Floo #14 being inspired by certain reviews.

- break -

Everyone knew the day of the Change. It became one of those "where were you when" moments in time that defined a generation and provided a way to start a conversation. A literal world-shaking event.

Of course, as always, those born after the Change simply accepted it and wondered what the fuss was about.

- break -

Place: Department Of Mysteries, MaCUSA.
Time: July 13, 1979

The man took a deep breath, adjusted his hooded robes, and then step forwards to the wall of mirrors. He tapped each mirror in turn with a slender wooden stick, noting as each silvery surface rippled before he moved on to the next.

"Aris? This better be good," muttered a face that appeared on one of the mirrors. "I've got quite a lot to be done."

"I found the cause and determined the effect," said Aris.

One after another of the mirrors rippled again, and this time more faces appeared.

"You think you know?" asked a woman.

"Please, just a moment, so I can present my evidence to everyone all at once," said Aris. "That's why each Department of Mysteries in each country HAS these mirrors in the first-place after all."

"Who are we waiting on?" asked the woman.

"Croaker from Britain and Bruce in Australia," answered Aris.

"I'm here already," grumped a mirror before clearing to show an old aboriginal man. "When you get to my age it takes a little while to get around."

"This better be good," said the final mirror after a brief silence.

"For the record. The event known as the Change occurred on July 10 at twelve-fifty-three local time," said Aris. "It blew wards out in the American Southwest, and it was from the severity of the tremor there that I was able to locate it exactly. It took place on the Sedona super-nexus, nearby magicals were stunned and even simple enchantments were burned out within five kilometers of the epicenter."

"'Sedona'? What the bloody hell is in Sedona?" asked the severe-looking woman.

"There WAS the self-styled 'Queen Of Dark Magic' Alexandra DuBois and an omega-class power tap," said Aris. "It was, for those of us familiar with muggle equipment, rather like grabbing onto the main cables of a nuclear power plant. The burning shriveled remains were found at the center of a ritual circle with some very odd scribings. I'm having to have those versed in muggle sciences try to work out the details as apparently Queen DuBois was attempting to do something involving genetics and such."

"I take it then that there's at least one less Dark Lady running about?" asked Croaker.

"She and her Inner Circle are all dead," said Aris. "Spells confirmed identities and is now being further investigated by our auror department."

"That might explain the ripple and the effects," agreed Croaker. "Will you send the notes?"

"Copies will be made available," said Aris with a nod. "Perhaps some of you will be able to make more sense of those. Now for the rest of it."

The stern-looking witch cleared her throat. "Anya Grigorovich, Tmima Mystirion, Greece."

"We know who you are, Anya," complained Croaker.

"So far," continued Anya, "all these 'breakthroughs' are descended from squibs cast out of the magical world and into the mundane community."

"That's what my department reports as well," said Aris. "It appears that the Change did more than just give everyone in the world a headache and rid us of one Dark Lady. The squibs are no longer entirely unmagical but what they can do are fairly impressive."

"Anything they do, we can do better with a wand," stated Anya.

"Not all of them," said Aris. "Still, this gives us an opportunity."

"How so?" asked Bruce.

"If the muggles see something they can't otherwise explain, why - it was just one of these squibs using their strange abilities. Right?" Croaker snorted at the idea. Less work for the Obliviators sounded good to him.

"Right, though they're calling them different things. Here in the states they're calling them 'mutants' for some odd reason," said Aris.

"In Greece, we refer to them as gods-touched. Theoi-angixan. For now."

"Superheroes and supervillains," said Croaker. "Don't understand the reference but whatever."

"'Unfair competition' is a frequent comment I've heard," said Bruce. "People using their 'freaky powers' to get an edge in business is what I'm hearing. One bloke is able to sniff out gemstones like some pig after truffles."

"Hold on now. Some families have been turning out their squibs for generations," said Croaker. "Others, like the Malfoys, tend to kill them off. Call it a mercy killing."

"Barbarians," said the Japanese man in his own mirror.

"Agreed," said Croaker.

"All the ones so far have been triggered by something happening that they witnessed - usually something that would have killed them or killed someone nearby," continued Aris. "In each case it seems that their personality and the situation influenced how their abilities manifest. In each case those abilities don't change afterwards though they get more skill and control as they go."

- break -

Place: MI5 HQ, Time: April 4, 1980

"You are to head up the new Office of Metahuman Management," said Howard Smith to his guest. "It was debated at length and having a specialized department dealing with these abilities and keeping track of assets was decided necessary."

"That I'm an Esper-type dealing with information is probably why I was brought in," said Madeline McManus.

"We had several agents of MI5 and MI6 who had Breakthroughs, no doubt due to finding themselves in hazardous situations on a regular basis," said Smith. The Head of MI5 shrugged one shoulder slightly. "Your Talent was one consideration. The use of codenames is unfortunately similar to the American comic book conventions but the reasons for such are valid. Your codename is currently given as White Hawk."

"THAT is going to be changed as soon as I get a chance," said McManus.

"Your choice then," said Smith. "Just don't use an existing codename to avoid confusion." He pushed a list across the desk to McManus. "This is a list of operatives who will be working under you with their codenames."

"'Scarlet Siren'? Telepath, isn't she?" asked McManus. "She'll be handy. I've worked with 'Trog' before - unfortunately his Breakthrough caused his body to shift so he's very recognizable. C-Rank with strength and durability enhancements. Heard he got banged up when Shockwave Sally attacked the Tower of London."

"He's recovering," said Smith. "Expected to be returned to duty within the month."

