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The Beginning

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Booth would be lying if he said he wasn’t suspicious of the new branch of the FBI.

A new branch of the FBI that had recently sprung up out of seemingly nowhere. Said branch was specifically ordered by the president, no less, and formed on a need to know basis. In all honesty, with the amount of secrecy that this new branch possessed, Booth felt like it was more CIA than FBI.

This new Special Operations Unit was located in the building’s newly renovated basement. The elevators had been equipped with fingerprint and retinal scanners, and voice recognition software. No one was allowed down in the basement without an escort (which has never happened before) and many (if not most) of the criminals that went down there came out of the basement’s morgue in body bags.

That’s right. The basement had a morgue now

No one was permitted to know about their cases; need to know basis only. And, to make matters worse, these newbies were allowed, via presidential orders, to take over an investigation whenever they saw fit. And see fit they did. Often. It had only happened once to himself and the Jeffersonian crew. But once was enough to rattle him, to rattle them all. Bones was still furious about it. Sometimes he caught her glaring at the elevator, full of loathing and resentment. If he weren't as disturbed by the whole thing, he'd be amused by her fury.

A tiny blonde girl by the name of Agent Harvelle had come in and taken the body and every single piece of evidence they collected. She even seemed to know Bones wouldn’t go down without a fight and had found all the evidence Bones had managed to hide. She had calmly and meticulously directed her men to Bones' hiding spots and rounded up every last piece of evidence. And then she promptly turned on her heel (combat boots, very against regulations) and walked out as if she hadn’t outsmarted a literal genius.

Booth just couldn’t get a good read on all of these people. And that bothered him. Immensely. They were all rough and tough people, better suited to life on the road than life in an office. The agents were gruff, calloused men and women that were highly suspicious of anyone and everyone. Booth had seen one stare down a four year old once. They had the mannerisms of people that had been both haunted and hunted their whole lives. And that made them more dangerous (and suspicious) than your standard FBI agents. They were a shifty, twitchy bunch, brilliant and scarily quick on their feet.

He’d watched their youngest member, Agent Chambers, who looked barely 18, take down three escapees. The three men, built like brick shithouses had burst out of the emergency stairwell and streamlined for the lobby doors. Booth and Bones had been exiting the building on their way to the Jeffersonian while it happened. The three criminals made the mistake of pausing and looking back in horror. Chrissy had pulled out a pistol and shot them. One bullet each.

No hesitation.

No remorse.

The bodies were brought down to the new unit’s morgue and the janitor was sent to clean up the blood.

Now, Booth knew that every operation had its own boss. The head honcho. The big man. The man that got the big office and the nice chair. Booth was that man for his own unit. And he assumed that the underground level had a boss man too. But he just didn’t know who it was. And that frustrated him. So in his free time he silently surveyed them, watching to see who had the most authority.

He and Sweets had pictures and names of the new agents (that was all anyone was really allowed to know about them) uploaded on their tablets. They liked to observe the new agents in their free time and take notes. Whenever they saw anyone that could possibly be in charge they searched for his or her photo database and added a check to their name. They spent their spare time watching the new unit to find out who the boss man was.

But it was a difficult thing to do. The new agents never seemed to be in the lobby and they were never on his floor of the building.

The only times he had ever even seen them were when had to be pulled up to work on “civilian cases” as they called them. Going on stake outs or retrieval missions with them was almost unbearable. Most seemed to have an inherent distrust for government officials, and an ability to out sass anyone and everyone they came across. Booth had gotten dozens of complaints about them from his men and from real civilians.

One day, quite by coincidence, he came across what was undoubtedly their leader. Booth had just exited the lobby bathroom and had happened to glance right at the elevators as they opened. It was crowded with six or seven special ops agents. All of them, except one, were standing stiff and scared. The man in the center looked bored to tears as he flicked through his phone. The men surrounding him eyed him in a mix of fear and awe. He stepped out of the elevator and paused to answer a phone call while the others seemed to sigh in relief as the doors closed behind him.

The man was about average height, with a dirty-blonde undercut that seemed to have no care for FBI regulations. He was wearing a nice red plaid button up underneath his suit jacket and his bow legs ended in combat boots. Booth dimly wondered what it was with these guys and combat boots. Even from across the lobby, Booth could see the man’s many freckles and green eyes and he realized that he knew the man.

Kind of.

His name was Dean and he frequented the Royal Dinner where Booth liked to eat lunch. He was a polite, happy man with an extremley inappropriate love for pie. Booth and Dean had bonded over their love of pie and guns on the rare occasions that Booth ate lunch alone. When Booth wasn’t alone, they acknowledged each other with a head tilt and continued on their way. All in all, Dean was a very happy go lucky guy.

That just so happened to terrify everyone in the new unit.

The new unit that terrified at the other FBI agents.

Booth frowned to himself before clearing his throat and approaching just as Dean hung up his phone with a fond eye roll. Dean looked up, pleasant surprise quickly masking shocked suspicion. He put his phone into his breast pocket and watched with a small smile as Booth made the last few steps towards him.

“Dean,” Booth smiled warmly. “I didn’t know you worked for the FBI.”

