AN: Now, don't worry. This story is complete with seven parts so it will not take away my time from Queen of Hearts and there will be no waiting around for updates. I'm going to update once a day. Just some additional info about this story, it was originally supposed to be a Dean/Ruby's First Host story but I changed it around a little so it would fit a human Ruby. So it is MAJORLY AU. I was going to post it in the 'a million little stars spelling out your name' collection, but then it got long. Anyway, this story is pretty much this year's 'a ghost of you.' I worked really hard to get it finished and finally here it is.
Title: well, bless my soul
Summary: He met her about a week and a half after he turned twenty-six and if he's feeling particularly cheesy, he'll say meeting her was the best birthday present he had ever gotten. The evolution of a relationship. Seven parts.
Rating: T for language and themes.
Timeline: Starts Pre-Series and goes all the way through the series and to 5.22.
Spoilers: Spoilers for all aired episodes of Supernatural.
Warnings: Human!Ruby and heavy AU.
Notes: Title from the song Say (All I Need) by OneRepublic which is the unofficial theme song for this story.
Dedication: This story goes out to Daddy's LiL HeartBreaker basically just because she's awesome and I'm really going to miss our D/R talks over the summer.
Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or any of the characters that you recognize. I do not own ''She Walks In Beauty'' by Lord Byron either.
well, bless my soul
Written by Becks Rylynn
''She walks in beauty''
she walks in beauty, like the night
of cloudless climes and starry skies;
and all that's best of dark and bright
meet in her aspect and her eyes
He met her about a week and a half after he turned twenty-six and if he's feeling particularly cheesy, he'll say meeting her was the best birthday present he had ever gotten.
She's a beautiful girl. With snowflakes in her hair and her cheeks tinged red from the cold weather. She looks like the kind of girl he would go for, the kind of girl he would stroll over to in a crowded bar and start a conversation with. She's beautiful and delicate looking and that's what he likes in a woman. But she's different. She looks frazzled, tired with the world, burned out by the constant motion around her. And she's a mom. She has a baby on her hip, bundled in a snow jacket, little mitten clad hands grabbing at her hair.
He doesn't notice all of this, of course. At least not at first. He's here on a case (witches, the annoying pests) and she's just another person on the crowded street corner and he doesn't know her, so why would anything other than her beauty catch his eye? He's on his cell phone as he passes her, listening to his father ramble on and on and on endlessly about how he'd better check in when this case is over because last time he didn't and ''do you know what I went through, Dean? I thought you were dead in the gutter. That is not a pleasant feeling.''
He's hurrying down the street as snow falls from the sky, fed up with his father's suffocating attitude and hating the world like only teenagers are supposed to and he shuts the phone with a grunt of frustration, mind drifting towards his brother. And he's thinking about Sam and she's thinking about getting home...
...And then the baby in her arms drops a mitten, the small article of clothing slipping off the tiny hand and falling noiselessly to the cold ground that is quickly becoming covered in snow.
It's funny. Isn't it?
How such a small thing like a child's mitten can throw people together into something much bigger than either of them ever could have imagined.
Now, he may not look like he's a gentleman, he may adamantly refuse to be acknowledged as anything other than badass, but he has a soft side to him that is warm like rich hot chocolate and a sweetness that cannot be denied lives inside of him, leftover from those four precious years spent in his mother's company, something that cannot be hardened by years of war. He sees the look on her face. How flustered and exhausted she is, juggling the baby and a bag of groceries and that hero complex this life has built inside of him decides to make an appearance.
He moves swiftly, snatching up the mitten from the ground before someone steps on it and when she looks at him like he's a hero, well, that's just a plus.
She smiles tiredly. ''Thanks. That's like the third time that's happened today.'' She laughs lightly, shifting the child on her hip. ''I feel like he's trying to tell me something.''
He chuckles softly, a smile breaking out on his face for the first time all day, his eyes moving to the child. The little boy's eyes have landed on him, gazing up at him in either pure wonder or horror, his bare hand stuffed into his mouth while the other is tangled in his mother's blonde hair. ''Hey, bud,'' he greets the boy with that soft voice he reserves for small children and Sammy, his fingers effortlessly and gently tugging the baby's hand out of his mouth and slipping the mitten back on. ''You should keep those on,'' he warns and the boy's newly gloved hand reaches for him. ''It's cold out.'' With a grin, he turns his gaze back to her and that would be the moment he realizes just how...beautiful she really is.
