Harry took out his wand again and performed the tracking spell. It stayed true to what they had seen outside – they were on the right track. When they got to the correct corridor, it led them directly to the middle of three units. Harry ended the tracking spell and shoved his wand up his sleeve again, while Sam got the door open. It was true that he needed to introduce the Wizarding world to Mrs. Tran, but it would probably be better if he could explain things first, rather than reveal it by using magic immediately.
As soon as the door began to open and light spilled into the storage room, the screaming started. Sam rushed in, ducking under the door and immediately trying to calm Mrs. Tran down. Harry slipped in immediately after him.
She was so much smaller than Harry thought she would be.
“Sam?” she said.
“Oh my God,” came Sam’s answer, as he and Harry both got a good look at her. She was dirty, but otherwise looked okay. She was chained to the floor, though it looked as though she had been trying to dig away at her restraints.
“Sam?” she repeated. “We have to get out of here before he comes back. Is Kevin with you?”
Harry stepped forward then, to try to remind Sam not to say anything, one way or the other, about Kevin. While it was true that they knew it was an angel who had tried to kill him, that didn’t mean that demons wouldn’t sell the information for a good price.
Before he could start speaking though, Mrs. Tran’s gaze had caught his movement and she started screaming again.
“It’s okay! He’s a friend!” Sam said, and then Mrs. Tran’s eyes narrowed on Harry and her scream ended.
She took a visible breath. “Sorry.”
“It’s quite alright,” Harry reassured her. “You’ve been through an ordeal. Let me help get these chains off.”
“Oh my god,” came a woman’s voice from behind the wall. “Linda! Are you being rescued?!” Harry and Sam both froze and turned wide-eyes on each other. “Are we being rescued?!” the voice all but sobbed.
“Linda?” a man’s voice came from the other wall. “Hello? Can they rescue us too?”
“How many-” Harry started to say, even as he was scrambling back out of the storage unit and into the hall.
“We think it’s just the three of us,” Mrs. Tran answered, as Sam went back to picking the locks on her chains. “Just Candy, Jerome and I.”
Harry went for the left door first. He opened it to reveal a young woman, beautiful, and her eyes full of absolute terror at the sight of him at first, but then she blinked and it was replaced with relief and desperate gratefulness. He went in to undo her restraints, only to have the door slam shut behind him. He could hear it close in Mrs. Tran’s unit as well.
“Sam?” Harry yelled.
“Shit,” Sam’s voice came through a vent near the ceiling. “Shit, I missed it.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Harry called back. He had heard the locks click into place. He wasn’t too concerned about being trapped. He turned back to Candy. “Close your eyes for me.”
She did. Harry slide his wand into his hand and made sure to use non-verbal magic to open her shackles.
“There’s an electrical line, leads to the control panel,” Mrs. Tran’s voice could be overheard from the other room.
“This might take awhile,” Sam’s voice answered her.
“Okay, keep those eyes closed just a moment longer, Candy,” Harry said. Candy nodded, and rubbed the skin where the shackles had been.
“We were going to try to escape tomorrow,” Mrs. Tran’s voice came. “We had the plan all worked out. You have to unplug the ground wire first – if this is standard U.S. colour coding, it’s the green one...”
Harry could see the box that Sam and Mrs. Tran must be fussing with. The locks were controlled by an electric control panel, but Harry knew that the locks themselves were mechanical – had parts that slide into place, and would slide out of place with just a simple...
“Alohomora,” Harry whispered and heard the locks click back open. Mrs. Tran talking about helping Kevin with is homework in the other room had hopefully covered up Harry’s use of a spell in front of Candy.
“Okay, you can open your eyes,” Harry said, as he wedged his fingers under the door and lifted it open. Candy was darting into the hall before Harry even stopped lifting the door. He couldn’t say he blamed her. “Stay with us,” Harry called after her. “It’s not safe yet.”
He needed have worried. She had simply run out and attempted to open the other doors. They were locked of course, but Harry could see Candy eyeing the control boxes on the outside of the doors as though she too could figure out how to take them apart. Luckily, it didn’t need to come to that, as Harry heard the lock on Mrs. Tran’s unit disengage again. While Candy was distracted with excitedly helping Sam open the door. Harry went to the third unit and used magic to open it. He threw open the door quickly, only to have Jerome yelp at the sight of him and throw himself backwards.
