"Please" Her voice was heavy with emotion, pleading. "Don't go."
Harry sighed and looked over at his best friend. Hermione Granger was the smartest person Harry knew. She absorbed and processed information quicker than even the Professors at their school. She was more than a friend to him – she was his family. Hermione meant everything to him. "I'm sorry. I have to get away from here. I have to leave, I can't escape that fact."
Tears formed in Hermione's brown eyes. "You don't have to go. You could come with my parents and I."
Harry ran a hand through his hair. It had become a nervous habit of his. "You know that I can't do that. I have to leave here – I need to get away from them all. I can't be worshipped by them anymore! This is the quickest way to do that." Harry's voice was barely above a whisper. "I can't stay here – please Hermione. I need you to understand why I'm leaving. I need to get away from the memories."
"I'm going to miss you. We have been through so much together. And," Hermione's voice became like steel and Harry was suddenly reminded why Ron and he sometimes found their female friend scary. "You will text me all the time and email me. You have no excuse now that I've got you a laptop and a phone and shown you how to use them."
Harry gave her a sad smile. "Yes Ma'am."
Harry shook his head to clear away the painful memory of leaving Hermione. She had left a few hours after the conversation to go to France with her parents. Ron and his family had left the day before to move to Romania to be closer to family. Harry didn't blame them. They all needed to get away from England. Away from the adoring and worshipping of the entire damn magical community.
Harry had been raised to a God-like level in their Community. Harry had been hit by Voldemort's Killing Curse and had spoken to Dumbledore about him being a Horcrux. After being sent back to life, Harry had finally defeated Voldemort. As soon as Voldemort collapsed to the floor, darkness had engulfed Harry and he felt as though his soul was being ripped from his body.
An entire year. That's how long Harry had been in a coma. His magic was sustaining his body, so it kept functioning, but it was like he was just….asleep. He woke up to find that everything had changed. Nothing was the same or simple anymore. The magical community the world over had to deal with radical rebels in the first few months after Voldemort's death. After they had been dealt with, it was a matter of changing the community to ensure it never happened again. They got a new Government and new politicians and had new ideals. They reverted back to the old ways, where they called themselves 'psychics' and isolated themselves more from the real world. Blood didn't matter anymore, it was all about preserving the 'psychic' way and gift.
After the world learnt about the prophecy, they began to take Seers more seriously. That was when the real worship began. Harry was already revered because of his defeat of Voldemort, but he became feared once he gained his magical inheritance after his seventeenth birthday. Harry was told that he was now the most powerful wizard since Merlin. He endured this for a few weeks after he woke up – he didn't even get to enjoy his birthday for God's sake, he was unconscious – before the worship became too much when a Seer started tell everyone just what had happened to Harry when he was unconscious. Or more precisely, where his soul was. Harry stamped on that thought before it could develop further. The more he thought about it, the more the memories came flooding back.
"You look like you are deep in thought there."
Harry raised his eyes to look in the direction that the voice came from. A middle aged woman was stood next to her car, which was still running and had the lights on. Harry was walking down some back road in the middle of nowhere. He knew that he was in the state of Missouri in the US, but outside that he had not much knowledge of the geography of the USA. It had been four and a half months since Harry had woken up from his coma, and he was doing his damn best to escape. From everything and anything.
"Its cold, you should get back in your car and carry on with your journey." Harry's voice was polite, but distant and he carried on with his trekking down the road. "I'm not hitchhiking and don't need a lift anywhere."
"Yeah, well. That's not going to work for me." Harry froze and looked back at the woman. Her voice had changed to cold and hard. "You see, I was just floating along and I sensed you. I bet I could get a good price for whatever the hell you are if I sell you to a powerful demon. So I jumped in this ugly meatsuit. You are coming with me whether you are hitchhiking or not." She gave him a near feral grin.
Harry watched as her eyes went from watery blue to jet black in seconds and thought how his life was totally screwed up. He had been avoiding demons and anything supernatural since he touched down in the US. Now that he was paying attention, his senses were practically screaming at him that this woman was shrouded in darkness and virtually stank of demon. He had no idea how he had missed it, but he blamed it on tiredness. He hadn't had any real rest in the last two week and been moving around most of that time.
Harry had had enough of demons during his time unconscious. He immediately shut down that thought, lest he remember the damnation, screams, pain…. There was no way he wanted to recall how he had dragged himself from the flames and torture whilst the demons were distracted by the new arrival of some kind of prize soul.
Demons were not something that he had ever been taught about at school. Wizards didn't acknowledge that there was a being around with more power than them. Wizards liked to stick their head in the sand when it came to anything in the world around them that they didn't like to acknowledge. Like demons. And the fact that Muggles no longer lived a primitive life and could obliterate them all with nuclear weapons if it ever came to a war between Harry's people and them.