It makes him swallow hard. The last time he had to swallow hard because of a girl's beauty was Cassie.
He snaps himself out of it remarkably quick, still grinning that seemingly careless grin he has perfected over the years. ''Trust me, this is nothing. When my little brother was four, he went through this phase of hiding his winter clothes. Eventually, my dad found them all under his bed. Every month, like clockwork, we'd find this huge pile of coats and scarves and mittens under the bed. And Sammy would say he was making a bed for the dust bunnies because he thought it was sad that they had to sleep on the floor.''
And when she laughs and smiles brightly, he has to swallow hard again. ''That's sweet. ...In an adorably innocent way.''
When he notices the way she seems to be uncomfortably shifting the grocery bag, her bare hands quickly losing grip as she holds her son tightly, he does that Winchester thing. He saves the damsel in distress. ''Why don't I take this for you?'' He offers, easily taking the bag from her grasp.
''Oh, that's really okay,'' she starts to protest, but he's not willing to back down from this one. ''You don't have to - ''
''It's okay,'' he says. ''I don't mind.''
Her lips curve into a soft smile, her blue eyes meeting his. ''Thank you...''
''Dean,'' she repeats. ''Well, Dean, I'm Ruby. And this little troublemaker,'' she sends her son a brilliant smile that lights up her eyes. ''Is Wyatt.''
''It's nice to meet you, Ruby.'' Eventually, after a moment that feels like it goes on for too long, he tears his eyes away from her. ''And you too Wyatt,'' he adds, earning a murmur of something that he can't quite distinguish from the boy. ''Listen, can I give you a ride anywhere? It's cold and it looks like there's a storm coming.''
''That's sweet, really, but I live on the next block so - ''
''Then let me at least walk you home. Make sure you get there safely.''
She looks at him for a minute, looking unsure of him and the kindness he's showing her that he suspects she doesn't get very often. In the end, a small laugh escapes her lips as she untangles her son's hand from her hair. ''Are you always this chivalrous?''
''Only when there's a pretty girl standing out in the snow with her baby.''
''Are you trying to sweet talk me?''
''That depends. Is it working?''
She smiles again, shaking her head and he thinks he can see the beginning of a blush starting on her cheeks. ''I appreciate the offer, but I don't know you. And my father was always very clear when he said that I should never talk to strangers.''
''I'm not a stranger,'' he protests. ''You know my name.''
''How do I know that's your real name?''
''You're very stubborn.''
''Please let me walk you home. I promise, I won't try anything.''
She studies him closely for a moment and then her eyes stray to Wyatt. She looks at the baby, teeth sinking into her lower lip, conflict in her eyes and then she sighs heavily and nods. ''All right. You can walk me home. But I do have to warn you, if you try anything I will kill you and say it was self defense.''
They had an adorable first meeting. Really, they did. Something to tell the grandchildren. He walked her home, she kissed his cheek and then he left, shaking off whatever feelings may have taken over him. That was supposed to be the end of it. It was a chance meeting. A once in a lifetime thing. He was never going to see her again. But then the case he was working on decided to bleed over into her life when he found out just who the witch in the city was.
As it turned out, her roommate was a sweet girl who fawned over Wyatt, developed a habit of bringing Ruby a coffee every morning and regularly prayed to the dark side.
Things only got worse when she took Wyatt.
Dean huffs impatiently, crossing his arms, eyes steady and focused on Ruby. ''Quite possibly,'' he deadpans. ''But right now I'm the only hope you've got. You want your kid back or not?''
She shakes her head, backing away from him. Her tearstained cheeks and the terror in her eyes seem to mock him with cruelty and he absolutely hates that she's afraid of him. ''I'm calling the - ''
He crosses the room in two quick strides and rips the phone from the wall, carelessly tossing it on the ground. ''Ruby, you can believe me or not. I don't care.'' Except that's a lie. In all honesty, he does care if she believes him. ''Just tell me where Stacy's room is.''
