Author's Notes: This is a cross over between Supernatural and the Dresden Files. Even more, we've picked out elements from both the books and the TV Series of the Dresden Files that we liked best. It starts shortly after Samuel is attacked by the Shtriga in Season One of Supernatural in "Something Wicked." It's completely pre-cannon in both versions of the Dresden Files. Yes, we are definitely in AU.
John packed their things in short order, he wanted out of there before the witch could come back for his youngest son. He barked orders at Dean, not meaning to, but this entire process was killing him.
Erin and Tom had been after him to leave the boys with them while he hunted for months now. And the near miss with Sam and the Shtriga was enough to make it clear that it was exactly what he needed to do. He didn't want to be separated from his children but he couldn't risk losing them either.
"Get your brother in the car, Dean."
"Yes sir." Dean said, biting off an 'I'm sorry.' Because his father didn't want to hear it. Probably didn't want to believe it either. He just wanted some air. Stuck in the motel room for days on end...he couldn't take it anymore. He didn't ask to be put in charge of Sammy, of everything, all the time. He just was. It wasn't fair, but he didn't say anything. He remembered the look on his father's face as the shtriga flew off, after nearly getting Sammy, and his father was right. It was his fault. "Come on, Sammy." He said quietly as he took his little brother's hand and led him into the car, getting Sammy settled into the backseat of the Impala and making sure his seatbelt was on tight.
"I'm sorry Dean." Sammy said, figuring this was somehow his fault. Usually when Dean looked like that, Sam had done something stupid and their father had thought he should have stopped him first. "I didnit mean to get you in trouble." Not that he had any idea what he had done.
John put their things in the trunk of the car, and got into the driver's side. He had called Erin and she was excited about the boys coming. John just didn't know how to break it to them without it coming off as him abandoning them. It wasn't what he was doing. He was making sure they were safe. It was different, but he knew that it woudn't seem that way to two little boys.
Dean made sure Sam was settled down as John started off down the highway. He knew too well that this was his fault. Sam had almost died, and his dad didn't get to finish the job. Because he was careless. Put himself over Sammy. This is what happened when he did that. Now he didn't know where they were going as cars streaked by them, the scenery turning into a blur. "It's okay Sammy." He whispered to his brother.
John drove through the night, looking in the rear view mirror at his boys. His life was sitting in the back seat nestled in close together, as though warding off the rest of the world. And he was giving up his world. He wasn't sure he could do this. But he didn't have a choice. If he didn't, one day he would come back to their hotel room and find them both dead. There had been no way Dean could have protected Sam against that thing. He would have lost them both. And that knowledge tore at his heart.
He parked the Impala outside a two story home in a small town an hour out of Chicago. He had met Erin and Ted through his hunter connections. Pastor Jim knew them, and they were ... normal. They knew what was going on in the world, knew the right precautions, but they lived in a home, held down jobs, they could give his sons things that he couldn't any more.
And it wasn't like he couldn't come back for them later, or see them when ever he wanted. He just couldn't take them with him any longer. He couldn't risk losing them forever.
"Here we are." He said and turned around in the seat to look at his boys, everything he was feeling evident in his eyes. "We need to talk about a few things before we go in. I am going to need both of you to be brave, and hold it together for me alright?"
Dean immediately straightened, on edge and wary. "Dad..what's going on?" He said, holding his breath. No idea what was coming next. But knew whatever it was, he wouldn't like it. His life had been filled with change and chaos, and he was ever wary of the next set of changes, of the next string of chaotic events. "Dad..." He looked at the house, and back at his father.
"Erin and Tom are friends. Pastor Jim introduced me to them a while back. You boys are going to be staying here for a little while. Just until things slow down. Then I will be back to get you." He reassured them.
Sam's eyes got wide. "You're leaving us here... you... you aren't gonna be back in a couple of days?" He didn't know what to think, all he knew was how he felt. And he felt scared. "I don't wanna stay with strangers. I wanna stay with Dean."
"Dean is going to be with you Sam. It's gonna be okay." John said.
"It's gonna be great." Dean said to reassure Sam. And met John's eyes. Anger, despair, fear, all of it mixed into young hazel-green eyes, where there should never be anger, despair and fear. "It's gonna be great. Come on, Sam, let's go."
Sam clung to his older brother, fighting the tears that were welling in his eyes. He didn't want to bawl like a baby. Didn't want to embarrass Dean but it hurt so much that his daddy would just leave them like this. "Things never slow down." He said looking up at his father.
John cleared his throat and got out of the car to get the boys' things. "You'll like it here. There are other kids in the neighborhood. Maybe when I come back by I can bring you guys a puppy or something. You were wanting something normal in your life, right Dean? The chance to make friends and maybe get involved in sports. It'll work out. Really." His voice cracked. "And I won't be gone forever."
