A/N: Yes, I realise Harry has inexplicably turned up in America, but it's a number of years after the books, so it's possible!
It was late, though not as late as Dean would have liked, when they left the bar. Dean could have happily stayed there for another couple of hours but Sam had insisted that they leave because he had school tomorrow and he needed some sleep. So, either they left together or Sam went alone and Dad would just about kill him if he let that happen, even if nothing happened to Sam.
It was probably a good thing he left with Sam because the moment he stepped out of the bar he had a bad feeling. The glance between him and Sam told him he wasn't the only one that was feeling it. Dean looked at his watch, it was only just ten thirty but the sky looked a whole lot darker than it should be if that was true. The thought also came to him that perhaps the sky wouldn't ever get light ever again, that the sun wouldn't rise in the morning and he'd be stuck in darkness for the rest of his life. Something was definitely wrong and he didn't think it was something natural.
He and Sam crossed the road to the Impala, alert and looking out for anything out of the ordinary. They didn't really need to be alert because it was pretty hard to miss the scream that came from an alleyway near where the car was parked. Dean ran to the trunk and opened it, pulling out a flashlight and handing it to Sam, he searched for all the usual weapons, hoping it wasn't anything too unusual. With his shot gun in hand, he shut the trunk. He'd made sure to give Sam something with silver bullets in it, because they were bound to work if the rock salt didn't, and if neither worked, well, hopefully their legs still did.
They paused on the corner of the alley. Muffled sobs could now be heard coming from it, whoever it was had lost the energy or will to scream. It was inexplicably cold here, considering the warm night it had been up until now. Dean looked at Sam again, who looked back and raised his eyebrows. A silent question of what are we waiting for?
"Do you feel that?" Dean asked quietly, still not entirely sure why he was hesitating.
"You mean the way it feels cold on the inside as well?" yes, that was why he was hesitating, Dean nodded. "You think this is too big for us? We should go home and tell Dad?" Dean wanted to say yes and get the hell away from that place because he knew what that feeling was now. He recognised the cold edges of despair as they crept up on him.
"No, someone needs our help," and whoever it was was still crying, which was a good sign in these circumstances. Dean steeled himself and then stepped around the corner, Sam behind him with the flashlight. "Hey!" he yelled.
The beam of the flashlight revealed some kind of grim reaper creature bent over a woman, who was on the ground having quiet hysterics. Dean's yell had got its attention and the empty hood was turned towards them, hitting them with a wave of coldsadalone, looking them over before it turned back to the woman. "Hey, bitch! Don't you ignore me!" Dean yelled again and shot it with a barrel-full of rock salt. The whatever-it-was stumbled backwards and away from the woman. Dean advanced on it and clung onto his anger because that was the only thing that stopped the despair swamping him completely.
"Sammy, get her outta here!" Dean shouted and saw Sam rush forward to help the woman up out of the corner of his eye, before he had to turn his attention back to the thing as it recovered its footing. He shot it again, driving it further back, which would usually make him feel something good, getting one over on something evil like this, but the good feeling didn't seem to be appearing anytime soon.
He fumbled to reload as the thing regained its composure. This would probably be a good time for running, he thought, they'd got the woman out of trouble and they could go home, tell Dad everything, research, find out what it is, come back and kick its ass. But there was no conviction in his thoughts. He just had to shoot it once more, hold it off, and then he'd run. His hands weren't working like they usually did, though. It was like they'd forgotten how to reload a gun, even though they'd been doing it every day for well over a decade.
He could hear the crackle of a raging fire far off and the smell of smoke was coming from somewhere, smoke and death. He looked up at the whatever-it-was and it was walking, gliding, towards him. He could see into the darkness beneath the hood, there was something there, some kind of freakish face, but then the blackness of the hood engulfed him. Flames flickered around the edge of his vision, smoke was in his nose and all around him and then he heard it again, after sixteen years, his mother's scream.
The gun fell from his hands.
Sam helped the woman scramble out of the alley, she looked fine physically and didn't need telling twice to run away as fast as she could. Sam watched her go and had to quell his own desire to follow, his brother was still in the thick of things and there really should have been another gun shot by now. He hurried back to the alley in time to see Dean drop to his knees in front of the creature.
It took Sam a number of seconds to realise he still had a gun in his hand. He shot the creature in its head, which was alarmingly close to his brother's face. It jerked back and looked at him and any hope Sam may have had for them getting out of there was suddenly gone. Dean slumped sideways and rolled onto his back and Sam could see the glint of tears when he shone the flashlight on his brother's face. Dean was crying. Dean was crying.
Suddenly there was only one thought in his head, repeating over and over. Get Dean out, get Dean out, get Dean out. He shot at the creature again and used its recovery time to get to Dean and oh God, it was so much colder here, it didn't help when the flashlight went out and wasn't that just typical? Dean was completely unresponsive to anything Sam did. He only cried and called for his Mommy in a small, chocked voice, asking her to not leave him. Tears sprang to Sam's eyes at that, but he didn't have time for it. Get Dean out. After shooting the creature another two times he had to resort to dragging his brother out of there. He was making very slow progress, needless to say.
He looked down at Dean's limp body, it was just like the time that poltergeist knocked him out and threw him around the room a few more times. He'd been out cold for hours, the scariest hours of Sam's life. He was so lost in the memory that he almost forgot to shoot the creature again and he realised that he'd stopped his slow getaway. Get Dean out, get Dean out. He concentrated hard on his mantra, making it his life's mission. He shot the creature again and damn, that was his last bullet wasn't it? What was he supposed to do now? He didn't know, he just kept dragging his brother away. Get Dean out.
