DISCLAIMER THE FIRST: It is by JKR's writing alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the grace of coffee that thoughts acquire speed, the back acquires strains, the strains become a warning. The warning is that I make no money from this. It is by JKR's writing alone I set my mind in motion.

DISCLAIMER THE SECOND: This is going to be a dark cop drama with the occasional lemons. You've been warned.

MAJOR STORY NOTE: Considering London is one of the most "1984" places on the planet, the idea that Magicals still have a major presence in the city has always been a bit suspect to me. The idea that everyone is still trudging to Platform 9¾ with owls and clothing which looked like it was from the 70s in 2016 seems off. So for the purposes of this fic,

Everything is this story takes palce two decades from the end of the Battle of Hogwarts. However the events in canon are all backed up by six years.

Thus Harry was born in 1974.

Harry went to Hogwarts for the first time in 1985.

The Second Voldemort War ended in June of 1992.

Considering of what we see in canon, there really isn't anything Muggle that I can think of which couldn't happen in the mid 80's. More to the fact, that none of the Muggleborn never bring up computers, portable phones and the like (which were getting much more common by the end of the canonical series) means pushing the timeline back makes more sense. This allows me to deal with how a post 9-11 world would affect Magical England.

There will be some other minor changes to canon. If something is said which contradicts canon, it's a good bet it's intentional.

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PITHY STATEMENT RELATING TO THIS CHAPTER: "Fate is for losers." Douglas Coupland

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CHAPTER ONE – TWENTY YEARS LATER

BEHIND THE CYCLOPS EYE PUB, DIAGON ALLEY, LONDON – AUGUTST 4th 2012 – EVENING

Harry sniffed and then rubbed his nose. Someone was smoking Muggle clove cigarettes and those always made his eyes water. Of course the ventilation system in the pub was practically non-existent so all the smoke from the various cigars, fags and pipes hung in the air like an evil cloud.

Not that the pub's patrons paid it any heed. Unlike the Muggles, a wizard only had to flick their wand to make themselves smell fresh and cancer, well cancer was something Magicals either didn't get or took a potion to cure. Harry frowned to himself. It always amazed him how wizards could accept being cooped up in a stinking bar and yet pitched a fit if they ever were required to work up a sweat. He, for one, had taken to like the spread of no-smoking pubs throughout Scotland and finally making head-way in England. Another reason he often shunned the Wizarding world when he could.

The bar's queer arrangement didn't help the smoke or the press of bodies. Of course with the bar being made out of an old shop, its arrangement made more sense. Like so much in Diagon Alley these days, this building was filling a different role just like so many of the wizards and witches crammed in to get a drink before or prior to their work shifts.

Harry pulled out his flask and took a pull of the 12 year Glenmorangie scotch. He didn't give a tinker's damn for Wizarding booze even though he'd sometimes drink it if only to keep the bartenders happy. Harry would rather just have a pint and not have to worry about a drink which would either cause steam to come out of his ears or other such rubbish. He'd already had finished off a pint of bitter but the waiting was starting to get on his nerves.

It wasn't helping the crowd was tense and lively. After the Great Move (or Cowardly Retreat as opponents called it) Diagon Alley had attracted a new population which previously had been content to live on their ancestral lands. Now these 'yokels' used to living on their own land, by their own rules were packed check to jowl with others just like them.

That being clannish, conservative, stiff-necked and quick to anger. Just the sort of people you didn't want packed into a small space with lots of alcohol.

Harry sighed and looked at his watch. Normally waiting (and drinking) wasn't a problem for Harry. Yet with the Olympics just past, Harry was still a bit strung out. With the whole world watching London, the Ministry had to swallow its pride and call in England's most infamous black sheep to help enforce the Statue of Secrecy: Harry Potter; the Man-Who-Disappointed.

On top of having to listen to Percy Prewitt's boring briefings, having to deal with the Auror Corps or busting wizard after wizard using some Weasley Wizard Wheeze where Muggles could see, Harry had to keep a tight rein on his temper in the face of the innuendos, the snide comments and the not so subtle mockery from the other members in the security detail. That and the ever present 'What did bad-boy Harry do today?' articles in the Daily Prophet.