"Yeah. Right." Dean said sullenly. "It's fine. Just go. We'll be fine." He said. He didn't believe for a moment that John wouldn't be gone forever. He was really ditching them with strangers for the hunt. Which apparently counted more in his life than Dean or Sam ever would. But Sam...Dean couldn't cry right now. Couldn't get upset, because he had to be strong for Sammy. Someone had to take care of Sammy, even if their own father didn't want to right now. "Bye." He said as he led Sam up the steps.
The front door opened and a middle aged woman stepped out and smiled at the boys. "You must be Sam and Dean." She said. "You can call me Erin, Tom is at work but he will be so excited to meet you. Are you hungry?" She asked looking up at John and giving him a sympathetic look. She knew this wasn't easy for him.
Sam looked up at Dean, taking his lead in all of this. If he didn't, he would find himself running back for the Impala and his father. He didn't say anything to the woman as she looked down at them with that smiling face. That warm and friendly voice that all the moms on TV have.
Dean was angry. He was so angry at John, he couldn't look back at his father. So he didn't. "I'm Dean." He said. "Come on, Sammy, we should eat something." Because Sam always needed to eat.
Sam nodded, letting Dean lead the way. He didn't have anything to say. Not to these people, and not to his father. Grown ups couldn't be trusted. If their father couldn't be trusted, then obviously no one could.
Erin motioned for John to come in with the boys' things. "Okay, well let me show you where the kitchen is. " She said and led the way. "I have some muffins and milk right now, is that alright or do you want something hot for breakfast?"
"They'll be fine with that" John answered for them. "I'm sure they will want to see their rooms."
Sam clutched at Dean again at that. He didn't want his own room. He wanted to stay with Dean. No one else knew how to chase the dreams away and what if he had one and Dean wasn't there?
Dean took the bags from John. "We're fine. You can go. We don't want to hold you up." He said to his father and looked at Erin. Looking every inch of the little boy he truly was beneath the bravado and hurt. "Can we...can we share a room?" He asked quietly.
"Of course you can. We can move the other bed into which ever of the two rooms you two prefer." Erin said as she set out the muffins and poured two glasses of milk for the boys.
John stood at the door watching his sons, every rejection from them cutting deeper than the last. "It's only for a little while." He said. "I just want you to be safe." He knew that was hard for them to understand now but later they would. "I'll be back before you know it."
Dean didn't answer as he led Sam to the table and hunched his narrow shoulders over his plate. Short of screaming at his father, and begging him not to leave them, there was nothing to say. And nothing he'd say would make a difference.
Erin went over to John. "They'll be fine. We'll keep them safe." She said.
"I'll call... even if he won't talk to me... I'll call. " John knew Dean was angry. He couldn't blame him. He was angry with himself as well for setting this situation up. He should never have taken them with him on the road. It wasn't the sort of life he had ever wanted for his sons.
John allowed Erin to walk him out of the house. "You can contact Jim or Bobby if there is anything wrong. They always know how to find me."
"It's going to be alright. We have it under control. They will be safe and secure here. John. Give it a little time, they'll come around. Probably knock you over in the excitement when you come back."
John had his doubts. She didn't know Dean yet. Sam might... if he was willing to move away from Dean long enough but Dean was going to hold this against him for a long time to come. It broke his heart but he couldn't go through it again. Couldn't bear the thought of watching something attacking one of his boys as it had back in that hotel
"I'll be back in a couple of weeks." He said as he turned to go. If he didn't just do it, he would never be able to leave them.
Dean listened. Waiting for John to come through the door and say this was all a joke or something. But the only thing he heard was the rumble of the Impala's engine and the gravel crunching under its tires. He pushed his plate away, all appetite gone, but made sure Sammy ate.
Their father left them. He left. He got into the car and drove away without a second thought. First his mother died, now his father left him. He was only eleven. Just eleven.
He had tried to be so strong because he knew Dean would want him to but he just couldn't be when he heard the car driving away. His father was gone and they were with people they had never met before. He knew Dean couldn't make it better, and he knew his brother had to be hurting to, but he couldn't help it. Sometimes the hurt had to be let out to the outside or it would hurt worse later.
Dean just shook his head. Dad had left, he really did. This wasn't dropping them off at Pastor Jim's, or at Bobby's. This was leaving them. But he just pulled his brother to him as the tears coursed down his own face. This hurt.
Erin watched the boys, staying back and watching. This was good. She had known when she offered to take them that it was the worst possible way John could have handled it. But that was what she wanted. She wanted the boys to cut ties with their father. They were Morningways and shouldn't be raised by a man like John Winchester. There was so much potential in them to be realized. Unfortunately she couldn't take them to Justin now. There had to be a transition period. Justin needed to be the one who wanted them, not the one who got stuck with them in their eyes. She waited until they had cried themselves out.
