This story has been churning in my brain for years now and seeing it on paper is quite a difference. I do hope you all enjoy it as much as I do writing it!
Notes for Context: This story takes place in the Sorcerer Hunters timeline, Manga, to just after they defeat Zaha Torte/Zacher and just before the final arc with Charlotte. (If you're watching the anime only, than it takes place after series.) As for the Harry Potter segment, it takes place in an AU Fifth year. Why? Because this was in my head before the fifth book was released (took me long enough to write it down, ne?) and I'm not as familiar with the events in book five as I am with the other four novels.
Part 1. We're not in Spooner anymore, Carrot.
"I don't like this, Marron."
Marron lifted his head from the markings on the wall he'd been studying. "I agree with you, brother."
"It's just too damn quiet!" Carrot kicked a rock along the wall. His unused sword rattled at his side from the motion.
Marron sighed and went back to his wall casually brushing a strand of hair back over his shoulder. The walls were covered in poetry and other writings from sorcerers long gone from this world. The siblings, along with their partners, were on assignment in this old underground mansion trying to find a sorcerer named Cake Short. Short was suspected of using forbidden magic that affected space and time. Needless to say, the Sorcerer Hunters were needed to eliminate the problem if they found the rumors to be true. As of yet, they hadn't even found the sorcerer.
"Wonder where Tira and the others got off to?" Carrot grumbled. They'd been searching this damn cave that was a sad excuse for a house for two days now. The sad part was there was still plenty to search. "We haven't seen them for ages."
"My spinner trace is still intact so we can find them if we get too concerned." Marron smiled using the threads to reflect little glints of light. "But for now let's just enjoy the quiet. This is a pretty passage."
"Still reading the poetry, Marron?" Carrot walked closer to read over Marron's shoulder. "That one?"
Marron nodded at Carrot's pointing finger. "Yes."
"The rose blooms even in winter." Carrot tilted his head. "That is kind of pretty. If you're into that type of stuff, I guess."
Marron smiled a little. His brother would probably never truly appreciate things like literature. Still, it didn't hurt to try and get him interested. "Ah, well. Enough of a break, we need to keep looking."
"Yeah, yeah." Carrot huffed. "I still don't think he'd be down here."
"I'm tempted to agree with you, brother." Marron lit up a small ofuda to take a closer look at the next hall. "But things are always where you look last, right?"
"That doesn't change the fact that this sucks." Carrot looked up at his younger brother. "Marron?"
Carrot put himself on guard, if the look in his brother's eyes meant anything, something big was coming. "What is it?"
"I'm," Marron stopped. "Oh. Never mind." Marron's shoulders relaxed and he just held his head with his free hand. "It's for you, brother."
"For me?" Carrot blinked. "What could be for me?"
"Darling!" The dreaded elongated term of affection rang out through the tunnel.
"Ah!" Carrot shrieked. "Not her! Anything but her!"
"Oh Darling! Have you missed me?" Chocolat leaped to rub up against Carrot but settled to just snuggle his arm.
"Get off of me!"
"Sister!" Tira soon made her way out of the tunnel. "Leave Carrot alone!"
Marron was sitting back and enjoying the banter. It was a dependable occurrence and the day Chocolat didn't tackle Carrot and have Tira turn red was a day Marron would be worried. As much as his brother fought it though, Marron knew that Carrot loved the attention. Marron on the other hand wasn't as fond of attentions as his brother. He sighed and resigned himself for what was to come. "Hello Gateau."
"Ah, even in the dark you're still the vision of loveliness." Gateau smiled. "As a dedication to that beauty…"
Marron turned around to face the inevitable.
"LOOK AT ME!" The standard muscle man pose and flexing followed the shout.
And also as usual, Marron ignored him and started walking towards Carrot.
Gateau kept his flexing going for a few moments before finally putting his shirt back on. "Ah, nothing fixes a boring mission like something pretty to look at."
"If you're done smothering my brother would it be too much to ask if you've found anything?" Marron tapped Chocolat on the shoulder.
Carrot hit the ground sharply when Chocolat released him to consider Marron. "Not a thing. I swear, I think Big Mamma got her information wrong."
"As much as I hate to think Mamma made a mistake," Tira fixed her glasses. "It doesn't seem like Short is here."
"Well, that's good for us right?" Carrot rubbed his head. "It just means we don't have to deal with it."
"That's what I'd expect the ugly to say." Gateau smashed his fist into his palm. "We have to take care of the scoundrel before he becomes a problem."
