Quatre Raberba Winner was a busy man. At seventeen and already in charge of his own company, one would say that he had a lot on his plate. However, he was also an ex-Gundam pilot, one of the leading terrorists in two wars, a Preventer's Agent, and the proclaimed Savior-Of-The-Wizarding-World.
Not that his friends knew that final piece of information.
Quatre had never given the other pilots any reason to believe that he was hiding anything of that great importance from them. They all had their secrets, and no one bothered to pry, but Quatre was pretty sure his secrets weren't quite like the others'. He got the feeling that Trowa suspected something, but he wasn't terribly concerned by his boyfriend's musings right now. Pretty soon Quatre would have to return to the world he had left behind, or rather, Harry would have to return, and he was sure he didn't want to have to go alone.
Call him a coward, but Quatre did not want to walk into a war without people he knew he could trust to back him up.
Which brought about the reason why he was currently heading towards Lady Une's office, hoping to get her on his side. She looked up at him when he entered, setting her glasses to the side. "Agent Winner," she said in greeting. Quatre gave her a small nod, seating himself in one of the chairs across from her desk, crossing his legs at the knee and placing his hands in his lap. He looked comfortable and casual, but anyone who knew him knew that he was just as dangerous then as he was on the battlefield. "What can I do for you?"
"I need you to explain to the others about the Wizarding World," he stated bluntly, for once deciding that mincing words would get him nowhere.
Une blinked and stared for a short minute before regaining use of her mental capacities. "What exactly do you want them to know?" she asked slowly. She was obviously still stuck on the fact that he knew about the hidden society.
"The current conflict," Quatre murmured. "Specifically Harry Potter's part in it all. You see, he went missing three weeks ago, and I figure I've delayed the inevitable long enough and I should probably make plans to head back."
Une's pencil, which she had been holding, dropped to the desk, rolling a short ways. Quatre watched it, as though fascinated the movement. "You're Harry Potter? How is that even possible?"
Quatre gave a soothing smile, blue eyes amused. "How about you explain to the others what you know, and then I'll divulge my secrets?"
Une paused before nodding, turning to her phone to call her secretary and get her to page the other pilots. It was fully by chance that all five of them were in the office today, as yesterday Barton and Maxwell had been out on a mission.
They didn't have to wait long for the others to arrive. Duo bounced into the room, grinning wildly. "Hey Une-lady! We had a mission yesterday! Surely you're not sending us off already." He caught sight of Quatre. "Oh! Q-Bean! You just get out of a meeting?"
"Astute," Quatre murmured with a small smile, although it wasn't all that difficult to guess. Quatre didn't often wear expensive business suits to PHQ, as while he was there he was tending to do more manual labor.
Trowa brushed a hand across his shoulder and sat down next to him. Wufei and Heero both nodded their greetings, also taking their seats. Duo dropped dramatically into a chair and they all looked up at Une in anticipation. She glanced at Quatre and then sighed, beginning the explanation.
Quatre didn't really pay attention, instead using that time to study his closest friends. The year away from the war had done them all well. They had all grown up, the last of their baby-fat melting away, their faces now more adult, to match with the old eyes they all had.
Trowa was still the tallest, at five foot eleven. He was still quiet, but not as much as he had been during the war. Quatre loved him anyway, or maybe even because of that. The blonde, though, was only five foot five, the shortest of the group and that had always disgruntled him a little. He had been the shortest of his friends at Hogwarts too.
Duo had hit a growth spurt during the last year, shooting up to five foot eight. He was the third tallest, only two inches shorter than Wufei. He was still lean, but no longer looking so malnourished. His street-rat tendencies were starting to fade as well, although they would return with a vengeance if something were to trigger them. Heero and Wufei were working on that. Wufei hadn't physically changed much at all, however, just gaining a little extra height. However, he was no longer obsessed with obtaining justice, and was quite pleased with just doing his job and spending time with his lovers.
Heero also hadn't changed much aside from looking older. The gene manipulation he had been through with Doctor J hadn't made any other changes possible. His personality had changed in the ways that he was now more open with those that knew him. He was only two inches taller than Quatre, but he didn't mind so much. In fact, he had once admitted it was the perfect height to snuggle up with Duo and Wufei with.
That had probably been the biggest surprise. Heero and Wufei had been a couple for maybe three months before Duo had been critically injured in a Preventer's mission. After that they were suddenly a threesome. Quatre knew it wouldn't have been possible with Duo and Wufei, or with Duo and Heero alone, but as three they seemed to even out perfectly. Although, there were times when it almost seemed as though Duo was expecting it to all just disappear, another one of those L2 tendencies that the other two were trying their hardest to demolish.
By the time Une had finished, she had a lot of confused agents and one seemingly apathetic one. It was obvious that Wufei and Heero didn't believe her, and therefore didn't know why she would go through the effort of telling them this, and that Duo wanted to believe her because that would just be awesome. Trowa…well, Quatre couldn't really tell what he was thinking at that time.
Une sighed and waved to Quatre, who stood and leaned against the desk, standing in front of his companions. "Three weeks ago, Harry Potter's residence was attacked by Death Eaters and he was killed. However, Death doesn't seem to agree with the 'Boy-Who-Lived' and he found himself catapulted through time and space and taking up residence in what was then empty body." Only those who knew Quatre well could pick up the sarcasm at the hyphenated name. "At the age of three, Quatre Raberba Winner got lost in the desert during one of his father's business trips. After two days, he died. After three, he was found and grew up to be me."
There was silence for a long moment and then Duo spoke. "Are you trying to tell us you're this Potter kid?"
Quatre hummed softly, tilting his head to one side. "In a way. I have to admit, Harry Potter and Quatre Winner, me, are two completely different people personality wise. It seems I've grown up a bit over my second-life."
Une rolled her eyes. "It'd be impossible not to," she muttered, although the others chose to ignore her.
"Magic isn't real," Wufei stated, sounding absolutely sure about that.
"I didn't believe it at first either," Quatre smiled. "Frankly, I needed proof."
Heero raised an eyebrow, glancing at Trowa. "Provide some proof, then."
Quatre grinned and shrugged. "You asked." There was a soft pop and Quatre disappeared, a large Golden Eagle standing in his place. The bird ruffled its feathers before spreading its wings to the impressive seven foot wing span, flapping them to fly into Trowa's lap. He was being extremely careful not to hurt the man with his talons, but got comfortable anyway.
"Quatre?" Trowa asked, smoothing the feathers along the eagle's back. The bird gave a trilling cry, changing back into Quatre with another soft pop. The blonde was looking rather smug seated in Trowa's lap, and he casually wrapped an arm around his neck.
"Dude! That is so cool!" Duo said, bouncing up and down.
"I admit," Quatre murmured gently. "I only just mastered the Animagus transformation. It would have been rather useful during the war."
"This isn't possible," Wufei moaned, rubbing at his temples.
Duo paused in his bouncing, looking down at the other pilot with faint amusement. "I think you broke him, Q," he stated simply. Wufei did nothing to refute that statement.
Quatre laughed. "Yes, it's shocking, I know," he said. But then his good humor bled away and he was left looking solemnly at his friends. "I'm going to have to go back to that war, and I'd rather not go alone."
Trowa's arms tightened around his waist, pulling him closer. Duo shook his head and Wufei and Heero looked at him, faintly annoyed. "Of course we'll help you, Cat!" Duo said fiercely. "Why wouldn't we?"
Quatre merely smiled, and Une sat back down behind her desk. "Good," the Commander said. "Because that is your next mission. It's about time our government got involved because frankly your Ministry is not doing a very good job."
"It's not my Ministry, ma'am," Quatre pointed out. "I haven't lived in that world for almost fourteen years."
"Dude!" Duo said, as though having an epiphany. "You're, like, old!"
Wufei rolled his eyes. "Quatre's the youngest out of all of us." Yes, that was true. Quatre had only turned seventeen a couple months ago, and medical examinations put Duo, Heero and Trowa at being at least a couple months older than him.
"Haven't you been listening?" Duo asked with a huff, placing his hands on his hips. "He died fourteen years ago at age sixteen. He's a thirty-year-old stuck in a seventeen-year-old body!" Okay, technically, that was also true.
Quatre sighed, snuggling deeper into Trowa's chest. "Try being sixteen at three," he countered.
Duo snickered. "Must have been sexually frustrating."
"Maxwell," Wufei groaned, grabbing hold of Duo's braid to keep him from bouncing around some more. Duo merely grinned at him, and he couldn't help but shake his head in fond exasperation. There was no way that Quatre was going to admit to what Duo had been implying, so instead he yawned and rested his head against Trowa's shoulder.
"Long day?" Trowa asked, burying his face in blonde hair. The part-time clown grimaced. "And why do you smell like fish?"
"I swear the fish-tank exploded by itself," Quatre said petulantly, as they all got to their feet and waved to their Commander. "It had nothing to do with me throwing a stapler at it."
Everyone snickered and Heero raised an eyebrow. "Long meeting?" he asked, changing the words of Trowa's first question to meet his needs.
"I'm not allowed to shoot them," Quatre pouted cutely. "Jezzy won't let me." Jezebel, one of Quatre's sisters, had taken over as his main assistant after Iria had died in the war. "But they're all just swindling old farts that have no sense of decorum."
Trowa smiled softly and shook his head. "Don't shook the members of the board, little one."
Quatre grumbled under his breath, decidedly not in English, and stalked off towards Trowa and Duo's office. As partners, the two shared just as Wufei and Heero did. Considering Quatre only worked for Preventers part-time, he teamed with both sets of partners, and had a desk in both offices. It confused all the other agents in the building, but the pilots didn't seem to care. IT made things interesting, Quatre and Duo both liked to say. It helped that the offices were right across the hall from each other.
"What do you think of all this?" Trowa asked quietly, turning to the threesome.
Duo bounced slightly, although instead of his customary grin, he wore a thoughtful look. "It explains a lot, doesn't it?"
"True," Wufei admitted. Things like Quatre's empathy were better explained when you added magic to the mix. How someone so famous could still manage to do undercover work. How he had always managed to heal quicker than the others, or how he had always known just what they needed to better heal themselves. "However much our world has been turned on its head."
Heero snorted in dry amusement. "Not the first time." He shook his head. "It's different, but we can manage. Quatre is too important to lose."
Trowa nodded, immediately agreeing. Quatre was his life and there was no way he would willingly give him up. Or unwillingly, for that matter. He looked up when Quatre called his name and smile in response. Thirty-year-old dead wizard or not, Quatre was still his and always would be.
They, surprisingly, didn't live in a mansion. Granted, Quatre had one just on the other side of town, but the five pilots had always deemed it just a little too big for them. It hadn't mattered during the war, but now they just wanted to be comfortable and even Quatre had to admit that all that grand and fancy living wasn't necessarily comfortable. Rashid and a few of the other Maguanacs lived in the mansion, claiming to want to be close enough just in case they were needed.
Instead they lived in a nice sized Craftsman style home on a large plot of land. It had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large kitchen, living room and a dining room they had converted into a library. The kitchen was large enough for all of them to eat in anyway.
Two days after Une and Quatre had explained what was going on in the Wizarding World saw all five boys at home at the same time. Heero was the last of them to arrive, having been in a meeting about Relena's security, which thankfully Zechs was officially in charge of. It had been long and annoying as he had had to throw off the girl's advancements. She still didn't seem to understand that he was in a relationship already. With two guys at that.
Heero sighed, tugging at his tie as he stepped into his bedroom. Wufei was spread out on the large king sized bed, reading a book, and their other lover's jacket was thrown haphazardly over a chair. "Where's Duo?" he asked, falling onto the bed next to the Chinese pilot.
"Working with Quatre on their 'baby'," Wufei replied with a roll of his eyes. He smiled as Heero snuggled closer to him. No one would have ever believed it, but the 'perfect soldier' was really a cuddle monster. Perhaps he was simply making up for the lack of affection in his early life.
"That old car?" Heero murmured against Wufei's side.
"It's a 1967 Chevy Impala," Trowa replied from where he was leaning against the doorframe. "And don't you forget it." He was obviously teasing, as the car didn't matter to any of those three in the least. However, Quatre and Duo seemed enamored by it, and wouldn't let the others trash-talk their 'baby', despite it not being able to run yet.
"It's a piece of junk," Wufei muttered in reply.
Heero shrugged lightly. "Oh, Une said that all five of us are still going to be on active duty while we're dealing with Quatre's war so we'd better figure out a way for her to get in touch with us or we'll find ourselves training newbies."
"Ew," Trowa said softly. "And how are we supposed to be on active duty if we're already on an assignment?"