She looks at him, looks behind him towards the door as if she's trying to decide whether or not she should make a run for it. He moves in front of the door, blocking her exit. And when he opens his mouth to speak, she turns around and darts into the kitchen with speed he didn't know she possessed.
He sighs. ''Great.'' Pinching the bridge of his nose, he steps over the phone and makes his way into the kitchen. His eyes fall on her slightly trembling form at the counter, her back to him and he feels this twinge of regret start in his stomach. It's a shame that she has to know about these things. He never wanted to disrupt her normal life with her son. If he had wanted to turn her life upside down, he would have asked for her number when he walked her home. But he didn't. Because she's young and beautiful and she's got a son that should grow up with apple pie instead of demons and ghosts. ''Ruby, I know this is - ''
She whips around to face him, eyes dark and fierce, her fingers wrapped around a knife that is pointed in his direction. ''Stay away from me,'' she growls out.
''For Christ's sake, woman!'' He bursts out, but he puts his hands in the air anyway because it is a very large knife that looks like it could do some real damage. ''I am trying to help you! What part of that don't you understand? You need to believe me when I say - ''
''You burst in here and tell me my roommate is a witch and she's the one who's taken my son because she's going to sacrifice him to a demon and you expect me to believe that you're just trying to help? You're insane! You need help! You're probably the one who took my son!''
''Okay, you know what? I don't have time for this. Your friend? Yeah, she's a psycho. She's a witch. She's like a Charmed One, except she's evil. Witches are real, ghosts are real, demons are real and it may be a lot to take in, but it's the truth. Now, you want to have me arrested? That's fine. I'll sit here and wait for the cops like a good boy and I won't even flinch. But can you call the cops after I bring your son back? Because they won't be able to find him. I will.''
She falters, her grip on the knife loosening. ''How will you find him?'' She asks, suspicion still lacing her tone.
''I don't know yet,'' he answers honestly. ''I need to see Stacy's room.''
''If she's a witch, she'll have an altar somewhere.''
''That's - ''
''Crazy? Yeah, I got that memo, sweetheart. But it's the truth.'' He eyes her closely; pretty sure she's starting to believe him. ''Can you put the knife down?''
''No,'' she fires back easily. ''I think I'll hang onto it for awhile.'' She tilts her head to the side and cautiously takes a step towards him. ''I can take you to her room,'' she says, movements still uneasy, knife still held tightly in her hand. ''But only if you're sure that this will help you bring my son back.''
''I'll get him back,'' he says, looking into her desperate eyes. ''I promise.'' It's a direct violation of the rules his father has burned into his brain. Never make promises you can't keep. But he can't stop the words from escaping his lips this time and he realizes, as she shows him to Stacy's room, that this is one promise he knows he has to keep.
''Thank you,'' he says softly, brushing past her and into the room.
''I'm crazy for believing you,'' she admits. ''I'm stupid for trusting you.''
''But you do anyway?''
''I don't know why.''
He pulls open the drawers of Stacy's desk, roughly pushes her mattress off the frame of the bed, yanks books off the shelves and then his eyes fall on the closet. Sparing a glance at her, he grasps the doorknob, pulls it open and arches an eyebrow at the sight before him. ''That's why.''
She pushes off the wall she's leaning against and joins him, eyes widening when she sees the altar in the closet, candles and demonic symbols written in blood. He glances at her briefly, watching the disbelief in her eyes slowly give way to fear. ''Oh my god,'' she breathes. ''You were...You were telling the truth.''
''Excellent deduction skills, Sherlock.'' Stepping forwards, he grasps the edge of the table and roughly tips it over, stomping on the wood to break the symbols, glass crunching under his boots.
''Is that it?'' She asks when he steps back to admire his handiwork. ''Is that...?''
''No,'' he says shortly. ''Now I have to find them.'' He bends down to pick up a photograph off the ground, the smiling face of a baby boy staring up at him from behind a red X. He presses his lips together and works hard to keep his blank mask on his face, crumpling the picture before she can see.
''Wait!'' She catches his arm when he attempts to move past her, opting for setting the knife down and just digging her nails into his arm instead. ''I want to go with you.''
