Thanks for all the reviews. Here's chapter three.
Her Dad would've referred to Marjory Jackson as useless but Mary Winchester has learned to appreciate the value of a woman who can care for a home, a child and a husband. Marge falls to pieces in the face of danger or at the sight of blood—Mary remembers when Cynthia, Marge's eldest, cracked her chin on a picnic table vividly—but she knows how to clean a kitchen, cook a meal and soothe the discomforts of a bad day. As Tommy half-carries her to the house, Marge cradles her Dean, presses kisses on his head, strokes the little bruise on his left arm; Mary feels a surge of jealousy at this natural instinct, wishes she could do that now, but she can barely stand. The adrenaline has worn off and the only thing keeping her on her feet is Tommy's arm. In the eyes of her father, Marjory isn't worth the food it would take to feed her; in the eyes of Mary Winchester, Marjory is worth more than gold.
The house smells like burned food; she takes a side trip to the bathroom with Tommy carefully holding her, and vomits into the toilet. Her guts churn, Sam kicks, and she wants to cry with how twisted her emotions are. She can feel Tommy squirming next to her—he's a good kid, Jenna and Jack have raised him well—and she cannot blame him for his discomfort. Out of the corner of her eye, she watches him jam his hands into his pockets and slouch in the doorway, face turned from her. She retches again and brings up the water.
"Tommy, why don't you watch Dean for a moment?" Marjory's next to him, shooing him off to the living room. The faucet turns and cold water drips forth. "Mary, sweetie? Here, wipe your mouth up real quick and let's give you a lie down."
Growing up in the no nonsense household made her hate being cared for and hate feeling like a burden. Once upon a time, she stitched up her own wounds, woke herself up every two hours for concussions, set her own dislocated bones; now, she bows to Marjory's concern and takes the washcloth to her lips. A moment later, Marjory removes it from her hands and helps her to her feet. Her friend's face shows nothing of her father's disapproval, only the warm glow of love; for some reason, it makes her feel worse.
"You should change, maybe," Marjory suggests, and Mary follows her gaze to the splatters of blood on her dress and the grass stains. "And then you should go to bed."
Her nose wrinkles. "No," her voice is a croak, "no, on the couch, Marge. I want to wait up for John."
"Only if you rest, Mary," Marge sounds like a mother that she'd always wanted and, now, cannot accept. "It's not good for little Sam, all this stress."
She agrees, let's Marge help her pull off the maternity clothing and slip into her nightgown. The process takes far longer than she's used to, even as massively pregnant as she is; her hands keep shaking, her head spins and she continually needs to sit down. Downstairs, she can hear Dean, his voice a whine and a cry all at once, while Tommy tries to comfort him. She wants to be downstairs with him, to pet his head and to sing the song her Mom sang to her when she was young, warning about the bad animals of the night. But that only makes her more tired, makes her sit down more often, makes Marge's frown deepen with each passing second.
"I think you need to stay in bed," Marge decides after she places the gown in the hamper.
Mary sits on the edge of her bed, her head in her hands. "Downstairs, please, Marge." Her voice holds the edge it used to before, when she hunted, when someone she saved fussed about a hurt. Except, back then, she never added the "please."
Marge acquiesces, takes Mary's arm in one hand and snatches the pillows off the bed with the other. Their descent is agonizingly slow, and Dean's whimpers nearly drive her mad, but they reach the bottom, eventually. Tommy has Dean sitting next to him, an arm around his shoulders; he raises his eyebrows when they enter but doesn't move. Dean breaks the embrace instead, standing up and rushing over, only to be stopped by Marjory's arm.
"You need to be gentle," she tells him. "Your Mommy doesn't feel well."
Her first reaction is to snap at Marjory. Dean can hug her anytime, no matter what, even if she's half-eviscerated, but then the dizziness hits her again and proves Marge's point. Tommy bolts up and catches her, and together, he and Marge lower her onto the couch. Dean waits patiently, wearing his big boy face, but his lip trembles and his eyes are puffed up from tears. He crawls up next to her as Marjory fluffs the pillows, pressing against her side, clutching at her nightshirt.
"Wish I coulds sits in your lap," he says, "and give you a teddy bear hug."
She wants to cry all the sudden but holds it in, dipping her head to the side so it rests on his. "A side hug works just as well."
"Nos," he argues. Then, he moves so his hand pets her stomach. "But Sam-yew-l will do it. Won't you, Sammy?"
Damn hormones; she's never getting pregnant again, not after this mess. Two boys will do just fine for her, thank you. She kisses Dean's head and lets the tears drip into his hair. In front of her, Marjory's giving Tommy orders which he accepts readily and bolts from the room. Marjory shifts her so she's lying down and Dean's curled up next to her, grubby and clingy. She even draws a blanket over the pair of them.
"If you need something, holler," she tells Mary. "I'm going to clean the kitchen. Cynthia will be over in a bit to give Dean a bath."
"Don't want a bath," Dean replies, grumpily. "Want to stay here."
She wants him to stay too but nods to Marjory so that the other woman sweeps off to stop the house from catching fire. It hurts to see someone so organized, so motherly, so different than her work in her home, command her child, be everything that she simply can't. Her father told her long ago that hunting was a part of her and no matter how far she ran, how deeply she buried herself, the monsters in her closet would emerge and drag her down. For six years, she'd lived in safety and she'd almost forgotten the warning; now, she thinks she may have been a fool for trying. Marjory may be useless but she can live this life; Mary Winchester can only act, a little girl playing pretend.
