Dumbledore stood in his room, his normally bright eyes serious. Somewhere in this school, two of his students were in danger. Halfway across the vastness of the campus, the only two with enough power to be able to sense this were currently oblivious to what was occurring. Casting a look toward Fawkes, Dumbledore knew there was only one way to get their attention without actually physically doing anything. Waving his hand, Fawkes bowed his head in agreement and flew off; looking for the only one he could turn to. It didn't take Fawkes long to find his brother in arms. Scythe was flying with Wing, enjoying the daylight on his smaller wings. For a phoenix, he was still rather small, but his beauty still seemed to catch many an eye. His black coloring so at odds with Fawkes red, yellow, and orange coloring.
With a loud trill, Scythe broke away from Wing and flew gracefully over to Fawkes. They seemed to communicate for several moments before Scythe flew off, heading for the only person who could understand him so he could pass along what information he had received from the much older phoenix, Scythe headed for where Duo was. It didn't take him long to find Trowa, who was outside of the infirmary. Scythe trilled at him, landing on his shoulder. Trowa trilled back in reply; glad to see how healthy he looked. Yet the worry in the phoenix's eyes made him worry. Quatre stepped over toward the two, his aquamarine eyes wide.
"What's he saying?" Quatre asked, placing a hand on Trowa's arm. Trowa nodded.
"Scythe said there is something going on." He then looked back over at the bird. "We need to get Heero and Duo," he said softly. Quatre nodded and headed into the infirmary. His pale cheeks turned red as he walked in on Heero and Duo in a full blown passionate kiss. Trowa, surprisingly, didn't even turn pink as he walked toward them. He did stop a decent amount of steps away before turning to look at his fellow former pilots. He cleared his throat, alerting them that they were no longer alone.
Heero looked ready to kill whomever it was who had dared to interrupt their private moment. Duo, on the other hand, smiled brightly and looked at Trowa and Quatre with a glazed look in his violet orbs. "Hey! Tro-man! Q-bean! What brings you two here?" he asked, waving at them.
Scythe gave a beautiful trilling cry and flew in, settling onto his master's shoulder. Duo's eyes widened. Scythe had never come to him like this before. Trowa motioned to the phoenix. "He needed to alert you of something." Duo's eyes lost their sparkle as he listened to the soft notes from his familiar. Duo moved to stand up, but that was a mistake. The room spun and his eyes became blurry. There was no way he could do much in this state. Yet he couldn't just lay here and do nothing. His new friends were in trouble!
"We have to go! Hermione and Ginny are in trouble! Serious trouble!" Duo cried as Heero helped him to steady himself on his feet. Quatre gasped at those words while Trowa seemed to have followed the conversation without trouble, and by the look on his face, already knew it.
"But Duo, you aren't going to be any match for whatever has them. You're physically unable to stand on your own, let alone be able to come after someone."
Duo opened his mouth to protest Quatre's words, but he knew that would be a lie. Duo Maxwell didn't lie, so that wouldn't work. With a sigh he thought long and hard before pulling out a small coin from the pocket of his jeans. Hermione had given him the coin when they had been star gazing one night. He used his wand to announce where to meet, and that it was urgent, and then pressed into the center of it. It would alert every DA member who was carrying their coins. They would be able to help. Their threat was only one person so far, and Duo couldn't be spotted or is she got away, she could possibly give away his secret to Voldemort and then he would be in even more trouble.
The room of requirement was full of students in about a half hour's worth of time. Duo was seated in a chair while the other pilots stood around the room. It looked like a simple room designed to hold lots of people. Even the chairs were just enough for all of those who were in the DA. Susan Bones sat beside Cho Chang and Michael Corner. Lavender Brown sat beside the Patil sisters, Padma and Parvati. Colin Creevey and his brother Dennis sat talking while Justin Finch-Fletchly and Seamus Finnigan carried on a conversation of their own. Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, and Ernie Macmillan were all clustered together. Dean Thomas was there as well as Ron Weasley. For certain, Duo was surprised so many of the DA still carried around their coins.
"Thank you, all, for coming. I honestly wondered about the turn out, seeing as there were classes in session, as well as the off chance that there wouldn't have been anyone actually carrying their coins." The small group laughed.
"After last year, many of us hang on to 'em," Ron muttered, to the agreement of many of the crowd.
"What was so urgent?" Colin asked.
"What's happened?" Neville questioned.
"Is it You-Know-Who?" asked Lavender, which had Padma and Parvati shivering beside her.
Duo gave them all a calming look. "Actually, two of your members are captured and it's up to us to get them back. Right this moment, a spy for Voldemort..." At this... many people gasped and shudders raced around the room. "It's just a name," Duo said as he watched them. "A spy who has made it onto Hogwarts grounds has Hermione and Ginny in her grasp even as we speak. Now let me tell you she isn't the kind of woman to be taken lightly. She's vial and wicked and more than likely she will kill before bothering to ask questions. I need to know who all is willing to face her."
