Chapter Six - Familiar Faces
Phew, any fellow insomniacs out there? I stayed up till two thirty last night writing this chapter - I had originally planned to include the match and Veela scenes in it as well, but it ended up getting so long anyway, so I've had to take a new strategy - chapters will be shorter from now in, but it means I can update more frequently, and I've spent ages figuring out a new style to write in. (I don't know if you've noticed the difference, but this chapter is much more dialogue-based and snappy). Good news is that I have bits and pieces of the next two chapters already done, so I'll be posting them over the next two days (hopefully today, if I have enough free time).
"Oh er," Mr Weasley looked at the young man in confusion and gave a brief, unsure smile. "Nice to meet you too, er, Dean. I'm Arthur Weasley and this is Fred, George, Ginny-"
"Weasley?" Dean blurted out, raising his eyebrows in humourous disbelief. He opened his mouth to laugh, and then caught sight of Sam's face, and quickly wiped the mocking grin away. "Uh- Ginny!" He turned to the girl and laugh awkwardly. "What a pretty name!"
Ginny turned beetroot red and looked down, eyes wide in terror, whilst Sam facepalmed in the background. Dean looked round, still grinning, and caught sight of Harry. He grinned faintly, face sporting an hint of arrogance. "Well, well, well," He looked him up and down. "It's Harry Potter, right?'
Harry squinted at Dean, a flash of realisation passing across his face. 'Hang on - don't I kno you?'
Dean paused, then grinned. 'Uh, no, we just met, remember? Like, two seconds ago."
'But I swear-'
'Dean.' A voice came from behind; low, gravelly and monotonous in tone. The group turned to see a young man standing before them, his eyes half-closed as he peered at the stranger. He was sporting a tan overcoat that hung limply at his sides. 'I've been looking for you for thirteen minutes and fifty-two seconds.' He looked to Sam. 'I see you found Sam.'
'Sure did.' Dean answered.
'Everyone, this is Castiel Winchester.' Sam stepped forward and gestured to Cas, who turned to examine at them all with his intensely blank stare. 'He's mine and Dean's cousin.'
'Er, hello.' Mr Weasley said hesitantly.
'Hello.' Castiel turned to stare at Mr Weasley, the wizard shifting uncomfortably under Castiel's unwavering gaze.
'Dean and Cas are gonna be joining the teaching staff at Hogwarts this summer.' Sam went on helpfully, causing most of the wizarding groups' eyes to widen. 'Dean's been accepted as a Defence Against the Dark Arts TA and Cas'll be helping Professor Hagrid teach Care of Magical Creatures.'
'Oh.' Mr Weasley looked from Cas to Dean faintly, unable to resist raising his eyebrows. 'Well that's nice. I'm sure you'll do very well.'
'Why thank you sir.' Dean replied with another obnoxious grin. 'Now, if you don't mind, we'd better get going. Got a tent to set up and all.'
'Oh of course. The same for us. We'll see you later!' Mr Weasley replied, picking up his bags and turning hastily away. 'Come on, gang. See you later, Winchesters, Sam!
'Bye, Arthur! Thanks for getting me here.' Sam answered.
'My pleasure.' Mr Weasley smiled, and then turned away, the group behind him following him. Harry, however, lingered slightly longer, as did Hermione. As Sam turned away, he flashed a smile at her.
She smiled faintly at him, and turned away, but Harry was still watching Dean and Castiel Winchester walk away when Ron nudged him to move.
'Oi.' Ron said to him. 'Come on, we've gotta get a move on, otherwise we'll lose Dad. Bloody hell, it's like a maze in here.'
Hermione, however, noticed the look on Harry's face as he turned back to them and began to walk. 'Harry? What's wrong.'
Harry creased his brow, shaking his head. 'I don't know.' He said, puzzled, and glanced behind him once more. 'It's just - I swear I met those two guys before. They came to my Aunt and Uncle's house in the holidays, said they were from the Ministry'
'Wait, what?' Ron questioned in confusion. 'But they just said they're Professors. They're going to teach at Hogwarts.'
'Yeah, I know. They gave different names when they visited as well, but I could have sworn it was them.'
'Well what did they do when they visited?' Hermione questioned, face riddled with worry.
'They just asked a load of weird questions - something about Sulphurous smells and people with black eyes. It was really strange.' Harry answered. 'And then Dudley mentioned Padfoot, the bloody idiot. I don't think they got it, though.'
'They'd better not have.' Said Ron darkly. 'If you ask me, these guys are trouble. They were weird back them as well. And that Sam guy-'
'We don't know if Sam is involved.' Hermione jumped it. 'And besides, it could be nothing! We'll just have to watch out. Remember, if they're going to be Professors, Dumbledore will have hired them personally. He'd know if something was up, wouldn't he?'
Harry nodded. 'Yeah, you're right. We'll just have to trust Dumbledore.'
Ron shrugged. 'I tell you what though, they're not right. There's something about those guys that's totally moronic.'
FIVE HOURS LATER
'Now I think the peg just goes here-'
Dean lifted the hammer, and swung - and missed.
