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02 August 2012 @ 10:53 am
Home in Motion: A Supernatural Dean/Cas Fanfic Ch. 12  
Title: Home in Motion
Story Summary: Castiel swore he was done with spur of the moment decisions that permanently changed dean Winchester's life. A year after the angel's most disastrous, his newest may present the largest challenge of dean's life: Fatherhood.
Pairing: Dean/Cas eventually.
Chapter: 12 The Chase
Chapter Summary: The hunt begins.
Warnings: Spoilers through the end of season 6 and potential spoilers for events in 7, though for the sake of the story's flow, season 7 didn't happen the way it did in the show. (I just may need to borrow beasties.) Though this story involves fatherhood, this is not an mpreg fic.



Chapter 12
The Chase

"Problem solving is hunting. It is savage pleasure and we are born to it."
Thomas Harris, Silence of the Lambs


Sam supposed it made sense that Bobby would stay with Emma, though he had to admit to wanting to spend a little more time with the woman. He wasn't the only one who seemed torn with leaving Bobby and Emma behind; since there was a possibility that the skinwalkers might try to attack Emma, someone--Cas--was going to need to observe her apartment to kill and/or track those monsters. To follow the skinwalker they knew about, it made more sense for Dean and Sam to trace it back to the rest of the sleeper cell and this alpha.

This meant leaving Johnny behind, and neither his brother or the angel was at all pleased with that turn of events. They were both visibly anxious at the thought, and the baby seemed more than a little unsure as the angel and elder Winchester were edging toward the door. The unease was to be expected on Dean's face, but Sam wasn't sure he'd seen Cas look so apprehensive before. For once, the angel was an open book, even to Sam who normally couldn't read him even half as well as Dean. Though Cas had insisted that Dean was Johnny' father, it was fairly obvious that Johnny was going to grow up with two of them. The expression on Cas's face was not that of a worried uncle.

"Please call for me at the first sign of trouble," Cas said, giving Bobby and Johnny another worried look.

"I've been watching out for these two since before they even popped onto your radar," Bobby replied. His word choice had been careful, since no one was quite willing to divulge to Emma that the quiet accountant-like man was actually a heavenly being. "Don't worry about me or the kid. Just don't get yourself killed."

"I don't believe that is really something I will be concerned about." Sam wanted to laugh at the expression on Cas's face. It was somewhere between confused and indignant. The combination left him looking slightly constipated. Dean must have thought the same, but did not have the same restraint that Sam exerted, as he was busy snorting at his brother's side.

Almost as though he could read Dean's mind--and he probably could--Cas glared at the elder Winchester.

The three eventually left Bobby and Emma alone with the baby. Cas looked at Dean with all seriousness. "What I told Bobby applies to you as well."

"Never expected otherwise, Buddy." Dean offered Cas a few solid pats on his upper arm before the angel popped away to monitor Emma's apartment. Dean and Sam, in the meantime, took the Impala to stake out the professor's home.

"So, you feeling better after your 'well-deserved freakout?'" Sam asked as an opening. He could swear his brother had wanted to talk to him since they'd all arrived back at the motel, but since Emma had come along with Sam and Bobby, the two brothers hadn't had any opportunity. That had left Sam to guess about what it was that was on his brother's mind. It didn't appear Dean was going to go at him for going along with Emma's assumption that Dean was gay; the man had been surprisingly mature about that. He also seemed slightly more at ease about Johnny.

With his top two reasons eliminated, Sam could only guess what it was Dean needed to talk about.

"Yeah. You calling and Cas coming helped."

"You're a natural Dad, you know that, right?" Sam asked, keeping an eye on the man currently letting the Impala coast into an open spot on the quiet street.

"So everyone says. Cas even said that if I needed reassurance on that ... I should ask you about the amulet."

