Forewarning:  This is not a fluffy ‘YYH cast goes to school with wizards’  fic.  I don’t want any confusion on this.  This is an adult fic, looking at adult characters
– Kurama and Hiei are demons in this fic, not teenagers.  This takes place at the beginning of the 6th year, following the ‘Order of the Pheonix,’ and the main
Harry Potter characters are Snape and Lupin, with student focus on Hermione and Draco (not as a couple, they’re just the two HP teens whose
characterizations I like best).  There will be classes and interaction, but it will focus more on the teachers than the students.  Most of the story will be from the
YYH characters’ perspective, and the Professors.  I’ve yet to find a HP/YYH fic that focused on the adults, or even one where Kurama and Hiei were open
demons, so be warned right now – this one is different.  If you’re looking for a great undercover-teen fic, I’d recommend ‘The Best Defense.’  It's the best
HP/YYH fic I've found (that hasn’t been abandoned).
Note:  I don’t care for the movie depiction of some characters, particularly Lupin - who was cast as a decrepit middle-aged man, instead of a young man with
premature graying and stress related worry-lines. And Draco - who was shown as a spoiled little rich kid just acting out for attention, instead of a bitter
pureblood trying to keep his reputation because that’s all he has.  I’ll be going off the descriptions given in the books, but don’t be surprised if my take is
different at times.  I’m writing about characters who aren’t given that much depth in the novels, so creative license has me filling in my own gaps.
Quick Summary:  After Snape is revealed as a spy, Dumbledore calls in some favors from an old friend.  Kurama and Hiei are set up as guards at Hogwarts,
with a message that soon becomes clear.  If Voldemort wants to pursue his new vendetta, he’ll have to go through them first.
Warnings:  none yet, will have adult themes of angst, violence, and romance
Author:  Arigatomina

Higher Learning

Part 1:  Students Arrive; Invalid Werewolf

The students arrived with a general murmur that could have been heard in any school.  They were a motley crew, as far as age and height went, but the
majority was male, with the typical coloring of brown and cream and indefinitely English.  Naturally so, as far as Kurama was concerned. From what he’d been
told, the wizarding schools were broken according to region, and all of the professors at this particular school had English accents.

But the students were all so pale and scrawny, he couldn’t help but wonder what sort of lives they lived outside of Hogwarts.  Aside from a select few bullies,
easily spotted by their large bulky bodies and visibly dumb faces, the students were reed thin.  He supposed it was really no wonder, considering their entire
focus was on waving an arm, rather than anything physical.

Watching them, he allowed an exception to that observation.  The Quiddich players were a little different.  He’d heard enough about them to pick out the
beaters – their arms gave them away, no where near as flaccid or bony as the rest of the wand-wavers.  Still, those few did nothing to dispel his first
impression of wizarding children as stick-figures who’d be easily beaten in a physical confrontation.  

Kurama watched impartially from the shadowed doorway, filing away that observation as one more thing to tell his friends when this mission was over.  

The students were taking their places at the long tables that filled the open room, preparing for their ritual speech and feast.  None of them really noticed the
shadow that flickered over to the edge of the crowd.

He watched until Hiei had taken a seat at the table designated for Slytherin students.  With his friend in position to see everything in the hall, Kurama slipped
away.

Hiei’s eyes flashed as the shadow disappeared in the doorway across the wide hall from him.  Then he turned his gaze to the table where the professors sat,
and waited.  He didn’t have a long wait.

A boy centered on him, stopping to stare down at him with a raised eyebrow.  The slicked pale blonde hair made Hiei think of Yusuke’s brand of conceit, and
he returned the boy’s gaze with just a hint of a smirk.

Draco Malfoy was confused by the presence of some stranger at his table.  His first thought was that the boy was a first year who’d somehow slipped past
Hagrid and snuck into the hall.  

But he wasn’t dressed as a student.  The small black-haired boy was wearing an unusual cloak, with a white scarf wrapped loosely around his neck and a
rather unfashionable white headband.  That alone would have been enough to attract Draco’s notice, if that gravity-defying hair hadn’t done so already.  

The boy’s complete disregard of him, though…that told him this was not just a confused student, but a confused mudblood student.

“Are you a first year?” asked Draco.

Hiei watched the sneer that spread over the pale boy’s face, and he let his smirk widen just enough to be noticeable.  