"How familiar are you with the wizarding world?" asked McManus.

Smith blinked. "I've been briefed but have no actual contact, why?"

McManus looked thoughtfully over the list before sitting back in her chair. "There are various races of magical origin who have had relations with non-magical humans. They have begun masquerading as Metas since the Change. I know of four who might make suitable operatives who could also act as go-betweens for the wizarding end of things."

"That will need to be approved, but I see no reason not to proceed as long as we don't do anything that have their 'Obliviators' run amok," allowed Smith. "Of course, if it goes wrong - that's entirely your call."

- break -

Place: MI5 HQ Time: December 30, 1980

"Bloody hell," swore Madeline McManus, aka Mindshadow, formerly known as White Hawk. "What a Grade A Clusterdump. What have we got on this idiot?"

"It's being looked at as another 'Metahuman Mastermind Menace' by the press," said Scarlet Siren. "Wizarding folk are trying to cover up any wizarding stuff by dumping it under the umbrella of Metahumans - but it's all wizardly stuff. Voldemort is the name in the press, though we know his name is Tom Riddle and his merry little band are called 'Death Eaters' in the wizardly stuff but just known as typical masked minions. Press is styling him as a Metahuman Nazi type, feels that Empowered should be running everything."

"What about the wizarding police, aren't they supposed to be dealing with their own criminals?" asked Mindshadow.

"Politicians," said Siren with a sniff. "There's what they say, and then there's what they do. They're basically in a war situation and sending police to deal with the coverup. Stretched too thin for their numbers. Mind you - we don't exactly have huge numbers on our side either."

"Is this specific to Britain or is this an international war?" asked Mindshadow. "Like that European who does magnets?"

"There's groups that are international but this Voldemort is entirely concerned with Britain and specifically the magical society of England," said Siren.

Mindshadow tapped the paper on her desk. "This is the third small community where they've done 'muggle-baiting' according to their newspaper. Which apparently involves rape, torture, and murder. Even their newspaper doesn't seem to think it's so bad if it only happens to 'muggles' and only really gets upset about their own wizards dying off."

"Yes, well, that's what I understand of the wizarding world in general," admitted Siren. "There's even a school that encourages that sort of thing I think over in the Balkans. I think the name's 'Durmstrang' from what I've scanned of wizards hanging around that pub."

"We need to get more agents who can be effective against wizards," said Mindshadow with a scowl. "While brain-types are quite useful in gathering intel and the day-to-day work, we need some agents who can be deployed fast and come down hard on these terrorists."

"You mean to field a team like those 'X-men' in the Colonies then?" asked Siren. "So far, all we've gotten are a decent clean-up crew and a few decent operatives who operate alone."

"What about this 'Fixer'? Is he available?" asked Mindshadow.

"His Breakthrough was that train wreck caused by Scrapper last month, name's Daniel Granger, he's aiming to be a dental surgeon," Siren checked her notebook. "Interested in helping out if we can help out with his university bills but pretty busy with his studies. Got him down as 'Emergency Personnel' for when things go completely pear-shaped. Enrolled him in the First Responder training - that'll help."

"What's his powerset? With a codename like that I'm expecting back-up personnel," asked Mindshadow.

"Got him down as C-Rank," said Siren. "Brain-type. No good for that team you want, but a definite on-call for when there's injured civilians. Talent is defined as Structural Analysis. He can find weak points, fractures, diseases, extent of injuries or damage at a glance. When he's not using it actively he just gets a feeling when there's something 'off' - but he'll be invaluable for doing triage in disaster settings."

"Sounds damn useful," said Mindshadow. "What about this... 'Dreadnaught'? Sounds like what we need for a point-man."

"B-Rank. Very promising," said Siren. "Physical enhancement type. Strength and durability. Was on the train with Fixer. Only problem is that he's rated Shell-2 so it's really difficult to use telepathy on him. More interesting is that a wizardly type threw magic at him and he shrugged it off. Not sure if it'll protect him from the high end stuff though."

"Right, and my understanding of these Death Beaters is that they favor an instant-kill spell." Mindshadow thought a bit. "What about teeks?"

"We've got two," responded Siren. "A Teek-1 and a Teek-3."

"Teek-1 is that Patel fellow, right? He's better off in Covert Ops anyway," said Mindshadow. "What have you got on the Teek-3? That's about two hundred kilos - might be enough to block that sort of thing."

"Teek-1 is ten kilos or less, single object, line of sight," said Siren. "Teek-2 is roughly double but still within line of sight though if the object is familiar they can usually latch on. Teek-3 is considerably better. Our Teek-3 is too young to make an active agent though. "

- break -

Place: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry, Date: September 4, 1981

Argus Filch was 26 years of age when the Change hit. He went another two years before, in a moment of frustration and anger, his Breakthrough hit.

It wasn't the magic he'd been denied since birth that had become a roiling envy deep within him. It was, however, better than nothing.

"Argus. Why are you wearing a mask?"

"Lots of them who have Talents wear 'em," said Argus, thinking it made him look at least slightly cooler.

"It makes you look like the Dread Pirate Roberts."

Argus smiled, not seeing the problem.

"No. Argus. You're going to traumatize the first years."

Argus continued to smile, still not seeing the problem.

"No. Argus. No masks. No capes."

"No?" asked Argus, losing the smile briefly. "I rather liked it."

"Your Talent, that of being able to see through an animal's eyes, does not require either a mask or a cape."

"Thought it made me look a bit dashing," grumped Argus as he took off the bandana he'd cut eye-holes in. The cape was a good one too - only had a few areas where the rats had chewed on it.

