Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of J. K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Publishing, and Arthur A. Levine Books. Inuyasha is the property of Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakuken, and Viz Media. I am not them, and as such make no money from this venture.
Note: I don't really do authors' notes, so this is the only time this gets said. I know just enough about both Harry Potter and Inuyasha to get myself in trouble. That means that while this will occasionally flirt with the established plots of both, expect inconsistencies. It is both fanfiction and AU for a reason. in any case, thank you for reading. Do enjoy, and if there's something you think ought to be worked in, just tell me and I'll do my best.
The days slipped by almost peacefully now, and it was rare that Sesshōmaru did not lament the loss of the untamed forests he used to patrol. He lounged idly in the window of the small shop he now ran, looking like nothing more than an intricately carved statue as he watched the crowds pass on the street outside.
London was a far cry from the fortress of his father, but he had left that to Inuyasha when he could no longer ignore his wanderlust. Sesshōmaru had settled briefly in various places around the globe, but rarely stayed long enough to put down significant roots.
It had been the kitsune's idea to turn the treasures he acquired and sent back to the fortress into a business. It flourished, and the yōkai lord found himself spending time in key countries setting up shops from which they could begin to import and export wonders both mundane and magical.
When it was time for him to move on, Shippō would dispatch a trusted advisor, usually tanuki or kitsune, to take over the location. Sesshōmaru would stay for a few years, letting them acclimate to the new culture and introducing them to both suppliers and clients as an apprentice before he took his leave.
This was not his first time in London, nor even his second. As time passed and mortal governments began restricting magic, he returned to oversee the separation of his wares in each country. He chafed at the need to hide but bowed to the inevitable. Because the company had been in operation so long, however, often their magical stores still sat in the midst of mundane shopping centres rather than along the hidden streets and alleys that developed.
He was therefore fairly surprised when a small boy, no older than five, burst through the door of his Oxford Street branch. Shutting it quickly, the scruffy child hardly glanced around before ducking beneath a table and staring back at the entrance fearfully.
Curious as to this interruption of his normal routine, Sesshōmaru flicked a glance back at the street to see what could have spooked the boy and found a large, unpleasant looking man peering in the windows of the other half of his business. Unimpressed, he flared his yōki in warning and felt the acknowledgement from the four-tail masquerading as a human next door. He waited until he spotted the kitsune emerging to politely enquire of the man's business before turning back to the child huddled fearfully on his floor.
At a month shy of five years old, young Harry Potter had a lot of experience running away. Usually, he was running from his cousin, but occasionally his uncle would work himself into frenzy and come after the small boy yelling and spitting.
It wasn't as though he courted trouble, but they'd been down on Oxford Street to find Dudley his 24th birthday present when something had happened. Harry hadn't even known what was going on until a hand at his back casually shoved him into traffic. One moment he'd been falling into the path of a city bus and the next he was crumpled on the opposite sidewalk trying to calm his racing heart.
He'd glanced back across the street to see Dudley faking a cry and Vernon working himself into a purple-faced fury. When he'd met his uncle's eyes through the stopped traffic, he'd known that the only thing waiting for him back there was pain. In a split second he'd decided that it was the perfect opportunity to execute the plan nearly all children have brewing somewhere in their minds. It was time for Harry Potter to run away and never return to Number Four, Privet Drive.
He'd sprinted down Oxford Street dodging other pedestrians until he'd seen the door that seemed to wink into existence beside one that was nearly identical. One last check behind him confirmed Vernon storming up the street, nearly bowling people over in his single-minded purpose. Sucking in a sharp breath, Harry had zipped behind a particularly loud group of ladies stepping out of a boutique and snatched open the door that it seemed only he could see.
Now he was huddled beneath a table in what appeared to be a very pricey antiques shop and he could only hope that the owner wouldn't kick him out until his uncle was well away. He shivered as he felt a rush of... something... wash over him and then recede. He was about to crawl out from his hiding place to check the street when a pale hand entered his field of vision.
Shrinking back, he followed that hand up a white-clad arm to a tall, regal man. Golden eyes watched him solemnly from a pale face framed by silver hair. When Harry hesitated still, the man withdrew silently, returning a moment later only to slide a small tea service complete with biscuits next to the boy and retreat again.
Harry peeked out from his refuge, staring with wide green eyes as the strange pale man locked the door to the shop and moved to sit, still as a statue, in the window. When he didn't do anything other than stare out at the crowds on the street, Harry turned back to the tea he'd been given. Ignoring the milk and sugar, the young boy sipped the hot drink and nibbled the treats as he looked around the shop.
Sesshōmaru outwardly ignored the small child, relying on his hearing and the faint reflections in the glass before him to alert him of movement. The little human was odd, though the yōkai lord had often felt that the magic of humans was a strange thing. Still, this one was skittish, something he hadn't dealt with in a child in what seemed like centuries.
He didn't turn when Hanami, the kitsune who minded the mundane antiquities, appeared from the back room and approached. Bowing, she waited for his yōki to flicker in acknowledgement before speaking.
