AN: I heard the line "mama's fallen angel" in a Poison song one day and the idea hit me that with Mary's return to show, Dean is her fallen angel. Doing the one thing she didn't want her boys doing. This short piece picks up right from the spot where Dean finds Mary in the woods, end of season 11.
Mary wasn't sure how to respond. So many thoughts went flying through her head all at the same time. Her mind was a jumble. Her mouth opened to respond, but no words came out. Who was this man?
"Mom? Is it really you?" He came towards her, arms outstretched as if he was going to hug her.
Her instincts took over. As he came in, she grabbed his right arm, shoved her shoulder into his midsection, and hooked her leg around his. She brought him to the ground and knelt on him while twisting his hand back painfully.
"Who are you?"
"Ow! Mom? It's me, Dean!"
"No. No you're not. Dean is a four year old boy."
Her words completely caught him off guard and he frowned at her like he couldn't comprehend what she was saying. That made two of them.
"I swear it's me. Don't you remember? You saved Sam and I from a poltergeist about twelve years ago?"
She frowned at him. The last thing she remembered was being in Sam's nursery with... him. "No. No. Dean wasn't even born yet twelve years ago." She twisted a little harder on his wrist and he made a face and grunted.
"Mom, you've been... damn how do I say this? You've been gone for over thirty years now."
"What? Stop calling me mom."
"But I'm your son. What else should I call you?"
"Show me some ID." She got off of him but didn't let go of his wrist.
"ID?" She nodded at him. "Ummm..." He awkwardly reached into his jacket pocket for a wallet and tried to flip through it one handed.
"Give me that." She took the wallet and tried to do the same.
"If you let me up I swear I won't touch you. I won't hurt you." He held out his free hand in supplication. Against her better judgment, she let him up. There was something in his eyes that made her believe he was being honest with her.
As he got up, she backed away from him, giving him plenty of space. While he brushed himself off, she went through the wallet.
"What? No. No. Umm, that's a fake ID."
"Why do you have a fake ID?"
"FBI Agent Robert Plant? Seriously?"
"Mom, it's me I swear."
"Cousin, twice removed." He said with a smirk. When he saw the look on her face he quickly back peddled. "Joke. Joke!"
"I don't see anything in here that says you are who you claim to be."
He held out his hand. "May I? Please?"
They stared at each other for a long moment and she finally relented and reached out and dropped the wallet into his waiting hand. He flipped the wallet around and started digging through the other side. Finally he held out a few items. "The proof isn't in the IDs."
She took what he was offering, still keeping a safe distance. He was, after all, a strange man in the woods and she was a woman in a nightgown. She looked down at what he gave her and her knees failed her. He was right there to catch her before she hit the ground. He gently guided her to the grass and then stepped away again, giving her space.
She held, in her shaking hands, three faded photos. The first one was of her and Dean taken only months before that night in Sam's nursery. The next was of John and two boys. The younger boy, whom she assumed was supposed to be Sam, was at least five or six years old. The third was a photo of two young men laughing, sharing some private joke. The one was obviously a younger version of the man standing before her. Her hand went to her mouth and tears flowed from her eyes.
"It's me, Mom. I'm Dean."
"How... how long? How old are you? Where have I been? Where's John? Sam? Is Sam okay?"
"Okay whoa, whoa. First thing's first. Let's get you out of the cold night air. May I?"
She pulled her eyes away from the photos to find him holding his jacket out to her. She gave a brief nod and looked back down at the photos. She felt like she had been sucker punched. Where had she been? How had she missed her son's entire lives? She was only faintly aware of the man, Dean... her son Dean, wrapping his jacket around her shoulders and helping her up to her feet. She couldn't pull her eyes from the photo of the two young men laughing. She only became aware that they were walking when he stopped her and pulled out some keys.
"The Impala. You... you still have it?"
"You kidding me? She's been more of a home for Sammy and I than anywhere else over the years." He said it with a smile until he saw the look on her face.
"Home? A car?"
