The dawn was just breaking across the salvage yard in warm shades of pink, blues and reds. Dean was sitting on the back deck sipping his coffee and enjoying some quiet time before going to get his nephew up. He heard the door being pushed open and tensed for a moment until a wet nose pushed against his hand.
"Hey Gabe, out for your morning run?" Dean asked scratching his ears to the dog's delight.
Gabe looked sideways at him as if trying to relay his thoughts to him.
"Tiger still in bed?"
Gabe woofed softly before heading down the steps and loping off into the junkyard to do his business before DJ got up. Dean watched the dog and smiled to himself. He had given DJ Gabe for his birthday as a companion and a guardian. Gabe was the boy's shadow when he was awake, not letting him go anywhere without him. Dean really thought DJ had some kind of connection with Gabe that he didn't let anyone know about.
"Hey." Sam yawned stepping out on the deck to sit down beside Dean. He blew across the top of his coffee cup and took a hesitate sip.
"You're up early."
"Couldn't sleep, figured I'd go in early and get this last project done and run a couple of errands for Bobby."
Dean didn't bother to quiz his brother about not being able to sleep. He knew part of the reason had to do with his deceased wife and the other part Sam kept to himself. He was better than he was since Dean had taken him to her and their daughter's grave on the anniversary of their death. Sam had allowed himself to grieve their loss and it made him stronger. He was allowing himself to move on now and his nightmares were getting fewer as time moved forward.
"I promised the kid we'd go fishing today. 'Bout ready to get him up."
"Be careful, he doesn't know how to swim."
"We're gonna fix that, the Y has swimming lessons an' I signed him up."
"And you were goin' to tell me when?"
"I just did, didn't think you would mind." Dean shrugged getting up to head inside.
Sam huffed to himself, knowing he wasn't mad at Dean about not asking him first. He knew his brother treated DJ like he was his son too and he was happy that Dean accepted him without question. He was grateful to have all the help Bobby and Dean gave him with his son. It made his life so much easier to have family around him. Sam smiled to himself when he heard DJ in the kitchen asking Dean for coffee.
"No coffee, you're too young." Sam called through the screen door. "You can have hot chocolate instead."
He heard Dean mumbling to his son and boyish giggling as an answer. Gabe came trotting back to the deck to greet Sam before scratching the door open to get inside. Sam could hear DJ talking to Gabe and laughing.
"We're heading out." Dean called to Sam from the screen door.
"Have a good time and DJ mind your uncle and be careful."
"Yes Daddy, love you." DJ said running outside to hug his Dad before heading after his uncle.
"Make sure you have Gabe's blanket, don't want the upholstery messed up."
"I know Un'le Dee, Daddy trimmed his nails few days ago. Come on Gabe."
Sam finished his coffee and listened to the Impala start up and drive away until he could no longer hear it. He pushed himself up from the chair and headed inside to shower and get ready for work. At least after this project he would have a few days off to spend some time with his son. He had signed him up for kindergarten and needed to get him some school clothes. Sam was nervous about sending DJ to school, but knew he needed the social interaction with other kids. He wanted DJ to be a well rounded kid and have as normal a life as possible.
"Un'le Dee what will we do with the fish we catch?"
Dean looked over at his nephew a little confused by his question.
"Well most people keep them to eat."
"If ya're gonna eat them, yeah."
"I don't wanna eat mine." DJ told him a hint of sadness laced in his words.
"It's ok, we can let them go, we don't have to keep them." Dean assured him.
"Ok." he replied settling back into his booster seat.
"Ok kiddo, come on we're wasting daylight. Let's go drown some worms." Dean told his nephew parking the Impala beside a large peaceful lake. He headed to the trunk and pulled out two fishing poles and a tackle box. DJ clambered out of the back letting Gabe out with him. He looked out across the lake taking in all that Mother Nature had to offer. He stopped beside the car and watched a pair of ducks swim lazily in near the shore, flapping and ducking under water as they quacked constantly at each other.
"Look Un'le Dee ducks."
"I see Tiger, come on let's go set up on the dock." he answered heading down the trail toward the dock. DJ trailed along behind his uncle trying to take in everything at one time. He stopped to check out a clump of wild flowers before running to catch up with his uncle. Dean walked onto the floating dock picking a place to set up before looking around for DJ. DJ and Gabe joined him on the dock as he got one of the poles ready.
