Title: Green Beans
Beta: That Girl Six
Juliet had convinced JT to take a nap, which meant he was lying on the floor next to her on a blanket pretending he was like Mickey, the nursery school guinea pig. As a vet guinea pigs were not her favorite animal, but as an eight month pregnant mother she appreciated the animal's lethargy.
Her plan was to work up until the day she gave birth. She had done that with JT, took three months off, then returned to the clinic. However, last night she worked the emergency rotation, and it had been busy in the office even before having to go on site to tend to a horse.
Dean had left in the morning on business. "Do you need me to stay home? I can make other arrangements. . ."
He was rubbing her swollen feet, and she was tempted. "No, honey, I'll be fine. I have tomorrow off."
Dean kissed her, patted her belly, then checked in on JT before he left. "I'll try to be home tomorrow night. Don't wait up."
She missed him, missed the way he was with his son, and the way she felt loved by him. They had not planned on having children, but she was glad that it happened (and happened again) because Dean excelled at being a father. He said she was a good mom, but she always had that guilt that came with being a working mom. All she could do was try her best.
Right now there was no guilt, only exhaustion. JT was a good boy and took his father's order of watching over his mother very seriously. When he heard the dogs barking he was no longer a guinea pig; instead he morphed into a leopard racing to the door. The dogs quieted, but within moments there was a knock at the door.
Dean had told her many times to be leery of strangers at the door in the same sentence as saying the house was filled with protections so nothing supernatural should be at the door.
JT was near the door yelling out to the stranger, "Password!" He jumped up and down believing it would make him be heard.
"Uh, I'm looking for Dean Winchester?" replied the hesitant voice on the other side.
"No! Password!" JT was insistent and pulled Juliet's pant leg as if to keep her away.
She opened the door since there would still be a screen between her and her son and the stranger.
It was a dark headed teenager with his head turned looking out. Dill and Boo were near him, Dill on one side, Boo between the door and the teen. He turned back when he heard the door open. "Hi, Ma'am, I was wondering if Dean Winchester lived here? Do I have the right house? "
"Daddy says password," JT repeated. Dean had started the game, which was usually fun as they thought of funny passwords. This time with her little man in his over-protective state it was more of an annoyance.
"Sorry about that—" Juliet started but was struck silent by the green eyes that stared back at her. She took in the rest of the boy's face, immediately seeing the similarities. Then she noticed the build, the promise of similar height.
"Password!" JT put his hands on his hips. He was determined.
"G-R-E-E-N-B-E-A-N-S," Juliet spelled out. JT frowned at her. He was a smart boy, but she still had the advantage of being able to spell things out without having him understand.
The teen narrowed his eyes, then put it all together. "Green beans."
JT unlocked the screen door, pushing it open. "I like green beans." With his job done, JT suddenly got shy and hid behind his mother's legs.
"Sorry about that." She patted JT's blond hair. "He and his father have this game . . . Can I help you?"
"My name is Ben, and I'm looking for Dean Winchester?" Ben moved his head, trying to look past her into the house.
"You found him, well, so to speak. He's not here right now." Juliet wondered if she should call Sam to come by since he knew more about his brother's past than she did.
"Oh, okay, um, do you know when he'll be back?" Ben shifted the straps of his backpack. "Or where I can find him?"
Juliet noticed Ben looked tired. "Late tonight, early tomorrow morning."
Ben shoulders slumped. "Oh, okay, I'll come back tomorrow."
"Wait, Ben is it?" Juliet made her split second decision. She trusted her intuition; after all that is the reason why she was with Dean. "Why don't you come inside? I was going to fix JT some lunch. I know Dean isn't home, but maybe whatever you need to see him about is something I can help you with?"
"Ah, I don't know." Like Dean, Ben's eyes showed so much emotion.
She pointed to Boo and signaled to him to move back. He whined but followed the silent command. "Is it about a car?"
Ben shook his head. "No."
