Well… it's been a while hasn't it. Sorry about that. Excuses are that I was distracted by things for a while along with coming up with ideas for my new story. It's out already if you want to read it. Protector of the Fairies.

The writing style has improved in my opinion and I'm hoping to improve it here as well with that style. I don't know how much this chapter resembles that style as I wrote most of it a week ago and I needed to finish it up before releasing it.

Anyway, enjoy.

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or Bleach. I'm just letting you all see inside my crazy mind to see what the two look like fused together.

Image Disclaimer: Image by FrAgMenT from deviantART

Of Darkness And Light

23 - Invisible Omens

Ichigo let his head rest against the window of the train, the time passing slowly.

He was glad to be back on the train. There was something about Hogwarts that made it so appealing to people, even if he did have to hide part of himself. It was already hard enough with casting magic considering how often he seemed to do things that shocked the teachers.

Sometimes, he envied Uryuu. If he got similar results, it was normally due to great control and talent, not a complete accident from overpowering the spell. At least it would help with Defence Against the Dark Arts. Extra power was always helpful when it came to duels and battles.

Speaking of Uryuu, he had joined them shortly after he had gotten a compartment for them all. He and Tatsuki had forced his dad to get them there early this time. There was no way they could risk missing the train for a second time in a row.

Uryuu was sitting across from him and Tatsuki, reading a book with the cover hidden. He refused to say what it was but from the look on his face, he seemed to be getting angrier and angrier by the minute.

Chad was sitting closer to the door, quiet as always and commenting when Tatsuki demanded an answer. She had taken it upon herself to start the conversations since Uryuu was focused elsewhere, Chad was being Chad, and he was distracted by the scenery outside. He still had to give the odd response every now and then though, else Tatsuki would hit him to get his attention.

"And that's what happened after I beat him," exclaimed Tatsuki, Ichigo suddenly noticing she had moved onto a completely new topic entirely while he had been preoccupied. "He acted like such a little girl, crying for his mummy. Even Ichigo had more dignity when he cried when I beat him, and he stopped much at a much younger age than that kid was at."

"Ichigo… crying?" Chad tried to fit the image in his head, his mind combining different things he represented with each part. In the end, he had something of a mix between Ichigo with long flowing hair and a stream of tears running down his face. It didn't help that the Ichigo he pictured was the twelve year old Ichigo in front of him, and neither did the sappy romance film he had once seen as his only inspiration for the crying Ichigo.

He took one look at Ichigo before turning away, refusing to catch the orange haired boy's eyes. If he did, even his composure would break and he would end up either laughing uncontrollably or looking horrified at the image. Maybe a bit of both.

"Say Ichigo," said Tatsuki, her latest attempt at drawing Ichigo into the conversation. "What do you think that new Professor will be like anyway? I read all those Gilderoy Lockhart books and I have no idea what to make of him."

"I know what you mean," sighed Ichigo. "I'm starting to think that he's going to be the new teacher for Defence Against the Dark Arts. Why else do we need so many of his books?"

"He is," said Uryuu suddenly. "My father heard about it at his work. It's been all over the Daily Prophet."

"I see," muttered Ichigo. "Can we drop that class?"

"I'm starting to think you may be onto something," Tatsuki muttered as well. "I don't like the look of him."

"I mean just look at him," she exclaimed, waving her hands to empathise her point. "He's too sissy looking. I bet you could know him over with a stick."

"From the look of him," commented Chad, "I would say that he is unsuited to teach. He enjoys being a celebrity and is good at it."

"You're right there Chad," said Uryuu, finally putting the book down. "I read all the books as well and they are quite well done. They have a lot of detail and have the mark of an excellent writer. The problem is that they are too much like novels to be true. I noticed a few similarities of events in them that coincided with one another."

"So his actions are fake?" asked Ichigo.

"I doubt the acts are fake." Uryuu thought for a moment before correcting himself. "Most of them at least. Some of tales them may have been exaggerated a bit to increase sales and appeal but the events themselves are all possible to have occurred."