''Dean, if she had your son...'' He doesn't budge, staring down at her with empty eyes, determined to keep her out of harm's way. She doesn't give up though, leaning closer and narrowing her eyes. ''If she had your brother...'' He reacts, flinching under her gaze before he can stop himself. ''What would you do?''
''Fine. You can come.''
''How do you know she's here? Are you sure she's here? What if you're wrong?''
''Good God, woman,'' he snaps out. ''Do you ever shut up?''
He grimaces as soon as the words leave his mouth because he's dealing with a very emotional and desperate mother and he really doesn't want her crying all over him right now. But she glares instead of bursting into tears and mutters, ''I should've brought the knife,'' under her breath and that? He can deal with. ''How do you know this is the place?'' She asks, tapping her fingers on the dashboard anxiously.
''There was a map in her room and - '' he reaches over to grasp her hand, halting her nervous drumming. '' - This address was circled.''
''That doesn't mean she's going to be here. If Wyatt isn't here, Dean - ''
''I know, I know. You'll kill me.'' He wrenches open the door and starts to climb out, pausing just long enough to throw her a look and say, ''There's really no use in telling you to stay here, is there?''
In response, she rolls her eyes at him and yanks open her door with a force that makes him uncomfortable. ''Watch the car, blondie,'' he grumbles, grabbing her arm and pulling her towards him before she can foolishly burst into the old abandoned warehouse in front of her with no plan whatsoever. A move that would get not only them but Wyatt killed. ''Stay close, be quiet and let me do my job,'' he orders.
''I don't like men who give me orders,'' she says.
''Right now, that's too damn bad.''
''You know,'' she mulls. ''You were so nice and thoughtful when you walked me home.''
''Yeah, well, my chivalry died a horrible death when you pointed a knife at me. Now, shush. We're being sneaky now.''
She glares at him and looks like she'd really like to say something, but she doesn't say a word, letting him lead her towards the heavy metal door. He's guessing her silence won't last two seconds, but surprisingly, she makes it all the way inside and down a darkened hallway before she speaks up again. ''Dean - ''
He swallows a sigh, shouldering his gun. ''Hush.''
''But, Dean - ''
''Ruby, what part of 'we're being sneaky now' is lost on you?''
''Dean,'' she hisses his name out in impatience, reaching out to grasp his arm. He turns around, starts to scold her and then clamps his mouth shut when he sees the glow of a light down the hall, the flickering light casting eerie shadows on the wall. He pushes her behind him, ignoring her squeak of disapproval. ''Stay behind me.''
''You're entirely too bossy, Dean. You should - ''
The sound of a baby crying, loud, wailing, frightened cries for his mother filter throughout the place and he looks at her just long enough to see her entire demeanor shift. Her game face slips and she looks how she must feel inside. Like a terrified, vulnerable mother who just wants to have her child safe in her arms. His jaw clenches and he tries, and fails, to feel nothing at all. Stacy has her back to them when they get there, the room's only lighting the dim flames from the candles flickering on another altar. And when he sees that tiny baby with a nasty looking dagger aimed at his chest, hears Stacy's chants and feels Ruby's fingernails clutching at him, his heart stops for just a second. But then he comes back to earth and releases the safety on his gun. ''Hey!''
Stacy whirls around with a scowl on her face, black hair falling in her pale face. She perks right up when she sees them, however and honestly, that kind of freaks him out a little. ''Oh, hey guys! What's up?''
''Stacy,'' Ruby's voice comes out sounding choked and terrified, her eyes trained on her son. ''What are you...You can't do this.''
''Yeah,'' Stacy grimaces. ''Sorry about this, sweetie,'' she says, gesturing towards Wyatt. ''It sucks that this has to happen, but,'' she shrugs carelessly, eyes still bright and cheery. ''You can have others.''
''Just how mentally ill are you, Dark Willow?'' Dean blurts out before he can stop himself.
''Oh, Buffy reference,'' Stacy chirps. ''Good one.'' She eyes the gun with distaste. ''You mind putting that down there, cowboy? You're very hot and I wouldn't want to have to kill you. That would be a shame.''
''You'd be dead before you tried.''