- break -

Place: Godric's Hollow, Time: October 31, 1981

A hooded figure made his way up the streets of Godric's Hollow, wand drawn in his hand and power primed.

The Fidelius was already defeated thanks to his spy, and now another obstacle to his ascendancy was to be removed. That prophesy was enough to move them to the very top of his "to do" list.

A muggle backpacker, notable due to their ridiculous fashions, was wandering the street. A quick "Avada Kedavra" was almost an afterthought, tossed at the waste-of-space and not worth a follow-up glance.

He strode up through the Fidelius, prepared for the major battle ahead. Anti-portkey and anti-apparition wardings had been placed on stones which he simply tossed onto the property. They'd burn out soon enough, but it would keep them from using those means of escape until they could clear the area by other means.

"Woof," said a large dog.

A cutting curse was sent to deal with the dog, who dodged.

"Sirius Black," concluded Voldemort.

The dog then opened its mouth and threw a blast of flame his way.

"Or not," concluded Voldemort, who bracketed the creature with two Reducto spells and then finished it off with a piercing hex. That it dissolved into smoke was curious enough that he frowned at the spot it had fallen on.

At which point the door was flung open and Voldemort found James Potter hurling spells at him.

The battle was longer than Lord Voldemort had wanted, and he was harder pressed than he would ever admit. James Potter was damn good and quite capable of switching spells mid-stream.

If it had not been for all the rituals and sacrifices he'd made, the battle would have been even closer. The irony of the Fidelius now working AGAINST those who relied on it for protection was not lost on him, of course. It didn't matter how long it took to deal with each of the Potters as no help could possibly arrive.

Once he'd finally managed to shift the ground under James Potter's feet and throw him off balance enough for the Killing Curse to strike, Voldemort turned his attention to the upstairs bedroom.

THIS was going to be tougher, as he well knew who was the more formidable opponent when you considered the pair. While he might talk about pureblood superiority - that didn't mean he actually believed it.

Naturally she was between him and his target. Naturally she begged for the child's life. Naturally he led with the Killing Curse. To his considerable surprise though - she didn't dodge or use various items in the nursery to block the curse.

The child was the next target and then something went horribly wrong.

- break -

Peter Pettigrew had followed his master, feeling a twinge of regret at having two people he'd once called friends being slaughtered. Better than him, but still something he could feel some small measure of wishing it hadn't come to this.

Then the little cottage just sort of exploded in green light. Which was bad enough by itself, but had Peter realizing that staying right where he was sounded like the most prudent course of action. Everyone in the Marauders knew darn well that Lilly was a particularly strong witch and damn good at potions, charms, transfiguration, and runes. The house exploding, Peter put down to a fight between his new Master and Lilly. Lilly would lose, of course, but nobody who knew Lilly would expect it to be over very quickly and without a few explosions.

At which point a flicker of movement drew his attention and he saw some of those oddly-dressed muggles appear. Well, even-more-than-usual oddly-dressed muggles. Really, the faux-leather and padded armor bits and strange colors were entirely too much. Reminded him of some of Dumbledore's outfits.

Best he scurry away as a rat and hide until the Master appeared.

- break -

Minx was one of those in the know about the Wizarding World, even though she was descended from a squib on the Malfoy line two generations ago. MOST squib-descents more than one generation removed didn't know a darn thing about the whole Masquerade and Statute Of Secrecy and so on. SHE did. So when the fat greasy-looking man disappeared and a rat took his place before scurrying into a storm drain - she knew what she was looking at.

Minx tapped her com, built into her mask. "Minx here. Wizard on site, probably Death Eater or ally, shapechanger - rat."

"Roger Minx. Scanning area. Odd effect dissipating on cottage. Analysis?" came the reply from Scanner.

"Magical home. Usually has some wards and protections, if centered on a home the destruction of that home will bring down those protects. Has to do with magical definitions and such," responded Minx.

"Okay," said Dreadnaught's voice over the coms. "What the blazes was the screaming black cloud that shot off into the night?"

Scanner replied, but his voice betrayed uncertainty. "Not sure. I saw it, but it's one of those cases where I'm not sure how to interpret what I saw."

"There's a baby there," said Minx, using her stealth-field to investigate further. As a stealth-type she was usually one of the first to investigate a potential crime scene, though Scanner being a sensor-type worked with her fairly often. "Tracker applied to blanket and to child. Backing off."

"Any chance you can get one on the rat?" asked Dreadnaught.

"No, he's already alerted to your presence, I'm good but not that good," said Minx. All powers had their limitations and vulnerabilities after all. Her ability to Sidestep into a Shadow Dimension was no exception to that rule. She wasn't like that idiot in the news over in the Colonies. Idiot had gone into one of their banks throwing plasma jets around to rob the place and was shot in the back of the head by a guard.

"Got multiple incoming. Too little too late. Typical wizards." That was Scanner again, she wasn't sure what he was looking at.

"Teleporting in 3. 2. 1." Gateway again. Minx just wished she could do the teleport thing without it feeling like she was being squeezed through one of those twisty straws and spat out the other end. Rather unpleasant.

- break -

"So the child was dropped off on a doorstep IN NOVEMBER?" asked Mindshadow. "Are these wizards insane or just lacking in anything resembling common sense?"

"Not the first time we've asked that question," said Siren. She also helpfully pointed at the wall poster which had the quote attributed to Voltaire: "There is nothing common about common sense."

"That's one of those questions that is worth asking more than once," replied Mindshadow. "Okay, what about Team Britain?"

