A/N: Before we start, I'd like to give a huge thank you to all of my wonderful reviewers! Without you, this story would never have made it to a second season. You give me a huge inspiration boost every week with your comments, and I'd just like to tell you how much I appreciate it all! I hope you are ready for another fun season! And if you have time, check out the tumblr! There's a few pictures of the characters, more on the way, and a lot of fun extras!
A/N: This is the eighth part of the Brothers Apart series and the beginning of season two! If you want to read the rest of the stories, they are found on my page.
Part 1: Brothers Apart
Part 2: The Golden Touch
Part 3: First Interlude
Part 4: Home
Part 5: Shadows and Reflections
Part 6: Second Interlude
Part 7: Taken
Part 8: The Schism of Fire and Water
Part 9: Adventures at Bobby's
Part 10: A Lich of Sense
Part 11: Calling John Bonham
Part 12: Like a Moth to Flame
Part 13: The Ties That Bind
Part 14: Bittersweet Parting
Part 15: Birth of a Nightmare
Part 16: For Science
Related short stories: Out of the Frying Pan
After two months spent waiting for Sam's arm to heal, both brothers are getting cabin fever. An unusual string of natural disasters a state over gets them back on the road with a unique case.
It started out as a gentle tone.
Ilyana paused in her massaging of the fire-drake. Noonia yowled at her and nuzzled her hand, trying to get the scritches to start up again. Ilyana pushed down her snout with a smile, promising more to come soon enough. They had been together since before she could remember, and would be together after her end.
Standing, she drifted into the air with a lazy flap of her powerful wings. Where was that sound coming from? She'd never heard anything like it in all her time. Was it… calling to her?
No one else had responded. A few of her sisters were outside, sunning their wings lazily next to the other fire-drakes that called the dormant volcano home. She drifted overhead, trying to pinpoint the source of the disturbance.
The musical tone grew in intensity, but she slowly started to realize it was all in her mind. The fire-drakes gave no reaction at all but a few of her other sisters were staring at their surroundings uneasily. As she flew on and it gained strength, she realized that there was a voice speaking to her past the music.
I seek to summon. Come to me if you hear this call. Great rewards await the one that responds.
Compelled by curiosity, Ilyana started to triangulate its source. A small pool of stagnant water was glowing at the edge of the rocky field she was drifting over. Flaring her wings for a landing, she perched on the edge, staring down into her own red-eyed reflection.
Dark brown eyes met hers, a cold expression on the others face as Ilyana's countenance was taken in.
I have come.
BANG BANG BANG.
The knocking above shook the walls themselves. Dust drifted free from the ceiling, raining down on the floor. Walt grabbed at the thimble on the counter, steadying it so the water inside wouldn't spill all over the place. He chanced a quick glance up at the ceiling, nervous as he considered what was right above them that very moment. This wasn't something he was ever going to get used to. After all, the entire house was shaking with him just knocking. If anything was ever going to make Walt feel small, that was it.
Sean and Kara tore out of their bedroom, racing through the kitchen. "DEAN!"
Acting fast, Walt grabbed the kids' shirt collars. "And just where do you think you're going?" he demanded, bothered by their carefree reaction to a human.
They both stared down at their feet. Sean mumbled to the floor, "We wanted to go see Dean."
Walt hid a smile, keeping his aspect stern. He had an image to keep, after all. "Remember what we talked about the other day?"
"Yes, Walt," both kids chorused.
"No matter what, no matter how certain you are that you're safe or alone, always keep quiet. What if it isn't Dean up there? What if someone broke into his room and is trying to lure you out? You could end up captured or worse, just like Sam and the others." Walt put his hands on his hips and pursed his lips. "I think Dean would agree you need to be more careful."
He held them there with a stern gaze for a few more moments then broke away. It wouldn't do to keep Dean waiting, after all. However kind Sam's brother had turned out to be, he was still a hunter. Still dangerous.
Even so, Walt and the others had chosen to let him know where they lived once the excitement had died down from his arrival with the others. After all, they couldn't exactly hide the sounds of celebration from under the floorboards that first night. And Walt was willing to concede that Dean had done something no other human had managed in living memory: he'd proved himself willing to choose Sam and his family and friends over humans. It would have been easy for him to just save Sam and leave the others behind, and he'd never been obligated to take care of Kara after discovering her in his room. But he had, and would again in a heartbeat. That Walt didn't doubt after what he'd seen of the hunter.