There were a lot of glances and uneasy looks. It was obvious that hearing the words 'kill before bothering to ask questions' had made more than one of them nervous. While they were skilled in certain areas, not all of them would be ready to face someone so obviously dark and dangerous. Suddenly, Ron and Neville stood up at the same time. This time, Duo was certain it was the names of who was captured that had caught their attention.
"Hermione!" Ron cried.
"Ginny?" Neville exclaimed. Quatre rubbed his chest right over his heart while Trowa came over to stand beside him. Wufei smiled softly before looking to the rest of the group. Duo smirked slightly. It was good to see the boys sticking up for the girls. Clearing his throat, Duo wavered slightly in his chair before Heero placed an arm around his shoulders to steady him. Duo looked up gratefully at him before moving on.
"Yes, Hermione and Ginny. And the longer we argue about who's willing to help, the more their lives are in danger. So who will help?"
"I will," Draco said, suddenly from the doorway. A bunch of gasps raced through the room, seeing as many of them still didn't realize Draco wasn't on the bad side any more.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Justin asked as he looked at the blond.
"I'm glad to see Harry and you aren't afraid of a little problem," Duo commented with a smile. It was only then that everyone gathered could see Harry standing behind Draco. Harry moved in front of him.
"He's not on their side. He's been friends with Hermione for a long time, even if it isn't well noticed. He'd want her back as much as the rest of you," Harry said. Draco turned his attention on Duo.
"So, where is that woman holding them?"
"Southwest tower, where we've been forbidden from entering, I might add. Off limits," Duo commented with a smirk.
"Oh well, sounds like the wonder boy will have to save all our necks from reprimand this time around." Harry blushed faintly at Draco's words and looked away.
"We should worry about punishment after we save Hermione and Ginny," Harry smoothly changed the subject. Duo couldn't help but nod in reply.
"Understood. So who is going to help?" The whole room fell silent before Ron, Neville, Luna, Collin, Dennis, Harry, Draco, Wufei, Trowa, Quatre, and Heero were the only ones standing. Duo nodded at the surprisingly large group. He glanced at the others. "I realize fear isn't easy to over come. But one day, you will have to face what you most fear. When that happens, you will have to either face it... or run away. And running away won't solve the fear itself." The group nodded. "Besides, smaller groups are better. I'll need the rest of you to keep a look out at the base of the southeast tower, just so that we don't all get caught with our hands in the cookie jar, so to speak."
"So, let's get going. Wands at the ready and all," Ron said; his nervousness evident even as he moved to leave.
As many of them filed out of the room, Duo shot the other former pilots hand signals. 'Don't interfere. Protect as best you can, but do not engage.'
Quatre's eyes widened as he looked at Duo. 'Why not? They are our friends too!'
Wufei fairly glared at Duo. 'Injustice, Maxwell! You want us to lead them to slaughter!'
Trowa didn't reply anything, his emerald gaze flicking from Duo to Heero.
Heero sighed, looking down at Duo. 'Is this a mission?'
Duo looked at all of them, a sad look in his eyes. 'This is something they have to do on their own. I can't fight or my cover is blown. If you all interfere, then how will they be able to grow strong and proud in their own abilities? We do not come from this time. We can't mess with it any more than we already have.' He then turned to Heero. "And your mission is to take care of me, understood, 01," Duo said aloud, but quietly, in his Shinigami tone. Heero shuddered beside him and nodded.
"Mission Accepted," he answered in a low tone. Duo nodded when he realized Heero wouldn't leave his side and watched as the rest of the former pilots all nodded as well.
"Accepted," Trowa replied.
"Understood," Quatre whispered.
"Agreed," Wufei murmured. Once Duo was certain they were all going to keep from interfering, he headed out after the rest, Heero helping him along.
Once they arrived at the southwest tower, it became obvious why it had been forbidden to the students. The stair way was slowly falling apart and the whole area seemed to be in disarray and in need of serious repair. Duo was certain the reason it hadn't been fixed yet was because Dumbledore had other matters in mind and couldn't be allowed to worry about the up keep of a tower that was so rarely used anyway. Using a spell which would levitate them just enough to not really step on the rickety steps, Luna, Ron, Neville, Collin, Dennis, Harry, Draco, and the former pilots all began the long climb up to the tower.
"This woman is bloody crazy to stay here," Ron muttered. Duo wanted to agree, but there was always a method to madness.
"If you were bent on destroying Hogwarts and didn't want to get caught, were would you hide?" Draco asked of Ron in a cold tone. Ron flipped Draco off while Harry tried to keep both of them from getting into a fight on the stairs.
"You're right, Draco. Going to the one place you knew was forbidden to others would be the best place to go," Trowa commented. Draco's lips curved into a smug grin while Ron glared. Harry simply sighed at the two of them. Quatre, looking between Ron and Draco, looked back at Harry.
"Are they always like this?" he asked. Harry nodded.
"Sadly," he replied. Duo smirked.
"Hey, fighting among friends isn't always a bad thing, you know. Just look at how well Wuffles and I get along."
