No, I didn't abandoned this thing. A year long writers block and tons of drafts is what happened and I'm stickin' to it. Not totally happy with this chapter but here it is.
He should be considered a god with how much he put with for Ryoji. Even the situation they were in did not stop him from being friendly. Nursing the tea in his mug, he skimmed the Daily Prophet to gain his bearings. The woman-Mrs. Weasley-was nice enough to give him a quick lesson about the Wizarding World when he came downstairs. He wasn't too keen on her overbearing nature but she did make great food. She set his down his third plate in front of him with a kind smile which he returned with a nod. As long as he could get food and tea like this, maybe this new life wouldn't be so miserable.
Makoto started in on his eggs while they were hot, raising an eyebrow at one of the reports in the Prophet. It went on about undocumented Dark Creatures with a morbid relish that he could somewhat admire. Shadows were bound to make an impact somehow, he supposed. The sounds of other teenagers floated downstairs and he could not help but sigh. There went his quiet morning. It had been going so well with his thoughts still a mess from last night. It was easy to pick out Ryoji's cheerful voice among the others. Makoto couldn't even muster annoyance at his friend sleeping late. Ryoji was practically a saint between taking care of him and building relationships with the wizards. He made a mental note to do something nice for him.
What he would not tolerate so early in the morning was any notion of socialization. Being cordial took work and there were more important thing to focus on. For instance, a set of clothes, a cell phone and a normal newspaper. That would have actual news he could grasp onto. The Daily Prophet was amusing and interesting in a distant way. It was useless without the proper context. It didn't explain simple things like why the Wizarding World was stuck in the stone age of technology. For gods sake, they still used birds to send mail.
"Makoto-kun! Good morning~"
He focused on finishing his half empty plate as Ryoji plopped down in the empty seat next to him. The other teenagers threw out polite greetings as Ms. Weasley set them up with breakfast as well. The inordinately large group of redheads had to be related. She did mention having children at some point. Around his second plate, if he was remembering right. There was a bushy haired girl that was sending him curious looks but he dismissed them in favor for polishing off his sausage. Heavens knew what Ryoji told them about him.
He hoped that he didn't exaggerate anything. Well, if they were going to examine him, he could do so in a much less discreet manner. Makoto watched the stocky redhead next to the glasses wearing boy conversing with each other instead. They seemed to be close and by the way the redhead was digging into his food, he had someone who could rival him in putting away food. He would admit he was more proper than what he was witnessing. The one with the glasses was a little more interesting. Grey eyes latched onto a lightning shaped scar partially hidden by dark bangs with a growing curiosity. There was something strange about him that threw him off.
Yes, it was an unusual mark but otherwise nothing special. Maybe. A nudge from Ryoji's elbow pulled him from his thoughts, making him spill a bit of tea onto the Prophet.
"Personal space." he muttered, slapping a wandering hand from taking a piece of bacon off his plate.
"Aw, don't be mean. Look, I even bought friends! Can't ever have enough of those, right?" Ryoji teased while throwing an arm on the back of his chair, stuffing his face with a piece of toast.
Makoto didn't bother on a reply and finished the last bits of food on his plate to avoid conversation. His friend laughed anyway while the rest the table carried on with their own conversations. It took a few minutes of prodding and not so subtle begging to get him to introduce himself to the other teens.
"Makoto Yuki. Please address me as Yuki. It is...nice to meet you."
Similar greeting flowed from the table as everyone introduced themselves. He nodded politely at each name, mentally going over the names in his head. It wasn't until the one with the glasses introduced himself. He said his own name with a kind of exasperated weariness. He was expecting some kind of reaction. He had a feeling he was supposed to know who he was. He gave him quiet once over again. Asking meant starting a conversation which was tedious. Still, the more info, the better.
"Are you someone of importance like Dumbledore-sensei?"
The looks of incredulity flew past him as he turned his attention to a story in the Prophet about goblins. Ryoji was pretending not to notice as he enjoyed his own plate. Who knew a English breakfast was so good? He gave Makoto a pat on the shoulder as he went silent. Bless him he was somewhat trying.
"Well ah, yeah. I killed Volde- I mean, You-Know-Who when I was a baby. Gave me a scar." Harry said, trying to fill in the awkward silence.
Makoto tore his eyes from the page to give Harry a blank look at the explanation. Oh. Ryoji did mention something last night about their opponent. This You-Know-Who opened the pathway for Nyarlathotep and the start of this nightmare. The man who made the conscious decision of assuring the Fall would happen again.
"Ah. The snake man Ryoji-kun mentioned." he muttered.
The twins snorted at what Makoto called Voldemort of all people. Harry was relieved at the lack of fawning on Makoto's end. His curiosity grew at where he came from. Every wizard seemed to know who he was. The staring was a bit unnerving though. It was enough to make him fidget and poke at his breakfast. Little did he know that the staring was harmless. The older teen was preparing to question him again and was trying to figure out how to phrase it. Makoto's English was good though that wasn't the problem. He was debating on what he wanted them to know or let slip out on purpose. Whatever.
