K Hanna Korossy
It was a long flight, and Sam should've spent it coordinating his people back at the bunker, going through research and records, and continuing his search for his brother. Instead, he conked out almost as soon as they were in the air and slept half the way around the world. He dreamed of being a kid in motel rooms, a teen at college, on the road and on the hunt, and Dean, Dean, Dean.
He was still exhausted as he collected his one duffel and got off the plane.
The taxi ride should've been interesting; for all his well-traveled life, Sam had never seen much outside the continental United States. Instead, he practiced what to say, thought about what had brought him there, tried not to hope too much.
The driver dropped him off in front of the homeless shelter with a dubious expression, and Sam double-checked the time on his phone. Yeah, should still be two hours left of the kid's shift. Taking a breath, Sam strode inside.
It wasn't a big place, although it was teeming with life. It took a minute for his eyes to sort through the faces. There weren't many young ones, though, and even though it had been close to a decade, as soon as he saw him, Sam knew.
He waited until the kid finished talking to an older man and started to turn away. Then Sam spoke up. "Jesse?"
The kid froze, shoulders bunching. He turned to Sam, confusion and wariness in his eyes, then clarity and even more wariness.
Sam smiled at the alleged antichrist. "Can we go somewhere and talk?"
It was a small office, half supply closet. Jesse led him inside and shut the door behind him, then crossed his arms as he faced Sam. His eyes still looked old in his young face. "Sam Winchester, right?"
Sam blinked. "You remember me?"
The kid huffed a laugh. "Kinda hard to forget the guys who tell you you're a freak and have to leave your parents."
They hadn't done that exactly, but it'd been the net result. Sam winced. "Jesse—"
"It's Percy now."
He'd known that, but still cocked a questioning eye at the kid.
Jesse blushed a little. "I liked Percy Jackson, okay? It seemed to fit."
The offspring of an immortal; yeah, it did. Sam tucked away his smile and tried to fold his frame down to look less intimidating. "I'm not here to out you, I swear."
The arms uncrossed. "How did you find me, anyway?"
Sam rubbed tired eyes. "It wasn't easy—I don't think anyone else will. But…I figured you wouldn't be able to keep yourself from using your abilities. And you were a good kid, so I thought you'd be using them to help people. So I started looking into pocket miracles." Off Jesse—Percy's—confusion, Sam clarified, "Areas with unusually good luck." Like a shelter where just about everyone got back on their feet.
The kid chewed his lip uncertainly. "I thought I was doing a good job of hiding…"
"You are." Sam reached forward without thinking, and was gratified when Percy—screw it, Jesse—didn't flinch back. He grasped the thin arm gently. "I seriously don't think anyone's gonna come looking for you. The Apocalypse is over and the bad guys are busy with other things now."
Jesse leaned back against the small desk behind him, thumb rubbing at the peeling vinyl top. "So why'd you come?"
Sam took a breath. "Because there is one bad guy. And he's got Dean."
Jesse was already shaking his head. "No. No way. You know what I had to do to start over here? Saying goodbye to my parents? Finding a couple who wanted a kid and building memories in them of having me? Tim and Stacy are great, but…" His lip actually wobbled, and Sam had to wonder how much this had festered in him. "It sucked. I'm not doing that again. I don't want to get involved with anything."
Sam's breath whooshed out; he'd been hoping more than he realized. He nodded tiredly. "Yeah, man, I get it. I wouldn't want to in your place, either." He rubbed his eyes again, stinging with involuntary tears.
Jesse was watching him, his face screwed up in empathy. "He's your brother, right?"
Sam nodded, grateful for the present tense.
"What kind of bad guy?" Jesse asked carefully.
"The archangel Michael. Dean let him in to defeat an even bigger bad guy, but I guess you can't kick out an archangel like you can an angel. Michael's still walking around wearing Dean."
"That sucks, too."
He'd only just realized he could hear a trace of Australia in Jesse's words. "Yeah. It…"
But Jesse's eyes had gone distant, like he was looking inward instead of out.
Holding his breath, Sam waited.
Maybe fifteen seconds later, Jesse snapped back. He frowned at Sam. "I can sense him."
It was hard to speak around the lump in his throat. "I thought maybe you could."
"But I can't…I don't know where he is. He's moving around too much."
Sam nodded dumbly.
"And…I don't think I can do anything to him. Not without maybe hurting Dean." Jesse's eyes were sad.
Sam swallowed. "Right. Okay. Thank you. I know that was a—"
"But Dean's still in there."
"Michael, he…he's strong. But I can still feel Dean, too."
His eyes were watering, and Sam sniffed, dashing the back of his hand across his face. "That's…thanks, that…actually, that helps a lot."
Sam clasped the thin shoulder again, and this time he shook it gently, like a dog its pup. "Don't, man. Seriously. That's…that's huge, too. Thank you."
Jesse nodded, not looking certain, but at least partly absolved. He moved past Sam, to the door of the office. He paused with his hand on the knob. "I hope you get him back."
"I will." A fresh flow of certainty filled his words.
"And, uh…You really think I'm okay here?"
Sam focused on the kid again. Barely eighteen, supporting himself through college by working at the shelter, raised by parents he'd doubtless loved but that only he would ever know weren't his real parents. Risking it all to give Sam a little bit of hope. "I do," Sam said. "And if something happens, Dean and I've got a place in Lebanon, Kansas, now, pretty hardcore warded and off the grid. You can always come."
Jesse nodded. Then those old eyes looked at Sam, and he smiled just a tiny bit. "Bye, Sam."
Sam blinked, and he was standing in front of a road sign that said Welcome to Lebanon!
His eyes were dry and his shoulders straight by the time he reached the bunker, and started searching again.