Stopping for Pancakes
An X-Files/Supernatural crossover by dotfic (a.k.a Constance Eilonwy)
Continuity: It's 1993. So first season X-Files. Whenever, but probably after "Conduit."
Disclaimer: X-Files is the property of 1013/Fox. Supernatural is owned by the WB. Some details in this story are from the journals of John Winchester available on the official Supernatural website.
Dad ordered what he always had for breakfast: scrambled eggs and wheat toast. The boys both had chocolate chip pancakes and bacon.
The diary was open on the table, and Dad was making notes on the ghost they'd seen last night. Occasionally Dean would point something out with a snarky remark. He even snatched the pen from Dad to make corrections.
As he chewed his pancakes, Sammy scrunched up his face, trying to remember details the others might have missed, but he couldn't think of anything impressive.
So he just watched them work.
The truck stop was almost empty. Dew misted the front windows, obscuring the parking lot. Only Sammy was paying attention when the man and woman, both wearing suits, sat down at another booth.
"Mulder, you've been staring at that man for ten minutes. Mulder?"
Scully waved her hand in front of his eyes. He blinked, pulling his gaze back to her.
"There's something familiar about him."
She turned in her chair. "Just a father traveling with his kids." Scully leaned forward. "Mulder, about the thing we saw last night..."
"If you tell me it was swamp gas..."
"What do you think it was?"
But his attention had wandered back to the family in the other booth again.
Suddenly he stood up. "Order me some coffee, okay?"
"Where are you going?"
"I'll be right back."
Mulder pushed open the glass door and vanished outside. Through the misted windows, it was hard to see exactly what he was doing. His shape bent down near the dark outline of a car. He put his cell phone to his ear.
After a moment, he came back. "His name is John Winchester," Mulder whispered, sliding back into his seat. "And I did recognize him."
Scully lifted an eyebrow.
"He's an X-File," Mulder said.
The man kept staring at them, which made Sammy nervous. He'd been taught to be wary of strangers, for the obvious reasons, but there were other reasons too. Sammy had heard Dad and Dean talking about it once, how after Mom died there'd been a stream of government types, asking questions.
Dean said that all he remembered was a lot of cigarette smoke.
"Hey, Dean," Sammy whispered, and tugged on the sleeve of his brother's jean jacket.
"That guy over there is looking at us."
Dean and Dad looked over, and immediately the FBI man turned his eyes away.
"Okay, son. We're almost done eating anyway. Let's get the check."
The father and the two boys turned at the same time, like they were all on the same invisible string.
Mulder flashed his ID. "I'm Fox Mulder, this is Dana Scully. We're with the FBI."
"What do you want?" The father pulled his youngest son behind him. The older kid, who looked about fourteen, studied Mulder with a stare that was a combination of confidence and resentment. Then his eyes flickered to Scully, and the stare broadened to a smirk, its meaning unmistakable.
Scully rolled her eyes at him, and the kid grinned. He'd be lethal when he was older.
"We'd like to ask you a few questions."
"I don't feel like answering. Get in the car, boys."
"I know it wasn't faulty wiring that caused the fire," Mulder said.
John Winchester froze, then turned back.
"That's what's in the police report. Faulty wiring. But that isn't what happened, is it Mr. Winchester?"
"Leave us alone." As his older son moved forward angrily, his father grabbed his arm. "Didn't you hear me? Get in the car."
"What if I said I believed your story?" Mulder moved closer to them, which seemed like a very bad idea to Scully. Mulder might as well approach a bear with its cubs.
"Agent Mulder..." she warned.
He ignored her. "November 2, 1983. You found your wife on the ceiling of your infant son's room, bleeding from her midsection, before she spontaneously combusted before your eyes. You aren't insane. Something unexplainable took your wife from you."
The color drained from the father's broad face. "You aren't FBI. Who the hell are you really?"
"Someone who maybe can help. There's a division called The X-Files..."
Winchester jabbed his finger angrily at Mulder. "You stay away from me, you stay away from my boys."
"Mulder..." Scully tugged on his sleeve, her voice rising since he hadn't listened the first time.
The youngest boy was watching all of this with wide eyes, backed up against the side of the car. His shoulders hunched slightly as if he was waiting for an explosion.
Scully caught his gaze and tried to give him a comforting smile.
He didn't smile back.
"Just leave us alone." Winchester's voice was raw.
"If you just give me a—"
It was with a sinking sense of inevitability that Scully watched the older kid's fist contact with Mulder's chin.
Then Dad grabbed Dean from behind, pulling him back. The man from the FBI staggered, his partner steadying him.
She checked his face for blood but there was none. Dean knew how to control his punches. Sammy had seen him break a guy's nose, and the next day, punch Sammy in the arm hard enough to sting but not enough to bruise.
"Sammy, I said get in the car!" Dad's voice was colder than Sammy had ever heard it. Sammy quickly climbed into the back seat. Dean got in the passenger side in front.
The FBI man rubbed his chin. "I'm sorry," he said. "I wanted to help."
"No fed ever helped anyone with anything." Dad slammed the car door shut.
As they drove away, Sammy turned to peer out the back windshield.
The man from the FBI stood by himself, still watching.