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Title: The Letter
Author: hells_half_acre 
Fandoms: Harry Potter, Supernatural
Rating: PG
Genre: Gen
Word Count: ~ 7,000
Warnings: Spoilers for all Harry Potter books, spoilers for Supernatural 5x22. 
Disclaimer:  This is a transformative work of fiction for entertainment purposes only.
AN: Part of the Demented'verse
Summary: Harry receives a letter after Lucifer's defeat.

The letter came on a Saturday. Harry had been expecting it. Well, maybe not a letter, but something - he’d been expecting something. Two days previous, the Seers had all had another vision, this time in the evening, so nearly all of them were awake for it. Lucifer had been defeated. Not killed, as far as they could see, but defeated.

It had been five months since Harry had last seen or heard from the Winchesters.

Hermione was still in touch with Bobby, but his correspondences had become increasingly sporadic, until finally he had told Hermione that it looked like things might be over soon, one way or another, that he’d be in touch, if he could, when it was over, and then communication had stopped. They all tried not to worry. They tried to have faith that the Winchesters would find a solution.

Harry’s office had become an American news centre, as he tried desperately to find truth behind the headlines. There was an odd bit of domestic terrorism, a dead executive found in an alley – a dead executive who happened to be a young prodigy, having attended Stanford at the same time as Sam Winchester. There had been a threatening storm in Chicago that was over before it started. It wasn’t in keeping with demonic omens really, but there was something about it Harry didn’t like.

He had still been putting those puzzle pieces together when the earthquakes hit.

Then the Seers had their visions.

The exact content of any vision was always classified – even beyond Harry’s level of security clearance, but the subject matter was not. The head of the Department of Mysteries had greeted Harry on Friday morning with the news that Lucifer had been defeated. The apocalypse averted. Harry had nodded, and again the fact that he wasn’t surprised only seemed to add to his reputation.

In the corridor as Harry was coming back from lunch, Draco Malfoy had walked right into him.

“Do watch where you’re going, Potter,” Draco had drawled, not bothering to halt his steps. Harry had waited until he was alone in his office to pull the carefully folded note from his pocket.

Black car,’ it read.

Harry smiled in triumph on behalf of his friends, and hoped they would be in touch soon.

Hermione arrived with the letter just after breakfast. Ron settled the kids in the other room, and then joined them in the kitchen.

“Just the single letter addressed to you, Harry,” Hermione explained. “It’s not Bobby’s handwriting, oh I do hope he’s alright. I think only Bobby knows how to send the letters, so he must be. Come on, open it then, what does it say?”

Harry looked at the envelope, guessing the neat even writing was Dean’s. He always seemed to be the one who was elected to speak on behalf of both brothers. Carefully, he opened the letter and pulled out the carefully folded sheet of matching neat handwriting.

Dear Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny,
Lucifer is back in his cage. Your family is safe, just like Sam promised.

Harry smiled at that, but his eyes skipped ahead and suddenly his happiness of the last 24 hours seemed a cruel thing.

Sam is gone.

“No,” Harry said, and he felt Hermione, Ron, and Ginny’s worried looks, he felt the smiles slip from their faces – but he couldn’t bring himself to say the words out loud. There had to be some mistake. If he kept reading, he’d find out what Dean actually meant...

It was the only way. It was Sam’s idea and his decision. I couldn’t be selfish anymore and keep him just for me. It has always been his decision, and I have to respect that. I have to.

We found a way to reopen the cage. Only, there was no way Lucifer would volunteer to jump back in. So, Sam said yes. Sam let him in, and then took back control and jumped himself and Lucifer back in the pit. It was the only way. Sam fought the devil and won. That’s the important part. My brother won. I know it might not feel much like winning, but it is. He fought so hard. I’m proud of him. I hate miss love

Sam made me- In accordance with Sam’s I promised Sam, before he left, that I’d retire from Hunting. So, that’s what I’m doing. I’ve left the magic mirror with Bobby. If you ever need help from a Hunter, Bobby will look after you. He’s back on his feet now, and even if he can’t come himself, he’ll know who to send. If you ever find yourself in the states on vacation, and you want to stop by for a visit, Bobby will know where to find me. Just, not anytime soon. I can’t I need some time to get settled.

I’d like to thank you for being such a good friend to Sam. He really enjoyed his visit to your place back in January. Wouldn’t shut-up about it for the longest time afterwards .Mostly that library, the geek. I think I promised him a half dozen times that we’d go back after It meant a lot – to know he had friends who knew all about him and still liked him. I don’t count, because I’m his brother and even then, I’m not always the best at that. If I was and I have to love him.

I’d also like to thank you for working so hard to try to find another solution. I’m sorry if you’re disappointed that we didn’t give you more time before we decided on this method. Please don’t tell me Things were escalating too quickly and if we had waited any longer Sam wanted to keep his promise. It was important to him to keep everyone safe.

Please pass on the news to Draco. Tell him my brother was a good man and that his son has awesome taste in friends. Tell him Sam saved everyone...saved more people than even Harry ‘The Chosen One’ Potter.

Thank you again, Harry, for everything you’ve ever done for me and Sam.

Yours,
Dean

“Harry?” Hermione’s voice broke through the silence of the room as Harry stared at the paper. He felt numb.

“Harry, you’re crying,” Ginny’s voice came in a whisper from beside him, a thumb brushing his cheek – wet.

There had to be some mistake...but then, what did Harry think was going to happen? That the Winchesters could just beat the devil without any collateral damage – but no, that was wrong, because it was Sam, that wasn’t just collateral damage, that wasn’t collateral at all, that was...everything. Dean was right – this didn’t feel like victory, not without Sam.

“Sam’s dead,” Harry said.

“No,” Hermione said, but she was already crying. If it really weren’t true, she wouldn’t be crying.

“Oh Harry,” Ginny said, her eyes already scanning the letter Harry still held in his hands.

“Dean?” Ron asked, pale and voice cracking over the single syllable.