“Seeley,” Dean smiled crookedly, suspicion still tight in his eyes, “What are you doing here?”

“I work here,” Booth laughed. “Special Agent Seeley Booth at your service.” He smiled cockily. Dean snorted and rolled his eyes.

“Of course you work here.” Dean rolled his eyes to himself and shook his hand. “Special Agent Dean Winchester, at yours.”

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Of course one of the only "friends" Dean had ever made in his life was an FBI agent. Another FBI agent, he mentally corrected himself. He still wasn’t quite used to being a free man, let alone part of the organization that had hunted him for years. He supposed he should be surprised by this new development but he just didn’t have it in him.

He and Booth went to The Royal Dinner to grab a bite to each and get to know each other as equals. Sort of. Dean was aware that he had more clout than Booth in the FBI world, even though he’d only been an agent for six months, whereas Booth was going on more than a decade of experience. It had to rankle. If their roles were reversed Dean would not be nearly as polite and friendly as Seeley was.

Booth asked several seemingly innocent questions about Dean’s division of the FBI but Dean evaded them with practiced ease. He diverted the conversation to more neutral topics, like what Booth was doing and his personal life. He learned about his partner Temperance Brennan, the psychopath Christopher Pelant who had a penchant for making art out of bloody bodies, Booth and Brennan’s daughter Christine and how “Bones” was upset because she acted like a normal child instead of an advanced one.

Dean made a mental not to not introduce Bones to Emma.

When Dean had come back from purgatory the first thing he’d done was bring Benny back to life. Emma’s soul thrummed in his other arm, waiting for her own release as Benny’s soul fluttered softly to his grave to give life back to the vamp. Shortly afterwards, he and Benny started their trek across state lines to dig up and restore her body. As he and the vampire stood over the remains of a 16 year old girl, Dean sent a silent prayer that he would be a good father. Emma was a good girl, once he had gotten to know her in purgatory. He wanted a chance to raise her and to do right by her, not like his own father had done.

Emma liked him well enough but she loved Benny more (she wasn’t quick to forgive that Dean was the reason she died) and she simply adored Cas. Dean’s heart ached for his lost love, wishing Cas could be there to help him raise Emma. But Cas wasn’t there and Dean would have to make do with Benny’s help.

As he slit his forearm and released her soul, the duo were rather surprised to watch the bones and flesh start to twist and shrink, forming a body but contracting it at the same time.

By the end of the transformation, a tiny child sat in the shallow grave, blinking up at him.

Dean looked to Benny in confusion and Benny shrugged before stepping forward and picking Emma up, wrapping her in his Jacket.

“How long ago was she born?” Benny had asked as the confused child bit her trembling lip and tried to hold back tears. Dean reacted instantly, taking her from Benny, cradling her to his chest and cooing softly.

“About a year and a half ago I guess.” Dean had mused, realizing that that was about how old she looked in his arms.

“So…somehow she’s the age now, that she would be if your brotha hadn’t shot her?”

“That doesn’t make any sense. She was a teen when Sam…” Dean shook the thought away and started away from the grave, still comforting his daughter. “Last time it took her three days to become a teen, I wonder if that will happen again.” Dean'd wondered out loud, sincerely hoping against it; he wasn’t quite ready for a rebellious teen. Benny shrugged, picking up their bags and following behind the man he loved and the girl he had come to think of as his own daughter.

But Emma hadn’t aged like she had in her first life. According to the internet, she was aging like a normal baby. But she was far from normal. Every Sunday night she got a dinner of steak so raw it bled, that she ate ravenously, with the help of her fangs. When she got angry or overexcited her teeth and nails would sharpen and her eyes got…fucking creepy. There was no other words for it. They got red rimmed and her irises turned yellow and glowed sometimes. She spoke full sentences rather fluently within days of knowing Benny and Dean. And sometimes Dean caught her imitating Benny’s southern accent as she played with her toys. It was fucking adorable.

But as adorable as she could be, she probably shouldn’t meet Bones anytime soon. Though Dean did wonder how Emma would react to Christine. They hadn’t introduced her to any other children yet.

Dean and Benny loved her but they had no idea what would happen if she met another tiny human.

Dean was pulled out of his musings by a hand snapping in front of his face. He blinked and looked up to see a tall, beautiful brunette eyeing him with amusement.

“Hey, eyes are up here Captain,”

“Dean, this is Angela Montenegro.” Booth introduced them as Dean blushed, realizing that he’d been zoned out and looking right where her breasts were. “Angela, this is Dean, he heads up the new branch of the FBI.”

“Oh?” Angela smirked sitting down next to Booth, forcing him to scoot down the bench. “Just for this district or nationwide?” She winked playfully.

“Nationwide.” Dean answered honestly, shaking the ketchup onto his fries. Angela and Booth blinked before sharing a confused look. “Well,” Dean paused, chewing on a fry, “both really. My uncle Bobby helps me run it nationwide. He’s better at that than I am. Plus people like him. I’m not much of a people person.” Dean smirked, shoving a fry in his mouth.

