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Topics - Jo Winchester

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1
Disposable Heroes / The Trickster Tricked
« on: November 26, 2018, 04:33:09 PM »
February 2015[/b]

Adapting to life as hunters with one child had been a challenge. Adapting to life as hunters with one toddler and newborn twins was proving ... more so. But little Bertie was delighted with his little sisters for the most part, which helped a little, and he was easily distracted by snow. In January, there was no shortage of snow for him to play in, either. Jo had left the girls inside with Dean to go and frolic with their boy, claiming her right as overtired mommy for the first time in a couple of months. He could handle his girls, right?

Of course, he could! He was a hunter, after all. He had supposedly been "Michael's sword". He had killed more demons and monsters than he could count. So then, why were two squirming infant girls with poopy diapers so perplexing?

"One at a time, Dean," he told himself, remembering what Jo had taught him. He'd handled little Bertie like a pro, but the twins were double the trouble.

Still, even Ellen had remarked on how he was doing better every day. It just took practice, she'd said. Easy to say for a woman who'd never had any children of her own - at least, in this universe. Finished diapering Hope, he went on to her twin sister, Anna. In their son Sam's future, there had been no Anna. Anna was a bonus. Dean couldn't quite wrap his head around it, but then he'd never really tried. He'd learned a long time ago that there wasn't much point in trying to sort things out logically when their lives didn't follow any rules of logic. He just took things as they came and was grateful for the new life he'd been given.

Thankfully, at just under three months, the twins were not mobile enough to do more than kick and flail, and giggle at their daddy as he made faces over them. From outside came the sound of Jo attacking their son's snow fort with more enthusiasm than success. It was ... normal. And for a family who were anything but, normal was a surprisingly relaxing experience.

Strangely enough, Dean found himself enjoying a little normal for a change, though he'd remarked more than once that it might be nice if the twins had some sort of magic powers that would enable them to always have clean diapers. Still, all of this was part of being a father, and Dean had to admit he was enjoying being a father more than he had expected. Once both twins were in clean diapers, he gave them both kisses and propped one against each shoulder.

"There you go. Good as new. I don't know what all the fuss is about. Taking care of twins is a piece of cake," he told them both.

At which point, his pants started singing. Or rather, his phone started ringing. As accomplished as Dean was when it came to the girls, it was probably just as well Jo wasn't there to tease him about how he was going to get his phone out while holding them both at once.

Dean scowled as he both heard and felt his phone going off in his pocket. It was times like this when he just wanted to throw the damned thing in a snowbank and leave it there until spring. Jo had advised him to just turn it off for a while, which seemed like a far more practical solution, but despite Dean's annoyance, he was too worried he might miss an important call.

"Er ..." he murmured as he looked from shoulder to shoulder at his daughters, before deciding to lay them both down in the playpen so that he could take the call. "Be good girls. Daddy will just be a minute," he promised, tickling both their tummies before tugging the phone from his jeans, muttering, "This had better be important."

With his baby girls cooing at each other and him in the background, the phone display revealed that it was Brian calling. Jo's sort of adoptive father in this timeline, he ran a bar in Chicago as a sanctuary for hunters, and kept in touch long-distance as often as he could. It was rare for him to call at this time of day, however.

"Dean, you got a minute?"

Dean furrowed his brows when he saw it was Brian. Brian never called him, unless it had something to do with the business of hunting. Otherwise, he always called Jo, which was logical, considering he was the closest thing to a father figure she had in this universe. "Lucky you called now. Five minutes ago, I was elbow deep in baby poop. What's up?"

"My timing is always impeccable," the older man chuckled. The sound of his bar was a familiar ruckus in the background behind his voice. "This is a friendly heads up. Seems like there's trouble heading in your direction - I just had a tracker pass through on her way west."

"Her?" Dean echoed, repeating the word he'd deemed most important from the man's warning. "Long as she's not after me or mine, how's she trouble?" he asked, mildly curious.

"Well, knowing what I know about you and yours, I thought you might want to know what she's after," Brian told him. "She's tracking Loki. And this tracker, she's got a reputation - she never loses her target. If she's heading your way, then so is he."

Dean's brows furrowed in thought and just a little confusion. He said nothing for a moment and then chuckled. "For a minute there, I thought you said Loki."

"I did say Loki, Dean." Brian sighed. "Look, I've heard the stories, I know the guy supposedly died with Baldur and Kali and all the rest of them. But Kris is pretty certain. Never known her to be wrong."

"Uh, I thought Gabriel is Loki," Dean said, only knowing what the archangel told him, both before and after he was whisked away to this alternate version of Earth. He was somewhat familiar with the lore, at least as far as Marvel Comics and movies were concerned, but Sam had always been the loremaster, not Dean.

"Wait ... Gabriel is Loki?" Brian sounded confused. "Doesn't that mean that Kris is hunting down the King of Heaven right now?" He let out a low whistle. "That's not going to go well."

Or was Loki Gabriel? "I'm ... not sure," Dean murmured, confused himself. "Back home, Gabriel said he and Loki made a deal." Of course, that didn't mean that what had happened back home applied here, too.

Brian was quiet for a moment. "I've never known her to be wrong, but she could be misinformed," he conceded thoughtfully. "Look, might be an idea to pass the information onto your godly allies. Either she's hunting their new heavenly stooge, or she's hunting someone who has a bone to pick with him. Neither one of those is good."

Dean grumbled incoherently. It looked like he was going to have to have another long talk with Gabriel, and that was never a pleasant prospect. "I'll let them know. Thanks for the warning," he told Brian, wondering whether they should put out the welcome mat or a Do Not Disturb sign.

"Kris'll check in with Bobby and Ellen when she gets to you," Brian added. "Might be an idea to introduce yourself so she doesn't shoot you if you get in her way." His grin was audible as he spoke.

"First name basis, huh?" Dean teased. He was aware that Brian was a widower, but that was no reason he couldn't find someone else to share his life with. "I'm sure Bobby and Ellen will fill her in, but I'll keep that in mind." The question now was which of their immortal allies they should inform. Ares was the logical choice, though Dean wasn't sure whether Ares would care.

2
Disposable Heroes / Moments of Worry
« on: July 23, 2017, 07:01:45 PM »
[size=9]April, 2014[/size][/b]

The Winchesters were a fierce family. Nothing phased them; nothing frightened them; nothing stood between them and their goal. With a one year old son, and a twenty-two year old son, Jo and Dean had grown into truly terrifying parents of the protective type, only now beginning to learn how to tone it down in so-called normal company. Nothing could stop them from approaching any situation with utmost confidence. Well ... almost nothing.

For Jo, at least, the prospect of wearing a dress to her older son's wedding was proving difficult to wrap her head around. She'd tried on three dresses so far - at home, because not even she would drag Dean to a mall to do this - and not one of them had suited her.

"Okay ... when did my butt get too big for a dress?"

There was a time when Dean would have thought watching women trying on clothes was almost as good as watching porn, but that was before he'd gotten all married and all domesticated. Nowadays, he thought women trying on clothes was women's business, and he wasn't too sure why Jo wanted his opinion on dresses, instead of someone who knew better - like Ellen or Ayden or even Becky. Thankfully, she hadn't dragged him to the mall. At least, here at home, he could enjoy a decent cup of coffee while she played fashion show.

"Do you really want me to answer that?" he teased his wife, hiding a smirk behind his cup of coffee.

"Not if you want to have a daughter," she called back to him. There were a few moments of grunting discomfort, and finally she sighed in relief. "Ugh ... I think this one is actually worse. What possessed Ellen to think this was going to suit me?" She pulled open the door to step into view, bare toes brushing the carpet. The dress was ... red, tight, and not really suitable for a wedding.

He shrugged, unruffled by her remark. "We met her. It's already a done deal," he reasoned, though that wasn't quite true. Dean didn't want to wrap his head around what might happen if they didn't have a daughter, when she'd traveled back in time to help them once already. So, had she done that in the future or in the past? It was too complicated, and if he thought about it too hard, it made Dean's head hurt. Dean took one look at his wife in that dress and whistled in appreciation. As sexy as it was, it wasn't really appropriate for the mother of the groom. A night on the town maybe, but not a wedding. "I like that one, but not for the wedding."

Jo looked down at herself, laughing at his reaction to it. "Seriously? I get naked in front of you all the time, but it takes a dress to get a whistle?" she teased in amusement, twisting to look at the back in the mirror behind her. "God, my butt is huge in this thing." It really wasn't, but Jo had an odd blind spot when it came to her own figure.

"Baby, I could ping a peanut off your butt in that thing," he told her. As silly as it sounded, he meant it as a compliment. "Your butt is perfect. Better than J-Lo's, and way better than Kim K's," he added, admiring the view.

"You're lucky I love you," was her answer, not entirely sure that she wanted to be complimented on having a butt better than J-Lo's. J-Lo had the genetics going for her, after all; Jo was just a skinny white woman with less curves than muscle. "Okay, just two more. I promise, only two more." She wiggled her fingers at him, reaching back to undo the dress as she slipped out of sight once again.

"That was totally a ****-me dress," Dean murmured as he sipped his coffee and tried to shift into a more comfortable position now that she'd managed to turn him on without even trying. No daughter. Ha! Like that wasn't going to happen. Might even happen today, if the other dresses were anything like that one.

Sadly for him, they weren't. The next was a soft shade of green, loose and floaty, and would probably look better if Jo bothered to put the heels on with it. As it was, she looked like she'd escaped from a beach wedding and lost her shoes on the way. "What about this one?"

Dean made a face, which pretty much said how he felt about the second dress. "That makes you look like you're fourteen and going to your first high school dance," he said. "And the color is all wrong. Who picked these out?" It sure as hell wasn't Jo because none of the dresses so far seemed to fit her very well.

"Mom did," she laughed, rolling her eyes at his response once again. "Besides, aren't you the one who's always complaining that I have to have ID on me at all times because I get carded everywhere we go?"

"You don't look much like a mother of the groom in that dress," he remarked. Then again, they were both way too young to have a son who was old enough to get married. "Have they worked out yet how they're going to get a marriage license when Sam doesn't even have a valid birth certificate?"

"Apparently Ares is calling in a favor with Clotho so her Olympian contacts can insert Sam into our timeline without anyone being any the wiser," Jo shrugged. "So that's a no for this one, huh?" She laid her hands on her hips, her lips quirking with teasing good humor now she knew he thought it made her look adolescent.

"Baby, you're not innocent enough for that dress," he told her, with an almost lurid leer her way. "But if you wanna pretend, I can think of a few things I could do to corrupt you," he added with a waggle of his brows.

She snorted with laughter, bending to catch a pillow off the bed and throw it at him. "Eww! Not thinking about you doing stuff to a fourteen-year-old me!" Cackling with laughter, she slipped back into the bathroom to slide out of the apparently too young for her dress and try the last one. She wasn't holding out much hope for this one being any good, either. Ellen's taste wasn't very good when it came to her daughter, it seemed.

Dean batted the pillow away with a chuckle, what as left of his coffee sloshing in his cup. "Here's an idea!" he called from the bedroom. "Why not do your own shopping instead of leaving it to Ellen?" Who, he guessed, probably hadn't bought a dress for herself or anyone else since 1975.

"Because the thought of going to a mall and trying on dresses in those tiny cubicles next to dozens of little girls who look better in everything turns my stomach," Jo called back to him. "I might actually stab someone if I have to do it."

