A Matter Of Identity

The knocking came again.

"Yes?" Dominic said.

"Divinity and Personal Rolls Office." the young man said, flashing his licence
at the viewscreen. "Ranian. God of Tests, Second Class. If I might have a moment
of your time...?"

Dominic sighed, and opened the door. "All right."

"Now..." Ranian said, consulting his PDA. "You are Dominic, currently known as
Dominic Allingham, Muse of History, First Class, presently on parental leave?"

"Yes." Dominic said. "My licence."

The air flickered, and the licence appeared in his hand.

Ranian eyed it beadily. "That seems in order... Very well."

Dominic flicked the licence out of existance again.

"Now... let me see." Ranian continued. "Is Alisandra, Muse of Metafiction,
Second Class, still resident at this address?"

"Yes." Dominic said.

"And..." Ranian consulted his PDA. "Xephanya, Siren First Class?"


"Are there any other Divinities currently in residence?"

"Aynaphex, Siren First Class." Dominic said. "Currently registered on the
_Otherside_ Divine Rolls."

Ranian paled a little. "Ah. Thank you. We'll check that out."

"We also have a..." Dominic considered. "A _former_ Demon Lord in residence -
I'm not entirely sure what he is now."

"Ah." Ranian said. "Would this be Aballon, Demon Lord First Class?"

Dominic raised an eyebrow. "You'd have to ask him. Kari?"

An African Grey parrot flew out of the living room and settled on Dominic's
shoulder. "Yeah?"

"This gentleman" - Dominic nodded to Ranian - "is from Divinity and Personal
Rolls. He'd like to ask you a few questions."

Kari eyed Ranian beadily, as only a parrot can. "Yeah?"

"Ahem." Ranian said, trying to regain his composure. "Are you Aballon, Demon
Lord First Class?"

"...Not any more." Kari croaked.

"But you were _once_." Ranian pressed.

Kari nodded. "Yeah."

"Then would you be so kind as to inform me what you are now?"

Kari's expression darkened. "Divinity. Just that. None of the power. Just
know the divine. Can _see_ if others divine, Light or Dark."

"I _see_." Ranian said. "And the reason you have not reported this to the

Kari sighed. "Realm sealed off. Stuck here." He nodded to Dominic. "Didn't
know still divine."

"Yes..." Ranian said. "You got through during that mess with Amber and
Typhon, didn't you?"

Kari nodded.

Ranian answered Dominic's unspoken question. "We're following up on any
Divinities currently unregistered, misregistered or AWOL. We had reason to
believe that at least one Divinity - Aballon - was still at large in this realm
after that... trouble... with Typhon."

"An interesting way of putting it." Dominic observed, carefully

"Very well." Ranian said. "Let's see what we have here..."

He rapped Kari on the forehead once.

The parrot's eyes went wide.

So did Ranian's.

"Allfather above..." he whispered. "Allfather above.


"The residents of this house tend to have that effect on people." Dominic
observed calmly. "Would you care to sit down?"

"...Yes." Ranian managed to get out. "Yes. I think... I think that would be a
very good idea..."


Dominic set a cup of tea before Ranian, then took a seat himself.

Kari watched the scene from his perch on a convenient headrest with a certain

"Well?" Dominic inquired.

"Ah... Ah, yes." Ranian said. "Right. Um. It _appears_ Aballon-"

"Kari." Kari corrected. "Not Aballon. Kari."

"Right." Ranian said, still visibly shaken. "Um, it _appears_ that Kari here
is still a Divinity First Class."

Dominic raised an eyebrow. "Really."

"Would've noticed." Kari croaked. "Believe me."

"It um, also appears that he is aligned with neither Light or Dark." Ranian
blinked. "How...?"

Dominic chuckled. "Zaqqum's anti-demon protocols. The Desolation Beyond Time
has certain... issues... with demonkind."

This time, Ranian stared. "_Zaqqum?!_"

"Yes." Dominic said. "Quite a nice girl, once you get to know her. Going out
with Gwyn ap Nud at the moment, I believe."

Ranain's jaw flapped around. "Nice. Zaqqum. Going out."

