Disclaimer: Would anyone actually believe me if I said that I did own Harry Potter? Thought not.
Notes/Warnings: Alright, there's a mild warning for language...though since I'm pretty much not using any swear words, this warning might not even be important. Aside from that, there will be no slash in this story, but there might be a bit of romance. But, let's face it: romance isn't my strong point so it won't be central to the story. There will be a semi-powerful! Harry.
The stench of sweat clawed through the air.
"Ha-dri-an!" The crowd roared in glee. "Ha-dri-an!"
Come on - hit me! Harry Potter, alias Hadrian, waited for the swaying Goyle look-alike to make his move. A grin was stretched across his lips, the thrill of competition sending a delicious rush through him. Go on -
"Argh!" his opponent bellowed and launched himself at him, completely throwing all thoughts of using his wand out the window.
Harry's grin widened. White-blonde hair flashing, he darted past his victim's wild punch with a speed that tore gasps from the audience's throats. Goyle 2.0's momentum sent him stumbling into the spot Harry had vanished from.
Got you now. Harry pivoted and smashed the blade of his foot in a deadly arc on the Goyle clone's temple. His pseudo school nemesis' imitation crumpled onto the floor and savage screams erupted for Hadrian's latest victory.
London's dueling club, Harry's patron club, shouted out what they were owed after winning their bets on him. The occasional person applauded whiile others futilely hammered against the wards preventing anyone but the competitors from entering and leaving the dueling arena.
Harry felt a mingle of delight and concern as he eyed his unconscious opponent, the top the Manchester underground dueling club offered. He hoped he wasn't too badly hurt. "Let's give another shout of approval to the still-reigning dueling champion, Hadrian!" The commentator demanded unnecessarily.
Harry cracked a grim smile. No-holds bar duels, where everything from magic to swords and first could be used, were messy. They always ended brutally.
But if he wanted experience in real life battles to prepare himself for fighting Voldemort, not to mention to keep the deal he'd made with Uncle Vernon, they were essential. In actual skirmishes, no one stood on the opposite ends of platforms against only one opponent, had carefully enforced rules, and used generic auror fighting styles.
Knowing the drill by now, Harry walked slowly around the arena, pumping his arm in the air like he'd seen the wrestlers Vernon watched on TV do. He had to wonder if the throngs of spectators would still be cheering if they knew that the mysterious Hadrian was actually the sixteen year old Boy Who Lived under glamour charms. He guessed that the club's merciless patrons wouldn't be pleased to learn that the Light's poster boy had squeezed his way into their midst.
Well, one thing's for sure, he decided. It wouldn't do well for his already sinking public opinion, courtesy of Scrimgeour, to discover that the Chosen One was fighting bloody, illegal battles in an underground dueling club. Such organizations were banned for the last century for good reason.
The commentator smirked at the crowd's reaction. "It seems that even though the pretender resorted to Muggle means, Hadrian's unsurpassed agility and strength once again caused him to dominate the duel. Healer!" He flicked his fingers lazily to where Harry's opponent lay, still knocked out from his crescent kick. Two men, their muscles almost exploding from beneath their robes, dragged the body off the arena floor.
Harry couldn't help but be surprised yet against when the crowd passed a bag around, the golden glint of galleons pouring inside it. The sheer amount was daunting, but at a championship like this, he supposed it was to be expected.
Now maybe he'd be able to 'afford his keep' at the Dursleys, in Uncle 'Vermin's words as well as the new prescription glasses his eyes had been begging him to purchase. This summer, he'd suddenly been needing a new one every week, and Vernon had refused to pay after the first month was up.
Harry frowned as he swiped at the cut across his lip, ignoring the sting. Ever since the end of his fifth year, his physical strength had been growing exponentially for reasons only Merlin would know – and his eyesight seemed to be improving along with it.
Loud voices tore through his thoughts. "Is this all our champion deserves, ladies and gentlemen?" More animalistic shrieks detonated through the masses. "Well, we'll just have to fix that, won't we? Let's give it up for our next ambitious pretender for Hadrian's prestigious title! The one, the only-!"
The lights died. Crimson blared back on. It was a signal, meaning the worst.
"Aurors!" The commentator bellowed, the fact that his voice was already under the Sonorous Charm causing everyone in the vicinity to come close to deaf. "Evacuate immediately!"
Harry swore; there was no way he could afford to let the Ministry see what he was doing. There had already been enough rumors regarding the state of his sanity and his 'allegiances' after the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Hadrian's true identity was certain to come up during a trial, and he wasn't looking for a nightmarish remix.