'OW! Jesus, that hurts.' Dean threw down the hammer and cradled his injured hand. In the foreground, Sam rolled his eyes and looked at his brother, eyebrows raised.
'Hey,' Said Dean indignantly. 'What you looking at me like that for. It was the hammer's fault, he started it.'
'Oh come on, Dean, a Muggle tent? Really? We're gonna stick out like a sore thumb here!'
'Well I'm sorry, Princess, is a human tent not good enough for you? I'll have you know I scavenged this from a highly respectable skip in New Jersey.'
Sam rolled his eyes again. 'For a start, Dean, you don't even know how to put it up. Secondly, wizarding tents don't just assemble themselves - look, over there, where that woman with the red jacket's coming out.' Dean turned his head to follow Sam's finger. A row across, tent flaps opened an a luxurious inside was revealed, a flat within a canvas. Sam gave Dean his best wise ass look as his brother turned back round. 'Now you see what I mean.'
'God, you wizards, you have everything handed to you on a plate.' Dean spat, moving to wrestle with another part of the canvas. 'At least humans have some things they can't avoid doing. You, on the other hand, get everything done for you, just by using magic. Well I'm not gonna take that shortcut, Sammy; I'm gonna damn well get this tent up, using only my sweat and blood.' Dean moved determinedly to retrieve the peg and, shoving it in the ground, called over to Cas.
'Hey Cas, what the hell are you doing? Get your angelic ass over here and gimme me a hand!'
Castiel turned slowly and approached the two Winchesters. 'I'm beginning to question why we gave these creatures fire.' He said, reaching Dean's side. Dean followed his gaze to see a middle-aged wizard and what looked to be his wife attempting to light a fire using matches. Their attempts were pitiful - for a start, the wizard was striking the wrong end against the box. 'I've never seen mankind more useless.'
'This isn't mankind, Cas.' Dean answered. 'These are wizarding kind. And they are idiots.' He turned back to the peg and hammer. 'Now give me a hand with getting this damn tent up.'
It was late in the day; lunch having passed (Dean had managed to find a burger van amidst the crowd of mobile eateries near the stadium), and the match fast approaching. Sam was actually excited - he had long loved Quidditch, although he'd never had a chance to play it properly, and was looking forward to seeing it played professionally. Dean, on the other hand, was less than thrilled at the idea of the match, and Castiel had no idea what the word meant.
'We won't be able to sleep in this, Dean.' Sam sighed as Cas held the peg with perplexity and Dean began to hammer it violently into the ground.
Dean looked up, shrugging. 'Fine by me. I'll just crash in the Impala.'
'I don't sleep.' Cas added.
Sam facepalmed, dropping the hammer and standing to survey the stadium, distant in the foreground. A second later, he jumped as a voice called across the tents.
'Hey, Wise Arse!' Sam turned to see the Weasley Twins approaching, followed by the rest of their group. The spoke in unison, before George (was it George?) added; 'The Game's gonna start soon!'
' 'Wise Ass'?' Dean questioned, looking to Sam. 'Man, finally someone else noticed.'
'Are you boy coming with us, then?' Mr Weasley asked as the group drew up alongside the pitch. He smiled broadly at Sam. 'I believe your seats are next to ours.'
'Oh, yeah, sure.' Sam put down the hammer and reached to grab his jacket. 'Dean, Cas, come on.'
Dean sighed and abandoned the hammer, beckoning Castiel to follow him, and the three men joined the group; Sam falling with Mr Weasley, Dean walking next to the Weasley Twins and Castiel bringing up the rear with Harry, Ron and Hermione, who all proceeded to send him suspicious glances throughout the journey.
They wound their way up through the camp, where salesmen were appearing everywhere selling merchandise for both teams, so that everything soon became a cloud of red and green. Dean eyed the stands distastefully as they passed, but Sam watched in fascination at the charms used to enchant the glittering shamrocks and Bulgarian scarves, enchanted by the atmosphere; following their scattered group through the cloud as the Weasleys and Hermione and Harry purchased items. They came to one stand and Ron paused to buy a shamrock hat and rosette, and a model figure of Viktor Krumm that strutted up and down his hand.
'Man, I can't wait to see him play.' Sam commented, grinning. 'He's supposedly the best seeker in the world. It'll be so awesome to see him in action.'
Ron turned to him eagerly, eyes alight. 'He is the best seeker in the world.' He cried. 'Krumm's absolutely amazing - no one can beat him! You a fan then? These guys won't stop being dicks about it, but I think-'
'Sounds like true love, Ron.' Called Fred airily, floating past.
'Working up the courage to tell him now you feel, Sam?' Asked George, following his twin and blowing a kiss towards Ron.
'Shut up, you gits!' Ron called angrily, stuffing the figure of Krumm into his pocket. Sam restrained a smile and moved to examine the shamrock hats, but the peace didn't last for long. A second later, Dean was at his side.
