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Like Son, Like Father

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In a nondescript bar, in a nondescript town, somewhere in the most nondescript part of the country you could ever find, an average sort of man in a well-kept suit sat and drank his whiskey just like any other man in a nice suit would after a hard day at work. He didn’t get loud and tell everyone within earshot about how his boss was an idiot, or give the women at the bar lewd glances and suggestive sneers, he just quietly enjoyed his drink, but with a slump to his shoulders that spoke volumes. The bartender took one look at him and knew his story right away: Middle management, at best, or perhaps sales, and either he was a putz who deserved what he got, or his boss actually was a jerk; it was too soon to tell. Either way, the bartender thanked his lucky stars the guy wasn’t going to be trouble and diverted his attention to the customers that would be.

The door opened, and another average sort of man in a well-kept suit entered the bar, but stopped just inside the door. Our man at the bar looked up, and when he recognized the man at the door, he stood up from his stool and his eyes turned as black as coal. The man at the door stiffened, and a long, silver angel blade dropped from his sleeve into his hand. Demon Eyes let his eyes return to their normal shade and sat back down at the bar with a quiet huff. Angel Blade’s eyes widened in surprise, then he gave an almost unnoticeable shrug and joined Demon Eyes at the bar with surprise and curiosity marking his features. The demon gave the angel a nervous glance, but kept a non-threatening posture, folding his hands around the drink in front of him on the bar.

“Hey,” said the demon quietly, still maintaining a tense, but non-threatening posture.

“Hey,” replied the angel, getting settled nervously in the stool next to the demon.

“Pretty bad in Heaven?”

The angel relaxed a bit. “Yep. How ‘bout downstairs?”

The demon huffed in annoyance. “Yeah, don’t get me started.”

“Alarms go off?”

“You wouldn’t believe.”

“I know, right? Us, too.” The bartender placed a drink in front of the angel, and the two men relaxed into the comfortable banter that is customary when two people live similar lives with similar problems.

“Something’s changed,” the demon said, shaking his head.

“Something’s here,” the angel replied, taking a sip of his whiskey.

“It’s big. Big as God. Big as Lucifer.”

“They doing anything about it on your end?”

The demon scoffed. “Zip. How ‘bout upstairs,” the demon asked, looking at the ceiling.

“Ah, business as usual.” The angel shook his head and the demon grimaced. “You’d think there’d be an executive order, but….”

“The King’s holed up doing who knows what,” the demon interrupted.

The angel nodded. “Since Hannah died, Heaven’s pretty much been a suck sandwich.”

“You know who gets squeezed?” The demon waved his drink in annoyance. “It’s grunts like us.”

“Yeah, punch a clock, you’re expendable,” the angel agreed.

The two men raised their glasses and took a long drink.

The demon shook his head and frowned. “You know, our two operations will always butt heads. That’s the set up.” He sighed. “But this? We could be out of work.”

The angel nods and huffs. “Yeah. We get knocked out, it takes over.”

Shaking his head in frustration, the demon sighed. “Someone’s gotta do something.”

“Someone?” The angel raised his eyes and looked questioningly at the demon.

“Yeah. If management won’t, it’s up to the little guy.”

The angel sighed nervously, but nodded his head in agreement and took another drink. “Yeah. I hear ya.”

The demon raised his glass to the angel and took a drink. “Power to the people, my friend.”

As both men lowered their glasses, the angel gave another half shrug and leaned toward the demon. “Well, not actually people.”

The demon nodded. “You know what I mean.” The angel nodded in agreement.

Both men drank quietly for a moment, shaking their heads and contemplating the lack of control they had over their own fates.

“I’d be willing to bet the next soul I collect that it’s the Winchesters again.” The demon waved to the bartender for another round while the angel cocked an eyebrow at the demon.

“Nobody would take that bet. It’s always the Winchesters, man. When was the last time something happened and it wasn’t the Winchesters?”

The demon shrugged in defeat and stared into his glass. “It’d be nice if we could take the Winchesters out, once and for all. Wipe them off the playing field. Maybe then we could get back to just doing our damn jobs, you know?”

The angel raised his glass. “I hear ya, man. Hannah was keeping us out of their mess since she took over, but now that she’s gone, you can bet we’re going to go back to cleaning up after the Winchesters again. Without them, our lives would be sweet.”

The demon nodded, then narrowed his eyes in thought. “What if we could get rid of them? Or maybe, keep them from ever having been a problem in the first place?”

The angel furrowed his brow and sat back and away from the demon. “Get rid of them? Seriously? You think we could, when even Lucifer failed?”

The demon shook his head. “Well, not now, when they’re in top form, but what if we could get to them before they were hunters? Wipe them off the chessboard before they even know there’s a game?”

The angel stared at the demon, then finished his drink with an audible gulp. “Are you talking going back in time? Getting to them when they’re kids?” The demon nodded with the expression of one who fully believes he has answered the greatest question ever asked. “But what about the Apocalypse? Without the Winchesters, the Apocalypse happens.”

The demon leaned toward the angel conspiratorially. “I don’t know what alarms you have going off in Heaven, but the screaming I’m hearing from the Cage in Hell makes me think whatever is happening now will make the Apocalypse look like Sunday dinner.”

The angel’s eyes widened, and he welcomed the refill the bartender poured. Downing half the glass with his eyes still bugged out, the angel considered the demon’s words.

“Worse than the Apocalypse?”

The demon nodded. “If you heard the sounds that I’ve heard coming from the jailbirds, you’d be just as freaked out as I am. It’s gotta be worse than the Apocalypse. And nobody in upper management is doing a damn thing about it.”

Fear was evident in the angel’s eyes. “What can we do about it? We’re grunts.”

The demon looked around to make sure no one was listening. “I have an idea, and with your angel juice, I think we could pull it off.”

The angel finished off his drink and set the glass down on the bar.

“Okay. Talk.”

Chapter Text

Setting the pie on the kitchen counter to cool, you wiped your hands on your apron, then took it off and hung it on the hook that Dean had installed just for you on the back of the pantry door. He said it was because he was tired of finding your apron strewn around the kitchen making the place look messy when he’d just cleaned it, but you could see right through his gruff façade. He had hoped that if he had done something to make you happy that you would make him a pie. You chuckled to yourself and ignored the warm feeling you got inside at the thought of the smile you hoped you’d get when Dean saw the pie.

You’d been hunting and living with the Winchesters for about a year, now, and things had never been better, in your opinion. Sure, the Darkness was loose, but the Mark was gone from Dean’s arm and Cas was recovering slowly from the spell Rowena had cast on him. Seeing Dean laugh and smile like it was normal warmed your heart, and the relief you saw on Sam’s face almost brought tears to your eyes. You and Dean had finally come to an easy sort of peace with each other, and you hoped it would last this time. You’d take anything this Darkness had to hand out if it meant your boys were all doing well.

The brothers had just spent a few days in Oregon chasing what Dean eventually started calling “werepires,” and were due back any minute. Cas was resting in Sam’s room, trying to understand Netflix, and you had decided to enjoy having some time off from hunting and worrying about your little family by trying your hand at being domestic. You’d organized, dusted, cleaned, vacuumed, and mopped all the high traffic rooms, and then did some food shopping and tried your hand at cooking meals and freezing them. Baking had always come easily to you, but cooking was a whole different challenge. You had recently discussed doing things like this with Dean, and together you’d cobbled together some recipes you thought might do well. Having a home where you could do this kind of thing was brand new to you, and somewhat new to Dean, too. You both were a little nervous, but excited to see how it would turn out. Not that he’d ever admit that in words, or anything, but you’d learned how to read the elder Winchester pretty quickly.

You were sitting at the table, flipping through a cookbook you had found in the pantry, when you heard a rustle by the doorway.

 “Hello, Bunny. Just who I was hoping to see.”

 “Fuzzy trucker!!” You jumped up at the sound of the snarky English accent. You glared at Crowley and took a deep breath to settle your heart after the scare. “Must you sneak up on me? Sheesh! What do you want, Crowley?” You sighed and put on an annoyed front, though the King of Hell still made you a little nervous. Just because the Winchesters had him on speed dial didn’t mean you had to be his bestie.

“What? No pleasantries? Not even a ‘how do you do?’” Crowley huffed. “I thought you had better manners, my dear, especially considering your particularity about foul language.” Taking note of your glare, Crowley sighed. “Fine. Where’s your angel? This concerns him, too.”

You sent a quick prayer to Cas while continuing to hold a level glare on Crowley. “On his way, I imagine. And the boys will be back any minute, if you’d like to wait. I know Dean’s been anxious to talk to you since you disappeared with that baby.”

Crowley took a seat across from you at the table and smiled his most sarcastic smile. “I’m sure he is, but that’s not why I’m here.”

Cas appeared in the doorway with a concerned look on his face. “Are you okay, Y/N?”

You nodded and pointed to Crowley. “He says he needs to talk to us.” Cas sat down next to you, also keeping a level eye on Crowley.

“Dean and Sam will be back any minute, and they are anxious to talk with you, too, Crowley. Why don’t you start by telling us what you’ve done with the baby?”

Crowley held up a hand and shook his head. “Never mind that, we have more important matters to discuss. Rumor has it that one of mine and one of yours have teamed up to take out the Winchesters. Normally, this isn’t something I would object to, but it’s the way I hear they’re going about it that I have a problem with.”

“All the more reason they should be here, Crowley. Let me at least get them on the phone.” You pulled out your phone, just to have Crowley snatch it from your hand.

“No. This is not something they can fix. They can’t know about this until it’s taken care of.”

This time, Cas interrupted. “Just tell us, then.”

“A trusted source told me that a lower-level demon and a generic soldier angel have joined forces with the intention of taking out the Winchesters before they ever become the flannel-wrapped nightmares that they are.”

Your brain short-circuited for a moment. Before?

“You mean, they’re going back in time to kill them before they become hunters?” You were thankful Cas had the presence of mind to speak, because this was already blowing your mind.

“They are smart enough to know that an angel and a demon going back to kill the Winchesters would trip all sorts of alarms, both upstairs and in Hell. What I’ve heard is that they’re planning a subtler approach, probably by killing Daddy Winchester, with killing them being the backup plan.”

Both you and Cas stared at Crowley, letting the implications run through your mind. You had read the Supernatural books by Carver Edlund, and you knew all about what growing up as a Winchester was like. Your own life had mirrored theirs, in a way. Your mom got into hunting when you were young when a shapeshifter killed your dad and tried to kill you and her. Your mom had fought, luckily with a set of silver candlesticks that had been a wedding present, and your hunting life had begun. When you met the Winchesters, you had bonded over stories of always being the new kid at school and different ways to make mac and cheese out of a box so it never got boring. What if John Winchester had died right after Mary? What would have happened to Sam and Dean? Foster care, probably. Maybe adoption. Something closer to a normal life. No learning how to shoot by the age of six, or memorizing the incantation needed to make holy water before they knew their times tables. If they became hunters at all, it would be much later in life, and they’d be far less prepared for it.

Cas spoke first, surprising you with his words. “The world would end.” Your eyes flew to Cas. He looked back at you helplessly.

“Precisely,” said Crowley. “Take out Daddy Winchester, the boys live a normal life, and when Azazel comes for Sam at Stanford, Sam makes an excellent king. The only reason we’re all sitting here right now even having this conversation is because John Winchester was a crappy father, and therefore created the psychotically, irrationally, erotically codependent bond between the two of them that made them do everything they did, which happens to have derailed the damn Apocalypse.”

You and Cas sat there, dumbfounded.

Crowley turned to you. “This is where you come in, my darling. You need to go back and stop them from taking out Daddy.”

“Me? I’m not as good a fighter as either one of the brothers! Wouldn’t it make more sense to send them back?”

Cas shook his head. “We can’t send them back to interfere with their own timeline. The two versions of each of them being in the same place at the same time could cause all kinds of alarms to go off and attract the very attention we want to avoid. If past-Heaven finds out that someone from the future is trying to make changes in their time, they might decide that it’s in their best interests to intercede in the Winchesters’ lives when they’re young to ensure the outcome they want. Just as the angel and demon causing this need to stay under the radar, so do we.”

“What if you went, Cas? You know what’s at stake and how to deal with everything. You should be the one, not me!”

“Any angel on earth at that time would be noticed immediately. As soon as I arrived, alarms would go off.” Cas paused with a sigh. “It has to be you, Y/N.”

You sat there, looking back and forth between the angel and the demon, panic rising in your throat. Go back in time and take out an angel AND a demon? “I don’t know if I can take out both an angel and a demon together! One or the other, fine, but both? And how do I get back there? This is a bad idea, guys. I’m not sure I’m up to this. You’re basically asking me to save the damn world! I know I hunt with the Winchesters, but I never signed up for this!” Your breaths were coming faster, and your heart rate was rising.

Cas sensed your panic rising and took your hands in his, forcing you to look into his eyes. You felt his calming presence wash over you, and your breathing and heart rate slowed. “You can do this, Y/N. We’ll make sure you have everything you need. Besides, the angel won’t be able to go back for the same reason I can’t go back, so you’ll only have the demon to deal with, and you’ve handled demons before without a problem. We’ll find and take care of the angel on this end.”

Staring into the calm of Cas’ eyes, you took a deep breath and accepted your fate.

“All right. How do we do this?”

Chapter Text

Half an hour later, you had a bag packed with clothing and weapons, an angel blade in your jacket, and an odd-looking rock hanging from a chain in your hand.

“We don’t know exactly when on the timeline the demon is going back to, so I’m going to send you back to a few days before when we think he’ll be there.” Cas’s hands were on your shoulders, still sending calming warmth through your body.

Crowley waved to the rock on the chain. “Keep the charm on you at all times. That is the thread that connects you to our time. The spell we’re using to send you will automatically bring you back when the job’s done and the timeline is restored, but only if you’re touching the charm. Don’t. Lose. The charm.” Crowley put the chain around your neck, and patted the charm as it sat on your chest, chuckling when you swatted his hand away from your breasts.

You looked at Cas pleadingly. “Can’t you just boop me back and forth like you did when you sent Dean and Sam back those other times?”

Cas frowned. “If I did that, your time would be limited, and since we are unsure how long you’ll need to be there, that won’t work. Also, this way, you’ll know when the job is done. If you’re still there, you’ll know you still have work to do.”

You looked suspiciously at the rock that was now hanging around your neck. “How does it know? I mean, how do we know it’s not going to leave me there, or cause something to happen that’s only in Crowley’s best interests?” You cocked an eyebrow at the demon, and he sighed melodramatically.

“Believe me, Bunny, this is the only timeline possible where I live, so I have a vested interest.” Crowley looked to Cas for backup, and Cas shrugged and nodded. “When it’s about to send you back, it will get warm. When you feel it get warm, you’ve got about ten minutes or so to get somewhere inconspicuous before you disappear and show up back here. This isn’t an exact science, so when I say ten minutes, I really have no idea, so just move when the charm heats up, okay?”

You took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “All right, then. I go, I save John Winchester and the boys, and then I magically poof back here when the job’s done. Seems simple, right?” You looked back and forth between the angel and demon, wishing the looks on their faces were more encouraging.

Cas reached over the table and pulled a small photo out of the pile of spell ingredients spread out there. “Here’s a picture of John and the boys when they were about the right age so you know who you’re looking for.” You took the picture and carefully slid it into your pocket, knowing how precious such a memento really was. You smiled up at Cas, and he wrapped you into a warm hug. For a moment, you remembered the first hug he had ever given you, and how awkward it had been, and you couldn’t help but marvel at how far you’d come in just a year. When he let you go, he held your shoulders for a moment, giving you a reassuring smile. “You can do this.”

Nodding and sighing, you stepped away from the angel and grabbed your bag. “All right. Let’s kick it in the butt.”

Crowley stepped up to the table and added the last few spell ingredients to the bowl on the table. He grabbed the charm hanging from your neck in one hand, making you grimace as his hand paused on your breast for a moment too long, and lit a match off the table with his other. As he read the incantation, you heard the bunker door slam shut and turned your head to see the Winchesters rushing down the stairs. You heard the “poof” as the match hit the bowl, and the world dissolved around you in a puff of smoke.

When the smoke cleared, you were outdoors on a warm, spring day. The sun filtered through some trees onto a playground where a couple of small children were playing. The playground was next to a motel, with a diner on the other side of the motel. Your eyes swept around you, looking for any signs of where, or even when, you might be. You were drawn from your chaotic thoughts by a deep voice calling across the playground.

“Dean! Stay over here where I can see you, son.”

You followed the voice and saw him. John Winchester. For a moment, your breath caught in your throat as you took him in. Although you had seen pictures of Mary, and knew she was gorgeous, the boys had obviously gotten their rugged handsomeness from their dad. About three days’ worth of beard shaded his jaw, with just a hint of grey scattered throughout. His dark hair was mussed, like he’d been running his hands through it, but it looked good on him. Broad shoulders and muscular arms stretched the shirt he was wearing, and tight jeans covered his long legs stretched out in front of him. He was sitting at a picnic table by the playground, changing a diaper on what must have been baby Sam. Giving constant glances to the mini-Dean running around a merry-go-round, he expertly distracted the wriggly baby while switching out the dirty diaper for a clean one and wiping the tender bottom. In record time, Sam was diapered and dressed and stumbling across the playground towards his big brother. John quickly wrapped up the dirty diaper, sent it flying directly into a nearby trash can, and packed up everything else into the diaper bag. Across the playground, little Dean caught his brother before he could trip over a rock and set him on the merry-go-round. Dean made sure Sammy was safely sitting on the platform before grabbing one of the bars and pulling it as he ran to make it spin, making little Sammy squeal with delight. While you watched with your heart in your throat, Dean jumped off the ground onto the spinning platform next to Sam, holding onto the bar and laughing loudly with his little brother. As the merry-go-round slowed to a stop, Sam tugged on his brother’s shirt, and you heard his little voice say, “De! De!” Dean happily hopped off and started spinning it around again, apparently willing to do anything to keep Sam laughing.

“Well, you don’t look like a pedophile or a kidnapper, so if you tell me why you’re staring at my kids, and promise to leave peacefully, I won’t call the cops.”

The deep, gravelly voice startled you out of your reverie, and you were surprised to notice there was a tear making its way down your cheek. You looked up to see none other than John Winchester standing right next to you, giving you the same look you had seen Dean give jerks in bars when they wouldn’t leave you alone. He was tall, taller than Dean, but possibly not as tall as Sam, with the same magnetic charisma his sons had. Your breath caught in your throat, and you stepped back, shocked to see John so close to you. How many years had you been a hunter, and you completely missed his approach? You quickly wiped the tear from your face and tried to gather your composure.

You opened your mouth, and nothing came out.

What do you tell him? “Hi, my name’s Y/N, and I’m from the future, come back to save you from a demon that wants to kill you so your sons won’t derail the Apocalypse and release a pre-Biblical force that we think will destroy the earth.” Yeah, that would go over well.

You quickly tried to gather your thoughts. It’s Spring, Sammy’s in diapers, not speaking much, he’s probably about a year old, so John knows there’s more to the world than he thought, but not much more than that. Tread carefully, Y/N!

You cleared your throat and tried to give John your steadiest gaze. “I know about Mary, and I’ve been sent to help.”

John’s face blanched, he straightened up, took a step back, and glanced protectively at his sons.

“We have reason to believe that there’s something coming for you, John, and I’ve been sent to protect you and the boys.”

John took a hitching breath in, and then exhaled while he rubbed a hand over his face, watching his sons play with concern etched in his eyes. Just like Dean. He turned to you again with fear and anger radiating from him. “Who’s we? Why should I believe you? I’ve been looking for answers and help for six months, and nobody can tell me anything. Now, suddenly, you’re here to protect me? Why?”

Your heart stopped. “Because, I…” Because the world will end if I don’t. Because I love your sons. Because an Angel of the Lord and the King of Hell in thirty-odd years told me it had to be me. “…I, uh…” You wiped a hand over your own face, unconsciously mimicking John, though the gesture was learned from his son. “I’m not sure how to answer that one.” You looked at John helplessly.

John’s eyes hardened while your brain spun. “You can’t even answer a simple question, yet you expect me to accept your help?”

You took another deep breath and tried not to let your fear show. “You and your sons are important, John. Someone knows that and wants to take you out of the game before it even starts. I’ve been sent to make sure that doesn’t happen, and I’m staying here, with you, until the job’s done.” Now that you had gotten going, you found your momentum and kept talking. “Now, I can do my job the easy way, with your help, or I can do it the hard way, which I’m guessing would include camping out outside your motel room door with salt in one hand and holy water in the other.” John’s questioning face stopped you. I thought Missouri would have taught him that much by now. “You don’t know about salt and holy water?” John half shook his head, but kept his eyes trained on you, with just occasional glances at the boys. “Okay. In that case, I have a deal for you. You allow me to do my job, and I’ll teach you what I can about protecting yourself and Dean and Sam from what’s out there.” And hope to God, if He’s listening, that I’m not teaching him more than he’s supposed to know.

John let his eyes leave your face to rest on the boys as they moved to the swing set and Dean began pushing Sam in the baby swings. With a sigh, he turned to you, his right hand outstretched.

“All right.” You shook his hand firmly, and noted a flash of what could have been either surprise or respect. “What’s your name?”

“Y/N. Good to meet you, sir. I’ve heard good things.” John’s eyes widened in surprise and he chuckled self-consciously.

“Really? I thought I’d burned every bridge I ever had by now.” Crap. Gotta learn to keep my flipping mouth shut.

“How about we sit down and you can tell me what you know so far?” 

Chapter Text

Finding out what John knew didn’t take long, because he didn’t know much. Missouri had told him the basics, there’s more out there than he could ever know or guess at, and gave him some charms and hex bags for protection. Half of what she’d told him, though, he wasn’t sure he believed. You watched him as he spoke, and took in his details. His eyes would almost startle you every time they met yours because they were the same eyes that made you warm whenever Dean looked at you. His intensity and the way he studied you reminded you of Sam, though. He immediately felt familiar because everything he did and said reminded you of his sons. As he finished telling you what little information he had, he caught you staring at the boys again. This time, Dean was helping little Sam up a small slide, then running to the bottom to catch him. You wondered when Dean would get a chance to slide down it himself.

“You keep staring at my boys like they mean something to you, Y/N.” John’s voice startled you out of your reverie, and you turned back to him, hoping to hide some of the emotion you were feeling.

“From what I understand, Missouri knew her stuff, so I won’t doubt anything she gave you or taught you. All I can do is teach you what I know as a hunter.”

“Nice change of subject, Y/N. I’ll let it go this time.” John’s eyes seem to go straight into your soul and you swallowed nervously. “You’re a hunter? Like deer and shit?”

You snorted a laugh, and then covered your face self-consciously. “Heh, never shot a deer in my life. I’ve taken out more than enough vampires, werewolves, and demons, though. I hunt monsters, John. Everything you ever heard about that goes bump in the night? That’s what I hunt.”

John nodded slowly, studying your face in between glances at his sons. “You would hunt whatever it was that killed my wife?” His voice was quiet and your heart ached for him.

“Yes. I would.” John seemed relieved to hear that for some reason, and a small smile broke onto his face. “And I’m not the only one. There are lots of hunters out there. We help each other. That’s why I’m here.” You chanced another glance at little Dean and Sam and worked to suppress a smile when you saw Dean wiping some dirt from Sam’s face.

“Who are you, Y/N? I get the feeling this is more than just a job to you.” John’s eyes were steady as he held your frightened gaze.

“I’m a hunter who’s here to help. Nothing else matters.”

John’s face closed down in frustration, and you watched him swallow his curiosity. You hoped his fear of pissing you off and having you leave would keep him from asking more questions about you.

“Do you know what killed my wife?”

Horse puckey. You groaned inwardly and tried not to panic. The one thing you knew John didn’t find out until much later, and couldn’t find out just yet, and he had to ask. You stared at his face in panic for a long moment, trying to come up with an answer. He quickly realized that you knew, but wouldn’t tell him. He huffed in anger and shook his head before standing up and walking away.

“John, wait!” He stopped walking, but didn’t turn around. You got up and stood behind him while you gathered your thoughts. “Please understand that there are things I can’t tell you. If I tell you, you’re as good as dead, and that’s what I’m here to prevent.” You sighed, and saw John’s shoulders sag. “I will tell you as much as I can, but I need you to accept it when I say that I can’t tell you everything.” John turned around and the frustration on his face reminded you so much of Dean your heart almost broke. “If I tell you, you’ll go after it, you’ll die, and I will have failed. Please, John.”

John sighed. “Alright. Alright. I get it. You’re right. I would. And as you pointed out earlier, I don’t even know about salt and holy water, so I have a lot to learn.”

Just then, little Dean and Sam walked up to John and Dean reached for John’s hand, with Sam holding tight to Dean’s other hand. Dean looked at you suspiciously, then looked up at his father with questions in his eyes.

Squatting down so you were closer to his level, you put your right hand out towards Dean. “Hey there, big guy. My name’s Y/N. You’re Dean, right?” Dean gave his father a worried look, but when John nodded, he let go of John’s hand and gave you a firm handshake and a nod. “Wow! That’s a serious handshake, there, Dean. You keep that up and you’ll go far in life.” You turned to Sam, who just tried to hide behind Dean even more. “It’s okay, Sam. You’re right to be nervous around strangers, but I won’t bite ya. I’m sure we’ll be fast friends once you get used to me.”

Out of the corner of your eye, you saw Sam give you another suspicious look, and you worked hard to stifle a giggle. Just like the Sam I know. John picked up little Sammy and took back Dean’s hand, saying something you didn’t quite catch about feeding the kids lunch and motioning for you to follow him with your bag. As you followed the Winchesters, your mind wandered back to the day you had met the brothers.

 

You had driven all the way to Durham, Washington because of reports of animal attacks where the hearts were missing. You suspected werewolves, but had to do the leg work, first. It had taken you two days to get there, only to see on the news that morning that several bodies were found in a cabin, all stabbed to death. You suspected someone had gotten there before you and taken care of everything, and when you looked in the parking lot of your motel as the sun rose over the bar next door, you saw proof. The infamous black 1967 Chevy Impala. The Winchesters. Parked right next to your sensible Toyota. Figured.

You had never run into the Winchesters before, and you didn’t want to run into them now. To put it in actual hunting terms, they were big game hunters, chasing after big cats in Africa or grizzly bears in Alaska. By comparison, you were shooting rabbits and squirrels in your back yard. If the Winchesters were here, you wanted to be as far away from here as possible.

Rushing through your morning routine, you packed quickly and checked out of the room by throwing the key at the girl behind the desk as you ran to your car. You dumped your duffel in the trunk, and as you walked around the side of your car to get in the driver’s door, you saw it. Flat tire.

The urge to scream every cuss word you knew hit you hard, but your Mama’s training got the better of you. “FUZZY TRUCKER,” you screamed, just loud enough to vent your frustration, but hopefully not loud enough to attract attention. You kicked the flat tire hard, and then spun around and stomped the pain out of your foot.

“Well, that was kind of a stupid move, because now you have a flat tire AND a sore foot.”

You spun back around to face your car, and standing next to it was an underwear model topping out at over six feet tall. He had a smirk on his face and a gleam in his eye that both charmed and aggravated you. You couldn’t quite tell if he was trying to get into your pants, or if he suffered from what you liked to call “Little Lady Syndrome.” Or maybe both. LLS was commonly found in men who thought women didn’t know anything about their particular field of expertise, and was easily identified as soon as the man opened his mouth and said something like, “Well, you see, little lady....” Your experience with mechanics had taught you that almost all of them suffered from it.

You squinted at the man and frowned, trying to size him up. Taller than you, which was saying something since you were taller than most, short, light brown hair, stunning green eyes, and lips that really belonged in a fashion magazine. Wait, why were you looking at his lips? This guy was about to lay down some serious LLS talk, and probably only to get you in bed! A small voice tried to say that you wouldn’t mind it that much, but you squashed that voice right quick.

Moving back to your trunk, you glared at the man while you spoke. “Well, I may have a sore foot, but I feel a little better, and didn’t break anything, so I’d say I’m still ahead.” You pulled your bags from the trunk, lifted the false bottom to dig out the jack, tire iron, and spare, and started working on changing the tire. The man kept standing there, just watching you while you jacked up the car. He didn’t say anything, just watched you with his arms crossed over his chest, leaning against the infamous Impala. You did your level best not to glance at him while you worked, but the way he stood there, all cool and showing off his muscled arms under his shirts and his lean hips in those tight jeans, was downright distracting. You did okay until you hit the second lug nut.

It wouldn’t budge.

You pushed and you pulled, you kicked and you grunted, but it wouldn’t budge.

“Daggone gorram piece of poop!” You considered kicking the tire again, but stopped yourself before you got too far into the swing and just stomped your foot again, instead. You heard a stifled snort come from the man leaning on the Impala, and wondered just how dead this guy would be if Dean Winchester caught him leaning on his precious car.

You gave the guy a stern look and pointed at him while you scolded him. “I don’t need to hear a single word from the peanut gallery, thank you very much. But if I were you, I’d get off that car before the owner sees you leaning on it. I hear he’s particular about his baby, and nobody who touches it lives to tell the tale.”

You went back to working on the lug nuts, opting to try the others before going back to the one that was stuck.

“Is that right? Well, gotta respect a man who keeps his car in such good condition. I take it you know him?”

Fighting with the other lug nuts, you managed to get another one moving. “Not personally, but I know of him, and he’s not someone to mess with.”

You heard the man chuckle this time, and when you looked up, you saw the smug look on his face as he twirled the keys to his car in his hand. You looked at him leaning against the Impala, saw the look on his face, and it hit you like a ton of bricks. Tall, playboy looks, hunter clothes, cocky attitude…crap on a cracker!

“Holy mother of God and all her wacky nephews, you’re Dean Winchester, aren’t you?”

Dean smirked and nodded, still fiddling with the keys in his hand. “That I am.”

“Poop! Why can’t I get a freaking break today?!” You shook your head and went back to loosening lug nuts, though your earlier need for speed was now gone.

“You know, I could help you with that, if you’d like. I mean, I know you don’t need the help, but I’m here, so I might as well.” You squinted at Dean, sizing him up, and frowned.

“If it gets me away from wherever you are faster, then I’ll take all the help I can get.”

Dean’s eyes widened and his eyebrows rose almost to his hairline. “Excuse me?”

“Don’t take it personally, but if you’re here, that means something big’s going down, and I want no part of it. I’m small potatoes. I’m not built to fight the big bads of the world. I’m strictly your run-of-the-mill hunter who takes out vampires and werewolves and vengeful spirits. I so much as smell sulfur and I run the other way. You? You’re the big time, and if you’re here, then I don’t wanna be.”

Dean nodded with a sad, but understanding smile. “I can understand that.” He put his keys back in his pocket and walked over to where you were still struggling with the lug nuts. “Let me help, then, please.”

Handing him the tire iron, you backed away and let him do his thing. As he was manhandling the tire iron, you looked over towards the motel and saw an even taller man with shaggy brown hair coming out of one of the rooms and seeming to look for something. Guessing that this was Sam Winchester, you waved him over, causing him to straighten up and give you a suspicious, calculating once over as he approached. “I think your brother’s looking for you, Dean. I waved him over, but he looks like he’s ready to pull a gun on me. Mind standing up a second and letting him know I’m not a vetala?”

Dean smiled and chuckled at you as he stood up, then turned to his brother and gave him a reassuring nod. Sam visibly relaxed at seeing his brother okay, and gave you a tentative smile. Dean ducked back down to continue working on your tire while you greeted Sam with an outstretched hand.

“You must be Sam Winchester. I’m Y/N. I came to town looking to hunt some werewolves, but now that I see you two are here, I’m off like a prom dress. Well, I will be as soon as Dean manages to help me change my tire.” Dean stifled a chuckle at you while he was struggling with the stuck lug nut, and Sam gave Dean an odd look before releasing your hand with a smile.

“Yeah, we took care of the problem last night. Sorry you came all this way for nothing.”

“Hey, no skin off my nose. I have no home base, so this motel is as good, or as bad if you want to get technical, as any other.” You shrugged your shoulders and Sam nodded in agreement.

Just then, Dean’s arm jerked as the stuck lug nut finally shifted. You cheered and Dean grinned, but Sam just stood there watching the two of you. In a couple of minutes, Dean had removed all of the lug nuts and had your tire sitting off to the side. He grabbed your spare, giving it a quick spin, and then stopped, looking closely at the tire.

“I hate to tell you this, but I think this spare might be flat, too.” Dean put the tire down on the ground and pressed down, and sure enough, the tire gave under the pressure.

“Crap on a mother-loving cracker, I can’t win today!” You barely restrained yourself from kicking one of the two flat tires again, and ended up doing a little stomping dance, instead. You groaned and frowned at the two flat tires, not noticing Dean’s smirk or Sam’s smile.

“Well, now I know you’re upset, because that’s the most offensive thing I’ve heard come out of your mouth so far!” Dean was practically giggling as he stood up next to you, and you smacked him in the arm for teasing you.

“I’ll have you know my Mama would have beat me blue if she’d heard me say that. Old habits die hard, I guess.” Dean was still smirking, and you were failing to keep a stern demeanor in the face of his smile. “Well, now I guess I call a cab, take my two flat tires to the nearest tire store, and see if they can be repaired. Oh, and go back into the motel and re-rent my room, because it looks like I’m going to be here for another day or so.” Sighing, you ran your fingers through your hair and contemplated dragging two tires into a cab.

Dean shuffled his feet, and then started picking up lug nuts and putting them in his pocket. “How about I take you to the tire place? I can make sure they give you a good deal and then get you back on the road safely.” You gave Dean a slack-jawed look.

“You’d do that?”

“Hey, it’s the least I can do for jerking your chain earlier.” Dean shrugged and gave you his best smile. You glanced at Sam, who had an odd look on his face again, but Dean’s expression was open and welcoming.

“All right. If you insist. I’m not one to say no to help when it’s offered so kindly. Thank you, Dean.”

 

John brought you out of your reverie by telling you to put your bag on the couch and asking you whether you preferred PB&J or bologna and cheese. You ate lunch with the little family, watching Dean devour his sandwich the same way you’d watched him devour a bacon cheeseburger about a hundred times before, and laughing at Sam as he got peanut butter all over his fingers and his face. By the end of lunch, Sam had stopped giving you suspicious looks, but still wasn’t pleased when you offered to change his diaper. John took the wriggling child from your hands, and you watched him as he got Sam cleaned up and settled down for a nap. Dean cleared the table, and when he was done, he climbed into the bed with Sam and curled up around him. Both boys were out in minutes, and John closed the bedroom door behind him.

Chapter Text

While the boys slept, you tried to teach John the basics of hunting.

“Where’s your journal?”

John’s eyes narrowed and he tilted his head. “Journal?”

Crap. How were you going to tell him you knew he had a journal somewhere, even if he wasn’t using it, yet? “Every hunter has a journal. Some hunters just keep their notes about monsters in it, others keep personal memories in it, too, but every hunter needs a journal. As you gather knowledge, you put it in the journal. It helps you when you can’t remember the difference between a skinwalker and a shapeshifter or a vengeful spirit and a spectre. So, first things first, do you have something you can use as a journal?”

John looked thoughtful, then went into the bedroom. He came back out a couple of minutes later with the oh-so-familiar journal, making you smile. He put it down on the table, and you couldn’t resist opening it and looking at the pristine pages. You saw his father’s initials embossed on the inside of the front cover and rubbed a finger over them.

“It was my dad’s. Showed up in the mail shortly after he left us. I kind of hate the damn thing, but I can’t seem to get rid of it. At least this way it will have a use, I guess.”

You looked into John’s face and saw the pain in his eyes. Dean had told you about his grandfather, and how John never knew what happened to him. Your heart ached even more for the man in front of you. Before you could stop yourself, your words fell out of your mouth.

“He didn’t leave you, John. Not intentionally. He just couldn’t get back. But he wanted to.”

John’s eyes were wide as he stared at you, and then they narrowed in anger again. “But you can’t tell me what happened.” He huffed and buried his face in his hands.

“Your father,” you paused, contemplating verb tense for a moment, “died a hero. He saved lives, but only when he knew getting back to you was an impossibility. His biggest regret was knowing that you grew up thinking he had left you and your mother.”

John sighed and dropped his hands. “I’m guessing that if you know about it that means that whatever happened to my dad is like what happened to my wife. Was it the same thing? Did the same thing take both of them?”

“No.” You covered one of John’s hands with your own. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything.”

John shook off your hand with a sigh and waved off your apology angrily. “Can you just give me a minute, here?”

Smiling sadly, you stood up and headed to the door. “I’ll be right outside this door when you’re ready to continue.” John waved his hand dismissively and then dropped his head into his hands again.

Once you were outside the door, you sat down on the threshold and leaned against it, ears perked for any unusual noises inside.

 

Before he took you to the nearest tire place, Dean checked all of your tires for you, making sure none of the others needed to be replaced. He loaded both tires into the Impala, told Sam to rent the room for another night, and off you both went. Conversation was easy, with you both trading stories about growing up in motels and tourist traps you’d visited. Repairing the tires took all day, since the shop was busy and you didn’t have an appointment, so you and Dean took lunch back to Sam at the motel and the three of you chatted while you waited for the call. You and Dean seemed to become friends almost immediately, with Sam being relatively quiet.

When the call came in, Dean drove you back to the tire place, and walked into the office with you. When the guy tried to overcharge you, stating that it cost extra because he was busy, Dean grabbed his right arm with his left and took three deep breaths. You watched as he calmly told the man that you would pay what was quoted and not a penny more. The man blanched, seeing something in Dean’s face that you couldn’t see since you were standing behind him. Knowing what monsters the Winchesters had faced, though, you knew one douchey tire repairman was nothing.

Dean was quiet on the ride back to the motel, and you weren’t sure what to do. You thanked him for his help, and tried to cajole him back into the good spirits he had been in before the confrontation. Nothing seemed to work, though. When you reached the motel, you went inside to tell Sam you were back while Dean worked on putting your tire back on your car. While Dean worked, you told Sam about Dean’s confrontation with the tire guy.

Sam sighed. “Dean’s got a bit of a temper lately. When he gets like that, sometimes it’s just better to leave him alone for a little while.”

You had no idea how many times you’d get to put that advice to good use.

By the time your tire was back on your car and your spare was safely back in your trunk, you had Sam and Dean’s numbers in your cell, and they had yours. To thank them for helping you out, you offered to take them out for dinner and drinks at a local bar. It didn’t take long for Dean’s mood to swing back to what you had become used to, and you all were laughing again soon enough. By the end of the evening, you were bunking with the brothers when a night of drinking and playing pool had gotten too late and the motel was packed full.

 

You watched the cars drive by while you waited for John to calm down. You only hoped he let you back in before the boys woke up from their nap.

As if the thought had summoned him, John opened the door behind you, and you barely caught yourself from falling in the door. As you stood up and brushed yourself off, John quipped sarcastically, “Anyone else I know die from supernatural causes, perhaps my great-aunt Rita, or have we addressed all the ghosts in the room, now?”

You balked at his tone, your breath hitching, then sighed. Shaking your head, you quietly responded, “I think that’s it.”

John shook his head and cracked a sad smile. “Damn. I really thought Aunt Rita could have been a vampire.”

