Chapter 1: Prologue
Six Years Ago-
A burning pain erupted in Gabriel's gut as Lucifer plunged his own blade into his stomach and he doubled over in shock and agony. He'd be lying through his teeth if he said that this turn of events was entirely unexpected, but the betrayal still seared like a dagger to his heart. In spite of his better judgement, there'd been a small, hopeful and oh so foolish part of him that had believed that Lucifer wouldn't really be able to hurt him like this. Not even now. Well, joke was on him, because the thing that had once been his favorite brother did not give a shit about Gabriel beyond that he'd gotten in his way.
The feeling of his wings burning was a special kind of agony that pulsed alongside the stab wound in his gut, but the youngest archangel somehow managed to find the strength to leave a believable copy of himself behind and run before they'd been completely reduced to cinders. Better that they think he was dead; they had no way of knowing that Dad had made sure that no archangel could be killed by his own blade and as far as Lucifer was concerned, Gabriel had been more than sufficiently dealt with.
He crashed into a bed and took a moment to be relieved that he'd landed in the right place. Gabriel didn't know how long he'd be incapacitated for, but it would be for long enough that holing up somewhere with what he knew were good people was definitely for the best. Sure, they'd be confused as hell to see him here, unconscious, looking very nearly exactly the same as when he'd last seen them, some twenty five years ago he was pretty sure, but these people were used to the weird and impossible. He'd just have some explaining to do when he woke up. And anyway, he'd meant to come over to check on them some years ago, seeing them would just have to wait a little longer and this time he wouldn't be able to procrastinate anymore about it. He hoped that they wouldn't be too pissed at him, especially considering he was pretty much totally at their mercy until he was healed, and Dad knew how long that would take.
One thing was for sure. Gabriel wouldn't be waking up in time to help the boys anymore than he already had, that was for sure. He just hoped that he'd bought enough time for the Winchesters to get Kali the hell out and that they'd found his Casa Erotica CD with the instructions for opening and then closing the Cage again. Gabriel was almost loathe to admit it, but if anyone had even the slightest chance of being able to slam Lucifer back into his cage, it'd be those two knucklehead Winchesters, even if they only had Cassie for angelic assistance. Death, at least, would probably just give him his ring as long as he had access to junk food, and he was, for obvious reasons, by far the most deadly of the Four Horsemen. Mind, if Gabriel woke up and the Winchesters had gotten his little brother killed, it wouldn't matter if Samsquatch and Deano had managed to stop Lucifer and Michael's slug-fest, they were dead men no matter how cute the younger one's puppy dog eyes were. Same went for Dean Winchester specifically, if he broke Cassie's heart. If that happened, there was nowhere that the elder Winchester could run. Gabriel would find him and destroy him entirely. Cassie'd already been through enough.
Of course none of that was particularly relevant just then. Gabriel would have to wait to find all of that out when he woke up, provided that the Winchesters didn't fail end of the world or his brothers didn't just kill him while he slept. He wouldn't put it past any of them at this point to track him down and end him while he was out of it, never mind that he was their little brother. Not like they'd ever bothered trying to know their charges beyond "Dad's annoying little new mud monkey favorites" anyway. They wouldn't care that he'd just been trying to protect the humans as best he could. It occurred to Gabriel that he might be a little bit bitter. Hah. Who was he kidding, he'd been more than a little bitter for a few millennia. Thanks for that Pops.
That last little bit of his wings burned off, leaving a dusting of ashes to fall beside him on the bed. A tiny whimper managed to make it's way out past his lips as his thoughts went decidedly muddled with pain. It hurt more than any of the other, many things he'd gone through. Still, if it meant that the boys, Kali and any of the pagans who were left had managed to get out alive, it was worth it because that meant for maybe the first time since he'd left Heaven, what he'd done had counted for something. He hoped it had anyway, and at this point hope was about all he could do.
His last thought before he drifted off was that something didn't seem quite right here. Something was missing, something very, very important, but the archangel was too tired and too injured to even really register that thought before his eyes fell closed, his body slumped, and his mind quieted for the first time in a very long time.
What Gabriel had noticed subconsciously was this: the manor he'd landed in was completely empty, and had been that way for over two decades. No one was there to notice the archangel asleep in the spare room on the second floor. And the manor would continue to remain empty but for it's single sleeping occupant for several more years to come until a boy and a man, both on the run, were led there by a large black dog who at that point in time was a whole ocean away, trying to get back home.
Sam was having a bad day. Which, thinking about it, was probably one of the biggest understatements he'd ever thought in his life. God was dead, and who knew where Cas'd gotten blasted off to, or if he was uninjured. Sam himself had hole in his shoulder that he was fairly certain was still bleeding and was currently stuffed into the trunk of a car. Presumably, they were taking him to an airport for a flight to Great Britain where he would "answer for the crimes against humanity committed by he and his brother." God these assholes were full of bullshit. They might have broke the world a little a few times, but they'd always been the ones to fix it, even when it hadn't been their fault.
Oh, and Dean had just killed the Darkness by making himself into a living soul bomb; he was dead too. So really, it would be more accurate to say that Sam was having a Hell day. Literally; this was uncomfortably similar to a number of the scenarios Lucifer had put him through during his time in the Cage. Similar enough that Sam had caught himself pressing down on the scar on his hand, just to make sure this was real. He kind of wished that Toni Bevell had aimed a few more inches to the left and just killed him. As it was she'd given him a lovely gunshot wound in his shoulder that reared its ugly head every time they hit a bump in the road. Every. Damn. Time. Sam was pretty sure that he'd passed out from the pain a few times; they hadn't bothered to give him anything for the pain.
Finally, several pit-stops, five different cars, and a rough patch up job of his shoulder to ensure he wouldn't bleed out later, they slowed to a stop. Sam was unceremoniously yanked out of the trunk, no mind paid to the hole in his shoulder, sonuvabitch that hurt.
"Watch it," Sam snarled when the encroaching cray had cleared out of his vision. He was summarily ignored in favor of barking and acknowledging orders; none of these assholes had spoken so much as a word to him since he'd been shoved into the trunk of the first car.
Preoccupied as he was with cursing enough to have made Dean proud and struggling against being manhandled into the plane, and as busy as the Men of Letters people were with doing the manhandling, they all failed to notice the huge black dog that had made his way into the small cargo hold of the plane and hid behind the luggage.
A very large black dog lay, crouching behind the numerous suitcases that also occupied the cargo hold of the plane, and pondered his luck. He hadn't had much of it these past two decades that he;d been stuck here. He couldn't change out of this form, for one, which made it extremely hard to go anywhere fast, much less cross an ocean. No one sold plane tickets to dogs. He'd tried plenty of times, of course, but each time, he'd either been caught or wound up in the wrong place. Coming down from Alaska had taken him two years and had nearly killed him. Winters up north were not to be messed with.
So, not so much for good luck, so much so, that he'd been close to giving up on ever getting home. Still, his bad luck streak couldn't manage to hold out forever.
His nose had caught the wiff of fresh blood as he'd been slinking, careful not to be seen, around this tiny airstrip looking for a plane that seemed as though it might be headed in the vicinity of the UK. He'd gone to investigate it, and seen the blond woman and what appeared to be her goons shoving an extremely tall young man with bloodstained bandages wrapped around his shoulder into the plane.
She, at least going from what he could hear of her voice as she barked orders, was most definitely British. Excellent. It looked like this little plane might just turn out to be his ticket home. Hopefully.
It's a risk, Sirius Black realized as he his behind the luggage in the cargo bay, but then again, I've really been one for being careful. At this point he didn't even care where he ended up, just so long as it was east of the Atlantic. If he ended up in Asia, he could damn well walk.
This was the first even remotely concrete chance he'd gotten in well over twenty years to get back to his godson and remaining best friend. There was no way in hell that he was passing this up.
Dean was still reeling. He'd just managed to freaking Dr. Phil the two most powerful beings in the freaking universe into making nice with each other. As in God and his freaking sister. The world wasn't ending, for once, and he wasn't dead. This, he reflected, was something of an anomaly. Usually, Sam, he and/or Cas were dead, almost dead or might-as-well-be-dead-right-now in the aftermath of the prevention (or cause, if he was being honest) of one apocalypse or another. This time, they were all alive, and, unless Cas and Sam'd somehow already managed to bury themselves in trouble again, uninjured. They could kick back a little, relax some, and take some time to integrate the newest curveball that Amara had thrown them before something else insane happened.
Speaking of said curveball, Dean was glancing over to the passenger seat every few seconds to make sure that the woman sitting there wasn't just a figment of his imagination. Because, oh yeah the freaking Darkness had decided that she owed him and brought his freaking mother back from the dead. His mom was alive for the first time since he was four (and no, he wasn't counting the time-travel incidents, that had been the woman who would become his mom). His mom was alive. And Dean was firmly believing that there wouldn't be another shoe-drop to make that temporary. He figured that he was entitled to some reeling. Dean was still having trouble believing it.
They'd been in this car for a good few hours, well away from the park where the God Twins had made up and they hadn't said much to each other at all. Of course she herself was having her own trouble believing that Dean was actually her son and that the second incident with ol' Yellow Eyes and with the poltergeist weren't just bizarre nightmares. But that was okay, Dean could work with that and he could hardly blame her for it. They could talk later. If Dean was her, he wouldn't believe that the random fully grown dude calling him mom was actually the son he'd last seen at four years old either. She needed time, and he'd just have to prove to her that he was telling the truth, and he could do that along with Sam and Cas just as soon as they got back to the bunker.
God, Sammy. Dean's foot pressed just a little harder on the accelerator. When the sun stopped going out, his little brother and Cas must've thought that Dean had died taking out Amara. He needed to get that cleared up as soon as humanly possible, and if that meant breaking the speed limit pretty much constantly? Well that was just how it was gonna be.
Castiel was quickly going beside himself with worry. He'd crash-landed in the middle of nowhere Manitoba of all places, and he'd had to knock some poor truck driver out cold to get transportation back to the bunker. He just hoped that Sam was still there. Cas was fairly certain that that eventuality was highly unlikely, given that the young woman who'd banished him knew that he knew where it was and that Sam hadn't answered any of his many phone calls. No, Cas didn't think that Sam would still be there, but he could hope. Still the whole thing was very worrisome.The fact that she'd known how to banish him worried him that much more.
Cas also hoped that Sam would be alright when Cas found him, but the Winchesters had a habit of landing head first in the biggest trouble that could find them and so he doubted that too, especially since Dean was no longer alive to look out for him.
The angel's grip on the steering wheel tightened so hard that the leather creaked. Sam would be fine. He had to be. Cas would make sure that he was. He couldn't lose Sam too, not so soon after Dean, and not after he'd promised Dean that he'd look after him. He felt the corner of his mouth twitch upwards just slightly at the thought that if if he did lose Sam, Dean would likely find some impossible way out of the Empty just to kick Cas's ass for not looking after his little brother properly.
Grieving would have to wait. There was still a Winchester that could be saved, and Cas would be damned to the Empty himself in he failed him again.
Harry Potter was pacing; had been for that past hour. Teddy had been missing for at least three hours, probably longer.
Teddy'd left a week prior, with plans to return the day prior. He'd been on an Auror mission investigating rumors of muggles who'd gotten turned into werewolves in Sheffield, and were, apparently, very different than wizards who'd been Turned.
He'd not come back, and had missed the scheduled check-in for three hours ago that he should've called in to say that he needed more time. When his handler had gone to check on him, he'd been gone from his hotel room, with no clue as to where. Harry'd been trying to track him to no avail, which in his experience, was never a good thing. Not for the fist time, Harry cursed his Godson's decision to become an Auror. He was proud as all hell to be sure but it was a dangerous job, and Teddy being a part of it scared Harry just as surely as if Teddy were his own son. Which, of course, he was in all the ways that counted.
Harry's musings were interrupted when the door to his office abruptly burst open to admit his out of breath best friend.
"Any news?" Harry asked him immediately, stopping his pacing.
Ron nodded, catching his breath. He must've run all the way here from where ever he'd gotten the update to be that out of breath, Harry realized. God, he hoped that they'd managed to find Teddy.
"We've got a lead mate. It's definite, but I don't know that it's a good one." The look on Ron's face told Harry all he needed to know.
His blood ran cold, and he was out his office door running flat out before Ron had even managed to finish his sentence, his best friend his heels. He didn't think he'd been this scared for someone since the War, and judging by the look in his best friend's eyes, Ron hadn't been either. Whatever they'd found, it hadn't been good. And if someone had killed his godson, they'd find out exactly why he'd been the one leading the defense group whose members spanned all seven Hogwarts years and had stood against Voldemort when no one else had at the age of fifteen. There would be hell to pay.
Mary Winchester was very confused, and not a little bit scared. This situation that she was finding herself in had reached a level of crazy that even she had never thought would be possible. If this was a trick, whoever was behind it was getting their asses kicked into the next century for bringing her back into this supernatural bullshit.
One moment, she'd been at home, in her nice stable, normal house in Kansas, going upstairs to check on her youngest son. The next she knew, she was standing in a park in her nightgown, with a grown man claiming to be her four year old son and that she'd somehow come to be over thirty years in the future. Because she'd been dead for all of that time, but had been resurrected by someone who was apparently God's sister as a thank you. Now, she was in a car with him, going to where, he'd told her, he could give her proof as to what had happened. If she didn't believe him after that, he'd told her that she'd be free to go.
Ordinarily she'd dismiss the whole thing out of hand as completely impossible and possible a very, very bizarre djinn dream, and the man as batshit insane. She'd seen a lot in her life, but time travel had never been one of them. But...They seemed like dreams, and she was almost sure that that was all they were. But what if they weren't? What if they were memories? The Yellow Eyed Demon, burning on the ceiling. Being a ghost for years, protecting, and saving the tall young man from the poltergeist. Being absolutely sure, down to her ghostly bones, that that young man was her baby, her Sam all grown up.
The other young man in the maybe-dream. The other young man, who was the reason she hadn't just slapped the man in the car next to her and ran. Because she'd still somehow wound up in a park in the middle of the nowhere. Because in the maybe-dream, she'd been sure that the other young man had been Dean, her Dean, and he was the same man, albeit older, who had stopped dead the instant he'd seen her in the park and called her Mom. The same man she now rode in this stolen car with. What if he was right and she'd died and become a ghost haunting her house for a good twenty-odd years before sying a second time facing down a poltergeist.
Mary was confused, but she was a (ex)hunter, and she'd never been stupid. She'd dealt with what most deemed to be impossible for most of her life. This man said that he could prove to her what he'd told her. If he was telling the truth, and he could, well she just might have to believe him. And then she would have a very long talk with her sons about how, exactly, they'd come to be hunters. If he wasn't telling the truth? Well, she might be a bit out of practice, but Mary was still fully capable of kicking his ass. If it was a djinn dream? Well that sorry bastard would be dead before they knew what'd hit them.
Teddy Lupin had decided that this was officially the worst (almost) two weeks of his life, by far; he'd never been this bad off before. The rumors he'd been investigating in Sheffield had turned out to be true. Muggles had been turned into werewolves, and they were nothing like any werewolves he'd ever seen, heard of, or read about. Then again, he'd never seen, heard of, or read (barring that they weren't a thing) about Muggle werewolves at all, so there was that.
The thing, his main problem until he'd been freaking abducted was these werewolves didn't just kill and/or turn, they ate hearts, and to make things even worse, they had no idea that they were behind the killings. It was just a handful of werewolf-turned innocent and unknowing muggles who went on killing sprees that they couldn't remember one night a month.
Then one of those batshite insane "Men of Letters" muggles had come to investigate, and found Teddy rolling around, trying to subdue one of the Muggle weres who he;d managed to track back to her house. Problem was, it was the full moon and Teddy was both beyond pissed and fighting for his life. Thus, he'd been in the one form that came unconsciously and consistently, and only, on the night of the full moon. Hair longer than he ever kept it at any other time, eyes glowing yellow and lupine, teeth elongated into fangs. It was as close to being a fully fledged were as Teddy ever got, and it certainly wasn't human looking. Not to mention that he and the other were had been throwing each other around the room with inhuman strength that left dents in the walls and rendered furniture into piles of useless junk.
The man had shot the other were dead, then regarded Teddy with a kind of shocked fascination as his features came back to what they usually were. Hair that was shorter and turquoise, dark amber eyes, normal teeth, and a good few inches shorter. The man had cocked his head, eyes cold, and pulled out another gun. The next thing Teddy knew, he'd been knocked on his arse unconscious and come to in an honest to Merlin dungeon. Handcuffed. To chains that dangled from the ceiling. Like what in the name of Merlin's scraggly beard was wrong with these people?!?!?!
According to the "Men of Letters" as these people called themselves, Teddy was a "unique curiosity" that just had to be "studied as much as possible". That was, in Teddy's humble opinion, complete and utter bollocks. Though his cuts and bruises from his scuffle with the strange werewolf had long since faded, he'd long since acquired plenty more to replace them throughout the course of this so-called "studying". More like recreational torture.
That Harry hadn't found him yet was Not Good. And until his godfather did find him, Teddy was completely at the mercy of these psychopaths (he'd lost his wand in the fight with the werewolf.)
