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severance

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Reigen Arataka, greatest psychic of the 21st century, never expects to get clients who are actually haunted. Of the cases he and Mob take, approximately a quarter of them deal with real spirits while the rest are normally made up of stressed individuals who desperately need a vacation. With the majority of their customers, it’s easy to throw some glitz and glam their way, get paid, and see them on their way while wishing them the best.

However, there’s a small fraction of clients they receive who are (to put it mildly) crazier than a hornet’s nest in a hurricane. Those are the ones where Reigen quickly sends Mob home with a weak excuse while he tries to find out if the client is dangerous or not. Normally, they’re not.

Even this guy seems alright on the surface. He’s clearly exhausted, and his clothes are ill-fitting and draped over his skeletal frame, but otherwise, he seems innocuous and kind. He’s been unfailingly polite despite his obvious desperation and didn’t flinch when Reigen explained the pricing system.

If it weren’t for the fact he was claiming to be a wizard being haunted by his (also a wizard) arch-nemesis, Reigen would’ve given the kid a discount. That’s how much he feels for him. He’s clearly got some shit to work through, what with the way he keeps jumping at every sound outside.

“Mr. Potter,” Reigen says carefully. “Let me make sure I have this straight.”

“Sure.”

“You - a wizard - were involved in a prophecy. Dangerous things, prophecies are,” he adds conspiratorially.

Awkwardly, Potter says, “I’ve only ever known the one, so I can’t say much. But it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.”

“Yes, yes - Mob, didn’t I say you could go home early today?” He asks quickly, peering over Potter’s shoulder to look at his student. Mob, bless his heart, is staring at Potter, enraptured. It makes Reigen wince, a little. He really needs to teach that kid to stop being so trusting of every sob story he hears. “I’m sure your family would be thrilled to have your help with dinner instead of you showing up late for once.”

Mob shakes his head, still looking at Potter. “It’s okay, sir. My parents are out of town for the week, and Ritsu is staying at a friend’s house tonight.”

“On a school night?” Reigen mutters, temporarily derailed. “Is he allowed to do that? Isn’t he like twelve?”

Mob says, “He’s thirteen.”

“Oh yes, that’s so much better. Check up on him later, won’t you? At least make sure he texts you back before you go to bed.”

“Yes sir.”

“Good. It’s always important to check up on the people that matter to you - even if you’re sure they’ll be alright, it doesn’t hurt to check. And it makes people feel nice to know that someone cares enough to ask..”

That gets Mob’s attention back on him, and Reigen allows himself to bask in his student’s unaltered adulation for just a moment. Then he immediately worries about Mob being here while he has a delusional client.

Since he doesn’t want to set Potter off unnecessarily, he lets it go for now. Better not to rock the boat quite yet when he isn’t completely sure he’s not going to turn violent if this goes poorly.

“Anyway, Mr. Potter - this prophecy was such that you or this evil wizard would need to. Uh. Vanquish the other. And restore balance to the magical world in the process.”

Potter grimaces and waves a hand vaguely, as if he’s embarrassed. “Close enough. Voldemort tried to kill me as a baby and failed - that linked our souls together. We’ve been connected since then.”

“And now he’s dead, but you still feel his presence.”

Potter nods, and Reigen’s heart twists at how tired this kid looks. He can’t be much older than sixteen - delusional or not, this is a heavy burden for a kid to hold onto. It must be hard to think that the entire world rested on your shoulders.

“I can’t sleep - “ his voice cracks, and Potter leans forward and covers his face with his hands for a moment. The office is silent outside of his heavy breathing. He collects himself rather quickly, to his credit, and sits back in his seat. Another moment passes, and he crosses his arms and tucks his hands underneath his armpits. “I don’t remember the last time I slept for more than an hour. He’s always here, taunting me - “ he taps a finger at his temple and sighs. “Believe me, you guys weren’t my first choice. And that’s no offense to your abilities, but I could get in a lot of trouble for telling you about any of this.”

“I assure you, we work with the strictest confidentiality - “ not that he or Mob has anyone to tell about this anyway, but… he probably wouldn’t, even if he did. “And your case will be kept as quiet as you require it.”

Potter looks skeptical for a moment before he deflates and slumps over. “I’m desperate,” he admits. “I’ve talked to other people in my community, but no one is skilled enough with legilimency to sever the tie between us. The last few true masters died in the war.

“From what I can tell, our link should’ve been destroyed when he killed me, but there must’ve been enough for his soul to latch onto.”

Reigen nods and pretends that any of that explanation made sense. “I see. So, just to be clear - you want me to….?”

“If you can just separate him from me. Exorcise him, get him to show corporeally, whatever you call it - I can handle it from there. I just can’t do anything while we’re so entwined. I need someone else to jolt him out so I can destroy him once and for all.” He meets Reigen’s eyes dead on for the first time since arriving, showing a painful vulnerability. Reigen’s heart clenches again. “Please. I’ll pay anything you want, I literally don’t care if you charge me sixty times as much as you normally do. I just want this to be over.”

Reigen looks at Mob, who’s back to staring at Potter. “Mob, can you handle this?” He asks seriously. “You know this isn’t my specialty, but I’ll give it my best shot if this is beyond you.”

It’s one of Reigen’s go-to questions. It lets him keep up his appearance in front of Mob while putting the ball in his court - Mob will either say “Yes sir” and deal with it like the adorable champion he is, or “but, sir, there isn’t a spirit -“ in which case Reigen will take over and dazzle the client appropriately.

