A/N: Canon said goodbye to Jesse too soon.
Of Orphans and Freaks and Potentially Dinosaurs
Chapter One - Snow
The snow falls softly, the noise like a shimmer as the flakes nestle on the ground. Dean feels the wet chill as he comes to, and he doesn't want to open his eyes because he remembers where he was knocked out, what the scene looked like and it's a scene that nobody ever wants to wake up to. Winter is a beautiful, dead season, but nobody wants to wake up to the dead in winter.
And then he remembers his brother. It only takes half a second because Sam's always there. Sam's always in Dean's head.
His eyes fly open, and he blinks rapidly, willing them to become accustomed to the darkness. It doesn't take long. He sees the woman with blonde hair, her face right next to his, her eyes open and lifeless with a trickle of dried blood running from her lower lip to the bottom of her chin. He was supposed to save her.
Obviously, he failed.
"Sam?" he croaks, and he sits up, snow falling from his jacket, and he's so cold, but he tries to forget it. He turns his head to the left, sees his brother's ridiculously large frame curled about ten feet away. Still. Like a corpse. "Sammy?"
He gets to his feet, immediately tumbles on the slick ground and falls to his knees. Gets up again.
He slips and skids and falls again, but this time next to his brother, whose shoulder he takes in a numb hand and squeezes, pulls until the huge little bastard rolls onto his back. Long locks fall onto closed eyes like a Pantene commercial, and Dean almost snorts. But he doesn't. He leans in instead to determine that Sam is breathing, which he is. "Sam? C'mon, man, wake up."
He shakes his brother vigorously, contemplates unleashing a loogie because maybe that'll get a rise out of him, and it'll be funny, too. Whatever. As long as Sam wakes up.
"C'mon, wake up."
The snow crunches behind him. Dean freezes. It takes feet to make that noise, feet that are moving and therefore alive, and there's somebody behind him. There's somebody fucking behind him and he unconsciously squeezes Sam's shoulder all the tighter because Dean's not leaving him, not ever, and everything inside of him is aware of this as he twists around to see what's coming for them this time.
But there's nothing there. And it's quiet now. Just the falling snow, glittering like diamonds under the night sky.
He whips back around to his brother, the "Sammy" leaving his throat like ghost when his eyes catch sight of the small sneakers planted on his brother's other side. Dean's eyes make their way slowly up the short legs, to the small arms crossed and shivering over the small hoodie, to the brown hair falling over huge eyes.
"Well, I'll be damned," he croaks, because he's seen this face before.
"I can wake him up."
"Yeah?" Dean asks.
"Uh huh." The huge eyes close for a long moment.
Sam wakes up with a gasp, and he turns, his head rolling over to rest on the tip of Dean's knee.
"Thanks, kid," Dean says. "Sam, look who it is."
Sam blinks and breathes heavily before sitting up and looking up and he says, "Holy shit."
Jesse looks somewhat scandalized, but mostly amazed by Sam's mouth. Dean elbows his brother in his already bruised ribs. Sam hisses, but shakes it off, his eyes still rooted to the tiny antichrist they thought was gone good. "Where did you-"
"I killed it," Jesse says, and there's something desperate in his voice. "I killed it for you. You don't have to worry about it anymore."
"That's...great," Dean says, and for the first time notices the blood by the kid's feet.
"It got her first, though."
"That's on us," Sam tells him.
Jesse bites his lip, shifts on his feet, looks east. "There's a lot of blood over there. I exploded him. The insides look weird. Not like they did in my science book."
"It wasn't human," Dean reminds him. It wasn't human and nothing should ever be seen from the inside-out. "Jesse-"
"My parents are dead."
Snow falls. It's the only sound other than the wind and their breathing before Dean manages, "Shit, kid. I'm so sorry."
"They're dead and Australia was a bust and you said we were all freaks." The words race out of his mouth and he shivers and there are tears. Dean spies tears. He's not sure he can deal with tears, but he can deal with shivers and he takes off his jacket and gets to his feet and wraps it around the boy. Then he helps Sam up.
"You can't find freakier," Dean agrees. He's so fucking cold, but that's fine. It'll be fine.
"Don't...I can't...please?" Jesse says, as Sam and Dean guide him around the corpse of the woman they failed to save, corral him to the car. "You said we were all-"
"You're in good company," Sam assures him, and he opens the back door of the Impala, shoves crumpled fast food bags and discarded clothes aside to make room for the kid.
They get him settled and take their respective seats. Dean fidgets behind the wheel, feels unnerved by the lack of seatbelts in the back for the first time in forever.
"I killed him for you," Jesse says again. You owe me, he's saying without actually saying it. It doesn't matter, because it's all Dean hears. And he agrees.
"It's cool, kid. We've got your back," he says. "Just...hold tight. We'll find a place to rest up, okay? We'll get things figured-"
"You said we were all freaks." Don't leave me.
Dean's well-versed in orphan. He nods. "We are."
Dean looks in the rearview mirror, watches as the kid wraps the jacket more tightly around himself.
He puts the car in drive. She takes to the snow with ease, carries them as carefully as Dean's mother carried him in the womb.
He says, "I promise."