Disclaimer: See initial chapter.
A/N: No excuses, but many thanks for the supportive reviews and PMs. Thank you, everyone. Please forgive any mistakes.
"What the hell did you do to my son?" John had a hand on Harry's forehead, but was glaring at Missouri, and, to the highly trained ear, he sounded slightly panicked.
Panic wasn't something that many associated with the seasoned hunter, though; there was a time, however, when he was driven by nothing but panic. Panic about what had almost happened to Sammy, and Dean, what had happened to Mary.
In a way, panic had had helped forge him into the man that he was today. It wasn't something that John was proud of, but it wasn't something that he could undo. Panic, now, though, would get him, and the boys, nowhere, fast.
He was completely out of his element, and wished that it was him who'd been targeted by the yellow-eyed demon so many years ago, that he'd died, rather than his wife. Mary would be far more accepting of all of this magic mumbo-jumbo. She wouldn't be panicking right now.
The boy wasn't running a fever, but he still looked far too pale for John's liking, and, it had been a half an hour since whatever it was that Missouri had done to him, and he still hadn't woken. John was starting to worry, in spite of Missouri's calm. He was trying to keep his temper under tight rein, but was quickly beginning to lose it.
"Now, John Winchester, don't you take that tone with me," Missouri said, her eyes flashing. "And stop worrying, he'll be fine. As I've already explained, all I did was take a peek into the boy's mind, to…"
"You can read minds? Can Harry read minds, too?" Sammy interrupted, peering closely at his sleeping brother, and being careful not to look Missouri in the eye.
"It's an old art, and it isn't exactly mind-reading," Missouri answered, holding John's gaze. "Not every witch and wizard can master the art of legilimency, and very few study it. I doubt that Harry has even heard of it. He's a little young for that kind of tutelage."
Sammy frowned, and shot a look at his father, as though gauging John's reaction to finding out that, though Harry probably couldn't read minds right now, he might be able to someday.
"Yeah, but he was able to do that patronage, er, whatever that thing was called thing, and you said he was too young to do that too," Dean challenged. He was sitting at the other end of the couch, with Harry's feet propped up on his lap.
Missouri pursed her lips and shook her head. She traced the lightning-shaped scar on Harry's forehead. "That is advanced magic, and it is something that he learned out of necessity."
"Might he have had to learn this legitimatacy thing out of necessity as well?" John asked, shooting a concerned look at Harry.
Sighing, Missouri shook her head. "I don't know, but given that the boy didn't even try to push me out of his mind, I doubt it. Legilimency is hard to learn. It takes a great deal of time, and patience. Neither of which teens are well known to possess, whether wizards or not."
"And, what was that thing you called me and Dean?" Sammy asked, completely unperturbed by the seriousness of the situation.
"Squibs," Missouri said, without missing a beat, Sammy perfectly illustrating her point about the lack of patience the youth possessed.
"Non-magical children who are born to magical parents are called squibs. Some of them are capable of producing simple, household chores, but little else. In the case of you and Dean, there is a long line of magic on your mother, Mary's, side of the family, but it seems to have faded, or died out over the years, and I believe that, because Harry was carried by a magic practicing witch, the genes which housed his magic were kick-started, so to speak."
"Like dominant and recessive genes?" Sammy asked. "I learned about that in school last year. Is magic a dominant or recessive trait?"
"I'm not sure," Missouri said. "Witches and wizards haven't put much stock in the Muggle sciences, though I do believe that is beginning to change now that some of the old prejudices are beginning to fade."
Sammy looked thoughtful. "I think it must be a recessive trait, because he only needs to have the gene present on his X chromosome for it to show up, and if he got it from mom..."
"Chill, Mr. Wizard," Dean said, causing Sammy to frown and stick his tongue out at his older brother. "Enough of the science crap. What does it matter how Harry became a wizard, anyway?"
"I just want to know why he's a wizard, and I'm not," Sammy said, pouting slightly.
Missouri shook her head and ruffled Sammy's hair. "Being jealous of your brother's abilities will only hurt the both of you, in the end."
Dean crossed his arms over his chest and scowled. "I'm glad that I'm not a wizard."
