"You have to practice, Sam. Daily. Until it is second nature and then some."
"Practice what?" Sam asked absently as he wiped at his flushed face and squinted against the sun that beat down on his side of the car. He wriggled on the sticky vinyl seat and lamented not accepting Dean's offer to take the Impala. At least then he would have his sunglasses and decent leg-room – and adequate space for Missouri's substantial frame. The psychic had wedged herself behind the wheel of the small car in a way that seemed guaranteed to cause discomfort.
"You want me to drive?" he offered suddenly, though even then his knees would still be up around his ears. It had to be better than having Missouri pancake herself. Why on earth did she own such a small car anyway?
The response seemed a touch abrupt and he frowned, unable to see her eyes for the dark sunglasses and forward focus. He scanned the shimmering car park but could not see what held her attention. Sighing, he ran sweaty hands over his thighs and peered over his shoulder into the back seat. Four bags of Missouri's shopping lay back there, an almost indescribable stench emanated from one of them. The longer they sat there, the worse it got.
His nose wrinkled and he brought one hand up to pinch at his nostrils. "What on earth is that?" he screwed up his face in disgust. "Smells like… creosote."
Sam glanced at her. "Stinkweed? What do you do with that? And why is it in the back-seat and not the trunk?"
He could have sworn that Missouri's shoulders stiffened. He frowned when she did not answer his questions. Sighing, he ran his tongue over his lips and suddenly wished he had picked up a drink in the shopping mall.
"It's hot," he said miserably as he shoved his hair away from his face. The brunette strands caught in his fingers, tugged at his moist scalp. Letting his hand fall into his lap, he cast an apprehensive look toward the back seat, then rolled down the window. Mid afternoon heat and exhaust fumes blasted in to mix with the suffocating stench already within the car. With one hand still on the window winder, Sam eyed the psychic. "You need to get something else?" He gestured toward the shopping mall they had just exited.
"You want me to drive?"
He shifted again as his shirt stuck to his chest and his butt felt like he had sat in a kid's wading pool – a warm one at that. Even with the window down, the air didn't move and he couldn't seem to get quite enough air in his lungs. He sucked in a three-quarter breath, wound the window back up and looked across at Missouri. "It's hot. Can we go?" he said, aware that he sounded like a whiny two year old.
She shifted in her seat, the steering wheel digging into her stomach as she turned toward him. Her dark bug-eyed sunglasses hid her eyes. "Why aren't you practicing your abilities?"
Sam's pulse hitched up and his skin crawled. This again. Ambushed, he should have known that her insistence on Dean staying behind to do chores around the house had been orchestrated. Dean had seemed suspicious, but Sam hadn't twigged. He blamed the heat from the unseasonal heatwave for melting his brain and making him miss the obvious.
"Sam, I asked you a question," she said firmly, her tone hard but not unkind.
"We've had this discussion a dozen times. You know how I feel."
"We will continue to have it until you see sense."
He averted his gaze and one hand sought out the object he had bought from the shopping mall. It had been resting in his lap. He picked it up and toyed with it, the hard rectangular shape hidden within a small paper bag that he began to methodically flatten and crease.
"You boys are leaving tomorrow, this is my last chance."
Though she sounded almost apologetic, Sam knew better than to think she would let this go. "Your last chance to corner me," Sam said hoarsely as he scanned the car park in search of a bus pickup point.
"To talk to you. To convince you that you need to practice your abilities."
He momentarily closed his eyes, took in a steadying, dry filled breath, his gut cramping as too much of the overpowering stench from the back seat invaded his system. "I told you that the entity should never have happened. That the likelihood of it was a gazillion to one," he started. Took another breath and shifted to face her.
She had taken off her glasses to reveal her eyes. Brown, welled with fear and concern, worse than staring at the sunglasses. It sparked resentment in him, and made his tone a little harder than it needed to be. "That thing should never have happened. The connection Tara made to me, the whole freaky mind thing, the transferrals it did. There is no written record of anything like it. Nowhere. It was not possible."
"But it happened."
"Yes. Once. With an unparalleled intensity. That is the worst that evil can throw at me and I defeated it. I'll do it again if it happens. But it won't."
"You boys practice your sparring, beat each other so badly that you postponed your departure yet you blindly ignore your abilities." She clucked her tongue in disapproval. "They're your psychic muscle, Sam. Don't flex them and you'll…."