"We could make out," he suggested. "In the dressing room, I mean." Yes, a thirty-something year old man was suggesting making out with his wife in the dressing room of a department store when he could make out with her whenever he wanted to right in the privacy of their own bedroom.

The bathroom door opened, but only her head poked through, one brow raised above her smile. "Is that a request that we get a little more adventurous, baby?" she asked in an innocent tone.

"Jo, I could pick out a better dress than Ellen," he said, though that didn't really answer her question, and he hoped Ellen never overheard him saying that. Something long and black and slinky, maybe with a slit up the leg and a bare back. Yeah, he could just imagine her in something like that. But black for a wedding?

"She picked the dress I got married in, remember," she pointed out, pulling the door open all the way to step into view. The dress this time was long, and far more grown up than anything she was used to wearing. She bit her lip, feeling almost shy in anticipation of his reaction to this one. Did burgundy suit her?

3
Disposable Heroes / Making Plans
« on: February 20, 2017, 01:05:52 PM »
What with one thing and another, Dean Winchester had not yet had the opportunity to celebrate the Christmas season in his own home. Last year, everything had been tense because of Hades. This year ... this year, he had his own home, he had peace for the foreseeable future, and he had a baby son as an excuse to indulge in all things seasonal. All right, so it was still technically November, but only for a couple of days. Jo had lost the battle over waiting for December first, as evidenced by the sight of the bags of decorations they had just returned from buying.

With Bertie on one hip, cooing happily at a random bauble dangling from her fingers, she was watching her husband sort through their bounty in amusement. "I don't think we have enough house to put all this up in, baby."

"We'll make room!" Dean insisted, as he sorted their booty into piles, which only he seemed to understand the logic of. One pile was for Christmas tree decorations - which he was planning on chopping down himself, the old fashioned way. Another pile was for window decorations, another for outside, inside and so it went. He had even splurged on cookie cutters and baking supplies, intending on making at least ten different kinds of cookies, whether they could eat them all of not. "I haven't had a real Christmas since I was three," he told her, though she must have already known that. He'd only been a month or so away from his fourth Christmas when the yellow-eyed demon had killed his mother, and his world had been shattered. "Hey! What about Hanukkah? Rufus celebrates that, doesn't he?"

"Maybe we should stick with just one set of traditions this year, and work on getting it right for us before we start bringing in other traditions," she suggested in amusement. It was impossible to wipe the grin off her face; Dean, who was normally so capable, had devolved into a small child in the face of so much seasonal sparkle, and it was utterly adorable. "I'd offer to help with whatever's going on here, but I think it's in a completely different language. Isn't it, Bertie-boots?" she added to the infant in her arms. "Daddy's gone all whole new world on us!"

"Christmas is all about sparkly!" Dean insisted, not really worried about how tacky all this stuff might be. By the time he was through, the house was likely to look more like a flashing neon sign than anything else. "I was thinking maybe we could enter a contest for best decorated Christmas house. What do you think, eh?" he asked, holding up an extremely tacky-looking inflatable Frosty the Snowman, a silly grin on Dean's face.

"Really?" Jo couldn't help laughing as he showed off the snowman inflatable, deeply charmed by this side of her husband. Ellen was going to mother him even more than usual if she got even a glimpse of this. "Baby, if that's what you want, that's what we'll do," she promised him. "It's gonna take days to get all this up, you know."

Dean tossed the inflatable in the pile that included other inflatables, without so much as a shrug. "What else have I got to do with my time?" he asked, not really wanting an answer for that. Now that they had a tenuous peace going between Heaven and Hell and Olympus, hunting had returned to the almost mundane rash of occasional monster hunts. "Have you heard from Sammy yet? He was taking Becky out on her first hunt."

"They were supposed to be heading down the sewers this morning." Jo shrugged, one shoulder rising and falling as she dangled a new bauble in front of Bertie for the baby's enjoyment. "He'll call, even if it's only for a couple of minutes. He knows we worry. And if he doesn't call, you can bother Ayden into using her uber-sight to find him and scare him into calling us." She grinned at Dean, and bit down a laugh as the bauble was suddenly pulled from her fingers and thrown with unerring accuracy at his head.

"What the -" Dean broke off as the bauble boinked off his head and drew his attention, but as soon as he realized it had been Sam who'd thrown it and not Jo, he chuckled. "That kid's got an arm. He's gonna make one hell of a ..." He broke off as he realized Sam - or rather, Bertie - would never grow up to be a baseball player, but then you never knew. Maybe he'd play for the Yankees one day. Dean shook the cobwebs from his head. Wishful thinking. "I don't envy him. Rugarus are nasty mofos. I hope he knows what he's doing. Personally, I'd have started with ghosts. Learn the basics and work your way up."

"No, the Rugaru was apparently his first hunt with you," Jo corrected him laughingly. "This is one of those liquid shifter things. That's why Ellen was complaining that her oil spray had disappeared." She bent, setting Bertie down on the floor with his father as the baby boy giggled happily, and kissed Dean's temple. "I'm making coffee," she told him. "Want some?"

"Wait ... my first hunt with Sam ... Bertie ... whatever ... was a Rugaru? That's nuts. Why the hell would I do that?" He'd thought he'd heard Sam mention one, but he must have misheard or misunderstood him. Of course, it wouldn't be the first or last time that had happened. "Is the Pope Catholic?" he replied to her question. Duh. Did he ever turn down a cup of coffee when it was offered? Or a beer, for that matter. "You are gonna be a hell of a ball player someday, kid," Dean promised his son quietly, handing him a plastic ornament of some kind to toy with.

"You're asking me to explain you to yourself again," she called over her shoulder at him as she slipped into the kitchen, leaving the door open as she flipped the coffee pot on, belatedly checking to make sure it was loaded up. "He says it was a disaster, but that you were really proud of him. Sounds like it was the first time you said that when it came to monsters and such - it stuck with him." Bertie grinned gummily up at his father, waving the ornament as he looked around at all the piles of sparkly temptation on the floor.

He shrugged, muttering quietly to himself. "Well, someone has to do it." He frowned as he looked at his son. "I am promising you right now, kid. No Rugarus. Not until you're old enough to drink your first beer." And that was that. Of course, Dean knew they had changed the future several times already, as none of it was set in stone, no matter what Sam said. Sam had changed his own future as soon as he and Hope had hopped back to the past, but though nothing could really be done to change Sam's past, at least, Dean could learn from it.

"So I guess we're hosting Christmas here this year, huh?" she asked over her shoulder, not wanting to disturb his bonding with their son but pretty sure she was going to need the answer to that question sooner rather than later. Cooking for their large family was going to be a challenge, but she doubted she'd be doing it alone. "Or are we gonna take over Ellen's kitchen and leave Bobby with the washing up?"

"Uh ..." was Dean's intelligently thoughtful reply. He didn't really know and hadn't thought about it much. All he knew was that he'd hadn't had a proper Christmas since he was almost too young to remember it, and even though it might not mean anything to little Bertie yet, he wasn't cheating his own children out of it, like he'd been. His father had been so obsessed with finding his wife's killer that Christmas had always been forgotten - year after year after year. "What do you mean? Like turkey and all the trimmings?"

"Yeah, like turkey and all the trimmings," she assured him, leaning in the doorway with a bright smile on her face. "Are you forgetting that you married a woman who can actually cook more than burgers?" She laid a hand on her hip as she smiled at him, enjoying the sight of Dean and their baby son, surrounded by the tacky sparkle that was Christmas in a nutshell.

"Did you know Chinese places are usually open on Christmas? Sam and I had this tradition - every Christmas we'd scope out the best Chinese buffet in town, and that's where we'd have Christmas dinner. I'm pretty sure Sam hated it, but he'd do it for me," Dean said, getting lost in his memories if only for a moment, while dangling a Snoopy ornament in front of the little boy who was supposed to be his brother's namesake, if not for time travel.

4
Disposable Heroes / A Death Worse Than Fate
« on: September 24, 2016, 09:18:00 AM »
[size=9]June 19th, 2013[/b][/size]

The scene Dean and Sam burst into was horrifying to witness. Jo lay dead on the kitchen floor, her blonde hair matted with her own blood, her throat slit open imprecisely but fatally. Bertie was screaming in his basket, demanding to be soothed in the only way the three-month-old knew how. And Becky ... they had watched her plunge the knife into her stomach, twisting it and casting it aside, falling to the floor as her blood flowed forth to mingle with Jo's own. It was a terrible scene to enter, made all the worse by the lack of any real understanding as to how it had all happened.

They barely had a moment to take it all in before there was a thunderclap of sound, and a person Dean had not seen in more than a year was suddenly there in the kitchen with them. Blonde and tall, silver-eyed and knowing, Aphrodite had not changed at all. She knelt beside Jo, a touch of her hand to the blonde's head healing the vicious gaping wound, but there was no response. The curse that left her lips was Greek, and not at all complimentary. The Olympian looked up at the two men.

"Well, don't just stand there," she snapped. "Summon Apollo, or Ares, or whichever one of your friends is closest. Heal that one -" she pointed to Becky "- and remove her. This one ..." She looked down at Jo, frowning. "That's going to be a little trickier."

To say the scene was chaotic was a bit of an understatement. Neither Sam nor his father had much time to react to what had happened before Aphrodite appeared a little too late to save either woman, but maybe it was better that way. Without Aphrodite's sudden appearance, things might have gone much worse. Sam was pale and clearly shaking, tears of grief and guilt streaming down his face. He went to Becky and cradled her in his arms, but this wasn't the time for grief. If there was any hope of saving either of them, it was the time for action, and he immediately went about summoning Ares, leaving his father to deal with the death of his mother.

Dean looked like he was in a complete state of shock. His worst nightmare was playing out right in front of him - the one thing he had been working to prevent since his arrival in this world. He refused to believe he and Jo had been brought here only for him to watch her die a second time. At least, she wasn't bleeding anymore, but she wasn't responding to Aphrodite's touch either.

"It was Hades," Dean said, without doubt, his eyes never leaving Jo's as he crouched down beside her and took her hand in his. He wasn't sure how, but he knew in his heart that somehow Hades was responsible for Jo's death. Maybe he'd used Becky somehow to do his dirty work for him, but there was no doubt in Dean's mind that Hades was responsible for Jo's death.

"Come on, baby. Come back to us," he coaxed, as he held her hand between his. Of all the things he'd prepared himself for, this wasn't one of them.

As the sound of Ayden's voice rose in the room beyond, no doubt having come with her husband when Sam summoned him, Aphrodite's frown deepened. She laid her hand against Jo's pale forehead, seeking ... seeking what? Whatever it was she was looking for, it wasn't there.

"She's gone, Dean," she said, her voice harsh with anger. Whatever this act had to do with the war, this was a personal affront. She had gone out of her way to interfere in Zeus' spell in the first place, to bring Jo and Dean back together and give them the chance they had been denied in another universe. And now Hades had undone her work.

"We'll bring her back," the Goddess of Love informed him, hard and brittle as diamond in those moments. "Call Apollo. I need to speak to Ares." She rose from where she knelt, leaving Dean with his wife to walk out into the main room and speak to her former lover.

It seemed in that moment like all hope was lost, and yet, Dean had been there before, and he knew nothing was over until it was over. There were greater powers even than Hades, and he wasn't giving up on Jo just yet, not so long as there was even a shred of hope that she could be saved. "She isn't gone," he said, his voice rough with grief, but his words filled with conviction. "I won't let her be gone." Damn straight they were going to bring her back, or someone was going to pay big time. In the meantime, Sam had moved Becky to another room at Ayden and Ares' direction, leaving Dean alone with Jo while Aphrodite joined them.

