IMPORTANT A/N: Hello my beautiful readers! First let me apologize for the very long wait, I know I promised an update sooner than this but hear me out. I got married :) Yes, my husband (still sounds weird every time I say it) and I got married a month ago, we also moved and I started my new job, so life got pretty hectic. I'll try my best to make some time to write, but I won't promise anything. I haven't given up on the story, I just can't guarantee that updates will be as frequent as they used to be. If I'm taking too long, please don't refrain from sending me messages – I receive and read each one of them.
I'm sure some of you missed Emmy, believe me I missed her too ;)
Emmy watched her brother's outstretched hand and bit the inside of her cheek. She wasn't a kid anymore and she was convinced she was old enough to cross the streets without assistance.
"I'm eleven now, Dean. I don't need your help to get to the other side of the street."
Not this again, Dean thought. Lately it's all she ever did – claiming to be old enough to do anything. At first he thought it was a phase or maybe even puberty and that it would be temporarily. Only Emmy seemed persistent to remind them every chance she got that she wasn't a child anymore. That didn't bode well with Dean, not because she thought she was big enough to be independent, but because at the end of the day she was still a child. She already had to grow up too fast and much of her childhood was already traumatic enough, it wasn't fair to her. Why couldn't she just be a kid for a bit longer?
"First of, you're eleven in three weeks. And second, just hold my hand, Emmy," he said, his tone betraying the fact that he had no time to discuss this again.
Emmy crossed her arms over her chest. "No, it's embarrassing."
Dean scoffed. "Too bad for you, now gimme your hand." She didn't make a move to comply and he sighed. "I got all day, sweetheart. I'm not crossing that street until you do as I say."
"Well, I got all day too." That wasn't entirely true, but Emmy kept that part to herself. She was hungry, needed to pee, and her leg ached again from walking too much, still not entirely recovered after she had taken off her cast. Dean didn't need to know about that though.
She watched as her brother leaned against the trunk of the car, his biceps bulging as he crossed his arms. He shot her an awaiting look that said he had all the patience of the world.
Emmy twisted the top of her foot into the gravel, her hands behind her back. The pressure on her bladder intensified with every passing second. She casted a sideway glance at Dean and saw that he indeed had all the patience of the world.
She took the risk to move one step ahead but he instantly noticed.
"Uh-uh," he clicked his tongue.
"Dean," she whined. "Why are you making such a big deal out of this?"
"You're the one making a big deal out this."
"I really need to go to the bathroom."
He shrugged. "The ball is in your court. You know what to do."
She groaned, knowing she was about to lose this one.
She wriggled her nose as she looked up at him – she knew he was hard to crack sometimes but she still had her secret weapon.
Puppy dog eyes.
"That's not gonna work, Emmy," he said, even though he made a point of looking away.
He cocked an eyebrow, as if waiting for her to take the next step.
She huffed and stretched out her hand in defeat. Dean stared at her hand, pretending not knowing what to do with it. Oh he was really rubbing it in now, Emmy thought. She suppressed an eye roll and grabbed his hand, pulling him off the car.
A small smirk of victory tugged at his lips as he grabbed the newspaper from the car. "Alright, here we go then." He made a show of checking his watch. "Two minutes, I thought you'd last longer."
"I really need to pee," was her defense.
As soon as they had crossed the street, she released his hand and marched towards the diner where they had met up with Sam. Dean watched her go and couldn't ignore the pang in his chest – he knew she wasn't walking away from him, but he couldn't help but feel like it. Is this what happens to little girls growing up, because he didn't like it. First they no longer want to hold your hand, what's next?
"What do you mean you don't think it will work, Bobby? It's a demon-dispelling ritual." Sam frantically typed away on his laptop, his phone tucked between his ear and shoulder. "Well, maybe we got the translation wrong."
The door jangled and Sam looked up just in time to see Emmy enter. She caught his eye but didn't make a move to approach him or greet him, she simply turned around and made a beeline for the bathroom. Sam was confused, wondering where Dean was when suddenly someone tapped the window next to him. Dean shot him a little wave with the paper still in his hand.
"Look, we can't just let Dean fry in hell while we—" Sam paused as he studied something on is computer screen, "there's got to be something that we – " The door dangled once again and Dean started to make his way over to the table. Sam cleared his throat and quickly made an end to the call. "Oh, ah, yeah, no, ah, I-I gotta go. Uh. Okay. Never mind."
Dean only caught the last few words and frowned at his brother in suspicion. "Hey. Who was that?"
Sam ran a hasty hand through his hair. "Ah, I was just ordering pizza."
Dean looked around as he took a seat. "Dude, you do realize that you're in a restaurant?"
"Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I ... just felt like pizza, you know?" he dismissed with a tight lipped smile that reeked of pretense.
"O-kay, Weirdy Mcweirderton." Dean decided not to dwell on it and cleared his throat. "So, I think I got something."
"Yeah?" Sam breathed, happy with the change of subject.
Dean put the paper down, displaying an article he had circled. "Cicero, Indiana. Falls on his own power saw."
Sam studied the article. "And? What, that's it? One power saw?"
Sam wasn't convinced. "And you think that this is a case?"
"Well, I don't know. Could be," he sounded unsure himself but clearly had an underlying motive.
"I don't know, Dean. I – I –"
"Can I sit by the window?" Emmy suddenly asked, finally joining them.
"Well, hello to you too," Sam said as he stood up to let her slide into the booth.
"We saw each other this morning," she pointed out.
"Right …" Sam didn't know what else to say, lately she always threw him off. He passed her the menu instead. "Here, pick something." Sam turned to his brother. "You were saying?"
Dean decided to get out with it. "All right, there's something better ... better in Cicero than just a case."
"And that is?"
Dean leaned back in his seat, the corners of his lips lifting up in his trademark grin. "Lisa Braeden."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Should I even ask?"
"Remember that road trip I took, uh... gosh, about eight years ago now? You were in Orlando with Dad wrapping up that banshee thing."
Sam nodded, remembering. "Yeah. Yeah, the five states, five-day – "
Dean laughed. "Yeah. Well, kind of. Although I spent most of my time in Lisa Braeden's loft."
"Wait, what about me then?" Emmy wondered out loud.
"You were with me," Dean said. "Actually, we would have never met if it weren't you. Lisa thought you were adorable."
"You used me to pick up girls?"
