Author's Note: I started on this fic way before The Order of the Phoenix came out. This generally wouldn't be such a big deal - not much of Sirius is mentioned at all. (If you're a HP fan and you haven't read The Order of the Phoenix, you might want to disregard the rest of this author's note. It contains spoilers -though I can't understand HOW you haven't stumbled upon it by now...) However, after reading the fifth book, I kind of realized that Harry was a little too bland in relation to his godfather's murder, especially when it comes to Snape. Unless I want to do a major rewrite -and I kind of like it how it is- TOotP is totally nix. :long-suffering sigh: I didn't want to be the type of author that miraculously brings Sirius back to life. JKR killed him off -true, that upset me, but that gives me a lot of grief and bitter things to work with in the HP universe. In any case, Sirius is alive, but not by my choice.
Harry Potter and the Secret Link Part 2
The man named Albus Dumbledore smiled benignly, a certain disputable twinkle in his light blue eyes as he looked over the rims of his half-moon spectacles at the boy languidly sprawled in the chair on the other side of his desk. It had taken quite some time to get Duo Maxwell to settle down into a comfortable enough position to explain the reason as to why Albus had sent for him in the first place. Upon entering his office, Duo had gone from one corner to the next, looking over curious nicknacks with all the enthusiasm of a small boy who often had his hand caught in the cookie jar. Now the boy with the long, plaited hair was finally reclined before him, his eyebrows raised in a delicate sense of silent "you've got to be kidding me" as he looked Dumbledore over in more than a little doubt.
"Well," Duo said airily, but still with an amount of doubt in his voice; he sounded as if he was soothing the ranting of an old, senile man, which, Albus thought with amusement, was a tone that was often adopted when addressing him. "That's all well and good, but what's that got to do with the sudden shift in tides around the east coast of North America?"
Albus blinked, thrown off. He caught on when the boy smirked at him, and he found himself smiling once again. "I suppose, Mr. Maxwell, that the tides of around the coast of North America can be explained by the slight rotational shift of the moon, caused by recent battles so large that the orbit of our natural satellite has been disturbed."
Duo's laughter was pleasant and almost childlike. "Of course! That explains everything. Now if you'll excuse me, Mr. Dumbledore, I'm sure you have better things to do..."
"Please sit, Mr. Maxwell," Albus requested, genteel. "I can assure you, this is not a joke. Though most do regard me with a certain air of uncertainty -apparently, I've managed to garner the image of a senile old man- I do not joke when it comes to magic."
The boy returned to his seat, his eyebrow still raised in skepticism. "Right." He leaned forward suddenly, grinning. "Prove it."
When Albus pulled his wand from the folds of his sleeve, he found himself blinking once again when, in an instant, the boy vaulted out of his seat and pulled a curious thing from the back of his waist band and pointed it directly between Albus' eyes. The thing was cold, black metal and had strange grooves marked on either side. The barrel was small while its trappings were quite large; Duo's palm and fingers were wrapped comfortably around the handle, and one finger extended around a curved piece of metal protected by another ring of metal that extended from the barrel to the handle.
"What is that?" Albus questioned curiously, tilting his head to study the instrument, no doubt of Muggle origins.
The boy's eyes widened from their previously narrowed state, but he didn't lower the barrel on inch as he replied flatly, "You're kidding." Duo's eyes went to the wand grasped in Albus' hand, and he relaxed minutely. "A stick? You have me freaking out over a stick?"
"Not a stick, Mr. Maxwell." Albus smiled. "A wand."
"Wand." Frank disbelief weighed in Duo's voice as, very slowly, he lowered his curious instrument. "Right. Magic wand. And apparently, you don't know what a gun is. Fabulous."
"Gun?" Albus questioned, intrigued. "What does a gun do?"
The multitude of expressions that passed over Duo's face were interesting and, more times than not, disporting. Finally Duo's expression settled on amusement, and he replied swiftly, "It's a weapon. Inside the handle is a clip of bullets -small projectiles filled with gunpowder with a metal tip that's strong enough to penetrate bone. If I had pulled the trigger, a spark would have ignited the gunpowder, and the bullet would have traveled down the barrel at such a speed that it would have... well, blown your brains out. You really shouldn't be pulling anything from anywhere around someone like me, Mr. Dumbledore. I have a feeling Mr. Hagrid would have cheerfully squished me to paste for killing you."
Albus' eyebrows rose fractionally. "Indeed he would have, Mr. Maxwell. I apologize." He watched as the boy flipped a button on the side of the gun and easily replaced the thing in the waist of his pants before sitting back down. "I think I would like to see a demonstration of this... gun... later. As of now, however... do you mind if I demonstrate magic?"
The boy grinned wildly. "Are you going to pull a rabbit out of your hat?"
Albus had to laugh. Such an odd question! "I don't keep rabbits in my hat, Mr. Maxwell, and I suspect that if I did, it wouldn't smell pleasant at all." He raised his wand. "Lumos."
