THE FAMILY BUSINESS: ONE
Summary: Hermione's peaceful, yet boring life is disrupted when notorious hunter, Dean Winchester, walks into her book shop. Dean's life is completely changed when he meets, Hermione Granger, Brightest Witch of her Age. But maybe that's just what they both needed. Mostly Dean's POV. Rated M for a reason.
Disclaimer: I do not own canon events and characters, they belong to J.K Rowling and the creators of Supernatural. I am not making a profit from writing and posting this fanfic.
AN: There will be more one-shot/chapters to come, but they will be sporadic, and certainly not as long as this one. I've had nonstop requests for this pairing and for more HP x SPN crossovers and this is one of my favourite pairings to write, as I think Dean and Hermione are quite well suited. Rather than writing a novel length fic I thought it would be easier to just do little one-shots to show their lives together, and this way there won't be any cliff hangers! I don't know how many one-shots/chapters this will be and I have no actual plot or plan in mind. This one is completely being written on the fly and we'll see where it takes us, I hope you enjoy. Also, I may change the title of this fic at a later date as I'm not quite happy with it.
Page count: 39
"James, Albus, I will not tell you again!" Hermione called from her place standing behind the counter, her eyes spying the two little boys through the bookshelves.
"We're being good, Aunt 'Mione," the five-year-old called back.
"I don't believe that for a second. Do not draw in the books, I gave you paper for a reason," she replied.
Reaching up she ran a hand through her hair, looking up to the clock on the wall above the entrance to her shop. As much as she loved her Godchildren, she couldn't wait until they were collected by Harry in a little over two hours time. She'd had the boys for the last few days, watching over them whilst Harry and Ginny spent some time together after recently discovering Ginny was pregnant with their third child.
She picked up the stack of books from the counter and made her way around her shop, putting them back in all their correct places, and then she heard the little bell above the door alerting her to someone entering the shop. She quickly checked that the boys were alright before heading back to the counter, her eyes widening slightly at the sight that met her. One of the most handsome men she'd ever seen.
She'd estimate him to be around her age of twenty-six and he was definitely taller than her, looking to be around six-foot. He had light brown hair that was spiked up at the front, chiselled features and she noticed that his eyes were a beautiful green with a few flecks of brown. He wore dark, well-worn jeans, black boots on his feet, a grey t-shirt and a checked shirt left open over the top and his hands were casually stuffed in the pockets of his black leather jacket.
Hermione knew that it had been far too long since her last sexual partner when she found herself practically drooling over him, but she shook her head and pulled herself together. She was better than that! Hermione Granger did not swoon over men, no matter how handsome.
His eyes swept around the room cautiously before his gaze landed on her, his eyes seeming to light up at the sight of her and his mouth twitched into a smile as he stood taller. Taking a breath, she put a friendly smile on her face and slowly approached him, clasping her hands together in front of her body.
"Hello, is there anything I can help you with?"
His eyes scanned her body before his smile widened, showing her a perfect smile and little dimples making an appearance. Merlin, Hermione thought, there was just no need for him to be so good looking.
Dean pulled up to the curb and put the Impala in park, before turning off the ignition and climbing out of the car, his eyes sweeping his new surroundings. He saw several buildings with their doors open, ready to welcome in customers, trees dotted about on the pavement and people mulling about lazily in the heat of the afternoon sun. He scanned the buildings, seeing a clothing store, a diner, a coffee shop, a pizzeria and a convenience store, before landing on the one he was searching for, Granger's Tomes,' a book store.
Looking over the building, the windows were gleaming in the sunlight and the brown paintwork looked recent, leading him to believe that this store had either been given a re-vamp or it was a lot newer than the other businesses on the street.
He was on a case and needed some research material and without access to a laptop, and the book store being closer than the library, he decided to take his chances and see if they had anything of use to him.
Running a hand through his hair he made his way to the door, a smirk pulling at his mouth when a group of college girls walked past him, whispering and giggling to themselves as they looked back at him over their shoulders. Sending them a wink, which only seemed to encourage them further, he pushed open the door and the little bell above sounded.
Looking around, he saw the plain beige walls and the dark brown carpet, the counter being at the front with shelved books covering the majority of the wall behind it. Bookcases filled the smallish room and he noticed an area in the corner, filled with bean bags and children's books and toys, as well a small table and chairs with a storage unit off to the side, clearly labelled with 'colouring pencils,' 'paper' and 'arts and crafts.'
He heard giggling and searched for the one responsible but not seeing anyone, leading him to believe it was a child and there was likely someone else in the store, too.
Hearing footsteps, he pulled his eyes towards the sound and he felt his eyes widen slightly at the young woman that approached him. There was no denying she was beautiful with her mahogany coloured hair falling down her back in wild, riotous curls he could imagine himself happily burying his hands in. Or with her big chocolate brown eyes that were surrounded by dark lashes, or her pale skin, red plump lips and heart-shaped face. His eyes trailed her figure, seeing her being smaller than him by several inches and he took note of the clothing she wore; a black long-sleeved t-shirt, a pair of dark jeans that hugged her hips and ass and a pair of black knee-high boots. She looked comfortable and certainly not like she was out to impress anyone.
As she neared closer she clasped her hands together in front of her body and a kind smile pulled at her face, showing her perfect smile and her nose scrunching up in a way that he had to admit, was quite cute. He locked his eyes with hers and was surprised by what he saw hidden in her big brown orbs. There was kindness and understanding there, but hidden behind that was sadness and pain - a feeling, a knowing as if she knew the dangers of the world and the horrors that happened every day and he knew that all too well given the lifestyle he led.
He was usually, a good judge of character and he got the feeling that this woman before him, despite her smaller size and non-threatening presence, that she was anything but. He got the feeling that if push came to shove, she'd know exactly how to defend herself. He recognised the way her eyes darted to the exits in the room, the way she briefly scanned her surroundings as if checking for threats or taking in the number of people around her, even the way she held her body as if she were expecting an attack. He'd seen all these things in himself, so it had him curious, just who was this woman?
"Hello, is there anything I can help you with?"
She was British! He hadn't expected that and now that he knew she worked there, he was surprised by it given her beauty. She wasn't anything like the stereotypical book store employee he'd thought he'd see. He'd expected an old woman with glasses and frumpy clothing and she couldn't be any further from that if she tried. Her accent had just made her all the more interesting, he thought.
He gave her his most charming smile, yet she didn't falter with her own, or simper or blush. Well, that didn't happen often, he thought in surprise. He wasn't above using his charm and good looks to get him what he wanted, and the majority of the time, it worked.
"I was wondering if you had anything on the supernatural."
She raised an eyebrow at him and her mouth seemed to twitch in amusement.
"You're not one of those 'I think my neighbour's a werewolf' or 'I'm convinced my Uncle's a vampire' kind of people, are you?"
He snorted, her question amusing him. "Get a lot of those, do you?"
"Yes, also the 'I think my dog's possessed by the devil' and 'my basement is the gateway to hell' type, too. It certainly makes my day interesting," she replied. "Anyway, are you buying or sitting in?"
"Excuse me?" He asked confused.
"Are you wishing to buy a book, or are you going to read whilst here?"
"You allow people to do that?" He asked. How did she ever make money if people could read the book they wanted to in the store?
"Yes, there's a lot of financially struggling families around here and I get a few kids who can't afford the books they need or want, so I allow them to read them whilst in the store."
"Oh, then reading," he tilted his head.
"Right this way," she said, turning on her heel and beckoning for him to follow after her with a finger. He'd be lying if he said he didn't look at her ass as she led the way, but when he heard giggles, he stopped in his steps and looked around for the source of the noise.
"Sorry about that," the woman spoke, giving a little sigh. "James, Albus, you better not be doing something you're not supposed to be," she called.
"We're not, I promise," the voice of a young boy called back, and he was British, too.
"I don't believe him, he's just like his father," she said, shaking her head in exasperation. They came to a stop at four bookcases from the back wall of the store and she turned to face him. "Right then, the top two shelves are witchcraft and wiccan," she said, her mouth twitching at the corners, as if she had an inside joke no one else knew. "The bottom two shelves are voodoo and rituals. Behind me, you'll find beings on the top shelf, beasts on the middle and spirits on the bottom. There's a table and chairs just behind that bookcase," she pointed it out, "And at the back of the shop, you'll find a couch and armchairs. So, I'll leave you to it, if you need anything just give me a shout and I'll be right over."
She turned and stepped away, but he stopped her movements with his words.
"But I don't know your name," he said.
She looked over her shoulder at him, seeming to be amused. "Hermione, my name's Hermione."
Pretty name, he thought.
"Dean," he replied.
"Nice to meet you, now I better wrangle the kids together and I'll do my best to keep them out of your way." With that, she turned and left him alone.
He watched her retreating back until she disappeared from view and he turned his attention to the beasts and beings section.
It was an hour later when Dean heard footsteps approaching and given the quiet sound and the slow pace, he knew it to be Hermione. He'd been doing research in silence and his eyes were starting to hurt and his neck was beginning to cramp, it being one of the reasons he hated the research aspect of his job. Well, that and it was boring.
"Sorry to bother you," she said, giving him a friendly smile.
A smile pulled at his face in response. "You're a welcome distraction," he replied.
She raised an eyebrow, looking amused by his words. "I just wanted to see if you wanted a cuppa."
"Cuppa, a cup of tea or coffee," she explained.
"Oh, coffee would be great," he grinned.
"Alright then, coffee it is," she said, turning on her heel and disappearing once more.
He turned his eyes back to the pages in front of him but he soon became aware of someone watching him. His body tensing slightly and his hand moving towards his gun, he lifted his head before sighing, seeing it was just a little boy, no older than three. He was watching Dean curiously with his bright green eyes and his head tilted to the side slightly, his dark hair being messy in a way that reminded him of his little brother. He wore jeans and a t-shirt, there being several stains on both, one looking to be grass, one mud, one pen and the other ketchup. Well, the kid had obviously had a fun day.
"Me, Albus," the little boy said.
"Hi, I'm Dean," he replied.
He tilted his head to the other side and Dean had the sinking suspicion the child was trying to stare into his very soul. That's what it felt like at least.
