Lisa awoke before the alarm went off. Dean had an arm and leg wrapped around her. She lay in the dark room, listening the quiet. She could feel his breath against her neck where had somehow managed to nuzzle. She decided to wait on the alarm and just enjoy the moment.
It wasn't too long before the abrasive sound of the alarm went off, letting the room's occupants know it was time to get up and moving. The room was warm and the smell of baking bread filling the wings of the house.
Dean moved slowly and reached over to turn off the alarm. He moved back towards the woman next him and reached for her. She put a hand on his bare chest, leaned over, and gently kissed him. "It's 4:30. You and Near are leaving at 5:00?"
"Mmmhmmm," he said, rubbing his eyes after kissing her back. "I should get a quick shower and changed. The last thing I want is to be late and make him think I've forgotten."
"Dean, you had a nice hot bath a few hours ago. Thirty minutes isn't a long time. Going out into that weather after a shower? It's not a good idea, hon."
Dean looked at the woman next to him and smiled. He climbed out of the bed and went to gather clean clothes. She watched his naked back side and and the bow legs and smiled.
"Yeah, you're right, Lis," he said, going to wash his face after laying out clothing for his outing with the young genius.
For fifteen minutes, Lisa watched him dress and locate his wallet and keys. He leaned back over the bed and kissed her. "Love you, Lis." He headed for the door.
Near was waiting in the main room, dressed in his usual with a pair of white tennis shoes on. A pair of white outdoor type boots and coat were waiting for him as he patiently waited, seated in a chair
Dean left his wing and saw the young teen. He grinned. "I'll be ready in just a couple of minutes. I'm going to get my gear. We'll need to let the ATV heat up a minute. I'll go on out and do that . I'll call when it's had time defrost the windows and heat up inside. I don't want you getting cold and making you sick."
The genius nodded, white curls dancing a bit as he did so. "Near will put the coat and boots on as well," he said softly.
The older man returned a few minutes dressed for outside. He had the keys in one hand and was reaching for the door knob with the other. "I'll call your cell when it's ready." He headed out the door, surprised by the amount of snow on the plowed parking area. His brows raised slightly, and he headed towards the ATV.
Near managed to get into the snowboots, wrinkling his nose a bit at how clumsy it was to get tennis shoed feet into them but Watari had insisted. He wrapped the heavy white scarf around his throat and put on the white mittens before slipping into the heavy white coat.
The sky was clearing with just a few flakes falling to the ground Dean had not checked the weather since the morning. He knew just how bad it could get, but the clearing skies were a surprise to him. He unlocked the ATV and climbed up into it. Placing the key into the ignition, he started the engine and let it heat up. After a few minutes, he turned on the defrosters. All of the windows were heavy with snow and ice. It would take a little while to be able to see. He reached into the glove box and found a scraper. After about ten minutes, Dean climbed back out of the vehicles and began the job of scraping off all of the windows. He felt half frozen by that point, but it was done. He climbed back into the vehicle and turned on the heater at full blast.
Near waited patiently, flipping through something on his cell phone as he did
Dean called Near's cell and told him he was out front. He drove over to the door to keep the younger teen from having to go far in the freezing weather. He had put a stereo system in the car and was playing AC/DC in the tape player, knowing Sam would have a fit that it was a tape player. He grinned at it and tapped the CD player that was also in the dash, thinking that Sammy should be grateful that he had added both.
The white clad youngling headed outside, almost blending in with the snow and gray surroundings. He opened the door and climbed in, his short height making it a bit difficult to do so. Finally, he made it and fastened the seat
Dean watched the struggle, fighting the urge to get out and lift the boy up into the vehicle. He knew better. Near was a young man who had a right to his own independence. He would find a way to broach the subject and see if Near would mind the help. After the boy was belted in. Dean grinned at him and asked, "Are you ready?"
"Near is ready," he said, checking something on his cell phone screen. The models each of the boys had were top of the line, just as L's and Watari's were. The teen put the item into a pocket, leaning back slightly.
The older man put the vehicle in gear and slowly pulled out of the parking area and onto their private road. "Is it warm enough for you?" Dean turned to look at the teen sitting next to him.
"It is," he murmured to him. "Near was checking weather reports a moment ago. It is a good thing this vehicle was chosen."
Dean looked out at the stars in the sky. It was colder than earlier. "Clear skies mean temperature drops? Are we gonna have more storms coming? If the temps drop badly, we could be having ice storms."