''Really? Let's see.''
''Look, Stacy. That's your name, right? Stacy? Stacy, listen to me for a second, all right? Don't you think handing over the kid is a better solution than having a bullet in your brain?''
She giggles. ''Sorry. Would if I could. But I need a sacrifice. Wyatt's small and not really that important to society. No one's gonna miss him.''
''I'm thinkin' his mom might disagree.''
''Oh,'' she scoffs, waving her hand dismissively. ''She'll get over it.''
''You know if you make one move towards that boy, I'll shoot you.''
She tilts her head to the side, curiously. ''You think your aim is that good?''
''Yes, I do.''
''Hmm. Well, you know what? I trust my aim too.''
It happens quickly and Dean doesn't have time to react. Stacy throws the dagger at him and before he can react, there's a body tackling him to the ground. The dagger clatters to the ground, his gun slides across the floor and Dean groans at the hard landing. Ruby rolls off of him quickly, her eyes go to her son and he reaches for her, but she's already up and gone, making a desperate move for her son. It doesn't work, but Dean knew it wouldn't. Instead, Stacy catches Ruby by the hair, pulling her back to her with an ugly smile that doesn't fit properly on her face. ''Then again, I suppose you'll work too.'' She drags Ruby over to the table and Dean pushes himself off the ground and starts to rush forwards, only to halt when Stacy holds up his discarded gun. ''I'll kill her,'' she warns. ''I mean, I'm going to kill her either way, but I think it'd be best if you just stayed right where you are. I think - ''
And then Ruby shocks them both by grabbing a pair of scissors lying haphazardly on the altar and shoving them right into Stacy's gut.
A shocked scream escapes Stacy's lips and she chokes pathetically as blood trickles out of the corner of her mouth, the gun slipping from her weak grasp. ''You...'' She looks at Ruby with wide, surprised eyes, looks down at the pair of scissors sticking out of her and then lifts her gaze once more, fire in her eyes. ''Bitch.'' Her hand curls into a fist and she punches Ruby with enough strength to send Ruby to the ground. While Dean rushes towards Ruby, Stacy stumbles backwards until she hits the wall, sliding down until she's on the ground, eyelids fluttering shut.
''Ruby,'' Dean hauls her to her feet, brushing hair out of her face. ''Hey, are you okay?'' It seems like a stupid question to ask when she's just killed another human being. ''Are you hurt?''
''I'm...'' Her slightly stunned eyes land on Stacy's limp body and her face pales, going ashen and sickly looking. She pushes past him without a word, making her way over to the body and Dean doesn't say anything because Stacy was a wackjob but she had once upon a time been Ruby's friend, right? Ruby crouches down in front of the fallen girl, eyes shining in the light from the flames. He hears her sigh heavily and watches her outstretch a hand towards the dead girl. Seconds before Ruby's hand touches Stacy's cheek, Stacy's eyes open. She gasps, looks straight at Ruby and lunges. Ruby lets out a scream worthy of a horror movie, falls backwards and Dean pulls the trigger.
Blood splatters the wall behind Stacy's head and she slumps the ground with her brains on the wall and blood pooling around her.
Ruby looks at Dean, a whirlwind of emotions flashing through her eyes. And he's really not sure what to say now. Their eyes lock and hold for a moment and then she lets out what sounds like a strangled sob, her eyes moving past Dean to something much more important. ''Wyatt.'' She scrambles to her feet, pushing past him to get to her son. ''Oh, baby.'' She gathers Wyatt in her arms, clinging to him like he's her lifeline, burying her face in his jacket. ''My baby.''
Dean watches tears of relief slip from her eyes as she holds her son.
And that right there is what makes this life worth it.
Try as he might, he was unable to deny that there was just something about that girl. He still can't deny that there's something about her. She's special, that girl. And he had rolled through a lot of towns and left a lot of women wanting more; he had been asked to stay many times. But she was the one person who made him want to.
''All of it?'' She asks, the morning light shining in through the flimsy curtains, the smell of coffee wafting up in the air from their mugs. ''It's all real?'' She holds her son tight, the little boy dozing in her lap, eyelids barely staying open, his little blue eyes still studying Dean critically as he sucks on three of his fingers and twirls his mother's hair. ''Ghosts? Demons? Witches? All of those urban legends?''
