Little boy sits alone as he sings in the dark
Wondering if his own dreams had pulled them apart
He sings a song of tomorrow he never can see
Mostly sings of a lost little girl's memory
As his dreams go flashing by
He begins to hear
A lonely lullaby
-- “Children’s Lullaby” by Vertical Horizon
-- § -- -- § --
“Can we help you?” Sam asked suspiciously.
“That depends,” the man answered. “You wouldn’t happen to be Sam and Dean Winchester, would you?” The brothers exchanged a look. They were both highly uncomfortable with the way the man was shielding the blonde woman from their view.
“If we say yes?” Dean questioned. Part of him wanted to slam the door in this guy’s face and find some back way to get him and Sammy out. Another part, the one he had named ‘Instinct’, told him these people could be trusted. His instincts had never let him down before.
The blonde woman stepped out from behind the man. Hazel-green eyes so much like his own shifted back and forth from him to his brother. Dean felt a lump form in his throat as he looked at the woman. Petite, with golden-blonde hair, bright green eyes, and that quiet confidence, she looked just like his mother. Of course, he remembered her being much taller, but at that time he didn’t even reach her waist.
“If you say yes,” the blonde woman started, “then the six of us go back into your room and have a long talk about what you boys have been doing these past two decades.”
Sam looked from the woman to his brother, shocked to see the indecision Dean was feeling show so clearly on his face. He had never seen Dean look so raw and vulnerable before, and had to admit that he didn’t like it. “Before we go anywhere or do anything with you, I want to know who you are and how you think you know us,” he growled at her, concern for his brother overriding his own instincts.
“This is Willow Rosenberg, Xander Harris, and Dawn Summers. I’m Buffy Summers, but I was once Mary Winchester. Your mother.”
- § -- § -
“I think we broke them,” Xander whispered to Willow. Dawn, who was seated on his other side, giggled softly. Willow shushed him, though she was fighting a grin of her own. Buffy glared. Her arm reached out to hold her boys but was jerked back against her chest for the fifth time in ten minutes. When they first got inside Buffy tried to hug them, but both boys pulled away violently.
“Boys,” Buffy tried, but was cut off by Dean.
“Just-… Don’t talk.”
Buffy wrapped her arms around her middle in a self-hug and nodded. She turned to face her friends and nodded her head in the direction of the door. They nodded back in acknowledgement. Buffy walked to the door, opened it, and headed outside, shutting the door gently behind her. Sam looked up when he heard the click of the door shutting.
“Where is she going?”
“To get some air. Possibly to find something to kill,” Xander answered with a shrug.
“She kills people?”
“No. She kills demons and other nasties that try to hurt others. A lot like you do, but on a more corporeal level.”
“But how is she… I mean… She looks so much like Mom,” Dean stuttered in a hoarse whisper, his voice breaking on the word ‘mom’. Sam stared at his brother in shock.
“That’s a long story,” Xander started.
“She died, her soul was reborn eight years earlier, and nearly three months ago she was given back all of her memories of you,” Dawn blurted.
“That can be shortened into one sentence,” muttered Xander, finishing his thought.
“Um… well, she’s now died three times as Buffy Summers. At her third death she was drawn back into the house she died in, and when the two of you walked into that room she suddenly remembered her life as your mom,” Dawn answered. “She told me some amazing things about the two of you.”
“Like what?” Sam asked, suddenly worried. His friends at college had told him that moms like to break out the embarrassing stories at the worst possible times.
“The day each of you was born, for one,” Dawn responded. “She said that Dean was born in the living room of your house in Lawrence. She also said she had a special lullaby for each of you.” Dean’s head shot up and he stared into Dawn’s eyes, listening much more intently than before.
“Did she say what they were?”
“No. She said they were special to each of you, and she wouldn’t cheapen them by telling me before she got a chance to sing them to you again.” The elder Winchester ducked his head back down to hide his flush of pleasure.