"I believe he is a fake," Uryuu continued. "It's the only conclusion. As for why no one knows, that is a mystery. They could have been paid off, killed, had their memory erased. If there was proof, because I'm sure we aren't the first to notice this, there isn't enough to have him arrested for it. And the man simply has too much political sway with the ignorant population to be discredited."

"So it's basically a waiting game," said Ichigo. "They wait for him to become too comfortable and make a mistake and then catch him."

"Seems like that's the only thing they could do," commented Tatsuki. "If what I heard about memory charms is right, they can leave the target in such a state that they wouldn't even remember the conversations take place."

"I would prefer Quirrell," stated Chad. Despite the man's excessive stuttering, they couldn't help but agree. He had at least taught them a fair bit, even if it wasn't up to the highest standards. But then, what could you expect? Every upper student had spoken of how Quirrell would have only lasted a year.

Every teacher for that role did for some reason. A curse they were told. It may have sounded harsh, but they all hoped it would keep up at least for the year coming up. If Lockhart was as fake as they thought, they definitely didn't want him as a teacher for too long. They would never learn anything.

Uryuu turned to the door before standing up, grapping a small pouch from his trunk.

"I'm going to get something to eat," he said. "Do you want anything?"

"Chocolate Frog please," said Tatsuki hungrily. Chad meanwhile just requested some Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans.

"I'll have-"

"I'm not getting you anything," said Uryuu as he walked out. "Get it yourself."

Ichigo scowled before storming off after the Quincy, hearing Tatsuki and Chad star to discuss Chad's holiday in Mexico as he left.

It didn't take long to find Uryuu. He was waiting just a few doors away.

"We can talk freely now," he said quietly, the two leaning against the windows of the train, their eyes glancing around to keep a look out.

"Do you know why my dad forced me and Tatsuki to leave so early?" Ichigo asked. "Your dad seemed to know why."

"Trouble," Uryuu said cryptically.

"Anything else?"

Uryuu glanced around subtlety. "How much do you know about Quincy?"

"Not much to be fair," said Ichigo, scratching his head as he thought back to what he had heard over the holidays. "You guys use Spirit Energy like us but have different methods for it. Something about making up for a lack of power by excelling with your control over it."

"What about the relationship between our two families?"

"That?" asked Ichigo. "I didn't really get it but from what I heard from dad, grandfather is a bit against working with you guys. Something about it being our responsibility."

"You know about what Fullbring can do to Wizards then?" questioned Uryuu.

"Yeah. But I don't see why the Quincy blames us. Don't you guys use the same method?"

"We do," Uryuu admitted, "but not originally. Neither did Soul Reapers from what I can see. Fullbring was then discovered one day by one of the first Soul Reapers as a means to awaken their powers from their soul. It reduced the risk of awaking their Soul Reaper powers since they already had a link to the surface."

"We took it on when we learned it helped accelerate our original training," continued Uryuu, "but we wished it had never been discovered. The problem is that neither side wants to give it up, and even if they did, the knowledge is still there to be found. It wouldn't stop Wizards from learning it and there may be records hidden in their own family libraries. No matter how hard we could search, there is no guarantee we could stop them from learning Fullbring."

"I see," said Ichigo. "But how does this relate to why I had to leave?"

Uryuu thought on how to phrase his next words. "The Ishida… are unusual. We don't follow the patterns of normal Quincy, something I'm now starting to embrace. The point is that we see matters from both sides. We have a better understanding of the situation than others."

"That man," said Uryuu, "was from a different family of Quincy. We are the only ones left who believe differently to the others. The rest are members of the Vandenreich."

"The Vandenreich? What the hell is that?"

"I guess you could call it an empire of sorts. The Vandenreich are made up of every other Quincy in existence. From weak to strong, they all belong to them. And they don't share our views."

Uryuu paused for a moment. "The Vandenreich are lead by an Emperor, but no one truly knows who he is except for the elite, the Stern Ritter."

"Stern Ritter?"

"It's German for Star Knights."


"The point," Uryuu said, "is that they don't just dislike Soul Reapers. They despise them. They detest their existence and would like nothing better to do that to exterminate all of you. To put you down like dogs."

