After the attack during the Christmas Holidays Manuel and Trevor were hesitant to let Harry and Blaise go back to school seeing as it was a less secure location and even the nearly impenetrable haven of the Darkov mansion had been breached. Then there was the fact that Sampson was still out there somewhere most likely biding his time until another attack could be made. But in the end Manuel and Trevor gave in and sent the children back to school only to pull Harry and Blaise from classes a week later after the guard-turned-assassin managed to get all the way into their classroom after taking out Matthew, one of the two guards who had been on duty that day.
Harry and Blaise had been sitting in their usual seats, half-heartedly paying attention to the boring lesson they were being treated to that day during lunch detention for goofing off in class when a bit of light glinting off a gun barrel through the glass of the classroom door caught Miss. Walker's attention. A scream ripped from the teacher's throat and acting on instinct Harry and Blaise threw themselves to the floor in time for the glass window of the door to shatter under the impact of a well-placed bullet that would have ended Harry's young life if not for Miss Walker's timely scream. Their teacher had hit the floor as well, crawling under her desk as if the flimsy piece of furniture could protect her from the hit man. Kicking the door open the assassin walked confidently into the room thinking that he had found the Darkov heir at his most vulnerable and had taken out the only guard on duty, their attacker had no way of knowing that Manuel had kicked up the security around Harry and Blaise although the man should have suspected it.
"Where are you little Darkov" the man called in a triumphant and disturbing purr "why do you hide from death? Perhaps you wish the little Zabini brat to go first, hmm?"
Harry and Blaise looked at each other with wide eyes mouthing "Sampson" to each other silently, they hadn't been told of his part in the betrayal as Manuel and Trevor had tried to protect them by keeping the knowledge from them that one they trusted had betrayed them all.
Slowly reaching up so as not to cause her clothing to rustle Blaise turned the base of her tracking pendant to send for help while Harry slowly unsheathed a dagger from his back, he would have gone for his gun but it was in a hidden flap at the bottom his bag next to Blaise and he wasn't ready to expose himself by going for it. The footsteps stopped right next to Harry's table-like desk and the figure crouched down until he was on eye level with Harry.
"Hello Harry Darkov" Sampson purred.
Harry lashed out as he tried from keeping his fear from taking hold of him. The knife caught Sampson by surprise, leaving a wicked gash across his face and running through one eye. The severed eye began to ooze a clear, jelly-like substance mixed with blood that ran down between the fingers Sampson had clamped to the wound as he howled out in pain. It also seemed as if brown and black pigments were mixed in as well where his iris and pupil had been ruptured.
"You little fuckwit" Sampson hissed as both he and Harry rose to their feet quickly, Sampson now at a slight disadvantage.
Blaise had already risen to her feet when Sampson had crouched down to face Harry and had managed to grab their guns while the ex-guard had been preoccupied. Miss Walker watched with bated breath as the two friends flanked the man they had once trusted with their lives, Blaise tossing Harry his gun as he rose from the floor. Sampson decided to change tactics and trained his gun on Blaise, ignoring his pain as he held the gun steady with both hands.
"Put the gun down Darkov unless you want Zabini here to be hurt" Sampson growled.
But Blaise had brought her own gun up from where she had held it low to keep it hidden. Her hand shook slightly, the memory of her first kill still affecting her, but her gaze was steady and from the range she was at her shot wouldn't miss. It would also blow a big ass hole in Sampson that he most likely wouldn't survive. The three of them stood like that, at a stalemate, with their guns trained at each other. Sampson was blocking the way to the door and the windows were all closed and locked tight ensuring that Harry and Blaise wouldn't be able to make it out that way without letting their guard down and getting shot. None of them dared drop their weapons or make the first move.
Then suddenly Sampson's face froze and he wavered for a second, face clenched in agony for a moment before going slack. Sampson fell to his knees as if a puppet cut loose from its string, his gun dropping from his limp hands to clatter loudly on the floor. Bill stood behind the spot where Sampson had only a moment ago stood threatening Harry and Blaise, a bloodied fang-shaped knife in his hand.
"Are you alright" a white-faced Bill asked the two children standing in front of him, he had been cutting it close but it had taken him a bit to realize that Matthew had fallen.
Harry and Blaise looked at each other and then back at Bill before nodding, they were alright.
