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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Supernatural.
She glanced through her notes, occasionally tapping her wand in her pocket out of nerves. Sure this was only her first day in the States, but she wanted to succeed. This was her first task as a transfer Auror; she couldn't afford to mess it up. The ministry had sent her here with hardly any information other than one of their Death Eaters had been freed by someone, they didn't know who. After the final battle a lot of Voldemort's followers had been rounded up and thrown in Azkaban, but not all of them. It was suspected that one of his followers had been the one to let the Death Eater free, although the motives were still unknown. So that's why she was here, sitting at a crowded restaurant in the heart of New York City, not far from Central Park.
She glanced over her notes again and again, trying to see if she had missed something. As far as she could tell the trail ended here, right in the middle of one of the most crowded cities in America. She took a sip of her tea, not wanting to let her frustration get the better of her and make her explode in the presence of so many people. She glanced around noticing two rather attractive men walking in with an older guy, maybe their father? She shoved the thoughts from her head almost immediately; she could not afford to be distracted by a couple of boys right now. She tried not to think too much about it when they chose the booth right behind her.
It helped when her cell phone rang to distract her. She was once again grateful that she and Harry had succeeded in teaching Ron about muggle technology, as an owl would be far too slow considering the distance. Oh how she missed her friends, Harry and Ron both. What she wouldn't give to have either of them with her right now.
But of course not because' Hermione's the brightest witch of her age' and 'oh you can handle it all alone, we believe in you'.
She wanted so badly to do well on this mission. Of course she was the only one they had sent out of country for this task, but she had been assigned Ron as a partner to help her if she called for it. She asked excitedly,"Got any new information for me yet? So far I'm still stuck on-"
"Not exactly." The ginger admitted. Hermione could almost see him wincing at the lecture he was going to get for interrupting her.
"Then why did you call? I'm kinda on a time schedule in case you didn't know."
"I get that, I do. I'm calling because there is nothing to tell you. Like there is literally nothing. No sightings, no mysterious attacks, nothing in the news or papers, nothing at all. The last thing we have on it was an attack in central park, but that was days ago, before you got there. It has been quiet, too quiet. Almost like it knows you are after it and it wants to avoid getting caught."
"Okay..." she said slowly, processing the information. "So not only is a soul sucker on the loose, but it's smart too. How do you suggest I catch it? It's already taken two peoples souls; I can't risk it taking another." She mentally cursed as she realized she had said that far too loudly. The boys in the booth behind her were staring at her, she was sure of it. She could feel all three pairs of eyes burning into her back. She lowered her voice and continued. "If it can tell I'm here then it has to be somewhere close right?"
"That would make sense. Spend the next day or two scoping out the place, talk to locals, read the paper, go on walks and look for anything out if the ordinary. Just be careful, stay safe, okay?"
"Okay." She agreed. "Gotta go, I'll talk to you later." She clicked the end button and stuck her phone in her pocket just in time to see the attractive boys walking over to her, badges in their hand. Just perfect.
"Agents Tyler and Perry. Can we ask you a few questions?" The shorter one asked in a demanding voice. He looked about her age while the taller one was a few years younger.
"Of course agents." She responded politely, narrowing her eyes as she said 'agents.' There was no way these two could be real F.B.I. The one introduced as Agent Perry had a haircut that was definitely not F.B.I. approved. And had he signed his name as Han Solo? "What can I do for you?"
Han Solo asked the first question. "We are working a case about the two people who were perfectly normal but one day seemed to go insane before disappearing and their bodies being found dead in the park. Would you happen to know anything about that?"
"I'm sorry; I just got here not too long ago. I'm afraid I'm not caught up on the recent disappearances." She was starting to get suspicious. They were trying to find the exact same creature she was? Were they the dark wizards who had let it free? But they were looking for it too, perhaps they lost it.
'Agent' Tyler handed out a business card to her; she could tell they trusted her words as much as she trusted theirs. "Well if you think of anything ma'am just give us a call."
"Of course. Have a good day." She took the small rectangular paper and turned back to her notes, silently signaling to them that the conversation was over.
As they walked away she sent a silent tracking spell on them. They knew more than an average person, perhaps as much as Hermione herself knew. She would have to keep an eye on them while she was here, just in case.
Later that night, she followed her tracking spell to the hotel the boys were staying at. Again she mentally cursed herself for not asking to borrow Harry's invisibility cloak before she left. Thankfully the room was on the ground floor so she could still peek through the window but she would have preferred being able to get in there and see it all up close.
