AN: Once again, this story was originally posted in A Little Game and Dance collection. In this one, they may seem a little AU, but hey, that's alright with me. This takes place during season three, and starts a little while after Malleus Maleficarum. Oh, and for the purposes of the story, Bela did not die. It also doesn't follow along with anything that's happening in season four. You have been warned. Now, read on.
Title: everything and in between
Summary: AU. Dean, Ruby, Ben Braeden. Love is almost never logical.
Pairing: Unresolved Dean/Ruby
Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or any of the characters.
everything and in between
Written by Becks Rylynn
When he was eight years old, his mother died.
He didn't understand what had happened. One minute she was there, smiling and whispering a ''Goodnight, I love you. I'll see you in the morning.'' And then he blinked and she was pale lying in bed, and he was shaking her and she wasn't waking up and finally, Ben managed to grab the phone with his tremblings hands and he called his father. His father didn't know he was his father, of course, because his mother had lied to him, but Ben knew he was. His mother had never lied to him.
His father was silent for a long time after Ben told him that his mother was sleeping and he couldn't wake her up, and Ben could almost see his father panicking and gripping the steering wheel of his sleek black car, jaw twitching. Finally, after what seemed like a million minutes, his father told him with a nervous and shaking voice to call 911 and he would be there soon.
So, Ben called 911 and explained that his mother was sleeping and she wouldn't wake up. When the EMT's rushed into the room and tried to revive her, someone pulled him away and for a second he thought it was his father.
Ben glared up at the blonde who definitely wasn't his father and definitely wasn't an EMT and crossed his arms. He really hoped she wasn't some kind of social worker or something. ''Who are you?''
''Are you Ben?'' She asked, her voice hard and rough. Her blue eyes scanned the room and she rolled her eyes, possibly at her own stupidity. It's wasn't like there was a bunch of eight year old boys sitting around. ''Ugh, of course you're Ben. Come with me.''
He didn't move. Why would he? A strange blonde comes up to him and tells him to go with her, and he was going to listen to her? No fucking way. He narrowed his eyes and looked up at her with a distrustful frown. ''Why should I?''
He thought he heard her growl in frustration, but shook his head, ignoring it. She put her hands on her hips and stared down at him with distaste. ''Your father sent me to look after you until he gets here. Why he picked me, I don't know, I am the last person he should want around his kid, but here I am. So, are you coming with me or not?''
''I don't even know your name.''
Ben tilted his head to the side and slowly a grin she recognized slid across his face. ''What kind of name is Ruby?''
That time she did growl, grabbing the back of his collar and dragging him outside, plunking him down on the steps and moving away from him, taking out her cellphone and punching in a number. Ben knew it wasn't polite to evesdrop, but he couldn't help it. When his father's name slipped from her lips, he leaned closer to hear better. ''Yes, Dean, I've got him, you can stop panicking. How is he?'' She snorted and sent a glance over at him. He looked away and tried to pretend he hadn't been listening. ''He's definitely your kid.''
Ben didn't understand why that made his heart jump a little in his chest.
She was pretty. Ben knew that. She was mean. He knew that too. But, there was something about her that made him feel safe, like he knew nothing would happen to him as long as he stayed with her. When someone tried to take him away, she jumped in smoothly and introduced herself as his step-mother, sending a sexy smirk at the middle aged neighbor man who had been watching the flashing lights on his front porch. His father was coming soon, she said, and she was supposed to stay with him until he got here. When Ben asked her if she really was his step-mother, her lip curled in disgust and she rolled her eyes. ''You wish, kid.''
It was taking a long time. Ben thought they should have fixed his mother by now. He knew she was going to have a fit when she found out that he called his father, but he had panicked and his Dad's number was the first one that popped into his mind. Ben dropped his chin in the palm of his hand and picked at his pajamas. He wished he could go back into his house and change. At least grab a jacket, but then he thought of what they were probably doing to his mother and he thought going back inside was a bad idea.
Then two men that Ben instatly hated, rolled a stretcher with a white sheet covering a body Ben knew was his mother out the door and his breath caught in his throat. What were they doing? Why was she covered with a sheet? ''What are you doing?'' He spoke, his voice quiet and raspy. He saw her look up from her cellphone, but he honestly couldn't have cared less. ''Where are you taking her?!'' The boy made a move towards the gurney and Ruby grabbed his arm, holding him back. Unfortunately for her, he was alot like his father and managed to get away from her hold, racing towards his mother. ''Mom!'' He ripped the sheet away before anyone could do anything and when he saw her, she was pale and lifeless and somewhere in the back of his head, he told himself to let go. ''Mom! Wake up! She's not dead!'' He glared at the poor EMT's who were just trying to do their jobs. ''Why aren't you saving her?!''
''Ben!'' That wasn't Ruby's voice. That was his father's voice. Ben made a move towards his mother and shook her shoulders roughly, ignoring how cold her skin was. ''Mom, wake up! Mom!'' Strong arms grabbed him and lifted him off the ground, moving him kicking and screaming away from his mother. ''No! Dean, let go of me! Mom!''
''Ben,'' His father put him on the ground and grabbed his shoulders tightly, meeting his eyes. ''You have to let her go now.''
''She's not dead!'' Something unrecognizable burned behind Ben's eyes and it took him a long time to realize it was tears, because boys didn't cry. He didn't cry. ''She's not dead, Dad! Tell them she's not dead!'' The shock he saw flicker through his father's eyes when he heard the boy call him 'Dad' was only there for a moment before he grabbed Ben and pulled him against his chest. ''She's not dead.'' Ben murmered against the older man's shoulder, tears overflowing and running down his cheeks. ''She's not dead.''
But he knew she was.
It took awhile for it to register that Ben was his kid.
It took Sammy desperately trying to get through to him, it took that annoying blond demon slapping him - which he did not appreciate one bit - and yelling at him, it took Bobby yelling over the phone. It took Ben calling him Dad for the first time since that night.
Two days after Lisa's death, Dean left. Ben was at his aunt's when Dean came to say goodbye and to be honest, he wasn't really surprised. Dean didn't stick around last time when his mother offered, why would he stay now?
Ben kind of wished he would have stayed, because he needed his Dad, but he didn't say anything. He could be strong. It wasn't that hard.
Except it was.
Dean sort of wished he had stayed to. But, he was Dean Winchester and Dean Winchester was not father material. There was a reason why he had never gotten serious with a girl before. Because he knew if he let them think they could have a future, they would want kids and then Dean would have to break it off. It wasn't that he didn't like kids, really, it was that he was sure he would screw a kid up.
He didn't want to doom a child to the life he lived.
Ben would be better off without him, he was sure of that. So, why did he feel so horrible?
He and Sam sat in an uncomfortable silence in the car for what seemed like forever, until Sam finally turned to Dean and licked his dry lips nervously. ''Why did you do it, Dean?''
''Not now, Sam.''
''He's your son.''
''I said not now, Sam.''
Dean grunted and pulled the car to the side of the road. He glared at his brother like everything that was happening was his fault and climbed out of the car. Sam watched him for a moment, wondering what the hell his brother was doing. He got his answer when Dean whirled around and slammed a hand onto the Impala's shiny hood. He kicked the tires and hit the frame and after several seconds of watching his brother go ape shit on his precious car, Sam climbed out of the car and raised his eyebrows. ''Are you quite finished yet?''