"Team Excalibur, the PR and public face team," said Siren. "Captain Britain led his team to deal with that Lord of Undeath in Brighton. Raising up zombies to serve him and conquer the world of the living? Yeah, even the anti-meta press is saying that putting that guy away is a good thing and it required specialists. Doesn't mean they have anything good to say about us - but they're not saying anything bad for once."

"Take what we can get," said Mindshadow. "Investigate this child, maybe use that dentist since he doesn't want to be an agent but wants to help out. We could use more contacts in the wizard world and I'm also concerned about the welfare of the kid. I'm not a precog, but I have a feeling something's going on here more involved than just a wizardly lack of common sense."

"Actually, he's a dental and maxillofacial surgeon," corrected Siren. "Though, yes, he's frequently referred to as a dentist."

- break -

Place: Little Whinging Elementary School, Time: October 15, 1986

There were Covert Ops agents, and there were Overt Ops agents. Captain Britain and his team were the ones in the spotlight, wore the bright uniforms, took the heat from the newspaper and television editorials, fought the metahumans who decided to screw laws and society-at-large and do the supervillain schtick.

Covert Ops was a bit more to his liking. If he had to work publicly, he had a motorcycle helmet and riding suit that had a few "Emergency Personnel" idents that otherwise concealed most of his identity. You could get height and approximate weight and that he was male, but that was about it.

Daniel Granger was more than happy to supplement his income a bit and help out the homeland at the same time, more so when he was putting himself through medical school than now. Structural Analysis allowed him to tell a lot of things about a lot of subjects, but it had two major pluses in his book. First - he could use it without any visible change. Well, someone like that Scanner bloke could tell when he was using it but that was a major exception. Second - he could use it at his chosen profession and alleviate suffering in patients.

So, when he'd met Emma Crouch he'd known she was a Latent (which just meant someone who had not had their Breakthrough but had the potential for being a metahuman) and he'd attended the course on the whole hidden magic society so he knew she was likely descended from some outcast from that group much as he supposedly was.

One time, during a date with her, he'd gotten paged and had to apologize and go off on an errand. He hadn't realized she had followed him.

When the anarchist known as Troll had grabbed her as a hostage, he'd expected her to have a Breakthrough but she never did. Still, afterwards she knew something was up and ended up getting the story from him. AFTER signing a non-disclosure agreement, of course.

They'd married, and a child had been born and he'd known immediately on seeing her - not a metahuman but a full wizard. Witch. Whatever. He rather preferred wizardess as it lacked the religious notes of the term witch - and he'd known a practitioner of Wicca back in college and was not at all prepared to have any daughter of his going around "sky clad" with her friends in the woods. Or a lot of other places quite frankly, thank you very much.

So, as he was a medical professional and acquainted with the "wizarding world" in that he'd started studying up on it a LOT more since Hermione's birth, he was the natural choice to check periodically into the well-being of a child left on a doorstep who was apparently of wizardly heritage.

Which led to a quick medical exam, with falsified but perfectly documented identification as part of a program within the schools. After examining twelve other children, writing out diet changes for two and having one sent for further follow-up, he finally came to Harry Potter.

Scanner was able to see energy in various forms as well as had extra senses beyond that. Reader was able to touch an object and know its history. Sybil got glances of what-may-be and what-will-be and was slowly trying to figure out which was which. Between them and him, they were the Home Office's Sensor Corps.

Sybil had said the child was important somehow. That fate or karma or whatever-it-was swirled around him. Scanner said the house had some pretty strong wards on it, the child had other wards on him, and that there was a Wrongness around that scar on his head.

So when he examined the child around Hermione's age it was with all that in mind. Unlike Scanner, he couldn't see energy to the same extent though he could tell there was something very much Wrong with that scar. Unlike Sybil, he couldn't see the boy had a Fate laid upon his shoulders. Reader had said there wasn't much he could tell - as his abilities didn't extend to living objects and he didn't have much excuse to try.

What he COULD tell was that the child was malnourished, had been struck, showed signs of emotional abuse, and was smarter than he let on.

What he had to do was compose two reports. One for the school officials as part of his cover, the other for his superiors at the Home Office.

Whatever the case, there was absolutely NO excuse for sending the child back to an abusive home.

- break -

Place: Office of the Headmaster, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry Time: October 18, 1986

Albus Dumbledore had noticed two days ago when one of his little knick-knacks began tilting its axis of spin. It had produced a moment of worry as it indicated something had changed at Harry Potter's new home. Still, the spin continued though - indicating the wards were as strong as ever.

An owl from Arabella Figg the previous day had indicated something was up, but the squib didn't know what other than muggle authorities were involved. She was an easily excitable squib though - so it was most likely nothing to really be concerned about.

Well, this would just be a moment to deal with - so that was fine. It was a pity he couldn't simply delegate the task as he'd already had to do this on four occasions so far. Really, was it too much to expect that the muggles would have enough sense to just leave a child alone and not meddle in things that didn't concern them?

Well, they were muggles after all - one couldn't expect them to have any sense at all.

"Well, Fawkes, we're off to nudge things back to save the world again," said Dumbledore, putting out an arm for the phoenix to light upon.

With Fawkes he could go there immediately and determine who had to be obliviated with a few new memories put in. It was important that Harry grow up without friends or adults that cared about him - the more ties he had to the muggle world the less likely he would be to stay in the wizarding world. Not very likely he'd turn down magic, but those regrets might cause the child to be reluctant to completely abandon that inferior world. No, it was a bad situation but it was really for the best.

The owl from Arabella Figg arrived again, another letter. Really, what was up with the woman?

