Well guys...this is the last chapter...I'm really sad to see this story go I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I had...maybe a sequel...hhhmm..:)
The motel room was humming with unease. It was beaming from the teenager in waves. Dean hadn't felt this angsty since he was seventeen and he wasn't liking it. "Ben, calm down. Sit." He pointed to the chair in front of him. Sam was on the bed, resting from the sowing job Dean had to perform. At one point he thought Ben would throw up at a particularly bad wound to Sam's chest. But the kid held it in. Now he just looked pale and tired and Dean couldn't have that. Not if Lisa was going to inspect him when they brought him back. He wouldn't give that woman anything to grill his ass over.
"I'm fine," Ben said a little half-assed.
"I know…" Dean glared. "Humour me."
Ben huffed - seemed like the kid did that a lot - and sat down. Dean pulled back the t-shirt and examined his neck. "Looks like some serious bruising, but nothing permanent."
"No scars, huh?" Ben asked with a smirk. "Too bad. Chicks dig 'em."
Dean grinned, but couldn't seem to keep it there. Ben reminded him too much of himself. Of Sam too sometimes. It was scary how much the kid looked like him. With a nervous swallow he looked away and picked up a cooling pad for Ben to keep on his neck. He shook it and waited until it cooled. "Yeah, Ben listen… uh, Lisa is not gonna be very happy with us when we get back so I need you to let me and Sam do the talking."
"I'm not gonna let you take the fall for this. I wanted to come." Ben looked sharply at him.
"Yeah, Ben, I know. But facts are, we shouldn't have let you. This could have gone much worse."
Ben glanced over at Sam sleeping. "I'm sorry…" He whispered and bowed his head.
Dean's face fell and he had to stop himself from shaking the teen. "Ben, look at me," Ben looked up reluctantly. "This wasn't your fault." He looked back down, but Dean reached out and grabbed his chin. "Not your fault."
Ben wouldn't keep eye contact, but Dean wouldn't let up. "We decided to bring you along and who knows what would have happened if you hadn't…"
Ben grinned humorlessly. "Sam wouldn't have gotten hurt, looking for me. You wouldn't have been thrown against a wall, trying to save me!"
Dean grinned at that one. "I get thrown against walls on a daily basis. Been doing it for ten years and I gotta say I'm getting pretty good." He smiled when Ben grinned. He nudged his shoulder. "Hey, kid, listen to me…" Ben looked back up. "We do this because we know the risks. One hunt is all it takes for you not to come back. Anyone of them could be your last." Ben's eyes darkened and Dean continued. "But the thing is… you can't tell someone how it is to be a hunter. They have to see." He sighed, ran a hand down his face and sat back.
"That was something I didn't learn until late in my life. I'm afraid Sam learned too early in his." He looked up at the intently attentive Ben. "What you've experienced here, only you can judge. Good or bad isn't really the point." Dean held up a finger when Ben made to interrupt. "What matters……is what you decide to do with it."
Ben frowned and sat back. "What I decide to do with it?"
Dean nodded seriously.
"Isn't that kinda lame?" He asked with an arched brow.
Dean stuttered for a second and frowned. "What?"
"That's your advice?" Ben arched the other brow.
Dean frowned and pursed his lips. "Yeah?"
"It sucks…" Ben said dryly.
"What, you got a better one?" Dean challenged. The kid was getting on his nerves.
Ben shrugged. "Don't know… What about: This is not a game, so don't treat it like one."
"I told you that!" Dean barked. "But you didn't listen-"
"Dean," Ben grinned. "I'm messing with you…" He smile grew as Dean's scowl did too.
"It was a little."
"I agree with Ben," Sam mumbled from the bed and rubbed his eyes. The sun was rising outside. "What time is it?"
Dean glanced at his watch. "Five thirty,"
"We should get going. I'm gonna take a shower." Sam rolled out of bed with a quiet wince. Ben and Dean both watched at him out of the corner of their eye. The door closed behind him and Ben looked back at Dean.
"You think he's gonna be alright?" Ben asked in a voice far too insecure for him.
Dean drew his lips back in the shadow of a smile. "I'm sure."
The rural neighborhood grew as they closed the distance to the small town in Indiana. He could almost imagine the perfect housewife waiting on the curb with an ageless smile and a plate of cookies. Ben had grown alarmingly silent as the car ate away the miles to 'home'. He was in the backseat, looking out the windows with vague signs of recognition on his face. Dean had never seen an expression so simultaneously frightened and serene. He had never really known home.
