Ben didn't sleep away what was left of the night, he laid on the bed, fully clothed, and starred at the ceiling, tracing the cracks with his eyes, listening to the rustle of trees outside the window, and the more he had time to think, the less ashamed he was feeling. When Bobby opened the door and yelled, and when his mother and Dean had yelled over the phone, he felt shamed, felt like he made a stupid decision coming here and demanding what he wanted, but now that he had time to think, time to not hear his mother's accusatory voice, or hear the frustration in Dean's, he was back on the 'this is the right decision for me' wagon.
He quit pretending to sleep, put his shoes on and tromped downstairs, Bobby was already sitting at the kitchen table nursing a cup of coffee.
"You're up early." Bobby said eyeing the boy warily. Bobby hadn't slept all night for fear that the little sucker would try to run away, and God knew that if someone wanted to get the hell out of his house, they would find a way….just ask a Winchester.
"I want to start my training." Ben said simply.
"Son. You aren't going to be trained to be anything other some corporate guy who makes a ton of money sitting on his ass and ordering people around." Bobby took another sip of his coffee.
"You and Mr. Winchester trained Dean, and since Mr. Winchester is dead, I came to you, because I want to fight. I want to help."
"No arguments son."
"That's what you all do. You guys make decisions for me and don't give me a say. I'm not a little kid anymore."
"You aren't a man yet either." Ben stood a little straighter at that comment. "Dean and your mom should be here within a couple of hours, and knowing Dean, he can make that tank of a car of his move at the speed of light if he wants it to. So I suggest you sit down and eat some breakfast, because I think you'll need the energy for what they are gonna do to you."
It was only a couple of hours after breakfast, and Bobby put Ben to work in the salvage yard when the big black Impala, that Ben had secretly wanted to drive, threw itself into the drive of the salvage yard, Lisa didn't wait for Sam to stop the car, she simply launched herself out of the back seat and ran to her child who was just under the alcove where Dean had repaired the black beauty more than once.
She wrapped her arms around Ben, and tears flowed down her cheeks, she hugged and hugged until she thought she couldn't hold on anymore. Ben felt bad as he felt his mother sob against his chest, but he had resolved that he wouldn't let her tears affect him, that he would stay true to this track, he wanted to be a hunter, like Dean.
Dean took his turn with the hugging sans crying and led him into the house, Sam and Bobby trailing behind the little family.
"Benjamin what in the hell were you thinking?" Dean asked.
"I want to learn to be a hunter."
"No way that is out of the question!" Dean yelled.
"No, Ben, you are not going to risk your life." Lisa chimed in.
"Dean does it."
"I never wanted you to have this life. That's why I left." Dean said resolutely.
Anger flared in Ben's belly and he yelled, "No! you left because of him!" he pointed to Sam. Sam's eyes went to the floor, he couldn't' look into the angry teen's eyes. "Why could you stay dead like normal people huh?" Ben demanded. Sam's mouth opened and closed several times trying to find an answer like a fish tries to find air on dry land. "If you hadn't come back, if you could just still be dead, I'd still have Dean, and not Dr. Matt, the most stupid man in the world."
"Woah! Wait! Don't you dare wish that my brother was dead." Dean said, eyes liquid green fire.
"It's the truth though! He's the reason that you're gone and I'm stuck with a guy who doesn't' know how to fix a flat tire for mom, or know that salt isn't just for seasoning, he doesn't' know how to protect my mom or me, not like you did!"
"No. The reason you are with Dr. Matt and not me is because he is reliable, he's stable, and because he will make a better father to you than I ever could Ben! I'm a man who kills things. I'm not the man that you should aspire to be."
"Get over it Dean! Quit acting like you are some monster!"
"I'm not a monster, I am a man who's job is to protect people from evil. And what do I do when that evil comes to your door, huh Ben? Do I let you watch me die like I watched my mother die, like I watched my father die? No. No I do not." Dean looked up at Sam and Sam nodded his permission to tell the whole truth of the matter.
"The last time I came to see you…the time I pushed you?"
"Oh God. It was one push!" Ben rolled his eyes. "I get more than that in the hallways at school." Ben flopped down on the arm chair.
