A/N: Hello there! *dodges rocks, knives, and other sharp, pointy objects* For the lateness of this chapter I can only say I'm sorry.
Please read! To all those worried about the slash: I am well aware of the potential creep factor. That's why I cast the vote. Since slash won I'm creating a version of Harry that is filled with a lot of contradictions. He isn't mentally young, he's just sort of acted as he thought people wanted him to act; which was dog-like. There are things that he'll be very naive about, but more along the lines of a boy who has grown up extremely sheltered. No one thinks to tell a dog about the birds and the bees, eh?
Also rest assured; Wufei will not see Harry in any sort of carnal light for quite a long while. This story will be happening over the course of years.
You Are Safe Behind Your Mask
Hermione had always been one to read books in her spare time and follow all the rules. She was a very bright girl; cultivating knowledge for pure enjoyment as well as her grades. She was a model student that every teacher dreamed of and just because she went to a school of witchcraft and wizardry that had not changed.
However, Hermione was also a person who took in the world around her; even though others thought she was lost in her books. She was a very fastidious girl and took notice to small details that many others overlooked, that and she was insatiably curious. That, coupled with the fact that for the first few years at Hogwarts she had had no friends and therefore much free time, once she had a mystery she would go full tilt until she had all the answers; like a dog with a bone.
It was what had helped her solve the mystery of why Quirrell kept talking to himself and sneaking around in first year. It was what helped her notice that something was very wrong with Ginny during second year. It was how she learned Professor Lupin was a werewolf in third year. And it was what caused her to help Neville during the Triwizard Tournament last year.
The teachers were still trying to figure out how she knew that Ron's rat was Peter Pettigrew and that Professor Moody had really been a death eater in disguise. She hadn't been about to tell them that the map she had been given by the twins (mainly for saving their sister, but also because they thought she really needed to lighten up) had seen right through Barty Crouch Junior's polyjuice and Pettigrew's animagus transformation.
Fourth year had been a very eventful year.
Not many people knew these things about her, just a few of the teachers and Ginny. She hadn't wanted anyone else to find out. Neville had no clue just how close he had come to being dragged away to who-knew-where in the final task for who-knew-what kind of dark ritual that would have brought back Voldemort... or something like that.
Or at least that was what Dumbledore had told her.
Hermione was a firm believer that if you discovered something important, so long as you had all the answers ready, teachers would have to listen to you; especially if you'd been right before.
So when she found out that her teachers had been asking the circus performers if they had seen a boy named Harry Potter, she knew that the whole go-see-a-muggle-circus-for-a-weekend-to-learn-that-muggles-are-human-too trip was a cover-up.
They had obviously found some information that lead to the missing boy-who-lived being around here. It made sense since this circus was from the colonies and no tracking or locating spell worked outside of the earth itself. If Harry had been living with the circus until now then the reason no one could find him was explained.
However if this was true, then for the first time she had questions that didn't seem to have any proper answers. True Harry had defeated Voldemort when he was a baby by some sort of luck or protection that had backfired on the evil wizard. True he was a powerful political figure, even if he didn't know it. But why were the teachers searching for him? They had a division in the ministry that searched for missing students. Harry Potter had been declared dead four years ago when the magical quills of every school for magic in the world had passed over his name when addressing the acceptance letters.
And in a place where they were searching for the missing-presumed-dead boy-who-lived, why was there a shaggy black dog, with shocking green eyes, and a white lightning bolt on its brow? And why had Professor's McGonagall and Snape been talking about said dog and animagi? And why had they left the campsite once they thought the students were all asleep, leaving only Mme Hooch to keep watch?
All the unanswered questions were making Hermione antsy. Especially since the only explanations she could come up with for why Harry Potter had come to be an animagus, and apparently stayed in that form, were almost too unpleasant to even contemplate.
Unless he'd gotten a mysterious tutor and was hiding out for a reason, it would have had to have been accidental magic. But since accidental magic was most often triggered by strong emotions like stress, fear, anger and need... she didn't want to think of what could have caused enough stress to trigger an accidental animagus transformation. The most advanced recorded magic to happen accidentally in children was apparition and that only happened when the child's magic recognized that the child was in terrible danger.
