Title: Pomegranate Seeds Part 3
Disclaimer: Sam and Dean belong to Kripke and the CW. Calisa and Demetrius belong, only loosely, to me. The Greek Gods belong to themselves and please don't smite me!
Beta: Beta'd by the ever-wonderful TraSan who got it back to me amazingly quickly, poked me into extending the end scene and prevented accidental sibling evisceration instead of telepathy.
Author's notes: So, erm, it's been a while since I posted the last instalment of this! I swear I didn't forget about it, my muses were just being uncooperative or busy working on another fic. Still, definitely not forgotten about though it may be another while 'til the next part. I am off to Corfu for a fortnight tomorrow so hopefully my muses will get in a Greek mood.
On the other hand, it is fairly mammoth to make up the lack of posting!
As always, hope you enjoy. All feedback is worshipped.
Professor Sam Winchester stared out at the sea of earnest faces and wondered why it was exactly he had given up an illustrious career of demon hunting to became a college professor. He was fairly sure it had been about the time he was recovering from his second broken arm of the year. Or perhaps it had been about the time his now-wife had answered every proposal with 'I want to but...' and the 'but' usual covering some aspect of his demon-hunting life. Either way, he'd been teaching almost five years now without many regrets except that on this night, close to finals, he found himself stuck in one of the lecture halls near midnight and overloaded with questions that he was sure his students must already know the answer to.
"Professor Winchester," The red-headed kid with the unfortunate name of Damien raised his hand. "I have a question."
"No, you don't," Sam answered. "None of you have any questions and you'll all just let your poor tired professor go home." His powers had never expanded to Jedi mind tricks but he thought just this once it was worth the effort.
Sadly his powers remained as nothing but gruesome visions as Damien shook his head, "Professor, about property law?"
Sam could just see the kid gearing up for one of his ten minute long questions that usually contradicted itself at least twice and only got to the point in the last five seconds. Sam cut him off, "No. You want to know about property law? You have a book. You all have books, books are good. Sure, they don't read themselves aloud but I am not a substitute. Unless any of you have any questions that can't be answered by a book then I am going home."
"Professor, in the recent case of the State versus Derever, a piece of evidence was ruled as illegal due to how it was gathered. I don't get why." Trixie stated and Sam sighed. Her name wasn't actually Trixie, it was something complicated like Esmeralda or Genevieve or Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious but one look at her pig-tailed blonde hair and bubblegum pink lips on the first day of lectures and Sam had irrevocably labelled her 'Trixie.'
Trixie's most annoying ability was her talent for pulling pertinent questions out of nowhere. Many times when crawling home at a ridiculous hour of the morning, his adoring wife could just growl 'Trixie?' at him and stuff his gone-cold supper into the oven to heat. He suspected the girl had a slight crush on him which was doubly annoying: not only was he over twenty years her senior and married but even when he had been her age, she hadn't been his type. She would be Dean's type and right there, was the problem.
"Okay, class. Look, I've got my brother visiting in about ten minutes so please, be nice."
As Sam had expected, the statement was akin to throwing a stick at a hornet's nests as he overheard a hubbub of conversations including statements like 'The Professor has a brother?' Sam half-suspected most of the class thought he'd hatched out of an egg complete with bifocals.
"Is he an older or a younger brother, sir?" Trixie asked, eyes lit up in a way that Sam definitely didn't like. Sam often wished he hadn't fostered a buddy-buddy approach with his students as it tended to lead to awkward questions like 'Where did you get that scar from?' or 'What did you do before you were a teacher?'
"Mostly younger," Sam answered, not really wanting to lie outright. It wasn't like he could admit to Dean being older, that might lead to just a few questions when a twenty-odd year old man showed up. Of course, if Dean decided to just pop into existence in the middle of the hall then it was likely Sam'd end up having to answer a few anyway.
"How can he be mostly younger?" Damien said in that irritating tone that implied Sam couldn't tell his ass from his elbow. Maybe he could persuade Dean to perform an exorcism on the kid for old time's sake.
"Because he is. Look, I am entirely sure my brother will not be on the final and you have eight minutes to ask questions before he shows up so I suggest you make the most of it. Now, about.." Sam realised he had absolutely no idea of Trixie's real name so he just pointed towards her and said, "Your question."
It took Sam about six of the remaining eight minutes to answer Trixie's questions and the follow-on questions. As the minute hand edged closer to its apex, he made excuses to go 'meet his brother' which actually equated to waiting just off the corridor to make sure Dean didn't shock his students.
He kept his watch level with his face as he watched the seconds tick slowly by until finally his watch flashed all zeroes and in that instant, his brother materialised.
