"John, boys... wanna give us some room?"
They stared at Harry like he was a leper. Honestly he could not blame them, as he continued to gaze at his blood stained fingers. He should have known that there would be no respite from the nightmares even here. The dreams about Cedric's death were manageable now, but the ones about Voldemort... He only twitched his gaze from his hand, when the Winchesters slowly backed out of the room.
Bobby offered him a glass of water, scrutinizing him, but making no other move or comment. Accepting the cup, Harry tensed as he too a sip, mildly surprised as the simple act seemingly caused Bobby some relief. The man finally spoke up gruffly, offering him a washcloth.
"That happen often, kid?"
"No... it was just a nightmare. Must have scratched at my scar in my sleep."
Bobby stared at him for a long moment, and Harry had the sinking feeling that he did not believe him. It was a flimsy excuse, even the wizard admitted it. Finally though, the man shrugged, shifting uncomfortably. "Whatever ya say. I call bull, but it's too damn late for this shit. Try to get some more sleep."
Blinking as the man exited the room with little fuss, Harry waited with baited breath. Sure enough, a few moments later he heard a quiet argument break out, though he could not distinguish words. Letting out a quiet sigh, Harry reached for the cell phone. He hated bothering Dumbledore, but they had to know about this. What if they could track the evil lord down via the things he had noticed in the nightmare? Punching the speed dial, he fidgeted while he waited.
Several seconds passed as the phone rang, before finally it was moved to voice mail. Harry scowled. Of course the headmaster would not answer the phone. Why would he, after years of ignoring other similar such calls for help? Letting out a sigh, he quietly left a message with all the information of the location that he could recall. The talk in the hallway tapered off, to Harry's relief. He did not like the thought that he was causing dispute.
Despite Bobby's order to get more sleep, it refused to come to him. He tossed and turned for an hour or more before finally giving up. Climbing from the bed, he thought it best to not wander after the disruption he had already caused the houses occupants, but he was restless. Pacing the room, he counted that it was six paces to the door from the bed, and seven from the door to the window. Peering out, the sky was already turning dusky gray with pre-dawn light. He hoped that someone was an early riser, so he would not be confined to his room for much longer.
Turning to sit at the desk, he pulled up short as he spied movement from the yard. Instincts kicking in, he dropped to is knees and shuffled closer to peer out. In the darkness, any intruder would not be able to see his pale face, or distinguish his hair from the black. Squinting, he pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. The figure moved slowly, but was obviously not an animal, from the shape. It was inky black in the twilight.
Hairs on the back of his neck stood on end, as the figure moved with an almost unearthly glide. It flickered and wavered, making him wonder if he were not simply seeing a trick of his own mind. But it was there none the less. He reeled back in shock as it 'walked' straight into a stack of cars, flickering, and reappearing on the other side. Was it a ghost? But no, unease roiled in his gut. It did not move or look like anything he had seen at Hogwarts.
An audible gasp escaped him at it seemed to slowly turn, head tilting to stare straight at him. He scrambled backwards as a loud shriek reached his ears. It echoed in his head and made him wish to curl up into a tiny ball. Biting through his lip to fight it, he reached blindly for his wand, only belatedly recalling Dumbledore's words regarding magic. But what if the thing attacked? The muggles would be defenseless!
Turning to glance back towards the window, he could not hold back a yelp as a black mass blotted out the pre-dawn light. Tripping over his own feet, he turned to bolt for the door, yanking it open with no regard for stealth. A blast of freezing air hit his back, sending shudders wracking through him as something wet soaked through his sleep shirt. The commotion drew attention, as John's door opened with some force. He was a shining light, but Harry had little time to wonder at the shotgun he held.
Diving to the hall floor, Harry covered his head with his arms as the gun went off. The shriek sounded again, this time with a pained note. It set his teeth on edge, but he dared not look up until the frigid air disappeared almost as fast as it had come. He grunted as a strong hand clamped down on his upper arm. Yanking him to his feet, John dragged him the few feet to the boys' room, hammering on it, they heard Dean ordering Sam to get under one of the beds. The cool began seeping back into Harry's bones. Whipping around, he did not think upon spotting the blackness rushing back. Withdrawing his wand, he shouted the first thing he could think of.
