Characters/Pairings:Dean, Sam, OFC, (also appearances by John, Zachariah, Alistair, Anna, Meg and Gabriel)
Summary:Heaven and hell had their own destinies planned, one problem with that, they didn't foresee CPS getting involved.
Warnings:mention of child abuse, both suspected and real
From: Zachariah, second seraphim and first Clerk of the 10th Garrison,
To: Azazel, recipient of sin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: mon, Mar 23, 1992 5:30 pm
Subject: re: Urgent developments in the Winchester observation
I have come to understand that though our eventual goals are in competition with one another, we do have some mutual targets to achieve in order for both sides to fully prepare. It would be helpful to our joint venture if we could discuss the current matter at hand for our combined benefit.
Second Seraphim of the Tenth Garrison, First Clerk of Heaven
Sam had fallen asleep about an hour ago. Dean had heard him crying in the top bunk of the bunk bed, but he’d pretended not to hear it. Sam didn’t understand why Dean couldn’t just solve their problems for them. So far, Dean had always dealt with everything that bothered either of them. But this, this was beyond even him. He held tight to his pillow and stared at the light shining in the room through an opening between the door and the floor.
Dean hadn’t even thought twice about taking the bottom bed. The beds were too small to sleep together, and he was supposed to look after Sam. Couldn’t do that if he had to crawl all the way down to get to whatever might attack them here.
The lady of the house just seemed to see it as ‘sweet.’ He hated that word. Well, he hated it when he hadn’t been playing up a situation to get it. This wasn’t like on a case, where he behaved his most adorable to make things easier for his dad, or to stop suspicions that they were up to something. Who’d think bad of a father and son just visiting a grandfather’s grave after all? These women though, the foster woman was all understanding, sitting there offering little miss anti-NRA a cup of tea before they got up from the table and went off to talk about something where neither Dean nor Sam could listen in. Not that he didn’t try.
There had been three kids in the kitchen when they arrived: a kid, called Mike, who was about two years older than Dean, took over helping the toddler in the baby chair eat his potatoes, while a little girl with pig tails was finishing a drawing at a children’s table in the corner. The fostermom called her Suzie; Mike, Suzie and Joey, how domestic could you get? The place was spotless and shiny and gave out on a garden with a children’s swing, and Dean hated it at first sight.
Sam tried to follow the two women to the door, but stopped when the older teenager in the room smirked at them. “Won’t work, they’re probably in the back of the living room and that door ain’t near flimsy enough to listen through. Believe me, I’ve tried.” The kid’s teeth shone white, there were soft blemishes on his black skin circling the left of his face, scar tissue.
Mrs. Turner might be all, “It’s just temporary, until your father gets his business in order,” but Dean knew better than to believe that kind of crap. Dad had warned him often enough: once you entered ‘the system’ it was almost impossible to get back out. This place might be willing to take them both, but he didn’t even know how long that’d take before someone said they had to be split up ‘for their own sake’. And then either Sam or him would be moved and they might never see one another again. And who’d protect Sammy if that happened?
Sam and Dean had gotten some leftovers for dinner. The foster lady said they could have something else, but Dean hadn’t been paying attention. He hadn’t wanted to talk to her or listen to her, or mind her in any way. The only reason he’d eaten was because Sam wouldn’t eat unless Dean did. And Sam needed to eat—the kid was tired and kinda drowsy already and he’d be too weak to escape if he didn’t have his four meals a day.
Dean got out of bed and stared out the window. The cop’s car was still there, keeping an eye on them. Maybe even waiting for Dad to show up and try and steal them away from the law. That’d be awesome if he did. Dean couldn’t help imagine his father’s car swooping in to the rescue, while the bad guys were all gaping madly or trying to shoot him, but missing every time, because if there was anything that Star Wars had taught him it was that bad guys always sucked at hitting anything that moved.
It made Dean wonder if the cops didn’t have more to do with their time than to try and stop a kid from getting back home? But then what else were those donut munchers supposed to do, not like they were useful for anything else.
Sam hadn’t stirred, even as Dean opened the bedroom door and started heading downstairs. Mrs. Sunshine was watching TV, while the Mister was helping out the older kid with something at the living room table. Dean stared at them from the stairway and tried to stay out of sight.
“Dean? Are you alright, honey?” He startled, peeping out from behind the banister. Shit, caught. He needed an excuse, so what would the do-gooders buy?
“I just wanted some water.” And what a cliché to go with, that one would win an award at Clichés R Us, easily.
“Of course, sweetie.” And they could just stop calling him stuff like that, because he was nobody’s sweetie. Mrs. Sunshine got up from the couch and led the way to the kitchen.
“I can get it,” he wanted to say, but she had a glass out of the cupboard before he could do so and was already heading to the fridge.
