Dean drove the last couple of miles to Bobby’s place far slower than normal and wondering if he was doing the right thing, rather nervous that Bobby was going to decide that all of Dean’s problems were best solved killing the baby dragon. At that thought, Dean felt a cold spike of fear run up his spine that was nothing to do with him.
When Dean pulled into the salvage yard in front of Bobby’s house he took a few moments to assess the place before he got out of the car. Noticing that the place hadn’t really changed all that much, the individual junkers were different but the overall place, not so much.
Dean forcibly removed his right hand from gently stroking the dragon’s side where it had somehow ended up, and got out of the Impala. Having taken a few minutes to move, Bobby had come out to see what was going on. From where Dean was, he could see the shotgun in Bobby’s hands and could tell the moment that Bobby realised just who it was parked up outside his house, as he lowered the gun to his side.
“Boy, you’d better be gettin’ your ass up here to say hello in the next minute on I’m gonna be thinkin’ it ain’t you in there.” Bobby called out, wondering why now of all times Dean Winchester had decided to come and visit. He’d half expected some sort of phone call after he’d found out that Sam had left his brother and Dad for college, but today, with no call beforehand? Something was up and probably a whole heap bigger than Dean would say.
Dean ducked back into his car and fiddled with something on the passenger seat before walking over to where Bobby was waiting for him on the porch.
“Hey, Bobby. Long time no see.” Dean said with his customary ‘no really, I am this awesome’ grin on, but Bobby could tell it was an act from the way that Dean was unconsciously rubbing the back of his neck and wasn’t quite meeting Bobby’s eyes.
“Hmph, that’s one way to say it.” Bobby replied, going over to the front door and opening it. When Dean didn’t move to follow him, Bobby spoke over his shoulder as he walked back indoors.
“What’re ya waitin’ for, an engraved invitation? Get inside, Dean.”
With a vaguely sheepish look on his face, Dean walked in to Bobby’s house, one quick look back to his car as he closed the front door behind himself.
When they were both inside the house and Bobby had handed Dean a beer, Bobby tried to find out what had caused Dean to break the almost decade old silence between himself and the Winchester family.
“So, what brings you all the way out here, Dean?”
“I … I need some information and remembered your mountains of books so I thought I’d see if you’d let me look through them.” Dean replied, blatantly not telling Bobby everything.
Bobby looked long and hard at Dean, seeing the man that he was still becoming instead of the too old for his years teenager that he’d been the last time Bobby had seen him.
“That might be some of it, but I call bullshit. You didn’t break eight or nine years of complete silence just to look at some of my old books.” Bobby said, watching Dean intently for any physical sign or twitch that would give him even a hint as to what was going on inside Dean’s head.
Dean sat forward on the chair and looked at his hands as if they’d suddenly tell Bobby what was going on so Dean wouldn’t have to speak, when a god awful warbling screech started up outside in the junk yard. The two men were momentarily struck still wondering what on earth it could be, but seconds after it started up, comprehension dawned on Dean’s face and he ran out of Bobby’s house as if hell hounds were on his trail. Bobby followed albeit a might slower, picking up his shotgun as he did so, stopping at the bottom of the steps down from the front porch when he saw Dean running to his car, sliding on his knees to a stop at the passenger side and flinging the door open in fluid move, desperately lunging into the interior, doing … something that reduced the deafening noise to a pathetic needy-sounding whimper.
Damnit, now what am I gonna do? Dean though as he worked frantically to calm the baby dragon down and reassure it that it hadn’t been abandoned. He’d never been more grateful for the size of the Impala’s doors as he was now as they shielded him almost completely from Bobby’s view so he didn’t have to worry about Bobby’s reaction to the dragon whilst he had a gun in his hand.
“Shush, quieten down. I hadn’t left you for good. Aw, c’mon, quieten down will ya.” Dean murmured to the baby dragon, continuing in this vein until the only sound the baby dragon was making was a needy-sounding whimper.