Dean looked perhaps a few years older than the last time Sam had seen him, a few extra lines on his face that still looked to be in the spring of its early twenties. His clothes were the same as he'd disappeared in which led Sam to wonder whether Dean just wandered naked around the immortal realm and got dressed again for his visits. Sam promptly decided never to wonder about that again.
The one addition that Sam could see was a band of gold encircled Dean's left ring finger and he blinked, unsure of what he was seeing.
Dean noticed and ran a right hand back through his hair self-consciously, "Yeah, turns out Dionysus' grandson ain't just the spit of his gramps when it comes to looks."
Sam arched an eyebrow, "You got drunk and got married?"
"Correction," Dean stated, a frown tilting down the corners of his mouth. "Seffy got me drunk and got me down the proverbial aisle." He rubbed a thumb on the gold. "Wish you could've been my best man. It was amazing. Satyrs playing, Dryads dancing, Naiads naked in the fountain." Dean suddenly flinched and rubbed his arm, "And Seffy looked amazing too, of course." Dean's eyes flit to Sam's own plain gold ring, "Sorry I missed your own festivities. I was there in spirit."
"I suspected someone spiked the punch," Sam drolled. "I think Cally ably represented you."
A crimson flush spread across Dean's pale, freckled cheeks, "Yeah, about that."
"About what?" Sam grumbled. "About the fact she turned the roses to lilies halfway through the service?"
"She didn't think red suited Ella's colouring."
"Or the horse and cart instead of a limo waiting outside..."
"You are lucky it wasn't Pegasus."
"The waiter turning into a duck..."
"He was being rude."
"Okay, Okay, I know. I had a stern word with her and I had told her to behave but I think Cally gets a little too much from her grandfather's side and I'm not talking 'bout Dad." Dean glanced around, looking like he noticed his surroundings for the first time, "Where is Dad? I was kinda hoping he'd be here this time."
Sam winced, "Dad's, erm, well, Dad's still not sure that, well, you know..."
"I'm me?" Dean said with a far too sad smile. "I'd guessed as much. His loss." Dean's tone was brusque, covering up his emotions. "So, where are we anyway?"
"I thought you'd already know," Sam wasn't quite sure how his brother got here for the once-a-decade meetings but he thought it would involve Dean knowing where he's going.
"Didn't peek. Just got Seffy to give me a shove in the right direction," Dean admitted.
"Oh. We're at college."
"Oh," Sam didn't miss the flicker of a frown that darted across Dean's youthful face. "Thought your home seemed a bit grand."
Sam felt the excuses bubbling up to his lips, "Sorry, just students with finals and studying and had to stay late."
"That's fine," Dean said in a voice that meant anything but. "If you are busy, I'll come back later."
"You can do that?" Sam said, mentally calculating the best time for him to finish up and get home.
"Yeah, see you in ten years," Dean began to turn a little faint, fading away before Sam's very eyes.
"Wait!" Sam yelled, sure any minute now people would start peering out of their doors as his shout echoed down the corridor.
Dean stayed a little translucent and eyed his brother silently.
"I didn't mean it like that. I just meant a few hours so I can get rid of the students, not ten years." Sam could see his brother was going to take persuading, the hurt look in the back of green eyes all too familiar from the years of arguments that preceded Dean's disappearance, arguments that Dean had just been a mute witness to.
"Uh-huh," Dean mumbled, staring down at his booted feet. "Look, Sam, be honest here. You don't need to pretend. I can just go, alright? You're busy."
Sam scowled. Passive-aggressive bull-shit had never been his brother's forte before: apparently married life was rubbing off. "I can't just re-arrange my life, Dean. I have students that depend on me. I have responsibilities."
The words had the desired effect of drawing out Dean's anger but Sam kinda wished he'd left it passive, he swore he could almost see little sparks in the depths of green eyes. "And you think I don't? You think I sit around all day drinking ambrosia and eating grapes? Why don't you talk to some other hunters about how often demons got out of hell before me and Seffy took over okay? It was practically a revolving door."
Dean paused to huff in a breath of air, not giving Sam a chance to get a word in edgeways.
"These days if a demon gets sent to hell, it damn well stays there. That's not easy considering how many of the bastards we've got. On top of that there's the mortal souls to look after and cleaning up the remains of the latest stupid bastard to try and pull an Orpheus."
"What, Sam? You didn't really want the truth? You think that all these extra abilities I've got are just for laughs? I got them 'cos they are necessary to be the warden of a prison that never shrinks, only grows. When you hunt it, it takes maybe ten days to deal with then it goes down to me and I'm stuck with it for eternity. Yeah, no responsibilities here. Care-free Dean."
