So Much for My Happy Ending
Summary: After a profound meeting with the Slayer, Dean makes the ultimate sacrifice to spare her in the looming Apocalypse.
Spoiler warning: Based around episodes S3 "The Kids Are Alright", "Dream a Little Dream of Me" and S5 "99 Problems" and other snippets of episodes listed in the A/N
Timeline: Several years after "Chosen" and SPN seasons noted above
Ch. 1 Unexpected Developments
Buffy sucked in a breath and wiped her face clean of perspiration as she finished up her run through her new neighborhood. After moving into the town almost a week ago, she was just now settling into the quaint, suburban neighborhood in a gated community. She never pictured herself living in such a quiet town but until a few months ago, she was forced into retirement and, per Dawn's gripings, not to mention the entire gang, pressured her into moving as far from the Cleveland Hellmouth as possible.
She took pause as she noticed a group of police cars outside a house, along with a bevy of onlookers gathered around. As her instinct sparked, she casually jogged over and squeezed through a crowd to see an eight foot ladder on an area of lawn cordoned off by police tape. She eyed an older redheaded woman carrying a deeply distressed expression.
"Hey um, I'm new to the neighborhood," Buffy said. "What's going on here?"
The redheaded woman shook her head in sadness.
"Well, sorry for such a horrible way to come into the neighborhood. I'm Dana Sugarman, three doors down from the Yales."
Dana glanced at the house in question. Buffy watched as two medics wheeled a body draped with a sheet into a coroner's van.
"Rob Yale, poor guy, he was patching up the shingles on his roof when his foot slipped. Fell to his death. Just horrible," Dana moaned.
"Oh so, uh, it was an accident?"
Dana nodded. "A tragic accident."
Buffy glanced at the front door as a uniformed officer walked out, escorted by a dark haired woman and her daughter, about eight years old.
"Poor gals," Dana moped. "That's Carrie and her daughter Libby. I can't imagine what they're going through."
Dana dipped her eyes as she parted from the crowd and went back to her house. Buffy hitched her head up over the rest of the onlookers, drawn by the expression on Libby's face. Libby stood under her mother's arms with a blank look as the coroner's van drove away.
Buffy stepped out of the crowd as the neighbors gossiped around her.
"I'm going to ban my husband from using ladders," one woman said. "That's the second ladder related accident in two weeks."
Buffy perched on the curb when she heard this.
"Yeah, I'm not going to let my husband do any home improvement projects," the woman's friend said. "It's like a sign that an accident will happen."
Buffy ambled across the street and blew out a deep breath as a groan rattled in her throat. She knew better than to believe two deaths in the same neighborhood were just accidents.
"So much for the safest city in America," she moaned softly as she jogged out of the neighborhood.
All of her Slayer instincts were urging her to sneak back to the Yales' resident after sunset and investigate clues to verify whether Rob's death really was just an accident or something more. She blew out a deep breath as she pushed her feet forward. She had been out of hunting for four months, but after eight years of fighting evil, it wasn't as easy to live her life now without poking her nose back into the demon business.
But Dawn, Giles, Willow and just about everyone back in Cleveland forbid her from ever stepping foot into the supernatural world again. Willow had found a rental house in the community of Cicero, which had a relatively low crime rate involving strictly petty thefts over the course of twelve years. The gang had put together the first six months of rent and moved Buffy out in a matter of days. She had fought tooth and nail about being so far away from her friends and the life she had become accustomed to but Giles insisted she had to focus on a new path.
Though she was immensely proud that the gang had a handle on just about any new outbreak of evil on the Hellmouth or in the world for that matter, she missed the fervent chatter sprung by the latest demon attack, all the little things she had taken for granted, especially having company. She hadn't yet made too many friends since moving in but all the neighbors who welcomed her had been very helpful. She had even been invited to a backyard barbecue thrown by her next door neighbor Trisha who had a six year old son.
Buffy stopped jogging and quenched her heavy thirst with a long sip of water. Feeling a grumbling in her belly, she dug into a little sack strapped around her waist and ate a banana as she headed back to her neighborhood.
