BandGeek99: Konnichiwa!!

Depthmon: *looks about ready to kill* Now you finally update!!

The Deimon Commander From Hell: *fingering baseball bat menacingly* You shall pay, aru!! *swings bat… and misses* What the hell, aru?!

BG: *snicker*

TDCFH: *growls, takes aim with bat again* This time I won't miss, aru.

BG: DAH!!! WAAAAIIIT!!

TDCFH: And why should I, aru?

BG: CUZ I HAVE A GOOD REASON!!

Depthmon: Which would be?

BG: *takes deep breath* First of all, there was a massive ice storm in December and most of the state lost power so I didn't work on it then. Next, my computer got sick and we had to make it all better so we took, like, a month doing that. And THEN, I typed and typed and typed and typed and I had the next chapter ALMOST DONE and my stupid computer deletes it all!!

TDCFH: Sucks when that happens, aru.

BG: And THEN, I had DI every day after school for a month and after DI I was always running to the theater for a rehearsal or a dance class or jazz band or something or other and for two weeks, I had been running on fast food and Subway. Regional competition finally came around but two days before I was at rehearsal and tripped over a backpack (because I wasn't paying attention to my feet) and I got a level 3 sprain in my ankle and that Friday was mostly spent at the doctor's office and DI. Then we had our competition and we tied in third with the OTHER team from out school (it was creepy… exact same score. Exact same town. Sketchy? Yeeeeeah.) For our challenge and we both going to State Finals.

Depthmon: *cocks eyebrow* You actually won something?

BG: *shrugs* They might have taken pity on me, Gimpy McGee. *snickers* But probably not. We're too crazy.

Depthmon: Whatever, freakazoid.

BG: There's more.

Depthmon: *jaw drops*

BG: I GOT FREAKING GROUNDED BECAUSE I GOT A C IN MY MATHEMATICS CLASS!! My dad's been really edgy lately because my grades have been "slacking" and I just didn't want to put up with it so I took my punishment like a scared little girl. And of course, the lack of brain juice since I've been too tired to function because of tech week for the local production of the musical "The Boy Friend".

TDCFH: *lowers bat* I guess that's a good reason, aru.

BG: Damn straight, it is!!

Kenny: *gasps* SHE SAID A SWEAR!! *runs around ranting* BandGeek swore, BandGeek swore, BandGeek swore!!

BG: *growls*

Depthmon: *backs out of room slowly.

BG: YOU GAVE HER SUGAR, DIDN'T YOU, YOU SON OF A BANSHEE!!!

TDCFH: *settles down with bowl of popcorn* Aru, this will be better than cable, aru!!

Kenny: Eh heh… ah hah hah… WE DON'T OWN, SO DON'T SUE!!!!

TDCFH: Yeah, aru, and if BandGeek were here, I'm sure she'd say "enjoy," aru.

000

In loving memory of Gage L. and Alex B. You'll always be in our hearts.

000

Harry cautiously opened the door to his potions classroom. On the first day back at school, he half-expected to see Severus Snape at the front of the room, brewing some sort of dark potion like he had for Harry's first five years of school.

When he didn't see the greasy-haired man, however, the teenager let out a deep sigh of relief. He really wasn't ready to deal with Snape, nor would he ever be.

"Harry, m'boy!" a deep, booming voice exclaimed and the skinny teen found himself being pulled into a man-hug by none other than Horace Slughorn.

He tried not to show his discomfort. "H-hello, Professor Slughorn," he said, squirming slightly to free himself from his professor's grip. "How are you?"

"Good, good," Slughorn replied, his watery eyes taking in Harry's being as he held him at arm's length. "And your holidays?"

"Good, sir," Harry replied, his unease not wavering.

"Wonderful, wonderful," Slughorn said, looking rather vague. "Say, Harry, are you familiar with the new exchange students?"

"Yes, sir, why do you ask?"

"Why don't you work with one of them today?" Slughorn asked with a wink.

"Um… sure," Harry replied uncertainly, nodding.

Slughorn released the student from his death grip. "Wonderful!" he said with a grin. "Well, then, I suppose I should let you alone for a bit. Goodbye, Harry!"

"Bye, Professor."

The rotund man found another seventh year to prey on and Harry took the chance to find a seat towards the back of the classroom.

It wasn't long before Tai, Sora, and Matt approached, hotly discussing one thing or another.

"…I'm telling you, Matt, the batteries are dead!" Sora insisted, jabbing a finger in his face. "That's the only reason why your cell isn't working."

"Inconceivable!" Matt roared.

"You keep saying that word," Tai told him with what was supposed to be a Spaniard's accent. "I do not think it means what you think it means."

"My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!" Sora exclaimed in a similar voice and the two grinned and cracked up, stopping in their tracks.

Matt, however, was fuming. He dropped his EMS book bag on the desk beside Harry's and sat down, giving the wall his best "drop-dead" glare. "I hate Mondays," he muttered darkly and Harry couldn't help but crack a smile.

