wwtMask (a.k.a. thablackkuririn) presents
Disclaimer: This chapter is inspired by the events of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, chapters 1 and 2.
Chapter 1 – The Boy Who Snapped
Little Whinging, a small village on the outskirts of Surrey, was a community that prided itself on its utter normality. The houses were all of a good size and all looked more or less the same. The yards were all neatly manicured, the cars all late model and spotless. Everything was quite routine, down to the time when husbands left for work, children left for school, and wives left for the market. Yes, everyone in Little Whinging was absolutely, without a doubt, completely and utterly normal.
Everyone, that is, except Harry Potter. Whatever anyone thought they knew about him, one thing was certain; Little Whinging had become less and less normal since he'd arrived. In fact, the only thing that was actually normal about the boy was how much of a little hooligan he'd turned out to be. His abnormality even seemed to have rubbed off on his relatives, Vernon and Petunia Dursley and their son Dudley. Instead of being properly ashamed of having raised such a troublemaker, they instead were almost beside themselves that their nephew was such a bad egg. It certainly seemed to be the only thing they would talk about, how he was worthless and would turn out to be like his alcoholic parents, dead in a car crash.
Since his arrival, everyone started noticing that some children were less respectful. Several years on, a few boys even started a gang that vandalized property and terrorized younger children, and the residents were sure that they'd been inspired by the five year old Harry Potter. When a few of the boys were caught breaking into houses, they eventually even admitted as much, proving the fears of many people. When the boys had been sent off to reform school, it had angered an awful lot of people that Harry, too, wasn't sent as well, even if he didn't really do anything. To them, the fact that he was there at all, corrupting children who would otherwise be angels, was enough to sentence him. As the years passed, many hateful and suspicious eyes watched Harry's every move.
And what was young Harry to think or to do about this? After four years of living with the Dursleys, he still couldn't figure out why they hated him. Near as he could tell, they did so simply because he dared to exist. He'd long ago given up trying to gain their favor or love, since it was obvious that nothing he did could ever be right in their eyes. Instead, he nurtured an intense hatred for his relatives, who abused him physically and emotionally, and for his faceless parents, who stupidly got themselves killed and left him with the Dursleys. He was eager and hopeful that he'd find someone, anyone to care about him outside of his family. When it became clear that the Dursleys had poisoned everyone against him, though, he simply learned to hate everyone else too.
That year, Harry started primary school and even though he tried to be friendly, no one would be his friend. If they weren't scared of his reputation or forbidden to associate with him by their parents, they were afraid of Dudley and his gang. Ironically, everyone had it all wrong; it was Dudley, not Harry, who was the trouble making hooligan. By the time this became apparent, it was already too late to fix the damage to Harry's reputation. His life was without love or happiness or friendship. All he could count on was drudgery and abuse and, most of all, his simmering hate.
Nearly two years had passed since the Little Whinging gang had been caught and broken up. Harry's life hadn't changed very much. He still slept in the cramped cupboard under the stairs and was worked like a slave and constantly abused by the Dursleys. He was still bullied and beaten by Dudley and his gang. He was still shunned, feared, and looked down upon by everyone else. He'd grown a bit, despite being grossly underfed, and had gone up a couple of grades, despite a bare minimum effort in school. What had definitely changed, though, was how much hated the Dursleys. Over the years, he'd gone from dislike to general loathing to constantly thinking of harming them. He always told himself that he'd never do it, of course, but the thoughts gave him the only comfort available. Still, the knowledge that he'd never have the courage to follow through intensified his hate until it hurt to much to hold onto any more.
Harry Potter awoke one Wednesday morning in early spring with a most unexpected expression on his face; he was smiling. Not even Vernon's threat to "wipe the smile off his face" nor the very real backhand across his face to do so could take it away. In truth, it was more of a leer, an unsettling expression that made Vernon and Petunia uneasy. Harry was never happy and never had a reason to be; they made sure of that. Normally, things that made Harry happy made them angry. This day, his aunt and uncle couldn't help but feel an unreasonable, nagging worry.
No one dared ask Harry what he was so happy about, even if almost everyone, including the teachers, noticed his smile. Some didn't really care, but most were simply afraid of what could possibly make him happy. Although the rumors about how dangerous he was had gone on for years, only recently had they seemed to ring true. The school had been vandalized, things had been stolen, and students were being beaten up. While all signs pointed to him, Harry had avoided trouble because no one had seen anything, nor would any victim talk, and he steadfastly proclaimed his innocence. That morning, he knew that everyone was watching and waiting for him to do something that they could prove. This thought made him smile even wider.
At lunch, Harry's cousin, Dudley, and his gang of friends, decided to have a little fun with Harry. They'd heard the stories about Harry but, having beat him up for years, they weren't worried. Neither, it seems, was Harry, who continued smiling at them as they stalked across the school yard towards him. He turned around and headed towards a group of kindergarten kids who were playing a game of cricket with a small plastic bat. Seeing Harry, the kids shrieked and scattered, dropping the ball and the bat. Harry's smile never waned as he quickly picked up the undersized and lightweight bat.
