muccamukk: Iolaus laughing. Text: "Adorable me-sized warrior friend type" (H:TLJ: Me-Sized Friend Type)
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Title: Lost and Found
Author: [livejournal.com profile] muccamukk
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: PG-13
Number of Words: one thousand seven hundred and five
Spoilers: up to 216 "Shadow"
Summary: Ten years down the road, Dean's not the only one who's having trouble letting go.
Notes: I have no idea where this came from, but here it is. Not beta'd, sorry.
Disclaimer:I realise that most of the persons, places and things in the following story are the property of Warner Bros. Television Production Inc. in association with Wonderland Sound and Vision. As I am making no money from this, I respectfully request that no one sue me.


Elizabeth didn't think that her brother-in-law was an especially good influence on the children. Actually, when she thought about it, which was more often than she cared to, she didn't much like the way her husband acted around him either. Honestly, the man's only real selling feature, apart from the obvious, was his customary absence.

Oh they kept in touch; she had the phone bills to prove it, but he limited his actual presence in her house to three or four visits a year. These were usually unannounced, at inconvenient hours and involving an alarming number of bandages.

Watching them at those times, Elizabeth understood that there wouldn't be any point in saying anything. She didn't want to anyway. She hadn't married a man who would turn away from someone who needed him. Her husband seemed to know how uncomfortable she felt anyway. His brother definitely knew, which didn't seem to bother him in the least.

So when Dean Winchester limped up to her door at three am on a Monday morning, she let him in and went to get Sam and the first aid kit. “Thanks, Lizzie,” he said, reminding her of another battle she'd chosen not to fight.

She had actually only just come off shift herself, and spent the usual ten minutes that the brothers didn't want her to overhear in the shower, using up most of the hot water. “So I guess you got my message?” Sam was asking as she came back into the kitchen.

Dean dabbed at the blood on his neck. “Yeah, real helpful there, Sam,” he said. “Maybe next time you could be a little more specific, save me all the...” He broke off when he saw Elizabeth. “But, Dude, you shoulda seen the chick this time, all legs and...” Making a circular motion over his chest, he grinned. “Definitely worth it.”

She again wondered what exactly it was that Dean actually did for a living, and again refrained from asking. If it affected their family, Sam would have told her eight years ago. As it stood, ignorance was quite probably safer. “Do you have time for much of a visit?” she asked. “Thanksgiving's this weekend and my brother and his wife are coming down from Spokane.”

Dean's eyes flicked around the room before fixing on the door.

“The kids would like to see you,” Sam added quickly.

Dean sighed. “Yeah, I, uh, kinda have my next gig lined up already. I was planning to be in Billy's Armpit, or Wherever the Hell, Wyoming, by Thursday.”

“Okay,” was all Sam said, eyes focused on reassembling the first aid kit.

Dean glanced up at Elizabeth and didn't say anything else.

“I'm going to bed,” she said, letting her lips quirk.

As she passed the kitchen again after checking the kids, she heard Dean say in a low voice, “You could come with me, Sammy. It doesn't sound like that big a job. I'd have you back by Sunday night.”

“Dean...”

“Yeah, I know.”

oO0Oo


Dean didn't return for Thanksgiving or visit at Christmas, though he did send both Johnny and Tessa light-weight hunting bows, which Sam refused to exchange. He actually showed up for his birthday at the end of January, surprisingly uninjured, and stayed for three days to corrupt her children. Sam helped enthusiastically, and Elizabeth didn't mind as much. They both seemed happy.

oO0Oo


Six weeks later, Sam woke up screaming his brother's name. Five minutes after that, he was up, dressed and throwing things in a duffel bag. “Dean needs me,” he said. “I have to go. Right now.”

“Are you going to need those?” Elizabeth asked as he transferred the contents of the locked gun cabinet into another bag.

“Yeah, Probably,” he said. “I hope not.”

“What should I do?” They were on the stairs down the the garage now.

“I'll check in, if you don't hear from me for twenty four hours, call Eamon.” He tossed the bag in the back seat of the black Toyota Prius. “Tell him what happened and that we're in the area of El Sobaco, New Mexico.” He paused to kiss her cheek, then added, “I can't get a hold of Dean, if he calls here, tell him I'm on my way. And tell him to stay the hell out of the hills until I get there!” And then he was gone before she realised that he hadn't told her a damn thing about what was going on.