“It’s okay,” Harry said, stepping into the room. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
Jerome blinked at him for a moment, and then smiled. “I thought you were someone else!” Jerome laughed in relief, and then wiped at his eyes. Harry bent down to get rid of the shackles, just as Linda and Candy darted into the unit and started hugging Jerome. Harry, once again, was thankful that they were distracting themselves enough that no one questioned how simply Jerome’s shackles fell away, unlocked.
Harry straightened to find Sam standing and smiling in the doorway, one arm on the door as though if it decided to shut on them again, he would just stand there and hold it open.
“Dean’s in trouble,” Harry said.
“What?” Sam asked, smile falling away and back going stiff.
“Unless there’s another reason why all three of the prisoners were immediately terrified of a short white man with glasses...” Harry said. “I think Del might be more than he appears.”
“Shit,” Sam said. “Okay, take them outside and then find me.” And with that, Sam sprinted around the corner and was gone.
“Right,” Harry muttered. He led the three former prisoners to the front office as quickly as possible, taking stock of whether they looked like they needed immediate medical attention. They looked alright though, just dirty and perhaps a little malnourished. Harry figured that Sam most likely had meant for Harry to lead them back to the car and then wait for Sam there, but Harry didn’t like the idea of leaving the Winchesters to fight demons alone. So, once they got to the office and found it completely empty, Harry motioned them to sit down while he checked the security cameras.
It wasn’t hard to see where the Winchesters were – there were no cameras inside the other storage units, but one security camera showed a large open door in a hallway not too far away.
“Mrs. Tran?” Harry asked, looking around the office and spotting a sharpie. “Can you draw a devil’s trap on the floor by the door and keep everyone safe for a moment?”
“Spray paint works better,” Mrs. Tran said by way of answer.
“If you find some, use it,” Harry stated. “I’ll be right back.”
By the time, Harry reached the storage unit, Sam and Dean already had the demon subdued. It appeared there was only one demon, or at least, there was only one now. The second employee was already dead, throat slit and bled out on the floor. It was Del that was still alive – or, what had been Del.
Sam turned when Harry ran in.
“What are you waiting for..” the demon was saying.
“Did you bring her?” Sam asked Harry. Harry shook his head, unsure what Sam meant. Sam looked mildly disappointed. He held up what Harry recognized as the demon-killing knife and smiled. “I thought she could do the honours.”
Harry nodded a little numbly. It made sense, he supposed – Mrs. Tran and the others had been tormented by this demon for months – but, there was something unsettling about what Sam was suggesting.
“But what about... the vessel?” Harry asked. “He’s... is he not still alive?”
Sam eyes betrayed his surprise and Dean’s head came up to glance at Sam in surprise too – then they both turned and looked at the demon.
“Is he?” they asked. The demon smiled and nodded.
Harry decided to ignore the fact that the Winchesters looked a little disappointed at that.
“Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus....” Sam began.
“You know he’s just going to go tell Crowley what we just did,” Dean said while Sam continued the exorcism.
“I’m pretty sure two bloody bodies on the news would tip him off too,” Harry gestured towards the dead teenager by the shelves.
“Speaking of, they’re going to pin it on him,” Dean argued.
“I’ll alter his memory – he’ll be alright,” Harry countered, just as the demon poured out of the kid’s mouth and was sent back to hell. The vessel’s eyes rolled back in his head and he passed out.
“Where are the others?” Sam asked, as he checked for a pulse, and then added. “He’s alive. He wasn’t lying.”
“I left them out in the office,” Harry replied.
“Alright, uh, do your thing with this guys brain – we’ll go get the story from Mrs. Tran,” Dean ordered, and then he and Sam both turned and walked out.
Harry sighed and knelt down next to Del. He wished he had another member of his team there who was better at memory charms – or Hermione... or even Draco. Luckily, it was a Muggle, and they wouldn’t know enough to suspect foul play. If Harry couldn’t manipulate the memories well enough, he could always just cause a mild case of amnesia.
It took him a good ten minutes, and by the time he got back to the front, Sam and Dean filed him in on the story that Candy and Jerome had agreed to tell the cops. It wasn’t too dissimilar to the fake memories that Harry had just given Del - Mainly, that Del hadn’t been involved in the torture and imprisonment, and it was all Crowley and some other goon. They’d already wiped the security footage.
They left Candy and Jerome behind to call the cops while they got a head start away from the scene.
They piled into the Impala, Harry and Mrs. Tran in the back seat. The plan was to drive to a nearby hotel, regroup, make sure no one needed medical attention, and then explain the Wizarding world to Mrs. Tran. They’d only been in the car a minute, when Mrs. Tran broke the silence.
“How did it happen?” she asked.