"Look baby fish." DJ pointed down at the water by the dock sticking his head through the slates.
"Hey, watch it; don't need you goin' face first into the water." Dean warned grabbing the back of his shirt and pulling him back. "Ok, I'm gonna toss this out for you and you need to watch the float. When it gets pulled down you need to reel it in." Dean explained as he flipped the line into the water. "Now hold this and this is how you reel it in."
"Ok." DJ answered watching what he did and trying to copy it. He reeled the line in one turn and stopped.
"See the red float? Now watch it and when it goes under start reeling." Dean said getting another worm and threading it on the hook before giving it a quick toss into the water. He settled down beside DJ and looked in between the floats watching for bites. Gabe settled down beside DJ and watched the ducks that were swimming around in the rushes down below them.
After fifteen minutes DJ began to wiggle around and pull on the line. He watched the float bob around and make ripples that spread out around it.
"Un'le Dee when do fish start biting?"
"You gotta have a little patience, give it a few more minutes and if you don't get a bite I'll let you reel it in and move it some."
"What do you do when you leave?"
Dean looked surprised at DJ's question trying to decide how to answer him. He couldn't tell him he hunted monsters. He was pretty sure Sam would kill him if he told him about the supernatural and what is really out there.
"Well I do a job helping people."
"What kind of job?"
"Hey! Look! Reel your line in ya've got a fish." Dean urged watching DJ's float being pulled under.
DJ stood up and began to try to reel in the line as the fish began to pull back. He stepped back and continued turning the handle as best he could.
"That's it; don't let it get away now." Dean told him helping him steady the pole to be sure he didn't drop it.
"Look! Look!" DJ cried as a small fish flipped out of the water. "I got a fish!"
"I see, let's get it in." he told him grabbing the line to pull the fish out of the water. "Wow nice fish Tiger. This is a perch or sun fish." Dean said holding it so DJ could look at the six inch perch. "Now, let's get this hook out and we'll let it go."
"Can I touch it?"
"Yes, if you're careful you can put it back in the water." he said gently removing the hook from the fish's mouth. "Now you have to hold it like this so the fins don't stab you; see the barbs here on the fins. They can jab into your hand and hurt."
DJ did as Dean told him and held the slippery fish before it slipped out of his hands and fell into the water swimming off.
"I lost it."
"That's ok, we'll stick another worm on your line and maybe you can catch another one even bigger."
"Ok, thanks for bringing me fishing."
"No problem Tiger. Let me throw it back out and set the line. There, now see if you can catch a bigger one."
"Alright." he said settling back down anxious to catch another one.
"Oh yeah, let me put some sunscreen on you." Dean said wiping his hands off and pulling a tube of sunscreen from the box. "Let's get those arms and neck lathered down. Even if it's cloudy, you can get too much sun."
"Do I have to?" he whined.
"Yes, your Daddy won't let me take ya anywhere if I bring you back all sun burnt and crying." he insisted rubbing lotion on his arms, neck, legs and face. "Where's that hat I brought?" he mumbled looking around and finding the hat to plop on DJ's head. "Kid, we've not really talked 'bout what happened in that graveyard a while back..." Dean started looking sideways at DJ. "Can ya tell me what you remember?"
"I saw the woman hurt you and Caleb." DJ said matter of fact. "I wanted to helped, she was very mad at someone and all she really wanted was her son."
"Do you know what she was?"
"A spirit, I looked in Papa Bobby's books. I saw her son; she just wanted to be with him, she really didn't want to hurt people but couldn't help it."
"You can read Bobby's books?" he asked surprised by that little tidbit. "And what did you do?"
"Talked to her, her son came and they moved on."
Dean frowned with this information, not sure how to process it. He was going to have to talk to Sam about this. Man! He knew Sam was goin' to lose it knowing how he wanted to keep all this away from DJ as long as he could.
"Have you seen spirits before?"
"Mommy, she watches over me."
"Sometimes." he replied not being very interested in their talk. "Un'le Dee you got a bite!"
