a/n: I had not really planned on adding anything to this story, but there were so many kind reviews, and I couldn't answer them all, so this is a thank you. A few people mentioned that Sam hadn't said much in the last part and in this one I couldn't get him to be quiet. Thank you all again for your kind words and thanks to Tidia for the quick Beta. All mistakes are mine. Also, some of you asked about the line about hope that Jim says, it is actually from a story Will is writing called Stranded. Oh, and a warning about language, there is some tension in this one. -Ridley
"I think Mac can take him. He has a mean bank shot." Caleb looked up at Sam, taking his eyes away from the two hunters at the pool table. Reaves grinned. "And then there's the whole telekinesis. Dad is so not above using his abilities to win. I bet Deuce doesn't even think about that."
Sam didn't look towards the table where Reaves was gesturing but merely continued to peel the label of his beer.
The youngest Winchester heard the older psychic sigh loudly.
"Don't tell me I'm going to have to have a heart to heart with you too, Sammy. I'm a little sick of all the emo and if you two keep it up, I'm going to start charging, maybe even put out a shingle beside Mac's."
Sam looked up at him. "He's like a brother to you, right?"
"What?" Caleb frowned, his grin fading. "Who?"
Sam rolled his eyes. "The Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. Who do you think?"
"I love that guy. He totally made the Ghostbusters movie." Reaves smiled, but let it drop when the youngest Winchester continued to glare at him.
"I'm serious, Caleb."
"You're talking about Deuce?" Reaves shook his head, a look of confusion crossing his features. "What's this about, Sam?"
"This is about if the worst happens."
The perplexed look was replaced with a more familiar stubborn scowl. "No use discussing that because nothing bad is going to happen to you."
Sam exhaled heavily, biting his lip to keep the stinging in the back of his eyes from sending any actual tears to the surface. "Now you sound like him."
Reaves shrugged. "Bad side effect from repeated exposure."
The younger hunter frowned. "Just answer my question."
Caleb took a drink of his beer, deciding to humor the kid. "Yeah. So what?"
"So," Sam leaned forward, like a dog with a bone. "You understand the whole big brother dynamic then?"
"What the hell, Sam?" Reaves slammed the beer down as he felt his own senses assaulted. The little shit was trying to pick through his mind. "What are you looking for?"
"Reassurance." The younger hunter frowned, obviously exerting to read the other psychic's thoughts.
Caleb threw up his mental defenses and didn't feel the least bit remorseful when Sam winced. It was the equivalent of having a heavy door slammed in your face. "So you're okay with rifling through other people's feelings, without permission now? Reading is one thing, Sam, but…"
"If it means taking care of my brother then it's fair game."
Reaves leaned back in the booth, more than a little surprised at the attitude. "So the end justifies the means?"
"Hasn't that always been your motto?"
Caleb held the other man's gaze, a flash of hurt racing through his amber eyes. " I thought you knew me better than that."
Sam threw his hands up in exasperation. "What I know is getting you or Dean to talk about a real feeling either one of you might have is as about as likely as getting Bobby to wear a suit and tie. You both took that page out of the John Winchester handbook and memorized it by heart."
Caleb's mouth twitched but he let the fact that Sam was trying to search through his private thoughts like an amateur detective hold his amusement at bay. "You might want to look in the mirror, kid, before you start throwing around the Johnny barbs."
"Don't redirect, man."
"Redirect?" Reaves eyebrows drew together and he took another long drink of his beer. "Damn. Scholarly word there, runt."
Sam slammed his hand down on the table. "Will it hurt you to tell me the fucking truth?"
Caleb felt his own face flush with anger at the temper tantrum. He couldn't quite remember the last time that he had been frustrated with the youngest Winchester. It might have been on the New Mexico gig, which was the one and only time he had ever had the desire to knock some sense into the kid. He had come damn close to doing the unthinkable then, but his desires to throttle Sam now were running a close second. "It might help if you would clarify the fucking question!"
Sam continued to glare at him. "He's going to be in bad shape if he has to kill me."
Reaves laughed, but the sound was bitter and rang hollow, holding not one trace of humor. "Understate much?" Was the kid serious?
"This isn't funny," Sam snarled. "I want to know if you're going to keep him safe."
Caleb swallowed thickly, taking a deep breath to keep the emotion out of his voice. He couldn't quite wrap his mind idea around the fact that Sam had just gone there. "Fuck you, Sam," he bit out.
Whatever Winchester had been expecting, apparently that wasn't it. "What? You're pissed because I'm asking you to look out for Dean?"