"Another set of storm cells are anticipated to arrive around midnight in this time zone," he answered. "I texted Watari to advise about that and ensure the house was prepared in case this was more ice than snow."
Dean sighed, "I just know that Doc, Nancy, Erica, Elspeth, and Andy are meeting us in the city tomorrow. We are picking tuxes up tomorrow, and there's a dinner at a restaurant. I rented the whole place, Near. No other guests will be there." Dean was quiet for a moment thinking that, with what he had planned, he didn't want anyone else there.
"If the weather does not hold, that would not be advisable. Snow is one thing; ice can be very treacherous indeed," he murmured.
Near could not read Dean's face from the side but could tell the man was tense. Dean finally relaxed a little and said, "Yeah, I know. It's just that....," his voice trailed off. A few more minutes passed. "It doesn't matter, I guess."
The teen was quiet for a moment. "Move the group into town tonight," he suggested. "There is a hotel not far from the restaurant ."
Well, I had reservations at the same place we stayed before. I could call and extend it, but will the others be able to come if we do that? Dean reached for his cell phone and called Nancy, figuring that she could let him know."
Come to find out that Near's suggestion was a good idea. Both Nancy and the doctor had ATVs and would collect the group to head into the city tonight
before the storm broke.
Dean called the hotel explaining the situation. The rooms were definitely available. He had a room for Sam and Sarah, Bobby, L, Watari, Matt, Matt, Mello, Near, The doctor, Nancy and Erica, Elspeth and Andy, and for Lisa, Ben and him. He put in a call to Sam. When the phone picked up he said, "Hey, Sammy?"
"Yeah, Dean? Aren't you supposed to be on your way to town?"
"Yeah, Sam, but it's clear skies this evening and the temperatures are dropping fast. Near says there are more storms coming after midnight. Watari is making sure everything is safe because of possible ice storms. I called and talked to Nancy. She called me back. Doc and Nancy have ATV's and they are going to pick all of you up. Elspeth and Andy will be with them. We'r going into the city tonight. If you would ask Watari and Lisa to pack for Near and I, we'll meet you there. I've already given the hotel my card number. They know I may be later then you. There's no problem. They kinda remember us."
He chuckled. "That would be why Watari had us packing up a bit ago. I suspect your passenger passed the news on to his guardian while you were making the calls earlier. He just didn't say why. We'll see you later tonight. Have fun ok?"
Dean laughed, "Okay, Sam. We will. He rides pretty good shotgun. I'll see you later tonight." Dean put his cell on the console between the seats and concentrated on the road. In another twenty minutes, they were in town. It took another ten to get through the lights to the outskirts on the other side of town. He finally pulled into a large parking lot. Near could see the Steak and Ale sign. The restaurant looked like an old house. "We're about ten minutes early, but the parking lot doesn't look very busy. Are you ready?"
Near nodded, hood of his coat bouncing a bit as he did so. "Near is ready," he said softly.
They hurried into the restaurant. The inside was almost overpowering. Dean stood still for a second and then pulled his parka back, and took off the cap, his longer hair mussed up by the hat. He walked up to the young woman manning the entrance desk. He stared down at her with his flashing hazel eyes, and grinned one of his most charming smiles. "Hi, I have a reservation for two at six. We're a few minutes early. I would like one of your quieter rooms."
The hostess smiled at the two, smile widening as Near pulled his hood back. "Of course, sir. Actually, I know just the room. Follow me," she said. The boy with him was cute in a very shy way, and she had a feeling that the man's brother, who she thought Near was, probably didn't feel comfortable around people due to his unique coloring.
Dean and Near followed the young woman. Dean leaned over and told Near, "You have a conquest. She lit up when you pulled your hood back. Don't worry about it. She's older then you. She is not gonna say a word with me around. you're safe."
Gray eyes stared up at him in confusion but said nothing as they followed her to a small private dining room. "Here you go, gentlemen. Your server will be Brittany this evening. Enjoy your meal," she said before leaving them. Once alone, Near slid his parka off and draped it over the back of a seat before sitting down in his usual crouch, which was more comfortable to him.
"You can take those snow boots off if you want to. It will be a little more comfortable for you. The shoes will have to stay on though. Health laws. I'm sorry about that. Did I upset you a minute ago?"
Near shook his head as he pulled the snow boots off with a bit of relief. They were too heavy to be comfortable. His pristine ked type sneakers were lighter, though he prefered his socks. "No, Near was confused."
It was Dean's turn to look confused. "Near, I'm sorry. All of you led me to believe you understood things like that? I'm sorry."
