"Momma," Dean whispered, face pushed against the back sliding glass door on the drizzly and cold Wednesday morning. "There is a turkey outside. I want to pet it."
"No," Mary sighed. "You're in your pajamas. No going outside."
"But a turkey," Dean said looking up at his mom. "I'm never gonna get to pet one ever again." He started to open the door, doing his best to do it so quietly that Mary wouldn't notice.
"If you go outside after I just told you not to," Mary warned. "You will be in time out until lunch. You understand?"
"Yes, Momma," Dean sighed closing the door again. "What if I goed upstairs and put on real clothes and shoes? Then can I pet the turkey?"
"What part of no don't you understand?" Mary replied. "I said no."
"Fine," Dean huffed. "You're no fun."
"I know, mean old mom," Mary shrugged. "Ruining everything keeping my kids from being attacked by wild birds."
Mary scooped down and picked up Dean so she could look out the window with him and laughed. "Oh, buddy, that's not a turkey. That's Mr. Lahey's rooster."
"It's a turkey," Dean said seriously. "I know turkeys, they are my favorite animal."
"They are?" Mary smiled.
"Mmhmm," Dean nodded. "I like the feathers."
Mary walked with Dean into the living room where Sam was napping in his playpen.
"You wanna watch a movie until Sammy wakes up?" Mary asked.
"Can we watch Cinderella!?" Dean asked.
"Sure," Mary nodded, putting Dean back down on the floor. "We can watch Cinderella for the twentieth time this week. Go get the cassette. I'll set it up for you."
"What else are we gonna do today?" Dean asked as he sought out the video on the bookshelf and headed back to him mom.
"Well," Mary smiled. "I was planning on making some new tapes for the car, but I can't do it when Sammy's sleeping."
"So we do it after Cinderella," Dean nodded. "Before lunch, I'll help."
"I know you will," Mary said after she put the video into the VCR and joined Dean on the couch; where they cuddled while watching Mary fast forwarded through the previews.
"I love this movie," Dean smiled. "I like the big mouse in the green shirt. I like to sing along."
"I know buddy," Mary smiled. "We got a whole bunch of other movies too. Most of them have songs in them. You don't have to just watch the Princess movies."
"I like this one the most," Dean said pressing his head against his mom's shoulder. "Cinderella reminds me of you, because you're both so beautiful. I knowed Daddy doesn't like the Princess movies, but I do a lot."
Mary fell asleep before they got through the first song. Dean felt his mom leaning heavily against his side, so he very carefully slid off the couch and let his mom lay down.
"It's okay Momma," Dean whispered. "Sometimes everyone needs a nap." He took her legs and placed them up on the couch and grabbed the blanket from the chair and put it over her. He kissed her on the forehead and sat down on the floor in front of her.
Around the Fairy Godmother scene, Sam started to stir in his playpen.
"Don't you dare cry," Dean said seriously crawling over to him. "Momma is taking a nap." He stood up and pulled Sam out, placing him on the floor next to him. "Are you hungry?"
Sam clapped and made baby noises, which Dean interpreted as a yes. So he went to the kitchen and got Sam a bottle out of the fridge.
"Now be quiet, this is favorite part," Dean said holding up the bottle for Sam who smiled and reached for it. "The mouses are gonna turn into horses and take Cinderella to the ball. I'm gonna go to a ball someday, Sammy, and meet a beautiful princess and live happily ever after. And maybe one day, when you're big, you will too."
When the movie was over, Dean stood up and pressed the rewind button on the VCR and took out the blocks. He knew that Sam liked to play with them the most. He spread them out so Sam could pay while he got out a coloring book and his crayons.
"Don't eat these," Dean said holding up a red crayon toward Sam. "They are not food. Do not eat them."
Dean colored two pictures in his favorite dinosaur coloring book before Mary woke up.
"What are my boys doing?" she asked. "You behaving yourselves?"
"Yep!" Dean answered. "I colored this for you while you were sleeping."
"Thank you very much," Mary answered sitting up. "You got Sammy out of the playpen by yourself?"
