AN: So, this is my annual Halloween story. I know it's a little early to be starting posting considering it's only September 19th, but this is probably the longest Halloween story I've ever written (eleven chapters in total) and I wanted to get a jump on things so that maybe - just maybe - this year I'll actually be finished my Halloween story by Halloween. Also, I kind of wanted to get the first chapter up during what I am now calling Supernatural Week (season 7 kicks off on Friday; raise your hand if you're both excited and a little scared for Cas), so...
I hope you all enjoy the story!
First chapter title from the poem ''Cradle Song'' by Thomas Dekker.
Title: slower, slower
Summary: AU, Season Three: Dean Winchester should know by now that the past - his past especially - has a nasty habit of biting back. During his last year, one of his best kept secrets comes unraveled at the seams when that aforementioned pesky past comes back to bite him in the ass.
Pairing(s): Well, I guess you could say that there are some Dean/Ruby undertones, but I'm trying to keep it pretty subtle. It's there if you look close enough, but pairings are not the main focus of this story. Also, there are some mentions of past Dean/OFC.
Characters: Dean Winchester, Ruby, Sam, Joey Daniels (OMC), and at least two other major OCs.
Genre: Family/Suspense (with a healthy side order of angst and hurt/comfort)
Rating: T for language and themes.
Timeline: Season three. To be more specific, it takes place in October of 2007.
Spoilers: I'd say blanket spoilers for the entire series, especially seasons three and four.
Warnings: Heavy mentions of past minor character death, possibly some scenes of childbirth, torture, and minor gore. Language, kid!fic, this story definitely doesn't follow along with canon, and there is one majorly pissed off ghost in it. Oh, and there is some definite uncomfortable imagery in one of the later chapters, bodily fluid wise. I think that's it for warnings, but if you notice anything else that you think needs to be warned for, just let me know.
Dedication: To all of my readers. Happy Halloween, everyone!
Notes: Main title from the song Run by Snow Patrol.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything.
Written by Becks Rylynn
''Golden slumbers kiss your eyes''
''Whoever wishes to keep a secret must hide the fact that he possesses one.''
- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Dean Winchester keeps a lot of secrets. It is something he is very, very good at. Dad knew some, Sam would always know more, but there are a handful of deep, dark secrets that he keeps completely to himself. It's not selfish, he tells himself. There are just some things that nobody needs to know. There are some things that are just his. There is a list of secrets that are his to keep, and one of those secrets has the power to change every little bit of the life he has built for himself.
Everyone has secrets. That's just life. If anyone ever tells you they have no secrets, they're fucking lying. Everyone has their secrets.
But no secrets stay buried forever. Secrets come out and you build others.
He should've known that.
Contrary to popular belief, the first girl he ever loved was not Cassie Robinson. The first girl he ever loved, the first girl he ever cried over, was Cheyenne Sommers. They were sixteen and it all happened in a small town in Louisiana. She was beautiful and smart and braver than he could ever pretend to be. She had an incredibly attractive Southern accent that he loved because it sounded, to him, a little bit like a lullaby. She always wore a gazillion bracelets on her wrists. One got lost in the seats of his car; he has never bothered to look for it because he likes that it's still there like a little piece of history. She had fiery red hair that fell in waves down her back, her eyes twinkled all the time, she smelled of peaches and cream, and she fit right beside him like so many other girls before her hadn't.
She taught him about the constellations, whispering stories about the stars in his ear late at night after she had snuck out of her house to come meet him. She was way too good for him. She was a preacher's daughter, for God's sake. She was the first girl who treated him like something other than the quintessential bad boy people thought he was. She was the first girl who made him wonder if, in another life, he could have been made for something more than what he was. She was the first girl who made him want to be better.
That's something he knows he'll always remember about her.
Dad knew he had a fling with a girl named Cheyenne, Sam knows he was in love with her. Neither of them will ever know that he still has a habit of checking up on her every now and then. She's happy, living down in Dallas with her husband and her two little boys. She's a little older, her hair is a little darker, and her body has more womanly curves, but her eyes still twinkle like they used to and she is still as beautiful as ever.
Throughout his high school years, he was always the slacker kid who sat in the back of the classroom leaning back in his chair and checking out girls, carving his initials into desks just to prove he had been there once. In case people forgot. He was the boy the teachers hated, the one voted least likely to succeed. He was the human representation of failure. He didn't graduate, didn't go to college, didn't become someone rich and famous.
But he is not and was not an idiot.
