Witch Hunter

A Harry Potter Fanfiction

By CrimsonNoble

Definitely AU.

Considering how Rowling's own timeline is messed up anyway (the Playstation didn't even come out until 1995), I've changed dates for my convenience. Don't know if there's a canon date of birth for Lily and James, and co, don't care. This begins in 2003, book three therefore was in 1997 (going good with the Playstation), making Lily and James dead in 1984. Hah, 1984. Orwell. Whatta coincidence. Harry therefore born in 1983. I'm saying that Lily and James took a bit of time before having a child, debating whether or not to bring a new life into the world in the present state. I'm adding two years for courtship (dating), so I'm saying they probably graduated in 1977.

Summary: People cope with grief in different ways. Harry Potter doesn't cope well. But when he's caught in a magical backlash of immense power, he's banished from all he knows and finds that, sometimes, not everyone is guilty of the sins of a few. Post Hogwarts.

Spoilers: All books.

Rating: R for violence, mature sexual themes, harsh language, etc.

Pairings: HP/FD, HP/LP, HP/H

Chapter One

The forest was dark. Dawn had yet to break, and the moon had already set. The pre-daybreak mist hung thickly, not quite prepared to relinquish it's dominion over the barren soil. Trees rose from the murky, white carpet like the spears of every fallen Roman Legionnaire, some standing straight and tall, some cracking under the strain and falling, and some kept only vaguely upright by the support of others.

In eons past, it had been a battlefield; men had fought and died for what was, at the time, a lush and fertile ground. Their blood had stained the earth, and it had lain for centuries, feeding the malevolence of nature, feeding its hatred for humanity. And when the trees had grown, they had grown angrily, speaking in their voices of eternity of how, if they only had the chance, mankind would pay for what they had done.

And through this oppressive landscape, one man walked alone. He rose from the mist like a wraith, cloaked entirely in a white cloak with the crest on his back. A golden chain attached the folds that hung before his shoulders, and the folds reached up into a hood shadowing his face. He made no sound as he passed through the midst of the trees that hated his kind, yet anything awake knew he was coming. Animals stopped, lifted their noses, sniffed, and fled his path, predator and prey ran side by side, pretending they could not see each other, yet united in their flight.

His feet left deep footprints, as if carrying a great weight, a smaller pentagon behind a larger hexagon, each connected to the other by only a small, arching impression in the dew-mud.

He was coming back. He was returning to claim his own. He was returning to pass the judgment of the Powers.

The sun rose as he reached the edge of the forest, piercing into his hood to fall across the petite jaw beneath. His head tilted back, revealing the long neck, wrapped in a black material, as he reveled in the purity of the new morning. It was the same as every other morning; and yet completely unique, completely new, and it would never come again. His heart ached with the sorrow of the knowledge that this moment, this perfect instant, would never reoccur, would pass unseen by anyone but himself. And yet he rejoiced in the knowledge that others would have instants like this one, and took selfish pleasure in being the only one to see this. It was his and his alone.

He stood, waiting silently, his eyes shut, though he had turned from the morning light. Today, it would all be over. Today it was finished. Today he would succeed or he would fail. Today was the day that he would finally, finally, finish what had begun eighteen years past. It would all finally, finally, be over. And so, instead of rushing to his goal, as he might have done not so long ago, he waited patiently, for he knew that his goal could be no where else.

He knew not the exact time he left his silent vigil, only that the sun had risen well above the flaming horizon and that the mist that had clung, stubbornly possessively, to the forest had dispersed, at the edges if not in the depths of the wood. He moved silently, the epitome of serenity in his quite grace and satisfaction that today he would no longer have to live in despair.

Long, dance-like strides carried him up to the lake, and then past it, determination evident in the silent beauty of his motions. His eyes, well hidden, calmly took in the growing shape of the immense stone structure before him. The proud towers, the gargoyles silent sentinels on the rooftop. One hand pressed against his chest, over his heart, as he gazed at the figures, those which had saved him, and which still protected him.

And then, he pushed the great wooden doors open. They moved freely before his touch, silently granting him entrance and welcoming him back into their sanctuary. Should he so desire it, he knew, the castle would accept him, let him remain there, untroubled by the sins of the world. He smiled, a mournful, grateful gesture, a simple curve of his darkened lips, and then he brought his fingers to his lips, kissed them, and pressed them against the door. 'Thank you,' formed on silent lips.

He entered, his footsteps silent on the stones of the castle's floor. It had not betrayed him, it had accepted who he was, it had not hurt him. In some of his wildest fantasies, he had imagined that, perhaps it may have loved him. It was an impossible dream, something that would never happen. He had lost that chance what seemed an eternity ago.

The doors to the Great Hall opened for him, and he shut his eyes, tilting his head down and forward, bowing his thanks to the castle. It was still there for him. Even after all he had done.