“Alive,” Harry said. “He, um, he thanks us for our friendship. Sam’s dy- Sam made him promise to quit Hunting, so he is. He’s left the mirror with Bobby – and um, asks us not to try to visit him just yet.”

Ron nodded, and gathered the weeping Hermione close to him.

After they had all had a chance to read the letter, Ginny put on tea, and Ron left. They all knew where he was going.

“I’ll have to tell Teddy,” Harry said.

“Best tell Dromeda first,” Ginny replied.

“Right, I’ll have to tell Dromeda too,” Harry said.

“Oh Harry,” Hermione said.

“It’s ok,” Harry replied. “It’s alright. It means McGonagall will also be told, and so will Ernie...and Neville. I should tell Neville. Draco. Dean wants me to tell Draco too. So, I’ll do that. I’ll tell the Weasleys as well.”

“Harry,” Ginny said softly, “by now, George already knows. You leave the rest to me and Ron, yeah?”

“Everyone should know, Gin,” Harry said. “I should tell everyone. Sam-” Harry chocked on something, and took in a shuddering breath. Sam had sat across from him at that very table and laughed just five months previous. Sam had been alive and whole and a beautiful human being – and people didn’t even know

Ginny’s arms were suddenly around him, his face buried in her jumper as he sobbed. He could feel her fingers softly combing through his messy hair, and he wanted to send her to America to console Dean, because certainly Dean needed this more than he did – but he couldn’t bring himself to let her go.

*

Ron apparated to the front of Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, and cursed Saturdays as he worked his way through the gaggle of children clogging the entranceway. Isabella, their newest employee, was behind the counter, and she looked at him in surprise as he walked by. He tried to give her a smile, but he must have failed, because she just pointed to the door at the back of the shop and gave him a concerned look.

The workshop was always kept quiet. Ron knew that George had a speaker that played whatever conversation was occurring in front of the Extendable Ear display, but he generally didn’t have that on when he was working on something new – which he seemed to be doing today. His back was to Ron where he was bent over the workbench. He had a small cauldron on the boil.

Ron cleared his throat.

George started and turned, already speaking.

“Ron, you aren’t scheduled for-” and then he stopped, and looked, and Ron just stood there, because he didn’t actually want to say anything – that wasn’t why he had come.

“Which one?” George asked, and when Ron remained quiet, he asked again, “Which one has left us?”

“Sam,” Ron said, and could feel his eyes sting just a little – but that wasn’t why he had come.

George nodded. He seemed...unsurprised.

“Dean wanted it to be him,” George said. “That’s brothers for you though – constantly making a muck of things, aren’t they?”

Ron nodded.

“Come here, then,” George said, and motioned Ron into the circle of his arms. Ron had to bend to hide his face in his brother’s shoulder. “...loved you so much,” George was saying. “Proud of you too, he would be. I know I am. The important thing to remember is how much of an absolute prat he could be. He wouldn’t want us to forget that.”

Ron nodded, into George’s shoulder, feeling rather foolish as he always did whenever George had to do this. It should be the other way around really, Ron should be the strong one for George in all this.

“I’m alright, Ron,” George said. “Dean will be alright too. Not perfect. Never perfect again. Always a little bit broken, but we’ll get by... we all get by somehow. Now, Fred was a prat, how about Sam? Tell me a fault about our dear young Hunter friend.”

Ron thought for only a second, before sniffing loudly and stepping back.

“He was moody – he could get a bit emotional,” Ron said.

“Really?” George said, smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. “A tall emotional younger brother? I can’t imagine what that must have been like for poor Dean. No, no idea what that’s like at all, really.”

“Shut it,” Ron smiled, shoving the shoulder that was still damp with his tears. “You’re a prat too, you know.”

George laughed, dancing away from Ron and back over to the cauldron.

“Pull up a chair. I’m making ramen – if you haven’t caused me to over-cook my noodles, I may just let you have some.”

*

Teddy was bored. Arithmacy was the most boring class at Hogwarts – well, besides History of Magic. They were in the library where they were supposed to be working on the assignment due on Monday, but the textbooks were all so dreadfully boring. Iggy and Andy were talking about Quidditch, but Teddy didn’t really have much to contribute. Nate was taking notes for both himself and for Penelope, because Penelope was busy making a list of party supplies to order for Florence’s birthday next month. Teddy supposed he should be taking notes himself, instead of doodling, but it was so dull, and Teddy knew that he’d be able to write out the assignment Sunday night at the last minute and still get a passing grade. Besides, he quite liked the bird he had drawn, all sharp beaked, with mysterious eyes and huge wings, he wondered if maybe he should draw a friend for it – he thought maybe a dog, though, he wasn’t sure if birds and dogs were ever friends...maybe just in Teddy’s drawings.

“Mister Lupin,” someone said, and Teddy’s head snapped up from his parchment, wondering if he could get in trouble for doodling in the library instead of studying. Professor MacMillan was standing beside the table, looking at him expectantly.

“Yes, sir?” Teddy replied.

“You are needed in the Headmistress’ office,” Professor MacMillan said. “Please come with me. Bring your school bag. Perhaps Mister Lewin would be so kind as to take notes for you for the assignment you are so diligently working on.”

Teddy glanced at Nate and saw him nod.

“Yes, sir,” Teddy said, and quickly rolled his parchment up, stuffing it into his bag. His general gladness at having an excuse not to work on the assignment slowly turned into confusion as they walked down the corridor. Teddy looked at Professor MacMillan and tried to figure out what was happening by his expression – only it seemed to give away nothing.

“Why am I being taken to the Headmistress?” Teddy finally asked. “Have I done something wrong?”

“No,” Professor MacMillan said, “Harry’s here to see you.”

“Oh,” Teddy said. Harry, how nice....only, Teddy thought, Harry hadn’t written him to say he was coming. If he had business in the area, usually he would write Teddy and tell him that he was stopping in for tea with Neville, and Teddy would meet him in the greenhouses...but he’d never met Harry in the Headmistress’ office. Teddy didn’t know what to make of it.

