"CHRISTOPHER; PLEASE!!" I know how much you want to come; but it's just as important that you stay here."
"Aw that's a bunch of crap and you know it" huffed the teen.
Dean sighed and placed the gun he had been cleaning down on the table. His usually clear emerald green eyes were now stormy as he frowned up at his brooding fourteen year old son.
It was Chris' turn to sigh. Rolling his eyes he dropped his shoulders in frustration. He looked exactly like Dean did at that age; except for the hair. His was longer than John had ever let Dean wear his and it was a shade lighter like Sam's was at fourteen. Other than that Chris was Dean's clone right down to the eyes which showed every emotion he was feeling at the time. They were Dean's only window into the kid and he often stared deep into them as he struggled to get to know his son who out of the blue showed up on their doorstop a little less than two years ago.
Apparently Dean wasn't as careful as he thought when he first started knocking boots at the ripe young age of fourteen. Chris was the product of a "first encounter" Dean had had with a seventeen year old babysitter John had hired to cook for the boys while he was on a job in a small town in Ohio.
Dean hadn't told his old man that he and the babysitter "got jiggy with it" a few times after Sammy had fallen asleep but the twinkle in his eye and the new swagger in his eldest's walk was a dead giveaway for John when he returned. From that point on the only babysitters he left the boys with were Pastor Jim, Bobby and when he was really, really desperate, Caleb.
Chris's mother had been killed by a drunk driver. A week before the accident she had shared with him the story of his conception and his father's uncle's and grandfather's name.
He was almost thirteen and had just noticed that girls weren't as yucky as he originally thought; his curiosity and his hormones were starting to get the best of him. She had teased him about being just like his father and urged him to try and remember to use his "upstairs brain". She lectured him that when it came to girls and sex he should be respectful, responsible and should wait until he was older joking with him that she thought twenty was a good age. It was the last real talk she had with him before she died and he remembered every word as if it were yesterday.
After his mother died, much like John, his maternal grandfather turned to liquor to drown his sorrows. He started drinking heavily on a regular basis and on more than one occasion, unlike John, took his frustrations and grief out on the boy. The last time he punched him so hard he couldn't chew for two days and that was when Chris decided to leave and hunt down his father. He had shown up bruised, battered and scared as hell on their doorstop and the three Winchesters took him in and cared for him as if they had known him his entire life. They were one big, happy, dysfunctional family and none of them would have it any other way.
The battle between father and son regarding hunting wasn't new to Dean except this time he was the father. The other difference was that unlike his father Dean didn't want his kid involved in hunting. Knowing about monsters and things that go bump in the night, fine; doing research and helping them map out a plan, fine. Actually being on the front line and putting his life at risk, so not fine as far as Dean was concerned but his son wasn't going to make this easy on him.
"Come on dude; you know what I mean." Chris said hating the fact that he sounded like a whiney ten year old.
"No; I don't…..dude." His father mimicked back before turning serious.
"What I do know is that you're being a monster pain in my ass right now and you had better reign in the attitude before I do it for you." Dean cringed on the inside as soon as the words left his mouth; Christ; when the hell did I turn into Dad?
Teenage hormones once again got the best of Christopher Riley-Winchester.
"FINE" he hollered as he turned and stomped towards the bedroom. "I'll just stay cooped up here in this two-bit, rat infested motel and watch the freakin paint peel off the walls while you, Sam and G. go and get to be hero's. That will be a TERIFFIC use of my time" he yelled turning to face his father and uncle before slamming the door shut.
"FINE" Dean very immaturely shouted back.
"AND WHILE YOU'RE AT IT; GO TO YOUR ROOM…..or our room…or whatever" he muttered as the windows rattled from the force. He let out a breath of frustration before casting his eyes on Sam who; at the moment; was sitting on the couch watching the family drama unfold. He hadn't intervened; which surprised the shit out of Dean. Sammy always had something to say and Dean couldn't remember a family fight that Sam didn't either start or stick his nose into.
"Well, OK then; that went well." Dean stated bluntly as he tried to lighten the mood a bit. Damn he needed a beer.
