Disclaimer: All rights to the Harry Potter franchise belongs to the esteemed J.K Rowling and Bloomsbury Publishing. The same goes for Alan Moore, Stan Lee, Robert E. Howard, Matt Groening and Bob Kane/Bill Finger for their respective creations.
I would like to add that the Conan monologues are greatly influenced by Robert Brockway's "The Way of the Barbarian: Infusing Your Spiritual Life with Conan".
Author's Note: Edited at 23rd August 2015. Parts and references unknown to England were changed as was stated in the reviews and feedback from DLP.
A Gritty Reboot
Harry Potter was a normal boy; as normal as can be defined in a social context. He was polite, intelligent, and abhorred any attention whatsoever. This was especially intriguing to the form teacher of Class 4-A, Jessica Abernathy. She noticed he would often downplay his ability in class, resulting in him to only average low B's and C's for all of his subjects.
However, she was also aware of the bullying the frail boy suffered at the hands of the notorious school gang led by his very own cousin, Dudley Dursley. They were notorious in their own right—rampant rumours of their bullying and teasing would reach her ears, but it didn't warrant enough merit to an actual police investigation.
Mrs. Shawstone, the staunch principal of Stonewall Primary School, had even tried reasoning with Dudley's parents during a home visit, but the Dursley's would have none of it.
'Now, listen here... Dudley is a magnificent boy!'
'—would never hurt a fly!'
'Accused him based on some shameless accusation by a couple of ruddy kids—'
'—the smartest student in that damned school...'
So, it was left to the teachers to curb their unruly ways. Jessica, herself, tried her best to stop the rough-housing the small group had often caused during recess, but their influence was only limited to within the school compound. Teachers weren't as vigilant as to patrol the whole of Little Whinging, which contrary to belief, was not as little as the name suggested. Some of the older (dare she say lazier) staff members even expressed their tiresome opinion, stating how it was just the over-activeness of ten-year old boys.
So it was with a heavy heart that she addressed the frail boy in front of her, "There's nothing that you want to tell me, Harry? Nothing at all?" Jessica tried to probe the issue once again.
The boy staunchly kept his head bowed. His eyes would dart upwards to meet her gaze sparingly, but when their eyes met, he would glance back down.
"No," he mumbled quietly, shaking his head as he did.
Her lips thinned slightly.
Jessica had a sneaking suspicion that something was not right in the Dursley household; it was obvious considering Harry's fragile state. For a ten year old, Harry was abnormally short for his age and his thin frame was a contrast to his cousin's considerable girth.
She had at times, tried to contact social services to do a house-call to survey the conditions of the Dursley home, but the case worker on the other end had explicitly reminded her that the department was stretched thin. They had expressed their promise to do the best that they could, but they had the whole of Surrey under their jurisdiction and Harry was just another file buried under several mountains of paperwork.
Despite her meddlesome nature, Jessica was afraid to confront the Dursley's directly. There didn't seem to be any outwards sign of physical abuse and the only psychology terms she could remember from her university days was from a short introductory elective that wasn't all that informative.
Once again, she was at a dead end.
She mustered up a smile as she regarded Harry.
"I'm sorry for taking your time then. Now, if there is anything that you want to tell me, don't hesitate all right? My door is wide open, and if you want, you can call me any time," she said, scribbling her number on a small piece of paper.
Harry took the offered paper and stuffed it inside his weathered and tattered backpack. He gave another quick nod before mumbling a hasty goodbye and immediately exited the class.
Jessica sighed wearily and looked out the window.
A black mop of hair could be seen slowly fading away in the distance as she watched Harry Potter shuffle back to Privet Drive. She would not know it, but the next time she saw her young student right after the holidays, she would gradually notice a change in his normal demeanour.
It was a particularly downtrodden and bitter boy that curled up in the small bed in his equally small cupboard that night. He sniffed again as he tried to stop the flow of tears from dampening his already soiled bed-sheet. With a vigorous swipe, Harry wiped the fresh set of tears that were gathering at the corner of his eyes.
He gently patted his shaven head, silently wishing for his messy hair to magically appear under his touch.
He was not disappointed when it didn't.
The terrible act of injustice occurred just after Aunt Petunia had commented on his messy hair, stating her fears that the neighbours would gossip about his unruly appearance. Thus, after a small struggle and a tense talking to by Uncle Vernon, Harry bitterly resigned to his fate as Aunt Petunia brought him to the nearby saloon and ordered the stylist to shave his head 'commando style'.
Harry bit back his anger at Dudley's smug and condescending smile as the boy patted his full head of hair, knowing an act of transgression against Dudley would be considered as an act of transgression against the rest of the family. He would not like to revisit the horror and fear of watching Uncle Vernon turn a nasty shade of purple again.
That, and well... he liked food.
After the customary merciless rant, Uncle Vernon had locked him inside the cupboard for almost a day without any food or water. It was only after Aunt Petunia voiced her concerns that he finally acquitted and allowed him to have half a sandwich with a glass of tap water. Suffice to say, Harry learned his lesson well that day.
Never raise your hands against or be better at anything than Dudley.
It was with this that an emotionally and physically drained Harry Potter succumbed to the exhausted state of his body and quietly fell into the gentle embrace of slumber.
"—wake up, I tell you," his aunt's shrill voice screeched at him. "It's already half-past seven!"
Harry blinked repeatedly as he tried to shrug off the sleep from his eyes. He scratched his hair, blearily looking in the darkness of the room in search of his glasses. His right hand stopped within an inch of the frame before his brain finally caught up.
Why did he have hair?
Closing his eyes, he patted his head gingerly before a smile, beyond which words could express, graced his features. Harry clammed up his initial instinct to shout the words as he pondered how he had managed to grow back the unruly mop of hair that was a constant thorn to Aunt Petunia's image of prim perfection.
His mind suddenly singled out Dudley's rather old comic book that he had filched from the table on the living room. Incredibly, no one had noticed the tattered comic book was missing and he kept it reverently in a small and cramped spot just under his bed.
Could it be? Was he a mutant like those 'Z-Men'?
He scrunched up his face in thought. That didn't sound right but the general impression was there. As he reached under his bed to grab the aforementioned comic book from his hiding spot, the door suddenly opened with a small 'bang' as Aunt Petunia stuck her head in.
"What is taking you so—"
Her words immediately died in her mouth as she noticed the familiar mop of black hair that was conveniently absent just yesterday. Her shriek of fear and genuine anguish would forever be the talking point of Privet Drive.
Harry Potter just offered a small and nervous grin in return.
The repercussion of his mutant-tastic feat was tantamount to about a lifetime of detentions and writing lines in a non-descript classroom.
Once again, Harry had the displeasure of watching his uncle turn a nasty shade of puce. He could almost imagine the bursting clouds of steam that would erupt from his uncle's ears, just like the cartoons he had the privy of watching when he was younger.
It was not pretty.
Still, it was nice to see his abnormally large cousin gape like a fish, though what was not nice however, was being locked inside the cupboard for the entirety of the weekend. Again, it was unfortunate that he was unable to eat breakfast that faithful Saturday morning, but he digressed, this new ability had affirmed his belief that he was some sort of mutant.
Of course, his primary source of information was gathered from Classic X-Men #18.
It was the holy grail of advanced genome mutation.
Harry had acknowledged that even if he was a mutant, he was without a doubt one of the lousiest mutants there ever was. The ability to regrow one's hair was basically the most useless power he had heard since... well ever.
He would be lying if he said that he wasn't disappointed with himself, but he marched onward, reasoning to himself that there would perhaps be a silver lining to his ability. So, he tried to control this newly found power of lengthening one's hair during the two day lock-down inside his cupboard.
