AU from the end of fifth year, and SPN is during Dean's last 12 months on Earth. I have dragged HP timeline into line with SPN's, so this takes place in 2007.
My sincerest gratitude to everyone who worked on the Supernatural Wiki Timeline. You have no doubt aided many a fanfic writer, myself amongst them! :)
Bobby Singer hung up the phone and focused on breathing slowly and deeply. Sam's frantic voice still ringing in his ears.
Every month or so, Sam had a miniature meltdown about his brother's impending due date but pride (or some other idjit notion, like sparing his brother some pain) kept him from letting Dean see or hear him.
So when Dean was safely wrapped up in alcohol and/or women for the night, Sam would contact Bobby and...
Well, it was messy. He hated the calls, hated feeling so damned useless as one of the boys he loved like a son wept in terror and self-loathing. He could never – would never – tell Sam to stop calling, of course. Even if he could do nothing else, he could listen when Sam had no-one else to turn to.
After all, when Dean was gone.. Sam would need to be able to turn to someone, or they'd loose him for good.
Thunder rumbled in the distance as the last light of day was choked by storm clouds. Bobby stared through the doorway of his living room, eyes tracing the dim light that fell over books that lay in no order whatsoever.
He had scoured everything he had, contacted everyone he knew who might know more. All he'd found were more and more details about the kind of things Dean would face in the pit. Every bit of it just made him more desperate.
Maybe too desperate.
Moving to the bookshelf, he withdrew an emergency stash of blessed whiskey and took a swig as he tried not to look at the envelope sitting innocently on his coffee table.
It had arrived with the regular mail, but bore no stamp. The address was 'Mr Robert Singer, America'.
It was from a wizard.
He had willingly contacted a man he'd only allowed to live in a moment of weakness. Even now, almost two decades later, he still didn't know if he'd done the right thing or if the charismatic bastard had just pulled the wool over his eyes. For all he knew, he'd allowed the man to continue doing evil across the pond.
He'd only written to him in a moment of weakness, aided by alcohol and fuelled by the need to do something - anything. He gave the boys crap for the stupid shit they'd do on behalf of each other, but it seemed he was just as bad.
Now, he couldn't decide if he was avoiding opening the reply because he regretted ever making contact, or because he didn't want loose the last bit of hope he had left.
"Suck it up, you old idjit." He growled to himself, capping the bottle and storing it back in the bookshelf. He turned to face the envelope, stalking forward with knife in hand and grim resolution in his eyes.
He picked it up. Slit it open.
"Holy mother of..."
Sixteen year old Harry Potter rolled his wand between his fingertips as he stared at the newspapers in front of him. The Wizarding world seemed to be trying to pack an entire year's worth of turbulent opinions, half-truths and lies into one Summer break.
Headlines screamed his status as 'The Chosen One', some articles bemoaning their fate to have a criminal youth be the Wizarding world's only chance of victory against the Dark (the very Dark they had previously refused to believe in, of course, though that wasn't mentioned). One or two articles threw their support behind him, in a blatant attempt to draw readers who wanted to be comforted rather than frightened.
None of them apologised – or even drew attention to – the lies they had happily spewed about him for years.
The wand in his hand vibrated slightly as the magic under his skin twisted and writhed in tightly controlled anger. Dumbledore had arranged for his underage restriction to be done away with, but he'd hardly had to work for it. The government right now would give him a bloody dragon to ride on, if he said he was going to fly it to kill Voldemort.
Having his wand almost constantly in hand had become something of a pacifier. It was.. comforting, to know that something else felt his rage and hurt over the wizarding world's greedy, controlling treatment of him – even if that something was essentially an extension of himself.
Having his wand in hand was almost like having a friend at his side, ready and eager to defend him.
He received letters almost every day now, dropped off under his window by his rotating guard. The guards themselves didn't deign to speak to him of course, and the strict pattern of the friends who wrote to him indicated that Hermione had drawn up a schedule and enforced it in an attempt to alleviate the anger he'd felt last year.
He wasn't sure he felt any better this time around. What was quantity of letters when you knew they were being forced, as platitudes? Where was the pleasure in reading about how bored Ron was, how he couldn't think of anything to say that he hadn't already said, or reading about Hermione's summation of the latest book she was reading? Ron's were empty and Hermione's had all the personal touch of a book report.