"I'm not doing this again, Jo. I can't lose you again," Dean said, his voice breaking on those last words. He paused a moment, just to hold her hand and let the tears flow before he remembered Aphrodite's instructions. Call Apollo. What the hell was he going to do? Dean knew in his heart what he had to do, and he knew he was going to have to do it alone. Still, he was going to need all the help he could get. "Apollo! Get your ass down here and explain what's going on!"

In Aphrodite's wake, there was no sound but Becky's voice suddenly raving in the other room, madness turning her normal coherency to utter nonsense, demanding the opportunity to kill and die, as though her soul depended upon it. Ayden was the one to join Dean in the kitchen, automatically picking up the screaming baby to soothe him as she felt herself crying for the loss. Her hand gently touched her brother's shoulder, unable to find words to offer him in the face of such a terrible loss. But there was no need for words.

Despite the injunction against entering the warded house, Apollo managed to break it, stumbling a little as he landed in the kitchen to stare in shock at the scene before him. "What the hell happened?"

It was his sister's hand on his shoulder that finally broke him, but as soon as Dean heard Apollo's voice, he gritted his teeth and let his anger speak for him. "Hades happened. I don't know how, but some ... thing ... possessed that girl and made her do this." It was the only explanation. Even now, Dean wasn't so grief-stricken to think Becky had done this of her own accord. She was raving mad - that much was clear - but how and why? "Maybe you'd like to tell me," Dean replied. Though he knew in his heart Apollo had had nothing to do with Jo's death, all of this had been the fault of the Olympians, one way or another. Hopefully, cooler heads, such as Ayden's, would prevail.

"Girl?" Apollo looked more confused than ever, not least at the harsh way Dean spoke, his eyes rising automatically to meet Ayden's tearful gaze.

"Becky," she explained quietly. "She's ... I don't know what's happened to her. She killed Jo, and she nearly killed herself."

Apollo's frown deepened as he knelt down, his better grasp of healing finding what Aphrodite had missed. "She's still connected," he said thoughtfully. His gaze slid sideways to Dean. "Have you ever heard of Orpheus?"

Dean wasn't as well-read as his brother had been, but he'd learned the Greek Myths inside and out. He hadn't had much choice, all things considered, and he thought he got Apollo's meaning without needing an explanation. "You want me to go to Hell and bargain with Hades for her soul?" he asked, remembering the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, or at least, the gist of it. "Are you kidding me? That's exactly what Hades wants."

5
Disposable Heroes / Sam I Am
« on: August 20, 2015, 11:37:32 AM »
[size=9]March 31st, 2013[/size]

Sleep was going to be in very short supply for a while, Jo could tell. Thankfully, however, Dean had been there and more than happy to take over caring for the baby when he'd woken demanding a feed less than an hour after they'd initially fallen asleep, waving her back to her dreams while he hummed Metallica to soothe their firstborn and dealt with everything that needed doing. In the chilly light of the spring morning, however, she was up, and thus far, she had already managed to give Sammy the hiccups, put his diaper on backwards, and his onesie on upside down. She had also, however, managed to have a shower and get dressed, tasks she considered accomplishments given how battered she felt.

Dean had managed to get a couple of hours of broken sleep in between feedings, diapering, and cuddling. He already knew from experience that babies were a lot of work, which left him a little more prepared to deal with it than Jo, whom he knew was exhausted from giving birth. It would take a few weeks, but he was confident they'd work it all out. After all, the grown Sam was proof that they'd done something right, and they'd have plenty of help along the way. He had not yet managed a shower or even a shave, but he had gulped down a couple of cups of coffee to keep himself going, along with a few donuts he'd snagged from a snack cart that had rolled down the hall earlier. At the moment, however, that coffee seemed to be failing him as he was dozing off in his chair.

As the nurses left them alone after an endless array of checks on mommy and baby, Jo finally got her quiet time with her son, keeping quiet so as not to disturb Dean while he dozed. She, at least, had had the luxury of a few hours of barely disturbed sleep, but he needed to recharge, to the point where she was considering sending him home tonight just so he was fully recharged and ready to catch the ball when she dropped it coming home. But for now, she was happily lying on the bed, Sammy swaddled beside her, tracing her fingertip over his little button nose and just generally allowing herself to be in awe of the fact that this was their son. This little person had been inside her, and would be a central figure in their lives for decades to come. It was an amazing, and slightly terrifying, thought. And on top of that, the grown up version was due to visit this morning to get his first look at his infant doppleganger.

Though Dean claimed not to snore, he was making a decidedly unpleasant noise while he dozed on that chair, arms crossed against his chest, legs crossed at the ankles, his expression peaceful, despite the racket he was making. An unfinished cup of coffee sat on a table nearby, only half drained before Dean had succumbed to the Sandman. He wasn't a stranger to sleepless nights by any means. The mistake he'd made was letting himself relax - as soon as that had happened, he'd lost the battle.

Of course, it wasn't as though they weren't protected. A bubbly personality who had introduced herself as Hebe had popped in at the crack of dawn, and apparently Artemis and Apollo were somewhere in the hospital, keeping an eye on things. Anyone would think that Zeus' faction on Olympus wanted to keep the Winchesters safe while they were vulnerable. Jo couldn't help laughing a little at the sounds Dean was making, murmuring silly nonsense to their son about how his daddy was obviously half-bear to pass the time. Sammy just looked up at her with unblinking eyes, obviously just as fascinated with putting a face to the voice he knew so well as she was.

It wasn't until a soft knock was heard at the door that Dean stirred from his sleep, some part of him registering the noise, while some other part of him wanted to go on sleeping. "Go away," he murmured, his brain half-numb with exhaustion, forgetting in his sleep where he was and why he was there.

"Hello?" queried a male voice as the door was pushed open a crack. "It's Sam and Becky. Can we come in or is this a bad time?"

Dean's sleepy response to the knock on the door made Jo chuckle as she raised her head, calling out softly to the pair hiding on the other side of it. "Of course you can come in," she assured her son - her other firstborn son from another timeline - and his girlfriend. "I'm awake."

Jo's sleepy response was followed by a loud snore from the man slouching in the chair. "Um ..." Sam muttered uncertainly as he stepped into the room behind Becky. It might be a good time for his mother, but not apparently for his father. "Should we come back later?" he asked, in a hushed tone of voice.

"I don't think you're gonna get a better time," Jo smiled, not quite as sleepy as she first seemed. "One or both of us will be asleep next time you try, you can guarantee it." She eased herself up onto one elbow, careful not to jog the dozing baby beside her. "C'mon in, Sam, no one's gonna bite you. Hi, Becky."

Unusually for her, Becky seemed almost shy as she inched into the room in front of Sam, clutching a small bag emblazoned with the hospital's logo. "Hi," she greeted Jo in answer, glancing briefly at Dean before going on. "Um ... I ... we didn't know if you needed anything, so ... we kind of bought out all the chocolate and chips in the shop downstairs."

One would think the words chocolate and chips said in succession would wake the sleeping giant, but he was still sound asleep, which at least gave Sam and Becky a few moments to visit with Jo before he awoke. Sam wasn't sure why he was feeling so bashful, but it was a bit odd to be visiting his mother - who wasn't much older than him at this point in time - at the hospital where she'd just given birth to himself. But this was the decision he'd made, and one of the consequences he needed to face. "Brought some fresh coffee, too," Sam said, holding up a paper cup in each hand.

At the sight and smell of the coffee, Jo perked up considerably, pushing herself to sit up. "You're a saint," she informed him warmly. "Gimme. I need caffeine."

Becky giggled softly, putting the overflowing bag down on the end of the bed as she moved to find a chair to sit in.

Sam wasn't quite sure if she was allowed to have coffee or not. "A saint is better than an angel," he remarked with a smile, as he stepped closer to hand her the cup. "Careful, it's hot," he warned, not wanting her to spill any on the baby in her arms. He was trying hard to avoid even looking at the small bundle, focusing all his attention on his mother instead, but he knew he wasn't going to be able to avoid it forever.

Chuckling, Jo left Sammy in the center of the bed as she swung her feet around to the floor, claiming her cup of coffee with poorly disguised delight. She wasn't breastfeeding, she didn't need to be too careful with her intake. "You guys look like you got marginally more sleep than I did," she commented on the pair of them. "Good you didn't come in last night, though. Ares showed up at random with Ayden and Brian in tow."

Sam cast a quick glance around the room, trying to imagine all of them squeezed in there at the same time. "While Bobby and Ellen were here?" he asked. "And there wasn't any arguing?" he added with the barest hint of a smirk. It wasn't that they didn't like each other, but that was definitely a lot of testosterone to have squeezed into one small hospital room.

"Not a peep," Jo grinned, brushing her hair back out of her face. "Although I wish I'd taken pictures. Bobby just about melted." She snickered softly, glancing at the baby boy on the bed with her. "Sam, are you gonna sit down, or are you just gonna stand there looking awkward all day?"

He didn't have to ask if she was talking to him - at least, not yet. He wondered what it would be like down the road when she was addressing one and the other chimed in. They were both her children, but Jo didn't share the same memories that Sam did of his childhood, and he wasn't even sure if those events would happen the same way again, now that things had changed by his decision to stay. "I, uh ..." he stammered, shifting from foot to foot awkwardly, but before he could say anything further, the sleeping giant stirred, groaning and yawning and stretching in the chair.

"What time is it?" Dean asked half-yawning as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes.

6
Disposable Heroes / Timing
« on: August 17, 2015, 12:10:36 PM »
[size=9]March 30th, 2013[/b][/size]

A normal day, filled with family and friends, and a lot of laughter. It had been the only gift they could give to the misplaced little boy who had ended up in the wrong time and place, and Jo was glad they had. Despite Artemis' objections, she had insisted that they have that one day to spend with the little boy, and barring a couple of bumps in the road, it had been a good day for everyone there. But as the next day moved on into the morning, there was no more chance for excuses and delays. He had to go back, no matter how reluctant they were to let him go.

Rubbing her aching back absently, her other hand rubbing the swell of her bump as well, Jo waited in the main room of the Singer house with the others for Artemis to appear, sharing a wry, resigned smile with Ellen. They didn't want to send that little boy back to live his own lifetime, but they knew they had to.

"Now then, little man," Jo said as she looked down at little Dean. "Artemis isn't as used to us as Ares is, so she might be a bit stand-offish. She's definitely on our side, though, okay? So there's no need to be worried around her."

The boy, too, felt an odd mixture of excitement and anticipation to be going home, mingled with sadness and regret, but he was going home to his own time, his own family, his own life. As welcome and wanted and even loved as he'd felt here, it wasn't where he belonged. He belonged a few decades in the past with his father and Sam and the Ellen and Bobby and Rufus of the past. Still, he couldn't help but sniffle a little at the impending goodbyes. He nodded his head up at Jo, tears threatening again. "Okay," he replied simply.

Crouching down, she reached out to hug him. "I'm gonna miss you, little man," she admitted, a little tearful herself. "But I know you're gonna be just fine. You and your Sam, and your daddy, you are gonna do great things."

He wasn't so sure about that, but he knew he'd do whatever he had to do to keep his brother safe. "Will I remember you, when I go back?" he asked, sensing he probably wouldn't because all of this won't have happened yet or at all.