"Sesshōmaru-sama, the gentleman claimed to have been searching for his nephew." Both yōkai ignored the sharp breath from where the boy still hid, and she continued. "I informed him that no children had been in the shop all day, but if I were to see one matching the given description, I would contact him at once."
The lord turned then, his unblinking gaze settling on his employee. Hanami produced a card and held it out, her own eyes still on the polished wooden floor. "The gentleman's information, Sesshōmaru-sama."
He plucked the card from her hands almost carelessly, golden gaze sliding to meet worried green. He dismissed Hanami with another silent flicker of power and once she had left, Sesshōmaru glanced down at the card in his hand. Committing what it contained to memory, he locked eyes with the boy once more as he allowed his acid to reduce the paper to nothing.
The sweet smell of it wreathed him like perfume as he moved towards the table. Removing the tea service, the yōkai lord once more reached a hand out to the child. This time, his soft, deep voice accompanied it. "Come."
"You're going to send me back to my uncle's, aren't you?"
The tiny voice that asked the question was tinged with both fear and sadness even as the boy slipped his hand into Sesshōmaru's and allowed himself to be pulled from his hiding place. Rather than answer, the lord only asked, "What is your name?"
"Harry Potter, sir," the child replied, fingers worrying the hem of his over-large t-shirt. He kept his head bowed but stared up through messy black fringe.
Gesturing silently for the boy to follow, Sesshōmaru made his way towards the back rooms and the stairway there that led to his apartments above. Seating himself at a low table in his study, he waited as Harry hesitantly followed suit before speaking again. "Your parents?"
"They died in a car crash, sir. At least, that's what my aunt says."
Sesshōmaru did not pay much attention to the goings on of humans, magical or not, but the uproar and disruption of business that had occurred nearly four years previous was not something he could afford to ignore. It was the reason he had returned to London, in fact. They watched each other for a moment until Harry began to fidget.
"You are nervous." It was not a question. "You do not wish to return to your aunt and uncle."
Harry seemed to shrink into himself, eyes fixed on the dark wood between them as he muttered a weak, "No, sir."
Another small silence, then, "Where will you go?"
This question startled the child and he looked up with wide emerald eyes. "I..."
Sesshōmaru met his gaze solidly, then turned to look at the photos and portraits that decorated the walls of each of his homes. Almost idly, he seemed to talk to them. "There is room here. Tomorrow I will contact your uncle."
Harry wasn't sure what to think when the pale man stood. On the one hand, he'd been offered a place to sleep - he thought that's what the man had implied - but on the other, the man was a stranger and was likely going to send him back to Privet Drive. Still, when the man started off down the hallway, Harry couldn't help but follow. When they reached a kitchen, he wondered if the man wanted him to cook something, but a pale hand flashed towards a small table against one wall and he cautiously took a seat.
Bright green eyes watched as the tall man removed several items from the refrigerator. His hands moved too quick for Harry to follow, but soon a sandwich and cup of milk were set on the table. When he didn't reach for the food, there was a faint huff from the man before he retreated to the counter to clean up the ingredients he'd used.
"This Sesshōmaru will not harm you. Eat."
Harry did as he was told. The meal was good, if simple, and more than he'd had to eat in one sitting for quite some time. When he was finished, the man took the plate and glass before he could bring them to the sink to wash.
"Thank you, sir," he said quietly, fingers again twisted in his clothing.
There was a soft 'hmm' and the man once more turned down the hallway. Harry followed him back to the study hesitantly. When they had seated themselves again, the small boy couldn't help himself. Almost fearfully, he begged, "Please don't send me back to my Uncle's, sir."
The man regarded him silently. "Explain."
So he did. The yelling and the punishments; his chores and sleeping arrangements; the neighbors who didn't care and only turned blind eyes; Vernon and Petunia and most especially Dudley. He stared at his hands as he spoke, embarrassed to be telling this all to a stranger yet unable to leave out anything that could delay his return to that house. In doing so, however, he missed the hardening of cool gold eyes and the minute twitch of claws against dark wood. When he had spilled it all, Harry finally peeked up through his fringe. The man was once again staring to the side. Without a word, he rose.
"Sir..?" Harry ventured.
"This Sesshōmaru has business to attend to," His voice was low, with a rough quality that made the black-haired boy shiver. "Do as you please, but do not leave the apartment."
In a swirl of white, Harry was alone.
Sesshōmaru took refuge on the roof. Despite the smells of the city, the brisk winds and cool night air soothed him more than the stale, recycled air of his apartments below. It took only a brief flare of his yōki to bring Hanami to him. "Inform Shippō that I require his services," the Lord ordered in a voice barely heard over the wind.
She was silent as he paused, watching the city move below them.
"Contact the boy's uncle as well," Sesshōmaru added after a moment. "Tell him that I have business with him. The Suite should be sufficient to receive him."
"As you will it, Sesshōmaru-sama," she murmured, bowing before she retreated to do as he asked.