Shadow Watcher

Summary: A night out to relax for Dean and Sam also brings out someone else. Someone who watches the Winchesters from the shadows. Someone who wonders how he can help without being seen. (Sam and Dean have brief cameos but this is told from the POV of someone else). /Contemplative!John

Warnings/Spoilers: None really. This is set in Season 8 after 08x17 Goodbye Stranger and may include some spoilers if you're not caught up on the season.

Tags: None.

Disclaimer: I don't own the boys or anything to do with it. This is written for my own enjoyment and that of others.

Author Note: This hasn't happened and probably won't happen but an author can dream. This isn't the first time I've brought up the shadow person seen watching Sam's house in the first episode of this season nor is it the first story I've done for this season with him included but it is the first time I've openly suggested who I, as the writer, always hope for. Anyway, while it happens in this season it isn't tagged to any episode and can be considered slightly AU due to his involvement. Thanks!

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A Bar in Kansas, late at night:

"Twenty bucks and you wash and wax the Impala for a month if I beat your cocky ass at pool."

"No way. Forty dollars says I can still beat you and run a table on any other opponent you pick that's in there and when I do…I pick the music for a month regardless of who's driving."

"Sammy, Sammy, Sammy. Little brother, I taught you how to play pool and how to run a table. You sure as hell aren't beating the master at his own game."

"Prove it, Dean."

As I watch them from the shadows of the bar's parking lot it never fails to amaze me. No matter how many years have passed since I've seen them in person, no matter how old they get as I listen to them bicker their way into the crowded bar I don't see two grown men. I still them as bickering boys in the backseat of the Impala.

Watching Dean as he firmly objects to the terms of the bet that he'll go along with in the end I don't see him as a thirty-four year old man or even as the twenty-seven year old that he was the last time he and I met face to face since I don't count that one time. I see him as the wriggling little baby he was the night he came into this world.

That boy had a set of lungs on him to beat all and I never doubted that once he started talking he'd probably never stop. Little did I know that four years later for close to five months I'd pray every night for him to say one little word.

Shifting my gaze to the taller young man laughing next to his brother I still can't believe that this 6'4" grown man is the chubby little baby boy who would look at the world and his big brother through huge hazel eyes.

Sam'll be thirty in a little under a month and as I watch him now I still see so much of Mary in his face. The way his face softens when he smiles fully, he got that from Mary but as I've also seen since I began watching them Sam also has a lot more of me than I ever thought possible.

The boys go into the bar for what I hope is just a few games of pool and nothing else but I know Dean and I still know how prone he was to attracting the wrong kind of trouble in places like this.

Taking the chance to slip a little from the shadows, I have to sigh and once again marvel at how two small boys have grown into the two men I've been watching.

It's been over seven years, maybe eight, since I've seen either of them physically and a little over a year since I found myself back here with full memory of every damn thing that has gone on with them and I realize how much of it I could've prevented if I wouldn't have been so single minded back then.

Both Dean and Sam have seen parts of Hell and what lies beneath than anyone could imagine and I know that both of them are still haunted by those times.

Dean took the worst of it and despite what he portrays I can see the shadows he hides from his brother, the wounds he tries to hide from himself and the infrequent nightmares that he covers.

Sam's time wasn't as severe at least physically. He took the worst of that time mentally and I wish there was some way to shield them both from what seemed to be coming.

I'm not certain who brought me here or why. I just know that it's important for me to watch over them. I may not be able to take an active part in protecting them but I sure as hell can do what I can to keep things from touching them that they aren't expecting.

I watched over Sam during his time in Texas with the girl while his brother was stuck in Purgatory. That was something else I couldn't help with and I was forced to watch Sam fall apart as he tried so hard to find a way to save his brother.

That was when I realized that it wasn't only demons, angels, spirits and the like that posed a threat to the boys but actual hunters who believed the worst about Sam, about his past and things in it that he had no control over.

I might not have been able to stop those two assholes from hurting him but at least I did settle a score with the man who unintentionally set both Sam and his brother up for Walt and his friend.