Dean licked his lips, moved away from Lisa, and rubbed a hand down the length of his tired face. "That time I came, I was a vampire Ben." Lisa visably swallowed and put a hand to her chest and willed the tears to stay back. "I'd been turned into a vampire, and I screwed up and went to your house just to say good bye, and all I could hear was the blood pulsing through you and your mom, and all I wanted to do was sink my fangs into your bodies and drain you dry. I ran from your mom because my teeth had changed and I couldn't let her see me like that and then you, God, you couldn't stay in your room, you had to come and see what was going on, and if I had stayed a moment longer, if I had let you stop me, or if you stalled me a moment longer, you'd be dead, so would your mom."
Tick Tock Tick Tock, went the clock in the living room. The sound was so loud it was deafening, no one was able to look at each other. Sam couldn't look at Dean knowing that he was the one responsible for Dean's transformation, Lisa couldn't look at Dean because she had written him off as a man who would hurt her son, like she hadn't lived with him for a year and watched him time and time again do anything and everything in the world for her and Ben. But Ben looked Dean straight in the face and asked,
"But you aren't still a vampire….are you?"
"No, I got lucky. There is a cure. But had I taken one sip from you or your mom, or anyone, I would have been a vampire forever and I wouldn't have been myself enough to mourn the loss of you two. I can't bring that back into your house ever again Ben. I can't risk something like that happening to you. I can't risk your mom that way either. My job…" He looked at Sam for support and found his brother's eyes soft and concerned and just that little glimmer of emotion from Sam reinforced Dean's confidence. "My job isn't a job. It's my life. It's who I am."
"It wasn't who you were when you lived with us."
"Yeah it was baby." Lisa finally stepped in. "Dean salted windows, slept with holy water and a gun under our bed. There were devil's traps all around the house. Dean did a perimeter check every morning and night. He never stopped being a hunter. We just put a leash on him and held him close to us."
"I thought you quit hunting." Ben said, his resolve cracking beneath him.
"I didn't hunt."
"Your mom is trying to explain that the instincts, the worries, the everything didn't go away just because I wasn't out on the road hunting. I am a man who hunts evil things." Dean shrugged and tried not to mirror the tears that were streaming down Ben's angry and hurt face. "But, I want you to know that I'm here for you."
"No you're not!" Ben wiped furiously at the tears that were streaming down his face. "You are out there with him! And you aren't there with me and mom anymore!"
"Ben. I'm just a phone call away…."
"I want you to be in the next room! I want you to be there after school! I want you to be there at dinner time! And if I have to become a hunter so I can see you every day, so I can eat at your dinner table then that's what I'll do!"
"No. You will not. Your mom and I will figure out a way…."
"You guys suck at it. Mom found a new guy, and you are too busy with your brother…" Ben said the word 'brother' like he was spitting on Dean's grave. "When mom marries that guy, you won't come back, you won't take me to games, you won't come to my graduation, you won't take me to monster truck rallies, you won't. It'll be awkward, or the new guy won't want you too, because he feels like I'm his or something stupid, and you'll just forget me. But if I'm a hunter you'll work with me, you wont' leave me."
Dean swallowed. He knew what it felt like to be abandoned by a father you loved. But that wasn't what Dean was doing. He wasn't going to abandon the kid, he was going to work it out, but he was going to make sure that Ben knew that he was there for him, and at the same time he was never going to let Ben down the way his dad did to him.
"No. You listen to me." Dean waited for Ben to turn to face him. "You listen here. You'll be the one to leave me. Ben. You'd die. A monster would grab you, gobble you up and that would be the end, and I would never be able to live with myself."
"Facts are facts Ben. Monsters would see that you were my kid, and you'd have a bull's eye on your forehead. Monsters, angel's, demons, all of it. They would all want you dead or to use you for whatever reason. I can't let that happen. But what I can let happen, is seeing you at least once a month and talking to you on the phone as often as you would like. That I can ensure happening."
"Mom will let you, won't she mom?" Dean turned to Lisa, and she nodded and wiped away tears. "See."
"You swear? Even if Dr. Matt becomes my step-father?"
"I swear. And I live by my word. And I stand by my family."