Disclaimer: As always, I do not own any recognizable characters from SPN or BtVS/AtS and as such, do not make any profit from this work of fiction. Angel Winchester, however, is all mine, as are the images of the girl who represents her, since, well, yeah, she's my kid!
That being said, I made this manip a while back, after a few interesting, not to mention highly emotionally charged conversations with my kids about the past. In a family like mine, where we have two boys that came from my husband and his ex, one boy from me and my ex and two girls together, these conversations aren't always pleasant, but they are important. And that got me thinking about little Angel Winchester. It actually took me a while to write this and I'm not sure I really like how it turned out, but I thought I'd share it anyway.
Memories could be a real bitch sometimes. Dean ran his fingers over the steel top of the lockbox before he pulled it out of the Impala’s trunk. Sam and Dawn were at the town library doing some research on back issues of the local newspaper, searching for information about a murder about a hundred years earlier. He’d brought Angel to a diner down the road and as they pulled into the parking lot, she’d asked him about her grandparents, John and Mary Winchester.
The diner was mostly empty when they stepped inside and Angel scooted across the slick red vinyl of a booth, patting the seat beside her for him to sit. He slid into the booth, setting the box on the table and Angel snuggled up under his arm she fit against his side perfectly, his little girl
as he used a small key on his key ring to open the lock.
There were pictures of Angel on top, of course, the most recent memories in his life that he wanted to hold onto. Pictures of her with Sam, with Dean himself, in the Impala, in random motel rooms across the country. There were baby pictures, a handful that Dawn had given him. Under those, the box was a mess, a jumble of faces and places guaranteed to drag up enough old issues to drown a man. He pulled them out and started shuffling through them, pausing here and there to show Angel a picture of John, or Mary, or young Sam and Dean.
His hand paused over a black and white Polaroid he hadn’t realized how much Angel had her smile
and he had to take a breath before he pulled it out and laid in on the table. Angel picked it up and another picture, stuck to the back, fell free. Her small hands arranged them on the scarred tabletop he’d forgotten that she’d stolen the camera from him at one point
and Dean looked down at his past.
They’d gotten a call from Bobby, he needed Sam’s help with some research and that left Dean with some time on his hands. A phone call to Faith, who’d been two states away and they both started driving, meeting at some Podunk town in the middle of nowhere. Two days in a crappy motel room, the timing made it possible they’d conceived Angel in those two days
living on vending machine junk food and playing with an old camera she’d found during her last job.
Angel’s voice brought him out of his thoughts. Her finger was tapping the edge of the photo.
“She’s smiling. You both are… were you happy?”
Her voice sounded hesitant and hopeful at the same time and he figured it was normal for a kid to wonder if Mom and Dad had been happy together. Still, he had to try twice before he was able to answer her.
“Not a lot of bright spots in this line of work, but when they came, we made the most of them. We were happy, when we got the chance to be,” he told her and she smiled up at him bright, so bright, a bright spot he’d never let go of
His cell phone rang then and he picked it up, recognizing Sammy’s ringtone.
“Yeah, Sammy,” he said, ignoring that his voice might sound just a little more gruff than normal.
“We found what we were after,” Sam told him. “Wanna come get us?”
“On our way.”
Angel helped him put the pictures back in the box and she locked it herself with small careful fingers. When they slid from the booth and Dean left the money for his coffee on the table, she clutched the lockbox to her chest like it was the most precious treasure and led the way out of the diner. Dean followed golden pigtails gleamed as they stepped out into the sunlight
his bright spot and couldn’t help the smile that tugged at his lips.