"Looks to me like Harry has the upper hand." John said with a smirk. "You two be careful with him."
The both nodded, recognising the order for what it was, but Sam's thoughts were that maybe their dad should have given that warning to Harry. He got the feeling that he and Dean were going to be looking over their shoulder for a while to come, waiting for Harry's next move.
Chapter Eleven – Pies and Pranks
The prank war was fun. Harry noticed right away that Sam and Dean mostly went for one another, with the 'baby' pranks being pulled on him, but he didn't really mind. Not after seeing what his brothers did to one another and hearing stories from Bobby about hair removal cream in shampoo, hands glued to bottles, and itching powder in underwear.
He wasn't getting anxious, or jumpy, like the others seemed to fear, he actually looked forward to the next prank and it was helping him to calm and settle in this house, with these new people that truthfully speaking he had only known for less than two months.
They had been given some rules by John; mealtimes weren't to be disrupted, hunting and research came first, they were all under a truce after dinner and pranks were not to be done after then, or overnight. Harry stuck to these rules religiously, though his brothers pressed a little, especially when it came to one another.
Sam had already switched out a bottle of Dean's beer with hot sauce, and Harry had laughed when Dean had taken a nice big swallow before realising. His face had gone so red that Harry had worried a little for him, but Sam had ignored the death threats and just laughed.
Dean had gotten Sam back by putting glue into Sam's shoes…that had almost needed a trip to the hospital when no one could get Sam's shoes off his feet.
Harry was glad all he'd gotten was a room full of balloons when he'd woken up one morning with a grumbling John, who had also been pranked by association, someone had switched out his toothpaste for whipped cream, and someone, he assumed Dean, had changed the ringtone on his phone to play Metallica and he didn't know how to change it, all he could do was put his phone on silent.
Harry was not pulling his punches though, as he targeted each of his brothers in turn and sometimes together. He had snuck into his brothers' room, and though he believed that they had been awake from the moment he came in the door, they had no idea what he was doing…they had yelled and screamed as soon as he had left the room again, opening their eyes to see themselves covered in orb-weaver spiders that Harry had found in a dark corner of Bobby's garage. They weren't highly venomous, and not to humans, and were unlikely to bite, but his brothers' still freaked out.
John and Bobby had come running, and seeing Harry laughing on the landing outside, relaxed and asked him what he had done. So Harry had told them, and John had chuckled darkly, and ruffled Harry's hair before leading him back downstairs, leaving Dean and Sam to deal with the spiders alone. They had known enough to not kill any of the spiders and had merely demanded that Harry remove them after they had slipped out of their beds and made one hundred percent sure that they didn't have any spiders still on them.
Harry had also gotten Dean twice with more cicadas, including pilfering his brother's car keys and letting a few of them into the impala, which had gotten him a lecture on respecting the sacred car and a stern talking to about not going into the car without Dean's express permission, but Harry had just laughed it off. The next day he had placed one of the orb-weavers on the driver's side door handle and when it had been found, indicated by a barrage of yells and curses, he told Dean that he hadn't actually gone inside the car, so hadn't broken his rules. John had chuckled at that, which had made Harry feel happier, even as Dean begged Harry to remove the spider from the door handle so he could go and get them lunch.
Harry had set up another prank today, he didn't know who he was going to get, but as he came down into the kitchen and saw Sam at the table, he knew that he had just gotten Dean. He smothered a rather evil little grin.
"Oh no, what have you done?" Sam asked him. "Is it me?" He asked then, looking all around himself cautiously.
"Dean." Harry said, sitting down after pouring himself some orange juice.
Sam laughed happily. "I can't hear him screaming yet, so what did you do?"
"You'll see." Harry replied cryptically.
They all heard Dean's cursing from the kitchen, and Harry giggled before he could help it. This might be his best prank, considering he had dyed Dean a vile shade of yellow using the shower and some hastily ordered food colouring that he had begged Bobby to get for him.
"Dude, you look like you've got jaundice." Sam told him, doubling over with laughter as Dean stood there glaring at Sam, then Harry, trying to figure out which one had done this to him.
Harry had had no idea that it would work so well, and he filed it away to try again later with different colours. Maybe blue would look better…or rather worse.
"Alright, this prank war has gone on long enough." John told them. "Harry is clearly the winner."
Harry beamed proudly at that.
"Ellen called this morning, we have a hunt in Iowa."
Harry frowned as he read the tension in John. Harry was being left behind, he just knew it, and he sighed. He didn't like being left behind here, there and everywhere, but he also didn't want to interfere with their jobs. They were hunters, they helped people, saved them from things they didn't even know existed in real life. He had a hospital check-up in two days anyway, and his school books, and those from Hermione, would be arriving any day now, and he didn't want to miss them, so maybe being left behind just this once wouldn't be so bad.
"What is it?" Dean asked, looking geared up for the hunt, despite that he was a vile yellow. Maybe that was why he was so eager for a hunt. Harry snickered to himself.
