Title: Castiel Finds a Family
Theme(s): 13 - wonderland
Disclaimer/claimer (if needed): I own nothing Supernatural.
Summary (if needed): Lisa is worried about Dean and turns to Castiel for help.
Warning: polyship - no explicit sex
The snow fell softly out on the lawn. Dean sighed as he watched it from their upstairs bedroom window.
“Dean?” Lisa looked over from the bed to see him raking his fingers through his hair. “You okay, hon?”
“Yeah,” he faked a smile. “Looks like we have our first snowfall that might actually stick around. Might actually have to break out the shovel.”
Lisa rolled onto her side as the covers tangled around her waist. “You really like it, don’t you? All that domestic stuff?”
Nodding, Dean replied, “It’s still new to me. It’s interesting, and odd, not to be out hunting anymore.”
“Do you miss it?”
“I’d rather not be getting hurt every hunt, I was getting too old for that shit. Makes me wonder how my dad and Bobby held up for so long.”
“Better not let Bobby hear you call him old,” she warned.
“I know,” Dean smiled for real. “The only childhood I ever had was at his house.”
“Really? What did he do?”
“Took us to the swimming hole, built a snowman, tossed around the ball a little. He gave us space, something we never had on the road.”
“What did you do with your space when you had it?” Lisa asked as Dean sat down on the bed.
“Took long showers, worked on cars and hid from Sam. I’m not too proud of that last one. If I’d have known how much I’d be missing him now, I never would have avoided him back then.”
“There’s no way you could have known.”
“But ditching him isn’t being a good big brother,” Dean’s face turned grim.
“Baby,” Lisa laid her hand on his cheek and he leaned into her touch. “You were the best big brother Sam could have had. Most siblings do crave time alone and spend more time apart than you and Sam did. In the regular world, the ties that bind are looser.”
“That’s sad. I mean, with a screwed up life we actually had a better relationship than civilians?”
“In some ways.” Lisa paused as she tried to think of a way to word it. “You blurred the lines between the members of the family. Even though your dad had strict rules, you took on the parent role to Sam every time John left. Yet, you and Sam have always been a team. Your family was close, relationships were strained at times, but there was never any doubt if you’d be there for each other. You had all you needed. When you’re not hunting, letting someone down doesn’t cause someone bodily harm. The stakes aren’t as high and folks accept it more easily.”
“I don’t want us to be like that. Ever. I want to do all I can to make sure we’re a close-knit family.”
“You already do,” Lisa gave him a slow smile. “I feel more grounded when I’m with you. Because of that, Ben feels more secure. And, you’re a great father to him, Dean. Not everyone would be as accepting of a child that wasn’t theirs.”
“I consider him mine because he’s a part of you. That’s enough for me.”
“Which is one of the reasons why I love you. How about a little snuggle before you head out in the cold to take on winter? I’m starting to feel a little lonely here.”
Dean smirked as he moved to crawl over to her. “Can’t have you feeling like that.” He was lying beside her with his fingers framing her face. “You’re much too important and ever feel anything besides wanted and desired.” He skipped kissing her lips and went right to her neck and that secret spot that got her every time.
“I could get used to this,” she moaned.
“You’d better. I’m not going anywhere.” Dean continued his loving assault and together they sank into the bed.
"When do you think the hockey rinks will be ready?" Ben asked excitedly over lunch. "I think my skates from last year will still fit. I wore an extra pair of socks last year, so I'll just get rid of those."
"That's good, Ben. If they hurt your feet let me know right away, okay? I'd rather buy you skates than see you wreck your toes." Lisa was distracted as she scraped her plate.
"Think you can help me practice, Dean?"
Dean coughed and sputtered a little. "Well, Ben, you see . . ." The boy stared at him intently, waiting for him to continue. "I never learned how to skate." He braced himself for some laughter or friendly jabs at his inexperience.
"Cool. I can teach you. We'll have to go when it isn't busy though--"
He's embarrassed to be seen with me, Dean thought. Not even a Dad for a year and he's already ashamed of me.