“So what’s your pick? Water, soda, some chocolate milk?”
Dean couldn’t help but stare at the stuff in the fridge. It was stuffed full, making him wonder how anyone could even get anything out of it, without half the crap falling out. It wasn’t even one of those half-sized mini-fridges like the ones they had in most motels. No, this one was huge, if empty. Dean could probably crawl into it and still have space to move.
Back at home, the fridge was mostly used to hold Dad’s beer and maybe some cheese to go on their bread or pizzas for dinner. But this one… there were eggs and vegetables and a box with over five kinds of meat to put on your bread, yogurts and pudding and … it was like staring straight into paradise. Dean wondered if that was a pie box he spotted at the bottom.
Since he wasn’t answering, the woman pulled out a bottle of chocolate milk and filled his glass with it. Dean stared at it before picking it up.
“Don’t worry, Dean. Everything will be fine.” But it wasn’t. They were away from Dad! And they were with people who didn’t understand. What if something came after them, came after Sammy? “We’ve had a lot of children come through here and I promise, most of them do get to go home to their parents. “
Dean wasn’t sure if he could believe her, if he could dare to hope.
“It’ll be fine.”
“I want to go home,” he whispered. “Dad won’t know where we are, when he comes home and we aren’t there.” Dad would be worried sick, and Dean’s shoulder was hurting and his head was hurting and he wanted his dad, now.
“I’m sure the police will tell him the both of you are safe, Dean. I’m sure he’ll come back soon.”
Of course he would. Not unless something happened to him and he got hurt. But he hadn’t been gone that long, so he’d have to come back and then he’d be mad, because Dean did something wrong and got him and Sam taken away.
“We were doing fine, we didn’t need ‘help’,” Dean growled out, putting air quotes around the word ‘help’. He wasn’t a baby, and neither was Sam. They’d both been safer in the motel than they’d be here, among civilians.
“Oh, Dean.” She looked like she was about to say something else, and if she tried to hug him then… he wouldn’t be responsible for his actions. But she didn’t.
“Thank you for the chocolate, ma’am. “
“It’s fine, Dean. If you or Sam need any more, just ask.” She moved back to the living room and stopped halfway through the door. “If you’re still hungry, there’s apple pie in the fridge.” His eyes went to the fridge before he could stop himself, and by the time he did, she was already back in the living room. She was holding her arms, and sat down slumped.
He hoped he hadn’t hurt her feelings. She didn’t seem so bad, she just wasn’t Dad.
From: Alistair <email@example.com>
To: Azazel, recipient of sin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: tue Mar 24, 1992
Subject: re: Urgent developments in the Winchester observation
Oh my dear boy,
It is always good to get word from you, they are such a nice interruption in the tedium of hell. It is so difficult to find entertaining souls these days. It gets bothersome to keep ones skills up to peak efficiency, when the canvas I have to work with is of such deplorably mediocre material.
I truly wish I could aid you, but is there no one else who could handle matters on earth? That arctic wasteland tends to play such havoc on my aching joints.
Hoping to find you well,
John Winchester finally showed up a day later, roaring into the lot in a big, black beast of a car, and storming into the office like an avalanche expecting to push everything out of its path. When they actually had him wait for her, instead of letting him in right away, he had shouted at the desk clerk and kept it up for ten straight minutes. One of the cops at hand to take care of cases just like this finally had to come up to him and order him to sit down, before he could go after the poor girl cowering behind the desk.
Daisy had been busy with another client: a sixteen year old girl who’d become a mother before she even knew how to take care of herself. Jolene insisted on keeping her child, even though her mother had thrown her out, and the baby’s father refused to help. All Daisy was able to do was give the young girl the number for a support group and volunteer groups that would help her with paperwork to get emancipated and secondhand baby furniture to set herself up in an apartment of her own.
By the time Jolene left, Daisy had to give herself a moment before continuing on to her next client. She’d had five this morning alone and she knew there’d be many more before her day was done.
She’d been warned about Winchester’s arrival, but seeing him was a lot more impressive than just hearing about the man.
He was almost a head taller than her and seemed to be built out of pure muscle. Dark smudges stood out on his pale face, as if he’d driven here straight from work. He was dressed in an adult version of what his children had been dressed in: layers upon layers and a heavy leather coat. Well, he probably wasn’t wearing any kind of Batman shirt underneath, at least she didn’t think he would. She could see that Dean was trying to copy his father, in attitude as well as in outfit.
“Mister Winchester, thank you for coming. We’ve been hoping to talk to you.” For the past three days or so, ever since a teacher had reported Dean’s injuries and the motel’s clerk had confirmed their fears, letting them know the boys were on their own. Finding out that the family was flagged, being unable to reach the elder Winchester at the number he’d handed to the school and then discovering that three days later the kids were still on their own… It made her wonder just what had been so important that he’d left his children behind for it.