"You two ready to go pick your room since you have two to choose from now?" She asked, as she picked up the boys bags. They didn't have much, but she would change that. Once they had settled in she would take them shopping, they looked like little ragamuffins. That wouldn't do.
"Yeah." Dean said as he took Sam's hand. He picked the first room. Defensively, it was by the stairs and had a strong tree outside the window. Offensively, there was a nook in the room where he could have the element of surprise. Because that was how he was raised.
Sam remained silent the entire time, his little shoulders occasionally shuddering with a hitching breath, the aftermath of an all out cry. He stood in the middle of the room and looked around. It was a nice room, and if their father were in the room next door he would have been excited about it. But it was just a room, just a house, empty of anything that would make it home. He walked to the window and stared out at the tree.
"Well, I will bring in the other bed for you, if I could get your help Dean." She asked. "We could get it all set up in no time."
"I'll be right back." Dean whispered to his brother. But the sooner they got the room set up , the sooner Erin would leave them alone. And he wanted to be alone with his brother.
It didn't take long to get the other twin bed and another dresser moved into the room and set up. "Okay. I am going to let you two get settled in. I think we'll have lunch out and do a little shopping. You boys need a few more things than you have now. Maybe a few toys as well. I know you haven't had the space to have much but while you are here we'll make sure you have everything you need." She looked at the younger Winchester "Are you alright Sam?" She asked, but the boy said nothing, wouldn't even look at her. She sighed. "It's alright. We'll have plenty of time to get to know each other." She said and turned to leave the room.
Once she left, Dean moved the dresser in front of the door. "Sam?" He said, looking at his little brother. Feeling as lost as Sam did. "It's going to be all right. Somehow. At some point. It's going to have to be."
"Why doesn't he love us anymore?" Sam asked in a whisper soft voice. As though he were afraid someone would hear him other than his brother. "I didn't mean to be in the way... or to get Mommy killed."
"This is my fault." Dean said with somber, quiet eyes. Hiding the rage inside. "I didn't do what I was supposed to." Because this all came on the heels of what had happened. That thing hovering over Sam because Dean couldn't follow simple directions.
Sam shook his head and clung to his brother. "I want to go home." He said quietly. "Not your fault. You didn't do anything wrong. Just... don't leave me, okay... please."
"You don't get to leave me either." Dean said. They had to stick together, they were all the other had now. And it was such a scary place to be when they were just children.
Sam fell silent once more and with resignation chose which bed and which dresser he wanted and put what few things he had away while Dean did the same. It was strange to unpack. Really unpack. Made it all seem real and Sammy didn't want it to seem real. He wanted their dad to come back after the hunt was done and wonder why they weren't ready to go.
He flinched a little as the door bumped against the dresser that Dean had placed in front of the door. "Is every thing alright in there?" Erin called out. "Dean, I need you to move what ever is blocking the door. No one is going to hurt you here."
"Everything's fine." He snapped. "And no. We're fine." The dresser wasn't moving until he was satisfied, or one of them had to pee. Whichever came first. He unpacked less than Sam. Just shoved his bags into the drawer and smushed them down until they fit and he could close the drawers.
"Dean, I know this is rough on you, and it has to hurt in ways that I can only imagine, but you can't block the door closed. We can arrange for a lock on the door if you want but you can't put furniture there. It's a fire hazard. So what do you say you move the dresser so that you don't have to be grounded on your first day here? I'm sure you want to go when Sam and I go shopping. You need things too."
"Planning on starting a fire?" He shot back. If there was a fire, he'd get out with Sammy. And that was that. But dammit he wanted some time without this strange woman checking in on them with her blindingly bright smile.
"Dean. Move the dresser now, or I will put Sam in his own room. If I can't trust you not to barricade yourselves in, then you can't share a room. I don't want to do that but I will if you don't do as I say. Now."
Dean kicked the dresser against the door but moved it. "Fine." He said, opening the door. Then he closed it again. "That woman!" He said to Sam. He just wanted space, just space.
Sam looked up at his brother. "He'll come back... " He said, having to believe that because he couldn't believe that their father would just leave them with strangers forever. "He said he would come back... "
"He did." Dean said, but he didn't believe it. There seemed to be a finality to John that Dean had never seen before. He didn't understand it, he didn't WANT to understand it. He wanted his life back that he had last week. This was all his fault.
"Dad always keeps his promises." Sam said trying to make Dean feel better. "And its not your fault. If Daddy were still mad at you he would have yelled alot more. " He went to sit down on the bed. "I don't like her." He said about Erin. "I don't want her to act like she's our mom."
"She's not our mom." Dean said firmly as he sat down next to his brother. "She's just a glorified babysitter. Someone Dad ditched us with so he could go do something mondo dangerous." Because that sounded good.
"Cause it's too far to pastor Jim's." Sam decided. It was the only thing that made sense. It was too far out of their father's way to take them to someone that they knew, so he chose these people instead.
