Disclaimer: I do not own "Supernatural."
Author's Note: Heh. So this is the first story where I've been Kripke'd. Yay for me. : P
I'm going to continue along with what my idea for this was, which means that it has spun off into AU territory, instead of the 'possibilities' territory where it was residing. In S3 Sam has stated he no longer has powers, he does here.
Also, Mary-stuff abounds. I don't read spoilers so anything that I write here about Mary is purely speculative.
Thank you all for the wonderful reviews and PM's that kept coming even though the updates stopped. And huge thanks to Lembas7 who beta-fu'ed this for me. Any remaining errors are all mine.
She was standing on a ladder, hanging curtains. The curtains were crème with pink prints of big blooming roses that swirled into more big blooming roses. Mary was balanced perfectly, both arms above her head as she hooked the bar into place. He watched, holding himself completely still, not wanting to startle her. She played with the top, arranging ruffles upwards, then sighed and started climbing down. Automatically, he moved to help - then stopped, surprised that he could move.
She was standing on the floor now, looking up at the curtains. "I can never get them perfectly straight," she complained, eyeing the window critically.
"Mom," Sam said, jumping at the sound of his voice. It was real, and he blinked. "Oh god, I can - Mom. Can you tell me -"
"Shhh," she interrupted, but he felt nothing push against him like last time. He felt nothing force him to stop.
"What mon -"
"You shouldn't be here," she interrupted again, voice frustrated, gaze reproaching. "Wake up," she murmured.
Already his senses were more attuned. He felt it, felt something touch him, trying to move him away from here. He closed his eyes, cleared his mind, focused his thoughts and pushed the something away.
"What month is it?" he asked as soon as its touch slipped off him, eyes opening. "What day is it?" His voice caught. "Mom, there's somethi—"
Mary's eyes flashed, the hazel in them getting brighter, like Dean's. "You can't force yourself here. Your presence is a danger to us, to all of us," she told him. Sam opened his mouth; she raised her hand and the words stuck in his throat. "You have to wake up," she repeated, then added steadily, "Now."
It slid into him before he even felt it.
Sam jumped awake, bolting upright. The room spun and there wasn't enough air. He gasped, nausea roiling up, snapping his mouth shut even as he leapt off the bed. He slid into the bathroom, landing on his knees just in time to deliver an offering to the porcelain god.
"Ugh," he groaned after his stomach finished emptying itself. He dropped his forehead onto the toilet seat. His head throbbed in time with his heartbeat. Sam closed his eyes, wishing he could disappear. The room was spinning behind closed eyelids and he let himself spin away with it.
"Hey there, sweetie." Missouri's voice drew him back towards consciousness.
Sam frowned, trying to move, to speak. "Whe's Dea'?" he managed to croak out. He didn't mean to sound like a five-year-old, but at the moment it couldn't be helped.
"He's out back. I'll get'm for ya," she answered softly.
He had no doubt in getting him, Missouri'd probably freak him the hell out...
"No," he mumbled, "M'okay." Sam tried to pull his head up, so he could offer her a reassuring smile. His head wasn't cooperating, it flopped back down. "Jus' need a minute…" he added vaguely.
The minute stretched and wavered and he wasn't sure whether his minutehad morphed into hours or even days before he heard Dean's footsteps.
"You're developing a real relationship with toilets there, Sammy."
"Dean." It came out in a pathetic, breathy whisper and he couldn't even drum up the energy to care.
His brother's hand was on his back, rubbing gently. "You finished?" Dean asked wryly.
A small chuckle escaped Sam. "Yeah, finished," he confirmed.
"Okay, let's get off the floor then," Dean said. Sam felt the hand on his back move around him, coming to rest underneath his arm. His other arm was lifted and laid across Dean's shoulders. Then he was being pulled up, hauled up against Dean. His head flopped, his chin touching his chest and he tried again to lift it, and again failed. He closed his eyes and let himself be guided out of the bathroom, down the short hallway and back into the bedroom.
"Happened 'gain," he whispered. "Curtains weren't straight."
"Yeah— crooked curtains, makes me puke all the time."
