by dossier

Notes & Warnings

What Dean didn't know, because how much time had he really spent with her in the last decade? A week, tops? Is that Lisa was already in a relationship.

With Sandy. Her lifetime BFF, heterosexual life partner who is in collusion with Lisa in all things. They run together, do yoga together, play golf together, shopping, have dinner together most evenings. Sandy is a nurse by profession, and Lisa's house is closest to the hospital, so Sandy crashes at Lisa's the four nights that she works ten hour shifts.

Which means that Sandy is essentially there. All. The. Time. He occasionally wonders why she even bothers to pay rent on her apartment.

It takes a lot off of Dean's shoulders, Lisa doesn't require his attention all the time, and Sandy is an awesome buffer. Sandy works at the pysch ward, lock down for the crazies that have been dumped at the hospital then held for seventy-two hours after a less-than-sparkling eval. Suicide attempts, mostly, though there are a few homeless folks who rotate in on a regular basis.

Dean is precariously similar to both of those kinds of patients.

Sandy is an excellent listener, and knows the value of confidentiality. Has an open mind, though her own faith is somewhat decidedly Catholic. Lapsed, in particular.

Hence, Sandy managed to get more out of Dean in six months than Sam had his entire life. Hell, Heaven, Demons, Angels. Monsters of all ilk. She doesn't really believe him, but she is nice about it. Dean believes it, and that is what's important.

It puts him on an even keel, and eventually when he's not so destroyed by loss and grief, he can tell Lisa some of these things. Slightly edited for content, because she already knows too much and he doesn't want to burden her with Truth.

Lisa already has given him shelter from the storm, and a place to park the Impala. She's okay with getting the Cliff notes version, too.

Life at the Braeden-Griffin-Winchester household settles into a routine. Dean learns to play golf, though he mostly goes to drink beer and drive the golf cart. Dean picks up a shift at a bar, and turns his pool hustling skills into legit tournament play.

He ranks pretty high, and there's talk that he could go to Nationals. It's familiar, but not the same, pays pretty well (undefeated, so far). The weekly venues are the same grungy bars that Dean's always haunted, but the regionals are, well, out of his league. Shiny clean rooms with perfectly balanced tables and the felt is unscuffed and pristine. Some of the players actually wear waistcoats.

Prissy bastards all, but they fall at Dean's might with a cue. Picks up nearly five grand, too.

Ben is a comfort as well. Dean had always tried to be a good father to Sam, and falls into the role with a lot of reservations and self-censoring – something he's never had to practice. It's easier than with Sam, though, because Ben just doesn't have the simmering resentment that Sam had nurtured from the age about six on. Dean discovers that having someone else there to pick up the slack is awesome, and he can't help but mourn the fact that John Winchester was an obsessed bastard that had stopped seeing trees, and only saw a vast landscape of demon-infested forests.

The same care that he'd put into raising Sammy, along with a lot of understanding about how much he'd fucked up by holding on too tight, too controlling, went into the time spent with Ben. His son, even though Lisa still swore that he wasn't Dean's biological offspring.

Ben's bright, well adjusted, and varied in his interests. He loves playing mechanic's helper, and tends to model his demeanor after Dean. In return, Dean tries to clean up his act, and is careful to not give too much advice on Ben's love life, because his own experience in that field isn't exactly savory. Dean is there when Ben comes home from school, and though his give-em-hell attitude and a GED doesn't really help with the homework, research? That he can do. It was mostly Sammy's love, though Dean had had to do his share; he isn't a slouch. Tips and tricks, how to charm librarians, finding alternate sources, and Ben gets his best grades on the essays.

It all helps, but Dean's not okay. His Sammy is stuck in hell for eternity as Luci's prom dress, and that's not something you just get over.

Dean does learn to take a measure of pride in it, though. Samuel Winchester saved the freaking world, and Dean finally grew up enough to understand that Sam was an adult, had to go and do what he thought best. That he'd raised that boy into a man who would sacrifice himself for the greater good.

God dammit, he's resoundingly humbled by Sam's strength. He just wishes every single fucking day that he could tell him that.


Didn't matter. He would do the best he knew how to make sure that Ben grew up strong and safe.


Castiel joins them eventually.

It's rather late at night, nearly morning, when every freaking car alarm in a two mile radius goes off simultaneously. Dean, a light sleeper at best, leaps out of bed and grabs his gun from under the bed and tells Lisa, "Stay upstairs with Sandy and Ben."

He doesn't even bother putting on pants, the alarms stop as he barrels down the stairs and checks out of every window through closed draperies. He bursts out laughing when he gets to the kitchen window, and that's where Lisa, Sandy and Ben find him a minute later.

"Thought I told you to stay upstairs?" He gasps out when he stops laughing. Mostly.

"Dean, you're laughing."

"Point." Chortle. He finds a flashlight in the junk drawer and takes it out the back door.

Castiel, badassmutherfucker angel of the lord, managed to get caught in Sid's catalpa tree on the way down. In April. Fortunately, Sid and Marie aren't home, they've bugged out to Orlando for Easter.