"I still think it'd be cool, to be a wizard," Sammy said, sighing.
"Don't go thinking about how you're going to kick-start yourself or whatever, to become a wizard," Dean warned when Sammy got a pensive look on his face. Sammy shot his brother a glare, but quickly turned away to focus his attention on Harry.
"Do you think he'll wake up?" Sammy asked.
"He's probably just overtired. From what your father told me, I understand that the past couple of days haven't been easy on Harry; on any of you." Missouri looked at each of them in turn.
"Should we just let him sleep?" John wasn't sure what to do. His head was still reeling from all that Missouri had told him before she'd transported them using magic that he was still having a hard time accepting.
"I think that's for the best. Probably best if everyone got a little shut-eye. Now Dean, don't try to tell me that you got a full night's sleep. I can see the dark circles under your eyes." Missouri made sure to catch John's eye, signaling that she had something she needed to talk with him about, without Harry, Sammy, and Dean present.
John nodded, and shook his head when Sammy opened his mouth to protest the edict, because he'd gotten plenty of sleep the night before. Dean didn't even bother trying; he just rolled his eyes, and moved Harry's feet from his lap. "You want me to carry him up there?" He indicated Harry with a jerk of his chin.
John shook his head. "No, I've got him."
He moved to lift Harry, but Missouri laid a hand on his arm, stopping him.
"John, I've got him. It's time you three got used to seeing a little magic around here. Harry can't live like a squib the entire time he's with you," she said by way of explanation. With a complicated looking flick of her wand, she said, "Mobilicorpus."
Harry's body, as if with the aid of invisible arms, was lifted into the air, and hovered just above the couch. Dean stepped behind the couch, and Sammy placed his hands in the empty air beneath Harry's floating body. John took a deep breath and ran a hand through his hair.
"This shit's for real," Dean said in a shaky whisper, casting a quick look at his father.
Missouri shook her head at John, who was about to reprimand his oldest son. "It sure is, honey, magic is real, and, it's not going away. When you wake up in the morning, none of this will have been a dream."
Dean swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing up and down, and he shook his head. "This can't be…Dad?"
He turned toward his father, his eyes begging his father to tell him that everything he was witnessing was just a figment of his imagination, or an elaborate hoax, a joke that Missouri and John were playing on him and Sammy.
John held his oldest son's frantic gaze. "Son, it's real. We'll talk more about it in the morning, after we've all had a good night's sleep."
Dean nodded, and he looked over at Harry, who was still asleep, and floating a foot above the couch. Sammy was waving his hands around in the space between Harry's body and the couch.
"How did you do that?" Sammy asked, completely in awe.
"Magic," Missouri said, an indulgent smile on her face. "Now, point me in the direction of the room that you boys are sharing at your Uncle Bobby's, so we can get Harry tucked into bed."
Sammy jumped up, and took the lead, with John, and then Dean trailing behind. Missouri guided Harry's hovering body with her wand, careful of the walls as she went. Given what John had told her about Harry's life with the people who had been raising him since his parents' death, adding to the injuries that he already had would definitely not be a good thing.
That was another issue she'd have to address with John. He could not handle Harry in the same way that he'd been handling Dean and Sammy. He'd have to develop more patience, because, given what she'd learned about Harry from the brief glimpse that she'd had of his memories, he was used to doing things on his own, and would probably balk at having a parent tell him what he could and could not do.
Harry hadn't had any parental guidance whatsoever, and had been treated poorly by those who'd been entrusted with his care. Harry would not be easily cowed by John, and would react poorly to having orders barked at him. He, like Sammy, would not toe the line that John seemed to want his boys to walk.
John would either have to change his ways, or he'd have two rebellious boys on his hands and with Harry's magic, things could end very badly. Harry needed patience, and direction. He needed rules, but he also needed some leeway, because he had grown up fending for himself, and having his life dictated by people who didn't understand him, and wanted to stamp the magic out of him, as though it was something terrible, and to be feared, rather than a gift.
John certainly had his work cut out for him with these boys, no doubt about it. Dean might play the part of the good, obedient son, but there were the stirrings of something that could develop into a deep-seated resentment if John didn't start treating him more like a son, than a soldier.
