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Thread Contributor: John WinchesterIt's Been a While
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#1
One second John was swinging a machete at that eerily glowing tentacle monster, finally about to free the small town it'd been terrorizing, and the next second the slimy sonofabitch had wrapped a twisting limb around his ribs and tossed him headfirst at the brick wall of the dark alley behind him.

He was very surprised to slam into the dusty asphalt of a stretch of barren highway in the bright sunlight.

What. In the hell.

John pushed himself up, gritting his teeth as his bruised body protested, then shaded his eyes with his hand to survey his surroundings.


He knew this highway.

Shit, shit, shit.

It was just his luck the monster would somehow throw him all the way to god damned Lawrence when his boys were half the country away in California. Hell. Dean had been expecting him back by midnight, and here the sun was shining. He must’ve lost half a day.

The boys were safe for now, in a locked and salted motel room with food for a week as long as they stretched a little. But John didn’t like being so far away, not when Bobby or Caleb or Jim wasn’t even there to look in on them.

He took a couple deep breaths to calm himself. Dean was twelve but he wasn't stupid. Worst came to worst he knew what to do if John didn't come back from a hunt. And it wasn't like John WASN'T coming back. He just needed to make his way into town, find a pay phone and let Dean know he was okay but that he’d be a few days late in coming home. Then he could hitch his way to the bus station and put his newly defrauded credit cards to use in taking the first bus out west.

Thank God, salvation was coming his way in the form of a car heading toward the crossroads not far from where he was standing. He jogged forward, hoping to catch it before it turned onto the highway going crossways and missed him entirely.

The car turned. John swore under his breath. And then he stared, squinting into the bright sun across the asphalt, because-- that was the Impala. His Impala. He'd know it anywhere.

He jogged after it in earnest now, watching as it pulled off the highway--a mile or so down, maybe, so it was hard to see--into what might've been an old drainage ditch.

There way no way in hell this was a coincidence. Maybe someone had used that creature to get him here. And that meant if he could find whoever or whatever was driving his car, he could find out what the hell he was doing back in Kansas and make the bastard send him back to Cali. Back to his boys. He gripped his machete tight and followed the car.

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Supernatural-Supernatural Season 13

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#2
Her son was missing, and by all that was good or evil in the world, Mary was going to find him. Find him and bring him home.

She hadn’t asked to take the Impala. Had Dean been at the bunker, had it been Sam that had been lost out there, maybe she would have said something first, but it was Dean that she was looking for, and the Impala might be in her son’s care, but it was John’s car. She loved this car; not in the same way she loved her family, or how she cared for Jack and Castiel, extended family that they were, but she loved the car in its own right.

The road stretched out before her, and Mary drove. She had no real leads, only guesswork and gut feelings, but she would check every last one of them before she went back to the bunker if she needed to. She drove, and she didn’t even notice when she passed from the world she knew to one that did a very impressive job of imitating it.

Window down, wind blowing her hair back and out, the hunter revelled in the simple freedom she felt; it was rare that she drove like this and while she was focused on finding her son, she couldn’t help but to enjoy the sensation of driving, this car, this highway… It didn’t take her long, seasoned hunter that she was, to realize she was being followed. A man on foot, following her.

That wasn’t normal.

With a sigh, she pulled the car over to the side of the road, stepping out of the car fluidly, every bit the hunter on the prowl, gun swinging up easily, pointing into the face of the-

“John?!” Her voice was laden with surprise; the last person she had expected to see, here, home, anywhere, was her husband. “What are you… How?”

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#3
The figure stepping out of the car looked like Mary.

John took it like a punch to the gut. It had been eight years, eight hard years since Mary had burned, and not a damn day had gone by that John hadn't thought of her--her strength, her smile, how good and sweet and patient she'd been with the boys--and it was obvious what was going on here. He was hallucinating, or dreaming, probably still trapped in that tentacle monster monster's grip in a dark dirty alley in northern California. It'd pulled Lawrence, and the Impala, and Mary right out of his memories.

Knowing that should have made it easier. It didn't.

He drew his .45 from his waistband and aimed it squarely at the impostor's face. It was even pretending to talk like Mary, like she was happy to see him. The anger burned old and deep in his gut.

"Drop the act," John growled. "You're gonna tell me how to get out of here or I'm gonna blow your head off and see what happens."

