WARNING: This story takes place in Harry's sixth year, which means there are spoilers to the fifth book!
Disclaimer: I don't own Yu Yu Hakusho or Harry Potter.
Part Forty: Koenma.
Even though he had seen it before, the sight of the famous school was still an amazing view. There was something that was just so alive about it, something that was rarely found in the demon world. But even though it had been about fifty years since he was at the school, he could feel the added tension. A tension that was created by Voldemort, and more disturbingly, a tension created by one of his own employees.
The news of Kurama's failure to continue his mission discretely had been very disturbing. The oldest member of the team had always been the most reliable; the only one that Koenma felt could have completed the mission effortlessly. But after talking to Kurama on the communicator only moments ago, he realized something that shocked him more then anything.
Youko Kurama and Shuuichi Minamino are two different people.
It was odd, considering that they are the same being, but there was no denying it anymore. Youko would have accomplished the mission without a care in the world. He would have annihilated all obstacles, not caring who he hurt in the process. Cold and heartless like a demon, but effective.
Koenma's stride slowed slightly as he neared the entrance. It was true that Youko would have been extremely effective, but Koenma preferred the human side of Kurama more. Shuuichi was kinder, even though at moments he can seem very ruthless, the human side of him cared about the people he could hurt.
It was probably that flaw that caused Kurama's most recent dilemma.
"We've been expecting you."
Koenma nodded at the old witch that was standing at the entrance of the school. She was a strict looking woman, but there was a sort of grandmotherly kindness about her that Koenma liked.
"My name is Minerva McGonagall, I'm the deputy headmistress," the woman introduced, glancing at Koenma questionably.
"I am lord Koenma," Koenma said showing no discomfort at the woman's stare. Whenever he was in his teenage form, he very rarely felt intimidated by anybody.
"Pardon my rudeness, but you still look like a child," Minerva pointed out as she led Koenma through the winding hallways of the school.
Koenma chuckled at the comment as he glided along next to the woman, acting as if he owned the place. After all, appearance meant everything. "I suppose I do, but I can assure you Madame, I am much older then I look," Koenma said looking at the pictures in interest. Even in his castle in spirit world, the pictures didn't move. It was amusing to see the silhouettes in the picture frames jump to the one next to it to get a better view of the new stranger to the castle. Maybe he should think about getting a wizard photo of himself for his office.
The thought was immediately jolted out of his mind as a few grown wizards in dark cloaks passed him.
There were only five of them, but they were all heavily armed with not only their wands, but some other form of weaponry. The vast majority of them favoring the muggle sword, though a few had bows and other primitive means of self defense.
"Who are they?" Koenma asked showing his dislike toward the lack of respect directed toward him. So he was a little stuck up, he was the son of King Enma after all, such things were expected.
"Those are Aurors," McGonagall answered looking disturbed at their presence. "They were sent here to find Mr. Minamino, and escort him off the premises."
Koenma halted at the announcement and had to refrain from laughing at the news. There was no way those wizards would be able to stop Kurama. The thought was amusing though. Koenma could just see the amazement on their faces when Kurama used his plants to tie them up.
Professor McGonagall stopped to look at Koenma with a worried look when the young lord didn't proceed with the walk. "Don't worry, Mr. Minamino will not be harmed. The Aurors are only here for intimidation," Professor McGonagall reasurred misreading the look on Koenma's face.
"What are the boy's crimes?" Koenma asked once again starting his trek to the headmaster's office.
Professor McGonagall sighed as she continued to lead the way. "Professor Dumbledore fears that he may be a spy for 'You Know Who,'" McGonagall explained.
"Ludicrous," Koenma yelled receiving an agreeing nod.
"I'm sure that with you here, this little misunderstanding will be quickly taken care of. Mr. Minamino has shown some great potential as a wizard, and everything he has done has been for the wellbeing of Potter, but I can understand the Headmaster's concern. There have already been too many unexplainable incidents that have occurred, and all of them are centered on Mr. Minamino," Professor McGonagall explained. "Even I had my doubts after his wand backfired. But why would a spy for 'You Know Who' put in so much effort to protect and befriend Potter?" Professor McGonagall continued. "I guess the biggest problem is that Kurama has been using some forms of magic that are questionable. They aren't forbidden, but they are dangerous," McGonagall said as an afterthought.
