A/N: Last one here folks. I've had fun writing this story, I hope you all have had fun reading it!
Disclaimer: I haven't owned them the ten previous chapters, it's not gonna change now.
"Dean!" Sam heard himself scream it, like he was outside himself, as Dean disappeared over the ledge after the Akvan. The younger Winchester abandoned his gun and sprinted towards the edge, slowing a few feet back. Sam dropped to his knees, crawling up to the edge as near as he dared. He shone the flashlight down, peering over the ledge.
Rock. Sam swung the light over the wall slowly. Rock. He felt his breath catch. No, no, no, this could not be happening. Rock… a hand, six or seven feet down, white knuckled as it gripped a small protrusion. Relief washed over Sam. "Dean?"
"Dean just hang on, don't let go."
His brother's voice floated up to him, wry and un-amused. "No shit Sammy. Given the options, I'm gonna go with not falling to my death." The rock bit into his palms, but Dean resisted the urge to adjust his handhold. It was a long way down. Dean had managed to grab onto a small outcropping as it unceremoniously slowed his descent into the Deep. That was going to leave a mark. Now most of his torso swung freely in space, and his face was pressed into the rock, his arms stretched out above him.
"Parker, can you get to him?" Sam called into the dark. "You'll have to swing to your right about ten feet, and then you'll be right under him."
"It's gonna take me a minute," she called back. Parker wiped her hands on her pant legs. She locked her brake down and swung off the ledge, reaching for a handhold and leaving the body of the goat behind. "Do you have a toe hold?"
"Can you get one?"
Dean kicked out with his right leg, stretching as far as he could. He swung into air. "No," he said with a grunt.
"Just hang on Dean."
"Would everyone stop telling me to hang on?" Really, what the hell else was he going to do? His fingers and shoulders were starting to burn. He was acutely aware of Parker's rope rubbing and settling beside his left hand, not that he was about to reach out and grab it. Somehow, letting go without guarantee of safety seemed…unwise. It didn't take long for Parker to reach him, spurred on by anxiety and the sort of foolish bravado the security of a top line could give her. He doubted seriously her ascent had been anything less than reckless, a fact for which he was eternally grateful.
Parker set the brake and leaned back into her harness, regarding Dean carefully from beneath. Crap, she was wearing his harness. Why couldn't life ever be easy, just once? She let the flashlight dangle freely from her wrist, rifling through the cams at her disposal. "How you doing there Dean?"
"I'm hangin off a cliff Parker, how the hell should I be?" he snapped. She ignored him.
"Good, good. Just another minute or two here and we'll have you all set." She felt along the wall till she found a deep crack, and stuck the cam into it.
"Faster is better here Parker," Dean growled.
Once set, she leaned hard against it, till she was satisfied it wasn't coming loose. Then she hooked herself to it. "Okay, so here's how we're going to play this out," she told him as she edged closer. The short lead on the cam halted her, and she felt around for another crack before sticking in another. She hooked herself into that one too. "I'm going to unhook my line…"
"You're going to what?" Dean cried out, like it was an affront to his sensibilities.
"I'm going to unhook my line and tie you in."
"Is this a good idea?" he questioned.
Parker grimaced. The cams should, should, hold her weight. She bit down on her lower lip. "No." All things being even, it was a very bad idea, but they were short on options and it wasn't like Dean could hold on forever.
"Oh good, that makes me feel better." Parker unsnapped the rope from her harness, stretching out to slip it beneath Dean's dangling leg with her right hand. She moved slowly, gingerly removing her left from the rock face as well, feeling herself settle fully in the harness. The cams held, thank God. She passed the rope beneath his left leg, around his waist, under his left, and then back around his waist again, tying it off securely.
"Okay," she said, nodding to herself. "Let go of the wall and grab the rope."
"Let go and grab the rope, right," Dean mimicked beneath his breath. Suddenly a couple of inches seemed like a very, very long way to reach. Still, he drew a settling breath. Sometimes life just came down to a leap of faith. And then Dean let go of the wall.
A few minutes later Parker found herself being dragged over the cliff ledge by a very beleaguered looking Sam. Dean was flat on his back, taking great gulps of air. Sam stumbled backward and sat heavily beside him before he too, fell over. His shoulder had started to bleed again, but he didn't much care. Parker crawled a few feet away from the ledge before collapsing between them on her stomach.