"Banshee." John said, a twist to his mouth that showed what he thought of them.
"Oh man, not again!" Dean groused. "I hate those things."
"Harry, I know you don't want to be left behind, but banshees feed on the vulnerable." John told him factually. "You are not in the best of health as it is. This thing might target you and I'm not going to take that risk, you understand?"
Harry nodded. "I have a hospital check-up in two days too."
"Damn, I forgot about that." Dean cursed, looking torn.
"I'll be fine." Harry waved off.
"I'll take him to the hospital." Bobby told them.
"So, do you know anything about banshees?" Dean asked, giving Harry a curious look.
"I know they're amortal."
"Amortal? What does that mean?" Dean asked.
Sam just sighed. "Amortality is the state of never having been alive."
Harry nodded. "A lot of creatures just come into being without having been alive in the first place, so they have never actually died, thus amortal."
"Wait, I thought banshees were like spirits, you know, dead women?" Dean asked.
Harry shook his head. "It's rare for spirits to become banshees. It's more likely that a banshee is an amortal entity."
"So how do you kill amortal entities?" Dean asked. "We've always salted and burned the remains. What do we do if there are no remains?"
"Gold for banshees." Harry said with a shrug. "A pure gold blade to the heart."
"Oh, well that works." Dean said.
"You might actually be considered gold enough to do the job." Harry joked.
Sam laughed, and Dean gave him a playful growl.
"What will get this stuff off?" Dean demanded.
"White vinegar. I bought some with the food colouring in preparation." Harry assured his brother, going to get aforementioned bottle of vinegar.
Dean took the bottle, ruffled Harry's hair, and went to get as much of the dye off as he could. Harry couldn't stop the laugh that bubbled up.
"Dude, that's just awesome." Sam told him.
"Don't sound so pleased. It could have been you." Harry pointed out. "I didn't know which one of you was getting in the shower first."
"But it wasn't me." Sam said with a grin.
Harry snorted a laugh and sat back down to finish his breakfast, and his fortified orange juice. Sam went to pack for the hunt, and John seemed to be trying to work himself up to saying something, but couldn't get the words out.
Harry waited patiently, giving John some time to find the words.
"You're…okay with being left behind?" John asked him cautiously.
Harry looked up at him, at the weary hazel eyes that spoke volumes that John had been gearing up for an argument, and he smiled.
"I don't mind now and again, especially if you know this creature will actually target me." He said. "Running the potential risk is different to having an actual risk."
John nodded. "I'll make sure to let you know if you're gonna be a target, most of the time we don't know what we're up against until we investigate though."
Harry nodded his understanding. "I know. I don't blame you when I am targeted, I know I run the risk myself because I don't want to be left behind, I just…I don't want to be actual bait."
"Never again, I swear." John told him seriously.
Harry nodded easily.
"I panicked with that Shtriga." John admitted. "I hate the damn things. One targeted Sammy back when he was four, just before he turned five, and I feared that he wouldn't make it to his fifth birthday. I took him straight to a friend's house and came back to kill the damn thing but…it got away, Harry. It got away and fourteen kids died because of it. It had fed on you, and I knew it was coming back for you. I couldn't…I couldn't go through that a second time."
"I understand." Harry said. "But…but please listen to me when I say I don't want to be bait. Being fed on by that Shtriga the first time was traumatic for me. I was awake when it was…I felt it draining my life force, I felt myself going floppy, lightheaded and weak. I…it went through my head that I knew I was going to die and there was nothing I could do about it. It wasn't some small thing that I…it wasn't easy for me to go through that and then to be told I had to do it again the very next night…I couldn't do it. I didn't want to do it."
"I should never have put you in that position. I'm sorry, Harry."
Harry nodded. "That's all I needed to hear. That and it'll never happen again."
"It won't." Dean said, coming and laying a hand on him, looking decidedly less yellow though there was still a hint of it.
"It won't." John agreed, and Harry smiled.
He was more reassured now that he had talked it out with John, and he felt something within him settle at the reaffirmed bond between them. He had needed the apology, and he had needed to hear that he would never again be used as bait. Now that he had both, he was happier and more secure. He would learn, he would grow, and he would get used to hunting in time, but he couldn't be thrown head-long into it like he had been with that Shtriga. He didn't want to be used as bait like a worm trapped on a hook.
It was boring really at the salvage yard with just Bobby. Not that he disliked Bobby, no, but the man was usually out fixing cars or on the phone to a million hunters all wanting him to do research for them, so Bobby always had some book open for something or other.
It had been five days since his family had left, and the last he had heard things weren't going very well in Iowa for them with that banshee.
Harry had had his hospital check-up, and he had put on three pounds in the last few weeks, which his doctor, Doctor Caxton, had assured him was a great achievement, speaking to him as if he were five, but there was just something about the man that Harry liked and something about the way he spoke that made Harry feel safe and secure. Maybe Dean was right and all these paediatricians spoke and acted all happy and jolly for a reason, Harry certainly felt better for it.
