Field of Deans – chpt 9
John cocked his head to the side turning in place, did someone call my name? he wondered uncertain if he could see faint outlines in the field midway between the road and the barn or if it was a trick of the light or the surrounding mist.
"Dean! Come on Please Dean! Please! Answer daddy!" he called. Sweat dripped and pooled against his low back as he neared the mass of squawking fowl running madly after handfuls of scattered feed, strewn by a boy in overalls and a brand new looking 'Crows' cap.
"Dean?" he asked tremulously then started moving forward, a heavy warm hand grasped his shoulder.
"Not yet..." Shep whispered drawing the newer hunter back into the shadows.
"That's him..." he whispered choking, his eyes flicking from the boy to his new ally, "... that's my baby..."
Shep nodded, "Not to these people... and not to himself, you know what Buck told us as well as I do..." he whispered urgently, Get hold John... he's gonna bolt... he's gonna try to grab the kid and the pooch is gonna get screwed! For everyone's sake John... please... "You can't let the daddy inside win this... you gotta be the hunter man... it's the only way to get your boy back and you know it. This HAS to be finished!"
Slowly John nodded, The only way to get my boy back... whatever it takes, I'll do anything... the back door creaked open, then banged shut as Ray Marshall hopped down the steps moving toward the yard where the boy he believed to be his son stood with his head cocked to the side and his eyes unnervingly close to where John and Shep stood.
"You okay son?" Ray asked with his hand on the boys' shoulder.
Beneath his hand still resting on John's chest, keeping him in place just in case he did decide to bolt after all, Shep felt the man's chest quiver with each breath, "He's not your son you sorry son of a bitch... he's MINE..."
"Easy tiger... we gotta do this right, make sure nothing like this ever happens again right?" Shep's words were barely more than warm breath in his ear, but John had rarely ever been so glad of another presence to keep him focused as he was to this man in this moment. "Once he runs we'll close in, the others are in place... it's going to be alright, we won't let this go down..."
Slowly John nodded, his eyes once more leaving his eldest son to fall into this new friend's green-gold ones. "It'll be your own one day, then you'll know... and I'll be there," he babbled not really knowing what he was saying or whether or not the point he thought he might want to make had been carried across, but the older hunter's nod and half smile spoke of his understanding.
"Part of the problem is that it's about time, and we just plain don't know how to manipulate it," Buck had said while pouring each man a shot of whiskey, "... this is why I'm asking you to stay behind John, s'not that y'can't be trusted or anything, but personally, you're a daddy, you're THE daddy... so..."
"So you don't trust me," he smiled in response.
"Exactly," Buck nodded, "All we can do is be there and snatch it when the opportunity opens up... if you can't do that, if you can't wait, you're risking ALL of us..."
John nodded, "I get it."
Shep dropped his elbow casually on his new friend's shoulder, "I'll stick close just in case the daddy-man tries to blow the plan," he nodded patting John's chest with an open hand.
He shook his head at the muffled sound of an enormous engine struggling to turn over in the early morning like some slow to wake fairy tale beast, "It's almost time... let's go..." he nodded, his lips pressed into a fine line, all the trembling fear that belonged to the father inside fell behind a blind provided by the soldier he needed to remind himself he had been, and could be once again.
Shep kept his expression carefully neutral but literally felt the change move through the man under his hand and nodded finally easing his palm from John's chest.
"If I miss, it's up to you," John said softly, moving back into the field in a half crouch with Shep at his side nodding, but his eyes were fixed on the young boy in the farm yard, on his knees, his head pressed into his hands in a position of agony, the very same young boy that time would not allow him to touch until just the right moment arrived.
"...it'd be like trying to grab one of those holograms... and it would only scare the boy, run the risk of closing him down rather than opening him up, which is what we need," Buck sighed.
