Brightness in the Dark
The Impala rumbled until Dean turned off the engine in front of a gas station.
"What the hell Dean? There's no way the Impala needs more gas, we just fueled up no less than an hour ago," Sam said.
"I know," Dean replied with a mischievous grin, "We're here for pie."
Sam rolled his eyes as he followed his brother out of the car and into the gas station. It had been a full week since he'd found the picture of Nathan. Since that small nameless town, they've passed two more. Still no contact from their dad, no mysterious murders or killings in the papers, and absolutely no idea how or where to even start looking for Nathan.
"What's the matter Sammy? On your girl time? I think you'll find whatever you need on isle three," Dean jabbed as he approached Sam with pie in hand.
"Jerk," was all Sam said.
"Seriously Sammy, why with the 'my puppy just died' look?" Dean asked as he looked over the chips that were on the rack.
"Just frustrated Dean," Sam whispered.
"Whoa! Too much info!" Dean exclaimed.
"Not like that Dean!" Sam exclaimed, ears turning a tomato red, "Just...we seem to have time to look for Nathan, but where in the world do we even start?"
"Is that why you're stressed out?" Dean asked as if it were completely ridiculous.
"Oh, so you know where to find him?" Sam asked sharply.
"Course not. Unfortunately I don't think GPS was around back then so I couldn't give him one of those doggie collars with the trace in it. But I mean, come on Sammy, we find things that aren't real or that are supposed to be extinct, I'm sure we can find Nathan," Dean replied.
"I doubt it's going to be that easy. I barely remember the guy, I can't even remember the day we first met him. The main thing I remember was that day in the woods with the werewolf. The guy was a hunter, a hunter who scared dad sometimes. A hunter that good goes after big prey...he may be dead for all we know," Sam said solemnly.
"Look Sammy, Nathan isn't like everyone else, that's a given, but he's still alive," Dean's arm suddenly grasped Sam's shoulder and he looked passed Sam and his grin was back on full force, "Sam...I think I know what we need to do."
"Yeah...what?" Sam asked as he picked out a bag of chips and headed to the fridges to pick out a drink too.
"You just said that Nathan's a damn good hunter who hunts big things right?" Dean asked.
"Yeah, so?" Sam asked as they headed to the check out.
"So all we have to do is pass by the Road House and see if anyone there has any info on our old Uncle Nat, and hell we might as well asked about dad too. It's been awhile, maybe he's checked in with Ellen once or twice," Dean said as they headed out to the Impala.
Sam stopped short and stared at his brother. Dean noticed Sam's stare and turned around and asked, "What?"
"Since when did you get so logical?" Sam asked as he approached the car.
Dean pouted and harshly threw Sam the keys. Which Sam barely caught, "Drive so I can eat my pie...bitch."
"Jerk," Sam replied as he got into the drivers seat.
With Sam behind the wheel Dean took the time to eat his pie, occasionally making moaning noises to purposely annoy Sam. After he ate all of his snacks and some of Sam's as well, Dean leaned back in the seat and tried to sleep.
Before he could fall asleep completely his thoughts wondered to Nathan. He knew that there was something about this whole thing that Sam wasn't telling him, but he wasn't too worried. Nathan had been good, a blessing for the Winchester clan. When Nathan was with them it was completely awesome. His dad was more involved with them, and not in a Sargent kind of way but in a father kind of way. Not only that but his dad smiled more and actually played with them. Add to the fact that there was another adult to watch over them while their father was away at a hunt, Dean no longer had to be the adult.
He was still as vigilant as ever, but he rested easier knowing Nathan was there watching over them. Leaning further into the car seat Dean began to drift off into sleep. Still thinking of Nathan he was remembering one of the first times his father had left them with the blonde.
John packed a few more guns into his duffel as Sam ate his spaghetti-O's at the table and Dean watched his dad from his spot quietly on the couch.
"How long are you gonna be gone?" Dean asked.
"A few days. Four at the most. There's enough food to last the both of you until I get back but I've left some money just in case. But if you don't need to, if there's no danger or absolute need, you do not step out of his house, understand?" John asked strictly.
"Yes sir!" Dean replied.
"Dad, I'm finished with my lunch!" Sam called from the kitchen area.
"Good boy Sammy. Now wash your plate," John ordered. Sam was going through the 'I'm a big boy' phase and John thought it was a perfect time to teach Sam how to be more independent and self sufficient.
"'Kay dad!" Sam replied cheerfully as he dragged his chair to the sink and began to wash his plate.
John was about to grab some of the books from the table in front of the couch when his cell phone rang.
"Dean, go put those books in my duffel," John instructed.