They spotted the ocher red home with white painted windows. Old pine trees sweetened the air and daisies pushed through the lawn. It was picture perfect with even a white picket fence to complete the picture. "We're here," Dean said quietly; as if any of them didn't know.
"Home sweet home." Ben muttered under his breath.
Sam and Dean shared a glance, but didn't say anything to the solemn tone in Ben's voice. They pulled onto the cub and into the driveway. The engine grumbled to a stop and Lisa came out with sparkling eyes. Dean had been prepared for tears, but wasn't so sure he was as ready to face them as he thought. Oh, god; if she starts sobbing…?
Ben stepped out as the first with his own eyes glimmering. "M-Mom," She rushed down with her arms out and pulled him into a tight hug before Sam or Dean were even out of the car. He hugged her right back just as tightly.
"I was so wor-worried." She cried into her son's shoulder. Relief showed clearly on inch of her body.
"I'm sorry, mom…" Ben cried silently into her shoulder.
Dean found himself smiling to his own surprise at the blissful reunion. It went better than he had imagined.
Her voice was like the bells of doom; angelic trumpets blowing to war. Her stance changed to one of a fierce warrior willing to stop at nothing to protect her son. A lioness with teeth and claws made for shredding. But her teeth were words and her claws were the blame in her eyes.
"This is the LAST time you get to do this to me!!!" She roared.
A small part of Dean didn't blame her reaction one bit, but the dominant part of him, however, did. "Now, just wait a minute-"
"No!" She stopped directly in front of him, blinded with rage. "You LET him follow you and even when you knew what was there you didn't send him home!-"
"I tried to talk to him-"
"You should've tried harder!!!"
Sam watched the scene unfold with blessed objectivity. He watched the heartache in Ben's eyes when he saw his mother and his hero fighting each other. A promise flashed behind Sam's eyes. A promise he knew his brother had made to his father a long time ago; one Dean lived up to every single day. I promise to protect him-
"You have NO idea how worried I was!-"
"YOU??! You weren't the one who put your body in the line of fire for him!-"
"Because you took him from me!-"
"Guys, STOP!" Sam shouted. One bark was enough to silence the two combatants. It echoed like a blast and shook everything. They both turned to him with big eyes and Sam knew for the first time what it would have felt like to have seen his mom and dad arguing. He knew what it would have felt like to step back and watch with fresh eyes. For the first time in his life he did something he had never been able to with his father OR brother:
He backed out of the fight.
"This isn't about you!" He said forcefully. His eye slid to Ben's who was staring at him with a bleak expression. "What do you want?" Ben's face fell in shock. Sam realized the potential colossal mistake he was making, but knew he needed to have faith in the kid if neither his brother nor Ben's mother would. He looked closely at the teen and nodded softly for comfort. Ben glanced from Dean to Lisa with an almost frightened look in his eyes.
"Wh-What?" Lisa looked as confused as her son and Sam was finding it increasingly easy to stay objective.
"It's his life; he should get to choose."
"What is there to choose?" Lisa rushed, but Dean interrupted.
"He's already made his choice! Sam?! What the hell are you talking about? He came with us, remember?" He arched both brows disbelievingly at his brother, but Sam didn't stop.
"Yeah, but what about the rest of it?" Sam didn't take his eyes from the teen that was slowly looking more and more confident. "The rest of his life?"
"What?!" Dean backed out of his match with Lisa and headed for Sam.
"He's going back to school and he's going to college!" Lisa's final word hung in the air like the aftershock of a bomb and everybody fell silent. Doubt surging through the air like radiation.
"But what if he doesn't want to?" Sam asked with his eyes glued to Ben's. He turned to his brother and it all suddenly became so clear. "College isn't for everybody," Dean's expression fell and softened to mild confusion. Sam looked squarely at Lisa who suddenly looked like she'd had an anvil dropped on her.
"How-…?" She looked with wide, unblinking eyes from Dean to Sam.
Sam's eyes softened as emotion rolled over him. He was realizing why she was so desperate to keep her son innocent. Why she was so desperate to keep him for herself. She didn't want Ben's father to take him away. "Does he know?" Her expression became, if possible, even more shocked. Crystal tears dripped from her bottom lids and down her cheeks.
Ben was staring at Sam and Lisa like they were both insane. "What?" Dean prompted.