Drawing back a little, she managed a smile for him. "I don't know, sweetie," she told him honestly. "I think it'd be better if you didn't, but maybe you'll remember all this like it was a dream. And that's a dream worth having, isn't it?" She could hear voices in the kitchen, assuming that Artemis had arrived in answer to the call Bobby and Ellen had been working on for the last few minutes.

He heard the voices in the kitchen, too, and knew it was almost time for him to leave. He threw his arms around her neck again, stifling a sob. "I'll try to remember, if I can." He paused a moment, as if afraid to say what was on his mind. "Will you remember me?"

She was glad he couldn't see her wet eyes as he threw his arms around her again, squeezing him gently in spite of the ache in her back and belly. "Oh, sweetie, I won't ever forget you," she promised him faithfully. "I will always remember this special little man who came by to teach me a little bit about how to be a mom before I had to man up and actually be one." Thankfully, she was smiling as she pulled back to brush his hair from his face. "I'm never going to forget you, Dean. I promise."

"You're gonna be an awesome mom," he told her, smiling through his tears. It was the first time he'd used that word to describe anything before, picking it up from the man who was and yet wasn't his future self. He surged forward again to wrap her in a tight hug, whispering for her ears alone, "I love you."

Caught up in another hug from the little man in her arms, Jo let him hear her sniffle as he whispered three little words that she had half been hoping to hear before he went. "I love you too, little man," she whispered back to him, kissing his cheek as she stroked his hair. "Not a goodbye, okay? It's see you later." And she would hold on tightly to that kind lie until he was gone again.

A quiet throat clearing from the doorway alerted them to the fact that Ellen couldn't hold the others out any longer. "It's time, sweetie."

He wasn't sure what it was about her that had so thoroughly captured his heart. Ellen was like a mother to him and had been ever since his father had dumped him and Sam on her doorstep, but there was just something about Jo, something connection he couldn't understand or explain. In his own time, he'd end up falling in love with someone else, but maybe it was this first touch of affection that had opened his heart to that love later on. "It'll be okay, Jo. I'm gonna make sure everything is okay," the seven-year-old who would one day help save the world promised her, too innocent to understand how that promise might end.

"I know you will," she assured him, pressing a last kiss to his forehead before moving onto her feet, his hand in hers for a little contact as the others moved into sight. Ellen, Bobby, Dean ... and with them, Artemis, who was the only reason little Dean was there in the first place.

Apollo's twin sister was still looking a little beaten up, evidence that when Olympian fought Olympian, it had the same effect as human on human. "Are you ready, small human?" the noble-looking woman asked in a solemn tone.

The younger Dean suddenly had a feeling he knew what Dorothy felt like in the Wizard of Oz when she'd had to choose between Oz and Kansas and say goodbye to all her new friends before going home. Was it just irony that he was originally from Kansas, too? "Yes, ma'am. I'm ready," he told her earnestly. "But can I say goodbye to my friends first?"

"Of course." Artemis nodded to him, a good deal more patient than her brother, it seemed. But then, she was a hunter herself - the Hunter - and she understood that patience was a virtue.

Jo smiled down at little Dean, giving his hand a gentle squeeze. "It's your show, sweetie."

Given permission to delay his leaving long enough to say goodbye, he looked up at the faces who were looking expectantly back at him. What were they expecting from him? Were they expecting him to cry or be brave? Which should he say goodbye to first. There was no question who he's miss most - Bobby and Ellen would be there when he got back, and Dean was part of him, or he was part of Dean. It was Jo he was going to miss most, though he wasn't sure if he'd even remember her, except in his dreams. "Thank you for saving me and for baseball and hotdogs and ice cream." He'd had a small taste of normal, if only for one day, and it had meant everything to him.

"There's those manners we worked on," Ellen smiled, moving to hug the little man herself. It had been a long time since she'd had a small boy or two to hug and love, and it would be a few years before Jo and Dean's son was old enough to give these kind of hugs. She was taking all she could get. "You fly straight, honey. And kick it in the ass."

The boy hugged her back, smiling a little at her praise, remembering the lessons she'd been trying to teach him back home in his own time. Apparently, she remembered them, too. "I'll try, Aunt Ellen," he promised, swallowing a lump of tears and having to remind himself that he'd see her again soon.

"You do more than try," Bobby broke in. "You give it everything you've got and never give up. Got me?"

"Yes, sir," the boy replied soberly.

Bobby crouched down and wrapped the boy in a fatherly hug. "Proud of you, kid. You give 'em hell, you hear?"

7
Disposable Heroes / A Normal Day
« on: August 15, 2015, 09:30:35 AM »
Dean was as good as his word. First thing the next morning - well, not exactly the first thing as the trio ended up sleeping late due to the middle-of-the-night nightmare incident of which nothing was mentioned the next morning - Dean could be found in the kitchen whipping up batter and spooning it onto a pan with his Mini-Me standing on a chair right next to him so that he could help. If one didn't know better, they might mistake the boy for Dean's son, rather than for the child version of Dean himself. It was possibly shades of the future, however, as it was likely this entire scene could play itself out a few years down the road with their son Sam in little Dean's place.

They'd left Jo to sleep a little longer, but before long came the sound of the shower running, and the movement of feet back and forth as she got herself ready for the day ahead. All was going smoothly, until she let out a sound that wasn't quite a shriek and not quite a yelp, and they heard her feet come to the landing. "Dean? Dean!"

"Downstairs!" both man and boy called in unison, giving each other the same strange look before both turning their heads toward the sound of Jo's voice. Neither seemed so much concerned as curious regarding what she was yelping about. Both of them shrugged their shoulders at each other, mirror images of the other, though one was big and one was small.

"Maybe we should go see what's the matter," the younger Dean suggested.

"Yeah, that's probably a good idea," replied the elder, turning the heat off on the stove so that the pancakes didn't burn.

Jo was standing at the top of the stairs, wrapped in a towel, her damp hair hanging over her shoulders as she glared down at her husband. One hand pointed toward their bedroom. "Big, black, hairy," she informed him, tense with fright that wasn't life or death, or even scary monster. Hopefully the words made sense to the elder Dean, because it was likely they made no sense to the little one.

"Is Rufus streaking again?" he asked with a smirk, the first image coming to mind at her description, as ridiculous as it was. Dean didn't even know if Rufus was hairy, and he didn't really want to know. He did know Jo well enough to know what she meant from her description, but he couldn't help but tease her about it.

"Rufus?" the boy echoed, completely confused. Dean didn't reply, snickering as he disappeared momentarily into the bedroom. "Who's Rufus?" he asked.

Narrowing her eyes at her husband, Jo shuddered, waving her hand toward the bedroom. "Just kill it, smarty-pants," she told him, hugging her arms around herself as she looked down at the little Dean. "Rufus is an old, old friend of Bobby and Ellen's. He introduced them to each other. But this isn't a Rufus thing. This is a ... spider ... thing."

"Ask her how she can hunt monsters but can't handle an itsy bitty spider," Dean called from the bedroom. As yet, there was no sound of any splat.

"You're afraid of spiders?" the boy asked, stating the obvious. He wasn't quite sure why the other Dean was comparing a friend of Bobby and Ellen's to a spider, and he was too shy to ask.

"Oh, come on, you're the one who has a problem with rats," Jo called back defensively, but she was the one face to face with his younger self, who was clearly interested in finding out the truth here. "Yeah, I'm scared of spiders," she admitted, reaching out to gently tweak the end of his nose. "Which isn't funny, no matter how much everyone laughs. Monsters don't dangle on invisible threads above you when you're sleeping."

"Hey, everyone has a weakness. Indy didn't like snakes; I don't like rats. So, sue me!" Dean replied from the bedroom, before uttering an expletive that wasn't really fit for a seven-year-old's ears. Apparently, he was having more trouble with the creepy crawly thing than he cared to admit.

"I'm afraid of fire," the boy replied, frowning up at her, and with good reason. It was what he'd dreamed about the night before, though he'd yet to admit it.

"And I don't like spiders!" Holding a conversation with Dean of two different ages should have been difficult, but for some reason, Jo didn't find it much of a stretch. Admittedly, the adult one was getting less of her full attention, since he was on spider duty. She matched the younger one's frown gently. "It's a good thing to be afraid of," she agreed with him. "First time he saw me freak out over a spider, it was one about this big -" she demonstrated by holding her thumb and forefinger just barely apart "- and I thought he was going to wet his pants laughing."

The boy's eyes widened at Jo's admission, and though he was only seven, he couldn't help asking, "Why didn't you step on it?" Of course, it never was that simple.

"Got it!" Dean called from the bedroom, though there had been still been no sounds of a splat coming from the direction.

"'Cos it's a spider, and ..." She shuddered, laughing at her own comical distress over what was just an insect that was probably more afraid of her than she was of it. "I just can't," she confessed to the little boy. "I can't even be in a room with one." Dean's call from the bedroom made her look that way sharply. "You better not be bringing it out unless it's waiting for a coffin!"

Much to her possible further distress, Dean exited the bedroom with a jar in his hand, the spider squirming inside it. The little creature wasn't going anywhere, except in the garden, but it was still very much alive. "Say hello to Boris the Spider," Dean said, shaking the jar to indicate its contents. "Or maybe Charlotte. I can't tell." How did one tell the difference between male and female spiders anyway? Dean didn't know. At least, he knew better than to show his prize off to Jo.

"Dude ..." She still complained anyway, covering her eyes to edged past him so she could go and get dressed. "You two go and do what you gotta do with your icky little friend, okay? I'm going to hide in the closet for a while."

Dean chuckled at his wife's irrational fear. Was this the same woman who had fearlessly taken on demons and hell hounds and God knew what else? Who had faced down a hell hound and sacrificed her own life to save his and Sam's? Dean just shook his head and chuckled. "Come on, kid," he said to the boy, ruffling his hair fondly. "Let's go set Boris free in the garden where he can live in peace without scaring Little Miss Muffet."

"Don't let breakfast burn!" was Jo's parting shot as she disappeared into the bedroom. They also heard her let out a last little shuddering "ugh" before she shut the door. It really was amazing - not five months ago, she had faced down not one, but two Olympian goddesses in a down and dirty fight, but one little spider turned her to squeaky mush. Just proved she was as human as they were.

The fact that she'd been dressed in nothing more than a towel had made an impression on the boy, though he'd said nothing about it. Thankfully, Jo was more of a mother figure for him at this age than a possible romantic partner. Romance was not something the seven-year-old thought much about.

The elder Dean just chuckled as the two of them started down the stairs. "Chicken!" he called back at Jo.

"Why didn't you kill it, like she asked?" the boy asked curiously.

Dean shrugged, not too sure himself. It was just a spider, after all. He'd killed countless monsters in his life, but "Boris" wasn't a monster, and Dean thought his only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. "What did he ever do to anyone? Besides, spiders are actually beneficial. Did you know that?"

8
Disposable Heroes / A Normal Night
« on: August 11, 2015, 06:37:19 AM »
It really was amazing the things that Ellen had hoarded over the years - among them, clothes that fit the visiting littlest Dean in the world to perfection. Offered the choice of staying with Ellen and Bobby, or going home for the night with the bigger version of himself and Jo, the little man had jumped at the chance to have a sleepover, no matter how weird the circumstances. Which was how the house that now belonged to Dean and Jo - newly built by Olympians, and outfitted with a basement that made both of them squeal with delight by Brian and Bobby - ended up ringing with certain key phrases more than a year before it was intended to.