"Gateau's right, Carrot! You can't let other people handle your problems!" Carrot winced at Tira's scolding.
"I know." Carrot stood up. "We're the good guys. I got it, I got it."
"Brother," Marron sighed the familiar name and held back the smile. His brother was much too easy to get worked up. "Let's go ahead and check this last tunnel before we check in for the night."
"Sounds good." Carrot dusted himself off and headed towards the darker part of the tunnel where they had yet to check.
Marron followed along while the others continued their usual banter. He tuned in to what they were saying briefly, but honestly he was scanning the walls for more poetry. He hoped that Carrot wouldn't have to transform for this mission if it could save the house from total destruction. It would be such a waste.
"It doesn't look like there's anything here." Tira adjusted her glasses. "This tunnel only leads to a dead end."
"So, we wasted all this time when I could have been with my Darling?" Carrot tried to fight Chocolat as she reclaimed his arm. "We could have been snuggling outside under the moon."
"Maybe we should call Big Mama and ask what's up." Gateau leaned on the wall that ended the tunnel. "There is no way we could not have found this guy, yet. And if he's here you'd think he would have at least made himself known in some attempt to fight us."
"Or maybe he's smart and laying low until we give up and leave." Marron put in his input and stared at the wall Gateau had made into a resting place. Something was odd about it that he couldn't quite place.
"Hey," Carrot poked said wall. "How come this wall doesn't have any poetry or that story stuff on it?"
Marron's attention was immediately snapped to attention. That was it! The wall was missing all of the literature that adorned the other towering sides of the tunnels. "Good going, Brother."
"What does that have to do with anything?" Chocolat had still yet to let go of Carrot's arm.
"It means that this wall is either new or they got lazy when they built the thing." Knocking her knuckles against the wall, Tira scrutinized the make of the granite.
"Gateau," Marron looked at the bulking man from his peripheral. "Could you please knock this wall down?"
"Anything for you." Gateau waited a beat for the others to back away from his target. It took one good blow to knock the entire thing into scattered pieces and clouds of dust. He grinned at Marron's approval of the work; it was a good idea to avoid hurting the poetry on the walls right next to it. "Piece of cake."
Everyone turned to look inside the newly formed hole to find the source of the response. Just inside the broken wall was a rather large room, minimally furnished. The whole of the furniture was a small writing desk made of mahogany or something similar with a matching chair. Sitting on the chair was a gangly little man with a mop of white hair on his head. His glasses shone in the newly introduced light as he turned to face the group.
"Cake Short?" Tira braved the first questioning.
"Yes?" The man's overcoat opened slightly as he swiveled in his chair to face the hunters. "What do you want?"
"Hey, old man!" Carrot marched over to the man's desk and leaned on it. "How long have you been down here?"
Short pushed his glasses up farther on his chin and stared at Carrot. "A zoanthropist. Those are quite rare these days, sonny."
"Huh?" Saucer plates would have been jealous of Carrot's eyes. "How'd you know that?"
"The energy is radiating off of you, youngster." He pointed a finger to Marron. "And that young lad practices Eastern Magic, am I right?"
"Yes." Marron was dumbstruck. They'd never met a sorcerer who could tell their powers at a glance.
"Oh! And the little lady in glasses is a user of Gaias!" He got a quirky little grin on his face as he clasped his hands together. He had a warm laugh. "Such a talented little group!"
"Oi," Carrot poked the man in the head. "You never answered my question."
"Oh?" Short readjusted his glasses yet again and studied Carrot. "Ten, fifteen years maybe? I think I lost track around ten."
"There is no way you've been in this little room without food or water for ten years."
"Don't give me that look, young man." Short turned and stood up to walk to the other corner of the room. "As you can see I've got plenty to live on."
Carrot stared as one of the far walls moved on its own to reveal a cupboard of sorts and a decorated silver plated dish sink. "Canned foods?"
"Magic sealed." Short smirked. "Enough to last another twenty if I watch it."
"Mixed veggies, mixed fruit, canned beans, canned chili, beets, and a whole bunch of pre-made stuff." Tira took a can off the shelf. "Quite a collection."
"Well," Chocolat stomped her foot. "If he's been down here than he couldn't have been the one to switch around everyone's ages!"
"Unless he could do it from down here, of course." Marron was still suspicious and addressed Cake Short. "Would you know anything about the random extreme age changes in your village?"
"Yeah," Carrot hit the desk for emphasis. "You made all the hot young ladies into ugly old hags!"
"I assure you," Short returned to his chair. "I like women just as much as the next man and I would never do such a thing."