Dean slammed his hands down one last time, his breathing erratic, his chest heaving. ''I can't fucking do this, Sam!''
''Be a father!''
Sam crossed his arms and looked his brother up and down. ''Well, Dean, it looks like you don't have to be one. Ben's with his aunt, and you're running away. I don't see a problem here.'' The sarcasm in his voice was not lost on Dean, and it only made him more frustrated.
''The kid just lost his mother! He's, like, broken! How am I supposed to fix him?! I can barely fix myself! I have less than a year to live and you want me to drag a kid into this fucked up life we lead?! What is he gonna do when I die?! Sammy, I can't do this!''
''Dean, whether you like it or not, Ben is your son. He's not mine. I can't tell you what to do here.''
''They were supposed to be safe!'' Dean let out a long breath and looked away from Sam, leaning on the hood of the Impala. ''We saved them both. They were supposed to be safe.''
Sam sighed and moved next to his brother. ''It was a brain aneurysm, Dean. We couldn't have saved her from that.''
There was a long moment of silence, neither brother knowing what to say next. Finally, Dean sighed and stood up straight, running a hand through his hair. ''What am I supposed to do now?''
''You're supposed to go get your son before he catches a bus and follows you around the country.''
Dean and Sam both turned sharply at the familiar voice and Dean rolled his eyes, throwing his hands up in the air. ''Oh, wonderful. Demon girl, just what I don't need right now.''
One thing was clear about the relationship between Dean and Ruby. There wasn't one. She hated his guts and he hated hers. Sam, she could tolerate. Dean, she wanted to skin alive. Unfortunately, to get to one Winchester, you had to take the other. ''Hey, buddy, I'm here to help you.''
''Help me? Are you going to send yourself back to hell?''
''Oh, shut up. I'm here because your little offspring is planning to run away.''
''Why would he do that?''
''Isn't it obvious?'' She smirked, that same nearly bitter and kind of hollow smirk she always wore on her borrowed lips. ''He wants to find his father, Dean. He needs you.''
''How do you know all this, anyways?'' Sam asked, holding his hands up and attempting to defuse the fight that he was sure was going to break out any moment.
She shrugged, like it was no big deal. ''He told me.''
Silence, and then, ''He what?!''
''When you did your little coward's disappearing act, I went and checked up on the boy. You know, he really is like you, it's appalling really.''
''Why would you check up on another human being? You're...you.''
''Just go get your son before he does his own disappearing act.''
Ben was going to find his father. Even if it meant it would take him weeks, months, even years, Ben would find his father. His Aunt Genie was nice and all, but he didn't really know her. She only lived on the other side of town, yet, his mother barely talked about her and he had only met her maybe once. There was no way in hell Ben was going to spend the rest of his life surrounded by her four loud and obnoxious children and her loud and balding husband. That was just not happening.
The young boy held the bus ticket in his hands and tugged his jacket tighter around his body. He knew the reason Dean left was because he didn't want him, but honestly, he didn't care. If he didn't want him, that was just too damn bad. Dean Winchester was Ben Braeden's father and neither one of them could do anything about it.
The bus pulled up to the curb and Ben stood, moving towards the doors. Just as he was about to take the first step, someone grabbed the back of his jacket and pulled him down.
''What the fuck do you think you're doing, boy?!''
Ben's jaw dropped open and he turned to Dean, eyes wide, wondering what the hell he was doing here. Before he could stop it, a ''holy shit'' escaped his lips and he instantly slapped a hand over his mouth.
''Watch it, kid.''
''What are you doing here, Dean?'' Ben placed his hands on his hips and tried to pretend like it wasn't that big of a deal that Dean had come back. Like it wasn't that big of a deal that his father was standing so close to him, so close Ben could reach out and touch him. It didn't matter.
Except it did.
''I'm here to stop you from running away from home like some kind of reject from an afterschool special.''
The boy narrowed his eyes. ''Ruby told you didn't she? You know Dean, she's not that bad once you get to know her. I think she would make a good girlfriend.''
''She's a demon, Ben.''
Ben's eyes widened. ''Really? Cool!''
Dean stared at him for a moment before standing and running a hand through his hair. ''Goddamn it.'' Ben heard that underlying emotion in his voice, that one that every parent had when their son got hurt, got his heartbroken....ran away. It was fear, it was concern...it was something almost like love. ''How could you be so stupid, Ben! You know what's out there!'' Dean whirled around to face the mini version of himself and glared, anger making his chest hurt and fear making his breathing erratic. ''You could have gotten yourself fucking killed!''
Ben looked down at his feet and tried to control his breathing. ''I'm sorry, I just....I can't stay here.'' And he couldn't. Not in the place where his mother was taken away from him.
''I'm not good at this, Ben.'' Dean deflated and collapsed onto the bus bench, putting his head in his hands. ''I'm not good at sympathy, and I'm not good at, you know, emotions, and you just lost your mother, and....and I'm a man, I like to fix things. But this....I don't know how to fix this, Ben. The pain you're going through, I don't know how to take it away.''
Ben sat down next to him and kicked at a rock on the ground. ''I'm not asking you too, Dean. I'm not asking you to give me anything, I'm not asking you for anything Dean. I've lived without for for eight years, I think I'll be okay.''
A total and complete lie, of course.
A small smile crossed Dean's face and he turned to face the boy. Ben was wise beyond his eight years, but he was still a child, and he still needed someone to take care of him. He still needed a parent. From the moment he met Ben, Dean was sure he loved him just as much as his own father had loved him, probably more. But how could he let a child into his world when it was filled with monsters and death and blood. How could he let Ben come with him and grow up to be just like him? It was the reason Dean had left Ben and Lisa all those months ago anyways.
Dean really didn't want to drag Ben into his screwed up world.
But Ben was his son.
What was he supposed to do?
''Ben,'' His voice was quiet and for a moment, Dean didn't even recognize his own voice, but then he cleared his throat and sighed heavily, continuing. ''I get what you were trying to do. You didn't want to be left behind, believe me, I understand, but if I leave you behind it's because I need you to be safe. I can't lose your like I lost your mother. Do you understand?''
Ben nodded. ''So, you're still....you're still leaving?'' Before Dean could answer, Ben stood and took a deep breath, instantly loathing the tears building behind his eyes. ''Oh. Alright, I'll just....I'll go back to my aunt's. Bye......Bye Dad.''
''I am leaving Ben!'' Dean stood, heart pounding nervously in his chest as he stared at his son's retreating back. ''And you're coming with me.''
Ben froze and tried not to turn around so his father wouldn't see the smile covering his face.
''First rule. No chick flick moments.''
Ben's smile covered his entire face.
When Ben was eight years old, he got his first step-mother.
Her name was Cassie Robinson and from the moment his father came back from a hunting trip married, and toting a new wife, Ben hated her. He hated that she tried to be his mother, he hated that she tried to get Dean to stop hunting and he hated how she made his father act. Like he was walking on eggshells, afraid to show her who he really was. Ben was sure Dean only married her because he thought Ben would be better off with her after his deal came to a close.
Ben thought his father had lost his mind.
All Dean and Cassie did was fight about hunting, fight about Ben, about what Dean and Sam were exsposing Ben to, they fought about demons, about being on the road, and probably most confusing; they fought about....Ruby. About Dean and Ruby, about how much time Dean spent with her. Dean always told Cassie she was just helping when they hunted. Making sure Dean would always come home.