Before Teddy could formulate his next question, the gargoyle was stepping back from the staircase and Professor MacMillan was urging him forward.

“If you need me Teddy, you know where to find me at any time of the day,” Professor MacMillan said, smiling at Teddy warmly. Teddy nodded, but why would he need Professor MacMillan?

He made his way up to the office, knocking on the door only once before it swung open slowly. Harry was the first person he saw, then the Headmistress behind her desk, and then he saw his Gran. Harry was here with his Gran, and his Gran’s eyes were rimmed red – her smile weak and forced.

“What’s happened?” Teddy asked, dropping his bag on the floor and going to his Gran’s side.

“I’ll take my leave,” the Headmistress said, and Teddy barely paid her any mind as she passed him and left her own office. He was too focused on his Gran, who had obviously been crying.

“Gran, are you alright? What’s wrong?” Teddy asked.

“Teddy-“ his Gran started to say, and her eyes looked over at Harry, and Teddy did too. He could see it now on Harry as well, though not as strongly. Harry had been crying too – but why, Harry never – not even at the memorial services.

“Did something happen to the boys? Lily? Ginny?” Teddy asked, though he was terrified of what the answer might be.

“No,” Harry said. “If you let us talk, we’ll explain.”

Teddy waited in silence, even though there was a thick feeling of dread slithering around in his stomach that made him want to keep talking so that Harry could never tell him what was wrong – so that Teddy could be spared whatever horrible news they had obviously come to tell him. He wanted to tell them that he very much needed to study for Arithmacy right now, and then he would run away so that no one could tell him anything bad ever.

“Teddy,” Harry started. “I got news from America today. Sam and Dean Winchester saved the world, Teddy. They saved everyone from a very evil thing.”

Teddy nodded. Saving people from evil things was what Sam and Dean Winchester did. This was not surprising, and was not the bad thing.

“Teddy,” Harry said. “Sam Winchester is dead.”

“No,” Teddy said, but watched as Harry bit his lip and nodded.

“Teddy-” Gran said, and reached for him, but Teddy stepped back. They were wrong.

“Sam saved me,” Teddy said.

“He saved all of us,” Harry whispered. “He died because he wanted-”

“DON’T!” Teddy said, surprised that it came out as a shout. “Don’t tell me he wanted to make the world a better place. Don’t say that.”

Teddy could feel himself trembling now, could feel his eyes grow hot and he knew it was true, he knew it was all true.

“Don’t they understand – the world would be a better place if they were still IN it. HOW CAN IT BE BETTER WITHOUT THEM?! THEY’RE WRONG. HE’S WRONG!” Teddy screamed, loud enough for the dead to hear him. He wanted them to hear him.

Now Gran was crying again. Teddy felt bad for yelling.

“I know, Teddy,” Harry said gently, and Teddy let himself be pulled into strong arms.

*

Isabella watched as the younger Mr. Weasley left the shop, looking only marginally better than when he had entered. Bad news then.

It was more than an hour later when the older Mr. Weasley finally came out to the front of the shop, giving her an overly bright grin.

“Izzy, darling, we’re leaving early today – feeling a little bit under the weather, I’m afraid,” Mr. Weasley said. “Do you mind closing up?”

“No, sir,” Isabella replied, though she’d only closed up once before. She could tell Mr. Weasley wasn’t really ill.

“If the hordes get to be too much, call in Verity,” Mr. Weasley instructed.

“Yes, sir,” Isabella said. She wondered if she should ask what the matter was, but deciding against it – always best to mind your own business.

“Excellent,” Mr. Weasley smiled, “oh, and if you could, after closing, pop into the back and do a repair job for us – it seems someone has broken all our throwing pots.”

“Oh,” Isabella said, “of course, sir.”

Mr. Weasley picked up one of the display fedoras, put it on, and then tipped it to her with a flourish before strolling out of the shop.

Isabella called in Verity a half an hour later. Verity arrived in a huff, but when Isabella mentioned she had been told to do a repair job in the back, Verity stopped complaining about being called in on her day off and took over the till without a word.

The back office was covered in shards of terracotta and ceramics. Isabella set to work, carefully reassembling the broken pottery, and placing them reverently back on the shelf by the workbench. She was nearly done when the envelope on the workbench caught her eye. It had her name on it. Inside was money and a little note.

Isabella – a reward for not asking questions and not telling Ron I’ve been throwing pots. You’ll do well here.

Isabella wondered for only a second how it was that George was bold enough to pre-emptively reward her for something she hadn’t done yet, but then – well, she hadn’t asked questions, had she, and she wasn’t planning on mentioning the broken pots to the younger Mr. Weasley. Though, she did wonder what Ron Weasley thought these pots were for - after all, there was a big sign on the shelf that read:

FRED’S THROWING POTS FOR FITS AND RAGES.
*

When Teddy got back to Hufflepuff, it was close to supper time, but he really didn’t feel like eating. He was tired, and just wanted to curl up in bed and not think about anything anymore. The common room was thankfully empty save for a few first years – it was easy to ignore them on his way through to the dorms.

He was only a little surprised when he opened the door to his dorm room and discovered that his dorm mates were all assembled there waiting for him.

“Hi Teddy,” Andy said, standing and fidgeting.

“What’s happened?” Iggy asked, and then said “OW!” when Andy stomped on his foot.

Andy cleared his throat meaningfully and glared at Iggy.

“Professor MacMillan said you might need us, but that it was up to you whether you wanted to tell us anything and we weren’t to bother you about it if you told us to leave you be,” Andy recited.

“Oh,” Teddy said.

“Nate’s copied all his notes for the Arithmacy assignment for you, and I’m sure between the three of us we could write your History of Magic paper that’s due on Tuesday, so you needn't worry about that either,” Andy said. “Well, unless you want to, it’s up to you, of course. It’s just an offer.”

