All For the Firewhiskey
Chapter Three - In Which Sam and Dean Manage not to Encounter Any Students or Ghosts...Yet.
The sandwich was divine. Apparently ugly, but kind-hearted little elves were great cooks. Or sandwich-makers. Or both. It mattered not, for Dean's stomach was full and he felt sleepy after all the crazy shenanigans he'd experienced that day.
Dumbledore noted that they both looked ready to have a nice sleep and he shooed them out of his glorious office with all of its fantastic trinkets and into the hands of a rather strict-looking woman wearing square glasses and an emerald...cloak. People wore cloaks here, Dean reminded himself, trying to soak it in once again. Cloaks and robes and wizard hats. All sorts of weird shit.
Her hair was pinned up in a tight bun, which caused her to look all the more severe as she glanced over Sam and Dean as if they were nothing more than two troublesome boys just relinquished to her care. Dean, who was no stranger to misbehavior, felt inexplicably contrite. A quick glance at Sam told him he wasn't alone in this feeling.
"This way, Misters Winchester," the woman said brusquely, and they walked that way, the way she led them, through long, magnificent corridors covered in paintings that moved, just as they had done in Dumbledore's office. The heels of her shoes clicked sharply against the hard floor. And just as Dean was about to speak up with an uncharacteristically timid, "ma'am?," she said, "My name is Professor Minerva McGonagall and I am the Deputy Headmistress of this school. You will be staying in the guest quarters during your visit here as I'm sure Professor Dumbledore has informed you."
Dumbledore had, indeed, informed them of this, though everything about this woman was still a little bit of a shock. Despite the significant difference between their leg lengths and hers, they found it was extremely difficult to keep up with her brisk pace, especially given the wondrous atmosphere surrounding them. Everything was moving and tittering and prickling at that finely-honed sixth sense for the supernatural they'd been developing since they were nothing more than wisps of children, and Dean, at least, was easily distracted, anyway. Well, as long as the situation wasn't life-threatening, which this one wasn't. There were staircases, grand staircases that were shifting position on their own, and suits of armor standing tall and at the ready, though their hall was filled with the distinct, but gentle echo of clanging metal - as if they were moving ever so slightly in that restless way of young soldiers standing in front of their father, perpetually awaiting orders that would always come at some point.
Dean felt a pang of worry. Or loneliness. Or longing. Or all of the above. They had a job that they hadn't finished and a father they hadn't found and Dean...Dean really wanted to find Dad. Dean really wanted to know what was going on.
He opened his mouth, ready to ask this lady if she, too, knew their father, when Sam spoke up.
"Yes, Mr. Winchester?"
"Do you teach a subject here?"
The pace slowed, but only slightly, and her tone lightened a little, as if she felt somewhat gratified by the question. "Why yes," she said. "I certainly do. I teach Transfiguration."
"I'm guessing in magical context that means turning one thing into something else?" Sam asked, obviously unable to quell the hint of excitement in his voice. "Do you...Can you..."
"Sam," Dean warned instinctively. They were in a strange place, brought here by strange means, and his brother could be a curious little bastard sometimes. The last thing Dean wanted to do was overstep their bounds. Especially with this lady, who probably handed little kids detentions like they were candy on Halloween.
...and who was pulling out an oddly intimidating-looking stick at the moment. Her wand, Dean realized, with a sort of horrified thrill.
"Do you have anything on your person that you wouldn't mind losing?" Professor McGonagall asked.
Sam immediately started fishing through his pockets, his face eager as a goddamn beaver. Dean rolled his eyes, tried not to feel a pang when his brother came up with nothing and..pouted. Sometimes he really wondered if Sam ever grew up at all. When it came to his geeky fascinations and disappointment in regards to such, the little bitch was prone to looking downright childish.
"Dean?" Sam asked.
"Oh, no," Dean shook his head. "I happen to like everything on my person."
But Sam kept looking at him with those goddamn eyes - the puppy ones, and Dean finally heaved a sigh and started rummaging through his jacket and his jeans, finally coming up with a disposable lighter that he glanced at before handing over to the witch.
She took it and raised her eyebrows. "Professor Dumbledore didn't confiscate this?"
"Was he supposed to?" Dean asked, but he guessed it didn't matter, because Professor McGonagall simply set the lighter on the ground and aimed her wand at it with a steady hand.
"Duro," she said, her tone quiet, but confident, and the lighter, which had been plastic and blue and translucent, turned gray and opaque. She picked it up and set it in Sam's hand.
Sam's eyes widened in surprise and amazement. "Stone," he practically gushed. "You turned it to stone! Dude, that's awesome. Dean! Stone."