Erin left the boys alone for a few hours. Letting them have their space, but eventually she had to gather them up and take them shopping. They needed new clothing, and all the normal things that little boys would want or need in their lives.
Although you would have thought it was a death sentence with all the enthusiasm they seemed to show. Sam refused to speak the entire time. She didn't know what to do with him. Unfortunately Dean seemed to speak for him far too often. Usually in defiance. The boy was going to be trouble, she could tell already.
She picked up clothing that was mostly to her liking for them, although she could tell that it would take perhaps 5 minutes to turn it back into something their father would have chosen to put them in. Games and books and toys for Sam. Dean insisting he was too old for toys.
She would be glad when they were out of her hair, but for now she could keep up appearances. "Okay boys. Go put your things away. Dinner will be in an hour, and Tom will be home then. So please ... try to smile just a little at the dinner table. "
Dean beamed the widest, fakest smile at her as he took Sam's hand and took him back to the bedroom. He shut the door behind them and shoved the bags in the closet. That counted as putting them away, right? "Dinner. Great." Dean said. This was too much stress for an eleven year old. He was already on the verge of breaking something.
Sam looked at his brother, he was worried about him. Dinner couldn't be any worse than the rest of the day had been, although he would be glad when the day was over and he could crawl into bed. He was hoping to wake up and find that it was just a bad dream. "Wanna play game?" He asked. His voice soft, almost inaudible.
He figured it was the last thing Dean wanted to do, but even the 7 year old realized that if they spent too much time dwelling on it, they would go insane. Or worse... start to cry again.
Dean was glad for the distraction. To shut up all the thoughts spinning around inside his head. "Actually, yeah." He said, with more enthusiam than he had shown all day. He pulled out a random game out of the closet. "Okay, Sorry. That's a good game." He said as he set it up on the floor.
They played a couple rounds of Sorry, until they were dragged down for dinner. Which was uncomfortable and awkward. Sam had fallen silent again, and Dean gave short, clipped answers to everything as they ate as quickly as they could.
Sam wasn't trying to be a brat. He just didn't want to talk to them. If he talked then he might learn to like them, and if he learned to like them... his dad would never take them with him again. So Sam wasn't going to talk. It was childlike logic, but at 7 it made perfect sense.
Tom and Erin made a great show of being understanding. Even when they wanted to strangle for boys for their attitude. They were hurting and it was easy to understand.
She conscripted the boys into helping with the dinner clean up, even Sam, who got to load the dishwasher after Dean rinsed the dishes and handed them to him. Neither was exactly thrilled with the chore, and no matter how much Dean insisted Sam didn't have to cause he was little, Erin disagreed.
"It's good for him to learn now. Besides, it isn't so hard." She told him. "Now... off to get your baths and into your night clothes. Lights out is at 8 for Sam, you can stay up an extra hour down here if you want to, Dean."
"No, I'll go to bed." Dean said. "I'm pretty tired." He was, the day had worn him out inside. And he didn't want Sam to be alone. He also didn't want to be alone. So they washed up, got into pajamas and climbed into bed.
"How much longer do we have to do this?" Tom asked his wife softly over running water, once the boys were in their room.
"A few days." She said. "Long enough for it to be believable that their father is dead on a hunt." Erin told him. "We don't want to wait too long or he'll show back up to get them. I saw the look in his eyes. He was as upset as the boys are. It won't last more than a hunt. I'll start setting things in motion in the morning."
"Good." Tom said. "I'll let Justin know, I'll call him from out of town. Little ears and all. Everything will work out fine, as long as we can keep those two under control for a couple of days."
"And John out of the way. "
As the days wore on, Sam became even more withdrawn. The nightmares were horrific, but after the first night their guardians let Dean handle it. Their presence only made things worse it seemed.
Dean was exhausted. Dealing with Sam's nightmares and his own thoughts left little time for sleep, and dark shadows began to appear below his green eyes, which were more haunted and filled with despair as each day passed without word from John. But he kept Sam occupied, and spoke for Sam when their guardians wanted something.
It was working out perfectly, Erin thought. Dean was tired enough to be near a breaking point, and he was the one they feared they'd have trouble with. He was more aggressive than his brother, who still didn't say a word, just stared silently at them, and let Dean speak for him. She knew Sam could talk, she'd heard him whispering to his brother late at night.
It was late in the 4th day when the call she had been waiting for had come. All was ready. She hung up the phone and produced her best crocodile tears as she headed up the stairs to speak with the children.
"Dean, Sam... " She said as she entered their room, wiping the tears from her eyes. "I ahm... I have bad news." She said as she made them sit down. "It's your father... this hunt that he was on. It went very badly. We just got word from Jim that... that he didn't make it. I am so sorry."
Dean jumped back up to his feet. "You're a liar!" He shouted at her. "You're lying! My dad is NOT dead. You take it back!" Because John wouldn't die, right? And leave both Dean and Sam as true orphans.
