Chapter 40

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was a hive of activity. Breakfast was winding down to an end. Students began drifting off to their first class of the late spring day. The foreign students staying at the school that year for the Triwizard Tournament milled about, sometimes mixing with the host school's students. Teachers prepped their rooms for the long day ahead. Outside centuries old leaded windows the sun shone brightly in a clear azure backdrop. The Forbidden Forest and sloping lawn composing the school grounds flushed with healthy green growth.

In a way it was like Kurama never left. Familiar scents, sights, and sounds enveloped his senses in an almost soothing manner. It distracted him from the small feeling of guilt over leaving his recovering mother's side though it was her who insisted upon it. With the Black family home renovated there really wasn't much reason for him to stay. Sirius would be there for her and Remus would undoubtedly checkup on them. But that didn't make him feel any less guilty. Kurama shook it away and went off to class. Friendly faces greeted him as he passed. Few stopped to welcome him back. Apparently news of his mother's illness had spread around. Eventually he made it to the Charms classroom. Many of his classmates were waiting outside for Professor Flitwick to arrive.

"Shuichi!"

That was all the warning he got before a bushy brown blur slammed into him. Air whooshed out of his lungs from the force. He felt arms wrap around his middle tightly as though he was a fly trying to escape a spider's web. Through the blind of thick hair he saw Ron and Neville grinning at him. Hermione pulled away, big brown eyes shinning with unshed tears.

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry about your mother! That was horrible! How's she doing? Is she better now?" the normally articulate girl rambled on. Shuichi blinked at the outburst.

"Hermione, do you really think he'd be here if she wasn't?" Ron asked. Hermione turned to him, eyes flashing.

"She's just fine." Shuichi injected to prevent a fight from breaking out. "Apparently our house was built with toxic materials and a hole in the air ducts caused the toxins to circulate into the house. It was a little touch and go for a while but she recovered. Right now she's staying with Sirius black. They're old friends."

Hermione sighed with relief. Ron and Neville gave the two confused looks. Luckily the diminutive teacher showed up before Shuichi had to explain to the two of them what air ducts were. Taking up a spot near the back with his friends he comfortably moved back into the school environment. Today was quite laidback as the class was practicing the Banishing Charm, the opposite of the Summoning Charm learned earlier that year. Shuichi was surprised at how slowly the courses were moving along this year. He didn't think that the tournament would impede the classes that much.

Each student was given a pillow to practice the Banishing Charm. Ideally the student first summon it from across the relatively small room then attempt to send it back. Naturally, the students had ideas of their own. It didn't take long for the class to reduce to a big pillow fight. The soft white pillows became cushy missiles. Downy feathers fell life snow. Shrieks of laughter filled the air. Poor Flitwick got knocked off his stack of books by a stray pillow and wisely stayed down. They should've stopped but everyone was having too much fun. Even Hermione. Class really shouldn't be so fun.

Thankfully for Professor Flitwick the bell tolled about an hour later, signaling the end of the first class. The feather war stopped as the students filed out the door. A few stayed behind to help put the room back together as a sort of penance. Shuichi, Ron, Hermione, and Neville strode along the crowded halls staggering with their mirth. An odd vibration in the pocket of the pants he wore beneath his robes pulled Shuichi back to earth. Other than his wand there was one object that would do that. He could only hope that it wouldn't cause him to miss too much of Transfiguration, McGonagall wasn't very lenient.

Telling his comrades that he had to take care of business he headed towards the boy's restroom. Finding an empty hall he dodged into one of the disserted classrooms. Ignoring the years of dust tickling his nose Kurama pulled out his wand effectively locking and silencing the room. Confidant that he wouldn't be disturbed, the yoko pulled out the communicator Koenma had given him upon his release from the Reikai prison. The deceptively young prince appeared on the screen.

"I'm sorry for the interruption but I've got some bad news." the prince said. His body was tense.

"How bad?" Kurama asked.

"I've been looking into the situation with Voldemort since you've brought it to my attention." Koenma explained. "Quite frankly I thought the man dead. But somehow he's alive, becoming a sort of parasite that lives off others till their bodies just can't take the strain anymore. What ever Dark magic he practiced has made him no longer ningen. It appears that he seeks to restore his former power and regain his own body. And the Triwizard Tournament is giving him the perfect moment. I don't know how he plans on going about this but if that impersonating teacher is one of his men it must have something to do with the tournament. You and Hiei need to stop it somehow. The last time Voldemort was in power he brought over a number of yokai that reeked havoc on the Ningenkai."

"I understand."

"I'm counting on you Kurama."

The screen went black. Kurama stared at it for a moment before taking down the silencing charm on the room and unlocking the door. Outside the halls only had a few straggling students rushing along. By some stroke of luck he slid into the Transfiguration classroom before the bell chimed once more. As he took a seat next to Neville he couldn't help but sigh.