Sam smiled as Dean sat him on the bed. Then he sighed softly. "Head hurts," he muttered as he buried his face into his hands.
"His head hurts," he heard Dean repeat and Sam realized that Missouri was in the room too. He could practically feel the heat in Dean's gaze and it wasn't even directed at him.
"I'm sure it does," Missouri whispered and she sounded so all knowing and accepting that Sam wished he could add his own heated glare in her direction.
"Well,do something about it," Dean hissed at her, tone straining under tight control.
Sam waited for a snapped reply, it didn't come. Instead he heard her release a long sigh, "Wish I could, but I can't. Unfortunately, it comes with the territory. As he gets stronger, the headaches'll ease and eventually fade."
"Fine, I'm going out to the car," Dean responded and Sam practically sighed.
Car. Med Kit. Painkillers.
"Nothing that'll knock'm out too deep," Missouri warned a moment later.
Yeah, why not? Oblivion sounded nice right about now. Why would Missouri deny him oblivion?
"Because it could… keep him there, with her, if this happens again."
Sam managed to lift his head for that, echoing Dean's startled question with a gasped one of his own.
She shrugged. "Whatever is going on, it seems to be picking up speed. More episodes more frequently; we don't know what effect it could have if he's medicated and can't wake up," she explained calmly.
The room was silent for a moment before Dean spoke sharply. "So, what? There's nothing we can do?"
"We can try breathing exercises. They might help," Missouri offered and Sam sighed softly, lowering his head into his hands again. He wanted drugs, he wanted scientifically generated oblivion.
"That's bullshit," Dean hissed.
"It's where we're at right now," Missouri snapped back.
Dean had probably reached the end of her patience.
"Fine. You stay there, I'm goin' to the car," he informed her. "We'll take our chances."
Sam felt Dean's hand land briefly on his shoulder. "Be right back," his brother murmured.
Sam heard him leave the room.
A few seconds slid by before he lifted his head again, squinting his eyes in an effort to clear his vision. "You're supposed to help me," he told Missouri, not caring if he sounded accusing or not. He hadn't expected to get pulled into another vision – dream –projection - so soon. It hurt and it made no sense and his Mom knew him, he was certain - and just how...?
The psychic moved to sit next to him, placing a hand on his knee. "I'm going to try Sam, really I am; but I can't work miracles. This power of yours is taking you to her for a reason." She paused and she he could almost feel her weighing her words. That made him nervous - Missouri didn't weigh her words, she spat things out and barreled through the rubble if need be. Sam wanted to put his head down again, but her dark eyes held him in place. He waited.
"We need to be clear on something," she said finally. "Did you come to me because you want help with this power or did you come because you think I can help with answers about your mother?"
He blinked at her. That was such a horrible question to ask him when his brain was convulsing against his cranium.
He drew in a deep breath. "I just… I want—"
Sam swallowed. What did he want? His mother's flashing hazel eyes answered that question almost instantly.
"Answers about Mom," he confessed. "I want to know why her? Why did it come for her? Why right then? Just, why?"
Missouri nodded. "Okay, well. You need to be prepared for that bein' something I might not be able to help you with," she said gently, patting his knee.
He jumped a little, feeling cheated suddenly - she was supposed to help him. "But -"
"I can help you," she interrupted. "I can help you learn to the control this power, Sam, I can and I will - but learning answers, that may be something only you and your brother can figure out," Missouri finished quietly.
Their mother, their problem - only they could figure it out; that made sense. But it wasn't what he wanted to hear.
Sam didn't know what to say to that, how to respond. So he lowered his face back into his hands and waited for Dean.
He just wanted the headache to go away.
"It's always hard at first," he heard Missouri say. Her voice was quiet and it gave him something to focus on other than the pain. "Akin to growing pains, I guess. You're using parts of yourself you never used before, it'll take some adjustin' to. You can't expect to get the hang of it right away. It'll be hard for you . . . you're used to excelling at things quickly, but you'll have to work at this Sam. It isn't just going to happen."
She was silent then. After a moment she patted his knee again, remaining quiet. He drew a deep breath and tried to focus the pain away.
