Author's Note: Another oneshot in the Harry Potter universe. Takes place after OOtP, contains light spoilers (ish). Told in the POV of an OC. No pairings. In case of confusion, the tattoos represent people who died in the War against Voldemort.
Disclaimer: Nope, still don't own them. Someday, though... muahhahaha...
He was back again.
That strange, haunted teen.
I can remember clearly the first time he walked into my tattoo parlor. It was late one summer night, pouring down rain in a torrential storm – one of the many that summer. His incredible green eyes had shone with tears.
He was only sixteen the first time he walked in here. The first time he came, I had tried to make him leave, on the grounds that his legal guardians hadn't given him permission.
He had come back the next night with signed emancipation papers.
So I had given him the tattoo he had requested. He hadn't even flinched at the pain, either. I've had grown men screaming in pain from a tattoo (granted, mostly larger tattoos), but this teenager didn't even flinch. He didn't make a sound throughout the entire procedure.
When I had finished the tattoo, a small one on his left bicep of a black dog, he had simply handed me the money (exactly the cost, and before I had asked for it), and walked out the door in silence.
He's one of my most regular customers. I've done every tattoo on his body; and he has quite a few.
Each time he walked in, his eyes had lost a little more life. Each time he came in, he had more scars, some recent, some old, but in ever-increasing numbers. Something was killing him, slowly but surely.
Once he had limped in, dragging behind him a broken leg. A huge gash ran down his arm, still bleeding. He wasn't crying. He hadn't cried since his first time here.
I tried to make him leave again, to get medical attention. For the first time, I heard him speak (other than when he asked for tattoos).
"I'll get it when I'm done. I need this more." And that was that. I gave him the tattoos he asked for, a tawny red lion with blue eyes and a fluffy brown owl.
He left when I had finished, once again shoving the money into my hands before I could say a word.
For once, though, he turned back. I guess he was feeling talkative that day, as he spoke again.
"Thank you," he had said. He left without another word.
This time he was hurt, and badly. The old scar shaped like lightning on his forehead was ripped open, and extended, slashing a path across his face to lick his left cheek. One arm was definitely dislocated, the other wrist broken. Again, he was limping, just like the time he had walked in with a broken leg. He was soaked in blood, and wearing the strange clothes he had since that first time he walked in here. He also had the strangest weapons, multiple knives and daggers, two guns, a sword of all things, and countless others I probably couldn't even see.
"A tawny wolf. A dragon, red. A lion and a lioness. A white ferret. A black raven. A dark green, almost black, snake with slitted, bloodred eyes. And…" he trailed off, looking unsure; the first emotion I had seen in a long time. His eyes, that had started dying so long ago, were dead. At the same time, though, the life seemed to come back.
"A Phoenix. Dark green and black with gold and red fire."
When I had finished, he handed me the money (again, without being asked), and walked to the door.
Before he left, though, he turned back to me.
"You won't see me again. I've done what I set out to do. Someone may come in here looking for a 'Harry Potter'. Tell them… tell them I've gone for good," he said, then turned to walk out the door. At the last moment, he turned back.
"And… thank you," he said with a small, sad smile.
He was true to his word; I never saw the man Harry Potter again. But I will never forget him.