She stopped off at an internet café and ordered two bowls of fruit with yogurt and juice. As she perused the internet for several minutes, she noticed a headline reading: MAN DIES IN FREAK ACCIDENT. She clicked on the article and quickly skimmed the contents.
"Oh great," she groaned softly. "Accidental death by power saw, yeah right."
Buffy gulped when a college aged guy eyed her with an odd expression. She blew a deep sigh and shook her head.
Dean breezed into the diner where Sam was settled at a table in the corner. He whistled under his breath with a skip in his step as he wandered over to Sam. Sam straightened in his seat and fumbled with his phone.
"Uh, you know what, I changed my mind, bye."
Sam quickly hung up drawing an odd look from Dean.
"What was that all about?"
Sam shifted awkwardly in his seat.
"I was um, calling out for...Chinese food."
Dean deepened his perplexed expression.
"Chinese food...even though you're sitting in a diner..."
"Yeah, um, I just felt in the mood for Chinese."
Dean stared at Sam for a minute before he broke into a silly grin.
"I know what you mean," he said. "Sometimes a good Chinese just satisfies that appetite."
Dean threw Sam a wink as he sank into a seat.
"Anyways, I think I got a case."
"Yeah, small town in Indiana, called Cicero. Word broke this morning of a man that took a tumble into a circular saw."
"That's a case? Sounds more like a freak accident."
Dean shrugged with a casual look. "Yeah but when in our experience is something just an 'accident."
"True but...it still sounds a lot like 'just' an accident."
"Alright, alright, so there's more than just a possible case in Cicero."
Sam took in the goofy smirk on his brother's face and rolled his eyes.
"Do I even want to know?"
"Mmm, remember when you were in Orlando with dad – I think it was eight years or so ago? You know, he was working that case with the banshee but I went off on my own?"
"Um, the road trip across five states..."
"Yeah, except I kind of made a long pit stop in Cicero with this hot ass yoga teacher – so you know, she was bendy in ALL kinds of ways man. Lisa Braeden. I've never forgotten about her."
Sam flashed an incredulous look at Dean.
"Are you serious? You want to drive five hundred miles just to see a girl you hooked up with eight years ago?"
"I don't want to just see her," Dean implied. "Well, I do want to SEE her. But yeah man, it's on my bucket list so come on, be sympathetic."
Sam shook his head.
"How long is this list of yours? Seems like it grows everyday," he groaned.
Dean shrugged with a bright smile. "I don't know. I keep discovering things I want to do...or 'redo' anyway."
He chuckled for a long minute as his mind drifted into the past.
"God, Lisa, so yogatastic," he cheered.
Eight hours later, as the sun peeked out of the sky, Dean pulled into the parking lot of a motel and eyed Sam.
"Keep yourself busy Sam," he said. "I know I'll be."
Dean raced away leaving Sam's protests in the dust.
A short time later, after seeing a realty sign posted in front of the last known address he had on Lisa, Dean stopped into a coffee shop, his face heavy with disappointment. As a nerdy guy in his late twenties, filled his order, Dean rapped on the counter when a thought rolled through his mind. He glanced at the guy's nametag.
"Say, Martin, you lived here long?"
Martin, adjusted his eggshell glasses and straightened the collar of his button down shirt.
"My whole life," Martin said in a nasally town.
"You know the residents in this town?"
Martin eyed Dean suspiciously.
"I mean, a small town like this, everyone must know everyone, right?" Dean asked with a friendly smile.
"Yes," Martin answered flatly.
Dean sparked with hope as he leaned on the counter.
"Cool, so, I happened to pass by Lisa Braeden's house and saw the realty sign. Do you know if she moved like down the street or somewhere else around here?"
"Uh, Lisa Braeden, you know, really hot brunette with a stretchy..."
Dean choked under Martin's assessing glare.
"Uh, I mean, she used to have a yoga studio on Hill Street."