Sam scoffed. "Yeah….Way to Go Dad!" he said giving Dean his best bitch face and hoisting two very obnoxious "thumbs- up" in his direction.
Dean made a face back "Hey Sammy? Bite me." Glancing quickly and suspiciously around the room he shivered.
"Dude; you really think there are rats in here? Ugh, man; I HATE those beady-eyed little bastards, with their freaky tails and the little yellow gnarly teeth….."
Sam let out his own breath of frustration and hoisted himself off the musty old couch. "Dean; come on, can we please focus here?"
"On what?" his brother asked sharply; as if he didn't know where this was headed already. He grabbed the oil rag and went back to the task at hand; this time focusing on the barrel of the gun.
"On Chris." Sammy said coming to a stop just in front of the table.
"What about him?" Dean started rubbing the rag harder than necessary over the gun metal; pretending to be fully absorbed in the chore.
His brother's display of behavior to avoid talking about topics that made him uncomfortable was very familiar to Sam. He knew he had to keep him focused on the conversation before he shut down completely.
"Dean; come on man; Chris; the hunt……………. Chriscoming ON the hunt. Dude; can't we talk about this?"
"No what? We can't talk about it?? It's real easy Dean. First I say something then you respond then I respond….."
"Sam" Dean warned.
"What Dean; we need him and you know it. You're just being too pig-headed and stubborn to admit that Dad and I are right on this one." Sam kicked his brother's boot trying to gain his full attention and emphasize his point.
And his full attention he got. Before Sam could register what was happening Dean stood suddenly knocking the chair over on his way up. The abrupt, aggressive movement caused Sam to take an involuntary step back. He'd seen that look in his brother's eyes before and it was usually right before he cleaned somebody's clock. Dean slammed his hand on the table.
"He's not going; end of discussion! I mean it Sammy; BACK-OFF."
Sam tried to soften his tone and body language in an attempt to defuse Dean. "What's the problem here Dean; it's not like this is the kids first time out. An you, me, Dad we'll be right there with him the entire time. Nothing's going to happen to him Dean; I promise."
"Don't make promises you can't keep Sammy. You know as well as I do that nothing is ever for certain in this business. This is one crazy ass son-of-a-bitch we're huntin and Chris is NOT gonna be a part of it. I'm not going through this again. Not when I couldn't……." Dean's voice drifted off.
"Couldn't what Dean?" Sam asked laying a comforting hand on his brother's shoulder knowing damn well what he was going to say.
"Sam." the one word held so much meaning.
It had been almost twenty years since the Shtriga incident and Dean had never forgiven himself for going out to play video games and not being there to protect Sam. If their father hadn't arrived when he did and shot the thing Sammy would be dead right now. Just the memory of it sent a cold shiver through this body. He wasn't going to expose his son to that kid feeding monster. No way, no how; not ever.
"Dean, look; what happened in Fort Douglas wasn't your fault. You were just a kid Dean and look" he said placing his two hands flat on his chest. "I'm right here and I'm fine. Nothing happened to me Dean and nothing's going to happen to Chris either."
"You're right Sammy; you're fine cause dad saved both our asses and nothin's gonna happened to Chris cause he's NOT GONNA BE THERE!" He threw the oil rag at the wall just as John opened the door.
Instinctively pulling his head to the right John faintly missed being beamed in the face by the oil soaked rag.
He had heard the boys yelling from the driveway and could only assume that the argument had something to do with Chris and their latest hunt. Dean and Sam rarely fought at this level and lately when they did Chris was usually the route cause.
His grandson's existence didn't surprise John all that much and there was no doubt just by looking at the boy that the kid was a Winchester. Based on what he'd seen and heard about Dean he wouldn't be surprised if there were hundreds of little Winchesters scattered across the states. His eldest was one randy character and he sure did have a way with the ladies.
Even at twenty-nine and twenty-five John still looked at both his boys as if they were still kids themselves and it was hard to watch his oldest struggling with his newfound fatherhood. There had been more than one occasion when John had to step in and lay down the law with his grandson both verbally and/or physically when his son couldn't and it was truly warranted. Dean would learn eventually that he couldn't be both a father and brother to the boy but that was going to take some time and Dean still had some growing up and adjusting to do himself. For that matter so did John. He had to learn to step back and not insert himself every time he saw Dean handling things differently than he would when Chris acted out. He had to remember that he was the grandfather; not the father this go around.