Koenma only nodded as the woman continued her talk. As the deputy headmistress accounted everything that had occurred since the end of the summer, Koenma couldn't help but wish that he had taken the time to listen to Kurama's concern earlier. Not only that, but he could have at least tried to look in on Kurama on his spirit television.
"We are here," Professor McGonagall said stopping in front of a statue.
Koenma nodded and waited for the woman to utter the password that would gain them entrance to the office.
If nothing surprised Koenma that day, then the greeting in the office did. He had expected to see the legendary headmaster hunched over his desk looking furious about the recent events, with the Aurors on all sides of him strategically positioned to defend the man in the event of an attack. Koenma even expected the school's staff to be close by in case their experience was needed. What Koenma didn't expect was to see the headmaster bent over his desk looking torn and exhausted. But the thing that really surprised Koenma was when he was grabbed in a desperate hug by one of the witches in the room.
"Thank you for coming on behalf of my son."
"Son?" Koenma yelled pulling away from the woman long enough to see the face of Kurama's beloved mother. So she really was a witch. Koenma had to mentally scold himself for not paying more attention to Kurama when he had first contacted him.
"Lord Koenma," the Headmaster greeted, not at all looking surprised that the teenager standing before him had not changed in appearance for almost fifty years.
Koenma turned back to the headmaster studying the older man before he suddenly recognized the man.
About fifty years ago the headmaster had tried to get in touch with Genkai. He had tried to get the witch's help at the beginnings of the war against Voldemort. But around that time, Genkai had become a very valuable asset to spirit world. It was around that time that she and Taguro had started to exterminate stray demons that were causing havoc in the human world.
It was because the spirit world could not afford to lose her, that Koenma had to travel to Europe and act on Genkai's behalf.
"Professor Dumbledore," Koenma greeted putting his full attention on the man. "I understand that you have expelled Shuuichi Minamino from your school. Though I do not hold any authority to override your decision, I can assure you that Mr. Minamino is not in any allegiance with the dark lord," Koenma explained.
"So he is one of yours?" Dumbledore asked his mood brightening up immediately.
Koenma watched as the shrunken old man in front of him slowly began to reform back into the man he had once remembered him as. "Yes, Shuuichi Minamino was sent here on my orders to protect Harry Potter and to help with the battle against Voldemort," Koenma said ignoring the shudder that passed through the humans at the mention of Voldemort's name.
"And do you trust him?" Dumbledore asked looking relieved but still a little doubtful.
"Mr. Minamino is one of the best people working for me, but like you may have noticed, he is still a child. I would appreciate it if you let him finish his mission unhindered," Koenma added looking at the headmaster with false disapproval.
"Very well, I will trust you," Dumbledore said smiling.
Koenma nodded before turning to leave. His presence was not really necessary, he was certain that Kurama could have gotten out of the situation on his own, but Koenma was still glad he came. Not only because it will help Kurama in his mission, but because it would at least help lift some of the burden on the headmaster's back.
"Thank you Koenma."
Koenma only nodded as Kurama stepped out from behind the stone gargoyle. "I trust that you were listening to everything that was going on," Koenma said not at all surprised to see the famous demon thief waiting for him at the entrance to the headmaster's office.
"Naturally," Kurama said falling into place next to Koenma.
"Well I was worried for a second that you lost you touch, but I guess that you are still just as sly as always," Koenma said receiving a soft chuckle from the boy next to him.
"That is reassuring to hear. Lately I too have been doubting my own abilities," Kurama admitted.
Koenma slowed at Kurama's words. "I guess you probably are mad at me for sending you on this mission," Koenma said looking just a little fearful as Kurama halted and turned his head downward.
"At first I was bitter that you sent me on this mission alone, but now…" Kurama said looking up at Koenma. "I have learned so much from being here. I have family here, both from my past as Youko, as well as my past as Shuuichi. I never would have gotten the opportunity to meet them if I wasn't sent on this mission. So in a sense I feel fortunate that I came here," Kurama explained.
"Is that what you mean when you said that it was personal?" Koenma asked surprised when a haunted look crossed Kurama's face.