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Supernatural-Supernatural Season 13

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#4
Of course she looked like Mary. She was Mary. With short hair again, not the long locks she’d worn as a mother; these were the shorter tresses of a hunter. Even as John stood there, his gun pointed at her, her gun pointed at him, the last half of Her Strut by Bob Seger floated through the air; one of Mary’s favorite songs.

Even as he pulled his gun, something hard and cold washed over Mary’s face. She gave the gun a slight tip, drawing attention to it, “Silver.” It could be nothing but a threat; this was a waste of her time, she needed to be out looking for Dean, and here was this possible shapeshifter wearing her dead husband’s face and pointing a gun at her.

Dean. There was a light in her eyes as something almost like understanding but more closely related to suspicion dawned her, lit from behind with the fury of a mother whose son was lost and needed finding. “Where’s my son?” She pulled the hammer back on the gun, cocking it even as steel both strengthened and heavied her limbs.

The act?! Mary took a step forward, unafraid. No, it was desperation that drove her actions now, desperation, and rage, and love. “Where’s Dean, you bastard?!” It wasn’t a request, it was a demand, her hand even and steady on the gun indicating that it was one that she would indeed follow through on. Of course she would, this was her son that was just gone, and as much as she may have failed him since she had returned, she wasn’t going to fail him now, not in this; she would find him, and she would bring him home.

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#5
The gun was shaking in John's hand, like he was still some green kid scared out of his wits in the Vietnam jungle.

The monster had to've picked Mary. God, every expression that crossed the monster's face was perfect. Even the anger and the suspicion and the supposed fear for Dean. Even the way she'd called him a bastard. He'd forgotten, almost, what she looked like outside of photos. It was distracting. It was damn distracting.

"Funny," he drawled, when not-Mary threatened him with silver bullets. "I'm the shapeshifter. That's real cute."

So she wanted to know where Dean was. Fear flared in John's gut again. Was the monster looking for him to give up Dean's location? The boys were his weak spot, there was no doubt about that. It was possible some monster had got wind of that and wanted to use Dean against him. (Not Sam. Apparently it didn't know everything.)

"You want Dean?" John snapped. "Nice try. You want pretend to be my dead wife, at least get your damn story straight. I haven't stepped foot in Lawrence in eight years. Mary's not a hunter. And I'm not telling you jack shit. So you drop the illusion and let me go or I WILL shoot."

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Supernatural-Supernatural Season 13

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#6
It almost seemed like the monster, creature, whatever it was, didn’t want to shoot her. The gun shook, just a little, and the way he looked at her, watched her…

Funny, huh? “Yeah, you are. Because John is…” It was hard to say it when all she wanted was for her husband to be standing there. “John is dead.” Something twitched in her face when she spoke the last word, something painful and involuntary and impossible to ignore. It accompanied the deep ache in her chest that hadn’t lifted since Dean had told her everything that day in a beautiful garden over a year ago. A year, she had been alive again. A year missing John and trying her damnedest to cope, to deal with being alive again. A year with her grown boys. Hunters, both of them. Hunters because of John.

He had the nerve to snap at her. The nerve to be able to… “I never said Lawrence! The boys haven’t lived there in forever, because you,” she all but snarled the word, an accusation, at him even as she walked forward at him, the gun all but forgotten in her hand, not really lowered, but her attention no longer on it as she closed the distance between them, fury in her eyes. “You never stop being a hunter! I tried! I didn’t want that life, I wanted my family, my husband! And you’d raise our boys like that?!” She didn’t even realize what she was doing as she reached out to slap the man who looked exactly like her husband, who spoke like him, who pretended to protect their sons like him, and this close, who smelled like him.

“How dare you!” It wasn’t John, but it could pay for John’s sins if it wanted to look like him, pretend to be him. Fine. She repeated again, “How dare you. John… John is dead, and if he weren’t, he sure as hell would wish he was when I was through with him for doing what he did to my sons!”

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#7
John actually laughed when the thing tried to tell him he was dead, because it was better than anything else he wanted to do just then. This was almost more than he could take. And then not-Mary was yelling in his face about him training the boys up to be hunters and it was absurd, and maybe the monster was just trying to get under his skin but it was fucking working.

"Mary is dead!" he roared, something deep down in his chest, all that rage and hurt he'd been trying and failing to suppress for his boys' sake breaking free at once. "I've been raising those boys all on my own for eight goddamn years! That demon took everything and I'm doing what I have to do to keep my children ALIVE. They're the only damn thing in this world I have left and I know I've let them down some ways but don't you dare tell me I did wrong by them manning them hunters. They need to know what's out there! You didn't! You didn't and you're dead and there's evil out there and damn it, I would die before I let that happen to them!"

