Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural, or Harry Potter.
AN: Okay, I thought I was being very original, but it seems SPN/HP crossovers are all the rage right now. I toyed with the idea of holding this back until it went back out of style, but let's be honest, I'm all about instant gratification. I apologize to those waiting on Grace, it's still on hiatus. The past season and a half have rendered it so AU, I'm not sure what to do with it.
This little ditty is part of a 'verse I play with when I have writer's block. The stories in it are connected loosely, little ficlets to lighten things up around the fandom.
A Ready Mind
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
if you've a ready mind...
Sammy's recent growth spurt had left him the tallest of the first years, and Dean had no trouble spotting him in the black-cloaked line. From his seat with the other fourth year Gryffindors, he could see the kid's shaggy head—you'd think he had no one to take care of him, looking like that. Still, his uniform cloak was neater than Dean's generally was, despite McGonagall's fiercest frowns, which, truthfully, were pretty scary. Merlin knows what that woman could do, really. On the strength of transfiguration and a viciously creative mind, she'd survived the Dark War without a scratch on her.
Even Dad hadn't managed that.
Although, Dad got so much use out of that enchanted eye of his, he hardly counted it a great loss. It was especially useful for catching students out of bounds, making Dad the second most feared Professor at Hogwarts, after Snape.
There was a bit more whispering than usual as Sam made his way towards the stool, but most of the students knew the Winchesters, since their father had taken the DADA position four years earlier. Since Mom d... since Mom, Dad wasn't about to let a little thing like school take his children from his protection. Sam's protests at moving again had lasted only until he'd gotten a look at the school library. He spent so much time in there, Madam Pince joked that she could probably claim him as a dependent on her Ministry taxes, to which Madam Pomfrey replied that if they were claiming Winchesters, she saw enough of Dean to identify him at a hundred paces from behind by freckles alone. Dean declined to ask which freckles she was talking about.
The point being that Sam spent so much time in the library, Dean couldn't believe Dad was still convinced he would be sorted into Gryffindor, when it was obvious that...
...That. The hat had barely hit Sam's head before it shouted it's choice. There was a sound from the Head Table, something between a cough and a curse, and all the blood drained from Sam's face as he removed the hat. Frightened hazel eyes brushed unerringly over Dean's before the younger Winchester scurried over to the blue dominated table on the far side of the Great Hall. Sam didn't have the nerve to glance over at their father, but Dean did, and what he saw made him want to bang his head against Gryffindor table, hard. John Winchester's expression was that of a man who was resolved to change what displeased him with his favorite weapon: constant increasing pressure until the object of his displeasure complied—or broke.
The next seven years were going to be hell.
After the Opening Feast, Dean slipped away from his friends to sneak towards where his father, and inevitably his brother, were headed. Once past the gargoyle, (his candy addiction had never been so justifiable), he slunk back into the shadows by the headmaster's office door, waiting for Sam to show up so they could 'arrive' together. He'd seen Flitwick send a prefect after the Ravenclaw first years, so it was only a matter of time.
"Do I look like I want candy, old man?" Dean stifled a snicker. Dad always turned down the lemon drops, convinced they were laced with something, which was probably true.
"Now, John, isn't this a bit of an overreaction? Is Samuel's sorting really all that shocking? He's always been cut from Ravenclaw cloth, more like his—"
His father cut across Dumbledore's eminently reasonable tone. "Ravenclaw never taught anyone how to survive, I think I've learned that much. Besides which, when was the last time the auror corps drew out of Ravenclaw?"
"The aurors draw out of all four houses, John. Of course, we don't even know if Samuel will want to be an auror. He's never been as enthusiastic about training as young Dean. Perhaps a more scholarly approach would be an appropriate foil for Dean and yourself." The Headmaster's tone implied a thousand things, most of which Dean didn't understand.
"Give it a rest, Albus. You, of ALL people, should hardly be lecturing on putting a child's happiness above the greater good. Sam needs to be protected, better than Mary was. Your Fidelius Charm was barely worth the time it took to cast it." There was a decade's worth of venom lacing his father's words. A moment of quiet showed that Dumbledore had not been immune to the accusation therein.
"Regardless of what plans you or I may have made, the fact remains that the Hat has spoken and you know how it feels about being second guessed. Samuel has been sorted into Ravenclaw and a Ravenclaw he shall remain." Steel underlaid the usually affable man's tone, reminding both Dean and John that this was the man who thrown down Dark Lords.
"Albus, see reason! Sam's hopeless enough at following orders as it is! Flitwick doesn't run that house with any sort of discipline. He may have been a dueling champion in the old days, but those Ravenclaws do whatever they want whenever they want!"
"What a blessing they only seem to want to study, unlike many lions I could name." The headmaster's voice was amused, a gentle chuckle peppering his tone. Dean quietly hoped he wasn't referring to his potions grade, because that could hardly be blamed on him... much. "Flitwick exerts less discipline because Ravenclaws require guidance more that discipline. If they understand the logic behind the rules and boundaries, they are generally happy to follow them. Ravenclaws need to know, John. You'll never get around that with Samuel. He's special and your rules for him are accordingly different, but he sees the difference and he'll never stop wanting to understand."