"Alright, class, settle down now," Slughorn boomed and Tai and Sora meandered to a couple of seats in front of Harry and Matt. "Today, we'll be starting on potion identification. Can anyone tell me why this is important?"

Hermione's hand shot up and Harry was mildly surprised. He hadn't seen her come in. "Discerning potions from one another is vital when you can't tell which is a poison or antidote."

Tai turned in his seat and gawked at her, amazed. "How'd you know that?" he hissed.

She smirked, but said nothing.

"Right you are, Miss Granger! Ten points to Gryffindor."

She settled back in her seat, a large grin upon her face.

Slughorn beamed at her with his beady, watery eyes. "All right, everyone split up into groups of two, please. Come now, chop-chop!"

The students of the classroom slowly scraped their heavy wooden chairs against the stone floor and chatter slowly amplified.

Harry glanced over towards Matt, who looked desperate to sink deep into the floor and never return. "Matt?"

Said blonde looked up. "What?" he asked sharply.

"Um… do you want to be my partner for the assignment?" Harry wondered what he was saying even as the words flew from his mouth. It wasn't that he didn't like Matt; he was just fine. It was… It was that he gave off this hostile aura sometimes.

Matt shrugged. "Sure, I guess."

Harry shoved his book bag aside and the two set to work.

For Matt, this was a fairly easy task. Back in eighth grade basic science, he'd had to do something like this to distinguish which out of six substances was water. Not that he'd exactly gotten a good grade on that assignment, but still. At least he knew what he was doing.

Harry watched the blonde work. He was diligent but his mind was obviously elsewhere, as Harry had to stop his new friend from slicing his fingers off three times.

When class was over, Matt picked up his bag and hightailed it out of the classroom, leaving Harry behind to ponder what had him so worked up.

000

Later that evening, Hermione sat in the Gryffindor common room, reading a thick book. It was titled "Remarkable Hexes and Curses of the Far East" and it was obviously rather old from the tattered leather that bound the pages in place. The brunette was immersed in a section on a cursed family that shared bonds with the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Whenever they were hugged by someone outside the zodiac that was of the opposite sex, they changed into the animal by which they were possessed. It was quite fascinating, really, and Hermione was rather curious as to which family it was, and whether or not the new exchange students knew these people. She flipped a page to read about the one person who had been known to break the curse, a girl named Honda-san, when a loud yell startled her.

"HERMIONE-SAMA!" the person yelled and Hermione looked around, much like a confused animal, to see where the sound came from.

It was Tai, running down the steps from the boys' dormitory, holding a large jumble of electronics in his hands. Each screen was blank and the look on the Japanese boy's face was that of utter horror. "Hermione-sama!!"

She closed the book, carefully dog-earing the page. By this time, Hermione had figured out that Tai only called her "Hermione-sama" if he wanted something from her. She stared up at him, looking intimidating. "Yes?"

"Fix them?" he whined, holding out the bundle of gadgetry in his hands. "They don't work."

"Well, of course not!" Hermione exclaimed, biting back a laugh. "You can't get this sort of thing to work here; digital appliances don't take well to magic."

"Can't you make them work again?" The seventeen-year-old was beginning to sound more and more like a small child.

Hermione looked him in the face for a moment before sighing deeply in submission. "Fine." Taking the multitude of electronics, she quietly muttered some elaborate incantations, waving her wand above it before finally handing the hodgepodge of equipment back to Tai.

The brunette's face lit up with glee and he dropped the bundle of smaller devices like his cell phone and Sora's iPod onto the coffee table in front of the hearth. He immediately picked up his laptop and crashed on the second overstuffed armchair, logging onto his Hotmail account and proceeding to I.M. Kari.

Hermione watched him intently. Kari… Who was she? A girlfriend? Or was she the sister he always bragged about? In any case, it seemed he cared a great deal about her, asking for her to repair the laptop so he could talk to this person… Very sentimentally, Hermione set her book down on the floor and watched silently.

"Taaaaaai!!" a feminine voice called, followed by the padding of feet down the girls' dormitory staircase. It was Sora, her red hair pulled up into a low ponytail and her yellow and orange Hello Kitty pajamas. "Kamiya Taichi-sama!" she wailed playfully.

"Look, Sora, I get Wi-Fi in here!"

Sora watched him in amazement and rolled her eyes. "Baka!" she sighed, plopping down next to him, watching over the arm of his chair. "Watcha up to?"

"Talking with Kari."

"Put on some tunes, dude!" he could hear Matt call from the opposite side of the room.

Tai navigated away from the webpage and accessed his iTunes. He double-clicked on a song in the "ska" genre by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and turned the volume up on his computer.

A loud, bright guitar opening blared out of the small speakers and several Gryffindors looked over to see what the fuss was about.

Trumpets and other brass instruments joined them and the music continued.

"Have you ever been close to tragedy?

Close to folks who have?

Have you ever felt the pain so powerful?

So heavy you collapse?"

Several of their kohais stared at the tiny folder-like device in awe.

"What is that?" one whispered quietly. "It's making noises!"