“There, that’s better. I knew you could do it.” Dean said with a small grin. He changed from leaning over the passenger seat to sitting against the side of the Impala with his left leg bent and the baby dragon clinging to his t-shirt, tail partly wrapped around Dean’s waist, its head on Dean’s chest, the pillow abandoned in the car but Dean’s leather jacket falling out of the car and onto Deans left shoulder.
“You got whatever it was sorted, Dean?” Bobby called when Dean hadn’t moved away from his car when the noise had stopped.
“Yeah, it’s all good.” Dean said loudly, careful to not distress the very clingy baby dragon anymore than necessary by shouting.
He was so engrossed in keeping calm in order to keep the dragon calm that Dean didn’t hear Bobby walk over and lean on the still open door of the Impala.
“Is that what I think it is?” Bobby asked.
Startled, Dean looked up at Bobby and back down to the most definitely awake dragon that was now covering most of his chest.
“If you’re thinking it’s Godzilla I’d say you’re wrong. More like Minizilla if you ask me.” Dean quipped.
“‘Course, Minizilla, how didn’t I guess that? And here I was thinking you had a young dragon using you as a bed.” Bobby replied dryly.
The next couple of minutes were spent in a tense silence; Bobby waiting for Dean to admit that he had an honest to God dragon sitting in his lap and Dean waiting for Bobby to ask him what the hell he was doing looking after a creature when he should have killed it when he first saw it.
Dean broke first.
“It’s partly my fault the baby’s mother died, so I couldn’t just leave it all alone to die of starvation or something, and no one ever said that all dragons were evil, or any dragons. They just went around killing ’em without bothering to check if they were good or not.” Dean said defiantly, rambling a little towards the end of his initial outburst. All the time that he’d been talking he’d kept his eyes on the baby dragon, smiling at it to disguise his sudden anger, afraid to look at Bobby and see the condemnation on his face that Dean was sure would be there.
Neither of them spoke for a while.
When the breeze blowing in through the gate to Bobby’s salvage yard was cold enough to cause the hairs on Dean’s arms to stand up and the sun had dipped low enough to cast monstrous shadows across the junked cars and empty oil cans, Bobby came to a decision and straightened up.
“You’ll be wantin’ dinner and I dare say that little one’ll be wantin’ to be fed as well. Grab your stuff and drag your ass back inside.” Bobby said. With that he went back inside and rummaged around in the kitchen to make a dinner for two instead of just himself like normal.
Dean waited a couple of minutes to make sure Bobby wasn’t going to change his mind and then went about carefully rearranging the baby dragon so that he could carry it, his jacket and his gear without dropping anything.
Bobby heard when Dean finally came back inside, but didn’t say anything immediately, not wanting to spook the apparently extra wary version of Dean that was now in the den.
After setting the potatoes to cook and checking on the rest of the food, Bobby walked over to where Dean was and passed him a small stack of books.
“What’m I meant to do with these?” Dean asked, not looking at them properly.
“Read ’em, you idjit.” Bobby replied. “They’re on dragon’s.”
“Uh, thanks. I don’t suppose you’ve got ‘raising dragons: 101’ or ‘dragon raising for dummies’ around here somewhere, do ya?” Dean asked jokingly.
“Nah, the store was fresh outta them when I went in, said there wasn’t much cause for them these days, what with dragon’s being extinct and all.”
“Yeah, show’s what they know.”
Over the next couple of days they fell into a routine where Bobby left Dean to look after the baby dragon, but made sure there was always some form of meat around for it to eat (though after the incident with the fish, the meat left out never included fish again), Dean helped Bobby out around the salvage yard whilst the dragon slept and they both looked through books that were about dragons in an attempt to find out anything useful about dragons and raising one.
Almost a week after Dean had turned up on Bobby’s doorstep, they’d come to the conclusion that Dean can’t have been the only person to have come into contact with a surviving, non-extinct dragon; that there had to be someone in their combined contacts who knew something that would help or someone who would know more than they did.
“There’s no point calling up Aiden, he’s been out of the hunt since he lost a leg to a black dog, and Kaylee’s been out of contact for so long no one knows if she’s still alive.” Bobby told Dean after going through one set of contacts.
“Well there’s no one I know who’s of any use that won’t bring my Dad into it within seconds other than you, so, got anymore lists of people we can check through?” Dean asked.
