Harry Potter and the Secret Link Part 18
The month that passed was gloriously mundane... to most people. For people like Heero Yuy, however... Well, it was an effort just to get through the day without injuring someone. He found that most of his urges to rip, maim, and render impotent consisted of Duo's ass and someone's wandering eyes. Duo, of course, was amused by Heero's sudden flares of jealousy and frequently referred to his sometimes volatile temper as 'cute'. Heero didn't really see the appeal in the loss of control when it came to his jealousy, though, as he'd always maintained a firm grasp over his emotions since before he could remember.
When the beginning of February came upon the students and staff of Hogwarts, Heero Yuy found himself fretting. Fretting. The word itself put a sour taste in his mouth. Heero didn't 'fret' -by all rights, the word hadn't even been in his dictionary until now. The Japanese boy had difficulty placing that sudden clenching in his stomach and the sudden need to somehow alleviate the almost dizzying lightheaded feeling that came about so suddenly, almost for no apparent reason. 'Fretting' seemed like a fitting word... but he still didn't like it.
Then came the day Heero had been fretting about. February 14th. He almost wished it was a day like any other day, but if the white, pink, and red decorations and cut-out hearts and the love struck expression on all of those sappy girls' faces didn't give him a clue, the large banner that declared a happy Valentine's Day did.
"Valentine's Day," Draco Malfoy had said in quiet disgust, "the bane of all male Slytherins existence."
Heero's only reply? "Real hearts aren't really shaped like that."
"And how did I know you were going to say something like that?" Draco murmured sardonically, peering into his coffee cup as if he was looking in the very face of his chosen deity.
"I've never thought of it that way," Trowa said lightly, buttering his toast casually after pushing away a small bundle of Valentines from silly girls with crushes. "Hearts look like a knot of muscle, really -that's all they are."
"Perhaps, but it would be disturbing to see bleeding red beating hearts hanging from the ceilings, wouldn't it?" Draco replied simply, savoring coffee as if it were ambrosia.
Before the conversation could go any further, a commotion stirred up across the hall, spurring everyone to stop and look over. Harry Potter, a beautiful bouquet of flowers in his arms and a befuddled and horrified expression on flushed face, stared on in terror as one of his Valentines leapt off the table and dispersed in a shower of confetti, a beautiful script spelling out words that came from the voice of undeterminable sex that sang out a simple rhyme.
"Your friends are annoying
And some of them are gay
So let's just shag
And call it a day.
It'll be fun, at the very least
So take me, you sexy speccy beast!"
And then the words seem to shatter into glitter that covered every surface and clung to everyone's skin.
The Slytherins, of course, were howling with laughter.
"Genius!" Blaise Zabini cried. "Who thought of it?"
Trowa and Heero looked at each other before, as one, they glanced at Draco. The Malfoy heir hid an amused smile behind the rim of his coffee cup, raising a single eyebrow at the knowing faces in front of him.
Trowa smirked. "So what are you and Duo doing for Valentine's Day, Heero?"
Damn. There was that stupid clenching feeling in his stomach again.
It wasn't as if Heero hadn't been thinking about it. Valentine's Day was the reason he started fretting in the first place. The problem wasn't in the day itself in as much as there really wasn't a set guideline for such a practice. He could have gone the easy route and taken Wufei's suggestion with chocolate and flowers, but he felt that Duo really deserved something a little more than that. Perfection was almost like Heero's middle name, and there were so many things that could go horribly wrong if he planned out the wrong thing.
It was... aggravating, mostly.
Both Draco and Trowa were smirking at him. "You haven't a clue what you're going to do."
Heero decided he should do something potentially lethal to the Malfoy heir. The boy didn't seem properly cowed by his glares anymore. In fact, Draco seemed more amused by his task in naming his glares than frightened by the actual look itself.
"Better think quick," Trowa said calmly, "because here Duo comes now."
Damn. Almost reluctantly, Heero looked toward his approaching boyfriend with his confident, schooled features perfectly in place... but the glitter that had clung to Duo's hair, skin, and clothing distracted him for a moment, and the sight alone spurred Heero to do something he'd never done before.