“So why did she walk out? I mean, if she wants to be part of our lives again, then why leave?”
“Do you know what her greatest fear in coming to see you was?” Willow asked, drawing the boys’ attention to her for the first time since laying eyes on Buffy. They both shrugged. “She was absolutely terrified that you two would reject her or not believe her.”
“Then why did she leave before she proved who she was?”
“You and Sammy are close right?” Dawn asked.
“Don’t call me that,” Sam ground out.
“Hey, I’m now an honorary aunt; I can call you ‘Squirt’ if I want to. Now answer the question.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“What would you to do someone who took him away from you and hurt him?”
“Kill them. Possibly torture; I don’t know that part.”
“Okay… Now what would you do if someone told you that the only way to keep him from being sucked into Hell, was for you to go in his place?”
“I’d go in his place,” Dean whispered, not liking where this conversation was headed.
“Now, say you do go in his place. Time moves differently in Hell. Some Hell Dimensions move faster, while others move slower. Let’s say you’ve been there for what feels like ten minutes. You somehow make it back to this dimension and find Sam, but it’s been nearly thirty years here. He’s now a grandfather, and you look like you could be one of his younger kids or older grandkids. The only catch is, he doesn’t recognize you, and won’t try. Now what do you do?”
Dean could only shake his head a few times; unable to answer properly, though the pain in his face told how he would feel about it.
“That’s what she’s going through, only worse,” Xander gently explained. “She found out at the age of fifteen that she probably would not survive the next year. She fought it, but she did eventually give up thoughts of a normal life, a real girl’s dreams. She accepted that she would never have a husband or kids. Then, about ten years ago, Willow, myself, and a few of our friends – Dawnie not included – did something incredibly selfish and stupid. We ruined her life; gave her a death wish. We didn’t do it on purpose, but it wouldn’t have happened if we had been thinking of more than just ourselves. She’s better now, but for a while, we thought she had given up everything. Then she died and learned that, in another lifetime, she had sons. She still may never have a husband or child as Buffy Summers, but it was better for her since she had memories of being pregnant, of rocking her babies. Then she gets to meet those babies, and they won’t even let her touch them; let her reassure herself that they’re real.”
“She just couldn’t take it anymore,” Willow took over. She motioned Xander outside and then moved to stand in front of the two young men. “She’s outside the door now, and Xander is trying to calm her down. When she comes back in, Xander, Dawn, and I can wait outside if you three need to talk. I understand that this is just as hard on the two of you, possibly harder, but please try to understand where she’s coming from.”
“If she’s known for over two months,” Sam wondered aloud, “then why didn’t she try to find us before?”
“She did. She started talking about the two of you as soon as she was conscious again. You boys and your father are just hard people to track down.”
“You know where he is?” Sam asked hopefully.
“We have a few leads, but you don’t get any more until you resolve things with your mother.”
“In other words, play nice or you’ll withhold the information?”
“Did I say that? It doesn’t matter what the two of you decide in regards to your mom, you’ll still get all the information we have on John.”
The door opening and Buffy stepping inside interrupted them at that point. She nodded to her friend and sister, and the two women headed out. Buffy walked over to the bed near the window and sat down on the edge. Sam and Dean sat side-by-side on the other bed, facing her. She finally looked up, and grinned softly.
“You grew up well. I was worried when Dean was born, but you did okay.”
“Why were you worried?” Sam asked.
“When you’re pregnant, you see all these cute little babies with chubby cheeks and rosy little faces. I mean, look at the Gerber baby! What no one tells you is that when they first come out, they look like a cross between a raisin and gremlins. I looked down at Dean and could only wonder if he’d grow up to look like Quasimodo. Then I spent the next four hours crying because I thought I would be a horrible mother.”
“What changed your mind?” Dean asked, thinking back to the wonderful woman who had helped raise him.
“Well, the ambulance had managed to arrive by then, and the nurses at the hospital said that almost all babies are born that way and they usually start looking cute at about three months.”
