Thinking back to it, I wish I hadn't gone to school that day. It's one thing for a few close people to know you'd been abused, it's another thing entirely if the whole school knew. Sure some people didn't change, but others treated me with pity, which is about the worst medicine for anything if you ask me.
It started out like any crappy school day. I was just walking down the hallway when I saw Alex making his way towards me. I rolled my eyes and silently willed him to go away. Of course, being the fantastic person that he was, he ran into me head on.
"Really, doesn't anything get through your thick head?" I demanded, my nerves already fried from my previous English class.
"Want to say that again?" he asked, pushing me into the wall.
"Whachya gonna do Alex?" I asked quietly, "Rape me?" I joked.
He put his hand around my throat.
Everything seemed to slow down. I wasn't at school. I was at my old home, pinned against the wall with my father's alcohol stenched breath in my face. My breath caught in my throat and I shoved him away, "Get away from me!!" I screamed. I crumpled to the ground panting and crying, trying to catch my breath or calm my frantic mind. The memories! They flooded my vision. I lived through every punch, slap, kick, everything in the blink of an eye. Reality lost it's footing as the past attacked me. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't think, I was helpless and terrified and there was only one person in this school that could help me.
I was walking to class. Just calmly, binder held under my arm, talking to one of my friends, you know? I frowned when I saw someone rush past me, muttering something about 'finding a nurse'.
"Wonder what's going on?" My friend, Castiel, thought, nodding towards the small group of people by the water fountain.
"I don't know," I replied, a sinking feeling settling in my gut.
The people parted when I drew near, making me even more nervous. I saw her crumpled form and my eyes widened.
Her face was too pale, breath too strangled, eyes too filled with fear. My heart clenched and I realized that I cared about her almost as much as Sammy.
"What happened?" I demanded, sounding more harsh then I intended. I slowly crouched down and set my binder on the ground.
"I-I didn't do anything, I swear!" Alex replied.
As much as I hated the guy, I knew he was telling the truth. I decided to focus on Lily before I punched his face in anyway.
"Hey," I said, taking a cautious inch towards her, she flinched and I waited. I turned, still close to the ground, "You guys should go to class I don't need your help."
Surprisingly Alex was the one who helped make the people go, before leaving himself.
"I'll tell Mrs. Maller what happened," Castiel told me, before hurrying off to class.
"Hey," I tried again, when it was just Lily and I.
She raised her head painstakingly slowly. Her breathing hitched and I knew then for sure what was going on. Panic attack. Of course my parents had told me some of the details. How she had been abused and everything, I didn't know until then how deep the scars really went. I felt anger curse through my veins at the man who had done this to her. I wanted to find him, to show him what it meant- I let out a long sigh and tried to focus.
"Here, keep your eyes on mine," it took a minute when her amber eyes lifted and met mine I smiled, "There you go," I made my voice sound like what it did whenever I used to talk to Sam when he was younger, or now whenever he was sick.
"Now breathe with me, okay?" I dramatically sucked in a big lungful of air and held it, watching her mimic me slowly, almost hesitantly. I let the air out and saw her do the same. "Okay, one more time, ready?" I repeated the actions and she followed, this time taking a larger gulp of air.
"Good, very good," I praised. I may have been seeing things in my desperate need to make sure she was okay, but I could've sworn that I could see Lily coming back a little more each second I stayed and talked to her. "I'm going to take your hand now, alright?" she started to inch away and I held out my hand, "I won't hurt you," I promised, willing with all my strength for her to trust me.
Two long minutes passed until, slowly, her fingers uncurled from her arm, her shaking palm fell into mine and I enclosed it in both my hands, grinning, I felt as if she had just handed me a present on my birthday.
"There see? I'm not some random dude," 'come on,' I silently added, "I'm the amazing Dean Winchester, am I right?"
I shook her hand gently, not sure if squeezing right then would be interpreted as a threat.
There. A ghost of a smile on her lips. Nothing like her normal smile, but a still quite a big step from two minutes ago.
"Okay, you ready to stand up?" I asked her, keeping my eyes on hers.
She let out a long sigh, as if debating the thought of moving, before giving me a small nod.
"Great," I encouraged, standing up and gently pulling her up with me. I kept her by the wall and pretended not to notice the shivers that ran through her body. "I'm going to call my mom now, she can pick you up." I kept my eyes on Lily as I pulled out my phone and called home. My mother promised to be at the school in a few minutes, and thankfully she didn't ask many questions. "She'll be here in a minute," I told Lily putting my phone back into my pocket.
I instinctively pulled Lily into a hug and held her. Surprisingly she let me. It wasn't like a hug I would give to a girlfriend, I'd had plenty of those, it was a hug meant to express what words couldn't say, and her hugging back was her way of replying.