Cassie never believed him.
No matter how many times Dean assured her that he hated Ruby, no matter how many times Ruby and Dean had a blowout right in front of her, no matter how many times Ruby called him names, or he called her names, Cassie never stopped thinking Ruby was a threat.
Eventually, Ruby stopped coming around, stopped visiting Ben, everything stopped altogether.
Ben hated Cassie even more after that.
Then, one night, things changed.
It was another town, another hotel, another room for the unhappy 'family', and another fight between Dean and Cassie. This time it was about....well, Ben wasn't really sure. It had started out as a fight about Ben and how he needed to be in one school, in one place, but somehow went into something about how Cassie thought Dean was having an affair (which to be honest was quite possible). Ben had escaped to the motel balcony, but he could still hear his father and step-mother's voices floating through the walls.
''Brooding? You really are alot like your father.''
Ben turned around, grin lighting up his innocent face. ''Ruby, what are you doing here?'' He rolled his eyes and threw a glare at the door. ''I thought she didn't want you around anymore.''
''Takes more then a cheerleader to keep me from a Winchester.''
A curse wafted through the door and both Ruby and Ben turned their gaze to the door. Ben winced. ''They've been yelling for an hour. You would think their voices would have given out by now.'' He snorted. ''You would at least think they would have noticed I'm not there anymore.''
''You know,'' The blonde sat down next to Ben and rested her head against the wall, closing her eyes. That was the first time she had closed her eyes in two days. She hadn't realized how tired she was. ''Don't tell anyone this, but you're probably the only Winchester I can stand.''
Ben smiled and rubbed his eyes tiredly. ''I figured.''
Ruby forced her heavy eyelids open and turned her tired eyes to the eight year old boy. ''I get that you needed to get away from the fighting, Ben, but why are you out here and not in with Sam?''
''Uncle Sam will just tell me everything's going to be fine, that they love each other and they love me. He'll lie to me, Ruby. That's what Uncle Sam does, he lies to comfort people.''
A laugh escaped her red lips and she nodded. ''He does have a tendency to do that doesn't he?''
''Ruby, my Dad only has two months left.''
She sighed and bit down on her lip until she drew blood. ''I know.''
''Do you think...Do you think we'll find a way to save him?'' Ben's eyes, usually so wise and filled with more knowledge then any other eight-year old, shone with something Ruby barely recognized. Tears. ''Do you think he'll die?''
She closed her eyes again, but only for a second, and when she opened them, she smiled an almost convincing smile and pulled his forehead to hers. ''There is no way your Dad is going to leave you. He just got you.''
Ben smiled and they lapsed into silence again. Ben slid his eyes to her and noticed that the blonde demon he called a friend, was almost asleep. ''Hey, Ruby?'' Ben bit his lip. She would tell him things if he was almost asleep, when you're falling asleep, you don't have control of the words slipping out of your lips. Ben knew that better then anyone. The first time his mother told him Dean was his father, she was half asleep, the first time he told his father he loved him, he was slipping into sleep.
''Why are you so good with kids? With me?''
The ghost of a smile fell across her face and Ben leaned closer to her, to hear the hoarse thick with sleep murmer that escaped her lips. ''I had a son once.'' Ben's jaw dropped open and his eyebrows shot into his hairline.
He certainly hadn't been expecting that.
The door to the motel room opened and Dean stumbled out, looking around desperately for his son. When he saw Ben, sleeping peacefully next to Ruby, his head on her shoulder, a small relieved smile crossed the hunter's face and he tried to make it go away. He shouldn't be smiling, why was he smiling? He just couldn't help it, it was sweet - a word not normally coupled with Ruby - and he was glad Ben was getting some sleep.
In all the weeks, in all the months he had been married to Cassie, he never saw this. He didn't see much at all between Cassie and Ben besides maybe a few glares. Dean glanced at Cassie, sleeping fitfully in one of the beds, and then looked away, gently lifting Ben into his arms and taking him into the room. When he came back, he sighed, and shut the door, leaning against the wall and sliding down until he was sitting right next to the blonde demon he wanted so desperately to hate.
Her head lolled onto his shoulder and he wanted to hate it, he wanted to grimace at her touch and flinch, but all he managed, was a sharp intake of breath and it wasn't entirely unpleasant. Dean closed his eyes and tried to make the feeling go away. When it didn't, he sighed and gently moved a hand to her shoulder. ''Ruby, open your eyes.''
She groaned softly and blue eyes blinked open. ''Dean?'' She blinked sleep from her eyes and looked around anxiously. ''Where's Ben?''
''He's inside. You fell asleep.''
Ruby was silent for a moment, and then she closed her eyes, grimacing and blowing out a heavy breath. ''Shit.''
''I think...I think I told Ben something I shouldn't have.''
''You can relax, short bus, I didn't tell him anything bad about you. It was about me.'' She pushed herself to her feet and ran a hand through her hair.
Dean smirked after her. ''Got a dark secret, Rubes?''
She turned to face him, a matching smirk on her face. ''Did you just call me Rubes?'' She tilted her head to the side, trying to stop a glimmer from seeping into her eyes. There was no reason why she should be smirking at Dean Winchester and looking like some lovesick girl out of a romance movie.
He shrugged and smirked at her. ''Maybe.'' He got to his feet and took a step towards her. ''Listen, Ruby, I just wanted to say thank you...for taking care of Ben. For being there for him. I-I wish I could have been there for him more. It's just with Cassie...''
''Gotta take care of the little wifey.''
''She's not exactly low maintenence.''
Dean hesitated, and when their eyes met, he moved over to the railing and looked down at the lighted parking lot. ''We're getting divorced.'' He looked at her, searching for any sign of emotion, and when he didn't see any, he laughed nervously and stood up straight. ''It's probably not a surprise to you.''
Ruby wrapped her arms around herself, afraid he was going to see the butterflies in her stomach. ''Not exactly.''
Dean slid his eyes to her and for a moment, their eyes met again, this time for longer, but the moment was gone as quick as it came. ''I should get back inside, if Ben wakes up and I'm not there, he'll be reaching for the rifle.''
''Just like you.'' Ruby laughed and moved forwards. Before she could talk herself out of it, she leaned up and kissed his cheek quickly. ''I think you're a better father then you think you are, Dean.'' She pulled away, satisfied at his stunned look and turned around, walking away. He stared after her for a moment, and then shook his head, moving towards the motel door. His hand hovered on the doorknob and he looked at her one last time, before looking away. Down the hall, she paused and turned around, like she was going to say something, but decided against it and turned around again.
Dean stepped into the motel room and leaned heavily against the door. When he shut his eyes, her saw her.
When Ben was eight years old, his father died.
Cassie was long gone, their divorce would be final in four months, his father and Ruby were getting closer, everything in Ben's life was good. And then in one crazy night, both his father and Ruby were ripped away from him....literally.
Time was running out and Ben and his family were racing against time to save his father, but in the end it wasn't enough. He didn't remember exactly what had happened, but he remembered his father and uncle were going to go somewhere, a house, and he wanted to go. Dean said no, Dean told him to stay with Bobby. Ben didn't listen and stowed away in the back of the car. He remembered his father hadn't been angry when Ben popped up in the backseat and nearly gave both Winchester brothers heart attacks. He had been more weary then angry. Then they were at a house and Ruby was there and they were trying to find Lillith and then there had been a blast of pain in the back of his skull and everything went dark.
