TWENTY-NINE: More of an epilogue, really...
There was a clatter, and a bang, and then, Dean. "Six weeks. Six weeks! And you never thought to clean the guns? C'mon!" He dropped the duffle bag of sawed offs and pistols on the kitchen table with a thud nearly as loud as the diaper bag of doom's.
Sam looked up from his research. On a place. To take Annie for a few days before he had to leave and save the world again. If they could get her mother to watch Melia. "Dee, I was a little busy." Sam tried to reason with him.
"Yeah, playing with blocks and reading nursery rhymes. How hard could it have been?" Dean pointed the can of gun oil at him. "Seriously. Six weeks of sitting on your ass and doing absolutely nothing. You should be kissing my ass for the vacation I gave you!"
Vacation? Vacation! Indignation mixed with fury bubbled inside Sam. But then, inspiration struck. They didn't need Annie's mom to watch Melia. Dean could do it. Sam grinned. "You're right, Dean. And speaking of vacation—"
As if on cue, he heard the familiar squeal of Annie's car—apparently Bobby hadn't fixed that, Sam thought with a niggle of satisfaction.
"Dear God. In the name of all that's holy, what the hell is that noise?" Dean put down the pistol he was working on and went to the window.
Sam jumped up and clapped his shoulder, little frissons of excitement trilling through him. "That's my Annie." He headed to the door and flung it open. His heart was pounding. Actually pounding. Like a kid's with his first crush.
"Your Annie? How does she feel about this?" Dean followed along behind. "Does she know how much of a nerd you are?"
"Shut up." Sam leaped off the porch as she pulled up. He didn't even wait before she was all the way out of the car before he scooped her up and gave her what he hoped was the kiss of a lifetime. She squeaked and flung her arms around his neck, and when he tried to pull his mouth from hers she wouldn't let him. Which was fine with him. Fuck it. They deserved this. He deserved this. He carried her past Dean without stopping, onto the porch and into the house. He kicked the door shut behind them before carrying her up the stairs to his bedroom.
All righty, then. That was awkward. Dean turned to look at the shit-brown death box Sam's Annie drove. That's disgusting, he thought. It looked like a tennis ball on wheels. With a hatchback. No one should drive a tennis ball, and no car should make that noise. If Sam was half a man—hell, half of half a man—he would've at least stopped it from making that sound, whatever it was.
Maybe the hamster that ran on the wheel to make the car's tiny tires turn was about to die.
He left the porch to open the driver's side door and pop the hood. He was a great mechanic. And he sure as hell wasn't about to go back into the house right now with all that Samsexual tongue-kissing going on. He might hear something gross that he'd never be able to scrub from his brain cells, and it would doom his love life forever.
"Hi, man," came a little voice from behind the driver's seat.
Dean straightened and banged his head on the edge of the door frame. Demon! He pulled his knife from his belt.
"What choo doin'?" The voice was teeny and squeaky. No, wait, it's a fairy! I hate those guys! I'll gank that little wingy s.o.b. so hard—
But it was neither. Instead, Dean saw a tiny girl sitting in the back seat all buckled into one of those child safety things. She had pink barrettes in her flyaway blonde hair and tiny glittering pink shoes on feet too small to do much of anything but look cute. "Uh…hi, sweetheart. What's your name?" Was this Annie's kid?
"Me-LA!" She chirped just like a baby bird.
"Okay. MeLA. Weird. But we'll work with it." Dean looked over his shoulder; he doubted that Sam and his Annie were thinking much about the child in the backseat when they'd gone inside to do the Dance of the Nerds or whatever it was called when his brother had sex. Negligent bastards. He unfolded himself from the driver's side door and stood.
Where was Bobby? Probably in one of the sheds, doing something actually work-related; he heard the banging sounds and, if he listened hard enough, he could even hear the antique radio Bobby used to keep himself company while he worked, cranking out some old folksy tunes that sounded twice as crappy because of the static. Whatever. He didn't need to worry about Bobby, right now. He opened the door and bent to get the kid out.
"Hi man," she said again.