"Dean!" Jo called up the stairs to where both Deans were putting up the camp bed in one of the spare rooms. "I mean ... little Dean!" She laughed, shaking her head. "PJs and teeth, dude!"

It had been a weird day for everyone, and the elder Dean couldn't help wondering if this was what being a father would be like, but he'd had a taste of that when he'd taken a trip to the future and met their future son - the one that was currently residing inside Jo's belly and that was apparently taking after his great grandfather as a Man of Letters - whatever that was exactly. As far as little Dean was concerned, he was in his glory, but his elder counterpart knew it wouldn't last. Night would come, the darkness would creep in, and with it the fear.

"Better go before she comes looking for you. I can handle things here," Dean warned his younger self with a smile. The situation was beyond weird, and he had to keep reminding himself that the kid was him, only younger. "Okay, Mister," the boy replied obediently and turned to scurry down the stairs. Dean couldn't help but wonder when he'd ever been that innocent and that well-behaved.

"There you are," Jo chuckled as the little boy came into sight. She held out the pyjamas Ellen had hunted out for him from the attic that afternoon. "Want a hand getting changed, or is that just too hands on for a girl?" she asked him with a warm smile.

The boy laughed and blushed a little in embarrassment. Thankfully, his elder self didn't overhear Jo's question or he might have made some smartass remark or other. "I'm not a baby! I'm seven!" the boy pointed out, a little defensively. He hadn't had help changing his clothes since before his mother had died. Not even Ellen helped him with that anymore.

"All right then," Jo laughed, handing over the nightwear with a grin. "You go shuffle into those, and we can throw your stuff in the laundry for the night." She shooed him away with exaggerated silliness, glad to see and hear the boy smile and laugh. She had a feeling he didn't get to do much of that in the years that were coming to him.

"Yes, ma'am, Mrs. Jo," he replied, taking the PJs in his arms and darting toward the bathroom. He'd already been given a tour of the house and knew his way around pretty well.

Making her way up the stairs behind the over-excited little man, Jo couldn't help smiling, rubbing her hand over her belly. The baby in her womb was active this evening, stretching his limits as she gained the upper level in time to see little Dean disappear into the bathroom. "You know, I'm kinda glad they don't pop out ready made," she commented, aware that her Dean could hear her. "Getting used to that is gonna take some time."

"You have seven years to get used to one like that," Dean pointed out, though their own son would be his own person, a little of Jo and a little of Dean. "Does it seem weird to you that we already know him? Sam, I mean?" he asked, lowering his voice at the mention of that name, though he was referring to their son, not his brother.

"A little," she admitted, leaning in the doorway of the spare room, stroking her hand over her bump as the baby moved visibly inside. "But this Sam, in here ... he'll be a different person. He won't have the experiences that the other Sam has. He won't lose his parents, and he won't have to become a hunter just to protect his brother and sister. We'll make sure of it."

Dean nodded thoughtfully, his gaze traveling briefly to the bump at her belly where their son was waiting to be born. "I wish there was something we could do for that kid," he said, purposely keeping his voice low, with a nod of his head in the direction of the bathroom. He smoothed out the blanket he'd laid out on top of the bed. In a way, all of this was very familiar.

"We're doing it," she said softly, moving to wrap her arms about his waist. "I know it doesn't seem like enough. But this is all we can do, baby. And when he goes back, maybe he'll remember us as a dream he had once." It was something, anyway.

"Won't make much difference. Story's still gonna end the same," he said, returning her embrace. Though he was happy to have her arms around him, basking in her comfort, he knew there wasn't anything they could do to change the kid's fate. "You know, Bobby was more of a dad than my old man was, but at least, he's got Ellen. That's more than me and Sam ever had."

She nodded, understanding a little, if not all. If she had the chance, would she go back and change things? No. Because the past had brought her to this moment, and she wouldn't change what she had now for any promises. "He'll always have them," she agreed with him softly. "And somewhere he's at peace right now."

"It's too bad we can't adopt him, but that would be pretty weird, wouldn't it?" he asked, with a faint smile on his face that was somewhat sad. No weirder than raising a son alongside the same son that was already grown. It was confusing it he thought about it too hard.

"We live weird," she smiled back at him, but there was a denial in her tone that promised him this wasn't even vaguely up for discussion. They both knew how many people would die bloody if his mini-me didn't go back to his own time and grow up in the usual fashion. "We'll get it right with our kids," she promised him softly. "One way or another."

"Yeah, I know," he replied, confident in that, at least. He'd seen one possible future, and he'd be damned if he let his kids grow up to a world so bleak and hopeless. "The thing is, every time me and Sam fixed one problem, another popped up, and after a while, it sometimes seemed like we were making things worse, not better. What do you think's gonna happen when we get rid of Hades?" he asked. Not if, but when. He was adamant about that much. "There are ... things ... out there worse than Lucifer, worse than Hades. Just because one battle is over doesn't mean the war is won." Maybe it was a bleak way of looking at things, but he'd rather be prepared for the worst than see the world through rose-colored glasses.

"Because this is a different world," Jo reminded him gently. "One where there never was a civil war in heaven, where the Leviathan were never released. The Olympians took over, sure, but Hades is the problem there. I gotta hope that once we're done with Hades, things will settle down. I don't want to be facing something worse next year."

"I hope so, baby. I really do, because ..." He sighed, frowning a little. It she wasn't right, what was the point of it all? But then, Jo had always been the voice of reason in his life, at least, since he'd arrived here. She might not realize it, but she got it from her mother. Ellen and Jo were quite possibly the wisest women he'd ever known or would ever know. The bathroom door creaked open along with the pitter patter of a pair of small bare feet on the floor as the younger version of Dean scurried back to the spare room. He stopped dead in the doorway when he saw Dean and Jo wrapped in an embrace, hesitating for just a moment as he watched them with interest. Was she somehow part of his future, too, he wondered.

"Because nothin'," Jo smiled to him, raising her head to kiss her husband's cheek affectionately as the pitter patter of bare feet announced themselves along the hallway toward them. Her smile grew as she looked to the little boy standing in the door, one arm unwrapping from her Dean to open up toward the little one. "Hey, you," she greeted the small boy. "Gonna come and say goodnight to the biggest baby bump in the world?"

9
Disposable Heroes / A Little Strife
« on: August 08, 2015, 10:32:14 AM »
What a difference just a few months could make. As the year rolled on into 2013, life seemed to settle down for the Winchesters and the Singers. Ayden was married to her Greek God of War and living mostly in Greece, enduring what sounded like the pregnancy from hell; Sam was moved out into an apartment that he would be sharing with Becky Hoffman when she finished at Stanford in the spring; Dean and Jo had a house of their own, presented to them by Apollo and Artemis, which was apparently the reason the twin Olympians had not been in that much evidence recently.

The winter was harsh, yes; Demeter's grief for her slain daughter stained the land bright with white snow far longer than it usually held on. But as the end of March came into sight - and with it, a matter of weeks until a very important birth - spring came to Sioux Falls, allowing the hunters to breathe a very welcome sigh of relief. For about ten minutes. There was always something lurking, and Hades had been quiet for too long.

That quiet was shattered by a phone call at stupid o'clock in the morning from Ayden, who had been in a mild panic. She'd Seen something - something about a small boy being chased down Sunset in the city by what Ares was fairly sure was Strife, a lesser Olympian. She'd Seen this lesser god kill a small child, and felt the world shatter around them when it happened, waking in a panic to share that feeling with her husband. So, naturally, she had decided to share it with her brother as well.

Which was how Dean and Ellen ended up sitting side by side in the Impala on the right street for most of the day. Jo was on lockdown at the Singers, with Bobby for company, and Sam was only a phone call away. But stakeouts were by far the most boring part of their job.

Stakeouts were boring, but they were also an excuse for Dean to binge on an excessive amount of coffee and donuts with the excuse that he he needed the intake of caffeine and sugar to keep him awake and on his toes - even if it was the middle of the day. No stakeout was complete without an array of munchies to keep his hunger at bay, and he had a habit of staving off boredom by listening to one cassette tape after another featuring some hair band or other from the late 70s or early 80s. Today, however, he had Ellen along for the ride, and it was unlikely she'd indulge his desire to listen to Ozzy more than once.

"Is Ayden sure about this?" he mused, as he scarfed down his third donut - this one jelly-filled and finger-licking good. "We've been here all day and nothing's happened." He knew better than to question his little sister's gift of sight, but maybe she had the wrong day or street even.

To her credit, Ellen hadn't said a word about the artery-congesting amount of sugar and grease Dean was working his way through, her attention on the road ahead of them as she sipped from her own thermos flask of soup. "Well, have you known that girl to be wrong so far?" she asked him, glancing in his direction. "And now she's all jumped up on half-god juice, or whatever that baby of hers is pumping out. Speaking of which ..." The older woman flashed Dean a grin that said everything before she got the words out. "Any signs of your little package getting mailed early?"

Dean chewed and swallowed, and chased that mouthful of donut down with yet another swig of java. It was nothing short of a miracle that he wasn't bouncing off the walls of the Impala by now. "My little package isn't so little, but if we're talking about the baby, no, nothing yet. Doc says could be any day now though."

"Oh, and that ain't just the most excitin' thing?" Calm and capable Ellen might be, but there was something about the prospect of having a baby to play with in the very near future that was turning her into a gooey woman on a regular basis, especially now she was reconciled with Jo calling her Mom. She was driving Bobby nuts with the grandma routine. "C'mon, you're not excited? Gonna be a daddy, sweetie."

"Of course I'm excited!" he replied with a look that dared her to disagree with him. He'd been elated to find out Jo was pregnant, but the news had made him nervous, too. Scared, really, if he was being honest with himself. He wasn't afraid of not being a good father; that wasn't it at all. It was the world they were bringing this small child into - this son of theirs that they already knew they'd name Sam. "Why wouldn't I be excited?"

Ellen chuckled. She always got a rise out of him when she did that. "Figured you might be gettin' all gnarly over it," she teased him fondly, reaching over to pat his cheek. "Big changes, having a baby."

"Sam and Hope turned out okay, so we must've done something right. Or will do something right." He furrowed his brows. The tenses always confused him a little, especially when he'd actually been to the future himself. He'd promised himself and the future Jo that he'd make things better, that he wouldn't let Hades create Hell on Earth. Hades' Earth was even worse than things might have been under Lucifer.

"World ain't goin' to hell on our watch, kid." As she spoke, Ellen narrowed her eyes, peering out through the windscreen. Something was forming in the middle distance of the road ahead of them, some swirling mass of red darkness and light that grew from a speck to a man-sized mass of crackling energy. "That look like a portal to you?"

Dean set his coffee in the cup holder as he followed Ellen's gaze to the energy crackling in front of them. "Either that, or we're sharing a hallucination," he replied, and they both knew that was not the case. He moved for the door, making sure he had the Hind's Blood dagger tucked inside his jacket, just to be on the safe side. "What kinda asshat preys on kids, anyway?" he murmured to himself, as the stakeout got serious.

"Hades' kinda asshats," she muttered, opening up her own door to climb out. Ellen had been armed with the Colt - even if it didn't kill Olympians, it could at least slow them down, and that was just the worst case scenario. Ayden hadn't said anything about hybrids, but better safe than sorry.

