Many thanks to Starliteyes who not only edited this for me, but gave me the wonderful prompt for this chapter. Without her I would have been stuck indefinitely!
"Sheriff, you've got to see this." The young deputy motions his boss over to the bank of grainy black and white monitors. Only two of the four televisions were on since only two detainee rooms, which share the same wall, are occupied at the moment.
The Sheriff Warren stands over deputy Franks, who's sitting in the chair monitoring the prisoners. The first thing the older man notices is that the two prisoners are standing against the wall, completely unsupervised.
"Why aren't those boys handcuffed to their tables?" Sheriff Warren barks. He's fit for his age, a body toughened by twenty years of service and a lifetime of cattle ranching. His thick mustache, graying with age, droops over his upper lip. The rest of his face is clean shaven and leathery from years of being outdoors. His blue eyes are crystal sharp and clearly don't miss much.
"They uncuffed themselves nearly the instant the officers left them alone in their rooms."
"What do you mean they uncuffed themselves?"
"Beats the hell out of me, Sir. One minute they're chained to the table, the next they're up against the wall." Deputy Franks shrugs, trying to look older than his twenty-something years. He'd been hired on just that year and he was eager to make a good impression with his boss.
"Sir, that's not the weird part though."
"What'd ya mean?"
"Well, look at them, Sir."
The Sheriff bends down to peer closer, his eyes narrowing as he studied the monitors. The youngest brother is leaning against his wall, his shoulders hunched over with his hands shoved into his front pockets. He's standing with such unconcerned nonchalance that it puts the Sheriff's teeth on edge.
The older boy has his foot braced against his wall, his knee kicked out while he examines his cuticles. If he projected anymore attitude he was liable to get his ass slung into jail for misdemeanor dumbassness, as the Sheriff liked to say when he threw the local college kids into the drunk tank for a couple hours. Not that the man didn't have enough felonies stacked up on his sheet to get him thrown into prison for the rest of his natural born life.
The Sheriff cuts the young deputy an exasperated glare that makes the boy's ears heat up. The only thing wrong he can see with this picture was that both men are standing free as birds when they should be hogtied.
"They're standing against the same wall in the exact same spot. It's almost like they know where the other one is at even though they can't see each other. Don't you think that's weird?"
"Son, a good lawman strikes the word 'weird' from his vocabulary. There is nothing in this world that can't be explained away by science and good old fashion police work."
The Sheriff's blue gaze hardens and the deputy looks away hurriedly. "Yes, Sir," he chimes while still watching the brothers on his monitor.
The Sherriff doesn't spare the boy another look, and turns to speak to one of his more seasoned deputies instead.
"I got a hold of that suit, Hendrickson. He's as excited as a jumping bean in a pot of coffee. He'll be up here in the morning. 'Till then we need to process these assholes for the night."
Deputy Mollenhoff nods and jots down some notes on his clipboard.
"You be careful now. These boys are dangerous and they have a knack for squirming their little butts out of trouble. I want two deputies on each of them at all times. That FBI fella made it sound like they were the damn Houdini twins or sumthin'. I don't want this department to be another in a long line of embarrassed jackasses that let them get away."
"Yes, Sir," the deputy snaps in agreement.
Sheriff Warren glances back at the monitors, thinking for just a moment that his youngest deputy was right. Those two boys are definitely weird.
"Process the oldest one first. He's the most dangerous. Leave the youngest to stew a bit."
Deputy Mollenhoff spins on his heel and exits the room, collecting another officer to assist him. The Sheriff retreats to his office, leaving Franks to keep a close eye on the youngest while Dean is being processed in the bull pen. Franks watches as the deputies try to remove Dean from the interrogation room. There's quite a lot of cursing and threats that would make a sailor turn red as the officers back the belligerent man into a corner. Franks tenses up, expecting guns to be drawn at any second, but instead Mollenhoff manages to mace Dean while his partner distracts him with a little Kansas City shuffle.
They catch him off guard long enough to get his hands cuffed, but Dean bounces back from the assault with the proficiency of a guy who's been trained to ignore the burn in his eyes and he glares ugly, red daggers at the deputies he's sandwiched between.
They drag him out the door, his heels scrapping the floor the entire time. A flicker of movement on the other screen catches Franks' eye. Sam Winchester is sliding along the wall keeping pace with his brother on the other side, pure panic pouring over his young face.
