You don’t work with him, that’s the rule. You can watch him, from afar, and follow his cases until you burn through the soles of your boots – but you can’t ever interfere. He wouldn’t remember you even if you did. They wiped his memories, a trial of sorts. Some kind of test to see if he really is what the world has been waiting for. You have no doubt that he is, but you have to go through the motions anyways.
“I don’t know why we have to do this,” You tell Cas one day as you sit on a bench with him, watching half a dozen squad cars park in front of the creepiest forest you’ve ever seen.
“Because he has to prove to them who he is,” Cas says.
“He doesn’t even know who he is.”
Cas takes your hand in his, stroking his thumb over your knuckles. “Have faith, Dean.”
“If you follow that up with ‘the plan is just’ I will punch you.”
Cas just laughs.
You watch as he exists the forest, all grown up and perfect and exactly like the little boy you raised from infancy. He looks like Cas in every way, except he’s got your fashion sense. Which you figure is pretty good since Cas can’t dress himself to save his life.
He looks at you for a brief second and for a moment you think he might actually remember you. You sit up straighter and Cas squeezes your hand.
“He can’t see us,” Cas whispers.
You know. It’s part of the rules too.
He looks away when someone calls his name and you watch him walk back into the forest. Your chest aches when he leaves, a piece of you being torn away again. You want to run over to where he is and tell him everything, who he is and where he comes from. You want to tell him that this case is just the first of thousands. This is just the beginning and nothing he knows will ever be the same again.
But Cas squeezes your hand again and stands up. “C’mon,” he says. “there’s a diner down the street that I want to show you.”
“Burgers any good?”
“Our son sure likes them.”
You stand up and shove your hands in your jacket pockets. “Good enough for me,” you say, moving to stand closer to Cas. You take one more look at the forest, heart almost sinking when you don’t see him by the cars. You take a deep breath, “Lead the way.”
When he was born you freaked the hell out. You were a hunter not a father. You learned that when you failed to work things out with Lisa all those years ago. But Cas came to you with a baby in his arms and said it was yours, and his. You couldn’t even fathom how that was possible, completely hung up on how the hell you were going to raise a kid. But later Cas explained how your soul mixed with his grace when you first met, and culminated for years until it created a perfect mix of yours and Cas’ genes and grew into the baby Cas held.
“But you’re in a vessel,” you said, once everything had calmed down. “Doesn’t that mean he’s gonna look like Jimmy?”
Cas shook his head. “No. Even my true visage has its own appearance unique to me.”
“So, you’re saying,” Cas passed the baby over to you and you took him, holding him the way you used to hold Sam when he was that small. “that you were pregnant for like five years?”
Sam snorted next to you. You’d forgotten he was even in the room.
Cas looked at him then back at you. “I wasn’t pregnant, Dean. Angels don’t have the reproductive organs required to conceive and give birth to a child.”
“So where did he come from?” You and Sam said together.
“I – it’s complicated and I’m not sure you —”
“I get it, Cas,” You said, holding up your hand and stopping him from explaining everything you’d rather not know. “It’s a long story.”
The baby squirmed in your arms, stretching his tiny arms and flexing his fingers. You cooed at him, saying, “Shh, I’ve got you,” and rocking him until you were sure he was sleeping again.
“So does he have a name?” Sam asked, turning away from to you look at Cas.
“Yes,” Cas said. A pause hung in the air like Cas expected you to be able to read his mind.
“And it is?” Sam pried.
“Dashiel Coffee,” If you had had anything to drink then you’re sure it would have been spat half way across the room.
“What?” You nearly yelled. The baby whined and Sam laughed. You kicked Sam. “How the hell did you come up with that?”
“I combined all of our names to make one and then picked something we all had in common: coffee.” Cas said it like it was the most logical thing in the world to do, like everyone named their children that way.
Sam was nearly rolling on the floor in hysterics.
“No,” you said firmly. “Hell no. We are not naming our kid something that stupid.” Cas stared you down in a way that let you know you’d lost this battle. But you weren’t backing down this time. No way in hell were you setting your kid up to be the laughing stock of every school in the country. “You popped the kid out, but I get to name him.”
“How about Samasean Blackcar?” Sam choked out, still laughing. “Or Camdean Badbeer?”
“Shut up and hold the kid,” you demanded, handing him the baby before he could argue.
Sam adjusted the baby in his huge arms and you almost sighed at how awesome it all looked. You turned to Cas. “Look, we’re not naming him Dash-whatever the hell you called him, okay?”
Cas fitted you with a look, like he was confused and angry, maybe both. Then he took a breath and asked, “What, then?”
“I dunno, just, something normal. Like Nick or John.”
“I like Nick,” Cas said.
“Okay, good. We’re getting somewhere. Now for a middle name.” You didn’t know the first thing about naming another person, except when you had to give them a nickname, which required them already having a name. But you remembered something. “Usually humans give their kids middle names after their relatives, like how Sam and I are named after our grandparents.” Cas gave a curt nod. “So, I’m thinking that maybe his – Nick’s – middle name could be one of your brothers’ names or something.” You rubbed the back of your neck, hard as your face heated up. “Just not Balthazar, Uriel, or Raphael,” you added quickly.