"What can I say, cute kids are like magnets when it comes to hot chicks," Dean winked at her.
Emmy just shook her head as she brought her gaze back to the menu. She was starting to lose her appetite.
Sam closed his laptop and leaned closer. "So let me get this straight. You want to drive all the way to Cicero just to hook up with some random chick?"
"She was a yoga teacher. It was the bendiest weekend of my life."
Emmy shoved the menu away. "I'm not hungry anymore."
Dean just snorted, apparently amused. "Come on, guys. Have a heart, huh? It's my dying wish."
Sam clenched his teeth. "Yeah, well, how many dying wishes are you gonna get?"
"As many as I can squeeze out." Dean noticed the unimpressed looks on his siblings' faces and sighed. "Come on. Smile, you guys! God knows I'm gonna be smiling after 24 hours with Gumby girl." Dean chuckled to himself. "Gumby girl … Wait, does that make me Pokey?"
Sam reluctantly gave in with a little laugh but it didn't work with Emmy. She didn't get why Dean would pretend it didn't bother him, she didn't get why he would brush it off as if it wasn't death that was awaiting him. Or maybe he just wasn't convinced he would actually die in a year. Either way, she didn't like this whole nonchalant attitude of his.
"Hey, Emmy you should come with me," Dean said. "I'm sure she'll remember you. She actually babysat you for a few hours, you were two and you used to love playing with her hair."
"Uhm, no that would just be awkward."
"Why not?" he lightly nudged her foot under the table. "I know she'll be happy to see you, honestly I think she loved you more than she loved me," he chuckled.
"I just don't wanna see her, Dean. It's not like I know her, I don't even remember how she looks like."
"So?" she looked at him, wondering if he was truly that oblivious or if he was just pretending. "Unlike you Dean, my dying wish isn't to see some woman that probably forgot about you and doesn't care that you'll be dead in a year. Unlike you Dean, I have other dying wishes."
"Where are you going?" Sam asked her when she wormed her way out of the booth.
"Yes, again," she softly replied before disappearing through the door.
Sam let out a tired sigh, facing his brother. "Dean – "
Dean held up his hand, shutting him up. "She'll come around."
"I think you should go talk to her."
"Bobby said to give her some space, you told me to give her some space, so that's exactly what I'm gonna do."
Sam twisted his lips in thought. "You're not making it easy on her, you know."
"She just doesn't understand."
"To be fair, sometimes I don't understand you either," he admitted quietly.
Dean clenched his jaw, his fingers tapping on the surface of the table. He wanted to tell his brother he didn't understand himself either. Did he want to stay alive? Yes. Did he want to die? Of course not. But a part of him already made peace with the fact that his faith was sealed, there was no turning back now so he might as well embrace it. They always said acceptance was a good step in the right direction – or was it?
"Hi, my name is Matt, I'll be serving you today. You guys ready to take your order?"
For the first time ever, even Dean lost his appetite.
Emmy lay face down on one of the beds in their current motel room. She was bored to death – she had to give up her Nintendo and iPod for a month after disobeying her brothers back in Nebraska. She didn't stay in the basement like she was supposed to and instead got out only to come face to face with a demon called Envy. She didn't do it to bring anyone in danger, it wasn't her acting out, she had just hoped that bringing herself in danger would catch a certain archangel's attention.
There wasn't a day that passed without her praying and begging for the angel to come down to help her. Emmy hadn't seen or heard from Gabriel since the day they defeated Azazel. He just up and left and never bothered to keep in touch. She still wasn't sure if he was busy or just ignoring her, but it started to irritate her – actually, it started to scare her. He was her last hope. Gabriel always said he was an angel of the lord and that there wasn't anything he couldn't do, so surely he could save Dean before it was too late. He even brought her dad back, even if it was only for a day.
She picked up her head from the bed and propped her face on her fists. SpongeBob was on but the show wasn't nearly as funny and entertaining enough to keep her mind off the fact that her brother was dying. Nothing could distract her anymore, absolutely nothing.
"Did you find anything?" she asked Sam who was sitting at the small kitchen table. He was on his laptop, surrounded by multiple books and sheets of paper.
"What about uncle Bobby? Did you call him today?"
"Yeah, I spoke to him, he hasn't found anything either." Sam closed his laptop, rubbing his eyes. He was so tired, it was taking a toll on him. He looked at his sister and shot her a sad smile. "We're not giving up until we found something. I'm not gonna let Dean die, honey. I promise."
Emmy barely nodded as she focused on the tv screen, not even disguising the fact she wasn't really paying attention.
"Emmy, come here for a second."
Her blue eyes flickered to his. "What?"
He patted his lap. "Come here."
She frowned. "Why?"
He rolled his eyes. "Just get over here."
She sighed and reluctantly made her way over to her brother. She stood in front of him, confused about what he wanted. Sam grabbed her hand and pulled her onto his lap.
"Talk to me," he said.
"About what?" She picked at her nails, anything to avoid looking at his probing eyes.
He squeezed her lightly. "You know what."
"I don't have anything to say." She let her arm hang over his shoulder, still not meeting his gaze. "And you already know how I feel."
"I think I know how you feel, but I wanna hear you say it out loud."
She was quiet for a full minute, swinging her legs to the rhythm of her pounding heart. Sam didn't push, he knew time was precious especially now, but he reminded himself that he should always have time for his baby sister.
"I hate it," she eventually said, barely over a whisper. "I hate that he made a deal, I hate that he only has a year, I hate that it was the only thing he could do to save you. I hate all of it."
Sam watched as a single tear rolled down her freckled cheek landing right on top of his hand in her lap.
"I hate him," she said through quivering lips. "I hate Dean."
Sam swallowed hard. "Yeah?"
"I hate him for not trying harder, I hate him for not caring," she admitted with a sniff. "It's almost like he has given up, like he wants to die."
"Dean's not giving up, Emmy. He's just not giving in," Sam explained as he tucked some hair behind her ear. "He's not letting this deal affect his life, he doesn't wanna change anything just because his time will be up in less than a year."