“How’d what happen?” Dean asked in return.
“How did Kevin... how did my son die?”
In the shocked silence that followed, Harry realized that somewhere along the way, Mrs. Tran had gotten the same false information Kevin had. Sam turned in his seat a little to look with wide-eyes at Mrs. Tran.
“He’s not dead,” Sam exclaimed. “Shit, did they tell you he was dead?”
“He’s not dead?” Mrs. Tran asked, taking a visibly fortifying, but shaky breath.
“No,” Sam repeated.
Mrs. Tran reached over and smacked Sam in the back of the head.
“You wouldn’t give me a straight answer about where he was back there, you... giant... idiot,” Mrs. Tran admonished. “I thought you just didn’t want to tell me...”
“Shit, I’m sorry!” Sam said. “I didn’t think you’d... I’m sorry. It’s just-“
“Someone did try to kill your son,” Dean interrupted. “He escaped, but in order to keep him safe, we made it look like he didn’t – understand? Now, back there, Sam couldn’t say anything because someone might have been listening in, there were cameras, surveillance.”
“It was an angel that attacked him, but it wasn’t like we wanted to give the demons any leverage either,” Sam added.
Mrs. Tran took another deep breath and seemed to release any anger she was feeling. “So, he’s somewhere safe?”
“Harry’s got him hidden in London,” Dean explained.
“He’s living with my eldest,” Harry added. “I even made him put the house under the fidelius charm again-”
“A what?” Mrs. Tran asked.
“Yeah, there’s a few things we have to tell you about before we pack you off to Great Britain,” Dean said, as he pulled up to a motel.
“There are also a few things I need to discuss with you two,” Harry added. “About how we’re moving forward with Kevin’s status in the Wizarding World...”
Sam and Dean both glanced at Harry and raised their eyebrows.
Beside him, Mrs. Tran was mouthing the word ‘wizarding’ and looking at Harry with curiosity. Harry had the feeling it was going to be a long night.
Kevin woke up looking like himself again. There was a warm cup of tea on his bedside table, and Kevin drank it without question – if there was one thing he had learned since moving in with Teddy and Nate, it was that Teddy knew how to brew a cup of tea for every occasion. Sure enough, nearly as soon as he swallowed, Kevin felt his hangover dissipating. By the time he finished the tea, it was as though the previous night hadn’t happened at all.
Only it had happened, of course – Kevin had gone out with Teddy and Nate and had a fantastic time. It was like living a completely different life, or at least borrowing someone else’s life for a moment. He’d looked like Teddy. As the night progressed, sometimes Teddy’s friends would forget that Kevin was just in disguise and they would talk to him as if he were Teddy. Though, mostly, when it happened, they started the conversation by asking what was wrong – it was, Kevin figured, rare for Teddy to not have coloured hair when out in public. Teddy himself had added purple streaks to his blonde hair by the time the night was over – it did wonders in reminding his friends which one of them was actually Teddy.
Kevin got out of bed and used the bathroom. He could already hear Teddy and Nate laughing downstairs. He followed those voices down to the kitchen, where there was a spread of pancakes waiting for him. Teddy was back to looking like himself, hair disarrayed and sticking up all over, but multicoloured – mostly turquoise, but there was some jet black and blond in there too. Nate had a case of bed head himself and a lazy smile. They’d gone to a straight bar, which Nate had complained about – but he had been outvoted by everyone else in attendance. Kevin had met Andy, Iggy, Penelope and Flo, plus Iggy’s muggle girlfriend, Leslie. Kevin had gotten on well with Flo.
“Morning Sunshine,” Teddy grinned.
“Morning,” Kevin returned. “Thanks for the tea. I didn’t even hear you come in.”
“You were right out,” Teddy replied. “Figured you’d need it.”
Kevin smiled and started eating. Teddy and Nate were already making plans for the next weekend – this time, thinking of just going out the three of them so that they could go to a gay bar for Nate too at one point in the night. Kevin nodded along. He wasn’t too sure of Teddy’s plan to use a lock of Penelope’s or Flo’s hair so that Kevin could polyjuice himself into a one of them instead – but he decided that it really would be like living a completely different life if he did so.
Teddy’s pocket spoke his name shortly after breakfast, when they were all still just lounging around while the dishes did themselves in the sink. Kevin watched as Teddy pulled out a slim compact mirror with a slight frown.
“Morning, Harry,” Teddy greeted.
“I was wondering if you were all up yet,” Harry’s voice echoed into the kitchen. “I know you had a late night.”
“All up and recovered,” Teddy replied.