Where John would address a cranky, smart-mouth teenager with either a sharp crack on the ass or a grueling day of physical training Dean opted to try and reason with him and talk things out; give him his space.
When John tossed out an "or else" threat he carried through on it while Dean tended to be more talk and less action. It was no wonder that Sammy turned out to be as well rounded as he did. For John now saw that he grew up having both a father and a mother figure around.
Just as he had been and still was to some extent with Sam; Dean was fiercely protective of his boy and he was trying everything in his power to keep him out of Supernatural's harms way. But by doing so John knew that he was really putting the boy at risk by not training him to defend himself and teaching him about all the true evils out in the world. Chris was almost fifteen and wanted to hunt side by side with his family. He had witnessed the arguing between the two of them more than once and had to bite his tongue when Dean put his foot down and ordered the kid to stay put. John knew he would have to patiently wait this one out until he could make Dean see that they would all be better off in the long run if Chris was trained to be a hunter.
Until then, John had no problem continuing his duty of teaching, protecting and raising his boys; all of them, including his grandson.
"Boys." John said slowly entering and expertly surveying the room.
"Hey" Dean nodded. "Sorry." he noted sheepishly knowing that he was the cause of his father almost eating the cleaning rag.
"Where's Chris?" John asked casually noting the turned over chair and the slanted pictures on the wall that were usually the result of a door slamming.
"In the other room having a "Sammy-fit" since I told him he couldn't come tonight." Dean said moving towards the kitchen to fetch himself that much needed cold beer and a new rag.
John raised his eyebrows at Sam searching for more information. Sam shook his head and pursed his lips letting John know that things had not gone well while he was gone and that he hadn't been able to change Dean's mind regarding Chris's involvement in the hunt. He turned away knowing that he disappointed his father once more.
John walked towards the kitchen and placed the bag he'd been holding down on the counter. Dean's ass was sticking out of the fridge as he routed for his beer and John resisted the urge to smack it.
Finding the drink of his desire Dean stood, lifted the cap off with his ring and expertly flipped it into the sink. Halfway through draining the cool refreshing liquid he noticed John watching him.
"What? He asked with the slightest hint of irritation in his voice. "It's not enough that I've already gone two rounds with the kid and Dr. Phil in there; you want a go at me to?"
John shot him a knowing look.
"Dean" he said trying to choose his words carefully. "You know as well as I do that tonight's important; that Chris can help us nail this thing once and for all."
Dean chose to remain silent. To be honest he didn't really have the energy to go round three especially; with his father. He took another slug of his beer before placing it on the counter and rubbing a hand down his tired face. Placing both his hands behind his back on the counter he waited to see what else the old man had to say. He knew John thought he was being weak and too protective of Chris. He could see it in his eyes every time he said no. However with the three of them constantly ganging up on him twenty-four seven he had to admit his resolve was beginning to waiver.
"Look son, I know you're worried but trust me; if I thought he was in any sort of danger I wouldn't let him come. You gotta know that, right? You gotta know that I would never put any of you boys in a situation I didn't think you couldn't handle. We can do this Dean and rid the world of that son-of-a-bitch once and for all."
John saw the muscles in Dean's jaw twitch as he clenched his teeth together. A habit he had done all his life when he was unsure of how to respond or act. He placed a strong, fatherly hand on his son's shoulder and gave it a squeeze. His eyes locked with his sons and in four single words he wrapped up the conversation.
"We need him Dean." And with that Dean knew that John wasn't really asking for his permission or approval anymore. It was more of a "you do this or I will without you" subliminal order.
The two stared at each other for a moment before Dean gave his Dad a short nod of his head in agreement.
"That's my boy" John said giving his face a soft tap of approval. It often amazed Dean how the same hands that could dole out the mother of all punishments could also be so gentle and loving at times. He soaked in his father's praise like a dry sponge to water.
Heaving himself off the counter he made his way into the living room. "Hey mini-me" he yelled towards the bedroom door. "Get you ass out here; we need to talk."