'Just my luck.'

xXx

It was late afternoon. Classes were over for the day leaving students free to do as they pleased. Some did their homework, others hung out with friends. Ron, Neville, and Hermione spent a good few hours filling their friend in on what he missed. Hagrid stood up against the mayhem the Daily Prophet let loose by revealing his heritage with Dumbledore, Headmistress of Beauxbatons Madame Maxine, and the Champions as backup. The Second Task was to rescue someone from the Black Lake within an hour which Cedric Diggory won. They would've talked on and on but Kurama was on a mission. He needed information and there was really only one person who would know or even discuss it freely.

Albus Dumbledore looked at him over his half-moon spectacles with a somber face. His blue eyes didn't twinkle for once. The yoko wanted to squirm in the comfortable armchair he sat in from the intense look. He wasn't entirely sure if Koenma would approve of turning to the Headmaster but seeing as he was one of the few who knew the Dark Lord he didn't have much choice. Besides, he had a school full of children he had to protect.

"I'm afraid I don't know the specifics of Dark magic but I know enough to guess at what kind Voldemort would try." Dumbledore explained. "It's ancient magic. Barbaric. Blood magic. Not many know of its existence yet it was one of the first to be practiced."

"So he'll need blood?" the yoko guessed.

"Not just anyone's blood. The blood of an enemy. An enemy's blood would be swirling with negative energies such as loathing and hate. It is these energies that fuel Dark magic. I suspect he tried to drag you into the tournament to get at you but the safety measure I put in place prevented that from happening. Now he'll likely settle for one of the Champions. It's his way of getting back at me. He knows how much I care for children."

"Is there someway to stop the tournament then?" Kurama inquired.

"It wouldn't matter if we stop the tournament, he'll just go after someone else. Or he'll simply have the imposter Moody bring you to him. By letting things go on we have a chance of pinpointing Voldemort's location and not only stop him but his Death Eaters." Kurama leapt out of the chair and began to pace about the Headmaster's office.

"But that would still give him the opportunity to regain his body" he reasoned. "And what if he escapes? It would be war. That's an outcome that my superior would very much like to avoid. There's enough on his plate without deranged lunatics and ravenous yokai adding to it."

"I'm aware of that but what else is there? At least we would be able to fight against him before he has a chance to regroup."

Kurama stormed out. People jumped out of his way as he passed. He had no idea where he was going but at least he was doing something. His blood boiled. Outside the fresh air did little to sooth him. It was then that he knew where he was going. Brush and twigs rustled and snapped as he waded into the gloom of the Forbidden Forest. Hiei appeared before him, instinctively taking a defensive stance.

"Hiei, how fast are you?" the yoko demanded more than asked.

"Why?" the jaganshi shot back suspiciously.

Somehow that defiant comment sent him over the edge. He rushed at Hiei barehanded. Hiei readily matched him blow for blow. Birds took flight as the fight intensified. They danced around each other stepping all over the vegetation. Yoki swirled about freely, clashing like their bodies. Suddenly Kurama tripped over a tree root brining Hiei crashing to the forest floor with him. For a moment they just laid their catching their breaths. The tension left Kurama as weariness set in leaving him considerably more calm than before.

"You're an asshole, you know that?" Hiei said. Kurama laughed hollowly. Without prompt he explained the little task Koenma had given them. Hiei remained silent for a minute. "I see, you want me to track him down."

"No, I want you to track someone else." Kurama said. Hiei raised an eyebrow.

"You have a plan."

"It's not much of a plan." the yoko admitted.

"At least someone around here does! This conspiracy shit is really pissing me off!"

xXx

Omake

Draco sat, or rather, sulked at the Slytherin table. His housemates chatted around him oblivious to his mood. A few tables away a certain red haired green eyed boy was laughing with his friends. It looked like he didn't have a care in the world. Around him girls were sneaking glances at him before blushing and looking away. Others listened to him intently like they were entranced by his soft voice.

What was so great about him anyway. So what if he was smart? Brains didn't amount to much when you had money and others doing all the hard work for you. And what was it that made people find him handsome? His hair was too deep to be natural. There was nothing special about green eyes. The pale skin? That was a sign of someone who didn't get out much.

He was still angry as he made his way to Potions. Crabbe and Goyle had stayed behind to stuff their faces some more. Not many other people walked about. Hopefully that meant no one would bug him. That little thought was dashed as someone bumped into him. Draco's legs buckled. Without thinking he grabbed onto the robes of the one who bumped into him. He looked up to shout but the words died in his throat.

Shuichi Minamino stared back at him, face only inches away. Those almond shaped eyes gave him an exotic look. And was that herbal smell coming from him?

The young Malfoy suddenly shoved away from him, a light blush reddening his face.

"You think you're so high and mighty, don't you Minamino? Well, we'll see who's high and mighty!" With that he stormed away. Shuichi turned to his friends, confused.

"What was that about?"

Translations:

Yoko- demon fox

Jaganshi- one who wields a jagan or third eye enhancing mental powers.

Yokai- demon

Yoki- demon energy

Reikai- spirit world/land of the dead.

Ningen- human

Ningenkai- human world.

AN: Hope things aren't moving along too fast. My creative juices just haven't been flowing for me this week. Please review!