Ubi re Vera
Duel of wands, duel of words
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -Clarks law
A/N: Okay, for anyone who does not know what this story is going to be about, I really hope that you like it. This is just my third story, so if you do read it and like it, then just do what comes naturally.
So, let's begin. And for anyone who has studied Harry Potter lore, this may be a little familiar.
And all flames are appreciated. Siriusly, I want criticism so I can get better people!
Prologue: The following chapters stand as something as a mystery, even to myself. My scribe – Joanna – has been kind enough to allow me to bombard her with facts that could very well be considered insane, on the condition that the chapter structure is altered to reflect the approaching change. But then again, nearly everything written prior would write me off as certifiably insane, so it might not seem as strange in comparison. The perspective will also shift, as new characters are added and introduced. And I will again warn you that everything that will follow is true, however impossible.
I should know. I hardly believe it now.
-chapter 18 prologue from Coded Warrior, the memoirs of Jeremy Belpois.
"I'm not interested."
"Save your breath."
Severus Snape's mind played like a broken record as he plodded back to the Slytherin dormitories. Though in all honesty, he probably didn't deserve to enter the common room. His house prided itself on cunning and control, and calling your best – and only – friend a Mudblood certainly didn't qualify for either. Severus felt the uniquely crushing sorrow and shame that only ever came after someone when they really messed up. Of all the possible things to say, why did it have to be Mudblood? And why did half the school have to see…
Severus stopped at an intersection in the corridor. Why did he have to say that, why, why, WHY? Severus kicked at the ground in frustration. "Why do you hate me?" a question that wasn't directed at anyone in particular rang with the quiet unhappiness of one boy, trapped in his own fault. It was also answered, surprisingly enough, by a large, mostly rotten tomato that connected with Severus's head with spellcasting accuracy.
"Gah! What the - why did you do that?" Severus seemed to yell at the castle. Of course, to anyone in the know, they would be aware that the only resident of Hogwarts castle that owned an invisibility cloak also owned a severe personal grudge against Snape.
"Well, isn't that the question that answers itself?" The voice had the strong, noble cadence that destroyed all doubt of its owner. "Show yourself, Black." Severus pulled out his wand, swinging it from side to side. Sirius Black remained hidden though, absolutely content to torment the Slytherin from under his best friend's invisibility cloak.
"Well, if you must know, it's because you called Evans a Mudblood in front of the entire school. You really are worthy of being in Slytherin, shunting your best friend aside to move up the junior Death Eater ranks."
"It was an accident." Severus waved his wand, more than a few sparks coming out the end. "And your one to talk about housely actions when you're the Gryffindor hiding under an invisibility cloak."
That got Sirius's goat.
The Gryffindor swept the cloak off of his shoulders and broke into a run. Severus lifted his wand, but only managed to get off one spell before Sirius bodily tackled him. The pair kicked and punched one another before Severus finally got the upper hand. He slammed Sirius into a wall, thanking the fact that his father had once been in the state of mind (sober) to force his son to learn some basic army martial arts. Against an armed wizard, they were slightly less than useless, but Sirius hadn't the thought to draw his own wand. Severus was ready to curse Sirius (his own wand was already pressed into his neck for it) when inspiration struck him.
"Listen here, Black. If you go along and spread those sodding lies that I insulted Lily on accident, I will rip your head off and feed it to the giant squid. Now then, I want you to take a message to Potter. Tell him to meet me up on the astronomy tower at midnight. We duel, no contact, with the werewolf as our referee." Severus pressed his wand deeper into Sirius's neck. Sirius replied with the same smoothness that he had always shown. "Who's your second?"
"Regulus Black." Severus took a special pride in how Sirius's face contorted in rage. "Bas…" Severus cut off the reply, digging his wand into Sirius's throat. "Do you accept?"
"Yes." Sirius forced Severus's arms off him, took one look at him with disgust, then turned and ran for the invisibility cloak and Gryffindor tower. Severus contemplated sending a hex after Black, but decided against it. He still needed a messenger. And a partner.
"So will you do it, Reg?"
"NO! WHAT, HOW CAN YOU EVEN ASK THAT?"
"Pretty no. Out!"
"Uh, am I walking in on something?" Severus looked at the strange sight in front of him. On one side of the room was Regulus Black, clutching a very threatening pillow. On the other side was Jessica Crabbe, clutching what looked suspiciously like a blue rectangle.
"I told you, no. Get out of the boys dorm, now!" He finally threw the pillow, through Jessica banished it back at him, then turned and, nose in the air, set out to track down her boyfriend Jacob Goyle. Severus resisted raising an eyebrow, though Regulus took that as a cue to throw the pillow at him. "What d'you want, Sev? A relaxing massage? A third arm? A person you haven't goaded in to being your personal servant on the condition that you'd help them make their classes?" Regulus and Severus really didn't have much of a friendship as an alliance; Severus would do Regulus's potions, Regulus would be his eyes and ears in the common room.
