Harry Potter and the Secret Link Part 12
Until the four newest additions to Hogwarts student body could be accurately termed 'caught up', a rigorous schedule had been set up for them. Until the time came for them to join their rightful year, professors would tutor the four students in their free time. This displeased few; they were wizards, after all, and wizards needed to be taught. Only Snape had something discouraging to say about any of it, but, then again, when didn't Snape have something discouraging to say about anything?
They were all pleasantly surprised that the four Gundam pilots always seemed two steps ahead of the professors rigorous lesson plans. What they didn't know was that Wufei, in his typical wisdom, had borrowed notes from the previous years from his fellow Ravenclaw, and Quatre had the foresight to do the same. Trowa and Heero were less scrupulous in their 'burrowing'; when the rules of Slytherin House had been explained to them, they simply took the notes as they saw fit. It wasn't their fault if their fellow Slytherins' things were not properly warded, and as it was an unwritten rule to take what one needed, they didn't see a problem with it.
Pansy still could not figure out just how a boy had managed to rummage through her trunk; however, she couldn't very well prove that it was her notes that Heero or Trowa had pilfered. How could she explain how a boy could go into the Slytherin girls dormitory when no other male student had succeeded in such a daring feat? She silently applauded their cunning and at once declared them worthy of the house Slytherin, even if they sometimes came off a bit mugglish.
Draco had to admit quite grudgingly that, yes, the newest additions to Slytherin House had guts. His trunk -which, if he did say so himself, was so heavily warded that Voldemort himself would probably have a fair amount of trouble cracking the system- happened to be the second unfortunate victim of theft.
Time passed, as time was meant to do; as November befell the country, there came the first snowfall of the year. Duo wouldn't have it any other way.
"Snow!" he crowed excitedly as the first flakes fell. "Look, Harry -snow!"
"Yes, Duo," Harry said in amusement, stifling a laugh when a sleep-deprived Ron shot a grumpy glare at the excitable American's back as the braided boy nearly pressed his face against the windowpane that was quickly frosting over. "Snow. White fluffy bits of ice that falls from the sky, coincidentally at one o'clock in the morning." Thus the reason for Ron's acidic stare.
"I call dibs on Heero, Trowa, Quatre, and Wufei!"
"Dibs for what?" Seamus asked contentiously, peaking a single bloodshot eye from his cocoon of blankets.
"Why, the massive all-out snowball fight we're holding tomorrow," Duo said with a gleam in his eyes. "We're going to slaughter you!"
And they did just that. Seamus, Dean, Ron, Harry, and Neville all walked away from the snowball war, soundly thrashed and soaked thoroughly in melted snow, but they were all in surprisingly good spirits. Harry was surprised Ron didn't make a big deal about being beaten by two Slytherins and hoped that meant the redhead was at least warming up to the idea that all Slytherins weren't as bad as everyone made them out to be.
To Harry's private shock, he found himself following that same method. Duo's friends had taken to gathering in the Gryffindor common room, and damn what anybody else had to say about it. Ron had been disgruntled to find that there were Slytherins, bloody Slytherins in the blessed domain of the Gryffindors, and he ranted loudly about the injustices of it all, damn anyone who would hear. Instead of angering Duo, as Harry thought it would, the braided American boy burst out laughing, falling off the couch and rolling on the ground as he clutched his sides, shrieking, "Oh, God, it hurts! It hurts!"
Harry hadn't known what that was all about, and Duo couldn't explain it any further than, "Injustice! Ah! Ahahahah!" Eventually he found out the source of Duo's amusement one evening when Wufei's temper exploded into a fiery windstorm.
"Werewolves, subhuman?! Kisama! People are being hunted and ridiculed for an unfortunate incident that they have no control over! There is no honor in this! They should be considered as innocent victims fallen prey to an unfortunate disease! Injustice!"
Apparently such things were so common, coming from the collected Chinese boy, that when Duo would hear the word 'injustice', he immediately burst out laughing. Harry thought it was all very strange to be amused by, but... Well, it was Duo.
It was Quatre that Ron got along with the most. Whenever the blond happened to be in the Gryffindor common room, he was almost always seen sitting across from the redhead, thoroughly enthralled in a game of chess.
