Hey guys! Miss me! You know you did…just kidding! Anyway, here is a one-shot based on Dean meeting the Winslows thirteen years after my story Chance is but another one of Fate's Playmates. This is dedicated to Riama82 and Teal-Lover who graciously had asked for this. Hope you enjoy!
That was just the beginning of it. A whole host of negative emotions swirled rapidly in one violent maelstrom in Dean's mind. How any one can feel all of these at the same time and not explode was beyond him? It was an on-going rapid water ride. Swirling. Sharp and unexpected. Turbulent. So much, he knew with one sorry mishap, he could drown in it.
For the last six and a half months, or rather since that infamous night his brother revealed his college acceptance letter and his plans for leaving, this particular emotional storm began its deathly vortex, destroying every little happy, exuberant, and positive feeling in its wake. After what Sam had done, it left him feeling quite insensitive and numb.
But yet he was still here.
For a fleeting moment, the big brother had felt a sense of pride for his little brother to step up to the plate of life. But the moment crashed once he realized Sam's true feelings and intentions. It was written all over the kid's face that night. He could sense his anger, his resentment, his want to get away. And it sort of pained him to know that what the kid really wanted was freedom. Like he was shackled into some miserable existence the supernatural world placed on him. He never felt that way, so why would Sam? It came as a big shocker to learn the hard way.
It could be he was just feeding off his father's emotions, since that was whom he more or less idolized. When his father was unhappy with someone or something, Dean would look for its flaws too. Even though it shouldn't have surprised him when Sam had made that move on him—the kid had become incredibly secretive and God knows tenacious; especially when he strived for something. But this…this he had to admit was not something he, nor John, saw coming. Then, short and sweet, like a slap to the face, the baby of the family was gone. Sam had left him alone. And that loneliness only added fuel to the maelstrom. He didn't care if he ever saw him again.
But again his feet were still rooted here on Stanford's campus.
He was becoming more confused by the minute.
He wasn't here hiding behind this tree overlooking the cheery and seemingly sober campus by rash and bitter feelings towards his sibling, waiting for a beat-down match. He wasn't here by his father's orders, though John was somewhere around, nor was he standing there admiring the bright atmosphere. He didn't know what it was…
Only that perhaps…
Perhaps he was worried.
Sam was everything to him when growing up. After everything they went through, that certain feeling of responsibility never left. And it might have been that very feeling that kept his feet from going anywhere…even, he whined, from the stripper bar just down the street!
Sam may have left him alone wanting to grow up, but that didn't mean the kid couldn't have a watchful eye over his back. The kid soooo doesn't deserve it…but Dean found he had no other purpose, besides hunting—which was put on a pause.
Luckily today was a nice Spring day. The sun shined warm and there was a gentle breeze. Last time was at the conclusion of Winter, and he froze his ass off. He literally had to thaw out in a lukewarm bath later in the day. Why that kid chose to do a morning jog every morning still had him puzzled to this day. It had to have been a fluke, because California was typically warm. So what the hell?
Today he hadn't seen Sam yet. According to his log, the little snot was due to be walking towards another hippity-hoppity spiffy lecture class any minute. Only so far, he hadn't seen him. Just mainly a lot brunettes and one flaming red-head in Daisy Duke shorts.
He shook his head to clear his mind from that little interruption. He needed to stay focused.
Stepping out from behind the tree, he looked around and there was still no sign of the gentle giant. Though he did catch a certain brunette in a black business attire with loud clickity-clackity heels. The briefcase she carried signified she must be a professor. She had amazing golden-brown curls fitting around a perky face and she walked with a graceful style as though she were walking on air. The wind whipped her hair past her shoulders.
Her profile was strikingly familiar.
Perhaps a little too familiar.
The bounce of her curls forced recognition to dance in front of his face like a little show monkey hopping for money. He knew her.
He stepped further out into the open. "Mrs. Winslow?" He didn't mean to say it out loud; it just involuntarily rolled off his tongue.
The woman turned when her name was called. Dean bucked his head back in shock. It was her.
"Yes," she answered. When he said nothing, she clickity-clacked over to him with a smile. It was still as grand as he remembered. She hadn't aged a day. "Can I help you?"