Bollocks he thought, I'm really screwed this time.
Gabriel was sleeping. Well, unconscious due to being ran through with his own blade or even comatose would probably be more accurate, but that was just semantics anyway, and there was no one here but him. The point was, he'd been sleeping for what he was pretty sure had been a good few years, and it hadn't been even close to being in any way peaceful.
He'd been dreaming, nearly constantly, always something different. Most of it was full of candy, Kali, and/or any one of his other lovers, occasionally simultaneously (with an occasional cameo from a certain moose-man that he'd never admit to while conscious), but occasionally Gabriel caught glimpses of what he thought must've been happening out in the real world while he slept.
Sam, or was it Lucifer? Falling into a massive hole in the ground with someone he though might be Michael. Had to've been, Gabriel couldn't think of anyone else that the youngest Winchester would drag down into the cage with him and damning the Samsquatch to an eternity in the Cage was the only thing they'd been able to come up with? Damn it. His oldest brother must've found another vessel. Poor schmuck. No one deserved that, certainly no human who'd been tricked into saying yes to Gabrie's douchebag of an oldest brother.
Sam, but not Sam, then Sam again, and in so much pain my Dad how was he alive? Cassie, his baby brother Cassie, lying comatose, but then awake and babbling about bees, so heartrendingly clearly out of his mind. He and Deano standing next to an exploding was that Leviathan, what in the hell, and then vanishing. Abbadon but hadn't she been killed, Naomi Dad what a bitch get your Daddanmed claws the hell out of Cassie, Metatron what did that slimy asshole think he was doing the MARK OF CAIN WHAT THE HELL, Aunt Amara, well shit, we're screwd now, Lucifer again oh come on, but then Dad, holy shit, he's back, and then. Well that lucky son of a bitch. Dad and Amara are okay again, well yay for them, but hell, Sam's not doin' so hot, not that he isn't hot, but ouch that looks like it hurts and then dark, calm blackness for the first time since he'd been unconscious.
And then a voice. Familiar, and oh so comforting, even as he'd spent the last few thousand years dearly wishing he could punch it's owner squarely in the face.
"Hello, Gabriel. I'm so sorry, for everything, and so very glad that you're alive. I won't be here when you wake, your Aunt and I have gone a way for a while to finish repairing out relationship, and I don't know when, or even if, we'll be back. You should wake up soon. When you do...well it looks like the Winchesters could use some help. Good luck, my son. I love you."
Dad? But then he was gone, and Gabriel was back to dreaming. That had probably been a dream too, anyway. After all, Dad had never apologized, not to any of them, ever.
So, like I said the canon compliance basically ends after season 11 of Supernatural, so Toni Bevell shot Sam in the shoulder instead of his leg. I think the next chapter's gonna be a lot less broken up, and I'll start more into actual plot.
Hope you guys liked it, please let me know what you think down in the in the comments. Constructive criticism is always welcome.
Chapter 3: Dungeon Conversations
Okay, so I know I said that everything was completely AU after the season 11 finale, and that's still pretty much true...but I might be using some names from season 12 for Men Of Letters characters. That definitely doesn't mean that they're going to be the same people-at all, because apart from being general assholes who like to torture people...yeah definitely not the same except in name and maybe a little in appearance.
Warning: lil bit of violence some mentions of torture, and general Men Of Letters being sadistic assholes. Also, language.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Teddy had been locked in the absurdly medieval dungeon for almost exactly two weeks when they brought the new bloke in. The guy was seriously tall and was sporting injuries that included but might not have been limited to, a spectacularly colored black eye, several scratches varying in depth, and whatever it was on his shoulder that required so many worryingly bloodstained bandages. Teddy figured he'd either been shot or stabbed. With these arseholes it could've been either. It didn't look, or smell for that matter, like it'd been well cared for either. Pricks.
New Bloke (Teddy resigned himself to calling him that until he got the man's name) hissed in pain as his arms were roughly shoved above his head and into the cuffs dangling from the ceiling about a meter to Teddy's left. Teddy winced sympathetically. The Arses of Letters were never what one might call gentle, and with that shoulder...Seriously. Ouch. Still, New Bloke managed a sly grin directed at their captors and said, with no small amount of snark even as his voice was strained,
"I've gotta admit, your dungeon's better than ours."
That earned him a slap on the face hard enough that he rocked backwards with the force of it. That couldn't have felt good on that shoulder. Teddy winced in sympathy again, even has he wondered who this (apparently American, going by his accent) bloke was that he had a dungeon to compare this one to. Because seriously, in this day and age, who the hell had dungeons what didn't come with a medieval castle? And these days who the hell owned a castle? Especially in America? The Men of Letters pricks swanned off to do whatever it was they did when not torturing people at the leisure, and New Bloke's scorching glare followed them out.
They stood in silence for a while, but Teddy got bored with that rather quickly and he hadn't had anyone even remotely friendly to talk to in days, so he decided to try his hand at starting a conversation with his new cellmate.
"So...," he said, "Are you gonna bother giving me your name, or are we just going to sit here in silence waiting for one of those arseholes to come back while I call you New Bloke in my head and make up your life story?"
New bloke snorted something that vaguely resembled a strangled sort of laugh, and looked over at Teddy, "I'm Sam. Who're you?"
The now-named Sam glanced around their cell again, tugged on his cuffs, presumably to test them, and cringed at the pain it must've inflicted on his shoulder. He then sighed, giving Teddy a wry smile.
"Well Teddy, what'd they decide to throw you in here for?"
"Well, apparently," he began sarcastically, "I'm a 'uniquely fascinating inhuman being" and apparently, that means that I 'must submit to through studying to better enhance the knowledge of those better qualified".
"Not," he added, "That I've been informed as to what these people are better qualified to be doing. It's not studying, that's for bloody sure. What these pricks call science I call low lever torture."
Sam raised his eyebrows, looking curious.
"What is it that makes you so 'uniquely fascinating?"
Oh, no. This bloke wasn't getting all his secrets that easily.
"Nuh uh, not just now, It's your turn. What're you here for?"
Sam gave another laugh, this one sounding less like he was being strangled, and more like he was actually amused.
"Fair enough. I'm here because I'm a 'jumped up hunter mucking about in things he doesn't understand.' Oh, and apparently that 'mucking about' had included a whole bunch of 'committing crimes against the human race' or something equally as stupid.
Teddy let out a whistle. Damn.
"Well, can't say that I know what a 'hunter' is supposed to be, but I'm definitely curious. These Men of Letters blokes've definitely got a real obnoxious 'holier than thou' deal going on, don't they?"
Sam let out another rusty chuckle and gave Teddy another half-smile.
"That's for damn sure."
Something dark flickered behind his eyes, and Teddy realized with a jolt what it had been about the older man that had been niggling at him since the bloke'd been tossed in here with him.
Even when his chuckled and grinned, both actions half-arsed at best even when they were genuine, he never lost the infinitely sad look lurking in his eyes. Teddy was pretty good at reading people, but he didn't need that skill to suss this one out. He knew that look. It was in his Uncle George's eyes every time he turned to joke with a twin who was no longer there. He'd seen it in Harry's eyes, Ginny's, all the adults in his family really, whenever someone brought up the War or someone they'd lost. It was the look of someone who'd fought long, fought hard, and had lost far, far too much in the process.
It was old, but new too, like something had happened, not long ago either, that took existing wounds and tore them right back open with a loss that brought everything else crashing back. He was grieving, both for something or someone he'd lost very, very recently and, unless Teddy was very much mistaken, many, many things and or people he'd lost in the past. Merlin, Mordred, and Morgana, just what the hell had this man been though?
"Sorry, what?" Teddy realized that he'd been so caught up in trying to figure his cellmate out, that he'd completely missed him trying to get his attention. "What were you saying?"
The corner of Sam's lips twitched up, though he didn't say anything except to repeat his question.
"I told you why I was here, so it's back to your turn now. Why are they calling you an "uniquely fascinating inhuman?"
Teddy laughed in site of himself, ignoring his protesting bruised ribs, and decided to try his hand at being a little cryptic.
"I suppose I do owe you that. There are two-well I suppose there could be three, but they only know about one even though they've seen two, because they've attributed the second to the first."
Sam raised his eyebrows again, looking even more curious then before.
"Now I'm really interested. Are you inhuman?"
He sounded just that: interested, and Teddy got the distinct impression that Sam wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised, or even phased, should Teddy tell him that he wasn't human in the slightest. Again, Teddy found himself wondering just what the hell it was that this guy did.
"Some might say so, not that I or my adopted family agree with them," Teddy told Sam, "My father was a werewolf."
"And you're not?" When Teddy shook his head, then his cellmate was surprised. This bloke was weird. "I thought that lycanthropy was hereditary."
Now it was Teddy's turn to be surprised. Was this guy a wizard? He hadn't seemed like it, and anyway, these days anyone worth their salt knew that it couldn't be passed down, not fully. But then again, maybe...
"No, it isn't. At least...not that kind."
The eyebrows went up again.
"There's more than one?"
Teddy shrugged as best he could with his arms chained above his head, though he doubted that it was very effective.
"Apparently. Just over a week ago, I'd've told you there was only one. Believe me, I was just as surprised when I ran into the kind I'm guessing you're used to."
Sam still looked somewhat skeptical, but he just said.
"We should talk some more about that later. Right now I'm more curious about the other two things.'
Teddy smiled. This could turn out to be just a bit fun. Maybe he should be more worried about the whole "Statute of Secrecy" thing, but he was stuck here, and besides. Sam clearly knew about supernatural stuff, and worst comes to worst? When Harry finally finds him, they could just obliviate Sam, though the thought made Teddy sad. Sue him, he liked the odd probably-Muggle.
"Here's the first thing, the one they noticed," Teddy told Sam. As he said it, Teddy gave his legs a few extra inches of length, just to take the strain off his sore shoulders and wrists, while simultaneously shifting, or rather un-shifting, his features.
His hair lost it's spike, and lengthened a few inches while bright turquoise faded to sandy brown. His eyes reverted back to their natural blue-gray, and his faced went a good few shades paler then he usually kept it, though the shape of them all stayed the same.
With the sole exception of his height, Teddy was now in the form he'd have been in if he'd never been a metamorphmagus, which only came when he let go of all his morphs. It was something that had taken him years to learn how to do, a dogged attempt to learn how much he really looked like his parents, or his dad at least. It wasn't something that he did often, for all that, apart from his wolf-ish form, it was his easiest from to take. Teddy very nearly always vastly preferred his look to be of his own creation. Plus for whatever reason, it just felt weird. Still, the downright priceless look currently on Sam's face made the weird feeling well worth it. His cellmate's eyes were as wide as saucers, and his jaw was hanging open.
Sam blinked once, twice, then regained himself enough to say,
Sam watched in utter disbelief as his fellow prisoner completely changed his appearance right before his eyes. Just what the hell was this kid? A shifter maybe? But no, his basic facial structure and the shape of all his features were staying the same, just turning different colors, plus the added few inches of height. Teddy hadn't changed to look like a different person, just a different version of himself. Sam was years and many, many insane happenings past being anything approaching easily surprised, but this was something even he had never seen before.
"The hell?" he choked out, brain racing.
Teddy seemed to be fully enjoying his astonishment, grinning in amusement, all the while something started to niggle at the back of Sam's mind. Something about all of this was ringing a bell somewhere in his brain, something about this was very familiar, but what? And where from?
"In addition to being half werewolf, I'm also what's called a metamorphmagus," Teddy started to explain.
And just like that, all the puzzle pieces plunked into place all at once to form a complete picture. A fairly absurd picture if Sam was honest with himself, but...
'It's not like it'll be the first time I've met supposedly fictional characters in the flesh before' Sam reasoned with himself, 'and really, this wouldn't even be in the top five weirdest things that've ever happened to me. Anyway, only one way to find out. Ask him.
"Are you trying to tell me that you're Teddy Lupin," Sam said somewhat incredulously in spite of himself, "like Teddy Lupin from freaking Harry Potter Teddy Lupin? That Teddy?"
Teddy looked surprised, then confused, then recognition seemed to dawn, like he'd figured something out.
"Ohhhh...you've read that series of books, haven't you?"
"Uhhh, yeah, I have," Sam said, thinking who hasn't? He'd read the books, and had then forced Dean read them, which hadn't been nearly as hard as Dean would have anyone believe. In return Dean had made him watch all the movies with him and...Not thinking about that right now. Nope. If he started in on Dean stuff, he'd end up sobbing right here in this dungeon, chains and all.
Teddy smiled again, and laughed a little.
"To answer your question, yes, I'm that Teddy."
He laughed again, like he couldn't help it, and when Sam looked questioningly at him explained,
"Harry hates those bloody books with a passion, he'd burn 'em all if he could. Spent years trying to figure out how that author woman knew everything in them, never figured it out. It drives him completely bloody spare."
It was Sam's turn to laugh, feeling better then he had in days despite the circumstances. He really was starting to like this kid.
"Oh, I know that feeling well. My brother and I have our own infuriatingly accurate and detailed book series to deal with."
Teddy looked intrigued.
"Really? What's it called?"
Sam made a face.
"You probably don't know it. It's called Supernatural, and it might be one of the most annoying things that've ever happened to us. We've got our own fans, conventions, goddamned LARPing." Remembering Becky, he shuddered. That woman could probably compete with Toni Bevell on pure 'crazy.' "It sucks. Like completely, epicly sucks, and the fans can be damn creepy to boot."
The kid's jaw dropped.
"Supernatural? You're bloody joking!"
Well damn. Teddy did know the series, or at least of it. That surprised Sam; he hadn't thought that the series would have made it to the UK, much less to the wizarding community. His surprise must have shown on his face, because Teddy, having evidently accepted that Sam wasn't kidding without him having to do any convincing, explained.
"My godbrother loves those books," he told him, "And I think my girlfriend might actually be a tad bit obsessed. She was pissed at the way that last book ended."
Sam groaned. Of course she was.
"She won't go completely crazy if I ever happen to meet her, is she? And for the love of God please, please tell me that neither of them are Sam slash Dean shippers." That was something he'd, for all he wished otherwise, would never be able to un-know was a thing. He vastly preferred the whole Destiel thing. That, at least, was based in the goddamn truth.
"She's not a psycho fan, I swear, and neither is Jamie. And neither of them would ever ship the Sam slash Dean thing, that's just gross."
Sam could not put into words how much he agreed with that statement, and couldn't be bothered to dwell on the subject long enough to try.
"Although," Teddy continued, seemingly as an afterthought, "Vic at least, though I think Jamie also, think that your brother, and that angel-Castiel, right?"
Sam, thinking that he could see where this was going and liking it, grinned and nodded.
"Okay, so your brother and Castiel. They think that the two of them are completely and utterly mad for each other, but both of them are to thick to go about doing anything about it, because they're each completely blind to how the other feels."
Sam, despite himself, burst out laughing. That was just too good.
"Oh my God, you have no idea how right your god-brother and your girlfriend are. Those two are so obvious it's a little sickening. I think even Gabriel might've picked up on it, and we only saw him with Cas was with us once. Those two idiots have been pining for each other for-"
Jesus. He'd been so caught up in his conversation with Teddy that he'd somehow managed to forget that there was no, 'are' no 'have been' for Dean. Not anymore. Tears were ricking at the backs of his eyes, and his face must have fallen pretty spectacularly, because Teddy was suddenly looking very concerned.
The kid opened his mouth, probably to ask what the hell was wrong with him, but he never got the chance. The lock on the door to their cell clicked, and Toni freaking Bevell strutted into the room on the heels of a Man of Letters Sam didn't recognize. The man, who was dark haired and surprisingly young for how much authority he carried himself with, gave Teddy an extremely nasty smirk to which Sam's cellmate responded with a heated glare.
Huh. So looked like this guy had very probably been the cause of at least some of the injuries covering Sam's new...friend? At the very least, at this point, good acquaintance, and Sam had already decided that he liked the kid a lot. So he glared at the guy too, then shot a venomous look at the Bitch of Letters who ignored him.
The man rubbed his hands together, looking, for all that he seemed to be trying to appear impassive, far too gleeful for Sam's peace of mind.
Well, looked like he wasn't planning on leaving any time soon. Damnit. Sam had really been looking forward to seeing where he and Teddy could go with the whole different werewolves thing. Now he'd have to wait on account of these dicks.
"Well now. Mr. Winchester, pleasure to make you acquaintance at long last. I've been wishing to speak with you for some time now, and now here we are!" he said, as conversationally as if they were meeting in a cafe.
Sam glared at him. Speak with him his ass.
"Really?" he said sarcastically, "You know, last I checked, 'speaking' with someone doesn't involve abduc-"
Sam saw goddamn stars, pain shooting through his face as the man's fist slammed into his mouth and split his lip, and he could hear Teddy let out an indignant yell on his behalf. Ow, ow, ow ow.
The force of the blow sent Sam careening backwards in his chains yanking on his wounded shoulder in a way that sent agony racing through his body. This punch had been a lot harder than the slap he'd gotten earlier, and this time he was pretty sure he'd felt the stitches Bevell had reluctantly had one of her goons give him to keep him from bleeding out pull apart. Great. More blood. It was all he could to to keep himself conscious, and he nearly wasn't able to keep a pained groan from escaping him. He'd been through worse to be sure, far worse, but still. Pain was pain was pain, and Sam had a horrible feeling that this particular son of a bitch took great pleasure in inflicting it on whoever he could.