"Mmhmm," Dean nodded. "He was gonna cry. So I took him out and I gave him a bottle so he didn't cry cuz I didn't want him to wake you up from your nap."
"That was very sweet of you," Mary smiled. "But next time, don't pick Sammy up out of there. I don't want you to get hurt. I know how heavy he's getting. I don't want you to fall over while you're holding Sammy."
"Okay," Dean nodded. "You got that Sam?"
Sam looked over at his brother and said "Ba ga moo."
"He said moo," Dean said wide eyed. "Sammy is part cow!"
"No, Dean," Mary chuckled. "He is not part cow. He is a person."
"You heared him! He mooe-ed!"
"He was making baby noise," Mary explained.
"Nuh-huh," Dean said shaking his head. "He's a cow person. I'm gonna get him to say it again!"
"Have fun," Mary chucked. "I'm gonna make you a sandwich. Do you want carrot sticks or ants on log?"
"No thanks," Dean answered. "Just one sandwich, no vegetables."
"You have to eat vegetables," Mary replied. "We've been over this a million times."
"Can the ants be chocolate chips?" Dean asked.
"I will make one with chocolate chips," Mary compromised. "One with raisins."
"Okay," Dean shrugged. "I guess I will eat it. If I have to."
"You have to," Mary nodded. "Play with Sam for a little bit, I'll be right back."`
"Listen to me Sam," Dean said sliding across the floor. "You're going to have to moo again so Momma can hear it. Can you do that for me?"
Sam smiled his two tooth grin and clapped.
"No you gotta moo," Dean pressed. "It's important."
Sammy reached toward Dean and giggled, pressing against his face.
"Yes that's my nose," Dean said in his most serious voice. "But you gotta say moo again. It's the most important. I know you can do it."
"Dean," Mary laughed. "Come here, come eat your lunch."
"Okay," Dean said looking at Sam. "You practice." He stood up and ran off toward the kitchen.
While Dean was eating, Mary set up her stereo so that she could start making her new mixtapes. She loved her husband, but his taste in music was horrible, and he refused to let her change the station while he drove. He insisted that the driver picked music and shotgun kept their mouth shut up about it. However, if she made tapes, she could sneak her music in there instead of listening to Johnny Cash and George Jones until her eye drums exploded.
"Whatcha doing?" Dean asked flopping into her lap.
"Did you eat everything on that plate?" Mary asked.
"Nope," Dean said holding up a celery stick. "I brought some of it with me."
"As long as you eat it," Mary sighed. "You want to help me make this tape?"
"Yes," Dean nodded. "How do I help?"
"Do you have a favorite song kiddo?"
"Itsy bitsy spider," Dean said seriously.
"I don't think I got that on vinyl," Mary chuckled. "Any other song you really like?"
"I like the song you sing to me," Dean said, pressing her head against Mary's chest and looking up at her. "The sad song."
"I'll put that on the tape," Mary smiled. "It'll be a special Dean and Mom tape. We'll call it your musical education."
"I will like that," Dean nodded. "I will listen to it every day."
"Get up," Mary said taping Dean's arm. "I need to pick out the music I want. I gotta find everything on my list."
"This is a good rainy day thing," Dean said. "We can make music every time it's bad outside."
"Maybe not every time," Mary smiled. "But I plan to make a whole bunch more real soon.
"Is all the tapes in the car yours?" Dean asked.
"Most of them," Mary nodded. "All the ones in the shoe box under the passenger's seat are. Daddy keeps his in the glove box."
Dean watched as Mary arranged her albums around her stereo in the order that she wanted them on the tape.
"How does the music get off the round thing and onto the tape?"
"Magic," Mary smiled.
"Daddy says there is no magic," Dean replied.
"That's because your daddy is boring," Mary answered. "What happens is I play the record on my record player and while it's playing, I have a tape with nothing on it in the tape deck and I press record and the music goes onto the tape."
"If I yell really loud while the music is playing will my yelling go on the tape?" Dean asked.
"No," Mary said shaking her head. "And don't do that. That's a very bad idea."
"Can I color while you make the music?" Dean asked.