You stifled a laugh, conscious of the sleeping boys in the next room, and admired the smile on John’s face. It was the same smile you’d seen on the faces of his sons many times, and you felt your heart warm. “Sorry to burst your bubble, then.” You smirked back at John and his smile widened. “Let’s get back to work.”

The two of you sat down at the table again, John’s journal between you. You noticed that there was new writing in it, already. “I took your advice and started writing.” John pushed the journal towards you and saw the same first line you had seen so many times before.

“I went to Missouri and I learned the truth.”

You smiled and nodded. “Good start.”

Over the next hour, you taught John about salting the doors and windows, devil’s traps, and how to make holy water. Well, in theory you did. You had brought just barely enough salt to cover the doors and windows, and as you were teaching John about the holy water, you realized he’d need his own rosary. After you had finished with the holy water, which you ended up just leaving sitting around in glasses, you sat down with a sigh.

“We’re going to need to go for supplies.” You shook your head and started to make a list. Salt. Flasks. Weapons? “What weapons do you have? Knives? Guns? Anything?”

John’s face closed down. “I swore I wouldn’t keep a gun around my kids. I left all that when I got back from the war.”

If your heart weren’t already breaking, it would have broken then.

You stared at John’s face for a long time, considering the ramifications of every different thing you could do in this moment. Every different path that could lead from this moment…and you swallowed the lump in your throat.

“If you’re going to protect your boys, John, you need to be armed. Guns can’t kill everything out there, but a shotgun blast full of rock salt will slow down almost anything.” You desperately hoped the cool façade you were fighting to maintain held under John’s scrutiny.

John’s eyes searched your face until his face fell. “All right. Guns it is.”

Just then Dean opened the bedroom door and came out with Sammy in tow. Dean led Sammy to John, who picked him up and headed to the impromptu diaper table set up in the corner. Dean took John’s seat at the table, and started looking at the journal.

“Hey there, Dean. Can you read this?” Dean looked at the words on the page and his finger traced the letters.

John finished with Sammy, put him on the floor, and quickly pushed the journal away from Dean. “No. That’s not a Dean book, kiddo. That’s just for Daddy. Let me find you one of your books to read, buddy.” John’s eyes darted around the room until he saw a book on the coffee table, and he moved Dean to the couch, placing The Cat in the Hat in his hands. When Dean was settled, Sammy by his side, John sat back down at the table and whispered harshly. “I do NOT want them knowing about this. They are just kids. It’s my responsibility to protect them, and they will NOT be a part of this.”

You froze your face in an effort to stop the tears that were building behind your eyes, and whispered to hide the catch in your throat. “Horse puckey, John. That book belongs to them just as much as it belongs to you. What came for Mary did it in Sam’s nursery, and Dean’s the one who carried him out of the house. No matter how much you may not like it, they are a part of this, and they need to learn right along with you. They won’t always have you, and they will need to know how to fight for themselves and each other.”

John dropped to an angry whisper, and you almost couldn’t hear him over Dean reading to Sam. “Horse puckey? Try bullshit, Y/N. How do you know all of this? And I thought you said you were here to make sure nothing happened to us? I do not want my kids growing up knowing their nightmares are real.”

You felt your resolve weakening, but tried to keep your breaths even. “I’m not going to be here forever, John. I’m just here until this one threat is neutralized. After that, it’s you. I told you already, you all are important. Threats will just keep on coming. And someday, no matter how far away that day might be, they will be alone, and they need to be prepared. You can’t keep them out of this.”

John’s face fell and he turned away from you to watch his sons. Dean finished the last page of the book, and Sammy’s little fingers tried to flip the pages back to the beginning. Dean let him do it, and immediately started reading the story over again, sounding out each word, though you guessed he had the book memorized by now. Sammy happily smacked the book with his hands and helped Dean turn the page.

John wiped a hand over his face and sighed. “You may be right. But not today.” John turned to you with fire in his eyes. “Today, they read fucking Cat in the Hat, not How to Kill a Monster.

You nodded silently, swallowing the lump that was back in your throat.

“When exactly is this threat supposed to happen that you’re here to stop?”

You shook your head. “I’m not sure. Sometime in the next few days, I think.”

John nodded slowly. “Then we need supplies.”

Chapter Text

Going for supplies had never seemed as difficult as it suddenly was with two toddlers. John seemed fine with leaving the boys with the manager of the motel, something he’d done a few times before when he needed to work, but you refused. When you informed him that said manager could be possessed by a demon at any time, he caved. That’s how you ended up in a gun store with a one-year old and a five-year old.

You had done your other shopping first, emptying your own pockets of the cash you had grabbed from the bunker before dipping into John’s cash on hand. The pinch happened when it was time to get ammo for the guns. The shotgun shells and equipment needed to fill them with rock salt were just outside what cash the two of you had. John stared at his wallet for a long moment, until you finally questioned him.

“What are you thinking, John? Do you have a credit card or something? The guns don’t do much without ammo.”

John sighed and pulled out what looked like a pristine credit card. “It’s the college fund for the boys. I was hoping to never touch this, even if I couldn’t add to it, anymore.” He handed the card over to the cashier and closed his eyes. You barely heard him over Sammy babbling gibberish in your ear while you watched Dean as he peered into the display cases. “I will pay this back. Somehow.”

You swallowed thickly, and gave your attention to Sammy, who had finally warmed up to you enough to let you hold him when his dad was otherwise occupied. After checking out, you worked on getting the boys in the Impala while John loaded the trunk with his new purchases. During the drive back, John’s hand fell to the seat between you. Out of a habit borne from similar times spent with his sons, you reached over and covered his hand with yours. John’s hand jerked in surprise and he glanced over at you quickly, then seemed to accept the comfort you were offering. He turned his hand in yours and let you rub circles into his skin.

“I doubt it will make you feel better, but my mom had to do the same thing after my dad died. He had been laid off a couple months before the shapeshifter attacked, so money was tight, already. Afterwards, well, she couldn’t sell the house because that’s where it happened and nobody would buy it. We ended up like you and the boys are right now. Living in motels, arming ourselves, and learning the truth about what’s out there. Any savings she had before was gone inside a few months, I’m sure.”

John’s hand turned further and suddenly grasped yours. You looked down at your clasped hands and smiled sadly. “How old were you?” John’s voice was quiet and gravelly, like Dean’s, yet his words were Sam’s.

“13. Just old enough to really understand what was happening, but still young enough to hate every minute of it and give my mom a hard time she didn’t need.” John’s thumb was now rubbing circles into your skin, making you smile.

After you got back to the motel and unloaded the car, John sat down and sighed while the boys watched TV. “The only problem with this is, now there’s no cash left for dinner. I guess it’s PB&J again.”

Finally seeing a way you could improve things, you stood up and grabbed your bag, heading into the bathroom. You changed into an outfit that showed off your virtues a little more prominently: tight jeans, boots with a heel, and a low-cut blouse. You brushed out your hair and put on some makeup, then looked yourself over in the mirror. Not too shabby.

When you left the bathroom, John’s eyes landed on you casually, but then stayed stuck to you until he’d taken you in from head to toe. You warmed underneath his gaze, and chided yourself for it. Getting the once-over from John Winchester was dangerously similar to getting it from Dean Winchester. Shaking your head to loosen your thoughts, you left your bag where the boys couldn’t get to it and faced John.

“I’m going out for a little while. Hopefully, I’ll be back before it’s too late for dinner, but I can’t be sure. Salt the doors and windows after I leave, and don’t answer the door for anyone unless it’s me. If, for some reason, I need to send someone to you, they’ll say Poughkeepsie.” You paused for a moment and chuckled, shaking your head. “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, I am my mother, after all.”

John chuckled. “What was that last bit?” You were momentarily distracted by John’s smile and the playful gleam in his eye, but quickly got yourself focused again.

“I just realized that I sounded exactly like my mother. I got the same speech every time she had to leave me alone in a motel room. Except the safe word.” You dropped your head and smiled. “Got that from a friend.” Raising your eyes back to John, you continued. “If you hear Poughkeepsie, it means ‘drop everything and run.’ Got it? Grab the boys, go three towns west, find the first motel listed in the phone book, and sign in as Jim Rockford. I’ll find you. Okay?”

John’s eyes were wide as he took everything in. “Poughkeepsie. Run. Three towns. First motel. Jim Rockford. Got it. Now, you mind telling me where you’re going dressed like, well, that?” John’s eyes went up and down your form again, and you couldn’t stop the blush from hitting your cheeks.

“To make us some cash.” You smiled, and John looked horrified.

“Are you going to…?” John’s eyes flicked up and down your body again, and he made a motion that took you a moment to interpret. Crap on a cracker, he thinks you’re going to hook to get cash.

“NO!! Heck, no! I’m just going to hustle some guys at pool or darts or something. Looking good just helps to distract them while I take all their money.” You winked at John’s obvious relief and smiled. “I’ll be at the bar I saw down the road. Like I said, hopefully I won’t be too long. Depends on how sober the crowd is.”

John sighed and waved for you to go with a smile. As you headed for the door, you heard a little voice behind you.

“Where you goin’, Y/N?” You turned around to see little Dean standing behind you with a puzzled look on his face.

Squatting down to get down to his level, you put both hands on his shoulders. “I’m going to go run some errands, and maybe, if you’re good, I’ll bring you back some dinner. You look like a bacon double cheeseburger kind of guy, am I right? Maybe some pie for dessert?”

Dean’s face stayed worried until you said pie. “I like cheeseburgers, but I love pie! Dad, can I have some pie?”

John chuckled. “If Y/N can find some pie, then yes, you can have pie.”

Dean jumped up and down and got Sammy excited, too, though you were sure Sammy had no idea why. Dean turned to you and started pushing you out the door. “Go get the pie, Y/N! Now!”

Laughing, you stumbled out the door, pausing only to look John in the face seriously for a moment. “Remember, salt, holy water, locks, and Poughkeepsie.”

John nodded and groaned. “I’ve got it. Go.”

The door closed behind you and you started walking to the bar.

 

“Y/N, you are the WORST pool player I have ever seen. How have you managed to pay for anything all these years?” Dean shook his head while he dug under the table for the ball you had just sent flying. It had flown off the felt, hit the wall, and rolled back under the table.

“Not every hunter hustles to make cash, Dean,” you replied, giving him your best bitch face. “I do honest work sometimes. Waitressing, odd jobs, singing. Other times, it’s credit cards and depending on the kindness of strangers.” Dean raised his eyebrows questioningly. “Seriously, Dean? You’ve never banged for roof?” You cocked an eyebrow at the elder brother in disbelief.

“I can’t say I’ve ever gone home with a girl simply for a place to stay, no. But, then again, I have an actual car, not a toy on wheels.” Dean winked at you as he set up his shot and knocked two balls into the pockets of the pool table. Sam stood off to the side, just watching the two of you posture and tease.

“I’ll have you know that my Princess does just fine, Dean. I get great gas mileage, which means I spend less money on gas, which means I don’t have to rely on hustling.” You huffed, trying to give the air of an anger you didn’t really feel. Although your car suited you and your lifestyle, it was a machine, not something sacred, like Dean’s Baby. “Not to mention, since the car was actually built in this century, the parts are easier to find, and cheaper, too. Yet another reason I don’t need to hustle.”

Sam quietly stifled a chuckle, tossing a smile at you, but fixing his face before Dean could notice. Dean missed his next shot, which made it your turn again. You took aim, took your shot, and watched the ball you had aimed for miss the pocket, then slowly travel across the table and gently tap another ball into the opposite pocket.

“That counts, right? I mean, even though I didn’t plan it, that still counts, right?” You looked at Dean, and he rolled his eyes, laughing and shaking his head at the same time.

“Since the ball you hit was yours, yes, it counts. Holy shit, Y/N, you don’t even know the rules?”

Laughing, you shook your head at Dean. “Nope.” You gave him a big, goofy grin, and he smacked his palm to his forehead in disbelief. “So this means I go again, right?”

Dean’s eyebrows were high on his forehead as he shook his head and then nodded. “Yes, Y/N, you get to go again.” He took a long pull off of his beer, draining it, and then grabbed all three empty mugs and headed to the bar to get refills.

Giving Sam a mischievous grin, you put a finger over your lips to tell him to stay quiet, then hit the cue ball, sending it hurtling towards the 8 ball, which bounced off the side and hit one of your balls, which then hit another one of your balls, sending both into separate pockets. Sam’s eyes got as huge as saucers, and you made sure you were standing away from the table when he barked a laugh at you. You felt Dean’s eyes on the two of you, so you made sure you weren’t even paying attention to the table, pretending you had just told Sam a good joke.

“Y/N, are you hustling my brother?” Sam’s lips kept twitching into a smile, though he was trying to suppress it.

You gave Sam your most innocent look. “Me? Hustle? Sam, I don’t even know the game!” Sam barked another laugh, then looked over your shoulder at Dean.

Sam pulled close to you, and mumbled into your ear for a moment, then you gave him an excited smile and a furious nod. By the time Dean returned with the drinks, you were bent over the table with Sam bent over you, guiding you through how to aim and follow through on a difficult shot. Out of the corner of your eye, you saw Dean size up what was going on as he approached. When he got closer, Sam made sure Dean heard him saying to you, “…so that’s what makes the ball go in the pocket, where you want it, and not flying off the table.” You made sure to nod seriously, appearing to take in everything he said like he was the great guru of pool.

Sam made a show of noticing that Dean had returned and backing away from you awkwardly. “You’re back! I was just giving Y/N some tips on how she can improve her game. She’s an excellent student. She sunk two more balls while you were at the bar!” Sam rubbed your shoulders proudly, giving you a warm smile.

You grinned at Dean, keeping up the charade. “Yeah, Sam saw a problem in how I was holding the stick, and making a little adjustment has really made a big difference!” Dean looked from you to Sam and back with a half grin on his face.

“Really? Just an adjustment in how you hold your cue stick? Why don’t you show me?”

You nodded, and spent a long minute or two staring at the table, planning out your next move. You had three balls left, and you sunk the next two one at a time, making sure your shots were more difficult than the shots you had already taken, but not too fantastic. Dean nodded in appreciation, but smirked when you (purposely) missed your last shot. Dean made a show of pointing out what you had done wrong and how to do it better, stopping short of hands-on teaching like what Sam had done. He cleared up his balls, and even accidentally knocked your last ball in a pocket for you. When he went for the 8 ball, he missed it by just a hair, leaving it in perfect position for you to gently knock it into the pocket. You raised your arms in victory, and Sam gave you a big hug to celebrate your “first win.”

As Dean set up the table for another game, Sam pretended he was coaching you while you whispered game strategy to him.

“So, should I drag this out, or take him down quickly?”

Sam worked to hide a grin, and then whispered back, “Might as well be quick. It will be funnier, and besides, he looks…never mind. It’s getting late, so quick is good.” Turning you around, Sam raised his voice a little louder, and made a show of giving you pointers on how to break.

You bent over to set up your shot, but at the last moment, you stood up as if you had changed your mind. “Hey, Dean? How about we play for money? I mean, not a lot, just a couple bucks? Now that Sam has improved my game a little, I’d kind of like to put my money where my mouth is, you know?”

Dean shook his head. “No way. I’m not taking your money, Y/N. Just because you won one game doesn’t mean you’re ready for the big time, yet, sweetheart.”

“Aww, c’mon, Dean? Just a little wager? If not money, then how about, say, loser takes the couch tonight?” You had offered to take the couch, since the boys were nice enough to let you crash with them after the long day dealing with your tires, but the couch was downright frightening. A chance to get out of sleeping on it was worth more than even a round of drinks to you!

There was a twinkle in Dean’s eye as he smiled. “All right, Y/N. Loser takes the couch.”

The twinkle in Dean’s eye didn’t last long. You swept the table and he never even got a chance to play.

After you sank the 8 ball, you laughed at the look on Dean’s face. His eyes were wide and he was rubbing his forehead like it was his job. You and Sam shared a high-five while Dean grumbled. You went over to Dean and ducked your head until he looked you in the eye.

Putting a hand on the side of his face, you gave him a mostly apologetic look, though you suspected your smirk showed through. “I’m sorry, Dean, I shouldn’t have hustled you like that. You’ve been nothing but good to me all day, and I just cheated you out of your own bed.” You stifled a giggle, and you saw Dean’s ire raise as he turned to his brother.

“And, you! You helped her! Don’t tell me you weren’t in on it!”

Sam laughed and nodded. “Yeah, I was, Dean.”

“You cost your own brother his bed. You should be ashamed of yourself, Samuel.”

Sam’s laugh was loud and uninhibited, as was yours. Looking at Dean with pity, you moved so you were equidistant between the brothers.

“All right, how about a truce. Since Sam and I tricked you together, Sam and I can pay the price together.” You turned to Sam and asked him gently, “We can share a bed like two reasonable adults, right? No hanky panky?”

Sam’s laughter bubbled up again as he nodded and agreed, trying to make a straight face. As Sam was about to speak, Dean interrupted.

“No no no. You won, and I don’t welch on my bets. If we had bet money, I’d be paying up, so you get the bed, and I’ll take the couch. I’ll find some other way to repay my brother for his treachery.” Dean gave Sam a dangerous smile, causing Sam to roll his eyes.

“And another epic Winchester prank war begins,” Sam grumbled. “How about, instead of you putting Nair in my shampoo or itching powder in my shorts, I just buy the last round of beers? Would that make us even?”

Dean looked skeptical. “We’ll see, bitch. We’ll see.”

Sam shook his head, muttered, “Jerk,” with a smile, and headed to the bar.

 

As you walked back to the motel, three hundred dollars and some quality bar food in hand, you smiled at the memory of your first night with the brothers. In spite of all of the reasons why you had wanted to get as far away from them as possible, once you were in their orbit, there was no escaping. You remembered offering to sleep in the bed with Sam because you knew nothing would happen. Sam had been pressed up tight against you when he pretended to show you how to shoot, and neither one of you had felt a thing. Even back then, you’d known sharing a bed with Dean wouldn’t be so easy. Which brought to mind the sleeping quarters you were facing tonight. Another lumpy couch. You shrugged. It wouldn’t be your first, and it wouldn’t be your last.

When John let you in the door, you handed him most of the cash, putting a little back in your pocket in case of emergency. His eyes bugged out as he counted it.

“You got all this hustling pool?”

You shrugged. “There was a couple of rich frat boys there, eager to show an attractive older woman a good time. If I had had more time, I could have gotten twice that out of them. Normally, to get that much takes a long con, a lot more beer, and a much tighter shirt.” You took the food out of the containers and spread it out on the table. “Hustling is easier for women, really. I’ve always brought home more than D… um, male hunting partners I’ve worked with, even the best.” You coughed to hide your almost slip while you spread out food and set up Sammy’s high chair. “If you’re okay staying cooped up here while I’m gone, I’ll do what I can for another night or two so you have something for after I’m gone. I can’t hustle too many nights in a row in one place, but one or two more shouldn’t raise any flags.”

John mumbled something you didn’t catch and then gathered the boys for dinner. True to form, Dean loved the bacon cheeseburger you brought for him, and little Sammy worked hard to eat all of his chicken fingers and applesauce. You smiled at the Winchesters while you all ate pie, and were unsurprised when you realized that you had warm feelings for John, now, too. After all, like sons, like father.

Chapter Text

When the boys were tucked securely into one of the beds in the bedroom and definitely sound asleep, you triple checked that the windows were salted, and the devil’s traps were in place. Taking a tip from your mom, you had bought some cheap area rugs and painted the traps on the bottom of them. Once they had dried, you could put them wherever you wanted them, and John could take them with him when he moved on. Shutting the bedroom door, you gathered some of the supplies you had purchased that afternoon, and showed John how to make his own salt rounds. Although John had experience firing weapons, he’d never loaded his own rounds before. After you had enough rounds for a small invasion, you got down to the nitty gritty of teaching him Latin. The whiskey bottle was already out of the kitchen cupboard, and John was throwing it back a little faster than you would have liked, but he seemed to be holding it together. He had remembered most of what he needed to make holy water, but not all, and was suddenly glad you had suggested the journal. Next came exorcisms. You gave him the shortest and easiest one you knew, and told him that there were others out there, and he should spend some time researching them after you were gone.

“Damn, Y/N. There’s so much.” John shook his head as his eyes roamed over the Latin in his journal and he took another long drink from his glass. “How am I going to do all this by myself?”

Covering his hand with yours, you tried to reassure him. “I have it on good authority that you figure it out.” You give John a smile, and when he looks up at you, you see tears in his eyes.

“I’d love to know who that authority is, because they have far more faith in me than I do.”

Not knowing what to say to that, you wrapped your arms around him, and you were surprised when he collapsed into your embrace. His arms snaked around your middle and he buried his head in your neck for a long moment. You rubbed his back until he pulled away from you abruptly and headed into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him.

While John was in the bathroom, you heard a cry from the bedroom. Grabbing your gun and holy water flask, you opened the door slowly and carefully, letting your eyes adjust to the dim light on the nightstand the boys had asked to keep lit. You checked behind the door and in the closet before tucking your gun in the waistband of your pants and heading for the bed the boys were sharing. Dean was half awake, crying as quietly as he could so as to not wake Sammy. You sat on the bed next to him, and for a second, his distraught eyes searched your face. Whatever he found seemed to be okay with him because he all but launched himself into your arms. You held him close to your heart, not caring when you felt your shirt get damp from his tears.

Little Dean cried quietly in your arms for what felt like an eternity, your hand rubbing up and down over his back to soothe him. When he finally pulled away, he stayed in your arms, but looked up at you with more sadness than any five-year old should ever know. Sniffling, you almost didn’t hear him when he spoke to you.

“I miss Mommy.”

Choking back a sob of your own, you pulled him back into your arms and rocked him until the lump in your throat finally shrank enough for you to speak.

“I know you do, honey. And that’s okay.”

When you finally broke apart again, Dean climbed out of your lap and lay back down on the bed, half curled around his sleeping brother. You put your hand on his back, gently rubbing up and down, occasionally stroking his hair, until you heard his breathing slow and become deep and even.

 

When the three of you got back to the Winchesters’ motel room, you immediately headed into the bathroom before anyone could claim it. You tried to be quick and courteous, you were sure to leave hot water for the next person, and it wasn’t long before you were in a tank top and pajama pants, ready for bed. Dean took the bathroom second, so you tried to claim the couch while he was otherwise occupied, but when he came out, he glared at you laying on the couch.

You heard him come out, and cracked an eye open, so you saw the glare, but you never expected what he did next. Just as you closed your eyes again, you felt Dean pick you up. You shrieked in surprise, and barely registered Sam’s laughter as Dean carried you to the bed and unceremoniously dumped you on it.

“I don’t welch on my bets. You get the bed tonight.” Dean flopped on the couch and stubbornly closed his eyes, crossing his arms over his chest with a determined look on his face. For a split second, you admired the muscles bulging through the sleeves of his plain white t-shirt, then gave yourself an internal smack upside the head. The last person you would ever want to get involved with would be Dean Winchester. After trying to come up with a way to move the man and failing, you finally huffed and crawled under the covers. When Sam turned off the light a few minutes later, you quickly fell asleep.

An unexpected noise woke you from a troubled dream, making you wonder who to thank for the escape. You tensed up, perking your ears to hear the noise again. It was softer the second time, but you definitely heard a whimper. Sitting up, you heard the whimper turn into soft denials, and you were able to identify them as coming from the couch. Alarmed, you got up and headed toward the couch, just barely able to see by the thin streams of light coming through the curtains from the parking lot outside. When you got to the couch, your eyes had adjusted, and you could clearly see Dean in the throes of a nightmare. His fists were clenched, the knuckles white, his face was twisted, and his head was shaking back and forth. More denials spilled from his mouth, and you thought you heard Sam’s name.

You sat on the edge of the couch with your hip next to Dean’s waist and gently laid a hand on his shoulder. Knowing that waking someone too harshly during a nightmare, especially a hunter, can get you injured, you simply rubbed his arm gently. After your hand had rubbed up and down his arm a few times, Dean woke up, grasping your wrist with his hand tightly and almost sitting straight up. He lay back down again right away, but his eyes met yours and stuck there. Your heart ached for Dean, seeing the fear and grief in his eyes. He was frozen for a moment, then seemed to realize that he could be hurting you, and dropped your wrist, closing his eyes and turning his head away from you. You went back to rubbing his arm gently, and took his opposite hand in your other hand. When you squeezed his hand, he opened his eyes again and looked at you, grief and guilt taking over his features.

Dean moved slowly, giving you plenty of time to deny him and walk away, but you couldn’t. He shifted to his side, then curled around you, laying his head in your lap and wrapping his arms around your middle. You shifted from rubbing his arm to rubbing his back, and started stroking his face and head, too. You petted him like you would a frightened animal, soothing him with your touch. You saw the gleam of a couple of errant tears as they rolled down his cheeks, but you just wiped them away softly.

You didn’t know how long you sat like that, but it felt like forever. When Dean seemed to be falling asleep again, you tugged on him until he let you go and you stood up. You kept hold of one of his hands, though, and you pulled him up with you. Dean had questions in his eyes, but you ignored them. You led him to the bed, waved him in, and when he was comfortable, you got in beside him. He was on his side, and you slid in next to him, your head just a little further up than his. Facing him, you took his hand and pulled him closer to you until his head was on your shoulder and your bodies were intertwined. Wrapping your arms around him, you went back to rubbing his back and stroking his hair softly. It took a while, but you finally felt him relax against you. He murmured a quiet, “thank you,” into your skin, and you kissed his head in reply.

 

Careful not to wake Dean again, you slowly stood up from the bed and turned around to leave the room. When you faced the doorway, you saw John’s silhouette backlit from the other room. He backed away as you approached the door, but only enough to let you quietly close it. Once the door was closed, you looked up to meet his eyes. He was searching your face, much like Dean had, but unlike Dean, he didn’t find what he was looking for.

“Who are you, Y/N? How do you know what to do to soothe my kids?”

Shaking your head and trying to make light of it, you waved a hand and avoided his eyes. “Did some babysitting to earn money. You know, typical girl stuff like that.”

John didn’t move, forcing you to meet his eyes again questioningly. His face was inscrutable while his eyes roamed yours, and he was close enough you could smell the alcohol on his breath. He put his hand on your shoulder and squeezed for just a moment, then let his hand drop and backed away. As he turned to sit back down at the table, you realized you had stopped breathing and took in a rush of oxygen.

“It’s late, John. You should go to bed. Never know what tomorrow will bring.”

John nodded as he poured another glass of whiskey. He took a long drink and started studying his journal again. You watched his lips move, and knew he was trying to memorize the exorcism. Deciding that you would at least try to head to bed, you gathered extra bedding from the closet and made up the couch for the night.  When John saw what you were doing, he began to argue with you.

“You take the bed, Y/N, I’ll take the couch.”

“No, John. You take the bed. This isn’t my first couch, it won’t be my last, and your boys need you in there with them.”

“You just proved that my boys are just as fine with you as they are with me. You take the bed.”

“You are the most likely target of all of us, and I’m the one sent to protect you. You will stay protected in the bedroom, with your handgun under your pillow, your holy water on the nightstand, and a salt line across the door. I will stay out here in similar fashion, and if something decides to invade, I will be the first line of defense.”

John glared at you. “I refuse to let a woman sleep on the couch when there’s a perfectly good bed available.” John’s voice was a growl, and if you weren’t very ticked off right now, it might have made your belly warm. Luckily, you were too mad.

“And I refuse to allow your outdated and misogynistic horse puckey to endanger you, no matter how chivalrous it may be. I will sleep out here and you will protect your sons by sleeping in the bedroom. If it makes you feel better, you can sleep on the floor in there so you don’t feel guilty about taking the bed away from the little lady that came here to save your darn fool life.”

John huffed and continued glaring at you. “I’m trying to be nice to the person who is trying to save my damn fool life by offering her the goddamn bed.”

Suddenly, the wind completely left your sails and you sighed. “Fuzzy trucker, you’re stubborn. Don’t know why I expected otherwise.” You rubbed your forehead in exasperation, then looked up at him with your hands on your hips. “I’ll make you a deal. You take the bed, and to make it up to me, you make me breakfast in the morning.”

John sighed. “Fine. But when you wake up in the morning with your back twisted like a pretzel, don’t cry to me.” John grabbed the half-empty bottle of whiskey and headed into the bedroom. You were sure he would have slammed the door if the kids hadn’t have been asleep. You watched the bottom of the door until you saw salt trickle out from underneath it, and then lay down on the couch, hoping John was wrong about your back in the morning.

Chapter Text

When you woke up the next morning, it was to the sound of hushed voices and repressed giggles. Stretching and moaning from the pull of sore muscles you’d acquired overnight, you sat up and eyed the three Winchesters in the kitchen. Little Sammy was happily munching on Cheerios, holding them in his chubby little fingers and awkwardly shoving them into his mouth. Dean was helping John bring plates of food over from the stove, being very careful not to drop anything. You watched John with his kids, being so gentle and supportive, and wondered what happened to create the stories you had heard from your Dean and Sam. Your stomach twisted with the realization that what probably happened was a demon came back from the future and tried to kill them. With a heavy heart, you brushed off the cheerful greetings from John and Dean and headed into the shower.

When you came back out, you were feeling a bit better, having at least had the knots from your night on the couch helped by the hot water of the shower. John pointed at the stove while he was cleaning up the boys, and you saw he had left some eggs and bacon for you. With grateful thanks, you inhaled the food, giving your compliments to the chef. When you were done eating, you took the boys outside to run around the playground for a bit and give John a bit of a break. As you left, you turned to remind him of the precautions, but he interrupted you.

“Salt lines, holy water, Poughkeepsie, three towns, first motel, Jim Rockford. I got it, Y/N. Now go, so I can have my first uninterrupted solo shower in six months.” John smiled at you, and although it was a tired smile, it was a genuine smile, and your heart fluttered. Damn Winchester charm. I could never say no to the sons, and I bet I’ll have the same problem with the father. Shaking your head with a smile, you chased after the boys, who were already halfway to the swing set.

 

The sound of Sam rustling through his duffel bag woke you the next morning. Taking inventory of your limbs, you realized that you and Dean weren’t as tangled up together as you had been the night before, and you were able to carefully extricate yourself from his embrace without waking him. As you climbed out of bed, Sam realized you were awake and smiled.

“Sorry if I woke you. I’m just heading out for a run. You can go back to sleep if you want, and I’ll get you both up when I get back in, say, an hour or so?” Sam had a bit of an impish gleam in his eye as he motioned towards his brother, still passed out in the bed you had just left.

Choosing to ignore his implication, you instead jumped on the chance to go for a run. “Mind if I join you for your run? Unlike Dean, I need to exercise every so often or my love of food slows me down.”

Sam gave you a surprised smile and nodded. “I’ll wait for you outside while you get changed.”

You had a little trouble keeping up with Sam, since his stride was still a bit longer than yours, but he was nice enough to take it easy on you once he realized the problem. When you were a couple of miles away from the motel, Sam stopped to rest at a bus stop bench, but didn’t show any signs of actual fatigue.

Thinking that Sam was stopping for you, you were quick to argue. “Don’t feel the need to stop for me, Winchester. I’m still good for a couple of miles.”

Sam chuckled and shook his head. “No, that’s not why I stopped. I was hoping to talk to you, if that’s okay?”

Shrugging, you sat down next to him. “What’s up?”

Sam’s face flushed a little, and he managed to look everywhere but at you. “Judging by how Dean was in bed with you this morning, I can only assume something happened last night….”

Your eyes widened and you nearly choked in shock. “No! Oh, geez, Sam, no! Nothing like that!” Sam’s eyes widened, but he seemed relieved. “Dean had a nightmare last night. It woke me up because I’m a light sleeper sometimes, that’s all. Having someone nearby seemed to make it better, so I had him get into the bed with me. That’s all that happened, Sam.”

Sam nodded and gave you a pained smile. “Thanks for helping him.”

“Hey, all hunters have nightmares, and we can all use a bunkmate sometimes. It’s no big deal.” You watched Sam, wondering what was going through his mind. He seemed to be having an argument within himself, and you patiently waited for the outcome.

Sam took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, focusing on anything around him but you. “Dean really seems to like you. I mean, I’m used to him finding a girl for a night or two, but that’s not what I mean with you. He seems really comfortable around you. He has smiled a lot more in the past twenty-four hours than he has in the past year, I think.” Sam ran a hand through his hair and smiled self-consciously.

“Well, I like Dean, too. I mean, not that I’m looking to hook up with him, or anything, but he seems like a good man.”

Sam’s smile changed to something more affectionate. “Yeah, he is.” You watched the smile quickly disappear from his face, only to be replaced with fear and concern. “If I were to ask you to join us, you know, hunt with us, what would you say?”

You sat back suddenly, surprised by the question. “Join you? You mean, live with you guys, hunt with you, ride in the Impala, and everything?”

Sam finally looked directly in your eyes. “Yes. All of it.”

Your gaze was glued to his while you considered your answer. You’d been hunting by yourself since your mom died, and you were strictly a lower-level hunter. The Winchesters were worlds out of your league. Could you keep up? Would you want to? You met Dean when you were trying your darnedest to get as far away from them as possible. Hunting with them would be the exact opposite of that.

“Sam, you’re so far out of my league when it comes to hunting that it’s not even funny. I told Dean yesterday morning, I’m strictly monsters and ghosts. I so much as smell sulfur and I run the other way. You guys are the big time. There’s no way I could be an asset to you guys.”

Sam blushed a little at the praise, but shook his head. “I haven’t seen you hunt, so I can’t say anything about your skills, but I understand your concern. If that’s your only concern, then I can tell you that you can always hang back when you’re nervous and just do research. There’s a hell of a lot of research involved with the hunting we do, and an extra pair of eyes is always welcome.”

You sensed there was more to this than Sam was saying, so you watched him closely while you responded. “So, you’re asking me if I’d be willing to hunt with you, but I wouldn’t have to do any actual hunting if I didn’t want to. That makes no sense, Sam.”

Sam sighed and shook his head. “Hunting aside, would you be interested in joining us? I have a reason for asking, but if you’re not interested, then there’s no point in going into it.” Sam’s eyes were on you again, and you made sure to think things through before you spoke.

Hunting with the Winchesters, but hunting wasn’t the main purpose. Hunting aside, Sam was basically just asking you to move in with them. You considered your life. Hunting alone was lonely. You’d tried partnering up, but so far no one had really meshed with you. Honestly, the time spent with the brothers the night before was the best time you’d had with anyone since your mom died. Sure, you’d had one night stands, but not with anyone you actually wanted to see again. Dean and Sam, well, you did hope you would see them again. They were good people, and you got along well. If it weren’t for your fear of the monsters they hunted, it would be no contest. You’d jump at the chance.

“Hunting aside, if we were all, let’s say, travelling salesmen, and you asked me to join you and your brother so we could all sell together, I’d say yes. I’m hunting alone because I haven’t met a partner I get along with since my mom died. If you take hunting out of the equation, then I’d say yes.”

Sam smiled a nervous smile. “That’s good.” He rolled his shoulders and stretched his limbs since the two of you had been sitting long enough to stiffen up. “How about we start walking back, and we can talk?” Once you were headed back towards the motel, Sam started talking again. “Have you ever heard of the Mark of Cain?”

It took almost the whole walk back to the motel for Sam to explain the Mark of Cain, how Dean was a demon just a few short weeks earlier, how the Mark still affected Dean, and how he thought you could help. You listened quietly, taking everything in, and asking questions when you were confused.

“So, basically, you’re asking me to join you because you think I’ll be able to help Dean fight the Mark because he likes me. Is that right?” You looked at Sam skeptically and he kind of shrugged.

“I guess. All I know is that Dean has been so fragile, and our last hunt proved to him that he’s still recovering, but things that make Dean laugh and smile the way he’s laughed and smiled with you are few and far between. What you told me about last night makes me even more sure that you could help.” Sam paused and turned to you, the motel now in sight in the distance. He put his hands on your shoulders and looked you in the eye. “I’m not asking you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, or stay if you want to leave. I’m just asking you to join us, no strings attached. If it works out, then great. If it doesn’t, that’s fine, too.”

Contemplating all of the ramifications of this decision, you looked out over the motel parking lot, eyeing up your car, the Impala, and the room you stayed in the night before with the hunter still asleep inside. Your eye caught on some movement in one of the windows, but a glare off a passing car blinded you enough that you had to look away. You looked up at Sam with some trepidation, but also with some excitement. He was giving you the biggest set of puppy dog eyes you had ever seen, and every fear you had completely dissolved.

“Okay, Sam, I’ll do it.” Sam grabbed you happily into a huge hug, which was only slightly gross since neither one of you had really gotten much of a workout from this “run.”

“Thank you, Y/N. This will be great!” Sam let you go and you started walking towards the motel again. “Now, we just have to convince Dean.”

 

You were pushing Sammy on the swings and watching Dean go down the slide when John came outside after his shower. He had actually shaved, too, which made him look like a completely different man. You watched him approach, using Sam’s walk and Dean’s posture, hands shoved in pockets, and you sighed. You had been almost inseparable with one or both of the brothers for the past year, and you suddenly missed them. Something about John being so much like them, but not actually them, just made you homesick. You hoped that you were strong enough to take the demon out when it came so you would have a home to back to.

Chapter Text

When John got close, you pulled Sam from the swing and sent him over to play with his brother. When you were sure that Dean had his eye on Sam, you turned to John. “I know you fought in the war, but since I’ve never fought in a war, I don’t know what that looks like, if you know what I mean. Sorry to have to ask, but how much hand-to-hand fighting have you done?”

John smirked. “Some, but I never had any formal training.”

“You know how to throw a punch?” You cocked an eyebrow at John and he laughed.

“I figured that one out, myself.” You both glanced at the boys playing in the sandbox before you led John to a grassy area not far from where the boys were sitting.

“All right, I’m going to attack you, and I want you to defend yourself. Now, we’re just sparring here, so I’m going to pull my punches. I really just want to see what you’ll do, I don’t want to hurt you.”

John started laughing just hard enough to be insulting. “You don’t want to hurt me, huh?” John was still chuckling while he smirked down at you.

“You may have a few inches and a few pounds on me, but I’ve taken down monsters bigger than you, so yeah, I don’t want to hurt you.”

Almost before you stopped talking, you threw a punch at John’s shoulder, shifting his position just enough that you could sweep his leg out from under him while grabbing the other arm and forcing it behind his back. Before he knew it, he was on the ground, face down, both hands behind his back, with you kneeling on him.

“All right! Mercy! I give. You can beat the crap out of me if you want to. Now, let me up?” John tried to turn his head so he could see your face, but you were holding him down too securely.

“Remember, I was pulling my punches. A vampire won’t.” You stood up and offered him a hand up. He glanced at the boys before taking your hand, so when he tried to pull you down and overpower you, you were prepared. Using the momentum from his pull, you flipped over him, ending up behind him. Turning around quickly, you caught him in a headlock as he was trying to get up. He froze, knowing you wouldn’t actually choke him, and for a split second you got a whiff of his aftershave. God, he smells good. John used your split second of distraction and flipped you over his shoulder, sending you hard to the ground. Before he could make another move, you rolled away and got back on your feet.

“Better. What I need you to understand is that every monster you come up against is going to be stronger than you. Fighting like this is your last resort, especially if you’re hunting alone. It’s good to have a strong punch, but it’s better to have a solid plan and the right weapons. After I’m gone, I expect you to find another hunter to train you.”