Jefferson had been a friend. A man that I never honestly thought would ever hurt the boys and while it might not have been his fault…his involvement hurt both boys and that wasn't something I could forget…or forgive.

The tension between them doesn't seem as bad as it was when Dean first came back. The first time I saw them hunt together again it hurt to see so much strain between two brothers that I could remember being so close. These past few weeks most of the strain is gone even if Dean is hovering a bit too much.

Of course Dean hovering over his little brother is what he's always done. From the moment Mary first brought Sam home, Dean was glued to Sam's side and even after it happened and I'd tell him to watch his little brother I knew it was basically just words. Dean would protect Sam no matter what it cost him and that was what I hoped to prevent.

It was too late to stop what had been set in motions years ago by the time I realized it. I could only do what I thought best and prayed I'd raised them strong enough to handle what came their way.

I just hadn't counted on so many other people getting involved to try to screw with their lives and drive them apart. If I had maybe I would've said the hell with it and taken the boys and just ran as far as I could.

This isn't the first time that I've watched over them. When Sam was in school if I had a case in the area I'd swing by to just look in. There too he attracted the wrong kind of attention and I had to take care of more than a few threats…of course I also know his brother did the same thing when Dean thought I wasn't looking.

Both of them have grown into hunters, like I wanted. Now I'm not sure how to feel about it. I pushed both boys harder than I should've and I know that's what put the wedge between me and Sam. Perhaps if I'd been more honest with Dean about what I was doing, what I was trying to stop things might not have gotten so bad but I know that no matter what the things that those two have gone through would've happened because too many people wanted it to.

Mary and I were both used and through us our sons were used. Now they're being used again and I can't see any way to stop it or help. The trials have started and regardless of how Dean or I feel, Sam will face them and I only hope that both boys can survive it and maybe have a shot at that normal life Sam's always wanted.

They're so different and so alike. Dean's never fully seen how much his brother has looked up to him and Sam's never been able to understand that no matter how much he bitches Dean has always been proud of him.

They're both so stubborn that I want to roll my eyes and blame Mary for that trait but I can see too much of myself in them as well and not just in the way they hunt but by the way they relate to each other.

I taught Dean that emotions were a weakness and that people would use those to hurt him and those he loved. He learned to bury them a lot better than I expected and usually only his brother could cause that wall to lower.

Sam was an open book on the emotional scale and he didn't care if I yelled about it or not. He only now started shielding his and I think that's to protect Dean. It hurts me to watch them try to protect each other only to hurt themselves but I know that for whatever reason I was brought back for I need to distance myself from them yet.

Of course I also know how Dean will react if I suddenly show up and I don't feel like dealing with that yet so right now I'll stick to the shadows and keep a watch out for things that may try to stop them from doing what's needed to be done…like the asshole in the suit who just appeared.

Angels and demons each give off a different feel. Then there are those who can be either and it's those ones that the boys have to watch out for but haven't been given that hard lesson…yet.

They've made enemies in both Heaven and Hell since if there's one thing I can say about my boys is that even while fighting with each other they'll defend each other against a common threat and neither one trust those in charge in Heaven or the new King of Hell, which is why I've been seeing more and more of this kind nosing around the past few weeks.

Crowley and Naomi are both threats to the boys since they see them as possible threats to whatever master plan is going on now. The bad part of that is they also know to hurt Dean or Sam would be as easy as to hurt the other.

The boys grew up together. Dean practically raised his brother while I was off on one hunt or another. To see Sam hurt or in danger is the simplest way to hurt Dean and it's vice versa for Sam. They've both given so much for the other and will continue to do so.

To close the gates of either Heaven or Hell will stop a lot of danger to the boys but until then it's also placing them in more trouble than they've ever been in before because while they know to suspect Crowley of being an underhanded sneak, I don't know if they suspect the truth. Much less know enough about Naomi to understand the lengths she'll go to keep her hand in play.