It could wait until later. A passing Ms. Weasley cant to collect his empty plate, declining her offer of a fourth. He was full for the moment. He needed to start working on a list of essentials to get himself prepared for this new environment. Makoto would have used his phone if he had one to start making a list alas without one he would have to improvise. Asking for a pen and paper threw him for a loop when she waved her wand. He didn't expect her to wave it, conjuring parchment with an inkwell and quill for him to use. His eyes widened in disbelief at what floated into his hands.
What in the fresh hell was he supposed to do with this? He was inwardly horrified at the thought these wizards had no idea how behind the times they were. It must have shown on his face as Ryoji laughed at his expression. Of course he did nothing to help. Luckily, the bushy haired girl came to his rescue. What was her name again? Granger something? She gave him a sympathetic smile when she caught his gaze, not knowing she was observing with a keen eye.
"Sorry. Wizards only use parchment and ink. I think I have pen and a notebook upstairs you can use." she said, promising to get it after breakfast.
"Thank you. I'll be in the living room," he stood from the table and headed up the stairs, "Ryoji-kun, we need to go shopping."
Said teen made a noise of protest and turned in his chair to give words but Makoto was set on a mission. Shopping was no fun if there was no girls involved. He was glad that Makoto had his back turned so he couldn't see his pout. He wouldn't go down without a fight. That was he wanted. He wouldn't let his use his magic to get him somehow agree.
"But why? And with what money?"
"We need clothes. A weapons dealer. Cell phones. Preferably a laptop. Internet access in general. Ask one of the adults here." he said, leaving the group as he muttered under his breath about what else they would need.
"Mate, your friend is kind of a weirdo." Ron said, sharing a look with Harry across the table.
He was glad that he wasn't the only one who thought so. Everyone knew Harry being the Chosen One was a huge deal. A really huge deal. He was going to be the one to put a stop to You-Know-Who once and for all. It was freaky that Makoto sat there staring and dismissed them for the Prophet. Okay, maybe it wasn't supposed to come off that was but it was still bloody rude. Ron was sure the only reason he introduced himself was because Ryoji made him. The way his tone came across as bored, listless proved it. As if he was putting all his effort into to ask the simplest question. Ron did not want to make hasty judgements but he didn't like him much so far. There was something off about him that got the hairs on the back of his neck standing up.
"Don't be like that, Ronnie. Makoto-kun is not a big social guy. He's really nice if you get to know him."
Ron scoffed and stuffed his mouth instead of answering. Yeah, sure. Ryoji was weird too. He had his own unsettling thing going on. He might not be the brains of the group - that was Hermione's job - they had to keep their guard up. Everything was fine so far and that could change once school started. With this new weirdness, there was no way they could stay on the sidelines.
"I'll take your word for it."
With the morning starting off so well, it was normal to think that the rest of the day would be a breeze. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Makoto got his requested pen and pad courtesy of Hermione who tried to engaging him in conversation. She wanted to get information about how he came to Grimmauld Place. Hermione figured that he had to be Muggleborn like her to be surprised at the sight of parchment. She could be honest that the distant, almost cold air he gave off was a bit intimidating. Imagine her surprise when he thanked her and ignored anything else she said. Dark blue bangs hid his face from view as she tried sneaking a peek to see what he could be writing.
Which was a bust as she saw the neat marks of kanji flowing across the page. She was hoping to broach the topic of him needing a weapons dealer. She had no idea what to make of it and made her question how dangerous Makoto was. Did he mean a illegal potion or something as simple as a knife? It was abnormal and her growing suspicion was that their new guests knew more than they were letting on. If anything, she needed to find another topic to get something out of him.
"Oh, I don't know if anyone mentioned it yet but technology doesn't mesh well with magic. There's owl mail if you need to contact anyone." she said.
Hermione remembered her own phone becoming a useless brick when she forgot to leave it at home. Her words got his attention like she was hoping. A look of disbelief flitted across Makoto's face as he glanced at her. He let out a sigh before crossing out a few lines of whatever he wrote down on the paper. He acted like he had no idea how the Wizarding World worked. It gave her Muggleborn theory some credence.
"This is ridiculous. I was looking forward for a cell phone. Who uses birds for communication anymore?" Makoto said as he closed the notebook.
She could sympathize that the Wizarding World could stand to innovate. E-mail would be nice and the ability to use text would be a godsend. Oh, she knew what could ask him. He had to know what the Order knew about that Jaded Night. Harry's story was creepy enough to give her nightmares. Before she could get the words out, the other teen stood without a word and headed up the stairs. She was a bit baffled but at least she managed to make some theories. She could at least fill Ron and Harry in while she made sure they finished their summer work. Heading up the stairs herself, she noticed both newcomers and Sirius on the flight above her. They looked to be deep in conversation.
