Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural, Grimm, pozole, Bayville, Monty Python, or Boston.
A/N: So, currently, it appears that I have no creative ideas that involve actual show continuity. Lucky you guys, more little Winchesters.
In other news, I am-at last- caught up on this show-the first show I have ever gotten fully caught up on.
How do you people stand it? How do you take the waiting? It's only been two days since I've finished 7.11, and already I'm going insane. GAH!
There was no answer.
He raised himself up on his elbows, wincing when his left shoulder shifted to bear his weight. "What?" he croaked.
"Dean!" His little brother's arrival into their shared bedroom was prefaced only by the childish cry of his name and the sound of Sam's running feet.
"What, Sammy?" he said, aiming a tired smile at the excited eight year old now gracing the foot of his bed.
"Dean," the kid said again. "I've found it."
"Proof of what, Sam?" Dean asked, tired already from the game. His shoulder was hurting and-
"Proof that Mrs. Darkholme is a witch."
That brought Dean's attention around. "Sam," he began.
Impatiently, Sam plunked the book down on Dean's legs. "Look, Dean, it says right here. Witch: an old woman who practices magic."
Dean squinted. "What is that, the Grimm's Dictionary of Fairytale Creatures? Witches aren't old ladies who practice magic, Sam. Well, I mean, they can be, but we've been over this. Mrs. Darkholme isn't a witch."
"Yes she is, Dean," Sam insisted. "She's a witch and I'm gonna prove it to you." He picked up his book and ran out of the room. Dean let his head fall back with a huff.
Earlier that day…
"Sammy, I'm serious. If you ask me how to make pozole one more time, I'm gonna find a recipe and use you as an ingredient."
"But it's for school, Dean! I have to make some and bring it to the class for a party."
"Sam, it's just school. We've got bigger things to worry about. Studying Mexican culture is kind of less important than staying alive in the United States." Dean looked down at his little brother's pout and groaned inwardly. Sam was about to bring out the big guns.
"Dee-ean." Yep. There they were: big hazel eyes gone nearly-brown and puppy-dog-like. No way could Dean withstand that.
"Alright. I'll… I'll take you to the library and we'll find you a recipe, okay?" Darn those puppy-dog eyes.
And then Sam smiled up at him and even finding stupid Mexican recipes was worth it for Sam to look at him like Dean was his hero.
The boys were walking from school to the little house on West Willow Way their father had rented for a few weeks. Part of the reason Dean didn't understand the fuss about the pozole was because they probably wouldn't be around for the party that Sam was supposed to bring it to. Dad was trying to give them time to finish the semester-mostly so that they wouldn't have to adjust to yet another school in the middle of the term-but where the hunt called, so the Winchesters went, and the area around Bayville, New York, was just about out of monsters for John Winchester to kill. They'd be moving on soon.
But right now, they were here, and Dean and Sam had to do what they'd always done: suck it up and make the best of it.
They were nearly to their house when they heard the call.
"Hey! You two!"
One dark blonde and one brown head whipped around to stare at the woman who was calling to them from her porch, the house next door to theirs. She was old, too old for the youngsters to be able to properly guess her age-to them she seemed ancient.
"Yes, you! Come up here!"
They paused and looked at each other. Mrs. Darkholme had been their neighbor for only a little while, but both boys knew that to hear and not obey was one of the worst crimes in her book, and she would kick up a huge fuss if they ignored her. Resignedly, they turned up her walk and trudged up her porch steps.
When they were within a few feet of her, Dean's right arm came out across Sam's chest, stopping him from going any closer. "Yes, ma'am?" he asked politely.
Mrs. Darkholme gave him a sharp look. "What do you mean, walking by my house?"
Confused, the boys looked at each other again and then Dean spoke up. "Um, what do you mean, Ma'am?"
She glared at them. "You know perfectly well what I mean! You walk by my house every day, tromping all over my sidewalk and scuffing my grass. Well, I won't have it. From now on, you stay off my property!"
"Ma'am, we weren't on your property," Dean began, attempting to placate her.
She screeched in outrage and raised her cane. "Don't you talk back to me, you brat!" She brought the cane down, hard, on Dean's left shoulder.
With a cry, Dean jerked away, grasping a handful of Sam's shirt at the same time and yanking him along. Sam stumbled back, hazel eyes wide and frightened, shock at the sudden attack making him clumsy.
