Pairings: Dean/Draco, Sam/Harry because that's what they wanted - don't blame me.
'Whoa, back up a second.' Dean raised his hand to stop the gibberish coming out of Castiel's mouth. Sam looked equally blank. 'You're saying there are witches and wizards... good witches and wizards?'
They were all standing in a nondescript hotel room somewhere in one of the middle states. They had been hunting vampires. After successfully beheading them, they had been about to crash for the night, when Castiel had popped in, talking nonsense.
'I explained this already,' Castiel said, his impatience shining through. 'We need to go to London.'
'No, we need to back up a second,' Dean repeated through gritted teeth. 'How could you not mention there were witches that aren't demon-worshippers?'
'There has been a non-involvement agreement between us for almost two thousand years.'
'Hang on,' Sam finally spoke, shaking his head to clear it. 'An agreement? This is crazy... and if you really have this agreement, how the hell can they demand... me?'
'The agreement was broken when a demon tried to conquer their world. This... upset the wizards. Heaven wants to reinstate the agreement, but the wizards will not sign it until they have assurances.'
'Assurances of what?' Dean demanded, all but growling.
'That Lucifer has not returned from his cage yet again.' At the brothers' confused looks, Castiel sighed and explained further. 'They know Sam was returned, but like us they do not know how. This makes them suspicious. They think Lucifer might have returned as well, and is still residing within Sam.'
'But that's crazy!' Sam yelled. He turned away. Dean wanted to say something similar or reassure his brother, but the words stuck in his throat. Before he could do anything, Castiel responded.
'They will not take our word for it,' Castiel said. 'There is... mistrust between Angels and wizards.'
'So, what, they think Angels are dicks too?' Dean asked. 'If they don't worship demons and hate you guys, why didn't they fight against the Apocalypse? Cause I assume they wouldn't want the world to end?'
'They are on their own side,' Castiel said grimly, causing the brothers to exchange worried glances. 'They care not for anyone else, human or otherwise. They...' It looked like something was stuck in Castiel's throat. He looked positively uncomfortable. A strange sight. '... do not believe in God.' Dean blinked, shook his head and frowned.
'How can you have an agreement with a bunch of Angels and not believe in God? Granted, I'm sure I believe in the guy...' Dean trailed off as he considered the strangeness of the situation.
'You would have to ask them that,' Castiel said. 'The Wizengamot- their Supreme Court if you wish- wants to cast an aura-reading spell on Sam. It should take only a moment and then we can leave.'
'No,' Dean said, answering for Sam, who had that "I'm about to sacrifice myself"-look.
'Wizards are unpredictable,' Castiel argued. 'Heaven wants the agreement back in place. While wizards despise demons even more than us, if no agreement exists things could become volatile. We must go back to the status quo.'
'No,' Dean repeated without missing a beat.
'Please,' Castiel said, surprising the pair. 'We do not want a third, unpredictable party at this time, especially with Heaven in its current state.' Castiel had explained about the civil-war after Michael's defeat. 'For all we know, the wizards could be planning to use the situation to their advantage.' Dean was about to repeat his "no" again, but Sam suddenly started pacing. The other two watched as he crossed to the door and spun around. His face was grim, and Dean thought he could easily predict what his brother would say, but he was wrong.
'Do you think they're right?'
'What?' Dean asked at the same moment that Castiel replied: 'It does not matter what I think.' Dean turned to Castiel and repeated 'What?' He felt like he was in the twilight zone. He gritted his teeth to keep from exploding. 'Explain,' he demanded.
'The wizards believe Lucifer may have found a way to hide inside Sam. They have provided an interesting example that has created a precedence. The Angels, myself included, would have felt it if Lucifer had escaped, but this means nothing to the wizards. They want their own proof.' The look on Castiel's face made it clear he didn't care much about what the wizards wanted, but that he had no choice. Sam took a deep breath.
'What kind of precedence?' he asked.
'Wizards are usually almost impossible to possess because of their magic, which, in essence, takes up space in their vessels, and there has never been one compatible with Angels. The demon who tried to conquer their world, however, did so by possessing a wizard child, growing inside and forming a strange meld. He managed to fool everyone. No one knew he was really a demon before the last months of their war. The wizards are convinced that he acted on orders from Lucifer himself, and that has broken the cease-fire.'
'How does that apply to Sam?' Dean asked.