"You know Dumbledore never really thought I was in league with Voldemort. He just doesn't understand the difference between demon energy and magic," Kurama explained ignoring the question.
"Kurama?" Koenma said his eyes narrowing. It wasn't like Kurama to try to change the subject. The fox was too polite for that, and too smart. Under normal circumstances the teen would have given a carefully thought out answer that would satisfy the question, but keep what he wanted to himself. To completely avoid the question was not like him at all.
"I suppose that my threatening him was a little too much for him. I was almost on the verge of changing…" Kurama continued.
"Kurama?" Koenma said more sternly. There was something weird about the way Kurama was acting, he was sure of it now. There were only two opponents that Koenma could remember that Kurama had acted unlike his normal calm self. The first one was at the dark tournament when Kurama faced off against Karasu, and the second was when he faced his old partner in crime, Yomi.
"Kurama?" Koenma eventually yelled finally getting Kurama to stop his mindless ramblings. "I may not be as smart as you, but I am not as dense as Yusuke," Koenma pointed out.
Kurama's look of surprise soon turned into a look of guilt as the green eyed youth stared down the dark hallway. "I know that," Kurama admitted as he turned to look at Koenma. "The problem is personal, and I need to deal with it on my own," Kurama explained.
"I understand that, but I still need to know about it," Koenma yelled.
Kurama only gave Koenma an apologetic look before turning to look down the hall where they had just come from. "I don't have time to explain. There's someone coming," Kurama pointed out getting a few muttered words from the young lord as a couple of the Aurors approached them.
At first the two men seemed surprised to see Kurama, but they shook it off as they addressed Koenma.
"Professor Dumbledore wanted us to find you and Mr. Minamino. He has a few things to talk to you two about," one of the Aurors explained.
Koenma nodded as the pair made their way back to the office.
"Allow me sir," the second Auror said walking toward the stone statue.
"There is no need," Kurama said walking up to the statue. As though the statue feared that it was going to be knocked down, it sprang to the side, allowing Kurama and the other people to pass through unhindered.
"I thought we were done," Koenma said the moment that he walked into the room.
Dumbledore looked at Koenma with a disturbed look as he held up an envelope. "I'm sorry sir, but just after you left, this was dropped off in my office," Dumbledore said pointing to the giant crow in the corner.
"What does it have to do with us though," Koenma asked noting silently that Kurama had gone pale at the sight of the bird.
"Take a look," Dumbledore said handing Koenma two letters.
Koenma took the letters and gazed at them. They looked plain enough; it was the names on them that disturbed Koenma. One was addressed to Dumbledore, and the second one was addressed to Kurama.
Ignoring the second one for the moment, Koenma took the already opened letter for Dumbledore, and read what was written. It was short, but the message was effective.
Protect your students. Beware of the demons.
It made sense that Dumbledore had asked him and Kurama to come back. He had tried to comfort the Headmaster about Kurama, but the man would still be suspicious. He had to; otherwise he would be caught off guard. Without even speaking, Koenma handed the letter to Kurama, who glanced at it casually, giving nothing away.
Koenma picked up the second letter, and was going to try to open it, when the letter started to smoke in his hands. "What the?" Koenma yelled allowing the letter to fall to the ground.
Kurama's eyes widened when he saw the name on the envelope, and before anyone else could pick the letter up, he had it in his hand. "A ward," Kurama muttered as the smoking subsided.
"Intended for the reader only," Dumbledore said his eyes narrowing in suspicion. "I want everyone out," the headmaster ordered waiting for his office to empty before gesturing for Kurama to open the letter.
"Well?" Koenma asked impatiently.
"It's a letter of riddles," Kurama explained holding up the letter for Koenma to see.
Koenma gazed over the neat and flowing characters with a frown. "I can't read it," Koenma said in frustration, as Dumbledore moved from his desk to Koenma's side.
"You're not supposed to, it is for my eyes only," Kurama said turning to regard the headmaster. There was no point for secrecy any longer, the man already knew.
Koenma must have picked up on the movement because a second later he was desperately trying to figure out an excuse.
Kurama listened for a second before silencing Koenma with a soft cough.
"Professor Dumbledore?" Kurama ventured, waiting for the headmaster's response before he said anymore.