"Of course, sweetheart," Mary smiled. "I'm going to change Sammy, and stick him in his walker so he can stretch his legs for a little bit. Then I'm going to make the tape."
"Alright," Dean nodded as he grabbed a piece of paper from underneath the coffee table and placing it on top next to his crayons. "I'm gonna draw a picture for Daddy's toolbox. I'll draw our family."
"I think Daddy will like that very much," Mary smiled while Sammy squirmed and babbled in her arms.
"Did he moo again?" Dean asked.
"No, Dean," Mary answered. "Sammy doesn't moo. He's just putting sounds together. He doesn't know what they mean."
"But I heared him," Dean said seriously.
"Okay," Mary chuckled, strapping Sam into his walker. "Don't expect him to say it all the time. He doesn't understand words yet. He's just working in out."
"He's part cow," Dean repeated. "He's gonna say it a lot."
"Right," Mary nodded, deciding it was better not to fight with the four year old about something he didn't understand and went back to her music.
"This is very different than Daddy's music," Dean said looking around as Mary debated between two Led Zeppelin songs.
"Do you like it?" Mary asked.
"Yes," Dean admitted.
"Good boy," Mary chuckled.
"What is this song called?" Dean asked.
"It's called 'Rambling On,'" Mary answered.
"You like it?"
"I think this is probably my favorite song," Mary nodded.
"Then it will be my favorite song too," Dean decided as he turned back to his picture.
"Your dad is going to be so mad at me," Mary mumbled to herself as the song ended.
"You should make a special mark on the tape so that I know it's ours," Dean suggested when Mary finished making the tape with "Hey Jude" on it.
"Good idea," Mary smiled. She grabbed a Swiss Army knife out of the side tape next to the couch and carved a "D" into the top corner of the tape. "Alright buddy. I put a nice big D on it. So if you get to pick out a tape when we're driving, you pick the one with the D on it, and that's the special one I made for you."
"Thank you Momma," Dean smiled. "I will always remember."
Unexpectedly, the front door opened at four thirty.
"Daddy!" Dean said wide eye running to him. "I made you something!"
"Thank you," John said, picking Dean up and taking the picture.
"Why are you home?" Mary asked.
"I had to fire Angie," John said. "So I gotta do payroll and sort all sorts of crap."
"So you left work over an hour early?"
"No," John shook his head. "Well, yeah, technically. I wasn't going to be home for dinner, so I figured I'd come home and eat see the boys. Then head back and finish up."
"Who are you and what did you do to my husband?" Mary chuckled walking up and kissing him on the cheek. "Why'd you fire Angie?"
"She was really bad at her job," John shrugged. "I gotta talk to you about it later."
"Alright," Mary nodded.
"What do we got here?" John asked unfolding Dean's picture.
"It's our family," Dean explained as he pointed out each of the family member stick people. "That's me and you and momma and Sam."
"What's this?" John asked pointing to a black and white blob next to the family.
"That's Sammy's real family," Dean said seriously. "He's part cow."
"Why didn't you tell me?" John laughed looking to Mary.
"He looked human," Mary shrugged. "I didn't think anyone would figure it out."
"Sammy moos," Dean explained. "I heard him."
"Oh," John said shaking his head and placing Dean back down. "I'm gonna hang this on my toolbox when I get back there."
"That's what I want," Dean nodded running into the other room.
"What do you want to do for dinner?" Mary asked. "I've been making mixed tapes, I didn't think about dinner."
"Really, Mare, I hate that crap," John sighed.
"You're like a ninety year old man," Mary said seriously. "You can't drive around in '67 Chevy listening to grandpa music."
"Yes I can," John nodded. "It's not like I'm trying to pick up chicks."
"I think people of your generation call them 'dolls,'" Mary joked. "That's what my dad always called me and my friends."
"Shut up," John smirked.
"You wanna order pizza?" Mary asked. "I really don't feel like cooking."
"Sure," John nodded. "Get a large everything a small cheese for Dean. I'll bring the leftovers to work."
"Sounds like a plan," Mary agreed. "Deano, come here."
Dean came running back toward them.
"We're going to get pizza. Would you like cheese pizza?"