Not that Harry could call them 'his people' anymore. He wasn't a wizard anymore that was for sure. Voldemort had killed him and he had been brain dead and physically dead for five whole minutes. Wizards had known for centuries that when they died, their powers bled back into nature gradually from the body. Harry's had been gone by the time he had woken up from his coma. In their place was a dark shadow that he had assumed was a hole where they should have been, but he soon found that it was some kind of unknown power. It was like black vines and tendrils of smoke that relentlessly moved through his very being. He was only just beginning to understand his powers.
Harry backed away from the demon, not sure how to proceed. He had learnt a lot during his co-habitation with demons for his year long 'trip'. But he didn't feel like he knew enough to handle them in the physical world. He increased his backwards pace and the woman just smiled at him in a feral way. As soon as the thought about why she wasn't pursuing him occurred, something heavy hit him in the back of his head and darkness engulfed his vision.
Dean tensed and whirled around, the fridge door slamming behind him. His hand gripped the bottle of beer in his hand, his other reaching for his gun. Seeing that it was an Angel in a trench coat, he stopped reaching for his gun but didn't relax. It had only been two weeks since they had airlifted his ass out of the hotbox, and he still didn't know how to react around them. Or if he should trust them.
"Hey Castiel." Sam had entered the kitchen and stopped short at the sight of the Angel of the Lord in Bobby's worn kitchen. Bobby himself was next to Sam and watching the Angel just as curiously. "What can we do for you?" Trust Sam to be polite to a Supernatural being stood in Bobby's kitchen uninvited. Dean could barely hold his snort in.
Castiel's gaze roved between the three men unblinking, before settling on Dean. "It is urgent that you save someone from the hands of a Demon. I have managed to kill one as it attempted to leave and reach a more powerful demon, but I can not be seen by the other. They must not know that Angels are interested in this particular person."
"Why are you so interested in this person?" Bobby gave the Angels a penetrating look and a slight frown when Castiel refused to look at him.
"We do not have time for an explanation. I will explain once we have them. Do you have the knife?"
"Yeah, I do but-" Dean was cut off by Bobby's kitchen fading and him appearing in an abandoned building. Dean lowered his voice. "That was not cool! Give a guy some warning before you do that next time."
Castiel merely blinked at him. "There is only one demon in the room down the hallway. As I have killed the other, no one else knows about her being here with her prisoner."
Dean sighed and turned to his brother. A few minutes later the strategy was decided following a conversation entirely in hand gestures. And, of course, a quick match of rock, paper, scissors. Dean slipped down the corridor and Sam headed around to the side, through a kitchen that was even grimier and worn than Bobby's.
Dean gripped the demon killing knife in his hand and took a deep breath. He glanced around the corner into the adjacent room and quickly scoped out where the demon and its prisoner both were positioned. The demon was stood over a body that was slumped over, their hands cuffed above their head and chained to the wall. He gripped the knife harder and nodded across the room to Sam, who made a loud noise.
The demon's head whipped around and began to stalk towards the kitchen, which left its back open to Dean. Dean quietly but quickly rushed forward and thrust the vicious knife into the demon's back, right through the heart. He yanked it backwards with all his strength and the body crumpled on the ground before him. He wiped the knife off on his jeans and stowed it back in his inner jacket pocket, within easy reach in case he needed it quickly.
Dean cautiously approached the slumped figure on the other side of the room, and knelt down in front of in. Dean didn't know why this person was so important, but if he could save someone from demons, then he damn well would. Dean felt Sam hovering over his shoulder and heard Bobby and Castiel enter the room, but his entire focus was on the person in front of him. He couldn't help but feel shocked.
The person slumped over was a teenage boy, no older than 18 or 19 years old. He had dark hair and a lean body. He was sporting a split lip, a gash above one eyebrow and bruising down his right cheek bone as if someone had repeatedly backhanded him. He wasn't moving and was too pale. Dean felt a stab of regret. They hadn't reached him in time and the poor kid had been killed by goddamn demons for some unknown reason. Dean was about to turn away, when a flash of bright green caught his eye.
A pair of shocking green eyes were weakly blinking at him and Dean felt a sudden burst of relief. They weren't too late to save the kid then. Sam had already reached up and picked the handcuff locks as the kid was observing Dean with slightly dazed eyes. The kid slumped even further when his hands were released and subconsciously cradled his raw and bleeding wrists close to his chest. Dean automatically reached to help him, and the kid scrambled back against the wall in panic. Dean slowly raised his hands and moved further away, knowing the kid needed space after his ordeal with the demons.