He was still working on it when Dean entered the room with a small bottle in one hand and a glass of water in the other.
"Here," he offered " Excedrin— won't put you to sleep."
Sam lifted his head and held out his hand; Dean dropped a few capsules into his palm and then handed him the glass of water.
"Thanks," he croaked, handing Dean the glass back.
Dean nodded, then held the glass out to Missouri, "Would you please take this back to the kitchen for me." It was polite and phrased as a question, but it wasn't one. Missouri stared at the extended glass for a moment, then lifted those dark eyes to Dean.
Sam watched them. There was a constant push-pull between these two and he could never garner what the dynamics actually were
Missouri took the glass. Dean remained silent.
"Thanks, Missouri," Sam murmured as she moved away.
She paused and turned to look at him. "No problem, sweetie. You keep in mind what I told you, okay."
And a second later she was gone. The room was silent for a moment, then Dean moved closer, sitting on the bed. "Why don't you lie down," he prodded. Sam shook his head.
"Rather sit," he murmured.
They sat in silence for a while. Then Sam heard Dean draw a deep breath.
"What'd you see?" his brother asked after a long moment.
Sam swallowed and continued to stare at the floor, thankful that he could at least blink now without seeing lights. "She was hanging a curtain - with pink roses on it."
Dean didn't speak.
He drew in a deep breath. "I talked to her, and she talked to me. She told me that I couldn't be there. That I was putting them in danger." Sam shook his head, "She's not surprised at all. She knows me, and I'm positive that she - she stops me from talking. I felt her do it. I just – god, Dean, what the hell is going on?"
Dean was still silent and Sam lifted his gaze to his brother. Dean was staring at the floor too and Sam felt the knot in his stomach twist.
"What is it?" he asked.
"I was in the library today-"
"I know." The admission slipped out.
Dean stopped, looking at him inquiringly.
"I saw you," he confessed. "I projected today - to the library. I saw you and the girl."
Dean stared at him a moment, then smirked a little, "Missouri said you caught on fast."
"It's why she wanted you to leave - so I could go to you. She said it would be easier for me and that you couldn't know 'cause then you'd be aware and you couldn't be aware 'cause then -"
"It's okay, Sam," Dean interrupted, that small smirk on his lips.
Sam stopped and shook his head. "No, it's not," he said firmly. "She didn't have to be so mean about it -"
A laugh escaped from Dean, an actual laugh, and Sam stopped, eyes widening.
"As scary as it is - I don't think Missouri's ever been mean to either of us," Dean offered.
Sam pondered that for a moment, before a smile touched his lips, "Dude. That's terrifying."
Dean nodded, "Tell me about it."
They grinned at each other for a moment, and it was – nice. A release of tension, for a moment at least. Sam released a long breath he hadn't known he'd been holding.
"So what'd you find out at the library?" he asked softly and was completely unprepared for the way Dean's face changed. Shutters slammed down so fast Sam leaned back a little, eyebrows shooting up to his hairline. Usually he at least knew when the shutters were coming down.
"Dean?" he asked, heart suddenly in his throat. He knew whatever Dean was about to say was bad, really godawful bad because his brother wasn't looking at him anymore. He was studying the bedspread and almost fidgeting, and Dean did not fidget. "Just tell me," he added after another moment of silence.
"I can't find any trace that Mary Anderson existed until 1975."
The soft words meant nothing to Sam. He swallowed hard, needing them to mean nothing. "Wh-- what does that…? I mean, how…? I don't understand."
"I was just-- I wanted to see what I could find on her. So I looked up their marriage certificate. They were married in 1978, the file had a copy of their birth certificates and Dad's drivers license." Dean stopped there. Sam waited.
"What else?" he asked when the seconds ticked by and Dean remained silent.
"Her birth certificate said she was born in Clearfield, Kansas. I looked up their town registry online."
"No Mary Anderson?"
Dean shook his head at Sam's question. "Three Mary Andersons born in 1959 in that town - none of them are our Mom."
"Yeah, all three are alive and well."
Sam took a deep breath, "Okay. Okay, fine. But, why… you said—"
"I called them to be sure. Everything they have forwards of 1920 is on the website."