Lose them? Sam's hands stilled on the paper bag, waiting and hopeful. John need never know. Ever. Sam could be a Winchester again. Normal. Safe.
"You have to practice," Missouri continued tightly. "Deep breathing, meditation, visualisation. Thirty minutes a day. Every day."
Sweat trickled down his neck and soaked into the collar of his shirt. The paper bag endured another hard crease as John's disapproving countenance appeared in his mind. "Fine. I'll practice. When I can."
"No compromise, Sam. Occasional practice is worse than none at all."
Oh, easy choice then. None it would be. "We need to go." He shifted in the seat, the heat making his heart beat faster. Muted sound bashed against his inner ear and his stomach cramped. Still the sun bore down, lancing through the glass to scorch his bare arm and shoulder. He protectively covered the small rectangular object from the searing heat.
"Missouri, we need to leave."
"No. Not until you see sense." She jabbed a finger at him. "That psychic connection Tara had with you was mild compared with what else could be out there. If Dean had not brought you to me, you would have died. I drugged you to keep you safe, to give you a damned chance until Marcus could teach you how to block."
Sam swallowed convulsively and wiped at his face. His hand shook. "What is your point?"
"Have you practiced anything that Marcus taught you?"
"Marcus didn't say—"
"Marcus had no idea what you are."
"I'm a hunter and a Winchester," he said coldly. The only things John Winchester would ever accept.
"Boy, you are so much more. You have abilities and you have a responsibility to protect them."
He shoved the paper bag into the pocket of his shirt and shifted in the seat. The vinyl stuck to his jeans and the bruises on his back and sides burned with a tight, deep pain. Well earned injuries, psychological rewiring the Winchester way – effective in terminating Dean's nightmares and giving Sam back his brother. He took comfort in that, even as the world began to spin a little around the edges.
He panted softly and felt for the small packet in his pocket, reassured by the solid shape against his rubbery fingers. The bustling car park brightened, became startlingly glaring. Sam blinked and looked down.
Seemingly on a roll, Missouri ploughed on. "Beth's and Tara's exorcisms honed your ability to block and control. Enforced practice. If you had gone face to face with the entity first up, you'd be its host now and Dean would be dead."
Sam clutched at the small shape, his mouth suddenly too dry and tasting wrong. Acidic and parched. The smell of creosote lanced his nostrils, dipped into his pores, snaked down his throat and into his gut.
John Winchester's freaky psychic son.
His vision blurred and he tilted his head back, thankful for the headrest. The Impala needs headrests, he thought absently as he stared up at the peach-rotting brown interior. Pocked and faded, the fabric bore a cigarette burn near the front door pillar. It looked sort of like a face with short hair and a close cropped beard. Stubble. The mouth pulled down in disapproval and Sam swore he heard his father's bitter condemnation. Sam's stomach twisted.
"Your life will be lost without practice," she said, her tone crisp.
He felt her lean in closer and her words reverberated against his ear. He flinched and tried to draw away. Closer to the sun, and the strange headiness that prevented logical thought.
She kept on, gaining volume and intensity, the words battering. "You will be tortured and either killed or taken. And God knows what will happen to Dean. Damn it boy, you can't possibly want that."
Sam turned his head away and stared out of the window. Sun burned his face, scorched sandpaper into his eyes. He instinctively straightened to ease the cramp in his gut, one hand braced against the seat while the other remained tethered to the rectangular box hidden in his shirt pocket. It didn't help. Made it worse. Couldn't even run his tongue over his dry lips because it had stuck to the roof of his mouth, clamped like super-glue to his upper palate.
John Winchester's freaky psychic son – an unnatural disappointment.
"Twenty to thirty minutes a day. Anything less is a death sentence. Are you hearing me?"
He was. Sort of. The strange whooshing in his head and the bleaching of sensation from his extremities made it difficult to truly comprehend. He closed his eyes, his face still turned away from her. Scalding wetness burned a path down one cheek.
Through his swirling consciousness, Sam could see one thing clearly: a motel room in the middle of nowhere, John researching, Dean cleaning weapons and Sam… meditating.
He stole an unsteady breath, one fist knotted at his thigh. Pressing down so hard that his bicep burned and pain flared through the muscle in his leg. Behind his closed eyes, John Winchester's disapproval and condemnation burned bright and clear.