"Emergency backup," Heero stated. "After September first. Before that, we're to go in when called."
"Hmm," Wufei hummed, setting his book aside. "Tell Quatre to work it out. He mentioned something about electricity and magic not being very compatible."
"He and Duo might be able to come up with something," Trowa said thoughtfully. He then turned to Heero. "We're in charge of dinner tonight," he said.
Heero gave a soft groan, obviously not wanting to move from his spot. Wufei smiled lightly and ran a hand through his lover's hair. "I'll take your spot tonight if you take my spot cleaning up."
"Deal," Heero grunted.
Wufei stood, detangling himself from Heero and patting his shoulder. "I'll wake you when dinner's ready."
"Don't forget you're playing body-guard for Quatre's meeting at seven tonight," Trowa reminded. It was the only reason they were all eating dinner as early as four; Quatre was trying to get his multi-billion dollar corporation at a point where he could leave it for a while. Or at least, where he could work from a distance. And they had found the meetings went faster with Heero standing behind Quatre glaring at everyone.
Heero grunted again and the two pilots left him to his rest, retreating to the kitchen. They made the meal in silence, not needing to talk to feel comfortable. After going through what they had together, it was almost as though none of the pilots ever had to say anything in order to be understood. Not that that deterred them from conversing anyway, if only to fill the silence when they needed to.
"Why am I carrying you again?" Duo's voice asked as the kitchen door opened.
"Because you love me," Quatre's replied, and the two cooks turned to greet their fellow pilots. Quatre was draped over Duo's back, his arms around the American's neck as Duo piggy-backed him into the house. Both of them were covered in grease and oil, making them look particularly messy, but they were obviously happy if the grins were anything to go by. "Hello, Trowa, Wufei!" the blonde greeted.
"Tro-Tro! Wuffers!" Duo exclaimed, and it was probably a good thing he was carrying Quatre or he would have hugged them both, grease or no grease.
Wufei rolled his eyes at the nickname, but didn't get onto Duo as he once would have. "Go clean up, dinner should be ready soon," he said.
Duo set Quatre down and raced towards the stairs, excited by the prospect of food. Apparently, he had forgotten to eat lunch, having instead worked through his break on a new anti-virus program for his computer. Honestly, he could get as bad as Heero sometimes when it came to technology. Those two were going to die at Hogwarts… Quatre laughed at his friend before turning back to Trowa. "Don't I get a kiss?"
"Not until you wash up," Trowa answered, not even looking his way. "You're a mess, love."
Quatre smiled and tip-toed closer, ignoring Wufei's raised eyebrow. Trowa didn't seem to notice until Quatre wrapped his arms around him, managing to get him covered in grease and oil as well. "Oops," pilot 04 stated smugly. "Looks like you're all messy too."
"Quatre," Trowa sighed in fond exasperation, turning around in his lover's arms to press a kiss to his head.
Quatre beamed up at him, happy to have made Wufei laugh. His space-heart had picked up a little melancholy from the Chinese pilot, and he hadn't liked that. He wouldn't pry into it, but he had felt it was his responsibility to make his friend happy again. However, his grin died away, replaced by a slightly annoyed look instead.
"You might as well show yourself Professor," he stated, confusing both Trowa and Wufei. "I know you and your two companions are there. And it isn't nice to spy."
Three people stepped out of the shadows, seeming to appear out of nowhere and Trowa and Wufei were hard-pressed not to draw their guns. Quatre had gone ahead and warned all of them that Dumbledore was bound to show up eventually, and that they weren't allowed to shoot him or his companions when he did. No matter how annoying they were.
Dumbledore was standing in the middle, his blue eyes twinkling as he gazed at the three boys. Beside him stood Professor Snape and Auror Tonks. The former was clearly not amused, although the latter was smiling widely, her hair a bright shade of blue. "Professor Snape, Auror Tonks," Quatre said in polite greeting. "Go ahead and sit down," he said waving them to the table. "You're just in time for supper." He turned to the other two pilots, secretly glad that they had made enough food for three extra people. "I'm going to go clean up," he said, stepping away from Trowa who looked down at his ruined shirt in disdain.
"I should make you pay for this shirt," he muttered.
Quatre grinned on his way out of the room. "But you won't."
"And why not?" Trowa asked, genuinely curious about what the answer might be.
"Because you love me!" Quatre laughed before he ran up the stairs.
Trowa watched him go before sighing. "Pity," he said softly to those still in the room. At Wufei's questioning look, he explained. "He's right."
Wufei rolled his eyes. "Go grab Duo and Heero for dinner," he said in response, ignoring the fact that their three guests were all staring at them.
Trowa raised an eyebrow. "No. Duo and Heero are alone up there and there's no way I'm walking in on that."
"Chicken," Wufei muttered before striding out of the room.
Trowa turned to the three at the table, setting the chicken-stir-fry down on its surface. "So you're Dumbledore," he said softly, looking at the bearded man. Dumbledore nodded, but before he could say anything, Wufei returned with two other people in tow. They waited for a moment and Quatre reappeared, his clothing and skin now clean.
Duo laughed at Trowa's appearance. "Geez, Tro-Tro," he said, ignoring the presence of the three strangers at their table. "What did you do?"
"Do you really want to know?" Quatre murmured, placing a calming hand on Heero's arm. The last thing they needed was for Heero to shoot the leader of the light. The blond sat down at the table, the others following his lead. "Everyone, this is Headmaster Dumbledore, Professor Snape and Auror Tonks. I'm surprised it took you so long to find me," he said, directing the last part of that to Dumbledore.
"Mr. Potter, you need to return to headquarters," Dumbledore said gravely. "For your own safety.
Wufei couldn't help but snort. "You don't know who you're talking to, do you?" he asked incredulously as he served himself and Quatre some dinner. The blonde was leaning back in his chair, seemingly completely relaxed, but obviously plotting.
"We know exactly who we're talking to, boy," Snape said coldly. "Potter drop the glamour and let's go."
The four other pilots all tensed, not liking the tone that the professor had taken, but Quatre merely gave a small smile. "This is no glamour, professor. And I would like it if you were to act more civil around my friends. They don't take well to those that threaten them."
"Mr. Potter," Dumbledore began again, but Quatre cut him off with a raised eyebrow.
"I haven't gone by that name in a very long time, professor," he informed them.
"You've only been gone three weeks," Snape grumbled.
"Maybe to you," Quatre replied. He thanked Wufei for the food and took a bite, seeming to completely ignore the others in favor of asking Duo and Heero a question in Japanese. They conversed for a while, eating and enjoying their meal until the two teachers were completely annoyed. Tonks just seemed amused by it all.
"Mr. Potter," Dumbledore started again.
"Winner, professor," Quatre replied, his tone going cool. "My name is Quatre Raberba Winner, and I would be much obliged if you would call me as such."
"You have a duty to the people of your world," Dumbledore stated.
Quatre rolled his eyes, standing and placing his plate in the sink. "Your world, professor. I've found I rather like the muggle one. Now, what is this duty?"
"Has already been fulfilled," he cut in again. Dumbledore stared at him in shock and he gave a small smile. "What? You think I can just change who I am at will? I died three weeks ago, sir. I've been living as Quatre Winner for fourteen years. Now what is my duty to the Wizarding World?"
It was obvious the other wizards were confused, just as it was obvious that the other pilots were annoyed. "Mr. Po—Winner," Dumbledore stated softly. "Voldemort is still looking for you. He knows you survived that night, even if you insist you didn't. He's not going to stop until you're dead. So if you would just return to Headquarters with me we can keep you safe."
Quatre sighed, glancing at his watch. "We'll go to Headquarters with you, soon, professor. But we're not going to just sit aside and allow you to lose this war."
Dumbledore stood, his eyes narrowing. "Your friends cannot come along, Harry."
Quatre's eyes narrowed as well. "Quatre," he corrected again. "For the last time. And they are coming. Call me a coward but I refuse to go into a war without people I trust backing me up."
"You can trust us," Tonks said, speaking for the first time since they had arrived.
"Begging your pardon, but I'm afraid I can't," the blond replied, his voice icy. He turned to regard Dumbledore with blank, blue eyes. "Where were you when I was growing up with the Dursleys, neglected and abused? Where were you when three eleven year olds had to stop Voldemort from regaining a body? When a twelve year old went against a basilisk? A thirteen year old against one hundred dementors? A fourteen year old against a dragon and the most feared Dark Lord in the world? Where were you three weeks ago?" He turned, looking at his watch again. "At least I can count on these four to watch my back."
"Four boys are not going to be able to up your chances of winning this war, Potter," Snape sneered.
"They really don't know who they're talking to," Duo said, sounding almost awed.
"Heero," Quatre said with a small sigh. "We need to get going, or we'll be late for the meeting." He ignored Dumbledore's calls for him as he walked up the stairs, Heero following. The other three pilots stayed behind to ensure that the wizards wouldn't try and follow.
Ten minutes later saw Quatre reentering the kitchen, dressed in a classy suit and placing a gun in a holster at his hip, hidden by his jacket. Heero was dressed similarly, although he didn't bother to hide his weapon. "We should be back in a couple hours," the blonde said, not bothering to look at the wizards.
"Don't throw anything at the fish tanks, love," Trowa murmured with a teasing smile.
Quatre rolled his eyes. "Just once," he muttered. "Ruin a fish tank once and hear about it forever…" He and Heero made their way out the back door, and the other three turned to the wizards.
"You can either wait for them to come back, or you can leave," Duo stated simply, wondering how it was that Heero had somehow managed to get out of cleaning up. Quatre too, for that matter. He rolled his eyes and started to do the dishes, grinning at Wufei when he gave in and started to help.
Dumbledore and his two companions sat back down, although Snape did so grudgingly. The pilots ignored them, holding their own conversation in a language that was definitely not English. In fact, it sounded like a bastardized mix of Creole, Japanese, and Arabic with a smattering of Spanish. It was the preferred language of the Sweepers, a language that was hard to learn and easy to confuse the enemy with. All the pilots had learned it as soon as meeting Howard, and they continued to use it when they didn't want to be overheard.
It took two hours before Quatre and Heero returned, Heero rather amused and Quatre in a foul mood. "I hate them all," he muttered as he stood on his toes to kiss Trowa's cheek.
"They are rather…" Heero paused as he tried to find a word that would accurately describe the board they had just met with. "Obtuse."
Quatre rolled his eyes and then spotted the three wizards, who had managed to remain silent for the two hours. "Oh, you're still here." He sighed and sat down in a chair, folding his hands on the table top. "We actually have orders to go in and end your war, so don't worry about me not being willing to go back. You're just going to have to stay out of our way so we can do so."
"You can't honestly believe that you can end a war on you own," Dumbledore said faintly.
Quatre rolled his eyes. "Of course not. That's what the other four are for."
"You're just kids!" Tonks exclaimed, not believing what she was hearing.
All five boys scoffed, looking somewhat amused. "You really should pay more attention to the muggle world," Quatre recommended. He stood. "We'll be at Headquarters in a couple days. We have to finish our business here first." It was clearly a dismissal, and the three wizards stood, not exactly sure why they felt that had to obey. "I would suggest you read up on some of the current events in the muggle world."
With a wave of his hand, he turned to his friends, leaving the three wizards to find their own way out. They did, obviously disgruntled, and Quatre gave a sigh of relief when he could no longer feel them. "Bigoted bunch of idiots," he grumbled. "Seriously, having no idea of the last two wars?"
Trowa gave him a comforting hug. "Have you figured out how Une can keep in contact?"
"Oh that," Quatre said. "I've actually been tinkering with that for a few years."
"Ye gads," Duo moaned. "The last time you were 'tinkering' you came up with ZERO system."
Quatre laughed softly. "This isn't so…destructive," he soothed. He pulled a phone from his pocket. "It runs of the ambient magic in the air. Obviously there isn't enough of it here for the phone to work at this house. But when we get to London it will, and it most certainly will at Hogwarts."
"Oh good," Wufei sighed. "I so did not want to have to train the newbies."
Heero rolled his eyes. "They're obnoxious. Always want to show up the Gundam pilots. When will they learn that's impossible?"
Quatre gave a small sigh. "I was really hoping to get our car running before we left."
"That car will never run," Wufei stated. "It's a piece of junk."
"Fei!" Duo cried, obviously offended. "It's a 67 Impala! It's like the king of all classics! That is not a piece of junk! Right Quatre?"
"It is a cool car," Quatre offered. "My favorite classic, actually. It is a shame we can't finish it yet."