Dean could hear his father sit with a thud, no doubt running his hands through his hair. "Sam and I stopped understanding each other pretty much when he learned to talk. He's so unlike Dean, I don't see anything of myself in him... some days he hardly seems part of us at all."
His father's words were quiet, but not quiet enough. Dean's blood ran cold as he heard them, and he almost didn't hear the rough, wet gasp behind him. Biting his lip in sympathetic grief, he turned to find his little brother, slanted eyes huge in a pale face, frozen on the steps. Even as Dean reached for him, fingers grasping to comfort, Sam backed away, his mouth opening and closing soundlessly before he turned and ran—sprinted—down the stairs. He hadn't said a word, and Sam was never speechless.
"Sammy, wait!" Dean shouted at full voice, heedless of alerting his prior audience. He only made it two steps before he was grabbed from behind, turned forcefully.
"What, Dean? Were you two listening—eavesdropping?" John's voice was low with something, anger, regret, Dean couldn't tell. He could never tell, anymore. The Headmaster stood behind his father, looking grave in the golden glow from the office door. Dean was furious, suddenly, with them both. They were kids, Sam was a child, we didn't ask for any of this.
"I was eavesdropping, sure, but you sent for Sam, remember?" Even as he grated this out, Dean was twisting in his father's grip, like a puppy held by its scruff. He had to go; Sam had a head start already; Hogwarts was a maze of out of the way, dangerous places for a distraught kid to hide. I have to go, find Sammy, go now!
"Let him be, John. He's more like than any of us to find Samuel and console him. We'll continue this at a later date." Dumbledore seemed to show his age, for a moment, but Dean couldn't be bothered with the spectacle. As soon as his arm was free he was off like a shot, down the stairs and out into the still dark that had swallowed Sammy.
It didn't take him to long to find his brother. Sam had collapsed into a huddled ball of blue-edged misery on the stairs to where Ravenclaw Tower was rumored to be. Looked like that rumor, at least, was true. As Dean moved forward, though, Sam was joined by someone else.
"Ah, young Sam! What could have brought you to tears so soon after such an auspicious sorting to my House?" Flitwick settled onto the steps next to Sam, not close enough to crowd but making his presence felt. Dean's eyes narrowed, but he checked himself. He was out after hours, but more than that, if Flitwick was going to be Sam's Head of House, then Dean needed to see him at work. If he hurt Sam, Dean would go get the Sorting Hat himself.
Sam sniffled, not lifting his head from his knees. "Wrong house... don't fit. Never fit in."
Oh Merlin, Sammy.
Flitwick was silent for a moment, and Dean wondered whether he'd puzzle out the meaning of those whispered words. "If you'll pardon a terrible pun, Sam, I'll say that I know a great deal about not fitting in, as I'm sure you've noticed."
It was a terrible joke, and Sam lifted incredulous eyes to the diminutive Charms Master. Dean was ready to break this up, because, puns, really? But there was a light of curiosity in Sam's eyes that stilled him, again. Sam had wondered for four years what strain of magical being accounted for Flitwick's height, as most students did from time to time. Flitwick had just opened the door to that coveted information, though, and Dean knew Sam wouldn't be able to resist that.
Sam was visibly struggling to form a question that would result in that answer without being hopelessly rude, when Flitwick continued, his squeaky voice concerned. "As far as being in the wrong House, I'm afraid a more staunch Ravenclaw I've never seen," Sam seemed to wilt, but Flitwick went on, "Just as your brother is a textbook Gryffindor. Your family doesn't appear to do things by halves, at any rate."
Sam's eyes were wet, but Dean could see the wheels turning, starting to poke at the puzzle of his father's remarks. "But Dad said... I just want him and Dean to be proud of me. When Dean got Gryffindor, like him, he was so proud, and now..."
Dean's heart clenched, but Flitwick seemed undaunted by the puppy eyes. "Your father worries a great deal, I think, about you. You and he are not so very different, but I think you remind him, too much, of another Ravenclaw he loved."
Seeing the questioning look in Sam's eyes, the Professor elaborated. "Your mother, of course, was one of my ravens. She had a great thirst to learn and was quite gifted in Arithmancy and Astronomy. You're very like her in many ways, Sam. It makes your father worry about losing you, as well."
There was a look of utter wonder on Sam's face, and Dean relaxed against the cool stone of the wall, relieved. He hadn't known Mom was a Ravenclaw... but it was the perfect thing to give Sam, something to ground him.
Flitwick patted Sam's knee as he got to his feet. "Well, off to bed, young raven. Classes begin tomorrow morning, and a Ravenclaw is never unprepared." He turned to walk away, but paused address Sam again. "As for that question you wanted to ask before, regarding my height," the tiny man leaned in and whispered to Sam, whose eyes went wide with delight.
"Ah, but that is a secret of the Raven's Tower, young one, so I know I won't be hearing about this from any Gryffindors, no matter how trustworthy they seem?" Sam nodded eagerly before bouncing up the stairs to the dorms, the joy of new knowledge giving him wings.
He really was such a Ravenclaw.
Assured that Sam was ready to settle in to school life and had thrown off Dad's comments, Dean turned to head to his own dorm when Flitwick spoke again.
"I assume that met with your approval, Mr Winchester?" The tiny voice was wry.
Pivoting to face the small man, Dean eyed him speculatively. Of course, Sam would almost always have his big brotherto lean on, but in a pinch...