He was seven when he chose his career path in life. His 'family' had been forced to take him on a camping trip (he suspected that they planned to ditch him in the woods) when he heard the most awful howling. Since he had been made to sleep outside the tent, he crawled out of his ratty sleeping bag and started to climb, thinking it was wolves.
It wasn't wolves. In fact it didn't even appeared to be like any animal he recognized. It was humanoid in shape, but that was where the resemblance ended. It had massive claws and was definitely a carnivore.
It sniffed his sleeping bag before turning it's attention onto the tent.
Vernon and Dudley didn't stand a chance, and Petunia had left for the bathroom not fifteen minutes earlier.
Suddenly the thing looked up, and he got a good look at it's eyes. They were a bloody red, and it tried to sniff him out. He didn't move a single muscle, terrified that this thing would eat him next. It took a screaming Dudley and Vernon back to it's lair, and when it came back an hour later it captured his aunt.
He didn't dare come down until he heard someone come to check on them, like they had every day for the past three days they were camping. Hearing their shout, he debated on whether it was safe to leave camp or not.
Hearing that unholy howl in the distance, he decided against leaving the tree. Not with that thing down there.
It was a good thing he had grabbed his cousin's "emergency" rations, which would have fed a small house for a week, along with the two large water bottles. He didn't feel one iota of guilt for littering in the tree, not after he saw the police show up and those who stayed behind to investigate get captured by the creature.
If the coppers didn't believe him about the abuse, why would they believe that a monster had captured his aunt and uncle to who knows where?
A day after the police were taken, a man wearing an odd hunting outfit showed up. He looked around with a professional eye, and was about to investigate some markings when he happened to see the foil wrapper up in the tree.
Instead of dismissing it as the works of birds (like the police had when they showed up) he started to climb.
That was how Harry Potter came face to face with his first Hunter.
"Smart kid. How did you escape the Wendigo?"
"Is that what that monster is called?" asked Harry, not leaving his tree.
"Yup. So how did you escape it?"
"I heard and howl and assumed wolves. That thing has trouble finding me up here, so I stayed put until I was sure it wouldn't come back," said Harry.
"Any idea of where it is? Wendigo's are usually active for a week at a time."
"About an hour's walk that way, I think. I looked at how long it took for it to capture my aunt, and she stayed close to here once it took my cousin and uncle," said Harry, pointing in the direction this Wendigo had left.
"Right... That tree can't be comfortable. If I draw a circle to keep the Wendigo out, will you come down?" he asked.
"I want proof it works first," said Harry immediately.
"Kid, how long do you think your luck will hold if you stay up here?"
"...Fine. Got any real food? This junk is making me queasy," said Harry.
"Yup. Brought enough food to last for three days."
Harry started munching on some nice, healthy sandwiches (turkey with lettuce and tomato) while the man drew vague symbols on the ground. He waited for nightfall, and that was when Harry immediately started looking for the nearest tree to run up when he heard the growl.
"Relax kid, it can't get past the symbols."
"Yeah, real comforting to someone who's spent the last three days hiding in a tree watching this thing take people to who knows where!" Harry shot back.
He hadn't slept at all while that thing was out, so his response was reasonable for his position.
The growls vanished, but the cries for help came. They sounded very much like his aunt. Harry snorted.
"If you're waiting me to run to her aid, you'll be here till hell freezes over! I'm not risking my neck for a horse who regularly swings a frying pan at me for anything she considers abnormal!" Harry shouted into the dark.
The creature paused, before trying Dudley and then Vernon's voice. Harry ignored all three voices and continued to watch the fire burn. The Hunter was both impressed...and mildly worried. Impressed because this kid knew how to survive and didn't fall for such an obvious trick, and worried because he mentioned his aunt using force for anything out of the ordinary. The more he looked at the kid, the more signs of abuse he saw.
By morning the thing had given up, and the police had quit trying to find the missing people because of two forces. The police chief deciding not to lose any more men, and the magical forces who thought that the investigation was about the abuse Harry suffered.
