did the shadow’s hat.

 Minerva and Malcolm watched, unimpressed, as the shadow’s owner rocked-and-rolled their drunken way down the hallway and into the kitchen. The intruder’s eyes were closed as they expertly, tipsily danced themselves directly into view of their siblings.

 Robert “Rob” McGonagall Junior appeared to be a very traditionally “modern” wizard. He was a tall and handsome man, with a smart black goatee and sleek black hair tied in a high ponytail. He wore a snazzy green suit and shiny snakeskin boots and glowing emeralds dangled from his ears and his neck. He looked so obviously like a man who very badly wanted to be magician that any muggle would never believe the eccentric-looking gentleman to be a genuine wizard instead of an escaped thespian.

 On his head was a raven, who was also tipsily dancing with its eyes closed. It waved its black wings about clumsily and squawked cheerfully in time with the groovy music.

 “Is that my son?” Malcolm demanded, horrified.

 To his credit, Rob only paused dancing for a second, as though he was considering the benefits of cha-cha-ing right back out the door. Then he continued dancing and humming, with apparently even greater enthusiasm and defiant grace.

 The raven didn’t react half as gracefully. Its beady eyes flew open and it gawked at the witnesses in the kitchen. It croaked in horror, flapped its wings in a panic, and overbalanced right off Rob’s head. It twisted in transformation on the way down and a teenage boy landed with an embarrassed squawk on the kitchen floor.

 “I passed a dozen parties on my way here!” Rob declared, with impressive enunciation for a man who was very, very drunk. “And I was the life and soul of every one until I found Polly at the thirteenth! We came home together, admittedly after a drink of two!”

 “Or four,” Minerva said dryly.

 “And to many more!” Rob crowed triumphantly, and tangoed into the nearest wall with a thump.

The teenage boy that had fallen off Rob’s head struggled to get off the floor, desperately flapping his gangly arms to get some wind under them. It looked very similar to his dancing. He flailed, red-faced, under his father’s unimpressed glare.

 Polly McGonagall was also a wizard, but he was the round-faced and floppy-haired sort that had him mistaken for permanently fifteen and gave people the urge to hide the more dangerous magic at the back of the high shelves, even though he was easily tall enough to reach any top shelf. He was a wizard from his tight trousers to his wide-collared, pink, tropical t-shirt; from his stylishly big hair decorated with raven feathers to his sunglasses sitting in it past midnight; and from the sparkling sapphires dangling from his ears and glittering aquamarine eyeshadow to the bright blue cowboy boots on his feet.

 He was also actually eighteen, but he was drunk enough for any wizard far beyond his years. Sloshed from reddened brown face to his uncooperative legs. More than drunk enough to be in quite a lot of trouble with his fathers.

 “What were ye thinking?” Malcolm demanded. “Did’ye even think at all?”

 “Absolutely not!” Rob answered for the boy, with a glamorously ringed hand to his breast in deep offense as he leaned, swooningly, against the kitchen wall. “What do ye take me for, a dullard as well as a fool? Have a heart, Mal; raise a glass with us! The Dark Bastard’s dead!”

 “But his Death Eaters arenae!”

 “Aye, and they’re sure to be found in the bars ‘stead of fleeing the Sassenach’s polis.”

  Minerva, much against her will, snorted. Malcolm glared at her.

 “If there’s one thing Crouch isnae shit at, it’s throwing blokes behind bars or having ‘em all but killed on the spot,” Rob continued, confidently reaching out to yank Polly to his unsteady feet. “Any bastard if they’re clever all’be laying low. The mobs tonight are fit to tear any Death Eater’s head from their shoulders, not that they dinnae deserve it.”

 “Think bein’ clever should stop ‘em from being Death Eaters,” Polly muttered, clapping a clumsy hand against his uncle’s. “Thanks, Unc.”

 Rob threw an arm around his nephew shoulders, without a mind to the glitter on Polly that spread viciously at a touch, and squeezed cheerfully. “You’d think that, but the world’d be a much nicer place if evil folk couldnae be clever too. Hello, there, Minnie! Would ye look what the cat dragged in! Havenae see ye in ages! Ye look shit.”