"Why was that a conquest? Near did not conquer anything," he said, getting into his comfortable perch as he did so.
"Look, I've flirted with women and slept with a lot of those I've flirted with. You have that innocent look and a lot women like that. When you pulled your hood back, that hostess lit up like a Christmas tree on a dark night. If you had been alone or were older then you are, she would have come on to you. You can bet on it." Dean smiled as a young woman in a black slacks, white shirt, and black bow tie, set water on the table and asked what they would like drink and would they like an appetizer.
I'd like a bottle of you best red wine. Near?" Dean opened the menu and looked at the appetizers. "See anything in the appetizers you want to try? They have mushrooms in a wine sauce. I'd prefer those with a meal though. What do you think, Near?"
Near ordered a glass of water for himself as he was still considered underage and while Watari wasn't as strict on some things, alcohol and restricted substances were on a banned list. He looked at the food, shaking his head a bit in confusion. The school usually had healthy fare but also catered to the unique needs of each child under their roof. L existed on sugar and caffiene, Mello on chocolate based foods, and Near was more into junk food when he nibbled outside of the cafeteria. "Near is unsure," he murmured.
Dean looked at Near and considered what everyone would think. "Forget the wine and bring a bottle of sparkling cider and two glasses. Also one of your sampler plates for two. You might as well have some to go boxes. Neither of us eats a huge meal. He's a very light eater. Oh, and make that two glasses of water."
"And for entrees, sir?" They had good sampler plates for appetizers.
Dean looked at the menu and winced. The baked potatoes were usually huge here. If he was going to eat one, he'd want it fully loaded. He looked up "I'll have the Kensington medium. Let me have the rice pilaf. Near, they have a boneless chicken breast with teriyaki type sauce and sliced pineapple on it. There's also some great steaks. Whatever you'd like. Whatever you can't eat, we'll take with us." Dean handed his menu to the waitress and smiled. "How busy is your salad bar? Would we have some privacy when we go out there?"
"Near will have the steak and potato, medium as well," he told her, following what Dean had said but wanting to try the potato instead of rice. He wasn't too fond of rice honestly.
Brittany tilted her head. "If you tell me what you want on the salads, I can fix them for you." Typically they didn't do this, but she had a feeling his request for privacy had to deal with the albino teen with him. The hostess had informed the manager of the request for privacy, which was why this dining room would be left with just them unless it got too busy tonight.
Brittany was able to experience what very few people knew. Dean Winchester's very sweet smile appeared and he thanked her. "Well, I would like the green leaf lettuce if you have it, with some red cabbage in it. You can add tomatoes, red onion, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower. Put some black olives and sunflower seeds on it. I'll have blue cheese dressing. Near, have you eaten much salad? Knowing Watari, at least once in a while?"
"No olives, onions, or cabbage," he murmured. "Light ranch dressing." That was how Watari fixed his salad when the man forced them to eat one once a day.
Brittany returned with the sampler plate. Dean looked at everything on it and mouthed the word, "Wow." The two spent the next fifteen minutes trying the different appetizers and making a list of what they would hunt up on the internet to find copy kat recipes for. Brittany returned with their salads and put the leftover appetizers in a 'ToGo Box" and left it on a stand near their table.
"Near believes that sampler is enough for four people," he said wryly, taking a small bite of his salad and gave a satisfied nod. She had followed his request perfectly and had added the perfect amount of dressing to the vegetables. Near was not fond of cooked vegetables so often got his daily requirement through fruits and salads.
"Yeah, it was, but we got some ideas for get - togethers. That wouldn't be a bad thing to have. The salad is good. We'll take the leftovers home. If Mello and Matt don't want them, I bet Ben will. Andy might too."
"Matt might eat it," he murmured, nibbling more on his salad. "Matt tends to eat more normal things at times versus what Mello will eat beyond what
Watari insists upon."
Dean looked over Near's shoulder. "She's bringing our meal and some more of that bread, and the sparkling cider. I hope you'll try a glass with me. It's just carbonated cider and tastes a little bit like champagne, but it's not."
The teenager nodded, moving his hands out of the way so the waitress could take the plates and set the meals down. She poured cider for both of them and smiled. "Is there anything else I can get for you, sirs?"
Dean smiled at her and shook his head, "Nothing right now, but thank you, Brittany." The waitress flushed just a little. Dean grinned when she left. He looked at the teen across from him. "She's a nice girl. She's a good waitress too." Dean cut into his steak and took a bite, chewing it slowly like the doctor told him to do.