The creature caught up with them easily, it's attentions were turned to Sam, the one still fighting. A thousand images flashed before Sam's eyes, all of Dean or Dad unconscious or bleeding or both and Sam's scramble to get away faltered. Get Dean out, his mind cried weakly, but he looked up into the blackness of the hood and couldn't remember how, when there was nothing but the creature and Sam and Dean, how could he get away from it? He was going to lose Dean, he was going to lose Dad and it would all be over.
From somewhere outside his small world of despair came the sound of someone's voice speaking another language. Before Sam could get his head around the Latin that was being and spoken and what it meant, a bright light blazed into existence and charged the creature down. It brought with it hope, happiness and warmth, three things Sam thought he'd never feel again. The stag of light, once it had seen their assailant off, returned to its creator, by its light he could see a man of about Dean's age, wearing glasses but before he could see any more the man touched the stag and its light was extinguished. Beside him, his brother took in a deep, shuddering breath and Sam grinned, even though he didn't feel completely better, because it wasn't very often a situation went from so amazingly bad to apparently just fine in such a short amount of time. Sam pulled Dean closer and held on, before Dean came back into his right mind and shrugged him off.
"Are you two all right?" asked the guy who had just completely saved both their asses. He had an English accent, odd, but far from the weirdest thing that had happened that night.
"Dude, get off me," said Dean as he wormed his way out of Sam's tight grasp, though he seemed reluctant to break all contact off. Sam grinned wider.
"Yeah, we're okay," he was still shaky, but for the most part, it was true.
"Here, have some of this," he pushed a small square of something into both their hands. Dean eyed it warily, it had been pretty dark in the alley since the flashlight had gone out.
"What is it?" he said.
"Just chocolate," replied their mystery saviour.
"Who are you?" said Dean in a manner that suggested he wasn't going to trust anyone who randomly turns up in dark alleys, no matter how grateful he should be to them.
"My name's Harry,"
"You know, it really is just chocolate. It helps, too!" said Sam, chewing happily on the chocolate.
"Sam! What the hell are you doing? You don't eat stuff given to you by complete strangers, that's the kinda thing you learn in first grade!"
"Shut up and eat, Dean," said Sam, pushing the hand that held the chocolate towards Dean's mouth. Dean reluctantly ate and found that Sam was right, it really did make him feel better. Warmth flooded him and his slight shiver stopped completely.
"What the hell was that?" said Dean as he got to his feet and pulled Sam up with him, which had got really hard since that last growth spurt.
"It's a dementor, it sucks the happiness out of the place, makes you relive your worst memories,"
"Right," said Dean, "How did you get rid of it?"
"I think he did some kind of spell, Dean. I heard him say something in Latin," Dean turned towards Harry, eyebrows raised and obviously expecting some kind of explanation.
"I can't tell you what it is!" he said.
"Why not? What if one of them comes after us again, what are we supposed to do? We can't just hope you turn up again!" Harry looked taken aback by Dean's outburst.
"I... I can't, it wouldn't work for you,"
"Why the hell not?" Harry removed his glasses and ran a tired hand over his face.
"Look, it's really advanced magic, not many wizards can manage it and as far as I can tell, you're not even magical,"
"No, but that doesn't stop the things from coming after us!" Harry sighed.
"No, no it doesn't," he looked at his wooden stick, which Dean could only assume was meant to be a wand of some kind, and gripped it tighter. "We've nearly got them all, there aren't many left out here,"
"There aren't many dragons, but that doesn't stop us running into them,"
"You've seen dragons?"
"Seen, killed, got the T-shirt,"
"Got the T-shirt burnt right off your back, you mean," said Sam. Dean hit him.
"Bloody hell, I knew the Americans were lax about this kind of thing but letting muggles do their dragon control for them?" Harry must have been speaking to himself because Dean didn't have a clue what he was on about. "You know all about the magical world, then?"
"Magical world? If you mean spirits, zombies and werewolves, yeah, we know about it," Harry gave him a very calculating look, then stepped back, loosening the grip on his wand.
"Sorry I can't help you with the dementors," he turned and walked to the opening of the alley, "Best you can do if you see any again is to run away. Don't worry, we'll get them all, eventually," he turned the corner.
"Hey!" shouted Dean and set off after him, "Who's 'we'?" but when he turned the corner there was no one there.
"Well, that was weird," said Sam.
"Yeah," agreed Dean, "So, you wanna go home? you look like you could really do with some beauty sleep," Sam laughed sarcastically at his brother's wit but was so happy Dean was still able to have such wit, he could have burst.
The two of them sat in the Impala in silence for a moment. Dean took a deep breath and ran a hand through his hair before starting the engine and pulling out.
"So, Dean, what did you see?"
"When the dementor came near, what did you see?"
"Aw, hell no Sammy, we are not doing this,"
"I'm just trying to get inside my big brother's head! What could your worst memory be?" Sam faked a gasp of realisation, "I know! That girl who turned you down!"
"You know that's never happened, Sam,"
"It has! There was that girl, Betty, back in Iowa!"
"Yeah, because you threw up on me, that does not count! And as if you remember her name,"
"I'm just clever that way!"
"Clever? That's what you call it? Sounds more like you've got a scarily good memory for girl's names and where they live. Stalker!"
They talked and laughed all the way back to the rented apartment they were calling home for those few months. They talked so long and laughed so loud they almost drowned out the echo of their mother's scream that was stuck on repeat in Dean's head and they so very nearly made Sam forget the visions of Dean and Dad's lifeless bodies.
It wasn't that much different from any other night.
Thank you for reading!