This, then, was a Death Eater’s son.  Interesting.

“No,” said Hiei.

He turned away, focusing again on the professors seated at the head of the room.  He didn’t so much as glance back when Draco bristled at his blatant
disregard.

His Slytherin comrades were staring at him, waiting for his direction on how to take the insult, and Draco fumed.  He didn’t know who this was, and he didn’t
want to risk alienating the wrong person – as he’d done with Potter so long ago.  But to insult him on sight, to completely ignore him like that as if he were no
one?

He sent a sharp look toward the table the strange boy was staring so fixedly at.  And he blinked in surprise.  Dumbledore was returning the stranger’s stare
with a small, knowing smile.

Draco’s face closed off, and he shook his head at his flunkies.  Until he knew who he was dealing with, he wouldn’t try to engage him.

The boy sat down without another word.

Leaning an elbow on the table in front of him, Hiei let his gaze roam over the students.  There was quite a buzz going around, just from his simple presence
among them.  It was enough to distract them from their little sorting ceremony.  Hiei noted that with a marked amusement.  They were all so set in the ritual, the
children didn’t know what to make of a single change. But then, he was a conspicuous change.

Hiei couldn’t help but smirk at the ragged whispers muffling around the room as Dumbledore began his speech.  They were wondering why the man hadn’t
mentioned him, wondering if the man had even noticed him.  Who was he?  Why was he sitting there?  So many questions overlapping that the empty place at
the professor’s table didn’t get nearly as much attention as Hiei’s mere presence did.

As he looked over the room, returning and disregarding the curious and worried stares, Hiei spotted a small cluster of students who were staring at the empty
space and not so much as looking at him.  He focused on these students, recognizing the mussy-haired boy as the infamous Potter he’d been told so much
about.  The boy was waving his hands and staring at that empty seat.

Hiei sneered, amused that the boy would be more concerned with who the new teacher was, than with the mysterious stranger in their midst.

What a skewed sense of priorities.

.-.-

“Who do you think it will be?” asked Harry.

“I hope it’s not another sop like Umbridge,” Ron grumbled.

“It shouldn’t be,” said Hermione.  “Dumbledore has complete freedom over who he chooses this year. All of those rules from last year were revoked, you
know.  Fudge is walking on ice around him now, trying to keep on his good side.  It’s especially important for him since the parents realize we wasted an entire
year when we should have been preparing to defend ourselves.  I hear they’re pushing Fudge to help Dumbledore find the best teacher he can.  After all, this
year Defense Against the Dark Arts is going to be the most important class for anyone hoping to survive an attack by You-Know-Who.”

Harry gave a distracted nod, not really hearing more than the sound of Hermione giving a lecture.  “So who do you think the new professor will be?”

Hermione sighed, her shoulders slumping.  They just never listened.  “Snape."

“No!” said Harry.

“No way!” echoed Ron.

The two boys looked at each other for a moment before turning outraged frowns on the girl.  Hermione just shrugged, her expression doubtful.

“He does look like he’s gotten his way about something,” she said.

The boys turned back to look at the teacher in question, Ron bumping the table in surprise.

"What did he do to his hair?!" he demanded, staring open-mouthed up at the table.

Hermione sighed and rolled her eyes.  "He probably washed it.  About time, really.  He couldn't expect to get advanced if he doesn't even bother to look the
part.  It's too long to just let it hang all the time."

She made a face at the memory, before looking up again.  With his hair pulled back, the gleam in Snape's eyes was much more blantant.  It made her uneasy,
worse than it had when he'd glared down his nose at them in class, that greasy mane falling in his face.  Now he looked focused, still dangerous and bitter,
spiteful, but also eerily pleased.  The tight twist to his smile just made her want to whip around and see what her friends had done wrong - what they'd messed
up to make him so pleased with himself.

"He looks just like he does when he catches Harry breaking a rule," said Hermione.

Harry grumbled irritably that it was too soon in the year for Snape to have anything on him.  But he did check out that disturbing smirk.  And he realized the
professor was staring over at the Slytherin table.  He followed the man’s gaze, wondering what there would have him smirking like that.  He abruptly jumped,
bumping the table as much as Ron had.