“Really? Why is that?” Angela leaned forward, showing off her ample cleavage and hoping to get him to fall for it and spill his secrets. She’d found that men were much more apt to tell you anything you asked if you gave them a tease. To her confusion Dean didn’t even look at her cleavage. He just smiled at them and asked what she did for work, smoothly directing the conversation back to less sensitive information.

“Oh I work with Brennan at the Jeffersonian. Mostly facial recognition but I do other things.” Angela smiled, looking up to see their friends coming in the dinner. Booth and Angela stood to greet their respective partners.

“Dean this is Bones, Hodgins and Sweets.” Dean smiled and shook their hands. “Dean is the head of the new branch.” Hodgins immediately squinted at him and eyed him warily.

“Nice to meet you.” Jack smiled, shaking Dean’s hand.

“Oh here we go.” Booth sighed and rolled his eyes. Dean shot him a look and looked back to Hodgins expectantly.

“So what do you do in your top secret branch? Find and hide evidence of aliens and monsters?” Dean blinked in shock before throwing his head back and laughing so hard that tears leaked from his eyes. Sweets frowned at him, sizing him up.

“Oh man, I needed a good laugh, thanks.” Dean smirked, clapping Hodgins on the shoulder. Jack scowled at him as Dean wiped some tears from his face. “Aliens aren’t real, friend. Trust me.” Dean smirked before skirting around the group and turning to face them. “It was great to have this talk, Seeley, but I gotta go.” Dean smiled, jerking a thumb to the door. “Emma can’t go to sleep unless her daddy reads her a bedtime story.” Dean rolled his eyes fondly. “It was nice to meet all of you.” Dean smiled before grabbing his coat and leaving.

“I really hope Emma is his daughter.” Angela murmured. Bones gasped and punched her playfully as they all took their seats to discuss their current case.

“Did anyone else notice that he didn’t negate the existence of monsters?” Sweets asked, meeting Hodgins’ calculating gaze.

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Bones rolled her eyes as Hodgins went off on a spiel about the secretive branch of the FBI and Sweets listened intently. Angela snorted into her soda and shared a look with Booth. Booth shook his head good naturedly and finished off the rest of Agent Winchester’s fries. Brennan smiled at her partner as he put an arm around the back of the booth, idly playing with a strand of her hair.

“So,” Angela smirked, leaning forward to capture everyone’s attention. “What do you think of Agent Hottie?” She smiled wickedly, tossing a fry into her mouth.

“We met him for all of five seconds Angela.” Brennan frowned at her friend in confusion.

“Sweety, five seconds is long enough to form an impression of him.” Angela wiggled her eyebrows appreciatively.

“I’ve known Dean for a little while, actually.” Booth smiled as four heads whipped around to stare at him. “I like him. He’s a very happy, friendly person…but you should have seen the way some of his men stared at him. They’re terrified of him.”

“That’s comforting.” Hodgins snorted. “He seemed dodgy to me. Did you notice the way the fled as soon as we got here? Like he’s hiding something.” Angela, Booth and Brennan groaned and rolled their eyes. “I’m serious!” Hodgins scowled.

“No, I agree with Hodgins, Agent Winchester was definitely hiding something.” Sweets mused. Brennan rolled her eyes as Booth and Angela looked at him expectantly.

“Like what?” Angela smirked, stealing another fry as Booth scowled at her, subtly trying to scoot the fries away from her reach.

“I don’t know. But there’s something about him that’s…I don’t know.” Sweets frowned, frustrated at not being able to get a good read on the man. “I don’t trust him. At all.”

“Probably best not to.” Booth agreed, looking speculatively at the door to the diner where Dean had left a few minutes prior. “These new agents are…not easily scared. And if he scares them when he’s just standing there looking at his phone…”

“He’s dangerous.” Sweets agreed. Brennan rolled her eyes at them. She didn’t see how they could get all that from a few seconds of observation/interaction with the man. She hated psychology, and all other soft sciences. Though she supposed she’d come a long way since she first met Sweets.

“I like him.” Angela said, as though it hadn’t been obvious by the way she’d been eyeing the man, and stole the whole tray of fries from Booth who sulked but didn’t push it. “He’s hot.” She smirked as Hodgins grumbled.

“He’s very young.” Brennan agreed with Angela. “And he is very aesthetically pleasing. His face has beautiful symmetry.” Angela smirked and held out the basket of fries as though Brennan deserved an award. Brennan smirked at the men and grabbed a few.

“I kinda get the dangerous vibe too…” Angela continued. “But I don’t think he’s a danger to us, more likely to the people he goes after.” Sweets frowned before adjusting his chair. He paused as he realized that Dean’s coat was slung over the back of the chair. He pulled it off but before any of them could say anything Dean walked through the diner door again, looking around and smiling in relief as he saw the man holding his coat.

“Thank god!” Dean laughed as he approached them and took the proffered jacket. “I didn’t know where else to look.” He smiled gratefully as he fished out his cell phone.

“Hey just be glad that we’re still here and no one else found it.” Hodgins scowled. Dean laughed and looked down at his phone.