At least, he could save money from all the haircuts he wouldn't need in the coming years. But for now, it was better if he was able to gather more information on these super-powered beings.
Harry Potter nodded slowly.
There was a ton of comic books inside Dudley's room, maybe he won't notice a few of them missing.
He stalked through the halls silently. Of course, it was totally unnecessary since he was alone in the Dursley household, but it added to the whole theatrics of sneaking into Dudley's room.
It was a stroke of luck that Aunt Petunia had left together with Dudley to buy the groceries for tonight's dinner. However, this was the perfect opportunity to sneak into Dudley's room to search for more information regarding his new-found ability.
He slowly turned the doorknob to Dudley's room, silently praying that his cousin had not locked the room, but his fears were unfounded as the door opened with a small click. As he entered, he glanced around the room, slightly awed at how spacious Dudley's room was. This was of course compared to his cramped dwelling.
To be fair, almost every other room in this house was bigger than his cupboard.
He shrugged indifferently. It was better keep his mind on the objective before Aunt Petunia and Dudley returned from their trip. Prior to his sleuthing, he had compiled a short mental list about the most obvious places Dudley would keep his stash of 'thingamajigs' which he had blackmailed, threatened and mostly whined to hoard, like a nesting dragon, in the past few months.
At number one on the list was right under Dudley's mattress.
Harry slowly crawled on top of Dudley's incredibly comfortable bed, savouring every moment as he closed his eyes in bliss. It really was a comfortable bed. Yet, it it was with a heavy sigh that he opened his eyes and dragged himself to the side as he hung himself off the edge, upside down, to peek under the bed.
It was a large metallic box with an equally large messy scrawl, 'Dudley's Private Stash', written on top of the lid. With child-like glee, Harry eagerly tore off the lid of the box and chuckled devilishly at its contents. Amongst the bundles of pound notes and numerous stolen trinkets, Harry finally found his prize.
The kinda-sort-of mutant rubbed his chin in mock contemplation.
How should he proceed?
He grabbed a stack full of comic books before deciding to relieve a handful of pound notes. He was vaguely sure that Dudley wouldn't notice the small difference. Next, he placed the metallic box back under the bed and tried to smoothen the creases in the bed sheet. As he turned to leave, he paused to survey his handiwork.
Harry Potter chuckled again, figuratively patting himself on the back as he beat a hasty retreat.
Just like a ninja.
In his secret hideout, which amounted to his cupboard with the lights off; though what made it extra special was that his room was accompanied by the orange-y hue from his trusty flashlight. Also, the trick to make his secret hideout all the more believable was to hide underneath the comforter.
The devil was in the details.
It was nearing midnight, just hours after breaking into Dudley's room, and so far, it seemed that he was in the clear.
Harry placed his small booty of treasures on his bed before recounting the two five pound notes and change in his hands. He had close to fifteen pounds. Let's not forget the handful of comic books: two more issues of Classic X-Men, a re-printed issue of Amazing Spiderman #1 and three issues of something called Conan the Barbarian.
This was a different superhero than he was accustomed to. This Conan fellow was surrounded by literally mountains of dead bodies with scantily-clad women spreading their bodies seductively on the hulking male Adonis.
Initially, Harry blushed a bright red when he noticed the cover on the comic book. The women all appeared to be very well-endowed... very well-endowed. He shook his head to clear those unwanted thoughts.
He had been set in his ways.
Girls are icky.
Yes, very much so.
With that, he placed his newly-found income inside a small pocket in his pants, where he was sure that Dudley would be unable to wedge his pudgy fingers inside.
"Well, let's start with you then," Harry Potter said to no one in particular as he held the Classic X-Men issue in his hand.
"Damn," the black haired boy exclaimed.
The spider scurried away as fast as its eight legs could move. This was attempt number six—which accumulated in the hopes that a radioactive spider would bite him and give him unimaginable powers.
Well, a young sort-of mutant/would-be human infused with the power of a radioactive spider could only hope, right?
Harry was emotionally drained today, having read and re-read the compelling and equally tragic story of Peter Parker late last night. He almost cried when Uncle Ben died and tried to console the fictional character by patting Peter Parker in one of the panels with his forefinger and said a few soothing words to his grief-stricken face.
However, it led him to learn one of the most important lessons in his short life here on Earth. (There was a distinct possibility that he might be an immortal alien being from another planet, so he didn't really want to rule it out if they came back for him.)
Oh right, the lesson.
With great power comes great responsibility.
Sadly, this statement led Harry to a bit of a conundrum.
Technically, he didn't really have a great power per se, aside from the ability of regrowing one's hair, but that ability didn't pan out all too well. He briefly thought about shaving his head again to test whether the previous incident was just a one-off thing or his actual ability. All of this led to the current experiment, but from the short yet obviously unfruitful results, trying to become Spiderman reincarnated was a bust.
He did, however, cringed ever so slightly when he heard his dear cousin's nasally voice:
"There's the freak! Get him."
Dudley directed his motley crew of rag-tag companions at Harry, which mainly consisted of a couple of equally chubby boys and his ever loyal second-in-command, Piers Polkiss. The notorious gang more commonly known as The Cobra Kais, or what Dudley kept asking the kids in the schoolyard to call them, charged at him.
Harry cursed himself of his weak and incredibly pathetic mutant ability. If only he had something useful, but he didn't. With a heavy sigh, Harry ran in the opposite direction.
He weaved in and out of corridors, shoving past several other kids in the process, but he would not stop.
Harry James Potter would not be getting a 'swirly' today, or ever, from now onwards.
However, Piers, despite his mousy frame was a tad bigger and faster, had managed to corner him outside the main school building, which was also coincidentally deserted. The boy approached him with a sickening grin.
This was Harry-hunting at its worst.
"Over here, guys!" Piers called out to the rest of the crew, whose wide builds were unsuited for speed, or basically just running of any kind.
The rest of the Cobra Kais' approached, albeit taking a... moment longer than Piers.
It was a very, long awkward moment.
They were all in various states of exhaustion. A few were breathing deeply. Most were on their knees panting, and yet the most devoted of them all was trying valiantly to jog just a little bit further, as far as they could despite the copious amounts of sweat dripping down their brows, or the bright flush of red on their cheeks.
It was Dudley who made it first beside his lieutenant as he glared balefully at his cousin. Harry hoped that he would just burst into flames under his heated glare. Dudley was panting slightly, but doing fairly better than the rest of his gang.
"Look Dud, I managed to corner the freak here. A bit of luck on our side, eh? This place's practically deserted."
Harry twitched slightly.
He had recently come to the conclusion about how similar he was to Spiderman's alter ego and yet, here he was being insulted and bullied. The injustice of it all. Neither Harry Potter nor Peter Parker would stand for it. Feeling slightly braver than usual, he struck with almost inhuman efficiency as he rebuked his deadly comeback.
"You kiss your mother with that mouth, Polkiss?"
It was thanks to their stunned and bewildered state that Harry was able to knock them out of the way ever so slightly. However, the path to freedom was clear. Having just dodged a wild grab from the meaty hands of Dudley, Harry swerved and evaded like a graceful butterfly as he made his way out of enclosed area.
Harry closed his eyes as he ran from the group, silently wishing to be anywhere else but here. He knew that Piers would eventually catch up to him and a beating of a lifetime would ensue. Suddenly, the young boy experienced an incredibly uncomfortable sensation of being sucked through a narrow tube, or what he imagined being sucked through a narrow tube would feel like.
As fast as it happened, the uncomfortable sensation faded, and he felt the gentle breeze of the wind blowing his unruly hair across his face. He slowly peered through the small crack in his eyes before gasping and cursing simultaneously when he noticed he was standing on the roof of the school.
