Harry Potter and the Secret Link Part 10
What a disturbing turn of events.
Three -not one, not two- THREE of Maxwell's friends were there, at Hogwarts, tensed and prepared, not counting Winner. Four friends in total.
"There are more of them?" Sprout fretted in a whisper. "Albus, one alone took out TWO of my greenhouses... One I can barely keep standing! My plants won't survive with FIVE of them running amuck!"
"I assure you, Ponoma," Dumbledore twinkled, "Misters Yuy, Chang, Winner, and Barton won't provide you with the same problems as Mr. Maxwell."
If possible, even Severus seemed to look a mite worried. "Let's hope not," Minerva said faintly. Albus was certain her mind was going back to the many... incidents... that had quickly become commonplace at Hogwarts.
Albus thought it was rather amusing. His associates, however, did not.
When the Headmaster pulled the tapestry back, Duo's cheery smile and unassuming demeanor greeted him. "Hey, Albus and company." He corked his head to the side. "Come to meet our friends?"
"Indeed we have, young Mr. Maxwell," Filius said with a true smile. He, of all the professors, took Duo better than most. Besides, charming soot from the Charms rooms' ceiling was a great deal easier than, say, recovering from a Drought of the Living Death that lasted two weeks.
"Guys, these are Professors Severus Snape, Minerva McGonagall, Filius Flitwick, Ponoma Sprout..." He motioned toward Albus, smiling crookedly, "and Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. Headmaster, Professors, this is Chang Wufei, Trowa Barton, and Heero Yuy."
The three latest newcomers didn't even shift where they stood, bodies facing Duo and Quatre, heads turned to the point they could see the Hogwarts staff clearly. All looked stunningly different from their two comrades -one, a Chinese boy, greatly resembled Cho Chang. In fact, even his name was Chang -Wufei Chang. Or, according the Asian way of naming, Chang Wufei. His face was serious and young -but his eyes displayed just how much wisdom this teenager beheld.
Trowa Barton -blank, cold, and mysterious. Even if Dumbledore hadn't known the boy's age, he would have had trouble placing just how old this 17 year old was. He had an ageless face, with ageless eyes that displayed nothing important to him -in fact, nothing at all.
Heero Yuy was stoic and tense, hand twitching at his hip where the faint outline of a weapon sat comfortably. He had emotion, of this Dumbledore was sure -restrained, tightly controlled by a obsessive compulsive part of his mind. Heero Yuy reminded Dumbledore greatly of someone; it did not bode well for the boy. Or Hogwarts.
Chang Wufei bowed respectfully. "I take it you are responsible for Maxwell's further well-being?"
"Not for a lack of trying on Mr. Maxwell's part, I assure you, Mr. Chang," Dumbledore said jovially. "But yes -Mr. Maxwell has gifted this school with his presence for many months now."
A spark entered Mr. Yuy's eyes momentarily. "I strongly doubt 'gifted' is the word you intended to use, but I speak for my companions when I say we understand."
"Ooooi," Mr. Maxwell groaned. "So mean..."
"So cruel," Harry piped, grinning from ear to ear.
"But so true," Chang Wufei shot back, earning an easy laugh from Harry.
"Our wands worked for them, professor," Duo said offhandedly, idly rubbing the tip of his wand in absent thought. "Isn't that odd?"
"Odd? Not quite so, Mr. Maxwell," Albus said with a twinkle in his eyes. "If they weren't even a little magical they wouldn't be able to see Hogwarts right now. This room would be mere rubble to them."
Trowa appeared thoughtful. "The concept of magic may explain how Duo was a specialist in staying out of sight on a mission. The enemy never noticed he'd been there until the fireworks went off."
"It explains a damn lot," Duo grinned. "Quatre's space heart, Trowa's infiltration specialty, Heero's ability to jump from a thirty story building sitting on a cliff and surviving the fall with just a broken leg...."
Harry blinked. "You mean that tripe story is true?"
Duo put a hand to his chest, as if highly offended. "Why, Mr. Potter! I run, I hide, but I never tell a lie."
