Who was that angel?
Disclaimer: I'm not making any money or funds on this or any of my other stories, sigh, I just play with em and then send em home again…sometimes rather bruised and beaten but no more than usual!
John, Dean aged 5 years, Sammy aged 16 m'ths, and a cameo appearance by Uncle Bobby.
Another crack of thunder exploded over the sleek black car as it snaked along the road, rain pelting down on the windscreen giving almost zero vision, another cursed storm for a young single father and widower, travelling along a seemingly empty highway most people safe and dry in their own houses: their homes.
The more distressing sound though for the young father was not the sound of thunder and the streaks of fork lightening lighting up the sky; no it was the constant wailing coming from behind him. Sixteen month old Sammy had sobbed non-stop throughout the storm, actually scratch that he hasn't stopped crying since his mom died ten months ago.
John glanced in the rear vision mirror catching his silent older son trying to calm his baby brother down; it shouldn't be Dean's job. Sighing heavily John scrubbed at his eyes and tried to focus on the road ahead, the townships of Willow Bend should be coming up anytime now.
'Won't be long boys and we'll find somewhere to stay.' John said over the rising crescendo of Sammy's wailing, grimacing John tightened his grip and tried to drown out the crying while he watched out for any sign of life.
A very long twenty minute drive in the storm later and John Winchester was able to draw a breath of relief as they breached the town's outskirts. Now he just had to find a motel with a vacancy.
Another twenty minutes later and John felt like crying alongside his baby son, not one of the town's four motels had a vacancy. Unsure of what to do, a loud bang and jerking against the wheel made his mind up for him. Swearing John expertly guided the car to the roadside, getting out in the freezing rain he stared at the blown tyre and stared up at the storm ridden sky, 'thanks so freaking much, I love you too.' He yelled his voice drowning out the thunder.
'Daddy?' a soft almost whispered voice came from near his side and John stared down into the wide green eyes of his son Dean, 'daddy Sammy's scared.'
'I – I know son.' John picked up Dean and held him tight against his chest as he scanned the area, for a moment he wondered if it was a ghost town he had wandered into by mistake as it was completely deserted. The only welcoming light seemed to be in the small Catholic Church just next to them. St Mary of the Flowers Church was nestled in a small yard filled with a fragrant garden; candle light flickered in the stained glass windows. Gathering the baby out of his car seat and with Dean settled on his other hip John ran for the church's doors hoping beyond hope that they were still unlocked.
'Ah thank you.' He breathed as the doors swung open and he stumbled inside with his precious cargo, the small church's interior was warm, dry and somehow calming.
'Hello can I help you?' a masculine voice came from the shadowed altar making John tense slightly.
'I ah … I had a blow out just outside the church, it's so cold and wet I needed somewhere dry for my boys, I'm sorry for disturbing you.'
'Never a disturbance, especially with two delightful babies a part of it,' a priest smiled warmly as he strode down the aisle towards the small Winchester family. 'I'm Father Walker but most people call me Father Joe.' An inch or so shorter than John with a large frame, he had curling brown hair with streaks of silver on the temples; his grey eyes twinkled with humour hidden behind his no-nonsense demeanour.
'John Winchester and this is Dean and the baby is Sammy, I'm sorry for barging in but there are no vacancies in the motels and now with the blowout...'
'Don't worry about it John, I have a small room outback I keep for the odd emergency so why don't you and the boys stay here where it's warm and I'll go and see to getting it organised.
'I ah don't know how to thank you or to repay you.'
'Don't worry about it John, often you say thanks in other ways.' Father Joe smiled and started to head off to the sacristy, 'make yourself comfortable I might even be able to sweet talk Hannah into making something for you to eat.'
'Oh please Father don't go to, too much trouble for us.'
'Nonsense anyway I love to ruffle Hannah's feathers sometimes, though once she sees those two angels of yours she'll be likely to cook ya a four course meal.' Father Joe laughed as he headed off to organise the bedding for the Winchesters.
While his father talked to the strange man in black Dean clung to his dad's leg, peeking out under his long blond fringe to watch the man, who dressed in a long black dress and laughed a lot. Just then Sammy decided to start his wailings again and Dean's attention was pulled back to the one precious thing in his young life, his baby brother Sammy. Daddy told him he had to look after his brother and for all of his five years Dean understood just what that meant. Going over to Sammy's baby carrier, Dean grinned down at the red-faced baby, 'eww Sammy snot.' He giggled and made a face at his brother while he wiped Sammy's nose with a well-worn hankie, 'Sammy snot.'
The baby giggled back and watched his big brother with wide adoring eyes, as Dean made more faces and blew raspberries on his chubby belly. Reaching up he grabbed a handful of Dean's hair tugging him closer and then gave him a big sloppy baby-version-kiss.
'Eww so gross Sammy.' The five-year-old shook his head as he managed to free himself from the tiny fist.
'Dean!' John scolded his son lightly as he waited for Bobby to pick up his phone; at least they were only four hours away from Sioux Falls.
Dean poked his tongue out at Sammy and then went to explore the church a little, making sure that he kept his brother and his daddy in sight. Sammy gurgled and giggled as he played with his feet and watched the movements above him. His wide green eyes followed the invisible motions and giggled even more as he felt the feather touch his face loving the tickling sensation.
