Draco awoke slowly to find a rather delicious warmth along the left side of his body. For a moment he was confused as to why there was anything at his side to warm him. He almost began to believe his father had used the Crucio curse on him once again. He always felt odd on one side when he was being punished with it. But for once, it wasn't a feeling he wanted to forget. It was rather. . .nice. Opening his eyes he saw the one thing his dreams had always wanted, but never allowed. There, resting along his left side was the Boy-Who-Lived. It was almost too good to be true.
Draco took the time to re-close his eyes and savor this moment before he knew he would once again have to fall into his role. A Malfoy never reveals anything that could be used against him. Admitting to anyone, especially Potter himself that he was in love with the bloody Gryffindor and he'd be in for a lot of trouble. His father would be among the top of that list if he ever found out that his own son had turned against him in more ways than one. He already knew Lucius Malfoy knew about Sylrina. If he ever was able to get it back to Voldemort about her, she'd be in even bigger trouble than he himself was.
Slowly he rested his head against Harry's. For just this moment, he would imagine they were able to love each other without the rest of the world coming down on them. Yet that was impossible. As long as Voldemort lived, there could never be anything between them. Then again, if Sylrina had her way, they would be admitting their undying love for each other about now. He knew she knew how he felt. For a long time he had cursed his love for Potter as evil and of course, evil thoughts were always easy for her to read. She usually was able to pick them up without even trying. It was why, even now, he wasn't angry with her for knowing. She couldn't control that part. The one good thing that came from that was that she had promised him, once she had gotten his father to confess, that she would do everything in her power to protect him as well. He was in a bad situation thanks to Voldemort, just like her, and that in itself was unforgivable.
He felt Harry shift and knew he was waking up as well. Steeling himself against what was to come, he tried to act as if he was still sleeping as well. He could feel when Harry lifted his head to look around. Knew instinctively when he grabbed his glasses and noticed where he was. Yet instead of moving away like Draco believed he would, he felt his spirits lift as he simply rested his head back down on his chest and drew in a deep breath. Draco was even more surprised when Harry began to speak, his voice low and husky.
"I know once you wake up, things will change. We'll once again remain as slight enemies. Yet for this moment, we are closer than we will ever get. I don't know what the future will bring, but I do know I will cherish this moment for a long time to come." Draco almost allowed his breath to catch and reveal that he was awake and listening. He didn't, though. He continued on as if he was still asleep, listening silently and employing that Malfoy ability to appear uncaring when in reality he heard the sweetest words he'd ever have a chance to hear. He then felt him get up and leave the bed. After the sound of a door opening and closing filled the room he opened his eyes and looked around the room.
"As will I," Draco whispered to the empty room. He noticed Harry had left into the bathroom. A small light on under the door revealed his presence. He then noticed an open letter beside a change of clothes and realized Harry must have glanced at it before picking up his clothes and going into the bathroom. Just then he heard the shower start up and felt his mind begin to wander with images of Potter in the shower with nothing but the water to cover him. Shaking his head quickly he picked up the letter and read it out loud.
"'The change of clothes should keep you from feeling uncomfortable. Use the shower to freshen up. Be ready by eight. Someone will be by to get you for breakfast. Then we shall head on down toward the dock and you can all examine the shuttle we will be leaving on at ten. Your Friend, Duo.' Hmm, wonder how the dim whit knew how to spell those big words correctly?" Draco mutters as he finished his reading. He then heard the shower cut off and knew that Harry would be out soon. He gathered the clothes and waited on his bed, trying to get his infamous Malfoy scowl in place for when Potter came out. Yet it was hard to keep it when he saw Harry with his normally unruly hair now wet and unruly. His breath was lost to him for a moment. Finally he drew in a breath and muttered what first came to his mind. "About time, Potter. I almost thought you had fallen in and gotten lost."
"In your dreams, Malfoy," Harry remarked, just as darkly. Draco wished things didn't have to fall into this dark pattern, but they sadly always did when Sylrina wasn't in the same room. He got up and went into the bathroom before he said something else to darken things worse than they already were.
