Duo seemed to be pretty trouble free as he led the small group down the halls toward the lounge. He ran into none of the other Preventers or ex-gundam pilots. All in all, it was a plus in his book. Stopping briefly to grab everyone a change of clothes so they could fit in, he had waited for everyone to change before moving on. Out of them all, Sylrina seemed the most calm. While the others appeared more troubled by the prospect of speaking to Dumbledore, she was more interested in her friend. Duo and her and been locked to each other's sides since they began the journey toward the lounge area. Apparently, two of the five visitors didn't appreciate that fact.
"Here we are," Duo called as he opened a large door and motioned them inside. A large window dominated one side of the room. Outside the stars shined in the distance. Two couches occupied the main floor with a few chairs scattered around the room. Yet it was the large fireplace that drew many an eye. It would of been unimpressive, except for the fact that you could tell it was a lot more intricate in design than it appeared. For one, there was no wood in the fireplace, yet a cheery fire roared inside it.
"How in the world is that done?" Ron questioned, staring at it. Draco had been thinking the same thing, but had refused to lower himself to ask.
"Don't ask. I can't tell ya. Suffice to say, that's how I'll get a hold of Dumbledore for ya. At least, I hope to." He turned to Sylrina and smiled brightly. "Rina, dear, would you be so kind as to make certain no one can enter or listen in?" She nodded and with a graceful flick of her wrist she did as she had been asked. Once that was done she looked back at him.
"Anything else, Duo?" she questioned with a grin. He couldn't help but smirk.
"Oi, gotten better I see. This time no wand. I'm impressed."
"I've gotten a lot better since you last met me. I've been very busy."
"'Rina here is the best in our school. She shouldn't even be going, but she does to protect Harry," Draco remarked smugly. Ron and Hermione glared at him a moment and Harry simply looked a little off balance. Sylrina, herself, seemed to shake her head at his words.
"I'm not that skilled. I simply take pride in learning what I must to protect family. I refuse to allow those I care about to be hurt while I'm around to stop it." Duo smirked at those words. They sounded suspiciously like the very ones he said constantly.
"Gee, Rina, and here I thought I was the only person crazy enough to learn things that would help me protect the ones I love. I suppose there's someone like me in every generation." Sylrina smirked at that comment. The smirk was extremely similar to the one Duo had graced the group with earlier when Draco had said he was balmy. It made many of them all appear a little worried.
"Um, 'Rina, why am I not comfortable with that look on your face," Hermione questioned while Ron, Harry, and Draco all nodded their agreement with her words. Sylrina looked at Duo and both smiled naturally.
"Sorry, Hermione, it was just that Duo was a constant in my life back before I met all of you. He was the only friend I had back at the old school who had been carefree around me and didn't worry about my odd moments of reading his mind. Back then I was still learning to control my abilities. Duo here was the only person who seemed to take it all in stride and not get angry when I couldn't control it."
"Come on now, Rina. I was simply being myself. Ask anyone here and they'll tell ya the same thing. I may run and I may hide, but I never lie. I've spent so much of my life in odd situations that I just seem to take everything in stride."
"Dumbledore did mention that the way we get along, it was always possible that we could be related, although distantly I might add. After all, there are four-hundred years between the two of us." Duo laughed once he caught the shock that crossed Draco's face. There was one boy he would have never expected to see being so kind to everyone. Of course, true to the books, he was slowly becoming less of a prat and more of a person. Eventually he would be the one to help Harry with the biggest task of them all. But that was still a year away, if the prefect's badges on Hermione and Ron's robes were anything to go by. Once Hermione became Head Girl, that's when things would become interesting.
"I don't believe it. This half-wit is related to our 'Rina? That isn't possible. If anything, he'd have to be a mudblood if ever there was one," Draco muttered. Duo simply shook his head; smile not falling from his face at Draco's insult. Hermione huffed and Ron glared at the blond. Harry simply remained silent, although his expressive green eyes seemed to say he didn't enjoy hearing Draco become that mean once again. "Look at him, he isn't even insulted," Draco muttered as he took in Duo's expression.
"He probably doesn't know he was just majorly insulted. After all, he wasn't going to school with you when he was in our time," Hermione muttered darkly. Duo smiled a little brighter, already enjoying letting the wind out of Draco's sails before even doing it. Sylrina opened her mouth to say otherwise when Duo stopped her by speaking up himself.
