And the Ground Shook
A/N: Pre series, AU. Not a deathfic. Lots of Dean-bashing, though. Un-beta-ed, all mistakes are mine, sorry about that...
Disclaimer: I don't own the boys, I don't own Supernatural, I don't even own the DVDs yet...
Chapter One – The Ground shifts
John sat on the couch, flicking through channels on the TV, though he never stopped on one channel long enough to actually see what was on. He hated morning shows anyway. He checked his watch again. 9:41. Dean was in trouble, that's for sure, he thought to himself, changing the channel again.
Somewhere in the kitchen, John could hear his fifteen year old son having breakfast. A couple of minutes later, Sam shuffled into the small living room/second bedroom.
"Dad, we're out of milk." He said. John clenched his jaw, flicking channels. "And cereal, too. And I'm pretty sure we're low on bread." Sam added.
"Then why won't you go to the store and get some?" John asked through clenched teeth. This wasn't Sammy's fault, he had to remind himself. For once, it wasn't Sam he was angry at.
"When's Dean coming home?" Sam asked, ignoring the forewarning signs of his father's fraying nerves.
"What do I look like, a psychic?" John snapped, and then half-turned to look at the teen. "And aren't you supposed to be at school, anyway?" he asked.
"But he was supposed to be here last night." Sam protested, "He said Sunday night at the latest. What's taking him so long?"
"You know your brother," John grumbled, returning his attention back to the TV, "probably got all twisted around chasing some tail last night." He clipped. "Tell you what, if he's not back here by noon, you can have his car." The teen smiled at that.
"Can I have that in writing?" he asked. John scowled at him.
"Sam, school!" he snapped.
"But I want to wait until he gets here." Sam protested. "Fine, fine…" he sighed in that teenager way that just grated on John's nerves every time. John checked his watch again. 9:45. Oh yeah, Dean was in trouble.
His eldest was supposed to be home last night, and not too late at that. John had little doubt that the hunt went well. It was just a poltergeist, after all. Dean's killed a dozen of those by the time he was Sammy's age. It wasn't even the first time he's done it on his own, and though something in the pit of John's stomach always twisted whenever Dean went on a solo hunt, the boy was old enough. He was more than capable to deal with a poltergeist, even on his own.
John hadn't planned on letting him go on his own, but Dean wore him out eventually. That boy could talk someone's ear off if he set his mind to it. So, John had let him go on his own. That had been a week ago. The ride alone should take a couple of days in each direction, John knew, and having some time on his own must have been part of the appeal for Dean. It wasn't the first time his son was taking his sweet time on a hunt. John knew there was nothing to worry about. Dean probably needed to let out some steam, or he wouldn't be so quick to volunteer to go on this hunt on his own.
John took a deep breath, trying to relax, and settled on the Discovery channel. It was either that, or that Ricky Lake chick, and he hated those shows. Well, Oprah he could stand. Sometimes. If there was absolutely nothing else to do. And he was sticking to that story.
He looked at his watch again. 9:47. Nothing to worry about. Dean probably got lazy once the job was done and decided to sleep in. Probably had a very late night, too, if John knew his son. Nothing to worry about.
9:48. That does it. Dean's not allowed to hook up with a chick anymore until he's forty! Well, okay, thirty, because he did just turn twenty, and even John's not that cruel. But he's totally giving Sam the car if Dean isn't back by noon.
"Dad, he should have called by now, shouldn't he?" Sam asked the question John didn't dare speak out loud. Dean was the reliable one, after all. He usually called once the job was over. They hadn't heard from him in four days now.
"You should be in school by now, shouldn't you?" John snapped.
"Sam!" he was perturbed. No way would John admit it, but he was nervous as hell. He hadn't slept in two days. The fact that Dean was now twenty years old did not mean that John stopped worrying about him. Being a "grown up" didn't mean there wasn't a big, scary world out there, and John had every right to be apprehensive.
He kept telling himself Dean needed this, needed some time on his own. Hell, John went out on a few hunts himself to cool down. After all, three men living in a tiny apartment or motel room, always in each other's faces… Sometimes they needed their time apart, that's for sure. Still, it's time to get Dean a cell phone.
