Harry Potter did not like Number 4 Privet Drive. He hated it; he found it completely and utterly insufferable in fact. It wasn't the weather and it wasn't what it looked like that bothered him so much. It was the people, pure and simple. He loathed the people in the 'neat' and 'orderly' town, the 'nice' and 'upstanding' citizens. He hated the secrets the little clean town in Surrey held. From the outside it seemed almost… picturesque.
There was nothing ever out of place. It was an 'ideal' town. Nobody ever noticed the kid who was being picked on, the wife with the cheating husband, the bully making his rounds, nothing. They lived in their own dream world here.
A vibrant pair of Killing Curse green eyes curiously peered out of an iron bar covered window with an indistinguishable emotion in their depths. There were some days when he couldn't believe he was putting up with all the people in their pretty little houses and blindness. He was of the hardwon belief that everyone was blind. This wasn't a new belief, he had realized it back when he had been a very young child. Well, that would be if he had ever been a child in the first place. He tried to understand, and not let his ire run away from him, but he couldn't help it, people seemed so blind to him, and he doubted that belief would ever change. No matter how 'observant' the person could be, they had never noticed.
It was sometimes so frustrating… Their weak blindness, and strident refusal, to see what was going on right in front of their faces. It was something he really hated about humans. They never wanted to suspend their belief. He frowned and tapped his fingers on the windowsill. these humans were a particularly vexing group.
Grimacing, Harry leaned back and adjusted his bent glasses. Sorely wishing he could lash out with no lasting consequences for his actions. His lips twisted in a faint mockery of Professor Snape's sneer. He had no energy to pull it off. Not considering the circumstances.
When would he get out? Harry impatiently counted the days till school started again. He would rather sit, and spend the whole school year in any of Snape's potion classes, then stay here with his so called 'family'. At least all Snape did was use was his sharp tongue and issue detentions. Detentions weren't so bad comparatively.
The Dursleys had found a way around the threats. The Dursleys couldn't say that they hadn't complied with the demands made of them. They had still found a way to 'punish' him.
He rested his head against the windowpane in a fruitless search for relief from the pounding in his head. His act was starting to wear down… He couldn't take this much longer. He was getting tired of playing nice and just taking it. Leaving sounded so good.
Harry had been staring at the wall with a listless expression since he had woken up that morning. He only had his memories for company, though the thought that he would only have a few more days in his own personal hell helped his mood a bit. He would get through it. He knew it and wouldn't allow otherwise. "I have all the luck don't I?" he murmured to himself.
He moved, sitting up with a fair bit of effort. The rules his family had to follow were actually pretty simple. No physical harm, though Harry guessed that the Order never thought of his mental health, no excessive work, and he had to be fed. They had also been advised to leave him alone in an effort to give him time to grieve. His smirk twisted to a frown and he almost felt like laughing at the irony. Almost. The Order was supposed to help him, not sign his death warrant. He hadn't left his room since summer had started and it was finally taking his toll and, although he had been fed, it was always the same thing every day. They'd probably bought a case or two of soup at the beginning of summer for sale or something similar. Harry was getting tired of chicken noodle.
Harry supposed he was lucky in a way. If he hadn't been so special he probably wouldn't have made it so far. He'd have died under their care..
Sometimes he really wished he had never died in the first place.
"Boy!" the sharp bark caught Harry's attention faster than any other noise could ever hope to and the door swung in on its less than well oiled hinges. He shifted slightly but he didn't get up, even when he saw the expression on his uncles face.
"Get yourself presentable!" Vernon's bulky form stood in the doorway and the man's face twisted and wrinkled into a clear expression of hatred. The light filtered through behind him and into the dim room, illuminating Harry's weak form on the bed.
It was in situations like these that Harry liked to amuse himself with thoughts about theories on how the man could fit through his small doorway. Magic was a common hypothesis, and he had several theories with science-fictional twists.
Harry kept his attention on his thoughts and tried not to recoil at the man's presence.
"What are you doing, Boy?!" Vernon took a threatening step into the dark room.
"Move it!" and Harry moved, a hiding his dark scowl with his bangs and averted gaze.
Kurama was playing hide and seek. From his outlook in his tree he vaguely wondered how the girls at his school would take it if they knew he was gay. He winced as what seemed like a hoard of girls passed below. It would just give them more ammunition.
He didn't bother looking up when Hiei joined him in his perch.
"You have a mission." Hiei was straight to the point, as always.
