Mary smiled at her reflection in the mirror, fluffing her hair with her fingers. Thank God she didn't have to keep her body camouflaged anymore; she'd finally worked off the last of the baby weight Sammy had caused - if only he'd weighed forty pounds, she'd have been all set. But he'd been a nine-pound, red-faced, screaming bundle of joy. At least he hadn't been a close call like Dean.
She put in the diamond solitaire earrings John had given her for their first anniversary five years ago, then twirled a little, frankly enjoying the silky swirl of fabric against her thighs.
"Pretty, Mommy," Dean said behind her, and she turned to find him standing there, looking solemn and big-eyed and entirely too winsome for words. He was clearly playing her, all but performing bashfulness with a foot dragging back and forth in front of him. She thanked God that he was still too transparent to do it well.
"Mommy," he said, approaching the vanity, with its apparently fascinating clutter of makeup and hair clips and jewelry, "does Miz Smeller hafta come over?"
"Sneller, Dean. Mrs. Sneller." She made sure the jewelry was out of reach of his grubby little fingers, but kept a tortoise-shell clip that looked like a medieval torture device close to the edge so that he could pick it up if he wanted. He was insatiably curious, but the hair clip was too big and bulky to be swallowed.
"Yeah, but does she hafta come over? 'Cause I can sit with Sammy." He'd clearly convinced himself that having a babysitter was an affront to his burgeoning masculinity. She was going to smack John the next time he called Dean "little man." And she knew how to make it hurt.
"Who is Mrs. Sneller going to play with then, Dean? She already called me to ask if you and Sammy could play with her tonight, and we don't want to be mean, do we?"
"Noooo," Dean said slowly, evidently not having considered the "play" aspect of the evening or the ramifications of being mean - Santa had been a big help in the "you better be good" department. "Okay," he said magnanimously. "She can come over and play."
"That's my boy," she said, and he lit up like a spotlight at her words. She couldn't resist hugging him tightly, giving him an extra squeeze when he turned his cold little nose into her neck to smell her perfume.
Tomorrow. She'd just give herself this one day of being just a wife, just a mother, and she'd clean her weapons and practice with her knives tomorrow.
She nodded at her reflection, picked Dean up to listen to him squeal with delight when she twirled him, and went to check on Sammy, who'd been suspiciously quiet for far too long. If he was up to what she figured he must be - well, then, John could change his diaper; she was sure it was his turn anyway.
"I don't know why I keep eating these mashed potatoes," Mary said, stirring the pale scoop with her fork; "they taste like they're from a box. An old box."
"Still better than yours, cupcake." John grinned around his fork as he stole a bite from her plate, then grimaced. "No, you're right. What the hell are they doing in that kitchen back there?"
"Nobody's are as good as yours," Mary purred, leaning forward and showing off her now-impressive cleavage - thank you, childbearing.
John pointed his fork at her, ready to agree, but then he seemed to catch himself. "If this is another ploy to get me to do the cooking, you can just -"
She played with a lock of her hair and sucked suggestively on a crisp breadstick, and John's eyes went wide.
"Yes?" she asked demurely. God, what would she have done if John Winchester hadn't walked into her life just one year before her parents' last, fatal hunt? Would she still be tagging along behind her father, hating the necessity of the hunt? Or would she be dead too?
"You'll pay for that," John breathed darkly, but she didn't let herself shiver at his husky voice. Not yet.
"Cash" - she glanced meaningfully over at the restroom - "or credit" - she sat back to indicate their big soft bed at home - "Mr. Winchester?"
John fiddled with the napkin on his lap, looking down at his plate like a bashful schoolboy, but when he locked eyes with her, she had no illusions about his youth or innocence. "Cash, now," he said, and she got up and sashayed away from the table, still feeling his electric gaze on her bare back.
He burst into the restroom before she'd had a chance to do more than look in the mirror to make sure she didn't have anything stuck in her teeth. "We're alone, right?" he said, grabbing her and slamming her back against the wall before she could even answer him.