Ichigo's fists clenched involuntary. "If they think like that, then why haven't they tried?"

"Whoever said they haven't?" asked Uryuu.

"You mean they have already tried?"

"I think so," said Uryuu honestly. "I can't say for sure but by grandfather talked like it had happened once before. Maybe it was when the Soul Reapers and Quincy first appeared. As much as I hate to admit it, Soul Reapers are currently the strongest out of all the beings that can produce Reiatsu. That's why nothing happens much. They stay out of the other's way and hope for the best."

"I see," said Ichigo before a question popped into his head. "Do you think they will ever do something extreme?"

"No," said Uryuu sharply. "They may hate you but as I said, they know they are outmatched. That kind of gap can't be covered in such a short time. If they ever go to war, it won't be for another few hundred years."

"I see." Ichigo turned to Uryuu. "Ever think we can all solve our differences?"

"Maybe. Grandfather has dedicated his life to doing such a thing but he has had no luck so far. Then again, he never knew a Soul Reaper personally."

"What about your dad?"

'Dad?' thought Uryuu. 'He's a Quincy without pride in his blood. He may be friends with a Soul Reaper but no one would listen to him when he denies their own powers.'

"No," Uryuu finally said. "My dad is not a good choice to solve these problems."

"Then it's going to be up to us one day," responded Ichigo. "A Soul Reaper and a Quincy working together. I doubt they would ever see that coming."

"Indeed," replied Uryuu. "We should probably get back soon. Tatsuki and Chad will wonder what is taking us so long."

"Yeah," said Ichigo as he watched Uryuu head away to buy the sweets they requested. Uryuu suddenly halted and turned around to face Ichigo.

"I'm still not getting you anything."

Ichigo watched the disappearing Quincy before he set off once again after him. "Damn."

Of Darkness And Light

The scenery changed rapidly as time passed, the sun slowly setting and the journey slowly shortening. It was only a matter of time till they finally found themselves arriving, the train slowly pulling into the station.

They had already gotten into their school robes. A mix of three with a yellow crest and one with a blue one. Hufflepuffs and a Ravenclaw.

Chad stood up to his full height and pulled the luggage down from the railings above, holding them easily without any signs of struggle. Sometimes they wondered if he was part giant or something. His strength just didn't seem natural.

Each of them took their trunks off him along with the three owls they had. Uryuu seemed to have gotten one recently, before managing to get by with the school owls. Then again, he hadn't been that interested in communicating with his family so it didn't matter if he had to wait a bit because there were no owls available.

When they saw it for the first time, they immediately thought white. It was a small snowy owl that was meant to be incredibly fast by owl standards. Uryuu however seemed to have been more focused on the colour. They were only just starting to notice how much Uryuu loved the colour white. He probably would have outfits with nothing but that colour.

Chad had a large brown owl, unusually tall for its species. It was quite strong as well. When the other three saw it, they could have sworn that they were looking at the Chad for owls. There was even a slight resemblance between the two. If Chad hadn't been sitting there, they could have sworn Chad had somehow become an owl Animagus.

With their trunks and owls in tow, the four second year students marched off the train, following the stream of students walking away from the station.

They could see the new first years being lead away by Hagrid. They seemed caught between a mix of fear, nervousness, and excitement. Were they the same in their first year? He hoped not. It would be way too embarrassing.

And arm found its way around his shoulders as the figure leaned against him. "How have you been cousin?"

Ichigo turned to spot two Slytherins in front of him. "Hey Kuugo."

"That's all?" said Kuugo in mock hurt. "No 'Great to see you' or 'How have you been'? I'm hurt Ichigo."

"So this is the famous cousin," the other Slytherin said, drawing Ichigo's attention to the boy. The Slytherin had wavy black hair with a scar running vertically along the side of his left eye. He wasn't sure where he got the wound from but he must have been young as the scar looked old, even at this age. He seemed tall as well. While he was thinner, his height was extremely close to Chad's. Give him a year or two more and he would probably be taller than him.

"Kuugo's spoken of me?" Ichigo asked.

"A bit," said the Slytherin. "I'm sorry, I know your name but you don't know mine. How rude of me."