A small dark-haired stranger was looking directly at him, as if he’d just been waiting for Harry to notice him.  And something about the guy’s smirk was so
similar to Snape’s that it frankly creeped Harry out.

“Hey,” Harry whispered to his friends, “look at that guy over there.”

Hermione sent him a funny look, but by the time she saw who Harry was referring to, the boy was focused on the Professor’s table again.  She frowned first at
the stranger, then at Snape, and then at Harry.  “Do you know him?”

“No,” Harry said sharply.  “But he’s the one Snape’s looking at.  Creepy, isn’t he?”

“He’s at the Slytherin table,” said Ron.  “Maybe he’s a new student and just forgot his uniform - so Snape’s all happy about getting to punish a new kid the first
day back.  I wasn’t really paying attention to the sorting.”

“I don’t think so,” Harry frowned.

Since she was still watching the professor, Hermione noticed when Snape turned his attention to Dumbledore.  She glanced over at Harry and Ron, and
shushed them quickly.  

“He’s talking about the Defense class,” she whispered.

Most of the whispers in the hall stopped as the students waited to hear who would be filling the post this year.  Since no teacher lasted longer than a year, it
was a popular subject for bets - who it would be, how long the professor would last, and how he would lose the position - be it death, possession, expulsion, or
what-have-you.

“And I’m happy to be welcoming back a former professor,” Dumbledore was saying, the usual calm and lightly amused smile firm on his face, “to take the post
of Defense Against the Dark Arts.  Unfortunately he was unable to join us this evening, but until he’s ready to assume the position full-time, our esteemed
Potion’s Master, Professor Snape, will be covering both classes.”

A silent shockwave of denial swept over the room, most of that concentrated at the Gryffindor table.  Specifically, the denial was a mental scream from Ron
and Harry, who looked ready to swallow their tongues in hopes of a quick and merciful death.  They barely heard the cheers and applause from their Slytherin
classmates.

Harry couldn’t believe it, refused to believe it.  His favorite class?  He’d hate it with Snape as a teacher - he could still remember the one and only time Snape
had so much as substituted in Defense.  There was no way it could be true.

“I already have to take extra Potions if I want to be an Auror,” Harry whispered furiously, “I’ll go crazy if I’m stuck with him for both!  And how is he planning to
teach two classes, anyway?”

Hermione was staring up at the professors, too distracted to really hear what Harry was saying.  “Were you watching Snape?”

“I’ll be seeing him more than enough, having two classes with him,” Harry groaned.  “Why would I want to look at him when I don’t have to?”

“Because,” Hermione explained patiently, still staring up at the table.  “He looked over at that stranger the moment Dumbledore mentioned the former
professor.”

She turned back, frowning at the blank looks on her friends’ faces.  “Aren’t you curious who has been invited back?”

Harry thought about it for a moment, but couldn’t get his mind out of the mire of depression it had sunk into.  

“The only one they could bring back would be Umbridge,” he scoffed.  “And last I heard, she was loopy  because of the centaurs.”

Ron nodded glumly, his shoulders slumping nearly as much as Harry’s.  Hermione sighed and frowned at the two of them.

“It could be Lupin,” she said with exasperation.  “Ron, didn’t you say you hadn’t seen him around the Order lately?”

That managed to brighten Harry’s face somewhat, but he couldn’t quite picture it.  “I really doubt it.  The parents would throw a fit if Dumbledore brought back
a werewolf.  And besides...”

He shot a dark look over at the professor’s table.  “Snape wouldn’t be looking so disgustingly happy if it were Lupin.  I think he hates him more than he does
me.  At least I never humiliated him in public...”

Hermione couldn’t argue against the evidence for that, Snape did have a very disturbing smile at the moment, with that dark half-sneer of his.  She tore her
gaze away and glanced over at the stranger across the room.  The two of them were staring at each other again.

“I wonder who he is,” she frowned.

Harry wondered too, but he was too sunk in depression to think about it very hard.  The food appeared on the plates in front of them, but even this didn’t help
him any.  He was too sick to his stomach to eat.

“This year is going to suck,” he sighed.  “It’s just not fair...”

.-.-

If few people at the Gryffindor table were eating due to upset stomachs, few people at the Slytherin table were eating due to upset Malfoy.  The news of their
Head teaching Defense would have been a morale booster, and it was to a point.  But there was still the stranger sitting beside him.  