Sylrina awoke to a light tap on her door. She sat up and looked toward the door with blurry eyes. She then reached beside the bed for her contact lenses case. When she couldn't find it she did as Duo had done the night before and called her glasses to her. Pulling them onto her face she looked once again toward the door.
"Enter." The door cracked open to reveal a bight and cheerful Duo. She smiled at him and motioned him inside. Taking a long look at her with his violet eyes he nodded.
"Now that's the Rina I know. The glasses were what were missing yesterday. Although, being able to see those beautiful turquoise eyes of yours was a blessing." Sylrina blushed and waved him off.
"Knock it off, Duo. I happen to know you only flatter the girl's cause you can. You aren't in love with any of us." Duo pretended to be hurt but smiled in spite of his act.
"You wound me. Yet you have me pegged. I wasn't kidding though. It was nice to be able to see those lovely eyes of yours."
"You have some fairly nice ones yourself, Duo. I've never seen anyone with violet eyes before. At least not as violet as yours." He smiled softly.
"They aren't always purple you know. Sometimes they are darker and other times lighter. Mostly they stay a nice blue-violet." She laughed softly.
"You are the only man I know who would be able to name all the colors their own eyes turn." He laughed.
"You're probably right. I don't know. Quatre might know about his own. I've never asked."
"He's the blond Arabian boy, correct?" she asked, reviewing names with faces from his memories.
"Yeah. Trowa and he are a couple. They are even engaged. Plan on marrying soon." She smiled; glad that at least two people in love had found each other.
"He's the brown haired boy with the uni-bang, right?" Duo nodded and held out some clothes for her. She took them and smiled. "Good. I suppose the others I have in my head I can figure who is who as well. When you let me in your head, I didn't think you would let me in as deep as you did."
"I have nothing to hide. You could of asked me and I would have told you the same thing." She nodded, knowing he spoke the truth. "Go shower. The others are getting up as we speak and we should all be off to breakfast soon. We will be leaving at ten so I would like to show things off before we have to leave." She nodded once again and moved to the bathroom.
"I'll be as quick as I can then."
"Take your time. Quatre's cooking and he won't be upset if we are just a little bit late." She grinned at those words and closed the bathroom door, glad to have someone she could talk to and not have feel sorry for her. Even though her life was rough, no one could deny that his had been a lot worse. So when push came to shove, he treated everyone as an equal. This was just what a lot of people needed to feel comfortable.
Breakfast was a crazy affair. Quatre had insisted on cooking for Duo's friends. In fact, he had arrived at Duo's door early this morning and offered to give his friends a meal they wouldn't forget. Duo had consented, as long as he was allowed to help. Quatre had nodded his agreement and since they had both been awake; they had gotten to work on the meal.
Draco and Harry were the first two to be brought in, followed by Ron and Hermione. Duo and Sylrina were the last two to enter the room. Once Sylrina had taken a seat between Draco and Harry, things had relaxed considerably. Everyone was introduced to Trowa and Quatre. Quatre was his usual bright self and seemed to win everyone over, even Draco. Trowa was as usual, his old silent self and simply listened to everyone talk. It was after Hermione had seemed a little lost in Quatre's cheerful conversation that Draco had leaned over and spoken to Duo.
"Your friend's part Veela, isn't he?" he questioned softly, so as not to draw attention to their words. Duo leaned toward him and shook his head.
"I don't know. I've felt that way myself, but I'm not certain. I have to admit, he does kind of draw you toward him and make it impossible to hate him, doesn't he?" Draco nodded and sat back, contemplating what he'd just learned. He knew Duo couldn't know what to think in all honesty. He hadn't been taught as the others and himself had. There was no school of magic in this time. For the first time in his life, he actually felt sorry for someone other than himself. Everything he had always taken for granted, these people would never really know. Not like he knew them. It was why he wished for Duo to return with them more than he knew. With himself deep in thought, he missed Harry's jealous glance toward himself and Duo.
