Disclaimer: I do not own anything recognised as belonging to someone else.
And so begins Part Two!
At some point in writing tis, I just went 'eff it' and decided to start things off during the Dark Tournament. Kurama is about sixteenish around the time of the DT, while Crane is a week or so shy of eighteen, has been attending Three Towers for two years (Seventh Year Hogwarts Time) and will be returning to Three Towers for another four years for University, which shares campus with the High School Three Towers.
Neko-chan is around and will pop up next chapter,but not in this one.
Wuv you all who read and reviewed (nicely). Seriously, there are some people out there who read the whole thing just so they can attempt to tear down a writer's self-esteem, yet not have the guts to sign it. Granted, they likely would have been booted off by now if they had, but it's the principle of the thing!
Anyway, thanks again and on with the story.
Crane had done little more than give Ashura a list of names of people who could have or, given the chance, would have kidnapped the pregnant mother of his child, a small folder of theories and what he had found or suspected in regards to the attempted control of his relatives and another list of contacts who might help with the right incentive. Dumbledore was at the top of the list of perpetrators.
Then the boy had secluded himself in Grimmauld Place to study for the upcoming year.
Having thrown himself into his studies, Crane was only peripherally aware of what was happening in Britain via Gary, who was keeping him updated, and the Daily Prophet.
James Potter was found to have had no idea about the Love Potions and, when being tested himself, was found to also be under Love Potions and Will Inhibitors. With the potions ceased and having gotten past the withdrawals, James still loved Lily, but was willing to separate to sort things out. He also, Crane was told, withdrew from the Order and moved to France where he was now studying for his Masters in Transfiguration. He had sent Crane a letter stating that he didn't expect to be forgiven, but had reinstated him into the Potter Family Will anyway. Last heard, James was teaching French Aurors how to become animagi.
Lily was spending a lot of time with her father, Ashura, but it was awkward. Lily had a lot more in common with her mother than her father. The only reason Ashura had agreed to sleep with Sirona was because she had Foreseen a child with him. Gary commented that she was particularly uncomfortable when she figured out that Yasha, the tanned sidhe warrior that was always hanging around Ashura, was, in fact, his 'special friend'. Lily was learning how to work politics and manoeuvring in the Court while simultaneously going for Masteries in Charms and Potions.
Sirona was still missing, but a Blood Spell showed she was still alive, even if no one could find her.
Gary had paid a visit on his own to Count D, who had agreed that non-humans like sidhe were exempted from the Contract and somehow extracted a promise from Gary into regularly getting several magical animals for his shop in return for rare and unheard of potion ingredients.
Ashura had raised an eyebrow on being introduced to Medusa, but had accepted it quickly. Lily struggled for a bit before accepting the inevitability.
In regards to the bond between Crane and Gary, distance made it easier for the two to sort out their identities and thoughts from each other, and Gary learnt Occlumancy from one of Ashura's friends. The younger twin had yet to manage to wrangle an explanation from Crane regarding Kuronue, but never said anything to anyone else about it.
Luna, Blaise, Calder, Morvina and Klocia got into Three Towers, while Shiro was let in as an Apprentice to the Weapons and Tactics teachers since it had been one of the students who had summoned him, stranding the Shinigami captain in their world. Once caught up, he joined Luna in her second year and the two were almost attached at the hip. With their personalities, no one could figure out how their relationship worked, especially since Toushiro was perpetually twelve to thirteen in appearance.
Partway through the first school year, Luna went into a coma and came out of the Infirmary about a foot taller, her skin a few dozen shades darker, her hair paler and softer and her nails about three inches long. Oh, and black-tipped white bunny ears. Apparently her maternal grandmother had been a Viera who had a child and left her with the child's father when Luna's mother showed no Viera characteristics. It opened all sorts of doors for her.
Blaise and Morvin started courting towards the end of their second year at Three Towers, surprising no one.
Calder remained Crane's Second and became his best friend. Their conversations were usually hushed and lasted for hours in relaxed companionship.
Klocia still affiliated herself with Crane's group, but was also the school's femme fatale, well known for the fact that her boyfriends never lasted long before disappearing. She got along well with Blaise's mother, who had taken her on as a protegee.
Kurai swung in and out of Crane's life like a pendulum, reporting on Kurama and catching up. Her son, Kunai, also re-established familial relations and hit it off well with Calder, whom he became something of a mentor to for a time.
By the time the Clan scouts had managed to track down 'Minamino Suichi', he had managed to get himself drafted into the Reikai Tentai. Kuronue was not nearly as amused as Crane.
With each weekly report of 'his Youko' doing 'dog's work' for Reikai, Kuronue became pissier and pissier.
There was a supernaturally loud mental scream of rage when an early report arrived saying the fox was on his way to the Dark Tournament. Crane, after he'd woken up in the infirmary four hours later, was informed, by an amused Kurai, that his brother was being treated for a sudden-onset concussion.
It wasn't often that the komori youkai used their extreme vocal range, but when they did, it was devastating on the 'ears'.
So Crane, Kurai, Calder, Luna and several guards were in the VIP box of the Dark Tournament.
As the battle between Youko's human teammate and a child-like demon named Rinku, Crane and Kurai shifted forward to get a better look at who had just stepped forward.
When Youko's human form stepped onto the platform for his first match, Crane and Kuronue reached out and stroked their human-tainted youki against Youko Kurama's own human-tainted youki.
The red-haired form on the platform froze, head tilting towards the VIP box.
'Just a little longer,' Crane/Kuronue murmured through the fox's mind, utilising a telepathic ability Crane had picked up at the Institute. 'I'm here and I'm watching. Don't die now, ya hear? Ihave a new story to tell you.'
Youko tilted his head in slight acquiescence towards the box before moving on to meet his opponent, a thuggish creature called Roto.
After listening to Roto's threats, Crane tilted his head towards Kurai, who was already on a mobile. She met his eyes and shook her head, mouthing the world 'taken care of'.
Reaching out again to Youko, Crane moved gently so as not to startle the fox. 'The demons are dead. They were taken care of before they even breached the boundaries of the block you live on.'
The red-head did a remarkable job of not reacting, but Crane could feel the sudden jolt of surprise and alarm go through the fox.
Kuronue was a little hurt but Crane had expected it, hurrying to ease the worry. 'We've known where you are for months now. We just have been considering our choices because you are currently working for the Binky-Sucker.'
While Youko was still unsettled, he turned the majority of his attention back to the match, ending the slit-second conversation.
And so Team Urameshi ended up winning the round and Kurama quietly split from the back of the group, seeking his former partner, half-convinced that he would end up having to kill his lover to protect his mother.
…Even if he wasn't sure he could kill the man he still loved.