Disclaimers:  I do not own either Gundam Wing or Harry Potter.  I am making no money with this.  This story is purely for
entertainment purposes only.

Notes:  Days have passed since the Quidditch Tryouts.  The guys are enjoying breakfast together when Trowa gets a letter.



Soldiers of Sorcery



Part Thirty-Three


Trowa entered the Great Hall with his friends.  It had been days since the incident at Quidditch Tryouts and things were getting
back to normal.  Quatre’s wounds were healing - his ankle barely paining him anymore.  Heero and Wufei had been allowed out
of the Hospital Wing.  Sure, none of the other students would give any of them the time of day, but Trowa really didn’t care
what was thought of him.  He had done what he had thought right during the wars.  He had defended his own beliefs.  He had
no guilt over his actions.

The five of them had been chosen to be on the Quidditch team, playing in the positions they had played in that last practice game
of the tryouts.  The five of them were quite happy about that, though no one else in their House thought so, except for the other
members of the team that is.  Practices would be starting in a few weeks and Trowa was eager for it to begin.

“Come on, already . . . I’m starving.”  Duo whined over dramatically, pulling insistently at Trowa’s wrist to try and make him
move faster.

Trowa smiled, happy with the way things were progressing between himself and Duo.  They hadn’t been intimate again - that
was difficult with three other roommates - but they cuddled, spent time in each other’s arms.  And for the first time in his life,
Trowa wasn’t afraid of such contact.  He enjoyed the tender caresses Duo gave him, loved the feel of Duo’s body in his arms,
the feel of Duo’s arms around him.

He especially enjoyed it when they studied together in their room.  Duo would sit on the floor between Trowa’s legs with his
head against the taller youth’s chest, while Trowa held the book open for the both of them.  It worked out well since Duo’s
arms were free to take notes.  Wufei and Heero often rolled their eyes at the couple, but Quatre smiled as if sharing in the joy
that Trowa felt.

Duo sat beside Quatre cheerfully.  “So . . . what’s on the menu today?”

Quatre shook his head with a smile.  “Duo, you ask that every day, and every day the answer is the same.  You know your
favorites by now.  Just don’t make a spectacle of yourself by throwing grapes up in the air and catching them in your mouth
again.”

Duo scrunched his nose.  “Spoilsport.  You’re just jealous because you can’t do it.”

Quatre sniffed indignantly and lifted his chin.  “Yes, well I have better table manners than that.”

Duo nodded at the good-natured jibe.  “Yeah, yeah.  That’s why you lick the bowl clean whenever you have ice cream.  Hey,
Tro-love, would you pass me a banana?”  He winked at Quatre.  “See?  I can be polite.”

Trowa smiled gently as he handed Duo the requested fruit.  “Don’t strain yourself, Duo.  Too much politeness and you might
break something.”  He watched as Duo peeled and sliced the banana into the bowl of cereal he had set before himself.  One of
the things Trowa loved about Duo, was the grace that Duo had in doing even the most mundane tasks.  He’d ask Duo to slice a
banana for him, but Trowa generally didn’t have fruit in his cereal.

His attention was taken from Duo’s tasks by the incoming mail.  Trowa usually didn’t pay attention since he didn’t own an owl
himself and anyone who could possibly want to send him anything was already sitting at the table with him.

Midnight swooped down and dropped a Daily Prophet in front of Duo as she did every morning, waiting around for Duo to feed
her a piece of bacon before she flew back to the owlery.  Zaki was also carrying a letter.  Trowa assumed it was from one of
Quatre’s sisters, since he got one almost every day.  Sometimes he received several in one day.  Trowa sometimes felt envious
of his friend.  He wished his own sister could have found it in her heart to accept him for what he was.

It was quite a surprise when Zaki dropped the letter in front of Trowa before landing on the table near Quatre.  Trowa blinked at
the innocent-looking envelope, immediately recognizing the handwriting of the one who had scrawled his name.  It was from
Catherine.

“Why would Zaki have a letter for you?”  Quatre asked, his hand idly brushing along Zaki’s feathers.