You leave this house… don't ever come back.
Psychic boy wonder. Freak. Unaccepted and unacceptable. No son of mine.
"Sam? Oh God, honey, what's wrong?"
He didn't know. Couldn't answer. John's scolding tone pegged and whistled through his mind. John's disapproval. John's fear. John's hatred.
Psychic boy wonder – a freak.
… don't ever come back.
Missouri's voice, scared and fluttering, faded.
Dean crouched by Sam's side of the car, his hand on his brother's knee, his features tight with worry. He looked across at Missouri. "How long was he out?"
"Barely even a few seconds. He just faded," Missouri said as she clutched at Sam's hand. His long fingers tightened around hers, reassuring in their clammy coldness.
"Has he said anything to you?"
"I can speak for myself," Sam said quietly.
"Yes, he's lucid. Knows what day it is, and answered all my questions," she answered. "Say's it's the heat. He seemed better after having some water."
Dean nodded, glanced up at the sky and squinted. "This weather sucks out loud. Knew you shouldn't have gone out. Either of you. C'mon, Samantha, let's get you inside."
"Sam or Sammy. Not Samantha."
"Only girls faint, so that makes you a Samantha."
"Yeah, whatever." He looked past his brother and Missouri caught a quick wink and a reassuring nod.
Sam's fingers tightened once more then drifted from hers as the younger boy turned toward his brother. Dean took over then, helping Sam inside and deflecting the grousing and petulant indignation that accompanied the activity.
Missouri remained behind in the sweltering car, the stench from the chapparal making her nauseous. At least that is what she chose to blame. In fact, her conscience ate away at her insides, the recollection of her words, the cruel strategy she had tried to employ to make the boy see sense. All her efforts had failed. Last ditch. Trap him in her car and assault him with images of how he would die if he failed to practice his abilities. She gagged and clutched at her stomach, overwhelmed by her own cruelty.
"Are you sick too?"
She looked up, met Dean's hazel-green eyes, his forehead lined with fear and concern.
"He's fine. Laying down. Now it's you I'm worried about." He regarded her carefully. "Are you okay?"
"Honey I'm fine," she said, and she surprised herself by actually sounding convincing.
He frowned, scrutinized her for a long moment. "Okay," he finally said, and some of the lines in his forehead faded. He ducked his head into the car. "What the hell died in here?"
His bare arm brushed her shoulder. Bruising traced the inner curve, disappeared under the sleeve of his tee. Winchester battle wounds, inflicted by his brother and worn with pride.
"You ran something over, right? Cat? Dog?" He leaned in further and the stinky herb mixed with the scent of his aftershave. "Did you gut the damned thing or something?"
Laughter bubbled just below the surface, made her dizzy with relief and unabated tension. It died quickly as she realised that she really did not understand enough in order to effect any change in their lives. Her duty had been served, her love for them had saved their lives, given them certainty and safety when they needed it the most, but now she had to let go.
She bowed her head, her eyes burning. "I'm sorry," she admitted, and her voice broke.
He crouched beside her, lay his hands on her knee. The knuckles still red and scabbed from where he had hit his brother. Sam's the same. They showed their love and resolved their differences through violence. It made no sense.
"I don't understand how to make things better," she admitted brokenly. "I don't know how to reach him."
She felt him tense, felt the shudder of fear as he leaned in closer. "Sam?" The tremor in his voice made her ache.
Words tripped over each other in their haste to get out, to save the older boy from any of the same suffering she had put his little brother through. "Sam needs to practice his abilities," she said. "He needs to practice blocking so he can protect himself… and you."
Their eyes met and locked, his confused, hers… wet, miserable and filled with remorse.
"I was trying to make him understand," she added, the words like liquid poison from her lips. "But I messed up."
Dean's hand tightened on her knee, encouraging and coaxing her to continue. So she did. She confessed it all, the horrible things she had said to his little brother, the awful way she had tried to break him. Dean's shoulders straightened, strengthened under the added burden of her confession. His eyes cleared and she watched with confusion as he smiled.
"Don't worry, it'll be alright. I'll fix it."
Her lips parted and she stared wordlessly into his eyes, confused as she recognised acceptance and gratitude. She knew then that he would achieve with his brother what she could not. "No more violence," she said suddenly, her voice breaking. "Please don't hurt him."