"Well, that's proof enough for me." Carrot nodded. "What man would do that to a pretty young lady?"
"Besides, I don't mess with that stuff anymore." He turned to face Marron. "Messing with Time and Space caused much too much hassle to keep up with."
"Could you tell us who would know enough about that magic to do something of that sort?"
"I'm sorry, Marron, was it? But you're the first lot I've seen since I moved down here to get away from everyone."
"Damn." Gateau hit the wall fiercely. "That means this really was a waste of time."
"What's that?" Tira pointed to the wall that had opened just behind the desk. "Gateau hitting the wall must have opened it."
"Oh that?" Short leaned in to check the labels on some of the bottles sitting on the newly revealed shelves. "Just some old potions and spells from my youth. They open portals, stop aging, speed up aging, mess with time and such."
"Forbidden magic." Marron confirmed that at least some of the rumors were true.
"Yes, forbidden magic, but I can guarantee that it wasn't forbidden when I made them!"
"How old are you?" Carrot leaned in to read the labels. "And why did you keep a stuffed rabbit in here?"
"Older than your Big Mama if you really want to know." Short watched the ears flop on the stuffed rabbit that Carrot now held. "And that is Mr. Melody if you must know. My mother made him when I was about six."
"Ah," Tira skipped over to join Carrot with Mr. Melody. "That's so sweet!"
"How do you know about Big Mama?" Marron came closer to inspect Short.
"Mama's the only one who keeps Sorcerer Hunters." Short grabbed Marron's sleeve, his bony hands were almost lost in the fabric. "I've only been here for fifteen years maximum, they've been around for quite longer."
"We never introduced ourselves as Sorcerer Hunters, old man." Gateau leaned slightly into a fighting stance. The inverted triangle on Short's forehead was starting to piss him off on principle.
"Only Sorcerer Hunters would be trying to hunt down those who misuse magic." Short wet his dry lips. "Thought that would calm you down. Young'ins these days."
Marron was growing uncomfortable with this man's hand still around his sleeve. But he was more uncomfortable with his brother looking through the vials in the shelves. Though, it was endearing to see him doing it with a stuffed rabbit under his arm while Tira cooed over it. "Brother, I don't think it's wise to touch those."
"What?" Carrot was holding a black vial in his hand. "Long as they're in the bottle they're okay, right old man?"
"More or less, just don't drop it."
"Yeah right, like I'd be that clumsy."
"Put the vial down."
"You all didn't have to gang up on me like that." Carrot looked like a kicked puppy, but he did put the vial back on the rack where he found it.
"Come on," Gateau turned and faced towards the exit. "If this old guy's got nothing to do with it, than we have no purpose here."
"Now wait just a minute." Short stood. "You break my wall and just leave?"
"Well, I guess we could fix it." Marron stared at the rubble as Short walked just outside the doorway to check the damage from the outside. "Somehow."
Carrot hugged the rabbit and leaned against a clean spot on the wall. "Bummer."
"Something's still bothering me." Tira held a finger to her lips. "If he didn't do it, then why did Big Mama send us here?"
"I'm probably the only one she knows who could make a potion like that." Short grumbled. "I doubt she did any research to find anyone else who knew how to do it."
"Don't talk bad about Mama!" Tira jumped to defense.
"Ow!" Carrot tried to avoid Tira's outspread hands but was unsuccessful and fell back and sideways into the shelves of vials and jars. They fell to the floor in a rain of colored glass and shattered at Carrot's feet. The room filled with blinding light and Short had to avert his eyes.
Carrot was in pain. There was no other way to describe how he was feeling when he awoke. His face was pressed into something hard, flat and textured. "Would it be too much to ask for you guys to get off of me?"
One by one the groans could be heard as they all stumbled off the fallen pervert. As Carrot forced himself off the ground he noticed that Mr. Melody was next to him. He shook his head to clear it before picking up the stuffed toy and securing it under his sword harness. No point in loosing something important to someone just because you blew up his room. He briefly paused to check how everyone else was fairing. Tira and Chocolat seemed to be doing all right and looking around. Gateau was complaining about dirt and Marron was staring at a weird post sticking out of the ground.
"What are you looking at, Marron?" Despite the street lamps it was still dark out and Carrot couldn't tell from the distance.
"A sign of some sort." Marron took a few steps closer. "I believe it says 'Privet Drive.'"
"What do you think that means?"
Marron turned to see his brother walk up behind him. "I'm not sure, really. I guess it's the name of the street."