“It’s from Catherine.”  Trowa said quietly, his hand beginning to shake as he reached to pick it up.

“Want me to shred it?”  Duo asked, his hand firm and comforting as it rubbed soothing circles against Trowa’s back.

Trowa shook his head.  “No, I want to read it.”

He knew that every one of his friends was watching him as he broke the seal and pulled out a couple sheets of paper and a
smaller envelope.  Trowa held on to the smaller envelope as he began to read the letter.

With each written word, everything he had come to believe about his sister was turned upside down.  Where there had been
hatred, he found compassion and regret.

//Trowa, I’m writing this letter in the hopes of gaining a sense of understanding about the incident that happened the night you
left for school.  An understanding, not only for you, but for myself as well.  If you haven’t already destroyed this letter, I thank
you for giving me this time to offer explanations.  But I fear that no explanation I give could ever repair this damage between
us.  And in truth, I have no reasonable explanation.  I simply do not remember any of this.  I went to bed one night, and when I
awoke my entire life was in shambles.  I lost the space of six months, and I don’t know how it happened.  I remember only
these strange dreams, but nothing makes sense.  When I awoke, I heard of all the terrible things I had done, the cruel things I
said to you.  I swear that I would never hurt you, would never say such things about you or anyone else.  The only happy thing
I learned was that you are my little brother, but even if you weren’t, I couldn’t love you any more than I already do.//

Trowa felt his throat closing on him.  This was almost too much to bear.  But he continued reading, his hands trembling as he
did so.

//Before you condemn me of being a liar and a bigot for what happened that night, I must confess to you the truth.  I am a
witch, Trowa.  I attended Beauxbatons Academy in France.  The troupe lived on Earth during my school years and I was able to
work for them during the summers and holidays.  No one ever knew the truth of what I was, except for the Manager.  We
feared the way the rest of the troupe would react to the truth.  Turns out, we were right to hide it from them, if that horrible
night is any indication.

I’ve enclosed a photograph of myself from school, in case you want proof of my words.  I graduated before I met you,
Trowa.  I was seventeen, but even though the wizarding world was wide open to me - the Ministry wanted to recruit me - I
decided to stay with the circus, to do what I love doing, and to continue searching for my dearest little brother.//

He took a moment to open the smaller envelope, pulling out the photograph that was inside.  There was Catherine, just as the
letter had said.  She was wearing robes and looked very happy among three other girls.  They were all smiling and laughing,
waving to whoever looked at the image.  With a failing smile he tucked the picture into his pocket.  Then he returned his
attention to the letter, wanting to finish it.

//When I heard that you’d gone to Hogwarts, I feared I’d never see you again.  I contacted Quatre’s sisters, thinking that if
anyone knew where you were, it would be Quatre.  I was elated to hear that Quatre was also attending, and I begged them to
help me send this.  I have long since been without an owl and I didn’t want to entrust this letter to anyone.  I fear we were
victims of a cruel trick, Trowa.  I love you too much to ever hurt you.  And my heart aches now that you’re not in my life
anymore.

Forgive me, Trowa.  I know that what I say sounds like a load of manure, but it is the truth.  I swear it.  Please, forgive me.  
Your loving and forever regretful sister, Catherine.//

As the last words of the letter inched by, Trowa was shaking terribly.  He distantly heard Duo call his name, but couldn’t find
the will to respond.  This was all just too much to take.  He couldn’t handle it.

Clutching the letter in his fist, Trowa pushed himself out of his seat.  He turned and fled the Great Hall, leaving his friends
behind.  He burst through the doors of the Hall, stumbling as he ran a ways down the empty corridor.  His throat choked up on
him, his eyes burning with tears he denied.  Fighting the urge to cry, Trowa stopped running and leaned forward against the
wall, his fists raised above his head as he set his forehead against the cold stone.

“Trowa?”  Ginny’s familiar voice called, her soft footsteps approaching.

Trowa spared a glance, noting that Ginny was being accompanied by the other four ex-pilots.  He turned back to face the wall,
closing his eyes as he took a deep shuddering breath.

