After the past events in "Something Wicked" nine-year-old Dean and six-year-old Sam get a summer vacation and a mystery all their own. A Wee!Winchester Adventure!
It was a two day-long drive away from that miserable motel and the thing that nearly took Sammy away from them. Dean didn't think Dad spoke to him more than three times the entire trip, once to ask if he were hungry, twice to make sure he really didn't have to go to the bathroom -- nothing else.
Sam was quiet as well for most of the ride, but Sam was usually quiet, at least lately. He'd already gone through what Dad called a 'phase', of whining and crying and running away when their backs were turned, but that eventually settled down into a dull, unsmiling sort of quiet.
Dean worried about that. He worried about a lot of things, all the time, but Sam was his responsibility and if Sam wasn't okay, it was up to him to fix it.
He just didn't know how.
Eventually, lonely highway gave way to farm roads and Dean looked curiously at rolling green fields that seem to go on endlessly, straight to the horizon and back. Occasionally they passed a cow chewing contentedly on some grass and Sam made a pleased noise when they rolled by an entire stable of horses, corralled by the side of the road.
To Dean's surprise, his Dad turned down a private lane, straight toward a bright white house standing in what looked like a sea of sunflowers. A real house not a motel and a sense of foreboding washed over Dean when they braked to a stop in the front yard.
"Dad?" Dean asked. "Where are we?"
His father didn't reply, he merely got out of the car and straightened out his worn leather jacket, as one of the tallest men Dean had ever seen approached the car. He was dark-skinned, wore round glasses and a minister's collar, sticking out from a spotless black suit.
The man shook Dad's hand gravely. "John."
"Reverend," Dean's father replied respectfully. "Thank you so much."
"Don't thank me," the Reverend replied, with a slight pull at his cuffs, smoothing out nonexistent wrinkles. "Ro said she'd never speak to me again if I didn't offer some good Christian hospitality to our old friends."
"Dean ... Sam ... get out here," Dad called and they jumped from the car, Sam practically bouncing with excitement at the sight of wide open, green spaces. Dean hoped he wouldn't start running off again -- it was getting harder and harder to catch him these days.
But Sam was good, even when Dad herded them both toward the Reverend who examined them quietly, not exactly frowning, but not exactly smiling either.
Dean stuck out his hand automatically, as his father taught him. "I'm pleased to meet you, sir."
The Reverend squinted at him from behind his glasses, then took Dean's hand in a strong grip. "Pleased to meet you, Dean."
Sam quickly did the same, so quickly he forgot to wipe off the melted candy that had been stuck to his palm since Ravenwood. "Whoops," he said, when a string of pink taffy temporarily tied him and the Reverend together. "I'm sorry, sir."
"Hmmm," the Reverend replied, holding his sticky hand up, away from his immaculate suit.
"Well, as I live and breathe," said a voice coming from the porch. Dean looked up and saw a lady with the biggest, whitest smile he'd ever seen in his life. She was shorter than the Reverend, slightly wider too, but all in all, a much friendlier-looking presence, Dean thought. "John Winchester and my Mary's little boys."
She held out her arms as she came toward them and Dean braced himself for a giant squishy hug, the kind grown-ups loved to give kids his age, even though they must have known he'd rather be eaten by a bear. He tried to turn his grimace into a smile and it wasn't all that bad, mostly because she smelled like cookie dough, which gave him hope that there might be a homemade lunch involved in this visit at some point.
Sam, on the other hand, was still at the age that loved hugs and he clung to her long after the embrace should have ended, making the woman laugh joyously. "What an angel. He looks just like our Mary did, may the Lord rest her. Doesn't he, Samuel?"
"Hmmm," the Reverend replied. He was still holding his hand away from his suit. "I suppose he would, Ro."
"All right, now that we're all introduced ..." Dad smiled thinly. He motioned Dean over. "I need to speak with Dean for a few minutes, if that's all right."
The lady -- whose name appeared to be Ro -- hoisted Sam into her arms and nuzzled him, making him squeal with glee. "Make it quick, as I have things to put in the oven and lunch to put on for some hungry boys." She kissed Sam on the forehead. "Are you hungry, sugar? I'll bet you are."
Dad pulled Dean aside. "Listen to me. You're going to be spending the rest of the summer here."
Dean's stomach plunged to somewhere past his knees. "Dad ..."
"It's not a punishment, Dean," Dad said calmly. "I know what you're thinking and you're wrong."
"I didn't mean to go out, Dad," Dean cried, his throat tightening with panic. "I promised I'd never, ever do it again! I swear it! Please don't go away and leave us here." He felt like he was choking to death. "Please, Dad, don't go ..."
Dad bit his lip and knelt, taking Dean's forearms in his hands, squeezing them tightly. "I promise you, it's only for a few weeks. You need some time, you and Sammy, to be kids and I need to ... reevaluate how we work together. It's just until the summer's over and I'll be back, I swear it, Dean."
Dean could hardly speak, the tears were suffocating him. "It's all my fault, isn't it? That's why you're going. Because I messed up."
There were tears in Dad's eyes too. "No, baby. It's because I messed up, but I know you won't see it that way. It's just for the summer and then you'll be back with me. I swear this to you, Dean, on your mother's soul." He gave Dean's arms a gentle rub. "Now, come on, be my big boy and don't upset Sammy. You know how he can't stand to see you cry."
His mother's soul. Dad promised he'd come back on his mother's soul. Those words were a little comforting at least, and Dean wiped his eyes on his sleeve.
"Dean?" Sammy called out, peering at him from his perch in Ro's arms.
"It's okay, Sam," Dean sighed, even though it wasn't. Not by a long shot.
He ambled back with Dad, who took his leave quickly and quietly, slipping away even with Ro's entreaties to stay for a meal.
The car took off in a cloud of dust and Ro shook her head. "Lord forgive me, but I never did understand that man." She swept her palms over the cheerful red-checked apron that covered her from chest to knee. "Now, boys, how about that lunch?"
Dean couldn't stop staring after the slowly disappearing vehicle.
Sammy didn't seem to care. Once lunch was mentioned, one that probably didn't consist of canned pasta or stale bologna sandwich, he was as happy as a clam. "I want lunch!"
Ro laughed and took Sam by the hand, leading him toward the stairs. "Then come on! No time like the present, I like to say." She nudged her husband with her elbow. "Isn't that right, hon?"
"Hmmm," replied the Reverend, putting his large hand on Dean's shoulder before turning him toward the house. "You do like to say that, Ro. You certainly do."
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