Lex Domicilii
By Maygra

PG, Sarah, Dean, Sam. 

Salvation 'verse.  Somewhere close to Sam and Sarah's tenth wedding anniversary. I have no other excuse other than, when you stop and think about it, being married to a Winchester would be terrifying in its own way. References to events mentioned but not explored and Sam's brief, if spectacular, career as a prosecuting attorney for the DA's office.  Warning: I'm not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV. 

Ubi bene, ibi patria - Where you feel good, there is your home.



Leigh's gleeful greeting made Sarah's eyes dart instinctively for the door even though she hadn't heard it or a car. 

"Mommy, Daddy's on TV!" Mary piped in and Sarah could hear Allie heading down the stairs.

She covered the pot, turned the heat off and ducked into the living room. 

"Move, Lemur. Can't see," Mary said, but Leigh wouldn't move, hands pressed to the flat screen to frame her father's face.

Sam looked harried, frazzled and pissed off, but the low pitch of his voice was steady, sure, no hesitation and he kept his eyes locked on the speaker -- or the camera. It was hard to tell. Sarah had a moment's giddy gleeful fear that he was going to deck the reporter so insistently shoving a microphone in his face.

The news channel scroll bar was half obscured by Allie trying to peel Leigh back from the screen, all three girls staring at their father's face. Allie finally managed to get Leigh back by wrapping her arms around her sister's stomach and just sitting. Leigh tumbled into her lap but seemed content, three fingers in her mouth. 

The sound was low, news reporter speaking over whatever Sam was saying, whatever the reporters were asking.

Prosecuting attorney, ADA Sam Winchester blazoned in white across a blue bar of color.

"…threats made public this morning, allegedly from the defendant--" Sarah grabbed the remote and turned the sound off, and when the camera panned back to the reporter's face -- the mass of people behind her, including Sam, blurred -- she turned the picture off as well. 

The girls sat silently for a long moment, staring at the blank screen. 

"Is Daddy coming home for dinner?" Mary asked.

"I don't know, but it's almost ready. Get washed up." Sarah dropped the remote on the coffee table. 

She heard Mary say something and Allie respond. She didn't pay attention to the words. 

She stared at the stove, at the half-prepared meal and didn't know where to start. Maybe she should just take the girls to McDonald's. She looked out the kitchen window at the unmarked car parked at the end of the drive and wondered if the officers there liked Big Macs, or if they were Happy Meal kind of guys. 

The phone rang and Sarah stared at it. A second ring and third, and the girls came in. They'd been told not to answer the phone. Not at all. Sarah could go to it, read the caller ID. 

She hadn't picked up the phone in over a week. They were supposed to change the number, but it hadn't happened yet. 

It stopped after the fourth ring and Sarah's cell went off in her purse. That she picked up, able to breathe again. "Hey."

"Saw the news. I'm halfway there."

Dean didn't give her anything more, but she didn't need it. She hung up. It rang again, almost immediately. 

"Dean's on his way over."

Sarah smiled, aware that the girls all relaxed too. "He's faster than you. Are you coming home?"

"Yeah, but don't wait dinner. I have to give somebody a new asshole."

Sam was furious; his tone was measured, even joking. But he was mad -- possibly even murderous. Sarah would help him hide the bodies. "Okay. Talk to the munchkins," she said and passed the phone to Allie. 

Dinner made sense again and she brought the water back up to a boil, added mushrooms to the sauce, got Allie to butter the bread while Leigh chattered at Sam. Mary set the table without being asked, but she was smiling again, which meant Sam had said something to her.

Good. Better for him too. Nothing settled Sam's temper like his daughters. Leigh trotted up and handed the phone back to her and happily took the buttered, but untoasted bread Allie handed her. 

"What are you making?"

"Spaghetti. With homemade sauce. I've been slaving all day."

"Save me some."

"Your brother's coming over. I'd suggest you hurry."