 “Hullo, Robbie. Ye look worse,” Minerva said, with an unbidden smile. It felt raw on her face, but that only meant it matched the rest of her. 

 “Then I look better than I feel!” Rob declared cheerfully. “Oh, fer fuck’s sake, calm down before ye break yerself, Mal. I dinnae take yer son out drinking, I just picked him up on my way home before he could crash on his mate’s floor fer the night. Ye should be proud of the boy! Never seen anyone down their whisky with that much flare!”

 “The fire’s in the tongue,” Polly said knowledgeably.

 Malcolm didn’t seem half so impressed, or impressed at all. “I dinnae want ye going out and getting drunk like this again until this mess’s been sorted! And what’ve I told ye about flipping back and forth between Animagus forms while inebriated?”

 “T’nae to.”

 “So why were ye doing something that stupid?”

 “Unc Rob does it.”

 “Yer Uncle Rob’s a fuckwit,” Malcolm said. “I’d stop him from going too if I could.”

 “At least ye’ve accepted that now,” Rob declared graciously. “Now, if there’s a water and food for the drunkards, I’d like t’hear what Minnie’s doing here.”

 “Cannae a woman come check on her family?”

 Rob arched a sleekly drawn eyebrow. “Nae in the wee hours of a school night, when everybody’s losing their shit.” He grinned the exact grin of a sorcerer who knew people wished he were less sharp when he was absolutely cauldroned. “Nae ye, Min.”

 Malcolm sighed and got to his feet. “Have a seat here, Pols, and I’ll fix something for the fools. Iain should be downstairs in just a tick. Diana too, if she can drag herself down. Wouldnae ye fancy it, Min’s managed to get herself into deeper shit than ye fer once.”

 “If ye look closely enough, ye’ll see that Min’s always managed that,” Rob said. He pushed Polly towards the table and wobbled his way over. “Glad t’hear we’ve stopped pretendin-”

 Minerva scowled at her other younger brother, who seemed to be having a devil of a time keeping his eyes in his head. Polly just slumped into a seat, but Rob gawked at the bundle in his elder sister’s arms. He used none of his usual dramatics, but despite that or perhaps because of it, Malcolm turned around to enjoy the show immensely.

 “What the fuck,” Rob said.

 “At least Rob brought home a kid that belonged t’us, eh, Min?” Malcolm said smugly.


 “Where’d that come from?!” Rob yelped.

 Polly blinked owlishly at the bundle that was currently the center of attention. He flopped his chin into a hand, elbow on the table, and it only took a few tries to manage. “Wait, Auntie Min, is that a babe?”

 “Not just any babe,” Malcolm corrected, with the calm mischief of the greatly annoyed and vengeful. “That kitten’s the Boy-Who-Lived.” His smugness was palpable. “She stole him.”

 “She what?!”

 “Aw, Auntie Min, why’d ye go and do a thing like that?”  

 “He left Lily and Jim Potter’s babe on the doorstep of the worst sort of Muggles imaginable!” Minerva said hotly, holding the bundle in her arms closer to her chest. She fussed with blankets that didn’t at all need fussing with. “I told ye already that I couldnae leave Lily and Jim’s son on a doorstep with the mail. I- It’s done with, Malcolm, and I’ll thank ye to shut yer gob about it.”

 The room was very quiet. The only sound was someone grumbling their way downstairs.

 Polly’s brows scrunched up adorably. “Who’d leave a babe on a doorstep?”

 “I think I’d like t’know that too,” Malcolm said, as he took his wand out from behind his ear and waved it over the beginnings of a meal. “The whole story’s in order, I think, Min, when Iain gets in here. It’s time t’let the cat out of the bag.”

 “Go bugger yerself, Malcolm McGonagall.”

 “That’s my job, actually.” 