"I thought you were happy," Sam said, feeling like Dean had sunk his fist into Sam's stomach.
"I am," Dean said in a tone of exasperation. "Just because I love my job doesn't mean it isn't hard work. Can you see me being happy if I just sat around idly?"
"I get that, Dean, I do. But I couldn't just leave my students in the lurch."
"Yeah, Gods forbid I expect a couple of hours from my brother every ten years. Sorry, I guess ten years notice is too short for the all-important Professor Samuel Winchester." Dean almost seemed to expand, solidifying to a shadow filling the corridor, forcing Sam to take a step back, "What's your secretary's cell phone number? I'll book an appointment." As sudden as Dean's thunderous mood came, it went like an elastic band snapped back into position, leaving Dean looking far too small opposite his brother. Dean sucked in a deep breath, "I better go."
Sam was forced to watch as his brother began to fade to transparency once again and did the only thing he knew to do. The Latin chant was one of the first he'd learnt, ironically enough off his brother. Dean's fade-out halted midway and abruptly his brother was back solid and very confused in front of him. Sam sighed in relief, "Man, didn't think that'd work."
Dean looked unamused, "What the hell did you do?"
"Binding," Sam answered.
"You bound me?!" Dean's expression turned to horror. "Release it right now!"
"No," Sam held stubborn. "I'm owed two hours and I'm getting my two hours."
"Fuck you, Samuel Winchester," Dean snarled, brow beetling in concentration as he tried to break the binding. Sam was fairly sure he couldn't even with all the extra abilities he had picked up over the decades; Sam had used the strongest binding he knew. "Seffy, help me out here."
Sam felt a jolt of heartache. His binding was strong but against a goddess? It was a feather tossed in the breeze. He waited several long seconds but his brother remained as solid as before. Apparently his sister-in-law was on his side. Sam sent a grateful prayer upwards and swore he could almost hear a response.
Dean had cottoned on to his wife's betrayal too as his scowl deepened. "Fine, Sammy gets what he wants again." His bitter words twisted in Sam's gut. "So, should I sit at the back of the room while you talk to students?"
"No, Dean. You can sit—I mean, you can stand up by me and I'll rid of them as fast as I can, okay?" Sam wasn't sure why he was so keen to get Dean's agreement on this, it was possibly the trickle of guilt on the back of his neck.
"Yey for me," Dean said in a voice as dull and lifeless as a brick wall. Sam was beginning to wonder if he should have just let his brother go—except, yeah, that was never a solution.
Sam took in a deep breath and got ready to lay out every argument he could on his stubborn idiot of a brother.
Just then a kid ran up, looking startled to see a newcomer, "Professor, the print server has gone down again and we need an administrator to bring it back up again."
Sam ran a hand back through his still-dark hair, knowing there was no reasonable way he could refuse the kid. Most other administrators had done the sensible thing and gone home to their wife and kids by now. "Okay, sure." He turned to Dean, already seeing the frown darkening his brother's face. "I'll be five, maybe ten minutes, just wait here."
Dean snorted, "Of course, Can't have me corrupting your students." Dean nodded towards the ajar door into the meeting room.
Sam pushed down the temper tantrum his inner child was demanding, "Go in and wait for me then. I honestly don't care. Just be here when I go back, okay?"
He didn't even wait for a reply, just set a fast pace towards the computer rooms, all the while having the feeling that someone up there was having a good laugh at his expense and that, knowing his luck, it was probably an in-law.
Dean was fuming as he pushed open the door marked 113 and entered the classroom. Not only had his own brother bound him but Seffy had point blank refused to help, ordering him to talk to his brother. Heaven forbid Dean got to control his own life for longer than five minutes.
He felt the weight of a dozen pair of eyes tracking his progress and he crossed the room and slunk to the comfy seat behind the main desk.
"You can't sit there," A girl with sickeningly pink lips informed Dean. "That's Professor Winchester's desk."
"Well, now it's mine," Dean sourly informed her, swinging his legs up to prop them on the desk, not caring that he left a muddy footprint on Sam's papers. Well, maybe caring a little... After all, he had to specifically generate the mud.
"Professor Winchester will be back soon and he'll be angry," The irritating girl with the sugar-sweet voice informed him.
Dean stopped just short of informing his brother's students that Professor Winchester could go fuck himself. "That's nice for him."
"Professor Winchester will..." The blonde girl started to say.
"... huff and puff and blow the house down, I know," Dean scowled over at the Sam Winchester fan club.
The girl huffed, heaving her not inconsiderable chest upwards, "I don't like you."