"Yes." Dominic said. "On the matter of the anti-demon protocols - what I
would suspect is that Zaqqum's protocols burned away what was _Dark_ in
Kari... but he had nothing of the _Light_ in him to orientate him towards

"Not Dark or Light, not Elemental or Nature..." Ranian stared at the parrot.
"What _are_ you?"

Kari idly shook out his wings. "Got me there."

"There should have been _something_ of the Light..." Ranian began.

"Lost it a long time ago. If ever had it." Kari said. "Went... went _banal_.
Cliche. Stereotype. Just the Dark. Kinda Dark does it 'cause it's habit. What
they know.

"Habit seductive."

"Yes, well..." Ranian tried pulling himself together, without much luck. "Um.

"It would appear that Zaqqum's protocols stripped away everything else, leaving
Kari with just the spark of Divinity." Dominic supplied helpfully. "He /is/
Divine - but I would imagine it's been some time since there was an unaligned

"...Yes. Um. Yes." Ranian managed to say. "Um. Well. Er."

"Classification's the problem, yes?"

Ranian nodded in relief.

"Hm." Dominic said. "Kari, what would you say you're a Divinity of?"

Kari shook his wings out again. "Just am, is all. Just a Divinity."

Ranian shook his head. "No. No, can't have that. We need to know what _type_
of Divinity you are. Something for the records."

"Guardian." Dominic said quietly. "Put down 'Guardian'. Even if he isn't a
Cherub or a Guardian Angel, he's still a Guardian."

"Guardian. Yes. That should do. They'll accept that." Ranian stared at Kari.
"But if you're still a First Class... you must have the power, why don't you
use it?"

"What for?" Kari said.

"I believe it comes down to his transformation." Dominic said. "He was
stripped of the Dark, losing even his classification, his type. As he is now,
without a classification... there's no direction for the power."

"But-" Ranian began.

"The classification is for the benefit of the Rolls." Dominic said softly. "He
remains what he is - a Divinity, one with the Divine spark... but there is
nothing to come reflexively to him. No obvious avenue for the spark.

"Remember, our powers have their foundation in emotion. I've seen Kari
emotional - truly emotional - on only two things: looking out for Ayna, or
when confronted with evil.

"And without a natural avenue for the power... nothing happened.

"There is no direction for the power to go... not without learning a new
avenue, at least."

"I see..." Ranian said, his tone indicating that he didn't.

"So what do you intend to do?" Dominic inquired.


"About Kari. The last I was aware, failure to report a change of divine
status incurred a fairly nasty penalty."

"Yes, well..." Ranian coughed. "I believe we have a standard procedure in
place for such circumstances.

"Kari's licence will, of course, have to be updated - it shouldn't take more
than a month, but for the duration, his licence will effectively be suspended.

"However, he cannot be recalled, since his realm has been sealed off. And he has
already undergone reincarnation.

"In such a case, my assessment would be to bind him over for the next year,
placed under your supervision, with monthly checkups from myself. After that,
his case will be reassessed."

"Very well." Dominic said. "If that's everything..."

Ranian nodded.

"Oh, that reminds me." Dominic said, snapping his fingers. "Are you aware of

Ranian raised an eyebrow. "As a representative of the Divinity and Personal
Records Office, I can only tell you what I told Mr Maxil at H. G. Wells' when he
contacted us regarding that matter. No such individual exists within the
Office's jurisdiction at this time."

"...I see." Dominic said quietly. "Thank you."

"If you have any further questions...?" Ranian inquired.

"No." Dominic said. "No, thank you."

"As you will." Ranian said. "Thank you for your time."

Dominic nodded, remaining in his seat as Ranian left.

Kari fluttered down onto a nearby cushion. "Not good."

"No." Dominic sighed. "She _is_ a Divinity, from what Xeffy and Ayna have said -
_that_ was unmistakeable. But she's not recognised as one. Or in possession of a
licence. As far as the Office are concerned - assuming they even know at all -
she's a mortal resident with Divine-level powers. And _that_, they don't have to
worry about."

"Why it matter to you?" Kari asked.