"It's over, right?" Parker wheezed.
The brother's exchanged a glance. "Yeah," they said together.
Parker looked down at herself, her arms awash in dull red. The knees of her pants were still damp. She made a disgusted sound, "ugh I'm disgusting."
Dean cracked an eye at her and chuckled softly. "Yeah." She swatted his stomach half heartedly.
"I want a shower."
"I want a nap," Sam sighed.
"I want beer."
"Uh…guys?" A fourth voice interrupted their respective wish lists. Parker's eyes shot wide and she slapped a hand over her mouth. Sam and Dean both sat bolt upright. "Think you're forgetting something!!?" Sam starting laughing first, wide shoulders beginning to shake. Whoops. Dean and Parker quickly followed suit, till the three of them were in hysterics, and none of them could hear Angie's indignant cries.
It was late when the heavy double doors of Walden's only bar and restaurant swung open. Angie and Parker led the way inside, followed closely by Sam and Dean. Mostly a local spot, the entire barroom went quiet as they entered, all eyes turning to them. Parker pulled her ball cap lower on her head. The silence didn't last long, and soon all the other patrons went back about their business.
The four young people quickly found a table, and all of them sat wearily. All four of them looked slightly worse for wear, despite the fact that all four had indulged in a hot shower in the room the brother's had rented in town. Neither Sam nor Dean had felt up to making the long drive out of the high country in the dead of night. Parker had nixed the idea of going to the cops that night. She was beat, and tomorrow was early enough to clear her name. Angie had just been excited about the prospect of real food.
Angie flipped open the menu, gazing greedily at the list of greasy, delicious items available. Nachos, pub chips, jalapeño poppers… she almost drooled. While they waited for a waitress Parker excused herself, palming the cell phone Sam had leant her back at the room in her jacket pocket. The cops could wait, but their mother couldn't. She deserved to know Angie was alive, if nothing else. Still, it wasn't a conversation she needed to have in front of everyone. "I'll be right back," she announced as she stood, "ladies room." Sam looked at her knowingly. Angie barely glanced up from the menu.
Eventually Angie set the menu aside, and she and Sam picked up conversation. Dean stayed out of it, keeping an eye out for a waitress, but small nuggets of the conversation kept reaching him. "…CU Boulder for pre-law," Angie was saying.
Sam perked up a little. "Really? I was pre-law at Stamford. I've heard CU had a really great…" Where was a waitress? Finally Dean stood, the legs of his chair scraping against the wood floor.
He looked down at Sam and Angie. "Beer?" They nodded and he headed for the bar.
"And food," Angie called after him. The utter non-specificity of that order told Dean she didn't really care what he brought back; as long as it didn't involve gutting the animal herself.
Parker came back just after that, looking harried and annoyed. She paused at the table, handing Sam back his phone. "Thanks." He threw her a tight lipped smile before returning to his conversation. Her eyes flitted around the room for Dean, spotting him up by the bar. "What is he doing?"
"Beer," Angie said simply, her attention fully on Sam. Parker left them alone. Let Angie have this time. It would sink in later, this last week, losing Aiden would sink in. Then the questions would start to come, questions Parker wasn't sure she could answer, questions she wasn't sure she wanted to answer. So she'd let Angie have this night.
She headed for the bar. "He better not be ordering Coors," she grumbled lowly. The bottle in his hand confirmed her fear. Parker made a face and plucked it out of his hands as he went to take a swallow. "You're not drinking that," she informed him, and passed the bottle back to the bartender, who didn't bother hiding his grin. Dean glared. "Piss and swill, and you're in Colorado, home of the microbrew. Take advantage."
Dean turned a little to face her, leaning his elbow on the bar, an eyebrow arched into his hairline. "You took my beer."
She ignored him and told the bartender, "Two Fat Tires, one Easy and a 1554 please." The man nodded and went to get their drinks. Dean was still glaring. "Bartended through college," she shrugged, like it was some kind of explanation.
"You took my beer."
"You'll thank me, I swear." She leaned her forearms against the bar, looking back over her shoulder to where Sam and Angie still chatted.