Near cut a small bite, setting the knife down and taking a taste. He chewed thoughfully, then gave a nod after swallowing. "Near likes this."
Dean grinned. "Fantastic!. We'll hunt online and find out how it's seasoned. One of us will cook them. I like it too."
"That would be acceptable," he said, taking a nibble of the mushrooms Dean had ordered for them.
Dean grinned, "Yeah. It would be very acceptable. A toast to your first outing for dinner with a friend and adopted dad all rolled in one." Dean lifted up his glass of sparkling cider.
A frown flitted across his face for a moment as he realized what Dean was doing, making it clear and the boy lifted the glass as well. This was a new experience for him.
Dean stood up and raised the glass, "To you, Near. One of the best things that has happened in my life. You, Matt, and Mello are my other kids, but more so, you are very special to me. We share a bond of life and death. I have only had that bond with Sam. This is a new experience for me. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of you life, and for becoming a part of mine. I love you, Man. I know and understand that you don't really comprehend that, which makes your being here tonight all that more special." Dean leaned over and touched his glass to Near's and raised it to his lips and took a sip of it.
Near sipped it, then looked at him. "No one outside of Watari or Ryuuzaki has tried to show anything outside of school or work," he murmured. "Near thanks Dean."
Dean's eyes watered up and he sat down quickly and lowered his head to look at his plate, taking a bite of mushrooms...giving himself time to regain control over his emotions. He looked up after he swallowed the mushroom. "Looks like we're in each other's debt. That's fine with me. I want you to be able to see and experience other things too."
"Did Near cause Dean pain?" He'd spotted the tears and didn't understand what the reason for it was.
"What? No, Near. I get emotional sometimes. More than I used to. This means a lot to me. I get emotional. It would hard for you to understand that. Don't be concerned. It's not a bad emotion. Okay?"
"Is that what is meant by happy tears?"
"Dean smiled softly, eyes still watery. "Yeah, Near. I guess they are. I never thought of them that way, but you're right. They are." Their waitress, Brittany reappeared.
"Would you boys like some dessert?
Looking over at the young teen, Dean smiled again. "What do you think? If you're starting to get full, we can get to-go boxes for the rest of this. You want to save some room for dessert?"
"Near would like dessert and possibly bring some back for Mello, Matt, Ryuuzaki, and Watari..is it possible," he asked the other.
"Yeah, it's possible. I think I'll bring some for the rest, too. May we see a menu, Brittany?
"Of course, sir," she said, going to retrieve the menu. Near looked at him. "This would be a nice surprise for the group."
"Yeah. It will be a few hours before they get it, though. We have to meet them in the city tonight. I imagine they are they are on their way by now."
He nodded. "Or closer if Watari kept to Watari's usual schedule."
"Knowing Watari, they are definitely on schedule," he replied, looking up as the young waitress returned and handed both of them a dessert menu. "Thank you."
Near chose a cheesecake for himself, enjoying that occasionally when Watari brought them in. Usually Ryuuzaki comandeered that, especially if it had strawberries on it.
Dean saw that they had a special peach pie ala mode. He requested a plain slice...no ice cream. Brittany placed the remainder of their meals in the to-go boxes. Dean ordered one whole cheesecake, one chocolate cake, and one peach pie. "We can get some vanilla ice cream. it will go with the cake and the pie."
"The chocolate one, Mello will not wish for ice cream. Mello is a chocolate purist when it comes to that dessert," he said, sipping his cider as he waited for his order.
"I feel that way about pie. Apple is perfect but I like other pies too. I don't want anything on them either." Dean looked up at Brittany brought the desserts and three large boxes. " "Would either of you like something hot to drink with these. Coffee? Cocoa?"
"I'd like coffee. Black, please. near?"
"Hot chocolate please," he asked the waitress, who nodded.
Shortly, they drank their drinks and slowly enjoyed their desserts. Brittany brought them their tab and Dean place a credit card with it. "You might want to get you outside clothes and the boots on."
Near nodded, tugging his boots on over the tennis shoes with difficulty. He had to stomp a bit to get them properly on.
Brittany returned with several large bags, and took the tab and credit card to the register. "I know it's difficult at times with the boots and all, but it's to protect you from getting sick." Brittany brought back a receipt and Dean signed it, leaving a large tip. "Thank you, Brittany. I really appreciate what you did for us tonight. You ready, Near?"
Brittany gave them a bright smile. "Thank you for coming. Be safe out there and please come back again!"
The white haired teen put his mittens on and his heavy coat. "Near is ready."