Kevin woke up that evening to an empty room. Again, he could hear the soft chimes somewhere else in the house. This time, it was Hermione, not Ron, who knocked on the door before letting herself into the room.
“Hi Kevin,” Hermione greeted him. “It’s so nice to meet you in person.”
“Hi, yeah,” Kevin nodded. “Thanks, uh, thanks for.... um, sorry about-”
“No apologies or thanks necessary,” Hermione said, brushing the words away. “I’m just glad you’re okay. That was quick thinking on an escape, and I’m just glad we were home when it happened.”
Kevin nodded. “Me too.”
Behind Hermione, Kevin could see two little heads poke around the door frame. The oldest, a girl, couldn’t have been more than ten. Hermione noticed the direction of his gaze and turned.
“Might as well come in and introduce yourself properly, you nosies,” Hermione said with a sigh. The two kids walked in, looking a little bit guilty for having been caught out, but not overly so. They were dressed in pajamas.
“Kevin, I’d like you to meet Rose and Hugo,” Hermione said. “They’re just about to go to bed.”
“Hello,” Kevin greeted, waving awkwardly.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Rose declared.
“Hullo,” Hugo said, shyly.
“Why don’t you two make yourselves useful and bring me the things for Kevin,” Hermione suggested, and both children nodded and ran out of the room.
“We’ve put together some supper for you, if you’re hungry,” Hermione said. “And I’ve picked out some books and Ron’s found a portable DVD player – just in case you’re awake for longer, and get bored. You’re on bed rest for at least three days, I’m afraid, and until Harry thinks it’s safe, we think it’s better if you don’t leave the apartment.”
Kevin nodded. “I haven’t been able to leave the Bunker in months,” he shrugged. “At least you have windows.”
Hermione frowned. Kevin suddenly remembered the conversation he had overheard earlier, and realized that he was a burden of a house-guest that they never asked for and probably didn’t want.
“I mean, it’s probably – uh, Dean will rescue Sam, and then I’ll be able to go back, I’m sure,” Kevin tried to reassure her. “I’m sorry for the trouble.”
Hermione shook her head, not necessarily looking any happier, but then she smiled. “Don’t be ridiculous, we’re happy to have you for as long as you need.”
Rose and Hugo returned to the room then, Rose with a stack of books in her arms that reached her chin, and Hugo carrying a DVD player under his arm and shopping bag full of DVDs. Hermione took the books from Rose and set them on the back of the bedside table, within Kevin’s reach. Hugo came right up to the bed and put the bag down at Kevin’s hip, tossing the DVD player across Kevin’s shins.
“I like this one,” Hugo announced, reaching into the bag and pulling out The Avengers.
“I like that one too,” Kevin smiled. “Thanks.”
“Who’s your favourite?” Hugo asked. “I like Ironman.”
“Ironman’s cool,” Kevin replied.
Hermione ushered the kids to bed soon after. Kevin ate dinner while he watched The Avengers, but couldn’t actually stay awake long enough to do anything else. Ron came to check on him before he and Hermione went to bed, and helped him get up to use the bathroom one last time – and then Kevin slept straight through until morning.
The next day, it wasn’t Ron or Hermione who came to the room when Kevin woke up, but a tall, slim teenager with turquoise hair and brown eyes.
“Good morning, I’m Teddy! I’ll be your nurse today,” the guy greeted with a huge smile.
“Uh, hi, I’m Kevin,” Kevin replied, still groggy from sleep and feeling a little off kilter.
“I know, mate,” Teddy smiled. “So, breakfast?”
“Uh, bathroom?” Kevin replied, a little embarrassed. It was thing to have an adult watching him to make sure that he didn’t get lightheaded and keel over; it was another thing to have someone his own age do it.
“Ah, starting with the hard stuff,” Teddy said. “Don’t worry, mate. The Healer left me a whole list of instructions, and he said everything should be easier today. I still have to help you get out of bed, but you should be able to walk around on your own and have a bit of privacy again.”
Kevin breathed a sigh of relief and pulled the blankets back. Teddy helped him sit up and move off the bed in much the same way that Ron had the day before – except Teddy did it with a look of extreme concentration on his face and then smiled in triumph once Kevin was standing like they had both passed some sort of test. Sure enough, he felt much steadier on his feet than he had the day before, and not nearly as lightheaded. Teddy still followed along as he made his way to the bathroom, but didn’t follow him in.