"Now, Fawkes," said Albus Dumbledore, not bothering to read the letter since he was going to Privet Drive anyway.

The world disappeared in fire, and for a moment Dumbledore wondered if something had gone wrong as he was looking at a house whose upper floor was in disarray. Which is to say that a good portion of it was simply not there.

Number 4 Privet Drive was looking a bit singed about the edges as well as missing a chunk of that upper floor.

"Accidental magic?" asked Dumbledore of Arabella Figg as soon as he'd reached her home on Wisteria Walk.

"No, it was Black Tom Cassidy from what I overheard," said the squib.

"'Black Tom'?" asked Dumbledore, aghast at the name.

"Not HIM," said Figg. "Another fellow. Irish, I think. Mostly causes problems overseas from what I hear but engages in mercenary work according to the Times."

"Oh," said Dumbledore, deciding to research that a bit later. Some Irish mercenary reported in the muggle press, so just some muggle. Maybe one of those IRA fellows? "And Harry?"

"You didn't read that letter did you?" asked Figg.

"Scanned it for important bits," said Dumbledore. "I am, as you know Arabella, quite a busy individual."

"Picked up by medical," said Figg. "The Dursleys are off to Australia. Apparently Grunnings decided to use this chance to fill a position overseas."

"Ah," said Dumbledore. "Well, I'll nip down there and change a few minds and they'll be back shortly."

"Harry, on the other hand, is in the States," said Figg.

"What?" asked Dumbledore.

"He won some sort of lottery, apparently, it was in the letter," said Figg. "Xavier's School for Gifted Children. Think that's one of those Americanisms, meaning handicapped or special needs or something."

Albus Dumbledore sighed. WHY did life have to be so complicated?

- break -

Place: Happy Harbor Marina, Jamaica

Black Tom Cassidy put the newspaper down. "Question. How the blazes am I in England when I'm here in Jamaica?"

"Time travel?" asked one of the minions.

Black Tom Cassidy blinked, cocked his head, and considered that. "You know. As crazy as life can get anymore - it really wouldn't surprise me that much."

That minion nodded and went back to work on the boat's engine.

Black Tom considered things for a minute and went back to his Guinness. For all he knew it could be shapechangers or aliens or shapechanging aliens. Life as a mercenary mutant supervillain was many things but boring was rarely on the list.

- break -

"Why Xavier's School?" asked Mindshadow. "I understand wanting to redirect any hunters away from us, but why there?"

"First off, it's overseas and not as accessible to British authorities," said Siren. "Second, there's a path there who's stronger than I am."

"You're the strongest telepath in Great Britain and there's one stronger than you in a school?" asked Mindshadow.

"You're rated Speak-1, Hier-1, Clair-2, and Shell-3," said Siren. "I'm Speak-3 and Hier-3 and Image-2. Shell-2. He's at least Hier-4 and Speak-5. Probably a good deal stronger. Feeling him go by in the mental realm is like being a small animal when an elephant goes wandering through your territory."

"Oh. So basically anyone attacking that school to 'rescue' young Mister Potter will be charging into a lion's den?" asked Mindshadow.

"Something like that," agreed Siren. "I've taken the liberty of sending a message their way, forewarning them of this and asking if they've got any magic-specialists that might drop by and take a look at the child. No reply so far."

"Still a bit wrong to direct any magical meddlers towards a school," said Mindshadow.

"They've got Logan there," added Siren.

"Oh," said Mindshadow. "That's different. My sympathies towards anyone who goes in with their wand blazing then. Where is he really?"

"Putting him up over at Moira's place," said Siren. "Permanent quarters there but a couple of other safehouses to rotate to."

- break -

Place: Saferoom A-14, Time: December 5, 1986

"Why exactly am I here?" asked the man.

"You're a werewolf," said one of the men in the suits.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," said Remus Lupin.

"You're a werewolf, and therefore someone with a disease that gets you discriminated against in magical society, and therefore someone who has trouble holding down a regular job," said the same man in the suit.

"Is this some kind of fantasy novel?" asked Remus Lupin.

"Don't worry about the Statute of Secrecy," said the other man finally. "Everyone listening in is already quite familiar with the magical society."

Remus looked from one to the other, not saying anything.

"This isn't an interrogation, Mister Lupin," said the first Suit. "This is a job interview."

"Excuse me?" asked Remus.

"We want to get you training. Private investigator. You'll have a safe room for your 'time of the month' and be part of a team," said the first suit. "You've heard of Excalibur?"

This got a reaction from Lupin that was momentarily unguarded. "I don't look good in spandex."

"None of the various individuals wear spandex," countered the more talkative Suit. "Most of the active in-the-spotlight types wear a combination of kevlar and gore-tex and similar body-armor. The closest we have to spandex is along the line of motorcycle racing suits. The Yeoman is the most flamboyant but his outfit was entirely his own creation and is mostly historically accurate."

"Not familiar with that one," said Remus, a little relaxed now that he knew he might be dealing with muggles but these were hardly normal folk.

The first Suit pushed across the desk a set of papers. "Training, equipment, and a steady salary. Your connection to the magical world remains hidden."

"So, something like that fictional Mister Bond? A codename?" asked Remus, who found the idea of a steady salary quite attractive despite his reservations.

"Yes, tentatively you are 'Detective Wolf', but you can change your codename when you come up with something you are more comfortable with," said the Suit. "Providing, of course, you hire on with us. There's another benefit to you personally - but you'd have to sign on with us in order to be informed of it."

"And if I don't sign, you'll what?" asked Remus.