"A dueling partner." Severus went on to detail the encounter with Sirius, though left out the part where he had specifically selected James Potter for the duel. Regulus wasn't an idiot, and would easily realize that if he would be a second in a duel against the Gryffindor golden boy, then his faithful lapdog wouldn't be too far behind. Regulus thought this over, and then nodded. "I'm in. But you'll need something to help fight the Gryffindors. We'll need something that will catch them by surprise, something that they can't expect."
The pair stopped talking, and entered deep thought, the kind of trance that dorm mates could recognize as 'Slytherin think'. After a prolonged session of thought, Regulus snapped his fingers. "Blasting runes. We learned them in ancient runes from Babbling earlier on in the week, so maybe we could put them into practice." Regulus pulled out a fountain pen and started in on a rune matrix that would act as a redactor curse. Severus started to pull out some of his clothes, a collection of regular cloaks and some crude Muggle attire. One of these was a smaller than usual gray tee-shirt, tight and perfect for dueling.
As Regulus put the finishing touches on his runes, Severus held out an arm, which Regulus began to dutifully cover in a small matrix of charms. "We'll need an activation phrase, something that you can say that will start the reaction, but that no one will think to say. Any ideas?" Regulus glanced at Severus expectantly. Severus thought over something that Potter wasn't likely to say. He first thought of some gibberish, but discarded it as he wouldn't remember it. Mudblood came up, but He discarded that too. Finally, he remembered back to one day when Lily had invited him over to her house to watch a Muggle movie, and hit upon the perfect idea.
"You in pieces."
Severus listened as James Potter took the stairs leading up to the Astronomy tower two at a time, Remus, Sirius and Peter on his tail. Finally muttering the counter-incantation for the super sensory charm he had cast, he nodded silently to Regulus, and waited for the Marauders to reach the top of the tower. Potter cleared it first, and was fast followed by Lupin, Black, and Pettigrew. Regulus glared at his older brother, who looked back with just a twinge of fear in his eyes. Lupin spoke first.
"You do know how many rules the six of us are breaking, right?" With nods from all concerned, Lupin continued. "Whatever happens up here tonight, did not happen tomorrow morning. The duel stops when one or both of the fighters are knocked out or any bones are broken, and their second has fallen as well. There will be no unforgivable cast, no curses cast with the intent to damage the castle, no curses to be cast with intent to permanently maim, and no physical contact." The werewolf produced a hand, which promptly ignited with blue flames. "Are both contestants ready?"
"We're ready," Severus declared. Regulus nodded in agreement.
"We are good to go, and better then you are, Snivellus," James said. Remus looked from one to the other, looking, from his posture, as one would when they were deciding when to cross the street and not someone who was ready to initiate a duel. He held out the flaming hand, and then upended it. The fire hit the ground, and shot in a straight line from one side to the other. "Begin!"
"Stupify!" James's first curse ricocheted off of Severus's shield charm. Severus retaliated in kind, and Potter jump to the side. "Inpedimenta!" Severus dodged this time, but Regulus caught itin the chest. As his partner hit the ground, Severus switched tactics. "Sectum Sempra!"
James twisted on his heel, the magical cut missing his face by inches. Severus swung his wand up, and then brought it down. James waved his wand horizontally. "Sectum Sempra!" The two spells connected between them, sparks flying. The pair froze, than reacted identically. "Sectum Sempra!" The spells collided again, sparks raining onto the parapet. "Sectum Sempra, Sectum Sempra, Sectum Sempra, Sectum Sempra!"
Each time the spells were cast, sparks flew from the connection. Severus ducked one more, and then raised his wand, deciding to end the duel. "Langlock!"
James seized his throat, the spell locking his tongue to the roof of his mouth. Sirius cried out. "That not fair, you stinking Slytherin!"
"We don't play fair," Severus retorted. "Muffilato!" James slapped his ears, his hearing now filled with a loud, obscuring buzz. 'And to finish it off,' Severus jabbed his wand at James. "Accio Potter's glasses!"
Severus snatched the bifocals out of the air, a catch that would probably have landed him a spot on the Slytherin quidditch team if he could have flown at all. "What do you have to say about that Potter?" Severus sneered at his enemy as of five years, nearly helpless under his prowess.
James looked up defiantly. "Just one thing. Nox!"
The moon and stars winked out.
Severus started, then ignited his wand. The validity of this strategy was set into question when a red stunner hurtled past at fifty meters an hour, brushing past his greasy hair. Severus froze, extinguishing his wand in surprise. Another spell went past, but lower and farther right. The stupid Gryffindors were looking for him, but they had no idea that he had never moved.