It didn't take a genius to figure they were not just normal people. Even someone as dense as Crabbe would have been able to tell there was something up with them from looking in the window. There were books and papers laid out on the table, notes and newspaper articles taped to the walls, and a website she couldn't quite see was open on the laptop. She couldn't see the words from her distance, but she could tell from the pictures on the papers and in the books that they were full of information on creatures and monsters of the supernatural.
Well that was good; at least they weren't dark wizards. But what was a family of hunters doing here? She had read a little about them before coming to America, but not in excessive detail. She knew they hunted ghosts and demons and the like, and they were not particularly fond of witches. Of course what they considered witches were muggles who gave their soul to a demon for powers. They had probably never encountered a real natural born witch before. If they found out Hermione's true identity they would probably kill her in a heartbeat. That was the way of a hunter, kill first ask questions later. She wished now that she had read more about them considering they were now a very real danger to her, but she figured the Death Eater was more of a problem. As long as she stayed out of their way she would have nothing to fear.
Everything was going according to plan. She had successfully managed to avoid the hunter family while closing in on the escaped Dementor. If everything continued to go as well as it was, which was doubtful but still possible, then Hermione should be able to catch it tonight and be back in London by tomorrow.
On the night of the third day in New York she wandered deep into Central Park, silently following the Dementors trail. She was almost there; she saw the edge of its cloak disappear around the corner of the path. She ran after it, not noticing the human following her. That is until he gasped and distracted her. It was only for a moment but it was enough for the Dementor to notice and blow a gust of wind at her, pushing her off her feet. She tried to reach for her wand but it was no use, the Dementor had already began the dementors kiss. She was cold and getting dizzy, it wouldn't be long till her soul was ripped from her body. With the last of her effort she reached for her wand and thought back to that day in number twelve Grimmauld place the summer before sixth year. Harry Ron and herself were sitting around a magical flame, just laughing like normal teenagers, not worrying about Voldemort or the end of the world, just a few friends laughing and smiling. She silently said the spell and her otter made of blue light chased the Dementor away from herself. She lowered her wand, panting slightly due to the lack of energy from the powerful spell and the Dementor trying to separate her soul from her body.
The man who had been following her was the same one who had posed as an F.B.I. Agent a few days ago. He ran over to her, not sure what to do.
"Chocolate." She pleaded her voice hoarse. "Get me chocolate. Please."
He nodded and ran off, hopefully to do as he was asked. She didn't care if he was a hunter; if he was willing to help her then she was thankful. True, she was surprised he didn't kill her on sight considering what he just saw, but then again not everyone in every group is completely evil. There were always a few exceptions. Draco Malfoy had proved that. After the war his father had been locked up, but he and his mother were free to live normally. Harry himself testified that Narcissa Malfoy had saved his life during her trial, thus freeing her from all charges.
The hunter was back within minutes, chocolate in hand. She ate a few pieces quickly, thankful that the effect was almost immediate. It also helped a lot that the chocolate tasted way better than Madam Pomfrey's healing potions. Naturally the hunter asked for an explanation, but he seemed to understand that she couldn't tell him right here. Too many muggle ears to overhear. That was the bad thing about New York, even at night the streets were still crowded with people. The city that never sleeps.
Once Hermione was feeling well enough to stand and walk, Dean led her to his hotel room where she collapsed on the bed. Not too soon after they got there his brother came in, accusing the other hunter of being a womanizer. Hermione was offended, like she would sleep with some guy she just met on the first date. Not that this was a date of course, and if it was it sucked. The witch guessed that she was not the first girl the green eyed hunter had brought back, this guy had experience.
"It's not what it looks like Sam. She isn't a one night stand. She is….Something. And there was … something attacking her. She did something and made the something go away and then chocolate made it better."
Ah. So the tall one was named Sam. But who was the other one? He took his brother to the other side of the room, talking in hushed whispers. Probably deciding the best way to kill a witch. Hermione panicked slightly as the scenarios played in her head. Would they burn her at the stake, or would they give her a less humiliating death? She shook her head, dismissing the idea. She had helped the one and only Harry Potter single handedly defeat Voldemort, the cruelest and darkest wizard of all. There was no way she was going to be killed by some amateur hunters.
