Grazhir :: Crossover :: Kidorui :: 02

02

Lambo tumbled into the back room, crying. Harry brushed off his hands and rushed over to scoop him up and cuddle him. “What’s wrong, chibi?”

“Dame-Tsuna is in the hospital!” Lambo said in between sobs.

“Oh, that’s not good,” he said, then frowned. “What have I said about that name?”

Lambo went still, staring at his father with wide, teary eyes. “Lambo-san shouldn’t use it?”

“Right. How do you feel when Gokudera-kun calls you aho-ushi? Yowamushi?”

A tear slipped down Lambo’s face. “Lambo-san doesn’t like it.”

Harry nodded. “So why would you say something like that about someone else?”

Lambo bit his lip adorably and looked sad. “Lambo-san will apologize.”

“Okay. Why is Tsuna-kun in the hospital?”

“Mama said he broke his leg!”

“How about we go visit, then?” he suggested. “It’s about time for my walk, and you can apologize while we’re there.”

“O~kay!”

He prepared a gift and double-checked with Neville to see where the hospital was and set off, smiling as Lambo chattered at him the whole way about his work with Luna or playing with I-Pin. There had been some game not long ago where I-Pin had realized her inability to read the language was a hindrance, so I-Pin was stopping by at times to learn the various forms of Japanese writing with Lambo. Harry found that to be a little strange considering a lot of things were written with kanji, which had been borrowed from the Chinese, but maybe they meant vastly different things based on which language was being used. Luna had occasionally tricked them into learning more languages, but Chinese had not been one of them.

Reception gave him the room number and he headed that way, but realized as he got to the correct floor that Lambo had vanished. ‘What the hell? Is he that reluctant to apologize? Sneaky chibi. Hide and seek games with him are a form of torture.’ After a few steps more he heard a joyous squeal and looked toward it sharply. Lambo was atop a food delivery cart that was rolling down the corridor at high speed.

Tsuna’s head popped out a nearby room and he stared wide-eyed at Lambo. “What are you doing!?”

Harry sighed and plucked Lambo off the cart as his son warbled, “Sur~fing!” He stopped the cart with his other hand, exhaling in relief when none of the food was launched off the front at the change in speed thanks to his Earth Flame ability.

“Lambo?” he said warningly.

“Ano. . . . Lambo-san is sorry?”

Harry eyed his son with one brow raised.

“Lambo-san should not have used hospital stuff as toys?”

He nodded.

“Lambo-san will do extra writing practice tonight?”

Harry smiled. “Okay. Now let’s go visit Tsuna-kun.” He herded Tsuna back into his room and back onto his bed without further comment. “Wow, you got a room to yourself.”

Tsuna aimed something between a grimace and a smile at him. “Y-yes.”

“Broken leg, huh? I broke my arm once. Not a pleasant experience,” he said, giving Lambo a look.

Lambo jumped slightly in his arms and grit his teeth. “Ano. . . . Lambo-san is sorry he called Tsuna-kun a bad name.”

Tsuna’s eyes went wide and doe-like, then he looked at Harry, who was giving him an expectant look.

“It’s okay, Lambo-kun. Apology accepted.”

Lambo squealed and hopped onto Harry’s head. “Lambo-san is here! How did Tsuna-kun get hurt?”

Tsuna froze up for a second, then said, “Reborn. A mountain.”

Lambo growled, and Harry could feel the tail of his son’s suit smack the back of his head. But then Lambo seemed to remember he did not have a real grudge against Reborn and settled down. He hopped onto the bed and pulled a small package from his hair, and thrust it at Tsuna. “Lambo-san brought a get well present! Oto~san made it!”

“You seem to really like cannoli, so. . . .”

“Oh, thank you!”

They spent a few minutes visiting, then Harry collected his son and brought him back to the house so Luna could pound some knowledge into his head.

*

It was a normal enough day at the bakery when two strangers wandered in. Harry habitually checked whoever was coming in to see if they qualified for a welcome gift. He left the back room long enough to let Neville know they did and returned to his work.

Things in town had recently been on edge due to students at Namimori Middle being attacked and sent to the hospital. No one he knew very well, but they were only children, and he worried about Lambo, even if he was a sneaky little cow. Even so, it was middle school kids being targeted, including the Disciplinary Committee, which made him wonder if Hibari was going to get involved.

He blushed as he remembered the day when he had almost been hit by a truck and had ended up in his hedgehog form in the middle of the road. While he was still processing what had almost happened he was picked up by Hibari and carried away, the teen murmuring to him the whole time in that soft, mesmerizing voice of his.

It was a trick escaping from the ridiculously huge house Hibari lived in. He learned as a result that Kyoya had a serious soft spot for small animals, liked hamburger steak, and had a secret liking for cinnamon. Harry later sent an anonymous gift package containing two cinnamon rolls and a half dozen molasses sugar cookies.

A faint jingle alerted him to the front door opening, so he looked through the one-way and saw Lambo tumble in and then race toward the back room, squealing the whole time. He hastened out and scooped his son up. “Lambo-kun, what have I told you about running inside the shop?” he scolded gently.

Lambo got that look on his face again, but instead of crying he reached up to pull a clay sculpture from his hair, knocking his horns askew. “Lambo-san made this for you,” he said, offering it.

He accepted it with a smile—it was horribly misshapen, but that was beside the point—and gave his son a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you. I will put it on display so everyone can see how clever you are. But that does not answer my question.”

Lambo’s eyes went all teary again. “Not to run?”

He nodded. “You know what this means.”

Lambo grimaced and sniffled. “Extra writing practice tonight.”

“Right,” he said, tucking the sculpture away and ruffling his son’s hair. “And I’m going to comb out your hair again. How you keep managing to get it to look like that is beyond me. It’s like magic.” He ignored the sound of Neville snickering in the background.

“But Lambo-san likes to store things in there!” Lambo protested with a shocked expression.

He arched a brow, watching as his son settled down again. “You are much more handsome with your hair combed out,” he said, trying persuasion.

It worked to whatever degree, because Lambo preened at the compliment and planted a sloppy kiss on his cheek.

He knew damn well that the older version of Lambo had nicer hair and could still store things in it. “So, let’s get you washed up, some grapes for a snack, and then you can help me make some sweets. I’m sure Nana-san wouldn’t mind a thank you gift.”

Lambo squealed happily. “Lambo-san has the best father in the whole world!”

He chuckled and headed into the back. Normally he wouldn’t like to have the boy back there, not with his propensity for chaos, but he was worried his little man would get involved in the fighting if left to roam around freely.

Lambo got a quick wash at the sink and was planted on a stool with some grapes for a snack, and Harry said, “What do you think we should bring her?”