Sam sighed shakily at the shock of his sudden realization. The fact that the little hints he had seen; the minute similarities he had recognized ever since picking Ben up at the cemetery, were all culminating. The big 'what if' he had been brewing for so long was suddenly being dropped on him and all his notions and forewarnings didn't matter shit. Because this was real. This was no longer an idea floating in his mind. This was confirmed by the lost look in Lisa's face and the shared confusion between Ben and his brother.
"Mom?" Ben was staring at his mom as if trying to look into her soul.
Lisa choked off a sob and covered her mouth with one hand. "B-Ben-" Her voice died in mid-air.
Dean stared at his brother as if willing an answer from him, but Sam wouldn't budge. "I'm right aren't I?" Sam asked shocked. Nothing she could say now could surprise him anymore, because he already knew what his brother and nephew had yet to figure. The world shifted on its axis, but stayed exactly the same.
"Dean, I need you to leave." Lisa said all of a sudden.
Dean turned to her with his eyes even bigger and his brows nearing his hairline. "What?!" He and Ben were still clueless.
"Please," She looked into his eyes like she had the first time they left and Sam knew Dean would obey. He couldn't refuse her. Never had. "Just for a little while."
Sam could see the insecurity in his brother and stepped in with a comforting hand. He let it fall on his brother's shoulder and nudged him like Dean had with Sam only hours before. "C'mon, Dean. Let them talk."
Dean allowed himself to be pulled back with confused looks directed at both Lisa and Ben. "Lisa, what-….?"
"C'mon, brother. She'll tell us later." He whispered into his brother's ear.
Lisa nodded in consolation before Dean shuffled to the driver's side with big, vulnerable eyes. Her own, overflowing with emotion.
Dean huffed in frustration and Sam had never felt worse for him. His brother got in behind the wheel and started the car almost instantly. Sam followed with one last, comforting smile to Ben. "We'll come back later." He ensured Lisa; because even though he knew this was a conversation between Ben and his mother, he also knew that his brother deserved to know the truth. And Sam deserved to have his suspicions confirmed.
The car rolled out of the driveway just as nosey neighbors started peeking out through shrouded windows.
"Ben…" Lisa sat down on the couch with her hands in her lap.
Her son took a seat in the lounge chair opposite her. "Mom…?"
She wiped the slow trickle of tears that were continuously flowing from her eyes. "I ha-have to tell you something,"
Ben's eyes filled with empathy mixed with suspicion.
"I lied to you," She said with tears running down her eyes.
Ben became more suspicious and less empathetic.
"So many times…" She hiccupped and wiped a sweaty palm down her face to get rid of the tears.
"Everytime you asked me if Dean was your father," The look of shock on Ben's face brought on another hiccup from his mother. "I'm so sorry…"
Ben tore his eyes away from his mother's and stared at a spot on the rug. "What…?" His voice was a pale whisper of his usual timber.
"He's your dad…" She looked like she was holding her breath in anticipation of her son's reaction. When he didn't react at all she sobbed again. "I'm SO sorry-"
Ben stood abruptly, still staring at the same stop on the floor. "What…?"
"Ben…." She reached out, but he ripped loose with a withering glare.
"You lied to me!!!" Her words only now sank in.
"I'm sorry!" She shifted on the edge of the couch when her son backed away from her, but didn't stand. "You have to understand why I did it-"
"I don't want to!" Tears were gathering in his eyes, his lips trembling.
"Please, Ben- I did it to protect you-"
"I didn't want you to!!" He shouted down at her.
She was shaking with her hands over her mouth. "P-Please…"
"No!" He backed away with big, scared eyes. "All those times I asked… asked if he was my real dad-…" His voice died. "You lied to me!" The word stung worse than any hit he had ever taken. "You're my mother and you lied to me!"
"I didn't want you to follow him; to waste your life saving strangers-"
"That was MY decision to make!!!" His face was blushing with anger.
"Not when you're still just a kid-"
"Bullshit, mom!! I stopped being a kid when those things took me-" He was crying.
"I hate you!" He cried and turned without another word, heading for the backdoor. He heard his mother in the background, but didn't stop.
He ran; not caring who noticed him sprinting past with tears in his eyes; not caring who noticed his disheveled clothes and bruises from last night's fight. All he could think about was how hurt he was. How lonely he suddenly felt. His legs working to push him forward. Without really looking where he was going he picked a direction. Seemed to follow a familiar path. Tall willow trees rose on either side of the road. Long slender branches reached lovingly for his shoulders. The wind sighed to him in compassion. His tears had stopped. His face was burning as were his eyes. He stopped when he saw the house appear in front of him as if by magic. Normal and cozy. His eyes slid over the façade to the right second floor window. A wind chime jingled playfully in the strong northern winds. His breath was still coming in huffs when he felt someone behind him. A shocked breath nearly drowned out by the wind in his ears.