“Are you okay?”  Quatre asked.

Hands gently fell on Trowa’s back and he knew at once that it was Duo.  There was just something about the way that he held
Trowa, the gentle but firm strokes to Trowa’s back.  “Whatever she said . . . you just gotta get past it.  It’s meaningless.”

Trowa shook his head.  “No, Duo.  It’s anything but meaningless.”  He swallowed painfully, his hand trembling as he held the
letter out to Duo.

Duo took it, cleared his throat and began to read.  When he finished, he shoved the letter into Heero’s hands and threw his arms
around Trowa.  One by one each of his friends read the letter.  Last was Ginny.  When she was done, there were tears in her
eyes.

Trowa turned at the sound of a throat being cleared.  When he saw Headmaster Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall
approaching, he wiped the back of his hand across his eyes.  Duo stayed close, as did the other three ex-pilots and Ginny.  
Trowa felt grateful for their presence.  It was comforting to know that people truly cared about him.

“Mr. Barton, if you would follow me, I have a private matter to discuss with you.”  Professor Dumbledore said, a look of
sadness in his eyes.

“I’m coming with him.”  Duo declared, clasping Trowa’s hand tightly, his arm winding around the taller boy’s frame.

“As am I.”  Quatre nodded.  An echo of similar responses rang out from the rest of the group.  Even Ginny stated that she
would be going.  None of them requested it.  There was simply no way to deny them this.  They would stick by Trowa no
matter what Dumbledore said.

Dumbledore only smiled, the twinkle returning to his eyes as he nodded his head.  “As you wish.  Let’s go to my office then,
shall we?  We can have a nice cup of hot cocoa while we discuss the matter at hand.”  With that, he turned and headed off
down the corridor, leaving Trowa and the others to wonder what this was all about.

“Come along then.  Don’t dawdle.”  Professor McGonagall chided, sweeping her arm through the air in a hurrying gesture.

Trowa swallowed, suddenly feeling very nervous.  He followed the two professors though, his hand tightening on Duo’s as they
walked.  Duo squeezed back reassuringly, silently telling Trowa that he wasn’t about to leave him any time soon.

The trip to the office seemed to take forever.  But they finally arrived and ascended the stone stairs.  The six of them were
guided to sit in the awaiting chairs.  Dumbledore and McGonagall took up the remaining two.  Trowa idly wondered just why
there were so many chairs, but shook the errant thought away.  It didn’t really matter.

“What I have to say may be a little difficult . . .”  Dumbledore began, but Trowa cut him off.

“Whatever you have to say, I would appreciate it if you didn’t waste time with warnings.  I am not a fragile child.  Just tell
me.”  He said firmly, though his insides were twisting with fear over what the man might actually say.

“Very well.”  Dumbledore conceded.  He took a breath, perhaps figuring out just how to put what he had to say as he handed
mugs of hot cocoa to each of the students gathered before his desk.  Professor McGonagall politely declined when he offered
her a mug.

Trowa didn’t like the silence.  It made him dread whatever Dumbledore had to say and remember the heartfelt words in
Catherine’s letter.  He wanted to go find her, to discover if what she said was true or not.  He wanted answers, not to sit around
waiting for Dumbledore to gift them with his wisdom, whatever it may be.

“I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you, Mr. Barton.”  Dumbledore said, taking a seat and stirring the contents of his mug
around.  “Your sister Catherine has been arrested for attempted murder and taken to Azkaban prison.”

Ginny gasped, her hand flying to her mouth while Wufei exclaimed a harsh profanity, his face going red in anger.  Trowa didn’t
truly understand why they were so upset when it wasn’t their sibling.  Still, just knowing that his sister was in prison had
Trowa’s blood running cold.

It was Duo who asked the question nagging at Trowa’s mind, the question that Trowa wasn’t sure he wanted the answer to.  
“What is Azkaban, sir?  Is it a . . . rough place?”

“It’s a horrid place!”  Ginny practically yelled.  “The guards are creatures known as Dementors.  They feed off misery and
pain.  They suck the happiness away and leave you wallowing in darkness.  Many who go there are driven mad.”