 A burly man with dark skin and long blue pajamas covered in stars swept into the room, with his extremely fluffy, cream-colored bathrobe fluttering behind him like a heavy cape. He was a wizard as well, from the enormous poof of his slippers to the regal lift of his chin, from the wisdom of his wide and tired features to his crown of bushy black hair, from the way his kissed his inebriated son on the top of his head to the way he then whirled on the rest of the room with the immoveable judgement of a mountain, the delicate grace of fine china, and the subtle sparkle of his pajamas and bathrobe as the settled around him like a storm that was prepared to brew at any moment.

 “Iain!” Rob said, as though he’d managed to persuade a desperately desired miracle down from the heavens for five minutes on a very flimsy excuse. “Talk some sense into the cat lady, she’s nabbed herself the Boy-Who-Lived!”

 Iain McGrieve, the man who had for mysterious reasons agreed to marry Minerva’s younger brother Malcolm, looked at his sister-in-law, up, down, and over the child bundled in her arms, and said with a scowl, “Shut it, Rob. There’s a sleeping babe in the room. Lower yer barking or you’re fer the doghouse tonight.”

 Rob slapped a hand over his breast again. “Iain,” he said, at a much, much lower volume. No man had ever looked so betrayed. He tossed his head and his earrings jingled. “I thought ye loved me.”

 “Enough t’tell ye when you’re bein’ a tit,” Iain answered. “So shut it. Hello, Minnie.”

 “Iain,” Minerva said evenly.

 Very belatedly, Polly slapped his hands over his mouth, looking terribly worried. “Och, nooo,” he whispered loudly. “Did we wake ‘im up?”


 “Why hasnae he woken up, though, Min?” Malcolm said, a deep frown on his face now. The whole room stared, mystified and concerned, at the sleeping boy in Minerva’s arms.

 “…He’s been touched by Dark magic recently,” Minerva said finally.

 “Is he alright?” Polly whispered loudly.

 “Yes, he’s fine. Albus checked him over.”

 “Dumbledore?” Rob said.

 Minerva shot her littlest brother the same look she had given him when he had finally become taller than she was.

 “Yes,” she said firmly, leaving no room for any old arguments to get their hooks in. “Albus Dumbledore.”

 Dinnae you dare push it, Robert McGonagall Junior, this look said, or I’ll take off everything under the knobbly kneecaps. That or everything above the shoulders. I’m not picky.

 Rob didn’t push it. “Well, suppose he’s a bit tired then, after taking out the Dark Bastard” he said instead, but his expression was very accusingly neutral under the red flush and glitter. If ever a man could do pointedly neutral, it was Robert McGonagall Junior.

 It was considered a trait all the McGonagalls shared, actually.

 “Perhaps we should hear the whole story,” Iain suggested wisely, still scowling, nodding to the subject of the story in question. He set his shoulders and his bathrobe ruffled around him with solemn displeasure. “I’d like t’get Diana fer this one, if y’dinnae mind. This sounds like something the whole family should hear, if y’brought him here to us.”

 “…Very well,” Minerva said.

 “Rob, go get Diana,” Iain said.


 “Well, Rob, you’re just so good at wrangling kiddos.” Malcolm explained.

 Rob wasn’t having it. “They’re yer kids, you do it!”

 “I dinnae think it’s a good idea to make Rob go up stairs at the moment,” Minerva said, as loath as she was to defend not making Rob do the work. He was very good at holding his drink, but he also looked as though he’d find moving staircases in a house that objectively didn’t have any. “They might kill him.”

 “Go on, Rob,” said Malcolm.

 “You should’ve grabbed her on the way down,” Rob said to Iain.

 Iain shrugged and made his irate exhaustion look majestic. “Dinnae yet know Minnie had catnapped Harry Potter.”

 “I can get her,” Polly volunteered.

 “If ye get up, you’re gonna be twice as grounded,” Malcolm said, and placed a glass of water in front of his son, before shoving one in Rob’s direction. “Iain, better go get her.”

 Iain lifted his chin. A wand slipped out of his sleeve and he waved it behind himself as he swept from the room, and he brought the tip of it to his mouth as he turned out of view. A few seconds later, muted by the spell cast over the kitchen doorway, rang a distant bellow that would have made the thunder outside cower, the lightning shrivel back up into the sky, and the clouds nudge each other and whisper, “Is he allowed to do that?”