"Oh, okay, yes, I think you mean Lisa Jackson," Martin clarified as he rang up the coffee.
Dean raised an eyebrow as he fished out his wallet.
"Jackson? Uh, are you sure dude? She wasn't the uh, white dress type, not from what I remember at least."
Martin studied Dean for a long minute.
"Yes, I'm sure, she ran a yoga studio and now she's a soccer mom, like many in this town."
Dean widened his eyes in surprise. "Uh, seriously dude, are we talking about the same woman? Brunette, fit, smokin' hot."
Martin glared at Dean with immense suspicion.
"Why are you asking?" Martin asked sharply.
"I'm the uh, President of the Alumni Committee, I was passing through this town and wanted to make sure she had the latest newsletter and an invitation to the reunion coming up next month," Dean covered with an exaggerated seriousness. "I take my position very seriously. Don't want anyone in my class to feel left out you know?"
Dean forced out a laugh as Martin broke his suspicious glare.
"She moved," Martin said flatly.
"Milwaukee," Martin said.
"Milwaukee? Oh, wow, that's quite far from here," Dean said. "I could have sworn the address I had was still current."
Martin shrugged. "It was a sudden move, her mother in law took ill, needs home care, she moved out with her family to help. Saw the truck last week."
Dean blew out a breath and flashed an incredulous look.
"Mother in law? So...she got married?"
"Yes, I said that earlier, she's Lisa Jackson now, been for a couple years, married to Devon Jackson. Ben wasn't too happy about leaving his friends."
"Lisa's son," Martin stated.
Dean nearly fell over from the wave of stunning revelations.
"She has a kid too? Uh, wow, guess it really has been a long time."
"Thanks Martin, you've been a big help," Dean said. "I'll inform the committee of the old address and maybe I'll do some sightseeing while I'm here."
"Well, you might want to avoid Orchard Street, it's blocked off by police due to all the crazy stuff going on in Morning Hill."
Dean feigned a clueless look.
"Crazy stuff, like what?"
"String of bad luck I guess, guy had an accident with a power saw," Martin stated.
"Oh, yeah, I read about that, pretty freaky huh? But what do you mean by string?"
Martin shrugged as a huge line formed at the counter, drawing his attention away from Dean. A few minutes later, Dean strolled back to his car and headed over to the gated community of Morning Hill
After parking a few blocks away, Dean noticed a neighborhood sign for the Morning Hill community. There were no police units outside the gates and he was surprised to see the main entrance wide open. He ambled down a paved road and heard music echoing in the air. He inhaled the aroma of sweet juicy burgers and lit up with a smile. He noticed practically the entire neighborhood milling around one house in particular. When he saw people holding plates of burgers and hot dogs and chips, he started salivating. He eyed the open front door of the house and saw two young guys talking to someone.
"We're with Jim, you know Jim?"
The woman in the doorway grinned and stepped inside to let the two guys inside.
Dean noticed an open gate leading to a backyard. He acted casual as he roamed down a path into a backyard where a pool party was going on with several adults and kids scattered in lounge chairs.
A young mother eyed him curiously as he flashed a charming smile.
"Hi there," he said.
"I haven't seen you in the neighborhood," the mom said with a suspicious look.
"Oh, I'm with Jim, you know Jim?"
The mom nodded in acknowledgment.
"Yeah, he's got so many friends. Well, there's plenty to eat, help yourself."
Dean flashed his winning smile.
"Thanks, I will."
He headed for a table loading with food and piled stuff on a paper plate. Since his weekend plans had hit an unexpected bump in the road, he might as well enjoy a little party before he snooped around the neighborhood.
"Oh Buffy, you look really cute," Trish said with a smile.
Buffy drew a sheepish look as she smoothed out her billowy tank top. Since Trish was the only one she knew at this neighborhood barbecue, she had practically clung to her in the kitchen as they ate.
"You are REALLY being kind Trish," Buffy moaned.
Trish giggled as she put a hand on Buffy's shoulder.