“Cake!” Lambo cried. “And tarts! And dango! And—”

“Okay, okay, a sampler.” He had Lambo prepare the boxes with a nice lining of printed parchment paper and hold them steady while he inserted various sweets. Shortly thereafter everything was stored in Lambo’s hair and they were off for a visit. Nana was happy to receive guests and invited them in.

“Lambo-san is here!” his son declared, then hopped onto the table and fished the boxes out of his hair and thrust them at Nana. “Lambo-san brought a gift because Mama is so nice to him. Oto~san made it!”

“Oh my, thank you,” she said, accepting the boxes and placing them neatly on the table. “Would either of you like some tea?”

“Only if it’s no trouble,” Harry said. She of course immediately bustled over to one of the counters to start some, so he sat down and kept an eye on Lambo—until I-Pin wandered in and gasped.

“Broccoli monster!”

Lambo froze, then turned around, then started wobbling around with googly eyes. “Broccoli monster,” he rasped, then wobbled off the side of the table. And the chase was on.

Nana giggled prettily and put cups on the table.

Things settled down after that. Whoever was causing so much trouble had either left or been forced to leave. The family went to a fair to celebrate, taking I-Pin with them. Not long after Tsuna showed up again when Lambo was out with Luna, so Harry invited him in and slid some refreshments onto the table.

“Ano. . . . Something weird happened recently,” Tsuna said.

“A lot of weird things seem to happen around here,” he replied, picking up some dango and eating part of it.

“It’s just—I met some other people who had been hurt by the mafia. I can’t say much, but—”

“Omerta, right. What did you want to talk about, then?”

“I don’t even want to be part of the mafia!” Tsuna burst out.

Harry shrugged. “It’s kind of difficult to avoid, no? I mean, Reborn is here, and all your friends. What else can do you aside from run away and never see anyone again? Did you plan to live on the streets in some foreign country? Do you even speak any other languages?”

“Those people were really hurt by a mafia family,” Tsuna said, essentially ignoring what Harry had said.

“Okay,” he said. “Does that mean all mafioso are bad?”

Tsuna slumped. “Dino-san is really nice. He calls me his little brother.”

“Okay,” he repeated. “A man kills someone. Does that make all men bad? A dog bites someone. Does that make all dogs bad? I don’t really get why you only see the bad and never see the good. You have friends now, yes? I’m not saying one way or the other what should do or how you should feel, but you’re being a bit unfair. What could you personally do to make things better?”

“But I’m a loser!” Tsuna blurted out, then slumped even lower.

‘Gods, this kid is like Neville was but on steroids to the negative. Always with the can’t.’ He ate more dango before saying, “Sure, fine, if that’s what you believe. Are you positive it’s not simply being lazy?”

“What!?”

“Don’t just have a knee jerk reaction. Think. Are you going to be lazy and prove people right about you being a loser by just sitting there? Never making any effort to change things? To better yourself? Do you ever expect to get a girlfriend or boyfriend by dreaming about it instead of doing something? Think. People laugh at you, so give them a reason not to. Unless, that is, you really are happy always being unhappy and feeling like a loser. Some people are like that, after all.”

“What about you? You didn’t want to have to stop that terrorist, did you?”

Harry laughed. “Of course not. But there comes a point where you do or die. Either you man up and work, get better, and stronger, and more skilled, or you may as well let a truck run you over and save all the misery. My life was at stake, and the lives of the people I cared about. Whining didn’t solve anything and it didn’t make it any more likely that I’d win. I still whined a bit, and felt guilty for things that weren’t my fault, but that didn’t stop me. Whining doesn’t make you a loser. Not trying, or letting whining be everything, does.”

“You kinda sound like Reborn,” Tsuna said a bit sullenly.

“You kinda sound like my brother used to back when.”

“What?” Tsuna sat up and gave him a wide-eyed look.

He nodded. “Yeah. But he realized one day that can’t and won’t aren’t the same thing. That he couldn’t keep relying on other people to fight his battles for him or expect other people to save him. He became someone you could fight with, fight beside, not in place of. I’m really proud of him.”

“You wouldn’t understand,” Tsuna said, making Harry roll his eyes, “you’re already part of a Family.”

His brow went up at the way Tsuna said it. “You think so? I don’t.”

“What? But you have powers, and—”

“Yeah, so what?” he said, wondering just how much Reborn had shared with the boy, or how much he had stumbled over. “Doesn’t mean I’m part of a famiglia. I’m related to one, yes, through Lambo. What powers are you even talking about?”

Tsuna suddenly looked really uncomfortable. “Ano, you know how to use your Dying Will.”

Harry shrugged, wondering if Reborn had seen through Luna’s illusions. “Yeah, but again, so what? Doesn’t make me mafia. I did everything and learned everything I did well before I was ever made aware of my tenuous connection to a famiglia. I did what I did for the sake of my parents, who died to ensure that I lived, for myself, and for my loved ones.”

Tsuna got an oddly shrewd look on his face for a split second. “Then why are you here in Namimori?”

He smirked. “Because once it was all over we were free to live the way we wanted to, not according to the expectations of perfect strangers and people who weren’t even willing to help, the corrupt, the people who wanted to use us.” He shrugged. “But we weren’t born into a famiglia like I suspect you were.”

“But how did you learn how to use them so easily?”

Harry snorted in laughter. “Easily? No. There’s no miracle shortcut. And part of the answer to that is in the name: Dying Will. If it’s important enough to die for, it’s also important enough to live for, so you make it happen. You choose to believe you can do it. With enough practice you learn how to do it without it being so frightening, so you can back up your friends just like they back you up, and pull your weight on the team.

“Again, Tsuna-kun, I’m not trying to tell you what to do or how to feel, or make your decisions for you. This is an exchange of ideas, so maybe you can see where I’m coming from and why I chose as I did, because you’re obviously trying to figure something out based on all of this. You are ultimately the only person who can decide who and what you want to be. Power implies responsibility, and vice versa.”

Tsuna wandered off shortly after that and Harry slumped on the couch. “What is up with that boy? I kind of want to smack the taste out of his mouth.”

Somewhere nearby, Reborn snickered.

*

“Say what?” he said.

Reborn fanned a bunch of tickets out in his hand. “A luxury cruise and a visit to a resort island.”

“Why?” he asked suspiciously.

“Because I intend to bring Mama along and she could do with some adult company to keep an eye on the children.”

“There’s still a catch in here somewhere,” Luna said, torn between adoring the chibi and being equally suspicious.

“The resort is Mafia Land,” Reborn explained. “Normally you could never get access to it because you aren’t a recognized part of an associated family. But I have connections. You can have a holiday and make sure Mama stays out of trouble. There’s the trip out, a full day on the island, and the trip back the next day. It wouldn’t even interfere with your shop hours much.”

