These Dreams (SN,XO,UC, Adult) (Complete)

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DMartinez
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Re: These Dreams (SN,XO,UC,Mature) Pro-Ch. 50 09/17

Post by DMartinez » Mon Sep 17, 2007 11:54 am

Part 50 – Saturday
(July 31, 2010)

What in the hell was he thinking? A wedding? Was he insane? A tux! Hell! A monkey suit! “Sammy, I hate this.”

“You said you would do this. It was your idea.” Sam watched his brother struggling with his tie and attempted to fix it only to have his hands slapped away. “You said-“

“I know! ‘Let’s go to Lake Tahoe’…” He cursed under his breath and ripped the tie off. He had been fine all week with his half-assed proposal. Had been fine through the drive. Had agreed to stay in the hotel room until half an hour before getting to the J.P. for the license. He stared at the suit his brother had picked out. “I look like I’m 12.”

“Yeah, if 12-year-olds grew beards. I thought you were going to shave that.” Sam lightly slapped his cheek, only to have his hand slapped away.

“Well, I can’t shave now, can I.” Dean griped and turned to his reflection. “What am I doing?”

“Marrying the woman you knocked up.” Sam gripped his shoulders and cleared his throat. “Take a deep breath. This is just wedding day jitters.” When the shoulders under his hands didn’t lose their tension, he added, “Some kind of monster.”

“Yeah, okay.” Dean dropped his chin to his chest and took a deep breath. He hummed a few bars and took another breath. A few more bars.

“This is not an airplane. This is one day. Taking vows.”

“Vow. I like that word.” Dean breathed out. “Did you see her?”

“Yeah, I saw her. She looked like she was going to vomit but it could have just been morning sickness.”

“Bitch.”

“Jerk.”

Dean turned to his brother. “It’s just a ritual, right?”

“Right.”

“I mean, I’m faithful. I practically live there, you know, when we’re not killing shit. I’m good as married. I just need the ritual.”

“Right.”

“If she didn’t want to do this, she would have said.”

“Right.”

“I think I’m gonna hurl.”

“Breathe.” Sam instructed and turned his brother away from the mirror. “Just breathe.”

Dean shut his eyes and took a deep breath. The thousandth since the suit had shown up. “I can do this. Faced demons, faced death. This is just a ritual… minus the Latin.”

“Right. I’m gonna go check on the bride.”

--

Liz checked her reflection. She could see the shop girl squinting her eyes from the end of the short hallway. Liz chose to ignore her. The dress was a very light, very fine shade of blue. She’d paid but she just wanted to make sure she looked all right. The fabric draped over her slight stomach. Empire waist, v-cut neckline to allow for what she could no longer control on her body. “I’m ready.”

“There’s a gentleman waiting for you outside.” The clerk raised an eyebrow.

“Then it’s time.” She took a breath and grabbed her bag to meet the guys outside. Sam gave her a supportive smile and squeezed her hand. “Is he ready?”

“He will be. You okay?”

“I think I might pass out.” She forced a smile onto her face. “But I’m good.”

“Did you eat?”

“No.”

“Why not?” Sam escorted her down to the chapel.

“Wedding day jitters?” She winced. “We’ll just say morning sickness.”

“Are you okay?” Sam frowned at her slightly green face.

“I should have eaten. Baby doesn’t like it when I don’t eat.”

“Weird cravings?”

“Not yet.” She laughed and smiled at Dean, who paced the sidewalk in front of the chapel. “You do good work, Sam.” She looked him over. He made her smile. “Did that jacket come with those pants?”

“No.” Dean shook his head. “But this is me.”

Sam rolled his eyes. His brother would get married in jeans and a suit jacket… and unshaven. “Would you two go in there, already?”

“Sammy.” Dean turned with a panicked expression. “Where are the—“

“Check your pocket.” Sam patted his own breast in example.

“Don’t scare me like that.”

They rushed up to the small, tasteful altar at the last moment. It was quick but Dean stumbled over his vows and would have passed out if his brother hadn’t popped the back of his knee with a quick foot jab. Liz had to bite her lip to keep from laughing. When the officiate hit the end, Dean grinned. He knew how to do this part.

“You may kiss the bride.”

“Wipe that smirk off your face.” Liz shook her head even as her hand slipped behind his neck.

“Do it for me.”

“PG-13 looks better in pictures.” Sammy warned as he raised the disposable camera for the wedding shot. There was no way this event was going to go undocumented.

--

Liz stared out over the lake. Sam had gone on, promising he’d be in phone contact if they needed him. Dean sat in a lounge chair with a beer in his hand; looking absolutely the most peaceful she’d ever seen him. “You’re staring.”

“Never seen you look so… hot.”

“I thought you preferred a lack of clothes to total coverage.”

“Still, wedding dress. Hot.”

“You know, I feel a little bad about the… you know, the monetary coverage for this whole thing.” She stepped over to sit on the edge of his chair. He only grinned and shrugged before taking a swig of his beer.

“It’s a weekend. Fraudulent charges aren’t discovered until Monday.” He took a deep breath before he lifted his eyes to look at his wife. Weird. His wife. “I talked to Bobby and I’m gonna help out… you know, for cash.”

“Dean Winchester is going to work for wages?” Liz pondered that as she settled herself beside him. “What about hunting?”

“I can do that, too, I guess. Just… safer to keep a low profile for now.” Then he weighed the truth in that statement. “On both the hunting scope and in the eye of the FBI. Now is not the time to get myself thrown in jail.”

“You’re absolutely right.” She picked up the camera on the table, she rewound it. “Smile.”

“No.”

“Smile, dammit.” She leaned back into him and raised the camera to capture them both.

“No.”

“You’re a jerk.” She smiled anyway and took the picture. “That’s gonna be the wedding announcement and you didn’t smile and I’m pretty sure your beer is in the shot.” Sliding her foot out of her shoe, she ran it beneath his calf. “Just tell me you weren’t scowling.”

“I don’t scowl.”

“You’re scowling right now.” She set the camera down.

“You do know how weird this is for me, right?” His eyebrows were set in a deep V as his eyes ran over his bride. His wife. “I’m married to a great girl. I’m gonna be a father… and I’m honeymooning in Lake Tahoe. It’s too frickin’ normal.”

“Dean, it’s okay to like it. The normalness of it. You ever think it might be a little weird for me? I’m married to a demon-hunter, I’m gonna have his baby… and my father-in-law likes to slip out of heaven to butt in on my day to day life.” She turned to lean on her elbow next to him. Something slipped over his eyes. “What?”

He took a long pull off his beer. “Not heaven.”

“What do you mean ‘not heaven’?”

“Dad is not in heaven. He sold his soul. That’s a one-way ticket to hell.”

“Oh.” That painted a whole different picture in her head surrounding her John-spells. She found herself fiddling with the charm around his neck. “What is this thing? It looks like a melted dolphin.”

“It’s a talisman… for protection. My Dad got it on a hunt and he gave it to me.”

“I think it’s broken.”

“What makes you say that?”

“You get dropped on your head a lot.”

“Not true.”

“If I shaved your head, there would be a roadmap of bumps and scars.”

“Maybe.”

“Dean, I’m going to get comfortable. I’ll need some help with my dress.”

He frowned suddenly and looked at her. “You didn’t need help to put it on.”

“But I need your help to take it off.” She shook her head at his blank expression. “If I have to explain my subtext… I’m going to think you’re possessed.” She sat up and began tugging on his arm. “If I have to call Sam back here, he’ll be enjoying the honeymoon instead of you.”

--

Dean felt stupid but the goofy kind of stupid that could be excused in the future because of the circumstances. He lay between Liz’s legs, supporting his body on his elbows on either side of her hips. The barely-there rise of her belly supported his chin while he put his words together. His eyes flicked up to where Liz was dozing while waiting for him to make his first proclamation to the baby. “What do you say to a fetus?”

Her lips turned up into a smile but she didn’t open her eyes. “I don’t know.”

“Listen kiddo, your dad sucks at this stuff. Hold on a minute.” Dean muttered and rested his forehead on her stomach. She giggled and swiped a hand beneath his chin to tug on his short beard. He shut his eyes and thought, really thought, about what becoming a father would mean. “My life sucks, kid… so yours is going to suck pretty hard, too. There’s lots of crazy crap going on and you’re not going to understand any of it until you’re in the world a long time. There’s a lot of scary stuff but it’s my job to make sure the scary stuff goes down screaming.”

“You’re already scaring him.”

“Nah. He’s a Winchester. He’ll eat scary for breakfast.” He lifted his head then flicked his gaze to the cart of empty plates beside the bed. “And whole cows.” He lowered his head to her stomach again. “Your mother put away a whole cow tonight, son.”

“I did not.” Liz gasped and kneed him in the ribs. She propped herself up on her elbows. “You know what, I’m not sure I should let you speak to our son. He’ll pick up nothing but bad habits.”

“Like all your habits are so great.” Dean met her eyes but didn’t let her up. “Walking home alone, flirting with bikers and truckers,” he held up a hand to tick off what he found to be her annoying characteristics, “The absence of a television in a town without a movie theater or a sports bar, an addiction to Oprah’s book club, putting the hunting knives in with the steak knives, shuffling your feet over the thresholds-”

“I kicked the salt line, once.” She poked him in the forehead with a finger.

“And you’re abusive.”

“I’m abusive? Who threw who in the dirt?”

“You wanted training. You can have a nice guy teaching you self-defense or you can have a badass who actually knows what he’s talking about.” Dean slid his arms up the bed, trapping her beneath him with his body. The smile faded off his face, his eyelids lowered. “If you hadn’t had that vision… do you think we’d be doing this now?”

“I don’t know.”

“I came onto you looking for an escape from pain and you slammed the door in my face, with good reason. What if we met in other circumstances? Without your alien crap, without my supernatural crap?”

“I don’t know, Dean.” She frowned at the tone in his voice.

“I don’t see how I get to keep this. I feel like shit for ruining the night but I don’t get to keep things like this. They always go wrong.”

“You think I get to keep the good things?” She lifted his face so she could see every worry line, every crease and crinkle and those ridiculous Maybelline eyelashes. “I couldn’t begin to tell you the things I’ve sacrificed. I’m drawing a line in the sand. I get to keep this.”

“You’ll be a widow again. I don’t know when but it will happen.”

“Well, then you’re just going to have to stay on top of your game. I’m not raising our son alone.”

“So, who’s husband number three?”

“You’re so not funny.”

“Come on.”

“No.”

“It’s a little funny.” He tossed her a grin.

“No, it’s not.”

“Liz, come on. It’s funny.”

“Sam.”

“What?” Dean reared back onto his knees. “What?”

“Why not? I like him fine.” She propped herself up on her elbows once more. “We wouldn’t be married long. If you’re dead, he’ll avenge your death and I’ll have to pick husband number four pretty fast.”

“Okay, now you’re not funny.” He dug his fingers into her side.

“Then don’t ask stupid questions.” She shrieked as she tried to escape but he had her pinned once more. “That’s not fair. You’re stronger than I am and you’ve had way more training.”

“Well, we’ll have to catch you up… but later, when you aren’t harboring life inside you.”

A week later…
(August 7, 2010)

Liz tugged on a skirt and pouted as it didn’t sit the way she wanted. She nodded absently to the phone. “I knew he wouldn’t smile.”

“He still looks handsome… and relaxed.” Nancy stared at the picture. The only wedding picture she had of her daughter. “Very relaxed.”

“It’s better than the picture Sam took at the ceremony. Both of us were… jittery.” She scoffed as she reached for another skirt. “None of my clothes fit right.”

“I can’t see any tummy on you in these pictures.”

“Well, it’s there and it’s here and it’s bigger than it was last week.” She paused to look at her reflection. “I think I felt him moving the other day. It was the strangest feeling ever. I kind of thought I was going to be sick.”

“It’s fine now, but wait until he starts kicking.” She took a breath and held it for a moment. “What made the two of you decide to get married? I thought it was something that you weren’t going to discuss.”

“It just started to make more sense, Mom. Dean and I are never sure what we’re doing. He’s settling in here, he’s got a job at Bobby’s. We’ve got to try.”

“Do you love him?”

“I think so. I’m not used to loving just anybody and… Dean makes me feel more normal than I have in a long time, even with all the distinctly abnormal parts of both our lives.”

“Maybe you see something that no one else sees.”

“No, I see what you saw but I know him. I trust him. I guess, I just see what’s going on when he’s smiling so bright it blinds you.”

“He seems broken to me.”

“I know.” Liz took a breath and pulled on a pair of Dean’s shorts before sitting in the chair by the window. “Dr. Meyer is going to do an ultrasound the next time I go in. I’ll send you a copy.”

“Maria wants me to scream at you for not inviting her to your wedding.” Nancy sighed and fingered the edges of the photo in her hand. “I could yell myself but I figure there must be a reason for eloping.”

“Yeah. Sorry, Mom. We had to get the license after working hours and do the ceremony before… FBI, you know… they have my name still.” She left out the fact that Dean’s charges were current and very bad. “We’ll work something out in January because I want you there.”

“I want to be there.”

“I want you to see him in person before pictures, you know.”

“Liz…” Dean raised an eyebrow at her outfit but let it go as he entered the cottage with filthy hands and an oil-smeared face. “Marty needs you to work tonight.”

“I don’t have clothes.” She pointed to his shorts covering her rear.

“Then you tell him.”

“I’m on the phone with my mother.”

Dean winced and backed toward the kitchen, hands in the air. “Tell her to put the shotgun down. I did the honorable thing.”

“Shut up. I thought you were working.”

“Lunch break.” He grinned as he hauled out leftovers.

“Sorry, Mom. Dean is getting grease all over my kitchen.” She spoke into the phone, then lowered it. “Wash your hands.”

“It sounds like you’ve got your hands full. I’ll talk to you later, sweetie.” Nancy shook her head with a small smile.

“Kay, Mom. I’ll call you when I get the ultrasound.” Liz said her goodbyes and found Dean staring at her. “What?”

“You just started stealing my underwear?”

“I should just start walking around in my underwear?”

“The difference between yours and mine being?”

“The difference between bikinis and boxer briefs.” She tugged at the cloth covering her thighs. She set her cell phone down before rising to watch him devour leftover hamburger helper. “I have to go shopping.” She rolled her eyes and absently covered her belly where it peeked between his shorts and her tank top. He grinned at her suddenly and looked away when she blinked at him. “What?”

His only response was the grin around the mouthful he’d just forked in. She set her jaw. “What?” He shook his head, grinning. “Dean. What?”

“It’s pretty hot. The whole… belly thing.”

“Shut up.”

“Look. Billy gives me all kinds of shit.” Dean let out an exasperated breath. “Now, you look pregnant. Maybe he’ll back off.”

“So you’re happy that I’m getting fat.”

“You’re not fat. That’s not even a football.”

“This is keeping my pants from fitting.”

“Keep telling you that no pants is the way to go.”

“Only if I intend to spend the rest of my pregnancy on my back.”

“That could be arranged.”

“Shut up.”

TBC

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DMartinez
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Post by DMartinez » Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:25 pm

Part 51 – A week later…
August 16, 2010

Dean tossed the ratchet into the tool box. He was going to have a throw down with the creep, job or no. Bobby stepped between the two men. “James… let it go… He’s the best mechanic to have on your car.”

“Why’s that?” James glared right over Bobby’s head at Dean.

“You see that Impala.” Bobby watched James’ eyes slide to the shiny black car and linger there. Just what Bobby wanted. “It’s been totaled at least six times and this kid right here… he gets it back to looking like that in no time at all.”

“Totaled?” James asked, his eyes still narrowed on the ‘kid’ in front of him.

“Last time, it rolled three times. Time before that, it was T-boned by a semi.” Dean answered. Bobby was doing him a favor. Letting him on the job for cash on the side. Saving his ass from a whooping and costing the garage a hefty commission in keeping up with James’ expensive taste in classic cars.

“Fine, but you tell me my business again and we’re gonna dance.” James snapped his fingers at Dean before stomping off.

Dean rolled his eyes as Bobby turned to face him. “Look, he’s stripping the gears. I don’t care if he’s got more money than God, he’ll run through every part we can find for his fucking pussy-mobile.”

“One job a year from him means I can take off for three months if I feel like it, Dean. You treat my customers with respect.” Bobby advanced on the Winchester. Just like his old man. “I don’t have to keep you on and I don’t have to keep covering your ass. Grow up, you’re going to be raising a boy of your own soon enough. Trust me… it’s a tough job if you’re not going to buckle down yourself.” He turned to pick up the carburetor he’d been working on. “I don’t know how your daddy did it on the road the way he did. I gotta admit that the two of you came out halfway decent but… I had a hard enough time staying in one place… without demons breathing down my neck.”

“You had a kid?” Dean picked up the ratchet and fiddled with it for a moment.

“Yeah, I had kids once. Been married twice, Dean. I had two kids… one in each marriage and both of them are dead.” He handed the carburetor to Dean. “Finish that up for me. I’m going for a walk.”

“Bobby…”

“Kid, that was a long time ago. Maybe I don’t agree with what your daddy did to you but I understand it. You take care of your son, Dean… no matter what.”

--

Liz pushed herself onto a stool next to Sam, who was poring over his laptop. “Looking for leads?”

“Yeah, I mean… I can’t just give up.” Sam shrugged. “How’s Baby Winchester?”

“He has discovered that kicking my bladder is fun for one of us… and that one is not me.”

He laid a large palm on her belly and waited. It wasn’t as strong as he was expecting but then, he’d never done this before. “Wow.”

“Yeah. Dean likes to encourage these feisty moments.” Liz rolled her eyes. “I don’t know what it is about his voice that makes the baby so rowdy.”

“I think I read somewhere that in utero, babies only hear deep registers but once they’re born, they only hear the higher registers.”

“So, I have a chance to make an impact before Dean can after he’s born.” She grinned through a grimace as the baby delivered another swift kick to her gut. “Okay. No more touching. You’re winding him up.”

“Is he really getting that active?”

“I’m just not that used to it is all. He gets going and I get a little nauseous. I just stopped puking every evening… not looking for that perk to make a comeback.” Liz groaned because, as if on cue, Dean strode into the bar with a handful of change. He slid all the coins into the jukebox and punched a series of buttons before hitting the bar to greet his wife and his brother and then placed his hand on Liz’s belly. The baby returned the greeting with an enthusiastic kick. “Come on, no.”

“Today’s lesson, kiddo.” Dean took the beer when it was handed to him. “Houses of the Holy. Bonham rocked everyone’s socks off. The Song Remains the Same. Dancing Days. D’yer Mak’er. Truly awesome.”

“Come on… 40 year old rock.” Sam griped. “You’ll poison him. He’s not even fully formed yet and you’re killing his brain cells.”

“Dude, I totally checked out what he’s supposed to look like and like… a few weeks ago, he looked like an alien. I am so amped for this… what’s it called?”

“Ultrasound.” Liz supplied.

“Right.” Dean snapped his fingers and lightly pressed her belly to get a series of kicks from his son.

“Stop doing that.” Liz put her hand over mouth. “Okay, I’m gonna be sick.”

“Have some mercy on her.” Sam punched his brother in the arm.

“I don’t think it’s about him talking or touching anymore.” Liz stretched her back against the bar. “Crap, I think it’s the music.”

“Bonham strikes again.” Sam shook his head. “I have this theory that Mom and Dad had nothing but Zeppelin playing while she was pregnant with him.”