"Not speak to you again, Mister Lupin," said the first Suit. "We're MI5, the Department of Metahuman Management. We're a government agency that has oversight from various other departments. While we have Covert Operations - our tax records are a matter of public record. It's just that you'd be identified in such by an employee number."

Remus Lupin admitted to himself he WAS somewhat desperate. Having his little "furry problem" was a major downside to any job he tried to hold down. "A detective?"

"Something which allows for irregular hours and has a specialized skillset which can compliment some of the other talents we have on tap," said the Suit.

"I'm listening," admitted Remus.

- break -

Place: MI6 saferoom "Crighton-4"
Time: March 15, 1987

"Is it normal for MI5 and MI6 to poach each other's employees?" asked Remus Lupin. He was doing a bit better now that he was eating regularly and was going through training in the whole Private Detective business. Even had some seed money for the business as long as he took the occasional job for MI5.

"Normals? Not at all. Those with magical or 'metahuman' talents? Well, it's not 'poaching' so much as temporarily borrowing specialists," said the Suit who was subtly more expensively dressed than the Suits he was used to working with over at the in-country branch. "It's all for the same cause - keeping the homeland as safe and prosperous as we can despite what you might see in the cinema or telly."

"Why me then?" said Lupin. He'd been over this one way and another since the initial contact and that question had been one that he kept coming back to.

"You speak four languages and are used to working overseas," said the Suit. "You have contacts in Greece."

"I see," said Lupin. "You're aware of..." This was a different suited type, and he wasn't sure how thorough the briefing.

"Your 'furry little problem'? Yes. This is supposed to be a straight in-and-out. If, for some reason, it is NOT - there is an armored van with a cage that has been made available for the period in question."

"Ah, I see," said Remus Lupin.

"Though we're also working on a vaccine," said the Suit.

"Excuse me?" asked Remus Lupin.

"Sir, you are the fourth werewolf we've got on temporary contract status," said the clearly-amused Suit. "The werewolf curse has a viral component that is only active during a certain period. Bit of a trick though. Still, we've got some good initial results from scent-based treatments while we work on something a bit less likely to wash off in the rain."

"Scent?" asked Remus.

"Werewolves smell to other werewolves of human-prey but also not-prey," said the Suit. "The application of a not-prey component scent apparently registers to a werewolf in that form as a nascent werewolf and therefore not-prey."

Remus blinked at that as he processed it. If the families of a wolf could do that, then a family member could remain just outside the cage of a werewolf and not drive the beast into a frenzy. It might not hold up to a detailed examination by the wolf, but it was something that nobody on the magic end of things had come up with yet. Having someone there during that time?

Remus decided to go ahead and address an issue. "Why do you smell like a dog?"

"Ah, my codename is Huntsman, Mister Lupin," said the Suit. "I'm what they call a 'Talent' - I can calm animals in general but my main focus is with the dogs I work with."

"You didn't use anything on me," said Remus.

"Not necessary," said Huntsman with a shrug. "Also, you're not currently canine."

"It took me a bit to place it, but you also smell like someone I used to know," said Remus.

"Ah, that's classified, but I'm regularly assigned on bodyguard duty," said Huntsman. "Got seven dogs of various breeds that are good at a number of things, but all of them are pretty good at sniffing out trouble."

- break -

Time: October 31, 1989 Place: MI5, Sub-basement 4. "The Cortex"

Harry Potter turned nine years old. Prior to the Dursleys losing control of him, he'd not exactly celebrated birthdays. He'd watched Dudley celebrate his own birthday but that was about it. Which meant that this was the third birthday where there had actually been cake and presents.

His first celebrated birthday had come as a shock to him and he'd not been able to enjoy it as he had been waiting "for the other shoe to drop" or something similar. Trust came slowly and he'd only been with the new people a couple of weeks.

His second celebrated birthday he'd known that nobody was telling him the whole truth. Something was going on and he didn't know what. They would tell him later, they promised.

He rather liked hanging around the Excalibur Base however. He was told that the base had a number of defenses up, and that someone who wanted him back with the Dursleys would find him if he left the base, which really was enough reason to stick around the place. And there was so much to do!

Brian Braddock called him a "little sprog" but it was an affectionate nickname and it hadn't taken long for him to get a basic concept through his head. These people cared about him. HIM! Harry Potter the little unwanted freak who had been told that repeatedly throughout his stay at Privet Drive. Even the suit-wearing people had a few individuals who genuinely cared about him and wanted him to do well.

So here he was at nine years of age, and considering what to wish for when blowing out the candles to a birthday cake he'd never thought he'd see just a few years ago.

An emergency alert had just gone off and a "Crisis Response Team" had been sent off to deal with it. From what he'd overheard, it had been that Juggernaut fellow. Also according to what he'd overheard - the guy had started pitching a fit about the lack of salt on his chips or something. Otherwise he'd have been left alone as there would have been too much property damage trying to apprehend the fellow for anything outstanding.

Harry Potter had several people around to celebrate his birthday despite the lack of Excalibur and the Crisis Response Team. One of the large TVs was on Sky News which was covering the confrontation live, and just about everyone present winced when Juggernaut demonstrated that his strength and durability level exceeded Captain Britain's.

"How does he do that?" asked Harry, pointing at the screen.

"Yeoman? His ability is fuuinjutsu. He seals an object inside another object," answered Siren.

"So he seals bowling balls inside of arrows?" asked Harry as the fourth bowling ball in a row bounced off of Juggernaut's helmet.

"He seals other things inside of arrows as well," said Siren. "See? He just used a Tear Gas Arrow."