John stood back up and faced you, this time ready for whatever you had in store for him. You both glanced over at the boys, saw they were still playing happily, and then the game was on.

You faked left and hit right, John anticipated your hit and dodged, using your momentum against you to send you flying. You caught yourself before you fell and flipped yourself around to face him again, but instead of pausing you went immediately into another attack. The two of you sparred like this for a while, both of you seeming to understand when you had to pause for just long enough to watch the boys. You hit, John dodged, John hit, you dodged, and then you did it all over again. John proved to you that he had been holding back at the start, and was quickly fighting at closer to your level. You still managed to overpower him at one point, though, leaving him on the ground on his back with you straddling him, hands on his shoulders, pinning him down. Again, you both glanced at the boys before turning your attention back to each other.

You and John were both panting, and as John looked up at you, you saw the look on his face change slightly. Trying to read him and figure out what caused the change, you stayed sitting on his chest until his hands gently landed on your hips and squeezed softly. You saw his pupils dilate just a fraction in spite of the morning sun shining down on you both, and your breath hitched. You felt your skin tingle where John’s hands were, and your body warmed.

No no no no no!

Jumping up quickly, you backed away, using checking on the boys as an excuse not to meet his eyes again until your breathing was under control. By the time John was standing next to you, you were able to look at him again calmly. He seemed back to normal as well, so you cleared your mind as you cleared your throat. Back to business, Y/N!

“You did well, that time, just a hair too slow. Whatever you decide to do to train, work on your speed, as well, or I’d have my hands wrapped around your throat right now.”

John nodded silently. You led him back to the table and the two of you spent the morning talking strategy when fighting while watching the boys play. When the conversation died, John sighed.

“Do you know when this thing is supposed to attack?”

You shrugged. “I was told a few days.”

John nodded. “And why is it coming after me and my boys?”

Stiffening, you tried to act unconcerned. “Because you’re important.”

“Important how?”

“I think the boys are getting bored. We should take them inside and find something else to do.” You went to stand up, but John grabbed your arm and pulled you back down.

“Y/N, did Mary die because we’re important?”

Ducking your head, you sighed. “I can’t answer that.”

John huffed angrily. “So that’s a yes.” He leaned back while you tried to find a way to explain that wouldn’t give too much away.

“John, the two things are both related and unrelated. It could be argued that you’re important because Mary died. There’s no way for me to answer that question that will both satisfy you and protect you.”

John ran a hand over his face and sighed. “I really loved her, you know?”

Softening your gaze on his face, you nodded before looking away. “I know.”

“I mean, things weren’t great near the end, and I can’t say for sure that we’d have ever figured it out, but in spite of it all, I still loved her.” You looked up and watched John as he watched his sons. “She gave me the two best things that ever happened to me besides her. No matter what was going on, we deserved the chance to figure it out. That’s the worst part. We never got the chance to figure it out.”

You dug your fingers into your thighs to stop yourself from reaching out to John. Another moment like what happened in the grass would be a bad idea. You thought about how you would explain that one to Dean and Sam when you got home. “So, yeah, while I was teaching your dad about hunting, and he was trying to get over the death of your mom, I kind of hit on him. What can I say, guys, your dad was hot!” Oh yeah, that would go down well.

Your thoughts were interrupted by Dean walking Sammy over to his dad for a diaper change. While John took Sammy back in the motel room, Dean sat down next to you.

“Why were you trying to hit my dad?”

You took in Dean’s very serious five-year old face and smiled. “I was teaching him a little bit about how to protect himself and you guys.”

“Dad says nothing’s gonna get us because he was in the war and knows how to fight for his family. He’s tough.” Dean looked at you until you nodded, indicating that you understood, but still looked thoughtful. “Are you going to marry my dad?”

The question startled you enough that you almost fell off the picnic bench. “Um, no, Dean. Why do you ask?”

“Other babysitters go home.” Dean shrugged and you stifled a chuckle.

“Well, this babysitter is sticking around for a few days, and then you’ll have your dad all to yourself again, I promise.”

Dean’s little face made your heart melt when he looked at you. “You’re going to leave?” You could tell he was trying to be a man, but he was sad at the idea.

“Yeah. I’m here to do a job, and when the job’s done, I have to go. Why?”

Dean shrugged his little shoulders. “Dad hasn’t been so cranky since you got here, that’s all. And he made us bacon for breakfast! He never makes bacon! I love bacon.”

Dean went on to extoll the virtues of bacon and pie and all of his other favorite foods, while you smiled at him fondly.

 

Your first hunt with the Winchesters, and it couldn’t have been more informative. You knew the Winchesters had had something to do with starting and stopping the Apocalypse. You didn’t know someone had written the entire story into a series of books. And your first hunt was wrapped around a student’s musical fan fiction version of the books. You had argued with the brothers about letting the play go on, and got captured by Calliope on your way to talk with the principal. Hmph. Last time you’d argue with the Winchesters, that’s for sure!

Watching Dean and Sam watch the beginning of the second act brought tears to your eyes. Seeing their loved ones brought back to life, even if only by a group of female students, well, it wasn’t easy. The words to the old Kansas song they sang plucked at your heartstrings. As you walked out of the building, you heard Dean mumble, “Ain’t no peace in this life or the next.”

That night, Dean woke you with another nightmare. It had been three nights since your first night with the Winchesters, and you and Dean had finally accepted that you both slept better together. Well, Dean slept better with you there, which meant you slept better. There had been no discussion of it, no long talk about what it meant or what it could lead to, you had simply stopped trying to sleep on the couch. Dean did his best to stay on his side of the bed, and the first night you climbed into bed with him, he climbed out the other side to sleep on the couch without a word. In the middle of the night, though, you brought him back to the bed, and that was the last time he had fought it. You had overheard Dean apologizing to Sam for it, though you didn’t understand why.

As Dean began whimpering and thrashing, you wrapped your arms around him and rubbed his back with one hand while stroking his hair with the other. He slowly calmed down, and as soon as he stopped fighting you, you felt him wake up. He shifted in your arms until you were on your back again, his head resting on your shoulder, his arm wrapped around your waist, and his leg intertwined with yours. You kept stroking his hair and back, expecting him to fall asleep again like he usually did, but he didn’t. Instead, you felt your t-shirt get damp with tears.

“Oh, Dean,” you whispered, kissing his head. “Want to talk about it?”

At first, Dean just nestled into you further, shaking his head just enough to get the point across. When you felt the tears stop, he started pulling away from you and sat up, leaning his back against the headboard. You sat up with him, taking one of his hands in both of yours. You both sat there a long time before Dean started to tell you about Adam. He told you about when they first learned of his existence, teaching him to defend himself, beginning to accept him, just to find out it was never Adam at all. They gave their brother a hunter’s funeral and moved on.

Until the angels brought him back. Then, they got to meet the real Adam. The Adam who didn’t care about Dean and Sam at all and wanted nothing to do with anything that didn’t give him his mother back. The Adam who was stuck in the cage with Michael and Lucifer.

“Each month up here is ten years down there. He’s been down there five years, Y/N. That’s 600 years, stuck in Hell with two sadistic archangels playing with him as their only entertainment. Sam’s soul was only down there for a third of that, and he would have died if Cas hadn’t taken it on himself. Even if we could get Adam back, now, he’s lost. There’s no fixing what’s been done to him.”

Dean’s tears started falling again, so you sat up further, pulling him to yourself. Dean buried his face in your hair, then pulled you into his lap while he shuddered in your arms.

“Death made me choose. Adam or Sam. He would only save one. He made me choose.”

You whispered what you hoped were comforting phrases while marveling at the man in your arms. Angels, demons, Death? When you had said they were the big time, you had had no idea how big they really were.

As Dean began to calm down, you suddenly became very aware of his breath on your neck and his hand on your hip, his thumb rubbing circles into your skin. His hands were big and strong, just like the rest of him, and you chastised yourself for having such a thought while he was so vulnerable and open. You forced your thoughts away from the sexual, and tugged on Dean’s head until he was looking at you.

“Want to try going back to sleep?”

Dean nodded, and before you could move, he had already moved the both of you. His arms stayed wrapped around you, but you were both laying down, Dean practically on top of you, his face buried in your neck. One leg shifted between yours, and then you felt him start to relax. Fighting off the very inappropriate thoughts going through your head, you finally fell asleep.

 

Your second afternoon with the Winchesters was less exciting than the first. You and John just played with the boys until it was time for you to head to the bar for a little more hustling. You spent a couple of hours working a couple of guys, but all you had to show for it was dirty hand prints on your ass and a couple hundred dollars. When you got back to the motel, John saw the hand prints and huffed angrily.

“Easier for a woman, huh?”

You turned at his words and saw the rage simmering while his eyes were locked on your ass. “Yeah, John. Easier for a woman. He spent so much time looking down my shirt and copping a feel that he didn’t even notice me hustling him for all he was worth. Sadly, he was only worth a couple hundred bucks. The bar is doing some kind of game night tomorrow night to bring in the college students, so I’ll go back tomorrow night, and earn some real cash. Just need to hit the laundromat before then to get this jerk’s dirty hand print off my best jeans.”

You were so distracted by trying to see the damage done to your pants while they were still on you that you didn’t notice John’s reaction.

“Hell no, you’re not going back tomorrow night! We don’t need cash so badly you have to put up with getting manhandled!”

Controlling your breaths to help you control your anger, you looked at the boys, who had stopped playing to stare at you and their dad. “Dean, how do you feel about all of us going out to eat dinner tonight?” Dean nodded slowly. “How about you take Sammy into the bedroom and the two of you get changed into clean clothes?” Dean grabbed Sammy’s hand and led him into the bedroom. You suspected getting Sammy changed was beyond his abilities, but you also suspected Dean knew you just wanted them out of the room.

With your own fury in your eyes, you turned to face the angry man towering over you. “John Winchester, you are neither my father nor my significant other, so you have no say in my decision to be ‘manhandled’ if it improves the situation. I love how chivalrous you can be, but I need you to let it go. This isn’t the first time a strange man’s hand has wandered and it won’t be the last. Be practical, John. Right now, you can’t earn money, but I can, so let me do it. Okay?”

John stared at you, and you suddenly knew what every monster he would ever kill saw before they died. You held your ground, though, and he stalked off to help the boys. Finally exhaling the breath you had been holding, you went into the bathroom and changed into clean clothes, muttering to yourself the whole time. Sheesh. When I signed up for this, I thought I was going back to the 80’s, not the 50’s!

Chapter Text

Dinner with the Winchesters was uneventful, thank goodness, with no further mention of the argument. After you all returned to the motel, the boys were quickly bathed and put down for the night, leaving just you and John. You turned on the TV, chuckling to yourself when you couldn’t figure out how to change the channels right away, so just left it on whatever it happened to be on. When a man with an accordion and a funny accent came on, complete with bubbles floating in the background and cookie cutter couples dancing in front of a live orchestra, thankfully John flipped through the three other available channels to search for anything else. When he didn’t find anything, he shut the set off with a sigh and sat down on the couch next to you, whiskey in hand. He offered you a glass and you waved him off.

“I have to stay sharp. You drink, just don’t get so drunk you can’t fight.” You gave him a small smile and elbowed him in the ribs.

John nodded and sighed, staring thoughtfully at you. “How do you do it?”

“Do what?”

“Let men do whatever they want to you for a couple bucks?”

Feeling your anger rising again, you gave John your best bitch face. “For one thing, they don’t get to do whatever they want. I know what my boundaries are, and they don’t cross them without losing a body part. For another, it’s called using my available resources. This is something you’ll have to learn. Let me put it in terms you’ll understand. Let’s say you owned a baseball bat signed by Joe DiMaggio himself. Someone comes into your house and tries to take your kids. No matter how valuable that baseball bat is, you’re going to use it on that intruder. Same with hunting. Great Aunt Bertha’s antique silver brooch is worth less than your life when you’re facing a shapeshifter. My butt, and occasionally other parts of my body, are available resources. Let’s say I’m hustling two guys. I can distract both of them by taking one shot if I shake my backside a little and wear a low-cut top. A lot of guys will put up a lot of dough just to watch me play. And if any of them try anything, well, I took you down, didn’t I?”

John just shook his head. “All right. I still don’t quite get it, but I understand that you live by a different set of rules than I do, I guess. I just hate to see you get taken advantage of, that’s all.”

Your clamped a hand over your mouth to stifle your laughter before it woke up the boys. “I’m the one that did the taking, John!”

He smiled slowly and nodded. “I guess you’re right. Maybe I should be condemning you for using your feminine wiles on unsuspecting drunks?”

You clapped him on the shoulder and said, “That’s the ticket!” You both smiled at each other until your laughter quieted. Not sure what to do to fill the time, you grabbed John’s journal and read over what he had entered so far. You closed your eyes for second and tried to picture the 2015 version. You had only seen it a couple of times, and had only flipped through it, so all you could remember was the first page and a few random pages in the middle. Opening your eyes again, you flipped through the journal in your hands, wondering what else you were supposed to give John while you were here. The first page now matched your memory, minus a coffee cup stain and some scribbles in the margins. Turning to the second page, it all looked new to you. Deciding that anything you taught him was up for grabs, you spent the next couple of hours talking about different kinds of monsters, the differences between them, and how to kill them.

After John went to bed, you stared some more at his journal. It was surreal to see it as it was now. You could pick out the page where someday John would draw a wendigo. Part of you wanted to draw it yourself, but you restrained yourself. Instead, on a back page of the journal, you wrote Bobby’s name and “Singer Salvage and Auto, Sioux Falls, SD,” along with a note, “Tell him Rufus Turner sent you.” You went to close the journal, then thought back to what you had read from the first Supernatural books, and added just a name: Pastor Jim. It was all before your time, but you knew they were allies of John’s from reading the books. Hopefully that would get him on the right path when you were gone.

Exhausted from chasing around two toddlers all morning, chasing two drunks all afternoon, and dodging one perceptive hunter-in-training all evening, you settled down on the couch for the night. You weren’t there long, though, before you heard the door to the bedroom open. Expecting to see the bathroom light turn on, you were startled when you heard John settle into one of the chairs at the table, instead.

“John? I thought you went to bed?”

In the strips of light coming in through the cracks in the curtains, you saw John sit up straight and run a hand over his face, though he was facing away from you. “I’m sorry, did I wake you? I didn’t want to do that. Just go back to sleep, Y/N. Everything’s fine.”

Sitting up, you peered at him through the darkness. “I hadn’t gotten to sleep, yet, so no worries. What’s wrong?”

The quiet stretched out between you in the darkness. “It’s nothing. Really. Just go to sleep.”

Standing up, you made your way to John in the dark, getting behind him and resting your hands on his shoulders. “I’m not just here to protect you, John. I can listen, too.”

You felt John look up at you as his head leaned against your stomach. Almost so quietly you couldn’t hear him, he said, “Just have a headache.” Giving his shoulders a tentative squeeze, you felt the tight muscles there under his t-shirt, and started to work them with your fingers. John’s head fell forward to give you better access to his neck, and he began groaning as you worked out the kinks in each muscle. When his neck and shoulders had loosened up, you pulled him over to the couch and had him lay down so you could work on his back. You almost stopped when he started making moans instead of pained groans, feeling them affect you in ways you knew they shouldn’t, but you took a deep breath and kept telling yourself this was a friendly gesture. Running your hands up and down his back, from the short hairs at the base of his skull down to the waistband of his boxers and the curve of his butt, you worked him over by feel in the darkness. You ignored the thoughts of his strong muscles beneath your fingers and concentrated on the mechanics of rubbing out knots.

When you were done, you thought John was asleep, but when you began to stand, he moved quickly to stop you. “No. Stay.”

For a moment, you were reminded of the first night you spent with Dean. Same kind of crappy couch, same kind of crappy motel, same kind of sad and beaten man curled around you. John sat up next to you, though, and put his hands on your shoulders, returning the favor.

You desperately shut down the part of you that hadn’t been touched more than platonically in over a year. You also shut down the part of you that had come to want more than it could have from a certain cursed Winchester. You told those parts of you that this meant nothing, no matter how good it felt. John was still grieving. This was just what friends do.

You chewed on your cheek to stifle the moans you wanted to let out along with the tension that was melting from your body. In order to distract you from John’s skilled hands, you talked.

“Was it just the headache keeping you awake?”

John’s hands stilled for a moment, but picked up their work. “No.” John sighed. “Can’t sleep in that damn bed. It’s too big for one person.” Understanding bloomed in your mind. Being in a big bed was difficult when you were used to sharing it with someone else.

“Tell me about her. How did you meet? What was she like?”

Focusing on John’s words over his talented hands was surprisingly easy. You could hear the love in every memory. He talked about holidays, when the boys were born, and coming home from a long day at the garage to the smell of pie in the oven. When he was done with your back and shoulders, you just sat next to each other while he talked. Before long, you slipped into sleep.

 

As the Impala drove away from the mansion, leaving behind a dead shapeshifter and more dead humans than you cared to count, you let your head fall back onto the seat.

“Holy mother of God and all her wacky nephews, can we not spend any more time with stuck up cougars like those two for at least a year? I wanted to tell them off from the moment we walked in that place!” Dean and Sam laughed and agreed with you.

“If I didn’t know you better, I’d have expected you to scratch their eyes out when they had their hands all over Sammy, Y/N.” Dean looked up at you through the rear view mirror and gave you a wink. Sam coughed nervously and looked out the window.

“Nah, Dean. I know Sammy can hold his own. He’s a big boy. He doesn’t need me protecting him.” Sammy seemed to relax with your response, so you let it slide, for the time being. “So, where to next, boys?”

Dean glanced at Sam, then gave you a big smile. “We’re getting your car out of storage, and we’re taking you and your Princess home. We deserve a break, right?”

“Home? You mean you’re finally going to show me this bunker of yours?”

Sam turned around in the seat so he could look at you. “Yeah, Y/N. We hunt together well, we’ve gotten along well living in cramped motel rooms, and so as long as you’re sure you want to stay with us, then it’s time. Don’t you think?”

Sam was giving you those puppy eyes again, so you looked at Dean in the rear view mirror, only to see the same puppy eyes looking at you from there. You felt the grin take over your face.

“I do think, boys. It’s about time!”

The drive to your car and then to the bunker was a couple of days long. By the end of it, you were sure you needed to talk to Sam. Though you still spent your nights sleeping with Dean, it had become apparent that Dean thought you had a thing for Sam. He spent less and less time letting you comfort him after nightmares, and you suspected he had even left the bed one night and slept in the Impala. On top of that, Dean was constantly teasing you about any woman who so much as gave Sam a second look.

When you were finally in the bunker and unpacking in the bedroom you had chosen (closer to Dean than Sam so you could hear him at night), Sam stopped by to check on you.

“Get in here, Sam, and shut the door.”

Sam looked surprised, but complied. “What’s up, Y/N?”

“Why does Dean think I’ve got the hots for you?”

Sam’s eyebrows nearly hit his hairline in an exaggerated expression of surprise. “What? No! He doesn’t think that, I don’t think.” Sam was now looking at anything that wasn’t you in the room and you pursed your lips.

“Well, he thinks something, and I know I didn’t give him a reason to. What’s going on, Sam?”

Sam looked sheepish and sighed. “I might have told Dean that I thought I had a chance with you to get him to agree to you coming with us.”

“WHAT?!?!”

“Well, I told him that you knew about the Mark, and he couldn’t believe that you’d have anything to do with us after you’d heard about that. You being suddenly willing to come with us in spite of it after telling him you wanted to be nowhere near us kind of helped to give him that impression.” Sam’s voice trailed off as he shrugged his shoulders and gave you his puppy eyes again.

You sighed, shut your eyes, and shook your head, then let your head fall back on your shoulders. “Ugh. Seriously? How can he think that I want you when I’ve been sharing a bed with him for the past few weeks?”

“Oh, believe me, he’s been trying to stop that and apologizing to me every day for it.”

You shook your head again. “So that’s why he’s making all those comments about me being jealous whenever another woman comes near you. This can’t continue, you know that, right?”

Sam sighed. “I just needed him to think it until we knew this was going to work. Now that you’re here, maybe we can kind of let him know that we’re not, you know….”

You saw the flash of indecision that crossed Sam’s face as he looked at you while his voice trailed off. He was hoping against hope that he had read you correctly and you didn’t have feelings for him. For one second, though, he worried that maybe he was wrong. Deciding not to keep him in his misery, even if he deserved it, you laughed.

“Unless you’ve got something to tell me about your undying love for me, I think it’s cool to tell Dean that we don’t see each other that way. Whenever you think is best, Sam. You know him better than I do. And now, since I actually know what’s going on, I can aid and abet you properly! See, if you had clued me in from the start, this would have been so much easier!”

You both laughed, hugged, and only broke apart when Dean knocked on your door to grab you for dinner.

That night, when you were ready for bed, you knocked on Dean’s door. He invited you in, and you sat down on his bed next to him.

“Okay, memory foam. I can work with this,” you joked.

Dean looked at you seriously. “I’m not going to make you sleep with me when we’re in the bunker, Y/N. I didn’t even want you to sleep with me in the motels, but you’re damn persistent. You have your own room, now, where you can sleep uninterrupted. So go get a decent night’s sleep for a change, okay?”

The disappointment that choked you caught you by surprise. Trying to keep your expression light, you kissed Dean on the forehead, smiled, and headed back to your own room. Lying in bed by yourself, it was hours before you finally got to sleep. The bed was just too big.

When you finally surfaced again, bleary eyed and exhausted, all you found was a note saying that the brothers had headed out to a hunt, and decided to give you a chance to settle in to the bunker instead of waking you up. You texted both of them to check on them, but only Sam responded. They had been sidelined from their hunt by another hunt. When you asked how that happened, Sam explained that Dean had been trying to hook up with a woman he met through a dating app. Finding out she was a hooker with a demonic pimp kind of put the brakes on their relationship, though.

Sam was laughing, but you were not. You told yourself you were being silly. You and Dean were just friends, like you and Sam. Just because you had shared a bed with him didn’t mean you were anything more. Of course, Dean thinking you wanted Sam didn’t help. Not that there was anything to help, anyway. You pushed all thoughts of romance out of your mind and focused on helping the boys figure out what had taken out the pimp’s boss.

When they got back to the bunker, Sam pulled you aside and told you about Cole Trenton and Dean’s interaction with him. When Dean knocked on your door and found Sam was already there, he made an excuse about going grocery shopping and beat a hasty retreat.

“Sam, you still haven’t told him that we’re not a thing?”

Sam frowned. “I’m just afraid he’s going to try to push you away for your own safety.” Sam paused, but looked like he still had something to say, so you waited. “And I’m afraid if he does, you’ll go.”

Taking the gigantic Winchester in your arms the same way you’d held his brother so many times, you tried to reassure him. “Pete’s petunias, Sam, I’m not going anywhere. Whether you like it or not, you’re stuck with me, now.” Sam hugged you back and you felt him relax. “I’ve been having enough trouble getting used to sleeping by myself, I can’t even imagine hunting by myself, anymore.”

Sam pulled you away from him so he could look at your face. “You really care about him, don’t you?”

Feeling your face flush, you nodded. “I care about both of you, Sam, but yeah. I care about him.” Sighing, you sat back against the headboard of your bed again. “So you have nothing to worry about. I’m not leaving. Okay?”

Sam smiled. “Okay.”

 

Little hands pushed on your arm as sunlight streamed in through the windows and blinded you.

“Y/N, Daddy, wake up. Sammy needs his diaper changed.”

As your eyes opened, you noticed a few other things about your surroundings, too. For one thing, you were laying on the couch on your side with a heavy arm over your waist, a leg tangled up with yours, a solid and warm chest against your back, and warm breath near your ear. Next, you noticed the hard length pressed into the back of your thigh, right about the same time you fully appreciated the two toddlers standing in front of you, one with a very full diaper. Your body started to react to what was pressed up against your back, and you concentrated on the distressed toddlers in front of you. You tried to shift to get up, but the arm over your waist held you fast, so all you ended up doing was grinding against the body behind you. When your body responded entirely inappropriately to that, you sighed.

“John, wake up. Sammy needs a new diaper. I’ll take care of it, but you have to let me up.” No response. You finally managed to swivel so you were on your back, giving yourself some room to move and better leverage, and then found a way to sit up. You grabbed the blanket that was thrown over the back of the couch and covered John with it, hiding the party happening in his boxers, then moved his arm so you could get up. As you stood, he snuggled further into the couch with a groan.

Shaking your head at the sleeping man, you grabbed up Sammy and took care of his diaper. When he was cleaned up, you sat both boys down at the table and got them some cereal to eat. When they were settled, you went back to the couch, unable to stop thinking about the solid, warm feeling of John pressed up against you without getting flushed.

Sitting next to the sleeping man, you tried to gently wake him. As he started to rouse, you heard him mumble, “Mary, come back to bed.”

With tears in your eyes, you stopped trying to wake him, and decided to let him enjoy his dream.

Chapter Text

As the boys ate, you tried not to stare at the prone figure on the couch. There was no reason for it. John Winchester is grieving for his wife, you are only here for a short while, and then you go back to your Dean and Sam. You know, your Dean, the one you’ve been telling yourself you’re not in love with for the past year? Just because he doesn’t feel the same way doesn’t mean it’s okay to fall in bed with his father. Even if it’s 30 years in the past and it will never go anywhere because you’re leaving. Holy cannoli, this entire situation is bad enough already, do NOT add sex into the mix, Y/N!

When John finally stirred, you beat a hasty retreat into the shower for some alone time, thinking maybe if you let off a little steam, then your mind wouldn’t be clouded by hormones. You resolutely pictured Dean’s face, your Dean, with his usual three days’ worth of stubble, his soft lips, his mesmerizing green eyes, and his strong arms that had held you in his sleep once upon a time. You finished with a sob, knowing that any fantasy with Dean was impossible, no matter what time you were in. The water slowly cooled as you pulled yourself together. When you left the bathroom, you felt more in control of yourself, and able to at least look John in the face. When you did, you were almost lost again. He looked better than he had since you got there. The bags under his eyes were lighter, his smile was easier, and there was a little color in his cheeks. That dream of Mary must have really done him some good.

While John took his turn in the shower, you got the boys dressed and had them help you gather up dirty laundry. You made a game of it, giving each boy tickles and raspberries for every piece of dirty laundry they brought to you. The three of you were having a great time until you stubbed your toe on one of the beds.

“Fuzzy TRUCKER!” Hopping around on one foot until the initial pain faded, you followed up your scream with a stream of every curse your mom had ever allowed. “Holy mother of God and all her wacky nephews…daggone…gorram…Pete’s mother-loving petunias, that hurts!” Finally sitting on one of the beds, you were rubbing your sore toe and inspecting the damage when you heard deep laughter coming from outside the bedroom door.

Looking up, you saw John, still damp from his shower, clad only in a towel, head thrown back in the best laugh you had ever heard. That’s where Dean gets it. While John laughed, you took in the sight of his mostly naked form. He was lean and muscular, built more like Sam than Dean, with the chiseled abs, well-defined arms, and distracting V-line. Shaking the thoughts from your head, you came back to reality as John was just finishing his spurt of laughter.

“What the hell did you just say, Y/N?” The teasing gleam in John’s eye made you smile in spite of yourself.

“I believe I said,” you held up one hand and ticked off your curses one finger at a time, “‘Fuzzy trucker, Holy mother of God and all her wacky nephews, daggone, gorram, and Pete’s mother-loving petunias.’ Got a problem with how I cuss, sir?” You gave John a flirty smile, daring him to say something about your language.

John grinned, barely containing further laughter. “I guess not.” He shook his head and moved from where he had been standing in the doorway to the dresser where his clothes were. “Where did you get such colorful language?”

Grabbing the last of the dirty laundry, you made your way to the door to give him privacy. “Some from my mother, some from a TV show I used to watch.” You zipped your lip, suddenly remembering that said TV show was still twenty years in his future. Sitting down on the couch, Dean came over to you and watched you rub the soreness out of your toe.

“Y/N, did you say a bad word?” You saw his father’s laughter in his little green eyes and smiled.

“No, little man, I did not, and that’s the whole point!” You tapped his little nose, making him laugh, then tickled him until he squealed. Later on, when he dropped a piece of dirty laundry at the laundromat, you heard his little voice say indignantly, “fuzzy trucker!” Another woman who was doing her laundry across the room heard it, and met your eyes with a smile and a laugh.

 

Jody’s call about the animal attacks in Hibbing couldn’t have come at a better time. You had cabin fever from sitting out the last hunt, Dean was tired of reading books and studies that were no help on the Mark, and Sam was getting tired of playing hall monitor while you and Dean came up with new and interesting excuses not to research, anymore. As soon as you heard a female voice on the other end of the phone, your heart leapt.

“You mean, I get to hang out with a GIRL who knows about monsters??” You jumped from your chair and ran towards your room, yelling over your shoulder as you went, “I’ll be packed and ready in ten minutes!!!”

Meeting Jody Mills was everything you had expected it to be. When Donna Hanscum also got roped into the hunt, you were the only one was who downright excited. Finding women to talk to in your line of work was difficult, at best, and you and Donna shared a similar vocabulary. Jody offered to let you use her room to change out of your Fed suit before you all headed out to the farm where you suspected the vampires were. While you changed, the two of you talked.

“You know, I’ve known those boys a long time.” Jody gave you a look which you immediately understood.

You put your hands up in surrender with a smile. “All right, Mama Bear, I get it. If I hurt them, you’ll find me.” You both chuckled while you finished getting changed. “Seriously, though, no worries. I haven’t been with them long, but it doesn’t take long to get attached to them, does it?” You felt your smile fade a little in spite of your best efforts to keep it wide.

Jody watched you while you loaded weapons into your jacket and strapped on your holster for your machete. “You know their history?”

You nodded. “Yeah. Read the books, and had a very long evening playing Drunk History one night.”

Jody put up a hand, stopping you from going further, eyes wide and mouth slack. “There’s books?”

Giving her a sheepish grin, you shake your head. “Nope. No books. I didn’t say a thing about books.”

Jody cocked an eyebrow and gave you a suspicious squint. “Uh huh. No books. Got it.” Jody let it go, but you could tell she’d be doing some research when she got home. “So, Dean said something about you and Sam?”

You stifled a chuckle and it turned into a snort. “Heck, no. In spite of Dean’s best attempts, I have no intentions toward Sam. Sam is one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and I can talk to him about anything, but there is absolutely no chemistry there.”

You felt Jody’s watchful gaze as you put your boots on and double-checked all of your weapons. “Can’t say the same for Dean, though, can you?”

Slowly, you brought your gaze up to Jody and felt your face flush. “Something like that.” You gave Jody a smile and twirled when you heard a knock at the door. When you went to answer it, Dean was already halfway in the room.

“Jody, do you always leave your door hanging open, or just when you know Sam’s around?” Jody’s face flushed and she stood up in defiance.

“We’re in a hotel full of law enforcement, Dean. Anything that’s gonna get me here isn’t going to be stopped by a lock. Now, let’s get our asses in gear and chop off some vampire heads!” Jody stalked out the door, running straight into Sam’s broad chest as he was about to enter the room. Her face turned another shade darker, and she growled as she kept on walking.

After the nest was dead and the scene cleaned up, you took a few moments with the two sheriffs. Exchanging numbers with both and making promises of having a Girls Night, you enjoyed being around like-minded women.

On the drive back to the bunker, you opted to sleep in the back since Dean didn’t want to stop for the night. You had some trouble drifting off, though, so just lay there for the longest time, listening to the brothers chat.

“So, Sammy, you and Y/N…I thought you were going to try something?”

“Nah. It turns out we’re just really good at being friends. There’s no spark or anything there for either of us, I don’t think. I’m glad she joined us, though, aren’t you?”

“Yeah.” Your heart sank at the nonchalant tone to Dean’s voice.

“She’s good for us, don’t you think, Dean?”

Dean snorted. “Well, yeah. It’s nice having a woman around.”

The silence stretched out and you struggled not to move or disturb your breathing in case you alerted the brothers that you were actually awake.

“Besides that, Dean. She’s good for you, isn’t she? You like her, right?”

“Of course I like her, Sammy, she wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I’m just sorry things didn’t work out for the two of you.”

“It’s no big deal, man. We’re good. I was even trying to get her to go home with a guy the last time we were at that bar, remember? She just hustled him and came home with us, though.”

You remembered the guy you hustled, but not Sam trying to get you to take him home. Dean grunted and you heard shifting noises from the front seat, followed by the radio turning up just a little. Letting your mind toss around the possibilities presented by the conversation, you finally started to doze off.

 

The boys needed their nap while you were at the laundromat, so you tucked Sam in one of the baskets with some clean clothes for blankets and Dean stretched out on some chairs while you waited for another load to dry. When they were completely asleep, John turned to you.

“You know so much about me, but I know next to nothing about you. I mean, I know your parents are gone, and you’re smart, and you’re tough, but that’s about it.” Your face flushed at John’s praise and you lowered your eyes. “I mean, where are you from? Do you, you know… hunt… alone? Don’t you have somebody waiting for you and wondering where you are right now?”

You shrugged. “I have a couple of hunting partners I found about a year ago, but before that, I hunted alone for a long time. Hunting alone is a bad idea, but it took me a while to find someone that fit.”

“Hunting partner? Is that like boyfriend, or like cops have partners?”

Giving John your best bitch face, then wondering if bitch faces were even a thing in 1984, you sassed back. “No, not like boyfriends. Like cops have partners.” You studied the designs on the floor tiles. “Boyfriends are hard to find in this life.”

“These partners of yours, why aren’t they with you?” John tried to angle himself so he could meet your eyes, but you kept your focus on the floor in front of you.

“This had to be a one-man job, and I was best suited for it, I guess.” Standing up, you checked the dryer to see if it was anywhere near finished. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

“So they’re probably worried about you? Don’t you need to contact them? Let them know you’re okay?”

Different explanations for why you couldn’t contact anyone for anything flitted through your mind. “They know if I have a problem I’ll call. No news is good news.”

John was quiet, so you hoped his interest had moved on. You gaped at the prices on the vending machine, and decided to indulge in a 35-cent candy bar.

“These partners of yours don’t give a shit about you, do they? If they did, they would either be with you, or they’d want you to call, or something.” The anger in John’s voice startled you, and you turned to him in shock.

“Of course they care about me! They’re the closest thing to family I’ve had since my mom died, and we’ve taken blows for each other many times, already. I’d do anything for them, and they’ve already proven they’d do anything for me.”

John put his hands up to surrender, indicating he was backing off. Or so you thought. Quietly, he pushed. “Don’t you ever want to fall in love? Settle down? Have kids?”

A sarcastic laugh erupted from you that you weren’t expecting. Before you could think, you spouted what you’d heard too many times. “Hunters like me don’t get an apple pie life.” Taking a breath, you slowed your thoughts and your mouth as best you could. “I’m in too deep. Even if I tried, I could never get out. Some small game hunters can stop, buy a house, ignore the signs around them, hide from everything, and live happily ever after. I’m not that lucky. This is all I know how to do, and I’m in the big time, now.”

John’s sad eyes burned through your skin. “So, there’s, what, no love or companionship in hunting? You’re just alone?”

You gave John a soft smile. “There’s companionship. You meet somebody in a bar, have a nice night, and say goodbye before morning.” Your shrug was half-hearted, at best. “What I’ve found with my partners is better, though. I mean, maybe there’s no romance, or, you know, ‘nice nights’ with them, but there’s a comfort. Sharing a cramped motel room with two guys means ya’ll get comfortable quick, or it doesn’t work.”

John sat back suddenly. “Two guys? You’ve been hunting for a year with two guys, and neither one of them has tried anything with you?”

The heat from your face could have fried an egg. “Nope.” The puh at the end was exaggerated.

John stared at you. “Are they gay?”

Your hand just barely clamped over your mouth before your laughter woke the boys. “Umm, no.” John watched you smile, but still looked confused.

“Are you…?” John’s eyebrows raised and he waved a hand at you.

Shaking your head, your laughter continued. “No!”

John’s confusion was hysterical. “And nobody wants more?”

Your eyes dropped back to the design on the floor tiles as your laughter faded. “Meh.”

John sighed, and his voice was quiet. “You want more.”

You shrugged again. “I’m okay with being like a sister. It’s better to be a sister than to be nothing.” The pity on John’s face spurred you to keep talking. “Hey, it’s no big deal. I still know I’m fabulous, whether he wants me or not. And we’re still close, like I said.” You shook your head and smiled. “I knew the day I met him he was trouble, and I tried to run the other way. He’s just magnetic, you know?” You scrunched your face and John gave you a sad smile.

“Yeah, I know. Mary’s father didn’t like me from the moment he set eyes on me. He did his best to keep us apart. We just couldn’t stay away, though.”

Stories Sam and Dean had told you about Samuel Campbell flitted through your mind. If only John knew.

“Yeah, but Mary loved you, too. I don’t think I’m as lucky.” The patterns on the floor tiles swam briefly before you blinked.

“Then he’s an idiot.”

Just then, the buzzer on the dryer went off, and the spell cast over your conversation was broken. Both boys woke up, and John manhandled them while you sorted and folded laundry.

Chapter Text

You got back to the motel just in time to change into your best hustling clothes and head to the bar. As you approached, you knew it would be a good night for you, already. The parking lot was full of nice-looking cars. When you stepped inside, your theory was proven when you saw the place was filled with mostly twenty-something college students. When you left four hours later, you had five hundred dollars in your pocket.

The walk back to the motel was long, and the sun had already set. The hairs on the back of your neck were bristling, and you couldn’t relax, no matter how many times you stopped and looked around you. Echoes of your footsteps bounced off the motel walls as you forced yourself to walk calmly. You didn’t know what it was, but something was coming.

Rounding the final corner before you reached the motel room door, the air whooshed behind you before an arm wrapped itself around your neck and you felt the edge of a blade at your side.

“You’re gonna get him to open that door or you’re gonna have a couple new holes, lady.”

The walk to the door was awkward, at best, since the demon behind you was a few inches shorter than you were. You choked on the scent of sulfur and worked to control your urge to gag. Knocking on the door, you prayed John would remember to check the peephole, though you felt the demon duck behind you. The door opened and your mind worked on all the possible scenarios that could get you all out of this alive.

As John opened the door, the demon let himself be seen behind you, clutching you around the neck again. John’s eyes widened, anger clouding them, but he kept control of himself, putting himself somewhat behind the door. You started to move forward, but the demon pulled you back.

“What, do you think I’m stupid? You hunters are all the same, you know? Get rid of the welcome mats. I know what you have painted on the bottom of them.”

You kicked the outdoor mat out of the way while John pulled the indoor one away from the door. You considered screaming to bring some attention to what was happening, but imagined waking the boys, and then explaining demons to local PD officers. No, thank you.

John stared at you as he stood, watching your face for any clues of what to do next. You looked towards the kitchen, and he moved that way, making sure he was out of reach of the demon. You and the demon did your awkward walk into the room, and he closed the door behind you.

Using his moment of distraction with the door, you attacked. You twisted in his grasp, away from the knife at your side, plunging your elbow into his side at the same time. His surprise freed you, and you danced into the middle of the room to face him. As you backed away from him, he advanced towards you until something stopped him. He struggled against thin air, grunting and growling in frustration, until he finally looked up.