He blurted out, "You look like a fairy." He mentally winced, thanking whatever deity deemed itself worthy of paying attention to him that he sounded a lot more calm than he felt. And damn Malfoy and Barton for snickering at him. Damn them both.
Duo laughed gaily. "Wonderful, love -now I literally match the figurative sense of the word. Budge over, Blaise." The boy obediently did so without argument and with little more than a roll of his eyes as Duo squeezed himself in the space available, almost gluing himself to Heero's arm.
"So," Duo said cheerfully, "I was thinking a quixotic walk around Hogsmeade that includes a visit to the local candy shop and rounds off with a quiet dinner at the Three Broomsticks would be awesome. That okay with you, Hee-chan?"
Heero was stunned. (On the inside, of course.) With a brief glance at the charmed ceiling, he thought to himself, You really do exist. Where the hell have You been? Not only was it something Duo wanted to do, it would give Heero a chance to gauge his boyfriend's reaction to certain trinkets that Heero could buy for him on the sly. "Perfect.(1) When?"
"Of course," Heero said.
"Great!" Duo cheered, planting his lips on Heero's cheek before shaking his head emphatically, laughing as Heero was coated in a light sheen of silvery glitter. "Now you look like a fairy, too. See ya, Hee-chan!"
When Duo was a respectable distance away, Heero proceeded to glare evilly at any Slytherin who dared look at him funny. Not surprisingly, a great many of his fellow housemates found themselves enamored with things that were nowhere near him.
"At least one of you knows what he's doing," Draco said slyly.
As the glare didn't seem to be working due to a growing immunity, Heero decided a sharp retort would do. "Says the boy who won't even admit he has his eye set on someone who a) isn't a girl, and b) isn't a Slytherin."
That shut the blond boy up quickly enough.
Heero quickly decided that, okay, his day was looking up. Unfortunately, he forgot one simple rule of thumb that had adhered itself to his way of life. All well-laid plans sprout obstacles eventually.
He just didn't expect the dozy of an obstacle life decided to throw at him this time. And it would have to be on Valentine's Day. The suspicious absences of the Headmaster and the four Hogwarts Heads of House should have been the first clue.
"Pay up," Harry ordered Seamus Finnigan triumphantly as soon as Duo came back to the Gryffindor Table. Grudgingly, the Irish boy handed the Gryffindor Golden Boy a handful of coins and a Chocolate Frog, causing Duo to raise his eyebrows in bemusement.
"You made bets on which of us had plans for Valentine's Day?" Duo said calmly, snickering on the inside. He reminded himself to scold Harry later for giving Seamus any hope that Heero had made anything of the sort when Harry himself knew damn well Duo had their date a la Hogsmeade all planned out. Well, scold him as he took twenty-five percent of Harry's winnings. Commission fee, of course.
"Aye," Seamus grumbled, appearing morose. "Thought for sure Yuy would have it all planned out. Forgive the terminology, but he does seem like the butch in the relationship. And it's the man's responsibility to plan these things out, eh?"
Duo sniffed. "I resent the indication that I'm any less manly than Heero Yuy. Just because I don't set my own broken leg without the benefit of any mind-numbing drugs, look like I can chew nails, and all and all appear as threatening as him does not make me any less manly than him."
Everyone just looked at Duo incredulously. Okay, so maybe Heero was slightly more mannish than him, but only by a margin. It was the hair, really.
Duo was not girly. Liking to cuddle did not make him girly; he just liked... sharing skin surface. Yeah. Sharing skin surface. That was it.
"Anyway," Duo went on hurriedly, "Hee-chan's probably the most socially inept guy on this planet when it comes to dating. I knew weeks in advance that such things should probably be left up to me."
"Then why didn't you tell him you had everything planned out?" Ron asked curiously. "I mean, Wufei told you he was having a spot of trouble deciding what to do about Valentine's Day."