He and his siblings exchanged looks. Luna finally nodded, so Harry said, “Is any money involved? I mean, for the amenities on the ship or at the resort?”

“Only if you want to buy souvenirs or gamble,” Reborn said. “One thing, though.”

Harry’s brow went up.

“I plan to play a little trick on Tsuna and his friends, so I would appreciate if none of you clue him in. He’ll think that he and Mama have valid tickets, but that none of his friends do.”

“There are five tickets there,” Neville pointed out.

Reborn nodded. “I-Pin-chan can go with you. I will let her know to meet you here in plenty of time before you’d need to leave.”

Luna smiled at that.

“All right. We’ll help Nana-san keep an eye on the kids. I get the feeling you’re going to put Tsuna-kun and certain friends of his through the wringer, so we won’t have to worry about them. I take it that Nana-san has no real idea what’s going on.”

“Correct,” Reborn said as he set the tickets down. “I’ll be seeing you.” He hopped off his stool and saw himself out.

“I guess we’re taking a holiday, then,” Neville said.

The closed up a bit early on Friday and headed home to grab the bags they had packed. I-Pin was already there with Luna and Lambo, so they took a cab to the port and boarded the ship, flashing their tickets to the attendants on duty. Lambo was riding on Harry’s shoulder and I-Pin was on Luna’s. An attendant gave them a map and directions to their suite, so they trooped off to check it out and leave their belongings there.

A short time later they were headed to the dining room to get something to eat. Lambo was hopping up and down on his shoulder in anticipation of a huge spread and Harry was hard pressed not to snatch his son up and hold him steady. An attendant at the doors showed them to their table and they settled in.

A warning look from Harry saw Lambo behaving himself and not hoovering up every bit of food on the table. Harry went ahead and prepared a sampler plate for Lambo before serving himself. “Don’t eat too much, Lambo, or I’ll have to roll you around everywhere.”

Lambo giggled and started eating, so Harry took a moment to look around the room. There were a lot of people already present and enjoying themselves, and a glance at the doors showed that the Sawadas had arrived. “Tsuna-kun actually looks relaxed for once,” he murmured.

“Bet that won’t last long,” Neville said with a snicker, but sobered up when the two of them arrived at the table and took seats.

“Oh my,” Nana said, “how lovely to see you all here. Tsuna-kun and I won tickets!”

Luna smiled. “It’s nice to have a holiday, especially one that won’t interfere with Kidorui.”

“Lambo-san is happy to see Mama!” Lambo declared.

“I’m happy to see you, too, Lambo-kun,” Nana said as she prepared a plate for herself from the available selections.

“Hello, Tsuna-kun,” Neville said. “You look excited to be here.”

They ignored Lambo and I-Pin squabbling over a dish containing broccoli, but a quick look from Harry saw Lambo cease his teasing, and I-Pin look appropriately remorseful. “As soon as we’re done eating we can go out on deck and you two can play, all right?”

Both chibis nodded happily and went back to eating.

“The ship is amazing,” Tsuna said, “and the room, too.”

“Very nice,” Nana added. “It’s like a dream.”

They were most of the way through the meal when Tsuna saw some of his friends and went over to speak with them. For some reason—probably the prank Reborn spoke of—Tsuna went from pleased to scared out of his mind, and he and his friends dashed off in a panic.

“It’s nice to see Tsuna-kun having fun with his friends,” Nana commented.

Harry wisely smiled and nodded. “It is. Are you done, Lambo?”

“Lambo-san is stuffed,” Lambo replied, patting his stomach.

“How about you, I-Pin-chan?”

“I am full,” she said.

Luna clapped. “Okay! Shall we go out on deck now?”

“Please join us,” Neville said to Nana.

“Oh, thank you.”

The next morning they arrived at Mafia Land, though he had no idea what Nana thought it was called. “What a wonderful place!” she said, looking ahead at all the attractions. “Now this is what I call a high-class resort.”

Lambo and I-Pin started marching around in circles. “Theme park! Theme park!” Lambo chanted. “Lambo-san’s gonna have a blast!”

“I can’t wait!” I-Pin added excitedly.

Haru, one of Tsuna’s friends—stalker, really—started rabbiting on about the roller coaster and Tsuna got that freaked-out look on his face again, but before any plans could be made Reborn pulled Tsuna aside and told him to go check them in. From the gleam in the chibi’s eyes Harry knew he was up to no good, so he scooped up Lambo and waited for Neville to get I-Pin.

“The roller coaster here ranks third out of 8,452 attractions so scary you’ll faint, so you’re guaranteed thrills,” Fūta said. Harry only knew who the boy was because he liked to stop by Kidorui for chocolate amaretti cake every so often.

“What do you think, Lambo?” he asked. “The roller coaster, or something else?”

“Lambo-san wants to go on the roller coaster,” he said, hopping onto Harry’s shoulder and pointing repeatedly.

“Anyone else?”

All of them nodded, so off they went, though Nana did not get on, only waited for them, but they could see her waving at them as they swept by at one point. Luna stayed with her, just to be on the safe side.

He had made very sure that Lambo and I-Pin were securely fastened in. It was a bit like flying, he thought, though not quite as good an experience. As they looped around a thought struck him. If he could control gravity, did that mean he could fly under his own power now? He would have to ask his sister, to see what she thought.

They went on bumper cars and various other rides—Lambo practically squealed himself hoarse—and eventually ended up at the beach. Neville stayed with Nana on a beach blanket, an umbrella shading them, while everyone else got changed and plowed into the ocean.

They had just finished dressing and were looking to get something to eat when an announcement rang out over the resort. “Enemy attack! Enemy attack! Everyone evacuate to the shelters at once!”

“Oh my,” Nana said, looking around. “How exciting! What an original event.”

Harry exchanged a pained look with his siblings and started ushering everyone toward one of the resort workers, who was directing people where to go. They followed the streams of people and ended up at a massive castle. “Nothing on Hogwarts,” he muttered and saw his siblings nod in his peripheral vision. The explosions had stopped, at least. How Nana had not seen the roller coaster crumble into scrap metal buggered belief.

“Tsuna!” Nana called out, raising an arm to wave.

Harry looked over and saw Tsuna, Gokudera, and Yamamoto emerging from a tunnel. “Kaa-san!”

“Tsuna-san, you’re okay,” Haru said happily.

“Tsuna-nii, I was worried ’cause you were taking so long,” Fūta said.

Tsuna heaved a relieved sigh. “I’m so happy you’re all okay!”

