I do not own Harry Potter, or Sherlock, or any characters in the aforementioned media forms. I don't even own the storyline-this was originally prompted on the bbc Sherlock meme on LJ by aldernavy, and I had to try my hand at writing a Dumbledore bashing fic.
Patience was something that Sebastian Moran was not born with, but something he'd learned in his time as a gun for hire. 9 times out of 10, the job only came with a name; maybe a location, if he was lucky. Few times in his life had Sebastian ever been given a routine that his targets followed, which meant an untold amount of time watching and waiting and planning. Patience was the only virtue that Sebastian possessed, and it was self taught.
After being hired as James Moriarty's personal bodyguard/sniper/nanny-patience was something that definitely came in handy-especially when dealing with Jim's more unstable moods and tendency to change his mind-however, even his patience has limits; watching a lower-upperclass suburban business waddle around his routine for over a week is enough to make even Sebastian lose his patience; give him a criminal mastermind with a penchant for deadly games and a changeable personality any day. What he cannot stand is following some fat slob by the name of Dursley around as he goes through what must be the most mundane existence since forever.
Sebastian isn't sure what the Walrus did to warrant a hit, through his boss nonetheless, but it isn't his business, and, frankly, he doesn't care. It was his own fault for admitting to Jim that he was beginning to get bored in London; Jim didn't like to know that others were bored, that he could suffer from the same problem as 'the little people', and this was his punishment. Sebastian knew that, at least, it was good time off to relax in a relatively safe environment, if nothing else. So, he did what he was paid to; he scouted out and did recon. He walked the neighborhood, altering his clothing a bit every time, adjusting his posture-he knew how to subtly appear different, so no one would alert the authorities to his presence. That particular day he had on a baseball cap, a T shirt and jeans.
He supposed, from an objective point of view, Little Whinging, and Privet Drive by extension, was a pleasant place to live, even if he wouldn't choose to live there. It was a simple, upper Middleclass, lower upperclass suburban neighborhood-all the houses were well to do, the lawns mown and taken care of with attention that is disturbing-what makes Sebastian's skin crawl (and what would make Jim take a couple dozen cans of gasoline and a few matches to it) is that Privet Drive has no originality whatsoever. All the nice houses, and yards, and garden all look the same-the cars themselves are one of two types; either belonging to a business or navy blue.
As far as his jobs go, this one started safe, but boring.
That changed on the second week of his stakeout. At exactly 8:15 in the morning, a young boy exited Number 4, a boy that Sebastian couldn't readily identify. Sebastian went over his information again-Vernon Dursley and his wife had a 7 year old son named Dudley, enrolled in the local public school. There was no record of a second child. But this kid clearly lived here, so where did he come from?
Like always, Vernon Dursley exited the house at 8:20. By then, the boy was kneeling in the flower beds-but the way that he shrunk from the large man as he passed spoke volumes. Narrowing his eyes, Sebastian watched the boy keep his eyes on the car as it backed out of the driveway, and drove down the street, only relaxing when it was out of sight. This made Sebastian pause.
The boy had a pale, pinched face; pale and pinched from hunger, if his stunted size was anything to go on. He had messy, untamed dark hair, and overlarge glasses sliding down his face. He might have been a pretty child, had he not been so under cared for, wearing hand me down clothes at least 4 sizes too big. He had a very awkward way of moving, less of a gait, more of a shuffle. Someone, and Sebastian only said it sarcastically, had been hitting him.
He watched as 30 minutes later Petunia exited with Dudley, the only listed child at the residence, their son. Petunia Dursley was a tall, horsey woman with little grace. She had a very waxy complexion, and thin blonde hair. Dudley looked like Vernon, save for his blonde hair, although the texture was his father's. He watched, morbidly interested, to see how the other members of the family treated the boy.
As they walked past, Dudley aimed a forceful kick right into the boy's ribs, sending him sprawling into the dirt and the rose bushes. Sebastian had had far worse, but he knew that it would be painful, particularly for an underfed child. He waited to see what Petunia would do to reprimand the little monster. He'd expected it, but was still surprised to see, that she simply smiled dotingly at the fat child, and turned to look at the unknown boy with an expression similar to what you'd turn on something unpleasant underfoot.