Dean still must've been in shock, because his vocals suddenly blurted out, "Holy crap!"
Hannah quirked an eyebrow. "Well…I don't know about that. But my students sure make a grand show of it, though. It's not a pretty sight."
In that moment, Dean felt like a big oaf. He shook his head at his stupidity and lack of manners. "I'm…I'm sorry. Um, you may not remember me, but I at one point was…"
"Wait," Hannah interrupted him, now with a familiar glint in her chocolate eyes. She grinned, "No! It's not Dean, is it?"
Well shit, she remembered! "Yeah. Yeah it is."
Her facial features beamed. "Oh My God! Dean Winchester, my…how you have grown up? Still have that spiky hair I see. Wow, just like Sam, you're…tall. God, I feel like such a hobbit right now," she joked, "But phew, you two sure grew up to be chick-magnets."
Dean smirked with pride at that comment. "Yeah, I had my fair share, but…" he agreed before pausing in his statement, "Wait, wait. You're here. Like…here!" he waved his hands around resembling Chewbacca when he found food.
Hannah glanced from side to side, somewhat dumbfounded at the young man's excitement. "Uh huh. Last time I checked I'm…here," she mimicked his arm movements with her one hand. "I'm still alive. Jared too!"
Dean frowned. Sometimes his nonsense had impeccable timing. "No that's not what I meant. You go here?"
"Yeah, I teach here."
"Does Sam know?"
Now it was Hannah's turn to act surprised. "Of course, he comes over to mine and Jared's house almost nightly. In fact, Jared and I were the ones who encouraged him to come here. He said in his letters that he wanted to go to college and that he had a constant problem with arguing, so I figured he might like the University's pre-law program."
Dean blinked. "Letters?"
"Yep," she nodded, "We kept in touch after we last saw each other. And wow, your Dad does like to travel. I think I might have over a hundred letters with different addresses."
Then there was a flash of when he was twelve or maybe it was when he was thirteen, he had walked Sam to the post office on several occasions. He had completely forgotten about that. A lot has happened since he last saw the Winslows. And no doubt there would be more to come. "Oh yeah, I remember. I had to help him mail them off sometimes. I only stopped because he got old enough to do it himself. They were going to you?"
"Yippee Skippy. What? Did you think after everything that happened we were going to cut off ties? Thanks," she admonished amiably.
Dean chuckled shortly. "No, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have allowed that to happen. It's just that…I'm speechless when it comes to that kid. He's certainly been full of surprises lately. Even though he can be a total pain in the ass-and a backstabber, he thought- that kid just amazes me sometimes."
"You and I both honey. I mean have you seen his grades? Holy shit! It was like overnight the kid became top of his class. You talk about freakish. Totally blew this one ass out of the water. This guy strutted around like he owned the place. Rude and snobbish, rubbing it in peoples' faces his good grades and all that. He was old too, older than I am. But here comes little Sam…well giant Sam—you sure fed him a lot of greens, I'll tell ya that much—and beat him at everything. The tests. The papers. The little pop quizzes Mr. Hydecker brings up, Dynamite Man, that's what we call him. And if you wanted to see a show, you should've seen one of the debates. Now I don't see a lot of them mainly because I'm in the psychology department, but I hear all about em'. But this one, I didn't miss and Sam totally smoked his ass, left him speaking gibberish. It was the funniest thing. I was quite surprised to see how sharp and quick Sam was, and also how much he knew. Blew everyone away. In a way, it's like this was what he was meant to do."
She was out of breath by the end of that little speech. Dean was torn between happiness and sadness. It was good to hear about his brother's progress; always satisfying to know that he could do well on his own. But he couldn't help feel a bit of jealousy. He was good at one thing, but he hardly heard any praise. Maybe that's another reason why Sam left. He needed appreciation for something.
"That's good to hear."
"It is." She just couldn't seem to put an end to that smile. "Now how have you been? Are you still having problems with—" she pointed at her ear.
Dean took the hint. "Uh no. I got my full hearing back sometime when I was thirteen. And Thank God-not only because of hunting, he thought- because that hearing device was annoying. It'd get scratchy and itchy from time to time, plus I kept forgetting to clean it. But that's over. Thanks for asking."
