The homes of the wizarding world range from the eccentric, even absurd, to the more classic and traditional homes. Many are expanded internally by magic to make up for what they lack in size naturally, and many more now have defensive spells up in hopes of protecting themselves from Trevor and his Death Eaters.
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By Orion Burgess
May 6th, 2012

The best and worst thing about being a cat was having time to yourself to think. Given the nature of his domestic issues, Orion had been thinking a lot about his marriage and his children.

Were it not for Sylvia and Andrew, Orion would want a divorce. The divorce would mean that the children would need to be taken care of either by Gemma or by Orion. As he saw it, Gemma was incapable of caring for herself, much less two babies. She was determined to have her way, rigid with her expectations and haughty belief that she knew what was right. That was no environment for a child to grow up in.

He could divorce her now and continue down his blood traitor path by working with the muggles. He enjoyed it, made good money at it, and had a stable life with friends and satisfaction. But his children would be in what he considered a neglectful, abusive environment. No, he wanted custody. And dead men had no custody rights...that left him one recourse: he needed to be alive.

Legally, that would mean opening a tin of flobberworms. He would have to spin his story carefully and construct a plausible alibi. Where did the body that looked like him come from? Why had he faked his death? Where has he been, all these months? Considering that his parents were heavy supporters of the regime, Orion knew that his answers would have to please the government as well as the leadership of the company he planned on retaking control of.

Grey clouds hung ponderously over the family manor. Drops of rain spit out of the clouds in starts and sputters, making the mood perfectly grim as Orion approached the front door and knocked.

Coobi answered, wearing the traditional tea towel, but edged in black for mourning. The elf forgot his courtesy and instead squealed in a high pitched sound of shock and joy.

"Master Orion! It can't be!? Oh but it is! Oh wonderful day!"

Orion smiled and crouched down to the elf's level and greeted him as an equal instead of a servant.

"Its lovely to see you again as well, Coobi. Could you please do me a favor and have my parents meet me in the business meeting room? Thank you."

The elf's puzzled look wasn't lost on Orion as he headed to the green decorated room. His mannerisms were different though his face was the same. It would be quite a shock for everyone when it was revealed just how different of a man Orion was than the boy he had been.

Case in point: he stood in the middle of the room waiting for his parents rather than sit with the haughty and rude expectation that they come in without a greeting. His mother entered first, her hair shot with grey that Orion didn't remember seeing before. Her gold eyes pierced him, looking haunted.

"Anthony, tell me I'm not seeing things again," she half whispered with her hand on her chest. When his father confirmed that she wasn't seeing anything, she swept over to Orion and hugged him tightly. His father was more reserved, but Orion could see shock, joy, relief, and puzzlement battling in his mind.

"Where have you been?! What happened to you? Oh my boy, my sweet, precious boy, you're home!"

Orion held his mother as she cried into his chest, then gave her the lines he had practiced.

"I've been finding myself and what I am meant to do. I had a series of unfortunate mishaps that led to a nervous breakdown and a wonderful revelation. Please, mother, father, sit. I'll try to explain."

The family arranged themselves carefully, almost warily, around each other. Orion decided to lead with the truth, mostly.

"After I left Siberia, well...ran away from the family, I looked for Gemma. She had fallen in with a bad crowd due to false promises. In my youthful foolishness, I followed her into a web of secrecy and manipulation. This group turned out to be a resistance group...but they were also a refugee center. I trained as a healer with them, but wanted to make my escape from them. The only way to do that and not be pursued was to fake my own death. I was genuinely hit by a bus...I took advantage of the accident to make my escape. Unfortunately...I wound up in a muggle hospital. And their government knew exactly what I am."

His mother gasped in horror and covered her mouth.

"They didn't experiment on you, did they?"

Orion frowned at that.

"No. they offered me a job."

That seemed to be so unlikely that his father laughed. When the elder Burgess saw his son's face, he sobered.

"You mean that you took it? And that's what you've been doing while your mother and I thought you were dead? We lose both our sons and you decide to galavant with with backwards, primitive, ignorant-

That was too far. Orion's glare cut through the tirade as he answered deliberately and carefully in a measured tone.