“Lambo-san wanted to swim more,” Lambo said from Harry’s shoulder. He could just feel the pout.

“Me, too!” I-Pin agreed.

“Now, now, we’re about to have even more fun,” Nana said. “Right, Tsu-kun? We’re going to fight off the enemy mafia in this castle, right?”

Tsuna freaked out again, his expression saying that his brain was melting.

Harry saw that most of the people had already entered the castle and started trying to edge their group that way.

“What a fun event,” Nana declared, all starry-eyed. “I’ll be making food with the other ladies in the castle,” she added, and finally started walking.

Harry smiled in relief and followed behind everyone else, making sure no one got left behind. Not the boys, of course, because he knew Reborn expected them to do something. “I almost wish we could get out there and help,” he muttered.

“But that would bring far too much attention to us,” Luna said.

“I know, I know,” he said.

“Lambo-san would help, too.”

“Oh no, no no no,” he said quickly. “You are incredibly brave, Lambo, but there’s no need for you to get involved. Let’s help make sure Nana-san is safe, preferably without any grenades. I know you’re hiding some.”

Lambo giggled. “Lambo-san is always prepared.”

There really wasn’t much to it, in the end. They had not been in the castle for very long, not even enough time for Nana to do any of that cooking she thought would be needed, when they heard an announcement that the festivities were concluded for the day and they would all be directed to the dining hall.

“Oh, what a shame. I was having fun,” Nana said a bit sadly, but she quickly cheered up at the thought of dinner.

They spent the night on the ship, and after Lambo and I-Pin went to bed, he turned to his sister and said, “Do you think I could fly?”

She goggled at him for a moment, then looked thoughtful. “I don’t see why not. But I think you already know you’d have to start slowly. You really don’t want to launch yourself halfway around the world or into the sun.”

“Well, yeah.”

“Hari, the Incredible Flying Hedgehog,” Neville said quietly, then ducked a pillow thrown at him. “I think you could do it, but you might want to practice with objects first of increasing weights.”

“Not a bad idea,” Luna said. “And then hovering.”

He nodded and stifled a yawn. “I’m bushed, so I’ll see you two in the morning. Night.”

The spent the morning visiting the resort again, chasing down any attractions they still wished to visit, then prepared to head to the ship for the trip back. For some reason, Tsuna and his two male friends were walking their way dressed in swim trunks.

“Tsu-kun, what are you doing?” Nana said with a look of confusion. “The ship home is almost ready to leave.”

“What!? No way!”

*

Luna looked up from the morning paper and said, “Did you know? Someone destroyed the water slide at the public pool. They say it looks like explosives may have been used.”

Neville frowned and sneaked a peek at Lambo out of the corner of his eye, then shook his head.

“No leads?”

“This says they do, and that the persons responsible will be paying for the repairs. There’s also going to be a festival soon, with fireworks.”

“Lambo-san wants to know if we can go.”

Harry eyed how his son was eating his breakfast like a proper little gentleman—mostly—and smiled. “I think we can arrange that.”

Lambo squealed and hopped over to plant a sloppy kiss on his cheek before returning to his meal. Harry grabbed a napkin to wipe away the rice and omelet that had been left behind. Once they were done eating and the dishes were cleaned up and put away, Harry scooped up his son and said seriously, “Lambo? Do you understand what Omerta means?”

Lambo nodded vigorously.

“We’re going to go to a practice field, okay? And I want you to understand that everything that happens there falls under Omerta, for our little family. You, me, Kuma-oji, and Tsuki-oba. Nobody else can know. It’s a Mori family secret.”

Lambo nodded again. “Lambo-san will never betray his family!” he cried, thrusting one hand up in the air and striking a pose. Luna cooed and giggled in the background at how cute he was.

“How does he get it to do that?” Neville muttered, eyeing the onesie tail as it flicked around.

“Everyone ready?” he asked. A minute later they had all apparated to the field, which was actually a fairly large clearing in a nearby forest, one they had already warded to keep people away, and from noticing anything odd. Lambo squealed at the feeling of being sucked through a straw, then bounced around the clearing giggling happily.

“Okay,” Luna said. “Let’s start with you, Hari.” She found some rocks and grossly enlarged them, Lambo hopping over to perch on her shoulder and goggle at what she was doing. “Start trying to get these to fly around, smallest to largest. If you can do that reliably you can move on to hovering.”

He nodded and started in.

“Kuma, I want you to try forming shields with the soil and the plant life, and trying to grow plants to capture things or be used to climb—actually, maybe an obstacle course for Lambo first?”

Neville nodded and got to work.

Luna dangled Lambo out in front of her thoughtfully. “Once Kuma is done with the obstacle course, you can get some training in, chibi. While we wait, I’m going to practice one of my abilities.” She planted Lambo back on her shoulder and started practicing with Swamp Flames out of the way of her siblings, trying to decay the grass. “I’ll have to bring in some stuff specifically for this,” she muttered.

An hour later Neville gave her a shout, so she left off what she was doing and turned around. “Oh, that looks wonderful! Okay, Lambo, time for you to practice. Let’s see how well you can bounce around in this, hm? Use those acrobatics we’ve been working on.”

Lambo struck another pose and hopped off her shoulder, and scampered to the start of the course. Harry hovered over shakily and dropped to the ground next to his sister. “This is tiring.”

Luna smiled. “But it’s wor~king. You had a good idea, brother mine.”

“Kufufufu!” drifted up from the obstacle course.

“That laugh is still weird,” he commented. “How goes the decaying?”

“Fine, thanks. I’m going to bring in a bunch of stuff to purposely decay next time, though. I think Kuma would get upset if I decayed half the clearing.”

“Ano, what about living creatures?” he asked uncertainly.

Lambo’s head popped into view, he looked around, then he disappeared. A second later he tumbled through the air to get over a barrier of thorny vines and vanished again.

“That’s an interesting idea,” she said slowly. “I suppose if we were ever in another real fight, it would be one way to defeat an enemy intent on taking our lives. Kind of like how you dealt with that sympathizer, just a lot more messy.”

Harry shuddered at the imagery intruding in his head. “Yeah. But I think you should see how far your ability goes, just so you know your limits.”

“Sounds gross,” Neville opined, coming up to join them.

“Well, once we get more comfortable in using these Dying Will Flames, we can have a mock battle or something,” Harry said.

“And get you two better at seeing through illusions. Lambo, too,” Luna said. “Kuma, if you will, can you make up a list of things I can bring here to work with for next time? A variety, and preferably what won’t make you cringe if you see me decaying it.”

He nodded. “Sure. Maybe some of the ideas we can come up with we can take from actual battles we’ve fought? To see how we could shape these flames?”

