Chapter Eighteen: You Can't Go Home Again
Sam couldn't move. It was as though he was glued to the spot, paralyzed. He tried to run away but his limbs refused to respond.
His eyes were squeezed shut. It was too bright. The light seared at his eyeballs and caused tears to drip down his face.
"Sammy," a sibilant voice hissed in his ear and the boy jerked away from the sound, whimpering.
"Please don't hurt me," he begged; it seemed that the only thing that he could control was his mouth.
"That's because I want to hear you scream," the voice told him as though reading his mind and Sam gave a choked sob.
"Dean!" he cried out, terrified.
"Open your eyes, Sammy," the voice said, "Big brother's right here with us."
"No," the eight-year old refused.
"C'mon Squirt," his brother's voice spoke up, "Open your eyes."
"Dean," Sam breathed and slowly peeled his eyelids apart.
As he opened his eyes, the boy noticed that the bright light seemed to fade and he realized he was somewhere familiar: the Singers' kitchen. He was pinned against the wall, looking down at his brother and Karen and Bobby.
They all were grinning from ear-to-ear, coal-black eyes sunk into pale faces, sharp teeth slick with saliva.
"NO!" Sam screamed in terror.
"Sam! Sammy! Wake up!" Dean cried as his brother thrashed on the hospital bed, crying in his sleep.
"Sammy! Sam! It's okay! It's just a nightmare!"
The twelve-year old reached out and cradled his sibling's head, trying to protect his brother as he writhed in the blankets.
"Shhhh," Dean murmured, lifting one hand to stroke his brother's bangs away from his face, "Shhh it's okay."
"D'n," the eight-year old mumbled and Dean could see his brother quickly regaining consciousness.
Green eyes slid open and focused on his face.
"You're okay, Sammy," Dean assured him, "You're safe."
"D'n," Sam repeated and rolled to one side, reaching out to grab onto his brother, tears leaking from his eyes.
Dean held onto his younger brother, rocking back and forth, trying to swallow the lump that was forming in his throat.
The twelve-year old squeezed his eyes shut, wishing what he was saying was true… because right now nothing felt okay and safe. He didn't know what they would do if they were sent to some foster home, away from the only real family they had ever had. Dean wasn't sure and he knew for certain that Sam couldn't go through foster home after foster home after foster home again.
Dean looked up, startled, when the door opened and a stranger walked in. The stranger was a tall black man with greying hair and a moustache. He was wearing a long, tan trench coat. He looked at Officer Ramirez, who had stayed by Dean side- and Sam's- since leaving Bobby and Karen's house and pulled out an official looking badge, "Agent Marlborough, FBI. Why don't you get yourself a coffee, Officer, while I talk to these boys?"
The policewoman sat up in her chair, mouth open to protest.
"It's okay, Officer Ramirez," Dean told her, "We'll be fine. He's FBI, right?"
The policewoman nodded, "Five minutes and I'll be right back, Dean."
"Five minutes," the boy repeated and watched as she left the room, leaving the door ajar.
Sam sat up and rubbed at his eyes. Dean glanced at his brother and then to the agent.
Agent Marlborough looked at the younger Winchester and kept a steady gaze, not staring like some adults did and not glancing away either.
"I know your Pops didn't kill his wife," the FBI agent said, "But I need you two to tell me what happened so I can help him out."
"Did Bobby tell you what happened?" Dean asked, leaning forward.
Marlborough shook his head, "He doesn't remember much, just driving down the street then the next thing he knows is his lady's laying on the floor bleedin' and you two are on the floor unconscious."
"It wasn't Karen," Dean said, "It wasn't her, not really."
"How do you know? Did you see anything strange? Flickering lights? Or odd smells, like rotten eggs?" the agent asked.
"Remember, the lights went off and on," Sam said quietly.
"Yeah," Dean agreed, "Just before we went into the kitchen, the lights in the living room flicked off and then back on. It only happened once… we thought the weather caused it."
Marlborough nodded, not looking surprised.
"And her eyes," Sam whispered, "Karen's eyes… they were all black… like she didn't have any eyes."
Dean reached out and put a comforting arm around his younger brother's shoulders.
"Black eyes," the man said slowly, as though to himself.
"Karen… or whatever it was…" Dean began, "Threw us into the wall without touching us. We couldn't move. We were stuck there and then she started hurting Sammy."
Marlborough looked at the older Winchester, "Is there anything else I should know? Anything else you two can remember about the attack?"
"Are you gonna help Bobby?" Sam asked.
"I'm gonna help him not go to jail for murder but anything else is beyond me," Marlborough told him.