Draco barely touched his food, too busy glaring at the boy.  And his discontent filtered to his lackeys, who watched him and the stranger, itching to pound the
problem into dust.  Their nervous jitters, violence shaking against the restraint, was enough to make most of the other Slytherin students look away and hope
for the best.

Hiei noticed the problem, but he kept his smirk to a minimum.  The boy could glare at him all he wanted.  Let him get a good look and then go running back to
his friends until the rumors flew.  The Malfoy boy and those henchmen of his were just the sort to go writing home to their families.  And that was exactly what
they wanted.

The less Hiei explained, the more speculation there would be.  And the more gossip, the more exaggerated the rumors.  It would send certain people into a
frenzy wondering what was really going on inside the school.

With this in mind, Hiei sat in silence as the others picked at their food, and the feast finally came to an end.  The students started to file out, and he relented.  
Turning to the blonde boy, who was still glaring at him, Hiei smirked and leaned close so his snide comment wouldn’t be overheard.

“Has Lucius visited you since the escape?”

Draco froze.  Livid anger and stark shock hit him and rendered him motionless.

How could he know?!  That wasn’t public knowledge yet - Fudge was keeping it underwraps so it didn’t cause a panic.  For some stranger to not only know, but
to be in a position to mention it in Hogwarts - as if he were asking the time of day was...ludicrous.  How?

He snapped out of it only after noting that the small red-eyed boy was no longer in front of him.  Draco wheeled around, pushing past students as he tried to
spot the short stranger in the crowd.  When he did spot him, it was another shock - only this time he was confused out of his mind.

The stranger was walking a few steps behind Snape, who was leading the group toward their dorm in the dungeons.  And the mysterious boy was looking as
comfortable as if he’d been a member of the House for years. It was enough to send Draco’s rational mind spinning.

Who was he?  Since when did Dumbledore let strangers into the school without introducing them to the students?  Draco was a prefect - Dumbledore should
have at least told the prefects.  Especially if the creep was going to be staying in his House!

Snape stopped at the entrance to the dormitory, that stranger stopping a little way behind so that the students trickled past them both.  Draco glared at the
dark-haired boy as he continued toward his room.  He wanted answers, but he wasn’t quite ready to ask Snape flat out who the person was.  He had to stay on
good terms with the head of his House, after all.  Even if it killed him...

Dark eyes watched as the hall was emptied of students, silence coating the thick walls.  Then Snape turned, looking back and down till he was sneering at Hiei.

“Don’t you have someplace better to be?” asked Snape.

Hiei smirked, his eyes just as dark and mockingly distasteful as the professor’s.  Children aside, there were some humans he did understand.

“Yes,” said Hiei, “and so do you.”

Snape’s eyebrow twitched, but his expression didn’t change.  He snapped past, his robes swishing sharply as he stalked down the hall in the opposite direction
of the way the students had gone.  His voice was cold and he didn’t look back.  “I don’t need an escort.”

Hiei just smirked as he followed.  “We’ll see.”

.-.-

He felt the demon’s approach minutes before he came anywhere near the door.  Kurama waited patiently, leaning against the wall and watching the dark hall.  
There was a flicker of youki, a quick greeting from one demon to another, then Hiei was standing in front of him, his black cloak settling from his fast
movements through the school.

Kurama smiled at the clearly bored look on his friend’s face, and tilted his head.  “How do you like your new chore so far?”

Hiei sniffed, not bothering to so much as glower at the teasing tone.  “The boy knows nothing.  None of them do.”

That neither surprised nor bothered Kurama.  He shrugged lightly.  “They don’t need to know.  They’ll report to their parents just because they don’t know, so
it’s better if they’re left completely in the dark.  It will make them that much quicker to tattle home.”

He didn’t receive any argument to that, but Kurama could see how put out Hiei felt, by the expression on his bored face.

“I can’t believe I’m stuck down in that stuffy dungeon,” Hiei muttered crossly.  “Who in their right mind would choose to sleep down there?  Even humans aren’t
supposed to be that stupid.”

Though Kurama was sympathetic - and amused - he shook his head at the little demon.  “Shouldn’t you be getting back?”

Hiei sniffed carelessly.  “I took care of it.”