Just the mention of the amulet stung. He knew that the trip to heaven, seeing some of Sam's favorite memories were among Dean's worst, had hurt the elder Winchester more than Sam could have even expected. Which is what had made it so painful when he'd watched his brother toss an amulet into the trash. Sam didn't want to start thinking like a woman, but it had felt a little like Dean was throwing a part of him in that trash can as well. It had also made the guilt of the whole experience all the more bitter; unless he was really hurt, Dean would never have tossed that necklace away for anything.

"Did he tell you why?" Sam asked, glancing at his brother, who seemed to be purposely looking up at the professor's house. It wasn't exactly surprising that Dean was doing his very best to keep his eyes anywhere but on Sam.

"He didn't outright, no," Dean said. The man's hand absentmindedly slid down to rub his knee; he didn't seem to even be paying attention to what he was doing. "He more or less hinted that it was your story to tell."

"I don't know there's really anything to tell," Sam said, and he watched his brother's shoulders visibly slump. There was no doubt that his brother regretted what he'd done and he'd been hoping to get it back. Even if he hadn't shown the regret, Sam still would have reached beneath the collar of his shirt and pulled the amulet from its place against his chest.

Dean must have caught the movement out of the corner of his eye, as he turned to face Sam and take note of what the taller man was pulling from under the red t-shirt he wore beneath the button-up shirt. "You fished it out of the trash?" he asked, and though Sam knew his brother would never admit it, emotion had choked those words.

Sam nodded and pulled the leather cord over his head. He looked down at the brass face now resting in his palm. "I hid it at Bobby's after I decided to let Lucy wear me to prom," he said with a wry grin. "I thought you might find it, or Bobby might and get it to you. But you didn't and he didn't, and I obviously didn't give a shit about it without my soul. Once Death brought me back whole, I got it out of that little cubby in Bobby's fireplace."

"After all that, I guess it's yours now," Dean said, his eyes never fully leaving the amulet, though they did occasionally dart up to Sam's face. The younger brother wondered if this was what it had been like for Dean, when Sam had really wanted that last bowl of Lucky Charms, even though Dean hadn't gotten one yet, and it was really his right to have that last bowl, but his younger brother was too busy giving him that look.

"I didn't hang onto it for me," Sam said, grabbing his brother's wrist with his left hand and forcing Dean's hand to turn palm-up. Sam's right placed the amulet still warm with the younger man's body heat into his brother's awaiting palm. "I was waiting for you to ask for it back."

"After all this time?" He was obviously in a state of disbelief.

"I'd have been handing it over to you in the old hunter's home while you were busy trying to convince the young nurses to give your wrinkly ass a spongebath if that's when you asked for it," Sam said and watched with a smile as his brother moved the dark leather over his head and adjusted it only momentarily so that the amulet hung in its proper place around his neck.

It was amazing the effect that the amulet had on the older hunter. It was as though Sam had just returned a missing limb to him, and maybe in some ways he had. "I thought this was gone," he said, placing a hand over the brass idol. "I've been kicking myself for the last two years."

"Yeah," Sam said. He knew this was an apology in Dean-speak. "Figured I might as well keep it. Thought eventually you'd get your head out of your ass and ask about it." In Winchester language, Sam had just told him he accepted the apology and had kept the amulet for so long as an apology of his own. Sometimes they needed to talk things out. Other times like now, it was perfectly clear.

#

Bobby wasn't entirely sure what to say to the twentysomething woman now in his care. Dean had already provided them with a large pizza, the thing was loaded with more heavy toppings than Bobby would have expected from the seemingly dainty jewelry-maker. She obviously had no issue with the amount of bacon, Italian sausage or pepperoni any more than Bobby was complaining about the peppers, onions or black olives.

And it wasn't just the pizza that made her tolerable, either. When Bobby had returned to Emma's apartment earlier, he'd found her melting down some of the silver for her jewelry and actually making buckshot with it. Turned out the girl was a hunter--the normal kind--and had some of her dad's old stuff. She had looked like such a delicate little flower when they first met that Bobby would have bet money they'd be stuck protecting the damsel in distress, yet she had already showed a quick mind and an ability to handle herself.