"Because I like to see him squirm," Duo said gleefully. "Bwahah!" Ignoring the snorts of amusement around him, he went on casually, "No, really. You should have seen the look on his face when he saw me coming. It might have looked like he was calm and collected, but I recognize the signs. There was definite deer-caught-in-the-headlights potential there."
And somehow knowing that Heero was actually considering Valentine's Day made Duo feel all warm and gooey inside, much like the time Heero went out of his way to get him cake for Christmas because that's how his boyfriend's culture celebrated it.
Lunch time couldn't come around soon enough for the excited American Gryffindor. Valentine's Day! He'd never actually celebrated it before, but what better way to start the tradition than with the guy he loved, right?
Love. Duo had never really acknowledged the emotion before; not in the same context as romantically, at least. He had loved Sister Helen and Father Maxwell, his old street gang, and even Howard, in a distant uncle sort of way. He loved his friends, both old and new. That, however, was a different kind of love. The way he loved Heero was on a whole new unbelievable level that Duo hadn't even known he could achieve until recently. Yeah, he had a crush on Heero during the war, but, like always, war always overshadows matters of the heart in that respect. After the war, though... well, that was a hazy period spent picking up the pieces and examining what little he had left. Now he knew he didn't have so little left; friendships in abundance, a somewhat stable lifestyle, food on the table, and other social necessities proved that Duo actually had a lot more left than he first realized. It was an amazing feeling, knowing that there was something to live for instead of just living from day to day.
Being pretty confident that Heero returned his feelings was a bonus.
Duo had decided days ago that their Valentine's Day outing wasn't going to make or break their relationship. Minimal planning was a must, giving both of them plenty of opportunity to wing it when something new and interesting came along their way. Even if they didn't find something to entertain them, simply being in Heero's presence was calming enough. He didn't need romantics to know that Heero loved him, and he wasn't going to expect it, either; he knew full well that Heero wouldn't tolerate half of what Duo did if the Japanese boy didn't think Duo's actions were enduring. He fully expected the date to turn out as a success.
Nothing could ruin their day spent together.
Later, Duo would have an epiphany of epic proportions. The Universe, as a whole, did not appreciate total absolutes; nor did the Universe pander to mortal ultimatums. In fact, it was on his way to lunch, surrounded by his Gryffindor peers, that Duo had this sudden epiphany.
"'Mione, really, you should let your hair down a little and live in the moment instead of those books," Duo said, grinning at the girl's miffed expression. "I mean, books are great company when you're alone, but see us? Standing here? We like interacting with you. We think you're interesting. You're less interesting when you can't even aim the spoonful of food toward your mouth because you've lost yourself in whatever happens to be the book of the day. Entertaining, yes. Interesting, no."
"Being interesting isn't conductive to good grades, Duo."
"That's just an excuse. I bet you can rattle off Newton's Law in your sleep."
"Newton's Law gets me nowhere in the wizarding world, Duo."
"Angram's Law of Sub-Numerical Integers in Magic Theorem, then. C'mon, 'Mione, work with me here."
"Angram's what?" Seamus muttered before Ron could order him not to ask.
"Angram's Law supposedly proves that all numbers have an unnamed magical number called a sub-number, and these numbers consist of integers that advance what would normally be a simple number during the right ritualistic circumstances," Hermione rattled off. Everyone stopped to stare at her as Ron shook his head helplessly.
"Basically, these magical sub-numbers are what makes numbers like seven, twelve, and thirteen very powerful in arcane rituals(2)," Duo simplified, a smug grin on his face as he eyed Hermione. "Told you."
"How do you know this stuff?" Ron asked, aghast. "You never study!"
"Of course I study," Duo said flippantly. "What, did you think I'm passing all of my classes because the teachers like me? Snape would have failed me months ago if that were the case. I've been jumping on his last nerve since day zero." He just didn't need to study as much as most people, which is a fortunate gift that came from perfect recollection of everything he said, did, saw, heard, and read.
"I'm surprised Snape has a nerve to jump on left," Harry murmured sardonically.