He survived with Bs and Cs most of the time but when he tried, when he really tried, he sailed through exams and tests and got straight As, stumping the teachers in his wake. He had a teacher once, an eleventh grade math teacher who told him he had a bright future ahead of him, or at least he would if he applied himself. Mr. Allen, that was his name. He was the only teacher who ever believed in him. He could have had scholarships and college and a career. And you know what? When he was seventeen, he wanted that.
He wanted to go to school, he wanted out, he wanted to be normal just for a little while. Just long enough to get a taste of it. He didn't want it as much as Sammy wound up wanting it, but he wanted it all the same. He could've graduated. Could've walked off that stage with his diploma. Could've fucking graduated with honors if he wanted to. The acceptance letters would've friggin' poured in.
He dropped out to take care of Sammy instead and settled for a GED and hustling pool.
He spent years trying to forget about everything he almost had for that minute and a half.
When he was eighteen, he had an affair with a teacher.
And no, that is not as Dawson's Creek as it sounds. He's not Pacey. Do not compare him to that guy.
He had a brief, sexual affair with his young and hot - albeit married - English teacher right before he dropped out. She could do things, man. She was kinky. She was wild. And she helped him forget, for awhile, about all of the things that hurt. So yeah, he fucked his teacher. Not one of the things he is incredibly proud of, but he did it. And he's going to keep that to himself, if you don't mind.
One day, when he was with Cassie, on a rainy day in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, he left the relative safety of Cassie's bedroom, where they had been holed up all weekend, and he went into town. The skies were gray, rain was coming down hard, thunder boomed in the distance. And he went ring shopping. It was a split second decision he made that morning after she had made him a big breakfast, dancing around the kitchen wearing only one of his shirts. It was a display of puzzing domestication that he had never been privy to before, and it startled him when he found he actually sort of liked it.
It took him a long while to get over that girl, but now...
...He thinks it's a real good thing he didn't wind up buying a ring that rainy day.
All throughout his life, he was adamant that all he would ever need was Dad and Sam. The things that mattered - the things he lived for - could be counted on one hand. Dad, Sam, his car, and that one tiny little (read: massive and life changing) secret he kept in his heart.
Yeah, well, that was a lie.
All throughout his life, while he vehemently denied needing anything else...
...He needed his mother.
He never, ever dared to tell Dad that.
He has a scar on his back. On his shoulder blade actually. It's a small mark on his left shoulder blade that hurt like hell when he first got it and it's barely noticeable these days but it's there. It's not from a ghost. Not from a werewolf or a demon. Not from some unholy monster that lurks in the shadows or the moonlight. It's not from a hunt. It's not something he got from being a big damn hero.
It's from Dad.
And no power on this earth will ever get him to reveal the full story surrounding that scar because as far as he's concerned, it never happened. It never happened and Sammy doesn't need to know.
...Well, then there's Piper.
She's the number one secret he keeps. She's the secret that changed his entire life. She just turned it right over and made him start a new upside down life. Actually, now that he thinks about it she's the secret that somehow fits in with all the other secrets.
Because he was heartbroken over having to leave Cheyenne, he lost himself in Beth Daniels, a gorgeous spitfire from Michigan. For a brief period of time, he let himself want college because he thought if he could make something of himself, it would make up for what he did to Beth and by association, Piper. He slept with Ms. James because he was fucked up, filled up to the brim with guilt and the unwavering feeling that he was the worst kind of worthless, deadbeat loser out there and if sex with his teacher made him feel good, even for a millisecond, then he was gonna do it. Piper even factored into buying a ring because a ring signified the kind of stability he wanted to be capable of giving her. And when he told Dad about Piper, about what he had done, Dad got angry and gave him that infamous scar on his shoulder blade.
Piper Daniels is a gorgeous, sunny twelve year old girl who lives in Michigan with her family and she is, by far, the biggest secret he has ever kept. Dad knew about her, but barely, Sam knows nothing (although sometimes he'll get this look on his face and Dean will just feel that somehow, someway, Sam knows everything) and Dean knows every little piece.
He calls her once a week on Friday, he writes her every day, and he doesn't see her nearly as much as he'd like to. He does his best to visit her at least once a month, occasionally stealing away on her birthday or if it has something to do with her school. But it's not enough. It's not enough, it's never been enough, and he knows that. He knows what she deserves, he knows what she needs. It's just something he can't give her.
Piper is not at all what you'd expect.
That is putting it lightly.