"You two, you're the F.B.I from a few days ago aren't you? Mr. Perry and Mr. Tyler correct?" She interrupted them, trying to get their attention off of whatever they were saying.
It seemed to work, considering they stopped talking and walked back to her side of the room and stay on either side of her on the bed. The green eyed one spoke first. "Yeah, here's the thing. We aren't really F.B.I, we are hunters. This is my brother Sam Winchester, and I'm Dean Winchester. We go around and kill demons and do exorcists on ghosts." he looked at Hermione as though he was waiting for her to freak out of deny it.
She nodded, listening intently. So they were Winchesters, not amateurs after all. From what she had read they were kind of like a legend amongst hunters, the muggle version of Harry and Ron.
The one who was introduced as Sam placed a hand on the girls shoulder. "That thing that was after you, it must have been some kind of demon. It might try to attack you again. I don't know how you got rid of it, but it will come back. But don't worry, we will destroy it. You will be safe; you just have to do what we tell you until it's gone." Ah. So they didn't know she was a witch. Perhaps there was a chance for survival after all.
She laughed slightly, partially relieved and partially because she knew she could protect herself. "That thing wasn't a demon. It's a Dementor. It vanishes all happy thoughts and makes the air colder around it. It sucks your soul from your body, that's how it feeds."
Dean huffed. "Sure sounds a lot like a demon to me."
"And how do you know all this? Are you a hunter as well? How did you get rid of it?" Sam asked curiously, perhaps even a little eagerly. They probably didn't meet that many female hunters, what with the stereotype that women were weak and helpless. But screw gender roles, anyone can be brave if they chose to be.
Well if they were going to be honest with her she could be honest with them, she just hoped her trusting nature wouldn't get her killed today. "I'm not a hunter. I never even met a demon; the closest I have been to them have been through pages in a book. And all the ghosts I've ever met have been nice, well except for peeves, but he's a poltergeist so I guess its okay. And he wasn't really evil, just annoying. I'm a witch." She reached into her pocket and removed her wand, showing it too the boys.
Noticing the uneasy glanced the brothers were sharing, she continued to defend herself. "I'm a good witch though. I'm not one of the devil worshiping, human sacrificing dark magic witches that you have probably encountered and killed. We channel our magic through a wand, and no one needs to die for us to perform it. I was born with it, like everyone else that went to my school. We go to school at age eleven so we can learn how to control our magic and use it for good."
Dean stared at me accusingly, his hands balling into fists. "If you're not evil, then how come you know so much about them?"
"I'm a bookworm, I do my research." She responded. "Plus I'm a transfer auror, meaning I go around the world killing the bad guys. I had to know what I might be up against in America." She hoped she sounded convincing, even if she was telling the truth she didn't want them to think any differently. But considering they hadn't killed her yet that was a good sign.
She continued to explain her life, telling them all about herself and Harry and Ron. She smiled as she retold their happy moments and frowned as she told about the dangers they faced since first year.
Seeing as she seemed to trust them enough to tell them her life story, they returned the favor. It was obviously hard for the boys to talk about their mother, but eventually they got that part over. They told her about how they moved around a lot due to their father and his mission. Dean described it as justice, Sam called it revenge. They told her about all the schools they went to and about Bobby Singer. They told her about monsters and demons and ghosts. Things were so different in their world than it was in Hermione's world.
At the end of the night they all agreed that all of them had it pretty hard and they did not envy each other. They had all faced unimaginable troubles that normal people only believed in within movies or books. Dean gave up his bed for her and moved to the couch. Hermione wiped out her wand and set a few spells on it, making it large and comfortable. It was the least she could do; they had spared her life and heard her side of the story so she figured she owed them. The three of them went to bed that night, an unspoken agreement between them. They would stick around until the Dementor was taken care of. Hermione was helping them by making sure it didn't take any more souls and they were helping her by helping her get the creatures back to the ministry.
Hermione awoke with a feeling of deja vu. She had a dream, though she couldn't remember what it was about. It was almost as if she had relieved a memory, but for the life of her she couldn't figure out what it was. She peaked around the room, Sam and Dean were still out cold and Ron was at the little table the room provided sipping coffee.
She smiled at the sight of him as she stood up and stretched. It was nice to have someone familiar with her through all this craziness.
"Hey." She spoke quietly, her voice still waking up. She stood up and peered over his shoulder. "What's that?"
