Chapter 5: Eye of the Beholder
Bobby's house was about the same size as the Dursley's but the mountains of scrap metal and gutted cars around the yard made it look really small in comparison. The magic around the place seemed a lot less chaotic than anywhere else Harry had been in America. It seemed to have more purpose here. It had no need to circle uselessly around the nearest magical conduit to keep from stagnating. It's why Harry felt so powerful and out of control all at once when he was in America, magic fairly buzzed along his skin constantly here. That's why he had to ground the magic so much, send it back into the earth where it could do some good, the garden outside the Harvels home and bar had never looked so healthy. It was different here. The tension Harry usually held in his shoulders eased a bit as the chaotic nature of the magic swirled around in greeting a moment before going off to do what it was intended to do. Curious eddies of power brushed his core before going back to work.
Idly Harry pulled magic into the palm of his hand, something far more easily done than in England where the magic needed to be pulled from its predestined path by force, it's why wizards used wands so much there. It was more difficult here than at Ellen's but he could still defend himself if he had to. He hadn't felt so peaceful in a long time.
"Harry you coming?" Ellen asked from the other side of the car.
Harry flushed and let the magic go before dropping his hand to the side. "Yeah, alright."
Ellen led the way to the front door while Harry hung back near the steps of the porch. As Ellen knocked Harry noticed a few etchings that were all over the room at the Roadhouse, were on Bobby's door frame. Frowning Harry realized that the symbols must be protective, they were what the magic around here was attracted to and for the magic to be so calm there must be protections all over this place, maybe even magical objects around the property. Ellen had brought him to a hunter's house; there was no mistaking their particular brand of paranoia. Though was it really paranoia when the things that go bump in the night really were out to get you?
As Harry stared at the markings in the wood the door opened to a gruff man with a baseball cap and beard. "You know the drill," He said handing Ellen a flask.
Harry raised an eyebrow when she offered it to him but he drank it anyway before handing it back. There was a tingling down his throat, not unpleasant but definitely magical. "What did I just drink?"
"Holy water," Ellen replied taking her own swig before handing it back to Bobby.
Harry blinked and shrugged as the older man let them into the house. "Wow," Harry said as soon as he caught glimpse of books, all over the place! Like everywhere, on the couch on the nightstand all over the floor in piles. Not to mention the clutter all over the place, some of which gave off decidedly malicious vibes.
"Don't be rude," Ellen chastised as she attempted to swat at his arm. Harry flinched automatically anyway so she missed.
Ellen looked apologetic but Harry knew she wasn't like Vernon or Petunia had been, she wouldn't ever intentionally hurt him. So Harry shook his head and flushed in embarrassment. "So you think demons are after you boy?"
"HARRY!" Harry blurted out on reflex immediately regretting the volume of his voice. Harry coughed. "My name is Harry, use it."
"Whatever you say, Harry." Bobby then walked over to a particularly large pile of books and pulled a few from the middle of it. "These are the basics, that one there is a beginners guide a buddy of mine wrote up for would be hunters and those two are so you can find out what type of demon you might be looking at.
"Can I borrow them or do I need to read them here?" Harry asked looking over the second and third, they were in Latin it looked like but Harry had taken the muggleborn class with Hermione in first year so he knew how to read it as well as speak well enough so that wouldn't be a problem.
"You can take those two with you but the guide stays here, I still need to transcribe it so that I can distribute it to some of the contacts I have overseas."
Harry nodded and took up a seat on the couch, already engrossed in the basics of demon protections before Bobby could even offer him a drink.
"So you've got yourself a jumpy little nephew there," Bobby said as they both sat at the kitchen table.
Ellen sighed. "You have no idea, Bobby. I mean I've known my fair share of children and most of those were Hunter kids and..." Ellen trailed off.
"What is it?" Bobby asked placing a hand over hers. They'd been friends a long time and Ellen looked worried.
"He acts just like them, Bobby. Like one of the kids who know that there are real monsters in the closet and in the shadows. Worse yet I think he half thinks we're some of them."
"You said he thinks he's been chased by a demon his whole life why wouldn't he be like that?" Bobby asks.
"Bobby, it's more than that. Harry acts more like he was brought up in this life, like Jo does, even though he only just found out about the demon part of it all. He just found out about hunting a few months ago and only by inferring what he heard the hunters talking about."
"You said before the boy wasn't treated right when he was small. Are you sure it just ain't that?"
"I don't know Bobby. I just worry about him; you should have read some of the things he has to put up with at school, just for speakin' up."