After a few moments sobs started erupting from her body, "I'm sorry," she mumbled wiping her tears on her sleeve, she gestured to my shirt as she pulled away a little, "You're shirt," she said with a wet laugh, still nothing close to what her normal cheery laughter was.
I shrugged, "Girls cry on my shoulder all the time, don't worry."
"You've found your calling in life."
I laughed, "Wouldn't be a bad calling if you ask me. Get paid millions of dollars to have hot chicks cry on me? Not bad."
She gave me a weak smile as she continued to wipe at the tears and I had a feeling it was more for my benefit then hers.
"You okay?" I asked her.
She laughed, starting to sound more like herself. I noted happily that the tears had stopped, "I think I'm pretty far from okay wouldn't you agree? Call me crazy but panic attacks aren't exactly a sign of a healthy mind."
"You snapped out of it pretty quick though," I pointed out.
She gazed at me curiously, "Well, you can pat yourself on the back for that one. Cause I was pretty far gone until you showed up."
I flashed her a smile, "Told you, I'm prince charming. Everything a girl wants or needs."
She rolled her eyes and shook her head, "Whatever."
"Excuse me?" I said snapping my fingers and making an utter fool of myself.
She laughed, "You know? You would be that one guy at the party that everyone would pretend not to know."
I recalled our very first conversation and used my finger to illustrate a tears falling down my cheek. It seemed like she recalled it to because she made a show of rubbing her fingers together.
"Know what that is?" she teased, "That's right, it's the world's smallest violin and it's playing for you."
I rolled my eyes, grinning as I threw my arm over her shoulder and the two of us started making our way down to the office. We fell silent for a little while.
"So I wonder what rumors are going around right now," Lily thought out loud.
I shrugged, "How bad can they be?"
She raised her eyebrows and cocked her head to the side, "You'd be surprised how cruel kids can be."
"It's not like they're monsters, they do have hearts."
She laughed, "Vampires have hearts to."
"Vampires are sparkling pixie fairies with fangs," I countered.
"That's just the Cullens," She told me, "Not all of them are girls toys."
I shook my head, "We have the strangest conversations don't we?"
She smiled, "They sure veer in weird directions."
My mom was already waiting for us in the office and had signed Lily out.
"Ready to go?" she asked pleasantly.
Lily nodded and ducked out of my arm. She gave me a last smile before following my mom outside.
I got into Mary's car, "I'm sorry you had to come early," I said.
She shook her head, "Don't worry about it, I was just finishing up groceries when Dean called." She looked at me lovingly, "You sure you're okay?"
I snorted, "That all depends on your definition of 'okay'."
She grinned and nodded in agreement, "Fair enough. I'm fairly certain you won't, but if you want to talk about it, I'm always here."
I smiled at her offer, "Thank you, but I don't think I'm ready for that." We sat, well she drove and I rode in silence for a few moments until I broached the subject I had wanted to discuss with her earlier that day but had been to wary of her response to ask, "Say…uhm," I stumbled, trying to find the words I needed to explain, "Okay, so each year I try to visit my siblings graves on their,well…anniversary, and…I was wondering if you…I guess I'm trying-"
"Would you like to bring flowers?" Mary asked gently, in her eyes I didn't see anything I had feared I would. There wasn't any mockery, or annoyance, only kind understanding.
"I do the same thing for my father," she informed me, "I guess it's my way of holding on."
I was surprised at her statement and how openly honest she was being with me. I couldn't recall other foster parents acting like that.
"I don't know if I can let go," I admitted.
She gave me a sad smile and nodded, "I don't know if I want to Lily. So if that's wrong, we can be wrong together, right?"
I shrugged, "Okay."
She laughed and looked over at me, "Whenever you open up it amazes me."
"Why?" I asked suddenly worried.
"Because, you're just a good person, I'm glad I got the chance to know you."
She laughed again, "See? If I told Dean that he'd just stick out his chest and make some smart remark."
I grinned at how accurate her words were and realized suddenly that this was the first real conversation that I'd had with Mary.
"How would Sam react?" I asked her.
She thought for a moment, "Probably grin and blush than try and think of a complement to say back."
I nodded, it fit the Sam I knew.
"I don't know if the boys told you, or if you were told before you came, John is a police officer, so he won't be home for a couple of days. Just wanted to give you a heads up, you know?"
"Oh? Is it like on a couple off a couple?"
She nodded, "Yeah, it can be hard sometimes but we muddle through. So, Dean tells me you aren't a big rock fan."
"Well, I'm going to have to change that because, my dear, rock is the only true music out there."
I laughed at how similar Dean was to his mother on the topic. The more I talked with Mary, the more I learned about her, and therefore the more I trusted her. The thought of trusting anyone frightened me. Even if it were only Sam or Dean. Trust, so far, had not been my friend. But then I thought back to the short six days I had been with the Winchesters and everything that had changed since then. There was no going back, I realized, then I realized something even more profound, I didn't want to go back.