"You read," he said, finally relenting with his piercing gaze and holding out a children's book to him expectantly.
"Err..." Dean said, his eyes darting about for the kid's mother but not seeing anyone around. "Sure," he said, accepting the book from the little boy and looking down at it, The Cat in the Hat. He remembered reading it to Sam when he was just a kid.
Dean watched bemused as the little boy climbed up onto the couch beside him, getting himself comfortable and he leaned closer to Dean so he would be able to see the pictures as he read aloud.
Opening the book to the first page, Dean cleared his throat and began reading. "The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day..."
They'd barely gotten a few pages in when he heard footsteps and he looked up to see Hermione approaching with a mug in her hand and a disapproving look held on the little child sat beside him.
"Albus, I asked you not to disturb the nice man."
"He read me a story," the little boy said with a frown and crossing his arms over his chest.
"If only your father could see you now," she muttered, shaking her head. "Off you go, Little Man, James has snacks and he'll eat them all if you don't get there fast enough."
That seemed to do the trick as the little boy soon jumped down off the couch and disappeared in the maze of books.
Hermione snorted. "Definitely has Weasley genes," she said to herself, before she placed the steaming mug down on the coffee table in front of him. "I'm sorry he disrupted you."
"It's no problem, I needed the distraction," he replied. "Is he yours?" He asked curiously, noting that he hadn't looked anything like her.
She laughed at him lightly and shook her head, before taking a seat on the armchair opposite him. "Goodness, no," she laughed. "Both he and his older brother, James, are my nephews. I'm just watching them for a few days so their parents can have a bit of a break from them."
"So you don't have kids?"
"No, at the moment I much prefer being an Aunt. I get all the cuddles, I get to spoil them rotten and give them all the things their parents won't allow and when they start pushing my buttons, I give them back to their parents. Job done," she said smiling and he chuckled at her. "So, have you found what you're looking for?"
"No," he sighed, running a hand through his hair.
"Do you need any help?" She asked.
He raised an eyebrow. "You know anything about mythical and imaginary supernatural beings?"
Her mouth twitched, the same way it had when she'd mentioned witchcraft and wiccan, as if she had an inside joke he knew nothing about.
"You could say it's my speciality subject."
He eyed her curiously and went to reply, but their attention was drawn when the bell above the door rang.
"Hermione!" A male voice called out.
"Excuse me a moment," she said, and she stood and left him to his coffee and research.
Snapping the book shut, Dean stood and returned it to the bookcase, when he caught sight of Hermione and what looked to be a teenage boy. Seeing the way they were huddled close and whispering to each other as if they didn't want their conversation to be overheard, he moved closer, only to see Hermione open a door he hadn't noticed before and she ushered the teenager inside before following after him and closing the door behind her. His curiosity got the better of him and he walked over to the door, trying the handle but it was locked. Frowning, he made his way back over to the bookcases and lied in wait for them to exit, and that didn't happen for twenty minutes.
"Remember to bring it back, Lucian. That book's worth a lot of money and if falls into the wrong hands, it can be dangerous," Hermione spoke as she closed the door behind her after exiting the room.
"I'll be careful with it and I promise to bring it back by lunch tomorrow," the teenager replied, slinging his backpack over his shoulder.
"Alright, you better get home before your mother starts to worry," she said, shooing him away. She brought her hands up and ran them through her hair, before she left in search of the two giggling boys he could hear.
He wondered what that exchange was about, but knew he probably wouldn't get answers. He returned to the couch with a new book and sipped at his coffee as he lazily flicked through the pages, boredom having long since settled in.
"Well, I'm sorry to tell you that we're closing in ten minutes. I wouldn't mind staying open later for you, but I have to get the kids home," Hermione spoke as she stepped around a bookcase and into his view.
"I understand," he said, closing the book and standing from the couch.
"Nope," he said, running a hand through his hair. "I'll have to come back tomorrow, will you be working?"
She looked amused at his question and clasped her hands in front of her. "Yes, I do own the place, after all."
"You own it?" He said surprised.
"Yes, I own it. I'm Hermione Granger. Why so surprised?"
He cleared his throat. "Just never took you as the book store owning type," he replied, his eyes tracing her frame.
"You obviously didn't know me in school," she said amused. "I suppose I'll see you tomorrow, Dean."
After leaving the book store and its pretty owner behind, Dean had spent a few hours chasing down leads in hopes it would give him a breakthrough on the case, but nothing had panned out and he'd been left with dead ends. Needing a drink after the long, boring day he'd had, he decided to find the nearest bar to his motel and head out for a well-deserved beer.
Stepping into the bar, he noted that it was a lot cleaner than the ones he usually found himself in, but it was still very much a seedy-looking place with the old and worn down furnishings and decor, the low lighting and the well used pool tables. After surveying the other patrons and not deeming any of them to be suspicious, he made his way straight to the bar, sitting himself down on a stool and waiting for the bartender to finish with another customer.
"Are you following me?" A very familiar British voice spoke and he felt his mouth twitch into a smile.
He turned around in his seat, seeing none other than Hermione stood behind him and his eyes travelled her body, seeing that although she wore the same clothes he'd last saw her in, her hair was pulled up into a messy bun with some of her wild curls having gotten loose, and she wore a black leather jacket, too. His like for little woman just increased. If he found out she loved old school rock, too, he'd consider marrying her. His eyes moved back to her face, seeing that she looked amused by his obvious ogling of her and she crossed her arms over her chest and cocked an eyebrow at him.
"Well, are you?"
"Just a coincidence, although I can't say I'm not happy about it," he replied, putting on his most charming smile. For the second time that day, she didn't falter.
"So I noticed," she said, speaking of the obvious eye-fucking he'd just given her.
"What can I get ya?" The bartender asked, coming over to stand in front of Dean.
He turned to give his answer but was soon stopped from doing so, when a brawl suddenly broke out by one of the pool tables, the majority of the patrons not batting an eyelash.
"Ah Hell," the bartender muttered, before stepping out from behind the bar and making his way over to the two fighting men to break them apart and throw them out.
Dean blinked in surprise when Hermione walked up to the counter, hopped up onto the surface and then jumped down on the other side of the bar.
"What's your poison?" She asked him.
"Did you really just do that?" He asked in disbelief, but feeling amused by it, too. He noted the way she moved about the bar with ease, this likely not being the first time she'd done something like this.
"Yep, so, what I can I get you?" She asked. He shook his head and told her his order of a beer, and she pulled two from the fridges, removed the caps and settled them on the counter. "Two beers, Tony!" Hermione called.
"Got it!" The bartender shouted back, just ducking a blow that would've given him a black eye had he not moved when he did.
He chuckled at her when she hopped back up onto the counter and jumped down onto the ground on his side before she took the stool next to him and picked up the beer she'd gotten for herself.
"Is it always like this?" He asked, gesturing to the brawling men and then to the counter, where she'd been a temporary bartender.
She shrugged her shoulders. "There's usually one fight a night, two if there's a poker game, three if there's a pool tournament and four if there's some sort of sport's game."
"So you spend a lot of time here, then?" He asked curiously, not taking her as the type to do so. A beautiful woman, who owned a book store, seemed to be one of the kindest people he'd met and that regularly hung out in a seedy bar? Seriously, who was this woman?
"It's better than drinking at home on your own. At least here there's someone to help take your mind off things, and there's always someone to converse with."
"And what are you trying to avoid in being here tonight?" He asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Everyone has problems, Dean, and everyone has demons. Some worse than others. People deal with them differently, but I like to do so with a drink or two," she said.
Her eyes glazed over and a far off look appeared on her face before she snapped out of it when the sound of glass smashing startled her. He hadn't been blind to the way her hand had reached for the sleeve of her jacket, as if reaching for a weapon. He'd never been so intrigued by a woman than he was by the one sat next to him.
"So what are your demons?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," she sighed, before picking up her beer bottle and taking a rather large swig.
He knew when someone no longer wanted to talk about something, so he dropped the subject.
"Where are the kids?" He asked, taking a swig from his own bottle.
"Their father picked them up a couple of hours ago, thank God. As much as I love them, I've had a permanent headache from the moment they arrived at my house."
Dean snorted in amusement. "So, you're a long way from home. What brought you here?"
"Here to the US or more specifically, here to Colorado?"
"Either, both," he shrugged his shoulders.
She took another swig from her beer and watched him with wary eyes. "A lot of things, to be honest. I moved here three years ago, not long after my twenty-third birthday," she answered.
Doing the math, Dean noted that made her the same age as him. And while she did look young, younger than her age actually, there was something about her that just made her seem older.
"I needed a change, I couldn't take it anymore. I just needed peace. My job was highly stressful and it put myself and others in dangerous situations. After six years, I just snapped. I couldn't do it anymore. So I packed up my things and prepared to move. I wasn't sure where to go at first; I just knew I had to get out of Britain. But then I was headhunted and offered a job in Washington, and while I did turn the offer down, I realised that I'd always wanted to see what it was like over the pond. In regards to Colorado, I just closed my eyes and pointed to the map, and here I am."
He watched her with curious eyes as she fiddled with the beer bottle and her eyes were focused on a speck of dirt on the counter.
"What was your job?"
"I can't tell you," she said. He raised an eyebrow. "All I can say is I worked for my government, everything else is classified information."
That had him more curious that he ought to be, he realised. But if her job had been stressful and dangerous and she'd worked for the British government in a classified section, it made sense that she'd likely be familiar with weapons, which is why she'd reached for her sleeve when being startled. It was a reflex reaction and he wondered if she still carried weapons with her, legally or otherwise.
"And you chose to open a book store?" He questioned.
She shrugged her shoulders. "My life has always been chaotic and filled with danger, even as a child. Books were my solace, my escape from it all. It allowed me to just forget about the things that were happening around me for a little while. So when I moved here I opened my book shop, hoping it would help me, hoping it would make me happy."
"And has it?" He asked, his eyes searching her face for any sign that she was about to lie to him.
She opened her mouth to respond but the sound of a chair being broken interrupted her and Hermione sighed.