Reaves glanced over his shoulder, checking to see if his father and the older Winchester brother were still engrossed in their pool game. The younger psychic followed his line of vision and was more than caught off guard when Reaves suddenly slid out of the booth, and jerked him out along with him. "Come on."
"Wha…" Sam protested the manhandling and stumbled over his own feet as he was practically dragged towards the men's room and shoved inside.
"Beat it!" Caleb growled at the one lone occupant, who by-passed the sanitary stop at the sink in lieu of escaping Reaves' glare. Once he was gone, the dark haired hunter slid the deadbolt on the door and whirled on Sam. "You want to talk? Fine. We'll talk, Junior."
"What the hell, Caleb?" Sam demanded, his own temper rising at the John Winchester tactic. He made a move to get past Reaves but the other man merely shoved him against the wall.
"This has nothing to do with your father!" Reaves swore, clenching his fist. "It's time you let that go."
"Now who's invading whose privacy." Sam stepped toe to toe with the other hunter, shoving him back. The inch or so Sam had in height advantage was equaled out by the extra muscle Reaves carried, but Winchester held no illusion about who was the most skilled in combat. He did however have all the confidence in the world that Caleb wouldn't actually hit him.
"You started it, Anakin!"
Sam shook his head, holding his hands out in a come and get it gesture. "Is that what you really think, Obi Wan? That I'm going to be your dark apprentice? Why don't you finish it before it comes to that then?"
"No! That's what you think, Sam! And I'm so fucking sick of the poor Vader routine that I almost want to…" Caleb growled in frustration. "God! You're such a fucking brat sometimes!"
"Why? Because I wanted you to be honest with me? Because I was trying to make sure my brother would be taken care of after I'm…"
"Don't fucking say it!" Caleb was on him again, slamming him into the wall, his forearm roughly pressing against his throat. "Don't even think it; because I can fucking hear that, too. And are you sure this isn't more about your guilty conscience than taking care of Dean?"
Sam's face reddened further at the insinuation and he shoved back against Reaves. "I'm just saying what Dad knew for God knows how long. What you knew and didn't tell me!"
"Now who's redirecting?" Reaves let up on the pressure but didn't move his arm. "Is that what this is about? The fact that you're pissed The Brotherhood knew about your dirty little destiny, Sam? Fuck. I knew about Nostradamus' freaky prophecies, too. Still didn't stop me from having one hell of a New Year in 2000."
"This isn't the same and you know it. The other children like me have turned evil! It's only a matter of time."
"So what, Kid?" Caleb pushed him harder against the wall, frustrated with the whole gloom and doom serenade. "You're going to give up? You ask your brother who has spent his whole fucking life protecting you to kill you? You make him promise?" Caleb could punch him just for that. "Goddamnit, Sammy! And you have the nerve to call me John Winchester?"
Reaves roughly let him go and suddenly stepped back with a disgusted shake of his head. "Then you have the nerve to come to me with some fucked up idea that I can save Dean?" It was like rubbing salt in an open wound. "Fuck that."
Reaves lifted his hand in a gesture of helplessness and stared at him. "You're a selfish bastard, Sam, and if I didn't…" If he didn't love the kid so much it would have been easy. If he didn't know Sam's huge heart was in the right place, he'd have to make him pay for hurting Dean. But he did love Sam and Sam wouldn't hurt Dean on purpose. At least that's what Caleb had been telling himself since Stanford. Reaves swallowed thickly, nearly choking on the taste of bile at the back of his throat. "You're a real piece of work." He sighed, turning away and raking a hand through his hair.
"I'm trying to help him, no matter what you think. You're the only one he'll listen to." Sam's voice was pleading as he stepped forward, placing a hand on Reaves's shoulder. "You have to promise me."
Caleb turned on him. "Promise you?" He raised his head to the sky and growled in complete frustration. "There's nothing to promise, Sam. Don't you understand, Kid. It's a mute point."
Sam's brow furrowed in confusion, his hazel eyes filling with a look of hurt and disbelief. "Why? Why would you say that."
"Because once you're gone, Dean's gone." The psychic rubbed at his weary eyes, not able to bolster enough leftover anger to keep the emotion from breaking his voice this time. He met Sam's gaze again. "I can't promise you that Dean won't put a gun to his head, but he sure will be looking to take a bullet or die some other reckless death." He paused for a moment, trying to reign in his emotions. Maybe Sam was right about one thing, he hated talking about this shit, hated even thinking about it. But wasn't he the one saying that secrecy sucked?
