Summary: John wasn't the only hunter Bobby babysat the kids for.
Rating: M eventually (For Dean of course)
Disclaimer: All I own is Charlotte.
1987 - April
South Dakota, Sioux Falls
Tiny hands folded into the creases of the worn blue jeans that her father wore. Head latched so close it almost became a part of the giant leg. "You promised." The little voice, desperate and pleading, turned its set of tear stained blue eyes up. "You promised."
Her father, Peter Dixon, stole a glance to the other man in the room, Bobby Singer. The latter took the slight hint in brown-gold eyes, the quick dart to the kitchen that sat to the left of them. When the two of them were alone, or as alone as one could be in a very open house, he turned his eyes back down to his little girl. "Lottie-"
In a flash watery blue eyes were on him, brows knotted in anger, confusion and hurt, or as close to those emotions a five year old could present. "No. You said just one more. Then that was it. You promised. You never break promises. That's what you said!"
He knelt down, now, to level his eyes with hers, soft, worried and desperate. "I know honey, I know. But I need to do this. For your mother."
Those words, for your mother, triggered the response he hates. Triggered the response he didn't want to be greeted with. Lottie, Charlotte, turned on her heels and said, "You always say that."
"This thing hurt your mother."
"And so did the last thing." She turned, eyes angry again and tears threatening to spill down pale cheeks, flushed from the argument. "And the thing before that, and the thing before that. Stop lying!"
Peter stretched a hand out, fingers reaching to push stray strands of brown hair out of saddened eyes. "Lottie-"
Before his fingers could reach their goal she turned and ran. Loud heavy sobs fell in every quick footstep she took. Away. From him. From what he was going to do. Go on another hunt. Kill another thing. Leave her behind.
She'd been to Bobby's place enough times, enough being three including that day's visit, to already have a favourite spot. Out the back door and into the junkyard. Down the third line of cars and into the rusted metal frame of a dark blue one. The seats were old and mottled with holes but held enough foam to be comfortable when the front seats were stretched back over the rear seats. A flat bed of dirty, old foam and peeling, speckled grey leather that held the bitter tangy smell of rust, sour turned carpet and leaking oil. But she loved it.
"This is a 1970 Pontiac GTO"
"Can I sit in it?"
A moment as Bobby checked the car over with his eyes. "Sure. Just don't touch anything."
She sat on her knees, arms folded over the top of the large steering wheel, eyes glaring at the back door. He would leave. She knew it. But that didn't mean she had to like it and as long as he knew she didn't like it he could leave.
But she did hope.
The sound of an engine starting, roaring and clawing at the base of her spine, crawled away until she could no longer hear it. Once that sound was gone, the familiar squeal of brakes that were too tight, metal creaking against metal with every movement the old thing made, she dropped her eyes, her arms and her body onto the foam. Curled her arms around her face, dug eyes into the bare flesh of her arms and cried.
Seconds stretched into minutes, then hours. The back of her throat was growing sore from the wrenching her body was delivering with every sob. She hadn't moved since she'd heard his car disappear. Hadn't moved since she'd felt her heart drop into her stomach and dissolve in the acid settled there.
She hated him.
"Charlotte?" The loud screech of the rusted door wasn't enough to coax her from her howling. Neither was the hand on her back, rubbing soft circles over rumpled clothing. "Sweetie."
"I hate him."
"No you don't."
"Yeah I do. I hate him."
And just like that Uncle Bobby said the one thing that always made her smile in situations like these. "I've got ice cream. Strawberry flavour." A chuckle grappled through the tears to soften damp eyes and a terrible mood. "Want me to go get it for you?"
Her head, still in her arms with eyes pressed firmly against heated skin, nodded. Brown curls fell over her arms and Bobby's hand rubbed her back once more before he disappeared. He wouldn't bring it to her. It would sit on the desk in the kitchen, spoon stuck into the frozen dessert that he wouldn't scoop from the tub.
It was all hers.
It took forever for her eyes to dry, but when they did, or when she felt she could see without blurry lines, she pulled herself out of the old car and onto solid earth. When she reached the kitchen it was to an empty room, save her ice cream on the wooden desk. She pulled herself up onto the chair grabbed the spoon and started digging.
Four spoons in, silver utensil still in her mouth, there was knocking on the door. As any curious five year old girl would, Charlotte shook her head to clear it of the wet remains of tears, stroked a hand over her entire face, forcing the dry patches away, and angled her body and head over the edge of her seat, around the corner of the desk and towards the front door.
She couldn't see much. But she could hear it all. "John."
"Bobby," a nervous sigh, "Can you take care of them for a couple of days?"
A pause. She could swear the cogs in Bobby's brain, working out space, sleeping arrangements, day plans, meal plans, were as loud as rush hour traffic right outside your front door. "Sure."