Harry was given a repeat for his supplements, more nutrient shakes, and Bobby drove him back to the salvage yard. Harry had called Sam, who had been waiting for the call in the motel room with the phone on speaker, and Harry had told them everything about the appointment and that everything was going well.
Harry was sure that Bobby had called John right after Harry had gotten off the phone to repeat exactly the same information, just in case Harry had left something out.
But for the most part Harry was bored while his brothers and father battled against a banshee with gold daggers that had been scrounged up from somewhere, or made special by a skilled hunter, Harry didn't know which.
Then the message came through in the early morning that mail had been delivered to his drop box, and Harry was so excited that he couldn't wait as he pulled on his trainers, emptied his backpack, and left Bobby's to go and collect his new books. From the amount of books the message said was in his mail box then he knew that Hermione's timing was spot on, and her books had arrived with his school stuff. He was excited and though it was barely seven in the morning he was going to go and collect everything.
He didn't see the need to wake Bobby up to tell him where he was going, or wait for Bobby to drive him to his deposit box at the post office. He just wasn't used to waiting on anyone to do things for him.
It was a bit of a walk, because Bobby lived on the edge of town, away from people, but Harry enjoyed it as he took in everything around him, the birds singing, the bees collecting pollen, butterflies dancing on the air, until he finally reached the post office, excited to get his new books.
"A little young to be out on your own so early?" The post master, a friendly faced old man, told him concernedly.
"I'm fifteen." Harry said softly. "I'm just picking up my school books." He explained. "I'm home schooled."
Harry showed the man his key, and though he looked a little leery of him, the man nodded him ahead, and Harry went to the box and opened it, his excitement coming back as he picked up packages of books. They were all wrapped in brown paper, and some were from the Department of Magical Education from the London Ministry for Magic, and others were from Hermione…he'd recognise her handwriting anywhere, and from how many books she had sent, she had gone way overboard, as usual. He definitely should have expected that.
He felt his phone buzz against his back as he slung the backpack over his shoulder, and frowning he put the bag down again and fished the phone out, wondering who would be calling him this early.
He was surprised to see four missed calls from Bobby, two from John, and about half a dozen each from Sam and Dean.
He didn't know why, but he just suddenly knew that he was in a hell of a lot of trouble.
John knew something was wrong when Bobby called him so early in the morning.
'Harry's gone.' The old hunter cut across him urgently, sounding stressed and terrified.
"What do you mean he's gone, Bobby?" John growled angrily, standing up from the chair and pacing the tiny motel room.
'He's not here, Winchester. His stuff is still here, but he's taken his shoes and gone. He was gone before I woke up.'
"You need to find him!" John said desperately.
'I've been trying, dammit. He's not answering his cell. I'm gonna go out and see if I can spot him. I don't know why he would have gone out, though. Or where he would have gone.'
"I'll call him, see if he'll pick up. Bobby, you better find him."
'Don't threaten me, Winchester, you won't like the response.'
"Find my son, Singer." John growled angrily, cutting the call and then immediately calling Harry. His call rang off and he immediately tried again, before cursing and going next door to wake Sam and Dean.
As usual Dean was up immediately, before he'd even blinked the dust from his eyes, knife from under his pillow in hand. Sam had gone for a gun and had it centred on his chest. He was proud of them and their reactions, but right now his biggest concern was finding where Harry had gone and why.
Both boys groaned to see him and not an enemy and they rolled back onto their beds, at least until he dropped the bombshell on them.
"Harry's gone missing." He told them. "Bobby called."
Dean was up and trying to dress himself within a heartbeat. Sam didn't bother dressing, he just stood up.
"What do you mean he's missing?" Sam demanded.
Jon shook his head. "He's not at the house, all his stuff is still there, but Bobby said his shoes have gone. He's not answering his cell."
Dean was trying, continuously, to try and get through, and once Dean stopped Sam started.
"Where could he have gone? Was there signs of a struggle?" Dean demanded.
John didn't have anything to say. He didn't know, but Bobby hadn't mentioned any signs of a struggle, and he doubted the old, grizzled hunter would have slept through a struggle in his own home.
"Is this because we left him behind?" Sam asked worriedly.
"He said he was fine with it. He didn't want to be targeted by the banshee." John said worriedly.
Sam's cell rang and he leapt on it.
"Harry? Harry, where are you?"
Sam's face dropped in shock.
"What do you mean you just went for a walk?"
John felt like he'd just aged ten years, as he sunk into the nearest chair.
"Harry, you can't just walk off like that!"
"Give me the phone." John demanded.
Sam didn't fight him for once, he just handed over the phone and then stalked to the counter and snagged the bottle of whiskey, pouring himself a measure in a plastic cup.