"Alright, this has gone on long enough," she said, sounding annoyed.
She stood from the stool, brought her hand up to her mouth and whistled loudly. "That is enough!" She said, her voice not quite shouting, but definitely loud enough to be heard by everyone in the room. At the sound of her voice, the two brawlers broke apart and were sporting various injuries.
"You are grown men, grow the hell up. Kevin, Frankie didn't cheat at pool, you're just shit at it." She said.
Dean's eyebrows rose high on his forehead at the use of her language, and at the two grown men who put their heads down in shame, refusing to look at her, and two big ass, burly bikers, at that.
"I shall expect the both of you to apologise to each other, to apologise to Tony for your behaviour, to clean up the mess you've made, to pay for the damages you've caused and to then go home and sober up. Do I make myself clear?" They both nodded slowly, not looking at her. "Do I make myself clear?" She repeated, her hands coming up to her hips and her foot tapping away on the ground in annoyance.
Dean found it very hard not to laugh at the way the two men suddenly gulped and looks of fear crossed their faces.
"Yes, Hermione," they muttered.
"Good, now no dilly-dallying around, get this mess cleaned up," she instructed, before sitting down once more, picking up her beer and finishing off the rest of it in one go.
"You've got to be the most amusing woman I've ever met," Dean heard himself say.
"Glad to be of service," she replied, tipping her empty bottle towards him slightly. "In any case, I better go; I've a shop to open in the morning."
She dug into her pocket, pulled out some cash and left it on the counter. He noted that there was more than enough to cover her own beer, as well as a tip.
"It's on me," she said, gesturing to his beer before she stood from her stool and made for the door.
"You never answered my question?" He said.
"You're right," she replied without looking at him. "I didn't."
The next day found Dean walking up to the book store and stepping inside, an hour after opening. The bell above jingled and his eyes swept the store, not seeing or hearing anyone else.
"Have a hangover?" His new favourite Brit asked, stepping out from what he guessed to be the backroom and stepping behind the counter.
"Hangover free," he replied.
Given that he drove to the bar, he didn't want to risk being pulled over when being drunk, so he'd only had the one beer. The beer she'd bought for him. He couldn't say a woman had done that for him before; it was usually the other way around. After finishing his beer, he left the bar not ten minutes after she had, finding that he had no one else to converse with. Well, no one that could amuse him the way she did.
"Good, I haven't got any aspirin so you would've had to suffer," she said. He snorted at her. "Cuppa?"
"Love one," he grinned.
He'd stopped for something to eat on the way over but hadn't actually had a coffee yet. He was surprised he wasn't biting the pretty book store owner's head off actually. He couldn't deny he was a pain in the ass without his morning cup of coffee.
"I'll bring it over," she said, giving him a smile and disappearing into the back room once more.
Knowing the way, he found himself back at the supernatural section, grabbed a book he'd yet to look through and took a seat on the couch. Hermione soon appeared with a steaming mug in hand and she set it down on the coffee table.
"You know where I am if you need me," she said, before leaving him to his research.
He was a little disappointed that she hadn't stayed to talk with him a little longer, but he knew he had a job to do. While there hadn't been any more bodies found in the couple of days he'd been in town, that didn't mean the one responsible was finished killing or that it wasn't still there, because it most likely was.
Several hours passed and since then, Dean had skimmed through countless books, gotten a headache and almost dozed off several times, and still, he'd found nothing remotely useful. He would've lost hope if it weren't for the other one hundred and odd books that he had left to look through. Scratch that, he thought about offing himself right then and there.
"Dean, you hungry!" Hermione called from across the other side of the store.
He had to give it to the woman; she certainly knew exactly when he needed a distraction. And actually, he was starving.
"Yeah, why, you closing for lunch?" He asked, loud enough for her to hear.
"No, but I have some pie in the fridge if you want some!"
Dean's head had never snapped up so fast. "Pie?" He questioned.
"Yes, pie, you want some!"
"I'd never turn down pie!" He called back, putting his book off to the side, standing from the couch and making his way through the maze of bookcases and to the counter.
By the time he got there a stool was positioned on the other side of the counter and Hermione was sat behind it. Two plates sat on the surface along with two forks, a kitchen knife, two sodas and a large homemade pie. Dean practically drooled at the sight. He sat himself on the stool and waited for her to cut her own slice, before accepting the knife from her and cutting a much larger slice for himself.
Seeing her amused expression, he said, "I love pie," he shrugged.
"And rightly so, pie's awesome," she replied.
Okay, it was official. He'd never liked a woman more than he did the one right in front of him.
"This one's apple and blackcurrant, the children requested it but forgot to take it home with them. I baked it the night before last, so it's still fresh."
He wasted no time in shoving a huge forkful into his mouth, a sound of appreciation leaving him. Damn, it was good pie!
"I take it you like it," she said amused, especially when she only got a hum and nod in reply, Dean being too busy shoving another forkful into his mouth to speak. "Well, there's a blueberry pie if you wish to take it with you."
"Really?" He mumbled around the food in his mouth and she snorted at him.
"Yes, once a week I bake a blueberry pie for Peter, he works across the street at the cafe. In return, he gives me a freshly made lasagne, but he hasn't been by this morning, which I admit, is unusual for him," she mused. "Anyway, I'm not fond of blueberries, so you can have it if you want it." He nodded. "What's your favourite flavour?" She asked curiously.
"The classic all American apple," he responded.
"I'm quite partial to pumpkin myself, but I do love a good chicken and mushroom pie."
"You put meat in pies?" He asked surprised.
"Yep, and they're delicious. It's one thing I miss about England, the food. I mean, the US does have some rather tasty dishes, and I pretty much devour twinkies whenever I see them..." He snorted at her. "But I miss English food; Yorkshire puddings, fish and chips, chip butties, jaffa cakes, steak and kidney pies, corn beef and potato pies and I swear, I'd murder to have a Cornish pasty right now," she sighed.
"I haven't even heard of half of them," he said.
"You're missing out, I'm telling you. You can't beat a hot Cornish pasty on a cold day."
"I'll take your word for it," he spoke amused.
Hearing the bell above the door jingle, they both turned their attention to it, seeing a middle-aged man step in. He had a balding head, a pair of glasses perched on his small nose and wore an ugly sweater vest and corduroy trousers.
"Here we go," Hermione muttered. Dean raised an eyebrow and Hermione put a friendly smile on her face. "Phillip, it's been a while. What can I help you with?" She said.
The man narrowed his eyes suspiciously before giving a sniff and tilting his chin up. "I believe the leprechauns have corrupted Ms. Patterson, and George is acting fairly odd, too."
Dean turned away from the man and did his best not to laugh at the scene playing out in front of him. She hadn't been kidding; she did get those type of people. Hermione's expression made it all the more amusing, she kept a polite smile on her face and nodded along, but Dean reckoned she was contemplating stabbing the man. Especially since he was now rattling on about his neighbour being abducted by aliens and his nephew dating a fairy.
"You know the way, Phillip," Hermione interrupted, "I'll have a bag ready for you," she said.
He gave her a look of disdain before turning and heading straight to the supernatural section. The moment he disappeared from view Dean's laughter bubbled out of him and Hermione reached over and smacked him on the shoulder.
"It's not funny," she fumed, only making him laugh harder. "I told you, I got customers like that."
"Yeah, but that's just taking the piss," he said through his laughter. "There's no way he was being serious about his cat being possessed by Satan because he's gay."
She slapped at his shoulder once more and put a smile on her face when Phillip approached with an armful of books and he put them on the counter.
"What are you laughing at?" He asked Dean with a suspicious narrowing of the eyes.
Dean's laughter didn't stop; he couldn't, so he just turned away from him, putting his back to him. Dean could practically feel the glare trying to burn a hole right through him.
"Good luck, Phillip, and I do hope your sister's dog hasn't been bitten by a vampire," she said after taking payment and putting the books into a bag. Dean's laughter didn't stop.
With a glare and a huff, Phillip left out of the door and Hermione reached over to smack at Dean's shoulder for the third time in ten minutes.
"I can't," he wheezed, his hands coming up to hold his sides as they'd started to ache.
"You're on the verge of peeing yourself." He shook his head at her. "Right, that's it. No more pie," she said.
The moment those words left her lips and she reached for the leftover pie, Dean batted her hands away from it and held the plate against him protectively as he slowly calmed down. Hell, he couldn't remember the last time he'd laughed like that. In fact, he didn't think he'd ever had a laugh where his sides had hurt, his eyes had watered and he'd struggled to breathe.
"No, you're not," she said instantly, before picking up her fork and having another bite of pie and he did the same, but he had to cut himself another slice as he'd already eaten his.
"So, where are you from as you're obviously not from around here? Are you passing through?" She asked, leaning over the counter with her forearms pressed to the surface, holding her up.
"Just passing through," he nodded. "As for where I'm from, everywhere," he shrugged. She raised an eyebrow. "I grew up on the road, I was never in a place longer than a couple of weeks. And I've followed in my father's footsteps, I travel for a living."
"I've always wanted to travel," she said. "When I was younger I visited Paris and went skiing in Switzerland with my parents. And I sometimes had to travel for my job, too, but I never had the time to appreciate where I was or what was around me. By the time I'd finished the job, I had to return home as I had another assignment waiting for me. Someday I might just take some time away from here and do a bit of travelling around the States. I know there's some amazing sights."
"Strange ones, too," he replied, memories of the strange things he'd seen during his travels flashing through his mind.
"I've heard," she said, sounding amused, before looking up when the bell above the door went once more.
"Hey, Hermione," said the teenage boy that entered through the doors.
His blue eyes were hidden behind thick glasses and his copper hair looked windswept. He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jeans and looked to Dean nervously. Dean raised an eyebrow in response, especially when he saw the teen's eyes dart between him, Hermione and the locked door he'd seen the day before.
"Hi, Ben, research?" She asked with a smile. He nodded. "Come on then," she said.
She stepped out from behind the counter and moved over to the locked door, which she and the teen stepped through. A few minutes later she stepped back out and Dean noticed that she locked the door behind her.
"What's behind there?" He gestured to the door in question when she retook her seat.