"Bloody brilliant, he is," Ron admitted grudgingly, staring at the chess board long after Quatre had left. "This is the seventh game, and still we ended in a stalemate! I just can't seem to figure out his strategy at all, but he has no problem breaking mine. Every time I've developed a new strategy that I'm bloody positive is failsafe, too..."
Trowa and Heero, though... Well, Ron was slowly warming up to them. "Barton's so quiet that it's hard to remember he's here, and that Yuy guy is downright creepy! But the way Duo always hangs all over him, like he's some... person?" Ron looked at Hermione imploringly. "I know he's a person, but... I dunno, he acts so cold..."
"Heero's of a different nationality than us, Ron," Hermione reminded the redhead primly behind her book. "He's Japanese, and they're far more reserved than Westerners are. Consider Wufei; he's always so wrapped up in honor and justice because he was raised to consider these things." She scowled absently at her book as she roughly turned the page. "Unfortunately, that's also where he happens to get his sexism, as well."
Oh, yes... Wufei had not made the greatest impression on Hermione ever since she found out what "on'na" really meant, and why Wufei always called her that.
"Please don't be insulted, Hermione," Quatre had said imploringly the moment Duo told her, quite frankly, that Wufei kept calling her 'woman'. "Wufei's demeanor is because of his culture. On his colony, he was taught that women were the weaker sex, and that they were to be protected. Wufei simply thinks he's reminding you of your place; he doesn't mean anything by it."
"What kind of out-dated colony does that sexist, chauvinistic pig come from, still teaching people that sort of thing?" Hermione had demanded hotly. "Women are just as capable as men!"
Even Duo sobered at that. "Wufei is... was of L5," Duo had murmured, picking at his nails absently.
Hermione had paled instantly, the wind in her sails promptly dying. "Oh... I'm sorry to hear that."
"What is it?" Ron asked.
"L5 was destroyed almost a year ago," Quatre said simply. "Wufei is the only survivor."
"That... bloody bites, mate," Ron said sympathetically, glancing over at the Chinese boy who was in a seemingly heated discussion with some of the Ravenclaws in his year. Surprisingly, his only backup seemed to be a Ravenclaw girl Harry vaguely recognized as Mandy Brocklehurst.
This sad announcement curbed Hermione's temper for all of thirty minutes, up until the point Wufei joined the Gryffindor table with Mandy in tow. Hermione had said something that made the nerve under Wufei's eye tick dangerously, and the boy said with an air of superiority, "A woman's feet are small and delicate simply for the benefit of standing closer to the stove, on'na."
Surprisingly, Mandy had found this hilarious, and continued laughing even after Hermione had introduced the cover of her thick book to Wufei's skull.(1)
Harry thought that putting Heero and Trowa in Slytherin was a terrible mistake; though cunning and resourceful, neither boys seemed to really emit any Slytherin qualities of which he knew personally. Again, he was surprised; even Malfoy tended to treat the two with a sort of silent respect, and both boys were about as muggle as they came.
Which, of course, always brought Harry's thoughts back to Draco. Malfoy. Whatever.
Actually, Harry couldn't seem to get the Malfoy heir out of his mind. The blond had almost been flying below the radar since... since the beginning of the year. Harry didn't know what was worse -the fact that Malfoy had been ignoring him, or the constant worry that Malfoy was up to something big. In any case, he found himself studying the dynamics of Slytherin House thoroughly, and he found a lot that surprised him.
A lot had surprised him since introducing Duo and his friends to Hogwarts. Harry wasn't sure he liked it or not, but he had decided long ago to simply go with the flow. He had a feeling it was the only way in which he could remain sane.
Slytherins tended to work intricately, sometimes in some sort of unit Harry could never really hash out. Malfoy and Zabini tended to be more amicable than the two let on; "why" was becoming one of those annoying words that he was starting to despise. There was definitely tension between Malfoy and some seventh year Slytherin Harry didn't know. And where Zabini always seemed to be Malfoy's right-hand man, Pansy -whom Harry had always regarded as a simpering sycophant- was Malfoy's left-hand cohort. Harry also found it odd that Malfoy never seemed to lose his temper with Crabbe and Goyle when he thought no one was paying attention; a lot of the time, Malfoy could be clearly seen across the hall, patiently explaining something or another using expressive hand gestures and simple words.