"Yes sir," Dean replied and went to do just that.
"Winchester," John answered his phone.
"Hey old man!" a loud voice came from the device so close to John's ear that it made him cringe.
"Nathan..." John hissed, "What have I told you about inside voices?"
"But I'm outside at the moment," Nathan replied innocently from the other side.
"Smart ass...what do you want? I'm busy," John gruffed out.
"What, finally trying to get that long ass pole from out of your ass?" Nathan jabbed and John could have swore he could see those blue eyes roll.
If it were someone else completely, John would have hung up or cussed them out so bad the person would have cried like a baby, but for the life of him, John couldn't be mean to the blonde on the other side.
"I'm about to leave for a hunt," John replied. He nodded at Dean to dismiss him when the eleven year old stood in front of him, motioning to him that he was finished with his task. Dean went to go sit and watch television but he noticed the tone of voice change in his father. It was, dare he think it, playful? No...maybe, but whatever it was it was different and he was curious to know why.
"Really? What is it about?" Nathan asked.
"Why do you care?" John demanded hotly.
"I can help!" Nathan declared happily.
"I don't think so," John answered and he wiped his hand over his tired features.
"WHAT! Why? I can totally help out old man, I can!" Nathan insisted.
John sighed. He had met the kid some years ago. About the year after Mary was killed, him and Pastor Murphy had ran into a completely different kind of demon. It was more vile and dangerous than anything he ever learned, or apparently what Pastor Murphy learned either. They had been cornered and he thought he'd never see his two boys ever again, when all of the sudden a yellow and orange blur passed them and the demon was tackled.
There were whimpers and roars and other noises neither hunter ever heard, and finally a blonde kid who barely looked older than fifteen appeared in front of them with a goofy grin on his tanned face.
They had gotten along very well after the initial denial and fear of the kid. As powerful as the kid was, it was impossible to think the kid a threat of any kind. Either his kindness or just his demeanor which was honestly...pretty stupid. Nathan, the kids name, had stuck with the Winchesters for a while and during that time, John had thought of the kid like a younger baby brother almost. But of course like some brothers, they had a falling out, about what John can't remember, but it ended badly and John had left the kid in whatever town they passed and didn't look back. Later feeling incredibly guilty, he returned a week later only to find that Nathan had left as well. The guy at the hotel said that some shady looking guys in black coats were snooping around and the kid hightailed it out of there.
"Why would you want to?" John asked somewhat miserably, still a bit guilty about just leaving the kid like that. And confused as to why the kid was calling all of the sudden. John had tried for a while to hunt the kid down, to make sure he was alright, but could never find him. He gave up eventually, but still every once in a while kept an ear out for the blonde nuisance.
"Because I'm in the same town as you and I figured that since I'm not doing anything I could help you out," Nathan reasoned.
"You're in the same town as me?" John asked as he looked out the window before he could help himself. A small blushed of embarrassment crept up to his face as he realized he hoped to see the blonde outside.
"Yeah, I got here yesterday and I could practically smell you from my hotel room," Nathan said and again John would just see that smirk on the blonde.
John sighed, "I don't need your help Nathan."
"Oh come on! I'm boooooored! Can't I help with something?" Nathan asked like a five year old wanting to go out and play.
"No. I've got it covered brat," John said.
"Dad! The milk is gone bad," Sam called from the kitchen.
"We don't need milk Sammy," Dean replied.
"But you said we was gonna get pancakes in the morning!" Sam whined.
"Enough! Sam go play in your room. Dean go clean up," John ordered.
"The brats doing okay?" Nathan asked sincerely.
John bit his lip as he watched his sons go, and then he looked towards the kitchen and then he sighed yet again, "Nate, if you really want to help..."
"Yes?" Nathan asked excitedly.
"I've got everything covered for the hunt, but...Sam and Dean could really need an adult here with them. But I suppose I'll have to settle for you," John said lightly with a smirk of his own.
"Tch...old bastard. But okay! I'll be there in five minutes! I can't wait for see those brats again!" Nathan exclaimed and hung up the phone.
John sighed but then pocketed his phone and called the boys back into the living room, "Alright...I've got a friend coming over to watch over you boys while I'm out."
"A friend?" Dean asked suspiciously.
"What kind of friend?" Sam asked happily. He wanted to have a friend but he barely had any chanced because they were always moving.
"He's an old pal of Pastor Murphy's and mine. You actually met him about five years ago. Sammy, you probably don't remember because you were just one, and Dean you were five, plus he didn't stay long," John replied.
"We don't need to bother people dad, I can take care of Sammy and myself just fine," Dean said. Friend of not, he didn't want strangers near his baby brother.