"I see it, Sam," Dean responded dryly, trying to show that he, too, was impressed. He plucked the lighter out of his brother's hand, let it rest heavy and smooth in his palm. Real. Magic was real. Good magic even.
Huh. Well, what do you know.
And just like that, Dean's tiredness increased tenfold. It was too much for one day, all of this...and that thing from earlier, how they got here? What Dobby did? That just...that took it out of him. His body was exhausted, and now his mind was, too.
He yawned, barely noticed when the stone lighter was gently extricated from his palm by an aged hand.
"Come," Professor McGongall said, and it was as if her naturally crisp voice was trying very hard not to be what it was at the moment: surprisingly gentle. Sam and Dean followed her obediently, not saying a word or making a sound other than the footfalls of their boots, the occasional squeaks against the recently polished floor. They climbed a few staircases, some which moved beneath them, but Dean hadn't been paying attention at all, and he had no idea where he was or how he was supposed to get back here in the days to come.
"Which floor are we on?" he asked.
"This is the fourth floor, Mister Winchester," Professor McGongall answered, and they halted in front of a set of double doors and a stone bust of a unicorn's neck and head. The witch quirked an eyebrow at it. "It appears that Professor Dumbledore has changed your guard."
Dean snorted. Sam blushed.
"Your password is..." she halted and closed her eyes. Her lips went thinner than thin and a muscle in her jaw twitched. The distaste was evident in her voice when she finally said the word. "Whatchamacallit." A click and a clank of locks unlocking rang through the hall, and then the doors opened all by themselves. "I imagine that is some sort of Muggle confection?"
"Yeah," Dean said. "It's a candy bar."
Professor McGonagall tutted. "Yes, well the headmaster does have a weakness for such things. In you go, then. One of our more accomplished Muggleborn students will come around to fetch you for supper. She has offered to show you around some of the castle tonight, and the grounds tomorrow. Until then, I trust you will get some rest?"
"Yes, ma'am," Dean said tiredly, and she looked mildly surprised at the polite address, though she said nothing. Just waved them in.
And in they went.
The door closed after them, leaving the two Winchesters standing in a modest entrance to a grand-looking abode. Well, grand to them anyway. There was a small kitchenette off the side of the living area, and an eggplant-colored canapé sat in front of a large antique fireplace already warm and crackling with flames. Three doors sat off to either side. Bedrooms, Dean presumed. Separate bedrooms. What an odd and welcome concept.
Best of all, though, was the coffee table, on top of which sat a plate of warm cookies. A folded note was perched next to this plate, and Sam snatched it up, read aloud:
Dear Sam and Dean,
I do hope you enjoy your stay here. These biscuits are rather delightful if I do say so myself. Dobby has made me a plate or two in his time here - which hasn't been long, mind you. He is a rather eager employee and we are most lucky to have him. They are made with the best Honeydukes chocolate, which is a very soothing substance. For this reason, I suggest you eat one or two before going to sleep to calm your nerves- Dean!
Dean went still, half of his third cookie stuffed in his mouth, and eyed his brother curiously. "Does it really say my name like that?" he asked through a mouthful. "I'm starting to think you wrote this letter, Sammy."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Whatever. Just slow down with the cookies. I want some, too."
"Yeah, sure. What's the rest of the letter say?"
Sam skimmed his eyes over it. "Just that we shouldn't hesitate to bring any concerns up with the staff if we have any. Then he signs his name. The ink's all sparkly."
Dean glanced over the letter. The ink was, indeed, sparkly. He snorted. "Magical bastard."
"I think I like Dumbledore," Sam said, a defensive edge to his voice.
"What's that called again? Stockholm Syndrome, right?"
"What are you-"
"Last I checked, he was kidnapping us." Dean stuffed another cookie in his mouth. It was just as delicious as the past three. "Good cookies, though. Think I might have it, too."
"Because of the cookies?" Sam guessed, his tone indicating that he couldn't be any less surprised.
Dean nodded. "And the sandwiches. And the firewhiskey."
"You haven't even had the firewhiskey, yet."
"In good time, Sammy. In good time."
Sam huffed, and Dean smirked. He waited and watched Sam eat a couple of cookies. It was a strange place, and Sam was so excited that it was taking Dean back about fifteen years. He had to make sure the little bastard got some sleep. That was Dean's job, after all.
They parted, going into the two bedrooms. The door in the middle, they had discovered, was a bathroom, with a huge tub that had feet and sweet ass shower fixtures.
Dean's bedroom was nice, sparsely decorated but warm, and the bed was full-sized and four-poster. With curtains. Dean was starting to feel like royalty. He kicked off his boots and pants and threw his jacket on a red armchair that was just kind of chilling there in the corner, dropped onto the bed and snuggled under the covers.
Fuck yes, he thought, as he started to drift off. Sleep...