Okay, apparently I left a number of loose ends just flapping in the breeze. This chapter should clear those up. Sorry about that! Thanks to those of you kind enough to point them out!!
Ch11 – The Loose Ends
Dean winced as he dropped the first load on the floor between the two motel beds. He headed back out the door as Sam shuffled into the room with Rae holding his hand. Dean said nothing, just pointed to the closest bed. Sam nodded, avoiding his eyes. He sighed as he headed back out for his and Rae's bags. Not wanting to make a third trip, Dean slung his duffle over his shoulder so he could carry Rae's bags. She already had more stuff than he and Sam together.
His ribs protested the extra weight, but Dean ignored it. When he entered their room for the second time, Sam was lying on the bed and Rae had her cartoons on. Dean dumped their bags between the far bed and the wall. He walked back in front of the television and snapped it off.
"Hey! What'd you do that for?" Rae demanded, jumping to her feet.
"We need to talk," Dean said, sitting on his bed. He noticed Sam's eyes open, looking at him with interest. "I want to know exactly why you left our room the night Scary Man and Scary Lady got you."
He heard Sam stifle a chuckle and shot a look at his younger brother. Sam's face went appropriately grave.
Rae sighed. She held Ted up. "It was Ted's stupid fault! He opened the door and went outside. I had to go get him, he's my responsibility."
"What?" Sam sat up. "What did you say about Ted?" he demanded. Dean held up a hand, that was not the topic of discussion here. "Shut up, Dean! Rae, answer me."
Rae looked between the two. Dean could tell she was torn, that she wanted to please them both. So he nodded, giving her permission to answer Sam. He would not have her put in the middle. He had lived too many years like that to do it to someone else, especially her.
"Ted opened the door?" She said tentatively.
"After that," Sam barked, his dark eyes flashing.
"He's my responsibility? I had to go after him?" She looked between the two. Dean thought she looked lost, out of her depth, and he had no doubt that she was. He was a little confused, himself.
Sam turned blazing eyes on Dean. "You told her that," he accused, his voice angry. "You told her that Ted was her responsibility. That she had to take care of him."
Dean wondered if he looked as confused as he felt. "Yeah. So?" What the hell was wrong now?
Sam huffed a few times before he could continue. "That's what Dad told you, wasn't it? That you had to take care of me, that I was your responsibility." When Dean did not answer right away, Sam shouted, "Wasn't it?"
"Yeah. Of course." Dean cocked his head to regard his little brother. "You knew that." What the hell?
Sam felt like screaming loud enough for his father to hear him from beyond the grave. Knew that? He knew that? Hell no, he didn't know that! He took a few deep breaths to try to regain some self control. He knew Dean always felt responsible, that Dad always told Dean to 'watch out for Sammy,' but he had NO idea Dad had placed complete responsibility for him on his brother's shoulders. Now a few things clicked into place in his mind, some things that had been a nagging worry for years made perfect sense. If their father were still alive, this would be the basis for the mother of all arguments!
"No," Sam was still trying to steady his breathing. "I didn't know that."
"No?" Dean shrugged. He turned away from Sam to talk to Rae. "Rae, if Ted ever pulls that again, you need to wake us up, okay? Under NO circumstances are you to set foot outside that door alone! Do you understand?"
Rae hung her head, a feeble "Yes, sir," coming from her mouth. She chanced a look up. "But what if it takes too long to wake you up? What if…"
"We'll buy you another bear," Sam was still staring at Dean. "Now go watch your shows."
Dean started. Sam knew it wasn't like him to interrupt when Dean was doing his 'Dad' thing, but they needed to talk. Now. He watched Dean turn the television back on before sitting on the opposite bed.
"Problem, Sam?" There was a hard edge to Dean's voice, but Sam did not care.
"When?" Sam demanded.
The worry line between Dean's eyes deepened. "When what?"
"When did Dad tell you that? How old were you?" Sam was not going to be put off this time. He was determined that none of Dean's stalling tactics were going to work. He had to know.
Dean stared back, his green eyes cold and hard, the way they usually got when he was being defensive about Dad. "Why? What does it matter?"
"It matters, Dean. How old were you?" Sam demanded. He was not sure if that throbbing in his head was residual headache from the severity of his visions or pure anger.
"What did you see in your visions?" Dean asked, his voice just as tight.
"Won't work, Dean. I want to know."