With sleep seeming to be too elusive for her at the moment, she stretched and got out of the tent, walking towards the fire. To the casual observer there was nothing unusual about their fire. But if one knew what to look for they would notice that it burned evenly and steadily. Mme Hooch, sitting to the side and spinning her golden shades in one hand, wasn't tending it so much as staring into the fiery depths unseeingly.
She looked up when Hermione sat down though, "Are you okay Miss Granger?"
Hermione sighed before answering, "I'm fine, I just couldn't sleep," than looking around casually she asked, "Where are Professor's McGonagall and Snape?"
Mme Hooch narrowed her eyes which, coming from a woman with golden hawk-like eyes, was somewhat intimidating, "None of your business Miss Granger. They had to get some work done. They'll be back shortly."
Now Hermione was 100% certain something was going on. No matter how nonchalantly Hooch had said it, worry was etched in her words. Hermione sighed quietly and stared into the fire, trying to put the pieces together. However, an hour passed with her thoughts still spinning in circles and Professor's Snape and McGonagall still having not returned.
She was about to go back to bed and try to sleep when Ron and Neville stumbled out of the Gryffindor boy's tent. Ron yawned and made his way to the lavatory while Neville settled down beside Hermione, rubbing his eyes.
Looking at her he spoke quietly, "Ron said you guys played with a dog today," he raised an eyebrow. Neville knew keenly of Hermione's frustration with his red-headed friend, but frankly, it made him feel rather awkward that the two so strongly expressed their dislike of one another.
"Yes, well, he can be rather nice when he isn't being a prat," she grumbled.
Neville hoped that this was a sign that the two of them were working out their differences. Hermione may not have been a very close friend, but she was a friend none-the-less and it put a kink in things when she and his best friend were constantly at each other's throats.
They fell into a companionable silence, watching the fire and merely nodding when Ron came back and joined them in their vigil. No one spoke until, "Mme. Hooch, are you okay?"
Hermione had rather forgotten about Hooch sitting at the other side of the fire, but when Ron asked that she noticed that their teacher looked almost panicked.
"Hmmm? No, nothing's wrong Mr. Weasley. Shouldn't you all be in bed?" she demanded.
"Can't sleep," they all answered as one. Looking at each other they laughed quietly. Mme. Hooch smiled as well, but it was tight and forced.
It was just as midnight rolled around that anything happened. Their missing teacher's came over the hill from the direction of the employee's tents and trailers. Mme. Hooch almost tripped, she got up so fast. She ran over to the other teachers and the three began to have a heated discussion.
"They don't have their wands!" Hermione whispered furiously to Neville and Ron. Both boys gave her stunned looks, "Snape usually wears his on his wrist, McGonagall has a special front pocket. They don't have them!"
Almost instinctively, Hermione carefully and discreetly scanned the clearing. If their teacher's didn't have their wands then something was very wrong. Sure enough, hidden in the trees (so well hidden in fact that if she wasn't so very good at picking out details she would have missed him) was the tall clown from the knife throwing show. He was wearing dark clothing now and no make-up, but it was defiantly him. He was watching their camp intently and it rather gave her the feeling that they were under guard. When his eyes met hers she froze.
Hearing Ron gasp however she turned from the hidden man to see Snape storming towards them. He had a gash across his cheek and he was holding his one arm awkwardly. She barely registered him yelling at them to go to bed. There would be little sleep for her tonight.
Her mind was in high gear.
It had taken quite a bit to calm Yù Jié down after Quatre had started interrogating the intruders. The boy had been almost child-like in his need to be comforted as he had curled up in Wufei's lap, though it had been something he'd often done as a dog and Wufei wondered if he could really see it as child-like, or just dog-like.
Eventually he had calmed down when Wufei started stroking his head as he had done when the boy had been a dog. Really, he felt very awkward with Yù Jié in human form.
At the same time Wufei was trying to process the information that Quatre was gaining while his logic screamed at him that this had to be some kind of trick.
It was hard to comprehend the idea that there was an entire other world on Earth that existed alongside the normal one, completely hidden, and had done so for thousands of years. To further compound his disbelief this magical world was in the beginnings of a war; a war between wizards and witches; over blood purity of all things.