'The fact that the demon could hide inside a wizard is troubling, and I suppose their fear is justified. I am almost certain Voldemort - as the demon was called -was completely destroyed, but the wizards are worried he managed to pass on some knowledge to Lucifer. We have tried to convince them that even if a demon managed this meld, an Angels could not do the same, but as I said, there is much mistrust between us, and due to their recent experiences in their war they want to perform their own test.'
'They had a war? Like a real war?' Dean frowned; it was a lot of information to take in, but he was used to processing lots of new information about new things to kill. This was just without the how-to-kill-it part.
'Yes, it lasted several years. Many died. It started as a civil war, until Voldemort's ruse was unmasked. Only then did the wizards unite to destroy him.'
'Christ, this world is fucked up,' Dean muttered, feeling a headache coming on.
'The hearing is in a few minutes. We must go now.'
'Now? But it's-'
'Time-zones, Dean,' Sam commented.
'Oh, yeah,' Dean muttered while Sam continued:
'Let's just go and get this over with.'
'What? No, we are not giving in to a bunch of redcoat wizards,' Dean protested. Sam turned those wounded puppy-eyes on him.
'I need to know one way or the other, Dean,' he said. Before Dean could protest again, Castiel did his thing and suddenly they were in a very different place. Sam and Dean spun around several times, staring this way and that, trying to take it all in. It could be overwhelming for a young wizard, but for two muggles it was mind-boggling. People were popping up from green fires in countless fireplaces along the black-green walls. And in front of them was a great fountain with great statues shaped like things even the hunters had not thought really existed. The dude with the robe was pretty Merlin-like, but a centaur? You've got to be kidding me, Dean thought. Everything looked very new and shiny, like it had just been polished. The indoor windows were weird, to say the least, but kinda spacy. It looked like an underground office-building. Hell, maybe it was.
'This way,' Castiel said, going up to what appeared to be a front desk. Sam and Dean tried to avoid touching any of the wizards who rushed by. They all seemed to be in a lot of hurry.
'Check out the dresses,' Dean muttered. Sam shot him a look of annoyance, but he too raised an eyebrow at some of the more colourful robes. Not to mention the hats...
Castiel spoke quietly to the female wizard- though that would be a witch, right? Dean felt uncomfortable about the word as it usually meant housewives turned demon-worshippers. The witch disappeared for a moment, and when she returned, what could only be described as group of guards, followed. They surrounded the angel and hunters quickly. Dean and Sam instinctively went back-to-back, noting what had to be wands in the guards' hands.
'This is getting too Disney for my tastes,' Dean muttered. Sam shot him an annoyed look over his shoulder. A shorter, more plump wizard emerged from the lift and seemed to survey the group with disdain. He had a horrible little moustache, grey to match the little puff of hair that peaked out from under his Merlin-hat. It was purple, though his robes were red down the front with blue sleeves, with a red swirling pattern. It was all a bit too much to take in. Luckily the other guards wore plain robes in an oxblood red.
'You will relinquish whatever weapons you have on you,' the little wizard told them in a high squeaky voice. Dean almost snorted, but at the look from Castiel he reluctantly pulled out the gun he had hidden, though he kept the knife in his boot. He noted that Sam had also neglected to remove his knife. A wizard, one of the guards, took the items. He seemed perplexed by them.
'Be careful with that,' Dean warned. The wizard did snort, loudly. He disappeared into a room behind the front desk. The rest of the guards ushered them silently into the elevator. The three of them stood in the middle, squeezed from all sides by the robe-wearing, wand-waving Merlins. Dean opened his mouth to make another comment, but he caught a glimpse of Sam's face and fell silent. His brother was obviously taking these Disney-actors seriously. Castiel seemed even more uncomfortable somehow. The wizards kept shooting the Angel almost hateful looks. The plump little wizard led the way, taking them down a long, dark and shiny corridor with the same tiles everywhere. It felt like a basement. Dean had been in enough to know the smell and feel. Corridors in every direction. A maze, probably to confuse criminals who tried to escape.
Finally they reached a very high set of double doors, which opened on their own when the plump wizard neared them. Creepy. As they entered, the guards spread out to cover the entire door behind them, leaving the three visitors in front of a sea of robes. Dean's eyes widened. We're definitely not in Kansas anymore.