"Then really, I can help." She opened the door wide, and Ben crossed the threshold to enter. "My name is Juliet. Dean and I are together. This is our son, JT."
At the mention of his name, JT lost his shyness and put out his hand. "Hi, Ben."
Ben looked at Juliet, who nodded, then bent down and shook JT's hand.
"He's learning about manners," Juliet explained.
Ben's eyes were wild, glancing about the house. "Maybe this isn't a good idea. I mean, you're pregnant."
"Yeah, I can't hide it." Since it was her second pregnancy she showed much sooner than she had with JT. However, there was no way to hide eight months' worth of pregnancy. She patted her belly. She thought it was a girl; Dean thought it was another boy. Neither Caleb or Sam were hazarding a guess since they said their abilities did not work that way.
"Wow, I didn't think . . . I didn't know . . . ," Ben babbled before catching himself, "Congratulations."
She led the way into the kitchen, thinking about what she would make for lunch for a hungry teen. "How do you know Dean?" She opened the freezer and saw she had chicken fingers in the shapes of dinosaurs.
"He helped me out a long time ago when I was little," Ben explained.
Juliet did not press any further. She understood The Brotherhood but kept herself in somewhat of an ignorant existence. Supernatural things existed in the world of which she had to be aware, but that was about it. She was not going to be a hunter. However, she had a whole new appreciation for the wives of firemen and police officers.
"I'm not little. I'm big." JT raised his hands up to extend his size. "I'm going to be a big brother."
She and Dean hoped they were preparing JT for a little brother or sister. Juliet was an only child and deferred to Dean. "You'll make a great big brother."
JT was reassured and was off to the next question. "Can you read me a book?" he asked Ben.
"After lunch, sweetie," Juliet answered for Ben. "So are you from around here?" Juliet wanted to keep the conversation going at least while the chicken was cooking. She put some milk and water on the table with a glass.
"No, I'm not." Ben chose the milk. "I'm from Indiana."
She wasn't expecting to hear that at all. "Ben, that's a long way away from here. How did you get here?"
"The bus," he answered, then bit his lip in nervousness.
"The bus? By yourself?" Juliet was tempted to call Dean or the police. "Do you want to call someone? Your mom must be worried sick."
Ben shook his. "No, thank you. It was just my mom and I, and she died." He glanced away and took the little army guy JT was holding out to him.
"Oh, I'm so sorry." She felt nauseous suddenly and sat down. She gestured for JT to come to her. She pulled him into her lap to give him a hug.
"We're playing army guys." JT lifted the green man clasped in his fist.
"I see." She kissed him on the head. "Why don't you put them away, then take a seat at the table?" Juliet set her son on the floor.
"Can I sit next to Ben?" JT asked.
"Sure, little man." Juliet reassured her son, and he went off to the put the army guys in the toy box. Given the moment alone with Ben, Juliet wanted to also assure him, too. "I think Dean can help you." She stood up, passed him on the way to get the plates, and placed an arm on his shoulder.
"I don't know. Maybe this was stupid. I'm just some kid . . ."
Ben wasn't just 'some kid'. She knew this was Dean's son, and she couldn't have him leave the farm without anyone in the world when she knew there was room here, room in Dean's heart and in her heart. "Have some chicken, and I have fruit salad. Do you like fruit salad?"
"Yeah, it's fine."
None of her life experiences had prepared her for this. She was a vet, a child of divorce with almost two children in a long term relationship with a man who walked in two worlds. She tried to calm the raging hormones thinking about her great uncle and grandmother. "If you're tired, we have room upstairs."
"I'm not tired," Ben said between bites of chicken fingers. JT sat next to him eating happily, playing with the dinosaurs before taking a bite.
"Dean won't be back until later—" She came up with an idea. "I could use some help." Juliet smiled. "I'm a vet with a penchant for taking in strays. Dean humors me, and in my condition, has done a lot of the work."
"I help you, Mama," JT replied.
"Yes, JT, you're a big helper."