"It's Wufei, Maxwell, get it right!" Wufei growled at the braided boy. Duo couldn't help but laugh, as did the rest of the small group.
"You all know each other far more than you're admitting," Luna said suddenly. Collin and Dennis nodded, having noticed this as well. Neville, having been so wrapped up in his worry for Ginny, wasn't really paying attention to the conversations. The boys all looked at one another before Duo sighed.
"You're right, Luna. We do know one another far more than we admitted to. You won't tell on us, will you?" She shook her blond head, looking away.
"Who would really believe anything I say, Duo?" she countered. Duo laughed.
"Well, that's a good point. But if they were wise, they would start listening to you a little more and stop ignoring you so much." Luna stopped in her climb to look back at Duo.
"You... " she trailed off as she meet Duo's serious violet eyes and looked away.
"Yeah, me. It's the way the world really is, you know. It's the crazy people who know the truth." Luna laughed at that.
"Now that, I'll agree with," Luna said, looking back up the stairs as she began climbing once more.
All conversation seemed to taper off once they reached the top of the staircase. Low moans could be heard from inside and Ron and Neville almost rushed over Luna in their need to get in the door. With a look from Duo, and a slight shake of his head, Wufei and Trowa stopped the two impetuous boys. He motioned for silence, before slowly and quietly making the way to the door way. The rickety old door was only half there and so it made it easy to see what was going on. Ginny was tied up against the wall, soft moans falling from her lips as tears traveled down her cheeks. Hermione was on the floor, curled up in pain. At the moment, Maleficent was laughing softly, her back to the door.
"Come now, dear. Don't tell me that's all you can take?" she asked in a semi-sweet voice. Even Duo felt a chill race up his spine at such faked sweetness.
Slowly pushing the half door open, not surprised when it didn't so much as creak, Duo motioned for the DA, as well as their protectors to slowly enter the room. The levitation spell on their feet kept all movement quiet and light. It was something Duo would have been proud of, had they been doing such things without the aid of magic. Stealth was his specialty and he loved when it was performed flawlessly.
Yet things didn't remain calm for long. Maleficent turned suddenly and began throwing spells, one after another, at the small group. They scattered, Wufei pushing Luna out of the way, and in return, being knocked into a desk. A cut opened up on his forehead and before Duo could tell him to leave the battle; he wiped away the blood and received a gasp from Luna. Duo, from his hiding place with Heero, watched as the wound healed itself. The two shared a look before noticing the blood that had fallen on the floor was slowly eating away at it.
"He really is descended from Dragons," Duo muttered. "Dragon's blood is poisonous to anything non-dragon." He then gasped as a spell hit Wufei's back, only to be deflected someplace else. He blinked and looked back at Heero, who was just as surprised as Duo was himself. "Well, hell, now we've learned Wuffles special ability in this world." Heero nodded, noticing that Wufei was now taking most spells for the others while Neville braved a few tough ones himself getting to Ginny. Ron, while worried for his sister, knew Hermione was in the most danger. Shaking off the fear that was eating away inside of him, Ron dove for Hermione and pulled her away from the woman who was snarling and attempting to hit everyone with the Cruciatus Curse. Duo winced when Collin was hit by it. But Dennis came back strong with a Jelly-legs curse which made Maleficent lose control of her own curse over Collin. Taking a moment to correct herself, she noticed five sets of wands all trained on her. She narrowed her eyes and spit on the ground before Draco's feet.
"You will all fall! Every last one of you!" she yelled, before hissing and leaving by way of the window. Draco rushed over to it just in time to see her levitate safely to the ground and rush off. He then turned back to the others.
"We need to get Ginny and Hermione to Madam Pomfrey. Meanwhile, someone needs to fill Dumbledore in on what happened up here and we need a group to go after that woman!" Draco said after a moment. Duo looked around, noting Wufei, Neville, Collin, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny were all in no condition to chase after someone.
"Ok, new plan. Harry, I want you to alert Dumbledore to what happened. Quatre, I want you to go with him." He then looked toward the injured. "Trowa, I trust you and Dennis... and the rest of the DA to get the wounded to Madam Pomfrey."
Wufei looked around. "What about Maleficent?" he asked, his eyes dark with anger.
"Heero, Luna, Draco, and myself should be able to handle Maleficent. We have to stop her before she gets back to Voldemort." Just then a trill sounded from out the window. Rushing over to it, Duo and Trowa stuck their heads out, Duo just a little shaky from the sudden fight.
"Scythe," Trowa said softly, the phoenix calling back out to them. Trowa and Duo's eyes widened in shock and they looked at each other.
"Change of plan. Luna, Draco, Harry, Heero, Quatre, and I will head to Dumbledore's office. The rest of you, keep to what I last ordered." As they began the march downstairs, Harry emerald gaze locked on Duo's violet one.
"Why are we all going to the headmaster's office?" Harry asked. Duo looked seriously back at the boy-who-lived and said quite seriously.
"Because Maleficent is heading there to kill him."