Of course, telling him where they lived resulted in the occasional shock when Dean came visiting.
Clapping his hands, Walt turned from the kids. "Alright. Who wants to go find Sam? After all, I'm sure that's why Dean's here."
Both kids tore out of the room, racing to see who could find Sam first. Walt smiled once they were out of sight. It had been a long time since he'd seen such happiness. Since Bree was a child, before she'd been taken. Sam had always been more… reserved. Somber. The result of losing his entire world that one fateful day. Walt had been happy to see that shroud of sadness start to lift from Sam at last. He knew it was because Sam had found his brother. The family he'd thought lost to him forever.
Once they were gone, Walt paused. He took a moment to compose himself by brushing off his jacket. He then made his way up to the small pathway behind Krissy's home, climbing until he was level with the floor. Coming up to the slit that had been cut away in the wallpaper, he slipped a finger through and pulled it open just a crack. With any luck, the opening was too small to be noticed by the room's only occupant. He peered cautiously into the immense motel room they lived under.
Sure enough, the enormous hunter was crouched on the floor not far from Krissy's home, patiently waiting. One massive hand rested casually just six inches from where Walt was standing, still hidden in the wall. The rest of his body was sprawled out, stretched flat on his stomach. It went on for what seemed like forever from Walt's point of view, highlighting the sheer size humans had at their disposal. Walt couldn't imagine being as big as Dean.
Walt tensed at his proximity to the huge hand, then pushed his reaction down. Dean didn't deserve their fear anymore than Sam did, not after all he'd done. It wasn't his fault he was what he was. Walt knew that better than anyone.
Pushing the wallpaper out of his way, Walt took his first step into the immense motel room. The world opened up around him, the ceiling soaring above his head. The wallpaper slipped shut behind him, unnoticed. All his focus was consumed by the human he was facing down. Natural instinct refused to ever let him truly drop his guard around Dean, even after two months of getting to know him.
Dean's eyes locked on Walt the second he slipped out of the wall. His heavy gaze softened at the sight of his small brother's adopted father. At times like this, Walt could almost feel the truth in his statement: 'Sam's family is my family. Size be damned.' It was a reassurance, considering how vulnerable Walt and the others would always be when they were near Dean.
"Hey," Dean said quietly. "Sorry to bother you."
Walt took a few steps away from the wall until he was standing near Dean's hand. A way to show his trust without having to say a word. Dean understood the sentiment perfectly, his face lighting up a little at the movement.
"It's no bother. Gave the kids a bit of excitement to start the morning off with," Walt smiled, standing casually with his hands clasped behind his back.
Dean cracked his own smile at that. Walt knew the human hunter had a soft spot for both the children. Sean he'd saved from the witch, and little Kara had bravely befriended Dean when she had no one else in the world. Because of this, Dean had been able to rescue everyone that had been taken by those disgusting excuses for humanity.
Including Bree. And Sam.
"I thought I heard them yelling. Where'd they get off to?" Dean asked, his voice rumbling around Walt. Although he was sure to keep his voice down around Walt and the others, it always went straight through Walt. It made his own voice sound tiny by comparison.
Walt waved a hand towards the wall. "Finding Sam." He shot an intense look up at Dean. "That is why you're here?"
Dean's grin broadened. "Partly." Without another word he reached forward with his other hand, clenched in a fist.
Walt stiffened, standing his ground as the huge hand approached. It was impossible for him to be as casual or as trusting about this as Sam or the kids, especially after everything he'd gone through. In the back of his mind, he understood Dean meant no harm. He simply couldn't help the way he was. Nevertheless, standing in front of an approaching hand that could scoop him unwillingly off the ground on a whim took strict self-control.
The hand stopped a few inches away from Walt, and the fingers unfolded. In the center of Dean's palm was fresh fruit - a grape, a blackberry, some blueberries and pieces of a granola bar broken down in size. All fresh. Better food than Walt's people had access to most days of the year. Food that Dean could have anytime he wanted, underlying more of the differences between them.