"I can't tell you, it's a secret," she replied.
He leaned closed to her, their arms brushing on the counter.
"I'm good at keeping secrets, you can tell me. What's behind that door and why do you keep it locked?"
"Only those who know the password are allowed to see," she said. "Do you know the magic words, Dean?"
She snorted. "Nice try, but points for manners," she said. He sent her a mock-glare. "So, what exactly do you do? You said you followed after your father."
"The family business," he shrugged.
"And that is?"
A smirk pulled at his mouth. "It's a secret, only those who know the password get to know. What're the magic words, Hermione?" He echoed what she'd just said to him.
"Please," she responded.
"Nice try, but points for manners."
She scowled at him and he laughed until she threatened to take away the pie and he soon apologised.
"So, have you found what you're looking for yet?"
"No," he sighed, picking up his fork and rather than cutting another slice from the reaming pie, he just it ate it the way it was.
"Do you want some help?"
"Aren't you busy?" He asked.
She deliberately trailed her eyes around the room and he saw her point, with the exception of the teen that was hidden away in the secret room, there was no one else there. In fact, it'd been quiet all morning.
"Not really, I can do with having something to do. Research's my forte."
Much like Sam's was, he found himself thinking, before shaking his head. He hadn't seen his little brother since he'd gone off to Stanford University.
"So, what am I looking for?"
He thought it over, realising there was no harm in her helping him. It was her store after all and while she might not have known what was in every book in the store, she probably would know where to look.
"Something with super strength and speed, and that may be able to take on the form of a human," he answered.
She blinked. "Well, thanks for narrowing that down for me," she said sarcastically and he snorted at her. "Come on then, let's see what we can find."
She stood from the stool, rounded the counter and made her way through the maze of bookcases. He picked up the plate with the remaining pie, a fork and his soda and followed after her. By the time he reached her, she'd already pulled a dozen or so books and piled them on the table, and she sat on the armchair with her feet tucked beneath her and her head buried in a book as she flicked through the pages.
An hour and a half later found Dean bored out of mind and stealing glances at Hermione and her current position of lounging. It seemed she'd given up on sitting and was now laid in the armchair with her head propped up by an armrest, a book resting against her knees and her legs hung over the other armrest, her feet moving from side to side and making little circles. He was sure she didn't even know she was doing it, or that she was twirling a curl around her finger or chewing at the corner of her bottom lip. Dean would be lying if he said it wasn't a sight he could get used to.
Half an hour after that, the teen from earlier had made an appearance from the back room, shouted his goodbyes to Hermione and then left, making it so it was only them in the store once more.
"I think I've got something," Hermione spoke and if he hadn't already been watching her, he would've turned to look at her. "Here," she said, holding the book out for him and making sure to keep the book open on the correct page.
He reached across the coffee table and took the book from her, his eyes briefly scanning the words in front of him, and what he saw did give him some hope.
"A crocotta, I've never heard of it," Dean spoke.
"They're better known in Indian and Ethiopian mythology, give me a minute," she said, standing from the armchair and disappearing from view, only to return with three large books in her arms. "This is a book on African mythology, this one Asian mythology and if I'm right, this one should go into a little more depth about crocottas," she said as she put the books down on the table.
"Hermione, you here?" A male voice called out.
Hermione signalled to Dean to give her a minute, before leaving him and he leaned over in his seat, to see Hermione meeting yet another teenager in one of the aisles, though this one looked younger than the others had. Looking at his watch, he saw it to be not long after the end of school.
"Hey, Chris, what do you need?" He heard Hermione say and Dean stood from the couch and moved closer so he could better hear the conversation.
The teenager shuffled on his feet and gave her a sheepish smile before reaching up to push his dark hair back from his green eyes.
"Languages," he replied, but the way Hermione's mouth twitched had Dean believing it was more than that, he was missing something, he was sure of it.
"Chris, you're brilliant at languages," Hermione replied with a friendly smile. "You don't need my help."
"But you're an expert and I have an assignment due tomorrow, I can't fail, I can't give Watson any reason to fail me, he hates me," the teenager said.
"Chris, you're too hard on yourself. You don't need my help."
"Hermione, please," the teen practically begged.
Hermione sighed and reached up to push her hair back from her face. "Fine, but no more than half an hour."
"Thank you," the teen said, looking relieved.
Hermione led them over to the secret room, unlocked the door and let the teen inside before she locked it behind him. When Dean saw her approaching him, he quickly sat down on the couch and grabbed one of the books, opening it up to a random page so it wouldn't look as though he'd been spying on her.
"I'm sorry but I need to help someone with their homework, will you be fine on your own for a little bit."
Dean nodded. "You want me to get you if someone comes in?"
"Don't worry about it, I'll know," she said, before turning and leaving him alone.
An hour and a half later found Dean convinced that Hermione had definitely found the creature responsible for the deaths in town. So far there'd been five in a period of a month, two of them suicides and three of them heart attacks, only the victims had no history of illness or mental health. As far as he could piece together, they were all perfectly healthy, happy people.
Reading through the information on crocottas, everything seemed to fit perfectly; the strength and speed and the evolved ability to shape-shift. He'd even discovered they had the ability to perfectly mimic voices and it was recently believed they'd developed the ability to manipulate technology. They used their abilities to convince people to kill themselves or to lead them to their deaths, so they could eat their souls. Despite never having heard of such a creature before, he was confident it was the one he was after, and luckily, they were rather easy to kill. All that was needed was something with a sharp, pointed edge that he could stab straight through the back of the neck. So he knew what he was dealing with, he knew how to kill it, but he still didn't know who it was or where to find it, which meant he'd have to do a little detective work.
Hearing footsteps, he looked up to see Hermione approaching him and she flopped down onto the armchair, looking exhausted and frazzled.
"The kid?" Dean asked amused.
She nodded and pushed her hair back from her face. "I don't mind helping him, but he sure knows how to test my patience. Half an hour turned into an hour, which then turned into an hour and a half, and now, my brain's fried. Thank God he's finally gone," she sighed. He snorted at her.
"So, you're a languages expert?" She raised an eyebrow. "Your conversation carried over, I heard bits and pieces," he lied, not wanting her to know he'd been spying on her.
"You can say that," she responded.
"But you said you were a mythical creatures expert," he pointed out.
"I'm versatile," she said. "So, is it what you were looking for?" She asked, gesturing to the book in his hands.
"I think so," he nodded.
"And now that you've found it, why are you looking for it?"
"I can't tell you, it's a secret."
She rolled her eyes at him. "Well, thankfully it's now time to close," she said.
"I'll help you," he said.
She raised an eyebrow but didn't comment as he stood and picked up several books from the coffee table and returned them to their correct places. As he did that, she locked up the back room and turned off all the lights, before grabbing her things and Dean met her by the door. They both stepped out and Hermione locked the door before turning, pulling a large Tupperware tub from a bag and handing it to him.
"One blueberry pie, as promised."
He grinned at her and accepted the pie and he opened his mouth to respond, when he heard a woman calling out from across the street.
They both turned to watch the middle-aged woman rushing across the road, her blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail and bobbing as she walked, her brown eyes filled with unshed tears and she clutched tissues in her hand.
"What's wrong, Laurie?" Hermione asked softly.
The woman sniffled and barely spared him a glance before throwing herself at Hermione, hugging her tightly and crying into her shoulder. Hermione blinked in surprise but hugged the woman back and Dean shifted on his feet; crying women made him nervous.
It took a few moments for Hermione to coax the woman into speaking, but the woman soon stepped back from her.
"I'm sorry, Hermione," she apologised, dabbing at her eyes with the tissues.
Hermione gave a kind smile. "It's alright, what's wrong?"
"I suppose you won't have heard. The police found Peter's body a couple of hours ago, they're saying it's a suicide."
Dean froze and turned his eyes to Hermione, seeing sadness cross her features but she didn't cry.
"I'm sorry, Laurie," she spoke softly, reaching out for the woman's hand.
"Where was the body found?" Dean heard himself ask.
Hermione sent him a look that was a cross between a glare and curiosity.
The woman sniffled. "In the park by the woods," she answered.
"Why don't you head home and get some rest? I'll stay with Eric and help him until closing,"
"You're a dear," she replied.
Hermione gave her hand a squeeze and a comforting smile and the woman hugged her once more before leaving them. As soon as she did Hermione crossed her arms over her chest and turned to look at him with a raised eyebrow.
"Why do you want to know where the body was found?"
"Just curious," he replied. He knew she didn't believe him, but she dropped the subject, sighing.
"Well, now I know why Peter didn't come by for his pie."
"Did you know him well?" He asked, seeing that although she was saddened by the news of his death, she didn't look distraught by it.
"Not really," she answered. "I mean, I couldn't tell you where he lived or if he had a partner or what pets he had, but I knew he was a good cook and that he loved his desserts. That's about it."
"And the woman? What's she to him?" He asked after witnessing her reaction.
"A friend mostly, I think she knew his mother and she watched him grow up. She gave him his first job and when he went off to culinary school and he graduated, he decided to return to the cafe and work in the kitchens," she shrugged, reaching up to push her hair back from her face when the wind disturbed it. "Well, I better get going, it gets busy around this time and Eric's going to need all the help he can get," she gestured to the cafe across the street.
"You won't be at the bar tonight?" He asked and he was unable to keep the disappointment from his voice.
Her mouth twitched. "Not tonight, I suspect I'll be too exhausted once we've locked up. So, now that you have everything you need, including your pie, I guess this is goodbye. Good luck with...your secret job, and if you're ever in town and in need of anything, you know where to find me. It's was nice meeting you, Dean."
She gave him a big smile and turned to leave, but he reached out, his hand wrapping around her wrist to stop her. She turned back to look at him, her eyes darting down to his hand on her wrist and then moving back up to his face.
"Thank you," he said. "I wouldn't have found what I needed without you. And while we may not be friends, you're the closest one I've had in a long time," he said honestly.
She smiled at him. "Don't be silly, of course, we're friends," she grinned. "I don't just give pie to every random stranger, you know?"