Cas tilted his head the way he usually did when he was thinking of how complex humanity really was. “Does Gabriel work?” he asked.
“Nicholas Gabriel Winchester,” you said, testing it out. The baby cooed when you said it and turned his head to you, opening his eyes sleepily. You smiled. “Hey, Mikey, I think he likes it.”
“It does have a nice ring to it,” Sam said. You had to agree, it was a pretty awesome name. “Here,” Sam handed Nick to you and stood up from the bed. “One of us has got to go to the store if this kid has any hope of living to his first birthday.”
You nodded and sat down on one of the beds. “You know what we need, Mr. Mom?”
“I’m sure I can figure it out.” Then he grabbed the car keys and left, closing the door softly so he didn’t startle Nick.
When Sam was gone Cas sat on the bed across from you, wearing a look of complete confusion as he stared at your guys’ son.
“What’s wrong?” you asked.
Cas looked up at you and said, “Who’s Mikey?”
You laughed and Nick started crying.
When he meets the Blutbod, you can’t sleep. Dean’s a bag of rocks next to you, out cold with no sign of returning to the living any time soon. But your entire body aches and your mind races. You can feel Nick’s confusion as if it were your own. He knows what he is now, at least what the creatures call him. He’s special, he’s been told, the last of a dying breed.
Only half the truth.
No one tells him he’s a Nephilim, they use the word Grimm instead. It’s easier to remember, you suppose, tastes sweeter on the tongue. But twenty years down the road the name will have changed again to whatever society deems comfortable.
So for now, your son is a Grimm. He can see the true forms of the monsters that inhabit the Earth. Demons and Angels too. The light will never be too bright, he will never be blinded or sickened, and no one will ever be able to hide from him. It is a burden only few people carry and you wish more than anything that he was not one of them. But he is and you can do nothing more than watch him as he figures it out on his own.
His heartbeat thrums in your chest next to your own, too fast and erratic. Something is wrong.
You get up from the bed and pull on Dean’s jeans and t-shirt. You don’t bother with shoes as you walk outside. You close your eyes and listen for Nick, letting his heartbeat lead you to where ever he is.
When you open your eyes you’re in a forest like the one the woman was killed in earlier in the week. You can hear the Blutbod talking and Nick responding, but you can’t make out what they’re saying. Then suddenly the Blutbod runs past you and away from Nick. Your son’s fear spikes and makes your head hurt.
You move quickly, closer to Nick. You don’t want him to be alone right now, even if he will never know you’re with him. You can’t interfere, you know that, but no one ever said you couldn’t stand next to him until he learned the ropes.
So you do just that. You walk with him back to a bridge made from a fallen tree and wait with him until his friend shows up to assist him. Then you walk with the both of them back to the cottage in the woods. You’re three steps behind Nick everywhere he goes, careful not to touch him or his partner.
They both talk with the suspect, a different Blutbod, more evil than the one that ran away. The Blutbod plays its game with them and nearly gets away with it too. But Nick’s partner is smarter than you gave him credit for. And suddenly they are fighting and shooting and killing the Blutbod in rapid succession. They both run back into the house to find a missing little girl once the creature is dead, and you’re right behind Nick again.
His fear is gone, replaced by a fierce determination that reminds you of Dean. You can feel his need to find the girl, to be right for once. You want to do something to show him where the girl is, but you don’t have to. Nick sees the spilled vase before you do.
You smile when he moves the rug and opens the trap door leading to where the little girl is hidden. And when he carries the child up the steps and out of the basement you realize that there is no mistaking – he is Dean’s son.
“Why? What’s going on?”
“Nick’s in trouble.”
“What do you mean?”
“Poisoned, I think. He’s in the hospital. We gotta go.”
“We can’t interfere, Dean. The rules -”
“Screw the rules, Cas. Our kid is gonna die if we keep listening to those dicks!”
“Dean, stop. Look at me! Stop. We have to let him do this on his own.”
“He’s not going to die. They won’t allow it. You know that.”
“I – fuck, Cas. I just want him back. I’m tired of these stupid games.”
“I know. I am too. Just —”
“Have faith. Yeah… I know.”
The dream came and went again and again. Nick stood in a forest, watching her as she ran from the thing that tried to kill his aunt. It happened the same every time before, but tonight was different. Tonight Nick finally noticed them standing in the distance. Two men, just fuzzy enough to be familiar without being distinct. He knew them, he could feel it.
So he walked to them, slowly at first and then he started running. They stayed away from him, moving further away the faster he ran. He called out to them, begged them to come back.
“Why did you leave me?” He yelled, not knowing why he was even asking it.
They didn’t answer and he didn’t honestly expect them to. But somewhere, deep in his chest, he ached, wanting nothing more than to fall to his knees and cry. He couldn’t catch them and it hurt.
The men stopped and so did Nick. They all stared at each other as Nick tried to catch his breath. The men opened their mouths and a single word filled the silence, chilling Nick’s bones.
“Winchester,” they said.
Then everything shifted and scattered. And Nick woke up.