Straight ahead was something similar to a judge's seat, only with a ridiculous amount of judges on it. Twenty, maybe more. Most of them were old, men and women, all in matching plum-coloured robes. They sat high above the circular floor with a chair in the middle. To both sides of the door were spectator seats, forming the other half of the circle, filled with maybe fifty people crammed right. The plump wizard held up a hand.
'Wait there until called,' he ordered. The hall was lighted with torches, making it all very medieval. Dean now knew it to be true: no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.
The plump wizard stepped in front of the judges and bowed slightly.
'The non-Veela Castiel, and the muggles Sam and Dean Winchester have been brought before you.' The main judge, right in the middle and looking particularly wicked-witch-like, banged a gavel.
'This extraordinary meeting of the Wizengamot is now called to order,' he intoned. Though he did not appear to raise his voice, the sound still came out almost deafening and the whole hall fell silent at the sound of it. He continued at a less eardrum-shattering level. 'We are here to determine if the muggle Sam Winchester, now returned from the plain of existence called Hell, carried with him the non-Veela entity known as Lucifer.' Dean looked around him with disbelief. People were whispering at the name, almost as if they couldn't believe the judge had deigned to use it. What the fuck was going on? What the hell was a non-veela?
'Castiel,' the judge called, 'step forward.' Castiel did not glance at the brothers, but stepped forward with the same confidence he always exuded. 'You are the non-Veela entity, Castiel?'
'I am an Angel of the Lord, and my name is Castiel,' he replied, causing more tittering. Dean and Sam exchanged a few raised eyebrows.
'We have not called you here to debate your status. The Wizengamot does not recognise the entity called God, nor his agents as divine beings. We are here to determine if the conditions of the cease-fire are met. Has the entity Lucifer been contained?'
'Yes, he has,' Castiel answered immediately. Sam's brows furrowed, and Dean vowed to go easier on the angel from now on for lying so bald-faced when just moments ago he had expressed doubts. Maybe the wizards would take his word for it-
'He is within his cage?' the judge pressed.
'The same cage that Sam Winchester cast himself into, while possessed by Lucifer?'
'The Sam Winchester that now stands before us?'
'He has returned,' Castiel agreed, 'but the cage has not been opened. I believe God must have-'
'This court does not recognise the entity known as God,' the judge repeated imperiously. 'However, if he has the power to return Mr. Winchester to earth, why are we not to assume Lucifer again walks our plain?'
'He does not,' Castiel replied and Dean had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from saying something. Way to argue the case, he thought uncharitably. He glanced around nervously, noting the many staring eyes. He felt like a circus-freak.
'I think we will be the judges of that ourselves,' the judge announced. 'Sam Winchester, step forth.' Dean watched as his brother swallowed hard and stepped forward, standing beside Castiel in front of the ridiculous yet obviously powerful looking judges. 'Sit down. We have our expert, Mr Poole?' Sam sat down stiffly. A tall wizard, though not quite as tall as Sam, rose from amid the spectators. His hair was greasy and he had a crooked nose. He looked like a Disney character all right, the kind that fell off a building at the end. Dean got a whiff of a foul smell as he passed by. He glided into the centre of the room like- well, something suspicious. Serpent like. He wore a tight-fitted black robe with a puffed white collar at his throat. His skin had a green sheen to it.
Dean was half a second from grabbing his brother and bolting when someone else stood up. He had been seated right by the door. A young man with wild dark hair and nerd-glasses. He looked like an earnest, lost-on-a-quest sort of character.
'I plead with the Wizengamot to hear me on this issue,' the young man said, standing up and coming forward, but not stepping into the circular floor just yet.
'While the wizarding world is grateful to you, Mr. Potter, you cannot be heard on every issue,' the judge informed him. Dean took a sideways glance at the young man. He seemed frustrated and annoyed. He wasn't wearing robes, thank God, but worn jeans, a grey t-shirt and a dark green jacket, also worn. Except for the nerd-glasses, Dean liked him almost instantly.
'Mr. Poole is not an independent specialist,' Potter insisted. 'It would be in the Wizengamot's interest not to use its own employees in its testing. The Angels may not like that.' That produced a lot of murmuring and the judges all whispered to one another for a moment. 'Please,' Potter continued. 'If you insist on this testing, then at least pick an independent. Hermione Granger, for example,' Potter gestured to the stand at a young bushy-haired woman. Dean assessed her out of habit if nothing else. She seemed to have that suppressed-teacher thing going for her. Probably wild in the sack if given the opportunity. 'She is a war veteran and celebrated as one of the brightest minds of our generation.' Dean's eyebrows rose high at that.