"Harry, where are you?"
'At the post office.' Harry's frightened voice came through to him. 'My school books arrived and I wanted to go pick them up.'
"You could have told Bobby. He's tearing the house apart looking for you. We're worried about you, Harry. You know of the things in the dark now, you can't just walk off on your own."
'It was only to my drop box to get my books.' Harry said softly.
"It doesn't matter where it is, or how close it is, Harry. You should have waited until Bobby could have taken you."
'I didn't want to bother him.'
"It's not about you bothering anyone, Harry, it's about you being safe."
'I just went to pick up my school stuff.'
John could hear that Harry was getting either upset or angry, maybe both, and he didn't have the emotional capacity to deal with it.
"I know that, Harry, but you need to understand that you can't do things like this. You've worried everyone. You've put yourself in danger."
'It wasn't that far.' Harry tried.
"It doesn't matter how far it is!" John snapped, and then Dean took the phone from him immediately, and John scrubbed a hand over his face, realising that he had run out of patience.
"Harry, it's Dean. I've called Bobby and he's coming to get you, just…be careful."
'I didn't mean to cause so much trouble.'
"I know you didn't. We're all very protective of you, you know."
Harry gave a wet little giggle, and Dean's heart twinged, knowing then that Harry was probably crying, or at least very close to it.
"So you got your school books?"
'Yeah.' Harry said quietly. 'I got the message this morning, and I was so excited to get them that I didn't think, I just went and…'
"Damn, you and Sammy are too much alike! You should want to take after your cool big brother."
'I did.' Harry teased.
'I didn't see anything wrong with…with just going to pick up my books in town. I'm not used to any of this.'
"We know, Harry. Just, wait for Bobby to come pick you up, and we'll talk more when we get back from this hunt."
'How is the hunt going?'
Dean made a noise. "Thanks to your little banshee lesson we're not completely lost." Dean told him. "It's an immoral banshee."
"Amortal." Sam corrected with an eye roll.
"Whatever, nerd." Dean groused. "Anyway, it's one of the ones without human remains to salt and burn, so we're trying to stab the damn thing with a gold dagger. Only problem is it won't let us close and her shrieking is enough to make our ears bleed."
'So wear noise cancelling ear protection.' Harry told him.
Dean went to correct him, then paused, then frowned. "Huh. Hey, Dad, why aren't we wearing ear protection to take on this banshee?"
"Yeah, you know, like noise cancelling earplugs?"
"I never thought of it." John admitted.
Dean stared at him, then sighed. "Well, thank you for that little bit of wisdom, Harry. Apparently none of us had thought of that."
Harry laughed, sounding more settled, and less like he was going to run back to Britain.
'That's okay, I'll look after you all from afar.'
"We're going to look after you too. We're going to run down some rules with you when we get back. Nothing bad, Harry, just things you need to do to keep you safe. We should have done this the moment you came to us."
'Okay.' Harry said quietly, meekly.
"You're not in trouble. Not really, we're just worried, Harry. We need you to be safe."
'Bobby's here.' Harry said quietly. 'He looks angry.'
"Just worried." Dean assured him. "He's not going to hurt you, he's not going to hit you. He's just worried because you disappeared without telling him."
Dean heard Harry swallow nervously. 'You'll come back soon?'
"Yeah, as soon as this hunt is over we'll be back. Don't worry, Harry, and for god's sake take care of yourself."
'You're the one who didn't think of ear protection against a banshee.' Harry pointed out, then the cell clicked.
Dean sighed and looked at Sam and their dad.
"Bobby's got him." Dean told them.
"Anything could have happened to him." Sam fretted.
"Well it didn't." Dean said firmly. "Now let's just go and get some ear protection, get this hunt over with, and get back to him before he tears himself into pieces over this."
Dean handed the cell back to Sam, and went to grab the gold dagger they had to kill this damn banshee. He just hoped it was as simple as just stabbing it into the banshee's heart or he was going to really start losing his shit.
Harry sat in the beat-up car anxiously, clutching his backpack with both arms.
"You ain't gonna get hurt, Harry." Bobby assured him. "I ain't ever gonna hit you, we clear?"
Harry said nothing and just curled up tighter.
Bobby sighed. "I'm angry, I'm not gonna deny it, but I'm angry because you put yourself in danger."
"I didn't think it was going to cause such a fuss." Harry whispered.
"I know you didn't. You ain't used to any of this fussing and I get it, but you haven't ever been taken care of like you should have been. We're here to look out for you, Harry, and that's what we're gonna do, but you have to be on board with that too. We're gonna give you some rules to follow now, to keep you safe."
Harry nodded. He was anxious and he'd do anything, agree to anything at the moment to get rid of it.
"It's nothing bad." Bobby assured him. "Just some rules that kids, and teenagers, get given to keep them safe."
"What will happen if I break a rule?" He asked, trying to be nonchalant.