"Sam, come on!" Dean gasped, tugging his little brother off the porch, tossing a glance over his shoulder to the angry old woman behind them. Mrs. Darkholme was still glaring at them. The boys jumped off the porch and onto the pavement, scrambling down the sidewalk until they reached their house. They ran up the steps and paused briefly at the front door for Dean to dig out the keys and unlock the door. They tumbled inside and slammed the door behind them
Sam turned to look at his big brother, eyes wide and dark in the dim lighting of the house.
"Dean?" he said uncertainly, upset by the pain in his brother's face.
Instantly, as if the sound of his name had snapped something back into place, the pain was gone, masked by Dean forcing a smile. "I'm fine, Sammy," he said to the anxious face stating up at him.
"Dean," his little brother said uncertainly. "She hit you with a stick."
Forcibly keeping his face smooth, Dean reached out with his good arm and ruffled Sam's moptop. "Barely clipped me, bro," he lied. "Really. I. Am. Fine."
Sam narrowed his eyes at his older brother. "Move your arm then."
Dean froze. "What?"
"Your arm. Move it. Reach up or something."
Dean glared at him. Sam glared back. For once, Dean broke first. "Okay, so it hurts. Happy?"
"No," Sam returned, eyeing his brother. "You need ice?"
A pained grimace broke over Dean's face at last. "Yes please."
"Dean?" Sam asked a little while later.
"Yeah, Sammy?" Dean answered, hissing a little as he applied the ice to the rapidly darkening bruise forming on his shoulder.
Sam scrunched up his face for a minute before telling his brother what he was thinking. "Mrs. Darkholme is a witch, isn't she." It wasn't a question.
Dean's head shot up and around to face Sam. "What?"
"She's a witch."
"No she's not, Sam."
"Yes she is, Dean," Sam said stubbornly. "She hit you."
"Sam," Dean sighed. "Just 'cause she's a mean old lady doesn't mean she's a witch. Witches aren't real."
Sam gave his brother a Look. "Dean, Dad hunts witches." Despite the initial shock last year of learning that the things that go bump in the night were actually getting bumped off-by his father no less-Sam was now completely comfortable with using his newfound knowledge to his advantage.
Dean rolled his eyes. "Okay, so witches are real. But Mrs. Darkholme isn't one of 'em. She's just crabby."
"Your arm looks like an anvil dropped on it."
"It was a heavy stick."
"Or she has supernatural strength."
"Dean, it fits!"
"Sammy, what makes you think she's a witch? Besides her hitting me," he added as Sam opened his mouth with a pointed look at Dean's shoulder.
For a minute, he thought he'd stumped Sam, but then his little brother's face regained its mulish, obstinate expression. "She looks like one," he muttered petulantly.
Dean rolled his eyes again. "Okay, Monty. Granted. But looking like a witch ain't enough evidence for her to actually be one."
"Sammy, Mrs. Darkholme isn't a witch, alright?"
His brother glared at him. "Yes she is, Dean! And you know what? I'll prove it!"
He jumped up and ran out of the room. Dean stared after him and then shook his head.
"Crazy little brothers."
The day after the Grimm's Dictionary Attempt was Friday, and after leaving school, the boys trudged home, hurrying by Mrs. Darkholme's Lair, as Sam had come to call it, and into the house. Sam got Dean some ice for his shoulder without saying a word and then told Dean he'd be outside in the backyard. Dean eyed him suspiciously for a moment, but then appeared satisfied with Sam's statement and waved him away, flopping back onto the couch and reaching for the TV remote. Sam grinned and left the room.
Ten minutes later found Sam Winchester climbing over the big fence that separated his backyard from Mrs. Darkholme's. If the proof wasn't in the like, bazillion books Dad had lying around, then he'd just have to go out and find it. Preferably without Dean finding out about it.
Sam squinted up at the window he was crouched under and only briefly considered actual entrance of The Lair. He was looking for proof that the old lady was a witch, not a demonstration. Besides, sneaking into a yard was one thing. If he actually broke into her house Dean would kill him. And then Dad would.
So. Skulking it was then.
Tilting his head back, the eight year old ninja-in-training peered up at the window through which he had glimpsed the old lady earlier. She had been mixing something in a bowl. Sam suspected eye-of-newt soup and toad bread.
Now, he strained his ears for any indication of her still being near the window and likely to see him if he poked through her garden. He was starting to stand up a little taller, his head nearly peeking over the sill when the sharp snort cut the air.
Instantly, Sam dropped back to the ground, holding his breath. For a moment, the silence held again, and then the noise sounded once more. He started to grin. Who knew witches snored like his brother with a head cold?
