(if you're looking for a story full of literary wisdom and spiritual enlightenment, this isn't the story for you. Don't leave a nasty comment if you don't like it – you're only making yourself look bad, not me. Fanfics are for fun only, and not to be taken seriously)
"Hello, boys." Sam and Dean were sat enjoying freshly baked apple pie and ice cream when a deep, raspy voice almost had them choking on their food.
"Dad?" Dean mumbled. "Can't be…"
But Sam, sitting opposite him, was nodding with his mouth wide open.
"Boys," John said again as he came into the kitchen fully. Two brown paper bags full of groceries filled his arms.
"Dad." Dean repeated, pushing his chair away and standing. For once, his pie was forgotten, abandoned. "Dad?"
Sam stood and moved to stand by his brother. "What's going on?" He was looking from Rachel to his dad to Dean – who mirrored his own puzzled expression.
Rachel moved to make way for John to put the bags down on the counter. "Thanks John, really appreciate the help," she mumbled. She was biting her lip nervously and shuffling her feet. "Ok, ok, getting you here was kind of a ruse," she gushed, timidly. "It was your father's idea, not mine. I wanted to tell you the truth but he said you'd come quicker if you thought there was a case…well, there is a case and all but…but…just not what you think…and…and…"
John took Rachel by the shoulders and smiled down at her. "It's ok Rachel, calm down honey. Why don't you make us all some fresh coffee while I explain to the boys what's really going on."
Rachel nodded and set about her task. The testosterone was thickening the air in the kitchen and she was glad when John took them outside. She needed a little more estrogen about the place, so she grabbed the phone and called up her friend, Amy, and invited her over for dinner. Along with Tareena who helped her with the farm and lived at the farmhouse with her, the three of them should be able to even out the mix a little.
"Don't blame Rachel for this," John told his boys when they were outside. "I made her do it. Once I found out she knew you through the website, I had her contact you and give you some hokum story."
Sam spoke up, "But why? I mean, why not just ring us and ask us to come down? Why all this making up stories, getting other people involved?"
"Yeah. C'mon dad, what the hell's going on?" Dean asked, getting in John's face.
John faced both boys with a look that made them back off slightly. "It's not safe for me to use my cell. I thought about one of those internet café's, but I'm not sure that's safe either. Listen, it's a long story and it's probably going to come out a little jumbled. I knew Rachel's parents a long time ago, before they disappeared mysteriously. I was passing through her a couple of weeks ago when I ran into her in the general store. We got chatting and she said, well, that she was sure there was something going on in town that she and her friend's couldn't handle alone."
"And?" Dean prompted.
"She mentioned these two men-" John chuckled at the term, "-who could help. Of course, once she showed me the site and I realized who she meant, I encouraged her to make up some tale to get you down here."
"What happened to Rachel's parents?" Sam asked.
"They were hunting the demon we're going to be hunting when they vanished. The thing is Rachel's eldest sister went missing when she was three years old. Every year, for the last –well, for as far back as we've been able to trace using what into we can find, one three-year old child has gone missing. Rachel's parents had been close to the truth when they just upped and disappeared without a trace."
"And this demon?" Dean interrupted. "Do you have any clue what it is, and when it's going to strike again? And how long have you been here? I have about a million questions, dad…"
"It's ok, Dean," John pulled his son towards him and hugged him tightly, reaching out a hand to ruffle Sam's hair before pulling him in for a hug too. "I'll answer everything in time, but right now, I – we – need your help."
"But…" Dean started but he was interrupted by John.
"Later Dean, let's just catch up, I haven't seen you both for months. We have at least a month before the demon's supposed to strike again. And there's someone I want you to meet first."
Sam and Dean exchanged glances. Their dad was no saint. They'd never even contemplated that he was…but the very fact that he wanted them to meet someone sounded ominous.
"Come on; let's see if Rachel's made her world famous coffee yet." John grinned, obviously lost in other thoughts as he walked back into the farmhouse.
"What have we walked into, Dean?" Sam asked, staring after his father.
"I've got no idea Sammy, but the Twilight Zone music is running through my mind right about now." Dean smirked, humming it as he followed his dad into the house.
Sam pushed off the fence and followed them both. His head hurt from everything that was going on…the only good thing was meeting his dad here, and Rachel.
She was still biting her lip nervously when he came back into the kitchen. "I'm really sorry Sam," she said softly as she offered him a mug of coffee.
Sam accepted the mug and came to stand beside her, leaning his long frame against the worktops. "It's ok. Dad wouldn't have done this if he hadn't needed us, and there's still a case for us when all's said and done."
"Your dad said you'd be understanding, though I still expected you to be mad at me." Her voice was so small he could barely hear her over the din his dad and his brother were making at the table.
"I'm a bit surprised, but I'm not mad." To be honest, from the moment he'd laid eyes on her, he had a feeling Rachel was going to be nothing but trouble…and he wasn't going to mind one single little bit. "To be honest, not much does surprise me any more."
"That's probably good, considering half the stuff that goes on around here," she half giggled. "I have a couple of rooms upstairs for you and your brother…unless you'd rather stay at the local hotel with your dad…"
"Here's fine," he answered quickly, fearing she might talk him out of staying at the farmhouse.
"Ok," she giggled again. "If you like, I'll show you where they are and then you can both get cleaned up and rest awhile. We usually have dinner around seven-ish once most of the animals have been seen to."
"We?" Sam's curiosity won out, as usual.
"Me, and Tareena. She lives here with me, and basically, she's the one who looks after the animals. She'll be joining us for dinner." Rachel explained to Sam. "You'll come for dinner, won't you, John? Amy's coming over too."
John let out a hearty chuckle. "Well, I guess I will then. Seeing as Amy's coming over."
Sam and Dean both stared at him, open-mouthed, brows raised questioningly.
"My sparring partner," John explained, still laughing. "You'll see when she gets here." As if that explained everything. "Listen, you boys get settled in here…I have a couple of things I need to see someone about and I'll be back here later for dinner."
Dean stood at the same time as his father and followed him out of the farmhouse, watching as he circled the Impala with a thoughtful look. "It wouldn't kill you to take better care of the Impala you know. There's rust spots on the wheel arches. Make sure you get 'em fixed before too long."
"Yes sir." Dean smirked. Now that was more like his dad.