"What are you gonna do now?"
"…Return to Heaven, I suppose."
"With Michael in the pit, I'm sure it's total anarchy up there."
"So, what? You're the new sheriff in town?"
"…I like that, yeah, I suppose I am."
"Wow…God gives you a brand new, shinny set of wings and suddenly you're his bitch again."
"I don't know what God wants. I don't know if He'll even return, it just…seems like the right thing to do."
"Well, if you do see him, you tell him I'm coming for him next."
"…That's an understatement."
"He helped. Maybe even more than we realize."
"Well that's easy for you to say, he brought you back. But what about Sam? What about me, huh? Where's my Grand Prize? All I got is my brother in a hole!"
"You got what you asked for, Dean. No Paradise. No Hell… Just more of the same."
"I mean it, Dean. What would you rather have? Peace? Or Freedom?"
"Well you really suck at goodbyes, you know that?"
Dean sighed, dragging a hand down his face to clear his mind from that night. The night he'd last seen his friend Cas. The night he'd set out to fulfill his promise to Sam and forced himself to drive to Lisa's and not to the nearest crossroads to sell his soul for a second time. He had been pissed at Castiel for being such a dick, for leaving him without the chance of asking for a way to save Sam. But after a few days he'd realized that his friend was right. That he had gotten what he'd asked for, and that it was no use crying over it now. But that didn't mean he had to like it. He cleared his throat to remind himself that these were forbidden thoughts, and that he had to shove them to the back of his mind before setting a foot in the house.
All walls now up, the Apocalypse now locked deep into the confines of his head, Dean stepped out of the impala and walked to the front door. The keys of the house jingled in his hand as he opened it. It had been almost a year since he'd showed up on Lisa's doorstep, barely able to keep a straight face as she answered the door.
He chuckled to himself. Who would have thought? Dean Winchester had settled down and actually had a normal house, and had been living with the same woman for practically a year, with a boy that he considered his own kid (practically since the first day he'd met him). He shook his head. Hell, if he hadn't been living like this for a year, he'd almost deny he'd ever have such a life.
Finally getting the door open – one year and he couldn't get the freaking key to work at the first try, God he missed picking locks with a paper clip – he walked in and hung his coat.
"I'm home!" he announced, letting the wonderful smells coming from the kitchen guide his steps.
Lisa was baking. She had her blue apron on, and by the smell coming out of the oven, this was the second pie she was planning on making.
"Hey there, stranger." she smiled, pushing her bangs out of her face with her wrist, trying not to get her dark hair covered in flour.
Dean looked over her shoulder, placing his hands on her hips as he took on the beautiful art piece in the making that was sitting right in front of him on the counter. "Hmm…I love coming back to your apple pie." She laughed, giving him a peck on the lips before focusing back on her master piece. Dean grinned and walked towards the fridge, helping himself to a bottle of beer before leaning on the counter beside Lisa.
"How was work?" she asked, glancing at him briefly before going back to putting the apple pieaces in place.
"It was okay," he answered, taking a sip of the cold beer, "I managed to save Frank's old car today, you know, the old Shelby." The man had a beautiful red 68 Shelby GT500, and he'd finally convinced him that it would be a sin to throw such a wonderful car away. After keeping it stashed in his garage for who knows how many years, the old man was happy to be able to show it off to the neighborhood…and rub it in his wife's face, who'd been moaning about that car being a useless, rusty piece of metal for years.
"Really?" she grinned, "His wife's gonna be thrilled."
He chuckled, "He practically burned the rubber off the tires he was so eager to see the look on her face." Lisa laughed.
The front door swung open and Ben made himself known as he noisily dropped his bag on the hallway and ran to the kitchen.
"Hey, mom!" the kid skipped into the room, his face splitting into a grin as soon as he saw Dean, "Dean! You're home early!" he chirped.
Dean chuckled, ruffling the kid's hair with a warm smile, "Yup! Couldn't miss out on your mom's wonderful apple pie."
"You made apple pie?" Ben beamed, "Awesome! We haven't had that one in months!"
Lisa laughed, "That's not true! I made one two weeks ago, remember? For our dinner at the Johnson's." she put her hands at her hips, narrowing her eyes, "But strangely enough, when I went to get it, there was nothing but the crumbs left."
Dean put on a mock frown of confusion, "I don't recall such an event ever taking place," God, he almost sounded like Cas, "Do you, Benjamin?" he looked down at the boy, who played along and put a hand to his chin in mock thought.
"Nope! It doesn't seem to have registered." He laughed, "You must be getting delusional, mom."
She gasped in fake offense, "Benjamin Isaac Braden, you take that back right this second, or you won't be having pie anytime soon."
Ben's eyes widened and he laced his finger together, holding them up in a begging gesture, still unable to keep the smile from his lips, "I take it back, I take it back! Pleasepleasepleaseplease!"
Lisa narrowed her eyes, seeming to think it over. Dean came to the little boy's rescue, putting a hand on his brown hair as the kid pulled his best puppy face, "Come on, Lisa, spare him the ultimate punishment. That's cruel, even for you."
"Fine," she gave in, almost managing to suppress the grin tugging at her lips, "He can have pie." She then pointed her wooden spoon threateningly at Dean, "But you're not getting any."
"What? What did I do?" Lisa and Ben laughed as he gaped pathetically at her, and Dean felt the cold memories that had attacked him in the car banish.