When Quatre asked what they wanted Yù Jié for they had both fallen silent, though the onna's silence had been unsure. Heero cocked his gun and fired one shot with his silencer. The bullet exploded through one lamp and buried itself in the thicker-than-normal trailer wall. Snape had paled to a sickly off-white shade but McGonagall, though her eyes did widen exponentially and her hand flew to her chest, seemed to straighten before narrowing her eyes again; much like a stern teacher who was about to tell of her unruly students.
The long gouge on Snape's cheek spoke volumes of how little patience they had for the intruders. It was as Snape remained as silent as any of them would under torture that McGonagall got a very calculating look in her eye.
"How far," she asked, "are any of you willing to go to protect Harry... sorry, Yù Jié?"
It was a strange question to ask under the circumstances; considering all she had tried to do and all that had been revealed. Their answer must have satisfied something in her though, because she relaxed into her bindings and began to tell the story of Harry Potter; completely talking over Snape's protests that she shut up.
"Since we needed to protect him, one of the most powerful and trusted wizards currently alive invoked blood wards on his relatives house and sent him to live with them. These wards would prevent anyone with ill intent for Harry or his relatives to even go near the area," Yù Jié began to tremble more violently as she continued, "When he disappeared we didn't know why. His relatives said he ran away..."
She had been interrupted when Yù Jié had suddenly started screaming and crying, "Why did you leave me with them?" Trembling with rage and helplessness he had picked up a lamp and hurled it at them before screaming wordlessly. Wufei was seized by the urge to find those Dursley's and kill them. Painfully.
Duo was the first to move, gently scooping up the raging boy and carrying him out of the trailer. Heero shook his head when Wufei went to follow.
Turning his attention back to the teachers, he was surprised at the look of fury on McGonagall's face. Tears seemed to leak out on their own accord before she dashed them away angrily and straightened even further, she seemed lit by a determination.
"The blood wards were set to fall when he no longer considered his relatives house home, but when they fell, none of the tracking systems could find him," she continued without being asked, "Believe me when I say, we have many different ways of tracking a person; some of which only the most powerful wizards or witches can deceive. A boy of nine would not have been capable.
"When we were suddenly able to track him last month... you have no idea. Many had given into the belief that he was dead. To have that hope again was... almost agonizing."
"Why," Wufei already had a growing suspicion when Quatre asked that question, "Why does it matter?"
"There are many reasons why it matters," McGonagall said with a very serious air, "The first for me was that he is his parent's child. Lily and James, while being my students at first, were great and close friends. The thought that we had lost their son, that we had consigned him to living with those... that I had not trusted my instincts from the start..."
Again she was scrubbing her eyes furiously, "I was there, the night he was left with the Dursley's. I had been watching them all day and I knew that they were not good people. I argued that he should not be left with them because my every instinct said it was a horrible idea. But my trust in Dumbledore had never before been proven unfounded. He said that it was the safest place, the only place he could grow up free of both those that would hurt him and those that would worship him.
Snape was staring at her like she'd grown a second head. Wufei was amazed that anyone could trust a person so much that they'd go against their screaming instincts. "The second reason it matters," McGonagall continued, "is that He-who-must-not -be-named is still very much alive and that prophecy is still in effect. The scar on his forehead is proof of it."
"How so?" Quatre ground out.
"Only a few people know the prophecy in full, Headmaster Dumbledore, Professor Snape, and myself. The part that Voldemort knew was only that there would be a boy, born at the end of the seventh month, who would destroy him. The full prophecy..."
"Minerva you blithering idiot, think before you speak!" Snape suddenly roared, "These are muggles, they have no means of protecting their minds! Anyone could come and pluck the full prophecy out of their open book heads and bring it back to the Dark Lord and then we would be astronomically screwed!"
Heero aimed his gun, but Snape was having no more, "Threaten me all you like, but you have no inkling of the madness and depravity that is the Dark Lord! Take those disgusting scientists that made you who you are, take your Oz, and take your Mariemaia Army and know that none of them even come close to what the Dark Lord is!"
Wufei paled, how did this man... "What I can do, reading your minds like this, plucking information that you barely speak of to each other let alone anyone else right out of your puny minds is something that very few wizards can do with any skill, but most of those who can are on the Dark Lord's side! You think you can protect that boy? You have no chance!"