“And why not?” Dean frowned at his brother. “I am the coolest person you know.”

“Dean, go turn it off.”

“But this is the best part.”

“Turn it off or your coveralls get a bath.” She gulped and took a deep breath.

“Yeah.” Dean cleared his throat and popped out of his seat with his beer. He hit a button on the jukebox and Liz sighed a breath of relief as her internal tormentor quieted. “Better?”

“Yes.” She rubbed her belly and the rowdy boy still moved but much slower as a Bad Company song lulled him into a calmer mood. “He likes this.”

“Of course he does.” Dean nodded with a grin. “Paul Rodgers kicks ass.”

“You’re a fucking encyclopedia of useless and outdated music, you know that?” Billy called down the bar. Kyle jerked his hand at Billy but was ignored. He tossed a shrug at Liz.

“What are you? 12? What do you know about music?” Dean shook his head and sipped his beer.

“Don’t start.” Liz whispered and shoved herself off the bar stool. She went about collecting the empties from the tables and noting requests for refills.

“See, this is why I chose to get my cash from a library… no interaction with people.” Sam muttered as he sipped his beer.

“Shut up.” Dean punched his arm.

“You cost us James… and the shop shuts down… one mechanic at a time. Last hired… first fired.” Billy continued to taunt.

“Shut the fuck up, Billy.” Kyle stepped in. “Right after he gets canned, then you get canned… and if the places gets back in an upswing… he’ll get hired back before you.”

“Fuck yeah.” Dean tipped his beer to Kyle.

“Cause he’s in with Bobby?” Billy scoffed.

“Cause he’s a better fucking mechanic. You didn’t know what to do with James’ fucking Mustang. You rag on his music but only someone who knows the tunes, knows the era and can fix the car.” Kyle finally got it. Why Liz had never really liked Billy. Billy was an ass when he was pissed.

“Whatever.”

Slipping through the tables with a pitcher, Liz tried to tune them out. When she turned she could see Dean sitting at the bar with the top half of his coveralls tied off around his waist. The lines of his shoulders popped beneath his undershirt. Setting her pitcher down beside him, she slid her arms around his waist. “Tomorrow, we’re in Baxter. No shit from him.”

“Yeah.” Dean nodded.

“And no fighting.” She rubbed his ribs before scooting off to tend the bar with Marty.

“No promises.” He muttered before taking a long pull on his beer.

Liz ignored him and all the others sitting up at the bar. She had swelling feet and an aching back. She picked at a plate of cheese fries as she tallied Marty’s books. She had so thoroughly blocked out the guys, she never realized when they had moved outside until she saw Marty make a break for the parking lot. That’s when she noticed the entire bar was empty. “No.” Liz burst out the bar doors to see a cloud of dust rising in the night air. “Dean!” She shoved her way into the circle surrounding the fight. It was clean so far but it could get ugly because she knew about Dean’s training and Billy didn’t. “Dean, stop it!”

“No big. Just teaching the pup a lesson.” He called back as he swung and connected with Billy’s nose.

“It’s okay, Lil.” Bobby came up behind her. “It was bound to happen sooner or later.”

“This is completely ridiculous.” She turned to the older man. “Stop it.” He shrugged at her. “They’re not stupid teenagers anymore.”

“No… they’re stupid adults. Immaturity… no cure for it.”

Liz winced as Dean’s lip split open. “Billy’s being toyed with.”

“Yes, he is.” Bobby agreed as Dean grinned and spit the blood out of his mouth. A second later, he’d swept Billy’s feet out from under him and set a foot against his throat. “Well, that was hardly worth the waiting.”

“Dean Winchester, do not kill him.” Liz burst into the circle and jerked her husband off of Billy. “We’re going home.”

“Li—“

“Enough! We’re going.” Liz dragged him across the street and down the road and around Bobby’s house.

“Liz, come on. It’s a stupid fight.”

“I know!” She sniffed. “It’s stupid. What do you get out of beating someone’s head in?”

“Exercise.” He immediately wished he hadn’t chosen humor in that moment. He handed her the keys to the Impala. She fished the first aid kit out of the trunk and set about getting out the important tools for fixing his face. “I’m fine.”

“I have to kiss these lips,” She dabbed at them with a swab and felt a sick satisfaction at his wince, “I like them scab free.” Dabbing some blood off his cheekbone, she took a deep breath. “Seriously, why do you let him rile you up like that?”

“Because he never shuts up.”

“He’s a bully… and you bullied him. Congratulations.” She deadpanned while she examined the bruise forming around his temple. “He got in a couple of good ones.”

“He’s gonna have a body bruise from his landing.”

“Yeah. You go. You tripped him.”

“I’m the winner, here.” He narrowed his eyes at her. “I’m the one defending my lady’s honor and I won. Honor preserved.”

“Really?” She popped the end off some ointment and applied it to his cuts. “My honor was besmirched?”

“Well… mine but yours by association. I couldn’t let it slide… that’s why no one broke it up.”

“Well, then… I guess you’re not out a bed tonight after all.”

“We get a TV and I don’t have to get my entertainment in the bar.”

“Shut up.”

The next day…
(August 17, 2010)

“Dean. Don’t touch that.” Liz chided as she examined the room from the table where she sat in the uncomfortable paper gown.

“Why do they need all this crap?”

“I’m sure everything has a purpose.”

“What in the hell is this?” He picked up a metal contraption.

“That’s a speculum… put it down.”

“What the fuck is it for?”

“To open me up.”

“What?”

“Put it down.” She stared at him for a minute. “Sit. Sit down.”

“So… why’d you get all weird about the blood sample?” Dean sat in the chair against the wall and frowned at the model of a uterus on the shelf.

“Cause I don’t know what being a changed human being does to my blood chemistry but I caved cause they’re only checking for hormones.”

“What does that even mean?”

“My last husband was an alien who looked like a human… you’re… what are you? A Zombie?”

“I think not. Zombies take orders. I don’t take orders.” Then he scoffed. “And you?”

“Alien resurrection.”

“Deal with a demon resurrection… I’m not a zombie.”

“Anyway… I haven’t checked my blood in years. I don’t know if I leave any clues behind that I shouldn’t.” She took a deep breath. “I just wish the doctor would come back already.”

--

Dean’s hand gripped the steering wheel so tightly his knuckles shone white in the afternoon sun. “Routine, my ass.”

“I’m sure it’s nothing.”

“You got an order to take it easy.”

“It’s a concern, not a diagnosis. The baby’s healthy. I’ve got high blood pressure.” Liz tried to make it sound like no big deal. “But that’s no wonder… you make it rise constantly. Picking fights and getting rolled in your car… I just… gotta lay off the stress.” She saw he wasn’t calming down. “Pull over at a copy place… I promised my mother I’d make her a copy.”

Dean steered the car into a parking spot and just sat there until she returned. He stared through a pair of women who were sitting at a café enjoying their coffee and not worrying about taking it easy. A pair of women who probably didn’t know what preeclampsia was and weren’t at risk for it if they didn’t take it easy. They probably didn’t know about the aliens or the demons or the spirits or any of the other monsters he routinely slaughtered; forget the medical marvels that could throw a monkey wrench into the works. When the car rocked and the door shut once more, he was still staring through the pair and Liz wasn’t saying a word.

“Dean, here.” Liz set a copy in his lap. He picked it up and held it to his eyes, tearing his gaze away from the women in their tailored clothes over slim bellies. Liz rubbed her belly as she watched him study the copy. “He’s healthy so far. That’s good.”

“Yeah.” Dean nodded to the blurry image of his offspring. Confirmation from the doctor that Liz wasn’t just running off at the mouth when she said she knew things. A boy, due in mid-January. “I didn’t want a baby brother, you know. I wanted a puppy.”

“What?” She frowned at him and then laughed as she absorbed his words. “Why?”

“I always wanted the puppy but when they told me that I was gonna have a little brother or sister… I tried to negotiate for a puppy instead. It didn’t really fly over.” He shrugged as he traced the outline with his eyes. “Dad sat me down and had a talk about responsibility and what being a big brother would mean. Sort of a briefing of the road to come for us. Then he took me out for an ice cream and we talked about T-ball for the rest of the afternoon. Guess it was his way of telling me that it would be okay.”

“I’m freaked out, too.”

“Then it’s not just me, huh.”

“No.”

“Come on. If we’re not back by nightfall, Sammy’ll be climbing the walls.”

“He’s doing better, you know.”

“Yeah.” Dean shrugged and threw the car into gear. “Seriously though, he needs to stop sleeping around… all those chicks are going to end up dead.”

“That’s not funny.”

“Maybe he’s not sleeping around but any girl he does fuck ends up on the receiving end of YED torture.”

“Dean… seriously. It’s not funny. Do not EVER say anything like that to him. You’ll traumatize him and he’ll… end up in a monastery.”

“Good. No one ever got killed with a bunch of praying monks around.”

“You’re the king of late night horror flicks… there were several where that happened.”

“Must have missed that one. We need a TV so I can catch up.”

“Dean…” Liz sighed and then spotted the pawn shop sign. He thought he was so slick. “Fine. Pull in. You have ten minutes to pick one out.”

“See, I knew you were understanding.” He whipped them into the parking lot.

TBC

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Post by DMartinez » Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:35 pm

Part 52 – A month later…
(September 17, 2010)

Liz took a deep breath and sighed it out before cracking her eyes open. It was just after dawn. What had woken her up? Feeling behind her, she found only cold sheets. After a quick shower and finding something to munch on, Liz focused on figuring out what had woken her up so frickin’ early. Then she heard the grunts. Then a loud curse. Cautiously, she followed the noises outside and into the junkyard. Sam and Dean, sweating and beating the crap out of each other… playfully.

Sam landed on his back but rolled and sprang to his feet in time to catch Dean’s fist and use it to shove him back. “Come on, old guy. Kick my ass.”

“Bring it on. You’re holding back.”

“I’m afraid I’ll break one of your brittle old bones.”

“Who spent half of the last year in a cast?”

“Shut up.”

She watched him spar with his brother. They kicked up the dust. She watched the goofing and grinning of the Winchester men turn into fierce masks of focus. The banter cooled and was replaced by curses and oofs. She sank down onto a car missing its trunk lid. They were getting pretty serious with their punches. She almost wanted to break it up but neither one really seemed to be breathing very hard.

Sweaty and dirty, Dean dropped into a chair and yanked a bottled of water from a nearby cooler. Sammy walked around to cool his muscles. “You’re going to knot up.”

“Am not.” Dean bit out.

“Will, too. Stand up and stretch it out.”

“I’ve been doing this a few years longer than you have. I don’t need tips from Sasquatch.”

“You boys been at this long?” Liz called over from her perch.

“Keeping in shape.” Dean answered but didn’t meet her eyes.

“I’m going… to go… walk it off.” Sam grabbed a bottle from the cooler and disappeared out of earshot.

“So… what’s going on?”

“Just… keeping sharp. No big.” Dean shrugged and took a long chug off the bottle. “No visions?”

“Nothing big. Stupid little stuff. Broken glass warnings and ant infestations. It’s a little weird but nothing a can of Raid or a broom can’t handle.”

“Good.”

“You want to let me in on what’s going on in your head?”

“Sam got a lead on something in Utah. Quick thing. I’ll be back by Monday, probably.”

“Oh…” She nodded stiffly. “Okay.”

“It’s fuckin’ weird.” He blurted out. “Checking in. I just wanted to take off.”

“You know that blood pressure thing the doctor was talking about? It would have sky rocketed if you had just taken off. Just… keep me informed. The fewer surprises, the better.” Liz cautioned as she eyed him warily. He was as locked up as ever.

“Sammy said as much. I don’t know how he got so smart… not from me and Dad.”

“Just tell me stuff, Dean.”

“Goes both ways… If you… just…” He cursed under his breath. “Just make sure there’s always someone around. If you have a vision by yourself… half the time you’re falling over tables and chairs.”

“I’ll try.”

--

Liz stared at her closet. She had packed away her tight clothes, which had given Dean more room but with the bag he’d just packed, most of his things were gone. Pulling his favorite shirt out, she slipped into it before he could take it with him. She could hear the slide of the whetting stone against his blades as he sharpened them. Sam walked in and dropped a bag on the floor. Then she could hear the punch of a reloading press and the soft sound of rock salt hitting the floor. “Don’t make too big a mess.”

“I’ll clean it up before we go.” Sam called back without looking up. “How did we get so low on supplies?”

“It’s been a while.” Dean muttered, glowering at his blade as he swiped it over the stone again and again. “We came here straight from a hunt and we never bothered to restock.”

“I’ll check the first aid kit.” Liz turned to face them, they were both engrossed in their tasks. That’s when she noticed the books that Sam had piled onto the table when he had entered. He was loading and pressing shells between reading sentences and turning pages. “What’s all that?”

“Research.” Sam answered without stopping either activity.

“What are you hunting?” She refilled their kit from the one in the bathroom; she could always refill that one at her convenience after they were gone.

“A jackalope.” This time it was Dean who answered. “It’s confusing the tourists and they’re getting lost… so, we’re going to hunt it down.”

“Very funny.” She glared at him.

“What?”

“I know what a jackalope is.” Sam remained silent. He stared at them, wondering what Dean had told her about what they were doing. Liz grabbed the book off the table. He didn’t stop her though Dean glared at him something fierce. “This is a history book.”

“Yeah.” Dean slapped his thigh with the flat side of his blade before sliding it into the case. He began packing the filled shells into a case.

“J.W. Hardin?”

“So mean, he killed a man for snoring.” Dean nodded.

“This isn’t Utah, Dean. This is in El Paso.” She rounded the table to tower over his seated form.

“Maybe I lied.”

“Dammit, Dean… If something had happened or I needed to get to you…”

“Look… The saloon where he was shot… It got flooded or something. Whatever the structure built over the original… it got damaged and Hardin woke up. It’s a hotel and there’s been a rash of unsolved murders… and the unlucky sons of bitches snore.” Dean told her with a straight face. “We’re going.”

“No… you can’t. You snore and you don’t even know where he’s buried.”

“I don’t snore.”

“Yes, you do… both of you snore. You’re not hunting down a ghost who kills people who snore.”

“Somebody’s got to and we’re the only ones with a heads up. It shouldn’t be that hard to find his grave… The dude is famous.”

“We just had a talk about…. Talking. I could kill you.” Liz slapped him upside the head and then rushed outside to get some air.

Sam shook his head at his clueless brother. “You’re in the doghouse.”

“Shut up.” Dean muttered.

“You should have just told her the truth.”

“Look… I said Utah cause… there’s hardly anything I can think of there… I tell her El Paso and she’s doing research on her own and there’s a hell of a lot more than J.W. Hardin to hunt there, I’m sure…” Dean took a deep breath. “I didn’t want her to worry. The doctor said her blood pressure… fuck!” He stood and kicked the chair.

“Next time, just tell her the truth.”

“Maybe.”

“We’re leaving at nightfall… can’t let someone else get killed.”

“I know…” He kicked the chair again and slipped out the door to find his wife. He found her staring off over the junkyard with her arms crossed over her belly. “Sorry.”

“I don’t need you treating me like glass, Dean. I’m not going to break if you have to go on a hunt. I know they’re all dangerous and each one could put me out of a husband and a father for my child. I know that… it’s not going to stop me from worrying.”

“Well, we’re going… I’ll make sure all the lines are fresh before I go.”

“Dean…”

“Yeah?”

“Check in… and I mean it.”

The Next Day…
(September 18, 2010)

Kyle just shook his head at the duo. He knew his girlfriend was driving Liz crazy but glad that Liz let her do it. Betty Lou had the entire table covered with baby magazines. He watched her trace her fingers over the baby clothes. “Have you bought anything yet?”

“Not really.” Liz shook her head at his question. “I guess we’re still getting in the groove of being together.”

“How’s that working out?”

“Fine… when he’s not getting into fights.”

“Billy started it.”

“I know.” She shook her head and flipped a page in the catalog. “It’s the halfway point, you know… I should start getting some things.”

“We need to throw you a baby shower.” Betty Lou announced.

“I don’t really know that many people and I’m not going to make strangers buy me things.” Liz pushed the catalog away. “I mean… all I really need is a crib and blankets and clothes.”

“And diapers and a diaper pail and bottles and nipples and a breast pump if you want to keep up breast milk feedings after you wean him…” She trailed off as she realized they were staring at her. “What?” They just blinked at her. “I have cousins… I’ve been to a zillion baby showers. You wouldn’t believe all the supplies you need in order to just house a baby.”

--

Dean scoped out the area for weak points they could enter to get into the graveyard come night fall. Sam had done most of the leg work on the phone on Friday using the premise of a graduate paper. The drive was the killer part. “What do you think?”

“Judging by the graffiti on that overpass… I’d say that security is lax.” Sam tilted his head to read the scrawl better. “What is that… ‘Benjamin’?”

“Pendejo.” Dean corrected. “You need glasses or something?”

“Something written underneath it…”

“Another obscenity.” Dean waved off his brother and sipped his coffee. “It’s friggin’ September… why is it so friggin’ hot?”

“Cause we’re in the desert oasis of…” Sam’s eyes turned toward the river. Artificially green in some areas, the brown shell of smog over the city was disturbing. “Oasis might be stretching it.”

“That’s so gross.” His eyes followed the same reddish-brown skyline. “And we’re breathing that shit in.”

“All our minerals in one breath.” Sam tore his eyes off the sky and turned to face the city, hustling and bustling… but casually so. “Mountains are nice.”

“I hear a lot of those houses are haunted.” Dean gestured to the West where the houses were built big and bright.

“You told her Monday.”

“Shut up.”

“I’m just saying and you were right… we could spend an eternity finding spirits to burn here… on just this side of the border. Who knows what’s going on over there?” Sam gestured towards the river and the fences on both sides. “I hear there’s a serial killer. Decades of unsolved murders, mostly young women who work in the factories. You know they’re going to get pissed eventually and no one’s caught the guy yet.”

“How do you know the killer is still alive?” Dean countered. “Could be the guy’s ghost offing all those chicks.”

“We’re here for John Wesley Hardin… that’s it. We’re doing the burn tonight and then we’re going home.”

“Is that what it is? Home?” The words came out haltingly. His expression unsure.

Sam took a breath. “Are you doing okay?”

“Yeah… just a lot of changes… and I don’t really know that I’m up for them. We still got our demon to hunt and I’m not sure sitting still is going to do us any good.”

“You ask her if she’d come out with us?”

“Liz has already made it pretty clear that if I want to go… driving around hunting… that…”

“She won’t come.” He finished for his brother.

“Yeah… and John will stay with her… and I don’t think I can be away from him once he’s born… you know? I already have this idea in my head that I’m going to be a good father and I can’t if I’m not there with him.” He took a deep breath, then looked to his little brother. “I know that I’m going to kill that demon…. But how I’m going to do it and keep them safe?”

“We’ll find a way. I’ll help.” Sam scoffed at himself. “Dude… what’s got you so worried?”

“Nothing really. Liz’s got these factors that don’t look good but there’s nothing to do but wait and hope she doesn’t develop any other ones.” Dean shook his head. “And I’m not helping. I think I am but I’m just making it worse. I don’t know… I needed to get out and kill something… so, let’s do that.”

“Okay.”

--

Marty laughed and gestured to Bobby. “You hear this? Hardin’s spirit’s all woke up and angry… and killing folks that snore.”

“I thought he only killed one guy for that.” Bobby scratched his head. “I’ll be damned… wasn’t his anniversary last month?”

