Machiavellian Prince 4/4
Disclaimer: see previous posts
Author's Note: Special note at the bottom. Thank you to Ridley who prompted me to post this twisted tale! Thank you to Mog for betaing. Glad the alerts are working once more, and I hope I answered all reviews. I appreciate people taking the time to review, and I am thrilled to have garnered the attention of so many other fanfic writers to name a few because I will miss some Samsra, TraSan, LovinJackson, and HTMarie. I should be posting a new fic next week-Ridley has nicknamed it a 'connector' story since it really has no plot. lol
There is no other way of guarding oneself against flattery than by letting men understand that they will not offend you by speaking the truth; but when everyone can tell you the truth, you lose their respect.
Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
John and Caleb sat in the quiet bedroom, watching over Dean. Mackland and Jim had gone into the kitchen. They were all waiting for the drugs to wear off, which according to Mac would be soon.
Caleb stood and stretched, deciding he needed another cup of coffee. He headed out down the hall. He heard the murmuring voices, and instead of announcing himself he stayed hidden in the shadows of the hallway to listen.
"You have some doubts?" Mackland asked the pastor.
"I do," Jim confirmed as he stirred his coffee. He removed the spoon. "Were those his insecurities laid to bare?"
"There had to be some truth to it," Ames replied, taking a sip of coffee.
"Which means we're at fault," Jim rubbed the back of his neck, adjusting his collar. "I feel at fault."
"He strong - stronger than we give him credit for." Mac held the cup, looking into its inky depths. "We've all taken bites out of him, and he's still here - persevering, surviving."
"The wonders of the human spirit," Murphy commented with a little awe. He was always amazed how the young hunters were able to do their work.
Ames was worried about what the future had in store for Dean. "I wish though… Caleb went to college. Sam's away."
"But Dean, Dean remained." Jim looked beyond his friend as if seeing through the walls into the bedroom.
"He should have been allowed to pursue other interests - pursue his dreams for awhile." It had been a futile conversation that he had with John many times.
Caleb stepped in, revealing himself. "His dreams can't come true," he stated to the two men. "Sorry to interrupt." However, he wasn't. He had asked both of them numerous times to get involved and help Dean. He loved John like a brother, a mentor, but didn't agree with how he handled his sons, especially Dean. "Isn't this all a little too late? You should have intervened awhile ago."
"Caleb. . ." Mackland admonished his son.
But Reaves ignored his father, charging brutally ahead. "I spent a lot of time with that kid. He barely keeps his head above water, drowning in responsibility."
"It was his father's decision. . ." Jim tried to interject.
Caleb was older, wiser now, having reached thirty and was not going to be ignored. He needed to talk about this. "His father? John? Fucking added weight to his ankles to help him sink. Left me being the life preserver and it was never enough." Caleb swallowed, feeling a wave of guilt. With Dean he had never felt as though he had done enough. The young hunter had grown into a fierce warrior, but it was his fear of abandonment, of not being able to protect Sam or John, which carved his soul.
Mackland listened to his son's diatribe. He waited for Caleb to pause. "Son, why all the nautical analogies?"
"I thought you loved fuckin' metaphors, Mac." Caleb replied, catching the frown on his father's face. He felt helpless. He thought of all the times in his life when he was unable to control a situation. It all stemmed from his parent's death at the beach house hence, the nautical analogies. But, he wouldn't tell that to Mac.
"Enough with the language, Caleb." Jim stated.
"Sorry, Dad." He apologized to Mac, who gave a nod of forgiveness.
The pastor, satisfied with the younger man's contriteness, folded his hands. "Caleb, we can do something now to help Dean."
Caleb crossed his arms, not relenting. If he was the next Knight and Dean the next Guardian then he had to protect the younger man. "He and I are supposed to do a job in Texas."
Murphy remained patient. He was proud that Caleb was taking responsibility as the next Knight to protect the next Guardian. "Go on your hunt. When you're done come by the farm."
Caleb frowned. "This like Luke getting training from Yoda?"
"I'll prepare him." The pastor knew some time alone with Dean - researching, hunting with him - would help bring out the best in the young man. He had always considered himself close to Dean. Sam had Mac to be his mentor, and Jim always wanted Dean to believe Jim was his. Perhaps he had made mistakes where Dean was concerned, but there was still time. "Some time away from his father would be good too."
"You better take care of him, Jim," Reaves warned.
"Anything else, Caleb?" Jim raised his eyebrows. "As I recall we are on the same side."
"Sorry, it's just…" The psychic raked a hand through his hair.
Hours later Dean awoke, groggy and unsteady but no longer crazed. Dean saw the other hunters by his bed-Jim, Mackland, Caleb and his father. He looked at them in confusion. He rubbed a hand down his face. "What happened?"
"You had a scratch that got infected." Mackland went with a basic story.
"Jim?" Dean didn't understand what the pastor was doing there.
"I wanted to see my favorite boy." Jim answered.
"Here I thought I was your favorite." Caleb quipped.
Dean frowned. He couldn't make sense of it.
