A/N – Hey guys! I'm back with a new story. If you haven't read Bad Company, you're gonna want to do that before you start this. It's not necessary, but it adds a little something to this, sort of like a prequel.
The banner is up on my profile. The amazing BobbysIdjit made it for me, and I am so pumped for this story. My Team Bean girls are still with me, so say hello to MissJanuary and Spn-lost-twi. This story has a slightly OOC Bella and the same old Dean. It's not too angsty and there will be Bella/Dean action pretty much from the gate. It's rated M for a reason, people!
Chapter song: Itchin' on a Photograph by GroupLove
Yeah, I'm giving up on looking back. Yeah, I'm letting go of what I had.
At the sound of the front door opening, Bobby Singer took one last sip from the bottle, letting the gut-rot liquor flow down his throat and burn his insides. He sucked at his teeth, quickly capped the bottle of whiskey, and set it aside, walking over to meet the boys.
He shoved his hands in the pockets of his well-worn jeans. "So, how'd it go?"
Dean shoved past him, his shoulder brushing against Bobby's as he trudged up the stairs, the creaking of the floorboards making his silence even more apparent.
Bobby's already wrinkled brow furrowed as his eyes followed Dean's retreating form and then turned back to the younger Winchester still standing in the doorway. Sam tried to hide his frustration but that boy's face showed everything he was thinking and feeling.
"What's with your brother?"
Sam let out a huff and entered the den, tossing his backpack on the floor and plopping down in one of the threadbare chairs. "He's just being Dean."
"Charlie give you a hard time? He's been out of the game for a while. I wasn't sure how willing he'd be to help you boys."
"Charlie wasn't there," Sam said flatly.
Bobby's face perked up with a smile. "Well that's good. In an out. An easy job..." Bobby frowned when Sam didn't meet his eyes. "Okay, what aren't you telling me?"
Sam stared at Bobby pensively. "Bella was there."
"Balls!" Bobby scrubbed a hand over his beard and stalked over to his desk, grabbing the bottle of whiskey and pouring it into a glass. He tossed back the amber liquid and sighed. "You didn't drag her into it, did you? Charlie never wanted her to know about this part of his life."
Laughing nervously, Sam rubbed his palms down his jean clad thighs. "Yeah, about that... It was kind of hard not getting her involved when she locked us up."
Bobby slammed the glass down on his desk and approached Sam, his eyes narrowing. "What do you mean she locked you up? What'd you idjits do?"
"Apparently, Bella works at the police station. Or she was covering for Charlie..." He shook his head and let out another laugh. "Someone saw us digging up the grave, called it in. This green deputy hauled us off to the station and there she was..."
Sam's eyes lit up a bit remembering how fierce she had looked on the other side of the jail cell. Last picture he saw of her, she was a tiny, gangly thing with teeth too big for her mouth. Thick-framed glasses hung low on her nose and her braided pigtails hit just past her shoulders.
When Deputy Steve had brought them to the cell, she stood there tall and confident. Her hand rested on top of the gun holstered at her hip while she went toe-to-toe with Dean and his smart assed comebacks. Her eyes were unrelenting, her voice commanding, as she stared them down, explaining to them that if they didn't talk, she'd keep them locked up through the weekend and let the Staties handle things. She was clearly shaken because they had known her name and what she looked like as a kid. When Charlie got on the phone and basically demanded that she let them go, she had to have known something wasn't right.
Sam pushed his thoughts aside and smiled at Bobby. "Who would have thought that little bookworm would go into law enforcement?"
A smirk tugged at Bobby's lips. "So she and Dean bumped heads. Is that what this is about?"
"Maybe." Sam shrugged, a sheepish look crossing his features. "He was a little touchy when I asked if he thought we should tell her the truth."
Bobby's face softened as he pulled up a seat next to Sam. "It's not up to either of you. If her daddy wanted her to know, he'd tell her. Just like your daddy told you boys." He gave Sam's shoulder a firm but loving squeeze. "I think it'd be best for both of you to just forget about her. John hasn't talked to Charlie in ages. I doubt you'll cross paths any time soon."
Later that night, Dean was in his makeshift bedroom upstairs at Bobby's house. The boys were always on the road, so it never really felt like he had a room of his own, but if he had to pick a place where he felt most at home it would be Bobby's. Dean even left some of his personal things on the top shelf of the closet in the back of the room. He lay on the bed, staring at the ceiling, counting the cracks in the paint before his eyes traveled to the closet door that happened to be cracked open a hair. He shifted his gaze back to the ceiling and let out a long sigh.
Over the years, Dean had hunted some pretty nasty things from demons to ghosts. He didn't scare easy, but seeing Bella in person, being so close to her he could just reach out and touch her, that terrified him more than he was willing to admit.
He tried to erase the memory of her sexy smirk when she said, "Welcome to your new home, boys." He gritted his teeth remembering the way his dick twitched in his pants when she raised an eyebrow at him, asking if he was threatening her. He wanted to do much more than threaten her when he saw her standing in front him with her dark, smoldering eyes, tight little body, and tiny hand hovering over such a large gun.
