Harry Potter and the Secret Link Part 8
I push my fingers into my eyes...
It's the only thing that slowly stops the ache...
But it's made of all the things I have to today...
Jesus, it never ends, it works it's way inside...
If the pain goes on...
"What is that horrible racket?"
Duo raised his eyebrow, throwing a happy-go-lucky grin over his shoulder as he sent Hermione a sultry wink. "It's music, darling. C'mon -you're a smart girl. You should know what music is."
Harry choked on his sudden bark of laughter, covering his mouth to hide the grin. Quatre, having made himself home in the Gryffindor common room, was as tranquil as ever, but his wide teal eyes did hold a certain amount of mirth.
I have screamed until my veins collapsed.
I've waited last, my time's elapsed.
Now all I do is live with so much fate.
I've wished for this, I've bitched at that.
I've left behind this little fact:
You cannot kill what you did not create.
I've gotta say what I've gotta say,
And then I swear I'll go away,
But I can't promise you'll enjoy the words.
I guess I'll save the best for last.
My future seems like one big past.
You'll live with me cause you left me no choice.
"That is not music," Hermione mumbled. "That's someone beating the hell out of a drum and strumming their sausage-like fingers across a guitar that's entirely too shrill."
"Oooh," Duo said with a teasing grin. "Hermione said 'hell'. Adults everywhere chide you, Mione -they chide you and feel utterly destroyed that the model student has been corrupted."
Hermione ignored his good-natured teasing.
"I've never heard anything like that," Ron commented, wrinkling his nose as the gruff, male voice coming from the odd contraption in the corner. It looked kind of like a Wizard Wireless, but bigger and... muggle-looking. His eyes brightened instantly, and he raised his voice to be overheard over the music that was maybe playing a tad too loud. "Is that some kind of muggle device?"
Duo laughed lightly, his head absently bobbing to music that Harry knew his aunt Petunia and his uncle Vernon abhorred, but always overlooked the fact that it was exactly the kind of music their dear Duddikins listened to.
"It's called a stereo, Ron," Duo replied with a quick grin. "Remind me to take you on a quick tour of the muggle world, man -you are seriously stunted as to what fabulously inventions we muggl- I mean, those people have come up with."
"So, as I understand it," Quatre said slowly, "the wizarding world is completely separate from the normal -I'm sorry, the muggle world. Muggles know next to nothing about any of this, but wizards haven't familiarized themselves with muggle convention. Is that right?"
"Wizards try," Hermione replied smartly, contemplating her Arithmancy essay absently. "Hogwarts offers a course called Muggle Studies, where a professor attempts to explain such things as electricity, mass communications, appliances... Most purebloods are under the impression that muggles are still bumbling cavemen or something."
"It goes both ways, I think," Duo said, fiddling with the controls of his stereo. "I mean, when I first got here, I was absolutely horrified that you guys didn't have television or internet access. I was thoroughly convinced all of you were a bunch of backwater bumpkins who couldn't figure out how to install circuitry for anything useful, like, say, a blow-dryer. Now I know that electricity and magic are non-mixy things... and I did suffer from computer withdrawal, but that goes away. Eventually."
"Perhaps," Quatre said slowly, an inquisitive look on his face, "some of the more intolerant... purebloods, you said? Perhaps some of the more intolerant purebloods would have a better understanding of their non-magical counterparts if you attempted to integrate some of the things muggles use or have into normal wizarding life? Positive things that clearly state that muggles are not bumbling cavemen and that they are capable of living without magic through actual science."
Hermione shrugged delicately. "Wizards aren't very logical. I suppose it's a common belief that, in order to keep muggles from finding out about the magical community, the two worlds have to be completely isolated from each other. It's why you will have some wizards and witches look down on others for being from muggle roots -they've got it into their heads that muggles are completely subhuman."
"Muggles would think the same way, I think," Quatre said. "I mean, consider all of the problems non-magic people have had in the past with the merest mention of something otherworldly. The Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trails -people in general never really appreciate their sense of normalcy uprooted, and as human beings, we all react rather abysmally against something that isn't considered 'normal'."
