This fiction veers off from the rest of the season pretty fast after episode 12.8 LOTUS.

This is a work of derivative fiction and no copyright infringement is intended.

Family Matters

When Dean collapsed on his memory foam mattress, sleep hit him fast and unnaturally hard. One second his eyes had just slipped shut and the next he stood in a grey billowing fog. She was there, clothed in night with fire in her eyes and a smile that was bestowed on him like a twisted benediction.

"This is a dream, you're gone," he whispered, though he knew it was a lie.

"Just because I'm with my brother doesn't mean that I will ever leave you, Dean. We're connected; past, present and for always." Amara raised her hand, beckoned to him, her auburn hair curled at the base of her neck.

He fought a losing battle not to be drawn into her embrace. She was beautiful and she terrified him. He wanted her more than any woman he had ever known. She was in his blood and under his skin, just like the Mark had been. Uncomfortable with the intensity of his feelings and the intensity of her gaze, he looked away; pretended to study his surroundings. There wasn't a lot to see; the nothingness was made luminous only by the radiance of The Darkness. He cleared his throat, searched for something to say to break the awkward silence. "So, ah, thanks for Mom."

"You gave me back my brother. I wanted to give you what you needed and that has always been your family."

Dean nodded, acknowledging that his family was all he ever really had and all he ever really needed. He was uncomfortably aware of how his heart raced and his blood surged; his body's treacherous response because he was close to her. He filled the silence again, "You and Chuck, it going okay?"

Amara looked thoughtful but also pleased, as if he had asked something important. "Our relationship is complex. We are still reconciling, both working to forgive. It's difficult. I missed him, but find it hard to give up all my anger. It was the solace to my sorrow when I was betrayed.

"I want to understand him better. I think that will help me exorcise my jealousy over his choosing his creations over me.

"I need your help, Dean. You seem to have a unique understanding of sibling relationships." Amara walked slowly to him. She lowered her eyes and stared up at him through her dusky lashes; placed a hand lightly on his chest over his wildly beating heart.

Dean tried to swallow but his throat was suddenly dry. "What do you need?"

"Just you."

Dean woke fast and gasped for air; his eyes searched his room and his heart tried to escape through each of his pulse points. His sheets were drenched in sweat. His skin felt uncomfortably hot and tight. He shook his head and tried to convince himself it had been a dream. He tried harder not to hope it would happen again.

He took a shower and decided not to mention it to Sam. Why borrow trouble when there was always enough to go around.

Weeks passed. Mom left. Castiel left to find Lucifer. Lucifer was found and put back in time-out. Things happened: most bad, a few good. Mom came back. Castiel came back. Things went bump in the night and the Winchesters continued saving people and hunting things.

Life returned to their version of normal.

Except one night when it wasn't.

Dean was exhausted from a difficult hunt and wanted to sleep more than he wanted his next beer. He hadn't even staggered all the way to his bed when the dream came, and she came with it.

"Dean, I understand now. Thank you."

He shrugged off the disorienting transition from his room in the bunker to the nothingness that was all he could see and moved closer to his only source of light, mesmerized as always. "Don't know what I did, but you're welcome." His hand jerked as he fought the impulse to reach out and stroke her hair. "What do you understand?"

She took his hand in hers and clasped it to her breast. "Why my brother loved…loves his creations so much; why he locked me away to protect them. I didn't understand how he could choose them over me, but now it's so clear."

Amara stepped back from him and raised her arms. Lightening flashed in the nothingness and momentarily blinded Dean. When he blinked his vision back, he saw that Amara cradled a bundle to her chest. Eyes soft and smile gentle, she gazed lovingly at the bundle before she presented it to Dean. "I have created life. I understand now the deep, all consuming need to protect it. I would destroy this universe if I thought it would keep her from one moment of pain."

Dean took the offered bundle; a swaddled newborn. The babe was beautiful with a cap of auburn hair and deep green eyes. She stared at Dean with a knowing intensity than was not normal for an infant. Power prickled up his arms.

"She is ours. I have named her Samara.

"You will care for her now. While creating life is wondrous and she is more precious to me than I ever thought another entity could be, tending a young life is very tedious and time consuming and I'm still learning to be a family again with my brother."

The baby started to fuss so Dean instinctively put her to his shoulder and patted her back. "I can't take her!"

"Of course you can. You raised your brother, more or less, successfully. You have the knowledge needed to raise my creation."

"I'm a hunter. It wouldn't be safe for her to be with me and that's no life to raise a child in," he protested quietly, still gently jostling the baby who responded with a happy gurgle.

"Samara is not a child. She is not human," Amara asserted indignantly, as if insulted, "She is the daughter of The Darkness and the Righteous Man, Michael's Sword, the Mark Bearer and, most importantly, my chosen."

Dean had no rebuttal because he was suddenly alone. He looked around seeing only a foggy void. He moved the babe from his shoulder to cradle her in the nook of his arm and gifted her with a sigh that was a combination of resignation and exasperation.

"Samara, huh, well do you want to be called Sami or Mara." The baby scrunched her tiny nose and cooed thoughtfully. "Mara? Sounds a lot like Mary; that's your grandmother's name. Just as well since there's already one pretty, pretty princess Sammy in the bunker," Dean gently rocked his daughter and murmured absently, "and he's gonna be really surprised to meet you."

Dean looked around the emptiness and wondered exactly how he was supposed to get back.

It was as simple as waking up.