Harry nodded. “How we would have handled it had we access to them then, yeah. An interesting exercise, I think. Good idea.”

“I’m going to keep an eye on Lambo,” Neville said, “while you two get back to practice. Maybe alter the course as he’s using it to add some excitement.”

Just then part of the course exploded and the sound of crying came to them. When the smoke cleared Lambo was sitting there all scuffed up. Harry hastened over and scooped him up for a cuddle. “What happened?”

“Lambo-san tripped!”

“Did a grenade fall out of your hair?” he asked wryly.

Lambo nodded and sniffled.

“I swear, it’s like you have an inter-dimensional portal in that hair of yours, straight to a storage facility.”

Lambo giggled. “What’s a intah-dah-men-shun-ul portal?”

“You’ll learn that later, chibi. Kuma, are you okay to fix the course so Lambo can keep practicing?”

“Yep. Leave it to me.”

“Okay, chibi. Kuma-oji will fix it all up and you can try again. But if you get tired, you stop, and we’ll all go home to clean up and get something to eat.”

Lambo gave him a sloppy kiss and hopped over to Neville, so Harry went back to hovering practice.

More than a few days later Lambo tumbled into the shop right before Harry’s break. He pranced toward the back room, shaking his tush with every step and making his tail whip from side to side. Harry was unnerved at the display; Lambo only ever acted like that when he was extraordinarily proud of himself. He brushed his hands off and scooped Lambo up once he got close enough. “What’s up, chibi?”

“Lambo-san has been chosen!”

“For?” he asked uneasily.

“Lambo-san was chosen to be a Lightning Guardian!” Lambo said proudly, puffing his little chest out. He delved into his hair and produced a ring, but it was odd. Only half the band and half the crest was there. What he could see of it showed—a lightning bolt? And clams?

‘What the fuck?’ he thought. “Who gave this to you?”

“Tsuna-kun’s daddy.”

‘I repeat: what the fuck?’ “Why would he do that?”

“There’s bad men in town to fight Tsuna-kun and his friends.”

Harry yanked on his hair. “And you were chosen to fight? By what damn right?”

Lambo went all teary-eyed and sniffled. “Otosan isn’t proud of Lambo-san?”

He heaved out a sigh. “Lambo, you are so incredibly precious to me. I love you with all my heart. I don’t want you to fight in a real battle and get hurt, or killed. That would devastate me. We’ve been training you, but not for something like this, not so soon. You’re my baby boy. I’m so proud of how hard you’ve been working, with Tsuki-oba and on the training course with Kuma-oji. Don’t you ever think I’m not proud of you.”

Lambo sniffled again and planted a kiss on his cheek. “Otosan doesn’t want Lambo-san to fight the bad men,” he said thoughtfully, his little brow all furrowed up.

“Not while you’re this young, chibi. We’ll keep training you, so that if it ever comes to it you can, you’ll be prepared. But I can’t lose you.”

“Even if Lambo-san uses his bazooka?”

“Even then. I’d rather you learn to fight without that. But maybe we can figure out a way to watch the fights without getting involved. Then you can see just how serious this might be, and how dangerous.”

“O~kay! Lambo-san doesn’t want to make Otosan sad.”

He exhaled in relief. Had Lambo decided to do it anyway Harry knew his little man was perfectly capable of sneaking away without being noticed, and that they’d have to use magic to track him down. “You said Tsuna-kun’s father gave it to you?”

Lambo nodded. “At Tsuna-kun’s house. This morning. Lambo-san helped Mama to put up the laundry.”

Harry arched a brow; that did not seem likely.

“Ano, Lambo-san might have been running around the yard with Sawada-san’s boxers on his horns.”

Harry chuckled. “Well, maybe he’s still there. We can go return the ring, all right?”

“Hai!” Lambo stuffed the half ring in his hair and hopped onto Harry’s shoulder.

He emerged from the back room and told Neville he might not make it back at his usual time, and if so he’d send a message to their sister to come in and help out. “I’ll explain later, I promise.” Then they were out the door and off to the Sawada house.

Nana let them in with a starry-eyed smile and ushered then into the living room. Harry was astonished to see that the table in there was groaning under the weight of so many dishes of food. A blond man was napping beside the table, wearing only a pair of boxers—were those moles printed on them wearing hard hats and holding pickaxes?—and a white wife beater. Several empty wine bottles were scattered nearby.

Fūta was kneeling on a cushion on one side of the table, I-Pin, too, and Reborn. Harry made sure to keep hold of Lambo so he didn’t go wandering off as he eyed the blond with anger and suspicion.

“Mori-san,” Reborn greeted.

“Yeah,” he said unhappily. “Reborn-san, Fūta-kun, I-Pin-chan. Good morning.”

“You do not look pleased,” Reborn observed.

“Really?” he said. “Why the—” He saw the children again and chose different words. “Why would I be pleased? Lambo told me something extremely upsetting just a little while ago. May I have that ring, chibi?”

Lambo delved into his hair and produced the ring, and deposited it in Harry’s hand.

“Thank you.” He tossed the ring to Reborn, who caught it easily. “I am more than a little angry that some stranger arbitrarily decided to use my five year old son—and without even asking me—never mind that it could potentially be a life or death situation.”

The blond snorted in his sleep and grunted, then his eyes opened and he sat up, scratching his chest. “What’s the problem? It’s a great honor!”

“Have you always been insane,” he shot back, “or is this a new thing? How dare you attempt to put my son in danger?”

The blond laughed heartily and said to Reborn, “He has no idea who he’s dealing with, eh?”

“Lambo will not be participating in whatever altercation is going down. Find yourself a different patsy.”

The blond opened his mouth again, but Harry was done. He turned around and left, giving Nana a wave on the way out. Sawada-san reminded him far too much of Lockhart, so talking was pointless.

Several days later he got a really bad feeling. “Where is Lambo?” he asked his siblings.

“He went out with I-Pin and Fūta. Haru and Kyoko, too.”

“Something is wrong,” he said stiffly. “I think he’s in danger. We need to find him.”

Luna clapped. “Okay! Let’s go.”

A quick charm gave them a heading and they took off, preparing to have to fight if the chibi really was in danger. They found him with I-Pin and Fūta, being menaced by a man in black, having arrived just in time to hear him say he planned to kill all three children.

“I don’t fucking think so,” he yelled as Luna and Neville landed next to him. “Why are you here?” They each scooped up a child, Neville taking Fūta.

“Orders, man. We need that ring.”

“Ring?” He looked and saw the damn thing glinting in Lambo’s hair. “How the hell did that get there?”

Lambo looked scared. “Lambo-san didn’t know!” he cried. “Lambo-san didn’t disobey Otosan!”