And then the phone rang. Sam started toward it, but John was closer. His hand darted to the phone, quickly picking it up.
"Good morning," John couldn't help but roll his eyes. This woman was just way too perky to be calling him. He clenched his jaw. "This is the operator speaking. You have a collect call from –" and then there was a click, and John could hear Dean's voice. He gritted his teeth and was about to start yelling when another click sounded and the way too cheerful operator was back. "Would you accept the charges?" she asked. A collect call? Well that could explain a few things. Dean's probably lost all his money, and if John had to guess, it was probably on a woman. Either that, or Dean was in jail again.
"Yes." John answered.
"Well, alright then. Have a nice day!" The operator said perkily, and transferred the call.
"Hello?" John tried to control the anger in his voice. Dean has some explaining to do.
"Dean? Where the hell are you?" John snapped, "You were supposed to be here last night!" he yelled when his son failed to answer.
"You in jail?" John demanded. There was a brief moment of silence and John cursed inwardly. Great. Just what he needed. Can't Dean keep his mouth shut and his attitude in check and fly under the radar just once? "Dean, I asked you a question." He snapped.
"Are you in jail?" John pressed.
"No." There was a breathless quality to Dean's voice, something John's brain registered, but couldn't quite put a finger on.
"Then you get your ass back here, now." John snapped, "You were supposed to be here last night, young man, you're in some serious…"
"Dad…" Dean stopped him, his voice strangely weak, almost strangled, and it stopped John from talking. For a moment, all John could hear was his son breathing on the other end of the line, small, shallow gasps, and John found himself thinking God, I hope he's with a girl right now, because any other reason for his boy to sound this breathless involved him being hurt, and John couldn't stand that thought. And then Dean spoke again. "Dad, help." And John froze. Dean's voice was small, and breathless and weak, and it sent the father's heart racing as fear crept over him.
John swallowed hard, taking a deep, calming breath. "Dean?"
"Dad… help…" Dean was wheezing now, and a million and one scenarios ran through John's mind. Dean would never be calling him for help, his son had too much pride to show any kind of weakness. For Dean to be calling him, asking for help, sounding so small and weak… It stole John's breath away.
"Dean, where are you?" John demanded, a hint of urgency creeping into his voice.
"Dad?" John frowned, "Dad, please…"
"Dean, where are you?" John repeated, more slowly this time, trying to get the tremor out of his voice. Sam was talking to him, asking, demanding to know what's going on, what's wrong. John turned his back on him. There wasn't time to deal with Sammy right now, not when he had no idea what was wrong with Dean, or even where he was.
"Dad, help…" Dean pleaded and John's heart rate rocketed along with his blood pressure.
"Dean, you need to tell me where you are, son." John said, trying to remain calm for his son's sake. For both his sons. The calm façade was quickly wavering, though, when all he heard from the other side of the line were struggling breaths. "Dean? You hear me?" John pressed.
"Dad?" there was almost a sobbing quality to Dean's voice. And Dean never sobs. Ever.
"I'm right here, son, but I need to know what's wrong, I need to know where you are." John said, feeling his hands shaking. He didn't dare imagine what could be wrong with Dean. He didn't dare let himself go there. There was a long, painful pause before Dean's shaky voice was heard again;
"I… don't know." He wheezed. John's frown deepened. He doesn't know? What's that supposed to mean? How could he not know? Sam's eyes were wide with fear and uncertainty. He was hovering over John, trying to hear his brother, trying to get any piece of information at all. Something went wrong, that was painfully obvious from the way his father went from pissed to seriously worried in 0.2 seconds flat. John put a finger to his lips, gesturing for Sam to be quiet. It was difficult enough hearing Dean's weak voice without Sam babbling in his ear.
"Dean, look around you, where are you?" John said slowly, trying to control his voice. There was a long pause again, where all John could hear were Dean's pants.
"Yeah, Dean, I'm here."
"Help." John nearly cried with frustration, running a hand through his thick hair.
"Dean, listen to me, I need you to take a look around. What do you see?" he pushed.
"Sa-Sammy… You need… you need to… protect…" and then he was panting again, and there was this strange sound, a familiar sound. Too familiar. John's heard it before. And John froze, his heart stopping and dropping to his feet as his stomach lurched. The realization of what he was listening to was like being sucker punched, and then having an Acme piano fall on you. He was listening to his son dying.