She looked a little less breakable now that she was sitting at small table in the hotel room kitchenette. Her blond hair was pulled back into a tight braid that didn't look to be going anywhere and she had donned a pair of jeans, a white T-shirt and what looked to have been her dad's old olive drab fatigue coat. She didn't appear to own any boots that weren't "cute" and had opted instead for a pair of running shoes. The only signs of the girl that Bobby had met earlier that day was the light make-up that remained on her face and the lace-like print that had been painted onto her carefully manicured nails.

Emma was also making quick work of the pizza that could have put Dean to shame.

"You're close to them, Sam and Dean, aren't you?" she asked, looking up from Johnny, who was busy looking at a colorful set of plastic keys. Her dark brown eyes were focused on the older hunter's face as she took another bite of the pizza.

"Known 'em since they were kids," Bobby said. "They're like my own, if I had any."

"They were raised to this? Hunting monsters?"

"More or less," he answered, wondering where this was going.

"And now Dean is going to raise his son the same way?" she asked, giving Johnny a warm and surprisingly protective glance.

"Well, it's not like it was for Dean and Sam. Getting away, going to someone else wouldn't have changed anything. Those boys had big targets painted on their backs from before they were even born. Going to stay with someone else or their Dad not being part of the hunt wouldn't have made them any safer."

Didn't mean that John couldn't have let them stay with Bobby a little more often, given that Bobby had always maintained a home base and had the skills to protect them. That was still a bitter point; it had been the cause of their biggest fight, the one that ended with Bobby getting a split lip and a black eye and shooting warning shots in John's general direction. (No matter what Dean thought, he wasn't actually trying to hurt the Winchester patriarch.)

"And the bullseyes are gone now?" she asked.

"As much as they can be. It's why they stay at my place. Ask either of the boys. I'm a paranoid bastard." Johnny was looking up at him with those big green eyes. Bobby turned his attention back down to the boy. "And don't you go repeating that word and getting me into trouble. Got it, kid?"

He was certain Johnny didn't know what he was talking about, but he was going to be sure all the same. The poor boy was probably going to learn how to swear in multiple languages before he learned the most basic words and phrases. That was inevitable with Dean as a father and Bobby as a grandfather.

And despite himself, that smile appeared once again. He really shouldn't have been so easily swayed by the idea of having a grandson, but he really was. If only his wife could see him now. She had been right about him all along. He wasn't a half-bad father, even if he hadn't been around to do it full-time.

The baby caught his smile and shyly returned it. Bobby had yet to hold the kid and the look that Johnny was giving him was telling him that he wanted to be picked up off the floor. Callused hands found their place at either side of the baby's ribs and gently lifted him onto a jean-covered knee. It didn't come as naturally to him as it seemed to have done with Dean, but he found himself surprisingly comfortable with Johnny's weight on his leg and his little body in his hands.

"I know you're worried about the kid, I get that." Johnny had a very confused look on his face as his cautious hand inched closer to Bobby's beard. "But he's got the very best protection a person could ask for. You don't know any of us from Adam, but take our word that he's got some powerful friends on his side-- Ow!" The baby had given a sharp tug to Bobby's beard, but the instant that the hunter had cried out in pain, Johnny froze.

Bobby could see the baby's bottom lip trembling, and he was quick to bring the boy to his chest as he had seen both Dean and Cas do to soothe the baby's uncertainty. He whispered a few nonsensical things into the child's ear to try to prevent the child from crying. Not only did he want Johnny to be at ease with him, but he wasn't quite sure how tuned in the angel was to the baby's needs. Sam had explained how Cas had flown out--almost literally--of Emma's apartment to get to Dean because the new father had finally done a little panicking about his new role. Bobby really didn't want to be the cause of a vengeful angel appearing in the middle of the blue and turquoise hotel room.

He glanced up to see Emma giving him a smile before she took a healthy bite of the pizza's crust.