Dean nodded at him. "Fine. I want to know exactly what you saw in the hospital when they were running the tests, and in Bobby's truck." His voice was cold and sterile. Sam swallowed hard, he had not expected this. Well, actually, it figured that Bobby would narc on him, but he did not expect to be called out on it so soon. They just left the hospital an hour ago. "You go first, the vision in the hospital." Dean insisted.
Sam pursed his lips. "And then you tell me how old you were, and then I tell about the one in the truck. Is that it?"
Dean's arms crossed over his chest. Sam noticed a slight wince, but it may have been his imagination. Dean nodded. It was obvious he would not say anything else until Sam did. He felt the bed move. Sam glanced over to see Rae perched at the end of his bed, following the conversation silently.
"Maybe we should do this another time," Sam suggested, watching her.
"Nope. You brought it up, and this affects her just as much as it does us. We're a family." Sam gave a valiant effort not to roll his eyes at that. Did Dean have to play the family card every time?
"Fine." Sam fixed his eyes on the wall just behind Dean, right over his brother's head. "The one in the hospital was about," he cleared his throat, not really ready to share this just yet. But Dean was right, he started this. "It was about those two kids with abilities, like me…"
"Not exactly like you," Dean corrected. "Go on," he said with a nod.
Sam sighed. Dean was always doing that, he was way too touchy about Sam referring to himself as one of 'them.' "Anyway. I saw them plotting to capture you using Rae as bait. Then they were going to," his voice faltered there. How do you just say that?
"What?" His brother's voice was not as sharp but just as insistent.
Sam's eyes fell to his lap. "Do…stuff…to both of you. To try to make me join them. And I…" He bit his lip. This was going to piss off Dean, he knew.
"You what?" Dean demanded.
"I did," Sam finished weakly.
He felt thin arms reach around his waist. "Poor Uncle Sam!" Rae shouted into his side. "That's terrible!" She hugged him for a long minute. Sam looked to Dean, shocked by her reaction. He had expected them to be horrified, disgusted. Rae lifted her head and shook a finger in her face. "You are not allowed to see bad things like that anymore, Uncle Sam! You hear me, mister?"
Dean had a sad smile on his face, watching Rae hug Sam like that. When he caught Sam looking at him, the smile faded.
"That was it," Sam said, wondering if he still dared to make Dean hold up his end of the bargain.
"Damn it, Sammy! You should have told me!" Now Dean was mad. This was closer to the reaction he expected. "If I had known that, I might not have gone to get Rae alone. I would have brought some backup."
Sam lifted his eyebrows at his older brother. Yeah, right. "Backup? As in an extra weapon?"
Dean glanced away. Apparently that was exactly what his brother had been thinking. "An extra weapon against telekinesis and a woman who can electrocute people with her hands."
"I knew it! That's why it felt so familiar." Dean nodded to himself.
"She got you? Dean!" Sam stood, much to Rae's annoyance. He grabbed Dean's shoulders. "We should have had your heart checked! There could be damage!"
"Easy, Sammy," Dean pushed Sam back to the bed. "They do that routinely for unconscious patients." He thumped his chest with a fist. "I'm fine."
They sat silent, just looking at each other, for a long, uncomfortable silence.
"Daddy's turn," Rae broke the silence. They both looked at her, then Sam and Rae turned as one to look at Dean.
Dean shrugged. "I don't remember."
"Bullshit. Try again." Sam was not taking any of this avoidance crap. He told the truth, now it was Dean's turn.
Dean shrugged again. "I really don't see why you're so worked up about this. It isn't a big deal."
Sam took a deep breath. "If it isn't such a big deal, then you won't mind telling me how old you were." He tried to sound perfectly calm and reasonable, although he was dreading the answer. Sam had it figured out, he just needed to hear it to make it real, but he was not sure he wanted that either. No, he wanted Dean to tell him that his suspicions were wrong, that his brother was about seventeen when that happened.
Dean stared off into the distance, an odd look on his face. "I'm really not sure, Sammy. I don't remember too much about what happened after…after the fire." He could tell Dean was really concentrating. Afraid Dean might stop if distracted, Sam gathered Rae in his lap and pressed a finger over her lips. From the dirty expression on her face Sam guessed that Rae had no plans to say anything yet. He gave her an apologetic smile before returning his attention to Dean.