Duo pouted. "Yeah…"
Quatre looked around their house one last time before turning to the others. "Everyone have everything?" he asked.
Duo grinned, hefting his duffle-bag. "Dude. It's amazing how much stuff you can fit in this thing when most of it's been shrunk," he said. The others nodded and Quatre smiled slightly. Being seventeen, Quatre could do magic without having to worry about the ministry finding out. As such, he had shrunk all their supplies, as well as put up some wards around the perimeter of their home.
"We'll be in London, yes?" Heero asked, packing away his laptop. Quatre had 'tinkered' with it enough so that it would work off magic as well.
"Until September first," Quatre answered with a nod. "We'll be at my godfather's house."
"You have a godfather?" Wufei asked out of curiosity as he also lifted his bag.
"Had," Quatre answered easily. "He died about two months ago." He shrugged lightly. "I've taken care of it. Now, the Maguanacs are going to keep an eye on this place while we're gone, so no worries there. Can we go?"
"Hn," Heero grunted and Duo rolled his eyes.
"Monosyllabic robot-Heero has returned," he whispered to Trowa, who gave a small smirk.
Quatre rolled his eyes—a motion he only really did when in the company of his friends—and pulled a gun from his hip holster. "Everyone grab hold and we'll be in London within a couple minutes."
"You sure we can't take the Impala?" Duo whined, glancing out the window.
"The car will be there when we return," Wufei grunted, grabbing hold of the gun in Quatre's hand.
In retrospect, Quatre probably should have warned them about portkeys, but at least they all remained standing upon landing in the middle of a street. Even if the majority of them looked like they were going to be sick. They quickly got over that as well, though.
The neighborhood they had landed in was almost creepy due to its dingy state. Upon Quatre's insistence, the pilots all thought about the address that Dumbledore had provided, absently wondering about the missing house in the row. To their credit, they didn't look terribly surprised when said missing house just appeared out of nowhere, squeezing in between its neighbors. "Welcome to Grimmauld Place," Quatre muttered, walking up to the door.
He was surprised when no one stopped them from entering. "Their security is disturbingly lax," Wufei noted, and everyone nodded.
Duo looked around the dark and grimy hall, looking disturbed. "Wow, no offense Q, but this place is a dump," he said, grimacing at the sight of the mounted House Elf heads.
"Oh, I agree," Quatre murmured, looking around with his own grimace. Perhaps it was the way he had grown up in his second life that had him analyzing the best way to get this place cleaned and renovated. "Eventually this will be one of my projects. I'm hoping to be able to turn it into an orphanage."
"Make sure you clean it first," Trowa commented idly, as though that wasn't an obvious fact. He watched as Heero peered around the hall, looking for any threats. They all jumped, hands going to guns at their hips, when shouting came from the kitchen.
Quatre gave an almost disgusted sigh and waved them forward. They paused in the doorway of the kitchen, watching as a group of adults all fought over some issue or the other. "No wonder they've made no progress with this war," Duo muttered before securing a manic grin in place. "Oi! Aren't you going to welcome us?"
The sudden silence was deafening, as everyone turned to the five. "I told you we'd come Professor," Quatre said gently. "Although you might want to think about getting better security. Anybody could walk in."
"This house is hidden with the fidileus charm, Mr. Potter," Dumbledore stated, blue eyes twinkling.
Quatre resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "What have I told you about my name? And there are ways around that charm, sir."
"Albus, who are these people?" Kingsley Shacklebolt asked, somewhat disturbed by their appearance.
"Order, welcome back Mr. Potter and some of his new friends," Dumbledore said calmly. Quatre got the feeling that the Headmaster was hoping he would go back to his old name—and most likely his old appearance. Apparently, Dumbledore was hoping that by continuously using his old name, he could wear the boy down. He was in for a disappointment.
"Continue to call me Harry Potter and you'll find yourself short a hero," he replied, and though the tone was gentle, the threat was clear. "My name is Quatre Raberba Winner, my companions are Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton and Wufei Chang. We've been given orders by our higher-ups to put an end to your little war, so we would appreciate it if you would allow us to do so."
"How the hell are five boys going to end a war when hundreds of grown people haven't been able too?" a middle aged woman—Hestia Jones?—asked caustically.
"Someone didn't do their homework," Duo crowed in a sing-song voice, annoying Snape who made a subtle movement towards his robes.
"I wouldn't draw that wand if I were you," Heero stated coldly, gun drawn and pointing at Snape before he could even complete the movement. The other wizards all stared in shock, not knowing exactly what was going on.
Quatre merely smiled softly, opening his mouth to say something. However, he was interrupted by a beeping sound. He got a somewhat confused and yet also expectant look on his face as he watched Heero pull his laptop out and check the message. "We have guard duty tomorrow," he stated simply.
"Where?" Duo asked.
"Political conference in London," pilot 01 supplied.
Wufei sighed. "Surely they don't need all of us."
"Threat was just called in to HQ."
Quatre swore softly. "And to think I thought I had gotten out of having to go to that meeting." Duo snickered at him and he resisted the urge to hit the braided pilot, instead giving him a look. It, obviously, did nothing to quell the American. He turned back to the wizards who were all watching with various degrees of shock and disbelief. "Now, did you need us for anything, or may we go and unpack?"
"Dinner will be ready in an hour," Molly spoke up, startling everyone else. She looked a little shell-shocked and was peering at Quatre as though she expected Harry to just pop out of nowhere, but at least she was willing to try.
Quatre smiled at her and Remus spoke up. "You and Trowa are in Sirius's old room. Your three friends are across from you. Oh, and that book you were looking for is sitting on your bed."
"Thank you Remus," the blond murmured.
Dumbledore blinked. "Wait. You knew about this?"
The werewolf gave a sly smile. "Of course," he answered. "Quatre contacted Sirius and me three months before school got out for the summer."
One of the other Order members shook his head. "Then why didn't…Quatre contact us before? He could have saved Sirius!"
"Did you not hear the fact that Quatre contacted us before Sirius died? Padfoot knew he was going to die, Quatre told us. But do to pesky time-travelling paradoxes we knew nothing could change."
"Besides," Quatre spoke up, looking somewhat annoyed. "I was busy."
"Doing what?!" Tonks cried. "You keep alluding to something and I don't know what you're talking about!"
Quatre gave an absent wave, turning to his friends. "Let's get upstairs. We have to go over tomorrow's assignment. You know, I'm just about as busy as I was before? Just with less…bloodshed."
"You could always hand the company over to one of your sisters," Trowa commented softly as they turned to follow. "You have what, twenty-seven left?"
"I've thought about it," the blond replied. "However, then I realized that I would have to find a permanent partner, and that would just be obnoxious." Their voices died away as they moved up the stairs, taking care to be quiet as they passed Mrs. Black's portrait.
"What the heck?" Tonks muttered, turning to stare at the werewolf, who was looking somewhat smug. "What are they talking about?"
Remus shook his head, getting to his feet. "You really should pay more attention to the muggles."
Dumbledore shook his head, trying to get back to the matter at hand. "We need to keep Harry safe," he said. "There is no way we can let him fight this war. Not until he is ready to face Voldemort."
"The last person you have to worry about is Quatre," Remus stated, somewhat harshly. It was clear that he held a lot of respect for the boy, and that it didn't just stem from the fact that Quatre had once been Harry. "He's been through a lot in his life."
Snape snorted. "If you're talking about his time at Hogwarts, wolf, than I can tell you it's nothing compared to what I've been through."
Remus scowled. "No, Severus. I'm talking about his time as Quatre." He pinned everyone with a cold amber glare. "It's been fourteen years since he's stepped foot in Hogwarts. At least to him. But that doesn't mean he hasn't been busy. In the past three years, the muggles have had two wars that threatened to destroy the planet. I'm surprised you haven't heard of them. Anyway, they were ended by five terrorists. Both times. Do some research." He turned on his heel and left, the others all gaped at him.
"What did he mean?" McGonagal asked softly.
Quatre threw his bag onto the large bed, looking around the room with fond remembrance. He had contacted his godfather not long before the man's death, letting him know exactly what had happened. Which meant he had had to tell the man that he would soon die. Sirius had taken it well, saying that if his time was up, it was up. Mind, Quatre hadn't told him how he was going to die, just that he would die protecting his godson.
"If I told you I was your godson, what would you say?"
"I'd have to say that my godson is safely at Hogwarts right now."
"Yes. That's true. I haven't died yet. Neither have you, for that matter. But I am, or rather, was Harry Potter."
"Can you prove that?"
"How would you like me to?"
Sirius had changed his will then, leaving all that was supposed to be left to Harry to Quatre Winner instead. Quatre had gone to Gringotts the day before speaking with Une, allowing the goblins to do all the testing to prove he was actually Harry Potter. Obviously blood tests wouldn't work, but that didn't mean that magical signature tests wouldn't. It had taken a while, but he had proven his identity.
"Quatre, can I go ahead and apologize for dying so soon?"
"Why? You haven't even died yet."
"Maybe not for Harry. But I died for you fourteen years ago. And I'm sorry about that."
"Don't be. In case you've forgotten, I died too, just a few weeks later."
"I'm sorry about that too."
"I'm not. I have good friends. A good job. Two actually. I've made a difference. Sure, it was shitty for a while, but I wouldn't change it for anything."
"Are you happy?"
"Then I can die happy."
What was strange was the absence of the curse scar. Granted, he had lost his body when he had taken up inhabitance in the Winner heir's, but as the scar was cursed, it should have followed. He still had the connection, he could feel it, but the scar was gone. And Voldemort was adequately blocked from his mind as extensive study of Occulumancy had taken care of that problem.
Quatre spied the book on the bed, picking it up and flipping through it. Extensive shielding for muggles and squibs in the form of talismans. Perfect.
Trowa's arms wrapped around his waist and he leaned back into the taller teen's chest. "We have to meet with the others to discuss tomorrow's protection detail," the Frenchman muttered.
Quatre sighed, rubbing at his arms. London wasn't cold by definition, not during the summer, but the house was drafty and it was certainly a lot chillier than the desert. "Come on, we should probably get that done before the other children find out we're here."
"No doubt they already have," Trowa stated, leading Quatre from the room.
"Quatre, you're undercover," Heero stated as soon as they entered the other room. "You're to act as though you're there as a politician."
Quatre sighed, blowing his hair from his face. "Fine. You know, I had actually managed to talk my way out of this conference. My sisters are going to be completely confused when I show up."
"They'll manage," Wufei said with an absent wave. He turned back to the computer, looking over the blueprints of the building. "Duo and Trowa will take the back entrance. Heero and I will take the front. Quatre, you're to mingle and look for any suspicious activity."
"Do we know what this threat consists of?" Duo asked, his usual cheery attitude being placed aside in deference to the mission.
"Doesn't say," Heero grunted. "But Une says it came from a credible source."
"Lovely," Quatre murmured. "Do I have to wear a suit?" he was just shy of actually whining. While he spent a lot of time in his expensive suits, he didn't exactly enjoy wearing them.
The others all smirked, and then turned as one when there was a knock on the door. At Duo's call to enter, three teenagers came into the room, stating that dinner was ready. "Who are you?" the tall redheaded boy asked. Hermione was merely staring, having obviously recognized at least one of them.
"Hello, Ron, Hermione, Ginny," Quatre murmured with an amused smile.
There was silence for a moment and then Hermione practically tackled him. "Harry!" she squealed.
"It's Quatre now," he replied, patting her on the back and stepping back.
She stared at him in complete shock. "Wait. Quatre? As in Quatre Winner? THE Quatre Winner?"
"There's only one," Duo laughed, leading the way out of the room and down the hall.
"But! You're like a multi-billionaire!" she called after him, and Ron and Ginny glanced at each other before racing after the teens.
"Thanks for that reminder," Quatre murmured as they re-entered the kitchen to find that a lot of the Order was staying for dinner. "Trowa did I remember to bring the paperwork for the new plant on L3?"
The clown nodded absently, watching as Hermione looked over all of them again, almost hyperventilating. "And…and you!" she pointed at Duo. "You're a Gundam pilot!"
"You just had to go and get yourself captured that one time, Maxwell," Wufei stated in annoyance. Duo merely shrugged, kissing him on the cheek. Wufei gave a little sigh. "But at least the execution didn't go through," he muttered to himself.
Hermione was silent for a long moment, looking at all five pilots. The rest of the room was silent as well, as though waiting for her to come to a conclusion. "You're all Gundam pilots," she finally whispered.
Quatre gave a small impressed smile, inclining his head only slightly. "You always were a bright one, Mione."