"I can help. I don't mind," Ben volunteered with relief evident on his face.
Juliet had found a perfect excuse to keep Ben at the farm. "Will you work for food and a roof over your head for at least tonight?"
Ben looked her in the eyes and nodded.
It was her turn to be relieved. "Do you like meatloaf?"
He was happy to be home. He'd clean up; check in on JT, then get some sleep. That vanished when in the dim light he saw a form bent over resting on the table. The gun, tucked hastily in his waistband, was drawn. There were protections at the farm, but he was not taking chances with Juliet and JT.
Dean crept quietly to the body, placed the gun close to what looked like a teen, and pulled the stranger's head up.
"Ow!" exclaimed the stranger.
Dean focused on the white eyes. "Who are you?"
The teen rubbed a hand down his face. "Hi, Dean. It's me, Ben Braeden."
Dean backed up a few steps, lowered the gun down, then threw on the lights to remind him of the familiarity of the kitchen. Dean remained rooted in place. "What are you doing here? Where's your mom?"
Ben wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "My mom died two weeks ago," he said softly, then pulled open the backpack that he had been resting against. "She said you were my dad. She wrote this for you. She didn't get a chance to send it to you." He stretched out a white envelope.
Dean opened it, then took a seat as he read over Lisa's words. He read them twice, closed his eyes for a moment to absorb them. He folded the letter up and laid it on the table in front of him. "How did you get here?"
"I took the bus." Ben's eyes remained on the letter instead of Dean.
"You should have called," Dean said without reproach. He always knew Ben was his but understood why Lisa did not want him in Ben's life.
When Ben looked up at Dean there were tears in his eyes; his words came out chokingly. "I didn't know. I didn't think you had a family, kids or anything. . ." Ben took in a deep breath. "I can go."
"What?" Dean replied sharply.
"Maybe this isn't a good idea."
"Slow down." Dean stood up and took the chair near Ben. "First things first—you're staying. Wait until I tell Caleb that his room is taken." Ben gave him a puzzled look. "Do you want to stay?"
Ben wiped the tears from his eyes. "I have no where else to go."
Dean cupped the back of Ben's neck. "Kiddo, I know you just showed up on my doorstep, but I'm your dad. You always have a place with me." He wanted Ben to know he was wanted.
"But you're with Juliet." Ben sniffed. "You have a son, a family."
Dean kept his hand on his son's shoulder. "She let you in here, right?"
"Yeah." Ben was leaning into the touch.
"Then that is the least of your worries." The fact that he was in the house spoke volumes to Juliet's acceptance. "I'd be worried about the assorted other relatives you'll be gaining." He was thinking about Sam, Caleb, Bobby, and Mac and their overwhelming reaction. The kid would be smothered. "Buckets of crazy."
Ben pursed his lips and nodded, then wiped his eyes. "When I met you before, do you still do that stuff?" His voice still crackled with emotion.
"Cool." Ben smiled.
Dean squeezed Ben's shoulder one more time, then stood up. "But instead of just doing the grunt work, I run the show."
"I am The Guardian of a secret group of hunters of the supernatural called The Brotherhood." Caleb said he had to stop saying it with a goofy grin on his face.
"Are you serious?"
Dean gestured for his son to stand. "Yeah, come with me." They went into the library, and Dean opened the secret door to the Hunters' Tomb.
"You have a secret room?" Ben made a complete circle; the sadness momentarily vanished and was replaced by awe.
"The Hunters' Tomb."
"Does Juliet know about this?"
Dean laughed. Juliet must have made a good impression on Ben. "Yeah, kind of hard to hide it from her. We've been together for a while now." It had so far been a long healthy relationship with one kid and another on the way, which he never envisioned for himself.
"But you're not married."
