It surprised nobody when he was accepted into Hit Wizard training straight out of Hogwarts. His family had a legacy – his father, his grandfather, his... you get the idea. All Hit Wizards. He breezed through training, hard work and wand work going hand in hand. He started out a rising star in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. But then he noticed something was not quite right. Evidence was missing, here and there... paperwork didn't quite add up.
He investigated – quietly, not letting his partner in on what was going on, or anyone else. Some trails led nowhere, covered up beyond what his diligence could dig up. Other leads led to the last place he had ever considered they would - to his father. Eventually JB confronted his father and learned a disturbing secret. His father, who he had always considered to be some sort of moral superhero, pillar of the community, was on the take from an old Hogwarts buddy who was now running some sort of criminal empire. In a way, his whole world came crashing down. Everything he thought he knew was just all wrong. His dad was a crooked Hit Wizard.
JB strongly considered turning him in – his sense of justice and fair-play warring with his loyalty to his father. Loyalty won out. Particularly because it was loyalty that drove his father. Loyalty to a friend from school, though certainly the money helped some. Still, he was shocked to the core. Even more shocked when his father then expected him to be complicit in the operation now. His father was asking him to cover up crimes and to protect the interests of criminals. To protect his father JB did what was asked of him. Afterall, he'd found the trail, so someone else could as well. JB attempted to do better and to make sure the trail wasn't as easy to follow.
It was stressful. JB worried about getting caught, or worse. He started to drink more heavily after work. Every night he needed a little more to unwind. After a particularly hard night of partying with some friends, he ended up with a killer hangover that a pepper up potion didn't touch.
That day, he and his partner were called upon to apprehend a wanted criminal. It should have been a routine arrest but the wizard he and his partner were apprehending cast the killing curse. It struck his partner Delia in the chest. JB felt as if it was his fault. He believed that if he'd been a little less hungover or a little quicker on the uptake, she'd have lived.
It wasn't truly his fault, there were a lot of factors that led to her death. Both JB and Delia herself had tried to cast a shield charm, but the other wizard was just too fast, for him or his partner. She was hung over too, though not as badly off as he'd been. Even if he'd had perfect reflexes that day, their intel was bad from the get go. Known Dark Wizards were Auror territory. But any wizard or witch could cast an unforgivable curse and the system couldn't always predict which ones would rather kill than be brought in. Unless they had shown a propensity for using dark magic before, the line between Hit Wizard and Auror territory sometimes blurred. JB and Delia were trained to deal with dangerous criminals, but they had both been caught unawares. Still, he blamed himself. To some extent, he also blamed the Ministry for failing to send the case to the Aurors.
Between the stress of keeping his father's secret and aiding him, and the death of his partner... well, JB changed. On top of the drinking he added in some magical drugs. He slept poorly, plagued with nightmares about his partner's death. To try to keep the nightmares away or keep himself more alert at work, he mixed magical drugs. Over time JB found himself becoming aggressive with suspects. He started using more force than necessary, taking more risks. In his spare time he attempted to try to find the murderer, but to this day he seems to have vanished without a trace.
The well liked, fair-play minded Hufflepuff side was pushed away to become little more than a memory. JB distanced himself from his friends and family, his moodiness making him hard to get along with. Eventually there were days he got home and barely remembered work. He was in fights with co-workers, some of them coming to blows. There were formal reprimands and warnings - he was sent home more than once. Finally, he failed to secure a dangerous wizard and it led to several Hit Wizards being injured, one having to spend nearly a month in St. Mungos. That was the last straw, and JB was fired from his job as a Hit Wizard.
With no friends left, his family furious with him and no legitimate job prospects, he was left with no galleons to keep his nice flat, let alone continue his drug habit. JB struggled and got himself off the drugs, but not exactly out of trouble. He ended up as a bouncer for a wizarding club located in Knockturn alley and increasingly involved in the organized crime he had uncovered in his time as Hit Wizard. He moved from kicking out rowdy patrons, to collecting debts and doing the owner of the club's dirty work. While he was technically extremely proficient at this job – better even, maybe than he'd been as a Hit Wizard, it began to wear him down. It was only a matter of time before he was going to fall back into old habits. Finally, he found himself in a mess he couldn't solve with a non-lethal curse. JB found that killing in the moment came easily enough – but in the aftermath he was on a very dark path.
The very last straw came during a trip to the South of France, when he received an owl from his boss, demanding he return to “deal with” another problem, “like last time.” It was more than he could take, and pushed him off the deep end. Thinking everyone was better off without him, he cut and ran.
JB went on the bender to end all benders, and it nearly did end him. By the time he came through it all, it was months later and he was in a hospital in Australia, though he's never managed to piece together how he left France, let alone got to Australia. He got clean (again, for real this time) and found a job as security for a muggle band. From there he traveled to Canada and the United States, with various muggle and wizarding bands, rarely in the same city for more than a few nights. Compared to life in Knockturn it was pretty tame, and he began to eke out a life, dating a singer and even getting engaged. Ultimately though, it didn't work out when they managed to spend some actual time together, off the tour. Even through those rocky times, he maintained his sobriety.
He was on another tour when he got that OWL that his father had been killed in the line of duty. Despite the fact he'd managed to get his life together, essentially for the first time since Delia had been killed, he quit his job immediately to go home to his family... and likely the mess he'd left behind.
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