Franks knows that the rooms are soundproof, but he thinks maybe they need checking because it's pretty obvious to him that Sam knows what's happening to his brother. Dean and the deputies are out of sight now, and Franks is left to watch Sam. He's facing the corner near the door his fingernails scraping the paint like a desperate animal in a cage. Franks shifts nervously wondering if he should call the Sheriff when the boy sinks to the ground, his knees to his chest, his head cradled in his folded arms.
He stays like that for about twenty minutes, and Franks figures that Dean is about finished with processing and will be escorted across the quad to the detention center soon. Once done, the deputies will be back to collect Sam and then he'll be their problem.
Right about then Sam collapses to the side, his whole body convulsing, long jerky legs kicking the wall and his head bouncing on the slab floor. Franks grabs the phone, yelling at the guys on the other end that they better get their asses in gear and check on the boy before he chokes on his tongue.
Even though the monitor's clarity is crappy, he can see foam dripping out of the boy's mouth like he's rabid or something. He wonders if this is some sort of escape attempt and if whacking the back of his head on the painted cement like an overripe melon is part of the plan.
Franks calls the Sheriff, fielding a call on his radio at the same time. Dean Winchester has collapsed in the center of the quad, his entire body convulsing in seizures. The deputy is freaked enough that he's screaming for a goddamn ambulance right the fuck now, and Franks watches Sam thinking that it's not such a bad idea, because escape or not the human body was not meant to twist that way.
The Sheriff is shouting in the background and Franks is making the call to dispatch for a bus. They respond in two minutes flat and the Sheriff is still freaking, but the EMTs are insisting that they don't have a pulse on either brother and no way can that be faked.
They only got one ambulance, but it fits two gurneys and the EMTs are rolling the Winchesters up to the back of the bus when one starts yelling that he's got a pulse. They do a double-take on the other brother and find a BP that's thready.
They are trying to load up the brothers while fending off the Sheriffs insistence that a deputy goes with. There isn't enough room in the ambulance for two EMTs and their patients much less for another guy in the mix. It's finally decided that the brothers will get cuffed to the metal side rail of the gurneys by the wrist and the deputies will follow behind.
Before the double doors slam shut on the bus Franks thinks he sees the older boy snake his hand out to wrap around the younger's wrist, but he can't say for sure.
Dean has to touch Sam. He has to press his fingertips to his little brother's pulse and make sure his heart is still beating. The last thing he remembered was crossing the snow-covered quad, his heart pounding hammer-hard in his chest and panic screaming in his brain, when suddenly the world went blinding white with pain. His last thought before he passed out was that Sam was somewhere curled up and bleeding, dying on the ground and Dean couldn't get to him. Dean never hated cops more than he did at that precise moment.
The next thing he knew his heart was beating a weak, but steady rhythm and he could feel Sam next to him, the same way he could feel him through the wall of the interrogation room. There's a flashing red light and a screaming siren digging through his brain, but the God-awful racket helps him to shake off his daze and to focus. He and Sam have been loaded, side by side in an ambulance, oxygen masks forced over their faces.
It is a tight fit and there's an EMT hovering at their heads instead of beside them, monitoring their vitals, while yelling something to his partner who was driving about an unprecedented simultaneous cardiac infarction.
What the fuck ever.
Dean can hear a second siren beneath the ambulance's wail and he realizes now that the flashing lights are coming from outside and behind. A police cruiser is keeping pace with them, and Dean figures he's got about three minutes to get them out of this mess before they both end up on the permanent side of dead.
He squeezes Sam's wrist, gratified when he feels a flutter of muscles beneath his fingertips that communicates to him that his little brother is conscious and aware. It takes him about two seconds to figure out that he's cuffed to the gurney and another twenty-five to surreptitiously pick the lock with a straightened paperclip. Next to him he feels Sam doing the same.
After Green River, Sam bought a box of the handy little suckers and inserted them into the cuffs of all their jackets and long-sleeved shirts. He even pushed them into the hems of their jeans just in case. The tricky little maneuver came in handy, but it made a hell of a clatter when they did the laundry.
Once free, he reaches over his head, grabs the EMT by the belt loops and sends him head first into Sam's lap. His little brother doesn't miss a beat and wraps his freakishly long limbs around the guy in a full body squeeze. With no time to waste and trusting his brother to take care of the guy, he flips off the gurney landing in the cab next to the driver. They guy is so startled that he takes his foot off the gas, and the bus slows to a manageable speed. Dean punches him hard enough across the temple to daze the guy, and hauls him out of the seat, throwing him against the passenger door. All without crashing, cause he's awesome like that.
