Author’s note: Hello guys, gals and non-binary pals. Here is chapter four - thank you all so much for reading and for the support. It really means a lot to me. I hope you enjoy.
TW - Abuse and gaslighting - please, if this is something that affects you either not read this chapter or be careful.
Word count - 4693
“Okay, everything is okay. Everything is okay right? Please someone in this car tell me that this is okay!”
“Ophelia, don’t worry, everything will be fine. You have Sam, Cas and I and we’re not going to let anything happen to you. I promise.” Dean reassured Ophelia.
“You promise do you? Is that why Cas had to resurrect you in 2008? Because if you ask me that doesn’t sound like a small risk.” Ophelia said to the man that sat on her left.
“Damn it Cas you told her?” Dean said with anger in his voice. He turned to face the angel in the back seat.
“She asked how I knew you both, I didn’t see a reason to lie to her. She is your sister after all. The chances are that I’ll end up bringing her back at some point too.” He replied.
“Hey, how about we don’t say things like that while I’m driving. Do you guys know not to distract the driver or does that not exist in the States?” Ophelia raised her voice above the argument that had erupted between Cas and Dean.
“Do they always bicker like an old married couple?” Ophelia asked Sam.
“Yeah, they do.” He replied in a voice that seemed to say he was tired of it.
The men settled down again. “To be honest, I’d rather die trying to help people than from old age.” Ophelia continued in a softer voice. “If I do help you guys, then I know that that’ll be a risk.”
The car ride was quiet for the rest of the journey.
“Right, now, I’ve not had a chance to warn my mum that we are coming. Cas, would you mind not coming in? I think it might overwhelm her.” Ophelia asked looking into the rearview mirror to make eye contact with the angel.
“Yes, I understand. Would you like me to wait in the car or would you like me to go home?”
“Oh well, that’s completely up to you. Is there anything you need to do?”
“Not really, Ophelia. I will go back to the bunker and wait for one of you to call me.”
“Wait… Can I do that?” Ophelia asked
“Of course you can. I will listen out for your calls now Ophelia. If you had needed an angel beforehand though, I would have been there.” Cas replied.
A smile creeped across her face. It was nice to know that someone was watching over her even if she didn’t know it.
“Can you tell us a bit more about the situation with your mom and her boyfriend?” Sam asked cautiously.
“Hmm… Yeah well now seems like as good a time as any. It’s kind of silly really. Brad, her boyfriend, is a really shit person. While my grandad was alive it wasn’t too bad but since he died six months ago it got worse.” Ophelia took a deep breath and glanced at the photo of her grandad William.
“Brad was emotionally abusive to me. I think he has been physically abusive to my mum and if he hasn’t yet I think he will. It got really bad once Grandad wasn’t there to protect us.”
Dean reached out and patted Ophelia on the knee in reassurance. She continued. “About five months ago we got into an argument, I can’t even remember what it was about, and he threatened to kick me out. Mum wasn’t strong enough to stand up to him. So, I left.”
“You said you were mending things with you mom though right?” Sam asked, hoping he was remembering right.
“Yeah, the day I replied to your letter I stayed at her place that night. We talked, I don’t know if she really took in what I said but it’s a start.” Ophelia’s smile came back to her face. It occurred to both Sam and Dean that Ophelia was putting on a brave face for them.
Ophelia pulled into the same spot she filled the last time she was outside her mum’s house.
“Well, this is it guys.” She announced turning the car’s engine off.
“It’s a nice looking place. Bigger than I thought it was going to be. I thought all English homes were small and joined up.” Dean remarked.
“This house would have been for someone very wealthy back in the day.” Ophelia said laughing. “Probably an old slave trader as we’re so close to the sea. Grandad picked it up really cheap when him and my grandma were first married. It was in such a state, practically falling apart. He fixed it up.”
She locked the car behind her and they all said goodbye to Cas before he took off. Ophelia hadn’t realised that he made a whooshing sound when he took off.
The three Winchester siblings walked towards the front door. Ophelia had that familiar sick feeling in her stomach again. She hadn’t been home since her mum gave her the letter. It was enough to make her feel light headed.
Dean was the one who knocked on the door. He stood slightly in front of Ophelia while Sam stood behind her.
They all waited for the door to open. Dean looked back at Ophelia and smiled, she looked nervous. This was the first time Dean had felt slightly protective over Ophelia, despite only knowing her in person for half a day.
