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Help Me Forget

Title: Help Me Forget
Author:auntmo9 
Rating:PG-13
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Gen
Characters:Dean, Sam, Ben, Lisa, Loki/Gabriel
Spoilers:Goes AU at some point during 3.02 The Kids Are Alright and there are some direct quotes (in italics) from this episode.
Warnings: Character deaths, but with the Trickster around what does that really mean?
Word Count: 2435
Disclaimer:I do not own Supernatural or any of the characters. Word Count:
Summary:When Ben experiences a tragedy, Dean offers him comfort and encouragement. But Sam isn’t the only one concerned that Ben and Dean are growing too close as the time nears for Dean’s deal to come due.

A/N: Based on a lyric prompt/exchange from princess_aleera . All mistakes are mine. Song is Novocaine by Little Big Town. We were both supposed to write a fic based on the same lyric and publish them at the same time. But she has been swamped with a variety of things, including a trip to China, and now to the Amazon. So she has graciously allowed me to publish mine to coincide with chapter 7 of Gabriel, Interrupted (see note below).

 A/N 2: While this can stand alone as a one-shot, it also serves as companion piece to chapter 7 of Gabriel, Interrupted, another fic I have out. In essence, this little one-shot's existence helps prove that Gabriel is telling the truth about something. To find out more about that, you would have to read that story.

 Now, come on, let me kiss and make it better
And better ain't the best I can do

I'll take your wrong and make it right
Take your load and make it light
Dry your eyes and you can bet
Any hurt that you remember, gonna help you forget

Make you numb to the pain;
Hey, I'll be your Novocaine

Cicero, Indiana

 He held the boy’s hand as they stood at the gravesite. Everyone else had left almost an hour ago. Even Sam was waiting back in the Impala. The boy hadn’t said a word all day. Not that Dean could blame him. He hadn’t spoken for months when his mother had died.

 But then Ben surprised him. “She’s dead because of me.”

 Dean knelt down and looked Ben in the eye. “It’s not your fault, Ben. It was that monster who killed her.” Dean had already done his best to explain to Ben what had happened. Not that he had wanted the young man to know about the evils of the world. But the truth was better than letting him blame himself for the rest of his life.

 “But she thought…she thought it was me who killed her,” Ben stammered as tears rolled down his face.

 Dean pulled the boy into a tight hug. “No, she didn’t. She knew it wasn’t you. She knew it could never have been you.” Truth be told, Dean blamed himself, too. He was so caught up getting the kids safely out of the basement that they hadn’t killed the mother changeling in time to save Lisa from the fake Ben. If he and Sam had divided their efforts more evenly, then maybe Lisa would be alive, and he and Ben would have one less thing in common.

 “It looked just like me, though. And, it was the last thing she ever saw,” Ben persisted.

 Dean ran a hand over his face and through his hair. Damn kid was too grown up for an eight year old. And how could he convince the kid it wasn’t his fault that his mother was dead, when he himself had done the same thing when his own mother had died?

 “But it didn’t act like you. She knew,” Dean sighed. They stood in an uncomfortable silence for a few more minutes. “Are you ready to go?”

 “Do we have to go back to my house? I don’t want to be around everyone else right now.” Besides the freaked out neighbors, who were all in denial over the odd deaths in the small community, Lisa’s parents and sister Michelle had come into town for the funeral from Quincy, Illinois, and had been taking care of Ben for the last few days.

 “I am with you there, kid. Let’s say you, me and Sam go up the road to the diner,” Dean offered. “Sound good to you?” Ben nodded his agreement and the two of them made their way back to the Impala to join Sam. Dean started the car and didn’t even bother to turn on the music. Sam just stared at him for moment.

 “I take it we aren’t headed back to the house right away?” Sam ventured.

 “Nah,” Dean answered. “We decided we wanted our own adventure for a little while longer.” As Dean drove away from the cemetery, none of them noticed the figure lurking in the shadows of the cemetery who had watched the whole scene transpire with more than just a passerby’s curiosity.

 Dean pulled up to the diner and they all piled out of the car. Once settled into a booth, Ben realized he really wasn’t that hungry.

 “You sure, kid?” Dean asked. “The pie here is pretty good.” Ben just looked down at the table, but Dean went ahead an ordered pie for both of them.