"I'll try. Sarah--"

"Shut up. Kick what asses you have to and get home."

"I'm still sorry," he said, quietly. 

"He deserves to be in prison. That's how you apologize," she said and didn't add be careful. Be safe. 

"Yeah. I'll be home as soon as I can."

They'd be lucky if they saw him before midnight.

She got the girls sorted, had Mary set an extra plate for Dean and was cutting up Leigh's noodles when she heard the car in the drive, saw Dean's truck in the window. They let him through with no problem, and Allie was off her chair and running for the door before Sarah could say a damn thing. How Allie always knew when it was her uncle had ceased to be even a curiosity years ago. 

He looked, if she looked carefully, nearly as pissed off as Sam, only the smile in his eyes and curving his lips overwrote it, obscured it from the girls. "What are we having?"

"SKETTI!!" Leigh shrieked and twisted around in her chair and standing on the seat. Dean reached out to brace the back of the chair. "Hi, Dee!"

"Hey, monkey. Got enough to share?"

They didn't talk about it, Dean shoveled out questions about school, play, anything but where Sam was and why. He unloaded the now toasted garlic bread onto the girls' plates, stole meatballs from Mary, and his arm hovered on the back of Allie's chair. He poured an extra glass of wine for Sarah and didn't mentioning how much food was left on her plate. 

"Saw Daddy on TV," Mary said.

"Did you? How'd he look? Did he look like a movie star?"

"He looked mad," Allie said.

"That's because work is making him miss your mom's spaghetti," Dean said.

"Daddy!" Leigh offered, holding her sippy cup up in toast. 

"Absolutely. To Daddy!" Dean offered and tapped his beer to Leigh's cup. Allie and Sarah were the only one's who really noticed that Dean kept the conversation from Sam as much as possible. No one was ignoring the girls' anxiety but Sarah appreciated the fact that Dean wasn't the type to feed it. 

Sam called again at bedtime, cellphone passed around once more so he could say good-night. Allie took her share of the call under the stairs, glaring at Dean when he ducked his head to check on her. She came out looking less sullen, giving the phone to Sarah. Dean walked up with her. "I just miss him," she said and Dean carried her the rest of the way. She was tall, but eight wasn't too big. Not for Dean. 

"I heard that," Sam said. "I'll be there when they wake up. Promise."

He'd been there that morning too, but seeing him wasn't enough, not for any of them. 

"We're okay," Sarah said because she had to. A word from her and Sam would drop this case, request a reassign. It would delay the trial, possibly change the outcome, ruin his career, probably, but he'd do it. She just had to say it -- all she had to do was ask. "Just tell me you're not ditching your bodyguards."

"It's just threats, Sarah. Nothing is going to happen. Killing me wouldn't stop any of it."

She stepped into the kitchen for that. "You'd still be dead. That's not an option. You don't get to leave me with three girls and your crazy-ass brother and father. No early opt-outs on those wedding vows, Winchester. And no doubling up. Better or Worse, till death--" she wanted to make it a joke. She did. To tease Sam and let him know she was okay, the girls were okay, that she was handling it all. She was the calm in the middle of this particular storm.

She couldn't though. It didn't come out funny or wry or even pissed. It came out on a sob that she covered with her hand.

She didn't know why this was harder. Sam had faced down worse things than a two-bit criminal with delusions of being the next Godfather. This was a guy with a couple of bowling alleys and a chain of laundromats, who made a shitty microbrew that even drunks wouldn't drink, and who'd made a lot of money in ways that were one step up from mugging and half a step down from outright murder. He might have gotten away with more and for longer had not one of his victims caught the attention of a bright-eyed young lawyer doing pro-bono work for a free legal clinic, who just happened to also be the newest rising star in the DA's office. 

She didn't resent this. She wasn't even really that afraid for herself or for their daughters. Sam would step off if she asked him to, even though it didn't come naturally to him. Sam was cautious rather than rash, but once he was on something, it would take more than a few threats from a two-bit wannabe mobster to make him back down. 