There was a familiar gleam in those bright red eyes, and Kurama let out a quiet laugh.  His friend smirked in reaction.

“He’s going to resent being locked in his room like a child,” said Kurama, “just because the students have arrived.”

Hiei turned his smirk on the door, not bothered by the warning.  “He resents everything.  What’s one more thing.”

Hiei reached into his cloak and pulled out a dark stoppered flask so Kurama could see it.  The redhead nodded and turned to the door.  He ran a pale hand
over it, making the wood glow with a faint reddish light.  Then he opened the door, giving entrance to the dim room.

“You have my invitation till I rescind,” Kurama murmured, stepping through the doorway.

That faint glow passed over Hiei, disappearing once the demon crossed the threshold.  Hiei ignored it, far too familiar with Kurama’s style of kekkai to so much
as raise an eyebrow.  The fox had flair and liked to show it off.  That was just the way he was.

“He wanted to come himself,” said Hiei.

Kurama sealed the door behind them, smirking at Hiei’s amused tone.  When he turned, he found Lupin returning his smile, from where he sat on the small
couch.

“He would,” Lupin said quietly.  “That’s because if he doesn’t deliver it himself, and something goes wrong, some could claim it was a flaw in his work.”

“Smart,” Hiei sniffed.

“Distrustful,” Kurama countered.

Lupin smiled at the two of them, amusement dancing behind tired eyes.  “Both are quite accurate.”

The man shifted on the sofa, pulling the blanket tighter around his shoulders.  He was pale and gaunt, with more white streaking the brown of his hair than his
true age suggested.  He looked starved, with dark, circled eyes as if he hadn’t slept in years.  But he was sitting up on his own, and the dim light from the lamp
didn’t make him wince anymore.  That was an improvement.

Kurama gave him a nod before turning to get a large bowl of plants he’d prepared.  It looked like nothing so much as crushed parsley, tiny bits of broken
leaves sprinkled with bark shavings and a dust of silver-green powder.  Despite that appearance, the scent proclaimed it as something else entirely.  He kept it
away from his face, but the strong odor of mint and pepper was enough to make his eyes water.

Hiei glowered when he accepted the bowl, trading the flask for it.  He raised his youki a bit, just a tiny flare of heat to warm the bowl, and turned his head away
as Kurama poured the yellow liquid onto the plants.  

The heat of the bowl kept any mist or dust from forming over the mixture but Hiei wasn’t taking any chances.  He held his breath while Kurama set the circular
filter down into it, and didn’t exhale until the redhead took the bowl from him.

Lupin was watching them with wary but resigned eyes, and Kurama offered him a wan smile as he held out the bowl.  The filter, latching onto the rim of the
bowl the way it did, kept the herbs from coming through as the man took a small sip.  But the filter definitely didn’t stop the taste from coming through.  He
grimaced and sent a look up at the redhead.

Kurama smiled, knowingly.  “It will clear your head better than the potion alone.  Just don’t ask me what it is.  And don’t mention it to Snape.”

Hiei had hopped onto the soft window seat - which faced an airtight mesh of green in the place where a window should have been - and was currently leaning
against the plants.  He sniffed at Kurama’s comment and shot Lupin a smirk.

“He said to drink it fast,” said Hiei.  “No sipping.”

Lupin heaved a resigned sigh, his eyes blurring a bit from the fumes that rose off the bowl.  “Of course.”

The man took a deep breath before tilting the bowl back and downing the liquid.  Kurama grimaced and ducked forward at the same time.

He caught the bowl just as Lupin tensed up, the combination of potion and undiluted demon stimulant enough to send the man’s body into momentary shock.  
His hands clenched reflexively, a flush of color striking out on his cheeks.  Nearly a minute passed before he gasped, but his eyes were much more vivid and
lucid when they opened.

Kurama watched them, those eyes, for any signs of a negative reaction.  But Lupin seemed sober enough.

His throat was on fire, a sharp aching burn.  Lupin grimaced and looked over at Hiei.  “Water?”

Hiei remembered the angry orders he’d been given when he insisted on delivering the potion, and he shook his head at Lupin.  “No liquids for at least an hour.”

That news was just what he’d suspected.  Lupin sighed, his tongue rubbing uselessly on the roof of his mouth in an attempt to rid it of the coating he was sure
it had now.  He rubbed his neck the same way, as if that might stop the burning sensation.

