The time has come.
Suspicion, distrust, and paranoia dropped its sights onto the landlord of district Z.
Police, heroes of most importance and every influential, relevant serious face and name in Japan and then some - settled its beady eyes on the young, mild-mannered foreign man exuding European zeal.
Shota acted like Detective Tsukauchi was there to interview the man who saved his life being routine. Upholding his civil duty to check in and take a witness statement.
Not a bloodhound dispatched to scent whether the new player on the block was prey or predator.
Shota tried not to feel too guilty about pulling the wool over his landlords' eyes - the whole thing with the monster was shifty as fuck.
Sitting politely in Harry's communal mailbox was a very pretty white envelope. Pleasantly surprised by such an unusual thing - not knowing anyone in this world that would write a hand-written note to himself other than himself - he makes a curious noise and unfolds it. Scrawled in perfect black calligraphy wrote;
"The Lord of Potter house, is hereby graciously invited to the annual Heroes Fundraiser Gala held at All Might Tower this Friday evening at 6."
There were no doubt important information flowing below it, escorts and dress code and the like, at this moment however he was downright elated at being invited to a party! Behind he sensed the entrance door open. Happy leapt over to the person, waving his envelope in the air.
"Friday evening is next week," he shouts at the person. None other than Hayashi the broken pipe man. His hands seize his hair, "why - I have nothing to wear!"
"Are you on something?" Hayashi asks. Squinting at him in a suspiciously interested way.
Harry is curved at the random question. "Thank you, I stopped dabbling in drugs years ago. The giraffe I had at the time was allergic to the smog. That's besides the point though," his hands fluster around and grip Hayashi by the shoulders. Spinning them around, eyes locked. "I simply cannot attend the first gala in Japan all by my lonesome. What a pitiful display of my social life - I must simply requisite you being a plus one."
Hayashi gawked. Blinking deliriously. "What, as your date?"
"Man," Hayashi was starting to get seriously dizzy. "You're cute and all and I respect your team, but I don't swing crazy."
Harry stopped and opens his arms. Smiling. "Platonic then."
Nauseated, Hayashi made a wrenching sound and stumbled back outside. Proceeding to loose his lunch.
"Is this what they call a rejection?"
The disaster relief shelter was an uncomfortably common popup joint held at the local baseball stadium. Temporarily it could house up to a thousand people. Harry took in the crowd of homeless people in the entrance, smile strained. He may have underestimated the amount of foods that were to be delivered. Due to the Nomu attack they had to squeeze more people than they would have liked into it. Harry overhears a manager of the stadium outside yabbering into his phone about relocation. The manager was a squashed human with a much too big mouth and wearing the worst toupee Harry had ever seen.
"You the muffin man?" He harrumphed up at him. Giving a curious once-over.
Harry looked back to his crates of muffins on wheels. Courtesy of Gravely Delicious, the fluffy pounds of cake were expertly whipped up this morning. Fresh out of the oven and unlike anything from this world, if Harry were to say so himself.
However, James was not too happy about Harry popping around in the middle of the night in his realm so soon after the disastrous reunion. And, Harry had to add on, he probably wouldn't be too happy about Harry turning the family elves into humans.
"I am the muffin man," Harry chirped and patted one of the crates behind him. Terribly happy about being involved with the community. "Now then, where do we put these?"
"Just through there" the manager directed through an open door in the entrances' hallway. For some reason his eyes kept on making nervous lines behind Harry. "Five doors down you'll spot the kitchen, one of the supes there will know what to do with them. It ain't afternoon so nobody's hungry just yet."
Harry called over his shoulder to the elves, stunning them out of their examination of the large bell-boy outfits they had on - more importantly their trousers - and began wheeling his way down.
The manager held up a hand, eyes swivelling once again.
"Uuuh, not that it's any of my business, but are those fella's doing alright?"