“You demons are all the same, you know? You never look up.” Directly above the demon was a devil’s trap painted on the ceiling.

Your arms crossed in front of your chest and you chuckled smugly at the trapped demon. John was still standing in the kitchen area, watching the two of you.

“So, he can’t get out? He’s stuck there?”

“As long as the paint holds and he breathes, he’s stuck.”

The demon growled and thrashed, making enough noise to wake the boys. You sent John into the bedroom to look after them while you pushed a chair at the back of the demon’s legs. The demon fell back, but still had control of his knife, so you were wary. Grabbing one of the nearby glasses of holy water, you doused the demon with the entire thing, causing him to drop the knife when he began thrashing and clutching at his skin. You expertly kicked the knife away from him, and while he recovered from his burns, you got him tied to the chair. Another glass of holy water gave you enough time to make sure he was truly secure, and then you patted him down for more weapons. When you were sure he was no danger, you checked on John in the bedroom.

Sammy was crying, Dean was sniffling, and both were clinging to their father in fear.

“You take the boys to the motel manager that babysat them before. Tell her you have a family emergency, but you’ll be back in the morning.” Pulling a necklace with an anti-possession charm on it out of one of your inside pockets, you handed it to John. “I’m not worried, now that we have Tweedle Dee out there secured, but give her this to wear. Tell her whatever you need to, but get her to wear it. When the boys are settled, come back here. I’m going to need another set of hands.”

Both boys plus the diaper bag were too much for John to handle alone, so you grabbed up Dean, hugging him to your chest. Making sure he couldn’t see anything, you and John walked out the motel room door, giving the demon tied to the chair a wide berth. The demon looked like he was about to open his mouth as you passed, so you tossed a splash of holy water on him from your flask. When you were outside, you put Dean on the ground, and tried to gently push him towards his father. His little face was too serious for a five-year old when he looked up at you.

“Don’t go back in there, Y/N. That’s a bad man. He’s not nice.”

Squatting so you were facing Dean at his height, you gave him a reassuring smile. “No, Dean, he’s not. But you know what? With your dad’s help, I can handle him. Your dad and I, we’re kind of like superheroes, you know? And by the time you come back tomorrow morning, that bad man will be gone, and he’ll never be able to scare you again.” Dean hurtled into your arms again, clutching to your neck. After a minute, you slowly loosened his hold on you, and transferred his hand to his dad’s.

John gave you one last worried look before walking the boys away from you.

Turning around, you slid the doormat back into place, then went inside and shut the door. Sliding the second mat back into place by the door, you listened to the demon breathe easily.

“You know, you aren’t nearly as uncomfortable as I’d like you to be.” Getting your flask out of your side pocket again, you threw a small splash of water on his skin, causing him to cry out in pain. Standing in front of him, you watched the smoke clear. “So, tell me, does the soul your meat suit belong to still reside in there with you?”

The demon snarled. “No. He didn’t make the trip.”

“Good. One less worry.” You splashed more holy water on the demon and smiled at his pain.

“You’re going to regret this. As soon as he gets back, I’m going to tell him everything his precious boys are going to do, and he’ll NEVER allow it. He’ll make sure they stay as far away from hunting as he can.”

“So, you WANT the Apocalypse? You like the idea of dying at Lucifer’s hand? Because that was his plan for all demons, you know? He kept demons around as long as they were useful, but his end game was to wipe out everyone. Now, there’s always half a chance Michael would win, and that would mean Paradise on earth. Well, whatever was left of it. Not sure Michael was a fan of demons, though. Tsk tsk tsk. See, either way you do it, you’re dead.”

“Dead’s better than what’s coming. I’ve heard the screams from the Cage. I know about the alarms from Heaven. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Whatever is coming is going to make the Apocalypse look like Sunday dinner.”

Splashing some more holy water at him, you chuckled. “You seem so sure, yet you know nothing. The Winchesters will take care of it, like they always have. Now, tell me, are there any more of you planning on playing Marty McFly, or does the buck stop here?”

“When they realize what’s happening, everyone will jump to come back and put an end to this before it ever starts. This will never be over!”

“In other words, it’s just you. Gotcha. Thanks for that. Now, you’re going to be a good little demon while I teach John a couple of things about hunting demons before I kill you.”

Reaching into your duffel, you grabbed a rag and some duct tape, then shoved the rag into the demon’s mouth and taped it shut. When you were sure he couldn’t speak, you pulled a chair over from the table and sat across from him, watching him until John returned.

John’s face was worried, with a dash of scared, when he came back to the room. Circling around the demon as far as he could, he stood behind you and stared at him.

“So, this is a demon.”

“Yup. I decided to keep him around for a few minutes so you can learn a few things.” You quickly went over Demon 101: sulfur, meat suit, powers, what holy water does to them, and what little they can still do while in a devil’s trap. “I wish I could have you exorcise him, but this particular demon needs to be killed. Besides, he claims the soul of the man is gone, so he’s alone in there. Killing a demon is damn near impossible, unless you have the right weapon. There are a handful of knives in the world that can kill a demon. Most, if not all, have been hidden by demons, for obvious reasons. Next, there is Samuel Colt’s gun. That gun is rumored to be able to kill anything. I have no clue how to find it, though, and most people think it’s a myth. Finally, there’s this.”

Reaching into your jacket, you pulled out the angel blade Cas had given to you before you left the bunker. As you spoke, the demon’s eyes had expressed his boredom. When you mentioned exorcising him, he’d gotten excited. When you said you were going to kill him, he’d cocked an eyebrow at you, and you could tell he wondered what you had brought with you. When he saw the angel blade, you watch resignation bloom in his eyes.

John looked at the blade in awe. “What is it?”

“Can’t tell you where I got it and I can’t leave it for you, it’s got to go with me. But if you ever see one, run from whatever’s holding it, because you do NOT want that fight. As far as I know, this is the only one like it on earth right now, so I doubt you’ll ever run into one. You’re more likely to find the Colt than one of these.” You saw the gear clicking in John’s head and knew you had planted a seed that needed to be planted.

Standing over the demon, the blade twirled in your hand. You walked around the chair to stand behind the demon, then quickly thrust the blade through his brain stem. The body flickered orange and you felt the buzz of the demon’s energy leaving the body. You pushed the body forward just a bit to contain the blood flow, then pulled the blade back out. Wiping the blood off on the demon’s clothing, you slid the blade back into your jacket.

Throughout all of this, John just stood there, watching. You saw his face cringe when the blade went through the demon, but his eyes stayed on you. You were suddenly unable to keep eye contact with the man, though. He had just watched you kill a demon, and probably an innocent soul trapped inside. There was no telling what he thought of you now.

Grasping the charm hanging around your neck, you waited to feel the warmth.

Nothing came.

Pushing aside thoughts of what John must be thinking, you started directing John on how to help you dispose of the body. Maybe cleaning up the scene was part of getting the job done. An hour later, the two of you were digging a hole in the woods behind the motel. Three hours later, you were watching the salted body burn in the hole you had dug. Two hours after that, you were tamping down the ground and pushing brush over the mound. You were back at the motel shortly after dawn, cleaning the carpet in the room of the few stray drops of blood that had fallen while John showered. When John was done, you headed into the bathroom, not even caring if there was any hot water left. There was, and you stood under the spray, taking in what you had done.

You’d killed a lot of monsters in your life, but this was the first kill where you hadn’t been fighting. This was your first incapacitated monster. You knew you had to do it. The demon couldn’t be allowed to go back to Hell and warn Lilith of what was to come. That didn’t stop you from shaking when images from his death flitted through your mind.

Once you were dressed, you packed your bag and sat on the couch, holding the charm in your hand. It stayed cold.

Seeming to come from nowhere, John sat down next to you. He watched you stare at the charm in your hand for a long time before he spoke.

“That a family heirloom or something?” The gravel in his voice was accentuated by his exhaustion, and it sent a thrill through you in spite of your efforts to not be thrilled.

“No. It’s the thing that’s going to take me home when the job’s done. I was sent here via a spell. When the job’s done, and everything is as it should be, it’s supposed to get warm, and then it will take me home.”

The silence stretched out while John considered this. You started feeling a panic rising in your throat as the unthinkable was thought. You couldn’t put your fear into words, but John did it for you.

“How do you know? I mean, how do you know it’s really going to work?”

“I don’t know.”

Chapter Text

The car shut off, jerking you from your sleep. Sitting up, you rubbed your eyes and yawned.

“Bunker, sweet bunker. You awake back there, princess?” Sam was getting out of the car, but Dean was turned to look at you.

“Yeah. For the moment.” Sluggishly, you moved to get out of the car and fumbled with the handle like a drunk person. In a flash, Dean was outside the car opening the door for you, catching you when you almost fell out. You leaned against the car, trying like mad to get your body to wake up and respond to commands. Dean reached around you and grabbed your duffel, then put an arm around your waist and led you out of the garage.

As you passed the kitchen, you became aware that Dean’s thumb had worked its way underneath your jacket and shirt and was rubbing circles into your skin. You stumbled as you felt a shock radiate from his thumb throughout your body, settling at your core. Dean caught you, pulling you closer to him. The warmth from his body seeped through his clothes and yours, and suddenly you were wide awake. Somehow, you made it to your bedroom door without losing it again.

Dean opened your door and dropped your bag just inside, keeping a strong arm around your waist. After your bag hit the floor, he turned to you, bringing you right up against his chest. You lay your free hand on his chest to steady yourself, but didn’t need to, because his other arm was now wrapped around you, too. His hand slid up into your hair and tucked your head into his neck. He held you there just long enough for you to get a little dizzy on his scent, then kissed your head and backed away. Instinctively, you reached for him to continue the contact, but he was already out the door, the latch clicking quietly behind him. You fell asleep reliving the feeling of his solid muscles surrounding you.

A few hours later, you were startled awake by the sound of someone calling for you. You sat up, listening to hear if it happened again, or to find out it was just part of a dream you couldn’t remember. You were just about to lay back down when you heard it again, but it was quieter this time.

Bolting out of bed, you ran out of your room and down the hall to Dean’s room. You opened the door to see Dean lying on the bed, hands fisted, knuckles white, brow sweaty, and his entire body tensed. You carefully climbed into bed with him like you had so many weeks before. Gently running your fingers through his hair, you rubbed his arm gently and made comforting nonsense noises. Dean’s head shook back and forth violently, but you kept on. Slowly, his body relaxed and responded to your touch the way it used to. Without waking up, Dean turned over and wrapped himself around you, resting his head on your shoulder and pulling you against him. Your fingers continued stroking his hair gently while your other hand rubbed his back until his breathing evened out again. Soon, you fell asleep, too.

In the morning, Dean woke you by softly calling to you and gently rubbing your arm. Happy having your head buried in his neck with his other arm as your pillow, you grunted your disapproval at his alertness.

“Y/N, just wake up a minute.”

“I don’t wanna. Too comfortable. Go back to sleep.”

Dean chuckled softly. “Y/N, not that I mind, but why are you here?”

“Nightmare. Yelled for me, so I came. Now go back to sleep.”

Dean sighs, then kisses your head. “Sorry, sweetheart. I didn’t mean to make you lose sleep.”

“You didn’t last night, but you are right now, so shut up and go back to sleep, Dean.” You burrowed your head a little further into his neck and filled your nose with his scent, making a little happy noise as you exhaled.

Dean held you a little tighter and gently stroked your hair. “We’re gonna have to get up soon, Y/N, or Sammy’s gonna come looking for us. It’s almost noon.”

Surprised, you worked your head out of his neck and looked up at him with only one eye open. “Noon? Really? Damn. I haven’t slept this long in…well…weeks.” Suddenly realizing that the last time you slept this well was the last time you’d shared a bed with Dean, you hid your face in his neck again so he wouldn’t see your blush. Even on overnight hunts, Dean had insisted on either getting you your own room, or he’d hooked up with a girl and went back to her place.

“It must be the memory foam. I can order you one, if you want, for your room. It’s no big deal.”

Knowing it wasn’t the memory foam, you made a noncommittal noise and kept your head buried. Several minutes passed, and you thought perhaps you might get to go back to sleep in Dean’s arms, but a frantic knock on the door startled you both.

You were not quite half untangled with Dean when Sam came flying through the door. “Dean, Y/N is gone, and she left her phone, and I don’t…know…oh.” Sam stopped and stood still for a minute as he watched you and Dean disentangle yourselves. Sam’s face turned red, but with a smile, before he turned around and headed right back out the door, throwing an apology over his shoulder as the door closed.

Dean chuckled and rubbed a hand over his face. “I’d better go explain to Samsquatch that it isn’t what he thinks it is.” Without a look back to you, he climbed out of bed and headed out the door.

Giving yourself one minute, you lay back down on the bed, breathing in the scent of Dean. When the minute was over, you promptly got up and pushed all thoughts of how good it felt to sleep with Dean again straight out of your mind. You headed back to your room and started your day as if it was any other.

It wasn’t any other day, though. All day, Dean kept touching you. Dean was always kind of tactile with people, putting a hand on a shoulder, clapping his brother’s back, elbowing you in the ribs, but this was different. He seemed to go out of his way to sit next to you closely enough that your thighs would be pressed together, or your arms would touch, or he’d put a hand on your waist while he reached around you for a beer in the fridge instead of just asking you to get it for him. When you all decided to quit researching for the night and watch a movie, Dean’s arm was around you before you knew what hit you. Part of you wanted to back away, protect yourself in case Dean was only thinking of adding another notch to his belt. Part of you saw the look on his face when he thought you couldn’t see him. The look that said something was bothering him. The look that disappeared whenever he was looking at you. You wanted that look to stay gone as much as possible, so you let him touch you.

You must have dozed off in Dean’s arms while watching the movie, because the buzzing of his phone woke you up. It was Cas, calling to say he needed help because Claire had robbed him and run off. The three of you packed your bags and drove all night to answer the call.

While you were checking out the group home where Claire was staying before Cas broke her out, Sam tried to get you to talk about what was going on with you and Dean. You tried to tell Sam it was nothing, but he noted your blush and hinted that he thought you should go for it, whatever “it” might be.

“Seriously, Sam, were you a matchmaker in a former life, or what? You’re pushing this like it’s your job or something!”

“I just like the look I see on Dean’s face when you’re around. With the Mark weighing on him, it’s nice to see him smile sometimes.”

Giving him a look that would have withered lesser men, but just made the Moose smile, you forced him to get back to thinking about the runaway teen you were tracking.

Later that night, when you were holding Dean’s blood-splattered head to your chest with tears in your eyes, you wished you could actually put a smile on Dean’s face the way Sam thought you could. Looking around at the carnage that covered the room, all you could see was the hopeless look in Dean’s eyes as he told his brother he didn’t mean to do it.

You and Sam traded off driving back to the bunker, and while Sam drove, you tried to sit in the back with Dean, but he wouldn’t let you.

“I don’t need a goddamn babysitter, Y/N, I’m just in the back seat. I can’t hurt anybody back here, so just leave me the hell alone!”

You spent the rest of the drive in the front seat, trying desperately to ignore the sounds of nightmares coming from behind you.

Chapter Text

John sat with you for a long time while you stared at the funny-looking rock, wondering what your continued presence in 1984 meant. Was there something yet to be done, or did the spell fail? Did Crowley double cross you? What would Crowley get out of you being in 1984? Never having been a chess player, you couldn’t see more than a move or two ahead of you, and nothing seemed to lean in Crowley’s favor. The worst part was, you knew the man sitting next to you was capable of figuring out the problem, but to do it, you’d have to tell him everything. Even though you couldn’t see more than a couple of moves ahead, you knew telling John everything was a bad idea.

Bright sunlight suddenly beamed through the window as the sun rose over the building across the street. John mumbled something about checking on the kids while you still stared at the stone and considered every possibility. Maybe there was another threat coming? What if the spell simply failed, and you were stuck in 1984? How would you keep from affecting absolutely everything? Was there anyone you could call for help?

A wide yawn interrupted your thoughts, and you realized you had now been awake for almost 24 hours. Tucking the charm into your shirt so it lay against your skin, you settled down on the couch and tried to rest. No matter how tired you were, though, your eyes wouldn’t close.

John walked back in the door, saw you lying on the couch, and picked up your feet so he could sit, letting your feet fall into his lap.

“She’s going to keep the boys for a few more hours so we can get some rest.”

Nodding, you continued staring into space, contemplating living through the 80’s a second time. After a long minute, John moved your feet off of his lap, then pulled on you until you stood up. He led you into the bedroom and made you sit down on the bed. He crawled in the other side, then pulled you down into the bed with him so your back was tight against his chest, his legs tangled with yours and his arm around your waist. You tried not to think about how familiar it felt as you quickly fell asleep.

Little fingers touching your face and tugging on your hair, followed by hushed giggles and happy whispers, brought you out of dreamland. A diapered bottom suddenly plopping itself on your stomach woke you up fully. When you opened your eyes, Sammy was sitting on your stomach, and Dean was standing by the bed, smiling as Sammy leaned over you and patted your face with his chubby little fingers again.

“Daddy said it was okay if we woke you up because it’s time for lunch. Grilled cheese!! C’mon!!” Dean grabbed your hand and pulled as hard as his little body could, urging you upwards. You took hold of Sammy with your other arm, and awkwardly managed to stand up while still holding Dean’s hand. Soon you were sitting at the table with all three Winchesters, eating the best grilled cheese sandwich you had ever eaten.

While you ate, Dean chatted to you about everything the boys had done with the babysitter overnight. You listened with one ear, but part of your brain was still chewing on the problem at hand. Why am I still here?? Every so often, John would catch your eye, and you figured he was thinking about it, too. When the boys went down for their nap, you prepared yourself mentally for the conversation you guessed was to come.

Sitting on the couch, you stared out the window while John put the boys down. It wasn’t long before you felt the couch dip under his weight next to you.

“Go ahead and ask.”

“Ask what?”

“Whatever it is that you want to ask. I’m still here, so something is up, and you want to know what, right?” You turned and looked at John, trying not to admire his rugged features. John’s eyes caught yours, making you helpless to look away. The sad half smile just proved to make him more handsome, along with the stubble on his jaw. You waited for his rough voice to tell you what he needed to know, but he didn’t speak.

“I like you better with the scruff,” you said absentmindedly, resisting the urge to touch his face.

John snorted a chuckle, but kept his eyes glued to yours, that damn sexy half smile still on his face. “Mary liked me shaved. Said I looked like a hobo if I didn’t.”

“I’m not Mary.”

The words were out before you could register what you were saying. Fear and surprise and guilt flooded your system so you didn’t even know what to say. An apology could never cover everything that simple sentence implied. John’s eyes were still on you and he registered your sudden dismay. His hand found yours, grasping it gently.

“I know.”

There was still sadness in his eyes, but you could also see acceptance. Neither of you moved while your mind raced.

“I shouldn’t be here.”

John still hadn’t moved, or released your gaze from his.

“I know,” he said, rubbing the back of your hand with his thumb. “But you are, and I’m surprisingly okay with that.”

The heat that had been pooling in your gut since the moment his gaze caught yours suddenly seemed to be too much. Everything was too much. Panic rose in your throat and you quickly stood up and looked out the window, wrapping your arms around yourself to try and hold yourself together.

“Out of all of the possible scenarios, the best case is that there’s another threat coming that I need to neutralize before things will be set right again and I’m sent home. The worst case is that somehow I’ve done something that can’t be reversed, meaning things will never be set right. Until I figure out a way to find out what’s actually going on, I’m going to prepare for another threat.”

“What do you mean, ‘set right?’”

You glance at John and then go back to looking out the window. “Have you ever heard of the Fates?” John nodded. “They measure, cut, and weave the threads that make up the tapestry of life. Picture that tapestry. That demon came here to try to cut a hole in the middle of it by killing you. My job was to make sure the he didn’t, thus keeping the tapestry intact. However, my following him here may have cause a kink or a knot somewhere, which can be just as disastrous as a hole. Neither one of us was in the plan for this part of the tapestry, so both of us have the potential to cause damage. Best case, there’s another threat I don’t know about coming. Worst case, I kinked something.”

“What about your partners? Can’t you call them and see if they know what’s going on?”

You shook your head. “They can’t help with this. One-man job, remember?”

“So, we keep on as we have been. Stay alert, protect the boys.”

“Well, maybe not.” Now that you’d had some sleep, your brain was starting to fire again, though not quite on all cylinders just yet. “If I treat this like any other hunt, then the first thing you do is find the hunt.” Your voice stalled as you pictured your usual search tools…all of which were in a format that wouldn’t be available for another twenty years. Your mom had been the one to find hunts when she was alive, and by the time you were on your own, you were fully digital. “I’ve never been great at this part, so I’ll need your help. Is there a public library around here?”

Two hours later, you and John were at the nearest library, newspapers from the past three days and surrounding cities spread out all over a table. Dean and Sam were playing happily in the kiddie corner, Dean reading books to Sam while Sam knocked blocks together. After poring over a dozen newspapers, you were stumped. While you tried to consider what threats wouldn’t leave signs such as weather disturbances, cattle mutilations, or crazy accidents, your eyes took note of the date on the paper in front of you.

“It’s Sam’s birthday today?”

John’s eyes widened as they met yours. “Yeah. How did you know that?”

You closed your eyes and cursed inwardly. “I didn’t know what the date was until I just saw it. I guess I thought you would have said something by now.”

“We’ve been a little busy, Y/N. I was thinking we could take the kids to that Plucky Pennywhistle place after this. I hear the kids love it there.”

Biting your cheek to stop the laugh that wanted to force its way out of your mouth, you stared at John with big eyes until you could come up with a good reason not to go.

“Umm, that’s not a great idea right now. Maybe after all this is over. I mean, Sam’s only a year old. He won’t remember if his birthday was celebrated on the right day or not.” And if he found out you had anything to do with taking him near those evil clowns, he’d never forgive you.

You tore your eyes from John’s face and went back to studying the newspaper in front of you, trying to remember what you were supposed to be doing. Oh, yeah, figuring out what’s coming after John. You turned a page and started skimming headlines again, hoping there was something there that didn’t result in a death, since you’d already covered the obituaries.

An hour later, the boys were restless and you hadn’t found evidence of anything except the demon you had killed. Admitting defeat, you all headed back to the motel room and ordered in pizza for dinner. The boys went to bed happy and you resumed sitting at the table, looking out the window, and trying to figure out what was going on.

John sat down in one of the other chairs and you felt his eyes on you. “Maybe if you talk it out, we can find an answer together.”

Turning to him, you smiled sadly. “I wish I could. I’m afraid if I do, I’ll just make things worse. Everything I say and do while I’m here is like a drop of water in a lake. There are ripples. For all I know, I’ve already made too many waves, and that’s why I’m still here. That’s the worst case scenario.” You clasped your hands together on the table and twiddled your thumbs nervously. “I think I need to leave.”

John took your hands in his. “Or you could stay.”

Your eyes flew to his. “Stay?”

“Yeah, stay. Who else is going to teach me how to protect my kids? Not to mention, until I’m up to speed, who’s going to protect me and my kids? And Dean, hell, I don’t know if you know this, but he’s said more words since you got here than he has in the past six months. Before you got here, he didn’t say anything if he could get away with it. You’re helping him heal, Y/N. And I know Sammy loves you because he hasn’t tried to pee on you during a diaper change.” You both chuckled, and your eyes dropped to where your hands were clasped together. “You swept in here with your salt and your holy water and your devil’s traps and you just made us better. I don’t know how to do all of this stuff you say I need to do. We need you, Y/N. Hell, I need you.”

“What about Mary?”

John’s face fell, and he dropped his eyes. “Mary’s gone. I’ll always love her, but she’s gone.” John brought his eyes back up to yours. “You’re here, you can help me find what killed her, and you can help prepare me to fight it. You make me better, Y/N.”

Your heart worked its way into your throat and you felt tears prick at your eyes. So what if you were stuck here? You could teach John how to hunt. You could teach the boys how to hunt. You pictured life with the Winchesters, and it looked like a good life for a hunter.

But then the world would end.

Cas himself had said it. Give Dean and Sam a better childhood, take away the codependency created by John leaving them alone so often, and they would lack what they needed to stop the Apocalypse. Stay with John, and he wouldn’t meet Kate Milligan and have another son, who would take Dean’s place as Michael’s vessel.

Grab a little happiness for yourself and those you love, and the world ends.

A tear ran down your cheek as a choked sob escaped you.

“I can’t.”

John’s eyes widened. “Why not? What do you have to go back to? Hunting partners who don’t care enough to check on you when you don’t return on time? A guy who has made it clear to you he doesn’t love you? What do you have wherever you’re from that keeps you from staying here, with two boys who love you, and…and…” John sighed. He closed his eyes and dropped his head.

“It’s not what’s there vs. what I have here, because you make a fair point.” You took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “It’s the damage I do being here. It’s the ripples, John. If I stay, it won’t just be a ripple in a lake. It will be a tsunami. You and the boys are important, and as much as I might want to stay, I may have already done damage I can’t fathom.”

John was quiet for a long time, his head bowed, but his hand still clasped around yours. Another silent tear fell down your cheek and you sniffled. John looked up at the sound and met your sad eyes with his own.

“Well, then, it seems to me that we need to find out if that charm of yours is working or not. If it is, then we know you need to stay. If it isn’t, then you have to go. So, how do we find that out?”

You shook your head and let your eyes wander out the window again. Not finding the answer outside, you suddenly wished you had the Men of Letters library at your disposal. Opening that can of worms thirty years too early would definitely cause a ripple, though. It would be nice if you even had your own hunter’s journal, which had been your mom’s before it was yours, just to flip through. Even if the answer wasn’t there, many times just turning the pages had inspired you.

Your eyes fell on John’s journal, and you pulled one of your hands away to grab it. Flipping it open, you flipped the pages quickly with your thumbnail, watching the blank pages fan in front of your eyes. The pages settled with the last page facing up, where you had put Bobby’s and Pastor Jim’s names. Could Bobby help you? Although he’d be great at getting you back home again, there’s no way he’d be able to tell if the charm was working or not. You decided to keep him in mind if you couldn’t think of anything else.

You flipped the pages again, letting them fall the other way, with the first page on top this time.

I went to Missouri and I learned the truth.

“John, tomorrow you’re taking me to see Missouri. Something tells me she can help me without causing too many ripples.”

John sat up straight, eyes wide. “Missouri?”

You nodded with a smile, feeling hope for the first time all day. “Missouri.”

Chapter Text

Having a plan in place for at least the next step helped to take some of the weight off of your shoulders. You and John settled into the couch to watch TV, but you didn’t make it very long before you got drowsy. John continued to keep a hand or an arm on you while you watched TV, and his warmth next to you was comforting. You felt your head land on his shoulder while you fought sleep, but with his arm around you, you felt too safe and warm to stay awake. There may have been lips on your forehead as you fell asleep, but you were too far gone to be sure.

There were definitely lips on your neck when you woke up, though. As you struggled to get awake, you felt solid warmth behind you, a heavy arm around your waist, lips and stubble on your neck, and a hard cock pressing against your butt. Your brain tried to tell you that this was wrong, that it was a bad idea to get involved with John Winchester, but your body woke up way before your brain and had a head start on getting involved.

A quiet moan escaped your lips as John took your earlobe into his mouth and tugged on it with his teeth. You squirmed in his arms, realizing your head was resting on his right bicep, with his arm wrapped around your front and his hand on your left arm. With both of his arms wrapped the way they were, you couldn’t do much more than squirm.

John let go of your earlobe, and moved his lips down your neck while his hips ground into yours in response to your squirming. His left hand moved from your waist to your hip, pulling it closer to him so you felt every inch of his hard length pressing against you. Another broken moan came from your lips and your brain started fighting again.

As if he could read your thoughts, John groaned in your ear. “Is this okay? I kind of got the idea that you might be okay with this from our talk last night.”

You moved your left arm from where it was resting in front of you to over top of John’s left arm, putting your hand on his hip. John’s right hand floated in front of you after you removed its resting place until you moved it with your right hand to your breast. As he cupped your breast in his hand and gently kneaded it, your brain screamed out again about how bad an idea this was.

“This is such a bad idea, but I’m not sure I have the strength to say no.” John’s fingers found your nipple through your shirt and started teasing it, sending a shot of electricity to your groin, which was already aching. He was now rutting into you, little pants and groans breezing by your ear when he wasn’t sucking on the delicate skin of your neck. The hand on your hip moved down to between your thighs and rubbed through the fabric of your pajama pants against your clit. Your hips bucked into his hand and you gasped at the pressure, but he was strong enough to keep you pressed against him. You couldn’t move, but his hand kept rubbing against your clit, his other hand teasing your nipples, and his mouth licking and sucking on your neck. The sensations overwhelmed you, and you realized you were panting and moaning continuously.

“You are so sexy, Y/N. Been wanting to do this for two fucking days. Want to feel you come apart for me, sweetheart.” John stopped his pressure on your clit and you whined his name. He pulled your left leg up and over his legs, opening you up, and then slid his hand down inside your sleep pants and panties. When he felt how wet you already were, his head dropped to your neck and he groaned. He pushed two fingers between your folds and deep inside of you, making you gasp and moan his name.

“You’re killing me, Y/N.” Realizing you were squeezing John’s hip with one hand and grasping his arm with your other, you moved one hand up and into his hair, tugging gently. John groaned and his rutting into you lost its rhythm for a moment. “You’re gonna make me come with those little noises you’re making, Y/N.”

“Good. Wanna feel you come apart, too.” You pushed your butt back into his hips and felt him stutter again. His fingers were pumping into you at almost the same pace as his hips were thrusting, and you felt the beginning of your orgasm building.

“You gonna come on my fingers, baby? C’mon, baby. Let me feel you.” John added a third finger and you gasped, then he used his thumb to hit your clit at the same time. Three more thrusts later, and you were clamping down on his fingers, quietly crying out his name as your orgasm rushed through you. As you started coming down, you felt John’s hips falter behind you as he found his end, curses falling from his lips as he clutched you to him. His fingers stopped moving inside you, and as he relaxed, he slowly pulled his hand from your pants, making you whimper at the loss.

You both lay there, panting, trying to regain your composure for a long time. John’s head rested against your shoulder until both of you could breathe normally again. You heard him take a deep breath a let it out slowly, then he lifted his head and cleaned off his fingers.

“God, you even taste good. It’s not fair.”

Sighing, you closed your eyes and rested your head on his bicep again. “If life were fair, we’d both be with other people right now.”

John was quiet for a moment, then started kissing your neck. “If life has to be unfair, then I’d rather it be unfair with you.”

Turning in his arms so you were on your back and could see him, you looked into his eyes. You saw the sadness there, but also honesty. He’d always love Mary, but if he couldn’t have her, he wouldn’t regret you.

Surprising you, John dipped his head down and rested his lips on yours, not moving until you brought a hand up into his hair and encouraged him to kiss you. The kiss was soft and sweet with just a hint of burn from his stubble. When you both came up for air, you smiled at each other.

“I should hit the shower. As enjoyable as that was, I feel kind of disgusting right now.” John smirked at you and you smiled in return. Nodding, you got up to let him off the couch and straightened yourself out while he headed into the bathroom. When you heard the shower turn on, you sat back down on the couch and wondered if you had just created a ripple too big for the lake.

 

The night after the massacre, you woke up to Dean’s screams get again. Running to his door, you tried to open it, but it was locked. You considered knocking and waking him up, and while you stood there, Sam approached.

“Nightmare?”

“Yeah. Door’s locked. I don’t know if I should knock or not.”

Sam frowned. “If he locked it, then I guess that means he doesn’t want us to try and wake him up.”

You sighed. “Yeah.”

“He’s only doing this because he doesn’t want to hurt us.”

“I know.” You fell into Sam’s arms as he gave you a comforting hug. “It’s not working.”

“No, it isn’t.”

When Cas suggested that Metatron might know something about removing the Mark, Sam was reticent, and Dean glowered. Not knowing all of the history there, you just sat back and listened to the argument. By the end of it, you had doubts that this was a good idea.

As Cas dragged Metatron out of the dungeon and back to Heaven, Sam followed to help, and you tried to calm Dean down. Taking hold of his forearms, you tried to get him to look you in the eyes and breathe with you. The Mark felt hot under your hand, and you wondered if it was always that way and you had just never noticed because of Dean’s natural heat. As you grasped his arm, though, Dean jerked away from you like he was burned.

“Don’t, Y/N.” Dean’s eyes were closed and he was breathing heavily. “You can’t get rid of this, or make this better.” Dean’s eyes opened and you were glued to the spot. “You don’t make it better, Y/N, you make it worse, so just leave me alone!”

Dean stormed off, leaving you standing there slack-jawed. When you could finally close your mouth, silent tears ran down your face. You slumped down into the chair by the table just outside the giant devil’s trap, and put your head on your arms on the table. Sam found you there, still crying.

“Y/N, are you okay? Dean didn’t hurt you, did he?”

Sniffling, you shook your head as you wiped your face and stood up to meet Sam’s gaze. “No, he didn’t touch me. He just told me I make everything worse, so I’m having a little pity party for a minute.”

Sam pulled you into his arms and you laid your head on his chest. One large hand cradled your head while the other slowly rubbed your back.

“I’m sure he didn’t mean it. You make things so much easier around here. I don’t know what we’d do without you.”

“Thanks, Sam. It’s nice of you to say that, whether it’s true or not.”

Sam’s arms tightened around you. “It’s true. Just having you around helps me to deal with everything. When Dean calms down, I’m sure he’ll tell you the same thing.”

Sam comforted you until you calmed down, and then you both headed up to the library to do more research on the Mark. A couple of hours later, Dean emerged just long enough to grab a bottle of whiskey from the shelf, then disappeared again for the night without a word.

 

The change in your relationship with John was tangible. What had been an easy friendship was suddenly filled with electric touches as you moved around each other in the kitchen. The respectable distance that used to be between you as you sat at the table was gone, with John’s thigh pressed up against yours, and his hand sitting warm and heavy on your knee. You both tried to keep your attention on the boys, but you could tell that John was having just as much trouble as you were keeping his hands to himself.

After breakfast, he called Missouri, and wasn’t surprised that she already knew he was coming. They agreed on a time later that afternoon, and you then spent the morning playing with the kids. Little touches became heavier feels, and by lunchtime, you were beginning to think you wouldn’t make it to see Missouri.  John was taking every chance he got to run a finger up and down your arm, let one of his huge hands settle on your butt and squeeze, or find the spot on your neck that made you almost moan when he kissed it quickly, leaving just a faint tickle from his stubble.

The worst was when Dean was reading to Sam, the two of them completely engrossed in a book John had borrowed from the library the day before. You and John were sitting at the table, just watching and listening to the boys, when John took your hand in his and brought it up to his mouth. He slowly kissed each one of your knuckles, then rubbed his cheek against the back of your hand, letting the rough prickles from his scruff lightly scratch your skin. You let your eyes wander back to the boys, but your attention was again all on John as his lips touched your skin again.

John’s voice was lower than you’d ever heard it. “You know, they say your fingers and your legs have a lot of the same sensitivities. So, sucking on your fingertips is a lot like sucking on your toes.” He sucked one fingertip into his mouth, gently rubbing his tongue against the pad before releasing you. “Kissing this second knuckle right here, is a lot like kissing the inside of your knee.” His lips moved up your fingers, gently kissing the inside of the second knuckle of your first two fingers. “And licking this sensitive spot, right at the base of the two fingers, well, you can imagine.” His tongue slowly inched out of his mouth, and licked at the space between your index and middle finger. His eyes were glued to your face as he licked and sucked at the junction between your fingers. The heat in his eyes told you what he was really thinking about licking, and you felt a rush of heat between your thighs.

You were both pulled from your reverie by Dean, suddenly asking about how to pronounce a word in his book. You couldn’t speak, but John very calmly asked him to spell the word and helped him out, while still holding your hand in his. When Dean was back to reading happily to Sam, John gave you one more heated look while he kissed your knuckles again, then got up to work on lunch.

Chapter Text

When it was finally time to go and everybody piled in the car, your nerves took over. John noticed the change in you, and when the kids fell asleep, he reached over and grabbed your hand.

“She’s a bit scary at first, but really, she’s a sweetheart. You get used to her telling you not to put your feet on the furniture when you’ve barely had the thought.” John smiled at you, trying to get you to lighten up.

“I just hope I’m doing the right thing. I have half a mind to give you the charm and have you take it to her so she doesn’t read me, but the other half of my mind says you shouldn’t hear anything she has to say about me, so it has to be me.” You wrung your hands, worrying about ripples.

“I’ll try not to take it personally that you’re willing to let a complete stranger know more about you than I do, even after this morning.”

You gave John an apologetic look, and he gave you one of his signature sexy half-smiles that always made you warm. Smiling back, you grabbed his hand and squeezed it.

“You are far more understanding than you have any right to be.” You looked out the window at the passing scenery, though you didn’t actually see any of it.

“Well, when you tell me that knowing things puts my kids in danger, it makes it easy to stay in the dark.”

Your response was cut off by John pulling up in front of a small, well-kept house.

“We’re here.”

 

It was a couple of weeks later that you got to meet Charlie. You’d heard so much about her, and you were glad to finally put a face to all the stories. Meeting two Charlies was one Charlie more than you had bargained for, though. Once she was back together, she stayed in the bunker for a couple of days recuperating. Since Dean had pulled even further away from you, you found taking care of Charlie a welcome distraction.

During her second day of rest, you were bringing her some soup and pain relievers when Charlie unexpectedly drew you into conversation.

“So, how did you get drawn into the Winchesters’ circle?”

You chuckled sadly. “Huh. Flat tire. I was trying my darndest to get as far away from them as possible, but a flat tire slowed me down. Before I knew it, I went from strictly easy solo hunts to meeting the King of Hell in a back alley and interrogating God’s scribe, who is a jerkwad of epic proportions, by the way. I trust the King of Hell more than I do God’s scribe.”

Charlie smirked and shrugged. “Yeah, I’ve heard most angels are dicks.” She ate some of her soup while you puttered around the room straightening things that didn’t really need to be straightened. “But what made you change your mind and decide to hunt with them?”

Your hands stilled, and you wondered how much you could tell Charlie. “Sam asked me, actually.”

Charlie’s spoon made a quiet tinkling noise as it hit the bowl again. “Oh. So, you and Sam, then?”

You couldn’t stifle the laugh that erupted from you as you turned and stared at Charlie in disbelief. “Oh, heck, no! Sam and I are just friends.” You turned back to the pile of clothing you were folding absentmindedly.

“Look, I love them. And if you’re just here to use them for something…”

Spinning around to stare at Charlie you practically shouted over her. “No! I would never!” Trying to hide the hurt you were feeling underneath a good dose of righteous indignation, you huffed angrily.

“Y/N, forgive me, my instincts are crap right now, and all I know is that you’ve moved in with two people I love very much, and I don’t understand why. So, I asked you why, and I’m getting shit answers. Either tell me what’s going on, or I’ll ask Dean and Sam!”

Hoping against hope you could trust Charlie, you sat down on the bed near her feet. “I’m sorry. You’re right. I realize this must sound incredibly shady. But if you ask the boys, they’ll each tell you a different story.”

Charlie surprised you. “I know. I already asked, and that’s why I’m asking you. Dean said you were dating Sam for a hot minute, and Sam just said you were a good hunter with excellent instincts, which was obviously a shit answer. So, spill. What gives?”