"Look at all the houses in a line." Tira squinted in the light that was provided. "They're all exactly the same."
"You don't think we're in a sorcerer's town do you?" Gateau studied the houses. "These are all much too nice to be parsoners' homes."
"Gateau may be right." Chocolat added her bit in and plucked a leave from a nearby bush. "This is a rather fancy place."
"I'd just be happy knowing we're still on Spooner." Marron sighed. "We did mix a bunch of forbidden magic together to create a portal of some sort."
"You mean Carrot did."
"Knock it off, Gateau!" Carrot spun on his heel to chew the bigger man out. "It wasn't my fault I fell!"
"So you're blaming Tira?"
"Please calm down, the both of you." Marron intervened. "It was no one's fault. Let's just concentrate on getting out of this mess."
"Fine." The two teammates muttered in unison.
"Good." Marron was about to relax when he saw the area around him brighten up. There seemed to be a light source coming from behind him. "What?"
"Get out of the bleedin' road!"
Marron spun around when he heard a screeching noise and the sound of a man yelling. The others all jumped to attention where they were and put admiring the scenery on hold.
"What on earth is that?" Marron stared at the strange contraption. It looked much like a carriage or cart, only without the horse. Was it moved by magic?
The fat man behind the lass smacked the curved disc in front of him to produce a horrid honking noise. The woman seated next to the man seemed to have a permanent scowl on her horse drawn face, and it looked like two boys in the back. The honking didn't stop and Marron had to cover his ears. He was grateful when Carrot and the others came to stand with him in face of this new development.
"What the hell is wrong with all of you weirdos?" The man made the noise again. "It's eleven at night and I want to go home! Get out of the road!"
"Hey!" Carrot shouted back. "Give us a minute! We're lost! And what the heck is this thing anyway?"
"How did it move without a horse?" Tira was close to battle ready, but it didn't seem as if they were needed to fight.
"What magic is this?" Chocolat shouted.
"Magic?" The man behind the wheel seemed to have gears turning in his head. "Oh no, you freaks are not wanted here!"
"Freaks?" Carrot clenched his fists. "Who the hell you calling freaks, porky?"
"What? We can't let him get away with this?"
Marron put a hand on Carrot's shoulder. "Calm yourself, we don't know the situation."
"I know they're pissing me off."
Harry had been bored out of his mind. The one time his family lets him out of the house all summer and it's to go to some stupid shopping trip for Dudley. The only reason he was forced to come was to act as a pack mule and carry their things. He crossed his arms and willed the car ride to be over when the car suddenly came to a halt. And now he was staring at five strangely dressed people that were apparently in a fight with his Uncle. At the mention of magic Harry knew there would be trouble.
"I should just run them all over." Vernon Dursley was not a happy man. He had just about lost it with all of these insane people taking over his neighborhood. Petunia just held her head in her hands and prepared for the headache. Dudley was fast asleep.
"You can't do that!" Harry shouted. "You'll get in trouble with the ministry."
"Oh shut up you!" He glared at Harry through the rearview mirror before readdressing the problem before him. "Get out of the road already!"
"Not until you tell us what kind of magic this is!" Carrot was relentless.
Harry's finally understood. They had to be lost in the muggle world and don't know what a car is. After meeting a few wizards who had never had contact with muggles it would be natural to assume they didn't know what technology is or how it worked.
"Hey!" Harry jumped out of the car and walked up to the others. "It's not magic. It's a car, muggle technology."
"What's a muggle?" Carrot was confused. His argument with the fat man was interrupted by a kid. "And who are you?"
"Wait," Harry was confused. Every wizard knew what a muggle was, mostly if it was just to avoid them. "Aren't you all wizards, too?"
"Wizard?" Carrot blinked. "You mean a sorcerer? No, of course not! Do I look like I've got a triangle on my forehead?"
"Get in the car this instant!" Vernon was shouting at Harry now.
"That guy is really getting on my nerves." Carrot frowned. "What's his deal?"
"He hates wizards and magic."
"That makes two of us, but he doesn't have to be such a moron." Gateau sighed. "Ugly people shouldn't be aloud to draw this much attention to themselves."
"I'm very confused, sister." Tira crossed her arms. "Does this mean that the people in the car are wizards? But they're not using magic?"
"But they hate magic, so I guess that couldn't be the case, Tira." Chocolat walked over to the boy. "Why don't we start this another way? Who are you and where are we?"