"I admit...he's a little whacky, but he's a good guy. Sometimes too good," John whispered the last part as he remembered one of the few times he had been with the kid. During a hunt gone wary, in which the a he-witch had captured, tied up, and removed all their weapons, Nathan had shown the he-witch some of his power and bargained out a deal. Nathan had given himself to the he-witch in exchange for him and some civilians to be freed. John thought that he'd lost the kid and was going to go out for blood when a two days later the kid barges into their hotel room with pizza and a toy each for the boys.
"You sure we can trust him dad?" Dean asked looking from his dad to Sammy.
John saw this and told Sammy to go pick out some clothes so he could bathe, "I know you're worried Dean, but I know what I'm doing. I know I can trust Nathan. I wouldn't let him in the door if I thought he was dangerous. And besides, I've trained you to be the best soldier ever. I know you can take care of Sammy."
Dean looked his father right in the eye and saw that he was telling the truth, and nodded. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. John stood up from his seat on the couch and went to answer the door. When he opened the door he was a bit surprised to see how the kid had grown.
"Hey old man," Nathan said with a smile.
"Nathan..." John grunted as he moved so Nathan can step in.
Dean's first thought about the blonde was...loud. He was wearing some blue jeans, a black shirt, a pair of black converse, and a weird orange jacket with a high white collar and a swirly thingy on his left shoulder.
Over the years traveling with his dad, Dean's seen many people with all sorts of characteristics. He's seen plenty of blonde's with blue eyes who were tanned, but this guy was different. His hair was a special blonde, it was much lighter than this, but it wasn't a bleach blonde either. It was like a golden blonde. And his eyes...they reminded Dean of the ocean. A deep blue that changed shades. What struck him the most was that he had scars on his face that resembled...whiskers.
"Geeze I knew your parenting skills were questionable, but didn't you bother to teach your kid it was rude to stare?" Nathan asked.
"Dean, introduce yourself," John said, though he didn't blame his son. Nathan was an oddity to look at. His hair was still as messy and wild as it was five years ago. Last time John saw Nathan however the kid was shorter and thinner. Now the kid in front of his isn't really a kid. He was now taller, about 5`10, his shoulders were broader, and he's gained some muscle.
"Dean Winchester," Dean said with a nod.
"Nathan,"the blonde replied.
"What, no last name?" Dean asked.
"Nah...too annoying," Nathan answered. "So when are you leaving? Got time to go eat? I'm starved."
"No, I leave now actually. Be useful and go get some fresh milk," John instructed.
"So my special super secret task is to do your grocery shopping?" Nathan asked sarcastically.
"It's not that complicated Nathan. You simply go to the store and pick out some products and then pay the cashier. A child can do it so I assume you should be able too as well," John said with a roll of his eyes, causing Dean to smirk.
"Tch...whatever. Hey, isn't there another little brat?" Nathan asked.
"Sammy!" John called as he pulled his duffel over his shoulder.
Sam came running into the room, his shaggy little hair whooshing with every step.
"Yes dad?" Sammy asked as he stood next to his older brother. His hazel puppy eyes looking and inspecting everything about the blonde.
"Wow...you've grown kid. Last time I saw ya, you could barely walk," Nathan said as he knelt on one knee to be at eye level with Sam and smiled at him, "Nathan."
"I'm Sammy. Do you wanna play with me?" Sam asked happily. Usually his dad friends were old and mean looking. Nathan didn't look too old and he looked happy and playful.
"I'd love to, but I have to go shopping first. I'll be back real soon," Nathan promised.
"Come on I'll walk you out," John said.
"He looks fun," Sam said as his dad closed the door behind himself and Nathan.
"More like funny looking," Dean retorted.
"You don't like him Dean?" Sam asked.
Dean pouted, it wasn't that he didn't like the guy. For some reason he wanted to trust the man, and because of his appearance more so, but he couldn't. Trusting him blindly could mean trouble for him and his family, even if his father trusted the man.
"I don't know yet, Sammy," Dean replied.
Dean and Sam walked to the window and watched as their father drove off in their awesome car, while the blonde man walked the other direction.
"Dad said he was a friend," Sam pointed out.
"Yeah well, a lot of dad's friends are kind of shady. I'll make the choice if I can trust him by myself," Dean told his brother, "Come on lets watch some TV."
"Oh! Can we watch the Looney Tunes?" Sam asked.
"Sure tiger," Dean said.
They watched television as about an hour passed. The sun was high in the sky when there was a knock on the door. Dean ordered Sam to stay where he was while he answered the door. When he did, his eyes widened when he saw how many bags the blonde was carrying.
