Word Count: 15,808
Characters/Pairings: Gen, past Arthur/Gwen
Warnings: Violence towards children, character death
Spoilers: Spoilers through series five of Merlin, AU season four of Supernatural
Summary: Centuries after his death, destiny calls Arthur Pendragon forth to fulfill his duty as the Once and Future King. But Arthur is also a Winchester now. Destiny won’t know what hit it.
Author’s Notes: I want to thank chosenfire28 for running this challenge. And to finnickodair, your artwork is awesome, and gorgeous. Thank you so much for picking my story. :)
Dean was tired. A bone deep weariness had settled over him these last few months. Sam was gone, off to live a normal life after the hellish ride that was saving the seals. Logic told Dean that Sam head earned his rest, but he could help resenting him. Dean couldn’t understand how Sam could just walk away from all the monsters still left roaming the world.
They were hunters. They lived to hunt monsters, and died doing it. There was no quitting. But Sam had, and Dean couldn’t.
The empty bottles clinked as he brought the Impala to a stop. It was pouring outside, wind, hail, and sheets of rain battered anything in its path. The radio spoke of possible tornadoes, and told people to stay off the roads. The sky was a soupy green that was occasionally highlighted by streaks of lightning.
The motel he’d found seemed decent. The building looked solid and in good shape. There were a few cars lined up at the room doors. He parked close to the lobby doors and sprinted inside.
The clerk behind the counter greeted him with a bored smile.
“Welcome to Grand Stay Inn,” she said, putting her phone down. “How can I help you?”
Dean shook the water off his jacket as he walked up to the counter. He gave the woman his best friendly smile, too tired to try flirting.
“I need a room,” he said. He reached for his wallet and sifted through the cards. He chose one for a Mr. Nicholas Feranna. He still had some time before he had to trade it in for a new one.
“Sure, just one moment,” she smile. The woman turned to the computer and began putting in the details Dean supplied.
Credit Card run, and receipt signed, Dean took his keycard and ran back to the Impala. Luck was on his side and his room was on the ground floor. He parked before the door and hurriedly retrieved his duffle bag and weapons bag from the trunk.
The motel room was musty, but clean. The queen bed was soft, and the pillows firm. He put the weapons bag on the table and set his duffle on the bedspread.
Wards and salt lines went down next. He even placed a few hex bags around the room for extra security.
Finished, Dean settled on the bed. He turned the television on and then began flipping through the phonebook. He placed a quick order for a pizza before laying back.
He was just getting into an episode of Dr. Sexy he hadn’t seen when a flutter of wings and the spray of cold water got his attention. Castiel stood before him, blocking the screen with a screaming bundle in his arms.
“Cas,” Dean said, jumping up from the bed. “What the hell?”
“Here,” Castiel said as he all but shoved the squirming baby in Dean’s arms.
A tiny red face with nearly white blonde hair greeted him, the kid’s cries making his ears hurt.
“What the fuck is going on?” Dean asked as he began to try and get the baby to stop crying.
“His parents were killed by demons,” Castiel said. “And my brethren were very interested in finding him. I can’t tell you yet why he’s so important, but he needs to be protected.”
“And just what the fuck am I supposed to do with a baby?”
“Raise him,” Castiel said.
Dean nearly dropped the kid in his shock and the crying reached new levels of painful.
“Cas,” Dean said. “I can’t raise a kid.”
“You have to keep him safe,” Castiel said, an edge of panic in his voice. “The same way you did with Sam.”
Dean scowled. “I don’t have a steady job, or a place to live. Hell, I’m not even legally alive.”
“I’ve taken care of that,” Castiel said. He pulled out a large envelope and handed it over.
Dean shuffled the baby to his shoulder and emptied the packet. Inside was a new set of ID’s, social security cards, passports, birth certificates, and a debit card. Dean picked the passport up and eyed Castiel.
“I set it up during the apocalypse,” Castiel said. “In case you and Sam needed to hide in ways I couldn’t help.”
One of the ID’s said Dean Smith.