"This is really delicious, Quatre. My compliments." Quatre blushed at Sylrina's words and nodded.
"Thank you, although Duo helped. He made the bread and several other things that he told me not to name." Sylrina turned surprised eyes on Duo.
"I didn't know you could cook, Duo."
"Well, not too many people know that. I try to avoid it when I can. Yet since you were my friends, I couldn't let him do it all on his own."
"At least we know you can do something right, Maxwell," Draco muttered coldly. Duo gave him a raspberry while Wufei, who had just entered the kitchen, applauded that remark.
"I readily agree with that one. Maxwell is usually pretty useless," Wufei remarked. Draco smirked while Duo pretended to be hurt.
"Come on now. Not you too Wu-man," Duo said, glancing toward the one person who had been so nice to him just last night.
"I've told you before, Maxwell. The name is Wufei. Get it correct next time." Duo sighed and grumbled softly to himself. Sylrina, Hermione, Ron, and Harry all smiled understandingly. They had all been through that before, mostly with Draco himself. So seeing that there was someone like him in this time bugging Duo wasn't difficult to expect.
"Anyway, Chang," Duo muttered, using his last name like he always did to him. "These are my friends. Harry, Hermione, Ron, Draco, and Sylrina. My friends, may I introduce Wufei Chang. He will also be coming with us when we leave. That makes almost everyone introduced, except for Heero. Yet you'll all meet him once we get to the shuttle. As always, I'm certain he's making sure it is in top shape before we leave." They nodded their hellos and watched as Wufei grabbed some food and then left. Quatre and Trowa were soon left in the dining room while the others left to take a little tour of the colony before meeting everyone again at the dock.
The tour had been surprisingly uneventful. Noin had come out to meet the impressive five who had all managed to sneak past security. She had asked them in no uncertain terms to please never do it again. They all agreed that they would attempt to remember that and visit the correct way from them on. Duo knew they couldn't admit to never doing it again because magic was always like life, extremely uncertain. Ron had taken a fancy to the games room, even going so far as challenging one of the Preventers off duty there to a game of chess, the old fashioned way. Hermione had fallen in love with the library and had even checked out several books, which Duo had told her she could hang on to till time came for them to part ways.
Next had come the built in gym that had perked up Harry, even though he didn't admit to it too much. Although it had drawn many an eye when Duo and he had gotten into a weight lifting match and both boys had wound up losing their shirts in the work out. Duo had easily held the advantage and lifted well over two hundred and seventy pounds without pulling a sweat. Harry had been close behind him though, lifting an amazing two hundred and fifty pounds. Of course, Duo had joked that he would have to be able to lift that much with his cousin Dudley being as large as he was all the time. Harry choked back a laugh and didn't question his knowledge of his family. Figuring Sylrina must have said something last night to him.
Their last stop before the dock was a rather well designed green house that had nothing but windows on four sides of it. The plants were all of interesting lines and breeds and the scene outside the green house always drew an eager eye. The main attraction of the room was the gundanium fountain in the center that spilled rainbow colored water into a vibrant green pool. This place was heaven to Sylrina, and unknown to everyone, even Draco. Unknown to everyone, including Sylrina, Duo had designed the tour to have a little something for each one of them. He had known of Draco's love of plants from his fifth book. He knew of Sylrina's love of space and interesting fountains from having been with her for a while. With a smile of pleasure across his lips, Duo slowly dragged everyone away and toward the dock. It was ten exactly when they stepped next to a rather large shuttle that read 'The Perfect Shinigami' in large old English lettering done in dark red while the shuttle itself was black in design.
"Let me guess, you named the ship," Sylrina asked of Duo as she read it. He blushed slightly and nodded, watching as Quatre, Trowa, and Wufei all made certain things were in place to take off.
"Yeah. Kind of a combination of Hee-chan's and my nicknames."