It was Thursday; that meant that Dursley will have caught rush hour traffic- he won't make it to work before 9:30. He'll disappear into his office until noon, when he'll go out for lunch-there's a pastry shop down the street that he favors. He would return at 1:30. He won't leave work until 5:30, and get back by 6:15. He knew Vernon's schedule like the back of his hand; he can afford to observe the kid for a day-it's additional recon, he told himself. Besides, this kid was interesting (and not Jim's kind of interesting; where either the subject was dangerous, or his reaction to it was violent).
Seb waited until Petunia and Dudley had driven off before he crossed the street. The boy worked very hard-he took his time, and obviously knew what he was doing-impressive for a child. Seb stopped on the sidewalk, 4 ½ feet from the boy, and waited for him to notice his presence.
It took less time than Seb would have suspected, no more than 15 seconds. The boy didn't make much of a move toward him, but he didn't shuffle away either, merely turning emerald eyes on him suspiciously. He regarded him warily, but with more trust than his own guardians; that spoke volumes. "Can I help you?"
"Yes, my name is Paul Strauss, I'm considering moving into number 17, just down the road. I couldn't help but notice your flower beds, Mr…?" Sebastian smiled-careful that it wasn't too bright, or to small-perfectly forgettable.
"I'm Harry Potter, sir. And they aren't mine, they're my Aunt Petunia's." Harry responded; he'd often wondered what made them hers. Aunt Petunia never worked in the garden, only picked out it's contents, leaving Harry to do all the work. Despite this, she always got the credit-everyone paid homage to his aunt, leaving Harry forgotten in the cupboard.
"Your aunt isn't up and working on them at 9 in the morning, now is she? Which reminds me, why aren't you at school?"
"I…er…" No one had ever noticed the days that Petunia and Vernon kept him home from school to do his chores (or, likely they chalked it up to delinquent behavior, never mind that he did all the yard work while 'skipping'). "I'm home schooled." Sebastian nodded.
"Your roses are lovely, does your mother help you?"
Harry shook his head. "My parents are dead. I live here with my aunt and uncle," he explained. Sebastian noticed the fact that he didn't answer the question, but left it there.
"I see. Well, I should be getting on, then. You have a good day, Mr. Potter, I'm sure that we'll meet again soon." Sebastian tipped his cap, and walked away, not failing to notice the stunned look that he got from the boy.
Sebastian Moran couldn't get little Harry Potter's face out of his mind's eye. He spent that day, and the next, watching the boy, and how his relatives treated him. He did not like what he saw; how his 'family' lived up to and surpassed his expectations. He may not have been a genius, but Sebastian was clever; he knew what he saw, knew how to connect the dots.
He watched, furious, as Petunia Dursley returned home at noon and verbally tore him apart on the front lawn, finishing this by grabbing Harry by the back of his hair and dragging him into the house. He saw later as the boy exited the home with a bruised jaw. He saw as Harry worked in the sweltering heat of the day in heavy clothes meant for winter, until his sweat had practically soaked him. He saw many more things, being kicked by his uncle, screamed at again by his aunt, and, that night, thrown into the cupboard beneath the stairs (seen through the flimsy lace curtains from across the street). This sealed their fate; Sebastian did not have morals, but this was to disgusting for even his standards.
Sebastian had enquired around the neighborhood about the Potter child and had been surprised at the stupidity offered to him; the general consensus was that the Dursley's were "a fine, upstanding family. Very polite and well to do, their dinner parties are divine, Petunia's cooking is quite impressive (Sebastian had seen that Petunia didn't cook a damn thing all day- everything had been done solely by her nephew, and he was willing to bet that he was the one making the meals for their guests). Dudley's a strapping young boy-high spirited, that's all he is, he'll soon grow out of it," but on Harry, their attitudes had changed drastically, "little trouble maker he is. Often cuts classes, stays home all the time. Fights with his cousin, has horrible grades. Dursley's are doing him a kindness- took him in after his parents died in a drunk driving incident. Raising him the best they can. Petunia and Vernon warned us of course, compulsive liar; said not to believe a word from his mouth." They were blind to the abuse, obviously- these were the perfect example of people that Jim couldn't stand.