Toni Bevell was smiling at him like a kid in a candy store, the bitch. If he got loose, these two would be the first on his shit list. Sam hadn't decided whether or not he'd kill them if and when he got the chance, but either way. They'd better keep close watch on him, because if they slipped up? Sam fully intended on making the both of them wish they'd never been born, and if Teddy was so inclined, he'd be fully welcome to help out.
Shaking off his fist, the man turned to the woman.
"Bevell," he barked at her, "You can have your fun with the boy. I'm going to take a little quality time with Sam here, and ensure that he was indeed being truthful with you in regards to the death of his brother."
"It would be my genuine pleasure, Mr. Ketch."
At a word from the Head Bitch (as Sam decided to start calling her) two enormous goons came lumbering into the cell to transfer Teddy to handcuffs not attached to the ceiling and cart him off God knew where. The kid gave him a worried look as he was manhandled out of their cell, and Sam tried to give him a reassuring look.
And iron grip that was sure to leave bruises clamped down on Sam's jaw. It forced him to look at Mr. Ketch, or as Sam had decided to dub him so as to match Head Bitch, Head Dick. The man had adopted a disturbingly placid thoughtful look, and Sam groaned inwardly. Whichever way this went, it wasn't boding well for him. He hoped that Cas, wherever he was, was okay and looking for him. Sam wasn't entirely sure that if he wasn't found soon he wouldn't be joining his brother in the Empty sooner rather than later.
Welp, I hope you guys liked it :)
I'll start working on getting the next chapter typed out and posted as soon as I can, but it's almost definitely not going to be done before Christmas, and probably not for another week or two after, so sorry, but you know real life comes a knockin'.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah (and yes I realize that that's belated), and Happy New Years! Hope you all have some really great holidays!
As always, comments and feedback greatly appreciated :)
Dean felt some of the tension drain out of his shoulders as he steered the stolen car onto the exit ramp to Lebanon. This was the last stretch; they were nearly home. All that was left to do now was to ditch the car somewhere in the town, and walk down the road to the bunker. He hoped that Sammy and Cas were holding up alright and taking care of each other. He'd thought about calling them, but...Even if he could convince them that he was alive, how could he possibly explain Mary over the phone? No, it was better to wait and explain it in person. He'd see them soon enough.
They'd taken longer reaching Lebanon than Dean would've liked by a few days, but it really couldn't have been helped.
His mom had needed clothes; she couldn't very well have gone on a cross country road trip in just her nightgown. That meant they'd needed money, something they didn't have. Sue him, Dean hadn't seen the point of taking money with him on what he'd thought had been a suicide mission (though by now, what with the Winchester family track record, he realized he probably should've known better.) Not to mention they'd both been exhausted and greatly needing sleep.
So, Dean picked the pocket of the most stuck up looking schmuck he could find, and wound up with just enough to set them up in a crappy motel room in a Podunk town a few hours out from the park (which, as it turned out, had been so far up into Maine it was practically Canada. Go figure). They'd stayed there for two days while Dean barhopped, hustling enough pool to get the money they needed for clothes and gas. Again, longer than Dean would've liked, but the locals were good sports and if they hadn't stayed, they would've had to stop somewhere else along the way regardless.
Mary had joined him in hustling as soon as she'd been properly clothed, and as it turned out, Dean had a complete card shark for a mom. Between her crushing the opposition in poker, and Dean's kicking ass in pool, they'd managed to stay fed and housed the whole way to Lebanon, and made far better time than they would've otherwise. Go them.
Still, after they'd left that first town, it'd taken three days and most of a fourth before they finally reached the bunker. Not all of the locals were as willing to bet as big as the ones in that first town. On the bright side, Dean was moderately sure that Mary didn't think that he was a lying monster anymore, and they'd managed to stay out of any bar fights.
The walk up the road to the bunker took them another forty five minutes, which gave Dean a little time to tell his mom about the Bunker. And as it turned out, she'd never met any of the Men of Letters, but her parents had worked with them. Well, ya learn something new every day. He knew that she was a hunter and probably expected what would happen when they met up with Sam and Cas, but Dean stopped them a few steps before they reached the door anyway and turned to his mom.
"Uh Mom...Don't be surprised if we get welcomed by holy water to the face and a silver knife to the arm, okay? It's just-"
"We're both supposed to be dead, so they need to check." she finished for him. "Right."
Dean nodded, took a deep breath, and opened the door to show his mom his home. Immediately he into high alert as he was hit with the distinct sense that something was very, very wrong.
He slowly stepped through the doorway, Mary a step behind.
"Sammy? Cas?" he called, "I'm, uh, I'm back, Amara made up with Chuck, so...not dead."
No response. The bad feeling was getting worse. They started making their way down the stairs.
"Sam? You here? Cas?"
Nothing. Nada. Zip.
"Ummm, Dean?" Mary was standing in the entryway to the library, looking at something on the side of the arch, "Does this mean anything to you?"
Pulling out the gun they'd stuck to the bottom of the war room table and sticking it in his waistband, Dean walked over and took a look at the bloody sigil on the wall.
Damnit, damnit, damnit. This qualified as Not Good.
"Dean, what is that?"
Dean was already running full tilt for the garage. If Sam had-He didn't want to think about what that might mean.
"It's a angel banishing sigil," he threw over his shoulder.
"A what banishing sigil?!" He could her her footsteps; she was running after him and Dean knew that he owed her an explanation, but whatever had happened to Sammy and Cas came first. Especially if Sam had wound up doing something monumentally stupid. God Dean hoped he hadn't decided to banish Cas and run off.
He skidded to a stop upon reaching the garage. Baby was still there, and none of the other cars had gone missing. Dean couldn't decide if he thought that was a good thing or not. His mom was saying something about the Impala, but Dean was turning around and running back through the Bunker, looking everywhere.
No one. Not in any of the bedrooms, not in the bathroom, not in the shooting range, not in the computer room, not in the dungeon, not in the kitchen. Dean and Mary were the only ones here. Shit, shit shit. Sammy was missing, it was looking more and more like he'd been abducted, Cas had been banished, and Dean was left with a great big stinking pile of absolutely nothing. If this was Rowena or Crowley, he was going to skin them alive. Slowly.
Dean leaned against the kitchen wall, trying to think, and Mary came to stand beside him. He felt her hand on his shoulder, and leaned into her touch despite himself.
"Dean? The only clue we've found is that sigil, so I thought maybe we should-"
"Go back and look around over there?" Dean turned around to face her, rubbing a hand over his face, and gave her a tired smile. "Yeah, that's a good idea."
Levering himself up off of the wall, Dean led the way back into the war room, and stopped dead, an unprepared Mary bumping into his back, as he saw what he'd missed earlier and the bottom of his stomach dropped out. He froze, staring at the floor, so it was Mary who knelt on the ground to examine the pool of blood on the floor. Shit. If someone had hurt his little brother...he could hear a roaring in his ears.
Dean snapped himself out of his stupor and crouched down beside her.
"It's dry," he said, running a finger over it. Completely dry, which meant-
"I'd say a few days old at least," Mary told him, "What do you think?"
Huh. Funny, somewhere down the line he'd forgotten that his mom had been a hunter too, and a damn good one at that. Family business. No kidding. He cleared his throat.
"Yeah. I'd say whoever it was that drew the sigil was waiting for them when they got back to the bunker," which out-ruled Rowena and Crowley, but meant they were days behind whoever had done this, "I guess-"
Dean was cut off by the clanging sound of the bunker door being slammed open. He was on his feet and turning around in a second, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw that Mary had done the same.
Running footsteps came down the stairs, and Dean reached for the gun in his waistband, only to stop when Cas burst into view at the bottom of the stairs. The angel stopped dead and stared at both of them in shock, blue eyes wide. He looked completely frazzled and out of breath but also totally uninjured, and a bolt of pure relief coursed through Dean. Cas, at least, was alright. Thank God.
"Dean?" His voice sounded strangled and Dean wondered if he needed to revise his initial thought of Cas being fine. He didn't much sound it.
Despite that, and Sam still being missing, Dean couldn't help smiling at his best friend.
"Hey Cas," he said, going for nonchalant, but he wasn't entirely sure that his voice wasn't just as strangled as Cas's had been, "Amara decided that ending the world wasn't really what she wanted to do with her-oof!"
Dean didn't get to finish his sentence, because Cas had bolted from where he'd been standing, and directly into Dean. Dean, caught off guard, fell back a step before he was able that Cas hadn't been trying to tackle him, but rather enveloping him in a crushing bear hug that Dean was only too happy to return.
Cas pulled back a little and, before Dean could register what was happening, leaned back in to crush their mouths together. Dean, completely taken aback, froze for a second in shock and immediately Cas pulled back, looking more than a little embarrassed and just a little bit scared. Well, that wouldn't do at all.
"I-sorry, I shouldn't have," Cas stammered, but he didn't get any further than that, because that was about when Dean grabbed him by the lapels of his trench coat and hauled him back in, slamming their lips back into each other. Castiel made an agreeably surprised noise in the back of his throat, and brought his hands, calloused from years of fighting, up to cradle Dean's face.
Cas's lips were chapped, and he was far from an expert kisser, but that was okay, it was fine, because he was Cas and they were kissing each other, and goddamnit Dean had wanted this to happen for far longer than he'd like to admit. A little uncoordinated was just fine.
Dean tugged a little on the coat still clenched in his fists to pull the angel, his angel if he had anything to say about it, even closer and then someone cleared their throat. Oh. Right. Mom was here, Sam was-Sam was missing and Dean needed to find him. As much as he was enjoying this, there would be time for more later, and it couldn't be his priority right now. Sam needed to be his focus right now, not to mention that he was going to need to explain Cas to Mom. With no small amount of reluctance, Dean pecked Cas's lips one more time and pulled back.
"Cas, what happened? Sam-"
The angel's shoulders slumped, and his mouth turned down at the corners.
"He's not here," he said dejectedly.
It wasn't a question, more like he'd been expecting it, but had been hoping to be wrong. It was Mary who answered him.
"No, and we think he's been injured."
Don't think about Sammy being hurt, don't think about Sammy being hurt, don't think about Sammy being hurt.
Cas sighed, his eyes slipping closed for a moment, and Dean didn't think he'd registered just who it was who had responded.
"A woman was waiting for us when we returned to the bunker. She knew, or a least suspected that I'd be there, because she already had the sigil drawn and ready to use when we came in. She banished me the moment we came off the stairs; I wound up in Manitoba. She's blonde, and I think she might be British, but...I only heard her say two words, so I can't be sure."
Dean sighed, and rubbed his hand over his face. Great. Juuuust great.
"So what you're telling me is, you have no idea who that woman was, what she wanted with Sam, or what she might've done to him."
"I-that is correct. I'm sorry Dean." Cas was looking very much as though he was waiting for Dean to rip him a new one for losing Sam, and a part of him wanted to...But that wouldn't be fair, to Cas or to him. Dean was just spoiling for a fight and he should, could, and would save that for the bitch who'd kidnapped his little brother. Besides-
"It's not your fault Cas, there's nothing you could've done. We'll find him."
Cas nodded, still looking worried, but less than he had been, so Dean counted that one as a win. Then, Cas looked past Dean to see Mary, still standing behind him, and finally seemed to actually see her.
Cas's eyes were wide with shock again.
"But how did she? And actually, how are you-"
Dean grinned at him, though he suspected it didn't quite reach his eyes.
"Long story short, Amara decided that she didn't want to destroy the world after all, fixed Chuck who fixed the whole soul-bomb thing, and brought Mom back as a thank-you."
That explanation only served to make Cas look more confused, but Dean would have time to explain it all better when they were on their way to Sam. As for right now, they needed to figure out where he'd been taken.
"We should check the cameras, see if we can get anything off of them."
Cas nodded in agreement. Great. Now they had something to do.
"You guys have cameras?" Mary asked, a little incredulously.
Despite everything, Dean couldn't help his grin as he slung his arm around his Mom's shoulders, leading her to the computer room.
"We, Mom," he corrected her, "We have cameras."
She smiled at him while Cas fell into step beside them. And he might have been jinxing it just with the thought, but Dean couldn't help but think that maybe, just maybe, the three of them could get Sam back, and things could turn out to be something resembling okay.
Mary wasn't quite sure that her head wasn't going to implode. Dean had told her about advances in technology, and she'd seen some of them herself on the way to the bunker, but it was something else to see her son going through video footage on a tiny computer that they called a 'laptop'. To look for her son, her baby Sammy, who was now thirty-three. She had, to be perfectly honest, accepted that Dean was telling the truth long before they'd reached the bunker. If this was a djinn dream, it was weirder by far than any she'd ever heard of.
Another surprise had been Castiel. Dean had told her some things about him on the way over amidst stories of Sammy while he was growing up. He'd told her that Castiel was an angel, though Mary was pretty sure that that hadn't sunk in for her yet. He certainly didn't seem like an angel, more like your friendly neighborhood tax accountant. And he'd kissed her son...Dean might not actually be four years old anymore, but Mary couldn't help but see her baby every time she closed her eyes.
To see him kissing someone like that...well it had been a bit of a shock. And the fact that that someone was a man...it wasn't that Mary had anything against it personally, but she did come from the 1980's. It would take a little getting used to, simply because she'd never known, been around, or or even seen, two men together like that.
'Just another thing to add to the adjusting to pile, I suppose' she thought.
Mary was startled out of her musings when Dean suddenly pounded the table with his fist.
Mary rapidly scooted closer to her son so that she could see the screen. Castiel, who had declined the offer of a chair moved into the computer room, came up to lean over Dean's and her's shoulders.
"What've we got?" Mary asked.
"I'm not sure yet, but this is the footage from a few hours before you and Sam got home, Cas, and the door's opening. Let's see who the blonde bitch is, shall we?"
With that, Dean started the video.
The woman was young, blonde, and dressed sharply in a pantsuit and, even through the video feed, seemed to have a distinct air of self-importance. They watched closely as she cut her hand to draw the sigil. A few minutes later they saw Sam and Cas come in and she slammed her hand down on it, and Castiel vanished in a blaze of blue light.
Cas made a disgruntled sound, but all Mary could so was stare at the young man her youngest son had become.
"God, he's so tall," she breathed.
Dean chuckled. "Yeah, he's a regular Sasquatch."
Cas leaned forward more to glare at the screen. "It would be nice if we could hear what they were saying."
"Well we can't, Cas," Dean snapped at him. Mary jumped at his suddenly harsh tone.
He shot her a look, and she glared back before his gaze turned vaguely guilty and his shoulders slumped.
"Sorry, Cas, I shouldn't have snapped at you, I just- oh that BITCH!"
Dean wasn't the only one who'd shouted, Mary had screamed the same thing in tandem with him at the screen, which had just shown them the woman shooting Sam in the shoulder.
Cas growled a few words in another language that did not sound complimentary, before switching to English.
"She's going to pay for that. In blood."
"Oh, is she ever," Dean snarled.
Mary was too angry to speak, so she just nodded wordlessly as the video showed Sam being manhandled up the stairs and out of the bunker by a pair of goon-ish looking men.
"What now?" she gritted out.
Dean turned to her with the same steely glint in his eyes she'd seen in her mother's whenever someone got injured in a hunt. It was a look that promised a world of pain in store for the hapless soul who'd hurt someone they loved. If she hadn't just seen that bitch shoot her baby, she might have felt sorry for her.
"Now," he said, "we find out who the hell that blonde bitch is, why she took Sam, and most importantly, where she and her goons took him. Then, we hunt her down and get him back."
Castiel nodded firmly.
"Okay, but how?" she asked, "We don't have a license plate number to track whatever car they used to cart off Sam, and we have no way of-"
Mary cut herself off as she realized that the two men were both looking at her in some amusement.
"What am I missing? Do you two have a way to find out?"
Dean grinned at her.
"Let me show you the wonders of hacking into traffic cams."
A few short minutes later they had a license plate number, and Mary and Castiel were marking down locations on a map as Dean called them out. Five times they had to stop and wait while Dean poked at the laptop muttering curses, until he found the car they'd switched to.
Soon, they'd marked down a distinct trail headed straight for the East Coast. When it got to the coast of North Carolina, the trail stopped.
"That doesn't bode well," Castiel muttered.
"Didn't you say that you thought the Blonde Bitch might be British?" Mary asked him, recalling the rushed explanation of what had happened that Castiel had given them.
Dean groaned and dropped his head into his hands.
"So now we're thinking that Sam might be in the freaking UK?"
"So it seems. Do we have the means to be sure?"
Dean huffed out a sigh of his own, muttered something about flying that Mary didn't quite catch, and returned to the keyboard.
"Let's see, c'mon c'mon...damnit Sammy's so much better at this..."
It took Dean longer to hack his way into finding the plane that Sam had been loaded in to. By the time he had, Mary was wishing that she'd brought something to much on with her; she was starting to get peckish and she couldn't bring herself to walk into the kitchen to find a snack. Dean had muttered to himself the entire time as he typed quietly, something that Mary was fairly certain involved a copious amount of swearing.