He turned and came face to face with two, blue eyes. Brown hair, framing a pale face. Heavy bangs in her eyes and black polish on her nails. A leash in her hand and a terrier trying to hurl itself at him with more energy than the energizer-bunny on caffeine.
"Ben?" Katie's surprise was measurable in her face. Every inch of that sweet face.
Ben didn't think. He knew she could see the tears. He knew she had missed him, maybe not like he had missed her, but still… He took one big step to her and cupped both hands around her face. His lips leaned in for a feather light touch. His eyes closed and a whole world of new senses opened up to him. The smell in the air, the soft tickle of her heavy bangs against his forehead, her sweet tongue licking against his, her black polished nails caressing his sides and those thin fingers curling into his shirt. She pulled back and slowly opened her eyes. Something in them had changed. She seemed somber. More sad than he had ever seen her.
"Hi," He answered with a quick inhale.
She smiled and pulled him close again for a deeper kiss. Her hand crept around the back of his head and pulled him close with the other. He could feel her smile through her wet lips. A single and blissfully simple thought boomed through his mind. A tornado in sheer intensity, a roar of joy and pure ecstasy. SHE MISSED ME!! He smiled in response without pulling back.
The world slipped away. The rodent of a dog, pulling the leash in frantic search of the squirrel that got away, the cars driving by in the distance, the people waiting at home for each of them. It all just melted away.
"Come inside with me," She said with a half grin.
Ben growled low in his throat and leaned his forehead against hers. His hands brushed gently through her smooth hair. "I can't,"
She sighed regretfully. "Tell me you're not leaving again," Her nimble hands snuck up around his neck.
"Promise?" She whispered sweetly and rubbed her cheek longingly against his.
"Good." With that she released him and stepped back. A grin pulled over her face for the quickest of seconds. "Now go talk to Keo." She bobbed her head. His ridiculous frown had her smiling again. "We have plenty of time to talk," She stepped close. With one hand on his waist and the other holding the frantically pulling dog she reached up for a quick peck on his lips. Like she had known him forever. "Don't be long," And with that she turned and pulled the dog with her home.
Ben sighed and couldn't help smile when the instant replay brought the moment they had just shared back in Technicolor. His grin stayed on as he turned. Suddenly the world had changed. He wasn't walking away to stay gone. See you later.
The sixth sense was a strange and indefinable thing. No one really knew if it was real of simply some weird folklore that made people feel better about being freaks. All Ben knew was that when he rounded the corner to Keola's road the guy was already waiting on his porch steps. He looked up to meet Ben's eyes like he wasn't the least bit surprised.
"Hey, Keo." Ben said quietly, measuring his friend's response.
"What took you so long?" Keo asked and got to his feet. Ben's face split in a grin and he was pulled into a tight hug.
"She called you, did she?" He pulled back and saw the smile that brightened Keo's face.
"You really think she could keep it to herself?" He arched a brow and slapped his friend on the shoulder. "C'mon inside, my mom made brownies." His dimpled smile was more persuasive than a salesman's.
Ben didn't stop smiling until reality pummeled him again. He stopped with Keo's hand on his shoulder, trying to guide him inside.
Ben looked up with a frown on his face. "I can't."
Keo frowned like he knew. "You gonna tell me how it went at least?"
Ben smiled briefly. "We killed the monster and saved the day." Saying it out loud brought a strange warmth to his chest. It felt missed.
Keo nodded sagely. "You mean you managed without me…" He corrected.
Ben smiled and nodded.
"You gonna tell me what else happened?" Keo tilted his head to catch Ben's eye. "I know you didn't get that long face from saving the day,"
Ben looked everywhere but at his friend. "What would you do if you found out someone you loved spent your whole life lying to you?"
"Lying about what?" He frowned concerned.
The sound of wind rushing by rose in volume. "About whom you really were? Where you came from?" Ben frowned under the bursts of sunlight under the fluffy clouds.
Keo stalled and stopped completely. "Who lied to you, Ben?" Something so soft slipped over his whole demeanor. Something so warm and comforting. Like there was one person not related to Ben who would still protect him from anything life threw at them. The soft voice was accompanied by two compassionate eyes.
"My mom," He could feel his eyes burning again, but tried not to break down completely.
"What did she lie about?"
