Disclaimer: I do not own anything, not the characters, not the books/movies/games/lore. This includes, but is not limited to, the Harry Potter franchise, the Star Wars franchise (how I wish I owned that), the Buffy Franchise, and so forth. If you can find it in Barnes and Nobles or Netflix, I don't own it. The only thing I own is my choice to make this story.


Saturday, September 2nd Diagon Alley

Bertram Aubrey was enjoying the quiet. The previous three weeks had been trying his patience and shopkeeping skills. Hundreds of families a day during that time wandered through, or by, the Magical Menagerie in Diagon Alley, wanting to get last minute treats or new owls before heading off to Hogwarts. Some of the older families wished to purchase the more dangerous animals such as venomous snakes, fire crabs, and one first year got a niffler, probably a muggleborn. That should make quite an impression on their housemates, and the dorms they stayed in.

Aubrey still remembers fondly the chaos that the Knarl Fiasco of 1990 caused. Over 30 Knarls were sold that year, and he suspected that not a single one read the information packet he gave them. It was probably McGonagall's propriety that prevented the store, and him in particular, from getting a Howler from the school, instead of a strongly worded request for increased font size on the Knarl warnings. He had complied, but still suspected no one read any of his warnings or literature. He expected some sort of response by the end of the week about the niffler, either from Hogwarts or an upset parent, but the store's legal advisers would take care of anything more serious than outbursts.

There were only a dozen people wandering around the Alley at the moment, barely a crowd, but there was something in the air. Ever since he graduated Hogwarts, Aubrey had a second sense about when something important was going to happen. Good or bad, he could never tell, but his predictions were never wrong. It saved his life a few times back in the War, two ambushes by Death Eaters and a wild griffin attack.

Finishing up sweeping the entrance to his store, he set the broom aside (he could have charmed it to keep the place clean, but Aubrey enjoyed the act of sweeping) and checked the wards on the shop. Fire suppression, check. Hostile spells, check. Rampaging animals, check. Anti-Theft, check. It took a few minutes to go through them all, but Aubrey was satisfied that they were all in order.

Three minutes later, a series of explosions from outside shook the shop, causing all the animals to squawk, howl, and cause an unholy ruckus. It took just a minute to cast silencing charms on all of his merchandise, but by then whatever had happened outside was finished. Aubrey carefully peeked out the window to see what was left of the alleyway.

The street was already beginning to repair the damage from numerous explosive curses. The tables by the Ice Cream Shop were in tatters and there were several more goblins in armor standing in front of Gringotts, but whoever or whatever had caused the commotion must have retreated already. Shivering as he remembered the events last year at the Quiddich World Cup, Aubrey prayed that it wasn't another Death Eater attack. Every couple of years the masked terrorists showed up at some place or other and caused some damage and sometimes a few Muggle deaths, but evidently they left no trace of their identity, according to the aurors.

Feeling more confident, he cracked open the store door, and froze in shock. Whatever had happened, this time was different from the other raids, this time they left something behind. An arm over there, next to a foot. A bit farther he could see a torso and several other limbs strewn about. A couple of heads lay near a drain where they had rolled, detached neatly. In fact, one rational part of Aubrey's mind noted that there should have been a significantly larger amount of blood. It was as if it had all been Vanished away.

From Knockturn Alley two figures strode, one large man wearing Muggle clothes and radiating power unlike any Aubrey had felt before (and he had once witnessed a duel between Dumbledore and You-Know-Who), and an older gentleman in a robe that had been out of fashion for at least 40 years. Even without trying, Aubrey was able to catch the tail end of their conversation.

"And I told you already, I didn't start it. If they didn't want to end up dead, they shouldn't have attacked the us. All I wanted to do was enjoy a cold treat and meditate about what I had learned, but no, some idiots in masks decided to try to kill me. And worse, they interrupted my experiencing Nirvana." The American accent was a bit grating to Aubrey's ears, but he was understandable.

"Xander, I hardly think a simple ice cream cone counts as Nirvana." The older gentleman spoke with a grandfatherly tone, similar to the one he remembered Dumbledore used, but more genuine. Their banter seemed to indicate equals, regardless of their age discrepancy.

"Twinkie FLAVORED Ice Cream, Giles. Twinkie Flavored ICE CREAM. TWINKIE flavored ice cream. Do I need to continue? They interrupted Nirvana. How would you feel if they interrupted a tweed convention or a tea flavored scone? I swear, if they ruined the last of the ice cream, when we get back from asking the goblins about these idiots, I am going to hunt down every last one of these blbec."

"I am sure that is an appropriate response, provoking an international incident over some nutters spilling your dessert. Excellent use of your Jedi skills."

"TWINKIE FLAV…" The young man's rant was cut off when the pair entered the bank and passed through the sound cancellation wards. It took Aubrey a few moments to gather his wits about him and process all that he had seen and heard the last few minutes. So upsetting to his world view were the events that his brain constantly rerouted to a single question, and if that question was answered, all the rest would make sense.

"What the hell is a Twinkie?"