Harry glanced over his shoulder. Sparkled grin stilling. One of the five ladder sized elves lurched in place. Propellers arms whipped up to balance itself. Squished expression one of stern concentration like that of an army general. One other was preparing to start its stride similar to a daddy long legs, while another was trembling like a leaf. Wholly terrified by its enlarged height. By God, it looked as though Harry had kidnapped it off the side of the road and put it to work.
Harry whipped back to the manager, exuding blissful ignorance.
"Perfectly, sir. Through here did you say?" And Harry pushed on. Hearing the manager make surprised worried sounds when one or two of the elves forgot their height when walking through the doorway.
If one were to be out in the stadium's parking lot, happening to bum a cigarette and wallow about how it was too nice to be feeling like a piece of shit, one would see a foreign man dressed in the most remarkable and expensive fabric from head to toe (making one feel lower than a piece of shit and think about getting a haircut).
One would have also seen a small pack of rather dishevelled looking giants tittering after him. Walking as though they could feel the world orbiting the sun at high speed and uncertain about their place in the universe because of it.
As it so happens that did in fact happen and the bear witness was none other than Shota.
"Aren't you supposed to be at the British Embassy?"
Harry's face embodied a disco ball. "Shota! Here to do your bit as well?" The man jogged up. Warily, Shota eyed the hoppy legged earthworms attempting to follow. All knees. He wondered if one fell, would the others follow like bowling pins.
[He also tried to ignore they were wearing bell boy outfits. Honest to God, shitty costumes that could have come out of an American Disney channel]
"My bit," Shota reiterated. Realising that of course, the nosy lunatic would have gotten himself involved with the community relief programme. He's probably already shook every working man and woman's hand and embedded himself into their memory like a funky rainbow fungus. That smiled. "I guess you could say it's my job description."
The man 'aah'd. "I envy you," he sighed longingly and turned back to stare at the stadium. Red Cross workers coming in and out. "You're always busy."
"Funny thing to envy."
"Suppose it is," Harry smiled at him. And Shota internally twitched at how…off the smile was for a fragment of a second. As though it were hiding some terrible secret of the soul. "Being privileged is a terrible thing sometimes."
Shota coughed. As if the guy had more depth to him than a kiddy pool.
Everything his landlord did was a result from boredom and curiosity.
"I'd better be getting off, got to return these lads." Harry reached high up to pat one of his heavily breathing minions on the head. Seems like they weren't used to running.
Faintly, as Shota watched them wander off to God knows where, mouthed 'return' - then blinked and shouted.
"Oi! Remember to go to the Embassy you idiot!"
Despite popular belief, Harry adores filling out personal detail forms. There's no greater joy in life than making himself out to be someone he's not. Security number? School degree? The best tales Harry tells are the ones about himself - or the last film plot he saw. Or both if he felt particularly dangerous.
Coming out from the embassy, quirk filed under 'Enhanced strength', Harry popped around to a few tailored shops to find himself something nice to wear for the fundraiser ball. Something new, exciting and fresh. None of his old suits that date back to the dark ages.
"Excuse me," Harry stops a well-dressed lady on the street after roaming for far too long. "Do you happen to know of any reputable tailors nearby?
Her stunned reaction to his perfect Japanese faded into dismay, "They were all destroyed in the incident."
"Oh." He says again. Sitting on a bench later in the day, outside his apartment building and too frustrated to enter it without getting something. Mulling over what to do next, he rubbed the back of his neck and looked up to the evening sky.
He could ask James for help.
The idea squished the second it was birthed. He had taken up too much of James' time already. Taken too much from him lately. As much as it pained him as a father, he had to distance himself from his son - lest he ruin the good thing they had going.
"Something bothering you, kid?" A small elderly gentleman grunts as he hops off his bus. "You look like a squeezed lemon."
"I feel like a squeezed lemon, my dear fellow," Head hanging forward slightly, Harry professes a jauntiness sigh - shrieking in confusion when the man, about the height of a communal recycling bin, whacks him over the head with his walking stick. "Hey gramps! What gives?"