"Because..." Dominic drew a heavy breath. "To be honest, Kari, because I have
the deep feeling things should never have got so far. And Ranian has just told
me part of the reason _why_ it got this far - because she was never registered,
because, for whatever reason, her parents didn't register her." He sighed again.
"Whatever happens now is her choice... as it always is... but should she choose
to take up the role of a Divinity, I suspect she'll find it a difficult path.
More difficult, I think, then it should be."

"Nothing you can do." Kari said.

"Not yet, at least." Dominic said quietly. "But that's a matter for another

"Now, though..." He settled back in his chair. "If I might ask... Aballon wasn't
one for spells, was he?"

"Nah." Kari said. "Preferred natural powers. More 'bout that whole 'Demon
Lord' look. Got people to do it for him. Not 'xactly Mr Imaginative."

"I see." Dominic said. "Have you ever considered learning magic yourself?"

Kari blinked.

Dominic chuckled. "All right, we don't use it much around here... but the
power of a Divinity behind a spell can often exceed what a mortal mage is
capable of."

"Magical /parrot?/" Kari said.

"You _have_ seen Allie and Sandra's anime?" Dominic inquired. "That's not the
weirdest thing out there by a long shot."

"Can't yet." Kari said. "Licence suspended."

"That doesn't stop someone learning..." Dominic trailed off. "Hm. It occurs
to me... perhaps not entirely practical, but you would have access to a pair
of hands. How advisable that would be..."

"Not wise." Kari said.


Kari opened his beak, then closed it again.

".../Ayna./" Dominic murmured quietly. "It's her, isn't it?"

Kari nodded, slowly.

"Why don't you want it?"

"I..." Kari began, before visibly forcing himself to continue. "Too much.
OTT. Don't wanna do that."

"Yet... ah. I see." Dominic said, watching the parrot's expression. "I see.
That's it, isn't it? The words."

Kari nodded.

"A parrot could say it and not be believed." Dominic murmured. "So you don't
say it. A _human_, on the other hand... if a human said it, it at least has
to be acknowledged. And you would prefer..."

"Not have deal with it." Kari said. "Not _her_ have to deal with it. Don't
want that."

Dominic sighed heavily. "Kari, I know a lot about impossible situations, and
this is one of them, believe me. As a parrot, you can't tell her you care
because it wouldn't be believed - or, more properly, not taken in the spirit
you mean. On the other hand, you know that you _don't_ want to have her
suddenly dealing with knowing you care about her. And as for going the
'mysterious stranger' route... that can often be messy.

"And... it's not just about _telling_, it's about _showing_. Ayna _wouldn't_
miss that."

Kari shook his head.

Dominic sighed. "She's still a teenager, Kari. In some respects, she's had to
grow up early... but in others, she's still a little girl. But then, you already
know that. You have, in a lot of ways, shown considerable compassion in dealing
with her."

Kari nodded.

"The decision is mine, isn't it?" Dominic murmured. "The ability to turn you
into a human - or the decision whether or not to teach you to do so - is

"What _you_ do with the idea later is your choice. But this decision, now, is

"I have to choose. But then, it's not really a choice, is it?

"Could you honestly say you _wouldn't_ take the opportunity to become human,
if you had the chance?"

Kari hesitated. "...Don't know. Depends. Care. Maybe care needs parrot, maybe
care needs human."

Dominic sighed. "...Very well."

He stood up.

"Hop onto the floor." he said.

Kari did so.

"I should warn you first." Dominic said. "The spell I'm about to use will
flip your body between parrot and human - specifically, will give you the
choice to flip your body between parrot and human.

"It _should_ be easier for you, as you remember having a humanoid body."

Kari nodded.

"Very well."

Dominic concentrated.

He'd learned a wide range of spells over the years; it was virtually part of the

He had also learned that one of the most valuable skills in magic was knowing
when not to use it - he had relied on his skills, his knowledge, his memory,
and his innate talents, but rarely, if ever, had he needed to use the magic
he'd learned. It had rarely proven necessary in his day to day life.

This was one of the simplest spells he knew. Simpler still, its underlying
paradigm was already a part of the 'Round's reality.