“Or thereabouts… been what? Almost two hundred years.”

“Not quite… about 25 years off.” He snorted. “That where them boys went?” Liz nodded, already bored with it. “Lucky bastards…”

“To snuff a famous spirit?” Liz leaned on the bar.

“Well, yeah. J.W. Hardin, so mean he shot a man for snoring.”

“Yeah, I heard that already.” She rolled her eyes. “I think even my dad knows who that is.”

Marty looked up when the door opened, then quickly smoothed his hair down. Liz bit her lip against a smile when she saw Dr. Meyer enter the bar. Bobby cleared his throat and nudged her lightly as Marty rushed over to casually greet her and invite her to a booth with a bottle of whiskey from the back shelf.

“When he is gonna be a man and admit that he loves her?” Liz shook her head at the sight.

“When hell freezes over.” Bobby answered. “That’s how all hunters are… or should be. Play cards close to their chests. If you let yourself admit to something like that, it’s real in your head and no matter how hard you try to suppress it… a demon can and will pull it out and use it against you.”

“Really.”

“Common knowledge. Dean and Sam say that Shapeshifters are a bit on the omniscient side, too.”

“They just reach in and grab?”

“The more you try to hide it, the easier the grab.”

She pinned him with a look. “How dangerous is going after a dead gunslinger?”

“Could be a simple salt and burn or… really hard if the gunslinger catches wind before they finish the job.” Bobby shook his head. “If people thought he was a mean son of a bitch while he was alive… two hundred years of death aren’t going to improve on that disposition.”

“Is there anything you don’t know about?”

“I can’t knit.”

The next day…
(September 19, 2010)

Sam sipped his coffee as Dean came to. “Liz was right… you do snore.”

“Do not.”

“If that dude snored like you… no wonder Hardin put a bullet in him.”

“Shut up.” Dean felt around for his phone. He hit the speed dial and waited for the pick up. “Hey… yeah, just woke up… yeah, I know. We’ll be on the road in about an hour… I know… Tell him I’ll be in on Tuesday… Liz… Liz, I’m tired and I’m gonna make Sam drive on like four hours of sleep… it is not… we made it in 13… we’re just getting a late start is all.”

Sam snorted and sipped his coffee. “You’re so whipped.”

“I’ll whip your ass. Shut up.” Dean barked at him and returned his half-conscious attention back to the phone. “So yeah… We could probably be back in the middle of the night but… just a little… it’s not a big deal… so I sprained my wrist, it’ll heal.”

Shaking his head, he set his coffee down and settled in to watch his brother talk to his wife on the phone. He could keep saying it… didn’t make it any less weird.

“Look, go do something. I’m on the phone.” The older Winchester had had enough teasing. His brother only laughed. “Gotten laid, lately, Sammy? Cause I have.”

“Jerk.”

“Bitch.” Dean cleared his throat and sat up with the phone. “So… I’m gonna kick his ass and we’ll be on the road.” Lowering his voice, he ducked his head into the phone a bit. “How are you feeling? … Yeah, okay, I’ll let up.” He cleared his throat. “Yeah, me too.”

Sam’s eyebrows shot up as his brother closed his phone and sat up to sip the coffee by the bedside. “Are you looking to never get laid again?”

“What?”

“Never mind.” He shook his head at his brother.

“You know… it’s rude to listen in on someone else’s phone conversations.”

“It’s rude not… never mind.” Sam rose to grab his things. “You drive first leg.”

Monday evening…
(September 19, 2010)

Liz walked in after her shift and shook her head. They had not been home when she went in to work but there they were. Sam’s long limbs were sprawled all over the extra bed. She tossed a blanket over him before slipping out of her shoes. Dean had taken over her body pillow. One of his eyes opened to watch her before slipping closed again. “Tired?” He only nodded. “But you got him?” A nod and a smile. “Does that mean you’re a bigger bad ass than the infamous J.W. Hardin?” A broad smile. “Okay. You’re sleepy. I’m going to make my dinner. If you’re hungry, you make it to the table.”

Dean got up and made it to the table while she was still putting together something that smelled good. “There was a freaky ass fence around his grave. Not a big deal but digging him up without destroying it was a trick.”

“Is that how you sprained your wrist?”

“Yeah… Had to dodge his bullets. Ghost bullets still kill. Then once we had done the deed, we had to put everything back before someone showed up. The graveyard was smack in the middle of town and we’re pretty lucky that no one called the cops on our smoke.” Dean took the plate when she handed it to him but only ate about half of it. He was still asleep, really. He glanced back at Sam, asleep on the extra bed. He had always felt bad that Sam couldn’t really stay there with him but… the cottage was too small for three adults and when the baby came it was going to be tight enough. Good thing that Sam was a good housekeeper so Bobby let him stick around while he was working at the library.

“You have any proof that you did it?” Liz asked while helping herself to seconds.

“I carved my initials on his marker.” Dean grinned. “Any other hunter comes around trying to pin Hardin for something else will know that I was there.”

“Sam doesn’t get credit for anything?”

“Sam’s not in it for the acclaim. I’ll take it all.” He pushed his plate away with his good hand and laid the hurt one next to it to examine the swelling. “Mind helping me wrap this?”

“Yeah, I’ll do it. Why didn’t Sam do it?”

“He was punishing me.” Dean shrugged. “And I kind of didn’t let him do it.”

“Of course you didn’t. You were being macho and bragging on how well you fought off Hardin while Sam…”

“Was keeping look out and getting knocked down every five minutes.”

“Right.”

TBC

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Post by DMartinez » Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:51 am

Part 53 – a month later…
(October 28, 2010)

Liz set down the grocery bag and glared. “Could you help me?” Dean lifted his head from where he’d settled in front of the TV with a beer. “Dean, come on.”

“Do you know how many carburetors I took apart today?”

“Do you know how many of your son’s internal organs I made today?”

“Okay. You win.” Dean groaned as he rose to fetch the remainder of the bags from the car.

“Why do I have to twist your arm to get you to help me?” She put away all the perishables first.

“You’re the one who yelled at me for treating you like glass.”

“I’m carrying your child, front and center,” she pointed to her enormous belly, “aided only by my uterus and some skin; show some appreciation.”

“When I try, you put me off.”

“Sex is not appreciation.”

“I wouldn’t know because I’m not getting any.”

“I’m serious, Dean. All you do anymore is watch TV.”

“Hey… I work damn hard, harder than I have in my whole life… I have to wind down.”

“Fine.” Liz dropped the last of the cans into the cabinet. She rubbed at her lower back. “You get to drink to unwind… I just get to sit.” She winced as her belly tightened. Suddenly, he was right behind her, guiding her to a chair. He didn’t say anything after that… just finished putting away the groceries. The silence was tight as they waited for a recurrence of the cramp. Liz focused on breathing deep. When she felt she was okay, she lifted a swollen hand, which Dean took and guided her to the bed, ready with her pillows to rest.

“Maybe you shouldn’t work anymore.” He dropped back onto his chair, eyes focused on the TV, beer clenched in his hand.

“Three months to go.” She breathed out. “So far, so good.”

Dean nodded, his eyes bare slits as he listened to her breathing even out. Setting down his beer, he escaped out the door and down the street to the bar. Slipping into a spot near the pool table, he waited until an unfamiliar hunter called him out for a game. The game was quick. Dean lost. He ordered another beer, then lost again. He ordered a third and then cleaned up. That resulted in being thrown against a wall and a pool cue broken across his back.

Focusing, Dean gave as good as he got until he felt nothing but the burn in his arms and legs. He managed to avoid the knife pulled on him, managed to knock down the gun. Rolling with all punches thrown, Dean made sure the other guy was going to look worse for wear. He didn’t know when exactly Sam joined the fight but it was definitely Sam who put an end to it.

Sam shoved his brother out the door and shoved harder when Dean grabbed a beer on his way out. Marty picked up the other hunter and gave Sam a look. Sam only nodded before heading out to find his brother. The brothers came to a stop in front of the hotel where Dean leaned against a pike and stared up at the night sky. “You want to tell me what that was all about?”

“Not really.”

“You could have gotten yourself killed over a game of pool.” Sam ran a hand through his hair and looked to his older brother. The beard hid a lot but not the eyes. “Dean.”

Dean pulled on his beer as his muscles cooled from their unexpected workout. “It’s just… I’m a Hunter. I kill things… but look at Liz. She’s got a life inside her… and I helped create that life. It’s just surreal, you know?”

“I get that it’s weird.” What any of that had to do with what he’d just done to a fellow hunter was beyond him but Sam had to keep his brother talking.

“I want this to work, Sam. I do… but she’s freaking me out and I don’t know what to do.”

“Well, what’s going on?”

“She gets mad at me for the little stuff and then I panic cause she’s not supposed to get mad but when I… back off, she gets pissed.” Dean shook his head. “She’s waiting for me to say something that I can’t say. I can’t say that I’ll stay but I can’t stay and be that guy… and I can’t…”

“I can see that you’re unhappy about it. I can tell that you’re head over heels for Liz but the thing about women is that they like to hear it.”

“I don’t do all that mushy crap.”

“If you want to keep her, you’ll learn.”

“Keep her…” Dean repeated. “I can’t say it, Sam. Everything that I love gets taken away from me… I can’t let her get taken away.”

“Well, I’m still here and Liz is still here and… we got a bunch of people rooting for us… so… no giving up.”

The following month…
(November 25, 2010)

Dean cursed as the heat of the pan seeped through the pot holders. He only barely got the damned thing on the table before he had to let go. Liz stared at him. “You okay?”

“Fine.”

“Check the pies in the other oven.” She instructed.

He pulled open the door and backed up as a wave of heat hit his face. “What am I checking?”

“To see if they’re done.” Liz stretched but she couldn’t see from her seat.

“I got this.” Sam announced as he walked into the room with two large sacks in his arms. He took the potholders from Dean and pulled the rack out. “Crusts are golden brown but the middles are a little jiggly.”

“Five more minutes?” Liz asked.

“Ten?” Sam slid the rack back into the oven. He grabbed a pan and began loading rolls into it for a quick warm up in the oven. “You gonna carve that bird or stare at it?”

“What?” Dean’s head snapped up.

“The turkey, Dean. You need to carve it up so that everyone can just serve themselves.” Liz explained. “You okay? I know I didn’t sleep but…”

“I’m good.” Dean selected his knife carefully.

“Sam, can you get the casseroles out onto the bar?” Liz asked, wincing at a twinge in her back. “I feel like a whale.”

“Nonsense.” Sam smiled at her. “Caved to the maternity wear?”

“Yeah, there’s just no more fighting it. Muumuus until he’s born.” Liz rubbed her belly, then regretted it as the baby decided nap time was over and it was time to play. “I may have internal injuries from him kicking all the time.”

“I’m here!” Betty Lou rushed in with a foil covered Pyrex dish in each hand. “Kyle’s got the yams.” She grabbed utensils and tossed them onto a foil covered dish, then ran out to the bar where the food was accumulating quickly.

Dean filled the platter with slices of turkey meat and just when he thought his kitchen duties were done, he was given the task of washing grapes and pulling them off their stems. He had a laugh listening to Liz instruct Sam on how to properly drain various fruits from their cans. “I’m married to upper-management.”

“I heard that.” Liz tossed over her shoulder as she stole a few marshmallows from the bag before instructing Sam to throw those into the bowl as well.

“Dude, you okay?” Sam frowned at his older brother. He knew that Dean would shrug him off but he looked bad.

“Didn’t sleep.” Dean picked up the towel full of grapes and handed them over. Then he picked up the plate of turkey. “Let’s get this thing started.”

--

Sam cornered his brother as he was getting dessert. “Hey man… what’s going on?”

“Nothing.”

“You look like crap.”

“Didn’t sleep.”

“Why?”

Dean glanced over his shoulder to make sure Liz was occupied. “Look, Liz was sick all night. She doesn’t want me to know about it but I know about it.”

“Okay…”

“She’s okay now but she was puking up her guts all night. I got up the first time and she made me go back to bed… like I was gonna sleep to her ralphing all night. She didn’t want me to bother her, so I didn’t.”

“But she’s okay.”

“Yeah but we’re both dog tired and I want to eat some pie. So, can it.” Dean took his pie to Marty’s table and took a long pull off his beer.

Sam frowned at his brother and carried his own pie to Liz’s table. “You okay?”

“What?” Liz looked up from her plate, cranberry sauce smeared over everything.

“Dean says you were sick all night.”

She only hesitated for a second before spearing a slice of turkey and making sure there was gravy on every inch of it. “I’m okay now.”

“So… why is he pissed?”

“He’s not mad.”

“Why are you mad?”

“I’m not mad.”

“Is this one of those married things?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Liz shook her head.

“You know… I know that I keep switching sides on this whole issue but normally, you guys are right on top of one another… normally, it creeps me out… today… you guys not doing that… creeps me out more.”

“It’s Thanksgiving. We’re not gonna fight on Thanksgiving. It’s… kind of our anniversary.” Liz frowned and then scowled. “So now, I am mad. Thanks, Sam.”

“Okay.” Sam rose from the table and scratched at his neck while passing Dean. “You’re in the doghouse.” He coughed as he moved on.

“What’d I do?” Dean sat up and looked at Liz, who was stabbing her plate viciously. “What’d I do?”

“I know that look.” Marty snorted. “Reserved for major fuck ups. Forgotten birthdays or falling in the toilet.”

“I learned my lesson on the toilet thing…” Dean thought about it as he chewed on some pie crust. “What’d I forget?” He cursed under his breath. “I hate it when she does this. I’m not a mind reader.”

--

Liz pulled her jacket tight and waddled her way down the road. Frost decorated the sides of the road but she kept her pace slow and steady. She hunched her shoulders and focused her gaze on the road when she heard the quicker, yet steady, steps of someone casually catching up to her. She stopped when he pulled even with her. “You’re just going to follow me around forever?”

“Why are you mad? Did I not whip the potatoes for precisely the right amount of time or is it my lack of pie knowledge?”

“Shut up. It’s not about potatoes or pie.” She glared at him.

“Then what is it?”

“Do you know what today is?”

“Thanksgiving.”

“No… do you know what Thanksgiving is?” She stared at him. “For us.”

Dean took a minute and then realized where they were standing. They were about a mile from the spot where they had come together the year before… on Thanksgiving evening. One frickin’ year. “I forgot. I’m lucky if I know what day of the week it is.”

“Yeah, I didn’t remember either.” She admitted. “I… I don’t know what to do. Okay? We’re not… I don’t know.”

“Look, you’ve got some kind of road map in your head about where we’re supposed to be headed and what the landscape should look like along the way. I don’t know what any of that looks like or what it’s supposed to be. I don’t know how to be whatever it is that your brain tells you that I should be. I can only be who I am.” Dean felt the anger rising to his face. “I’m so sick and tired of being shit on because… I don’t know the fucking difference.”

“I don’t—“

“Let me talk! You’re always complaining that I never talk so let me. I work in a car garage. I let morons treat me like shit. I keep my mouth shut about shit that I know will aggravate you. I’m standing still cause I said I would. None of this is me!” he spun away and gripped the guardrail. “I need more space to breathe. I’m not used to any of this. I wasn’t made this way. To be the abused mechanic and the doting husband, daddy dearest… I’m just me. Respectable isn’t me.”

“Well, figure it out.” Liz sniffed and began the walk back to the cottage.

TBC

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DMartinez
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Post by DMartinez » Sat Oct 13, 2007 1:33 am

Part 54 – a week later…
(December 1, 2010)

Sam dished up two bowls of stew. Anything to warm his bones from the walk home in the freezing cold. Bobby sat down across from him and took a spoon to his own bowl. They both winced when the door slammed outside. The shouts followed. It didn’t matter what they said. It wasn’t about the words. Sam set down his spoon and clasped his hands over his bowl. “You think it’s gonna last?”

“Usually over in about ten minutes.” Bobby shrugged and spooned another mouthful of stew into his mouth.

“Not the fight… them.” Sam lifted his shoulders and tilted his head toward the window. “The more time they spend together, the more this happens and… it’s killing them both.”

“It’s a phase. The honeymoon is over and the marriage is yet to truly begin.” Bobby sipped his beer and stared off into space. “Doesn’t matter how many times you marry… there are always stages of settling in.”

“They don’t know what they’re doing.”

“What gave that away, Sherlock?” Bobby snorted as he got up to help himself to another helping. “This is what happens when you’re young and stupid. There they are. Young and Stupid, themselves.”

Sam felt helpless as he watched Dean gesture emphatically with his arms where he stood three yards from his front door. Liz shouted back, gesturing herself, but every time she made to step off the porch, Dean advanced. The movement forced her back into the cottage until finally she’d had enough and slammed the door behind her as she retreated to its warm comfort.

Dean just stood there, arms wrapped around his middle for ten minutes before turning to cross the street to the bar. “Marty’s cut him off. He’ll be back soon enough.”

“I know.” Sam nodded and sure enough, Dean stormed back into the salvage yard and kicked an old tire for several minutes. Watched him stand in the space between Bobby’s house and the cottage. He was equidistant. He could just as easily have gone to Bobby’s to warm up until he was ready to make up with Liz. He could have easily escaped in the Impala to get the beer he clearly wanted. Instead, he sat on the porch and stared up at the darkening sky and endured in the freezing cold.

Finally, Sam had had enough. Taking a mug of coffee, he walked out to his brother. “Here.”

“Thanks.” Dean took it and sipped carefully.

“You okay?”

“Absolutely.” He tried to look casual as he relaxed on the freezing cold stoop. “Don’t I look okay?”

“What happened on Thanksgiving, man? Ever since then… you’ve been fighting like cats and dogs.”

“Sammy… we were fighting before that.” Dean offered his brother a wan smile. “Do you remember the off-months when we were kids? Dad would take us with him just so he could keep an eye on us?”

“Cause we’d already torn up the hotel rooms or apartments crawling the walls for something to do.”

“Right.” Dean shook his head as he remembered some of those long winter days.

“He never really did that in the summer.” Sam mused.

“In the summer, we had Pastor Jim and he’d let us run all over the place. In the winter, we couldn’t go outside…” Dean could see his father’s reasoning. “We would have driven Pastor Jim nuts if we’d been there in the winter.”

“Dean?”

“Last year, this time? Liz and I were holed up in there and we were doing just fine. It was cold, so we spent a lot of time in bed. I disappeared on you for like… four days.”

“So, you were in there the whole time?” Sam jerked his head backward toward the door behind them.

“Yeah.” He took a deep breath. “And I felt really crappy when I left her… even though I wasn’t sure that the next time I came through that… I feel crappy now.”

“Oh yeah?”

“We’re fighting about stupid stuff.” He snorted and sipped the cooling coffee. “I’m serious… it’s really stupid stuff but it’s like we can’t help it.”

“It gets like that when you’re learning how to live with someone.” Sam admitted. “Jess and I had this really tough period after I moved in with her. Bills and groceries and chores. It was stupid stuff but we got over it.”

“I feel like we’re running out of time. We have to figure it out before the baby comes because I don’t know if we’ll fix it if he comes first.”

“I guess that makes sense.” Sam sighed heavily. “Why do you think you keep fighting?”

“I don’t know but I think she’s hiding something.” The sigh came deep and heavy and right from his soul. They sat like that until the coffee had disappeared from Dean’s cup and he’d long stopped feeling the cold.

“You want to ask Bobby if he’ll put you up on his couch?”