He grinned like a loon.
"I'm Nightcrawler," Harry Potter whispered reverently.
His new ability, while incredibly useful and awesome in all aspects had one incredibly huge drawback. From what he had learned from the brief cameo of Nightcrawler in the X-Men issues he had in his possession, the hero used a combination of his acrobatic grace and his teleportation abilities to wreck vengeance and awesome kick-punch combo breakers on his enemies.
Sadly, he had no gymnastic or martial arts training whatsoever. He doubted Aunt Petunia or Uncle Vernon would shill out a couple of hundred of pounds for him to learn at the local community center. This conclusion led him to the public library—the largest one in Little Whinging, in fact.
Unsure of where to start, he stumbled onto a random direction as he perused the titles on the shelves.
An hour later, a dejected-looking Harry emerged.
His search for any relevant information yielded no reward. The martial arts and gymnastics books found on the shelves provided just an extended account of the history and a short introduction into the basics. The books, however, stressed that adult supervision was advised and only a proper instructor would be able to impart these skills to others. Learning straight from the book would eventually cause a grievous injury or the improper understanding of the basics.
Checking his watch, he realized that it was already nearing four in the afternoon.
Harry Potter winced.
The public library was a bust—just goes to show how wrong the teachers were about its supposed wonders. Maybe Conan the Barbarian could shed some light into his new-found dilemma.
"Conan..." the young mutant whispered. "What is best in life?"
He pushed himself off the grass, releasing his hand-binoculars which he had positioned over his eyes, as he stalked his preys on all fours.
"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women."
Incredibly, Conan the Barbarian did have some important life-lessons to impart on the off-times when his character wasn't killing and maiming others. Also, the trip to the library wasn't a complete bust. There, he had chanced upon a small article in the local paper about a martial arts instructor, who claimed that repeatedly reciting a phrase could eventually sync energies with your inner being. In that state, one could theoretically achieve a trance like state of grace and unlock one's hidden potential.
After reading the adventures of Conan, he decided that coupled with his teleportation abilities (which he had accomplished just once more during this past week) and his warrior-infused trance of grace and hidden power, Harry Potter, mutant extraordinaire, was ready to wreak havoc on the criminals of Little Whinging.
His first target was, in fact, the Cobra Kais.
Those seven boys would soon feel the sweet stench of defeat as his not-so glorious form towered over their mangled and bruised bodies. His punches would be their salvation, and kicks to the crotch were like divine retribution. He was vaguely aware that he had been stuck in this position for the past twenty minutes and his left leg seemed to be cramping slightly.
He repeated the mantra in his head as he stealthily inched his way closer to Dudley's gang. His heart began pounding wildly against his chest, and he could hear his own heartbeat in his ears.
Perhaps the martial artist had been right?
Never before had he felt this sensation swirling within him—blood lust, rage, grace, and what he could only describe as his own hidden power.
Coming out of his cover, Harry broke out into a dead sprint as he closed the distance between his targets. He felt something else take over his body; a strange yet familiar presence that was entirely different, but was in fact a part of his soul all along.
It was the spirit of a hardened warrior.
A loud, terrible war-cry shrilled throughout the park as the black-haired youth screamed at the top of his lungs, "To crush your enemies! See them driven before you! And hear the lamentation of their women!"
Sadly, Ricky Thompson was caught unaware as the momentum from the sprint, and the fact that he was totally off-guard (or so what he tried to explain to the rest of the Cobra Kais) was knocked off his feet.
In what Harry could only describe as a totally bitching moment where time seemed to slow down with his every action, he cocked back his right arm, and with all the power his thin frame could provide, slugged the blonde haired boy right on the chin.
This was their salvation.
Perhaps another case of salvation was needed for this misguided offender. He followed it up with a clumsy yet swift left jab to the boy's stomach. He stood straight almost immediately to offer a final parting gift...
From the Gods.
Ricky squeaked and moaned as he clutched at his groin. Quiet sobbing would follow as the pudgy boy curled himself up into a ball, lying pathetically on the ground. His weak cries for his mother were largely ignored from the rest of the gang.
Harry dived to the side, avoiding a slow yet powerful haymaker aimed at his head. He relished this moment; where his every action could result in his death... or something less severe. A rough beating.
In the heat of battle, one would forget all his thoughts—only survival instincts and blood lust prevailed in a true warrior's mind.
He cocked back his right knee slightly as he thrust the aforementioned knee right into the boy's nether region. The boy dropped like a sack of potatoes, mewing weakly like his fellow comrade. Harry roared (or roared as much as a pre-pubescent child could roar) hoping that it would scare off the other members.
It was to warn them of their imminent ass-kicking.
Several of the Cobra Kais visibly faltered at his cousin's rage-filled scream. They have heard stories, from both their parents and Dudley himself, about the mentally unstable boy living in Number Four, Privet Drive. However, to see the local urban legend in the flesh and crotch-punting their friends was indeed a sight to behold.
Many turned to look to Dudley, the brave and stalwart leader, as he advanced through the slightly muddy battlefield of the park. Some cheered, while others closed their eyes in relief, as they knew he could help repel this fearsome warrior.
Dudley had all but forgotten about the kids that he was previously harassing. In the confusion of the surprise attack devised by his cousin, both boys seemed to have run away from the fight, loudly thanking their saviour and praying for his survival.
He glared hatefully at his freakish cousin.
This was yet one of the many strange and freaky things that Harry had started in the past month. He smirked slightly when he noticed him straddling Bruce on the stomach and mercilessly raining punch after punch on the helpless boy. Despite his hatred for his cousin, he had to admire his courage and spirit. So, it was with a deep sense of satisfaction and small amount of regret that Dudley Dursley sneaked up behind his cousin and reamed his meaty fist in the back of the other boy's head.
Harry Potter was knocked out like a light.
Despite his unconscious state, he ordered all of the Cobra Kais to gather as they savagely continued the beating of the brave warrior.
It was five months after the incident that things finally settled back to Harry's normal routine. The legend of that crazy boy of Number Four, Privet Drive lived on even till this day. The repercussion of his herculean efforts was in fact the worst punishment he had received in his brief life here on Earth (remember it was a distinct possibility that he was an immortal alien).
Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon bestowed upon him their judgement: five months of being grounded and a bit of a smacking around by Uncle Vernon, who was smart enough not to leave a bruise. He was even shepherded to and fro home and school by Aunt Petunia these past few months, ensuring that he had no leisure time whatsoever after school ended.
This reaffirmed his beliefs that he would keep his new found abilities a secret from his relatives, sensing their hatred for anything abnormal. Even a bulldog dressed up as a police officer was considered to be abnormal by their standards. Luckily, none of the other parents saw fit to make a report to the police after a bit of coercion from Uncle Vernon.
The matter was dropped, but the legend still lived on.
In fact, these five months had gone by swimmingly for Harry, who chose to spend his time perfecting his teleportation abilities. While it was not mastered to the point that he could do it instantaneously, he believed that he had progressed far better than expected. He was still able to teleport short distances on occasion, but it took a lot of willpower and concentration on his part.
In a weird coincidence, he likened the process to that of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.
There's no place like outside the fridge. There's no place like outside the fridge.
His brief foray of being an enraged demi-God warrior also boosted his confidence after a number of his schoolmates commended him for it. The word 'badass' had been bandied around a few times. He never tried using his warrior talents since the last time, cherishing Uncle Ben's famed beliefs. This fearsome power was obviously meant to protect rather than take revenge on those whom have slighted him.