She waited up a few more hours before calling his work and telling them to reassign his cases for the next week. “A family emergency,” she said. She told the kids he was on a business trip.

oO0Oo


Sam checked in, tersely, and she didn't have to call Eamon. He showed up on the fifth day in the Impala, bloody, his insensate brother slung over his shoulder, and didn't say anything.

Elizabeth left him stitching Dean back together on the kitchen table, and went to work. When she came back, they were shouting. She almost walked in, but stopped where she stood, listening. She hadn't asked before, she was lucky to have him, but whatever this was hadn't hurt her family before either.

“You've got to stop. If I hadn't bailed your ass out, that bitch would have killed you.”

“I had a plan, I’d have been okay.”

“Bullshit. I saw you die, and it wasn't fucking pretty.”

“Sam, I've been hunting solo for almost nine years. I slip up once and suddenly that's the end? Not happening, man.”

“That wasn't a just a slip up, and it wasn't the first one. I've called to warn you before, and it's happening more and more. You're getting sloppy.”

“Oh fuck off, Dad hunted way longer than this.”

“And we both saw what happened to him. I can't do that with you, man.”

Silence. So not a car accident then, Elizabeth thought, unconsciously edging closer to the kitchen door.

Someone sighed. “So what do you want me to do, Sam?” Dean finally asked in a slightly more moderate tone. “Settle down, get some lame ass job, marry the first chick I find who's too stupid and grateful to ask questions, and then just forget who I am? Just because that works for...”

“Dean!”

“Yeah, right, sorry.” A chair creaked. “You know, this wouldn't be a problem if I had someone watching my back.”

“It wouldn't be a problem if you didn't do it at all.”

“Here we go again.”

“Apparently.” Pots clanked and the dishwasher clicked shut. “Look, man, we both need to crash, I'll help you up to your room.”

Elizabeth hurriedly tiptoed back to the front hall, paused, then deliberately riffled through the coats on the rack. She emerged to see Dean, leaning heavily against her husband, looking at her and smiling slightly. She giggled guiltily, thinking, This is how you always got busted.

“Evening, Lizzy,” Dean said, smirk widening.

Sam either hadn't noticed or was deliberately not noticing and said, “I'm going to camp out in Dean's room tonight, sweety.” He shifted the arm across his shoulders to get a better hold. “I need to check him every few hours, which is going to be loads of fun I can tell you, and there's no point bothering you too.”

“Okay,” she said and looked in on the kids before going to bed.

oO0Oo


Sam had been an incredibly light sleeper when they were first married, snapping awake at the slightest sound or movement. He had softened over the years and now needed a moderately loud alarm. She had not and woke every two hours with the muffled beeping upstairs.

Everyone was out of sorts the next day. She fed the kids, packed them off to school and went back to bed. She didn't tell them Uncle Dean was there because she didn't want to disappoint them if he wasn't when they got back. That was looking more likely in that the brother's weren't properly speaking to each other by the time she got up again, and less likely as Dean's face looked grey and he could barely stand.

Something must have happened while she was at work though, because she came in to find them slumped against each other on the couch, movie menu lighting their faces. She poked Dean enough to get him to lie flat but left Sam where he was.

Then it was the weekend and sunny, and they all went to Tessa's soccer game. Dean got yelled at for inciting Johnny and Bev Mitchell's eighty-six-year-old grandmother to chant “Kill the Ref.” Sam kept looking at his brother and smiling like it hurt.

Later, when Sam had gone in to work to sort out what he'd missed and kids were at a birthday party and Dean had passed out in a recliner in the back yard, Elizabeth settled down to garden. The beds were still a mess, but if she could get them at least weeded, maybe Sam could turn them and she could put some annuals in soon. She hummed to herself, not minding the damp soaking through the knees of her pants or the dirt working its way into her nails. She didn't notice that Dean was up until his shadow fell across her. “Do you need anything?” she asked.

He shrugged and sunk down onto the grass, sitting cross legged beside her. “Yeah, kinda.” He paused, then took a deep breath and said, “Elizabeth, I know you and Sam have some sort of understanding about all this, but if you want to... if you need to know what's going on, with me and Sam and Dad I mean, I can tell you.”

“Why?” she asked, tossing another weed in the bucket.

Dean shrugged again. “You have a right to know,” he said, which was true enough, but probably wasn't the reason. She didn't want to get caught in a war between the two men. However...

“Okay,” she said, “but don't tell Sam.”

So she sat in the California sun pulling weeds and listening to Dean's story about Mary, and John Senior, and Jessica, and Meg Masters and her father and how they lived, and how they died.

oO0Oo


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