Sacrifice – chpt 12 – s.n. fic.
"…I'm Martin's uncle on his mothers' side… and this is an associate of mine from the University… Sam Finkelstein…" Dean introduced them to the woman at the door to the Farmer house completely ignoring the look of pure confusion on his little brother's face.
"Well the boys are down at the pool and I'm afraid the Farmer's are out of town, they left early this morning…" Marilee Watson shrugged inside the doorway.
"The boys are at the pool?" Sam asked.
Miss Watson nodded.
"Good… listen… I know Martin was supposed to have his party at Jeepers tonight then after the concert bring everyone back to the manor…" Dean confided, and watched the housekeeper relax visibly considering his knowledge of the party plans for this evening.
He took a deep breath and looked from the young lady before him to his brother and back again, "Well… I'm not sure if you're aware of it or not but his parents were called out of town too…"
Her brows furrowed, "Something to do with the museum pieces?" she asked.
Dean looked at Sam and spocked his eyebrow while shaking his head, "I honestly don't know…"
"…but it's interesting that you should bring up the museum pieces… we think Martin might have one of them in his possession… apparently he was allowed to bring it to school with him yesterday…" Sam interjected.
"We think…" Dean added.
"So… you want to see his bag?" she asked frowning and confused by the strange vibe these two men before her were giving off.
"If it's not too much trouble," Sam smiled shrugging awkwardly.
She nodded and furrowed her brows at them, "That's fine… wait here," she instructed and bounded energetically up the stairs two at a time. She had no fear of the men, just a sense that there was some serious tension between them.
"Finkelstein? Where the hell did that come from?" Sam asked smirking once she was out of earshot.
"Well if the Finkel fits…" Dean shrugged, blanked his face and turned his attention to the firm round behind disappearing down the upstairs corridor.
"What?" he faced his little brother with an expression that said, 'I dare you to ask…' and had never failed to stop Sam from whatever tack he was on at the time, until today. Natch… just my kind of luck… another sun shiny Winchester Morning…just shut up Sam.
"What?" Sam asked shrugging helplessly, "You've been…" he waved his hands abruptly and scowled, "… weird… since we got up… what is it?"
"You really don't want me to answer that right now Sam… just trust me… another time, another place… but not here and not now… well… not yet anyway…" Dean wise- cracked and eyed Sam in such a way, the younger Winchester actually felt his stomach flip over.
Oh crap…he thought and swallowed hard. He saw Dean see some kind of knowledge pass through him and his big brother nodded with a dark smile just as Miss Watson emerged from the dark hallway carrying Martin's gym bag in one hand and his book bag in the other.
"I didn't know which one you wanted," she smiled between the boys and led them to a parlor off the main entrance where she motioned for them to sit. "Can I get either of you gentlemen something to drink?"
"Coffee would be great if you have some…" Dean smiled.
Marilee looked at Sam who nodded, "Same would be great thanks…"
She nodded and left the men to sift through the boy's bags.
Dean tossed the gym bag at his little brother harder than necessary and Sam scowled, "Dean…"
"Shut it Sam…" he warned.
"Would you talk to me? Look, if you're pissed off because of why I think you're pissed off you gotta know… it wasn't…"
"Your place… I get it… really… I understand Sam… really," Dean bit his lower lip, his face betraying his sense of helplessness as he rose holding the book bag tight in his fist while he paced the room, "… it doesn't change the fact that I really want to smack the crap out of you right now okay?"
"So what's stopping you? If it's going to make you feel better dude… go for it… I can hold my own against you…" Sam invited setting the gym bag down on the floor and rising to his feet.
"Yeah well we both know it'll only make me feel worse… does she know you knew?" Dean asked.
Sam swallowed and shook his head, "I don't think so… that whole week Dean… it's still a blurr… everything you guys went through… everything she was going through… the way Morrigan was tearing her down with the deaths in between… it was psychological warfare… and then that son of a bitch thrown into the mix…" Sam shrugged and looked helplessly at Dean, "…and it's not like I really KNEW either… and neither do you… we SUSPECT based on the report… but that doesn't mean it was her…"
Dean stopped pacing and looked at him incredulous, his mouth hanging open, "What do you mean we don't KNOW Sam! We KNOW it alright? We don't need to get bent over ourselves to know…" he stopped and drew in a deep frustrated breath then returned to the chair and sat down with the book bag in hand, "Later Sam… let's finish what's on our plate first…"
"Yeah alright…" Sam nodded sighing as he returned to his chair and picked up the gym bag. "Hey…I think…" he said making sure to wrap his hand carefully around the whole of the metal and keep it on its side to prevent any chance of it ringing out.
