A/N: All new author's notes will be on my profile page. Please check there, so you can see the thank you to all those who reviewed!
Dean sucked on an ice cube contemplatively as he gazed blankly across the table. Opposite him, Sam continued to silently count the seconds until his brother would finally blink, and realize that the elderly woman whom he'd been inadvertently staring at for the past ten minutes was clutching her purse particularly tightly and was shooting them shifty glances every few seconds, as if contemplating whether or not she could chuck her tote hard enough to stun her pseudo-stalker and make a quick getaway.
Just as Sam was about to kick Dean under the table – as the woman was starting to look a bit frantic – a slight squealing of tires was heard and a blurry yellow cheese log entered the older man's line of vision. Then he blinked and a school bus came into focus. An eyebrow rose incredulously – what was a school bus doing at a diner? – and Sam turned in the direction that Dean was looking just in time to see a small, exceedingly colorful, shape come bounding down the steps. A young, high voice called out a goodbye before skipping through the front door in a flurrying rainbow. "Pop!" He – for they could now tell it was a little boy, probably about six years of age – shrilled.
No one seemed to find this odd; most didn't even look up, though a few did cringe at the boy's pitch. As Sam examined the child he had to wonder if there was something going on in this town or if they really did just attract all the weirdoes. Neither Winchester was sure if they'd ever seen more color on one person before. The kid wore highlighter yellow Capri pants; numerous pockets bulging with God only knew what. His t-shirt was a multitude of colors and designs, the boldest of which consisted of a large, tie-dyed wolf howling across the side and front. Deep blue gloves covered his hands up to his wrists, but for the first knuckle on the thumb of his left hand. Mismatched socks clad his feet, one green, one orange, and both equally eye gouging in their intensity. There were no shoes to be found on his person, and one had to wonder where they could have gotten off to.
The swing door that lead to the back of the restaurant pushed open to reveal Jamie wiping his hands off on a clean but well used dish rag, adorning an indulgent, exasperated expression. "Teddy," He chided, giving the child a Look, clearly in response to his sharp cry.
Teddy clasped his hands behind his back, his eyes wide and way too beguiling to be innocent; a look that Jamie knew well. "I'm here!" The boy chirped, much more quietly than before.
Arms crossed loosely over his chest, the short brunette rolled his eyes, biting the inside of his cheek in an attempt to keep up the disapproving façade. From the cheeky grin that pulled at the corners of the boys lips, he wasn't fooling anyone.
Suddenly, the child's head turned sharply in their direction, gaze meeting both of the brothers' with frightening ease for one so young, before looking through narrowed eyes up at Jamie. "Who are they?" The young cook's expression was one of bewilderment as he peered in the direction his godson was pointing. Recognition passed over his face but before he could open his mouth Teddy had beat him to it and was speaking once more, this time directly to the Winchesters. "You're in my spot," He stated, somewhat petulantly.
His eyes were different colors, Dean noted absently as that unnerving stare was pinned on him. One green and one amber.
"Theodore!" Jamie's voice rang out sharply. His hands were planted firmly on his hips, and weight shifted more to one side than the other in a pose so similar to his Aunt Molly that Teddy actually cringed. He peered sheepishly up through his lashes, and Dean snickered at his attempted placation. "Apologize, this instant."
The boy widened his eyes imploringly. "But they are in my spot!" He glared at the two balefully. "I always sit here!"
His father's glare hardened and Teddy huffed a sigh of resignation. "Fine," he grumbled quietly. Facing the Winchesters fully now, the child's glare had dissipated but the petulant expression still remained. "I'm sorry for being rude to you," a throat clearing pointedly from behind him prompted him to add, "And for talking about you as if you weren't there. I know how much that sucks." By the end of his small speech his tone had become a bit more sincere and Jamie's glare had softened.
Sam and Dean were both smirking at the display, their amusement obvious. "No problem little man," The elder accepted easily. Hey, he was pretty sure both he and Sammy had been worse at that age anyway.
"You can sit here too, if you'd like," Sam offered, giving the child an indulgent smile. Teddy beamed brightly back, already moving to put his backpack on the table next the younger brother.
"Oh – no," Jamie protested before the kid could climb up next to this stranger. He placed his hand on his son's head, lightly smoothing at the tawny strands that shimmered in the sunlight streaming through the windows. "He'll be fine sitting someplace else for once; he needs some variety anyway." At this Teddy called out weakly, "No, I don't!" but was ignored. "He's just used to being close to the kitchen on days when I have to work late," Jamie's smile was still apologetic, but he had a mischievous gleam in his eyes when his son continued to pout.
Dean snickered, addressing the man. "No really, it's okay if he wants to sit here – we did take his spot after all." The later part of the statement was aimed more towards the kid, causing the boy to smile hopefully. When the smaller man still looked hesitant Teddy decided it was time to up the ante. Turning back to his father he gave him his big, sad, puppy dogs eyes and waited for Jamie to give in.
One minute, fifty-three seconds, and a staring contest later – which he lost, unfortunately – the brunette finally groaned in defeat. "Fine!" he threw his hands in the air exasperatedly. "Fine," he said more sedately. "But-" his tone was sharp as he pointed a slim finger at the Winchesters. "-if either one of you even think about hurting or touching or kidnapping my baby I will hunt you down and carve out your eye balls with a dull, rusty spoon. Got it?" His tone was frighteningly serious, and Dean wasn't sure whether he should laugh or not.
Sam, however, just nodded politely, as if a threat of maiming and dismemberment was a perfectly acceptable way to address someone. With their track record he really should be used to it by now anyway.