Looking around, you saw the door was open, and leaned over to close it. When you settled back down, you told Charlie everything.

“So, Sam lied to Dean to get you to come along because he thought you might be able to help Dean combat the Mark.” Charlie looked thoughtful for a moment and you wondered what she was thinking. “Has it worked?”

Charlie’s open expression floored you. The hurt and sadness in her eyes was overwhelming, knowing the answer already. You dropped your gaze and desperately wished you could tell her she was wrong.

“Not really. It seemed to work for a while, but then the thing with Claire happened, and since then he’s shut me out completely. He’s getting worse, Charlie. He’s trying to hold it together, but I hear his nightmares at night. I used to help. I’d sleep with him and settle him down before he even woke up, but he’s been locking his door at night. All I can do is try to make him smile and laugh during the day. He’s shutting me out, though. I even try to touch him and he jumps. I don’t know what else to do.”

Charlie reached for your hand and tried to give you an encouraging smile. “And somewhere along the line for you fell for him, didn’t you?”

Your face flamed red as you sat up straight, pulled your hand from hers, and tried to deny it. “No! I mean, I love both of them, just like you do, Charlie. That’s all.”

“Pfft. Yeah, right. And Dumbledore was a Chippendale dancer on the weekends.” Charlie grabbed your hand again and held it fast. “I won’t tell. It’s okay. Relax, woman.”

Your panic died down as you looked at Charlie’s open face. “Okay. Fine. I might feel a bit more for Dean than I do for Sam, but he doesn’t feel the same way, nor does he need me mooning over him like a school girl.”

Charlie grinned. “He may not need it now, but someday, that Mark is going to be gone, and then things will change. When that happens, all bets are off. The minute that Mark is gone, Operation Hookup will commence!” Charlie punched a fist into the air as part of her rally cry, making you giggle.

The two of you spent the rest of the day together, watching movies and chatting when Charlie wasn’t asleep. By the time she decided to leave, you were sorry to see her go, and you made her promise to call and text you often.

 

You were a few minutes early for your appointment with Missouri, so you didn’t feel badly about staying in the car for an extra minute. John saw your nervous looks and held your hand firmly with his.

“I only halfway understand what you’re afraid of right now, but no matter what, I’m here for you. Got it?”

Giving John a nervous smile, you sighed. John glanced back at the boys sleeping in their car seats, then pulled your head to his for a gentle kiss. When you broke apart, you nearly jumped out of your skin when you saw a stern woman’s face peering in your window.

“John Winchester, why are you making kissy faces with your girlfriend in front of my house? Let her out the damn car so we can talk, and then you take those boys for a ride to put them back to sleep.”

You glanced back at the sleeping boys, but Missouri opened the car door to let you out, and the squeak from the hinges stirred both boys. As Sammy started to wail, you quickly got out of the car and shut the door. John reached back and comforted Sammy, then waved at you as he started the car and pulled away from the curb.

Turning to look at Missouri, you assessed her at the same time that she assessed you. Although she was short compared to you and John, she had a confidence that was intimidating. Her voice had been quiet and kind, though, with a Southern drawl that made her sound sweet. You guessed that she didn’t take dirt from anyone, but tried to be kind to everyone.

“All right, baby girl, let’s get inside so we can talk.”

Missouri led you through the front door of her house into a sitting room with a couch and a couple of chairs. It was decorated simply, but comfortably, and you sat down on the couch. Sitting down next to you, but turned so she could face you, Missouri reached for your hand. You almost gave it to her, then, backed away.

“I need to know that anything you get from me today will stay in this room or be forgotten. If even a little of what I know got out, there would be dire circumstances.”

Missouri met your gaze steadily. “Normally, I’d be offended, but I know you’re a special case. Whatever I learn from you stays here, and I will take it to my grave.”

Nodding, you put your hand in hers. There was no jolt as the psychic downloaded information from you or whatever, like you expected, just the warm comfort of the woman’s hand. With your other hand, you pulled the charm out of your shirt. Missouri took it in her hand and studied it.

“I need to know if this is still working, or if it’s just an ugly rock given to me by someone who double crossed me.”

Missouri’s gaze hardened on the charm, and you saw the revulsion in her eyes grow as she studied it. “It’s dark magic. Very dark.”

“Yes, it is.”

“Performed by something even darker.” Missouri let go of the charm and it dropped back onto your chest. You put it back inside your shirt, but Missouri couldn’t take her eyes off of where it lay under your shirt. “I don’t understand why someone as light as you would put your faith in something that dark, but yes, it is still working.”

Squeezing Missouri’s hand, you heaved a sigh of relief. “Then there’s a chance I haven’t screwed everything up.”

Missouri studied your face for so long, you began to squirm under her gaze. “Those boys. Those poor boys.”

Your face fell. “What did you see?”

“Pain. Lots of pain. But also love.” Missouri’s eyes continued roaming over your features. “But it has to be that way, doesn’t it?”

You nodded and closed your eyes for a moment. “It’s important enough that powerful players on both sides sent me back to fix it.” Opening your eyes, you meet Missouri’s gaze again. “The pain makes them stronger, and they need that strength to beat the devil.”

Confusion took over Missouri’s face. “Then why would anyone come back to change it?”

You sighed as you dropped your gaze. “Fear. Fear that there’s something out there worse than the end of the world.” The dam you had put up to control your fears suddenly burst. “I followed a demon back here and killed it. I protected them, so it should be over, right? I fixed what was broken, and tried to keep the number of ripples I caused to a minimum. But if the charm is still working, then there’s something else I’m supposed to fix. I’ve looked for signs of another threat and found nothing. If there’s no other threat, then what else am I supposed to do? Or did I make a mistake that can’t be fixed, and now the world will end and it’s all my fault?” A tear slipped down your cheek. “I’m just a simple hunter and what if the whole world suffers because I tried to swim in the deep end of the pool?”

Missouri pulled you to her and wrapped you in a comforting hug. You sobbed into her shoulder, finally letting out all the fear and tension you’d been holding in. When your sobs finally let up, Missouri handed you a tissue and you blew your nose and cleaned up your face.

“For what it’s worth, I don’t think you’ve broken anything. What I see of their future from you is very different from what I’ve been seeing when I met with John. From you, I see them hunting. Last time I saw John, he was almost ready to give up looking for what killed Mary so he could settle down and give the boys a stable home.” Your gasp was audible, and Missouri cocked an eyebrow and shrugged. “Dean’s almost old enough for school, and John had decided that when that happened, he’d give up.”

The implications of what Missouri said loomed large in your mind. The words spilled from your mouth before you could stop them. “Sam would make an excellent king.”

Missouri frowned deeply. “I don’t quite know what that means, but it doesn’t sound good.”

“It’s not.” Your head dropped to your hands and you allowed the new information to soak into your brain. “So, if I hadn’t come back, even if the demon hadn’t come back, the timeline would have been wrong no matter what. I was meant to come back.” Your brain screamed at you to stop your thought process right there and not continue onward, but you were too far to back down. “I’m what gets John to start hunting. I’m what takes away their childhood. It’s all me.”

Tears coursed down your cheeks, and you wiped them away quickly.

“I’m so sorry, baby. I’m sorry for all of this.”

“You can’t tell John a thing for a long as you live. He will learn on his own, and you will be his friend though it all, but you cannot tell him anything you learned from me.”

Missouri nodded. “I promise.”

Chapter Text

When you were calmer, you and Missouri chatted idly about mundane things for a few minutes. You joked about neither of you knowing who was going to win the next World Series, in spite of your circumstances. When the small talk ran out, a silence fell until Missouri finally broke it.

“You want to know if you being with John is a bad thing.”

You nodded quietly.

“I don’t know if being with John while you’re here is a bad thing for your situation back home or not, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing for him or anyone else while you’re here. It might even be a good thing.”

You were afraid to meet Missouri’s eyes, so you kept them lowered. “It’s only been six months since Mary died. I know he loves her. I can see it. I just can’t believe he wants me, too.”

“I’m willing to bet that’s because there’s someone back home that doesn’t seem to want you, and John reminds you an awful lot of him. Am I right?”

Heat rushed to your face. “Yeah.”

Missouri chuckled. “They may share genes, but they are different men, Y/N.”

You chuckled, too. “Yes, yes, they are.”

Missouri stood up and walked to the door, opening it just as John was about to knock, leaving his hand hanging in the air comically.

“I don’t know why I ever bother trying to knock, sweet cheeks.” John gave Missouri a disarming smile, and you almost thought you saw the other woman blush. Sam and Dean rushed into the house and headed straight for you, holding candy in their chubby little hands.

“Y/N! Dad let us get candy at this store we were at! We got you a lollipop and a candy bar!” Dean held out the candy bar to you, while Sam had the lollipop in his little fingers. You took the candy from them with a smile and gave each of them a kiss as a thank you. Little Sammy begged you to hold him, so you picked him up as you stood up and got ready to leave. When you looked to Missouri, she had a sad smile on her face that you understood. Now, she knew why seeing them so happy was the saddest thing in the world.

 

The next couple of cases you went on with the Winchesters left you angry and hurt. When you went to Oregon to look for missing people, who it turned out were being transformed into teenagers and eaten by a witch, Dean kept pushing you away. He went to the bar by himself, almost hooked up with a woman, and ended up getting caught by the witch with her. You all managed to get out alive and intact, and you even managed to not tease Dean when he looked 14. That didn’t stop you from feeling a stabbing pain in your heart when you saw the affectionate looks Dean was giving Tina. Your foul mood somehow seemed to be made worse when Dean started enjoying Taylor Swift. You’d been a Taylor Swift fan for years, and he’d ragged on you endlessly for it, but now that Tina liked her, so did Dean. You flopped down in the back seat of the Impala and tried to sleep your anger and frustration away.

Your next case took you to Spencer, Iowa, and a college campus full of coeds. Dean’s exaggerated stares at the young girls in their revealing outfits made your stomach turn and brought tears to your eyes. Of course he’s going to look at them. They’re all young and perfect, and you’re in your thirties, with scars from two decades of hunting monsters, grey hairs beginning to sprout on your head, and crow’s feet forming by your eyes. The third time you caught him ogling a student, you almost smacked him upside the head. Even his gleeful antics in the cafeteria didn’t cheer you up.

After you were back at the bunker, Sam took you out for dinner, just the two of you. You needed to get away from Dean, and Sam sensed you were getting antsy. Sam told you about the talks he and Dean had been having, and how Dean was still fighting the Mark, even though he was pushing you away. You told Sam you wished he could fight the Mark without flirting with anything wearing a skirt. Sam’s sad smile was no comfort.

When Cain reappeared, Dean outright pissed you off. When it came time to trap Cain, Dean sent you off with the boy and his mother, insinuating that you were too green of a hunter to help with the plan for Cain.

Your vision went completely red, and words you never thought you’d ever utter fell from your lips.

“FUCK YOU, DEAN! I may not have been shooting guns since I was 6, but I’ve been hunting just as long as you and Sam have been. Maybe I didn’t stop the goddamn Apocalypse, but I know how to work with a team to trap a monster. There is no reason for me to be on the sidelines! You’ve been treating me like crap for weeks, now, and quite frankly, if you want someone out here that’s ready to take you out if needed, I’m your GODDAMN BEST BET.”

Both men, the angel, and the demon all stood in front of you with slack jaws. Dean’s face hardened as he took a deep breath.

“Y/N, if this plan of ours fails, then Cain will still be going after the boy, and we need him safe. You are the final line of defense, not on the sidelines. We need you in that house more than we need another body out here. I didn’t mean that you aren’t as good a hunter as we are, because I know you are. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be here. But the fact remains that you are the smallest, weakest one here, whether you like it or not. Now, go protect the boy and his mother. Whoever is left out here when this is all over will call you and give you the all clear.”

Dean turned on his heel and headed into the barn to start setting up the massive devil’s trap, leaving you with Crowley, Cas, and Sam. Crowley sidled up next to you and gave you a flirty smile.

“Between you and me, love, even with the Mark on his arm, I’d bet on you right now. Has anyone ever told you that you’re beautiful when you’re angry?”

Crowley barely missed getting stabbed in the leg with your angel blade when he poofed himself across the yard. Turning on your heel, you left and guarded the boy and his mother as requested, still seething a little, but feeling a little better now that you had vented your anger.

It was Dean’s turn to be angry during your next hunt.

Walking out of Jemma’s house, you noticed a man standing and leaning on the Impala. You admired his courage, snarking at Dean while possibly leaving a mark on his baby. When he introduced himself to you as Cole Trenton, your eyebrows raised and you gave him a tentative smile. After all, the last you’d heard of him, he wanted Dean dead. Just because things weren’t good between you and Dean just then, didn’t mean you wanted someone else to kill him. You were still sort of thinking that was your job.

Cole turned on the charm with you while you worked with him, flirting with you until you finally warmed up to him. You asked him about his family, and he told you about his wife and son. It was the first almost normal conversation you’d had with anyone in months, and you treasured it. There was no tension, no worry, just talk.

Dean was sure to throw it in your face when Cole lied to throw you all off his friend’s trail.

“Still like him so much, Y/N? He lied to us!” Dean pointed at Sam, then, to bring him into it, too. “And you bought him dinner.”

“What is your problem, Dean? He wants to protect his friend, and you’ve done nothing but threaten to kill the guy since we got here. Of course he’s going to lie to us! You’d do it, too, if it were Sam instead of Kit!”

“How am I supposed to know what he’s thinking, Y/N? He’s your freaking boyfriend!”

“Boyfriend? How do you figure that, Dean?” Your voice was still raised, and you were wondering how stupid it would be to smack the driver upside the head while he was driving.

“Oh, you were all over him from the moment you laid eyes on him!” Dean raised the pitch of his voice to a falsetto and mocked you with your own words to Cole. “Oh, Cole, I just admire military guys so much! Everything you do is so wonderful!” Dean’s voice reverted back to normal. “Could you be any further up his ass?”

“I was just trying to be nice and make conversation, Dean! It’s called being a human being! Maybe you’ve heard of it?”

“Oh, yeah, you were nice, all right. If he wasn’t married, I bet you two would be off somewhere alone being nice to each other.” Dean had actually used air quotes around the word nice, and you were so shocked by his words, you were speechless.

Your voice was quiet and barely audible because your throat was almost completely closed off. “Fuck you, Dean. Just, fuck you.” You sank down in the back seat and stared out the window, blinking back tears. He had pissed you off before, bringing you to actually use curse words you’d never even considered prior to meeting him, but this time he had hurt you.

For the rest of the hunt, you stayed away from Dean, and your distracted state helped get Kit killed. When you saw Cole, you apologized profusely, but Cole wouldn’t hear it. Cole took you in his arms and held you tight, then pulled away just enough to see your face.

“You did all you could, sunshine. You’re okay.” He gave you a reassuring smile, and you nodded.

“You need anything, you call, got it?”

Cole nodded and gave you a quick kiss on the cheek before saying goodbye to the brothers. You climbed into the back of the Impala and said nothing for the entire drive back to the bunker.

The only reason why you didn’t leave the brothers and go back to hunting alone was because Sam begged you to stay. The first moment he caught you alone, he told you he understood why you’d want to leave, but he needed you. He needed someone on his side to talk to and help him.

“Please, Y/N. I know this is hard, but if you weren’t here, I don’t know what I’d do. I don’t think I could do this without you.”

Sam laid those big puppy eyes on you, and you were done. There was no fighting those eyes.

 

You all said goodbye to Missouri, and she gave you an extra hug on your way out the door. After you got the boys buckled in, John turned to you with a tentative smile.

“Well, you seem better. Get answers?”

Smiling, you nodded. “Yeah. I think I know what I need to do.” Your smile faded as John turned the ignition key and the Impala’s engine roared to life. Staring out the window, you wondered if you had the heart to do what needed to be done. To systematically tear apart their lives.

You were lost in thought when the car stopped at a red light in town, so John speaking startled you.

“I thought we’d go to that Plucky place I mentioned for dinner and celebrate Sam’s birthday. What do you think?”

You gave John a sour look before you could school your expression. John’s laugh erupted loudly from his chest, and you couldn’t help but smile.

“I take it Plucky’s is not your thing?”

Needing to cover quickly, you stammered, “I just don’t like clowns that much.” If nothing else, if you got home … no, when you got home, you’d be able to tell Sam you’d saved him from at least one clown experience.

“All right, then. We’ll try somewhere else for dinner. I just hope they have birthday cake!” John said the last bit loud enough for the boys to hear it, and Dean squealed in the back of the car, getting Sammy excited, too. You decided that one more night without monsters wouldn’t hurt anything.

Dinner was fun, with the diner John picked having chocolate cake, and the waitress dug a candle out of a drawer somewhere for Dean to help Sammy blow out. At one point, John handed you a camera and asked you to take a picture of him and the boys. As you put the camera down, you realized you had just taken the picture that was hidden in your pocket.

After the cake was decimated, both boys had chocolate all over them. The waitress brought you extra napkins, and you worked to get them both clean, in spite of their claims that they didn’t need it. As you were joking with Dean and making him giggle, John called your name. You looked his way just in time to see the flash from the camera go off. Giggling, you tossed a dirty napkin at him, making him laugh as he ducked. When the waitress brought your bill, she offered to take a picture of all four of you with the camera. You tried to back away, but John’s arm held you tightly in place, so all you could do was smile for the camera.

The sugar rush both boys got from the cake turned into a crash shortly after you got back to the motel, so bathing them and putting them to bed was surprisingly easy. When they were both asleep, you tiptoed out of the bedroom and closed the door quietly. As the latch clicked, you turned around and slammed straight into John. John took advantage of your surprise, wrapped his arms around you firmly, sliding one hand up your back into your hair, tugging your head back, and then his lips crashed into yours.

Your mind was lost in the overwhelming presence of John Winchester. The kiss was fierce, his tongue dancing with yours, his stubble stinging your skin, and his arms pressing you to him so tightly you almost couldn’t breathe. He broke the kiss only to trail his lips down your jaw to your neck, kissing and licking, his scruff gently scraping your skin.

“I have been thinking about this all … damn … day.” He was still holding you so tightly to him that you couldn’t do anything but scratch his back and run your fingers through his hair. “Been half hard since this morning, wanting to feel you again, and see you this time.” John brought his head up and looked in your eyes. You were so dizzy from the solid feel of him against you that you doubted you could stand without his support. “I want all of you this time. If you don’t want that, tell me now, and I’ll stop.”

You looked into his eyes, seeing the green almost completely overtaken by black, and then glanced down at his mouth with a sigh. You closed your eyes to try and find some self-control, and managed to squeak out a question. “Do you have condoms? Because I wasn’t planning this when I came here to kill a flipping demon.” You opened your eyes and let out a sigh of relief at the smile on John’s face.

“Took the boys on their first condom run this afternoon.” John smirked with a chuckle and you laughed. “Hey, they have to learn this stuff early, right?”

Looking into his smiling face, you knew your heart would never be the same again.

“Yes, John. I want this. All of it.”

John smirked and his lips descended onto yours once again. After that, it was a flurry of discarded clothing, sloppy, passionate kisses with teeth clashing, and hands trying to touch every part of the other person. You got to the couch, and John followed you as you lay down on it, nestling his hips between your legs while he reattached his lips to your neck. He moaned words into your skin as he roamed past your collarbones to your breasts.

“So gorgeous. Never thought I’d want anyone else again. Feel so good.” His words stopped when his mouth found your nipple and he began teasing it mercilessly. He quickly figured out that the rough feel of his scruff on your skin followed by the softness of his mouth and tongue made you whimper in a way that made his cock twitch dangerously. When he added his fingers playing with your folds and brushing lightly against your clit, you’d moan so loud he was afraid the kids would wake up.

“You gotta be quiet, Y/N.”

You put one of your hands over your mouth to muffle the noises you couldn’t stop making as his fingers pushed into you and his mouth kept working on your nipples. He had obviously had some practice keeping quiet, since his moans and groans were all much quieter than anything you were letting out. What they lacked in volume, though, they surely made up in quality. Every moan he let go sent vibrations through your skin straight to your core.

“God, Y/N, you’re so wet, so ready.” His fingers were pumping in and out of you in a steady rhythm, and he was moving his thumb around your clit in patterns to match his fingers. Your hips were bucking into his hand while your back arched, pushing your breasts into his mouth. His shifted his fingers just a little, and suddenly your entire body lit up. He increased the speed of his fingers, and you felt your orgasm start to build.

“C’mon, baby, I know you’re almost there. I wanna watch you come apart. I wanna feel you come on my fingers again, see how beautiful you come for me, sweetheart. God, you’re going to feel so good around me, baby. C’mon baby, let it go.”

John put his mouth on your nipple again and tugged at it with his teeth, sending an electric shock to your core and throwing you over the edge. Your orgasm rushed through you, your moans muffled by your hand still covering your mouth. John worked you through it with his fingers, until your breath began to slow, then carefully pulled his fingers out of you and cleaned them off. He leaned off the couch for a minute, and you weren’t sure what he was doing until you heard the foil packet crinkle. As you caught your breath, you watched him cover his length with the condom and then give you an almost predatory look. He pulled back up to kiss you, settling between your thighs, his length pressed against your core. You brought your knees up around his hips and rocked your hips against his, bringing his cock against your clit. You both groaned quietly, his head dropping to yours with your foreheads together.

John’s lips found yours again, his tongue pressing into your mouth. You grabbed the back of his neck and grasped at the hair on the back of his head. Your hips were rocking together, coating his cock in your arousal, and hitting your oversensitive clit in just the right way that you already felt that ache building again. He leaned on one arm, reached between you, and lined himself up at your entrance. You gasped as he pushed into you, giving you that full feeling that both relieved the ache inside you and made it worse. Soon, he was pulling out and pushing back in again, then finding a steady pace.

“I was wrong. You feel better than I imagined. God, fuck, Y/N.” John shifted his hips, pulling one of your thighs a little higher up his hip, and you clamped your hand back over your mouth to stifle the cry you almost let loose. John grinned for a split second, then met your eyes as he started thrusting into you that same way again and again, making you bite your cheek to keep quiet.

“You’re almost there, aren’t you, baby? You gonna come all over my cock, sweetheart?” John picked up his pace, almost pounding into you, now. One hand found its way between you, rubbing your clit in time with his thrusts. He leaned down and mouthed at your neck, then growled in your ear. “C’mon, baby, let me feel it. Wanna feel you.”

You felt like you exploded, your orgasm hitting you hard and sending you crashing against John as you bucked. John grunted and cursed, and then you felt his hips stutter and lose their rhythm as he emptied into you. You both kept moving, working each other through it, slowly coming to a stop. John stayed above you, leaning on his forearms, trying to stay inside you as long as possible while he kissed you gently.

After a couple of minutes, he pulled away, getting up from the couch to clean up and dispose of the condom. You watched him walk away from you to the bathroom, giving him a little wolf whistle as he went. He chuckled as he reached behind the bathroom door to toss the condom. Sitting up, you tested your legs to see if you could stand, and when you could, you followed him to the bathroom for your own cleanup. 

Chapter Text

A few minutes later, you were both sprawled on the couch again, this time face to face on your sides, your legs intertwined, occasionally kissing each other.

“I wish this couch pulled out into a bed or something. This is not enough room to take care of you properly.” John smirked and went back to kissing you, one of his hands squeezing your butt and keeping you pressed against him.

“There’s always the floor,” you suggested with a face that screamed that it wasn’t a real suggestion. You both looked at the awful carpet and made sour faces, shaking your heads together with a chuckle.

You thought you were possibly going to fall asleep in his arms when John spoke again. “So, what did Missouri say?”

Rousing yourself from drifting off, you started running a hand through John’s hair to soothe him. “She thinks I have more to do here than just killing that demon. She says the charm is still working.”

John trailed a hand up and down your back, letting his eyes wander over your face.

“What more do you have to do?”

You tried to keep your face neutral, but you knew you were bad at it, so you just hoped John would let it go. “I’d really rather not ruin such a nice moment, if that’s okay?”

You looked up at John, and saw the emotions warring on his face. “All right. But don’t think I’m going to forget. We are definitely talking about this sometime when we’re not naked.”

Smiling, you grabbed his hand and put it on your breast, then reached between you until you had his already half-hard cock in your hand. “Then I guess I’ll just have to keep coming up with reasons to stay naked.” Giving his cock a gentle stroke, he hardened in your hand while kneading your breast. His lips crashed onto yours, and soon you were straddling him, rolling a condom down his length.

Thankfully, you both had decided that sleeping naked was a bad idea, so when the boys woke you up the next morning, there was no embarrassment. The prospect of having to talk to John loomed heavy over your head, in spite of the adorable smiles the boys gave you. While you showered and got dressed, you tried to find the words you would need to explain to John what he needed to do without telling him too much.

The time finally came when you and John took the boys outside to play on the playground. John’s eyes were heavy on you, and you struggled to meet them.

“We’re not naked, so get talkin’. What did Missouri say?”

Taking a deep breath, you steeled your nerves. “Why didn’t you tell me that you had decided to give up on finding what killed Mary?”

John sat up and cocked and eyebrow at you in surprise. “Because I wasn’t at that point, yet, and it all went out the window the minute you showed up.” His hand rubbed his face and he sighed. “Every lead I had was cold. I spent the last month here with nothing to go on. I didn’t know where to look next.” John’s eyes landed on his sons. “Living in a motel like this, chasing dead ends, this is no life for my boys. They need stability. Dean starts school in the fall. How do I enroll him in school if I don’t know where we’ll be?” He turned back to you and frowned. “But then you showed up. Now, I have a lead. Now, I know I wasn’t imagining things. Now, I know that I can’t turn my back on it and hope it goes away. So, there was no point in telling you that I almost gave up.” John shrugged and looked back at the boys playing on the slide.

Dean helped Sammy to the top of the slide and ran around to catch him at the bottom, the same way you’d seen him do it dozens of times before.

“It seems that I’m here to get you on track to be a hunter. Since the charm is still working, we’ll know when I’ve set things right when the spell sends me back home.”

John studied you, and you hoped he couldn’t see the sadness you were feeling. “So you’re just going to wind me up, let me go, and then disappear like a fart in the wind?”

You chuckled sadly. “I guess.”

John turned to you and took both of your hands in his, then made you meet his gaze. “What if I give it all up, build a stable life for my kids? Then you’d have to stay?” Your mind and your heart fought a battle you feared John could see all over your face. “That’s a mighty attractive alternative, if you ask me.”

You pictured in your mind a house, two boys playing in the yard, iron fixtures and salt in the foundation, devil’s traps under the welcome mats, and a big bed that would be plenty roomy for the tall man in front of you and you. The boys would be so happy. You could tell Dean every single day that you loved him and he was perfect and he was worthy. Sam could maybe play basketball with his height, instead of being a bookworm. You and John could build a life. He’d work in a nearby garage as a mechanic and you’d… what would you do? Be a housewife? Become a secretary? Work some 9-5 job where you had to wear a pantsuit?

Tears rolled down your cheeks. And when Azazel’s gang comes for him, Sam will make an excellent king.

“No, John. You can’t. I can’t. This is bigger than all of us, and no matter how attractive the alternative might be, it can’t be that way. That way might seem nice for a while, but the end result is unthinkable.” Your thoughts flew. How could you explain this?

When Azazel’s gang comes for Sam.

“What killed Mary won’t stop. It wants Sam. Mary died because she tried to get in the way. It will come for Sam someday, and if you’re not ready, if you don’t prepare those boys, and I do mean both of them because Sam will need Dean, it will win.

John’s face blanched and his eyes widened.

“Sam?” John’s voice was quiet and choked.

You nodded. “It wasn’t chance that Mary died in his nursery. She died trying to protect him. Now it’s your turn. You need to learn and train and teach both of those boys how to defend and protect themselves and each other so they are prepared.”

John was staring at his sons, now, listening to you with fear in his eyes. His voice was almost inaudible.

“Why? Why Sam?”

“I told you before, John. You all are important. That’s all I can say.”

Silence fell between you while the boys played on the merry-go-round again, laughing loudly. Completely unaware of how their lives were changing, they held onto the bars and giggled, eyes shining brightly in the morning sun.

“What do I have to do?”

 

All through the case of the possessed painting, you gritted your teeth while Dean flirted with a nun. A nun! Sam kept close to you through the whole trip, giving you comforting glances and the occasional hug when you were really annoyed. In return, when Dean woke you both up screaming for Sam the first night you were back at the bunker, you held Sam until he fell back to sleep, promising to do anything he asked you to do.

You regretted that promise when he asked you to help him break Metatron out of Heaven. Which actually didn’t go down as horribly as you expected, though finding out that Metadouche couldn’t help was deflating. When you got back to the bunker, you sat with Sam and read the letter Bobby had given to Cas. While tears streamed down Sam’s face, you let him hold you until he fell asleep.

A few days later, it was purely luck that you were even in the room when Charlie called Sam, injured and needing help. You had been keeping your distance from Dean, staying in your room, trying not to think about the good man who you knew was buried under the Mark. If you could bury how you felt about him just a little deeper, then maybe he wouldn’t affect you so much when he said and did something hurtful. You happened to be in the library looking for the next book to read in your search for information about the Mark when Sam’s phone rang. You were all in the Impala inside half an hour of Charlie hanging up the phone.

On the drive to the cabin, Dean seemed to be in lighter spirits. He was singing again, and even tried to joke with you. You were afraid to respond, though, for fear it wouldn’t last, since you seemed to always set him off without ever knowing why. When you arrived at the cabin, you ended up working with Dean to figure out who was after Charlie, since ancient languages and codebreaking were way above your abilities. As you sat across from Dean, wordlessly working in sync with him, you were glad that you could still do this together well, at least. You stayed out of the argument between Dean and Sam when it sparked, and when Dean decided to go for a drive, Sam gave you his best puppy eyes until you chased after Dean and went with him.

“I don’t need a babysitter, Y/N.”

“I’m not here to babysit. I’m here to make sure you get something that Sam can eat. That cabin isn’t big enough for all of us AND what comes out of Sam’s backside when he doesn’t get his rabbit food.”

Dean actually chuckled, which threw you for a loop, considering how ticked off he had been in the cabin.

“I’m sorry I snapped back there. That book just makes me feel things, and seeing Charlie like that… it just seems she’s always recovering from something when she’s around us. She shouldn’t be hunting. She should be running the damn internet and married to Scarlett Johansson, not running from psychos and trying to translate a book made out of fucking human skin.”

Hearing the heartbreak in Dean’s voice stole your breath for a minute.

“Charlie’s strong, and she doesn’t do anything she doesn’t want to do. Charlie will be okay, Dean. It’s you we’re all worried about.”

Dean said nothing, but his face soured and he shook his head. Reaching for the knobs on the stereo, he turned the volume up and then hit the gas until Baby’s engine was roaring.

When you got to the convenience store, you were too distracted by trying to find something Sam could eat to notice the warning signs that Dean saw. You didn’t even realize Dean had drawn his weapon until ridiculously strong arms had you trapped with a knife at your neck, and you were hauled to the front counter. As Jacob Styne taunted Dean, you watched Dean’s face, looking for the signs and signals of what he was about to do. When Jacob stood in front of you and casually threatened to kill you if Dean didn’t tell him where Charlie was, you almost felt bad for the Cajun. Dean watched closely while Jacob took the knife from the man who was holding you and sliced a shallow cut into your chest. You’d had worse cuts from shaving, but the sight of your blood definitely registered in Dean’s eyes. When Jacob walked away from you back toward Dean, twirling the knife in his hand, Dean gave you a look that was so quick, you knew no one else had noticed it.

You moved as soon as Dean moved, bashing your head back into your captor’s nose, then stomping on his instep. You saw Dean taking on Jacob and the guy that had been holding him, so you focused on your guy. His hold loosened, and you were able to get free to slam an elbow into his ribs and spin around to face him. As you spun, you pulled your angel blade out of your jacket and swept it wide, cutting your attacker’s stomach. He was slightly bent over when you stopped in front of him, pulled your blade back, and stabbed him in the throat. As he dropped to the ground, you heard gunfire behind you, and turned to see Dean unload an entire clip into the guy that had been holding him. You looked around for Jacob, but he was gone.

When Dean was sure there were no more Stynes around, he put his gun away and turned to you, chest heaving. He grabbed your hand and dragged you into the restroom, pulling a handful of towels from the dispenser and pressing them to your chest. He held you there, and you watched him try to calm down. His breathing was still ragged, his eyes wild, but his hands were steady. After a minute, you gently pulled his hand from your chest and looked at the cut in the mirror. Although it had bled a lot, it probably wouldn’t even need stitches. When another drop oozed from the thin line, Dean slammed the paper towels back onto your skin, then closed his eyes.

Putting your hand over Dean’s, you peered up into his face. “Dean? It’s nothing. It probably doesn’t even need stitches. What’s wrong?”

Dean took in a ragged breath and exhaled slowly, eyes still closed. “For a second there, I just thought I lost you. I thought he was going to….” Dean’s face crumpled and he wiped his free hand over it. “Seeing you and Charlie both bleeding in one day is just too much. I can’t lose you guys. You’re family.” Dean’s eyes finally opened and you saw the pain in them.

You mustered up a fake smile and bumped Dean’s shoulder with your own. “Little sisters you never wanted, right?”

Dean pulled you to his chest with his free hand and kissed your head. “Yeah. Something like that.”

 

After John ran some errands, you left him with the boys and headed back to the library to look for a hunt. The best way you knew to teach someone how to hunt was to hunt. You spent an hour searching the local papers for anything, but didn’t hit pay dirt until you started chatting with an old man who was there to read the papers, too. When you told him you were a writer looking for haunted houses and other urban legends, he was happy to tell you all about the local attractions. By the time you left the library, you had a couple of strong leads. A quick trip to the county courthouse to check records, and one of your leads turned out to be a dud, but the other was solid.

Martha, the motel manager, agreed to take the boys for the night again, and you watched from outside as she shamelessly flirted with John while he handed over his sons. You couldn’t tell if John was oblivious, or uninterested. When he got in the car, you teased him about it, and it turns out he hadn’t caught on to her.

“You know, John, just like my tight jeans and low-cut tops are a tool that I use, I bet you could get a lot of mileage out of your, um, natural charm.” You smirked at John, and he actually blushed!

“I’m not a ladykiller, Y/N. Even before I met Mary, I wasn’t the type to just take anyone to bed.” He self-consciously ran a hand through his hair and grimaced.

Realizing what that meant about his feelings for you, your heart sank. You went into this knowing that eventually you’d leave him. It was possible that he didn’t.

Deciding that it was better to leave that thought for later, you tried to joke your way out of it. “Then you will be the poorest, saddest hunter there ever was, John. One thing we learn early is that you take comfort where you can get it, because it doesn’t happen every day. If you can get a little something extra out of the deal, like free babysitting, or in some cases, just a roof over your head for a night, that’s bonus. Take a tip from me, okay? With your rugged good looks and deep, sexy voice, all you’ll need to do to melt the heart of any woman is keep that scruff and look a little tired, sad, dirty, or rumpled.” You turned your head to look out the window. “You’ll have women bending over backwards to take care of you and your adorable boys.” Steeling yourself, you tried to keep any emotion from showing in your voice. “Use it. It will make life easier.”

The Impala pulled up to the haunted house in question, and John turned off the car. You both just sat there for a minute, listening to the car tick as she cooled down.

“It’s for Sammy, right? All of this. Giving up a stable life, hunting monsters, and apparently flirting my way into free babysitting, this is all to keep Sammy safe. Because what you’re describing is insanity, but if it will save my boys….”

“It will.”

John grabbed your hand and pulled on you until you were sitting right next him, looking up into his eyes. Cupping your face with his other hand, he kissed you hard and thoroughly, his tongue dipping into your mouth before he nibbled on your lower lip and let you go. Pressing his forehead to yours, his voice sounded choked.

“When Mary died, I never thought I’d want to be with a woman again. Then you showed up, and you’re tough, and mysterious, and beautiful, and you just blew me away. You woke me up, and made my boys smile, and then told me you’ll have to go. And I get that you can’t stay. Just don’t expect that I’ll jump into bed with the next woman who comes along the day after you leave.”

A tear rolled down your cheek. “For what it’s worth, if I thought there was any other way, I’d never go.” Although he’d never be Dean, you knew you could be happy with John, raising Dean and Sam. Your heart ached for all the things you couldn’t have for yourself or the Winchesters.

John wiped the tear from your cheek with his thumb and then kissed you gently. When he pulled away, you took a deep breath to steady yourself, then got out of the car.

Chapter Text

The hunt truly was a textbook salt and burn. You picked the lock on the front door to the house, and were soon confronted by the spirit keeping residence there. As soon as you had confirmed all of your suspicions, showing John how an EMF meter worked and the importance of owning iron tools, the two of you headed to the cemetery. The spirit tried to stop you from desecrating its grave, giving John lots of chances to learn how to fight a vengeful spirit.

After a long night of digging, you arrived back at the hotel near dawn. John wordlessly walked you into the bathroom, undressing you both, and then helping you into the shower. He gently washed your hair, then rubbed your shoulders and your neck, releasing the soreness from the digging you’d done. You returned the favor, scratching his scalp lightly with your fingernails, then rubbing his shoulders and back while he leaned against the shower wall. He moved the soap over your body, cleaning your skin while touching and kneading and teasing, and you followed suit, finally taking him in your hand and jacking him gently, using the soapy water as lubricant. When he was fully hard, he pulled your hands away from him and groaned.

“We have a bed in a bedroom with no kids in it. I’d much rather take advantage of that than break my neck trying to fuck you properly in the shower.”

You nodded to agree, and you both rinsed off quickly. You toweled off while walking to the bedroom, kissing messily the whole way. When the back of your knees hit the bed, you both toppled over, John landing on top of you, catching himself just before he hurt you. He rolled off of you, then pushed himself up the bed, pulling you with him. The two of you were a mess of limbs and towels and blankets on the bed, but John seemed to enjoy uncovering you.

“There’s no kids here, Y/N, so I want to hear you. Got me?”

You nodded, biting your lip in anticipation.

You ran your hands through his wet hair while he licked moisture from your neck and collarbone. Before long, he had worked his way down to the junction of your thighs. Using his large, warm hands to push your thighs apart, he groaned as he kissed the sensitive skin of your inner thigh. When his lips and tongue found your clit, he was still groaning, sending delicious vibrations shooting through your body. You clutched the sheets and begged him for more while he licked and sucked. It felt like forever before he pushed his fingers inside you, searching for what he knew made you feel good. He rediscovered every spot that made you moan, and then hit each one again and again, sucking your clit through his teeth. Your orgasm slammed into you, making you cry out his name.

John left the bed while you slowly came down from your high, returning with a foil packet in his hand. He crawled into bed, hovering over you, looking for all the world like jungle cat hunting its prey, then settled his hips between your legs and began kissing and licking your neck again. When you wrapped your arms around him and started moving against him, he pulled his head up and looked you in the eye.

“I don’t think that was loud enough. I don’t think the neighbors heard.” He kissed you hard, his tongue thrusting into your mouth in time with his hips grinding into yours, sliding his erection along your folds so it hit your clit just right. You pulled away from his kiss to gasp for air, and began moaning his name with every shift of his hips. He stopped just long enough to roll the condom onto his length, then slowly pushed into you.