Duo's eyes widened fractionally when the tip of Albus' wand erupted into a bright, white glow. Eyes narrowing slightly, the boy calmly asked if he could examine Albus' wand. With a casual cancellation of the spell, Albus handed the boy his wand easily enough.
The boy continued to examine the wand thoroughly, studying from hilt to tip before giving the handle an experimental squeeze. He repeated the motion Albus had used with no error, murmuring the spell under his breath.
One of the glass bobbles on Albus' desk exploded into a million, tiny pieces. The boy blinked, startled for a moment before he handed the wand back to Albus absently, switching his gaze to the area the little bobble had once sat, now glittering with the dust of glass shards.
Albus' tisked casually. "My wand is only compatible with me, Mr. Maxwell, just as yours will be."
"What?" Duo said sharply, his eyes flying back up to Albus' face. "There are a dozen things that could explain away that light and your paperweight breaking, and none of them include magic."
Albus' managed to stifle a sigh. "If that is what you believe. Reparo." When the glass disappeared and the rounded globe was once again whole on his desk, he smiled quite absently at Duo. "Is there any way I could convince you otherwise, Mr. Maxwell?"
Duo's eyebrows were raised once more, and he glanced over the glass globe critically before slowly saying, "There's at least one way to explain how that thing got there again."
"Is that so?"
"Yeah," Duo said brightly, grinning again as he fell back into his seat. "Magic. So, Mr. Dumbledore - you said something about me getting one of these wands, right?"
Albus smiled, but before he could say much of anything, there was a sharp rap at his door. "Ah, that would be our esteemed Potions Master now. You may enter, Severus."
When the old man's Potions Master -whatever that was- swept in with billowing black robes and a dark glower on his face, Duo let out a near-silent sigh of relief. Oh, good. Dressing in the dark didn't seem to be a wizard trait at all. He'd wondered, what with Albus Dumbledore's dazzling orange and cotton candy pink... er, outfit. At first, Duo figured the old man was color blind. After about five minutes of talking to him, the braided boy revised his original thought. The man clearly dressed that way to off-set those that would underestimate him.
At least, that's what Duo hoped it was.
This new guy had a sharp eye and, by the looks of it, an even sharper tongue. Black robes that buttoned all the way to the collar, oily black hair bound tightly at the nape of his neck, sallow skin, and a rather large nose; Duo figured with a little work involving a tan and a bottle of shampoo, this guy had the potential to actually be something of a looker. It all depended on how he looked under that black dress. Robe, Duo corrected himself silently.
Duo grinned suggestively when he caught the man giving him the old look over. "Like what you see?"
The man snorted and turned back to the Headmaster, dismissing Duo almost instantly. Score! Man, I love it when presumptuous jerks mark me off as a total idiot.
"Headmaster," the Potions Master addressed the man stiffly. "I hope this doesn't take long. I was working on a very volatile project."
Duo raised an eyebrow. Call him crazy, but he didn't think normal people really talked to their bosses that way. Going by the almost amused expression on Dumbledore's face, Duo surmised that the relationship between them might have been a bit more than just employer to employee.
"I'm afraid you're about to be very cross with me, Severus," Dumbledore said cheerfully.
"And somehow I didn't expect it to be any other way," the man said smarmily. Duo figured Dumbledore made it a habit to irritate other people. In other words, his kind of guy.
"I suspect it involves your... guest," the man continued, flickering another dismissive glance toward Duo. "He's not one of mine, nor is he Minerva's."
"Mr. Maxwell was just recently enrolled here, Severus," Dumbledore said airily. "Mr. Maxwell, this charming gentleman here is Professor Severus Snape. Severus, this is Duo Maxwell."
Duo narrowed his eyes suspiciously when Snape glanced at Dumbledore sharply, catching a brief surge of surprise and trepidation behind those coal black eyes before the man quickly and efficiently hid away his emotions. Well, two could play at that game. By the time Snape turned his attention back to Duo, the braided boy was smiling guilelessly once again, a sparkle of mischief in his amethyst eyes.
"Call me Duo," the Gundam pilot said cheerfully. "'Mr. Maxwell' makes me want to look for a responsible adult for you to talk to."
"Indeed," Snape said cooly, staring at Duo as if the man was completely reevaluating his previous thoughts of the boy.
Duo blew him a kiss. He couldn't stop the snicker that slipped passed his lips when Mr. Tall, Dark, and Scary frowned at him.
"Would I be wrong to assume that Maxwell is the same boy the Daily Prophet has been raving about for the last few days?"
"You would not," Dumbledore said, his blue eyes twinkling again. "Severus, Duo needs someone to escort him to Diagon Alley for his wand, scales, cauldron, parchment, ink, and quills. How much knowledge he'll be able to retain through such a short period of time will determine what year he will be in, but I'm sure our excellent team of professors will be able to catch you up to your age level, Duo. You seem to be an extremely quick young man."
"Sweet of you to think so," Duo said in good humor.
"I presume you've volunteered me for this errand, Headmaster?" Snape said wearily.
"You sure do presume a lot," Duo pointed out with a smirk, ignoring Snape's acidic glare.
