Disclaimer: I own nothing Supernatural.
Author's Note: So this is sort of a sequel to another story I did, quite awhile ago, called It Was Me. I kind of wanted to write another one with Tessa, but didn't know if anyone would read it. Therefore, this is all pretty much for HYPERLITE.HO who swore that she, if no one else, would like to see it.
That said, I guess I should explain. You needn't necessarily read the first story to follow this one, though it would help. Tessa is a Winchester, Sam's twin in fact, which, obviously, makes this entirely AU anyway. But since the first story was done so long ago and so little was known about the Demon at that time, it veers off from there as well.
Here's what you need to know: The Demon that killed Mary and Jess is dead. John is, for now at least, still alive. Sam returned to Stanford, but no longer shuns his family, or their way of life. And most importantly, just because the demon is dead, doesn't mean that the plans laid out for Sam and all the children like him won't still lead to something sinister.
If you have any other questions, just let me know. Otherwise, on with the story!
"Worst. Idea. Ever," he says in a hushed tone, bouncing the flashlight's beam down the length of the old hallway. Old. Dirty. Abandoned. Why anyone would want to renovate this place was a mystery to him. And for what, to turn it into yet another just-outside-of-wine-country Bed and Breakfast? Please.
Dean continued his walk down the corridor, steadfastly shining his light on anything that moved, turning only once to say in that quit bugging me voice, "Shut it, Sam."
"I'm just saying…"
"I'm just saying, shut it."
"Okay," he drawls, clearly amused.
A dull crash sounds up ahead of them causing both to still and tense, preparing themselves. Until, "Nothing!" resounds down the hall, causing Dean to shake his head, ashamed at what so obviously must have been another instance of his sister's newfound ineptitude.
He works to resist, just as he had that morning when she accidentally spilled his coffee on him, the urge to throttle her, smack her around, even just a little. Because she's going through a tough time. And Sam had told him to lay off.
The whole thing was ridiculous, though. She's a Winchester after all. Normally a good hunter, maybe not great, at least not out in the field, but she could always handle herself. Except the last two days. Going on forty-eight hours now, Tessa had been virtually useless to them, unable to remember simple instructions, tripping over stuff and knocking shit down. Even the research that she normally excelled at had been pocked by inattention and drifting spells.
She simply wasn't on her game. In fact, she was so far off her game she was actually sitting on the other team's sidelines. And in their line of work, that was just plain dangerous.
"Told you," Sam snickers behind him. "Bad idea."
Well maybe it was. Maybe it was a bad idea to force her into this hunt, this search and destroy mission involving who knows how many spirits. But it was the kind of thing she normally loved, looking up the history of a centuries old house, especially one that had sparked a sort of local lore. And besides, "She needed a distraction."
"Dean, she just got dumped. Hunting is not a distraction for something like that. Going out with the girls is."
"Yeah, well, you were busy Sammy," Tessa chirps from inside the doorway of what had, at one time, been the master bedroom.
Dean steps up and shines his light directly in her eyes, making her wince. "What'd you do?" he asks, an utter lack of patience radiating from him.
She swats at the flashlight until he lowers it, saying only, "Nothing. Just a lamp."
"Place like this an old lamp could be worth a lot of dough," he says. "Quit knocking shit over."
"You quit knocking shit over," she mumbles indignantly.
"I'm not knocking shit over," he spits, tossing the light back in her eyes.
"Enough!" Sam says, hands flailing. "You guys are both idiots." He turns and starts back down the hall, tossing over his shoulder as he goes, "I'm checking the lower level again."
Tessa glances back at the EMF meter in her hand, the same one that had been acting up for…well, years, and beats it on the side, jiggling it around a bit. "He's in a pissy mood," she says absently.
"Stop that," he says, tucking his flashlight under his arm and grabbing the meter away from her abusive hands. "You're gonna break it."
"It's already broken."
"Is not," he retorts once more, exiting the master suite, squinting at the dial on the tiny machine, trying to make out any activity in or around the hall.
"Is too," she mumbles, the words just barely making it over her lips before she lets out a sharp gasp, all but drown out by the heavy crack of the wooden door slamming shut.
Dean spins around, so fast he loses his balance, falls into his sister, shoving her further against the closed door. He steadies himself quickly, bracing his hands on her shoulders. Both their eyes go wide as the sudden drop in temperature begins to register, then the sound, slam, slam, slam, of every other door in the house being thrown shut.
They share a quick, time to go, glance before Tessa lets out a crooked smile. "Told you so," she says with a laugh as he pockets the piece of trash detector.
"Let's go," he mumbles, turning on his heel and yelling out, "Sam!" His left hand remains on her shoulder, tightening its grip when she refuses to spin and move in front of him, head for the exit.
"Uh, Dean," she murmurs slightly, and when he looks back at her he sees that she's still standing with her back plastered against the door. "Dean, I think," she trails off, her fingers working feverishly at the base of her skull. Where her long thick hair had been pulled back into a ponytail. Where that ponytail was now entirely engulfed by the closed door.