Finally, and so suddenly that Mary jumped (she was fairly sure that Castiel had as well), Dean's hand came down hard on the table.
"I've got something."
Mary and Castiel leaned forward for a better look. The laptop was now showing surveillance feed of a small plane in an equally tiny airstrip.
"This is from a few days ago. I tracked the car to the city, and this is the closest airstrip to where it was last caught on the traffic cameras. It's a private one, it was rented out to someone I can't find a few days before the whole Amara thing went down, and a good chunk of the footage has been scrubbed."
"That does seem promising," Castiel remarked.
Dean looked up from the screen, the most genuine smile Mary had seen from him yet crossing his face.
"Yeah it does. Let's go check it out."
Harry was rapidly going from worried to completely frantic. Ron's lead had gotten them to where they could be reasonably sure Teddy had last been. After poking around the frankly suspiciously clean house for well over an hour, one of Harry's Aurors had turned up with Teddy's wand, but they hadn't been able to find anything else.
That his wand wasn't on him explained why Harry hadn't been able to track his godson; the spells they'd used tracked the quarry's magic through their wand, which meant the wand had to be with the person being tracked.
The finding also served to make Harry even more worried than he already had been. Where ever Teddy was, he didn't have his wand on him, and that meant that there was a strong possibility that he'd been abducted. And they'd have to figure out another way to track him. He knew that Ron was getting just as worried, and from the looks he kept getting from his best friend, that worry had just as much to do with Harry himself as his missing godson.
Well, Ron could worry about him all he liked; Harry wasn't resting until Teddy was safe and sound.
'Hang in there,' Harry mentally begged his missing godson, 'We're coming for you kiddo, just hold on.'
It was time to tell Andromeda and the rest of his own family. The kids were probably already wondering why he hadn't been responding to their letters, Ginny knew that something was wrong, and he was sure Hermione did too. The pair of them didn't miss much, and Ron and Harry had both been working far overtime for the last week. All of them deserved to know. Auror Lupin was officially missing in action.
Still, Harry was dreading their reactions more than a little, especially Andy, Vic and Jamie. None of them would take it well, but Vic and Jamie were closest to him out of the kids, and Andromeda...She'd already lost so much, Harry couldn't think of it might to do her to find out that she might have lost her grandson too.
He had to focus on the important thing though. They would find Teddy, and they would bring him home where he belonged, and they would damn well do it soon.
Sirius was confused. His original plan had been just to sneak off the plane and to go try and find Harry right away, but...The tall man that those people had been shoving into the lane had been injured. He was clearly a captive, and it wasn't really in Sirius's nature to ignore something like that.
Also, his nose was picking up on a weird smell. At first it had just been the barest of wiffs, not even really noticeable, but as he followed the tall kid and his captors (carefully sticking to the shadows), it gradually grew stronger and more familiar. It wasn't until Sirius and the people he was tailing reached a lift that he'd been able to place why the scent was so damn familiar too him.
Reeling a little, and actually rather glad that he had absolutely no way of following the group into the lift without getting immediately caught, Padfoot retreated to a dark corner to process out of sight. The instant the lift door had opened he'd gotten slammed with a nosefull of the strange scent, far stronger and more fresh than it had been before. With the new intensity of the smell, the familiarity had become glaringly obvious.
Remus and Dora, his best friend and his cousin, mixed together and blending in a way that either meant that they'd both been there bleeding in that lift (mixed in with the person-smell there was enough bloodscent coming from that lift to make his blood boil) or they'd had a kid together...
Kid, definitely a kid. A son, if he wasn't sorely mistaken. And wasn't that a turn and a half. His baby cousin and his bloody best friend had had a son together, and he'd missed it. He'd missed so much...And that was definitely not a rabbit hole he needed to go chasing down right then.
More important was the fact that that kid and the older (but still young, at least to Sirius) man were both injured, possibly quite badly, and with how old the kid's scent had been before the lift, neither of them were getting out of here any time soon.
So, rescue mission it was. With a bit of a sigh, Sirius crept out of his hiding place, and after a bit of trial and error due to being canine, managed to hit the button to call the lift. He'd managed to catch the floor number that the blonde woman had pressed to take the tall bloke to, and so that was the button he pressed.
If his current stroke of luck held, they'd all be ditching this place before the end of the day.
Here ya go! I hope y'all liked the chapter! Sorry if the Destiel seemed off, it's my first time writing them.
Let me know what you thought in the comments, and happy reading :)
Chapter 5: A Great Escape (Part 1)
Soooo this is late. And short. Sorry about that guys, change of term, new classes, most of you probably know how it is. Good news is, I'd originally planned for the escape parts to all be one chapter so part 2 is already partially typed up and should be up really soon :)
Sorry again for the wait, hope y'all like the chapter :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Teddy had been nursing a tentative feeling that things might had been looking just slightly up for him. It cut and ran the instant he was marched out of his cell. It had been nice to have a roommate to talk to, not to mention that said roommate was Sam freaking Winchester (it was possible that Teddy was more familiar with the Supernatural books than he'd let on; they were unfairly addicting. Also, Vic was persistent. Not that he fought her that hard after he read the first one. But whatever.)
Unfortunately, it was more than likely that the next time they saw each other neither of them would be in any fit condition for good conversation. If the Arses of Letters were good at anything, is was making sure you were damned hurt and miserable. Plus, Sam wouldn't heal as fast as Teddy. You know what? Scratch that, having a roommate wasn't nice. It just meant that someone else was getting carved up by these pricks too.
His captors gave a particularly nasty yank, and Teddy broke out of his musings to to glare at the men frogmarching him down the hall as he stumbled. That had been entirely unnecessary, plus it had hurt. He still had scratches and bruises thank you very much. What a bunch of arseholes. Not that any of them had ever shown the slightest sign of giving the tiniest of fucks about the comfort of their prisoners. Much the opposite. They'd actually had him in silver cuffs before they'd decided that he wasn't some bizarre mutant werewolf. (That was a good thing, he wasn't overly sensitive to silver, but if it touched his skin long enough he got a nasty rash that would've been hell trying to explain away.)
Teddy was understandably preoccupied with the thugs dragging him down the corridor and what was going to be done to him when they reached their destination, so he never heard the the elevator doors slide open then shut or the light clicking of claws as the little group was followed.
Another shove, and Teddy let out an irritated grunt as he stumbled into The Room. The Room was the place the Arses of Letters (as Teddy had mentally dubbed them) dragged him to preform their 'experiments'. Hah. As if any of these people knew the first thing about any kind of actual science. Unless you counted torture as a science, which he supposed some people probably did. Psychopath type of people.
With some difficulty, Teddy managed to restrain his eyes from inadvertently shifting to red or black from the fear-anger-hate that came with The Room as his arms were roughly wrenched above his head and his wrists manacled. They wanted him so shift, and he wasn't going to show them a damn thing more than they'd already seen. He wasn't even going to show them that again, if he could help it. No sense in giving them any more data then they'd already been able to gather from that first encounter.
Teddy could probably break the chains if he pulled on them hard enough, and he could definitely shrink his hands and slip out if them but...He had he doubts about what he could do all of the pesky Men of Letters themselves and their extensive security without his wand; all of the ones he'd seen had been packing the same stupid silver-infused dart guns that they'd used to capture him in the first place.
Besides, revealing his world to Sam was one thing. Sam wasn't an enemy. The Men of Letters most definitely were enemies all, and Teddy had no intention of revealing even the tiniest aspect of the Wizarding World to them unless it became totally necessary. He needed to make it out of this alive, if only to warn the Wizarding World about the organization. If they were really as tuned into the supernatural as they seemed to be, it was only a matter of time before some other hapless witch of wizard found themselves of the Men of Letters' radar. He needed to do his part to try and make sure that didn't happen.
He let his eyes roam seemingly aimlessly around the room, going through one dud escape plan after another to distract himself from thinking about whatever new method the Arses of Letters would be using to try and force him to morph for them this time. It was usually excruciatingly painful; best not to dwell because all it served to do was make Teddy more anxious than he already was.
So, Teddy kept himself busy trying to think up any and every way to get himself out of this mess, something that now had new variables as he changed his brainstorming to introduce Sam into the equation. He most certainly wasn't leaving the older man behind, and not just because Vic and Jamie would kill him if they found out. When Teddy left, his new friend was coming with him.
Still, those thoughts hadn't kept his mind entirely away from what his eyes were doing. This meant that while the Arses of Letters were occupied which preparing whatever the hell it was they had in store for Teddy, he saw the door handle turn down.
He also saw the door open, along with, and there he took a moment just to make sure that two weeks in this place hadn't driven him completely mad, the enormous black dog that crept through it. Because, what? What???? Nothing that big, or that ill-groomed, should have been able to move that quietly, but that dog wasn't making a sound that could have been detected by someone who didn't possess Teddy's enhanced hearing. The young wizard could only gape as the dog carefully walked across The Room and oh-so-gently lifted the ring of keys off the table in the corner where they'd been left.
He (Teddy might not be a full blooded werewolf, but he could damn well smell the difference between genders thank you very much) then backed carefully to the door. He paused under the door-frame, from where Teddy could have sworn the bloody thing winked at him (what????), before backing the rest of the way out, pushing it closed then, by the sound of it, running down the corridor.
Teddy blinked rapidly, trying to puzzle out what the hell it was that had just happened. How had a dog even got in here? Why? WHAT EVEN?????
He didn't have much time to dwell on it though, because his captors had decided that they were ready for him. This go-round they were apparently going for a new kind of drug again (they'd tried it with a few different cocktails over the past week) and Teddy groaned internally.
He'd always hated even mild painkillers, and the last two times they'd drugged him in addition to the rather nasty effects (hallucinations and a burning pain respectively,) Teddy had been left feeling more groggy than he did after even the worst of full moons, and a pounding headache that rivaled the one he'd gotten that time he'd taken a bludger straight to the head. Ketch and the others had seemed intrigued at how fast the drugs had worn off. They'd asked, Teddy'd played dumb. He wasn't sure if they'd bought it; he wasn't about to tell them he had a faster-than-normal metabolism because he was half werewolf. The Men of Letters could thinK whatever they damn well wanted.
Cronies one and two, standing behind him, forced his head to tilt to the side as the Head Bitch, as Teddy had quickly dubbed her (not to be confused with His Prickness, as he'd dubbed Mr. Ketch on the first day. The man was insane, and his high and mighty attitude pissed Teddy off) went for his neck with a syringe. Miraculously, before she'd managed to plunge the thing into him, there was a loud crash from somewhere outside; the same direction the strange dog had run off to.
All three of the Arses of Letters jumped, and Head Bitch thankfully moved the syringe away from Teddy's neck. Cronies one and two took off, presumably to go investigate. Head Bitch eyes Teddy, going to lift the syringe again.
Oh, hell no. Not gonna happen lady.
Teddy bared his teeth at her, snarling deep in his throat. He was not letting that thing anywhere the hell near him if he could do anything about it. Without those goon to hold him, he could bloody well do something about it.
Head Bitch actually took a step back, and Teddy felt a small surge of vindication, before he took in the deadly look in her eyes. Ooookay, so maybe he couldn't have done that. Before she could do anything to him though, there was a thump, a scream, a BANG!, then another thud. Silence.
Head Bitch put the syringe down and pulled her gun out of her waistband. She brandished it at Teddy for a second, and glared at him.
"Don't you even think about trying anything."
Then she was gone out the door after her two goons.
Teddy was torn between trying to figure out what was going on out there or just trying to bust out now, while they were distracted. He'd just decided he was going to give busting out a shot when from the corridor came a deep growl, a yelp, and another thud. Teddy froze, straining his ears for anything else, and picked up the click click click...of dog paws?
There was no way, that was impossible, no dog could've...But then the door to The Room swung open and there was the huge black dog from earlier, pilfered keys swinging from his jaws.
Seriously, what the HELL? The dog trotted inside and stopped just in front Teddy, looking up at him. His tail was wagging slowly and his head was cocked to the side as if he was thinking about something and trying to reassure Teddy at the same time. What even? Then, so suddenly that Teddy wasn't able to step back, the dog surged up onto his hind legs, planting his front paws squarely upon Teddy's shoulders, and shoving his head upwards towards...Teddy's hands? What? The jangling keys clinked against the manacles encircling Teddy's wrists, and with a startling jolt of clarity, Teddy realized that the dog was trying to hand the keys to him. This dog was, as utterly insane as it sounded even in the privacy of Teddy's own mind, trying to help him escape.
WHAT THE HELL??????
As unbelievable bizarre this was, Teddy wasn't about to pass up any chance he got to get the hell out of this place. He wasn't stupid. The dog, who because of his size and coloring Teddy decided then and there to call Snuffles, was still straining up to reach Teddy's hands so he could grab the keys. One more unsuccessful stretch later, and Snuffles dropped back to the floor with a frustrated whine.
Teddy, now sufficiently out of shock enough to actually do something Merlin Mordred and Morgana, grinned down at him, feeling more cheerful than he had in weeks.
"Thanks for clearing the way, and for tryin' to get me those keys, but I'm pretty sure I've got this one."
With that, Teddy shrunk his hands and wrists, hands slipping effortlessly out of the manacles. Oh, that was much better.
"C'mon," he said to Snuffles, "I've got a friend I need to grab before we leave, and I'm guessing we don't have long before those Men of Letters blokes you took out raise the alarm."
Provided the dog hadn't just killed them, but Teddy didn't smell any blood on him. Besides, Snuffles didn't really seem like the type to kill when knocking unconscious would be sufficient. And yes, he realized that he was assigning personality traits to a dog, thanks, and no he didn't know what about the dog gave him such a strong impression. It was just shaping up to be that kind of a day. Mental.
Teddy shook out his hands, restoring them to their proper size while he grimaced at the bruises encircling his wrists. Oh well, they'd be gone soon enough; they'd just ache in the meantime. He turned back to Snuffles.
"Now, I've no idea if you've understood a single word I've said, or even if you can. Still, I'm thinking that after what you just pulled, the odds are fairly high that you can understand me just fine so...shall we test it? One bark for yes, two for no. Can you understand what I'm saying?"
There was a small crash as the keys, which Snuffles had still been holding in his mouth fell to the floor, and Teddy put a hand on his mouth to muffle his laugh. The dog wagged his tail a little, looking sheepish, an expression Teddy hadn't realized was possible on a dog's face.
Oooookaaaaay. Definitely way, way smarter than your typical dog. Curiouser and curiouser. Shoving all speculations of what pretty much everything to do with this dog seemed to implicate to the far corners of his mind to be examined later, Teddy turned his attention back to his new canine friend. First thing first. And the first thing in this instance was definitely getting to Sam. So, he needed to wrap this up with Snuffles, which reminded him...
"So I've been calling you Snuffles in my head, is it okay with you if I do that out loud too?"
Woof! More tail wagging, this time more enthusiastic. Alright then. Speculations for later, Teddy, later. Teddy palmed the keys and hoped to Merlin that one of them would unlock Sam. He didn't want do have to damage the older man's wrists pulling apart the cuffs.
"Alright then Snuffles, let's do this. "
Teddy charged out of the Room, Snuffles on his heels. He was his way to being free, Merlin help any of these pricks who tried to shove him back in a cell. He'd never done anything of the kind before, but Teddy was fairly certain that he'd kill before he let anyone try to lock him back up in a cage. These weeks had been enough. And Mr. Ketch was long overdue for a date with Teddy's fist.
Please Let me know what you thought in the comments :)
Chapter 6: A Great Escape (Part 2)
Here's part two! Hope y'all like it :)
Warning: There are some parts in this chapter where Sam does have some suicidal-ish thoughts. I don't think that it's that bad, and it's not really too graphic, but I've never had problems with suicidal thoughts myself, so I don't really know what will and won't affect people. If that's something that'll trigger you, stop at "If that happened..." and skip to "Ketch was back on his feet"
Also, some violence
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
CRACK! Sam's head snapped back as he rocked in in his chains and managed to stifle another groan of pain. Going on the sound and the feel of it, Sam was pretty damn sure that that one had just broken his nose. He cataloged the break in his mind alongside the many, many bruises and several cracked ribs that Mr. Ketch had already inflicted on him. Plus his neck, which was starting to seriously hurt from all the times his head had been thrown back.
When Sam got out of here he was paying the asshole back in kind, plus whatever he'd done to Teddy to earn that glare the kid had given him. Sam spat at the blood congregating at his mouth from his nose; Ketch just examined the blood on his wrapped hand with a sort of clinical indifference.
"My my, Samuel," he said lightly, as if he were discussing what flavor of ice-cream he wanted to order and not the mess he'd just made of Sam's face, "this is quite a lot of blood, and I do believe I felt something crack there. Perhaps now you'd like to rethink your response to my question. Let's try this again, shall we? And do keep in mind what happens when I don't like your answer. Where is Dean Winchester?"
Sam glared at him through the pain, wishing furiously that looks could kill. He forced out the words he'd been repeating for the past...minutes? Hours? He wasn't actually sure how long they'd been doing this.