It didn't take long for a handful of guards to arrive and create a distraction to empty the school so the clean up crew could erase all evidence of the confrontation in the fifth year classroom. So while Manuel and Trevor talked to the Headmistress, telling her that they were pulling Harry and Blaise out of school for the year due to a family emergency, the guards were smuggling the body unseen out of the school via a fire escape before recovering the remains of their fallen companion. The moment the all clear came on the bodies Manuel was escorting Harry and Blaise out of the school and to the waiting car, leaving Bill to go back to his post and gather his equipment while Trevor dealt with Miss Walker.
"None of this ever happened" Trevor told the distraught teacher as he pulled out his wand "Obliviate!"
With a satisfied smile Trevor left not knowing that mere moments later Bill was slipping in the classroom and muttering the same spell from the doorway, not noticing that Miss Walker already bore a slightly blank expression on her pretty face.
~~ ~~ ~*~
A simple funeral was held for Matthew a few days after the attack and everyone present had the satisfaction of knowing that their comrade had been avenged and anyone remotely connected with the attempts on the Darkov heirs life had been dealt with. Yet to be on the safe side Harry and Blaise were being home schooled by Trevor and the other guards, all having proved loyal to Manuel after the Sampson incident. Harry and Blaise spent the time they would have spent in school learning different things under the tutelage of the various guards. They learned math, English, science, history, art, languages, music, and survival skills. They also kept up with their physical training under Sensei's stern eye. The only difference was that because they weren't in a class with other students their instruction went by faster and they grasped concepts easier since their tutoring was practically individual lessons.
Harry was also getting more involved with the 'family business' as Manuel began to teach him tricks of the trade not involved with defense and fighting; it was a well known fact that Harry would one day preside over the Mafia Empire by his father's side. Harry learned how to hack computer systems and deal effectively with business associates that did not want to honor their agreements and pay up. He also began learning of the various codes used throughout their empire and working more closely with the guards. Manuel was going to make sure that Harry knew how to do the jobs himself before he could command others to, it was a point of pride. Of course as a child Harry did not have the ability to intimidate adults as in the adult mind children were no threat. Harry's job when he went on 'business' related outings with his father was to remain in the shadows and learn, yet he also provided the extra protection of his gun and knives. It was surprising how often Harry could be overlooked as a threat. Manuel once overheard a reluctant ally saying how it was a bit unnerving to find those piercing green eyes boring steadily into you from the shadows, unwavering in their intent.
Even as Harry trained with his father Blaise trained under hers and both children grew physically and mentally over the next few years to a point where they were children in appearance only, and even that was a close call. Yet for all their grown-up actions they were still children, children growing up with no other kids their age to play with. Their fathers and their guards were also their friends, they taught them and played with them when they had the time, but they couldn't always be around for the children when there were pressing matters to attend to and the bond between Harry and Blaise grew stronger. It was this that bothered both Manuel and Trevor as the summer both children would turn eleven approached, the time that they would get their letters and their whole world would change. As far as Manuel and Trevor knew the approaching summer would tear Harry and Blaise apart, neither knew of the great secret the other kept.
And indeed it happened. As one hot summer morning dawned in the beginning of July two owls were rapping their beaks on two separate windows at the Darkov Mansion. In one room Blaise woke slightly groggy and peered towards the window to see a brown barn owl perched on the sill and rapping its beak against the glass pane. Trained to be observant Blaise noticed the paper clutched in the sharp talons and wondered why the owl was there. The Darkov's didn't employ messenger birds and would not use owls for such a thing even if they did. Blaise did the only thing she could think of and quickly went to her father's room.
"Dad" Blaise called as she burst into the room "there's an owl at my window holding a paper in its claws."
Trevor looked up at his daughter, his eyes leaving the laptop he was working from as he realized what she had just said. But Blaise wasn't entirely correct, the owl was no longer at her window but had followed her to now peck away at the window to Trevor's room, the intelligent creature having followed Blaise's magical signature. Trevor fearlessly opened the window and allowed the owl entrance before taking the letter and handing it to Blaise after requesting the owl to stay a moment so that it could get some water.
"You'll want to read that" Trevor told his puzzled daughter "and then we'll have to have a talk, one we should have had years ago."
Quickly Blaise read over the letter before dropping it in shock as if it had burnt her.
"Is this for real" she demanded of her father who nodded.
"What am I going to tell Harry" Blaise groaned.
