Disclaimer: No, I don't own them...
That first week was the hardest. It wasn't my foster parents fault. In fact the young couple, James and Sherrie Barns, did everything in their power to make me feel welcome. They didn't have any kids of their own and they even offered to let Bandit come with me, although I declined. I knew Bandit would prefer the Winchesters, especially since he'd gotten used to everything there, it simply wouldn't be fair to drag him along. The nightmares still plagued me, but now there was no Dean to wake me up from them. After a few days of no sleep Sherrie took me to the doctor, who declared that I was clinically depressed, shocker there, and gave me meds for sleeping. I know Sherrie only did this because she was worried for my sake, thing was, the medicine prescribed only worsened my problem. Before I had gotten three, maybe four hours if I was lucky, of sleep each night. Now, sure I got more like six, but the medicine kept me under, I wasn't able to resurface from the memories, when I did manage to wake up I was usually shaky, covered in sweat, and more often time then not I was sick. Eventually James and Sherrie agreed, no more sleeping medicine, and instead my therapy sessions started again. Dale dropped by occasionally. That's where I was now. Sitting on a park bench with Dale. James had some meeting at his work and Sherrie was out buying groceries.
"Do you miss them?"
Dale's voice cut through wherever my brain had been previously and brought me back to the present, "Hmm?"
"The Winchesters, you miss them?"
I shrugged, not really in the mood to have this conversation again, "I'm fine Dale."
He raised his eyebrows in a disbelieving manner, "Uh-huh."
"What's that supposed to mean?" I demanded.
"Have you talked to them since you moved here?"
"Yeah, they called a couple nights ago, just making sure everything's okay."
"Is everything okay Lily?"
I chuckled, "Perfect, everything's perfect."
"How do you like the Barns?"
"They're really nice, very open minded," it was true. Neither of them had really pushed me to talk, although they let me know that they were here for me if I ever wanted to. Like that was going to happen.
My phone buzzed in my pocket. I pulled it out an stared for a minute at the background picture. Smiling briefly before looking at the text.
I looked up at Dale, "Is it okay...like I don't want to be rude..."
"No, go ahead," he assured me.
I smiled gratefully and turned my attention back to my phone.
Me: i believe it's 'hello'...
He replied a few seconds later.
Dean: hello is too lame...EVERY FRICKIN' CONVERSATION STARTS WITH HELOOO!
Dean: shut up
Me: what're u doing anyway?
Dean: waiting 4 sam 2 come out, kid takes forever
Dean: have u started school yet?
Me: dude it's may, that would be so pointless
Dean: u don't have 2 go 2 school?
Me: wtf is that?
Dean: mad face
Me: that is NOT a mad face
Dean: r u that bored that u question my genius?
Me: it's hard to question something that doesn't exist
Dean: ouch, ok
Dean: ttyl? sammy's out...
Dean: ok, bye
Those texts and phone calls got me through that first month. Although, they couldn't last forever. As I started getting involved with my new town, going to support groups, or whatever, and Sam and Dean started up sports and whatever else they did, our conversations became few and far between. Sammy, bless his young heart, wrote me once a month, every month, with updates on everyone, including Bandit. Mary and John never forgot my birthday and always managed to send something. I saw the Winchesters in everything I did. They haunted my very being.
I yearned for Sam's innocent wide eyes that took in the world with wonder, always trying to soak everything in like a little sponge. At school I yearned for Dean's confident stride, and more than once caught myself looking over my shoulder hopefully, only to be reminded that I was now several hours away from either of them. I missed Mary's warm smile whenever I came home, or the deep rumble of John's deep voice as he informed everyone about his busy day. I realized that over time I never ceased to miss the family that had changed my life so drastically in that short amount of time. No, time didn't diminish that nostalgia, I wasn't sure if I wanted it to.
I graduated a short four years later. Of course, the first congratulations card was from the Winchesters. I opened the card in the privacy of my room. Surprised when a little white note with John's handwriting slipped into my lap. Confused, I walked back downstairs, where Sherrie was putting together a big meal to celebrate.
"What's up Lily?" James asked, as soon as he saw me walk in.