Dean pressed a hand to his heart, feigning shock, "And here I was thinking we'd be best friends forever. Guess I better get a refund on the matching necklaces." Dean saw a few of the other students hiding laughter behind their hands. Good to see the blonde monstrosity wasn't too popular.
"I will find out who you are," The blonde threatened. "I never forget a face and when I do, I will mess up your life. Nobody talks to Annabella Matreiza Harrington-Coldridge that way."
"I'm quaking in my boots," Dean drolled. Being Prince-Consort of the Underworld had its benefits when it came to knowing the right people.
"Do you know who I am?" Annabella etcetera asked.
"Do you know who I am?" Dean parroted.
Annabella looked down her pert nose at him, "Beneath me."
"Good guess," Dean smirked. A few barely stifled giggles rang out across the lecture hall.
Dean was saved from further conversation as the door to the lecture hall opened. Dean turned towards it, ready to plead with his brother to release him from the binding and the pathetic charade of normality.
It wasn't his brother in the doorway though. The man almost had his brother's height but was lean as a cane and had ash grey hair and neat beard. He had half-moon spectacles which Dean supposed were meant to be scholary but just came off as pretentious. He took one look at Dean and frowned, "Off, boy!" He spoke in the dulcet tones of the over-educated, his natural American tones hidden beneath a British Eton accent.
Dean was tempted to bark as a response but, as mad as he was at his brother, he didn't want to dump him in too much trouble with the academia. He just tilted up an eyebrow and glanced over to the new Professor.
The lack of instant obedience from Dean obviously disconcerted the man. "I said off, boy," He repeated. "Where's Winchester?" He added with a sneer, casting a spectacled glance around the disarray of the room.
Dean disliked the man instantly. It was all well and good for Dean to run down his brother, they were brothers, that's what brothers were for but for this stranger to do it. Dean briefly pondered following his daughter's example and turning the man into a duck. He was sure that wouldn't help Sam to preserve his whole normal life though so Dean settled on the tactic that had seen him through childhood: driving an adult nuts. "Here."
The man turned around and settled a gaze on Dean, dissecting his life and summarising him as a failure in the space of two blinks. "Very funny, boy. What's your name, boy? I'll report you to the Dean for this."
"That's hardly incentive for me to tell you," Dean helpfully pointed out. "Besides the Dean already knows."
"Does Winchester encourage this sort of behaviour?" The Professor asked and Dean didn't miss how his brother was consistently referred to by surname as if he was a recalcitrant student rather than respected colleague. Of course, it made Dean's mischief easier.
"All the time," Winchester the older responded.
"No, he doesn't, Professor Carring." Annabella Etcetera broke in. "Professor Winchester would never encourage such behaviour and that boy isn't even in our class, he just showed up to be rude and make trouble."
"I see," Professor Carring said. "I think perhaps you and me should have a little chat, boy."
"Funny, I don't."
Professor Carring didn't seem amused, "What is your name, boy?"
"Winchester, sir." Dean replied.
"Don't lie to me, boy," The Professor thundered, his face going red.
"I don't think he's lying," A brunette meekly stated, her cheeks immediately staining crimson from the effort of talking.
"Elsa, what do you mean?" The Professor turned sharp eyes on the poor girl.
"Professor Winchester said his brother was visiting and then this boy showed up and he does kinda look a bit like Professor Winchester except he's a lot younger and his hair is different but there's something around the nose and he does kinda act a bit like Professor Winchester, I mean, not Professor Winchester all the time just when he's more relaxed." Dean had to admire Elsa's lung capacity.
"I see," Professor Carring smiled meanly. "I thought Professor Winchester's mother died shortly after he was born."
The idea that this man knew of their mother's death and was willing to use it against Sam was repellent to Dean. He couldn't tell the truth though without demolishing Sam's little normal world. "Half-brothers," He gritted out, hating the taste of the lie on his tongue.
"Ah," The Professor looked so smug that Dean couldn't resist eavesdropping a little. He opened up his mind and caught half the thought '...younger woman marrying older man. I should have guessed.'
"My brother will be back soon, he just went to sort a problem with the print thingy," Dean informed the professor, hoping that'd make him just go away.
'Obviously un-educated,' Professor Carring's mental monologue continued. "Well, I'm Professor Carring, Head of Literature and Mythological studies. It's nice to meet you." He smiled in that lazy way that indicated he was just waiting for some respect he felt his title earned.
It struck Dean that if this professor knew who Dean really was, he'd likely have chewed off his own right ball just for the chance to meet. Dean wasn't in the mood to enlighten him though. "Nice to meet you too," Dean replied insincerely, glancing to the door in that hopes that Sam would arrive and rescue him.