Dean lifted his eyes to his brother and opened his mouth to answer when the door swung open between them. Liz stood there, her eyes red and her face swollen. “Dean, come inside before you make yourself sick. Sam, you’re going to get sick too. You both have to work tomorrow.”

Sam rose and watched them disappear behind the door. He wondered which way his brother would have answered.

December 4, 2010

Liz winced as Dean rubbed out a knot in her back. It was nearly two in the afternoon but neither of them had any thoughts of getting out of bed. It was too cold and there was nothing appealing in getting up if there was nothing to get up for. Dean pulled her back flush against his chest and nudged his way into the hollow of her neck. She giggled when his hand slipped up her belly, dragging her shirt with it. She held in a wince when the baby kicked her hard. Then he wouldn’t stop. “He’s doing maneuvers again.”

“Maneuvers, huh.” Dean bent over her form to fix his mouth to her belly. “Hey there. It’s Saturday. Stand down. Mom is relaxing.”

“Maybe he’ll listen to you. He never listens to me.” She slid her hand along his neck and into his hair. He lingered, scratching her belly with his beard. “Your hair is getting long.”

“But you know it’s sexy.”

“Yes, it is.”

He laid his ear against her belly and just listened. Then he heard the telltale rumblings that were not his son’s doing. “Hungry?”

“Maybe.”

The next half hour was quiet with its shuffling about, showering and cooking. Then Sam walked in with his big, stomping feet. “Good afternoon, Winchesters. I said afternoon cause it’s only that for another couple of hours and then it’s evening. We all thought you guys had finally killed each other or something.”

It was meant as a joke but it put a damper on the day’s good feelings. Dean dropped a sloppier than necessary sloppy joe in front of his brother and set the neater version at Liz’s spot. He fixed his own while Liz combed out her hair, getting long again. They sat down to eat and ignored Sam’s good humor.

“What are you guys going to do tonight?”

“12 has a… Monster Madness thing going on.” Dean shrugged as he took a big bite of his sandwich.

“I’m in the middle of a book.” Liz didn’t bother glaring at Dean but the eye roll didn’t escape Sam.

“You guys are such fogies. It’s Saturday and you’re going to sit inside all day and all night?” Sam pouted.

“It’s winter… in South Dakota.” Dean popped in a little Fargo while he poured hot chocolate for Liz and coffee for himself. “It’s cold and she’s very pregnant. Running around out there isn’t anyone’s idea of fun.”

“But…” Sam sank down in his seat and picked at the loose meat falling from his sandwich. “You guys suck.”

“Honestly, the only thing on my plate for the day was to seduce my wife and then you popped in… unannounced and now she’s pissed off. Thanks.” Dean got up to put his plate in the sink. He was glad he could at least make Liz smile, even if she had no intention to cave to his desires. They’d had this discussion. She was uncomfortable and so he wasn’t getting any.

Sam averted his eyes and closed his mouth with a click. He picked up his plate and grabbed his jacket from the back of his chair. “Thanks for lunch. See you guys on Monday.”

Liz held in her snicker until after Sam had shut the door behind him. She picked at her plate. She opened her mouth to ask about what he’d said to Sam but she couldn’t get the question out. She swallowed down a lump. “How about I make us some popcorn for that Monster Madness thing?”

“Yeah, sure.” Dean nodded and rinsed off her plate when she handed it to him. He went about picking up stray items from the floor and tossing them in their general places. Then he grabbed the body pillow off the bed and tossed it onto the low couch in front of their tiny TV. Liz brought the popcorn and the blanket. They took a moment to get comfortable before Dean clicked on the TV with his foot. After about ten minutes of silent munching, Dean reached back to the side table and handed Liz her book. She took it with a smile and a kiss to his neck. A half hour later, the bowl of popcorn was empty, Swamp Thing had taken out an army’s worth of bad guys and they were both asleep.

December 6, 2010

Sam felt bad when he unfolded the newspaper print out for his brother. Liz was standing right there but this was what they did. They helped people who didn’t know what was in the dark. “It’s escalating.”

Dean studied the article and filled in what his brother wasn’t saying. “It’s a woman in white.”

“How can you tell?” Liz took the paper to look it over.

“It’s the twelfth disappearance on that creek. All men. Half of them divorced.” Dean answered before Sam could open his mouth. “I’m guessing some kids were fooling around out there and said they heard a woman singing a lullaby?”

“Yeah.” Sam nodded and handed over another article. “11 years old. His friends said he was going to see her.”

“La llorona.” Liz whispered and handed the paper back. “A favorite ghost story where I’m from.”

“It’s never been just a story.” The elder Winchester looked to his wife but didn’t ask the question nor let his face do it for him.

“Suzanne Morris, 32, drowned her ten year old son last year. Said the devil made her do it in her suicide note. The day the divorce papers showed up, she walked into her pool and didn’t come back out. The creek was a mile from her house. It’s where her husband proposed. He’s already married to the 25 year old he’d been having an affair with.” Sam cleared his throat at the silence between the two of them. “It’s a nine hour drive.”

Liz met her husband’s gaze and finally nodded. “You call me when you get there and you call me when you’ve taken care of it. If it’s going to take longer than four days, you let me know.”

“We’ll be here for Christmas.” Dean promised. Sam blinked at one then the other. Why did he always have to walk in on something? He gave his brother an apologetic look. Dean only cleared his throat. “Let’s go make sure we’re stocked up.”

“I’m going to sit here for a while.” Liz told him.

“I’ll wait.” He offered.

“I don’t think I want to see the research on this one.”

December 13, 2010

Dean snorted as he walked in. “Christmas threw up in here.”

“Shut up.” She swatted him with a pair of socks she was folding. “Get cleaned up. We’re going to Betty Lou’s parents’ house for dinner.”

“I just got here.”

“And we’re going.” Liz smiled to herself when he immediately began shucking his dirty flannel and grabbed some of his things from the dresser to take a shower. She frowned when she saw the scratches on his chest. “Dean, what happened?”

“Woman in White. They never play fair.” He gestured to the scrapes on his neck as well. “I’ll heal.”

“Oh.” She nodded and fought off a wave of dizziness. “I’m gonna sit.”

“You okay?”

“I didn’t eat cause we’re going to get stuffed.” She reached across the table for a Christmas cookie. “I’ll be fine. Get dressed.” He nodded and disappeared into the bathroom. Liz shut her eyes tight as something flashed across her eyes. Skin and tongue. Shaking her head, it cleared but left a dull ache. Pinpoints of pain in her skull. Nails pulled against skin. Taking a deep breath, Liz forced it away. After a minute, she knew it was gone.

--

Liz accepted the gift with a gracious smile, then relaxed against Dean as everyone else opened their presents. Dean plucked the bag out of Liz’s hands and examined the gift. Not for them, for him. A small blue jumper with John embroidered across the chest. It felt too small. Liz held out the matching shoes. His fingers wouldn’t even fit in them.

Dean didn’t say much to anyone else at the party. He didn’t know these people, save for Stan and Betty Lou. The other guys from the garage weren’t there, not that he wanted them there but… the estrogen level was pretty high. He just held the jumper in the flat of his hand. “John. W.”

“Not too long now… out of my body.” Liz laughed lowly into his chest. “I feel like I’m carrying a watermelon and two cantaloupes.”

“Them some melons I like.”

“Pervert.”

“You really complaining?” He jerked his head to the door. “Let’s go.”

“Where?”

“Where do you think?”

“We don’t want to be rude.”

Dean stood and gathered their things into the little bags. “Um, hate to run but… um… we forgot the mistletoe at home.”

“Dean!” Liz smacked him. She managed a blush when Betty Lou’s aunt nudged her.

“Maybe you take some to go?” Her aunt cleared her throat… pointing to the mistletoe over the doorway.

“This isn’t funny.” Liz chided him but he was already helping her to her feet.

“Thanks for the… baby clothes.” Dean ushered her to where Kyle already had her jacket ready. “And the punch. Yummy.”

December 29, 2010

Liz found the note on his pillow. She read it aloud. “We’ll be right back. Salt and burn three towns over. Favor for one of Marty’s friends.”

She laughed to herself and ignored the stiffness in her bones as she tried to get comfortable again. She had the next month off. Forbidden by absolutely everyone to work or lift anything heavier than a Big Mac. She felt something crinkle under her pillow. She pulled out a slip of paper. “Get up and eat something, will ya?”

--

Sam pulled the car into the drive-in restaurant. He rattled off their order as he shuffled through newspaper clippings beside him. Dean had clipped a huge amount on the ride over and none of them were for the job at hand. “Where are these from?”

“Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire and Georgia.”

“How did you get all these?”

“Had Marty tell a few guys what to look out for… these are what came up.” Dean picked up one that had hit close to home. Fire killed the parents of a pair of kids. “This could have been us.”

“What’s going to happen to them?”

“The state if there’s no other family alive.” He set it down. He was damn lucky to have had his dad. “We gotta get this demon, Sam.”

“I know.”

“Been looking up the signs that Dad followed… the ones that lead us to Rosie.”

“Rosie?”

“Rosie. Baby Rosie… almost became a freak like you.” He reminded his brother. “Almost lost her mother like us.”

“Right… Rosie.” Sam nodded to himself. “So… is this stuff happening again?”

“Hard to tell. From what I can figure… If we catch on pretty quick… we’ll still only have a week to get there and figure out who and where and stop it from happening again.” He took a deep breath and stared around at the little town they’d landed in. “We need to take care of this first. Then I’ll go checking around for this stuff.”

--

Liz couldn’t stop the vision from playing over and over in her mind. Electricity ran up and down her arms. As the night grew darker, she lit up the room even brighter. Suddenly, she stilled.

Green energy faded and died down. A flick of her hand lit the lamp in the corner. Slowly her body moved to the table. Pen and paper in her hands as the images floated before her eyes.

Her fingers bent quickly. The pen flowed evenly as if in practiced strokes. Page after page of writings, drawings with labels. Silently, she placed the notebook in the nightstand then sat to write a note. Nine sentences. Liz folded the note and slipped it into the back of John’s journal. She closed the flap and set it back on Dean’s gunny sack by the closet.

She sat down, rubbed her belly, then woke up. Confused and oddly calm, she got ready for bed. She barely made it to the pillow before she fell into a fitful sleep.

--

“Motherfucker!” Dean cursed loudly and dropped his shotgun into his lap. He yanked off his ring and shoved it into his pocket. He barely had time to lift it and shoot before the specter had reappeared. So much easier to shoot without the ring getting in the way. It was too cold and too inconvenient just now. “Sam!”

“I’m still digging!”

“Keep it up. I need more shells.”

“Check my jacket!”

--

Liz woke in total darkness, feeling the most alone she had ever felt in her life. Much the empty way she had felt when Max had died the first time. Panicked, she fumbled for her phone and dialed. She held her breath while it rang.

“Babe, I know I’m late checking in but you’ve got the worst timing. Let me kick some Casper ass and I’ll be home tonight.” He managed a laugh though the screams and shots that traveled over the line told a tale of high tension.

“But you’re okay?”

“So far. I really gotta focus now.” Click.

He was okay. He was alive. Still, the panic would not subside. Rising, she decided to eat something to settle her stomach. To let her body in on the clue that everything was really all right. Cleaning up after Dean’s morning dash out the door, she waited patiently for leftover stew to reheat on the stove. Flashes of light crossed her vision. Vainly, she tried to blink them away. Eventually, her vision forced her to the ground on her hands and knees. She wailed but she couldn’t make them go away as the light turned into visions of something she never wanted to see.

The moans. Grunts as skin slid against skin. The slap of hips meeting hips.

“Stop it.” Liz gripped her head but there was no pain, save for the feeling of her soul hemorrhaging. “Stop.”

Her eyes were brown but darker. Black in the dark, but hazel in the light. Brown under the light of the lamp. Her dark hair splayed on the pillow.


She sobbed as she fought against them. Then she gave up and just let them played before her eyes. She watched it all.

--

Dean walked into the cottage to find Liz staring off into space while something bubbled on the stove. It smelled overcooked. “I think it’s done.”

When she didn’t respond, he removed the stew-like substance off the burner. He watched her bite her lip and look to him with tear-filled eyes. “I can’t do this anymore.”

“Liz?”

“I can’t. I need you to leave and stay gone.”

“Pardon me?” He blinked at her, panic rising in his throat. “What’s all this about?”

“I can’t be with you. If you and I are not in love and this arrangement is not working... We have to stop it now.” She wouldn’t meet his eyes.

“I don’t understand. When did you decide this? We just talked three hours ago and you didn’t say anything about breaking up.”

“When you’re married, it’s called a divorce.” She finally met his eyes. “I don’t think we should hold each other back anymore.”

That was it. That look. Dean nodded and picked up his bag. He didn’t look back until he got to the door. He wanted to say something, anything but he couldn’t and still have the strength to leave. He set his jaw and left. Tossing his bag into the Impala, he thought about going to Bobby’s but he didn’t want to hear about how he’d fucked things up. He’d go to Marty’s but there was too much there. Too many people who had known it wasn’t going to work and too many people who would be asking questions. Climbing into the Impala, he just needed to get out of Valor Springs. He didn’t even bother to get Sam, he needed to be by himself.

--

Twenty minutes after she’d heard the roar of the Impala leave the salvage yard, they had returned. She didn’t have the strength to fight them. So she let them play until they stopped. Let them tear her heart to shreds. Seeing his smile aimed at someone that wasn’t her. Watching his mouth do things to that woman that he hadn’t done with her in a long time. Watching that look on his face while he was with someone else. Liz prayed that once they stopped, they would never cross her mind’s eye again.

--

Rutherford. The closest thing to civilization. Dean had let the road calm him some. Still, he was wound tight. Dropping onto a stool in a random bar, he focused on nothing but the burn of alcohol. She ordered her drink as she took her seat. It wasn’t until she’d had a sip or two that she noticed him. He felt her appraising eyes drift from his face to his body and down to his greasy fingers curled around his glass. “You’re not from here.”

“Valor Springs.” Dean bit out but didn’t turn his head.

“They don’t have a bar in Valor Springs?”

“Sure, they do but I don’t get to go in.” He looked up and wished he hadn’t. She was gorgeous. All brown eyes and dark hair and full lips.

“Serena.” She held her hand out to him.

“Dean.”

“You’re a mechanic.” She tilted his hand up to expose the dirty fingernails and the faint outline of a wedding ring.

“Among other things.” Her smile was too relaxed. He had to look away. “I’ll bet you’re a nurse or something.”

“Actually, yeah… for now.” She sipped her drink. “I’m paying my way through medical school.”

“College girl, huh.”

“What? I can’t talk to you because I went to college?”

“Talk away. I’m just having a drink.”

So she kept talking. He listened with limited commentary. He didn’t move her hand when it landed on his knee. And he didn’t stop her hand from sliding up his thigh. He was tempted to see how far she would take it. He was so sexually frustrated that he thought he might pop. Her hand slid to the inside of his thigh as her lips brushed against his ear, whispering that her place was not that far.

Dean considered her words as he finished his drink. If he followed her, he knew what would happen. That involved writhing and panting and the bliss of orgasm with a perfect stranger… something he hadn’t done in a couple of years. If he refused, she’d leave him there and he’d probably have another beer and start a brawl on his way out. Her hand wrapped around his bicep and Dean found himself following her out to the parking lot.

TBC

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Post by DMartinez » Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:24 am

Part 55 – Later that night…
(December 30, 2010)

Dean crept into the cottage and bent to yank off his boots. It had been a close one. He’d nearly gone into a ditch. He’d had to dig through the snow to make sure he’d have traction when he backed out onto the road. He’d slipped more than once getting salt into the snow to melt it down enough to provide the traction. He quickly shed his wet clothing and put on a pair of dry boxer briefs. He slid into bed behind Liz. She shifted and shivered at the cold of his body. “Dean, you’re freezing.”

“Warm me up.” He buried his face in her hair. God, she smelled good.

She was quiet for a long while. “Did you fuck her?”

“Fuck who?”

“The girl from my dream.”

“I didn’t fuck anyone.”

“You were going to. I saw it… I couldn’t unsee it.” She sniffed. “I was afraid if I… if we fought that you would. And we can’t ever stop fighting.” She shifted onto her back, forcing him to face her. “I saw it.”

“I thought about it. I was going to but I…” He averted his eyes as he relayed the tale. “I was following her to her place. There was ice on the road. The car spun. I nearly slid into a ravine… when I stopped… when the world stopped… she wasn’t even in my mind… all I kept thinking was…”

“What?”

“I needed to get back to you.” He pressed his lips to her forehead. “You take me over and I don’t know what to do with it.”

“Dean… I don’t know how to love a hunter but I’m trying so hard. I’m scared for us, for the baby.”

He leaned over her and placed a hand on her swollen belly. Promptly, he felt little Johnny’s swift kicks. “I don’t want to screw this up, Liz. I’m trying but there are some things that I don’t know how to do.”

“Okay.”

“You have to trust me. You have to stop holding me up to him.”

“I don’t.”

“You do. You look at me and you expect more. You expect him.” He felt the wet slip onto his eyelashes. “Just… don’t ask me to leave. Ask me whatever you have to but don’t ask me to leave.”

The words were thick in her throat but she forced them out. “When you hunted that Lady in White… why did it target you?” She saw the bewilderment in his eyes. “It didn’t go after Sam, it attacked you. Why?”

“Who told you?”

“Marty.”

“Liz. Lady in White… she goes after unfaithful men. Doesn’t matter when they were unfaithful, just that they were. I swear to you that as long as we’ve been doing this… it’s only been you.” He laid his head against her shoulder. “I’ll bunk with Sam. I’ll bum a bed from Marty… just don’t make me leave you.” He took a deep shuddering breath. “There’s not a whole lot holding me together these days… If you… I can’t… I need you to have me here.”

Four Days later…
(January 3, 2011)

Dean leaned on the case as he slid his hand into the glove. Gently, he stroked his son’s arm. “Hey there, kiddo. I’m your Dad.” Why was his mouth so dry all of a sudden? “Don’t worry. Dr. Meyer knows all the cool docs with the drugs. They’re gonna get you out of there soon.

“Listen. You gotta get better. Your mom hasn’t seen you yet. Your uncle is wearing a hole in the floor with all his pacing… and your grandparents are scaring me… and as for me… I’m kind of missing out on the whole first time dad routine. I’m supposed to hold you and show you the world. I guess we can do some of that now.

“Your name is John Winchester. I named you after my dad. I’ll bore you your whole life with stories about him. I’ll tell you what I remember about my mom. I give your uncle hell about believing in angels but I’ll let it slide for you. My mom always used to tell me that angels watched over me while I slept and I hope to God that they do. We need all the help and hope we can get, bud.”

Dean felt the weak grip around his little finger and leaned his head on the case. “I love your mom, kiddo. I do but we got into a fight the other day. Kind of like the last few months but… I’m a little afraid that I made you show up too early. The doc says the risk is minimal but he still said the word ‘risk’ and Winchesters never get the easy road. Maybe I shouldn’t have married her. As an Evans you might have had a better shot. I’d still be proud to call you my son but…”

The group of nurses began to grow behind the desk as they stopped to listen to a beautiful man speak to his sick son. He was the only baby in the NICU. Baxter didn’t see many complications to require full staffing there.