"Ah, but if all goes according to plan, that nerve will be gone by Easter," Duo replied with a snicker.
This is the part where the Universe, as a whole, proved it was entirely vindictive against all absolutes.
Duo turned at the probing voice that rang with a certain tone of familiarity and disbelief. His amethyst eyes widened almost comically at the surreal sight of three very familiar people surrounded by his current professors and Headmaster.
The girl with the wide, cornflower blue eyes and long, wheat blonde hair took an uncertain step forward. "Duo... It is you!"
If someone had told him that today would be the day he would have an armful of Relena Dorlian Peacecraft, ex-Queen of the World and current Vice Foreign Minister, he probably would have laughed incredulously and ask about their medication. As it was, that is exactly what happened. Relena had thrown herself bodily into his arms, joyed upon seeing him, and Duo's arms automatically wrapped around to catch her.
"Relena?..." Duo probed vaguely, completely oblivious to Hermione's jaw dropping in shock and everyone else's complete bemusement.
Preventer Lady Une raised an enquiring eyebrow and shared a nonplused look with Zechs Marquise, aka Milliardo Peacecraft. "Well, this certainly is a surprise."
Duo couldn't agree more.
In order to explain the presence of one Vice Foreign Minister and her escorts of choice, we must first backtrack to a time just after breakfast, when one Headmaster Dumbledore and his four Heads of House were waiting rather (im)patiently in his office for their muggle guests to arrive.
"Remind me again why we will be having muggles come to Hogwarts when no other muggle has done so before?" Severus asked wryly, sounding quite offended that he had to put up with this disruption in his normal schedule.
Minerva resisted the urge to shoot Severus a stern glare. Barely. "While I'm a little more enthused about this concept than some people, Albus, I must admit that Severus' question does qualify an answer. Isn't it the Minister's responsibility to interact with the Minister of the muggle world?"
Albus smiled whimsically. "Ah, but we're dealing with an authority that is much higher than the Minister, Minerva. As required by law, any minister that could potentially interact with the wizarding world is to be informed of the existence of our world, first and foremost(3). This requirement was temporarily banned during the muggles' war, but now that everything is beginning to resolve on that end, it was time for the Minister to inform the new Vice Foreign Minister of our existence. She was quite interested to hear about it, and made a request to visit our world."
"Why not Diagon Alley, or Hogsmeade even?" Ponoma asked curiously. "Isn't this something the Ministry should be handling instead of us, Albus?"
"Vice Foreign Minister Dorlian was especially interested in the concept of this school not only for its fame, but for the fact that Hogwarts happens to be the closest the two worlds, normally so staunchly separated, blend," Albus explained simply, popping a lemon drop in his mouth. "She's a very intelligent, resourceful young woman, Ms. Dorlian. I had the honor to speak with her when arrangements were being made for her and her escorts diplomatic visit."
It was Severus who guessed a reason closer to the truth. "Fudge pissed her off, didn't he?"
"Immensely," Albus replied emphatically. "Our Minister has never been very congenial towards politicians of the muggle persuasion." Or anyone, really. Albus supposed she would have liked Minister Fudge a lot more if the man hadn't discouraged her to involve herself with the wizarding world when she was very clearly interested in their culture.
"I find it all very interesting myself," Filius said eagerly, his high voice squeaking in his excitement. "Imagine! Having muggles at Hogwarts for the first time since it was built is history in the making!"
Albus' eyes twinkled in amusement. "They will be arriving by Portkey any moment now, bar anything stalls them."
"How many will there be, do you think?" Ponoma asked. "Surely she won't bring many muggles with her?"
"Only those she trusts in the highest respect," Albus replied. "Her brother, who happened to be a highly decorated soldier in the recent war, and another companion who currently heads the inter-worldly police force called the Preventers. Like Aurors, really, only their domain falls mostly in preventing wide-spread terrorism and keeping manmade catastrophic events from occurring."
"Sounds absolutely daunting," Minerva mused.
