Duo watched as Heero and the other former pilots seemed in shock of the great hall. As always, it still had the enchanted ceiling and everything had appeared before them like magic. Hermione seemed to be in shock from how much the house elves had been willing to do for years upon years without anyone here. The castle was still the same the five had known and loved, but it lacked the one thing their Hogwarts had, life. True, when one of the resident ghosts showed up in surprise to seeing someone here, he was almost bursting with happiness at seeing familiar faces once again. Nearly-headless Nick was ecstatic to see old and new faces together, much to the shock of Duo's closest friends. Sighing, he sat down at one of the middle tables, yet he didn't touch the food. Instead, he took a swig of pumpkin juice before deciding it was time to tell his friends the whole truth about his new friends.
"Duo. . ." Heero almost began, but Duo raised his hand in a silencing motion.
"I know, Heero, I know. I owe the others and yourself an explanation. I'm getting to it right now. I swear." Drawing a deep breath he caught Harry, Hermione, Ron, Sylrina, and even Draco's reassuring nods. They were all behind him in this. They knew he had to tell them what was up before anything could come of what was going to be happening this evening.
"Starting at the beginning might be wise, Duo," Sylrina said softly, trying to help him out. Duo spared her a glance and nodded his agreement.
"You're right, 'Rina. I know that's the best place to start. So that is where I will begin." He turned his expressive violet gaze on the drink in his hands, not wanting to look at his friends before him. Not wanting to see the looks that might come his way during his tale. "When I was thirteen years old, I found out something about myself that I had never dreamed of. I found out I was descended from wizards. In fact, I was able to access magic at an alarming rate. Yet the sad thing about all of this was that I couldn't control it. There was nothing I could do on that score. There wasn't a place for learning it and I couldn't very well go around telling everyone I came in contact with that I could use magic. That would have made me look like an idiot.
"I tried to self teach myself, even went so far as to make up my own incantations just to see what I could accomplish. One day, while working with the Sweepers and Professor G, I happened to say the wrong words to an incantation that I believed would allow me to find out the names of my real parents. I soon found myself in a place I had never seen and in a time I knew absolutely nothing about. I found myself at a school for people who were just like me, magic users. The headmaster there, who was named Dumbledore as far as I knew, came to ask me how I had come to be there in such a strange outfit and an even stranger view of the world." At this he stopped and laughed softly, remembering his stupidity in his youth, as well as his still in place motto of 'I may hide, and I may run, but I never tell a lie'.
"That was where he met me for the first time," Sylrina added, helping Duo in his telling. "He never tried to hide that he knew nothing of the world he was in and even less about himself. Yet that smile of his seemed to keep him from ever being hated for being an unknown outsider. It eventually caused Dumbledore to turn to his brother for advice. Albus Dumbledore was a lot more knowledgeable than his brother and soon took Duo in to send him back to his time. From what I can tell of Duo, he made it back without being missed. He even came back with a newfound knowledge of who he was and what he could be capable of."
"I also realized that I was still as far from being a skilled magic user as they came. So, using a special thing brewed up by Albus Dumbledore, himself, I was able to keep in touch with him so that if anything came up that I couldn't handle, he could help me. During the war, though, things were getting more and more out of hand. I had to get a hold of him more and more. Soon, I found myself at a loss. I was either going to have to tell my friends that I was different, or leave. The war was far from over at that time and I couldn't just leave them in the middle of it, so I had spoken with Dumbledore once more. He told me to use a spell he had been working on that would allow me to curb my magic blunders and help me focus more on the ability inside of myself.
"I had been able to pull it off without a hitch and was soon back into the swing of things. Fighting kept my mind from the horrible truth coming to light before me, that I was eventually gonna have to tell all of you what I find myself now telling you. So now you know. I'm an odd ball in this world, but I don't fit in anywhere else." Quatre refused to look angry at this secret of Duo's. Instead, he closed his eyes a moment before stepping up and hugging him.
"Thank you for telling us Duo. Now at least I won't feel like there was always something you were hiding from us. You've been suffering so much by yourself. You don't have to any more." Wufei and Trowa simply nodded at Quatre's words while Sylrina seemed to find herself trying not to cry. At least his friends were gonna stick by him. That was something very positive to look foreword to, to say the least.
"You mean you believe me? About the magic and all I mean?" Duo asked, his voice sounding innocent and surprised. Wufei seemed to look at him as if he was asking if any of them had ever held a gun. Duo couldn't help but crack a smile at that.
"Of course, Maxwell. It appears you are not the only one who happens to have seen odd things happen. I believe, from what Yuy and I have found out, that every last one of us former pilots have been having odd things happening around us."