 “Pie is amazing,” Dean explained when it came. “While cake is good, pie is so much better. It’s not just there for the good celebrations like cake. No, pie is even there for you to offer comfort in the worst of times.”

 “When did you become philosophical?” Sam asked.

 “Dude, it’s pie,” Dean answered, as if that was the only explanation ever needed, and Ben let out the tiniest of laughs.

 “Can I come with you, Dean? I don’t want to stay with my Aunt Michelle. She doesn’t understand stuff like you do.” Ben looked up hopefully at Dean, wanting to be around someone who knew what really happened to his mother.

 He knew this was a possibility, when he and Sam had agreed to take care of Ben until Lisa’s family could get here. That Ben would become attached to him. That he would become attached to Ben. It couldn’t have come at a worse time, or a better one. By experience, he knew the hunting life was no life for a kid. And he knew his own life had a limited lease on it. He didn’t want to put Ben through either of those things. But he always wondered if he was truly able to care about anyone else other than himself or Sammy. Now he knew. And as much as it pained him to think about leaving Ben behind so soon, it also brought no small comfort to think that they had grown so close in such a short amount of time. Even if Ben wasn’t his son by blood, he was already feeling as if he could easily call him his own.

 “Look Ben, the life Sam and I live, well, we are on the road all the time. We don’t have a home. That wouldn’t be good for you. I should know. I grew up that way, and it sucked,” Dean shared with Ben.

 Ben was crestfallen, but he didn’t argue. Dean didn’t want Ben to give up and as much as he knew what was coming, he offered up one ray of hope to the kid.

 “But, you can call me whenever you want...me and Sammy.” It was only a partial lie, Dean thought. For once he was gone, Sam would still be around, and maybe they could lean on one another.

 It turned out that letting Ben go hadn’t been as easy as Dean thought it would be. When Ben realized he couldn’t come with Dean on the road, he also realized he couldn’t stay in the home where his mother had been murdered. So he quickly agreed to move into his aunt’s home in Quincy. And Dean realized he still wanted to see Ben whenever he could. The boy seemed to bring him comfort and help him forget the dark days that lie ahead. So any time he and Sam had a job to do that took them across the country, Dean found an excuse to drive through Quincy, so that he could stop and see Ben. He would attend his baseball games, school functions or just stop in for dinner if they could manage it. When Ben accomplished something, Dean couldn’t help but feel a surge of pride. And when Ben fell off his bike and broke his arm, Dean wanted to drop everything and rush to Illinois to check on him.

 For the first that Sam could remember, he and Dean celebrated Christmas, though it was with Ben, his aunt Michelle and his grandparents. Dean bought real presents for both Sam and Ben, not some last minute thing he found at the gas station. For Sam, Dean purchased a collection of first edition novels that he had picked up at an estate sale, as well as gift card for one of those computer places he was always drooling over. For Ben, not only did Dean buy him a guitar, but he also secured him several weeks of guitar lessons from a local teacher. Sam was pleased, but Ben was so excited that he immediately tried to start playing the instrument, without the benefit of the lessons. They had dinner with Ben’s family and when Dean even agreed to go to church with them on Christmas Eve, you could have knocked Sam over with a feather. It was the closest thing to a real family celebration that Sam and Dean ever had.

 While Sam was thrilled to have celebrated a real Christmas for the first time since, well, ever, he was extremely worried about what would happen to Ben, should their efforts to find a way out of Dean’s crossroads deal prove fruitless.

 “Look, Dean, I’m not saying I’m ready to give up,” Sam sighed. “I don’t think we’ve exhausted all of our options. But you were the one months ago, right after Lisa’s funeral, that didn’t want to get too close to Ben for this very reason. He is as close to you as you are to him. Do you really want him to go through losing someone again if we don’t find a way out of it?”

 Dean just sat in the car fuming. “Shut you cake hole Sammy. We are not having this conversation right now.”