Walt stared up at Dean. "You don't have to do this…"
Dean shook his head. "This is the least I can do for you after everything you've done for my family." His expression turned pleading. "You have to let me do something for you… I mean, without me or Sam…"
Walt cut him off sternly. He'd had this same conversation with Sam countless times since they'd returned. "Without you and Sam I'd never have seen my daughter again. Wouldn't even know she was still alive. I don't want to hear another word from you or Sam that says otherwise." As much force as he could muster against a human went into those words. It felt almost like he was berating Sam again - like he was scolding his son, a strange thought to have while staring up at a giant that could pluck him up between two fingers without a problem.
He stared at the food for a few seconds. It would be so easy to accept. That tiny amount, barely a mouthful for someone as big as Dean, would feed the household for a week. Even with all the extra people. But still... "We'll be fine. Thank you for the offer. We don't need anyone to take 'care' of us." Reliance on a human was always a bad path to follow. Even a human that considered them family against all odds.
Dean's eyebrows almost climbed off his face. "Walt, you know I don't think of you guys as pets. I'd never consider you unable to take care of yourselves. I just... I need to help. Even just a little." He shifted his hand closer, gently nudging Walt with a finger bigger than he was. "Think of it as paying off some of my debt... for saving Sam. I owe you, no matter what size you are. More than I can ever repay."
Almost stumbling in surprise, Walt caught his balance. That had been unexpected. The strength of that slight nudge from Dean was a stark reminder of their differences. So far Dean had never reached for anyone who hadn't asked to get picked up (namely: the kids - every five minutes). Even Sam avoided being held unless he had to, and Dean respected that, to everyone else's surprise. They had all been raised thinking humans did whatever they wanted, not caring how people like Walt felt. But Dean was careful, he listened, he never pushed himself on anyone...
Walt shot a quick glance up at the expression on Dean's face but saw only kindness and worry in those huge green eyes above. He let out a shaky breath.
Walt took a moment longer to debate before giving in. He was doing that a lot these days. That was a habit he needed to break. "Very well. As long as you remember that. We get by fine on our own." He gave a sharp nod at this, reinforcing his statement.
He would have protested more, but knew inside it was a losing battle. Dean shared Sam's stubbornness, and if a hunter twenty times your size dug his heels in during an argument it was hard to say no. He'd just find another way to get the food to them. Walt figured he'd save everyone the trouble. The last thing he needed was a determined hunter getting creative. Sam had warned him how creative Dean could be, and the food would be appreciated with the unexpected amount of people in the house. Soon they would need to find their own places to live or risk taking too much from this part of the motel, putting everyone in danger.
There'd already been a few scouting trips, searching for a new home for Christian and Kara. Dean had helped, as much as he could. He wanted to make sure everyone he'd saved stayed safe. Whenever they were in a room, Dean made sure he was in it as well, using his breaking and entering skills to gain access with Sam along to guide him to the right room. It gave them the freedom to explore fully, without fear of capture. Although it was nerve-wracking to walk by Dean, sitting calmly in a chair with his eyes glued to them. Even for a human he was big.
What was so strange about those trips was the way Dean deferred to Sam. Sam would mostly stay perched up on his brother's shoulder, telling him if any help was needed and what he should do. Other than that, he stayed out of the way as best he could. Watching a hunter take direction from someone like Sam was amazing to see. Dean still needled Sam the way only a brother could, but Sam snarked back just as much, easily standing his ground with the hunter. Their easy back and forth banter reassured Walt that trusting Dean was the right thing to do. Walt wished fervently it could always be that way.
Mikael was planning on following Christian and Kara, considering Kara as close as a granddaughter. And he had no one else in the world to call family. Walt remembered him explaining how his wife had been lost over a year ago to an encroaching rat. His heart went out to Mikael. At the very least, they would always have that in common. At least Mikael had Kara to help watch after, just as Walt had Sean to distract him from his own dark thoughts.
Their new home would hopefully be close enough for visits, as little Kara had latched onto Bree and Sean as surrogate siblings. She hadn't known any other children growing up where she'd lived. She, Christian and Mikael had been the last in the motel when they decided to uproot and travel here with Sam and Dean.
Speaking of the devil, light, quiet footsteps from the wall was the only warning Walt or Dean got before the kids came tearing out of the wall.