"Well it's frustrating." Emmy brushed away another silent tear. "I remember my eight birthday, you were in Stanford, Dad was on a hunt and left me with Dean. He had promised to take me to the new Harry Potter movie and then he'd take me to the beach. He was really sick that day, he had a high fever and kept throwing up. I told him we could stay at the motel and just watch a movie there but he insisted he was fine. We ended up having a great day, I never had so much fun – it was one of the best birthdays ever. That night, after I took a shower, I found him passed out on the bed. At first I thought he was asleep but he wouldn't wake up. I called 911 and they sent an ambulance. Turned out he had to have his appendix removed. If he had waited till the next day, it would've burst and he could've died."
Sam stroked her back. "That sounds like Dean, alright." Way too much pride to ask for help until it was too late.
"He's never gonna ask us to help him out of the deal, Sammy. He'll never ask us to do anything for him. He thinks that it's his job to take care of us and not the other way around," she muttered into his shoulder.
"We'll find a way to get to him, I know we will," he reassured her as he ran his hand through her hair. "Maybe we should make him feel less bad about the things he does. It's just his way of coping with everything, pretending everything is okay. You think you can try? For him."
She thought about it as she rested her cheek on his shoulder, his breath fanning against her forehead. "I'll try."
Sam half-smiled against her temple before pressing a kiss.
Emmy stayed in her brother's arms, feeling safe and protected. She realized she didn't reach out to Sam and Dean as much as she used to. She was fully aware of the fact that sometimes she was pushing them away and she wasn't sure why she was doing it in the first place – was it space she needed or was it something else?
Sam was lost in his own thoughts as he buried his nose into Emmy's soft hair, he could never get tired of the smell of home. He missed these moments where she would just let him hold her. He used to think she was the one who needed that comfort, the physical touch but really, it was him who needed it more than anything else. He squeezed his arms tighter around her and tried to cherish the moment while it lasted when someone suddenly knocked on the door.
Emmy felt Sam tense up. Dean had the key so it couldn't be him. No one else knew about their whereabouts. The person knocked again and Sam jumped into action. He put Emmy down and sat her down on one of the beds, out of sight from the door. He checked if his gun was still tucked in his waistband and kept his hand on the handle as he checked through the peephole.
A blonde woman smiled up at him as if she knew he was checking.
"Who is it?" Emmy asked.
Sam put a finger in front of his lips, signaling her to stay quiet before opening the door a crack.
"Hello, Sam." The blonde smiled. "You're not gonna let me in? I saved your life last week, the least you can do is treat me to a beer."
From the first time she lay her eyes upon the strange woman, Emmy instantly felt something wasn't right. She couldn't put her finger on it, but this woman emitted bad vibes causing tingles running up her spine. It was a gut feeling telling her this woman couldn't be trusted even though she did save their lives not too long ago. Call it intuition or merely a guess, Emmy couldn't shake the feeling off.
"You've been following us since Lincoln," Sam said as he leaned against a dresser.
"Not much gets by you, huh?" She looked around the motel room with mild interest. Her eyes met Emmy's and she smiled. "Hey sweetie, looks like you managed to wash off all the demon blood from your pretty face. Sorry about that."
Sam cleared his throat, not trusting the woman enough to communicate with his sister. "That knife you had. You can kill demons with that thing?"
"Sure comes in handy when I have to swoop in and save the damsels in distress." She took a seat at the table and munched on some M&M's Emmy hadn't finished.
"Where'd you get it?" Sam wanted to know.
Sam's arms crossed over his torso. "Why are you following us?"
She shot the siblings a conniving smile. "I'm interested in you two."
"Well, baby Winchester here stood up against Envy like it was nothing. And I heard some badass things about the way she brought yellow eyes to his knees." She turned to Emmy, cocking an inviting eyebrow. "We can totally be BFF's if you want. And you," she focused back on Sam, "You're tall. I love a tall man. And then there's the whole antichrist thing."
Sam straightened his back. "Excuse me?"
"You know, generation of psychic kids, Yellow-Eyed Demon rounds you up, celebrity death match ensues," she explained with an air of nonchalance. "You're the sole survivor."
Sam's face fell.
"How do you know about that?" Emmy questioned.
"Emmy," Sam gave her a look, a look that said to leave the talking to him.
"I'm a good hunter," the woman who had yet to be named shrugged. "So, Yellow Eyes had some pretty big plans for you two."
"Had being the key word," he corrected her.
She threw another M&M in her mouth and looked at Emmy. "Good thing you had your saving angel flying in before things went from bad to worse."
Emmy froze. How the hell did she know about Gabriel? Emmy never told her brothers about what really happened that day with Azazel – how he got hooked on her blood, how he almost sacrificed her, or how she somehow found the power to stand up against him until Gabriel came in before things went south.
She felt Sam's questioning eyes on her but couldn't bring herself to meet his gaze without giving away the lie about to leave her mouth.
"Your saving angel? What the hell is she talking about, Emmy?"
"Uhm, she's talking about Dad," Emmy stammered.
The woman's eyes twinkled as if she knew a secret no one else knew. Emmy just hoped she'd change the subject.
"What?" Sam asked again, confused.
"Good job with killing the demon," the blonde lady said causing Emmy to let out a breath she didn't even know she was holding. "It doesn't change the fact that you're special ... in that Anthony Michael Hall E.S.P. visions kind of way."
Sam shook his head firmly. "No. No, that's stuff's not happening anymore. Not since Yellow-Eyes died."
She threw her hair back, her head slightly tilted to the side as she eyed him up and down. "Well, I'm thinking you're still a pretty big deal. I mean, after all that business with your mom."
"What about our mom?" Emmy asked but instantly clamped her lips shut when her brother
shot her a pointed look.
"You know, what happened to her friends," she said. Judging by the looks of the two Winchesters, she knew that they actually didn't know. "Oh, you've got a little bit of catching up to do, my friends. So, why don't you look into your mom's pals…" She picked up a pen on the table and marched over to Sam to write a number on his hand. "…and then give me a call and we'll talk again?"
Sam opened his mouth to say something but she cut him off as she got up to leave. "And, by the way, you do know there's a job in this town, right?"
The door closed and Emmy was rendered speechless for a few seconds. "What was that?"
"I'm not sure …" Sam trailed just as his phone rung. He picked up and soon Dean's voice sounded through the earpiece.
"Dude, there is a job here."
Sam put the phone on speaker. "Really?" he wasn't surprised, not after the strange visit.
"Yeah. You know that one freak accident we read about in the paper? Turns out there's four more that never even made the paper, all in this ... Morning Hill gated community. People falling off of ladders and drowning in their Jacuzzis all over the neighborhood."