“I usually work at the shop,” Teddy explained, as they made their way back to the bedroom. “I just help out, part-time, when they need another person out front, but right now most of the work is in the back, and only Ron can do that. So, Ron said that I could help out by looking after you, so that he didn’t have to stay home. So, I get to stay here and watch some films with you, if you want to watch films, or we could read – or play cards – or you could sleep and I could do those things just by myself. Your Healer also gave me some books on healing and bones, with simple diagnostic and emergency healing spells. I was reading those before you woke up, so if you wanted to sleep again, I could just go back to reading them. I don’t mind.”
Kevin nodded, a little overwhelmed. “So, you’re Ron’s shop assistant?”
“I suppose I am, yes,” Teddy smiled. Kevin sat on the bed and Teddy made sure he lay back down in the right position.
“What did they tell you about me?” Kevin asked. He glanced at the warding on the walls.
“Sam was possessed and attacked you,” Teddy frowned. “Harry told me to tell you that he hasn’t been able to get back in touch with Dean yet, but as soon as he does, he’ll let you know.”
“You know Sam and Dean too?” Kevin asked, even more confused.
“Of course,” Teddy said, and then he seemed to finally pick up on Kevin’s confusion, because his eyes went wide and he laughed. “Oh! I see... I’m also Harry’s godson. I met Sam and Dean when I was twelve. They came to visit.”
“Oh,” Kevin said. He shook his head at himself. “That makes more sense.”
Teddy laughed again. “Sorry, that was my fault. I can promise that Harry’s not going around telling random shop assistants that his best mate is harbouring a fugitive prophet. The only people who know, besides everyone in this house, of course, are Harry, your Healer, Ginny – that’s Harry’s wife – and me. Though, I’ve been given permission to tell my flatmate, because he has tomorrow off work, so I was thinking we could both come over and keep you company. And besides that, I’d still have to explain where I was going off to. I don’t usually work that many hours at the shop, since I’m only doing it because Harry gives me a hard time otherwise.”
And just like that, Teddy was off on another tangent about how he didn’t actually need to work for a living – that he had inherited ‘the Black family fortune’ when he came of age – but that Harry insisted that he needed some sort of career. “Even Malfoy has a job,” Teddy said, in a nagging voice that was obviously supposed to be Harry’s.
Teddy interrupted himself to go get Kevin breakfast, after Kevin’s stomach rumbled, but when he returned with the breakfast tray, he picked up right where he had left off.
“The problem,” Teddy announced, putting the tray down across Kevin’s lap. “Is that everyone in school always just said, ‘Do what you love!’ Well, that’s all well and good, but what if I love sleeping and doing nothing all day? What then? What if I either don’t love anything or love everything equally. It’s not a big help, that phrase, is all I’m saying.”
Kevin nodded and ate some toast. It was surreal. Sitting in someone’s spare room, listening to a teenager complain about not having any direction in life. It was like Kevin had stepped out of his life and into someone else’s – someone who had never had his finger cut off by the King of Hell, never had his mother murdered, and had never been nearly killed by one of the only two people they thought they could trust.
“How about you?” Teddy asked. “Any big career plans?”
“I wanted to be the first Asian-American President of the United States,” Kevin replied. Teddy’s eyebrows shot up. “But that was before...” Kevin waved his hand in the air, not able to find a succinct way to explain just how much his life had changed in the past two years.
“I’d just like to stay alive,” Kevin answered honestly.
There was silence in the room for the first time that morning, and Kevin wished that they could go back to Teddy’s non-stop rambling. It may have been surreal, but it had felt better than this depressed quiet.
“Do you know what a metamorphmagus is?” Teddy asked.
Kevin shook his head.
“It’s a wizard that can shapeshift at will,” Teddy explained. “Not like the shapeshifters that you would be familiar with – there’s no skin shedding involved, or... evilness.”
“Okay,” Kevin said.
“The reason I ask, is because usually when my friends need cheering up, I do something like this...” Teddy said, and then suddenly Kevin was looking at Tom Hiddleston – or, rather, Loki, only he was wearing Teddy’s clothes. “And then I say,” Teddy continued. “‘You think you have problems – I’m adopted!’”
Kevin burst out laughing. He didn’t know if it was because Teddy’s delivery of the line was genuinely hilarious, or if he had just suffered a mental break, but in any case, the answer was to laugh at how absolutely absurd everything was.
Teddy, as Loki, gave Kevin a dorky smile, which ruined the illusion – not that it mattered, as his face immediately shifted back to how he had looked before.
“That’s amazing,” Kevin said, wiping tears from his eyes as he calmed down.
