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Magician's Conundrum

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Kyntak struggled to keep awake in his potions class. All he could hear was Professor Lerke repeating the same basic mantra over and over again.

“Be careful when using exploding fluid. It will….”

“Explode, if you aren’t careful,” Kyntak finished lamely. Why was he in potions again? He looked at the blue sky in his watch’s face. He’d charmed it to reveal the view from the top of the astronomy tower. Sure, that meant that every once in a while he got the unhappy view of a snogging couple, but for the most part, he saw nothing but cloud and star.

Professor Lerke gave him the “I’m so very unhappy with you, but you are of my house, so I won’t dock you” look. “Mr. Heath. If you are so sure you can teach this lesson, come up here and do so.”

Kyntak listened to the snickers of his classmates. “Oh, Mr. Too-Cool-For-Potions is going to have to teach a lesson,” a Gryffindor boy jeered.

Kyntak rolled his eyes. That wasn’t going to win Gryffindor house any points. Another Gryffindor girl giggled alongside the boy. “He will be so embarrassed! I’ll bet he doesn’t know a single thing about mixing a cure for boils.”

He was sure he saw Rose Weasley shake her head and sigh. She knew him well enough to know napping in class didn’t stop him from being good at this class. The other classes were a different matter. His house-mate, who sat next to her, Scorpius, had a smirk on his face. Kytnak had the feeling Scorpius just bet the Ravenclaw to his right a galleon that Kyntak would make the potion properly.

Scorpius winked and nodded. Kyntak glanced at the page Rose opened to as he passed; it was an everlasting elixir. He could do that. Shuji, a seventh year, showed him how to do that the other day. He’d used it to prolong the shelf life of a couple bottles of Basilisk venom and old spice for a couple galleons from a third year(with one as Shuji’s service fee). Yeah, he could do it.

He surveyed the ingredients laid on the table.  They were the exact same as what Shuji had. He cut up the roots and took care not to spill the peppermint oil. One drop too many, she’d warned, meant that he would lose his eyebrows. How could something so nice smelling be so darn dangerous? He added the drops and tossed in the powdered lionfish spine. He quickly consulted the book to see what shade of magenta he should look for. When it reached the desired hue, he took it off the heat and quickly poured it into the provided bottle with a sprig of Moondew.

The bottle’s green-yellow coloration made him panic for a moment. Had he added too little? The moment the liquid came into contact with the Moondew, it was supposed to…

He breathed a sigh of relief. Slowly diffusing through the bottle, swirls of dark brown turned the potion cherry red. “That’s right,” he thought. “Perfect.”

Lerke uncapped the bottle and sniffed it. He examined the liquid in the torch light. When he pronounced it proper with a good lot of sniffing in distaste, Kyntak mock bowed and returned to his seat. The class appeared in hushed buzz. Scorpius claimed his coin from a chuffed Ravenclaw. Rose continued reading her book. The Gryffindor pair in the first row shut up nicely.

Lerke crinkled his nose.  “Well, I’ll let you off this time. Stop day dreaming in my class.” Kyntak plopped down in his seat and yawned.

“Yes, sir.”

=

“Kyntak!” Shuji ran up to him, dark curls bouncing. She had the greatest grin plastered on her face. Kyntak would have remarked that he thought her prettier without the curls and one should never listen to what Elle magazine says, but that would mean he read it. And he did that one time he lost a bet with a Ravenclaw over Scorpius’s wooing skills but that was a tale for another time.

“What’s flying, Shuji?” She tugged a teen out from behind her. He stood somewhere in the 170 cm range with dark hair and blue eyes. His sharp features added edge to his icy exterior. Kyntak looked him up and down, taking in the navy button-up, grey slacks, lack of a tie, canvas sneakers, and dark coat.

“Who’s this?” Kyntak asked.

Shuji clapped a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “He’s a transfer from the Australian School of Wizardry and Magic. Kyntak, I’d like to introduce Sebastian Ignatius Xavier Hardt. Mr. Hardt, meet Kyntak, your classmate and guide.”

“Guide?” Six echoed. He surveyed Kyntak in his disheveled robes and stubble.

Kyntak, understanding that look, turned to Shuji. “Who said anything about guide?”

The seventh year shrugged. “Well, McGonagall needed to put Mr. Hardt with someone of his year and Lerke offered you up on a platter. I tried to tell them you were no good for the job, but he insisted.”

“Oh, great.” So Lerke was out to get him. Kyntak didn’t mind the challenge. He looked over Sebastian again. “Is the coat part of the uniform down there or…”

The boy raised an eyebrow. “It’s a personal preference.”

Kyntak rubbed the back of his neck. “Right. You have your robes I see. First mentoring thing.”

He looked around and back. He was lucky that he never attended divination and Trelawney didn’t care. “Restroom’s down that hall first door on the left. You’re a little too conspicuous in that blue button up of yours. You can tie a tie?”

Sebastian stared at him for a moment as if confused over whether or not Kyntak was joking. “Yes.”

Kyntak made little sweeping motion with his hand. Six rolled his eyes and shuffled off without a word. His eyes trailed after the navy clad figure. What an odd person. The boy vanished around the corner and out of sight.

Kyntak fixed on Shuji’s cackling form. “What is this? You have to be kidding me.”

