Disclaimer: It's Kripke's sandbox, kids.
Author's Notes: Written for sweeten200 for the prompt, "Stay." Title taken from IKO's song, Rosetta. I had a great time writing this—I hope it satisfies! As always, feedback is love.
Lisa always remembered the green first. Everything else—the swearing, the embarrassment, the hiss of pain, his startled expression, the faded leather of his jacket, his easy laugh, and all that had followed—came after.
It was a rainy Saturday, and she'd gone to Java Junkie to grab a quick breakfast because all the milk had gone sour and she'd forgotten that her one-night stand from a couple weeks ago, What's-His-Face with the faux-hawk and the nose ring, had eaten the rest of the granola and yogurt.
Lisa had turned around from the counter with her usual double-mocha nonfat soy latte in hand, and there had been this guy—this guy with eyes that were so damn green she actually stopped in her tracks, breath catching in her throat. It was right out of one of those cheesy romance novels her sixteen-year-old baby sister, Maddie, was always reading, the kind of thing Lisa had always rolled her eyes at, something her best friend Julie would snark about on her radio show or whatever.
And yet, in that moment, she couldn't really bring herself to care.
Wow, Lisa had thought in the split second before her full-to-the-brim coffee cup had practically thrown itself out of her hands, I've never seen eyes quite that shade before.
Then, there was a dark stain spreading across his chest, and she was lunging forward to try to grab the cup before it splattered all over his jeans, and he was jumping back in surprise, and oh, God, she really should have stayed in bed this morning.
"I'm sorry!" she cried, scrambling to pick up the traitorous cup, and in the process, dropping her bagel and a wad of napkins. "Dammit, I can't believe myself—of all the clumsiest, stupidest—are you ok?" He laughed, then, warm and surprised and forgiving all in one, and knelt to help her gather everything together.
"I've been worse," he said, voice a little gruffer than she'd expected, and held out a hand to her.
"Thanks," she sighed, taking it and letting him pull her to her feet. "God, I swear I'm not usually this klutzy." He still hadn't let go of her hand.
"Hey, we all have our moments." He smiled brightly. "Personally, running into a pretty girl was right at the top of my things-to-do list today."
"Oh, well..." Lisa could feel the tell-tale blush rising in her cheeks. "…I'm still sorry. Can I make it up to you? Buy you a coffee or something? I promise I won't dump this one on you."
"I'd like that," he said softly. "I'm Dean Winchester, by the way." His grip tightened on hers, and she realized he was shaking her hand.
"Lisa," she laughed, tightening her own grip. "Lisa Braeden."
Dean Winchester was twenty years old. He hated the smell of wood smoke, was semi-fluent in Latin, couldn't dance to save his life, loved 70's mullet rock, and freaked out over classic cars. He didn't know a thing about yoga, traveled constantly for his mysterious job, called her sweetheart within the first ten minutes of knowing her, drank his coffee black, and, the best part of all, wasn't from around here.
Just Lisa's type.
"So, do you have a place to stay?" she asked, watching as Dean slid his coffee mug from one large hand to the other. He met her gaze, smiled in a way that made her heart speed up just the tiniest bit.
"Not yet," he said, leaning forward ever so slightly as he pushed his mug to the side. "Any recommendations?"
"Well, there's always the Holiday Inn by the freeway, or the Motel 8 down on Jefferson…or…" She paused significantly, tilting her head and grinning. "…I've got a loft a couple blocks away. It's not much, but it has all the amenities. Cable, A/C, a ceiling fan. Indoor plumbing." His hand covered hers on top of the table, and Lisa liked the feel of it, the rough, calloused weight of his palm, the security of that one, small gesture.
"Sounds good to me," said Dean, and his eyes almost seemed to burn with an intensity Lisa had seen more times than she cared to admit, though she couldn't ever remember her heart hammering this loudly.
The rain pounded down ever harder outside, beating against the window with a determined ferocity, and she closed her eyes for a half-second, drinking in the smell of fresh coffee, the warmth of his hand, the anticipation and the desire and how damn good it felt to be young and alive.
"Yeah," Lisa said softly at long last, opening her eyes and flipping her hand palm up under his. "Me, too."
Dean was humming Metallica when she woke up. Lisa kept her eyes closed, turned her face into her pillow, pulled a blanket more snugly around her, and listened.
He was clacking around in the kitchen, pulling open cabinets and drawers, filling the coffee pot. Lisa thought she could smell bacon.
Grinning to herself, she got up, wrapped a blanket around her, and wandered out of the bedroom and into the kitchen.
Dean was shirtless, his hair freshly washed, and he'd already started pouring pancake batter onto the griddle beside sizzling bacon. The coffee had just started brewing.
"Wow." He turned around at the sound of her voice, and she beamed. Something about Dean made her feel so…safe. Happy. The twenty-four hours they'd known each other had been unbelievable—and even though Lisa knew that nothing real could come of this, nothing lasting, a small part of her hoped.