"But Headmaster," Ponoma said frettingly, "I can understand how the Department for the Recruitment of Young Witches and Wizards can make the mistake of missing one wizard -but five?"
"Ah, but they only made one mistake, Ponoma," Albus claimed cheerfully. "Mr. Maxwell's name was listed in the Book of Newborn Witches and Wizards since the day he was born. However -you all recall your astrology classes, am I right? Almost two hundred years ago, muggles began colonizing the stars."
"Muggles?" Chang Wufei inquired stiffly. Severus had narrowed his eyes on the four youth when they exchanged similarly secretive looks upon the mention of Maxwell's name being listed anywhere.
"Non-magic people," Albus explained kindly. "There is no way for wizards to find potential students upon the star colonies, as we call them. I'm sure there are many more potentials other then yourselves that reside in the colonies, unknowing of the power they wield. Mr. Maxwell was born on Earth, but due to certain unforeseen circumstances, he was relocated to one of the star colonies at a very young age."
"My mother died," Maxwell said cheerfully, startling Severus with his rather glib posture.
"Yes," Albus nodded, apparently unaffected by Maxwell's attitude. "Mr. Winner happens to have pureblood ties -his mother was Quatrine Malfoy."
"Malfoy!" McGonagall exclaimed, everyone's eyes flashing to the surprised blond boy. Severus supposed that explained the heavily resemblance between Draco Malfoy and Quatre Winner. Severus could understand everyone's disbelief -the boy was as far from Draco Malfoy, attitude wise, as night was to day.
"I never knew my mother's maiden name," Winner admitted softly, his hand absently clutching at the area above his heart. "She died not long after I was developed."
"Developed?" Filius murmured.
"Quat's a test tube baby," Maxwell replied frankly. "But that doesn't make any sense -he has sisters all over Earth, but none of them show the slightest bit of magic!"
"Ah," Albus said, looking puzzled. "But it is impossible for someone who was not born naturally to be a wizard, Mr. Winner. Are you positive you were born in one of these... test tubes?"
"The atmosphere of L4 wasn't ideal for natural birth in regard to my mother," Winner said, sounding strangely bitter. "My sisters and I were developed in test tubes."
"But Mr. Winner," Albus said gently, "I've seen your mother's death certificate. She died due to complications during childbirth. Her obituary clearly stated that her son survived."
"Son?" Winner said faintly. "But... I don't..."
"Have any brothers," Barton said quietly, startling most. The boy hadn't said anything since the professors and the Headmaster entered the room.
"The only logical conclusion," Yuy said evenly, "is that you, Quatre, were born naturally.
"My father would have told me!" Winner insisted, the clenched hand over his heart bleaching white. Barton placed a comforting hand on Winner's shoulder, and the blond boy smiled thankfully at the taller European youth.
"I'm sure his reasons for keeping the origins of your birth secret were, to his mind, for the best, Mr. Winner," Albus explained soothingly. "I had the pleasure of meeting your father once, and he seemed like a very kind man.
"Chang," the Headmaster went on, "is a very common surname; however, I know of at least several Changs of pureblood lineage who are fine witches and wizards. You, Mr. Chang, could be a descendant of any one of them, or even a muggle-born -a witch or wizard born of muggle parents."
The Chinese youth nodded sharply. "Perhaps. My family happened to be very convinced that all myths were, at one time, based on fact."
"That they are, Mr. Chang," Albus said cheerfully. "Messrs. Barton and Yuy could very well be muggle-borns as well. Witches and wizards have very strong ties to the mystical energies that Earth has to offer. Once one who is destined to be a witch or wizard leaves the earth, it is theorized that his or her magic becomes dormant, awaiting the time for when the destined wizard returns to where all humans originate. There could literally be hundreds residing on the star colonies who are magical in nature; sadly, without our natural home, that power is inactive."
"Taking in the fact that this... magic," Chang said slowly, as if the word 'magic' was a foreign one that he'd never thought would pass his lips without some form of ridicule attached, "is real, than I suppose that is a likely conclusion."
