“It's almost too easy,” I heard a voice mutter.
I woke suddenly, but experience told me to keep quiet and pretend to still be unconscious. I tried to reach out and see through any insects nearby, but there was a horrible emptiness where those senses had been.
I struggled to remember what had happened; we were fighting Scion, and then the sounds of two shots and then nothingness.
“Killing muggleborns before they get their letters,” the voice continued. “Why didn't anybody else ever think of doing this?”
“Because Hogwarts keeps the book locked up tighter than a Gringotts bank vault. Even our man inside only got a look at a few names, or we'd be making a clean sweep this year.”
There was silence for a moment, and the sound of a shoe kicking soft flesh.
“Won't this alert the Dark Lord's enemies?”
“A few muggle deaths? Muggles die all the time; they murder each other, hit each other with cars... it's a wonder that they haven't all killed themselves off already.”
“Nobody is that lucky,” the other man muttered.
“Besides, we've got people in the muggle police department who will swear that this is the result of ordinary muggle crime.”
“Like aurors, but stupider.”
I could hear the sounds of the two men moving around.
“Well, we've got three more to take care of tonight, and then we'll call it for the evening. You want to go get a cruller in Hogsmeade?”
A moment later there was a strange popping sound, one that repeated itself a moment later.
I knew better than to simply assume that they were gone; I waited five more minutes before I cautiously opened my eyes.
I was in a dingy alley that wouldn't have been out of place in Brockton Bay. There were two people lying on the ground less than ten feet from me; their faces had expression of pain and terror. I grimaced as I stood up. It wasn't until I pushed myself up that I realized that I had both of my arms.
Looking down, there wasn't the stump that I had expected. Instead there were thin, twig like arms that had none of the toned muscle I was used to; hard earned by my years first as a super villain and then as a super hero.
“What the hell?” I muttered.
My voice was high pitched and childish, and it didn't sound at all like my own. I walked over to the woman and dug through her purse. I found a compact soon enough and flipping it open, I grimaced.
I didn't recognize the face that stared back at me. I was still a brunette, but that was as far as it went. My new face was actually better looking than my old one, although whether that would survive puberty was anyone's guess.
Somehow I was in the body of a child.
The last thing I remembered was killing Scion and then the sound of two gunshots, followed by blinding pain to the back of my head.
I reached back, and there were no injuries, not in this body.
Was I actually a child who had fantasized a life as a super hero? I certainly couldn't feel any of the insects around me, and the one thing I'd learned in my former life was that there were always insects everywhere.
It didn't matter.
People had tried to kill me, and they claimed to have people in the police force, who would presumably be watching if they made any mistakes and missed anyone.
I dug through the woman's bag after rolling the man over with some difficulty and pulling out his wallet.
The couple was Nigel and Camilla Scrivner. They were the right age to be the parents of this body; younger than my Dad, and handsome and good looking respectively. I could even see a resemblance between them and the face I'd seen in the mirror.
Neither had a cell phone.
I rifled their wallets for money, and all I found were pound notes. A check of their addresses showed addresses in Great Britain.
A quick check and I found that they had four hundred pounds between the two of them. I pulled the rings off the woman's fingers and the earrings out of her ears. It was ghoulish, but without my powers I didn't have a lot in the way of assets to help me survive in this new world.
I was assuming this was a new world because the dates on the driver's licenses were wrong. These people were far too young to be born in the nineteen sixties, so either I'd gone back in time, or I was somewhere that hadn't quite caught up to the twenty tens.
Taking the man's keys, I cautiously made my way to the alleyway. It was nighttime, but there weren't many people around. There were only a couple of cars on the street, and checking showed me that the key fit into one of them.
It was a Volkswagon Rabbit, a tiny car, and the steering wheel was on the wrong side.
There weren't any cell phones in the car, but there was a map. Looking at the addresses on the people's driver's licenses, I checked the street signs and tried to figure out a route. If the map was right, we were in London, and it looked like we lived five miles away.
I could walk that; in training I'd done that all the time. However, that had been in my old body, with weapons, and with my powers. I had none of that, and a nine or ten year old child walking through the city in the middle of the night was a good way for me to get killed... again.
Grimacing, I slipped into the driver's seat, and I put the key in the ignition. The car turned over just fine, but my feet barely reached the pedals, and only if I scooted forward to the end of the seat. It was awkward as hell, and as I shifted the car into gear, I had to remind myself to drive on the wrong side of the street.
I was careful to avoid major highways, and yet by the time I reached the apparent location of our home, I was drenched with sweat.
We apparently lived in a first floor flat. The keys worked just fine, and I let myself in.
I ransacked the place. As much as I was tempted to stay here, it would only be a matter of time before the people who had attacked this bodies family would realized that only two bodies had been found. They'd come looking here first, and then they'd check child services.
Child services wasn't really meant to prevent assassinations.
This was going to be hellishly difficult.
In my old life, even at the beginning of my career I'd been fifteen. I'd been old enough that I could get an under the table job, and I'd been able to move around without raising a lot of questions.
Here, I wouldn't be able to rent a hotel room, use most services and if it was part of the school year, I'd have to watch out for truant officer. I wasn't sure how much four hundred pounds was, but I suspected that it wasn't that much.
In some ways it was worse that I was in London than in Brockton Bay. Brockton Bay had been full of abandoned warehouses, and other spots where it was easy to find places to sleep. London was a lot more financially successful, which meant fewer places to hide.
I needed to somehow find out who was coming after me, and what they wanted. Why were they murdering children, and what were muggles?
Was I in the past of my own world?
Newspapers piled up by the door suggested that either it was some time in August 1991 or these people were terrible housekeepers. I couldn't find anything in the house dated after that time, so my working theory was that I was some time in the past.
There were no references to parahumans in any of the newspapers either. There should have been; Scion had first been seen in 1982. Parahumans had been a major fixture of life since that time, and I couldn't remember ever seeing a newspaper that didn't have at least one story about them.
Here, even with a week of newspapers there was nothing.
So I loaded up the biggest backpack I could find; it was a hiking backpack apparently owned by the father. It had a sleeping bag, and other things that I thought I might need.
In some ways, this was going to be the hardest thing I'd ever done. No powers, no allies, only a little money and a few pieces of equipment. Of course, I'd faced the biggest monsters my world had to offer, and I'd come out on top.
I set out into the night.