She has green eyes, dark raven hair (although it's getting lighter as she gets older), pale, alabaster skin (she looks so much like her mother) and, like her parents she has a larger than life personality. Looks wise, she's probably a pretty perfect combination of both of her parents. Don't let that fool you. That is where the similarities between her and her dad end. Other than the green eyes and the occasional freckle, she is all her mother. The fact that she is so much like her mother? Not an extremely good thing.
She listens to pop music (she idolizes Taylor Swift and wants to marry some dumbass named Jesse McCartney), she thinks his car is an old piece of junk, she's melodramatic to a fault (especially about her so-called 'desperate need' for a cell phone), fashion means everything to her, she is a devoted student (admittedly, that is something she did not get from her father or her mother), and she's at that age where everything he does, no matter what it is, is somehow agonizingly embarrassing to her.
In all honesty, the girl is kind of a spoiled brat and he doesn't pretend to understand her at all, but she is without a doubt the best little mistake he has ever made.
He keeps her a secret for a reason. He thinks it's a very good and incredibly valid reason. He keeps her a secret to protect her. But he's willing to admit that the one thing he has wanted to do from the day she was born is shout from the rooftops, hey, you see that girl over there? That's my daughter.
Beth Daniels wasn't exactly his type. She was sex on legs, sure, but her personality didn't particularly mesh with his, which was officially the understatement of the decade. They drove each other crazy when they were doing anything other than screwing. She was a gorgeous girl with pale skin, dimples and dark raven hair. She was a little on the bitchy side (and not, like, feisty bitchiness either; she had a downright nasty side to her) and she sat comfortably at the top of the food chain as head cheerleader.
Underneath all that frost and ice, there was a fun loving girl with a heart of gold meant only for the people she really cared about. That was her redeeming quality. She was a high and mighty princess, but when she cared about you she cared about you. It just took awhile to melt her ice. Which was fine with him. After Cheyenne, all he really wanted was some fun with a beautiful girl. He didn't want a serious relationship. They never would have lasted anyway. They would have killed each other.
Beth listened to Shania Twain and Jewel, she openly scoffed at his music taste, and she was thoroughly unimpressed with his car. If he wanted someone to fall in love with, he would've chased after her sister, who listened to Garbage and AC/DC, complimented his car, and rolled her eyes at everything Beth thrived on. Even Beth herself once said, ''To be honest with you, Dean, I think you're probably with the wrong sister. But I'm okay with that. ...Because you're really hot.'' But he hadn't wanted someone to fall in love with; he had wanted someone to fall into. He hadn't been in the market for a personality; he had been searching for a body.
And so the cheerleader and the bad boy began to hook up under the bleachers.
He wasn't with her for long. A few weeks at the most. But it was certainly long enough to get her good and pregnant.
Beth never told him about her pregnancy. She never actually said to him, ''Dean, I'm pregnant.'' She never told anyone. She never told her parents, never told her friends, never told a doctor, for Christ's sake. The only person she told, when she was nearing her due date, was her sister, who was barely sixteen at the time. The Winchester family up and left town right before she found out she was pregnant and Dean had no idea of his impending fatherhood until he got a call from her hysterical sister, telling him Beth was in labor with his kid, she was refusing to go to the hospital and what was she supposed to do?
Beth died shortly after giving birth to Piper. She just went to sleep and never woke up. He was with her when she passed out. In the middle of fawning over their new baby and counting all of her fingers and toes, Beth passed out and never regained consciousness. The doctors said it was a hemmorrhage. Fairly common. Possibly could have been prevented had she been in a hospital when she gave birth. She was seventeen years old. Just because teenagers had babies all the time didn't mean they should. Seventeen year old girls bodies weren't properly ready to give birth.
After that, Beth's sister stepped up to the plate. She was sixteen and she didn't have to become an instant mommy. She could have let her parents raise Piper, but she didn't. And when her mother died when she was eighteen and her father went on a year long bender, she went through the long process of gaining sole custody of her niece, and throughout it all, she did the best that she possibly could under all circumstances.
Piper has always been better off with her aunt, Dean will admit that. He will also admit that he is something of a deadbeat, and perhaps it would be easier for everyone for him to just stay away. He's been wondering about that for years. If his daughter would be better with him out of her life. However, these days...
He has a year to live. That's the bottom line. Time is ticking away and maybe...maybe it's selfish - maybe most of the things he does are done for selfish reasons - but he wants to spend all the time with his daughter that he can. Besides, he has always been selfish, you know. What's the use in changing colors now?