And so, here he was standing in front of the local comic book shop, the Android's Dungeon, as he stared at the various assortment of paraphernalia from famous comic books and television series through the glass display.
Slowly, he entered the store, his small sum of savings grasped firmly inside his pants pocket.
Harry observed the tall, lanky twenty-something year old man behind the counter. The two continued their little showdown for another ten seconds; each one hoping that the other would look away so that they would be able to establish their dominance over the other. His eyes twitched before pulling his gaze away from the man. There were some battles that men were meant to lose sometimes, and this was one of them.
The browned haired man smirked victoriously.
It was to be known that in this, his inner sanctum, the man was the alpha nerd.
"Is there something I can help you with?"
Harry bit back a growl at his condescending tone.
"I'm looking for some comic books."
"Well, that would be the general idea of going to a comic book store, genius." The lanky man chortled heartily before nodding his head towards a section of the store. "Over there. Remember this isn't a library, so no reading. As the saying goes in my store: you read it, you buy it."
Harry firmly kept his hateful gaze on the ground as he marched towards the shelves. He could feel the eyes of the store owner on his back. For the next few minutes, Harry continued to peruse the vast variety of titles and genres on display, occasionally picking out a few interesting ones.
"Conan the Barbarian?"
Harry gasped lightly.
In his distracted state of mind, he did not notice the man sneaking behind him.
"Have you read last month's issue where Conan fought against the city of were-cats alone? That was an incredible read," the man gushed uncharacteristically.
"Uh no, I haven't."
"Well, I must recommend it to you. It's right here actually," he said, reaching for the aforementioned comic book. "Sorry about before. It's just that children in general have no manners whatsoever—you know how you young people are sometimes."
The man held out his hand. "My name's Dave, Dave Cooper," he said. "And it seems I was very wrong about you, my young friend. We have the exact same taste in comic books."
Harry took the offered hand and shook it slightly. "Harry Potter. I'm... uh, new to the whole comic book thing. Maybe you could help me out or something?"
"T' rivak," Dave said as he made a series of clacking noises with his tongue. Seeing Harry's confused reactions, he clarified, "That means 'of course' in Vulcan... you know, Vulcan as in the Star Trek series."
"Oh Good Lord, you've never heard of Star Trek before? Never mind that, have you heard about a series called 'Watchmen' before?"
"I can't say I have."
"Well, it's a bit gritty for a child like you, but I'm sure you'd like it. I got this printed edition specially imported from America," Dave said as he held a thick soft-cover volume of the Watchmen series in his hands. "Basically, it's an alternate history where costumed vigilantes run free in a lawless New York City. Interested?"
It went without saying that yes, yes, Harry Potter was interested.
From the Journal of Harry James Potter
I could hear the rhythmic breathing of the large man above me.
But enough of that.
I'm finding it hard to sleep these days ever since... ever since Watchmen. I'm seeing things differently now. Little Whinging comes alive at night, and I have seen its true face; ruffians loitering obtrusively in the park, smoking, vandalizing... talking loudly.
It truly is a place devoid of humanity.
I could feel the neighbourhood suffering under the weight from all those who seek to disturb the peace—
I stop scribbling.
The loud snore from Uncle Vernon disrupts my train of thought. That man is a menace to me and the entirety of Little Whinging. He reeks of arrogance—a foul stench upon the remaining good people of Surrey. Fat and surprisingly squishy in the middle, yet incredibly strong when angered.
This I know for I have been on the receiving end.
In the distance, I could hear the strays knocking over the trash cans of one of our neighbours. It is Mister Daglish's, if I am to believe correctly from the echo of the 'bang'. Another loud snort erupts from the buffoon upstairs.
He is awake.
I'm sure of that.
The man bellows obscenities to the strays outside. I could vaguely hear the words:
'daft... stupid dogs... work in the morning.'
I can already imagine the colour of his face right now; just a darker shade of violet. Technically, it does seem impossible for a human being to do that. Perhaps it would be better if he consults his physician. His blood pressure must be high again.
Enough of that.
Despite my obvious dislike for my uncle, he is right.
Tonight is a school night and I should get some rest. Tonight, the criminals run free in Little Whinging, but not for long because just for tonight, crime gets a stay of execution.
Also, I have a maths test tomorrow.
The Indian immigrant behind the counter stares at me suspiciously.
He is something of a local joke.
The kids at school call him Apu.
No one knows his real name. No one wants to know his real name. Thus, Little Whinging was stuck with Apu. It did not help his cause that he speaks with a stereotypical Indian accent.
"I am watching you," he whispers menacingly through narrowed eyes.
His gaze is like a hawk observing its prey, waiting, waiting and possibly waiting some more to make its first mistake, and then suddenly, the hawk strikes. It explains why Apu had the highest shoplifting arrest rate in town. He's good. So good in fact, the local gang made it an initiation test for its newest members to steal something from the 'Indian with the crazy eyes'.
I make my way towards the Slushie machine, trying not to feel unsettled and keeping a cool façade to hide my nervousness. The sharp glint in his eyes promises pain and a black mark on my permanent record should I even think about stealing.
Suddenly, I could feel his attention shift towards another patron in the store.
"Hey, put that back down!" Apu shouts at the young teenager.
The messy-haired teen curses under his breath before dashing towards the entrance of the store... towards freedom, but not before offering a witty goodbye. Placing his palms together, he bows slightly and copies Apu's atrocious Indian accent:
"Thank you. Come again."
I fight down the urge to stop the shoplifter seeing as how this is a carbon copy premise in Spiderman, but I am vaguely sure that the teen would not pull a carjacking right after shoplifting from a convenience store. Besides, Apu faces this sort of situation everyday, so I decide to let him handle it.
Apu appears hesitant to leave the store since I would be left alone, and a kid in a convenience store alone could wreak more havoc and destruction that some teenager who stole a Butterfinger.
Instead, he settles for a warning.
"If you do come back here again, I can show you how thankful I am! And I am not that Indian character from the Simpsons! My name is Rohit!"
My walk towards the counter is more than unsettling.
Apu appears to be cursing obscenities under his breath and occasionally speaking in short burst of Hindi. "You know, if we were in America, I could get a gun permit so fast, it would be mind-blasting."
I choose not to comment on his statement.
Crazy eyes darts back and forth towards me and the money that I have placed on the counter. Apu takes the five pound note and holds it against the light. A brief smile of satisfaction emerges as the note checks out. It is the first time that I've seen him smile. It is not pleasant.
He rings up the transaction and hands me back my change.
The man before me truly is an embodiment of evil. My change is mostly in ten pence coins. I try to hide my glower as I pocket the change. I turn my back on the Indian, sipping my Slushie in the process.
Mango Madness truly is the ultimate flavour.
One step before I reach the automated sliding door, Apu offers me a final goodbye.
"Thank you," he whispers, the insanity evident in his voice. "Come again..."
I am scared.
I am not afraid to admit it.
I patrol the dangerous streets of Surrey alone.
It is all a part of my work as a vigilante, bringing fear and inspiration to the masses.
However, these past nine days have offered me nothing.
I am bored.
Not once had I have the chance to pull out my improvised mask; fashioned after my fourth role model to date. Sadly, I neither have the money nor the idea where to buy a real mask. Instead, mine is a used onion sack.
Strangely, I am glad that the streets remain safe.
I do not wish to wear my onion mask.
The smell brings tears to my eyes. My vision is impaired even with my glasses. Also, it is unimaginably warm under the mask. Perhaps the most grating thing is that the decorative ink blot leaves much to the imagination.
This is not how I imagine being a vigilante would be like.
Where is the crime?
The unruly teenagers?
The only remotely interesting thing I have seen thus far is the dog carcass in one of the alleys.