He ducked his head and smiled. "No. Nothing like that. C'mon, it's an oven out here and that dead racoon you got back there needs burying"
"A herb. One of the ingredients in the balm I used on you boys."
Dean pursed his lips. "Oh, that explains it then."
Later that night Missouri sat with Sam on the back veranda, each ensconced in a wicker chair as aluminium wind-chimes danced a gentle lilting tune behind them. Stars pulsed as tiny fireflies in the dark night sky and a cool breeze clipped away the day's heat. She savored the pleasantness, for tomorrow the Winchester's would leave.
She discretely observed the younger boy, relieved to note the pinch of color in his cheeks and the clear focus to his eyes. The fainting spell had scared her – and warned her of what she could lose if she continued to push against his wall of denial. Up to Dean now, but still, she couldn't help but worry.
"Sorry about today," Sam said quietly, as though aware of the observation.
She swallowed hard. "You did nothing wrong, sweetie. Don't be apologising."
He huffed, bowed his head and scratched at one arm. A faint blush heightened the color on his cheeks. "Should go and help Dean with the weapons," he said, but made no effort to move.
Silence fell again and the stars twinkled above.
"I'm proud of you, Sam," she said after a while. "For all you did." For all you are.
He shrugged, one shouldered, his long frame reclined on the wicker chair, legs crossed at the ankles and arms loose. Maybe half asleep, she wasn't sure.
Her throat tightened. "I'm sorry for what I said to you. I shouldn't have—"
His arms drew in, not quite hugged around himself but close enough. Teetered there a moment, then his legs drew up beneath the chair and made to stand. "Should see what Dean's doing," he said, his eyes averted.
"Honey, wait a moment." She touched his arm, his skin warm, but not clammy like before.
He looked uncertain, his lips thin and gaze fixed on the back of the house. Looking for his brother – the only person with whom he felt truly safe. It both reassured her and broke her heart.
"You keep safe, Sam," she said, her words strangled. He stilled and looked at her. She continued, her voice breaking. "You and Dean, and if you need me, you call. For anything, no matter what or when, you call. Promise me you'll call."
"We will." He cocked his head to the side, his expression pained.
She realised then that she was crying. She chuckled, embarrassed and wiped one handed at her eyes while the other hand tightened on Sam's wrist. Unable to let go, unable to not feel him.
The moment held and Missouri's vision blurred even more. Beyond the point of rational thought, she slid closer and wrapped him in an embrace, her arms around him. He stiffened and her chest clenched in pain.
"Sorry," she murmured, tensing to pull back.
"No. No, it's okay. It's okay." He had his arms around her then, and her head shifted until her cheek rested against his shoulder. Continued contact, the rich slightly sweaty scent of him and the lingering odor of chapparal on his clothes made her tremble. This boy was not her flesh and blood – not her son. But the profound mix of emotions that tore at her self control made it seem that way.
"We'll be okay, Missouri. It'll be okay."
His voice rumbled in his chest, offering comfort and silent strength. She clung on, gaining more than she even realised she had needed. Eventually she gathered her tremulous emotions and shifted back. Her hands moved to his biceps, the muscle rock hard beneath her touch. "You've gained muscle," she said throatily, her fingers unable to even partway span his upper arms.
"Yeah." He cocked his head, his voice soft and concerned. "Don't worry about us."
"Oh honey." Her voice scratched. "I can't not worry about you boys – it's… you're….." She sniffed, touched his cheek and thumbed gently. "I've gotten used to having you around."
"We could call you every week. Agree on a time even. Would that help?"
"Yeah," she said huskily. "It would help a lot."
They left the next morning, Dean behind the wheel and Sam riding shot-gun. Like old times. Missouri's gift of a bulging wad of cash in Dean's back pocket. Money from Marcus' estate. Taking it seemed wrong, but Missouri's insistence made rejection impossible.
They drove in silence until well beyond the city limits. Not even the radio on. Dean finally glanced at his brother as Sam reached over and shoved a tape into the deck. He crumpled a paper bag in his hands, the sound crisp over the burning of rubber against the pavement. Several moments later, the rich throbbing base of heavy rock overpowered all other sounds and Dean's attention shifted. It took a moment for him to recognize the song. He frowned and drove one handed as he snagged the cassette cover. Metallica: the album Sam had thrown from the car months before.