When he opened his eyes, Ben was very aware that he was wet. When he touched the wet spot, his hand came away red and sticky. Blood. Ben blinked and checked himself for injuries. Nothing. So, where was all the blood coming from? Slowly, Ben got to his feet and moved out from behind the couch. What he saw made his stomach churn and his blood run cold. Well, he had definitely identified the source of the blood.
Ben stumbled as he moved forwards, dropping to his father's side and pressing his hands to the wounds. He had to keep the pressure on, the pressure would slow the bleeding, Sam and Ruby would wake up, they would get Dean to a hospital and everything would be fine. That's what Ben told himself. But his father's skin was so cold, and there was so much blood and when Ben moved his hands to his father's neck, there was no pulse, no butterfly touch to reassure him everything was going to be okay. ''No.'' Tears burned behind Ben's eyes and rolled down his cheeks, dripping into his father's open wounds and mixing with his blood.
I knew you shouldn't have come tonight, He could practially hear his father's voice saying. To be honest, Ben was starting to regret it himself. ''Dad...wake up.'' Ben shook his father's body but nothing happened. ''Daddy....'' Ben sniffled and tried to keep the tears from running down his face. No. He was not going to cry. He was a Winchester, he had to keep it together. Ben crawled over to another body and brushed blond hair away from her face. Her lips were blue, her skin was pale. ''Ruby, wake up, Dad's hurt.'' He shook her. She would wake up, he knew she would, she was a demon, she wasn't dead, she couldn't be. ''Ruby!'' Nothing.
Ruby wasn't in there anymore.
Ben sat back, shock coating his face. Both his father and Ruby were dead? Well, that was just great! Ben scowled angrily, tears he couldn't control dripping down his face. The now officially orphaned boy slowly crawled over to Sam's prone body. ''Sam! Uncle Sam, wake up!''
Please don't let him be dead was the unspoken plea behind Ben's words. Sure enough, Sam's eyes flew open and he took a deep, ragged breath, dark eyes landing on Ben. Sam coughed and pushed himself to his feet, pulling Ben into his arms. ''Are you okay?''
''Dad...'' Ben croaked out. He tried not to cry, tried to push away the annoying tears behind his eyes. ''....And Ruby...they...they're hurt.''
Sam's gaze moved away from the boy and moved to the bodies sprawled out on the floor. His hands fell limply to his sides and his jaw dropped open, tears welling in his eyes. ''No....''
Sam and Bobby wanted to burn her bones.
Ben didn't understand why.
She was their friend, or she had been anyways. They weren't burning Dean's bones, why should they burn hers? The small boy, who was alot stronger - emotionally and physically - then any other boy his age, put his hands on his hips and glared at the only family he had left. ''Why do we have to burn her bones?''
''It's what has to be done, Ben.'' Sam explained, wearily. ''You know that.''
''You're not burning Dad's bones.''
Sam shuffled uncomfortably. Stupid Dean, leaving him all alone to explain death to a fucking eight-year old. ''That's different.''
''How is it different?'' Ben challenged, slowly circling his Uncle, eyes that were so much like Dean's staring at the taller man intently. ''Really, Sam, how is this different, Dean was your brother, she was your friend.''
''She wasn't my friend.''
''She was my friend!''
''She was a demon!''
''So what?'' Ben laughed, a bitter laugh that reminded Sam of all the times Dean would get so frustrated he would laugh. ''She wasn't evil. She was good, she was trying to help you. You know, everything she did was about you. She was trying to save you.''
Sam sighed and shoved his hands into his pockets. He really hated how much Ben was like Dean. It wasn't going to make this any easier. ''This isn't her, Ben. This wasn't who she was, this is the poor girl she possessed. Don't you think she deserves to be at peace? This isn't about Ruby, Ben, this is about the body she took over. I don't want this girl haunting us, pissed off because we couldn't save her!'' They were harsh words, Sam knew that, but he was just so tired of being the good brother. If he hadn't been so good, maybe Dean wouldn't have made that damn deal.
Ben was silent for a moment, and then he looked at the empty graves in front of him and his eyes hardened. ''We're not burning her bones.'' He turned and started to walk away from his uncle when he felt that familiar pressure build behind his eyes.
''We're not burning her bones!''
And so it began again.
Eventually, Sam won. They had to burn the bones, somewhere in the back of his mind, Ben knew that. Sam and Bobby tried to make him wait in the car, even threatening to lock him in, but Ben was Dean's son, and he wasn't going to let a locked door get in the way of saying goodbye to his friend. So, there he was, standing next to Sam as he tried desperately not to show his tears. He may have been a Winchester, a strong, tough as nails hunter's son, but he was still just eight-years old and he had lost his mother, his father and a friend all in one year.
What else could he do but cry?
When Sam and Bobby roughly sent the body tumbling into the shallow grave, Ben's jaw twitched and he resisted the urge to reach out and hit them. Couldn't they be a little more gentle? He shut his eyes when they poured salt over her bones, and when he heard the cap of the kerosene bottle open, he bit his lip. ''Are you sure you don't want to wait in the car?'' Bobby asked, voice gentle and kind, unlike the usual gruff voice he usually used.
Ben scowled. He wasn't some fragile kid. He was Dean Winchester's son for God's sake. He could take it. ''Just do it.''
Something made them pause before they dumped kerosene over her body. Maybe it was fate, maybe it was something else. There was a noise, like someone's ragged breathing. Ben's eyes snapped open and he peered into the grave, ignoring Sam telling him to move back. Bobby reached out to grab him and Sam took a step, preparing to dump the kerosene. Ben's heart thudered in his chest. ''Wait!''
She gasped and opened her eyes, bolting upright in the grave, shaking salt off of her.
Bobby's hold on him loosened and the kerosene bottle in Sam's hands fell to the ground. Ben stumbled forwards, his eyes nearly popping out of his head. ''Ruby?''
She took a few strangled breaths and tilted her head to the side. ''Someone going to help me out of here?''
Sam and Bobby reached forwards and pulled her out of the grave, their movements automatic, shock still coating their faces. ''How....How are you still alive?'' Sam murmered, looking her over. ''I saw Lilith kill you.''
Ruby smirked. ''Seeing isn't always believing, sweetheart.'' She shifted her eyes to Ben. ''You okay, kid?'' Ben nodded, eyes still soaking in her alive form. Ruby licked her dry lips and looked at Sam carefully. ''Dean's dead isn't he?'' Her voice was flat, emotionless, like she didn't care about Dean at all. Ben didn't understand. Obviously Ruby had cared for Dean, not like she would ever admit it, but those last few months it showed. So, what had changed? Why was she acting like his death was no big deal?
Sam grimaced and flinched, like he had been slapped, and slowly nodded his head, looking down at the ground. ''Yeah, he is. The hell hounds....they ripped him apart, before I could do anything.''
Ruby nodded, and stared at Sam for a minute, like she was trying to have a conversation through her eyes. Then she took a step forwards and her fist connected with his face, hard enough to send him crashing to the ground. Fighting was way better than breaking, and he was going to burn her after all. The least he deserved was a punch. Without a single word to Ben, Ruby pushed past Bobby and started to walk away.