“I want Martha to hear you screaming my name. Want her know that I’m yours.” John started thrusting into you, changing his angle until he found the spot that made you scream, and then hitting it every time. You let your moans and cries go, letting John know without a doubt exactly what he was doing to you. When he knew you were close, you felt one of his hands move down to your clit, and he rubbed in time with his thrusts, sending you over your edge with a scream of his name. He kept pounding, gripping your thigh with one hand while he held himself up with the other and reaching down to kiss you as you came down. A couple of sloppy thrusts later and he came with your name on his lips.

As he settled down next to you after disposing of the condom and cleaning you both up, he pulled you up against his chest. “I think Martha got the message, don’t you?”

You laughed, throwing your head back and nodding. “I think the whole motel got the message, John.” John smiled at you, and you gave him a goofy smile in return, feeling a warmth in your heart that you hoped you would be able to hang onto even after you were gone.

 

After the Stynes were taken care of and the book burned, you all headed back to the bunker. While Dean and Charlie ran for food, you and Sam caught up with Cas, who told you what had happened with Metatron. Cas healed your wound, even though it was minor, and you saw how relieved he was that he could do it without having any concerns about fading grace anymore. Dinner that night was downright joyful. Charlie showed Cas the innocent joy of cootie catchers, and you actually saw Dean laugh and smile like it was nothing again.

On your way from the bathroom to your bed, you bumped into Dean heading into the bathroom. He looked down at your chest, which was visible because of the tank top you were wearing, and you saw relief on his face. You stopped him by gently putting a hand on his arm, and he stood in front you with a curious smile on his face.

Putting aside all the anger and bad feelings that had brewed between you the past few weeks, you cupped his face in your hands, looking into his eyes, for what you didn’t know. Not finding anything unusual, you slid your hands around his neck and hugged him. His arms wrapped around you, too, and you suddenly felt safer and happier than you had in a long time.

“I’m so sorry I’ve been snippy with you, Dean.”

“It’s not your fault, Y/N. I’ve been an ass. I’ve been treating you like crap, and I’m even surprised you’re still here.” Dean’s hands gently rubbed your back while you stroked his head.

“I’m not going anywhere, Dean. I’m here for the long haul. Little sister you never wanted, right? You’re stuck with me, whether you like it or not.”

Dean’s arms seemed to hold you just a little tighter after that, until he finally let you go.

You didn’t hear any nightmare noises from Dean’s room that night.

Things between you and Dean improved greatly after that. You were able to watch movies together again, talk about cooking, and just generally relax around each other. You weren’t sure exactly why things had improved, but you weren’t going to question it. Maybe it was just the fact that you both had apologized. No matter what, you were glad. You started to see again in Dean all the things you loved about him. You still saw the pain and strain he was under from the Mark, but you also saw affection in his eyes. Part of you whispered about how you could love him, how handsome he looked in his Fed suit, and how warm he felt when he’d hug you, but you squashed that part down tight. He teased you like only an older brother could, ruffling your hair and intentionally chewing with his mouth open to get a rise out of you, but it was better than the cold shoulder you had been getting. He still kept his door locked at night, so when you did hear his nightmares you couldn’t help, but he was no longer pushing you away during the day.

A few days after you and Dean had made up, Charlie had headed back home and Cas was off doing whatever Cas did when he wasn’t at the bunker. Sam took you aside and asked you to keep Dean occupied for the day. He promised to explain everything later, but he needed to do something on his own. You glared at him, but agreed.

You tried to keep Dean occupied, you really did. You suggested a Star Wars movie marathon, claiming it had been years since you’d seen the old movies, and you hadn’t seen the new ones, yet. Dean seemed excited to watch them all with you, until he wasn’t. Apparently, he saw something Sam had left behind in the library, and got suspicious. You tried to suggest that maybe Sam was meeting up with a girl, but Dean wasn’t convinced. Before you knew it, you were riding with Dean, chasing down Sam.

You got there just in time to see a woman ready to make Sam into a eunuch with her shotgun. When Sam realized you and Dean were there, he glared at you, but all you could do was shrug. Dean decided that he would try to get the woman’s attention while Sam snuck into the basement, leaving you outside as backup, if needed. When you heard the gunshot, you knew you were needed.

Whatever was going on in the house had locked it down, though. You tried every door and window you could reach, and nothing would budge. Using the butt of your gun, you couldn’t even get the windows to break! Grabbing your lock picking tools, you jimmied open the Impala’s trunk, hoping Dean would forgive you later, and grabbed the sledgehammer. After a few good swings, you managed to break a window open. Climbing through, you searched the house, until you found the brothers in the basement, Dean bleeding into a bowl in front of what looked like a cross between a safe and an old wood stove without a chimney. The door opened as you approached, and you helped Dean wrap his wound. The two of you managed to get Sam out of the house, and Dean went back to destroy the box while you watched over Sam.

When you got back to the bunker, you demanded Sam tell you what was going on. When he explained he had Rowena helping him and he hadn’t destroyed the Book of the Damned, you punched him in the arm. No matter how he tried to justify what he was doing, you were afraid that this would backfire in a big way. But, as he so explicitly explained, it was worth anything to get rid of the Mark.

Sam tried to keep you out of his deal with Rowena, but when she couldn’t translate the codex, either, he called for all hands on deck. You met Charlie and explained what was happening, while Sam kept Dean busy going after the Stynes. Sam even called on Cas to help you and Charlie, which helped out a lot, because none of you could stand being around Rowena for long. You and Cas tried to take turns bearing the brunt of her Scottish sass.

Charlie was still stressed out by the other redhead, though. She reasoned with you that the Stynes weren’t looking for her, they were looking for the book, so being away from the book would be safer, anyway. You argued that being in the care of an Angel of the Lord was about as safe as anyone could be, and Charlie gave you an epic bitch face. She seemed to back down, though, so you and Cas went back to dealing with Rowena. When Rowena was quieted for the moment, you turned around and Charlie was gone.

You headed back to the bunker, hoping that Charlie had gone there, while Cas kept watch over Rowena. When the boys brought Charlie’s body to the bunker and laid her on the table in the library, you wailed. Sam stood across the table from you, stone still with quiet tears running down his face.

Dean watched you grieve over Charlie, then pointed at you and Charlie while yelling at Sam. “This, Sam, all of this, is on you!” He then turned on his heel and stormed away.

When Dean was gone, you got up and hugged Sam. Although it may have been his idea, it was your poor execution that got Charlie killed. You could have gone with her to protect her. You could have worked harder to keep her with you and Cas. You both tried to comfort each other as best you could, but you both knew this was all your fault.

When Dean yelled at the both of you over Charlie’s funeral pyre, neither one of you argued back.

 

You woke up to the alarm clock going off a few hours later, yawning and stretching and groaning in protest. John wrapped his arms around you and tried to gently convince you to wake up. He rubbed your arm, causing his wedding ring to glint in the sunlight. You took his hand in yours, fingering his ring. John froze, his breath hitching.

“Is it a problem?”

You lifted your head to look at him and smiled. “Not at all.”

John smiled and you snuggled back into his side. After a minute, John started moving to get up, stretching and rolling his sore muscles.

“Is most of this job digging? Because so far, it seems like a lot of digging.” John’s eyes gleamed in the morning light and you laughed, sitting up next to him.

“Honestly, yes. If you’re not digging a grave, you’re digging for information. Oh, and a whole host of other highly illegal things like impersonating various government officials, breaking and entering, stealing, you name it.”

“Government officials?” John looked at you incredulously.

“I’ve been FBI, a forest ranger, a US Marshal, various prosecutors, you name it. Whatever gets people to talk to you. Fake IDs are important. And I mean, really good fake IDs.” You chuckled and covered your face for a minute, thinking of some of Dean’s worse IDs.

“What?” John looked at you curiously.

You shook your head and tried to wave him off, but he smacked your leg playfully. “All right, one of my partners once made the other one go into a hospital pretending to be CDC with an ID that said, ‘bikini inspector.’” John gaped, and you laughed. “He said that it doesn’t always matter what the ID says, what matters is how you carry yourself. Act like you belong there, flash a badge or an ID, and if someone tries to call you out on it, get offended. Since most of his IDs have the names of rock singers on them, I figured he must be right.”

John shook his head and started getting dressed. “I’m going to run some errands and then pick up the boys. Do you want to come along, or stay here?”

“I’ll stay here and do some clean up. Need to think about looking for another hunt, too.”

A shadow crossed John’s face, but he turned away fast enough you weren’t sure if it was from the window or something else.

Chapter Text

When John returned with the boys, you had the room cleaned up and some laundry ready to go to the laundromat. You all piled into the Impala and headed to the laundromat, which was next door to a convenience store. You checked out the store, and brought back some newspapers and snacks. You read through the papers, looking for another hunt while the boys played. John sat next to you, reading one of the other papers until he was sure the boys weren’t paying attention to you.

John leaned over and growled in your ear, “I stopped at the drug store again for supplies.” John’s hand slipped under the table and onto your knee, then slowly gliding up your thigh. “Got a whole box this time. Thought maybe we could let the kids hang out with Martha a little more often.”

You looked at John without turning your head away from the newspaper and smirked. “You know, eventually Martha might get wise to you, in spite of your charm.” John’s hand was now near the top of your thigh, and you grabbed it, holding it in place. “Don’t write checks you can’t cash, John Winchester. We’re in a very public place with your boys five feet away.” Your eyes went back to the newspaper, but your hand held onto John’s.

John squeezed your thigh and kissed your shoulder through your shirt. “Just letting you know I have plans for you later. Been thinking about all the different ways I can fuck you after the boys go to sleep tonight.”

You turned your head to face John. “Oh, really? Well, normally, I’d love to hear more about that, but right now, I need to find us a hunt so you can learn. As long as I’m still here, I know there’s something I’m doing wrong.” Your smirk had turned into a serious frown, and you looked back at the newspaper.

John squeezed your thigh again. “What if you’re supposed to be teaching me something out of the Kama Sutra, not something out of Dante’s Inferno?” John gave you an exaggerated pout, making you giggle. You gently pushed him away from you and laughed.

“You are the worst! Now, let me get back to looking for freaky deaths.”

John sighed, but kept his hands off of you. He pulled out an envelope and started flipping through something. Your curiosity got the better of you and you glanced over. You saw a picture of Mary and Dean that you had seen before, only the version you had seen was faded and folded and showing obvious signs of love and care. This was brand new.

John kept flipping through the photos, and you saw Mary holding infant Sam, Dean looking over her arm at his little brother. Next was Dean riding a tricycle, then John feeding little Sammy a bottle. You gasped when you saw a picture of yourself smiling and talking to a chocolate-covered Dean, obviously taken at the diner on Sam’s birthday. Next was the picture where John had called your name, where you were looking at the camera with a smile. Following was the picture you had taken of John and the boys, then the picture of the four of you.

John separated the three pictures of you, holding them all next to each other in one big hand, and smiled. He then pulled out one of the pictures of Mary with his other hand, and held it up next to the others.

“She’d like you. For no other reason than you’re here to help and you’re so good with the boys. I like to think she’d be okay with us, since she’s gone.”

Putting down the paper, you rested your head on John’s shoulder, then fingered the pictures of you. “That’s nice to hear. Do me a favor, though? Keep these pictures of me hidden. If anyone else sees them, even the boys, I don’t know what ripples they might cause.”

John pulled out the one of the four of you and handed it to you. “You keep that one. I’ll keep the other two safe.” You watched as he pulled out his wallet and put the picture of Mary and the two pictures of you in it. Mary’s went with the other pictures, but yours went under a flap in his billfold. As he put his wallet back in his back pocket, he gave you a quick kiss, then went to grab one of the loads of clothes out of the washer.

Dean got up from where he had been playing with his toys cars and crawled into your lap. “I thought you told me you weren’t going to marry my dad, Y/N?”

Your eyes widened in surprise and you looked down at Dean with your jaw slack. “I’m not! What made you think that?”

Dean shrugged his little shoulders. “I thought that’s what people do when they kiss and stuff. Get married. Are you gonna be our new mommy?”

You took a deep breath then exhaled slowly, trying to control your emotions. “No, baby. No one will ever replace your mommy. I’m just here to help out for a little while.”

Dean cocked his head at you and you were suddenly reminded of a certain angel. “You’re still gonna leave? I thought you changed your mind. Why? Don’t you like us?”

Hugging Dean close and squeezing him until he squealed, you kissed his cheek. “Of course I like you! You’re such a charmer, you’re going to have girls like me falling at your feet. But I can’t stay, baby, even if I want to.”

In typical five-year old fashion, Dean asked, “Why not?”

Sighing and giving him another kiss on the cheek, you replied, “Because some people don’t get an apple pie life, no matter how much they want it.”

 

After the pyre burned out, Sam headed out to join Cas and Rowena, and told you to stay at the bunker in case Dean came back. You were doing okay until you heard the sounds of someone trying to break in. You called Dean, Sam, and Cas, but got no answer from any of them. When the door finally gave out, you started shooting. You managed to take out two of the five that entered before you ran out of ammo, but that left two men coming after you and a boy who looked scared hanging back. When you tried to run, the two men jumped over the balcony, landing like a cat, and took you down. Your last thought as everything went dark was a prayer to Cas to keep Sam and Dean safe.

You woke up a couple of times after that, tied to a chair in the library, which the Stynes had trashed. Every time you woke up, though, you couldn’t keep your mouth shut as you watched them prepare to destroy everything, so one or the other of the two men would knock you out again. The last time you woke up, you were gagged, and you saw Cas and Dean fighting with two of the Stynes dead at your feet. You tried to yell to Dean to stop hitting Cas, and watched with your heart in your throat as Dean swung Cas’s angel blade down next to Cas’s head. Dean gave you one last angry glance before he walked out of the bunker.

 Once Dean was gone, Cas came to untie you and make sure you were all right. He healed you, but his own wounds seemed to take longer than usual to disappear. Sam arrived shortly after that, updating you on what was happening with Rowena. Both you and Cas asked Sam if he thought he was really doing the right thing, and he argued that until someone could tell him what the awful consequences actually were to removing the Mark from Dean’s arm, he was going to continue as he was. Sam and Cas went to deal with Rowena, while you stayed behind to try and put the bunker back to rights.

By the time you got an update from anyone, Death was dead, the Mark was gone, and the Darkness was released. The next couple of days were spent cleaning to work off tension as you worried about Dean, Sam, and Cas. When they finally got back, you hugged all three of them tightly, even Cas, in spite of their warnings about his condition.

During a break in research trying to find Amara or Rowena, you headed into the kitchen to find some food. As you were digging through the freezer, you heard Dean’s boots coming down the hall. When you turned around, he was sitting at the table, his face in his hands.

“You okay, Dean?”

Dean looked up at you and gave you a tired smile. “Yeah. Just tired.” Dean drew patterns on the table with his fingers while you pulled out some kind of frozen dinner and heated it in the microwave. You sat next to him at the table while it cooked.

Dean looked up at you and grimaced. “Y/N, I’m so sorry. For everything. God, the things I said to you and Sam….”

You cut Dean off by putting a hand on his arm. “It’s okay, Dean. We’re both at fault. Maybe what you said was a little harsh, but we screwed up.” Tears pricked your eyes and you sighed. “We screwed up and Charlie paid the price. You have every right to be angry at us.”

You leaned toward Dean and he put an arm around your shoulders, pulling you tightly to him. Dean’s voice was strained as he said, “I almost killed Cas. What the hell was wrong with me?”

You looked up at Dean’s face and wanted to cry at the pain you saw there. Hoping you could turn this around somehow, you tried to joke. Putting on your best Valley girl voice, you said, “What was wrong with you? Um, I don’t know if you noticed, but you kind of had, like, the oldest curse in, like, the flipping WORLD sitting on your arm. I mean, it’s just my opinion, but that might have totally had something to do with it.”

You gave Dean a smile and sarcastically rolled your eyes. You were rewarded with a barking laugh from Dean, his head thrown back and his chest heaving. After a couple of minutes of the two of you laughing and giggling, you both finally calmed down, wiping the tears from your eyes.

Dean stared at you with affection in his eyes. “I don’t know what I’d do without you, Y/N. Don’t ever leave.”

Looking up at him with the same affection, okay, maybe it was more love, you ran a hand through his hair, ruffling it gently. “Not a problem. You’re stuck with me.”

Dean’s wide green eyes drilled into you, holding you fast. “Promise?”

Realizing you needed to breathe to respond, you took in a breath and then said, “Promise.”

 

After you were done at the laundromat, Dean helped you put away the laundry while John called for pizza for dinner.  After dinner, while the boys played in front of the TV, you decided to clean your weapons, starting with your handgun. Suddenly interested, you found Dean standing next to you and looking over your arm at the parts of your gun laid out on the towel in front of you.

“What’s this, Y/N?”

“It’s my gun.” You pulled him into your lap so he was facing the table inside your arms, then went back to what you were doing.

“Whatcha doing with it?”

“I’m cleaning it. If it’s not kept clean, then it could misfire and hurt me.”

Dean nodded solemnly, watching as you started to reassemble the gun. “When you’re done, can I play with it?”

You looked down at Dean and frowned. “Guns aren’t toys, Dean. You never ever play with a gun. You only touch a gun if you need to, you only point a gun if you mean to shoot it, and you only shoot a gun if it’s the only option. That being said, I’ll talk to your dad about you learning how to shoot.”

You finished assembling the weapon, Dean watching you the whole time. “Can I please touch it, Y/N? I just want to see what it feels like.”

You glanced up at John, but he gave you no answer. He didn’t look happy, but he wasn’t telling you no, either. You closed your eyes and pictured your Dean, thinking through everything he’d ever told you about his childhood and guns. Dad finally let me shoot for the first time on my 6th birthday. He took me out to a field and had me shooting at cans. I thought it was so cool at the time. Now, I wonder what ever possessed him to put a fucking gun in the hands of a fucking six-year old.

You opened your eyes and wiped away the tear that threatened to fall before anyone could see it. You looked into the earnest face of the miniature Dean sitting in your lap and plastered on a fake smile.

“Sure, Dean bean. Let me make sure it’s safe, first.” You hadn’t loaded it after assembling it, but you checked it, anyway, before handing it over. Dean almost dropped it, unready for the weight, but then held it securely. He then began to point at different parts, asking you what they were and what they did. He actually had you take it apart and put it back together again, his eyes watching closely the whole time. You could see his mechanical little mind working through it, the same way he would one day work through why Baby was making a funny noise. When he completely understood it, he gave it back to you and hopped off your lap to go play with Sammy again.

Your eyes followed him as he crossed the room and went back to doing the typical things five-year old boys do, as if he hadn’t just handled a deadly weapon. You didn’t see John sit down next to you, so when he put his hand on your arm, you jumped.

“I must trust you a hell of a lot, because I just stood there and watched you teach my five-year old son about a fucking gun. Do I want to know why you thought that was a good idea?”

You tore your eyes from Dean to look at John. You saw anger there, until he looked in your eyes, and then he seemed to deflate. Your voice was barely a whisper, your throat almost choked shut. “Because he needs to learn.” You cleared your throat and tried to speak again. “He needs to be as comfortable around guns as he is around, well, Sammy’s diapers. He’ll be your lieutenant. He’ll be the eyes in the back of your head, watching Sammy while you hunt. Dean will fill in the gaps for you.”

John shook his head and his voice was low and angry. “No. I’m not going to make Dean his brother’s keeper! Dean deserves a childhood, not fucking military training!”

You looked at John, not knowing how to make him understand. “You have to, John. You just have to. You won’t always be around, but Dean will. Dean will be there for Sammy in ways and times that you can’t be, and that’s how it has to be. That bond between them will save….” You cut yourself off, because your next words were going to be the world.

John eyes hardened. “What, Y/N? What will they save? And how do you know? And don’t tell me about fucking ripples, Y/N! Tell me the goddamn truth!”

You stared at John, and just couldn’t take it anymore. You’d held back so long, but there was no way to make him understand without telling him everything.

Your voice was quiet, just over a whisper. “They’re going to save the world, John.”

John sat back with wide eyes, then leaned forward again, anger radiating from him. “What the hell are you talking about, Y/N? Where are you getting this bullshit from?”

“One day, a long way away from now, Heaven and Hell will all but work together to end the world as we know it. Your boys will save it. The bond that they will have because of how you raise them to look out for each other and depend on no one but each other is what saves the world.”

“Y/N, just tell me! Where are you getting this from? How do you know this?”

Reaching across the table, you grab the envelope of pictures, pulling out the picture you had taken of the three of them. Reaching in your pocket, you pull out your version, brought from your time. You place the two pictures next to each other and watch as John’s eyes flick back and forth between them. One, pristine and shiny. The other, folded and creased, faded from care.

“I know, because I was there. I was given this picture to help me find you when I was sent back. In my time, there isn’t anyone in the supernatural world that doesn’t know the Winchesters. You were a legend in your own time, but your sons are beyond legend. Sam and Dean Winchester in the Impala are the scary stories that monsters tell their kids at night to make them eat their vegetables. Sam and Dean Winchester are more than just men, more than just hunters. They are forces of nature.

“But if you don’t raise them right, if you don’t train them, if you let them have normal lives, then what killed Mary will get Sam, and it’s game over. Dean saves Sam, Sam saves Dean, and together, they save the world.”

John stares at the two pictures, then glances up at you, then back to the pictures.

“John, I’m not saying any of this will be easy. It’s going to be a poopfest from day one. Sam’s going to rebel against you so hard, but he has to. They won’t like you, but it’s not your job to be liked. It’s your job to raise them right. And you will. Your sons are the finest men I know. They literally go through Hell for each other and anyone else they love. When other people run and hide, they stand up and fight, every time. But it all starts with you. You teaching Dean how to shoot a gun on his 6th birthday. You leaving Dean to watch Sam while you go on a hunt. You dragging Dean out of a nightclub in New York City, and having a fit when Sam wants to go to college. You teach them how to fight for each other, and that’s what saves the world.”

John stares at you, eyes wide and jaw slack. It’s a long moment before he speaks again, and half of your mind notes the sound of gunfire from the TV.

“The hunting partners you’ve been hunting with?”

Heat flooded your face. “Dean and Sam. Been with them about a year.” Your eyes dropped to the pictures, and you pulled your copy back to put it in your pocket.

“Which one is the one that doesn’t love you?” You looked up at John, but he’s studying his copy of the picture, now.

“Dean.” You pause with a sigh. “And it’s not that he doesn’t love me, I’m just like a little sister to him. I grew up in the life, so we have a lot in common. Sam’s my best friend, and he will be absolutely mortified when I tell him I changed his diaper.” You chuckled and John tried to smile, but it looked more like a grimace.

A long silence falls over the table, more gunfire from the TV the only noise.

“There’s no other way?” You see the pleading in John’s eyes, and you hate to do it, but you shake your head.

“Other things will come after them earlier, just as random chance, not because of who they are. They need to learn early, and be held to a higher standard. I’m sorry, John, but there’s no other way.”

You were suddenly distracted from John’s crestfallen face by a warmth emanating from under your shirt. You pulled out the charm just to see it glowing. With a gasp, you jumped out of your chair, knocking it down to the floor behind you. John’s eyes were frightened as he looked up at you, then looked at the charm.

Rushing over to the couch to gather your things into your duffle, you almost tripped over the boys. You quickly gathered everything that was yours into your duffle, then stood up, duffle hanging off of your shoulder. You looked at the boys, both of them watching you with interest. Bending over, you picked up Sammy and blew a raspberry on his belly to make him giggle. You set him down, then picked up Dean and hugged him close, but quickly, remembering Crowley’s words about the timing of the spell and not wanting to take little Dean back with you. You looked up at John, who was now standing next to you, looking at you with fear and sadness in his eyes. Cupping his face with your hands, you kissed him long and hard, then pulled back, still holding his face in your hands while you looked at him.

“You take care of them now, and I’ll take care of them later.”

You and John separated, but Dean was at your feet, tugging on the leg of your jeans. Bending over, you ruffled his hair, making him smile.

“You gotta go, now, Y/N?”

“Yeah, kiddo. But you’ll see me again someday.”

Dean’s wide green eyes drilled into yours. “Promise?”

Giving him a smile, you nodded. “Promise.”

As you looked up at John one last time, your heart in your throat, he and the motel disappeared in a plume of smoke.

Chapter Text

The smoke cleared, and you were standing back where you started, by the table in the bunker’s library. At the other end of the other table sat Dean, Cas, and Sam. Sam was sleeping on his arms, which were folded over a book, his laptop open next to him. Cas was paging through another book, obviously looking for something. Dean, however, had only a bottle of hunter’s helper and a glass in front of him. There were some pictures and some other papers off to his side, but he was ignoring them. His eyes were at half mast, staring at the bottle intently, making you wonder if the glass had even been used, or if he had been drinking straight from the bottle.

Dean and Cas both looked up when you gently dropped your duffle on the table in front of you. Cas jumped up and strode towards you, startling Sam awake on his way, then giving you a thorough once over to make sure you were okay. He held your shoulders in his warm hands, keeping you at arm’s length for a moment while he peered at your face. The emotion from everything welled up inside of you and quiet tears rolled down your face. Cas’s face crumpled and he drew you into a firm hug, holding you steady while sobs wracked your body. You sent a prayer to him, unable to speak. Can you take me to my room? I’m not ready to talk to Sam and Dean, yet. You felt Cas nod, and he started shuffling you to your room, carrying your bag for you.

In your room, you sat down heavily on your bed and tried to collect yourself. Slowly, your tears faded, and you separated from Cas to clean yourself up. Cas didn’t say anything, just waited for you to be ready to talk. When the lump in your throat was gone, you tried to speak, but it still came out choked.

“It was me, Cas. John was ready to give up the search and settle down somewhere to give Dean and Sam a stable life. It was me crashing into his life that changed his mind. I killed the demon days ago, but it wasn’t until I convinced him he had to raise them the way he did that the spell brought me back. I’m the reason they had a crappy childhood. I’m the reason they missed out on so much. I’m the reason why every bad thing happened to them.” The tears started falling again, making you sob. “It’s all my fault, Cas!”

The angel took you in his arms and rocked you while you sobbed, soaking his shirt with your tears. He was quiet, not making the comforting noises that a human would, but rubbing your back gently and stroking your hair.

“I don’t know how to tell them, Cas. How do I tell them what I did? That’s it’s all my fault?” Your mouth stopped, but your brain kept going, and you were sure Cas could hear your thoughts. How do I tell them I loved their father?

Cas was still rocking you and rubbing your back, and you felt the vibrations from his voice through his chest as he spoke. “They already know, Y/N. All of it.”

You jumped away and looked at Cas with wide eyes and an open mouth. “What?? How?”

“After you left, while I was taking care of the angel that started all of this, Dean went through his father’s things. I didn’t understand why at the time, but apparently he had some memory of you, so he went looking to see if John had left anything. In John’s wallet, in a hidden section, he found two pictures of you and a key to a safety deposit box in Sioux Falls. He and Sam drove to the bank, got the contents, and brought them back here. John wrote letters. I warned them that they might not want to read them, but they did, anyway. They know everything, Y/N.”

You sat in stunned silence, trying to process what you were hearing.

“Can you bring me everything, Cas? I need to see it.”

Cas nodded, and quickly came back with the papers and pictures you had seen sitting by Dean on the table. Well, that explains the drinking. You didn’t even notice Cas leave the room, shutting the door quietly behind him.

The pictures were the two pictures you had watched John put in his wallet just a few hours before. Instead of being shiny and clear, though, they were creased and faded, as if they had been handled often. On the back of each was your name and “Sammy’s 1st birthday +1.” Underneath that on the first picture were two sentences.

It’s not your job to be liked. It’s your job to raise them right.

On the other was a checklist.

Dean’s 6th birthday – 1st shooting lesson – other things will come

NYC nightclub

Sam rebels, wants to go to college.

Dean saves Sam, Sam saves Dean, they save the world.

Each item was neatly checked off.

You shuffled through the loose papers, and started reading.

 

Dear Y/N,

You’ve only been gone a couple of hours, but I already wish you were still here. If you were here, then it would mean none of this was real, and I wouldn’t have to do what you said I have to do. I wonder if Dean will stop talking again, now that he’s lost you and his mother. He’ll probably stop talking to me, anyway, if I do what you say I will do. I suppose I have no choice. If you had been wrong, you’d still be here. I hate every fucking part of this.

 

Dear Y/N,

Dean’s a natural shot. But then, I guess you already knew that. I’ve been on a couple of hunts by myself, now, and I hate it. It reminds me of the war. I finally saw the names you left me in my journal. I don’t know what I’d do without Bobby and Jim.

I dreamed about you last night. Woke up hard as a rock and reaching for you. You were only with me a few days, so why are you in my head? I miss Mary, too, but missing her is less complicated. Part of me hates what I have to do, and I try not to hate you for it, too, but it’s hard.

 

Dear Y/N,

I finally broke down and “charmed” a woman. I thought of you and Mary the whole time, and I’m damn lucky I didn’t say one of your names when I came. I feel like the scum of the earth, quite frankly. I feel like I’m cheating on you both. I hold on to the memory of you telling me that it’s a tool, and I have to use it. I know you’re okay with it. I hope Mary is, too.

 

Dear Y/N,

Sammy’s two, now, which means you’ve been gone a year. Dean still talks about you every now and then. I don’t know how to deal with that. I know he’s not supposed to remember you, so how do I make him forget? I’m trying to make him think his memories of you are actually Mary. I don’t know if he’s buying it. I hate lying to my kid.

 

Y/N,

Fuck you and fuck all of this. I can’t do this to my kids. They deserve better than a father who leaves them alone for days at a time with crappy food and a shotgun. I can’t ask Jim and Bobby to watch them all the time, and I can’t ignore hunts that might give me leads on what killed Mary, and I can’t stop going after what killed Mary, because you fucking told me my kids will die if I do. Fuck the rest of the world, Y/N, I couldn’t give two shits about it. I only care about my kids. Been doing this enough years, already, that I know how to become invisible. I could drop out of the hunting life and make a stable life for Dean and Sam, but you told me it will come for them and kill them if I do. So, fuck you, and fuck all of it. I quit.

 

Dear Y/N,

I don’t know how, but Sam knows. I guess Dean had to tell him. We tried to keep monsters away from Sam for as long as possible, but now the secret’s out. He’s got doubts about Santa, too. That’s my fault. I got stuck on a hunt over Christmas. I left my boys alone on fucking Christmas. I am the worst father. Dean and Sam deserve better.

Watching Dean become what you said he would become is wonderful and heart-breaking. He’s so good. He takes care of his brother, he takes care of me, and he follows every order. I just wish he didn’t have to. You were right, though. Something came for them, already. Dean froze and a striga almost got Sammy. Dean doesn’t freeze anymore.

 

Dear Y/N,

I’m so sorry. I was late. I tried to get there to save your dad, but he was gone a week before I could track you down. I can’t believe I was that close, considering how little I knew about you. I mean, I didn’t even know your last name. I tracked down your mom, though, gave her some cash and info to help her out. I saw you through a window. Thirteen-year old you, that is. You’re already pretty. I’m so sorry.

 

Dear Y/N,

Got to check off another event on your list tonight. Pulled my teenage son by the back of his neck out of CBGB. I tried so hard to keep us far away from NYC, but this hunt couldn’t be ignored. Another house fire involving a baby. Turned out to be a poltergeist, though.

Sam’s rebellious, just like you said he would be. I’m so fucking proud of both of them. Every time I try to tell them, though, they get soft, and something happens, and I have to yell again. I got soft, so Dean went to fucking CBGB. This parenting shit ain’t for pussies.

I miss you. I miss Mary. I hate this.

 

Dear Y/N,

You forgot to warn me about the chances of having another kid while I’m charming these other women. Kate’s pregnant. Since you never mentioned me having another kid, I’m going to assume that this child is not involved. I’m going to hope that I can keep one of my kids away from this shit storm. This child will not know what’s out there. This child will never hold a gun. This child will have a stable home and a mother who loves it. No one will know this child is mine if I can help it, just in case. I may not be able to give Sam and Dean a proper childhood, but this child will be normal.

 

Dear Y/N,

Dean’s become quite the ladies’ man. I guess you already know that, but maybe you don’t? I’m trying to teach him how to find a good girl, someone like you, or his mother, but I don’t know if I’m getting through to him. Dean calls Sammy an “awkward, nerdy, little kid,” but I think Sam’s going to outgrow Dean. Dean’s been going on hunts with me, and you were right. He’s incredible. He’s got instincts like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve been teaching him how to take care of the car, too. I remember what you said like it was yesterday. The Winchesters in the Impala are the stories that monsters tell their kids to make them eat their vegetables. Dean loves that car, already. He looks at that car like I used to look at Mary. Shit, sorry. I shouldn’t say that to you. I hope by the time you meet him, he’s no longer in love with his car, and can someday find a place for you in his heart. You deserve it, Y/N. If he becomes the good man you said he will be, you deserve him.

 

Dear Y/N,

I don’t know what to do. Sam announced he got a full ride to Stanford, we yelled, we screamed, and he left. On the one hand, I’m so fucking proud of him. My kid, the son of a mechanic turned mercenary, got a full fucking scholarship to one of the best universities in the goddamn country! But I can’t be there with him. Dean can’t be there with him. Dean’s more of a hunter than I am, now, and staying in one place just isn’t in him. Who will protect Sam? You said Dean will save Sam. How can Dean save Sam if Sam’s at college? Something is coming, and I think it’s coming soon. I’m finding more clues about what killed Mary, and there’s just a feeling that the supernatural world is waking up. Something is coming, and I know Sam is in the middle of it, and I don’t know how to protect him if he’s at fucking Stanford. I just keep telling myself to trust you. Dean will save Sam. I don’t know when or how, but Dean will save Sam.

 

Dear Y/N,

I got the first really solid lead on what killed Mary! I think it’s a demon. Given what you said comes later, I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess. It’s coming after me, now, though. I hate to do it, but I have to cut ties with the boys until this is over. It’s too dangerous for them to be around me when I’m getting close to this thing. God, I wish you were here.

 

Dear Y/N,

I fucked up, Y/N. I fucked up big time. Dean saved Sam, all right, but Sam’s girlfriend…I guess you know. I should have just gone to fucking Palo Alto and camped out in their front yard or something. But, no, I was off chasing a lead, thinking that being far away from me was better for him. I was wrong. At least, now they have each other. You said they would be stronger together, and I’m betting on that. I’m staying away. Staying out of their way. Hopefully drawing this demon away from them. Maybe I can take it out before it gets to my boys. I’ve got leads on the Colt. Wishing I had that fancy blade of yours, since a blade doesn’t run out of bullets, but I’ll take what I can get. I’ve got leads on the Colt, but none on demon blades. God, I hope I’m making the right decision.

 

Dear Y/N,

Writing to you because I can’t call Sam. Something’s close and I don’t want to get him caught in the crossfire. Sam said Dean’s dying. I’m trusting you right now. I want to call my boys, tell them I love them, and hop the next plane to wherever they are, but I’m trusting you. You said Sam saves Dean. I’m trusting you.

 

Dear Y/N,

Sam saved Dean. Thank you. If you hadn’t told me, I would have gone, and the demon would have taken us all out. He very nearly got me, anyway. I’ve found the omens. Now, to just gather the info somehow so I can find the omens BEFORE the attacks. Finding them three days later helps no one.

Dean saved Sam. Sam saved Dean. What the hell is coming that my boys will save the world?

 

Dear Y/N,

Dean’s dying. You didn’t tell me about this. I don’t know what to do. I’m watching Sam, but he’s just yelling at me to do something. How can Dean be dying? Did I do something wrong? Did I not raise them right? Was it all for nothing? I know now what the demon has planned for Sam. I see now how my boys can save the world. But you said it has to be them together, and Dean’s dying. If I did this wrong, then this demon gets Sam, and Sam has to be taken out. Is that how they save the world together, by killing each other before they destroy everything? That can’t be right. My boys were still alive for you, and you said they save the world. But Dean’s dying.

I have to fix it.

 

Dear Y/N,

I hope you find these someday. I’m paying for the box until Sammy’s forty, figuring that should be a lot longer than you’ll need to find these. Maybe the boys will find it right after I’m gone. Maybe no one will ever find it, and these letters will get burned with the trash.

Thank you for everything you did. I know you did it because you love my sons, but I need to thank you, anyway. You were right. They are so strong, now, I just can’t believe it. Sammy’s so tall and fierce, and Dean is so smart and loyal. I’ve had a lot of trouble dodging Dean these past few months. I see now the men you told me about. I’m so fucking proud of them.

I still dream of you sometimes. The way you’d blow raspberries on Sammy’s tummy, or comfort Dean when he had nightmares. When I’m lucky, it’s one of the really good dreams, where you’re warm in my arms, and you make the grief of losing Mary fade away. I’ll keep those memories close.

Can you do me a favor? Find my other son. Adam Milligan. I’ve kept him and his mother, Kate, away from everything, and it’s the one good thing I’ve done since this shit storm started. Find him and make sure he’s okay. I know you’ll take care of him the way you take care of Dean and Sam.

I hope Dean wakes up and sees you for the wonderful woman you are. If not, smack him and tell him it’s from me, then go out and find yourself a good man who can’t live without you.

I have to go. I’m going to save my son. The list of good things I’ve done in my life is short. Mary, my kids, and you. That’s it. That means what I’m about to do is more than worth it. By doing this, I don’t just save Dean, I honor Mary, I save Sam, and I hopefully give you a man who will love you properly, not halfway like I did. It’s worth it.

Take care, babe.

Love, John

 

Tears were streaming steadily down your face as you set down the last letter. Gathering them up in a pile, putting the pictures on top, including the picture John had given you of the four of you and the picture Cas had given you before your trip, you set everything aside and curled up in your bed. Your pillow smelled different than usual, but in a good way, so you buried your nose in it and closed your eyes. Your face still wet with tears, you fell into a troubled sleep.

Chapter Text

You were hiding. You woke up in the morning, peeked out your bedroom door to make sure the coast was clear before running to the bathroom, and snuck back into your room the same way. You ate snack food you always kept hidden from Dean, and drank only water you could get from the sink in your room. You were hiding, and you weren’t afraid to admit it to yourself.

How could you begin to explain what you had done? You should never have gotten so close to their dad, but you did. You had had the chance to improve Sam and Dean’s lives considerably, but you didn’t. Not only did you not improve their lives, you made sure their lives were as crappy as ever. You actually talked their father out of doing right by them. You had the power to give them a stable home, with a mother figure who loved them, but you didn’t. And there was no good explanation for why.

You were staring at a box of crackers and wondering if eating the whole box could be considered a well-rounded meal when there was a knock on your door. You stayed silent, afraid of who might be on the other side.

“Y/N, it’s Sam. I know you’re in there. C’mon, let me in. I won’t bite, I promise.”

With great uncertainty, you opened the door and saw Sam standing there with a tray of food.

“I didn’t know what you might want, or if the spell maybe made you sick, so I brought you tomato rice soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Oh, and there’s some pie, too.”

You backed away from the door, and Sam set the tray down on your desk. You waved at Sam to sit on the bed while you sat and looked at the food.

“How did you manage to smuggle pie out of the kitchen without Dean tackling you to the ground?” You managed a half smile and were rewarded with a smile from Sam.

“Actually, Dean’s the one who made up the tray.” Sam smiled again, then lowered his eyes.