“Iggy asked the house-elves to make you some cocoa,” Nate piped up, and pointed to a tray that sat on Teddy’s bedside table. “And some shepherd’s pie if you didn’t feel like eating in the Great Hall, or some soup, in case you didn’t feel like eating much at all – and we’d have to force you to eat a little something just because not eating isn’t very good for you, Teddy. You really should eat something.”

“Only if he wants to,” Andy said. “Though, yes, you should eat something.”

“I don’t like the colour of your hair,” Iggy suddenly said. “This is very bad.”

“Iggy!” Andy reprimanded.

Teddy ran a hand through his hair, pulling it forward and squinting at it. Brown. Brown and lifeless. Dead. Teddy had dead hair.

“You’ve been crying,” Nate said softly, producing a glass of water from somewhere. “You must be thirsty.”

Teddy was thirsty. He looked at Nate as he chugged the entire glass. He’d have to tell Nate about Sam. Nate had liked Sam – had smiled at him in a way that Nate never used when he smiled at any of them.

Teddy suddenly felt very bad for Harry, because Teddy realised that it wasn’t very nice knowing something horrible that no one else knew. It was terrible to have the burden of having to tell people bad news. Teddy wanted to tell them to go ask Professor MacMillan, and not him, but that would be cowardly and his friends didn’t deserve that.

Teddy sat down on his bed, and motioned for his friends to do the same – the well kept secret of the Hufflepuff dorm rooms was that, unlike the other houses, Hufflepuff beds magically expanded to accommodate however many people were invited into them. Teddy knew there were several dirty jokes told by the older students in hushed voices, but as far as he knew, no one ever used it for any other purpose other than to have spectacularly innocent slumber parties or build elaborate blanket forts.

He pulled the privacy curtain around his bed area closed. The heavy green fabric, with its design of golden leafy vines, made Teddy feel safe. It cut the brightness from the room and eased the ache behind his eyes. He could tell Iggy was actively refraining from asking questions, instead he kept giving Teddy concerned glances...they all were. Teddy had good friends – and one of them was dead now, and the ones that weren’t deserved to know.

“Sam Winchester is dead,” Teddy said.

Teddy found Nate’s hand and squeezed it, as he watched Nate’s big blue eyes fill with tears. It was one of the things he remembered most about that day in January – on the edge of the forbidden forest - Nate’s hand in his, keeping him still and giving him strength, and Sam Winchester using himself as a human shield against an Unforgivable. Maybe if instead of thanking him, Teddy had yelled at him for it... but no, because even when he was thanked, Sam hadn’t seemed to understand that what he had done was unusual – that what he had done was foolishly noble and could have gotten him...did get him...

Teddy pulled his friends closer to him in the safety of his dormitory, his curtains, his bed, and he told them the story of how Lucifer had gotten loose and how Sam Winchester had used his own body as a battle ground...he told them that Sam Winchester fought the devil and won.

Then they all talked about how Sam had saved Teddy back in January, how Sam had loved the library – how he had been able to sneak off in the middle of dinner without anyone noticing. They talked about how Sam was so tall, and so brave, and such a good friend to all of them. Then Teddy was forced to eat some soup, and his friends split the shepherd’s pie, and they all drank a little cocoa...and none of them went to the Great Hall, and none of them left Teddy’s side, until eventually they all fell asleep.

*

Harry watched as Sam Winchester smiled at Albus, talking softly to him. Sam’s long fingers alternatively comforted and tickled the boy. Harry could hear Albus’ giggles across the room. Dean looked over from where he was talking with the other children, giving his brother a fond smile that Sam never looked up to see. Sitting on Sam’s lap, cradled in long limbs, and comforted by the low soothing voice, Albus had long forgotten the argument that only a few minutes before had made him cry and seek comfort from the closest adult with whom he felt safe.

Sam was sitting on the floor, his back to the wall, his long legs folded underneath him, his body bent to shelter Albus from the noise and commotion in the room. All around them, the other adults talked and laughed, their conversations making it impossible for Harry to hear what Sam was saying to his son to make him smile so much. Harry wondered if anyone besides him had even noticed this little moment.

Harry was sitting on the floor, watching Sam from across the room. Two feet to his right, Harry stood next to himself while he talked to Ron.

“Harry, we talked about this,” Ginny said, as she sat down on the floor beside him.

“You’re supposed to be in the kitchen talking to Andromeda and Bill about politics,” Harry said.

“Well, I’ve already done that, haven’t I,” Ginny said. “So, let’s see what I missed by not being here.”

The memory restarted. The Winchesters both now stood with their backs to the children, Dean turning just as Albus breaks into tears – Dean reprimanding James and Dominique, while Albus runs tearfully to Sam – Sam looking terrified for only a second, before sinking to the floor and gathering Albus in his arms – Sam’s low words of comfort and huge hand rubbing Albus’ back...

“The kids are asleep,” Harry said. “It hasn’t been that long.”

“It’s been nearly a half-hour,” Ginny said. “It’s not healthy, Harry.”

“We didn’t take any photographs,” Harry said. “I just wanted to see him again...to see this again.”

“I know,” Ginny said, “but how many times do you plan to watch this tonight?”

“More than six?” Harry said, knowing he wasn’t ready to leave yet. “I’m just trying to understand.”

“Harry...” Ginny started.

“How is it that I was giving a choice and Sam wasn’t?” Harry continued. “What makes me so special that I could choose to come back, and he has to spend eternity...it’s not right, Ginny. Sam deserves the choice-”

“And so did Fred, and Remus, and Tonks, and Dobby, and Colin, and... Harry, we’ve been over this before, even here of all places-”

“But at least they’re at rest, Gin,” Harry interrupted. “At least they’re someplace better – most likely anyway – Sam’s...Sam...”

“Sam did have a choice, Harry,” Ginny said. Harry could hear Albus giggle, at Sam’s tickling fingers and low gentle voice. His first time in the memory, Harry had tried to get closer to hear what Sam was saying, but since he hadn’t heard it that day, he couldn’t hear it no matter how close he got. “Sam chose to take Lucifer into that cage,” Ginny continued. “You might not like the choice he made, but it was his decision, and you of all people should respect that.”