"That's very true," Hermione said, her eyes bright as she smiled at Quatre.
Duo laughed. "Q-bean, you just aren't happy if you can't seriously discuss a social situation and attempt to find a solution to making peace with everyone." He looked at Ron wryly. "Quatre loves to find solutions, and he blames himself if it never works. Sooner or later he'll say there's no air in space because he didn't try hard enough."
An odd look crossed Ron's face. "There's no air in space?" he asked incredulously. "How do you breathe?"
Harry fell out of his chair, holding his sides tenderly as infectious laughter wracked his body. Through the tears in his eyes, he saw Quatre work his jaw wordlessly, as if the blond were trying to find a way to explain without sounding as if he were speaking to a particularly slow five-year-old, and Duo... oh, Duo looked like someone had taken a bouquet of daisies and attempted to beat him unconscious with them. Hermione was shaking her head sadly as Ron looked on, completely baffled as to why Harry was losing his mind.
"Tell me you're not serious," Duo said slowly. Ron blinked. Duo turned when Ginny entered the common room through the portrait hole, and stared imploringly at the girl.
"Tell me you know there's no air in space!"
Ginny blinked. "Like... this space? Or..."
"Why wouldn't there be air in outer space?"
"Are you kidding me?!" Duo almost yelled. "Space -it's one big vacuum of NOTHING! You can't breathe in space -not without a space suit and an oxygen tank to spare!"
"How come we can breathe now?"
"The ozone keeps the oxygen here -Earth is the only planet in this solar system that's actually habitable!"
"What's an ozone?" Ron asked curiously.
Duo's jaw fell open, and for one long moment, the boy who had something to say in every moment of every day was actually struck speechless.
"Just give up, Duo," Hermione said calmly, thumbing through her Ancient Runes text. "It's better to just let it lie."
Quatre nodded sagely. "And that," he said with a small smile, "is one example of how wizards and witches can benefit from classes that will teach basic science."
Hermione blinked, something just coming to her attention. "Duo... how did you make the stereo work? The magic around Hogwarts always negate muggle electronics."
Duo snorted, finally regaining his verbal ground after the crushing blow of realizing that pureblood wizards everywhere were totally ignorant to science. "Magic, my little brainiac. Cooo-whee! Where have you been?"
His friend was clearly on the brink of a mental breakdown. It wasn't apparent by pacing or fidgeting. He didn't talk louder or lower than he usually did, if one could get him to talk at all. No, his friend's harried, worrisomeness was made apparent by the carefully neutral tone he spoke in, and speak he did; not quite the babble of one braided pilot that would remain nameless for the time being, but it was more than usual.
Trowa Barton had broken his quota of words per month. In fact, in the one week they'd been together, Trowa had broken his quota of words for seven months. The feverish gleam in those weary green eyes didn't help.
Chang Wufei, not knowing how he could possibly help the usually silent boy, remained mute. He suspected words wouldn't help Trowa. Not so soon after losing Duo and Quatre. If the pilots of 02 Deathscythe Hell and 04 Sandrock were alive and in the clutches of the New Federation, Wufei prayed for his friends' deaths. Compared to the "treatment" for the "renegade murdering machines" Heero had grimly read from the New Federation's website, it would be a far more painless procedure.
"Duo's not dead," Heero had insisted certainly, confidence radiating from his voice. To this day, months after Duo's disappearance, three days after the New Federation started to publically doubt the morality of the Gundam pilots, Heero still believed.
Wufei, afraid of losing a friend and surrogate family member after the detonation of L5, clung to undoubting Heero's words, even if he did not word his doubts.
Trowa spoke. "Where do you think they're doing now?"
Wufei knew instantly of whom his green-eyed companion was speaking. "Quatre is fretting over us," he replied, subdued. "Duo will be finding a way to communicate with us in the most light-hearted yet obnoxious way possible, if he hasn't found it already."
The question hung in the air: Then why hasn't he yet?
Having no rejoinder, Wufei left the unspoken inquiry unanswered.