"I want chicken nuggets," Dean replied.
"Okay," Mary nodded. "We can get you a chicken finger plate from the pizza place. Do you want anything with the chicken nuggets?"
"Ketchup," Dean nodded.
"Chicken nuggets and ketchup," Mary smiled. "Do you want French fries?"
"Yes," Dean answered. "I would like that."
"Okay, go play," Mary instructed.
"So a large pizza, a chicken finger plate, a side of fries and a side of ketchup," John repeated.
"And cheese sticks," Mary added.
"I'll call it in," John said.
"I'll go get it," Mary smiled. "Put my cassettes in the shoe box so I know they make it to the car. I don't want to find them in the trash again."
"That was an accident," John said picking up the phone. "Just because I don't like your music doesn't mean I'd throw it away."
"I'm just going to make sure," Mary smirked. "Can never be too careful."
"So what's going on with Angie?" Mary asked over pizza. "I mean, she's always been horrible at her job. Why get rid of her now?"
"She would at least answer the phone, take appointments, and file things," John said. "But she started losing invoices and totally screwed us on two jobs. I can't have that going on."
"So, who you got replacing her?" Mary asked before taking a bite.
"Mike's niece can work a couple mornings a week when she's not in class," John replied. "I was hoping you'd want to come in the other two days for a few hours?"
"I'll just leave the boys here," Mary replied. "Dean can pretty much do everything except change Sammy's diaper."
"I'm not learning that," Dean piped up. "That's gross."
"After Dean starts school," John replied. "You can bring Sam in with you, no big deal."
"I don't want to go back to work," Mary replied.
"Joyce started working at the dress shop downtown now that Jamie's in school," John tried.
"Good for her," Mary nodded. "I'm a stay at home mom until such a time where it's completely necessary that I go back to work. And seeing as things are going really well at the shop, I don't need to. I'm sure you can find someone capable of answering a phone two days a week."
"Alright," John shrugged. "I was just throwing it out there. You've been sounding like you're going stir crazy. I thought you might like to go back."
"I really don't," Mary answered. "I mean thanks but no thanks."
"Okay," John smiled. "I might have a couple late nights then."
"So nothing really new," Mary replied.
"Don't be like that please," John sighed. "I'm not trying to pick a fight. I'm going to do my best to do what I did today. I'll come home for dinner and then go back. It's not ideal, but I can get both done."
"I like it when you're home for dinner," Dean said. "I like it when you're home for bedtime, too."
"I promise you, kiddo," John said seriously. "I will be home to tuck you in tonight. I only have about an hour of payroll and filing to do. We'll read some more Winnie the Pooh."
"I would like that," Dean said smiling very wide.
After John and Mary cleaned up from dinner and John left, Mary sat with Dean in the living room.
"Can we play checkers?" Dean asked.
"Of course," Mary replied. "Go get it from the game closet and I'll set it up."
"Okay!" Dean said smiling wide as he ran off toward the closet. "Can I teach Sam to play?"
"He's too little," Mary explained. "Not yet."
"When?" Dean asked.
"How old were you when you learned to play checkers?" Mary asked.
"Four," Dean answered.
"How old is Sammy?"
"Zero," Dean replied confidently.
"Today, Sammy is six months old," Mary smiled. "Do you know what that means?"
"Nope," Dean said shaking his head.
"In three and a half years you can teach Sam how to play checkers."
"Oh, okay," Dean shrugged. "Checkers is really hard. Daddy never lets me win. I would let Sam win. Maybe one time."
"That would be very nice of you," Mary chuckled.
"You don't have to let me win," Dean said pulling the board out of the box. "I want to win on my own."
"Alright," Mary smiled, helping Dean set up the checkers. "You just gotta keep trying really hard. I'm sure you'll beat Daddy real soon."
"I know I will," Dean said with a serious look on his face. "I'm gonna be a checkers master."
"That's an excellent goal, Deano," Mary laughed. "Ready to play?"
"Yes, Momma," Dean said with determination.
Mary felt bad dominating a four year old at checkers, but it was hard to lose on purpose without looking like you doing it on purpose. Not that Dean would have really noticed, but Mary felt like she had to at least challenge him a little bit.