When he first found out about Ophelia, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to know her, at the end of the day it would be someone else to look after. He considered not telling Sam about the pages about her in a diary he had never seen before. At the end of the day though, he couldn’t keep that secret from Sam.
They talked about it for weeks, going back and forth on if they should send the letter or not. Sam was all for it from day one and once Castiel had said the angels had been keeping an eye on her Dean realised that she could possibly do with knowing about them on their terms and not on some monsters who wanted information.
Ophelia smiled back at Dean and went back to chipping at her deep red nail polish.
A man opened the door, Dean assumed that this was Brad. He was shorter than Dean was and had dirty blonde hair that looked greasy as he had slicked it back.
“Hi Brad.” Ophelia piped up from behind Dean. It was as if she was hiding behind him. “Is my mum there?”
“Ophelia, yes she is. Who are these men?” Brad replied with a strong tone of detest in his voice.
“Oh, we’re her brothers.” Dean said in a commanding voice. He extended a hand towards Brad and continued. “My name is Dean and that’s Sam. I believe what Ophelia is too afraid to ask is can we come in to see her mom?”
Brad cautiously shook Dean’s hand. He winced as Dean gripped his hand tightly.
“Yes, well, um. I believe she is in the garden. I can take you there if you want.” Brad said, trying to regain control of the situation.
“Oh no. That’s okay. I think Ophelia knows the way to the garden in the house she grew up in.” Sam replied in an equally stern voice.
Brad just nodded and stepped aside for the three of them.
Ophelia walked into the house first, followed by Dean and then Sam. She kept her eyes to the ground, not making eye contact with Brad. Dean and Sam didn’t take their eyes off him as they followed Ophelia down the hallway.
When they were alone Sam spoke in a hushed tone. “Are you okay Ophelia? That seemed difficult for you.”
“Yeah, it was Sam. I just don’t need the greef from him today. If you guys weren’t here I know for sure he’d find something to have a problem with.”
“It’s okay. We’re here for you. We’ve got your back.” Dean added.
They continued through the kitchen and out into the garden. As it was about three in the afternoon the winter sun was getting low in the sky.
“Hi mum, what are you doing out here? You’ll catch a cold.” Ophelia said to get her mum’s attention.
Sandra was sitting on a woven outdoor chair, wrapped in a bright yellow blanket. In the low light she looked quite ill and worn down.
The boys stood by the back door while the daughter greeted her mum. It was nice to see a genuine parent and child relationship. Dean didn’t remember when that last happened. He came to the conclusion that it was probably when Bobby was still alive.
“‘Phelia, what are you doing here? I wasn’t expecting you.” Sandra said with a surprised tone.
“Yeah, about that mum, I’d like to introduce you to two people.” Ophelia beckoned Sam and Dean over to her. “These are my brothers mum, this is Sam and that is Dean and we all need somewhere to stay for a few nights.”
Dean reached his hand out. “It’s lovely to finally put a face to the name Ms Humphries.” Dean said. His voice had more of a southern twang now then Ophelia had heard previously.
Sandra shook Dean’s hand. She looked shocked and as if she had seen a ghost.
Sam also extended a hand. “Hi Ms Humphries, Ophelia is a lovely girl. We’re so happy to have her be a part of the family.”
“You both look so much like John…” Sandra said in a soft voice. “I’m so sorry for your loss. I loved him very much and he gave me the most precious thing in this world.” Sandra glanced at Ophelia. “You say that you need somewhere to stay for a few days. I think I can manage that.”
“Are you sure Brad won’t mind?” Ophelia asked sheepishly.
“I won’t give him a choice. Sam and Dean are as good as family and I won’t have him drive away any more of my family.” Sandra had a firmness to her voice that Ophelia had not heard in a few years. “Now, lets get back inside. I’m making a lasagna tonight so you guys came on the right day. ‘Phelia, darling, could you go put the oven on? I’m making homemade garlic bread too.”
The girl gave her mum a deep hug before walking into the house again.
“You boys will look after her won’t you?” Sandra asked.
“Of course we will but I don’t think she needs it Ms Humphries, she seems like an incredibly strong young woman.” Sam replied.
“She is, but I don’t want to lose her. I lost your dad and I cannot lose her too. My dad told me what John had told him, I didn’t believe it but when I talked to John it all made sense.” Sandra admitted to the two men in front of her.
“And you didn’t tell Ophelia?” Dean questioned. “Why?”
“It was for the best, I didn’t want her to go into the industry. I expect that you’ve told her and that’s why you’re here? For protection?”