Briefly he thinks that this all shouldn't be possible. He and Sam had just suffered through severe heart attacks. They shouldn't be able to bounce around, wrestling EMTs and jacking ambulances, but they were, and they weren't even slowing down. In fact, it seems to Dean that they have never been more on top of their game.
He snags the wheel, stomping on the gas just in time to hear whipping wind and a loud crash from the back of the bus.
"Sam?" Dean asks, though he's not too concerned.
"Gonna take care of the cops on our tail. Get ready to lose them."
Dean doesn't reply, but he doesn't need too. He hears a rattle from the back then the squeal of tires and the impact of steel on glass. Above the wind, Dean can hear Sam's wince of sympathy. Just for a second he thinks that shouldn't be possible, but he quickly dismisses it.
"Dude?" It's a question that only Sam can decipher.
"Threw the gurney at them."
Dean chuckles and wrenches the wheel to the left, ducking down a narrow street. He hears more crashing from the back that sounds suspiciously like a body hitting the wall.
"Dean!" Sam growls.
"Sorry," Dean sings out contritely, his grin anything but.
He flips off the siren and maneuvers the ambulance quickly down back streets, knowing that there's already a fleet of cops looking for them. He pulls in behind a dark building, slamming the ambulance into park. He takes the time to cuff the still dazed EMT to the door, trashes the CB and exits out the back. He notices that Sam has cuffed the other guy to the metal rails under the driver's seat, though he needn't bother since he's out cold.
Sam is waiting for him in the alley, a tackle box-sized first aid kit swinging from his hand. Dean raises his eyebrow in question and Sam shrugs back.
"Might as well stock up."
Dean can't argue with his logic and they turn as one to hoof it out of the alley. Dean takes the lead and gets about a street over before Sam catches on.
"Dude, we can't go back to the motel."
"I'm not leaving my baby to be pawed by those asshole cops."
"Dean, we can come back for the Impala later, but right now we have to get out of town and lay low."
Dean grinds his teeth and keeps going.
"And when they pop the trunk? What then, Sam?"
Sam sighs and Dean hunches his shoulders against the sound.
"They probably already have."
Dean swings back to his brother, his face a hard mask of determination.
"Yeah, but they'll wait until its back at the impound before they'll remove anything. Everything we have is in there, Sam. Dad's journal, our guns. Everything. We hadn't even bothered to haul our duffels into the room we were so tired."
Sam sighs again, and Dean takes it as assent. They double-time it back to the motel, sliding along the far wall to peer around the corner. The Impala is where they left it, her trunk popped and her doors wide open. Dean has to swallow down his rage at the blatant proof that his baby has been violated and Sam looks at him funny even though he hasn't made a sound.
One deputy has been left as a guard, the Sheriff obviously feeling that they wouldn't be stupid enough to try and retrieve the vehicle. Sam has to roll his eyes at that. Apparently the cops hadn't read their background thoroughly enough. Dean never left town without his baby.
The guy's back is to them and he's monitoring his handheld radio pretty intensely. Sam hands off the first aid kit to Dean, and they nod to each other as they split up. Dean creeps up to the Impala while Sam stalks the unsuspecting cop.
As he nears he can hear the chatter on the radio, and his features tighten at the mention of roadblocks going up around the town. Striking with snake-like speed Sam wraps his thick muscle-laden forearm around the guy's throat, applying enough pressure to choke him out.
The deputy is police trained, but he's no match for a Winchester and thirty seconds later Sam is laying him out on the asphalt and snatching up his radio. Sam runs back to the car, which Dean has already hotwired since his keys had been confiscated. Sam slams the trunk closed, noting that their stuff is still piled inside and slides into the passenger seat, already whipping out his GPS.
He tracks the cop's movements on the radio, scanning the GPS for a back road out of town that only a local would know about and the Sheriff wouldn't think to block. He snaps out quick and precise directions to Dean, and in under eight minutes they are cruising on a two way out of town. Forty minutes later their hearts slow down. An hour after that the dread kicks in.
They had almost died, not because of a mistake on a hunt or because something badass got the drop on them. They almost died because they had been forcibly pulled apart and separated. Their hearts had stopped for a few endless seconds, would still be stopped, if they hadn't been loaded in the back of that ambulance together.
Sam and Dean stare into the dark of night. The Impala is eating up liquid-black asphalt like a last meal and all they can think about is how thankful they are to be sitting side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder as they disappear into the night.