There is a theory known as the 'morphogenetic field' theory. Simply put, it
states that all life has an energy state which describes the body and mind - as
well as their potential. As living things change, the field changes to
incorporate that new information, and re-informs the body and mind along those

This simplified version bears a certain similarity to a theory the Who novels
have espoused concerning the nature of biodata - namely, that it is a
complete and total description of everything about a person, their position
in space-time, their past and present, who and what they are.

At its most extreme, it could be hypothesised that this could lead to a
situation where the morphic field - or the biodata - could be rewritten. The
morphic field would inform the body that the new pattern was the way it now
was - and the body would change to fit.

In some worlds, this is exactly what happens.

Like now.

Kari's morphic field was suddenly, utterly, convinced Kari was human.

It overrode the objections of Kari's body and mind - the information it had
said Kari was human, so Kari _was_ human.

Too small for a human, though. Definitely too small.

Humans didn't have feathers. Or a beak.

They most certainly did _not_ have wings.

And these were just the wrong number of toes. _Clawed_ toes, at that. Humans
didn't have clawed toes.

Where was the body hair? Humans had body hair.

Skeleton and musculature all the wrong shape. Let's see about putting that

And then it was done.

Kari wobbled a little as his centre of balance readjusted itself.

"...Somehow, I'm not surprised." Dominic murmured.

"W-Why?" Kari said, stumbling over the words a little.

"Well, I didn't specify _what_ human you'd look like. I allowed you to take
care of that."

Kari suddenly found a human stomach could do the 'sinking feeling' a lot
better than a parrot's. "Oh no..."

"I'm afraid so." Dominic said. "You really _are_ sweet on her..."

"...Harry Potter." Kari said. "It's Harry Potter."

"Minus the scar." Dominic said.

Indeed, Kari's human form _did_ look like Harry Potter - short and skinny,
with untidy black hair, brilliant green eyes and knobbly knees.

He was also completely naked.

"Um..." Kari said, looking down. "Okay. Um... why am I naked?"

"Unfortunately, straightforward creation of clothes from thin air is _not_ a
skill I've developed." Dominic said. "And I doubt any of mine will fit...
We'll probably have to do some shopping. And avoid fangirls while we're at
it, but that shouldn't be too hard."

"...Um, this's sort of going to limit where I shift..." Kari said.

"An attunement spell keyed to your human form should take care of that..."
Dominic said. "As for ID - your licence should take care of that, _once_ we
get the new one sent to us.

"As for the girls..."


Dominic eyed the now-furiously blushing Kari. "I think we'll fill them in
_after_ we pick up some clothes..."

"Um, I'm still naked?" Kari offered.

"Flip back to parrot form." Dominic suggested. "Then I think we should pop in at
the 'Round."

Kari's brow furrowed. Why go to the 'Round...?


Harry was wiping the bar, whistling, when Dominic walked in, parrot-Kari on his

"Oh, hello there, old fellow." Harry said.

"I wondered." Dominic said. "Would it be possible for me to look through the
lost and found?"

"Of course, old chap." Harry pointed to a door at the back of the bar room.
"Through there, first on your right."

"Thank you." Dominic said, and made his way over.

A few minutes later, he came back out, carrying a dressing gown, a pair of
pyjama bottoms, and a pair of slippers.

"I'll take these."

"All right." Harry fumbled around under the bar before pulling out a wad of
slips. "If you'd just like to fill in one of these?"

Dominic filled in one of the slips, signed it in neat copperplate, and handed it
back to Harry.

"Got to keep track of things, you understand." Harry explained. "Can't have
anyone walking off with them."

"Of course." Dominic said. "Thank you."

"No trouble, old man."

Harry watched them go, before returning to his polishing. Nice chap, that
Dominic. Maybe a bit long-winded, but he seemed to be a decent fellow, all said.

Although, he did have to wonder... when had he lost a dressing gown, pyjama
bottoms, and a pair of slippers?

Ah well. There was probably some explanation for it.


Some while after that, the proprietor of Sayer's, a small men's clothing store
on Grainer Street, became aware of high-pitched screaming, which rapidly faded
into the distance.

Moments later, a somewhat dishevelled middle-aged gentleman and an equally
dishevelled young boy entered the store, panting just a _little_.