Feeling genuinely surprised by her words, he blinked slowly before a smile of his own crossed his face. The one he didn't show often. It wasn't the smug smile, it wasn't the charming smile or even the half-smirk smile; this was the one he got from his mother. The soft, caring smile. And he realised, that although he'd known her no more than two days and he barely knew anything about her, he was actually going to miss her.
"Thank you," he said once more, before bending down to press a kiss to her cheek.
When he pulled back, she smiled at him and then turned and left, sending a little wave over her shoulder.
Three days later found Dean still not having moved on, despite knowing what he was dealing with he still hadn't discovered the location of the crocotta. He'd spent all his time focusing on the case that he hadn't even had time to -or even attempt to- go to the bar, even though he was curious as to if Hermione would've been there and even though he wanted to see her again.
He thought it odd how big of an impression the little book store owner had made on him, so much so that he did want to see her again. Not to charm her out of her panties despite how beautiful she was, not to flirt with her or to ask her for help, but just so he could have a conversation that didn't revolve around hunting or the supernatural. He found it easy to lose track of time when he was talking with her and it wasn't often someone was able to engage his attention the way she did, or make him laugh the way she did.
They say first impressions are important, well Hermione had certainly made a big one on him and all without trying to as well. He knew that no matter what happened, he'd always remember the little book store and it's pretty, pie baking owner.
Snapping himself out of his thoughts, he dodged the blow that had been aimed at his stomach before elbowing his opponent in the face and swiftly bringing down the knife, ploughing it straight through the back of the man's neck. He fell to the ground, dead.
One crocotta down, four more to go.
It had taken half a day to finally find the crocotta and it had been quite easy to kill it, so much so it had almost bored him. Once he'd taken care of the body, he returned to his motel and packed up his things ready to leave town but before doing so he stopped for dinner.
He'd been on his way back to the Impala when he'd been ambushed and dragged into the back alley by five men. Immediately spotting their unhinged jaws and sharp, sharp teeth, he understood them to be crocottas. And it made sense that they were, too. He'd read they were lucky if they devoured two souls a year, and there'd been six bodies found, that was too many for just one crocotta. He should've known there would've been another, but there was little he could do about that now except for surviving.
Given he was outnumbered, he took a few blows to his abdomen and face, but he wasn't going down without a fight. Kicking one of the crocottas in the knees, he fell straight to the ground and Dean stabbed his knife through the man's neck.
Two down, three to go.
He pulled the knife back and swung for the one closest to him, not only missing, but feeling a terrible, crippling pain shooting through his stomach.
The knife fell from his hand and he stumbled back, looking down at himself and seeing the alarming pool of blood that was soaking through his shirt and the large broken shard of glass that was sticking out of him. He brought his hands up to try and stem the bleeding and he fell to his knees, tilting to lean against the brick wall to keep him upright.
In his weakened and vulnerable state the three crocottas surrounded him, their mouths opened wide and their intent was clear. To feast on his soul. He knew the hunting life would probably be the death of him, he just thought the situation would've been a lot cooler. Like dying saving the lives of a bunch of school kids, or blowing up a building with himself still inside to save a group of bikini models. But no, he was going to die in a dirty, cold back alley and have his soul feasted upon.
Dean didn't see who it was but he'd recognise that voice anywhere. How did she find him? What was she doing? She was going to get herself killed!
He opened his mouth to shout, to tell her to get to safety and just leave, when something happened that he wasn't expecting.
The three men snarled at her and turned away from him, heading straight for her. She didn't scream in terror at their appearance, she didn't cry in fear, she just stood there, unblinking and rooted to the spot with narrowed eyes and a strong stance.
Her hand came up to her sleeve and before he could blink, beams of light were darting and ricocheting in every direction, slamming into walls and colliding with the skips, lighting up the alleyway and making it hard for him to see what was happening.
He felt his eyelids growing heavy and his head becoming fuzzy, and just before his eyes closed, Hermione was kneeled down in front of him, a worried look on her face and her hands came up to his face. She was panting, he noted, but uninjured.
Just who was she? What'd just happened? How did she do that?
"You're going be fine," he heard her say softly before the darkness took over.
Dean became aware of the soft mattress beneath him and it certainly wasn't the one from his motel room. He was aware of the clean smell in the room, of the slight draught which he guessed was due to a window being open. He was aware of the thick, warm blanket that covered him and was soft against his exposed skin, and of the clean linen smell that accompanied it.
Allowing his eyes to slowly open, he blinked until his vision cleared and he was staring up at a ceiling, it being painted dark with glowing stars. His eyes fell down to the walls, seeing them being a calming shade of blue and one wall had been wallpapered with a pattern that looked have pirates on. That alone had him believing he was in a children's bedroom.
He tried to push himself up but immediately stopped at the pain that shot through him and instead he turned his head to the left, seeing the toy chest on the wall and the chest of drawers that sat next to it. Turning to look to the right, it was to see a bedside table with a lamp sitting on top and it was switched on, that being the minimal light source in the room and he could see from the window that it was dark outside.
Only just noticing the heavyweight on his legs, Dean lifted his head and his eyes widened when he saw the giant, ginger fluff-ball staring back at him with bright yellow eyes and a bushy tail swishing back and forth lazily. He'd never seen a cat so ugly, its face looking as though it'd been hit with a shovel and its fur looking soft, but like it'd been electrocuted at the same time. And if he didn't know any better, he would've said the damn cat was watching him cautiously, as if waiting for an attack.
"Oh, you're awake," a soft voice spoke and he turned towards the door he hadn't notice, seeing none other than Hermione stood in the doorway and with a glass of water held in her hand. She stepped into the room and tutted at the ginger fur-ball. "Crookshanks, I told you not to bother our guest."
The cat actually meowed back in response and Dean blinked slowly, she just shook her head. She dragged a chair over from the corner of the room and positioned it by the side of the bed, taking a seat and reaching over to put down the glass on the bedside table.
"How are you feeling?"
"Groggy," he answered.
She nodded. "I gave you something to keep you under while I healed you. It's now eight o'clock on Saturday evening, you've been out a little under twenty-four hours," she explained.
His eyes widened in surprise. No wonder he felt so well-rested. "You patched me up?"
"Sure did, it wasn't easy but luckily none of your organs were nicked by the glass shard. It took a while to stop the bleeding but once that was taken care of I was able to seal the wound."
He had so many questions and he didn't know where to start.
"How did you find me?"
"Coincidence," she shrugged. "I was heading into the diner to pick up my order when I became aware of what was happening in the alleyway. I thought it was just kids picking on each other. I wasn't expecting to see you or those things."
He blinked and his head went dizzy as memories from the previous night came flooding back to him.
"You didn't even flinch," he muttered. "I saw those things you did. It's not possible. Who are you really?" He asked.
She sighed and ran a hand through her hair and for the first time he noticed that although she was wearing different clothes than the night before, she looked exhausted, as though she hadn't slept. Had she watched over him all night?
"I know you're a Hunter," she said. His surprise must've been evident as she chuckled at him. "I've met some of you before. I just didn't piece everything together until I saw you last night. I should've known," she shook her head. "Why else would you have spent so much time researching the supernatural and asking questions regarding where the bodies had been found? I now know what the family business is, but I don't know who you are."
He eyed her cautiously, deciding whether or not to tell her the truth. Something inside him was telling him that he could trust her; after all, she knew he was a Hunter and she'd patched him up. If he told her who he was then maybe she'd feel more comfortable in telling him the truth about herself.
He hadn't expected her reaction. Her eyes widened, her face paled and she leaned back into her chair.
"Fuck," she breathed out in a whisper.
So she's obviously heard of him, but why was she afraid? What was she?
She took a deep breath. "Okay, this is going to be a difficult conversation," she said. "Let's get you up and more comfortable," she said.
She stood from her chair and helped him into a sitting position, apologising when he winced in pain and she propped him up with the pillows. The cat hadn't moved from lying across his legs, but he did receive a less than pleased look for disturbing it. Dean thought the cat was very odd.
"Drink this; it'll make you feel better."
"What is it?" He asked, eyeing the glass she held out to him.
"Water, but I've put a pain reliever in it. It's similar to Morphine only this particular one isn't as strong," she explained.
Deciding to trust her, he took the glass and sipped at the water and a few moments later he could already feel the pain beginning to fade and with that he drank down the rest of it.
"So, before I say anything, I want you to talk to someone first."
She reached into her pocket and pulled out her cell phone, before handing it over to him.
"Speed dial one," she instructed.
His curiosity got the better of him and he took the phone from her, pressed the correct number on the keypad and held the speaker to his ear. It rang a total of three times before someone answered.
"Hey, Missy, what's up?"
Dean froze. He'd know that gruff voice anywhere. He'd known it since his childhood, it belonged to the man that was like a second father to him. The only difference being, he'd never heard it sound so soft or happy, as if he'd genuinely been happy to speak to the owner of the number that was calling him.
How the hell did she know Bobby?
"Missy, are you okay?"
Dean cleared his throat. "Bobby?" He said hesitantly.
The line went quiet for a few moments before a curse of "balls," was heard and it was followed by a sigh. Dean could imagine Bobby taking off his ball cap and rubbing at his forehead with his sleeve, before putting the cap back on.
"What are you doing calling off Missy's number? Is she alright?"
"If you mean Hermione, she's fine," he answered, his eyes refusing to leave the woman that sat beside him.
He didn't imagine Bobby sighing. "I should've known you'd run into each other at some point. You working a case in her town?"
"Yeah, she helped me with research."
"You're not the first," Bobby replied.
"Meaning?" Dean questioned.
"How'd you think I run Hunter's Central? I can't do it all by myself. Missy's my secondary source of information. If I don't know it, she does."
Dean blinked at that. "She saved my life," he admitted.
"You're not the first," Bobby repeated, his tone softening a little. "She's a miracle worker. Look, don't hurt her. The only reason she's put you on the line is so I can vouch for her, so she must be planning to tell you the truth. Whatever she says to you, you can trust her. Forget everything your father's told you. She's not evil; she's special, really special. I trust her with my life, and if that's not good enough for you then you're an idiot. And if you hurt her, I'll kill you myself."