"Oh um... shit I'm making a mess of this. Here, just get in. Let's get you back to the bunker. Get you some clothes and some food. You hungry?"
She nodded more out of habit than any form of actual answer. What had he meant the car had been home? He opened the door for her and then scooted around the front and in behind the wheel.
"Lemme just call Sam real quick before we go. He thinks I'm dead so I need to let him know I'm not."
"Dead?" But any other thoughts vanished as he pulled some sort of small device from his pocket, touched it a few times, and then held it to his ear.
"Damn it, Sammy, answer." He looked over at her with a sheepish grin. "Sorry about the language. Oh! Um, Sammy! Where are you bro? You'll never believe who I bumped into on the way home from saving the world! Call me back, man!" He tapped the screen again and looked at her oddly. "What?"
"What yourself. What is that? Some sort of long range walkie talkie or...?"
He looked down at the item in his hand and laughed. "This? It's my cell phone." She just frowned at him. He ran a hand down his face. "Yeah. You have been gone a while. Um, yeah, cell phone. It's the, uh, sci fi version of a walkie talkie. A phone that fits in your pocket. Here, take a look." He handed it to her and started up the car and worked on backing it out of the spot he had it tucked into.
She tapped the front as she had seen him do and it lit up with a picture of John holding out a beer in a toast. She looked over at Dean. Her son. A tear slid down her face. She quickly wiped it away before he noticed. "You have his strong jaw. I can hear him when you talk."
"Nothing. I just... I can see your father in your features."
"Yeah? Dad always said he could see you in Sam. I guess he got the better genes." He grinned at her.
He was a charmer, that's for sure. Like his father.
"Where is he?"
"Sam? Hopefully on his way back to the bunker."
"No. Your father."
Silence. She could see his grip had tightened on the wheel.
"Gone. He, um, he passed away going on eleven years ago, now."
As shocking as the events of this evening had already been, she wasn't prepared for that news. She turned and looked out the window, into the night. It was bad enough finding that she had somehow traveled through time and missed the majority of her children's lives, but she had been counting on finding John. He was her one constant in this whole mess of strange. She felt adrift. Alone. Yes she had her eldest right here next to her and they were headed for her youngest, but he was a stranger. The Dean she knew was a precocious four year old who loved playing cops and robbers outside. He waged war with an army of green plastic soldiers and loved to listen to his father's rock and roll. She glanced at the radio in the car. Well, some things haven't changed. She forced a bit of a smile. The silence stretched out. Mary appreciated that Dean seemed to be giving her time. "How. How did it happen?"
"Uhh..." She saw him look over at her out of the corner of her eye. "There, ah, there was a car accident. He, um, he died at the hospital. I almost did too."
She looked back at him as he answered, his hand fidgeting. "You're hiding something."
He heaved a big sigh. "Is this really what you want to know right now?"
She studied him and realized he was having trouble talking about it. After all this time. "Yes and no. I want to know everything. You have no idea what it's like to be a mother and wake up one day to learn you've missed thirty years! I've missed Sam's first step, learning to ride bikes, little league, school spelling bees, and first dances. I've missed girlfriends and homework and getting driver's permits." She broke down for a moment, unable to say more. Unable to fully express her sorrow. "I... sorry. Look at me. I'm sorry. This probably isn't the reunion you were expecting."
"No, it's not you. That's the thing. I wasn't expecting a reunion at all. I have a million questions. A million things I want to share but where do I start? You're in shock. Hell, I'm in shock." He was quiet for a moment, a frown on his face, possibly trying to decide what to say. When he finally did speak again, she was surprised at his words.
"Sam's first word was Dean, although it sounded like bean. Once, when we were little, we were playing superheros and Sam jumped off the roof of a shed because he thought he could fly. Idiot. I told him Batman couldn't fly. Broke his arm. I rode him to the hospital on the handlebars of my bike. I wrestled in school. I suppose I've always been good at fighting. Sam got all the brains. Went to Stanford. He's really smart. Takes after his mom, Dad used to say."