'Someone's calling me... there's a baby crying... I have to get the baby,' "... s'okay Sam, I gotcha... daddy's gonna make you a bottle... s'okay... you're safe now..." he could feel the squirming bundle of heat kicking against the restraint of his footie pajamas, the baby's tears stopped as soon as his hands came under him and the sniffling turned to even breathing when the littlest Winchester felt the solid warmth of his big brother's chest against his own. Their heart beats fell together, dropping out of syncopation and into a steady rhythm that mirrored their breathing. Chubby arms wrapped around his neck and warm easy breathing filled his ear, tickling him as he sat on his bed, carefully scooted back then lay on his side, his hand petting the brown satin waves that would always bring to mind the smell of Baby Magic and Mommy. "S'okay Sammy... I'm here... I'll keep you safe, you sleep now..." he soothed meeting the blue-greens that would always mean 'home' to him, reading the absolute trust in them, and warmed to the core by it. '... forever mine,' he thought as the little guy took his hand out of his mouth and tapped his fingers against Dean's smile, his mouth closed on the baby's hand and around it he mumbled, "eeeew baby goo!" making his little one laugh.
'...back to the start... gotta go back... lost something... Sammy? Sammy... my Sam? Yes... mine... back to the start, I gotta go back... I want my daddy!...' Fear pounded the boys' heart inside his chest while his legs chewed up the ground, spitting it out behind him as he raced through the rows and rows of wheat, needing to find the beginning, the start of it all so he could stop the hurt inside, so the pain could go away and he could breathe again, and feel his baby breathing with him while daddy held them both together.
"Dean!" Sam turned suddenly, his hand flashing out, smacking Tommy in the head as he turned from the direction Ray Marshall had driven his combine, back around to look where the baby was pointing.
"It's almost show time Sam... but we gotta be quiet, we gotta wait for the right time okay? Otherwise it could get your brother a really big uh oh okay?" he said softly to the child who nodded.
"No Dean uh oh..." Sam held up his fingers to his lips then pointed out toward a line of swaying grasses that marked the frantic passage of a child torn between two worlds without knowledge of it.
"Kay then... let's go," Tommy checked the position of the combine then set off toward the point of origin to wait for the right moment with Sam in his arms.
Ray breathed shakily in the early morning light as he turned the enormous machine around to head back toward the farmhouse, "Dear God if you're up there, help my son, give him the strength to come through this with all your love and guidance beside him, please... he's too young to carry such harship, he's had so much pain already and he's such a good little boy, help him find your strength inside himself please..." he prayed aloud. Part of him wanted to take Justin aside, to talk to him about so many things he'd need to know, to convince him that he was a good boy just as worthy of the Good Lord's love as any other creature HE made, but he knew that telling, versus him learning it on his own were two different things. "Help me 'n Missy to be whatever he needs as he grows up into this world, guide us straight and truly please... amen," he finished barely able to swallow around the tight sclerotic feeling in his throat.
He brought his hand up to wipe away the drops of sweat that stung his eyes even this early in the day, and as he did so, he missed the faint weaving trail nearly half an acre ahead as the boy he prayed for was drawn once again to his beginning.
"Owie, owie, ouch... please..." he fell to his knees clutching his head in his hands, a tearing, stabbing, hot poking prickling him all over as it always did. He was reminded of rolling into a field of sticker-weeds as the scent of leather and strange music he wasn't familiar with passed through his head almost from one side to the other before leaving him surrounded by quiet.
This isn't where I belong... I need to go home... I need my daddy and my Sam... 'but pa 'n ma need me...' "Please stop... who are you?" 'come into the field, I'm in the field... ma 'n pa need us...' so he pushed himself to his feet and ran forward pushing aside the stalks as he moved toward route 395 through a strange spot where it appeared the ground had been dug a little bit, where part of the air was warm and part of the air was almost icy with cold and he heard a tiny voice inside that pocket of warmth, "Dean!" it called inside his head but he couldn't stop. His body was not his own to control so he continued to run until he fell to the ground.