One night, during a rare quiet moment in their now extra chaotic lives, Dean turns to Sam under the fluorescent lights of an all night gas station, bites the bullet, and he says, quite plainly, ''I have a daughter.'' Sam's gaze swings from the lights above over to Dean, but when he doesn't say anything in return, Dean continues. ''She's twelve,'' his voice is quiet and raspy and his hand itches to reach for his wallet where there is a picture of his little girl safely tucked in between one of Sammy's old school pictures and the only picture of his mother that he owns. ''Her name is Piper.'' He blinks. ''I just thought you should know.''
Sam tilts his head to the side, frowns, and then nods briskly. ''Yeah, I know,'' he says evenly. ''I've always known.'' There's a beat of silence that gets too loud and then Sam is pushing off the car with a strange little smirk on his face. ''That only took you...what? Like, over twelve years?'' He shakes his head, clicking his tongue in disappointment. ''Asshole.'' Mood effectively lightened, he lets a genuine smile fall over his face and excitement dawns in his eyes like a bright beam of sunlight that cuts through the dark. ''So,'' he says. ''Got any pictures?''
Dean lets out a breath.
Well, okay then.
But then there's this:
A little over a week after he makes the deal, some downright nasty stuff happens. There are seven deadly sins making chicks kill over fugly green shoes and guys drink Draino, there's a Lust demon trying to swallow his tongue, and there is some serious shit going down everywhere. Somewhere in the midst of all this, Supergirl saves Sam from certain doom.
Dean's grateful and all, but hesitance and exhaustion also seep into his bones. You don't trust women who walk in, slaughter everyone and walk out. You just don't. They almost always mean trouble. Lots of different kinds of trouble. Then Sam describes her (''Blonde, about this tall, pretty...scary intense. Kinda like a hotter version of Buffy.'') and wary turns into fuuuck.
''Well, shit,'' Dean grunts out, gripping the steering wheel far too tightly. ''That sounds an awful lot like Ruby. Uncomfortably so.''
Dean heaves a heavy sigh and feels so very tired all of the sudden. Not an entirely unusual thing when it comes to her. She does not like him much. The feeling is decidedly mutual. The only reason they even pretend to be civil is because he's Piper's father and she's - ''You remember Piper's mother Beth, right? Beth Daniels?''
Sam shrugs. ''Barely. Why?''
''Well, do you remember her sister?''
''Uh, the one with the glasses and the braces? I...sort of remember her. She had a major crush on you. She was like your fangirl for awhile there. Why?''
Dean sends him a sidelong glance.
Sam appears to ponder that for a moment before realization dawns on him. ''Oh. ...Ohhh. Wow. That's...? Wow. She certainly - ''
''Got hot?'' Dean smirks.
''Grew up,'' Sam sighs out, shooting his brother a disapproving look. He sinks back in his seat, looking thoughtful as Dean drives down an empty highway, sigh bubbling in his throat. ''Huh.'' Sam shakes his head. ''Unexpected.''
Adult Ruby Daniels is not at all like teenage Ruby Daniels.
When she was a teenager, she was feisty, sarcastic and blunt, sure, but she was also shy, quiet and if he's being perfectly honest, a little dorky. She kept to herself, reluctantly trailed behind Beth in order to clean up any messes her Cordelia Chase like sister might've made, and yes, she did in fact like him a hell of a lot more than she likes him now. Although she did threaten to castrate him once when he kept calling her kid. She was sort of like Aly Sheedy's character in The Breakfast Club. She was a strange creature he could never quite manage to decode, but she was likeable enough.
Adult Ruby is an entirely different ballpark. She's surly, sarcastic (still), indifferent to anyone who isn't her family, and she is tough as nails. Some of it probably comes from raising a child. Especially a child like Piper. Piper would rule the house if Ruby was a softie. Lord knows the girl certainly has her father wrapped around her finger. Some of Ruby's attitude also probably comes from losing her sister and her mother. Dean knows a little about losing people.
Ruby may be a bitch, but she's a bitch for a reason. The same reason Dean makes one too many jokes at inappropriate times. It's safer to hide behind the mask. It hurts less. Dean knows a thing or two about that too. In fact, he knows that song quite well. Sometimes he thinks he may have written it.
