The Coming – chpt 5.
"But it has to be done."
Sam narrowed his eyes at his big brother. He knew Dean. Knew him better than Dean would ever believe. His lips puckered and he shook his head.
"You've got something up your sleeve… what're you planning Dean?"
The older man sighed and lowered his eyes while shaking his head, "I never wanted this to happen Sam, I prayed every day that Lily would miscarry, that GOD would intervene, that one of those son of a bitchin' archangels would do SOMETHING. But nobody's doing a goddamned thing." Tears welled up in his eyes turning them into liquid pools of jade.
"They're leaving it up to us AGAIN to do their dirty work and so help me I'm sick of it!" his breath shook, "but I can't see any other way. The lady I met with earlier this morning?"
"She's been in the supernatural biz longer than Bobby or Rufus or any human we've ever heard of."
"Longer than Laura?" Sam asked.
Dean smiled, "Laura's not human, not entirely. I'm talking about mortals not…" he paused and licked his lips, "beings… like us."
Sam nodded his understanding, "And?"
Dean shook his head, "There's no way to kill the demon part of that baby without killing the human part too." He clasped Sam's shoulder, "I'm sorry. The only thing we can do is make the little guy comfortable while he goes to sleep one last time."
Sam couldn't stop himself, there was no time to stem the little rivers that raced down his cheeks. His lips trembled and he bit them tight.
Dean nodded, "Please Sam, I'm begging you, at least I have an idea of what you're feeling… let me do this… let me save you this if nothing else."
Sam's gaze snapped to Dean's, ever since Sam told Dean that it was his powers Lilith used to murder their child while still in Laura's womb, that issue had been the proverbial "White Elephant" in the room. Sadly, Sam's pain was so great he couldn't stop his mouth.
"Are you saving me or getting revenge?" he asked though no emotion or life showed in his tone.
Dean's fist flew out of nowhere, some animal in its own right as it connected with Sam's face.
When his eyes stopped rolling in his skull Sam realized Deans' expression hadn't changed, the punch had been a reflex from somewhere so deep it was possible Dean might not even have realized he'd thrown it.
"I'm sorry." Sam dropped his eyes.
Dean breathed deep, "S'okay, it's a valid question."
Sam's eyes came up, his expression curious.
"You know how much it hurt me. More than anyone else on this god forsaken fucked up planet we live on… you know how much losing that baby hurt me." He admitted mistily.
"Imagine if it'd been born and then murdered?" Dean's words quaked in the air.
"Miscarriages happen, I can pretend to live with that."
Sam's face dropped down again.
Dean grasped him firmly by the hair and forced the younger man to look him in the eyes, "You have never been to blame Sam. Never. I know that and…" he stopped to take a deep cleansing breath, "and until the day we do have our kids… you are, and will continue to be the first priority of my life. Do you understand me?"
Slowly, almost reluctantly Sam nodded and cursed the tears that continued to flow. "I wish it wasn't us, I wish it'd never been us Dean… I wish we were normal…" the words cracked abrasively out of his throat, his expression turned pleading, "isn't there some way we can call on who we used to be and change all this? End it? Make it… not us?"
Dean's sudden tearful laugh caught Sam at the heart. The despair in his big brother's face as he shook his head and let the wet stained humor roll out of him was more frightening than those moments just the day before yesterday when Dean hadn't been "home".
"These may be the hands we've been dealt Sam, but time has passed and we're left holding the bag, but you know what?"
"If we're holding the bag, we get to make the rules." Dean's expression turned hard and full of conviction. "There's a war for our little corner of the universe about to come. We're the weapons of choice? We can choose to jam."
"Maybe it's better to just let him go to sleep so he won't have to grow up in a raped and tormented world." Sam nodded while looking at the floor.
Dean nodded, "Maybe it is."
Sam looked up, "It's still my duty."
"Okay." Dean nodded and put the car into drive.
Sedona Arizona – Tommy Crowhawk's trailer.
Outside in the warm Arizona night a sacred circle of lime had been poured, a pentagram at the heart of a sacred wheel. At the heart of the pentagram stands a stone altar. The shebang is encircled by torches.
Sam knocks on the trailer door.
Tommy opens. The boys disappear inside.
"Where is he?" Sam asked looking around the tiny abode.
"In back." Tommy answered and as Sam moves toward the rear calls, "Don't get attached to it!"
Dean grins knowingly at the old Apache, "You have."
"But it's not mine. The wound is shallow."
From the shadows Sam could see the infant was surrounded by pillows, nestled securely, lovingly, a blanket swaddling him.