Harry smiled grimly. True a lot of that had stopped when Harry had seriously rearranged Auror Zacharias Smith's face while showing the berk's team some non-lethal take-down methods to use when wands could not. Then he was at least back to whispered comments about Hardcore Hit-Wizard Harry; the man who seemed Hell bent on following Moody's path.

Harry's magical eye swiveled toward an abrupt movement at the bar but relaxed when it turned out to be a man catching an empty tankard he'd inadvertently knocked off the bar. Harry calmed himself and continued to look around the pub casually. His jumpiness reminded him of all the times Mad-Eye had yelled about the need for constant vigilance or the dangers to one's buttocks if one kept a wand in their pocket. Of course the odd, hodge-podge décor of the bar did sort of remind Harry of the late, patch-work Auror. Of course in a way, Harry was sort of on his own way to looking like Moody.

His eye didn't help the comparison to old Mad-Eye. After the werewolf attack which cost him his eye, Harry had kept it hidden behind an eye-patch. For awhile many a perp thought they could get the drop on him on his blind side only to get a face full of stunner...or worse. After it became obvious Harry had one of the new (and smaller) magical eyes, he'd gone back wearing glasses. While he hadn't yet lost any limbs, he sometimes felt Hermione might make some break-through arithmantic calculations from the spatial relationships from all the scars on his body.

That would be assuming, Harry thought wryly, that Hermione would ever talk with him again. Of all the people he had let down in his sorry life, Harry still felt keenly the pain of knowing Hermione had finally given up on him. Certainly he deserved it, nay gone out of his way it seemed to provoke it but never-the-less, the pain was still there. Of almost all of his previous friends, Hermione had held on the longest. Only Luna still treated him the same but with her globe-trotting ways, Harry rarely saw her.

Harry looked around the pub, sub-vocally changing the magical filter on his glasses from magical aura level to blood-alcohol level. Between his magical eye and some Lasik surgery, Harry hadn't needed glasses for years. Yet the amount of magical filters which could show him anything from blood splatter to magical power level made them too useful to give up. Plus, if he was honest with himself, he just didn't look right without them. By taking a page out of Bill's book, Harry had tamed his hair by growing it long and keeping it in a pony-tail.

Harry scanned the crowd and frowned. It was relatively early in the evening yet the majority of the other patrons were already squiffed. That could be good or bad depending on how the night went down. For now, Harry hoped it would help fewer people would notice him and who he was meeting. Of course no one in the room knew it was him. He currently was in his Jim Patterson disguise. His cover was an ex-pat who worked in shipping who would often come ashore, work some odd jobs and then leave after he had presumably made enough money to earn a berth away from England. 'Jim' was a gambler and liked to hang with the ladies of the night.

Harry frown turned to a small smile. Between the gambling dens, the strip clubs and the docks, Harry heard and saw a lot while living and working as Jim. The Aurors, those stuck-up twats who wouldn't know honest police work if it bit them in the arse, hated that his arrest record as a Hit-Wizard was seven times that of their best officer.

Just like most everybody in Magical England, if they couldn't use magic to do it, the Aurors wouldn't do it. Sure they had plenty of officers trained in surveillance and disguise but to actually do manual labor on the docks to strengthen their cover? Perish the thought! Harry always inwardly scoffed when shaking hands with officers in the Auror Corp. Almost to a wizard or witch, they all had soft, office hands.

Harry signaled Evelyn MacDonald for another bitter. She was his favorite waitress because they shared similar facial problems. Where Harry had the four marks of a werewolf's claw stretching from his hair-line to his chin, Evelyn had a nasty diagonal cut from left to right across her face made by a Death Eater's cursed dagger.

While not a beauty, Evelyn had a grace to her and it saddened Harry that she was stuck as a waitress for the scum and villainy which mostly made up Diagon Alley these days simply because she had a scar magic couldn't cover up. The Daily Prophet had tossed her out of their reporter pool and no one, not even the new owners of the Quibbler would hire her.