"Actually, I know that saying very well, 'Mione, my dear. You see, many believed the same thing Dra-chan does, that I was a Mudblood. Truth is, I don't know. My mother and father died before I could ask them if they were full-blooded wizards or not. Seeing as I don't even have their real name as my own, I couldn't tell you if their name rang a bell or not. So maybe I am and maybe I'm not. Who knows? I do know one thing through. I was able to do spells on my first try while many of the third years I was with still couldn't get it by the end of the class, which made them all become rather silent with any more teasing."
"Is that true?" Ron asked, surprised. Draco's eyes seemed to become contrite. He was always one for a good insult. Yet when this boy had told them he couldn't even recall his parent's names, let alone them at all, it made him regret his words entirely.
"Yes. He was always a quick study. Transfiguration was his best class. Potions were his worst. But he really shined at his DADA classes. Headmaster Dumbledore couldn't believe that an untapped talent such as his had been so controllable back then. He really surprised everyone," Sylrina answered for Duo, knowing he would never admit to his skill.
"He knew Dumbledore?" Harry asked. "How come we never saw him?"
"He knew the Headmaster Dumbledore from my old school. Silver Charm School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. He met your Dumbledore only long enough to manage to get back to his own time. Seems Albus Dumbledore was a little better versed with time travel than his brother." Sylrina kindly left out the part about Duo almost falling all over himself when he had met Albus Dumbledore. Seems those books were a bigger part of his life than he had let anyone know. Now though, Duo seemed to have taken everything else with a calm outlook. At least he hadn't fallen all over himself when she had introduced Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Draco. That was a plus, to say the least. Duo laughed slightly and moved toward Draco, a small smile still on his lips.
"Don't worry about any insult you might of given that you think you should take back now, Draco. You haven't insulted me. My partner calls me an idiot on a pretty regular basis. So nothing really gets to me any more."
"But Duo, you are an idiot on a regular basis," Sylrina remarked, trying to lighten the mood that suddenly fell over the group with Duo's words. Duo smirked and placed a hand behind his head, appearing put out.
"Yeah. It comes with the territory. If I didn't act goofy, then things would become too serious around here."
"What is it you do that makes things so serious?" Hermione questioned, changing the subject. Harry sighed as it seemed Duo hadn't taken offense to Draco's words and Draco seemed to calm himself now that he knew there was no harm done between himself and the one who would most likely be their only link to their time. Duo looked to Hermione and then toward Sylrina before answering. It was Sylrina's small nod that told him it was all right to tell her.
"I'll tell you, 'Mione. You see I'm what they call a Preventer. I keep things from breaking out into things as dark as war. I fight to keep the peace."
"Why do they have someone as young as you doing something like that?" Ron questioned. Duo looked toward the redhead for a moment before answering.
"Why not? We want peace just as much as the adults do, perhaps more so. Yet I grew up in a war torn time. I saw what war did first hand to many people. Many innocent of anything but being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now that the war has been brought to an end, I fight to keep it from happening again. I don't want to fight to the death any more. I haven't taken a life for over a year now. I have to say I'm glad for it."
"You've had to kill?" Draco asked, knowing surprise colored his voice.
"Yeah. Not one of my more admirable traits, mind you, but its there none-the-less. I wouldn't place it on any résumé's mind you. No one wants a killer." He laughed lightly to take out the sting his words implied. Sylrina moved toward him and placed a hand on Duo's shoulder.
"You only did what this time called for you to do, Duo. No one is condemning you, least of all any of us. Right?" she asked of everyone. They all nodded their agreement with Sylrina. One thing was for certain, they were all a little happier for not having show up while this young man had been having to be a soldier in a war that none of them had been meant to see. Moving toward the fire, Duo took a pouch out from one of his many pockets. Sylrina and Hermione recognized it for what it was instantly.
"You are gonna talk to Dumbledore through the fire," Hermione said in her know-it-all voice. Ron seemed confused.
"Will that work?" he asked, watching the long-haired boy as he untied it.
"It has a couple times. Especially when my magic goes a little crazy and I need a little help."
"You don't have your wand here do you?" Sylrina questioned.
"Kind of hard to keep it on you when you pilot a large robot designed to kill things. I have it back in my room. It's hidden so no one can find it. Sometimes even I forget where it is." He laughed at his own joke and Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Sylrina laughed with him. Draco simply snorted.