Dean huffed a small chuckle and cocked a nervous half smile as Sam drew his hand out of the gym bag and sighed looking at the cone of bronze that had caused so much confusion and strife. Such a simple little thing… Sam thought and met his brothers' eyes, knowing Dean was thinking pretty much the same exact thing.
Dean looked around the room, his eyes falling onto a box of tissues on the end table. He wiggled his eyebrows and pulled and handful of them out, then wadded them up and stuffed them into the open end of the bell, making sure to keep the clacker straight and firmly against the metal.
Marilee entered with a small serving tray with two cups of coffee and the appropriate accoutrements on it. "Oh you found what you were looking for then?" she smiled.
"Yes ma'am thank you…" Dean nodded taking the tray from her and setting it down on the coffee table then handing Sam one of the heavy linen napkins, "here," into which he wrapped the bell securely then tucked it as close to horizontally as it would go into his inner jacket pocket.
All three of them startled when the door burst open. Martin and Joshua raced into the room with towels over their shoulders, and water from the pool nearly gone from them.
"Dean! Sam!" Martin grinned hugely as they stood up, "Hey Josh this is Dean and Sam…they're the ones I was telling you about…he actually showed me how to hold a shotgun!" Martin bragged lightly then noticed his bags, "…hey those're mine…" he scowled.
"Yeah… uh Martin… your folks… well you know they're out of town right?" Dean asked.
Martin shook his head, "No… when'd they leave?" he asked pursing his lips.
"But what about my party? They said the guys could stay over…" he questioned and didn't understand the look that passed between the brothers.
Sam heard Dean's voice from the drive over this morning, "Yeah well depending on how accurate your notes are… he might not even remember us Sam… he might not remember that the last time he saw his family they were stone statues… how the hell are we gonna tell him they're garden fodder? Or that the staff is a jumble of body parts rotting in the foyer…"
"Dude you can be really sick sometimes…" Sam recalled being pretty well floored by his brother's ability to reduce some things to their most primal and basic components.
"Maybe so… but if you're right, and I'm betting you are Sam… then there's nothing left of Emil Fredrick's inside that kid. As far as he knows he is and always has been Martin Turnbull Junior…"
"We just came by to pick up one of the artifacts you brought to school yesterday and to see if it was okay to host the party here since your folks are out of town…" Sam smiled.
Martin looked from him to Dean and then to Josh who was looking pleadingly at Marilee who finally nodded her consent. She knew the five children in question and they were all well behaved enough for her to handle for the weekend.
"Sure… it's fine with me…" she smiled with one hand on either of the boys' heads and tussled their hair, "… go dry off and get dressed…" she directed and they charged from the room 'whoop'ing their good fortune and starting to make plans for the night.
"Care to stick around and help me with them tonight gentlemen? Especially since you're the ones who got me into this?" she asked smiling flirtatiously at Dean for a moment before she frowned slightly.
"Something's wrong isn't it?" she asked.
Dean nodded, "We lied… the Turnbull's weren't called out of town, fact is we don't know where they are… the manor was broken into and vandalized… the Turnbull's haven't been seen since the night of Martin's family party… and right now the last thing we need is for any groundless speculation to surge through the community… we're helping investigators any way we can… we just want to make sure Martin is as safe as can be…"
The story he wove to the housekeeper stunned Sam so hard he had to literally bite his lips to keep his mouth closed.
"Oh Dear God… Martin can stay here as long as he'd like…" Marilee Watson offered.
"What the hell was that about!" Sam asked once they were on their way back to the manor.
"If we can't get this fixed Sam there has to be some kind of cover story… it makes more sense to put the word out that they've disappeared but no one really knows what's up just yet than to have people remember US once they find a foyer full of body parts don't you think?" Dean explained and hoped he'd done the right thing or that if they were right in their supposition that his buddy Mr. Misty was indeed Enki that he might be able to help them set things back to the way they were supposed to be.
"Yeah…you're right… so any ideas how we destroy this thing? If it's supposed to be guarded by Tiamat I'm guessing fire isn't gonna hurt it…" Sam sighed.
"We're not gonna destroy it…"
"'Scuse me?" Sam shook his head.
"We gotta fix this Sam…even if he was Emil Fredrick, he's just a kid now… and a kid needs his family…"
"You're not talking about letting him stay a kid? Dean we gotta destroy this thing and undo all this…" Sam protested.