Across the room, Dean smiled fondly at Sam.

“Dean’s Patronus is a wolf,” Harry said. “Lone wolves die, Gin.”

“Then let us be thankful that he is not alone,” Ginny said. “Now, I think it’s time you got out of the pensieve Harry. This is only making you feel worse.”

“I should have tried harder to find another solution – I should have...done something,” Harry said, as Ginny pulled him reluctantly to his feet. “He had so much hope.”

“He was a good man,” Ginny said, and tugged on his arm in a way that made Sam’s smile, Albus, and the whole room disappear in a swirl of inky liquid, and then left Harry standing next to Ginny in the study. The pensieve holding the memory sat on the desk in front of him. “Come on, Harry,” Ginny said. “You’ll want your rest before meeting Malfoy tomorrow.”

Harry nodded, and carefully rebottled the memory while Ginny watched in silence. He placed it reverently in his locking cabinet along with the pensieve, and then let Ginny take him to bed.

“I feel as though I failed him,” Harry said softly, as they lay together.

“I know,” Ginny said. “I feel it too, but I’m sure he would disagree.”

*

On Sunday afternoon, Harry arrived at the Leaky Cauldron ten minutes early. The booth he requested was already cleared, the reserved sign looking odd in the otherwise informal pub. Harry made his way to the bar, where Hannah was just finishing pouring a pint for another customer. The bar was nearly empty, as it usually was at this time of day.

“What’ll it be, Harry?” Hannah asked.

“A bottle of your finest firewhiskey and two glasses,” Harry requested, “deliver them to the table after Malfoy arrives please, and open the bottle when you get to the table, not before.”

Hannah nodded.

“So, why are you meeting with Malfoy, then?” Hannah asked. “You two haven’t been seen in public together since...ever.”

“A mutual friend of ours has died,” Harry said. “I have to break the news.”

Harry watched as Hannah’s brow furrowed.

“Kind of a flimsy story, that one,” Hannah said. “What’s the real reason you’re meeting? I’m sure I could come up with a better-”

“A mutual friend of ours has died,” Harry repeated, “and I have to break the news.”

“Alright, fine, but...” and then Harry watched as Hannah’s eyes met his, and she finally understood. “Oh...oh, Harry,” she said. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright,” Harry said. “Neville not come visit you this weekend then?”

“Nearing the end of term,” Hannah said, “he’s quite busy. Ernie was going to drop in for a visit, but cancelled at the last minute because one of his little Hufflepuffs...oh...oh, Harry...I should’ve put it together, shouldn’t I‘ave.”

“It can’t really be known, Hannah,” Harry said.

Hannah nodded.

“I’ll bring the firewhiskey by once he arrives,” Hannah said. “The very best I have. You go get settled.”

Harry made his way over to the booth. Taking the seat that faced the room. This way, Draco’s facial expressions would be hidden from the rest of the pub. It was a small courtesy, given that Harry had to choose such a public place for this meeting.

Harry used a muffliato charm on the booth to insure the privacy of the conversation, and then sat back and watched the door. Exactly on time, Draco Malfoy swept into the pub from the Muggle London entrance. His eyes immediately fixed on Harry, he only gave the other patrons present a cursory glance on his way by.

Hannah waited until Draco had taken off his cloak and taken a seat across from him, before she came over with the firewhiskey. Neither Draco nor Harry had spoken yet. Hannah opened the bottle at the table as instructed, and poured them two glasses.

“If you’ll be needing anything else, you just give me a wave,” Hannah said, her voice awkward in the silence. She left the bottle.

Draco eyes the bottle of firewhiskey, but did not make a move to drink from his glass.

“And the nature of this meeting, Potter?” Draco asked.

“Best you read for yourself, I think,” Harry replied. He had debated long and hard about this, but in the end, it seemed the only way to go about it really. Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out the well-read letter from Dean, he smoothed it needlessly and handed it to Draco.

Harry starred at the table top, then the other patrons of the pub, while Draco read. There was a sharp intake of breath, then the long measured breathing of someone purposefully regulating the action. Harry wanted very much to look at Draco’s face, but refrained. It felt, even though the letter had been addressed to Harry, as though he were intruding on a private conversation between Dean and Draco.

Finally, Draco placed the letter down on the table, brought a hand up briefly to his face, and then at long last picked up the firewhiskey glass.

“It was his very worst fear,” Draco suddenly said, and Harry finally looked over at him to see his eyes still fixed to the letter lying on the table. “That...thing...inside his brother – out of everything, everything in his life, in his former death - it was what he feared most.”

“How-” Harry started.

“Boggart,” Draco replied. “He found it in my cellar. I didn’t know what I was seeing, only that it was destroying him – that it wasn’t really Sam. He never said what it was, but thinking back, I can see it now...the absolute coldness of the thing. The way it’s smile was a mockery of everything about Sam Winchester. I dispatched the boggart, and promised I wouldn’t tell Sam what I had seen.”

Harry nodded, because he didn’t know what else to do.

“To empty victories,” Draco said, raising his glass in the air towards Harry, before downing the liquid in one swallow.

“To empty victories,” Harry repeated, and did the same.

Draco poured the next round, and Harry didn’t speak. He didn’t stand to leave either, nor take back the letter still resting on the table next to Draco’s left hand. It was up to Draco to call an end to the meeting, and yet he wasn’t. Harry had never been in Draco’s presence alone for this long in...maybe since they first met in Madam Malkin’s, but perhaps not even then.

“What am I to tell Scorpius?” Draco asked. Harry waited to see if he would continue, but when Draco didn’t continue, he understood that it was a genuine question.

“I don’t know,” Harry said. “I told Teddy everything - well, nearly everything - I knew, but he’s quite a bit older. The younger children, well, will they even remember? We haven’t worked it out yet, whether we should say something or not.”