*****


Duo frowned as he listened to Ginny’s explanation.  He looked to Trowa to see how his love was taking this bit of information,
only to see that Trowa looked lost.  This was not a good sign at all.  With a frown, Duo faced Dumbledore.  “But she doesn’t
belong there.  She really didn’t have any control over her actions.  At least she says so.  But I dunno.  Somehow I believe her.”  
He motioned to the paper that Ginny still had.  “Read the letter for yourself, sir.”  He reached over and rubbed Trowa’s arm and
watched as Dumbledore read the letter, handing it to Professor McGonagall after he finished.

Heero spoke up softly.  “Isn’t there something you can do?  I mean . . . get her released?”

Dumbledore sighed.  “That will be very difficult, I’m afraid.  There are spells that will control a person, or somehow account
for her lack of memories of the events, but it is very hard to prove.  Hearsay won’t help, either.  Rarely is someone released
from Azkaban.  Rest assured, I will do all that I can.”

“Thank you, sir.”  Trowa mumbled, shakily pushing himself from his seat and setting his mug on Dumbledore’s desk.  “Excuse
me.”  He staggered to the door and left.

Duo didn’t want Trowa heading off alone, so he stood as well, leaving his own mug of cocoa untouched.  Professor
McGonagall’s voice stopped Duo from rushing out to follow Trowa.  “Please inform Mr. Barton that he has been excused from
classes for the rest of the day.  The five of you, however, are not.  So I suggest you hurry if you don’t want to be late for your
first class.”

“Yes, Professor.”  Duo nodded, then hastily left the room.  He didn’t even notice as the others got up from their seats as well.  
He didn’t care about anything other than finding Trowa and making sure he was okay.  He moved on instinct, knowing that if he
had received a shock like Trowa had, he’d want to be alone.  There was only one place where Trowa was almost guaranteed to
be alone at this time of the day, their room.  No one bothered them in there, which suited them all just fine.

True to Duo’s prediction, Trowa was sitting on his bed with Max against him.  The large panther was purring so loudly that
Duo had heard it before opening the door.  He watched for a moment as Trowa stroked his hands along Max’s fur, the large cat
laying his head on Trowa’s thigh.  Duo approached Trowa slowly and knelt on the floor in front of him.

“Trowa?  Are you going to be okay, love?”  He honestly didn’t expect an answer, seeing the distress in the other youth’s face.  
He was pleasantly surprised when Trowa’s forest green eyes gazed at him.

“No, Duo . . . I don’t think I’ll be okay until Cathy is out of Azkaban.”  He was quiet for a moment as he petted Max again.  
“Something had seemed off about her behavior.  I mean, she took the fact that I was a Gundam pilot in stride without so much
as fluttering an eyelash.  And I think I suspected she was a witch for a while when I had amnesia . . . at least I thought there
was something different about her.”

Duo smiled warmly as he laid his head on Trowa’s knee, mindful of the passing time.  “Dumbledore will find a way.  I don’t
know how I know, but my feelings are rarely wrong.”

Trowa rewarded him with a quick smile.  “And I thought Wufei was the one with the gift of foresight.”  His smile fell as he
sighed.  “I guess we had best head to class.”

Duo stood and kept Trowa from rising as well.  “I’ve got to go to class, but you’re allowed to stay here today.  You’ve received
a serious shock, and I’m sure the guys would agree with me that you should take today to absorb it all in.  I’ll take good notes
during class and I’m sure that we’ll all help you keep up.”  Duo leaned forward to give Trowa a comforting kiss.  “You just take
it easy and I’ll see you later.”  He received a nod in reply and headed out.

He was relieved that Trowa hadn’t withdrawn into himself again, but now he was worried about how Trowa would react if
Dumbledore couldn’t get Catherine out.  He turned back only once as he was heading to the door to smile when he saw Trowa
lie down.  Knowing that he had done all that he could do in the time he’d had, Duo closed the door to their room and went ahead
to class.



To Be Continued . . .