"Self-pitying children irritate me to my loins, that's what," and Harry watches. Nervous as the man seats himself. "Tell me kid, what's bothering you? Romantic disputes, family troubles?"
"Actually," Harry admits sheepishly, "I've got nothing to wear to his fundraiser ball thingy."
"…Ah. I see," to no surprise, the man didn't look or sound very sympathetic. "Rich kid problems."
"It would seem so," Harry begrudgingly concedes. "Also, I haven't a date."
The old man pauses for a moment and examines Harry closely. Beady little eyes twinkling.
"I may be able to help you out in both departments there. My brat doesn't have a date either. That scrawny little shit."
Not for the first time - and it shan't be the last - Harry is wilfully kidnapped by a lunatic. The elderly man's residence is a skip and a hop from Harry's own, and he happily plods alongside the man's short yet incredibly speedy steps.
"Got a name or are you going to insist on being the mysterious foreigner?"
"Oh! Pardon me," Harry shakes himself straight. Everything happening all too suddenly and brilliantly for him. A fateful turn of events, he decides. Smug as a babe having consumed its fraternal twin in the womb. "I'm Harry Potter - no, after you sir." He greets and holds the front door for the man as he leads Harry into his. A quaint corner house that looked to have been an old police station once-upon-a-time. Its heyday long past, now a vestige of justice. Large, open, obsolete and empty like a carcass. Spiders having made it its home. "My. This is a lovely place you've got here, Mr…"
"Torino - and no need to lie, kid." The man led him through the open space and up a staircase in the back to what seemed like his living quarters.
"I'm not lying, this is a wonderful home. The energy is," Harry fails to find the right words and instead mimes a big sparkling explosion.
Torino stares, dumbstruck, before indicating to an old black leather couch.
"Right." Harry sits. Hands tapping his knees, eyes wide with serious attention as he watches Torino explain how he was too old and short for his suits now and how they needed to go anyway - "Holy shit, Torino you were a hottie!"
Torino whips out of his bedroom, arms holding his many old suits to spotting Harry snooping on his mantlepiece. Pictures of his younger years on display. The harbinger of Death holding up a picture frame, wearing a grin that has people thinking he ought to take a break somewhere warm and quiet.
The picture was a 20 year old Torino at a beach peace-signing the camera. Scowl somehow handsome.
"O-Oi!" Torino is never one to blush but having some young, playboy foreigner call him, an old retired goat, a-a hottie does that to even the stoniest of people. He bounds over and whips his cane at Harry's knuckles. Catching the picture as it drops with a yelp.
"Gosh Torino, no need to be shy about it," Harry winks and saunters back over to the couch, snagging the suits from Torino's arms and inspecting them. "Are these Valentino?"
Torino was more than eager to talk about suits than his fresh-faced years. The man snorts at the foreigner and hops besides him, pointing out a tag on the back of a mahogany plaid blazer.
"Japanese brand, went bust a few years back."
"Oh no! What happened?" Harry despised stories about passionate companies loosing game to faster-fashioned businesses.
"CEO turned out to be colluding with All-For-One," Torino calmly shrugs and pats the suits. Harry has never heard of this fellow, but seeing as they didn't look to bother Torino he assumes All-For-One is small fries. "You can try these on in the bathroom. Just through my bedroom. You're a bit slimmer than I was, though - "
"I'm sure they'll fit perfectly," Harry assures. Smile sweetly. Knowing full well that with a spot of magic they'd fit right as rain.
True to thought, Harry presents himself in front of a judgemental Torino like a scarecrow.
"Good enough," Torino chuffs. Hand flapping, "You can keep 'em."
"Truly?" Harry goes sparkly-eyed, unnerving the old man.
"With the promise that you'll be my kid's date. Can't have him showing up alone like he always does. It's pitiful. And I hate pitiful brats."