"What are they?" Hermione asked, intrigued.
"Heero was and still is appropriately nicknamed the Perfect Soldier. Even Trowa and the others have nicknames from our pilot days that have stuck with us. Trowa's was The Silencer. Mainly due to the fact he's always so quiet. Quatre's is the Arabian Prince. That one is self-explanatory. He's Arabian and he's a prince. Let's leave it there. Wu-man is termed the Sleeping Dragon for good reason. He's pretty calm most of the time, but get him upset or give him an injustice to fight and nothing stops him." Draco was surprised by how much each one of them had something about them that no one would of known if not for Duo. Yet he also noticed he hadn't spoken about his own nickname. Taking it upon himself, he caught Duo's attention firmly before speaking.
"What about your own? You never explained it. Or said what it was for that matter Maxwell. Are you that embarrassed by it?" Quatre, having caught the conversation walked over and answered for Duo.
"He's not embarrassed. He simply wishes he didn't have to use it any more. He's called the Shinigami."
"More like he's self-proclaimed," Wufei added, joining them. Trowa, who had been silent all this time, knew of Wufei's joke about it and figured to add his own input.
"Actually, he's been it and more. He may have done it as a joke before, but he's lived up to it since then as well." Everyone looked a little confused. Finally Sylrina spoke up, not even her memories from Duo's mind had been able to clear this one thing up.
"What does Shinigami mean?"
"It means 'God of Death'. He's been that more than he should of had cause to. He'll also go on being it till there is no more suffering in this world," a new voice added. Duo and the others all looked up to see Heero standing at the lowered door, his blue eyes locked on Duo as he spoke. Duo nodded; know Heero had said what he had only learned a day ago. He was glad his friends all understood what this nickname meant.
"Thanks guys. I never thought you were listening the entire time I've spoke about it." His eyes filled slightly with tears at that, but he pushed it back. This wasn't a time to get all sentimental. "Anyway, time to board, Hee-chan?" he asked.
"Hn," Heero answered and moved back into the shuttle without another word. The four remaining former pilots shared a look.
"I take that as a yes, how about you Q-man?"
"Definitely," Trowa answered.
"Affirmative," Wufei answered. He then turned and lifted the last box that needed to go into the shuttle and went into it himself. Quatre and Trowa followed quietly behind while Duo turned to his friends.
"Come on. Time to see what its like to fly through space instead of just live in it." The group made their way onto the shuttle, which was more like a small ship than anything. Duo led them to a lounge area that seemed to face two walls. One had a television monitor on it while the other seemed to have an off color screen across it. Once Duo had the group seated and buckled in, Duo pressed a button the seat beside him. Heero's face appeared on the screen after that. "Ready and able, captain. Sorry I'm not at the controls." Heero, for the first time that day, gave Duo a small smile, although only Duo was able to recognize it for what it was.
"That's all right, Maxwell. We wouldn't want your friends scared for life," Wufei spoke from behind Heero. He couldn't be seen, but Duo flipped him off any way. He even grinned as he watched Heero turn and repeated the gesture to Wufei and spoke quietly that it had been from Duo.
"Hn, you just worry about your own skills. My shuttle comes back in less of a wreck than yours does. Hee-chan just happens to be a stickler for keeping things in perfect shape. I've got a perfect record so far. Can you say the same?" The former pilots all knew that Wufei couldn't. Three of the four missions that he had gone solo on had him returning with a very badly beat up shuttle. While as Duo's had always remained untouched. Almost as if God was watching out for him.
"Hn. Enough. We're taking off." With that said Heero cut the communication link and Duo felt the shuttle start up with what he called a perfect purr.
"Once again, Hee-chan gets this baby to purr like a kitten." He then distracted them enough by making jokes about Wufei's shuttle, 'Nataku's Second'. No one realized the rough bit of the take off or the slight moment of weightlessness as they left the colony's gravity. Duo was a master when it came to keeping peoples attention. That was why no one had complained that he wasn't at Heero's side to fly the ship. He had been needed with his friends. That was his mission this time around. To anyone watching, they would be able to say he had done it with a skill even the Perfect Soldier would of envied.