"Oh God stop, please stop, please stop, please..." he groaned against a wave of crushing feeling moving through his body. As if some giant horrible thing was rolling over him. Fear came with as the ground rumbled beneath him and seemed to shake at the same time. He remembered a flume of white reaching through the car window while he crouched on the floor, he remembered a kind of fear that didn't come often, and how he'd trembled with the thought of being alone. Dad was with Sammy... when it took me... what is it? What ARE you? he asked though he really knew.
John's eyes bulged in angry disbelief as through the mist he made out the shape of Shep's nephew, with Sam in his arms, approaching the position where Dean had fallen.
"What the hell are you doing here!?" he barked moving quickly toward the boy.
"Daddy...!" Sam squealed happily, his hand pointing down at the ground just a few dozen yards ahead, "Dean... uh oh..."
"I think he knows something..." Tom explained, "... he knows his brother's in trouble John... we found bones not too far from here..." Tom pointed back toward the barn, "HE led me to them, Sam knew where to look... he knew something was going on, we had to come..." he nodded then motioned toward the returning combine with his head, "We don't have much time..."
John scowled mightily but ran his hand over his baby's head, his eyes betraying his fury as Shep joined them with a breathless frown, "What're you doing here Tom?" then a quick chuck under the chin, "Heya Sammy."
Sam giggled, ducking his chin against his neck then pointed once more to where Dean lay in the grasses fighting whatever it was that was trying to keep him here, "Dean!" he said by way of explanation.
"John!" Shep pointed toward the rapidly approaching combine realizing they were too far away.
"Son of a bitch!" John grunted throwing a furious look at Tom and Sam.
"Here!" Tom thrust Sam into John's arms, then grasped the pistol from the waistband of the elder mans pants and took off at a fluid run that had both men staring, deeply impressed with his speed as both John and Shep bolted in the same direction, neither man able to achieve the speed the boy could.
"STOP!" Tom yelled holding the pistol overhead, the muzzle angled just enough to ensure that no one would get hurt by the slugs as they eventually lost momentum and returned to earth. He squeezed the trigger several times in succession, the sound sharp enough to get Ray's attention.
"Son of a bitch!" the farmer cursed hastily manipulating gears and controls as a young man appeared before the combine and the sound of gunfire penetrated his awareness. With agonized shudders and stutters the enormous implement ground to a halt just a few yards from where the blonde haired boy stood, and just a little further in the distance five adult men and a baby moved into a circle around a spot he knew all too well.
"What the hell is wrong with you boy! You lookin' t'get yourself killed! That combine'll make short work of a boy your age!" Ray vented his fear by yelling at the panting boy.
"Not as short as it'd make of the six year old kid over there..." Tom puffed pointing back toward the circle the men had made around a semi-conscious boy on the ground.
"Good lord in heaven no!" Ray felt as if the ground were shifting beneath his feet, he could feel the blood draining from his head as the boy reached forward to steady him, but he stumbled back as the hand passed through his forearm leaving behind a trail of warmth.
"Whoa dude..." Tom gasped rubbing his hand against the icy cold that made his skin burn. "Not yet guys!" he called over his shoulder.
"What the hell are you?" Ray distanced himself from the teen then dashed to where he was certain he'd find his Justin curled once more on his side.
"Justin! Justin are you there son?" he called then ended up on one side of the boy, looking into coffee colored eyes and a bristly, sweat-shiny face crimped with anger and concern.
"His name is Dean... he's MY son!" "They loved that boy more than life itself John so don't worry, if your Dean is with them... they'd never let any harm come to him," Buck's voice reminded him. 'What happened to them then?' John remembered asking, "Ray and Missy were God fearing folk... they grieved, and mourned, and tried to move on once they found the boy's remains and had proof of what had happened, honestly I'm not sure if they ever did. They sold off those acres... then a few years later, after kinda dropping out on the world... they just sorta disappeared...We searched the house and the grounds for any remains, anything that would indicate maybe a murder suicide or something like that..." Buck shrugged, "Nothing was ever found... who knows... one day they might find something in the fields like they did Justin's skeleton."