"Weird," Emmy mouthed to her brother.
That night when Dean entered with their food, he frowned when he saw his sister setting up a makeshift bed on the couch.
He dropped the Styrofoam boxes on the table and exchanged a questioning look with Sam.
Sam just shrugged.
Dean took off his leather jacket and put it on the back of a chair. "Whatcha up to, cutie pie?"
She turned to him and stretched her hand, palm up. "Can I have the keys to the Impala, my blanket's still in the backseat."
"What do you need your blanket for?"
"To cover myself when I'm asleep." Duh.
Dean turned to face the beds. "These beds are already made."
"I'm not gonna sleep there, I'm gonna sleep on the couch." She wriggled her fingers for the keys.
Sam sighed. "There's enough room on the beds, Emmy."
Emmy's eyes flickered between her two brothers. "It's not like I asked you to go get me my own room, I just wanna sleep on the couch that's all."
Dean seemed to contemplate his next move as he bit the inside of his cheek. He eventually dug his hand into his pocket for the car keys. "I'll go get it," he said before leaving the room.
"Emmy – "
"I know, Sammy," she interjected before hearing another lecture about how she had to be more thoughtful. "It's just the couch."
He rubbed his fingers over his forehead. "Well, to him it's more than just the couch. You're distancing yourself from him."
"It's just the couch," she insisted.
Sam let out a tired breath, not in the mood to argue with her. "Just remember what I told you. You said you'd try."
Emmy didn't say anything as she plopped herself down on the couch. Dean reentered the room and passed her her favorite blanket.
"Thanks," she tried to smile but he didn't meet her eye.
"Well, I don't know about you two but I'm starving."
Emmy was about to say she wasn't hungry until she noticed the box with chicken nuggets, her favorite. Dean surely made it hard for her to hate him – and she hated that.
As she sat at the table, Sam reached around her for his food but not without nudging her shoulder, as if reminding her of their deal.
Emmy sucked in a breath before slowly letting it out. She pushed her hair out of her face and turned to Dean. "So how did it go with Lisa today, was she happy to see you?"
Dean, slightly taken off guard, swallowed down his food before answering. "It was alright. I wouldn't exactly call it happy, but she sure seemed appeased to see me."
"Are you meeting up with her again?"
Dean wasn't sure where the sudden interest came from but he wasn't about to complain about it either. He thought Emmy made it clear that seeing Lisa shouldn't be one of his top priorities but she seemed to have changed her mind.
"I think so yeah, tomorrow maybe."
"Can I come with you?" she asked as she munched on her chicken nugget.
A little smile broke on his face. "Yeah, why not. She'd love to see you, she asked about you, you know."
Emmy lifted an eyebrow in surprise. "She did?"
"You bet she did, I even showed her a picture and all."
"The one Sammy took when Rumsfeld dragged you into that lake."
Emmy dropped her food. "You did not, Dean that one's embarrassing. My hair looked like a rat's nest, and I had mud all over me."
"Watcha talking about, you looked adorable," Dean smirked playfully.
"It's the dimples," Sam agreed, flashing one of his own.
"Always the dimples," Dean chuckled.
Emmy pouted. "I can't believe you did that, Sammy. You said you wouldn't show it to anyone. I mean of all pictures, you choose that one."
Dean threw a curly fry in his mouth. "That's not the only picture, I also showed her that one when you fell asleep in the Impala."
Emmy's mouth dropped. "You take pictures of me when I'm asleep? That's creepy, Dean."
"Well stop being so damn cute all the time," he retorted with a pinch to her cheek.
She pushed his hand away causing him to retaliate by repeatedly poking her side. And before you knew it she ended up trapped in his arms while he tickled her, eliciting a string of giggles out of her.
Sam took a sip from his beer as he watched his siblings. He didn't want to miss moments like these.
While Sam took it upon him to speak to one of the mothers who had recently lost her husband, Dean and Emmy went to the park to see Lisa and her son. Dean hadn't told Emmy anything about Ben, he didn't want her to jump to conclusions like he did. He just hoped she wouldn't notice or put two and two together.
Dean saw Ben sitting on a bench, looking sad and bothered. He pulled Emmy along and she frowned when she realized where they were going.
"Who is that?" she asked quietly.
"That's Lisa's son," he said, hoping she wouldn't ask any more questions. "Hey, Ben."
The boy looked up, eyes twinkling in recognition. "Hey. You were at my party."
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm Dean." Dean put a hand on Emmy's shoulder, gently pulling her forward. "This is Emmy, my little sister."
Not knowing what to do, Emmy just half-waved. "Hi."
Ben blinked. "Hi. You're really pretty."
Emmy's eyes widened briefly. "Um, thanks …?"
Dean cleared his throat in an attempt to stop wherever this was going. "Everything okay? Something wrong?"
Emmy noticed Ben holding an empty case. She looked out at the field and saw a group of four boys playing a Gameboy. "Is that your game they're playing with?"
Ben dropped his head in embarrassment. "Ryan Humphrey borrowed it, and now he won't give it back."
"Well, you want me to go— " Dean started.
"No!" Ben jumped up. "Don't go over there! Only bitches send a grown-up."
Dean's lips twitched. "You're not wrong."
"And I am not a bitch." Ben looked at Emmy as he said it, as if wanting to prove himself to her.
"You're not a bitch," she agreed for his sake.
Dean threw her a disapproving look. What? She mouthed, Ben looked younger than her and he was allowed to say it, so why can't she? Always with the double standards.
Dean motioned to one of the boys. "Is that Humphrey? The one that needs to lay off the burgers?"
Ben nodded, smiling tightly.
"Hmm," was all Dean said and Emmy instantly recognized that look in his eyes.
"Dean, no." She knew that look, that was the 'I'll beat anyone up who dares to bother you'-look. Throughout her childhood, Dean had that look many times. When this boy Bentley in kindergarten ate her lunch, or when some old lady commented on the way her brothers dressed her, or you know, when a demon threatened to kill her.
Dean looked down at her innocently. "I'm not gonna do anything."
Emmy winced when Ben kicked the boy hard between the legs. The poor kid crumpled to the ground in pain and Ben took his game back, smiling triumphantly at Dean.
"Thanks. Dude, that was awesome!"
"Benjamin. Isaac. Braeden! What's gotten into you?"
