Every year, she had the same wish. And every year, it came up empty. Birthdays, Christmas, first star of the night... her wish was always the same.
And not once was it granted.
She had long since run out of tears to cry. It never did any good, outside of wasting water. Her heart was slowly turning cold as ice.
This year, she looked at her little scrap of paper and at the wish she wanted Santa to grant.
I wish for a real family.
She felt herself thrown into the cupboard for some made up excuse. She knew the truth. They didn't want to be reminded of her existence in their "perfect" Christmas. So they happily locked her into her pitiful excuse of a room for three days.
She stared at the paper from the tiny amount of light coming from the vent, and something inside her cracks into tiny shards.
She feels a heat welling up inside her body, as rage and pain awakens inside her.
They wanted to have their happy little family, while keeping her locked up?
Fine. They could all burn.
The paper began to crinkle and smolder, until it burst into flames. Strangely, they didn't feel hot. They were comforting.
The door slammed open, revealing a furious walrus who was on the verge of a heart attack. He looked pissed.
"How many times have we told you, we don't allow freakishness in this house!" he screamed shrilly.
He grabbed her by the scruff of the neck, and she fought as hard as she could. Unseen, the embers of the scrap of paper flew through the room and up the chimney. Outside, a storm began to form.
He threw her outside and firmly slammed the door shut, bolting it closed so there was no way for her to come inside.
Snow began to fall in thick clumps, and even with her limited experience she could see a blizzard forming. However in the rolling clouds, she could see a figure smiling above. It wasn't a nice smile, and if she still had any feelings left in her heart she would have felt fear.
She took one long look at the figure in the clouds before starting to walk. There was nothing keeping her in this place, and to be honest she was sick of those people. She wished they would disappear and never come back.
At least this time she knew better than to ask help from adults. Teachers never helped, and the few times the police came to their class they pretended to care but nothing ever came of it.
No one would be watching outside. No one would stop her from walking right out of Surrey. And to be honest she had always preferred the outside anyway.
A fleeting glimpse of something on the wind caught her eye at the last second. Her hand lashed out and snagged something as it flew on the breeze.
There was something in one of the pockets.
For the road ahead.
With a swirl of icy cold wind, she firmly closed the clasp on the cloak. It was quite warm, and in the other pocket was an old fashioned knife.
She must look like red riding hood with the hood firmly over her eyes. The wind kept it from dragging at least.
Behind her, the footprints she left behind were blown over and hidden by the increasing power of the wind. A sinister sound filled the air, as the demon that had been summoned by the loss of belief enclosed Little Whinging from the world.
An old man stared at the devastation that had fallen Little Whinging. Arabella had narrowly avoided the fate of her neighbors, as she had realized the danger of the blizzard and had Flooed out of her home the first chance she had, taking as many of her kneazles as she could.
By the time the storm was gone and the area was accessible again, Albus had come immediately, before the muggle authorities found out something was terribly wrong.
He stared at the brass bell tied by ribbon on the door of a small cupboard with a vent. He slowly opened it to find something that filled him with terrible sadness and regret.
It was a bedroom, or as close as a small child could make of one inside the cramped space. In what could only be blood on the wall were the word's "Freak's Room". To further hammer in his terrible mistake, he found slips of paper that slowly became more legible with the same words written on them.
I wish for a real family.
Some of them had dried blood on them, either with fingerprints or from coughing.
There weren't toys inside, save for ones that had clearly been salvaged after being broken. It was barely acceptable for a small infant, let alone one who was almost seven.
"Where is she now?"
"I don't know! I left once I realized the storm was going to close in and left me high and dry for several days, and I barely had enough kibble for my pets!" said Arabella.
Albus picked up the bell and looked at it sadly. It was obvious to those who spent enough time in the old country what had happened.
The girl had summoned Krampus. He took some hope that the bell had been left on this door in particular, because it meant there was at least SOME possibility she had not been taken.
The question now was whether they could find her and undo the damage he had caused with his naive belief that her aunt would treat her like family.