Silence followed this rant. What could they say? This man had rummaged through their minds like they were unsecured file cabinets and dragged out information that was so top secret that getting the actual documents was literally impossible thanks to Heero. But the boys were nothing if not determined; this was merely a new obstacle to overcome.
"It seems we are at an impasse with regards to information then," Quatre said, sapphire eyes glittering dangerously, "01, 05, please escort the professors back to their camp- sans wands of course. You can contact this Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, since he seems to be a leader of some kind to you. When he arrives we will discuss this matter more thoroughly."
"Discuss?" Snape was staring at Quatre with sheer disbelief, "What is there to discuss? You..."
Quatre cut his rant off with a razor sharp glare that spoke of him being very close to Zero. Snape actually swallowed visibly at the hint of insanity in those azure eyes. He nodded at Trowa as Wufei moved to join Heero. Trowa silently vanished from the trailer and Heero gave Quatre their wands.
Wufei shoved down his impatience as they escorted the professors back to their camp; McGonagall: silent and contemplating, Snape: just fuming. After they left them at camp, Heero circled around to join Trowa in watching the camp and Wufei headed for Duo and Heero's trailer.
Duo looked up when Wufei entered the trailer. "He's really smart," Duo spoke quietly, indicating to the sleeping Yù Jié, "I got him to calm down by correcting his speech. It distracted him and gave him something else to focus on. He's picking it up all speedy-like."
"It is most likely a matter of him re-learning something he already knows," Wufei sat at the table beside Duo to watch the sleeping boy. "He was about nine or so when the Dursley's abandoned him from what I gathered of the story." *
"Yeah," they watched Yù Jié shift in his sleep, issuing a small desperate sound, "Heero's going to look for information on the Dursley's." Duo said after a moment of silence. Wufei didn't ask how Duo knew this, since Heero hadn't spoken to Duo since he had carried Yù Jié from the trailer. He knew that it was simply a matter of Duo knowing Heero intimately in all matters. He also knew where Duo was headed with this matter.
"'Something of vengeance I had tasted for the first time; as aromatic wine it seemed, on swallowing, warm and racy: it's after-flavour, metallic and corroding, gave me a sensation as if I had been poisoned,'" Wufei murmured softly. **
"Yeah well, Mr. Scholar, how about 'Anyone can rat, but it takes a certain amount of ingenuity to re-rat.'" ***
"'You cannot get ahead while you are getting even.'"****
"Oh would you stop it!" Glaring violet met cool onyx, "Do you not want them to suffer just a little for what they..."
"I want them dead," Wufei spat out, "But it would do absolutely nothing for Yù Jié."
Silence descended until Yù Jié suddenly curled into a whimpering ball, formless pleas escaped his lips too quiet for even the two former Gundam pilots to make out what he was pleading for. But both moved forward to offer comfort; Duo gently unwrapping Yù Jié's tightly clenched fingers and encasing them in his own callused hands; Wufei brushing matted, raven tangles from Yù Jié's face, soothing the pained frown lines away.
Duo pouted, "Can we at least drown them in financial turmoil?"
Hermione rubbed crusts of sleep from her eyes and yawned tiredly as she once again separated from the others during free time. She was hoping to find Yù Jié again and relax. The cute dog had been very good at getting her to relax.
The teacher's had all been cranky and on edge today. It was seeping into the students as well. Several scuffles had broken out and been met with harsh rebukes. Malfoy had said some nasty things to her and of all people Ronald Weasley had defended her, along with a very anxious Neville.
Then just before lunch Ron had ruined her temporary appreciation by spewing his own special brand of idiocy. All of that, coupled with her exhaustion from lack of sleep and the lack of answers she had for the questions currently besieging her had made today a rather bad day.
So here she was walking through the circus tents, looking for a dog that apparently could only be found when he wanted to be. It was as she was turning around the corner of a particularly colourful tent that she heard a shout and a figure collided with her, driving the air from her lungs. She and the other person fell in a tangle of limbs.
"'M sorry! 'M sorry," came a hesitant voice, "Oh, H'moine!"
Hermione looked up startled and meet the bright green eyes of... "Harry Potter!" she squeaked.
The green eyes darkened and the boy crossed his arms with a huff of annoyance, "'M not Harry Potter," he growled, before the anger melted and he looked at her, smiling, "'M Yù Jié, remember?"