"--in case you need room to fall. It takes awhile to learn to stop, too. I've taken a couple kids down with me before. Doesn't do much to help popularity, in case you're wondering," Ben smiled.
“Landing on others isn’t much softer than landing on the ice, and the ice doesn’t hold grudges.” Lisa threw her two bits in. “I still have my old pair. We can get Dean set up and then all three of us can go to the rink. It might take two of us to keep him upright.”
“Are you implying that I’m uncoordinated?” Dean laughed. “I’ll have you know that I’m in very good shape.”
“The world is different with blades strapped to your feet,” she chuckled. “But, don’t worry. It will be fun.”
Dean had the feeling that his backside wasn’t going to appreciate the sport of skating.
After lugging the big inner tube up the hill for the tenth time, Dean asked Ben, “You really enjoy this?”
“Yeah!” Ben was dragging a tube of his own. “Don’t you?”
He shrugged, thinking that it was just terribly different from anything he and Sam had done for fun. “Guess I’m just not used to it yet.” Dean looked into the eyes that sparkled with glee, the only part of Ben that he could see with all the winter outer wear. Dean didn’t even want to think about what he looked like. Any cool points that he’d once had were gone. It was okay since Lisa seemed to love him anyway, but it still bothered him sometimes. Seeing Ben so happy, Dean couldn’t help but reply, “I like it better than skating.”
Ben laughed. “You just need practice for that. Tubing doesn’t require much talent.”
“I think that was a slam on my manhood.” Dean mumbled but smiled back at the boy. “You staying warm enough? Or do you want to go in for hot chocolate or cider?”
“Let’s slide some more. I want to try the jump over there before we go.”
Dean gulped as he saw where Ben had pointed. It was a smooth path all the way to the foot of the hill that had it’s own ramp built out of snow. Kids were flying over it, getting thrown from tube and landing back down on them, most of the time. Some of them flew off their tube and landed flat on the frozen ground. He cringed without realizing it.
“I hang on tight, Dean. I’m really careful. Mom always lets me go.”
Even though he had a hard time seeing mama bear Lisa allowing her cub to do what he was watching, he knew Ben would never lie. “Okay. Just before we go you can show me what you can do.” And then we’ll end up in the emergency room, Dean added silently in his head. He thought he’d escaped danger when he quit hunting, but maybe not.
“Did you see me?” Ben ran toward Dean as fast as he could move with all his clothes.
“Sure did, buddy. That was awesome.”
“Next time, you need to try the jump, too.” The boy kept walking past Dean, not noticing the fear on the older man’s face. Suddenly, flying on an airplane sounded safe.
Grumbling and grunting, Dean fought with the sticky tree until he got it inside. Lisa already had a space set up for it. He had to yell for her help when trying to get the trunk into the stand.
“My, Dean. What a beautiful tree! Where did you find it?”
“I cut it down just outside of town.” Dean replied.
“You what?” Lisa was startled to say the least. “Why didn’t you go to the Christmas Tree lot? They already have them cut and bundled for you.”
“I don’t want someone else picking out my tree. Besides, this one is fresher. Who knows when those other ones were cut.”
Lisa let the topic drop and reminded herself to go with Dean to get the tree next year.
He was covered in sweat by the time the tree was in the stand and no longer leaning. Stripped down to his t-shirt, he hunkered over the boxes by Ben. There were ornaments of all shapes and sizes, lights and various other decorations. It looked very complicated and Dean couldn’t see a rhyme or reason or it to be arranged as it was.
“Where do we start?” He asked Ben, who looked like he knew what he was doing.
“Lights go on first. I think we have more buried under these ornaments.”
“Why aren’t the lights on top of the box?”
“Mom has to wrap her precious ornaments separately and refuses to put the lights on top of them.”
“Are they that breakable?”
“She thinks so. Some of them are ugly things I made in school. I don’t know why she keeps them when they’re junk.”