“Good, do you mind if I stop by in five minutes – I’ll use the door,” Harry replied.
“’Course we don’t mind,” Teddy said, shooting a glance at Kevin and Nate. “Is this about that thing you were talking with Kevin about yesterday.”
“A little, yeah,” Harry answered. “I’ll see you soon.”
Teddy nodded and closed the mirror. “Well, gents, better get out of our jammies.”
Kevin laughed and followed Teddy and Nate upstairs. He put on the clothes that Harry had given him for Christmas. They were all downstairs again by the time there was a knock on the door.
Kevin answered it, with Teddy and Nate standing behind him.
It was his mother.
He didn’t even really register Harry standing beside her, or whatever it was that Harry said in greeting. His mother was standing on Teddy’s front porch with a smile on her face.
“Mom,” Kevin all but breathed, and then she was hugging him, and he had his arms around her – and she was real.
He knew people were talking around them, but he couldn’t even register what they were saying. His mother was alive. She was small in his arms, but he could feel the strength in her frame – just the same as always.
“I thought you were dead,” Kevin told her, as the tears finally came.
“I thought we agreed that it would take more than the King of Hell to take me out,” his mother replied, finally letting him go so that she could look up at him, her hands coming to rest at the side of his face. There were tears in her eyes. “I was so worried about you.”
Kevin couldn’t help the sob that escaped him, but before he could lift a hand to wipe his face, his mother was pulling back into another hug. So he just bent down a little and buried his face in her shoulder.
He felt someone else’s hand on his shoulder, and Harry’s voice came softly. “You can have a seat in the living room when you’re ready, so we can talk. I’ll go help the boys with the tea.”
He felt his mother nod, so Kevin just stayed where he was.
Nate leaned his hip against the counter as he watched Teddy fret around the kitchen. He wished he knew what to say. He wished he knew what was going through Teddy’s head right then, but it seemed too fragile a moment to outright ask. Teddy’s hair was a mix of black and turquoise, but Teddy had gotten very good at controlling his appearance since he turned seventeen, and his hair now only gave away his emotions when he allowed it, or was so distressed that he couldn’t help but allow it.
“I’m sorry,” Harry said, as he walked into the kitchen. “I should have warned you, but Kevin’s mother wanted-”
“It’s fine,” Teddy interrupted. “We talked about it at Christmas, and I had my suspicions about the real reason you were heading off to America yesterday. I just thought... well, I thought you’d give me more notice if you found her.” Teddy gestured to the kitchen, which was covered in dirty dishes still from breakfast. “I would have cleaned.” The dregs of the hangover tea were still in the pot, which Teddy had spotted at the same time as Nate, and then quickly whisked into the sink, so he could wash it out before the kettle boiled. “At least the spare bedrooms are clean, and I just washed the linens after Christmas...”
“She doesn’t have to stay here,” Harry stated. “I didn’t intend to-”
“Of course she can stay here,” Teddy declared, whirling away from the sink to face Harry again, the wet teapot still in his hand. Nate slid over carefully and gently took the teapot from Teddy’s wet hands. He pressed a hand to Teddy’s back, just to let him know he was there, and then picked up the dish towel to dry off the outside of teapot. “They’ll want to stay together and Kevin has gotten used to Grimmauld now – he feels at home here.”
“I’ve already charmed the stove and other appliances to work for a muggle,” Nate added. “If you used one of the Auror boltholes, you’d have to do so all over again.”
“You have?” Harry said.
“Of course,” Teddy said with a huff. “The whole point was for this to be Kevin’s home too – for as long as he wanted it to be.”
The kettle began to whistle. Teddy startled and went for the tea cupboard, pulling down regular tea as well as various other blends, and then visibly fretting over which one to make. “Does she have any health problems?” Teddy asked. Harry shook his head.
Nate leaned over Teddy’s shoulder and spoke low, hoping that Harry wouldn’t hear him over the boiling kettle. “Regular, Teddy,” Nate said, then he guided Teddy’s hand to another jar. “But maybe a pinch of this in your cup, yeah?”
Teddy nodded. Nate moved back to turn off the kettle and pull down the cups, as though that had been what they discussed.
“I’m actually quite good at charms,” Nate said, further drawing the attention away from Teddy as they made the tea. “Nothing I’ve tampered with has yet developed a mind of its own, and I’ve done quite a bit around here. There were some things, of course, that already had a bit of a personality. It’s the old magic and it’s to be expected in a house like this one – but even then, I was able to curtail the surlier among them. We’re all quite happy here, and I’m sure Mrs. Tran will be as well, until she’s able to get a place of her own.”
