Mary Winchester had been so happy when she'd discovered that she was pregnant. All that she'd ever really wanted was a normal life, away from hunting. Husband, 2.5 kids, nice house in a small town. She'd gotten what she'd always wanted. Two beautiful boys, a husband she loved and a normal life. Although, leaving the hunt behind hadn't been as easy as she'd hoped it would be. You don't just forgot all those instincts that were engraved into you from day one.

There was the odd job she simply couldn't ignore, unfinished business and all that but for the most part she was happy and safe. She kissed her boys every night when she put them to bed, content with the thought that her boys were safe away from the world she'd tried so hard to turn her back on.

And then that night happened. She didn't regret trying to save her baby. Given a re-do she'd try to save her baby every time. Her hunter instincts would never allow her to do anything but try to save people from the things they didn't understand. But more than that, her motherly instincts would never allow her to not do everything in her power to protect her children. Yes, she'd run into Sam's nursery a hundred times over but her choices, the choices she'd made before her boys were even born; the deal with the yellow eyed demon and the choice to run into Sammy's nursery that night, had left her boys to grow up without her.

That was a life time ago though and she'd spent years in heaven with John and her babies until suddenly she was catapulted into a world she didn't recognise anymore and her two babies were no longer babies. They were men. Strangers, practically. She still loved her boys. She could see they were good men and she was proud of them but they'd grown up in the world she'd tried so hard to keep them away from. She didn't blame Dean and Sam for that.

It wasn't that she was disappointed in them, not by a long shot. It was partly, that every time she looked her boys in their eyes, she was reminded of her mistakes. What she saw, was her failings as a mother. She felt immense guilt. It was also partly due to feeling completely out of place. The world she knew was gone. And so were the children she knew. She loved her boys but she also had a hard time accepting the tired and worn men, in front of her, as her babies.

Parenting is hard. No matter what the situation. But most parents have the chance to grow up along side of their children and learn how to adapt along the way. It was different for Mary. One day she was the mother of a 4 year old little boy and a 6 month old baby and the next she was the mother of 30+ year old's when she was still technically in her 30 herself. It was a lot and it was hard. Although she could still catch glimpses of the boys she knew. She'd find them in Dean's smile or Sam's eyes and it made her heart shatter.

The truth was, she was grieving. For her dead husband and for the children that no longer existed. She just needed to get away. She didn't want to disappoint her boys. She saw the sadness in both of her babies eyes. Dean was a little more upfront about it. His pain leaking out in irritation and anger but Mary knew the anger was just a mask for his feelings of abandonment. His anger was valid but Mary could see the little boy she'd left all those years ago. Her poor baby, who's mommy died suddenly and violently. She knew that he felt like she was leaving him all over again. Sam, sweet Sammy, tried to be more understanding. But Mary could still see the pain behind his supportive words. His pleading eyes hoping that she'd change her mind and come back home. It was hard to resist those eyes.

The truth was, Mary hated herself for leaving Sam and Dean but she had to do it. She couldn't be a mother to her boys right now. She was too lost. She needed to find herself before she could begin to establish a healthy relationship with her son's. Needed to figure out how to fit into this foreign world.

She needed to be able to come to terms with the fact that her old life didn't exist anymore and to accept the new life in front of her. She needed time adapt to the fact that her little boys had grown up without her. Time to mourn the time she'd lost with them.

She knew she wasn't ready to play happy families just yet but it was difficult when her boys were sitting across from her in the greasy diner, bickering about food choices, to not breakdown. There was an easiness to the way Sam and Dean interacted with each other. Dean munching on bacon, making snarky comments about rabbit food as Sam enjoyed the healthiest option he could find in this grease pit. It was an easiness that came from years of relying on each other, routine and love.

It warmed her heart and also split her mind in two halves. Half of her wanted to go home with her boys right there and then. Push down the whirl of emotions that constantly battered her sense since Amara had brought her back, and stand by her boys side. Pretend that she was happy, for them. The other half however, wanted to bolt out the door. Take Billie up on her offer. Leave the boys to get on with their lives and the comfortable routine they seemed to be accustomed too.

Or maybe not so comfortable routine.

She'd heard what the demon had said to Sam when it was possessing Jody. She'd heard the hushed stories the other hunters told about the boys. Sam and Dean were legends among hunters which was not a good sign that they'd manage to have some resemblance of a good life between hunting.

To become a legend among hunters, you'd have to have gone through some heavy stuff and it made Mary wonder just how much of the stories about Sam and Dean were true.

Mary knew that she needed more time. She knew that to be the mother her boys deserved, she needed to get herself together but she was at odds with herself. She didn't feel like she could up and leave her boys again without addressing the things she'd heard.