 A few seconds longer and, as sharp and shrill as a witch’s cackle and as lovely as an irate goose, the faraway shout of a girl came back down the stairs.

 “WHAT?” she said.




 There was a silence that lasted several seconds, in which the storm inside very nervously tapped at the windows and roofs, and then rose a response in a tone more put-enough and unjustly persecuted than a witch put to the stake. “FINE.”

 “Malcolm, ye raised such lovely children,” Rob said.

 “Aw, thanks, Unc Rob,” Polly said sincerely, humming as he tilted his head to watch the water in his glass slosh about. He preened the black feathers in his hair, and looked to be admiring the reflection of his own sparkling earrings and trying to figure out how he could snatch them up too. “You’re lovely too.”

 “Why, thank ye, Pol.”

 “I dunno why I let either o’ ye into my house anymore,” Malcolm said. “Not ye, Polly, dinnae worry, I’m talking about yer Aunt Mad Cat and Uncle Fuckwit.”

 “Oh,” said Polly, reassured. 

 “Oy,” said Rob.

 Minerva sighed loudly and wondered why she’d ever thought that bringing any sort of problem to her family was a good idea. Oh, it was much easier to kidnap a child in the moment, but then suddenly up came all the difficult questions like which of her family members could babysit and how many sick days she had in a year. She had a class to teach in a shorter amount of time than she liked to think about; November 2nd, 1981, would, she knew, be a Monday of a record minimum teaching accomplished.

 Perhaps not of learning, however. Teaching and learning were not the same thing.

 If classes were held at all. She would still have to be there either way.

 “Auntie Min,” Polly said, with a deep frown on his brown, sparkling, boyish face. “Dinnae ye have work t’morrow?”

 “It is t’morrow, Polly,” said Rob merrily, and promptly knocked back his glass of water like it was hard liquor. He did both in the pointed manner of a man who had nowhere to be tomorrow and not even the need for a watch, and Minerva hated him for it.

 “Yes, I’ll…” Minerva thought about it. She was loath to resort to such methods, but it was either that or potions, if the strong likelihood of a magical mishap was to be avoided. “I’ll put onna film, or something,” she said finally. “If classes arenae cancelled fer the day, none of them are gon’ be able t’sit anyhow.”

 “Wouldnae be surprised if some of the upper years were smashed,” Rob said thoughtfully, to which Malcolm nodded agreeably and Polly giggled.

 Neither would Minerva, but she would not be having that.

 “Dinnae you have a job t’get back to at some point?” Minerva said crisply.


 “…What?” Malcolm said.

 “Robert McGon-

 Rob threw up his hands in defense of his goatee. “I wasnae fired!” he told his sibling, his chest heaving with such great exasperation and drama that it almost deserved an ample bosom to perfect the performance. “Fuck’s sake, we’ve been given a few days off. Cannae party properly if there’s work t’morrow, right?”

 “No, ye cannae,” Polly agreed sagely, while his father groaned.

 Minerva opened her mouth to cut to the point of all this, or perhaps to cut her brothers to size, but she was interrupted by the buzz of muted conversation coming from just outside the kitchen. She wasn’t the only one to stop and look towards the kitchen doorway, upset at her current ears’ inability to twitch properly. Diana and Iain were grumbling at each other about something, loudly.

 Then, the muting spell broke, and Polly’s twin sister swung around the doorway into the kitchen.

 “Hello, everyone,” she said loftily. “How’s yer night going, then?”

  “Are ye drunk?” Malcolm said, aghast, again. 

 Diana waggled a reproachful finger and tossed her wild bedhead back. “The Dark Tosser’s dead and I wasnae planning on going anything or doin’ anywhere tonight,” she said, with the careful enunciation of a young lady who was well-aware of how drunk she was. Her complexion was now a very rosy brown. “I am exactly as sober as I choose to be in a situation like that.”