"I'll run it by John, but I think it'll be best to punish you by grounding you for a few days. Which means no going out to play with the animals."
"That…that's it?" Harry asked, not daring to hope that he'd get away with such a light punishment.
"Yeah, that's it. We're not gonna hit you, hurt you, restrict your food, or anything else. If we punish you, it'll be grounding you from going outside."
Harry nodded and he eased back a little from the precipice he had been dangling over. He felt more able to breathe and his chest didn't feel so tight.
They got back to Bobby's safely, and Harry was urged to look at his new books and school stuff while Bobby called John to update him of everything that had happened and to discuss his punishment.
Harry was still a little anxious, but he wasn't quite walking on eggshells anymore. He took his books and packages from his bag and set to opening them, smiling at the books from Hermione, who had given him a note about not understanding why he needed these books, but that she had sent him everything that she could find in one day, with promises to look and find him more when she could.
His school books he'd have to hide though, as they were on Transfiguration, Herbology, Care of Magical Creatures, Charms, and Potions, and knowing his nosy, hunter family, they'd figure out about his magic before he could find a way to lessen the blow…or at least ease them into it to stop them from immediately going for a gun.
So he unwrapped his school books and put them back in his bag, but kept the demon lore books out and he started reading. If he found something interesting for John then maybe he wouldn't get angry with him when he came back.
The hunt had been going on for a week longer than planned because the damn banshee had been summoned and controlled by a coven of freaking witches. They had needed to take out the coven as well as the banshee.
They were all beaten up and bruised, Sam was nursing a cut on his shoulder that had needed five stitches, and John had been concussed so bad he couldn't drive. He was in the back of the impala while Sam drove his truck.
Dean was just so ready to get back to South Dakota. They were a few hours out still, and they hadn't meant this hunt to go on for so damn long. God knows what Harry was feeling, especially after the bump in the road of him going to grab his school books by himself.
It was boring driving back to Bobby's, usually he didn't mind the drive, he loved being on the road, being in his baby, listening to her purr. That was before he got a baby brother who was probably having an anxiety attack back at Bobby's and likely hurting himself over the unexpectedly prolonged separation.
Dean groaned to himself, being quiet so he didn't wake his dad. He checked his mirrors to see that Sammy was still right behind him. He put his foot down a little more. He felt beaten to hell and back, and he just wanted to sleep. More than any of that though he wanted to see Harry and assure him that he wasn't angry, and had only been worried about him, and that he was so damn sorry that this supposedly simple hunt had taken so long.
"Where are we?"
Dean jumped, and cursed.
"Damn it, Dad, don't do that." Dean said, before easing down even as his dad sat up in the backseat. "We're just about in South Dakota, an hour or so out from Harry."
"In your truck behind us."
Dean watched as John turned to check, before putting a hand to his head.
"You got a bump like a goose egg."
"Feels like it." John grumbled. "Got any water in here?"
Dean fiddled with the bag in the foot well of the passenger side and snagged a bottle of water before sitting back up and handing it over.
"You had any word off Bobby or Harry?"
"Nah. I figure they're keeping busy. Harry's started his school work by now. He's worried that now he hasn't gone to his special boarding school that those people will start looking properly for him. He told Sam that those people would never expect him to drop out of his posh school, that they always expected him to go back on September the first, so now that he hasn't…"
Dean heaved a sigh and wondered how the hell he could keep Harry safe when his brother refused to tell him exactly who was looking for him. Harry was afraid of them though. Properly afraid of them, whoever they were.
"They're not getting him off us." John said dangerously.
"He's still hiding a lot, and I got the feeling that these people were dangerous."
"You saying we can't handle it?" John asked him.
"No, I'm saying I don't want Harry in the crossfire. I'm saying it would be better if they don't track us down at all."
"You mean taking Harry on hunts."
"I want him safe, but I also don't want those people tracking him down. It'll be easier if we just keep taking him with us, always on the move, so they don't pin down his location. I just…I just want him to be safe."
John considered that, and he nodded. "Yeah, I get that."
"Believe me, Dad, I don't want to drag him around everywhere, or put him at risk of being targeted by anything we hunt, or by the demons, or anything, but he doesn't want to go back, and there's a damn reason for it. He hasn't said why yet, but after everything we know he's been through, I know it'll be freaking bad. I don't know how to react to it because I don't even know what it is, but if Harry says he doesn't want to go back, he's not going back."
"We'll protect him from anything that comes for him."
"It just keeps going around in my mind, you know, what the hell is so bad that he feels he needs to hide it from us after what we already know? I already want to kill those people, if these teachers or whatever are hurting him too…dammit!"
"I've been doing some careful digging."
Dean snapped his head up to look at his dad through the rear-view mirror.
"What did you find?" Dean asked in trepidation, his heart beating faster.
