Disclaimer: Since my wallet is decidedly bare I think it's safe to assume that I don't own Supernatural. I do, however, own the characters of Susan, John (Jnr.) and Keira.

A/N: I'm in Aus. Even if I wanted to spoil you I couldn't. Whilst this is not my first fan-fiction (ok so it is for this account) this is my first Supernatural one. Would love to know what you think. HUGE thanks to Bron (otherwise known as InSecret) for being my red pen, being generally logical, and for the 'Oh I love that line!'

Chapter One

Dean turned the radio up, letting the heavy metal blast out of the speakers as he sped down the highway. That was one of the benefits of not working with Sam anymore. The music could be loud and he could go as fast as he wanted.

Even at the high speed, Dean managed to swerve into the long driveway with total precision, sending a flurry of gravel behind him and parking with the grace of someone who knew his way around both the steering wheel and the property. A young tree stood in the middle of the sweeping driveway, effectively shielding the events of the pretty white house from the street. From his car Dean could see the glow of light and warmth from the large French windows.

The front door opened slightly as Dean approached and a slender young woman, face creased with laughter, called out, 'Music that loud, there's only one person it can be!'

Suddenly the door was flung wide and the woman stepped aside as a childlike blur shot across the lawn and cannoned into Dean. The small boy uttered a muffled 'Uncle Dean!' into Dean's jacket as he scrambled to find purchase on the smooth material. Dean swung his nephew up into his arms, laughing.

'Hey tyke! How you doin'?'

The boy grinned at him, looking exactly like a much younger version of Dean's brother. Dean was also willing to bet that his limbs would shoot out when the kid hit puberty, just like Sam's had. Still, the dark brown eyes were definitely those of his namesake, Sam and Dean's dad, John Winchester. Fighting back a sudden glimmer of regret he flashed his sister in law a grin over John's mop of messy hair.

'Hey, Susan, did I disturb you guys?'

'Not at all,' she parried, then joked, 'we heard the music a while ago – gave us warning.'

Dean smiled with humour at the pretty, wholesome brunette. Susan looked like the perfect American housewife; her long hair swept neatly back into a pony tail, her eyes green and friendly. However, Dean had been pleased to discover that she had a spark that allowed her to deal with the frequent visions and nightmares that were a legacy of Sam's hunter past.

'Can I come on your next trip Uncle Dean?'

The eager voice of his nephew was accompanied by a firm tug of his jacket, designed to summon the hunter's complete attention.

Dean laughed, shaking his head. 'You know your mommy would never forgive me for that. She might even go on a hunting trip of her own.' His hazel eyes glinted teasingly at Susan.

The meaning of his uncle's words went straight over the little boy's head and he turned, baffled, to his mom.

'Can I go on that one Mommy?'

'I don't think so,' said Susan good-naturedly. 'And no going with Uncle Dean either, okay John.'

The child pulled a face before deciding to pretend he hadn't heard his mother, planning the adventures they could have in a happy voice as Dean carried him into the house.

The interior of the building was a sleek and welcoming design, the gloss of the floorboards drawing people down towards the kitchen and living room, the warm, cream-coloured walls decorated with a collection of simple snapshots of the family. The hallway hid a stairway that led upstairs to the bedrooms.

Dean sniffed the air approvingly as they passed the kitchen. Susan's cooking had been an endearing factor after years of diner food and both Sam and Dean had learned to appreciate a nice home-cooked meal.

Dean's music had evidently not been loud enough to disturb Sam, or the little dark-haired girl sitting on his knee watching the television. A brief glance over her shoulder showed the green eyes she had inherited from her mother which, coupled with her father's physique, gave her an elf-like appearance.

'Hi, Keira!'

The small girl ignored him, having already turned back to the television, but Dean's brother twisted around in recognition.

'Hey man!'

Sam's face lit up even as his daughter turned to tell him off for interrupting her program. Sam shrugged, aiming a rueful smile at Dean.

'Not excited to see me, huh?' Dean asked, lowering John to the floor and feigning hurt at Keira's disinterest. 'What are you watching anyway?'

His niece didn't move a muscle as she responded, 'Wizard of Oz.'

'You know that movie's just a whole lot of political and religious propaganda right? Like tourism, but totally subversive.'

Dean's comment was directed at his brother who shifted Keira off his lap and stood, gaping. Looking astonished he blurted, 'How the hell do you even know that?'

'I know everything,' smirked Dean. 'You should know that by now. Big brother's always right.'

Dean met John's instinctive grin at the words 'big brother' and both Sam and Keira shot him a glare. Keira sighed and paused the movie to focus on Dean.

'Uncle Dean, you're silly. It's about a girl who goes over the rainbow and has to find the Wizard of Oz to send her back home!' She frowned at him. 'There aren't any tourists. 'Sides, you're talking too loud.'

She spoke with the neat edge of someone who wasn't yet used to talking properly, but she had mastered the look she was giving Dean, one that challenged him to argue in the face of what she considered irrefutable logic.

Susan came to his rescue with a well-timed suggestion. 'Why don't we grown ups talk in the kitchen while I get dinner ready? And you' – her tone sharpened, warning Keira to be nice – 'can watch your movie in here.'