"Shit! "he cried trying to rub the excessive lotion off his hands so he could pick up his pole. "I do, hey I do!" he said trying to reel the line in with slippery hands.
"I see it." DJ told him pointing to the fish that was swimming on the top of the water.
Dean finished reeling it in and grabbed the fish before it flipped off. He removed the hook from the fish's mouth and examined it before letting DJ see it too.
"This is a small mouth bass, nice size." he told DJ holding it for him to see the difference from the fish he caught. "Ok, let's get him back in the water, let him grow some more."
"No Gabe." DJ told his dog when Gabe started sniffing around the edge of the dock.
"Start reeling Tiger, you got another one." Dean encouraged when he saw the float being pulled down again.
"This one's big." DJ told him as he struggled to get his line in. Dean reached around him and helped the boy basting in the love he felt for him. He watched the huge grin that spread across his face when the fish got closer. Dean could see it was a bass and a nice size one too.
"I think you got me beat Tiger."
"Yeah." Dean replied holding the large fish for him. "Here, why don't ya hold it and I'll get a picture for your Daddy?"
"Ok." he grunted trying to keep a grip on the slippery fish. He got it balanced in his arms as Dean pulled out his phone and snapped a couple of pictures. He continued to snap as the fish decided to start flopping in his arms slapping DJ in the face before flipping into the water and swimming away. Gabe was bouncing around DJ trying to bite at the fish thinking it was hurting him. If Dean hadn't grabbed his collar, he would of ended up diving off the dock into the water.
"Ugh!" DJ frowned wiping his hands down the front of his shirt before pulling his shirt up to wipe his face.
"Yeah, they do that." Dean chuckled. "Settle down boy, the fish is gone." he told the dog patting his head and scratching his ears. "We'll fish another hour or so before it gets too hot." Dean told DJ looking up at the position of the sun. He had packed lunch for both of them and figured they could eat it by the lake and enjoy the outdoors. He also wanted to question him some more about seeing spirits.
"Alright Tiger, it's getting too hot to fish any longer. Let's reel them in and have some lunch." Dean instructed DJ as he took his pole apart and tied it together. Once DJ had his ready, Dean did the same to his. They carried the equipment to the Impala and Dean stored it in the trunk and removed a medium size ice chest and blanket. "Here, carry this for Gabe." he told the boy handing him two bowls, one for water and one for dog food.
"Ok, where are we going?" he asked looking around not seeing a table or any place to eat.
"Let's walk around the lake and find a nice shade tree to sit under." he told him strolling toward the edge of the lake. He started walking along the path for a short distance, stopping in a nice grassy area under a large tree. The low hanging branches created a nice shaded area that was quiet a bit cooler than being in the full strength of the sun. "Here we go, perfect."
Dean got busy spreading out the blanket and setting the ice chest at the end of it. There was a nice breeze blowing across the lake and under the trees rustling the branches and filling the air with soft whispers. The grass made a nice soft cushion for them to sit on.
"Come on Tiger let's wash our hands off." Dean told his nephew leading him to the edge of the water. He squatted down by the water's edge and cupped the clear water in his hands to wash off the dirt and fish slime.
DJ flopped down beside him and tried to imitate his uncle only to loose his balance and fall forward into the shallow water. He sputtered and tried to push himself out of the muck to only sink deeper in the soft mud. Dean grabbed the waist of his shorts and hauled him out but not before Gabe thought they were going swimming and jumped into the lake. He swam a short distance, splashing around to cool off before heading back to DJ and Dean. Once he got out, Gabe gave them both a shower by shaking his body as hard as he could sending water everywhere.
"Sonovabitch!" Dean growled trying to shield his face from the droplets of water flying through the air.
"Gabe!" DJ screamed happily trying to hide behind Dean.
"Come on boy, go lay down over there and dry off." he told Gabe once he stopped shaking. "No way you're riding home with us if you're wet."
"You wouldn't leave him would you Un'le Dee?" DJ asked giving Dean his best puppy dog eyes and sad face. Dean looked down at him amazed at how much he looked like his Dad when he pushed the sad face. Just like his father, Dean was a sucker for the look.
"No son, we'll just wait until he dries." Dean told him ruffling his wet hair. "Come on, let's eat."