"Aw, Sammy," he said throatily. He tossed the cassette cover into Sam's lap, snagged his brother by the nape of his neck and sharply pulled him close. He planted a kiss on Sam's head before the younger man yelped, swatted him and retreated to his side of the car.
"Jesus, Dean, watch the damned road."
"Watching. I'm watching." Dean leered at his brother, winked and focussed on the road. He risked a second glance, his own grin widening as he took in the shyly pleased smile on his brother's face.
Several miles later, Sam unfolded the map and studiously considered it. Conversation started then and took a myriad of contemplative, amusing and sometimes downright ludicrous turns through until dusk. They stopped just before true nightfall. Chose a motel and paid with it with money Missouri had given them. It barely made a dent in the huge wad.
"No credit card fraud for a while," Sam said quietly.
"No," Dean responded and there was a comfort all its own in that.
Morning found Dean seated, lotus-style, by the window with the morning sun warm against his back. Missouri's words filtered through his mind, forced his gaze to his still sleeping brother – his psychic little brother with powerful abilities. Dean could not protect his brother from psychic attack. That lesson had been hard learned, but he could do the next best thing: keep Sam strong, physically, mentally… and psychically. That meant practice. For some reason, Sam refused. Missouri was not sure why. Dean was. He understood Sam, at least he hoped he did.
Dean drew in a breath and held it as he traced a finger down the printed page. Contortionist hand-drawn figures leered back at him and his pulse sped up. This was a really bad idea.
"Hey," Sam said, his voice thick with sleep.
Dean jerked his head up and met his brother's glazed eyes. "Hey," he said softly. "You okay?"
"Hmm." Sam's eyes closed again then reopened a second later. "Should get up."
But Sam sat up anyway, scrubbed at his eyes and slipped his long legs over the side of the bed. A wince, a cautious stretch and Sam stood then shuffled into the bathroom. Ten minutes later, the younger boy returned, steaming, a towel around his waist and hair dripping. He looked across at Dean and froze.
"What the hell are you doing, Dean?"
Dean pursed his lips and regarded his little brother with an amused air. "What's it look like?"
Sam's lips moved silently, then his jaw dropped and his gaze slid to the weapon bag between the beds.
"Vrksasana," Dean said hurriedly. Sam's focus shot back and raked up and down, taking in the one legged stance, the foot of the other bare pressed against his knee, arms extended skyward and palms together.
Sam took a step back.
"Tree Pose," Dean said. "Not sure what kind of a freaky assed tree it's meant to be though."
Sam's Adam's Apple bobbed and his right hand clenched in the towel around his waist.
"Yoga," Dean added. He blushed, teetered and dropped the foot to the floor.
"Missouri put you up to this."
"No, actually I came up with this one all by myself." He flashed a toothy grin and gestured to the sheet of paper on the floor. "Damned if I know how to put my leg up there though." He glanced back at his brother. "You're pretty flexible, maybe—"
"This is bullshit, Dean."
Dean arched an eyebrow. "No, it's yoga."
Sam strode across the room, one hand to keep the towel in place while the other ferreted for clothes in his bag. He had his back to Dean, his broad shoulders tense. "Missouri told you to do this to get me to practice. But you're wasting your time, man. I don't need to."
"Dude, no wooden spoon wielding woman tells me what to do."
Sam huffed. "Well, you don't have to. It's bad enough that I'm a—"
"Call yourself a freak, Sam, and so help me God, I'll—" He licked his lips and scanned the room. "Dad isn't going to…."
Sam's shoulder's stiffened and his frantic rustling stilled. Dean stopped, his skin prickling. He had hit pay-dirt. His theory correct. Sam feared John's reaction, and planned to forfeit his own safety in a twisted attempt to keep the truth from their father. All or nothing, Missouri had said – which meant that once they met up with their father, Sam ceasing to practice for even a few days could have disastrous effects. Safer not to do it at all. But hardly safe enough.
"Don't change for me. Don't. Dean, just… don't."
Dean dug his fingernails into the palms of his hands. "This is not for you, Sam. It's for all the Rochelle's of the world. The things she did." He whistled. "Wow, it'd blow your mind little brother."
Sam turned, shivering now, his lips parted and eyes narrowed.
"Yoga instructor Rochelle," Dean said as confusion reigned on his brother's face. "Before… all of this. Remember?"
Sam just stared.
