Disclaimer: Still don't own Supernatural
Author's Note: Wow 60 reviews?! You guys are amazing, I know I probably sound like a broken record, but it's the honest truth, this story would be nothing without your constant support, so thank you.
"Lily? Oh thank goodness you made it!" Mary exclaimed as she wrapped me into a hug.
I didn't hesitate to hug her back, "Yes, it's nice to be back," I murmured. Silently adding 'I wish I was back for a happier reason.'
Dean closed the door behind us and let my suitcase fall to the floor as he hugged his mother.
As the two murmured about John's condition I took the moment to take in the place. It certainly hadn't changed much, besides new pictures of the boys' graduations, and... I took a stepped forward and gazed at the picture. It had been taken a couple days before I had left. I was still in a cast, and I sat between Dean and Sam on the front step, holding Bandit. I felt a lump form in my throat. I sensed more then heard Dean move up next to me.
"You kept it," I said, trying to explain why that seemed so important.
"Duh," he replied, "Why wouldn't we?"
'Because after all you guys did for me I left you and didn't look back for six years. Because after everything we went through it took someone to be on the verge of death to bring me back.' I bit my lip and shrugged, "No reason I guess."
I felt something nudge the back of my leg. I turned and felt a smile spread across my face.
"Bandit?" I asked, squatting down and petting the grown dog.
He wagged his tail and licked my face in response.
"Hey boy," I told him, "Man you've gotten big," I glanced up at Dean, "How much does he weigh now?"
"About seventy-six pounds or so," he replied, "Want me to place your stuff in your room?"
I stood up, "My room?"
"Yeah, the one you used to stay in...remember?"
I followed him up the stairs, Bandit padding softly behind me.
"It hasn't changed a bit," I commented as I stepped inside the familiar space.
Dean dropped the suitcase down.
"Why are you so surprised that we kept some stuff to remember you by?" he asked, looking generally confused.
I opened my mouth to respond then thought better and changed the topic of the conversation entirely, "How long are visiting hours in the ICU?"
He frowned, clearly unhappy at that, but replied anyway, "Seven to six."
I glanced at the clock which read five thirty, "So..."
Something was clearly bothering Lily, that much I knew for sure. I couldn't understand why she seemed so surprised that we had kept her room the way it was, or that we had placed the picture we had taken with her all those years ago out in the living room. Did she think we would just cut her out of our lives entirely?
"You okay?" I asked her.
She bit her lip, "If I had a dime for every time someone's asked me that..."
I smile softly, "Yeah, guess it's kinda a stupid question."
"Oh!" her eyes widened, "I forgot!"
"What?" I asked, already imagining every possible deadly scenario.
"I was supposed to call my foster parents when I arrived here, shoot," she bit her lip again and patted her pockets until she pulled out her phone.
I recognized it immediately, "Is that...?"
A slight blush formed on her cheeks, "Yeah, same phone. It's a pretty sturdy little thing."
"Are you blushing?" I teased, which only made her blush even more.
"Oh my gosh Dean, get out!"
"Get out!" I mocked, raising my voice an octave.
She rolled her eyes, "You are so annoying."
"You are so annoying."
She was laughing now, although I could still see the slight irritation in her eyes, "Dean!"
"I'm serious!" I mimicked.
"What the hell are you two doing?" Sam demanded, standing in the doorway, confusion clearly written across his face.
"Thank God," Lily murmured, "Your brother is harassing me."
"I am not!" I argued.
Sam looked between the two of us, his eyebrow reaching further and further up his brow before he sighed and rolled his eyes, "I guess that makes me the mature one now."
"In your dreams," Lily told him.
"Hey, uh huh, no harassing little Sammy over there." I joked.
"I-" she started to argue.
"It's Sam," Sam interjected.
"Yeah Dean," Lily teased.
"Oh shut up Liliana," I told her.
"Oh shots fired," Sam joked.
Lily laughed and rolled her eyes, "I'm gonna come up with a nickname just for you Dean, and see how you like it."
"Oh ho ho, tell me when you figure it out, just don't hurt your brain thinking too hard."
"Oh, I think I already have one it starts with a-"
"Are you guys coming down to eat or what?" Mary yelled from the kitchen.
"Oh yeah," Sam laughed, "I was supposed to tell you guys, supper's ready."
"And you call yourself the mature one?" Lily mumbled as she walked out of the room.
Dinner was quiet, as it had been for the last few days. Any attempt at conversation quickly disappeared with a glance at the empty chair. I glanced across the table at Lily, still trying to get used to the fact that she was really there. She glanced at my father's chair then back at her bowl of soup that still looked full from where I sat. She gazed at the chair one more time before wiping her lips with a napkin and excusing herself.
Before dinner, while in my room, I had been able to trick myself into believing that nothing had changed. The banter thrown between Sam, Dean, and I had been just as easy and care-free as all those years ago. Dinner changed that. Forced reality back into sight. Because everything's not alright. I wasn't with the Winchesters for vacation. I was there because this might be my last chance to thank one of the people who had so drastically changed my life. His empty chair had been a stark reminder of that each time I looked at it.
It's emptiness brought all of those feelings of regret, guilt, sorrow, and longing that I had learned to hide so well back into light. I felt as empty as the chair. Lost to it's full definition. Should I be happy to be back here? Was coming back here the right thing to do?
"You're doing it again," Dean's voice from my doorway caused my head to snap up.
"And you didn't knock," I retorted.
He rolled his eyes and leaned casually on the door frame. His green eyes traveled across the room, "You know, we thought about remodeling this room to be a guest room a couple of times."
"Why didn't you?"
He shrugged, his eyes turning back towards me, "Didn't feel right."
I decided not to show how much that statement confused me and instead questioned him, "You still live here?"
He shook his head, "I have an apartment little ways away, I thought it would be best if I stayed here for a while."
"What did you mean, 'I'm doing it again'?" I asked.
He quirked an eyebrow, "You're blaming yourself...again. For something that isn't your fault, again."
He walked over and plopped onto the bed next to me.
"Nothing that happened is your fault Lily."
He sounded so sincere. I wanted to believe him so badly. He still didn't know then. John and Mary had kept their promise of not telling the boys that it was my own decision to leave, not some stupid board's.
"I wouldn't be so sure of that," I whispered back, wondering if guilt had ever actually killed a person.
He gazed at me curiously, but thankfully let the matter drop.
"Remember when you came here and we went to the playground?" he asked instead.
I nodded, 'like it was yesterday' I thought silently.
"Those were the good times eh?"
I laughed, "Yeah, well if you don't include the nightmares, panic attacks, getting kidnapped...yeah good times."
He huffed and pushed me playfully, "Anyone ever tell you what a buzz kill you are?"
I pushed him back, "I like to think of myself as realistic."
"Realistic sucks," he decided.
I laughed, "At least it's honest."
"I'd rather be a happy fool who believes in lies then a sad and depressed fool who only sees the 'realistic' side of things."
I bit my lip, "A fool has dreams. If a dream is crushed then so is the fool. A realistic person see the world as it is, with no expectations, or dreams, one cannot be disappointed."
"That's bull and you know it."
I met Dean's gaze evenly, "How do you want me to see the world then?"
He grinned, flashing his teeth, "Sunshine and rainbows and unicorns with butterflies popping out of their asses."
I laughed, "You're mental."
"It has been said."
We fell silent as we heard the phone ring downstairs. There was a clattering sound. I held my breath and looked at Dean, his eyes mirroring the same fear I felt inside.
Sam rushed into the room, his face sickly pale, "We have to go, now!"