“Yes ma’am, we had a little scare at the hotel we were staying at. Thought it would be best to come here to regroup.” replied Dean.
Sandra nodded her head, it made sense. Ophelia wouldn’t just turn up out of nowhere unless she had to. She wouldn’t risk it.
The conversation was interrupted by Ophelia calling from the back door. “Hey guys, you might want to come back in as Brad is getting bitchy about how cold it is with the door open.” Her face gave the impression that she didn’t care that much.
Sandra wrapped the blanket around her tighter and headed back inside followed by Sam and Dean.
The afternoon turned into the evening. It was filled with laughter, cooking and childhood memories from all three Winchester children.
“I remember dad teaching both Sammy and I how to drive and oh man, it was bad to begin with. Sandra I don’t know if dad drove you anywhere but that man did not drive well in his old age.” Dean said through laughter.
“Well at least you didn’t have grandad teaching you. Imagine it, I’m 16 years-old and I get into the front seat of his car for the first time and I get this lecture.”
Ophelia composed herself and mimicked her grandad. “Now, Ophelia, this car is my one pride and joy other than your mother and you, but if you scratch her not only will I never talk to you again but I’ll leave her to a local car buff.” She burst into laughter as soon as she finished the impression. “Obviously he was joking, but it was enough to make me do fifteen in a twenty mile an hour zone.”
“He gave me that same speech when I learned to drive!” Sandra added. Ophelia could see genuine joy and happiness on her mum’s face, this wasn’t something she was used to seeing.
A timer pinged and Ophelia stepped away from the large oak table that stood in the kitchen. She picked up a tea towel and pulled out the fresh baked bread. She carried it over to her family and placed it on a board in the center of the table.
“That smells amazing Sandra.” Sam said.
“Oh, you’re too kind, it’s a simple recipe really. Have I taught you how to do it ‘Phelia?”
“Yeah, mum, it’s in the recipe book you made me last year.”
“Can you keep it down. Please. Some of us still have work to do.” Brad interrupted the jovial mood. He works from home occasionally.
“Sorry, Brad. We’ll keep it down.” Sandra’s face dropped at the request.
“I expect you to. Unlike some, I have an actual job that isn’t just a glorified hobby.” He replied. He gave a stern look at Sandra and headed back to his office.
“What was that about?” Dean asked cautiously. He knew something was not quite right about this whole situation and could understand why Ophelia was so uneasy about leaving her mum alone with Brad.
“Mum is an artist. In recent years her business has taken off, she makes prints and paintings as well as jewelry and soft furnishings like bedspreads and stuff.” Ophelia remarked with great pride.
Sandra looked at her daughter’s face and smiled. “I’ve even been talking about branching off into interior design. Everyone compliments me on how I’ve designed this home so why not do it in other people’s homes too.”
“Well I think that deserves a toast!” Dean said. “What drinks do you guys have in?”
“Well, we have real British ale, Scottish whiskey and Irish whisky as well as some other spirits. Oh and there is a cider in here, no idea how long that has been here.” Ophelia said while ratcheting around in the cupboards and fridge.
“I’ll have some Scottish whiskey please Ophelia.” Sam said. She filled a glass with a large measure and passed it to him.
“I’ll have one of the ales kiddo.” Dean said. Sam looked shocked at this. “What? You were the one who said when in Rome right?” Sam just shrugged his shoulders at his brother.
Ophelia poured a glass of white wine for herself and Sandra. “Hold on there kiddo, wine? At your age?” Dean said slightly shocked.
“Dean, the drinking age here is eighteen. I’ve been having alcohol from probably the age of sixteen. It’s okay man, I’m almost 20.” Ophelia replied.
Dean looked embarrassed and raised his glass. “To newly found family and new business ventures.” They all clinked glasses in celebration.
The night continued on. Brad said he was too busy to join them for dinner so he took a plate of food to his office. Ophelia was annoyed by this. Her mum had put so much work into making everyone feel welcome in their home. Secretly, she did like it that he wasn’t there. She could relax.
It was getting late and Ophelia felt herself getting more tired. It was probably the wine that she had, it always made her sleepy.
“I can show you guys to the spare rooms if you want?” Ophelia said, hoping the boys will pick up on the hint she was dropping.
Sam did pick up on it. “Yeah, sure that would be great. Lets go get our bags.”
The three of them headed towards the front door. “Oh are you guys leaving so soon? We didn’t spend any time together.” Brad said pretending to care.
“Actually, we’re just going to get our bags from the car. We’re staying a few nights.” Sam replied.