"Sure, sure, sure!" Harry bats away any suspicion Torino has on him backing out. Tingling with excitement, Harry kneel's over and grasps the old man's hands. Wiggling them. Torino stares at him as though expecting a bunch of orderlies come in and drag him off. "Part of the deal, yeah? What's their name, phone number and address?" Torino doesn't recall Harry ever carrying a notebook and pen - licking the tip - but there they were. Ready to go.
The following afternoon has Harry rapping his knuckles on Yagi's rental apartment door. Not that Harry was one to judge another's living conditions (for goodness sake he spent a large amount of his childhood in a cupboard under the stairs), Harry considers himself a close friend of the man's father, and to see his son's stale housing environment sparks a certain amount of motivation to change such matters. Harry does love his pet projects.
"Mr Yagi?" Harry knocks for the second time. Politely bobbing on his heels and smiling a wide, manic smile when the door opens. The smile sticks terribly on his face at seeing the sight and condition of the man.
Emancipation would have been too kind a word to describe Yagi's state. For Stars sake, healthy could be an insult.
"Hello?" The man yawns. Punching a boney hand into his eye socket, he regards Harry.
"Sorry," Harry conjures up a Christian smile. "I must have woken you."
"….Should I come back at a better time?"
"No," Yagi dismisses. "You must be the date old gramps, erm, plotted."
"You make it sound so devious," Harry chuckles good-naturedly, helping himself past Yagi and into the apartment with an affectionate pat on the shoulder. The apartment held the exact amount of colour and zeal Harry had expected it to.
Yagi mutters something and offers tea, before realising he has none, then offers tea-cakes, then realises he also has none.
"I'll have some water," Harry brushes the seat of the chair he goes to sit on facing the kitchen with a handkerchief gifted to him by Fred Astaire. Yagi stutters with movement, eyes catching the handkerchief - having never properly seen one outside 1920 mafia films. Foreigners truly are a world of their own.
Then he seems to recall something. If Yagi's blood could properly circulate, he would have blushed.
"The filtration system went bust during the attack."
Harry fears his smile might finally drop. "Yagi, I hate to intrude but as your date I am concerned upon whether or not you'll be able to survive till Friday!"
"That's very kind of you, mr, uhm…" Yagi seats opposite. All nervous stuttering. He has never had a date before, and truly doesn't know how to navigate one. Even if it were out of pure politeness sake - which this one was!
"Harry Potter." He helps.
"Mr Potter, your concern and care is nice and all - but we don't know each other. And after the," Yagi's face twitches, "date, we'll probably never associate with each other again."
"Nonsense!" Thumping a fist on the table, Harry gives the sickly man a good finger point and eye squint. "Yagi, I've only known you for two minutes but I can already tell we'll become very close friends. I daresay close as a pair of testicles."
"Ha~" Yagi breathes. "Is that so?"
"Is so. I can tell you're a really nice fella. And I like nice fellas. Good conversationalists and pose less of a threat in stabbing you in the back when you're on the toilet or conducting ritualistic sacrifices to entities on a higher plane of pasta. See? We're already sharing viable information. So let me do you a favour Yagi, and put you up for a bit. Just until we get this quaint place of yours all sorted out, eh? What do you say?"
Yagi stares in astonishment. Somehow during that small speech he has been manoeuvred around his apartment at lightning speed. Absently helping Harry pack his suitcase and sending off emails to close acquaintances on his relocation.
"All free, of course." Harry locks the door and escorts Yagi down the flights of stairs to the reception. "This is what friends do. Help each other out."
"Right." Yagi feels as though he's been put in a washing machine on full spin. By the time Harry has arranged his landlord to renovate, he is more than a little confused and warmed and suspicious - witnessing Harry take care of all the transactions. He's never met such a man in his life, and was waiting impatiently for the penny to drop.
It never does. Later on that night he finds himself in a soft, warm apartment. Soaking in a bubblebath, sipping lemon honey tea and pampered to the niles.