As the two hunters clambered out onto their feet, the mass of crackling energy pulsed once, twice, and a small boy came barreling out of it, running as hard as he could, not even glancing behind him. Moments later, a tall figure lurched out of the portal behind him, one hand already forming a ball of energy.

Ellen narrowed her eyes, aimed, and fired, shattering that weapon before the Olympian could fire it. "Get the kid!"

It seemed Ellen wanted him to get the kid while she handled the Olympian, though Dean was carrying the weapon more likely to have an effect on whoever or whatever was after the kid. "You get the kid! I'll get the asshat!" Dean countered, though if she got a good shot in before he got up close and personal, he might not have a choice. There was something oddly familiar about the kid barreling their way, but Dean didn't have much time to think about it before he was heading that way with the intention of putting himself between the kid and his pursuer.

"Don't get dead!" Ellen yelled back at him, accelerating to try and at least catch up so that she could grab the kid before he got hurt.

The Olympian - Strife, Ayden had said - had paused, a malicious grin forming on his face as he watched the two hunters run toward him. Then his silver-black eyes focused on the boy once again, and the sidewalk erupted before the child's feet, stones cracking and breaking to trip him up.

The Olympian should have been worrying about the two hunters more than the kid, but before Dean and Ellen could reach him, the boy tripped and fell with a thud, taken completely off guard by the erupting sidewalk in front of him. Dean watched as the boy rolled to his feet, bleeding from various cuts and scrapes and bruises, knees torn out of his jeans.

"No!" he shouted, knowing the Olympian would get there before he did, but then, the boy was turning to face his pursuer, just long enough to throw a handful of salt in his eyes before Dean reached him and shoved him safely behind his back.

10
Disposable Heroes / The Painful Truth
« on: July 01, 2014, 10:13:52 AM »
[size=9]November 21st, 2012[/size]

It should have seemed strange, to have a heart to heart with a mother who was - at this point in time - only ten years older than her, but Hope left the kitchen a little while later feeling much better about herself. She wandered in search of her brother, needing to talk to him, to know what was bothering him so much he didn't feel he could confide in her as he had always done. They had always shared everything; it felt wrong to know he was holding something back from her, especially now, when they were so close to going home and seeing if their actions had improved the future from which they had come in the first place.

By the time Hope found her father and brother on the back porch, Dean looked about ready to blow a gasket. Talk about mood swings, he'd run the gamut of emotions since arriving home, and they hadn't even been here a whole day yet. Dean blew out a breath when he saw Hope at the door. "Maybe you can get through to him. He won't tell me anything," he said, pulling open the door to step back inside, without a backward glance. It was like talking to a wall.

Sidestepping a frustrated Dean as he slipped back into the house, Hope lingered a while longer by the door, not entirely sure how she should approach her big brother. Sam was not known for being easily drawn on any subject he didn't want to talk about, after all. But in the end, she gave up on making excuses, moving to stump across the porch and sit down beside him. After silence for a long moment, she spoke. "Dad's conversation doesn't get any worse with age, anyway."

"Neither does his bedside manner," Sam admitted, glancing at the door that their father had just slammed behind him and wincing a little, wishing he'd been able to open up to the man, but Hope deserved to know the truth before anyone else. It was bad enough he'd already spilled his guts to their mother, but he had always been closer to her than their father, for some reason. Maybe the door slamming was evidence why.

"Mom'll sort him out," Hope assured him confidently. Though she'd been very young when their parents had died, she remembered very clearly that the only person who could talk Dean around when he was in a funk was his wife, and vice versa. Tapping her toes against the porch steps, she looked out across the scrap yard. "I don't know how to start this conversation, Bertie," she admitted awkwardly. "If you don't wanna tell me, that's fine. But you gotta admit, you're not telling me everything."

Sam winced again, upon hearing the nickname from his sister. Once she left, no one would ever call him that again. Ever. Maybe this wasn't so much about him leaving her as it was about her leaving him. "No, I... I wanna tell you. I just-I don't know how."

"It's about leaving, isn't it?" In one sentence, she proved that she wasn't as ditzy a natural blonde as she sometimes seemed to be. Before everything, Hope was her father's daughter, and that perceptive ability to know what her brother was thinking seemed to have been inherited along with everything else. "I wish they'd let us stay for Thanksgiving. But I guess going back makes sense. We get to have Thanksgiving with them and Johnny."

"Yeah," he replied, pushing the porch swing back and forth with one foot, just to have something to do. He had his jacket wrapped tightly around himself, though it wasn't all that cold out for November. At least, she'd get to see Johnny again. He'd have to wait a few years until their youngest brother was born. "About that..." he started, pausing a moment to gnaw at the corner of his mouth nervously. Maybe it was better just to come out with it. "I'm not going back, Hope."

Hands tucked into her pockets, Hope leaned back, feet dangling, as Sam pushed the seat to swing. His confession wasn't entirely unexpected, but she'd never thought he would actually go through with it. "But I have to," she said quietly, feeling a lump forming in her throat. "Have you thought about this? Really thought about it?"

If that question had come from anyone else, he might have snapped back a remark, but from his sister - the one person he adored more than anyone else - he could only be honest. "Yeah," he replied. "'I've thought about it." He didn't bother to mention that he'd always talked to their mother about it, though Hope might figure that much out on her own.

She was silent for a very long time after that, knowing that if Sam was having so much trouble telling her this, that he had already made up his mind. No amount of talk would change his mind; he was as stubborn as anyone she'd ever known. So in the morning, it would be the worst goodbye of her lifetime. Tears rolled silently down her cheeks, dripping off her chin to wet the pilfered jacket she wore. There really was nothing she could say.

He knew he had hurt her, disappointed her, wounded her. He knew she was angry for his not going to her and discussing it before he reached his decision, but he knew what she'd have told him. They had been together forever, it seemed - inseparable, and he was separating them. It didn't really matter if he had good reasons for doing it or not. The thought of living the rest of his life without her seemed almost too much to bear. He'd have her back someday, wouldn't he? But it would never be the same. He felt the tears rising in his own eyes, clogging his throat and preventing him from speaking. He wanted to reach for her hand, but was afraid she'd pull away from him in her anger. "I'll be there when you get back," he heard himself say, his voice not sounding like his own, too deep, too ragged, too pained.

"But you won't get to see it for twenty years," she whimpered softly, scrubbing at her face in an attempt to hold back the tears. "You'll be all alone here, Sammy, and I'll have you, and, and, and there'll be this you but older, and Johnny, and Mom and Dad. We've always done everything together. What am I gonna do without you?"

"I have to stay, Hope," he told her, trying to make her understand, his own tears mirroring hers when he turned to face her. They couldn't have been closer, even if they'd been twins. "Dad needs my help. If anything goes wrong..." He just shrugged. They both knew all too well what was at stake and what the consequences would be if their parents failed. He suddenly wished she could stay, too, but if all went well here, she'd be safer in the future. It was too dangerous for her to stay here. If anything happened to her, he'd never forgive himself. No, it was better this way. She'd still have him, and someday, he'd have her back. Sort of.

11
Disposable Heroes / Affirmation
« on: June 29, 2014, 04:34:14 AM »
[size=9]((Follows closely on the heels of First Blood.))[/size]

Back in their hotel room, thanks to whatever member of the Greek Pantheon had come to their rescue, Dean was grumbling loudly at the first aid his lovely wife was forcing him to endure. He felt like he'd just gone head-on with a eighteen wheeler, and Nim seemed sure his ribs were at least badly bruised, if not broken. In all his years of hunting, he'd lost count of how many times he'd broken a bone or suffered a concussion, not to mention died. It all just went with the territory. "Ouch!" he complained, wincing in pain as her fingers explored his left side. "Would you mind not poking me there? It hurts!"

"Well, that's kinda the point of the poking, princess," his lovely wife informed him with a smirk. "God, you're such a baby about this stuff." Slipping her hands from his side, she handed him two pills and a glass of scotch from the mini-bar - because she knew her husband very well indeed - and started to slather topical analgesic cream over his bruised side. "How many times have you been beat up by a chick now?"

He said nothing about being a baby, just clenching his jaw as he remembered a similar conversation that had taken place between them. How many years ago was it now? He gratefully took the pills and the glass, muttering a mumbled, "Thanks," before tossing both back with another wince, this time from the burning sensation as the scotch made its way down past his throat. He glanced at her curiously as she rubbed something cool and soothing over his side, wondering what had happened back there and what they'd done to her head. She didn't seem any different really, but he couldn't be sure. "More times than I can count. It's getting a little old, to be honest." He knew some guys liked that sort of thing, even thought it was kinky, but not him. He wasn't overly fond of pain, no matter how it was doled out or by whom.

"You know, it's comments like that make me wonder if you just let me hit you when we met," she commented mildly, without thinking. That morning, such recollections wouldn't have been possible, and yet now they were all there, the gift of a goddess who had been obeying an order intended to keep her out of the fight that had ultimately killed her mistress. It would take a while for everything to settle into place, no doubt, but for the first time in three years, everything was there. No gaps, no blankness. She was herself.

"What?" he exclaimed, jerking his head toward her, stunned to hear her mention an event he remembered so clearly in his mind, but that had been wiped from her memory - at least, until now, it seemed. "You remember that?" he asked, knowing she had to be remembering the first time they'd met back at the Roadhouse in their own world.

She withdrew a little, wiping her hands clean on a towel as she settled down to sit beside him. "Please, God, let that be a rifle," she said softly, recalling their first words to each other. "No, I'm just real happy to see you." Her shoulders rose and fell in a slightly confused shrug. "I remember everything. I don't know what she did, but ... it's all there. All that emptiness in my head, it's full. I know who I am."

He lowered the glass of half-finished scotch to rest against his leg as she gave her his full attention, wrestling with memories of his own and worried those same memories might change her feelings for him. Especially, since he was still blaming himself for her death. "You..." he stammered nervously. "You remember everything?"

"Everything." She twisted to face him, meeting his gaze with honest eyes. "You got no right to feel guilty about that other part of me dying, Dean. Seriously, you're gonna take that away from me? For the first time in my life, my mother listened to me like I was an adult, she let me make a decision that she should never have had to be present for. It sucks, I know, and I'm always going to live with the guilt that comes with getting her killed, but that is my guilt, not yours. I made those decisions, I put myself in the firing line, and I'm the one who chose not to hold out for help. Don't you dare take that away from me. How many people can say they've died for the people they love, and then got a second chance to live with them?"

He still hadn't quite grasped the implications of what she was telling him. If she truly did remember everything, that not only did she remember her own death, but she remembered Ellen and Bill and Sam and Bobby and even John. She remembered that Dean's father was responsible for her father's death, the same way that Dean was responsible for Bill's death in this reality. She remembered their last goodbye, and how it had torn him up to leave her. She remembered everything in between - every stolen glance, every flirtatious remark, every moment they'd spent together, every word they'd said. She remembered that last kiss, the one that had nearly ripped his heart to shreds. He met her gaze for a moment, listening to her, trying to understand what it was she was telling him before dropping his gaze, ashamed of the tears that were suddenly filling his eyes. He thought he'd already come to grips with all this months ago.

"It just about killed me to leave you behind," he murmured quietly, afraid she'd hear the emotion in his voice, the grief and the guilt.

"I know," she told him softly, her hand gentle against his cheek in an echo of the touch her ghostly self had given him not so very long ago. Yes, she even remembered that, though this incarnation of her had been alive and well in this reality at the time. "You carry all kinds of crap you don't have to," she said in a tender tone. "This is our second chance, Dean. Stop worrying you're gonna screw it up, because I've got a wedding ring and a baby inside me that says otherwise."