It took the man three hours to kill and free those still alive (which in this case was Petunia and the officers...Dudley and Vernon's hearts had given out a day into captivity) and to kill the damn thing.
By that point an agreement had been reached with Harry and his aunt. She would no longer punish him for accidental magic, but in return he had to study as hard as he could to kill anything supernatural. Considering the man who saved him regularly killed monsters like this, Harry was quick to agree.
He now had a goal in life...he was going to become a Hunter.
Time skip to fifth year...
Hary threw down his book with disgust. This defense book wasn't worth the paper it was printed on...which was about the same evaluation he gave Lockhart's books come to think of it. Instead he went deep into the more unpleasant parts of Sirius' family library and was about to pull out a random encyclopedia of demons when Sirius came in.
"What have you got there?"
"An encyclopedia of something obscure. In Latin apparently," said Harry dryly.
"I still don't understand why you know Latin," said Sirius.
"Latin, Italian, French, Spanish..." Harry listed off the top of his head. Ever since his encounter with the Wendigo, he had always dreamed of becoming a Hunter and killing monsters. To that end, he had taken multiple classes (with his aunt's full permission when she learned why) to learn as many languages he could, particularly Latin.
He had also taken several martial arts classes, and was now a black belt in three different styles.
The only thing he did not have was information. Things like what form certain demons took, how to take some of the worst supernatural horrors out and how to deal with a normal ghost. Hermione still didn't understand how Harry knew ghosts were very weak against rock salt of all things.
"So Harry, about all these weird books you've been reading lately..."
Harry paused, then gave Sirius a 'Look'.
"Sirius, by any chance have you been talking to Molly Weasly about me lately?" he asked with suspicion.
"No, but Dumbledore has this list of the things you've been taking out of the Restricted Section," said Sirius.
"Let me rephrase this...at what point in time did you quit being a rebel and become a responsible adult?"
Sirius blinked twice.
"Why do you ask?"
"Because the Sirius I know would be more interested in pranks with the twins than the fact I have a career that does not involve getting good scores in my NEWTs," said Harry flatly.
"Pranks are great and all, but why on earth are you reading obscure books on monsters?"
"...When I was seven my uncle and fat cousin were killed by a Wendigo. My aunt was only saved because a Hunter happened to be in the area and killed it," said Harry.
"You're shitting me. A real Wendigo? In England?" said Sirius in disbelief. Growing up a Black meant he knew more about the dark side of the supernatural than he would have liked.
"We were camping and the damn thing woke up two days in. I ran up a tree and stayed there until the Hunter showed up and placed a ward to keep it out. The only one he managed to save was Petunia, and that was because my cousin and uncle's hearts gave out on their first day as captives."
"Don't Wendigo's mimic human voices?" asked Sirius.
"It was dumb enough to mimic my family. I wasn't risking my ass for them," said Harry flatly.
"So all these obscure books you're reading..."
"A preventive measure to keep from being stuck up in a tree waiting to be rescued again," said Harry.
Sirius took that answer as Harry hoped. He dropped all questions about the books Harry read...in exchange for Harry's promise never to become evil and actually use the knowledge to summon demons and the like.
Hermione was very worried...she had seen the circle in Harry's hand and assumed he planned to summon a demon with it. (She had been the one to translate the books Harry kept borrowing for Dumbledore, who didn't speak Latin or own the dictionary.)
"Harry, what are you planning to do?" she asked concerned.
"Summoning Loki of course. Why?"
"Because that looks suspiciously like the circle in that demon summoning book you were reading last week," she replied.
"Were you the one who translated that list?" asked Harry.
"Yes, and I want to know why you're summoning a demon!"
"Not a demon. Loki, the god of mischief. Fred, George, you two got what I asked for?" Harry called out of the room.
"We got it..." said Fred.
"But we still don't see..." continued George.
"Why you need..."
"Fifty galleons worth of Honeyduke's best chocolate," finished George.
"I heard that Loki has a massive sweet tooth, and this might make him more inclined to listen to us," said Harry flatly.
"I still don't understand how you plan to summon Loki with that," said Hermione.