It didn't seem like he actually thought it was rude, rather that he enjoyed having the upper hand. Then again, Slytherins were always like that. Have a plan and make sure your in control of the conversation.

"My name is Tsukishima Shuukurou. Pleasure to meet you."

"I guess you know mine," said Ichigo. "Ichigo Kurosaki. Second year Hufflepuff."

"Tatsuki Arisawa," said Tatsuki. "Same year and house."

"Yasutora Sado," Chad said. He didn't bother saying his year and house like the others.

"Uryuu Ishida," said Uryuu last. "Ravenclaw."

"Nice to meet you all," said Tsukishima, a grin on his face. "I'm sure we will all get along."

"By the way Ichigo," Kuugo muttered as he pulled Ichigo away from the others slightly. "Do me a favour. Can you see those things?"

Ichigo turned to see where Kuugo was gesturing. To his surprise, he could see what seemed to be skeletal black horses. Their faces seemed more reptilian in nature however but what was surprising were the bat like wings the horse had. Then again, it was magic so anything was possible.

"Yeah," said Ichigo puzzled. "Why?"

"No one else seems to be able to," muttered Kuugo. "I think they're called Thestrals or something but I wanted confirmation they existed first."

"I can see," came the response. "They look strange already. It would be worrying if only you could see them."

"I know," said Kuugo. "But what they're doing now is bothering me."

Ichigo looked closely at the carriages the horses were tied to and noticed it as well. While the ones nearer the back were empty, the ones at the front that were full weren't leaving. Surely they would have headed off the moment everyone was on right?

And what was even stranger was the looks the Thestrals were giving them. It was almost… devotion? Adoration?

"What are Thestrals?" Ichigo asked, trying to confirm something. He had an idea what was going on but he wanted to be sure.

"They're normally invisible to most. If you see death though, they become visible to you." Kuugo started chuckling. "You know, they are meant to be omens of misfortune and stuff. Not many people like them because of the whole death part."

"I see," said Ichigo carefully. "So I guess you could say they are close to death in a way."

"Maybe yeah, but what does…"

Kuugo looked at the horses again before sighing in resignation. "Are all of them looking at us?"

Ichigo took a few steps around the area and watched as the Thestrals turned to watch. Any left were focused completely on Kuugo.


As he took another step forward though, the Thestrals nearer the back started moving towards them quickly. Students had to jump out of the way of the carriages in order to not get hit. Some of them even felt getting pushed aside by the Thestrals, unsure of what was happening.

That one bit of movement by the back Thestrals triggered the rest. They all began moving towards the two Soul Reapers, as if ready to fight for the honour to carry them.

"Should we run?" asked Ichigo.

"Hell yeah," replied Kuugo.

As the Thestrals got closer, they turned and ran in the direction of Hogwarts, every Thestral hot on their tail. Some of the students already in the carriages had to hold on for dear life as they Thestrals seemed to forget they were pulling them along for the ride. They were just too obsessed with getting to their idols.

All the students left from second to seventh year looked at the carriages disappearing into the distance in shock. How often did you see magically carriages chase after two twelve year old boys after all?

Uryuu looked amongst the group, unsure of what to do. Even Tsukishima had lost his composure, looking at Kuugo's figure in the distance with worry and at the carriages in shock.

"So," Tatsuki began. "How the hell do we get to Hogwarts now?"

Chad took one look in the distance before shrugging. He adjusted his grip on his trunk and his owl's cage before he grabbed Ichigo's own trunk and set off after them, the others following his lead. They all just hoped they wouldn't get in trouble for this. It wasn't their fault after all.

Of Darkness And Light

"For the last time, it wasn't our fault!" exclaimed Ichigo, his temper having been unleashed not long into the argument.

"Oh really," said Professor McGonagall incredulously. "Pray tell me, how was having all the Thestrals chase after you not your fault?"

"We didn't start it," Kuugo tried to explain. It was hard to though. They couldn't just say that the Thestrals adored them because they were Soul Reapers.

"I find that hard to believe," said the Professor. "Thestrals are smart creatures. They don't just chase after Wizards for no reason. Hence, you must have done something to insult them or to hurt them."