"Of course," Albus said whimisically. "Now. Mr. Maxwell came to me not long ago with word that his friends were in great need of asylum. However, in a turn of good fortune, it seems that you four are quite capable of becoming students at this fine establishment."
"By choice, you mean," Barton said evenly, drawing several of the professors' curious stares. "You would not force us to attend this school."
"Of course not," Albus said. "However, I'd like to point out that learning to control your inborn magical talent would be a very fruitful endeavor. Those of the wizarding world are not very concerned with muggle particulars."
"Duo," Yuy said, turning a contemplative glance toward the braided boy. "What's your report?"
"This place is cool," Maxwell said airily. "Good food, fun classes, a few not-so-fun classes that I'm sure you and 'Fei will like, at least-" The Chinese youth snorted derisively, giving the American a wry glance, "-and I've been here for months and they haven't kicked me out yet. And, like the Headmaster said, muggles can't see it. Harry, wanna say anything? Pros, cons?"
"Hogwarts is well protected," Harry said after a moment of thought. "I mean, I have an evil megalomaniac wanting to kill me every year, and I'm still alive."
"By luck and sheer stupidity," Severus mumbled. Luckily only Albus and Minerva heard; Albus smiled in amusement as Minerva gave the Slytherin Head of House a firm glare.
"Hn," the Japanese boy grunted, glancing at Winner.
The blond smiled brightly. "I think it's a very good idea, and we'll learn a lot of new things that we hadn't known about before. Trowa?"
"I'm in," Barton shrugged. "Wufei?"
"I suppose taking advantage of the school's generous hospitality would not hurt," Chang said evenly. "Yuy, what say you?"
"I'm not against the idea," Yuy replied.
Maxwell laughed in delight and pumped a fist in the air. "Yay! The Fab Five are all together once again!" The exuberant boy threw an arm around Yuy's waist, pulling the Japanese youth close. "Missed ya, Hee-chan!"
"Hn. Baka," Yuy said, expressionless save for a minuscule smile. He tugged absently at the end of Maxwell's long braid, holding onto the rope of hair for a moment longer before dropping it again.
I knew that thing had to have been used for a leash by someone, Severus thought privately.
"How swell!" Albus clapped his hands together cheerfully. "Our first order of business is the Sorting, and tomorrow morning one of the staff shall escort you to Diagon Alley for your school supplies. Minerva, the Sorting Hat, if you will."
"You brought the Hat?" Maxwell said, slanting a sly glance at the Headmaster. "That sounds prearranged."
"Well, magic or no, your friends could have attended some of our classes without worry," Albus explained, taking the Sorting Hat with a thankful smile towards the Transfiguration professor. "Care of Magical Creatures, Potions, and Herbology require little to no magical talent. In case your friends were willing, I thought it would be prudent to bring the Hat.
"Now, in alphabetical fashion, Mr. Barton will be Sorted first."
Barton moved forward wearily. "What does it do? And what is a Sorting?"
"There are four houses at Hogwarts," Albus explained. "There is Gryffindor for the brave and daring (to which Mr. Maxwell resides), Hufflepuff for those of patience and hard work, Ravenclaw for those who are not adverse to knowledge and learning, and Slytherin for those of cunning and ambition. Our own Professor McGonagall is the Head of Gryffindor House. Professor Snape, our resident Potions Master, is the Head of Slytherin House. Professor Sprout, our Herbology teacher, is Head of Hufflepuff House, and Professor Flitwick, our Charms professor, is Head of Ravenclaw House. The Sorting Hat will tell us where you belong."
"I see," Barton murmured, taking the Hat from the Headmaster's wizen hands and slowly slipping it on his head.
Ah, a Sorting already? I see... very peculiar circumstances.
Trowa frowned. You speak?
I do more than just speak, dear Mr. Barton! I plunder the very depths of your mind to find out where you belong.
I see. Do you disclose any information to the Headmaster? I do not appreciate my privacy exploited.
Only very rarely, Mr. Barton, and very candidly. Now... A quick mind, I see, and very patient. Difficult, very difficult. Ah... Aha, a very cunning young lad, aren't you? A good spy... So much trouble in your past. Better be...