"Oh honey, I wish I was lying." She said. "Then you boys could still stay with us." She told him. "I'm sorry but it's true. You don't need to worry. Your father made sure that you had family to go to. Your mother's brother lives over in Chicago. Just an hour away. He wants to meet you and take you home with him now."
Sam was crying. His little body was shaking with the effort to hold it all inside, but he wasn't going to make a sound in front of this woman. He had been right not to get to like her, because they were going away again... just not the way he had hoped.
Their mother was dead. Their father was dead. Some strange woman told them about their father, now some uncle they'd never met was coming to take them. Dean's mind was spinning as he went back over to Sam and held him tight, in fear that Sam, too, would somehow go away.
"He knew this hunt was going to be a rough one... that's why he brought you here. He did love you." She told them as she rose slowly. "Your uncle will be here later on tonight, he's making arrangements for you."
Sam held tightly to Dean as well. Part of him going numb inside even as he gave into the tears, and the silent sobs that wracked his small body.
Dean couldn't process it all. Nothing could kill his dad, he was superman. No, he was better than superman. He wasn't dead, this was some trick, he just couldn't figure out the punchline, but John wasn't dead.
Because children had trouble accepting what they didn't want to accept, that's how Dean's mind worked. It wasn't possible, and it wasn't happening.
Sam didn't have his brother's unshakable faith in their father. Dean was his hero. So it was Dean he clung to and took comfort from, even if Dean didn't realize he was giving it.
It was after dinner when Justin Morningway arrived. Neither of the boys had felt like eating, and Erin only gave lip service to encouraging them to do so. They were grieving. Small stomachs didn't get along with grief.
She made her way up the stairs and knocked on the bedroom door before opening it. "Your uncle is here." She told them and moved to gather their bags, having packed the boys things for them earlier.
And so they were leaving again. Nothing had changed in the base of Dean's life. Constantly moving from place to place. Which was why he hadn't bothered to unpack anything. Stability in his life was John, and now John was gone. One way or another he was gone.
Justin Morningway entered the room and looked at the two boys, with their tear stained cheeks. He knelt before them, at eyelevel. "I'm Justin. I was your mother's brother." He said softly. "I'd like to take you home with me if I could."
"We never met you before." Dean said.
"Your father had his own way of doing things." Justin said carefully. Now was not the time to denigrate their father's memory. That would make him the bad guy.
Sam looked at him not sure if he trusted the man or not. He had no memory of his mother, so he didn't know if this man was a brother to her or just some guy that shared the same parents. He had his own definitions of what brothers were supposed to be, and that was defined by Dean.
"I can see a bit of your mother in both of you." Justin said and he took a small picture frame from his large coat pocket. "I thought you might want to see something to help you know that I am telling you the truth. I can understand being dubious. We've never met and you have had to be so very careful of people out there helping your father." He said and held out the photo of himself and his two sisters, both dead now. And for that he truly did grieve.
He offered it over to Dean to look at as he knew that Sam would have no memory of Mary. "That was taken just before your mother went to school. She had just started college when she met your father, who was a corporal in the marine corp stationed near by. The other woman was your aunt, Mary was the youngest of us."
Dean took the picture and gripped it with his hands and stared at the face of a woman he had immortalized into an angel in his mind. The one he dreamed about when he was scared and unsure. "It's Mom." He mumbled to Sam. And Justin and another woman were in the picture. "It's definitely Mom." Younger than how he remembered her, but it was their mother.
Sam looked at the photo then back at the man. He supposed he could see it. Maybe the shape of the eyes. But then no one thought he and Dean looked anything alike either.
"Where I live... is where your mother and I grew up." He told them. "I would like to show you a part of her if I could. I know you didn't get to know her really. Not enough time. " He said, with genuine sadness. "Are you ready to go? Do you want to say your good byes?"
Dean nodded and took Sam's hand as they stood up. A strange man came in and gathered their bags, a servant of Justin's they would find out later. He looked at Erin and Tom. "Thank you." He said politely. For John had raised them to be polite, and this was a time for politeness he supposed.
Sam merely nodded his agreement with Dean, not once moving more than a few inches from his brother's side, and holding tightly to his hand.
"Sam hasn't spoken since his father left." Erin told Morningway. She knew that wasn't exactly true, but that was Morningway's problem now, not hers. She had her payoff, he had his nephews and she was rid of the little monsters. Grateful of it too.
"Understandable." Morningway said gravely with a nod. "Thank you for looking after them. I'm sure John appreciated it also." Making sure the boys knew he and John were on the same side, even if they weren't. "Come on." He said to the boys. "We've got a bit of a drive ahead of us." Across Chicago to the other side of the suburbs, where the more affluent lived. And Justin Morningway was definitely affluent.