It is a chihuahua. Flies and small rodents feast on its remains.
Strange, I am running out of analogies.
Wait, I've got one!
Last night, a dog died in Little Whinging—possibly from starvation or disease. Someone somewhere knows why, but no one cares.
No one cares but me.
Not really an analogy, but I digress.
The so-called fine citizens of this town pass by the alley and look down at the poor animal partly in pity and revulsion as if saying: "Will anybody clean that thing up?"
And I'll have to stretch my neck up slightly and whisper:
Ten minutes later, a couple of dustmen begrudgingly haul the carcass away.
I am left with nothing to do again.
Oh wait, never mind.
It's almost four.
Better get home before Aunt Petunia suspects anything about my 'other' job. They still think of me as an innocent, shy little schoolboy. Let them think that for the time being because once someone has seen society's black underbelly, he can never turn his back on it.
Never pretend, like all the others do, that it doesn't exist.
As I emerge from my hiding spot behind the dumpster, a homeless man stops me at the mouth of the alley. "Spare some change, kid?" he asks as he shakes the empty canned soup in his hand; the rattling of coins could be heard.
My answer is brisk and steadfast.
"No," I said.
His reply is barely audible, but the word echoes throughout the alley:
My left eye twitches slightly.
This place truly is going to the dogs.
A scream echoes in the late afternoon.
I rush towards the scream. My breath is ragged and my thighs are slightly cramped, but I march onward. I try to hide the giddiness of stopping my first actual crime.
I take another deep breath as I pull the improvised onion mask over my head and tighten the noose. My eyes prickle as the lingering smell of onions overcome my senses. I stagger slightly and lean against a wall before righting myself after a moment.
Crime does not wait for any man.
Together with Dudley's over-sized coat and the tattered fedora hat, my costumed vigilante ensemble is finally complete. I swerve and jump over the various obstacles in my path:
A grey blob.
A greyish-metallic blob.
An orange blob. Strange, the orange blob just meowed at me.
I curse myself for not having a proper mask. Rorschach would not have had these kinds of problems.
I turn left at the next corner. Little Whinging is my town and I know these alleys like the back of my hand. Even so, I am vaguely sure that the scream came from further down.
I sprint the last couple of metres and press my body against the brick wall of the adjacent building, slowly peering around the corner. I could vaguely make out a man in a trench coat, some sort of sausage-like brownish object in his right hand and vigorously jerking it back and forth while his left, holding the lapels of his trench coat open.
For once, I am glad that my vision is obscured.
"Say hello to my little friend!" the deranged man screams in a slight accent, thrusting his hips out wildly at the blonde woman, who seems to be the target of his fixation.
I could imagine the raging and conflicting emotions that must be going through her head right now.
Slight awe, maybe?
I take pity on her as I finally make my move.
"Hey!" I try to mimic a deep gravelly voice from my position before I fully emerged from my spot.
The flasher screams hysterically at my figure.
The menacing and towering form of my shadow really does bring out fear in the hearts of criminals.
He turns around hastily to leave the alley, but I am already one step ahead. I teleport right in front of him with a small 'crack'. My right leg is already pulled back before I unleash the full force of the carried momentum directly on the man's genitals.
In the back of my mind, I think:
Must remember to get shoes clean.
The man's face is frozen in several conflicting expressions. Most evident is pain. Second is also pain. Third is regret mixed with a brief pang of pain? Fourth is confusion coupled with...
It took what felt like an eternity when the man finally crumpled to the floor.
A hitch of breath catches my attention. I resist the urge to knock myself in the head as I finally realized we are not alone. I admit that I must look like a daunting figure as I tower over the broken man with my hands casually placed inside the side pockets of my over-sized coat.
"Who are you?" the woman says, "Or what are you...?" she adds softly, as if unsure of her own words.
I smile at the pretty lady, trying to convey that everything was all right before I realise that I still had my mask on and she can't see a damn thing. "It's best that you run along now. I'll handle things from here," I said in a deep gravelly voice, but still it comes out a bit squeak-ish.
She stares at me strangely. "But you're just a kid or a really tall midget..."
I let the insult on my height slide. It is inappropriate for heroes to go beating up their victims especially their first. "Little Whinging gets dangerous this time of day. I think that it's best that you go."
She appears hesitant. "You never told me your name."
I curse internally. Technically, I am still undecided. My superhero name would stick with me forever, there was no re-do after all. I had to think fast. "My name? Just—ah, call me uhm... the MisDeceiver," I proclaim with as much gusto as I could muster.
She snorts in derision.
"That's kind of a dumb name, isn't it?"
I glower at her behind my mask.
"Just go already!" I say harshly.
The woman did not need to be told twice. Not many would want to stay in the company of a deranged flasher and an equally deranged masked vigilante. But still, not even a thank you?
The nerve of some people.
The man below me whimpers pathetically, "Oh God, just arrest me or something."
My voice takes on a slight hint of insanity and rage. "Men get arrested. Vermins like you get put down," I hiss just inches away from his face. I deliver another swift kick to his, what I suspect already bruised genitals.
The man gasps before passing out from the pain.
In the end, I smile. Joseph Heller would say that justice is a knee in the gut. I say justice is a swift kick to the testicles.
Mine is a lot better.
Suspected flasher found unconscious in alley
Report: Jason Henderson
Little Whinging, Surrey. (LP) Police in Little Whinging were baffled today when they arrested a white male in his late twenties who was bound and gagged in an alley off Castle View Avenue.
Chief Inspector (Ch. Insp.) James Gordon said in a scheduled release today that the twenty-eight year old Franklin Epstein, a local mechanic with Parts R' Us, was caught via an anonymous tipster. Epstein, who upon waking up to find himself in police custody, immediately confessed to crimes of outrage of modesty and indecent exposure.
Police are unsure at this moment as to the identity of this anonymous tipster, but Ch. Insp. Gordon offered a brief statement.
"We believe that Epstein was captured by a masked vigilante who goes by the name of 'MisDeceiver'. We would like to remind the people of Little Whinging that vigilante justice can have dangerous consequences, especially in a small community such as ours. Those who are caught practising vigilantism will face felony charges. As of right now, we are still looking into the case of this 'MisDeceiver' and hope that any citizen who has knowledge about this rogue offender to step forward or call us via the anonymous tip hotline."
Epstein, who is expected to stand trial within a fortnight, is still under hospitalisation after an attack on his person.
Harry smiled upon finishing the article.
This was the best news he had heard all week, especially after Dudley burned his journal on Tuesday. Thankfully, his cousin didn't have the forethought to read it first. Although, Harry was a bit put out that he was portrayed as some dangerous, escaped mental patient.
He supposed that it was a drawback every masked vigilante faced in their career sometimes.
Across from him, Uncle Vernon snorted derisively. "Some ruddy punk reads a comic book and he thinks he can fight crime on his own. My Dudders won't behave like some deranged lunatic, would he?" he said as he playfully punched Dudley on his arm. "He'll grow up to be a fine young man. Not like some idiots wasting their lives away in front of a screen reading a work of fiction. No Sir-ee Bob."
Vernon's comments were largely ignored as was the custom.
Aunt Petunia would hum under her breath and nod at the end of every sentence to appear attentive, and Dudley would grunt every few minutes to indicate that he was still alive. Harry would just keep his head down and be thankful that he was having breakfast today.
"I don't suppose you had anything to do with this?" the whale of a man leered at Harry in suspicion.
Harry gulped nervously.
Never had anyone come close to knowing his true identity before today.
His hunched shoulders and fearful glances worked well to solidify his portrayal of a meek little boy.