Harry always made sure to have a kind word for her when he would show up as Harry Potter when he'd come around asking questions. Over the years he had found the paradoxical fact that by alerting perps he was looking for them by publically questioning people often made them panic which made them easier to catch. As an ex-reporter, Evelyn often spotted things ordinary people missed so she made a good contact to get the feel of the wizard on the street

As Jim Patterson, he always made a point to flirt outrageously and perhaps give a friendly grope. As Jim, Harry hadn't had sex with her since she got a boyfriend last year but she never seemed to mind a pinch on the bum.

"Thanks love," Harry said as Evelyn set his beer down while easily carrying a tray filled with half-a-dozen pint glasses.

"None of your wandering hands now, Mister Patterson!" Evelyn joked with a saucy wink. Harry laughed as she wiggled her bum as she sauntered to the next table. This laughed was cut short when he finally saw his contact for the evening walk in. Harry took a quick drink and tried to keep watch while not trying to appear so. Sadly the layout of the place made that difficult even with his magical eye.

The pub hadn't always been a pub. As little as seven years ago it still was Jorkin's Capes and Cloaks and so was never designed for the role the building played today. As Harry kept his magical eye on his target, Harry mused that most of Diagon Alley was in that same boat since the Great Move. After 9-11 and the unrelenting march of Muggle technology, London was just not safe to be the seat of Magical England anymore. With the bulk of the old shops relocated to the new Dumbledore Alley in Tintagel down in Cornwall, Diagon Alley had become either magically 'industrial' or barely above that of Knockturn Alley.

"Well Jimmy, you going to buy a hard working gal a drink?" his contact said as she sat down opposite him.

Harry laughed as he signaled the bar since Evelyn was across the room, "Well I don't know about a hard-working gal but a wizard would be just daft not to get hard around the likes of Pretty Pansy Parkinson."

"Jimmy, I told you not to call me that," Pansy said even though Harry could tell she secretly liked hearing her old school nickname. Sadly while Pansy was still quite comely, the years hadn't been kind to her when it came to her looks. Not that that matter to Harry. With all his scars, his attitude and his wicked ways as Molly Weasley might have said, Harry didn't feel he had any right to look down on Pansy's looks or lifestyle.

"Well I've made it almost a habit not to do what I'm told," Harry quipped.

"Yes, yes, we all know what a bad boy you are…Jimmy," Pansy said with a roll of her eyes. Unlike the other patrons, Pansy knew who he really was.

"A bad boy to match a very bad girl," Harry said as he wiggled his eye-brows suggestively. Although true be told there wasn't much left of his real left eye-brow to wiggle but that was easily covered up by the Muggle special effect kit he used to cover what his limited metamorphmagus powers couldn't cover. While he could shorten his hair, change his eye color (with his magical eye changing to match) and slightly alter the shape of his face, the claw marks couldn't be magically covered up. So he had to use Muggle means to hide the scar which had replaced his old lightning bolt scar as how people spotted the famous (infamous?) Harry Potter in a crowd.

Once again magic was almost a curse when it came to magical police work. Most aurors would check for a glamour or Polyjuice and then accept you for who you said you were if the results came back negative. Since his metamorphmagus powers were innate, it didn't show to any forensic spells. Since his fake eyebrow and special make-up to cover his scars were Muggle, they didn't show up either. Harry felt he could probably sneak into the new Ministry itself and get away with it. The charm which could keep people from seeing his eyes through his glasses (and thus his magical eye when it swiveled) was often used by gamblers like Patterson was known to be. So far only Luna Lovegood had twigged onto a disguise of Harry's.

Pansy waited till another waitress put her gillywater down. Pansy's drink of choice was known in every drinking hole in the Alley which made things easier on busy nights like tonight. After taking a drink, Pansy leaned closer to Harry, "So why the call? Things are still ass over tea-kettle due to that Olympic thing. Most everyone is still laying low even with the stepped up Auror patrols gone." Pansy paused before she broke out in a sly grin, "Well the pros aren't laying low. After all the fucking going on between the supposed virtuous Aurors and other outstanding members of society on top of all the foreigners in town for the festivities, most are pretty shagged out."