"This game is really hard," Dean sighed.
"You almost won that last one," Mary said. "You'll get there. I promised."
"I'm happy you didn't let me win," Dean smiled. "I want to beat fair and square."
"Fair and square huh?" Mary chuckled. "We'll keep practicing and someday you'll get there. Sometime real soon."
"Okay," Dean smiled as he helped Mary clean up the board. "I can't wait."
"Do you think you can put this away while I put Sammy to bed?" Mary asked. "Then I'll give you a bath and we'll have bedtime?"
"Yes," Dean nodded happily. "I will meet you upstairs."
After his bath, while Mary got Dean into his plaid pajamas he asked: "Can I get to say goodnight to Sammy? Or is he already asleep?"
Mary picked him up and walked across the hallway. "Come on, let's say goodnight to your brother."
Mary flicked on the light and set Dean down by the crib. He climbed up on the step stool he'd set up so he could reach Sam, leaned down and kissed him goodnight.
"'Night Sam," he said softly. Sam giggled and looked up at him.
"Goodnight, love," Mary said kissing Sam on the forehead. Mary started to lean down to pick Dean up again when a voice came from the doorway.
"Daddy!" Dean exclaimed running toward him.
"Hey buddy," John smiled, scooping him up and held him close. "So what do you think? You think Sammy's ready to toss a football around yet?"
"No Daddy," Dean laughed shaking his head.
"No," John smiled fixing Dean's shirt that had ridden up when he lifted him.
"You got him," Mary asked squeezing between John and doorway.
"Yeah," John nodded. "Sweet dreams, Sam." John turned off the light and walked Dean to his room. "You ready for some Winnie the Pooh?"
"Born ready," Dean smiled and John placed him on the bed.
"Born ready?" John chuckled. "I'm gonna half to talk to your mom about this lingo you're picking up."
"I don't know what that means," Dean said while John grabbed the book off the shelf.
"Exactly," John smiled.
"You ready to cash in?" Mary asked meeting John in the hallway after the story was read and Dean was most of the way asleep.
"I was gonna watch Carson," John shrugged. "But if you got better ideas?"
"Dean's not even asleep yet," Mary said shaking her head. "But Joyce said she'd take the boys this weekend so we can have our Halloween party."
"I like the sound of that," John smiled holding her close and kissing her.
"I'm gonna say goodnight, then read a little bit," Mary said pulling away. "Don't wake me up when you come to bed."
"I'll do my best," John nodded. "See you in the morning."
Mary kissed John on the cheek and slipped into Dean's room. She sat on the side of Dean's bed, like she'd done every night for as long as he'd had his own bed, and ran her fingers through his hair.
"Goodnight sweetheart," Mary whispered. "I love you."
"I love you too," Dean yawned.
"Sleep tight, the angels are washing over you."
"I will Momma," Dean said rolling over and snuggling his stuffed bear tight.
Dean was dreaming, a wonderful dream of a chocolate pudding swimming pool, when a faint beeping started to pull him away from it.
"Nooooooo," Dean whined as his eyes opened to his dark room, the beeping getting louder as he got more awake. "Sam!" Dean said aloud as he threw off his covers. He ran to his door, touching the doorknob to see if it was hot before throwing it open. His eyes widened as he looked to his brother's room and saw nothing but a wall of fire. Even though everything he knew told him to turn and run down the hallway and outside, he moved as fast as he could toward Sam's room. He was meet in the doorway by his father, holding little Sam in his arms.
He thrust Sam at him. "Take your brother outside as fast as you can and don't look back! Now, Dean, go!"
Dean turned and ran as fast as he could down the stairs. "It's okay, I got you." Dean whispered into Sam's blanket over and over as he got to the door. He had to place Sam down on the floor to open the door, and then he scooped him back up and ran to the mailbox.
"It's okay, Sammy," Dean said softly to his baby brother as he watched his home turn orange against the blackness of the night. "Everything's gonna be okay."
As the fire got worse, Dean started to shake a little, until, as the fire exploded, John came running out of the house and scooped up his boys.