Teddy scrambled up onto the booth beside the taller man, ignoring his dad's muttered 'I'll be watching' as he stalked away. "I'm Teddy, what're your names?" The boy questioned while pulling out a coloring book and some crayons. He pulled out an orange one – 'Tangerine'– and started to fill in a color page of a penguin. He hummed tunelessly under his breath – a habit he'd picked up from Jamie.
"I'm Sam," The younger spoke up, motioning toward himself and then across the table. "And this is my brother Dean." The little boy nodded, barely glancing up in acknowledgement.
Dean cleared his throat to catch the six year old's attention, asking, "So Jamie's your dad?" It was hard to believe that the man that they'd previously thought was barely out of his pre-teens actually had a kid. He just seemed so young.
Teddy narrowed his eyes at the strange man diagonal to him, asking about his pops. "Yeah," he drawled surprisingly well. "Why?" He demanded. He remembered what Grandda' had told him about strangers who asked weird questions. Especially when it came to his pop.
"Just wondering," Dean shrugged. What was the kid so suspicious for?
Teddy "Hn," –ed, giving him the stink eye, but eventually went back to his coloring. Trying to draw the attention off of his brother Sam jumped in with, "How old are you, Teddy?" his tone light and casual.
The blond's crayon halted and he lifted his head. "I'm six," he deadpanned, much like Jamie had earlier. Teddy's eyes had lit up with recognition while somehow simultaneously dimming into a flat stare. "I'm adopted," he stated abruptly, startling the brothers with his bluntness. Mismatched eyes circled heavenward and his sigh expressed all the exasperation a six year old could possess. "That's why you're asking, right? Cause Pop looks so young, and everyone's always saying how having a kid so early is too much of a burden and asking about where my mom is and all that other stuff?" Neither of the men were sure of how to respond, not expecting that sort of answer. Teddy didn't deign to wait for a response, instead matter-of-factly saying, "Well, I'm adopted."
"Care to elaborate?" Dean questioned with his usual tact. Sam was worried that the kid might clam up at that and was about to say something reprimanding at Dean, but Teddy wasn't fazed. He seemed used to this line of interrogation, causing Sam to wonder how many times people had asked him about this.
The blond continued with his work, not even pausing to face them while he spoke. "Pop was named as my godfather when I was born. My parents were friends with his parents when they were in school, so they went way back." His blue clad hands never faltered, moving smoothly over the page. "I was three months old when the bad men came. Pop and Grandda' won't tell me everything that happened; just that these really mean people came in the middle of the night, and that now my mom and dad are in Heaven." At least that's what he was allowed to say in public. Grandda' always said that people wouldn't believe the true story; that they didn't want to believe. "I was supposed to go to Pop but he was only seventeen then." Here he looked up, his brow furrowed in puzzlement. "That's really old, but Pop says that it's still not old enough to have a kid, 'cause the law says so. When I ask why, he just says he'll tell me when I'm older," The boy's bottom lip jutted out in a pout, but disappeared as he continued his story. "I had to go to a foster home for a while, but Pop won't tell me about it. Grandda' says it wasn't a good time for him; that he was really, really sad all the time. It took a long time and Grandda' had to pull a lot of strings and agree to be co-guardian with Pop but eventually they were allowed to adopt me." Teddy shrugged in a sort of 'what can you do?' way. He had a soft smile on his lips as he said, "I've been with them ever since."
Silence reigned, the brothers both picking at what remained of their food – contemplating the information they'd just been given – and Teddy had finally finishing up his color sheet. He examined it for a moment, criticizing, before smiling in satisfaction.
Just then, a loud 'CLANG' was heard from the kitchen along with a series of expletives. A booming laugh followed, and then another crash. Beside them, Teddy giggled, drawing their attention. "Pop must've messed up a pie again," he whispered conspiratorially. Dean's eyes blew wide and Sam let out a drawn out groan.
"Pie?" The eldest brother's tone held excitement – perhaps too much – and his grin was infectious.
Teddy could feel the corners of his mouth curling upwards, and he giggled once again. "Yeah, he mostly makes the desserts and stuff here, but pie is his favorite. He's always trying out new recipes. But he's really clumsy, so he drops stuff a lot. And he forgets about oven mitts for some reason, so…" He paused, his lips quirked. "Grandda' gets onto him about that all the time."
Sam smiled at the little boy's mirth, but Dean was still too caught up in the fact that the cute little waiter – whom he now knew was not, in fact, barely out of his pre-teens – had also made all of those delicious looking pies up on that black board over there. And he frequently made new recipes that he'd need a tester for.
Just then, the kitchen door swung open and out stepped Jamie with a spattering of crimson along the sleeves of his cardigan. In his hands he held three plates, which he sat on the end of their table. "Dessert anyone?" He smiled brightly, chuckling when both Teddy and Dean responded enthusiastically. He slid a piece of blue berry in front of the boy, while handing Sam a slice of apple. To Dean he gave a cut of fresh cherry, Cool Whip – because that canned crap just doesn't cut it – melting along the sides.
Dean didn't even bother to say thank you, immediately sinking his teeth into the first bite. As the sweet, thick filling and the soft, flaky crust melted on his tongue, the elder Winchester couldn't contain his moan of delight. It was like a little piece of Heaven in a delicious, fruit filled package.
When he came out of his pie induced haze it was to the sight of both Teddy and Jamie giggling at him, and Sam looking as if he couldn't decide between being embarrassed or amused at his siblings behavior.
As Dean watched Jamie bend over, clutching his stomach, he decided then and there that they'd be coming back through this town soon. He'd make sure of it.