~~ ~~ ~*~
Meanwhile a green-eyed, raven-haired boy was woken in a similar fashion but he had been expecting something like this to happen all summer, had known of the impending letter since he was old enough to understand the words magic and wizard. Solemnly Harry let the owl in and relieved it of its burden, instinctively offering it some water from the bathroom while it rested. For a moment Harry examined the seal impressed on the letter before cracking it and reading through the letter:
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorv., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Mr. Potter,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.
Harry had been anticipating this for years and now he finally had the chance to go to Hogwarts, the school his biological parents had attended. The only problem was what he would have to leave behind, or rather who.
"Will you wait for my reply" Harry addressed the owl that had delivered the letter.
A small hoot that seemed to be affirmative greeted Harry and the owl settled down on the back of a chair, tucking its head beneath a wing while it waited. Harry headed down the hall to his father's room, glancing at his supply list and fingering a tiny golden key that had appeared even after he could have sworn the envelope was empty.
"Dad" Harry called as he entered the room "the letter has come."
Manuel looked at his son with both pride and sadness, it would be painful to be separated from Harry for an entire school year, only seeing him during the holidays but he knew Harry had to go. Harry needed to be taught how to control his magic by professionals, even if he had seemed to be doing find on his own some proper instruction wouldn't hurt. Reading the letter through Manuel drew a piece of paper from his desk.
"You had better send your answer with the owl and in a few days we'll go to London to find the place mentioned in the letter that was left with you in the blankets" the Mafia leader sighed knowing that he had to let Harry go no matter how much he wanted to hide his child from the world.
It wasn't until the owl was winging away across the sky to be joined by another owl that something occurred to Harry.
"What am I going to tell Blaise" he groaned in sorrow.
~~ ~~ ~*~
In the end Manuel decided to make things easier on Harry and called Trevor and Blaise into the living room for a meeting. When all four of them were settled comfortably in their usual seats Manuel took a deep breath and prepared to speak of things most people would have a hard time believing in, things he had never spoken of to anyone but Harry.
"You both know that Harry was adopted" Manuel began "but there is more to they story that I haven't told you and it is time for you to know."
Manuel paused to gather his thoughts and Harry, who had been examining the room about them in a slightly nervous gesture, noticed something held protectively in Blaise's hand. It was an envelope of stiff parchment with a cracked red seal. If Harry hadn't already been holding his letter he would have thought Blaise had picked his up. Hope filled Harry and he interrupted his father before any more could be said.
"Blaise" Harry blurted out "are you a witch?"
Blaise raised shock filled eyes to Harry and saw him happily holding up his own letter.
"We're both going to Hogwarts" the excited friends shouted together "we're going to Hogwarts."
Blaise had been sitting silently by her father just as Harry was sitting by his. Something was up, she just knew it, and it worried her. Her heart had nearly stopped when Manuel had mentioned Harry being adopted. She had known about it, but why would Manuel bring up such a thing now. Fear filled Blaise and she clutched the parchment in her hands tighter, she and her father had decided to tell Manuel and Harry about the magical world and the fact that they were a witch and wizard. It had hurt her so much to know that she would be separated from Harry for a whole school year but she couldn't pass up the chance to learn magic, not after what her father had told her. Now she was even more afraid, had someone come to claim Harry, was some biological relative coming to take him away. Manuel couldn't let that happen, he wouldn't let that happen, he had connections he could use. She had been so worried about them being separated for the school year but what if she was going to lose Harry forever. Harry's voice snapped Blaise back to the present.
"Blaise" Harry blurted out "are you a witch?"
Blaise raised her shock filled eyes to Harry and saw him happily holding up his own letter.
"We're both going to Hogwarts" the excited friends shouted together "we're going to Hogwarts."
Even though Blaise and Harry were happy with the fact that they were both magical Trevor and Manuel were facing the consequences of keeping secrets from each other. Manuel had been hurt to find out that his longtime friend had lied about the years he had supposedly been sent unwillingly abroad for schooling somewhere in France while Manuel had stayed in England to learn the family business from his father. How could a friend not tell another that they were really going away to a secret school in Scotland to study magic? Trevor on the other hand was upset to discover that Manuel had lied about finding Harry in an orphanage and that the boy he had helped raise and guard was really the Harry Potter, savior and light of the wizarding world. But now was not the time for them to worry about secrets kept, they had to prepare Harry and Blaise for Hogwarts and didn't want their slight discord to affect their children's relationships, as if that could happen. There would be time to rehash old wounds when the two were safely housed in Hogwarts.