Everyone was flabbergasted. The majority of the people present had absolutely no idea what a Gundam was, but if Hermione's reaction was anything to go by, it was impressive. The five boys merely sat and ate their dinner, offering up no explanation, although the braided one was chattering away in some language to the silent Japanese at his left. Hermione continued gaping like a fish out of water for a couple minutes before the power of speech came back to her.
"You're terrorists." Her voice was bland enough that they couldn't read her opinion of that. "You killed all those people…"
"It was a war, sweetheart," Duo said with a grin that had Hermione and Ginny—and some of the older women—and blushing. "People die."
Hermione scowled. "And all the civilians? The pacifists?"
"In our defense, the pacifists were a complete accident," Wufei pointed out, chewing on a piece of chicken. "And we did our bests not to kill civilians, but everyone makes mistakes."
There was a sigh and then the girl sat down at the table, pulling some food towards her. "I'm not saying your actions weren't justified, I mean the entire world owes you five its life, but…"
"You just wish it hadn't had to come to that," Quatre finished, one hand hovering over his heart. The amount of shock in the room was overwhelming. Especially when added in with the disappointment, the disbelief and the questions shining in everyone's eyes. It was enough to make him abruptly lose his appetite.
He pushed his plate away, getting to his feet. "We have to get up early tomorrow," he said to his friends. "So don't stay up late."
"Yes mother," Duo replied in a sickly-sweet voice, and Quatre couldn't help but smile.
He turned and walked out of the kitchen after thanking Molly for the lovely dinner. He noticed his fellow pilots followed soon after, and almost immediately everyone began asking Hermione questions. "Do you suppose this will convince the wizards to begin paying attention to the muggles?" he asked absently as they all headed up the stairs.
"One can only hope," Heero muttered, running a gentle hand down the length of Duo's braid.
Quatre gave a quiet hum and wished them all good night, Trowa following obediently as he entered their room. The Arabian gave a frustrated groan and fell face first onto the bed. "I want to go home," he mumbled.
Trowa gave a soft chuckle, removing Quatre's shoes and sitting on the edge of the bed to remove his own as well. "We have a mission, little one," he replied.
Quatre grabbed his arm and pulled him down onto the bed next to him. The blond snuggled up to his lover, lethargic and on the verge of sleep. Trowa ran a hand down Quatre's back, smoothing the silk dress-shirt. "Don't you want to change?" he asked gently.
"Move and I'll castrate you," Quatre grumbled into his chest, and Trowa gave a soft laugh. That was a good enough answer for him.
The wizards seemed shell-shocked when the pilots joined them for breakfast. There weren't quite as many as there had been the night before, but there were certainly enough. Trowa, Heero, Duo and Wufei were congregated in the kitchen, completely ignoring the staring wizards as they waited on Quatre to join them. They were all dressed in their Preventers uniforms, weapons visible and easily accessible. Duo was sitting on Heero's lap as Wufei braided his hair for him, the first sign that something was bothering the American. His hair was sacred territory and all the pilots knew it.
Trowa was conversing quietly with Heero when Quatre stepped into the room, straightening his tie. He was frowning and immediately turned to Duo. "What's wrong?"
"Somethin' jus dun be feelin' righ' 'bout dis," Duo replied, unconsciously slipping into L2 street slang. The other pilots all frowned, Heero tightening his arms about Duo's waist. Duo was rather self-conscious when it came to his speaking, and for him to fall into that dialect meant that he was really out of sorts.
Quatre gazed at him for a long moment before nodding to himself. He had known for a while that the other pilots all had innate magic that had developed into different gifts from lack of proper training. For instance, Heero's unique surviving instinct or Trowa's incredible gymnast ability. But Duo's ability to almost know when things were going to go wrong was almost disconcerting in its accuracy. And they had all learned that very quickly.
"We'll just have to be more careful," Quatre murmured. He straightened his obviously expensive silk suit and placed the square-framed fake glasses on his nose. This was the persona he had created for the public; the unassuming, studious Quatre Winner that didn't know any more than how to sign papers. "How do I look?" he asked, feeling slightly self-conscious. Honestly, he would have felt more at home in a Preventers uniform, or, better yet, a flight suit. He shivered as Trowa's eyes raked over him.
"Sexy," the tallest pilot finally said.
Quatre sighed. "I'm not supposed to look sexy. I'm supposed to look like a stuck up politician."
"There can't be sexy politicians?" Duo laughed, having finally collected himself.
"I don't know," Quatre responded honestly. "Logic says there should be somewhere, but I've never met one."
Trowa gave a teasing smile. "I'm relieved."
Quatre smacked him lightly on the arm, taking the gun Wufei handed to him and placing it beneath his jacket. "Let's go. We have to get there before anyone else shows."
"It's not safe for you to be wandering around," one of the wizards finally spoke up. "You-know-who is—"
"I'm positive Hermione's explained some things to you," Quatre interrupted, securing a mike to his tie. "So trust me when I say that Voldemort is the least of our worries right now." He suddenly looked up, remembering something. "Uh oh."
"Please tell me you did not just say 'uh oh'," Wufei moaned.
Quatre gave a strange little smirk. "Relena's supposed to be there."
All the wizards were completely surprised when Heero groaned. Loudly.
"Everyone is in position," Heero's voice came through the comm. piece in Quatre's ear.
"Copy that," he replied softly, leaning casually against the wall. He was in a position where he could see everyone in the lobby of the hotel the conference was being held at. It was a good position, and Quatre was hoping he wouldn't have to move too much.
"Quatre!" He turned and winced as one of his sisters came towards him. "Jezebel said you weren't going to be here," Sara said, sweeping him into a deceptively strong hug. "She said you were on a mission," she whispered. Well, at least she could be discreet, even if she was currently trying to suffocate him.
"Sara…air…" He could hear snickering over the comm. and silently threatened his friends. Sara smiled sheepishly and stepped back, allowing Quatre to straighten. "And, FYI, I'm working."
A look of realization crossed over her face. "Oh. Well, in that case I should probably warn you. Orson Roth is supposed to be here."
Quatre groaned softly, resisting the urge to pound his head into a wall. He and Roth had met in one of the high schools Quatre had infiltrated during the war. The man was three years older than the agent and completely annoying. He had fallen for Quatre and the blond had turned him down flat, making Roth rather unhappy. Roth was of the opinion that if Quatre couldn't be with him, then he couldn't be happy. At all.
"I'll try to keep him away from you, but I can't make any promises," Sara said, patting his shoulder.
"You're a lifesaver, Sar," Quatre murmured. There was a small question about Roth and Quatre sighed. "I'm not sure if he's a threat or not," he murmured just loud enough for the mike to pick up. "Well, he's definitely a threat, but not always in the conventional way."
There was a soft growl that he recognized as coming from Trowa and the comm. fell silent. He watched as the lobby filled with more people, the politicians mingling and charming with their suave words and fake smiles. Quatre participated in small talk, eyes always roaming and his Space-Heart open for feelings of ill intent. He winced slightly as he heard Relena's enthusiastic greeting of Heero over the comm..
There was a sudden soft clatter on the comm. that had Quatre pausing mid-step. "Zero-Two? Do you read?" Heero was asking. "Zero-Three?" There was no answer and Quatre changed paths, heading in the direction of the back door. "Zero-Four."
"Copy that, Zero-One. I'm on my way back there now," he replied, spying Roth out of the corner of his eye. With any luck, the older man wouldn't notice him.
He slipped through the kitchen, flashing his Preventers ID to the staff, and went out the back entrance. Both Duo and Trowa were sprawled on the ground, small feathered darts lying next to them. Other than being unconscious, they were unharmed.
"Zero-Two and Zero-Three are down," Quatre reported, looking around. "Repeat, Zero-Two and Zero-Three are down. Hostiles are in the building."
"How'd they get past those two?" Wufei asked, sounding a little anxious. He was obviously worried, although Quatre was sure that the two downed agents would most probably only have a headache.
He crouched, picking up one of the darts and fingering it. "Tranquilizer of some sort. Must be a new kind, the normal ones don't work on us." Yes, genetic manipulation via the Doctors had ensured that, so Quatre pocketed the dark for further study. If there was a drug that could take them down, they were better off well informed.
"They knew we would be here," Heero muttered. Quatre gasped, spinning around as his Space-Heart picked up some extreme hatred. "Zero-Four?"
"Hold on," Quatre nearly snapped, grabbing some of the employees to keep an eye on the two agents. He raced back out to the lobby, slowing to a walk as he looked around. He spotted Antonin Dolohov, a known Death Eater that he had completely forgot was also a public figure in the muggle world. The amount of irony in that would have been hilarious in any other circumstance. "Damn," he muttered more to himself than to his fellow pilots. "Dumbledore's going to be completely insufferable in his 'I-told-you-so' state." He caught Wufei's eye and motioned to both Dolohov and the two men that were eyeing Relena across the room.
Casually, Quatre made his way over to the Death Eater, smiling pleasantly. "Afternoon, Dolohov," he greeted.
"Winner," Dolohov returned, calmly sipping from his glass. If Quatre wasn't an empath he would have never believed this man to have any ill intentions. "How is life going for you?"
"Oh it's busy," Quatre said, noticing as Roth came over to them. The sudden feeling of perverse anticipation nearly had the blond reeling. It was rather sickening, actually, and Quatre did all he could to block the feelings now that he knew who they were coming from. "Orson," he nodded in greeting.
"Hello Quatre," Roth replied with a sickening smile. "We've been waiting for you. And the Vice Foreign Minister, of course." Okay, that was new, because he was certain that Voldemort did not know that he was Harry Potter. Which meant that they were just trying to take out known muggle leaders. Unfortunately, he was both known and a leader.
Roth grabbed his arms as Dolohov pulled out a knife and Quatre twisted. He slammed a foot into Roth's knee, wishing he was wearing his combat boots instead of dress shoes, but the effect was nearly the same. Roth dropped, taking Quatre with him (he had an impressively strong grip) and the blond could only roll as the knife descended. It sliced along his collarbone but wasn't more than a glancing blow, although it was a messy one.
Quatre kicked the man's wrist, making him drop the knife and then elbowed Roth in the gut, still fighting to get away from him. Heero was taking down the two men that had suddenly attacked Relena, and Wufei was suddenly helping to take down Dolohov. Which left Roth to Quatre, who seriously hadn't liked the man before this whole kidnapping/killing scheme had come into play.
A particularly ruthless punch to the face had Roth dropping to the ground like a bag of rocks, and Quatre stood. Only to stumble and gasp as the cut along his collarbone burned with a disturbingly familiar pain. Dolohov grinned, giving a small laugh. "You're gonna be dead soon, Winner."
Quatre didn't hold much credence to that. A magical creature's venom attacked the magic a person had, not the person itself. All creatures had magic, though, and the loss of it would kill the one who lost it. The only thing that made muggles different from wizards was the amount of magic they had. So it stood to reason that if Harry's magic had followed him into Quatre's body, than the immunity to snake poison (via the incident with the basilisk all those years ago) would follow as well.
He gave a small, feral smirk. "Basilisk poison. Really?" he said, nearly hissing the words as he leaned closer to the man. He didn't even want to know how close he sounded to Voldemort in that moment, because frankly, that was a disturbing thought. "Did you really think you could take me out with a snake?"
Dolohov's eyes widened and he twisted, trying to get away from Wufei, who had handcuffed him. It didn't necessarily work the way he had hoped, as instead the Death Eater fell, landing awkwardly on the knife on the floor. Normally, this wouldn't have been cause for concern, as the knife only nicked his arm, hardly drawing any blood. But with the blade coated in such a deadly poison, the man was dead within minutes.
Quatre looked up at Wufei, who was staring at the Death Eater in shock. "Don't touch the knife. It's poisoned." Wufei's eyes looked up at him, and he could see the concern. "Don't worry. I'm immune," he said soothingly, although he winced slightly. "Although that doesn't stop it from hurting like hell."
He sat down heavily, one hand pressed against the injury and the other his head. He was slightly surprised when Duo and Trowa sat down on either side of him, looking rather pale as they watched Heero and Wufei deal with the three living suspects. "Are you two okay?" he asked softly.
"Head hurts," Duo answered mildly, eyeing the blond. "Looks like you got more action than us."
"Relena and I were the targets," Quatre replied with a small sigh. "Just don't tell Dumbledore and his posse that it was a Death Eater plot to rid the muggle world of two of its main political and economic leaders, and we'll all be good."
Duo winced. "Ah. Don't care for the 'I-told-you-so' speech?" he asked, and retreated under Quatre's glare.