Sammy was already starting to rebel against John's treatment of him, and Dean. He was more like his mother than Dean was, had more of her rebellious nature, the same rebellious nature which had her turning her back on the family business and marrying John Winchester in the first place.
Sammy also had a very inquisitive mind. He liked to know how things worked, and the why of things. He wasn't happy with just going along with the status quo. He needed to understand, and that was something that John had a hard time tolerating – all of the questions, and the suggestions that Sammy had for doing things differently.
Harry would, likewise, rebel against a heavy-hand. He'd known physical abuse, and neglect, had no knowledge of what it meant to have a parent who cared about him. Missouri hoped that John would rise to the occasion, not only for Harry, but for Dean and Sammy as well. All three boys would need him to help them through the storm that was brewing, now that Harry had been brought to his rightful family.
Voldemort would come after Harry, if Missouri had read the papers right. For some reason, he held Harry responsible for his defeat, though he was only a toddler at the time. It was something that warranted further research.
Missouri had seen something inside of Harry's mind when she'd probed, and it had been that which had been the cause of Harry's loss of consciousness, rather than her pushing him a little too hard. For the time being, it was a conversation that was best had between John and herself, rather than the entirety of the Winchester family, at least for the time being. If she was right about what she'd seen, and she hoped that she wasn't, then Harry would need all the support that he could get, and every member of the family, including Bobby, would have to be involved in what needed to be done.
Bobby cursed, and pressed the pedal down to the floor, praying for more speed. He'd told the boys that he'd just be a few hours, but the sun had set over an hour ago, and he couldn't seem to shake the feeling that something was wrong.
His gut had never given him reason to doubt it before, which made him even more worried. Just a few hours, he'd said. One thing had led to another, and before he knew it, more than just a few hours had passed, and he was running late.
"Everything's probably just fine. Dean and Sammy know how to take care of themselves." He had to say the words aloud, though they sounded hollow in his ears, and he didn't believe them.
"John is going to kill me if anything happens to those boys," Bobby muttered.
Even though John wasn't due back for another day or two, there was no doubt in Bobby's mind that he'd somehow find out about this, and that, though John had often left the boys to fend for themselves, time and again, he'd jump down Bobby's throat, and tear him a new one for leaving the boys to run an errand. The man wouldn't even understand the hypocrisy of it.
When it came to John and his boys, even though the man never showed it, he'd move heaven and earth to keep them safe. Fuck, the man would probably even go to Hell, and back, for them. It was just too bad that the stubborn ass of a man didn't tell the boys how much he loved them.
The minute he drove onto the lot, Bobby knew that his gut hadn't been steering him wrong. Something had happened, just as he'd feared. The hairs on the back of his neck prickled when Rumsfeld came running up to the truck, barking frantically.
He brought his truck to an abrupt halt, noted that John's car wasn't there, and let out a relieved sigh. Maybe he could clean up the remnants of whatever it is that had happened before John returned, and the man would be none the wiser. Somehow, he doubted that he'd be that lucky.
Gathering the items he'd purchased in town, as well as the books he'd borrowed from the library – Bobby wasn't sure that those people who'd dropped Harry off on his doorstep were who they'd said they were, and he was working on a theory that he hoped was wrong, about Harry, and about the people who'd brought the boy to John – Bobby jumped out of his truck, and absentmindedly patted Rumsfeld on the head.
He covered the short distance between his truck and the porch in a few long strides, and tore the door open, eyes searching the interior of his home, still hoping that, beyond all signs to the contrary, nothing was wrong. What he saw, however, caused Bobby to drop the bags he'd carted into the house, and reach for the shotgun he kept next to his door.
"What the hell is going on?" Bobby aimed the shotgun at someone who looked an awful lot like Missouri, but couldn't possibly be the woman that he knew, because she was wearing long, black robes, and had a stick pointing at a body floating in the air, as though directing it.
The body, Bobby could see, upon closer inspection that it was Harry, stopped midway up the stairs, and just hovered there. The robe-clad woman turned toward Bobby, and heaved an exasperated sigh, she rolled her eyes and fisted a hand on her hip.