The proprietor raised an eyebrow at the appearance of the boy, who wore a
dressing gown, pyjama bottoms, and a pair of slippers, but said nothing.

"Ahem." the older gentleman said, approaching the counter. "I wondered if you
might assist us. We're looking for a complete set of outfits for this young
man - he's a friend of the family who's staying with us and we'd like to make
sure he has the appropriate clothes."

"Of course, sir." the proprietor said. Hm. The boy looked familiar for some
reason... rather like that young man who played Harry Potter, but with black
hair and green eyes instead. Ah. Probably been mistaken for the young man. That
would explain the screaming. "I'd be happy to assist you. What price limit did
you have in mind?"

The older man laid a Galaxy Express Latinum card on the counter. "Let me know."

The proprietor eyed the card, little pound signs flashing in his eyes. "Of
course, sir. If you'd like to follow me...?"


Some while after _that_, when Ayna and Xeffy got back from school...

"Hey, guys!" Xeffy called, shrugging off her coat. "We're home!"

"Family conference." Dominic called back. "We're in the living room."

Xeffy and Ayna looked at each other, baffled, but complied.

When they got there, Dominic, Allie and Sandra were already seated, with Kari
perched on a convenient armrest.

Dominic gestured for Ayna and Xeffy to sit down, which they did.

"All right." Dominic said, when he was sure they were all comfortable - which
they weren't likely to be for much longer. "Today, I had a visitor from the
Divine and Personal Rolls Office - the Registry Office."

Allie frowned. "What did he want?"

"He was checking up on Divinities who were currently unregistered,
misregistered, or AWOL."

"That doesn't apply to us, though." Sandra said. "Unless you're not telling us

Dominic half-smiled. "I'm getting to it. No, it doesn't apply to _us_, but...
Ayna, do you remember where you got Kari?"

"Um, when that demon lord got..." Ayna's eyes widened. "You're _kidding!_
_Kari's_ a Divinity?!"

"Yes." Dominic said. "Formerly Aballon, Demon Lord First Class... now Kari,
_Divinity_ First Class. For their own benefit, however, they're registering him
as a Guardian."

Ayna's jaw fell open, eyes bugging.

"...You're /serious/." Xeffy managed to say. "Kari's a _God?_"

Dominic raised an eyebrow. "You've seen weirder."

"...Well, yeah, but _Kari?_"

"Yes." Dominic said.

The girls took that in.

Kari preened, a little smugly.

"So what kind of Divinity _is_ he?" Allie asked.

"Simply a Divinity, nothing more." Dominic said. "He has no orientation to any
of the forces - Light, Dark, Elemental, Natural... and no natural outlet for his

"...That can happen?" Allie said, before pulling herself together. "Stupid
question. I mean, it _has_, but..."

"I haven't turned up any other unaligned Divinites." Dominic said. "That doesn't
mean there _aren't_ any, but if there are, they're unregistered."

"So... Kari's a Divinity." Allie said.

"Yes." Dominic said. "However, the Office are suspending his licence for the
next month while they update his details and send us a new licence.

"On hearing that, and learning that Kari had no known innate powers..." Dominic
took a deep breath. "I offered to cast a spell on his behalf, something to
assist him.

"He accepted."

"...What spell was it?" Sandra said.

Dominic sighed. "Kari?"

Kari nodded, hopped down onto the floor...

And shifted to Harry Potter-form.

Albeit a fully clothed Harry Potter, this time.

There was a stunned silence.

Ayna was the first to break it.

"...HARRY!!" she squealed, leaping for the startled Kari.

"_Hold it._" Sandra said, concentrating.

Ayna froze, held in place by Sandra's telekinesis.

Kari had taken a couple of steps back, taken aback by Ayna's reaction.

"...Okay, Dad." Allie said, tapping her foot. "Explanation?"

Dominic's sigh was unfeigned. "I cast a spell on Kari that would enable him to
flip from parrot to human and back again. However... when he first shifted,
_this_ was the body he went for."

Sandra blinked. "Hera. He _must_ be sweet on her."

"..Why didn't you ask Ayna first?" Xeffy said finally.

"...I don't mind." Ayna put in, gazing adoringly at Kari.

Kari looked even more discomfited, if that were possible.