"You gonna tell her?" Dean asked, his voice softening.
Parker bit her lip and shook her head. "No. So much had happened to her this week, I can't do that to her."
"Don't you think she deserves to know?"
"I wish I didn't know." She tore her gaze from her sister and leveled it at Dean. "I can't imagine she'd want to either. Besides, I shouldn't be the one to do it." Parker turned her attention to the cocktail napkin she was wringing in her hands, staring to tear it into tiny shreds. Ugh, she really wasn't looking forward to this. "Hey Dean, back at my mom's place…what I said…"
"Forget it," he cut her off. The bartender came back with a tray of pint glasses.
Parker snatched the darkest one, near black and smelling heavily of malt. She took a long drink. "I don't want to forget it. I just want to…"
"I said forget it," Dean reached for the tray, intent on heading back to the table and leaving the conversation behind. Parker grabbed his arm.
"Look Dean, I'm no good at swallowing my pride, and certainly no poster child for healthy social development here, so could you please just shut up and stop moving long enough for me to get this out?" It all came out in a single rushed breath. Much to her surprise Dean actually stopped. He stood, tray in hand, eyebrows raised expectantly.
Parker swallowed and released her hold on his sleeve. "Right," she said, using the moment to gather her thoughts. "When I'm wrong, I own up to it, and at my mom's earlier, I was wrong. I'm sorry. I didn't know anything about your family, and I should have just kept my mouth shut."
Dean's lips thinned a little. "Okay. You done?"
Silence settled between them. The napkin was eviscerated. "Are we having a moment?" he finally asked.
"Well if we were you definitely just killed it." Silence again, and they were staring at one another. Red spots flamed on Parker's cheeks. "Beer?"
Dean cleared his throat, "beer." He nodded and swept the tray off the bar with a flourish, heading back for Sam and Angie, Parker following along in his wake.
They stayed there for another hour or so, drinking, and talking and eating. But soon after that, happily full and weary, Angie was ready to go. She scooted her chair away from the table, sighing contentedly. "Ready to go?" she asked.
Parker froze midway through downing the last of her beer. "Go?"
"Yeah, my nice soft bed at mom's sounds really good right now. I could sleep for a week." And that was exactly the sentiment Parker had been afraid of. She wasn't going back there, not that night, and quite possibly not ever again. The call to her mother, which had started out as a courtesy 'hey, we're not dead' kind of thing had rapidly devolved into a shouting match. Nope, she was not going back to her mother's.
"Really? Cause I'm totally up for another couple drinks and some pool." Parker peered hopefully over the rim of her glass at Sam and Dean, willing at least one of them to take up the offer. She felt bad, a little, Angie was spent, but she wasn't going back, period.
After a moment that seemed to stretch on infinitely Dean spoke up. "Pool sounds like a plan. If you don't mind getting your ass handed to you."
The gauntlet had been laid, and Angie let out a long suffering sigh. Parker smiled at him, grateful, and relieved and amused all at once. "I'm not much for the handing of the ass," she told him.
It was Sam who took pity on Angie, clasping her tiny shoulder in his large hand. "I'll take you home," he offered.
Angie shot a quick look at her sister, one last chance to change her mind, which Parker dutifully ignored, intent on chalking up a pool cue. The younger girl ran a hand over her face. "Okay, sure. I'll see you later Parker."
"Sure." Angie turned for the door and Parker mouthed a silent 'thank you'. Sam just nodded, and then they left. Parker turned her attention to the table, which Dean had just finished racking, glad for the distraction. God, tomorrow was going to suck. "Wanna make this interesting?" she asked.
"You want to bet me?" Dean scoffed.
"Sure," she shrugged, "I win, you buy me a beer."
"Parker, you don't have any money," he reminded her, a sly grin creeping across his face in a very cat-that-ate-the-canary type way. "What do I get when I win?"
"Well then," the smile reached her eyes, lighting and dancing as she lightly touched his shoulder. "If you win," she hadn't missed the dig, "then I'll let you buy me a beer." Smirk still firmly in place, Parker broke. Multi-colored balls whizzed about the table, and the two ball fell into the corner pocket next to Dean. It was blue, how very appropriate.
My first Supernatural fic…complete!! Please let me know what you thought.