“Scorpius still talks of him,” Draco shook his head. “He draws him into portraits of our family. Mummy, Daddy, Grandfather, Grandmother, and his best friend Sam towering above all of us. It drives Father mad, so, well, I don’t discourage it. It’s good for Scorpius to admire a Muggle so...even if he can’t know he was. It’s good for him to learn to hold fast to his friend, even without his Grandfather’s approval. Granted, last week he also declared a garden beetle to be his best friend, but that’s children for you, and it was a finest garden beetle I have ever seen.”

“My boys still call our guest bedroom ‘Sam and Dean’s room’,” Harry said, “or in Albus’ case, ‘Samdean’s Room’ – he never did learn to make the distinction.”

Draco smiled softly, before taking another sip of whiskey.

“He’s right, you know,” Harry found himself saying. “Dean’s right – in the letter – when he says that your son has excellent taste in friends. Sam’s a far better man than I am. He’s-”

“Then why is it that I’m sitting here talking to you, and not him?” Draco asked, suddenly biting. “Mother told me what happened in the woods that evening. Why is it that Harry Potter can survive the killing curse, not once but twice, and Sam Winchester can only damn himself to eternal torment? How does that work?”

“I...” but Harry didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t tell Draco about being a horcrux, he just couldn’t, it was a secret few knew and he planned to keep it that way. More than that though, Draco had a point.

“Sam Winchester isn’t dead, Harry,” Draco said, angrily pointing at the letter. “He’s ‘gone.’ He hasn’t died to be reunited with his loved ones in Heaven – he’s stuck in a cage with the devil himself forever...and how am I supposed to explain that to a five-year-old?”

“I don’t know,” Harry said. “Maybe you aren’t – maybe you’re just to tell Scorpius that his friend Sam is a great man and forever saving children from ghosts, and he’ll never ever die as long as Scorpius believes that.”

“Sentimental fool, as ever, Harry,” Draco muttered, but Harry had the feeling that Draco liked the option.

They sat in awkward silence, while Harry poured them both another finger of whiskey, and Draco stared at the wall behind Harry’s head.

“That angel of theirs?” Draco asked.

“I only know what’s in the letter,” Harry said. “I’m guessing that if he could help, Dean would have mentioned it.”

There was another moment of silence, into which Draco nodded, and sipped his whiskey slowly.

“I couldn’t put my finger on it until they brought that angel ‘round,” Draco finally said, and Harry waited patiently for him to continue. “There have been only a few times in my life when I’ve felt myself to be in the presence of something powerful. The first was when Voldemort returned, and it was a horrible wretched thing – the power of him was both intoxicating and frightening, and I was terrified for two years straight and a good while after as well.

“Another time was when I met you in Boston, and I felt it yet again, only I didn’t recognize it – I was merely confused as to why you were skulking around with Hunters, and how on earth that man dared call me Drake after only one conversation.

“Then in January, I suddenly had them over at my house, playing with my son, threatening my parents – and I felt it then...like I was in the presence of something far beyond my comprehension. They were Muggles though, and Dean was terrified – absolutely terrified – of that boggart, and Sam was awkward with Scorpius at best, but he tried so very hard once he recognized my son’s infatuation with him...and they were wholly fallible and flawed things – not at all like the Dark Lord, so I thought I was mistaken.”

“And then they showed up with an angel,” Harry said, thinking that was when Draco finally understood the powers against which, and with which, the Winchesters fought.

“They showed up with an angel,” Draco nodded, “and I was dumbfounded, because there was an angel - an angel, Harry – in my house, putting my ghosts to rest, talking with my wife and my son – and I... thought... I felt...”

“Overwhelmed?” Harry said, remembering when he had first met Castiel in the Department of Mysteries, and how imposing a figure he had been.

“Yes, but, not in the way I had expected,” Draco said. “I was overwhelmed by the fact that the angel was... less impressive than the Winchesters themselves. He was an angel of the Lord, and next to them he seemed a small thing.”

“You obviously didn’t try to argue with him,” Harry laughed.

“No,” Draco smiled, shaking his head, “I’ll leave such foolish endeavours to you, Potter.”

Then Draco reverently folded Dean’s letter and handed it back to Harry.

“Thank you for the news, Harry,” Draco said. “I believe I’ll tell Scorpius nothing of this. I’ll save his drawings, and when the time is right, perhaps I will show them to Dean.” Draco slid from the bench and lifted his cloak onto his shoulders.

“Scorpius isn’t the only Malfoy with good taste in friends lately, it seems,” Harry replied.

“Lately,” Draco repeated, fastening his cloak. “Now, I can’t promise much from my end, but I’ll do what I can-”

“Sorry?” Harry said, wondering if there was some conversation he had completely missed.

Draco stared at him in confusion for only a second, before settling on his usual annoyed expression.

“Oh Potter, all of that bravery and not an ounce of it intelligent,” Draco replied. “Once again, I’ll have to assume that our only hope is Granger. You must learn to read between the lines, Harry.”

“What on earth are you talking about, Malfoy?” Harry asked.

“The letter,” Draco said. “Dean says that Sam made Dean promise not to Hunt any more, but he didn’t say anything about us, did he?”

“No,” Harry said. “Are you saying-”

“My son’s best friend is currently trapped in a cage with Lucifer,” Draco replied. “What kind of father would I be if I did nothing?”

Draco turned on his heel and strode to the exit, before Harry could gather his thoughts enough to close his mouth. Harry fumbled for the mirror in his pocket, quickly calling Ron.

“How’d it go then?” Ron asked.

“What? Oh. Fine. Ron, where’s Hermione?” Harry asked.

“Library,” Ron said. “You know how she is when she’s upset – she’s barely been home all weekend.”

“Brilliant,” Harry replied, “she’s brilliant.”

“Already know that, don’t I,” Ron muttered. “What’s this about then, Harry? You’re acting strange.”

“Malfoy just declared that he’s a better father than I am,” Harry smiled.

“That git!” Ron said. “Where does he get off-”

“We’re going to prove him wrong,” Harry said.