Then again, Ruby could just be a bitch. That's always a possibility too. It's a little harder to tell with her than it is with other people. Ruby has made it abundantly clear that she doesn't like him. She doesn't like him, she doesn't trust him, she doesn't want his help, and she doesn't want anything from him whether it's money or unwanted advice. She makes sure to rub it in his face just how good she's doing with Piper and life in general without his help. The only reason they are ever remotely civil around each other is for Piper's sake. Frankly, it amazes him that she hasn't tried to cut him out of his kid's life. Her father sure has. (Joey Daniels likes him even less than Ruby does.)
Dean and Ruby do not get along. Not by a long shot. It's a simple fact of life. He thinks she's a stubborn, jaded, stuck up bitch and she thinks he's a good for nothing, ne'er-do-well deadbeat loser. Neither of them would ever ask each other for help.
All of this is precisely the reason why it's so odd when this happens.
In late October, The Winchester brothers stop at a motel off the highway somewhere in Wisconsin. The place has seen better days and the ceiling drips, but there are two beds and a bathroom so it's good enough to be home for a night. While Sam is off raiding the soda machine, Dean busies himself with trying to unlock the porn. And then she pops up out of nowhere like she has a tendency to do, and he never thought she could shock him after all these years but apparently it's criminal to underestimate her.
Good to know.
The door opens with an ominous sounding creak and he lifts his gaze, fully expecting to see Sam. It is most definitely not Sam.
She waltzes into the room like it's hers, all determination and holier than thou smirks as she settles herself in a chair at the rickety table. Her gaze is perfectly even, her breathing is calm... He really hates when she does this super, scary calm shit. It usually happens right before she tries to throw a frying pan at his head.
''Well, hey,'' he smirks and leans closer to her, eyes flashing. ''It's stalker chick. You certainly like to make an entrance, don't you? You don't appear to be a fan of knocking, though. You should really work on that, sweetheart. So, did you miss me? Is that why you're here?''
She stares up at him, blinking innocently.
''Here's a better question for you,'' he bites out impatiently. ''Where's my kid while you're off playing hero?''
''Relax,'' she states lazily. ''She's with my dad. She's fine.''
''What do you want, Ruby?''
She presses her lips together in a tight line and looks away from him, folding her arms over her chest.
He places his hands on his hips. ''Well?''
''I need your help,'' she admits shortly. It honestly looks like it physically pains her to say this. That's unsurprising.
There's a long silence after her confession in which he stands perfectly still, staring at her with disbelieving eyes, and then a slow smirk starts on his lips. ''...Seriously? Is that like a you tell me you need my help, lure me into the woods and push me into a well kind of thing? Because I don't want to do that.''
She heaves a sigh and looks at him like he is the biggest idiot of all the idiots in the kingdom of idiots. Again: That's unsurprising. That's pretty much just her face. At least when it comes to him. ''If it were that kind of thing,'' she deadpans. ''I wouldn't tell you, now would I?''
''I don't have the time or the patience for your games, Lorelai Gilmore.''
''This isn't a game, Christopher,'' she snaps, jumping to her feet.
''Oh, ow. You cut me deep.''
''You started it.'' He had forgotten how deadly she looks when she's got that angry glare of hers painted on her face. It's hot, but it's also terrifying. ''I need your help, okay? Do not make me say it again.''
He shakes his head, chuckling under his breath. ''I just find it hard to believe that you need my help after previously swearing that even if you were bleeding to death in an alleyway, you wouldn't call me. I mean, it's almost kind of poetic, wouldn't you - ''
''Piper's in trouble.''
He sobers instantly, smirk falling off his face. His heart drops to his stomach and about a million unacceptable scenarios, each one more terrifying than the last run through his head.
''Yeah,'' she nods, wry smirk falling across her lips. ''That certainly got your attention, didn't it?''
And that is how his last year begins.
''Am I now supposed to go on Oprah and cry and tell you my deepest, darkest secrets because you want to know?''
- Kevin Spacey
end chapter one
AN: So, that's chapter one. Hope you all enjoyed it. It's going to be a bumpy ride for Dean, Ruby, and Piper. Before I go, I just want to address the issue of Dean keeping a secret that huge from Sam for twelve years. Do I think canon!Dean would do that? Absolutely. If he thought he was protecting his child by keeping her a secret, hell yeah he'd do it. It would likely eat away at him and give him yet another layer of self-loathing and guilt, but...yeah. I think it would definitely be in character for Dean to keep a secret that big.
OH, and also? As I'm sure you've noticed, I've decided to try out some new story breaks. What did you think of them? Did it make the story easier or harder to read? Should I just go back to using the line breaks the site provides?