Harry smirked, "And you? Are you shagged out?"

Pansy snorted, "I may be a pro but after Draco I swore I'd keep to some standards. Luckily I was able to keep myself entertained by a select few Durmstrang alumni with deep pockets. Deep pockets but short dicks but at least they tipped well."

Harry reached out and patted Pansy's hand, "Poor Pansy; all these years of working hard for your money and you're still stuck with the problem you had back in Slytherin."

Pansy snatched her hand away. "Oh and what problem is that?" She asked archly.

Harry grinned, "Having to say, 'Is is in yet?'"

Pansy's eyes flashed but Harry didn't flinch. Given Draco's actions after the War, Harry felt no guilt about making snarky comments about his old enemy. He still kept watch on the old ferret and Draco knew it. So far he had kept his nose clean which meant Harry hadn't been able to have him tossed into prison as he often dreamed about doing. Just because he hadn't been able to kill Dumbledore didn't make him a good person and much of what he did was out of self-interest. Harry knew if it was to that self-interest to become a danger to society again, he'd do it. So Harry watched and waited.

Of course the few times he had shagged Astoria on the sly made up for his deferred big dream!

Pansy pursed her lips before asking again, "So are you going to tell me what this is all about? Things may be tense but it's been ruddy quiet. So why am I here?"

Harry laughed, "Pansy, sweet Pretty Pansy Parkinson; can't a guy just want a sweaty shag without having his motives questioned?"

Pansy looked at him appraisingly before smirking, "Pu-lease, Jimmy. I'm not stupid. Unlike the rest of the brainless sheep around here, I know very well you've been fucking your way through quite a few witches. I doubt I'm here because the only option you have is a disowned disgrace working as a pro."

Harry leaned back and sighed. He took off his glasses, set them on the table and rubbed his eye. After taking a deep pull on his beer, Harry leaned in with a smile, "See now sweets, that's where you'd be wrong. I'm not looking for anything tonight but a little of the old in-and-out. Oh I'm sure I've got some questions to ask along the way. I wrote them down so I wouldn't forget them so that should show you how so-called urgent they are."

Pansy looked suspicious. Finally she said, "I don't believe you. Isn't the Greengrass Ball on tonight? I'm betting you could have easily finagled a way into their catering crew. Fucking Astoria while her husband hob-knobbed around would be just like you. Besides I know Daphne probably knows most of your aliases. With her taste in the absurd, I could see her excusing herself from her guest for a quick shag just for the kick of coming back and speaking with some boring Ministry twit with your jism running down her leg."

"That is a down-right fucking lie!" Harry said hotly before grinning. "Daphne would never leave the room without cleaning up. Besides she's rather enamored with the taste of my jism as you so crudely put it. She'd never let it go to waste by running down her leg."

Pansy still looked suspicious, "Fine, whatever. Still…why me?"

Harry shrugged before going on in a low tone, "I've been stuck being Harry bloody Potter for to long this month. Right now I just want some fun and Jim is fun. Jim is also rather sweet on you."

Pansy frowned. "Harry you are Jim Patterson!" she said quietly.

"Yeah and I'm rather sweet on you as well. We're both bad pennies who made some bad choices which no one ever gave us a chance to repent for." Harry's face hardened and Pansy shivered as she saw a flash behind his good eye. "Funny how they named the new Alley after Albus 'Let's Give them Another Seven Chances to Reform' Dumbledore but you made one bad call which on the face of it seemed probably a good bet with Voldemort outside the gate and you get disowned. Me? I fucking save everyone and I'm kicked to the curb for having the gall to want to live my own life."

Pansy harrumphed at that, "Fuck that Jimmy. You didn't want to live your own life; you wanted to throw it away."