"Hi Me-la," Dean said, and started unbuckling her, trying to fight back the memories. Lisa had had a niece that she'd watched sometimes. She'd been a bit older than this girl—maybe four or so—but he hadn't spent that much time with her. He'd been more involved with Ben and his friends, of course. Because they were boys, and because they did interesting things like build forts out of scrap lumber and blow up stuff with M80's.
Although to be completely fair, Dean had no idea what girls did. Especially little ones. Something with glitter and ponies, ribbons and rainbows, he supposed.
He lifted her out of the car seat; she weighed about three pounds and smelled like pancakes, and she clung to him like a little monkey. Nothing like he remembered about holding Sam, who had been almost as tall as he was at the time. But now…holding a kid was more proportionate. He was a man, and she was a cute, tiny person who, in all honesty, was absolutely adorable. Like, squishable adorable.
Dean bounced her experimentally; she rode along with it like a pro. Cool. He could handle this. She wasn't breakable, she smelled good and she wasn't crying. "Hey there," he said, peered at her face and grinned.
She peered back. Like, creepy peering. With intensity. She placed one of her tiny hands on either side of his face (to hold him steady, he supposed) and stared at him with huge blueberry-blue eyes. She reminded him of a fake medium trying to hustle a few bucks out of an unsuspecting shill and he half expected her to intone some kind of phony fortune, like, "you'll talk to a cute blonde in the next thirty seconds".
But what she did was far more unexpected.
Her wide eyes widened even more. "Dee!" she suddenly shouted, and flung her arms around his neck. "I miss 'oo! Oo miss me? Mwah!" She pressed a slimy kiss—right onto his lips—then proceeded to use one of tiny, practically useless, glittery feet to kick him right in the 'nads.
He resisted the impulse—or was it instinct?—to fling the kid to the next county. Instead, he slowly began his collapse, tears spurting from his eyes as his balls found and began to settle into their new home, someplace in his lower intestines. "Gah..."
Bobby appeared out of nowhere as a blur in the center of his teary-eyed vision. "I see you've met Melia. Again." The older hunter scooped her out of Dean's arms without pausing. "Hello, Princess."
"Hi Unca Bobby! Wook! I foun' Dee!"
"Yes, you did, sweetheart. And we'll see him inside when he's able to walk again." He carried the wretched child into the house and closed the door.
Dean curled into a ball on the ground, clutched at his throbbing jewels and tried not to vomit. Hunter's rule number one: Things are not always what they seem. Even adorable little girls.
There was no way he was going into house with all the nerd sex going on and that glitter-footed demasculator ready to pounce, again, so once he was able, Dean pulled himself to his feet. He was out of shape—hunting shape—and this needed to be addressed A.S.A.P. But first, Dean thought, he'd go see his Baby.
"I should have come out to see you right away," he purred as he approached the car. "But I got distracted. And see what happened?"
Sam always accused him of wanting to perform unholy acts with the Impala. He always told Sam to perform unholy acts with himself. But, the truth was, if he could turn the Impala into the beautiful woman he knew she'd be, he'd marry her in a heartbeat. Because he loved his car. And he knew she loved him.
There she sat, gleaming black and chrome, the morning sun glinting off...the bright freaking yellow Baby On Board sign hanging in the rear window. "Aw, man." Dean stared. "Oh, Baby. I'll get that off you right away. I'm so sorry." He opened the door.
Oh...my...fuck...no...God, no...sonova...no...can't...no...no...There weren't enough words to respond to the massacre in the back seat. Dean stared, trying to take it all in, and failing. He'd have to go with one thing at a time, starting with the car seat. A freaking car seat! In the center of Baby's wide back seat. Where he'd once made love to an angel and a couple of women, too. Where he'd grown up, for crying out loud! And most of all, you don't put a car seat in the back of a classic muscle car. It's like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa.