Walt tensed as Kara carelessly leapt on the hand resting against the ground next to him. She ducked under the casually bowed fingers, sticking her tongue out at Sean. "Can't get me!"
Dean played along, closing the gaps in his fingers for her. She vanished from sight, completely enveloped by the massive fingers. Dean's eyes softened as he let her hide under there.
With a visible effort to relax, Walt turned to the third person to come striding out of the wall. If anyone was safe with Dean, it was the kids. He'd been vigilant every time they were nearby, knowing at his size the slightest move could end badly for them. Walt knew all he had to do was ask, and Dean would let Kara out.
"Bree," he greeted his daughter with surprise. There was no sign of Sam behind her. That wasn't normal. They'd been almost inseparable since getting back. He was trying to help her adjust to life without humans again, as best he could. He was the only person that could come close to understanding what she'd gone through, with his constant exposure to his brother. The main difference being Dean thought of and treated Sam as an equal while Bree had been treated as nothing better than a pet by everyone but her 'owner' Beth. And even Beth hadn't treated Bree as an equal the same way as Dean did with any of them. "What happened to Sam?"
Her eyes stayed on the children while she talked. "Dunno. Haven't seen him all morning. I actually thought he was up here." She met Dean's eyes without flinching. Next to Sam and the kids she was the only other person to not be afraid of Dean in the slightest. Walt figured Sam's confidence in his brother was rubbing off on her.
Sean came over and tugged on Bree's hand. "Make her stop! It's not fair!"
Bree bent down. "What happened?"
"I can't get to her and Dean won't open his hand!"
Bree couldn't stop a smile on her face at that. Dean was like a big brother to the kids. A big big brother. "Dean?" she called up. "Play nice!"
The giant hunter rolled his eyes. "Fine. If you say so..." Despite his words there was a playful smile in his voice. He was staying completely in character. "I guess that means..."
His hand lifted off Kara, revealing her hiding spot. She squealed when Sean saw her. "No fair!"
Dean swept them both gently up into his hand, both kids giggling at the ride. They fell into a pile in the center of his palm. "You'reboth mine now!" Dean grinned. He held his hand a few inches up in the air to entertain them as he focused down on Bree. "What do you mean, you can't find Sam?"
With a shrug, she stood her ground in his intense gaze without a problem. "He was around last night but his bed in the living room was empty when I got up. And no one's seen him since."
Walt frowned deeply. "That's not like him to vanish without letting anyone know."
Dean's frown matched Walt's. "No, it's not." Worry bled through in his tone. "Especially after everything that happened." He lowered the hand holding the kids down next to his other hand. "Now who wants to help carry this food in?"
Both kids happily clambered down, grabbing a bit of food each. Their eyes were wide. "Blackberries are my favorite!" Sean exclaimed in awe, hefting a blackberry the size of his torso. At this point the cursed boy understood how rare a treat fresh food was for them, with him approaching a year at this size soon enough. Dean grinned at his infectious excitement.
Walt stared up at Dean. "What are you planning?" He picked up the last few pieces of granola that were left in Dean's palm, freeing Dean to move. He recognized that tone of voice from his experience raising Sam. Determination. Whenever Sam got that tone nothing could stop him, come hell or high water. Walt had tried, more than once.
"Find him if I can. He's my pain in the ass little brother, after all. Can't let him go off and get into trouble without me." Once both hands were empty he pushed off the ground, sitting up straight. His towering form blocked the light of the motel room as soon as he straightened, casting Walt and the others in shadow.
He brushed his hands off, scattering a few crumbs from the granola on the floor near them. Probably small enough that Dean didn't even notice what he'd done. Humans never seemed to realize the effect they had on the world around them with simple, small gestures. It wasn't Dean's fault, but it was just another thing that underscored the difference between them.
Walt and Bree backed away, more out of respect for his size than fear at this point. It was easy to forget sometimes how big he really was while he was down on the floor talking to them. The times Walt had seen Dean standing up while down on the ground had been downright terrifying. Nothing could prepare you for that. Dean's boots alone stretched over Walt's head, not to mention he was big for even a human. Yet Sam was never worried in the slightest of being stepped on, walking around on the floor near Dean with complete confidence whether the human was looking at him or not. Walt had a hard time imagining the trust that took.