"Get some sleep, Son." John said, and rubbed the top of Dean's head. The younger hunter was unable to keep his eyes open. He fell into a steady sleep, waking when Mac came into the room to check on him the next morning.
"Hey," Dean greeted the doctor, and stretched. He was clear headed, but couldn't remember how he had gotten the cuts on his hand or arm. He could remember much except going out to check the nearby music store.
"How do you feel?" Mackland took out his stethoscope.
"Better." Dean allowed the doctor to hear his heartbeat and take his pulse. "I can't remember anything. What happened?"
Mackland hoped he wouldn't ever remember. "You were scratched by a cursed trinket box. It caused an infection which brought about a delirium."
"Cursed trinket box sounds so lame," Dean stated. "And you needed Jim because of it?" He remembered the pastor being in the room when he had first woken up.
Ames kept the conversation light, divulging as little as possible, but still being informative to allay any suspicions. "He is the resident expert on antiquities."
Dean accepted the answer. "Where is everyone?"
"Sleeping." Ames folded up the blood pressure cuff, tidying up. "You gave us quite a scare."
"Guess I was just craving attention." Dean grinned.
Mackland just nodded, and looked awkward. He cleared his throat. "Anything you need? Books, magazines or . . . music? I know you like music."
"Yeah, I guess you can say that I like music." Dean frowned in puzzlement.
Ames pulled up a chair. "Who are some of your favorite artists? What are their influences?"
It was odd. He knew the doctor was being friendly, but it sounded like a job interview. This wasn't his normal conversation with Mac at all. "Ahh, yeah, are you looking to broaden your taste? I didn't know you liked classic rock." Dean tried to play along.
Mac seemed to think about this. "I enjoy Brahms, but all music is related."
"Right," Dean said. He had no idea who Brahms was.
Mackland rubbed his hands together at a loss of how to continue the conversation. He stood up. "Try to rest some more. I'll bring you a little food."
The strangeness continued the rest of the day when Jim visited before his flight. Dean began to think he was in an alternate universe when the pastor heaped praise on the young hunter.
The short conversation with his father was scary.
Finally, Caleb sauntered in, and Dean hoped he could get some answers to allay his worrisome thoughts. He tossed some magazines in Dean's lap.
"Some oldies but goodies for you, Dean." Reaves sank down in the chair in his old room.
The young hunter grinned as he looked at the old Playboys. "You're a good man, Damien."
Caleb snorted. "Took me all morning to figure out where I hid them." He looked at the issue on top with Pamela Anderson on the cover. "But, Dean, it was well worth it."
Dean causally flipped through the magazine then pushed them aside. "What did I say when I was out of it, Damien?" The blond hunter purposefully used his nickname for Caleb, noticing Reaves was avoiding calling him Deuce.
Reaves shook his head. He thought he was safe, and had avoided the questions. "The usual. Some colorful vocabulary you got there. Mac's ears turned red. Jim wanted to wash out your mouth."
And for a moment it seemed as though Dean believed it as he grinned. "I must have been pretty bad for everyone to be freaky nice around me."
"Freaky nice?" Caleb wanted to groan. He had no idea what the other hunters had done.
Dean counted on his fingers. "You've been calling me Dean. Mac wants to have a discussion about music and Jim's feeding my ego. . ."
Caleb winced, for all of their skills the hunters evidently lacked the ability to employ subterfuge. "And Johnny?"
"He said I should call Sam."
Caleb rubbed his forehead. He was impressed John had deigned to give his permission. "Are you?"
Dean shrugged his shoulders. It had been tempting, but wrong. Sam wanted space and his older brother was going to respect that as much as possible. "Sammy wants normal. I'm not a part of that."
"Normal is boring." Caleb knew what it cost Dean to stay away from his brother. They had all heard how Dean had issues related to Sam's leaving during his delirium. "Sammy doesn't know what he's missing with us freaks."
"Missing, yeah. . ." Dean seemed to fade away in thought. He returned his gaze to Caleb. "So come on, what did I say?"
"You just scared the shit out of them." Caleb grinned and patted the younger man's arm, avoiding looking at the cut that caused the problem. "They'll get over it when you're back to your annoying self."
Dean accepted the answer. He must have been really sick to have forgotten what had happened. "We still heading to Texas?"
"Soon as Mac gives the okay."
The blond fingered the magazines and brought them back to his lap. "Cool, maybe we can stop at the little bar…"
"On the border?" The older hunter grinned knowing exactly where his friend wanted to go. Giz & Hums' Billiards & Brew was filled with great memories.
"That's the one." Dean smiled, looking forward to the adventure. "And Caleb?"
"Call me Deuce."
Ridley is sending out a challenge. We hope other authors post this on their stories and follow suit. Rumors have it that out show may not be renewed (60/40 odds). We of course want to help. So readers and fellow authors spread the word (feel free to post this on boards and websites)
Because the show is about a road trip please send a postcard from your hometown telling Kripke and the CW the show has fans from Your Town, State, Country.
Here are the addresses:
Ostroff (Yes, she is still in charge)
11800, Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(remember US residents will need an airmail stamp or two 39 cents stamps)
8085 Glenwood Dr.