“Fuck.” He whispered. “Six missed calls.” He looked up at them and they smiled at him with varying levels of sincerity. Dean smirked and grabbed a few fries, chucking them into his mouth as he dialed with his other hand.

“What the fuck Winchester!” A burly voice echoed from the phone as Dean winked at Angela before bringing the phone up to his ear.

“Hey babe!” Dean smirked, but his eyes looked worried. They couldn’t hear the response but it sounded angry and irritated. Dean rolled his eyes and smiled at the Jeffersonian crew before heading to the door. “Yeah, look sorry, I misplaced my phone…and my jacket.” Dean blushed sheepishly. “But I have them now and I’ll be home soon…ish.” He added on, looking at his watch. Dean paused once he reached the doors and turned back to look at them.
“It was nice meeting all of you!” He waved before heading out the door.

“So…do you think him and mystery man are married,” Angela smirked, watching Dean through the window. “Or just like you and Brennan.” Brennan scowled at Angela and Sweets frowned.

"I keep telling you, marriage is a flawed institution!" Brennan frowned as the others laughed and continued to pick at the rest of the fries.

Chapter Text

“I hate you.” Benny said the moment Dean opened the door to their small apartment. Dean smiled and toed out of his boots, hanging up his coat in the hall closet. He dropped his keys and phone into the dish by the door and walked into the kitchen to see Benny cooking something that smelled suspiciously spicy, while wearing the frilly pink apron that Emma had demanded Dean buy him. Emma herself was sitting on the small table with some fat crayons in her chubby little hands and drawing all over the linoleum table top.

She looked up when Dean padded into the room and squealed, holding her arms out, demanding his attention.

“Hey, little love.” Dean smiled, cuddling her to him as Benny scowled at him without real heat before turning back to dinner. While Emma hadn’t been Dean’s biggest fan in purgatory, she adored him now that she was a small toddler. Dean and Benny had discovered that she remembered purgatory in an abstract kind of way, the way one vaguely remembers old dreams. She had nightmares about it sometimes and sometimes they found her crying because she missed Cas so much.

Dean didn’t blame her. Hell he even envied her sometimes. As much as Dean cared for Benny, he didn’t love the man the way Benny loved him, not really. And he would never love him the way he had loved Cas, with his whole being. Dean loved Cas so much that sometimes it felt like it was swallowing him whole and he wanted to curl into a ball and cry because Cas was gone. He was stuck in purgatory and it was all Dean’s fault.

But Dean had been taught from a young age that men don’t cry and that if it hurts, you soldier on. Dean had cried many times in his life but most of them, only in front of Sam who he knew wouldn’t judge him harshly the way John Winchester would have. Dean sighed and looked down at his daughter as she babbled about something or other, half of her words in Greek. Dean didn’t know how she even knew or remembered Greek but she did. He and Benny were studying it online so they could understand what she was saying when she talked to herself.

“What were you drawing, sweat pea?” Dean asked, turning to look at the table top. His heart clenched painfully at the (very realistic for a two year old) drawing on the linoleum. There were a bunch of trees drawn in grey and brown and in the center were three figures. The one in green with spiky hair and crooked legs, he assumed was him. Benny seemed to be all beard, his little dots of eyes were barely visible, and Dean smirked at the man who had ventured over to see.

In between Dean and Benny though, was Cas. In his hideous trenchcoat and with giant wings spreading out from his back, behind all of them, like a shield. He had a wild mess of hair and the blue dots for his eyes were crooked but it made Dean smile sadly as he thought of his friend. He even noticed that Emma had drawn a halo around Cas’ head.

“Write on it.” Emma demanded of Dean, squirming to grab a blue crayon off of the table top.

“What do you want me to write?” Dean asked, taking the crayon from her. Emma liked to demand that he label her drawings. He didn't understand it but he loved to humor her. Emma leaned up to whisper in his ear and dean felt his eyes tear up as he began writing. Benny look at them curiously and then looked down at the drawing where Dean had written. ”My Daddies” underneath it. Emma smiled smugly and demanded to be put back onto the table to finish the drawing.

Dean obliged her, and kissed her forehead before smoothing out her wispy blonde hair. “Love you.” He whispered to her. She beamed back up at him before turning to the table and frowning thoughtfully. Dean sighed and turned around to see Benny scowling at the gumbo he was making.

“Gumbo?” Dean smirked, sliding his arms around his lover’s torso. “How cliché.” Benny rolled his eyes at him and Dean smirked, giving the southern man a quick kiss. Dean settled his head on Benny’s shoulder and watched quietly as he continued making the food. Emma hummed to herself in the background, something that sounded suspiciously like Taylor Swift.

“You miss him don’t you?” Benny asked quietly.

“Benny—” Dean sighed warily. He never like having these conversations with the vamp.

“Dean.” Benny scowled.

“Of course I miss him. He was my best friend. The first real friend I ever had.” Dean sighed and snuggled closer to the man. “I’m always going to miss him.”

“You still love him as well.” Dean sighed but nodded, no use in denying his love for a dead man.

