A/N: To explain may be a little better - this story assumes everyone is familiar with all the episodes. It is a series of oneshots - one per episode, taking place at a time that I'll indicate at the beginning of each chapter.
It's supposed to be mostly light-hearted, providing some one for the boys to talk to if necessary or get angry with or get in the way. There will probably be angst at some point because I can't avoid it and this show is awesome at it! It's mostly an experiment so don't take it too seriously, I don't really think the show would improve if this was true but the idea got into my head and stayed there until I wrote about it.
I've only watched the first three series so PLEASE I beg of you don't spoil series four for me - I'm stuck in England so won't be seeing it until the dvds are out. On that note if you spot anything that sounds glaringly un-American and doesn't fit let me know. And if the dialogue doesn't work - that too. I try!
There But For Grace
Episode 1: Pilot – The fifth morning after Jess dies.
Sam Winchester didn't really like being confused or lost. Dean Winchester didn't like feeling out of control. Both of them were unappreciative of the current situation.
Sam was sitting in the passenger seat of the impala, staring blankly through the windscreen and trying to formulate some sort of plan. If you were a mass murdering demon, who kills women by pinning them to the ceiling and blasting them with fire, where would you be?
The driver's door creaked open and Dean slipped into the seat, two cups of coffee balanced precariously in his hands. Silently, he passed one to Sam, who took it in equal silence before returning to his scrutiny of the empty parking lot in front of them. After sitting for a moment, sipping coffee, Dean started the car with a sigh and drove out onto the road.
"Sam – " Dean eventually began after a couple of miles, but he didn't get any further.
"I know. We've looked into everything we can think of."
Oppressive silence fell again. Dean knew what he wanted to suggest, to leave Stanford in the dust behind them, but didn't feel like he could. Sam had to say it first.
"So. We'll follow the coordinates." Sam finally said. "Did you find out where they go?"
"Place called Blackwater Ridge, Colorado." Dean gestured to a map on the back seat as he spoke. Sam turned in his seat to reach it, frowning at the cross Dean had made.
"Should only take a couple of days," Dean added, sending his brother a speculative sidelong glance.
"Mmm," Sam agreed. He sighed a folded up the map. "Well, we may as well get going then, arrive in daylight tomorrow."
"Yeah," there was a slight pause before Dean spoke again. "We have to go pick someone up first."
He took a quick right into the car park of a fairly seedy looking motel and pulled up in front of door 25. Sam opened his mouth to demand an explanation, curious for the first time since Jess had died. Before he could speak, however, Dean left the car and was taking out a key for the room door.
Sam caught up as the door swung inwards and Dean strode in. At first Sam thought the dark room was empty, but Dean flicked on the main lights and Sam saw the form of a sleeping girl in one of the beds.
"Oh, Dean – " Sam protested, not wanting to get involved in this. His brother interrupted before he could get any further, however.
"Hey. This isn't what you're thinking."
He waited for Sam's slight nod of acceptance before walking over to the bed. He frowned down at the sleeping girl for a moment before reaching a hand behind her pillow and extracting a gun. He tucked this into the waistband of his jeans and grabbed one of the blankets at the foot of the bed, wrapping her in it. In one smooth and practiced motion he swung her up in his arms, starting back to the door.
Sam stared after them in confusion for a minute before following them out.
"Why doesn't she wake up?" he asked, deciding it was the most pressing question.
Dean bundled her onto the back seat of the car, pulling the blanket up over her shoulder.
"She can't. Nothing's gonna wake her up until she's ready to wake up."
Sam walked up behind him to get a closer look at the girl who couldn't have been older than he was: she was still completely unconscious.
"How is that even possible?" he demanded.
Dean sighed and slammed the door shut. He got into the driver's seat without replying and waited for Sam to walk around the car.
"I don't know," he said finally. "That's just how it is."
Dean started the car and began to pull out of the motel. Sam kept his silence until they reached the interstate and Dean relaxed into driving.
"How long has she been with you?"
His brother frowned, keeping his eyes firmly on the road ahead.
"Me and Dad met her about two months ago. The demon we were hunting was after her and we just stopped it killing her in her sleep. When all the noise of us fighting it didn't wake her up, it didn't take us long to figure out that she couldn't." he paused, remembering the meeting. "She's a magnet for evil, they always seem to find her."
"Not very useful when you're trying to hunt them," Sam commented.
"True. But we couldn't just leave her, she'd've been a goner." He paused again, overtaking the truck in front of them. "So, Dad insisted on taking her with us and when he left on this hunt, he asked me to look after her."
"Dad insisted?" Sam asked incredulously.
"Yeah," Dean acknowledged the strangeness of the situation with a wry smile. "He's been trying to find a way to cure the sleep thing, but – no luck."
He fell silent again and his expression became serious once more. Sam kept the rest of his questions to himself for another day, right now he didn't need any extra baggage and he didn't think he would get anything out of Dean in any case.
Late that afternoon, about three quarters of the way across Nevada, there was a sharp intake of breath from the back seat. The girl sat up suddenly and automatically groped behind her for a gun.
"Hey, welcome back to the land of the living."
She looked up and met Dean's eye in the rear view mirror. Seeing that he seemed to be at ease, she relaxed and lent forward between the two seats to look out of the windscreen.
"Sam, this is Grace Jackson. Grace, this is my brother Sam."
Sam screwed round in his seat and held out his hand for Grace to shake. She did, with a small smile, before turning to Dean again.
"Everything ok?" she asked, reaching up a hand to massage the crick in her neck.
"Peachy," he replied, giving her a wry half smile before turning his attention back to the road.
Grace nodded, knowing that the reality was probably very far from 'peachy' but if Dean was saying that there wasn't any immediate danger.
"Do you have anything to eat?" she asked and Sam passed her an unopened bag of chips. "Thanks."
Grace moved back on the seat and watched the scenery flicking past the window. Casting a look between his brother and the girl occupying the backseat, Sam ventured to say,
"We're in Nevada. Heading towards Colorado."
Grace nodded, giving him a smile to acknowledge the information, but not seeming particularly interested or inquisitive about their destination. Waking up in the impala without any idea of what part of the country they were in, was a recurring situation for Grace.
A/N: So I hope anyone reading this finds it vaguely enjoyable in some way. Let me know what you think.