Castiel, it seemed, didn't understand that and moved closer to the kid. The bright green eyes had been focused solely on Dean, some unknown emotion mixed with fear swimming in the emerald depths. But as soon as Castiel was within arms reach his gaze shifted and all other emotion was drowned out by fury as his gaze settled on the Angel. Before he could move back, Castiel had leaned over and his hand had snaked out and touched the kid's forehead.
Harry woke up slowly, his head pounding. He was confused about what was happening when an image of that goddamn angel floated to the front of his mind. As the image sharpened, all confusion was swept out of Harry's fuzzy mind and his eyes snapped open. Daylight burnt his vision, and he blinked at the sudden change.
He was on a worn but comfortable sofa in an equally worn room stuffed full of books. Even from the angle Harry was laying down at, he could see the titles of some of the books and found that they were all rare reference books on the occult, demonology and religion. He sat up slowly and stiffened when he heard someone clear their throat across the room.
The three men who had saved Harry from the demons were stood in front of him, looking down at him with concealed concern. Two of them were younger, in their late or mid twenties but the other guy worn a trucker's cap and Harry guessed him to be forties or fifties. The younger two looked similar enough that Harry would guess that they were brothers. All three men appeared capable and Harry could sense a kind of steely determination in them. A tiny voice in his mind whispered that they were Hunters, which just made Harry's day even more perfect. He really didn't want to get killed by Hunters.
"Are you ok?" The younger of the brothers looked down at him with puppy-dog eyes and a sincere expression.
"I have healed all of his physical wounds."
Harry stiffened at the sound of the Angel's voice. And just when he thought his day couldn't get worst. Harry hated demons, but he understood that they were what they were. They were the product of Hell's effect on the Human soul, and they couldn't be anything else, nor did they pretend to be. Angels, on the other hand, gave off a self-righteous and pretentious feeling, whilst doing whatever the hell they liked. Harry hated them more than he had hated anything else in the world.
"Castiel." Harry didn't even look at the Angel as he spoke through gritted teeth. "I thought I said I never wanted to see you or your siblings again."
"You were being held captive by demons. It was necessary to save you."
Harry finally turned his furious gaze on the Angel. "Well you didn't think that way months ago whilst you left me to rot. So you'll get no thanks or reverence from me this time."
"Hold up." Dean interrupted, confusion evident in his voice. "How do you two know each other?"
"Why don't you ask your pet Angel Dean? I'm sure he will tell you why he so generously decided to swoop in and save me this time." Harry got up and made to leave but was stopped by Dean.
"I never told you my name." Dean grabbed Harry's arm to stop him from leaving, but a vision of bright green eyes, screams and pain accompanied by a feeling of freedom floated unbidden in front of his eyes. He quickly let the teen go, who stumbled back as far away from Dean as possible.
"What the hell?" Dean watched as the teen flinched at the sound of his raised and angry voice and felt bad. He didn't want to scare the kid; he just wanted to understand what the hell was going on. It didn't seem as though the teenager was going to give him any answers, so he turned his demanding gaze towards the Angel. "Tell me what is going on and who he is Cas."
"His name is Harry James Potter and was once a powerful psychic from a community of hidden psychics in Europe. There was a war among them and a man called Tom Riddle made a deal with a demon to gain power. Harry was destined by fate to stop him and he killed him, fulfilling a prophecy. When Riddle died, the demon came to collect his soul. However, because he was using dark magic and rituals, Riddle had accidently linked his soul and Harry's together. Harry was dragged to hell as a result of this accidental link."
Harry refused to look at any of them and was hugging his arms around himself. He flinched as Castiel told these strangers about his darkest time in life. "Yeah, and I was left to rot there, in the pits of hell, for months. I wasn't supposed to be there – I had made no deal with a demon for my soul! I wasn't important enough for the Angel's to save. I only saved the entire goddamn world from a madman with a massive amount of power."
Castiel didn't reply to Harry's angry words, but continued his explanation as though he hadn't spoken. "It was four and a half months ago when my siblings and I felt a soul escaping from hell. But we could feel that it wasn't a demon. At that time, Dean's soul had just entered hell and we began our siege to get him out. We were unsuccessful, when one of my brothers suggested tracking down the soul that had escaped intact from the pit. I tracked Harry down and asked from his help in freeing you. He gave his help."
Dean shook his head. "Cas, I don't know what you are saying here. Spell it out for me."
"Harry showed me a back way into hell whilst my brothers and sisters attacked the main gate. It may have been I who gripped you and dragged your soul out with us, but Harry got us in and out of hell.
It is Harry who save you from Perdition."