"My brother is dead." He still choked on the words as they came out. Every time he had to say them, an ache in his chest that had nothing to do with his battered ribs deepened in both depth and agony. Every repetition felt like a confession, an admittance of something he was no where near ready to face. Not here. Not with this man.
"Well, assuming that you're telling me the truth, which given that, well, we're discussing a Winchester I very much doubt," Ketch continued in that same damnably conversational voice he'd been maintaining from the moment he stepped foot in this cell, "How will Dean be returning to the land of the living this time?"
Sam dearly wished that his hands were free. He'd dearly love to bash the bastard's mouth in until he wasn't physically able to even mumble Dean's name, much less sneer it with that derogatory inflection as if it was a slur instead of the name of Sam's big brother. This sick asshole didn't have the goddamn right.
"He won't" Sam spat, "be coming ba-AHHHRG!!!"
This time, Ketch had decided to forgo inflicting any new injuries, and gone for an older one. His hand clamped down on Sam's injured shoulder, found the bulled wound, and squeezed, fingers digging right into the not-yet-healed injury. White-hot agony radiated from the spot, intensifying as Ketch's hand clamped down harder. This time, Sam couldn't help a low moan of pain. Later, looking back, Sam thought that it was probably that involuntary admission of pain, that last loss of control that made Sam's frayed temper snap like a kite string in a goddamn hurricane.
Sam grit his teeth against the pain, stretched his arms up to grasp the chains above his head, and lifted. His feet caught Ketch square in the chest, slamming into him with all the force Sam could muster. Ketch went reeling, caught off guard, and staggered into the wall of the cell and slid to the floor. Hah. Sam hadn't thought he'd be able to hit him quite that hard, but the bastard had it coming.
"MY BROTHER," Sam roared, not giving a damn that his voice had cracked, or that this was bound to piss Ketch off to a level that probably wouldn't be good for Sam's continued existence, "IS DEAD! HE IS DEAD, YOU SON OF A BITCH, AND HE IS NOT COMING BACK, DEAN IS DEAD!," his voice cracked again, and Sam gave up on yelling, feeling more drained than he had since he'd decided not to go looking for his brother after the Leviathan. His next words forced their way out of his throat in a cracked whisper.
"My brother is dead," he repeated. "For good, and you can torture me all you want, you sadistic psychopath, but nothing you can do to me will change my answer or magically make it untrue and nothing, no words, no sick torture method that you or anybody else can come up with will be worse than that."
He was breathing hard, too hard for his abused ribs which reminded him of their battered state with every breath he took. He clamped his teeth together through the pain, and ruthlessly shoved back the tears that were burning at his eyes to be released.
"I can't be broken more than I already am," he snarled through his teeth, "So screw you."
Ketch was picking himself up off the ground where he'd fallen, and glaring at Sam, eyes burning with rage and a madness that would've made Sam nervous if he was currently capable of feeling anything at the moment other than a deep, yawning grief-rage-despair. It seemed as though Sam had managed to break past that carefully constructed, infuriatingly composed outer shell and the look that Sam was getting from him didn't bode well for the parts of Sam that remained undamaged. He might've even pushed far enough that Ketch would actually kill him.
If that happened...Well...To be honest, it didn't seem like the worst thing to Sam, but he wasn't so far gone yet that he wouldn't go out fighting like hell. This man needed to hurt for what he had done, to to Sam sure, but mostly for Teddy. If he injured Ketch badly enough, this sadistic asshole wouldn't be able to beat on the kid. Sam would count that as a win. If Sam managed to kill him, all the better. Besides, that was how Dean had gone out, fighting for someone, everyone else. And Sam would truly be damned if he did anything less now that it was his time.
He'd never thought he'd last long after Dean had truly gone anyway. As for Cas...Sam didn't let himself think about Cas.
Ketch was back of his feet, reaching for the cart he'd had wheeled in after Teddy'd been taken out. He hadn't done anything with it so far. Now, he pulled a wickedly sharp knife, polished to the point that it glinted sharply even in the crappy lighting in the cell, and stalked back over to Sam. Ketch's lips were pulled back in a deranged snarl of a smile, revealing teeth that, like the rest of him, were incongruously neat and well maintained.
So it was going to be like this then. Death by stabbing. Not the worst way he'd died, but that didn't mean that Sam was going to make this easy for Ketch. He wrapped his hands around the chains again, more securely this time, and prepared to fight back. His teeth bared in his own snarl. Sam Winchester was done hanged there and taking it. He was done, period.
"You really shouldn't have done that," Ketch drawled, taking two, three steps towards Sam, not realizing just how geared up Sam was to fight. Still, Sam knew that even if he caught Ketch off guard that this wasn't something he was likely to get out of alive. And Sam was done railing against the odds.
He took a breath, a deep one regardless of his protesting ribs, braced himself for one last fight, and then CRASH! the door to the cell slammed open. Ketch whirled around, knife up, and Sam couldn't help but gape at Teddy. The kid was standing in the open doorway holding an enormous key ring, eyes glowing an eerie yellow, canines elongated into fangs. Sam could see the exact moment that Teddy took in Sam's newly acquired injuries because that was when a low snarl erupted from the kid's throat. It was a guttural, animal sound, and Sam was viscerally reminded that Teddy's father had turned into a full blown rabid wolf once a month. Holy shit.
"I," Teddy growled, flashing eyes burning holes into Ketch (and oh how Sam wished that was literal), "Have been waiting to do this for two bloody weeks."
Ketch never stood a chance. Teddy's fist collided squarely with his face with inhuman strength. Sam could distinctly hear the sharp Crack of Ketch's nose breaking. Hah. See how it feels douchebag, see how it feels. Said douchebag went flying back, narrowly missing Sam. He craned his neck to look just in time to see Ketch hit the wall and slide to the floor for the second time that day. He was out cold, and good riddance.
Sam slumped in his chains, looking back away from Ketch and leaning to take some of the pressure off of his wounded shoulder. (It was throbbing nonstop. Sam was a little worried that he'd managed to reopen the hole) Teddy shifted (morphed? He'd have to ask the kid what he called it) back to the form he'd been in earlier (turquoise hair, amber eyes) and rushed over to Sam. He looked concerned, which Sam figured said something for how beat to hell he looked. He figured it probably wasn't pretty.
Something else had come into the room on Teddy's heels, but all Sam could see of it was a black blur. What, what?
He blinked once, twice, and realized that he'd finally lost his battle with his grief, rage and pain. The tears that he'd been forcing back had broken free without him noticing. Dimly, he registered Teddy stretching up to unlock the shackles around his wrists. They clicked open and Sam wasn't able to stop his knees from buckling out from under him. He started to collapse to the ground, only to crash into something warm and let out a pained grunt as Teddy caught him. Ow, ow ow. Freaking ribs.
"Sorry, I'm sorry," Teddy apologized instantly, "Oh, Merlin. Okay, here let's-"
Teddy moved, and Sam could tell that the kid was being careful not to drop him or aggravate his injuries (as far as was possible, there was hardly a square inch of Sam that didn't hurt) as he managed to wrap Sam's un-shot arm around his own shoulders. Sam himself was in a haze, the grief, the anger, and the physical pain that he'd been through the past few days all were crashing down on him at once. He was shaking, he knew, and the blur that was his vision only got worse as more tears escaped him.
"Sam?!" that was Teddy again, and Sam faintly recognized that he was starting to sound outright scared, "Sam hey. God, what happened, what did he do to you?"
Sam took a great shuddering breath that came out a sob, and struggled to get his feet back under him. Teddy shifted his position, trying to help.
"Sam, what's wrong? Besides the obvious-did something happen before this lot nabbed you?"
Sam turned his head to look at the kid, who at the moment looked like nothing so much as a concerned blob. He tried to wipe at his eyes, but his only free hand was attached to his gun-shot-wounded shoulder which screamed in protest.
"Goddamnit,"God. Just FUCK.
"Here, let me," and Teddy used the tattered remains of his own shirt to dab at the tears in Sam's eyes. God, this kid.
Sam took another shuddering breath, and forced himself to let it out slowly, managing to shove his erupting emotions down. His head that much clearer, he could see that all signs were pointing to Teddy having figured out a way to escape this hellhole. Sam could fall apart later; he couldn't afford to now. He'd just have to hold himself together until they were safe. Yay compartmentalization.
"I'm good, I can stand now," He managed, realizing that he sounded like he'd just swallowed gravel, and pulled away from Teddy. He wobbled a little, but managed to stay upright.
"You sure?" Teddy asked, clearly still worried.
"Yeah, yeah, I'll be fine, I'm fine." He took a few step forwards.
Well, it hurt (duh) but his legs had made it through relatively unscathed, and if he could walk, Teddy would be unencumbered. Sam could manage. He staggered over to the unconscious Ketch and, gingerly, knelt on the floor beside him. Teddy hovered anxiously over him, and Sam was getting the distinct impression that the kid was just barely keeping himself from asking what the hell all of that had been about. Thankfully, he stayed quiet for now. Sam would tell him once they'd gotten to someplace Sam could fall apart without endangering him. Teddy had saved his life. Sam owed him at least that much.
Sam rifled through Ketch's clothes with his good arm and came up with a gun. Nice. It was loaded, and there was another clip in his pocket. If they were lucky, and if Sam was very, very careful, this would be enough to get them out. He tucked the extra clip into his back pocket, grabbed the knife. Then he swayed back to his feet, and turned back to Teddy, holding the knife out for the kid to take.
Teddy looked uncertain, and he was eyeing the weapons (particularly the gun) with some trepidation, but finally he nodded and took the knife. Sam limped back across the cell and, for the first time, got an unobstructed view of Teddy's new companion standing guard at the door.
It was a dog. What?????
"Teddy?" he asked.
"Why is there an enormous black dog guarding the door?" he asked, then, upon noticing something else, added, "And why does it look like it understands exactly what I'm saying and finds it funny?"
"He broke me out of the other cell," Teddy told him, "knocked out the guards and stole the bloody keys."
"What?" That was bizarre, even for him.
"Yeah. Really intelligent, really large black dog rescued me, and he likes being called Snuffles. I asked him. We've got a one bark, two bark yes/no system going. I realize exactly what this looks like, and I'm trying to hold off thinking about it until I can freak out without getting shot."
Snuffles, Sam remembered, was the code name Harry, Ron, and Hermione had used for Sirius Black-Ah. Oh boy.
"Yep," he said faintly, "that's probably a good idea."
What even was his life? That was a question Sam had been asking himself for years, and he still wasn't anywhere near an answer. Every time he thought he'd figured it out, something new and completely weird showed up to prove him wrong.
Snuffles the dog-possibly-Harry-Potter's-supposedly-dead-godfather barked impatiently, and that was when the alarms stared to go off. Oh, just great.
Teddy jumped. The dog flinched. Yeah, that couldn't be nice on their sensitive ears.
"Elevator!" Sam shouted over the din, "Make for the elevator!"
Galvanized into action, the little group started out. Snuffles let the way, Teddy was in the middle, and Sam brought up the rear, stolen gun at the ready. Moving as fast as they (Sam) could manage, they made it to the elevator without incident. As soon as the doors dinged open on the ground floor though, the large assortment of Men of Letters with guns became readily apparent. Sam, who'd been expecting as much, was already standing at the front of the elevator with the pilfered gun pointed straight at the doors ready to empty his first clip into the waiting goons.
The Men of Letters, evidently not expecting any of them to be armed, scattered. Sam charged out of the elevator, Snuffles shooting ahead of him to jump on a few of the armed henchmen, and Teddy right at his heels. The three of them bolted down the hall, adrenaline enabling Sam to disregard his injuries and run.
Forget Harry Potter, He thought to himself, Any more running, and this'll turn into a Doctor Who episode.
Snuffles was still in the lead, and Sam and Teddy followed him as he wove is way down hallways and through corridors, taking turns seemingly at random. Sam had had some idea that the path Snuffles was following was the same route that Sam'd been taken down upon his arrival, but he wasn't sure until the dog stopped in front of the door that led to the garage. Had Snuffles come in with Sam? Whatever, not the time.
They burst through the door, slamming it shut behind him. Whatever they did from here, they'd have to be quick about it. The garage was full of cars, trucks a motorcycle, and a four wheeler, and Sam debated stealing one of the cars but...Sam had a completely bum shoulder; he was in no shape to be behind the wheel. Teddy couldn't drive (Sam'd asked) and Snuffles definitely couldn't. Besides, the Assholes of Letters seemed like they'd be paranoid enough to have low-jacks on every one of their vehicles. So...nope. Better to make sure they couldn't use said vehicles to follow them.
Sam loaded the other clip into the gun, and took aim.
Two tires down, way too many to go.
"Hang on," Teddy said, "It's a good idea, but don't waste your bullets. Here."
The kid handed Sam the knife, then walked over to a large metal table covered in various tools that was set up against the wall. There was a screeching grating noise that made Sam wince, and Snuffles whimper and cover his ears with his paws. Teddy was dragging the table over and upending it so it was blocking the door. He stepped back, dusting his hands together, and nodding.
Damn, the kid was strong.
"There," Teddy said, a smug grin on his face, "Now we've got some time."
Teddy morphed his fingernails into deadly looking claws, Sam palmed the knife, and they got to work. Working together, mindful of which car the other was on, they slashed every single one of the tires on each and every vehicle in that garage to ribbons. Then they destroyed every spare they could find. They worked quickly, Teddy more so than Sam. By the time they were finished to their satisfaction, there was a loud banging and shouting at the blocked door. Time to go.
Teddy aimed a wild grin at Sam. Yeah, this was definitely the son of a Marauder alright. Dean would've loved him.
"That's our cue!"
Snuffles, who had been sitting on the floor watching them with interest, got to his feet, and led them through another door to the outside. Both Teddy and Sam had to take a moment to let their eyes adjust to the sunlight, and then they were off, following Snuffles into the woods that surrounded the sprawling complex. Sam didn't know where they were, or where they were going, but Snuffles seemed to, and after everything that the dog had already done for them? That was good enough for Sam, Sirius Black or no.
They were free. All Sam needed to think about right now was getting far enough from the complex that they could stop and catch up on some well needed rest. He stuck his gun in his waistband and followed the dog.
Yay, they're out!
Hope you guys enjoyed this chapter. I'll get the next one out as soon as I can, but it probably won't be for a couple of weeks.
Up to this chapter, I've had everything written in a notebook before I typed it up, and I've found that it's really helpful for me in my writing process to do it that way. I've got some of the next one down, but not a lot, and I'll finish the first draft in my notebook before I type it up here. Again, it'll be up as soon as I can get it done :)
Happy reading, and please let me know what you think in the comments!
Chapter 7: Planes, No Trains, And One Automobile (Or, Progress is Made)
So....*looks around nervously* I'm back. Yay?
I am SO SORRY it took so freaking long to get this chapter up. In my defense I've had it written out in my notebook for almost three months, but between school, firguring out the timeline for the story not having much time to write (also I injured myself, not seriously and I'm recovered, but it took a sizable chunk out of my writing time), and my laptop battery going on the fritz and making me lose what I DID have, not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES...yeah.
So, sorry, but at least this chapter's longer than any of the other's I've done so far??? (Also I've got a new battery so no more of that nonsense :))
Hope y'all enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Objectively, Castiel had already known that Dean harbored an intense dislike of flying. However, having never seen his friend (more than friend? Probably??) actually deal with it, he hadn't been in a position to realize how much Dean truly despised traveling by plane until they'd actually had to do it to find Sam.
Getting that far had taken them another day. Through more hacking (with much cursing) and some pointed questions posed while impersonating federal law enforcement, they had determined that Sam had indeed been taken across the Atlantic Ocean and into Great Britain. Thus, the three of them being required to fly if they were to rescue Sam in any kind of haste.
Dean, as the only one out of the three of them who knew how to operate computers with any kind of efficiency (though Mary was learning at astonishing speed), had been the one who bought them their tickets on the first available flight 'across the pond'. He had, quite frankly, turned a vaguely alarming light green color simply purchasing the tickets online.
Cas had claimed the passenger seat in their borrowed truck. (Jody Mills had lent it to them, and would be retrieving it after they left. Dean had refused point blank to leave the Impala in the parking lot of an airport or in the Bunker now that it had been breached. Mary and Cas hadn't bothered to try and change his mind.) As such, he could see clearly that the closer they got to the airport, the faster Dean's fingers tapped on the steering wheel and the tenser he got. Judging by the looks she kept sending Dean's way, Mary was beginning to grow concerned. Cas himself had to admit that he'd never seen Dean this...agitated.
Of course, Cas knew that he was worried for Sam (he was too, incredibly, and he was sure Mary felt the same) but this wasn't how Dean acted when he was worrying over his brother. Neither was this Dean angry, annoyed, sleep deprived, sad, in pain, or despairing. It certainly wasn't Dean's normal fear reaction, (normal being relative; Castiel had long since determined that the Winchesters' responses to fear were far from any typical human's.) No. This was Dean totally, seemingly irrationally, terrified and trying (failing) not to show it. And Cas didn't know (yet) what he could do about it.