She saw double for a second - let it never be said that John Winchester lacked enthusiasm - and decided to take matters into her own hands. Her mother's lessons came back to her with a vengeance, and she sidestepped, locked his ankle, and twisted them around, pushing him hard into the wall. "It's Jack who broke his crown, not Jill," she reminded him sweetly, then pretty much climbed up him.
His hands were hot against her bare legs; she'd never gotten the point of pantyhose, and John claimed they were nothing more than an unnecessary obstacle. He hoisted her up, giving himself an up close and personal view of her cleavage.
He was biting at her breasts when he started to laugh. God, she was going to have whisker-burn on her chest for weeks. "What?" she asked, cupping his nice, firm ass with her hands.
"I just can't believe we're doing this," he rumbled, mouth still hovering just over her skin. "That I'm doing this to the mother of my children."
"How do you think I got knocked up in the first place?" she asked the top of his head, then pulled on his hair until his chin came up and his eyes met hers. "And this is just the first round of the night, baby," she said, squeezing her legs and leaning forward to lick the dimple in his left cheek.
John growled, she got even wetter like a perverted Pavlovian response, and he flipped them back around, tugged her panties out of the way, and proceeded to give her what for like a champ.
John was downstairs paying Mrs. Sneller, the gently smiling, knitting extortionist, and then locking up while Mary stole upstairs and made one more self-indulgent check on the boys.
They were both pink-cheeked and contentedly sleeping, Sammy on his back in the crib and Dean on his belly in the "big boy" bed they'd gotten him over the summer. Both of them desperately needed haircuts, and Dean was starting school in a few months, and would have to get all of his shots. And that meant that she'd have to bake cookies as a reward, since he didn't like the lollipops in Dr. Wallace's office. Mary leaned down, kissed the tip of Dean's nose, then Sammy's fat little cheek, and closed their door gently behind her.
She'd stepped out of her heels and was halfway through unpinning her hair when she saw John, standing in their bedroom with a single red rose. "I love you, Mary," he said.
She wouldn't have believed that old news could make her cry, but it did. "I love you too," she said, sniffling in the least sexy way possible. She finally gave up and pulled a tissue from the box and honked into it, glaring at him while he laughed and tossed the rose on the dresser. Her sternness faded as she took in the sight of him in the moonlight, older, heavier, with lines on his face etched by the boys, but more hers than ever. "I really do," she said, reaching up to kiss him with everything she had.
John kissed her back, long and hard and wet, and then got her right where she wanted to be - caught deliciously between the hard planes of his body and the yielding softness of their bed.
He smiled down at her, and her breath caught again, at the realization that he'd be giving her that same dimpled grin for the rest of their lives, whether it was night or day, summer or winter. She'd never be anyone's but his, claimed with a single sweet smile, and the ring she'd put on his finger with Love Always engraved inside was never coming off.
"John," she said, just to hear his name again, roll it around on her tongue. He smelled like aftershave, but his beard was already coming in. The heat of him just above her, him holding all of his strength up with his locked elbows, was like standing in the brightest sunshine.
When she raised a hand to push his hair out of his eyes, he turned his head, cheetah-quick, to suck her fingers into his mouth. Her eyes fluttered closed, but she made the effort to open them back up and meet his.
His gaze bypassed lusty and went straight for wicked. "Brace yourself," he said, grinning with a purpose, then flipped the skirt of her dress out of the way. "My, my," he said, inspecting her closely. "You look good enough to eat, cupcake."
He kept her legs splayed with his big hands, dropping little kisses on the ticklish insides of her thighs. His tongue got into the act, licking tenderly at the lace that barely covered her.
Her hands were useless in his hair, and she had needs to be met. She pushed his face away impatiently and ripped off the little lace panties in her rush to be bare before him. He laughed, smugly, but she was willing to live with that if he would just get to it.
John's mouth descended on her like an army laying siege to hostile territory, taking no prisoners. She squirmed, she strangled a scream in her throat, and she writhed; through it all, John stayed on task with a diligence she credited to some long-ago drill sergeant.