Severus crouched, and waited for the Gryffindors to start talking. The braggarts wouldn't resist badmouthing him and Regulus, whether or not it would tell him exactly where they were. He wasn't disappointed.
"Have enough of it, Snivellus?" Potter fired off. "You want to give up now, and walk away with all twenty of your appendages?"
"Don't you mean twenty-one Prongs?"
"No, Padfoot, I do not, in fact." Severus rolled his eyes. James continued, "Besides, isn't there some rule about the silent duelist? Something about unresponsiveness being a declaration of withdrawal? Moony?"
Remus spent a few moments thinking this over, and nodded in agreement. He then promptly remembered that, while he could see perfectly fine in the near blackness, he was alone in that fact. "Yeah, this is. Snape, you'll need to reply, otherwise you forfeit the match."
Severus glared at the slightly blacker patch of shadow that the werewolf occupied, grinding his teeth. Of course Potter would pull something on him like this. He would always look for a way out without risking his own neck. A scheming Gryffindor, what next? A smart Hufflepuff? A Ravenclaw that wasn't?
But the jig was up. Either lose surprise or lose the match. If only there was a third choice, one he would beg, borrow and steal for. He would take anything over losing to this idiotic Gryffindor.
Be careful what you wish for, Snape.
"What are you guys doing up here?"
This voice came from the sweet, demure voice of one Lily Evans. And the moment that she said it, Severus knew that everyone on the tower was royally screwed.
"Oh, eh, hey Evans, how's that midnight stroll going?" James was doing his best to cover him and his friends. But with Lily on the war path, he didn't have a chance.
"Really well, until I heard the four of you dueling up here." Okay, so Lily thought that he and Regulus weren't there. He could use that to his advantage. Severus started edging his way to the stairwell.
"Come on, Evans, is there really a need to punish the six of us? It's all in good fun."
"All in good fun, huh? Okay then, I'm going to count to ten, and then I'm going to dispel this darkness charm. Then we're going to see what's so fun." Lily's voice was starting to rise, and Severus knew that he needed to be anywhere but the astronomy tower when she undid the charm. Potter…didn't get the message.
"Come on, Evans, we're only having fun."
"Prongs, I think that we need to go."
"Evans, come on. If this is about Snivellus, you could just take it out on a pillow or something."
"Hey, what happened to four and five?"
"Now is not the time, Wormtail."
"Come on, Evans, just let us leave in peace." Severus tensed, and then breathed a sigh of relief. That hadn't triggered his blasting array, but had come close.
He shouldn't have jinxed it like that.
"Oh, I'll LEAVE YOU IN PIECES!"
Severus felt his arm heat up. The array was going off! "Look out!" was all he could say before the curse shot out of his hand. The white hex flew through the air, and then connected with something that exploded spectacularly.
The light returned with a flash, and Severus was staring at Lily Evans, so completely enraged that he was sure that he would carry this image with him to the grave. That time that didn't seem so far off, seeing as he had hit her with his blasting hex. Though oddly, she didn't seem blasted, just wind-blow…
"Severus Marilyn Snape," she began dangerously. Severus flinched, and tried to turn and run. Somehow though, he found himself mesmerized by Lily, though he couldn't place why. Maybe it was because he could see straight through her.
Lily Evans had become transparent, and hadn't even noticed.
"I cannot believe you, Severus. After everything you did today, everything that happened, you have the gall to come up here and start a duel. But do you know what I want to know? Why you insist on making yourself like this! Well?" Lily glared at Severus, ready to continue her tirade, when James spoke up.
"Uh, Evans? Lily, look at your hand." James pointed at Lily's right hand, and she dutifully looked at it, and then through it. Then she screamed.
James threw himself at Lily, Sirius on his heels. But Severus was the first to catch her, the air heating up around them. James grabbed Lily from around her waist, Sirius getting her foot, twisting the four. Remus seized Severus's shoulder, and held on. Blue lightning encompassed the five, the strange transparency virus swallowing them up. As Severus faded out, he realized something. The spell seemed to only affect Lily and anyone in direct physical contact with her. So why didn't he just let go?
Because I'm an idiot.
And these were Severus's last thoughts on the Earth.
Odd Della Robbia was enjoying his morning. Why, you may ask? Because his best friend and roommate Ulrich had told him that he wasn't hungry, and handed him his entire breakfast. This, for Odd, meant that he was dead, dreaming, or about to have one of the best days of his life. But what was the best day of one's life when good food was absent?
"So, Ulrich my pal, where do you think our Princess and Einstein are this fine morning?" Odd said in between forkfuls.