#

Dean had been expecting to watch a human escaping the professor's house. One had obviously opened the back door, but the person--male from what Dean could see--had remained in shadow the entire time. What actually went through, however, was a large Collie. That it had gone to such effort not to have its human form seen only served to prove that it knew they were there.

Dean signaled to his brother to keep his eyes out for other skinwalkers. Sam nodded in understanding. He didn't doubt that Dean would cause the creature some very serious hurt before he killed it if it made its way back to the hotel or if it had somehow informed other skinwalkers about Johnny. Sam could see the tightening in his brother's jaw, his face set in the anger Dean once only expressed when Sam himself was in danger.

All that Sam could hope was that this was a smooth hunt. His brother seemed happy after just a few days as a father, and even Cas seemed surprisingly at ease most of the time as he cared for the boy. Sam knew that already, some regret was taking hold in both of them, though. Both worried for the baby's safety, but both also worried that his addition was going to make them less effective at hunting.

Cas hadn't said it aloud in so many words, but Sam knew he regretted that he hadn't been able to pursue the skinwalker the moment he'd spotted it at the dog park. He had needed to seek refuge for himself and Johnny, so he hadn't been able to follow the dog walker and the collie back to the professor's home or even check back immediately.

Bobby had already called up the professor about his dog. Apparently, he never left his precious "baby" alone while he was at work. (And Bobby had said the professor referred to his dog the same way Dean talked about his own non-flesh-and-blood "baby.") The dog walker was apparently a mix of dog walker, house keeper, and chef. Quite honestly, Bobby had said, the dog walker Cas had spoken to earlier had sounded like a little more than an employee, save for the fact that Bobby had it on good authority that the good professor was very straight and did quite well with the female students who were not in his own department.

So for now, the two hunters could only believe, or at least hope, that the skinwalker was making his first trip back to the rest of the pack. It was just a matter of not allowing it out of their sight.

They had done a few of these hunts now since they had killed the skinwalker Alpha, and typically, the packs gathered in abandoned buildings or other deserted areas of the towns or cities in which they lived. Which was why Sam was so confused by the fact that this one had taken off like a bat out of hell toward the still-populated Main Street.

"What the fuck is it doing?" Dean hissed as they both took off after the collie. Sam didn't bother to answer and chose to instead maintain pursuit. Heading into a deserted area they could handle, even if it was trying to lure them into a trap they could cope, but a relatively populated area? That was bold.

It certainly was in keeping with the way this pack operated so far. Everything they'd done was different from any of the patterns they were accustomed to. All of the skinwalkers they had met had landed with someone with money, and to some extent Emma counted in that category because her mother was a doctor with a thriving practice in the town and Emma's own jewelry business was doing well. They were obviously being led by something, and they called it an alpha with the same obedience Dean--more so than Sam--had offered their father.

And now, the skinwalker was obviously acting under orders. Which meant it had met up with the alpha at some point over the last few hours, and that the dog walker was lax in his duties in the best of scenarios; the worst scenarios had the dog walker dead or a skinwalker, himself.

Sam's steady pace turned into a stumble at the thought. They were used to skinwalkers who remained in dog form a majority of the time. But this group appeared to have an intelligent leader. What if humans were a viable possibility? Anyone in this town could have been one; well, anyone except Emma. Sam had watched her handle too much silver in making buckshot earlier that day to doubt she was 100 percent human.

Dean glanced back for a minute to make sure his brother was OK, but Sam had recovered and was back to his normal gait, which seemed to reassure his sibling.

Though he didn't share the connection with Cas that Dean did, Sam sent up a silent prayer to the angel, hoping that he would hear his suspicions if Sam projected them loudly enough. There was no reply, not that he had been expecting one, but he couldn't very well call the angel or even Bobby right now. It made no sense until they knew more.