"As Sandra said." Dominic answered. "Kari felt asking Ayna would be
uncomfortable for _him_, and I went along with his wishes."

"_He_ felt it would be uncomfortable?" Allie echoed.

"For _him_." Dominic said. "Yes, it _was_ a unilateral decision on our part.
However, the other options were even less advisable."

"...Okay." Sandra said finally. "Given all that, what's he do now?"

"He could come to school with us?" Ayna offered, her tone of voice making it
very, _very_ clear why she'd like this.

"Kari?" Dominic said. "What do you want to do?"

Kari hesitated, looking between the family's faces.

Finally, he shook his head. "I've spent too long cooped inside. I need to get
out." A crooked smile flickered across his face. "And given how I look... looks
like I'll be going to school."

Ayna looked as if all her prayers had been answered at once.

"...Are you sure about this, Dad?" Sandra said, sotto voce.

"He could either stay at home, as now," Dominic said quietly, "or he could go to

"Home schooling?" Allie offered.

Dominic raised an eyebrow. "In that case, why don't I offer Xeffy and Ayna that
choice as well?"

Allie and Sandra looked at each other, then back at Kari, before evidently
deciding it wasn't worth the trouble.

"Er, Kari...?" Xeffy said tentatively, as if feeling her way.

"Yes, Xeffy?" Kari said.

Xeffy coughed, eyeing Ayna, still held by Sandra's telekinesis. "Er, are _you_
sure about this? I mean, if you _do_ go, you'll have to put up with getting
glomped by Ayna - 'cause Sandra can't always be there..."

Kari blushed. "Um... yeah, not so much..."

Xeffy eyed Ayna again. "Yeah, I thought so... Hey, Ayna?"


"You mind _not_ glomping Kari while we're at school? Yeah, okay, he looks like
_Harry_, but that's no reason to keep glomping the poor guy. It's not like he's
your boyfriend or anything."

"...But it's _Harry!_" Ayna protested.

"...It's your pet _parrot_." Allie said.

"Ahem." Kari said.

"A parrot who happens to turn into a boy." Sandra corrected. "Ayna, he only
_looks_ like Harry. He's still _Kari_ underneath."

Conflicting emotions struggled on Ayna's face. "But... Harry..."

"Kari." Sandra said. "Look, Ayna, just take a step back here. You don't know
him, and you're already out to glomp him senseless."

"...So?" Ayna said.

"...This might be harder than I thought." Sandra murmured. "_Think_ about it.
You're glomping a strange guy, and this doesn't worry you?"

Ayna hesitated. "Um..."

"Look. Just take a step back and try this again, okay?" Sandra said. "_Without_
the glomping."

"...Okay." Ayna said reluctantly.

Sandra released her mental hold.

Ayna staggered, regaining her balance.

"Um, Kari...?" she said finally, once she'd found her footing again.


"...You _are_ still Kari, aren't you?"

"...Yes." Kari said quietly. "I am."

"How much do you...?" Ayna brought herself up short, unable to finish the

"I still remember being a parrot." Kari said. "I still remember what happened -
what _happens_ - like that."

Ayna blushed. "Um... Everything?"

"What-" Kari began. "Oh. _Oh..._"

He started blushing as furiously as Ayna.

"...Hey, _wait_ a minute!" Xeffy said dangerously. "_You were in our bedroom!_"

Kari's blush deepened. "Sorry, Xeffy."

Xeffy advanced on him. "I'll 'sorry' _you_, you pervert!"

"...Um, you thought I _was_ a pervert back then..." Kari tried.

"A perverted _parrot!_" Xeffy shot back. "Not a perverted _boy!_"

"_Xeffy._" Sandra said warningly. "You didn't know he'd become human."

"Uh-huh." Xeffy sniffed. "He still knew what he was looking at."

"...And you thought he _didn't_, even as a parrot?"

"A _parrot_ I can deal with." Xeffy retorted. "A _boy_, on the other hand..."

"I think it would be a good idea if you stayed out of the girls' bedrooms."
Dominic observed to Kari. "Oh, and give the bathroom a miss as well."