"So I'm guessing you don't believe in anything supernatural then?" The Professor's question seemed to come out of the left field and Dean had to pause to try and reconcile the question with reality.
"Like your brother," The professor pressed. "Winchester isn't too impressed with my field of study."
Probably because you get it all wrong, Dean sourly thought though he couldn't find any words for a suitable response.
The professor seemed to take that as an inability to respond and his own mental process ran along the same lines, 'His father must have re-married to a stupid girl.' As fitting with his mental opinion of Dean, the professor spoke slowly and carefully. "Are you in town long?"
Dean snorted, "I'm really not." At the arched eyebrow, Dean clarified, "Can't stay away too long, the wife won't let me." Dean wasn't sure why he let the professor know he was married, he blamed a small part of him that didn't want all of his brother's colleagues thinking he had a screw-up good-for-nothing brother.
'He's married? Probably a shotgun wedding.'
Dean heard the professor's thoughts loud and clear and gritted his teeth. He spiralled a thought towards the warm presence of his wife, 'Seffy. Can you tell Sam to hurry up before I do something he'll regret?'
The reply carried an unspoken hint of chastisement, something that Dean had never mastered in their mental conversations, 'I will.'
"We were together six years before we had our first kid." Dean said, feeling the need to defend himself against the professor's thoughts.
"Childhood sweethearts?" The professor asked in a condescending tone.
"We met when I was eighteen." Dean answered, grinning to himself at the memory.
"How old was she?"
"A gentleman doesn't ask a lady her age."
'Older woman. Following in his mother's footsteps most likely' Dean couldn't really object to that. Persephone was definitely older than him. By a good few hundred years.
Dean couldn't resist winding him up a little, "She was married before. He's locked away now though."
'Wife beaten by abusive husband picks up vulnerable younger man. I could write a whole book on this.' Dean gleefully heard, 'No wonder Sam never talks about his family.' That took the wind out of Dean's sails a little.
"How long is he away for?" The professor asked casually.
"Eternity." Dean answered casually, "Hopefully anyway."
'Younger man insecure about wife's husband returning and stealing her away.'
"How long have you been together?" The professor asked, following it up with a mental addition of 'Bet it won't last.'
"We've been together thirty years," Dean defended his marriage and then quickly realised that that was a very bad idea.
The professor just shook his head pityingly, "You don't need to lie, boy."
"I'm not lying," Dean snapped back without thought and then pressed his lips together to try and prevent further words from slipping out. It was obvious the professor didn't believe a word he said—hardly surprising.
The professor just chuckled and Dean's ire rose. He'd given Sam enough warning, right? Sam had left him here, Sam hadn't come when Seffy had called, Sam had had every chance to stop this train wreck from derailing.
Dean sought out the familiar presence of his daughter's mind and sent a thought out, 'Cally, sweetie. Fancy visiting your ol' Dad?'
Cally's returning voice was suspicious, 'You're with mortals.'
'I'm with a stuffy mortal who thinks your uncle is a boring bastard and that I'm a guy with a serious Oedipus complex.' Never mind that talking about a 'Oedipus complex' to Seffy would likely result in the comment 'Nice guy.'
'Be right down,' Cally's smirking tone replied.
She was true to her words as seconds later, she popped into existence a foot away from her father to a startled gasp from the professor. "Hi Daddy. Can I borrow the chariot keys?" Of course, Cally was a Daddy's girl in many ways but there were times that the other side of her heritage truly showed though. This was one of them. Her hair glowed, her skin shone, her outfit belonged in a museum—and was far too skimpy in Dean's opinion—and she looked every inch a Goddess.
He really needed to teach her to lie a bit better. Honestly, chariot keys? He materialised a plain and simple iron keyring in his pocket, pulled it out and tossed it to his daughter, "Don't be out too late." He made his tone as casual as possible.
"I'll be good, Daddy," Cally said in a voice which usually meant she would be anything but.
Of course, this had been a Winchester plan and one universal rule of Winchester plans was they never went quite right a hundred percent.
Barely had the glittering swirls of Cally's departure faded than there was a muted earthen blur which resolved itself into a nine year old boy—into Dean's nine year old who glanced around the room then peered up at his dad through a frond of mud-brown hair.
"Daddy!" The boy said excitedly and ran towards his father.
Dean quickly stood up and crossed the ground between himself and his son, sweeping Demetrius up into his arms as soon as he was close enough, nestling the boy's face against his shoulder to protect him from prying eyes.
'Cally!' He sent the thought after his errant daughter. 'Did you send your little brother down here?'