As soon as everything was calm and the shuttle was flying without trouble, Duo pressed a button on his seat and opened the window to the outside. His lips curved into a rather large smile as he watched the looks of awe and surprise break out on his newfound friends faces. Ron's mouth seemed to be locked in dropped open mode while Harry and Draco stood and moved toward the window like a well-made sync team. Hermione remained where she was, but stared out at the millions of stars that flew by the ship. Only Sylrina seemed unmoved by everything. Instead of watching the wonders of space, her eyes were locked on Duo's.
'You're trying to play matchmaker as well, aren't you?' she questioned him mentally. Duo offered her a smirk and shrugged lightly.
'Is there something wrong with that? I've always thought Draco and Harry would make a wonderful couple, as well as Hermione and Ron. You've got to remember that I've been reading those books for a rather long time. I never knew I'd be apart of it.'
'And who do you see for me?' she questioned lightly, gazing at him with a small self-sad smile. Duo, who had been watching the couples until now, turned to look at her with a small Duo-fied smirk. She suddenly regretted her words, wishing she hadn't of asked the one person who wouldn't lie to her about it.
'Why, Draco of course, but then again, also Harry. Perhaps you would just have to get into that little love duo and make it a trio.' She flushed five shades of red at his words. How had she known it was going to be something she herself had thought, but had refused to really admit except inside of her dreams?
'Duo! I would never get in the way of what they feel. It wouldn't be right!'
'I didn't say get between. I said join.'
'First of all, that would be wrong. Two people make up a couple. Not three. Second of all, they don't see me like that. They see me as a sister they can both confide in.'
'As to your first response, that really isn't how it goes. Since you are a mind reader, once you let Wu-man know about your little gift, ask him about his little love trio. It is flourishing and I haven't heard any of their little group complain yet.' Sylrina gasped at his words. She would of never guessed. Not from someone who had never shown a single evil thought. That was rare for her to run into, but apparently she had. 'And as to your second one, I would call that brotherly love. They glare daggers at me every chance they get when they think I'm trying to get too close to you. They think I'm a bad influence on you and that I only want to see how far I can get with you before I tell you to get lost.' Sylrina gasped out loud this time and stared wide eyed at Duo. She then turned to see if everyone else had noticed. When she was certain none of them had, she returned her gaze on Duo, who was casually watching Harry and Draco.
'You aren't a mind reader Duo. How could you possibly know that?'
'I don't have to be a mind reader, Rina-chan. I knew just by watching them, that's all. The same as how I can tell you are in love with both Harry and Draco. It is why you try so hard to help them find happiness with each other. Because you believe they could never feel the same way about you.' She knew her eyes widened at that news. He was correct. She didn't know how he was able to tell all that, but he knew.
'How. . .how could you possibly know all of that?' she asked, shocked.
'I had to learn how to read people at a young age, Rina. It keeps me from being killed in my line of work you know. There has only ever been one person I couldn't read, and that person is my partner and currently flying this shuttle with Wu-man.'
'You are VERY good at reading people. I thought your knowledge of Harry and Draco came from your books. I suppose you simply read them.'
'Yep. Those books aren't about Harry's love life. They cover his trials in life and his friendships, but not his love life.' Duo smiled softly as he caught a rather wistful glance from Harry toward Draco. 'Perhaps they even care about you as much as they do themselves. I haven't had much time to see just the three of you together, but knowing they see me as a threat, is a positive note on your side.' Sylrina blushed and cut the mental link almost as quickly as she could. Any more from him and she would be sitting there with a tomato red face. She really didn't need all of this at the moment.
"Duo, it's too silent. What in the hell are you up to?" Heero asked, his face showing up in the screen across from the braided pilot. Duo smirked and held up his hands in a show of innocence.