"Um... okay." Kari said, attempting to do his best to avoid a Xeffy in terminal
piss-off, whilst Ayna tried to hold her twin back from Karicide.

"He got the teenage hormones with the body too, didn't he?" Allie murmured to
her father, as they watched this.

Dominic nodded. "Yes."

Allie winced. "Ouch. Hey, wait a minute. If he's going to school... Varne can
recognise shapeshifters."

"Do we have any reason to keep it secret?" Dominic said.

"Well, there'd be the 'parrot-boy' jokes..." Allie observed. "Apart from that...
hold on, what about the Harry fangirls?"

"I doubt any are quite as... aggressive... as Ayna." Dominic said. "Besides, I
believe most of them would be familiar with the animagus concept - they'd take
it in that light."

"Ah." Allie said. "Actually, I meant how _Kari_ would deal with them..."

"I think that's best left to him." Dominic said.

Allie smirked. "No problem. He asked for it, he got it."

Ayna had finally managed to hold Xeffy off from Kari-pounding. She took a deep
breath, before finally letting her attention return to Kari himself.

"...I don't know you, do I...?" she said softly. "You know me, everything about
me... but I don't... I didn't even know you were still Divine..."

"I'm sorry." Kari said. "I could have told you... would you have believed it?"

Ayna shook her head. "I thought you'd just kept the intelligence. The brains. I
didn't know you'd got the spark..."

"I couldn't have used it." Kari said quietly. "I _wish_ I could have... but I

Ayna gasped, a little inward take of breath, as realisation hit. "The

"You didn't deserve that..." Kari said, even softer than before. "They hurt
you... hurt you so deeply... and it hurt _me_, seeing you... seeing you like
that... all I could do was listen..."

"...Oh, Kari..." Ayna lifted her hand, touching him on the cheek, seeing the
wetness in his eyes. "I'm sorry..."

"...Don't. Please." Kari said quietly. "Don't be. It's me..."

"It hurts, doesn't it?" Ayna said softly.

"Yes." Kari said. "But I can bear that."

"I don't know you." Ayna whispered again. "I don't..." She lifted her hand,
withdrew it. "Who are you?"

"...I don't know." Kari said. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be." Ayna told him. "Don't be." A grin flashed across her face. "I guess
I'll just have to do something about it, won't I?"

Kari stared at her, disbelieving.

"That means you're staying, parrot-boy." Ayna told him.

A tiny, beautiful smile found its way onto Kari's face. "Should I thank you?"

Ayna's grin was brilliant against her grey skin. "We'll find out."

"...Oh, I _like_ this boy." Sandra said admiringly.

"Speak for yourself," Xeffy sniffed, but her expression told a rather different

"Just so long as he doesn't start calling Dad 'Dad'." Allie said.

"Somehow, I doubt that's likely..." Dominic said, deadpan. "Well, then..." He
put his arms behind his back. "How does everyone feel about eating out tonight?"

The girls and Kari double-took.

"Say _what_?" they chorused.

"I'd say we certainly have enough reason, don't you?" Dominic said. "And it _is_
Kari's second chance to try human food, after all."

"...Oh my gods!" Ayna gasped, as it sank in. "I'm sorry, Kari!"

"Don't worry." Kari reassured her. "It _was_ birdfeed..."

"...I know _one_ thing about you now." Ayna told him.

"What?" Kari said.

"You've _still_ got a terrible sense of humour." Ayna said, a grin playing on
her face. "At least it means I can do _this_..."

"Do what?" Kari said.

He almost immediately regretted saying that, as he found out just how much force
a five-foot girl could put behind a wing-fwap.



The End (at least for now)


Disclaimer: 'Doctor Who' and Harry Sullivan are the BBC's. TTR was created by
Tyler Dion. Harry Potter created and owned by J. K. Rowling, Warner Bros., and
various publishers. Kari originally introduced - in demon form - by Paul
Andinach. Everyone else is mine.

With thanks to B. K. Willis for his comments on the first part of this.

There's a 'Kari Potter' joke waiting to be made somewhere here...

Summary: The visit of an official from the Divinity and Personal Rolls Office
sets a bizarre train of events in motion for the Allingham family...


Copyright 2003 Imran Inayat.