“So you gotta get strong for me. We gotta gang up on your mom. I’ll teach you to burp and scratch. It’ll drive her nuts. Some day maybe you could come on a hunt with your uncle and me. I got a rifle with your name on it… literally. It’s a Winchester that my dad got from a good friend. Name’s engraved right on it.” He sniffed and tried to smile but it wavered away. He steeled himself behind closed lids for a second. He opened them to peer at his son’s closed eyes. His throat was tight but he forced the words out. “I want to tell you to get better because the world is a bright and wonderful place but I won’t start lying to you so young with the odds stacked against you the way they are. My dad wouldn’t do it to me and I won’t do it to you, ever.

“There are things in his world that scared even your grandpa and I’ll tell you, he was one bad ass son of a bitch. I’ve seen things that give tougher men nightmares. I would totally not blame you if you chose not to pass ‘Go’ or collect 200. My mom could take care of you in whatever passes for heaven these days… but I promise you that if you choose to live… that all of the things in this world that hate, that hide in the dark or any of the other nightmare things will not touch a hair on your head. They will all have to go through me and through your mom cause she’s one tough chick. She has to be. She carried you for nearly nine months and she puts up with me… and who even knows why she would do that… And she takes care of your Uncle Sam, too.” The small hand shifted its grip on his finger and Dean let a tight smile settle on his face. “Yeah, I think that’s funny too. Uncle Sam.”

“I’ll tell you what though. I hate hospitals. I’ve been in and out of them all my life… but this one is pretty nice. Dr. Meyer is around and she’ll take care of you.” Dean lifted his head and immediately a scurry of activity caught his attention. He turned in time to see several women grab for folders and charts to look busy. “Well, marriage hasn’t changed my sex appeal. I wasn’t even trying… I’ll teach you how to do that someday, too.”

John’s eyes opened a little. Dean peered into the box for a better look. “That’s right, buddy. Try for your old man.” He gently squeezed the little fingers in encouragement. The heavy lids opened wider, he took a deep breath. His tiny chest heaved with the action. As he deflated, his eyes fell closed. He gave a little shudder and shifted his head. Dean set his jaw against a tremor. “Good job, kid. Keep trying. I’ll wait.”

When Dean ran his hand over his face, it was wet. Dr. Meyer appeared out of nowhere and picked up the chart. Her question was silent before she began recording vital stats. “Just giving him some words of encouragement… He opened his eyes.”

“Oh?” She seemed a little too surprised for Dean’s liking.

“Just a little. His eyes are green.” He forced a smile that turned natural as he realized his son had his eyes.

“All Winchester, huh.”

“Hoping he inherits his mother’s fortitude.”

“He’s doing fine, Dean. Keep talking to him. I think it’s helping. When Liz comes around, we’ll bring her down here.”

“Hey, doc… think I could let Sam in here? I don’t want to leave him alone… you know…” Dean shook his head.

“It’s okay, Dean. Just talk to the head nurse and we’ll get Sam a bracelet.” She nodded for him to go. “You go and I’ll stay. I promise.”

He moved on automatic. Filling out the request and permissions forms. Then Sam got his own NICU bracelet to relieve Dr. Meyer from her post. Dean wandered into the bathroom and used soap, water and his pocket knife to clean up his face. It wasn’t exactly a clean shave but it would have to do. He’d get his hair cut later. When he finally sat himself down beside Liz’s bed, he felt a little more peaceful. She was still asleep but he didn’t want to wake her up. She’d just squeezed a human being out of her body, she deserved to rest.

He never even realized when he’d started to doze until he felt a hand sliding up and down his badly shorn cheek. “Handsome… I knew you had a face under there.”

“How are you feeling?” He rubbed his eyes open and took her hand.

“Like I just had a bowling ball removed.” She laughed humorlessly. “Do I look like crap?”

“I’d say you look amazingly well for someone who yelled and screamed the way you did. Not that I blame you. He’s on the small side but considering what you got to work with… a challenge.”

“They took him, huh.” She sniffed and rubbed at the tears slipping from her eyes.

“Yeah. He’s in the ICU. They gave you those drugs and they gave some more to him. He was awake for a little bit. You want to go see him?”

“Yeah.” She nodded and groaned when she tried to sit up.

“Yeah, I’ll call the nurse first.” He reached over her to hit the button.

“You had better not laugh at me. That was hard work.”

“I believe you.” Dean looked up when the nurse entered and silently cursed and hoped that she wouldn’t recognize him. He knew his luck had run out when he saw Liz’s face turn to stone.

“Mrs. Winchester, you’re awake.” She pulled the chart and flicked her eyes over it. “We’ll just check some of your vitals and see about getting you in to see your son.” She smiled brightly at them and removed the stethoscope from around her neck. “I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Dr. Karlson and Dr. Meyer are very good and you’re very lucky to have both working with your son.”

“Dr. Meyer is a personal friend.” Liz smiled wanly, flicking her gaze to her husband. Then she gripped his hand. “He’s not alone, is he? If you’re here?”

“No, I left Sam with him. We all get these nifty little bracelets.” He held up his wrist and then plucked at hers on her wrist.

“Just to ensure that no one makes off with the babies.” The nurse smiled at them, then frowned a bit when her eyes landed on Mr. Winchester. She opened her mouth to say something but thought better of it. “It’s not a common thing in these parts but it’s state mandate. Um… I’m Serena, by the way. I’ll be working this floor all week.”

Great, Liz thought as she shifted her eyes to her guilty-looking husband. She didn’t have time for this. She wanted to see her son. She looked to him. “Did you talk to the doctor?”

“It’s gonna be okay.” Dean assured her.

“The doctor is on his way.” Serena told them. “He wanted to talk to you before you go down there.” She frowned at the sleeve she’d slipped around Liz’s arm. “Blood pressure is still a little high but hoping that’s just parental worry.”

“Among other things.” Liz sighed as she fixed her gaze on Dean’s shirt.

--

“I got her.” Dean moved between Serena and Liz. He lifted her off the bed and set her in the wheelchair. He let her clasp his hand over her shoulder as he guided the chair after Serena to the NICU. No jostling for a new mother. He let Serena explain to Liz what they would see when they got to the room. He felt her squeeze his hand and stopped the procession. “Liz, you can do this.”

“Okay.” She nodded shakily and allowed herself to be wheeled into the next room, where her bracelet was scanned and Sam was waiting to exit. His jaw dropped when the nurse stepped in behind them. Dean held back a snicker and lightly tugged on Liz’s hair. An idea had struck that could score him points with more than one person. “Sammy, close your mouth. You’ll catch flies.” Embarrassed, Sam looked away but his brother wouldn’t shut up. “This is my younger, single, brother Sam. Maybe you could take him for some coffee while my wife meets our son?”

Serena bit her lip against an obvious smile and against a comment but held the door for Sam. “I’ll show you the coffee pot that’s not lethal.”

Liz squeezed his hand and nuzzled it with her cheek. Diversion. A good tactic. “I’m ready.”

“Okay.” Dean pushed the chair into the room. “She was right. There are tubes running all over the place and from areas you don’t think there should be.”

“Okay,” she breathed. “Okay. I’m ready.” She let him push the chair to the incubator. Her eyes widened when she finally saw him. “I thought his lungs were okay. That they were sure that they got him mature enough.”

Dean lifted her hand to the glove hole. “They just want to make sure he doesn’t develop an infection.”

“I don’t like the thought of him in a box. How does he know I’m here?”

“You’re stalling. Touch him, Liz.” Dean coaxed her hand closer to the glove hole. “They said he’s been doing better since I came in. I’ve been talking to him and touching him. He knows that someone’s here, I promise you that.”

Liz slipped her hand into the glove. She stroked her son’s arm and lightly touched his cheek around the oxygen tube. “Hi baby. I’m your mommy.” She cast Dean a look. “I feel stupid. How did you do this?”

“I just started talking… and then I couldn’t stop.”

“What if he has to stay here, Dean?” Liz could feel the panic creeping in.

“Sh.” Dean took a seat so he could see them both. “Liz, Johnny and I already had a talk. He’s free to move on if he chooses but if he stays, I promised he’d get to know his mother.” He offered her a painful smile. “I turned into a poet, a crappy one but I was telling him all about you. So… just talk to him.”

“Johnny, huh.” Liz managed a weak smile. “Hey Johnny.” She forced a smile, a pretty big one when his little head moved. “You and Daddy have been talking, huh? You’ll have to teach me how to get him to do that.” Her smile warmed up when she felt Dean’s hands on her shoulders in a firm squeeze. “I’ll bet he’s been filling your head with all kinds of crap. So, um, let me lay down the rules. There will be no weapons training before you can ride a bike. There will be no school night hunting… no matter how badass the monster… and if you ever run off on me, my heart will break.” She choked back a sob.

“I was telling Johnny about the time his grandpa exorcised a demon while changing a diaper in the next room.”

“He did not.” She rolled her eyes and wiped at her face with her free hand.

“Did so.”

“I have an in that says that’s an exaggeration.” She leaned into him as she slowly began to count his appendages with her gloved hand. “Ten fingers… ten toes.”

“There’s no tail. I asked.”

“Shut up.” She nudged him with her shoulder. She continued to gently lift limbs.

“What are you looking for?”

“A birthmark.”

“No triple sixes. I asked.”

“Is everything about our son a joke to you?” She lifted her gaze to him to find he was laughing at her already but that his eyes weren’t quite filled with the same mirth as his face. She let go of John’s hand to face him fully. “Smooth moves back there. You better hope they fall in love and your meeting either never comes to light or becomes a family joke.”

“How long are you going to hold that over my head?”

“For as long as I have to.” She turned back to their son but rested her other hand on Dean’s thigh. “I wish I could hold him. He doesn’t feel real, yet.”

“Maybe he feels the same way.” He slid closer and slid his hand into the other glove. “He’s got a decent shot. Sam did the geek boy thing and even though there’s risk, there’s chance.”

“I need to call my parents.” She sighed but didn’t tear her eyes off her boy. Tears continued to well in her eyes but she didn’t bother to wipe them away.

“They’re here but somewhere that’s not right on top of me.” He admitted. “I called them while you were in labor.”

“So, we just wait now, huh.”

“Yeah… I never liked stake outs.”

TBC

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DMartinez
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Post by DMartinez » Tue Oct 30, 2007 6:29 pm

Part 56 – the following week
(January 9, 2011)

Dean took a breath before he lifted the baby into his arms. He was still so small. “So, we finally meet face-to-face.” John did nothing but dig his nose closer to Dean’s chest. He fought the smile just long enough to make a statement. “This is how it’s gonna work, buddy. You’re gonna stay here another week and gain weight. That’s it. That’s your job. Mom’s making you up a bottle of the good stuff. No more of that sugar-water hospital crap. Even the bottles here are crap.”

“You’re just mad you’re losing weight because you refuse to eat here.” Liz winced as she removed the pump from her breast.

“I can stand to lose the weight. We pigged out for the last few months cause your mom is an awesome cook.” His eyes fell on the tray nearby with its spork and Styrofoam plate. “If the milk tastes crappy it’s because your mother is actually eating the crappy hospital food.”

“Dean.” She rolled her eyes then fixed her blouse. “Hand him over. I want to feed him myself.” He moved to where she was sitting. He could feel her hands shaking and her breath quivering but she settled the baby against her chest and inserted the fancy contoured-nippled bottle into his mouth. At first, John wouldn’t take it but some milk leaked out of the nipple; then he accepted it and sucked eagerly. Dean let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. Liz let out a little laugh, awe in her voice. “I’m holding him. And he’s eating.”

“They said he’s doing really well.” He cleared his throat against a lump.

“When the doctor explained all the risks and then I saw him in that thing… I just… thought all the worst things that could possibly happen would.”

“I know.”

“I just felt like we weren’t going to get here in time and he’d be born in the Impala in the middle of nowhere and we wouldn’t get help fast enough.”

“Liz, stop.” Dean ordered but shut his eyes as he leaned his head against hers. “He’s okay now. They just want to make sure he’ll gain some weight before he leaves.”

“It’s just… I panicked. I’m gonna be one of those moms who panic over every little thing.”

“Hey, you know… this wasn’t a little thing. There was risk… but he’s getting stronger and he’ll be okay.”

She met his eyes. “How are you so together?”

“He lives. I don’t fall apart unless somebody dies… and sometimes not even then.” He managed a smirk.

“I told you they were in here.” Nancy swatted her husband as she entered the hospital room. She stopped short in front of them. “He’s so small.”

“The doctor said he was lucky. The last three weeks would have just fattened him up.” Dean managed a normal tone but he’d been scared just like everyone else. Right up until Serena had set them up in a private room after John had been removed from the box and relieved of the oxygen mask; precautions that he no longer needed. “So, we’re working on that now.”

“You’re not breastfeeding?” Nancy pulled a chair over to the couch that Liz and Dean sat on.

“Mom.” Liz nodded to the breast pump. “They said he might not take since he’s been on hospital formula but if we keep him on a bottle, he’ll at least get the nutrients.” She could watch him eat all day and feel Dean breathing on her cheek while he watched, too. “It feels real now.”

“Yeah.” Dean brushed his lips against her temple and shut his eyes for a moment. He was saved from having everyone watch him wipe away the moisture from his eyes by Sam walking in to the room, laughing with Serena. Their hands were conspicuously missing the coffee they had excused themselves to get. “Where’s my coffee?”

“You need all the sleep you can get.” Sam quipped quickly and gestured to the baby. “Once you get him home…”

“He’s right.” Nancy started pacing. “Did you baby proof the house? Do you have a crib? Is it warm enough? It’s so cold out there. I don’t know how you live in this weather.”

“Honey.” Jeff cleared his throat. “Let them enjoy this moment. It’s their first one with him.

“Your dad is awesome.” Dean chuckled into his wife’s ear.

“I get the panicky trait from her.” Liz whispered back.

“You know, he needs a good solid middle name.”

“Have anything in mind?”

“Parker. Honor the old man without giving the kid a tongue twister of a name.” He reached over to stroke John’s face. The kid was already falling asleep. That’s all he did and they had to keep an eye on him. Make sure that he’d be okay.

“I think Dad will take it.” She leaned back into him, relaxing for the first time in weeks. Then they were blinded by a round of flashes. “What in the—“

“For the box.” Sam proclaimed as he pocketed the disposable camera.

“For everyone at home.” Nancy tsked her daughter. “They all wanted to be here but Michael had to work and Maria promised to watch the diner for us.”

“Diane said that Isabel was having a crib made.”

“Yeah, I know.” Liz nodded. “She said she knew a dealer who worked with soft woods.”

“What’s that?” Jeff frowned as he hovered, not sure where to sit or what to be doing.

“So that we could engrave the base with whatever we wanted.” Liz turned her head up to see her husband’s face. “Right?”

“Sounds great to me.” He was already mentally classifying sigils for the best wards to put on the base. “We could build a lip on it.”

“Dean, no.” Sam shook his head. “You’re not going to build a rock salt caddy on the crib. Once he starts crawling around, he’ll start eating it.”

“What?” Nancy frowned as she tried to keep up with the conversation.

“We’ll explain later.” Liz waved her off. Serena still hovered in the doorway, exchanging glances with Sam.

“Hey… um…” Marty shifted outside the door. “I can come back.”

“Marty!” Liz called out softly. “You came.”

“Well, my senior waitress gives birth… I figure I should try to make it.” He shuffled into the room with a stuffed bear.

“Mom, Dad… this is Marty—“

“Martin Cabbott.” He stepped in and shook hands with them both.

“Jeff Parker, my wife Nancy.” Jeff finished the introduction.

“Liz works for me.” He shuffled over to hand Dean the bear. “You know… a phone call would work so’s I know that you didn’t die in labor or nothing. I had to hear it from that Overton girl.”

“Oh, Marty, I’m sorry…” Liz almost got up but she had a sleeping bundle in her arms. “There’s been a lot going on.”

“She didn’t call us either. Dean called us after the labor had started.” Jeff chided his daughter.

“Enough. I’m sorry. I was a little busy.” She pouted.

“Tiny box. Lots of tubes. Baby in peril… for like a day or two.” Dean explained shortly.

“This is from Bobby. He got a lead on something and took off.” Marty handed over the envelope.

Dean furrowed his brow at it before flipping open the already bulging flap. He nearly choked at the sight of so much cash. “What the hell is this?”

“He’s an old softy. You really think he was spending that money you guys were paying in rent?” Marty snorted. “So you don’t gotta worry about bills for a while.”

Dean looked to Sam and waved the envelope. “Like Dad used to do.”

“Guess he’s the closest that we have now.” Sam nodded to his brother.

“Mom, Dad… Can you give us a moment?” Liz whispered. They nodded and left the room. Sam waited a beat but followed them and pulled the door shut on them all. The three remaining Winchesters sat in silence for a while. She stared at the envelope, her mind turning equations. “How much?” She calculated every cent she’d paid to Bobby for rent. “One year or three and a half?”

“Looks like three...” Dean flipped through it but the bills were not separated by denomination, saying that Bobby had never done more with the money than stuffed it somewhere. Then it hit him. This was all the money that Max and Liz had paid since the summer of ’07. He rifled through it and found a note. “’Dean, A late wedding present should be enough to make a down payment somewhere nicer. Bobby.’”

Liz looked down to her son. “Uncle Bobby is a big teddy bear.”

Later that week…
(January 13, 2011)

Nancy glanced around the small cottage. “It’s small for a family.”

“I’m sure it’s temporary.” Jeff assured his wife as he carried the bags into the house.

“We don’t need too much right now, Mom.” Liz winced slightly as she sank onto the bed. She’d been curled up in the backseat for two hours. Dean handed her the baby. “I’ve been living here quite a while.”

“It’s fine for a couple but you’ve got a baby now.” Nancy examined the curtains. “Did you make these?”

“I’m aware of that, thanks… and yes. I made the curtains.” Liz groaned as she settled herself against the pillows.

“Three of us lived here for a few months. We’ll survive a while.” Dean tossed his dirty clothes in the general direction of his laundry bag.

“Three of you?” Jeff asked absently as he eyed the TV.

“My dad, my brother and me.” He shrugged. “I was about 14, I think. Sammy was 10.”

“Where is Sam?” Liz glanced up.

“He’s getting a room for your folks.”

“I can stay on this extra bed.” Nancy announced, then frowned. “Why do you have an extra bed?”

“Kyle… before he moved in with Betty Lou.” Liz answered and tried not to let her ire show. “Really, Mom. You don’t need to stay with us. We’ll be fine.”

“This is the smallest shower that I have ever seen in my life… including that trailer we lived in before we got the apartment cleared up.” Nancy motioned to her husband.

“I’m quite aware, Mom.” She rolled her eyes and sank against the body pillow when Dean shoved it behind her. “Dean… what’s that smell?”

“Uh…” He glanced around and followed his nose to the sink. “Dinner from two weeks ago.”

“Oh gross.”

“I’ve smelled some nasty… but that’s…” He took a deep breath and quickly scooped the dishes and all into the trash can. Face turning red, he tied off the bag and marched it outside.

“Three years, honey?” Nancy frowned at the walls.

“And before that, for two years, I lived in the hotel down the road. This is an improvement.” Liz motioned for the bottle in the diaper bag. “He’s going to wake up any second and be starving. This kid can eat. I’m really glad I didn’t decide to put him on the breast. I’d be in bed all day. I had a day’s worth on hand before I could start giving it to him and now, I’m nearly in deficit.”

“It means he really is getting better.” Nancy took a seat on the bed as she fished out the bottle. “Eager to be fat and happy.” She only tilted her head in question when no sooner had she produced the bottle, then John opened his eyes and began rooting his nose into his mother’s blouse. “How did you know?”