Harry grinned, "And that's my fucking right to do, now isn't sweets? I did what I was fated to do and now if I'm my own man. If anything, doing what I was fated to do just goes to show Fate is for losers. Why save yourself when you have a Chosen One?" Harry's grin turned cold, "Of course what do you do when afterwards the Chosen One doesn't stick to the script? Magical England wanted their savior, got their savior and then got pissed off when he refused to play the role of Hero afterwards."

Pansy couldn't help but poke an old wound, "Not to mention all those witches who expected you to show up on their door on your white charger to take them to their dream white wedding."

To Pansy's amazement, Harry just laughed, "Yeah, well the only two witches who ever took the time to get to know me had other plans so the rest of them could go fuck themselves."

Pansy tried again, "Even the Weaselette?"

Harry made a dismissive gesture, "Especially her. She still hasn't grown up you know. Still the little girl who expects everyone to dote on her and make all her wishes come about. How dare I not live up to her childhood dreams of being her Boy-Who-Lived?"

Pansy snickered nastily, "Well perhaps having her mother Kissed might explain some of her anger at you."

Again Pansy was startled Harry didn't even blink at this. Normally she could get a rise out of Harry on this topic, "Look sweets, you go potioning up the heir to an important House, let alone four of them, and you end up paying the price. Fuck them all; they are lucky I can't bring myself to stop saving them."

Pansy looked at Harry quizzically. He was definitely in a mood; one she'd never seen him in before and she'd seen him in some moods before. Some which she counted herself lucky she came away alive. "Saving them Harry?"

Harry slammed down the last of his beer. He almost slammed the pint glass down but caught himself at the last second. Pansy watched him stare at the pint glass for awhile before looking up at her. His face bore a haunted expression which always made her breath catch in her throat. It didn't matter they were in a busy pub surrounded by noisy drunks. It didn't matter the air was filled with smoke, unwashed bodies and greasy pub food. The look in Harry's eyes made Pansy think she was in a graveyard and something from beyond the Veil was looking through Harry.

"It's my Curse, Pansy. I can't stop trying to save them from themselves. Every day I'm out there, fighting the petty evil that goes on day after day which if not checked grows into big evil like Voldemort. I fight and fight, day in and day out and it's always the same; they resent me for it." Harry said hollowly.

Pansy was surprised to find she had taken Harry's hand in hers, "Why do they resent you?"

"Because they know, deep down, I'm doing what they refuse to do." Harry closed his eyes and his voice was so low Pansy had to strain to hear it. "Pansy, magic is a curse. Everyone seems to think we are so blessed with magic but it is a terrible curse. Witches and wizard warp reality to suit their fancy but it cuts them off from the real life. Life is hard and hard isn't something wizards like to do. So when someone like Voldemort shows up, everyone looks to someone else to do the heavy lifting. Someone like me. Yet even as they call out to be saved, they hate me for saving them because they know, in their secret hearts, that I'm better than them for taking action while they do nothing."

Pansy stared at Harry for a bit while she processed this. On the face of it, what Harry was saying was nonsense. To someone of her upbringing, the idea that magic was a curse was laughable. Yet she had lived far too long in the day-to-day world were a flick of the wand couldn't cure one's problems to know just how weak most Magicals really were. If anything the Great Move was just another admission that wizard-kind always took the easy path over the right path.

"So why do you do it? Fight for them?" Pansy finally asked.

Harry looked up and sighed, "I don't fight for them, Pansy. I keep at it for the kids," Harry picked up his empty glass and rotated it in his hand; his distorted imaged reflected back at him. "I killed my first person when I was eleven, Pansy. The Headmaster tried to reassure me that Quirrel was dead the moment he let Voldemort possess him but I knew, even then, that this was just one of those things adults tell you to keep you from freaking out about the truth."

Pansy shivered as the haunted on Harry's face was back. She watched as he stared into the distance, as if looking back in time.