“Thanks,” Teddy replied with a smile, and Kevin noticed that his turquoise hair was tinged pink at the tips. “So, movie? Cards? What do you want to do to while away the hours?”
And just like that, the happier atmosphere returned.
Teddy was a lot of fun to hang out with; mostly, because Kevin could ask him one question and Teddy would talk for ten to twenty minutes about the topic without even realizing it.
Kevin still ended up sleeping for most of the afternoon. He woke up when Till returned with Ron to check up on him. Ron repeated the message Teddy had given him – that Harry hadn’t been able to get in touch with Dean yet, but would keep trying.
“In the meantime, is there anyone else we should contact?” Ron asked, while Teddy shifted from foot to foot across the room. Kevin just shook his head.
“Sorry,” Ron said. “Have you had tea yet?”
“He was sleeping,” Teddy said from across the room.
“I don’t really drink tea,” Kevin added.
Ron smiled. “I meant food – have you eaten?”
“Not since lunch,” Kevin answered.
“I’ll go make you something.” Ron smiled and left the room.
“I will just check-up, yes?” Till asked. Kevin nodded.
“Can I stay?” Teddy asked from the door. Till looked at Kevin.
“Uh, yeah, sure,” Kevin shrugged.
Till did the spell that made a little smoky blue image of Kevin’s spine and ribs appear in the air in front of him. It was surreal. The healer nodded approvingly though.
Teddy edged closer to the bed and gazed at it in wonder.
“Can you teach me that spell?” Teddy asked.
Till looked towards Teddy in surprise, but then nodded.
“You must practice on yourself, not Mr. Tran,” Till answered.
Teddy nodded emphatically.
“I teach you after,” Till said. “Now, potions...”
“What potions?” Teddy asked before Kevin could.
Till paused and then reached into his bag and pulled out three small bottles. He named them, and described them slowly to both Kevin and Teddy, letting them both hold them and look at the labels while he spoke. One was for pain, one for healing, and the final one was to prevent infection. It was the most Kevin had ever heard a doctor explain; though, Kevin had to admit that he had rarely been to the doctor in his life – only for check-ups and vaccinations when he was a kid.
Kevin drank the potions, only one of them tasted horrible, the rest weren’t that bad. Teddy was still asking Till questions. So, finally, Till told him that he’d drop off some books for Teddy on his way to work the next morning and Teddy could read about how the potions worked himself. Kevin thought that maybe Till just wanted to go home. It was getting to be dinner time, after all, and Till had probably worked all day at his real job in addition to having to look in on Kevin.
Till still stayed and showed Teddy how to perform the spell that let him x-ray people’s bones. Kevin watched, amazed, as Till demonstrated on his own foot.
“You see there,” Till pointed to the image. “I broke my foot once and it has left a mark. You try.”
Till dismissed the image of his foot with a wave of his wand. Then Teddy sat on the floor and pointed to his own foot, speaking the words Till had told him – it all sounded like Greek to Kevin.
An ethereal image of Teddy’s foot bones appeared in the air in front of him. It wasn’t quite as solid as what Till had done, but Teddy beamed.
“Very good,” Till said with a smile. “Most do not get it the first time. You only need more confidence in your casting.”
“Sorry to interrupt,” Ron said from the door. “Teddy, you’re going to be late for dinner with your Gran, unless you get a move on.”
“Oh sh...sugar,” Teddy muttered, and the image of his foot disappeared immediately as he scrambled to his feet. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Kevin! It’s alright if Nate comes over too, hey?”
“Uh, yeah,” Kevin managed to say, caught off guard. Teddy smiled and then he was out the door.
The next day was more of the same, only this time, Teddy’s friend Nate joined them. It meant that there were more card games they could play. Nate was a nice guy, about the same height as Kevin, with dark hair and blue eyes. Teddy and Nate were obviously close friends. After breakfast, they both sat on Kevin’s bed and started playing cards. Kevin’s back was feeling much better, and they could all sit cross-legged, though Kevin still leaned up against the headboard, with a pillow for support.
For the most part, Nate just smiled while Teddy did most of the talking again, but Nate did end up telling Kevin about his internship in the design department of a ‘Muggle’ company, and how he didn’t really feel like that particular job was for him, but he’d like to do something in the field of art or design if he could.
“It’s a bit cliché, I know,” Nate shrugged, as he added the jack to Teddy’s run of clubs. “But I suppose it’s that way for a reason – the community is more accepting. I mean, I love Quidditch, but I doubt I’d have much of a social life as a sports reporter.”