“I believe you, chibi. It’s okay.” ‘And I bet I know who’s responsible.’

Two more men showed up, dressed exactly like the first one was. Each of them had swords crackling with lightning.

Quietly Harry said in Russian, “One each, as they face us, memory charm. Then we apparate. Go to our house.”

His siblings nodded and slid wands out of their sleeves just enough to use them without being obvious.

“Kids, hold on tight and close your eyes. Don’t let go.” He tapped his foot, and on the third tap they threw out obliviates and apparated. The second they were there he plucked the ring from Lambo’s hair and apparated again, landing in an alley near the Sawada house. He stormed up to the door and mashed the doorbell.

Nana answered, still all starry-eyed, and let him in.

“Is Sawada-san at home?”

“Oh, no, he’s away at the moment,” she said. “Is there something I can do?”

‘Shit. I can’t leave it here. Those jerks might not remember what happened, but they can obviously track the ring.’ “Ano, no. Thank you so much.” He took off and quickly did another location charm. Reborn was headed in the same direction they had apparated from. ‘What is so important about this fucking ring?’

He took off after Reborn and caught up to him and Tsuna thanks to being able to speed himself up. The ring was shoved into the hitman’s hands. “You deal with it!” he roared, then backtracked to an alley so he could apparate home. Everyone was still there, looking a bit confused, but happy enough due to the snacks and drinks his siblings had set out.

“Everything okay now?” Luna asked.

“Depends on your definition,” he said roughly. “I made Reborn take the thing. Blondie has a lot to answer for.”

*

Elsewhere in town Reborn and Tsuna had stopped dead. Reborn was staring at the half ring in his hand in confusion.

“H-how?” Tsuna said.

Reborn knew that Iemitsu had blown off Hari’s words and had somehow managed to plant the ring on Lambo, still intent on using the child as the Lightning Guardian. The moment they had learned the Varia were in town already Iemitsu told them to protect the boy. He heaved a sigh and headed back to the Sawada house. How Hari had managed to figure out Lambo was in danger or even where Reborn was. . . . Earth Flame users did not have that kind of power. It was an intriguing mystery.

Back at the house they ran into Iemitsu, who said, “I managed to warn everyone. Where is Lambo-kun? You were supposed to protect him.”

Tsuna froze up and Reborn heaved a tiny sigh. “Your plan didn’t work. Mori-san returned the ring to me before we ever found the boy. He apparently meant it when he said he would not allow Lambo-kun to be the Lightning Guardian.”

Iemitsu frowned. “I may have to talk some sense into that man.”

“N-no!” Tsuna yelled. “You don’t have that right!”

Iemitsu snorted and then beamed. “The Bovino Famiglia is allied with the Vongola. Of course it’d be an honor for one of them to be your guardian.”

Tsuna slumped over in disbelief.

“Iemitsu-san, I really think you should leave this be,” Reborn said. “It’s one thing to make decisions for your own son, but for some other man’s? No.”

Just then the phone rang, then stopped. A minute later Mama appeared. “That was Tsuki-chan. I-Pin-chan and Fūta-kun are having a sleepover with Lambo-kun. Isn’t that lovely?” She paused. “Oh my, maybe I made a little too much food, then.” She wandered off to the kitchen.

Iemitsu opened his mouth and Tsuna fled up the stairs. Iemitsu looked confused for a moment, then said, “Where does Mori-san live? I’ll go have a talk with him.” He looked down expecting an answer from Reborn and blinked when he was nowhere in sight. The ring, however, was sitting in his place.

*

Harry jumped and clutched at his chest when he noticed Reborn was at the table calmly nibbling on some daifuku. “When did you get here?”

“I came to find out what happened. The ring is back with Sawada-san.”

Harry’s eyes narrowed. He shrugged and said, “I had a feeling Lambo was in danger. We went and rescued the kids. I returned the ring to you.”

Reborn nodded. “How?”

“Family se~cret!” Lambo warbled. “Otosan was wonderful!” Then he grabbed Fūta and I-Pin by the hands and scampered off upstairs.

“I sincerely hope you didn’t tell Sawada-san where we live,” Neville said.

Reborn shook his head. “I respect your decision, and that Lambo-kun won’t do it. Iemitsu-san does not. You might want to keep the boy inside for a while, until this is over.”

“Thank you for the warning,” Harry said. “Any places we should avoid if one of us three is out and about?”

Reborn gave him a look. “I would not be surprised if he gets the location of the bakery from Mama.”

Luna sighed.

“One more thing. The man after Lambo-kun may not give up. He takes everything seriously. Once he’s chosen a target, he’ll beat them to a pulp, women and children included.”

Reborn took his leave, and Harry very inconspicuously tossed up some misdirection wards. If Reborn could get into the house that easily. . . . On top of that, they chose to speak in Tagalog, hoping that was something Reborn would not know if he was still somehow able to listen in. Luna’s thing for stuffing them full of languages was not such a bad deal under the circumstances.

“What the fuck?” Neville said.

Harry growled and shredded a pair of disposable hashi. “We’re going to have to update the wards, as quickly as possible.”

Luna nodded. “Kuma, keep an eye on the children. Hari and I will start here, with the house. We’ll move on to the bakery as soon as we’re finished.”

“I know Sawada’s feel well enough to target him specifically, but I’m not so sure about the men here for whatever fight is about to happen,” Harry said.

“What the hell were those swords?” Neville asked. “Was that some kind of manifestation of Dying Will Flames?”

“Maybe?” Luna said. “They were after Lambo, and he’s Lightning. It kind of makes sense. Anyway, get to watching. You can always portkey the kids to the training field if absolutely necessary.”

Neville nodded and got up, and that was when the doorbell rang. They exchanged an uneasy look. Neville fled upstairs, and Harry went to answer the door.

“Good evening, Mori-san,” one of the two men standing there said to Harry, aiming a pleasant smile his way. They were dressed exactly the same, and held up badges that said: Magical Assembly of Japan, Incorporated.

“What are you doing here?” he asked, eyeing the two of them.

“We were alerted to an incident. May we please come in so we can speak about this?”

“I guess so,” he said slowly, stepping back. He allowed the two men in and ushered them to the living room. “An incident?” he said once they had all taken seats.

“Yes. Three counts of the obliviation charm were registered. We are obliged to investigate. Will you please tell us what happened?”

He relaxed slightly, as did Luna. The odds of a non-magical knowing that phrase was miniscule. “My son was in danger from three men wielding swords. They were obliviated to cover our escape from the scene. We erased the last few minutes from them and disapparated while they were disoriented.”

Surprisingly the men accepted that as the full truth, or enough of it. “Is there any assistance we can provide?”