"And we trust this loon to help us return home? This should be a good one. Perhaps Longbottom should have been here instead of him. That would top everything off."
"Neville Longbottom would get us killed before we could get home," Harry muttered. Duo laughed and Sylrina sighed softly.
"Draco, you have to realize that Duo only acts the part of a fool. This way he keeps people from realizing how skilled and deadly he can be. I'm certain if things became serious, he'd be the first to protect us and his wand would suddenly be in his hands. Now knock it off and let him do what he needs to." Duo looked at Sylrina with a dark look that failed miserably. After all, Duo could never beat a Malfoy classic dark glare.
"Rina, must you? Give away all my trade secrets and then I'm no good to anyone," Duo muttered, yet he turned back to the fire and muttered something over the powder before tossing it into the flames. No one caught his words and he soon stuck his face into the flames. Harry was once again amazed by this little trick. It was always astounding how the flame never hurt the one making the call through the flames. They couldn't hear Duo, but they knew he must have reached someone, for he was taking a while. After a while, he pulled back. Where his head had gone into the flames, Dumbledore's face appeared. His eyes seemed concerned, no surprise evident in his face at all. Everyone except Sylrina seemed ready for the reprimand Dumbledore would give them.
"Glad to see everyone is all right. I'm even happier that you were able to find Mr. Maxwell so quickly. He explained what must have happened and my only question for all of you is 'Why?'" Duo smirked, having been on the receiving end of Dumbledore's way of thinking before. He didn't like it any more than he was certain they did.
"We were only trying to find out who the next DADA was going to be. We didn't mean for this to happen," Hermione answered for all of them, her eyes down cast. They watched as Dumbledore's face became fatherly again and he smiled softly toward them.
"Well, you won't learn anything there. I just hope you've all learned your lesson. Messing with time, no matter how little it may be, is not to be done. Things can always go wrong." He then turned those always twinkling eyes on Duo and Duo gave him a grin.
"What do you want me to do, Dumbledore, sir?" Duo asked, his ever-present grin in place. Nothing in his kneeling form spoke of how he felt. To everyone watching him, he seemed calm and relaxed. As if nothing was bothering him.
"Can you get them to the Hogwarts of your time? I realize there is no one there now, but I'm certain the spell to bring them back will work better in a place were magic is still in the area."
"Yeah. I'm the only one who knows where it is. I should be able to get them there as long as my boss gives me the time off as well as a shuttle. Besides, it isn't totally empty. The house elves are still around. They keep it looking as beautiful as it ever was. Plus, whatever was placed on Hogwarts to keep people from finding it is still in place. It's still the only place in England Prefect that hasn't been touched by the war that raged less than a year ago." Dumbledore smiled softly.
"I'm certain your boss will more than give you the time off. You never ask for it anyway and I'm certain she wishes you would. You may need a little help. Perhaps you have a friend or two or so that you could trust. Don't let them know of your own skills, of course. Just let them know it is important to you. I'm certain they are true enough friends to aid you." Duo sighed, knowing exactly what he was getting at. Dumbledore wanted him to have the other ex-pilots with him. For once this was done, he'd have to return home and it was never safe to travel on his own.
"Understood, Headmaster," Duo answered with a small grin. "Mission accepted," he added, as his grin widened at Dumbledore's small smirk. Only he had ever known the full truth about himself. Seeing as he knew much about himself, he couldn't help but treat him as he would Noin. Both were like a boss to him. Noin with Preventer stuff and Dumbledore with his magic stuff.
"Take care, my students. Use magic as little as possible until you reach the school. Once there, have Maxwell reach me once more and I will get to work on getting you back to the correct time. Until then, listen to Maxwell as if he was one of your Professors. He may act immature, but he certainly is more knowledgeable about the time you are in than any of you. Also, Hermione, you may read what books you like while there, just don't do anything they may show you. You can listen to his friends as they tell you of the colonies, but you must not repeat what is heard when it comes to being back home. No one will believe you. Also, try to learn a bit more of the stars while you are there. This way, your astrology classes should be easier to you when you return." Everyone groaned and Duo laughed. Leave it to Dumbledore to add learning to anything they believed was fun. It was always to be expected.
"As you say, Headmaster Dumbledore," they all replied, including Duo.