"Put that weapon down, and do something useful, like putting on a pot of tea, or coffee." The woman sounded an awful lot like Missouri, but Bobby didn't lower his weapon. He kept it aimed at the imposter's head, and gestured for Sammy and Dean to get behind him, but both boys stayed close to the floating body.
"Where the hell have you been, Bobby?" John's voice was caustic and demanding.
Bobby felt cold sweat break out on his forehead, and fear gripped his heart. John was standing there, right next to his sons, except, that was impossible, because the man was hours away, visiting the woman who appeared to be standing on Bobby's stairs, pointing a wooden stick at Harry.
"Boys, get over here, now," Bobby commanded.
Rumsfeld, who'd been standing by his side, suddenly moved, and launched himself across the room, bounding up the few stairs so that he could stand beneath Harry. The dog didn't growl at the imposters, but he whimpered, his eyes darting between the floating Harry and his master, as though asking Bobby what was going on, and if Harry was okay.
Rumsfeld nudged the boy's hand with his nose, but Harry remained unresponsive, and that caused the fear that had been gripping Bobby's heart to clench even more tightly around it. He felt bile rise in his throat, and swallowed it down. He'd do what needed to be done, to protect Harry, and his brothers, though he didn't relish the thought of putting bullets into two people he considered to be good friends, if not family.
"Boys," Bobby said, his voice low and hard.
"Uncle Bobby, I know how this looks, but…" Dean turned toward him, holding his hands out in a placating manner, and what looked like, to Bobby, a forced smile.
"Get over here, now," Bobby ground out, wondering why neither boy was responding to him, and why neither one seemed the slightest bit concerned about what was happening.
"Bobby, put the gun down," the thing that looked just like his best friend said, and he approached Bobby, hands out at his sides.
Bobby swung the gun from the thing that looked like Missouri, to the one that looked like John. He should never have left the boys alone, not even for a minute. He'd known it as he left earlier that day, but he'd ignored it, and now Sammy, Dean, and Harry were in danger.
"Bobby, it's me, it's John," the thing said, and Bobby shook his head.
"Uncle Bobby, it really is dad, and Missouri, and Harry's a witch," Sammy said, nearly bouncing with excitement, a big grin on his face. "They were able to walk over the salt line, see, it's still intact, and they passed the silver test, too."
John turned toward his youngest, a frown on his face, and his mouth agape.
Sammy's chest swelled and he jerked a thumb in Dean's direction. "You didn't notice that the water I brought you was in the silver cup, did you? It was Dean's idea, after what happened to Harry when Missouri read his mind."
Bobby was going to be sick. He didn't know where to point the gun, when his eyes landed on the silver cup that Sammy had mentioned. It was sitting on the coffee table next to the couch.
"You did very good, Sammy," the thing that had taken Missouri's shape said. "Now, put the gun down, Bobby, and go make some tea, and let me get Harry, and the boys up to bed, and then we'll talk. Just you, and John, and me."
"Not until you tell me who you really are, and what the fuck is going on in my house." Bobby stands his ground, pointing the gun at each of them in turn.
"Oh, lordy…pigheaded, stubborn men..." the Missouri double muttered beneath its breath. "Dean, catch your brother, make sure that he doesn't hit his head. You and Sammy can take care of Harry, while your father, Bobby, and I have a little chat, can't you, sugar?"
Dean nodded, and, grimacing, he placed himself next to Harry, and motioned for Sammy to get on the other side. Bobby wasn't sure who to shoot first, and, though his heart was hammering in his chest, the fact that Rumsfeld wasn't going berserk stilled his hand. He watched as the thing pretending to be Missouri flicked the long stick, and said something that he couldn't quite catch, and then Harry's slack body was no longer suspended in mid-air.
Dean caught him with a soft, "Oomph," staggering a bit on the step, but John steadied his eldest son, and Sammy was there to help.
"On up you go," the thing wearing Missouri's skin, said, shooing the boys up the stairs.
Grimacing under the strain of Harry's weight, Dean nodded, and quickly mounted the stairs, leaving Bobby with just the two shapeshifters. Feeling a little better, now that the children were safely upstairs, Bobby trained his gun on John and then Missouri, and motioned the two toward the couch in the living room.