Dean told him about seeing the plumes of smoke escaping from Bobby and Karen's mouths, "I think that's…" Dean started and then his eyes widened, "Oh wait! Bobby's eyes went a weird colour too!"
"Were they black or maybe red?" the FBI agent asked.
Dean shook his head, "No, they were… yellow."
The man frowned, "Yellow? You're sure?"
"I'm sure," the twelve-year old said, "He looked right at me."
"What were they, Sir?" Sam asked, "What was inside them?"
"Demons," Marlborough revealed, straight-faced.
"Demons?" Dean asked with one eyebrow raised, even though he had seen them for himself.
"Evil sons of bitches from Hell," the man continued, "They don't have bodies of their own so they squeeze into unsuspecting folks and mess around with them, commit all sorts of horrible crimes for their own sick amusement."
"You're not really an FBI agent, are you?" the older Winchester asked and the man almost smiled.
"No, I'm not," Marlborough- if that was his real name- admitted, "I'm the guy who hunts down the kinds of things you saw in your kitchen yesterday afternoon."
The brothers stared at him, not knowing what to say.
Six pairs of eyes turned as the door opened and Officer Ramirez stepped inside, holding a drink tray.
"I thought you boys might be thirsty," she said, "If you're finished talking with them, that is?"
Marlborough nodded and stood, "I think I have all the information I need here. Thank you, Officer."
"Will we see you again?" Dean asked the man.
The fake FBI agent smiled, "If I do my job right, you won't."
Dean leaned back in his chair as the man walked out.
"What was that about?" the policewoman asked.
"He just wanted to ask us about what happened to Karen," Sam replied.
Ramirez nodded, thin lipped.
"I brought you both some hot chocolate," she told them and the boys thanked her, taking the offered beverages.
Rufus Turner sighed heavily as he climbed into the driver's seat of his car and started the engine.
This whole damn situation was a mess. It pissed him off to no end that the demons had escaped and now an innocent man had been set up for the murder of his wife.
And the kids… Rufus didn't even like kids but he felt bad for those two boys. If nothing was done, their adoptive father was going to be locked away and they were destined for some foster home in a different state.
Despite being crass and self-centered, the hunter was not about to let the demons win at whatever game they were playing; he'd try his damndest to help these people out. That was a part of his job, even if it was the part he didn't really like, it had to be done and if it was to be done at all it had to be done well.
After five minutes of driving, Rufus turned into the parking lot of the Sioux Falls Police Station, feeling a sense of déjà vu since he'd already been there earlier that morning trying to get the story from Mr. Singer.
Peeling off his trench coat, the hunter reached into the backseat and pulled on a slate-grey suit jacket before opening the door and stepping outside.
Shrugging his shoulders to settle the jacket into place, Rufus put on his game face before opening the doors to the station and stepping inside.
Letting the door slam shut behind him, Rufus walked to the reception desk.
"I'm here to see Robert Singer," he told the young, fresh-out-of-college cop sitting behind the computer, "I'm his lawyer."
"Sheriff Yates and Deputy Mills are with him right now," the young cop told him.
"I didn't ask who he was with," Rufus interrupted, "I asked to see my client. They should already know me anyway, I was here this morning."
The cop nodded and picked up the phone, speaking into the receiver quietly. After a moment he put the phone back down and returned his attention to Rufus.
"Deputy Mills is going to come and get you," he told the hunter.
A door off to the side of the reception area opened and a young cop- though not as young as the kid behind the desk- with long dark brown hair and a stern expression emerged.
"Mr. Walker," Deputy Mills said, "We weren't expecting you back today."
"I have nothing better to do today," Rufus commented, "And I hope that when this young officer here says that you and the Sheriff were speaking with my client you weren't questioning him without me being there."
Deputy Mills crossed her arms over her chest and struck an intimidating pose.
"Because you know," Rufus continued, "Anything said without legal council present will be inadmissible in court."
"I'm aware of the laws, Mr. Walker," the deputy replied, "C'mon back, then, if you're so concerned for Mr. Singer's legal rights."
Rufus followed the deputy down a long, drab hallway to where the cells were.
"Can you open an interview room for us?" the hunter asked, "I'd like to speak with my client in private."
The deputy nodded as she showed Rufus to the cell where Bobby was being held even though he already knew where the man was. Sheriff Yates was standing outside of the cell, an irritated expression on his large, doughy face.
"Mr. Walker," the Sheriff said, "Back again."
Rufus ignored him; "I'd like to speak with my client, now. Your deputy is setting up a room for us."
The overweight sheriff rolled his eyes; clearly unable to see the reason for having another conversation with the prisoner since he thought Bobby was guilty as sin.