"I think that they're still in bed, Odd. You know, like normal people that don't wake up at six in the morning on Sundays just to get breakfast." Ulrich rarely enjoyed having Odd as a roommate (it was rather like having a dog that could speak, no offense to Odd's dog Kiwi), but at least he was a reliable alarm clock. The problem with that was that when he didn't need to wake up, he couldn't hit the snooze button. This often led people to wonder how the pair could be such good friends, but the truthful answer would probably lead to World War Three.
Both he and Odd, along with Aelita Stones (alias Schaffer, also alias Hopper), Jeremy Belpois, Yumi Ishiyama, Elizabeth Sissi Delmas and William Dunbar had a secret. One day, Jeremy had discovered a supercomputer buried underneath the nearby Renault factory. In that computer had been both a world, dubbed Lyoko, and a person, Aelita. Jeremy and the rest of the gang, sans William, had spent nearly a year trying to get Aelita out of the computer and into the real world, continuously fighting a computer program, Xana. But that story was one for another day, when the whole debacle was long past them.
But speaking of people that had been stuck in computers, two were walking in right now. Aelita and William were deep in conversation about DJ techniques, with the former telling the latter how to best deal with disk slippage.
"Good morning, princess." Odd waved Aelita over to their table over enthusiastically. William rolled his eyes, but Aelita plopped down on a dime. "Good morning Odd, how'd you sleep?"
"Like a truck." Ulrich answered for his roommate. "You would think that someone this small wouldn't make that big of a noise." Odd cuffed his friend over the head, Aelita giggling and William trying not to chuckle.
"I'm not small, I'm – "
"Scrawny." Ulrich was enjoying the payback, to say the least.
"Jeremy," William perked up. Odd and Ulrich stopped fighting, as the schools resident genius was standing right behind them with a tray of his breakfast, staring straight at Aelita. Odd held up three fingers, then two, then one. On zero, Aelita gave a little "Hmph," and stood and took her tray to a different table. Jeremy took her place.
"Hey Einstein, how's that love potion going?" William hit Jeremy on the shoulder, but the blond didn't register it. This sort of thing had been happening with him and Aelita for about a month now, and none of the group could fathom why it was happening. They all had their theories, but the only thing that they did now was that Aelita and Jeremy had been almost a pair one day, and wouldn't speak with each other the next. Or rather, Jeremy couldn't speak to Aelita and Aelita would ignore Jeremy whenever he entered the room. Trouble in paradise, as Odd would put it.
"So, William, how's the long distance relationship thing going?" Odd tried to bring the conversation away from Jeremy, something Ulrich was thankful for. William gave a shrug, and struck up a conversation with Odd about girls. Ulrich tuned out the conversation, and turned his thoughts to Yumi. Yumi may have not fit the regular standards of what a girlfriend should have fit, but Ulrich was proud (and more than a little relieved) to call her his girlfriend. She was a great person, sweet and beautiful, once you got to know her.
Speaking of which, Yumi wouldn't be too far off. She lived in the city, and drove to school with her little brother Hiroki. He was…energetic, to put it mildly.
William put down his fork. "Well, I think that showing women the super computer is a bit of a bad idea." Ulrich jerked in his seat, brought back to the present conversation. William was glaring at Odd, who looked sheepish. "Didn't you make a deal not to tell anyone? And you not only brought one girl, but two." William was starting look angry, and Ulrich wanted to know when the conversation had turned to Lyoko.
"Come on William, you know that girls like technology. I was-"
"Trying to get them possessed by Xana?" William was full on sneering at Odd now. "You would have let Xana take a couple people hostage just to get a girl, would you?" Jeremy looked ready to intervene on Odd's behalf, but something stopped him. Ulrich had opened his mouth, but was frozen as well, the hairs on the back of his neck raising forebodingly. Something was coming, and fast.
The air was suddenly filled with a motionless, noiseless explosion of light. The four boys sat, stilled by the sudden influx of light. Then the pain came.
Ulrich snapped his hands over his ears, the pain doubling fast. The world began to spin, and Ulrich nearly fell, even though he was sitting. "Jeremy, what happening?" The light intensified, and Ulrich felt a building agony behind his eyes.
"I don't know, something must be…."
The light peaked, and then the Lyoko Warriors passed out.
And in the bowels of a Renault factory, a tower rose with a metallic hiss.
A/N: The first chapter of my second story is done. THE FIRST CHAPTER OF MY SECOND STORY IS DONE! WOOHOO. This is great, I can't believe I 'm starting this.
Well, to my small minority of fans carrying over from my last story, and anyone else that is going to love this, I'll see you next week.
B/N: *waves* Hey! Sorry for finishing this late (thanks, real life! And I suck). I hope you like the story!