Dean felt a headache coming on. "Noted," he muttered.
"Good, now put Missy on," Bobby instructed.
Dean handed the device over to her and she put it against her ear, a wide smile pulling at her face.
"Hi Bubba," she smiled and Dean's eyebrows shot up high on his forehead when he heard Bobby chuckle through the speaker. "I'm fine, Dean's the one that nearly died, but I've taken care of it. He should be fine by tomorrow...I will, don't you worry...You're taking care of yourself, right?... Of course, I'm going to worry about you, you're not getting any younger...It's been a while since my last visit, I'll have to come and see you soon...Yes, I'll bring shepherd's pie, as if you'd let me forget...I'll send you some down tomorrow...Alright, I'll talk to you later and if you need anything you know where I am...Bye, Bubba."
Dean's head officially couldn't take anymore, he was sure of it. He mulled over the things Bobby had said and his obvious protectiveness over Hermione, so did that mean she was supernatural? But if that was the case, why was Bobby protecting her? He hated the supernatural just as much as the next Hunter.
"So?" Dean said.
"Look, my past...It's quite traumatic and I don't like talking about it, but aside from that, I don't want you to think I'm lying to you so..." She stood from the chair, left the room and returned moments later with one of the biggest books he'd ever seen, being carried in her arms. "Inside this book is everything you need to know about who I am, at least up until I turned eighteen."
"You're in a book?" He asked slowly.
"Several," she nodded. "You see, I'm a War Heroine and at the age of eighteen, I helped to save my world and my people from the darkest, most powerful magical dictator that had ever been seen. And now, the Wizarding World is better for it."
"Magical? Wizarding World?" He repeated.
She nodded. "I'm a magical witch."
He thought he ought to be leaping out of the comfortable bed and strangling her with his bare hands, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. He thought he should've been angry and disgusted, but he couldn't bring himself to feel that. He wasn't sure if it was a combination of Bobby's words, her saving his life and the grogginess he was still feeling, or something else. Instead, he sat in silence, watching her cautiously and she breathed a sigh of relief before continuing.
"There's two types of witches, magical and supernatural. As I'm sure you're aware, supernatural witches either make deals with demons or carry out human sacrifice and rituals to get their powers. But I'm a magical witch; I was born the way I am. I was born with my magic inside of me and there's nothing I can do about it. Strange things used to happen around me when I was younger and when I turned eleven, I was visited by the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry and she explained about my magic and the hidden world I belonged to. Centuries ago true born wizarding folk and non-magicals lived together peacefully until the Witch Trials started. To protect and preserve our people, the existence and knowledge of magic was wiped from the world and we retreated into the shadows and built our own world and community."
"You're a witch?"
She nodded. "Yes, but I'm a good witch. I don't harm those that are unable to defend themselves against me. I don't use any harmful or ill-intentioned magic on non-magicals as it's illegal. It's a serious crime and could result in prison time should it be done unlawfully. It's also illegal to expose the secret of trueborn magic to non-magicals such as yourself, so if anyone finds out I've broken our most sacred law, I'll be put on trial and likely imprisoned. I understand this is a lot to take it; I've been on the other end of this conversation before, too. And I appreciate you not killing me straight away. I've marked the sections that you should read, they're the most important and when you're done, either give me a shout or if you're feeling up to it, I'll be downstairs."
She handed over the large book, Hogwarts, a History, it read, before standing from the chair and turning to look at her cat.
"Are you coming or staying here, Crooks?" She asked. The cat just stared at her before burying its head beneath one of its paws. "I think you've made a new friend."
"Why do you seem surprised by that?" He found himself asking.
"Crookshanks is part kneazle, a magical breed of cat. As a result, he's fiercely protective of me and he'll warn me against those that wish me harm. He's an excellent judge of character and there's very few people he trusts, I can only think of two off the top of my head. The fact that not only is he sitting with you, watching over you, but that he seems to like you, too, is strange to me."
Dean eyed the cat curiously and he would swear the damn thing just winked at him!
"Anyway, I'll leave you to it."
An hour later found Dean's head pounding, his stomach twisting and turning with disgust and his respect for the little witch downstairs skyrocketing. He hadn't actually been able to read everything, not because of the gruesome, horrendous things she'd had to do to survive, but because of the age she'd been when they had occurred. He couldn't believe she'd almost died when she was a young fifteen-year-old girl, he couldn't believe she fought in an actual war at her young age and squared off against opponents that were double, even triple her age and had more experience and knowledge, and yet she'd still won.
It seemed he'd been right not to harm her when she'd told him she was a witch. He understood why Bobby was so protective of her. She was a good, kind person, genuinely, she just happened to be born with magic. And although it went against everything he was taught and everything he stood for, he knew he couldn't harm her. She was just too good and she'd suffered too much to protect not only her people but the rest of the world, too. He remembered hearing about all the terrorist attacks in Europe six years ago, and now he knew the cause.
Bobby was right; she was special. She was nothing like the wicked bitches he was used to dealing with, and neither was her magic. After being done reading through the sections based on her, her friends and the war, he'd skimmed through some of the other chapters and seen for himself. They didn't have rituals, they didn't have human sacrifice, and they didn't chant or make hex bags. They were different. And while he knew it would take a little while for everything to actually sink in, he knew he'd already accepted her for who she was and it was easy to do. If she hadn't been so kind to him and everyone around her, it probably would've been a little more difficult, but she truly was good, whether she was a witch or not.
Putting the large book off to the side, he decided to try and stretch his legs and go in search of her, knowing they needed to have a talk.
"You mind moving?" He asked the cat that hadn't left his side.
He received a look of annoyance in return but the cat did move, standing up and arching its back as it stretched, before it jumped down off the bed, it making a thudding sound against the floorboards. He expected the cat to run off and leave him, but instead, it sat itself on the ground and looked at him pointedly.
The cat was strange, he was sure of it. Every time Dean had looked over the top of the book, it was to see the ginger fur-ball watching him closely for his reactions to each new bit of information he learned. He wondered if it being a magical breed had anything to do with its strangeness because he would swear, the damn cat had human mannerisms.
Removing the blanket from himself, he was able to stand from the bed and he looked down at himself, only just noticing that he was wearing a black t-shirt and a grey pair of drawstring pyjamas bottoms, and he certainly hadn't been wearing them before. Shaking his head, he followed after the cat as he led the way down the hall, past two closed doors and down the stairs, it bringing him into an opened planned living room and kitchen.
Looking around, the colours were warm and inviting and the furniture looking worn and comfortable. Photos lined the walls and a huge fireplace dominated the back wall, a large TV was mounted above it and the couch, armchair and coffee table surrounding it. The kitchen was filled with the regular appliances you'd expect and it was fitted with two built-in ovens, and a large kitchen island in the centre. It was homey, he realised. Certainly somewhere you'd feel comfortable and safe.
He spotted Hermione walking out of a room by the kitchen and she stopped at the sight of him, their gazes instantly locking.
"You read the book?" She asked. He nodded. "Are you going to kill..."
"No," he said before she'd even managed to finish her sentence. "I've seen the monsters that hide in this world and I've seen what people are capable of. Whether you have magic or not, you're a good person and there needs to be more people like you in the world to balance out the evil. And you've certainly made your fair share of sacrifices for the safety of others," he answered.
She blinked in surprise and looked down to the ground. He squinted his eyes, Hell, she was blushing!
"Thank you," she said quietly. "Are you hungry? I made food."
Never one to turn down food, he nodded and approached the kitchen, taking a seat at the kitchen island and watching as she removed two plates from the oven, it keeping the dishes warm. She placed it in front of him along with a knife and fork and she grabbed two beers from the fridge, removed their caps and placed them on the surface before taking a seat opposite him.
They ate the pasta dish in silence and despite the situation, it didn't feel awkward. When they finished Hermione took their plates and cutlery and put them in the sink to be washed later, before retaking her seat opposite him. He looked down at himself and then raised an eyebrow.
"Your clothes were ruined so I had to bin them, even my magic wouldn't have been able to repair the damage as there was too much blood. I used magic to change you, so don't worry, I didn't perve on you."
He snorted at her and picked up his beer, taking a swig from the bottle. "Who's are they?" He asked curiously.
"Harry's I think, he's my brother, well kind of, non-biologically at least. Given what we've been through together, we've a bond some might not understand and that's difficult to explain, but at the very least he's my family."
"You talking about Harry Potter, from the book?"
"The one and only," she nodded.
"I have questions,"
"I thought you might, take it away."
"Will you show me what you're capable of?"
She blinked in surprise, likely having expected him to be more intrusive.
"Sure," she said, a smile appearing on her face before she pulled a wooden stick from her sleeve. Her wand, he realised. "Let's see," she said to herself.
She pulled out a list of takeout menus from one of the drawers and pointed her wand at them as she muttered something under her breath. He startled in surprise when there was suddenly half a dozen rabbits hopping about on the kitchen island.
"Transfiguration," she smiled.
He reached out and ran his hands through the fur of the rabbit closest to him, feeling that it was real. It was an actual rabbit! With a wave of her wand, they were turned back to their true form, and she muttered something else under her breath, a flock of bright yellow canaries shooting from the tip of her wand and flying above their heads. She soon made them disappear before she conjured a glass out of thin air and filled it with water that streamed out of her wand. And then before his eyes, there was a 'crack' and Hermione was suddenly gone, only to reappear on the other side of the room. He stared in surprise.
"That's what we call apparition, it's basically teleportation. It's our version of driving. You have to have a license to do it and you have to legally be an adult, which is seventeen in my world."
"And you can go anywhere? Just like that," he clicked his fingers.
"Essentially, but we have to have either been to our intended destination before or be able to clearly visualise it, otherwise we risk splinching ourselves, which is basically cutting parts of our body off during travel. If you wish to travel long distance, you have to make several pit-stops to recharge the battery, so to speak. But we do have other forms of transportation that are more suited to long-distance journeys," she explained.
"As for magic, we can do most things that are thought impossible. We have the best healing and medicine on earth. We can heal broken bones in minutes; we can even re-grow them entirely. We have a cure for the common cold and instant pain relievers. We've even been able to cure paralysis in a few instances, too."