Minerva was never going to let him hear the end of this when she found out, never mind Severus.
Red eyes watched with hawk-like gaze as the animal grazed. It had taken a lot of patience and more practice than she liked to admit to, but she had learned how to stalk and kill animals.
It had taken a lot longer to learn how to cook the meat in her mouth with the fire she could create from nothing.
That fire had saved her life more than once, either by escaping "well meaning adults", causing distractions, or simply by allowing her to cook without worrying of a blaze starting.
It amused her a lot when she cooked her meals directly in her mouth, almost like a dragon.
Her knife was clutched tightly in her hand. Without any sound at all, she descended upon the helpless animal.
The doe didn't see her coming. She felt zero pity or empathy for the animal.
She could sense the predators nearby. She didn't have much time to get enough meat to fill her up and leave for the scavengers. She knew that she couldn't carry meat on her... without something cold to put it in, it would go bad within days and draw even more predators her way. Never mind how bad it smelled.
She cut the parts she wanted, ignoring the look in the eyes of the doe, before leaving with her catch. Behind her, the wolf pack that had come to accept her presence in the woods of Germany moved in.
At first they disliked her presence, but now there was a wary sort of respect/trust between them. She left her kills for them to find, and they warned her when humans entered the territory. Sometimes they even let her watch the pups from a healthy distance.
It had been almost a year since she left that house far behind.
She pulled her blood red cloak around her tighter once she washed her hands of the deer's blood. With practiced ease she cut the meat into strips she could easily eat, and channeled the flames in her mouth. She ripped into the strip carefully, slowly, so as to allow her stomach to slowly expand. The pieces she didn't eat right away, she cooked with the flames she channeled into her hands. Cooked meat lasted longer.
She was almost to her base camp when she heard the long howl of the wolves. After three months in the forests, she had learned to recognize the sound of a warning.
With the grace of a killer, she slipped into the trees and used them to travel, thus keeping her well out of sight from the human hunters.
There were five of them, all armed with guns. She held a silent snarl when she realized they were after the pack.
Seeing them kill the current alpha wolf, she waited for their guard to drop.
Without a sound, she descended on the hunters. The wolves knew she was there, but did not alert them.
The first man fell with a cry of pain, warning the others. Their look of surprise was almost comical.
The second man fell just as quickly as the first, but they were alerted now. They shouted something in German, which she ignored.
The pack attacked when one of the bullets grazed her. Between her blade and their fangs, the humans didn't last long.
Unfortunately, they didn't come alone. Two more teams of humans heard the shouts and came looking.
She glared at the human hunters, all of which were aiming their paltry weapons at her and the pack. No words needed to be said, because it was clear they intended to kill her and the wolves. She was too dangerous to let live, as was the pack.
The flames inside her surged forward, and she felt something on her back burst into a great conflagration. She charged forward, ignoring the bullets and the drag made her briefly look behind her.
She had the wings of a dragon. She could work with that.
Her left arm hung limp, but her mouth was already burning white hot from the flames she held inside. Fire surged forward, causing the men to scream from pain. Her cloak flapped in the wind, and was oddly not burned by the flames.
By the time night fell, all the hunters were dead along with most of the pack.
The few that survived would leave the area, never to return. It wasn't safe.
She watched from the trees as the wolves cajoled and nudged their pups to move. Most of them did, save for the youngest. He was barely old enough to eat meat.
The oldest wolf looked right at her, before growling and nudging the pup in her direction. The message was fairly obvious.
The pack could barely handle the pups they had now. One that young would only hinder their escape from this forest.
She picked the pup up once the pack was a safe distance away. It whined, but curled into her warmth.
The newly named pup licked her on the face. For the first time in a while, she smiled.
Still, it was time to leave Germany.
Using her newly created wings, she took to the sky, zipping up her stolen hoodie with Nachtwal safely secured inside.
She was across the border long before the massacre was discovered.
Squalo was not having a good day. He had no idea how the hell he got suckered into an extermination job all the way in this forsaken countryside.