'We are well aware of Miss Granger's accomplishments,' the judge said impatiently. He sighed. 'We will allow Miss Granger to cast the spell and both she and Mr. Poole shall make their assessment.' Granger stepped down and came forward beside Sam and Poole. She gave Sam a kind smile and took out a wand. Dean tensed out of instinct. He didn't like magic, demonic or... whatever type this was.
Sam looked like he was going to be executed. Granger turned briefly to the Wizengamot. 'I would like to state for the record that I think this is an unnecessary invasion of privacy and that Mr. Winchester should be thanked for saving the world, not dragged halfway round it for a political agenda that has nothing to do with him.' The room erupted in murmurings until the judge had to bang his gavel.
'Miss Granger, if that is your opinion perhaps you are not qualified-'
'I am fully qualified. If this is to be done, I should wish it done right and thoroughly. Rest assured, I have every intention of casting to the best of my ability - if anything my opinion will ensure a thorough casting to avoid damage - and my reading will be impartial.' With a nod to Mr. Poole that was almost imperceptible, the judge waved her on.
She waved her wand around Sam in a way that caused Dean to question her sanity, especially when she started murmuring latin he didn't quite catch. Sam sat stiffly in the chair. Dean wished he could see his brother's face.
Finally, something happened. A glow emanated from Sam, like a big halo all around the edges of his frame. It shifted into different colours, like a strange localized aurora borealis. There were strange lightning bolt-shaped black streaks running through, however, that were not moving. They looked oddly sharp and fixed compared to the translucent waviness of the rest of the aura. Granger took her time in examining it. Dean wondered what she was seeing. Finally she stepped back and allowed Mr. Poole to examine it close up. After a tense moment of staring by the wicked wizard, the spell finally ended and Sam slumped slightly in his chair.
'Well?' The judge prompted. 'We all saw the evidence of a foreign presence.'
'Yes, but they were old wounds only,' Granger spoke without doubt. 'We know Sam Winchester has suffered possession before, as well as infection by demonic blood as a baby. All this activity has left wounds that will never be fully healed. But they are not the evidence of an active foreign presence.' The room fell silent as the judges took this in. Finally, the head judge looked to Poole. All Dean could think was: How the hell do they know all this stuff? Dean shot Castiel a piercing look, but the angel was focused on the judges.
'And your assessment?' The main judge asked Mr. Poole.
'I would like to cast my own spell, Sir, as I am unsure if Miss Granger cast with at full strength.'
'Excuse me?' Granger exclaimed just as Potter practically jumped forward.
'That is completely unnecessary!' he protested. 'We all saw the results perfectly clearly. Judges, please, ask any other competent wizard or witch in the audience. They will all tell you they saw the same. Ask Professor Snape, or Remus Lupin! They have both had experience with demons.'
'A former Death-Eater, who was barely acquitted of his crimes I might add, and a werewolf?' Mr. Poole commented. 'These are your competent wizards?' Dean tried to search out the werewolf in the crowd. How could they just let a known werewolf run about? This place made less and less sense every second.
'Remus Lupin is a war veteran. Where were you during the war, Mr. Poole? Practicing your skills on the French Riviera?'
Before Poole could respond the judge banged his gavel twice. Dean covered his flinch.
'You may cast again Mr. Poole,' the judge ordered.
'Sir, please,' Potter pleaded. 'This spell is not supposed to be cast on a person more than once every six months. It is invasive to the body's natural aura and it is an invasion of privacy as well!'
'The invasion of privacy has already happened,' the judge countered, 'and as Mr. Winchester is unlikely to be needing an aura-reading again in the near future, I see no reason why another casting should be detrimental to his health.'
Dean wondered why Castiel hadn't spoken up. Why didn't the bastard say anything? It wasn't like Dean would know what to say himself. How could he argue against something he didn't understand? But Castiel just stood there like a statue.
Poole cast again and went through the same procedure. Sam slumped in his chair, like he was tired. Afterwards Poole turned to the judges, who seemed to be waiting on the edges of their seats.
