When Harry walked back up the stairs to the living room he still had a goofy smile on his face. Which, of course, Dean was the first to notice. "Hear from a special lady while you were working Harry?"
Harry blinked dazedly at the smirking man "What?"
Dean snickered and Sam turned from his work to smile lightly at him. "He was asking who put that look on your face. You look like your crush just gave you flowers or something."
Damn, Harry wished he could control his reflexive blushing . "Not a girl. Just…someone I didn't expect to see again," Harry touched his mouth, where Loki had touched him and leaned against the doorway between the hallway and living room.
"Wait, see? I thought there was only one door to the basement?" Dean asked standing from the couch to glance around him as if whoever had been with Harry would be making a quick exit through the front door.
"Wizard. Remember?" Harry quipped easily. It would be a very bad idea for either Winchester to find out about Loki coming to see him like that. They were still holding a grudge, not that Harry blamed them. But ever since he learned the truth about Severus Snape he found it hard to hold that much anger and resentment toward anyone. Plus keeping Dean and Sam guessing was fun.
Dean rolled his eyes and went back to the couch as Teddy came barreling through the front door around the living room, arms held wide as if he were flying. "Harry! Thanks for the chocolate frogs. My friends loved them," and zoomed back out and up the stairs before any of the adults could say anything.
Harry shook his head and did a double take, he didn't remember giving Teddy any chocolates.
There was soft feminine laughter from the doorway.
"Mione?" Harry asked as one of his oldest friends walked into the living room. "What are you doing here?"
"Hey Harry. I got a message from Luna about your latest project and Molly sent me over with Teddy to make sure you weren't working yourself into an early grave."
Harry frowned at her and crossed his arms over his chest. "I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself you know," he raised his nose in the air and blew out a puff of air to get the fringe out of his eyes.
"Everyone knows you'd be dead in a week if it weren't for us showing up and making you take a break." She flicked her hair over her shoulder haughtily.
Harry snorted and they both smiled. "Who are these two handsome gentlemen? Luna wasn't kidding when she said you were starting a harem."
"What? She said that?" Harry spluttered indignantly as everyone laughed.
"Good to know we made an impression. Dean Winchester, my brother Sam," Dean saluted then gestured with his chin to Sam.
"Hermione Granger. It's a pleasure. Now how long have you been down in that potions lab?" Hermione asked as she sat in one of the armchairs by the window.
"How do you know I've even been down there?" Harry huffed as he took a seat next to Dean.
"Dude. You reek," Dean said cringing and shifting away from him.
Hermione laughed and nodded as Harry looked down at himself realizing for the first time that the multiple times he had over heated the Asphodel had given him a very distinct smell. "Oh, right."
"So how long were you working on the funis vigo potion?" Hermione asked again once she had finished laughing at his misfortune.
Harry hesitated because he didn't honestly know how long he had been down in the lab.
"Three hours," Sam said noticing Harry's scrunched up confused face.
"Three hours?" Hermione asked incredulously, if she had been standing she would have had her hands on her hips, instead she just crossed them over her chest.
"I'll have you know that potion is really complex and it wasn't the only one I was working on, I have two of the others finished already. I just need to get the blood replenishers and muscle relaxants done before I start on the sleeping potions."
"Harry Potter spent three hours in a potions lab? Who were you hiding from?"
"Not that it's any of your business, but it was Sam, and I'm over it now so can we change the subject," Harry might not like to share but Hermione was like a Thestral with a fresh kill, no way was she giving up on that line of questioning until she knew Harry was alright.
"Fine," Hermione relented only because she could see the relieved look on Sam's face. "Why did you give Teddy an entire bag full of chocolate frogs?"
"I didn't?" Harry let the two words elongate so they were more like six. That was the second time that someone had mentioned that. Doubtless that Harry would have given Teddy some chocolate frogs for his play date with the Weasley crew but not an entire bag and he hadn't had the time to pick any up so he hadn't given him any on this trip.
"Well he got them from somewhere. every kid in the house was so pumped full of sugar there were magical children climbing all over the walls," She said with the reprimanding tone she usually reserved for Ron, and her own children.
"It wasn't us. Dean hoards his candy like a vampire does blood. No way he'd give up any of it, even if it were for a kid," Sam said grinning. Dean glared but didn't respond.
Harry cocked his head thinking but shrugged it off. It wasn't like it hurt anything.
They spent the next half hour talking about little things, jobs, family, hobbies. Just catching up. Until Hermione's watch started making a strange tinkling noise. "Darn, I have to get back. Seems the entire department is unable to survive more than three hours without me."