Sam had faced down demons and demi-gods; a guy with bad bookkeeping skills and a nasty temper didn't even make him blink. 

The threat was real enough. Nobody who had their hands in so many enterprises didn't have somebody who owed him. It had been bad enough to see Sam's name in the papers, but now Sam's face was all over the nightly news. There had been threatening voices on the phone saying horrifying, disgusting things. Notes left in their mailbox, a dead rat left in Sam's car. Cars had driven by the house and slowed down although Sarah suspected they were more neighborhood gawkers rather than anyone checking out the house. 

"I'll be home in an hour," Sam said softly.

"No. No…I'm fine," she said, getting a grip on her fears, taking a deeper breath. 

"No, you're not and you don't have to be. You don't. You didn't sign up for this, Sass."

She choked a little on laughter at the nickname. "Not feeling so sassy right now, Mr. Winchester."

"If I could let you kick some ass I would. You could take Dean on. Make you feel better."

The laugh was more real. "He'd like it too much. I don't want to indulge him."

"An hour, Sass," he said pointedly and she could hear the smile in his voice when she got her snark back. "I can't do much else here anyway. I'll pick up ice cream. Three days more, Sarah. It'll be over then."

The trial anyway. "Mint chocolate chip."

"Five gallons worth. Did you save me any dinner?"

There was plenty.  She could see Dean out of the corner of her eye, hovering and trying to look like he wasn't as he flipped channels on the TV, sound low. "I'll have it ready when you get home." She had to say I love you and goodbye first or Sam would stay on the phone the whole time.

"He's on his way."

Dean took that with a nod and worried glance at her. "I'm fine." That got an eye roll and a grin. "Fine. Better," she amended. 

"Nothing's going to happen to him, Sarah. Or to you or the girls. This is all about trying to get him to back off."

"Well, that will never happen," she said and found her glass of wine, topped it off. She would like to get drunk, but fear was burning off the alcohol faster than a marathon run would. Dean gave her another worried look and her own words echoed resentfully. "I don't want him to. I don't," she said but the sob was wedged in the back of her throat again, between the wine and the little bit of dinner she'd managed to keep down. I'm not that person. I'm not, to cry over fears, no matter how real. Ghosts and werewolves didn't make her cry -- they made her mad. 

"Hey. Hey, hey," Dean was saying, and suddenly he had his arms around her and was carefully pulling the wine glass from her fingers and setting it aside. She let him, and let herself be drawn into familiar comfort and strong arms and brutally clamped down on the resentful feeling of it being Dean and not Sam who was offering, and the unfair and uncharitable wish that this was all happening to someone else, someone else's family. 

She didn't cry. Not really. She let Dean hold her and say whatever inane things he wanted to, almost laughing when Dean was all, this is perfectly normal. You have every right... sounding so un-Dean like she gave half a thought that he was some kind of weird pop-psych shapeshifter, saying things that other people who weren't Dean -- or Sam for that matter -- would say. They weren't the conciliatory kind. 

She couldn't stand it. "Are we having a Dr. Phil moment?" she asked and then smiled again and Dean's muffled snort. 

"Channeling bad television show hosts," Dean agreed and pulled back. "You may need to do an exorcism. Remember the words?" He pushed her hair off her face in a touch that was so…so…very Sam, it almost started her up all over again.

Instead she rolled her eyes and broke out of the embrace. She picked up her wine glass. "I'm going outside. I may throw rocks at the crows. Birds. Bunnies."

"I've got a gun."

Of course he did. She did too. "Girls are sleeping," she said even though they both knew it wasn't true.

