Harry and the Pirates, a Harry Potter/Black Lagoon crossover
Chapter 1: The Little Friends of All the WorldRoanapur, Thailand, Summer, 1991
Two boys darted down the street, expertly weaving their way through the crowds. One of them, in the lead, stuck out from the people surrounding them, with his blond hair bleached nearly white by the tropic sun. His black-haired companion looked quite a bit more usual, until you got close enough to see his bright green eyes, an uncommon sight in Asia.
They ducked into a door above which hung the sign "Bougainvillea Trading Company, LLC." Inside, a slender woman was sitting at a reception desk.
"Hi, Aunt Petunia! Does Herself have any errands for us?"
Petunia Dursley smiled at her two boys. "Let me buzz her and see." She turned on the intercom, and asked: "Ma'am, the boys are here. Have you any work for them?"
A warm contralto, slightly tinged with a Russian accent, answered her. "Yes, I do, Petunia. Send them on in, will you?" With the go-ahead given, Harry Potter and Dudley Dursley went on into the inner sanctum of Balalaika, the president of Bougainvillea Trading, and also the head of the Roanapur branch of the Russian Mafiya, "Hotel Moscow."
Not long after Harry Potter had come to live at Number Four, Privet Drive, Vernon Dursley had been killed in the street. It was a pure accident, with an out-of-control lorry running him down, but there had been a huge insurance payout by the lorry's owners, desperate to avoid a lawsuit and bad publicity. With the money, Petunia Dursley had decided to live the way she wanted to. Away from England and sad memories. Dealing with Marge Dursley, who had moved on in for a nice long visit, spurred her decision.
She had had a good education and soon found a job overseas, in the Singapore branch of a British bank. With the money she made, she had no trouble engaging household help, and with that, the burden of a second active toddler was much less on her shoulders. She found herself warming to her engaging nephew, and the maids she hired, while very tolerant of childish behavior, did not encourage Dudley's more over-the-top actions. Before too long, she was the proud mother of a well-behaved little blond boy and the equally-proud aunt of an appealing black-haired boy with big green eyes. When she took her boys out for a walk, other women gathered around and cooed over them most gratifyingly.
After her five-year contract with the Singapore bank expired, she looked around for further work in the area. She had no desire to go back to cold, cramped, damp, expensive England, particularly not to dreary Surrey suburbia, after having experienced the life of an expat in Asia. When a job offer had come from a Thailand-based import-export company, she had interviewed and been accepted.
She had been very surprised to find that her new employers were Russians, and even more startled by her new boss. She hadn't expected a beautiful, scarred Russian woman, but she had apparently impressed "Balalaika," as everybody called the Russian, for she had been accepted for employment. She now ran the office at Bougainvillea Trading, handling a lot of the company's legitimate business. She knew about the illegal side of things, but kept her mouth shut. For the kind of pay she was earning, she'd have kept her mouth shut about a lot worse, even without knowing what Balalaika would do to her if she squealed.
Both boys had been all but adopted by Balalaika's men. The Russians were all suckers for children, and treated the two English boys like favorite nephews. The boys did have regular school to go to; Balalaika insisted on that, and with the money she was paid, Petunia could afford the best Roanapur had to offer; but their real education came from Hotel Moscow. They ran errands eagerly, and were completely familiar with and at home in Roanapur's streets. By this time, they were fluent in Russian and Thai, and could get along in Chinese. Both boys could also shoot, and knew more than enough martial arts to make sure they could get away from anybody trying to grab them.
Balalaika was sitting behind her desk, and smiled to see the two eager boys lining up in front of her. Both Harry and Dudley were in awe of her. The boys both thought she was the most beautiful person in the whole world, and knew everything. This flattered her, and rather to her own surprise, she had found she had a real flair for teaching. Watching the two boys growing up was a pleasure; she was unable to ever bear children of her own due to her injuries, which was one of the great secret sorrows of her life. Harry and Dudley served as substitutes.
"So, boys, what did Rowan have to say to you?"
"He gave us this envelope with his payment, and told us that he wants the same delivery next time." Dudley lay the envelope on Balalaika's desk, his face full of pride at having completed another errand for her successfully.
"Excellent. You've done well. Would you like to do another errand for me?" Their eager looks and rapid nods were all the answer she needed. "Could you go down the Yellowflag and tell Dutch that I'll be wanting to hire the Black Lagoon later this week?" The boys nodded again, turned, and ran out of the office at top speed. Balalaika sighed. Once, she had had all that excess energy…where had it gone? There were times when she felt old.
The interior of the Yellowflag was dark after the sun-drenched streets, and Harry and Dudley paused at the door, letting their eyes adjust. The air was thick with smoke, and thunderous music roared from the jukebox. The boys were reassured. This meant that the Yellowflag was normal; they had been witnesses to it being torn apart by brawls before, and although nobody local would deliberately target them…not only were they known to be under the protection of Hotel Moscow, but odd things had happened when they felt threatened in the past…it still was no fun.
After a few minutes, they saw the man they were looking for. Dutch, the captain and owner of the Black Lagoon, was sitting at a table with Benny, his electronics expert. The Lagoon's chief gunsel, Revy Two-Hands, was up at the bar, sitting and drinking with her friend "Sister" Eda of the Rip-Off Church. Other than the Lagoon crew and Eda, the place was nearly deserted. A few of Chang's men were in a corner playing mah-jongg, and a drunk or two were sitting about, but that was it.
"Dutch?" Harry and Dudley went up to the PT boat's captain. "Balalaika sent us with a message."