Hermione gasped as a good deal of the puzzle pieces she had been mulling over fell into place. As quick as the thoughts were to arrange themselves in her mind, she was still taken by surprise when Harry... no Yù Jié's weight diminished as he was bodily lifted off her. So much for paying attention to her surroundings, she hadn't even seen Wufei come up. Yù Jié struggled for a bit before giving up and looking rather put out.
"This is the exact reason I told you to stay inside until these people were gone, Yù Jié," Wufei admonished.
"Was bored," Yù Jié muttered, "'M still getting used to walking right?"
"...it's true," Hermione whispered from where she was still sprawled on the ground. She was staring at Yù Jié, trying to focus beyond the whirlwind of thoughts in her head.
Wufei narrowed his eyes when she spoke and she felt very intimidated by the coal black glare, "You will come with us," he said, his tone booking no argument.
Swallowing, she got to her feet and dusted herself off before waiting to see where he would take her. Wufei shifted Yù Jié in his arms until they were chest to chest and he had a better grip on the smaller teen. Yù Jié watched Hermione over his shoulder and as if responding to her fear he began making silly faces at her.
As Wufei carried Yù Jié back to the trailer he inwardly argued with himself. He didn't quite know what he was going to do with the girl. It hardly seemed right to threaten her to silence, but how was he going to impress upon this girl the importance of it? It was something he'd have to consult with Quatre about.
He held Yù Jié close to keep the struggling teen from getting loose. He wasn't quite used to his new limbs yet, but he was strangely good at getting loose if they didn't pay attention. Even Wufei had found it amusing when Yù Jié had slipped right out of Heero's 'perfect soldier' hold. Until he had gotten out of the tent they were in and took off. His movements weren't very co-ordinated yet, but he was fast.
Entering the tent that Yù Jié had run from he nodded at Quatre, noting the absence of Heero, Trowa, and Duo, and the indicated to a chair for the girl to sit in. He was glad when she did so in silence.
"If I let you go, will you stay in this tent Yù Jié?"
"Fine," Yù Jié muttered, "But 'm not staying still."
"You rarely did when you were a dog, we hardly expect you to now," was Quatre's amused reply.
Wufei took that moment to let Yù Jié go and the teen stumbled a bit before straightening and then grinning widely at Wufei, "Like being human, 'm taller than you now!" It was true, much to Wufei's consternation. The teen had gotten his feet underneath him and stood up straight for the first time in a very long time that morning... and had shown himself to be almost an inch taller than Wufei.
He was healthy. They had kept him healthy as a dog and apparently it had translated over into his original form; though the muscles were developed in an odd way that made him awkward when walking. Wufei knew they would have to study this animagus magic to learn what possible effect would come with Yù Jié spending such a long time in that form.
Quatre was full out giggling now and so too, it appeared, was the onna. He turned to glare at her, freshly reminded of the problem of what to do with her and the knowledge she now held.
She paled at his glare and then paled further when Trowa walked in followed by Snape, McGonagall, and a tall old man with an incredibly long white beard. Duo and Heero brought up the rear. Yù Jié disappeared behind a curtained off section that made the 'rooms' of the bigger tent.
"Professor Dumbledore," she murmured, looking like she'd rather be anywhere else.
"Ms. Granger," the old man called Dumbledore smiled with a fair amount of amusement, "You do manage to always find yourself in the thick of things don't you? What an interesting star you must have been born under, one day you should talk to Professor Sinistra about it."
"With all due respect sir, I don't hold much faith in things like Divination and Astrology."
"Really? Well they can be a bit spotty sometimes, but Sinistra has always had interesting things to say about the stars, it's why she teaches astronomy you..."
"Professor Dumbledore, sir, I think the more pressing issue here is why Ms. Granger is present in this room at all," McGonagall shifted the conversation in a way that said she had done so many times before. Wufei was a little shocked; this man appeared senile, not powerful. The difference between how McGonagall had spoken of him and how he acted made Wufei think that it was just that: an act.
"She saw Yù Jié and recognized him," Wufei spoke, "I brought her here to keep her from spreading classified information."
The teen looked highly affronted at that.
Quatre stepped forward meeting Dumbledore in the centre of the tent, "We have many things to discuss today and it seems that the issue of what to do with Ms. Granger has become another one..."