 Broward County, Florida

 Sam had to relive the same Tuesday with the horror of watching Dean die every day, over and over again, more times than he could count, without being able to stop it. Meanwhile, each time Dean died, he was whisked away, in a fashion similar to A Christmas Carol without the accompanying ghost, and he was forced to see how his death impacted Ben. Each time seemed to be more cruel and twisted, and Dean was starting to look almost as haggard as Sam when they ate breakfast each morning. There was the time Ben was told by his Aunt Michelle that Dean died and he ran to his room, slammed the door and didn’t come out for over a week. Or the time the school bully told Ben “who cares if some loser homeless guy who wandered across the country died, the world is probably better off without him” and Ben punched the kid then got suspended from school. Next, Ben was caught shoplifting candy at the local grocery store. The time after that, Dean had to watch him start sneaking beer from the fridge, at eight years old. But the worst for Dean was when Ben ran from the house, grabbed his bike and haphazardly rode it through street, tears in his eyes, not paying attention to traffic. He didn’t see the car headed for the intersection. He never had a chance. Dean couldn’t stand the thought of Ben dying because of him.

 So when Sam told Dean that he thinks he figured out who’s behind the horrible time loop they have found themselves in, Dean is more than ready to kick his sorry ass. They followed the trickster out of the diner that morning and confronted him in the alley, Sam all but ready to stab him.

 “So this is fun for you? Killing Dean over and over again?” Sam accused the Trickster.

“One, yes. It is fun,” Loki chortled. “And two? This is so not about killing Dean. It is about making both of you watch. You, Sam. Watching your brother die, every day? Forever? And Dean-o, having to see the kid tormented because you are gone? Priceless!”

A low growl emitted from Sam throat. “You son of a bitch.”

“How long will it take you muttonheads to realize?” Loki scoffed. “Sam, you can't save your brother. No matter what. And Dean, you aren’t allowed the comforts of a family, didn’t you get that memo when you made your little deal? You keep growing close to that kid and he will end up getting hurt worse than you.”

“Oh yeah?” Sam shot back. “I kill you, this all ends now.”

“Oh-oh, hey, whoa! Okay. Look. I was just playing around. You can't take a joke, fine. You're out of it. Tomorrow, you'll wake up and it'll be Wednesday. I swear.”

“No. Wait a minute,” Dean interrupted. “If you can send us back in time, then I want to go back farther than yesterday. I want you to send us all the way back, to Cicero. Before Ben became attached to me. Stop this before he really gets hurts.

“Sorry, Dean-o. Can't have that. How do I know you just won’t walk down memory lane all over again?”

“Look, I’ve learned my lesson,” Dean pleaded. “Just send us back and make this right. I want to protect my family from getting hurt.”

“Your family?” Loki mocked. “That kid is not your family.”

He is as good as my family,” Dean barked. “What would you know about family anyway?”

Don’t you dare presume to think that you know anything about me or my family,” Loki threatened, before raising his hands and snapping his fingers.

Cicero, Indiana

 The next thing they knew, Sam and Dean were back in a basement full of kids in Indiana. This time, they weren’t going to make the same mistakes. They already knew where the mother changeling was, so Sam went to ambush her with the flame thrower, while Dean concentrated on getting Ben and the other kids out of the basement. With the kids out safely and the changeling dead, they rushed to Lisa’s to make sure she was alright.

 Dean was relieved that things had turned out much different this time around, though he didn’t relish explaining to Lisa what exactly it was that he did for a living. He also really wanted to know if Ben was his or not. He knew she had already told him once that he wasn’t his. But despite everything that happened, he had still grown close to Ben. Even if he did die, if there was any chance he was Ben’s father, he wasn’t going to leave him without family. Sam would make sure of that. But Lisa once again, said that Ben was not his.

“I swear you look disappointed,” Lisa observed.

“Yeah, I don't know,” Dean answered. “It's weird, you know your life... I mean, this house and a kid... it's not my life. Never will be. Some stuff happened to me recently, and, uh... anyway, a guy in my situation, you start to think, you know. I'm gonna be gone one day, and what am I leaving behind besides a car? I don't know”.

“Ben may not be your kid,” Lisa offered, “but he wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for you. That's a lot if you ask me.”

“You know, just for the record,” Dean paused, “... you got a great kid. I would have been proud to be his dad.”

As Dean turned to leave, Lisa reached up and kissed him. He turned away before she could see the tears forming in his eyes. He realized that Lisa would never know how much the time he had spent with Ben had meant to him, because in her life, that had never happened. But for him, it made some of the darkest months of his life, a little bit brighter.

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auntmo9
Melissa (Mo)

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