Title: Hero in a Cage
Author: Wil Scott
A/N: I just finished watching the latest SN episode and my heart was breaking for both Dean and Sam. Then, add in Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here and my muse was destined to get involved. Ridley was happy to say the least at my apparent prolific contributions as of late. So, with Ridley's permission, I have borrowed a character and here goes nothing. Inspired by the ep and Ridley's missing scene, Guardian.
A/N/N: This hasn't been betaed, so I take full responsibility for all mistakes.
Stairway to Heaven was wafting from the speakers as the wind blew throughout the Impala. The morning air, mixed with the Sun's first rays seemed to wash away the night's chaos and unpleasantness.
I couldn't help but think about what had happened in such a short time. Just a couple of days ago, my brother was basking in the rumble of the car's engine and thrill of a hunt. Now, as I glance at him from the passenger's seat, I can see a new set of lines around his eyes, along with dark circles deepening.
I sigh to myself, trying not to draw attention. His and Gordon's recent smack down had brought memories from the recent car crash and the pain they had both been experiencing. When I saw what Dean did to the Vamp using a buzzsaw, I knew Dean was on the verge. The verge of what I'm not yet sure. But, I saw how Dean grasp to Gordon and needed to use that to my advantage.
The ringing of my cellphone broke my reverie and when I saw the caller ID number, I wasn't as shocked as I should have been.
"Is that all you've got to say, runt?" The voice was anything but happy. Actually, it sounded a bit slurred and more gravelly than usual. "I've been dancing through Hell in gasoline shorts for the past two days and then I get this damn mental telegram to call Sammy." It was as he was taking a breath I knew I had my only chance.
"I'm glad you called. I've got a favor to ask." I waited and imagined the different facial features splaying across his face.
"A favor?" The low, menacing growl was more like what I was expecting.
"Yeah. Where are you?" I could hear shuffling and the rumble of an engine in the background.
A quick snort and chuckle was the first response I received, then the verbal. "I told you, Hell."
It was my turn to snort. "What, visiting relatives again? No wonder you're in such a foul mood. Family reunions like yours can be hard on anyone."
"Bite me, bitch." Apparently my comments must have hit a little too close to home for such a short, direct response. I immediately got worried.
"You okay?" I felt Dean's gaze glance my way before returning to the roadway. I knew he was probably picking up on the weird conversation and could probably guess the caller.
A long, drawn sigh met my ears and before I could say more, he answered. "Yeah, kid, I'm good. What do you need?"
Small talks over, I can deal with that.
"I need you to meet us..." I paused and grabbed the map I had been looking at earlier. I scanned over the red marks and found the exit I had been looking at a few minutes ago. "Exit 63 off Highway 70 in Montana. It's a small town called Mistake."
I heard the guffaw on the other end and then realized why he was laughing.
"I don't name them, I just picked the first place with food." After what seemed like forever, he quieted down and I once again heard rustling in the background.
"Alright. I'll meet you there in about 2 hours."
Yep, short, sweet and to the point. All Caleb Reeves. I felt the tightening in my chest ease slightly, knowing backup was on the way.
"What was Satan spawn wanting?" Dean had turned the radio down without my noticing, another indicator he had tuned into the conversation.
"He's in the area and wants us to meet him in 2 hours." I waited for the objection that usually comes when Caleb's name is mentioned. It didn't happen.
"Where?" My slight surprise was quickly masked as I cleared my throat.
"Mistake. Exit 63."
The radio was turned up and Iron Man spread through out the car. It seemed I wasn't the only one needing the presence of an old friend. And his help.
The Waffle House sign was the first to be spotted as we exited the highway. Actually, as I look around, it's the only sign. Figures.
I start to grab my phone and call about Caleb's progress when a quick inhale of breath from Dean pauses my hand.
I turn quickly, expecting some being from beyond to be at the car's window but all I see is a complete look of distress on my brother's face. I follow his gaze and find myself suffering the same reaction.
There, in the Waffle House parking lot is dad's truck. A plethora of images and feelings well up inside me. My eyes are fixed on the black GMC and I can't seem to take them off. I watch as the Impala pulls in beside it and hear the engine shut off, but neither of us move.
The black coat of paint gleams in the sunlight, as if brand new. It was then I notice how the truck has gone through a face lift of sorts. The tires are brand new, the windows have been tinted almost as black as the truck, and it was so clean, you could have eaten off of it.
"I didn't know he had dad's truck." The quiet tone mixed with the underlining emotion cut the band holding my gaze. I turn and now take in the look of Dean.
The hollowness of his eyes scare me.
"Neither did I." I glance once more at the truck and then open my door. I'll deal with the memories later, right now Dean needed Caleb. "Come on. He's waiting and you know how he gets if we keep him waiting."
"Yeah." I hear Dean slam his door and feel him move up beside me as we make our way to the entrance. "He's worse than a woman with PMS."
I grin, wishing Caleb had overhead the metaphor. When Dean and Caleb got started at one another, it was better than anything on Broadway.
"There he his." And no one in the world could have missed him. He stuck out worse than Jackie O at a hippie convention.
He was dressed from head to toe in black and apparently, he had tried to match his eyes to his outfit. They were both black and swollen.
"Man, what did you piss off this time?" Dean slid into the booth, smirking at the attempted glare coming from Caleb.
Reeves gave up the try and shrugged slightly. I noticed the grimace and guessed at possible bruised or broken ribs.