"They're not. Not backwards, not primitive, and certainly not ignorant. They know about our world. Enough that they wonder if they should do something about it. I was working with them to make sure that a second witch hunt doesn't begin."

"Then why did you come back, if you've become such a muggle lover?"
Anthony's tone suggested that he would rather have a dead pureblood idealist for a son than a living muggle sympathizer.

A tight smile, learned from Agent Callaway, bloomed on Orion's face.

"Because I want a divorce from Gemma and I want custody of our children. Dead men don't get custody."

His mother looked mortified and his father looked appalled. Orion wasn't surprised by their reactions, but a clinically detached part of his brain wondered how much of their reaction was a show for being proper and how much was genuine. His friends had coached him on this decision. Agent Cox was opposed to divorce on principle, but he also admitted that he wasn't in Orion's shoes. Callaway had warned him to consider his options carefully, a sentiment echoed by Professors Faust and Witte. Orion wanted what was best for his children, even if that meant hurting Gemma grievously.

"So you would take our grandchildren away from us?" his mother hissed the question, not seeming to care so much for the twins as she was using them as a weapon to jab at her son to get him to go her direction.

"Don't put words in my mouth, mother. I want what's best for them. I don't believe that's with Gemma, and I don't believe that's in your custody either."

A bright, hot pain bloomed across his face as his mother slapped him. His father spoke, leaving his mother in a white faced rage.

"I ought to disown you for your cheek and slander, boy."

"If you wish to do so, then do it. We both know it would be to spite me rather than because you considered it best for the company."

"I think I preferred it when you were dead!"

"I certainly loved you more."

Orion's last retort made his mother sob. She folded into her skirt and cried before standing and leaving the room without a farewell. Anthony peered at the boy.

"The muggles have corrupted you, made you disrespectful and forgetful of your place."

Orion shook his head and offered his father a small and enigmatic smile.

"If that is so, then so be it. My place doesn't matter so long as I know who I am."

His father looked at him, puzzled.

"Who could you be outside of the family?"

Orion nodded.

"I'm a healer, father. An ambassador. I'm a friend, an agent, dependable. Reliable. I'm whomever I want to be. But most of all right now, I'm happy. I'm satisfied, and I have a purpose."

Bless his father, he looked like he was trying to understand.

"'ll visit, won't you son?"

Orion sat back and rented his fingers against his lips. In that question, there were several layered messages. The first and most clear was that his father wanted to keep contact with him. The second was that he wasn't welcome back in the home. The third was that he was not disowned. Exiled, but not disowned. Interesting.

"Of course, I will. And you and mother are more than welcome to come visit me in my home as well. We are family; we should not throw that away over philosophical differences."

Orion smiled as he delivered the smooth line. It was an olive branch of sorts. Of course, he would need to actually go and get an apartment somewhere. He put a bookmark in that thought as he and his father devolved into the pleasantries of their farewells. Once free of that social obligation, he left the manor and headed back to Dresden and Milo's house. Orion knocked and let himself in.

"Anyone home? I'm back."

He headed to the kitchen and sat at the table. There was a copy of the Daily Prophet, so he started leading through it to look at the properties listed for availability.
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By Milo Witte
Magic and muggle technology seldom mixed, and with the current regime, the Department of Muggle Artifacts had certainly been placed on the back burner. So, it had been much to his delight when Orion had gifted him with a modified muggle music device, a CD player he had been informed, a few months ago for his hospitality. Dresden and Milo had come to a tenuous truce over the months that Milo could use the device if he kept a silencing charm about his room to keep the loud sound inside his room. Of course, Milo didn't always remember, and there were times when Dresden actually wanted to listen to the music, too, so it was a fine line. Today, Milo had actually remembered and was listening to the newest CD he had found in a venture out. The bloke behind the counter had recommended it while also snickering to his co-workers, so Milo had been a bit apprehensive putting the CD by a certain Katy Perry entitled Teenage Dream into the machine. He'd rather enjoyed its bouncy playfulness, however, and had taken to it pretty quickly. Now, two weeks later, he knew most of the lyrics to the songs and had no shame walking about incoherently humming and dancing to them in his flat.

