Characters: Mary, John, Sam, Dean
Summary: She never wanted to be this mother.
Spoilers/Warnings: AU, blood
Word Count: 1,308
A/N: This is just a small scene from the same universe as Take a Sad Song. I recommend reading that first in an attempt to understand what's going on here.
“It’s okay.” He smirks and claps a hand over that mouth in his arm, the one that’s open wide and spewing blood like it’ll never stop. “Happens all the time.”
She’s got a graze on her forehead and countless bruises on her limbs, was thrown against a few walls because that demon was a strong son of a bitch and she can’t remember ever feeling so weak as she did twenty minutes ago, watching her son picked up by nothing and hurled into a plate glass window. He was out of it for five minutes, her Dean, motionless in a pile of glass, and she finally mustered the strength despite her bones being older than she remembers, finally managed to take Sam’s knife to the bastard’s throat.
“Sit down, sweetheart.”
He’s been standing in the doorway bleeding for too long, watching John and Sam fumble through duffels for bandages and booze, trying his best to avoid her eyes.
“M’okay. I can stitch myself up. Sammy, you found the thread yet?”
“Sit down, Dean.”
He straightens with a jerk, green eyes nervous and startled, hurt and irritated all at once and she wants to tell him she’s sorry, that she didn’t mean to snap. She’s always trying not to snap at them, her boys so desperate to please her.
His steps are slow and she crosses her arms and stares at him until he’s lowered himself down onto the bed, where she pries his hand from his arm and replaces it with a towel, holds it there until he pulls away and takes over.
Sam shuffles up to her with a needle and suture thread. Her youngest is anxious and his eyes are drifting to his brother, who’s holding that towel firmly over his gushing arm, whose head is bent to the ground like he’s been beaten and shamed. Sam opens his mouth like he wants to say something, but he shuts it when she looks at him, cautiously passes over the supplies with huge hands and takes a step back.
She never wanted to be this mother.
“Mary?” John’s hesitant and approaching her with a bottle of whiskey in his hand. “Maybe I should stitch him up. You’re injured and on edge and-“
“I can take care of my son, John.” Her voice is clipped and her eyes are blazing and her husband swallows in the most visible of ways. He doesn’t back down, though, and she watches his eyes and the way they look over to Dean, his hand and the way it grips the neck of the bottle just a little tighter.
“Honey, the wound’s bad and you’re…” He trails off. He can’t bring himself to do it, to call her angry or irrational or shaken and she’s glad for it. She’s glad for it because she still loves him like she did the day she married him and his face is older and unshaven, but still pretty, and she really doesn’t want to bruise it. “Mary, I just…I really think I should do it.”
He doesn’t want to offend her. He just wants to make sure their son’s arm is stitched up good and proper, but she can’t help this, this thing inside of her that needs to keep them in her reach. They're her babies, her's, and sometimes it feels like Sam’s still in the crib and Dean’s still outside asking his daddy to take off his training wheels, and he’s falling and breaking his skin, so young and tender, and trying so hard not to, but wailing - wailing for her to come get him.
And sometimes it feels like she was never there to pick him up and kiss it better, but she’s here now. She’s here and she doesn’t want to hand over the reins, doesn’t want to miss the opportunity, doesn’t even want the opportunity to arise, but it has and here she is.
“I want Mom to do it.” The words are quiet and directed at the floor.
John’s face is raw for a second, open and bleeding like someone skinned it. But only for a second. She remembers when his face was never closed and sometimes it feels like a hundred years ago, but most of the time it feels like yesterday.
“You win,” he says, though he skirts by her to put the whiskey in his boy’s hand, leans down and mutters something quiet to Dean that she strains to hear, but can’t. Dean nods and lifts his head, meets his father’s gaze for just a moment before tilting his head back and taking a long pull from the bottle.
He sighs when he’s finished, turns to her with that face he’s been wearing since she found him again, that same face that greeted her twenty-eight years ago after the first day of preschool when he cheerfully informed her that he wouldn’t be going back there again.
M’stayin’ with you forever.
This…this she remembers as she watches her little boy douse his wound with hard liquor, cringing with a smile on his face.
“Alright,” he says. “I’m ready.”
He's ready, and she may be angry and irrational and shaken, but her hands are steady and her voice is soothing as she threads his skin back together.
“I’m sorry I snapped at you,” she says when she’s finished, and presses her lips against his temple, feels him tilt his head in and soak the kiss up.
“S’okay.” He fidgets when she pulls away, keeps his eyes focused on his knees. “I’m sorry you had to.”
She didn’t have to. He has nothing to be sorry for. She tells him this as she picks up the blood-soaked towel, smoothes a hand over his hair and heads to the bathroom. She’s washing it out in the sink when she sees him in the mirror, leaning against the threshold with guilt in his eyes.
“I’m sorry,” he insists.
“Dean, didn’t I just tell you-“
“I should’ve killed it before it ever touched you.”
She wrings her child’s blood out of the cloth with tense hands, watches it splash pink against the porcelain.
“No, you shouldn’t have."
“I’m your mother. I save you. It’s the natural order of things.”
That takes him off-guard. He opens his mouth to refute her, but then he smirks like he's pleased and his eyes shift and he tries to say, “Mom, that stops after a certain-“
“Not in this family, it doesn’t.” She’s not old or frail and she can still kill anything that tries to touch them.
“Dean.” It only takes saying his name to get him to shut up, and she turns on her heel to face him directly. “You lost a lot of blood. Get in bed and rest.”
His defiance is swift and fleeting but she sees it and smiles, smiles even wider when he turns around and grumbles things about Joan Crawford and theoretical coat hangers - wider still, when he obeys and settles himself down on the bed.
He polishes off his father’s whiskey before sliding his back down from the headboard to the mattress, still with the bottle in his hand, and she pries it from his fingers, places a palm on his warm cheek.
“I’m sorry,” she says.
“For wha-?” His voice is muffled by the pillow, slurred from the booze.
“I should’ve killed it before it ever touched you.”
He smiles with a flash of his teeth and pats her hand. She wants to tell him that she means it, that she’s never meant anything more, that she’ll kill anything and anyone who so much as looks at him wrong because he’s hers and she’s here.
She’s here now.