“Course we are, the stupid- Wait, Harry, what does this have to do with-”

“Everything. It has everything to do with everything, Ron,” Harry said. “And Hermione has already been working on it for two days without even bloody telling me.”

“Working on what?” Ron asked.

“Hope,” Harry smiled.

Sam Winchester might have cut his brother off at the knees with his final request, but if there was one thing the War had taught Harry, it was that one should never underestimate one’s friends. If Draco was right, then Dean had just sent them their marching orders, and there was no way Harry was going to disobey an order from a Winchester. Harry felt the burden of responsibility settle on his shoulders and, oddly enough, it made him feel powerful beyond measure.

After all, Harry was The Chosen One first; the least he could do was get Sam back for showing him up.

Comments

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mymuseandi
Jan. 4th, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
In the words of Ron, "It's bloody brilliant!"

And I love Draco in this fic! Seriously. I might have to draw hearts around his written name. And it's great that he understood Dean pretty well that he would be able to understand Dean's hidden meaning in the letter!

I was honestly surprised that Ron went to George, but on hindsight it does made perfect sense. George would understand Dean's feeling of being left behind, I suppose.

A small typo: "and he wanted to send her to America to consol Dean, because certainly Dean needed this more than he did – but he couldn’t bring himself to let her go." I think you forgot t e"e" at the end of the word. :p

Awesome awesome story!
hells_half_acre
Jan. 4th, 2011 06:39 am (UTC)
Thank you!

I love Draco too (as is probably evident). I figure Slytherins are probably your go-to-guys for sneaky meanings ;)

I had Ron go to George, because George was someone who was in a duo...it had always been Fred and George, just like it had always been Sam and Dean...so the idea of Dean being alone, would no doubt remind Ron of George being alone...and would also bring up the pain of losing Fred as well.

Thanks for the typo catch! I've fixed it now. Silly spell check never catches typos like that, because it's still a word - just the wrong one :P

Thanks for reading! :)
et_tu_lj
Jan. 4th, 2011 12:55 am (UTC)
*flails*

My joy at finding an unexpected installment is tempered only by the desolation you make me feel with the first scene. You are amazing and I'm so glad you have more to say on this 'verse. <3
hells_half_acre
Jan. 4th, 2011 07:28 am (UTC)
This 'verse has taken up permanent residence in my brain.

Thank you and I'm glad you liked it despite the feeling of desolation with the first scene ;)
fateofshadow
Jan. 4th, 2011 01:00 am (UTC)
None of my playlists held the right mix of emotions for this. It's a melancholy loneliness mixed with -in the ending section- with hope and determination. In retrospect I should have listened to classical.

You're also the first season five finale writer to make me cry (if only a little!) since I actualy watched the season finale (and blubbered like a baby).

Thank you so for writing this, as always this series continues to surpass my expectations. *Floats away to stare at walls until I can snap out of odd fic mood*
hells_half_acre
Jan. 4th, 2011 07:32 am (UTC)
Yeah, probably. I can't listen to music while I write for that reason...

I didn't even cry at the season finale (even though I was very sad for Dean), but I made myself cry writing this...so I don't know what that says about me!

Thank you for reading and the kind words!

(btw: I usually don't like manips, but DAMN your icon is full of sexy pretty...)
franztastisch
Jan. 4th, 2011 01:05 am (UTC)
I cannot put into words how amazing I think this is. Suffice to say I started crying at Sam is gone and haven't stopped since. Strangely enough, out of your whole demented verse, this is my favourite. The whole bit with Harry and Draco was incredible. And Scorpius. Oh my God.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 4th, 2011 07:35 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. I did give you fair warning that it would be depressing... :P

I've been wanting to write that Harry - Draco scene for MONTHS, and even having thought it was all planned out, Draco still managed to surprise me with where he took the conversation.

Glad you liked it :)
(no subject) - franztastisch - Jan. 4th, 2011 11:47 am (UTC) - Expand
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trystan830
Jan. 4th, 2011 02:15 am (UTC)
oh... wow.

awesome.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 4th, 2011 07:35 am (UTC)
Thank you :)
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lelaro
Jan. 4th, 2011 02:21 am (UTC)
after the whole misery surrounding the end of season five i was happy to see sam in season six and while robosam is entertaining, i like Sam better sooo...

sequel + :

and then when sam's soul is restored by death he and dean will rest in Samdean's room in harry's house and everyone will live happily ever after y/y?
lelaro
Jan. 4th, 2011 02:22 am (UTC)
also Malfoy = love for his brilliant deduction
(no subject) - hells_half_acre - Jan. 4th, 2011 07:37 am (UTC) - Expand
khek
Jan. 4th, 2011 02:31 am (UTC)
You made me all teary, and sniffly and leaky. And I know that Sam comes back!

(I hope that somehow, somewhere, George arranged to meet with Dean for a long weekend of talking about brothers.)

I'd love to see what happens when Sam comes back...hint, hint!

This was an amazing addition to your series. Thank you so much for sharing it.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 4th, 2011 07:43 am (UTC)
(dude, you totally sent my mind a'whirring with that fic prompt in brackets...but I make no promises!)

I'm sorry for the tears, but I'm glad my writing was affective! :P

I already know sort of how Sam coming back would work in the demented'verse, but I'm not sure it's good fic material, so I make no promises about whether I'll ever write it up. Still, at least the ideas are circling around in there...

Thank you for reading and I'm glad you liked it!
(no subject) - calamityjim - Jan. 5th, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
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yourkidney
Jan. 4th, 2011 02:50 am (UTC)
dfajdjscfhjdfhdjfdj oh dear holy fuck oh my god I love it. :DDD

(Especially the bit about the Hufflepuff beds. I've always secretly wanted to be a Hufflepuff)

That was absolutely brilliant, hon! The little father-vs-father competition at the end with Draco and Harry, and EVERYTHING. OMG

I'd absolutely LOVE it if they saw Sam again, but it's also complete like this. So much love!
hells_half_acre
Jan. 4th, 2011 07:45 am (UTC)
Hufflepuffs are the best! I've got a mad crush on them all!