"Hey, freak! What're you smiling about?" Dudley asked. His friends snickered appreciatively. Harry, however, did not answer. "You'd better forget about whatever it is before I wipe that smile off your face."
Harry still didn't answer. In fact, he didn't even move. "Hey Dudley, lookit, he's got that little whiffle bat. That's real scary, right boys?" said Piers Polkiss, Dudley's right hand man. The other boys guffawed loudly. Harry still said nothing and remained facing away from them, much to their annoyance. Normally, he would've run at this point. Behind him, Dudley's gang egged their leader on. Dudley was only too happy to oblige them.
"What're you gonna do, freak?" Dudley said maliciously, grabbing his cousin's shoulder with a meaty hand. "You gonna hit-"
With a swift move, Harry twisted out of Dudley's grip, turned, and smashed him on the side of his face with the cricket bat. It hit with an unexpectedly sickening crunch that stunned everyone. Dudley's eyes went wide and, due to the blow, one almost literally popped out. A scream seemed to catch in his throat before he crumpled to the ground, blood oozing from his ear, nose, and eye.
The other three boys stood dumbstruck, and this is probably why Harry was able to dispatch them without too much fuss. The second swing hit the nearest boy square in his face and sent him stumbling backwards, spraying blood and teeth from his mouth. The third swing of the bat shattered another boy's kneecap, sending him falling forward and giving Harry a great opening for an upward shot that shattered his jaw. The last boy, the ratty looking Piers, raised his hands to defend his face, so Harry gladly slammed his foot into the boy's crotch. The hands now fallen, Harry whacked the boy across the face as hard as he could.
"How d'you like that, Duddy!" Harry yelled, kicking his cousin hard in the ribs. "Did I wipe the smile off your fat face, huh!"
He fell to kicking and hitting the fallen boys, yelling incoherently. Harry didn't realize he was crying until his sight started to blur. His heart seemed to be beating so loud that it was the only thing he could hear. He continued flailing away until someone grabbed him. They roughly pulled him away and shoved him to the ground.
Harry sat there in the dirt, staring at his hands. They were trembling and there were flecks of blood on them. He held the small plastic bat in a white knuckle grip and stared at it. Blood and hair mingled on one side, creating a sickening veneer that he couldn't stop staring at, even while it turned his stomach. The smile had long since disappeared from his face, replaced by a look of blank shock.
Someone yanked him to his feet by his collar and wrenched the plastic bat from his hand. He vaguely heard someone yelling, but he didn't hear what they were saying. Years in the Dursley household had made him a master at ignoring angry, yelling people. A teacher dragged him towards the school. The man's grip dug uncomfortably into his wrist, but Harry didn't complain. Eventually, they stopped at the headmaster's office, where he was forced into a chair.
Several people came and went, but Harry hardly noticed or even heard them. He could only think of what had just happened, what he'd done. He felt so tired that he wished he could just sleep and forget about everything that had happened. He wished that everyone would leave him alone, and wondered if wishing would work again. Harry didn't snap out of his reverie until he saw the policeman standing over him. For the first time, Harry was afraid.
"Come on, son." the man said gently, lifting him from the chair by his arm. "We're just going to take a little ride."
Harry looked around wildly for some kind of escape but, as with so many things in his life, he was disappointed. The headmaster and several teachers were all in the room, their expressions a mix of pity, revulsion, and regret, but none of them looked surprised in the least. The last person in the room glared at Harry with the utmost hate and seemed to be only just restraining himself. "You'll pay for this, boy!" he hissed threateningly, his face purple with anger.
Harry stared blankly back, his hate for the man and his family filling his heart and slowly pushing away any remorse he'd been feeling. He never took his eyes away as the policeman walked him out of the room. As he passed his seething uncle, he smirked at him hatefully, enjoying the intense anger that it seemed to inspire. He didn't know it then, but it would be one of the few times he would feel anything close to happiness for several years.
To Be Continued...in Chapter 2: The Boy Who Went Bad
Well, there you have it, the first of hopefully many chapters in this fic. This idea's been beating around in my head for a while, inspired in part by a half dozen Independent!Harry stories I've read. I just thought that it would be interesting if St. Brute's was actually a real reform school for the worst of juvenile offenders and wondered what Harry would be like if he spent some of his formative years amongst such people. I hope the title of this fic is a good hint as to the results.
I'm using this fic as a writing experiment. I have absolutely no plans for this story beyond presenting the events from the books to this new Harry. How the story plays out will rely entirely on Harry as I've recreated him and the reactions of the other unchanged characters to him. The general idea is to see if I can actually write hooligan Harry in his own voice and not my own. This has been a real problem in my writing up to this point. I won't make any promises on the frequency of updates, especially since I have another fic (Might and Magic) that's higher priority. That said, I'm about 1/3rd of the way through chapter 2 and expect to make more progress while this story remains at the front of my mind. And, no, this chapter is not representative of the average size of the following chapters. Brevity isn't my strong point.
If you get a chance, send a review my way, I'd love to hear what anyone thinks about this story. I'll also be creating a forum to pass along info, answer questions, and take suggestions on this story. Thanks for reading!