"You ran the car out of gas which woke me from a dream. I told you about Rochelle. Yoga instructor. I told you back then that we would take up yoga."
Sam cocked his head to the side.
"Yoga. Flexibility. Great sex." Dean shrugged and smirked. "You ought—"
"No." Sam shook his head. "No, Dean. Just… no."
Four days later, another motel and a little closer to Wyoming, but not too close to give them a reason to drag out the rock-salt, Dean sat lotus style before the window and commenced his morning routine. Ritual now – a doomed ritual that Sam deliberately ignored. His own fault, Dean realised. He had slipped up and shown his hand by mentioning their father. It had proven his theory, but in doing so it had aroused Sam's suspicion. He had to fix it, and that meant shifting his behaviour closer to the expected norm – the Dean Winchester norm. It had to look as though his new age conversion had a self-centred purpose – and that mean a return to skirt-chasing.
"Going out," he announced as afternoon faded to evening.
Sam stood and prepared to follow.
"Alone." Dean quickly added. "Got a date. A hot one."
"Oh." Sam glanced around then sat back down. "Okay."
"You be alright here?"
"Call me if—"
"Go. I'll be fine."
Dean's date had four legs, a green velvet covering, eight pockets and a gathering of inebriated college frat boys. Rich and easy pickings. Dean hustled for money they did not need, but he kept it anyway.
He returned to the motel room just past ten o'clock. The television flickered and blue veined fingers splayed across the walls and over the fully clothed, sprawled figure on the bed. Dean removed his brother's shoes, repositioned his lanky frame and lay a blanket over him. Sam slept on, oblivious. Dean's heart clenched. Denial of one's freaky psychic abilities took a lot of energy, it seemed.
On day ten, Dean bought a meditation CD. Double new age barrels he figured and tried to deny the panic that threatened to suffocate him. Sam took notice of that, the scything flute and wailing harpsichords a touch difficult to ignore. He looked more perplexed than angry or afraid and Dean saw that as progress.
"Daphne is into meditation," he said wryly, a false grin in place.
"Deidre," Sam corrected.
"Yeah, her too."
Sam rolled his eyes.
They picked up a gig on day twelve. A pesky poltergeist, a home cooked meal, plate of too hard biscuits and a young couple who expressed their undying gratitude and promised to name their first born son after them both. Dean shuddered: DeanSam or SamDean, either way the kid would need years of therapy. But it moved them closer to the norm – Winchester norm – and Dean saw a little more of his brother come back on line. It was a start. He continued his yoga, meditation and started to read up about Tibetan chanting.
On day fourteen after leaving Missouri's home, Sam joined Dean at the window in the morning sunshine while Dean worked through his self-taught yoga routine. Sam toyed with the meditation CD, twirling it on his finger while Dean huffed and grunted and sweated and almost tore a hamstring in an effort to impress. Sam watched with lidded eyes and Dean didn't mind the observation nor the company.
Three days later Sam finally broke.
Lured into submission by the bile inducing meditation music, Dean surmised. Whatever the incentive, Sam finally joined him at the window – as a participant not an observer.
Dean held his breath and ignored his brother, afraid that to acknowledge him might somehow break the spell. He risked a glance after several minutes and found Sam seated with his long legs crossed, ankles tucked to his buttocks, eyes closed and breathing deep and regular. Just as Dean had seen him under Marcus' direction – just as he needed to be to stay strong.
"That's my boy," Dean said quietly. John Winchester's new age sons – both of them. The perfect cover for Sam.
"I don't want him to know," Sam said after the nauseating flute music finally ceased.
Sam looked down and gently tugged on his lower lip with his teeth. "Thanks. For this."
"Not for you. For Rochelle remember."
Sam smirked, his eyes twinkling. "Yeah, whatever dude." He paused, looked away. "Love you too, man."
Dean blushed and bit back his own smile. "Don't push it, Uri."
-- THE END --
Author's note: To all who have followed this story, especially those who have faithfully reviewed, thank you so much for your support and encouragement. This story has taught me a lot about writing, has introduced me to some incredible new friends (and the very best beta that any writer could ever hope for – waves to Em (A-Blackwinged-Bird)) and I hope, entertained a few people along the way.
Until next time, thank you all and adieu! Oh, and enjoy the new season. It is exceeding all my expectations -- new characters and all! Go Kripke! ;-) Woo hoo!