Ben glanced at Sam, on the ground and trying to stop blood from pouring out of his nose, and then at Ruby, walking away from him, still trying to get salt out of her hair. ''I'll be back in a minute.'' He mumbled, before chasing after the blonde. ''Ruby! Ruby, wait a second!'' He finally fell into step with her and tried to catch his breath.
''I can't believe that idiot was going to burn me.'' She shook her head, trying to shake salt out of her hair.
''He thought you were dead. But, hey, if it makes a difference, I tried to get them to bury you properly like they did with Dad.''
Ruby stopped walking for a moment and looked at him sharply. ''They didn't burn Dean's bones?''
She shrugged. ''I suppose it won't make a difference. His soul's in hell now, won't be hanging around here anyways. Good God, I have salt everywhere.''
''Ruby...'' Ben stopped walking and stared after her. ''Why are you acting like this?''
She stopped and closed her eyes briefly, before turning around, smirk firmly in place. ''Like what?''
''Like Dad's death wasn't a big deal.''
''Look, kid, he was your Dad, it's a big deal to you, but to be honest, I couldn't stand the guy. I could care less that he's worm food. Your issue, not mine.''
Ben winced at her lovely wording and frowned, taking a step towards her. ''But he did mean something to you. I know he did.''
''I have to go, Ben. I'll see you later.'' She turned away from him and slowly, a smirk identical to the one his father used to wear fell over his face, and he crossed his arms, staring after her.
''You loved him, didn't you?''
She stopped, but didn't turn around. There was a moment, Ben was sure she was going to do one of those girly things, like break down in tears, but eventually, she squared her shoulders and threw a smirk over her shoulder. ''See you around, kid.''
He closed his eyes and shook his head. When he opened them, she was gone. And then, Ben said something so unbelievably eight, that it made him wince as soon as he said it. ''Grown ups are so dumb.''
When Ben was nine years old, his father dug himself out of his own grave.
Ben would like to tell you how it happened, how his father, how his hero, dug himself out of his own grave just to get back to him, but the truth is, Ben can't.
Because Ben wasn't there.
Ben wasn't there when Dean opened his eyes, Ben wasn't there when Dean realized he was six feet underground in a pine box. He wasn't there when Dean used every ounce of strength he could find to punch through the coffin lid and pull himself out of the earth, trying to reach the sky, the air, that he knew was there somewhere. Ben wasn't there when Dean finally managed to pull himself out of the earth and collapse on the ground, gasping for the air that wasn't filling his lungs. When he could breathe again, Dean rolled onto his stomach and pushed himself to his unsteady feet, looking around.
That's the one word that escaped Dean's lips. The one word he could think to say was fuck.
Unfortunately for Dean, he was in the middle of nowhere, and he was way too weak to get anywhere. There were bruises on his skin, his hands were bleeding heavily and he looked like he could barely stand. There was no way Dean was getting anywhere. And of course his cellphone was gone, so what was he supposed to do now? Dean took one step, before his already weakened legs gave out beneath him and he collapsed to the soft earth.
Oh, yeah, he was royally screwed.
Ruby liked to say she was a fairly logical person. She knew there were just some things that logic couldn't explain. Of course she knew that. Of all people, she knew that. But, for the most part, she was very logical. So, when she found herself drawn to Dean's grave one day, it just wasn't logical. She had felt noting for the elder Winchester. Nothing at all. Maybe, just maybe, she had a soft spot for his son, but she hated Dean with every fiber of her being. Really.
That was a complete and total lie, but that was her story and she was sticking to it.
Ruby really should have know better. When her instincts told her something was wrong at Dean's grave, she had expected maybe some wild dogs, or something. She really, really should have known better. It was never as simple as wild dogs.
When she stepped through the clearing and saw him, passed out, broken, bruised and bleeding but alive, her breath caught in her throat and she only managed to get out one word through a closing throat.
Ben was awoken by a sharp knocking - more like pounding - on the door.
Beside him, he heard Sam groan and open his eyes, nearly rolling off the couch. ''What the hell is that?'' He murmered, running a hand down his face.
''The door.'' Ben sat up, eyes lighting up hopefully. ''Maybe it's Ruby.''
''Yeah,'' Sam snorted and got to his feet, moving away from his nephew. ''After four months she decides to come back, I'm sure it's Ruby.'' His hand gripped the door handle and he flung it open, jaw dropping instantly. ''Oh my, God.''
Ben forced his heavy eyes open again and peered out the door, trying to look over his uncle's shoulder. His eyes widened and he was on his feet immediately with a sharp cry of ''Bobby!''
Ruby smiled sheepishly and struggled to hold up the semi-concious Dean. ''Hi there. Wanna help me out here, your brother's kinda heavy.''
Sam reached out and hauled his brother inside, nearly tripping over his own feet as he shoved Dean onto a couch and turned his blazing eyes to Ruby. ''What the fuck did you do?''
Ben started to move towards his father, but Sam grabbed him and pushed him behind him. ''Ben, that's not him.''
Ruby frowned. ''I beg to differ. That really is him. You don't think I've gone over all of this already? Why would I bring him here if I thought he wasn't Dean? I don't like you Sam, but I wouldn't torture you. At least not with Ben in the room. I cut him with a silver knife, poured holy water over him, I even thought about trying to cut him with my knife, but then I remembered you stole it from me, which was incredibly rude by the way. It's really him, Sam. So...what are you going to do about it?''
''Holy hell!'' All eyes turned to Bobby, standing in the doorway, mouth hanging open. He looked at Dean and then at Sam and then he crossed the room and in an instant, had Sam pressed up against the wall with a knife to his throat. ''What the hell did you do, boy?! Answer me!''
''I didn't do anything! I swear!''
Ben took the chance to sneak away from the adults and move over to his father. It wasn't real. It couldn't be. He was just having some really weird dream. Ben shook his head and stared at his father. He had this dream all the time. His father came home and everyone lived happily ever after. But then he usually woke up to find it had all been a dream and his father was still six feet under chilling with the worms. But none of the dreams had ever been this real. Reluctantly, Ben reached out a hand to touch his father's face, you know, just to see if he was real and suddenly, green eyes blinked open and a strong hand grabbed Ben's wrist. Ben let out a strangled yelp and focused his eyes on his father's. ''D-Dad?''
Dean tried to smirk, but it came out more of a strangled grimace. ''Hi Ben.''
Someone grabbed Ben away from Dean and a knife was immediately pressed to Dean's neck. Sam glared down at the man who couldn't possibly be his brother. ''Who are you?''
''And they call you the smart one.''
In a flash, Sam was on the floor and Dean was standing over him, breathing heavily. ''I'm not a demon, Sam.''
''That's what they all say.'' Sam pulled Dean's feet out from underneath him and grabbed for his knife.
Ben's eyes widened in panic as he watched the brother's fight. He turned his desperate eyes to Ruby and Bobby. ''Aren't you going to do something?!''
Ruby studied her nails critically. ''Wasn't planning on it, kid.''
Bobby raised his eyebrows. ''No way I'm getting in the middle of that.''