"What do you BELIEVE happened Buck?" Shep had asked, but Buck Forester had simply shrugged.
"Excuse me?" Ray swallowed hard and wobbled on his knees, then looked up at Buck who'd dropped a hand onto his shoulder.
"Dean! Dean no uh oh!" Sam squirmed reaching to the crumpled bundle on the ground, pulling hard within the firm confines of Sheps arms. Shep stroked the boys' hair then set him down on the ground with a smiling kiss to the back of his head. His mouth stretched into a huge grin as the boy toddled woodenly to his big brother, climbed over him, pushed him onto his back and slapped his forehead repeatedly, "No sticky b'loon... no uh oh... Dean good boy... I do good, fix uh oh!" he grinned planting a kiss on his brothers' forehead then toddled to Tommy with his arms outstretched and a smile beneath the yawn that ran over his face, "Dean home!..." he grinned pointing to his big brother.
"Yeah boy... Dean's gonna go home with you yeah?" Tom smiled.
In his arms, Sam shrugged, Dean going home, or BEING home to the toddler was one and the same as he nodded and yawned hugely. His eyes closed as Tom lifted him off the ground and held him tightly.
Ray squinted up at Buck, his mouth frowning hard for a long moment before his jaw dropped into an 'O' and his eyes squinted even harder, "Michael is that you?"
"Yeah Ray... it's me..." Buck nodded to John, "Pick him up John... Ray... we need to talk... Missy's up?"
"Yeah... Mike what happened to you?" Ray asked shaky on his legs as Buck lent him as much support as he could while they headed back to the farmhouse.
"Heh... just time my friend... just time... look... I'm gonna tell you some things you and Missy aren't gonna want to hear..."
"You're gonna take Justin away from us..." Ray nodded and couldn't be bothered with trying to hide the crushing pain inside. Ribbons slid shamelessly down his face as he looked from his friend to the man he'd called 'John' as well as the others who were following closely behind. "You're gonna take my boy Mike... and I don't know what I'm supposed to do about that..." he choked.
"I can't tell you how sorry I am... but he doesn't belong to you..." Buck sighed as Missy dutifully played the 'good hostess' and poured lemonade for all the men, and two boys crowding her kitchen.
"I don't understand Mike... Who... how after all this time...?" Ray shook his head, his eyes downcast, unable to look at the man John who sat at his own kitchen table, with his own son in his lap, pressed close against his own chest and rocking him unconsciously while his lips kissed his fevered head just as Ray's had done so many times before.
"Thank y'ma'am..." Ryan and Cal sounded together as Missy handed the drinks to them despite the tears in her eyes.
"He's been through so much..." she choked before the men, her arms crossed over her chest and tears flowing freely down her cheeks as she stood shaking before them.
"I'm sorry Missy... I'm so sorry..." Caleb breathed, his own smile shaky and his eyes tearful in sympathy with hers, "I wish I could say he's all yours... I know you'll do good by him..."
Slowly the woman before him nodded, "I believe you wish you could..."
"Ma'am... in more ways than you know... " Caleb nodded sniffing back what tears would dare to come to the fore after so many years in the grips of the ethereal world. Caleb, in his far too few years knew all too well to heed the warnings he'd been given. IF he could spare the Winchester men any of it, he would have. IF he could have spared either of the boys what he knew was coming, he would have. IF he could have spared John the depths of his own fears he would have. He could do none of those things, but he would do the only thing he could now that these people from his earliest remembered dreams had finally become reality in his life. He could be there for them.
"Come with me Missy?... I need to talk..." he whispered softly into her ear noting that she looked at her husband in some unspoken communication. Ray nodded after a brief meeting with Caleb's eyes and watched his wife walk through the front room, and out the front door with a stranger.