Kurama's somber leaf green eyes met Hiei's blood red pair just in time for him to catch a black tape that was thrown his way. "Thank you Hiei, will you be staying a while?" his tone was polite, as always and he spared Hiei an inquiring glance.
The answer was a short "No." before the fire apparition flickered away at his high speed leaving Kurama standing alone again on his now swaying branch.
The branch hadn't even stopped its mild swaying when a, "There he is!" from a single girl's shout caught everyone's attention. Oh, Inari-sama… His face swung in the girl's direction to see her pointing directly at him. Before he could think of what he was doing he was out of the tree and running. Instincts were really a wonderful thing to boast.
With the tape held securely in his hand and the bag over his shoulder he made quite a sight, darting between trees and out of the park with a gaggle of girls being left in his dust. He only slowed down once the park was far out of sight and the screams of 'Shuichi-kun' faded into the sound of the cars passing him by. It never hurt to be careful, especially when being stalked by such a rabid group. Why did he have a fanclub anyway?
Kurama made his way through the crowd, focusing on the tape in hand. He was almost the only one still in active service of the old group. Kuwabara only attended when Yusuke did, Yusuke was learning about his heritage in the Makai, and Hiei had to be pried away from the Maikai anyway. Hiei was good at evading attention.
In no time at all, Kurama was entering his home. He opened the front door and called out a greeting to his mother, smiling when he received an answer he headed up the staircase to his room. He greeted his younger step-brother when he passed the occupied room and upon entering his room he set his bag down in a corner next to his desk and put the tape in his VCR.
Koenma popped up on screen, his pacifier muffling his speech. "Kurama, I have a mission for you." The recording started to look a little nervous. "I know you won't like this, and I am sorry!" Kurama's eyebrow raised and he frowned when Koenma started chewing on his pacifier and wringing his hands in stress. "I have just received notice from my branch over in Europe." Kurama was getting a bad feeling about this.
The recording took a deep breath and mumbled about firing the people in charge over in Europe. Koenma seemed to steel himself and started to speak more clearly. "A soul that was to be brought in at all costs never was." Kurama nodded slightly and his interest spiked. "You are going to be going to England in a week," Kurama winced at that, how would he tell his mother? "To attend a Magical Boarding School. Your books will arrive tomorrow. I have already taken the liberty of sending one of my operatives in Japan's local Magic school an order on getting you some Transference Papers and another operative will be getting you up to date on what you need to know. He has a time turner; you will understand when he comes to get you."
Kurama frowned when Koenma continued on to speak of how long he should expect the mission to take, and he outright scowled when he heard that he would be expected to spend an extra year or two on the mission if he didn't retrieve the soul in his first year. A year. His hands clenched into fists when the tape ended and he stood up quickly, fully intending on giving Koenma a piece of his mind. He couldn't believe that Koenma expected him to leave his mother till he was sixteen or seventeen. It was an outrageous order, surely Koenma had other operatives who could fill the order, didn't he? Ones who weren't still living with their mother?
His heart was thundering in his ears and he got up quickly, leaving his bag on the floor and the tape in the VCR. He almost jumped down the stairs, taking them two at a time, and in his haste he nearly tripped over the umbrella stand next to the door. A furious scowl settled on his face and he slammed the stand back into it's place and shoved his feet into his shoes.
"Shuichi?" his mother's voice made him pause, "Shuichi? Where are you going? Dinners almost done." Kurama turned to see his mother coming into the hallway. She was probably disturbed by his sudden racket.
Pausing a moment to gather himself, Kurama smiled at his mother, "I am sorry, I have to go meet someone… I forgot. I will be home again soon." He smiled again and quickly left the house, leaving his smile and mother behind.
He was going to kill Koenma!
Several blocks, one portal, and a long series of twisting halls later Kurama was standing outside Koenma's door. "Ko-en-ma." He snarled, and was quite pleased to hear an 'eep' from inside.
Throwing the doors open he entered with a purposely intimidating flare, reveling in Koenma's cowered form. "Koenma."
"I'm SORRY! Very sorry! Insanely Sorry! SORRY! You are the only person who could do it!" Koenma was shielding his head with his arms and cowering in his seat.
"Why me? You have other professionals for infiltration and confiscation. Don't you?" He crossed his arms. His tone was carefully level, but had he been in his other form, his ears would have been laying flat against his skull as a testament to his anger.
The demi-god looked up searchingly. Deciding that he was not in physical danger he straightened his shirt and took a deep calming breath. "You are the only one with the right age and we need someone with mental shields." He crossed his arms and stood up in his swivel chair. "A lot of my operatives do not have mental shields, and the ones who do are too old. We need someone who can pass for a student."