He shrugged away from the heavy hand on his shoulder and created space between him and his friend. Emotions he could deal with if he had to, but physical contact on top of the chick flick moment was too much even for the otherwise empathetic boy. "M-My dad." He could feel his damn lips trembling again. Keo, bless him, read Ben like an open book and backed off physically. He leaned back and sat back down on the porch steps. Ben stumbled over how to say everything he needed to. Wanted to.
"Dean Winchester is your dad, isn't he?"
Keo, bless him twice, knew everything there was to know about his friend. As did Ben with him. They had talked about it when they first started thinking about hunting. About the cool hunters who saved all the children on Priscilla Road. Dean and Sam Winchester. True heroes the two boys had always strived to emulate. He didn't even know how to respond to a guy who knew everything anyway. He couldn't bring himself to even nod. All he could do was stand there and swallow convulsively. Keo recognized that sign as well as the others. He nodded as if Ben's failure to respond was all the answer he needed.
"Figured as much,"
"Yeah, I wish you would have shared that suspicion with me though." Ben said and sat down. "How the hell am I supposed to deal with this?" He asked the wind blowing against his face.
Keo shrugged. "What do you want to take from it?"
For a kid, who was usually so carefree and unable to take even the direst of situations seriously, could surprise you. Blow you away with such a simple question. Ben had no idea what he wanted to take from it. His frown registered with Keo.
"What do you want?" He simplified and shrugged when Ben glanced over.
"It's as simple as that?"
"If you want it to be?" Keo answered cryptically.
Ben huffed and rubbed a hand down his face. "Oh god, I wish it could be,"
A stern expression slipped over Keo's face. "This, coming from a kid who grew up with his dad in prison: There are a hundred worse choices you could be facing right now." His harsh eyes bored into Ben's and made guilt and shame blossom.
"Don't apologize. Tell me what you want to happen. Verbalize it; make it tangible."
Ben huffed with a grin. "Look who's Dali Lama all of a sudden."
Keo nudged him. "Seriously, dude,"
Ben huffed again and looked up in thought. "I want peace…. I want action. I want my mom and dad to live together and not hate each other-"
"They don't hate each other." Keo interrupted.
"You should see them-"
"My dad robbed a liquor store with a sawed off shot gun and my mom still sends him muffins every Christmas in jail." Keo smiled a little sadly. "Everybody gets a little twisted sometimes," He said with his eyes one the clouds and Ben's gaze on his face. "Just because they don't fight it doesn't mean they don't love each other. If anything it means they love each other more."
"Yeah, hate's not the opposite of love… I know the saying." Ben said sadly.
"Then use that big fucking brain of yours and be realistic."
Ben couldn't help but glare a little at the harsh words, but knew he needed to hear them. "You think they could ever make it work?"
"Would you really want them to sacrifice parts of themselves to do it?" He countered and, damn, if Keo wasn't right.
"No," Ben said quietly.
"Then what do you really want?"
The clouds rolled by above. Never stopping, never slowing. "I want to move…"He said with a faraway look. "I'm ready to move. To do something more with my life," He looked his friend square in the eye. "You know?"
Keo nodded sadly. "It means you have to leave everything, though."
Ben nodded. "I know." A wistful smile brightened his face. "Doesn't mean I have to do it right now, though."
Keo's frown made it all worth it.
Ben smiled. "What? You think I'm just gonna pack up and leave tomorrow?" A new outlook on life was slowly worming its way into his mind. A new plan that didn't necessarily involve college was forming. An alternative. His to choose if he wanted to. "I promised my mom I would finish high school," He shrugged seriously. "I promised Kate I would stay." His smile grew to a full on grin. "We both know she would kill me if I tried to leave."
Keo's expression brightened considerably. "Yeah,"
"You think I should ask Dean and Sam to stick around? Maybe visit once in awhile?"
Keo's smile grew. "Definitely!"
The two friends laughed together and went inside for milk and brownies. Keo's mom wouldn't let go after watching Ben walk in with a smile on his face. She hugged him tight for almost thirty seconds. And as always, with the intake of chocolate, life seemed a little brighter afterwards.
Dean rolled up to Lisa's house and parked in the driveway. Ben had called four hours after they dropped him off at home. For four hours Dean had been a bundle of nerves and concern. His mind kept swirling around the "big secret".