'No,' came the response in a huff of irritation. 'That brat did it on his own.'
'Cally, don't talk about your brother like that.'
'But it's true, Dad! When Iolius visited, Demetrius spent the whole evening bugging me!'
Dean didn't think it wise to mention that he'd paid Demetrius to do just that. He didn't mind the younger generation of Gods that much but there was a big difference between 'Didn't mind' and 'Wanted left alone with his daughter.'
'Dad?!' came a horrified response. 'You did what?!'
Oh yeah, telepathic daughter. Damn it! 'We'll talk about this later,' He replied in his most parental tone and quickly closed the connection before he found himself on the end of a hissy fit.
Demetrius didn't seem at all disturbed by the argument, just nestled more against his father's shoulder and snuffled into Dean's leather jacket.
"D, what'cha doing here?" Dean asked the nine year old, unable to make himself as stern as he felt he should be. He was vaguely aware of the open-mouthed other occupants of the room but they weren't too high on the priority list.
"You let Cally come," Demetrius mumbled sulkily. "I wanted to come too." Dean often wondered if he was carrying the recessive gene for emo, given his son seemed as prone to fits of petulance as Sam had been at that age.
"Cally is older than you are," Dean followed up his words with a ruffle of his boy's hair. "Come on, you need to go home."
"No," Demetrius refused, burying himself further into Dean's jacket as if that could stop his father sending him away.
Ordinarily it wouldn't except that Sam's pesky binding spell was blocking most of Dean's more useful abilities.
Dean was just considering calling his wife for back-up when he felt the presence of his wife in his mind like the taste of honey warm at the back of his throat and the scent of cinnamon and cloves teasing his nose. 'Calm it down, love. The Fates say you are gonna give the poor guy a heart attack.'
"Y-you said you were Sam's brother!" The professor exclaimed and Dean turned to see the man's face turning an unhealthy purple shade.
Dean frowned at himself, he was usually more careful, and radiated out calm, waiting for the man's heartbeat to slow and settle before speaking again, "I am. It's just a little more complicated than that."
Dean could feel the man's fear rapidly shifted to anger, "So you lied to me? Tried to make me look a fool. Who are you?"
"Hey," Dean objected, "I told the truth and nothing but the truth. I just didn't tell the whole truth."
Given how Dean's luck was running. It would have to be just that moment that Sam walked back in.
When Sam walked back into the room, he could feel the buzzing tension from the purpled face of his irritating co-worker to the rather stunned faces of his students. There was only one possible culprit. He turned to his brother and hissed, "What did you do?" It was then that he noticed his brother wasn't alone though all Sam could see of Dean's charge was baggy clothes and rumple of brown hair.
Dean scuffed his foot on the ground, looking a little abashed, "Hey Sam. Erm, well, the thing is…" His brother seemed to be having some trouble with words. Hardly surprising seeing as it looked like Dean had leaked the family secret, not the kind of thing you can just explain away.
"That man was being mean to Daddy," The muffled, piping voice came from the child nestled in Dean's arms. "So Daddy asked Cally to come visit but I don't know how that helps 'cos Cally smells."
Dean winced, "Look, Sam, erm…" Sam waited patiently to see just how his usual suave brother would talk his way out of that one. "I mean, you should've heard it, Sam. The things he was thinking…"
There was squeak from the purpling man, "You can hear what I'm thinking?" Sam was a little disconcerted by that himself… and then wondered if Dean could tell he was disconcerted. He glanced at Dean but his brother seemed to be switching his attention between Professor Carring and his son.
"Oh yeah," Dean said, frowning a little. "Seriously, Sam. That guy is a complete dick, what did you expect me to do?"
Sam kept his expression perfectly still as he growled out, "Not summon your daughter into the middle of a lecture hall full of my students?"
Dean shrugged his unoccupied shoulder, "I suppose there's that. I wasn't thinking clearly."
'No surprises there!' Sam thought viciously, hoping his brother heard it. From the flinch that ran through Dean, he probably did.
"So who are you?" Professor Carring said, obviously trying to regain the higher ground.
Dean looked towards Sam for permission, Sam gave it with a lopsided shrug: it wasn't like the situation could get any worse.
"Dean Winchester," Dean said. "Older brother—" and that earned a few gasps, "—to Sam Winchester there. Father to Demetrius and Calisa." He saw Dean draw breath for the big reveal and Sam held his own breath from instinct alone. "Coincidentally also husband to Persephone, Queen of the Underworld."
Sam had never seen a room full of people concurrently spit-take on air.
"The Persephone?" Damien was the first to recover speech.
Dean just gifted the boy one of his patented 'No shit' looks, "No, the other one."