"Right after I know I looked after you and Dad. Dad was pretty messed up, crying and drinking all the time. Then he got better." Dean frowned. They waited. "It's pretty hazy after that. I do remember the day Dad sat me down and set you in my lap." The beginnings of a smile formed on his lips. "He said a bunch of stuff that I really didn't understand. Then Dad said that you were my job, my responsibility." Dean's eyes found Sam's. "He said it ever since. So what?"
That was not quite what Sam was expecting. "What do you mean, hazy? After Dad got better?"
Dean shrugged. "Don't remember. Your turn. Bobby's truck?"
Sam processed that information for a minute. After Dad got better, and by that Sam thought he meant Dad was not drinking and crying all the time, things got hazy until Dad placed responsibility for Sam squarely on Dean's shoulders. He glanced down at Ted. Rae did not speak when they took her in. Even after she started calling Dean 'Daddy' she still barely spoke. Then Dean gave her Ted. If Sam remembered correctly, it was shortly after Rae got Ted that she started talking, really talking, to both of them. That was Dad's solution? He shook his head. Sam decided he wanted to think Dad was absolutely desperate to do something like that with a little kid. Surely.
"Sam?" Dean's voice pulled him from his thoughts. "Vision in the truck?"
"Oh, uh, nothing." Sam shrugged. "It was really nothing." He avoided Dean's eyes. Dean always knew when he was lying.
"Sammy, we had a deal. Two visions for one age. Give." Dean leaned forward, intent on making Sam look him in the eye.
"Later, Dean," Sam met his brother's gaze. "Later."
Dean's lips pressed tight. He gave a curt nod. "Fine. But I'm not dropping this."
Probably not, Sam silently agreed. Rae looked disappointed, she must have thought it was going to be pretty juicy.
"Rae, Uncle Sam needs to rest." Dean moved Rae off Sam's bed so he could lie down. "Go find something to play with."
Dean motioned for Sam to stand up. He pulled back the covers and nodded at the bed. Sam obediently lay down and allowed Dean to cover him up. As Dean pulled up the covers, he whispered, "When Rae's asleep, we're finishing this conversation. Go to sleep."
Sam's eyelids felt heavy. He fell asleep to the sounds of Rae imitating her favorite Disney movie.
A hand shaking his shoulder woke him. Sam blinked into the darkness. What was it?
"Sam. Get up." Dean was pulling him upright, whispering in the dark. Sam obeyed, though he had no idea why they were getting up in the middle of the night. Maybe Dean heard something? Sam reached for the weapons bag in the dark.
"Dude? What are you doing?" Dean's hand jerked him toward the door. His brother opened the door before propping Sam against it. "Stand there for a minute." Sam waited while Dean went back into the room and grabbed two chairs from the table. He hustled them out the door, setting them up against the exterior wall. Dean gave Sam a shove out, checked the lock on the door, and closed it. He opened it once to check it was not locked then shut it quietly.
Dean sat in the chair closest to the door, glaring at Sam in the dark. "So? Give."
Sam eased himself into the chair. His brain was still foggy with sleep. "Give what?"
He heard Dean growl. "Vision in Bobby's truck?"
"Oh," Sam ran a hand through his hair, grateful he was finally able to wash it before leaving the hospital, "that." He could feel Dean's heavy glare. He had hoped to avoid this altogether. When his brother remained silent, Sam knew there was no getting out of it.
"Your escape attempt," Sam admitted. "It wouldn't have worked."
Sam chanced a look at his older brother. He appeared more interested than angry. Emboldened by Dean's calm attitude, Sam continued. "The woman would have electrocuted you again. Rae got away, but because she won't talk to strangers, it was days before they found your body in the abandoned house. And when she was told you were dead, she completely withdrew into herself again." Sam was caught in Dean's gaze, unable to look away. "I couldn't let that happen."
Dean looked away, staring into the parking lot at his car. "Okay." Neither of them spoke for a while. "Why did you want to know how old I was?" His voice was so soft this time, Sam wondered if he imagined it.
Sam chewed on his lip before answering. "I think I understand why Dad did it," he admitted. "But in most families, that would be a pretty shitty thing to do to a little kid."
Dean turned in his chair to face Sam. "So why do you think he did it?"
Sam looked for the typical defensive anger, but there was only open curiosity. That in itself was enough to shock Sam, but he tried to hide it. "Off-hand, I'd say for the same reason you gave Rae that bear and told her the same thing. Unfortunately, I really can't argue with the results. For either of you."