"Doesn't seem to bother that armor guy," observed Harry.

"He's using tear gas and smoke to obscure Juggernaut's vision," said Siren. "We can't use anything too big inside a city, so we're trying to harass him and lead him away from the population."

A fifth bowling ball bounced off Juggernaut's helmet with a loud bong and a resulting yell from the supervillain in question.

The next arrow became a large blob of pink paint and glitter.

"Oh, NOW he's mad," said Siren as Juggernaut apparently figured out what that had done to his armor.

"Found out what set him off," said one of the technicians working a computer.

"What? Someone undercooked his fish?" asked a supervisor.

"No. There's a burlesque place down there called 'Juggs Or Naught' - and he apparently saw that," said the technician. "Went over and knocked on the door. And by 'knocked' I mean busted the door down with a chunk of the front wall."

"Understandable he'd be a bit upset then," said the supervisor. "Name and reputation mean something to mercenary types."

"Yeoman's speeding off on his motorcycle. Juggernaut's pursuing."

- break -

November 30, 1989 Eyes Only, Department Heads Memo

It has been determined that the events of November 13 were the result of the the Other Ministry deploying strike forces in what they felt were dangers to their Statute Of Secrecy. Five groups of their operatives attacked five locations and carried out what they term "Mass Obliviations" on personnel and civilian targets. One was specifically attempting to reclaim a specific personnel resource.

Current count is that forty-seven operatives were compromised by such means, six supervisors. Eighteen civilians were victims of mental assault for being in the vicinity. Of this number, seven operatives and three civilians suffered from side-effects that continue to be treated. Four deaths among operatives and two civilians were also among the deceased. Among the operatives killed was Huntsman (Keith Perkins) and four of his canine familiars due to an explosive blast believed cast by Albus Dumbledore. As a result, on sighting of Albus Dumbledore, all operatives and agency heads are to attempt to withdraw from vicinity.

It is not believed, at this time, that the use of the attack spell was entirely planned but may have been because his dogs were seen as an active threat.

One other high-level operative was killed as a direct result of mental contamination. Minx was unable to fully utilize her abilities and suffered from the effect known as "splinching" due to instinctive use of abilities being compromised by her mindwipe by assaulting forces.

Initial analysis of those continuing to require treatment is that all have abilities within the "Psychic" or "Mental" category and are less than Shell-2. Advanced training in resisting and recovery from mental assaults will be required of all active duty personnel as soon as the program can be put together and scheduled.

Funeral arrangements for Huntsman and Minx will follow.

- break -

December 12, 1989

Harry thought the bright sunny day (for December at least) was somehow inappropriate. He'd met Minx only briefly, and perhaps seen her three times. Huntsman had been something altogether different. The usually well-dressed dog-handler had reminded him a bit of that John Steed fellow from that old telly program that came up on late night. Except that Steed did not have dogs that could do what Huntsman's dogs had done.

Four of the dogs were buried with Huntsman. The German Shepherd, the Rottweiler, the Corgi, and the Papillon (or Rex, Tex, Harpo, and Moptop) had been killed by the same assailant. The adults had tried to keep him from learning what had actually happened, but he wasn't completely clueless. It had been an attempt to get him, and an assault on the whole agency that had rescued him from the Dursleys, and people had died.

He'd rather liked Huntsman and his dogs, who had all been rather smarter than average due to Huntsman's abilities being used on them regularly. They'd died as the result of some sort of explosive effect, though Harry didn't know who had done it or precisely why other than someone had been after him.

People who had valued him enough that they had died protecting him.

Some of the people around him were still acting like they could almost remember something, or looked distracted by something else. Most of them looked sadly at him when they thought he wouldn't see that.

He hated that.

Harry glanced around the group attending the funeral. Someone had died trying to protect him. Would any of these others die for the same reason? Why was someone trying to get to him anyway?

He'd been told about the magical world, and how he'd be attending a school later. How he had to keep things secret and why he was being taught this Occular-Mancy stuff.

Harry wasn't sure what to think about all this yet, it would take awhile for him to sort it all.

- break -

Time: July 1, 1991

Place: Muir Island, Metahuman Research Facilities, Mutant Subdivision, Conference Room A116

Doctor Moira Kinross MacTaggert was a geneticist primarily, though she had a couple of other qualifications that were a little less known. One, she was one of the major specialists in metahuman studies. Two, she was a muggle - but one who was quite aware of the wizarding world and familiar with the way the societies of three such groups operated: Australia, Britain, and the United States. Because of her status as a muggle, she was not welcome in any of the three wizarding societies and she kept her involvement to a minimum as a result. She was also aware that the "mutants" were actually descended from a squib line and that their "mutant powers" were actually magical abilities finding a single area or channel of release.

That was not precisely her current concern.

The owl had initially been flagged as a Pet, which is to say someone who had the beast-speaker ability was associating with this particular animal. Beast-speakers typically had a few animals they regularly interacted with - it getting easier through regular association and the animal was then capable of more complex interaction due to heightened mental development.

That it carried a letter was not all that unusual either. Ravens, owls, even a few hawks and one bat - all used for carrying messages from those with beast-speaker abilities. Some beast-speakers could only use their telepathy with specific animals or narrow species, but this was not always the case. Those that could use fliers did usually have at least one of suitable size for courier duties.

It was the particular letter and the address upon it that brought it to her attention within an hour of it arriving.

"Full wards, security lockdown," said Moira into an intercom. "Level One. Authorization MacTaggert oh-four-five-nine-seven-three."

"Acknowledged, Doctor," came the brief reply.