The doors to the stretch limosine opened and the driver finished putting the bags in the trunk. Dean stared at it for a moment, then led Sam into it. No going back now. Couldn't be any worse than Erin's at least.
"You have a cousin, you know." Justin said as they boys settled in the back. "He's older than you, but he lives with me also. His name is Harry."
Sam looked up at him, wanting to ask questions, but he didn't want to talk. He didn't want to learn to like this man. Cause once he did they would just be sent away again. Not that he wanted to stay at Erin's. He hated it there. Hated every minute. But he hated being sent away more.
"You can ask questions if you want. I promise not to bite." Justin said as they pulled away from the house and started toward the freeway to Chicago. "Or you can tell me about yourselves. When Harry moved in with me, he was your age, Dean. His father had just died as well. It was ... a learning experience with the two of us settling in. I would like things to go more smoothly with us. "
"Sam and I share a room." Dean said. "He doesn't like tomatoes in his salad. Or ranch dressing. He eats ketchup with everything, and likes baths more than showers." Because Sam was easier to cover. Dean had been his caretaker for so long, he wanted the ground rules set.
Justin nodded understandingly. "Alright. Does Sam have a bed time? " He had heard that the boys were living alone in motel rooms while John was hunting his demons. "And what about yourself? What is it you like or want?" He asked. Dean wasn't the one with the gift. That was Sam. Hazards of marrying into the normal world. But that didn't make him any less his nephew, or any less important. His children could have the gift. Especially if he were directed toward the right girl later in life.
"Eight thirty." Dean said and shrugged. "I don't know." He said, he'd never thought about it. "I like video games." He liked the arcade, that was for sure. And cars. And helping his dad with the weapons. He had to pull in a shuddering breath as he thought about his father. It still hurt.
"I think a few video games can be arranged." He said with a nod. "There are some things the two of you need to know. I know that you know about demons and monsters, correct? " He looked from one boy to the other. "But did your father tell you anything about your mother's family... anything about wizards?"
"Dad never talked about Mom's family." Dean said. And John hadn't. The mere mention of Mary seemed to send a physical pain through the man. "Wizards? Like out of books and stuff? Merlin and all that crap?"
"Yes." Justin said with a smile. "Very much like that. The Morningway bloodline is a wizard bloodline. Not everyone in it has the gift... but many of us do." There was no point in making the boy feel like the family freak after all. "You will see many things in our home, people that come and go... things that must be kept very secret. You see there is a rule amongst our kind, that if a person doesn't already know about the supernatural, we are not to tell them. Or show them. Do you understand?"
"We never talked about what we saw or knew." Dean said and looked at Sam. He knew he didn't have any sort of gift. Except the gift of a smart mouth. But Sam...John knew something about Sam, he had to have. "Was our mother special?" His memories of his mother were that of a four year old.
"Your mother would have been special even if she didn't have a gift." He said with a genuine smile. "She didn't want her gift though. Didn't want to be part of that world we grew up in. She could light up a room just by walking into it. The sort of woman everyone wanted to be near."
Dean smiled, his first real smile in weeks. That was the mother he remembered, a golden light of a woman that tucked him in at night. Then it faded. "Something killed our mother. Dad was looking for it. He never found it." But it could find them, he thought.
"It won't get you." Justin said firmly, that paternal sort of firmness that was meant to be reassuring. He had raised Harry after all. He had some experience with traumatized orphan children. "Our home is very safe. And there are things that you both will be taught in order to protect yourselves. Which brings me to another subject... Raithburt... or as Harry calls him... Bob," he rolled his eyes good naturedly at that, "Bob will be your tutor in all things magical and supernatural... including latin and such. Bob however... is a ghost. Not the sort that your hunter friends put to rest. Not a tormented spirit... well... after a fashion... it's a long story but he is bound to his skull. However he is a friend and I will not tolerate any attempt to salt and burn his skull.. no rock salt around the skull.. " He said with a faint smile remembering his own boyish pranks. "He has been with the family for many generations."
Dean looked at him, wide eyed. And blinked. A ghost tutor? That made no sense in his mind. "Umm...okay." He said, because he knew even if he disagreed it would happen anyway. "No burning the skull. Got it. No rock salt around the skull, check. But if we think of anything else, as long as it doesn't, I don't know, unbind him from the skull, it's fair game, right?"
Justin laughed. "We will have to take that on a case by case basis." Boys would play pranks on their tutors. It was the nature of boys. Fortunately, this was a tutor that can't quit. "Just remember he has feelings. So don't be mean in your pranks." He said and looked over at the silent Samuel. "It's going to be alright." He told the boy. "It will take time... loss always takes time to adjust to, to let yourself get past... but it will be alright. You will see."
Sam simply nodded and scooted in closer to Dean. He liked Justin better than Tom and Erin. He didn't seem fake every time he smiled.