"Also, Sylrina, help Duo with any magic that may be needed. He knows much, but isn't a full wizard yet. Perhaps we could see to it he comes back with you for a short while in order to finish his schooling and to become a wizard himself. Perhaps then he wouldn't need to bother me so much." Duo blushed and hung his head. They watched as Dumbledore's face faded from the fire and then they all turned to look at Duo. He sighed and looked toward Sylrina.
"He's right. I should finish schooling. I bother him a lot lately. Things have been getting a little out of hand for me and without someone in this time to help me, he's the only one I can turn to."
"How would you explain being missing to your friends?" Harry asked, knowing that if his friends were anything like his own, they would notice his absence. Duo sighed.
"I can make it so I return to the same time I left. No one would have time to miss me." Harry accepted that explanation and nodded his head. They all then sat back and stared out at the stars while Duo stood.
"Where are you going?" Sylrina asked, already having a pretty good idea but asking it anyway.
"I've got to talk to Noin about time off and my friends about coming with. Just stay here and enjoy the view. You won't be bothered. This way I can handle things without my boss going ballistic on me." They nodded and turned their eyes all back to the stars. Still in slight awe of the sight. Sylrina was the only one to stand and walk with him over to the door. She undid her spell and look at him with a concerned look.
"You believe they will find out about your secret, don't you?" she asked softly. He let his smile fall and nodded.
"Dumbledore knew they'd find out. He's just trying to make things easier on me, but I'm still a little worried. I know they accept things without question, but it isn't always easy when they can't accept things they don't believe exist." He sighed softly and gave her a smile. "Anyway, teach them about my stars, Rina. I'll be back as soon as I can. I may not be able to get all of my friends to agree to come, but I'm certain Hee-chan will be forced to watch my back once Noin realizes where I have to go."
"'Hee-chan'? Is he the one who came into the room when we first appeared?"
"Yeah. He's my dearest friend. Don't be too hard on him once you met him. He's a perfect soldier and doesn't talk much. To anyone."
"You love him," she said softly, her eyes widening as she realized what he was saying.
"Of course. He knows it too. He just doesn't know what he feels in return. It's all right. As long as he still talks to me, I'm cool about it. For now, just work on Harry and Draco. They are so much head over heels for each other, they need a good shove in the right direction." Sylrina laughed softly, knowing Duo wouldn't of failed to notice it himself. The glances to two shared always gave things away to those who knew what to look for.
"Understood. No meddling in your love life." Duo grinned and gave her a small hug.
"Good. You can be taught something new." With that he gave her a smile and left the room. Sylrina couldn't help but laugh softly but turned back to her friends.
"Alright everyone. Lesson time. Seeing as we don't have to wait for nightfall, let's get to naming constellations and star systems. We can see a lot more while we are here than down on Earth. Might as well do what Dumbledore said and get it out of the way." Everyone groaned but moved to do as she had said. After all, you didn't mess with her without finding out just how angry she could get. It was scary to say the least.
Duo arrived at Noin's office in full Preventer uniform. There was no way he was going to address her without being set to appeal to her kind heart. If he had remained in that shirt, he would have had her rolling on the floor laughing and there would have been no time for a serious talk. He nodded to Sally as she walked by and she graced him with a worried look as well as a smile.
"How are you Duo? I heard you were shot last mission." Duo grinned his trademark grin and watched her worry fall from her face.
"Don't worry about me. I'm Shinigami remember. Nothing keeps me down, Sally. You know that." She laughed and patted his shoulder lightly.
"Of course. How could I forget? Take it easy, alright." Duo nodded and watched as Sally walked off. He then headed into Noin's inner office and gave his boss a bright smile. Several of the ex-pilots answered to Sally while the other half answered to Noin. If Noin wasn't here, then it was Zechs they turned to. After all, he was Noin's second-in-command. Taking in Noin's short purple hair and concerned blue eyes he smiled at her.
"Duo, what brings you here? I was told it was important so I made certain I'd be free. Does it have anything to do with your injury?" He laughed softly. So far, this was the second time someone believed that little nick he had gotten was the cause of his behavior. If only they knew the truth.
"Nothing like that, Noin. Not really. You remember my friends I said were visiting?" At her nod, he couldn't help but try to hide his grin at her grimace his words caused. She still was upset about them slipping security. He knew for certain that their security was break-in proof. He had tested it himself enough times to know that only what they had done would have gone unnoticed. For that, he was glad.