“Yeah… Was there anything else you’re just dying to know?”
“Um… Dawn mentioned that you had a special lullaby for each of us…” Sam trailed off.
“Yeah. I went through just about every song I knew with Dean before finally finding one that would put him to sleep. Then you came along and I had to go through the list all over again. Every night as I tucked you in I would sing your song. Then I’d sing Dean’s to him as I tucked him in.”
“Did Dad know about them?”
“Yep. That’s why he always waited a few minutes between when I’d put you to bed and when he would say goodnight.”
“What were the songs?” Sam asked. Buffy looked to Dean to see if he had a problem with her sharing their song. He shook his head in the negative.
“For Dean, I always had to sing the Irish song ‘Danny Boy’. I thought it sounded like a funeral song, but it would always soothe him when he was little.”
“He used to sing it when Dad was on a hunt when we were little.”
“Would not,” Dean argued. “I only hummed it.”
“Only because you couldn’t remember the words,” Sam countered.
“Could too. What was Sam’s song?”
“Love Me Tender.”
“I should have known Sammy would like Elvis.”
“Hey, don’t knock the King, Kiddo. You and I used to serenade your Day with ‘Teddy Bear’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock’. Most of the time we were in costume.”
“Oh yeah. I wore my wedding gown, a pair of combat boots, and your Dad’s uniform hat. You wore one of his dress shirts – which he never wore anyway – a tie that you would only wear if it was around your head, a pair of cowboy boots your Dad bought you, and your underwear. I’m sure your dad still has a picture somewhere.”
Sammy fell to the floor cackling as Dean’s face turned bright red. Buffy moved next to him on the other bed and wrapped an arm around his waist. He leaned into her embrace and placed his head on her shoulder.
After a few minutes, Sam had calmed down and was sitting on the floor leaning against Buffy’s legs. She was running one hand through his hair and the other through Dean’s. Dean had shifted until he was lying on the bed with his head in Buffy’s lap. Buffy was telling stories from Sam and Dean’s early childhood, and they were regaling her with some stories from after Mary died. A knock on the door preceded the reentrance of Willow, Xander, and Dawn. The Scoobies smiled at each other.
“Boys, let me reintroduce you. This is your Aunt Dawn, Aunt Willow, and Uncle Xander. Aunt Faith, Uncle Andrew, Uncle Oz, and Grandpa Giles are in Cleveland.” She frowned as Xander grimaced.
“Ah, that’s actually why we’re in here. The Tweedmaster General just called. He said there was some activity that you needed to look at. He said he would send someone else, but Faith and Wood are in Australia, Oz just left for Tibet, Rona’s in Brazil helping the Finns, and Chao-Ann is recruiting in China. None of the others have the experience we do, and he needs us there yesterday.”
“How bad is it?” Buffy asked, the worry in her voice making Sam and Dean tense.
“Well, it looks like it’ll be easier than the First or Angelus, but harder than the mayor or the judge.”
“Joy. Do we still have the rocket launcher and the Troll Hammer?”
“I think they’re in the third floor weapons storage room.”
“Tell Giles to keep them and my scythe ready, along with all of the general weapons. We’ll be there shortly.” She looked down so she could look each of her boys in the eye. “We’re going to be driving like crazy people to Cleveland to try to avert another apocalypse. I’d rather you both be as far away as possible in case the worst happens, but you’re both old enough to decide for yourselves. Do you want to join us?” They agreed instantly.
“Good. Buffy, you can ride with them and play catch up on the way. Sam, Dean, I need to tell you something about your mother that I’m sure you’ve never known before. This is crucial to your continued survival and future happiness,” Dawn warned. Both Winchesters seemed to pale slightly, unnerved by what this news might be. “Buffy cannot drive and should not under any circumstances be allowed behind the wheel. We’ll see you in Ohio!” she chirped. Then she turned and walked out the door.
-- § -- -- § --
Please let me know if you have any interest in seeing a picture of Mary and Dean’s duets.