"No, I'm being honest. Don't be so self-conscious."
"How can I not be, I'm like the biggest girl here."
Trish shook her head as Buffy adjusted her skirt.
"Does this top make me look fat?"
"No, it makes you look pregnant," Trish stated.
Trish smiled before her face fell with concern.
"Annette? Oh, I'm so glad you decided to come."
Buffy glanced at the young woman carrying a very sullen expression. Trish draped an arm around Annette and flashed her sympathy.
"Did you bring Katie?"
"No, I...she didn't want to come," Annette answered.
"Is there anything I can do for you?" Trish asked.
Annette shook her head.
"I don't know...I...I tried to get Katie to come to the party, get her out of the house but she refused, she just wanted to stay there and...it's just really weird. She never turns down a pool party...I think...she's acting a little off."
"Well, she's dealing with a lot, losing her father."
"I don't think that's what's going on," Annette stated. "She's not herself. I really think she's...not even my daughter."
Buffy paused in her chewing when she heard this. She tried to focus on the kids splashing around in the pool outside while she eavesdropped. Trish clutched Annette in comfort.
"This is a horrible thing for a family to go through and your mind must be in a fog," Trish said. "Come and get some sunshine and air."
Trish led Annette toward the patio doors. She looked behind her at Buffy.
"Help yourself to anything in the fridge Buffy. I've got juice and milk."
Buffy nodded as she glanced at Annette. Something about her expression sent shivers through her spine.
Dean chomped down happily on a burger as he took in the cheerful environment. He picked up another burger and dropped it on his plate, licking the melted cheese on his fingers as two young mothers wandered up to the drink station beside him.
"Do you think Carrie will show up?"
"I wouldn't think so, she's still pretty shaken up over Rob's death. Can you believe it? What are the chances that both Rob and David slipped on a ladder and fell to their deaths?"
Dean blinked in surprise as the two moms continued to converse. He focused on picking through an assortment of snack foods while eavesdropping.
"I know, it's like there's an omen in this neighborhood."
Dean widened his eyes as he stuffed a chip in his mouth.
"I'm considering moving away, I mean after that incident with Jill, I can't even go near water, I'm barely able to be this close to the pool without wanting to run away in fright."
"I know, the whole neighborhood is shaken up. I really hope this is the last tragedy."
The two moms wandered away leaving Dean to stew in the suspicious plot of information. After a minute to process it all, he casually wandered into the house to find a bathroom. When he breezed through the patio doors leading into a kitchen, he caught sight of a heavenly blonde spying into a refrigerator. She was like a delicious teasing puzzle, since the fridge door blocked his view of her body. But he ogled the tan luscious legs peeking out of skirt and the golden locks of her long hair falling around the door. He hadn't seen her in the backyard with the rest of the folks and wondered why she had been hiding herself from him.
Dean sauntered over with a wide smirk as the blonde girl began gathering items from the fridge shelves into her arms.
"You got all the fixings for a tasty meal," he cracked.
Buffy blinked in shock when she heard the low lilt of a male voice addressing her. Her eyes shifted to her right to take in a handsome young dark blonde guy with a leather jacket and a sexy smile that screamed 'bad boy to the max'. After the momentary lapse in thought, she broke from her daze and realized he wasn't at all looking at the various food items in her arms but instead, hooking her with that penetrating gaze.
"You got to be kidding me," she groaned.
Dean shrugged as he widened his smile. She looked fantastic from a few feet away and even more delicious up close.
"Okay, if you insist, I will tease you senselessly," he quipped with a wink.
Buffy rolled her eyes as she kicked the fridge door close and put the food on the counter.
Dean widened his eyes in astonishment when he noticed the little blonde was carrying a bump beneath a lavender tank top. He cleared his throat as he felt his cheeks flooded with awkwardness.
"Uh, wow, you're...a mom to be."
Buffy pried off a plastic container and glared at the cocky young guy with an annoying smile.
"Gee, nice deduction Einstein," she snapped.
Dean shifted uncomfortably in his stance as he shaded with a sheepish look.