'Lord, you aren't thinking of buying one of these things are you?' He picked up one of the hats with disdain, inspected the thing, and then promptly dropped it back onto the stand. 'Or have you always secretly wanted to sparkle like a unicorn? Sammy, you-'
Sam paused in rolling his eyes and looked at his brother. 'Dean?' He turned to see Dean's face riddled with shock, eyes focused on something far away. 'Dean, what's wrong?'
'Sam.' Dean said, voice low and tense. 'Is that who I think it is?'
Sam turned to follow Dean's gaze, and caught sight of a blonde wizard across the stands who appeared to be attempting to place a bet with one of the salesmen. His back was turned to Sam, but when the figure finally shifted the other way again, Sam's face filled with the same expression of disbelief Dean was wearing.
'Oh my god.' He whispered. 'Gabriel.'
In the distance, the man smirked and, unseen by anyone, clicked his fingers and produced a shamrock hat he proceeded to jam on his head. There was no doubting it - smug expression; the gambling; that terrible haircut. It was Gabriel all right. He passed another stand, swaggering through the stalls and acquiring a bulgarian scarf as he went.
'Why the hell is that son of a bitch here.' Dean growled, anger flooding onto his face.
'For the same reason he's always anywhere; to screw people over.' Sam answered grimly, glaring at the unaware figure. 'God, this can't be good.'
'What's even worse is that he's coming over here. Look.' Dean lowered his voice and Sam watched as the angel approached Mr Weasley, who was further away, and began to shout jovially in an English accent. Sam and Dean exchanged glances. Great. He had Mr Weasley fooled.
'Not long till the game ey, Arthur?' Gabriel was saying as Sam and Dean left the shamrock hat table and approached the pair. His face was friendly and idiotic in a cheery sort of way. He was really going for it with this act.
'Oh yes, how long have we got, Ludo?'
'About twenty minutes, I expect - you'd better get up there! Be sure to watch your boys when they lose their money to me, ey?'
Mr Weasley laughed hesitantly, then caught sight of Sam and Dean lurking in the corner. 'Oh Dean, Sam, this is Ludo Bagman; Head of Magical Games and Sports at the Ministry of Magic. Ludo, these two are Sam and Dean Winchester; Americans over to study and teach at Hogwarts.'
'Pleased to meet you.' Said 'Ludo Bagman' jovially, a wicked glint in his eyes as he looked to Sam and Dean. The two wizards simply raised their eyebrows, and a second later, there was a yell from across the stalls.
'Oh, coming Ginny!' Mr Weasley called, then turned back to them. 'We'd best be off soon - are you coming, boys?'
'One moment, Arthur.' Answered Sam. "We just want to ask Mr Bagman a few questions first."
"Oh, okay." The wizard replied. Ginny called again, and he turned to go. "See you in a bit!"
"Bye!" Sam called, and the three remaining men watched Mr Weasley dash away, just out of earshot, before they turned quickly back to each other.
'Ludo?' Dean scoffed. 'Really? Couldn't come up with a prettier name?'
Gabriel smirked, unscathed. 'Long time no speak, amigos.'
'Why are you here, Gabriel.' Questioned Sam, voice threatening. 'You shouldn't be mucking around in the wizarding world, you know what the rules are.'
'Man, I missed the sound of your silence.' Gabriel sighed, then clicked his fingers, and Sam's next words were cut short, whilst Dean reached a hand up to his throat in alarm. 'I'm just here for the fun, pals.' He clicked his fingers again, and Sam let out a gargle, his and Dean's voices returned. 'Oh, and the women. Turns out these kind of witches are a foxy bunch.'
'Yeah, right.' Dean answered, voice laced with anger. 'Go back to the human world, Gabriel. I ain't no fan of wizarding kind but the last thing they need at the moment is you messing with their heads.'
Gabriel simply continued smiling. 'Well,' He replied. 'That's for them to decide, isn't it.' The next moment, a voice blared out on loudspeakers across the ground, calling the crowd to attention - the stadium was opening. 'Oh look, the match is starting. Gotta go.' Gabriel grinned at them. 'Until next time, Winchesters.' With another click of fingers, he was gone.
Sam sighed and bowed his head, and Dean gritted his teeth. 'Well,' Dean murmured. 'We sure ain't seen the last of him.'
"Well," *looks at screen* "I guess I'm meant to be thanking…" *scrolls down*
"Here we are, Souless Robot for a review." *smirks* "Souless… Robot…"
*turns to Sam* "Dude, should we be hunting this thing?"
"Shut up and thank the person already. Jerk."
"Bitch. Anyways, thanks Souless...Robot." *turns back to the screen*
"Okay, so, we've got, NinjaViolinist to thank for some more kind words, so thank you. "Hey Sam, which do you think would win in a fight, Ninjas or Robots?"
"Ninjas, obviously." *Sam turns to the screen* "And lastly thank you... 19vanelKC?"
"No no, Sam it's Vanelk C. Come on dude, I thought you were the one who used logic."
"Okay then, what the hell is a Vanelk?"
"It's an elk that's been run over by a van."
"That's all I got. Give me a break, I haven't had any breakfast yet. Speaking of which, where's that pie?"