"But you're so mundane?" Professor Carring stated in disbelief, staring straight at Sam.
Sam had never really liked that professor anyway as he just stared right back, "So you've said before. You'll note I never agreed." He could see the entire room gearing up to ask questions and he knew instantly that the next few months of life were going to be taken up with those questions. Tonight, however, was not up for grabs. "Look, I get you have questions but now is not the time. I don't get to see Dean that often so I'm going now." He turned towards the door.
He saw Professor Carring out of the corner of his eye, the man was staring star-struck at Sam's brother. "I've written papers on your wife," He stated breathily.
"Really?" Dean quirked the corner of his mouth into a grin. "I've eaten food off her."
Sam felt the beginnings of a blush on his brother's behalf and grabbed his un-encumbered arm, "Dean! Out, now." He dragged his brother and nephew away.
Sam half-expected to be stampeded by the students but it seemed most of them had forgotten how their legs work so he managed to make it into side room unnoticed.
"Sam, I…" Dean perched on the edge of a table, lowering his son to sit next to him.
Demetrius blinked over at Sam with his father's eyes and then slid down off the table and ran over to Sam, throwing thin arms around Sam's leg, "Unca Sam!"
Sam looped at arm around his nephew's shoulder, wondering what it'd be like once his own boys reached that age. "Dean," He addressed his brother who had a complete hang-dog expression. "I… I'm sorry." Dean's head shot up at that a look of total confusion on his face. "I'm sorry I didn't tell people before about you. Honest to God—one of them—you weren't some big thing I was ashamed of, I just…"
"Wanted to be normal?" Dean finished Sam's sentence, admittedly not quite in the direction Sam had intended, even if the words fit a little too well. "I get that. I didn't mean to leak it out in that way but that Carring guy? He's a real piece of work."
Sam tried hard to be annoyed at his brother but if he was honest with himself, he was more annoyed that he wasn't the one that got to throw things back in Carring's face. Sam had been sorely tempted during one of Carring's mythology talks but had resigned himself to just counting all the inaccuracies. "So, you gonna introduce me?" He motioned towards the boy.
Dean slid down off the table, a little cautiously, and scooped up his kid again, "Sam, this is your nephew, Demetrius. D, this is Uncle Sam."
"Know that," 'D' said with a disgusted huff. "Did you like my paintings?"
Well, that explained the sudden appearances of canvases about the house which had been driving Ella near-crazy. "They are very nice," Sam diplomatically stated. The paintings were good, at least for a nine year old.
"Demetrius had been spending a lot of time with the muses, I think it's just 'cos they dote on him."
Sam glanced at his watch. It was only a few ticks away from one a.m. and for the first time he regretted getting his cozy house off-campus. "I, erm, there's not enough time to drive to my place," He hoped Dean saw the apology there.
"S'alright. I've seen your wife and kids before, just from a distance." Dean's tone was pleasant enough but Sam could see the lurking storm. "Demetrius, time for you to go to bed."
"Daad," Demetrius whined, turning his wide-eyed stare on his father, a tactic Sam had often used to good effect against his brother in younger years. "Just a bit longer."
Dean shook his head, "Daddy needs to talk with Uncle Sammy. You can visit anytime."
Demetrius glanced between father and uncle, apparently trying to decide. In a surprising show of maturity, the boy nodded, "Okay, Daddy." He leaned up to kiss his father on the cheek, "Night, night, Daddy." Then he twisted in his father's arms, reaching out towards Sam. "Night, night, Uncle Sam."
Sam reached over to give his nephew a kiss on the cheek, "Night, Night, Demetrius." In a blur of brown, the boy disappeared.
"So," Dean said, resettling back on the desk with his hands on his knees, facing his brother.
"So," Sam said in response, all his hard-earned words deserting him.
"So," Dean upped the ante, rubbing a thumb on the worn patch of denim on the knees.
"So," Sam agreed, pulling up a chair and sitting down on it, sprawling as if he was ten years younger.
"So," Dean said with a sigh, feet swinging back and forth.
"So," Sam couldn't stop the word then let out a huff of irritation. "This is ridiculous."
"Yeah," Dean said with a grin. "So," He added on and Sam was tempted to punch him on principle. "So, you're a teacher now?"
Sam nodded and scraped his mind for something else to say, "Yes. Professor Winchester, would you believe it?"
"Hell, yeah. Always knew my baby brother was a geek."
"Says the guy who is a living history book," Sam pointed out.
"I'm the NC-17 pages," Dean smirked. "Seriously though, bro. You done good for yourself. Though your youngest boy? Man, Karma feels good."