She'd lost her bra somewhere in that plush restroom, so when she slipped her hands into the halter bodice of her dress, she could feel her nipples straining against the material. "John, John, John!" she cried, as his fingers joined his tongue in making her dizzy with delight.
He laughed against her, low and deliberate, just to feel her shake beneath his mouth, and she clapped her thighs around his head with perhaps unnecessary force; there was smug, and then there was insufferable. His eyes glinted dangerously at her as he finished her off, and her back arched involuntarily as she twisted on the bed, feeling wrung inside out.
Somehow, and she'd lost track of when this might have happened, his hands had joined hers on her breasts, and his fingers tweaked her nipples playfully. He kissed the valley between her breasts, and she carded her fingers through his thick hair. "Is there any more where that came from?" she asked, leaning up to kiss him.
She didn't give him much time to think up a clever retort. "Ah, Mary," he choked out when her hand closed firmly around his cock. She was feeling sated enough to be generous, and she smiled as all of the old tricks wrung gasps and groans from him.
"Come on, John. I want you inside of me again," she said before his eyes could start to roll back in his head. She nipped sharply at his jaw to get his attention. "Now."
"Ma'am, yes, ma'am," he said, and thrust into her with a pleased shout. Her legs wrapped around his waist of their own accord, and she stopped thinking altogether, knowing that whatever rhythm he chose to set would suit her just right.
She came awake with a groan, padding downstairs in search of coffee and John, definitely in that order. The house was strangely quiet, but it was too late for the boys to be sleeping still. Sammy in particular seemed to get a kick out of acting like a human alarm clock, up at the crack of dawn whether the rest of them - really she and Dean - liked it or not.
There was a note propped against the coffee maker. "Barber shop. Back for burgers." Well, John never had been one for flowery letters, and she couldn't exactly complain about the ways he chose to use his tongue.
After the first sip of life-giving coffee, her brain kicked in. If John was down at Mickey's barber shop, then they'd be gone for hours; neither Mickey nor John had the gift of shutting up, and John seemed determined that Dean and Sam would be just the same. She should take the gift of the day and revel in the silence that came around only once in a blue moon.
She got a batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies in the oven before she started on her real work; if John was going to be fixing lunch, she could at least do that much. Sitting down at the bare kitchen table, Mary set out her guns and knives, lightly tracing each weapon with respectful fingers before she began cleaning them. They were old and familiar, the only parts of her parents she'd been able to hold on to, the sting of her childhood hatred erased by how much she needed them in her loneliness.
She heard herself humming a strange little tune as she worked, carefully and methodically, then smiled when she recognized it as the melody that the mobile above Sammy's crib played.
"What a pretty picture you make, Mary," she heard from behind her, and she whirled with a gun steady in her hand. But she started trembling from head to foot when she saw the yellow eyes of the man standing inside her kitchen, not two feet from her. The stranger seemed untroubled by her arsenal, just stepped closer, chuckling. "Really. You're the best thing I've seen in quite some time."
"What do you want?" she asked, her jaw clenched so tight it was already starting to ache.
"Just a little cooperation from you, my dear," the thing said, courtly and polished. "I feel sure we can come to a mutually beneficial agreement."
"What are you offering?" Her father had always taught her to learn as much as she could, in order to prepare herself for every situation.
"You should come work for me," it said, a twinkle in its jaundiced-looking eyes. "I offer wonderful benefits."
It wanted a hunter, and the Campbell name had been credit enough to get by for years.
"No," she said, hating the tremor that ran through her voice. "I gave up the job years ago. I have a family now." She cursed herself for having gotten complacent, leaving her scrambling for anything that might work to get rid of him.
"Going once, going twice . . . ?" it offered, voice still light.
She shook her head, her neck still feeling tight as a drum. "Sorry."
"I don't think you mean that 'sorry,'" it said pleasantly, smiling down at her. It leaned in close, reeking like rotten eggs, and whispered, its breath making her hair flutter. "But you will."
It vanished, and all she could do was scream as her feet stayed rooted to the floor while flames taller than she was sprang up all around her, dancing ever closer, licking roughly at her skin, her hair, engulfing her, and then she was gone.