Here it is, the long awaited final chapter.
(And I'm sorry about the wait, my fault. This chapter is about 1,300 words longer then usual, so it took a while to write.)
I hope you enjoy it.
Dean's gaze darted between Julius, the bow, and Kate. Did his nephew … did he just … was Kate just … he beamed at his brother.
"Your kid kicks a*$."
He shot him a dark glare before turning back to his son.
Sam stopped when Julius looked like he was about to cry again.
"I'm sorry. I'll never swear again."
"Are you kidding me?" Dean grinned, "We don't care about that. In fact, this dime is on me."
Dean pointed at the makeshift weapon.
"How did you know how to do that?"
Julius glanced down at the bow and back up to them.
Dean paused and turned to Sam.
"I take back everything I ever said about those kids."
Sam ignored him and knelt down in front of his son, checking for injuries. Julius was staring at Kate's still form.
"D-did I …"
"No, you didn't kill her." Sam answered.
"The arrow only weakened her," Dean added.
Recovering the machete from the floor, Dean moved to stand over Kate.
"You still wanna kill the b$%^#, or do I get the honors?"
Sam gave him a brief glance, silently telling him to shut up.
"Julius, why don't you go get an icepack from Bobby?" Sam suggested, "He is waiting in the car."
Nodding, Julius headed outside, with Sam watching him from the window.
"Come on Sammy," Dean groaned, "the boy has already seen death, murder, and mayhem. I think he can handle seeing the fang get a little taken off the top."
Sam turned away from the window, rage burning in his eyes.
"The b%&$# is mine."
Sam walked towards the Impala, wiping the the last of Kate's blood off the machete. He couldn't get over what just happened. His son, his sweet little six year old, had shot a vampire. Was he wrong to shield him from this life? Did he even have a choice anymore?
"Cheer up Sammy," Dean clapped him on the back, "your son is more Winchester than you are."
"Yeah, thanks." Sam grumbled, opening the car door.
He looked in the back where Julius held an ice pack to his cheek while Bobby cleaned the cut on his lip.
"How ya doing?"
Julius gave him a small smile, wincing slightly.
Dean got in the car and looked over the seat.
"He's fine." Bobby replied, "Now would anyone mind telling me what the h%*^ happened in there?"
"Julius didn't tell you?" Sam wondered.
Dean rolled his eyes.
"You kidding? He's way too much like you."
Sam glared at him and turned back to Bobby.
"Julius shot Kate."
Julius cringed and Sam put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"Hey, it's okay."
"Okay? It was awesome!" Dean grinned, "he swore at her and everything."
"He shot her with the crossbow?"
"No," Sam answered, "a bow he made out of PVC pipe."
"I learned to make them in boy scouts." Julius explained, "and when I saw her grab you … I couldn't let her kill you … not like mom."
Sam gave him a reassuring smile.
"It's okay Julius. You did great."
"Great." Dean muttered, starting the car. "He did awesome."
Choosing to ignore him, Sam turned around in his seat and let his thoughts wander back to Julius' future.
Flipping on the only remaining lamp, Dean held back the tarp for the others. Julius looked around the destroyed home and grimaced.
"Emily is gonna be REALLY mad."
Sam glanced at the rubble and shrugged.
"It's not that bad," Sam assured him, "Think of it as … modern art."
Julius stared at him.
"Yeah," Dean added, "it's … demolishism."
Bobby shot them a weird look, but before he could say anything, they heard the sound of footsteps on the porch. In an instant Dean had his gun ready and a quick glance told him Sam also had his weapon out while he stood to shield his son from whatever was coming. A second later the tarp moved aside.
The hunters quickly put away their weapons, while the woman's eyes swept the room in shock as she slowly entered the house.
"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY HOUSE!?"
When her gaze came to rest on Julius, she gasped and rushed to his side.
"Oh, sweetie," she gently palmed his bruised cheek, "what happened to you?"
"I'm okay, Emily." He assured her, "It doesn't even hurt anymore.
She glared up at Sam.
"I thought you were going to protect him."
Sam glanced down at Julius.
"I did the best I could."
"Well, I'm sorry, but your best isn't good enough."
Anger welled up inside Dean when he saw the guilt on his brother's face.
"That is NOT what happened." He stated, as much to Sam as Emily.
"It's true," Julius added quickly, "Dad took real good care of me."
Emily gave Sam a skeptical look that made Dean grind his teeth.
"You want to blame something," Dean growled, "blame that d&^* website of yours."
"The website?" She scoffed. "You expect me to believe that a website caused THIS?"
"Believe it, lady." Bobby added, "Sam did everything in his power to protect that boy."
She stood up, shaking her head.