Dean filled Gabe's bowls with water and dry dog food before opening the ice chest and setting out food for DJ and him. He gave DJ a towel to wipe his face and hands on before sitting out a juice box, sliced apples, carrot sticks, several peanut butter sandwiches, beef jerky and chips. He opened a bottle of water and took a long swallow before pulling a sandwich out of a bag and taking a big bite. DJ settled down beside Dean and began eating carrots.
"Kid, can I ask you somethin' else about the graveyard?"
"Ok." he said watching Gabe eat his food.
"Were you not scared of what you saw?"
"No, she wouldn't hurt me." he said around a bite of carrot. "She only wanted to be with her son." he shrugged.
"So you talked to her?"
"Yes, she didn't mean hurt ya, she was just upset."
"And you like told her to what, go into the light?"
"Told her and her son to go home and they did. Her son showed her the way."
"Have ya seen others?"
"Haven't tried, did I do something wrong?"
"No, no son. I just don't want ya getting hurt."
"Ok." he said accepting a sandwich and taking a bite while looking out across the lake. "I'll be careful."
The breeze picked up and along with the heat of the sun dried their wet clothes. Dean settled down on the blanket on his back and let his body relax listening to all the sounds of nature that surrounded them. Birds sang and chirped; squirrels squealed and called to each other, insects buzzed around the water's edge and fish jumped in the lake splashing down with a loud flop. Lulled by the subtle noises, Dean let his mind drift away with the clouds in the sky as sleep overtook him.
The high pitched cry of a hawk roused Dean from his slumber as he looked around trying to remember where he was. He sat up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes and realized he was alone. Dean got to his feet and did a quick three-sixty degree sweep searching for DJ and Gabe. When he didn't see him anywhere nearby, his stomach twisted into tight knots at the thought of DJ laying face down in the lake. He hurried to the lake and scanned it to be sure he hadn't fallen in, but he was sure Gabe would of kept him safe. Letting out the breath he was holding, he turned back toward the woods that surrounded the lake, searching for his missing charges.
"DJ." he called. "Gabe!" Dean yelled for the dog before puckering his lips and whistling a high, sharp sound. He stopped and listened, trying to hear any familiar noises that would be them. "Damn kid! Too curious for his own good." he growled heading for the Impala to see if they might be there.
Dean walked around the car and opened the doors looking inside, but not finding DJ or Gabe inside. He shut the door and looked around before heading back to where they ate. He started checking around the blanket and found broken branches and trampled grass heading off deeper into the forest. His hunter instincts kicked in and he began to trail the boy and dog, pausing at times to be sure it was them he was following.
Rustling up ahead of him caused Dean to tense, wishing he had brought a gun and stood still waiting to see what it was. A young deer trotted out and froze eyeing Dean with big, brown eyes before bolting back into the brush. He sighed and scanned the area finally finding a small footprint in some moist soil. He had only dozed for thirty minutes, he didn't think the kid could of gotten that far, but it seemed he could travel farther than he thought.
Twenty minutes later, Dean broke into a small clearing and spotted Gabe laying in the only streak of sun that could penetrate the area. He sighed with relief knowing DJ had to be somewhere nearby. Gabe raised his head as Dean stepped closer and saw DJ curled up on the other side of him in a small mound of moss. The rays of sunlight bathed him in soft, warm hue making him look like a little angel. He hated to wake him, but they needed to start heading back or Sam would start worrying and he didn't want that.
"Hey, Tiger, time to wake up." Dean said gently shaking DJ's shoulder. Gabe butted Dean in the arm and whined to him as DJ started rousing himself from sleep.
"I fell asleep." he yawned rubbing his eyes with his dirty hands spreading more dirt across his face.
"Careful, don't get dirt in your eyes." Dean cautioned him. "Come on we need to start back, your Daddy's gonna get worried."
"I'm not mad at you, but you can't wander off like this, you could of got hurt or lost out here and you 'bout gave me a heart attack. I already lost you once, don't need a repeat."
"Gabe can find the way back and he protected me."
"Why did you come out here anyway?"
"I followed a rabbit and lost it. I got tired so I laid down."
"Let's not tell yer Dad about this ok? No need to worry him over it."
"Ok. Un'le Dee, is Daddy ok?"