'Inconclusive,' he pronounced, causing the room to erupt with tittering. The judge banged his gavel.
'Ridiculous!' Granger protested. The gavel banged again.
'Judges, this man is lying!' Potter yelled. The gavel banged so hard that Dean was sure he could feel the sound wave. Magic was fucking scary. The hall finally fell silent.
'Mr. Potter, I am perplexed,' the head judge said, staring down with condescending eyes. 'You yourself are against the cease-fire agreement, yet you protest the findings that will lead to a rejection of it?'
'The agreement is cowardly,' Potter growled. 'We should be standing with the angels against the demons. Obviously, we shouldn't interfere with their internal affairs, but we cannot afford to wait another two thousand years to get involved again. The demons are the evils ones, think what you want about angels,' he gestured to the stoic Castiel. 'I'm not saying we should agree with them on everything, but this agreement makes us blind and ignorant. We're sticking our heads in the sand!'
'Enough!' The judge was wearing out his gavel at this rate.
'And Sam Winchester is not possessed! I don't care if it leads to a cease-fire agreement. You don't sacrifice the person who saved us for a political statement!'
'More than a political statement,' Poole shot in, 'an agreement that will guarantee peace for our time.'
'Are you a history buff, Mr. Poole?' Granger asked archly. 'Because you chose your words very aptly.'
'Silence,' the judge echoed. 'Mr. Potter, before the judges confer on this, I am curious. There are a hundred cases you have not decided to throw your considerable political weight on. Why this? Why does this muggle concern you?' Dean could see Potter cast a glance at Sam, who returned it briefly, though his eyes were barely open; he looked so sleepy. Dean wondered what they had said to each other with that look.
'Because I'm sick of the wizarding world not caring about what happens outside our world. We argue that our magic comes from the earth, unlike the angels whose magic is incompatible with ours and feels foreign. Yet, despite this we don't care about the earth at all, just the parts we live on. We just fought a war to make sure muggle-born witches and wizards are safe in our world. What about the rest of it?' He shook his head. Dean could see the young man was on the end of his rope. He had been there himself and knew the feeling. 'But if you want the real reason... I'm leaving Britain, and I won't be coming back, so I guess I'm just trying to do one right thing before I leave.' This caused some major chattering, but the judge seemed unaffected.
'Thank you, Mr. Potter,' he said stonily. He waved a wand and the judges started speaking to each other, but the sound did not reach them. Dean couldn't help it; he rushed forward to his brother, kneeling beside the chair.
'Sam? Sammy, you okay?'
'Yeah, I'm fine. Tired.' He sounded groggy, like he'd had one drink too many.
'He should be fine with a good night's sleep,' Granger explained. Dean looked to Castiel.
'And what's with you? Why didn't you say anything?'
'What would you have me say? They would not listen to me,' Castiel explained. 'You should be grateful we have an advocate the Wizengamot will listen to.' He gestured to Potter.
'I'm not so sure about that,' the young man said with a sigh.
'You did great, Harry,' Granger reassured him.
'Thanks, Hermione.' Before Dean could question either of them, they were interrupted.
The gavel sounded and everyone was ordered back into their seats or behind the line. All except for Sam, who remained in his chair.
'It is the opinion of the Wizengamot that the results of the aura-readings were inconclusive. We therefore can not take the chance that the non-veela Lucifer has not returned. If the cease-fire is to be signed, Sam Winchester will be taken into custody on the grounds that he is a threat to the wizarding world and the muggle world. He shall be held at Azkaban prison indefinitely as Dementors have been known to affect non-veelas to a satisfactory extent.' The hall erupted into noise. Dean wasn't sure what was happening. The gavel banged several times. Potter suddenly rushed forward, grabbing Dean's sleeve on the way. When he reached Sam he grabbed his sleeve too, then glanced at Castiel.
'Grimmauld Place, London,' he said and then Dean's world narrowed to an excruciating point.
Just when he thought the pain would overwhelm him, he was standing in front of a line of houses, all very English-looking to him. Sam had appeared on his feet, but now he collapsed against Harry, whose smaller stature made it look a little ridiculous. Dean quickly took the burden off the guy.
'He's just exhausted,' Harry explained. 'We should get inside quickly.'
'What about Castiel?'