Trowa slipped the Hat from his head and handed it off to Wufei. "It talks."
"I noticed," Wufei said dryly. Trowa shrugged and walked back to Quatre, sparing the slight boy a small smile. Wufei would see what he meant by that when he put the Hat on.
Another one? Dear me, a busy day, isn't it?
Wufei started, scowling quickly. 'It talks.' Thank you, Barton, the heads-up was appreciated.
The Hat chuckles reverberated through his skull. That Mr. Barton, a man of few words, isn't he? Now, let's see... Ah. Ahhh, a noble warrior, are you, Mr. Chang? Very brave, very daring, and yet... Not very brash, are you? The downfall of a Gryffindor, I'm afraid. No, you think before you act. I see you have a very scholarly nature about you, Mr. Chang, which makes you destined for...
Wufei removed the Hat from his head, shooting Trowa a quick glare. "You couldn't have spared a few more words to explain that this thing burrows through your mind?"
Trowa shrugged again. "Told you."
Wufei snorted, immediately passing the thing to Winner before moving away. Maxwell gave him a cheery smile.
"Knew you're a closet bookworm." Maxwell snickered.
"Better that than an idiot like you, Maxwell," Wufei retorted.
"Oi, I'm hurt. Hit me right here, it did."
When Quatre slipped the Hat over his head, he was the first to broach the silence with a somewhat hesitant, Hello?
Thankfully, the reply was somewhat expected. Hello. My, you're a polite one. Such a pleasant change. How are you, Mr. Winner?
I'm quite well now, thank you.
Of course you are! That is, now that you have the one whose heart you desire with you. Quatre felt his cheeks heat up, and he looked at Trowa guiltily from beneath his lashes. The Hat chuckled. Hm. Now let's see... Very polite and unassuming... Why, you'd make a very pleasant politician, wouldn't you? Alas, very few of your nature like to pursue a career in politics -some would view such a vocation as a Slytherin's ambition. Hmm... Yes, you aren't afraid to get your hands dirty to benefit the world, are you, lad? Kind, patient... I have just the place for you.
"As if there was a doubt," Duo said cheerfully, winking at Quatre as he pulled the Hat from his head and handed it to Heero. Quatre beamed at Duo's remark.
Hn. What's enigmatic about it? You put me where I belong.
Oh, but Mr. Yuy, it's much more than that! You are the embodiment of cunning and bravery, ambition and daring. Very rarely do I see these qualities come together, and only in very peculiar people. Our very own Mr. Potter, for one... In fact, you remind me much of Mr. Potter, Mr. Yuy, except... on the opposite spectrum. You see, he too saved the world, some would think. Whereas he is uncertain about his own abilities, you are very confident in your competence. So I think I shall sort you into...
"Aw," Duo whined. "Hee-chan, I was sure you'd be in Gryffindor!"
"Hn," Heero grunted, giving the smiling Headmaster the Hat. "Gryffindor was a strong second."
"That's typical," Duo groused. "You always have to be so damn difficult."
Heero smirked. "You like me that way."
"You're making fun of me."
Duo sighed whimsically. "Ah, I missed you guys."
"Wish the same could be said for us," Wufei said with a smirk. "Of course, we missed Quatre a great deal..."
"Don't be cruel, Wufei," Quatre said warmly. "We were very concerned about Duo when he stopped sending us correspondence."
Duo grinned. "Aw, you do love me!"
"Like toe fungus."
"You like toe fungus?"
"What? No! Maxwell, don't be disgusting!"
"Says the guy who likes toe fungus."
Dumbledore cleared his throat pointedly, suppressing an amused smile. The formerly silent boy -Harry Potter, he said his name was- wasn't half as candid about his apparent amusement. The green-eyed wizard was outwardly snickering at Duo and Wufei's nearly constant bickering.
"Well, I do believe it is almost curfew," Dumbledore remarked casually. "Your Heads of House will lead you to your common rooms. Until tomorrow morning, I bid you all a pleasant night."
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