Ginny occasionally wrote to him, but the letters had an odd 'dear diary' feel to them. That wasn't to say they weren't more interesting than his best friends' (if only because they were slightly more infrequent) but it was frankly a little weird to read a rambling letter about trying different nail polishes, the article in Witch Weekly about corsets coming back into fashion and whether Ginny would look good with a bob cut or if it would make her look like a tomato.
He received a grand total of five letters from members of the DA, expressing their gratitude for his lessons. The stiffness and detached politeness of their letters just depressed him further, as he realised that of all the people he had that adventure with last year.. none of them really knew him or felt comfortable enough with him to just chat normally in a letter. He was grateful they took the time (and obviously cared enough) to write, but sad that they wrote to a teacher, not to a peer.
Luna sent him a drawing of a creature he couldn't find anywhere in his CoMC books.
From the Order, he heard nothing.
From Dumbledore, he heard nothing.
From Remus, there was an almost tangible silence. With each day that passed, Harry convinced himself further of Remus' utter hatred of him.
So life was sucky enough, thanks. Dark Lord out to torture and kill him? Check. Awkward, detached friends and social network? Check. Complete lack of role models or adult support? Double check with a side helping of shameful grief because even if Sirius hadn't been a very good godfather, at least he'd tried and Harry had gotten him killed.
On top of all that.. well. Frankly, the direction these papers were going in scared him. The hysteria was getting ugly. There seemed to be no sort of press release or public control executed by Dumbledore (which sometimes made Harry so speechless with incredulous rage, he had to put down his wand before it blew a hole through the wall by itself) and once the press had gotten wind of Harry's exclusion from the under aged magic law, they leapt upon it as the beginning of the end – of Harry preparing to do battle against Voldemort, instead of the most basic allowance for a sixteen year old who had a history of being attacked.
Harry was scared of Voldemort and his Death Eaters, but he was more scared by the Wizarding world's irrational reactions and the Order of the Phoenix's singular incompetence in apparently everything they did. That the Ministry was incompetent went without saying.
He felt like the whole world was waiting for him to step outside and destroy Voldemort for them. And it made him so angry. They hadn't faced Voldemort! They hadn't screamed under his torture curse, they had no idea - no, they were wilfully ignoring - how ludicrous the idea of a kid his age destroying Voldemort was.
They didn't want to know. They didn't want to think about anything that might upset them. They wanted to believe the 'Champion of Light' would save them, that all they had to do was wait and a fairy-tale ending would eventuate. After all, if a baby with no training had managed it once, how hard could it be for him now, with five years of the "greatest magical education in the world" under his belt?
He couldn't shake the belief that it was only a matter of time before they tried to force him to fight for them. And that time was running out.
At most, he had a year. One year until he was a legal adult, and there'd be no excuse in their eyes.
Reflexively, one hand lifted to touch the lump under his shirt, where an enchanted moleskin pouch hung low on an unbreakable cord from his neck. The pouch was slightly smaller than his palm, but in it were stored his most valuable possessions along with most of the contents of his vault.
Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Lived, Golden Boy of Gryffindor, Savior of the Wizarding World, was going to run.
Hedwig had brought the letter.
Harry didn't know how she'd known to get a letter from someone he'd never even met and which wasn't even addressed to him, but the fact that she had known and had done so had firmly cemented the fact that she was the single greatest owl in existence.
When Harry had first started planning his escape, he'd though about running to France, or maybe Ireland. Somewhere relatively easy to get to, and where he could get a job and hide amongst the Muggles.
The letter from Mr Singer had changed all that.
The letter had been short and kinda rude, considering the writer was asking for help. It was also a golden opportunity.
Mr Singer had written to Harry's father, asking for help. His return address was in South Dakota, America.
The Ministry of Magic couldn't legally or physically operate in America. No witch or wizard could. Although Binns never mentioned it, the American civil war was covered briefly in their fourth year textbook, and Harry had been plenty lonely enough to read it that year.
In the Muggle world, the soon-to-be Americans had won their war of independence. In the Wizarding world, they'd lost. Britain had won and been very unforgiving about it. The book didn't talk about how they'd done it, but from the end of the war all wizard magic cast in America just... went wrong. Dangerously wrong. With unreliable or dysfunctional magic, most witches and wizards – even dark ones – didn't want to or couldn't live in a country brimming with unregulated vampires and other dark creatures.
Unable to protect themselves, unable to really even 'be' what they were, the wizards had departed the country en mass. What remained behind was, according to his history book, a melting pot of rare and dangerous creatures.