The blond just wasn't in the mood.
Quatre sat at the kitchen table three days after the incident at the conference. Word had gotten around that a Death Eater had died, but none of the Order had known the circumstances. The pilots had all agreed to Quatre's wishes to keep it quiet. They, after all, didn't hold any responsibility to the Order.
Duo had left two days before for a mission on L2. It was very hush-hush, so even the other pilots wouldn't know what it was until he got back. That didn't sit well with them, as they all knew that L2 was the last place to send Duo, but Une had been relentless. Apparently, his abilities as a thief were very important for this particular assignment, and even they could not disagree with the fact that Duo was the best.
Quatre sighed softly, looking over the plans. He, Heero and Wufei were studying the blue-prints of Malfoy Manor, as Malfoy Sr. had once again managed to buy his way out of prison. Dumbledore and some of his followers suddenly sat down at the table around them, smiling. "Hello boys," the old man said happily. "You're just in time for the meeting."
"That's nice," Quatre murmured. He looked to Wufei and sighed. "Are you sure you're willing to go along with this?" he asked. Assassinations were not the Chinese pilot's thing.
"Heero will be the one doing the majority of the work," Wufei replied. He shrugged lightly. "I'd feel better if you were taking him out though; you're our best sniper." That had come as a surprise to the rest of the pilots. While they were all trained extensively in all sorts of combat, no one had been able to best Quatre when it came to sniping. Not even Trowa, who was probably the best at all firearm combat.
"Yes," Quatre murmured, not bothering to be modest when faced with truth. "But I'm also a wizard. The wards will pick me up right away, unlike you two."
"May I ask what you boys are talking about?" Dumbledore said as the rest of the Order settled themselves. "And why you have that map?"
"We're going to assassinate Lucius Malfoy," Wufei said bluntly, rolling up the blueprints. The wizards all gasped and he looked at them disdainfully. "Your method of throwing them in prison is not working, as apparently the Death Eaters are quite capable of getting out. The only other way to deal with the situation is to kill them."
Dumbledore looked highly disappointed. "No person should have to die," he said solemnly.
"And yet, you insist I have to kill Voldemort," Quatre countered. He chose to ignore the wizards in favor of the other two pilots. "Okay, only Lucius. Get in, kill him, see if you can find any other information on Voldemort's inner circle and then get out. No heroics." Both Heero and Wufei nodded, turned and left the kitchen.
Quatre gazed at nothing in particular, obviously deep in thought about something, his fingers tapping against the tabletop. He looked up at the wizards, an inscrutable look on his face, and then he turned and left as well. Upon entering the library he nodded to Ron, Ginny and Hermione (who still hadn't known what to make of him) and started trailing his fingers along the spines of the books, looking for one in particular.
He found it, eventually, and pulled it out, dropping into a nearby chair. After some page flipping, he found what he was looking for and settled in to read. "There you are," a voice said some time later, and Quatre grinned up at Trowa who was giving him a fond look. "Sally's gotten back to me about that drug. It's a complicated mix but mainly based on the common date-rape drugs."
"Huh," Quatre said, glancing down at the book again. His former friends were watching the two of them in unabashed curiosity, but he couldn't bring himself to care. "I don't think Duo's fully human," he said instead, shocking Trowa.
The taller pilot sat down in the chair across from him, raising an eyebrow in question. "Why do you say that?"
"Shinigami," Quatre replied easily.
Trowa frowned. "Shinigami could just be the product of schizophrenia, love. You have the same problem." Hermione, Ron and Ginny frowned at that. Quatre hadn't seemed schizophrenic in any way. Neither had Duo, for that matter.
"Yes," Quatre agreed readily. "But ZERO was created by natural means, so to speak."
"You consider the ZERO system to be natural?" Trowa asked incredulously.
Quatre rolled his eyes. "You're getting off topic," he said. "ZERO can be explained. Duo's had Shinigami since he was a child."
"You know of Duo's past, Quatre," Trowa murmured. "I can't guarantee I wouldn't be the same way if I had had to live through that."
"It's his past that is making me consider this," the blond replied. He handed his lover the book and Trowa looked over it. "It was his eyes that kind of gave it away," he murmured. That was true; Duo's eyes were a somewhat unnatural color. The same color that the creatures in the book had.
The book was talking about a creature born of pestilence and strife. A being that had been human but had survived and instead become bringers of Death. They had the ability to disappear into shadows, to literally rip the souls from people, although it wasn't often that they did that, instead choosing to kill by more conventional means. They were seen as bad luck to those that could be called enemies, but only popped up every couple of decades or so.
Amusingly enough, they were known as Death's Scythes.
Trowa raised an eyebrow again and then set the book aside, looking at Quatre contemplatively. "That would explain a lot," he said softly.
"Hn," Quatre agreed, smirking when Trowa rolled his eyes at the completely Heero-esque answer. He sat up suddenly, looking towards the door. "Speaking of Shinigami…" He stood quickly and walked out the door, Trowa standing as well, but making no move to follow.
When he came back, he was leading a disheveled Duo, the American's braid coming undone and an unholy look on his face. "I killed 'em all, Quat," Duo muttered. "Every last one of 'em bastards."
"I don't blame you," Quatre muttered, sitting back down and pulling Duo onto his lap. He continued to whisper soothingly to the distraught pilot, absently hooking a finger in the chain around Duo's neck and pulling the cross free. He placed Duo's hand on it and the American grasped tightly, letting his eyes fall shut. He was asleep in minutes and Quatre sighed, looking up at Trowa.
"Mission went bad," he explained softly. "L2 street kids were disappearing, Une sent him to figure out what was up. Turns out one of the L2 elite were gathering them and selling them to the highest bidder. They were tipped off about the Preventers investigating and killed the kids. Duo killed them in retaliation. Some of those kids were ones that he had helped raise when he was on the streets."
Trowa's face was grim by the end of that short explanation, and the three wizard children were pale from shock. "And the kids that had been sold?" he asked, running a gentle hand down Duo's messy braid.
"PHQ has the records," Quatre answered.
It was nearly four hours later when Wufei and Heero returned. The first thing they did was say 'mission accomplished' before taking Duo from Quatre and cuddling with their lover on the couch. Duo, for his part, was much calmer by this point, and quite pleased to talk about senseless things. Especially since the younger wizards were all gathering in the library out of plain curiosity.
Not wanting to talk about anything important in front of this group of unknowns, the pilots found themselves in comfortable silence. Until, that is, Duo started getting bored and Wufei, sensing this, suddenly stated "Sky."
There was a moment of confusion before Quatre grinned. "Blue."
Heero nodded thoughtfully, catching on to the strange word game. He and Duo had come up with it once when they had been captured on a mission and left alone for hours in an empty cell. "Water."
"Fish," Duo threw in.
Trowa smirked. "Lemon."
Quatre blinked. "How did you get 'lemon' from 'fish'?" he asked, genuinely curious.
Trowa shrugged. "Fish tastes good with lemon."
Wufei let that go with a small gesture. "Sour."
"Oz," Duo said with a grimace. He saw the others' looks. "What? You have to agree that they were all a little on the sour side. Or at least, they definitely were not sweet."
"Pain," Heero grunted.
Quatre looked thoughtful for a moment before shrugging. "Justice."
"What?" Wufei asked, tilting his head to one side. "How'd you get that?"
Quatre shrugged. "It was the first thing that popped into my mind," he replied. And as that was the purpose of the game, they moved on.
"Friends," Wufei said, going on with the game.
"Love," Trowa murmured.
Duo grinned. "Pink."
"Limo," Heero deadpanned.
There was a short pause and then all five burst into laughter. The wizards found it a little surreal to see Wufei, Heero and Trowa laughing so hard, but they were far too confused to say anything about it. Heero grabbed Duo around the waist and pulled him into a deep kiss, Wufei smiling at the two of them.
Quatre grinned and stood, tugging on Trowa's hand. He tossed the book from earlier to Wufei. "You three read page 345. I think you'll find it very informational." He and Trowa walked out of the room, but Quatre paused on the stairs. "Go on ahead, I'll be up in a minute," he said, giving Trowa a quick kiss.
The Frenchman did as told, and Quatre turned, waiting for Ron, Hermione and Ginny to make their way to him. "So, um Quatre," Hermione said slowly. "Those three are…together?" At his nod she gave a small smile, obviously not all that bothered. "And you and Trowa?" Again he nodded. She nodded as well, and then looked down at the floor. "You're not Harry anymore, we know that…but we would like to get to know you too. We miss our friend."
Quatre smiled softly, feeling the sincerity of the words. "I have to go to my London office tomorrow. Would you like to go along?"
The three grinned happily, but then Ron sobered. "Dumbledore and Mum would never allow it."
Quatre rolled his eyes. "They're already upset with me for giving the order to assassinate Malfoy Sr. But they also know better than to go against my orders." He smirked. "You want to come or not?"
They all nodded, happy to be able to spend some time with their old friend.
Quatre gave a small knock on the doorframe he was leaning against, smiling when Heero looked up at him. Duo was sprawled across his chest, his long hair everywhere, and Wufei spooned up against the American's back. "Rough night?" Quatre asked softly so as not to disturb the two sleeping pilots.
"Nightmares," Heero replied gently. It was no surprise as they all had rough nights at times. Right after the war had been the worst, as paranoia had nearly eaten them all alive. It was kind of the reason they were in the relationships they were. Heero looked up at the blond thoughtfully. "So Duo's a Death Scythe?" he asked.
Quatre smirked softly. "Seems like it. The irony of that is simply…hilarious, actually."
Heero rolled his eyes, smoothing Duo's hair when the younger pilot stirred. "You have plans?"
"Yes, actually," Quatre replied. "I'm taking Trowa, Ron, Ginny and Hermione to London. I have some paperwork to turn it at my office there. And then we're going to stop by the circus, as it's in London for the next couple days." He paused, giving his tired friends a fond smile. "You three had missions yesterday, so just try to get some rest."
He turned to go and took two steps before turning back to Heero with a completely mischievous grin. "Oh, and make sure Duo's the only one to drink the coffee."
Heero didn't get the chance to ask why.
But judging from the blond's grin, he wasn't sure he wanted to know.
They were walking down a busy London street, snickering over the look on Molly's face when Quatre had pretty much demanded taking his friends out for the day. They laughed even more when Quatre admitted to spiking the coffee with a potion that would turn the drinker's skin rainbow colored stripes.
"Revenge for that prank Duo played last week?" Trowa murmured, remembering how Duo had somehow managed to replace all of Quatre's clothing with dresses.
Quatre just hummed noncommittally. It wouldn't do for the Winner heir to admit to petty revenge. Pranks, yes, but not revenge. He was much too refined for that, after all.
"So, Quatre, what have you been up to since you left the wizarding world?" Ron asked gently, nearly stumbling over Harry's new name.
Quatre gave a little wave, crossing the street with the others. "Oh this and that. Fighting and ending a war or two. Now I'm mainly working at my business as well as taking missions for Preventers."
"Oh," Hermione said, looking thoughtful. "How do you balance that?"
Quatre blinked, glancing at Trowa, who gave an unhelpful little shrug. "I have twenty-seven living sisters. They help. Plus the Maguanacs," he answered.
"The who?" Ginny asked, while the other two looked completely gobsmacked by the sheer number of siblings.
Quatre smiled. "The Maguanacs joined with me during the war. They're great friends of mine."
"Almost killed me," Trowa muttered, ignoring the looks of shock on the three wizards' faces.
Quatre gave an indulgent smile. "You attacked first, love. Besides, I stopped them in time." He led them into a large building, obviously the London headquarters for WEI. With a wave to the completely confused secretary, Quatre led the way to the elevator and up to the top floor.
They were in a large office filled with expensive looking plushy furniture. Quatre immediately went behind the desk and flipped on the computer, rifling through some of the paperwork sitting on the desk. "Make yourself at home," he said absently.
Ron was looking around in complete shock, a slight amount of jealousy on his face. "You work here?"
"I own the company Ron," Quatre answered, sounding slightly distracted. Trowa watched from where he was leaning against the wall, next to a painting of the Gundams done by one of Quatre's sisters. Quatre suddenly swore violently in the Sweeper language, causing the stoic clown to choke in surprise. It was easy to forget that Quatre could out-swear Duo if he were so inclined.
"Something wrong?" he asked gently.
"Yes something is wrong," Quatre snapped. "I told those [beepidy beep] board members no and they still try to go behind my back." He sighed and then gave a vindictive smile, quickly typing something on the computer. "But they will learn."