"No fucking way." He leaned in to unhook the seat. "Oh, Baby. I am so sorry. So, so, SO sorry...WHATTHEFUCKSAM?" There were crackers—CRACKERS!—all over the floor! Shaped like little goldfish! And teddybears! Ground into the rug! Deep enough to make stains, probably. "It's called a vacuum, you shaggy-haired son of a bitch!" And a covered plastic cup with what appeared to be apple juice—or urine—in it. He wasn't going to smell it to find out. Dean tossed it over his shoulder, out of the car.
And then, he saw the crayons. Crushed and broken and melted—melted!— into rug. Along with stickers plastered all over the back of the driver's side seat and the passenger seat. Little friggin' tow trucks with buck teeth and stupid-looking red race cars with idiot grins. "Son of a bitch. Son of a bitch!" He moved to start scratching them off the vinyl, a project which would take a few hours he was sure. The adhesive had better not leave any freakin' tow truck shaped residue, for Sam's sake, because if...
"No. No fucking way. No WAY!" There was a heart—a heart!—burned, no blistered into the driver's side headrest like a fucking brand, with F.M. + S.W. 4eva written in the middle in a girly-looking hand. Dean stared at it, the anger burning so hot it suddenly flashed and fizzled him into another realm of WhattheFuck. He couldn't do anything but stare at it.
A heart. On his headrest. He had no idea who hell F.M. was, but he knew without a doubt who S.W. was, and he was getting the brand of his big brother's boot on his ass. And that was if he was lucky, because...
"I'm going to kill him." On the other headrest, also burned like a brand—a pink one, goddammit—was another heart. And this one read...No. No, no, no, no... "Oh, I'm gonna be sick." Dean reared out of Baby's seat like he'd been burned. Because that one read, "C.N. luvs D.W." in another-different-girly-looking freakin' hand.
"I'm going to kill him." Dean slammed the door. He was so mad, he didn't even apologize to Baby for the rough treatment. He stalked to the trunk for his angel blade because he was going to use it to slice all Cas' fingers off and...
Dean stopped. And stared. At the rainbow sticker plastered on Baby's bumper. "Sam...Sam! SAAAAAAAAAAAM!" He bellowed finally, and ran for this house.
"Sounds like your brother discovered Cas' rainbow sticker," Bobby said, and scattered a few more cheese balls on the table for Melia.
"Mmmm," she said, picking one up between thumb and forefinger, and crunching it delicately between her small white teeth.
"I wonder what it's like to be able to eat a cheeseball in five bites?" Sam watched her. He wasn't concerned about Dean. Not anymore. Because he had ammunition. Thanks to Annie. She had a bachelor's degree in computerized graphic design, something he hadn't discovered until today when she told him she'd finally found a job in her field, with normal hours, better benefits and more money, and could leave the haunted restaurant. And she'd put together a great video from the pics everyone had sent her.
"I know, huh? The calories it saves." Annie nodded and lifted her hands from the laptop's keyboard. "There. All ready to upload." She grinned. "Do you want to do the honors?"
"Sure."Sam leaned and deliberately pressed the enter key with a great flourish. "And there it goes." He grinned. "Have I mentioned that I love you, Annie?" He nuzzled her neck; she smelled sweet, like strawberries, and it made his mouth water.
"You did, but I don't mind hearing it again," she answered, and put her arms around his neck.
"I do," Bobby groused. "Seriously, kids, come up for air. You're making people sick."
"People dick," Melia agreed.
The front door banged open. "SAM!" Dean stomped into the kitchen. "SAM! A friggin' rainbow sticker! On my car? And who the HELL is F.M.? I swear to God, I'm gonna—"
"Nuh uh uh, Dee. Little pitchers," Sam held up his index finger and waggled it at him.
"Has a sweeseball, Dee! Wanna sweezeball?" Melia called.
"No, I don't want a sleezeball, you little...mphmgr...sonamifgh...gdantfngr...kicker," Dean snapped, but Sam could tell his brother was deflating despite himself; his powers of self-control were infinite around children. Especially when they were small. Even if they kicked him in the junk. "I want to...I want...Sam. Would you please come outside with me for a minute?" His voice sounded nearly pleasant, but his teeth were gritted, his face was red, and his green eyes sparked with little shards of hellfire-colored fury.