“He did?”

Sam nodded, and you turned to eat. The room was quiet for a while, except for your appreciative moans over the food.

“So, we read Dad’s letters to you, and I know we shouldn’t have, but they were just in the box loose, so it was hard to ignore them. They pretty much told us the highlights of your trip.” Sam blushed a little and you sighed, pushing away what remained of the food. Sam noticed your action and was quick to argue. “Oh god, no, Y/N. Please don’t think I’m upset or judging you or anything. It’s just weird to think of you, you know, with my dad. You’re like my sister, and that just feels, well, weird.”

You grimaced and sighed. “It was over thirty years ago, Sam. To me, your dad was our age, maybe younger. And you want to talk weird? Well, let’s just get this out in the open and deal with it right now.” Sam gave you a nervous look. “I changed your diaper.”

Sam groaned loudly and covered his face. “Oh god, you’re kidding me!!”

You both started laughing. “Nope. I changed your diaper several times, and your dad said he thought you must have liked me because you never peed on my shirt!”

Sam had peeked over his hands at you for a moment, but after the last revelation, he hid his face in shame again. Slowly your laughter died down to a chuckle and Sam dropped his hands.

“So, besides having to change diapers, how was it? What happened?”

“Well, besides what you already know, there wasn’t much. The demon came, I killed the demon, I taught your dad the basics of hunting, and set him on his path.” You lowered your eyes to your hands and started picking imaginary pieces of lint of your clothing. A couple of tears rolled down your cheeks, and before you knew what was happening, Sam had pulled you into his lap and wrapped his arms around you. He started rocking you and making comforting shushing noises while you cried into his shirt.

“I don’t know how you could ever forgive me, you or Dean. Your dad was all set to give up and make a stable life for you before I crash landed in his life and told him he basically had to treat you like crap or you’d die. It’s all my fault, Sam. Every bad thing that has ever happened to you is all my fault.”

You sobbed into his shirt, and Sam kept rubbing your shoulders and shushing you, rocking you gently. When your sobs at least got quieter, Sam spoke quietly.

“It’s not your fault, Y/N. It’s not your fault Azazel targeted me. It’s not your fault I was Lucifer’s vessel. Everything that was going to happen to me and Dean was decided way before any of us entered the picture. It may not have been the best childhood, Y/N, but when the time came, I was as ready as I could have ever been. Apparently, I have you to thank for that. There’s a lot of people and gods and angels and demons that I blame for everything bad that’s ever happened to me and Dean, but you aren’t one of them.”

Your sobbing had stopped, but you were still sniffling. “Sam, your dad asked me to stay. He wanted me to stay with him and help him raise you two, but I said no. I thought if I stayed, I’d give you and Dean a measure of stability that would keep you from being as close as you are. I don’t know if that was the right thing to do or not. Maybe I should have stayed. I just don’t know.”

Sam tipped your chin up so you were looking at him. “Y/N, you weren’t meant to stay there. If you had, maybe Adam wouldn’t have been born, and then maybe what happened at Stull Cemetery would have been very different. To be honest, now that I know what Dad knew back then, I understand why he did what he did. I’d forgiven him a long time ago for everything, but reading those letters helped a lot.”

You closed your eyes and leaned against Sam, nuzzling your head into his shoulder. You took a shaky breath and almost whispered, “But what about Dean?”

Sam sighed. “He’s still working through it. He made you the soup, though, and gave you a piece of pie, so I think he’s almost there. He’s got more than just Dad issues mixed up in this, though. If it had been his diaper you changed, you might never have seen him again.” Sam chuckled and you tried to chuckle, too, but it got stuck in your throat.

“So, you and my dad, huh?” You looked up at Sam and he gave you a reassuring smile. “I’m just curious, is all! I mean, are you hiding out in here because you think you ruined our lives, or are you trying to get over a love affair for the ages?”

Lowering your eyes, you shrugged. “I wouldn’t call it a love affair for the ages, but it was nice. It was weird because he just kept reminding me of you and Dean.” You sighed. “Well, mostly Dean.”

“Based on what the letters said, it sounds like you told him about your feelings for Dean. Am I right?”

You nodded again, still studying your hands. “Yeah. We both kind of decided that if we couldn’t have who we really wanted, then at least we could grab a little happiness with each other.”

“So, there won’t be any ice cream binges while watching chick flicks and crying?”

You chuckle at Sam and lightly smack his chest. “No, nothing like that. It was nice, but it’s over. No big deal.”

Sam reached over to your night stand and picked up the picture John had given to you. Dean was in your lap, his head nestled in your shoulder, Sam was in the high chair on the other side of John, John had his arms around you and Sam, and his head was leaning on yours.

“Looks like Dean liked you back then, too.” You sighed into Sam’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, Y/N. I know my brother. He just needs a little more time to process everything.”

Chapter Text

You managed to stay in hiding in your room for a couple more days, with Sam’s help. Sam brought you food, most of which he said was made by Dean, but you didn’t see Dean. You weren’t sure if you wanted to leave your room and force yourself on him, or wait for him to come to you. After a couple of days, you started getting cabin fever, so you decided to at least go outside and see the sun before you developed prison pallor.

Before you could leave your room, however, you heard a rustling by your door. Spinning around, you saw Crowley standing there, a slightly disappointed look on his face.

“Crowley! Don’t you know it’s rude to just come in? Knock next time! I could be changing or something!”

Crowley smirked and shoved his hands in his pockets. “I know, Bunny. That’s why I didn’t knock.”

Feeling your face flush, you suddenly wished you had your angel blade handy. “What do you want, Crowley?”

Crowley sighed at your lack of interest and got down to business. “I just need the charm back that I gave you for your trip. Can’t have something like that falling into the wrong hands.”

“I already gave it to Sam to safe keeping. You’ll have to talk to him about it.”

Crowley frowned, then studied your face. “Sam? Not Dean?”

“Yes, Sam.” Thinking about how you were still hiding from Dean, you tried to hide your face by turning around and rearranging papers on your desk.

“I would have thought Squirrel would have been the first one in here to make sure you were okay, considering.” Turning back around, you saw Crowley shrug.

“What do you mean?”

Crowley studied your face for a long minute with a frown. “Normally, I wouldn’t do this, seeing as I almost like you, and this goes against everything I stand for, but since you did just save my bacon, I’ll make an exception this time. Squirrel cares for you, my dear, and not like a little sister. I’d say good luck with that, but you’re going to need more than luck.” Crowley’s eyes swept around the room, probably making sure he didn’t see the charm sitting out anywhere, and when he didn’t find it, he turned to leave. “I’ll be going, now. Tell Moose I want that charm back.”

With another rustling noise, Crowley was gone.

You sat in your room for a few minutes considering what Crowley had said, before deciding that you could think more clearly if you got some fresh air. Taking a deep breath, you screwed up your courage to leave the safety of your bedroom, and opened the door. Walking down the hallway, you were about to pass the doorway to the kitchen when you heard voices.

“What am I supposed to do about it, Sam?”

“I think she needs you to go in there and tell her that you’re okay with her. That you’re not upset anymore about what happened thirty years ago. I’ve let you go for three days, now, Dean. We need to talk about this. You’re not still upset, are you?”

“Not really. It’s just fucking weird, Sam, and I just can’t wrap my mind around it.”

“Why? Just because you like her and she had a fling with Dad?” Crowley was right? Dean likes me??

“Although that’s weird enough right there, I got over that pretty quick. I mean, I had no claim on her. Hell, as far as she knows I have no interest in her. She had every right to go out and sleep with someone. It’s not like I’ve been a monk since she got here. The fact that it was Dad, well, that’s what makes it weird, but at least I know he cared about her. It wasn’t some barfly who just used her. I’m okay with that. It feels like, just too much information, but I’m okay. Maybe I am a little jealous, but nothing I can’t get past. The question is, what if it wasn’t just a fling? What if she’s hiding out because it was serious?”

“She told me she’s fine, Dean. She said it was nice, but it wasn’t a great love or anything. That’s not why she’s hiding.”

“Okay, still jealous like a little bitch, but okay.” Your mind reeled with all the new information. Dean had feelings for you? Dean was jealous?

“So, what, Dean? What is it that’s got you holding back?”

“I don’t know, man. From the moment I heard her scream ‘fuzzy trucker,’ and watched her kick that tire, I felt this pull. Like she was a magnet and I was a cheap spoon. It almost felt like something out of a chick flick. Now, though, I just wonder, is it real, or did I just imprint on her like a baby chicken?”

You heard Sam chuckle and the clinking of dishes.

“Seriously, Sam. Dad said in his letters he hoped I was the good man she told him I was, and if I didn’t love her better than he did, she should leave. How do I live up to that? I mean, I’ve treated her like crap, Sam!”

“And she’s still here, Dean. Doesn’t that tell you something?”

“Sam, I’m not … you know ….”

Sam interrupted Dean. “Forget about your liking her for a minute. What about the rest of it? Right now, she blames herself for everything bad that’s ever happened to us.”

“Aw, hell, no, Sammy. It’s not great, and it took most of a fifth of whiskey to work through it, but you’re right. She did what she had to do. It sucks all around, and I hate feeling even more manipulated than I did before, but I don’t blame her for that.”

“You know, Dad asked her to stay. Wanted her to teach him and help raise us.”

“It’s shit like that that confuses the hell out of me, man. I mean, hell, where do I start? She could have had a relatively normal life, you know, for a hunter, raising two fantastic kids,” Dean paused, and you imagined his cocky grin, “and being with a guy who would have taken good care of her and protected her. No demons. No angels. Just your basic hunting crap, which was what made her happy before we dragged her into our shit storm. But instead, she comes back here, where the fucking King of Hell doesn’t even bother knocking before he visits, anymore. I mean, wasn’t she even tempted?”

“I think she was. She knew that she couldn’t, obviously. I mean, what if she ran into herself. And just being there, she’d disrupt so many things, like Adam. So, yeah, I think maybe she was tempted, but not for the reasons you mentioned. I think she feels badly that she couldn’t find a way to stay because it meant we grew up without her. I think she wanted to stay because she loves us and wanted to make things better for us.”

“So, not because of Dad?”

“No, not because of Dad. I told you, it sounds like it was barely more than a one-night stand.”

Not being able to listen anymore, you walked into the kitchen. “It was more like a two-and-a-half-night stand, if you really want to know.” You felt heat rush to your cheeks and you stared at the ground for a moment before glancing at the brothers, whose faces were also a bit pink. You sat down next to Sam and across from Dean and studied your hands as they rested on the table.

“Sorry for talking about you when you weren’t here to defend yourself, Y/N.” Sam rubbed your back gently and you gave him a reassuring smile.

“Hey, what I heard sounded pretty on point. You did a good job, counselor.” You nudged Sam’s shoulder with your own and he smiled. You finally looked up at Dean and tried to meet his gaze, but he was trying to avoid yours. “For what it’s worth, Dean, I’m a little weirded out by you and me, too.” Dean’s eyes flew to yours and you saw the fear in them. You reached across the table and took one of his hands in yours. “For example, did I know how to calm your nightmares when you were five because I’d done it when you were thirty-five, or did it work when you were thirty-five because I’d done it when you were five?”

Dean rubbed his free hand over his face and chuckled nervously. “Yeah.”

“It’s the chicken and the egg. But Dean, I’m not sure which came first is the question we need to focus on. I think the question is whether we want scrambled eggs or chicken parmesan.”

Dean stared at you with fear and uncertainty in his eyes. After a moment, Sam got up, giving your shoulder a pat as he left the room. Dean broke your gaze, and you circled around the table to sit next to him, but still angled so you could see his face. You took his hands in yours and ducked until he finally met your eyes again.

“I like you, too, Dean. I have from the moment I met you, or I wouldn’t have joined you guys. And my feelings for you have only gotten stronger. You and Sam were both right. You have treated me like crap a couple of times.” Dean’s face crumpled and you cupped it with both of your hands so he’d look at you. “And I almost left, but I didn’t. I’m still here. We made it through the bad stuff, Dean, and we’re both still here.”

Dean’s eyes were glistening while you caressed his face. Not knowing how to stop the spiral of self-hatred you saw happening in front of your eyes, you did the only thing you could think of. You pulled his face down to yours and kissed him.

Dean was initially surprised by the kiss, but soon started participating. The kiss was gentle and unassuming, just your lips moving together, and when you finally separated, you were surprised to find you were sitting in Dean’s lap with his arms around you. You sat with your foreheads touching for a minute, then shifted so you could wrap your arms around him. Dean buried his face in your shoulder and you rubbed his back gently, every now and then stroking his hair.

“I missed you so much when you were gone. Slept on your bed because it still smelled like you. I was so scared something would happen to you and you wouldn’t come back.” Dean’s voice was muffled as he spoke into your skin, but you felt him sigh deeply.

Suddenly, Dean pulled away from you and dropped his eyes to your lap. “Y/N, Dad was right. You deserve a good man who can love you properly and take care of you. I’m not that kind of man. When it comes to that, I’m not half the man my dad was.” His eyes were filled with pain and fear, and you caressed his face again.

“You really don’t get it, do you?” Dean shook his head and looked confused. “The reason why I had such a hard time resisting your dad was because of how much he reminded me of you, Dean. I was drawn to him because every time I looked at him, I saw you. Sometimes I saw Sam, but most of the time, I saw you. His eyes, his voice, and the way he loved his family, Dean, that’s all in you. To see so much of you in someone who wanted me when I thought you didn’t, well, it was irresistible.” You gave Dean a gentle kiss and smiled at his small, cocky smile. “And if I had known that you wanted me, he’d have never stood a chance.”

Dean’s boyish smirk warmed your heart. “Really? Not a chance, huh?”

“Really. Not a chance.” Dean pulled you in for a long kiss, leaning you backwards while his tongue danced with yours. When you finally came up for air, you both sat there for a while, just smiling at each other. “Now that that’s settled, can we never mention my fling with your dad ever again?”

“So, no calling you my Evil Stepmother?” Dean’s eyes twinkled with mischief as you laughed and feigned offense.

“Evil, huh??” You tickled Dean’s ribs, and laughed when he tickled you back.

Chapter Text

It was a couple of weeks before Dean had Baby back up and running in her usual pristine condition. You spent that time helping Dean with the repairs, and slowly getting used to your new relationship with him. You talked about the weirdness he felt at John practically training him to want you, and his worry that he’d simply imprinted on you like a baby chicken. In spite of your request to not talk about your time with John again, you found that your trip, and sometimes even your relationship with John, still came up quite a bit. Both Dean and Sam liked to hear every detail of your time with them as toddlers, and the closer you got to Dean, the less bothered he was about any memories of John you mentioned. Dean talked about things he now realized John had done to make him forget about you, like pretending you had been Dean’s imaginary friend, or saying that things he remembered about you were actually memories of Mary.

The two of you also spent a lot of time just being close to one another. You were constantly touching, if not actually kissing, which sent Sam running from the room several times in disgust, though with a smile on his face. After the first week, you had started sleeping in Dean’s bed, though nothing more than lazy make-out sessions happened, because you both were trying to take things slowly. When Baby was close to finished, and Sam had started looking for a new hunt, Dean decided to surprise you with an actual date night. He took you to dinner at a local diner you both liked, followed by a movie, which neither of you actually saw much of, because you were too busy making out like teenagers in the back of the theater. Oh, and the usher kicked you out halfway through the movie for disturbing the other patrons.

When you got to the car, the two of you went back to kissing like you hadn’t been interrupted at all. When things started getting really heated, you both seemed to back off in mutual agreement, just like you had during every other session since you’d returned. Feeling a new frustration building inside you, you decided to stop being afraid.

Dean had slid back over behind the wheel of Sam’s truck, which he had borrowed since Baby wasn’t quite finished, yet, and he was breathing heavily. After a moment of arguing with yourself internally, you slid next to him and snuggling into his side when he automatically put his arm over your shoulders. He smiled down at you, and you smirked up at him before you placed your hand on his thigh.

Dean’s eyes widened as you slowly moved your hand up his thigh. You saw a flash of fear and uncertainty cross his features, so you reached up and kissed him gently.

“Dean, I don’t know about you, but I think I’m tired of taking things slowly.” Your hand reached the bulge pushing against his zipper, and you palmed it, giving it a gentle squeeze, which made Dean’s eyes flutter shut with a groan. As you rubbed against the fabric, Dean’s hips shifted into your hand and his head fell back against the headrest. Suddenly, he grabbed your wrist and pulled your hand away from himself with a whimper.

Opening his eyes and drawing you into his gaze, he nearly growled. “Sweetheart, if you keep that up, we won’t make it to a bed.”

Dean’s words went straight to your core, causing the ache you had already felt to turn into a throb. Pulling your wrist from his grip, you put your hand back over his zipper, stroking him again. “Baby, I’ve been waiting so long for us to be ready, I’m not sure I want to wait until we get to a bed.”

Dean growled again as his lips crashed to yours. In a flash, he had shifted you both so he was no longer in the driver’s seat, and you were straddling him, your jean-clad core pressed against his. Everything else was a blur as his hands went underneath your shirt to unclasp your bra, then moved to your front to cup and knead your breasts. You were rocking and grinding roughly against him, the seam in your jeans pressing hard against your clit. His lips were on your neck, your hands were in his hair tugging and pulling, his fingers tweaked your nipples, and you were both rutting against each other frantically.

“Dean, god, this feels so good, I’m gonna come so fast, baby.” Dean pulled up your shirt enough that he could take one of your nipples into his mouth, and the jolt of electricity that shot to your groin kickstarted your orgasm.

You cried out his name as the waves of pleasure swept through you. You slowed your hips as you came down, and slowly became aware that Dean’s jaw was clenched tightly, his eyes squeezed shut, and he was almost holding his breath. As you stopped moving, he started breathing again, and slowly his eyes fluttered open.

“That was so hot, sweetheart, I almost came in my pants like a teenager.” He was panting a bit, now, and still unable to look you directly in the eye, just yet. You kissed him slowly, trying not to grind into him again. When you pulled your lips away, he opened his eyes, and they were completely lust-blown. Giving him a smile, you climbed off his lap into the seat next to him, fixed your bra and shirt, then reached down and started opening his belt.

Covering your hand with his, he stopped you. “We’re in a movie theater parking lot, Y/N. We can’t do this here. Wouldn’t you rather wait until we got back to the bunker?”

Giving Dean a sly look, you went back to opening his belt. “I would not rather wait, so you’d better get driving, Dean, because I want your cock in my mouth right now.”

Dean’s eyes widened again, and he quickly turned the key in the ignition and pulled out of the parking space with a squeal of the tires.

By the time you had left the parking lot, you had his belt open and the top button of his jeans popped. It wasn’t long after that you had the zipper down, and his cloth-covered erection tried to spring free as Dean let out a moan. You pulled his leaking cock out through the fly in his boxers, and he pressed his foot down on the gas. Making yourself comfortable on the bench seat of the truck, you settled yourself in his lap, taking him in your hand, and twirling your tongue around his tip, licking him clean.

The noise that Dean let out was positively filthy, and it went straight between your thighs. “Y/N, I’m trying to drive as fast as I can, but you’re going to get us killed if you do that again.”

Smirking, you shifted your hand, and gently kissed the underside of his cock, starting at the base and moving up. After you placed a kiss on the tip, then gave it a kitten lick as another drop of fluid leaked out, you replied, “Then you’d better pull over somewhere, Dean, because I’m not stopping.”

You twirled your tongue around his tip again, then wrapped your lips around him and pushed him into your mouth, pressing your tongue against the underside. Dean’s hips bucked and he hit the back of your throat, but you were already drawing your lips back before he could engage your gag reflex.

“Shit, fuck, Y/N, just hang on a minute,” Dean groaned as you sealed your lips around him and started to suck, slowly fucking him with your mouth. Dean was still making noises, and you felt the car slow down as he tried to not crash while you worked him over.

Suddenly, Dean made a sharp turn off the road, and after some bumpy terrain, the truck came to a stop and he turned it off. With the turn, you had pulled away from Dean, but now that the car was still, you went back to sucking Dean off in earnest. Dean’s hands found your head, tangling in your hair, but not pulling or pushing, just caressing and stroking.

Once the distraction of driving was gone, Dean didn’t last long, and he came with a shout of your name. You swallowed as quickly as you could, and then licked him clean until he pushed you away. Tucking him back into his damp boxers, but leaving his jeans for him to wrangle, you sat back up with a smile. Dean’s head was laying against the headrest, his eyes closed, a goofy smile on his lips.

Moving closer to Dean again, you took his face in your hand and gave him a dirty kiss. “I’m ready to go home for round two whenever you are, baby.”

Dean opened his eyes with a cocky grin. “I bet you are, sweetheart.” After giving you another kiss that felt like it was all tongue, he started the truck back up and pulled back onto the road.

Chapter Text

The three of you had returned the day before from helping out Donna with her plushie problem, and it was officially moving day for you. You had kept a separate bedroom from Dean, but he had finally argued that your basic necessities needed to be in his room, where you were. If you wanted to, you could still keep the other room as a “woman nest” or whatever (since the whole rest of the bunker was pretty much the definition of a man cave), but you shouldn’t have to go to another room to get changed. Dean moved the dresser from your room into his, and cleared out half of his wardrobe for you. He also made space on one of the night stands for your pictures and other personal items.

As you watched him present your freshly cleared-out space for you, you felt happy tears prick your eyes. You knew Dean would never say out loud that he loved you, those words were a jinx to a hunter, but rearranging his space to make room for you said it for him.

It didn’t take long for you to get settled in, filling the wardrobe and moving your other valuables to be mixed in with Dean’s. Carefully placing pictures of your parents, hunter friends, and even the pictures from John on the night stand, you looked around the room and sighed happily. Dean walked in after taking out a bag of trash, shut the door behind him, and flopped down on the bed next to you with a big grin on his face.

“What are you grinning about, Dean? You look like the cat that ate the canary!” You lay down next to him and snuggled into his side.

“What’s not to smile about? We’re all here and safe, Baby’s in good condition, and I have a beautiful woman lying in my bed. I couldn’t ask for anything more.” Dean grinned some more, then leaned over you to kiss you, slotting one of his legs between yours. When he finally came up for air, he nuzzled into your neck, his breath ghosting past your ear. “I heard you chatting with Donna yesterday, you know, about your boyfriend.”

You and Donna had had a typical girly talk about men and boyfriends and such, you asking Donna about if she would finally give NewDoug a chance, and Donna asking you about Dean. You hadn’t realized anyone else had been close enough to overhear, though.

Startled and embarrassed, you pulled away from him to look at his face to see where he was going with this. Dean grinned up at you and then actually winked, making you laugh.

“I take it you don’t mind it, then? Me calling you my boyfriend?” You knew you were grinning like an idiot, but you didn’t care. Dean was, too.

“I think I can handle it. Why, did you think it would bother me?” Dean nuzzled back into your neck, this time mouthing at the sensitive skin there.

“Well, it’s not exactly a big, bad, manly hunter term, you know. Almost makes it sound like we’re in high school.” Your voice got weaker as Dean’s mouth licked and sucked over spots he knew made you tingle.

“Yeah, but boyfriends get a lot of perks, you know?” Dean’s voice had lowered about an octave, and the vibrations his lips sent through your skin shot straight between your legs. You gasped quietly, moving your hips, which pressed your core against his thigh. A burst of desire exploded from your core sending tingles throughout your body.

“Oh, really? Like what, Dean?” Dean was already making you crazy, his hand running up and down your side, his thigh pressing into the apex of your thighs, and his mouth… god, his mouth… his mouth would be the death of you if he kept gently licking and sucking at your neck like that.

“Well, boyfriends get to do this....” Dean pushed his hand up under your shirt and began kneading your breast through your bra. When your back arched, he slid his hand behind you and expertly unhooked your bra. He then pushed your shirt and bra up until you sat up and removed them impatiently. The second your back hit the bed again, though, Dean’s lips were back on your skin, his hand on your breast, teasing the nipple with his fingers.

“…And they also get to do this….” Dean’s lips moved down your chest until he took your other nipple in his mouth. As he felt your body responding to him, he hummed, sending a jolt of electricity to your core.

“Dean,” you moaned, gripping his hair with the fingers of one hand while the other grabbed onto the leg he was letting you rut against. “If this is what being your girlfriend gets me, we should have done this a long time ago, Dean.” You were breathing hard, now, feeling that familiar ache already, even though he had barely started.

Dean shifted over you, pushing your thighs further apart so he could kneel between them and moving his mouth to give your other nipple equal attention. When you whined at the loss of pressure on your core, Dean smirked and chuckled darkly, more vibrations setting your skin alight beneath his lips.

“Boyfriends also get to do this….” Dean’s hands left your breasts and slid down your stomach to your jeans, where he quickly popped the button and lowered the zipper. He removed his mouth from your skin, sitting up so he could work your jeans and panties down your legs. When he had you lying there in front of him, completely bare, he kneeled there for a moment, sitting back on his heels, looking you over until you blushed and moved to cover yourself. He quickly grabbed your hands and pushed them over your head, pressing them into the pillow.

“Keep those there,” Dean growled, his eyes blazing above you. “Boyfriends get to look as much and as long as they like.” After a dirty kiss, Dean let go of your hands and sat back up, looking at you all stretched out in front of him. He bit his lip and you smiled when he palmed the bulge in his jeans and groaned.

“Dean, you’re wearing too much clothing.” It was hard for you to talk because the look on Dean’s face, which was downright lustful, was taking your breath away. You knew you were wet already, but didn’t realize how wet until you saw Dean’s eyes focus on the junction of your thighs before he licked his lips. You sighed impatiently and almost whined, “I want to see you, too.” Your hands itched for you to sit up and push his t-shirt up and off of him so you could see every inch of his chest and tummy, but you kept your hands where he had put them.

Once he had gotten his fill of just looking at you, Dean smirked and took off his shirt, letting you admire the miles of freckles dusted over his chest and shoulders and the play of his muscles under his skin as he leaned back over you again.

“Boyfriends also get to kiss, and tease, and touch, whenever they want.” Dean kissed you hard, his tongue invading your mouth while his chest pressed against yours. You moved a hand down to fist into his hair, but he pulled away, putting your hand back up on the pillow. “I told you, Y/N. Keep those there.”

Biting your lip and nodding your head, you reached up to kiss him again, but he pulled away just before your lips met with a sexy smirk. He ran his hands down your arms from your wrists, past your elbows, skimming slowly past the sides of your breasts to your hips. He squeezed your hips as he shifted down the bed a bit, then ran his hands down your thighs to your knees. Sliding his hands under your knees, he lifted them off the bed, then started kissing your inner thigh, beginning near your knee and slowly working his way up towards your center.

Whimpering impatiently, you shifted your hips, trying to get him to put his mouth where you desperately wanted it. “C’mon, Dean, please.”

Without moving his lips from your skin, chuckled. “So impatient, Y/N. Another perk of being a boyfriend is that I get to take … my … time.” Each word was accompanied by a gentle kiss to your skin, and then finally he reached the top of your thigh, where he sucked a mark, making you just a little crazier with need. Looking up at you through his lashes, he looked almost predatory as he moved his mouth to the top of your mound and laid a chaste kiss there. You groaned and tried to buck your hips to get his mouth where you wanted it, and he shifted, throwing an arm over your hips to pin you down. Whining, you thrashed underneath him, but you couldn’t move your hips. When you finally stopped trying, you met his gaze with a sigh and a whimper. Smiling wickedly, you watched as he dipped his head down and licked a broad stripe up your folds.

His eyes closed and he moaned, much the same way he would after his first bite of pie, and when he looked at you again, his gaze was fiery. He didn’t look at you for long, though, but immediately dipped back down and started licking you in earnest, gathering on his tongue the wetness that had already pooled between your folds. Soon, he was thrusting his tongue inside you, then dragging it up to your clit, which he would tease mercilessly until you cried out, then going back to licking into you. Finally, you felt him slowly push two fingers into you while his tongue worked on your clit. He started thrusting his fingers in and out, mapping out your walls until he rediscovered what made you make what noises. Your body was winding up, now, and you were panting and moaning, not even able to say anything coherent besides Dean’s name.

You got close to your peak, and Dean kept you there, knowing that he was driving you crazy, but not giving you exactly what you needed to go over the edge. Your whines and whimpers got desperate, begging him for just a little more of something, anything, to make you come. Just when you thought you might sit up and punch him for making you so needy and still denying you, he crooked his fingers just right inside you and sealed his lips around your clit, sucking hard.

Fireworks went off in front of your eyes as you felt your orgasm explode inside you. You screamed Dean’s name as you clutched the pillow above your head, wishing your fingers were tangled in his hair. He worked you through it with his fingers and mouth, backing off as you came down.

Lying there completely boneless and unable to even think, you were barely aware of Dean moving away from you. When your mind finally began to clear, Dean was kneeling between your legs, pants and boxers gone, condom already rolled onto his cock, stroking himself lazily while he watched you come back to yourself. Your eyes fell to his hand pumping his cock and you licked your lips, making Dean smile.

“I guess girlfriends like to look as much as boyfriends, huh, Y/N?” Dean smirked and you grinned, letting your eyes roam over his perfect body. From his muscled shoulders down his arms, you watched the movement of his arm and hand as he stroked himself greedily. Your eyes moved up his stomach to his chest until you saw his mouth, his bottom lip tucked into his teeth for just a moment before he let it go and his mouth dropped open slightly as his eyes met yours.

“You ready for me, sweetheart?”

“God, yes, Dean,” you moaned, “I want to touch you, baby. Can I touch you?”

Dean lowered himself over you, lining himself up with your entrance, and then sliding home until you were filled. Supporting himself with his elbows over you, he reached down and kissed you while you adjusted to him. When he came up for air, he buried his head in your neck and groaned.

“Fuck, Y/N, yes, you can touch me, now.”

Immediately, you brought your arms down, reaching between your knees to grab his ass with both hands. Squeezing the tender flesh with your fingers, you used the grip to anchor yourself and shift just enough that he seemed to go even deeper inside of you. You both groaned at that, and Dean started to move.

Now that you could touch him, your hands roamed his body restlessly. You tugged on his hair, scraped your fingernails on his scalp, dug your thumbs into his shoulders, and scratched the heck out of his back while he slowly built up a rhythm with his thrusts. You tried to buck your hips to meet him every time, and soon he was hitting that spot that made sparks fly through your body. Dean was letting a never ending stream of curses mixed with repetitions of your name fall from his mouth when he wasn’t trying to kiss you or suck on your collarbone or nip at a nipple.

“God, Y/N… so perfect … so fucking perfect … feel so damn good, baby….” Dean’s words were punctuated with moans and pants as he pounded into you, winding you up again with every thrust.

“I know, Dean … you, too … god … feels so good … I’m so close, Dean….” Dean pulled one of your thighs higher over his hip, then moved his hand between you to your clit. He started rubbing your clit hard in time with his thrusts, and it didn’t take long for you to find your edge and fall over it with a loud cry of his name.

Dean groaned as you clamped down on him, and his thrusts faltered as he found his own end right after you. You both kept moving as you worked each other through it, your pace gradually slowing down until you stopped completely, both of you panting hard to catch your breath. Dean went to move, and you trapped him between your legs so he couldn’t, wanting to stay connected for just a moment longer. Tangling both of your hands in his hair, your met his mouth for a kiss, trying to put every emotion you had into it. You’re it for me. I want you. I need you. I love you. Maybe you couldn’t say it in words for fear of jinxing everything, but you could certainly show him.

After you both finally came up for air, Dean shifted away from you, pulling out of you with a groan that you matched with a whimper. He disposed of the condom and crawled back into bed with you, covering you both with the sheet and blanket. He pulled you against him, tucking your head under his chin, rubbing your back and stroking your hair, much like how you would for him when he had nightmares. He kissed your head and sighed, and you felt your own emotions mirrored in his actions.

“You know what I get that’s even better than what other boyfriends get, Y/N?”

You were halfway asleep, already, riding high on the endorphins of two fantastic orgasms. “What, Dean?”

“You.” Dean kissed your head again, and you smiled against his skin as you both drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Text

When Mary first arrived on the scene, saving you and the brothers from Her Majesty’s She-Devil, Toni Bevell, you were nervous. The anxiety was partly due to the fact that you were meeting your boyfriend’s mother, your apprehension only amplified by the fact that she’d been dead for over thirty years.

Mostly, though, it was the whole “I slept with your husband” thing.

Your nerves frayed as you dealt with the Brits, hoping they didn’t know about you and John. They’d known so much, but hopefully, your trip was long before the Winchesters were ever on their radar. After what seemed to be far longer than necessary, the Brits were gone and formal introductions were made. Hopefully, Mary would think your shaking was due to the torture. When it was time, Dean held you close, introduced you as his girl, and no mention was made of your little trip to 1984. After the house was cleaned thoroughly, you all piled into your vehicles and headed to the bunker.

The drive back to the bunker was more than a little nerve-wracking since you spent it in the truck with Cas instead of in the Impala with the Winchesters. It took a toll on you, not knowing what was being said between Mary and her sons, but Dean and Sam reassured you they wouldn’t say a word about it. Mary didn’t need to know. And not only did she not need to know about your two-and-a-half-night stand with her husband, it was probably better if she didn’t.

Back at the bunker, everyone tried to pretend that everything was normal. A shower schedule was created, take-out menus were shuffled through and evaluated, dinner was eaten around a table (a glowing map table, but still a table), and Dean ate pie like a one-year-old on their birthday (it got everywhere). If there had been a studio audience, they might have believed that everything was fine, but you didn’t think any of you did. There were too many landmines lying around and all of you were becoming experts at sidestepping the triggers. To make matters worse, Mary continually disproved Dean’s preconceptions about his mother, while Sam spent the whole night staring at her like she would disappear if he blinked.

When everyone went to bed, you stayed up with Dean, trying to help him work through everything. You puttered around the room trying to be unobtrusive while he stared at old pictures and told you about crustless sandwiches and the best meatloaf he’d ever tasted. Soon, he was quiet again, and you settled down on the bed next to him.

“After Chuck and Amara wafted off to Disney World, or wherever gods go for a family vacation, I was trying to find my way out of the park when I ran into Mom. She laid me out so fast my head was spinning. And held me down with her foot on my neck!” Dean huffed a laugh. “I knew she was badass from when I met her during my trips back in time, but she still caught me by surprise.” He shook his head. “And then, after me and Cas get our asses handed to us, she just stabs this British bitch in the back with an angel blade.

“And all that, I could get. I could see it. Jody does the whole mom thing and the badass hunter chick thing, and you do it all, too, but I still thought she was different. She gave up hunting for a normal life. I thought she got out so she could make meatloaf and cut the crusts off my sandwiches. But she apparently didn’t make meatloaf, or bake pies, and now I’m wondering what else I got wrong.”

He put away the pictures and curled up in bed around you, his head on your shoulder so you could rub his back and stroke his hair. Just when you thought he was falling asleep, his voice rumbled through your chest.

“She’s so disappointed in us. She hates that we’re hunters. I think she even hates that we’re legacies. She hates everything she knows about our lives, and we haven’t even told her the bad stuff, yet.”

The breaking of Dean’s heart was almost audible in the quiet of the room. Your arms tightened around him while you worked to soothe him. “Whatever happens, we’ll deal with it. Together. We’ll make her understand, somehow. I’m not going anywhere, so I’ll be here to help you however I can.”

Dean leaned up and pressed a gentle kiss to your lips before settling back next to you and relaxing into sleep.

Things were good for about a week. Cas hung around while you and the boys helped him look for leads on Lucifer, and Mary slowly learned how to use a cell phone and a laptop, if only to make calls and use Google. It was sketchy, though. She mostly Googled references made in conversations, and Dean seemed intent on making her watch all the movies he loved, which you suspected might have been an avoidance tactic. If she was watching Hobbits and Han Solo, she wasn’t finding out about Heaven and Hell. Everything they talked about was idealized, all the dirty details and important truths left out. The boys were happy to tell her about Jody and Donna and Garth, even Bobby and the good times with their dad, but very little was said about the Apocalypse, Leviathans, or Purgatory.

Hiding so much of their past from Mary was wearing on you, and you finally had enough. You dragged out every alcoholic beverage you could find, lined up all the bottles on a library table, and called everyone out from their rooms. They converged in the entryway and stopped short, catching sight of the bottles you’d collected. After you set glasses at five places around the table, you stared them all down.

“We are gonna play a game I like to call Drunk History. Dean and Sam are familiar, but for you two,” you pointed at Cas and Mary, “the rules are simple. I’ll start by asking Dean a question. If he doesn’t want to answer it, he takes a drink. If he does answer it, I drink. Then it’s his turn to ask someone a question, and so on and so forth. For this game only, Mary is allowed to ask one follow-up question per turn, since she’s the newbie. Likewise, when it’s her turn to answer, one of us may ask one follow-up question. Cas, due to your angelic tolerance,” you pushed a large bottle of whiskey into his hand, “you drink this before we start, then drink for every question so we’re on a level playing field.”

Cas looked at the Winchesters, and when they all seemed to agree, he downed the bottle in one long go. Mary’s eyes widened with every swallow as she watched the bottle empty into the angel. He slammed the bottle onto the table and looked at you with doubt in his narrowed eyes. “I really don’t think that will make much difference. It once took an entire liquor store to inebriate me.”

You shrugged your shoulders and smiled as Cas stepped toward the nearest chair, sitting down with an unusually heavy whump. The rest of you sat, each with a glass and a bottle, and the game began.

“Dean. I know your best subject in school was shop, but what was your second-best subject?” Even though you wanted to get serious later, you figured you’d start off easy.

Dean looked surprised at the question, then smirked. “Anatomy,” he said with a cocky wink and a smile at you.

Laughing, you smacked his arm. “I’m serious, Dean! I know you were a heart-breaker, but I’m talking real school subjects. What caught your interest?”

Dean shrugged while looking off into the distance. “Chemistry, I guess. I mean, I once had a hunt at a local community college and had to sit in on an engineering class that was pretty cool, but as far as classes I actually took, it was chemistry. Something about it just made sense. Atoms fit together to make molecules and stuff. I just got it.” Even though he’d answered the question, Dean took a drink with you, then turned to Cas with a twinkle in his eye. “Cas. I know your one friend did, but did you ever take a vessel that wasn’t a man?”

Cas nodded solemnly, and you noticed him blinking just a little more than usual, the alcohol affecting him more than he’d expected. “Back during the Lily Sunder mission, I took a vessel that was a woman.”

Dean’s eyes danced with mirth, and you interrupted whatever he was about to say by putting a hand on his arm and shaking your head. Dean’s face fell under your silent reprimand and he pouted into his next sip, making you giggle.

“Was there anything different about possessing a woman as opposed to a man?” Mary asked.

Cas looked thoughtful while he took his drink. “The clothing was far more restrictive. It’s very difficult to fight in a corset and petticoats.”

Dean’s laughter burst out of him in spite of his attempts to contain it, and even Sam chuckled. You and Mary just nodded at each other, both of you knowing how difficult it was to fight in a modern skirt, much less a hoop skirt. Cas ignored the brothers and turned to Mary, who was taking a drink.

“What was your heaven like?”

Mary smiled, lost in her memory for a moment. “It was Sunday afternoon, and John was watching football on TV with Dean while I played with Sammy and puttered around the house. Sometimes, I was tending my garden while the boys played in the dirt and John worked on the car. It was just quiet normality with my husband and my boys.”