"Hey, its your party," Yates said to Rufus, "Don't know how much you'll get out of him. Maybe you can get him off on not guilty by reason of insanity."
"Hmm," the hunter hummed noncommittally, "Could you just open the door?"
Shaking his head, the sheriff did as Rufus asked and pulled out a ring of keys, picked one and unlocked the door to Bobby's cell.
The mechanic couldn't look more pathetic if he tried. He had dark circles under his eyes from lack of sleep, his face was pale and drawn, his shoulders sagging as though under a great weight.
Rufus reached out and put a hand on the man's shoulder as they walked out of the room and headed down the hallway towards the interview rooms, Sheriff Yates close on their heels.
Rufus curtly thanked Deputy Mills as she held the door open for Bobby and him.
"I'll be waiting outside," she told him and the hunter nodded.
Sitting down at either side of the stainless-steel table in the bare, cinderblock walled room; the two men eyed each other for a moment before beginning to speak.
"I spoke to Dean and Sam," Rufus told Bobby, "And they gave me some interesting information about what happened yesterday afternoon."
"Are they all right?" the mechanic asked, concern for the boys showing his face.
"Shaken up," the hunter said, "Obviously. But it looks like they'll both be okay."
Bobby sighed, "That's good."
Rufus leaned forward across the table, "I know you don't remember what happened that afternoon but those boys did and I'm going to tell you exactly what they told me. It'll help us figure out how to get you out of here."
Bobby looked at the fake lawyer cynically.
"Oh yeah?" he commented, "And what could those boys possible remember that would get me off murder charges?"
Rufus wasted no more time and told the mechanic what Dean had seen and experienced that afternoon.
"Demons?" the man sat back, "But… that sort of thing's not possible. Is it?"
"Unless both boys were hallucinating," Rufus replied, "Which I know for a fact they were not because I've seen more than my fill of these things."
"Why us? Why Karen?" Bobby asked, his eyes visibly moist.
The hunter shrugged, "Because your wife and boys were home? Because they could? Demons mess with humans for their own entertainment, for shits and giggles. They don't have to have a reason other than to make our lives miserable."
"How is this gonna help me?" Bobby wanted to know, "I don't think the Sherriff you believe it if we told them demons possessed me and my wife."
Rufus shook his head, "You're right. He won't believe that. But with Dean, seeing what he did- and having his brother bearing the injuries to prove it- I think we can make a strong case for self-defense."
Bobby leaned forward, eyebrows knit together but eyes full of curiosity.
"The only way I can see this working," Rufus began, "And getting you to walk, is if we lie. Make up a story supported by both you and the boy."
"Now, Dean said that the demon pinned him and his brother against the wall and then started to kill Sam," Rufus continued.
Bobby nodded, swallowing thickly.
"And the little one has the injuries to prove it. Now, what you tell the Sheriff, is that you came home for lunch, like you'd planned and heard Dean calling out for you. You run into the kitchen and find both boys tied up- hence them being unable to move- and Karen beating on the younger one with some sort of blunt object- rolling pin, whatever- and when she wouldn't stop you pulled out your gun and shot her to protect the children."
Bobby sat back in his chair, mouth open in shock.
"No, I can't," he argued, "Karen would never do something like that; she just wouldn't."
"Who cares what she would or wouldn't do?" Rufus snapped, "Upholding your wife's honour isn't going to help you much when you're rotting in jail for twenty-five to life, Bobby!"
The mechanic closed his eyes and ran a hand through his reddish hair.
"Sam was in a bad way," Rufus told him, "His face was purple, blood was dripping from his mouth. You thought he was dead. You didn't have any choice. Karen might have turned on Dean or hell, even on you, so you shot her."
Bobby shook his head, his breathing shallow.
"Who cares what these cornpoke cops think?" Rufus demanded, "Let them think your wife snapped! You'll know the truth and those boys will know the truth and that's a hell of a lot."
"If you go to jail, those boys will end up back where they started," the hunter said, his tone softening, "Back in some orphanage or in foster care."
"Can I think on it?" Bobby asked.
"Think quickly, Mr. Singer," Rufus crossed his arms, "You don't exactly have the luxury of time."
Dean and Sam looked at one another, then at the adults assembled in the room. The Sheriff and Deputy, Officer Ramirez, Mr. Kinley, were all waiting on the boys' side of the story.
Just hours before, Rufus had visited the boys one last time and helped them figure out what to say so that their story matched Bobby's tale of abuse and self-defense. Neither Winchester liked the idea of painting Karen as a crazy woman who just snapped and hurt them- they had already been through enough difficult foster homes that talking about another one, even though it wasn't true, made them anxious- but if it would help their adoptive father get out of jail, then they would do it.