He lifted his gaze to her, leaning his cheek into her hand, even as tears spilled over onto his face, grateful for her touch, for her love. He had known her as Jo and as Nimue, in the past, the present, and even the future, each of them a little bit different, but all of them equally her. He realized in that moment that having her back, knowing everything she now remembered, only made him love the woman she'd become even more. "Jo," he whispered, not afraid to call her by the name she'd been given at birth. Joanna Beth Harvelle. His Jo; his Nimue.

She held his gaze, her own eyes a little watery in the face of his tears. "Yeah," she whispered back to him softly. "I'm your Jo again, if you want it. Joanna Beth Winchester, just like I scribbled in my journal for three years." She shrugged, her expression just a little self-deprecating. There was no denying the influence of her time as the amnesiac Nimue - the Jo he remembered would never have admitted that, but this Jo, with the maturity Nimue had given her, this Jo wasn't afraid to share that information with him.

12
Disposable Heroes / First Blood
« on: June 29, 2014, 04:23:05 AM »
[size=9]((Immediately follows The Devil's Deal.))[/size]

Ahead of them, daylight began to show itself. The end of the tunnel was in sight, and with it, the end of their last moments of blissful safety. Both Dean and Nim knew that the moment they brought the blade out into the open, all bets were off. They just had to hope that their advance warning would be enough. Nim paused just beneath the mouth of the cave, squeezing Dean's hand as she slipped Ruby's Knife from its hiding place. "You ready?"

"As ready as I'm gonna be," Dean replied grimly. It wasn't fear for his own life that was bothering him, but fear for Nim and the baby. They'd been over it a dozen times or more and knew what they had to do. This wasn't just about Nim and the baby; it was about the future of the entire world. "Nim..." he started, looking into her eyes and seeing his future. There was nothing he wouldn't do to keep her and the baby safe, but they both knew what would happen if he tried to go it alone. "If anything happens to me..." he started.

"Don't say it." Her fingers stopped his mouth, refusing to listen to whatever it was he had been about to say. "We are both coming through this, or I will never forgive you, you got that? And that's nothing compared to what Ellen will do to you. So just you stop thinking about it."

He wasn't sure why, but it seemed the world's survival somehow depended on him surviving. Maybe it was because he refused to give up. Even death hadn't stopped them from finding their way back to each other, even if it was the Olympians who were to blame. He quieted as her fingers found his lips, going no further. He wouldn't have even known what else to say. Take care of Sammy? Get the hell out of dodge? Find a way to survive, no matter what happens? They both knew this was only one of many battles yet to come, but Dean couldn't help wishing there was a better way. "No matter what happens, you remember I love you."

Her dark eyes were deep with unspoken words, but all she said was, "I love you. Don't leave me alone here." One hand curled to his neck, pulling him into a fierce kiss, pouring out her need for him to survive this, hoping he could gather some unknown strength from that. They both knew she was not likely to be much help in this fight, but whatever she could do, she would.

He returned her kiss, just as fierce and desperate as her own - not a last kiss, by any means, but one that would certainly be hard to forget. It was difficult navigating the kiss with that damned blade in his hand, but somehow how he managed, touching her cheek with gentle fingers before drawing away. "Don't do anything stupid," he warned. "Ruby's Knife might work on demons, but I've no idea if it works on gods."

"I'm the distraction," she nodded in agreement, for once not putting up a fight when it came to being given a secondary role. She had little Sam to consider, after all. "Let's get this over with."

"If anything goes wrong, you call on whoever will listen to get you out of here, you hear me?" he asked, though it was more of an order than a request. He didn't care if it was angels, demons, or gods. He wanted her and Sam to come out of this alive.

"I will," she promised him, whether she had any intention of doing it or not. The last thing Dean needed was to go into a fight not trusting her to look after herself and their unborn son. She turned toward the tunnel entrance, adjusting her grip on the Knife. "Ready when you are."

Dean pulled away from her, turning to face the tunnel entrance, knowing that as soon as they stepped outside, all Hell - or more accurately - Hades was going to break loose. "Ready as I'll ever be," he replied, tightening his hold on Death's Blade and steeling himself for a fight.

Side by side, they stepped out of the cover the tunnel provided, looking out over the barren vista bordered with green. They were miles from anywhere vaguely civilized - miles from putting any innocents in danger - which was just as well. Barely ten seconds after they had stepped from the safety of Hephaestus' lair, the sky flickered dark for a long moment, and a woman appeared in front of them. Tall, dark-haired, her silver eyes holding more than just a warning, her gaze focused on the blade in Dean's hand. A cruel smile twisted her lips. "Throw down the Scythe and leave quietly, Dean Winchester, and I won't kill your little woman."

"I don't think so," Dean said, only gripping the blade tighter in his fingers, a grim look on his face. He wasn't going to be intimidated into handing over their best chance at defeating Hades and his minions, no matter how much she threatened them. "Right, and I'm supposed to trust you," he told her sarcastically.

"I'm talking, aren't I?" Persephone pointed out with mild irritation. "My husband would simply have attacked, but I have no real wish to kill Zeus' favorite pets. Perhaps you could even join us. Your family would be protected when we take over."

Beside Dean, Nim rolled her eyes, wondering if all Olympians got a crash course in posturing, or if it was something they inherited from their Titan forebears.

"Your husband," Dean echoed, dubiously. "You mean the son of a bitch who abducted and raped you and then made a deal with your mother so that he could hold you hostage half the year. I'm familiar with the story," Dean replied. "Here's a newsflash for you, sister. We aren't on anyone's side, except our own. That's humanity to you. I couldn't care less who wins your little spat. We're fighting for the survival of the human race. You had your shot. You blew it. Now it's our turn."

"You mortals and your myths." Persephone laughed, shaking her head. "It is just a story. I know the truth well enough, and I do not need to explain that to you." Without warning, her hand flicked out, casting a surge of crackling energy - almost like lightning - toward Nim.

Dean didn't hesitate to react. There were two choices open to him - he could either step in front of that bolt of energy in hopes of absorbing it in Nim's place, while knocking her out of the way, or he could take advantage of the distraction Nim provided and go after Persephone with the blade. Since they had already discussed the possibilities and decided beforehand what choice he would make, he lunged for Persephone while she was distracted by Nim, raising the blade and swinging it toward her with the intention to separate her head from her shoulders. He just hoped his wife was wary and quick enough to get the hell out of the way.

13
Disposable Heroes / The Devil's Deal
« on: June 27, 2014, 03:46:12 PM »
[size=9]November 20th, 2012[/size]

While Sam and Hope, and Ayden and Ares, were hunting the Fates, Dean and Nim were on a different errand. Despite their reservations, they had been left with little choice but to rendezvous with Crowley at the location of his choosing. As beautiful as Hawaii was, it was very cut off from their home and allies, and though a spell could bring Ruby's Knife through customs and security without detection, they had no way of bringing the Colt or any other weapon with them. They had landed weaponless, essentially, and on course to meet with the self-proclaimed King of Hell. In spite of the warm November weather, Nim had covered up, using layers to disguise the three-month swell at her waist as best she could, but she couldn't deny that she would feel a hell of a lot better with a gun in her hand. For all they knew, they were walking into a trap. It was not a good feeling.

With the help of a spell, they had somehow managed to sneak Ruby's Knife past security and onto the plane. They had debated the pros and cons of bringing the Knife along, finally deciding that it was better to be safe than sorry, even if it was a calculated risk. Dean didn't want to risk losing one of only two weapons they had in their possession that actually was capable of killing demons, but he also didn't want to walk into a potential trap without some form of protection, especially since he had his pregnant wife along for the ride. In truth, he wasn't crazy about the whole thing and he trusted Crowley about as far as he could throw him, but for now, the enemy of their enemy was their friend, and they didn't really have much choice but to trust him.

They had been met at the airport by one of Crowley's minions, a demon who clearly did not like the fact that he was under orders not to attack the hunters, but who kept his peace on the car ride to Haleakala, the volcano that dominated the landscape in this part of Maui. It was a strange place - green in some areas, barren in others, and above it all, the smoking mass of the volcano itself. It was to one of those barren places the demon drove them, to a cave mouth broken from the volcanic rock of the island, gesturing for them to go inside.

Nim stood before it, unable to smooth the frown from her face. She didn't like enclosed spaces, though she didn't know why. That was one of the memories she no longer had access to. She looked up at Dean. "Looks like this is it."

Dean had felt uneasy the entire trip, all the way from Sioux Falls to San Francisco, and from there across the Pacific to the island of Maui. He was not fond of flying, to put it mildly, but what really bothered him was the fact that they were being forced into making a deal with a demon, even if it was his idea. He really didn't like the idea of bringing Nim with him on this little quest, but she'd given him no choice, and he couldn't deny that he needed her.

Dean saw the frown on Nim's face and knew she was as uneasy about all this as he was. They'd talked and talked about this until they were blue in the face, but until they actually arrived here, they couldn't really know what to expect. This wasn't something that was recorded in Dean's future journal, as they had decided to do things differently this time around. Dean clenched his jaw as they arrived, turning to the demon who was their guide. "If this is a double-cross... If we don't get out of here alive... Bobby will burn Crowley's bones without blinking an eye."

"Damn straight he will," his wife agreed firmly. "So we let him know that right away. See if he'll dare double-cross us in the certain knowledge that he won't last the day." She didn't reach out to touch Dean, knowing that they both would feel better with both hands free, drawing in a slow breath to steady her nerves. "So ... you and me, hotel room, midnight. I want you naked. Got that?"

"Seems a shame to come all the way to Hawaii and not get to enjoy it a little," he agreed, with a hint of a smirk at his wife, despite the circumstances.

"Spare me the sappy details," the demon broke in. "The King of Hell is waiting."

"The King of Hell, my *ss," Dean muttered, the smirk turning to a scowl in a matter of seconds. "We just spent the last fifteen hours trying to get here, so pardon me for saying so, but the King of Hell can just keep his shirt on a few minutes longer," he said, poking the demon in the chest to make his point before moving to take the lead.

"And right now there is no Hell, so what, exactly is he King of?" Nim asked in a sickly sweet tone. "Oh, that's right. A bunch of ever decreasing, mostly impotent demons, who need us a lot more than he needs you. So back off, Satan wannabe." Pregnant or not, Nim wasn't going to put up with a demon being a bitch.

"King Sh*t of Turd Island, that's what," Dean muttered, mostly to himself as he started past the demon and into the opening to the cave. He had no idea where he was going really, but he wasn't too worried about it. He knew Crowley would find them if they didn't find him first.

Nim fell into step with him, and together, they began the long walk beneath the volcano itself, through what had once been a tunnel filled with lava and now was purely a tunnel, cut into the heart of the summit. Golden yellow light illuminated their way, whether made by a spell or some other devilry. But there was something at work here that was not angel, or demon, or human. Crowley had said he was an ally of the local fire god ... this didn't feel like a local god's power. Nim gently nudged Dean's elbow, needing to know if he recognized the power that enveloped them. It wasn't a small god's power at all. It felt ... Olympian.

Dean acknowledged Nim's nudge with a nod of his head, twisting his head to take a good look at their surroundings. One thing was for sure, he'd never seen anything quite like this place, and he wasn't sure he ever wanted to again. "What's with the lights?" he asked the demon, though he was relieved they wouldn't have to stumble along in the dark.