"Oh, it is," Albus replied. "Why, just two weeks ago Ms. Dorlian was informing me of a situation involving weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists being thwarted due to the efforts of these Preventers. It's all rather fascinating, really -these weapons have the capability of destroying entire cities."
"Fascinating?" Minerva exclaimed, agog. "Headmaster, that isn't 'fascinating' -it's very, very frightening, is what it is!"
"Only if the Dark Lord jumps on the very idea of using muggle weaponry, Minerva," Severus said dismissively. "I doubt that will be the case, since You Know Who happens to, you know, hate muggles." That, and Severus was of the belief that muggles wouldn't know how to utilize these things properly, anyway. He had the unfortunate privilege of never knowing about Hiroshima, and even if he wanted to know about such things, he probably wouldn't care, anyway, keeping with his personal conviction that muggles really were helpless idiots. It was a belief almost all purebloods held, which was always the first step to underestimating a potential threat.
Any further discussion on the matter was immediately halted when people suddenly appeared in the center of the room, an innocent paperweight supported in three different hands. Severus was quick to take inventory of these muggles, even though his natural inclination was to sneer at them and wonder what became of the wizarding world when he was forced in the presence of mere muggles.
In retrospect, they were very memorable people as far as muggles go. The tallest was a young man with hair so blond it could almost be called white, and icy blue eyes that certainly implicated that he was one who relied on a lot of strategy, instinct, and intelligence. Severus had seen similar eyes in the newest students Hogwarts played host to, in fact; the expression was only minimal in Winner and Maxwell, but Severus was almost sure those two were best at hiding what they were thinking. Yuy, Barton, and Chang, however, frequently had the same disposition about them as this man.
So he was the soldier. Interesting.
The second tallest was a woman, also with long , darker blonde hair and an almost stern appearance about her that could match Minerva's disposition to the T. Surprisingly enough, she had the same look in her eyes as the man that stood beside her; in fact, judging by the body language of the two, it seemed as if the man deferred to her, giving Severus the impression that he was her subordinate in the strictest of sense.
The last figure, however, made Severus want to demand just what the Headmaster was playing at. He could see the woman as being the Vice Foreign Minister they were waiting for, but the woman simply wasn't dressed as elegantly as the... girl. A girl. A simple, teenaged girl with knowledgeable blue eyes and long, wheat blonde hair that was bound in a graceful ponytail, her posture simply screaming 'dignity'.
One was a soldier; since Severus knew this soldier was apparently male, the man had to be him. One was the head of a Auror-like organization that kept the peace, and the other was the Vice Foreign Minister. The older woman could be either, but Severus did not like the implication that either the Preventer leader or the Vice Foreign Minister was about as old as one of his sixth year students.
"Ah, Ms. Dorlian," Albus said pleasantly, smiling at the youngest girl and standing to offer her a frail hand. "Right on schedule."
The girl -Dorlian- smiled politely, shaking the offered hand before her in a very dignified manner. "Headmaster, please -call me Relena."
"Only if you do me the honor of calling me Albus," the Headmaster replied with twinkling eyes.
Now, Severus didn't think very highly of muggles, despite the fact he happened to spy for the side that was adamant about muggles being people too. However, finding out that the muggles' precious Vice Foreign Minister, a position that required a lot of careful consideration when it came to peaceful interaction between the colonies and Earth, his thoughts were as thus: This is the Vice Foreign Minister? A teenaged hormonal ticking time bomb? The muggles are doomed.
And then he thought, Wait, any race that would willingly elect a mere child into a position of power is like... baring one's neck to a particularly ravenous werewolf. What does this say about the Dark Lord not having them completely wiped off the face of the Earth yet? It doesn't make sense!
If Minerva weren't similarly effected by the apparent news that the Vice Foreign Minister could have been one of her students, Severus suspected she would be laughing at him.
"Of course, Albus," the girl said. "May I introduce my brother, Milliardo Peacecraft, inactive Preventer and current head of my security; and Lady Une, the head of the Preventer organization."