Ron jumped slightly at the sudden sound, but relaxed quickly when he realized it was just Hermione. He held up the letter he was reading and took another sip of his drink. "From the Ministry. Nothing too important. I told them what happened and they said sake a few days to heal. How are you by the way?"
She shrugged and took the seat across from him. "Fine I guess, considering everything. I'm a lot better than I was yesterday. Then again, I should be thankful I'm even alive. If they hadn't known to use the dittany I would be dead."
Ron nodded, taking another sip of his drink. "Those boys saved your life. They sure do seem to care about you a lot."
Hermione rolled her eyes, trying to hide her slight blush. "Doubtful. They don't know me, so why would they care? It's just who they are. They save people, it's their job."
Ron raised his eyebrow at her, but said nothing. The Winchesters had made it clear that they did in fact know and care about her, but that Ron was supposed to stay quiet about the whole thing. Besides, it wasn't his place to say anything even if he wanted to.
"So have you thought about it at all? About what you choose I mean. Come back home with me or stay with them." He tried to sound nonchalant about it, but he already knew the answer. And it broke his heart. Other than Harry, Hermione was his best friend. He didn't like the idea of her running off into some unfamiliar world with boys she didn't even remember and placing herself in a dangerous situation that could cost her her life on a daily basis. Sure she would do that in the magical world too, but with Ron and Harry by her side.
Hermione bit her lip and stared at the table, unable to look at Ron as she spoke. "Yes, I have thought about it."
Ron sighed in defeat, he didn't want to loose her but he knew that when Hermione had made up her mind there was no stopping her. "It's okay you know. I'm not mad. I understand why you're doing this, and I know the others will too. You got the brains of a Ravenclaw, but there is a reason the hat stuck you in Gryffindor. You can't just read and learn about hunters and the world they live in, you have to experience it firsthand. You gotta be part of the adventure, placing yourself in danger. Just be careful okay? You're my best friend and I don't wanna lose you."
Hermione smiled and lifted her gaze to meet his blue eyes. "Thank you Ron. For understanding, for being supportive. I just... I don't know. I feel like I have to do this, like I belong here, with them. I'm sorry I just, I have to stay with them. I want to stay here."
Ron reached across the table and grabbed her small hand comfortingly. "Hey now, calm down. It's fine, really it is. You don't have to explain yourself. Just...Bloody Hell Hermione, promise me you'll be okay, okay? And keep in touch, send an owl every now and then. Ginny would murder me if you got hurt."
Hermione laughed lightly, surprised and thrilled by how well he was taking this. She was scared that this conversation would turn into a fight, and the last thing she wanted was to leave her best friend on such rotten circumstances.
"I will write, don't worry. Every week."
The ginger smiled, his eyes downcast so as not to show his friend the pain within. "Good. I wish you the best, I do. Good luck figuring things out. And if anything happens, you know we will welcome you home.
"Hermione smiled and nodded. "Yeah I know. This isn't forever. Just untill I figure some things out. It's almost like I should know them, they seem so familiar."
Ron sighed, he knew exactly why his friend felt this way. But he wouldn't say anything. He had made a promise. She had to figure it out on her own. "Well I guess this is goodbye for now. I talked to those two last night, gave them the whole look after her speech. And the longer we draw this out the worse it will be."
He was right. She might have wanted to stay with the boys, but if he didn't leave soon she might be begging him to stay as well. The witch nodded and stood up, hugging her lifelong friend tightly. Hermione's eyes were damp with unshed was Ron, her best friend. She had known him for the majority of her life. Without him and Harry, who was she? How was she supposed to survive? But everyone had to grow up and move on at some point. "Couldn't agree more. Tell everyone I love them will you? Until next time Ron."
He was so tall and warm, so safe. She would miss that. "Goodbye Hermione. See you soon."
Slowly, reluctantly, they released each other. Smiling blue eyes and a face decorated with freckles was the last thing she saw before he apparated back home with a loud pop. A single tear fell from Hermione's eye, but she was still smiling. This wasn't goodbye forever, this wasn't the end. Just until they met again. Hermione had been so thankful he was so cooperative, the last thing she wanted right now was to start a fight. Hopefully Harry and the others would understand as well.
"Okay, stop pretending to sleep, you can get up now."
Both Sam and Dean opened their eyes and sat up. Sleeping on the floor was not all that comfortable. They had heard everything, so there was no need to explain.
