Harry found himself doodling sigils as he waited for the daily Auror meeting to begin. The conference room was quiet, witches and wizards yet to awaken fully at seven in the morning. There was a mug of coffee in most of their hands. Harry was feeling well rested, unlike them. Another night of almost dreamless sleep. He sketched along the margins of his battered notebook. Castiel had been teaching him. There was so much to learn. It was like being back in Ancient Runes class. Except actually interesting.
There were sigils to keep out demons as well as angels. He was starting to learn that not all angels are the same. There are good angels and bad angels. Although good and bad were highly relative terms, according to Castiel. Angels and demons had ranks with tiered powers. They were constantly fighting each other. Humans simply happen to get in the way sometimes. Collateral damage. Obviously he had been captured to lure Castiel and the Winchesters into a trap. He wondered how many people had died that way, by getting caught in the middle.
After the meeting and breakfast, training began. Four hours of it.
Harry wrapped a towel around his waist as he stepped out of the shower and into the empty locker room. That had been a tough few hours. He ran a hand through his damp hair. Wandless magic exhausted him. His fingers were trembling. He sat down on the bench to take a moment. On top of a very physical circuit, he had spent over an hour practicing levitation without a wand. Hermione would be proud of his persistence. However his stomach was less than pleased, grumbling for some late lunch.
A gentle touch at his shoulder from behind prompted him to lift his head and glance around at Castiel. "What?"
"Perhaps you should slow down." The angel erased his tiredness without any fanfare. "You could hurt yourself again."
He let out loud sigh. "I already told you not to come in here." He got up to his feet and walked up to his open locker to grab his clothes. "It's against the rules."
Castiel was too busy staring at the wizard's naked back to say anything.
"And I don't like it when you heal me like that," Harry continued berating. "It's not fair to the others. They're working hard, they get hurt, but you aren't going around helping them out, are you?" He stepped into his boxers before unwinding the towel from his waist and tossing it on the ground. "I know you're going to say some load of crap like how I'm important and all that. Still, you can't honestly think that it's fair to just heal me whenever I get hurt." He pulled his pants on, pausing for a beat when he was met with no response. "No arguments this time?" He turned around.
Castiel had most definitely not been listening. He quickly averted his eyes. "No."
Harry huffed. "Yeah, of course not," he muttered as he pulled his shirt on. "But do you get my point?"
"What did I just say?"
"… You don't want me coming in here."
"Right. Do you understand why?"
No, Castiel didn't know why. In fact, he didn't really care to know what Harry was angry about. He couldn't even think straight. The room had gotten stuffy and much too small in the last sixty seconds. He should go. Now.
So imagine his surprise when he was tugged forward by a forceful pull of his tie, making him stumble into the bench.
"Or were you too busy enjoying the view?"
Warm scent of soap and those unblinking bright green eyes overwhelmed him.
Harry nearly pitched forward when the angel disappeared on him, leaving him empty-handed. "Huh." He tilted his head up to frown at the ceiling.
Safe in his secluded Heaven, Castiel sat on the warm grass, head in his hands and a fierce blush working its way up his neck and ears. He had enjoyed the 'view' a little too much…
It had taken the better part of a month for him to patch things up with the Winchesters. Dean, in particular. Sam had always been the more understanding of the two, having made some ridiculous decisions over the past few years himself. In the end, Castiel had to remind them that they would have done the same for each other. That shut them up. The amount of times Dean had taken a proverbial bullet for Sam… They came around.
That didn't mean they were happy about it.
"So when this happens again, what are you gonna do?" Dean demanded to know. "You're going to try and get yourself killed for him?"
"I am going to become stronger, Dean," Castiel told him.
"Big help that's going to be if you're caught in holy oil."
"I won't get caught again."
Sam shook his head in defeat. "Have you at least given him the hex bags?"
"Yes. Of course."
"And the gun?"
"… He doesn't know how to use one."
Sam and Dean glanced at each other, then at Castiel. "What?"
"Harry doesn't know how to use a gun."
"You've got to be kidding me."
Castiel massaged his forehead in frustration. How could he explain this to them? The world they live in isn't the same world as Harry's. "They use wands. They don't need guns."
Dean sputtered. "Of course he needs a gun! How's he planning on holding off a demon without a gun?"
"He wants to try using magic."
Dean sputtered some more.
Harry, on the other hand, couldn't figure out what the big deal was. "I'm sure magic is just as strong as bullets. I can do some serious damage with my wand," he told Castiel.
"I know. I told them. They won't believe me."
"Besides, I'd feel safer with a wand than a gun." Guns seemed much too primitive. His wand was versatile, the spells moved with him. He'd just have to see which curses worked best on demons, that's all. How hard could that be, he thought sarcastically. "Anyway…" He brushed his sleeve up and turned his arm outward. "How does it look?" He was showing off his new tattoo, the anti-possession mark in black etched into his bicep. It stayed hidden if he kept his arm down, the tattoo pressing into his ribs. "Hurt like hell getting it done."
"It's good," Castiel said. "More importantly, it is correct."
"Yup." Harry dropped his arm to his side again. "Hermione thinks it's morbid."
Very necessary. Last thing Castiel wanted was a demon possessing Harry. "It looks good on you."
Harry laughed. "You think so?"
"You're a minority. Molly was horrified. Teddy thinks I look cool though."
Castiel suddenly remembered something. "Oh. Teddy has been praying to me."
Harry froze with his bottle of Butterbeer near his pursed lips. He carefully tipped the last of its contents into his mouth. Praying? He set the empty bottle on the coffee table. "Can I ask what he's been saying?" he hesitated.
"He just wants to say hello sometimes."
"… I see."
"I feel happy when he prays." Not many people prayed without making requests. Castiel enjoyed Teddy's nightly words. "He has a kind soul."
Harry smiled. "Yeah. He does…" He eased onto his back against his couch, letting his ankles cross and dangle over the armrest. "With Teddy, I was always afraid of doing the wrong thing. I was afraid of holding him wrong… scolding him wrong… I didn't grow up in a home like the Weasleys. I never got to plan birthday parties. No siblings. Hardly had my own room. Chores all the time. So I was afraid of being a bad guardian. But he is so understanding and patient with me. I don't know what I'd do without him. He's growing up too fast. I couldn't wait to grow up and get out of that house, but I don't want Teddy to ever grow up."
"You have forgiven them? Your family?"
"Circumstances." Harry rested a hand across his eyes to block out the dimming light streaming through the windows. It had been so long since he thought about Privet Drive. Perfect houses, perfect families, perfect lives… He had ruined all that for the Dursleys the moment he showed up at their doorstep. No wonder they resented him for all those years. He had resented them for many years as well. But it was all in the past. Their worlds were just too different. Circumstances…
He heard a quiet rustle beside him, pulling him out of his thoughts.
Castiel had knelt down beside Harry on the rug in concern. "Would you like to sleep now?" he asked quietly.
The corners of Harry's lips twitched up as he moved his hand away. "No." He reached up, brushing his knuckles to Castiel's cheek. "You don't have to care that much." Castiel held still as fingers played their way down the edge of his ear to his jaw, but he had to look away from Harry's distant expression. Something was happening and he didn't want to disturb it. Harry felt stubble against his palm. Hard to believe this was an angel before him. "What's his name again?" he murmured.
Castiel needed a moment to understand the question. His name…? "Jimmy Novak."
"Hmm." Harry slid his hand onto the nape of Castiel's neck. "Here goes nothing, Jimmy." He pulled the angel down for a soft kiss.