He reached forward and pulled two files off the corner of his large desk. He looked at them with a frown before holding them out for Kurama to take. "These are the files of Tom Marvolio Riddle and Harry James Potter. Riddle is your target, although Potter should have been taken in as well. Nobody in the England sector is sure why Potter didn't die, but Riddle did. Riddle has been doubling the death rate of the citizens in Europe. Scotland and England have been hit the worst."
"What is he trying to do?" he took the files out of Koenma's hands and flipped open the one on Riddle.
"The ones who investigated the problem say he is trying to wipe out any 'muggles' and non-'purebloods' in their magical community. He seems to be killing off any 'purebloods' that defy him as well." Koenma was pinching the bridge of his nose.
Kurama sighed and shifted his weight, "What is a 'muggle', exactly?" He tangled his fingers into his hair. And why did he have to deal with it? He wanted to ask, even though he had already received an answer.
"A 'muggle' is a person who only has enough Reiki to live. They call it 'Magic'. We have schools here in Japan that teach 'Magic', and people like Yusuke and Kuwabara would be the people who attend." He leaned back and looked Kurama full on, "I know. Why didn't Yusuke, or Kuwabara, attend the schools?"
Kurama nodded and began looking through the papers in the file.
"At the time of enrollment, Yusuke had very little Reiki and Kuwabara only had his 'awareness'. Compaired to what they are now, they would have both been classified as 'squibs' or 'muggles' by the community. A 'squib' is a person who is born to parents who have high amounts Reiki while the child has only enough to live-like a 'muggle'." He elaborated.
There was a bout of silence and Kurama looked up, "And that is why Riddle is killing them off? Just because they don't have much Reiki?"
"It's something like that, though they have no concept of Reiki. The reason he uses is that they are different and would wipe out the 'Magical' community if they 'interbred'. He thinks it 'weakens' them."
Kurama looked down at the moving pictures in his hands. One file, the one he currently held open, had several pictures of a man, and although it was the same person in all of them, the photos looked very different. There were a few from childhood and a few from his school years and after his graduation. The most recent one was of a snake-like man with blood-red, slitted eyes and no nose or body hair. Tucking the folder and photographs under his arm, he started looking into the other.
There were a few pictures of Harry as a baby, always being held by an adult, followed by some photos from while he was growing up. He may have frowned when he saw the too thin frame and over large clothes, but he scowled when he saw the edges of bruises peeking out from his sleeves. The most recent was taken during school, a photograph of Harry sitting under a tree with his friends studying for exams. It was such a normal scene, so completely and utterly un-posed, that he couldn't suppress the faint smile tugging at his lips. The boy just looked way too cute!
"Riddle, or 'Voldemort' as he calls himself when he's commanding his 'Death Eaters', has been targeting that boy for several years. Harry Potter is the unfortunate victim of several plots. He has miraculously survived them all." He tapped his fingers on his chin before continuing, "In a fist to fist fight with a C- Class demon a 'Witch' or 'Wizard' would lose terribly, but their Reiki, when used like they have trained themselves to do, they could put up a fair fight and probably win. They are nowhere near as strong as Yusuke is, but their 'Magic' is both flexible and powerful. They can be dangerous. Harry there though…" Koenma gnawed on his pacifier a bit more violently, "His power is that of a B class demon… Maybe even a high B+ class. He is unusually powerful for a Wizard, and though it power-levels of that caliber have been known to happen, it is usually with Wizards twice his age. The scale of power for a Wizard usually varies between a low C class and a mid B class."
Kurama nodded, making a mental note on that, "What would 'Voldemort' be?"
"I believe he is somewhere around a mid A class, maybe even a little higher. He is a very dangerous man, I would advise you to be careful in your retrieval of him." He paused a moment, seemingly considering something, "You would have learned this tomorrow, but a 'Witch' or "Wizard' has a very flexible ability with their Reiki. They can do almost anything with the right word or the right sequence of words. And by anything, I mean, they can do something as harmless as making another person laugh or changing their hair color, to doing something as dangerous as causing pain so strong insanity can result within minutes and even a spell that will cause instant death. Not all 'Spells' can be blocked, so study hard and dodge the ones you know you can't block."
Kurama closed the second folder, of which its contents he had been examining the majority of the time Koenma had been speaking. Tucking them both under his arm he nodded at the demi-god. "Tomorrow, it is. See you later." He turned away and left the room quickly, leaving a very relieved deity behind.