"Oh ye of little faith. Hand over that phoenix feather and unicorn tail will you?"
"Where did you get this feather?!"
"Stole it from Fawkes last time he was here. You've never heard such squawking," said Harry absentmindedly. The twins snickered, having distracted the Order so Harry could do that.
As Harry began the long chant in actual Latin (he had been appalled the first time he heard the faux Latin that wizards used for their spells) Hermione felt a subtle pressure around her.
"Yo," said a rather short, if handsome man with mischievous eyes.
"You Loki?" asked Harry?
"You summoned me didn't you?"
"Fred, George?" said Harry.
Loki's mouth twitched upward when he saw the chocolate that the twins had.
"Is that Honeyduke's best chocolate I smell?" he asked hopefully.
"Oh good, you recognize it. You can have the chocolate in exchange for giving me an Enochian dictionary," said Harry.
Loki blinked at him.
"A dictionary so I can learn how to write angel glyphs. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find an angel willing to share those?"
"What makes you think I would know where to find something like that?" asked Loki.
"Because I know your real name, and I'm planning to take up a certain profession once Voldemort is dealt with. I would rather be over-prepared than having missing information. And to be honest, some of the angels I've heard about sound like assholes."
Hermione seemed to be in shock that her best friend had actually summoned Loki. Then her brain rebooted.
"Wait a minute, how the hell do we know this is actually Loki and not a demon?!" she nearly shrieked.
"Oh yeah, almost forgot. You thirsty Loki?" asked Harry.
Loki took the water battle and tossed it back without asking what it was.
"Blegh. Distilled water, really?"
"See? Not a demon. If he was, he would be shooting out black smoke by now or be in excruciating pain. Not to mention he would have been a hell of a lot more annoyed by the devil trap I have above him," said Harry bluntly.
"What did you give him?" asked Hermione.
"Holy water. Demons can't stand the stuff. Nor can they handle the word 'Christo' without flinching."
"I can't give you a dictionary, though I can help with any pranks you want done," said Loki after a thought.
"In that case, I leave him in your capable hands Fred and George," said Harry mildly disappointed.
The Order was hit particularly hard that month, though Loki did leave Harry a list of angel glyphs he could use in case he ran into one of the less pleasant Angels, in addition to saying that if he actually did need help then all he would have to do is pray for him.
Apparently Harry made an...odd...impression on the deity.
Hermione was still trying to resist strangling Harry for summoning something stronger than him right in Order headquarters.
Harry had been taken in an hour early for his case, though he knew he would come out fine. After all, he had captured the dementors without using a single spell. Legally they had nothing on him.
On the plus side, his portable devil trap was a success! And he got to verify that he had actual holy water, as opposed to tap. (That had happened once, and ever since he stuck to suppliers with good records.)
He went in, gave his defense before Dumbledore could interrupt him, and waited while the Wizangamot read off what spells he had used.
He knew Fudge would discredit him, which was why he hadn't bothered carrying his wand with him.
Instead he had his knives and his book with details on how to deal with supernatural threats. He had heard rumors from older hunters that an American had made his own book, only it was a disorganized mess.
Originally the older hunters had been leery of a ten-year-old walking into a bar full of 'delusional' killers with guns, right up until he mentioned his run-in with a Wendigo and had immediately decided to join their group when he was older and out of school. It had taken all of ten minutes for him to patiently explain that he only came in there for good intel that he knew worked, since half the stuff he found online didn't make a lick of sense.
After that he had a hell of a time keeping up with their advice. Finally he agreed to keep coming back to verify information he found or to share something new.
Every Hunter in Britain knew he was a wizard, because he had asked about Hogwarts when the letter originally came. As long as he didn't summon demons, he was one of them. Besides, he had most of their numbers on speed dial by that time. He was their research monkey.
It took all of an hour before he was let go, as his wand didn't even
have the patronus registered as cast since his third year. They couldn't legally charge him for a spell he hadn't even used in a while, nor did Harry mention the dementors.
He knew it would have been a lost cause if he had.
He left the Ministry whistling a tune one of his Hunter friends had taught him when he was twelve.