The black umbrella twirled between long fingers in the near darkness, almost thwacking one of the prison guards in the back of the head as he fumbled with keys. The other guard smothered a shocked laugh, and the umbrella stilled. Mycroft Holmes raised an eyebrow - all the magic in the world and the wizard prison still needed keys?
"The wards on the doors block all magic; we need the keys to access the high security cases," the fumbling guard muttered in response to Mycroft's huff. The muggle checked a pocket watch and shifted slowly, impatience oozing from every perfectly maintained pore. The door finally creaked open, and both guards immediately ducked inside - past the wards, Mycroft assumed - and shouted a spell.
Mycroft watched the two faintly flickering silver guardians blankly. He knew all about magic, and the magical world. He quietly wondered how - as a muggle and a ‘sociopath’ - the dementors might affect him, should he encounter one. As he followed the guards, he silently pondered how they may have affected the prisoner he had arranged to meet.
Mycroft walked briskly, ignoring the moans and groping hands slithering from the cells on either side. The guards flinched and sneered at the blackened fingers and broken pleas, but nonetheless led him quickly to the end of the hall. The highest security cell in the highest security wing of the highest security prison. Mycroft smiled briefly.
This particular specimen seemed to always do things in threes.
Harsh rattling of metal striking metal echoed through the hall as the guard holding the keys shook with nerves. Mycroft's umbrella tapped against the cobbled stone as he waited impatiently for the door in his way to be opened. At the dull thunk of an ancient lock releasing, Mycroft stepped neatly around the man and walked into the tiny room. He didn't react as the door clicked and locked behind him, eyes only for the man before him.
He was barely out of boyhood, very tall and worryingly thin. Thick dark hair lay matted down to his shoulders, a parody of curls, and his cheekbones jutted out harshly. His frail looking body was contrasted by his upright posture and sharp eyes that took in Mycroft's every movement from his seat at the far wall. Mycroft noted that the man was pressed as closely as possible to the crack in the stones that served as a window in this place. Interesting.
Mycroft moved to introduce himself.
"Good day, Mr -"
"Oh, day, is it? That's nice. Sunny, judging by the faded lint on the shoulders of your coat. This of course begs the question; why have you got an umbrella? But you look like a creature of habit and preparation, so that's boring. I'm so very bored. Why are you here?"
Mycroft blinked in surprise, then smiled. It seemed the man's insight and intuition had not fallen from its legendary status. The man sniffed and shifted, bringing Mycroft's attention back to him. He nodded his agreement to the prisoner's statement, and wrinkled his nose at the savagely pleased grin he got in return.
"My name is Mycroft Holmes, and I am a representative of -"
"Lying. You're not a lackey. I know lackeys. You're a leader, in charge, but not a General. No... Oh! You're a yucky politician, all fake smiles and fake promises and fake hair. How's Her Majesty?"
Mycroft paused. How did he...?
"Dog hairs. Corgi. On your trousers. Smell of nicotine, not on your breath but on your clothes. Not your cigarettes. I know the whole family have a certain filthy habit, so it's obvious. Has young Harry found anyone yet? It's been a while."
"Prince Harry remains... Unattached. Her Majesty is well. I am, for lack of a better term, a member of the British Government, and I need your expertise."
The man snorted, picking at his wrists. Mycroft saw raw patches of new skin, but said nothing.
"My 'expertise' is what got me clapped in irons in the first place, Mr Holmes. People don't like it when you understand them. Or when you can cast spells without a wand. Or when you kill serial murderers."
"Nevertheless, I have need of you, and I can offer you your freedom in exchange."
The man looked up sharply, eyes shining with a gleam that could be mistaken for madness, but was far too intelligent. Mycroft resisted the urge to blink.
"Not lying. Interesting. You need power for that, Mr British Government. A lot of power. I've been here for years, after all. Four or five I'd say, judging by your eyebrows."
Mycroft didn't ask.
"What does 'freedom' entail?" the man asked.
"Escape from Azkaban, a new identity, a flat in muggle London, all your finances and belongings from all of your Lordships and inheritances returned to you, a form of - conditional - diplomatic immunity, additional monthly payments from the government, and access to anything you may need for experiments and investigations - within reason," Mycroft listed off.
"Yes, yes, but what's the catch ?"
"You will be, officially, a renegade genius and 'consulting detective', helping on curious cases. Unofficially, and far more secretly, you will be the Crown's personal investigator. I will have you on the ground, as it were, looking into concerns of the royal family and the British Isles."
The man seemed to ponder Mycroft’s words for a moment, leaning against the filthy wall at his back.
"So, I get out of here, get a shiny new name, some toys, and then I just... do whatever you tell me to?" the man hummed, pressing his fingers together and propping them at his chin. Mycroft waited, trying not to fidget. The man was unnaturally still.
"I accept, Mr Holmes. This is far too interesting to pass up," the man stood, shaking Mycroft's hand firmly.
"Excellent. Thank you, Mr Potter."
Potter - Harry - grinned violently. His eyes were scarily sane after nearly five years in Azkaban.
"No, thank you , Mr Holmes. I was so very bored."
"Please, call me Mycroft. You're my new little brother, after all," Mycroft smiled flatly, and Harry laughed delightedly.
"This will be fun, Mycroft Holmes."
"I quite agree, Sherlock Holmes."