"Mr. Minamino, or should I say Youko?" the Headmaster asked, his eyes studying Kurama closely.
"So you have figured it out?" Kurama responded, "I am sorry about the deception, but it was necessary," Kurama explained.
Dumbledore remained silent as he continued to stare at Kurama. Finally a smile crept across his face. "I was wondering how much further I had to go before you would finally come clean and tell me the truth," Dumbledore announced receiving twin looks of shock.
"You knew? But…?" Koenma stuttered, while Kurama smiled in respect.
"I see, so expelling me, and treating me like I was a normal student was just a test," Kurama said. "It all makes sense. That was the reason why you let me get away with the death tree incident without too much trouble, or the reason why you never followed through with the incident in defense when my wand backfired," Kurama pointed out.
"I don't get it, how did you find out?" Koenma demanded not liking the idea that he was deceived, or worse yet, that Kurama had also been deceived.
"The ghosts told me about it a couple days after the school started. After I found out the news, I immediately wrote to Genkai about the demon Youko, and she told me the story," Dumbledore said, "The whole truth."
"I see, so you acted ignorant to my identity and allowed me to continue what I was doing in order to keep me on my toes," Kurama clarified.
"Partly, I also wanted to know if you could be trusted. You may have changed, but Genkai warned me that your demon side sometimes clouds you judgment," Dumbledore explained. "But she spoke highly of you, and now I know why."
"And the Aurors?" Koenma asked still looking uncertain of the change of events.
"They have nothing to do with the ministry. They are old students of mine, and members of the order. I asked them to come in order to give the impression that I was serious about expelling Mr. Minamino," Dumbledore explained.
"So everything was an act?" Koenma yelled glaring at Dumbledore. "Why was I pulled into this?"
"Because the little stunt Mr. Minamino pulled on me in the Infirmary six hours ago," Dumbledore said looking at Kurama with just a small hint of fear. "I've never encountered a real demon before. Just the little nuisances that manage to get into the human world. When Mr. Minamino threatened me, I finally understood why the ghosts feared him so much. I was told I could trust him, but fear was overriding my judgment. I needed reassurances from another trusted source," Dumbledore pointed out. "Also, I didn't like the idea that Mr. Minamino took away the memory of every living thing that resided on the school grounds," Dumbledore added as an after thought.
"You did what?" Koenma yelled turning to glare at Kurama.
Kurama coughed lightly as he avoided Koenma's glare. "The school was attacked by an army of demons. I had to use my full power to destroy them. It would have been too much of a risk if I didn't," Kurama explained.
"An attack already?" Dumbledore asked frowning at the news.
Koenma released the glare long enough to jam his hands back into his pocket. "I think it would be best if the rest of the team came," Koenma muttered in defeat.
"No," Kurama blurted receiving a surprised look from Dumbledore and a questioning one from Koenma.
"And why not, and you better give me a good reason this time," Koenma challenged.
"Because I still have to retrieve that human's body, and the others will just hinder me," Kurama pointed out.
Koenma opened his mouth to argue, but closed it again as he thought about it. "Alright, but after you retrieve the body, I'm going to send the others," Koenma said.
Kurama nodded before turning to study the black crow in the corner of the room. Koenma followed his gaze before scolding himself for forgetting about the creature. Even though from the bird's spirit energy, it was nothing more than an abnormally large crow, there was still magic out there that would allow the user to see and hear everything the bird had just witnessed; and they had shared some very sensitive information.
"Umm, what to you propose we do about 'it'?" Koenma asked pointing at the bird.
"Nothing, he will deliver his message just like he was directed to do," Kurama said ripping a piece off of his letter, and scribbling something down on the blank side of it. "It would be rude not to," Kurama explained as he tied the letter to the bird's leg with a piece of string.
"But he heard…" Koenma pointed out.
Dumbledore moved to the lord's side and placed a confident hand on Koenma's shoulder. "So he has, but if I know Mr. Minamino, he probably already has some sort of mind block on the bird," Dumbledore explained. "The bird's memory will be completely worthless to the owner. Hopefully whoever sent 'it' will take it as a challenge and will act prematurely," Dumbledore continued.
Kurama finished his task before turning to face his other two companions. "And so it begins," Kurama said as the bird flapped its large wings and took off into the sky.