At the side of the porch he slid a stalk of buffalo grass from its sheath and stuck it in his mouth, "I used to have dreams... sometimes I still do... the kind that come true more often than not. Fact is any way you look at it the boys are John's children, they have to go back to their own world..."
"Of course children need to be with their father..." she stopped and raised her face to his, "When you say 'world' you're not talking about the city or another state are you?" she asked.
"No ma'am..." Cal shook his head.
"Are we... Ray and I... I heard one of you say 'bones'..."
"Yes ma'am..." Caleb nodded.
The boy in his arms shifted against John's chest, his legs stretching out as a soft moan escaped his lips just before his eyes blinked open looking directly into rich clear brown eyes he thought he should know.
He startled, rolling off John's lap and onto the floor landing in a crouch as a kitchen full of adults froze, waiting breathlessly to see what he would do.
He cocked his head to the side, both of his jade green eyes wide open and measuring the man before him.
"Hey Dean," he breathed through the tears he didn't realize were falling.
"Am I Dean or Justin?" he asked fighting the foggy pounding in his head as his gaze shifted from this scruffy man he thought he should know, to the sad wiry man he knew loved him. "Were you the man out in the field this morning? I think I heard you calling..." the boy explained while inching closer to this dark hair man that felt so familiar.
Gotta be careful here... "Yeah son, that was me, I'm your daddy... I'm John, you're Dean, and you have a baby brother named Sam..."
"Sam..." he nodded speaking softly, "I dreamed of a baby named Sam..." he nodded feeling warmth and fear radiating from this dark hair disheveled man before him. All around them in the kitchen the air thickened and the boy's hands flew to his head while his eyes squinted shut in pain.
"Dean?" John leaned forward looking at the faces around him, "Dean what's wrong?"
"It's one of his headaches... he's had 'em ever since the accident..." Ray moved to the cabinet to retrieve a prescription bottle and a glass of water, "They start as headaches then he forgets who and where he is... sometimes he gets drawn to where I found him, like he did this morning..." he hiccoughed realizing just how close he'd come to losing everything, if it hadn't been for the strangely dressed blonde haired boy that looked like trouble, "Did I say thank you son? I can't believe... Oh my Good Lord... thank you for saving my... this boy..." he breathed through a horribly tight throat as he knelt before Dean handing him the glass of water while the boys' natural father read the medicine label.
"Valium..." John breathed opening the bottle and dumping the pills down the drain.
"Those'll take the pain away! He'll sleep and when he wakes up he'll remember who he is!" Ray stood before John.
"He's been TRYING to remember who he REALLY is! Don't you get it? You can't give valium to a kid!"
"John..." Buck warned softly, "We didn't know what we do now..."
The boys breathing evened out as Shep reached down to take the glass from him. Looking around at all these strangers in his house he raised his hand up toward the wet cheeks and beard, "... was Sam in the accident too? Pa say's they figured I was the youngest, but I dreamed of a baby..."
"Oh God..." damn you straight to hell you son of a bitch! he thought toward Ray but tried to smile, "That's right, the baby," John nodded breathlessly, "...that's Sammy... he's our baby... yours and mine... you feed him and sing to him and keep him safe when he's scared, and we take him on the slide at the park... you hold him in your lap to make sure he doesn't fall over... and you read him stories..." he nodded closing his eyes in a long blink while his heart pounded in his chest and his throat filled with emotion.
"I can read stories?" Justin breathed smiling with just a little disbelief.
John nodded, sniffling back his fears and nervousness, Just grab him... oh my God what did they do to him? I'll KILL them... they doped up my boy, they made him forget us! please sweetheart... please remember me, remember Sammy...
"Yeah..." John choked, "... he likes Dr. Seuss...well you both do..."