"A whole lot of nothing to begin with, then I tried harder, me and Bobby. There's not much, but his birth parents dying, that was recorded in the papers. The damn house was near enough blown apart. The bodies were removed by specialist teams. That's all it says, nothing about deaths, what killed them, or a baby found alive. Just that bodies were removed. I tried to dig more, but nothing. I tried to look into who Harry went to after that, but he's never mentioned a last name, so Bobby tried to backtrack his plane ticket."
"Still nothing?" Dean asked, recognising that frustrated tone.
"Nothing. Harry is better at sneaking around than we thought. He must have bought his ticket under an assumed name, which begs the question of how he got through airport security under a fake name."
"It wasn't under Winchester?" Dean asked.
"It wasn't under anything I know to link to him. Not Potter, not Winchester, there were three Harry's on board flights that arrived in Kansas the few days before he knocked on Jenny's door, and none of them are our Harry. He got on a plane under an assumed name without anyone knowing."
Dean sighed at the implications of that. Harry could be sneaky when he wanted to be, but he was also a bit of an open book. He wasn't very good at lying, and he wasn't a good judge of character.
His cell rang and he flipped it open.
"Yo." He greeted.
"Sam, you okay?" Dean asked worriedly, cutting a look to the mirror to make sure the truck was still there.
"Stick it on speaker." John said from behind him.
'Yeah, Bobby called.' Sam told him.
Dean pressed speaker and handed the phone back so that he could drive.
"Is it Harry? Is he okay?" He asked worriedly.
'Fine, I think, but Bobby warned us that Harry has been pacing all morning, and then insisted he be taken grocery shopping, and he hasn't left the kitchen in five hours.'
"Bobby said he wouldn't let Harry cook." John said.
'Yeah, but Bobby said he was agonising over us coming back, and that cooking seemed to be a good distraction at first.'
"At first? What happened?" Dean asked, a pit in his stomach.
'Harry just didn't stop. Apparently he's made enough food to feed an army. You'll be happy though, Dean.'
"I'm not happy about this, Sam." He refuted immediately.
'Bobby told Harry that pie was your favourite, so Harry has made about seven different kinds.'
"Oh. Well, when you put it that way." Dean shrugged. "How is Harry now?"
'Still agonising over our return, but Bobby put a stop to him making anything else and forced him to eat his dinner and take his pills and the shake. Harry is tearing himself up over what we might say over his trip to the post office.'
"That's what this is about?" Dean demanded.
'It's not a small thing to him, Dean. Remember he was punished for far less by those monsters.'
"Bobby already grounded him though, right?"
'Yeah, two days not being allowed out of the house.' Sam agreed.
"So why is he still worried about what we'll do? Does he think he's going to get punished again?"
"God, I hate this!" Dean growled.
'Slowly, Dean. We take this one day at a time, and prove to him we're not the same as those monsters, until then enjoy what he's made. Bobby says we're going to be spoiled and we'll be ruined for anything else ever again. Harry's a good little chef, regardless that we don't want him cooking.'
"Did you tell Bobby we're about half an hour out?" John asked.
'Yeah, Dad. He knows to expect us soon.' Sam answered.
"Concentrate on driving, Sammy. You too, Dean. Harry is alright for the moment." He told them both, before cutting the call and slumping back in the seat.
"You sure you're okay?"
"Who is the parent here?" John groused. "I'm fine, Dean."
Dean said nothing, but he could see the stress on that old, worn face. Trying to keep Harry safe was apparently a full time job, and a stressful one at that. Harry knew of the things in the dark, but he didn't know how to fight them, wasn't even healthy enough to try fighting them.
Dean sighed heavily and tried to stop worrying. Harry was with Bobby, he was safe, and they would make him feel more reassured now when they arrived back at Bobby's. It had been a long ass hunt though, and he was glad it was over with.
Harry was pacing again, nervous, anxious, he couldn't settle, or rest.
"Harry, kid, please." Bobby sighed, coming back into the room and seeing Harry pacing yet again. "They're all fine. I spoke to Sam and he said everyone is fine."
Harry stood still and chewed on his lip nervously. "I…I just…" His body trembled and he started pacing again.
Bobby sighed and sat down, watching Harry tear himself up. He'd had to force the kid out of the kitchen after it looked like he was going to start making something new, to go with the dishes he'd already made that would keep them eating well for the next week.
"Why don't you come and tell me some of this new demon lore you've read about. You said there was a set of sigils that could keep them out of places?"
Harry swallowed, and looked torn, like he wanted to just keep pacing, but didn't want to upset him by refusing.
Bobby could almost see the pain on Harry's face as he decided what to do, and he sighed. Harry had lived a terrible life thus far, and there was only so much a bunch of emotionally damaged hunters could do to help him.
"It's a set of old sigils." Harry said, going to one of the books his friend had sent him, that had a piece of paper slipped into it to mark his place.
Harry came and sat beside him, opening the book to show Bobby a very long, very intricate set of sigils.