“Had a vision. Little one.” She admitted, quietly. “It’s been helping to plan my naps. Dean doesn’t really sleep except early morning to noon, anyway… so… I get my nights in.” She tested the milk on her wrist. “Could you? Microwave for like ten seconds. That’s all it needs. Max always said it was a nuclear reactor in a previous incarnation.”

“Okay.” She nodded to do as instructed. “How are you and Dean getting along in here?”

“You know… still… ironing out the wrinkles.” She bit her lip as she fixed her gaze on her son. “We were friends before we… but we still don’t know each other all that well.”

“Nancy…” Jeff stumbled out of the bathroom, soaking wet. “I didn’t know there was a power-blaster in the showerhead.”

Liz tried not to laugh too loudly. “We did some cheating when we moved in.”

“Jeff.” Nancy sighed and rushed over with the bottle before the baby could cry. “Towels, sweetie?”

“In the cabinet next to the closet back there.” Liz pointed with her little finger as she aimed the bottle for her son’s mouth. “There should be plenty.”

Dean took in the sights as he walked back in. “The shower attacked?”

“How about you point us in the direction of the market?” Nancy gestured to the refrigerator full of spoiling food. “Dean, could you?”

“Um…” He really wasn’t sure what she was asking. When he was in high school, a mother of someone he was sleeping with hadn’t ever caused him a moment’s unease. He was nearly 32 years old. Some guys his age had two or three mothers-in-law.

“She’s not asking you to take her.” Liz snorted softly. “Or for your car. Just tell her how to get there.” She sighed and shook her head. “You and that car… I’d be worried if…”

“Shut up.” Dean glared at her. “I can help with the shopping.”

“I need you to clean out that toxic waste bin.” Nancy shook her head. “Jeff, check the windows. I think I feel a draft in here.”

“Hey!” Kyle burst in. “I saw you guys pull in but I was elbow deep in an engine.”

“Hey, Kyle.” Liz greeted him with a smile.

“Aw… he’s cute and guess what. Two days ago I had to find a place to stow that box from Isabel.” He bent over the bed to examine the sleepy-eyed baby. “So, baldy, welcome to the world. I’ll be your spiritual guide and general uncle type.”

“Kyle, honey.” Nancy hugged him. “You look… like someone is treating you well.”

“Yeah.” He grinned. “I’ll bring Betty by later. Dean, bud, let’s go get the crib.”

“Yeah.” Dean nodded. There were too many people in the room and he needed to get out.

“Mom, could you bring me back some hot chocolate?” Liz begged from her bed. “Oh and some coffee for Dean.”

“See, there… that’s why I keep her around.” Dean pointed as he left the cottage with Kyle. “She always knows what I need.”

“Go get the crib, already. I want to see it.”

“Honey, the store?” Nancy grabbed her daughter’s attention.

“Mom, you can’t miss it. Pull out the drive, turn right… drive six blocks, turn right and it’s on the left.” Liz instructed but motioned to her mother. “Really though, wait until the guys get the crib in here and I’ll go with you.”

“Honey, I can do this. You relax and when he gets back to sleep, you can shower and know that the men will be around to watch him. Believe me, some respite now, makes all the difference later.”

--

Dean made quick work of changing the diaper before laying John in his crib. His green eyes explored everything in sight, which wasn’t much but a lot to a two week old who had seen nothing except the inside of a plastic box and the walls of a hospital. He felt his father-in-law standing next to him. “You caught on to that diaper thing a whole lot faster than I did.”

“Yeah, well… I started changing diapers when I was five.” Dean shrugged, lowering his voice as the door opened and the gigantic shadow of his brother towered over them. “It’s like riding a bike, you never forget.”

“Dude, you changed my diapers?” Sam scrunched up his face.

He shrugged again as he let John take hold of his finger. “Dad’s overtime on Miller-time shifts had started about that time. Somebody taught me how… so, I just kept it up.” He cleared his throat. “But that diaper genie is a blessing, I tell you. Can’t tell you the smell, being trapped in the Impala for more than an hour with one of your diapers.”

“Funny.” Sam rolled his eyes. “You know where Dad’s journal is? I wanted to look something up.”

“Night stand, probably.” Dean shrugged. “Where Liz puts all my junk.”

“Now, you said that you wanted to carve something into the base?” Jeff looked the crib over. Looked fancy but the Ramirez clan wouldn’t hurt much for providing it.

Dean set his jaw as he thought about what he could say that wouldn’t freak out his father-in-law too much. “Um… Maybe J.P. Winchester on the end panel.”

“J.P.?” Sam looked up from where he was flipping through the journal.

“John Parker.”

“I like it.” Jeff puffed up his chest.

“Sucking up is not a flattering trait.” Sam poked fun at his brother as his phone rang. He snapped it open and suddenly clammed up; his voice dropping an octave. “hi.”

Dean nodded to himself. “My brother hooked up with that pretty nurse at the hospital and now he’s too good to talk to us. She’s going to be the death of him.”

“The brunette?”

“That’s the one.” Dean nodded as he lifted his son into his arms, carefully bundled to keep him warm as they navigated the confined cottage.

Sam tossed his brother the finger and flipped through the journal while he listened to Serena on the other end of the conversation. He frowned when he found something tucked into the back flap. “Hey Dean.”

Dean passed the baby to Jeff before taking the folded sheet of paper. There were nine lines on it. “Dean, don’t let your worries take you over. There are still things coming. There are still battles to be fought. You have everything you need to beat it. You have to wait for the right time. I know you will be the one to see this thing end. Just remember that your girl and your son will be okay. I am always proud of you and your brother. Be safe and get that demon for our family and for yours.”

A lump in his throat took his words from him. He looked to Sam. His brother leafed quickly through the journal but didn’t find anything else. Liz walked out of the bathroom, drying her hair. “What’s going on, guys? Why is it so quiet?”

Jeff, confused as he was, was the one to turn to her. “They found something that I think it shouldn’t be possible for them to find.”

Dean stared at the nine sentences and had to clear his throat before he could get the words out. “Dad paid you another visit.”

“When?” She rushed forward to read what she had written.

“Don’t know…” He blinked back the tears. “It’s been awhile since I opened the journal… so probably before John.”

“But we don’t know when.” Liz sank down into a chair.

“He doesn’t know your name.” Dean stated suddenly.

“Or maybe he didn’t want to tip his hand.” Sam suggested. “Who knows what conditions are like? We don’t know how he’s doing what he’s doing and he doesn’t do it all the time so maybe there are certain conditions needed before he can and he can’t say too much.”

“What was the vision?” Liz began rifling through her notebooks and her drawers. “If I didn’t remember his visit, then there was a vision. Something had to have happened for him to do that. He never just shows up without me knowing something.”

After a beat, Dean and Sam were right there with her, flipping through notebooks and scanning for things they hadn’t seen before; mention of demons or occurrences that they had not already dealt with. Then Dean found it. Most of it, he knew from studying his father’s journal and the leftovers of the hunt that had led them to Salvation all those years ago. What had caught his eye was the location of something he had just found before John was born. He sat down to study the pages and the images that were scrawled next to them.

Timing. Timing was what struck Dean on the notes that his father had left him. He had all the information he needed but the time wasn’t right. Liz took the notebook from him and read over what she must have written during a blackout vision.

“Kids, I hate to interrupt but what exactly is going on?” Jeff cleared his throat. He had no problems holding on to his grandson while Liz and Dean were preoccupied but their lack of communication had disturbed him.

TBC

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Post by DMartinez » Sun Nov 18, 2007 5:07 pm

Part 57 – a month later…
(February 28, 2011)

“I think he might be a little evil.” Sam proclaimed from where he lay on the floor with his nephew.

“What makes you say that?” Dean snorted from where he was sorting through the baby clothes for something suitable for John to sleep in.

“His eyebrows do that thing that yours do.”

“And that makes him evil?”

“Well, he looks like the devil when he does it.” Sam winced when the little hand caught him on the chin, his tiny nails scratching a bit. The little devil between his arms seemed to think that was funny.

“He’s just smart.”

“Uh-huh. Sure.” Sam had to catch the arching belly when John tried to see where his daddy’s voice was coming from. “Where do you think you’re going?” Sam lifted the little shirt and blew a razzberry into his belly. A wide toothless smile split his baby face.

“Bring him over here, will ya?” Dean had all the crap ready and the water had nearly cooled enough. Sam did as told and even helped out by cleaning up the dirty bottom before handing the baby over for his bath. He perched on the kitchen table to watch. Dean’s shoulder hitched suddenly and he glanced back at his brother. “Dude, what are you staring at?”

“You, being normal for once.” Sam admitted. “It’s nice.”

“We’re not exactly the white picket fence family.”

“No, that would be creepy and Stepford. This… I think is perfect for you.”

“It’s weird.” Dean admitted as he carefully washed his son and watched the flailing arms exploring the water. “I mean… it feels good but I’m not used to it. I’m just kind of hoping it lasts. I keep wondering what I’m going to do when you find us a hunt worth the effort to leave. Or what I’m gonna do if ol’ Yellow Eyes decides he’d tired of waiting for us to walk into a trap and just… come for us. Or if one of you gets a vision that means I have to walk out the door.” He shrugged and looked down at his easily tired son. “This is Liz’s first day back at the bar but I’m helping her out, cause I’m here. What is she going to do when we gotta take off?”

“You guys aren’t talking to potential babysitters?”

“Dude, no. With the price on my head?” He glanced at his brother over his shoulder. “Asking someone that we don’t know to take care of him… with ties we don’t know about, susceptible to who knows what kind of demons… I don’t know.”

The door opened and admitted a shivering Liz. “Hey guys. Is it bath time already?”

“Almost done.” Dean nodded and let his mouth be taken for a moment.

“I’m such a worrywart. I can’t go to work for a few hours without missing him.” She leaned on Dean and used his chest to warm up her hand before she rubbed John’s slowly growing belly. “Came to make a bottle, too.”

“Stuff is in the cabinet.” He pointed with his chin.

Sam was quick to avert his eyes when Liz pulled off her jacket. “Lactating?”

“Yeah.” Liz glanced down at her shirt. “Also came home to change. Hoping to catch him smiling but he doesn’t look too interested.”

“He was playing with Uncle Gigantor, he’s all smiled out.”

“It’s so not fair.” Liz made a face at Sam as she gathered herself some fresh garments.

“In my defense, I wasn’t really trying to make him smile. He hit me in the face and thought that was funny. Kind of like Dean watching Wile E. Coyote, only with less drool.” Sam cracked, perfectly content to watch his brother’s family from his perch on the table.

“Shut up.” Dean barked softly at him while he watched John stretch his legs in the water a little longer. The last hour or two of stimulation was already proving to be too much for the kid as his eyes began to droop. “C’mon, bud. Time to get out.”

By the time John was dried and dressed, he had a fresh bottle to send him to sleep. Liz backed away slowly. She grabbed Dean’s jacket and shrugged into it. “Call me if… it’s pretty slow tonight… so…”

“I think I got this.”

“Yeah, okay. I’ll be home in a few more hours.” She grabbed the door handle but let go and marched back into the cottage. She pressed kisses to John’s head and then caught Dean’s mouth for a brief kiss before she was out the door.

“I’m proud of you, Dean.” Sam told his brother. “It’s… refreshing to see you in this situation. I know I gave you crap but… this is what I wanted to happen with you and Liz. I’m glad it did.”

“You know me. I like the scenic route.” The elder Winchester carefully switched on the radio to beginning the evening pacing.

“You guys doing okay, now?” Sam asked carefully. A glare was the only response. “I just… you guys were going at it pretty heavily before… you know… is it better now?”

“I don’t know.”

“But…”

“We don’t have time to fight right now. I’m watching him every moment that I’m awake. If he shivers, I’m hunting down drafts. If he looks like he’s going to sneeze, I’m on the phone. If his snot looks weird, I call the doc… Liz is the same way. I sleep from eight to noon. She’s sleeping from midnight to seven. Honestly, I’m too tired to fight. He sleeps a lot but not enough to where I’m feeling like I’m sleeping much.” Dean sighed, then yawned and tried to make sure he was holding the bottle the way he was supposed to. “Library thing working out for you?”

“It’s boring, so I have a lot of time to check out those signs you were getting from Marty’s friends. Look for similar things. The librarian thinks I have some morbid OCD thing.” Sam laughed to himself.

“And Serena… that working out for you?”

Sam cleared his throat and looked away. He fidgeted for a moment before getting to his feet. “I like her.” He moved to the window, leaning on the sill. “She scares me… cause… she’s freaking perfect.”

“Perfect is scary.”

“The same way Jess was scary, the same way that Sarah was starting to scare me.”

“C’mon. Sarah… normal was nowhere near her. She was just our kind of freaky.”

“Serena went to Northwestern. She pursued some science major but had to pay bills… so she was taking nursing courses. She completed those because there was a job in Baxter, where her mother was ill. She’s pursuing a medical degree while also trying to complete her physics degree. Just… taking the slow route.” He let the smile cross his face because it was admirable. “Her mother’s passed on but she’s still trying because it was her dream. She got sidetracked by medicine but she’s so smart… I can see her doing both.”

“So… what’s your problem?”

“I’m the problem. Freaky psychic visions and demon hunting is the problem. Right now, I’m just a guy working at a library because two of my girlfriends were killed.” He scoffed at himself. “All I’m gonna do is get her killed.”

“Not unless we kill that son of a bitch first. We’re onto it. Dad’s note-“

“Tells us nothing. We don’t know what we know. It could be something that he thinks we know or something that we’ve forgotten.”

“It’s all we’ve got to go on.” Dean kept his voice low as he set the empty bottle on the table and went about lightly burping his son. “I want this thing dead. Every day that I’m here and I’m living this… normal life… the more I want it dead. Do you think I don’t wonder if somehow it will get them while I’m 10 yards away working on a car? Or if maybe I should have never laid a finger on Liz? It is what it is, Sam. You help me take this demon down… and I’ll make sure you finish college. I will find a way… cause if I can take that son of a bitch down… I can come up with the cash to see you out of this life.”

“You really think we can get out of it?”

“I have to.” John yawned on his father’s shoulder and a bit of milk came up with a surprise burp but he was asleep very soon. Dean laid his face against John’s head and inhaled. “Do you really think I want him knowing what we know?”

The following month…
(March 18, 2011)

Dean ate heartily and sipped his beer. He nodded absently to Kyle who was going on and on about a set of instructions that Bobby had left behind. It had been nearly three months and the supernatural librarian had yet to return. Kyle was pulling his hair out. “Billy has got to go but I can’t get Pete to man up and do it.”

“It’s Friday. Do it today or wait until next Friday. Don’t fire a guy on Monday.” Dean shook his head and stretched his neck so that he could see into the carrier next to him on the bar.

“How did I end up being the guy that fires people when the boss is gone? How is that me? What did I do to deserve this responsibility?”

“You take charge. Sometimes that’s a sin.” Dean shrugged and polished off his beer. He reached into the carrier and pulled his son out. Fist in his mouth, he looked around.

“So, he’s finally allowed to be seen in public. I’ll tell you… some people didn’t think there was a baby.”

“Took him for a checkup and everything’s okay. He’s not too far behind for his age. Liz was freaking out about that.”

“Liz gets like that.” Kyle finished his dinner and ordered them a couple of more beers. “Looks healthy to me. Fat now. Box-boy was a skeleton when you guys brought him home.”

“Box-boy?” He raised an eyebrow at his coworker.

“Michael and I dubbed him Box-boy… cause of the…incubator. When he’s older, he’ll appreciate it better.” Kyle reached over and took hold of the youngest Winchester. “The name was given out of love, you hear me? You have to develop some tough skin because the aunts are coming this summer and your cheeks will not stand a chance.”

“Aunts?”

“Maria and Isabel are both planning to visit once the snow is gone for good.” Kyle let John’s feet touch the bar but the kid was nowhere ready to stand. “Isabel’s planning on bringing her brood.”

“Isabel has kids?”

“Two of ‘em. A boy and girl. She’s got the Christmas card family she’s always wanted.”

“Dean!” Liz gasped when she saw him. “What are you doing? It’s too smoky in here for him.”

“The smoke is coming from one guy.” Dean pointed to the hunter in the corner. “It’s not even tobacco and I can’t smell it.”

“Which is worse.” She took her baby from Kyle.

“He needs to get out of the cottage. He’s healthy and he needs to socialize or else we’re going to have problems with… apron strings and cords later on.” Dean nodded to Pete, who leaned in to whisper something for Kyle.

“Dammit.” Kyle picked up his beer and glanced at the table where Billy was finishing his dinner. “I gotta do it tonight.”

Pete turned when Hannah and Yvette joined them. “Dean, I don’t think you want to be here when Stan fires Billy.”

“I’m with my family. What can he do?” Dean rolled his eyes.

“Mom, ask.” Yvette tugged on her mother’s hand.

“I’m going to go help.” Pete jerked his head in Kyle and Billy’s direction.

Hannah shook her head and sighed. “Liz, Yvette would like to hold the baby but she’s too shy to ask.”

“How old are you now?” Dean peered down at the little girl.

“Eight.” Came the quiet answer.

“Wow. Has it been that long?” He looked from Hannah to Liz. “Since…”

“Yeah, almost five years.” Hannah nodded and blinked back tears. Clearing her throat, she pulled a chair to the bar and instructed her daughter to sit. “Just for a little bit, sweetie.”

“Dean will help you. I have to get back to work.” Liz pressed kisses all over her son’s face.

Dean helped Yvette get settled in the chair and softly instructed her how to hold her arms. “He’s going to wiggle a bit so if you think you can’t hold him, just say so, okay?”

“He looks really good.” Hannah told Dean when he straightened up. “I would never be able to tell he was premature.”

“It was only a few weeks and the docs cleared him. He’s catching up.” He nodded to himself, then lowered his voice. “How much does she remember about what happened?”

“Not a whole lot.” Hannah whispered back. “Right afterward, there were nightmares… and then she just got over it, seems like. She remembers you, I know that much. I’ll tell you… Pete had half a mind to pick up that stuff, the way Marty and Bobby do it but after that… he said he’d just run errands. Just, thank God that you were there.”

Remembering that particular trip through Valor Springs, the one thought that Dean hadn’t had was to hang up his hat. He’d been thinking about it more and more recently but that little girl had just gotten four extra years of life because of him… because of Liz. Yvette bent her head and smelled John’s head, then lifted her face to them. “He smells like baby powder and milk.”

Dean could only nod to that as he sank down to eye level with her. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you. How have you been?”

“I see you all the time.” She shook her head. “But you’re always busy and Daddy says I can’t bother you.”

“Yeah, well. Work, what are you gonna do?” He squeezed her foot. “I never got the chance to thank you in person for the brownies. I know I loved them and Sam did, too.” He watched her blush and duck her head. “Listen up, I’m sorry that I’m busy sometimes but it’s okay to say ‘hi’ to me. I’ll probably be around a good long while, now. I got this little guy to take care of.”

“Okay.”

“And when you’re 15, maybe we’ll hire you as a babysitter.” He winked at her.

“You’re going to make her head explode.” Hannah warned. “You have no idea the fit she threw when she found out about you guys getting married and the baby’s impending arrival.”

“Mom.” Yvette scoffed, then pouted.

“You don’t want me. I’m old.” Dean tapped her nose. “I’m 32. Do you know how old I’m gonna be when you turn 18?” She shook her head at him. “By the time you are legally able to marry me, I’ll be 42 years old. There will be plenty of guys your own age to chase after.”