"No." This was a question that came up every once in awhile. JT hadn't noticed yet. Juliet's family made her gun shy about marriage. He was committed to her; there was no one else he wanted, and neither of them thought that going to the clerk's office for a marriage certificate was really needed. It had worked out for Boone and Kathleen; it worked for Dean and Juliet. "Why be conventional?" Dean gestured for Ben to exit the room. "But I think we need to hammer out a few things."
Dean wanted to talk about school, and Ben making the transition to Kentucky. He needed to know Ben's expectations and share his own. He wanted to get to know his son.
Ben was still doubtful. "So that's it? I'm going to live here? Just don't get home too late?"
Dean looked around the kitchen as more light filtered in. Pastor Jim would be happy that his home was filled. "I knew from the first time I saw you that you were mine. But, the way I was living I could totally understand why your mom kept me out. I respected it. I can't be your mom, but I can try to be the best dad if you give me a chance."
"You sure you don't want a paternity test?"
"Do you want one?" Dean replied. It was not needed. It was why Juliet let Ben in the house in the first place. It was evident who Ben's father was.
Ben thinned his lips and shook his head. "I believe my mom." There was still a sadness around him. In time, Dean knew from personal experience, it would be replaced with hope for the future. Ben's lips then moved to a small smile. "When I'm old enough will you let me have my own car?"
Dean leaned back in the chair. A car he could do easily. The rest about raising a kid that he had seen years ago would be a challenge, and one he hoped he lived up too. "As long as it's American made."
Ben shrugged his shoulders in reply.
Juliet was not light on her feet. Dean heard her coming down the stairs. He and Ben would have plenty of time to talk later. Dean met her at the bottom of the stairs and planted a kiss on her.
"You're home?" She wrapped her arms around him, then turned and noticed Ben. "You're awake."
"We've been talking, figured out some things," Dean explained.
"Good." Juliet placed a hand on Ben's head as she made her way to the refrigerator. "Did you happen to make breakfast?"
"I was just about to make some pancakes." Juliet hadn't been sleeping well. She looked tired, even after a full night of sleep. She had trimmed her schedule a bit, but emergencies still came up. And now they had gained a teenager. "Ben, why don't you go put your stuff back upstairs?"
"Are you okay with this?" Dean asked, her back towards him as she was making some decaffeinated tea.
She leaned back into his arms, then turned her head to look up at him. "Yeah, honey, he seems like a good kid."
"He is." Dean was able to confirm after talking for the last two hours.
She smiled at him, her eyes crinkling. "Any other kids I should worry about?"
"No, just the one." Dean placed a hand on her belly, feeling a kick in return after a moment. "I have a feeling this one is going to be a troublemaker."
Juliet picked up his hand and placed a kiss on his fingertips. "I'm sure we can handle it."
Dean kissed the top of her head. "So we're good?"
"Honey, I accept that you are the head of a super secret organization. Ben is a cakewalk in comparison. I hope we can be good friends."
He laughed and gave her a swat on the butt. Ben returned, and he and Juliet sat at the table as Dean made pancakes. JT pitter-pattered down the stairs.
Dean swooped him up, and JT put his hands out wide. "Daddy!"
JT was still small enough for Dean to hold in his arms. "Hey, little man. You remember Ben?"
"Yes." JT bobbed his head up and down. "We played army guys yesterday."
He raised an eyebrow at Juliet. She had been busy yesterday with a bonding experience. They hadn't talked about it, but JT had to know, and it was better to be blunt. "He's your big brother."
This confused JT. He pointed at his mother's belly. "I'm a big brother."
"Not yet, but soon, and that's a good thing because he can play with you, and the baby won't be ready to play with you for a while," Juliet explained. She did a better job than he did.
Ben also saw his opportunity to prove he could be a big brother. "I can read you a book?"
"Okay." JT shrugged and wiggled so Dean set him down to get a book.
"Did he tell you the password?" Dean asked. Every week they changed it, which helped with JT's vocabulary. Caleb said it was early training.
"Green beans," Ben replied in all seriousness. "I like them, too."
Dean gave him a clap on
the back. "Welcome to the family."