The demon grunted, and spat on the ground as they walked. "Some trick the King's new friend dreamed up." That was all he would say, growing even more taciturn the deeper into the mountain they walked.

As the tunnel narrowed toward its destination, the heat began to grow more intense, as though something were burning fiercely ahead of them, washing its light and warmth down the tunnel toward them. Nim could feel herself sweating, her hair sticking to her neck uncomfortably. "Wasn't joking when he said he was living in a volcano, then."

14
Disposable Heroes / The Devil You Know (AU)
« on: February 05, 2014, 03:03:28 PM »
[size=9]November 14th, 2012[/size]

The Singer house felt empty after Ayden, Sam, and Hope left, which was odd, given how over-crowded it had been with them there. Of course, Brian had quit the place a month before, so at least everyone had been fairly well separated into their own rooms, but even so ... Nim wasn't sure she liked knowing that they'd allowed their grown up children to draw the eye of the Fates, and the Olympians, while they dealt with their own hunt. Speaking of which, they had to get a move on. She was already 15 weeks pregnant by now, and if they waited too much longer, she wouldn't physically be able to join Dean on this hunt, something she wasn't allowing him to even consider. With Ellen and Bobby out and about, doing their own thing, the Winchesters had set up the summoning, prepared to do this on their own time, without involving the Singers.

"I guess it'd be too much to hope that he just hands the thing over here and now, right?" Nim commented as she finished lighting the candles, glancing up at her husband.

"Fat chance," Dean replied as he crushed a handful of herbs into the bowl that had been specifically designated for spell use by Ellen a long time ago. Use any other bowl, and you risked the Wrath of Ellen. Personally, Dean would rather face a whole slew of demons than risk pissing off Ellen. "Hopefully, returning his Kingdom will be enough incentive for him to help." Dean snorted at the irony of his own statement, but at least it wasn't Lucifer or Hades. He knew first hand that there were worse things than Crowley to deal with.

"Yeah, I figured." Nim sighed softly, flicking her hair back off her neck as she reached for the knife. She made no move to cut herself, however; now her blood was doing more than just pumping around her body, there was no way in heaven, hell, or Hades that she was going to use it to summon a demon. She did, however, sharpen it - the sharper the knife, the cleaner the cut. "I've never done this ritual. Are you sure it works?"

"Oh, it works all right. Should bring His Majesty here in a jiffy. Just remember what I told you. Crowley isn't stupid. He didn't get where he is without being smart. And don't trust the son of a bitch any farther than you can throw him. He's a tricky bastard, and he's gonna try and manipulate this situation to his best advantage, so be careful. We may both want the same thing for now, but in the long run, Crowley only really cares about Crowley." Dean finished crushing and adding the necessary herbs to the bowl and set it on the table beside the candles, which were laid out in a pattern and connected by a ritual diagram that connected each candle to the other by a series of lines chalk-marked onto the table.

"Oh, hey, you're doing the talking," Nim assured her husband with a flash of a grin. "I'm just gonna stand here looking pretty." And holding a loaded gun, just in case Crowley decided to be too difficult. But the main problem here was trying to keep the demon's attention away from her expanding waistline - whether he helped them or not, the news that Dean Winchester was going to be a daddy was information Crowley would no doubt hold close to make use of in the future.

They'd been over it and over it. It was no big secret that Dean didn't want Nim there when he summoned Crowley, but as usual, she'd insisted, telling him there was no way in Hell he was doing this alone. They'd argued about it a little, but in the end, Nimue had won, mostly because she was even more stubborn than he was. "Gee, thanks," he said sarcastically, though there was no question he was going to be the one doing the talking. The funny part about all of this was that in this world, Crowley had never met this version of Dean and probably assumed - like everyone else did - that he'd died with Sam fighting the Apocalypse. Wouldn't he be surprised?

"You should put on a jacket or something," he remarked with a sidelong glance at her and a concerned frown. He didn't really want Crowley - of all people (and he used that term loosely) - knowing his wife was pregnant with his child. Hell, he didn't even want the bastard knowing he was married.

"Loose top not enough, huh?" In a concession to his stress about the whole thing, she didn't argue with him, moving to unhook her jacket from the wall and shrug into it. The hang of the heavy material disguised the swell at her waist, though it couldn't hide the truth forever. But it would do, for now, so long as Nim stayed in the background and didn't draw attention to herself. "Better?" she asked, genuinely requesting Dean's opinion as she settled the jacket onto her shoulders. "Or should I get one of Ellen's sweaters instead?"

"A sweater might be better. He might question a jacket indoors," he replied, after a moment's contemplation. Crowley was no dummy, and Dean didn't want him to know any more than what he was willing to tell him. Though their enemy's enemy might be their ally for now, when this was all over - if they somehow managed by some miracle to survive - all bets were off.

"Okay, then." Dropping the jacket back on the hook, she slipped into the laundry room for a moment, coming back with one of Ellen's voluminous sweaters, pulling it on. It was ridiculously big, but it did hide the bulge at her waist, mostly thanks to the boobs that were currently Nim's pride and joy, and biggest embarrassment all at once. "How's this?"

Dean looked her over and after a moment, nodded his head in approval. Under normal circumstances, he might have laughed at how she looked in the over-sized sweater, but this was no laughing matter. They were about to summon the deposed King of Hell, and Dean didn't want him getting anywhere near his wife and future son. Thankfully, Sam and Hope and Ayden were already gone, working a hunt of their own that was in part meant to distract the Olympians from what he and Nimue were up to. Dean wasn't overjoyed with that either, but they'd had no other choice. He knew they had to proceed very carefully with their plans or they risked not only destroying their own future, but the future of all humanity.

"It'll do," he replied grudgingly. "Remind me when this is all over to take you on the most awesome vacation ever."

She rolled her eyes, pulling her Glock from the table and checking it was loaded and ready to go. "Let's get this over with, baby," she told him softly. "Sooner we get that blade, the sooner Hades backs off." She flashed him a sweet smile. "Sooner we get that vacation."

"Disneyland or something. Hell, maybe even Hawaii." Aruba, Jamaica, oh, I wanna take you to Bermuda, Bahama. Come on, pretty mama... He heard the Beach Boys singing in his head, but he wasn't feeling much like music right now, and banished them from his mind. Not now, maybe later. For now, he had to focus. "You ready?" he asked, as he reached for the blade.

15
Disposable Heroes / Mothering Sam-day (AU)
« on: August 10, 2013, 06:47:41 AM »
29th October, 2012

It had been an ... interesting couple of months. Though they were all antsy to begin their respective hunts, there was too much information to be passed back and forth between the group, too much skill to be shared. No one wanted to pass up the chance to be completely prepared for what might come, and equally, no one wanted to face Nim's wrath if the hunts began without her. All eyes watched the gentle rounding of her belly with as much curiosity as concern, until finally the day of that first scan came. Dean had insisted on driving her to the hospital for it himself, refusing to let anyone else come with them, and two hours later, they returned, proudly in possession of a little photograph of their unborn son.

Nim's pregnancy brought mixed feelings for Dean, but the worry he felt went far deeper than that of the usual expectant father. He was not only worried for his wife's well-being and his son's safety, but he was worried what might happen once the cat was out of the bag, so to speak. Dean didn't really want any Back to the Future moments in Sam's life, where he might get erased before he even had a chance to be born, and yet, he knew he couldn't keep Nim locked in a gilded cage forever. They'd managed to keep it a secret for the the last few months, but they couldn't keep it to themselves forever.

For her own part, Nim was trying not to linger too much on what would happen the moment word got out that the Winchesters were expecting. As happy as she was with her growing bump and the promise of a family sooner rather than later, she knew there were a lot of things out there that would make her a priority target if they could. As though being number one on Hades' hit-list wasn't bad enough. But at the same time, she knew she was well protected; that Dean wouldn't let anything happen to her and, if the kids were to be believed, she had an Olympian in her pocket, too. But today, she didn't want to think about all that. Today, she had gotten her first glimpse of their baby boy - grown up Sam excepted, obviously - and was still grinning like a fool when the Impala pulled up outside B&E Salvage once again.

Now that Dean had proof positive in the way of a picture that seemed a little miraculous in itself, besides the growing bump at Nim's middle, he had become even more protective, even more considerate than ever before. He insisted on getting out of the car first and helping her out, as if she was suddenly made of china and might break without his constant help and care. It was going to drive her nuts after a while, if he kept it up, but for now, it had only been a few hours since he'd become Super Dad. He had her by the elbow as they made their way toward the porch, mirroring her grin, though his joy was mixed with worry. "Careful of the stairs!" he warned as he led her onto the porch.

For Dean's sake, his wife was being patient with him for now, but she was pretty sure he knew he was stamping his one way ticket to a punch if he didn't let up soon. Still, she let him hold her elbow as they moved up and over the porch, batting his hand away with a quiet chuckle as she reached for the screen door. "Swear to God, princess, you're worse than Ellen," she accused him fondly. "How many times do I have to say it? I'm pregnant, not anything else. My legs haven't suddenly stopped working just because I'm rounding out a bit." More than a bit, in fact - she was small and slender, and at 13 weeks, she had a bump that couldn't be mistaken for anything but what it was. Ellen had even taken her for a brief trip to the mall a couple of weeks back to get the young hunter clothes that fit without needing string to hold them closed.

"We're home!" Dean announced as he pulled open the screen door to let them both into the safety of the Singer house, where gods and demons and even angels were kept at bay by all means possible. Sam was nowhere to be found, though all of this fuss was about him... or what would become him. Maybe that was why. He was feeling just a little awkward about the whole thing, unsure how he was supposed to react to his mother carrying his younger self around inside her.

Predictably enough, Ellen was the only one who blatantly responded to that announcement, hurrying from the kitchen to greet them, too excited about their pregnancy to feign disinterest. She had lost her own child almost thirty years before - a child who might have been a version of Joanna Beth, if she had lived - and despite promising Dean not to be too overzealous about it, she was living a little vicariously through Nim right now.

As Ellen seized the ultrasound photo to exclaim over it happily, Nim rolled her eyes, glancing into the main room to find Bobby, Ayden, and Hope all staring at her with the same interest. It was certainly awkward, being the center of that much attention, and she dropped back to murmur into Dean's ear. "You okay to play excited daddy for a bit?" she asked hopefully. "I think I'm gonna punch the first person who reaches out to touch my bump."

"Long as it's not me," he whispered back, grinning like the Cheshire Cat, more than happy to play the excited Daddy and not really having to make much effort, since that was mostly how he was feeling already. He kissed her cheek and rubbed his fingers against her baby bump, just because he could, tempting her to punch him for it. At least, he hadn't asked to rub her Buddha Belly... yet.

She snorted with laughter as she felt his hand against the rounded bulge at her waistline, leaning into his kiss fondly. "Dude, you're asking for it," she promised him, patting his cheek gently. "Later." Stepping away, she only just remembered to turn back and assure him she wasn't going far. "I'm just going upstairs, okay? No freaking out."

He nodded, knowing without asking where she was going - to find their eldest son. Dean had noticed that Sam was missing from those gathered in the living room, awaiting Nim's return from the doctor's office with quiet but eager anticipation. It was nothing short of a miracle that she hadn't been pounced yet by anyone other than Ellen. Dean snagged Ellen and practically dragged her into the main room to show the very early baby pictures to the rest of the family while his wife sought out their eldest.

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