Emmy startled and looked up to see a brunette who had the exact same eyes as Ben. Ah, this must be Lisa.
"He stole my game," Ben exclaimed.
"So you kick him? Since when is—" she paused, suddenly noticing Dean who failed terribly at hiding the smug grin. "Did you tell my son to beat up that kid?"
Dean tucked his hands in his pockets as he lifted his shoulders. "What? Somebody had to teach him how to kick the bully in the nads."
Lisa didn't look amused at all. "Who asked you to teach him anything?"
"Just relax - "
"Uh, I'm sorry, it won't happen again," Emmy interjected before Dean made everything worse.
As if noticing her for the first time, Lisa's face softened. "You must be Emmy. My god, you have grown. Those pictures didn't do you any justice."
Emmy smiled awkwardly, she hoped her cheeks didn't burn up from embarrassment.
Dean smirked. "Pretty good genes, huh? She got that from me."
Emmy felt her face warm up, no longer able to fight the blush. She rolled her eyes at her brother, always making a fool out of himself and her.
Lisa laughed but it didn't reach her eyes. "What are you even still doing here?" She grabbed Dean's arm and walked a few steps away to talk to him in a hushed voice.
"Your brother's really cool," Ben told Emmy.
"He's awesome," he smirked and the familiarity of it struck Emmy. "Like really awesome."
"If you say so … Uhm, Ben how old are you?"
"Oh, I'm eight. But don't worry, Mom says that I'll be taller in a few years," he reassured her. "Oh and much stronger too," he added with a wink.
"That's – that's good to know."
"How old are you?"
"I'm turning eleven in a few weeks."
Disappointment washed over his face.
"What's wrong?" Emmy asked.
"You're way too old for me."
"U-uh, I'm – what?" Emmy stuttered.
Before he could say anything else, Lisa came back. "Ben, let's go. Emmy, it was really nice to meet you. You try keep that brother of yours in line for me, huh?"
"I'll try," she half-smiled.
Ben threw a glance at the two Winchesters and shrugged out of his mother's grip. He ran towards Dean and grabbed him in a quick hug before moving to Emmy and doing the same.
"Ben!" Lisa called after him.
Emmy watched as they left and bit her bottom lip in thought. Dean could practically hear the wheels turning in her head and decided to counteract before she'd start voicing her suspicions.
"He's not mine."
Emmy looked up at her brother. "But he acts exactly like you. I mean he doesn't look like you at all but the way he talks – he said awesome twice, and he winked and smirked. His jacket even looked like yours. That's weird Dean."
He just chuckled as he led her to the Impala. "You know what would be weird, if he had to call you auntie Emmy."
Emmy shuddered. "That would be really weird, especially because he tried to hit on me. I think. I don't even know what that was to be honest."
"Wait, you're not even mad about it?" Emmy couldn't believe it, this was so not Dean. The Dean she knew would beat the living daylights out of everyone who even looked at her the wrong way.
"I mean he's just a little boy, it's all talk really. Besides, I can't blame him for having good taste," he grinned cheekily.
Emmy just shook her blonde little head as she got into the car. Dean laughed as he rounded the car to the driver's seat. He was about to get in when he noticed three young kids staring at him.
Sam couldn't shake off the image of the woman with the strange injury on the back of her neck. It was oval with multiple dots around it, reminding him of a mark from a sucker or teeth. He was currently at his computer, doing research when Dean entered with Emmy.
"Something's wrong with the kids in this town," was the first thing Dean said.
"Yeah. Tell me about it," Sam snorted. "So, what do you know about changelings?"
"Evil monster babies?" Emmy said, but when both her brothers turned to stare at her she instantly regretted opening her mouth.
Dean narrowed his eyes. "What do you know about changelings?"
Sam couldn't help but notice her fidgeting and decided to put her out of her misery. "Bobby gave her an encyclopedia about every creature ever found."
Now it was Emmy's turn to squint her eyes. "How did you know about the book?" Bobby had made sure to use another cover and she swore she always made sure to keep it out of her brothers' sight.
"Well, maybe you shouldn't fall asleep with the book wide open."
Emmy cursed herself under her breath. She should've been more careful than that.
Dean clapped his hands. "Alright, where is this book?"
Emmy jumped in front of him before he could get to her duffel bag. "Dean, please! I'm not doing anything wrong, it's just reading. There's no harm in that."
"Emmy, sweetheart, we already told you that we don't want you involved in this line of business."
"Oh come on Dean! It's not like I'm hunting or anything, I'm just … educating myself." Emmy thought it sounded better in her head.
"This isn't up for discussion, now where's the book?" as he rummaged through her clothes in the bag, his hand suddenly touched something hard. He took out the book and scoffed at the fake cover. "Grimm's, A Timeless Collection of Fairytales? Bobby, you sonuvabitch."
Emmy knew there was no way she could change Dean's mind, so she decided to try with her other brother. "Sammy? Please lemme keep the book."
Sam twisted his mouth as he thought about it. "Dean," he sighed, "She's right, it doesn't do any harm to know about this stuff. I mean she has seen some of these monsters, it doesn't hurt to know what they are and what they do and how to defeat them."
Dean clenched his jaw. "We promised Dad, Sam."
Oh yeah, sure, the Dad-cart.
"See it as uh, prevention, or by way of precaution," Sam tried. "What if she's in danger, knowing about the monsters could help her. The book might come in handy, you know."
Emmy watched Dean closely, waiting for the signs of him giving up.
Dean put the book down, shooting them a challenging look. "Right, when did the book ever come in handy."
"Well, not yet, but maybe someday – "
"Exactly Sam," Dean interrupted, "She never needed it before cause we are there to protect her, that's more than enough."
Sam opened his mouth to say something but knew there was no way he could go crack Dean's hardheaded skull. He looked at Emmy, eyes shining in defeat.
Dean ripped off the fake cover and snorted when he read the true title, "The Element Encyclopedia of Supernatural Creatures: The Ultimate A-Z of Fantastic Beings from Myth and Magic." He flickered through the pages and huffed, "This thing should be R-rated."
Emmy was quiet as she sat on the couch. She wouldn't allow them to take this book away from her. She was in this life whether they liked it or not. Her brothers couldn't keep shutting her out to protect her, it never worked. Keeping her close meant she was in as much danger as they were. They thought by locking her up in the Impala or motel room kept her safe, but no one was ever safe around Sam and Dean. Sure, they'd do anything to keep her out of harm's way, they would literally die for her, but they could never keep the monsters away – because wherever the Winchesters go, the monsters go too.