Walt was continually amazed at how normal Dean treated them all, not to mention his surprising acceptance of the smaller people that lived in the walls. It was unusual for humans in general, never mind a hunter. Walt couldn't help but suspect in his heart it was only because of Sam.
But he knew that wasn't fair. Not really.
Walt turned. The kids had already run giggling into the wall without them, excited to tell everyone about the fresh food. He was about to return to the wall himself when he realized Bree wasn't with him.
"Bree?" he started curiously, then paused.
She was standing directly in front of the kneeling hunter's towering form, staring straight up into his face. "Dean..." she said, her voice much quieter than it had been with the children around.
Dean curled both hands into fists, resting them against his knees for support as he leaned over to hear her better. Walt took another cautious step back, unable to suppress the intimidation that came from the way the human so easily loomed over them both.
Dean's eyes flicked to Walt with regret shining in them before focusing solely on Bree. It was obvious he hated how different he was to them, wanting complete acceptance from his brother's family. "What is it?" he asked kindly, keeping his voice just as soft as earlier.
She took a deep breath before continuing, gathering herself to address the huge hunter. Even though she wasn't afraid of him, he was a lot to take in, especially when his singular focus was locked down on her. Anyone their size had trouble standing calmly with a human's gaze locked on them, even the girl who'd practically grown up with humans. "I'd... I'd like to come with you. To find Sam, I mean." She stared down at the floor, bumping one of the soft-soled shoes Walt had just finished for her against the carpet fibers she stood ankle deep in. "I could, maybe help you look." Her eyes lifted to him at last, meeting his gentle gaze. "You know, in the places... you don't fit..."
By the end, Walt could barely hear her himself. He was shocked when Dean responded, amazed someone that large could hear something so quiet. "I'd like that," he said. "You'll definitely be a huge help, especially considering my... size problem." The last part was dryly humorous, making fun of how he didn't fit in with any of them.
Walt and Bree both flinched back instinctively when one of the huge hands reached towards her, fingers stretching in both their directions. But she didn't back away, standing her ground with a fist clenched behind her back so Dean couldn't tell she was nervous. The hand came to a rest next to her, over twice her height in length. With the palm facing the ceiling, it formed a broad platform that would easily accept her weight.
As Bree stepped on, the hand remained motionless. Once she was settled in the center, the fingers curled up around her, guarding her against falling. Dean lifted his hand away from the ground at the same time as he pushed himself off the ground with his other hand. She gave a squeak of surprise at the speed, reminiscent of Kara's little squeak.
Walt backed all the way to the wall, his arms clutched tight around the granola he was still holding. Dean was huge. It was times like this that Walt was glad the hunter considered them his family. Dean could do whatever he wanted with them if he ever changed his mind.
The massive boots scuffed in place as Dean turned his attention down to Walt once he was fully standing with Bree cupped safely against his chest, all the way up in the air.
"I'll make sure to take good care of her," Dean said with a cocky wink. "And have her back home in time for curfew."
Walt wasn't completely sure how to react to all of that, not knowing what 'curfew' was, but he understood the general gist of Dean's words. He would be sure to ask Bree about it later, once they found Sam. She'd picked up a lot from the larger beings while she'd lived with... that family. "See that you do," he said gruffly with a nod, refusing any sign of nervousness in his bearing, "and make sure Sam doesn't get himself into any more trouble. Now that his arm is finally healing he should let it rest."
"I'll let him know," Dean said with a smirk. "You know how he can be." He turned away, his boots thumping across the ground as he left Walt by the wall.
Walt could feel himself relax as the human's scrutiny left him. He wanted to trust Dean completely, more than anything, but could always feel his instincts holding him back. Even now, with the human across the room, the huge footsteps rattled the floor under his feet. After two months of Dean staying there, he still wasn't used to that. If your daughter and your son trust him with their lives, you know you can trust him too. After all, he's one of only two humans in the world that went out of their way to save people like us. He didn't just save his brother, but all of them, and he took care of Kara until she was reunited with Christian.
You can trust him.
Walt turned from the room, slipping back into the dark walls and safety, heavy thoughts on his mind.
Welcome to Season Two!
And, the question of the week: Where is Sam?!
Dean would certainly like to know the answer. Anyone have any ideas for him?
And boy does Dean stand out in the family. He doesn't even fit in the front door!