"They need to be carved perfectly." Harry said. "While you're burning sage, cedar, salt, and resin over charcoal. It's actually going to be rather time consuming."
"I can see that." Bobby sighed, but damn it, he'd do anything to keep Harry safe, even carve sigils into his house no matter how time consuming, if it meant demons couldn't get in. "There's no virgin sacrifice, or blood needed?"
"No, it just needs to be a virgin blade. So to be absolutely sure it's probably best to have a knife newly forged for this purpose. It can't have been used for anything else, not even cutting the top off a carrot."
"I know a guy." Bobby said, moving his ball cap to scratch at his head before replacing it. "Gonna need a steady hand for the sigils."
"I can do that." Harry said.
"You have school work to be getting on with." Bobby told him.
"I can do both. The best thing about being home schooled is that I can make my own schedule. It allows time for 'personal projects' and this can be one of them." Harry said with a smile.
"The hell kind of schedule are you sticking to?"
Harry giggled and Bobby felt lighter to hear it.
"It's because of the home schooling, in actual school it's all rigid and structured, almost every minute is spent doing something, even when not in classes we had study hall and homework and sports teams. Home schooling is more freeing, it's meant to be less structured and more about personal projects and hobbies, of course I can't have homework either, because all my work is already done at home."
"Right, we'll help you with your school work, and then you can help us with demon research."
Harry lit up at that, nodding his agreement quickly, looking much happier.
"I want to help, and I know my school work is important, but this is too. Now that I know these creatures are hurting people here, they can't be allowed to just kill whoever they want."
Bobby was going to say something, when the door knocked.
"Stay here." Bobby said seriously, standing and going to the door.
Harry nodded, and he hunched down, his nervousness coming back full force. Bobby had tried to assure him that he wasn't going to get punished again, but he couldn't stop the niggle of doubt that taunted him that he was going to get punished again for causing trouble.
He heard voices, heard Bobby ordering them to take a drink, and then Dean was the first one through the door to the room and Harry looked at him anxiously before his brother grinned and came to hug him tight.
"You okay?" Dean asked him.
Harry nodded and held on tight.
Sam was there then, pushing Dean aside and hugging Harry himself, and Harry had to laugh at them.
"How are you?" Sam asked him.
"Okay." He said quietly.
"Yeah, sorry we're late." Dean told him. "Damn case ran on a while."
"You all look like minced meat. Did the banshee really get all three of you?" Harry asked, eyeing up a battered John in the doorway.
"It wasn't just a banshee." Sam said, scraping a hand through his hair. "The banshee was summoned there by a coven of witches, who were using it to kill off people they didn't like, but they lost control of it and it started killing everyone in the town that it considered vulnerable as that's its natural food source."
"Man, I fucking hate witches." Dean declared, missing how Harry's face paled. "Bunch of evil, demon dick sucking bitches…"
"Dean! Watch your language." John demanded, storming over and giving Dean a clip to the back of the head.
Dean grimaced and gave a small smile to Harry.
"Sorry, Harry. I forgot that you weren't used to us. I just hate witches so much."
"Are…" Harry stopped and cleared the lump from his throat. "Are witches another creature?"
"No, witches are people." Sam told him gently, easing him into the kitchen where a lot of the counter space was taken up by Harry's cooking.
"Vile, evil, magic using people." Dean added.
"Is…is magic bad?" He asked, no one noticing how quiet his voice had gone…how much he had retreated into himself.
"Magic is disgusting." Dean told him seriously. "I don't trust it and I'll happily gank anything that has magic."
"Will you idjits stop scaring him?!" Bobby demanded. "Sit down you damn psycho." He directed at Dean.
"Sorry, Harry." Dean sighed, rubbing his face. "I'm just damn tired after that case."
Harry nodded nervously, and sat in a chair closer to Bobby, and away from his brothers who would probably kill him if they ever found out he had magic of his own.
No one really noticed that he was behaving a little off, because they were too busy fawning over his food.
"Damn, Harry. You really are a good cook." Sam praised.
Harry shrugged a narrow shoulder. "I don't mind cooking now and again." He said quietly. "It helped calm me down."
"There's no reason for you to be so nervous, Harry." John told him.
There was, Harry thought to himself. Especially now that he had confirmation that they would kill him if they found out about his magic.
"We're gonna have a talk about rules and what is expected of you, but I'm not gonna hit you. Bobby has already punished you, hasn't he?" John continued.
Harry nodded. "I wasn't allowed out for two days."
"That's the end of it." John assured him. "You've been punished, everything is forgiven, but we're gonna lay down some house rules for you, so this doesn't happen again."
Harry's tense shoulders relaxed a little. He could continue hiding his magic from them, as he had been doing thus far. The Dursleys had never liked his magic either, but they had known and they had abused him. So maybe it was for the best that he hid it from his new family. He could pretend that he was normal if they continued to keep him.
