It was morning when the seven Arcobaleno arrived in England. Technically. Yes it was pitch black and whatever cheerful morning birds existed weren’t even thinking of cheeping their feathery heads off, but it was still morning. Granted they could have waited until later and a decent hour, but they had a lot to do in jolly old England and only a day to fit it into. That was as long as they were leaving Luce and Hadrian alone together. Knowing Skull’s luck Hadrian would either adopt Luce if any more time then that passed, accidentally kill her in a bizarre way, or start a bitter life long feud.
The boy was just like that.
“So, I gather we’re talking to my dear sister and her lard ball first?” Skull asked around a huge yawn. While normally he was a bit of a night owl, the amount of paperwork had forced him to a day schedule, leaving him a bit sleep deprived. Viper shrugged, a bit of a smile playing across his lips.
“You’re paying me to help you deal with these ‘Goblins’ and put your remaining relative in her place, the order we do it in is entirely up to you.” The tiny Esper floated over to poke at Colonnello who was cleaning his gun. “Do you honestly need to do that?”
“Oi, nothing’s more intimidating then a pretty boy with a huge gun, kora! Well, unless it’s Lal with a tank…” Most of the group snickered at that, and Lal responded with a rude Italian gesture. Skull yawned again, then shrugged.
“Might as well hit Petty Petunia and the lard ball first. It’s dark, Viper’s illusions should make us look adult, and having people break in during the time you’re sleeping is fucking terrifying. Besides, I want light when I try to figure out how the hell to get into Diagon Alley.” Renato nodded at Skull’s reasoning, a demonic smile on his lips.
“Well then, let’s go cause Chaos.”
Petunia woke as the little voice in the back of her head SCREAMED at her that Vernon’s idea to keep claiming Harry as a dependent had caught up with them. Her eyes snapped open, to find their bedroom had been invaded. Normally Vernon would have done something about that, but he was currently staring down the barrel of a very, VERY large gun. The blond man holding it seemed vastly amused.
“Ah, the ‘lady’ of the house is awake! I wouldn’t try that, kora.” He chirped cheerfully as Vernon tensed as if to grab the gun. “Despite what my beautiful Lal would say, at this range even a blind man couldn’t miss. And I am not blind.” Petunia jerked a little as a familiar chuckle sounded in response to that.
“No Colonnello, you’re just blond. Almost as bad.” Petunia’s eyes flickered over to where her no-good circus freak of a brother lounged in her reading chair, his violet eyes vastly amused. Beside him stood an elegant looking man dressed in a way that screamed ‘Mafia’ and a heavily robed and hooded person who might have been male, it was hard to tell with the lighting and the clothing. A dark haired woman stood near the blond, her face a cold mask as she stared down at Petunia. Another man, his hair in a long braid that had to mean he was a gay freak stood near the door, dressed like a Chinese martial artist. The door opened and a man with green hair in a lab coat, clearly yet another freak, came in tsking.
“I take back any complaints I’ve ever made about Hadrian’s dietary habits. At least he doesn’t subsist on varying carbonated beverages, candy, and Twinkies.” The blond raised an eyebrow.
“Is that a child or a chemical pudding, kora?” Petunia snarled low in her throat at the implied insult to Dudley, and the man next to Oleander raised an eyebrow in surprise.
“How… interesting. You never said she was a latent Wrath, my friend.” Oleander shot the man a look.
“Consider how little I knew of my own flames before you start throwing stones, Renato. Anyway,” Oleander turned his attention back to her. “Care to explain why you’re still claiming Hadrian and cheating the government?” Vernon chose, unwisely, to speak before Petunia could.
“Why shouldn’t we? Filthy freak was in our house for days, he could have ruined Dudley’s life! Small price to pay, the government helping us get Dudley the things he needs! Not like you rich freak and these other freaks, not even leaving a forwarding address!” Venon shut up as the blond put the barrel of the gun in his mouth. Oleander and the rest of them gave both of them the same disgusted look, the robed one even pulling their hood down to reveal lavender hair and pale gray eyes. Oleander stood up slowly, and Petunia realized Vernon had just burned any connection her sibling cared to keep to her out.
“Hadrian is a loving, adorable child and already one of the best people I know. I thank God I took him because if I’d left him here, you’d either have killed him or ruined him completely. Viper,” he tilted his head towards the robed person. “Has already left a message with the officials that you’ve been lying through your teeth about a housebound disabled child. We’re just here to make a few adjustments to your behavior.” He turned to the mafia wannabe next to him. “Let’s go, Renato. I don’t want to see this.” Most of them left, save for Colonnello, Viper, and the dark haired woman Petunia was assuming was Lal. Viper smiled, something that somehow resembled their namesake.
“This isn’t going to take long, I’m getting paid well enough to make it short and sweet.” And then indigo flames similar to Oleander’s violet but somehow more sinister surrounded him and Petunia and Vernon found themselves with their worst nightmares come to life. Viper curled his lips in disgust at the whimpering pair, throwing in a Mist command for them to actually force the mini lard ball to shape up, fly right, and get back to a healthy weight before he and the two lovebirds left the house.
Ticky Tacky Camazotz suburban kitsch nightmare these people were indeed.
Skull was well aware they made quite a sight in both the non-magical and magical variations of London. Seven vastly different people who somehow screamed ‘danger!’ walking companionably together. They were not normal, no matter how much he once pretended to be, and they knew it. It was actually worse in the magical part, once they managed to find the Leaky Cauldron and get through the hidden entrance to Diagon Alley (Viper used a bit of Mist and flirting on a woman with white hair and gold eyes to convince her that they needed through. Skull had never seen Viper flirt before, and was unaware the greedy Arcobaleno knew how to at all.), even given the unusual people wandering the Alley. They did not fit in, and Skull found himself sneering back at some blond man with his nose high in the air and a stick up his ass. Prat.