He can't breathe. The baby's hand is stuffed fully into its mouth, his head turned to the side, his eyes moving rapidly beneath the lids while its breath moved easily into and out of its chest.
Sam moved to the side of the bed. He sat precariously at its edge, every instinct telling him to run, to leave the room, the trailer, to let Dean handle this and never ask what happened.
His hand reached out to stroke the light brown cornsilk that crowned the boy's head.
Indigo blue eyes opened. The fist stays in his mouth. The eyes meet Sam's and a smile turns up the corners of its mouth as its feet kick.
Sam couldn't stop himself. His hands slid beneath the tiny warm bundle, finger and thumb gently cradling the skull while his other hand spread wide to cup the rest of its body.
The baby continued to suck on its hand.
Sam lifted him, held him aloft and strained his every fiber to try and find something that would betray this child as an evil entity. He couldn't.
His arms wrapped the infant to his chest, his lips fell to its head, tears flew once again as he kissed that clean fresh scent of Baby Magic that somehow brought comfort and the fragrance of chocolate chip cookies to him.
A tiny, goober slimed hand closed on his nose.
He gasped and smiled and felt like he should die.
"Sam?" Dean nearly whispered standing at the doorway.
"Take him!" Sam clenched, holding the infant up toward his big brother while his head turned away, "Dean…" he sniffed wet and hot.
Dean came forward taking the beautiful bundle into his arms with an innate ease and rocking him as the baby's face crinkled and thought about starting to cry.
"I gotcha kiddo… I gotcha…easy there tiger," Dean smiled to the boy, holding him close. He turned back down toward the front of the trailer while the root soaked in a tiny pot of water.
"Children are sacred to our people." Crohawk began as he and Dean sat across from one another, the oldest Winchester holding the infant as if it was second nature. In fact, it was.
"This goes against everything that is right and natural in the Apache world, but I have spoken with our shaman. There have been attempts, in the long past of our people to provide guardians for children born like this, or to banish the evil in its nature. None have proved effective or in any way positive. Always life suffers. I wish I had better news for you both." He explained.
Dean rolled the baby close to his chest, his lips touched its temple but his eyes never left Crowhawk's. "Thanks for looking into it. Our own research turned up pretty much the same. The only thing we can do is to make this little guy's passing as quick and painless as possible." He let the tears fall. A long time ago Dean came to realize that battling his own emotions in an attempt to keep them hidden from others left him weak. It was one of the reasons he hated lying. It took too much energy. But there was nothing he wouldn't do for Sam.
Once Sam collected himself and joined Dean and Crowhawk in the fore-part of the trailer, the root had been steeping long enough to kill a man of over 200 lbs.
"Sam, you don't have to do this, you don't have to be here… please… think about it please… don't do this." Dean pleaded.
Sam held out his arms, his face wet and twisted with too many emotions to quantify, "He's mine." He hitched holding the infant close once Dean placed him into his arms.
Sam's lips touched the baby's forhead, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." He sighed shakily, holding him tight while they exited the trailer and entered the heart of the wheel.
"It will be fast and easy," Tommy patted Sam's shoulder, "there will be no pain for him."
His throat was closed.
He couldn't speak, and so he nodded, kneeling at the altar where he set the gently kicking and squirming infant. The baby held Sam's eyes.
"Guys?" Dean stepped forward drawing their attention as he approached the altar. He slid his flask from the inner pocket of his jacket and opened it. "Anyone else need a little sumthin' sumthin'?" He pressed the opening to his tightly closed lips, then swept his sleeve across his mouth and handed it to Tommy.
"Yeah man… good idea." Tommy slugged a couple of hard chugs from the flask before passing it to Sam.
"It's okay Sam." Dean nodded watching his little brother swig back a couple gargantuan sized swallows as well before passing the flask back to Dean who tucked it into his pocket.
Seconds later Sam and Crowhawk lay unconscious on the ground.
Dean moved fast.
He raced to the trunk of the Impala, threw it open and after drawing out a 'floor cradle' from one of the WalMart bags, set the baby into it then stripped the infant of its blanket and its onesie, replacing them both with new Winnie The Pooh garments and blankets. From the inside of his jacket he pulled a bottle of plain water, gently easing the nipple into the little guy's eager mouth, then pulled his cell phone and dialed a number.
Cinching the phone between his ear and shoulder he moved the cooler to the edge of the trunk.
The other end of the call picked up. "Hey, you ready?" he asked.
"Yes." she replied.
Dean straightened up and turned away from the trunk, "Good me too." He nodded.
He breathed deep then flexed his fingers and sunk them, claw-like into the fabric of our reality.