Dean chuckled. “Wrong on that point, Ben. Anything you make is a masterpiece. If I were to make a flop for an ornament, she’d have it in the trash in the blink of an eye.”
“Would not!” Lisa interrupted as she set the mugs of cocoa down. “Anything you made me would be special. I wouldn’t throw it away. It would be nice to have all homemade decorations for the tree one year.”
“Would a string of beer caps count as homemade?” Dean smirked.
“Don’t test me, Dean,” she warned. “We could have them on the tree and just take them off if we got company or took pictures of the tree.”
“Aww, that’s so sweet,” he put an arm around her neck and pulled her close. “Maybe one day I’ll show you my first sawed-off.”
Their sparkling eyes met and so did their lips.
“Ugh! Yuck! Do you have to do that when I’m in the room?” Ben was grossed out. “Save it for when I’m asleep, gees. You’ll scar my youthful mind.”
When he stopped laughing, Dean asked, “Does that apply to Die Hard, too? I know we said we were going to watch it but there might be some kissing in it and I’d hate to traumatize you any further.”
“Die Hard is fine. All the guns and violence make up for whatever mushy parts they might have.”
“Wait--wait,” Lisa interrupted. “Exactly how violent is this movie?”
“It’s an action film, Lisa. I’ll keep an eye on Ben. If it seems to be too much, we’ll find something else.”
She eyed the guys who were giving her puppy dog eyes. “Oh, alright. Let me make popcorn before you start it and I’ll join you.”
“I thought it was for just us, you know, special.” Ben whispered when Lisa was a safe distance away in the kitchen.
“Do you want to be the one to tell her that? Besides, she’ll probably fall asleep partway through, anyhow. I’ll still fill you in on the weaponry.”
“Okay,” Ben went back to unwrapping and sorting ornaments. “I’m so glad you’re here, Dean. Last year I was stuck watching ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’.”
“Hey, don’t knock them.” Dean bumped shoulders with the boy. “But, you’re right. ‘Die Hard’ is so much better.”
Later on, the three of them sat on the couch and, as predicted, Lisa fell asleep. Dean pulled the blanket over her as she slept against him. She slept through the rest of the excitement.
After the movie, Dean and Ben returned to decorating the tree while Lisa was still out.
“How long do you usually keep the tree up?”
“Until after New Year’s. It might just depend on how long this tree lasts.”
Dean scoffed. “What? I picked a good one.”
“I know. Still, they don’t last forever. Once all the needles are gone, it’s over.”
There were hectic days shopping for gifts while fighting through crowds of crazy people. Dean got edgy in crowds that big but Lisa had a great idea for a present for Ben and they had to get one before it sold out.
“The rest of the gifts are at home and need to be wrapped.” Lisa told him.
“This is a year of many firsts for me. Can’t say I have wrapped more than two or three gifts a Christmas in my life. Looks like Ben could almost start his own toy store.”
“What?” She smiled at him. “He’s not spoiled, he’s just well-loved.”
“Sure,” Dean agreed. “I have a hard time saying ‘no’ to him, too. He’s a wonderful kid.”
“I’m looking forward to it being the three of us this year.”
“Yeah, me, too,” Dean said but his mind and heart were miles away. There should have been four of them together at Christmas. Sam was supposed to be there, not in the pit.
On Christmas Eve, businesses closed early. Ben dressed up in a button-down shirt and Lisa had a dress. Dean wore his best pair of jeans and a shirt Lisa had given him as an early gift. They went to the afternoon Christmas Eve service.
Dean squirmed on the pew. He was feeling warm and out of place. He was itching and it had nothing to do with the new shirt. Being in a church made his skin crawl. After all he’d been through, he didn’t feel as though he belonged there. He’d mentioned the same to Lisa in bed the night before. Lisa had assured him that their church welcomed everyone and that he was a very good person--a hero.