Ben looked in between them, eyes finally landing on Ruby. ''Come on, Ruby, you're stronger than both of them. You have to do something, they're going to end up killing each other.'' He made the puppy eyes that not even Dean could resist and tried sending her one of the charming smiles he got from the Winchester in him. ''Please?''
Ruby groaned and rolled her eyes to the ceiling. Stupid puppy dog eyes. ''Goddamn Winchesters. Ugh, move.'' She pushed past Bobby and Ben and stepped in the middle of Sam and Dean. One powerful kick from the demon sent Sam flying backwards and another sent Dean crashing into the couch, nearly toppling it over. Ruby let her eyes flash black and glared at them like they were both bugs on the bottom of her shoe. ''Are you two idiots done acting like children? Can we move on now?'' When they didn't answer, she licked her lips and turned back to Ben. ''There you go. They're seperated, it's your turn now.''
Ben looked at Bobby and opened his mouth to say something, but after a moment of struggling, he shook his head and ran his hand through his dishevled hair. ''I got nothing.''
''Okay,'' Bobby held his hands up and moved to stand next to Ruby. ''Assuming this is the real Dean - ''
''I am the real Dean!''
Ruby nodded. ''If he were a demon, I'd be able to sense it.''
''Well, maybe he's not a demon. Maybe he's a ghost.'' Sam said, standing and rubbing the back of his neck painfully.
''I'm not a fucking ghost!''
''Are you really that stupid?''
Sam scowled in response and crossed his arms. When he tried to take a step towards Dean, Ruby shot him a look and Sam halted. ''Well, you can't be the real Dean. I buried the real Dean four months ago.''
''And then I came back, what's with the recap?''
''Any more smart ass remarks out of you and I'll be the one pressing a knife to your neck.'' Ruby glowered at Dean and folded her arms across her chest, moving away from them and sitting down on the couch. ''Sam, it's the real Dean, I can be sure of that, so can you two have your moment and get it over with so we can find out how this happened?''
Sam looked his brother up and down and slowly, took a non threatening step forwards. Dean didn't move. Didn't disappear in front of his eyes. Finally, Sam took the final step and brought his brother in for a tight hug. Dean hugged back, but after a minute, his voice echoed out through the house. ''Uh...Sammy....can't breathe.''
''Oh.'' Sam pulled back and smiled sheepishly. ''Sorry.''
''This is why people think you're a couple.'' Ruby murmered, just loud enough for them to hear. She smiled sweetly when they shot her identical glares.
Bobby was next, pulling the younger man in for a hug, and then Ben, clinging to his father and letting Dean lift him off the ground like he was little, and trying not to cry, because Ben had missed his father more then he would ever let anyone know. It was scary, being all alone. Terrifying actually. Ben didn't want to be alone again. ''I...I missed you.'' Ben whispered, heat creeping up his cheeks as soon as he said it.
Dean closed his eyes. ''I missed you too.'' When he finally released Ben, he turned to Ruby, who was still sitting impatiently on the couch, tapping her foot. ''What about you, Blondie? I get a hug from my favourite demongirl?''
She looked at him for a minute and rose to her feet, taking a step towards him. When it really seemed like she was going to hug him, she let a ferel smirk cross her face and reached out, thumping him on the head.
''You are such a dumbass.''
''Okay, got it, feeling no love from Little Miss Psychopath over here. Can we find out who brought me back and why now please?''
Ruby threw her hands up in the air, exasperated. ''Thank you!''
''No thanks, you can do research.'' Ben moved past them and threw himself down on the couch. ''I'm going back to sleep, I have school in the morning.'' When Bobby started to usher the others out of the room, Ben felt a jolt of panic race through him and reached out, clawing at his father's hand, digging his nails into already bloodied skin. Dean didn't even seem to notice. ''Dad I.....'' He tried to say something, anything, but couldn't seem to find the words. Finally, he smiled weakly and murmered. ''Just be here when I wake up okay? Don't die again.''
Dean smiled and knelt in front of his son, his boy's eyes looking so vulnrable and more like a child's then ever. ''I'm not going anywhere. I promise.''
He kept that promise. When Ben woke up, Dean was there. And the morning after that, and the morning after that, and the morning after that.
Every morning after that, Dean was there, and Ben wasn't an orphan anymore.
He had a Dad again.
And if you asked him, he would say it was the best feeling in the world.
When Ben was ten years old, after the war had been fought, after their lives had changed alot, and hunting had stopped being an every day thing and more of a only once and awhile thing, after they had become...normal, after he and his father had....settled down in Lawrence, Kansas, Ben got his second step-mother.
Her name was Bela Talbot and well, she really wasn't much of a step-mother. She wasn't much of a wife either. Dean and Bela's whole marriage had been an accident, something that happened in Vegas when the Winchesters took a much needed vacation. Did Dean say it was a Madonna impersonator that married them, or an Elvis impersonator? Huh. Ben couldn't remember. Bela and Dean's marriage was not a marriage, and it was over within a few days, annuled like it had been nothing at all. Which really it wasn't.
To be truthful, Ben didn't remember the marriage, or the woman, so much as Ruby's reaction. She had been so jealous it was almost funny. Oh, wait, there was nothing almost about it. It had been freaking hilarious.
''You got married?!''
Ben stopped in his tracks when Ruby's voice echoed throughout the entire neighborhood. He winced and opened the door of the small Winchester family home, stepping inside. Ruby and Dean were locked in an intense glaring match as Sam sat on the couch, rubbing his temples. Ben threw his backpack on the floor and both Dean and Ruby turned their gaze to him. Dean smiled widely and fakely. ''How was school, dude?''
''It was a big intimidating building filled with teachers who care more about their broken dreams and students who would rather kill themselves then take a math test.''
Dean blinked. ''So, same as always?''
''Dean!'' Ruby reached out and grabbed Dean's arm, her nails digging into his skin and making him wince. ''We are so not finished talking about this!''
Ben settled himself at the table and dropped his chin into his palms, grinning. This was better than television.
''Ruby, what else is there to say, we were drunk, it's not like I did it on purpose!''
''Bela! Bela! Dean you married Bela Talbot! How fucking stupid could you be?! I mean, I always knew you were a little slow, but this is just....I...I don't even....You're an idiot!''
''Oh, an idiot. How original.''
''I really hate you.''
''Feeling's mutual, darlin'.''
''So, what are you and Bela going to have kids now? Little girls with that annoying accent and little boys who will grow up to be idiots just like their father!'' She threw a look at Ben. ''No offense.''
''None taken. Dad can be an idiot sometimes.''
''I have the power to ground you, boy, watch it.''
''Well, you can.''
Dean ignored him and turned his attention back to Ruby. ''You don't like her accent? Really? Personally, I think it's hot.''
Her eyes blazed and before he knew what was happening, he was on the floor and she was straddling him. Ben leaned over to get a better look and Sam looked up. ''Wonderful.'' He muttered. ''They'd better not end up having sex there.''
''If you wanted to be on top, baby, all you had to do was ask.''
''Call me baby one more time, I dare you.''
''Don't flatter yourself, short bus. The only reason I put up with you is because I'm here to help Sam.''
''See, she says that,'' Sam looked at Ben. ''But I don't even think she knows I'm here.''
''That excuse doesn't work anymore, sweetie, the war's over. Besides, you know you love me, Blondie.''
''I loathe you. There's a big difference.''