Dean didn't try to stop her, but she knew his eyes were on her back as she stepped out onto the deck. Security lights snicked on and she sat on the swing, barely moving it until they shut off again. There was light at her back from the house, the rest of the yard in darkness and long shadows. The volume on the TV came up slightly and she could hear Dean in the kitchen -- making coffee, getting a beer. If she stayed out here long enough, he'd bring her more wine, offer to sit with her. Be a surrogate even though he wasn't and never really could be. Dean was Dean and always himself and all the reasons she loved him had mostly become separate from all the reasons she loved Sam.

She didn't really need him -- or Sam -- to tell her why this was different, although people are crazy was as true in this as in anything else. 

They couldn't go out and hunt this. As tempting as it might be, there was no way to salt and burn this away, no amount of sigils and runes on her threshold or windowsills would keep this threat out. Not cold iron, or wolfsbane or incantations. A nice bullet would work, but that would only make it worse, draw it out for the rest of her life. She could almost wish they would try something. Self-defense was still a pretty good line and this monster and his minions were no less evil for walking around like the rest of humanity. 

Dean did come out once, brought a sweater, kissed the top of her head and squeezed her shoulders, left her the rest of the bottle of wine. 

Respected her need to be alone. 

The bottle was empty when she heard the car, the sound of doors. More than Sam's and she found some comfort in the cops checking. She really should take them some coffee or cookies. It wasn't their fault that their very presence just kept the fear up at higher levels than Sarah could adequately deal with. 

She didn't get up, though. It wasn't petulance, or stubbornness or even anger. She prided herself on being able to think through things, but she couldn't think her way through this. She had patience, but that had been stretched and tested to its limits. 

She knew his step, the creak on the boards, closed her eyes when the lights came back on brightly. Didn't open them again when the swing swayed when Sam sat down, didn't resist when he tucked right up against her, and didn't question whether it was the wine or Sam's presence that finally let the tension bleed out of her like an arterial flow.

Sam didn't say anything at all, didn't apologize. The swing creaked a little when he scooped an arm under her knees and pulled her over into his lap like she was no bigger than Leigh. 

His dress shirt had lost the starch from the long day, his tie was somewhere between the car and the back of the sofa, she was sure. The open neck of his shirt let her fingers and nose find warm, strongly scented skin, and Sam's arms wrapped all the way around her. He was warm and solid and real and safe, in every way that word could be said or meant. His fingers rubbed small circles on her back, and he managed to set the swing rocking slightly without dumping her out of his lap. Her husband was a man of many talents. 

They sat that way for a long time, even though Sarah was sure Sam's legs must be going numb, that he probably hadn't eaten and that he'd want to see the girls.

"You eat something yet?" she asked without moving knowing he hadn't. 

"Late lunch," he offered and stopped neither rocking or rubbing. "He wants to make a deal."

She let that sink in. It wasn't her decision to make, but Sam wanted her opinion. "For what?"

"Partial admission of guilt, three counts of fraud, lesser sentence. Eighteen months."

"And without it?"

"Multiple counts of extortion, racketeering, fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, assault," Sam tipped his head back and Sarah could hear his spine pop. "Ten to fifteen with  consecutive sentences."

It didn't seem long enough, but it was the maximum he could get with a really kick-ass judge. They had a really kick-ass judge on this one. 

"What's Merrick say?"

Sam pulled his hand away from where he had it tucked under her thigh and rubbed at his face. "My call, but he'd really like to further stretch the prison budgets for as long as possible."

John Merrick was Sam's boss; Sarah liked him a lot. He was a weasely, geeky, small man, who was a holy terror in a courtroom. He built model remote controlled planes on the weekends with his son, had wanted to be an air force pilot but was too short and his eyesight not good enough. His daughter played in Allie's soccer league. 

"Are you going to win?"

It was an unfair question. Juries could be unpredictable, but no one got an indictment unless there was some pretty strong evidence. The defense lawyers were high profile and very expensive, not averse to using every dirty trick in the bag, would play up the fact that their client was a family man, gave generously to the community. Shouldn't be held responsible for the actions of his employees and associates. 