After giving his brother a verbal throttle Sam spilled his suspicions. The runt had it all figured out. Dean was grumbling as he passed the gardenia bushes lining the pathway. Sam figured out why Lisa had been so reluctant to let Ben come with them. He had suspected as much since they returned to Cicero, he said. Dean had been stunned. Not only did his brother believe it; the smartest person on earth as far as Dean was concerned (not that he would ever tell him), but he practically knew when he saw Lisa's reaction.
Dean had been sweating ice since he started believing in his brother's suspicions. All three hours and forty five minutes of it.
He knocked on the door and almost passed out from the pressure. This constant stress level was enough to knock down an ox. Lisa opened with red, puffy eyes. Worry spiked and made Dean's heart flutter. "Lisa?"
She shook her head sadly. "It's ok, Dean." She let him in and led him to the kitchen.
"What happened? Where's Ben?"
"What happened?" He asked softly.
She shook her head and looked like she was about to cry again. "He wants to be the one to tell you," She bobbed her head to the backdoor. "Go talk with him,"
Dean glanced out to the backyard and back at her. "Lisa, what's going on?"
She looked at him like she had only once before. Her eyes bored into his like she could see through his soul. The only other time she had watched him like that was when he left after the changeling incident. When she asked him if he was disappointed that he wasn't Ben's father. "Go talk to him." She wiped her eyes and poured herself a cup of coffee.
She offered Dean one, but he refused and headed for the back door. Ben was on the porch steps with a pebble in his hand, flipping it around to keep his fingers busy. Dean took a seat next to him and picked up another pebble. He flung it at the gravel. The air was warm and heavy. Wet. Tiny, black flies dotted the air and stuck to everything. He could almost smell the thunder in the distance. "Hey, Ben."
Ben glanced up from his deep silence.
"Your mom said you wanted to talk to me,"
He still didn't answer, but just looked into the grey sky.
"So talk," Dean picked up another pebble and threw it. "You wanna tell me why your mother's inside, crying her eyes out?"
"Guilt," Ben said with a strangely surprised expression.
"Guilt over what?" Dean asked and picked up his third pebble. This one he kept and twirled in his hand like Ben.
"Over lying to me," Ben said and threw his pebble. It clicked when it connected with the gravel. Instead he started picking at a tear in his jeans.
Dean felt his heart throb quickly. His blood thickened with adrenalin. "About what?"
Ben looked squarely at him then. He held Dean's gaze until it felt like there were no secrets anymore. "You look nervous," Ben said instead.
Dean swallowed and looked down with a nod. "Not at all,"
"See, I figure you already know what I'm gonna say because you already know what my mom told me." Dean met his stare again. "I figure Sam told you his suspicions."
Dean didn't nod. He didn't speak. He didn't move.
"It's ok though," Ben scrapped the gravel with the toe of his sneaker. He looked at Dean with a question burning in his eyes.
Dean felt a calm wash over him. Ease as heart rate evened out. "Yeah it is," He swung an arm around his son and looked into the grey sky along with him. In the distance a hesitant rumble sounded.
"My friend, Keo, asked me what I want," Ben said after a second.
Dean looked over at him. "And?"
"I want what you want," Ben said and met his father's eye. "Just, not yet."
Dean nodded slowly. "I figured as much." He released Ben a little abruptly and stood up. "Sammy and I'll be in town for a while. If you wanna talk, just call me." He pulled a pen out of pocket and wrote down a number. "About anything." His deep, green eyes beamed with concern, empathy, pride, love. He handed the number and Ben came to his feet.
Dean looked at him for a second before he pulled him into a hug. Ben reached up and squeezed back. Dean's strong arms felt like a cocoon of warmth and comfort and suddenly Ben wasn't so scared anymore.
Dean released him and clapped a hand on his son's shoulder. "Whenever you're ready, we'll be there." He nodded and Ben returned it seriously.
Dean smiled and let go. "No, thank you." He turned and headed back into the house.
Ben felt calmer. He didn't feel so torn anymore. Suddenly the heavy rain clouds in the distance didn't seem nearly as looming as before. He wasn't being asked to choose one or the other. He wasn't being asked if he was a hunter or civilian. His dad was ready to wait for him to think. Consider his options. And Ben would do just that. Take his time to think.
Make the right choices when he was ready.
His mom later came out with a cup of tea when the rain started falling. Light and grey. Ben sat under the porch roof and watched lighting flash over the sky. Suddenly the gloom had lifted. Life had been turned upside down, but it seemed more normal than ever before.
His mom was a yoga instructor and his dad was a demon hunter. And Ben didn't have to choose one life over the other. He could do whatever he wanted and he intended to do just that;
Live his life, starting now.