“That’s odd. Sandra didn’t run this by me.”
“Does she have to? I mean, it is her house and we are family.” Dean added to the conversation.
“No you’re not family, Ophelia is family and she doesn’t even stay here do you Ophelia?” Brad stared at the girl.
“Anyway, that’s beside the point. Sandra has said we’re staying for a few nights and as this was her fathers house and not yours.” Dean continued. His voice was harsh and protective against Brad’s confidence.
Accepting defeat this time, Brad turned and walked into his office which was just off the main hallway.
Sam opened the door as they headed towards the car. Once outside Ophelia thanked her brothers. “It means a lot to me for you guys to stick up for me like that. He really knocked my confidence when I left and I know my mum isn’t as strong as she used to be. Every time I go to open my mouth I stop because I know I can’t win.”
“Don’t worry about it Kiddo, like we said, we’re always going to be there for you.” Dean ruffled her hair, disturbing the curls which now found themselves in Ophelia’s eyes.
She reshaped her hair and playfully slapped her brothers hand away from her hair. She had known these two men for all of nine hours and yet it felt like they had known eachother since birth.
After collecting their stuff from the car, Ophelia showed the boys to their rooms. “If you want clean towels there are some in the bottom draw in Sam’s room. Oh and if you get cold there are blankets in the airing cupboard in the bathroom.”
“Hey, Ophelia, sit with us. We should start talking about what we’re going to do.” Sam said in a soft, caring voice.
Ophelia nodded slightly and sat cross legged on the end of the bed next to Sam. Dean perched himself against the draws on the wall opposite the door. The tree looked at eachother, unsure who should talk first.
Sam took the first step into a new conversation. “We don’t feel comfortable leaving you sleeping in your car or in random hotels.”
“It’s not that bad, it gets a little cold at times but it’s not too bad.” Ophelia said, she was fiddling with her hands, picking at her nail vanish again.
“We know exactly how bad it can be. Don’t pretend with us kid.” Dean said “We had eachother so it wasn’t too bad. You don’t have anyone when you’re out there.”
Ophelia shrugged “What do you suggest I do?” Her voice was wobbly.
“Well, there are two options. You either promise us to move back in with you mom.” As Sam said this he saw Ophelia tense up slightly. Brad really frightens her more than she outwardly lets on. “Or” Sam continued. “Or, you come to America with us.”
She looked up at Sam and then at Dean. “You guys can’t be serious… I can’t just up and move. What about school? And mum, what’s going to happen to her? I can’t leave her here on her own.”
“Well then, looks like you’re moving back home then.” Dean said with some humour in his voice.
“Dean this is serious. You both hardly know me and you’d take me in?” She ran her fingers through her black curls, unsure what to say next.
“You said school is online right? So you can do it from anywhere with an internet connection. The bunker has that. As far as your mom goes, she’ll be fine as long as she doesn’t move house. We can get Cas to drop in on occasion too if that makes you feel better.” Sam made the argument for the move.
“Can I sleep on it? This is a lot to take in… It’s been a long day.” Ophelia finally replied.
“Look, take a few days if you need. We will stay with you until you have made up your mind.” Sam said.
Dean nodded in agreement. Ophelia got the impression that they really wanted her to go with them.
“Won’t it be dangerous?” She asked.
“Most likely, but don’t think you’re coming out with us on hunts until we both think you’re prepared. I’d personally be more than happy for you to never come on a hunt with us.” Dean emphasized the point of being prepared.
Ophelia would love to go out with them at some point but she understood that she is both mentally and physically not capable of doing that at this moment.
“Look, it’s getting late, go get some rest kiddo, and we will talk more in the morning.” Dean said.
Ophelia stood from the bed and wrapped her arms around Dean. This didn’t take Dean by surprise but what did was how small she was. She was much smaller than he thought she was, he had met women her size before but none that looked as delicate and helpless. He leaned into the hug and placed his chin on the top of her head.
She let go of Dean and hugged Sam who had also stood up from the bed. Sam put his right hand on the back of her head to hold his baby sister close. He had always wanted a little sister and was secretly loving every moment of being in Ophelia’s life.
Sam squeezed Ophelia just for a little longer before letting her go. She headed towards the door but before she left she turned back towards the brothers.
“Thank you both. I’ll see you in the morning, sleep well.” The two men nodded in response.
Ophelia headed back towards her room but before she could get to the door a noise distracted her.
“You let them stay? Two strange men that Ophelia brings over and you let them stay?”
