I'm Not a Hero
Summary: Harry loses the Battle at Hogwarts, which causes Voldemort's army to swell in large numbers. Two years later, there is a hooded figure found on the streets, fighting for civilians, killing Deatheaters on a nightly basis. What happens when a blonde-haired Deatheater finds out a little something about Harry Potter? darkavenger!harry.
I land in a perfect crouch, the pads of my fingertips lightly touching the ground to keep me perfectly balanced. In front of me, I see a woman and her young child being terrorized by four masked Deatheaters. One has his wand aimed at her neck, watching her struggle with a manic glee, and the others are pulling at the child's cornflower blue dress. There is nothing I hate more than sadistic Deatheaters who torture mothers and their children.
They have not noticed me yet. But the young child has. Her pleading blue eyes find mine, and force me into action. I pull the hood of my cloak down lower and put a single finger to my lips, asking her not to give me away yet. I advance forward slowly, keeping the element of surprise on my side. Just as a curse is about to leave the lips of a Deatheater, I throw down silent anti-disapparation spells and anti-portkey spells in quick succession, leaving them stranded in their own territory.
This is my territory now.
I throw a silent blasting curse at the Deatheater who was about to curse the mother, and throw a killing curse at another. I am not here to play. I am not here to show off my dueling skills. I am here to quickly kill those who work for the Dark Lord. The blasted Deatheater is thrown back ten feet, losing an arm in the process. He screams hoarsely, clutching at his twitching, bleeding shoulder.
The woman screams as she is sprayed with his blood, and backs away, pulling her crying child into her arms. She crawls into the closet and disappears behind a rack of clothes. Knowing she is safe, I pool my concentration into the Deatheaters. I dodge a confringo spell that would have blown my head off, and send a confringo of my own at a Deatheater. The curse is strong enough to sever his body in half.
I clench my teeth when one of the Deatheaters throw a crucio at me, and I am afraid for a second that the curse will slow me down, but I manage to roll away from the direction of his wand. He is surprised that I can still function perfectly after being put under the pain curse. He doesn't know the beginning of it. I finally end the fight with another round of killing curses, terminating the remaining two Deatheaters.
The room fills with a vivid green light, and everything becomes silent, except for the quiet sobbing of the mother. I look around at the blood-soaked room and realize the mother and child will have nightmares if I don't clean this up. I evanesco the blood away and levitate the bodies to the front porch. If she's smart, she'll fire-call the Aurors instead of walking out there.
I don't bother to stay or comfort her. It will be a long night, and I have no time to spare. I pull down my anti-disapparation and anti-portkey spells and disappear silently.
I try not to stumble too hard as I apparate into my apartment, but I fail miserably. I crash into the glass display case that holds memorabilia of my parents, and slide down to the wooden floorboards with a soft cry.
That is the first sound I have made all night. To remain anonymous, I never say my spells out loud or converse with the Deatheaters that I will kill. I have mastered the art of silent apparation and silent spellwork. It is absolutely necessary if I want to surprise them and keep my identity a secret.
I remain kneeling on the floor, cradling my badly damaged arm to my chest. I revel in the feeling of pain, as that is the only emotion I ever feel these days. I can't feel anything. I am like a broken, forgotten statue. The apartment is dark, but from underneath the arc of the living room entrance I see the shadow of Ginny.
She has my worn-out terry bathrobe on, and she clutches it around herself as if she is clutching me. I can't see much, but it is clear that she is distressed.
"Harry," she says softly. She takes a wavering step, hesitant to help me. Sadly, I have conditioned her to feel that way. I don't need her help, and as such, I refuse any that she gives me.
"Go back to sleep," I croak. But she is brave tonight. She takes another step and slips under the pale lighting of the moon. She looks as worn-out as my bathrobe, and I am startled to feel a longing to hold her again, like old times.
"You're hurt," she informs me quietly, and lightly touches the top of my head. The black hood slips down from beneath her fingers and reveals my hardened face.
"Nothing I don't deserve," I say. She doesn't respond.
