"Now I've spent most of my life riding waves, playing acrobat, shadowboxing the other half."
He sunk a bit deeper into the ratty green sofa when he heard the door slowly unlock. He felt the anger and mixed relief rushing through his veins as he watched her calmly turn around and lock the door back. She walked past the living room, and he smirked. This is why she never would be a good hunter. Too unobservant, too self-absorbed.
That is until her footsteps slowed on the stairs and she called over her shoulder, "You could say hello, it is considered polite, or so I've heard. Then again however, so it coming to see your daughter more than once every few years. I'll be back in a few minutes."
He heard Archer speaking quietly to her aunt; he couldn't decipher the words, just the comforting undertone and Alyssa's spacey voice. Not being able to hear the voices he began looking around, natural hunter instinct you could call it. The rooms were sparse, and the smell was dank, but had an undertone of febreeze, as if someone had tried to cover then stench then stopped bothering when they realized it was pointless. All the furniture was ragged, and the sagging coffee table was covered in old magazines and bounced checks. He was just about to sneak down the hall to his kid's room when the stomping footsteps of Archer's combat boots caught his attention.
She moved around the kitchen purposefully. First putting coffee on, and then starting some eggs in a pan, clearly a routine. For once in two years he finally got a good look at her, those school pictures Alyssa sent him didn't really do. She was still small, short for her age, from her mother he insisted to himself. Her hair was his brown, maybe a little darker; he couldn't say he knew it well enough to tell. Her eyes, though, he knew. His mother's deep, striking blue. She dressed simply, white t-shirt and plain black jeans.
"So what happened this time? Hunt in town? Abnormally pissed over my B in Physics? Spill so we can get this over with." Her voice was different too. Instead of the accusing thirteen year old, or the sappy six year old, she was the tired fifteen year old.
"Alyssa was worried, she said you've been sneaking out a lot. She really didn't know where you were this time. Want to explain that, Archer?" She cringed at the name, she had always hated it. Not that Dean could say he was partial to it either, but Alexandria had been insistent, and hell if he cared about the kid's name.
"To be fair, Alyssa wasn't really here either," he tone was carefully measure as her hand holding the plastic spoon quickly scrambled the eggs. "There's only so much I can do during the high, the after I can handle." She made a small gesture to the plate of eggs now on a tray beside a glass of water and a cup of coffee.
If he was surprised, which he was, he certainly didn't show it. This time however, he did follow her back to Alyssa's room and he was inwardly shocked with what he found. The needles were kept neatly on a table along with a few bags, but the rest of the room was in disarray. Alyssa was in the middle of it all in the twin sized bed, looking half dead.
"Hey Auntie, I got you something, it should help you feel better," Archer's tone took on a soft, almost gentle comforting tone that he didn't know she was capable of. The expected revulsion creeped up his throat. His daughter's supposed guardian had reversed the roles, and daughter followed father in the family history of taking care of parental figures.
Alyssa reached out to slap her and angrily screeched, but Archer just calmly backed out of reach. Another routine. A smile was plastered on her face and Dean reached out to grab her shoulder and pull her from the room. Through gritted teeth she ordered him to let go. Again she approached her aunt and set the food down, this time with little to no trouble.
"Eat it all, I'll come get the plates later Aunt Alyssa. I'm sorry I worried you tonight." She gently hugged the woman who had moments ago lunged at her before leaving the room. She stopped at her own room, quickly kicking off her boots into the dark then shutting the door quickly. Dean followed her into the living room again, since his authoritarian stance he planned on coming in with had slowly seeped away.
"So, what is it you're here for again, Dean?" Archer picked up the bills that lay in an off-kilter stack on the table. She flipped through them, trying to project an air of nonchalance.
"You know why, little girl," the worry came to the forefront again and he quietly seethed.
"Hmm… yes you told me you were worried, while a likely story I have to say I don't quite follow. You see the past two years much worse things have happened than me spending a night out, so frankly I know that's a pile of bullshit."
Ha, there was the little girl. She used to always over-emphasize the curse words, just to try and piss him off, because of that one time he told her that cursing wasn't okay.
"Well, Auntie Alyssa up there hasn't really reported those to me," his tone leaked sarcasm, since that was the only way he could get feeling across.
"Yes, well her work keeps her busy," her voice was deadpan and if the situation wasn't so bad he would have laughed.
Sighing he rubbed a hand across his forehead. "Where were you, Archer Marie?"
"Out," she gave the typical teenager response quickly.
"Kid, do I need to remind you what happens when you push it a bit too far?" He raised an eyebrow and only a light blush spreading across her face was her response to the question.
"Where were you Archer Marie Winchester?" The full name came out and Dean hoped she knew that he was serious for once.
"Downtown, me and a few friends were hanging out." Brat, half-affectionately, half-irritated, he thought.
"Who were these friends?"
"You might know them if you stuck around. Gracen, James, and Tara." She still flipped through bills, but for a moment he saw her eyes flash up and glance at him, as if hoping that he would know the names and derive some information from them.
"Why couldn't you hang out with them tomorrow?"
He took a deep breath. Don't throttle the girl, Dean, just don't.
"Why didn't you tell me about Alyssa?"
She laughed, she fucking laughed to a point where Dean was considering getting her to a hospital. "Oh god, that's a good one. Do you even know why I don't call you?" She carried on, not giving him a chance to answer. "You're never fucking here, Dean, you don't care. You left me here and you haven't visited since the blowout we had when I was a fucking kid. You don't know me, I don't know you and the only reason I'm not calling the police to report a stranger breaking and entering into my home is because the phone has been out for months."
He hadn't even bothered to wonder why Alyssa had frantically called him from a payphone. Now he just stared at Archer, contemplating. Yeah, he had been a dick. He had abandoned his kid and he knew it had hurt her, but however cliché it was it was for the best. Demons were still on his fucking tail and he couldn't drag that shit to her, and truth be told the both of them mixed like oil and water, matches and gasoline. She wanted a daddy who would hug her, and always say 'I love you' and get a nice house where they would live together and he could take her to school every morning, and he just couldn't really do that. He loved her, but he had other family to protect too.
Deciding quickly, her blue eyes boring into him making him finally push himself to say the words, "Go pack, Archer, you're not staying here anymore. We're leaving in the morning."