The dog took a sudden turn and hopped atop some boxes and a dumpster to clear a privacy fence surrounding a nearby home. Neither of the hunters had any issue following behind, though Dean's quick leap over had nearly landed him in the nearby pool. After a skidding halt and doing a little flailing with his arms, the older brother stopped himself from faceplanting into the water.

Sam's own leap had been at an angle away from the pool and he was able to follow the monster back over the fence into another yard. He landed in a carefully planted flower garden and said a silent apology to the home's owners before he ran through the fairly large yard and along the side of the house. Though they needed to be able to follow this thing back to its pack, Sam knew that if he managed to get a clear shot, he'd have to take it. He couldn't risk the safety of the people milling about Main Street.

The skinwalker was quick, though, and Sam only managed to catch a glimpse of its tail as it took off down the street. Still, he thought he had a fairly solid eye on it as he his footsteps thudded on the asphalt road. He could hear Dean running behind him, which meant his brother had recovered from his near tumble into the pool and had easily cleared the relatively low chainlink fence. There was no need for Sam to look back. Instead, he charged on ahead after the monster.

The thing darted around another corner at the side of a bed and breakfast. Sam had been in close pursuit, which left him all the more surprised when he saw no sign at all of the skinwalker. He looked around the yard and glanced in the dimly lit windows. He could see only an empty and neglected doghouse, but not the animal that belonged there or the one he'd been chasing. What he did see was a group of people leaving the B&B with suitcases in hand.

From what Sam could see, there was a young couple who looked and acted like they were newlyweds. Though he didn't want to disparage the town, it really didn't seem like anyone's ideal honeymoon location for anyone, but if they were locals they may have been recovering after their wedding or taking a more financially responsible honeymoon. Behind them was a gay couple, the taller of the two supporting the shorter, who looked a little green around the gills. All four were toting suitcases behind them.

"Are you feeling any better?" the woman asked.

"A little," the smaller of the two gay men said as his boyfriend fussed over him. "But I think it's better if we call the cross country tour quits."

"I just wish we didn't have to take the bus to get home."

"We know the feeling," the newlywed man said as they all toted their suitcases down the street. Sam could only stop and listen as they said their goodbyes to someone inside the house that he couldn't see or hear from his current vantage point; it was most likely the owner.

Dean's footsteps approached and Sam merely raised a hand to keep his brother from asking questions and alerting the four to their presence. The two had hunted together long enough that Dean immediately recognized the gesture and stopped, then offered one of his own to ask if they were skinwalkers. Sam nodded--because he was positive that these were not all humans--and raised one finger, then made it two. He wiggled his hand and made it four. The message was clear enough, at least between the brothers, that one skinwalker was now two, maybe four.

Sam wondered about calling Cas, but sadly, the angel would be no more helpful in identifying a skinwalker than they were. Though Cas could easily spot the true face of a demon or some of the more insidious monsters, he could not spot the difference between the various shifters. They were displaying their true forms, or at least, one of them. They may sometimes have a tainted soul, but Cas said that it was rarely any different than a human's who would have committed the same foul acts as the shifter. The discussion had raised a number of questions for Sam as to why, if the monsters' souls weren't so different from humans, they were condemned to purgatory. Dean had once rationalized this aloud by stating that for most of them, it was either purgatory or hell, so what was the difference?

Besides, Cas was watching Emma's for any additional skinwalkers, ones that might not lead him on a wild goose chase downtown.

All the two hunters could do was stay in pursuit. Sam kept his focus mostly on the gay couple, since they were the ones who didn't appear--according to the conversation thus far--to have gotten the chance to actually stay the night at the B&B. But Dean had been here for a few days now, and they might have caught wind of his presence days before. If the skinwalkers were planning an escape while they still could, the "newlyweds" may have been a cover as well.

Or, they could all four be skinwalkers, and both Dean and Sam would be screwed.

That thought quickly vanished from Sam's head as they approached the bus station at the edge of the main area of town. The groom happened to glance over his shoulder at Sam and Dean and quickly shoved the gay men to the ground to take off with his "wife" hot on his heels.