Harry Potter had no allies; he was being abused by his relatives-said relatives spread rumors of being a liar and of fighting, effectively blocking any way out by asking for help. He regularly stayed home, making teachers suspicious. He had no one on his side. No open doors.
Sebastian decided, then and there, that he would be the one to open a window.
Sebastian killed the Dursley's on Saturday night (around 3); they spent Sundays in, and no one would notice the absence for a day after that. This gave Sebastian til Tuesday at the latest; it took an hour without traffic to get to London. Roughly 47 hours to make arrangements for Harry Potter; either convince Jim to do something, to cover for him, or to call in a favor from one of his contacts.
Cold blood killing, close and personal, that is, is a technique that Sebastian doesn't prefer to use; it's too personal, there are too many ways for something to go wrong, and he doesn't have as tight a control on his emotions when he's just stabbed someone, or, in this case, slit the throats of 3 people in their sleep. Especially these people.
There were no stars in the sky that night, and had Sebastian been poetic in nature, he might have found something ironic in the lack of a moon; the only light came from the streetlamps. Dressed in durable black, with leather gloves and a black cap, Sebastian made his way to the back door, where the only lock was a deadbolt. Seb had a stack of stolen credit cards for this very situation- he slipped the card in the crack between the door and the frame, and pushed in, then up, forcing the deadbolt lock back, and the door open, letting Moran into the silent kitchen.
It was all steel and metal, shining and clean-very modern, and the domain of a boy with no voice. He considered burning the building to the ground as well, but ultimately decided against it- the neighborhood was too populated, it would take too much time. He moved on through the kitchen, carefully toeing off his shoes and walking by the cupboard his, soon-to-be, ward, was imprisoned. Seb made no sound as he went up the stair, one at a time, again with absolute silence and caution-one creak, one misstep, could either wake Harry, or his targets.
No one ever called Sebastian Moran forgiving; and the only thing left to decide, as he stands outside the master bedroom, drawing his bowie knife, how to kill them. Precise as a surgical instrument? Or clumsy, a first time killing? In the end, making sure his fingers trembled, Sebastian strode into the room and locked it behind him. He cut Petunia and Vernon Dursley's throat from ear to ear. The pain is almost unbearable, he imagines, as their eyes shutter open with the waterfall of crimson that cascades down them and onto his front. The clutch at their throats and gurgle wetly, but Vernon loses consciousness almost as fast as it came. Petunia manages to stumble out of bed, but tangles her feet in the bed sheet, and hits the ground with a heavy 'thump'. She does not get up again. Dudley's death is much the same as his father, save for a brief glint of fear, and even a tear slipping down his cheek. Sebastian does not like him, but he closes his eyes out of respect anyway; the boy never had a chance, not with parents like Vernon and Petunia.
Sebastian gathers some clothes and even a few toys for Harry-he also takes the jewelry in Petunia's jewelry box, and all the legal documents from the safe beneath their bed (the combination is their son's birth date).
Sebastian wasn't as careful coming down the stairs as he was going up; he heard movement from the cupboard, and prepared himself for whatever he might find.
The door was padlocked, with a single vent for air- as cruel as that was, even that small blessing could be closed. Sebastian picked the padlock with no trouble, not even bothering to catch it when it hit the floor. Instead he took a calming breath, and opened the door.
Harry was crowded into the cupboard, pulling himself into the corner, away from the open door. There was almost no space in the little cupboard, but Sebastian got a full look at his living arrangements; a small, threadbare dog bed, and a ragged blanket. There was a bucket in the corner, and a single bottle of water. Several broken toys were on the shelves among cleaning supplies and neatly folded clothes. Most disturbing of all, though, is the sign, written in emerald crayon taped to the door, reading Harry's.
"Hello, Harry." Sebastian said quietly, scooting back a bit; close enough to catch the boy if he tried to run, far enough to give him some space.