The stag erupted in a brilliant flash of silver light, charging the shadow before John even had time to react. An indescribable feeling of horror washed through the wizard, as he watched with numb fascination as the glow of the stag briefly lit the thing's face. His stomach revolted at the glimpse of putrid rot and blood. Whatever it was, it was far worse than a dementor in appearance. Turning away blindly, Harry slumped against the wall, cringing at the brief sounds of battle before the thing let out one last cry of agony.
The light of the stag slowly dissipated, and dread coursed through Harry at the deathly silence. Risking a glance towards the Winchester patriarch, he tensed at seeing both John and Bobby, guns leveled at him. The thought crossed his mind to question why they did not seem to be freaking out, but more pressing matters had to be seen to. Like preserving his own life. Uncurling very slowly, Harry crossed his legs and sat his wand on the ground, nudging it away. The action seemed to make Bobby relax, at least. John's expression was inscrutable though, as he glanced towards where the stag had been.
Something about their bearing nagged at some memory, but it eluded Harry's notice for the moment. Shivering from the residual cold and fear, he risked a glance down at his shirt. His stomach clenched and he swallowed hard to keep himself from being sick. The wetness he had felt... had been blood.
Over his head, the two men exchanged a glance, and slowly John lowered his shotgun. He gave Harry a wide berth as he knocked on the door to Sam's and Dean's room.
"You alright, boys?"
Dean's muffled voice confirmed, followed by Sam's. "Stay in there. Check the salt lines and get back to bed."
Harry startled violently when Bobby carefully knelt down to pick up his wand. The gun had been lowered, but not put away, setting the wizard on edge. Did they plan on shooting him for being a freak? The thought made him frown. Making to speak, Bobby cut him off with a head shake, offering him a hand up. Hesitating, the wizard accepted after a moment, legs too shaky to stand on his own. The older man led him downstairs to the kitchen, setting about making coffee.
Harry tensed as Bobby shot him a glance. "I ain't stupid, boy." He tossed the wand onto the table. "Who you with? You seem a bit young for the 'destroy the world' type."
Irritation warred with self preservation at the comment. Gritting his teeth, he shuddered and picked at one of the few clean patches on his shirt. The blood was quickly drying, making it less repugnant to the touch at least. Finally he got his voice under control.
"I'm not with anyone. I'm just Harry."
"Uh-huh. Sure. And the last wizards I ran into were full of glitter and puppies. Cut the crap."
Not able to fight the irritation, Harry watched as Bobby set out three cups, filling them with coffee and milk. He added water to them. The action once again caused Harry's memory to perk up. Something about their bearing, and the way they handled themselves against that creature. It dawned on him slowly, making his eyes widen a bit.
Bobby twitched. Unease built again, making Harry fidget. Remus had done a lesson about hunters. Most had not taken him seriously, about muggles who were able to ward off and kill magical creatures on their own. Harry had not either, until now, that is. He felt ill.
"I'm not evil. I'm human. I go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
Some interest flickered in Bobby's expression, as he pressed one of the mugs towards Harry. "Drink up."
The water now made sense as well. Remus' words were slowly being trudged up. Muggle hunters relied on holy water to distinguish demons from humans. Grabbing up the cup impulsively, Harry gulped it down, eyes watering as it burned his mouth. Bobby looked alarmed at the action, moving to take the cup away.
"Damnit, kid. Ya can't explain yourself if you burn your tongue off."
The words brought Harry up short. He was actually going to hear him out, and not just kill him? Letting some of the scalding liquid escape back into the mug, he forced the rest down, wincing as it seared down his throat. Sometime during the display, John had wandered in. His gun was still present, but seeing that Bobby was more relaxed, he leaned it against the side of his chair as he took a seat, eyes never wavering from his observation. The staring made Harry highly uncomfortable, but eventually he found his voice again.