The breath caught in Sam's throat. "Okay, fine, but…" he trailed off. He didn't know what to ask.
Dean looked up finally, hazel eyes bright and unreadable. "I started working backwards. Starting with the marriage certificate, the first record I can find of Mary Anderson, our Mom, is three years earlier when she got pulled over for a moving violation in Perry, Kansas. That's a few towns over -"
"I know where Perry is!" Sam snapped.
This couldn't be happening. It couldn't be happening. It couldn't—
"I mean, just… god, Dean— who is she?"
A bitter smile tilted the corners of Dean's mouth. "You got me, Sammy."
Sam shook his head. "I don't… how could Dad miss this? I mean, a birth certificate? That's not— that's barely… that's not exactly a professional cover!"
Dean shrugged, the smirk disappearing. "I doubt he did a background check on her when he married her, Sam. Believe it or not, he was normalonce."
Sam gaped him, the meaning of this conversation swirling around in his head, "I can't believe this. How did something like this just… escape us for 24 years?"
Dean glared at him. "I just told you, didn't I? Dad didn't—"
"Fine, yeah, but what about after?!"
"He didn't look right away—"
"He knew though! At some point he knew and he didn't think to tell us! He—"
Dean interrupted, "Afterwards, I don't know. Maybe he figured it didn't matter or that she was a runaway or something."
"Yeah, she was pretty young, you know. Maybe—"
Sam eyed his brother critically. "Dude," he said, invoking the word with the full sense of his disbelief.
But he was unprepared for the way Dean's eyes flashed. "I don't know, Sam!" he roared, and Sam shrank back a little. "I don't know how this sort of shit can escape us for twenty-four goddamned years! I just know that it did and now we have to figure it the fuck out!"
The room felt oppressively quiet after Dean's crack in control.
"Okay," Sam repeated, feeling like he'd said nothing but that word in the last ten minutes. "We'll figure it out, right. Okay."
Dean nodded, drawing in a deep breath, running a hand over his face. "I was thinking we could start with missing person's reports. See if one was filed…"
Sam sighed when Dean trailed off. "Where?" he asked almost wearily, the task seemed impossible without a name, a location—only a face to go on.
His brother didn't say anything. A moment later Dean stood from the bed and started pacing. Sam frowned, watching him. "What is it?" he asked when the minutes ticked by and Dean said nothing.
"Would you say Kansas is a baseball state?"
Sam blinked, "What?"
"Is it, baseball, popular? You think?"
"How the hell should I know?"
"I think she was," Dean paused. "From a state that, well… a baseball state."
"A baseball state?"
"A state where baseball is really popular or something."
Sam blinked. "A baseball state," he repeated.
Dean nodded, "Yeah. A Red Sox state."
"Yes, Sam! The Red Sox!" Dean snapped.
"Okay, okay… relax. I just-- how do you even -"
"She used to," a careful pause, "To sing that song."
"Are you gonna stop repeating everything I say soon?"
"Sorry, it's just… you're not making a lot of sense."
Dean released a long sigh and dropped onto the bed again, "The baseball song, you know. Taaake me out to the baaall game . . ."
Sam stared at his brother blankly, processing the fact that apparently Dean knew the words to this song.
Dean stared back for a long moment, "Peanuts and Cracker Jacks? Seriously, dude, have you never heard this before?"
"What? Oh, no - yeah! I've heard it. I just," pointing out that he was surprised Dean knew the words probably wasn't the thing to do right now. "Yeah, okay. Fine, I've heard it. What about it?"
"She sang it to me. With me, sometimes, when Dad wasn't home… we'd." He stopped abruptly.
"You'd what?" Sam couldn't stop his voice from dropping an octave lower than it should have.
Dean noticed, and glared at him. "We'd sing sometimes, okay." The tone was hard, daring Sam to push it. Sam wasn't going to.
His brain had just stopped convulsing in his head - he'd like to keep it that way.
He nodded. "Okay, so what's with the Red Sox?"
"She'd say they were best team in the world - a lot. And she'd… she'd replace the words sometimes."