“Gimme a minute to find the right notebook and I’ll see.”
“If your house wasn’t more books than space you’d be able to find your stuff quicker.”
“Yeah right, and without these books more than a few hunters, including your whole family, would be permanently out of the picture.”
“Oh, um, ‘k then.”
“Uh huh! Here we go.” Bobby exclaimed. “Hmm … well he’s not exactly a hunter but there’s a guy, Tomas Heath, who might be able to help you. He’s a ‘sensitive’, not one of these phony psychics but knows far more than any normal person could and knows a lot more people on the edges of the hunting world than actual hunters, so he might know someone or something useful.”
“Good, what’s his number?”
With that, Bobby passed the notebook over and went to the cupboard under the window and pulled out yet another battered notebook and started flipping through that one. A few minutes later Bobby handed him another notebook, though it was in better condition that the last one, with a couple of numbers in it that he thought might be useful.
Leon Anderson, David no-last-name, Vikki Wilson, Bert Carter, Cheri Swartz and Zoe Sinclair, welcome to Winchester-land, the rides are fucked up and what you think you know will probably turn out to be wrong.
“That last one, Zoe Sinclair, she’s a bit rough round the edges but tends to work the more bizarre hunts so she might’ve come across something or someone useful over the years. Don’t let her youth make you think she’s not good, she’s been a hunter almost as long as you have.”
“Alright then, another hunter with an oh – so – tragic past-” Dean started to say when he was cut off by Bobby.
“Ain’t no need to be givin’ me lip like that, Dean. I don’t have to be helping you out, remember.”
“Yeah, sorry Bobby.”
“So you should be.”
They worked in a mostly comfortable silence for another half hour or so, punctuated by the sound of dusty old pages turning, books and other miscellaneous object being moved and the sounds of birds and other wildlife outside filtering in through the open window. When the quiet started to continue on too long, the baby dragon who had been curled up around Dean’s left foot for the last hour, having yet another snooze, decided everyone was being too boring and used its claws to climb up Dean’s jean clad leg and onto his lap, demanding attention. With a roll of his eyes and a soft grin, Dean scratched behind its eye ridges and stroked it, giving it the attention it craved, humming snatches of songs to it.
The quiet continued for a while until Bobby found a napkin with something written on it, scrunched up at the back of a drawer.
“Goddamnit, how could I forget that?!” Bobby exclaimed.
“The Roadhouse, a bar for hunters, a kinda safe haven for hunters between hunts, owned and run by Ellen Harvelle. She keeps an eye out for hunts and passes them onto the hunters more specialised in those areas, it’s just possible that she might know someone who’d know more.”
“How didn’t I know about this place before now? Dad never said anything about a hang-out for hunters.” Dean said, pissed at the implied ‘because you’re not good enough for our club’ vibe.
“That, I don’t know, but don’t get your knickers in a twist over it, Princess. You’ve got bigger problems at the moment.”
“Yeah, yeah, I get it.”
Both men were quiet again for a while as they each searched through their separate books for anything trustworthy in the couple of dozen books on dragons that Bobby owned.
“Huh, I wonder … Bobby, you remember what I said about my injuries not being there when I woke up after finding Minizilla and the whole acting strange about MiniZ sometimes? Well I think I might’ve found a reason.” Dean said, pushing the tome he was flicking through over to the older man.
Bobby read through the paragraph that Dean had his finger on and then re-read the whole section to make sure he hadn’t missed anything and slowly nodded in agreement.
“If what this says is true, and from the sounds of it, it looks as reliable as most sources I trust, it looks like some of the blood of your young ‘uns mother must’ve seeped into your cuts whilst you were knocked out and somehow your body’s absorbed it and taken on a few minor traits, the fast healing being one of them. I wouldn’t put it passed the dragon’s to have some sort of… genetic memory which is how you’ve vaguely known what to do for the little ‘un so far, their blood in yours and all.” Bobby said.
At that, Dean’s eyebrows rose so high they became one with his hairline and his eyes widened so much they looked like they belonged on one of the comic book characters that he used to read when he was much younger.