"I was born with my powers. Not all wizards are evil, just like not all muggles are good. We're exactly the same as you, except our magic..." He steeled himself for his next words, "If you want to kill me, you'd be doing Voldemort and my relatives a favor."
The name made Bobby tense up, and he looked grim, eying Harry over. John had a puzzled expression, though seemed to also know of wizards, by his non-reaction to Harry's comments. It all made Harry's head spin. Muggles weren't supposed to know about wizards, so how did they know? Had Dumbledore told them? But it just didn't make sense, they hadn't known what he was before he'd blown it all. What had that thing been? His thoughts raced a bit hysterically, making him dizzy. Picking blankly at the congealing blood on his hands, he missed the look that passed between the hunters.
When did I get blood on my hands? Harry bit through his tongue to keep in a hysterical laugh. His frame still shuddered occasionally, as flashes of the thing overwhelmed his mind. Bile rose in his through, making him turn a bit ashen as he recalled its face. Not even dementors had looked so... He didn't register that Bobby had moved, until a waste basket was being forced into his lap, as he spit up the meager contents of his stomach. A hand awkwardly patted his shoulder, though it barely registered. Through the mild nervous breakdown, Harry marveled that he could see corpses, death eater raids, and face down dangerous magical creatures, but this... This was what sent him over the edge.
An inappropriate laugh escaped before he could contain it. It hurt, combined with the burn of acid in his throat. Again, the two adults exchanged a glance. John raised an eyebrow, before shaking his head, turning to leave the room. Harry only half registered it, too busy trying not to cry like a babe. It was embarrassing to the extreme, but the moisture gathered against his will non the less.
Bobby cleared his throat gruffly, taking the wastebasket from Harry a touch warily, as he noticed the change. He hovered uncertainly for a minute before sitting down with a sigh, rubbing a hand over his face. He was not equipped to deal with hysterical teenage wizards. The kid sniffled miserably, hiding his face in his hands. The older man fidgeted in his spot before carefully patting the kid on the shoulder.
"First time ya seen somethin' like that?"
A nod was his only response. Bobby sighed again, mentally cursing John for leaving. The man had dealt with Dean's breakdown at his first hunt, but Bobby had never had to deal with anything of the sort. He made to speak, but hoarse words interrupted him. He had to lean forward to make them out clearly.
"Dementors... never so bad... All the blood."
Eying the kid's frame, he winced. Blood covered him nearly head to toe. The only clear patches were on the front of his shirt, and even that had gotten splattered. 'Dementor' meant nothing to him, but he figured it must be something from the wizard world. Clearing his throat, the man spoke up gruffly,
"That was a Vetala. They're vengeful spirits who return to repossess their own corpse. They kill people they had beefs against in life, and drink their blood to keep from decomposing any more than they already are. All of that," He gestured to encompass the blood soaked teen. "Happened 'cause bein' dead, the blood don't go nowhere. That one was so gorged on it, it was leaking."
The kid turned green, making a dive for the bin. Bobby frowned, mentally kicking himself. The kid wasn't a hunter, but it was habit to fall back on the knowledge when he didn't know what else to say about it, when a civilian became involved. He awkwardly rubbed Harry's back as he wretched some more, glancing away with a grimace. He didn't know how to deal with this 'parental' business. Shaking his head, he tried to dredge up words of comfort.
"It's gone for good. Whatever you did killed it. I'd be mighty interested to hear about it."
Feeling the blood crusting under his hand, he paused. "After you get cleaned up. Doubt any of us are going to be getting much more sleep."
The shower upstairs was running, telling Bobby that John had beat him to the punch. Standing, he urged the kid to follow him, placing a firm hand on his shoulder when he wobbled slightly on his feet. He led him to the back hallway, and waved him into the smaller bathroom. This one only held a sink, toilet, and stand-up shower, but situations like this one were the entire reason he'd built it in. Shooting the kid a look, Bobby turned to make his way upstairs. He wanted to get the mess cleaned up before the kid got out.
The last thing he needed was to have the teenager vomit all over the hallway on top of the bloody mess already there.