Uncle Vernon nodded in satisfaction. "Good," he said. "Oh, look! Margaret Thatcher's resigning from her position as Prime Minister. Terrible news, isn't it Pet?"
"Yes, just dreadful, dear..."
A grunt followed.
The only indication of Harry Potter's presence was the soft clanking of his utensils against the plate. Today really was an unremarkable day in the Dursley household.
Just like every other day.
Chief Inspector James Gordon sighed, pausing in front of the door to his office. He had been pulling the graveyard shift for the past week because the sudden appearance of the mysterious vigilante in Little Whinging. He shifted the cup of coffee and newspaper to his left hand before unlocking the door with a soft 'click'.
"Hello, Inspector Gordon," a kinda-gravelly voice greeted him upon entering.
With the instincts of a well-seasoned veteran, James unholstered his baton. "Whoever you are, come out... slowly!"
"I mean you no harm, Inspector. This is merely just a casual visit."
James scoffed. "Really? I doubt someone would break into a police station merely for a casual visit. Doesn't seem to be worth the risk, you know?" He tensed slightly as the mysterious man (boy?) laughed, unnerving him and adding to the tension in the room. "I don't have time for games! So just come out now!"
Suddenly, out of the corner of his eyes, James caught the slightest hint of movement on the fire escape just outside his window.
The short figure held his hands up in an attempt to pacify him, before fully emerging from the shadowed corner of his office. James levelled his baton at the intruder, but stopped short.
"Easy, we're all on the same side here."
James had to stifle a gasp.
"B-But you're just a kid."
The masked vigilante laughed crudely. "Appearances are meant to be... deceiving, inspector."
James could feel the boy sizing him up underneath his sack-like mask. "This town needs my help, sir. It cries out for protection and I will answer the call to save her." He pulled off his hat as he ran his hands over his mask, sighing in frustration. "It's a mess, James—I can call you James, right?"
James remained quiet.
"James, you've seen the wretched underbelly of society—the corruption, greed, heresy, lust. The town, no... the whole of Surrey, even England is a mess. As an individual, I could only do so much to help."
"And what does this have to do with me?"
"You're one of the few honest policemen I've seen in this godforsaken town. In the end, you're the only one I could trust, James."
James rubbed the bridge of his nose wearily, pushing his glasses up in the process. "Look kid, vigilantism is a serious offence, all right? Now, I'm sure if you just stop this madness, the court will be lenient on you. They might even just ask you to do some community ser—"
"I believe that there is a plot, a most... grievous one," the boy cut in rudely.
James hung his head, slipping his baton back into his holster. "Okay, kid. Go ahead and tell me of this dastardly plot."
"I've heard rumours that a group of hoodlums are planning a crime spree during the coming months. They intend to strike in the cover of night and aim only to raid houses; those who refuse to leave their porch-light on at night."
"That sounds likely enough. All right, I'll see what I can do; try and get some community outreach work done on safety or crime prevention pamphlets or something."
The boy nodded in satisfaction.
"My work here is done," he said as he turned to face the window.
"Hey, stop right there! I'm not going to just let you go. Like I said before vigilantism is a serious off—"
The boy stopped short just right outside the window, his right leg perched up on the frame. His head turned slightly as he spoke, "Oh, and by the way, James. Nice job on catching the perp last week."
"H-Hey!" James shouted as the boy jumped out of the window.
Without a second thought, he rushed towards the fire escape, intent on pursuing the vigilante. A small gust of wind ruffled his hair as he stuck his head out the window, trying to catch a glimpse of the boy as he scanned the surrounding area below.
Dark, grey clouds gathered above, the loud rumbling of a storm evident as the sky darkened.
Just two stories below his office, he could see the vigilante scaling down the steps of the fire escape.
The boy looked up. Even with the mask, James could imagine a twisted smile laying underneath. "Goodbye, James! I'll see you around!"
With a sharp crack, the boy vanished.
Maybe it was a trick of light. Maybe it was the streak of lightning that flashed through the sky the exact same moment the boy disappeared. Maybe it was the buzz of being over-caffeinated...
One thing was for certain, the boy had vanished right before his eyes.
In the past six months, rumours and stories kept sprouting out as the bored denizens of Little Whinging discussed the most talked about topic in town—the MisDeceiver.
'The bloke's about seven foot tall, I heard!'
'Crazy like a bat that guy is...'
'Blimey, my cousin told me the MisDeceiver could fly!'
'Nah, I heard he was short like a really tall midget.'
'Some say that he could sense danger at every corner and appear out of thin air like a flash!'
Harry would be lying if he said that he wasn't impressed with himself. He had a pretty good track record too. Just last month, he managed to foil an armed robbery at the local convenience store.
Okay, the guy wasn't really armed per se.
He just had his right hand made to look like a gun inside his coat pocket. Still, Apu was more than delighted at being rescued. He even offered a lifetime supply worth of Slushie, if Harry revealed his identity.
You know... For accountability and tax purposes.
To be fair, a lifetime supply of his favourite beverage was nothing to scoff at, and Harry almost believed him until he caught a glimpse of a small disposable camera in Apu's hands.
The public was split evenly on this debate.
One faction was decidedly against this masked vigilante's actions. Some even go out of their way to vilify the mysterious and enigmatic character. Others spoke at lengths about the good deeds the masked vigilante had brought to the town—a sharp decrease in crime and, all around, teenage unruliness.
"So, what do you think about this guy, Potter?" one of his new classmates of Class 5-A asked him.
Harry laughed nervously, rubbing the back of his head as he mulled over the question, "Well, the guy must have some kind of mental problem if he goes running around looking like that."
The brown-haired boy snorted. "Shows what you know, Potter! The MisDeceiver is the coolest thing to ever come out of Little Whinging. Look!" He opened the front of his jacket to reveal a MisDeceiver t-shirt. "I got this made at a shop near the old town fountain. It cost me a bomb, but it was totally worth it!"
The small crowd around him chattered mindlessly.
From his desk at the back of the class, Harry Potter laid his head in his arms. It covered the small snort of laughter and irritation at his classmates. If only these poor simpletons knew...
"Why does he get to follow us today?"
The pudgy boy tugged at the sleeves of his mother's blouse as they walked over to the family car.
From the way Polkiss kept shooting dirty looks at Harry, the other boy didn't seem all too happy with the arrangement too.
He schooled his features to something akin to awe and happiness as he took a seat next to Dudley behind the passenger seat of the car. To be honest, he wasn't too happy with going to the zoo either.
Harry Potter bit back a sigh.
He had plans today...
Both the crime-foiling bits and Dave-has-a-new-shipment-coming-in-today-and-it's-supposed-to-be-really-cool kind.
Apparently, there are some things you just can't solve with a kick to the balls.
Dudley rammed his meaty fists against the glass display of the boa constrictor habitat. The snake seemed to twitch ever so slightly, but remained sleeping atop the tree branch in the enclosure.
"Dad, make it do something."
Like a confused caveman, Uncle Vernon mimicked his son's actions, but it was to no avail.
The large man scowled.
"Come on, Piers! Let's go see the other one over there," Dudley said, dragging Piers away from the enclosure.
His parents followed suit, leaving Harry alone.
"Must be annoying for you," he whispered. "All the idiots gawking and banging against the glass, demanding you do something like those no self-respecting circus monkeys that performed just now," he said, not at all too angsty. "Zoos are just prisons for animals."
Surprisingly, the snake's eyes fluttered open as it nodded in agreement.
Harry gasped. "Can you understand me?"
The boa constrictor nodded again.
"Fuck! What the hell am I then? It's like one thing after another."
"~You are a speaker, human~"
Harry was amazed that he could understand it as well.