“It’s vile,” Lupin said, with a wry smirk.  “Intentionally so.”

Hiei stared for a moment before giving a slow smirk.  “Without a doubt.”

“I feel like I’m awake for the first time in a month,” Lupin sighed, “but I’m still tired.”

“I’ve never tried mixing a depressant with a stimulant,” Kurama admitted.  “But the side effects of Keda–of what I gave you should let you wake up with more
awareness for a couple months.”

Lupin’s eyes widened at that, and Kurama shrugged.  “It’s a one-time dosage since taking more than that would kill you in a heartbeat.  You can’t dilute it,
either, so the effects tend to last quite a while.  Don’t worry.  It’s no different from a human drinking coffee every morning for an added boost - it helps your
body forget how exhausted it is.  Just don’t go running any marathons and you should be fine.”

“I see,” Lupin said slowly.

Hiei jerked on the window seat, a flash of purple glowing beneath his white headband.  He abruptly scowled and hopped to the floor.  

“Idiot wizards,” Hiei spat, as he stalked toward the door.  “Don’t know enough not to test a kekkai.  Like it would be any weaker this time than it was the last.  
Ridiculous.”

Lupin ducked his head, hiding his smirk behind a hand.  Kurama didn’t bother to hide his.  He smiled openly as he crossed to let Hiei out of the room.

“He probably wants a status report,” Kurama teased.

Hiei gave a distasteful look without responding.  The doorway glowed as he crossed it, that sheen of faint red covering him for a moment before disappearing.

“I rescind my invitation to you,” said Kurama, that teasing tone still in his voice.

Hiei sniffed at him, not the least bit amused.  “Any idiot could deliver the stuff.”

He took a step before he remembered the other thing he was supposed to deliver.  A droll look passed over his face, and Hiei looked back into the room,
catching Lupin’s attention.

“You’re expected to be there for the first class,” Hiei muttered, “even if you have to be carried in.  Something about you wanting to greet your pet.”

With the message delivered, Hiei shrugged up at Kurama.  “It’s your decision.”

Kurama nodded and Hiei turned on his heel, flickering a bit before disappearing in a flash of speed.  Once the hall was empty, Kurama went back in and
leaned against the inside of the door.  He raised an eyebrow at Lupin’s amused expression.

“Do you want to sit in on the class?” asked Kurama.  “You won’t be walking well, but you should be able to get there - without being carried.”

Lupin smirked and shook his head.  “He just wants to see Harry’s expression, that’s all.  Having me sit back and watch him teach my class - it’s the sort of thing
he’d find terribly amusing.  Especially with the way Harry would react to it.”

The redhead was smirking at him, waiting for a decision.  Lupin gave him a wry smile.  “Far be it from me to deny that small bit of satisfaction.”

Kurama nodded in understanding and watched as the man rose and made his way back to the curtained doorway to the bedroom.  He wasn’t wavering much,
but he still gripped his blanket from a cold only he felt.

He doubted Lupin would get much sleep, not after the mixed dose he’d taken, but the rest would do him good.  He had an idea the first day of classes would
be...quite interesting.

He flicked off the lamp, more than capable of seeing in the dark, and curled up on the window seat.  His plants reacted to his presence, just a hint of his reiki
and youki mix - that faint reddish glow that spread over the window and door as if emanating from the room itself.  But it faded out as he closed his eyes for a
short nap.  

Kurama wasn’t about to sleep there.  The window seat was far too small for him to stay curled up on it all night.  But it was a comfortable place to relax for a
short while.  

Hiei’s confrontations with Snape, especially concerning his kekkai’s, never lasted long.  There was simply no spell a human could use that would counter Hiei’s
jagan.  Poison, yes, physical attacks, possibly, but not magic.  Snape knew that, of course.  The wizard was just too stubborn to stop trying.  Kurama
suspected he did it just to annoy Hiei.

Kurama yawned widely and smirked as he curled closer to the plant-covered window.  It was Hiei’s turn to keep watch.  Hopefully the little demon would be
irritable when he came back upstairs - that always put Hiei in a good mood to stalk corridors looking for a fight. Perfect for guard duty.

.-.

PART 2

.-.

FEEDBACK

FANFICTION INDEX