“Ano, we were just about to update the wards here, and then at our place of business. We should be fine. I’ll be keeping my son inside for a while, anyway, just in case.”

One of them pulled a business card from his pocket and slid it onto the coffee table. “Please let us know if we are needed.” Then they got up and allowed themselves to be escorted out.

He and Luna exchanged a look, shrugged, and got to work. “I’m a bit stunned,” he commented. “That was nothing like the British Ministry.”

“I’m grateful,” she replied. “I have to imagine the magicals here in Japan are far better behaved, for one thing, and long-standing Japanese culture has instilled certain values into the system of government here.”

They did not get back to the house until around two in the morning, and they were both dead tired. Harry checked in on the children and saw that they were arrayed like a bunch of kittens in the middle of one of the futons, so he left them to it and stripped down so he could fall into bed.

When he woke up the next morning he had Lambo cuddled up to him again, and smiled. Over breakfast they had a coded discussion, during which Neville managed to get across that I-Pin and Fūta were under the impression that some form of mafia “magic” had been used to get them away, and that they had promised to keep it a secret. Unfortunately they were much too young to try to get a proper vow out of, even with an adult using their own magic to help seal it. They would simply have to trust that the two children had the honor to stick to their promises.

Harry headed off to the bakery after reminding Lambo that he would need to stay in for the time being. Lambo looked very unhappy, but Luna promised to make things fun. Neville said he would deliver Fūta and I-Pin to the Sawada household before coming in. Harry, to save time, apparated as soon as he was out of sight of the two non-family members, straight into the bakery’s kitchen, and got to work. He had lost time to make up for.

Neville arrived a bit later and started loading trays of sweets into their respective slots in the displays, and then opened the shop. Over the course of the morning Harry noticed Iemitsu wandering by the bakery on numerous occasions, but never seeming to see it, so he felt relief that the changes they had made held up against the man.

He opted not to go for his usual walk and instead apparated home for his break. He spent that time playing with Lambo, making little clay sculptures together. When Tsuna and his friends showed up at the bakery that afternoon he did not come out, but he did tag them with locator charms. He was about to add ones for listening, then second-guessed himself. Knowing where they were was one thing; the charms would only last about twenty-four hours. Listening to everything they said during that time was more of an invasion of privacy than he could handle.

That evening he noticed the boys had converged on the school they attended and scratched his head in confusion. Despite being very tempted to go peek in on things he resisted. The more they knew the intimate details of whatever was going on, the more they might be dragged into mafia business. Lambo was already in bed and they had a baby monitor set up, so Harry said, “I know where they are right now, but. . . .” He explained his thoughts to see how they reacted.

“Oo, tough one,” Luna said.

“I don’t think we should,” Neville opined. “I think maybe you’re right. If this is famiglia business then we have no real right to poke our noses in further. It’s a little weird that they’re at the school, I agree, but if anyone finds out we witnessed anything, we could be pulled in for real, or silenced.”

Luna nodded after a moment.

“Okay. I’ll let the charms wear off and we keep out of it. I did want Lambo to see how serious this is, whatever it is, but not with that kind of risk.”

Tsuna came into the bakery the next afternoon looking panicked. He scurried over to Neville at the counter and started whispering. Curious, Harry emerged to listen in. Tsuna noticed him and waved him over frantically. “Keep Lambo-kun hidden!” he hissed.

“We intend to,” Harry said slowly.

“My father is out of his mind trying to find him. I can’t say much. Just keep him hidden. I’ll try to get Reborn to let you know when it’s okay again.” Tsuna dashed off, tripped half way to the door and managed to recover, then darted outside and down the street.

“Okay, then,” he said. “At least Tsuna-kun in on our side in this.”

Neville snorted. “Tsuna-kun wishes he would wake up to find all of this madness was just a long nightmare.”

“True.” As soon as they had closed up the shop they apparated home from the back room. Lambo squealed and tumbled over to greet him, so Harry picked him up so they could cuddle. “How was your day?”

“Lambo-san had fun! Can Lambo-san train at the field today?”

“Ano, it’s not safe yet, chibi. Give it a bit more time. But if you want, we can play tonight, just you and me. Maybe make some more pretty sculptures for the bakery?”

“Video games?”

“Okay, we can do that.” ‘And I’ll get my ass kicked, probably.’

Later that night he spent some time reading Lambo a bedtime story, and tucked him in more securely once his little man had fallen asleep. He made sure the monitor was on and went downstairs to get a snack, then returned and read for a while before falling asleep himself.

Reborn stopped by the bakery the next morning and opted for a two espresso cupcakes and two servings of tiramisu. Harry came out once he saw the chibi giving him a look—he definitely was not fooled by the illusion on the doorway—and took a seat.

“It should be reasonably safe at this point, but I would still stay on your guard until this is all over.”

“I had planned to,” he said. “I don’t know exactly what’s going on and I’d rather not know. But I would appreciate a heads up once we no longer need to keep Lambo under house arrest.”

“Will do.”

Harry nodded and retreated to his kitchen. He dithered for a while when it was time to head home for his break because Reborn was still eating, and it annoyed him. He did not want to apparate while the chibi could witness it, but was worried that if he did not get going Lambo might do something foolish. He finally made sure he could not be seen at all from line of sight through the door, and apparated.

They went to the training field that night. It was still raining, but the violence of the storm from the night before had lessened. There was still plenty of rain falling and more than a few lightning strikes. Harry simply took it as an opportunity to experiment with altering gravity around himself and the others such that the rain slid off to either side rather than hitting any of them directly.

Lambo was happily tumbling through the obstacle course with Neville altering it on the fly. Then the lightning struck. Lambo squealed in pain and fright. Harry’s heart seized up in his chest and he thought he might keel over and die on the spot. Once the light faded and their vision returned he could see Lambo sitting in the middle of a destroyed course, bawling his eyes out.

He rushed over to pick him up, but another strike hit. His arm went up to shield his eyes, and the second he could he snatched Lambo up and apparated home. “Lambo!” he said urgently. “Lambo?”

“O~to~san?”

Luna and Neville appeared, both looking frantic. “Is he okay?” Luna said breathlessly, and whipped her wand out to start doing diagnostics. “He—he’s fine. Just a little scorched.”

“What the fuck?” Neville whispered.

“Rule number two,” Harry said loudly. “No training when there are thunderstorms!”

“What was rule number one?” Neville whispered to Luna.

“No letting any of us train alone?” she whispered back. “Maybe?”

“He’ll be fine.”

Harry whipped around ready to kill. “What the hell are you doing here?” he growled.

Reborn shrugged. “Ciaossu. I was in the neighborhood. Lambo-kun was hit by lightning, yes? He’ll be fine.”