"Alright, alright…" she smiled, kissing him on the cheek and patting his shoulder, purposely covering it with flour. Ben giggled, and Lisa finally went back to the pie. "Ben, get your bag ready, Miel will be here any minute now."
"Okay!" the boy chirped, running back to get his bag from the hallway.
Dean's green eyes followed after him before turning back to Lisa with a small frown, "Miel?"
"Oh! She's gonna help Ben with his homework," she smiled, "She's a really sweet girl." She looked up at him, "She actually offered to babysit on Fridays."
Dean raised his eyebrows, "Nice." He grinned, "Does that mean we can go out tonight?"
Lisa laughed knowingly, "I thought you might like the idea. There's this new restaurant I've been wanting to try for a while."
Dean smiled, but couldn't help but to worry at the thought of leaving the kid alone, even if it was with a babysitter. Who knew if there were demons out there still waiting to get some payback for locking Lucy downstairs. Lisa must have noticed his concern, as he suddenly felt her hand on his cheek.
"Hey, it'll be okay," she assured him, making his eyes turn to hers, "Ben's smart. He knows what's out there, and you've already warded the house against demons." She offered him a gentle smile, "Besides, it's not like you haven't told him more than enough times what to do when he's alone in the house."
He still couldn't quite believe how well Lisa had adapted to her knowledge of what was really out there. She'd even agreed to let him teach Ben how to use a gun, and how to draw a devil's trap. Hell, she'd even asked him to teach her. It was at times like these that he realized how much he really loved her.
"What would I do without you?" He sighed with a smile.
"Worry yourself sick, that's what." She grinned, kissing him lightly on the lips before going back to her pie. "I'm almost done with this, so go take a shower, you smell like oil."
He grinned, "I thought you liked it when I came home dirty."
She smiled, "Oh, I do. But I don't think the people in the restaurant will appreciate it as much."
"Point taken." He tilted his head before going for the stairs, ruffling Ben's hair as he walked past him in the hallway.
"I'll get it!" Dean walked down the stairs, rolling up the sleeves of his dark shirt to his shoulders as he made his way to the front door. He could hear Lisa walking around upstairs, getting ready to go out for dinner, and Ben playing with his videogame as silently as possible.
He opened the door and was faced with the bluest pair of eyes he'd seen in at least a year. Standing in front of him was a girl that looked to be around 18 years old, her blonde hair pulled into a messy bun. She wore a dark coat that reached to her thighs and jeans, and around her neck was wrapped a very warm-looking blue scarf.
"Hi, I'm Miel," she gave him a sweet smile, "I'm here to help Ben with his homework." She talked with a confidence that seemed odd in her young voice, "You must be Dean."
"What? Uh, yeah!" he was pulled from his thoughts as the girl offered out her hand. He took it, surprised at the strength in her delicate-looking hands, "Dean Winchester," he cleared his throat and put on his usual grin, nodding towards the house, "Come on in." he stepped aside to let her walk in.
She smiled before moving past him and Dean let out a small breath of relief when she walked over the devil's trap hidden under the carpet and nothing demonic happened. He could have sworn he saw the girl's lips curl up knowingly, but Lisa was already walking down the stairs, and Miel had turned to greet her.
"Oh, hi Miel," she said sweetly, "Thank you so much for staying tonight, I hope we didn't ruin any plans for you."
The girl laughed, "Not at all," she assured her, "I tend to go out more on Saturdays, so this is really no big deal."
"Well, I'm glad to hear that," Lisa smiled, she had obviously fallen for the girl's charms, but Dean wasn't so sure he trusted her yet, "Ben, come meet Miel!"
Ben came out of the living room with a grin, "Hi!"
"Hey there!" she replied with a smile of her own.
"I'm Ben," he introduced himself, even though it was more than obvious who he was, "You like video games?" Dean could see the protest about to come out of Lisa's mouth, but it seemed like Miel was not one to be fooled by sweet puppy faces.
"Of course I do," she answered easily, "But you won't be getting anywhere near the TV until we're done with your homework, young man." her voice was playful, but Dean could tell that she wasn't kidding, and apparently, so could Ben.
"Aaw," he whined half-heartedly, walking back into the living room.
Lisa raised her eyebrows in amazement, "Wow," she glanced at Ben's back, "Seems like everything's under control here."
"Yep," she grinned, and Dean actually found himself falling for the girl's smile too—No, Dean! Focus, man! Focus! – Her blue eyes met the ex-hunter's for a second, and again he got the feeling that she knew what he was thinking, "Everything's perfectly under control."
"Alright, I guess we'll leave you to it then." Lisa was clearly relieved that Ben was going to be on a leash, and Dean had to admit that he didn't feel anything dark emanating from the girl…just…strangely familiar…he couldn't quite put his finger on it yet.
"Our numbers are on the fridge," he informed the girl, again slightly taken aback by the wisdom in her gaze, "Just call if you need anything, that little monster can be tough to deal with at times."
"I heard that!" came Ben's voice from the living room.
The laughter that followed seemed to lift up the tension over Dean's stomach, and he was comforted by the honesty in Miel's eyes when she assured them again that everything would be just fine. And so, with a smile, he and Lisa left the house with the confidence that everything would really be okay.
It wasn't until halfway through dinner that Dean realized why something about her seemed familiar.