"I'll say," he returned, eyeing her up and down, a slow, easy grin spreading across his face. "You're gorgeous even with morning hair. That right there takes skill." Lisa blushed despite herself, ducking her head.
"I meant the fact that you were making breakfast! Not too many guys do that, you know."
"Yeah, well." Dean bit his lip. "I've been told I make godly pancakes. Figured it was the least I could do."
"For what?" she asked, laughing a little. "You don't think last night was enough?" He quirked an eyebrow.
"Hey, you let a strange dude sleep at your apartment and use your indoor plumbing and devour your food. Plus…" Dean trailed off, grinning meaningfully. "Last night was, well…"
"That doesn't begin to cover it." He flipped a pancake over, and Lisa tucked a lock of dark hair behind her ear, smiling reminiscently as the details of the previous night flooded back.
He turned towards her again, and she stepped forward, let the blanket fall. Dean's green eyes darkened with that same, familiar intensity, and he made a strange, guttural sound as she slid her hands up his bare chest.
"You know," she murmured in his ear, entwining one of her legs with his, "I'm actually not that hungry."
Not taking his eyes off her for an instant, he reached around, turned off the stove.
"What a coincidence." One of his hands trailed furtively up her side. "Me neither."
She made him dinner before he left.
Dean inhaled her terrible cooking like it was gourmet, taking seconds and thirds, and claimed he'd never tasted such delicious burnt pork chops in his life. Lisa tried to drag out the inevitable goodbye, making him promise he'd look her up if he was ever in town, thanking him again and again, trying to think of new things to talk about.
Finally, when it was nearly nine-thirty, Dean sighed and said he really had to get going…work, and all that. She bit her lip, watching as he turned towards the door, and then blurted it out before she could help herself.
He paused, his shoulders tensed, before turning slowly back around and meeting her embarrassed gaze. For the briefest of moments, something flickered in his eyes—a twinge of longing, of hopelessness. Dean swallowed, then reached forward, brushing the hair out of her eyes, running a thumb across her cheekbone.
"I wish I could," he whispered. Lisa nodded, closing her eyes, trying to ward off inexplicable tears. You're being ridiculous, she told herself firmly. You barely know this guy. Get a hold of yourself, Lisa—don't be that girl.
She stood on tiptoe and kissed him one last time, trying to put everything into it she couldn't tell him in words.
"Bye, Dean Winchester," she murmured. "Be safe, wherever it is you're going."
"I always am," he said, smirking in a way that made her stomach squirm, and then he let go of her reluctantly, opened the door. "Bye, Lisa. Thanks…for everything."
The door snapped shut, and for a moment, she stood there, staring at it, hoping, despite everything, that it would swing back open.
One and a half months later, the little pink cross appeared on the third pregnancy test, and Lisa was alone.
Dean Winchester had disappeared off the face of the planet, not that he'd ever left her an address in the first place, and anyway, why would he even care? She was just some girl he slept with, some girl he probably would never think of again, some girl he couldn't have given less of a damn about if he tried.
Julie thought she should get an abortion, Mom thought she should keep the baby, everyone else thought she was a slut, and Lisa really hadn't wanted to do much of anything but cry.
Some nights, she lay awake, thinking of the look on Dean's face when she'd asked him to stay.
I wish I could.
She thought of his green eyes and his smirk and how he'd hummed Metallica, and some small part of her heart clenched down, as if to say, You can do this.
Seven months later, she had an emergency C-section, and when the doctors handed Lisa her son, he waved a tiny fist, opened his mouth, and let out the most beautiful, screechy wail she'd ever heard in her life.
His eyes flickered open, and though they were the generic baby blue-grey, Lisa could already tell what color they'd be.
"Benjamin Dean," she whispered, cradling her son's head in her hands. "Ben."
Ben was everything she'd hoped for in a kid: funny, intelligent, and sweet, with a stubborn streak a mile wide. He'd inherited her knack for fixing things, her hatred of bell peppers, her dark hair, and her sunny smile, but everything else was all Dean Winchester—the eyes especially.
No wonder Dean knew Ben was his within moments of meeting him. It must have been like going back in time, like déjà vu.
When he asked the first time, though, she couldn't bring herself to tell him. Lisa already knew he wasn't the kind of guy that would stick around, and the last thing Ben needed was to get hurt.
When she found out who Dean really was, it made things even worse. Tell him he had a son, with the kind of life he led? Not only would Ben be hurt, he could be put in even worse danger than he already had been without Dean's help, and Dean…well, Dean would feel responsible and want to be there for him, and with the work he did…that wouldn't be an option. So when he took her aside and asked,
"You're sure he's not mine, right?" she only felt a little guilty for assuring him he was off the hook, making up a story about a biker in a bar and a blood test. Dean was quiet for a moment, so she added,
"So, yeah, you can relax." Dean's eyes were fixed on Ben, and there was something in his gaze she recognized—the longing, the hopelessness. It broke her heart a little.