Another thing Harry noticed about Malfoy -the blond Slytherin Prince, always considered the embodiment of all that was Slytherin, used his entire body to emphasize a point or to bring a concept across. It was... enduring. It made Malfoy seem more human than Harry would usually give him credit for. Malfoy was just that type of person that if one wanted to shut him up, instead of gagging him, one would simply have to tie his hands down. His feet, as well. Harry once caught the Slytherin rhythmically but silently tapping his foot as he worked over a problem on a written test in Potions.
The Malfoy heir had a most vexing habit of trying to play with his hair. Harry just wanted to scream, "For Merlin's sake, stop gelling it and twirl it to your heart's content, you silly sod!" But, then again, that would give away the fact that Malfoy was being watched. Sometimes Malfoy would play with a strand of hair so often that it would lose its stiffness and fall forward into his face, fluttering and rippling softly at each little movement and slight breeze. Once Harry had caught himself making a vow to sneak into the Slytherin dorms and disposing of any and all hair gel, just so he could see the blond without.
Since when have I been so obsessed with the texture of Malfoy's hair? he asked himself irritably.
Since you started watching him like a bloody hawk, you silly sod, answered another part of him. Would you like for me to recite the rather sappy sonnet you've constructed about the soft, mercury-like quality of his eyes, then?
"Alright there, Harry?" Seamus asked cheerfully, glancing Harry over curiously as the green-eyed boy hacked up his left lung.
"Swallowed wrong," Harry rasped. Once he recovered, he glanced at Seamus. "Hey, Zabini still sits by you in Potions, right? Ever found out what he's up to?"
Seamus turned pink in the cheeks. "I don't know what you're talking about," he mumbled around his fork. "Pass the peas, will you?"
Harry did as he was asked and let the subject die.
Not for the first time, Draco glanced up from contemplating his plate to scowl.
"Is something the matter?" Trowa asked, calmly slicing into his roast beef.
"Ever get the sinking suspicion that you're being watched?" Draco asked flatly. Trowa simply tilted his head to the side, and Heero merely gifted the Malfoy heir with slight interest. "I'm having one of those moments." Again. For the fifth time that week.
"You're just being paranoid," Zabini said dismissively.
"Hn," the Japanese boy grunted and, sounding like the paragon of wisdom incarnate, he pointed out logically, "It's not paranoia if it's true."
Draco stared at Heero. "Oh, that's made me feel loads better."
Trowa smirked. "Hmm. Astute, though."
Draco realized, not for the first time, that despite being so different from Maxwell, the Gryffindor's Slytherin friends were just as weird as he was.
On that thought, Draco had to completely reconsider Maxwell -that guy belonged in Gryffindor, with the brass set of knackers he carted around. Draco hadn't realized it until the first time Maxwell had trounced over to the Slytherin table, throwing himself bodily into Heero's lap. Almost everyone had frozen, staring first at the expressionless, seemingly dangerous boy to the American who was prettily fluttering his eyelashes up at him.
"Oi, Hee-chan," Maxwell had murmured huskily, his voice almost the texture of silk, "E-6."
"Hn," the Japanese boy had grunted, calmly eating as if he hadn't had a lapful of Gryffindor hindering his view of his plate. "Miss. D-2."
"Damn it!" Maxwell had pouted. "You sunk my battleship!"
Draco didn't know what that was all about; all he remembered about the occasion was that he couldn't decide if he wanted to laugh at the utter inanity of it, or cry in his porridge.
"So, Heero," Blaise murmured, casually considering a speared carrot on his fork, "that braid of Maxwell's... it really is like a leash?"
"Yes." Short and to the point; Yuy never cut the fat.
"So anyone can just give it a tug and... what, he heels?" a rather stupid seventh year lackey of McAllistar's snorted.