"My time at Hogwarts was filled with death. I killed a basilisk and quite a number of acromantulas personally as others died around me. Cedric, Professor Burbage, all those who died at the Battle of Hogwarts. Let me tell you something only few people knew before I obliviated the knowledge of it away. I killed Antonin Dolohov and Thorfinn Rowle back in '91."

Pansy blinked, "How is that possible? Both died at the Battle of Hogwarts!"

Harry's grinned is lop-sided grin which Pansy thought looked odd on Jim Patterson's face. "Oh did they? That's what everyone thinks but that's because no one looked closely at the bodies. You wouldn't know since you were hustled off with the rest of the Slytherins but Minerva had the house elves put our dead under blankets but any Death Eater was put into a body bag. Only the Ministry morgue personnel saw that Dolohov and Rowle were actually two lower ranking recruits glamoured to look like them. I'm betting the Dark Lord didn't want it known that two of his top fighters went out on a quick snatch-and-grab and never came back. Bad for morale."

Pansy took a cautious sip from her gillywater, "So when did they die?"

"You mean when did I kill them?" Harry pointed out.

"Alright, you prat, when did you kill them?" Pansy said exasperatedly.

Harry leaned back in his chair and his gaze seemed to once again be looking into the past. "We didn't know that Voldemort had put the Taboo on his name. So right after Bill and Fleur's wedding got hit, we were found pretty fast in London. However since I've had people trying to kill me since I was 15 month's old, I was pretty good at sensing an impending attack. Bang, bang, bang, before you can say Bob's your uncle we had Dolohov and Rowle wrapped up and obliviated."

Harry leaned back towards Pansy, almost close enough to kiss her, "But as we left that little shop and were desperately trying to think of what to do next it hit me. Every person those two tortured or killed after that moment would be our fault; my fault. So I excused myself with some twaddle about checking them for portkeys or other items and I went back and used a Petrificus Totalus right up against their chests. Stopped their heart. Boom! Two men who mysteriously had heart attacks at the same time."

"And the Weasel and Her Nibs never cottoned to this?" Pansy asked.

Harry gave a rusty chuckle, "Well Hermione was busy planning our next move or four and Ron was too busy having the shakes. He'd never admit it but he never dealt with battle well. Right afterwards he'd get the shakes bad. It is one of the reasons that he finally left the Auror Corps. Oh he pisses and moans about how he was drummed out but the truth is he just couldn't hack the heat of the kitchen."

"That and I'll bet without Granger around he couldn't deal with the paperwork," Pansy snarked.

Harry laughed with real humor this time, "Well even I have some trouble with that. Thank Merlin for Penny! Why that fucking twat Percy let her go is fucking beyond me. I'm sure I wouldn't have two knuts to rub together if she wasn't keeping things running smoothly for me."

Pansy took another dainty sip of her drink, "So okay, you've been around death since Day One. Why do you still do it? Hell, you embrace it!"

Harry shrugged and was quiet for a moment before going on, "Fighting is what I'm good at. I feel alive when I'm doing it. I'm probably just as bad as many of the bad guys I take down. I'm just legally sanctioned in what I do. Yet no matter what, I remind myself that I'm the one doing it and I'm doing so by my own choice. I didn't have that choice as a kid. Nope, the Headmaster made sure I was primed, conditioned, and prepped to be his little weapon against Voldemort. Sadly I made the mistake of letting Hermione talking me into creating the D.A. which in turn created a whole batch of impressionable children ready to fight a war that the adults should have been fighting."

Harry gestured to the crowd around them, "This lot? Or those fat bastards in the Wizengamot or the whole lot of useless twats in the Ministry? Don't give a shit about any of them. I save them only in the sense that they benefit for me trying to keep the children of today from having to fight the battles the adults refuse to fight."

Pansy nodded at this but she couldn't help being the bitch, "Sounds good but considering so many of the sprogs around are your issue, still sounds a bit self-serving to me."

Once again, to her surprise, Harry didn't take the bait, "Well if I couldn't keep their parents from death and destruction, I don't think I should be gigged for trying to look out for their kids. As for my kids, I may be father to the lot but I'm no one's dad. I look out for them but they're better off without me being in their lives any more than I am already. Being a child of mine is burden enough as it is."