Harry laughed knowing full well that the other employees of the newest branch of the Ministry, Allocation and Reformation of Magical Individuals (ARMI), were really just enabling Hermione's workaholic nature. They did good work though, getting everything back in order after the war and making sure that displaced Witches and Wizards had places to feel safe.
"You do a great job with them 'Mione. Give my love to everyone for me will you?" They stood in the hallway, Hermione putting on her coat and pulling out the small dolphin figurine she used as her usually portkey too and from Harry's home.
"Of course. Don't you let yourself get too caught up in that lab. The outside world needs you too," Harry smiled and let Hermione embrace him. Even after so many years it still felt odd to have someone hold him like that.
"See you soon," He whispered as she pulled away and tapped her wand to the dolphin and was gone in a whirl of color.
Harry sighed and rolled his shoulders to relieve the tension that had suddenly settled between them. Harry walked back to the doorway he had been leaning on and cleared his throat. "Sam?"
Sam turned from whatever he had been talking about with his brother "Yeah?"
"I know that we need to talk and everything but like Dean said I reek and Teddy needs to get ready for bed. Do you feel like ordering in for dinner tonight? I'm not up for spending anymore time mixing ingredients."
Sam quirked a small smile. "Yeah, we'll figure out a late dinner you go do what you gotta do and we'll be here when you get back."
Harry nodded and left the brothers to make dinner plans.
Once up the stairs Harry looked into the first room on the right. Teddy's room. The kid was humming and his hair was the bright pink that usually came with giddy happiness and a very soon to come sugar induced coma. Looking in on him like this, so happy and carefree, was the kind of bitter sweet memory he never wanted to loose. "He's growing up Moony. Wish you could have been here to see it."
Teddy turned and grinned broadly at Harry before launching himself into a tight embrace.
Harry chuckled. This was one of the few people he didn't feel awkward hugging. It was like Teddy was a toddler again greedy for kisses and hugs and all manner of physical affection that Harry was all too willing to give in those few years it had only been the two of them. "What's this for?"
"I forgot to hug you when I got home," Teddy said. The simplicity of child logic always astounded Harry.
"I guess you did," Harry pulled back and looked at his Godson in the face. There was so much of his father there, but there was Tonks there too, in the shape of his eyes and the slope of his nose. But his eyes were always green, like Harry's. Harry never was sure what the original color was. Teddy had always had green eyes from the first day he held him in his arms all those years ago. Newborns weren't supposed to have such vivid eyes. But Metemorphogus were always breaking the rules like that.
"Why are you sad?" Teddy asked.
Harry hadn't realized he was tearing up until Teddy had mentioned it. Harry coughed slightly to relive the lump in his throat. "I'm not. It's just…Are you happy Ted?"
Teddy looked as if Harry had grown another head. "Yes! You always hug me, and you give me chocolate when I do my chores, and you're the greatest friend in the world since your helping Dean and Sam, and you make great spaghetti, and you saved THE WORLD!" The words were rushed and some of them were slurred together so much Harry barely understood them but the message was clear.
"I'm glad. Did you know that you living a Happy life was your dad's last wish?" Harry hadn't talked about Teddy's parent in a while, it wasn't that he didn't think about them but the grief wasn't as crushing now and life was usually too hectic to make a comment about them.
"You say that all the time. That's why I try to make you happy. No matter what," Teddy said smiling. Teddy had always said that whatever his dad would want for Teddy he would want for Harry too.
Harry let out an amused snort and ruffled the still bubblegum pink hair. "It's almost time for bed squirt. Get your stuff ready while I take a shower."
"Sure!" Teddy said enthusiastically as he ran off in the direction of his closet.
It took an hour for Harry to finish the bedtime routine with Teddy, forty-five minutes of which was spent chasing him around his room trying to get his pajamas on. But as soon as the little guy lay his head on the pillow he was yawning and only made it three pages into My First Owl.
Once downstairs, clean and exhausted, he flopped onto the couch where Sam was sitting arranging the small containers of Chinese food along the coffee table. Dean entered shortly after with plates, silverware and a bottle of Whiskey. Harry had a mind to comment on Dean being psychic, how else would he know that Alcohol would be needed for the coming conversation. "I grabbed a movie while I was out, hope you don't mind watching multiple explosions while you eat."
"No, go ahead."
Dean nodded as he handed Harry his plate and started dishing up. The atmosphere was light and friendly as they watched the movie, ate their dinner and took multiple shots of liquid courage. Harry was feeling more than buzzed halfway through the movie but didn't feel like disrupting the comfortable atmosphere. He was more than willing to wait a few more moments to have what was bound to be a very tense conversation.
It was near the end of the movie, when the action star was kissing the female lead, that Harry started talking, low enough that Sam and Dean could ignore it if they wanted to.