Boarding the plane had Dean's knuckles white from how hard his hands were clenched around the arm rests, before they'd even taken off. His humming had become frantic, his eyes were squeezed shut, and when the plane lifted off the ground his body became so tense that Castiel was fairly certain that he was actually vibrating. If Dean continued like this he'd be so exhausted by the time they reached Great Britain, he'd not be in any condition to look for Sam at all productively. Cas needed to do something.
Still no response.
Still nothing. Cas frowned to himself. This was not good. He needed to get Dean out of his head. He reached over and placed his hand on top of Dean's. Obviously startled, Dean's whole body jerked in a massive flinch, and he turned panicked eyes over to Cas who, despite his greatly reduced power, could physically feel the distress his was projecting rolling off of him in waves. So Cas did the only thing he could think of to 'snap him out of it.'
Palm to cheek, lips to lips, gently and oh so carefully. The tension coiled all through Dean's body wound impossibly tighter and for exactly one point four five horrified seconds Cas thought he'd somehow made it worse, but then...The only appropriate word Cas could think of in the English language for what Dean did just then (it truly was sadly limited) was melt.
All of the tension bled out of Dean's body as he softened into their second kiss (Cas was sure he'd be counting them for some time to come). A soft moan made its way out of his throat and Cas swallowed it.
This. This was. Castiel did not think he had the words in any language to describe how much he loved Dean Winchester without any reciprocation, and now. Well.
Now, Dean was kissing back in kind, the hand that had been under Cas's own flipped over and held it, warm and grounding and Dean.
It was wonderful and Dean, and perfect and Dean, and Castiel had not felt want this bright and sharp since he had first seen this man's damaged, perfect, gleaming soul shining through the gloom of hell and he-The plane hit a small amount of turbulence and Dean went rigid again.
Remembering why he'd kissed his hunter in the first place, Cas immediately pulled back. Dean's eyes popped open and he scowled, looking more angry with himself than with anything else.
"Damnit," he muttered, "I'm sorry Cas, that wasn't you, I was just being stupid. I'm fine, won't happen again, c'mon."
Dean leaned back into Cas, and unfortunately...no. As much as he enjoyed kissing Dean, these were clearly not the circumstances under which to do so. He reached out and caught Dean's head between his hands before his lips could reengage Cas's own.
Dean's scowl deepened and he opened his mouth to say something. Assuming (correctly, given that this was Dean) that he was preparing to argue, Cas spoke before he could get so much as a work out.
Dean's mouth snapped shut and he deflated again, blowing out a frustrated breath through his nose.
"Dean," Cas said again, then he paused, trying to find the words that would rankle the least on Dean's not-inconsiderable pride, "This will be a long flight. You will be better able able to help Sam if you sleep. If the turbulence is going to keep you awake, I can help."
Dean puffed up again, seemingly gearing up for a fight, so Cas narrowed his eyes at him. Dean opened his mouth, closed it, then opened it again and spoke.
"I...yeah. Y-you're right. You don't mind?"
"Of course not, Dean," Cas told him. Did he mind. Oh, please. "You will not wake until we've landed."
He pressed a gentle kiss to Dean's forehead and the man slumped back in his seat, fast asleep and looking as peaceful as Castiel had ever seen him. Neither turbulence, nor worries, nor nightmares would trouble him now.
"Well done," came a woman's voice.
Startled, Cas turned from the sleeping Dean to-Oh. Yes. Cas had quite managed to forget about Mary, who was currently looking at him with a warm smile.
She laughed, a small chuckle that reminded Cas strongly of Sam.
"Yes, you. I haven't known Dean as an adult for very long, but I can already tell that he's as stubborn as he was as a four year old, if not more. I was just about to try and step in when you did, but...I'm not sure how well it would've been received so...Thank you. And well done."
Cas frowned. Mary was clearly unhappy, but he wasn't quite sure...Oh. She was...Grieving? Perhaps not the most precise word, but the only one Cas could think of. Mary Winchester was grieving for the time that had been lost with her sons, sad because she did not truly know them anymore and, if Cas was not gravely mistaken, worried that she had no place with her family anymore.
While the first two were indeed valid grievances,the third...Well that was simply untrue and as Dean was currently unconscious and in the seat between them and therefore unable to reassure her, Castiel would have to attempt to ease her mind in his stead.
"They don't blame you, you know," he told her.
"Sam and Dean," he clarified, "they've never blamed you for dying and leaving them. John Winchester didn't either, though I don't believe that he handled it particularly well and Dean just missed you. He's happy that you're back. Sam never really got to know you as his mother, but he will also be happy that you've returned. You have a place with them, Mary Winchester."
She just stared at him, eyes wide, and Castiel was beginning to think that he shouldn't have said anything at all (particularly about John) but then she unfroze and smiled softly at him,
"Thank you Castiel."
She seemed like she was going to add something else to that, but then she closed her mouth and frowned at him instead.
"What did you mean when you said that Sam never knew me as his mother."
Ah. Well, Dean evidently hadn't told her about the time traveling. He cleared his throat.
"Around five or six years ago, Dean, and then at another time Dean, Sam, and myself ahh...We were involved in some instances of...time travel."
"Time travel," she repeated flatly, "Right. Go on."
Castiel hesitated, not entirely certain that he should be the one telling her this story, but she just gave him a look that he'd seen on both Winchester brothers when they Were Not going to be dissuaded from knowing something. Well, he could at least try.
"I wasn't present for most of the first time it happened, it was just Dean, though I was involved with sending him back...To Lawrence Kansas on the day that John bought the Impala...He met both of you there."
Mary frowned, looking confused.
"I don't remember that happening."
Cas hesitated, she glared again, he sighed and continued.
"You would't, though...I had thought that perhaps dying and being resurrected would have restored your memory."
Her eyebrows were rapidly climbing up her forehead.
"My-my memory? But how...?"
Mary trailed off, seemingly at a loss for words, and Cas realized that his attempts at an explanation had only given her more questions. So, he went back and started at the beginning.
"It started when the angels decided that Dean needed a lesson in how destiny worked and sent me to send him back into the nineteen seventies..."
He told Mary everything he could remember from both trips to the past. Though she frequently looked as though she very much wanted to, Mary let him talk without any interruption. He couldn't tell her everything; he didn't know any of the details of the interactions of Sam and Dean with the young couple who would become their parents, and what he did know...It was not his place to tell her. That was between Mary and her sons (he told her as much, and she agreed), and so he summarized. Later, after they'd brought Sam home, he would attempt to unlock those memories for her, if she wanted him to.
After he finished, Mary sat quietly for a moment, deep in thought.
"That...is a lot." she said finally, and Cas found himself unable to help sympathizing with her. After all, he did know what it was to have everything he (thought he) knew completely overturned and shattered in the space of a very short time by the Winchester brothers (particularly Dean).
"I...yes. I imagine that it is," he told her, "Any revelations to do with your family, particularly your sons, tend to be. You get used to it eventually, as far as it's possible to get used to anything with them."
Mary looked back to him then, mouth quirked up at the corners. For another few moments she was silent again, eyes carefully on him. She was assessing, a habit and expression she had in common with both her sons (and, Castiel rather suspected, hunters in general). He wondered what she was looking for, but she didn't leave him uncertain for long.
"I think you're good for him."
It was abrupt, matter of fact, and not clear in the slightest.
"What?" he asked. What exactly was it that she was trying to tell him?
"Dean," she clarified, "I think you're good for him. You-he talked about you almost as much as he talked about Sam on the drive to the bunker, and...You look each other like my parents used to, how John used to look at me and how I'm sure I must've looked at him. And you take care of him, or try to at least, even when he's being stubborn. So...I haven't known, well either of you really, for very long, but I do see things, and I think you're good for him.
"I know that you don't need my seal of approval...but you have it. I don't give a damn that both of you are, physically at least, men as long as Dean's happy. So the two of you don't have to worry about me being a bitch about it unless you break Dean's heart. Not that I think that you will, but. Just don't."
Taken aback and stunned into silence, Castiel had spent the time she took to speak studying her in turn. This woman was surely a hunter down to her bones, hiatus or no. She was smart, taking all of this remarkably well, and...Cas so dearly wanted her to be right about him being good for Dean, though he wasn't sure that it was actually true. Still, there was one thing he could always be sure of.
"I will do everything in my power to ensure that Dean's heart is safe with me."
He meant it, with everything he was, and he willed her to see the truth that he was sure was writ all over his face. Her expression softened.
"I know you will. And for what it's worth, I think the same goes for Dean."
Castiel smiled at her. He very much looked forward to getting to know this woman better. No, Mary Winchester would not have much difficulty rediscovering her place among her family. She smiled back, then covered her mouth as she yawned. Oh, of course. With this family, Cas should't known better than to assume that Dean was the only one pushing their limits.
"Would you like me to send you to sleep as well?" he offered.
Looking embarrassed, Mary lowered her hand from her mouth and bit her lip. For a moment, Castiel was sure that she would refuse, but then she sighed and nodded.
"Yeah, that sounds pretty great actually, if you don't mind. I'll be no use to anybody if I spend the whole flight awake and worrying."
"Your sleep will be undisturbed," Cas assured her, and pressed his fingertips to her forehead.
She slumped back in her chair, face relaxed in sleep, and Cas smiled to himself in private satisfaction. Two Winchesters resting and one left to find. He'd gotten better at wrangling them over the years. He settled back in his own seat and wished he were next to a window. He dearly missed flying and though an airplane had nothing on being under the power of his own wings, it would have been nice to see the world from such a height again. Perhaps on the return flight.
Anyway, he had to admit that no other view could compare to that of the man sleeping next to him, face relaxed and peaceful as it never was during his waking hours. Yes, Dean Winchester, body and soul, was by far the most beautiful thing Castiel had ever seen. Once they'd retrieved Sam back from the people who'd taken him, Cas fully intended on taking as much time and effort as was required until Dean believed that. And perhaps he should also encourage Sam to find someone other than his brother who would do the same for him. Both Winchesters thought entirely too little of themselves for Cas's comfort.
Zachariah and Uriel would no doubt tell him he'd become unforgivably sentimental. The thought didn't bother him, beyond that they'd take exception to that and try to have him taken in for reconditioning. They were both dead after all, as was Naomi, and they would not have been wrong. Cas was not entirely sure of the person he'd become, whether he was good, bad, or (most likely) something that dwelt in the shades of grey in between. Regardless he was not, nor would he ever be, ashamed of the care he had for these humans who's somehow become his family than almost the entirety of the angelic host (with very few exceptions, all of them dead.) If Castiel had his family, he was content.
He watched over the sleeping Winchesters quietly throughout the duration of the rest of the flight. He woke both of them just after the plane stopped at the off ramp. Mary woke calmly, smiled, and thanked him for the rest. Dean, unsurprisingly, started awake violently but calmed upon realizing that they were now on the ground. Then he grinned at Castiel too.
"Thanks Cas," Dean said, then yawned, "That was the best sleep I've gotten in months.
He looked sleep rumpled and softer than he was while fully awake, and he was smiling at Cas. A warm feeling took root in Cas's stomach, as always happened when a genuine smile from Dean was directed his way, and he dearly wanted to kiss him. Before he got the chance to, however, Dean bit his lip, leaned in before Cas realized what was happening, and kissed him.
It was light, quick, and far more gentle than Cas would have expected from him. It was also the first time Dean had made the first move. Father, Castiel loved this man. Dean pulled back and looked away, and Cas was almost entirely sure that he was blushing. Oooooh. That was new. He wanted to make him do that again.
"Right," Dean said guffly. Then he leaned in again quickly, and pecked Cas on the cheek before getting up and squeezing past Mary into the aisle. Since when was Dean this sweet? Cas loved it. He was fairly certain that the expression currently on his face would best be described as beaming, something that he might have found embarrassing were he not currently so deliriously happy.
Then he noticed that Mary was looking between the two of them and biting her lip like she was trying not to laugh. She noticed him noticing her, and then winked, getting up out of her own seat to follow Dean. Cas followed her out through the plane, into Manchester Airport, and to the rental car that would take them to the nice, but relatively inexpensive, B&B Mary had found for them upon figuring out how to work TripAdvisor (her first successful foray into the internet). That was where they would rest and plan out how they were going to find Sam. Dean, though he did drive, complained strenuously about the rental car, and driving on the 'wrong' side of the road. Knowing that he was only trying to distract himself from Sam until he could actually do something, Cas simply traded exasperated looks with Mary, and let him rant.
Luckily, the airport wasn't far from their destination and less than half an hour after pulling out from the airport's parking garage, they pulled in to the driveway at the Ladybower Inn. Dean looked at the building dubiously.
"This looks pretty swanky. You sure this place is cheap?"
"Yes Dean," Mary answered him patiently, "The rooms are as inexpensive as we're going to get here, there's free wifi, free parking, and breakfast comes included. Also, they have a bar. Can we go in now?"
Properly chastised, as well as motivated by the promise of free food and alcohol, Dean finally popped open his door and got out of the car. Mary and Cas followed him in, baggage in hand (a duffel bag apiece, plus one for Sam with a few changes of clothes, weapons, and a hexbag each to hid the weapons from airport security). Dean checked them in, then they tramped upstairs to get settled.
The young man at the desk had informed them that breakfast would be available until eleven. As it was after ten and the humans were hungry, Mary and Dean then went back downstairs to eat while Cas warded the rooms-just in case.
When Mary and Dean came back, the three of them gathered in the room that Dean and Cas were sharing to spread out everything they had so far and find their errant Winchester. According to the GPS, the plane Sam had be taken in had touched down somewhere near the center of the Peak District, which was why they'd landed in Manchester-the airport was as close as they could get to the district by plane. (This, along with the fact that the Peak District was a national park, also made Cas question the legality of landing any kind of plane there at all. As this was hardly relevant just then he stored the thought away on the off chance that it would be useful later.)
Other than the general area of landing (the GPS had been strangely vague-they suspected some kind of warding interference) they didn't have much to speak of. While facial recognition had come up with a match for the blonde woman who'd abducted Sam, it really didn't give them much beyond her name (Lady Antonia Bevell, evidently went by Toni.) She was a minor member of British nobility, was widowed with a son, and kept a low profile-no scandals, no kind of record, didn't even own a gun on paper and nothing in her background, familial or otherwise, to suggest that she'd ever have cause to use one. As far as they could tell, she'd never even taken a martial arts class, or ever been even remotely interested in the occult. So no clues as to how she'd been able to take down one of the most experienced hunters on the planet, how she'd known about the bunker or the angel banishing sigil, or why she'd done any of it.
They'd briefly entertained the idea that she'd been possessed, but...No smell of Sulfur, a demon would have just killed Sam outright, and a quick call put into Crowley confirmed that all the demons in hell were accounted for. (Not that they trusted him, but as his clsim lined up with their evidnece, they decided he was telling the truth. Anyway, even crowley couldn't just barge into the Bunker uninvited as this woman had.)
Not a lot to go on, but it was all they had, so they had to make it work. Dean joined Cas on his bed to pour over every map of the Peak District they'd been able to get their hands on, trying to narrow down their search radius, while Mary was perched on Dean's bed with Sam's laptop trying to dig up whatever more information she could on Lady Bevell. (She truy had taken to the new computers with an impressive speed- Dean had only needed to show her some of the basics and she was researching online as well as Cas had ever been able to.)
It was quiet; the only noise they generated for well over two hours was from the rustling of paper maps, the clicking of keys, and the occasional murmur as Castiel and Dean compared notes or Mary read something she'd found aloud to herself.
Finally, just as Cas and Dean had narrowed down their possibilities to two or three stretches of privately owned wooded areas, Mary let out a triumphant whoop!
Dean was off of Cas's bed and at his mother's side in an instant, and Cas followed close behind, taking with him the map they'd used to mark out their possible destinations on.
"What've you got, Mom?" Dean asked.
Mary turned her head to grin at them.
"Well, I was going through any old newspaper articles that I could find with the Lady Bitch's last name in them, and there's an article from 1951 (that's the year the Peak District became a national park) detailing some contention regarding the ownership of a piece of land in the district. It's one of the wooded areas, and it's been owned by the same family since the 1700's. The National trust wanted the land, the family refused to give it up, and they were backed by their longtime family allies...The Bevell's."
"Wait, seriously?" Dean grabbed the laptop to look at the article for himself. He then (rather unnecessarily) tilted it to show Cas. "Huh. Well, I get where you're coming from, but that was like sixty years ago. The families could not be as tight anymore."
Mary grinned at him.
"I'm not an amateur, honey, I do know what I'm doing. I recognized the family name from the list Lady Bitch's Facebook friends; members of that family make up nearly a quarter of it. They're still close."
Dean was beaming now, and Cas had to forcibly remind himself that Mary, Dean's mother was in the room with them and that they were working Castiel, now is not a good time to kiss Dean until he turns that wonderful pink color again no matter how much that look makes you want to.
He cleared his throat.
"Where is the land?"
Mary went back to Sam's laptop, pulling up a map, and Dean took theirs from Cas to compare. The three of them sat there and simply looked at the two plots of land that matched up perfectly on both of the maps, and then turned to look at each other. Cas knew he was probably smiling ridiculously again, while Mary and Dean were both grinning with the elated fierceness that always preceded a particularly vicious hunting culmination.
They had found Sam. Now, they simply needed to retrieve him.
