Disclaimer: Not mine. Harry Potter characters and situations belong to JK Rowling. Castle stuff belongs to Andrew W Marlowe and ABC

Timeline: Fifteen years after "Deathly Hallows". Can be epilogue-compliant. For Castle, takes place just after the season 3 finale.


Summary: His name wasn't always Kevin Ryan. He hadn't always planned to become a New York City detective. But he watched his friends and family die, unable to help them. Fifteen years later, he found himself watching again.

For a moment - barely more than a second - after the gunshot rang out, Detective Kevin Ryan was no longer in New York. The coffin waiting to be interred in the earth did not hold Captain Roy Montgomery. He was not surrounded by officers of the 12th Precinct and their families. The sound preceding the screams was not a gun firing; it was the crack of a dark curse. Kate wasn't the person falling to the ground, eyes wide in pain and shock. Instead, it was Fred, Lavender, Professor Lupin, Colin, Dean, Parvati, Angelina.

Then he heard Esposito yelling for Lanie to get down, and the moment was broken. He was back in the present, torn between joining Castle at Beckett's side or chasing down the sniper. The memories of his hidden past were shoved away, their very existence willfully forgotten once again. It was the only way to keep himself safe. Unfortunately, the memories refused to stay hidden any longer, and the long wait in the hospital gave his mind ample opportunity to revisit his past.

Even before the overly-curious novelist joined their little group, Kevin had never allowed himself to think about Before. He spent all of his time surrounded by detectives, people trained to notice when people were hiding things. That in mind, Kevin lived his role so completely that not even Esposito - a man actively hunting down every secret around him in the wake of losing a partner - realized anything was amiss.

Kevin Ryan was an American of Irish descent. He was the third child and only son in his family, attended a Catholic school for twelve years, and could name up to thirty cousins before needing to think about them. When he was thirteen, he gave up meat for Lent and never started eating it again. He broke up with the vampire girl because sleeping in a coffin was a deal-breaker. There was no trauma that led to his becoming a police officer; just a desire to help other people.

Before Kevin Ryan was someone different; someone who - while still of Irish descent - was born and raised in England. He was the younger of two boys, and both of his parents were the only children of only children. If he had any cousins at all, they were so distantly related that he had never heard of them. When he was thirteen, he watched as Death Eaters burned his parents alive. He can still hear them screaming and smell their flesh roasting when he tries to eat meat. Encountering a real vampire as a teenager made it difficult to play along with vampire girl's delusions. He was saved by a decent Auror t, and it was in the fallen woman's honor that he started at the Police Academy when he arrived in America.

Kevin forcefully shook himself out of his memories as the doctor walked into the waiting room. He caught Esposito staring at him, worry plain on the darker man's face. Learning that Beckett would live was the greatest feeling he could ever remember, greater even than hearing Jenny say 'yes'. As relief swept through him, he collapsed back into the hard plastic chair. He could feel himself beginning to shake, struggling not to cry as it sunk in that Beckett would not be added to the list of people he had lost too soon.

"Ryan? You okay, man?" Esposito asked, leaning over the pale man.

Kevin nodded jerkily. "Yeah. Just need to get some air."

"Then let's head outside," he suggested, helping his partner back out of the chair and leading him out the door.

Once outside, Kevin leaned against the wall, concentrating on keeping his breathing even. Esposito was concerned enough already; he didn't need to worry that the younger detective was about to pass out. The ringing of Kevin's phone startled them both.

He looked at the display, a wrinkle forming between his brows when he recognized the number as originating in England. "Ryan," he said in lieu of a real greeting.

"Hello detective," a female voice greeted. He could still picture the face that voice belonged with; could see the wild red hair waving in a magically-created wind as the young woman dodged spells and shouted out her own.

"Is everything okay?"

"I just wanted to let you know that the Fifteenth Memorial is in two weeks. Do you think you'll be able make it this year? We're going to have a presentation with a bunch of Colin's photos."

Kevin thought about it. While he knew going would bring back all of the hurt, it may allow for real healing as well. He was about to say yes when movement at the edge of his vision caught his attention. Esposito was still there, and he was clearly concerned about the flash of pain Kevin had been unable to completely hide as he considered the invitation.

"Things are too uncertain here to give a definite. I think I'd like to if I can get the time off, though," he finally said.

"We hope to see you there, Dennis."