Sam scrambled to his feet, ducked his head under the window just to be sure, and then quickly scuttled over to the garden Mrs. Darkholme was cultivating-if such a term was appropriate for the mass of plants that were struggling for life in her rocky soil-by the water pump.
Poking through the scraggly weeds to find actual plants proved to be a much more scratchy task than Sam had originally anticipated, but the quest for proof of Mrs. Darkholme's witchy-ness was not to be denied, and Sam at last found himself in the midst of plants that were vaguely recognizable.
He grinned in triumph as he caught sight of and made a note of the witch hazel and sage. The rosemary was a little less incriminating, but the lavender and what looked like a miniature rose bush with completely black petals made up for it.
Backing out of the itchy grass, Sam crawled on all fours over to the fence and wiggled under it into his own yard before jumping up and running into the house.
Inside, Dean looked up from the painful task of assessing the bruise on his shoulder and groaned when he saw the excited face that was only a foot from his own. Great. More "proof."
Slightly annoyed but not really surprised to have Dean shoot down his "She's growing witch hazel, she must be a witch!" idea, and warned by his always protective older brother not to stray from the yard anymore, Sam returned to the books. His father had tons of books; surely there was something he could use in one of them.
He didn't find anything particularly useful, such as identifying marks like warts or pointy hats-which wouldn't have helped him anyway, seeing as how Mrs. Darkholme had neither-but he did find a vague reference to cats, brooms, and cauldrons, so he made that his next order of business.
The cauldron was the easiest. Sam wasn't entirely sure what differentiated a cauldron from a regular cooking pot, but he had a vague idea that it had something to do with roundness and color, so he searched through the cupboards of their house until he came up with the roundest, blackest pot he could find and figured that it would just have to do.
The broom was harder, but he finally found one that appeared to have seen much better days in a back closet. He didn't bother with the cat. If he was right, Mrs. Darkholme already had one or two running around anyway.
Thus armed with his various implements of witchy-ness, Sam set out once more for the backyard, checking in on Dean briefly to find him sleeping on the couch, left side up. He smiled faintly and then returned to his path.
Sam's plan was simple: sneak onto Mrs. Darkholme's porch and leave the cauldron and broom, then ring the doorbell and run. If she took them, that was proof she was a witch, because everyone (or at least, the author of the book Sam was basing his research in) knew that good cauldrons and brooms are hard to come by (and Sam could attest to that), and a witch would never turn down free supplies.
And if he could catch a glimpse of a black cat or two, that would be a bonus.
Satisfied with his foolproof plan, Sam staggered up the steps of Mrs. Darkholme's porch and plunked his burden down softly. Straightening, he glanced around to make sure no one was watching, then reached out and rang the doorbell. Immediately, he jumped off the porch and ran like mad to the safety of his own house. From behind the slatted screen that was probably supposed to be decorative or something, Sam watched the door of The Lair with equal parts excitement and trepidation.
Sure enough, after a few minutes, the woman opened her door and peered out suspiciously. She stopped short when she saw the cauldron and broom and went back to scanning the completely empty street for the invisible delivery service. Then, with the same unusual strength that led to a deep purple bruise on Dean's shoulder, she stooped and lifted the big pot, and swiped the broom as she stood up straight. Looking around one more time, she turned and scurried inside, one hand clutching the pot and broom, the other leaning on her heavy cane. Before the door slammed shut, Sam caught a glimpse of a streak of fur escaping to the safety of the wicker chair. A cat.
Sam clenched his fist in silent victory. Jack pot.
Dean grunted and raised his head from its position pillowed on his arms, wincing when his bruised shoulder pulled. "What?" he grumbled, blearily squinting up at his little brother. When he saw Sam's excited eyes, he groaned and buried his head in the couch cushion again.
"Sam, if you keep collecting 'proof' every time you go outside, I'm gonna stop letting you leave the house. You have got to stay out of Mrs. Darkholme's yard, Sammy."
"But, Dean," Sam protested. "She took the pot! And she took the broom too, and she has two cats!"
Dean stared at his little brother and briefly considered going for the holy water before deciding it was a moot point; whatever was possessing Sam had obviously been doing so for a while now. He had no idea what Sam was talking about.
"Dude, how is that proof?"
"Be-cause, Dean, witches always need stuff, on account of it always catching on fire."
Dean continued to stare at him, uncomprehending. Sam huffed in frustration and shoved away. Dean lurched up the next second and caught his arm, hissing as his shoulder reminded him why sudden movement followed by quick halts was a bad idea. "Stay inside."