Dean charged on ahead and Sam quickly helped the two men to their feet. "You OK?" he asked, and the couple nodded, looking quite shaken.

It took only a few moments and a little burst of extra speed combined with longer legs for Sam to catch up to his brother. They left the other couple behind, both looking all the more anxious to get out of the town after the encounter. Sam couldn't blame them.

Running now just a few steps behind Dean, Sam noticed that the skinwalkers weren't transforming into dogs. There was very little opportunity to take the time with Sam and Dean so close. Also, while the streets were not crowded by any means--most of the shops were already closed for the night--there were people out and about. The creatures seemed to at least recognize how reckless it would be to make the shift in public.

There was no doubt, though, that he and Dean were being led somewhere.

"This feel like a trap to you?" his brother asked as they ran side-by-side.

Sam only snorted in response. After all, what words were there for realizing you were headed for impending doom and not turning around to run in the opposite direction?

#

Castiel had finally caught up to the animal that had darted by Emma's apartment building. (Finally wasn't probably the word for it, not if a person was looking from a human perspective. It took only a matter of a few seconds, but that was too long to suit the angel.) Though the difference wasn't immediately obvious from a distance, the moment he placed his palm on the dog's head, Castiel had recognized it as simply that: a dog.

He had been witness to--and often party to--too much of the dealings of the Fates to believe in coincidences, which left him now feeling highly on edge. He and the hunters had suspected these creatures were operating on a level of coordination that hadn't been since since the death of the Alpha last year, but Castiel felt that even that assumption had been an underestimation of their foes.

Reluctantly, Castiel returned to his post guarding Emma's apartment. Dean would notify him--consciously or not--if he was in danger, and if he extended his perception just the slightest bid, Castiel's grace could allow him to sense Johnny. Aside from a small spike from the baby earlier, one that the angel had nearly responded to save for realizing that it had ended quickly and that it hadn't felt that different from the times when Johnny had been frightened by a raised voice or a stranger.

The boy appeared to be safe, and Castiel was needed where he was, at least figuratively he was needed there. He was under the distinct impression that he was on a very pointless assignment and that the skinwalkers intended to keep it that way.

#

On a bus headed for Topeka, two men visibly relaxed against one another in their shared seats. The larger of the two gently carded a hand through the smaller one's sandy hair. "You've had a rough night. Rest a bit."

The smaller man settled against the other's shoulder. He wasn't necessarily arguing, but he did add, "You haven't had an easy one, either. But the plan worked."

They would visit the other alphas that had cropped up to gather small groups of skinwalkers, and they would show these leaders what they had seen in the dog park. Once their nerves settled, they would certainly begin feeling bold. After all, it wasn't everyone who evaded the Winchesters and their pet angel. Other creatures would tell the story, and it would get more elaborate with each re-telling.

None would ever think it was as simple as a B&B owner who also happened to own and largely neglect her dog. How that free time without his owner had allowed him to become his own lover's dog walker and how they managed to use her failing B&B as a front to create a decoy for the Winchesters to follow... No one would believe it had been that easy. By the time the story was retold through the skinwalker population, the story would involve a heroic battle between the villainous hunters and the long-time couple.

Yet, the couple would always keep it simple. Because they knew well enough to be appreciative for the fact that they had escaped almost certain death that night. Because they knew that the memories locked inside their heads might very well help them stop the creatures' greatest enemies.

For now, they could just enjoy the ride and the company.


 
 
 
Typo Queenvexed_wench on August 2nd, 2012 11:35 pm (UTC)
There is so much to love here. Bobby about the boys is always a plus. I wish John had left them at his place more. Bobby did have a stable home.

Bobby and Johnny was adorable.

The hunt is fun.

Edited at 2012-08-02 11:35 pm (UTC)
nomdeplume13: Cas/Deannomdeplume13 on August 9th, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much. I appreciate all the feedback you've given me.