"Um...no. I don't think so," Sam grinned. "Is something wrong?" He wondered if they'd see Dean's head blow off and whizz around the room like an escaped balloon; at this point, nothing would surprise him. Or worry him. He put his arm around Annie and kissed the spot right behind her ear.
"I think you should. I have...something to...discuss with you." Dean's fists clenched and unclenched; a vein throbbed in his neck.
"And I have something I want to show you." Sam said, feeling quite pleasant.
Annie breathed into Sam's shoulder, where she'd buried her face when Dean came in; she was shaking. With laughter, Sam realized. Which was pretty amazing, considering that Dean when he was this angry was intimidating to people who hadn't met him. Even though he was shorter than Sam, he was taller than the average man and his personality made him appear even larger.
Then again, Annie had changed his diapers and dealt with his temper tantrums, so that did tend to take the wow factor out of Dean's angry aura.
"I'm not interested in anything you've got to show me," Dean growled in his gravelly voice. Sam shivered. Sometimes his brother reminded him so much of their father. "But I do think you need to come outside. Now."
"Oh, I don't know, Dean. I think you might want to see this. Since it's on You Tube and all." Annie lifted her head and met Dean's angry stare with her own calm blue eyes.
"Excuse me. What?" He wrinkled his forehead at her. "Was I talking to you?" He made that crumpled face he made when especially confused or irritated by things he didn't understand. "Do I even know you?"
She turned away from him and looked down at the laptop.
"Dean!" Sam scolded. He hated it when Dean put on his I'm superior to you attitude. Especially when it was directed at people Sam happened to like. Like Annie.
"No, Sam. I'm not interested in any chick-flicky, dumbass, viral freaking video that your girlfriend put on YouTube when right now, we've got a problem in the—holy shit. What the hell is that?" He stared down at the laptop.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Let me go full screen on this so you can see better," Annie said sweetly, and clicked the mousepad. "There. Should I increase the volume?"
"Is that...is that Cas?" Dean's voice cracked.
"Let me see. Oh! I believe it is. And look! He's chasing a little boy around what appears to be the salvage yard. A naked little boy." Annie nodded. "But wait! There's more...oh, look. I think...is that...yes! It's Sam. And he's pushing that same little boy. On the swing set."
"Higha! Higha, Dam!" The little boy on the monitor called.
"Thank God, that little boy has clothes on. Oh, look...here he is again. With Bobby. They're napping on the couch."
"Look! Bobby's holding a bottle and so is the little boy."
"Actually, it's a sippy cup," Sam protested. "I never gave Dean a bottle."
"Awww...but look. He's sucking his thumb."
"And pulling my beard. I hated that," Bobby said.
"BooBoo Kitty!" Melia shrieked, and pointed. "An' Dee! My Dee! My Dee!"
"Bathtime!" Sam pushed the computer back so it was more clearly visible. "Soap beards."
"Jus' wike Booby!" The little boy on the screen chirped.
Dean sank into the closest chair. It was beside Melia's booster seat. She patted his arm. "Has a sweezeball, Dee." She pushed it into his mouth with her tiny, slimy, cheesy fingers. And he took it without appearing to notice.
Deflated, Sam noted with satisfaction. Crisis averted. Defcon Dean was standing down.
"Aww, look. Halloween." Bobby sat down, too.
"I look like an ass." Sam couldn't believe he'd allowed himself to be dressed up like Yoda.
"You look cute." Annie wove her fingers through Sam's.
"You look green. Hiya folks." Crowley said from between Dean and Sam. "Just thought I'd come up and watch the show. It's already viral in Hell."
"Great." Dean muttered, but didn't take his eyes from the monitor. "What?" He turned to look over his shoulder at the demon.
There was a flutter of feathers and the odor of sanctity filled the kitchen. "It's viral in the Heavenly Realm, too," Cas said, and moved to watch from over Dean's other shoulder.
"You've got YouTube in Heaven? I mean, I get that it's in Hell, but..." Annie said.