He stepped in, closing what was left of the difference, and far from breaking the illusion he was awash in memories of the knock down drag out fights he'd had with real Mary about who knew what because he's be damned if it hadn't been exactly this. Screaming in each other's faces, half an inch away convinced they know better, half a second from --

Suddenly John stumbled back, his gun just as forgotten because it was impossible, it was impossible this was really her, except it if it was-- if there was the slimmest chance it was her and not a monster or a dream or his own goddamn conscience--

"Mary?" he breathed.

Hell, he didn't understand, but if there were any chance it were her, he'd let any monster fuck him over, kill him, take anything he had except his boys, just for one more more minute with her.

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Supernatural-Supernatural Season 13

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#8
This man, whoever it was… Maybe a demon, maybe a shapeshifter, but definitely a man, was obstinate and pigheaded and frustrating, and saying all the right damned things to get himself shot. Thing was, though, that he hadn’t really made a move to harm her, no attacks, not even any real threats save for the gun he held. It was strange, and Mary had learned a thing or two about strange, both as a hunter with her family, and recently after she had been brought back.

“I was, yes! That yellow eyed devil killed me, I know! And believe me, I wish he hadn’t, but…” And this was the part that sounded insane, the part that Mary had a hard time believing herself, a fact that was obvious as she half rolled her eyes before leveling them at ‘John’ with no small effort, “But then...god’s sister...brought me back! As a gift for Dean!” And she all but trembled as she yelled the words, at the memory of that first moment, hour, day, week. She had been lost, confused, angry and hurting… But Dean and Sam had needed her, and while she had left to figure things out for herself, she had done her best and in the end, she had returned.

Their marriage had never been perfect. They had had screaming fits, arguments, disagreements, they had differed on how to raise their boys, how to live their lives, what school to put Dean in… Even as John stepped back, tears sprang to her eyes, “I never dreamed I would miss fighting with you.” her voice was breathless, and when John said her name, quiet, almost disbelieving, but she knew what belief sounded on her husband’s voice. She moved forward, pulling him into a hug, not strong, not comforting, but with the clawing need to know he was real, that this was really him. “You sure as hell better be real, John Winchester, because if you’re not, you’re going to regret it.”

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#9
"God's sister," John repeated in disbelief, still feeling a like he'd been hit by a truck. "You want me to believe that God's sister," he drawled the words, "defied every rule of nature and the occult to bring you back from the dead as a gift for my twelve year old son?"

He wanted to believe. Hell, he couldn't imagine a god damn thing in the world he'd rather have come true. So of course when Mary finally came back to him it was with a crock of horseshit for a story. God's sister? Might as well've said Santa Claus.

Then she got teary-eyed, she hugged him and begged him to be real, and every lick of sense he'd ever had flew out the window. In his arms she felt--not the same, exactly, she was tenser, stronger--but the curve of her back and her ass and the way she pressed tight into him and the way she smelled and the way her hair tickled his jaw were all exactly like he'd remembered her and it was a goddamn miracle he didn't just break down in her arms right there. It was Mary. It had to be. It had to be because if it wasn't and he had to lose her again he'd never survive it.

"Mary," was all he said, like a prayer, wrapping his arms around her and pressing her head into his chin like he never wanted to let her go. "It's you. Oh, God, Mary." And then he was tipping her chin up and pressing his lips to his, needing to feel her and taste her and lose himself in her.

For a second anyway. He was still reeling, trying to absorb the information she'd given him. Dean had brought her back, somehow. But Dean was also in trouble and she was looking for him. He was going to take it on faith this was Mary, but all that meant was he had to accept she was telling him the truth and that meant Dean and Sammy were in trouble. A horror to pull him right back down to the ground.

"Mary," he said again, pulling away and looking down into her eyes, urgency coloring his tone. "You said Dean's missing. What did you mean?"

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Supernatural-Supernatural Season 13

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#10
Mary blinked; she’d been following John right up until ‘my twelve year old son’ and then her face tried to go two directions at once; fury and utter confusion. “First of all, John Winchester, Dean is our son, and you’d do well to remember that he is as much Mary Campbell as he is John Winchester. And John, Dean is…” How old, exactly, was Dean? Quickly, Mary did the math, “Thirty-nine.” Her face twisted again at the number; her sons were older than she was now, at least physically. It was...a difficult thing to get used to, and Mary never really had. They were her boys, her sons, she loved them dearly, but sometimes things like that little fact crept up on her and made her feel… So out of time.

