This piece isn't really Christmas-worthy, but I wanted to post something today and this is what I've got. Remember back in early season 13 when Jack was an unknown quantity, Mom was gone, Cas was in the Empty... Hmm, maybe not even that hard to imagine. Well, merry Christmas! - KHK

Preparing Your Home for Your New Arrival!
K Hanna Korossy

Dean parked the Impala in front of the bunker instead of the garage, wanting to enter through the front door. He had a morbid hope the wards on the bunker wouldn't let the kid in. But Jack waltzed inside as easily as Sam just behind him, craning his neck to take in the whole place.

Probably already trying to find its weaknesses.

"Okay, well," Dean clapped his hands together. "Sam, you play tour guide, and dig up a towel and a toothbrush for our…guest. I'm gonna go get some things ready."

Sam gave him a look, knowing full well what Dean wasn't saying but thankfully not arguing.

Dean drew up short. "Oh, and let's put him in that room across from me." It wouldn't quite place Dean between Jack and Sam, but it was the closest he could get. And the farthest from Sam that Jack could get.

Sam frowned, but when he stepped closer to Dean, what he said was, "I think some of the clothes Cas left here when he—"

"No."

Sam's flinched.

Dean swallowed; crap, this was hard. "We'll…we'll go get him some stuff from Goodwill tomorrow."

Sam just nodded, and Dean turned away with relief.

He headed to his room first. To the bottom drawer of his desk, specifically. That's where he'd tucked away all the little bugs the Brits had left them a few weeks back. Dean had bought a hidden-bug detector online, found them all, and tinkered with them until he was the one in control. He'd had no idea he'd be using them so soon.

Dean reached for the drawer…and his eyes fell on the picture on his desk of him with Mom. The one he'd found in that bastard Ketch's jacket and retrieved. His eyes stung, heat flaring across his face. Dean slapped the picture face-down onto his desk, then yanked the drawer open to grab a few bugs.

He checked the hall before slipping into the empty room across the way. One listening device went under the desk, the other on the far side of the nightstand. That should catch anything that happened in the room. Cameras would be better, but he couldn't get any of those for a few days. The last bug went just outside in the hallway, high up where no one would think to look.

Sam's voice filtered down the hallway from the kitchen, explaining basics like utensil drawers and refrigerators.

Glancing around the room Jack would be using—as briefly as possible—Dean's mouth curled with a sudden idea. He darted back to his room, returning in seconds with a book he placed on the nightstand. Jack had already held a Bible earlier in the motel without it or him bursting into flames, but the inspirational reading could only help.

Satisfied, Dean headed back down the hall, passing Sam and Jack on the way. Both gave him curious looks. He ignored them both.

He looked around the library, taking in the books that were scattered across the tables from their research about nephilim. Setting his jaw, Dean made the rounds, gathering armfuls and shoving them into any space on the bookshelves. Sam could put them away properly later according to his little OCD heart's desire, but for now, Dean needed them out of sight.

Books cleared, Dean hesitated. Then returned to the bookshelf.

He left the book on Lucifer prominently in the middle of the nearest table.

The storage rooms were next, and Dean locked each with the ring of keys they kept in the electrical room. The keys would stay with him now, or Sam if he wanted. But the last thing they needed was Jack having access to roomfuls of cursed objects and objects of power and spells.

Back in the library, Dean took a slow look around, considering. Dungeon, infirmary, garage—those were safe enough. Kitchen?

He wandered over that way, looked around. It was probably pointless hiding the knives, not with the power Jack had. Dean would have to think about the gas stove; might be worth it to put out the pilot light for a while. He pursed his lips, thinking, then went over to the fridge, took out the half pie he had left from earlier that week, and stuck it in the back of one of the vegetable drawers. Nodding to himself, he left the room.

His bed was tugging at him despite the weight of worry and grief. Or maybe because of it. Dean felt constantly tired, stretched thin. But he found himself walking past his room—giving Jack's closed door a hard stare as he did—and around the corner to Sam's, where the light was on and the door was cracked open.

He knocked anyway, two knuckles against the wood, and washed a hand down his face while he waited for an answer.

Sam came to the door himself, eyes looking a little red. It was easy to forget he was mourning, too, and his obvious misery sanded down the edges of Dean's brusqueness.

"Everything okay?" Dean found himself asking instead of what he was going to say.

Sam huffed. "No. You done hiding the silverware?"

"Naw, I'll let you teach the kid knife safety." He hesitated. "Hey…lock your door tonight, okay?"

Sam leaned heavily against the door jamb, like he was just too tired to hold up six-foot-four of weary hunter. "Dean…"

"I'm not…" Dean shook his head. "I'm not saying he'll do anything, okay? Just…please. I'll sleep better, okay?"
Sam's expression somehow found the energy to rearrange itself into empathy. The big moose, always worried about other people. "Yeah," he said quietly. "Okay."

"Thanks."

Sam nodded, hair sliding into his face and catching on his stubble. "You okay?"

Dean's body folded down an inch. "Not even close, Sammy."

Sam nodded again, understanding. "You wanna watch a movie?"

"I want…" Mom back, Cas back, Jack gone, my family, a future, some peace. "…I just wanna get some sleep."

Sam nodded again, and patted Dean's stomach with one big palm. Then Sam lumbered back into his room, the door closing behind him and the lock snicking shut.

Dean stood there a moment longer. He rubbed at his gritty, watery eyes, drew a hitched breath, and walked back to his room. He didn't glance over at Jack's door.

But he couldn't help think as he fought to fall asleep on a damp pillow, about all the others he wished were in that room across the hall instead.

The End