John followed Dean into the kitchen, unwilling to miss a second that could be spent with his hero. Dean was happy to indulge him, having developed a deep affection for the little boy. Besides, he had obviously done the job and come out unharmed or he wouldn't be here. He was willing to leave the gruesome reality until after the children were safely tucked up in bed, afraid to harm the innocence of their dreams.

Dean watched the easy routine of the family getting ready for dinner. Even he had his place in it. With other families, like those he met and saved on hunts, he always felt like he was watching something he could never be a part of. But Sam's wife and children had accepted him into their household as naturally as breathing. It was easy to sit and listen as they talked about the kids' day, or how Sam's new job was going.

Tonight was no exception Dean noted later, reclining in his chair. He smiled to himself as he cleaned the last of the sauce from his plate and winked at John who was seated beside him, noticing not for the first time how much he really did look like his grandfather, a trait that just made Dean want to protect him even more.

Ruffling the boy's hair, he turned his attention to his sister in law and said expectantly, 'So, do we get dessert?'

'You can fit dessert in after all that?' Susan laughed disbelievingly.

'I can!' John piped up.

'I'm sure you can,' said Susan with a mock serious face, 'but it's time for you kids to go to bed. Your Uncle Dean will be here in the morning. I promise.'

'But I'm still watching my mo-o-o-vie.' The last word was drawn out into a whine as Keira's eyes brimmed with tears. Dean would have given in to her without thinking, but her mother shot her a no-nonsense look and otherwise ignored the comment. John, however, obviously shared his sister's sentiment and asked anxiously, 'Do you promise Uncle Dean? You'll stay?'

'Absolutely!' nodded Dean.

Much to Susan's chagrin, the pair spat on their palms and shook on it. 'Bed, now!' she commanded, rolling her eyes at Dean and herding the kids upstairs so the brothers could talk.

'Does it break the, uh, sanctity of the promise if you wash your hands?' Sam grinned as the trio clattered up the stairs, pleased as usual at the relationship between his brother and his son.

'Not if no informs the little guy,' grinned Dean, leading the way into the kitchen and rinsing his hands in the sink.

'Your secrets are always safe with me,' vowed Sam.

'Thank God for that,' Dean laughed, shaking his head in pretend relief. 'Can't have anyone else knowing about that chick in Nashville!'

Sam gave his brother a long-suffering look, flinging Dean a hand towel. Some things would never change.

'So, how'd the hunt go anyway?' he asked.

'It was a werewolf, like you predicted,' Dean shrugged. 'Standard kill. I just tracked it down and gave it a silver bullet through the heart. A little messy, but no one went out that way. The guy was a total recluse; they probably won't even realize he's gone for months.'

'Good. You're finally learning some caution.' Sam worried every day about his brother, knowing how many times he'd had to force Dean to slow down.

'Uh, sure...caution.'

'Dean.' Sam's voice held a warning note. 'What exactly does that mean?'

'Well… They won't notice he's gone, but they might miss me.'

'Are you just being arrogant or should I worry?' Sam's face held an almost comic mix of hope and exasperation.

'Well, as long as you don't tell any big, shotgun-wielding farmers with pretty daughters you last name… you should be fine.'

'What exactly did you do?' Sam sighed. His brother's ability to find trouble never ceased to amaze him.

'Well, uh, hung out in the barn for a while' Dean's lewd grin told Sam exactly what those words meant. 'Apparently her daddy caught her sneaking back in.'

'What's your obsession with being hunted down?'

'It's the pitchforks.' The older Winchester shrugged and winked like it was the most ordinary thing in the world. 'It's a fetish.'

'God, no wonder Johnny loves you,' Sam said despairingly. 'You're like a five year old sometimes.'

'It's my finest quality,' Dean snickered. 'So – got anything new for me? I can't possibly let you allow me to sit around and get fat from your wife's cooking.'

'Yeah, what a terrible future for you, Dean. But you'll just have to suffer for a little while. I don't have anything for you yet. A few suspicions but nothing's come through.'

'That'd be right. I'm out kicking werewolf ass and you're sitting by the fire with your kids,' Dean ribbed.

'Asshole.'

'Bitch.' Dean leaned back to avoid the playful punch Sam threw in his direction. 'But you can't keep me here forever. You know your apple pie life would drive me insane. Actually, speaking of apple pie…' Dean opened the fridge, rummaging through it before emerging with a freshly baked pie. 'Can I?'

'She baked it just for you,' Sam said, shaking his head at the proffered slice and pulling out a plate before his wife could tell him off for the crumbs Dean was leaving everywhere. Dean grinned at him through a mouthful of apple and pastry.

'I love your wife. If only she weren't already married …'

Sam rolled his eyes as he left the kitchen, choosing to ignore the comment. 'Why don't we go settle down in the lounge room, Susan'll find us in there.'

'Sure, I'll be there in a sec.'

Dean cut a second slice of the pie – for later – before putting it back in the fridge, his bent head missing the sudden distortion of the room, the bizarre way in which the walls seemed to ripple inwards and disappear. He jerked upright as his surroundings darkened, frowning in momentary confusion.

Everything was as it should be, Susan's gentle voice murmuring a bedtime story above him.

Must be the lights, he thought, cramming another bite of pie into his mouth, spurning the fork his brother had left for him. I'll have to check the wiring before I go.

TBC

A/N: So if you want me to keep going then do review, the combination of feeling acknowledged and being guilty about people waiting for the next chapter is a surefire way to make me keep writing.

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