"A speaker? Do you know what I—" Harry was cut off as Dudley used his considerable girth to shove him aside.
"Look, Piers! Look! The snake's awake!" Dudley banged his fists against the glass in excitement. "Do something!" he shouted, cupping his hands around his mouth as he pressed it against the glass.
Harry glared balefully at the fat tub of lard that science was able to replicate into a human being.
The lights in the reptile house flickered.
Then, a light breeze swept his hair across his face.
Suddenly, the glass separating the snake and Dudley vanished, causing the snake to make its way out and his cousin making his way in.
The garbled screams of panic and confusion from his cousin might as well be music to his ears. Sadly, it was drowned out by the actual screams of panic and confusion from the visitors as the snake slithered to freedom.
Harry cursed under his breath as a familiar shrill cry rang out.
Aunt Petunia blubbered wildly as she stared at his cousin who was now trapped inside the enclosure. Polkiss, who was by her side, flailed his fists wildly in an attempt to shatter the glass that had now magically re-appeared.
Harry begged to chase after it, but from the corner of his eyes, he saw Uncle Vernon looking around wildly, as if trying to single him in the chaos. Deciding that he did not want to incur the wrath of his uncle right then and there, he seamlessly blended in with the crowd as they made their way to the exit.
As Harry Potter made off with his hide intact, he contemplated the ramifications of his two new-found abilities.
In the past two months, he had been actively trying to explore the limits of his new-found abilities. Practising telekinesis was easy enough and he believed he had made remarkable strides just by levitating a coin a metre in the air. That was the extent of his telekinetic ability. Still, in a few years or so, imagine the possibilities.
However, his ability to talk to snakes proved impossible to practise in without drawing some undue attention, seeing as how snake in Little Whinging were uncommon pests. It did not help that the only snake he had encountered ever since his release from the confines of his cupboard had fled from him.
Maybe it had to do with the fact that Harry screamed 'What the hell am I?' to the poor snake.
But who really knows...
Then, there was how to explain these new-found abilities that kept popping up; not that he was complaining or ungrateful or anything, but it would be nice to be able to understand why he was different from the rest of the population. The theory that he was a mutant fitted in perfectly, but it did not explain why or how he was getting these abilities.
Was it inherent?
Did his parents have abilities before they died in that fateful car crash? Was he the next step in human evolution?
These were the questions he wanted answers to.
Harry had discarded the idea of him being a being from another planet or universe. Thinking back, it did sound sort of silly to think so. Yep, he was a mutant of sorts... or the next step in the evolutionary scale.
That was a more rational conclusion.
Somehow, in his distracted state of mind, his feet took on a mind of its own as he made his way towards the downtown area of Little Whinging. Harry blinked owlishly as he stared up to find himself in front of the Android's Dungeon.
Harry Potter shrugged.
Maybe Dave could help sort out the thoughts in his head.
A small chime alerted Dave to the presence of a newcomer in his store. He turned to greet the new patron, whom had just entered his store, but the greeting died when he noticed who it was. "You're awfully bold to come here after I don't even hear a peep from you these past two months," Dave said, failing to keep the bitterness from his voice.
"I was grounded these past two months. Besides, I'm here now, aren't I?"
"Tell me it was something good at least?"
Harry smiled smugly. "Set a snake on my cousin... allegedly, of course."
"Oh, I can never stay mad at you. You're the only friend I have anyways," Dave added under his breath.
"Great. Glad that's settled. Anything cool I missed these past two months?"
"Apart from new issues, there's really nothing that stands out these days. A new action figure of the Flash came out last week. Interested?"
"Any new superheroes?"
Dave snorted at his question. "Heroes don't grow on trees, Harry."
"It was worth a shot. Uhm, how about a hero who could use telekinesis, teleport, speak to snakes and re-grow his hair?"
"Is there something you're not telling me?"
Harry appeared hesitant for a moment before he shrugged his shoulders blithely. "No, just curious is all. That would be a pretty interesting thing to read, wouldn't it?"
"You're writing some sort of comic book, aren't you? Give it up, Harry. It's written all over your face."
The black-haired boy deadpanned. "I'm not writing a comic book."
"Right," he drawled disbelievingly before tapping the tip of his nose with his forefinger. "Well, to answer your question, the closest hero that even comes close to those abilities would be Rogue from X-Men," he added a not-so-subtle wink at the end. "Be careful of plagiarism, Harry. There are some in the community who frown on that sort of stuff."
"Isn't she that woman who could suck someone's powers just by touching them?"
"Hmm, I have taught you well."
"Any X-Men issues that—"
"Her first appearance was in Avengers Annuals #10 or if you're looking for something different, try Uncanny X-Men #158, #171 or #182. There's also another series in the ori—"
"Never mind, I'll just look around for it later."
"What do you mean later? You do intend to buy it, don't you? Don't you?"
Harry smiled awkwardly. "When have I ever bought anything here before? We're friends, right? Dave... you are a good friend."
"I assume you're using a Watchmen reference?." Dave scowled slightly. "I hate it when you quote Watchmen."
"Soooo," Harry said. "Can I?"
Dave nodded begrudgingly. "Fine but when you're older, I expect compensation or something similar in return."
"I wouldn't have it any other way, Dave."
In Harry Potter's hands was the latest issue of Classic X-Men.
Dave could only sigh.
It was a bad week for one Harry James Potter.
So it was doubly worse for the criminal scums of Little Whinging.
"Oh, man..." the teenager moaned. "I'll stop vandalizing public property. Just please stop hurting me, man."
The MisDeceiver lowered himself down to ground, just inches away from the face of the bawling teenager. "You did ask what a 'hertz doughnut' was," he hissed.
"God, please man! Don't kick me there anymore! I'm sorry I said you were short!"
He removed one of the black gloves that he had recently purchased, slowly bringing it to the face of the miscreant.
"Seriously?! What are you doing, man? Stop!"
His hand impacted the face with a soft 'smack'. An agonizingly uncomfortable minute followed as the hand lingered on the teen's cheeks.
"You are just so weird."
The MisDeceiver cursed softly under his breath.
His experiment to test his new ability was a bust. This was his fifteenth attempt, and yet, all of them gave him absolutely nothing. The vigilante slowly stood up, his menacing and daunting figure towering over the teenager.
"Stop wasting your life. Go home, study and become a doctor or something."
He then disappeared with a sharp 'crack'. Had he been there, he would have heard the gasp of awe from his newest convert.
"Look Dad, Harry's got a letter!"
Dudley reached over with his meaty little hands and yanked it away from him.
The stupid little shit!
"Hey, give it back! That's my letter."
As Dudley tried to tear open the envelope, the equally meaty but larger hands of Dursley senior took it away from his cousin. The two adults huddled together as they read the content of the envelope.
"What does it say?" Harry asked, hoping to keep the eagerness out of his voice.
Uncle Vernon smiled at him.
The truth, however, was not amissed on Harry. Beads of sweat dripped down his forehead. The way Uncle Vernon clenched his jaws tightly. The slight tinge of purple that crept on his face. The way Aunt Petunia's eyes kept rounding between her husband and him.
They were incredibly anxious.
"Well, what is it, Dad?"
"Oh, it's nothing, boys. It's just some junk mail from the uh, Hogwarts Publishing House. You can bet it's one of those ruddy marketers trying to sell off their inventory with some ridiculous sale."
The large man chortled nervously.
Harry's eyes twitched.
His experience dealing with the scum of Little Whinging had given him an almost sixth sense to know when someone was lying.
"I want to see it!"
"Now, listen here boy," Uncle Vernon barked. He began ripping the letter into small, equal pieces as he punctuated each word, "I. Said. It. Was. From. A. Publishing. House. Just. Junk. Mail. Is. All."