"I gotcha," he said pulling the boys away from the flames.
He carried the boys to his car, parked on the side of road, and placed Dean and Sam down on the hood as Jim from across the street came running over.
"I called the fire department," he yelled. "Everything alright?"
"Momma," Dean called out. "She's asleep!"
"Oh, Deano," John breathed with a pained expression on his face.
"You're a fireman, Mr. King," Dean said. "You can go get her."
Jim looked at John who shook his head.
"When the fire trucks get here," John said to Dean. "They'll fix it."
"I don't want her to get hurt," Dean said seriously. "Fire is dangerous."
"You sit here with Sam," John said sternly as the fire trucks sirens started to blare in the background. "I'm gonna talk to Jim."
"Okay," Dean said smiling up at his dad and holding Sammy close. "Don't forget Momma."
John shook his head with sad eyes as he turned away and walked with Jim out of earshot.
"It's okay, Sam," Dean said rocking his brother like he'd seen him mom do. "Momma will be here real soon. The firemans will get her and then everything will be okay again."
Sam started to stir and kick in Dean's arms.
"No no," Dean said softly. "You gotta be still or I'll drop you. You don't want to drop you. You'll get hurted really bad."
Sam kept wiggling, so Dean held him as close as he could and started to sing a familiar song.
"Hey Sam, when you're afraid, I'll sing the sad song til you feel better…"
When the fire trucks pulled up, Jim went to relay the information John had given him about what happened while John walked back over to his boys. He said next to Dean and took Sammy from him, then pulled Dean close to his side.
"The firemans are gonna get Momma, right?" Dean asked.
"No buddy," John said shaking his head, choked up. "They can't."
"Why?" Dean asked.
"She's gone buddy," John replied.
"Gone where?" Dean asked.
Dean shook his head and slid off the hood of the car.
"Come back here," John called after him as Dean scurried toward the firefighters. He saw one he recognized and stood in front of him.
"You're the fireman from the grocery store," Dean said looking up at him.
"Yes I am," Lieutenant Powers replied. "And you're Dean."
"Mmhmm," Dean nodded. "My mom is in there. She's sleeping. You got to go get her."
Lieutenant Powers kneeled in front of Dean and took off his helmet. "Dean, I can't get your mom."
"Yes you can," Dean said seriously. "You're a fireman. You save people."
"It's… oh buddy…" Lieutenant Powers did his best not to break down into tears looking at this little boy. "Why don't you go talk to your dad about it?"
"No!" Dean yelled stomping his foot. "You go get her!"
"Dean, come here," John called from the hood of the car as the firefighters ran around the front yard trying to tame the flames. Dean ran back over.
"The firemans won't get Momma," Dean pouted. "She's gonna get hurted."
"Mom told you about the angels right?" John asked helping his toddler up onto the car. Dean nodded. "You're mom had to go be with them."
"But the angels are in heaven," Dean said. "Momma lives on Earth with me."
"If I could change it I would," John said, a tear escaping his eye.
"Why are you crying?" Dean said wiping the tear away.
"Because your mom is gone, Dean," John said seriously. "She had to go away. She had to go to heaven."
"Why?" Dean asked. "I don't want her too."
"I don't either," John said shaking his head. "But the fire took her away, and she can't come back."
"But I didn't get to say goodbye," Dean pouted. "When is she gonna come back?"
"You gotta help me take care of Sammy, okay," John said pulling Dean as close to him as possible. "Can you do that?"
"I always take care of Sam," Dean nodded. "That's what big brothers do. I will help until Momma gets back."
"I don't think she's gonna come back, kiddo," John replied. "She's not gonna come back."
"Even if I wish really hard?" Dean asked. "Momma said if I wish hard enough anything will happen."
"I don't think so, Dean," John said, no longer able to hold in in. He kissed his son on the top of his head and breathed slowly. There was no way he could possibly explain death to his little boy. Not tonight. He'd have the conversation in a few days when he knew Dean would be able to understand more of it.
"Don't cry Daddy," Dean smiled placing his head on John's shoulder. "Momma told me heaven was beautiful."