The drive was quiet. Dean really only answered when spoken to, and Sam didn't answer at all. Finally they pulled into the Morningway estate and Dean looked at the mansion as they got out of the limo. It was huge. And old. Did he mention huge?
"This is your house?" Dean asked. It was bigger than any he'd ever seen.
"This is our home, yes." Justin said and led the boys toward the entrance as the driver took their things inside. "This is where your mother grew up. In fact your things are being put in her old room. "
Dean gave him a surprised look at that. "Is it all, you know, girly and stuff?" His mom was a girl after all. And on the cusp of adolescence, it was a valid fear. Of being surrounded by pink and ruffles and lace, no matter if it was his mom's.
"No. It's not all girly and stuff." He said with a smile. "Don't worry about that. We only have a double bed in there at the moment. Will you boys be alright sharing until we can arrange for twins?" He hadn't planned on them wanting to share a room and the house had never really had much use for twin beds.
"We'll be fine." Dean said. Until he could figure out the deal, or worse the con, Sam wasn't leaving his sight. It was how things were going to be, whether this uncle of theirs wanted it or not.
Justin gave the boys the basic tour. Showed them the parlor, the music room, the library, the dining room and the kitchen. And of course the locations of the bathrooms. "This is your class room at least until Samuel finds his voice. " He said "Raithbert? Show yourself." He said standing near to the skull with its ornate mystical patterns.
Raithbert, though he had gotten used to being called Bob, appeared and looked at Justin Morningway. "Yes, sir?" He said, in a bored tone. He looked at Sam and Dean, staring at him wide eyed. "I had thought when Harry was old enough that I would be done...babysitting."
"These are Mary's boys." Justin said. "Dean," he said placing a hand on the older boy's shoulder, "and Samuel, Sam... which does he prefer?" He asked Dean. "He seems to have lost his voice some where along the way. We'll need to be patient." He said.
"Sam." Dean said.
"How quaint." Bob said. "So another boy, two in this case, that I have to teach. My life, or afterlife, is full of trials. I never thought this would be one of them. Never ending tutor, taken for granted, not to mention horribly abused. Boys and their pranks."
"Does he ever stop complaining?" Dean asked.
"If you were condemned to be bound to a skull for all eternity, you might complain also, young man." Bob said.
A smile teased at the corners of Sam's mouth but faded. Bob was amusing. Even if he was complaining all the time, or maybe because he was complaining all the time.
"Nope, he never stops." Came a new voice. Younger, less refined than Justin's. "How ya doin' Bob?" Harry asked as he peeked into the class room. "Who's this?" He looked between Bob and Justin for answers.
"These are Mary's boys. My youngest sister. Dean, and Sam." Justin said. "Boys, this is your cousin, Harry."
"The black sheep of the family, if for no other reason than hygeine." Bob sniffed.
Harry gave Bob a look then ran a finger over the skull, pulling it back to reveal dust. "'nuff said." He told the ghost. "So you boys moving in or just visiting for a while?"
"They're going to stay with us." Justin said. "Your aunt died some time ago, and her husband was lost recently. And we are all family, aren't we?"
""Perhaps their first chore can be to tidy up my living area, as Harry has so politely pointed out." Bob interjected.
"Hey, you were the one that mentioned hygeine. " Harry said and knelt down in front of the boys. "I lost my dad when I was about your age. Came to live here with Uncle Justin. Took a little getting used to but it's pretty alright around here. Once you get settled in, come find me." He said with a grin. "I know all the best places to play in here. " He stood up "And don't let Bob get to you. He's a softie under all that whining."
"I am not a softie. I am ephemeral." Bob said, as he looked up at the ceiling in frustration. "And you boys would be wise not to follow by Harry's example. He's incorrigible."
The antics between Harry and Bob had Dean stifling down a chuckle. But it was amusing.
"Raithbert, back to your skull." Justin said as Bob was absorbed back into the skull. "Let's get you two settled in."
"So hey, I'll see you boys at dinner." Harry said with a genuinely sympathetic smile. He remembered his first days here all too clearly. "Welcome to the family. How you finally got to meet us sucks ass, but.. well you're here, so welcome aboard. "
"Harry, language." Justin said nodding toward Sam and what he assumed were still delicate ears. Or at least should have been.
Harry chuckled but looked sheepish. "Sorry kid. So, Uncle Justin, once the boys are up in their room pretending to get settled in... can we talk?"
"Of course, Harry." The older man said. "I will join you there shortly." He then looked to the boys. "Are you ready to see your room?" He asked.
Dean nodded and took Sam's hand again. This place was strange. But it was at least their kind of strange, kinda. And Harry didn't seem fake. Their uncle might be trying too hard but Dean couldn't blame him. They were led to their room and then, when alone, Dean looked at Sam.
"So what do you think?"