With a quick pull and a careful slowing he smiled.
Kitsune stepped from behind the veil and threw her arms around him.
Dean grasped her close, kissing her tenderly.
"He's beautiful!"she grinned stroking the infants face, already a part of her was in love with him. After all he belonged to Sam and she loved him more than she loved life.
Dean grabbed the child into his arms and held him close, kissing him while his heart broke.
"His name is Neil. It means Champion." He grasped the Japanese Demi-god with a gentle hand behind her neck, "Whoever you leave him to, make sure it's someone who will raise him as one. Please." His voice cracked as he handed the child over to the woman.
She pulled the infant close, pressing her mouth to his head while Dean pulled a baby bag from the large WalMart bag he'd stuffed in the trunk earlier, "There's a few bottles, some onesies, some blankets, electric socket plugs for when he starts to crawl…" his voice broke.
He grasped the tiny and powerful woman at the neck and shoulder, "Kitsune…" he sniffed.
She nodded, "I love him Dean. You asked me once to protect him… he loved me so beautifully that it stole my heart. I will cherish anything of him that exists…" she curled the contented infant into her embrace, "and anyone that touches him or his will have me to deal with should they prove unworthy!" she promised.
Dean smiled in spite of his floes of tears, "Kitsune, have I told you lately that I love you?" he asked.
"You gave me Sam, that says it all." She smiled caressing his face with one hand while the other held the baby tight.
"Still," he leaned forward holding her close and pressing his lips to hers, "Thank you." He sniffed.
"There is a reason you are the first king of the gods." She nodded.
Behind her the veil shimmered, a half dozen shidhe and Cernunnos himself came forward.
Dean looked tearfully at the God of Fertility and Rebirth, the God that was just another incarnation of his own soul.
"Take her wherever she wants. Send no one to watch over her or the child." He instructed the fuzzy headed, stag antlered deity, "When she's ready she'll return to us. No one can ever know what came of the boy." He explained.
Cernunnos nodded, "As you wish."
"Leave me one of your potion masters." Dean ordered as Kitsune moved toward the veil.
He leaped to Kitsune taking one last opportunity to wrap the woman and child in his arms.
His lips pressed to the baby's forehead, "You name is Neil. It means Champion. Your father is a good man who loves you." His voice broke at the last as he fell to his knees and watched the demi-god disappear beyond the veil between worlds.
Long moments later, Mustardseed himself touched Dean gently on the shoulder.
Behind them, a squad of sidhe were working to put Sam and Crowhawk onto boulder-stools and position them carefully.
Dean nodded, "I'm alright." He moved back to the Impala's trunk and thought about his trip to the morgue yesterday. It wasn't heartbreaking enough to have simply seen how many children and infants lay dead and unclaimed in just this tiny little piece of the world. He couldn't let himself think about other parts of the world where it might be worse.
He could feel himself moving quickly through the corridors, through to the back of the refrigerator where the infants and newborns were stacked like cordwood.
One by one he searched through the bodies, looking for newborns until he found the perfect candidate. The toe tag read: Baby Boy Todd then told its date of birth and death. All within a few hours at most.
Dean wrapped the unfortunate infant into a blanket and set it as carefully as possible into the satchel he carried.
Outside in the parking lot he deposited the swaddled infant into the cooler they kept in the trunk, now full of fresh ice.
With a handkerchief in hand Dean cleaned the infants face, "I'm sorry… rest in peace baby boy Todd." He sniffed caressing the tiny lifeless face, "and thank you."
Shaking off the memory of yesterdays' early morning endeavor Dean held the dead infant close, now dressed in Neils' onesie, swaddled in his blanket he set the infant atop the pyre Crowhawk had prepared.
The sidhe, after making sure Sam and Crowhawk were in proper position looked askance at Dean.
"Neither of them will remember passing out?" he asked.
"No. As you ordered, they will remember nothing but sitting." Mustardseed smiled sadly.
Dean grasped the diminutive warriors shoulder and nodded, "Good thank you."
They came awake slowly while Dean layered the muslin swaddled corpse in salt while chanting Latin
He listened carefully, noting precisely when either man came awake and doing his level best to ensure that he played his part.
"God… if you're there, if you really exist at all, and if your minions really give any kind of a flying fuck about our piss poor pathetic species… then protect this soul. Grant it salvation in the knowledge that it was born to do your God's bidding, whatever that might be." He finished, and with a simple casting of a lit match book fell to his knees with floes of tears streaming from his eyes. Whatever he'd done. He'd one day have to live with, but as long as something of Sam was alive in this world, there was hope. Of that much Dean was certain.