As if on queue, Sam excused himself to take a phone call. Mary observed Dean. Bits of food hanging out of his mouth as he happily munched down his food. It reminded her of a four year old Dean. Mary pushed aside the ache in her chest at the thought of the Dean she remembered and considered how to word her question. She damned her children to a life without her and one of them to a life haunted by darkness because of the deal she had made with yellow eyes and when she'd been brought back, she'd left them again.

She didn't feel like she had the right to ask anything of Dean and she was almost sure he'd feel the same way but she needed to ask anyway.

"Dean?", Mary approached cautiously.

"Yeah?", Dean mumbled whilst stuffing his mouth with more food.

"The demon back at Asa's wake. It taunted Sam, said something about Lucifer's vessel? I mean, I know demons lie so you take anything they say with a pinch of pun intended but the other hunters talk about you boys. About things that you've done and things you've gone through. Is any of it true, Dean?" Mary questioned, a little more mumbly and self conscious than she usually spoke.

She was used to talking with confidence when she had to interview witnesses or interrogate monsters but her situation right now was a whole different thing. She didn't know how to approach this with Dean and she wasn't completely sure whether she wanted to hear the answer.

To Mary's dismay, Dean's entire demeanour changed at the question. Mary knew, no matter what Dean's answer was, there was some truth to the tales that were told by other hunters. God only knew just how much her son's had endured over the years. For a moment she felt a surge of anger towards John. For allowing their sweet boys to grow up in this life. Of course he hadn't been born and raised as a hunter, so John didn't know what that could do to people. That wasn't an excuse though. However oblivious John may have been to the horrors of being raised as a hunter, he still should of known better. He should have known to keep them safe, to keep them as far away from the supernatural as possible.

Maybe the supernatural world would have caught up to them eventually, considering the deal she made with yellow eyes, Mary knew she was far from blameless but John should have protected them from it for as long as possible.

Even if exposing their boys to the monsters in the closet was unavoidable, he should have at least made sure Sam and Dean had as much of a childhood as possible. Of which she could tell they hadn't. She could tell from John's journal and the seasoned hunters that the boys had become, that they hadn't even come close to having the childhood that she'd wanted for them. Her anger towards John, although intense, was fleeting. Not because she accepted how he'd raised Sam and Dean but because she struggled to piece together the John before her death to the John after her death. John was never perfect but he was sweet, loving and above all, a great dad. She didn't recognize the John that wrote the journal that Sam had given to her.

As Mary contemplated her dead husbands choices, Dean took his time swallowing his food, trying to stall answering the question Mary had just sprung on him. But Mary was patient. She let Dean take his time and eventually Dean mustered up enough words to form a coherent sentence.

"Mom, I don't know what to tell you okay? Me and Sam have been through some messed up crap. We've both been through hell, literally, but it comes with the job, ya know? You hunt the things that go bump on the night, save a few people if you can and usually end up dying young and bloody but we're okay right now, better than we've been for a long time. As for the stuff with Sammy and Lucifer, that really isn't my story to tell. It's Sam's, mom" Dean told Mary, letting more emotion and frustration seep out then he meant too.

Mary was just about to reply but was cut short when her youngest slid back into the booth that she and Dean were occupying. She noticed the way Dean's whole body changed when Sam appeared. The tired expression replaced with a cheerful one and a almost too perky smile plastered across his face. Mary guessed that Dean had probably spent the whole of his life trying to protect Sammy from anything negative.

She also guessed that from Dean's little rant a second ago and the pain that seemed an almost constant fixture behind Sam's hazel eyes, that Dean may not have been so successful in keeping the bad things away.

"Hey Sasquatch, who was it ringing you up? Was that Max guy from Asa's wake? Cause' I swear he had a thing for you Sammy boy", Dean asked grinning from ear to ear.

"Shuttup Dean", instructed Sam, blushing. Sam had always been the same. Dean would have no end of amusement at teasing Sammy about some girl with pigtails who was clearly in puppy love with him when they were growing up. "Anyway, it was a hunter. Got a job for us, heard we were in Canada and wanted us to pick it up", Sam informed mostly Dean.

"Great, I'll come with you", Mary chimed.

Sam and Dean turned to their mother in unison. Looking both shocked and pleased.

"Thought you needed some alone time?" Dean quizzed tactfully.

"I do but we're all here, might as well go together. Never too much back up, right?".

The truth was Mary needed answers about her son's and she knew if she left now, the moment would pass. She could do some soul searching later but for now, she was going on a hunt with her boys, determined to find out at least a little more about them.

"Okay, let's get moving then", Dean smiles.