"I uh, had no idea."
Buffy deepened her annoyed glare as she put various fruits and veggies on her plate.
"Well that's because not many guys like you bother 'thinking' before they open their big mouth," she said sharply.
Dean stared at the blonde in complete awe before he cracked into a smile.
"Wow, you're quite the feisty cat, aren't you?"
"Move it along Casanova, I'm not buying what you're trying to sell me," Buffy groaned.
Buffy huffed as she widened her eyes in disbelief.
"I mean seriously, does that line actually WORK?"
Dean blinked in more awe as the little blonde's intimidating glare sent a blast of heat through his body. Buffy snorted at his apparent speechlessness.
"What? Can't find your way passed a pick up line?"
Dean cleared his throat again as the weight of her glare started cracking through him.
"Uh well, I never really have to go beyond it," he boasted.
Buffy groaned in her throat as she rolled her eyes and clutched her plate of food. She snatched up her bottle of juice and threw Dean an aggravating look as she took off through the patio doors. Dean stared at the hot blonde in deep wonder as she shimmied off into the backyard.
"Wow, that is one hot momma," he cheered softly.
After hearing his statement out loud, he looked around the kitchen feeling slightly self-conscious about lusting after someone else's baby momma.
Buffy settled into a lounge chair and tried to shrug off Mr. Annoyingly Sexy when a woman with curly dark hair wandered over to her with a friendly smile.
"Buffy? Hi, I'm Rhonda, Trish told me you just moved in and I just wanted to welcome you."
"Hi Rhonda, thanks."
Rhonda shined a smile as she glanced at her belly.
"Congratulations by the way, how far along are you?"
"Um, seventeen weeks."
"Oh, well I hope you're not planning on being around any tools or doing home improvement projects because I'd hate to see a mom to be fall into this wave of bad luck."
Buffy took a long sip of her drink as she felt her Slayer instinct blistering in her gut.
"Um, bad luck?"
Rhonda shifted her eyes around and pulled up a lounge chair close to Buffy in a discreet manner.
"Yeah, it's been so nerve wracking the past few weeks, I'm sure you heard about the Rob Yale's ladder accident."
"Oh, yeah, I think Trish mentioned that."
"Well, a week before you moved here, Jill Meyers had a terrible accident in her Jacuzzi, radio fell in and electrocuted her."
Buffy swallowed her dread as she added the 'accident' to the others she had uncovered in her research.
"Oh my gosh, that is horrible," she said.
"And I'm sure you heard about Katie's dad and the power saw," Rhonda lamented. "So I wouldn't hold it against you if you changed your mind about living here."
Buffy caught sight of Mr. Annoyingly Sexy wandering out of the house and over to the food table. She frowned as Rhonda drew her attention.
"So exercise caution," Rhonda advised. "That baby of yours is precious."
Dean helped himself to another plate of food as he glanced around the yard. He recognized one of the mothers that had been gossiping earlier near him and caught her eyes. She studied him for a minute before refilling her cup with punch.
"I'm with Jim."
The mother nodded.
"Say, my sister...Sam, is thinking about buying some property in this community, is this a safe place to live?"
The mother nodded with a friendly smile. "Relatively safe I'd say, well, except for the past few weeks with, you know, all the unlucky people doing home projects around here."
"Oh uh, I think I heard someone say something about a ladder accident."
The mother shrouded a look of sadness. "Yeah, it was terrible. Two ladder accidents in a row and before that Jill..."
"Jill's accident in the Jacuzzi."
"Accident...in a Jacuzzi...wow."
The mother rattled off the details as Dean took notice of hot momma sitting with another woman in deep conversation. Feeling his lower body burning with a fever, he cleared his throat and shifted his eyes back on the mother.
After another minute, the mother wandered away. Dean swallowed his last bite and set his plate aside, feeling the stirrings of a solid case shaping together. He headed out of the yard and back to his car.
A short time later, Dean drifted through the door of the motel as Sam regarded him.