"Why do you ask Tiger?"
"Daddy seems so sad sometimes and seems far away."
"I know son, Daddy misses your Mommy a lot and it makes him sad sometimes. That doesn't mean that he loves you any less you know. He loves you so much, you're a part of your Daddy and Mommy so it's like he has a part of her still in his life. Do you understand?"
"Yes." DJ said thinking hard about what Dean said. "I need to take care of Daddy and love him and give him hugs and make him happy." DJ decided giving Dean his most determined look.
"You know for a kid, you're one smart bugger." he said picking him up and carrying him the rest of the way out of the woods.
They gathered up everything and headed for the Impala. Dean spread out the blanket and whistled for Gabe to get in. He waited for DJ to get in his booster seat and get strapped in before moving to the driver's door to get in. He started his Baby and slowly backed up and headed for the road back toward Bobby's. It wasn't ten minutes before DJ was asleep again, snoring softly. Gabe huffed and curled into a ball following his master's example. Dean smiled to himself and turned on the radio, keeping it low, as he began to hum along with the song.
"Daddy! Daddy!" a small voice called plowing through the front door of Bobby's house.
"In here son." Sam called from the kitchen. He turned in time for DJ to launch himself into his father's arms for a hug. "Crap son you stink." Sam coughed as he got the full effects of his son's odor. It was a mixture of sweat, sun screen, lake mud and fish.
"I love ya Daddy."
"I love you too, but I'll love ya a lot more after you have a bath." he said holding him out in front of him.
"Hey bro." Dean said sitting the ice chest on the table.
"Did he fall in?"
"You wanna bathe him?"
"Come on Tiger, let's go take a shower. Daddy doesn't like our aroma." he told DJ accepting him from Sam's hands.
"I caught two fish today Daddy."
"That's good, you can tell me all about after your bath. I can't wait to hear about it."
"Gabe went swimming." he called over his shoulder as Dean headed up the stairs with DJ thrown over his shoulder laughing as he bounced with each step he took
"Great, even the dog needs a bath." he sighed as Gabe trotted in and sat down in front of him panting as if waiting for a bath.
"Un'le Dee took pictures of my fish." DJ told his Dad picking up Dean's phone off the table and quickly found the pictures to show him. "I caught the biggest." he said proudly.
"He did." Dean agreed giving his nephew a loving smile.
"Wow, that is a nice one." Sam told his son as he flipped slowly through the pictures.
"There's a video." Dean chuckled.
Sam brought up the video and bit his lip to keep from laughing as he watched DJ trying to hold onto the fish that was flapping around in his arms until it went over the side. DJ gazed at it with a sincere look on his face and turned to his Dad.
"It wanted to go home."
Dean excused himself to get more coffee so he wouldn't let DJ see him laughing. Sam coughed and swallowed back his laugh as his son watched it again.
"It's funny." DJ grinned, giggling into his hand.
"Yeah, I think the fish got the best of you." Dean chuckled ruffling his hair before sitting back down.
"I think someone's ready for bed." Sam commented as DJ curled up in his lap resting his head on his chest.
"No I'm not." DJ yawned trying to keep his eyes open. "Read one book please."
"Ok, but bed after that, Daddy has a surprise for you tomorrow." Sam told him getting up from the table.
"We're goin' shopping for some school clothes and supplies."
"School?" Dean questioned, his interest perked.
"Yeah, he'll be starting school in a few weeks."
"You sure he's old enough?"
"Dean, he's old enough to go into kindergartner. Actually, he'll probably be smarter than any of the kids in there."
"So why send him?"
"It's ok bro, DJ can handle it." Sam said softly. "You gotta let him grow up."
"Just not too fast ok?"
"Ok." Sam said settling on the couch with DJ and reached for the book he was reading to him. It was about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
Dean leaned against the kitchen door frame sipping his coffee and watched father and son. He noticed how Sam held him so lovingly in his embrace and used different voices as he read. He could feel so much love flowing from them it made him pause to remember doing the same thing with a younger Sam, but it was an old comic book about King Arthur. He realized Sam had stopped reading and focused again on his brother and nephew. DJ was asleep and Sam was carding his hand through his hair before kissing his head. He got up and looked over at Dean before heading upstairs.