"Absolutely nothing, Hee-chan. I was simply watching everyone here enjoy the view and whispering quietly with Sylrina here." Heero seemed to look at Sylrina a moment and she watched him in return. She could feel the dark thoughts building in Heero's mind and instantly found herself sharing a smirk with Duo.
"We have another two hours before we make it to Earth. Tell everyone it might be wise to rest up. You'll have to relieve Chang once we get there, seeing as you are the only one out of all of us who knows where this place is that we are going to." Duo nodded, glancing around at everyone as they watched the conversation.
"Got ya, Hee-chan. Just let me know when you need me. I'll be waiting right here, with bells on." A soft tinkle could be heard right before Heero cut the connection, his eyes seeming to glare at the American. Duo grimaced and held up a hand, the bells on each finger ringing once again. He sighed dramatically. "Why does that always happen to me? I really have to be more careful about what I say." Sylrina watched him with a soft smile, knowing that had happened to him a lot when they had first met. Watching him pull off the tiny bells, he caught Draco's odd glance in his direction.
"What? I do something wrong?" Duo asked softly, watching the blond as he came over to the two, leaving Harry and the others still staring out the window.
"You must have had at least one very skilled parent, Maxwell," Draco said softly. Duo blinked.
"Why do you say that?" he asked.
"Only wizards who have great potential that is just untapped can have what just happened to you happen." Duo nodded.
"That was something Dumbledore had mentioned as well. Said I was able to tap into that talent when I said something that was only meant to be a little sarcastic and make it real. That is the reason behind me not lying. If I lie, half the time the truth shows up in front of me." Sylrina giggled while Draco smirked.
"Must suck to be you."
"You have no idea, Dra-chan my friend." Laughing they all settled down, knowing arriving at Hogwarts was going to shock them all.
Duo took his place beside Heero as they neared where they needed to go. Sylrina and the others were left with Trowa and Quatre to keep them occupied; yet it wasn't needed. Duo had flown his shuttle like the great pilot he was and they never felt the landing. Unlike Wufei's take off, Duo had the skills and great knowledge of this shuttle that he had managed to make the landing as smooth as silk, right near the entrance of the castle that served as Hogwarts. A short, odd looking creature was standing at the door and all except the unknowing former pilots knew who and what he was.
"What in all that is just is that?" Wufei asked as he watched the thing move toward Harry with an odd grin. Nothing on its frame fit or matched. It even wore socks on its feet and hands.
"Harry Potter, how good it is to see you again. Dumbledore said you would be arriving here today," the odd thing said once they were close enough to hear it. Quatre gasped as he recognized the name from Duo's books and turned toward the American. Duo simply shook his head.
"Don't ask if you won't believe the answer," Duo answered.
"I'll save it, for now," Quatre answered and watched as Wufei nodded his agreement as well.
"Hello Dobby. Is everything settled inside for company?" Harry asked, watching, as Draco seemed to watch the house elf with a raised eyebrow.
"Of course, Harry. I've seen to everything myself. A meal was fixed for all of you. Come eat before Master Dumbledore comes to speak with all of you." Duo nodded his head in agreement for his friends. A smirk resting on his lips as his new friends entered the castle and his old friends seemed reluctant to move foreword.
"You have a lot to explain, Maxwell," Heero muttered darkly, causing Duo's smile to fall from his lips. This was the time Dumbledore knew would come. Before they could talk to Dumbledore, they would have to be told the truth. He only hoped none of them wanted him dead after they knew. Sighing, he nodded and motioned for them to follow his new friends.
"I'll tell you everything as we eat, all right. Just try to keep an open mind." Sylrina stopped a short distance away from them and held her hand out to Duo.
"Come on, they can find out once we are all comfortable. Hogwarts may be empty of people, but there are others here that would love to see you again." Smiling once more, Duo moved foreword and took Sylrina's hand. Somehow, they would get through this, he knew. Through it all, at least one of his friends would be with him in the end.