Harry squinted at him for a moment before recognition bloomed on his face. "You're the man from before!" He whispered, "the man who talked to me about the flowers. Paul." Sebastian nodded, deciding now would not be the time to inform him of the minor deceit. "Why are you here?"
"Would you like to leave here, Harry?" Harry looked at Sebastian, floored. Leave Aunt and Uncle? Why would Sebastian want him?
"Would you like to? I can arrange it. I need your answer, now." Sebastian said levelly; they had plenty of time, but he didn't want to be here for long if he could help it.
"Where would I go?"
"With me. I'll find you a place, a home. I swear it." Sebastian held out a hand to Harry. Sebastian Moran was not a empathetic man, but he was sincere in this. He would take him, or find him a foster home, or someone to adopt him, even. He would find somewhere for this boy to go, with or without Jim's help. All of this shone in his dark eyes for a moment-just one brief moment. Harry saw it (Little neglected Harry, who'd never known a kind look or word, who'd been taught since birth that he was unwanted and unnatural and not worth affection, and now the child who'd never known but wanted seized this opportunity with both hands) and took Sebastian's hand without hesitation.
Sebastian pulls the boy from the cupboard, nearly supporting his weak, emaciated little body.
(Years later, Harry will smile and hug his father, telling him, "it was like being born again.")
Sebastian stole a couch pillow and a spare blanket from the Dursley's and made up a makeshift bed for Harry in the backseat of his (stolen) car. The boy had fallen asleep almost immediately, not making a sound and not moving as Seb drove the deserted highways. He drove for 45 minutes before stopping and buying a box of saltines, several large bottles of water, and a pack of jell-o (he debated about a popsicle, but decided that it could wait until they got to the townhouse).
Because it's London, they hit traffic, and are in a gridlock for nearly 3 hours more than Seb calculated. Harry had woken up an hour before reaching the house, and gratefully began to devour the procured food, until Seb scolds him gently ("You need to eat slower, Harry, or you'll sick up all over my car." At the frightened look the boy gave him, Seb quickly assured him that "everyone gets sick, but I'm not in a position to do anything about the mess is all. You'll still be staying with me for a bit."). It's during this waiting period that Seb informs him that his first name is actually Sebastian. Harry took it in stride; it certainly wasn't the first time that a grown up had lied to him.
Harry was almost certain that this was a dream, that he'd wake up in his cupboard again to Aunt Petunia's shrieking. He was terrified of it, and, had he not been so sore and bruised, he would have pinched himself until he was in that state anyway. Sebastian was intimidating, but not quite like Uncle Vernon. Uncle Vernon was scary because he was so big, and used his size to intimidate and hurt Harry. Sebastian, unlike Uncle Vernon, was muscled and powerful, and could definitely take on Uncle Vernon- but he was nice. He didn't smile, precisely, not with his mouth- Mr. Sebastian smiled with his eyes. Harry trusted him.
The London morning of that first day was grey and misty, but, to Harry, he'd never seen a day more lovely. And he told Mr. Sebastian so. Mr. Sebastian smiled with his eyes and shook his head.
"Just wait til you get interested in the ladies. You'll rethink that statement." Harry shrugged and stared out the window; he'd never been to London, and he was fascinated by the chaos and monochrome color scheme.
Sebastian hadn't meant to get attached to the brat (he meant it affectionately, honest), just save him.
But, as he pulled up to Jim's current (and favorite) little bolt hole, he worried for the boy he'd taken into his care. If Jim didn't want him near (and there was a great chance of that), he might order Harry to be 'fixed'. Sebastian, despite his loyalty to Jim, wasn't positive he could do such a thing to the boy who smiled so carefully, just because he was fed and talked to like a human being.
However, he was Sebastian Moran. He had faced battle head on and conquered fear without mercy. He did so now, quelling the growing hesitance with an iron fist, he put a gentle hand on Harry's shoulder as the boy climbed out of the car and onto the sidewalk.
"Is this your home?" Harry asked hesitantly, suddenly shy.
"Yes. Come on, then." He led the small boy up the steps and unlocked the door.
Had he been a religious man, Sebastian would have prayed.
As it was, he simply hoped Jim wasn't in one of his moods.