"You wanted to know if I understood the whole big brother dynamic? Better than I want to. Because, just like Deuce, if that fucking yellow-eyed demon has his way, I won't be able to save my little brother either. Not a chance in hell. And that scares the shit out of me."
Sam blinked as the words sunk in. It was the confession he'd been after, but it did nothing to make him feel one bit better. It only provided him with a reassurance of a different kind. "That's not true."
He waited for the psychic to take it back, to crack a joke about what a pussy Sam was being, but when neither came something inside the younger psychic seemed to snap. Because if it were true, they all were really screwed. A part of him had counted on the idea Caleb could fix it, put all the pieces back together again. Reaves could patch up Dean, like Dean had done with all the broken things Sam had always brought to him.
Winchester took a halting step forward but was unable to see through the barrier of water blurring his vision. When Sam finally blinked the tears were hot against his cheeks and he roughly rubbed the back of his arm over his eyes. "I…" he faltered, not sure of what the hell he wanted to say, but feeling if he didn't say something his chest might explode. Everything was so completely fucked up. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean for any of this…I don't want to be…"
"Evil?" Caleb felt his own eyes start to sting. Shit. He could never handle a leaking Sam.
He wrapped his hands in the boy's jacket and gave him a hard shake. "Don't you get that I know exactly where you're coming from? Not only with the whole psychic thing, but with the connection to that evil sonofabitch. I get it! I've lived it for years, and I'm giving you the same advice your dad gave me. So listen up, because the man was an ass, but he was crazy smart."
Sam watched him, looking way too young and trusting for the older hunter's comfort. It was the patented 'Sammy' stare and it was working its magic, making Caleb feel bad for ever raising his voice, let alone the thoughts he had about kicking his bratty ass. "Get over it, Sam. Don't give it any power over you. If you have to, use it to make you work harder, to be better." He reached out and wrapped his hand around the back of Sam's neck, giving it a hard squeeze, and pulling him closer. "And for the love of God, stop alienating the people who have your back. Some day they might not be there."
They stared at each other for a long moment, their breathing the only sound in the bathroom except for the faint sound of the jukebox coming through the thick, wooden walls. Finally Sam nodded. "Okay."
Caleb laughed, and let him go. "Okay?"
"Yeah." Sam eyed him carefully. "So you're not pissed at me anymore?"
"Hell yes I'm pissed at you." Caleb shoved him again. "I'm locked in the men's bathroom having a total high school chick moment."
Sam laughed, running his hands through his hair. "Then can I ask you something?"
"Is it going to make my blood pressure go up?"
Reaves sighed, leaning back against the sink. "Go ahead."
"What if we can't stop this?"
"By 'this' you mean the whole evil destiny you believe you have going on?"
"Look, Sam, if you don't listen to anything else I say today, hear this. You have a destiny, an important one, and it has nothing to do with whatever that yellow-eyed sonofabitch has in mind for you, or any of the children like you. It has nothing to do with what's happened to you in the past, but everything to do with all the things you'll make happen in the future."
Sam frowned and started to open his mouth but Caleb held up a hand to stop him. "I can't explain it, but I'll tell you what Jim told me a long time ago when he gave me almost this same little speech. I promise you there's always hope. You just need to trust in that and everything else will take care of itself."
A faint hint of a smile tugged at the corner of the younger man's mouth. "And that's worked for you all these years? Hope?" It sounded completely ridiculous and at the same time gave Sam an overwhelming feeling of comfort and safety, almost like Jim Murphy himself were in the room.
"Yeah. That and killing every evil thing I can get my hands on."
Sam laughed. That was more like it. " Our lives are really weird."
"You're weird," Caleb pushed off from the sink, and started for the door. "And if you tell anyone about this commode-side chat, I'll remember your little mental trespassing in a big way."
Winchester shook his head. "I'm no longer in the sharing and caring kind of mood. No one's going to hear anything from me."
"About damn time." Reaves started for the door. " Come on. You are so buying me the next round."
Caleb stopped, his hand hovering above the doorknob. He turned and stared at the younger man with a look of warning. "Sammy…"
The younger man raised his hands in surrender. "I was just going to say I use to think I cornered the market on the whole big brother dynamic; but Dean got pretty lucky, too."
Caleb snorted and opened the door. He strode out. "I bet you say that to all the guys."
"Just the ones who lock me in the men's bathroom."
"You're just lucky I skipped the swirly, runt."
Sam shook his head and sighed. Maybe Jim was right. If he could convince Caleb Reaves to have a heart to heart talk about his feelings for Dean, nonetheless, then maybe there was hope for all of them. He took another deep breath and let it out slowly before walking out. Yeah. Sam would hold fast to that.