"Yes. I'm still having security go over how they could of missed them." Duo smirked slightly before continuing. Poor security guys were going to be busy for absolutely no reason.
"Well, we've got things set for them to go back, but it is gonna take myself and a few others to get them back. I'll need some time off, for myself and whoever goes with me. This way we can take our time. Do it correctly and not waste the Preventer's money in the process."
"You want time off? Could I be hearing you correctly? Think you can talk your fellow former pilots to go with as time off and save us all from going crazy?" Duo laughed. He knew this was gonna be how she reacted. The other ex-pilots and himself didn't take vacations. They didn't get them while the war was on, so they never thought of them while working as Preventers. It was a rather funny concept.
"I was hoping you'd say that, Noin. I'll see what I can do. Quatre and Trowa may do it just for some time together. Heero will agree as long as I word it to him that it is a mission not funded by the Preventers and thus he'd be needed to protect his partner's back. Wufei, well, I don't know anything about him. He might, then again he might not. Who knows?"
"I understand you entirely there. I'll let Sally know so she doesn't flip. I'm certain she'd love a break from the others as well. No offense. You boys are the best we have. But things are pretty quiet. We can handle things without all of you for a while. Take a month. Maybe two. If things get really bad, we'll call you. Otherwise, take it easy until you want to return." Duo laughed. If he didn't know better, he'd say Noin was trying to get rid of them. He really couldn't blame her. He got tired as well. It was only because of Heero's non-stop pace that he didn't vacation himself.
"Then as of right now, you are on vacation. If the others agree, just call me and let me know."
"Thanks Noin. I promise, my friends will be out of here come tomorrow and you won't have to worry about a repeat performance. I promise." Noin sighed and brushed back hair from her face.
"Its all right. Actually, I think this was needed. We all seemed to be a little lax. We can't really let our guard down, even though peace is abound in spades." Duo nodded, knowing she was right. He then saluted and left her, heading for Trowa and Quatre's quarters first. After all, might as well get the easiest out of the way first. He'd need all his wits about him when it came to Wufei. Heero was another matter all together.
Quatre was sitting besides Trowa reading a book he had borrowed from Duo. One about magic and sorcery. It seemed to fit Duo's personality and also gave Quatre something totally made-up to enjoy. Trowa was cat napping beside him, his head on Quatre's lap. Quatre didn't mind. This was one of the few times they had to themselves. When it was just the two of them. Pausing in his reading to look at the simple gold band on his left ring finger he smiled. In another few months they would marry. He was looking foreword to it and only wished his other friends were as content with their lives as he was. Hearing a knock at the door made him place his bookmark in the book and gaze down at Trowa. He noticed that his love's green eyes were open and looking up at him.
"Door," Quatre whispered to him. Trowa nodded and kissed him lightly on the forehead before sitting up, his long bang falling into place to cover one of his eyes. Quatre took in his brown hair for a moment before pushing back his own light blond hair and smiling. He stood and moved toward the door. His crystal blue eyes widened in surprise as he opened the door to see who was on the other side. "Duo, what a pleasant surprise. Are you all right? I heard you'd been injured."
"Nothing to worry about Q-man. Just a scratch. Would have been worse if Hee-chan had actually taken it like he was supposed to. Is Tro-chan here as well? I kind of needed to speak to the both of you?" Quatre nodded and let the braided boy into the room. He watched as Duo automatically took a seat in the chair that sat across from the couch Trowa was occupying. It had already been figured out that no matter how badly they couldn't stand Duo's nicknames for them, he still used them. Many had just given up trying to get him to stop using them. Only Wufei ever still argued with him over them.
"What's up?" Trowa asked, figuring he'd break silence if things were so important Duo would come to speak to them personally. Duo waited till Quatre was sitting beside Trowa before speaking.
"I kind of need your help. I've got friends visiting and I need to escort them back home. I was asked to have people go with me seeing as I'd be coming home alone from the England Prefecture once I got them home. I was thinking that this way Q-man and yourself would get some down time. Noin's already Okayed the idea. Seems she wants all of us to have some time off. Can't imagine why?" He joked. They both shared a smile before laughing lightly at Duo's words. He was right and they both knew it.
"Have you talked to Heero and Wufei about this yet?" Duo shook his head.