"I give up," muttered Ichigo. "We've explained this ten times now. It's not our fault you don't listen."

In hindsight, he probably shouldn't have said that. Now he was sitting as his house's table, waiting for his friends to arrive. The conversation had ended with his house losing fifty points and detention for a month with one of the teachers. She still had to sort out who was available she said.

Kuugo got the same as well and they could tell both of their houses were going to be annoyed. It was just a stupid system yet they all seemed to revel in it.

What made things worse was this was the second time he had gotten in trouble before the term had even began. First was last year before he was sorted. This time it was before the feast even began and before everyone else had managed to reach Hogwarts. He wondered if he was cursed or something.

"It's quite unfair isn't it," said a voice from behind him. Ichigo turned to see a red haired man standing behind him, a carefree smile on his face.

"I'm sorry," said Ichigo as he inspected the man. He looked like he was in his early twenties. Instead of robes however, his attire was a bit more muggle. Beige trouser with what looked a lot like the top a Soul Reaper's Shikakushou. A white sash held it shut. He also had a necklace of small coloured stones that hung around his neck, each in strange shapes. "Who are you?"

"Oh me?" said the man cheerfully. "I'm a new teacher of yours. Glad to meet you Ichigo Kurosaki."

"How do you know my name," Ichigo asked suspiciously, his guard up ready.

"No need for alarm," the man said. "I saw your marks for my subject and just had to ask the teachers about you. The orange haired Hufflepuff is kind of a giveaway."

"I see," said Ichigo, relaxing slightly.

"I'll be expecting great things from you in the future," said the man as he marched over to the teachers' table, the Great Hall's doors opening as he left. It only took a moment to spot a few familiar faces.

He saw Kuugo's friend, Tsukishima, make a beeline for the Slytherin table while the others joined him at the Hufflepuff table. Tatsuki and Chad took spaces opposite him while Uryuu grabbed the space next to him. A few Hufflepuffs glanced towards him but didn't bother saying anything. They tried at the end of year feast to get him back to his own table and they failed. It just wasn't worth making that big of a deal over, especially since the Ravenclaws made no move to steal him back.

"What happened?" demanded Tatsuki, glaring at him.

"You look angry," Ichigo commented, trying to avoid the question.

"Angry?" she said, her voice rising slightly. "I'm furious at you."

"Tatsuki-" Chad began to say.

"Don't defend him," snarled Tatsuki. "Do you know how long it takes to get from the station to Hogwarts while walking? With a heavy trunk and your owl as well."

"Technically, the owl is yours too," Ichigo pointed out.

"That doesn't matter," she shouted, a few eyes looking towards her including a glare from one of the teachers. She calmed down a bit after that.

"What happened?" she finally said, quieter this time.

"I don't know," Ichigo lied. "The carriages just started moving after us. Someone might have jinxed them or something."

Tatsuki could tell something was off with his words but she had no choice but to accept it. She had gotten something at least.

Uryuu meanwhile decided to ask later. He had seen some kind of strange horses pulling the carriages and he was sure Ichigo had as well if the looks he and Kuugo had been giving the carriages was any indication.

They didn't have to wait long before Professor McGonagall appeared, placing a stool down in the centre of the room along with the Sorting Hat. Ichigo could swear than when everyone else turned to watch the Professor leave, the hat had turned to him ever so slightly and winked, or at least winked in a way a hat could.

Before he could say anything to anyone, Professor McGonagall returned with a load of new first years, the hat taking that as its cue to burst into song. Unlike the previous year, it wasn't as strange and cool to him as it had been. When you were surrounded by talking portraits and moving staircases, a singing hat just seemed a bit plain.

He barely even noticed the sorting pass by, a few of the new first years joining Hufflepuff while he thought he saw two very excited kids get put into Gryffindor. Tatsuki was of similar mind and almost every other student seemed to be waiting for food. They didn't expect to have to walk after he and Kuugo had accidently lead the carriages away.