"I mean it, Sammy. It's getting dark, and you may be able to get away with playing in the backyard, but you can't go running onto other people's property without me around. C'mon, Sam, Dad'll kill me."
More than anything, the thought of his brother getting in trouble because of him kept Sam by Dean's side. "Well… yeah, alright," he said reluctantly. "I don't want you to get in trouble."
"Thanks," his brother said wearily, letting go of Sam's arm with a vague pat. "Just… watch TV or something, or read a book. Look for 'proof' or whatever in one of Dad's."
"I already-" but Dean was gone, knocked out once more by the painkillers and the warm spring afternoon.
Sam stared at his strong older brother who had been brought low by an old lady with a stick and once again felt completely justified in his belief that said lady must be a witch.
The return of John to whichever place they were playing house at for the moment was always a grand affair. Sam would come running to greet his father, excited to show and tell John what he'd been doing while the man was gone. Dean would be right behind him, less enthusiastic physically, but just as ecstatic. John would smile at Sam and quietly give Dean a wink that meant "good job" and finally, finally relax out of the incredibly tense state he operated in when his boys were out of his sight.
So when John gave the door their secret knock-the opening notes of Boston's "Cool the Engines"-and then went on in, he was mildly surprised to find Dean there to greet him without Sammy. He raised an eyebrow at his oldest son.
"Where's Sam?" he asked. Dean rolled his eyes.
"Looking for proof. Probably didn't even hear the knock; he's been buried in those books all day. Sam!" he yelled over his shoulder. "Dad's back!"
Running sock-feet heralded the coming of Sam, and when he burst through the door and into his father's arms, he was already talking a mile a minute.
"Dad! You're back! That's really good, 'cause there's a job here, an' I found it, an' there's proof, even though Dean says it ain't a job at all, but I know it is, Dad, 'cause Mrs. Darkholme even sounds like a witch's name, an' anyways, she hit Dean with her stick!"
With that, John's slightly-dazed looking eyes rolled into focus and cut to his eldest to check for injuries. Dean rolled his eyes again.
"It's just a bruise, Dad."
"Let me see," his father ordered. Knowing the tone brooked no argument, Dean complied, rolling up his sleeve. John set Sam down and moved closer to Dean. His face darkened slightly when he saw the deep purple, nearly black mark marring his son's pale skin, but he didn't say anything. He reached out, checking with Dean by a glance if it was okay to touch, and then laid his fingers on the shoulder. Dean hissed a little when his dad pressed, but John backed off quickly, satisfied with his son's self-assessment: only a bruise. Right. Next order of business then.
His eyes went to Sam. "Explain."
"Dad, I can-"
John's hand cut Dean off. "Sam. Explain."
Sam took a deep breath and then launched into the story. Unfortunately, he added the parts about the pozole and the Grimm's Dictionary, which led to his father exchanging glances with Dean and trying not to laugh. Also unfortunately-for him-he confessed freely to sneaking around Mrs. Darkholme's house while Dean thought he was playing in the fenced-in backyard. His dad gave him the hairy eyeball for that, but didn't make him stop.
When at last Sam had completed his report, John turned to Dean. "Sure sounds like a witch to me, son," he said mischievously.
"She's not, Dad," Dean said tiredly, in too much pain to play the game. John nodded, eyeing both his boys, noting how Sam huffed at Dean's disclaimer but otherwise made no comment, and deduced-correctly-that they'd had this conversation. Several times.
"Sam," he said. His eight year old looked up.
"Why don't you go get ready for bed?"
A sigh, then his little boy shuffled down the hallway to the room he and Dean were sharing. John looked at Dean.
"So. Mrs. Darkholme."
Dean sighed. "You heard Sam. He's convinced she's a witch."
John nodded. "Because she hit you."
"And he's found 'proof.'"
John gave him an amused look. "He's trying to take care of you."
Dean scowled a little. "Well… whatever. But Mrs. Darkholme ain't nothin' but a crabby old lady, Dad. No witchy-ness."
John raised an eyebrow. "Witchy-ness?"
Dean's scowl deepened. "Sam's word. See what he's done!"
His father laughed and pulled him in for a one-armed, much-gentler-than-usual hug and then gave him a soft push towards the bedroom. "Go on and get ready for bed, son."
Dean was fast asleep and had been so for an hour when John heard the tell-tale sounds of footsteps approaching his room. Knowing Sam would be coming, John had purposely left half the covers turned down and rolled over so he was facing the door.
Sure enough, within seconds, Sam's moptop poked around the doorframe and the rest of him squirmed into sight the next moment. John's teeth flashed briefly in the dark as he uttered a quiet, "C'mon, Sam."