"Oh my god, Harry, this pie is the best I've ever tasted!" Dean told him, groaning in pleasure and shoving more raspberry and blackberry pie into his mouth.
Harry laughed as he watched, with an almost morbid fascination, as Dean barely swallowed before shoving in more pie.
"You really are a gross pig." Sam told him. "You're setting a bad example for Harry. And no one deserves to see that."
"It's so good." Dean moaned happily with a full mouth.
Harry chuckled, watching as Dean went for a different flavour pie. Bobby was right, pie was definitely Dean's favourite thing.
"This one is even better!" Dean declared, shovelling in blueberry pie this time.
"You're so gross." Harry told him. "You're going to choke in a minute."
"Don't look at him, Harry." Sam encouraged. "You won't wanna eat ever again."
Harry laughed again and shared a grin with Sam.
"Shut up you bunch of bitches."
"Jerk." Sam replied automatically.
Everyone was feeling rather full and sleepy afterwards, and Harry was rather relaxed and calm despite everything.
"Did you pick up your school books?" John asked him.
Harry nodded. "I've started on my school work."
"Did you get any books from your friend?"
Harry smiled, he could see straight through John. He nodded.
"Yeah, she sent me everything she could find in one shopping trip, which was a lot."
"There are a bunch of sigils that I'm gonna be carving into my house to stop demons coming in." Bobby said. "There are also anti-possession sigils that can be put on the body."
"You think that'll actually work?" Dean asked.
"Yeah, I cross-referenced it and usually it's put on a pendant or a necklace, but if you put it on your body, that's not coming off."
"Not unless a demon breaks the lines of it first." Harry pointed out. "Best to wear it on the chest too."
"Why?" Dean asked him.
Harry looked at him seriously. "All this time being a hunter and you don't know why the sigil should be put on your chest, really?"
"It's so a demon doesn't start ripping off limbs." Sam explained to Dean.
Dean looked like he was going to be sick. "Dude, that's so wrong."
Harry nodded. "Yeah, so the trick is to put it somewhere where, if the demon does rip it off to break the lines, you'll be dead anyway. If it pulls off your arm to get rid of the sigil, it can still possess you and you'll still be alive."
"I don't think you should be reading that stuff, Harry." John told him. Sam and Dean both gaped at him as if they'd never heard him say something so…considerable, or caring before.
"I want to be a researcher like Bobby." Harry said simply.
"You…you want to be like me?" Bobby demanded.
Harry nodded happily. "Yeah. I don't think they're ever going to let me actually hunt, and I'm not sure I want to, but researching, that I can do."
"It's not too much for you?" John asked, sounding rather uncomfortable.
Harry shook his head. "I've known for a long time that monsters are real." He said softly. "Finding out that demons are real, it's the same violence just a different thing doing it. Humans, demons, or whatever, they're all capable of violence and hate. I've experienced it first-hand."
Everyone at the table looked a lot less sleepy and a lot more pissed, but no one said anything. Harry stood, startling everyone out of their shock. He went into the front room and brought back two books and handed them to John shyly.
"Everything Hermione could find on Azazel or the Princes of Hell." He explained.
"Thank you, Harry."
John immediately started flicking through the books and Harry turned to look at Dean.
"Movie?" He asked questioningly.
"Damn right." Dean agreed, standing and grabbing another piece of pie, moving to the front room.
Harry hurried after him and went to the boxset of The Lord of the Rings trilogy that Bobby had recommended that afternoon, while they were at the supermarket.
"Oh man, I love this." Dean said, looking at what he was putting on. "We won't be able to finish this tonight, though."
"I know. Tomorrow night?" He asked hopefully.
"Course, come sit down. Is Sammy joining us?"
"I don't know."
"Hey, Sammy, you coming?" Dean shouted out.
"Calm down." Sam replied, coming in with soda and water.
"Oh man, no beer?"
"Not in front of Harry."
"God, when did you become my wife?" Dean grumbled, grabbing a coke.
Harry just laughed at them both, even as he was sandwiched in and they settled in to watch the first film of the trilogy.
He liked this part of having family, and it wasn't really conventional, having a bunch of hunters for family, but Harry had settled in rather quickly. He had known them now for two months, and they had honestly been the happiest two months of his life. Not even finding out that he was a wizard could trump finding out he actually had a family, and having them accept him in the way that the Winchesters had. He was still getting used to it, but he knew that they cared in their own way…as long as they never found out about his magic.
A/N: Oh Dean, damn…poor Harry. I couldn't really resist torturing our poor cinnamon bun a little more, but don't worry, the Winchesters do eventually find out Harry's big magic secret, it just won't be Harry telling them. After that Harry will never willingly tell them, so we have a little while to wait, and in the meantime Harry tears himself up over hiding the big secret. They know that he's hiding something, several somethings, they just don't know what it is…I can't wait until they find out its magic. Poor Harry.
StarLight Massacre. X