“It was already in place,” Castiel said with a shrug. “I just tweaked it a little. With the right protection, heaven and hell won’t find you.”
“Cas,” Dean said, tone weary. “I can’t raise a kid.”
Castiel came to stand before Dean, looking every inch the avenging angel he’d been when he’d first pulled Dean from hell.
“You must,” he said, gaze locked onto Dean. “I will not let heaven, or hell, manipulate this child the way they did you and Sam.”
Dean felt his shoulders sag. He then made the mistake of looking at the now sleeping child’s face. It was still blotchy, little round cheeks wet with tears, but the kid was sound asleep, tiny thumb tucked into his mouth. Dean cursed.
“What’s his name?” Dean asked.
Dean nodded and put the ID down on the bed. He slowly, carefully went to the bed and settled the baby down. He snuffled a little before quieting down and letting out a soft snore. Dean took the pillows from the top and placed them on either side to prevent Arthur from rolling off the bed. Then he grabbed his keys and wallet.
“Stay with him,” Dean said. Pulling his jacket on, he took a deep breath. “I need to go pick up supplies.” He paused before leaving, the cold rain spraying his face. “Oh, and pay for my pizza when it arrives.”
When he reached the convenient store, Dean felt like a drowned rat, and knew he looked worse. The clerk eyed him as he went up and down the aisles. Dean was grateful to find a few days worth of baby supplies, diapers, wipes, and food. Anything he couldn’t get now, he’d get tomorrow.
The whole trip took him longer than he’d thought, the weather outside seeming to get worse. When he reached the motel, he turned the engine off and sat, letting the rain pelt the Impala.
Dean didn’t want to go back in there. Through that door was a responsibility greater than any he’d ever faced. He didn’t know how to be a dad.
He had his phone in his hand and Sam’s number dialed before he even registered the action. His brother picked up on the second ring.
“Dean? What’s wrong?”
Dean took a deep breath; his heart feeling like it was trying to fly from his chest.
“Cas gave me a baby.”
Dean had to pull the phone away from his ear.
“Sammy!” Dean yelled, trying to be heard over Sam’s frantic words.
“Kid’s about ten months old. A bunch of demons killed his parents, and the angels were a little too interested in him for Cas’ liking, so he brought him to me.”
There was a pause then he heard Sam let out a slow steady breath.
“What are you going to do?”
“Apparently I get to raise him.” Dean let out a sigh and rubbed his face with his free hand. “Kid’s name is Arthur.”
“You can’t do that, Dean.”
“And why not?”
“Seriously?” Sam said. “You have to ask? How about your lifestyle, and how that’s no way to raise a kid.”
“Plus, you drink way too much,” Sam said, going over Dean’s objections. “And you know nothing about raising a child.”
“Fuck you, Sam,” Dean said before hanging up and turning off his phone. He ignored the pile of empty bottles littering the backseat.
He just couldn’t deal with it right now, not when Arthur needed him. The thought stopped Dean cold. Arthur needed him. He needed him to protect him, to raise him, to be the dad Dean barely remembered having.
“Please don’t let me screw him up,” Dean prayed before getting out of the car and going inside.
Castiel still stood where Dean had left him, his gaze focused on Arthur. Arthur lay on his back, head facing the other wall. Dean slowly walked over, placing his onto the floor. Arthur took in a deep breath, and let it out in a shuddering gust before settling again.
“How is he?” Dean asked. “Really.”
“He will get through this,” Castiel said. “And you will help him.”
“I don’t know if I can do this, Cas,” Dean said. He reached out and ran a finger through Arthur’s soft hair.
“You will not have to do this alone.” Castiel placed a hand on Dean’s shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze.
“Okay,” Dean said. “Welcome to the family Arthur. I’ll do my best not to fuck things up for you.”
He could feel the weight of fatherhood settling along his shoulders, and oddly enough, it felt right.
Sam showed up three days later. Dean opened the door, towel in hand and baby food on his shirt. He pointed one finger at Sam and jabbed him in the chest.
“Not one word,” Dean growled out.
