Summary: Sam and Dean try to help a woman who's lost nearly everything, but being Good Samaritans might cost them even more…
The things we do to keep ourselves amused until the new season starts…
"If that poor girl didn't have bad luck, she'd have no luck at all."
The waitress watched through the diner window along with Sam and Dean as a young woman with long blonde hair loaded several bags of groceries into an old, beat-up car. She was very, very pregnant, no more than a few weeks away from delivering. As they continued to watch, she got in and tried repeatedly to get the car to start, then finally gave up. Looking like she would burst into tears at any moment, she put both hands on the steering wheel and laid her head against them.
"See what I mean?" the waitress said, shaking her head.
Dean threw some money on the table and was already half-way to the door before the waitress had finished speaking.
"Bad luck?" Sam asked casually, watching as Dean approached the woman's driver side window and tapped on it. The young woman jumped, startled by the noise and eyed Dean who motioned for her to roll the window down.
"She lost half her family in that accident. Not that any of them were speaking to her, but still…"
"Why weren't they speaking to her?" Sam asked, his eyes still on his brother.
Dean was being carefully unthreatening. He was wearing his most sincere, helpful smile and Sam could see the woman responding, nodding and wiping her tears away. Dean opened the door and offered her a hand to help her out of the car. She rose, not gracefully, but Dean didn't seem to mind, no sign of his tell-tale smirk in evidence. Give Dean a damsel in distress and he turned into a gentleman. Sometimes.
"Her family shunned her after she got married," the waitress explained. "Nearly killed the poor girl, but then I guess that's the idea."
Dean had his arm supporting the woman's elbow and began escorting her toward the Impala. He briefly looked up at Sam and jerked his head for him to join them.
"Guess she needs a ride," Sam said, almost to himself. He thanked the waitress again and hurried out of the diner.
As Sam stepped outside, another man walked up to Dean and the woman he was helping. The man was older, in his 50s maybe, dressed in jeans and a plain shirt, his graying hair cut precisely. Nothing special, but there was something about it all that was a little more upscale than the rest of the people they'd seen in town.
"Are you all right, Hannah?" he asked.
Sam saw the woman stiffen and very slightly back away from the man, closer to Dean. Dean couldn't fail to notice and put his arm around her, moving her away so that he was between her and the man.
"She's fine," Dean said, his smile still in place, though it was now closer to brittle. Instinctively, Sam came to stand on the woman's other side, feeling like they'd just become guard dogs. The man hadn't done a thing, but the woman's reaction was unmistakable. "Just having a little car trouble," Dean added.
"You need a ride home?" the man asked, all concerned friendliness. "It's on my way."
"No, thank you, Mr. Kane," she answered, her voice stronger than Sam had expected. "These gentlemen have already offered to help."
"I go right by your house," he pressed. "As a matter of fact, I was really hoping to speak with you again."
The woman's expression froze. "I've already given you my answer, Mr. Kane. There's nothing left to talk about."
Anger, fury really, crossed the other man's face and Sam saw Dean shift slightly readying himself to take the man down if necessary.
"Be reasonable, Hannah," he said, almost an order. "I've spoken with the bank. You know it's the best thing to do."
"No," she answered calmly. "I don't."
"Yes, you do," Kane replied as if he could force her to his way of thinking just by repetition.
Hannah took a steadying breath. "I would give that land away before I would sell it to you."
Sam moved fractionally closer to the woman. Whatever was going on, it was not good and it was personal.
"You wouldn't," the other man said, barely containing the rage boiling just below the surface. "You need the money."
"Don't ask me again," she said straightly. "There's no point in it. I will never sell it to you."
For just a second, Sam thought the guy really was going to go ballistic. Dean must have thought the same thing because he quickly pushed Hannah behind him and he and Sam closed ranks in front of her.
"I think you've got your answer," Dean said. His voice was still level, but his expression said Kane had better get himself somewhere else. Fast. "You should leave now."
"Fine," Kane said, his face reverting to its earlier bland politeness. He turned on his heel and stalked away toward a car parked several spaces down.
Sam and Dean moved apart, sharing an incredulous what have we stepped in now? glance, but Dean's attention was drawn back when the woman sagged into his side as if she'd just fought a battle that neither of the men understood.
"I guess I need to thank you twice," she sighed tiredly.
"That guy the local Welcome Wagon?" Dean asked, looking in the direction of the man's departing vehicle. Sam knew he was cataloguing the plate and vehicle description for future reference.
"Something like that," she frowned, also watching the car as it left.
"Been bothering you?" Sam asked, not sure whether she would want to tell them or not.
"You could say that." She raised an eyebrow. "But at the moment, I'm really more concerned about getting off my feet."
Dean started at the gentle reminder and once again began ushering her toward the car. "Sorry," he said with a chagrinned smile. "We're just a couple of bachelors. Not really up on pregnant lady etiquette." He pulled the keys from his pocket and threw them to Sam for him to open the door for her.
"It's ok. I won't explode," the woman laughed at their speedy, tag-team approach.