Sam looked around the enormous bedroom and shrugged. "It's better than Erin's... and Bob is funny" He said in an almost mumble. "I like Harry, and I think Uncle Justin likes us." He felt a little guilty not thinking it was terrible, or hating their uncle. It was a little like betraying their father's memory to think they could be happy with out him one day. "We could put our last apartment in this room." He added, and noticed that someone had already put their things away for them.
"Yeah we could." Dean said as he looked around too and poked around the room in different drawers and closets. "I think we'll be all right. Dad...Da would want us to be taken care of. We just can't forget him."
"I won't forget him." Sammy said. "Do you think he would have come back for us?" He asked, wanting to believe that more than anything. That their father hadn't abandoned them with those... those people.
"Yeah, he would have." Dean said. And impressed himself with how easy the lie slipped off his tongue. Because he didn't believe that his father would have come back. There was too much finality.
John couldn't tell you when the hunt had started to go wrong. It wasn't in the preparation. It wasn't in tracking down his prey. It wasn't in the execution of the hunt itself.
Not exactly. Unless you count the fact that the moment he walked into the things lair he had two left feet and was all thumbs. His weapons misfired, and his cell phone was dead when he tried to call an ambulance.
It was pure dumb luck that the creature was killed. But it was a miracle that John hadn't died with it. The concussion and blood loss had alone had nearly caused him to wreck the Impala on the way to the emergency room. At least that was what he told himself.
John wasn't entirely sure that he hadn't been jinxed somehow. Or maybe that was the drugs talking. He shifted in the hospital bed until he could reach the telephone and dialed Erin's number, growling in frustration as he got their voice mail for the 3rd time that day. "Yeah, it's John again. Still hoping to talk to the boys. I'll call again later." He said, exhaustion and sadness evident in his voice.
Harry convinced Justin to have dinner on the terrace that night. It was a smaller much more informal, and he didn't think the boys were ready for a formal Morningway dinner. Their idea of being dressed for dinner was probably much like Harry's. Fully clothed with clean hands and face.
He looked up and grinned at the boys as they were escorted to the table by the house keeper. "Hey, how you two holdin' up?"
"We're...good. Trying not to get lost." Dean admitted with a chuckle as they sat down, and the housekeeper promptly dropped a linen napking on their laps, which he looked at strangely.
"I spent my first two weeks here lost." Harry said with a grin.
"That was the excuse he used for being late to everything, anyway." Justin supplied with a smile as he took his seat. "Is your room to your liking?" He asked.
Sam nodded. He almost spoke but then simply returned to staring at his plate.
Dean looked at his brother and saw the nod. "They're good." He said as he moved his food around, eating some, moving more. This was a strange place after all.
"I was thinking maybe we'd get a movie in tonight." Justin said. "I have an entertainment room, any movie you want to see, I can get."
It had been a long time since they had watched a movie, at least by Sam's reckoning. Part of him wanted to watch a movie and forget for a little while, but part of him just wanted to crawl into his bed and cry. His father wasn't coming back. It wasn't just a fear any more. John Winchester was really gone.
So Sam did what he always did when in conflict with himself, he looked to Dean to take the lead.
Dean looked at Sam, and knew how he felt. Conflicted. But, there was still impressions to be made so, he looked at Justin and Harry.
"Okay." He said. "We like Lethal Weapon." They'd seen it on a motel TV screen on HBO and thought it was cool.
Justin looked to Harry, he hadn't see those films. Not really his cup of tea. Harry looked thoughtful. "Well... if they have been raised by a hunter, it's not likely a little gunfire is going to have a bad influence." He said with a shrug. "I can go pick up the movie but some one else is gonna have to run the VCR. I don't do high tech... I'm the reason there are rotary phones in the house." He said with a laugh.
"And the reason we have people hired to work even a microwave." Justin said with a good humored sigh. "All right, Lethal Weapon it is, I'll have the cook make popcorn." He doubted he'd be watching the movie. Because it wasn't his cup of tea, but he'd make it as enjoyable for them as possible. The quicker they felt comfortable with him, the easier things would go.
"So, you two wanna stay here or go with me to get the movie?" Harry asked as he finished his food. Harry knew how easy it would be to let the grief over take them, and how easy it would be to let the boys deal with that grief on their own terms. But Harry also knew that grief never really went away. You just got better at making it through the day without breaking. And the sooner you got on doing normal things, the easier it was to move on. And the boys had to move on. Even if they thought they didn't want to.
Dean looked at Sam, then at Justin, and then at Harry. "We'll go with." He said. He liked driving, even if it was as a passenger right now. "Then we can make sure you get the right Lethal Weapon."
Harry laughed "What ever you say kid. Come on" He said, wiping his hands on his napkin then standing "you two ever been to Chicago before?" he asked and Sam shook his head. "Oh man, you are gonna love this town."
Justin chuckled softly. "I will leave you children to get to know each other." Harry was only 20 after all, and he seemed to have a rapport with the children already. That was good. It would make it much easier on them.