"How could a website-"
"Did you ever wonder why we couldn't be found?" Dean cut in. "Why you couldn't just look us up in the phone book?"
Emily stared at him with her mouth open, but no sound came out.
"People want us dead," he continued, "advertising our location is what brought all this here, NOT Sam."
He glanced at his brother when he said the last part, but Sam still looked guilty as h^&%.
"Why would anyone want you dead? Are you bank robbers or something?"
"Yeah," Dean mumbled, "we're the f$*#ing James gang."
She stared at him, eyes wide, causing him to groan inwardly. This woman would believe anything but the truth. Turning away from her, Dean motioned for Sam to get Julius' things. He nodded, taking his son by the hand before disappearing upstairs. Now that the threat of the vampires was gone, Dean wasn't going to stay in this town a second longer than necessary.
Ignoring Emily's rants on how they were a gang of thieves, Dean and Bobby quickly gathered anything they had left on the first floor.
"I can't believe Heather's boyfriend is a … a train robber."
Dean bite back a response. It was Lansing all over again. The only thing that comes from arguing with an idiot is a headache and a whole lot of wasted time. Looking up, he saw Sam and Julius come back down the stairs.
"I'm ready." Julius said, adjusting the straps on his backpack.
"What!?" Emily exclaimed, "you can't go with THEM!"
Julius moved closer to Sam.
"But they're my family!"
"They blew up my house!"
"No they didn't," Julius countered, "I did."
She gaped at the little boy, trying to find the words.
"You … you couldn't have …"
"Well, I did." Julius stated. "I even helped Uncle Dean put the grenade in the wall."
She turned her shocked expression towards Dean, who was way passed trying to deal with this.
"Sam," he ordered, "get Julius in the car."
Dean and Bobby positioned themselves between Emily and Sam, just in case she tried to stop him.
"You can't take him!" She yelled, "If you do … I'll … call the police!"
Great, just what they needed, a kidnapping charge. Then again, it's not likely the police would believe her when she tells them her best friend's kid was taken by the James gang. Dean just dropped it and headed out after his brother leaving Bobby to give their parting message.
"You might want to move," the older hunter instructed, "it's not safe here anymore."
Not waiting to hear what she had to say, Dean climbed behind the wheel of the Impala and headed for the state line. This nightmare was finally over, but one look at Sam told him, their hardest choice was still to come.
Sam fiddled with his beer, his mind wandering. Julius was now marked, just like him.
"Sam?" Dean snapped his fingers in front of him, "you still with us?"
"Uh … yeah. I was just … thinking."
He glanced across the hotel room to Julius, who was fast asleep on the bed farthest from the door. He looked so small and innocent, and guilt washed over Sam. Because of him, because of what he was, his son might loose his innocence forever.
"Sammy," Dean groaned from across the table, "I swear, if you're thinking what I think you are thinking, you better cut it out right now."
"This is not your fault." Dean snapped. "You so much as think that one more time and I'll kick you a$^."
Sam looked back at his untouched beer, not really wanting to test his brother.
"Dean's right Sam." Bobby added. "You didn't cause this. H*^%, if you did anything, you stopped it."
"So, we good?" Dean asked.
Sam sighed and nodded.
"But what are we going to do with Julius now?"
Dean's face was casual as he sipped his beer, but he stayed silent. He knew just as well as Sam did, Julius couldn't stay with them. There lives were far to dangerous and Julius was too young to be cooped up in a hotel room for days at a time.
"I'll take him." Bobby offered.
Sam shook his head.
"I can't ask you to do that."
"You don't have to, ya idjit." Bobby snorted, "I'd be happy to take him in."
Dean took another swig of beer and set the bottle on the table.
"Thanks, but no thanks, Bobby," he stated. "Too many people know your connection to us. He would be too easy to find."
"Then, where are you going to put him?"
Sam wished he knew. The last thing he wanted was for Julius to grow up on the road, but the Winchester name made a normal, apple pie life virtually impossible. He was pulled from his thoughts when his phone went off. Twenty minutes later he had the answer he had been looking for.
Dean led the way down the highway, drumming his fingers to the sound of Metallica, with Bobby's truck trailing behind.
"Why can't I just stay with you?" Julius asked from the back seat.
"Because it's too dangerous." Sam explained. "Trust me, it's better this way."
"Besides," Dean added, "the people you will be staying with have enough money that you can pretty much do whatever you want."
Julius perked up a little.
"Absolutely." Dean assured him, turning back to the road.
"Can I learn ballet?"
Dean decided to let Sam put an end to that thought.
"Sure," Sam responded, "whatever you want."
Dean shot Sam a dark look.
"Are you kidding me!?"
"If Julius wants to learn ballet, he can learn ballet."
"Besides," Julius pipped up. "Ballet is good exercise. It teaches strength-"
"Play football." Dean cut in.
"Soccer. No wait … that's a pansy sport too."
Sam shot him a glare.
"He is taking ballet."
"Uh-uh Sam," Dean shook his head, "no nephew of mine is going to be prancing around in a d#&$ tutu."
"Uncle Dean ..." Julius warned.
"Hey, the swear jar is 300 miles away," Dean pointed out, "It doesn't apply here."
"And boys wear leotards," Julius corrected with a scowled, "only girls wear tutus."
"See!" Dean stated, "it's gay that he even knows that."
The car fell silent as Dean was bombarded with the return of the father/son death glares.
A half an hour later, Dean pulled up to a large white house.
"Here we are." Sam said, climbing out of the car.
Julius stared out the window.
"You didn't say they lived in a mansion."
Sam held the door open for his son while Dean grabbed his backpack from the trunk. Julius held tight to his dad's hand as the four of them approached the massive front door. After Bobby rang the bell a beautiful woman with hazel eyes and long dark brown hair opened the door.
"Hi Sam." She smiled.
Sam looked up at Sarah, as she placed a plate of sandwiches in the middle of the table.
"I can't thank you enough for doing this."
"I'm just glad I could help." She replied, sitting across from the hunters. "So Julius, what do you like to do?"
"Drama, art, music," Julius listed off, helping himself to a sandwich, "oh, and Dad said I could take ballet."
Sam noticed Dean grimace at that last one, but how could he deny Julius something he really wanted. He had to fight his dad for weeks before he got to play soccer, no way was Sam going to discourage his son from doing the things he loved to do.
"That's great. I took it myself when I was younger. It's really fun."
Sam felt a foot kick him in the shin and he looked up to Dean mouthing the word, 'See? It's gay'.
"We will have to see what dance schools are around here." Sam added, glaring at his brother, "Why don't you tell Sarah what else you like."
"My favorite sport is archery."
"Really?" Sarah raised an eyebrow, "you are quite the Renaissance man."
Julius nodded happily.
"Mom and I used to work the Renaissance fairs. She always said I was born to entertain."
"Is that where you learned to shoot an arrow?" Sam asked, before talking a bite of his ham and cheese.
"Yup." Julius said proudly, "I happen to be the junior archery champion, two years in a row."
Now Dean raised an eyebrow.
"You won when you were four?" Bobby questioned.
" No," Julius clarified, "I took third when I was four. I won last year and this year."
"Looks like we will be looking up archery ranges as well as ballet schools." Sarah commented.
"And gyms." Dean chimed in, before taking a huge bite of his sandwich.
"Gyms?" Sarah questioned.
"Yeah," Dean mumbled around his food, "so he can learn to defend himself from all the kids who call him a pansy."
Sam glared, but before he could reply, Julius spoke up.
"My mom said, violence is never the answer."
"This from the kid who blew up a wall." Dean muttered, taking another bite.
"That was different." Julius mumbled.
Sarah cast a confused glance around the table.
"It was nothing." Sam assured her.
She nodded, but didn't look convinced.
"Am I going to have any exploding walls here?"
"Only if evil hunters show up," Julius answered, "but you would have to get the grenades from Uncle Dean."
When she turned a questioning gaze to Dean, Sam cleared his throat.
"So, do you know of any good schools in the area?"
"One," Sarah answered. "It's the same one I went to when I was little."
"Oh yeah?" Sam finished off the last of his lunch.
"Maybe you could stick around for a while and check it out yourself."
Sam returned her smile.
"I'd like that."
"Looks like you're going to get a younger sibling after all." Dean muttered.
Sam turned to glare at his brother when Julius sat straight up.
"You never answered my question."
"What?" Sam asked, completely lost.
"Where do babies come from?"
Bobby and Dean immediately stopped eating while Sam's mind went blank. He had almost forgotten about that. Sarah looked at them, amused, before answering.
"They grow in their mom's tummy."
"Oh …" Julius thought about this for a minute. "how do they get there."
Sam noticed the grin on his brother's face and was instantly put on edge.
"Well Julius," the oldest Winchester began, "it usually begins with a man, a woman, and a lot of alcohol …"
"Dean." Sam groaned.
"… then it often moves to a hotel room …"
"Dean!" Sam exclaimed.
Was he seriously about to explain this to a six year old?
"Sweetie," Sarah cut in, "angels put them there."
Julius seemed to except this answer, and Sam breathed a sigh of relief … until Dean had to open his big mouth.
"That's it? You just had to lie to the kid?"
Sam stomped down on his foot, hoping to make his point clear, as Julius turned to his uncle.
"You lied to me?"
Dean paused, glancing up at Sam before answering.
"Yes … I lied to you."
Thank you, Sam thought, picking up his beer.
"You don't need a hotel room." Dean added.
Sam choked on his drink, unable to comment as his brother continued.
" Any flat surface will do … sometimes people even use props."
Kicking Dean hard in the shin, he FINALLY managed to shut him up.
"What do props do?"
Sam gave Dean the darkest glare he could muster, daring him to speak again.
"They make the angels come faster." Sarah responded, rising from her seat. "Julius, want to help me make dessert?"
As soon as they were gone, Sam socked Dean's shoulder and Bobby started laughing.
"What was that for?" Dean grumbled.
"Alcohol? PROPS? Dean, he is SIX YEARS OLD!"
Sam took a deep breath to calm down.
"Just … wait a decade or so, alright?"
Dean shrugged and finished off his beer. Sam glared across the table to were Bobby was still chuckling.
"And YOU were no help."
"Hey," he held up his hands, "not my place."
Sam rolled his eyes and went to see if Julius and Sarah needed help in the kitchen.
Two days later, Sam handed his bag to Dean to be stowed in the trunk with the others.
"Do you have to go so soon?" Julius asked glumly.
Sam knelt down, so he could look his son in the eye.
"Hey, it's okay," he smiled, "Sarah is going to take good care of you."
"And during the summer, you get to come to my place," Bobby added.
"But when will I get to see you again?"
Sam wished he had an answer. He looked towards his brother, but Dean was turned away, leaning against the side of the car. He had been pretty quiet that morning, and Sam was determined to find out what was bugging him.
"I'll come visit as soon as I can."
Julius nodded and wrapped his arms around Sam's neck.
"I love you Dad."
Sam returned the embrace.
"I love you too."
Julius let go and ran over to Dean, hugging his waist.
"Bye Uncle Dean. "I'm really gonna miss you."
Dean awkwardly patted his nephew's back.
"Uh … yeah." He pulled Julius off and squatted down, "now remember what we talked about?"
Julius nodded and took a deep breath.
"My name is Julius Connors, my father is an art dealer. He travels a lot, so I can't stay with him during the school year."
"That's right. And what will you do if you see anything weird?"
"Call you or Dad immediately."
Dean held up his hand and Julius gave him a high five.
"I know I am new at this, but are you sure those symbols will be enough?" Sarah asked joining them. "I mean, they are just paint."
"As long as they stay intact the house is fortified." Dean answered, "you'll be fine."
Sam had a feeling, Dean was saying that for him as much as Sarah. He stood up and faced her.
"Thanks again, I don't know what I would have done if you hadn't-"
"Hey, it's okay. I'm happy to do it. Just come back soon. We are going to miss you."
Sam smiled and nodded before making his finally goodbyes. As they drove away he watched Julius wave through the review mirror.
"We'll come back soon." Dean promised, keeping his eyes on the road.
"I know." Sam sighed, "I just hope it's not years before I see him again."
He didn't miss the expression that crossed Dean's face, the same one from that night on the couch.
Dean paused, his face thoughtful.
"Did you know we could be in Atlantic City by nightfall?"
"Not this time Dean, you are going to tell me what is bothering you."
As an answer Dean pushed in his Black Sabbath album and turned the volume up. Sam stared out the window, knowing it was pointless to press the subject now, but Winchester stubbornness went both ways. Sam WOULD find out what was wrong.
Dean moved carefully through the building. His expression was focused, but his eyes burned with anger. He searched each room, unsurprised when he came up empty.
"Where are you?" He muttered.
He seemed to get his answer as the temperature dropped, his breath becoming a white cloud. He turned in time for the spirit to take him by the throat, pinning him to the wall, a long knife clutched in his pale hand.
"Traitor." He hissed, slicing his blade down Dean's side.
Dean grunted in pain and tried to raise his gun, but the ghost knocked it from his hands. With a wild gleam in his eye, the spirit pressed the blade against the hunter's throat.
"Death to traitors!"
Dean struggled to get free as blood began to trickle down his neck, but soon his eyes closed and his body went still.
The dreamer sat up in bed, panting and sweaty. He rubbed his eyes, trying to erase the nightmare from his mind, the same one that had plagued him from three days. He took a deep breath to calm his shaking hands, wondering if he should tell anyone about his dreams. He dismissed the thought when a voice called up to him.
"Julius, breakfast is ready."
There you go. A special thanks to all my readers and A-Listers, I hope you join me for my next story. (BTW, the epilogue is a peek into that one.)
For those of you who don't know, which is most of you, "Once Upon A Stage" is the first in a series. :) (I hope you like the next one as mush as this one.)
Coming Soon (Story #2): "Firstborn"