“Always will I suppose.” Dean didn’t suppose anything. He knew it. Knew it the moment her laid eyes on Cas in that barn all those years ago and his heart stuttered unevenly at the beautiful creature in front of him. He knew it when even as Cas was betraying them and he couldn’t bring himself to hate the angel. “That doesn’t mean I don’t…care for you, Ben.”

Benny turned his head for a quick kiss. “I know. I can’t help but be jealous sometimes,” Dean nodded, stepping away to get the bowls for dinner.


Later that night they lay in bed together, listening to Emma sing to herself in the other room and they smiled. Dean had a lot to be grateful for, he had a man who loved him, a beautiful daughter, he wasn’t on the FBI’s most wanted anymore. He had a job, a home, and he had so many of his friends that he had lost once upon a time. Sam was happy living with Amelia and their dog, far away from Dean and from monsters and demons. Dean was happy. For the first time in a long time, he was happy. Sure he still missed Cas, but it was getting easier to lie to himself and bury now.

Benny laughed quietly, rolling over to kiss his boyfriend. Dean laughed into the kiss, basking in all the things he had now, that he’d grown up without.

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Look im sorry guys i know i said id update more regularly but my dog just died very unexpectedly and its very hard for me to deal with right now. So im sorry but don't expect any updates for a while. Again im sorry, i know you guys really liked this.

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Hwy everyone i really appreciate everyone thats stuck with this even though i havent updated in like nine months. Life sucks. I already told you about my dog but after that my grandmother died and then my computer crapped out. I am planning on continuing dont worry. But i need to save up and get myself a new computer first. So stick with it. I should be updating end of july or august!!! Thanks for all the love and coments i really appreciate them.

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Booth was furiously flicking through his tablet at all the names and faces of the new division’s agents. Dean was his quasi friend and Booth was very concerned with how he hadn’t noticed someone he was very familiar with in the database. He easily should have been able to spot him then, and he should have been able to find him now. The names were alphabetized for Christsakes!

Finally flicking to the very last page in the database, Booth paused. There was only one name and photo on the page. And it said Dean Winchester. But Booth had a hard time reconciling the Dean he knew with the picture in front of him. The Dean he knew was handsome and suave. His clothes, while having no care for government regulations, was always neat and clean and pressed. His plaid shirts were soft and new looking and even his combat boots looked new.

The Dean Winchester in the picture before him was completely different. His hair was longer and unkempt, his face was pale and gaunt, making his freckles even more obvious and unhealthy looking. He wasn’t wearing a suit or even a nice button up. Instead he had on a ratty t-shirt, an old worn plaid over it and a green canvas jacket, also old and ratted.

He looked like he had been through hell and barely survived. Booth hummed to himself and stared at the photo, musing about what kind of man Dean Winchester was. After several minutes his phone buzzed, distracting him from said musings. Looking at his phone he found a group chat message from Sweets with the exact same picture of Dean attached.

Booth had to turn the vibration off on his phone as it lit up with texts from all his friends/colleagues, but mostly from Hodgins. Bones commented that Dean looked malnourished and haggard in his picture. Booth snorted and glanced across the living room to where Bones was sitting with a glass of wine and phone in hand.
Angela commented that it didn’t detract from Dean’s attractiveness at all and gave him an air of danger that was particularly appealing. Booth wasn’t so sure about that. Daisy, who had never met Dean at all, was gushing with Angela about Dean’s attractiveness. Sweets was increasingly distressed about that while Hodgins had taken to yelling via caps lock about how the picture was further proof of shady goings on down in the FBIs basement.

Bones snorted and Booth looked at her again to see that Christine had toddled over and was trying to reach her mother’s cell phone. Bones set her wine aside and pulled Christine onto her lap and proceeded to pull out some apps she’d downloaded to help Christine’s cognitive abilities. Booth shook his head fondly and put away the information about the new division, instead pulling up the case work from their last case. Sure, it was boring but he and Bones had a nightly routine and he reveled in the quiet domesticity of it.


Across town another family was not having quite a domestic night. Benny and Dean loved each other, there was no question about it. And 95% of the time they worked well together to create their quasi family. The other 5% of the time they allowed their insecurities and guilt to get the better of them, which often descended into screaming fights. Dean was just grateful that Benny waited to spring these arguments on him when Emma wasn’t home; Dean wasn’t so good at controlling his temper or waiting for the right time to yell. If something bothered him he was damn well going to bring it up the second it occurred. And unfortunately, sometimes Emma was there to witness it. That was the only time she ever cried, when Dean and Benny fought. Even if they tended to do it in hushed tones when she was home. She just always seemed to know that things weren’t ok.

Dean had just gotten back from dropping Emma off at Jo’s when Benny confronted him in the door way, piece of paper in hand. Dean paled when he saw the paper; it was a fake marriage certificate between himself and Jimmy Novak that he’d had created a few months back. He was really hoping that Benny wouldn’t find it and that he could have more time to ease him into everything.

“What. The. Fuck. Is. This.” Benny growled, dangerously low. His eyes flashed and Dean could see him fighting not to bare his fangs. Dean sighed and toed off his shoes and shrugged off his jacket. His quiet acceptance and defeat seemed to upset Benny even more and he growled again. Dean shot him a look as he hung his jacket on the hall rack.