In his arms, Mary didn’t pull away even when he held her tight as though to let her go might mean they’d be separated again. She didn’t want that to happen any more than he did. It was strange; when she’d been brought back, Dean had been no less thrilled to see her, he’d been happy, he had missed her. Sam had been delighted, too.. But Mary had had a hard time coping with it, had left the boys behind to figure things out for herself, and yet here, now, with John, it was different. She didn’t feel like she was out of place, she didn’t feel confused. This felt more right than nearly anything else since she’d been back. “It’s me. It’s you. I thought…” She stopped trying to speak the moment their lips met, kissing him, remembering how it had been, the way it still was. Damn, she loved him.

John asked about Dean, and Mary grew tense again; Dean was in danger, or at very least in trouble. “I mean that an archangel has his body, John. And that angel doesn’t mean him anything good; I don’t know exactly what Michael intends, but I need to find Dean, John, I need to figure out how to get rid of Michael. I need to know he’s okay.”

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#11
John hadn't thought anything of calling Dean "my son." It had been so damn long since there'd been an "our" in that equation that it had just come out out of habit. Dean and Sam were his family, his only family, and that was that.

Not anymore, he supposed. Anyone else and he might have resented it, how she wanted to claim the boys as her own even though she hadn't even seen them grow out of being babies. (Hadn't even seen Dean learn to shoot or how good he was with his brother or how Sammy loved soccer and was reading everything he could get his hand on.) But not Mary. The boys were hers as much as they were hid. He was reminded of that every day, seeing her kindness in Dean and her intelligence in Sam. For so long they'd been near to all he'd had left of her.

"Sorry. Our son," he said, real contriteness coloring his tone, even as his own features folded in confusion. "But whatever you want to call him, the kid was born in '79. He turned 12 a couple months ago." John had nearly forgotten his birthday, and he was sure as hell going to keep that to himself.

He kept his hands resting lightly on her hips, afraid to let her go completely, as he went silent a moment putting together all the disparate pieces she'd told him. He'd heard of time travel, but thinking through that timeline made his head hurt. In the future, Dean wished for his mother to return, and she had, but no okay than the day she'd died. A good number of years younger than John, now. If Dean was 39, that had to be...2018? Still didn't explain what she was doing back in 1991 with John. (He was deliberately not thinking about how she'd thought him dead. It wasn't like not making it to his 60s came as a huge surprise.) Let alone why they were in Kansas or what the hell she meant saying an archangel had his body. He was relieved it wasn't the Dean of his time who was in trouble, at the very least because Dean was supposed to be keeping an eye on Sammy, but that feeling was short-lived because any version of his kid was his damn responsibility.

"All right," he said finally. "Whatever you say is going on, I'll help you. But before I do I've got to get to a pay phone. The boys--our boys," he corrected with a slight smile, "are holed up in a motel room in Sacramento and are probably getting worried sick. Still have no right idea how I ended up in Kansas half a day later." He stopped, realizing he'd missed a few crucial questions. "How long have YOU been here, and why were are you driving my car? What year is it?

Being thrown to Kansas, he could handle. But if he was the one displaced in time--if that tentacled son of bitch had somehow thrown him twenty-odd years in the future--well that sure as shit wasn't good. Dean and Sammy wouldn't be worried sick. Dean and Sam would've been worried sick nearly a lifetime ago then presumed him dead, called Bobby or Jim or Caleb and then moved on and grown up without him. Fuck, if that was what Mary had meant when she'd said be was dead...

"Mary," he added urgently, "what year is it here?"

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Supernatural-Supernatural Season 13

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#12
Of course John hadn’t thought anything of it, in his point in the timeline, Mary was dead. But to Mary, it meant too much to her to let it go. He wasn’t wrong, she hadn’t watched her sons grow up, she hadn’t had the opportunity to help them with their homework or to teach them how to ride a bicycle or drive a car, but they were her sons, and she loved them. As strange as it had been since she had returned to life, to meet her sons who were older than she was, she loved them, they were her boys, her family, and she clung to that, the only source of home and belonging she’d had.