Trowa stared into his rapidly cooling cup of tea for a moment. "Heero?"
"Hasn't left his room," Wufei murmured.
A feeling spurred at the back of his neck, and both Trowa and Wufei were standing, guns at arm, ready for any invasion.
An owl swooped through an open window, something large and rectangular clutched in its sharp talons. It dropped its package on the table and, wide unblinking eyes on the two dumbfounded boys, hooted softly.
Heero, apparently having the same inkling, appeared at the doorway of the small kitchen, gun in hand yet lowered unthreateningly at his hips. Suddenly a look that could only be described as relieved content came upon the pilot's usually stoic face.
Wufei felt a rueful laugh well up in his chest. "Maxwell would spend his time training an animal of flight delivery tips."
The owl ruffled its feathers huffily, as if saying 'No one trains this bird.'
Heero approached the package slowly, reaching forward and removing an enveloped letter from the string tying it in place. In Duo's familiar scrawl, the envelope simply said "To Heero Yuy, Trowa Barton, and Chang Wufei."
The tension in his shoulders suddenly leaked from Heero as he read allowed, "From Duo Maxwell and Quatre Winner."
Trowa's alleviation was such that he had to sit down. Heero slowly broke the seal and pulled out a yellowed parchment.
You wouldn't believe the sights we've been seeing! Can you believe that it's been a while since we've seen each other? Use to see each other every day, but me 'n Quat are okay with the separation; we're anxiously waiting for you to join us. Port terminal crowd was hell, though, no other word for it. The keys for our rooms weren't any better; we had a tough time getting it open. Safety is the key, y'know? (Yeah, I know; Quat hit me for that one.) Quat and I will be glad to see you guys again.
Missing you all a lot, we are. (Talk like Yoda, I do! Sorry, just got finished watching Star Wars; that show is the just the coolest!)
Trowa, did you get our care package? Hope you get well soon! Hee-chan, stay out of trouble at the terminal; don't get trigger-happy on me now! Wu-chan, keep an eye on those two; I'm relying on your cool head to keep them from shooting any strangers in a fit of pique!
Wish you were here already,
Duo and Quatre
Don't worry about the brownies. We'll send for them later!
"You can use port keys to safety. Quatre misses Trowa. Heero, love you but don't shoot. Wufei, watch those two and don't let them get testy."
"Definitely Duo," Heero replied quietly. The three pilots looked at each other, deftly treating their missing friend's letter while considering the package lying innocently on the table.
The owl hooted tiredly and stuck its beak in Trowa's tea. Trowa, absent-mindedly running his hand down the owl's back, didn't seem to mind.
"Brownies, though?" Wufei mused after deciphering the misleading letter. He wrinkled his brow lightly before staring questioningly at Heero.
"Gundams," Heero said simply. Wufei nodded lightly, snorting in amusement.
"Port keys?" he questioned again.
Heero answered, "It's in the box. They had trouble acquiring them, apparently."
"Yes, but what's a port key?"
Trowa lifted his head. "We're about to find out." The green-eyed boy then eagerly (or as eagerly as Trowa can get) tore into the package, finding three bronze keys safely nestled within the folds of delicate cloth. Trowa inhaled deeply, sure that he smelled Quatre. He realized that the cloth was, in fact, Quatre's shirt, the one he wore when they'd been separated from their pursuers.
His two companions nodded their affirmative before, together, they reached for a different key.
A pull behind each boy's navel, and all that was left in the small kitchenette was the owl snacking on a discarded strip of bacon.
If you're wondering about the system that Duo used to safely communicate with the others (in case the letter was somehow intercepted), just read the first word in ever sentence of the first paragraph except for the ones in parenthesis, and read between the lines of the second. I thought Duo and Quatre would be cautious enough to use some form of code when attempting to contact the rest of the pilots, especially with everyone and their mothers trying to bring them to justice.
The song Duo was listening to is called Duality by Slipknot. I'm not a big Slipknot fan, but this one is really good and so totally embodies Duo to me, for some reason.
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