Disclaimer: I do not own anything from Harry Potter or Katekyo Hitman Reborn.

Summary: Snapshots of the year it took Trident Shamal and Harry Potter to bond over assignments, surgeries, assassinations, and general mayhem. Prequel to Raison d'Être.

Author's Notes: Can be read as standalone but it's better if you read at least the first chapter of Raison d'Être first.

01. Ill Met, Well Met

"Are you with them? Got the short end of the stick?" Was the first thing Shamal asked as he prodded the green-eyed man lying in a pool of his own blood with one shoe.

Said man stared back at him through hooded eyes and a faintly irritated frown, as if Shamal was interrupting his sunbathing or something. "You're going to have to clarify who 'them' are."

The slightest British inflection amongst an amalgam of accents that Shamal couldn't name, all tangled together to form a startling lack of one as the man spoke. Civilian clothes – utterly ruined – with deep injuries under them. Deep, but not fatal.

Probably a prisoner then. Traitors were usually killed right away.

He shrugged and turned to leave. "Doesn't matter then. They're dead and you're free to go. I'd help you but I don't treat men."

Instead of the squawk of indignation and demands for medical aid that Shamal usually got after saying something like that, he received a derisive snort and a grunt of pain as the man pulled himself up into a sitting position and leaned against the nearby wall.

"I don't believe I ever asked for your help," The man drawled with all the aristocratic hauteur of a noble. "Now please move out of the way. You're blocking the light and I can't see anything in here."

More than a little startled but hiding it well, Shamal eyed the Brit one last time before leaving without a backwards glance, picking up his payment along the way before returning to the hotel he was staying at. He checked out the very next day, flirting with the receptionist on his way out and got a slap for his efforts, but he didn't make it halfway to the airport before the injured man that had lingered at the back of his mind since he had finished his latest job rushed back to the forefront of his thoughts.

Shamal really didn't care about the black-haired stranger, and in his line of work, deaths weren't exactly rare, but the man's flippant attitude had spiked his interest. While he wouldn't have healed the man, if he had asked, Shamal would've helped him out of there.

He sighed. Might as well go back to satisfy his curiosity. Check whether the man had managed to get out or not. He wasn't in any hurry anyway.

To his surprise, the stranger was in the exact same place Shamal had left him in, but that wasn't the astounding part. While the floor was still splashed with crimson and the man's clothes looked to be beyond repair, Shamal couldn't see so much as a papercut on him.

The stranger was asleep though and even Shamal had to grimace at the drying blood he was slumped in.

Making a face, he bent down and hauled the man up, and then yelped when the Brit woke with a jolt and whipped out a silver dagger in the time it took Shamal to blink.

"If this is how you thank all the people who try to help you," Shamal voiced dryly as he kept a wary eye on the blade at his throat, his mosquitoes ready to attack at the twitch of a finger. "I can see why you wouldn't want it."

Eyes that still seemed half-asleep (how the hell did someone like that get the drop on him?) squint at him, not suspiciously but as if the man was only trying to recall his face. Recognition dawned a moment later, and to Shamal's surprise, the dagger was removed almost immediately afterwards.

"Thought you didn't treat men," The man remarked mildly.

Shamal didn't lower his guard but his mosquitoes settled as he relaxed again. "I'm not treating you. Don't tell me you hit your head and forgot you healed yourself."

The stranger hummed noncommittally and allowed Shamal to help him limp out of the dilapidated building.

Shamal had seen stranger things than high-speed healing in his life so he didn't ask and the man didn't offer as they reached the clearing outside. As it was, the stranger didn't ask him why he was helping either, and Shamal appreciated it if only because his excuses weren't exactly the best.

"Just prop me against a tree," The Brit said, and Shamal was about to do just that right before his instincts sparked a warning in his head and both of them stiffened and swung to the left.

As luck would have it, the men Shamal had killed apparently had backup and they had chosen now of all times to come back.

"Ah, shit," Shamal sighed, more annoyed than worried as forty or so men all holding handguns appeared out of the nearby forest area, their expressions making it quite clear that they meant a lot of harm.

He spared a second to glance at the Brit currently leaning against a tree, and then twitched. The man actually looked more concerned with the state of his clothes than the surrounding enemies.

Well, maybe the stranger could fight? Judging by the speed in which he had drawn his blade, Shamal could tell that the man had at least some knowledge of fighting. Whether or not it would be enough to survive this was another matter.

He heaved another sigh. He had been the one to bring the Brit out here so he supposed he would have to take responsibility and make sure they both got out alive.