"Good," he said softly.
"I swear, you look disappointed." She searched his face, bit her lip.
"Yeah, I don't know." Dean laughed hollowly, shaking his head. "Some stuff happened to me recently…anyway, a guy in my situation, you start to think, I'm gonna be gone one day, and what am I leaving behind besides a car?" Lisa paused for a moment, guilt rising in her throat, threatening to push out the truth. Get it together, Lisa..
"Ben may not be your kid, but he wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for you," she finally managed. "That's a lot if you ask me." Dean nodded shortly, heading for the door, before he paused.
"Just for the record…you had a great kid." He nodded again, his jaw clenched. "I woulda been proud to be his dad." Lisa hesitated, meeting his eyes. Maybe…
"Look, if, um, if you want to stick around for awhile…you're welcome to stay."
"I can't," Dean said softly, painfully. I wish I could. "I gotta lot work to do…and it's not my life."
When he walked away this time, it took everything she had not to run after him and drag him back.
On Ben's sixteenth birthday, it started raining.
There was no party this year; Ben kept saying he was too old for cake and ice cream, that all he wanted to do was go out to dinner with her and see a movie, but Lisa knew better. He was having trouble at school, getting into fights, struggling with class, alienating himself from the other kids. At least it wasn't drugs or alcohol, but it was troubling none the less.
Ben had never been quite the same after the changelings, but it wasn't until he got to high school that he'd really seemed different. Lisa didn't know if it was fear something would happen again, or just hormones, but Ben had been…distant, isolated.
He asked about his father constantly, and was never satisfied with her offhand answers that the man was long gone. They never talked about the changelings, but she'd found books on the supernatural hidden under his bed the way some teenage boys would stash Playboys, and when she'd borrowed his laptop when hers had crashed, she'd stumbled across bookmarked pages about exorcising demons or hunting ghosts, and a few news clips about Dean Winchester, who was wanted for grave desecration, murder in the first degree, resisting arrest, armed robbery, impersonation of a federal officer…the list went on and on, until it mentioned that he and his brother had been killed in an explosion.
Lisa had wept, prayed it wasn't true, but it had been eight years again, and Dean Winchester was gone—maybe for good this time.
The doorbell rang, ripping Lisa out of her reverie, and Ben thundered down the stairs, buttoning his flannel shirt as he did so.
"I'll get it," he hollered unnecessarily, hand already on the doorknob. Lisa rolled her eyes at her son's enthusiasm, setting down the book she had been attempting to read, and stretching.
"It's you," she heard Ben say in abject disbelief. "But—you're…the article said you were—"
Gasping, Lisa hurried to the entryway, peered over Ben's shoulder. Dean Winchester was standing on her front porch, hands shoved into the pockets of the same beaten leather jacket, green eyes glinting in the same way they always had. There was a little grey in his hair, a few more scars and lines on his face, but he was alive.
"Well," he told Ben, though his eyes were on Lisa, "I was in the neighborhood."
"Dean Winchester," Lisa said, hardly able to believe he was breathing air.
"Lisa Braeden," Dean responded, smiling brightly.
"Come in, come in," she said, shaking her head abruptly, waving Dean inside. "Would you like coffee? Ben, go get him some coffee."
"Mom," Ben groaned, rolling his eyes, but she caught a glimpse of a grin as headed for the kitchen.
"I'm sorry I didn't call," Dean said softly, shifting awkwardly from one foot to the other. "This was kind of an impromptu thing. Spur of the moment."
"Do you realize you only visit every eight years?" Lisa asked, raising a brow at him. "What's impromptu about that?"
"That," Dean acknowledged, taking a step closer, "is a very good point."
Lisa took in his green eyes and his leather jacket and his crooked grin, and she could smell coffee brewing and hear rain beating down on the windows, and isn't it funny how these kinds of things always seem to come full circle?
"So, how long are you going to be in Cicero?" she asked, taking a step forward herself, eyes locked on his. "Are you working?"
"Actually," Dean said softly, drawing even closer to her, "me and Sammy, we're thinking of retiring early. We're gettin' too old." Lisa snorted in disbelief, but her breath hitched when he reached out, took her face in both hands.
"Stay," she whispered, closing her eyes. "Just…stay."
Dean ran a thumb across her cheekbone, and kissed her, and Lisa could taste hope and gratitude and a million other things she wasn't sure how to name.
When they pulled apart, Ben was standing there holding two mugs off coffee, a huge smile on his face, his green eyes bright.
"Sounds good to me," Dean whispered in her ear, and Lisa beamed, beckoning Ben forward, and looping an arm across his broad shoulders. She drew both men close, resting her forehead on Dean's shoulder, and squeezing Ben extra tight.
"Yeah," she agreed, and she didn't quite know why there were tears on her cheeks. "Me, too."