He nods, his grip on his coffee mug tightening. ''Yep.''
She blinks, shaking her head. ''Is there anything that isn't real?''
She chuckles softly. ''That's too bad. My mother loved unicorns.''
He notices the past tense, but doesn't ask. ''You believe me,'' he says, and it isn't a question.
''I have no reason to distrust you. You saved my son. You saved me. You're a good guy in my book.''
''I'm glad,'' he says honestly.
She runs a hand over Wyatt's head of dirty blond hair, looking at Dean across the table. ''You fight them all?'' She asks. ''All the monsters and ghosts? You fight them?''
''Sometimes.'' His father joins him on hunts now and then, but there's not really a big difference between being alone and being with his father.
''That sounds lonely,'' she whispers. ''Do you get lonely?''
God, yes. All of the damn time. ''...Not really.''
She looks at him like she can tell he's lying, but she lets it go. ''Why do you do it? Fight these things? It seems like an awfully hard life.''
''Well,'' he shrugs. ''Someone's got to.''
''I think there's more to the story than that.''
He swallows, eyes moving to the sun outside. Snow is falling once again; little flakes that fall gracefully from the sky and land without noise on the busy world below. He's never said it out loud, not to anyone, but he's always loved the snow. His mom loved the snow. ''My Mom...'' He pauses, wondering why he's telling her this when he's never told anyone this before. ''She...'' He trails off and doesn't say the rest. He doesn't need to.
''Oh,'' she says quietly. ''I'm sorry.''
He doesn't say a word, taking a gulp of his coffee just to do something, burning his tongue in the process.
''You know,'' she clears her throat, smiling softly at him. ''You can stay.''
He freezes, locking eyes with her. ''You...You want me to stay with you?''
''If you want to,'' she shrugs. ''For a few days. Until the snow stops.''
Until the snow stops, he thinks. He looks at her closely and tries to decode her. But he can't. It annoys the hell out of him. ''I'd like that,'' he answers her with honesty, his eyes looking around the light apartment, baby toys strewn around the room, the feeling of home in the air. It's something warm and something he's never had and it's so very tempting. ''You have no idea how much.''
''But you can't.''
He offers her a smile instead. ''I can't.'' He doesn't stop her when she reaches across the table to take his hand, her finger tracing patterns in the palm of his hand.
''Because you have to go save the world.''
''Something like that.'' He tangles his hand with hers and squeezes gently before rising to his feet. ''I should get going,'' he murmurs and he kisses her on the forehead just to feel her once without allowing himself to think. ''Thanks for the coffee.''
But she catches him before he can leave, calling out his name, ''Dean!'' And when he turns, she's got Wyatt on her hip and a soft smile on her face and she's reaching up to touch his face with care. ''You saved my son,'' she says again. ''Thank you.'' And then she leans up and kisses him on the lips.
It's a five second kiss. Warm and soft. But it's something. And he closes his eyes when she kisses him so that must mean something.
She pulls back with a grin. He opens his eyes. He thinks he should say something. But he honestly has no idea what to say. So, he says, ''I'll see you around, Ruby'' and hopes the absence of a goodbye is enough.
''I'll see you around, Dean.''
He starts down the hallway, leaving her and Wyatt behind.
He stops, but doesn't turn around.
''My mom died when I was thirteen,'' she admits, voice barely above a whisper. He turns around. ''Drunk driver. It hurt and it...it still hurts. It doesn't stop. And I wanted revenge. For a long time all I wanted was for the person responsible to suffer. But that wasn't what she would have wanted for me. Grief and rage are powerful things. But they're not the only things. Just...please don't let your need for revenge destroy you. Okay?''
He stares at her for a long time, before he answers. ''Okay.''
end chapter one
AN: As you can tell, this story is going to be told through a series of flashbacks until we get to where Dean currently is in his life in present time. I've tried to make Ruby a loving mother who is sweet but has a tough streak. One thing I know for sure is that she'll definitely become more...kick ass and sharp tongued as the story progresses. Anywa, the next update will be tomorrow and there will be somewhat of a time skip.