One of his favorite features of the small device was that it doubled as an alarm clock and had a setting that would start the CD up at the designated time, so he'd been awoken about thirty minutes prior by the CD and was laying there in his boxers, dancing (Alright, alright! Squirming, if you must!) whilst laying down. However, as the song changed, his stomach grumbled, and he realized he would need to get up. He'd have some tea and one of the croissants he had purchased at the store the other day. Maybe an egg or two if he felt like it. He didn't bother with putting on a shirt as he got up having not heard Orion's greeting over the music, so when he came out and into view of the kitchen table, he paid no mind to the figure at the table, absently deciding it must be Dresden and flicking his wand toward his room so the notes of whatever song was playing were freed. He danced his way through warming up two croissants and readying the water for tea before carrying the plate and kettle to the table and setting it down.

"There's some for--Oh, hullo," he greeted, smiling a little in embarrassment. "Well, there's still a croissant for you and tea." He flicked his wand toward the cupboards and two teacups made their way over and a second plate so he could place his croissant on his own plate. "How've you been?"
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By Dresden Faust
Dres felt the unwelcome tug of consciousness as the normal silence that tended to permeate the house in the early morning was broken by a loud, steady beat. Dres let out a soft groan and hugged his pillow tighter in hopes that if he wised hard enough the loud upbeat music would fade into nothingness. At first, the professor thought it had worked but only a few moments later his hopes of going back to bed were dashed in a wave of lyrics about teenage dreams, dancing until we die, and something about being young forever. And he hated it. His friend definitely needed to get a better taste in music. Classical was the real deal, not whatever this noise was.

He raised his head off the pillow and glanced over at his clock with blurry eyes and a long yawn. 8:30 am. Ugh. Hadn't Milo promised to keep that infernal racket contained to his room? Dresden rolled onto his back and stretched out the stiffness from being wrapped around his pillow most of the night. It was only then, as he stared at the ceiling that he realized the fur-ball that usually slept curled up against his back wasn't there. He let out another sigh. He couldn't even snap at the younger man for gifting Milo with the muggle technology in the first place.

After a minute more of listening to the racket, Dres decided there was not point in laying in bed further and letting his mood deteriorate into something less pleasant. He'd been working hard to be less snappish at his friend over the last few months and had even retaken up playing his violin when he was feeling particularity moody or down. It was cathartic. Further thoughts along that line were cut off when the smell of warm croissants drifted to his nose. And then his stomach let out a very audible grumble.

With a small sigh of defeat, Dres rolled out of bed and grabbed a pair of black sweats from the floor and pulled them on over his boxers. A wrinkled dark blue button down followed though the professor didn't bother buttoning it up. A quick run of hands through his hair in a lazy attempt to tame it followed before he grabbed the violin and bow off his desk and padded out toward the kitchen.

"I thought we a-" His words were punctuated by a long yawn as Dres pointed at Milo with the bow before continuing, "-greed that there'd be none of this noise before 10am..... The older man blinked a couple of times and it took him longer than he would have like to realize Milo wasn't the only occupant in the kitchen. "Morning," he offered to Orion as a bit of an apology mixed with a greeting. Well at least he knew where his cat boy went. Dresden made his way over to the counter to grab his own croissant, gracefully placing it in his mouth while he transferred both bow and violin to his right had to he could fetch himself a tea cup. Dres then proceeded to move back toward the kitchen table and grab a seat, placing the instrument on the floor so he could pull himself a cuppa.
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By Orion Burgess
Orion grinned at the music coming from the other room, then the appearance one arithmancy professor shimmying to the tunes. Orion looked up from the paper with a broad grin. The expression brought an innocence back int the normally brooding scowl. It felt...nice. Orion reflected on his mood and his demeanor and found that he felt better and had a more cheerful outlook than he had in months.

Orion straightened the paper and accepted the tea, amused to realize that the professor must have thought he was Dresden. He sipped carefully at the brew and accepted the croissant.

"I've been well. Been busy with work and what-not. I've decided to divorce Gemma."