 Diana McGonagall was a witch as round-faced and gangly as her brother, but her big, black hair was far more bushy than floppy, and she dressed too much like a sixty-year-old woman to be mistaken for fifteen – even when she had been fifteen. She was a witch from her enormous horn-rimmed glasses to her orange nightgown, which went to her ankles and was doing an excellent impression of a large potato-sack; from her lumpy, woolen brown socks stuffed in large, fluffy rabbit-shaped slippers to the lumpy, woolen brown shawl she’d thrown haphazardly about her shoulders; and from the daring of her careful saunter as she threw herself down next to her brother and promptly stole his water.

 “We cannae have a family discussion like this,” Malcolm said, now very calmly aghast. He looked as though he felt he was the only cooperating twig on a broom already off the cliff. “Half the family’s drunk.

 “Cancelled, then?” said Rob. “Fantastic.”

 “Only a little,” wobbled Polly.

 “I’m a lot drunk,” Diana corrected, and pushed her glasses up her nose.

 If Minerva had not already regretted bringing this issue to her family before she had even knocked on the door, she was certainly regretting it now. Though, admittedly, a part of her that she would never actually admit to, mostly regretted not being on the inebriated side of the family at the moment. She was the only one who had to go to work in several hours too, which frankly wasn’t fair at all.

 “The pissed half’ll have t’shut it for the important bits, then,” said Iain, with a determined scowl. “I dinnae get dragged out of bed not t’have a family discussion in the fucked hours of the morning. I’ll have it if I have to have it by m’self.”

 “Aunt Min’s still catnapped a celebrity no matter who’s pissed,” Polly said pragmatically.

 “Exactly,” Iain agreed, and patted his son on the head.

 “Oh, before we get arrested, Min,” Rob said. “I want the kitten’s autograph.”  

 “No,” Minerva said frigidly.

 “Can ye nae take anything seriously for five minutes?” Malcolm demanded.

 “Never tried,” Rob said, and shrugged.

 Robert McGonagall Junior was the sort of wizard that you invited to parties when you were too cheap to buy entertainment but too boring to do without (and actually aware of your own shortcomings). He had no shortage of flashy magician’s tricks, thrilling anecdotes, and infectious enthusiasm that could extend even and especially to spontaneous dancing, and he could be paid in nothing but attention, food, and enough booze to become and remain comfortably drunk for the night.

 He was a very talented man, even among his fellow, near-professional party-goers and magicians. He worked at his effortlessness. Partying was a skill to be trained. It was as though, at some point in his life, looked at his elder siblings attempting to out-responsible and out-excel one another, and decided that it was his solemn duty, rightful responsibility, and great privilege to counter that however he must.  

 Now, he looked back at his elder siblings glaring at him, and his face fell first.

 This was a first. Minerva and Malcolm both blinked from surprise.

 “If ye catnapped the kid, Minnie, really just stole ‘im,” Rob said, seriously, with a dogged look, “The fuckheads at the Ministry’re going t’be more pissed angry than I’m pissed drunk, and I’ve probably run out of fingers and toes for all the drinks I’ve had today.”

 “They dinnae need t’know,” Minerva answered calmly.

 “Who does know?” Iain said curiously.

 Diana looked to her brother for help. “Wait, Aunt Min did what?”

 “No one,” Minerva said to her brother-in-law.

 “Polly,” Diana nudged.

 “I dunno,” Polly said, and yawned.

 “But what happened?” Rob said, finally exasperated. “Someone’s gonna notice eventually! I dinnae want t’be on the end of their wand when they do!”

 “We’ll need a plan for that,” Iain said. He was a man who liked plans. He was one of the rare people who was very good at them, mostly by necessity. “We can make a plan for that, if we hafta. S’long as we know what t’plan for.”

 One by one, the room turned to look, expectantly, at Minerva and the baby in her arms. Minerva looked back, trying to decide where to begin. It wasn’t that she was unsure, precisely, but there were several beginnings. One had to be careful when dealing with a room full of witches and wizards who had to make an important decision, it was a less well-known problem, but those who knew could testify that it was even worse than herding cats.  

 “Fuck,” Rob said finally. “I cannae believe y’stole the Boy-Who-Lived.” 

 Minerva couldn't believe she'd thought it had been a good idea to come here afterwards.