He smelled of alcohol, but she wasn’t sure if it came off his clothing or off his breath.
“You had no right!” the man yelled, slamming the door shut behind him.
“Mister Winchester, I understand you’re worried, but I assure you, both boys are safe and sound. Please sit down.”
He didn’t seem worried, he seemed pissed off. And for a moment she thought about pressing the button underneath the desk that would call security into her office. But she forced herself to stay calm and stare him down. In the end he took a seat.
“Where are my boys? You can’t just take them, not without even…” Without talking to him? What did he think they’d been trying for the past few days?
“Sir, we’ve been trying to reach you for days. When we realized that the children were unsupervised for three full days, we felt that for their own safety, we had no choice but to temporarily take them into the state’s custody, so that we were able to ensure their well being.”
“I’m back now,” Winchester growled. “And I want my kids back! Now!”
Daisy pulled out the Winchesters' folder, half of it consisted of copies sent through from other offices all over the country. Darren had handed most of it to her, earlier that morning, telling her to handle this with care, they couldn’t risk this case going wrong, for the kids’ sakes.
“Mister Winchester, were you aware that the children had access to both guns and knives in your motel room?”
He didn’t seem surprised by her mention of it. Not that she’d expected him to be.
“You had no right to search my rooms,” was all he said, affronted, as if they were the bad guys for daring to invade his privacy.
“We did not need to search your rooms, sir. One of the shotguns was in plain sight when I noticed it. Your oldest son removed the rest of the weapons from his bag at my request.”
For a moment she saw a flash of fear in his eyes, but it was all too soon replaced with even more anger. Like sitting in front of Bruce Banner and hoping he wouldn’t turn green.
“After that, we had no choice but to search the remainder of the room. We discovered several blood-soaked rags in the trash can, little or no food in either the cupboards and the fridge and no sign that any adult had been in the room for at least a few days. “
“Dean’s old enough to look after both of them. I need to work, Dean knows what to do when I’m gone.” It was the first thing he said that wasn’t yelled or screamed in some way. She guessed he could probably be a charmer, when he wanted to be. It was probably where his son got it from.
“And I can’t afford a babysitter,” he added. She wasn’t sure if the shake in his voice was really as unintended as it sounded.
“Dean is thirteen years old, sir. On top of that, he’s suffering from a broken collarbone that needed to be reset and was still dealing with after effects from a concussion.”
And that was the first time she actually saw genuine shock in his face.
“What concussion, he … busted his collarbone, got bruised up a bit, falling of a bike, that’s all.”
She wasn’t so sure if it really was all. In fact, she was more likely to believe that the boy had done something wrong while the man was drunk, and had gotten pushed against a wall for his troubles. But she had no proof of that, so she didn’t say it out loud.
“I personally took him to the doctor for a checkup Mister Winchester. Dr. Green said Dean recently had a concussion.”
“He didn’t… he didn’t say… he’s supposed to tell me when things are … bad, when it’s serious.”
She didn’t doubt that. She didn’t doubt that Winchester probably never even meant to hurt his son, or force his son into the position of caretaker or leave the children behind, possibly to be preyed upon by whatever slime might be running around the motel that he’d left them at. That didn’t stop him from doing those things, it just meant he hadn’t intended on it.
She forced herself to take a deep breath. “We both want the same thing, sir: to help your children. “
“The best way to help my children is to let them come home,” Winchester growled out.
And the hardest part of it was seeing in the man’s face that he really did mean those words. That he did want what was best for his children, that he probably did the best he could. But how to tell a proud man that his best wasn’t good enough?
From: Azazel, recipient of sin <email@example.com>
To: Zachariah, second seraphim and first Clerk of the 10th Garrison<firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Sent: Tue, Mar 24, 1992
Subject: re: Urgent developments in the Winchester observation
I would assume we have the same general ideas on how our little problem must be dealt with? I’m sure that our side can be convinced to make a deal, were you to consider actually keeping to your side of the bargain.
Dean was messing around with puzzle, only a hundred pieces and he was too dizzy to even get the edges straight. Sam had pitched a fit this morning when they told him to go to school. Dean was stuck behind with the good Mrs. Sunshine. His doctor’s note seemingly allowed him to stay home for at least the week. Not that he liked going to school and sitting in class listening to dull lectures about stuff that didn’t have anything to do with their lives. But it meant leaving Sam on his own and that… that went in against everything he was supposed to do. Besides, it was only nine and he was bored silly already.