"I figured I'd ask both of you first. This way I had the easiest one done first before I had to apply my brains to everything. So what do you say?"
"Well, we are due some time off, Duo. I suppose it wouldn't be so bad. After all, you are right. We do need time together. What better way than by doing a simple mission, off duty, and then taking the extra time off some place else?" Quatre asked. Trowa smiled and nodded in agreement. Besides, seeing as Duo rarely asked for anything, it was a simple thing to agree to.
"Cool. I figured you two would look at it that way. Noin said we are off until we either come back or are called back. Whichever comes first." All three laughed, recognizing Noin's way of pushing them to agree. Duo then stood and moved toward the door. "We'll be leaving in the morning. Might want to be ready to leave around ten in the morning. After all, I've got to let them try a little bit of colony cooking before they head back." They laughed at that.
"Make them miss Earth even more, huh?" Trowa remarked. Duo smirked.
"Of course. This way they won't repeat coming here. I'll call Noin once I make the rounds and let her know you're in."
"I'll handle talking to Noin. You just worry about talking Wufei and Heero into going. I'm certain they could use a break without fighting. Even if they won't admit to it." Duo nodded, grateful for Quatre's always-kind nature. Sometimes he wondered if perhaps there was a little Veela in the young man. After all, whenever he turned those eyes on someone, no one could refuse him.
"Thanks, Q-man. Take care. See ya tomorrow." They nodded and watched as he left. They then shared a look. Trowa sighed.
"You are not planning on playing match-maker with Heero and Duo are you?" Trowa asked. Quatre smiled shyly.
"Just a little bit. We both know they care about each other. Heero just hides it better. He was furious when Duo took the hit meant for him. That's telling, even if not to anyone else but us." Trowa nodded lightly and wrapped his arms around Quatre. Quatre snuggled in them, resting his head on his chest.
"Don't over do it, love. Heero is still trying to be more man that soldier. He isn't used to it. We both know that. Perhaps Duo's friends will draw Heero out some more. Make him try to make a move. After all, nothing makes a person move faster than jealousy. If Duo's friends are anything like him, there will be plenty of jealousy to be had." Quatre giggled lightly and reached up to kiss Trowa's cheek.
"True. After all, it was due to you becoming jealous that made you move on me. I'm every bit as glad to this day that you did." Trowa nodded and led him to their bedroom. After all, they had this night alone before they would be with many people. Quatre paused long enough to let both Noin and Sally know they would be accepting time off before continuing where they had been going.
Duo sighed and headed toward Wufei's room. He knew this one would be a toss up. He never knew what Wufei would agree to. Half the time, he was never even at the base. Drawing a deep breath he knocked on the door. A grumbled reply from the other side at least let Duo know the Chinese boy was in. That was a plus. He smiled as Wufei answered the door in his usual dress, blue tank top and white pants. Wufei tried to glare, but worry was in those dark eyes as well. Duo knew that as much as Wufei made his arguments about him that Wufei had come to see him as a friend and unwavering partner.
"What do you want Maxwell?" he asked in his gruff voice. Duo smirked. Wufei was the same, no matter what.
"Hey Wu-man. I wanted to ask if you'd help me out." There was no sense beating around the bush. He simply came straight out with it and hoped Wufei wouldn't be too upset over it all.
"It's Wufei, Maxwell. You would figure you would of learned that by now."
"Let the poor boy in, Wufei. Don't be a rude host," a deep voice called from behind him. Duo smirked as his eyes landed on Zechs. He knew why the blond Preventer was there. It was well known to those who listened to gossip that Wufei was seeing Zechs. If one could believe the super secret gossip, then it was also known that both boys also were seeing Treize. Duo didn't care. Whatever someone else did on their time was their own. Wufei moved back and let Duo step in. Duo stood beside the door while Wufei moved a little closer to Zechs.
"Maxwell, what is it you need help with? Did you get hurt worse than was said?" he asked, worry in his eyes once more. Duo shook his head quickly to wipe that look from his friend's eyes.
"Nothing like that. I've just got some friends visiting and need a few people to go with me to escort them back. Nothing major. This is to be done with time off from the Preventers. Noin's decision. She didn't want me being by myself. I've already gotten Quatre and Trowa to agree. Yet Noin kind of hinted at me trying to get all of us ex-pilots to go. Seems to think we've been over working ourselves and need to take some vacation time." Wufei looked back at Zechs, who smirked.