"I'm gonna put him to bed." he said softly.
"Bro, we need to talk." Dean told him before he continued up the stairs.
"Ok." Sam answered slightly puzzled by Dean's tone. "I'll be right back."
Dean was sitting at the kitchen table with a shot of whiskey poured in two glasses in front of him. He looked up as Sam came back into the room a look of trepidation on his face. He knew that look on Dean's face well enough to know there was something he wanted to talk about, but was unsure how to begin. Sam eased into the empty chair beside his brother and waited patiently knowing he would speak in his own time. Images rushed through his head trying to anticipate what had Dean so upset. Dean pushed the glass in front of his brother and waited for him to pick it up. Sam wrapped his fingers around the glass and looked into the bottom of the amber liquid. He raised the glass to his lips and tossed it back just as his brother did the same. Sam bit back the burn as the liquid made its way down his throat to his stomach. He didn't drink much anymore an occasional beer now and then, but stayed away from the hard stuff.
"We've not talked 'bout what happened when DJ hitched a ride on that hunt." Dean started glancing over at Sam and saw his body stiffen. "I was out most of it, but Caleb told me some things you need to know."
"What? What do I need to know?" Sam asked bluntly.
"DJ..." Dean began before clearing his throat to continue. "He was the one who saved us. He talked to the spirit and told her to go on home Seems she was searching for her son who had died too."
Sam sat quietly staring at the empty glass in his hand, mulling over what Dean said.
"Are you sure?" he finally asked.
"Yeah, I asked him about it when we went fishing."
"How? How did he know?"
"He said he read some of Bobby's books and you know, he might of heard us talking, I don't know!" Dean said frustrated by the whole thing. "I know you didn't want him knowing." he said quietly.
"How can he not know, he's a Winchester." Sam huffed. "It's in our blood."
"I'm sorry Sammy." Dean said pouring them both another drink.
"Guess I need to talk to him."
"Don't be to mad at him ok?"
"I'm not mad." he sighed sipping on this one. "I feel I let him down."
"Don't think like that! You did no such thing. He's smart, just like his Dad." Dean chastised him. "Remember I said he read Bobby's books...Did you even know he could do that?"
"No." he admitted.
"That squirt was keeping it from us; I just wonder how much more he knows?"
"I'll talk to him tomorrow. I need him to understand he can't say anything to anyone, especially him starting school."
"Right, wouldn't want to scare the kiddies."
Sam gave him a bitch face before finishing his drink. He got up and stood by the table for a moment.
"Think I'll go on to bed."
"Yeah, I'll be up in a while."
Sam pushed the door to the thrift store open and stepped inside while keeping a good grip on DJ's hand. He looked around until he spotted a children's section and made his way to the back of the store.
"Ok, let's see what they have." he told DJ looking for his size.
"Daddy, look." DJ said holding up a tee shirt with AC/DC on the front. "Can I get this?"
"Let me see is it your size?" he asked checking a tag in the neck. "Looks good, hang onto it."
Sam continued looking through the jeans and shirts finding the right sizes and making a stack. He saw a rack with jackets and pulled a couple out letting DJ try them on to be sure they fit. He found a couple of hooded sweatshirts to add to his stack.
"I think this is a good start, come on son let's go pay for this and head over to the department store."
"Can we eat out?"
"I don't see why not."
"Can Un'le Dee come and join us?"
"I'm not sure; I'll call him when we get to the car."
With their purchases paid for, father and son headed for the SUV. DJ climbed into his booster seat and Sam got behind the wheel. He found his cell and speed dialed his brother.
"Hey, DJ wanted to know if you wanted to have lunch with us?" Sam asked his brother when he answered.
"Oh, ok. Yeah, I'll tell him." he said hanging up. "Uncle Dean caught a job son; he can't have lunch with us this time."
"Ok." DJ said sadly. "Un'le Dee he'll be safe on the hunt won't he?"
"Yes, he'll be careful. If he needs help, I'm sure he'll call Caleb or someone to help."
"Daddy, is he hunting a spirit?"
Sam startled with the question and looked in the rearview mirror at his son. He was going to talk to his son about what Dean told him and was surprised he would say anything like that?"
"Why do you ask that son?"