"What the heck is in all those?" Dean asked as Nathan walked passed him. Sam ran from the couch to the kitchen where Nathan sat the bags down on the table.
"Uh...food, duh," Nathan replied.
"So much?" Sam asked with eyes just as wide as his brother's had been. Usually when their dad shops he only gets about one or two bags. Nathan had at least six or eight.
"Well yeah. You can't make a proper meal without all of right ingredients," Nathan answered.
"You know how to cook?" Dean asked as he helped take the items out of the bags.
"Well you either learn or starve, right?" Nathan asked.
"What are you gonna make?" Sam asked.
"Well I thought I'd prepare some stakes and mash potatoes. Anything you guys want in particular?" Nathan asked as he finished taking out the last items.
"That sounds yummy! Right Dean?" Sam asked his older brother.
"I guess," Dean replied.
"Okay so...can either of you munchkins tell me where all the pans and pots are?" Nathan asked the two mini-chesters.
"We're not munchkins!" Sam pouted, his size has always been a problem with him. Since he was shorter it was a rule that made him lose to Dean all of the time.
"Well you're both shorter than me, so...yeah, you're munchkins. Now, where are those pans?" Nathan repeated.
"Check the cabinets blondy," Dean answered with an eye roll, not appreciating being called short.
"I can believed you are John's kid," Nathan said with narrowed eyes as he pointed at Dean. Then he pointed at Sam, "You however...it's debatable."
"Whatever. Try not to burn the place down. Sammy and I are gonna be watching television in the living room," Dean said as he took Sam's hand and headed to do just that.
"Television?" Nathan asked as he momentarily followed the children.
"Yeah, you know...the box that shows programs and cartoons and stuff," Dean said a bit sarcastically.
"Oh yeah...mini-movie thingy's," Nathan murmured.
Dean raised an eyebrow, "What?"
Nathan snapped back into focus and then he rubbed the back of his neck and chuckled, "Eh...I'm going to go start dinner."
"That was weird," Dean said.
"How do you think him and dad became friends?" Sam asked.
"Uh...most likely during a job," Dean answered.
"Oh. Does Nathan work in the same business as dad?" Sam asked.
"I don't know for sure Sammy. But he might on and off," Dean replied.
Sam was about to ask another question when there was a car screech outside, some honking and yelling. Then there was complete silence.
"Did someone crash?" Sam asked. Dean was going to the window to check when Nathan appeared at the entrance from the kitchen to the living room.
"Dean...I just forgot to pick up some Ramen. I'm going to run back to the store and get some. Can you man the stove while I'm out? The potatoes are done, you just have to flip the stakes," Nathan said.
"You're going all the way back just for Ramen?" Dean asked.
"Yes, if I don't eat one cup of Ramen everyday then the Ramen gods will cast the world into utter destruction. It's a heavy duty, but I take it with pride," Nathan replied with fake seriousness but Dean could tell that it was forced. Like he was trying to be funny to keep them calm, but from what?
"Uh...sure," Dean answered. There was something different about Nathan. His face lost its previous playfulness and his eyes that used to shine with mischievous laughter were now serious. Again reminding Dean of the ocean. Before, they were a beautiful like the ocean when it was peaceful. Now they were a deep blue that looked when like the ocean water when there was a storm in the horizon.
"Great thanks. Sammy go in the kitchen and supervise your brother, kay?" Nathan asked.
"Okay!" Sam answered happily and rushed to the kitchen.
When Nathan left Dean turned off the stove and looked out the window. He saw Nathan walking fast towards the direction that the crash had come from, but all of the sudden Nathan disappeared in a flash. Just before he disappeared Dean swore that Nathan's eyes flashed from blue to red.
"Dean. Dean...DEAN!" Sam called from the outside of Dean's window.
Dean jumped awake and looked around wildly and reached for his gun, "Wha...?"
"Dude relax...I'm just waking you up," Sam replied as he raised his hands in a peace making gesture.
"Why?" Dean demanded as he rolled down the window.
"Cuz it's late and I found a motel. Come on, you can sleep inside," Sam said as he went to get their stuff from the trunk.
Dean didn't get up right away. His dream, or flashback, was so real he could practically still see Nathan.
Something about him and that first encounter always bothered Dean, but he could never figure out what it was. Maybe it was trying to understand how Nathan disappeared like that. After everything that happened he was okay with Nathan not being human. Like their dad said, that guy was good...too good to be human, but for once it wasn't a bad thing.
"Dean?" Sam asked from outside of the Impala.
"Sammy...do you know what Nathan is?"