Dean looked away, staring at his car again. Sam waited. "Ready to get back to bed?"
"Not really," Sam admitted.
"Me either." Dean cleared his throat. "I never thought…" his voice trailed off. Sam decided not to guess what Dean was trying to say here. "I always assumed it was because he needed my help."
Dean still needed it. He still needed to be needed. Sam nearly gasped with the realization. "He did, Dean, and I still do. So does Rae. We need you."
Dean sat still for what felt like forever. Then he stood up, grabbing his chair. "Come on. This night air can't be good for you."
Sam stood and opened the door for Dean to carry in the chairs. "So how do you think we're going to get Rae to talk to other people?" He ran his hand over the door lock, setting it back to automatically locking.
Sam could make out Dean's shrugging shoulders in darkened room. "Just keep doing what we're doing. It'll happen." Sam nodded to himself as he crawled into bed. Dean was probably right, afterall, he had already been through it himself.
"Damn it!" Bobby slammed the newspaper down on his kitchen table, one of the few surfaces in his house clear of research books. "Son of a bitch!" He finished reading about Ron Daltrieve and Lucille Beringer escaping from their respective holding cells last night, before they could be arraigned on kidnapping charges.
There was a noise from the other room. Bobby held his breath. It did not happen again, but that did not ease the tightness in his chest. He reached into his vest pocket, removing a brand new EMF. He flipped it on and scanned the kitchen. Clear. He moved quietly out of the kitchen, sweeping the area. Hallway – Clear. Den – Clear. Living Room – Clear. Bobby allowed himself to take in and let out a deep breath.
A book tipped off a stack and clattered to the floor behind him. Bobby swung around, waving his EMF meter over the fallen book. Still nothing. Bobby shook his head. "Maybe I need to clean some of this stuff up," he muttered, returning the book to its stack. He wiped the sweat from his brow as he headed upstairs to his bedroom.
The book teetered off the stack, crashing to the floor again. When Bobby did not return, a second book followed the first. A deep chuckle echoed through the room. "I warned you Bobby," words filled the empty room. "Better look after my boys."
Bobby raced back downstairs, EMF in hand. The lights were flashing and the meter arm was swinging erratically. "I'll do better next time!" he shouted into the room. "Honest, John!" The lights stopped and the meter arm swung back to zero. He wiped his brow with his sleeve. "Shit. That was close."
Another book toppled off a stack. Bobby chose to ignore it and go to bed, shutting off his EMF meter.
"Daddy?" Rae squeezed too much syrup on her pancakes while Dean watched, not reaching out to stop her.
"Yeah?" he sipped his coffee.
"Is Uncle Sam going to be okay?" She did not look at him.
"Of course. What makes you ask that?" Dean set his cup down to lean forward across the restaurant table.
"He sure sleeps a lot," she said, holding her knife and fork awkwardly.
"Want some help?" Dean asked.
Rae shook her head. "Just answers."
"Uncle Sam is still recovering so he needs a lot of sleep." Dean lifted his cup again.
"How about you?" Rae looked at him now. "You still recovering?"
Dean frowned. "What do you mean? I'm fine."
Rae stood on the bench seat and put her hands on her hips. "No you're not! You make funny faces every time you pick something up and you make me walk everywhere. You don't carry me anymore. So you must still be recovering too, right?"
"Sit down," Dean pointed down.
She dropped to her seat. Rae speared a large chunk of pancake dripping with syrup and held it up. "Well?" she asked.
"Eat your breakfast," Dean snapped.
Rae dropped her fork. "Not until you answer me." She glared at him.
"Promise not to tell Uncle Sam?" he whispered. She nodded. "I might still be a little sore, that's all. I'm fine."
"So you are recovering," Rae replied with a nod, reaching for her fork.
"I didn't say that," Dean snarled over his coffee.
She shrugged. "Close enough." Rae stuffed the pancake into her mouth. "Should eat somfin," she said through a mouthful of food.
Dean sighed, rubbing his forehead. "What did I do to deserve this?"
Rae swallowed her food. "I don't know," she told him, "but it must have been something good."
He watched her stuff her mouth again. Maybe so. Dean flagged down the waitress and ordered two orders of eggs and sausage to go.
The End. Really. Honest.