He stepped into the hall, interrupting breakfast. Silence fell, stunned eyes finding the sigil on his cloak as he moved toward the staff table, and terrified whispers followed in his wake. A small smile, bitter and mournful crossed his lips. He took pleasure in this, yes; he perversely delighted in their terror. But he wished he didn't have to do it. He wished didn't feel the pleasure.

He stopped, lower than the stage the head table was on. His hands, slightly too big to be natural and covered in white gloves, reached up to pull his hood down. It drifted off his helmet, almost but not quite sticking on the wings reminiscent of a valkyrie's. The gloved hand's lifted the helmet off, letting the mixture of black and platinum free of their confines, the long strands tumbling down his back. His right hand held on, sliding up to grip the helmet by the gaps for his eyes, letting the nose-piece reach out from between his middle and ring fingers. His left hand returned up, and gently removed the white mask that covered everything above his lips, the gaps for his eyes covered in one-way mirrored lenses.

Jade green eyes, once sparklingly emerald opened lazily, long dark lashes trying to stick together and ultimately failing. His forehead, once having held a scar in the shape of a lightning bolt, was clean now. A small bit of plastic surgery had removed it, and left something only detectable when he had an extremely dark tan. The soft lines of his face were accentuated by the paleness, as if he had not seen the sun in years.

"Hello Albus." He stated softly, his voice resigned.

"Harry," the man acknowledged sadly.

There was a long pause as the white-clad figure bowed his head, trying to ignore the feelings of trust and admiration that managed to tingle beneath his rage. "That isn't my name Albus. My name is The Executioner. I would have thought you of all people would have known that."

"Your name is still Harry."

Mirthless eyes blinked again, lazily as the man found that no; he didn't feel sorry for this man. No, he had yet to feel sorry for any of his deed since… then. "Arguing will achieve nothing Albus. I know my truth."

There was a sound, the ruffling of many hands reaching into many pockets for many wands. And then there was silence again, the tension in the room higher than it had been moments before.

"You have been judged. And you have been found not worthy." The man in white proclaimed. After this, he could stop. He could stop being The Executioner. He could be… he couldn't be anything. This was his last act, he knew. This was the last thing he would ever do, succeed or fail. He forced himself to calm down; the passion in his voice had reached beyond what he had felt in so long.

"Let the children leave, Harry," the aged wizard pleaded. "Your quarrel is with us, not them. Forgive them. She—"

He exploded. "Silence!" The roar echoed strangely in the hall, "You are not fit to speak of her!" He stopped, breathing heavily. Deep breaths were forced into his lungs as he fell into the Third Pattern, forcing his anger down. Later, he could rage at the world. Later, he could let his anger loose. If there was a later. The now required not his passion, but his merciful judgment.

Someone from the Gryffindor table, much less populated than it had been in his day, let loose a simple tickling hex in his surprise, the tension too much for his frayed nerves. He looked at his own wand in horror, as if the action had condemned him, and had not been intentional. He looked at the wand as if it had forced him to cast the spell.

The man in white twisted slightly, leaned just a bit backward, and let the spell dissipate against the stone walls, missing him entirely. He took meticulous care to note where the spell had come from, and otherwise ignored the attack. The Third Pattern faded slowly into the Second, and then the First, and then halted altogether. Calmed, his gaze returned to the older man.

" 'And the sins of the Fathers shall be punished, unto the third and the fourth generations,' " he quoted. "I am in no hurry Albus. Would you mind terribly if I arrange myself? You may, of course, use the time to prepare however you wish. I will not interfere. I do doubt, however, that your children will be allowed to leave." His tone expressed the request of someone who knew that his request might be denied, but held nothing less than absolute sincerity.

The bearded wizard nodded apologetically. Perhaps he deserved his fate. It was the least he could do for the child he had wounded. "Of course not, Harry." And of course, the students could be evacuated.

The cloaked man promptly began to remove the garment, smiling contentedly as the doors to the hall slammed shut, and he thanked Hogwarts once again. He didn't know if it was helping him because it believed what he was doing was right, but it was helping all the same. The chain that had connected the shoulders of his cloak slipped into one of the pouches at his waist, and he meticulously folded the immaculate cloth, running a hand almost fondly over the sigil, before pressing his lips to it and placing it in another pouch. He was now revealed to be wearing armor, the shoulders flaring only slightly, almost humbly. The breastplate was white, polished and then buffed so that while there was no shine, it could not be mistaken for anything else, yet managed to be unimposing. A collar circled his neck, giving him a fair degree of range to move in, but still protecting him from attacks. The abdomen of the armor had been scaled into something that looked like muscle, had it not been metal. At his waist hung a belt, numerous pouches dangling from it, and the saya for his curved katana on his left hip, where his Zanna, the Giustiza Finale, rested. On his right, the holster for the immense .44 caliber revolver was strapped to his thigh, over the armor. His gloves came off, revealing the gauntlets done in the same style as his breastplate, though the top of the metal gloves were suspiciously boxy, and the palms each had a small, spherical, black stone in them.