Heero Glared. No -the expression on Heero's face could never be disgraced with anything short of a capital G. Heero Glared, and the sooner people realized this, the more lives would be spared. Heero's Glares said a great many things, once one could bother learning the secret language. Maxwell had tried to explain it to Draco, of course -something about "ensuring that at least one of you can read the signs when Hee-chan's getting upset; and an upset Heero Yuy is nobody's friend. Well, an upset Heero Yuy is nobody's rotting corpse, anyway." In any case, Draco learned after that unfortunate episode with Anderson and the... rather creative use of something that Draco was informed, after the fact, was used to grate cheese.
Madam Pomfrey had high hopes that Anderson would be out of St. Mungo's and recuperating with his family in several weeks. Heero probably would have been expelled... but no one was willing to come forward and point fingers at the stoic Japanese boy. And, truthfully, no one liked Anderson unless their name happened to be Anderson.
Draco hadn't become quite proficient in reading Heero's Glares, but if he had to take a poke at it, he would say this was somewhere between "you better hope I never find out where you sleep because there will be explosives involved" and "I know five hundred ways to kill with my pinky finger, and I've put them all to the test but one; guinea pig, much?" However, if Draco tilted his head to the side just so, he thought he saw faint traces of "I'll save you the trouble and money of having that sex change spell with a quick flick of a knife."
"Try it and I'll kill you," Heero said with a sneer. "If Duo doesn't manage it first."
By the look on the seventh year's face, he'd probably be wetting the bed for days.
"Rule the first," Trowa said calmly. "Never touch what is Heero's."
Once that was accepted as fact, everyone went back to eating.
"Maxwell never mentioned you two were an item," Draco murmuredcasually.
"Hn," Heero grunted, not even bothering to look at Draco. "It's a work in progress."
"Think getting shagged regularly will tame Yuy's murderous urges?" Blaise whispered in Draco's ear, fearful of Yuy hearing.
"Are you kidding?" Draco muttered at the corner of his mouth. "Maxwell will more than likely be his cheerleading section as Yuy casually slaughters anyone who pisses him off."
Draco could practically hear Blaise make a mental note not to get on Yuy's bad side. Ever. As if that wasn't a given.
"Ready for our study date, Trowa?" a sunny voice asked pleasantly. Amongst the normally unpleasant Slytherins, such a voice was like pouring acid in one's ears. They were quickly growing accustomed to it, though. Since when had the walls between Slytherin and Everyone Else crumbled so drastically?
It was all Barton and Yuy's fault.
No, scratch that. It was Maxwell. It always came down to Maxwell.
Trowa immediately crossed his cutlery on his plate and stood, gifting the blond angel of Hufflepuff House a soft smile. "Of course. Lead the way, Quatre."
Quatre beamed up at the taller boy brightly before looking at Draco. "Good evening, Draco. I trust Heero and Trowa aren't giving you any trouble?"
Blaise snorted. Draco calmly stomped on his foot under the table.
Draco just couldn't be cruel to that face. Not out of some stupid, moral sense of being nice or anything . (It sounded like a communicable disease, in his opinion. Nice. The word alone made him shudder.) Draco just had to sleep in the same room with Barton, and he didn't want to fall asleep one night, only to not wake up. It really put a crimp in one's life when one was smothered with one's own pillow as one slept.
"Of course not, Quatre," Draco said politely. "This past month has been nothing but a learning experience." Learning not to piss off Yuy, learning not to be mean to overly nice, polite Hufflepuffs to keep Barton happy...
Slytherins didn't like to bow to anyone's rule. They did, however, have a natural instinct to preserve their lives.
Besides, Draco had the sinking suspicion that Winner was just a ticking timed hex just waiting to go off. If Yuy was the homicidal one, and Maxwell the maniacal one, and Barton silent one, and... Draco didn't really know the fifth member of the group so well, but he'd seen Granger and the Chinese guy in many arguments, so he couldn't be as bad as the rest of them... then Winner was definitely the diabolical one, or of some variation of the word. The leader -which surprised him; he'd assumed that Yuy would steal that role in a moment's notice.
Quatre Winner smiled sunnily. "That's great! I'm glad Trowa and Heero are fitting in so well."
Yeah. Fitting in. Whatever you say, Winner...
Another month passed. Eventually.
"You guys celebrate Christmas?" Duo asked, inspecting the short list of names of students staying for the Yule holiday. Harry barely gave the list a second glance before he signed his name in one of the slots -as always, he wouldn't be going to the Dursleys for the holidays.