Harry took the last step to stand at the front door to the Burrow, then stopped. He squared his shoulders and took a deep breath as he tried to prepare himself to deliver to his family what he was almost positive was the worst news he'd had to deliver since the war had ended. Ron was a solid presence at his back, for all that Harry knew damn well that his best friend was dreading this nearly as much as he was. It had been three days since Harry had determined that he had to inform the rest of his family of Teddy's disappearance, but he simply had not gotten the chance to before now.
His team had found a handful of silver darts and a bullet (also silver) at the scene not long after they'd discovered Teddy's wand. However, because the Auror who had found them was a Pureblood from a ridiculously conservative family (the man was, himself, not overtly prejudiced but he knew absolutely nothing about Muggles) it hadn't been until Dennis Creevey had seen them that his team realized the significance. Harry was giving him a raise as soon as this was over; Dennis had immediately brought them to his attention.
Not for the first time, Harry resolved to hold a mandatory seminar for every single one of his non-Muggle-raised Aurors as to the mechanics of muggle weaponry and customs, residual Pureblood hangups be damned. He'd have to ask Hermione to help him with it (she was still far better at organization and diplomacy than he was), and he'd made a physical note for himself to start work on that as soon as they rescued Teddy. It was patently ridiculous that it hadn't been done before; having his Auror's miss that obvious of a clue when it could be easily avoided was downright hazardous, and if Dennis hadn't seen the leftover ammunition...Well, that wasn't worth dwelling on.
At any rate, with a lead like that it had quickly become obvious that neither Harry nor Ron would have any spare seconds with which to inform their family of anything whatsoever and so they went on blissfully uninformed.
Teddy had clearly been abducted, of all things, by Muggles. Muggles who apparently, given the silver, had been hunting the same werewolf-like creatures Teddy had been investigating. Werewolf hunting Muggles were, a new and pressing problem in and of themselves, but of far more importance and no small amount of concern to Harry (and Ron, and, to be perfectly honest, most of the rest of the Auror Department) was that they had Teddy. And they still didn't know how long it had been since they'd taken him.
Every single one of Harry's Aurors that weren't already neck deep in critically important cases of their own were now on this one. Every single one of them, from Harry, to old Williamson who'd be retired by this time next year, to the greenest of the trainees, had been pouring over books and news reports, old and new, magical and Muggle alike, all trying to find out if anything like this had happened before. And lo and behold, it had. Muggle reports, most of them decades old if not older, of "animal attacks", the heart ripped out of all of the victims, and always, always on the full moon. Then one, two, or more deaths by silver bullet or knife, and/or people missing with only a silver dart of two left at the scene, and the attacks stopped. It wasn't new, it had just, for whatever reason, never come across the attention of any Wizards before. (As far as any of them knew. Two wars and a Ministry effectively run by Voldemort had been hell on the records.)
And now, whoever and these people were (Harry thought that the were probably some kind of secret organization or something equally ridiculous) they had a wizard, and one who was both half-werewolf and a metamorphmagus to boot. They had Harry's godson, and Teddy had all too obviously not gone willingly. If Harry found Teddy hurt, then by Merlin there was going to be bloody hell to pay, Muggles or no, and he needed to find him now.
Harry had immediately sent his liaison to the Muggles to in the hopes that their Ministry had anything on these werewolf hunters that he could find. Once that had been done...Well Harry and Ron had then been left with nothing to do but wait for news, so they called a family meeting at the Burrow (including Andromeda Tonks.) And now he was standing at the doorstep, trying to summon up the courage to tell his family that their oldest child was missing.
A weight settled on Harry's shoulder as Ron let a bolstering hand fall there and clasp it gently. Harry leaned gratefully into the touch, and then, shaking himself, best friend, brother, and second in command at his back, he walked through the door.
All of the kids bar Teddy, Lily and Hugo were at Hogwarts, but everyone else (bar Charlie, who was in the midst of dealing with a particularly difficult dragon in Romania) were gathered together in the Weasleys' living room. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had claimed the loveseat, Ginny the space on the floor next to them with Lily and Hugo next to her. She looked worried, as did both Hermione and Andromeda (neither Harry nor Ron had been home in days, both working through the night and catching naps in Harry's office when they slept at all, and Andy knew that Teddy should've sent news days ago; all three women knew that something was wrong), both squeezed onto the couch with Angelina and Fleur. George was perched on the arm of the couch next to his wife, Bill was seated in the big armchair next to the couch, and Percy and Audrey and both brought in chairs from the kitchen.
All of them turned to look as Ron and Harry walked in. The worried frown on Andromeda's face deepened as she saw them and Harry knew that she had taken note of Teddy's glaring absence. Hermione quickly conjured two more chairs in between the couch and the loveseat, and Harry sank down into his gratefully, knowing Ron was doing the same to the left. This...was not going to be fun.
It was Mrs. Weasley who finally broke the silence.
"Well, now that we're all here, are you boys going to tell us why we're all here and what's got you so worried?"
Harry exchanged a look with Ron, who was now holding onto Hermione's hand, and swallowed.
"Actually, Mum, we're not all here," Ron told her carefully, "We've got news we'd really rather deliver just the once, so we-"
The rest of his explanation was cut off by the fire turning green with a crackle-snap-pop and four shapes arriving from it into the room in quick succession. Victoire came first, followed closely by James, then Albus, and then Neville Longbottom. Lily jumped up to crash into her brothers with glee (they hadn't seen each other since Christmas Break) while Angelina waved up a chair for herself and ceded her spot on the couch to Vic. Vic smiled at her and sat herself between her mother and Andromeda while Neville gave Harry and Ron a tight smile (he already knew) and sat by the kids on the other side of Mr. and Mrs. Weasley's chair.
For a moment, chaos reigned: talking, greetings, and questions all flowed together to create the din typical of a family gathering and to Harry's surprise, it was James (ordinarily precisely at the center of whatever pandemonium was occurring) who called for quiet. He'd evidently noticed through the bedlam that both Harry and Ron had been uncharacteristically quiet and realized that something was very wrong (sometimes Harry forgot just how observant his oldest son was.) Jamie looked around the room once more, gave Harry a piercing glance, then stood from his place on the floor (dislodging Lily, who'd deposited herself upon his lap, to Albus) and let out an earsplitting whistle. Startled, the rest of the family fell silent, and James turned back to him.
"What's happened, Dad? Where's Teddy?"
Now they were all looking at Harry with considerable worry and he sighed. He was really going to have to do this. Damnit. Damn that this was happening, Damn that those godforsaken Muggles had kidnapped his godson, and damn that he was the one who had to be the messenger of this news. Just...Damn it all.
"Some-some of you know that Teddy has been on a mission looking into reports of strange, werewolf-like, creatures attacking and killing muggles," he began hesitantly.
Most of the room immediately paled, knowing what a start like this implied,and Andromeda and Vic grabbed for each other's hands while Mrs. Weasly covered her mouth with a hand and Ginny reached out hers to grab onto Harry's. He was infinitely grateful to her and squeezed it once before letting go.
"He, ah...he was supposed to be back three days ago but he never made his check-in. We sent a team to find him and..."
Andromeda was so pale she was grey, and she and Victoire were clinging to each other's hands so hard that Harry could see the whites of their knuckles from across the room.
"We know he's not dead," Harry added, knowing that they needed the reassurance and to remind himself of the fact, "That much, we're certain of. And we've almost definitely found the place where he was taken from. But...he is missing in action...and we found his wand."
James and Albus flinched, Vic and Mrs. Weasley both let out small, dismayed cries, and the rest of them bar Andy, even Ginny whose hand was back (Harry gripped it like the lifeline she was offering it as), and Hermione and Percy (who rarely swore) let loose several particularly vicious curses.
"Do you know who has him?" Andromeda asked sharply, "Do you know who has taken my godson?"
Her voice trembled, but she was marginally less pale, and her grip on Victoire and loosened ever so slightly. Ron answered her question for Harry.
"Not exactly," he told them, "We've found evidence, rather conclusive, that there are Muggles who have been...well, 'hunting' seems to the the best word for it, the were-like creatures that Teddy was going after, for decades. And...that they apparently ran into Ted at some point in their investigation and for whatever reason took him."
"We don't know who they are," Harry added, "But we have leads and people liasoning with the Muggle Ministry and...we're going to find him, Andy. We're bringing him home."
Somehow his voice didn't shake, and his words came across as far more confident than he felt. He wished he could be as sure as he'd sounded...but he'd been through too much to be anything other than angry and utterly terrified that when (because there was certainly no question of that, they were finding Teddy if Harry had to tear the world apart) they found his godson it would be too late.
"We should have the-"
The door to the Burrow burst open nearly off its hinges, and Harry was on his feet in an instant, wand drawn and in front of him, secure in the knowledge that Ron and the rest of his family (at the very least the adults, but likely Vic, Jamie and Al as well) had done the same.
Someone ran into the room, only to squeak and freeze at the sight of over a dozen wands, all wielded by very capable (some even rather vicious) witches and wizards pointed directly at them. Harry took one look at their face and relaxed, putting his wand away as he heard the others doing the same. It was Dennis, and when Harry tried to apologize, he just waved it off and dove into his report.
"I just got back from the Muggle Ministry," he told the room at large, "We've been working with them to pool our collective intel and...you've got to come, Harry, Ron. Right now We're pretty sure we've found him."
Merlin, Mordred and Morgana, finally. Harry whipped back around to face his family.
"I-We-we've got to-"
Ginny cut him off with a quick kiss then pulled back, eyes blazing, a hand resting gently on his face.
"You bring him back Dad, you go bring him back." That was James, hand in hand with his brother, both their eyes blazing with their mother's fire, speaking for all the others in the room. They were nodding, and Hermione stepped forward to hug Harry, then her husband, whom she also kissed once, hard.
"You need us, you call," she told them in no uncertain terms.
"That goes for me as well," Neville put in.
"You bring him right here when you find him," Mrs. Weasley said from Andromeda's side (she'd apparently moved when Dennis came in), "You bring him right here, and we'll all be here to take care of him."
If Harry knew her at all, she was planning on keeping Andy (and possibly her oldest granddaughter as well) in the Burrow with her and Mr. Weasley until they found Teddy, and Harry smiled at her. Good. Andy would need the companyand the support.
"We will," he promised.
It was as much to himself as to them and, heart in his throat, he kissed Ginny again and gathered his remaining children into his arms for a quick hug. Then, letting them go reluctantly, he smiled tightly at all of them.
"We will," Harry said again, then knowing that Ron and Dennis was going the same behind him, he turned on the spot and Dissapparated, reappearing in his office with a CRACK! They had work to do.
He turned to Dennis.
"Tell us everything."
Welp, this chapter's finally done. I know it's pretty much one huge filler, but I hope y'all liked it anyway :)
So unfortunately, I'm going to have to put off anymore work on this story until school's out (finals week is coming up, kill me now), so there won't be any update until some time in June. The good news is I've got the next chapter all written out in the notebook, so once I get the chance to start work on it, it should come pretty quick.
Also, side note: I've been having some major timeline issues in this story, but I've finally got it all hashed out and I'll be going through the other chapters to fix that stuff. I'd really appreciate it if y'all could let me know if I miss anything.
If it'd be helpful, I can also copy down my timeline in a way that's legible and try and get a pic of it on here.
Other side note: With this chapter up, this story is officially longer than anything else I've written! Eeek!
Happy reading guys, I'll be back in about a month!
Chapter 8: If You Go Out in the Woods Today...
Yay, I'm back! Just a few quick things:
I'm not British, and this hasn't been britpicked, so I apologize in advance to any mistakes that have been made in regards to that.
Secondly, WARNING: This chapter has some pretty heavy (and kind of graphic) violence: some mauling and there's a part there there's a pretty graphic description of Sirius biting at someone's throat ( no one dies, but it's pretty gross.) If that stuff squicks you out, stop reading at 'Damn Fenrir Greyback' and start again at 'Sirius knew that.' it's a pretty short section, and I'll include a not-graphic summary in the end notes :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Sirius did, in fact, know where he was going. It was one of the many benefits of the very, very extensive wards surrounding the Manor that he'd been keyed into: he always knew what direction he had to go to get there, so he'd been trotting ahead of Teddy and Sam (names being one of the first things he'd picked up on), leading them to safety (grateful that for whatever reason, they hadn't been questioning it) and listening to them talk to each other.
He'd figured out pretty quickly that they both had some idea of who he was, though both of them seemed content to linger in the limbo of 'But is he though?' and Sirius still wasn't entirely sure how Sam knew. They'd said something about a couple of series of books that Sirius didn't really understand, it would just have to be another thing that he asked them if he ever got back to being human.
Anyway, it'd been about a day and a half since Sirius had managed to break the kids out of that ridiculous compound and, bar the whole book series thing, they'd been pretty damn informative. Not that it was, on the whole, in a good way. Every hour that passed only made Sirius want to be human again more and more, if only to give both of these kids a damn hug, and maybe cry some (a lot, he was going to cry a lot) himself.
He'd already been concerned about Sam from pretty much the moment he laid eyes on him in that tiny airport, and he knew that Teddy had been worried too. The man smelled of anger, despair, and grief so strongly that Sirius had had to stop himself from sneezing from it multiple times. He wasn't sure if Teddy could smell it at all, or if the kid was just that perceptive, but the concern coming off of him was almost as strong.
To Sam's credit, the kid had somehow managed to hold himself together until they'd settled down for the night. They'd made remarkably good time despite Sam's injuries and emotional turmoil which, while helpful, also gave Sirius the distinctly uncomfortable feeling that Sam was far too practiced in pushing his way through significant pain to do...whatever it was he did. At that point they's still been in the woods, though Sirius was pretty sure they were nearing the edge, so the kids had each picked a tree and slumped down against them for the night, Sirius curled up in between their resting places.
Sam had immediately leaned his head back against his chosen tree with his eyes closed, seemingly with every intention of dropping to sleep right then and there. Sirius, who had originally planned on letting the man get some well earned rest before he'd smelled fresh blood coming from his shoulder area, had gotten up and batted at Teddy's leg with his foot, whined softly at him, and shoved his nose in the direction of Sam's wounded appendage.
Teddy had breathed in deep and, obviously taking in the same scent that Sirius had (maybe he could smell the emotions wafting off of Sam in waves after all) gently prodded Sam in the leg.
"Sam. Hey, I should take a look at your shoulder and-" he'd broken off, scooting closer to Sam's face to peer in at it, "I should really set that nose."
Sirius had looked too; he'd forgotten about Sam's broken nose, but Teddy had definitely been right about it needing to be set. If Sirius were human and had his bloody wand he could've healed Sam right up, down to the last bruise. Damnit Bella. Mind, if he was human, they wouldn't be in this mess in the woods in the first place because he would've bloody Apparated them out of it by now, Merlin, Mordred, and Morgana. There wasn't anything he could've done at that moment, so he'd flopped back to the ground with a disgruntled sigh, and resigned himself to more listening.
Sam hadn't even opened his eyes.
"It's too dark Teddy, go to sleep."
"I can see well enough," Teddy had insisted, "I've got really bloody good night vision perks of having a werewolf for a Dad, and don't even bother to try and tell me you're fine, I can smell the fresh blood coming from your shoulder. I think that Snuffles can too, right?"
That last bit had been directed right at him, so Sirius'd obligingly lifted his head and gave an affirming yip.
Sam had heaved a sigh, wincing, but opened his eyes, and Sirius had narrowed his own. The kid's torso was bruised pretty badly. Oh brilliant, the kid probably had broken ribs on top of everything else, dammit. They were fresh out of anything to wrap them with. Sirius just hoped there wasn't any internal bleeding going on there.
"Fine. Do the nose first."
Teddy'd nodded solemnly, relief that Sirius felt as well coming off of him in waves, and leaned forward, face crewed up in concentration. Oh, Merlin. That was the face Moony got whenever he was working the kinks out of a particularly inspired prank (albeit with less unholy glee.) He couldn't wait to see Remus again. A light snap had reached his ears and he'd jumped, but it'd only been Teddy moving Sam's nose back into place. Sam himself hadn't made a sound, which had reinforced Sirius' suspicions as to the kid's worryingly high pain tolerance. He knew firsthand just how painful getting one's nose set was, even when it was with magic. He couldn't imagine that doing it that way was any less painful.
Then he'd watched as Teddy gingerly peeled back the bandages covering Sam's shoulder. He'd gotten up to look a little closer, and oh. Oh dear sweet Merlin, that was...Sirius hadn't been able to help the distressed noise that had sounded in the back of his throat, and Teddy'd looked vaguely nauseated. Me too, kid, me too.
Sam's shoulder had been a bloody (and he did mean that literally) mess of nasty a looking hole that was seeping fresh blood and stitches (and yes, of course he knew what stitches were, Lily had forced all four of them to go to several Muggle first aid training courses; he also know how to do CPR) that looked as though they'd been forcibly ripped apart. Going from the smell, Sam was all too close to a nasty infection. Sirius shuddered just thinking back on it. They needed to get to the Manor, and fast. At least there was clean water there.