"How about I ask you how you got here first?" Harry wasn't sure giving out his name was the smartest of ideas right now. He tried to ignore Vernon honking and cursing in the background. On the bright side, he knew the man would never get out of that car with armed wizards around. His eyes couldn't help but look at the sword on Carrot's waist…sitting next to a stuffed rabbit?
"We knocked over some vials with magic potions and we got blown here." Carrot rubbed his hair. "Not much else to it than that. So, I guess the simple answer would be: a magic spell cast on accident."
"Oh," Harry considered them. They were a job for the ministry to sort out if he'd ever seen one. "My name is Harry Potter, I'm a wizard still in school, and you're in England."
"England?" Marron turned to face the boy sharply. "Where is that?"
"What's Europe?" Chocolat asked. "Is that on Spooner?"
Harry gulped. This might have just gotten much more complicated than he had imagined. "I think we should call the Ministry of Magic and have this whole mess sorted out."
"Not a chance." Gateau stepped closer to intimidate the kid. "We don't make deals or take help from sorcerers."
"Gateau!" Tira smacked his arm and ruined his tough guy image. "That's rude and we don't even know if he's evil yet."
"Unlike the fatty in the car who has been confirmed to be a pain." Carrot pointed with his thumb behind him.
"He's starting to make me lose even my calm." Marron twitched. "If he honks that horn one more time…"
"You might want to tell him to stop before Marron gets mad." Carrot winked at Harry. "He can pack quite a punch."
"Let's just get out of the street and let them leave."
"Why didn't we do that earlier than?" Chocolat complained.
"I'm not sure." Harry led them all to the side of the road but the whole while his thoughts were racing. He was with a group of people who hated wizards, and had no clue where they were. On the upside of things, they didn't seem to recognize or react to his name.
"This really sucks." Carrot huffed. "I hate being lost."
"I'm sure it'll get better, Brother." Marron turned to Harry. "Assuming you can help us out? We are rather at your mercy right now."
"Sure. I'll contact the ministry and we'll get this all sorted out."
"I'm not sure if I trust him." Gateau couldn't believe that sorcerers would be of any help, especially if they found out who they were. "I don't trust authority figures I don't know."
"If you're here because of a magical incident, than the ministry is in charge." Harry tapped his foot and wondered if he should contact Dumbledore instead. The ministry wasn't too happy with him right now after Voldermort's resurrection. "But, I could contact my school headmaster. He's the strongest wizard there is and he's a very helpful and caring man. I'm sure he could help you out just as easily without getting authorities involved."
"That might be better." Tira agreed. "We'd want to keep this low profile so we can just go home and forget it happened."
"But before that," Harry shifted his glasses. "Could you introduce yourselves? I told you my name."
"Oh right!" Carrot grinned and pointed at his face. "My name is Carrot Glace."
Marron straightened his back and quickly dusted his robes. "Marron Glace."
"And I'm," Gateau ripped off his shirt to pose and show off his suddenly gleaming muscles in the bit of light available. "Gateau Mocha. You can't help but look at me!"
"Nice to meet you." Harry was lucky his voice didn't crack. He'd never seen muscles that big on anyone before.
Gateau smirked at the stunned expression. "Yes, I know. My muscles are overwhelming."
"Put your shirt back on you big dunce!" Carrot kicked him. "This isn't the time for that!"
"Whatever." Gateau pulled the shirt over his head. "You know you can't keep your eyes off."
"Darling!" Chocolat ripped her outer coat off to reveal her skimpy tank. "Look at me instead!"
"Ah!" Carrot hid behind Marron. "Get away from me! I don't want it!"
"But Darling! We're lost in the middle of nowhere! What better way to comfort ourselves than to express our love?"
"What love?" Carrot dodged back and forth behind a now somewhat startled Marron as Chocolat matched him move for move. "There's no love here!"
Harry could only stare. He'd never seen grown adults act like this before. After cleaning his glasses he considered this group again. They might have been younger than adults, but that still didn't change the fact that Harry had a sinking feeling he had gotten in over his head.
"Maybe you should contact your schoolmaster, was it?" Tira walked over to Harry. "I want to get this mess over with as soon as possible."
"Right." Harry started backwards towards his home. "I've got to get Hedwig so I can write him."
"What good will an owl do?" Carrot stared at Harry thoughtfully, even if he was still fighting off Chocolat with the arm not clinging to Marron.
"It'll deliver the message. That's how wizards communicate."
"Really, now." Marron knew that they were in for a long and weirder than normal ride. The breath was knocked from him when Chocolat missed and grabbed him instead. He hoped they made it through it okay.