"Is that how you patched me up?" He asked.
"Yes, I'm actually a licensed medi-witch."
"Medi-witch, it's basically a magical nurse or paramedic. Healers are magical doctors. Speaking of, I should probably check on your wound, make sure it's healing properly," she said. She hopped off her stool and rounded the kitchen island to stand in front of him. "Up you get and lift your shirt for me," she instructed.
His mouth twitched in amusement as he followed her instructions, standing up and lifting his shirt. She bent slightly and the tip of her wand pressed gently against his stomach and she muttered beneath her breath, a slight glow appearing before she stepped back.
"The results of the diagnostics charm I've just cast," she answered, not taking her eyes off his stomach. "From the looks of things, everything's healing as it's supposed to be and you should be completely fine by tomorrow, and any scarring will fade within less than a week. I gave you a magical blood transfusion so you shouldn't feel too light-headed either. Your bruises have already healed, as has the cut on your cheek. I gave you enough Pain Relief Potion to take the edge off and hopefully, the pain will be gone entirely by tomorrow."
"Hold up, potions?"
"Potions," she nodded. "I tend to brew my own but the majority of people buy theirs either from potions shops or from Potions Masters. By brewing my own I know exactly what goes into each potion, I know how long they've been stored and I know they're likely to be more effective as I haven't used cheap or damaged ingredients. So yes, magic and potions. We even fly on brooms, too."
He knew about the brooms after reading about them in the book she'd given him, and he barely stopped himself from cracking a joke about stereotypical witches, not wanting to possibly anger her.
"Well most people do, I hate flying. I much prefer my feet on the ground."
"That makes two of us," he agreed. He hated flying with a passion.
She stepped back from him, picked up her beer and moved over to the sitting area. Taking a quick moment he looked down at himself, seeing that there was barely any evidence of his injury and he knew from the amount of blood that it had been bad. All he saw was a single white vertical line off to the right of his belly button, and even then it looked older than it actually was. He admitted, magical healing would be handy in his line of work.
Picking up his own beer, he crossed over to the couch taking a seat opposite her as she settled herself on the armchair, flicking her wand at the fireplace and flames burst to life.
"What can't you do?" He asked.
"We can't defy nature," she answered, "Meaning we're unable to resurrect someone. Magic is also not allowed to be used outside of school unless you are over the age of seventeen. There's a trace on every wizarding child and should you break the rules, you are put up against the Wizarding Government to face judgement. If they decide it was unjust, you are expelled from school and your wand is snapped, and you're to never practice magic again."
"Seems a bit harsh," he frowned.
"It is, but I understand why they do it. We channel our magic through our wands and they help us to control it, to better harness it, but our magic is tied into our emotions and this is the cause of accidental magic. Children don't receive their wands until the age of eleven and until then, they have nothing to control the flow of magic in their bodies. When I was mad as a child, I'd accidentally set the curtains on fire or a glass vase would shatter. If I was upset, items would levitate. If I hated a dress my mother wanted me to wear, it would suddenly find itself in the bin. If I fell out of a tree, my magic protected me by slowing down my fall. But even as a teenager, emotions run high and it can affect our magic and our decisions. The laws are in place to protect the secret of magic and to keep everyone safe."
"Why haven't you always known about your magic?" He asked curiously.
"I'm a Muggleborn, it's a class of witches and wizards. I may have been born with my magic but both of my parents were non-magical. I was an anomaly. I was born in the non-magical world. Then there's Half-bloods, and while they do have magical ancestry, they also have some non-magical ancestry, too. They either have two magical parents that aren't both Purebloods, or one magical and one non-magical parent. Where they are born depends on whether or not the non-magical parent knows about magic, but the majority of Half-bloods tend to be born in the Wizarding World so they grow up around magic. Purebloods only have magical ancestry and it can be traced right back to the Founders of Hogwarts, a millennia ago. Most pride themselves on this and this is why the wars happened."
"The opposing side hated me and others like me; they hated Half-bloods and non-magicals, too. They blamed us for the decline in Pureblood births and the rise of Squibs, which is a magical child that is born without magic; essentially they're just a non-magical. In order to keep their bloodline pure, they inbred." He pulled a face of disgust. "And as we all know, that's not good for the health of any child. But thankfully it's all over now and blood supremacy is at an all-time low. There's still a few sympathisers out there, and I know there's a few wanted fugitives that escaped during the Final Battle, but otherwise, my world is peaceful again."
"You were so young, only eighteen," he commented.
"If you want to get technical, this all started for me at the age of twelve, that's when I faced my first dark wizard. It wasn't until I was fifteen that the return of the war was made official and it took three years to kill the psychotic bastard afterwards. War doesn't care about how old or young you are, whether you're innocent or evil, an adult or a child; it claims its victims without prejudice. I was lucky, I survived, but we lost many. People I knew, people I grew up with, people that taught me, people that I loved. And despite how hard it was, we all had to put the past behind us and move on, we owed it to those that sacrificed themselves to live our lives the best we could. To change the world for the better and to raise a new generation of wizarding folk and teach them how to be better than us, to not make the same mistakes but to learn from them."
"So, what was your job before you moved here?" He changed the subject, seeing that her mood was getting darker as each second ticked by. "I'm assuming you couldn't tell me because it had something to do with magic."
She nodded. "I didn't return to school after the war, I couldn't bring myself to walk the halls when I knew what had happened there, so I went straight into employment. Harry, Ron and I, we completed our Auror training... Magical policemen," she said before he could ask and he nodded. "I did that for about a year, but I hated it, so I switched divisions and went into the Regulation and Control for Magic Creatures Department, and I pretty much did the same thing, only it was with magical creatures, beings and spirits, instead of humans and dark witches and wizards."
"Like ghosts and werewolves, that kind of thing?"
"Exactly," she nodded.
"You were a Hunter?" He asked surprised.
"Not quite, but yes at the same time. Killing was never the objective; it was always the last option. Given how dangerous my job was, I had a partner and obviously, we grew close. Jake Preston," she said. "He was two years older than me and we were together for just under five years. He was a pain in the arse and we were complete opposites personality-wise, but that's why we worked well together. I covered his weaknesses and he covered mine. We spent more time with each other than we did our friends and family. We fought side by side, watching out for each other and facing danger together and that creates a bond."
"What happened?" He asked softly, sensing that she was holding something back.
She sighed and took a swig from her beer, her eyes falling down to the ground. "We were working a case and somehow Jake's cousin became involved and was kidnapped. I was doing a quick sweep of the perimeter to make sure it was safe and he deviated from the plan and went in alone. By the time I got there, both he and his cousin were dead, as were the other twelve victims that had gone missing. He needed me and I failed him. I got my partner killed."
"No, you didn't," he said softly. "He allowed his emotions to cloud his judgement and he was the one that went in without back up. If he had waited for you to finish your perimeter search and you'd have gone in together, I've no doubt you'd have all gotten out safely. It wasn't your fault and you didn't fail him. You can't blame yourself."
She shrugged her shoulders. "I know, but I do."
"Is this why you moved? These are the demons you talked about having?"
She nodded. "Yep. After his death, I couldn't stand the thought of having a new partner, not after we'd been together so long. And I couldn't take the looks people gave me, or the articles newspapers wrote about me, or the way his parents looked at me. I just needed to get away, and so I moved here and opened my book shop. This is the reason I'm an expert on mythical and magical creatures, I wasn't lying about that."
Dean cleared his throat. "So, that locked room in your store? What is it?"
"It contains all of my magical textbooks and only wizarding folk are allowed access. It's warded against non-magicals."
"Those teenagers?" He said, his eyes widening slightly at the implication of her words.
"Yep, they were wizards. The older ones attend a magical university and the younger ones are still in school. While the curriculums in Europe and the US differ slightly, the big difference is boarding. All magical schools in Europe are boarding schools, here I believe there is only one school that offers boarding, the rest attend between nine and three o'clock, and return home each day. This is why I have kids coming into my shop wanting to use my books or wanting my help with their homework. I'm one of the very few magical book shops in the State."
He blinked at that, before shaking his head. "So, how'd you meet Bobby?" He asked, changing the subject.
A relieved look crossed her face and she sat up in her seat, a smile finally pulling at her mouth.
"We met not long after I got here, actually. I was still looking for a property to buy and was staying in the same motel as Bobby. He was working a case nearby."
"Bobby doesn't go on hunts anymore," he frowned.
"He does every now and then, he gets bored being cooped up in the house all day and he needs a break from time to time. Anyway, he ran into a spot of trouble with a werewolf and luckily I was nearby and I stepped in and helped him. Of course, he threw a massive hissy fit and nearly killed me. He held me at gunpoint for three hours until he calmed down enough to actually listen to what I had to say, and we've been friends since. I try to visit him every couple of months and when he needs any information, he gives me a call; actually, he calls me at least three times a week just to check in with me. Sometimes when I pick up chatter about some strange deaths having occurred, I'll let him know and he passes it on to another Hunter to check out. I've known him for three years but it feels much longer. He's like a father to me."
"Know the feeling," Dean responded.
"Ah, I've heard about your dad, Bobby said he's an arsehole."
"What?" Dean spluttered in surprise.
"Your dad's an arsehole,"
"He's not," Dean defended. "You don't even know him."
"Not personally, but Bobby certainly doesn't think the world of him, something to do with him being a shitty father and abandoning his kids. From I can tell, Bobby loves you as if you were his own and he's very protective of you, especially where your father's concerned."
Dean frowned before shaking his head. "And what about your parents? Where are they?"
"Dead," she said, not blinking. "They died during the war. To protect them I took their memories of my existence from them, gave them new identities and packed them off to Australia. They were found a month later and killed. They died never even knowing I existed."
She shrugged her shoulders. "It's not your fault and the ones that did it are dead. I found their bodies on the battlefield."
"Can I ask you a personal question?"
"Haven't you already?" She raised an eyebrow. "Go ahead," she gestured with her hand as she drank from her beer bottle.
"You never answered my question at the bar. Are you happy?"