“So what, I’m part fuckin’ dragon now?” Dean exclaimed, the look of shock not having left his face yet.
“Well, I suppose in the smallest way, you could say that. Probably less than half a percent, unless there’re any extra changes you’ve noticed and not mentioned.”
“Like, what, wings growing outta my back? Don’t ya think I’d have noticed if something like that’d happened to me?”
“No need to get rude with me, Dean. I’m just saying, it could be something small that you didn’t notice straight off, something that, at the time, seemed normal or insignificant enough to ignore.”
“Huh. Got a real mild headache that hasn’t gone away since I got knocked out, just thought it was left over from a mild concussion or somethin’ like that, but that might be … something.”
“Nothin’ else, just a persistent headache?” Bobby asked as he jotted that down on a spare piece of paper that he’d magically made appear whilst he’d been talking with Dean.
“Nothin’ I can think of.”
“Might be nothin’ but it can’t help to have everything noted down in case it becomes more important later. You going to do anything with those numbers I gave you?” Bobby said, changing tracks when it became obvious that Dean was still hung up on the ‘might be part dragon now’ thought.
“What? Oh, yeah, sure. I’ll go do that now then.” Dean replied, the shocked look sliding off his face to be replaced by a look of cold determination as he pulled his cell phone out and dialled the first number that Bobby had given him.
“Leon, Zoe and Vikki were a bust, no answer when I called them; Vikki doesn’t have voicemail and Leon’s is full so I couldn’t leave a message. I guess I can try him again tomorrow. Managed to get through to the rest of them but the only one that thought they had anything useful was that ‘sensitive’, Tomas. He said he’s going to look into a few ideas that he has and that I should swing by in two, maybe three days.” Dean said to Bobby who was in the kitchen preparing dinner, as he dropped onto the couch and picked up the beer that Bobby had placed on the table for him part way into the phone calls.
“Uh huh, what about Ellen?”
“I thought that I’d do that one in person, just drive down and ask her and anyone in the place whilst I’m there.” Dean said, a certain amount of defiance creeping into his voice and posture as he spoke.
“Just don’t go insultin’ anyone or their mothers, and you’ll be ok.”
“When’ve I ever insulted someone who didn’t deserve it?” Dean asked.
“Do I have to even answer that?” Bobby replied, one eyebrow raised in heavy sarcasm. “Now get in here and take your baby dragon outta my way or we’ll be having a side order of dragon with this chilli.”
Dean walked from the few steps from the side of the Impala to the door of the Roadhouse, took a deep breath, opened the front door and walked in, game face on and ready to take on anything he could think of that could get thrown at him.
“You’re a little early, we don’t get properly set up and going ’til the sun’s going down.” A brunette woman said from behind the bar.
I guess that’d be Ellen, Bobby said her daughter was about Sam’s age so it’s not her.
She was older, more John’s age than Deans’, but Dean could appreciate that she was still a good looking woman. A little worn around the edges, but if she was all that Bobby had said that she was, then it was a testament to the level of respect that she commanded from the hunters that frequented the place that she wasn’t completely worn out.
“I didn’t know information kept a timetable.” Dean said as he sat on a barstool.
“It depends on the information, if it’s something I don’t know then you won’t have a chance of finding it out ’til we get busy, later.” She replied.
Dean nodded his head in acknowledgement and they shared a moment of quiet whilst the woman, presumably Ellen, put glasses away and refilled the bowls of pretzels and peanuts along the bar.
“So, can I get you anything? We might not be busy but we’re still open.” She asked.
“Sure, I’ll have a beer.”
Seconds later an open bottle of beer was placed on the bar in front of Dean and the woman had stopped putting things away and was looking at Dean as if she was a cop assessing a criminal.
“I don’t reckon I’ve seen you around here before, but you look familiar. What did you say your name was?” She asked.
“I didn’t say, but it’s Dean Winchester, and I’m guessing that you’re Ellen Harvelle.” Dean replied.
“Winchester? No wonder.” She muttered to herself, an eyebrow rising slightly when she heard Dean’s last name. “Yeah, I’m her.”