He knew the revelation was sudden, especially when revealed matter-of-factly over breakfast as if he was commenting on the weather. Such as i was, Orion launched into an explanation.

"I was out with a coworker, celebrating his birthday, when she and I had our inevitable clash. It was at the moment that she was flirting with my coworker and using her maiden name to introduce herself to my office mates that I realized that she is emotionally no longer mine, so any attempts at reconciliation with her would need to address that first. When she returned my ring, I knew that that wouldn't happen. To that end, I went to my parents and told them an appropriate story for where I've been and what I've been doing. They're in the process of reversing my death certificate, so I'm looking for a flat of my own and I shall be seeking custody of the twins once they're born."

He took a bite of croissant and another sip of tea.

"This is a good blend...Earl Grey?"

He looked up at Milo as if he had not just dropped an erumpet's horn of information.
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By Milo Witte
Well, this made for an awkward sort of little impromptu breakfast when Dresden appeared with his violin in hand. He was about to apologize when Dresy noticed and greeted their house guest who was more like a returned occupant. It hadn't been dreadfully dull without him, yet the atmosphere in the little flat had certainly been lacking a certain something. Perhaps it was Orion's ability to disrupt things so that arguments were avoided with some little factoid or comment. Like he was now. Granted, this revelation was a bit more shocking than most such statements. Milo was by no means surprised. After that horrible letter Gemma had written him and such, after the time apart, and after a confrontation now from the sound of things, it made sense Orion would decide to proceed forward in such a fashion. Despite the fact the two were expecting, which in and of itself was an interesting thought. The blonde girl was so thin in his opinion, Milo was a little surprised she could sustain a life in addition to her own. Whatever the odds, it had happened, though.

Milo sat sipping at his tea as Orion spoke and for a few moments after, trying to figure out what to say to that when Orion commented on the tea. He smiled slightly. "Indeed," he agreed to both the comment on the blend and the guess at the type. "New tea shop opened in Diagon, and I simply had to try it. Only so much you can stand of the stuff you get at Madam Puddifoot's to make it through the school year." He made a slight face. Some of that stuff had been outright horrid, though he supposed the actual flavor of the tea wasn't important when the typical patrons were two teenagers with other things in mind beside what they were putting into their that moment. Milo made a slight face then shook his head.

"That's a big step, though. Does she know it yet?"
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By Dresden Faust
Dres stopped half way through the motion of pouring his tea, croissant still dangling from his mouth when Orion chose to drop his news. The professor let out a soft little hum of acknowledgement and finished pouring his tea before setting the pot down and leaning back in his chair. He finally took a bite of his breakfast and chewed slowly as he mulled over what Orion had just said. It was a lot to process and rather unexpected. In fact, Dres wasn't sure how to respond.

On one hand it was a good step for the younger man. Dres certainly didn't think highly of his wife..err ex wife now he supposed. He knew Orion had been working lots with the muggle enforcement group so there wasn't anything new there and even if there was it wasn't like he could do anything about it or judge the younger man for his choices. He'd made enough bone headed choices over the years including ending up on his own fathers barely tolerated side. But as long as Orion was happy in the end that was all that really mattered right?

So rather than pipe up with his own two cents Dres opted to go the silent route and let Milo lead the conversation since he wasn't even sure Orion's comment had been directed at his friend or to the both of them. Milo's question did bring up a an interesting point. If everything had gone down at a pub or whatever, did Gemma know it was truly over? Dres made a mental note to make sure he was long gone from the house if he ever learned she was coming over. One tense confrontation had been more than enough.
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By Orion Burgess
With another sip, Orion considered the tea thoughtfully. The bergamot, black tea, touch of was nice. Orion's eyes flicked to Milo and he answered the question easily.

"She knows. And she knows why, too. I was at the end of the road with allowing myself to be dictated to with what I was and was not permitted to do. I no longer wish to be emotionally manipulated or yanked around. I'm sorry if this sudden news causes any upset or pain in your lives, but I needed to take this step and live my own choices."

He took a deep breath and blew it out softly. he seemed more centered and happier with himself. With a studied ease, Orion returned to scanning the paper for a flat that suited his needs.

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