That said, I guess it's time I send a message to whatever side this creep is working. "Hey,"

Turning at my voice, I see the shock on his face a moment before the long silver blade I had when I first woke up pierced his chest. "Take this back to whatever boss you're answering to. Sam and Dean Winchester are off limits. I may not have been able to protect them from all this madness before but I'll be damned if Heaven or Hell will touch my sons again."

The bright light fades and I know Naomi will get the message. She's sent her people to try to kill me but that's when I learned that neither angel nor demon can touch me without something interesting happening.

Someone brought me back to watch over my sons and while I may not know why yet I do know that I will do whatever it takes it protect them cause I won't see either of them die again for mistakes that were not of their making.

Watching from the shadows may seem boring and cowardly but until I learn more of what these trials may hold for Sam and I learn who might be behind my new existence or even how long it may last, it's the best I can do for them.

I'm just stepping back when I hear Sam's laugh as the bar door opens and one look tells me that the bet did not go the way Dean had intended and Sam was loving it.

"Pay up, Dean," Sam had his hand held out and snickered as two twenties landed in it with a disgruntled mutter about scamming little brothers. "No, I scammed the bikers. You I just beat."

"Keep talking, Sammy and the next nose bleed you have will be from me," Dean growled, tossing his smirking sibling the keys to the Impala. "Fine, you can drive, brat."

Letting Sam drive has always been the best thing Dean could do for his brother even if he may still bitch if his brother changes the radio.

I watch closer as Sam snatches the keys and I catch Dean's full honest smile. The one it took a lot to bring out of him and I know even as I know my sons that while Sam might have run the table on a few bikers he didn't beat his brother.

Dean learned to play pool from me and I taught him every way there was to win and how to lose without looking like you lost on purpose. He'd been scamming pool games since before he could legally play and I can tell from his face tonight that he threw the game with Sam just so his brother could win and win the bet.

Of course playing pool wasn't the only thing I taught Dean and I see as he lays a hand on the passenger door to gaze around the lot that he feels something or someone watching them and I make a not so gentle reminder to myself to keep that in mind the next time I get this close.

"Dean?" Sam's hunter senses have improved since I last saw him but he doesn't have his brother's keen sense of survival and I hope he never does because Sammy's innocence is still what makes a huge part of himself. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing, Sammy," Dean knows there's someone out here but he doesn't want to upset or worry his brother more than he is over other things. "Nothing, just get in and don't touch my music or I will so end you."

The familiar sound of the Impala's engine and the blaring classic rock music bring back more memories as I think to when those two were just growing up. When Dean still held some form of innocence in what I did, in what killed his Mom and what would finally be asked of him.

I've seen this pattern for weeks and know that they'll go back to that old base built in the side of a mountain and stay there until either a case comes up or Dean gets bored and goes looking for trouble.

I'll make a few side inquiries to see what I can learn about these tablets, about any rumors circling about the boys and finally make certain neither demon nor angel are getting too close to them.

The car I'm driving may not be the Impala or the big truck I used to have but it served its purpose. It got me around and it allowed me to watch after them without drawing too much attention though as the danger to Sam increases Dean's hyper-protective side will grow and eventually it may become needed that I meet my eldest son face to face and hope I can still love faster than he can shoot or throw that damn blade.

As I drive off, I listen to an old song Mary and I used to play when we were just married. When we had dreams of happy ever after with the sons we loved and I hope that wherever her spirit is she's watching over our boys as well but only not in the shadows like I do.

I taught my boys that the shadows were not always a good thing but now as I seek to shield them, to help them, and to protect them more than I could when I should have I find the shadows are the best place to be because who would seek to find an old ex-hunter hiding in the shadows trying to save the sons he loves but may never be able to face?

"Watch after your brother, Dean and I'll do my best to watch after you both," I know this may be impossible but have to believe that whoever or whatever brought me back wants the boys kept safe and if it's the last thing I do I will at least do that for them.

The End

A/NII: Everyone still here? I know it's merely a pipe dream but a girl can hope for even a glimpse. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this one.