"We came in from playing in the snow," Dean began, "And Karen told us we could watch a movie."
"It was 'The Goonies'," Sam added, "And Karen went to the kitchen to make hot chocolate."
"I put the movie in," the twelve-year old continued, "Then Karen called us into the kitchen."
"What happened when you went into the kitchen?" Sheriff Yates asked.
"Karen… she was just standing there," Dean said, "In the middle of the floor."
"Did you realize then that something wasn't right?" Yates asked.
Dean shrugged and looked at his brother, "Not really. It was a little weird but we weren't scared."
"We went up to her," Sam continued, "And Dean asked if she was okay."
"That's when she pushed me," the twelve-year old said, a lump in his throat, "I must have hit the wall pretty hard because I kind of blacked-out and when I woke up, Karen had Sammy…"
"It's all right," Deputy Mills said softly, "Take your time."
Dean took a deep breath, "She had him against the wall and she was hitting him."
"What was she using to hit your brother with?" the Sheriff asked.
"Karen was… she was punching him and shoving him into the wall," Dean continued.
"Is that when Mr. Singer came in?"
Dean shook his head, "Not yet. Karen dropped Sammy to the floor and started… started kicking him in the stomach… That's when I saw the blood…"
"Then Bobby came in," Sam spoke up but then looked at Dean, lowering his head.
"Bobby came in and saw Karen and told her to stop but she wouldn't so he took out his gun and said he'd shoot her if she didn't stop," Dean continued, "She didn't even care. So Bobby shot her."
"Had anything like this happened before?" Deputy Mills asked, "Did Mrs. Singer hit your or Sam or touch you inappropriately?"
Dean shook his head, "No Ma'am. She was always so nice to us."
"I never had the impression that these boys were unhappy or mistreated in the home," Mr. Kinley added.
The Sheriff nodded, "Thank you boys, for telling us what happened. It must have been hard for you."
"All right," Yates continued, "Let's head back to the station; we have a lot to discuss."
The Sheriff and Deputy stood up, followed by the CPS agent and left the room, leaving the brothers alone with Officer Ramirez.
Sam looked up at his brother, unsmiling, hoping that their testimony would be enough to release their father.
"No," Sam muttered in his sleep, "Please… no…"
Startling awake, the eight-year old sat up and blinked. It was dark in the room and the boy appeared to be alone.
"Dean?" Sam called, "Officer Ramirez?"
The boy jumped when a figure entered the room, then relaxed when he saw that it was a nurse. They were always coming in and out at odd times to check on him.
"Do you know where my brother went?" he asked the woman as she peered at the heart monitor, reached up to touch the bag of IV fluid for a moment.
"He went out to stretch his legs," the nurse told him.
Sam frowned; Dean went for a walk in the middle of the night.
The eight-year old opened his mouth to ask where his brother really was when the nurse's eyes sudden flashed yellow in the dark and he startled.
"You… You're…" he stammered fearfully. Although he hadn't actually seen Bobby's eyes glow yellow right before he'd shot Karen, Dean had told him about it.
"Shhh," the nurse- demon- reached out one finger and placed it against the boy's mouth, "Don't want to disturb the neighbours, do we?"
Sam, his eyes wide with fear, swallowed thickly and shook his head.
The nurse lowered her hand and smiled.
"You're one lucky horse," she said, "I like you. I really like you. That's why I couldn't let you die."
Sam stared at the woman mutely.
"But that was only a one-time deal," she- it- continued, "From now on, you're on your own. I bent the rules a little for you because there's just something about you I like. Call it zest, or spunk or whatever, but you've got it and the others don't."
Sam had no idea what the nurse, uh, demon, was talking about.
"So I couldn't let my favourite horse get tripped up so early in the game," the creature continued.
"You won't be seeing me again, kid. Not for a while at least, if you make it that far," the demon said, now moving back towards the door, "And I really hope you do."
The nurse reached up to put a hand on the doorframe, "Oh, and one more thing."
Sam nodded, his mouth as dry as cotton.
"Don't tell anyone I came by; let's just keep it a little secret between you and me, what do you say, eh Sammy?"
"Okay," the eight-year old croaked.
"That's my boy," the nurse winked and left the room.
Sam sat very still for a long time, trying to figure out if all that had just been a dream.
"Bobby!" Dean cried out as the mechanic stepped into the hospital room.
The twelve-year old jumped up and ran to the man, hugging him fiercely.
"You're out? For real?" the boy asked and the man nodded, "I'm out."
