The Steaming Load wasn't a place any self-respecting human would be caught dead in, what with its rusted walls, horrific stench of alcohol and extremely violent patrons, it was a place most would attempt to avoid at all costs.
It was also in space, so that tended to be a bit of a hindrance too.
However, if you needed a bounty hunter, it was the best place to be. The galaxy's deadliest, smartest, toughest and cruelest hunters could be found here, and with enough cash, almost anything could be done.
Needed someone dead? Done.
Someone screwed you out of money that was rightfully yours? They'd get it back. And more.
Your Lego Millennium Falcon was broken? Oh, they were SO dead…
However, there was one rule all the patrons knew better than to ever even think about breaking…
Well, almost anyone.
A hunter was left dazed as he was thrown one-handed into the nearby wall, leaving a sizable dent and most likely damaging his skull.
"Ya fraggin' bastich, what part of 'Get the hell outta my seat' didn't ya understand!?"
The last Czarnian didn't care about too much, just the basics of life; women, booze, cash, violence, his bike, and his favourite bar stool.
Stretch was a bounty hunter Lobo had heard about in the past. Decent rep, seemed like an all-around fine dude, Lobo had no real issue with him… Until he took his bar stool and refused to move.
"Bite… me…" Stretch growled, clearly not thinking straight, and a few of the patrons who were nearby backed up as Lobo approached. Grabbing the alien, Lobo dragged him into the grimy bathrooms and closed the door behind him. A few minutes later, Lobo left.
"Hey, uh… you might not wanna go in there for a bit… just sayin'." He remarked, looking around the bar before returning to his drink. He had just finished up another contract, and was beginning his usual post-contract routine, drinking heavily.
After a few hours, Lobo left the bar, and headed back to his bike, deciding to piss around for a bit, and see if there were any contracts that interested him. When he got to his bike, he paused when he saw an odd green fire appear in front of him, and after a few moments, a rolled-up note appeared.
"The hell kinda contact was that?" He muttered, picking up. The paper and unrolling it. He groaned as he saw it seemed to be written in some sort of elitist cursive. The Main Man respected good penmanship, but this was just showing off.
"Ugh… yadda, yadda if you are who we think you are… blah, blah, blah, we wanna hire you for four years… et cetera, et cetera- Wait. Four years?!" Lobo paused and actually read the note carefully this time.
'If you are who we believe you to be, and your reputation doesn't lie, we have a job for you. It is not the type of job you may be used to, but we promise it would pay more than usual. We would like to hire your services to protect someone important to our organization. The job would last roughly four years and we would see to that your food and board is covered. If you are interested, please come to the following address...'
Lobo paused thinking it over. This seemed… boring. He was a bounty hunter! Not some body guard to some snobbish king, or prince or whatever, his job was, is and always shall be about violence.
But free food and board for four years? Plus, four years' worth of pay just to guard someone? Lobo thought it over, then looked at the address at the bottom of the paper.
"Earth…" He grumbled. "Of course, it always has to be earth…"
Lobo looked to his bike, then up to the cosmos above, then shrugged.
"Could be interestin', and if not, I'll just haul ass." Lobo shrugged, getting onto his bike and kicking the engines into high gear, he shot off into the blackness of space, heading towards earth.
Back on Earth…
"Albus, are you sure this is a good idea?" Minerva ask skeptically, looking to the old headmaster of Hogwarts.
"Minerva, I don't like the idea much more than you do. But after you-know-who managed to get onto Hogwarts, we need to take precautions. Even if we don't get a response, we can't sit idly by and wait for something else to happen."
"Yes but… The kind of magic you attempted… had it even been used before?"
"By a few, yes." Albus nodded. "Most notably by a man named Kent Nelson."
"The sorcerer the muggles call Doctor Fate?" Severus asked, almost in disbelief. "Please, tell me you don't believe the stories about that insane man…"
"What to you may be stories Severus, to me are reality." Albus answered calmly. "I've seen him perform acts which no magic user has ever been able to perform. At least, not to the extent he can perform them."
"What was the man's name you were told about? Wolf?" Minerva then asked, deciding to steer the conversation away from the legends and supposedly tall-tales of Dr. Fate (although much like Albus, she had seen more than enough to be convinced…).
"It was L-"
"Alright ya bastiches! The main man has arrived!" A deep voice yelled as the doors to the small room were forcefully kicked off of their hinges. The three magic users recoiled in surprise as in walked a giant of a man, almost the same as Hagrid's height and build. But that was were any and all similarities to a regular human ended. His skin was chalk white, and his eyes were blood-red. His spiked hair was pitch-black, the same colour as the leather jacket he wore, a jacket that was missing both its sleeves and had several spikes along the shoulders. Albus noted the odd markings going from his mouth up to his eyes, and a chain was wrapped around his right arm. His kneecaps were covered by two metallic skulls, that both seemed to be used for intimidation, and for armour. As he took a long drag off of his cigar, he looked around at the three in the room.
"Fetal's giz… The hell kinda contract you old-ass D&D players wanna hire me for?"