Sam waited. Dean drew in a deep breath, "Take me out to a Red Sox game," he almost whispered, just saying the words, not singing them, "And then, take me out to Shay's . . ." he finished softly.
Sam ran the song through his head and grinned. Cute.
"Okay," he said softly, "So we search Boston, obviously, and maybe a wider northeastern search. We're gonna need a picture and a time frame -"
"Yeah. I'll take care of it," Dean cut him off, standing again.
Sam frowned, "I can help -"
"You work on getting that power under control. I'll deal with this."
Which would be fine, if dealing with this wasn't bound to lead somewhere painful. Sam knew it, and Dean did too.
"Dean, let me help," he said quietly. "If she's not who we thought she was than we should figure it out toge -"
"Who did we think she was?"
Dean's question was soft and Sam flinched a little. He knew that tone, knew not to answer it, not to go where it led. Still. "We knew -"
"Name one thing we really knew," Dean insisted, cutting him off. Hazel eyes were guarded, his brother's expression grim.
"I wasfour. Dad hardly ever said anything about her."
"She had an uncle -"
"No. Dad said he thought her Uncle put that gravestone up. Dad never met the man. Dad never knew her."
"Dean, stop." The words were tinged with pleading; begging him to stop burying her underneath anonymity, to stop erasing what little they had of her.
"It's the truth," his words were flat and his gaze dropped from Sam's.
Sam felt a prickle of fear for his brother. He felt so bewildered, so hurt by this - he couldn't imagine how Dean was feeling. How much more intense the feeling of disillusion, of betrayal was. How deep Dean would bury those feelings.
"It's also true that Dad loved her. There was a reason for that. She's still ourMom, no matter what we find out," he stated firmly, surprising himself by how much he meant that.
No matter what they found, it wouldn't change the young woman he'd seen holding him on her hip as she made cookies.
"And she loved us," he added, remembering their last trip to Lawrence. "You know she did. You know that," he continued steadily. Glaring into his brother, forcing Dean feel his gaze, to feel his words and the truth behind them. Their mother had loved them, he was certain of that - whatever else they found out, thatwould remain.
And he wanted,needed, Dean to remember that. He was afraid of what would happen if Dean didn't.
Dean looked up then. "Yeah," he said softly, "I know."
But there wasn't enough knowing in his voice for Sam's comfort.
"I. Know. Sam. I get it, okay." The voice screamed back off and Sam leaned back again a little; his headache had just subsided to normal levels.
"Let me help," he stated. "I feel better already and I'll feel evenbetter tomorrow . . ."
Dean eyed him almost warily. "You have no idea what you're doing tomorrow. You're in Missouri's boot camp."
Which yes, was true but -
"I can handle this, Sam. Don't worry about it."
Dean could handle it, right.
Sam took a deep breath. "I worry," he admitted quietly, adding a shrug and a small smile to the words; because he did and he couldn't stop himself.
A moment passed, then Dean returned the small smile, "Dude. You're such a girl."
Sam rolled his eyes. "I'm hungry."
The smile on Dean's face stretched, "I dare you to go downstairs and ask Missouri what's for dinner . . ."
Sam's eyes widened, "No way."
"You do it."
"No way. I value my life."
Dean eyed him. "Fine. I'll do it. If you're too scared to."
"I'm not scared."
He knew what Dean was doing - he knew it. He wasn't five anymore. He'd gone to Stanford for Christ's sake. He'd been pre-law; arguing was what you did when you were pre-law.
Not that any of that mattered when Dean was giving him that smirk.
"I'm not,"he repeated, scowling.
Dean nodded, getting up and turning towards the door. "Yeah, sure."
His brother paused and shot him an innocent look over his shoulder. "Really, Sammy. It's fine, I'll ask her. I'm hungry too."
Sam stood. "I'll come with you. I can ask! I'm not scared," he defended, feeling five years old and completely unable shake it off.
Dean shrugged. "Okay, if you insist."
They were out in the hall when Sam heard Dean's chuckle.
"You're such a jerk,"Sam muttered, a smile tugging at his lips too.