Kevin nodded, though he had no idea what Quidditch was – another name for cricket, maybe. Kevin had no idea what cricket was either, but he had at least heard the word before.
“Muggle London is better for Nate’s social life anyway,” Teddy interjected, after finishing his turn. “The dating opportunities for a gay man in the Wizarding world are fairly slim. If Wizards make up ten percent of the population, and homosexual men make up two percent of the population – that’s two percent of ten percent.”
“Yes, let’s talk about my abysmal love-life,” Nate muttered, and rolled his eyes. “That’s cheerful.”
“Oh hey! I need to show you something, Kevin!” Teddy exclaimed, he put down his cards, and picked up his wand. He pointed it at his foot and repeated the spell that Till had taught him the day before. In the air above the limb, an image of Teddy’s foot bones appeared, clearer than he’d managed previously.
“You’ve gotten better,” Kevin said.
“There’s more, watch,” Nate said with a smile.
Teddy wiggled his toes in the sock foot, and the image of his toes wiggled too.
“Neat,” Kevin agreed.
Nate laughed and shook his head, as though Kevin was still missing something – and then suddenly the image of Teddy’s foot started doing something very strange. The bones seemed to shrink back on themselves, thickening, then changing shape and spreading out again, wider, in three points instead of five. Kevin looked at Teddy’s socked foot to find that, yes, his foot was changing shape inside the sock, widening and flattening.
“Oh my god,” Kevin muttered. He was unsure whether he was horrified or amazed.
“I can see what it looks like on the inside when I shift!” Teddy explained, smiling.
“Did you just give yourself a duck foot?!” Kevin asked, staring at both the sock and the image hovering above it.
“Mmhm,” Teddy said. Once again, the bones started shifting, shrinking back on themselves and then returning to a human shape. Teddy wiggled his toes again afterward, and then waved the image of his bones away.
“Does it hurt?” Kevin asked, still fixated on Teddy’s foot. He couldn’t imagine what it must feel like to have your bones change shape.
Teddy shook his head. “I think my nerves turn off first. I never really thought of it before, but I lose feeling just before I change – I know the location and shape of my foot, but I can’t really feel anything until I decide to hold a shape.” Teddy pointed to a few books that were stacked in the corner that Kevin hadn’t noticed. “Till dropped off those Healer books. So, I was reading a little bit about the nervous system before you woke up.”
“Amazing,” Kevin said. “I wonder if there’s something different about my brain when I read a tablet.”
Teddy’s eyes lit up a little, but then he sagged. “Till says I’m not allowed to practice spells on you.”
He looked so disappointed that Kevin almost told him that he could and it’d be their secret – but then realized that having someone practice magic on his brain probably wasn’t a good idea.
“I don’t have the tablets here anyway,” Kevin said. “Besides, I wouldn’t want to survive being nearly murdered by Sam, only to be killed accidentally by you trying to see my brain.”
Teddy’s eyes went wide and Nate stilled as he picked another card from the deck.
“Sam tried to murder you?” Nate asked quietly.
“He was possessed,” Kevin and Teddy both said at the same time.
“I don’t think that makes me feel better,” Nate said after a moment.
“Well, it makes me feel better,” Kevin shrugged. “I mean, Sam’s my friend, so...”
“Right, sorry,” Nate said. “I shouldn’t have said that. It’d be more horrible if it actually were Sam – what I meant was that I’m still worried about him.”
Kevin nodded. “Dean will save him.”
“Gin!” Teddy declared. Nate and Kevin both groaned.
“We’re playing rummy, you don’t say gin,” Kevin reminded him.
“Rummy, then - I’ve still won,” Teddy argued.
“We have to count up our points first,” Nate said.
“Nate used to have a crush on Sam, you know,” Teddy said.
“Shut up!” Nate blushed. “I’m trying to count points.”
“Really?” Kevin smiled, pausing in his own count. “Sam? I didn’t realize you had even met him. Wait, was this when you were twelve?!”
“I said I’m trying to count,” Nate muttered, his eyes on his cards. Teddy was giggling.
“How old was Sam? That’s hilarious,” Kevin continued.
“Nate has a bit of a type,” Teddy stage-whispered.
Nate threw his remaining cards at Teddy’s face.
“Oy! I hope you counted those!” Teddy exclaimed, which only caused Nate to follow through with a whole body tackle, knocking them both off the side of the bed.
Kevin laughed at the two pained groans that followed and then declared himself the winner by default.