'I'm hoping he's smart enough to follow us, though he would need to run to the Atrium. As an Angel, he's supposed to be fast, though, right?' Dean tried to make sense of the words. Sam was moving, like he was drunk. Dean tried to steady the great lug. He looked around them, feeling exposed. This was not how he had expected the day to go.
'Dammit, what's taking the angel so long?' Harry muttered. Just then said angel appeared. He looked angry.
'How did you do that?' he growled.
'I have many talents,' Harry quipped. 'I take it you had to run to the Atrium?' Castiel nodded.
'Luckily, you took them by surprise. They underestimated my speed as well, though I had to knock a few heads together.'
'Wait, what am I missing here?' Dean asked.
'There are spells in place to protect against people Apparating- moving instantly- out of there,' Harry explained. 'It even works on angels and demons, but I know my way around them. Luckily, wizards always seem to forget about the speed and strength thing. I think it's the lack of wand that gets them confused. So, I took you guys, figuring Castiel could run outside the protected magic before they knew what was what. Let's get inside to safety before they manage to find us. It's number twelve Grimmauld Place.' Before Dean could ask more questions, and he had lots, Castiel lifted Sam off him as if he weighed nothing and followed Harry to wherever they were going.
Dean was about to follow himself when the sight of the houses splitting stopped him in his tracks. He glanced up and down the street. A few people were out walking, but they appeared unaffected by the fact that another house was growing. Once the narrow house was fully formed or whatever Harry walked up the steps and disappeared inside. Castiel followed quickly with Sam.
'Shit,' Dean said. He could do nothing but follow.
The corridor inside was like straight out of a gothic novel. Dean tried to avoid the walls. They looked mouldy. He followed the sound of the others and entered an equally dreary living room. Castiel had placed Sam down on a couch. Dean went to his brother and put his hand on the high forehead. He wasn't warm or clammy.
'He's just tired. Making an aura visible to everyone is not something that is done often,' Harry explained. 'I suppose you could liken it to an x-ray. You don't want to do it often, or it could damage the aura.' Dean looked at the young man with hard eyes, trying to make an assessment. Why had he helped them? He seemed honest and righteous. The accent was sort of distracting, though. All other British people he had encountered were either demons or back-stabbing bitches.
'Why did you help us?' Castiel asked the question. Dean settled himself on the edge of the couch next to Sam, to keep an eye on him. Harry walked to a cabinet in the corner of the room. Dean wondered what he was doing until he heard the clinking of glasses.
'Because I'm sick of their bureaucratic bullshit,' Harry said in a no-nonsense tone. 'I know angels don't drink. Do you want one, Winchester? It's firewhiskey, strong stuff.'
'Sure, I'll try anything once, and call me Dean,' he said. When a guy had saved your brother's life, you had to cut him some slack, he reasoned.
'You should not drink,' Castiel warned him. He stood stiffly in the middle of the room, as if afraid to touch anything. 'I have heard rumours of firewhiskey...' Harry chuckled.
'Yeah, it can pack a punch,' he said, coming over with two glasses and handing one to Dean. The young man had a nice smile, Dean thought before swallowing a hefty gulp- and suddenly the young man was evil incarnate, for surely Dean had just been poisoned. He coughed as the liquid burned down his throat. Burned. He was sure it was actual fire. 'It's in the name,' Harry commented with a laugh.
'Smooth,' Dean rasped. 'I like it.' The banter was cut short when Sam stirred. 'Sammy?' The youngest Winchester blinked his eyes open.
'Dean? Where am I?'
'Number Twelve Grimmauld Place,' Harry answered, standing close. He waved his hand over Sam before Dean could protest, but he didn't speak any latin so Dean was unsure if the wizard had cast anything. 'You'll be fine. You want a headache potion?'
'A what? Never mind, I'm fine,' Sam said, sitting up. Dean sat back to give him some room. 'What exactly happened?'
'I busted you out of the Ministry. The Wizengamot wanted to send you to Azkaban, and while I've never been to hell, I can tell you it's probably the worst place on earth.'
'Really?' Dean said with a raised eyebrow. 'How d'you figure that?'
'The Dementors,' Harry said with a shudder. Dean couldn't tell if it was just for show or not. 'They feed off your mind... With enough time all you have left are your worst memories. A broken shell of what you were... and then, if they're still hungry, they might suck your soul out. The prison doesn't even have human guards. It's out in the middle of the North Sea anyway...'