Verde seemed to be enjoying himself though.
Their mad scientist had derailed them at a shop for potions ingredients, asking rapid-fire questions about quality and quantity and other things. Well, at least Verde was happy asking questions and not likely to buy out the store. Skull stood tall, basking for a moment in Viper’s illusion that let him feel like he was himself again.
“Oleander. How… surprising to see you here.” And there went everything to hell in a hand basket. Skull met black eyes squarely, noting the sallow skin, pinched face, and general air of discontent and regret around the man who had been Lily’s childhood friend.
“Severus, how pleasant to see you again.” To his surprise, the older man stepped close.
“Don’t tell me where, or how, but swear to me you have Lily’s son and he’s safe.” Skull would have blinked at the demand, but didn’t give himself away.
“I swear by my Dying Will he is as safe as I can make him, and all but my own child by this point.” Severus seemed relieved, using the pots and shelves to shield them from view of everyone but Viper as he flicked his wand out and grabbed Skull’s arm.
“I, Severus Snape, Vow that I will not speak of the man I know as Oleander Evans until Harry Potter is at Hogwarts. I Vow I will not reveal that Harry Potter is with his Uncle, and I Vow that I shall do all I can to help the boy when he comes to Hogwarts. So do I Vow on my magic and my life.” Skull looked at the bands of flame that crawled up his arm and Severus’, watching as his Will tinted them shades of lavender and violet instead of white and red. Severus let go of his arm and the bands vanished, but he could still feel them against his flames if he concentrated. Skull nodded his acceptance of the vows and Severus stepped back from him.
“It was… enlightening to see you again, Oleander. Hopefully we’ll speak again in seven years.” Skull smiled.
“Yeah, if I don’t do something stupid in the meantime.” And they parted ways, Severus to quibble with the shopkeeper over troll livers and Skull to fish Verde away from the bubotubers.
It was good to catch up with old acquaintances.
Griphook was a proud member of the English goblin tribe. His clan was strong, his personal wealth great, and he was skilled enough in diplomacy not to murder most of the idiotic wizards who acted like they were so high-and-mighty above the rest of the magical and gifted races. He was not above taking petty comfort in anything that made the wizards uncomfortable, however.
The lot of not quite mundanes was certainly doing that.
The seven of them moved in a loose formation, clearly aware of where the other’s were at all times. Varying familiars (not pets, Griphook could tell that at a glance) attached or near to their respective human adding to the lot. The very large muggle gun the one man carried like it was a toy seemed to be adding to the general sense of discomfort. Their clothes were a mix of muggle warriors and dangerous people’s, and they seemed amused at the wizards attempts to give them a wide berth. Griphook approved of them, and the fact that the lone female amongst them was not secured in the middle but stood her place in their circle of comrades. They were wolves amongst sheep, and they knew it.
So Griphook went out to steer them away before the whole flock panicked.
“Can I help the Sirs and Lady?” The blond snorted at the last part of that, and the woman reached over and clocked him full force in the back of the head, causing him to stumble and do a lovely face plant. Griphook found himself smiling slightly. Young love was such an amusing sight, and so rare was it to see the female put the male in his place amongst humans. No, they expected her to flutter and twitter like a bird at pretty baubles instead of prove herself strong enough to take care of the young. His attention was drawn as the youngest male (and there was power there, old power and blood enough to tint mortal flesh and bone with its colors and grace, all of them hold the power at least, but only a few of them the blood as well, and it was far weaker in the woman and her lover then in the mystic and the young one) as he cleared his throat.
“My apologies, I don’t know the proper greetings Goblin-San, but I wish to learn some things about the state of my wards funds, and Gringotts is the only place I know of that might tell me.” Griphook felt a bit of surprise that the young human would care that he wasn’t greeting the goblin correctly. It was rare to find respect amongst the humans. He nodded and gestured for them to follow him.
“This way, please. I am Griphook, and for future reference, the correct greeting used in general is ‘may your spoils grow large and your enemies heads hit the floor without you taking a scratch’. And I might add that it is pleasant to see a young human actually concerned with the proprieties instead of assuming our etiquette is the same.” The violet haired youth smiled.
“Thank you, Griphook. My birth name is Oleander, but I prefer Skull for reasons of my own.” The others did not offer their names, but Griphook noticed the robe clad mystic looking about with a slight, feral smile. There was something almost goblin to the man, it appealed to Griphook’s sensibilities. He lead them to a private room, noting with approval that only a few of them sat down, the rest ready for any surprises. Griphook pulled out a small artifact used to detect lies and set it on the desk before seating himself.
“You have stated you wish to know about your wards funds, but you haven’t given us a name, Mister Skull. Would you care to do so now?” Griphook watched the human take a deep, steadying breath.
“My ward goes by the name Hadrian de Mort now, but his original name was Harry James Potter.” The device didn’t make a peep, no indication of a lie.
Well Griphook’s day had just gotten more interesting.
“Auntie Luce?” Luce smiled down at Hadrian.
“Yes, sweetie?” Hadrian looked up at her, a question in his eyes.
“Why do Auntie Lal and Uncle Colonnello disappear sometimes only for Auntie Lal to storm by a while later muttering ‘it still doesn’t work’ under her breath with her clothes all rumpled?” Luce choked on her tea, then carefully patted Hadrian on the head.
“It’s because of the Curse, sweetie.” No way was she going to tell him what they were trying to do.
And she was going to lecture them on being more careful not to try and drive a normal sized tank with Hadrian around. The boy might get ideas that they were up to something else entirely.