I admit, the couple had grown on me. They were the most laid back people I knew. James was a true gentleman through and through, he opened doors, helped old ladies carry groceries, and always smiled. Sherrie was an amazing cook, although I still preferred Mary's cooking to hers, and a big benefactor in the meal for the homeless that a church group had each month. In fact, I found myself comparing everything they did to the Winchesters and the Winchesters always seemed to come out on top.
"Is there a way to deposit money into a person's account without that person knowing?" I asked.
James raised his eyebrows, a strange habit he did when thinking, "Uh, possibly, why?"
"Can I use the computer to check mine? My account?"
I walked over to the 'family laptop' and clicked open the internet.
James silently handed me my account information and gazed as I typed it in.
I sucked in my breath when I looked at the recent deposit.
"Oh God," I murmured.
James laughed and squeezed my shoulder.
"Wha-" my thoughts tumbled over one another as I stared at the amount, "Why...?"
Lily leaving changed things almost as much as Lily arriving. I knew she was keeping something secret about her departure. When asked she would shrug me off and mumbled some nonsense excuse. We left Lily's room alone. It was like everyone secretly hoped she would someday return. I know I did. I graduated, decided to go straight to the mechanics shop and skip college. My parents weren't too thrilled at that idea, but eventually they caved in when they realized how much I loved it there. And I did. Working with cars requires complete attention, the perfect distraction from unwanted thoughts.
Six years passed, Sammy, being the complete nerd that he was, got a full ride to Stanford. That's when it happened. Three weeks after Sam's graduation. Dad's heart attack.
I sat in the uncomfortable plastic chair by the bed. Honestly, you would think hospitals would at least find semi-decent chairs for family members to wait with their loved ones. I wiped a hand over my face, noting distractedly that stubble was starting to form on my chin.
"Dean you look like crap," Sam told me softly, from the other side of dad's bed.
Our mother had gone home for a brief rest and to check up on Bandit.
"Shut up," I grumbled, sleep deprivation making me cranky.
Sam sighed and buried his face in his hands for a second before looking up with a clear question in his eyes.
"What?" I asked.
"You think we should...call Lily?"
"Probably," I agreed, hesitantly. Wondering how much a person could change in six years I stood up, "I'll go and, uh, do that I guess."
Sam nodded before returning his attention back to our unconscious father.
I was just walking out of class when my phone started ringing. I pulled it out and glanced at the caller id.
I stopped walking and readjusted my shoulder bag, "Hello?"
"Hey, uh Lily?"
I felt my knees wobble slightly, "Dean?"
The memory of our last conversation surfaced and I wondered if he remembered it too.
I sat on the step that led into the backyard. Watching Bandit chase the butterflies and grasshoppers. I heard the door open and close behind me but didn't bother to look and see who it was.
"You alright?" Dean asked, sitting next to me.
I snorted, "Kind of a dumb question wouldn't you agree?"
He shrugged and turned his attention to Bandit. There was a moment of comfortable silence between us.
"Hey, uh, Lily?" Dean asked.
I turned to face him, "What?"
He seemed hesitant, unsure. Before I knew what was happening his lips where pressing against mine. I felt my breath hitch, my heart stopped then started racing at unknown speeds. I was terrified and thrilled at the same time. We pulled apart, but kept our heads close together.
I knew I had to say something, so I said the first thing that came to mind, "So is this like...incest or something?"
"Oh my God," Dean murmured, pulling away, a smile lighting up his face.
"What?" I said, laughing.
He just shook his head and rolled his eyes.
"Yeah." His voice, now deeper then it had been pulled me back to the present.
"Long time no see," I said, trying to keep the conversation light.
He chuckled softly before falling silent.
"Everything okay?" I asked, glancing around the campus.
"Not really, no."
"My dad...he's uh, he's not doing too hot."
"How bad?" I couldn't help the way my voice cracked at the end, knowing that if Dean was calling me of all people it must be pretty dire. If Dean noticed, he didn't comment.
"He's uh, in ICU, so-"
"Lawrence General, can you make it?"
"I'll be there."