"A spirit hurt Un'le Dee and Caleb in graveyard." he said pulling his bag over to get a juice.
"Did you see it?"
"Yes, a Momma was looking for her son. I helped them move on."
DJ didn't seem concerned or scared about what they were talking about. Sam didn't want to make too big a deal about it for fear of upsetting his son needlessly. He headed to the department store down the street to finish their shopping so they could get some lunch. He decided to talk to Bobby about this to get his take on the situation. It made him ill at ease to think his son was talking to spirits. He wanted to keep that knowledge from his son as long as possible. It would not bother him if he never found out about the things that are out there in the darkness. He knew Dean had been showing him how to fight and Bobby was training him with knives, saying he was too little to use a hand gun yet. Sam didn't protest any of this knowing they were only preparing him for the future. He taught him how to do research and how to use the computer. He found DJ loved to jog with him in the mornings even if he couldn't make it too far; he still gave it his best. He wanted him to be a well rounded person and able to protect himself.
"Daddy, are you mad?"
"No son, why would I be mad?"
"'Cause I know 'bout spirits."
"No, I'm not mad." Sam said pulling into the parking lot of a diner. He turned around to face his son before continuing to talk. "Come on up here with me before we go in." he told him reaching to help him unlock the straps.
"Ok." DJ said slipping out and climbing over the seat.
"Can you tell me what you know?"
"Spirits, vamps and werewolves real. I read Papa Bobby's books about spells, potions, sigils. Bad ones are demons." he finished.
"Why didn't you tell me you knew these things?"
"Didn't want to make you sad. I don't like seeing you sad." DJ replied looking up into Sam's eyes.
"Oh son, you wouldn't make me sad." he cried reaching to pull DJ into his arms and hug him tightly. "I love you so much."
"Love ya too Daddy." he whispered to him wrapping his arms around Sam's neck.
"Tell me, how can you read Bobby's books? It's not like they're children's book."
"Don't know, I just can."
"And you understand them?"
"Yes, I see pictures in here." he said pointing to his head.
"I'm impressed son, that makes you one very smart little man."
"Yes, but DJ you have to understand, most people don't know about these things, so you can't talk to other kids or teachers or people about this. They wouldn't understand."
"Ok Daddy I won't." he told him kissing him on the cheek. "Are we going to eat now?"
"Yep, let's go eat." Sam nodded getting out with DJ in his arms.
"This your big day Scout?" Bobby asked as DJ skipped into the kitchen with Sam trailing behind him.
"I'm going to school." he smiled proudly climbing into his seat.
"Looks like ya got some new clothes too."
"Yep. Un'le Dee not back yet?" he asked sadly looking around for his uncle.
"No Scout, his job took longer than he expected, but he should be here in the next day or two."
"Do you want oatmeal with fruit?"
"Oatmeal it is." Sam said bringing the water back to a boil to fix the instant oatmeal. He reached for a banana and peeled it to slice into small circles to go in the oatmeal. Sam didn't want to show it, but he was worried about Dean. He should of been back by now and he hadn't called Bobby or him in three days. That wasn't like him unless he was injured and couldn't call.
"You be sure and eat all yer breakfast so you'll be ready for school." Bobby told him. "Wanna keep yer strength up."
"I'm sure he'll be fine." Sam said setting a bowl in front of him. "Peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch?"
"Yes Daddy and carrot sticks."
"You got it." Sam said busing himself with fixing his lunch.
"You have a good day then and I'll see ya when ya get home." Bobby said heading out to work in the garage.
"Ok, here we are." Sam said parking in front of the school. He was nervous and hoped DJ didn't pick up on it. Sam wiped his sweaty hands on his pants before getting out and taking DJ's hand to take him into the school. "Are you scared?"
"Little." he replied looking around wide eyed at the new surroundings. He watched others kids being brought in by their parents too as they walked down the hall to his room.
"Don't be, you'll be fine and I'll be here this afternoon to pick you up when you get out." he said stopping at the door.
"Hello, my name is Ms. Kelly, I'll be your teacher." she smiled looking down at DJ who studied her intently. She had never seen a child as intense with such wise eyes. "And who are you?"
"DJ." he said softly.
"And you must be DJ's father?"