"Come to bed," she whispers instead, and gently caresses the side of my face. There is a sharp shooting pain running down my arm, my head is killing me, and I know I should heal myself, but I only nod and allow her to lead me to our master bedroom.
She lays me down on my side of the bed and pulls the cover of our heavy duvet over my body, encasing me in a temporary safe haven. I close my eyes and imagine that I am an ugly caterpillar inside of a cocoon, waiting to be reborn as a beautiful, pure butterfly.
Except I will never be reborn, and I will never be pure. The thought gives me a bitter taste in the back of my throat. The bed dips as Ginny lays down next to me. She brushes my bangs away and grazes her supple lips over my lightning bolt scar that I acquired from the Dark Lord eighteen years ago. I jerk away, as if stung, and push her away.
The moment of normalcy is lost. The kiss over my scar has reminded me that I am not a hero. The era of the Dark Ages has overcome the wizarding and muggle worlds because of my stupidity. I couldn't kill the Dark Lord when I had the chance. I, the Chosen One, failed. He won the Battle at Hogwarts, and grew his army of Deatheaters until they grew too large in size for the Order of the Phoenix to fight alone.
After the Battle of Hogwarts, where I lost, I disappeared, and the entire world pointed their fingers at me and called me a coward. And a coward I still am. I am too ashamed to go out in the world wearing my Harry Potter face, so I fight under the cover of the night with my Midnight Striker face.
That's what the Daily Prophet is calling me these days. I started killing Deatheaters half a year ago, and it is becoming increasingly clear that no Deatheater is safe wandering the nights after the clock strikes twelve. I apparate from location to location all night long until I hit upon a Deatheater raid. It may be a muggle home or a wizarding home, it doesn't matter. I strike them down without pity or thought. On a good night, I will kill eight to ten Deatheaters. On an unsuccessful night, I will be unable to find a raid. Those are the worst kinds of nights. I return home to Ginny feeling edgy and useless.
Ginny is the only person in the entire world that knows what I do at night. She's the only person in the world that believes that I am a hero, even when I beg her not to. I have distanced myself from the rest of my friends, including Hermione and Ron. Even they are under the illusion that I am the fallen hero who ran away from his duties. I haven't seen an Order member, besides Ginny, in almost two years.
Ginny retreats to the edge of the bed and curls into herself. She doesn't touch me the rest of the night, and that is a good thing, because if she did, I might have hurt her.
The next morning, I put a fresh pot of coffee in the machine and down a vile tasting Healing Potion for my arm while I wait. I plop down on the breakfast table and find a warrant for my arrest in the Daily Prophet. The Dark Lord has finally noticed that his numbers are dwindling, and all because of a certain avenger named the Midnight Striker. It is ironic, that even in my disguise, the Dark Lord is after my blood. I notice that underneath the blaring headline for my arrest, there is an article about Harry Potter.
They want me to show myself. They don't know where I am, what I am doing, and all that they can assume is that I am quietly hiding with my face in the ground somewhere. I crumble up the newspaper and toss it in the garbage can.
It is sometime in the late afternoon, and Ginny has left for work. She is a Department Head in the Ministry of Magic. I keep telling her to quit her job because no person is safe working for the government. The Dark Lord is looking to take the Ministry down in the upcoming months, and I don't want Ginny to be there when that happens. But because she is a Weasley by blood and extremely stubborn, she won't listen to me.
As it nears Ginny's time to come home, I don a simple black cloak, different from the ones I battle in, and head out the door. I pull up my hood at the last minute, and walk down the streets of the city feeling suicidal. I realize I want someone to find out that underneath the hood is Harry Potter. I want someone to call me out and hit me. I want a crowd to gather and jeer at the Boy-Who-Failed.
But I don't let that hood fall. I keep wandering, skulking in the shadows, waiting for the sun to set. As soon as it does, I enter a crowded bar I've never been to before, called the Peacock Lounge, and sit myself on a bar stool. Instantly, the atmosphere in the bar becomes thick with suspicion. Everyone is wary of the man with the black hood on. I ignore them, and wait for a bartender to come get my order.