Though Harry and Blaise wanted to pick up and leave straight away for Hogwarts know that they knew they would be there together there was much to do before the two eager youngsters would be ready to go to the magical school, one of which being a job Manuel and Harry had to deal with. You see there was a man who owed them a lot of money for saving his drill company a few years ago and he just didn't want to seem to pay up. That was why the doorbell rang at Number 4 Privet Drive in Little Whinging, Surrey in the middle of the night when all decent folks were fast asleep in their beds. Manuel and Harry had watched the house from a safe distance throughout the day and knew that only the husband and wife were home that evening, their whale of a son having gone to a rat-faced boy's house to stay. A portly man with a ridiculous mustache sleepily answered the door and Manuel forced his way inside with Harry following but keeping in the shadows, a knife resting comfortably in his hand in case he was needed to act.
"Vernon Dursley" Manuel's voice was smooth like dark silk "you've had ten years to pay up and I still haven't received any money. Did you think I would forget?"
Harry watched as Dursley's face turned pale while he futilely tried to stutter his way out of the predicament he found himself in and Harry couldn't help but wonder how long it would be till the fat idiot wet himself out of fear. He had seen his father elicit such reactions before and while Harry found it disgusting it was also quite humorous in an embarrassing sort of way.
Dursley's blubbering cries caused his wife to come down the steps to stick her prying nose into whatever was going on. What she didn't expect to see was her husband being threatened at gun point by a darkly clothed stranger. A gasp escaped her lips as she tried to back up against the wall of the stairs and Harry looked up sharply, his green eyes glowing sharply in contrast to the dark. Their eyes met as if drawn to each other by some magical force. Harry watched as the bony woman's eyes went wider and a hand flew to cover her gaping mouth.
"No" Petunia started to sob and shake her head, never tearing her eyes from the powerful green ones gazing up at her "not Lily's eyes, they can't be, not Lily's eyes."
It became a mantra for the stricken woman as she tried to press herself into the wall, to disappear, her nails ripping through wallpaper and plaster as she tried to escape the very sight that had haunted her dreams for years. Her frantic motions drew Manuel's attention though his gun never wavered from Vernon Dursley's fat bulk as Harry moved from the shadows to stand next to his father.
"Why do you speak my mother's name" Harry commanded the woman to answer as she continued to moan about Lily's eyes.
Realization dawned and Manuel understood why the name of the man in front of him had been so familiar.
"You" he hissed, vengeance in his eyes "you were the ones that abandoned a helpless child to the darkness and cold, to the demons that wander the streets. You abandoned your own flesh and blood!"
Harry suddenly understood as well. So these were the people who had left him to die in an alley in the slums of London, the one's whose names were on the letter in his blanket. Harry kept his gaze on the woman who could not look away from the eyes so like his mothers; he pretty much knew what would happen next.
"No" Vernon Dursley was shouting pathetically, trying to plead from his life "you don't know...we had...the choices...it wasn't like you think."
The smell of fecal matter and urine filled the perfectly manicured house but Vernon Dursley didn't have a chance to feel embarrassment, he was too busy trying to draw away from the knife Manuel had accepted from Harry's hand.
"A man like you shouldn't be blessed with children" Manuel hissed as he pressed the knife in tighter below Vernon's belt.
But Manuel didn't feel like playing with the disgusting excuse of human flesh in front of him and the smell emanating from the lumps pants was nauseating. Manuel pulled the trigger of the gun so fast Vernon didn't even have time to feel pain as the bullet entered swiftly into his brain accompanied by the roar of the gun discharging into the peaceful night that blanketed Privet Drive. He had forgotten to click on the silencer in his anger. Vernon's last sight in this world was of a blazing pair of green eyes gazing up at his still screaming wife.
Manuel and Harry left then, hiding out a street over as the authorities began to arrive after a neighbor had called in and reported the disturbance. They watched as the still, lumpy form of Vernon Dursley was carted away to the nearby morgue. Manuel and Harry continued to watch as Petunia was strapped in an ambulance, alternately moaning and screaming about Lily's eyes as she tried to claw her own out. Nothing of any use would be gotten from the woman and more than likely she would be declared insane by morning. Perversely satisfied, father and son walked down a few more streets before getting into their car and making the silent trip home after radioing the guards that they were finished there. The silence was only broken once the whole time by Manuel.
"Disgusting bastards, I've owed them that for nearly ten years now for doing what they did to you even though I thank God everyday that they did it" Manuel said softly before returning his attention to the road.
