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Chapter 8: The Family that Dwelt Apart
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Ben let himself into the house he shared with Dean and CJ and let out a sigh of relief. Gem had not freaked during or after the dog-n-pony show, but she still didn’t believe, not to the point of acceptance. Ben was just glad that she wouldn’t spill the beans to Doc Carr and his wife. Ghost Town desperately needed a doctor and the children had decided that Doc Carr was it. Each and every traveler or perspective new resident was dealt with differently in regards to the big secret. They were going to wait to tell Doc Carr.

He hadn’t meant to blurt it out to Gem, but she had asked so Ben told her. Whether or not Gem would return after making the exchange with the Doc was completely up to her. For now, she knew the truth and she was safely at the Doc’s chatting with the Carrs about non-supernatural things. Ben walked home to check on his own family.

“Dean?” Ben called softly into the nursery/Dean’s room. Ben was not going to tell Dean about the children’s attempt at matchmaking. Dean would find it hysterically amusing and Ben wasn’t sure if he wanted to pursue Gem or not. Granted the love matches made by the children had yet to fail, but still… Ben pushed the future out of his mind and concentrated on the present. “Dean?” he called out again and turned on the TV to the newscast. Luckily it was already on mute. If CJ was finally asleep, he was not going to be the one to wake him. The child was already walking, just a few seconds short of running and climbing. CJ could and would try to climb anything. Ben had had a few nightmares concerning CJ’s need for height. The boy liked to perch.

One nightmare had happened because CJ had woken and climbed out of his window and onto a tree. His long-dead Uncle Sam had woken Ben up to save his ‘nephew.’ CJ was active when awake and way too smart for a one-year old. Even if Ben hadn’t believed Ruby’s reports of CJ’s biological father being a governmentally created assassin (because she was a demon and demons lied), living with CJ would have convinced him.

“Hmmm?” Dean rolled his wheelchair slowly into the living/dining/kitchen room, a sleeping baby cuddled close to his chest in a pouch of his own design.

Whatever Ben had planned on saying was diverted by the news report on the TV and the mug shots being flashed across the screen in the name of ‘public safety and public menace.’ According to the news crew, the transgenics had stolen a shipment of medical supplies. Ben knew full well where the supplies had ended up. The news didn’t supply actual proof of transgenic involvement, nor did they mention the original destination of said supplies, but the blame was being thrown around. All of the transgenics, even the children were to be considered armed and dangerous. ‘Simon’s’ face –ridiculously easy to identify since he looked just like Dean at that age- was labeled as one of the leaders, with a larger reward for his capture, dead or alive. Ben muted the TV when the reporter started asking the opinion of those on the street. Bigoted idiots.

“What do you think?”

Dean smirked. “We were pretty sure that Simon was a transgenic. Just confirmation. It’s not worse than the shapeshifter time. They aren’t saying that he is a serial killer.”

“Might as well be from what they are saying.”

“Still, not a serial killer. And we both know to trust was they say,” Dean reminded him.

Ben pointed at his father. “You are strangely optimistic.” He paused and finally asked, “Do you want me to drive up there, recon and maybe help?” Ben didn’t want to but Dean had trained devotion to family into Ben. Even if Simon didn’t know it, he was a Winchester.

Dean shook his head. “No. The supernatural would just follow. That’s the last thing they need in Seattle right now.”

“You don’t think the supernatural is already there, making it worse?”

Dean considered it. “You’re right. Demons are there like college boys at a MTV spring break beach party. Still we wait. See what other hunters hear from there.”

“Are we waiting for Cas or Sam to tell us the 411?” Ben asked suspiciously. Between the angel and whatever the hell Sam was now, Dean was a regular fount of gossip that he really had no business knowing.

Dean shrugged and pulled CJ closer. He did not like to share the baby with anyone but Ben. Sometimes Ben was jealous of the obvious love Dean lavished on the child. Other times, Ben knew that he was one of three for whom Dean would, literally, sell his body and soul.

Nothing scared him more.

“You know, we could probably mine Gem for information about Simon. She’s got to know him.”

“Mine… Gem?” Dean echoed with a knowing grin. “Whose Gem?”

“She’s the transgenic that Terminal City sent to us with the medical supplies that the news just reported on.”

“Is she pretty?” Dean asked.

Ben answered truthfully because if he lied, it’d be that much worse for him later. “Oh, hell yeah. But she’s also a new mother.”

“Well,” Dean said thoughtfully as he handed CJ over. “You’ve got plenty of experience dealing with transgenic babies.”

If Ben hadn’t been holding CJ at that exact moment, he would have run screaming from the house. As it was, he held his tongue. He didn’t want Dean to know that Terrible Trio (Cindi, Becca and Sarah) already thought that he and Gem were a perfect match.

Dean knew their matchmaking record just as well as Ben did. And he wanted Ben happy.

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Gem followed the cheerful Dr. Carr around the clinic as he showed off his new home. It was bright, warm, and homey. It was unlike any medical setting the transgenic had ever experienced. It was a sharp departure from …Ben’s storytelling. Manticore had trained their agents to be adaptable to unexpected circumstances, but they had also taught that ghosts and other supernatural creatures were fairy tales. At this point, the two different trainings were in direct conflict with each other.

Carr pointed to the corner where he had piled had crates of cheese. “That’s the driest, coolest corner of the clinic. We should probably check for mold before packing your van.”

“If the mold doesn’t change its chemical properties, we’ll take it.”

Carr winced but understood. “The mold itself won’t help you, but it wouldn’t hurt you either.”

“Good enough.” Gem waved at the van parked nearest to the clinic door. “We should probably unload your packages first.”

Gem swore that Carr lit up like an X-8 with their first outside training OP. Carr followed Gem to the van and helped carry everything inside, including Reggie. He looked tempted to unpack the cargo, but he merely put them aside along with his medical journals and helped Gem pack up the van. He had enough cheese to fill up the van the best way that Gem could pack it.

Sam stepped back and admired their wall of cheese. “Well, at least I know how much to save for you.”

“I’ll see if I can’t get a bigger vehicle next time,” Gem said. “How much would be a serving?”

“Two slices a day.”

It was a reasonable serving size, but Terminal City had a significant number of transgenics. They would eat it within fourteen days. On half rations, they could manage double that. Barely a month, but it would relieve pressure for that long. “How long until you can gather more?” Gem asked.

“It took me two weeks to gather that much.”

Gem nodded. She would be making regular trips. They would have to find all of the loose medical supplies in Seattle. She waved toward the supplies she had just delivered. “Would you consider that payment for two van loads of cheese?”

“Yes, don’t worry about it.”

“I must return,” she told him. Dr. Carr understood. He stood by as Gem loaded up her daughter and drove away, back to Terminal City. On the edge of Ghost Town, she checked the rearview mirror and saw children smiling and waving at her.

She was going to leave them out of her mission report. Max would never believe the truth.

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