That done, Doctor MacTaggert looked over the unstamped envelope with the calligraphic script.

Harry Potter Dormitory B-302 Mutant Research Center Muir Island

"You didn't open it?" asked Moira MacTaggert.

"No, ma'am," said Harry. "Used the tongs to handle it. Is it what I think it is?"

"I think so, it even has the return address," said Doctor MacTaggert. She tapped a different button on the intercom. "Who do we have who can scan for magical effects?"

"On site?" asked a woman's voice from the intercom. "We've got... oh. We've got Detective Lupin, he's visiting."

"Send him up, all due speed," said Moira. "We've got Harry's Hogwarts letter and I want to make sure it's not a portkey."

- list of chara -

Abdali, Faroush. (Dreadnaught) MI5 Overt Ops agent in Beta Squad. Magical enhancement in physical strength and durability. Shell-2, Shield-3. Rides an Agency-provided motorcycle (Triumph TR7) with multiple enchantments.

Braddock, Brian. (Captain Britain) MI5 agent in Overt Ops squad Excalibur. Physical Reinforcement Field. Flight. Uniform has runework and enchantments to enhance his abilities.

Cassidy, Tom (Black Tom). Supervillain. 6th gen squib. Ability: Heat and energy projection through wooden objects. Proj-3.

Clearmane, Sally. (Mustang Sally) Centaur who was accidently teleported into downtown London. Currently works as a courier out of Sussex and goes with the cover story that she was summoned from another universe. Independent who refuses to become part of any group, who nonetheless often finds herself mixed up "in that nonsense" anyway.

Figg, Arabella. Observer for Albus Dumbledore and breeder of Kneazles. Aware of Metahumans but dismisses them as not being up to wizardy standards.

Filch, Argus. Squib, caretaker at Hogwarts. Able to see through the eyes of animals so long as he's touching the animal to forge the link and then maintain the link until he loses concentration. Frequently uses the ability with a cat.

Georgh, Rudolfo (Troll) Anarchist supercriminal who primarily goes after governmental targets. Enhanced size, strength, durability, regeneration. Brags about having the "strength of a hundred men" though it is actually closer to four or five as he's only able to press about 700kg under optimal conditions.

Granger, Daniel (Fixer). Covert Ops with MI5. 4th-gen squib. Breakthrough in train attack. Ability: Structural Analysis. Scan-2.

Harris, Ralph. (Trog) Overt Ops, usually fire and rescue. Physical mutate with enhanced size, strength, durability, and stamina. Has been likened to the fictional character Lurch from "Addams Family" which he frequently plays up.

Jackson, Katherine. (Minx) Covert Ops team with MI5 DMM. Ability was to access a shadow subdimension in order to Sidestep (short range Teleport), or merge with shadows to hide. Died shortly after the 11/30/89 assault by magical forces on "muggle" government offices due to obliviation of control of her Talent.

McGregor, Corin. (Scrapper) Supervillain with the ability to absorb and redirect kinetic force. Currently in prison for four counts of murder, two cases of robbery, and fifteen cases of assault.

McManus, Madeline. (Mindshadow). Speak-1, Hier-1, Clair-2, Shell-3. Agent with MI5 with experience in both covert ops and office-end work. Administrator of the Department of Metahuman Management.

Owen, Daffyd. (Yeoman). 1st gen squib who found that his Breakthrough allowed him to use fuuinjutsu (Japanese sealing arts using etched or written symbols to store one item within another) to place various objects into arrowheads. Part-time agent and part-time independent. Gets into arguments about motorcycles with Dreadnaught, despite both riding Triumph motorcycles.

Perkins, Keith. (Huntsman) Operative whose "mutant ability" was telepathic communication with canines. Maintained several dogs of various breeds. Killed by aurors during the November 30 1989 assault while trying to protect Harry Potter from reclamation by Albus Dumbledore.

Reddings, Donald. (Scanner). Ability to see in multiple spectra as well as mass/energy deformations.

Simmons, Abigail. (Scarlet Siren). Speak-3, Hier-3, Image-2, Shell-2. Mission coordinator for MI5's Department of Metahuman Management and frequent associate of Weird Happenings Organization.

Sinclair, Rahne. (Wolfsbane) Associate of Remus Lupin.

Stuart, Alistair. Director of the Weird Happenings Organization (WHO) which is an investigative branch that is primarily "mundanes" but are in on the Statute Of Secrecy.

Tichborne, Sally Ann. (Shockwave Sally). Supervillain currently in prison for multiple cases of destruction of public property and assault. Magical control of earth and rock, favors creating shockwaves through the ground by stomping on it. Frequently gets into fights with Mustang Sally.

Vickers, Annabeth. (Bombard). Mutant Ability: Able to generate telekinetic balls of force that destabilize explosively at range. Primarily works as bomb disposal.

- break -

Esper Ratings are a rough power rating system going from 1 to 5, with 1 being having a base ability and 5 making them world-class in that Talent. Speak or Spiek is ability to speak to someone else's mind. Hier is the ability to hear or see thoughts. Clair is the ability to see and/or hear a distant location. Shell is the ability to resist mental or magical attacks. Shield is resistance to physical attacks. Port is teleportation.

Left things here because Harry needn't go to Hogwarts, he could easily end up in Ilvermorny or a "minor school" instead of one of the major ones. Harry could have ended up in Hogwarts, and things could go a variety of ways thereafter.

i had a few ideas regarding the Australian School, and how all the memes regarding how dangerous it is over there being true as far as their magical world - but JKR is likely to come up with a canon version and invalidate that so i'm not going there.