'Where are ya, ya idgit?'
'We got stranded in Willow Bend, I had a blow out.'
'They're fine and I'm fine too.'
'Yeah, yeah so where are ya? I can make it in the morning to give ya a hand.'
'We're actually staying in St Mary of the Flowers Catholic Church…'
'Sorry? You said a Catholic Church?' Bobby laughed hard as he imagined the rough-tough John Winchester stranded in a church with two small boys. 'I'm sorry I shouldn't laugh.'
'Go on get it outta ya system,' John sighed this was going to be a long night.
'Yeah, yeah keep yer hair on, I'll be there first thing in the morning with a new tyre … might be a good time to stock up on holy water.' Bobby suggested and then said good bye before John could say anything else.
Turning around, John frowned when he couldn't see Dean; he glanced over at the baby carrier and heaved a sigh of relief when he saw Sammy lying there gurgling at something only the sixteen-month-old could see, 'Dean?' He yelled as loudly as he dared in the church, 'Dean son, where are you?'
'Daddy,' Dean appeared just behind his father and tugged his jacket, 'here me is.'
'Here I am Dean not me and where were you? I was worried … Where did you get that cookie from?' John picked his small son up and stared at him in amazement as Dean happily chomped into a chocolate chip cookie.
'I'm afraid I'm the culprit,' an older woman came closer, she looked a lot like Father Joe especially with the same twinkling grey eyes, 'I'm Hannah Walker, Joe's sister.' She introduced herself as John put Dean down to finish eating his cookie not having the heart to take it off him so close to supper. Dean settled himself on the pew where Sammy's seat was perched far enough away so Sammy wouldn't see his treat. Not that he wouldn't share with his little brother he tries to share a lot but he remembered their dad saying that Sammy was too young to have chocolate, even chocolate chips so it wouldn't be fair to eat it where Sammy could see him.
'I noticed your son exploring and thought that he might he hungry, I have some soup and toasted cheese sandwiches in the rectory for you, Joe is just finishing a few things and then he'll join us for supper.'
'Great I'll just wrangle up the kids.' John smiled showing his dimples, for the first time in the last few months he felt relaxed and almost at ease: almost. A rustling sound made him turn around to check on Sammy, 'what the…get the hell away from my son.'
Sammy laughed as the feathers tickled his face; he reached a chubby hand up and touched the face of the man crouched over him. 'You are a special child Sam, I am so sorry for what will come to pass.' The voice sounded lyrical in the child's ears, as a golden light covered the baby carrier and little boy within it. 'I will keep you safe and will watch over you young Samuel Winchester and if it be the Father's will I shall protect you from what will come.'
A crystalline tear fell from the man's eye and dropped daintily on Sammy's forehead, 'bless you sweet child you will carry the world's problems on your shoulders in time to come but know this, you are loved, you are protected and you are cherished.'
'What the … get the hell away from my son.' The anger in the father's voice took the man's attention away from the baby.
'Fear not John Winchester, nothing is as it seems. All will come to pass as it should.' The man smiled and then disappeared leaving a confused and angry father in his wake.
'Sammy?' John hurried over to his baby and lifted him out of the portable seat, he checked him over making sure that there were no injuries or signs of distress, but his little toddler just giggled and gurgled in his baby chatter, showing off the deep dimples and twelve pearly white teeth as he smiled up at his daddy.
Dean watched his father cuddle Sammy, with a look on his small elfin-shaped face that belied his tender years, he didn't quite understand why his father got so angry at the man who made Sammy smile and laugh but he knew that his dad would have had a good reason. Dean knew that his dad protected him and Sammy from all of the monsters and that was all that mattered to the five year old whose hero stood in front of him cradling a sleepy baby in his big arms. 'Sammy okay dad?'
'Yeah son he's okay,' John answered thickly he couldn't help but muse over the fact that this was the most Dean had said in the last ten months. Perhaps he should send him to school when he turns six, though reluctant to admit it, John well he wanted, just wanted or more truthfully needed his boy close to him for a little while longer.
John finished changing Sammy and tucked him in the bed next to his brother, both boys had fallen asleep during supper, leaving the adults to talk over coffee in front of the fire, until John had to excuse himself, he couldn't keep himself away from his sons any longer and then just to confirm his decision he heard Sam's dinstinctive wail, a diaper change was needed immediately.
'Thank you for everything Father Joe, Hannah.' John bade priest and his sister goodnight before he went back to the room where his sons waited for him.
Lying on the edge of the bed, John put his arm over both of his boys cradling them close, he watched as Sammy's thumb slipped into his mouth and Dean muttered in his sleep, 'we did good Mary,' John said in his nightly homage to his wife, the irony not lost on him with the name of the church, so poetically perfect. 'I have no idea who stood over Sam tonight, Mary, I can only hope it was something good we were in the church holy ground, it has to be something good.' John yawned and watched his sons until his eyes slowly slid shut and he slept an undisturbed slumber filled with heart-warming dreams of his golden-haired wife and their babies. For one night, he was free from flames, yellow eyes and blood. The stranger's words replayed in his mind as he slept until they blurred together and became nothing more than a memory of a lost night.