That was all the invitation Sam had ever needed, and he darted across the floor and into his father's bed without hesitation. Snuggling into the warmth, he let drowsiness steal over for a minute before asking meekly, "Are you mad?"
"Mm? 'Bout what?"
"'Bout me goin' into Mrs. Darkholme's yard."
"Meh," John shrugged as best he could while lying down. "Not right now. I'll be mad in the morning."
Sam giggled a little at that and then sobered, turning solemn eyes up to his father's face. "Dad?"
"Mrs. Darkholme isn't a witch, is she?"
John looked down at him. "What makes you say that?"
"'Cause if she were, you would've gone and killed her by now, for hurting Dean."
The simplicity of the childish logic struck John silent for a minute, and he contemplated briefly how much therapy his children would need after they found the monster that killed Mary and settled down.
Sam was waiting for an answer, so John put aside thoughts of pressed-suited psychiatrists and gave him one. "Yeah, Sammy. I would've."
"So she isn't a witch."
"No," John said (just a little bit regretfully, because dang the size of that bruise and the color of Dean's shoulder), "she isn't."
Sam buried his face in his father's chest and sighed. He mumbled something and John had to lean in. "What's that?"
"I said I wish she was," Sam repeated, hazel eyes daring John to make something of it.
And John smiled because his kids might need therapy, but they'd have it together and so he must be doing something right.
"Can I tell you a secret, Sammy?" he whispered. Sam raised his eyebrows, but leaned in close to his dad. "Yeah, 'course."
"I wish Mrs. Darkholme was a witch too."
As Sam's eyes widened at that little snippet of near blasphemy from his father, John allowed himself a grin at the thought of the old hag's face if she opened her door to find him on her front porch, gun in hand.
When he heard the soft snuffles that meant Sam was on his way to Dreamland, John laid his head down next to his son's and allowed the sound of his breathing to lull him to sleep.
Of course, the next morning there was the usual panic when Dean woke up to find Sam missing, but that was resolved in the time it took the older boy to scramble to his dad's room and confirm that Sam was indeed with their father-the same place he always was the first night after Dad came back from a hunt.
And then it was just a matter of whether or not Dean felt like making breakfast or decided he'd rather jump in on the other side of Sammy and go back to sleep for a couple of hours.
He deliberated for only a minute before shoving Sam over and climbing in behind, carefully favoring his left shoulder.
They moved soon after that. John was expecting more whining from Sam about missing the party with the pozole, but apparently the encounter with the witch-who-wasn't had changed his mind about Bayville. Both boys were definitely ready to leave.
They were loading into the car when a young man with hair so black it was practically blue staggered out of The Lair-the name officially adopted by all the Winchesters, even Dean-under the weight of a huge black pot that had a broom handle sticking out of it. The family paused in the loading of their trunk as the man went stumbling down the street to the next house, tripped up the porch steps, and finally knocked on the door. When it was opened, he asked a question, unheard by the Winchesters but understood clearly due to the gestures to the pot. The answer was obviously not helpful, because his face fell and he turned a glare that would have frozen ice cream in July upon the offending cooking vessel.
John and Dean both turned to look at Sam, who offered them no apology, but did flash them his most disarming smile. Which, considering it was Sam, was pretty dang disarming.
John shook his head, Dean rolled his eyes, Sam waved cheekily at the man-who foolishly tried to wave back-and they all hopped into the Impala and roared away with the sound of clanging metal behind them.
A/N: I apologize for the random pozole. I'm taking Spanish in school, and studying the culture is clearly affecting everything else I do.
Additional, No-Longer-A-Spoiler Disclaimer: I do not own Raven Darkholme. She-along with her attitude and abhorrence of adorable young children-belongs to Marvel, although I have aged her quite a bit. I also do not own the beleaguered young man with the blue hair-his name is Kurt, and he is Raven Darkholme's son, and as such, also the responsibility of Marvel.
Some people, when a show starts depressing them, take a break. It's not divorce, it's merely a… separation. A breather. Just until they can deal with the heartache.
I don't do that. My method of coping resembles something more along the lines of pulling out the photo album and recalling why I fell in love in the first place. It's a "second-first-date," if you will.
So, on that note, I bid you all adieu to go and re-watch my favorite episodes from the first three seasons, in the hopes that by the time 7.12 airs, I will have my muchness back, and be able to deal with anything thrown at us, even up to and including the breakdown of our favorite boys in the aftermath of the passing of Bobby Singer.