''Not really.'' She was good, he was better. He flipped her over so she was on the ground and he was on top and smirked down at her. ''Do you know what I'm not hearing? I'm not hearing you denying that you're jealous.''
She rolled her eyes. ''Get off.''
''Get off of me you sick, deluded little man!''
''As soon as you admit you're jealous.''
She was silent for a long time and then she smirked, one that could rival even the infamous Winchester smirk, and jammed her knee right into his family jewels. As soon as he collapsed on the floor, she got to her feet and fixed her hair, turning to Ben. ''I'll see you later, kiddo.''
As soon as she was gone, Ben raised an eyebrow and looked at Sam. ''You think they'll ever....''
''They're too stubborn.''
Grown ups were so dumb.
When Ben was ten years old, Ruby told him a secret.
''Do you remember that night a couple of months before your father died? When I told you something I shouldn't have?''
Ben slid his eyes to Ruby and shut the research book Sam was making him read, glad for the distraction. Yeah, he knew he had to know how to handle the world of the supernatural, but honestly, did the print really need to be so small? ''You mean when you told me you had a son?''
''Sshh.'' Ruby looked around anxiously, like she expected someone to jump out of the closet. ''And yes, that.''
''Sure I remember, you were half asleep. It's amazing what you can get out of a person when they're half asleep.'' Ben smirked. ''You should hear what uncle Sam dreams about.''
''I'd really rather not. Ben, this is serious, you can't tell anyone.''
''Have I told anyone yet? Come on, Ruby, you can trust me.''
''Well, I thought I could trust your father and then he runs off and gets married to a thief. Oh, you know what, I'll bet you that's not even her real accent. I never trusted that accent.''
''Right, but you're not jealous.''
''Ben, I do not have feelings for your father.''
''I never said you did.''
''But you implied it.''
''Whatever.'' Ben rested his elbows on the table and studied her carefully. ''So, since I know your secret, are you going to tell me more about this mysterious son of yours?''
''Not gonna happen.''
''But you love me anyways.''
''......And way too much like your father.''
''I'm not sure if that's a compliment or an insult.'' Ben stood and sat down next to Ruby, grinning wickedly. ''You know you can trust me. I'm your little buddy.''
''I'm not even going to respond to that.''
''Tell me or I'll tell everyone.''
''Oh my, God, I'm being blackmailed by a nine-year old.''
''You planned the party.''
''Did not! Sam did!''
''Keep telling yourself that.''
''Ugh, fine.'' Ruby stood and moved away from Ben, sitting down at the table and leaning forwards. ''Do I really have to tell you?'' When he nodded, she sighed heavily and rolled her eyes. ''What exactly do you want to know?''
''Well, what was his name?''
''I don't......'' Ruby frowned and licked her lips, thinking hard. After a minute, she shook her head, eyes blank. ''I don't remember.''
''You don't remember?''
''Ben...'' Ruby looked at the door and willed Dean or Sam to walk through and take the pressure away from her. ''It takes hundreds of years to turn someone into a demon. Eventually, names and faces, they all....they all blur together, no matter how much you loved them. I don't remember his name, or how old he was, or what he looked like, but there are just some things you remember. At least, I remember. I remember.....'' She pursed her lips and thought, closing her eyes. ''His laugh. And I remember that I loved him. Some things can't be erased, but that's...that's all I remember about him.''
''Hmm,'' Ben frowned thoughtfully. ''I bet you were a good mother.''
''I strongly doubt that.''
''You weren't always a demon. Who knows what you were like when you were human. You could have been nice. I'll bet you were a cheerleader.''
''Okay, that was mean.''
When Ben was almost eleven, he got his third step-mother.
Out of all of his step-mothers, Ben liked Jo Harvelle the most. She never tried to be his mother and she never tried to make him do anything he didn't want to do. She didn't try to get his father to stop hunting, because she knew it was part of who he was, and she never tried to take Ruby away from the Winchesters.
In fact, Jo had reminded Ben alot of Ruby.
From what he understood, Dean and Jo had some kind of past and their marriage was a strictly friendship thing. Ben was getting older, and Dean needed help with him. Ben needed a maternal figure and Jo was the only one he trusted besides Bobby, Sam and Ruby, and none of them could take care of Ben like a Harvelle could. At least that's what Dean had said when he and Jo had gotten hitched. Although Jo had agreed from the start that their marriage was pretty much a sham and she didn't have any feelings for Dean, Ben knew she harbored secret feelings for him. If Dean hadn't been so hopelessly in love with his best friend, Ben would have thought maybe Dean and Jo could have had a future together.
Ben wasn't sure he could pinpoint the exact moment that marriage had gone sour, but it was probably right around the time Jo realized she couldn't hide her feelings any longer and Dean was never going to love her the way she wanted.
Ben dropped his pencil on his notebook and turned his gaze to the clock on the wall, biting his lip to keep a sigh from escaping when he saw the time. ''He's late.'' Concern shone in his eyes and he put his chin in the palm of his hand. ''He's never late.''
''I'm sure he just lost track of time.'' Jo murmered, lifting herself onto the counter and looking at his blank notebook. ''You know, Ben, when I was your age, we had this thing called homework.''
Ben looked down at his empty notebook and shut it quickly, sending her a charming smile. ''Must have been awhile ago then, 'cause I've never even heard the word homeworkd.''
''Alright, alright,'' Ben opened his notebook again and picked up his pencil. ''You know some step-mother's let their step-son's get away with anything to get them to like them.''
''Well, thank God we're not like that.''
''Jo, I hate english homework.''
''And I hated math homework. But guess what? I did it anyways.''
''You were probably a cheerleader too.''
''You wish. You know, you have an unhealthy fixation on cheerleaders.''
''It's the media's fault.''
''Just do your homework. Dean'll be home before you....'' The front door opened and closed. ''....Know it.'' Ben looked up from his work eagerly and hopped to his feet as soon as Dean appeared in the kitchen. ''Hey, Dad, guess what? I kissed Kate Larkin today.''
Normally, Dean would have said something. Told his son, ''good job'', or ''what's her Mom look like?'' but today, there was nothing. Just alot of silence as his father sat down at the table, looking incredibly bruised and shocked.
Jo frowned and moved closer to him. ''Dean? What's wrong? What happened? Is it Sam?''
''Sam's fine.'' Dean looked at his son and sighed. This was not going to be an easy conversation to have. ''Ben, I need to tell you something. You should sit down.''
''I don't want to sit down.''
''Ben - ''
''Dad, I don't want to sit down!''
''Ben, it's about Ruby.''
Ben sat down, because his legs suddenly felt like they wouldn't hold him up anymore. Dread settled in his stomach and a lump formed in his throat. Homework was the last thing he was thinking about now. ''She's...She's okay, right?''
Slowly, Dean shook his head and lowered his eyes. ''No, Ben, she's not.''
Behind them, Jo closed her eyes and waited for Dean to say Ruby was dead, that she wasn't coming back. She waited for Dean to break that boy's heart. Oh, this was so bad.
''The demon we went after, we told you it's fangs were poisonous to anyone right? Even demons. Well, it bit her. She doesn't....We're not....Ben we're not sure if she's going to....'' Dean took a deep breath and scrubbed a hand over his face. ''We're not sure how much time she has left. It works pretty fast.''
''But...'' Ben tried to smile and wrung his hands nervously. ''There's a cure right? I-I mean, there has to be an antidote.''