"Fishy! fishy fish!" Sam grinned stomping into the kitchen with Ryan behind him, "Dean!" he squealed clapping while he danced in place for a moment before remembering how to move forward. He charged across the floor into the body of the little boy who's confusion slid into a wide open grin at the sight of the toddler.
"Sam?" he asked closing his arms around the little bundle who pulled on his shirt, trying to climb up into his arms.
"Dean read fishies?" he asked as the boy picked him up and held him to his chest.
"Sammy..." he sighed as the baby's head came to rest at the crook of his neck and shoulder, while his arms and legs wrapped around him.
In moments their heartbeats fell together as did their breathing, "...mine..." Dean sighed smiling despite the tears that rolled down his cheeks.
"What the hell?" Shep asked looking out the window in the door, the house was surrounded by a mist so thick the porch couldn't even be seen.
"What is it?" Ray, John and Buck asked together.
"Uh oh..." Sam breathed, pointing at the door but content to remain in his brothers' arms.
"I know now... I know who you are..." Dean nodded, turning toward the white that billowed into the room through the screen door, he backed away, colliding with John behind him as the only thing that remained of Justin David Marshall approached and hovered before a sobbing Ray Marshall who finally began to understand the truth.
There was no one there to save him... this is all that's left of the treasure God saw fit to put in my keeping? Lord forgive me... he thought through the sob he tried to hold back.
Dean turned, looking up at his fathers face then handed Sam to John and moved toward Ray.
"He wants to be together again Mr. Marshall... he didn't mean to hurt anyone and he knows you didn't mean to hurt him either..." Dean wrapped his arms around the man's lean warmth, "Thank you for taking good care of me..." he sniffed once more breathing in the scent of warm earth on the man.
"Ray?" Missy dashed to her husbands' side. She found herself encircled by his gentle embrace and by a pair of small loving arms she still wanted to hold onto more than life itself. She dropped a kiss onto the boys' head then watched with tears in her eyes as the five men and two boys who didn't belong there moved off to the side. "Ray is it true?" she asked.
"I think so Missy... Dear God help us I think it is..." he turned and looked at the group of men who were barely visible now through the supernatural mist inside his house, "What do we do?" he asked.
"Caleb said... he said... that maybe we just have to... let go?" her voice trembled as she looked back at Cal who nodded his assurance.
Around them the mist thickened until not a single one of them could have seen their own hand in front of their face. Slowly it dispersed leaving only the five men and two boys standing in the run down, neglected kitchen of the long since abandoned Marshall farm.
"Dean..." Sam yawned reaching against John's grip for his big brother who gladly took him with a shaky breath and silky tears he was still young enough to not mind letting fall.
"Are you ready dude?" John choked kneeling before his boys, his warm calloused hands cradling his boys' heads.
Dean cocked his head against his little brother's cheek and breathed deeply, letting a small sad smile play on his lips, "Uh huh..."
Slowly the group moved out of the dilapidated farm house, the lights from the mini-mart just barely visible a few acres out toward the road as the sun rolled over on the horizon.
"Uhm... who ARE all you guys?" Dean asked noticing that his baby brother was fast asleep over his shoulder as they started across the yard.
"You're too quiet Cal... what's up?" Shep asked now that they were alone in the truck, everyone else dropped safely off at their homes, or at the motel.
The younger hunter shook his head watching the line of carnival vehicles pass them in the opposite direction. We healed a twenty seven year old wound, I hope... but there's not a damn thing I can do about the wounds I see coming, man that sucks.
"Talk to me man..." he looked over, "It's the boys isn't it? You know something..."
Slowly he nodded, but his eyes were squeezed shut hard and his jaw muscle was jumping but he couldn't bring himself to define it, with Shep he never had to really, besides, how do you explain what layers of screaming feels like... God help those boys... all three of them, they're gonna need it.
"There's a storm coming..." he nodded.
I hope you liked, but whether you did or not,