Dumbledore seemed to sense the hunger as well as he took that moment to say a few odd words and signal the food to appear. Only the Slytherins didn't dig straight in, their manners drilled deep into their brains since a young age, and even they were eating as quickly as they could. A few shot a some glances at Kuugo in the process but didn't do much about it. The barbs from some of the Hufflepuffs were less subtle, and Uryuu seemed to be having the time of his life complaining about him.

Ichigo couldn't suppress a scowl. It was going to be one long dinner.

When it finally got to the end, Dumbledore took to his feet for the first announcements of the term.

"Welcome back, one and all," he said, smiling down at all the students nearby. "Another year at Hogwarts has begun and it should be just as good as your lasts I hope."

A few chuckles and smiles could be seen throughout the room as Dumbledore continued.

"Now I trust you are all tired after that meal and your... unscheduled hike."

Almost half the hall turned towards Ichigo as he said this, the rest glaring at Kuugo.

"I won't keep you much longer," said Dumbledore. "So I'll quickly run through the usual things you should remember. The Forbidden Forest is forbidden as the name says. I wonder if I will ever see a day where the students actually realise that."

Dumbledore looked over to the Gryffindor table and raised his goblet to them slightly.

"Now Mr Filch has asked me to remind you that he has a list of everything banned in the school on his office's door. I would advise checking it if you are unsure if what you have brought it actually allowed. If I remember correctly, a lot of Zonko's merchandise can be found on that same list."

"Now then," Dumbledore continued. "As is our school's norm, we have a new teacher for Defence Against the Dark Arts. If you would please join me in welcoming Mr Gilderoy Lockhart."

Chaos broke out. If the girl wasn't a first year muggleborn or a Slytherin, they were screaming excitedly and chatting furiously amongst their friends. There were exceptions to this as Tatsuki was uninterested at all while some of the Slytherin girls were doing their best to hide their own interests.

Dumbledore let it go on for a few more moments before he silenced the room.

"I can see a lot of you are excited at this news," Dumbledore said, smiling. "Today however, we have two new teachers instead of one. It is with great displeasure that I must inform you of Professor Binns's passing."

Silence. No one spoke. Then suddenly, everyone was cheering. Normally, something like this would be disrespectful, but the man was already dead long ago. It was more like he had left than passed on to them.

"SILENCE!" Dumbledore commanded. The room shut up in an instant. "That's better. If you would all give a warm welcome to our new History of Magic Professor, Mr Ashido Kanou."

The red haired man Ichigo had seen before stood up from his seat and gave a wave to the room, a beaming smile glued to his face.

"It's a pleasure to meet all of you," Ashido said cheerfully. "I promise I'll be much more fun than that old ghost was."

"Thank you for those words," said Dumbledore, the room lightly chatting in excitement. "With that, I believe we have said everything you need to know. Prefects, please escort the first years to their dorms. I wish you all a good night's sleep."

Of Darkness And Light

"So how did I do?" asked Ashido. "I mean I tried to be neutral, but at the same time I needed to seem cooler to them than their last teacher. Binns sounded so boring. And I saw all those grades. Did the students enjoy History? I'm going to have so much work to do to rekindle their love and-"

"Breathe," Dumbledore said, chuckling.

"Oh yeah," said Ashido flustered. "Sorry. I get nervous sometimes and then I talk and talk and talk-"

"Don't worry Ashido," Dumbledore said. "You did fine. And they already are hoping you will be better. I trust you won't disappoint."

"I course not," said Ashido indignantly. "I actually love the subject. Maybe Binns did but he lost something when he died and ever since then, he hasn't had the passion. He's just been telling History, not teaching it."

"I see," said Dumbledore. "And what is the different you think between telling and teaching History."

Ashido didn't seem to notice the test or if he did, he didn't give anything away. "Isn't it obvious? Teaching is… It's…"

Ashido ran his hands through his hair in thought. "How do I explain this? It's like… Passion? That's it! Passion. Passion determines the difference. I love the subject. I can't speak about it without showing that passion. And when you show that passion to others, it draws them in themselves and intrigues them."

"Leave it to me," Ashido said with his cheerful smile. "I'll have them loving it in no time."

