Title: Blink and You'll Miss It
Author: maychorian
Character: Castiel AU
Theme: 01: Elemental, New to Earth
Prompt: 18. sight
Rating: PG
Word Count: 794
Disclaimer: None of these boys are mine, more's the pity.
Summary: Most of the time, John did his best to avoid Jimmy.
Warnings/Author Notes: Part of the Rain Falling Down AU. There was a request (somewhere? sometime? I forget) for more John and Jimmy interaction. So, you get...this.

Blink and You'll Miss It

Most of the time, John did his best to avoid Jimmy. He found the little psychic deeply unsettling, though he no longer thought him to be dangerous. He was glad Dean had a friend, and such a kind, perceptive, devoted one at that. But he had absolutely no desire to have to explain to his son that his friend was slightly crazy, and his presence seemed to bring it out in the poor kid, so he felt it was best to just stay out of the way.

There were times, though, when John couldn't help himself. Such as now, when he came down the back steps and found Jimmy sitting on a plastic crate and staring into the trees behind Singer's property, blinking rapidly and erratically.

Kids didn't blink that much for no reason. Was he sick? Crying? John glanced around, helplessly, already knowing that he was on his own. Bobby was off making a grocery run and John's boys were playing with blocks in the living room. (After many, many, many towers built and knocked down by gleeful little Sammy, laughing and crowing his delight as the wood clattered to the carpet, even Jimmy's seemingly infinite patience had finally run out. Dean, of course, was still in there, building away for his baby brother's amusement.)

"Jimmy?" John approached cautiously, tilting his head down to look in the boy's face. "Kiddo? Somethin' going on?"

The success of his offering of hot chocolate notwithstanding, John still had no clue of how to deal with this kid. Not just the tiny psychic with his serious expression and his horrific words, but also the little boy who had been beaten and abused, who even now sometimes curled up in a tight, shaking ball to hide from the world. Never mind the kid with two personalities living in the same thin little frame—that one John hadn't even the slightest idea of how to deal with. While Bobby Singer always seemed to instinctively know exactly how to react to any situation, John more often found himself flailing ineffectually on the sidelines.

Sometimes he suspected that Bobby was a better father than he would ever be.

In this particular instance, though, Jimmy just tilted his head to match the angle of John's and blinked deliberately, twice. His expression was almost preternaturally calm and grave. "I'm still getting used to eyelids."

John could only blink in response. "Eye...eyelids?" he faltered.

The boy frowned. "That is, I'm getting used to the blink, how it blocks sight for a moment. It never did, before... Before. I didn't need to lubricate Jimmy's eyes, so the blink was unnecessary, and even with the eyes shut I could still see. But sight is different now." He let out a long, drawn-out sigh, somehow weary and bewildered and resigned all at once. "A lot of things are different now."

John frowned. "Uh...Castiel?" he asked. Bobby had told him about Castiel, Jimmy's second personality, who believed he was an angel from the future. For all John knew he'd conversed with this persona before and not known it, but Castiel's presence was fairly plain, this time.

The boy nodded. "Eyelids are weird."

Unconsciously, John reached up to rub his own eyes, feeling the slide of fragile flesh. Yeah, actually...eyelids were kind of weird, these thin little shields to protect the most vulnerable and most precious part of the face. He pressed against them with thumb and forefinger, feeling the give of the eyeballs underneath, the thick, slow, viscous roll. So easy to press in, to tear, to destroy.

"Are you going to the back of the lot for target practice?" Castiel asked.

John moved his hand and opened his eyes to look down at him. The boy had stopped blinking, watching him with strange intensity. "Yeah, that's right."

"May I watch?"

John glanced at the house, but he trusted Dean to watch out for Sammy, and he'd been planning to make this a short session, anyway. "Sure. You know where Bobby keeps the headgear?"

Jimmy-Castiel nodded and hopped off the crate, heading for the shed where Bobby stored his jury-rigged muffles for ear protection during gun practice. He knew all the precautions and procedures already, as did Dean, though John hadn't yet allowed his son to hold a gun.

Soon though. And judging by this boy's concentration, the way he watched John's hands on the gun, the bullets, how held himself, how he aimed and fired, aimed and fired, Jimmy or Castiel or both would want to learn, too. The gun cracked in the crisp autumn air and the smell of cordite laced the healthy, natural scent of fallen leaves and ripened fields, and John's bullets clustered on the target in tiny, tight constellations, careful and controlled. And for this sight, Castiel did not blink at all.