Both brothers had a half-smile on their faces as they tried to imagine what Mary was describing. After a quiet moment, Mary turned to Sam.

“Okay, Sam. I want to hear about the first girl you kissed.”

The game continued like that for a while, no one really having the guts to ask the hard questions. It got a little serious when you asked about Mary’s first hunt, then a little silly when it was interrupted by an impromptu game of Never Have I Ever. You thought the switch was a good one for a while because it got the boys talking about their relationship with Crowley and the Mark of Cain. That ended quickly, though, when you drunkenly said you’d never been to Hell and all three boys drank, making Mary’s eyes widen then fall. Pete’s petunias, you were trying to get things out in the open, but that surely wasn’t the best way to do it! In an effort to make things better, you hastily added that they’d also been to Heaven and Purgatory, but that didn’t seem to brighten her expression. At that point, you decided shutting up was a good idea.

Dean tried to get things back on track by asking Sam about Eileen, which made Sam blush. His face was already pretty red from being drunk, but it managed to darken one more shade as Dean teased him. Sam then tried to take the attention off himself by asking Cas when Jimmy had gone to Heaven.

“Jimmy’s soul moved on when Raphael smote me in Chuck’s house while you were off killing Lilith and breaking the final seal to free Lucifer and start the Apocalypse.”

Mary’s eyes widened and you hid behind your glass, but Cas kept rambling on before anyone could comment.

“When I was put back together, Jimmy was gone and the vessel was mine.” Cas’ eyes wavered as he looked at a frowning Sam to see if his answer was satisfactory, and then he burped and hiccupped, surprising himself so much he almost slid out of his chair. “I believe I might be feeling something,” he declared, finishing his fourth bottle and pushing it to the side with his other empties.

The rest of you laughed, watching as the angel reached for his next bottle but the laughter stopped when Cas turned to you and asked, “Do you believe it is a genetic trait for Winchesters to be interested in you romantically?”

All laughter stopped as your muddled brain tried to think of a way to shut Cas up. Sam went rigid with panic and Dean’s wide eyes and gritted teeth made him look like he was trying to slam inaudible prayers at the angel. Cas just waved his hand in front of his face, probably trying to push away all the mental screaming telling him to SHUT UP.

Sam finally tried to save the day. “No, Cas, I know we told you that I was interested in Y/N when we first met her, but I just told Dean that so he’d be okay with her hunting with us. I was never actually interested in her that way, man.”

Cas seemed to take a moment to consider this new information before speaking again. “Oh. Well, then that’s very different.” You, Dean, and Sam all took an almost visible sigh of relief. However, Cas barreled on. “If it was only Dean and John, though, then that poses an interesting question about vessels for Michael. Do you think perhaps your brother, Adam, would have also been interested in Y/N romantically since he was the Winchester Michael eventually took for the final battle with Lucifer?” All four of you were frozen, staring at Cas while his angelic mind tried to work out the math equation this seemed to pose. If two out of three Winchesters have romantic feelings for the same woman, how fast must the train carrying the fourth Winchester be going for him to not fall in love with her, too? “I suppose I could attempt to free him from the Cage, as well, then we could introduce you and find out, but that didn’t work out so well for Sam.”

Thank Chuck for Sam. Sam was the first to come to his senses and grab Cas, getting his attention and pulling the bottle of whiskey out of his hand. “I think you’ve had enough, Cas. Maybe I should take you into the kitchen and make you a sandwich to soak up some of that alcohol, hey buddy?”

Mary stood up and glared at Sam, pushing words out of her mouth through gritted teeth. “No, Sam. I think I’d like to hear more about this Adam, but especially about my husband’s interest in Y/N, since no one else seems inclined to tell me!” Somehow, Dean and Sam both managed to look like chastised children, and you were sure you didn’t look any better as Mary’s eyes passed over the room, only stopping when they rested once again on Cas. “Go on, Cas. How did Y/N even meet John? When was it? Was it on a hunt?”

Cas’s eyes were wide as he swallowed audibly, suddenly aware of what he’d done, but physically incapable of stopping his mouth due to the alcohol in his system. “It was when we had to send her to back in time to protect them and set them on their path as hunters.”

Mary’s expression was thunderous as she turned to you, making you slide down in your seat a little further. “You set them on their path as hunters?”

The look of disgust on Mary’s face was no worse than the disgust you’d felt yourself about what you’d done, but it still felt different coming from someone else... from the one person most justified to stand in judgement of you. Suddenly, you were back in the days after you’d returned, wanting only to hide in your room and mourn for the life you could have given your boys if you’d only ignored the fate of the rest of the world. You’d gotten through it only because everyone had agreed that you’d done the right thing and had forgiven you repeatedly. Now, someone outside of your own head was telling you the same awful things you had told yourself, and everything in your stomach threatened to come up.

“Let me get this straight. You went back in time, cheated on my son with his father, my husband, and then convinced John to raise my boys as hunters? You were the reason he taught them to kill things instead of how to play catch? You seduced him and convinced him this was what was best for my boys?”

Tears were running down your cheeks, now, as you wished you could break the hold Mary had on your gaze. If looks could kill, Mary would have had you buried five minutes ago.

Dean stood up and got between you and his mother, Sam and Cas not far behind. “Mom, that-that’s not how it was,” he said weakly, his eyes bouncing back and forth between you and Mary.

“You’re defending her?” Mary hissed in disbelief, her eyes still glued to you. “She cheated on you, destroyed your life, and you’re defending her?”

While you slid down further into a pit of self-loathing, Dean’s hackles were finally raised and he stood up straighter in front of her. “Now, wait a damn minute, Mom. She didn’t cheat on me because we weren’t together, yet. And as for talking Dad into making us hunters, she didn’t have a choice. She didn’t like it any better than you do, but it’s what she had to do.”

Mary’s unbelieving stare finally shifted to her older son. “You’re okay with this?!” she uttered breathlessly. “You’re okay with all of it?! With her ruining your life and…and…,” she took a shuddering breath and let it out shakily, “sleeping with your father?”

Dean sighed. “I wasn’t at first, but I’ve made my peace with it, Mom. She was free to be with whomever she wanted, and Dad treated her well, so I have no issue with it. As for ruining my life, there is a list as long as my arm of things I hate for ruining my life, but she’s not on it.” Dean reached back and grabbed your hand, holding it tightly. “She’s only ever looked out for us and taken care of us, no matter how difficult that was.”

From the way her eyes bugged out and her mouth went slack, you thought Mary’s head might explode. She looked from Dean to Sam to Cas, seeing them all standing up for you while you cowered in your seat, then turned without a word and left the room. Slowly, the men relaxed and sat back down in their chairs, with both brothers grabbing a drink and tossing it back. You gulped down one of your own before pushing the empty glass away.

“Well, crap on a cracker. When I suggested the game, I wanted us all to talk some more about uncomfortable things; get things out in the open instead of pussyfootin’ around ‘em any longer. Since that was pretty much the most uncomfortable thing ever, I should have figured that would come up.” You sighed, almost shocked that you could produce words after the hellfire Mary’s eyes had scorched you with. “Thank you, guys, for sticking up for me, but you really shouldn’t have. She’s your mother... and she’s right.” Dean started to interrupt you but you stopped him with a wave of your hand. “She’s wrong about me cheating on you, and I didn’t set out to seduce your father, but she has every right to feel the way she does about the rest of it.” Running a hand through your hair, you fought the churning of guilt and alcohol in your gut and stood. “I’m going to go to bed, now. We can figure out how to try and fix this in the morning.”

Dean followed you to the bedroom you shared, and you went through your usual nightly routine together, with him standing just a bit closer than normal. His closeness filled your heart and made it ache all at the same time. He sided with you over his mother, and by sticking so closely to you, he was telling you that he didn’t regret it. Your elbows knocked together as you brushed your teeth, and the unassuming way he kept himself in your space, constantly reaffirming that he was there with you, brought the sting of tears to your eyes.

When you crawled into bed, he was right behind you again, wrapping his arms around you and nuzzling your neck. “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I will never let anyone separate us,” he whispered, tightening his arms around you, “not even my mother.”

A few tears streaked down your cheeks as you thanked Chuck for giving you Dean Winchester.

***

The next morning you woke up late, the bed cold and your head throbbing. There was a glass of water and a bottle of pain meds on the nightstand and you smiled at Dean’s thoughtfulness, even though he probably felt as awful as you did. You took the pills and finished the water, then dozed a bit while they kicked in.

Once you were feeling more like a functioning human, you threw on some clothes and headed to the kitchen for breakfast. Heated conversation floated down the hallway as you approached, stopping abruptly when you appeared in the doorway.

Sam and Mary both looked up at you, Sam giving you a weak smile and Mary just giving you a death glare, her mouth almost disappearing as her lips pressed into a grimace. As you moved towards the coffee maker, Mary got up from the table with a huff.

“I’m going to my room,” she spat out, not even bothering to hide her feelings.

“Mom, c’mon….” Sam’s voice trailed off as his mother disappeared around the corner.

When you had your coffee, you sat down next to Sam and leaned your shoulder against his. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry for how this is coming between you and your mother.”

Sam pressed back against you and sighed. “She doesn’t understand how it was and isn’t giving me or Dean the time to try to explain it to her. Eventually, we’ll make her understand.”

The two of you drank your coffee in silence for a while, both of you lost in thought. When his cup was empty, Sam looked at you with a questioning squint.

“How did we get you to understand? I mean, you weren’t there with us when everything was happening, but you got it. What was it that made it real for you?”

You tried to play it cool, but your face flushed. “I read the books,” you muttered, knowing that Sam wouldn’t be happy to hear it.

Sam sat up straighter and shifted in his seat, his eyes glancing furtively around the room. “You read Chuck’s books?” His face morphed into Embarrassed Bitch Face #53, complete with Perturbed Dimples™. “Does Dean know?” Sam looked around furtively and dropped his voice to a whisper. “‘Cause he’s, like, full-frontal in those books.”

You rolled your eyes. “Yeah, he knows. He got over it. I know it sounds absurd, but those books really are the Winchester Gospel. Reading them gave me a real feel for your relationship, how manipulated you both were, how circumstances shaped your relationship with each other, and how everything came together the exact way that it needed to in order to save the world. It was a house of cards, really, but it worked.”

Sam frowned. “Waiting for her to read all of the books will be torture, and I’m not sure Dean will be up for that idea. There’s got to be a better, and faster, way. This tension is going to tear Dean up if we can’t fix it.” With a kiss to your head, Sam got up from the table and left the room.

After dinner, you were in the garage, watching Dean fiddle with Baby, when Sam called out through the bunker for everyone to come to the library. Mary’s gaze was still murderous when she took you in, and you shrank back, almost turning around to leave, but Sam gently led you to a chair. Dean sat next to you, Cas across from you, Sam across from Dean, and Mary at the end of the table furthest from you.

“I was talking with Y/N earlier, and she gave me an idea how we can fix this. Cas and I will need all of you to be open and willing to participate, though, or it won’t work.”

Everyone but Mary nodded enthusiastically. When Sam looked at her steadily, she gave a slight nod and a sigh, apparently just as susceptible to his puppy eyes as the rest of the world.

“Good,” Sam said with a grim smile. “Now, everyone join hands and close your eyes.”

Suspicious squints and slightly tilted heads from all around the table met Sam’s determined gaze and, after a moment without anyone moving, his perturbed dimples appeared with an epic bitchface you didn’t think you’d ever seen before. Slowly, everyone joined hands and bowed their heads like they were in a prayer meeting.

At first, all you saw was the red of the library’s lights through your eyelids, but soon a room formed around you. It looked like the back of a restaurant, and in front of you, Dean was being hugged by a very large naked man.

“Help!” Dean choked out before gasping for breath.

“Oh, help is on the way. Yes, it is. Yes, it is!” The naked man dropped Dean and headed towards Cas, picking him up and hugging much like he’d done to Dean. “Hello, you!”

“This is Cupid?” Dean asked, his face twisted into a grimace.

“Yes,” Cas managed to squeeze out as the man dropped him.

Suddenly, the man was heading towards you and you felt a wash of alarm, fear, and disgust rush through you.

Oh! I’m Sam! That explains how short Dean and Cas look, I guess.

You turned to get away, only to find yourself face-to-face with the naked man, anyway. Before you could defend yourself, you were squeezed around the middle and lifted into the air.

“Yes! Yes, yes, yes!” sang the happy naked man, still squeezing the breath out of you.

From behind you, Dean said, “Is this a fight? Are we in a fight?”

As the man finally put you down, Cas replied, “This is… their handshake.”

“I don’t like it,” said Dean.

“No one likes it,” replied Cas.

The scene continued, Dean and Cas confronting the Cupid about the deaths that had been happening, which you suddenly seemed to know all about. The Cupid began crying, Cas awkwardly tried to comfort him, which made the part of you sitting in the bunker library giggle, and then you all finally got down to the bottom of things.

“Wait, wait, you said--You said you were just following orders?” Dean asked. The Cupid nodded. “Whose orders?”

“Whose?” he responded with a giggle. “Heaven, silly! Heaven!”

You and Dean shared a quick glance filled with confusion before Dean said, “Why does Heaven care if Harry meets Sally?”

“Oh, mostly they don't. You know, certain bloodlines, certain destinies. Oh, like yours,” the Cupid replied with a matter-of-fact smile.

“What?” you asked, though your voice was clearly Sam’s.

The Cupid nodded. “Yeah, the union of John and Mary Winchester--Very big deal upstairs, top priority arrangement. Mm.” His head continued bobbing furiously.

Righteous anger flooded your system. Even though this was old news to you, you were feeling everything Sam had felt at the time.

Before you could say anything, Dean jumped in. “Are you saying that you fixed up our parents??”

“Well, not me, but... Yeah. Well, it wasn't easy, either. Ooh, they couldn't stand each other at first. But when we were done with them--Perfect couple.” The Cupid looked so damn pleased with himself about it, you wanted to break his nose.

“Perfect?” Dean exclaimed.

“Yeah!”

“They’re dead!” Dean spat out.

“I'm sorry, but... the orders were very clear. You and Sam needed to be born. Your parents were just, uh… meant to be.” And then he had the audacity to begin singing. “A match made in heaven- heaven!”

Dean punched him, and the scene went dark.

You opened your eyes and glanced around the table. Sam, Dean, and Cas were all watching Mary as she processed what she’d seen.

“Cas was there for that, so he was able to help with the details I’d forgotten. The rest would be a bit blurrier if he wasn’t there.” Sam glanced around the table. “Ready for more?”

You nodded, but Mary took a moment before she looked up and said, “Hit me.”

One side of Sam’s mouth tried to smile but failed. “What Azazel did to me, he did to countless other children, too. Rumor was he was trying to build an army of special children. I want you to see some of them, okay?”

Mary nodded, and you all closed your eyes.

A skinny, pale young man was sitting in front of you, crying. This was Max Miller, and he killed his father and his uncle. He was about to kill his stepmother, too, before Sam and Dean got there.

“Why didn’t you just leave?” Sam asked.

“It wasn’t about getting away. Just knowing they would still be out there. It was about not being afraid. When my Dad used to look at me, there was hate in his eyes. Do you know what that feels like?”

Your head shook while brief memories of John yelling flashed before your eyes. So much anger and disappointment, but never hate. “No.”

The memory fuzzed as it fast forwarded, and soon you were upstairs, bursting through a bedroom door, trying to stop Max from shooting Dean with a gun hanging in mid-air. Max had telekinesis. You tried to talk him down, and he suddenly relaxed, making you think he was going to be okay. Max turned around, then the gun swung around and shot Max in the head.

Without a pause, you were on a bridge, rescue and police everywhere. A man you somehow knew was Andy Gallagher was telling the police that his brother shot himself and they all saw it happen. Every police officer nodded their head as if in a trance. Andy and his brother had mind control. A memory of Andy having to shoot his brother in order to save Dean and Tracy flashed through your mind. Andy walked over to you with his shoulders slumped and his eyes on the ground. The words he said weren’t clear in the memory, but you could tell that he’d lost his chance with the girl.

Sam offered Andy his phone number. “If anything comes up, just call me.”

“What am I supposed to do now?”

Dean answered before Sam could come up with anything. “You be good, Andy. Or we’ll be back.” As the memory fuzzed away, you got a feeling that Andy was good. All the way to the end.

Next up was Ava Wilson. The memory started in a motel room with Ava looking frantic.

“Why can’t you just leave town? Please? Before you blow up?” Ava had dreams like Sam.

“Because there’s something going on here, Ava. With you, with me. I mean, there are others like us out there. And we’re all a part of something, and I’ve got to figure out what.”

Ava completely lost it. “Okay. You know what? Screw you, buddy. Okay? Because I’m a secretary from Peoria and I’m not part of anything, okay? Do you see this?” She jabbed her engagement ring in front of your face. “I am getting married in eight weeks. I am supposed to be at home addressing invitations, which I am way behind on, by the way. But instead, I drove out here to save your weirdo ass. But if you just want to stay here and die, fine. Me? I'm due back on Planet Earth.”

That memory faded quickly, and next you were in an abandoned town, four other people around you. You recognized Andy and Ava, but the memory gave you the names Jake and Lily for the other two. Almost dizzyingly so, the memory downloaded information as you looked at Jake and Lily’s faces. Lily had an electric touch that killed her girlfriend and Jake had super strength. The next thing you saw was Lily hanging from the water tower after trying to escape the town. Jake was pulled from Afghanistan to this place, and when he didn’t believe what Sam told him, he was almost killed by an Archeri demon.

You then saw a flash of Andy telling Sam that his mind control had increased so he could now put images into people’s heads. Andy giggled. “This one dick? Gay porn. All hours of the day.” Andy giggled, and you felt Sam stifle a chuckle, too. “You should have seen the look on his face!”

The moment of joy you got from Andy was ripped away as you stood over his dead body. You glared at Ava, a sickening feeling growing in your gut about her.

“What? You don’t think that I--” she stuttered

“I’ll tell you what I think: five months. You’re the only one with all that time you can’t account for. And that headache you got? Right when the demon got Lily. What happened to you?”

Ava tried to deny it, but she eventually dropped the act. The transformation from scared and helpless to sick and cunning was so fast you were almost nauseated. “Had you going though, didn’t I?” she said with a sneer. “Yeah, I’ve been here a long time. And not alone, either. People just keep showing up. Children, like us. Batches of three or four at a time.”

“You killed them all?” Shock and dismay rocked through Sam’s memory.

Ava looked proud of herself. “I’m the undefeated heavyweight champ.” She scoffed at Sam’s disbelief. “I had no choice. It’s me or them. After a while, it was easy. It was even kind of fun. I just stopped fighting it. Stopped fighting who we are. If you’d just quit your hand-wringing and open yourself up, you have no idea what you can do! The learning curve is so fast, it’s crazy! The switches that just flip in your brain!” She laughed, making Sam recoil. “I can’t believe I started out just having dreams. Do you know what I can do, now?”

“Control demons,” Sam replied, his heart sinking.

“Ah, you are quick on the draw.” As she put her hands to her head, calling another demon, Jake came at her from behind and snapped her neck, killing her.

The memory faded and you opened your eyes, a whirlwind of emotions going through you. You looked up at Sam. “Jake was the one who stabbed you in the back, wasn’t he?”

Sam nodded. “He was a good guy, but the demon told him that only one of us could live, and Jake believed him. He told me he was going to get out alive just so he could kill the bastard. Well, he got out, but never even tried to kill him. A few days later, he opened the Devil’s Gate for him.” Sam turned to his mother. “I wanted you to see that there were others like me, good people who were raised not knowing a thing about monsters or hunting, and they were either killed or turned into monsters, themselves. Ava was sweet and kind and scared when I met her, and she was turned into what you saw. If it weren’t for how Dad raised us, I might not have survived as long as I did. Or I might have believed his lies, too, and become a monster like she was.”

Mary shook her head and grabbed Sam’s hand in both of hers. “No, Sam. You couldn’t!” she insisted quietly, her voice hoarse and broken.

Sam pulled his hand away and his head dropped in shame. “But I did, Mom. Jake killed me, and Dean brought me back. When Dean died, I went down a really dark road, but Dean never gave up on me. I made a lot of mistakes, but Dean was always there, trying to keep me on the straight and narrow, and helping me clean up everything I broke. If Dad hadn’t raised us the way he did, left us alone as often as he did, told Dean to watch out for me all the time, everything would have been different.”

Mary still shook her head, but Sam took her hand again, reinstating the circle, and started another memory.

You were in some kind of abandoned house, Crowley standing in front of you, looking smug, as usual.

“For the record, I’m against this. I begged Dean not to come back. We should be miles away from you. So, go ahead. Ruin our last, best hope. It’s only the end of the world.”

You moved into the next room where Dean had a man tied to a chair with a bloody bag over his head. “What’s going on, Dean?” Sam’s voice asked through your mouth.

“I’m doing this because I trust you. I need you to stay focused.”

The man in the hood looked up, even though he couldn’t see. “Sam? Is that you?”

Dean removed the hood, revealing Tyson Brady. Memories flashed past your eyes. Laughing with Brady, that awful semester when he went off the rails, helping him get back on track, group study sessions with Jess. Oh, God, Jess was beautiful! The rush of memories continued through your own thought.

“Brady hasn't been Brady in years. Not since, oh… middle of our sophomore year?”

“What?” More flashes of college classes and parties and studying flickered in the background.

“That's right. You had a devil on your shoulder even back then. All right, now, let it all sink in.”

There was a flash of Brady pointing out Jess from across the room and giving you a push towards her. “Her name’s Jess. Go get her, tiger,” echoing after you. Rage and pain filled every part of you and you felt a sting of tears that weren’t Sam’s.

You freaked out, screaming, trying to attack Brady, but Dean pulled you away. The memory fast forwarded, turning your stomach a little, but you got the general gist. For whatever they were doing, they needed Brady. Sam couldn’t kill him. The memory began to replay at normal speed again when Sam trapped Dean in the bathroom and went back to Brady.

“Sophomore year, huh?” Sam’s voice said from your mouth.

“Brady, here, he was a good kid --Straight arrow. I mean, your best friend, really. Perfect point of access. Remember when I came back from break all messed up -- Dropped out of pre-med, the drugs, the bitches? That was the new Brady. That was me. Remember how much time you spent trying to get me back on the right track? You really were a good friend. But ol' Yellow Eyes didn't send me back to be your friend. No, we could tell we were starting to lose you. You were becoming a mild-mannered, worthless sack of piss. Now, come on! We couldn't have that. You were our favorite! So, I hooked you up with a pure, sweet, innocent piece of tail. And then I toasted her on the ceiling. That's right -- Azazel might have put the hit out on Jessica, but, man, I got to have all the fun!”

Sam’s hand twitched around the demon knife, but nothing was said. Flashes of Jess burning on the ceiling burst through the image of Brady in front of you. More phantom tears streaked down your face.

Brady laughed. “You know, she thought we were friends, too. Let me right in. She was baking cookies. She was so surprised... so hurt when I started in on her.” Brady continued to goad Sam, but he didn’t fall for the bait. You left the room and everything went dark again.

You looked up, taking in Sam sitting on the other side of the table through the tears in your eyes. He opened his eyes and glanced quickly at you and his mother. Mary also had tears streaming down her face. Sam focused on Dean for a second before taking a deep breath and closing his eyes again. The next memory began, forcing you to close your own.

This memory wasn’t like the others, though. Suddenly, you felt crowded in your own skin, panic rising as you fought, but nothing changed. Sam’s voice seemed to come from somewhere else, even though the view was similar to the previous memories. Even more so than with the previous memories, though, you felt completely out of control. You soon figured out why.

Sam’s body stood in front of a mirror, but the posture, the facial expressions, and the tone of voice were all wrong. Knowing Sam’s history, you suspected who was in charge.

Lucifer.

“Sam. Come on. I can feel you... scratching away in there. Look... I'll take the gag off, okay? You got me all wrong, kiddo. I'm not the bad guy here.”

“I'm gonna rip you apart from the inside out. Do you understand me?” you yelled at Sam’s reflection, but the reflection didn’t move.

The memory fuzzed a bit, the words spoken fading in and out, but the vision of Lucifer’s smug smile on Sam’s normally gentle face remained. You got the feeling that Lucifer was offering the world to Sam, but Sam refused.

“Look closely. None of these little devils look familiar to you?” You were suddenly aware of the group of demons standing around you. Recognition flooded your system.

“That's Mr. Bensman...one of my grade-school teachers.”

Lucifer smiled. “And that's your friend Doug from that time in East Lansing. And Rachel... your prom date. Sam Winchester, this is your life. Azazel's gang – watching you since you were a rugrat, jerking you around like a dog on a leash. I know how you feel about them. Me, too. So, what do you say you and I blow off a little steam?”

Just as Sam’s hand moved towards the first demon, a flood of murderous intent washing over you, the memory shut down abruptly, leaving you feeling shaken and slightly nauseated. You opened your eyes and let go of Dean’s and Cas’ hands, not wanting to be thrust into another memory right away if that’s what Sam had in mind. You had known all of this from reading the books, but being in Sam’s memory gave it all a whole new depth of feeling.

“Oh, Sam!” Mary cried, almost leaping from her chair to take her younger son in her arms. “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry, Sam. I’m so sorry.”

Sam melted into his mother, patting her back carefully, but soon pushing her back to her chair. “That’s not why I showed you this, Mom. I showed you all of that, so you could see what we were up against. Now, you need to see how we got through it.”

Mary sat back down, and everyone joined hands again.

Sam grabbed Mary’s and Cas’ hands again, reinstating the circle, and a new memory flickered behind your eyelids. From the feel of the memory, you figured out that Lucifer was in charge again. Looking up, you saw Dean driving the Impala through a field, towards you, radio blaring Def Leppard. Dean stepped out of the car and said, “Howdy boys! Sorry, am I interrupting something?”

Michael went up in flames, Cas exploded, Lucifer slammed Dean into the Impala, Bobby’s neck snapped, and Lucifer continued to beat Dean senseless. Dean didn’t give up, though.

“Sammy? Are you in there? It’s okay, Sammy. I’m here. I’m not gonna leave you.”

In front of Dean’s gory visage was a stream of memories with Dean. Dean making dinner when he still a kid, himself. Dean accepting the amulet Sam had meant for John. Dean threatening bullies that went after Sam. Dean telling Sam to do his homework. Teenage Dean pushing Sam out of the way during a hunt. Dean pushing a Zeppelin tape into Baby’s radio and saying, “Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole!” Dean pulling Sam out of the burning apartment with Jess on the ceiling. Dean looking pale and sick, saying, “You’re not gonna let me die in peace, are you?” while Sam replied, “I’m not gonna let you die, period.” Dean screaming Sam’s name as Sam stumbled towards him with paralyzing pain burning into his back, then holding him securely as Sam’s life slipped away. Dean looking at Sam with tears in his eyes and saying, “I couldn’t live with you dead. Couldn’t do it.” Dean dying a hundred times at the Broward County Mystery Spot. Dean singing along to the radio and drumming on the steering wheel. Dean teaching Sam how to fix the Impala. Dean getting his hand glued to his beer bottle. Dean helping Sam carve initials into the back of the Impala. Dean startled awake in the passenger seat when Sam honked the horn. Dean sitting next to him on the hood of the car looking up at the stars. Dean sitting in a laundromat, telling Sam about sitting in a laundromat reading about himself sitting in a laundromat. Dean driving fast, laughing at something Sam said.

All of these memories and more flashed past your eyes and coalesced into Sam’s hands holding a beaten Dean against the side of the car, his face swollen and nearly unrecognizable. The feeling of being crowded and out of control faded as you filled your own skin and pushed Lucifer behind you. You gained control over Sam’s limbs from Lucifer and dropped Dean, stepping back.

“It's okay, Dean. It's gonna be okay. I've got him.”

The memory faded to black and your eyes opened, but you still couldn’t see for the tears. You looked at Mary, only to see her face buried in her hands. Sam rested one of his hands on her arm.

“Mom, you need to understand. If Dad had done anything differently, we wouldn’t have been strong enough to do what we needed to do. We made a lot of mistakes, but we came out on top. And we continue to come out on top. If Y/N hadn’t convinced Dad to raise us the way he did, even though he hated every minute, we would all be in a much different place.”

Mary’s hands dropped from her face, showing her tear-streaked cheeks and despairing eyes. “I just never wanted any of this for either of you, much less what you actually went through.” She looked at you, but you couldn’t read her expression. “I see now why you did what you did. I don’t like it, but I understand it.”

You nodded. “I don’t like it, either, really.”

Mary stood up, wiping her hands on her jeans. “I’ve got a lot to process, so I’m going to bed. Good night, everyone.” With a quick flash of a smile, she was gone.

The rest of you stood up, and you walked over to Sam, wrapping your arms around him to give him the tightest hug you could manage. “I’m so sorry, Sam,” you mumbled into his shirt.

His arms tightened around you. “It’s okay, Y/N. It’s not your fault.”

“Then I’m just sorry I had to be a part of it.”

Sam dropped a kiss on your head and released you into Dean’s arms. Dean led you to the bedroom, helping you get ready for bed and dropping kisses on your head every now and then. You went to sleep once again wrapped up in Dean, wondering how you would get past this with Mary.

***

The next morning, Cas had a lead on Lucifer, leaving the rest of you to go on a hunt that Mary had found. You suspected Mary wanted to work the case alone, but she let it slide. The drive wasn’t too tense, as long as you stayed quiet in the back seat with Sam. Dean was a bit overprotective of Mary during your first sweep of the haunted house, and when she got hurt, you half expected him to bundle her up in blankets and bubble wrap while hyperventilating. He kept himself together, though, and you were proud of him.

Your pride ended when you got back to the motel. Mary tried to talk to the boys, but their fear of her getting hurt and belief that they knew better meant they didn’t hear a word she said. Yes, she was overwhelmed by how much legwork could be done with a laptop instead of knocking on doors, but you could see she had learned something during her attack and the boys just rolled right over her. You stayed out of the way, sidelined yourself when Dean suggested you stay back, and vowed to smack Dean upside the head later. When they left to go salt and burn the graves of the children, you waited until the door clicked shut before taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, along with your frustration.

Mary fidgeted as she sat on the end of the bed, her brow furrowed and her mouth nearly disappearing.

“Okay. Now that God’s gifts to hunting have decided that they’re right and have gone off to challenge each other in a grave-digging contest, how about the two of us follow up with your idea?”

The surprise on Mary’s face was almost comical. “I thought you agreed with them!”

Shrugging, you waved a hand at the door. “Meh. Sometimes it’s easier to let them do their thing. Besides, there’s a chance they could be right, and burning bones is never a bad idea when you’re dealing with ghosts.” You chanced a look at her and were encouraged by her almost smile. “I just think there’s a possibility that they’re wrong and you’re onto something. That monster Sam mentioned doesn’t exactly line up with the older deaths, just the most recent ones. It lures in adults, but only the recent deaths were adults, the rest were kids. So, you tell me what you want to do, and I’ll help you with the technical side of things.” You shifted in your seat, suddenly unsure of yourself again. “If that’s okay with you?”

Mary moved from the bed over to the table across from you. “Thank you,” she said, giving you a sincere smile.

For a couple of hours, you both talked to the parents of the kids that had been killed in the house previously. It was heart-breaking, but you did learn that no one had heard a child crying before the most recent deaths. It didn’t mean it didn’t happen, but it strengthened your resolve to prove that Mary was right. When you were both off the phone, you compared notes.

“I really think that whatever this is, it wants kids, not adults. I think the house has been empty so long that it just decided to get whatever it could, and that’s why it changed M.O.”

Mary nodded in agreement. “We have to go back to the house and search it again. The ghost that burned me was Lucas, the boy that died there in ‘04. He asked me to help him. Maybe if we go back he can give us another clue.”

You agreed and started to pack the weapons bag. As you reached for your jacket, you realized Mary was still sitting, just watching you with a half grimace on her face. “Do you want to wait until the boys get back or something?”

Mary frowned and shook her head, her knuckles turning white as she gripped the arm of the chair before taking a deep breath. “Tell me about your trip back to 1984. Before I go into a hunt with you, I need to understand. I need….”

All the blood left your face and you suddenly felt cold. “Fuzzy trucker,” you mumbled, your eyes dropping to the ground, then closing as you steeled your nerves. You shook the tremble from your hands and sat back down at the table. Unable to look at Mary, you kept your eyes trained on your fingers while you told her your story.

“It was about a year ago. Things were better than ever, even though we’d released the Darkness into the world and had no idea how to deal with her. Dean was doing so much better without the Mark on his arm. He and I had settled into a comfortable friendship and it just made all of us feel hopeful for the first time in a long time. The boys were taking care of a hunt while I stayed behind with Cas, helping him recover from a curse Rowena had put on him. Crowley showed up telling us that an angel and a demon had conspired to send the demon back in time to take out John. They figured that the Apocalypse was better than the Darkness, and taking out John would change everything. To be clear, the way Crowley and Cas put it was that if John didn’t raise them as hunters, then Sam would be a good king of Hell. Azazel’s gang would groom him, without interference, to lead the armies of Hell and be Lucifer’s vessel. Heaven would convince Dean to accept Michael. The world as we know it would end.

“So, I went back. I met John, I taught him the basics of salt and holy water, taught him devil’s traps and exorcisms, and got him armed and ready. I… I taught him about how hustling pool can be a good way to make cash, and he learned to not argue when I put on my tightest clothes to do it. I gave him tips on fighting monsters hand-to-hand and watched the boys while he had his first uninterrupted shower since you’d died. After a couple of days, the demon came and I killed it. The spell was supposed to bring me back automatically when the timeline was restored, you know? So, the demon was dead, and there I was, still in 1984.”

You risked a peek at Mary’s face, but it was unreadable.

“We salted and burned the body, cleaned up everything, and I was still there. We searched for signs that another demon or some other threat was coming, but there was nothing. We did a salt and burn nearby, and celebrated Sam’s birthday, and I was still there. I checked with Missouri, and she said the spell was still active, so there was still something I needed to do, but we didn’t know what. I almost gave up on coming back. I figured I’d end up reliving those years, trying to avoid myself, trying to do right by Dean and Sam and John, somehow.”

“And that’s when you… got close to my husband,” Mary said, her voice flat and emotionless.

With tears in your eyes, you nodded. “He loved you so much, and I loved Dean, but you were dead, and Dean had done everything he could to push me away and make sure I knew he thought of me like a sister. And then we were just there, both of us wanting someone else, but stuck with each other. The spell only brought me back when I finally admitted that I was from the future and explained as best I could why he had to raise them the way he did. The second I finished telling him what their lives would be like, the spell kicked in and I was gone.”

You wiped tears from your face while Mary considered your words.

“Did John… care for you?” Mary’s face was pinched as she pushed the words from her mouth.

You nodded. “In a way. Nothing like how he loved you. I was the person who gave him a roadmap when he was lost, protected him and his sons when they were in danger, and then told him he had to do awful things to his own children in order to save the world. I’m the one who taught him how to load shotgun shells and convinced him to flirt with the motel manager so she’d babysit the kids for free, but I was also the one who told him his boys would be more than he could ever imagine. If there was any love there, it was matched with just as much hate.”

Both of you now had silent tears on your cheeks, neither of you able to look the other in the eye. Sniffles echoed in the room as you waited for Mary to process everything you’d told her. Lights from passing cars flickered over the walls as your tears dried and you hoped for the best. When Mary finally spoke, her voice seemed overly loud in the quiet, startling you.

“Thank you for telling me everything and not trying to sugarcoat it. I needed to hear it from you, not a watered-down version from Dean and Sam.” She sighed and looked around room idly. “It sounds like you and Dean got past whatever awkwardness you had when you came back.”

You chuckled. “Yeah. Sam still isn’t over the idea that I changed his diaper, though.”

Mary cracked a half smile at that and shook her head. “All right. Let’s go talk to Lucas’ ghost.”

***

Back at the bunker, you were all about to scatter for showers and dinner prep when Dean and Mary began talking about the case. Mary explained what Moriarty had been thinking when he’d possessed her, giving a shudder at his intensity.

“Mom, it’s okay. All right? You’re home, now,” Dean said.

Mary’s sad expression made your heart drop and gave you a sick feeling in your stomach.

“No,” she said quietly, “I’m not.” Mary looked at both Dean and you, almost pleading with you both to understand. “I miss John. I miss my boys.”

Sam moved closer to Mary and said, “We’re right here, Mom.” The strain in his voice almost broke your heart.

Mary’s eyes were wide, her brow furrowed. “I know. In my head. But I’m still mourning them as I knew them.” She looked back and forth between her grown sons, but obviously wasn’t making the connection. “My baby Sam. My little boy Dean. It just feels like yesterday, we were together in Heaven, and now… I’m here, and John is gone, and they’re gone, and you all have led lives and done things I can barely even imagine.” Her eyes landed on you, and you feared she was blaming you for something, but her words said otherwise. “You’ve explained everything as best you can, but it’s just so much, and every moment I spend with you, every new story I hear just reminds me of every moment I lost with them.”

Both Dean and Sam shifted uncomfortably where they stood, trying to deny what they knew what coming.

“I thought hunting, working, would clear my head-”

Sam interrupted, “Mom… w-what are you trying to say?”

Mary sighed. “I have to go.” She watched as everyone reacted, faces falling. “I’m sorry. I’m so… so sorry. I just need a little time.”

She moved towards Dean, but he backed away from her, taking a step closer to you. You grabbed his hand, squeezing it tightly, hoping you could help to bandage the wound his mother was opening. Mary gave up on Dean, picked up John’s journal, and hugged Sam tightly.

“I love you,” she said to Sam, then turned back to Dean, though he couldn’t see her the way he was facing. “I love you both.”

She glanced at you and you gave her a quick nod, letting her know you’d do your best to take care of the boys after she left. Grabbing her bag, she headed up the stairs, the slamming of the door making Sam jump.

Dean tried to pull his hand from yours and walk away, but you wouldn’t let him. You pulled him into your arms, pulling him down to your level and wrapping yourself around his shoulders. Looking past Dean, you saw Sam looking lost, so you waved him into your hug, too. When they both let you go, you grabbed a hand from each of them and made them look at you.

“She just needs time. She needs to make that connection between her babies and the two overgrown men you are now, and that has nothing to do with who you are and what you do. At the same time, she has to learn that 8-tracks aren’t viable, you can’t buy leg warmers anywhere, and a magic brick that fits in your pocket can access information from around the world without you even having to push a button. It’s just more than she can handle at once. So, she’ll learn how to use a microwave, get into a routine that’s familiar to her while she learns about the world, and then she’ll be back for the two of you.”

Both Winchesters looked at you with the saddest puppy eyes you ever saw.

“You think?” asked Sam, his voice so quiet you almost didn’t hear it.

“I think,” you replied with a nod and an encouraging smile.

Both of them squeezed your hand, and then Sam made a comment about heading to bed and left. As his heavy footfalls fell away, you wrapped your arms around Dean’s waist and pressed your cheek against him until his arms encased you again. He kissed your head and then led you towards your bedroom. This time, it was you giving him the passing touches and gentle kisses as you got ready for bed, reassuring him that you were there and always on his side. No matter what, you would do whatever needed to be done to make sure Dean knew he was loved.