"Bobby, put the gun down, and listen." It was John's voice, weary and resigned. "There's a lot that Missouri's got to explain to us, and it'll be easier, for all of us, if you put the damn gun down."
"Not until you prove to me that you aren't shapeshifters," Bobby said, standing firm.
"Bobby Singer, put the gun down, and go get me that tea," Missouri's voice almost gave him chills, and he wavered for a moment, before shaking it off, and training the gun directly at her head.
"I had hoped that I wouldn't have to do this," Missouri muttered, and then she started moving the stick around in the air, and muttering words that Bobby couldn't quite make out, and suddenly the gun flew from his fingers, and landed in Missouri's lap.
Bobby's mouth went dry, and his palms grew sweaty, and his heart felt like it was going to beat right out of his chest. What had he done? What had he left the boys to be exposed to?
"Now, Mr. Singer," Missouri said, calmly. "What you've just witnessed is a bit of magic. Neither John, nor I, are shapeshifters, or anything of the sort. I am a witch." She held a forestalling finger up when Bobby opened his mouth. He slammed it shut, and sank into his chair, leaning forward, resting his elbows on his knees.
"Now, before you say anything, hear me out," Missouri said. "I'm not the kind of witch that you hunters track down. I was born to magic, and don't practice any of the dark arts, as a matter of fact, I am what you might call an officer of the law, an Auror, amongst my people."
"And, Harry?" Bobby felt like the air had been sucked from his lungs. "Dean? Sammy?"
"Harry is a wizard," Missouri stated it as a matter of fact, as though she wasn't saying something that would tilt the world that Bobby was living in on its axis. "That's something that, for whatever reason, the witches and wizards in charge of his care neglected to inform his father. Something that I, and those I work with, will get to the bottom of, I assure you."
The look on Missouri's face could melt the paint off the walls, and Bobby shuddered, wondering what kind of magic the self-proclaimed witch possessed.
"Sammy and Dean are what we call Squibs. They come from magic, but, for whatever reason, they aren't able to use magic. And, John? Well, he's a father of three wonderful boys, all of whom, I daresay, will need his help in more ways than one. And, they're going to need their Uncle Bobby, too. Now, will you go make that tea? There's a lot left for us to discuss, and we've got to make preparations before morning."
Bobby blinked, and shook his head. The bags of groceries and clothing that he'd picked up while in town lay in a heap on the floor in front of the door, which was still open, some of the contents were spilling out onto the wood floor. The books he'd gotten from the library were still in the cab of his car, and he wasn't sure to make of any of this, but with John and Missouri sitting there, staring at him with calm resolve, he no longer believed them to be monsters.
"I'm going to go check on my boys," John said, casting a quick look at Missouri, as though seeking her permission. She nodded, and John stood, and Bobby suddenly felt like the rug was being pulled out from under him.
"Just what the hell happened while I was gone, and where is your car?" Bobby asked, focusing on the one thing in all of this that still didn't make sense to him.
"We used magical transportation, because, from what John told me, I knew that we had to get to Harry quickly, and it's a good thing we did too," Missouri said on a sigh. She placed Bobby's gun on the coffee table, and Bobby's fingers itched to pick it up again, to feel the comfort of the weight of the weapon in his hands.
"The boys were attacked," John said, pausing at the foot of the stairs, his hand on the banister. There was anger in his voice, and Bobby felt his stomach drop.
"By magical creatures," Missouri supplied.
"Harry fought them off, though," John said as he started up the stairs. There was a trace of pride in his voice. "Harry, and Sammy."
"That why Harry's out of it?" Bobby asked.
"I'm afraid that's my fault," Missouri said. "I was just trying to get a feel for what had happened, and I pushed too far, which brings me to what we need to discuss, but, after John checks on his boys, and after you make me that pot of tea."
Bobby still wasn't sure that he believed even half of what Missouri was saying, or that these two were really his friends, but he stood, and, picking his spilled bags off the floor, shutting the front door, and locking it, he went to the kitchen and started working on the tea. He could do that.