“Just give me a goddamn minute, would you?” Dean hissed, trudging past his boyfriend and into the kitchen to pour himself a glass of whiskey. Benny’s anger abated for a moment, replaced by concern.

“You promised to lay off the drinking.” He murmured. Dean sighed and stared down at his tumbler.

“One glass isn’t going to have me spiraling.” Benny glared and slammed the wedding certificate down on the table. It was dated for four years previous and was such a good forgery that it was technically a legal document. Amelia Novak had apparently finally given up on getting her husband back and had filed for a no-fault divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.

Dean’s finagling of government records made it so that he and Jimmy had married four months later. Anyone doing any research would figure that Dean and Jimmy had gotten together and Amelia had promptly divorced her husband. It was harsh, Dean knew, and unfair to both Amelia and Claire, but necessary. Dean wouldn’t have done it at all if he hadn’t discovered that shortly after filing the divorce Amelia had fucked off and abandoned Claire at her Grandmother’s house. Claire’s grandmother had passed away while Dean and Cas were in purgatory and Dean had found Claire in a group home.

“Dean.” Benny’s growl interrupted his thoughts and he looked up at him.

“What?” Dean sighed.

“Why?” Benny sighed, sliding into a seat at their small, crayon covered table. Dean stood opposite him, leaning against the counter. “I just want to know why? I mean… I know you love him. And I can live with being second best in your heart-” Dean inhaled sharply. “Don’t argue, you know it’s true. I just don’t understand why you felt the need to legally marry his vessel…” Benny sighed heavily and ran a hand over his face.

“So that’s what this is about then?” Dean asked quietly. Benny’s head shot up and he stared at him incredulously.

“What the fuck else would it be about?” Benny hissed. Dean nodded to himself before setting his glass down on the table and heading to their bedroom. Benny watched him go in hurt confusion. Dean returned with a stack of papers and dropped them on the table in front of Benny.

“You stopped looking after you found the marriage certificate.” Dean said by way of explanation. Benny thumbed through the papers in confusion. They were fake records of a fake life that Dean and Jimmy had lead together with forged letters from Amelia Novak saying she didn’t want Claire to see her father and his husband. There were even a few derogatory slurs thrown in for effect. Benny looked at Dean in confusion. Dean simply gestured for him to keep looking. The next stack of papers were custody requests and adoption papers for Claire Novak by Dean Winchester. Benny gasped.

“That’s what I thought you were mad about. When we were in purgatory, my daughter was 16 years old and Cas and I… we realized that that was about how old Jimmy’s daughter Claire would be. When we got back I looked into it; I wanted to make sure she was ok. But she’s not Benny. She’s not ok. And life is good here and I… I want to help her. I want her to be ok. Cas and I, and everyone else, we didn’t do right by that girl and I want to fix it.”

“So all these other papers…” Benny frowned.

“They’re not just going to let some strange man adopt her just like that. But I thought…If it was her step-father petitioning for adoption then maybe…” Benny hummed thoughtfully.

“So…is it done? Have you got custody?”

“Not yet. But…it’s close, Ben, it’s real close.”

“Then…I suppose we should probably start looking for a house and not a two-bedroom apartment.” Benny smiled slightly. Dean blinked in shock before smiling gratefully and reaching across the table to clutch Benny’s hand.

Chapter Text

Director Sandy Phelan of the Pontiac Illinois Youth Transition Center was, understandably, surprised when she received the adoption requests for one Claire Novak. Claire was a frequent flier at the group home, and was not a favorite at any of the foster families she’d stayed in. Flipping through the files Phelan had been even more confused to find that the petitioner was Claire’s step-father. She flicked through the files for any mention of James Novak and found none.

Looking through the files more thoroughly this time, she found that everything appeared to be in order. Dean Winchester was a Special Agent and Director at the FBI and had a steady income, and a listed address pointed to an apartment in Washington D.C. What was even more intriguing was the fact that, despite being married to James Novak, he was noted to be raising a two year old daughter with one Benjamin Lafitte.

Intrigued, Sandy had immediately called up Mr. Winchester. The two of them had had several conversations over the phone and one or two Skype sessions. She hadn’t asked yet about why Mr. Novak no longer seemed to be in Mr. Winchester’s life. She also hadn’t met Mr. Lafitte yet despite the adoption process reaching its third month.

Opening up her email, Sandy found a short message from Mr. Winchester stating that himself and Mr. Lafitte were in the market for a house that would fit themselves, Dean’s daughter and Claire Novak. They had several houses that they were interested in but were hesitant about purchasing one due to the fact that they had no guarantee of Claire’s guardianship. Sandy responded to the email expressing that it seemed very likely that Mr. Winchester would gain said guardianship, but that there were a few more processes to go through.

She expressed interest in meeting with the couple in person and in bringing Claire with her to D.C. to watch their interactions and to determine if they would be a viable family for the girl. Sandy had to restrain herself from mentioning that Claire was a troubled girl and was unlikely to want to stay with her step-father. Mr. Winchester responded almost immediately to her email and soon enough arrangements were made for Sandy and Claire to visit Washington D.C. All she had left to do was tell Claire…

Sighing, Sandy heaved herself up from her desk and made the trek to Isolation where Claire had been spending the last few days. She motioned for the security guard, Gerald, to open the door, and she walked in. Claire was laying upside down on the small bed with her feet on the wall and her head hanging off the side. She eyed Sandy warily and waited for the director to speak.