"It saved my life once," she spoke.
"The book. It did save my life once."
Dean's eyes searched her face for an explanation. "When?"
"When the Djinn caught us."
Sam knew it. He remembered when Dean killed the Djinn but he could've sworn Emmy woke up before that.
Emmy swallowed hard. "I knew how to escape the fantasy 'cause I read it in the book. If I hadn't known about it … " She didn't finish her sentence, letting them to fill in the blanks.
She knew it wasn't the truth. Gabriel was the one who had really saved her. Emmy wasn't even sure if she had it in her to put an end to her life. She didn't think she was strong enough.
Dean wet his lips as he ran both his hands through his hair. "Fine." He dropped the book in her lap but held her chin between his fingers. "Reading only. If you so much as do anything written in that book, I won't hesitate to burn it to ashes."
Good enough for me, Emmy thought. She wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him tight. "Thanks."
Dean stood up with her in his arms and hugged her back. "What am I gonna do with you?" he mumbled into her hair.
Emmy kissed his cheek before getting back on her feet.
"So," Sam said, getting back to where they had left off. "No Emmy, they're not necessarily babies."
A thought struck Dean as he remembered those weird kids staring at him at the park. "They're kids? Creepy, 'stare at you like you're lunch' kids?"
Sam nodded. "Yeah. There's one at every victim's house. Changelings can perfectly mimic children. According to lore, they climb in the window, snatch the kid. Y'know, there were marks on the windowsill at one of the kid's houses. Looked to me like blood. "
"Reminds me of the Shtriga," Emmy muttered, the memory causing chills to run up her spine.
"Yeah, but not exactly," Sam said.
Dean joined Emmy on the couch, throwing an arm around her shoulder. "So the changeling grabs a kid, assumes its form, joins the happy fam just for kicks?"
"Not quite." Sam grabbed his laptop to read the article he had found. "Changelings feed on the mom: synovial fluid. The moms have these odd bruises on the back of their necks. Changelings can drain them for a few weeks before mom finally croaks."
"And then there's dad and the babysitter," Dean added.
"Seems like anyone who gets between the changeling and its food source ends up dead."
Dean twirled a strand of Emmy's hair around his finger as he eyed the torch in the corner of the room. "And fire's the only way to waste them?"
Dean sighed. "Great. We'll just bust in, drag the kids out, torch them on the front lawn. That'll play great with the neighbors."
"What about the real ones?" Emmy wondered out loud. "What happens to them?"
"According to lore, they stash them underground somewhere," Sam answered. "I don't know why, but if it's true, the real kids might be out there."
Dean patted the arm of the couch. "We better start looking. So, any kid in the neighborhood is vulnerable?"
"Any kid with a Mom," Emmy said, shooting Dean a knowing look.
Dean caught on. Ben. "We gotta make a stop. I want to check on someone."
Emmy pushed her face against the window of the Impala, knowing that Dean hated when she smooched his baby but there were more important things going on right now.
She watched as he talked to Lisa, trying to convince her to get out of town until they've dealt with these so called changelings.
"It looks like she thinks Dean is crazy," Sam commented next to her.
"Ben seems off …" Emmy noticed.
Sam inched closer to see more clearly. "What do you mean?"
"I mean look at the way he's staring at Dean, like he's irritated with him or something."
"Well, Dean did hook up with his mom years ago, maybe he's not happy he's back."
"No, you should've seen him when he was around Dean. He worships him, thinks he's awesome."
Sam frowned. "You don't think Ben is – "
Emmy shook her head. "According to Dean he's not his son."
"That's a relief."
The door slammed in Dean's face and Emmy felt bad that it didn't go as well as they had planned. Dean didn't give up though and creeped along the house to watch through one of the windows.
"What is he doing?" Emmy whispered.
It wasn't long before Dean came back to the Impala. Emmy scooted over so he could sit behind the wheel. "They took Ben. He's changed."
"What?! Are you sure?" Sam and Emmy said at the same time.
"Yeah, I'm sure. I checked his windowsill," Dean forced through gritted teeth.
"Blood?" Sam guessed.
"I don't think it's blood, and I think I know where the kids are." Dean put the key in the ignition and revved up the car. "But first I gotta drop Emmy off at the motel."
"You can't just leave me at the motel," she protested. "Think about it, I'll be all by myself while there's a monster on the loose hunting children."
Dean clamped his teeth, he hated how right she was. "What is this, let's prove Dean how wrong he is-day?"
"You, stay in the car."
Emmy looked at Dean's warning finger and nodded.
"I mean it Emmy, if you're not here when I get back you can say goodbye to that book."
"I got it, Dean."
"Dean, come on we gotta go," Sam ushered him, the torch and other weapons in his hands.
Dean shot his sister one last pointed look before following Sam inside a semi-finished house. There was a For Sale-sign and a large mound of dirt around the house – the same red dirt they had found on the windows.
Emmy bit her nails while she waited for her brothers. She wished she had her phone with her or something to kill the time, she never got used to waiting – never knowing if her brothers would get out alive or not.
Footsteps alarmed her and Emmy slid down her seat to hide herself. A redheaded woman was walking towards the house. She seemed focused on something because she didn't even bat an eye when she saw the Impala parked on the side of the road. Emmy was confused as to who the lady was until she caught her reflection on one of the side mirrors of the car. She gasped but quickly covered her mouth before the monster could hear her. The face of the woman was similar to the picture Emmy had seen in her book – eyes like black holes, a round mouth with rounds of sharp teeth and skin gaunt and grey.
Emmy's breath hitched as the woman walked into the house. That's when she noticed Dean had forgotten to lock the car in his haste.
Inside, Dean and Sam wandered about with their flashlights when Dean heard a noise coming from the basement. He motioned for Sam to stay up while he went down.
Dean took each step with caution, his hunter senses on high alert. His light shone upon a series of cages, each containing kids, the abducted kids. That's when he recognized one of them.
"Ben... Ben... it's okay. I'm gonna get you out of here, okay?" Dean managed to open his cage and got him out. Ben hugged him and Dean ruffled his hair. "Alright, c'mon let's go. Hurry up."