Teddy had bitten his lip, then eased the bandages the rest of the way off of the shoulder before turning them over. Good kid. He must've had some kind of basic healer training at the very least, because out of their current options, that was really the best course of action he could've chosen. It certainly wasn't ideal by any stretch of the imagination, but at least the outside of the bandages had managed to stay relatively clean. Teddy'd carefully placed the bandages back over the wound, then stripped off the tattered remains of his own shirt. Eerily silent up to then, Sam had protested, but Teddy had quelled him with a look that he had most definitely inherited from his Dad.
"I run hotter than you do, I'll be fine. I need to bind your shoulder tighter to stop the bleeding, so unless you particularly feel like dying slowly from blood loss, I suggest you shut up and let me help you."
And there was Dora (she herself had gotten it from Andy). Merlin, but she and Remus must've been so proud of their sprog (shows what he'd known.) As any sane person did when confronted with that particular tone of voice and expression, Sam had shut up and let Teddy work. When he was finished, Teddy had sat back on his heels and given Sam a long look.
"What do you mean?" Sam had asked.
Which, bullshit. Sam had clearly known exactly what it was Teddy had meant.
"You're grieving," Teddy had told him, not unkindly, "You've lost someone and, whatever it was that happened, it was recent and you're not handling it well."
Sam's opened his mouth, face set stubbornly, and Teddy had quickly cut him off before he could argue.
"Compartmentalizing everything doesn't count and you know it."
Sam had closed his mouth, and for a moment he just looked, but then he sighed, defeat written into every line of his slumped body and hunched shoulders.
"Dean," he'd said softly, face crumpling just a little.
Sirius had had absolutely no idea who Dean was, but Teddy clearly had if the shocked look spread all across his face had been anything to go by. He didn't push anymore though, and it had turned out that he hadn't needed to. Once Sam had started, it had seemed as though he almost wasn't able to stop.
Over the next several minutes, Sirius had learned that 'Dean' had been Sam's older brother. He'd gone out saving the world (Sirius had, at the time, wondered what had been going on with the sun right along with everyone else, but a fight between God and his sister had never crossed his mind.) Apparently Dean had died and come back to life enough times that Sam had felt the need to clarify that he definitely wouldn't be this time. According to the 'reaper' (which apparently were a thing now) had informed both brothers that the next time they died (seriously, what in the name of Merlin's favorite pair of polka-dot boxer-briefs???) they'd be thrown into the Empty. Sirius had absolutely no idea what that was, but apparently there was no coming back from it.
(Sirius hadn't previously been aware that was a way of coming back from any kind of death in the first place; Horcruxes didn't count. That wasn't coming back from the dead, that was not having really been dead in the first place, and also not something he wanted to think about.)
So, Sam's story? Not an even remotely happy one and Sirius, who knew exactly what it was to lose a brother and a best friend (and James, who had been both) grieved for and with him. But it was what he'd learned after that that still had him reeling hours later. Remus and Dora were both dead. His one last remaining best friend and his baby cousin had both been dead for over twenty years, and he hadn't know. He hadn't known.
The whole time he'd been working to come home, it'd been can't abandon Harry and can't leave Remus alone like that, ever again. But for almost all of that time there hadn't been a Moony to come back to. And it wasn't just Remus and Dora either. Ted. Cheerful, Hufflepuff Ted who wouldn't have hurt a fly (and Merlin, Andromeda, how had she survived it?) and Dumbledore.
Sirius was neither stupid nor naive. He'd left those behind a long time ago. He knew that war had casualties, he knew that dammit. But somehow...They'd lost so much already, so much. He'd thought, and maybe he'd been naive after all, but he'd thought that he and Remus, last of the Marauders would make it through at least. (Harry making it had never been a question, not for Sirius. He just would. Something he'd been right about at least.)
(And he couldn't help but wonder...who else had they lost? Who else was years and years dead and gone, and Sirius still had no idea and no way of knowing?)
So...yeah. Sirius was grieving and in shock and confused. He wasn't giving any thought to it being a full moon beyond Teddy's being grumpy and grouchy, having better light to travel by, and missing Moony. After all, no one knew where they were. So, when he heard leaves crunching in the woods around them, he figured it was a deer or something. The smell didn't even register, and Sirius had absolutely no idea that Fenrir bloody Greyback was anywhere in the vicinity until the bastard came crashing through the trees into the little clearing they were walking through with a blood-chilling howl and lept straight at Teddy.
Thankfully, Sam had somehow been more aware of their surroundings than him. Before Sirius accepted that he hadn't fallen asleep and wasn't actually having a bizarre dream, and before Teddy had even registered that anything was happening, Sam had emptied the rest of his gun directly into the charging werewolf. It didn't stop him. The gun would've, at the very least, had to have been loaded with silver bullets to do that. It did however, slow Greyback down enough that Teddy had time to scramble back and the snapping teeth closed around his thigh instead of his neck and for Sirius to finally get his wits back about him.
Damn Fenrir Greyback and his bloody-minded vendetta against Remus. And damn him to the deepest pits of Hell for taking it out on Remus's bloody kid. He let loose the growl building deep in his chest and launched himself on top of the werewolf. No one else was dying, he was not losing anyone else, not today. Not Moony's kid. Not Harry's kid. Sirius landed square on Greyback's back, and sunk his teeth deep into the back of the murderous arse's neck. All Sirius could hear was Teddy screaming and all he could smell was blood. He bit down harder, aware somewhere in the back of his mind that he was snarling like a wild animal.
Greyback roared, and the next thing Sirius knew, he was slamming hard into the trunk of a tree at the far side of the clearing with three stinging gashes running down his side. He'd definitely felt some of his ribs crack but he didn't think that the cuts were too bad, so as soon as his ears stopped ringing he was up and leaping back at the minger mauling Teddy.
Sam, though he was moving slower than Sirius thought he would normally be capable of, had retrieved his knife and was currently slashing it at every part of Greyback he could reach. Seeing that, Sirius decided to change tactics: This time, he went for the throat. Greyback's jaws were still clamped on Teddy's leg like he was some kind of pit bull, and Teddy was still screaming, but there were already gouges on Greyback's muzzle where Teddy had grown claws and fought back. The gouges were bleeding, heavily, and Sirius allowed himself a moment of burning pride for this kid.
Your sprog's fierce, Moony, Dora. You'd've been damn proud.
Barking furiously, Sirius lunged for the monster's throat teeth closing around it just as Sam's knife found itself lodged itself deep in the monster's shoulder.
Greyback howled in pain, rearing back and releasing Teddy's leg. Teddy scrambled back to get out of the way and put pressure on his bleeding thigh, but not before clocking his attacker a good one, right on the nose.
So. Damn. Proud.
Sam yanked his knife to the side, then out, cleaving a wound long and deep enough that Sirius was almost sure it would leave a nasty scar, then jumped out of the way. Greyback overbalanced and went own hard, Sirius on top with his teeth still lodged in his throat. Blood was flooding into his mouth thick, hot, coppery and completely disgusting. Gagging, he released Greyback's throat and went for his shoulder instead. Greyback made to claw him off, so Sirius jumped away, and growled, low and menacing. He could smell his own rage rolling off of his fur, and he made sure that every single one of his blood covered teeth were bared.
Sirius knew that Fenrir Greyback was, among other things, a sniveling coward, and he'd been heavily injured. He was bleeding heavily from his neck, face, back, chest, shoulder and side, and Sirius could smell the noxious scent of his fear. He stopped growling to bark viciously, once, twice. Once more, and that was it. Fenrir Greyback, the most feared werewolf in the Wizarding World, turned tail and ran.
Sirius, ears pricked so that he'd be warned should the bastard try to come back, turned and limped over to where Teddy was slumped on the ground. Sam was already with him and, between the two of them, they'd already managed to more or less successfully bind up Teddy's thigh with the bottom half of his mangled jeans. Sirius sniffed worriedly at Sam, but the giant had somehow managed to come through the attack no more damaged than he'd already been at the start of it. He turned his attention back to Teddy, and licked a little at his face. It was salty and wet, and Sirius had to fight the urge to turn around, hunt down Greyback, and rip his fucking throat out. He'd made Moony's kid cry.
Unfortunately, that wasn't an option just then. Besides, Teddy's well being was far more important. Instead, he gently licked the rest of the blood and tears from Teddy's face and thanked Merlin that Greyback hadn't managed to bite into Teddy's femoral artery. That done, he eased himself down onto his uninjured side and started licking at his own werewolf-induced wounds. Ugh. At this rate, he'd be tasting blood for days. He hated the taste of blood.
A hand rested lightly on his back, and he tensed, but it was just Teddy who froze the instant he did.
"Is-is this ok?" he asked hesitantly.
Sirius yipped once, then went back to his cleaning. Kid was as sharp as a hippogriff, that was for sure. Sirius vaguely wondered what House the he'd been sorted into. Teddy's hand moved on Sirius's back, stroking lightly (carefully avoiding his wounds), and oh. That felt wonderful. Sirius had always been tactile, something that only became more prominent when he was Padfoot. In his school days and the precious few years after before That Halloween, he'd rarely gone a day (bar in the summers he'd still been living with his family) without having draped himself over one or more of his friends, as a dog or a human, often for a nap or just to have his hair petted.
If he was honest with himself, and he did try to be these days, his childhood had probably resulted in him being rather touch starved, something in which all of his friends, including Lily, had indulged him. Azkaban had exacerbated the touch starvation to the point of it being painful. While he'd been stuck at Grimmauld Place he'd spent as much time as he physically could curled up next to Remus and Dora (the only two members of the Order he'd really been comfortable enough around to be that close to, though the Weasly twins hadn't been that bad, just easily distracted, and Professor McGonagall and Madeye had been known to give him a few pats while he was a dog every once in a while.)
The point was, Sirius was very tactile and, with the exception of a kind Muggle here and there over the years, no one had touched him at all except to shoo him away for about two decades. What was happening now? It was glorious. He sighed happily and let his head fall to the grass and then, wonder of all wonders, another hand came over and started to scratch him behind the ears. That had to be Sam, the hand was far too big to be Teddy's. Rather against his will, he could feel his tail starting to wag in the grass.
And, oops, Teddy was saying something to him.
"...to thank you Snuffles. Greyback would've torn me to shreds if it hadn't been for you charging him like you did."
And he was still talking to him like he was a person and not just some dog.
Moony, Dora? Your kid is fucking amazing.
"And...If you're actually Sirius Black and I'm not just imagining things, I've got no idea how you're alive or where you've been or why you've not changed back but...if you'd like, I could tell you some of the stories I've heard about my Dad from when he was teaching at Hogwarts."
Dora and Remus, I really hope you're up there watching this, because your sprog? He's brilliant.
One bark and an enthusiastic tail wag. But... they couldn't do it just then. They had to keep moving, injuries and all because if Greyback had been able to find them, who else could? They needed to get to safety. Sirius reluctantly levered himself to his feet and nudged at Teddy's shoulder with his nose. He hated, hated that the kid would have to walk on that leg, but they really couldn't stay here. They were getting close, he could tell, and once they got to the Manor, they'd at least have some supplies to treat the wounds and a place to sleep, maybe even food. They needed all of those things, badly.
So, he nudged, nosed, poked, and prodded at the boys until they were both up and (more or less) on their feet, Teddy leaning heavily on Sam's good shoulder. It would be slow going and painful for all three of them, but Sirius knew they'd make it. These boys were survivors, and Sirius was damned if he was going to give up getting back to Harry now. Once they were safe and healed (at least somewhat) they'd figure out how they were getting back to their people.
Yeah, Sirius thought to himself as Teddy launched into the timeless story of Remus, Neville Longbottom and the Snape-boggart, we're going to be just fine.
Vic was pacing a groove in the Common room floor (again, she'd been doing this on and off since they'd gotten back). Al was huddled up with Rose and his new friend Scorpius, Dom and Louis were watching Vic with no small amount of concern, Fred and Roxie had gone to raid the kitchen for some comfort food, and James Sirius Potter sat on the bright red sofa with his knees tucked into his chest and tried desperately not to scream.
They'd all been sent back to Hogwarts not long after Dad and Uncle Ron'd left and when Vic and Gran Andy had been able to let go of each other. Upon returning, Uncle Neville had hugged them all and told them to come to him if they needed anything before leaving them in the common room with their cousins and friends. Now, Jamie had absolutely nothing to do and it was driving him batty. He knew, he knew that that his Dad and Uncle Ron were the best. He knew that they had a good lead, and he damn well bloody knew that Teddy was more than capable of taking care of himself. Precisely none of that knowledge was in any way helping him just then.
Jamie had never had even the slightest interest in becoming an Auror (he, Freddy and Roxie had all long since decided that they were going to work for the twin's Dad in Weasley's Wizard Wheezes.) Right then? Well, right then he'd have given anything to be working under his Dad to find his god-brother, to be doing something, anything to help bring Teddy home where he belonged.
And it wasn't even like something like this had never happened before. Dad and Uncle Ron had both gone missing in the line of duty, more than once. They'd always come through. But...well...that was Dad and Uncle Ron, who had, with Aunt Hermione, gone up against Voldemort himself at least once a year nearly every year they'd been in school and who had survived loads and loads of other mad, dangerous stuff besides. And of course he was always worried and scared that that they might not be coming back that time regardless, but...
This wasn't them. This was Teddy, who'd fixed up loads of Jamie's scraped knees and nearly botched pranks, Teddy who'd helped teach Jamie the difference between funny pranks and cruel ones. Teddy who hadn't hexed that berk McLaggen, even when he'd spent months mouthing of about his dad. Teddy, who even though he'd gone off and become an Auror like Jamie's Dad and his mum hated to hurt anyone. Teddy, the most Hufflepuffish Gryffindor who'd ever lived, who was Jamie's big brother genetics be damned and who'd never gone missing before, had been abducted, and James was more terrified than he'd ever been in his life.
Suddenly, he couldn't bear to sit there in the Common Room and watch Vic's incessant pacing (and Merlin, she must be nearly as scared as he was) and Al talking with Rosie and Scorp (who James had taken a liking to despite himself; kid was bloody brilliant and mad as a hatter), and he wasn't hungry so much as nauseous. So, he did what he always did when he was stuck on anything.
"Al, let me borrow the Map, I want to talk to Them."
Al surfaced from his huddle and eyed him warily, but produced the Map from where it was hidden inside his robes and held it out carefully.
"Just talking, Jamie. Remember the Rule."
(The Rule being the First Rule of Fun Pranking: Never pull a prank when you're angry, scared, or otherwise upset, because that's how the cruel ones are born.)
"Yeah. I'm not going to do anything, I just want to ask them something."
Al stood up and handed him the map, hesitated, then flung his arms around him and clung. Jamie started in surprise, but hugged his little brother back fiercely, squeezing him just as hard.
"He'll be fine, Jamie," Al whispered in his ear, "He'll be fine, and he'll c-come, b-back."
Jamie, eyes prickling in response to the hitching in Al's voice, clutched him tighter.
"Yeah. Yeah he will, and then he'll laugh at us for being so bloody worried about him."
Al gave a wet laugh.
"No he won't."
"No he won't," James agreed, because it was true. Teddy was far too nice to do that. "He'll all of hug us and apologize for scaring us so bad and let Mum, Dad, his Gran, and our Gran cry all over him and then he'll go and be gross with Vic for ages."
Al pulled back from Jamie and wiped furiously at his eyes, sniffing hard.
"Tell me if they've got any new stories?"
Al went back to Rose and Scorp who both wrapped themselves around him, and Jamie (discreetly wiping his own eyes) escaped up to his dorm room to talk to the teenage versions of his namesakes, Teddy's dad, and the Rat. He sat down on the foot of his bed and stared at the battered bit of parchment until his eyes weren't so wet anymore and the Map came into focus. Then, he got out his wand and gently tapped the parchment.
"I solemnly swear I'm up to no good and I need the advice of my predecessors."
His voice only wavered a little, and he let out a sniffle of his own as the comfortingly familiar loopy writing scrawled itself across the previously blank surface.
Messers Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs bid the Prongslet a chaotic day, and ask him what mischief he's up to that he needs to call upon the wisdom of those who came before him?
Ten minutes later, and after a quick 'Mischief Managed' Jamie came down to snag some of the scones Fred and Roxie had brought back with them and ran out of the Tower. He had an idea. If this worked, he might just be able to help find Teddy after all.
Ok, first off, here's the mini-summary for the graphic violence bit: Sirius jumps Greyback, bites him, gets thrown off into a tree with three cuts down his side, Sam jumps into the fray with his knife, Sirius jumps back in and goes for the throat. Sam gets Greyback with the knife right when Sirius connects, Greyback lets go of Teddy who clocks him one on the nose, Sirius does some mauling of his own, then disconnects and makes himself very scary.
IMPORTANT: Updates should be a bit more regular for the summer, and I've already got the next chapter partially written up in my notebook, so it should be up pretty soon.
Also, I'm starting to realize that it would probably be a really good idea to have a beta working with me on this, so if anyone's interested, let me know. I'd really appreciate it. :)
Welp, that's all for now, I hope y'all enjoyed the chapter! I'm sorry for all the Sirius angst (not really, it was actually surprisingly fun to write lol) and let me know what you thought of Jamie! Did you like him, hate him, feel neutral? Tell me about it!