He said it all with a grin. It was obvious the love he had for his brother and it did her heart good. "You guys share a place? This, what did you call it? The bunker?"
"I don't see a ring. You never found someone?" Another uncomfortable silence loomed. "I see you're a lot like your father."
"So I've been told." He didn't say it like he was proud of the fact.
"If it's easy, he'd talk. Didn't like to talk about the hard stuff. Bottled it up."
"Well, it's what I gotta do. I need to. There's no other way for me to cope. I've been doing this alone since Dad died. I just..." Dean wrung his hands around the wheel and took a deep breath. "No. There's never been anyone. Lots of lovely ladies along the way, but... settling down isn't for me."
She heard the comment about doing something alone, but let it go for now. "And Sam? How about him?"
"Oh he'll talk about feelings all day long."
Mary chuckled. "I meant is he married?"
"Oh! No. He had a girlfriend he was pretty tight with at Stanford, but... it didn't work out."
"So... what do you do?"
"I try to send pretty waitresses his way but he's a nerd."
She smiled despite herself. "I meant what do you do for a living."
"I know, but I gotta raz my little brother whenever the opportunity presents. Uhhh... we work together. A bit of a family business, you might say. Help people out when they're in trouble. The pay is shitty, it's a hell job sometimes, but worth it, I guess, in the end."
"You're doing it again."
"Avoiding talking about something."
He sighed and she saw the muscles in his jaw flex as he clenched it.
"A lot of this would be easier to tell you with Sammy here. He's better at this stuff."
"What you do for a living is a simple question, Dean."
"Well it's not a simple answer, okay?" He ran his hand through his hair in frustration. "Sorry. I'm sorry. I just know that not all the answers will be what you want to hear."
"I'm a big girl, Dean. I think I can handle it."
He snorted. "You're actually currently younger than me. How weird is that?"
That stopped her short. He had said she'd been gone for over thirty years but her mind really hadn't processed it all. "How old are you?"
The news knocked the wind out of her sails. She stared at him for ages, trying to see the little boy she knew in the haggard face of the man before her. She was having trouble doing so. He hardly smiled at all. The boy she knew always smiled.
Stop! He's not the boy you knew anymore. He's an adult now. She had to stop viewing him through the eyes of the mother of a toddler. Who knows what his life has been like. The lows, the highs, that have forged the man beside her. It broke her heart to realize she would have to start viewing him as a stranger instead of a son. Even if she could take the child out of the man, could she take the mother out of the woman?
"I need you to be straight with me. As shocking as all this is, whether I'll like the answers or not, I need to know. Dean, I feel adrift here. Lost. Please. Let me hear it from you rather than learning it all some other way."
He closed his eyes briefly, breathing a heavy sigh. Whatever it is he had to tell her didn't look like it would be good. She braced herself. What could be worse than John being dead for the last eleven years, leaving the boys to find their way alone?
He didn't answer for a while and she gave him time to gather his thoughts. She watched as a myriad of emotions flashed across his face. Mostly, though, it looked like guilt or maybe regret. Eventually a firm resolve set into his features.
"Um, I'm not as good at this as Sam is, so..."
He licked his lips and bit his bottom lip causing a brief smile to flit across her own face. When he was a boy and thinking really hard he used to bite his lip just like that.
"Me and Sam... we're uh... we're hunters."
"Like deer?" She doesn't even know why she asked that. Denial she guesses.
"Mom." He looked at her like she should know better and she did. She just didn't want to acknowledge it.
She glanced out the side window again, unable to meet his hard gaze. She was wrong. There was something worse than her husband being dead all these years.
"How? I mean... I kept all that from your father. I tried so hard."
"Let's just say Dad didn't take your death too well."
"But... but you boys too? How long? How long have you been hunting?"
Another sigh. "Forever Mom. As long as I can remember. Went on my first hunt at the age of 15 or 16."
"My God, Dean. Sam too?"
"Well, not as long. Dad and I tried to keep him out of it, but that didn't work and he's real good with the research."
"But... you said he went to Stanford." Dean's grip tightened on the wheel. "Dean?"