“I have some good news Claire.” Claire scoffed and looked away at the barred windows. “Someone has petitioned to adopt you and—”

“WHAT?” Sandy blinked as Claire startled and sat up rapidly. Claire turned until she was sitting on the edge of the bed and stared at Sandy incredulously. “Who?”

“Your step-father—”

“What step-father?” Claire bit out. Sandy, used to Claire always interrupting her, continued slowly so as to not be interrupted further.

“Mr. Winchester…” Claire blinked. She blinked again and then a third time before scoffing loudly.

“Dean Winchester?” She snorted to herself. “He married my father?” Confused, Sandy nodded. Claire hummed to herself. “And he wants to adopt me?”

“Yes. Mr. Winchester and his…partner,” Claire’s left eye twitched. “Mr. Lafitte have petitioned for custody and we have found no reason to deny it to them. You and I will be flying out to D.C. to meet the family next week, and see how viable this adoption is.” Sandy waited, expecting something from Claire, another angry rant perhaps. Instead Claire just hummed again and leaned against the wall, thinking to herself. She seemed to have forgotten that Sandy was there.

“I want to speak to Dean.” Claire said suddenly just as Sandy turned to leave. “Now!” Claire demanded. Sandy sighed; there was the Claire Novak she knew.

“I was just speaking to him a few minutes ago. Perhaps he will be able to answer your call.” Sandy said, motioning for Claire to follow, and leading her to her office. She dialed up Mr. Winchester on her desk phone and waited. Next to her, Claire huffed and shifted from foot to foot and Sandy put the phone on speaker to try to ease the girl. Claire glared at her but focused on the phone as it rang out for several long moments before it was answered.

“Dean Winchester.” A gruff voice answered and Claire scoffed lightly.

“Dean, this is Sandy Phelan I have Claire here with me and she requested to speak with you.” There was a pregnant pause and then the sound of some shuffling in the background. A shrill child voice shrieked something unintelligible in the background and Dean cursed with a muffled “Jesus kid.”

“Sure put her on.” Sandy nodded, allowing for privacy and taking the phone off of speakerphone and handing it to Claire. Claire glared at her pointedly and Sandy rolled her eyes and headed into the hallway, closing the door behind her, intending to watch Claire from the other side of the office windows. The last thing she heard before closing the door was Claire’s suspicious voice demanding:

“What’s your game Winchester?”

Chapter Text

Sandy Phelan would be glad to get off this damn plane ride. It wasn’t even a long trip; she’d been on longer. But sitting next to an anxious Claire Novak for even a few hours was torture. Claire wouldn’t stop fidgeting. If she wasn’t shaking her legs she was drumming her fingers or biting her finger nails. It was driving Sandy crazy. She hoped Mr. Winchester would be waiting for them at the airport like he said; she didn’t know how much more of Claire’s nervous fidgeting she could stand. Claire kept shooting alternate nervous looks out the airplane window and glares at Sandy out of the corner of her eye. Sandy sighed and Claire’s left eye twitched. Thankfully Mr. Winchester was waiting for them at the airport. He greeted Sandy warmly with a dazzling smile and a friendly handshake.

“Benny’s getting your luggage he’ll be here in a minute.” He smiled before turning to regard Claire who was glaring at him. Sandy was still unable to figure out how the girl felt about possibly being adopted by Mr. Winchester. One moment she would seem happy and eager and the next she would be furious and closed off. Sandy had given up trying to understand Claire Novak a long time ago, though. “’Hey Claire.” Dean said, shoving his hands in his jean pockets.

“Dean.” Claire pursed her lips and eyed the freckled man. A tiny shriek drew everyone’s eyes and they turned to see a burly lumberjack-esk man approaching with a baby carrier strapped to his chest and two small suitcases in his hands.

“Benny.” Dean smiled warmly. While Sandy could not understand what kind of relationship Dean and Claire had, she could see that he very obviously loved Mr. Lafitte. “Ms. Phelan, Claire, this is Benny.” He introduced them. Benny smiled warmly and crookedly. “And this,” Dean started, pulling a small toddler out of the carrier, “Is Emma.” He looked positively smitten with his daughter. Sandy smiled. Emma shrieked and cooed a little, slapping Dean’s face before leaning back to look at them upside down. Claire turned a suspicious gaze from Benny to Emma. Her previously creased forehead smoothed and she reached for the toddler.

Dean blinked in surprise, sharing a look with Benny, before handing Emma to Claire. “Emma this is Claire.” He said to his daughter. Emma blinked at Claire a few times before smiling a suspiciously sharp toothed smile and reaching for one of the girl’s golden curls. Dean’s eyes widened for a split second but Claire had turned Emma away from Sandy who had not noticed the sharpness of the toddler’s teeth.