Twelve. To John, Dean was twelve. John thought it was… 1991, or maybe 1992. She gaped at him for a moment, trying to absorb that information even as she rejoiced in the fact that John was here, and yes, it really did seem to be him, the real him, her husband, and while she processed that Dean was still out there, missing, and she needed to find him before that god forsaken archangel did something to him, with his body, that couldn’t be undone.

John would help her, and Mary smiled, even if it was thinner, less joyous than it had been, because Dean was in trouble and John didn’t know what year it was, and… The smile slipped away completely, morphing into a frown as he asked his questions. “You didn’t leave them alone… They’re safe…” Because Dean was twelve, and that meant Sammy was only eight, and they needed someone to watch over them. Half a day? Mary’s eyes went distant as she tried to connect all of the dots, face thoughtful, considering. “I’ve been....back...for a little more than a year, John. I’m driving the Impala,” John’s car, though it had been their car for long enough, even if she never considered it her car, “Because I need to find Dean, and he… Didn’t need a car.” Angels. Worse, archangels. She sighed, “It…”

Mary reached out and took John’s hair, “John.” She waited for him to focus on her, just like she always had, even when they were fighting, “It’s 2018.” She looked at him apologetically, understanding how it felt to suddenly be years, decades even, ahead in time from when you last remembered.

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#13
That look of disappointment in Mary's eyes made something inside John twist painfully. He'd told himself for years that Mary would understand, that she'd see he was doing what he had to do, and he'd gotten damn good at quieting that voice in the back of his mind that disagreed.

"They're safe," he promised, needing her to see that it was true, needing to prove it just one more time to himself. "I salted all the windows and doors, left them food and money, and hell, Dean's as good a shot as I am these days. He takes good care of Sammy. Anyway, they'll--they'd have called Bobby or Jim if I didn't show up." He stopped, the horror of it hitting him anew. He had to get home. Maybe this grown-up Dean was in trouble--and he still couldn't wrap his mind around anything Mary'd said about that, angels of all things--but if he didn't get back to his own time...

"I have to get back to '91," he said in a controlled voice, tamping down on his panic by sheer force of will. Wasn't the first time he'd seen everything in his life go to hell. Couldn't help but lean into Mary's touch, though. Still couldn't believe she was real. Driving the Impala around because it was Dean's. He closed his eyes a moment, marshalling his thoughts. "I'll find out how I got here. And I'll find out how to get back. I'll help you save your Dean, your grown up Dean..." he reached out and cupped her face in his have, needing just to feel her, "but this comes first. I'll be damned before I let our boys grow up alone."

He'd find a way home. He had to. There was lore on time travel, monsters and magic, and he'd do what he had to do. There was no alternative and he had to believe that.

Then a new question surged up in him, and he was terrified for the answer but couldn't not say it. "Mary, if I--when I find a way back. Will you come with me?"

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Supernatural-Supernatural Season 13

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Eve

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#14
For most of her youth, Mary had told herself that she'd get out of the family business, that she'd settle down and live a normal life. To think that her death had been the reason that her boys had ended up as hunters, that her sweet, loving John had turned into a hunter. Damn that yellow-eyed bastard. But all of this was the past. She knew what had happened. Dean had told her all of this. There was just no point in dwelling on any of it. Still, it helped, it relaxed something in her to hear John say they were safe.

Dean was as good a shot as John. Mary's jaw clenched at the statement, said so confidently. Dean was twelve! He shouldn't have to be a good shot! John had salted the motel room. Reaching up, Mary scrubbed her face with the palms of her hands, trying to move past how Dean and Sam had grown up. It was the past; there was nothing she could do about it. About any of it.

John had to get back to the boys in the past. Of course. He had gone off on hunting trips, disappearing for days. But Mary knew that it didn't mean that the boys hadn't worried. That they hadn't been afraid for their father. Calm, steady, many ask John gently, "How long do they expect you to begone this time?" she even managed to keep the judgement,or at least most of it, out of her voice. They would get John home. and then Mary would find Dean and help him. She would bring him home.

Would she go back with him? Wouldn't that change everything? She knew too little about time travel to know for sure. "I... think we should get to the Bunker. Maybe Castiel will know how to get you home. And maybe he'll know if me going with you would do more harm than good." She met her husband's eyes, "Because I'd like to, John. I'm just not sure if it's wise." Though really, she had the chance to change their upbringing, at least a little. To erase some of those most painful memories of Dean's, to allow him and Sam to grow up with her, with their mom and their dad, and maybe to keep... "We should talk to Castiel."

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