"Damn it, Mom! I tried okay? But I was weak, alright? Dad vanished, I was alone. I needed him. It's my fault." He slowed the car down and entered a tunnel. "We're here."
"Dean... I..." The guilt in his voice and on his face was gut wrenching.
"Look, you're not my mother anymore. Ugh. I mean... you are but you weren't there, okay? Hell you not being there is what started all this! It's not your fault, but it is what it is. We're hunters. We've been hunters. Nothing's going to change that now." He stopped the car in a massive garage with all sorts of vintage vehicles parked in it. He dropped his hands into his lap. "I'm sorry. That was... sorry."
"No. Don't be. You're right. I'm not your mother anymore. I wasn't there. I just need time to process."
"Well. Welcome to The Men of Letters bunker. The researcher half to our hunter half. Turns out Grandpa Winchester was a man of letters."
She looked around in wonder. "Really?"
"Maybe we just can't fight genetics, huh? Come on, let's go find Sammy and get you some clothes."
They got out of the car and she followed her son through a maze of hallways until they came out into a library or work center of sorts.
"Sam?" Dean called out but there was no answer. "Huh. Might not have come straight back. Let's get you cleaned up and I'll try to reach him. Come on."
He took her down another hall and entered a room and started rummaging around. There were guns of various types mounted on the wall above a bed that made her heart sink. She turned away and saw a photo of herself on a desk.
"Shit, all my stuff needs washed." She looked up to see him sniffing a shirt and then tossing it onto a small pile in the corner. "Guess we'll check Sam's stuff."
He led her next door, knocked and when there was no answer, he led her in. "This is Sam's room." He turned to a dresser and dug through it. "Here's a shirt and pants. They'll probably be too big because Sam is a sasquatch."
She took the offered items with an overwhelmed smile.
"You probably want a shower." He set her up with the necessities and headed off to contact his brother.
The shower felt fantastic and Sam's clothes were huge. She was having a hard time relating the tiny infant in a crib with these gigantic clothes. She pulled the front of the shirt up over her nose and breathed his scent in, trying to get a picture of him in her mind.
She stepped from the bathroom and glanced up and down the hall. It all looked the same and she couldn't hear Dean, so she stepped into the first open door she came to. It turned out to be Sam's room. It was stark with not much in the way of decoration. Merely functional. She did notice a framed photo of her and John on a side table. It made her feel a bit better to know the family bond was still strong through who knew how many years of hunting.
She wandered the small space and came to a small couch with a stack of books on it. She sat down and started thumbing through them. The first two were in Latin and she was surprised to see sheets of notes stuck in the pages. Dean was right about Sam being smart. Setting them aside, she picked up what appeared to be the first in a series of books. As she flipped through it, she realized it was a diary or journal of sorts. Flipping back to the beginning she read, "The Journal of a Would Be Man of Letters – April 2016 -". Picking up the other books, she checked the dates inside each of them. Not all were titled the same but they progressed back through time. She started reading at random spots. Getting way more back story on her sons than she ever dreamed or even really wanted. Various things stood out:
"Dad made a deal with Yellow Eyes to save Dean"
"I'm having visions. I think they are related to whatever Yellow Eyes did to me as a baby."
"Dean made a crossroads deal to save me, the ass!"
She came to a page that was wrinkled from having gotten wet. The words were hard to read but from what she could gather, Sam was unable to save Dean from his deal and he'd gone to hell.
She quickly closed the book. She shouldn't be reading what was obviously Sam's personal journal. The tears welled up in her eyes with the thoughts of the struggles and life they have apparently lived. Obviously Dean somehow made it back from hell, but that wasn't the point. The point was that he was ever in the place where he had made that choice in the first place. She felt like this was all her fault. She couldn't stop the tear from slipping down her cheek.
"Mom? You okay?"
She looked up to see Dean's worried face. Concern etched into every line. He crouched down in front of her and she reached out and finally gave him the hug he had tried to get when they first met.
"I never wanted this for you and Sam."