She sighed, her eyes dropping down to her beer bottle. "No, I'm not. I don't exactly hate my life, but I don't love it either. When I was a kid I would've loved to have had my own book shop and now that I do..." She trailed off. "My life is peaceful, it's quiet and safe, but I'm bored... All the bloody time. I know my business is important to so many children and teenagers, and without it, half of them wouldn't even pass their classes. And while that does give me some satisfaction that I'm helping to better these kids' lives, I'm still bored. I don't want to admit it, but I guess I kind of miss my old life. I miss the chase and the research. I miss always having to be on the go and thinking on my feet. After doing so for eleven years, it's all I've ever known and it's hard to give it up."
"So why don't you go back to it?"
"I blame myself for Jake's death, whether it was my fault or not. I can't put someone else in that situation. I can't put myself in that situation again. I need a partner I know I can trust, and Jake not only broke my trust, but he broke it for good."
Dean frowned, his eyes tracing her clearly exhausted frame.
"Alright, back to you. These crocotta things, they're still out there." He sat up straight at that news. "I managed to kill one of them, but the other two ran off. We need to find them before they hurt anyone else."
"We?" He asked with a raised eyebrow.
"We, I'm not having you getting injured again, I've just bloody healed you. And if I come with you, not only are you no longer outnumbered, but you've got my magic on your side, too. I was able to get a blood sample from one of the injured crocottas that got away. I can use that to track their exact location." He blinked at that; that would certainly be handy to have on his side. "Just don't tell anyone, the tracking measures I'm talking about are technically illegal." He stared at her and she shrugged her shoulders. "Right, I suppose we better get some rest. We'll head out in the morning."
"I never asked, where's my car?"
"Oh, it's parked out front."
"You drove my car?"
"No, I shrunk it down, put it in my pocket and then apparated here."
He blinked. "I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not,"
Hermione rolled her eyes and grabbed her wand, pointing it at the coffee table before shrinking it down. Dean's eyes widened.
"Not," she responded. "Of course you can stay here, you know where the spare room is and if you need the bathroom, it's the door closest to the staircase. Goodnight, Dean."
"Are you sure?"
"Positive," Hermione replied. "They're in there somewhere," she gestured out the window and towards the woods.
It was the next day and after having a hot shower in the cleanest bathroom he'd ever seen and eating a delicious breakfast which Hermione had prepared, they left her house, climbed into the Impala and Dean followed Hermione's directions.
"Split up and cover more ground?" She asked.
"No, we stay together," he replied, surprising himself with his words, but he meant it. He wanted Hermione close by in case anything happened.
After learning about her past and previous profession, as well as seeing what she was capable of, he knew she was more than enough capable of taking care of herself, but still, he wanted her close by so he could make sure she didn't get hurt.
"Alright then," she shrugged, stepping out of the car and he followed suit.
Together they walked through the woods, being as quiet as possible as to not alert anyone to their presence; they did have the element of surprise after all.
"Wait," Hermione muttered, and he came to a stop, watching curiously as she crouched down and fixed her eyes on the ground.
"The leaves have been disturbed here, and that branch is broken," she said, pointing to a branch on a tree a little ways in front of them. "The branch is too high for a land animal to have done it, someone's definitely passed through here recently."
"Lead the way, Witch," he gestured forward.
She rolled her eyes and stood up, moving forward but keeping her eyes on the ground to determine which way to go next. They walked for about half a mile before Hermione's hand shot out in front of Dean, stopping him from moving any further. He turned to look at her with a curiously raised eyebrow and she brought her hand up to her lips in a gesture for him to be silent and then much to his surprise, she walked over to a tree and started to climb it.
"What are you doing?" He asked quietly and she shushed him.
She stopped about halfway up and removed her wand from her pocket, and suddenly two beams of light left her wand before she climbed back down the tree as if it were nothing.
"Found them," she said, darting off and he was quick on her heels.
They soon came to a little clearing and Dean blinked in surprise when he saw the two crocottas lying face down on the ground, not moving.
"Just stunned," she said. "If you don't hurry they'll come around soon and we'll have a fight on our hands."
Shaking his head, he removed the knife from his sleeve and kneeled down on the ground, making quick work of taking them out for good. Standing up and stepping back, his mouth dropped open when Hermione pointed her wand and muttered under her breath, the two now dead bodies transfiguring into thousands of leaves and being blown across the ground in the wind.
"Now no one will stumble across the bodies," she shrugged, turning on her heel and making her way back to the car.
It took Dean a few moments to process what she'd just done, before catching up to her. They made the journey back to the car in silence, and once they reached the Impala, they climbed in and Dean flicked on the radio. Halfway to Hermione's house, he was the first to speak.
"We make a good team," he commented. She raised an eyebrow. "We do, you can't deny it. I would've never gotten this far if it weren't for your help with the research, and you saved my ass last night, too, as well as helped me to track the remaining two."
The car fell into silence until Hermione spoke a few minutes later. "I guess we do," she whispered.
By the time Dean pulled up at Hermione's, it was after lunch, and she climbed out of the car and bent at the waist to talk to him.
"Goodbye Dean, and be careful," she said, closing the door and walking off to her house, pulling her keys from her pocket.
In that moment, he made a split-second decision.
"Hermione," he called, stepping out of the car and she turned to face him. "Come with me."
"Excuse me?" She questioned in surprise, her eyes widening and her voice rising.
"Come with me, come hunting."
"I can't," she said, blinking dumbly.
"Why not? You said it yourself, you're not happy here. You miss your old life and mine's similar enough, just different monsters. You can't deny that we make a good team and with your magic, expertise and knowledge coupled with mine, the supernatural doesn't stand a chance against us."
She bit her lip and fiddled with her keys. "I can't, Dean."
"Why? Because you're worried I'd get hurt?" He knew what her problem was, after all, she'd told him about her old partner. "I can take care of myself, but that's not the point. You'll watch out for me and I'll watch out for you. You'll cover my blind spots and I'll cover yours. We do make a good team and you know it. There's nothing keeping you here and you're not happy, so why stay? Why stay when you can travel the US with me, just like you said you wanted to do. I've already shown I trust you enough to watch my back, you just need to trust me, too."
"I've a few loose ends to tie up, so you have some time to think about it. Hopefully, I'll see you later."
He climbed into the car and with one last look at her, he drove away.
Dean sat in the Impala, parked out front of Hermione's book store, fiddling with his car keys nervously. It'd been two hours since he'd asked Hermione to hunt with him, and although it had been a split-second decision, he'd meant it.
Her magic, knowledge and skills would be a huge asset to have on his side. He'd have someone to watch his back and to rely on and it was always safer to hunt in a pair rather than alone. And he actually liked Hermione. It didn't matter that she was a witch, he knew he could trust her. He knew she was a good person. And he couldn't stomach the thought of not seeing her again. She was the first friend he'd had in as long as he could remember and he didn't want to lose that. She made him laugh and she was smart as hell, he knew that the hunting lifestyle would be a lot more bearable if he had her by his side.
But he'd been sat outside the book store for an hour and he was getting worried that maybe she would stick to her life in Colorado, even if she wasn't happy, even if she did miss her old life.
He waited for another half an hour before disappointment filled him and he resigned himself to the fact he'd be leaving alone. Sighing, he turned on the ignition and was about to drive off when there was a knock on the driver's side window.
Startling, he automatically reached for his gun but soon stopped when he saw the one responsible. Hermione. He felt hope fill him as he turned off the engine and stepped out of the car, seeing Hermione biting at her lip and fiddling with her fingers nervously.
"You've made your decision?"
"I have and you gave me a lot to think about. In as little as a week you've turned my peaceful life upside down."
"Well, I've learned about the existence of magic and magical creatures and only had a day to process it, we've both had a lot on our minds," he replied. "So, what's your answer?"
Dean felt his face fall when she turned around and headed for the door of the store, only she didn't go inside. Instead, she pulled out a piece of paper and stuck it to the door, it reading 'We're closed until further notice, we're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.'
She turned around to face him, a shy smile appearing on her face and he felt a smile of his own tug at his lips.
"I've a deputy manager but she's away visiting family and she's due back in a few days. Luckily she's a Half-blood witch so I can trust her to manage both sides of the business. I've contacted her, given her a promotion, a pay raise and put the fate of my business in her hands for the time being."
"Then let's go, Little Witch, we've already a case waiting for us."
"Where?" She asked curiously.
"Rawlins, Wyoming. It's a bit of a drive so I hope you like old school rock."
"You kidding? I love The Beatles," she exclaimed happily.
Dean's smile widened. He knew it; she'd knocked him off his feet.
"What are we waiting for, let's go?"
She bent down and his eyes widened upon noticing the ginger fur-ball she now had snuggled in her arms. Damn, he'd forgotten about the cat.
"That's not coming with us," he said.
"Yes, he is," she said. "I've no one else to look after him, where I go, he goes. You'll want him around; kneazles can sense danger, as well as other magical auras. He'll alert us to suspicious behaviour or potential threats. Don't worry about your car, I'll charm it against damage and all Crookshanks does all day is sleep. You won't even know he's here," she said, rounding the car and hopping in the passenger's seat.
Dean grumbled under his breath before climbing back in the car and closing the door, only for Hermione's cat to climb onto his lap and butt his head against his chin. Sighing, Dean reached up and scratched the cat behind the ears, the ugly cat purring and a smug smile pulling at Hermione's mouth. The cat soon climbed into the back seat, curled up in a ball and fell asleep.
"You have everything?"
"Yep," she said, removing a small purse from her pocket and holding it up as evidence. "It's bigger on the inside, bottomless really. My own handiwork and I'm quite proud of it."
He grinned in appreciation. "Nice. Can you read a map?"
She smirked at him, before resting her wand in the palm of her hand and whispering, "Point Me."
Dean blinked when the wand levitated off her hand and spun in circles, before coming to a stop and pointing straight ahead.
"There's your map."
He laughed out loud. He had a feeling he was going to love magic.
He reached over and switched on the radio, The Rolling Stones coming through the speakers. He turned to Hermione and grinned at her.
"Welcome to the hunting life, Miss. Granger," he said, before speeding away from the curb and down the road, Hermione's loud laughter being left behind.