"Hey," Sam grumbled.
"Hey, so it turns out there actually is a case here."
"Seriously?" Sam asked in disbelief.
"Seriously," Dean said.
Sam put his notes aside.
"So that freaky saw accident in the news? Well, that was just one of a handful of freaky accidents, four to be exact that never hit the press but it's gotten the Morning Hill residents all rattled. The home improvement store is seeing an influx of retail returns of power tools, ladders anything with the potential to make someone croak. On top of that, a lot of the residents are draining their Jacuzzis."
"Yeah, there was an incident last week where a woman 'accidentally' knocked a radio into hers and got fried to bits."
"Strange," Sam remarked.
"I know," Dean acceded. "There is definitely more going on behind those gates than just 'accidental' deaths by power tools."
Sam studied his brother and noticed a familiar spark in his eyes.
"I probably shouldn't even ask about um...your blast from the past."
Dean shifted into a brief mope. "Oh, right, yeah, she had a kid, shacked up with some guy and moved out of this town a week ago for some family emergency."
Dean heaved a deep sigh of disappointment as Sam shook his head.
"Well um...sorry, I guess," Sam said.
Dean lit up with a smile when he remembered the batch of cookies he had snaked before he left. He took a few out and stuffed them in his mouth.
"Yeah, that was a total buzz kill, at least I got to drown my sorrows in a plateful of burgers and tasty treats..."
"There was some kind of neighborhood party going on to distract everyone from the string of so called accidents."
"You crashed a party?"
Dean shrugged as he bit into another cookie.
"Yeah dude, the whole damn community was out and my belly was badly aching for something tasty."
Sam groaned when he saw Dean pump his eyebrows in suggestiveness.
"So since I couldn't have that, I settled for the awesome barbecue with food aplenty and...a hot...mom."
Sam narrowed his eyes on Dean's silly smile.
"Did you say...hot mom?"
Dean widened his silly smile as Sam shook his head.
"You hit on a mom? Geez Dean. You have no shame."
Dean broke out of his goofy daze and cleared his throat.
"She's not a mom yet," he reasoned.
Sam groaned louder and rolled his eyes.
"Oh come on Sam, I didn't know she was in the family way when I hit on her, to be honest, my brain kind of just went on pause when I saw her."
"And then your big mouth opened," Sam said sardonically.
Dean frowned in protest.
"Hey, that's what that hot baby momma said..."
He shifted back into a goofy grin as the little blonde flashed through his mind.
"And hot she was, damn hot...and feisty too."
Sam balked as he saw Dean widening his goofy grin even more.
"You can't be serious, you're...attracted to a mom to be?"
Dean shook out of his daze when he heard Sam's disapproving tone.
"That's not really wrong is it? I mean, I didn't do anything with her..."
"Dean, that's wrong in all kinds of ways, do I really need to get into HOW a baby is made? I'm sure the baby's father wasn't too pleased to see you sniffing around the mother of his child."
"Baby daddy wasn't around and I didn't see a wedding ring on her finger."
Sam shined his shock. "So...you still want to hook up with her?"
"A girl that hot..." Dean whistled as he fixated on the little blonde. "I would have a mind to try and knock her up too, you know, try and try and try."
Sam shook his head as Dean chuckled deeply. After he finally settled down, he met Sam's disapproving glare.
"So the case..." he said.
"What's our cover?"
Dean shrugged as he peeled off his jacket.
"We'll figure something out," he answered. "I've already schmoozed with the neighbors so I can drop back in again, get to know everyone a little better."
Sam frowned as Dean chuckled in his throat.
"Dean, don't hit on that mom to be, now that we have a legitimate case, you need to stay focused."
"Right," Dean said.
After a long minute of reflecting, he eyed Sam with a sheepish look.
"You really think it's wrong to...you know lust after a baby momma?"
Sam rolled his eyes.
"Well, I'm already going to Hell."
Sam softened with a sad look as Dean heaved a sigh.
"Focus, right," Dean said as he shut the bathroom door.