"That's what we call a HP Pavilion," Tai said with a grin, nodding his head and bringing up his instant messenger.

Sora sighed and shook her head. It was just like Tai to ignore everyone else and be his loud, rather obnoxious self. "Maybe you could tone it down a notch?" she hissed to him. "This isn't exactly what's considered normal here."

"We're at a school for wizards, Sor," he pointed out, double clicking on the iTunes store and searching for the latest Tokyo Police Club release. "Nothing here is exactly normal."

She opened her mouth, searching to find a witty comeback, but found none. "Hmph," she pouted, wrapping her arms around her knees. "Bum-face."

Tai smiled widely and went about his business.

000

Matt stretched out on his bed and felt his bones crack. He was exhausted from the time change (still), his new school shoes were obnoxiously tight, and his tie had been strangling him since he put it on. The whole day wasn't going well.

"Hello, Yamato," a heavily accented voice said cheerily. The door squeaked open and footsteps moved the length of the room to the bed next to him. "How was yer day?"

"It was okay," Matt replied with a sigh. "And yours, Seamus?"

"It was abou' the same as always." A thud as Seamus took off his boots and the squeak of the bed as he sat down. "We've an intrestin' Transfiguration teacher this year."

"I guess. He was the one who sold us our wands in Diagon Alley," Matt said casually. "Seemed pretty cool to me."

Seamus didn't say anything, and that suited the Son of Friendship just fine. He was tired. He was cranky. And he didn't know where he could plug in his guitar. This was turning into one hell of a bad day.

Grudgingly, Matt slid off the bed, kicking off his shoes and unbuttoning the top buttons of his shirt. Too stifling, like his uniform back home in Odaiba. He would find Sora or Harry or someone. Someone who knew what to do for… fun.

Downstairs, he saw Tai and Sora in front of a computer screen, like back home when one of them had found a Niko Juang video or something. On the coffee table in front of them sat a jumble of electronics, including the three's iPods and cell phones.

Matt descended the stairs and ambled over, picking up his phone and turning it on while jamming his headphones into his ears with one hand. If he couldn't have his guitar, at least he could have his music. Arigato, Kami-sama… The blonde scrolled through his songs, wondering what he wanted to listen to. Now that he thought about it, he was in the mood for Enema of the State, the awesome album by blink-182. He could really use that right about then.

"Adam's Song" blasted into his mind and he trashed his head around a bit to the beat, strumming an air guitar solo with it. One-and-two, three-and-four, one-and-two, three-and-four… He counted the beats and strums of the bass in his head, eyes shut, not caring that he was standing in the middle of the common room, muttering to himself.

"Has he been jinxed?" one first-year asked quietly.

Tai looked up and saw his friend space-cadet-ing in the middle of the room and smiled wickedly. "Don't worry, I know the counterjinx." He handed his laptop to Sora and approached his best friend from the back. Slowly he reached up so his hands were by Matt's torso, and then he stuck out his first fingers. "TASER!!" he screamed, tasing his friend and causing the blonde to shriek loudly and fall over face first into a table.

Tai backed away and observed his handiwork, smiling innocently. "He's cured."

"Yagami!!" Matt growled, picking himself up, dusting off his pant legs. "You'd better know how to run pretty damn fast…!"

"I know how to compensate!" a new voice said quickly, intervening before either party could attack the other.

Both Japanese students looked towards the door where the voice came from and saw Harry there, looking tired and slightly annoyed.

"Honestly, what's wrong with you two?! Fighting at the drop of a hat?" the dark haired boy demanded, taking a few steps towards his new friends and classmates. "Merlin, I thought I was the worst out there!"

"Compensation?" Matt asked shortly, still glaring daggers at Tai.

"Ah, yes." Harry smiled. "I will fix your amp and guitar so you may play here at Hogwarts, if, and only if, you make an effort to better tolerate Tai and try to make some new friends. I know you can do it."

Matt watched Harry intently for a moment before sighing and nodding. It was worth it, for his guitar. Anything was worth being able to play again.

Harry smiled and disappeared into the boys' dormitories, returning a few minutes later telling Matt that his spell was successful and he would be able to play once more.

Matt silently thanked Kami. Maybe he wouldn't end up going insane here after all.

000

Sorry once more for the inexcusably long wait!

BTW, I'm watching Fullmetal Alchemist now… You people should watch it too! I'm going to read the manga when I'm done with the anime (because, apparently, they're very different) but so far, I'm on episode 10 (yes, I'm very pathetic) and I've already cried. It's a very touching series. Not too much shojo-ness, but still: awesome none-the-less.

...Edward cannot POSSIBLY be twelve years old. Here's my thought: at the Military, they all mistake him for being twelve years old. I believe that in actuality, he's 15. He's impossibly short, though! It's like... holy crap. But he's hot. He's got an auto-mail (metal) arm and leg from when he and his brother got injured in an alchemy accident. It's a really intense show.

Anyhoo, I'll let you go now! Reviews? Please?

Laterz!
~BANDGEEK