"I owe you."
Boys? Her brows furrowed deep between her eyes. Boys. More than one. Tonight, the night after that and maybe even the night after that, she had to share Bobby with at least two other people. She enjoyed her time with Bobby. The ice cream. Late night 'scary' films that her Dad had told her were for adults. Pfft. But most of all he showed her the cars. It was interesting. Someone telling her information, even letting her tighten the nuts and screws now and again. She knew he would fix her shabby job when she was asleep or busy doing something else, but he made her feel like she was wanted and helpful.
Then there were two boys, around her age, standing in the entrance to the kitchen. Staring. At her. The older looking boy with slightly narrowed sharp green eyes, his frame stiff. Protective and suspicious. Her Dad had pulled the same look countless times when old ladies had talked nicely to her. The other boy blinked up with curious wide brown eyed wonder.
Everything snapped after a moment when the younger one bounced on the balls of his feet to stand next to the chair she was on. "I'm Sammy. I'm four. That's my big brother Dean. He's eight."
Charlotte's eyes travelled from Sammy to Dean and back again. "I'm Charlotte." Then the boy stood there, awkwardly, staring at her, the ice cream, his brother, ice cream. Mine. Eyes narrowed at his pleading puppy eyes. You can't have it. Mine. Bobby got it for me. Me. Mine. No. Nuh uh. No way. "You want some ice cream?" Curses.
She shook brown hair. "Strawberry."
Brown eyes were turned upon green ones. "Dean likes Strawberry." Back to her so fast it was a shock his neck didn't crack from whiplash. "Can he have some too?"
Then she met his eyes. He hadn't spoken a word. Hadn't said hi. Nothing. He was staring too. Not at the ice cream or Sammy but her. Judging. Waging. Deciding. Head titled to one side ever so slightly. Eyes still narrowed just that miniscule bit in the corners. It was making her uncomfortable. Ready to cry. Again.
No. She jumped down next to Sammy and stepped in front of Dean. Inches apart. She was the shorter of all three of them and she had to glare up at him. "What?"
It took a moment for the boy to register that she wasn't happy. Today was not the day to be getting on the sore and raw nerves of the five year old girl who wasn't ready to deal with anything too far away from eating ice cream and watching Bobby work. "Nothing."
Dean just narrowed his eyes. They stared. After a moment he huffed a breath, turned his head to stare at the wall and muttered, "Whatever."
She stuck her tongue out, turned on him and stopped in front of Sammy. "Wanna see something cool?"
His eyes sought Dean's, who rolled his eyes, nodded and dumped their bags by the desk in the kitchen. "Don't hurt yourself."
She showed him the car she fell in love with since she first arrived. Showed him the blanket she stashed on her second visit, in case she wanted to be alone, outside and alone. Showed him the horn that still worked and the large steering wheel that twisted freely with no restraint. Told him it was hers and that one day "I'm gonna fix her up real pretty. And she'll be mine. Still blue. Not pink. Pinks rubbish for rubbish people."
"Our Dad's car is cooler."
Dean's words killed her mood. Nobody's car was better than hers. Not even her Dad's. "Nuh uh."
"Yeah huh," he nodded, arms folded and eyes glaring over the rusted metal she and Sammy were sat in. "Sammy agrees don't you?" Eyes snapped to the youngest.
He stared from one older child to the other and back to Charlotte. A shrug. "Sorry."
Charlotte folded her arms and glared. Now she hated Dean. Hated the smirk he wore. The attitude of "I'm right you're wrong. Deal with it. Don't question it."
"I'm gonna fix it up and it'll be better than your Dad's."
Now his brows were raised, corner of his mouth tugged into his mouth. A smirk was coming. "I bet you you can't fix this."
"All on your own?"
"Yep!" She smirked up at him, tongue out and eyes closed in self-satisfaction.
Silence passed between them for several seconds before Dean spoke. "I dare you to do it." Her tongue fell limp, her eyes opened again and she stared at him. The smirk was wide now. "I dare you to do it before I have my own car."
"Deal!" She didn't need to think about it. Didn't want to. It was a challenge. From him. A stranger. Who'd walked into her life like she was the intruder. This was her chance to stick it to him.
Minutes of chatting idly passed before Bobby called for their attention. Food was ready for the night. As she followed the boys into the kitchen she realised she knew nothing about cars and fixing them. "Damn it!"
She ducked her head, shoulders hunched, "Sorry Bobby." She took her seat opposite Dean, Sam on her right. On her sixth mouthful she realised. She wouldn't see Dean after these next few days. The deal didn't matter. She didn't have to fix it. Didn't have to talk to him once she was picked up or they were picked up first.
How wrong she was.