At some point, she dozes off because when the next thing she hears are Dean's sleepy protests as Cynthia picks him up. Cynthia looks like her mother, thin, pale, hollow grey eyes in a freckled face; Dean likes her normally, enjoys how she plays dragons with him and pushes him on the swings. But right now, he cries for Mary and Mary sits up, aching, to take him back. Cynthia gives her a look of apology as Mary awkwardly holds him around Sammy, letting him wrap his arms around her neck. Before she got so big, Dean used to crawl into her lap for comfort, wrap his arms and legs about her and call it "hug a teddy bear" time. She never thought she would miss it so much.
"Who's my big boy?" she asks, gently.
"Me," he replies with a hiccup.
"And what do big boys do?"
Dean doesn't answer right away. "They're superheroes like Dad and Jimmy."
She's nearly sick. "No, big, big boys do that. Big boys, like you, take baths when they're asked and then, they come downstairs to read a story. Isn't that right, Cynthia?"
"That's what I heard, Mrs. Winchester," Cynthia agrees, her large eyes concerned. "I'll even put bubbles in for you."
Dean shakes his head. "I want to be a big, big boy."
"You will," her throat constricts because she never, ever wants him to be like John or Jimmy, "and one day, you'll be Sammy's superhero big brother and teach him big boy things. But you have to know exactly how to do them first, right?"
Dean looks up at her, frowning in childish confusion. "I guesses."
"Then you go with Cynthia so when Sammy's here, you can show him how to make bubble pyramids."
He plays with a bit of her hair and mumbles, "Okay, Mommy."
Cynthia leads him upstairs, his expression long suffering, hers patient, and Mary sags against the cushions. The terror has receded leaving her drained but determined. There are things that need to be done, preparations that need to be made, and despite her fatigue and her worries, she's the only one nearby that can do anything. Her legs don't shake quite as bad as she gains her feet and she limps to the kitchen to find the window open and Marjory starting a new supper. She's wearing a flowered apron to cover her simple slacks and shirt, and humming under her breath.
"You said you would rest," she admonishes as Mary sinks into a chair. Hard to believe that not so long ago, she sat in this chair with her biggest worry being her ritualistic visits to the bathroom. The glass of water still waits for her to finish it.
"Has John called, Marge?" she asks in reply, thinking of the baby bottles she has in the cupboard and the rosaries she keeps in her jewelry box.
Marge shakes her head. "Not yet, Mary, but he will as soon as they know anything." She sniffs and stirs what appears to be soup. "Horrible business, there. Jenna called animal control and they're out looking for the beast in case it's rabid. No doubt, Jimmy will need shots."
"Yes," she says, absentmindedly, now thinking of how she needs a silver blade so she can take the black dog down before the mere mortals reach it. First, the hospital to cleanse Jimmy's injury; then, the black dog; after that, oh God, she doesn't want to think of after that so she drinks her water instead. It tastes stale.
"I'm just glad you and Dean are all right," Marge says. "I thought that thing would rip everyone apart."
"It would," Mary murmurs. "And eat out their hearts."
Marge turns to her, eyes wide, "Pardon?"
"That's what feral dogs do, isn't it?" she covers quickly, smacking herself for her mistake.
Marge puts a hand to her lips. "I—I don't know. I've… I've never seen one before."
The phone rings and rescues her. She limps over to it and snatches up the receiver. "Hello?"
"Mary?" John's voice, rough, sweet, perfect; it's a balm on her aching heart. "You should be resting."
"How's Jimmy?" she asks, knowing that the pain will get worse, that the supernatural diseases will set in soon, that Jimmy will slowly be pulled into a dark and pained existence. Her mind travels to his eyes, to his words, and she shoves that away before it can panic her.
"In surgery," John tells her. "It… It doesn't look good, right now, Mary. He's pretty messed up."
John's voice is mournful and for some reason, her chest tightens in response. Maybe it's the similarity of Jimmy's gaze with Dean's eyes, his fretful calls for his mother, even, the funny suspicion that he looks a lot like a child she and John could produce. But even in the Supernatural world, that isn't possible, so she writes it off as channeling her husband's pain. "What do the doctors say?"
"Won't say a damned thing, the bastards," John growls low. "Don't want to commit to an answer. Said they'll give us a full report after he gets out of surgery but there's no telling how long that'll take. Crushed his shoulder like an egg and he about bled out before they got here. Has a rare blood type on top of it all." He trails off. "How's Dean?"
"Scared and a little bruised but he'll be okay," she comforts the best she can. He won't be, once she completes step three of her plan. "He thinks you and Jimmy are superheroes."
"Can I talk to him?" John asks, no, he's pleading.
"He's bathing," she wants to say yes, though, because it will make things better. Dean is one of John's footholds and she can feel her husband slipping. "John, I want to come to the hospital."
John's answer comes with his tough voice, one he only uses when he wants to win a fight before the fight starts. "You can't. The last thing you and the baby need is bad coffee and hard plastic chairs. You stay at home with Dean and I'll call you again when we know more."
"But, John," she protests, clutching the phone. Marge is watching her and she feels uncomfortable. "Please, I…I don't want to leave you alone."
"Jack's here," he says, his voice softer, gentler. But she wants the assurance of his arms and the kiss of his lips. "It'll be all right, Mary."
"I," she begins but she stops herself. "Call me as soon as he's out?"
"I promise," he says. "I love my girl."
"I love my man."
As she replaces the phone on the cradle and leans against the wall, she hopes that he'll still feel that way when everything falls into place.