'So, no chance of a Shawshank,' Dean commented. Harry frowned at the reference and Dean waved it away to ask about something else: 'Why're you really helping us, though? I mean, there's usually other ways of disagreeing with the government before you resort to breaking the law.'
'I told you,' Harry repeated. He took a swig of his drink and went over to a wing-backed chair that looked overstuffed and had possibly had some sort of pattern on it once. 'The truth is, we should be fighting this together. Not angels versus demons. It should be humans versus... well, whatever threatens this earth and its people, wizards or muggles.'
'Muggles?' Sam asked. Dean had wondered when he heard the word, but hadn't been in a position to ask before. It sounded made-up.
'Non-magical people,' Harry clarified. His gaze shifted to the empty fireplace. He looked unbelievably sad. Dean recognised that look. The look of the war-worn. 'I need to get away.' He shrugged.
'We should get back to the states,' Castiel suddenly spoke up. 'Thank you for your assistance.'
'You might need my assistance again,' Harry commented. Castiel narrowed his eyes. 'The Ministry will be after you. They don't like it when prisoners escape. If you have a home, or weapons, I could charm them for you. Protect areas and make weapons more effective against our magic.'
'You would do that for us?' Sam asked, suspicious. Harry shrugged again.
'We can't make it too easy for them.'
'Thanks, but no thanks,' Dean said, standing up. 'We roll alone. Castiel, do your trick and get us back state-side.'
'They will come after you,' Harry insisted. His face was very open and Dean could see some of Sam's puppy-look. 'The Wizengamot believes Lucifer is hiding inside you.' Harry turned his earnest eyes to Sam, who looked uncomfortable at the stare. 'At the very least they will send a couple of Aurors to try to bring you in.'
'Police,' Harry explained. He then turned to Castiel, obviously as a last resort. 'Do you think there is any chance of salvaging a relationship between our people?' Dean frowned at the term people. Were these wizards, who were all human, really as powerful as they thought? Powerful enough to think themselves a third power in all this? The thought sent shivers down Dean's spine. Power like that belonged only to the supernatural, not people.
'Unlikely,' Castiel replied grimly. 'With my sudden exit and non-cooperation with Sam's imprisonment, they will take it as a sign that the cease-fire will not be signed. As for any other kind of relationship, I do not think that will ever be possible. There is simply too much mistrust between us.' Harry sighed and nodded his head.
'I didn't support the cease-fire agreement, but I guess I was nave to think anything rational could replace it. I will monitor the situation here. Our world is busy rebuilding. I doubt they will put a lot of resources into anything else right now, so hopefully they won't send too many after you.' He turned to Sam, who was just getting up from the couch, looking a little unsteady. The hunter blinked at the much shorter wizard. Dean couldn't help but smile at the height difference. The kid was about three inches shorter than Dean, so to Sam he must look miniscule. Harry didn't seem phased by this either, however, and came to stand right in front of Sam, head tilted up with concern on his face.
'You sure you don't want a headache potion. It works instantly.'
'No, thanks,' Sam said. He looked a little flushed, Dean thought, but it was still best to avoid anything magic. A potion from these people probably contained tail of newt or other disgusting stuff.
'Ok, I get it. I probably wouldn't take anything from the wicked witch either,' Harry said with good humour. 'Sometimes I still wake up and don't quite believe it all.'
'What do you mean?' Sam asked.
'Well, I didn't know I was a wizard as a kid,' Harry said with a shrug. 'It could happen to anyone.' Dean thought about that, and suddenly Harry Potter didn't seem quite so threatening. Dean pictured a young Sam being told he was a wizard, or suddenly discovering he had weird powers... The power didn't make them evil; it was what you did with it. Dean would hold off judgement, but he wouldn't give his trust easily either.
'I must get back to Heaven,' Castiel suddenly announced. 'Thank you for your help,' he said to Harry, who looked surprised at the acknowledgement. 'Even if it actually destroyed any hope of an agreement between our people.' Before Harry, Sam or Dean could say anything to that, they the latter two were back in the motel room, without Castiel.
'Wow,' Sam said. He looked at Dean, who just shook his head and headed for the bathroom.
'I need a shower and a long night's sleep,' he muttered. 'Then maybe this whole thing will turn out to be a dream.' When Dean closed the door behind him, Sam sat down on the bed and stared at his hands.