"This is the Department of Magical Law Enforcement! Remain calm and-"
Utter pandemonium erupted before the order even finished, and Harry wondered why the aurors even bothered. Seizing his chance, he leaped towards the door reserved for entering the arena, ignoring the enraged and horrified cacophony howling from behind him. The stifling grip of anti-apparation wards smothered the air, and Harry dove towards the nearest office in the hall, knowing that there would be a fireplace for emergencies just like this one.
"Alohomora!" he snapped at the door. It swung open and he plowed through it, scouring the walls for a familiar jar of emerald green powder.
Harry automatically hurled himself into a shoulder roll, landing back on his feet and slamming down a shield just as another bolt of red light speared towards him. "Expelliarmus!" he cried, jumping to the left as he anticipated the auror's next move.
The surprised auror just managed to evade the spell, his eyes narrowing as he took in Hadrian's young appearance. If only he knew just how young, Harry thought to himself. He had no doubt that his knowledge of curses, hexes, and charms were not as broad as the auror's and he didn't have any training aside from his illegal duels. Still, those were hardly miniscule experiences and with his newly-developing, unnervingly fast reflexes and movements, it was irrelevant.
Harry leaned back, ducking another curse. His eyes darted around the room. In only a few seconds, dozens of aurors would run through the door. No doubt by now the Floo was blocked. Any auror worth his salt would have taken care of that before the raid had even began.
Scowling to himself for even searching for the Floo in the first place, he Summoned the bookshelf just behind the auror. The cabinet rammed into the auror's back, sending him skidding across the floor.
"Stupefy," Harry hissed at his dazed attacker. With a frail, stupid hope, he stuffed his hand in the Floo jar and threw the fine powder into the awaiting flames. They sputtered green, gave a final gasp, and vanished. Harry ground his teeth in frustration. Footsteps pounded down the hall.
With no time to think, he ripped the auror's robe uniform off him and threw it over himself, rapidly tossing one glamour over another onto his face. Hopefully, it replicated the face before him. He pointed his holly wand at the fallen law enforcer and Disillusioned him.
Drowning out the snarls of the captured spectators from his hearing, Harry donned the hood and slipped out of the room, jogging towards the exit. Passing aurors ignored him as they dashed past, and Harry reached the exit without interruption.
Hip-Hop music beat against the ground. Neon lights slipped over his face. Harry froze, despising his luck. Of all places the dueling club had to be hidden beneath, it was a Muggle nightclub. Knockturn Alley had apparently been dubbed too obvious.
Well, he couldn't afford to wait. Eventually an actual aurro would come out and question why he wasn't doing his job apprehending the people inside. He elbowed his way past the couples, disregarding the odd looks they were stabbing him because of his wizard clothing.
"Hey, watch it!"
"Loser – go play dress up with somewhere else!"
Clutching his wand tightly, he whispered a Notice-Me-Not spell, feeling the ancient power cover him like spider webs. The Muggles continued to protest and wince, with Harry mumbling distracted apologies as he concentrated on escaping. Stupid Apparation age restriction, he growled to himself. Stupid risk of splinching…
Without a thought, he shoved past the club bouncer. Surprised gasps came from the waiting line as they supposedly witnessed an invisible force knock the 250 pound, six foot five man to the ground. "Sorry," Harry winced. If only Hermione was here, then she could help him research how he had obtained this inexplicable strength – and reprimand him about forgetting to keep it in check.
The cool night air breathed against his face as he left, tossing his stolen cloak into a nearby bush and canceling the glamour charms. A tall and lean Harry Potter emerged in Hadrian's place, his sleek, inky hair tousled by the light breeze. Half in annoyance, half in relief, he commented to himself, No one would dare accuse the Boy Who Lived of being in a fight club.
He glanced one last time behind him before shaking his head. The people in those clubs knew the risk. It was an unsaid rule that once the aurors came, everyone was on their own. Harry wasn't confident enough to claim that he could take down an entire auror squad singlehandedly.
They'll get a fine at most, he sighed. Was it weird that he was willing to protect criminals?
Although you technically qualify as one, you know.
Wonderful, he replied sarcastically to that uppity voice of reason. Running a hand through his hair, he found the nearest bus stop and lifted his wand, summoning the Knight Bus.
A/N: To anyone who's reading this story, thanks! This chapter was ridiculously short, so, as you can tell from that statement, the rest will be longer. I'll warn you all that I'll probably be using American English accidently, though I'm trying to stick to British English.
Thanks for reading!