"It's a good case. That's why he wants a deal."

Sam hadn't answered her question and she hadn't really answered his. She was quiet for too long, she knew, closing her eyes when Sam pressed his lips to her temple. "I'm sorry," he said quietly.

She started to pull away, not willing to hear Sam apologize again for being the man she'd fallen in love with. He held her firm, covering her protest with his mouth. "I'm sorry. They didn't have mint chocolate chip. Just plain old chocolate chip."

If there was regret or apology in his eyes for the rest, she couldn't see it. She could see the hint of white teeth in the smile he was trying not to show. "I think that's grounds for divorce. There's twenty grocery stores between your office and the house, and none of them had mint chocolate chip?"

"I only stopped at one."

"That is weak. Pitiful. Inexcusable."

"I know."

"You're going to need to make this up to me."

Sam nodded, mouth set seriously. "I've got a deal to offer."

Sarah gripped the back of the swing, pulled herself upright until she was straddling Sam's legs. She could only barely see his face, backlit as he was from the house. There was slight beard stubble under her palm and Sam's hair felt heavy, not dirty but not soft, tangled at the ends. He'd been pushing his hands through it all day. He linked his hands together at her lower back, lifted his chin when she pressed her mouth to his. "Let's hear it."

"We send Dean out for the ice cream, make sure the bedroom door is closed and I make it up to you."

That sounded like a wonderful idea, but her father had raised her to negotiate better than that. "You think a quick tumble in the sheets is all it's going to take? That's kind of insulting, Mr. Winchester."

"Think of it as opening remarks."

"I'm unconvinced of your sincerity."

Sam nodded. "Fair enough. Okay. How about…I spend the rest of my life making it up to you?"

She gave it serious consideration. "That's acceptable. But we're still sending Dean out for ice cream."


It took him three stores, and nobody had five gallon containers, so he bought five one gallon containers. The house looked pretty much as it had, except there was a plate in the sink, still dirty and unlike Sarah to leave it there. The stove was warm, but the leftovers were put away again. The television was on low, and there were fresh sheets and blankets and pillows waiting for him on the end of the sofa.

He mounted the stairs quietly, glancing in at his nieces, hearing nothing but sleep-slowed breathing, even from Allie. 

The door at the end of the hall was closed, no light shining beneath it. He didn't go any closer. 

Back downstairs he quietly washed the plate, then thought about getting a bowl. In the end, he took one of the containers and spoon, flipped the channel over to one late night horror flick and propped himself up on the multiple pillows. 

Sam was going to owe him more than a few cartons of ice cream, but Dean figured he had the same deal Sarah did -- Sam's whole lifetime to get him to pay up. But settled on the couch, in a home that in some ways was more comfortable than his own, he kind of figured maybe Sam was already ahead of the game. 

He didn't startle when an hour or so later, he heard a door upstairs open and close quietly, even less surprised to see Sam coming down the stairs, pajama-bottomed and looking both tired and content. He hadn't missed the fact that when Sam had come home, he'd brought in an entire valise of work home with him. 

"What's on?" he asked softly.

"Alien versus Predator IV," Dean said and got up, while Sam pulled papers from his briefcase.

Dean brought him a spoon. Sam took it but Dean didn't let go immediately. "It's all going to be okay, Sam. Nothing's going to happen to any of them."

Sam's eyes rested on him in that soft understanding way that would make Dean blush if he was the type. Which he wasn't.

"I'm more sure of that than I am the outcome of this trial," Sam said and jerked the spoon away.  "Twenty on the Alien."

They'd both seen this movie a dozen times. "Deal. You're on," Dean said and flopped back on the couch, occasionally glancing over at where Sam was going over his notes, never looking at the movie, but still dipping his spoon into the melting ice cream between pages.

And if a couple of times they got their spoons switched, well that was okay. Family cooties made you stronger. 

Sam won their bet.

Like there had ever been any doubt. 


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