Meanwhile, Sam was still looking around the house when the redheaded woman entered.
"What do you think you're doing?"
Dammit, he thought. He recognized her as the Real Estate lady.
"This is private property, I'm calling the police."
Sam lowered his gun. "Ah, I'm sorry, I'm going, I just – " he trailed off when he caught a movement behind the woman. A blonde head peeked up at him from behind a chair. Emmy? Sam was about to scold her but she held up a finger against her lips and pointed at a mirror hanging on the wall. Sam was confused until he saw the reflection of the woman and her real face.
"You heard me! Get out!" she shouted as she slowly advanced towards him.
Pretending to leave, Sam searched for his bag. "I – I could — just let me get my bag. I'm going. I, I don't mean to cause any trouble."
Sam reached for his bag and pulled out the flame-thrower, aiming it at her. "Emmy, get down!" There was a whooshing sound with the flame and the woman disappeared.
"Is she like the mother?" Emmy panted, slowly getting out of her hiding place.
"We need to tell Dean." Sam grabbed her hand, pulling her along to the basement.
Dean was in the middle of freeing the kids out of their cages. He had managed to smash the window and cleared off the glass so they could crawl out.
"Hey! Dean!" Sam shouted. "There's a mother."
"A mother changeling?" Dean momentarily stopped helping a girl out of the window when he noticed his sister. "Emmy! What the hell did I just tell you?"
"We got to get these kids out quick," Sam pressed, moving to help the real redheaded woman out of her cage.
Emmy gulped when Dean's fierce eyes were on her. Maybe this wasn't such a great idea.
"Oh little girl, you're in for one hell of a treat."
"I was just trynna warn you guys," she tried to explain.
Dean shut her up with a stern glare. "I don't wanna hear another word coming out of you. Do you realize how dangerous this is? What if you have gotten hurt?"
"I'm fine, aren't I?"
"You call this fine? Look around you, Emmy! This monster is out for kids, you could've been one of them!"
"I couldn't have been one of them 'cause I'm not like them! These kids have a mom and I don't have one, Dean!" she reminded him, tears pooling in her eyes. "I don't have a mom, or a dad for that matter. This monster has nothing on some poor orphan like me."
Dean's throat constricted with the sudden growing lump. He swallowed hard, pushing it down in an attempt to compose himself. Hearing his sister say it out loud always tugged at his heartstrings. Seeing her between all these children who were crying for their parents – parents who were out there waiting for their real kids to get back into the safety of their arms. But sweet, little Emmy didn't have that.
Sam looked between his siblings as he helped the children through the window. Now was not the right time to argue. "Dean, hurry up, we have to – "
Sam didn't have the chance to finish his sentence when one of the girls suddenly screamed.
Just as they looked up to see the changeling mother, Dean went flying into the air, landing on his back. Sam was quick to grab the flamethrower but before he could light it up, she kicked the lighter out of his hand. She lunged at him and punched him before throwing him across the room.
Dean had gotten a hold on a two by four and clocked her but she was too strong, knocking him down again.
Dean groaned. "Emmy, get them out of here!"
Emmy turned to Ben. "C'mon, help me with this cage." The two managed to drag one of the cages under the window, using it to help the others climb through the window. "Quick, hurry up, hurry up!" The children all got out one by one. "Ben, let's go!"
He was hesitant as he watched Dean and Sam fight the changeling mother.
Emmy put a hand on his shoulder. "Don't worry about them. Trust me, they know what they're doing."
Ben nodded reluctantly before crawling out of the window. Emmy followed closely.
The children huddled together and jumped when a bright fire lit up the entire basement. It wasn't long before the Winchester brothers got out too. They looked worn out and sported several bruises and cuts, but they were alive and that's all that mattered to Emmy.
She smiled to herself and nudged Ben. "Awesome, right?"
Emmy felt tears stinging her eyes as she watched Lisa sobbing, hugging Ben closely.
"Oh my god," she cried, taking him in to make sure he was alright. "What the hell just happened?"
Dean pressed his lips into a thin line. "I'll explain everything if you want me to, but, trust me, you probably don't. The important thing is, is that Ben's safe."
Lisa grabbed Dean in a bone crushing hug. "Thank you, thank you."
"I'm gonna give you guys some time," Sam said, starting to leave.
"Wait," Emmy was about to follow but Ben had grabbed her hand.
"Wanna see my new CD player?"
Emmy looked up at Dean, indecisive.
He just ran his hand down her hair with a smile.
"Come on," Lisa smiled, inviting them inside.
"You know how I never mentioned my job? This is my job," Dean said as he accepted the beer.
Lisa let out a heavy breath. "I so didn't want to know that." She looked at Ben who was letting Emmy listen to some of his favorite songs. "Do you think he'll be okay?
"Yeah. I think he'll be fine." Dean couldn't help but smile when Emmy laughed at something Ben had said to her. "Okay, seriously... I mean, you're a hundred percent sure that he is not mine, right?"
"You're off the hook. I did a blood test when he was a baby," she reassured him with a simper. "There was this guy – some bar back in a biker joint."
Dean looked somewhere between shocked and surprised.
"What? I had a type. Leather jacket, couple of scars, no mailing address? I was there. Guess I was a little wild back then. Before I became a mom. So yeah. You can relax."
"Good." Dean looked back at Ben and Emmy with a longing feeling he couldn't explain.
Ben was a good kid and Dean definitely wouldn't have minded being his dad, but being a dad came with a lot of responsibilities. He already felt like a dad when it came to Emmy, he had raised her single handedly but he could never replace their father. It's still hurt him to think that John wasn't her biological father even though the man never showed it. It wasn't fair to Emmy to not have someone to call Daddy, everyone deserved to have a man to look up to, even Ben. But Dean could barely be a dad for Emmy, let alone to some kid that wasn't even blood related. As sad as it was, these two innocent children were better off without a father figure, especially if said father figure would be gone in less than a year.
Lisa tried to read the expression on his face. "I... I swear you look disappointed."
Dean shrugged out of his daze and sipped from his beer. "Yeah, I don't know. It's weird, you know your life... I mean, this house and a kid... it's not my life. Never will be. Some stuff happened to me recently, and, uh... Anyway, a guy in my situation – you start to think, you know. I'm gonna be gone one day, and what am I leaving behind besides a car?"