This bothered Pansy for some reason she couldn't put her finger on but before she could think on what it could be, a man plunked down in the empty seat to her left. Even above the smell of cheap booze, his even cheaper cologne told her who he was. "Maxwell kindly bugger off. I'm off the clock and even if I was I wouldn't bed the likes of you again for all the galleons in Gringotts."

Maxwell Weasley blinked at this before trying to lean in for a kiss, "I thought a working bird like you was never off the clock!" His accent, as always, was thick and hard to understand and the slurring due to the amount of booze in him didn't make it any easier.

"Get off me you ruddy bastard!" Pansy yelled as she pushed the offending wizard away. The Weasleys at Hogwarts had been bad enough but it seemed Diagon Alley was now filled with the ginger clan who had come in from the back woods of Britain in search of a different life.

Maxwell remembered what his da always told him; give a bitch an inch and she'll chew your leg off. So he quickly cuffed the witch with a swift slap, "There now! No need to be shirty! I pay you, you shag me, we both leave happy."

Maxwell didn't like the look in Pansy's eye and decided another slap would do it. Another cuff for good measure would do it but as his hand pulled back he suddenly found his arm trapped as if in a vise.

"I'm sorry but I know I've been gone from Jolly Olde England for most of the last decade but I don't remember slapping women was considered good form. How about you get up and leave right now and I don't fucking kill you? How's that sound?"

Maxwell tried to wrest his arm from the bloke who had been talking to the gal he had intended to shag but it was no use. No matter that the guy didn't look like much, his grip might as well have been a troll's.

"Hey now! Let Maxie go or there's going to be trouble!"

Maxwell grinned. He and the rest of the blokes at rendering plant might fight like cats and dogs while on duty but off shift? Pick a fight with one and you picked a fight with the whole lot.

However the wizard who still gripped his arm didn't seemed fazed in the least, even in the face of Maxwell's four mates who all topped 20 stone in weight. In fact the wizard smiled in the face as he looked up at the wizards who had surrounded his table.

"Walk away boys or you'll make me angry," the wizard said.

Maxwell unconsciously shivered at look in the wizard's eye.

"You really wouldn't like me when I'm angry!"

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Chapter Two Preview: Well if we're going to start a fic in a cliché "you meet in a bar" sort of way, what else could follow but a bar fight?

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Author's Notes: This is another variant of an idea I've been kicking around for a long time. The more I read fan-fiction, the more I'm finding I enjoy post-Hogwarts stories. Sadly so many of them seem to just advance the ages of the characters without really changing them. That or they make characters like Ginny and Ron awful while leaving people like Hermione and Harry still okay so they can ship them. Certainly I didn't cast Ginny and Ron in a good light in Ginny's In India Now but I tried to show that Hermione and Harry had their own issues as well. This story is probably another one where my own problems with PTSD, depression, fondness for drink will play out in Harry.

Fic Title: The Thin Blue Line is a concept of how a small police force protects the vast amount of the people from threats. However it has a darker meaning in Criminal Justice circles to refer to the paradoxical effect of how police (or soldiers) begin to hate the people they protect. Much of it comes from people cops see when they ticket them and get attitude from these people who will be the first to call when they are in trouble. This attitude also leads to corruption when police begin to feel they should get added perks for their service. In this fic, Harry definitely hates the people he protects. It is just he hates the people he fights against more.

Stealing From the Best: Jim Patterson comes from the fic Realizations (1260679) from Wishweaver and his blue-collar job is a shout out to Harry's jobs while pretending to be Jim. Harry's werewolf wound is inspired by Stranger In A Too Familiar Land (6610684) by Fyreheart. In some respects the idea of a down-and-out Harry as a wizard-for-hire came from Harry Potter and the Chance Meeting (4508835) by Clell65619 and maybe a bit from Soul Thief (6479080) by Walter Sobchak.

Pub Name: This is a subtle shout-out to one of my all-time favorite movies.