“Brad don’t be ridiculous, they’re her brothers. I’m not going to say no to them.”
An argument had erupted between her mother and Brad. Ophelia sat half way down the stairs so she could hear what was going on.
“You didn’t have the decency to run it past me. How am I meant to trust you if you’re just letting any Tom, Dick or Harry stay.”
“Again, they’re her brothers and she trusts them and if they’re anything like their father they’re good natured men.” Sandra fired back. Ophelia hadn’t heard her mum talk back to Brad like this ever. She was proud of her mum.
“Oh, like their father huh? You mean the man who left you with a newborn baby to go back to his family in America?”
“We both agreed he should go back. That was a mutual thing that took a lot of talking about. Do not speak on things you don’t understand.”
Ophelia was peering through the bars on the banister to try and get a better look at the argument.
“Well, Sandra it seems like you’re getting everything your way, like usual. You have no thought for anyone but yourself. You’re a selfish woman.”
That was the last straw for Ophelia. She ran down the rest of the stairs to be by her mum’s side. “You need to leave Brad. Get out of this house.” She said with a confidence that seemed to come out of nowhere.
“Oh is that right Ophelia? I need to leave do I? We already kicked you out once and we will do it again.”
“No, there was no ‘we’ in that situation Brad. You kicked her out and I was too scared to stand up to you. It was my biggest mistake.” Sandra used the confidence her little girl had shown to stand her own ground.
“Oh come on Sandra, you’re a grown woman, you can stand up for yourself.” Brad said with a cocky smirk on his face.
“No, not if she’s scared of the abuse you’d give her.” Ophelia grabbed her mum’s hand and squeezed it. “Mum, go up and see Sam or Dean. Brad is going to need help taking things to his car.”
“Are you going to let this child talk to me like this Sandra? In our house? There is no way I’m leaving, you’re a spoiled brat who thinks she can always get what she wants.” Brad said with ease.
“My house.” Sandra simply replied.
“This is my house Brad. My family home. Ophelia is right, you need to go and you need to go tonight. Go pack some clothes and some of your things. We can sort the bigger items once you’ve got a more permanent place to stay.”
Sam slowly walked down the stairs to see what the commotion was about.
“Is everything okay here Sandra? Ophelia, are you alright?” Sam joined his sister next to Sandra.
“Oh this is just what we need. An American butting in where they don’t belong.” Brad gestured at Sam in disgust. “Listen, Sandra, you’re blowing everything out of proportion. We can work things out.”
“No, you’re leaving today. I’m done with all the abuse. Go pack.” Sandra squeezed Ophelia’s hand for support.
“Right, well, I’ll give you some space for a few days but once you’ve come to your senses and realise that you’re over reacting maybe give me a call and I’ll think about moving back in.” Brad replied.
By this point Dean had joined the group “Do you need help?” he said feigning sympathy.
“I think I can manage thank you. I don’t expect I’ll need much as I won’t be gone for long.” Brad said as he walked passed the group and up the stairs.
Ophelia hugged her mum tightly. “I’m so proud of you.” She whispered into Sandra’s hair. “I know that was hard for you but it’s for the best.”
“I never thought I would be able to stand up to him like that.” Sandra whispered back.
“I think we should move into the kitchen so we’re not just standing next to the door.” Sam said. Ophelia let go of her mum and took her by the hand. All four of them moved from the hallway to the kitchen.
A short time later Brad came down the stairs, dragging a large suitcase behind him.
Dean gets up from the kitchen table and heads towards the front door.
“Now, I don’t want to be hearing that you’ve wormed your way back into Sandra’s life.” Dean said while leaning up against the wall.
“I’ll be back, Sandra won’t cope without me.”
“You seem to not know her very well. I’ve known her for all of an evening and she seems to have a plan for herself and her future. I mean, have you even talked to her about her plans?”
“Oh her silly art business? Please, that’s a glorified hobby.” Brad snorted. “Don’t humour her.”
“I think that it’s time for you to go. If you can’t support her passion and business then you don’t deserve to be with her.” Dean replied. He pushed passed Brad and opened the front door. He gestured to the darkness outside.
Brad took his suitcase and walked towards his small silver car.
“Oh before you go. I’ll take your house keys too.” Dean said.
Brad chucked the keys at Dean before getting into his car.
Dean slammed the door and walked back into the kitchen. He placed the keys in front of Sandra before sitting back down. Ophelia hugged her mum one last time.
“Everything is going to be okay mum, I promise.”