"You'll do right by him, Ellen. Don't let this get to ya. You can't change what's happened to him."
"Wish I could though. Wish those relatives of his were real monsters and not just horribly twisted human beings."
Bobby nodded but changed the subject to something less personal. Ellen needed a distraction.
The next few hours were spent talking and as the sun started falling Ellen went to check on Harry's progress only to find him sleeping, book held limply in his hands nearly finished; notebook on the table filled to bursting with notes and sketches.
Ellen smiled. No matter what the kid said, he was really smart. Just didn't show it to anyone. Tenderly Ellen gripped the book and moved it to the coffee-table placing a bit of paper inside to keep Harry's page and grabbing the afghan that lay over the back of the couch and covered the boy with it laying a soft kiss to his forehead that he'd never let her give him if he were awake.
The scar on his forehead looked slightly red and raw but she put it off as him rubbing at it, like he'd been doing the last few days. A nervous gesture she was sure he didn't even realize he was doing.
Just as she was walking away to help make something for dinner Harry moaned in his sleep. Ellen frowned and moved back to sooth him when a strange hissing issued from his mouth. Worried now that it might have something to do with the demon that was after Harry she attempted to wake him. Harry lashed out striking her in the face before she had time to react. He was still hissing but his eyes were open and his forehead, no his scar was bleeding.
"Harry, it's Ellen, you have to wake up!"
Harry hissed again but the glazed sleep walker look dissipated slightly.
"Calm down, Harry. I'm here but you gotta wake up."
Harry's eyes focused more as he looked around at his surroundings. "E-Ellen?" Harry asked and he sounded so scared that she couldn't keep herself from surging up and grabbing him into her arms and holding on, ignoring his tense unresponsive body as she clung to him.
"It's alright hunny I got ya. Don't you worry. I got ya."
Harry started shaking, whatever dream he'd been having was coming back and he was trembling and shaking and Ellen couldn't do anything but hold him.
"He's in trouble. I've-I've got to call Hermione. Tell her what I saw or he'll die."
"Who's in trouble Harry what was your dream about?"
"Wasn't a dream," Harry whispered trying to extract himself from her grip to get to a phone.
"Harry, what are you talking about?"
"I-I can't explain it I just need a phone, now before its too late, Ellen, please!"
Ellen didn't say anything but Bobby was there a cell phone in his hand held out for Harry to take. "Thanks," Harry said absently as he dialed his best friend's phone number.
Ellen got up off the floor and sat on the sofa next to her nephew as Bobby left and came back with a measure of alcohol and set it in front of Harry. Ellen frowned but didn't deny him. Harry would need something to calm him; he was already keyed up enough that his leg wouldn't stop bouncing, his fingers white as they clutched at the phone and his jeans.
"Mr. Granger, I'm sorry to be calling like this but I need to talk to Hemione. It's urgent."
"Yes, sir it is. Thank you."
There was a pause.
"Mione. You have to get a hold of Dumbledore. Mr. Weasley's in trouble. No I don't care what time it is I had another vision. No Hermione you don't understand. Ron's dad is guarding that door I've been seeing. He had the snake attack him and-Just please you have to-Hermione I'm seri-I don't bloody care that you don't believe in it, Hermione!"
Harry's slowly dissolved into pleading with his friend but got no closer to convincing her. Then Harry's hand fell into his lap and he stared at the thing as if it had just betrayed him. "She-She doesn't believe me. She-She hung up."
There were tears running down his cheeks like Ellen hadn't seen since that first day and it was that right there that convinced her that Harry really had just had a vision.
"How long have you been a psychic boy," Bobby asked regretting the moniker as he watched Harry flinch but too stubborn to take it back.
"They started just after term started up again, sir. But," Harry trailed off setting the phone down. And took a deep breath. "I've always had these hunches and instincts that I can't really explain."
"So all yer life than," Bobby said grabbing the phone off the table and starting to dial. "I'm goona call a contact that might be able to help."
Harry nodded and sat stiffly as if waiting for a blow. "I've met more than a few Psychics, Harry. Hunters don't go after them. They never hurt people."
The statement didn't seem to help at all. Harry was still lost in his own little world, more than likely blaming himself for not being able to convince his friend about what was happening.
"What was the vision Harry?"
Harry blinked and looked at her with his head still down. "Doesn't matter. He'll be dead in a few hours and he'll die alone and his family will have no idea. They'll blame me and nothing will be the same again."
Ellen hated to hear the conviction in his voice. The knowledge that it was going to be true.