It was only now that Hermione truly began to doubt her choice. She had chose to stay in a foreign country with men that she didn't know. She bit her lip and sat back down. "So, hunters huh? Who wants to fill me in?"
Dean was the first to volunteer to go on a food run, eager to leave the cramped hotel room. As soon as he left Hermione rounded on Sam. "What's his deal? He calls me by name and doesn't say two words to me sense? Did I do something?"
Sam shook his head and moved over to the table, taking the seat Ron had occupied. "You remind him of someone from his past, thats all. It was a shock to him to see such a famous face. As I said, our friend told us all about you three."
Hermione nodded and managed a small smile. Sam still wasn't telling the full truth, she was sure of that. But she would leave it be for now. Somehow she felt as though she could trust him. And especially when he made that face with those big brown eyes, how could she argue with that?
"Will he be okay?"
Sam shrugged and let out a long sigh. "Honestly I'm not sure. This witch friend we had, he was close with her. It didn't end well. He probably just doesn't want anything to happen to you. It'll be hard at first, but it will get better."
Hermione nodded and took a seat across from the hunter. She didn't want to pry, it was obvious that her disappearance had affected the young Winchester as well. But she had to know, she was nosey after all. "This friend of yours, what was she like?"
Sam closed his eyes in thought, bringing back the memory of her. Her voice, her brilliance, her smell. He tried to convince himself that it was the same woman who sat in front of him now. He knew deep down that it was, but she was different. He remembered his dream. The Hermione he had known had sent him a message. "And soon you will know a different version of me, one you might not be prepared to deal with. Not every sacrifice is worth it."
It was the same person, but she had different memories. This one had no idea of the years spent as a hunter, she had no clue just how much she meant to them. She did not love them, this Hermione only stayed because she was curious. This was not the same Hermione that Dean had fallen in love with so long ago. She was the same, but different.
Slowly Sam opened his eyes and looked into those chocolate orbs, realizing just how much of a stranger she was. "She was young when we met, twenty I think. We lost her when she was about the age you are now. It was odd at first, normally we do our job and be on our way, it wasn't like John to take someone with us. But family doesn't end with blood, and she became a part of ours."
Hermione smiled softly as the wolf spoke. It was clear he cared for his friend and missed her very much, but that still didn't completely explain why the tiger was so eager to avoid her. "What was her name?"
Sam's eyes went wide. He didn't want to answer that, but he didn't want to lie to her either. Luckily Dean threw open the door and dropped a bag of food on the table, still not saying a word. The elder brother plopped down on a bed and began eating a slice of pie.
Hermione eyed him, about to protest, it was far too early to be eating that much sugar. But then she saw Sam shaking his head, mouthing words to her.
Don't. It's his comfort food.
She bit her lip and nodded and silently reached for a breakfast burrito.
"So." Sam cleared his throat, trying to ease the awkward tension in the air. "Enough about us. Tell us your story. I've heard it before, but I'd like to hear it from your point of view."
It was the same story the boys had heard all those years ago back in the hotel in New york when they first met. But then she had been trying to convince them not to kill her, now she seeped to trust them completely. Then she told the main details and the rest came as they got to know her. Now she told all, happy and sad all at once.
The boys paid attention more to her than her words, still wrapping their heads around the fact that she was indeed here in front of them at last. Dean abandoned his half eaten pie, setting it aside forgotten. As she spoke memories of the two of them came back hard, like a punch in the gut. The wounds were old, but they still hurt as though they were fresh. He studied her face, not knowing when it would disappear again.
Sam watched the way she laughed with her whole body, how she moved her hair behind her ears when she was too shy or modest to tell how brilliant she had been. He watched her eyes light up when she told about becoming a prefect, and how they darkened when she told about the casualties of war.
It was the same in many ways, but it was also different in far too many. The Hermione they met all those years ago had just finished the war. That one had hope for a brighter future, hoped that one day everyone would live happily ever after. This Hermione went immediately from the war to being an auror. The was paranoid and had little hope, though she still had the sparkle in her eyes that made her who she was. The other Hermione took time to laugh and have fun, enjoying not having to live in fear. This one knew dark wizards were still at large and took ages to wind down enough to relax.
As they watched her tell her story both Winchester brothers couldn't help but wonder. How had any of this happened? How had she disappeared? Why was she back now? Why didn't she remember?
And Sam had his own question that was always tugging the back of his brain. What did she mean that not every sacrifice is worth it? Who was being sacrificed?