"Hell's bells, I never thought of asking all of you if anything weird went on around you. Dumbledore always did say that there was a strict possibility that there were others like myself who simply need to learn their abilities." While he had spoken a sudden chiming like dark sounding church bells sounded in the room. Duo rolled his eyes at the sound. "Damn it. Why does this always happen to me?"
"What is that sound?" Draco asked, getting a cold chill down his back at the sound.
"If I haven't missed my guess, the Bell's of Hell," Duo answered with a smirk and a grimace.
"Oh no, you did it again," Sylrina muttered softly, gaining Heero's attention for the first time.
"Did what again?" he asked, turning those Prussian blue eyes on her. Sylrina didn't even flinch from that cold gaze. His lips crossed in a Heero-fied smirk. It was obvious, to those who knew him that he was beginning to like her backbone.
"He's a highly skilled magic user with a lack of ability to control those powers he possesses. In this case, that untapped talent looks for a way out so that it doesn't build up so much that it could hurt him. His untapped talent just happens to have chosen to be released when he uses certain metaphors, such as Hell's bells and being there with bells on." As she said it, the cold chimes started up again and Duo found himself with bells on his fingers once again. She looked apologetic as he glared toward her. "Sorry, Duo, I didn't realize that Hogwarts would add to it and cause everything around you to be treated the same as your own words."
"That would explain why Maxwell made a tinkling sound when he told Yuy that he'd be there with bells on," Wufei answered, figuring out the reason as to why the sound of bells had sounded through the room. Duo had just pulled off the bells from Sylrina's words when Wufei's caused even more to appear on his fingers again. This time, Duo let any pretense of his happy self to fade as he glared daggers at the dark haired Chinese boy.
"Wuffles! How could you?!" Duo asked, worried that he would use his dark humor to suddenly conjure up something even worse to happen to him.
"Now, cool you're. . ." Quatre quickly placed a hand over his lover's lips as Trowa almost told Duo to 'Cool his jets'. The blond boy didn't want to even find out what that would have caused to have happened. Trowa playfully licked Quatre's hand, a smirk on his lips. Quatre jumped, realizing what had just happened to him. Duo found himself smiling once more, catching Heero's small grin as well.
"Now I know what you're thinking in that steel trap of a mind of yours, Yuy. Don't even try it. I do not want to be wearing anything I shouldn't or doing something even worse than I normally do. Let's just drop this whole thing, all right. We know what can happen and let's leave it at that." Heero let his grin fade from his lips and nodded, knowing he would have to test this all out later and see what happened then. Yet at Duo's suddenly serious expression, he turned serious as well.
"What is it you haven't told us yet, Duo?" Heero asked all pretenses of acting like Wufei and calling him by his last name gone from his mind. Quatre and Trowa stopped their playfulness and Wufei turned serious eyes on Duo as well.
"I've been getting steadily worse in controlling my magic. I need to go back to school and finish learning what I need so that I can control it better."
"What's wrong with that? You go back to school, letting Noin or Sally know about this sudden need for time away and then come back to work with us. Nothing too difficult, is there?" Quatre asked his usual cheerful voice in place. Duo seemed to frown a bit deeper. This caused Heero to suddenly take a look around this place. His methodical mind working things out as he took in the looks from the ones Duo called friends as well as his partner's worried expression.
"You won't be able to do this here, will you," Heero said suddenly, letting everything fit into place.
"Nope, Heero, I can't. There is no place to study magic in this time. I don't know what happened to cause Hogwarts and other schools like it to fall into abandonment, but they are all on their own now. Perhaps, once I learn what I need to, I can come back and open up their doors once again. Help out those who have skills that are needed in this time. I mean, there could be hundreds of people just like me who are going through such terrible times because they feel different and alone, with no way of being able to understand what is going on. This is something I want to do; something that even the Preventers could gain from if it could be accomplished. I'll only be gone two years at Hogwarts, yet you won't even have time to miss me. I'll look just a little older and seem a lot more powerful, but at least things will be a lot less crazy around here." Heero stared at Duo while Quatre and Trowa seemed to be in shock. It was Wufei who spoke up next, and his words seemed to surprise everyone, including those who were simply watching silently.
"There is no way I shall allow you to go to a place like that all on your own, Maxwell. Seeing as it may be possible that we are all special enough to go to this school of yours, I insist that we all speak with this Dumbledore you've been mentioning and see if it is possible for some if not all of us to go. This way, we won't all be below you in knowledge and age. I refuse to have you be better than me at something, Maxwell. It would be an injustice." Duo felt his lips crack into a smile while Sylrina placed a hand on the American's shoulder, gaining glares from two young men on her side of this table which Duo ignored.