"What do you mean by that," McGonagall stepped forward with a dark look on her face.
"From what you described last night of your 'mind spells,'" here Quatre shot Snape a bored look, "makes it apparent that it is a skill that takes years of training to become proficient in and is not something widely taught. This makes me highly doubtful that Ms. Granger can protect her mind any more than we can at the moment. It would be... foolish to send her back to a place where anyone could pick the secret of Yù Jié's location from her mind."
"You can't just up and decide to take her out of school and into hiding with you!" McGonagall seethed, impressing Wufei with her ferocious protectiveness of her student. "Who do you think you are to just take away her choices like that!"
"Like you wanted to take away Yù Jié's choices?" Quatre smiled sharply, "Like you wanted to steal him away in the night from the only people he's ever trusted?"
McGonagall reeled back as though she had been slapped. She fell silent.
Dumbledore patted McGonagall on the shoulder then sighed, "It seems this will be a long conversation. Shall we get comfortable then?" and without waiting for an answer he waved his wand and several large, comfy, yet regal looking chairs materialized with poof noises. He settled down in a deep red one, his eyes twinkling.
Quatre, after only a moment's pause, sat down in a white one that almost looked like a mini-throne.
The negotiations began.
"We are not sending him to your school and that is final!"
"Mr. Chang, please see reason," Dumbledore held up placating hands which only succeeded in making Wufei itch to draw his katana and- "He needs to learn how to harness and control his magic."
"He also needs to learn how to act like a human again. He's spent the last six years as a dog; being treated like a dog. There are a great many things learnt between the ages of ten to fifteen that he has not learned, because dogs do not need to be taught these things. Not to mention that he sees us as family. In his current state of mind, no matter how it is explained, he will see the action of us sending him off to boarding school as a form of abandonment!"
The argument had been going back and forth between them for awhile now and it was beginning to grate on Wufei's last nerve. How could the old man not see how detrimental it would be to send Yù Jié away?
"Mr Chang," the older wizard was by far the most annoying of all of them. McGonagall was impertinent, but she was willing to listen to reason, as she seemed to put the welfare of children above everything else. Snape was threatening and- well, creepy was what Duo had called him and that seemed to fit. But the old man was genial and patronizing enough to set Wufei's teeth on edge; definitely a man who saw his view as being the only view.
The type of man that became blinded to the consequences of his actions in the name of the 'greater good' until it was too late to do anything but regret.
He would not let Yù Jié's happiness and mental well being, be sacrificed because of some prophecy. Hell he didn't even believe there was such a thing.
"...needs to be taught in a proper school." Wufei decided to cut the man short.
"Yù Jié has been living as a dog for the last six or so years; living as a stray dog on the streets before I found him; living with uncaring, abusive relatives before that. When I found him he didn't trust anyone at all. That he came to trust me is a miracle in and of itself. When he came under the care of the circus and ourselves it was a very slow process of getting him used to being around people, but that was all as a dog.
"He needs to be slowly integrated into society and the best way to do that is to start with an atmosphere that is familiar and comfortable with. Throwing him into a school filled with children and people he doesn't know, in an atmosphere he has never experienced at all is not going to be conductive..." Wufei held up his hand for silence when it looked like Dumbledore was about to interrupt.
"Furthermore, as you yourself said, schooling starts when young wizards and witches are eleven. He has, at best, four years to catch up on. This is not something you can achieve in a school where the teachers have to focus on all of their students, rather than just one. Personal tutors and homeschooling are the only way he can even hope to catch up to his age group.
"Finally, as I've already mentioned several times, the last thing Yù Jié needs right now is to think we no longer want him when we send him off to a boarding school. He is not going!"
For a moment Dumbledore said nothing and Wufei was beginning to wonder if they would have to shoot the man's knee caps out to make him see that he was not going to win this argument. Then finally the man nodded.
"Excellent!" Quatre nodded happily, "I could not have said any of that better myself, Wufei." Wufei quirked an eyebrow at that since the only reason he had ended up stepping in was because his anger would not let him remain silent.
"Now," Quatre looked positively shark-like, "let's talk about tutors, and about how Ms. Granger is going to remain behind without raising any suspicion."