“I can see that he’s fine,” Harry snarled. “He’s only a bit shook up. What are you trying to say? He’s a damn lightning rod in human form?”

“Essentially, yes. There’s a reason why Iemitsu-san wanted him as Lightning Guardian. With time and training Lambo will be able to use lightning against others, and getting hit with it won’t do more than tickle. Those horns aren’t just a cute complement to his outfit.”

“How the fuck do you keep getting in here?” Harry shouted.

“You can teleport,” Reborn said calmly. “Your sister can use a stick to determine someone’s health. What else can you do?”

“You know, you’re not so adorable when you’re being a nosy pain in the ass,” Luna said, “and poking into family business.”

Lambo sniffled and held up his burnt onesie tail. “Lambo-san’s tail is dead.”

“Oh, chibi,” Luna cooed, “you have more in your closet, remember?”

Lambo sniffled again and nodded. “Tsuki-oba will help Lambo-san?”

“Of course. Come along, Lambo-kun. We’ll get you cleaned up and changed.”

Lambo hopped over to her a little shakily and off they went upstairs.

“Look,” Harry said. “There are laws. What you witnessed? We can’t talk. Don’t ask more questions because we can’t answer them. Not won’t, can’t.”

Reborn’s eyes narrowed. “So it’s like Omerta.”

“Yes.”

“But this is why the Bovino Famiglia targeted you.”

Harry kept his mouth shut.

“Somehow I don’t think they were after you because you’re an Earth Flame.”

‘Still not talking,’ he thought. ‘But if this shit keeps up, I may have to call in the cavalry, someone more qualified than I am to ensure this doesn’t go any further.’

Reborn’s eyes narrowed again, then he smiled faintly. “I see. Just remember, you’re technically allied with the Vongola Famiglia.”

‘Still not talking,’ he repeated in his thoughts.

Reborn nodded and saw himself out.

Harry exchanged a look with Neville. He was going to update the wards, again, this time to exclude Reborn unless he was actually invited in. It would make the chibi more intrigued, but he did not feel he had a choice. As soon as Lambo was asleep he and Luna started tinkering again.

The remainder of the week went well enough. They did use the training field after work each day, just to give Lambo an outlet for his energy and to relieve the pressure from house arrest, but no more untoward events occurred. Harry could fly by that point, sort of, though not very high and not for very long.

Neville was getting much better at changing the course, even to the extent of trying to trap Lambo as he tumbled through it, and Luna was having success in playing around with illusions to further confuse things, and in speeding up the rate at which she could decay organic material.

As a side effect, Lambo was getting better at seeing through illusions. They all were. They had no idea if Reborn had an illusionist on his side who could cloak Reborn in someone else’s guise in order to get through the damn door. Luna was not telling them precisely what she was doing; she had only warned them she would be testing them repeatedly, though Lambo she went easy on, and only while at the training field.

They heard some really weird noises coming from Nami Middle during the night at the end of the week, explosions and the like, but stayed at home. Two days later Reborn showed up at the front door with an annoyed expression.

Harry smiled at him pleasantly. “Yes?”

“May I come in?”

“Oh, we were just about to leave, actually,” he said truthfully. It was a day off, so they were going to spend it at the training field.

Reborn’s eyes narrowed. “The altercation is over and Iemitsu-san is not in the country any longer.”

Harry smiled in relief. “Thank you for letting us know. I’m sure I’ll see you at the bakery.”

Reborn left without another word, so Harry closed the door and they all apparated to the field. He had no idea that Reborn spent the next two hours trying to figure out how to get back into the house, just because he had been blocked.

*

Harry was prepping for dinner when he heard a series of squeaky grunts. He set down his knife and went into the living room to see Lambo tumbling down the stairs. Before he had a chance to reach out with Earth Flames to rescue his son, the Ten Year Bazooka popped out of Lambo’s hair and Lambo landed inside. Boom! A cloud of purple smoke erupted.

“Yare yare,” he heard.

“Lambo?”

“Otosan.” Fifteen year old Lambo emerged from the smoke and glanced at the calendar, then nodded. “I am reminded of something. Occlumency should help. With the illusions, that is. But I won’t be able to use that for some time. Meditation isn’t a bad idea.”

“You know, it’s a little strange not hearing you speak in the third person,” Harry said, smiling a bit ruefully.

Lambo grinned. “Lambo-san is here!”

Harry laughed and hugged his son. “Occlumency, huh? That kind of makes sense if you think of illusions like the imperius.”

“Yes,” Lambo agreed. “That was the reasoning.”

“What happens to five year old Lambo? He takes your place in the future?”

Lambo nodded. “Spreading chaos wherever he goes.”

“That’s my little man. Maybe it’s genetic,” he said, scratching the back of his neck.

“They all blame it on you,” Lambo assured him and planted a kiss on his cheek. “You’re something of a trouble magnet and I’m a magnet for lightning.”

He sighed and shook his head. “I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re such an adorable child, Lambo. I’m glad I found you fairly early on. It’s always a joy to spend time with you. I expect that will stay true no matter how old you are.”

“Of course, but it was I who found you.”

“You didn’t find me, you ran into me!” he protested, and that led to a mock squabble. Unfortunately, Lambo poofed back before they could conclude the battle.

Luna raced into the room and skidded to a stop just as the cloud of purple smoke dissipated to reveal the proper five year old version of Lambo. She stamped her foot on the floor. “Damn it. I missed it again, didn’t I.”

“Afraid so,” he replied, picking Lambo up and cuddling him. “You okay after that tumble down the stairs, chibi?”

“Lambo-san is fine!” Lambo declared. “Lambo-san would like his snack now!”

“Okay, chibi. Let’s go get you a little something to tide you over until dinner.”

A week later he heard a very loud squeal just before the power went out and everything went black. He blinked and hastened out of the kitchen on memory, then stopped dead when out of the darkness he saw Lambo’s horns crackling with electricity. He rushed over to pick up his son, heedless of the potential shock he would get, and was relieved when he heard Lambo giggling madly.

“That tickled Lambo-san.”

“What did you do?” he asked, bringing his wand out long enough to charm a temporary light on the wall. He checked Lambo over, but he seemed perfectly okay.

“Lambo-san accidentally stuck a fork in the socket.”

Harry looked down and saw a fork sticking out of an electrical socket. “I didn’t even know we had any forks.”

Lambo giggled again. “Lambo-san is always prepared!”

“Oh dear lord,” he said with a sigh.

Neville wandered in, his wand held up to light the way. “What happened?”

“Lambo happened. I think he tripped the breakers. We probably should put covers on all the outlets that aren’t in use.”

“Ano, yeah. I’ll go check the box.”