The morning after Sam's life was tilted on its axis (for the third time in two weeks) was oddly anticlimactic. Dean took one look at Joan's black eye and bruised cheek and declared that she would be staying inside for the duration and learning how to properly shoot a sawed-off as soon as possible. He went for a food run, Joan fed Billy and got ready to give him a bath, and Sam half-heartedly began researching for the next job, his attention more on the girl in the bathroom.
"Are we going to talk about this?"
"Talk about what?" Joan glanced up from the baby lying on the bathroom vanity. "He needs a bath. This is the best way to do it."
"Yeah, that's not what I meant." Sam watched as Joan flushed and turned back to the baby. "You talk to God. Seems like a big deal." That Dean knew about this and believed was another big deal, but he wasn't planning on having her around for that discussion. He got up and stood in the bathroom doorway so he could see her better.
"It's not really that I talk to God. It's that God talks to me." Joan looked up and met his eyes in the mirror, a smile quirking the corner of her mouth.
"And he asks you to do things?"
She nodded. "It started when I was sixteen. Simple things at first, like getting a job or asking the school bully to a dance, but then the assignments started to become really complicated. I started to be able to know more about people, and I could . . . Isee/I more."
"Just . . .more. More about people and what was going on with them. More of what was going on around me. And, you know, ghosts. Things that kind of bridge the gap between living and dead."
Sam was quiet as she bustled about, filling the ice bucket with lukewarm water and laying out the diaper and onesie she would need afterwards. "What's it like?"
"Scary," she answered almost immediately. "Could you hold him?" Sam held out his hands, and Joan handed over the baby and started the process of undressing him. The infant bleated in protest, but Joan was quick and efficient and had him in the sink of warm water before he could break into full-out screams. "Support his neck and back for me?" He complied, sliding his functional hand in where Joan's had been. "I thought I was going crazy. Suddenly this teenage boy was showing up and telling me to get a job, and a little girl was telling me to have some pride in what I do, and this weird goth guy was telling me to ask the school bully to the dance."
"And they were all God?"
"Every single one. My family hadn't gone to church in almost two years, and God was showing up on the bus and telling me to learn how to play chess and jump rope." Joan finished her careful ministrations and lifted Billy out of the water and onto a towel. A smile curved her lips as she dried him off with a soft towel that came out of her bag, and Sam couldn't help but smile in response. "And when I did what he wanted, things just worked out. I helped people, somehow, even when it didn't look like what I was doing was important."
"And that's what you do?"
Joan nodded, her attention and focus on the baby. "Whatever He asks, even when it doesn't make sense or isn't what I want. That's how I knew I could trust you and Dean. He told me to go with you."
Sam's forehead furrowed, then smoothed. "The guy outside the bar?"
"Yeah." She fastened the diaper and slid the onesie onto the squirming baby, fastening the snaps quickly and slipping on a pair of pants over chubby flailing legs, catching one foot as it kicked up at her and kissing it. "Can you take him for a little bit? I need to take a shower."
"Sure." The exchange was a little awkward, but Joan didn't seem to mind so Sam decided not to mind either.