The three professors and their student gapped.
From where he had hidden in the other room, Yù Jié smiled fondly. His family really was the best. Though he hated to think about his past and everything that had happened to him before Wufei had approached him with those sausages, he was, in a way, thankful that everything he had suffered had led him to this.
His smile turned slightly feral as he thought of what was happening now. Magic. The word was a powerful one in his mind. The first time he had ever used it he had been beaten senseless by his uncle. 'Magic doesn't exist!' his uncle had screamed at him.
But it does, Yù Jié thought. Magic existed and he was going to learn it. He would become strong; strong enough to protect his family. They were defenceless against it if they were caught unaware. He knew that if it hadn't been for whatever it was he had done, Wufei and the others would have slept on, oblivious.
He was excited and giddy with happiness. But he was also determined. This Voldemort that McGonagall and Dumbledore had mentioned sounded very powerful and very dangerous.
But Yù Jié refused to let this unknown enemy cow him.
He let out a very canine growl.
Minerva watched her mentor and long time friend pace the teacher's tent. Snape was watching the fire and Hooch was sleeping, so neither was here to bear witness to the sight of an unsure Dumbledore. Worry made him appear so much older than he was and considering he was over a hundred that was something. She watched him, unsure of what he was thinking.
They had come to an agreement with the teenage muggles who were far too mature for their age. Much like her students now were being forced to mature, much like her students back... then had been forced to mature. These boys were children raised in war. They had been right in the thick of it, that much was painfully obvious without Severus' mind games last night.
And they had gotten what they wanted.
Indeed, three days from now Hermione Granger would contract a rare 'sickness' that would take her away from her school and family. She would be coming back to this circus with two hand-picked teachers that were a part of the Order and able to leave without being missed. The girl had seemed to not car as much as Minerva thought she would. Indeed Hermione had seemed rather calm and slightly excited about the whole thing.
Sighing, Minerva focused again on Albus.
"Minerva, please help me here," Albus suddenly spoke, looking up at her, "We need to think of a way to get Harry away from these muggles. They simply are not equipped to protect him properly. We need to think of a proper plan of action."
Minerva stared in shock. The man was being really obtuse on this one.
"Albus," she snapped, seething at her mentor's blatant stupidity on this matter, "There is no 'plan of action' to get Harry back. He has found family with these boys and considering his history so far, we will be doing everything in our power to keep them all safe.
"They are the ones who will be taking care of him, this is a closed matter," her voice was starting to rise with the helpless anger she felt.
"Minerva, surely you see that he is safest with us..."
"Safest!" Minerva was sure that if she had any draconian blood in her, she'd be breathing fire right now, "He was supposed to be safest under the blood wards and care of the Dursley's! And we all know how that turned out, don't we!" She stormed up to him, jabbing a finger into his chest. Albus fell completely silent before the sheer fury in his friend's stance and eyes.
"You will do every bloody damn thing you can to protect his new family and home. You'd better bend over backwards to make this work Albus! Fates! I feel like saying 'I told you so,' doesn't quite do justice to your sheer foolishness... it reminds me that I put faith in you that night, even though it went against every instinct I had!"
Her voice broke under the strain of screaming at him and she stood there, fists clenching and body trembling with all the pent up emotions that she had been hiding since that gut-wrenching moment she had learned Harry, the child of two people she had loved dearly, was missing; nowhere to be found. When she spoke next her voice was quiet and her eyes bore into his, "I believed you to be making the best choice and that makes me wonder if I can ever believe that of you again."
With that she turned and marched into her quarters.
For a long while Albus stared after her. Then his head slowly hung, making him look frail and every bit his one hundred and fifteen years.
In that moment he felt so very unwise and incredibly lost.
On the Harry/Yù Jié name issue: I have a huge bit I want to do with it. Mwahahahaha. Plans.
*- He was 8, but they don't know about the year he spent on London's streets yet. My thoughts on this is that even though he was thrown out, as the only home he'd ever known he still considered the Dursley's house 'home.' So the 'until he no longer calls their house home' clause wouldn't have failed and that tiny locator-needle globe in Dumbledore's office wouldn't have moved much since Surrey and London are veeeery close together on a small globe.
**- Charlotte Bronte
***- Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (3)
****- Dick Armey