"Gee, Wu-man, if I didn't know better, I'd say you were worried about me," Duo mocked, winking slightly toward Heero, who had gone to stare at Wufei with a look that wished he had thought of that idea first. Heero simply watched Duo with those cold eyes of his, nodding his agreement.
"Chang is correct; we couldn't let you go in alone. Being without a partner isn't done anymore. Solo missions aren't allowed and you know it." Duo grinned now; glad of Heero's solider-like attitude.
"What about you two, are you also of the same mind?" Duo asked, looking toward the two lovers sitting on the other side of the large table from them. Quatre smiled brightly and with only a nod from Trowa, looked back at Duo.
"Of course we are. We are all partners, so we have to stick together. Besides, it wouldn't be fair for Heero, Wufei, and you to have all the fun. So when do we find out about all of this from Dumbledore?"
"Right about now, actually," a cheerful voice spoke up from the fireplace that suddenly appeared in the hall. Hermione seemed amazed by this feat while several pairs of surprised eyes watched in wonder at the sight of the old man's face in the flames.
"Hello Headmaster Dumbledore, nice to see you're timing is well placed as usual," Duo replied, smile gracing his lips and bright violet eyes shining. Dumbledore smiled, watching the four new faces with a warm smile and twinkling eyes.
"Of course it is, Mr. Maxwell. I could say the same thing about you. You seem to have found several friends who all would be more than welcome to come to school with you. Provided they are willing to learn and leave behind some of their darker toys," Dumbledore replied, catching odd looks from the four and gaining wondering looks from the five.
"What do you mean by that?" Harry asked, surprised. Duo, though, understood perfectly and without another thought pulled one of his guns from his hip and placed it on the table.
"I believe he means these, Harry. After all, there are some weapons that not even Dumbledore himself could explain away. We are from a time far past yours after all, thus there are several weapons that can't seem to even be recognizable to what they have in your time."
"We are to be unarmed?" Heero asked, seemingly to appear unnerved and off balance. Duo sighed and looked toward Dumbledore. He knew there was one thing Heero would not leave behind and wondered if Dumbledore would allow it of the stoic boy to keep.
"Well, yeah, but perhaps Dumbledore will allow a knife or two. Maybe even your laptop?" Duo spoke, phrasing it as a question toward the wise headmaster. Dumbledore appeared thoughtful before nodding.
"I suppose that can be arranged. After all, you are all former soldiers. I suppose I can not ask you to go totally against your natures. I only ask that you do not repeat what Mr. Maxwell had done one time and pin a poor teacher to a wall just for them being a little strict on someone."
"Hey, I wasn't that bad. It was only two small daggers. Also, that Professor deserved it. He was turning the students into slime for absolutely no reason."
"Correct you are. He was doing things that should not have been done. It is the reason he is no longer welcome at this school. I never did get a chance to thank you for showing us how bad he truly was." Duo smiled and shook his head.
"You got rid of him, that's all the thanks I need." Duo seemed to become thoughtful once again and looked at Dumbledore closely. "How are we supposed to be able to afford everything we will need for classes? I'm not so certain our money will be any good there."
"Place enough funds for two years onto what muggles call a credit card. Once you arrive here, Gringots will take the money from it and transfer it into an account with them. This way, you can use your own money and not worry about having to rely on others. I would suggest as soon as you are ready, that you take hold of the port key Dobby will provide for you and arrive here. School will begin tomorrow, giving you a day to gather materials needed for classes." Duo nodded, smiling.
"I can handle that. Heero can set up the card and Trowa and Wufei can deal with gathering all of our personals from the shuttle. Quatre can work with Sylrina in hiding it and making certain this place can't be reached by anyone else while we're gone. Does all of this sound like a plan?" Duo asked. Everyone nodded and immediately set off on their duties. Dumbledore left them to their work and soon everything was in place and Dobby was holding out a surprisingly large port key. Then again, it had to be to take ten people into the past. Watching everyone, he ran through a checklist of things, grinning as he watched the five from the past watch in awe at the former pilot's ability to get everything organized. Then with a sly grin, he watched as everyone gathered around the port key. As one, the former pilots nodded in silent agreement of their new mission. The group moved and together grabbed onto the port key. Duo felt a pull near his navel before suddenly darkness enveloped his vision and he was soon no longer where he once had been. Once again, he was on his way to the past, ready to take up the one mission he had been putting off for way too long, school.