"Well, let me hear it." Dutch gestured them up closer. Messages from Balalaika were important, and Dutch knew that they wouldn't want to tell him in a way that the whole bar could hear. Once they were close enough to speak to him with the music masking their words, he gestured for them to go ahead.
"Balalaika said she wants to hire the Lagoon later this week. Will that be okay?" Harry looked around the bar. Revy saw him and gave him a wink, and Eda made kissy-kissy faces at him. Harry blushed, hating the way that those two could embarrass him so easily. He was almost a man…he'd just turned eleven, just like Dudley…and he didn't like being treated like a dumb little kid!
Dudley didn't notice the byplay. In their partnership, Dudley provided the muscle, while Harry was usually the brains of the operation. Dutch nodded, rumbling: "Of course. You know that Miss Balalaika's always welcome to hire the Lagoon. I don't have any other charters already scheduled, so I'll just pencil her in for the rest of the week, at the usual rates."
When they got back to the Bougainvillea Trading offices, Harry and Dudley both noticed that Petunia looked perturbed. When she saw them, she said: "I'm to send you right in, directly you get back. Now, go on in, and be sure to be very polite." Mystified…weren't they always polite? Nobody but a fool would cheek Balalaika!…the boys went on in to her office.
Their employer lit up when she saw them, and turned to a woman that neither boy had ever seen before. "Good. You're back, and very promptly, too. While you were out, this woman appeared here, and told me that she wishes to speak with you both."
"Appeared here?" Harry was mystified. "Didn't Aunt Petunia quiz her before letting her on in?" Besides Petunia Dursley, whose innocuous-looking desk concealed several nasty surprises for intruders, the outer office was discreetly guarded by Balalaika's soldiers, and was designed to be able to hold off an attack.
"Yes. Appeared here. Out of thin air, by my desk. As you can imagine, this startled me, and I pulled my sidearm. However, Ms. McGonagall took countermeasures, and then explained the situation."
This startled both Harry and Dudley. While she usually left the rough stuff to her subordinates, Balalaika was no slouch in a fight in her own right, and was still one of the fastest guns in Asia. They looked carefully at the newcomer, curious as to who could do such things to their idolized employer.
The strange woman was old, but carried herself like a much younger woman. Her iron-grey hair was tied in a bun at the nape of her neck, and she was dressed in conservative, but expensive clothing; both boys could tell the difference in an instant. Seeing them looking at her, she spoke.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Potter, Mr. Dursley. My name is Minerva McGonagall, Professor and Assistant Headmistress at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I am here to deliver your letters of acceptance to Hogwarts, and to escort you to where you may purchase your supplies for the coming school year."
Both Harry and Dudley were street-wise veterans of years in Roanapur, but this was, to say the least, unexpected. They stared and stared. Ms. McGonagall…Professor McGonagall…gave them a triumphant smile. "Yes, magic is real. Would you like to see some?" Suddenly a strange stick was in her hand, and she waved it, muttering some words in a language neither boy knew.
Balalaika let out a startled squawk, which was unheard of; she was normally one of the most self-possessed people in all Roanapur. However, nobody had ever seen her reacting to having her desk suddenly become a pig. With another wave of Professor McGonagall's wand, it was a desk again.
Balalaika spoke up: "Boys, I will say that I never believed that magic is real, before today. Now that I've seen it demonstrated, I want you to take Professor McGonagall up on her offer. Such an opportunity is not to be wasted." She pressed a button on her desk, and said, into the intercom: "Petunia, will you come in here, please?"
When Petunia Dursley came in, she took one look at Professor McGonagall and started crying. "Oh, I had so hoped this day wouldn't come! I lost my sister, Harry's mother, to the magical world! She went off to that school and she was never the same sister to me again…and then she died!" She broke down completely, sobbing into her hands. "Those people killed her! They killed my sister!" Dudley and Harry instinctively moved to comfort Petunia, giving Professor McGonagall hard looks.
Harry was very curious. He had always, as far back as he could remember, lived with Aunt Petunia, and save for calling her "Aunt" instead of "Mother," there was no difference between the treatment he and Dudley got. He did know, though, that his mother had been Aunt Petunia's sister. Had his mother been some sort of magical person?
Balalaika cleared her throat, and Petunia got a grip on herself. "Mrs. Dursley, while I cannot command it, I would be very grateful if you allowed both boys to accept this offer. Education is not ever to be despised, and their schooling in Roanapur cannot go on for much longer." Both boys were at the top of their class, and beyond their school, there was little education on tap in Roanapur.
"I can assure you, Mrs. Dursley, that every effort will be made to ensure your son's, and Mr. Potter's, safety. You may not know it, but Mr. Potter is regarded as a hero. He is thought to have destroyed the man who killed his birth parents, although nobody is sure just how. That is how he came by his scar."
Reminded, Harry rubbed his forehead. Unlike Dudley, he had a scar on his forehead shaped like a lightning bolt. Aunt Petunia wouldn't tell him how he'd come by it, just saying that it had been there when he came to live with her.
Aunt Petunia wiped her eyes. "Yes…I know…Lily, rest her soul, said that not training people with magical talent was more dangerous than training them. The talent comes out unexpectedly, and weird things happen." Before either boy could stop her, she folded them both into a convulsive hug. "But I'm going to miss them so much!"
(Author's note: This version of Petunia isn't under Vernon's thumb, and has had to spread her wings a lot more. Balalaika's still Balalaika, and she sees Harry and Dudley and Petunia as her own…and Hotel Moscow looks out for its own. As for hiring Petunia…that was partly to deflect the Thai national authorities' suspicion of Bougainvillea Trading. It was also easier to get a visa for her than for another Russian citizen.)