"You're welcome. Wow, it's so good to see you."
"Thanks. It's good to see you too after so long," he said heart-warmingly.
Hannah smirked. "Well come on, if you're hungry, as I'm sure you are—it's hard to forget my pantry being empty for all the time you were at our house— I'm meeting Jared and our daughter for lunch. And I'm inviting you, so you better say yes because I won't take no for an answer."
Dean donned one of his House of Glory shit-eating grins. "Yes ma'me. How can I say no to free food?"
"Good answer," Hannah replied looping her elbow around his.
She led him a couple of blocks down the street, onto the main business district opened to many restaurants and subsidiary stores. They talked, reminisced, and joked all the way until she steered him into a sort of bar/restaurant. It was mainly dark. Rich with a clean smell, plus the place glimmered due to nearly all of the chairs, table legs, and bar-table being brass. Hannah walked with a slight hop. There was no mistaking it, she was excited. It became clear she had done this routine quite a few times, as she strode in without waiting for the hostess and led him down a long line of seductive-red vinyled booths.
They stopped at the booth in the far corner where Dean immediately recognized one of the occupants. It was Jared. He too looked as though he hadn't aged a day, but he seemed to be sitting with a sort of hunch. The other occupant sitting next to him was a little girl, appearing around the age of ten. She appeared to be like a small stick-like version of Hannah with the pointy face and golden-brown curls, only she had her father's bright green eyes. Dean smiled at making the connection. This was the Winslow's daughter. She was clad in jeans and a black Zeppelin tee. He liked her already!
"Hey honey," Hannah called out, "I brought a date. Hope you don't mind."
Jared stared with amused interest. "Depending on the date, I might have to kill him."
"Hi Mr. Winslow," Dean said nervously causing the man to pause with a stupefied look.
Hannah leaned in, "Twenty bucks to see if you can guess who this is."
Then finally his green eyes flashed with recognition not a second later. "It's Dean. Dean Winchester."
"Dangn't," Hannah cursed, slipping out of Dean's arm and sliding into the booth, where she set about opening her briefcase, pulling out a twenty dollar bill from an inner compartment and handed it to her husband. "Just remember, you're buying."
Jared took the money with pleasure. Stowing it into his jacket pocket, he smiled up at the young twenty-four-year old. "It's great to see you again Dean. Come on take a seat," he shook Dean's hand out of courtesy. Dean agreed taking off his father's leather jacket and setting it in his lap as he sat beside Hannah in the booth, picking up a menu.
The little girl ogled at him, sipping from her soda. "Ooh mommy, can I have your date after you're done?"
"No Sam, not until your thirty," Hannah replied automatically relieving her jacket and flipping her hair over her nape. Dean peered at her incredulously.
"Maannn," the daughter whined, "With you two, I'm never going to be able to date."
"That's right," Jared answered, now taking a look at his menu.
She huffed. "You know I have to grow up sometime."
"And you're right, but at eleven. You got another thing coming," her mother rejected.
"Awww," she whined again, taking another sip of her drink.
"Hey remember you're supposed to be sick," Jared pointed a finger at her, "So act sick."
Sam feigned a cough, rolling her eyes.
Dean still was unable to overcome the shock of it all. He pointed at the little girl. "Her name is Sam?"
Hannah nodded. "Yeah. Short for Samantha, but she wants us to call her Sam for some odd particular reason."
"It makes me sound cool," Sam pointed out.
"If you say so."
Forty-five minutes later, Dean had learned all that he could about what the family had been up to. He had to admit his certain recollections of the family were a bit hazy, and he wasn't sure if it was by choice. Either which, during that 'three-quarters of an hour', he had a splendid time. They all were laughing, almost to the point of tears. And sometimes he was gasping at a few experiences that closely sounded like something he and his family would do. He felt warmth, and not because he was in a hot building. Just hanging around this family had brought a sense of nostalgia. No wonder Sam strived to have this. It gave him a good sensual sentiment. He hadn't felt this wonderful in a long time.
"So Dean, does Sam know you're here?" Hannah asked.
Good feeling gone.
Dean wasn't sure how he was going to approach the question until Samantha across reached out with her hands. "Hello, he's sitting right here. I'm looking at him," she grumbled.