“How old is she?” Sandy asked as Dean led them through the airport to a waiting black SUV.

“About two and a half, I reckon.” Dean shrugged. Sandy frowned in confusion. Benny snorted from where he was tossing the luggage into the back of the vehicle. “Well Emma’s mother didn’t exactly loop me in to the fact that we had a child. And she didn’t give birth in a hospital or even go to one after the birth, so no birth certificate.” Dean shrugged. He started showing Claire how to strap Emma into her car seat. Emma for her part hadn’t said a word and seemed to be mesmerized by Claire’s long blonde hair. “Her mother…dropped her off at mine about a year ago and Benny and I had to create a birth certificate then. That was a hassle let me tell you.” The last was muttered under his breath and Benny snorted again, walking around his partner to the driver’s seat of the car.

Sandy and Claire sat in the back of the SUV with Emma while Dean pulled himself up and into the passenger side seat.

“Why did her mother leave her with you then if she had so clearly not wanted you to know about her in the first place?” Sandy couldn’t help but ask.

“Lydia was mixed up in some weird shit.” Benny snorted again. Claire shot him a look and Sandy was beginning to think the man was either in perpetually good humor or had a cold. “Truth is I don’t really know and I don’t care to. Emma’s mine and Lydia’s never going to see her again.” Dean said the last part darkly and the hair on the back of Sandy’s neck stood up. She frowned and glanced down at Claire. The girl seemed just as mesmerized by Emma as Emma was by her.

It was a relatively short drive through DC to their destination, filled with idle chatter and pleasantries. They pulled up in front of a rather large Tudor Style Revival and a nice neighborhood. The house didn’t fit in in the affluent neighborhood, nor did it particularly stand out. It was surrounded by Mediterranean style houses, as well as some Cape Cods, Victorians, Colonials, Neoclassicals, one or two Contemporary style houses and even a few Greek Revivals. Sandy wondered what Benny Lafitte’s profession was, because she doubted they could afford this house on a FBI salary.

“What the fuck? This is where you live?” Claire spluttered out in shock. Before Sandy could reprimand her Dean snorted out a laugh.

“Yes and no. We bought the house but we haven’t fully moved in yet. We’re planning on being fully moved in by the end of the week.” The house was beautiful. It was nestled among several large trees that nearly shielded it from the street. The couple led them inside and despite its emptiness and the moving boxes stacked precariously everywhere, it was stunning, with the white walls and classic Tudor paneling.

Sandy stayed behind in the front room as Claire went off with the family to pick which room she would want as her own. This gave Sandy the opportunity to survey the few things that seemed to be unpacked. From what she could tell, only the storage boxes marked from Castle Storage New York seemed to be opened. The far wall of the room was covered entirely, except for the fireplace in shelves. And those shelves were filled. They seemed to be the only things in the house that had been unpacked. No furniture or anything else was unpacked or even in the room. Sandy wondered if every shelf in the house was filled or just in the front room. It seemed strange to start with the decorating first, but who was she to judge?

Hoping their contents would give her some insight into Dean and Benny she studied the books and other trinkets on them. The books were a peculiar amalgamation of knowledge. There was one shelf near the bottom that seemed to be just law textbooks. Above it was a shelf of medical books and books about survival and first aid. Each shelf or two seemed to have a different theme to it. Curious, Sandy noticed that the shelves to the left of the fireplace were filled with books about magic and superstitions. They were books about witches and werewolves and skin walkers and other supernatural creatures she’d never heard of. Interestingly enough, the shelves to the right of the fireplace were filled with religious tomes and studies.

Interspersed through all the shelves were little display cases of knives and masks and other odds and ends. There were tarot cards, rabbit’s feet, rosaries, cats eye shells, crystals, what looked like vials of essential oils, candles, crosses and some things she couldn’t even name. All in all, it looked like a thorough library of the supernatural and religious. Directly in-between the two themes, above the fireplace was Guido Reni’s portrait of St. Michael Archangel, depicting said archangel trampling Satan. This wall in the house told a theme, though Sandy wasn’t particularly sure what it was. She thought that perhaps Mr. Lafitte was a theologian or professor of supernatural and/or religious studies. This seemed like too much information to merely be a hobby or idle fascination for either of them.

The mantle of the ornate fireplace seemed to hold the only personal touches. There was a record player and some classic rock vinyl records propped against one of the neighboring shelves. A second look showed that there was Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra and some blues interspersed with the rock. In the center of the mantle was a photo of Dean and Benny, mud streaked, dirty and what looked like covered in blood, but happy, holding a younger Emma who was muddy and grimy, but also naked, wrapped only in a flannel shirt. Sandy frowned and looked left to see some Vonnegut and one or two random Harry Potter books.

Sandy didn’t know what to think of Dean and Benny. Though she supposed that she really shouldn’t judge them by the contents of their bookshelves. A loud laugh caught her attention and she turned to see a bickering and laughing Dean and Claire walking back into the main room. It was the first time in a long time that Sandy had seen Claire truly happy and carefree. She decided then and there that she would push the adoption through. Claire deserved a happy and loving home. Even if it was with people who collect books on wendigos and displayed knives as art.