“God, I hope not.” Hannah muttered.

Dean smirked up at her but wiped it away when his eyes met the little girl’s. “Don’t worry, we’ll find you one that your folks approve of.” Then John started his fussing. “Okay. I gotta feed him. Let me take him back.” He had just straightened with John in his arms when he caught Sam waving him over. Yvette threw herself at his legs, nearly knocking him off balance. “Whoa, there.”

“Thank you, Dean.” She grinned up at him and then followed her mother and father out the door.

When Dean got to the booth that Sam had set up, there were clippings and printouts in very precise rows. “It’s happening, Dean.”

“What exactly is happening?” He fought to balance baby and bottle while looking over the information.

“Freak lightning storms… temperature fluctuations.” He pointed to the pile. “Six locations… but only two have cattle mutilations… so far. One…” He picked up an article. “Just like the one you found. It’s starting again. Dad might have been wrong about the cycles… maybe there are no cycles. Maybe… the demon doesn’t really pick certain years or maybe he’s waiting on certain kids… like… bloodlines.” Sam frowned even as the words came out of his mouth.

It sent a shiver up Dean’s spine. It made his mind go places that he’d rather it not. Whose bloodline was the demon following? Mary’s or John’s? Then he looked at the locations. “We have to leave tonight. No more children are going to lose their parents and that’s all there is to it.”

“You planning on taking John with us?” Sam motioned to the baby in his brother’s arms. “And we have two possible locations. We also do not have a weapon against this thing.”

“We can stop him from doing whatever the fuck he does.” Dean let his mind wrap around it. Why visit the kids? What does he do to them? Why certain ones? “Evolution, right? Darwin and shit.” He absently burped the baby as he paced. “How does breeding work?”

“Like selective breeding?” Sam sat back to think. “Gene studies, mostly. Cross breed a sturdy cow with a cow that tastes good and do it a couple of generations… you get a sturdier beef cow that tastes good. So… if he’s studying the traits, if he’s waiting for the right time to introduce what?”

“He’s not an incubus. He’s not breeding that way.” Dean mused aloud. “So… how is he… why… what’s the point?”

“It’s an army.” Liz announced. No one had even heard her walk up. “It’s about blood.” She touched John’s head. “This one would be choice breeding, if he could be swayed. That’s what he does. One visit to open the door to coming over. The key is to make sure that the child will shut the door on his own. Free will.”

Dean flicked his eyes to Sam, clenching his jaw. “So, uh… Dad… what do we have that can take this son of a bitch down?”

Liz’s smile became eerily broad. “There’s a place. You have to lure him there.” She took Sam’s pen and started scribbling coordinates. “I have a plan. You boys ready for this?”

--

The bar was nearly empty. Marty never approached but he knew there was something off about his favorite waitress and it had been going on all night. Her stance was all wrong, her smiles were not her own and she never once tried to pick up the baby. She would talk to the boys, then pause and stare at the sleeping babe. She would touch his head but she wouldn’t take him from Dean, which was not like Liz.

When he had kicked the last customer out and cleaned up the last of the bottles, he approached them. Slowly. Then she turned and spotted him. “Marty, think we could get a few more beers? We’ll be out of your hair in twenty minutes, I swear.”

“Winchester?” Marty froze. Dean made a sly motion with his hand. “Uh, yeah, man. Let me turn off the light first. You can stay as long as you need.”

“We appreciate it.” Liz crossed her arms and turned back to the booth.

“Okay.” Sam nodded as he mentally catalogued what he needed to gather and what he needed to stockpile into the trunk.

“I need to get this guy home.” Dean shook his head abruptly. “It’s probably freezing outside.”

“He’s a good-looking kid, Dean.” Liz moved closer, her hand laying on the top of John’s fuzzy head. “Takes after his mother any?”

“Don’t know yet.”

“A Winchester boy, huh?”

“Seems like it. I think his mother is going to curb his demon-hunting potential, though.” A hand squeezed his shoulder, sliding up to his neck when he bent over to lay John in his carrier.

“You kill this demon and you keep them safe.”

“I will.” Dean nodded to himself before turning his head to see his father in his wife’s eyes. “She doesn’t know that you’re doing this, right now.”

“Doing what?”

“Dad… it’s creepy. I know you’re helping and I appreciate it… but it freaks her out and if…” Dean bit back the suspicions he’d had ever since he realized that Liz had had a black out before John was born. He wouldn’t say them out loud. “She loses time when you do this. It hurts her, sometimes. She goes down before you take over. We’ve got little John now and… if you do this to her when she’s holding him or giving him a bath… Do you know how hard it is for me to tell you that… after waiting so long for you to talk to me… that I need you not to do this again?”

“Dean, son…” She squeezed the back of his neck. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Okay… okay.” He nodded to himself. “Dad, it kills me to ask you this. You gotta know that it does but I think I have to. When you’re not here, where are you?”

Liz pulled a confused face and put her hand on her hip, shifting her weight as she looked over the bar. Then it seemed to click. “I forget… sometimes. The pain makes me delirious. When I’m here, it just feels like a nightmare. When I go back, this is all a really good dream. I can’t even really hang on to it when I’m there.”

“The pain.” Dean murmured aloud. Brimstone and hellfire. Endless torment and damnation. Because of him. “How are you able to do this? We salted and burned your corpse.”

“Sometimes you don’t ask questions, son. Honestly, I… don’t remember how I found it but I never really let go. There’s something that keeps me hanging on and I don’t know what it is. An energy but not… anything that you or I have ever encountered.” She looked away, eyebrows furrowed. “I’m not asking the questions. I’m being as careful as I can. I’ll be honest… there may be shit going down while I’m here. I can’t stop it or know about it while I’m here… but shit going down is the only way I get this chance.”

“So… right now… there’s maybe some kid… stepping up on the demonic evolutionary ladder.”

“Fuck.” Sam punched the table. “Washington, right?”

“Probably.” Liz nodded. “There is a price to pay for every day that passes and that demon is still among us but running into the fray without a plan… will only get us killed. One day to prepare.”

“Okay.” Sam nodded and looked to his brother. “We gotta do this.”

“Okay.” Dean nodded. They could be packed and on the road in an hour. “Dad, you have to leave. I need my wife back before I go.” He gripped her shoulder. “Okay?”

“You boys… go do some good.”

It was instantaneous. Liz’s eyes rolled back and her entire body went slack. Dean had a good grip on her but still had to rush to make sure she didn’t hit the table with her head. She released three huge breaths and opened her eyes. “Dean?”

“I’m right here.” Dean lowered her to the floor, taking Sam’s jacket for a pillow. “You okay?”

“What happened?” She bit back a sob.

“Are you okay?”

“My head hurts… and I think I might be drunk.” She burped and slapped a loose hand over her mouth.

“Was he pounding them away?” Dean flicked his eyes over the bottles on the table and winced.

“I’m the lightweight in the family.” Sam grabbed an armful of bottles to throw away.

“Wait a minute… hold on…Your dad got me drunk?” Liz struggled to sit up but the world spun. “John’s on breast milk for crying out loud and he got me drunk.” Her words were slurred. “Oh my God… I am so drunk.”

“Marty, can you get Liz some coffee?” Sam called into the back.

“Is it Liz?” Marty called back.

“Yeah, she’s back. Ain’t you, baby?” Dean couldn’t help the laugh. He should have expected it. It was kind of funny. “She’s hammered but that’s okay. She needs to relax a little.”

“You’re making fun, Dean Winchester.” She tried to hit his nose with her finger but nearly took out his eye.

“Okay, c’mon. Let’s try upright.” He pulled her onto his lap.

Liz laid her head on his shoulder and willed the room to stop spinning. Sweat was the first scent to register. Sweat and old milk and beer. Baby powder and Stetson. Gunpowder and grease. “You smell awesome.” She could feel his laugh in her bones. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and held his head against hers. Frowning, she slid her fingers along the back of his neck. “Where’s your necklace?”

“At Bobby’s, I guess. Must have taken it off at work.” He attempted to get them both to their feet. “Listen, Liz… you gotta get sober for me. Okay? Sam and I have to leave. This is it. The big thing. It’s going down.”

“No.” She shook her head. “No, don’t go… It doesn’t feel right.” She shut her eyes against the light and tried to keep her beer down. “I’m gonna be sick.”

“It might be a good idea.” Dean hefted her into his arms. “Sam, watch John.”

“Dean, don’t go.” She groaned, the room was definitely spinning.

Sam watched them go and began gathering their things from the table top. Little John slept on in his carrier. Unaware of the fragile state of things around him. Marty appeared with a cup of coffee. “Hey Marty. Hate to cut and run on you like this but we have to go.”

“She gonna be okay?” Marty was spooked. It was one thing to hear about a possession like this but to witness it was a whole other thing.

“Do us a favor and keep her here tonight. I’m going to run back to the house and grab what we need and some stuff for Johnny.” Sam took their things with him.

Dean appeared five minutes later from the bathroom, without his wife. He gave Marty a look. “She’s going to hate me when she sobers up. Just… do me a favor and take care of her. Call the doc and ask her about the whole bottle and beer thing. I want to wait but I can’t. If it doesn’t happen now, we might miss our window and then we’re fucked.”

TBC

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DMartinez
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Post by DMartinez » Mon Nov 26, 2007 8:45 am

Part 58 – The next day…
(March 19, 2011)

Liz sniffed a little as she raised her coffee cup. Her hands shook slightly as she set it down. Thankfully her son was having a calm morning. Her head pounding with the remainder of John Winchester the elder’s hangover, she could do no more than what was absolutely required. Apparently this was going to be the day to test her son on formula because she was going to toss anything she pumped for the next 24 hours… or 48, just to be safe. She’d never gotten a tally on precisely how much John Winchester the elder had drank while in possession of her body.

Kyle slid into the booth across from her. “You look like crap.”

“My father-in-law was a lush.” She cradled her head in her hands. “He popped in last night, then spent three or five hours strategizing and drinking heavily. Then he left me with his hangover and sent my husband off to battle a demon. I feel wrong about the whole thing and Dean didn’t even listen.”

“Lil…” Kyle reached over and took her hands in his. “I hate to tell you this cause I know that you know this but… this is what it’s going to be like for you. Even if this is the last hunt… they will all be the last hunt. It was the same way with Max. Maybe it’s the quality that attracts you… that willingness to be the wall between the world and all the wrong things but…”

“I do the same thing, Stan. I put myself in between danger and my loved ones. It’s why I’m here, right? In Valor Springs, to do good deeds and avoid the law.” She offered him a wan smile. “I’m scared, Kyle.” He visibly winced at her use of his given name. “It’s not just a hunt. It’s THE hunt. I can’t think. All I do is worry about the phone call I should get tomorrow… or about getting a different phone call tonight.” Her face was smooth and unlined but she was weary. Drained. She could see the unease in Kyle’s face. She was scaring him with her tone and behavior. “I don’t know if I can live this way. It’s been good, you know…”

“Yeah. No real fights since he was born, right?”

“Right.” She looked to her son, wide-eyed and exploring the ceiling of the bar. “These past few months have been heaven. Working together to take care of him… knowing that we had the same worries, knowing that we would do anything for him… I know that I said that I knew he would have to go do this but… I just…”

“Never believed that he would go?”

“Maybe.”

“If he didn’t, then you wouldn’t be in love with him.”

“Maybe.”

“Go home, Lil. Get some rest. I’ll send Betty over to help out in a bit.”

“I can’t.” She shook her head. “Not until he comes back or… I get that phone call.”

“It could be hours or it could be days. Go home.”

--

“Aw, what’s wrong with your shoulder, Dean?” A young blonde. Four foot ten if he was an inch. It was kind of embarrassing but the same waif had nearly taken Sam’s head off. Poor kid was probably a runaway, homeless.

Dean gritted his teeth as his shoulder was reopened. He’d be damned if he screamed. “Old football injury. Always acts up when a demonic son of a bitch sticks his finger in it!”

“Humor to cover your pain? I thought you were beyond such devices.” The demon leaned in closer. “I heard you got married, had a beautiful bouncing baby boy.”

“Jealous? Mrs. Evil Son of a Bitch not putting out anymore?” The finger dug deeper. “Or maybe you need a little blue pill? Or maybe it’s cause you haven’t hit puberty yet.” He almost bit his tongue holding in the scream that time. “Touched a nerve huh? Yours or mine?”

“Dean, shut up.” Sam groaned as he struggled from his pinned position across the room.

“It was pretty clever though… I mean, you’re here. I’m here… and you’re not getting out.” Dean managed a smile.

“Daddy says ‘hi’… well, he would, except that he’s too busy screaming. Do you know the torment that we call hell, Dean? As I understand it, you’re primed for a front-row seat… right next to your dear old dad.” The demon inhaled as the blood gushed around his finger. “You know… when I’m done here… I should really go pay that lovely wife of yours a visit.”

“You won’t touch her.”

“Or maybe I’ll go to someone else… I’ve always had a thing for nurses.”

“You son of a bitch!” Sam ground out, fighting the physical barrier as much as he could. Then a strange thing happened, a table flew at the far wall where the demon had Dean pinned. It splintered across the boy’s back.

Finger still embedded in Dean’s flesh, the demon-boy had a slow look around the room. “I get it. The timing. I’m supposed to believe that Sammy-boy finally cut his teeth and did something psychic?” Releasing Dean, the boy stepped into the middle of the room. “Who the fuck is here? This is my kill.”

A drawer slid open, then four knives stood up. One by one, they flew end over end at Demon-boy. As he was deflecting the sharp objects, the overhead light detached itself and fell on the small boy.

“Poltergeists.” The boy stood slowly, then turned in a circle. “No respect for the hierarchy of hell.”

“Maybe he’s protesting the dues.” Dean grinned though he knew he was bleeding out.

Then a green glow filled the room, encasing the demon-boy. The shimmer of a man stood between Dean and the demon. Just a whisper in the air sent Dean crashing to the ground. A moment later, Sam fell from his own spiritual cage. The shimmer started to fade. “Get back to her, Dean.”

--

Liz paced the room with her son in her arms. He was being fussy, but that was because he didn’t like formula and he kept looking around for his daddy. Betty’s help had been refused and now Liz wished she had absolutely anybody who could stop the crying.

The sun had just set and it didn’t set her at ease, at all. The air was far too still. Checking the salt lines, she paced the cottage with her whimpering son. The hair on her arms stood just a split second before Johnny began to scream. The lights began to flicker. She screamed when the door flew open.

--

Dean used his teeth to pull the knot as tight as it would go. He needed to stop the bleeding before he passed out. He needed to make sure that he got there on time. He had to. “Sam.”

“My foot is on the floor, Dean. I swear.” Sam pushed the Impala to do the impossible; to travel faster than the speed of dark. He knew that the demon could not get there instantaneously. That it would take time to get there, but how fast was a good question. Faster than 90 in the Impala? How long would he stay inside that green bubble before he got out? He had the distinct impression that their saving grace was temporary and they had to haul ass to beat him, no matter how long he stayed inside. “Dean, who… do you… think… um…”

“I know who it was.” Dean answered quietly. “No, I’m not going to talk about it. My week has been filled with crazy supernatural shit and Dad was right. There’s a time and a place for questions… this isn’t that time.”

--

“Bobby… something’s here.” Liz turned in circles, scared of the very walls.

“I know.” He fished through his bag for something. “Guess no one cared about the full moon tonight or the equinox today.”

“I wasn’t really paying attention.”

“Of course you weren’t. You also didn’t know of a partial eclipse taking place while your kid was sick. You weren’t watching the same signs I was and I had to haul ass to be in the right place to do some… pretty sick shit in the name of helping my friends.” He pulled out an antique gun. “There are going to be two lunar eclipses this year and some hell-raising shit will be going on… and I mean that literally.”

“Bobby…” She stopped when the lights started flickering again.

“How long has that been going on?”

“An hour or two?” She winced as the energy began coursing down her arms. She heard the Impala screech to a halt and a few moments later, her husband stumbled in. He had a shotgun in his left hand, right arm hanging limply by his side. “Dean?”

“You really Bobby?” Dean raised the gun level with the man’s face. “Christo.”

“Fuck you, Winchester.” Bobby shook his head and tossed the gun over. “I’ll trade you.”

“What is this piece of shit?” Dean frowned at the gun he’d barely caught.

“Newly blessed is what. It was forged in… forget it. I’ll tell you later. It has the right blessings on it. Some ammo that was hard to scrounge up. It’s what took me so long. It’s gonna work.” The older hunter picked up the shotgun and began writing sigils on the windows with a marker.

“Is she okay?” Sam burst into the cottage. “Bobby?”

“Liz?” Dean stared at the glow surrounding her body. He’d heard stories about it but, frankly, he’d never really believed it.

“Take him, before I hurt him.” Liz handed her son to his uncle. The second he was out of her arms, her arms crackled with unspent energy.

“I am not happy.” A voice sounded from the open doorway. Marty.

“Jesus, no.” Bobby breathed out.

“I don’t know whose hoodoo you got going for you… but I am not having it.” The yellow-eyed demon brought up a wind and the salt in the doorway began to blow away. The first person to feel his wrath was his old friend Bobby, tossed against the far wall before he could finish the symbol that he’d begun. “I give up on Sammy-boy. He’s a lost cause. They say only a mother can really fuck you up but… I speak from experience when I say that Dad can do a bang up job, too… Hey, Sammy?”

“You don’t get to call me that.” Sam held onto Johnny with one hand and lifted his gun with the other.

“Give me the kid, I’ll cease and desist on my vendetta with you Winchesters. You cost me a soldier, I’ll take a replacement.” Liz’s jaw dropped, her eyes filling with tears. Her son. Marty-demon rolled his eyes. “You know perfectly well what a darling catch that Johnny is, Mom.”

“You won’t touch my son.” Dean stood up straight and raised the gun.

“Now, now. You’re not a south paw. You could miss.” A taunt that managed to steady Dean’s hand even more. “Even trade. I’ll take the kid, raise him up like my own… the two of you could pump out a couple dozen kids to replace him before your ovaries dry up… Dean, come on. You know you can’t keep your hands off that ass. It’ll be no skin off your back.” Marty stepped into the cottage. “If I could possess someone of better stock, I’d fuck her myself.” Dean’s gun cocked. “Oh, it’s a compliment to your taste in women. How’s the blood loss, boyo?”

“Brain only needs a pint to stay wet.” Dean had to keep his hand steady. “Right, baby?”

“Uh-huh.” Liz whimpered as the pain became too much. Her arms had that pins and needles feeling and not in the good my-arms-fell-asleep way. She inched toward her husband and felt marginally relieved when she felt Sam step behind her to use her body as a shield for John.

The lights flickered and dimmed. Liz swallowed a scream as the Marty she knew and loved, began to smile in a way that stopped her heart. A shimmer filled the air between Yellow-Eyed-Marty and the Winchesters. It seemed to enrage the demon further. “This is my party. Invite only. Get the fuck out of my way, poltergeist.”

Whispers filled the air. Liz fought the urge to listen closer. Then a shimmer appeared right in front of her face. “Touch him.”

“What?” She blinked. The flavor she got from the voice was too familiar.

The world stood still as a green shimmer appeared from floor to ceiling. A ghostly hand held the wall in place and its other hand touched Liz’s face. Then she could hear its voice perfectly clear. “Touch your fucking husband and do it now, Liz!”