Harry nodded, visibly interested in Nate’s work. Nate thought he might actually look a little impressed. Nate couldn’t help but smile to himself – even knowing him as long as Nate had, it was still something to feel like you had impressed Harry Potter.
Harry glanced back over at Teddy, who was already setting up the tea tray to bring to the other room.
“And if Kevin wants to leave with his mother when she gets her own place?” Harry asked.
Teddy glanced up and gave Harry a flat look, a little bit of red creeping into the black of his hair. “What? You think I’d keep him here against his will?”
“Well, no, but I wanted to make sure you weren’t too attached to-”
“I’m not attached to anything,” Teddy replied curtly. “Now, should I be preparing food too or do you think this is enough?”
“We ate before we arrived,” Harry replied, his voice calm, and obviously accepting that whatever conversation he wanted to have was over before it began.
Teddy nodded and then smiled brightly. “Let’s go meet Kevin’s mum then! I bet she’s amazing.”
Nate picked up his and Teddy’s teas, both of which Teddy had left off the tray, and followed Harry and Teddy out into the other room.
Kevin and his mother had moved from the front hall and into the living room. They were sat together on the love seat. Kevin was in the middle of asking his mother about where she had been, it seemed, and how Harry had found her, but the conversation broke off as soon as Nate, Teddy and Harry entered the room.
“Tea?” Teddy offered, placing the tray down the table. “Harry says you’ve already eaten, but if you’d like something else, just say the word.” Teddy, Harry, and Nate all sat across from the Trans on the sofa.
“Thank you,” Mrs. Tran replied. “You must be Teddy. It’s so nice to meet you.”
“It’s nice to meet you too, Mrs. Tran,” Teddy replied.
“Please, call me Linda,” Kevin’s mum smiled, and then turned to Nate. “And you must be Nate. It’s a pleasure to meet you too. Thank you both for letting my son stay here.”
“It’s our pleasure,” Nate replied. “Kevin’s become a good friend and we’re happy to have him... and you, of course. I don’t know what the plan is, but you’re welcome to stay as long as you need.”
“Thank you,” Linda replied. “As for the plan...” she looked over at Harry, who in turn put down his tea and seemed to adopt a more business-like demeanor.
“I talked to Sam and Dean,” Harry began, looking at Kevin. “And they agreed that you could become an official representative of the Men of Letters, if you wanted.”
“I think it’s a good idea,” Kevin’s mum added with a smile. She lightly smacked Kevin on the knee. “You’ll be a diplomat, Kevin.”
Kevin blushed a little and rolled his eyes.
“I know, I know...” Linda continued. “You wanted to be the first Asian-American President of the United States of America... but I’m just not sure you could get into a good enough college now, what with the three years vacation from education that you’ve taken.”
“Vacation?” Kevin exclaimed. “I’ve been on the run from demons and angels!”
“I understand that,” Linda said gently. “But I’m just not sure that Harvard will believe you, dear.”
Nate had to bite his lip to keep from laughing, as he imagined what that application letter might look like. Harry and Teddy looked torn between laughing and being too shocked to do anything.
Kevin just smiled though, and turned back to Harry. “They were really okay with it?”
Harry nodded. “They said they’d support anything that might help you out over here. Dean said, and I’m quoting here, that you’re family and they owe you one – or several.”
Kevin huffed a small laugh and shook his head, but he looked a little emotional.
“How are they?” Kevin asked. “Sam must have been so angry... and Dean was already kinda messed up, you know? I can’t imagine...” Kevin trailed off.
Harry shifted a little in his seat and looked at Mrs. Tran for a moment.
“They seemed okay,” Harry said. “I mean, a little... tense. Maybe a little angry – both of them seemed a little angry about everything, but it was a long night and I’m sure they’ll work it out. They’re the Winchesters, after all.”
Kevin nodded. “Yeah, they’re the Winchesters,” he echoed, but Nate got the impression he meant it in the exact opposite way than Harry.
As Harry directed the conversation back to other matters, Nate sat back and pressed his leg into Teddy’s a little. Teddy was calmer now. Nate wasn’t sure if it was the tea or just having had time to adjust to the situation – probably it was the tea. Their bachelor pad had just become a safe-house for someone’s mother, even Nate needed more time to adjust. Things were about to change in Grimmauld Place. A mother returning from the dead might be a good change for Kevin, but Nate wasn’t too sure it would be a good change for Teddy.
END of Part 2