"Sam." he said holding out his hand.
"Nice to meet you Sam and don't worry, DJ will be just fine." she said shaking the extended hand. "Come on DJ let's find your seat." DJ looked back at his Dad and waved a small hand at him before turning back to the teacher.
Sam watched his son go with the teacher and a knot twisted tighter in his stomach. He knew DJ would be ok, but he was still anxious about leaving him among strangers. At least his teacher seemed nice enough. It was going to be a very long day for him, but he had work to keep him busy until it was time to pick him up. Sam headed back down the hall and to his car to head on to work hoping he could keep his mind off DJ.
Dean crouched down and peered around the bushes eyeing the building. He walked slowly down the sidewalk and tried to see in the windows of the lower rooms. He walked back by the building studying it carefully trying to figure out what to do. He paused at a tree and leaned against it deciding his next move. Dean froze when a female voice cleared her throat. Dean turned slowly and looked at Sheriff Mills standing there tapping her foot with her arms crossed.
"Dean Winchester isn't it?" she asked. "You're Bobby's adopted son."
"Yeah, we met a few months ago." he said trying to act nonchalant and cover up his embarrassment at being caught.
"Got a call from the school, said some strange man was roaming around outside and they were concerned."
"Shit! I mean crap." he corrected. "It's my nephew's first day of school and I didn't get here to see him off. I was just trying to check he was ok." he said sheepishly.
Sheriff Mills looked at him and shook her head.
"Well I remember the first day of school, all nerves and jittery. My son was cool, didn't even want me to walk him inside. Said he was too old for that." she smiled thinking about that memory before a sadness came over her. "Well I don't see any harm here, but you can't be sneaking around like this."
"Ok Sheriff, can I buy you a cup of coffee? I think school will be out in a couple of hours, thought I would be here to meet DJ." Dean said having sensed her sadness and pain. He wanted to stay on the good side of the law and it wouldn't hurt to be friendly with the locals.
"I am about ready for lunch." she said looking at her watch and back at him. "How 'bout the diner down the street?"
"Sounds good." Dean said walking with her down the sidewalk toward the corner diner.
Sam pulled up to the school and saw a familiar figure standing out front and smiled as he got out of his SUV. He walked toward his brother relief showing on his face when he saw he was ok.
"Hey what are you doing here?"
"I missed DJ this morning, so I figured I'd be here when he got out."
"I was getting worried when you didn't call."
"Had to take Jeb to the hospital, he fell and broke his leg and got tied up with him."
"So the hunt went ok otherwise?"
"Yeah, few bruises to show, nothing couldn't handle."
"DJ asked about you. Wanted to know if you were hunting a spirit again."
"So did you talk to him?"
"Yes, he had us all fooled. He knows about things and I don't know how, but he has been reading Bobby's books."
"He didn't know just said he could."
Before they could continue their talk, teachers and kids began to pour from the school. Sam looked for DJ's teacher and his son in the crowd. He finally spotted his son and stepped closer to greet him.
"Daddy! Un'le Dee." he cried running toward them. He hugged his father and ran to his uncle throwing his arms around his waist.
"Hey Tiger, so how was your first day?"
"It was fun, we painted, and colored and played outside and I made new friends." he rattled on. "We have pet fish, I got to feed them and I knew all my letters."
"That's good, you know we should celebrate." Dean told him looking over at Sam. "How 'bout goin' and getting a milk shake?"
"Daddy please can we?"
"Sure son, sounds like fun." Sam smiled happy that his first day had gone so well. His son was growing up faster than he ever imagined and it scared him at times. Especially now that he knew DJ had already started learning about the things that hide in the darkness. He wasn't happy about it, but he knew it would happen sooner or later. He had just hoped it would be later.
"Can I ride in the 'pala?" DJ asked his father as Sam accepted his book bag from him.
"We'll meet ya at the Dairy Queen." Dean told him helping DJ into the Impala.
"See ya there." Sam replied heading for his SUV a lightness in his step. Right now it didn't matter that DJ knew about the supernatural, he was being a kid and Sam couldn't love him more. He would take the upcoming days one at a time and deal with any issues if they came up. He would not hold his son back, he wanted him to grow physically, emotionally, mentally and spirituality at his own pace.