"A pleasure to meet you both," Albus said warmly, bowing his head slightly. "I am Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. These are some of my colleagues. This charming woman is my Deputy-Headmistress and Head of Gryffindor House Minerva McGonagall, who is an accomplished Animagus and Transfiguration teacher."
The man -Peacecraft, if Severus heard right- tilted his head slightly as he narrowed his eyes. "Forgive me, Headmaster, but we're not familiar with those terms."
"Oh, dear," Albus said jovially. "Forgive me, Mr. Peacecraft. I sometimes forget that some things we wizards deal with every day aren't so for muggles such as yourselves. Transfigurations is the art of transforming one object into something completely different. An Animagus is a person who can transform into an animal and back at will. It requires a great amount of skill."
"You flatter me, Albus," Minerva said stiffly, the unspoken stop it clear in her tone.
"Of course." It was hard to say whether Albus was acknowledging her unspoken command or simply replying to her apparent comment, but Severus was betting heavily on the latter. "And this is our Head of Ravenclaw House and resident Charms professor, Filius Flitwick. Charms is where all of our students learn the art of spell-casting and the techniques used to assure a proper spell. Alongside him is our Head of Hufflepuff House and Herbology professor, Ponoma Sprout. Her duties entail teaching our students all about the care and uses of plants, both magical and muggle alike. And lastly, our Head of Slytherin House and esteemed Potions Master, Severus Snape, which I believe is much like a muggle science called chemistry, or so I've heard from some of my muggle-born students. The mixture of certain properties to create something potentially useful, and ingredients that certainly do not mix."
None of them offered a hand, all preferring to bow their heads in greeting. That was good. Albus would have been most displeased with Severus if he refused to shake their hands.
Fawkes chose that moment to trill musically, drawing the muggles attention to the familiar. "Oh, my, what a beautiful creature," the Vice Foreign Minister (Severus was still trying to wrap his brain around that startling tidbit of information) said softly, stroking not only the phoenix's plumage, but his ego, as well.
"Fawkes is a very dear familiar that has been with me for a very long time," Albus informed her with twinkling eyes. "He's a phoenix, of course; rare even in the wizarding world, and legend in the muggle. You've managed to catch him on a rather fortunate day, as his Burning was only a month ago."
"Interesting," Une said thoughtfully. "How many other creatures from our myths are real, I wonder?"
"A fair few, to be sure," Flitwick said cheerfully, "and even more that have never been mentioned in muggle legend. Unicorns and centaurs rove the Forbidden Forest, and elves work quite hard in this very castle, though they aren't quite the long forgotten noble elves from your tales, Ms. Une."
"How very intriguing," Dorlian said pleasantly, turning her attention back to Albus. "I'm very eager to learn more about the wizarding world, Albus. From what I understand, we're very privileged to receive such an in-depth introduction to your society."
"There's no better place for it like Hogwarts, dear," Ponoma said warmly.
"Right you are, Ponoma," Albus said jovially, leading the muggles toward the entrance of his office. "If you will follow me, we'll begin the tour of Hogwarts now. Today is a Hogsmeade weekend -students from third year and up are allowed to visit the local all-wizarding village that is not far from here, but most won't be leaving until after lunch, from what I understand, so you will most likely see a fair few of them. I'm certain some will be very curious about the three of you, of course, especially some of the pureblood wizards and witches who've never had the honor of meeting muggles before."
If it weren't for Minerva's stern glare, Severus probably would have made some snide statement about some pureblood students not quite considering such a scenario as anything short of sheer torture. As it was, he managed to hold his tongue and allowed the Headmaster to sugar coat everything for their 'esteemed guests'.
But that didn't mean he had to like it.
The muggles were taken with everything, from the moving paintings, the shifting stairs, the sheer architecture and history of the school itself. For Severus, it wasn't nearly half as interesting as, say, teaching a class. The tour was almost unbearable, but the muggles were practically lapping it up, interested in everything the Headmaster had to explain about this and that and what each House stood for and how the students were Sorted. Severus was very close to simply walking away as soon as they hit the ground floor.