"Not you sweetie," Hannah told her, turning back to Dean. "Because you know, I did find it rather odd that you were hiding behind a tree."
Dean felt a smidgeon of embarrassment. "No I wasn't…"
"Dean, I saw you as I was walking by. Yeah you were hiding. And I also found it rather odd that when Sam got here, you weren't with him."
"I don't think I—"
"You should let him know," she interrupted him again. He became slightly annoyed by it until she said, "He misses you. Can't stop talking about you and all your fun crazy experiences."
Doubt was like a flower that blossomed within an instant. He gazed at her disbelievingly.
"You're bluffing. Sam would never talk about me…or anything."
Hannah laughed. "Dean, I may be good at a lot of things, but poker was one of the things I failed miserably at. Meaning I don't bluff. Sam has told us quite a lot—"
"Okay, I'm confused," the daughter blurted, "Are you talking about me?"
"Sam, knock it off," Jared reprimanded, "It's not good to interrupt people, especially your mother."
Dean smiled at her, thankful for the interruption. "No we're talking about my brother. His name is Sam too. But we'll call him Sammy from now on. He hates that."
"Wait! Sam? As in Rock Star Sam?" Samantha asked.
"Rock Star?" Dean cocked an eyebrow.
"Yes Samantha. The very one that comes over almost every night," her mother informed before turning back to Dean with an unenthusiastic expression, "He practically got her hooked on classic rock…and I swear to God our house is about to fall apart due to all the heavy metal. Thank you."
"And you're his brother. You're the Dean?" the kid asked almost in bewildered excitement.
Dean wasn't sure if he should answer. "Uh huh," he replied tentatively, to which the kid made a funny face as though she knew something he didn't. Unfortunately, he caught it. "Okay, now that makes me uncomfortable. What all has he told you?"
"Nothing bad," both Hannah and Jared said simultaneously, aiding into his anxiousness.
"All the good times," Hannah went on, "Many of them had us laughing up our lungs…. And sometimes he'd dish out these incredibly far-fetched stories, like one time he said you guys ran across and dealt with a werewolf, but I think he might have meant that as another term for 'very hairy man'."
Oh yeah! Nervous, much! Dean chuckled fretfully.
"I wish he were here, but I think he's preoccupied with a certain blonde right now?"
Hearing that, Dean forgot all about his nervous jitters about Sam's big mouth. "Whoa…Sammy's with a girl?"
"Yeah. And a pretty one too," Jared said.
He gave them all another disbelievingly look. "Oh I gotta see this."
"In time," Hannah told him, "But first you're going to finish your food. And Samantha, please close your jaw. We all know Dean's a heartthrob."
"Mooommm," Sam whined again.
"Don't you mooommm at me, and make sure you eat your broccoli."
The feast soon turned into a good two hours, filled with great laughs and more stories. However much Dean had enjoyed the company and the free steak, but there was still a little brother out there that—after he found out a little bit more about—he was in need of a double shift of watchmen. Dean had not yet finished with his medium-rare sixteen ounce steak, when a certain idea struck him.
He turned to Hannah. "Mrs. Winslow?"
"God, what is it with you Winchester boys?" she unexpectedly exclaimed. It was so sudden Dean wondered if she was bipolar. "It's Hannah. I won't settle for the big W. You make me sound too old? I'm not even forty yet. I will be in about a month, but that don't count."
"Okay," Dean laughed, "Missus…Hannah. Is that okay?" He asked humbly.
Once the giddiness was over, he implored beseechingly into her eyes. "If you're going…if you're both going to be on campus, can you do me a favor?"
"Sure, depends on the favor," she glanced at her husband, who shrugged. "I guess."
Dean breathed. He didn't know if what he was doing was right. But he already had gotten their attention. So he thought long and hard into producing what he really meant and needed to say. "Dad and I won't always be around to watch Sam, to make sure he stays safe. So if you wouldn't mind, I just need you to keep an eye on him. Keep him happy."
Hannah peered at him in astonishment. "He is happy. But Dean when you say that, it gives me a little cause for concern. Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, everything's cool. But also, if you could please, I would really appreciate it if you would…don't tell him I was here."