Walking across the room, Bobby leaned over Sam's bed and embraced the younger boy gently.
"Your doctor says you should be okay to leave today," the mechanic told Sam, "As long as you don't do vigorous activity."
Sam smiled slightly. He hadn't been able to stop thinking about that strange dream he'd had the night before, the one with the yellow-eyed nurse.
Bobby looked up at Officer Ramirez.
"Thanks for looking after my boys for me," he told her and she nodded before slipping out of the room, closing the door behind her.
"Can we go home now, Bobby?" Dean asked, "Please?"
The mechanic's smile faded and he sighed, sitting down on the edge of Sam's hospital bed.
"What's wrong?" Dean asked, his heart skipping a beat.
"Those things- demons- that hurt your brother and killed Karen," Bobby said quietly, glancing from one boy to the other, "They're still out there."
"Yeah," Dean agreed, "They are."
"Well," Bobby continued, "I can't let what happened to us happen to anyone else."
Dean's eyes widened with realization. He knew how his adoptive father was feeling because he'd felt the same way about Billy the Ghost. He'd had to burn that bastard to a crisp not only to protect his brother but other kids as well.
"I can't with a clear conscious let those things go," the mechanic said, "That man, Mr. Walker-"
"Agent Marlborough," Dean interrupted.
Bobby nodded before continuing, "He hunts those things and that's what I'm going to do to."
"Bobby!" Sam suddenly spoke up, "What about us? I don't want to go to another foster home!"
The man glanced down at the child, tears in his eyes.
"You don't have to go into a foster home," he said, "Not if you don't want to."
Sam squinted up at the mechanic, "Than what are we gonna do?"
"Those demons hurt you and killed Karen," Bobby repeated, "If you want you can come with me and get revenge."
"I will," Dean said instantly, "No one hurts my brother and gets away with it."
Sam turned to his brother, his green eyes moist, "What about me?"
"You'll come too, of course," the twelve-year old said, "I can't go anywhere without my baby brother."
Sam gave a wan smile.
Bobby Singer stood in the front foyer of the home he'd shared with his wife for many years. He breathed in deeply, savouring the familiar scents of the house, his heart aching at the thought of leaving it.
Perhaps it wasn't goodbye forever though. He would seek out those two demons and send them back to Hell where they belonged and then return to Sioux Falls to continue a life with his sons.
Reaching into his pocket, the mechanic pulled out a slip of paper with Mr. John Walker AKA Agent Marlborough AKA Rufus Turner's phone number on it and smiled.
Soon Karen, Bobby thought, soon you'll be avenged.
Stomping sounds alerted the man to the fact that his sons were coming down, each one carrying a piece of luggage and a backpack stuffed with clothes and toiletries.
"We didn't know how long we'd be gone so we packed everything," Dean explained and Bobby nodded.
"Be prepared," the man said, "Isn't that the Boy Scout motto?"
The twelve-year old shrugged.
"You okay, Sammy?" he asked his brother and the smaller boy nodded.
The three marched out the door- the eldest pausing to lock it- and then down the steps to the pickup truck, dumping their luggage into the back.
"Think of it as an adventure, Squirt," Dean said as he climbed into the pickup after his brother, squeezing onto the bench seat beside him.
Sam shook his head and sighed.
"It'll be all right, Sam," the twelve-year old assured him.
"Than why do I have a bad feeling, Dean?" the eight-year old muttered as their adoptive father climbed in behind the driver's seat and started the engine.
"Why do I feel like nothing is going to be all right again?"
The twelve-year old frowned and wrapped an arm around the younger boy's shoulders.
"Bobby and me aren't gonna let anything bad happen to you, okay?" Dean said sternly, "And nothing bad is going to happen to either of us either."
"Promise?" Sam asked and Dean smiled.
Bobby glanced at the boys quickly before returning his attention back to the road, "I promise."
Sam gave a weak smile and leaned back against the seat.
Dean reached out and turned on the radio, making a face when Joni Mitchell came on, singing 'Big Yellow Taxi', before turning the station and grinning as Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin' began to play.
Chapter title comes from a Rita MacNeil song of the same name.
Thanks to QueenBea93, Ruby, jensensgirl3, babyreaper, EmilyAnnMcGarrett-Winchester, Trucklady53, StyxxsOmega, Krisuvial, piece2gether, Icyfox West, and SamDeanLover28 for reviewing.
All good things must come to an end, folks, and this is the end of the story. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I know it may not be satisfying to some of you and I apologize but in reality, not all endings are wrapped up nicely. Please take a moment to leave a comment but I'd appreciate no flames. Thank you for your support and I will see you next story!