"Dean! DEAN!" John cried. Screw calm, screw pretending. Sam didn't even register at the moment. He was screaming at John to tell him what was wrong, but John ignored him.
"Dad?" Dean breathed, barely audible.
"Dean, tell me what's wrong, where are you?" John demanded quickly. Dean was gasping for air now, and oh, God, he was listening to his son dying!
"Dad?" John waited a few seconds more, but Dean didn't say anything else, and John realized he was probably going into shock, if he wasn't already. And then there was a clanking sound as Dean dropped the phone, and a chill went down John's spine. He cried out for Dean, asking him again to tell him where he was, asking him to hold on, telling him everything will be alright, and where are you, Dean? But all John could hear were ragged pants. And then there was more clanking, and John heard three dialing tones.
"Dad?" This time there was bewilderment in the voice, like Dean wasn't expecting him, and John's knees nearly gave way. Sam started panicking, looking up at his father with wide, terrified eyes. "Dad, help…"
"Dean, I'm right here. I'm right here, son. But I need to know where you are so I can help you. Can you tell me where you are?" John asked, begged, tears clouding his vision.
"Dad…" and this time there was fear in his son's voice, and all John could think was I'm listening to my son dying and I can't do a damn thing about it! And he heard the three dialing tones again. And suddenly, John understood. Dean was trying to dial 911.
"Dean? Son, you have to hang up and dial 911 again, do you understand me?" John asked, nearly screaming with frustration when there was no answer. Not even the dialing tone.
"Dad, help…" Dean gasps eventually, and John palms his face with his shaky hand.
"Yes, Dean, you need to get help." He said in the calmest voice he could muster. "You need to hang up the phone now, and dial 911 again." He said, "Can you do that?"
"Dad…" this time Dean choked on the word, and John knew this is It. The clanking sound sounded again as the phone slipped from Dean's hands once more, and John couldn't hear him anymore, just the background noises of some town that could be anywhere. John screamed for Dean to talk to him, to say something, anything, but Dean didn't answer, and he knew he needed to hang up the phone and dial 911 himself, but he was listening to the sounds of his son dying on the other side of the phone, and there was no way he was hanging up. There was no way in hell he was leaving Dean alone.
John could hear a dog barking, and a car passing by, and then the sound of people talking grew near, and hope flickered. Someone was there. Someone could tell him where there was! John started screaming into the phone, begging for someone, anyone to answer him. He could hear a woman telling someone to look at something, and then a gasp, and the woman asking if he's dead, and John could feel the bile rising in the back of his throat. He couldn't stand it anymore, and before he knew it, he was on the floor, with Sammy by his side.
John was still yelling for someone to freakin' pick up the damn phone, and a lifetime later, someone finally did, and John could finally ask him what the hell was going on.
"There's a kid…" the man told him. He sounded shocked and confused, and completely not what Dean needed right now. "Oh, God, I think he's dead…" the man breathed, and he might as well have shot John in the heart with consecrated iron.
"Where?" John managed just barely.
"O-on the corner of Eely and Lincoln." The man said in a shaking voice, and it was probably a good thing he wasn't within John's reach at the moment, because John was pretty certain he was going to kill him.
"I meant which state? Which city?" John barked.
"Bowie. In Maryland." The man answered, and John closed his eyes, biting his lip. Thank God, at least he was in the same state…
"Listen to me," John said, as calmly as he could manage with his own shaky voice, "This is my boy. That's my son, do you understand?" John demanded, and forced himself to take a deep breath. Scaring this man away wasn't going to help anyone. "You have to get him to a hospital, now!" John ordered in his best Marine voice, the one that still worked on Sam.
"I-I… I don't have a car…" the idiot stuttered.
"You hang up and call an ambulance, you call 911, get it?" John gritted through his teeth.
"Yes." The man answered.
"Well, do it already!" John yelled, and then there was a click and the connection was cut off, and oh my God, Dean could already be dead…
Well, originally, that was a oneshot, but I love this story, kind of waiting to see if my muse likes me. What's your verdict? Should I continue?