"My parent's loved me very much," Harry didn't look away from the screen, just talked and stared blankly ahead as he rolled the half full glass between his palms. "They sacrificed themselves to try and save me from a megolomaniac wizard. The only memory I have of them alive is my mothers dying screams.
"When they found me, I was lying on the floor. The entire nursery nothing but a gapping hole in the side of the house," Harry closed his eyes against the only memories he had of Godrics Hollow. The credits were rolling on the television screen and Dean had turned the volume down enough so that he could clearly hear Harry speak. "The people that had been hiding my parents took me to my closest living relatives. My mother's sister, her husband and their son. They knew about wizards of course but they were muggles. My mom the only witch in the family.
"Aunt Petunia hated my mother for being special. Hated me because I was her sister's son and because I had magic," Harry took a deep breath. This was something he hadn't ever voiced aloud before. Something that Ron and Hermione had only learned through half veiled comments and glimpses at his aunts house on Privet Drive. "M-my room was the cupboard under the stairs until I was eleven. All my clothes hand-me-downs from my cousin Dudley. He was the same age as me but he had a lot of problems with his weight as a kid," Harry laughed derisively "Felt like I was drowning in those clothes most of the time."
Harry felt a large calloused hand settle over his own and realized he was trembling slightly. Harry gulped down another shot of whiskey and continued once the burning subsided. Now that he had opened this can of worms he couldn't stop until it was all out. "I did most of the chores around the house, cooking cleaning, gardening, washing. I know now that a five year old shouldn't be scrubbing the kitchen floor with bleach, or a seven year old shouldn't be spraying the back lawn with Herbicide but I was only a kid. Trying everything I could to get some kind of affection. I remember the best being when they couldn't find anything to complain about. I remember feeling happy when they didn't talk to me at all," Harry leaned back into the couch and stared up at the ceiling, happy for the steady heat of Sam's hand on his knee.
"That went on until I got my letter for a magical boarding school. I thought it was the best thing to ever happen to me. Thing was, I was famous for what happened to me and my parents. I survived something no person had ever survived. It wasn't even me that had made it happen, it was my mum. She loved me so much, wanted to protect me so much, that her magic, even after she died, shielded me from The Killing Curse," Harry didn't know when he had moved his hand to clutch at Sam's but it gave him strength to keep back the worst of the memories.
"You guys will appreciate the need for anonymity. To blend in. That's what I had been doing for as long I can remember and then I change schools and worlds and everyone in this new place knows me, knows more about my past than even I do.
"I didn't do well those first few weeks. Children staring at me, vying for my attention. Hell I even think that one of my best friends only started talking to me because he was in awe of me."
Ron didn't know that Harry remembered that first comment about his scar like a slice to the gut. Something that always had Harry keeping his best friend at a distance. Same with Hermione. He knew that none of that mattered now, especially after all the death they had seen together, but he still wanted to keep the illusion of being at least semi-normal for them, as much as he could in the circumstances anyway.
Harry couldn't keep talking. His throat and eyes hurt from keeping back tears and he was feeling foolish for letting himself go like this. He decided to blame it all on the alcohol.
Harry jumped slightly when Dean spoke and felt Sam squeeze his hand comfortingly. "My last memory of my mom is her burning alive on the ceiling of Sammy's nursery. She was pinned there, blood dripping onto the crib as Dad looked up at her. I backed away into the hallway before Dad saw me, I didn't want dad to get mad at me," Dean laughed derisively at his younger self. "Then Dad was there with me, Sam in his arms, crying. He screamed for me to get Sammy out of there. It took me a long time for me to realize that Mom wasn't coming back."
"You never told me that," Sam whispered staring at his brother. "You never told me you saw her."
"I never told anyone. I didn't know how to say it out loud and then with it happening to Jessica too, I couldn't really remind you of that."
There was silence for a time, Sam squeezing Harry's hand as both brother too began to tear up. Dean scrubbed his hand over his face ridding himself of the impulses to cry, before standing and sitting on the other side of Harry, pulling the now empty glass from Harry's numb fingers. Harry by this point was gasping, sobbing, and cursing the alcohol and trying really hard to stop crying because this is just ridiculous.
"Come on, lets get to bed. We could all use a good nights sleep."
It took a lot of effort and more than a few bumps and bruises for Harry to finally make it to his bed with the help of both the Winchesters. Sam on one side, Dean on the other. "I'm glad you tried to kill my friend," Harry mumbled into his pillow. It wasn't exactly what he intended to say but he was sure they'd understand.
"We are too, Harry," Sam said running his fingers through Harry's hair lightly. Sam's smile the last thing he saw before he fell into sleep.