Hannah's eyebrows shot up quickly. "Okay, now ya gotta tell me."
Dean gave a handsome smile, kinda like a serving of reassurance. "Perhaps at another time when we've have steak and eggs again I can tell ya the full story. And knowing how you are, I'm pretty positive you won't settle for that. So the short, short version is um, we, uh, we got into a bad…bad argument before he left. So really I feel we still need some time apart, but I wanted to keep an eye on him. Make sure nothing bad happens to him. He stays safe."
Hannah's eyes softened. "So having said that, I'm assuming your Dad's somewhere around, because if I remember correctly he was just as gung-ho of his keeping his son safe as you are now."
"Yeah, he's probably hiding in the bushes somewhere."
"It wouldn't surprise me when it comes to that man. Now you talk about somebody full of surprises! Okay," now it appeared as if she was getting serious. And Dean had no way of knowing how it would turn out. Hannah took a deep breath, "It wouldn't be a problem on our part to look after him. But with how Sam is now, we really don't have to. But for you, we can keep an eye out. And I'm sorry that things are a bit tentative with you two right now. But like I'm always saying Time heals."
Dean took a small breather at that, still imploring into her eyes.
Hannah licked her lips, "And I also understand how you feel that you need time apart. Sometimes that helps. And Sam needs time to grow up too. But you have to remember in the end family is all we have. And that love will never end. You may be ticked off at each other, but eventually I have no doubt you two will come to your senses…Now even though I don't like this one bit about not saying anything to Sam…but if it's your deepest wish, we won't say anything."
She turned to her daughter, pointing a finger. "Especially you missy. One peep and all your Def Leppard records are in the fireplace roasting like musical chestnuts."
Sam gasped. "You wouldn't!"
"Remember Sam, she doesn't bluff," Jared piped.
"Okay, my mouth's zipped," she replied making a zipper motion over her pink lips.
"So now that's taken care of, you've got nothing to worry about. But you have to promise me something Dean," Hannah almost glared.
Dean silently gulped. He remembered just who exactly he was messing with. "Okay?"
"You make sure you come back, and resolve all your differences, get over all your problems…and basically just be his big brother that he adores. Because I'm not kidding. It's been a good six months and he misses you terribly."
All the air expunged from his lungs in one gasp. At least it was that. And at least that was something he could do. "Sure thing. And thank you. I can't tell ya how much I appreciate that."
"You're welcome sweetie. Now eat up, you're not leaving here until you finish the rest of that steak."
Dean smiled again, devouring the rest of his meal in one gulp. He looked around at the family with content.
Hannah's words soothed him, and somewhat made him come to terms with himself. First he was here condemning his brother for setting out and taking the life he always desired, jealous that he was living a life he couldn't, but really it came down to just pure loneliness. Worry. Resentment. They alone could chop him up into pieces and scatter him away like confetti. But he didn't want that to happen.
Sure he could set out to establish a life on his own…become a car mechanic or a fireman. But in reality hunting will always come first…he was satisfied that saving lives will always take precedent. It, in a way, was what made him whole. And that in itself constituted a lonely existence.
Sam, here, now, was doing what he felt in his mind was making him whole. And on that basis alone, he couldn't disown him. Like Hannah had said, family was all he really had. His father. His brother. Without one or the other, he would be completely alone, and miserable.
All he associated with Sam after he left was stubbornness, selfishness, and sometimes annoyance. But didn't those things come with the sibling package? Now after taking a break from his miserable loneliness, having company with Sam's other family, all he could feel was love for the kid. It was hard. But tough love was typically associated with families. Thinking about it, his kid brother was doing what he was made to do. And in a way Dean felt selfish for hating him because he set out on his own. In a way, he had become a parent.
So for now, he would take heed and allow his brother some more time and he would come to him whenever he needed him. And hope that he would take him. Because, really, what else were big brothers for?
Note: I have never been to Stanford, considering I'm on the opposite side of the country. But I hear it's fabulous. So any environmental or scene set-up regarding the University is totally made up. Hope ya'll enjoyed the one-shot. I tried to make it somewhat philosophical and note-worthy, but as you can tell I suck at the metaphysical, advisory, sort of stuff. Anyway, take care. Have a good one.