"The usual." He took a sip of his coffee, which also was black, and then drilled me with the look.
"I hope you wasted whatever it was, because it had to be big and bad to mess you up." A sound much like a hiss was aimed toward me, followed by a middle fingered salute.
"Flattery will only get you killed, runt." He let his gaze settle on me for a few minutes and I instinctively knew what he was doing. He was reading my recent memories and the sudden clinching of his jaw was my indication he had reached the punch.
Caleb's eyes shut and his breathing slowed. I could see him counting under his breath and when he reached twenty, he raised his eyes, but this time they latched onto Dean.
My brother was trying to nonchalantly ignore the scrutiny, but was failing miserably. It seemed the longer Reeves stared the more Dean began to twitch. Not exactly the reaction or result I was aiming for, but it's progress.
Dean slammed the menu he had been reading onto the table, returning the hunter's stare. "Why don't you take a picture, it'll last longer." His voice had dropped, along with the temperature.
I scooted more toward the edge of the booth seat I shared with Dean. I know the volatile men before me and knew Mt. Fuji's eruption would be mild compared to what was about to happen.
"I'd rather have the real thing." Caleb leaned forward, putting himself as far into Dean's personal space as he could manage. "I wouldn't have near enough pleasure ripping the picture as I'm gonna have ripping you a new one."
Yep, the temp just bottomed out. The chilling looks being shared by the two hunters was a sight to behold.
"Huh, guys, why don't we eat and then talk about things." I tried to pull the menu my way, but Reeves slapped his hand on top of it.
"Nah, Sammy. I think food would only get in the way." Caleb eased himself back into the booth seat, but never let his gaze waver from Dean's. "Actually, I don't think I'll be here long enough to eat. What I have to say won't take that long."
I watched Dean match Reeves earlier move and lean back into the seat. "What, here to impart some fatherly advice? Oh, wait, you're not dad."
That did it.
The punch was so fast and furious, Muhammad Ali would have been proud. I jumped from the booth and made my way to the counter. I smiled at the waitress behind the counter, hoping to distract her from the male bonding behind me.
"Um, could I place an order to go." I reached out and tapped her arm after a few minutes of being ignored.
Her head jerked slightly and then nodded. I placed the order and tried my damndest to disregard the grunts and growling behind me.
This yet again wasn't what I was wanting or expecting, but with Dean and Caleb involved, I should have known to expect the unexpected. A couple of grunts later I heard the front doors open and then shut.
Well, at least they took it outside. I gave a slight perusal to the damage and was happy to report only minor damage. The waitress put my order down and looked toward what I knew was a continuing struggle outside the restaurant.
I placed the money, plus a little extra to cover the broken pieces and then followed in the wake of the rambling duo. I pushed the door opened and was shocked at what awaited me.
They were both sprawled in the middle of a parking space beside dad's truck. If I hadn't seen both of their chests rise and fall with breath, I would have thought them dead.
"Okay. You two finished?" I stepped over Caleb's legs and squatted in the middle of the two. The twin middle fingered salutes had me chuckling. "You two need any help up?"
When neither acknowledged my invite, I stood up and went to the back of the truck. I lowered the tailgate and began eating my egg sandwich, watching the sporadic cars pass on the Interstate. Just as I was finishing my sandwich, I heard slight movement from the ground.
Dean was the first to join me on the truck gate and then Caleb limped to stand in front of us. He glanced back and forth and then settled his gaze once more on Dean.
"Listen, Deuce." He took a quick breath. I didn't know if it was because of the ribs or what he was about to say. "John was a bastard on good days, but I do know this." He stepped closer to the both of us. "He always protected you two the best he could. He made you the men you are and that should be enough for you to survive and go on."
I dropped my head and crumbled the sandwich paper. I couldn't bring myself to look at either of the two. As the silence started to turn ugly, I heard Dean clear his throat.
"You know something, Reeves."
I look up and wait for the words I've been trying to get Dean to say. Hoping that Caleb had succeeded where I had failed.
"What?" The seasoned hunter's stance was hip-shot and not too steady.
The older Winchester jumped off the tailgate and squared off against Reeves. "You're an ass." Dean then turned and went to the Impala. I was too stunned to notice my brother had gotten into the car and started the engine. Caleb's long sign pulled me from my stupor.
"Sorry, kid. I tried." He rubbed his face, grimacing as he hand came into contact with a sore spot.
I raised up from the gate and handed Caleb the bag. "Hey, it's okay." I look to the car and see Dean's profile as he's switching radio stations. "I'll just have to wait him out." I start to walk toward the car, when Caleb places his hand on my arm.
I stop and stare at him.
He's watching Dean and then he looks at me. "There's something else, Sammy. It's not John's death that's causing this."
The revelation startles me and then it's like a calm washes over me. I realize Caleb's still grasping my arm, so I reach up and pat his shoulder. "Thanks."
As the Impala pulls out of the parking space, I glance at the hunter now sitting on my dad's truck gate. He's put his sunglasses on, blocking access to this eyes, but I can still see what's going on inside. Caleb and a few others have been the only admittance Dean or I have had to the hunter's world. Dad made sure to keep us separated from that life, except for the hunting.
The Brotherhood was dad's world and somehow, as I turn my head back to watch Dean, John Winchester made it ours with his death. It was like we were suppose to be the heroes fighting evil, but trapped in a cage all our own.