Dean chuckled, "Has it occurred to you that if we 'undo' all this… I could wind up dead again? I don't know about you but a spontaneously broken neck would kinda ruin my day Sam…"
"Hmm I didn't think about that…" Sam admitted.
"Obviously…Good thing I did though huh?" Dean smirked.
"Yeah… y'know what I don't get is why would anyone want to be a kid again?" Sam shook his head.
Dean looked sidelong at him and frowned slightly, "Sam… the guy was dying… you read the test results… he had end stage lung cancer… maybe you hated childhood that much to never want to experience it again but maybe if you had a bell in your hot little hands that would allow you to pick any life you wanted…" he stopped and looked at his little brother who sat in the passenger seat nodding.
Sam turned and looked at Dean, his big brother's uncertainty written plainly for him to see, "Don't worry Dean… I'm not going there… I wouldn't want to be a kid again… and don't get me thinking about what kind of a life I could imagine for all of us or I might change my mind… make it so none of this ever happened… so mom and Jess were never killed… so we could have the life and lives that we've all wanted to return to… nah… why would I do that huh?" he asked sarcastically as his eyes filled with tears.
"Sam…" Dean started softly.
"No…" Sam shook his head, "…the balance of nature would just put someone else through it all… someone who maybe couldn't do as well as we've done helping people, killing whatever evil we can get to…"
"Or maybe someone else would be better at it…" Dean suggested softly and bolted the door of his mind hard against the memory of that peace and bliss he'd felt when he'd lived those moments as Enki. "What couldn't we do if we had the power, the will of God?" he wondered.
"I told you this was too big for us…" Sam sighed and patted the bell in his jacket pocket, "Drive faster…"
Dean pressed the accelerator down and fixed his gaze on the road ahead, Small minded… I'd find some way to make it all right… to make it… he sniffed back a little of his own mist knowing full well that no matter how hard he might try, no matter how perfectly he could phrase his need the universe could not grant it to him, not yet. He had work to do in this life and he knew it.
Dean and Sam entered the manor and secured the door behind themselves as Sam pulled the bell from his pocket though did not unwind it from the napkin.
"Enki!" he called and felt a faint burr in his throat.
"What're you calling him for? It belongs to Tiamat…" Sam asked.
"You're the one who said it… Enki was a peacemaker between the Gods or between Gods and men right?..."
"You're going to ask a God to broker a deal?" Sam asked dismayed by his brother's sheer audacity.
"You catch on fast Sammy…" Dean smiled and nodded at the top of the stairs where that barbershop style pole of swirling silver and orange seemed to dance toward them.
"That orange one Tiamat?" Sam asked shifting nervously on his feet.
"Guessing so…" he nodded though his eyes didn't budge from the two entwined masses.
The silver mass that was Enki unwound itself from the swirling fury of Tiamat's essence and literally became a barrier of sorts between the she-god of creation and the Winchester humans.
"Can you give the boy back his family?" Dean asked the silver face.
It seemed to think for a moment and listened as a rending screech came from behind it. Slowly it shook its head once then its eyes grew wide and it smiled. In seconds it had stretched and bent its rolling mist form so Sam and Dean could see the front of the Farmer house. They watched a car roll up and an adult walk with the small figure that was supposed to represent Martin to the door. The front door opened and a woman neither of the boys had met knelt down and took Martin into her arms, welcoming him into her life.
"You'll make sure he has A family…" Dean nodded and pressed his lips together, he couldn't look to his right, he knew if he did he might crack and ask for a different life, a safe, normal life that his baby brother could grow old living. No matter that it would mean he would continue on alone, no matter what else the personal cost, he was that close to asking… for Sam.
The face took shape again smiling and nodded once. It turned its attention to Sam who dug into his pocket and took the bell out, he held it in his outstretched hand and stood still as a tendril of orange came around the silver mist and wrapped around it. The linen napkin and tissue stuffed inside burned away and the bronze began to glow white hot as it hovered before Sam and Dean. The tendril split into two as did the metal before it unwrapped then lay flat. The ancient Hebrew inscribing on its side melted in the searing heat of the Goddess's fire to make room for the first language, that of the Gods to embellish once more its intended surface.
The silver face focused its eyes on Dean, it's countenance was full of empathy as it sensed the hurt rolling through the young human. It tilted to the side silently asking its question, I just wish I knew if any of it made any difference at all…Mom… Sammy… these demons… if it's all this big freakin' circle and balance and dance does any of it really matter? Why the pain? Why wouldn't she tell me? Doesn't she trust me? he wondered so lost in thought now that the bell/tablet was back with its rightful owner that he didn't see Enki's expression, didn't see him hearing Dean's thoughts and begin to respond at least in part.