"Yeah, I'm surprised, too. You're so technologically challenged up there," Crowley said. "Cassie? Downwind, please?"
"Shut up, Crowley," Sam, Dean and Cas answered.
"Look! Look, it's my favorite part. Bedtime," Cas said. "I would 'mell your feet, Dean."
"Thanks, Cas." Dean stared.
Sam felt tears in his eyes, again. Especially when they got to Good Night Moon part. He tried to blink them away. "Who recorded this?"
"I did," Cas admitted.
"You spied on us?" Sam accused.
"I was guarding you. I'm your guardian angel, after all." Cas put his hand on Dean's shoulder. "It's my job to watch over Dean. And you, too, Sam."
"Gotta admit. Kind of creepy, Cas," Dean said, his voice more gravelly than usual. He turned to look at Sam. "You did that every night?"
"Six weeks, dude."
"And that's why I woke up next to you." Dean said.
"Well, if you woke up and got out of bed...I needed to be able to keep an eye on you. In case you wandered off. Because we tried. You can't baby proof Bobby's house."
"I watched you too, Dean. When Sam couldn't. And at night, even when Sam was there. Because—you know—potential abductions," Cas added and glared at Crowley.
Sam noticed his brother didn't shake the angel's hand away. Either he hadn't noticed the heart burned into the headrest, yet, or he'd forgiven him. Knowing him, Sam suspected the latter. Dean didn't miss a trick and for all his bluster and blow, he was a marshmallow. Especially when it came to Cas. Or himself.
"Oh, please. I tried it once. And it didn't work, obviously. Because you can't Winchester-proof Hell, either!" Crowley exclaimed.
"Wait—what? You abducted me!" Dean made that wrinkly face again.
Crowley waved away Dean's outrage. "Oh, get over it. It didn't work, I sent you back. No harm, no foul. Except to my billiard table."
"Dude. Awesome!" Sam held up his fist for his brother's knuckle bump. "Baptized the King of Hell's pool table. Epic."
"I didn't think it was so great. You think it's easy to get a pool table delivered to Hell?" Crowley frowned. "The delivery guy keeps getting lost in Purgatory. Or eaten."
Dean grinned. "I have no idea how I got there or what I did while I was there, but if it inconvenienced you in any way, I'm happy."
The demon frowned. "And to think I took you to France. You ungrateful sod. I got you a hat!"
"Oh! Look! There we are at the tot park!" Sam pointed. "Cas is stuck in the slide...Annie, did you take this?"
"He looked so cute wedged in there. Plus, there were feathers flying everywhere. Oh! Watch this part, it's my favorite," Annie said.
"Awww...Dean gave his angel a push." Bobby smirked.
"And I got him out!" Dean pointed.
"I think he got out because Sam pulled," Annie said.
"Whatever. A technicality."
"There we are with our doppelgangers," Sam said.
"Oh! That's...wow. He looks just like you!" Annie exclaimed.
"I know, huh?"
"I wonder what it would be like to have two Sams at one time?" she mused.
"Me, too," Crowley sighed.
"What is this?" Dean frowned. "Who's that guy? I'm sitting on his lap—hey. That's me! How did I get...? Wait. I'm confused."
"It's okay, Dean. We know you don't know what doppelgangers are," Crowley said. "Oh, look at Cas and his twin. See? See what I'm talking about? The lights are only on at one house..."
"I don't understand," Cas said. "You keep talking about houses and lights. But there aren't any. It's just me and Mr. Collins."
"I rest my case," Crowley answered."It's a match made in heaven, these two, in so many ways..." He waggled his index finger from Dean to Cas and back again. "Thank God they can't reproduce."
Sam gave the demon a warning look; Crowley peered back with amused faux-innocence.
Melia climbed out of the booster seat—apparently she could manage to escape even bungee cords, given the right incentive—and pulled herself into Dean's lap; she hugged his neck and rested her head on his shoulder. Sam noticed the way Dean automatically wrapped his arms around the tiny girl, and he smiled. Yep. He and Annie had found their babysitter.
He hoped Dean didn't mind glitter.