"That sounds like her. I've already taken my time off, or I'd agree to help you, Duo," Zechs said, looking meaningfully at Wufei. Wufei sighed darkly, knowing exactly what he was hinting at. Looking back at Duo he nodded, just once.
"All right, Maxwell. I'll accompany the others and you as well. Heaven forbid I make the onna's upset with me. I barely get along with them as it is. Don't need things getting worse." Duo grinned. He knew quite well that Noin and Sally were about the only two women who could actually not get on his bad side when it came to women in general. He was only using them as an excuse to help out a friend without showing he was helping for that reason.
"Thanks, man. I knew you'd come through. Your honors making you do all this, of course." Duo said, sharing a grin with Zechs.
"Of course. When do we leave?"
"Tomorrow around ten in the morning. I want them to have a few day hours here before going back to Earth and all." Wufei nodded.
"Then I'll meet you at the shuttle port at ten. Don't be late, Maxwell."
"Of course. I'm never late." Wufei snorted and spared a glance toward Zechs before letting some of his pride fall.
"How are you, Maxwell? Really?" Duo sighed and placed a hand on the doorknob.
"I'm fine. It was really just a scratch. Heero would of been hurt worse if I hadn't of taken it. We've all been through worse, trust me. I'll let Noin and Sally know. You simply get ready and all." With that said he turned and left the room. Wufei sighed and laughed lightly. He looked toward Zechs to see the light smile on his face.
"What are you smiling about?" he asked.
"You just did something nice for someone you always try to keep at arms length. I think he's growing on you." Wufei glared at him a moment before letting the pretense fall.
"Maxwell may be many things, but he's proven he's a worthy friend. He's taken a hit meant for all of us at one point or another. I don't know how he always knew before we did, but he has. Through it all he's kept that foolish facade in place. If there is one thing I can do for him to repay the debt I owe him, I will. Even if he doesn't know that's why I'm really doing it." Zechs laughed and lightly brushed back some of his long hair from his face.
"I see, my dragon. I see." Sighing he moved and graced Wufei with a kiss. Wufei still blushed lightly and looked away. "You are very kind hearted, even though you don't show it."
"Tell anyone and I'll rat you out. You only stay here because you're avoiding your sister."
"I won't tell anyone. Besides, all she does is ask about Heero the whole time I'm there. I'm bound to start calling her an onna just to forget she's related to me." Wufei laughed.
"It's about time to realized she's a woman. After all, who else but a woman would aggravate you so?" Zechs laughed at that as well and shook his head.
"No idea, my dragon. I have no honest idea."
Satisfied that he had gotten all but Heero to agree, he headed for the one place he knew Heero would be. Since he had left their room when he had seen the small group in their room, there was only one other place he could be. The maintence room for the shuttles. Even now, when Heero was bothered by something, he enjoyed working on something mechanical while they were here. Moving toward the shuttle they had used on their last mission, he saw Heero's legs sticking out from underneath it. A small grin crossed his features at the familiar sight.
"Hey, Hee-chan? How much more do you think that shuttle can take before it's as good as it can get?" he asked lightly, keeping his tone as far from serious as it could get. Heero moved out from under it and looked at Duo, his Prussian blue eyes unreadable.
"I don't know," Heero answered after a moment. He then turned his eyes away from Duo's violet ones and sighed lightly. "I'm sorry I yelled at you earlier. After all, the reason you were there was to protect me and vice versa." Duo shrugged it off, trying to make him feel better.
"Don't worry about it Hee-chan. I know you were just worried about me. But I'm all right. It would of been worse," Duo said softly, his eyes downcast. "If I had let it hit you, it would of been fatal. I would rather a small nick to myself happen than have to watch you die." Heero nodded, knowing he didn't see it and moved toward him. He placed a hand on his shoulder, causing Duo to look toward him in mild surprise.
"I know. I. . .I thank you for that. I guess I never realized how much you protect me until just now." Duo gave him a light smile and tried to lighten the mood again.
"Well of course. What kind of partner would I be if I didn't protect you? On top of that, what kind of friend would I be? Come on now," he laughed lightly. "Besides, I've got to escort my friend's home tomorrow. I was hoping you would help. Ya know, kind of keep watching my back. Quatre, Trowa, and Wufei are coming as well. Kind of Noin's way of telling us we need to take some time off before we drive her into the nut house and all." Heero felt a smile creep up on his lips once again. No matter hoe bad he felt, Duo was always there with some kind of retort. Something to get everyone's mind off of the seriousness. Heero nodded, sighing.