''Bobby's working on it.''
''Well, that's not good enough!'' Ben stood so fast his chair toppled over and he glared heatedly at his father. ''Why weren't you with her?! Why didn't you save her?!''
''Don't you think I tried!'' Dean stood, towering over his son, green eyes glimmering with anger and something like fear. ''I tried to stop that...that thing from biting her, but I wasn't fast enough. I'm beating myself up enough as it is, I don't need you blaming me too.''
Jo moved away from them and put her hands on the counter, trying not to let the tremor in his voice get to her. Dean and Ruby were just friends, that was all. But even she could tell Dean and Ruby would never be just friends.
''I want to see her.'' Ben spoke up, quietly, his voice raw, like he was trying not to show his emotions.
Dean put a hand on his forehead and sighed.....again. ''I don't think that's a good idea, Ben. She's.....She's in pretty bad shape.''
''I don't care. It's Ruby, Dad!''
Silence. Dean glanced at Jo, but her back was to him. Finally, he closed his eyes and took one last step away from his wife and one more step closer to Ruby. ''Fine. Get your coat.''
But Ben didn't move. ''Why aren't you with her right now? You said it works fast, you should be with her.''
''Come on, Dad, you know as well as I do that if she's going out, she'll want you there with her.''
Dean's eyes darkened and he turned away from Ben, starting out the door. ''Then I guess we better hurry.''
Well, of course they saved her.
Of course there was an antidote.
Dean wasn't going to let her die.
Ben wasn't going to let her die.
Sam and Bobby weren't going to let her die.
Ruby meant something to all of them.
But that one day when Jo realized Dean would never love her like he loved Ruby, their marriage crumbled.
They divorced only months later.
When Ben was eleven years old, he tried (unsucessfully) to get Ruby and Dean to admit their feelings for each other.
It was summer, and the Winchester family were hunting something, werewolves, and when Dean told Ben he had to stay in the room while he, Sam and Ruby went to deal with the nasty creatures, Ben hatched a plan. Because honestly, this whole dancing around each other thing was getting old.
Ben glanced at his watch and tapped his foot impatiently. Where they hell were they? He was getting cold and there were too many bugs in the bushes he was hiding in. As if on cue, the Impala pulled up and Dean and Ruby got out, bickering as usual. Sam trailed behind them and threw a look at the bushes he knew Ben was hiding in. As soon as Ruby and Dean were inside, Sam shut the door and put a chair under the doorknob. Not very original, but it would keep them in there.
Ben smirked and jumped out of the bushes shaking leaves out of his hair. ''Think this'll work?''
''I think you're cruisin' for a bruisin' kid. They're going to kill you when you let them out of there, you know that right?''
Ben shrugged. ''If it works, I don't care.''
Sam smirked. Yeah, this kid was definitely Dean's kid. ''Come on, I'll buy you some pie.''
''Awesome! I love pie.''
Definitely Dean's kid.
To this day, Ben still doesn't know what happened in that motel room, but it was the closest both Dean and Ruby ever came to hitting him. All he knew was that for two days, his father barely said a word to him, and Ben didn't see Ruby again for five long months before Dean finally swallowed his pride and went to bring her back. They both tried to pretend it wasn't a big deal, whatever had happened, but it obviously was, because it took them months to get back to the way they were before.
Something happened that night.
Ben still has no idea what that something was.
When Ben was eleven years old, he got his fourth freaking step-mother.
Her name was Libby Van something rather and everyone thought she was a hooker. Everyone thought Dean had maybe had a little too much fun and ended up marrying the girl after he had a few too many.
Surprisingly, she was the longest marriage Dean ever had.
One year of dealing with her pinching Ben's cheeks, one year of Ruby gritting her teeth and trying not to impale the annoying redhead, one year of Sam grimacing everytime he was forced to make small talk with her.
Then, one day she came flying out of the apartment, mascara streaking her cheeks. When Ben asked her what happened, she told him, tearfully, that Dean never really loved her, and stormed out. All Ben could think of to say was, ''well of course he didn't love you.''
After days, Dean finally broke down and told Ben what had happened. Accidentally, of course, Dean had maybe, kind of, sort of said Ruby's name during an...ahem...intimate moment.
Ben honestly thought he was going to die from laughing so hard.
When Ben was twelve years old, he got his fifth step-mother (holy crap this is really getting old).
When Dean married Andrea Barr, Ben not only gained a step-mother, but a step-brother, a partner in crime, a best friend. Sure, he hadn't really gotten along with Andrea that well (she was just too nice) but Lucas Barr was still his best friend.
Dean and Andrea never really acted like a married couple, they never really acted like friends either, they were just sort of strangers. Ben and Lucas were both convinced the only reason they got married was because they were lonely.
Andrea Barr cheated on Ben's father.
Ben never held it against her. He was sure Dean had probably slept with a number of women while married to Andrea Barr. After all, he was Dean Winchester and Dean Winchester was kind of a womanizer.
Ben wondered if he had gotten the womanizer gene, like his father, or the cherish the one you have gene, like Sam. Huh.
Andrea and Dean were still friends, or as close as they could be anyways, they had to be, their sons were best friends. Now, even Andrea can see the chemistry between Dean and Ruby.
It made Ben wonder if his father and the closest thing he had to a mother were really just stupid, or scared.
It definitely gave him something to think about.
When Ben was twelve years old, he got his sixth step-mother (seriously!)
Hailey Collins was great, really, she was fun, adventurous and she had great brothers. Ben really didn't mind her, and his father seemed to really like her.
But she just.....wasn't Ruby.
Seriously, though, Ben was getting fed up. Dean and Ruby were freaking best friends now, they didn't even pretend not to like each other anymore. It was really getting old. It really, really was.
I mean, his father was almost 33 and he had been married six times. Six times in, like, five years.
Ben was beginning to think there may be something seriously wrong with his father.
Nobody gets married six times in five years.
Is that even legal?
Anyways, eventually, Hailey gave up on trying to get Dean to love her and left, taking her awesome brothers with her.
Ben didn't even look at her when she told him she would keep in touch.
And now, Ben is about to turn thirteen, almost a man, and his father's preparing to get married for the seventh time.
And guess what?
It's not to Ruby.
What. A. Shocker.
Nope, Dean's marrying this girl who's looks like she's sixteen named Mia Karpentar. Nice girl. Really. Kind of dumb, but nice.
Ben thinks he should warn her.
Poor girl's never going to know what hit her
God, his father's a dolt.
Ruby's too stubborn for her own good.
Grown ups are so dumb.
AN: Before you start trashing this story and telling me ''Dean would never get married six times!'' let me just say, I warned you it was going to be out of character. And here's the thing, if you think about it, Dean might get married six times, if he thought it was what was best for his son. Think about it, all he really wanted to do was give his son a normal life. Anyways, yes, I know it ended kind of abruptly, but that was done on purpose. There's going to be a sequel coming out sometime soon called Playing Matchmaker. I know I never actually mentioned how Dean got back from hell, and I only mentioned 'the war' in passing, but let's just for a second, pretend that sometime, while Dean was getting hitched all those times, there was a war. Maybe I'll do a missing scene about it. Anyways, moving on, hope you liked it and don't forget to review. Be on the lookout for the sequel and missing scenes.