Recognizing ZERO for what it was, Trowa remained silent, watching as Quatre continued doing whatever it was he was doing. Hermione was trying to explain WEI to Ron and Ginny, but their lack of muggle knowledge was making that very difficult.
When Hermione turned to ask Quatre a question, Trowa placed a hand on her shoulder and shook his head. "It's better not to distract him when he's like this. That tends to be…dangerous," he whispered. She stared at him in shock but nodded anyway. It didn't take long for Quatre to smile kindly and shut off the computer.
He stood, looking at his friends before turning to Trowa. "Ready to visit your sister?"
Trowa gave a silent shrug and Quatre rolled his eyes. "Your sister lives at the circus?" Ron asked in curiosity as they left the office building and Quatre group-apparated them to the edge of the city.
"Yes," Trowa answered shortly. "I sometimes work there as well," he added, and Quatre smiled at the fact that Trowa was willingly giving up information about himself.
"He's a clown," he commented.
Ginny stopped walking, staring at Trowa. "A…clown. And yet, I can't really see it."
Quatre laughed. "It makes more sense when you consider the fact that Catherine throws knives at him." That was cause for more confusion from the three wizards.
They talked about random things, catching up with each other until they reached the circus. Ron and Ginny had never been to one before and began looking around in excitement as Hermione began a conversation with Trowa (more one-sided than anything) about the pros to living in such a nomadic society.
Catherine saw them and squealed, running forward to throw her arms around Trowa's neck, pecking him on the cheek. She turned and did the same to Quatre (who she had finally gotten to like since the war). "Trowa, Quatre! It's good to see you! I heard you were in town."
Quatre introduced the three wizards and they all separated. Trowa went off to the lion cages to take care of something, Hermione and Ginny to see the elephants, and Ron to the stilt-walkers. Quatre smiled as he watched them and then pulled his phone (the regular one) from his pocket to make some business calls.
It was five hours later before they returned to Grimmauld Place. And then chaos reigned what with a multi-colored Duo proclaiming death upon Quatre and chasing him about the house.
Une didn't know what to think when she called to talk to Quatre. There was yelling in the background of "Winner! I'm going to kill you! Get back here!" along with "You can try Maxwell!" and "Watch out for that…" followed by crashes. Wufei had answered the phone and then yelled for Winner. There was a whistling of air and Quatre saying, "Don't throw the phone, Wufei," before he finally answered.
In the kitchen of Grimmauld Place, Quatre caught the phone and raised a hand to halt Duo in his path of vengeance. "Agent Winner," he said pleasantly, as though he hadn't just spent the last ten minutes running helter-skelter throughout the house. He frowned slightly at what Une was saying and then sighed. "And why can't another agent take this case?" he asked. There was another pause and then he agreed. "Okay. I'll be there soon."
He hung up and handed the phone back to Wufei, who slipped it into his pocket. Turning, he fished a small vial out of his pocket and handed it to Duo. "Drink it, it'll make you normal again."
"Maxwell has never been normal," Wufei said in reply. Duo shot him a glare but drank the potion, his skin fading back to normal.
Quatre walked up to Trowa and kissed his cheek. "I've got a mission. I'll be back hopefully tomorrow."
It was two days before Quatre returned to the house. He entered the kitchen, where an Order meeting was taking place, and promptly stole Wufei's coffee, draining the cup. "Remind me to shoot Une," he said pleasantly as he replaced the mug on the table.
"Wow Quat," Duo whistled. "You look hot!"
Quatre gave him a grin, plopping down in Trowa's lap and giving him a blistering kiss. "Sorry, Maxwell. I'm taken." He took a look at the wizards, and had to hold back a snicker at the dumfounded expressions. Of course, he probably deserved those.
His blond hair had been streaked with red and black, and one ear had been pierced with a sapphire stud. He wore form fitting black pants that were artfully ripped down the sides, and knee-high gothic boots. Two white belts crisscrossed his waist, and a tight leather vest was all he wore on his torso. There was, however, a leather collar about his throat and another around his bicep. On the opposite arm was a large temporary tattoo of an Egyptian Ahnk and another on his neck, above the collar, of two crossed scimitars. All in all, he looked nothing like Quatre Winner.
But then, that had been the point.
"What are we discussing?" he asked as he leaned back against Trowa's chest and propped his feet up on the table. It was an un-Quatre like move, but he was feeling a little more like ZERO today than Quatre. Trowa wrapped his arms around his waist and leaned back in the chair, feeling more content than he had in the last two days.
"Your wizards are once again refusing to see the practicality of killing the enemy," Wufei said with an annoyed roll of his eyes.
Quatre turned a cold, blank look on Dumbledore. "A dead enemy is no longer your enemy," he stated emotionlessly. The other pilots shot each other looks, recognizing the tone as one that they would not fight against.
"Everyone should have a second chance," Dumbledore stated demurely, once again looking at Quatre as though disappointed.
"You would have everyone be given enough 'second' chances that the world would fall apart," Quatre spat. He glowered at the older man, feeling faint amusement when Dumbledore could not keep his gaze. "Sometimes good intentions lead to bad endings. Now, we are going to have to take out Voldemort's support. Without them, he will fall."
"He's right," Tonks stated. "Just without the Malfoy's money, as Draco doesn't have access to it yet, he's losing his insides in the Ministry."
"But nothing," Heero interrupted. "This is a war. Kill or be killed."
"That's Hee-chan for ya!" Duo quipped with a grin. "Eloquent as always."
Quatre gave a harsh smile, although it seemed somewhat amused. And then he turned back to the topic on hand. "Focus on taking out Bellatrix, Greyback and Pettigrew and his forces will fall."
Dumbledore gave a small sigh and waved the topic aside. "On another note, what are you going to tell your classmates?"
Quatre relaxed then, giving a kind smile. He had almost forgotten that school was starting in just two days time. "The truth? Or a version of it. I was attacked by Death Eaters and sent back in time via a strange spell. It's simple enough."
"I suppose it shall work," McGonagall murmured. She looked around the table. "I don't suppose you still have your wand."
"I don't need it," Quatre replied softly. "And besides, I'm not planning on resuming the classes anyway." There was a general uproar about that, and the blond waited for it to die down and then pierced them all with a sharp glare. "My friends and I are here for the sole purpose of ending your war. As soon as we're through doing so, I'm returning to my life."
"But Harry! This is your world!" Molly cried.
Quatre nearly scoffed. "On the contrary, this is your world and I am under no real obligations to save it. I will not give up the life I have created for myself to play celebrity to a bunch of egotistical maniacs." He stood then, asking a question to the other pilots in the Sweeper tongue, to which Duo laughed and Wufei answered. "If you'll excuse us."
The morning of September first started chaotically and kept up with that theme all the way through the sorting feast. The pilots had all stared in awe at the castle, not having expected it even with Quatre's renditions of its gloriousness. Quatre had merely smiled at the sight of his first home, allowing the magic to wash over him.
They weren't going to be sorted, as they viewed this as simply another round of protection duty. So instead, they spread themselves out about the Hall, watching for any threats. Quatre listened with some small interest to the Sorting Hat's song, and the sorting of the first years. In his opinion, the eleven year olds were tiny…and he was short to begin with.
After the feast, which the pilots didn't join in on, having eaten right before portkeying to Hogsmeade, Dumbledore stood to make some announcements. "Welcome to another year at Hogwarts," the Headmaster smiled. "For a small note, the Muggle Preventers have sent some of their top agents to help protect us during these dark times. I ask that you treat them respectfully." There was a liberal amount of scoffing from the Slytherins and other purebloods scattered about. "Among them is our own Harry Potter, now Quatre Winner. Apparently a Death Eater attack led to some complications in the form of time travel."
Quatre took a small step forward, inclining his head as everyone turned to look at him. The muggle-born and half-blood students all gaped in recognition, not quite sure how to take that news. Quatre stepped back, catching sight of smirking Malfoy saying something to his friends. Quatre knew he looked weak, and he smirked himself when he thought of the surprise these wizards were going to get.
The other pilots stepped forward as they were introduced, and Dumbledore gave another warning. None of the pilots were expecting the students to head the warning, however. As soon as the feast was over and the Hall emptied, the pilots turned to Quatre, who led them to their rooms.
"Whoa," Duo stated, looking around in awe. "How do you not get lost here?" he asked, watching as the staircases moved.
"A lot of practice," Quatre murmured, leading them to a portrait of an angel on the fifth floor. "Wing Zero," he said as the password, and the portrait moved aside, revealing a common room.
The room was decorated much like the Gryffindor common room, except without the excessive amounts of red and gold. Instead, there were more neutral browns and blues. It was a comfortable looking room with two bedrooms and two bathrooms attached.
Quatre dropped onto the sofa with a sigh, rubbing at his eyes. "Tired, little one?"Trowa murmured, sitting next to him and rubbing his back.
"Just stressed," the blond replied, stretching out on his stomach and resting his head in Trowa's lap. "It's hard running a business from so far away." He gave a contented sigh as Trowa gently massaged his lower back, kneading his fingers into stiff muscles.
"Just think of it as a vacation," Duo said from where he was curled up with Wufei in front of the fire.
"I don't have time for a vacation," Quatre replied sleepily. He gave a low moan as Trowa's fingers worked out a knot near his spine. "You are a god among men, love."
"I'll remind you of that the next time you're angry with me," Trowa muttered with an amused smile.
"Quatre is capable of being angry with you?" Heero asked, returning from checking the rooms for threats. He sat down with his lovers, pressing gentle kisses to their cheeks.
"Yes," Trowa nodded. "It doesn't happen near as often as I think it should. He's damn sexy angry."
Quatre turned his head just enough to nip at the jean-clad thigh he was resting against. "Quiet you," he yawned. "What's being done about the Death Eaters?"
"Remus is hunting both Pettigrew and Greyback," Heero stated. He wasn't fully involved with the conversation, however, as he seemed to be focusing on unbraiding Duo's hair, running his fingers through the silky tresses. "He holds to the belief that 'dead is better'."
Quatre gave a small hum, blinking heavy eyes before giving up and allowing them to slide shut. Trowa gave a soft chuckle, his hand moving up to run through soft, blond hair and massage the base of Quatre's skull. Quatre merely kissed where he had earlier bit and snuggled more fully into the couch and Trowa. "Perhaps we should get you into bed, lover," Trowa said gently.
"Comfy here," Quatre said petulantly. He was pretty close to being dead to the world by this point and didn't want to make the effort of moving. He heard Wufei chuckle, and another pair of hands joined Trowa's This one, however, which he recognized to be the Chinese pilot's, manipulated his limp body (as he wasn't caring enough to actually help them in any way) to allow Trowa to lift him.
"Goodnight," Trowa told the other three, carrying his lover bridal-style into their bedroom and shutting the door with his foot. "Are you really that tired?" he asked the small man in his arms. However, he got no answer, as Quatre was already asleep, a small smile on his face.
"Duo's distancing himself again," Wufei murmured to Heero five days into the term. Heero gave a small sigh and a nod, watching their lover as he joked and laughed with some of the students. A nightmare a couple nights ago had shaken the braided pilot, and as such he was beginning to pull away from them again. It happened occasionally, and they always had to work to get him to snap out of it.
Four hours later saw Heero grumbling to himself as he made his way back to their rooms. Learning the floor-plan of the castle would have been a lot more difficult if Quatre hadn't lent them that handy Maurader's map. However, even with the help of the map, the fact that the castle liked to change configuration at times didn't help much. "Sentient buildings," Heero mumbled, just shy of actually rolling his eyes.
He stepped through the portrait hole and looked up to find Duo sitting on the couch. He frowned slightly, recognizing the signs of an upset American. Those that didn't know Duo well thought that he was incapable of sitting still, when in actuality, he could go scary still at the oddest moments. And it was those moments that the other pilots had learned to watch for, because they either meant that Duo was planning something big and possibly problematic, or that he was becoming depressed.
Violet eyes glanced his way, and Heero moved towards his lover. "What's wrong?" he asked, sitting down next to Duo and pulling him into his arms.
"Just tired," Duo mumbled, burying his face in the crook of Heero's neck. He allowed himself to be cradled, sighing softly. "All through the war, I called myself Shinigami…but I never expected it to actually be true…"
"Duo," Heero sighed. He kissed the American's temple. "You know we still love you, right? Me and Wufei both."
"Yeah, I know," Duo murmured. He didn't start when another pair of arms wrapped around him and Wufei leaned up against his back. "It's just…hard, I guess."