Mike had left with both Suzie and Sam, but only after Dean ordered Sam to do as Mike told him to do. Dean might not be too sure about the Sunshine crowd, but he didn’t have much choice about leaving his brother under Mike’s care. He figured the lecture he gave the guy, riddled with plenty of creative threats about what would happen to him if Sammy so much as scratched a knee, would have to suffice. And hey, let someone else deal with Sam’s bitchfaces for once. Sam loved school, but school had taken them away from Dad. Sam was angry and even though Dean wouldn’t blame him for it, he’d be damned if he was going to cope with it all day.
Dean’s shoulder was hurting bad, and he shivered, feeling the pain with every twinge. Mrs. Sunshine, Brenda, had left painkillers out for him, said he could take them if he wanted to. Dean knew the brand, he’d shrugged when she told him that he could always ask for more if he needed them. Instead he picked up only one of them and left the other one in place.
Dean didn’t get it why they were treating him as if he was a cripple, he’d never had anyone nurse him like this before. Well, unless you counted Uncle Bobby. Bobby had a tendency to be a total mother hen whenever Dean got stupid and got himself or Sam sick, or worse, hurt during a hunt.
He was feeling a bit dizzy and laid down on the couch, shoes still on his feet. He vaguely remembered something about a 'no shoes on the couch' rule, but right now he couldn’t quite remember it. His head was ringing... No, wait, not his head. The phone. Three, four rings, and then someone upstairs picked it up. Probably Brenda.
He wanted to pick up the phone and listen, find out what they were talking about when he wasn’t listening, what plans they might have, what thoughts. But then he realized something: if she was on the phone upstairs, then she’d be occupied, too busy to mind what Dean was doing. He pushed himself up, cringing as a spike of pain was sent through his shoulder.
He grabbed the glass of water and the pills and quickly swallowed one, no more. He wanted—no, needed for his head to be clear. To know what he was doing and make sure Brenda didn’t hear him.
It was almost too easy to find the right drawer. Took him only opening three of them before he found what he was looking for. A nice big plain steel cutting knife. Not as good as silver, but it’d do the trick well enough. Then he grabbed a chair and pushed it against the cupboard to get to the top boards. The salt was almost in the back, out of the way, probably not needed all that often. Dean grabbed the half-used bag, hiding the knife at the small of his back.
His head was hurting and the pill was starting to make him woozy. Worse, he was getting sleepy. For a moment he considered just sitting down. He pushed the thought away, grabbed the bag of salt and started spreading the white crystals in thick lines around the window ledges and at the bottom of the kitchen door leading outside.
Sammy was in this house; he had to protect Sammy.
He continued on to the living room, spreading more of the salt at the windows there. But what about the front door? If he salted the entrance, it’d just be wiped away as soon as anyone came in. It’d be a waste of good salt and he was almost out of the stuff to begin with.
Then he remembered, barely, an old memory of helping his dad fight Miss Lyle who’d been a demon. The trap Dad used. He thought about carving with the knife. But Brenda had been so nice. Carving up her floor would feel wrong. He didn’t even quite understand why, it’d protect her, but it still felt wrong.
He spread the last of his salt in front of the stairs before getting back up on his feet and grabbing Suzie’s crayons.
He had to sit down after he had it, did so right in front of the carpet lying on the floor behind the front door. He started drawing the demon trap. It was hard to remember it, thinking about getting it right. He wasn’t quite sure if he got the squiggles right. What if he didn’t?
“Dean!” He was finished just as he saw Brenda coming downstairs carrying the two year old who kept happily talking about something involving ducks. “What are you doing?”
“Warded the house,” he whispered. “It’s all safe now, the monsters can’t come in anymore.”
Brenda placed the boy on the floor, and the kid followed her to Dean as she sat down next to him.
“Is that what the drawing does, Dean?” Neither of them looked at the toddler as he grabbed one of the crayons.
“It traps demons, catches them cold,” Dean said, starting to feel high. “Dad showed me how. How to fight them, the monsters that killed Mom. Everything’s safe now.” He just wanted to lie down and sleep. But he almost fell over as he had to grab the crayon from the kid before he ruined Dean’s trap. Brenda took the crayons and told the little boy to go show Dean his bunny. Dean didn’t need a bunny, but he wouldn’t mind if the kid didn’t mess up his work. Couldn’t do that. Even if he was sleepy.
Brenda let Dean rest his head on her lap, brushing her fingers through his hair. And for a moment, he could almost hear his mother’s voice, singing to him, the tones of Hey Jude a ghostly echo in his mind.
“Daddy told me,” he whispered. “Take Sammy and run. When the fire happened. Sammy’s my job, my responsibility. Mine. You’re pretty. Don’t let him ruin the trap?”
Brenda just sat there, holding him for a few more seconds before leading him to the couch. He almost flinched as he felt the knife still at his back. But she didn’t notice, and that was all that mattered.