“Sorry, no.” She wiped a tear from her eye and patted his shoulder. She smiled boldy. “Take good care of him alright? He’s a smart kid. Apparently, they take O.W.L.’s third year and N.E.W.T.’s sixth. He’s a bloody genius though so he’s already done them.”

Kyntak raised an eyebrow. “O.W.L.’s? We’ve all…” Shuji snickered.

“He’s done the N.E.W.T.’s., dummy. That and he’s the son of Arhur Hardt.”

Kyntak tried to recall the face associated with that name. None appeared. Shuji’s eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. “Should I know that name?” he asked.

Her eyes unfocused a little, trying to process all that information. “He’s head of AMCIS.”

Australian Magical Classified Intelligence Service, it was the main intelligence agency of Australia. They were on par with the CMIA in the States and MMI6 in the Kingdom. He’d heard things of it and, now, the name rang a bell. He’d never heard of the son before.

“Is he a spy?” Kyntak asked. Shuji shrugged, glancing in the direction of the restroom.

“I don’t know. All I know is that he’s going to spend his last two years here. Keep him close to your chest, okay?” She glanced at her watch, new courtesy of that everlasting elixir and some idiot. It was the violet model of the Artemisia line by Caravelle Designs. He thought of his own red Hyperion design with its window watch face.

She tapped it with a smirk. “I got to go. See you at supper?”

“Yeah, go on, witch.” He nodded and waved her off. She was going to leave with or without his leave. Shuji scampered off only to reappear and the end of the hall.

“You should know that he doesn’t really listen to other people.” She called out, smirking. “You’re an interesting exception. I look forward to seeing what will fructify.”

“Stop using big words,” he called back. He huffed a little. Shuji and her vocabulary, he had no idea why she bothered with that “word a day” calendar. It’s not like one needed a huge vocabulary. But then again she was hoping to win a place in the Ministry, so perhaps it wasn’t all for naught.

“‘Fructify’ is not a big word.”  Kyntak turned on his heel to see the speaker.

Sebastian stared up from under dark lashes. Kyntak distantly realized the kid was about three centimeters shorter than him. He’d thought they were the same height. The uniform clung a little close to the skin stretching in some places to cover muscle. If the navy shirt made him look scrawny but no one could dismiss him as anything but muscle in a sweater vest.

“Is that a little tight?” The boy made a displeased face.

“Unpleasantly so. My father’s assistant appears to have forgotten my sweater size.”

Kyntak slung an arm over the boy’s shoulder. The span was similar to his own. He could see Sebastian and himself were similar in shape and girth. “We’re about the same size; I’ll give you a sweater.”

“I will return it as soon as I can furnish myself with a better fitting one,” the boy replied. He glanced up at Kyntak, shadows falling across his face. He looked a little affronted and stiff.

Kyntak grinned. What an odd kid. “Nah, you can keep it. No big problem.” Sebastian said nothing for a while. Only the sound of their shoes echoed down the hall. Kyntak wondered how he would leave the Gryffindor (he only then noticed the tie) in front of the dungeon or if he should take Sebastian with him.

The man on his mind spoke up, “You desire something in return.”

Kyntka thought on it. He had not wanted anything in return. Well, unless having Lerke off his back counted, but there was nothing Sebastian could do about that.  He thought for a moment. What could this kid offer?

“I might want a little help with my N.E.W.T.’s. Shuji told me you passed them?” Kyntak glanced over. The boy’s face remained impassive. His eyes wandered over the hall as if taking in all the stone and moss like it would fade in an instant.

“Yes.”

Kyntak grinned. “Well, then, Sebby, mind tutoring me?” Sebastian tilted his head to one side, not unlike a puppy and watched Kyntak’s face closely. He perused every single angle and facet drawing closer all the while. He closed his eyes and leaned in.

“I prefer Six.”

Kyntak jolted backwards. “Six what?”

They boy’s face, iron and stone, stared back. He surveyed everything, every motion, every word, every breath like it all revealed some deeper meaning in life.

“Sebastian Ignatius Xavier. S. I. X. Six.”

Kyntak’s eyes widened. “Can I really call you that?”

The boy replied, stony faced. “Yes.”

Kyntak sighed and nodded. “Okay, Six. Second mentoring thing, I’m going to bring you to my room and you can pick any sweater you like.”

“That is against the rules,” Six observed. Kyntak laughed. They rounded the corner near the door leading to the dungeons.

“Third mentoring thing, a lot of what I do is against the rules.”

 Six gave him the apathetic puppy look again and asked, “What do you do? Do you harm anyone?”

No one had ever asked him that. Everyone had complained to or berated him about it. No one ever asked. “No, I help people out, for a price.”

Six appeared to ponder that while staring at the door. He pondered the old wood and the markings in it. Kyntak glanced at the pocked wood he passed every single day. Was there something that he wasn’t seeing? Were the messages in the walls that he’d missed? Or, perhaps, he’d just met someone that found messages in everything; a meditative Gryffindor was a rare bird indeed.

“Then, I suppose you are okay,” Six managed finally.

Kyntak opened the door with the password and stepped inside. “I’m so happy you approve.”

Six cocked a brow and smirked.

“Sarcasm does not befit you.”

He stepped over the threshold.