"Quite right, Severus," Dumbledore said blithesomely, also ignoring the obvious tension set in Snape's shoulders. The old man reached into one of his cluttered desk drawers and brought out a small key the size of Duo's smallest finger.
"Duo," the wizen old man said kindly, "this is the key to the vault of your mother's inheritance, now yours. She left it with me for safe keeping shortly before she disappeared, before you were born."
"My mother?" Duo repeated slowly. "She was... like you people?"
"Ah, yes. Dear Angelica Proud," Dumbledore murmured fondly. "An American girl. Many American students transferred to Hogwarts after Salem's Institute for the Witch and Wizard was destroyed in the summer of AC 177. She was going into her sixth year when she enrolled -Slytherin, if I remember correctly. A charming young woman -you have her eyes."
"That's..." More than Duo knew about her, actually. He always assumed his mother was an L2 prostitute who either couldn't afford an abortion and didn't have the nerve to terminate her own pregnancy herself, or was too green and naive to even consider abortion an option. This whole 'your mother was a witch' thing brought up a lot of unasked questions. "... cool. So, Sevy, ready to take me on a tour a la Potions Master?"
The man's eyelid ticked ominously. Score! "That's Professor Snape, Maxwell."
"That's Duo, Sexy."
Dumbledore put a hand over his mouth. Duo supposed that was an effort to cover his amused 'cough'. "Well, have fun, you two."
"Always." Duo smirked at Snape. Snape glared hot death at Duo.
This is the beginning of a beau-ti-ful student-teacher relationship, Duo thought gleefully, mentally rubbing his hands together and cackling ominously.
Hogwarts saw a lot more action than the resident staff was used to during the summer...
Wail. "My greenhouse!"
Glibly. "Well, at least the other six are-" Shatter, rumble! "Spoke too soon."
Sob. "My begonias!"
"Ack!" Scuffle, scuffle. Sizzle!
Hides wand behind his back. Sheepishly. "Um. I'm pretty sure eyebrows grow back. Eventually. Er, Professor Flitwick, sir."
"Just a pinch of asphodel, Maxwell... I said just a-!"
"... Er, Sev? Sexy? Professor Snape?" Nudge, nudge. "Um, Sexy...? Damn, how long does this Draught of the Living Death stuff last, anyway?..."
"So, Headmaster! Are you going to Sort me now, or Sort me with the first years?"
"Yes, well. About that, Duo..."
"Yeah, I suspected some of the House Heads wouldn't want me. Did you know Professor Sprout actually called me the spawn of Satan yesterday? I didn't expect it from her -Sexy, maybe, but not Sprout. So who's the unlucky guy who gets stuck with me? I hope you give him a compensation raise."
And then the evening of September 1st fell...
The Gryffindor house discovered something unusual when all years but the first years, who had taken the traditional boat route to enter Hogwarts, began to file into the large dining hall. In the dining hall there was a total of four long rows of tables filled with empty plates and silverware. On a plateau at the head of the hall was a smaller horizontal table. Most of the teachers and the headmaster had already taken their seats. The most spectacular feature about the dining hall was the ceiling, or in this case, the lack thereof. Lit candles floated in suspended air, but otherwise the ceiling was an exact replication of the current sky. The night was clear, alight with bright stars twinkling down. The moon shone full at the far corner. Students paused momentarily to watch a shooting star tendril across.
When the Gryffindor house began to seat, they found that one had already joined the table. His face wasn't familiar. He had long hair twined in a braid, and transfixing violet eyes that caught the attention of the ladies, Gryffindor and Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw and Slytherin alike. A glittering trinket shone against his black robes, and further looks found it to be a Christian cross.
Coincidentally, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger found themselves either sitting beside him or in front of him. Hermione, a fifth year with wild untamed hair, and Ron, a freckle-faced redheaded boy with a nose a little too big for his face, sat on either side of him. Ron was to the left, and Hermione was to the right. Harry, to much disappointment from the girls, had taken the seat in front of the handsome young man without really noticing he was there.
That is, until the young man grinned so cheerfully in a manner that Ron later claimed 'surprisingly did not send the ladies into a frenzy'. Suddenly Harry felt he should know the young man.
"Hey," the braided boy said in a clear American accent. "Sit here often?" Coming from anyone else, such a line sounded ridiculous. In the eyes of all surrounding females (except Hermione, who, after Lockhart, found it difficult to accept a man at face value) this line sounded so completely suave.
Before Harry could answer that question (and ask a few himself, including "what's your name?" and "where'd you come from?"), Professor McGonagall began to lead all the first year students into the hall. All tables grew quiet, and all but the braided American and Harry watched their path slowly carve down the isle.
"What's your name?" the American asked instead, and Harry blinked.
"I'm Harry. Harry Potter."
The boy was completely unmoved by his name. Usually he couldn't mention his name without someone going at least a little batty on him. Instead he reached out his hand for Harry to accept. Harry took it, absently noting the many calluses the boy had gathered.
"Cool. I'm Duo Maxwell."
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