They wouldn't mind if she listened in. Even the littlest thing could be important.
"Sorry, but Dumbledore wants you to stay put until he picks you up." she heard Sirius say, the shrug evident in his voice, "If it were me, I'd let you go. There's just no one to escort you with the school year starting soon."
There was a pointed silence and she peeked through the slats of the banister to get a better look. Ryoji wore an uncharacteristic serious look on his face, tugging on one of his suspenders. He patted his companion's shoulder who looked less than happy at the news. Hermione wondered why Dumbledore would want to personally pick them up. More secrets. Some were for their own good, she knew that for a fact. It didn't stop her from feeling like something was ready to catch them off guard.
"Fine. What about my sword? And the wand?" she heard, disbelieving that Makoto meant an actual sword.
No one used actual swords nowadays. Sirius's answer was a evasive shrug. Makoto did say that he wanted a weapons dealer. Oh Merlin, were they some kind of criminals? She figured she should start moving when blue eyes connected with her own. Ryoji glanced at her out the side of his eye with a smile frozen on his face. Hermione found that something about that look unsettled her. There was something behind those eyes that made her insides squirm. She was sure that he was going to rat her out. Instead, he pretended he didn't catch her eavesdropping and threw an arm around Makoto's shoulders. He didn't react at all when his arm was thrown off with a roll of his friend's shoulders.
"I guess he'll give it back tonight. 'Sides, it doesn't belong to him. Thanks for the heads up anyway!" Ryoji said with an air of cheer, punching Sirius in the arm as he walked away.
Makoto shoved his hands in his pockets and muttered something as he followed Ryoji out her line of sight. She had to tell Harry and Ron as soon as she found them.
Dumbledore's office reminded Makoto of a fantasy manga he read once. It was designed to throw one off, be distracting. He let Ryoji do the talking for now as he took everything in. He was slowly starting to catch on how Dumbledore worked and he could respect it. People dropped their defenses if they thought they were dealing with a fool. Or, in the Headmaster's case - an eccentric and well meaning old man. Pink smoke puffed out one of the noisy machines and wafted past him with a weird smell of cotton candy and roses. He knew that Dumbledore was powerful. There was a presence, a sturdy power that clung to him that spoke of decades of skill and use. Though if he was being honest, it was not the reason he was deciding to cooperate with the old wizard.
The old man was smart. He was taking the threats of Shadows seriously without knowing how to combat them. The Wizarding World was strange and backwards without the addition of them. He was enjoying the food and the magical creatures he come know discover so far. He expected to be more shocked but that was a little unfair of his part. He used to deal with nightmarish creatures that tried to murder him on a daily basis. Beautiful trilling drew his eye to the lovely creature sitting on its perch. Makoto had given it a wide berth while he explored the office. Something told him to wait until the bird acknowledged his presence first.
The phoenix trilled out soothing notes that he didn't know he needed to hear. The cries warmed him down to his soul and he could feel a sense of peace wash over him. It was a welcome reprieve from the weight of anxiety and lingering pain that clung to him ever since he woke. Makoto walked closer to the perch with a hand extended, a small smile coming onto his face as the phoenix nudged his hand. He gently stroked over the fiery feathers and made sure to pay extra attention to the soft plumage around its throat. It reminded him a lot of Suzaku. Sure, the Persona was ten times the size and its flames herald the heat battle instead of peace. He could not help to wonder if they were related somehow. His smile grew when the bird crooned at him and nuzzled his hand when he tried to move away.
"Fawkes has taken quiet a liking to you, Mr. Yuki."
Makoto turned his head to see Dumbledore smiling at him and Ryoji with a jealous pout on his face. He didn't know what significance wizards gave the fire birds but the inflection told him the old wizard put down a few of his own wary walls. Ryoji was beyond help. They quickly learned that animals - especially magical creatures - sensed there was something inhuman about him. Their near death experience with Buckbeak was enough to give him pause.
"You are quite lovely, Fawkes." Makoto complimented, the bird preening proudly.
"But let us not get off topic, are you both comfortable with the arrangements?"
Ryoji shrugged and slouched in the comfy seat in had been propped in the last hour. It wasn't the most terrible option in the world. He spared a glance at Makoto and wondered if it was such a good idea. How bad could being bodyguards be? He figured being a TA for so called Muggle Studies on the side would be annoying if beneficial. See how much these wizard actually knew about the world outside their little bubble.
"We can be our own SEES again, Makoto-kun!" Ryoji said, clapping his hands together with near stars in his eyes.
Makoto shot him a look of blank confusion and focused on finalizing plans with Dumbledore. He missed the look of concern thrown his way as he sighed. There was scouting to consider, finding a secure and secret area for a stable base of operations and most importantly, preparing for next full moon. Looking after a school full of kids had few upsides. The Wizarding World was bound to have interesting spells that would be useful to his mission.