Harry would take it with a smile, if it meant no Death Eater could track him, no Ministry official could compel him - no Order could kidnap him. Whether he eventually fought Voldemort or not, he wanted it to be his choice, when he was ready.
Harry had written back, promising his absolute effort to help in exchange for legally-binding asylum in Mr Singer's home country - America.
Less than a week later, Hedwig returned with not only Mr Singer's agreement, but the first of many legal forms. The easiest - maybe only - way for Harry to gain legal asylum was through the process of adoption.
Adoption had been something Harry had craved throughout his childhood. It had kinda been about someone wanting him for him, but mostly it had been about escape.
And now, it was all about escape, a business transaction and nothing more.
Within three weeks from the day he'd first received Mr Singer's letter, Aunt Petunia was gladly signing the last of the very Muggle forms, citing some rubbish story about how she knew Robert Singer was a good, stern man who would be the best guardian for her unruly, unwanted nephew in his difficult teenaged years. She also added her own note about how after the guardianship was finalised, she would consider Harry dead to her and never wanted to hear about or from him again.
If nothing else, Harry figured, hopefully the American authorities would accept the adoption simply to get a minor out of a house that clearly hated him. The fact that he had no medical records at all to send and no scholastic ones after his required primary education had finished should also help them decide that Petunia was the problem and not him.
Harry hadn't been able to use Hedwig for the Muggle forms of course, but the Dursleys were eager to pay top dollar to have them sent express. The whole household was cheerful in a way Harry couldn't ever remember seeing, with even Dudley smiling more and actually thanking his mother when she put food in front of him. Vernon whistled as he spent his Sunday off waxing the car and painting the fence and Petunia was humming as she took measurements for new curtains and couch covers.
Harry was just surprised that their obvious joy actually hurt him a little.
Still, Harry had put Hedwig to good use in the interim. The arrangement was an escape for him, certainly, but it was also a binding agreement. He had no doubt that if he didn't help, Mr Singer would kick his butt to the sidewalk and without magic, Harry probably wouldn't survive without being deported back to England.
So, he carefully drafted several letters to his friends, Hermione in particular. He kept them vague, whilst also implying his desire to research and study more. He outright asked for help from some and to others he left it implied that he simply needed their advice.
It worked better than expected. Hermione, somewhat predictably, had gone above and beyond his requests and sent him a wide variety of books she'd bought for him. Most were useless considering where he was going, but that in itself was a helpful smokescreen for when the Order inevitably realised he was gone and went looking for him.
Others were not so useless. Potion books, 'how to' herbology books (aimed at growing your own potion ingredients), books on travel and defence with an eye to purchasable items more than spells, catalogues for various stores and pamphlets for Britain's singular magical library were all shrunk and packed away into his moleskin pouch (thank-you owl order catalogues).
Some of the other people he'd tapped for information - some grateful DA members including Neville, but no-one who was connected to the Order in any way - shared with him stories of their past trips, unknowingly educating him on forms of magical transport and currency exchange and just how unhelpful Goblins could be.
Again, most of their information was intended as a smokescreen. Most of them hadn't been further than parts of Europe, and Harry hoped that anyone asking after their conversations would be convinced that Harry's interest in rural Russia meant that he was planning to hide there.
He hadn't mentioned America to any of them, though Luna had shared in passing that she and her father had decided not to go hunting gulping plimpys in Canada, because the magical section there was solidly French and neither of them could stand Frenchmen. Or Frenchwomen. Or Frenchchildren.
That had been one bias Harry hadn't been aware the bug-eyed girl had held, but the throw-away information was also good to know.
There was a magical settlement in Canada and, if they were as French as Luna claimed, they probably wouldn't put up with any British wizards harassing them in the search for Harry Potter.
Of course, Harry himself didn't speak more French than it took to introduce himself and ask for a glass of water, but that could be overcome. He hoped. Maybe one of the many books Hermione had sent him would mention overcoming language barriers.
The time flew by, however, leaving him little to actually study the material sent to him. When he wasn't reading the mail he received, carefully filtering the information he needed from it, or triple-checking his outgoing mail to ensure he wasn't spilling the beans by accident, he was making plans or second-guessing himself.