"Take your hood off," he says gruffly. He is a hulking brute, with a sharp intimidating face. I hesitate, and actually consider pulling it down. What an uproar that would be. The first public appearance of Harry Potter since his infamous disappearance two years ago. But I decide not to. I silently shake my head.
"I don't serve Deatheaters," he spits, and attracts the attention of several other wizards, who have already drawn their wands. I don't want to cause a commotion, so I stand from my seat and leave the bar through the back door. On the way out, I bump into someone, which causes my hood to fall. I quickly duck my head and try to hide my face, but it's too late.
I feel a rough hand grab my chin and push my face up.
"Well well well," the voice says snidely. "Look who we have here,"
For a moment, I am swimming in these ethereal metallic eyes. I wonder what he sees in my eyes. They are probably dull, like pennies. I break eye contact, and ask myself how he is still alive. Surely I must have killed him by now in one of my nightly Deatheater killing sprees. After all, he is a high profile Deatheater who takes pleasure in torturing others.
I try to pull my face away from his grip, but he strengthens his hold on me.
"Nuh uh uh," he clucks. "I'm going to take a good, long look at you, Harry Potter,"
I know that in seconds I can have him disarmed and killed, but strangely enough, I don't. I play the weakened hero, Harry Potter, and allow myself be examined by Draco Malfoy.
"What has the little hero been doing until now? Hmm?" he mocks, finally letting me go with a violent push. I stumble backwards and hit my angular shoulder bone on the brick wall. A soft gush of air escapes from my parted lips.
"Nothing to say?" he sneers. "I wouldn't expect the fallen hero to have anything to say anyway," and takes a slow, cruel step towards me. I look up at him through my dark lashes, because I have always been short and never grew, and try to force myself to be angry at him. After all, he tried to kill Dumbledore back in 6th Year, and he chose his alliance with the Dark Lord. I tell myself that I shouldn't kill him yet. I am not the Midnight Striker, at least not until midnight anyway. If he walks away before midnight, I'll let him go unscathed. But if he chooses to stay and play until then, he will die. I've laid out his choices.
"Potter," he sighs. "The entire wizarding world has been searching for you. Why, even the Dark Lord is beside himself with worry."
I want to admit to him that I am the Midnight Striker and that I have been killing his friends and colleagues for the past few months, just to see another expression on his face besides a sneer. But again, I keep myself in check and shrink further into myself.
I am shocked, but again, not angered, when Draco backhands me. I run my tongue over the corner of my lip where his family ring has cut me deep, and spit a mouthful of blood to the side. I'm positive that there must be a dark red imprint on the side of my face where his hand struck me, and he's probably expecting some kind of retribution, but I don't do anything. I only dab at the corner of my lip with the back of my hand and give him a half-assed glare.
"You're pathetic, Potter," he says flatly. I know, I think to myself.
"Seriously, what happened to you," he asks with a look of disgust on his face. He has finally realized that Harry Potter is not a fighter anymore. I don't have anything to say to that, so I try to distance myself from him, but he puts his forearm against my neck and pins me into place.
"Let me go," I croak, because my back aches from being pressed against the hard brick wall, and my windpipe is being crushed by his arm.
"He speaks!" he pronounces grandly, but doesn't let go. He lowers his lips to my ear and grazes it.
"I should hand you to the Dark Lord," he whispers. Shivers run up and down my spine, causing goosebumps to form on my pale skin.
"What do you think the Dark Lord will do with you?"
And because I am a coward, and because the thought of facing the Dark Lord again actually terrifies me in a way I can't describe, I apparate away from his arms and land in my living room with a soft whoosh. I imagine Draco stumbled forward and had to brace himself against the wall. I imagine he is cursing himself for not thinking of putting anti-disapparation charms down. I imagine his ethereal metallic eyes, and I imagine myself swimming in them again.
"I am scared to face the Dark Lord again because I don't want to fail." I admit out loud. I am greeted with a palpable silence.
"I am so scared, in fact, that I can't even say his name anymore," I mumble, and decide to get piss drunk in the kitchen by myself.
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