He held the hymnal he shared with Lisa and stumbled across words that he didn’t know. He saw all the other families packed in the pews and realized that he wasn’t an intruder. He was there with a family of his own. They belonged, and by extension, so did he.
The roads were snowy and icy, as they tend to be over the holidays. Lisa held on to Dean’s arm as she walked in her high heels to the Impala. After she was in, he closed her door before going around to his side.
On the way home, Dean drove extra careful but he was lost in his mind. There had been other Christmases that included snowball fights and Christmas specials. Sammy had a place in those memories. When Christmas had graduated to oil, candy bars, shaving cream and porn, Sammy belonged there, too. The present holiday had no little brother in it, and neither would the next one.
Lisa noticed the change in Dean’s mood as soon as they returned home. She’d known that it would be hard on Dean but he’d seemed to be handling the holidays so well. He’d been active with Ben and his winter activities. He even sang a little at church. She’d thought it was going better. She wondered if the surprise she had or him was such a great idea. It was too late to go back now.
“Can we open presents?” Ben asked as soon as they were inside.
“One. You can open one. The rest have to be saved until Christmas.”
“Okay,” he grumbled and ran or the biggest package. He ripped it open and liked what he found inside. It was one of the several toys that Lisa had stashed away over the year. “Cool! I love it!” With that, he was out of the room and up the stairs.
“If he’s this excited tonight, what’s tomorrow going to be like?”
Dean smiled. “What do we have left to do?”
“After he’s asleep, you’ll eat the cookies he leaves out for Santa and bring in the other gifts that we bought.”
“I get to be Santa?”
“Yep.” Lisa grinned wide. “I even got a tiny Mrs. Claus outfit for me and a Santa hat for you for later on.”
Dean raised his eyebrows. “I don’t remember that being in ‘The Night Before Christmas’.”
Lisa gave him a hug and kissed him. “It’s in my adult version.”
“Hmm,” Dean’s eyes sparkled as he thought of the night ahead of him.
“First things first, though. Cookies and Christmas stockings. After Ben’s crashed and we put the new presents out, it’s just you and me until Christmas morning.”
“I like that idea.”
“Thought you might.”
Ben came down when Lisa called for him. They took a plate and put a variety of cookies on it. They placed the dish and a glass of milk on the end table by the front door. Ben dug in one of the Christmas decoration boxes that had been set aside and pulled out his and Lisa’s stockings.
“We forgot to get you one!” Ben apologized, “Maybe a store is still open --”
“I’ve got it,” Lisa came into the living room carrying a gift bag. “I’ve got it covered. Ben, hang ours up for us, okay?” While Ben was occupied, Lisa gave the bag to Dean. “Open it.”
Dean put his hand on it and Lisa covered it with hers. “I really hope you like it.” She bit her bottom lip and looked at him.
“I’m sure I will,” he flashed Lisa a smile to reassure her. When he withdrew his hand, he held some folded material. He unfolded it and gasped. It was a homemade Christmas stocking with his name on it. He’d never had his own stocking.
“Is it okay?”
“It’s wonderful, Lisa! You made this?”
“It must have taken so much time.”
“It was for a special person,” Lisa smiled. “There’s more.”
Dean reached back into the bag and there was more material. When he opened it, it was a Christmas stocking with ‘Sammy’ on it. Dean didn’t know what to say. He was too choked up.
“I know his name was Sam,” Lisa explained, “But when you tell stories, you call him Sammy and get a certain look in your eye. I wanted you to have him close on Christmas.”
Dean’s eyes watered.
“Did I do something wrong?”
“No,” he wiped his tear away. “You did everything right.”
Lisa looked at him and laid her hand upon his cheek. He pulled her close and kissed her.
“You’ve given me so much,” his voice was cracking. “There’s no way you can know how much the things you’ve done mean to me.”
“You’d do the same for me.” Lisa whispered, “I’m going to be here until the end of time. You’ll never be alone again.”
Four stockings hung on the mantle. They were for a boy growing up, his mother, the man she loved, and the spirit of a man missed by all.