Obviously, this is a case of the second, and Reigen starts to mentally wander through his arsenal - a massage would be a good idea and might lull the kid into getting some much needed sleep, but he’s not entirely comfortable doing that on a potentially underage teenager. Maybe some soothing incense and guided meditation, that would help with his sleep too he bets -

“I can handle it, sir. It feels like a fairly strong spirit, Mr. Potter, so please brace yourself.”

What.

“Are you sure?” Potter looks worried, meeting Mob’s gaze. “I don’t - Voldemort’s really. I’m not sure this is good for a kid to be messing with.”

What the hell.

“Not to worry, Mr. Potter,” Mob says. “I’m a professional-in-training. This isn’t an easy spirit, but it feels within my abilities.”

Reigen finally finds his voice and goes, “hold on, what - ?” But Potter is already standing up and Mob is already holding out a hand and what the fuck this guy was supposed to be one of the loonies they get what is Mob DOING -

Mob, as usual, looks way more competent than a painfully insecure high schooler has any right to. His game face is on, and his powers trickle out ever-so-carefully to wrap around Potter’s head. Potter’s eyes close and he appears to be concentrating.

Mob’s powers, as usual, act like tugging out a parasitic spirit is no big deal. Something dark is dragged out of Potter’s ears and nose - oddly gooey, Reigen notes, and he tries not to audibly gag.

It stretches on and on, swirling within Mob’s prismatic aura and slowly gaining form. Like all of the real spirits they deal with, it’s disgusting. Like a wad of bubble gum gone rotten, with an eerie, toothy snarl and piercing red eyes. Reigen is strong enough to admit this is the part that always scares the living shit out of him.

The last bit of the spirit is ripped out of Potter with an audible POP - and Potter springs into action as soon as it clears. He shoves Mob behind him, into Reigen’s embrace, and whips a stick - wand? - our of his pocket, pointing it towards the specter.

“Harry Potter,” it hisses, leaning forward. “Once more, you are a persistent nuisance - I will kill you, once and for all - !”

“Me?” Potter says incredulously. “I’m the nuisance? You’re the one who won’t stay dead!” Tendrils burst out of Voldemort’s mass, and Potter somehow blasts it all away with a flick of his wand, without even bothering to look at it.

It’s an impressive show of power.

“I won’t be defeated again - This ends now!”

“Yeah, you’re right. I’m really over it,” He says, and in straightening his shoulders, the quivering, exhausted teen is replaced by a world weary, hardened man. He lifts his wand slowly, like it weighs a ton - and with just a hint of sorrow in his voice, he shouts, “Avada Kedavra!”

Bright, sickly green light goes shooting towards the spirit as it howls in rage. The second it makes contact, the spirit dissipates.

Talk about anti-climatic. Whisper rather than a bang and all that, Reigen guesses. Somehow, it’s more disturbing than if something had exploded.

Potter spins to look at them as soon as Voldemort disappears and asks, near frantically, “Are you two alright? He didn’t touch you?”

They both shake their heads. Reigen is trying to get his brain to catch up to everything that just happened, while Mob’s eyes are sparkling.

“That was incredible, Mr. Potter!” Mob gushes - as much as Mob ever does. “I don’t know if I would have been able to exorcise something that strong. It was much bigger than I expected when I first felt it.”

Reigen kind of wants to pass out at that, because Mob is a force of nature. And while he’s insecure, Mob’s self-awareness is off the charts. He knows his abilities and what he’s capable of more than anyone Reigen has ever known. If that was a spirit that Mob might not have been able to handle -

Woo boy. He might need to take a trip to the bar tonight. Thank his ancestors for helping him live another day. Eat a vegetable for once. Appreciate life in all of its amazing glory.

And somehow deal with the fact that magic exists. That’s something he’ll have to handle once his brain catches up.

Potter’s shoulders slump and he goes, “I’m just glad everyone’s okay. And that I can finally -“ he sways on his feet and barely catches himself on the chair in front of him. “Merlin, I can finally sleep,” He says, sounding like he’s going to cry.

Reigen steps forward and offers him an arm. “C’mon, Potter. You can crash on my couch. With how unsteady you’re looking, I’m not sure you’ll make it back to wherever you’re staying.”

Potter inexplicably blushes and ducks his head, patting the fringe of his hair down. “I can’t possibly inconvenience you anymore. I’ll pay and get out of your hair - “ he bends over to grab the bag at his feet and would have tumbled forward if Reigen hadn’t caught him by his shoulders.

“Seriously, man,” Reigen heaves him up and starts walking them both over to the couch. “Not like anyone’s going to be using it. And you don’t seem like the type to dine and dash, so you can pay tomorrow.”

Potter makes a noise that could be a protest, but he’s conked out the second he’s horizontal on the couch. It’d be cute if not for the dark, gaping bags underneath his eyes that become more apparent when he’s not staring wild-eyed at them.

Mob peeks over the back of the couch. “Sir, did you know that magic existed?”

Reigen debates how to play this for only a few seconds. “The world is full of many mysterious and inexplicable things. Our powers and cases are proof enough of that - but we’re not the be-all end-all of supernatural phenomena. It would be arrogant to think that what we know is all that exists.

“While I hadn’t been confronted with magic in reality until today, it doesn’t surprise me that there are parts of the universe we haven’t encountered yet. We should take this as a learning opportunity - no matter how much we think we know, there’s always room for growth and exploration.”

Mob is suitably impressed and starry-eyed. After basking in that regard for a few minutes, Reigen sends him home and promises to give him his part of the pay once Potter wakes up.

He settles back into his desk and decides to work on the company website for a few hours. It’s only common sense to stay long enough to ensure that his guest is settled and comfortable, and he may as well multitask and clean up the graphics he’s been meaning to.

Maybe he’ll get some breakfast if he wakes up early enough - Potter looks like he could use a meal.