Harry merely felt nothing, they may have been related to him by blood but they weren't his family and he felt nothing for them, he didn't even worry about what would happen to that fat whale he now knew to be his cousin. It was none of his concern just as he was none of theirs.
~~ ~~ ~*~
Two days later Manuel and Trevor gave in to the pleading faces of their children and prepared to head for London and Diagon Alley.
"Here we are" Trevor announced pointing out a dingy looking pub.
Harry and Blaise nodded, they had noticed the Leaky Cauldron right away, had been drawn to it, but Manuel hadn't been able to see it until it had been pointed out to him. To say the least it slightly unnerved the Mafia King to know that a whole separate world existed around him and most of it he couldn't see. Confidently Trevor led the group through the pub even though he had not taken any part in the wizarding world since a wizard referred to only as you-know-who had murdered his wife. Trevor had been shocked to learn that Harry Darkov, the boy whose nappies he had helped changed, was really the hero and savior of the wizarding world, Harry Potter.
Once Trevor had gotten over the shock of being shown the famous scar kept hidden with the modern miracle of cosmetics and he and Manuel had silently agreed to keep their current differences aside until after Harry and Blaise left for Hogwarts they had gotten down to the business on how to keep both children protected in this new world they were about to enter. Harry and Blaise were going to be two of the most knowledgeable first years entering Hogwarts, but to achieve that goal they needed books, supplies, and most of all their wands. So that's why Trevor was now tapping his wand on a brick in a dead-end wall out behind the Leaky Cauldron, Harry nervously fingering the very visible scar on his forehead. He knew why they had left it unconcealed, but how was he to blend in like he wanted to with such a distinguishing mark for all the world to see.
Diagon Alley opened before the quartet and three of them attempted to take in everything at once while trying to appear as if they belonged, blank masks covering their thoughts. Suddenly Harry reached into his pocket to pull out a small golden key, some vague sight reminding him of it and the fact that it had mysteriously came with his letter.
"Trevor, this came with my letter" Harry made it a statement but Trevor understood the question.
"It's a vault key for Gringotts, the wizarding bank we're headed to" Trevor told him "The Potter's wouldn't have left you with nothing you know."
Nodding to show he understood Harry continued on with the group until they came to a great white building guarded by crafty looking beings.
"Goblins" Trevor commented lightly and drew their attention to the warning posted on near the doors "don't cross them if you can help it."
Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.
Harry grinned as he read the poem, growing up in the dubious world of the Mafia he could appreciate such things and found himself liking the goblins and their sinister appearance. Blaise shivered and decided that anyone who willingly went against the goblins was insane. Manuel merely smirked and recognized the goblins as a respectable form of a wizarding Mafia.
"Let's go down to your vault first Harry" Trevor pulled everyone from their thoughts "then we can come back up so Blaise and I can change some pounds to Galleons and open a new vault. I sealed my old one when I left this world years ago and never thought I'd have reason to come back. I'll worry about reopening it on another day."
Manuel nodded and they headed to the first free goblin teller they saw to present Harry's key. A goblin was summoned over and led the way to a rickety looking mine cart. Manuel raised his eyes in askance at the cart and Crackrock, the goblin, grinned wickedly as Manuel climbed in beside Trevor. A giant of a man already shared the cart with them and didn't look as if he was ready for the ride they were about to take. The man didn't even seem to recognize the given introductions as everyone offered up their first name to be polite though he gave his name as Hagrid. The cart jolted and rumbled slowly along the track for a few feet before they plunged through the dark cavernous opening leading to the vaults and straight down, the cart tilting dangerously on two wheels as they whipped wildly around sharp turns. Everyone except for Crackrock was hanging on for dear life when they stopped but Harry looked as if he had enjoyed the ride; Crackrock looked quite pleased to see the green-hued faces on the rest of his passengers.
They stopped at Harry's vault first as it was closest and taking the key Crackrock opened the door to let a golden mist tinted with green roll out. Trevor and Blaise stayed in the cart with the man who called himself Hagrid while Manuel and Harry entered the vault. Looking everything over Harry was about to collect some of the unusual wizarding money when Manuel stopped him.
"Save it" his father told him "if you find a trinket of your parents that you wish to have bring it along, but I will pay for your school things."
Harry nodded his acceptance and poked around for a few more minutes before he was satisfied. Yet it was just as Harry was about to leave the vault that a black and silver winged dragon pendant on a black and gold chain caught his eyes and Harry brought it with him, tucking it safely in his pocket to examine later when he had more time.