The sudden crack of swirling wind and dust went unnoticed by the few people out on Privet Drive. It was a clear, mild Sunday – perfectly normal and peaceful and calm. A pair of teenagers whizzed by on their bikes, and a middle aged man in a grey cardigan walked his pedigree golden retriever at a leisurely pace. No, nobody noticed the disturbance, nor the couple that had appeared in the middle of the mini storm. The couple looked shockingly out of place. With unnaturally pale skin, the woman stood in a skin tight black dress that seemed to melt into the road beneath her and long lace arms that gently brushed the tarmac. Seemingly attached to her right arm, by his lips mind you, was a smart looking man in with a pencil moustache in a pin striped suit.
"Oh Tish, intercontinental travel always gets my blood pumping."
"The child first, Gomez. Pumping later." Morticia answered her husband with a knowing smile that made him want to get on with the job they were here to do. The sooner they finished up here, the sooner they could go home!
"You're absolutely right, querida. Where were we?" They finally tore their gaze from each other to take in their surroundings. Gomez' countenance fell into putrid distaste and Morticia appeared mildly horrified. "Querida Mia." He breathed out.
"I see it, Gomez! A never ending cycle of bleached, cookie cut mediocrity. How could anything so precious to Infernus be found in… in such a place as this?" She was deeply disturbed that a child of the dark had been left here. But this was definitely the place Grandmamma had scried and she was not one to question the Powers. And so they set off down the road, careful not to touch the flowers, the pristine fences, the… well anything.
Behind the unassuming walls of number 4, Privet Drive, down the hall and enveloped deep in the darkness of the cupboard under the stairs sat a small child, knees to chest and shaking. But he didn't know why. He'd acted without thinking but he wasn't sure how he felt about it now. Not ten minutes earlier the five year old had been home alone with his great whale of an uncle. He'd been minding his own business, cleaning the dishes from that morning's breakfast when he'd dropped the serving tray – shattering the peace and bringing his uncle down on him in a rage that defied logic. The man had stomped into the kitchen, yelling about freaks being useless. Then there was pain. Then there was a knife in little Harry's hand. Then there was screaming and blood.
And the blood had been divine.
It was so bright against the white floor tiles and so warm as it gushed across his hand. The way his uncle screamed and the ease with which the knife had slid into his gut made the little boy feel powerful. Yet even in this state of mind he knew that there would be hell to pay once his uncle got back to his feet.
And so Harry had made the decision to strike again and again. The beautiful crimson soaked the floor and the baggy rags that hung off Harry's slight frame. It was long after his uncle had stopped screaming that reality started to seep into Harry's mind like the Devil's chord being played louder and louder directly into his skull. He dropped the knife and ran back to the only place he knew to go to: his cupboard.
At first he had been terrified - terrified that his uncle Vernon was coming to punish him. But he'd seen bits and pieces of the police shows his aunt liked to watch. He knew that when there was that much blood, when the body had stopped responding to the trauma… He didn't think his uncle was getting back up.
And so he was left shaking in the dark. He didn't know whether he was shaking from fear, from adrenaline or from relief. He couldn't think much of anything beyond the rushing sound of his own blood in his ears. He couldn't think about what would happen once his aunt Petunia got home. He couldn't think about how much trouble he would be in and about what would happen to him now. He couldn't even comprehend what it meant that he could hear people opening the locked front door and letting themselves in. He just knew he had to stay quiet and stay hidden.
Morticia and Gomez shuddered as they entered the house. It smelt overly of chemical lemon. It was really no place for a child and they were suddenly filled with gratitude at being tasked with saving one from such a place. Morticia stopped in the hallway, glancing down at the trail of blood leading to the cupboard under the stairs and closed her eyes, taking a deep breath in concentration even as her husband expounded excitedly about a marvellous murder in the kitchen. Her eyes snapped open, cold and unyielding.
"Gomez darling, no magic. I'll deal with the wards." She glanced once more at the little door. "And I think we should let him come to us."
"But he's done such a wonderful job! Well, for a first time at least." Gomez called, but his wife was already in the front yard, so he sighed, placed his cigar in his mouth and got to work.
The part of Harry's brain that was still responding to external stimuli thought it odd that these people sounded so unconcerned, maybe even cheery. In the shows his aunt watched people screamed and got upset and called police and doctors. And then there were those words: 'no magic'. Harry knew his relatives hated anything to do with fantasy and magic, but the other adults he'd met didn't seem to give it any thought at all. And he knew that magic wasn't real, no matter how likely it seemed to be sometimes, so why would she even mention it? Curiosity gripped him and through a haze he inched forwards, out of his cupboard as silently as he could and crawled, low to the floor as though it might make him invisible, to the kitchen.
He watched as a man with a wide grin and almost manic eyes, gripped a cleaver from midair and hummed a pleasant tune whilst swinging it down the quarter his uncle. Reality now hit Harry like ice water to the face, but as his young mind raced to try and process the situation he suddenly couldn't make his body move at all. He was afraid, repulsed, but he couldn't look away. Then the man turned to him.
"Well hello there! You must be our little killer!" The man enthused, never losing that grin. Harry blinked.
Outside, Morticia sat on the grass in the only position her dress would allow. It seemed dreadfully uncomfortable but she didn't flinch. She stared ahead, took a knife and ran all her fingers and thumbs along the blade before setting her bloody digits to work in what looked like and invisible game of cat's cradle.
Arabella Figg stood across the street, watching the strange woman on the lawn. Something seemed very off about her, but there was always the chance the witch had been sent to maintain the wards, and that she was therefore worrying about nothing.
Still, she should probably mail Albus, just in case. As that thought entered her head, the dark haired woman's eyes snapped up.
Morticia studied the woman as she continued her work. She couldn't sense any magic emanating from her, but that fact that the woman could see her spoke for itself: a squib then. Her hands paused. It wouldn't do to divert her attention from manipulating the wards at this stage, but letting this unknown woman run off wasn't an option either. Thankfully, the woman seemed to take her eye contact as some form of invitation and tentatively made her way towards number 4. As soon as she was within range and still holding eye contact, Morticia had her. She opened her mouth to speak, but Morticia interrupted
"Wait your turn. Sit down." The woman immediately dropped to the grass and sat in silence. Morticia had used an altogether more sharp tone than she was used to, but it had occurred to her that if this woman was a squib, she knew about the child in this house, and therefore it was likely that she knew of the child's suffering.
Trying to set her sudden rage aside, to unleash at a more opportune time, Morticia returned to the wards.
After some time she sensed her husband walking up behind her and thought it a good place to stop.
She turned to him and was relieved to see the young child in his arms. Not only was it a good sign that they had the child's trust, at least a little, but it would also make her task that much easier. She stayed on the ground, but held out her hands for the child.
"Hello, darling." Harry felt instantly more at ease with the beautifully haunting tone of the greeting and he curled slightly into this new, strange woman. She felt safe.
Gomez looked at the scene with a pride he couldn't rationalise. He puffed on his cigar.
"Querida, why don't you take the boy home to get settled once you've finished here. Send Fester over and we'll make a night of it." He sounded far too happy about a little clean up job.
"Of course." She was ever indulgent. As he walked back into the house, gently taking the women who smelled like cats by the arm and leading her along with him, Morticia smiled. "Men."