Dean was tempted to tell Sam to shoot it, but then Liz’s hand slipped under his arm and pain shot through him when her hand touched his wound. Then a warmth swept through his body that made his knees wobble a bit. Then he could see the shimmer, too. So much clearer than he had three towns over. It was just an outline but there it was and touching Liz. It was pulsing. There were others. Other shimmers, outlines.

The warmth dissipated and Dean was able to switch gun hands. No pain, not even a phantom burn. Then shimmer spoke again. “Touch the gun.”

“What?” Liz shook her head, clinging to Dean.

“Shoot it, together.” Then his face was perfectly clear. “It’s not over but it will buy you time. Focus, Liz. Send your energy into the gun. Dean, fire it to kill. He’s not Marty anymore. If you don’t, you’ll force Marty to live with a sin he’d never forgive himself for. Trust me.”

“Dean, is that?” Sam squinted at the shimmer but he couldn’t get a good look at it or the others.

“After this, he’ll have a taste for us, Liz.”

“What?”

“Find Zan.” He caressed her face. “Focus, Liz. Focus. You can do this.”

Liz nodded, leaned her head against Dean’s newly repaired shoulder, then slid her hands over his, cupping his hand around the gun. She took a deep breath, feeling the energy rise again in her body, visualizing it traveling down her arms and into the gun. “Is it uncomfortable?”

“No.” Dean shook his head. It tingled but it didn’t burn.

“Dean. You take care of her.” Then it all vanished. Him. The shimmers. All of it.

He didn’t blink. He fired the gun. Fired a deadly shot to his father’s second oldest friend. He hoped that Bobby would forgive him. That Dr. Meyer would understand. That Pete and Hannah would not judge him too harshly.

Marty’s body stilled. Blood spilled from the gunshot wound to the chest. Green energy crackled up and down his body before he hit his knees. The black smoke that erupted from his mouth was sluggish and translucent. Sam’s mind raced for any incantation but none came to mind that would work to trap the demon, nor destroy him. Then it was gone out the open door. The room went completely still.

“Marty?” Dean whispered. The man moaned, not yet dead. Both he and Liz rushed to his side. “Marty?” Tears clogged his voice. “I’m sorry, Marty. I’m sorry.”

“Marty?” Liz pressed her hands over the wound but she knew it had an exit in his back and she couldn’t do both. “Marty?”

“Killed her.” Marty’s brows furrowed as he forced the words out. “Inside me and killed her. No reason. None.” The gray in his hair and beard, suddenly more pronounced with his ashen complexion. “Used my hands… around her neck.”

“Oh my god.” Liz gasped as his words found recognition in her brain. Marty just… stopped talking. Stopped gasping for breath. Stopped. She lifted her hands and stared at them. Blood. Dean’s. Marty’s.

“Bobby?” Sam wiped at his eyes and clutched his nephew to his chest. Still wailing, little John drooled all over his shoulder.

Dean gave a moment for Marty. He closed the hunter’s eyes and looked to his wife. “Liz, go wash your hands.” She nodded dumbly but didn’t move. Then Dean’s hands closed over hers. “Liz, I need you to go wash up so you can take the baby from Sam. I need Sam to help me with Marty.”

“O-o-o. Okay.” She stuttered and moved on auto-pilot to wash her hands. It was as she was watching the blood flow down the drain, that it hit her what she had done. She had helped Dean kill Marty. She knew, somewhere in her head that she had aided to severely wound the Yellow-Eyed Demon but she had killed Marty in the process. Sobbing, she scrubbed her hands. Then Dean was there with his arms around her.

“Sh, it’s okay.”

“No, it’s not.”

Dean looked over his shoulder. “Call Stan over here. He’ll help with the baby. I’m gonna get her cleaned up and then we’ll take care of the bodies.”

“Bodies?” Sam frowned from where he knelt over Bobby, John’s wailing down to whimpering at last. “But…”

TBC

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DMartinez
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Post by DMartinez » Thu Dec 06, 2007 8:38 am

Part 59 – Two days later…
(March 21, 2011)

Liz vaguely remembered her assisted shower and being tucked into bed with her son. When she had woken, Dean had been sipping coffee at the table and feeding their son. He said it was all taken care of and that was the last anyone had said about it. Sam had come and gone. The blood cleaned up when she wasn’t looking. Bobby hobbled around the junkyard, looking worse than the day after Rumsfeld had been killed.

After two days of ignoring it, she needed to talk about it. “Dean…”

“Yeah?” He picked up his head from where he cleaned his guns on the kitchen table.

“What did you do with their bodies?”

“We called the cops. But we moved Marty back to his place. Sam and I made up a story.” He gave her a level stare. “We had a good enough story. Cops believe it. I gave orders to the funeral home. Salted and burned both bodies this morning. Marty’s got a plot on holy ground.”

“So, she was dead? Dr. Meyer?”

“Yeah. Her family has her ashes.” When the silence lingered, he picked up another piece to clean and reassemble.

“Was it really him?” She sat next to him at the table.

He caught the subject shift without having to ask which ‘him’ she was referring to. “You would know better than me.”

“We healed you but… was it me or was it him?”

“I don’t know the answer to that.” He set down the rag and the muzzle of his pistol.

“There were others there but I don’t know who they were. I didn’t see them.” She laid her head on his shoulder and let her hand fall to his thigh. “Six of them.” He let her lean against him for the longest time, didn’t even try to start cleaning his guns again. “I helped you kill Marty.”

“If it had been me and that son of a bitch had made me do to you what he made Marty to do Dr. Meyer… I would have begged someone to kill me.” Dean pulled her onto his leg. “I have to ask you some questions about what he told us.” She nodded, her hands folding into the bottom of his shirt. “Who is Zan and why do we have to find him?”

Liz wrapped herself around Dean, tucking her head into his shoulder before she began explaining about Zan. Dean rubbed her back in soothing circles as she told the story as quickly as she could. Lingering pain evident, even after all this time. “He’ll be ten years old this summer. He’s perfectly human but it is inside him. Inherited from both sides.”

“You ever think that because you’ve been… juiced… you know… that Johnny will develop something?” Dean cast a glance to the crib near the bed where his son was down for a nap.

“I guess that it’s a possibility.” She sat back on his lap to look him over. He looked tired. In addition to little John’s erratic sleep schedule, he’d been doing double duty at Bobby’s and at the bar, never mind that his nights were spent making sure they hadn’t forgotten something in all the excitement. She pulled his shirt up his chest so that she could see his shoulder, to see for herself that the only scar tissue was left over from the year before and not the result of a demon dissection. When her lips brushed the raised flesh, his hands flattened against her back. It took very little encouragement to get Dean to lift his arms for removal of the grease-stained shirt. Gentle kisses soon turned into hungry, breath-stealing, need-filled tongue tangling.

--

Dean kept an ear out for the baby but kept his attention on Liz. She lay still against him but wasn’t sleep. Her fingers wound tightly with his necklace. “You okay?”

“I think I will be.” Liz whispered into his chest. “He’s going to wake up soon.”

“Yeah. I’m surprised he slept this long.”

“It’s not done and… you’re gonna leave again.”

“Yeah.”

“Funeral’s tomorrow?”

“Yeah.”

“Did you mean what you said?” She lifted her head to meet his eyes. “If it had been you that…”

“Yeah.” He nodded and didn’t once look away. “I have to do research with Bobby for a while, though. Learn more about that gun he gave me… maybe you help. Cause… I’m thinking the thing that hurt him most was whatever you did to the gun before we fired it.”

“Okay, I’ll help.” She kissed his chest over his heart. “Get some sleep. I’m back on duty tonight.”

“I wish.” He shook his head. He hadn’t been able to sleep since pulling that trigger.

“Hey… will you teach me to shoot?”

The next day…
(March 22, 2011)

The gathering was small. Not that many people would attend the funeral after what was said about what Marty had done to Dr. Meyer. The people who really knew Marty knew the truth. The lawyer, an oily looking man with a wrinkled suit, had asked the remainder of the grievers to a meeting in Marty’s bar. He cleared his throat. “Some of you all know me… some don’t. I’ve been asked to handle Martin’s affairs. I’m his brother Davis Cabbott. I don’t know what happened, just what the police have told me. I can’t really picture my brother doing what they said he did. I’ll admit that some of his ideas didn’t make much sense to me… but he was my brother, so I left him to it.

“I guess I’ll get to it. I’m in possession of Martin’s last will and testament. I hope it’s what he would have wanted, given that I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years.” He shifted his weight from foot to foot. “Marty wanted me to decide who the bar went to but I don’t know his friends. Maybe the lot of you could help me out with that. I’d do all the paperwork free of charge… though I don’t know who would be willing to take the place after whatever went on upstairs… As far as his things go, I think Robert would know better about the books and odds and ends. I’d just like the opportunity to keep some of his things for myself.”

“You got it, Davis.” Bobby nodded.

“Pete, there’s some specific… trinkets and stuff for Hannah and Yvette and you, of course… I’ll need help finding them. Liz?” He looked around for the acknowledgement of the name. “I’ll need your help with the books until ownership is settled. I’m closing the bar until that gets straightened out. I’ll call you all tomorrow for whichever. Thanks for coming.”

Liz looked to Dean, who didn’t seem so happy about the turn of events. He just shook his head at her and grabbed the baby carrier. “Dean, come on…”

“Winchester?” Davis frowned and fished a notepad out of his pocket. “Dean Winchester?”

“Yeah.”

“Sorry I left your name out. Martin left me a note that you might be hard to track down. He’s got some of your father’s things… other stuff, maybe, that he wanted you and your brother to have.”

Dean looked to Liz. “Okay… Listen, uh… if you need help finding things, sorting things. You can ask us. We practically live in this bar.”

“It’s not like I have job, right now.” Liz agreed. “I’ll come by tomorrow afternoon and get you started.”

“I lift heavy things here… have for most of my life.” Dean nodded to him.

“Winchester. That name… it’s… been used pretty consistently by my brother for… God only knows how long.” Davis cleared his throat. “Maybe you or Robert could tell me… what…”

“It’s not a story that anyone would believe.” Dean offered. “Just know that Marty was not a murderer… and as for the cops and everything else goes. They’re better off not knowing the truth… and… it’s being taken care of.”

“Wow… Yeah. You sound like Martin… I’ll just… take your word for it.”

A month later…
(April 22, 2011)

Missouri lifted the baby into her arms. “Well, he’s a healthy child.”

“He eats like he’s got a black hole in his stomach.” Liz pointed to her husband. “Like someone else I know.”

Dean looked up, his mouth full of sandwich. He tilted his head at them. “What?”

“Don’t talk with your mouth full, Dean.” Missouri chided as she took her time settling little John against her chest. “Your dad would have loved to see this boy.”

“He has. He’s proud.”

“What did I tell you about talking with your mouth full?” She spun to look at him. “If I had my spoon, I’d take it to you in a heartbeat.” Then she frowned. “What do you mean ‘he has’?”

“Who do you think tipped us off?” Dean washed down his sandwich with a beer.

“You said Liz did that.”

“I’m in the room.” Liz sighed but traveled slowly to her husband’s side.

“I said Liz had an episode. That’s what happens when my dad takes the wheel.” Dean kissed his wife’s head, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. “He’s not sure how he’s doing it but he mentioned something about an energy. Nothing that he’d ever seen in life… so… yeah. You figure that one out.”

“Spirits don’t just come in and out of… hell, Dean.” Missouri frowned, racking her memory for anything she could use.

“You don’t think I know that?”

“There were seven of them total, I think.” Liz murmured. “Max, John and five others that I couldn’t make out. I don’t think they needed us to see them. I think they were back up.”

“Hey.” Sam nodded as he walked in with baby supplies in his arms.

Missouri stared at him. “It takes you two hours to buy diapers?”

Liz coughed back a laugh but Dean didn’t even try to hide his smile. Sam froze. “What?”

“I’m not sure I like this girl you’re seeing, Sam. She’s loose.”

“Missouri!” Sam exclaimed and tossed the diapers onto the changing table. “You don’t know her.”

“I don’t need to. Between the three of you, I know enough.”

“Clearly not.” Sam took a breath to calm himself down.

“That’s right. Don’t you think those thoughts about me.” She turned her attention back to the baby in her arms. “Well then… this handsome man is special but not today. Later. He’ll grow into it. Dean, Liz, you do good work.”

Dean smirked down at his wife, who stuck him in the ribs. “What?”

“You know what.” Liz poked him again.

Missouri tried not to smile but Sam was oblivious to what anyone was talking about. “What?”

“I’m barely recovered from having one of his melon-headed children and he wants more.”

“I didn’t say right now.” Dean tried to defend himself. “But he’s gotta have a little brother to knock around.”

“Good parenting, Dean.” Sam rolled his eyes.

“Let’s just focus on the one we’ve got.” Liz groaned and reached to take her son from Missouri.

“Now, this place… is clean.” Missouri motioned to the room around them. “It has its wounds though. Deep ones. Keep it clean and keep the wounds from festering.”

“Only way to prevent gangrene!” Dean and Sam chimed in together.

“Your father…” Missouri took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “If he wasn’t already dead, I’d kill him for the way he raised the two of you. I came all this way to do you a favor.”

“Ignore them.” Liz shook her head and propped her son on some pillows on the floor. “They’re babysitting while I take you over to M… to the bar.”

Dean rolled his eyes when the door shut behind them. He shoved his sandwich into his mouth and motioned for his brother to watch the baby while he got out of his work clothes. He tossed the greasy pile into the garbage pail that Liz had set up for him, tired of his grease ruining her clothes. Then he stretched out on the floor with the baby, who kept falling over every time his uncle sat him up. “Chill, dude… he won’t start doing that until he’s a few months older… you didn’t.”

“How do you remember all this stuff? You were four.” Sam scoffed as he gathered his long limbs to sit in a chair and let Dean have his daddy time.

Dean shrugged as he dangled a toy for John to grab at. “Only time that I knew what I was doing was when I was taking care of you. Dad was drinking and everyone was fighting. Even when we stayed with Pastor Jim… I would rather take care of you than play.”

“Why?”

“Dad was gone for… a week, I guess. When he got back, I was happy to see him, you know…” Dean took a deep breath and grinned when John turned a wide toothless smile on him. “I was gushing about everything you had done and when I told him that you had said… ‘dada’ or something like that. The… look on his face. I remember thinking ‘my dad is back’ because after Mom… he wasn’t the dad I knew anymore. Anything I could tell him that made that look come back…”

“I spent so much time asking him about Mom… I should have been asking about us… you know?” Sam turned his head when a knock sounded at the door. “It’s open!”

“Nice, dude.” Dean stretched so he could see as the door opened.

“Liz?” A head poked in.

“Maria!” Sam jumped to his feet. “Hey!”

“Sam.” Maria threw open the door. “Where’s Liz?”

“She took a friend of ours to the bar.”

“Why is it still closed?” Maria stepped inside to let Michael in.

“Liz wanted Missouri to look it over before we started doing business there.” Dean answered from the floor.

“Oh my God! He’s so cute!”

“Hey.” Michael nodded his greeting as he stepped inside and shut the door behind him. Dean returned the nod and let Maria pick John up off the floor. Michael leaned against a wall and glanced around and seemed not to be impressed by any changes that had taken place since the last time he’d been inside. He caught Dean’s eye. “You take care of her, man. All I ask.”

“Fair enough.” They shook on it and turned to watch Maria’s attempts at playing aunt. “You finally married her, huh?”

“You know… makes her happy.”

“Yeah.” Dean nodded in agreement.

“It should be a simple thing. I’ll just need to gather some supplies.” Missouri’s voice filled the room when the door opened again. The older woman stood stock still when her gaze fell on Michael. She tilted her head at him and approached slowly. “Busy for a slow thinker.”

“W’the f—“ Michael’s exclamation was interrupted by Missouri’s swat against his chest.

“Don’t you dare curse in front of that child.”

When Michael lifted his hand, all women in the know dove for him. Liz, being closer, gripped his shirt. “It’s okay, Michael. She’s a friend and she’s right… you curse in front of my son and I’ll light you up.”

“Dean, honey, have I told you how much I like her for you?” Missouri took a seat where she could see Maria and the baby. “Hi, darling. I’m Missouri.”

“Ooh. She’s the psychic, Michael!” Maria screeched, looking apologetic to Liz when John whimpered.

“Whatever.” Michael stormed outside.

“He’s a little sensitive, isn’t he.” Missouri murmured, her mind lingering on what little she had gleaned from the young man.

“A little.” Liz agreed and took her son from Maria to calm him down.

“Do you read palms?” Maria ignored her husband’s swift exit.

“Not really.” Missouri shook her head.

“I knew it. It doesn’t do anything.” Maria sighed and looked at the happy family. Dean hovering behind the chair Liz had sat in with her son. “Look at that. I got married first but you have the whole package. It’s so sweet… though who knew Mr. Badass ever had a chance with you.”

“Marie… Shut up.” Dean narrowed his eyes at her.

“Maria or Mary. I was never Marie.” She stuck her tongue out at him.

“Missouri Mosley, this is Maria Guerin.” Liz finally did a proper introduction. “Her husband Michael is outside… pouting, I guess.”

“You know how he gets around strangers.” Maria shook her head. “He’s darling but… you named him John. It’s the vanilla of all names.”

Feeling Dean bristle, Liz cleared her throat. “It’s a very strong name and a Winchester favorite.”

“Only one of us not in the bible.” Sam teased.

“Yeah, well… there’s a club I’m not looking to belong to.” Dean rolled his eyes.

“Well, I would love to sit and chat all evening, but I came up to work.” Missouri started to rise.

“Well, what do you need done?” Sam sat up, eager to please.

“Well, for one, I have to track down the ingredients that I didn’t bring with me.”

“I’ll do it.” Sam straightened. “I have to go…”

“Go where?” Liz turned to face her brother-in-law. “Baxter?”

“Maybe.” He pouted a little.

“Boy.” Missouri rolled her eyes but pulled a list from her purse. “Be discreet.”

“Take one of Bobby’s cars for your booty call. You’re not defiling my car.” Dean yanked his keys out of his brother’s hand.

“Fine.” Sam growled and stormed outside.

“He’d better be back by tomorrow morning.” Missouri adjusted the blouse that had slipped when she’d picked up her purse. “Well, you’ve got more company coming.”

“Yeah, Isabel should be here tomorrow. We all want to participate. The Demon is affecting us all, now.” Liz nodded sadly, turned to glance at her husband, who was quiet.

“Isabel said she would be in by afternoon… there’s something she wanted to discuss with you. She didn’t give me details… just said that she and Jesse had to make a stop along the way.” Maria filled in. “So… tell me what’s gonna happen with the bar.”

“Bobby and I went in as partners… to keep it the way it is.” Liz took a deep breath. “Marty…”

“Marty would have told you not to be stupid but… he wouldn’t want anyone else touching his bar.” Dean shrugged and lifted John into his arms for his bath.

“I’ll explain all that later.” Liz stared after him. “When Isabel gets here. I don’t want to have to tell it twice.”

“God, that looks so weird.” Maria hissed as she watched Dean move around gathering John’s things for his bath. “You’ve totally tamed the beast.”

“I wouldn’t say that.”

“Dean’s never fit into anyone’s view of normal.” Missouri studied the girls in front of her. “What’s going on, ladies? What is company bringing to the party?”

“What’s that?” Liz leaned forward.

“You’re both worried about something. Not the same thing exactly… but I’m trying my best not to be nosy.”

TBC

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