He turned and went back to the table. Arthur was seated in a highchair, bib on and baby food decorating his face. He had it smeared on his arms and in his hair. He currently had his little fingers in his mouth, blue eyes locked on Sam.
“Dean,” Sam said as he sat on one of the beds. “We need to talk.”
“Don’t start again, Sammy,” Dean said as he grabbed a washcloth and started wiping Arthur off.
His shoulders were tense and he kept his voice as calm as he could. He didn’t want to upset Arthur. It was obvious he still missed his parents, and the poor tike had no idea what was going on. Dean was trying to make things as easy for Arthur as possible, but he still cried more often than not. Today, however, had been a good day so far, and Dean didn’t want anyone messing that up.
He put the washcloth down and removed the bib and shirt. Arthur had somehow gotten food all over his chest as well.
“You can’t raise a kid on the road,” Sam said, voice imploring him to see reason.
Dean dropped the washcloth and picked Arthur up. He grabbed some clean clothes and a diaper before disappearing into the bathroom.
Dean could feel his brother’s eyes on him as he stripped Arthur and settled him in the tub seat. Letting the tub fill with a few inches of water, Dean began washing lunch out of Arthur’s hair and ears. Arthur just laughed and tried to cram one of his toys into his mouth. Bath time was hit or miss most days.
Even taking his time, it took him less than five minutes to get Arthur cleaned and dressed. Back in the main room, Dean settled Arthur in his playpen and turned the television on to some weird kiddie show. Arthur ignored it in favor of chewing on his toys. Kid was going to have more teeth soon.
Ignoring Sam, Dean began cleaning up. There was baby gear all over the room, from tiny little shirts to an economy sized box of diapers and wipes. A car seat was next to the bathroom door.
The highchair needed to be wiped down and the clothes would have to be washed. If he left it too long the room would start to smell of old baby food.
Everything was a disorganized mess, and Dean knew he needed to get his act together soon if he was going to do right by Arthur.
“Dean,” Sam tried again.
This time he reached out and grabbed Dean’s arm. He turned, clothes held in one hand, and gave Sam frustrated look.
“I heard you the first fifty times,” Dean said. “I’m keeping him. Cas already has all the paperwork set up.”
“What about school?” Sam said. “And what are you going to do about hunting? Who’s going to watch him?”
“I know what I’m doing,” Dean said.
“And what could you possibly know about babies?”
Dean gave Sam a dark look. “I looked after you, didn’t I?”
“That’s not the same thing.”
Dean crossed his arms over his chest.
“You’re right, it’s not,” he said. “I was just a kid then. Someone should have been looking after both of us.”
“You’re going to raise him the way we were?”
“God, no!” Dean said, horror filling his heart. “Bobby’s gonna help me find a place.”
“Oh,” Sam said. “So you’re giving up hunting.”
“No,” Dean said. “At least not all of it. I can make specialized equipment, man the phones, something. I’ll figure that out once we get settled.”
“You haven’t really thought this out, have you?”
Dean let out a sigh and slammed down the handful of crumpled clothes he was holding.
“Sammy,” Dean said. “He’s only been with me for about four fucking days. Kid still misses his parents for God’s sake. Give me a freaking break here.”
A yellow teddy bear landing at his feet stopped the conversation. Dean turned and spotted Arthur bouncing on his toes. When he noticed Dean, he offered a wide grin and unintelligible babble. Dean went over to the playpen and picked Arthur up.
“Feeling neglected already?” Dean asked. Arthur just shoved another soggy toy in his face.
“Okay, Your Highness,” Dean said as he took the toy. “I get it. You should be the center of attention at all times.”
Sam sighed. “I just don’t want this to end badly.”
“I know,” Dean said. “But if I don’t take him, who will?” Dean gave his brother a rather pointed look. “Heaven and hell have a lot invested in this kid. Cas hasn’t said why that is, but do you really want to leave him at their mercy?”
Sam’s shoulders slumped. “So what are we going to do?”
“You can help Bobby find us a home,” Dean said. “And help protect Arthur.”
Dean shrugged. “That’s all that matters.”