Sam regarded his brother through narrowed eyes, "What does that mean?"
"'Dean, where's my favourite book?' 'Dean, I don't want to wear the ducky socks today.' 'Dean, I want the last of the breakfast cereal.' 'Dean, why's the sky blue?' Any of this sounding familiar, little brother?"
"I was never that bad," Sam grumped.
"That memory loss thing settling in already? You are looking a little grey," Dean smirked and Sam self-consciously ran a hand back through his hair which was neither thinning nor greying thank you very much.
Sam could remember most of his forty four years of life which is why it was somewhat confusing that the arrival of his brother could somehow revert him back to a pudgy, insecure fourteen year old. "Dad's grey." Sam wasn't sure why he blurted it out like that except that it seemed like the right moment.
"Huh," Dean said and took up intense study of his shoes. "He still hunting?"
"Why are you asking? I thought you checked in on us."
"I check in on you, that's my job," Dean clarified. "But Dad? I dunno. I've thought about it but there's kind of a feeling that Dad would know I was there and I don't want to deal with that."
Precious minutes stretched by in awkward silence as Sam tried to think of something to say that wouldn't be a lie. "He's never stopped looking for you, you know?"
Dean snorted, half-way between a laugh and a sob, "It'd be better if he realised he didn't have to look. I just kinda hoped he'd be here this last time."
"Last time?" Sam reached across to grip his brother's wrists in his hands. "What the hell do you mean?"
Dean's eyes slid away from Sam's attentive gaze, "Nothing, Sammy. Don't worry about it."
That just made Sam tighten his grip as if physical force alone could keep his brother with him, "Dean, tell me what the hell you meant!"
"I can't," Dean said angrily. "So stop asking."
"No, that's not how it works," Sam felt his bifocals slide down his nose as he shook his head but didn't dare lift his hands from his brother's wrists to adjust them back into position. "Once a decade, that's what I get and I'm not giving it up."
Dean's head shot up and vibrant green eyes met Sam's own, "Shit, Sammy. That's not what I meant, I… I'll be here in ten years, I promise." When Sam opened his mouth to ask more questions, Dean snapped at him, "Just stop asking questions, Sammy. Please, I'm begging you, stop asking questions."
It was the desolate echo in green eyes that silenced Sam as much as his words and the awkward silence stretched again as Sam tried to think of a new topic than the one abruptly silenced. He released Dean's wrists, pushed his own glasses back up his nose and rubbed a still-calloused thumb along his jaw as he thought.
It was Dean that broke the silence, "Of course, I know the real reason you weren't at home tonight."
Sam blinked and felt some guilt from the old argument even as he wracked his brain for a real reason, "What?"
"You are worried that your wife will run off with your own far sexier older-younger brother." Dean leaned forward to pat his shoulder on the shoulder, "Don't worry, I'd never do that to you." There was a pause that Sam recognised as Dean waiting for the perfect comic timing, "Seffy'd kill me."
Sam snorted, "As if Ella would be interested in you anyway."
Dean shot his brother an 'Are you kidding? Who wouldn't want this?' look, one especially irritating when Sam's age-based insecurities were beginning to flourish. Sam had never imagined the day he'd have a paunch.
"You don't have a paunch!" Dean protested and Sam blinked up at him, sure he hadn't said that aloud. Dean scratched at the hairs at the nape of his neck, one of Dean's nervous tells, "Okay, maybe I was listening in a little." Before Sam could protest, Dean added, "You were being quiet, I don't like it when you are quiet."
Sam rolled his eyes. His brother didn't change much but Dean's words broke the floodgate and they spent the last half-hour chatting continually about everything and nothing. Sam was sure he must have talked more than his brother judging by how sore his throat felt.
"Time to go, Sammy," Dean said with a resigned grin on his face.
"Did you mean what you said earlier?" Sam questioned and then clarified when Dean looked bemused, "About your kids visiting when you can't?"
Dean nodded, "Of course. They don't have problems like I do with the whole zuuuup," Dean made a noise and waved his hand in a gesture that Sam was supposed to refer to getting between the immortal realm and this one.
"They are both welcome to drop by anytime," Sam said.
"I know," Dean grinned then frowned, glancing at his watch. "Erm, Sam?"
"Yes?" Sam asked, wanting to close his eyes so he didn't have to watch his brother disappear again.
Sam was briefly tempted to refuse to lift it, to keep his brother by his side but he knew he couldn't be that selfish, not to mention he had no idea what that would do to Dean. He muttered a few Latin words and almost instantly Dean faded out, barely enough time to mouth goodbye.
Sam stared at the empty space his brother had been for a long while then got up and headed back to his life.