"Hey, Cas," Dean sniggers as he pulls out his phone and snaps a candid for posterity.

"Dean. It's not funny." Castiel jerks and twirls a little on the branch, shaking loose a flurry of pale blossoms that catch in his hair, litter his shoulders. "Get me down," he growls. It's still deep, gravelly, but that shiver of other that had echoed in his voice – excepting the brief period after the Delacroix Incident – is gone again.

"Dude, it's freaking hilarious. Can't you just, you know, zap outta there?"

"No." The frustration in his voice is rich, layered.

"Yeah, okay." Dean turns around, and Lisa holds out his jeans and boots, Sandy and Ben crowding around her in the door. He gives Sandy the flashlight, and gets dressed as Sandy chokes out, "This is the same Cas?"

Dean shrugs as he catches Lisa's brief nod. She'd understood in a way that Sandy hadn't, and despite the Cliff notes rundown to the non-apocalypse and after, knows that there are more things in heaven and earth and hell. "One in the same."

"I apologize, I didn't really believe you."

"I know." Long accustomed to being doubted, Dean just shrugs and goes to the garage for the extendable ladder, leans it over the fence and against the branch that had caught itself an angel. "Good to see you, man."

"You too, Dean." Fuck if it doesn't sound sincere, too.

The branch supporting Castiel cracks ominously and Dean decides that expediency is better than schadenfreude. He swings Castiel around, helps get his feet on the rungs, then steadies him by the knees as he yanks his arms out of the trench coat. The coat rips a little as Castiel pulls it loose and tosses it to the ground.

Dean climbs back down, staying close to Castiel, because of the slick dress shoes and he seemed a little... shaky, too. When they're safely on the ground, Dean lays the ladder next to the fence. "Come on in," and Castiel retrieves his coat and follows Dean the back door. Dean can almost feel Castiel's eyes on his back. Like a target's been painted on his spine. Wonders what Castiel is doing slumming around on the lower planes of existence, what he wants Dean to do.

Most importantly, why he couldn't do the zappy thing when he left chock-full of mojo. He knows why – he's seen it before, twice – he just doesn't know why.

Lisa, Sandy and Ben are still watching at the door. "Guys, this is Castiel. Cas, Lisa, Ben, and Sandy."

"Hello." Castiel takes them all in a brief glance, then recommences staring at Dean.

It's very nice to meet you, Castiel," she says, and holds out a shaking hand. "Sandra Griffin."

Castiel takes her hand in that same double handed grip, and Dean's heart clenches a little, though he's pretty sure that Castiel isn't going to accuse her of being an abomination. "Thank you, Sandra Griffin."

Dean rolls his eyes a little as he turns away to lock the door. Castiel's natural gravitas makes it sound like he's handing out a Medal of Honor, not simply greeting one of Dean's housemates. There's no way that he's going back to sleep now. He makes a pot of coffee as Castiel gives the same treatment to Lisa and Ben, and Dean can almost smell the hormones flood the kitchen.

He sits in a kitchen chair, elbows on his knees and runs his hands over his face. Not that it isn't good to see him, he'd established that already, but Castiel is never without his own agenda. He doubts this is a brief social call, not with the angel juice pegged at empty. Dean leans back and asks, "So, Cas. What's going on?"

Castiel stands stiffly in the middle of the kitchen, arms relaxed. "I am... you might say, retired from law enforcement."

"The sheriff gig's over, and your dick family's just gonna let it go?"

"The remaining archangels did not appreciate my interference. I was a distraction."

Dean asks bitterly, "It took you nearly a year to figure that out?"

"It took that long to negotiate the terms of my return. I chose freedom."

The look on his face said 'just like you.' Dean's barely coping with being Ben's rather fucked-up mentor, and doesn't want to thinks about the ramifications of that that statement. "So they drained you dry and tossed you off a cloud?"


Seems Castiel hadn't lost his annoying habit of offering the least enlightening answers as possible, despite Dean's goading. "So what are you going to do?" Dean didn't ask What about God.

"I thought I would 'wing it'". There's the tiniest hint of a smile that never even reaches Castiel's lips.

Dean stares back at him for a second, then he grins. "Was that a joke?"

Castiel smiles briefly for real this time.


Fandom: Supernatural

Category/Rated: Gen, PG13 for language

Year/Length: 2010, 1834 words

Pairing: Was intended to eventually be Dean/Lisa/OFC/Castiel, but yeah, no.

Spoilers: Season 5, certainly, and vaguely through Third Man

Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit, only having fun.

Summary: Dean's apple pie life.

Author's Notes: started just hours before "Exile on Main Street" aired. I was kripked almost immediately by the golf clubs. AU from about five minutes before the end of Swan Song, so don't expect to see Sam. No angel wars, no monsters, no Campbells. However, I have since gleefully pillaged Season 6 for whatever I liked.

Author's Notes Redux: Yet another story that I poked at and declared a complete loss before throwing in the pen. I hesitate to call it a WIP, as it is what it is, as is, unfinished and will remain so ever after, Amen, Castiel. :)

Beta: [F7]

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