"Damn it," he huffs as he tries the knob, throws his weight into the door trying to open it.
"Dean," she says again, stretching his name into a two-syllable whine.
"I'm trying." He moves his hands up to her hair, tugs a couple of times ignoring her grunts of pain, attempting to ignore the cold, ill-feeling air that is now swirling around them. "Sam!" he screams again, more desperate. Because he needs his help now. And because he hadn't responded the first time. "Sam!"
Tessa lets out a sharp cry and throws her hand up, blanketing the back of Dean's head, as she pulls him to her, barely managing to keep him from getting his skull split open by the flying object, some sort of large heavy looking antique, a book end perhaps. Seeing another quasi-identifiable thing…a lamp, maybe…heading for them again, she shifts her trunk and shoves her brother to one side.
"Son of a bitch!" he squeaks, seeing the sturdy door actually crack next to them from the impact. "Where the hell did that even – "
"Knife!" she yells, cutting him off. Too slow to move, the large serrated knife – and really where the hell was this stuff coming from?! – sliced through Dean's jacket, barely missing skin, and on through the door, pinning him to it.
"Son. Of. A. Bitch," he recites as he struggles to pull the blade out of its deeply embedded place. It comes out fast and strong, and he almost hits himself in the face with it as he stumbles back a step. "Sam!" he calls once more, this time not even thinking about, let alone listening for a response. Not that one could be heard anyway over the steady whoosh of angry air and fairly constant crashing of objects flying all about the old house.
"Hold still," he tells his sister as he grips the back of her head with one hand and holds the knife beneath her hair with the other. Saw, saw, sawing until, finally, she's free, a ragged chunk of brown hair sprouting out from the tight gap between the door and the jam.
Instinctively her hand flies up to inspect the damage, a horrified expression flooding her face. But Dean doesn't see it, he's too busy guiding her quickly down the hall, the stairs, out the door, dodging debris as they go.
"Where were you?!" he hears once outside, turning quickly to see Sam standing there all well and fine and staring at them as though they were the ones lost inside that house, not answering to frantic shouts.
"Where the hell were you?" he retorts, torn between anger at being made to worry and relief at discovering his little brother safe and sound.
"I was looking for you, calling for you," he says in that insolent tone he'd managed to perfect over the years.
"I was calling for you," he responds, finally letting his shoulders fall and relax, gaze flickering back and forth between Sam and the odd glow emanating from the building they'd just escaped.
Sam breathes a sigh of relief as well, looks to the house and says, "That's more than just a couple of old spirits."
"Yeah," Dean offers.
He turns to head for the car, Dean following behind, eyes still perked towards the house. "Do we have any bloodroot?" he asks, opening the trunk and beginning a search for the necessary items to cleanse the place.
Dean only shrugs, lets his brother figure all that stuff out while he monitors the house. Sam's better at that sort of thing anyway, no matter how much time he takes out for school – law school, what a joke – he never seems to forget how to hunt.
It might not be normal, hell, it might be completely screwed up, but these sorts of things were the closest they ever got to family outings. And it had been too, too long since the three of them were together. So even with the fear of Sam being lost and Tess being stuck and him almost getting filleted, Dean could not keep himself from reveling in the fact that they were here.
He listens absently, hears Sam murmur something to himself as he continues to dig around. Catches a glimpse of Tessa's gangly legs hanging out the car door, foot tapping impatiently. And watches as the bright white and airy violet colors dance around amid the haunted windows of the house before him.
A beautiful sight for such an awful thing.
How did this happen? How did she become such a…girl? She'd never been so…girly in all her life. She was raised by a man, among boys who became men, on the road, in and out of crappy motels and exhaust fumed cars. She wore her brothers' hand-me-downs. She taught herself how to shave her legs with her dad's electric razor, unbeknownst to him of course. She knew Judo, Krav Maga. Had been able to plant herself against the recoil of a .45 since age eleven. Other than a single Homecoming dance, she can't even remember a time that she put on a dress. She was no weak, pathetic little girl.
Except when it came to her hair. It wasn't her fault really, it was a Winchester curse, to have great hair and be fairly obsessed with its care. When she and Sam were ten an old woman actually pulled them aside to comment on how beautiful their long dark waves were, sparking a desire in Sam to, so it seemed, never cut his hair, at least not to their father's liking. But let's be honest, even John Winchester was rather fond of his curls, never chopping them off after leaving the Marines.
So she spoiled her hair with floral scented shampoos and intense moisture rich conditioners. And if she had the time, even if she knew that ultimately it would all simply get pulled back in a ponytail anyway, she would style it, blow it straight or curl it into luxurious waves. Perhaps it was a girl thing, but she loved her hair.