"I would think it'd be somewhat useful," Wufei said softly. "Heaven knows I'm glad you have that ability. Maybe I won't be so worried about you every time you go on a mission. Although, I doubt that's going to happen…"
"Worry wart," Duo teased softly.
"Don't you know it," Heero murmured, kissing one side of Duo's neck as Wufei attacked the other side. If Duo was doubting their love (as he tended to do from time to time), than they were going to show him just how important he was.
Quatre gave a small smile, one hand hovering over his heart. He was seated at the end of the Slytherin table in the mostly empty Great Hall. Dinner was going to be starting in about twenty minutes, but he couldn't be bothered to move just yet.
"What happened?" Trowa's voice murmured in his ear, and he couldn't help the shiver that ran down his spine. Standing, he turned and stood on tiptoe to give Trowa a chaste kiss, ignoring the stares of the arriving students.
"Oh, Duo was pulling away again," he answered with a small smile. "Don't go to our rooms for a while…Wufei and Heero are taking care of him right now." Trowa snickered at that, and Quatre gently slapped his arm. The taller pilot merely shook his head and gathered up the laptop on the table, leading the blond over to the Gryffindors, which was a decidedly safer territory.
"What are you working on?" he asked, looking over the coded program on the screen. He sat, pulling Quatre onto his lap and wrapping his arms around the blond's waist as he watched him return to work, fingers flying over the keyboard.
"Just a new program for work," Quatre mumbled distractedly. Trowa nearly rolled his eyes at that. It wasn't the pilot's job to come up with new programs, as the Research and Development Team was in charge of doing that. However, programming seemed to relax the teen, and he was obviously good at it, so who was Trowa to complain?
"Hello Quatre, Trowa," Hermione said in greeting as she sat down nearby. "How are you?"
"Fine," Trowa answered for the both of them as Quatre had only paused enough to give a small smile. The table filled with students, all of which casting curious glances their way, as the five pilots tended to eat in their rooms. Trowa, noticing that Quatre wasn't about to stop his programming, grabbed a treacle tart and broke it into pieces, feeding it to his lover as he watched the code stream past on the computer screen. Quatre didn't even seem to notice the sighs that cute action brought, so caught up in the program he was.
He finally gave a small huff, leaning back against Trowa's chest with a confused frown. "It's not working," he stated, blue eyes scanning the code.
Trowa glanced over his shoulder with a shrug. "I don't rightly know what it is, so I can't help you. Have Heero look it over, he can probably catch whatever you missed."
Quatre gave a disgruntled sigh, packing away the laptop and then studying the array of food on the table.
"How did you two meet?" a Gryffindor asked, staring at the couple unabashedly.
"He tried to kill me," Trowa stated calmly. That statement caught the attention of just about everyone on the table.
Quatre turned his head to frown at him. "Did not."
"True," Trowa consented with a small nod. "Your friends tried to kill me."
"And I stopped them," Quatre replied, turning back to fill a plate with enough food for the both of them. "I didn't try to kill you until later."
"In your defense, you weren't entirely sane at the time," Trowa pointed out.
Quatre shrugged with a tight frown. "Doesn't make me any less guilty." He handed Trowa a fork and dug into the food.
"Are they being serious?" Dean whispered to Ginny, who gave an almost shocked nod.
Quatre looked up to blink at him. "Completely," he said. "Duo and Heero met when Duo shot him. Heero and Wufei nearly killed each other a year ago…during the Eve Wars. Trowa's turned sides a couple times." He gave a shrug.
"I was undercover," Trowa frowned.
"We know that now," Quatre said with a loving smile, taking a bite of green-beans. "But, Allah, did you confuse us that first time around. I don't think Duo's ever really forgiven you for destroying Scythe either."
"I helped rebuild it," Trowa muttered petulantly. Quatre patted his hand and returned to his food.
The Gryffindors were all staring by this point, not even trying to hide it. However, the majority of them scowled when Draco and his posse came over to taint their space. "Oi, if it isn't old scarhead. Couldn't stand the mudblood and weasels so much you had to become muggle?" he taunted.
Quatre rolled his eyes, and then turned to smirk at Draco, sliding off Trowa's lap to stand. The two blonds looked amazingly similar at this point, although there was a certain quality to Quatre that made him seem somewhat more dangerous. "I'm not a muggle, Draconis. However, I do know over seventy ways to kill with my bare hands alone. Would you like a demonstration?"
"You're channeling Duo, love," Trowa muttered in amusement.
"Allah, I hope not," Quatre replied with a smirk. "Not with what he's doing now."
Trowa raised an eyebrow, not bothering to watch Draco turn tail and scurry away. "Perhaps you should…I wouldn't mind."
"You're such a pervert," Quatre said with a laugh.
"Ten points from Gryffindor for threatening a student," Snape snapped, stopping in front of the pilots.
Quatre raised an eyebrow at the man, slightly annoyed that he had even dared to try. "I'm not a student, professor, and therefore you can't take points from me." Snape made a move to grab Quatre's arm, probably to drag him to the headmaster, but the pilot stepped back. "I'd warn you not to touch me, but I'm almost curious to see what Trowa would do to you."
As it was, the one visible emerald eye of the taller pilot was glittering angrily in a fierce glare. Snape scowled and stalked off, allowing Quatre to sit back down. "Well. That went well."
Trowa was down by Hagrid's hut the next day, watching the grounds for any threats while the sixth years had their Care of Magical Creatures class. He had taken a liking to the half-giant, and an even greater liking to the creatures the man liked to show. A sharp bird cry interrupted his contemplation of a thestral, though, and he looked up to see a large golden eagle circling above him.
Holding out an arm, he watched the raptor go into a steep dive before landing lighting on the outstretched appendage, moving up to nuzzle the pilot's cheek with a deadly sharp beak. Trowa gave a soft smile, running a hand down the bird's back and moving it to his shoulder. The eagle was rather heavy after all.
"Oi, ain't that a beaut!" Hagrid whistled as he came over. "He yours?"
"He's a friend," Trowa replied softly, feeling the eyes of the students. "His name is Sandrock, and he comes and goes." He saw Hermione raise an eyebrow as she looked between him and the bird, and then she smirked. Well, he mused, Quatre had said she was rather bright.
Sandrock gave an amused trill and eyed the group before taking to the air again. Trowa shook his head fondly and watched him fly.
The dinner conversation was halted again a few days later when Quatre and Wufei sat down at the Hufflepuff table, obviously arguing over something. "The ZERO System works exactly as I programmed it to," Quatre said firmly.
Wufei shook his head. "Not exactly. It works too well and comes with the little side effect of making everyone who uses it insane."
Quatre frowned at him. "Not everyone. Heero manages it quite well. And Zechs. And Dorothy."
"Dorothy was psychotic to begin with," Wufei said with a snort. "And that system drove everyone but Heero and Zechs nuts. Including you."
Quatre opened his mouth to retort, but closed it again when he found he didn't have a suitable defense. "Dorothy isn't insane," he finally decided on.
Duo plopped into the seat next to him. "That bitch ran you through with a sword—"
"Rapier," Quatre corrected.
"Whatever," Duo waved it aside. "Point is, she tried to kill you. Why are you defending her?"
"Because he can't find a defense for the ZERO System," Wufei said, rolling his eyes. They were getting a lot of stares by this point, but the pilots were quickly becoming used to such in this castle.
"Hn," Heero grunted, sitting down as well, across from Wufei. "I rather liked the system."
"You would," Duo rolled his eyes. "You didn't go all nutty and try to kill everyone on it." Quatre flinched at those words and Trowa cuffed the back of the braided pilot's head as he walked by. "Sorry Q-bean," Duo winced, rubbing at his head. "Wasn't talking about you, but myself that time. I didn't last fifteen minutes in the damn suit."
"Did you really go insane?" a brave Hufflepuff asked, staring at Quatre with wide eyes.
He huffed in slight annoyance. "Honestly, we aren't that interesting."
Hermione laughed from where she sat behind them, at the other table. "You five are the most interesting thing to happen to Hogwarts since the twins left."
Trowa awoke with a start, automatically reaching for his gun before realizing that it had been Quatre that had woken him. Or, rather, the curious lack of Quatre from their bed. The sound of retching drew him to the bathroom, where he found the blond leaning over the toilet, vomiting his guts out. "Quatre?" Trowa murmured in concern, watching as the younger pilot slumped to the ground with a groan.
Trowa stepped into the bathroom, flushing the toilet and grabbing a damp cloth from the sink. He crouched and gently washed off his lover's face, leaning back when Quatre pulled away and shakily got to his feet. He followed the blond out into the common room, where he paced for a moment. And then Quatre gave an angry yell, grabbing a vase and throwing it against the wall before dropping to the ground again. His fingers tugged at his hair as he pressed his forehead to his knees, nearly bending in half to do so.
"Trowa?" Heero asked from where he stood, gun in hand, in his bedroom doorway. Duo and Wufei were behind him, both looking quite alert for having just rolled out of bed.
Trowa merely shrugged, moving to kneel next to Quatre, rubbing his back comfortingly. "Come now, little one," he whispered. "Tell me what's wrong."
"Allah, my head," Quatre groaned, leaning heavily against Trowa's thighs. He panted softly, squeezing his eyes shut as he tried to think around the pain in his head. He had forgotten just how painful Voldie-Visions could get, and apparently without the scar, they were even worse. "Remus was just killed," he muttered back, his breath catching. "Took out…Pettigrew and Greyback…caught…Voldemort…killed him." He groaned, his words growing fainter as he went along. There was a sudden flare of pain and he just couldn't take it anymore.
"Shit," Trowa breathed as Quatre went limp. Heero was next to him in an instant, lying the blond on the ground and checking his condition. Aside from the fact that he was in shock, there was nothing wrong. They had been warned about the visions, of course, but there was a difference between being told about something and witnessing the results of it.
And they hadn't liked what they had seen.
Wufei was beyond annoyed. He couldn't seem to be able to find Heero or Duo and his head was beginning to pound. The children in this school were obnoxiously naive, and he hadn't ever met a more backward group of people than some of those purebloods.
Giving a small sigh, Wufei slipped into the Defense Against Dark Arts classroom as a last attempt at finding one of the other pilots. He scowled at the sight of the sixth years and nearly gave a sigh of relief when he saw Quatre in the back of the class. The blond raised an eyebrow at him, obviously amused by whatever his Space-Heart was picking up off the Chinese pilot.
The professor, a squat man named Sage, obviously favored purebloods, although not with the fanaticism that Umbridge had. He was speaking about how wands were the most important thing out there, as well as the most destructive. Muggles had nothing on magic.
Sage turned to him with a dark glare that in no way rivaled Heero's. "Yes? Do you have something to say?" The 'muggle' was left off, but obviously implied and in no way complimentary.
"Have you ever dealt with muggles?" Wufei asked, eyeing the man as though he were scum.
"Why should he?" Malfoy taunted, causing Quatre to roll his eyes in the back of the room. "Muggles are inferior. They are no threat."
Quatre couldn't help it. He laughed.
"Muggles are quite capable of destroying your whole society with a touch of a button," Wufei snapped. "We have weapons that could kill millions and we can use them without ever leaving the comfort of our own homes."
Quatre gave a small, feral smile, stepping forward. "Spells are infallible. What would you do if you ever lost your wand?"
Draco gave a mocking laugh. "And how would a muggle disarm a wizard, Potter?"
"Why don't we have a demonstration?" Sage asked with a cruel grin. He was obviously hoping to show up the muggles. "Mr. Malfoy against the muggle."
Quatre glanced at Wufei and then shrugged. "Your funeral."
"I won't kill him, Winner," Wufei frowned, moving to the front of the room. Malfoy stood opposite him, wand at the ready.
"You won't," Quatre agreed. "But your foul mood is fueling ZERO," he warned softly. Wufei's frown deepened, and he glanced in the blond's direction before turning back to his opponent. Sage gave the go ahead, and the two moved.
Wufei had Malfoy disarmed and on his back before the Slytherin could finish the spell. Stepping back, the pilot allowed him up again and gave a nod, signaling him to continue. It was the same every time, whether or not Draco managed to finish the spell. Wufei would merely dodge and throw the Malfoy heir to the ground.
The rest of the class was speechless, though the Gryffindors seemed a little smug.
Sage eventually stepped in and stopped the farce of a duel, and Malfoy limped back to his desk, scowling unhappily. Quatre stepped up to the front of the room then, giving a somewhat manic smile. "How about we show you a 'muggle duel'," he suggested.
Wufei nearly winced at the thought of going against ZERO, who Quatre was obviously giving up control to. But a closer look revealed the blond to be keeping a tight reign on the more homicidal nature of his second half, and the Chinese pilot gave a sigh. Sage merely waved a hand, looking somewhat pale.