"This is our Entrance Hall," Albus announced gaily. "Through those doors to the right is the Great Hall, where we hold meals and meetings that involve the student body. The Great Hall is a treat in and of itself, as the ceiling is charmed to appear as the sky at any given time. It's a very conductive atmosphere for students to interact."
"May we see it?" Dorlian asked politely, glancing toward the open doors curiously. It was than that her eyes seemed to catch something, and she frowned, clearly puzzled by something.
"Of course," Albus was saying, "I was hoping, if you are hungry, we could share a meal before I continued on with the rest of the tour."
The Headmaster was distracted by an inquiry from Une, but Severus didn't stop watching Dorlian's expression go from confusion to disbelief. Her eyes were focused on a familiar and loathsome sight of a gathering of sixth year Gryffindors just outside of the Great Hall; more precisely, her eyes seemed zeroed in on a braid that swayed with the movement of the bane of Severus' existence.
"You never study!" he could hear that lout Weasley exclaim, and the loudmouth American laughed at his friend's accusation.
"Of course I study," the Gryffindor said airily. "What, did you think I'm passing all of my classes because the teachers like me? Snape would have failed me months ago if that were the case. I've been jumping on his last nerve since day zero."
Severus had to admit that Maxwell's comment was very much a possibility. Too bad Minerva kept drilling words such as 'fair' and 'unbiased' into him.
"I'm surprised Snape has a nerve to jump on left," the Potter brat murmured sardonically.
"Ah, but if all goes according to plan, that nerve will be gone by Easter," Maxwell snickered. Severus narrowed his eyes at the boy's back. Somehow he knew that brat had it in for him.
All discussion between the Headmaster and Une stopped abruptly when Dorlian called out hesitantly. "Duo?"
Severus blinked. She knows Maxwell? How unlikely is that?
Maxwell spun around, his eyes widening as his jaw dropped upon the sight of Hogwarts' muggle dignitaries.
Dorlian took a quick step forward, a wide, happy smile spreading across her face. "Duo... It is you!" And then she was actually hugging the little monster! Hugging him! On the upside, Maxwell looked like he couldn't have been hit any harder by a giant. The little bugger looked absolutely gobsmacked. So did that know-it-all Granger. That alone was almost worth the torture of having to follow Albus and the muggles around.
"Well," Une said delicately, "this is a surprise."
"No shit," Duo Maxwell said breathlessly, still appearing as if the universe no longer made any sense.
Severus smirked and wondered if this was that cosmic justice that Albus was always nattering about.
(1) I love how, in looking up an alternative word for "perfect" (a word that sounded more, I dunno, HEERO, I guess) on my Prompt-As-You-Go thing, I found such words as "gross", "bloody", "sodding", and "fucking". It made me laugh. A lot.
(2) I made it up. Even I had to go "huh?" after reading and re-reading what I wrote. Math was never my strong point, and I suspect I'd hate Arithmancy. (The numbers 7, 12, and 13 ARE supposedly very magical numbers, coincidentally. There are a lot of references of 12 in the HP books, and the vault keeping the Sorcerer's Stone ((or the Potter Family Vault; I can't remember)) in the first HP book was 713. Seven and thirteen. 7 happens to be a number of power not only in the Bible, but to the Egyptians, as well. There's also various other combinations of the numbers used throughout the HP books. While I suck at math, I've always been quick to catch patterns in numbers. Also, numbers play a very important part in GW, as we all know.) Heh. All this talk of numbers brings me back to my algebra days, when I would look at my homework and see not the problems, but a frickin' GW orgy. No wonder I suck at math.
(3) True stuff. The British Minister had been informed of the existence of the wizarding world when he first entered office, though he was less than enthusiastic about it. It would stand to reason that any high-office politician would be privileged to the same thing; and it's hard to get any higher than Vice Foreign Minister, which is a position that deals with interaction between both the Earth and the individual colonies. I imagine Relena would be a little more interested in the existence of a hidden society than most people.
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