After pounding his fist against the mattress several times to let out his frustration, he sat up and eyed the closet. Narrowing his eyes, like the very contents offended him some how, he warred with himself. Finally, he got up and walked over to the closet, whipping the door open so hard it slammed into the adjacent wall. He leaned into the closet, standing on the balls of his feet, reaching into the back and swiping his arm across the shelf. Wood scraping on wood, Dean slid out a container the size of a shoe box and carefully walked back to the bed. The mattress dipped as he sat down, and he turned the wooden box over on its side and shook out the contents. Wrinkled letters with smudge marks and aged Polaroid pictures with tattered edges were strewn across the bed.
He picked up a piece of pale yellow lined paper. It felt so delicate and thin between his fingertips Dean was afraid it would disintegrate. The handwriting was messy, but he had read the letter, all of the letters, so many times he could recite the words without even looking.
You were right. I couldn't have a family and hunt. It doesn't work like that. Renée finally left me. Said I was too wrapped up in work, said she felt trapped. She took the kid with her. It's probably better this way. They'll both be safe. Bella will never need to know of the horrible things we face everyday. Give my best to Bobby and the boys.
Dean picked up a picture from off the bed and felt his lips tugging into a smile. It was of a little girl. She couldn't have been older than two. Her big brown eyes stared back at him as she held what must have been her first ice cream cone. The ice cream had melted down her arm. He could see the stickiness glistening on her skin. Her face was covered in chocolate and the smile she wore squeezed his heart. Dean threw the picture back down and picked up another letter.
Sometimes I don't know why we keep doing this. It's lonely and it's hard. But then I see Bella and I know. Renée lets her stay with me during the summer. That's why I couldn't help you out on that last hunt. Did you end up tracking down that Striga? Here's the latest picture I have of her. She's getting so big. I can't believe she's going to be four!
There were at least fifty letters and corresponding pictures. John and Charlie had been pals in the Marines. They fought together in 'Nam and when they got back from overseas they settled down with their retrospective families but always kept in touch. When Mary, Dean's and Sam's mother, died tragically in a house fire, Charlie was the first person John called. Of course Charlie came. His best friend needed him. What Charlie didn't expect was to be drawn into a world nightmares were made of. He thought he had seen some horrific things during the war, but nothing compared to what lurked in the shadows. Some things could never be unseen, and just like John, Charlie thrust himself into the world of the supernatural. John was on a mission to find his wife's killer, but Charlie was the type of person that wanted to make the world a better place, especially after his daughter was born. After seeing what was really out there, he had no choice but to fight it.
The letters spanned years, and each one added new pieces to the puzzle that had become Bella. Charlie would talk about pictures she'd draw, books she read that she couldn't stop talking about, the latest boy band she was in love with. Every detail Charlie shared helped Dean forget about his own rotten childhood. If he tried hard enough, he could almost imagine doing things that normal kids like Bella did: riding bikes, sitting down for a home cooked meal, watching fireworks on the fourth of July.
Lining up all the pictures in order, Dean could see how Bella developed into the woman she was today. There were more pictures towards the end, smaller gaps in time. It must have been when Bella moved in with Charlie. You could still see the shyness hiding in her dark eyes, her long brown hair usually covering her face in some way, but sometimes Charlie captured a smile on camera, and that smile made Dean's chest feel tight. Then the pictures stopped and eventually so did the letters.
Dean picked up one of the more recent letters and scanned over Charlie's words.
I know it's been awhile but I need your help. I think Bella is caught up in something. Our kind of something. What do you know about vampires? I always thought they were extinct, but these ones...there's something different about them. Does the name Cullen ring a bell? Maybe Dean knows something. Oh, I heard Sammy got into Stanford! You must be really proud.
Dean took a deep breath, remembering. He had found dirt on the Cullens and sent it straight off to Charlie. Nothing ever came of it, so he just figured maybe Charlie was just being paranoid. When you were a hunter as long as John and Charlie were, you were suspicious of everyone. Dean could already feel himself traveling down that road.
He picked up the last picture of Bella Charlie ever sent to them. It was a really pretty shot of the young girl. Her hair was curled in loose waves and she wore the faintest blush on her cheeks and a genuine smile that even reached her eyes. The blue of the dress she wore was such a dark contrast to the creaminess of her skin. Dean shook his head, feeling like a perv for staring at the picture for so long. Maybe it was best Charlie hadn't sent any more pictures of her.
Dean thought back to the woman he encountered at the police station. The way her lips curled around her words when she called him "stud" made him hard. Never in a million years had he ever imagined Bella would look like that. She was smoking hot, confident, sexy, someone Dean would have easily locked Sammy out of the motel room for.
He shuffled the letters and pictures into a neat stack and placed them back in the box. Making his way over to the closet, he shoved them onto the shelf, keeping them safe and well hidden. He grabbed a towel off the back of the door and padded towards the bathroom. After that trip down memory lane, a cold shower was in order.
E/N - Welcome to Hell's Bells! So what are we thinking? Yay, nay? Do we like the fact that Charlie and John were buds? Can you see the sparks already flying? Next chapter we meet Bella...again for those of you that have read Bad Company.