I think it's complete like this too, so it's going to stay like this for a while at least (if not forever).

I'm really happy you loved it so much!! :) I've been wanting to write it for MONTHS but I had to finish VVV first!! It was TORTUROUS!

Thanks again!
katsheswims
Jan. 4th, 2011 02:52 am (UTC)
Wow.

I loved this so much.

It made me tear up at parts. Ecpecially at the crossed out parts in Dean's letter.

I can't wait to read more timestamps. Keep up the good work!!!
hells_half_acre
Jan. 4th, 2011 07:47 am (UTC)
It made me tear up in parts too, and that's saying something because I very rarely cry at things...and it seemed weird to tear up when I was just writing down words that I'd been planning to write down for a while - not like I shouldn't have seen it coming!

Anyway, I'm really glad you liked it! The next timestamp might not be out as quickly as this one was, but there will be more, I'm sure :)
shadwrayvn
Jan. 4th, 2011 03:21 am (UTC)
*sniffles* Seriously this is just so beautifully tragic yet tinged with such hope & love. How do you do this to me everytime? I loved it so effin much! I have these huge Kripke-eske tears running down my face but My God this just captured the emotions so perfectly! I love your writing so much & it affects me is such an emotional & mental way! Keep up the amazing work!
hells_half_acre
Jan. 4th, 2011 07:50 am (UTC)
Awww, I'm sorry for making you cry so much! (And yet I'm not, because it means I wrote WELL...I'm a cruel and capricious god).

Thank you so much for reading, and seriously, your emotional and mental reaction is the biggest compliment ever! *HUGS*
dairygirl
Jan. 4th, 2011 04:07 am (UTC)
You had me choked up a lot reading through this timestamp. Excellently done with everyone's responses from Harry using the Pensieve because there are no pictures to Teddy screaming to the dignified (and alcohol-aided) sharing with Draco. I enjoyed how you had Draco guide Harry to the possibility that Dean left them. I just want to say "Yes! Do it!" and have Harry, Hermione, Ron and the rest succeed.

And nice almost hopeful last line: After all, Harry was The Chosen One first; the least he could do was get Sam back for showing him up. Thank you for this entire story and especially this addition to the worthy storyline.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 4th, 2011 07:56 am (UTC)
Believe it or not, I wrote that last line on LJ just after checking the post over for format errors. I read the last paragraph and though, no, it needs one more sentence...so it was very much added at the very last second...so, I'm glad you liked it!

I want to say "Yes! Do it!" too! It almost wants to make me drop my canon-nazi ways and go AU...ALMOST...as it is, I think I'll just leave the ending there for now, so that we can imagine that they manage it.

I'm really glad you liked it! Thank you for the kind words and for reading!! :)
mattheal
Jan. 4th, 2011 04:20 am (UTC)
Oh wow, this was just amazing! I was in tears half the time but the ending was incredibly uplifting and now I want another time-stamp where Harry and co. bust Sam loose from the cage (with his soul!).

I loved everyones different perspectives on Sam and what they remember most about him. The scene with Harry watching Sam comforting Albus just about broke my heart!

In away this fic also feels like a coping method for the fans as well. We all love Sam so much, and it hurts us just as much as it hurts Dean to see Sam walking around without his soul and so obviously not SAM and not getting any sort of closure from the show.

Thank you so SO much for this.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 4th, 2011 08:03 am (UTC)
Thank you!

I was in tears a little writing it too...and I'm really glad Draco managed to sneak in a hopeful ending for me, because I was really concerned that it would end up being far too depressing! But yes, part of me kind of wants to forget my canon-adhering ways and just go AU with BAMF Potter-crew busting Sam out of the hole...but...yeah...I think for now I'll just leave it like this, and we can use our imaginations in whichever way we choose ;)

I'm glad you liked the scene with Harry watching Sam comfort Albus! I wish I had artistic skills, because I really wanted to draw that...I had to try to use words instead.

And yes, I think both this fic, and my "Sam Is..." fic, is basically just me as a fan trying to cope with the loss of Sam.

Thank you for reading, and for the kind words!
(Deleted comment)
hells_half_acre
Jan. 4th, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
Yes, I had to make it hopeful at the end, otherwise it was too horribly depressing...I couldn't bring myself to leave it without hope.

I'm glad you liked it! :)
akadougal
Jan. 4th, 2011 11:10 am (UTC)
This was so sad. So very very sad.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 4th, 2011 04:22 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes it was.
msninacat
Jan. 4th, 2011 11:38 am (UTC)
OMG George! OMG Nate and Teddy! OMG EVERYONE!!!!

But it's kind of nice to see that a community misses his presence. I'm weird. Like it's gutting to watch Dean miss him but if he were to see what an impact Sam had with such a small amount of time, he'd be so proud and happy.

And Draco!!!! I love your Draco more than any other version of him. Which is saying a lot as I despise him in the books. ;D

Your verse has become one of my favorite things and I will continue to make people realize how awesome it and you are. ♥

A couple of possible typos, sorry I usually try not to beta when I'm reading but I think posting my own thing made me more conscious of it tonight:

Magic paper that’s due on Tuesday, so you needed worry about that either should that be needn't?

Mummy, Daddy, Grandfather, Grandmother, and his best friend Sam touring above all of us should that be towering?
hells_half_acre
Jan. 4th, 2011 04:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks for catching those typos. Near-homonyms are my kryptonite.

I thought it was nice to see a whole community miss Sam too - which is why I was so eager to write this. I'm sort of with Harry on this one - if someone sacrifices themselves to save the world, I think the people left in the world should know and mourn that person properly...to me, one of the heartbreaking things about Sam's death was that the only people who really knew were Dean and Bobby.

You know, one of the best side-effects of writing this 'verse is getting a chance to share my post-War Draco with everyone. I've very glad you like him.

Thank you for reading and the very kind words!!
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