"Dean?" Sam elbowed him and pointed at the cascading gray/silver smoke that once more communicated in the only way it had. It showed them a plain lined with four columns of people, two columns masculine, two feminine. One of each consisted of literally hundreds upon hundreds of deities stretching out as far as the eye could see, each one standing shoulder to shoulder with another before an equidistant line of mortal men who also stood shoulder to shoulder. The same pattern was observed with the feminine, each deity before a human.
In each of the human lines there were some who turned and walked away as the deity approached, just as there were some who extended their hand or embraced the approaching being and still others who simply walked through the line, heedless of any other being at all. But for each line of humans that made a choice, another appeared behind that one, until the boys began to understand they were watching human generations pass. The sheer numbers that were being represented to them was staggering as their perspective seemed to be flying above this vast field of opportunity, whether missed, taken or ignored. Slowly they were led through the ages to a gray misty representation of John as he embraced his own godhood and behind him came Dean who stood before Enki. The visual aid was no more as Dean stood before the full bodied apparition that represented the one time supreme deity. Dean felt the corner of his mouth tilt upward as the misty representation brought its hand up to his chest, beneath his pendant then met his eyes with a look he couldn't begin to decipher. He set the pendant back onto his chest Again with the pendant? What's up with these guys and this thing? he wondered as behind Enki a familiar pair of antlers joined the Babylonian deity, Hey Cernunnos… how're ya doin? he thought and saw the Celtic God smile.
Dean felt movement at his back and cast a glance over his shoulder. He couldn't see Sammy at his right but knew he was there, whatever he was seeing he couldn't begin to know but he did see an all too familiar shape out of the far corner of his eye and he turned, his gaze falling into the silver/gray swirling representation of his Laura stood smiling easily at him, on her right, behind her stood a towering Celtic Goddess that he wasn't familiar with, he only knew it wasn't Morrigan, and on her left, also behind her stood Enki's woman, the Goddess Inanna.
Different names and places but essentially the same Gods…Dean thought and turned back to see Cernunnos leaning against Enki, his hand slapped him companionably on the chest as the Babylonian deity nodded with a smile. And this thing? My patron deity right? he thought and felt the mist that was Enki draw back on itself and look him in the eyes once again.
Not much of an answer dude… really…well… maybe just not the one I wanted huh? he thought and the face nodded once with a wry smile before giving a slight bow toward Sam who stood stunned and uncertain about anything that had just transpired and slipped back up the stairs, retreating to wherever it was supposed to go.
"… so when you talked to her did you mention… or ask…?" Sam asked as they walked easily back to the car, steaming large cups in hand from the Oasis coffee shop. They were headed toward some podunk town in Idaho where there were rumors of a murderous motorist who kept running down pedestrians.
"No… I figure it's something to talk about in person… and I'm not even sure if I should ask… if she wanted me to know she'd say something right?" he asked.
"Right…" Sam drawled. For four days now that they'd been finished with the Turnbull case Dean had been almost frighteningly pensive. He'd told Sam everything Enki had showed him and together they'd come to the conclusion that somehow, at least for Dean since he was the one Mr. Misty had addressed and apparently bonded with, his destiny, his choices were bound to deities of balancing, rebirth and fertility stripe. Sam had laughed good and long at the whole fertility thing considering what he knew about Dean's libido. Far as he could figure his brother had been born horny and wasn't about to change any time soon. "What! It's YOU… it's just… You're pegged dude!" Sam had laughed but he knew Dean, and he knew his brother hadn't picked up any other girl than the one they were talking about, not since before the accident. Sam knew Dean was hooked and he loved it.
Dean's new phone chirped to life, the opening riffs of some old Kansas song as his ringtone and he flipped it open.
"Hey Bobby… what's up?" he smiled easily while leaning against the car door.
Sam watched the color drain from his brother's face taking that easy smile with it as he huffed,
"Wha?" he swallowed hard, his eyes glassing over as he flicked them over his little brother's face.
"Dean? What is it? What's wrong?" he asked coming around to the drivers' side.
"When?" he gasped leaning heavily against his beloved Metallicar and feeling like his legs wanted to crumple and toss him to the ground.
"Dean?" Sam gasped and leaned in toward the phone to try and hear what was being said.
"We're on our way…" Dean muttered numbly and closed the phone, pocketing it absently as Sam grasped his shoulders,
"Dean what is it? What happened?" he asked.
Dean shook his head and swallowed hard, biting back the rivers that wanted to pour out of his eyes, "Oh God no…Please no…" he simply said.