Still, almost four dozen men, all of them holding long-ranged weapons – at least a few of them would get off a shot before his mosquitoes could take them all down. Shamal would be able to dodge but he didn't know if he could say the same for the Brit who didn't look to have even reached his mid-twenties yet.

"Excuse me,"

Shamal blinked, and then snapped his head to the side to stare at the stranger in disbelief. The man was quite clearly hailing the closest enemy, a polite if bland smile on his face.

"I was wondering if you had a change of clothes lying around," The Brit continued, looking apologetic now as he tugged on the torn, bloody shirt he was wearing. "Mine seem to be beyond repair, even for me."

A stilted silence ensued before mocking guffaws filled the clearing.

"What are you doing?" Shamal hissed. "Do you want to get killed?"

"That one's got a screw loose!" One of the newcomers called out. "He ain't gonna be a problem. It's just Trident Shamal we gotta take down!"

Shamal tch'd in thorough irritation as he whirled out of the way of an oncoming bullet, shoving the Brit to the right at the same time. Said bullet embedded itself into the bark where the Brit's head had been a heartbeat ago.

"Stay-" Down, Shamal had been about to say, only to realize that the man was no longer there. It took him a bewildering moment to seek out the green-eyed stranger – how the hell had he gotten there – suddenly standing behind a row of gunmen.

Another moment and a flash of silver, and then six men were down, guns scattered beside them and throats slit.

The gunfire abruptly became more panicked, and he had no more time to think on it as he twisted out of the way again and sent his mosquitoes out in a tidal wave.

The battle took five minutes tops, and forty dead bodies later, Shamal was wondering just how the idiots he had killed the day before had managed to capture someone like his temporary field partner.

He had kept an eye on the man throughout the impromptu battle, watched the Brit flicker in and out of sight like some sort of devil's shadow, wielding that silver dagger with lethal precision.

The man was faster than anyone Shamal had ever seen in action (personally, he thought maybe there was some instant teleportation thrown in there as well), and while there had been a subtle frown of distaste on his face, the experience with which the stranger had handled his blade had been undeniable.

"You're very good," Shamal commented as he flipped one of the corpses onto its back. His foot thudded against stone. It looked like the Medusa Syndrome he had created only recently worked like a charm.

"Thank you," The man smiled lazily, removing the blood from his blade with a flick of his wrist and an invisible bend of light around it. Shamal arched an eyebrow at the gleaming silver, not a drop of blood visible.

A Flame-user? But that couldn't be it. He hadn't seen any coloured energy around the Brit.

"Who are you?" He found himself asking as he slipped his hands into his coat pockets and adopted a more laidback posture. Fighting goons two days in a row – he wasn't getting paid enough for this.

"Harry Potter, at your service," The man responded promptly without hesitation. "You can call me Harry."

Shamal almost jumped when a wet cough followed the name and a splash of crimson stained the pale hand that had come up to cover the man's mouth.

"I thought you healed yourself," Shamal barked, a little sharper than he had intended to.

"Mostly," The man, Harry, waved a dismissive hand, the one not tinged with blood. "My lungs haven't quite repaired themselves yet. I'll be fine in a few more hours."

A blink, and then the silver dagger was suddenly whizzing past his left ear. It took him a second to realize that Harry hadn't been aiming for him and the blade wouldn't have so much as nicked him even if he hadn't automatically moved out of the way.

"My apologies," Harry said calmly as Shamal stared contemplatively at the last of the gunmen now lying motionless on the ground like a puppet with its strings cut, the dagger sticking out of his throat. "I did not mean to startle you."

It was a perfect throw. Most people consciously or unconsciously aimed at the chest, but there were a million and one things that could go wrong and leave the target alive, if wounded, if you weren't a top professional. The chest cavity was always sturdier than it looked, for all that it was still quite easy to stick something sharp through. But the throat was one of the weakest parts of the human body, not to mention if the weapon had enough strength and accuracy behind it, the spine would also be severed in a single blow.

Considering the odd angle of the mark's neck, Harry definitely had both when he had flung his dagger.

"So," Harry had walked past him and was retrieving his weapon. "Trident Shamal, was it? If you could point me in the direction of the closest city, I would be very grateful. I could even pay you for the trouble."

Shamal shook his head, settling into an easy stance again. "I don't need money. Liverpool's about half an hour that way."

He nodded east, and Harry nodded. "Thank you. For the help and the directions."

And apparently, that was that. The Brit set off in the direction Shamal had gestured at with the same lack of hesitation he had given out his name.

Shamal watched him go for several seconds before setting off after the man. "I could've lied."

"You didn't," Harry called back almost cheerfully.