And now it was gone. Chopped and sliced and mangled. Taken from a length that almost reached the small of her back, down to one that barely hit the nape of her neck.
And it was awful.
So many things right now were simply awful.
"She still crying?" Dean asks as he emerges from the motel bathroom, steam billowing out behind him.
Sam doesn't so much as look up from the computer screen as he says, "Leave her alone, man." Dean throws his wet towel at his brother, grinning at the thick slap that sounds when it smacks him in the face. "Jerk," he mumbles, quickly returning to his paper.
"Tessa, c'mon," he says as he crosses the room to where she sits curled in a dining chair. "It's just hair."
She turns to him with wide glassy eyes, red and swollen from the tears that just would not stop flowing. "No it's not, " she says meekly.
He smiles, ruffles what's left of her hair. "Yeah it is."
"Dean," Sam warns, still not turning away from his work.
"I'm just saying, it'll grow back." His fingers run through her smooth locks and he hides the instinctive cringe that comes, because it really was beautiful hair, and now it's…really not. "We'll just have to look up a hairdresser or something in the morning, straighten it out, even it up." He tugs softly on a chopped clump and gazes down at her, almost wills her to smile. Because in the past he'd always been able to make her smile. If nothing else, that was the one thing he was able to offer his sister.
But not now. Now she looks up at him, face worn with grief, with heartache. And she says the only words that come to mind, the ones that had been distracting her and plaguing her and taunting her for days. "Why did he leave me?"
And Dean can't help it. He's a sucker for women, will do anything for them, lets them turn his strong, tough persona into mush. And this is Tessa, so it's ten times worse. He feels his heart break ten times as much at her pain. Feels the hate and anger at Ben boil up ten times hotter within him.
"I don't know, baby," he says, kneeling down next to her, his hand still cupping her head. He can feel Sam looking, knows even he must have been surprised to hear that from her. Because, yeah, obviously that's why she's really upset, mostly anyway, but Tess does not share her personal life with others. Not even family.
Hell, they probably never would have even met Ben if it hadn't been for the Demon. If he hadn't been one of the children like Sam, who was also bent on justice and revenge. If he hadn't helped them destroy, to the best of their capabilities anyway, that evil bitch.
And they certainly wouldn't have known, not until they received invitations to the wedding, or saw a ring on her finger, about their engagement, had he and Sam not bonded over their gifts. Gotten buddy-buddy enough for him to call and ask for advice on how to propose. You're her twin, Sam. You probably know her better than anybody. And I just want it to be perfect.
She sniffles once, wipes her nose with her sleeve and says, disgustedly, "I'm such a freaking girl. God."
"No you're not."
"It's just," she starts, tilting her face up to his, looking him straight in the eye, "I thought he loved me."
His jaw drops, mouth gaping open waiting for words to come out, kind, comforting, right words. But Dean's never been good at heart-to-hearts. And he just plain doesn't know what to say.
"He did, Tess," Sam offers, setting aside his computer and moving a little closer. He turns on his sad puppy eyes and says simply, "Something changed is all."
"But what," she sobs out, no longer caring enough to feel embarrassed about all the caring and sharing bullshit she's been conditioned to avoid. "We were fine. We were happy. And then…"
"Then what?" Dean asks, suddenly interested. Because all he had heard was that Ben packed up and left after some kind of fight. It was over, and that was that. She didn't want to talk about it, refused to say anything more.
"Then…I don't know." She quiets a bit, tries to rub away the tears and steady her breathing.
"What did he say, when he left?"
She shakes her head back and forth for a long moment before answering. "He said that I wasn't who he thought I was. And he was wasting his time. And his…potential. Or something. I don't know."
"Well that's just stupid," Dean says, rising.
Sam, still perched on the bed, wrinkles his brow and says, almost to himself, "Doesn't make any sense."
"Sure it does. He's an ass. I tried to tell you that from the beginning."
"Dean," he chides, clearly annoyed. It's true, his brother never did like Ben, but up until a week ago he'd been one of Sam's closest friends. One of his only friends really, since he never actually socialized with anyone upon returning to Stanford. And he hadn't so much as called, talked to him, expressed any sort of…dissatisfaction. He hadn't said a word.
"Doesn't matter anyway," Tessa chimes in, voice newly steady and dripping with false bravado. "Hunt's over. I just want to go home and forget about it. About him."
"Tess," Sam starts, trying to keep his sister from shutting down again.
But shut down was the emotional norm for her already, the most comfortable way to be. So she simply waves her hand at him dismissively as she crosses the room and crawls into bed. "Next time I get dumped, just take me out to get drunk, will ya?"
"Yeah," Dean says, jumping ahead of Sam who was clearly preparing to prod her again. "Sure thing."
"Tessa, really," he goes on, earning him a disgruntled glare from his older brother.
"I just want to go to sleep, Sam," she says, pulling the covers up to her face. Then, her voice cracking ever so slightly, she utters, "And wake up with my hair."