He blamed Mammon though.
The Sword Emperor's mood had been bad before, since the fake coup failed, but the lingering pain of his Sky being sealed in a damn ice cube just made everything worse.
He went deep into the small forest outside the city. Whoever or whatever was attacking the small time Familigia was smart enough to avoid being found. Not even the cameras caught whatever was causing the trouble.
Hence why they went to the trouble of hiring the Varia.
If he hadn't needed an excuse to get far, far from the mansion he never would have snagged the first mission he could get his hands on.
He was about halfway into the forest when he felt the air seem to change. There was a predator in the forest. A dangerous one.
He began to grin. Maybe this shitty assignment wouldn't be so boring after all.
Silence fell all around him...and then came a massive roaring of something heading his way.
He ducked and rolled, narrowly avoiding the jet of flame that nearly took his head off. He looked past the trees to find... a kid?
Eyes of flame, hair black as night with red tints, wearing a cloak that looked like fresh spilled blood. But it was what she was shooting out of her freaking mouth that had his full attention.
Squalo would recognize the Flames of Wrath anywhere. More than that, her Flames felt very familiar.
He nearly got his leg gouged out by the massive black wolf with the cross shaped scar on it's chest coming out of nowhere.
It skidded before retreating to the girl. A girl who, upon closer inspection, could have easily passed for a female version of the Boss.
Too old to be Xanxus' daughter...but it was possible she could be his sister. As far as he was aware the Boss' mother had been alive when he was adopted into the Vongola, so it was possible that she had a daughter after he was taken in.
And then the brat created wings made of fucking Sky Flames that made the whole dragon 'image' impossible to ignore.
Suspicious lineage or not, there was no way in hell he was leaving a girl with Sky Flames that strong where some weak ass Familigia could snag her. Especially if the resemblance to the boss was more than coincidence!
Six hours later...
Squalo was torn between grinning and swearing his head off.
The little brat had nearly caved his head in, and her fighting skills were pathetic. But what little skill she did have was pretty damn effective, and more than a match for most wannabe hit men that were sent in here.
And the damn wolf was a vicious little shit. He'd get along perfectly with Belphegor at his worst.
The girl was fucking Quality, and if his suspicion about her being related to the Boss was right, he was sure his Sky would be thrilled. So long as the brat wasn't completely feral like she acted.
When he dragged the unconscious brat and her pet wolf to the Varia Headquarters, he quickly side stepped Luss who squealed when he dumped her into one of the empty beds.
"Where did you find this little cutie? I didn't know you were into this sort of thing~!" said Luss.
"Shut up you damn Okama. I want to do a DNA comparison on this brat."
Squalo sneered at him.
"Don't get any ideas. I think she might be related to the Boss."
Any joking attitude Luss had dropped in an instant. He peered over his glasses at Squalo.
"She's too old."
"I know that, idiot! But she had fucking Wrath Flames and the eyes are damn near identical. She might be his sister."
Luss gave the girl a second look. She certainly felt like a Sky, and if anyone would recognize Wrath Flames on sight it would be Squalo. He had been the closest to the Boss before the Cradle Affair.
His curiosity on whether Squalo might be right had him drawing blood. They still had Xanxus' DNA on file, in case of 'accidents', as was standard procedure. It meant that they didn't have to draw blood every time they wanted to prove paternity...or in case they needed to verify a body as the real deal.
He took a quick sample of her blood, before sealing it in an envelope. It would come back in a few days, and then they could compare it to the Boss' blood.
Hearing the groan, both men turned to look at the girl. When she opened her eyes, Luss could immediately tell why Squalo thought she might be the Boss' sister. The eyes were practically identical in color.
It took a few seconds for her to register where she was, but once she did she tried to get up.
The wolf wasn't much better, but Squalo had made sure to dope it up the first chance he had.
The girl glared at them both, making the comparison between her and the Boss that much stronger.
Somehow Luss had the feeling the next few days waiting for the test results to come back were going to be very interesting.