Lisa licked her lips. "I don't know. Ben may not be your kid, but ... he wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for you. That's a lot if you ask me."
"You know, just for the record... you got a great kid. I would've been proud to be his dad."
Lisa didn't know what came over her when she leaned up to kiss him. She wished she could kiss him longer but something made her pull away.
She laughed a little, nervous. "Look, if, um... if you want to stick around for a while... you're welcome to stay."
Dean looked at her wistfully. "I can't. I got a lot of work to do, and it's not my life."
She smiled at him, understanding but also slightly sorrowful. He was a good man, one of a kind.
"Emmy, you coming sweetheart?"
Emmy took off the headphones and handed them back to Ben. "You got a great taste in music, Dean would've been proud of you."
Ben just smiled.
"Uhm, I gotta go now. Maybe we'll see each other again." Emmy knew it was never going to happen but they said to never say never.
"Yeah, that'd be cool," Ben nodded. He watched as she left but quickly called her name. "Uhm, you're pretty awesome too."
Emmy felt herself smile. "Right back at ya."
Sam threw his phone on the bed and groaned. For the past hour, he'd done nothing but call every name in his dad's journal, every one of them that knew his mother, family members and friends.
"Oh my god." He put his hand in his hands. "They're dead. All of them. All of my mom's friends. Her doctor, her uncle – everyone who ever knew her, systematically wiped off the map one at a time. Someone went through a hell of a lot of trouble trying to cover their tracks."
"Yep. The Yellow-Eyed Demon."
Sam looked up at the blonde lady in suspicion. "So, what's your deal? You show up wherever I am. You know all about me. You know all about my mom."
She rolled her eyes. "I already told you. I'm –"
"Oh, right, right. Yeah, yeah. Just a hunter. Just some hunter who happens to know more about my own family than I do." Sam didn't believe a word of it. "Just tell me who you are."
She looked around the motel room, her eyes settling on a pink hoodie over the back of the couch. "Where's baby Winchester?"
"She's not here." Sam didn't like the interest she had in his sister, not when he still didn't know who she was or what her intentions were.
"You don't trust me?"
"Just tell me who you are."
She laughed. "It doesn't matter."
Sam stood up, fed up with her secretive attitude. "Just tell me who you are!"
The smile dropped and her face grew cold. "Fine." She blinked once, her eyes going demon-black, before going back to normal.
Sam backed up, instantly fumbling in his bag.
"Think twice before going for that holy water."
Sam pulled out a flask and held it out, nostrils flaring. "Just give me one reason I should."
"I'm here to help you, Sam."
Sam scoffed. "Is this some kind of joke?" And to think he brought Emmy this close to a frikkin' demon!? Sam felt sick to his stomach.
"God's honest truth... or whatever," she swore offhandedly.
"You're a demon."
"Don't be such a racist. I'm here because I want to help you," she insisted. "And I can if ... you trust me."
"Trust you?" What did she take him for, an idiot?
"Sam, calm down," she said, eying the flask with holy water.
"Start talking," Sam ordered, no longer beating around the bush. "All those murders... what was the demon trying to cover up?"
"I don't know."
"What happened to my mother?"
"I honestly don't know!" she repeated firmly. "That's what I'm trying to find out. All I know is that it's about you … and Emmy."
Sam's face faltered. "What?"
Ruby laughed. "Don't you get it, Sam? It's all about you. What happened to your mom, what happened to her friends. They're trying to cover up what he did to you and your sister. And I want to help you figure it out."
Sam was confused. "Why would you want to help me?"
"I have my reasons. Not all demons are the same, Sam. Not all of us want the same thing. Me?" she shrugged. "I want to help you from time to time. That's all. And if you let me, there's something in it for you."
"What could you possibly—"
"I could help you save your brother."
Dean couldn't keep his eyes off Emmy as she ate her ice cream. She was careful not to spill or get anything on her clothes. She ate with precision and caution. It seemed like only yesterday when Dean had to pass her around wipes to clean herself up. He used his handkerchief more on her than anything else. And now – now there wasn't even a drop of ice cream on her face.
When did she grow up so fast?
He was right there, yet he seemed to have missed it all. And to think he wouldn't see her grow into a beautiful young lady, just tore his heart apart.
"I'm sorry," Emmy suddenly said, licking her ice cream.
"I'm sorry it didn't work out with Lisa. She seemed really nice, and Ben wasn't too bad either."
"Really?" Dean flicked some hair out of her eyes. "You two seemed to get along."
"I mean if I ignore the similarities between you two, he's kinda cool."
Dean snickered. "You like him cause he reminds you of me."
She shot him a look as she licked her ice-cream. "Trust me, one Dean is more than enough, I don't need another mini-you nagging me about how awesome he is."
"It's sad we couldn't stay longer," she said. "But then again, it's for the best."
"Yeah? Why's that?"
Emmy looked down at her ice-cream, suddenly not in the mood for it anymore. "If you had stayed, they would've gotten attached to you. It wouldn't be fair on them."
Dean's mouth felt dry as he understood what she was trying to say. And suddenly it all made sense to him – Emmy not wanting to hold his hand anymore, she wouldn't sleep next to him either, or when she insisted she didn't need his help, making sure to remind them every time she wasn't a baby anymore. This wasn't a phase she was going through, this wasn't her rebelling for the hell of it – this was her distancing herself from him.
Emmy knew he wouldn't be there anymore in a year. She was trying not to get too attached to him, trying to prepare herself for a life without Dean.
Dean blinked back some tears and pulled his sister close. He pressed a lingering kiss on top of her head. "You know I love you, right?"
Second A/N: please, please, please review. I need to know if people are still reading this and if I should continue or not. I know I might have let some of you down, but please let me know what you thought of this chapter, or if there's anything in particular you want in the story.
Also, it's so hard for me to find the right way for Emmy to cope with the loss of her brother. We're still in the beginning and she obviously hasn't accepted Dean's fate yet, she's angry and disappointed with him for not trying harder. She also hasn't given up and is convinced Sam will find a way to save Dean. I'm planning on letting her deal with everything her own way. There's plenty of chapters to come and I want to use that to delve into her head and explore all the thoughts and emotions going through her. She's still very young and has gone through a lot, so please keep that in mind. I don't want her to scream and shout so early into the season – Emmy has faith and hope, even though she's running out but she's still optimistic (for now). So please be patient.
Please review, lots of love, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx