Firefly 'Verse – Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep – Epilogue
By: Suz Mc
The sense of déjà vu was too intense to ignore when he rolled down the street toward Samuel Campbell's house. Only this time, Dean wasn't behind the wheel of some lame Pinto he'd had to boost. This time, he and Sammy were coming home in their own ride, on their own terms.
"Neighborhood looks great." Sam was scanning the street full of older homes and neatly kept lawns like he was expecting an army of zombies to flood out to meet them.
"Where is it? Which one?! Can we get out now?! Hurry up, Daddy!"
Emily had peeled off her seatbelt and was bouncing from window to window like a cracked out puppy dog.
"Take a chill pill, Cutie Pie." Dean eased the car up beside the curb. "We're here."
It was exactly the way he remembered it, like everything had been frozen on May 2, 1973 after he'd run out of the place desperate to find his mother before a demon got her. The Impala was sitting on the exact spot it had been when he first laid eyes on the place. It was a family's home on a tree lined street with a front porch and neat lawn where two hunters had died bloody.
"Dean? You okay?" Sam's voice shook him out of the memory.
"Leaves!" Emily had squealed it out while she shoved open the door and took off toward a freshly raked pile of leaves sitting at the edge of the yard.
But it was too late and too funny. She'd jumped in with both feet and was throwing them up in the air to watch them rain down over her head. At least she was entertained.
"I guess she needs to blow off some steam after being in the car so long." Dean kicked back against the car, checking his watch. They were only a few minutes late but they'd still beaten the realtor here. Nothing to do but wait for her to show with the keys.
"We wouldn't be late if you haven't had your lunch date." Sam stretched his arms over his head, popping his back from right to left.
"Are you gonna keep bitching about that? It was twenty minutes, dude."
"Damn, you're quite a romantic, Dean."
"No, that's the efficiency of a professional at his craft, little brother." All he got in response was a disgusted glare. "All I got to say in my defense is that it's been six weeks, Sam. Six weeks." He held up six fingers to make his point. "Unlike you, who can send his junk into hibernation and only drag it out for a date with Fistina, I've got limits."
"You worry me sometimes, Dean."
"Oh don't get your panties in a wad, Sammy. I didn't even go after her, that waitress invited me to help with the heavy lifting in the storeroom and you got free dessert with the kid. Everybody went home happy."
"You are some piece of work, you know that?"
Before Sam's bitchface could take hold, Dean waggled an eyebrow in his direction. "That's what she said."
Sam closed his eye like someone was driving a spike into his forehead, then shook it off. "Let's go, you moron."
Dean and Sam made their way up to the house, both too busy taking it all in to say much.
"Damn, Dean. This place looks perfect. Like it's just been painted." Sam shook the railing and seemed shocked to find it solid. "I never expected to find a house that had been vacant for forty years in this condition."
"Yeah, weird." Every detail was the same, down to the friggin' shrubbery. It was a far fuckin' cry from No Tell Motels, that was for sure. "That nutty realtor wasn't kidding about maintaining the property. Wonder where that crazy broad is anyway? She was so excited about getting us here I thought she'd be camped out on the lawn."
"Daddy!" Emily was racing toward him, hair full of leaves, wound up like a spring. "Is there a backyard? Let's go!" She had his hand, pulling with all her weight and not getting anywhere.
"Slow down, kid." Sam yanked her off her feet and started picking leaves out of her hair and off her clothes. "We need to wait for the lady with the keys."
"I wanna see where Baby's gonna live." She was out of breath and wild eyed. "When is Uncle Bobby coming?"
Damn. Bobby had promised to bring one of those goofy dogs once they were settled, but Emily's timetable only had one column and it was labeled Right Now.
"Emily, can we maybe move in first?" Dean held out his arms and took her off Sam's hands. "Uncle Sammy wants to look around, don't you?" Dean shot a look toward Sam's pocket where the EMF meter was waiting for a look see.
"Yeah, I need to be sure everything's okay. Be back in a second." Sam slipped the meter out of his pocket and started a discreet stroll around the house.
Dean took a few steps back so that he could get a better look at the entire house. "See that window up there?" He pointed high and to the left, toward a window with sheer yellow curtains. "That was your Grandma Mary's room. Would you like it?"
"Awesome! Where's your's?" Emily had a bright orange leaf in her hand and stuffed it inside Dean's pocket for safe keeping.
"Right beside yours, Cutie Pie. Always." Sam came back around the corner, meter stowed out of sight once again. "How's it look, Sammy?"
All clear. Un-freakin-believable.
"Yoo Who! Hello, Winchester Family!" Jane Henley had fairly hopped out of a black Suburban and was clicking her heels up the sidewalk balancing a potted plant in one hand and some oversized version of a fruit basket in the other. The woman wobbled up to them and Sam barely caught the basket when it slipped out of her grasp. "Whoopsie. Sorry about that. Just so excited to meet you."
She was pumping Dean's hand with a bright pink lipstick smile stretched across her face. "I'm Jane and you must be Dean."
"Must be." He took his hand back, shaking it to get the feeling back.
This lady made Emily seem docile, as she gushed and grinned. "This little angel must be your daughter. Hello, sweetheart. What's your name?"
Jane made a dramatic production of trying to shake Emily's hand just like the adults, but the little girl withdrew just in time.
"I'm Sam." He intervened, drawing the high voltage attention in his direction. "Thanks for meeting us."
"My pleasure." Jane was digging a set of house keys from her pocket and had already popped them into his hand before he could ask. "You don't know how happy I am to welcome you and hand over this wonderful property. As you can see, it's all ready for you to move in." She looked around as if searching for someone else. "Did you beat the moving van here?"
"Uh, we're kinda starting fresh." Dean sat Emily down on her feet and she followed Sam up the stairs to the front door. Starting fresh. Great way to say that they didn't have shit except what was in a couple of duffle bags. At least they had sleeping bags so they'd have a place to sleep tonight. He hoped Emily liked camping.
"No problem. The place is furnished anyway." Jane was nervously holding onto the railing but staying at the bottom of the stairs.
"Furnished? By who?" Sam had turned at the top of stairs, still holding Emily's hand.
"It's all original to the house, everything. I told you it was move in ready." Jane had her cell in her hand, quickly checking messages.
The term "original" started to sink in with Dean and he started climbing the stairs himself. "You mean it's just like it was in 1973.
"That's right. Seems your parents closed up the place after," she made a tactful grimace, "the unpleasantness and left all the belongings inside. Everything a family needs should be right inside." Jane reached in her pocket and withdrew a card, quickly shoving it into Dean's hand along with a thick envelope. "All the paperwork is inside and there are numbers for all the important contacts you need. Utilities are turned on and if you have any questions, just give me a call."
She was halfway down the sidewalk, phone in hand before Dean realized that she wasn't coming in with them.
Jane Henley was in her ride and gone, disappearing down the street with her phone glued to her ear.
"Holy commission check, Batman. What the hell was that?" Dean took the stairs two at a time, landing on the porch with a thud.
"Guess now that she's turned over the keys, her job's done." Sam had pulled open the screen door. "We got a fruit basket out of the deal, though. Don't think I've ever gotten one of those."
"And a house."
"Never had one of those, either."
"What are we waiting for?! Let's go in! I wanna see my room, Daddy!" There was actual bouncing up and down. Pink sneakers springing. Hair bouncing.
A cool breeze blew up around them, jingling a set of glass windchimes hanging from the ceiling in the corner of the porch. It was a light, welcoming sound and the air swirled around, blowing leaves and making the sound brighter.
"We're not waiting for a thing. Let's go."
The key turned and they walked inside as the breeze died down behind them.
**Thank you so much for hanging on for what turned out to be a very, very long story. Soon, I'll be coming back to the house in Lawrence to see how things are going. I have a feeling there will be something interesting to look at when we get back. Thanks again to Mai for being an amazing beta, to Kate and Kady for always guiding and supporting, and to every single person who left a review and a comment. You guys rock and there would be no reason to post without you. Later, Suz.***