Despite the rather surreal situation, Shamal found his lips twitching in amusement. "What were you doing out here anyway? I can't see you getting captured by a couple of thugs."

"Hmm?" Harry's strides weren't very fast and Shamal's longer legs caught up within a couple paces. "Ah, I wasn't. I just... got lost. And injured. Injured and lost, and ended up in that building. I worked in a library before though."

Shamal knew an evasive answer when he heard one, no matter how well it was delivered, but it was none of his business so he didn't push.

"So who are you then?" Harry asked this time. "'Trident Shamal'. That some sort of moniker?"

"Close enough," Shamal acknowledged sardonically. "I'm a doctor."

A huff of laughter came from his companion. "A doctor who doesn't treat men? What about children?"

"Only girls," Shamal said at once. His mind momentarily pulled up a memory of Hayato but he shook it off easily enough. The boy was no longer his student, if he ever really was in the first place. He wasn't good with kids.

Harry only hummed and didn't complain about his personal rule as many had done before. Instead, he enquired, "A doctor who can take down twenty-one gunmen without batting an eye?"

"A librarian who can kill twenty-two gunmen just as easily?" Shamal countered.

Harry laughed again. "Touché. You could call me a jack-of-all-trades, I suppose."

Shamal wavered for a moment before mentally shrugging. It didn't really matter – a little digging around on Harry's part would familiarize the Brit with all the rumours surrounding Shamal anyway. "Doctor-assassin."

"An oxymoron," Harry said at once, taking Shamal's disclosure in stride. "Is it difficult?"

Shamal slanted an incredulous look at the Brit. No one had ever asked that before. People usually heard 'assassin' over 'doctor' and those who weren't actually on the same side as he was either ran the other way as fast as possible or tried to kill him. Of all the things he had expected, a poetic device had not been one of them.

"I manage," He said at last, voice light. "Doctor's a boring side job anyway."

"Really?" Curious green eyes peered at him. "Are you any good?"

Shamal scoffed, involuntarily drawing himself up just a little. No one had ever asked that either – they just knew. He was Trident Shamal for God's sakes. "Very good."

Harry inclined his head in acknowledgement. "Not just a boring side job then."

Shamal blinked and then sighed. Damn, this guy was one cryptic bastard.

By the time they reached the city, Shamal didn't need a doctor's eye to see that Harry was lagging. Exhaustion lined the Brit's shoulders and his breathing was more than a little laboured.

Still, the man was unfailingly polite. "Could you direct me to the nearest hotel? I don't mind the cost."

Wordlessly, Shamal nodded and led him to the same hotel he had been staying at for the past few days. Luckily, the woman who had slapped him earlier was no longer on duty.

He paused at the entrance, glancing critically at his companion who was, oddly enough, garnering no attention at all.

"Are you doing something?" Shamal enquired, scanning the rush of people around them who all seemed to be able to avoid bumping into Harry even though they clearly couldn't see him. "No one's even glanced at you."

Harry shrugged. "It's easy for me to remain hidden. Out of sight, out of mind."

"You're not out of sight," Shamal pointed out wryly as they entered the Britannia Adelphi.

"But I am out of mind," Harry replied with a sly smile before turning to the receptionist at the counter. The woman jerked a bit as if startled by the Brit's presence, but Shamal noted the fact that she didn't seem to see Harry's clothes at all or she'd be screaming murder.

Harry smiled charmingly at the woman, and whatever she was seeing made her blush. "A single room pl-"

"A twin suite," Shamal interrupted before he could stop himself. He paused, gaze flitting to Harry's surprised expression and the receptionist's uncertain one as she looked between the two of them.

Shamal had no idea what had come over him. Really, he should be heading for the airport now, catching a flight back to Italy and home for some rest before the next job cropped up.

But there was something about Harry that piqued his interest. The Brit hadn't even known he was near Liverpool – Shamal had had to point that out – and there was that not noticing thing in the middle of the busy streets outside. The man could be Mist-oriented but Shamal had his own Mist flames and he was sure he would've sensed something.

"What he said," Harry said, and Shamal arched an eyebrow at the easy acquiescence. "A twin suite please. Three days for now."

"I'll pay two-thirds," Shamal promised after enduring three floors of awkward silence in the elevator. The twin suite was significantly more expensive than a single room, but the twin room had only one bedroom with two beds and neither of them would be very comfortable with that.

At least Shamal wouldn't; Harry seemed wholly unconcerned about everything thus far.

The Brit waved a hand. "Half and half. I'm not short for money."

As they entered their new home for the next several days, Shamal couldn't decide whether he was more amused or unnerved.

Was it normal for people to be this calm about sharing a hotel room with an assassin?

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