"We actually celebrate Yule," Hermione explained, "but we keep with most of the traditions pertaining to Christmas, yes."
"Neat," Duo laughed, signing his name under Harry's. "Now I'll actually have an excuse to buy you guys presents, Fei!"
"What, like you wouldn't have done it anyway?" Wufei muttered as he immediately signed his name after Duo's. "And, as always, I'll have to reciprocate the gesture."
"Aw, Fei," Duo laughed softly. "I've told you before. You don't have to if you don't want to."
"It would be dishonorable not to recognize your traditions, Maxwell," Wufei said stiffly before heading off to his next class. Duo smiled absently as he left.
"He just doesn't get it," Duo explained. "It's not his tradition, though, so you can't really blame him. Can't really blame any of the guys, actually. The closest thing anyone of them came to celebrating Christmas with me was when Heero gave me a piece of cake."
"Cake?" Ron mumbled, overlooking the list of students staying for Yule.
"It was damn good cake," Duo said defensively. "Of course, after a week of food rations, cake was like a slice of heaven by that time."
"It's how the Japanese celebrate Christmas, Ron," Hermione explained. "They eat cake."
"Weird. Oh, bad luck, mate," Ron said with a wince. "Malfoy's staying for Yule, too. Wonder why the pampered ferret isn't going home to mummy and daddy?" Ron made a sour face. "Want me to stay and help beat up the manky git?"
"I think I can handle Malfoy alone, Ron," Harry said with a quick smile. "You spend the holiday with your family. Tell the twins to send me goodies."
"Goodies?" Duo mused, head turning to look at something in the distance. He cupped his mouth around his hands and shouted, "OI! Hee-chan! C-4!"
Heero looked up from his book and gave Duo a thumbs down. Then, he made a quick hand movement, followed by holding up five fingers.(2) Even by the distance between them, Harry could see Heero's smirk when Duo cursed. Loudly.
"Damn him," Duo groaned. "We need a new game. Something that doesn't involve the sinking of my dwindling armada."
Wufei's right eye twitched as he stared down at his pile of goodies.
No. He definitely would not hear the end of Maxwell's teasing if he ever admitted to the American pilot that he'd already done his Christmas shopping in preparation for the oncoming holidays. Unfortunately, wrapping presents had never been his forte.
"On'na," he said irritably, catching Brocklehurst's attention. Unlike that foul, loathsome woman Granger, Brocklehurst never complained when he called her on'na. "I require assistance."
Brocklehurst raised an eyebrow at him before glancing down at his stockpile of Christmas presents. She stared. "Is that a Glock?"
Wufei declined to answer. Sometimes answers were best left unsaid. "This Christmas thing is a waste of time," he muttered under his breath.
"I suppose you want help wrapping all this, then?" Brocklehurst commented, poking around the items, shiny wrapping paper, and ribbons curiously. "Yeah, I can help you. Oh, are you kidding me?" She looked up at Wufei incredulously. "A Glock, throwing knives, a book about wizarding politics, and Monopoly? No, wait -I have to ask. Which is for who?"
Wufei sighed. Women... "The Glock is for Heero, who collects guns. The knives are for Trowa, who's adoptive sister is in the circus, who is also teaching him how to throw knives, and he left his old set home. Politics of the Wizarding Society is for Quatre, and... Monopoly is for Maxwell." Of course. "Does it matter, on'na? Just help me wrap."
"Yeah, whatever..." As she began preparing the arduous task of wrapping, she mentioned casually, "Wow, Chang -Monopoly. You know, these days, it's really hard to find a game like this? You must have been searching for weeks."
"Maxwell will never know that," Wufei intoned gravely. "I'll never hear the end of it."
If Christmas was sentient, Wufei thought he would like a chance to assassinate it rather violently.
(1) Sexist comments rarely upset me, so in a lot of ways, I fashioned Mandy, who is a cannon member of the HP world that's relatively lacking in character, after my own personality. More often then not, I'm amused by such comments, and I dish as much as I take.
(2) Is it just me, or would Heero be just the kind of paranoid guy to learn sign language?
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