"You dumb fuck," Harry hissed in what he now referred to as his alter-ego voice.
It took all but a moment for Harry to realise his mistake as he slapped his hands over his mouth. His alter-ego really was having some adverse effect on his home-life.
The pamphlets being distributed by the local policemen were right.
Vigilantism really did have dangerous consequences.
Also, remember to always leave a light on at night to ward off opportunistic criminals. The best deterrence was always vigilance! Not vigilantism!
That last part was wrong though...
His uncle glared at him; it was a glare that promised pain.
Yet, Harry shakily stood his ground.
"A week! You are grounded for the entire week! Go to your room! Now!"
But Harry knew it was a dead end.
He couldn't risk the ire of his uncle at his current state. In the end, he did have to live with them until he was much older; he could not survive in the outside world, even under the guise of his alter-ego.
Harry begrudgingly marched towards his cupboard, where he dropped like a sack of potatoes on the lumpy and uncomfortable mattress. The door to his cupboard slammed shut under Uncle Vernon's strength. He could hear the tell-tale signs of the pad-lock to his cupboard being locked. For the umpteenth time, he was locked inside his small prison.
As time dragged on, Harry Potter kicked out petulantly as he laid there, sulking about the mysterious letter.
Maybe a quick romp as the MisDeceiver would cheer him up.
"I love Sundays. Do you know why, Dudley?"
His cousin shrugged blithely. Instead, Dudley chose to focus his attention on some toy-contraption his father had just bought for him.
"Is it because there's no post on Sunday?"
Uncle Vernon shifted his attention to him as Harry handed the assorted tray of biscuits and crumpets. His uncle nodded happily. "Precisely, Harry. It's because there is no post on Sund—"
The words died in his mouth as a barn owl swooped down from the chimney and dumped a familiar letter on the man's lap. The occupants of Number Four, Privet Drive looked up in shock as they watched the owl settle on the top of a shelf in the living room.
As was accustomed, Uncle Vernon tore up the letter.
"I had just about enough of those ruddy owls!" his uncle bellowed. "If one more owl comes swooping into our house, I'll take out the old Winchester and—"
A letter found its home on his uncle's face.
"Pet, get me my rifle," Uncle Vernon said in an eerily calm voice.
"Dear, we're already the laughing stock of the street. Can you imagine what the neighbours would say if you pulled out a rifle and started shooting at those owls? The police would—"
Vernon brushed past his wife and made his way towards his gun safe upstairs. When he reached the bottom step of the stairs five minutes later, clad in his hunter gear, the insanity and hysteria was evident in his voice, "There's been an owl infestation in Privet Drive as of late. Call the others, Pet. Tell them to bring their own bullets," he said as he swung the rifle over his shoulder.
Those letters truly were a blessing in disguise.
Even if he couldn't read it, the constant stream of owls and letters had made his uncle loopy.
Harry Potter wiped an imaginary tear off his cheek.
It was beautiful.
"For the love of Merlin, Albus! Do you not see how a personal visit would have been more beneficial for young Harry from the start?" the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts argued testily. "You've heard the report from Arabella. His uncle is clearly unstable! Shooting at the school's owls with th-that metal contraption muggles use to kill one another. Can you imagine what would have happened if he turned that thing on Harry? The public outcry of his own uncle shooting the Boy-Who-Lived! It would be disas—"
For his part, Albus took it like a man. More accurately, that of a meek ten-year old man-child, as he slouched deeper in his chair; shoulders hunched, head bowed, eyes downcast, and occasionally mumbling the odd excuses.
"What did you do when I said that they were the worst sort of muggles?"
Albus mumbled his reply.
"I put him there regardless of the fact that they were the worst sort of muggles."
Minerva nodded, clearly pleased with his answer. "That's right! It's always the same with you, Albus; with your half-baked schemes and stupid little plans."
"It was for the best, Minerva. Surely, you understand the implications of—"
"I grow weary of your excuses, Albus. I'm going there personally and I'll be damned if you try to stop me."
"Actually Minerva, I was thinking that perhaps Hagrid could make the visit himself."
"Be damned, Albus!"
Harry gawked at the woman standing at the door to his home.
"We're not interested in new-age medicine, lady," he said. "We're kind of busy here at the moment."
She coughed politely. "Actually, I'm from Hogwarts Sch—"
"Hogwarts? As in the Hogwarts Publishing House?" Harry whistled lowly. "Wow, you guys are pretty bold coming here, especially after you destroyed our family with your aggressive marketing campaign."
"You guys made my uncle loopy. He's in jail now because he shot at your delivery owls. Oh, and Grunnings, the place where he works, just fired him yesterday too. Since our family is in debt, we're basically screwed." Harry tilted his head to the right, scrunching up his face in the process. "Why would you use owls even?" he said to himself.
"Well, I apologise... but that is not the reason why I'm here—"
"That's it? You're sorry?"
The woman's eyes twitched. "If you'd just let me explain. I'll—"
"Explain? Do you know we have to move out and stay at Aunt Marge's place? That woman hates me! Her dogs hate me! Besides, I'm already living inside a cupboard! I can't imagine what I'll be sleeping in next... maybe in the yard with Brutus or something."
"You live inside a cupboard?!"
"What's it to you, lady?"
"Get me your aunt right now," the woman said through gritted teeth.
"I don't know... Aunt Petunia's been unstable ever since Uncle Vernon got arrested. She keeps mumbling something about your company in her sleep." The black haired boy shrugged. "Eh, suit yourself." He turned back towards the living room. "Aunt Petunia! Someone from Hogwarts Publishing House is here to see you!"
A scream full of rage, desperation and loathing was his only reply. Then, his aunt made her presence known.
As Harry stood in between the showdown of glares and sneers, he shrugged.
"I'm going out, Aunt Petunia."
"No!" she half-screamed. "This is entirely your fault to begin with." She glared at the woman. "We took him in! From the goodness of our hearts! We gave him shelter, food and stability! What has he done to repay us?! By putting my husband in jail?! Ha!"
"Enough!" the woman hissed angrily.
Then, she pulled out a fancy stick.
"For the love of—"
His aunt peered around the witch, warily looking around. With surprising strength that one might not have expected from her wiry frame, she pulled the both of them inside and slammed the door to their forfeited home shut..
"Enough," she grounded out. "Do what you want with the little cretin, but know this, we swore that we'd put to stop to all that unnatural business when we took him in! So if he does decide to attend that freaky school of yours, we will not put up with him any longer!" she said firmly, daring the other woman to object.
"Will anybody tell me what the—uh, I mean what's going on here?"
Both women shifted their attention towards him and Harry tried not to balk under their stern gazes.
The strange woman's eyes softened as she knelt in front of him. "Have you noticed anything strange occurring before? Something you couldn't quite explain? Maybe when you were angry or scared?"
"You're a wizard, Harry."
"I'm a what?"
"You're a freak, boy!"
However, Harry remained oblivious to his surrounding as he contemplated the strange woman's words.
He was a wizard?
For almost eighteen months, he had been searching for answers about his abilities. It did make sense, sort of. The way Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia seemed to abhor anything to do with magic. Uncle Vernon had even freaked out once when he found Dudley watching the Wizard of Oz.
"So does that mean I can do—" he paused, "—magic?"
The woman nodded, confirming his theory.
It was so simple.
It explained everything.
"Oh, come on!" Harry Potter half-screamed much to their surprise.
Why didn't he think of that?
Side Note: Well... that's the end, I think. A sequel? Maybe, maybe not? Either ways, Like it or not, reviews are appreciated!