"Albus… who… or what… is that?" Minerva finally got out, feeling genuinely unnerved for the first time in a long time. She had been through much in her life, but there was something about the… alien, the muggle word was the only word she could think of right now, standing in front of her.
"Are you… Wolf?" Albus finally asked.
"The hell?" Lobo blinked in confusion. "Who the hell's Wolf? Th'name's Lobo."
"Ah, right…" Albus coughed. "Minerva? This is Lobo, the man I was told about, and the one I was trying to contact."
"Yo." Lobo remarked.
"Albus, you can't be serious!" Minerva finally exclaimed. "You want HIM to watch over Harry Potter?!"
"Yeah, how's about you tell me what exactly this contract is, and why you're cutting into my drinking time." Lobo added, and it was clear form his tone, that he wasn't in the mood for games or run-arounds.
"Right… er, Mr. Lobo, if you'd like." Albus nodded, motioning to the chairs. Lobo walked over and flipped one around and sat down, exhaling a smoke cloud. "My name is Albus Dumbledore. Headmaster of Hogwarts School of-"
Lobo stifled a laugh, cutting Albus off, but the old man decided to let it go.
"This is Minerva McGonagall-"
Again, Lobo was trying to hide his laughter.
"And Severus Snape."
Lobo couldn't hold it back anymore. He just started laughing in utter disbelief.
"Oh, I'm sorry… I'm sorry…" He laughed. "Just… holy fragaroli… I was not expecting that. But putting that aside, what do you wanna hire me for? I ain't used to being a bodyguard."
"Right, well… I assume you've figured out that we are not… regular people, so to speak."
"No crap gramps." Lobo remarked flatly. "From yer' stench, to the old clothin'. It's obvious, you're those magic users who never left the eleventh century."
Albus was surprised by Lobo's bluntness, as well as his ability to discern their magical powers. Either Lobo had been around wizards and witches before… of the magic they used to disguise themselves form the Muggle world wasn't what it used to be.
"Right, well. There's a young boy named Harry Potter, in our world he is… unique, and is of the utmost importance to us."
"An'someone wants him fragged." Lobo said matter-of-factly. "Aye… this feels weird. Usually I'm the one fraggin' the bastich…"
Minerva's eyes widened in horror, which didn't go unnoticed by Lobo.
"Yer yellow, ain't ya?" He remarked. "Eh, everyone's nervous when they see their fist kill. But I digress, you want me to… protect some kid? Why?"
"There are forces beyond our comprehension." Albus said in a very serious tone. To his credit, Lobo appeared to be paying attention. "For while there are many wizards who use their powers to assist others in their everyday life, there are a small group who use their magic for twisted deeds."
"Yeah, I've delt with bastiches like those before…" He muttered, nodding in agreement.
"Due to the… sensitive nature of this information, I can't tell you much more without first making this clear; if you refuse this job, your mild will be partially erased so you'll have no recollection of his conversation." Albus said, laying all the cards on the table. What no one expected, was what Lobo said next:
"It won't work, I can tell ya that now."
"Mind control, mind alteration, whatever you wanna call it. It won't work on me." Lobo said plainly. "Entities much more powerful than you have tried, but my brain's too binary. You can't alter what it already knows."
"Mr. Lobo, I don't doubt you may have had experience with magic before, but I can assure you that you cannot-" Dumbledore began only to fall into a horrified silence as Lobo took a large knife off of his belt and slashed his throat wide open. With a number of sickening CRACKS! And the sound of ripping flesh, Lobo tore his own head off and tossed it onto the table. His headless body fell to its knees and began bleeding profusely. The wizards and witch present stared in absolute horror. They had never seen such a barbaric action, especially one committed on one's self!
"Sorry, you were saying?"
If it was impossible for Albus' jaw to drop further than it already was, he found a way. The three stared in disbelief at Lobo's head, which blinked and turned to look at them.
"Seriously, I can do this ten-thousand-fold to myself. Yer magic can't do crap to me."
Lobo's body then pulled itself up, and put his head back onto his shoulder, and it seemed to re-attach itself. Lobo cracked his neck and sat back down.
"How… how did you do that?" Minerva mumbled.
"I've been banned from Heaven and Hell, technically speaking, I can't die." Lobo grinned, leaning forward, his blood red eyes blazing with bloodlust. "Now, why don't you tell me about this job?"
The three were still left in a horrified silence, until Minerva cleared her throat.
"Right. Well… Long ago, there was a wizard who's name we don't speak of-"
"*cough*Pussy!*cough*" Lobo loudly coughed into his hand. Minerva now seemed somewhat angered but continued.
"Regardless, this wizard was a tyrant, killing all who stood in the way of his twisted plans. However, Harry Potter defeated him, as a newborn."
Lobo blinked in disbelief, he seemed genuinely shocked by what he was just told.
"Okay, I'm gonna stop you right there." Lobo said, picking up the cigar that had fallen out of his mouth. "Look, I've seen an' done things that are literally impossible. I've killed people who don't exist. But a BABY killing wizard Hitler? How the hell does that work!?"
The wizards went silent, not liking how much they had divulged already, but at the same time, Albus was growing desperate.