"I will have to trust you there," said Dumbledore. "I don't hold out to much home for the later years though. Too much time has passed and Binns has engraved himself too deeply in their minds. The first years are your ideal students to mould to love the subject with maybe a few of the other lower years."

"Ah yes," replied Ashido. "If I remember correctly, a Mr Ichigo Kurosaki is the most promising student currently for the subject?"
"He is indeed. I was quite surprised with his mark. I don't think I have seen one so high. Certainly not in my time here at least."

"There are always students who can excel despite who taught them," Ashido commented. "I'm going to enjoy teaching him. I wonder how far he can go with my help."

"You seem interested in the boy," said Dumbledore. "If you would like, you can take over his detention. I don't believe the carriages were his fault despite what Professor McGonagall says however I don't want to overrule her. Something like that would undermine her."

"Let me guess," said Ashido, smiling at the old man. "I have to unfortunately keep him occupied with a few hours of History. Such agony. How will he cope?"

"Good," responded Dumbledore in kind. "He's got detention for a month."

"A month!" Ashido looked at the headmaster in shock. "How did he get so much? Term hadn't even started yet."

"Oh he is awfully good at getting in trouble early," said Dumbledore. "Though I believe it was extended so much due to him arguing back. Never a good thing to do against Professor McGonagall."

"That woman scares me," Ashido said shuddering. "Don't get me wrong, she's a great teacher, but she is absolutely terrifying when she's angry. All I did was place her outside the room and locked her out. How was I supposed to know that she was a Cat Animagus? It's not my fault I thought she was someone's pet."

"She will forgive you in time," said Dumbledore, patting the man on the back. "Minerva can hold a grudge but she always forgives them in the end, with a few minor exceptions."

"And I think I'm one of those minor exceptions," Ashido muttered.

Dumbledore shock his head lightly, unsure of how to reassure the man that Minerva would forgive him. He remembered the last time he had upset her. She hadn't spoken to him for days after that incident, and their jobs required a lot of communication. She was the deputy headmaster after all.

"You didn't need to escort me back you know," Ashido said as they ascended some stairs. "I could easily find my own way back."

"You definitely could," replied Dumbledore, remembering how effectively the man could navigate Hogwarts after only being there once. "You have a very good sense of direction after all. I always like to help make sure the newer teachers are settling in well."

"What about Gilderoy?"

"He's here for a year and I ran out of choices," Dumbledore admitted. "It wouldn't be that bad if he suddenly quit. I always am amazed at how the students can pass Defence Against the Dark Arts, despite the amount of teachers we go through."

"Isn't it like one a year?" asked Ashido.

"It was worse," Dumbledore said. "They originally didn't last a week. It took a lot of work to alter that Jink on the position, and even then it was too powerful to be completely removed."

"The man who casted it must still be alive then," Ashido commented offhandedly. "Otherwise, the Jink would have been able to be removed. It is somehow linked to his magic and hence, it is far more resistant to being removed than if he was dead."

Dumbledore glanced at the man from the corner of his eye. He was right. The fact that the Jink was still here showed that Voldemort was still alive somehow. The question was if Ashido knew who casted the spell.

"Here we are," said Ashido suddenly, the door to his office straight ahead. The door was far older than most in the school. Ancient almost.

"Well then, I wish you a good night." Dumbledore nodded at the new Professor before heading down the stairs. He didn't completely understand why the man had taken that room but at least he had also requested the new History classroom to be below it so he could get to and from it easily.

Ashido watched the headmaster leaving before he lowered his hand to the door. Markings on the door glowed gold for a moment before the door swung open. He had the essentials in the room including desks, bookshelves, draws and a bed, but he there was a completely different reason why he choose this room. And he was staring at it. Because right behind the desk he had placed was the room's main feature. A silver archway with runes etched into it.

Of Darkness And Light

Chapter 23 is done. Again, sorry for the dely. I'm getting caught up in Protector of the Fairies as well so that's a slight problem there.

Enough about that though. What did you think? Did you like Ashido? Did you like the Thestral scene? I had many different ideas of how Thestrals would react to them and this was by favourite. Hope you liked it.

Anyway, till the next time. I've been Takei. Thanks for reading.