"I might as well come along as well. Can't allow my partner to go alone. Even if you will be with our other partners." Duo grinned.
"I was hoping you'd say that, Hee-chan. You might want to finish up with our shuttle then. We leave at ten in the morning. For now, I've got friends to see to guest rooms before they think the lounge is where they can pass out for the night." Heero felt the urge to laugh but held it in. Instead he simply nodded and went back to work. Duo knew it was his way of saying things were all right between them again. "See you in the morning, Hee-chan. I'll possibly be asleep once you get back." With that said he left, leaving Heero to his own thoughts.
Sylrina sat back in one of the chairs, her turquoise eyes still watching the stars. Everyone else had kind of dozed off. She couldn't blame them. It was a soothing sight. Draco was crashed on one of the couches; Harry was on the same one, his head having fallen on the blonde's shoulder sometime during their slumber. Even in sleep they wanted to be near each other. Draco's arm was around Harry, keeping him near. Her heart felt light at the sight. At least they could find each other in their dreams. She then turned her eyes to the other couch.
Ron was slightly snoring in his reclined position on the couch. Hermione was sprawled out, her head on his lap. They had gotten together during her first year at Hogwarts. Their fifth year at the school. They had been together almost a year now and it was very sweet to be able to see them together like this. When they weren't busy arguing between each other. It was obvious they cared about each other. It was only that while they were awake, they couldn't seem to agree on anything. Hearing the door open, she looked up to see Duo's head pop back in, smile on his lips. She noticed his change of clothes and also that this uniform seemed to hug every curve he hid and show that he was well built despite his appearance.
"Duo, I take it things went well?" she asked in a quiet voice as he came near her. He knelt before her chair and nodded, braid falling over his shoulder.
"Yep. Everything's all set for tomorrow. We head out around ten. I'm using Earth time so that way you don't all get confused. How about we get you all to your rooms? You look like a refugee camp." She laughed softly and nodded, a small frown crossing her features.
"I just hate the idea of waking them up," she muttered. Duo smirked and she knew what that meant. "Not a levitation spell, Duo. They wouldn't remain as they are."
"Nope. I was thinking more of a teleportation spell. I still remember it really well. I seem to use it a lot around here. I can simply place them in their beds as they are. There are only three rooms for all of you anyway. Seeing as everyone's already sleeping, I figured this wouldn't hurt them. Ron and Hermione can take one. Draco and Harry the other. You can have the third one. Does that fit for you?" She nodded, wondering how he would accomplish it without his wand. Her thoughts fell from her mind as she heard his next words. "Appeara Wand!" Into his out held hand appeared his ebony oak wand. He had told her that it held a dark pixie hair at its core. She had never met one, but she figured it suited him. Black, just like everything else he chose about himself. Even his Preventer uniform was black as apposed to the usual brown and red of the other uniforms. Only his shirts seemed to bare any color at all at times.
"Sometimes, you really surprise me, Duo. I've come to miss you're foolish whit. You are truly the one friend I've missed the most." He grinned, bowing slightly.
"Everyone seems to miss me. It must be the fact that the fool is always the most well loved of characters." Sylrina found herself laughing at his words and watched as he teleported the couples. One set at a time. Once he was done he held out his hand, standing. "Come on, milady. I shall lead you toward your chambers for the evening." She giggled and placed her hand into his.
"Thank you, my dear fool. You are always a breath of fresh air to this poor lady's soul," she replied, knowing it was from the play they had done when they had been at the Silver Charm School. One thing their headmaster had always prided himself on was holding plays once a semester. This way, they learned how to cover themselves in the muggle world when they needed to.
"Always a pleasure, milady. Always a pleasure." They both laughed and headed for her room. He left her at the door, bowing deeply to her just as he had to as the fool and then left, his laughter trailing him down the hall. She giggled lightly and turned to her bed. Things would be interesting come morning. The trip back to Earth would be exhilarating, to say the least. She only wondered how everyone would take how they woke up. After all, they all knew where they had been when they went to sleep. She only hoped it brought some honesty with the light of day, so to speak.