The class left traumatized when Wufei had finally managed to pin Quatre to his chest, his hands tightly wrapped around the blond's wrists. He winced slightly at the pressure against his bruised ribs. Quatre had managed to land quite a few blows, and Wufei wasn't about to let him go for fear of losing control of ZERO.
"Feel better?" he murmured as the last student left the room and Heero entered it. Sage was in the corner, but fled as soon as he was able.
"Voldemort knows who I am," Quatre hissed with a half-hearted attempt to get free. "He killed Remus mainly because of that. He's going to make his move soon."
"Reign in ZERO, Winner," Heero said softly. Quatre pierced him with a furious and not-quite-sane glare, his struggling becoming angrier. Wufei hissed in pain and Heero moved to help restrain the other pilot. It took the both of them to get Quatre to their rooms without the blond getting free. Upon arriving, they let him go and he immediately went to curl up in Trowa's lap, falling into a meditative trance. Heero frowned, realizing that the vision from last night must have been the trigger to set off ZERO.
Trowa looked somewhat perplexed, wrapping his arms around his lover and looking to the other two. He caught Wufei's subtle wince and frowned. "You okay?"
"Your boyfriend packs a punch," the dark-haired pilot muttered, gingerly removing his shirt so Heero could check his ribs. They were heavily bruised, but not cracked or broken. Wufei sighed, curling up in Heero's arms. "Where's Duo?"
"Pranking the Slytherins, I think," Trowa answered honestly, looking down at Quatre when the blond gave a sigh and snuggled deeper into his hold. He was no longer meditating, but sleeping and hopefully finding peace in it after last night's stressful episode.
"Why?" Heero asked.
"Why not?" Duo replied, leaning against the wall with a grin. He was beginning to love those shadow-abilities that he had read about. Practicing had been a lot of fun. "I've already gotten the Gryffs and the Puffs. Ravenclaws are next week."
"If we're here that long," Wufei mumbled sleepily, rather comfortable sitting in front of the fire, wrapped in Heero's arms. There was something missing, however… "Duo, get over here." Yes, he was just short of whining, but he couldn't seem to make himself care. Heero chuckled, the sound rumbling deep in his chest, but Duo humored him, curling up around the two like a rather large cat.
"It's a Hogsmeade weekend tomorrow, right?" Wufei heard Duo ask. There was an affirmative from somewhere, but the Chinese pilot was too far asleep to notice.
Quatre came to against cold stone, biting back a groan of discomfort. Blue eyes blinked open and took a moment to focus before sliding over to spy Duo lying limp and unconscious across from him. He frowned slightly, wondering what had happed before remembering his last few moments of consciousness. They had been in Hogsemeade, the pilots splitting up to watch different sides of the town. The Death Eaters had attacked while Duo and Quatre had been near the Shrieking Shack, and while the two had managed to take out a very good number of them, the dark wizards had simply overpowered them.
Duo wasn't moving, and Quatre crawled over to him, absently wondering why his back was stinging so harshly until he remembered the cutting curse that had managed to hit him. He bent over Duo, resting his head against the braided pilot's shoulders as he gave a small hiss of discomfort. "Zero-Two?" he murmured, lightly shaking the shoulder he was leaning against. Duo didn't seem terribly injured aside from the cut on his face and the one on his left thigh, which Quatre took a moment to bandage with conjured cloth. The Death Eaters had taken his 'wand' but obviously hadn't known that he didn't need one to do magic anymore. He had his limits, of course, but conjuring was relatively simple compared to many other spells.
"Mm…Quat?" Duo mumbled, shifting slightly.
"Yes," Quatre replied, moving back a little, so his weight wasn't leaning on Duo anymore. "Enemy territory, Zero-Two," he warned. "Closed cell, guarded. Unknowns about."
"Copy that," Duo whispered, turning to eye his comrade, purple eyes clearing as he frowned at Quatre's bloody form. "Status?"
"Angry," Quatre murmured with a small sigh. "And tired."
Duo sat up, pulling Quatre closer to examine the wounds. He winced at the torn flesh, knowing that there was nothing they could do about it now. At least it had quit bleeding. "Plan?" he asked, allowing the blond to rest against him for a moment's respite.
Quatre stared at the door to their cell for a long moment. "How capable are you with your Scythe skills?"
Duo's eyes flashed and he gave a frightening grin. "Gotcha," he whispered, just as the door to their cell opened. A blasting curse sent Duo sprawling away from Quatre, although the talisman around his neck kept too much damage from being done. Quatre groaned in renewed pain, not having the charmed talisman to protect him from the impact.
"Oh, is wittle baby potty cwying for his mummy?" Bellatrix cooed. Quatre, had he not been focusing on trying to stay conscious, would have rolled his eyes. That lady was completely insane, and her insults definitely needed work. Her spells, however, were perfectly fine.
"Zero-Two?" Quatre coughed, pretty sure that blasting spell had managed to break a rib or two.
"Copy that, Zero-Four," Duo practically purred.
Bellatrix turned to eye the 'muggle' who was glaring at her from a fall of chestnut hair, the long, thick braid unraveling. She took a startled step back at the sight of the glowing violet eyes and then smirked. Only to drop dead a second later to the sound of Duo's manic laughter.
Later, much later, Duo would admit that the feeling of ripping her soul from her body had been so completely gratifying that it scared him. And so amazingly easy that he nearly freaked out. Although that would have to wait until later, when he and his fellow pilot had gotten out of here.
Three more Death Eaters ran into the room, stopping at the sight of Duo crouched over Quatre, Bellatrix dead nearby. "Oh no," Duo purred maniacally. "You've seen my face…now you must die." Quatre smirked slightly from beneath Duo, waving a hand and conjuring a wicked looking scythe for his friend. Two deadly looking scimitars of gold and white appeared in his hands as well as he forced himself up. (Note: are they scimitars or shotels? I can't decide…)
The Death Eaters didn't know what hit them.
Trowa, Wufei and Heero were not happy. They were not happy at all. During the attack on Hogsmeade they had done their job, taking out Death Eaters and getting the children to safety, only to return to find that their two lovers had disappeared. Quite literally, if some of the students reports were accurate.
What really angered them was the fact that Dumbledore and his little band of merry followers weren't going to do anything. They didn't have enough intel, he said, and therefore would be going in blind. Apparently, they didn't realize that the Gundam Pilots were used to going in blind.
Besides that, Heero had managed to track down Quatre and Duo almost immediately after returning to the castle. The phone that Quatre always kept on him was linked to the laptop. They were at Malfoy Manor, a good two-hundred miles away.
Without the aid of the wizards, Trowa put a call in to Zechs. They would have a ride within the next two hours.
Slipping through the shadows was easy for Duo. It was a talent that he had always had, although the extent of which he had just recently found out about. Quatre, being in a rather foul mood, let ZERO take over. As it was, ZERO wasn't much for sneaking around and decided to just stroll down the hall, cutting down anyone that got in his way or that Duo didn't take down for him.
The Death Eaters were beginning to realize that they weren't going to win this fight and were fleeing before the glowing violet eyes and the angry blond with the avada kadavra green eyes. (Note: I know Quatre's eyes are blue…but Harry's aren't.)
They made it to the middle of the manor, where Lord Voldemort would be holding court, so to speak. The other Death Eaters were screaming and running and were sure to have caused the Dark Lord some amount of strife what with their behavior. Quatre gave an amused chuckle, eyes flashing from green to blue and back to green again. Beside him, Duo gave an eerie chuckle, the scythe blurring in motion as it cut through another Death Eater.
Voldemort scowled. "Potter. And a muggle."
"Oh, Tom," Quatre said, his voice completely calm and cold. "There's nothing muggle about Shinigami." He gave a frightening grin, side-stepping a furiously cast spell from the Dark Lord. "Honestly, Tom, I've gotten pretty tired of your antics as of late."
Voldemort sneered. "And I'm quite tired of you!" he snarled, brandishing his wand.
Duo disappeared into the shadows and Quatre smirked. "Bring it on, snake-face."
Wufei gave a short wave to Zechs as he landed the helicopter in front of the school. Trowa and Heero were standing behind him, and the Order had gathered as well. Dumbledore, apparently, felt that they could take action now that the muggles had stepped up the game. He didn't want to look bad in front of them or something.
The Order was organizing to storm Malfoy Manor, but the pilots were already loaded into the helicopter and on their way. They all arrived at the manor at the same time, amazingly, as Dumbledore took his merry little time in getting there.
What they weren't expecting was for screams to be heard throughout the manor, or to openly see Death Eaters running from the place in fear. The pilots smirked at each other while the wizards all blinked in surprise. "What is the meaning of this?" Snape snarled, turning on the younger men.
Trowa stared blankly at him. "Riddle apparently angered Quatre and Duo," he stated calmly.
"Not his smartest move," Zechs added, brushing his hair over his shoulder and leaning against the helicopter. When none of the pilots made a move towards the manor, Dumbledore took a step forward.
"Are you not going to help your friends?" he asked, blue eyes twinkling.
Heero grunted, absently stripping his gun. "They don't need help." He cast a side-glance at the man. "And why do you care? You were quite ready to just leave them on their own until we said we were going to help them."
"Sometimes discretion is for the greater good," Dumbledore said seriously.
"Discretion," Wufei repeated, raising an eyebrow.
"Sometimes," Duo cackled as he appeared next to them. "Blowing up buildings is more fun."
Wufei turned and wrapped his arms around Duo, ignoring the pained wince the braided pilot gave. "Where's Zero-Four?" Heero asked, joining the hug after assuring Duo wasn't terribly injured.
"He's coming," Duo said, violet eyes flashing as he turned back to the manor. "I left after he chopped ol' snake-face's head off."
The Order gaped. "Cut off his head?" McGonagal asked, her eyes wide as saucers.
"Yeah," Duo pouted. "He wouldn't let me have a go at the creep."
Zechs and Trowa snickered at the looks the other wizards were giving the pilot, just then noticing the blood-slicked scythe. There was a sudden rumbling and the manor erupted into flames, startling everyone. They all turned and watched as Quatre strode out of the fiery mess, his own two blades at his side. "Miss me?" he smirked.
He turned to Dumbledore and scowled slightly. "Your war is over," he stated coldly. "And now I'm going to go home. If you or your people ever contact me for the 'greater good' again, then I will kill you." He turned, the scythe and scimitars disappearing as he buried his face in Trowa's chest.
The pilots got ready to go, ignoring the flames and screams and overall flabbergasted look of the wizards. Zechs turned to Dumbledore with a small shrug. "Quatre probably wouldn't kill you. He's just in a bad mood right now, but then again, you probably wouldn't like what he would do anyway." He jumped into the helicopter and then they were gone.
London's Preventers Headquarters was cast in confusion when Zechs Marquise suddenly ran out of the building and took a helicopter with him. They were even more confused when he returned with the five Gundam Pilots with him.
"Mission Complete," Heero snapped to Une as he and the others unloaded from the copter. Duo looked completely exhausted and disheveled, leaning heavily against Wufei. His braid, by this point, was almost completely unraveled, long strands of hair falling about him and dripping with blood. It was a disconcerting sight, however, not so much as Quatre.
The little blond looked entirely too smug, splattered with blood and other various bodily fluids. He looked tired as well, but there was a light in his blue eyes that spoke of vengeance. His clothing was shredded, his back torn up as well, but he didn't seem to even notice the pain.
"Get to Sally," Une ordered both Duo and Quatre, looking to Trowa to make sure they both made it there. Wufei and Heero would be the ones to recount the story, although they admittedly did not know much of what went on in that manor. And, frankly, with how Quatre had been acting, they didn't really want to know.
It was two days later that Une visited the boys at their comfortable Craftsman style home. Duo was outside working on a before-colony impala, Wufei absently watching him under the ruse of reading a book on the porch.
Inside, Heero was cooking something in the kitchen while Trowa worked on a laptop, Quatre sprawled out on the floor in front of the fireplace, sleeping peacefully. "Lady," Trowa nodded, seeing her standing in the doorway. "Is there something we can do for you?"
Une gave a small smile. "Just checking. I realize that that last mission had to have been somewhat difficult for Quatre. How is he?"
Trowa frowned, looking down at the blond. "He's doing alright. He gets some headaches every once and a while due to the sudden breaking of the link he held with Voldemort, and sometimes falls into depression over Remus's death, but he'll be fine."
Une smiled. "Good," she said. "Because there's a mission that I need you five to go on in roughly four days."