His Hogwarts trunk was all packed up in the corner of his room, filled with everything he wasn't bringing with him – which wasn't much. His cauldrons (different type required every second year) were designed to be resistant to magic and couldn't be shrunk enough to shove into his moleskin pouch and thus were being left behind. He had also packed almost all of his hand-me-downs from Dudley into the trunk, along with all his Wizarding clothes – school robes & dress robes.
Stuffed into his old primary schoolbag were two changes of clothes that almost fit him, along with his toothbrush and comb – no need to rub his magic in Mr Singer's face, after all. It was clear from the tone of his letters that he didn't like the stuff, but was desperate enough to ask for help from it.
After lengthy consideration, Harry had decided not to keep his standard books of spells(there'd be no use for them in a land where spells went wrong) but figured that his potion and herbology related ones would be useful. Most of his defence books were rubbish (or, again, filled with spells that wouldn't work), so he left them. The divination books were originally packed into the trunk before it occurred to him that maybe Mr Singer wanted some kind of precognitive help (which Harry would quite frankly be useless at, but no point saying so now) and so were then moved to his pouch. The monster book of monsters was a tough call – the damned thing was a menace and lived tightly secured by his belt, often shaking and growling on its own. But America was supposedly full of creatures used to preying on humans – he couldn't shake the notion that the book would be useful, even if it was a pain.
It ended up in the pouch. So did his invisibility cloak and his photo album. His firebolt was probably still locked in a dungeon somewhere in Hogwarts, so that wasn't an option. He kept his omnioculars and one of his Gryffindor scarves but everything else he owned went into the trunk. On the top, before he closed the lid, he left a short letter explaining himself.
He lived constantly ready to run, always wearing his moleskin pouch and only ever keeping his wand and a pamphlet out of his travel bag. When he was sick of looking at advertisements (that always changed), he snuck his aunt's old Women's Weekly magazines out of the bin and flipped through them to distract himself.
Then, finally, it was time.
His Uncle came home beaming like a proud father as he handed Harry his new passport and plane tickets. His flight left early the next morning. By this time tomorrow, he would be in America, with a new guardian, after having turned his back on his world.
He tried to feel excited, but just felt sick.
Bobby tried not to feel guilty as he pulled into the airport parking bay. He was over two hours late to pick up the witch-or wizard, whatever-kid that he'd gone insane enough to adopt. He hadn't meant to be late – for one thing he'd wanted to arrive early enough to set up some stealthy protections first, but there had been an emergency with the boys and their lives had been more important than playing chauffeur. Besides, the kid's father had spun all sorts of tales about magical tracking and transport abilities. Even as he was reading out the chant to a concussed Sam over the phone, he half expected an angry knock at his front door.
But the kid hadn't shown, so here he was – unshaven and unprepared – haulin' ass through the airport and maybe half expecting there to be zombies or something wandering around.
The local airport saw a steady flux of passengers, but not enough for people to linger long. It was easy to spot the lone person waiting in the arrivals lounge, feet tucked up on his seat with the tell-tale flexibility of youth, ratty bag on the chair next to him, one hand fisted tightly around the handle to protect it from theft.
As he got closer, Bobby could see that the kid was.. asleep. Or at least, he looked like it. Shoulders moving slightly with steady breaths, awkward but absolutely still posture.
Bobby cleared his throat loudly and felt a little guilty – though no less suspicious – when the kid jerked sharply awake. Wide, unnaturally green eyes shot to his own, framed by ugly glasses and long lashes. Even without having met the boy's father, Bobby would have wagered money the kid had inherited his mother's eyes.
Bobby didn't say a word as the teen scrambled to his feet. And what a skinny little thing he was! Short, too. It went beyond youth and into the realm of insufficient food. Then again, for all he knew this was a normal childhood look for this type of magic-user.
"Harry Potter?" He checked, knowing his eyes were hard – every bit the hunter. The kid swallowed and nodded.
"Mr Singer?" The boy's voice was light and respectful, with an undercurrent of steel.
Bobby snorted. If this kid was on the level, he'd fit right in.
"Yeah, that's me. You got everything?"
A silent nod, the small carry-on bag lifted up onto his shoulder. Great, they'd probably have to stop by the shops on the way home.
"Good. Let's get goin'." He hesitated over turning his back to the witch, but the kid was gonna be living with him, so...
He turned and strode back towards the exit, sharp ears hearing the quick patter of shorter legs catching up to him. "An' call me Bobby."
This story mostly revolves around Harry and Bobby living on the edge of the show, with Sam and Dean and major events popping in every now and then.