"We don't know." He finally lied. "All we know is that he did."
"Okay, so do you want me to frag this unspeakable bastich?" Lobo asked. "Cause that'd be a lot easier than protecting some kid."
"At the moment, he is dead." Albus finally said. "But his followers will stop at nothing to resurrect him."
Lobo was silent for a few moments, thinking it over. So, some magical kid was the target of some group of idiots who probably cried themselves to sleep while listening to Marylin Manson, and these old coots wanted him to protect said kid."
"If I say yes." Lobo tentatively began. "There's a number of things you need to know. Non-negotiable terms, so to speak."
Albus frowned himself, having a bad feeling as to what these could potentially be. But, he finally asked: "Which are?"
"I ain't giving up drinking, or smoking." Lobo began matter-of-factly. "Secondly, if people attack the kid, most likely they will die violent horrible deaths, and if you try and hold me accountable for doing my job, that'll be an issue. On top of that, if other kids try and hurt him, they're leaving with shattered bones. Also, I use guns, get over it. Finally, I'm not wearing the crap you're wearing."
"Oh, is that all?" Albus asked with a sparkle in his eyes. "Well, I believe those could be accommodated."
From the looks on Minerva and Snape's faces, one could easily be led to believe Albus was lying. But Lobo could tell he was being sincere.
"Well, in that case, let's talk money." Lobo smirked, leaning forward.
"Of course, from what we've learned about your record, you tend to work on jobs that wouldn't be as long as the job we're asking you to do." Dumbledore continued, while Minerva and Snape were looking to one another as if Dumbledore had jumped on the table and flashed everyone. "Regardless, we're willing to pay you several vaults worth of gold for your services, as well as accommodating you…"
Lobo wasn't paying attention, the mention of 'four vaults worth of gold' was making him internally scream like a little girl at a boy band concert. He was thinking of all the booze and cigars he could buy… the dolphin feed… the upgrades to the Space Hog! And all for watching some kid for four years? Screw the fact that this wasn't his typical type of job! He'd be insane to pass this up.
"Ya got yerself a deal." Lobo spoke up, cutting Albus off-mid sentence.
"Excuse me?" Albus asked.
"Ya got yerself a deal." Lobo repeated himself. "Tell me where the kid is and I'll get to work."
"Are you certain?" Dumbledore asked tentatively, although hopeful that Lobo was telling the truth.
"Hell yeah." Lobo grinned, before exhaling another cloud of smoke. "The Main Man's in."
Extending a hand forward, Lobo grinned again, almost devilishly.
"Albus, are you sure this is a good idea!?" Minerva hissed. "You're bringing a sociopath and a brute into Hogwarts!"
"I have to agree with Minerva." Snape spoke up in his dry tone. "We haven't discussed this with the ministry, and do you really want this… thing in Hogwarts?"
"Hey, if they let shrivel pear ladies in, I shouldn't be an issue." Lobo snarked. Snape blinked, then scowled in anger.
"Albus, I want Harry protected as well, but this is a mistake!" The old witch hissed again. "Do you not see what this man is!? How do we know he won't turn on us if someone offers him more money?!"
"You know I have excellent hearing, right?" Lobo said flatly. "An' to answer your concern, the Main Man's word is his bond. I've never broken a contract, regardless of how much was offered."
Minerva didn't reply, there was something in Lobo's tone that seemed so absolutely sincere that she couldn't say he was lying. That didn't mean she liked this though.
"Minerva, this is for the greater good." Albus said matter of factly. "This will protect not only Harry Potter, but Hogwarts as well."
Turning back to Lobo, he shook the Czarinan's hand, solidifying the contract.
"So, where's the kid at?" Lobo asked. "I get the feeling the kid may need some time to get used to having me around."
"Well, he should be heading back to Hogwarts tomorrow." Albus began. "I can provide you with a map if you need directions-"
"Nah, I'm good." Lobo waved dismissively. "I got yer stench. I'll just follow that back to the school. I'mma go get ready for this new gig. See ya!"
Without another word, Lobo got up and left the room, leaving a hopeful Albus, a horrified Minerva, and an annoyed Snape. The trio watched as he got onto an odd-looking vehicle and ignited the engines, flying off into the sky.
Minerva wanted to scream, she wanted to blast Albus with all sorts of hexes… But she knew he had a point. Voldemort had returned, twice in fact. But saying she didn't like Lobo from their first meeting would be like saying the goblins love gold. He seemed vulgar, crude, and the absolute opposite of anyone who should be protecting Harry Potter. Still, he had sliced his own head off, and without magic, continued to live. Whatever he was, he was clearly a force to be reckoned with. Although she wasn't happy about it, Minerva knew she'd have to see how this went, and deal with Lobo herself if need be.
"Minerva, I understand your apprehension." Albus continued in his reassuring tone (that was extremely un-reassuring right now) "But I believe that while he may seem… odd, Lobo will be what we need in order to keep Harry safe. You heard him say himself that he was going to get ready for work. I believe he'll be doing everything in his power to ensure Harry's safety."
Meanwhile, Lobo was preparing for his new job by getting absolutely smashed.