And then he placed his mask back on, and the helmet followed. And he was once again The Executioner. His hand curled around the hilt of his blade, and it sang free of the lacquered saya, two and one half feet of folded, magic resistant steel. He bowed his head, the crown of his helm clinking softly against the dull side of the Zanna. He ignored the chaos at the doors, as anyone who was capable tried to force them open. Hogwarts was smiling on him this day.

He opened his eyes to survey those who were going to stand without trying to flee. Seventh years, the staff, sixth years… He didn't know many of them. It was, however, nice to see the Potions professor. His hair was greasy, his skin was sallow, his nose was hooked, and his demeanor angry. It was nice to know there were constants in the world, the sun rose, the sun set, the rain fell, the sun dried it, and Snape was a greasy bastard.

It brought a smile to his lips, darkened from the consumption of potions so long ago, the effects of which still lingered. A reminder of what had been, and what never would be.

"I am ready," he proclaimed.

And everything seemed to happen at once. He shoved off, skidding to his right, sparks spraying from the contact between the metallic edges of his boots and the stone floor. Spells, jets of light, and words he no longer cared about surrounded him as he tried to force his way in to his primary enemy. The one who had been his mentor, had betrayed him. Every time he neared the man, he was driven back by renewed flurries of light, and eventually he gave up trying, instead choosing to eliminate the man's supporters.

His blade found heads, necks, and torsos, never bothering with limbs. They were just in his way. Nothing more. Yet, each corpse he left was one step closer, one life closer to his peace, his conclusion. He was merciful, their deaths were clean and instant.

He could not remember how it had happened, but he was standing before the Headmaster, his hands curled into the man's robes, lifting him from the ground. Zanna was once again in its saya, and Albus was looking at him sadly. "Harry… do you think she would approve of what you have become?" He gasped, fighting to stay conscious.

His rage was once again rippling through him, and he wasn't bothering to control it. "Well, I'll never know now, will I?" He shouted in the man's face, his howling words growing almost frantic. "Because of you people she's dead!"

He forced himself calm. He could take his time now. There would be no interruptions. Everyone was either dead, or too afraid to hit their beloved Headmaster. Because, of course, he would spontaneously combust from a stray cheering charm. "Harry—"

He let go of the grip with his left hand and backhanded the man. "Shut up!"

"Avada Kedavra!" The shout/scream/curse came from behind him, to his left. He turned; keeping Albus suspended with his right hand, and extended his left, waiting for the curse to strike. It did, the green blaze of death smashing against the orb in the palm of his gauntlet. For an instant there was a cheer, which died almost before it was formed as the mailed hand curled its fingers inward, and the light began to diminish.

"Do you know another interesting property of these orbs?" The armored man forced himself to ask of the old man he was holding up as the light vanished. "They don't negate spells, or absorb them. And its not just spells. Anything magic. They store the magic. And at my command," he gently pressed his left palm against the old man's cheek. "I can release them."

He paused a moment. "Riddle is in there, did you know?" He asked curiously, and then, looking into the abruptly realizing eyes murmured, "Unleash."

The orb in his palm obeyed, discharging everything it had ever stored into the man's face at once. It ripped through the man's head, leaving no physical evidence of its passing. But the scream as his soul was ripped from his body and destroyed was unmistakable.

And then the orb demanded its price. The backlash of the unleashed power ripped into the armored man, flinging him backward to slam into the stone floor with a clunk, the old wizard simply falling.

Only he didn't hit the ground. The armored man simply disintegrated before the soulless headmaster had finished falling, gone forever.

And when he finished falling, he was farther away than he ever could have hoped.

The first thing that greeted his eyes when he awoke was not what he had expected. A hall full of bodies, Death, the sight of the Castle, those were things he could have dealt with. Seeing a red haired, green eyed witch looking at him with concern was, suffice to say, not. He scrambled away, armored hands dragging him through the carpet of dead leaves. He was glad to see that he was still in his armor, his helmet still on, his mask still over his face.

She lifted her hands apologetically. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. But no one's here, usually." Suspicion overtook her eyes. "How did you get here anyway? I'm certain I haven't told anyone! If it was Petunia I'll kill her!"

"Petunia?" He wondered, verbalizing his thoughts for the first time in years.

The red head tilted her head. "Yeah, she's my sister."

Really not something he was equipped to deal with, was his final opinion before he fainted.

Secondary notes:

Zanna-Supposedly means "Fang" in Italian.

Giustiza Finale-Supposedly means "Final Justice" in Italian

Saya-The Japanese word for sheath. I figured I might as well use it, the Zanna's a katana.