"Sam, you wanna grab her groceries?"
She blushed in embarrassment. "Sorry to be so much trouble."
"No trouble," Sam replied, hurrying to pull the bags from the other car's back seat. He met Dean's eyes. Especially if it meant keeping her away from whoever that guy was. Dean nodded in agreement.
"This is my brother, Sam, by the way," Dean said, settling her into the passenger seat. Sam realized his brother was still using the careful tone geared specifically for skittish women and children. Dean was working overtime to keep her at ease, although she seemed to be showing only the normal amount of nervousness for a woman getting into a car with two strange men.
"Can we call you a tow truck?" Sam asked, using his own version of the voice, but she shook her head.
"I'd prefer Hannah actually."
Dean laughed, thoroughly charmed, and Sam had to roll his eyes. Great. Someone else with Dean's sixth grade humor.
"I'll call from the house," she assured him. "Bob's towed it enough lately that he knows the car on sight."
Sam climbed into the back and only half-listened as the woman gave directions, guiding them out of the small town and out into the country. After several minutes, Dean slowed the car. Sam looked up and was surprised to see an old-fashioned horse and buggy in front of them. Dean gave the carriage plenty of space as he passed it.
The one horse buggy was a smaller one. A bearded older man dressed in a plain black jacket and trousers held the reins. Sam could see two young boys riding beside the man, dressed in black trousers held up by suspenders over plain white shirts. All three were wearing straw hats.
"Is there a large Amish community around here?" Dean asked their passenger.
"A few thousand between this county and the next," she answered. "You know much about them?"
Dean shrugged. "Just what you see in the movies."
She smiled, a tad lopsidedly, Sam noticed. "Not quite like the movies, but you get the idea. No electricity, no modern conveniences, plain dress."
"It's the buttons I'd miss," Dean said. "And zippers."
"Much too showy," she shook her head, "but trust me, it's the indoor plumbing you'd miss first. Though I somehow get the feeling you'd be hard pressed to part with your car." She patted the dash for good measure.
"I'm trying to figure out how to take her with me when I go," Dean admitted conspiratorially. "Not sure how well Sammy can take care of her."
Sam flinched involuntarily. He met his brother's apologetic gaze in the rearview mirror. Sam could tell Dean had spoken without thinking and had surprised even himself. Sam sighed and gave him a wry smile in return. It was like a wound they just couldn't help picking at, even inadvertently. Dean, the deal, impending doom, etc. Try as they might, they couldn't seem to avoid the topic, but they couldn't seem to deal with it head on yet either.
Darkness was falling and they quietly watched as the sun dipped below the horizon, barns from farm after farm silhouetted by the dying light. Now that he knew what he was looking for, Sam noted that many of the homes had no phone or power lines running to them.
"Here," the woman finally said and pointed toward a long drive. Dean turned in and slowly drove up the gravel lane, mindful of the car's paintjob. As they came to a halt in front of the old farm house, the front door opened and a young man hurried toward them.
"Hannah? Honey, are you all right?" he asked as Sam helped her out of the car.
Hannah cast a quick look up at Sam and then to Dean, a hastily hidden troubled expression on her face, then turned to the man. "I'm fine, Paul," she said, the merest catch in her voice. "The car broke down and they gave me a ride home."
The woman's husband pulled her into his arms, as closely as he could, provided her very pregnant state. "Piece of junk," he said angrily. "I should have bought a new one years ago."
"It's all right," she whispered. "You know we can't afford that."
"I'm sorry," he said, and Sam could feel that he was apologizing for more than just the car.
"It's all right," she said again. Still leaning into his side, she turned so that they were all facing each other. "This is my husband, Paul."
"Nice to meet you." Dean hesitated and Sam wasn't quite sure why, but finally he held out his hand for the other man to shake. "I'm Dean."
"Sam." Sam, too, held out his hand.
"I appreciate you two helping my wife," Paul said earnestly. "She's… had a difficult time lately."
"You couldn't come get her?" Dean asked, no accusation in his tone, simply curious.
"No," the man said sadly, though he didn't offer any further explanation. Hannah looked up at him, her worry evident, then to Sam and Dean and then back again.
"We only have the one car," she answered for him. "We just have to make do between the two of us."
"I know how that is," Dean tried to reassure her. "Now, where can we put those groceries for you?"
"Just inside," she said, once again smiling gratefully.
Sam and Dean grabbed the bags and followed the couple toward the house. Along with Kane's near-threat about the bank and her problems with the car, the house bore witness to the couple's financial state. It was tidy, but ancient and looked like it was due for some repairs. Run-down, but loved, Sam thought. They followed the couple through the living room, the furniture once again tidy, but older, and then on into the kitchen where they quickly deposited the bags on the well-worn counter.
"Would you like a cup of coffee?" Hannah offered.
"Well…" Dean cleared his throat. Sam saw him look at Paul uneasily. "Sam and I should get going."
"We still need to find a place to stay tonight and it's getting late," Sam said, puzzled at Dean's reaction to the man.
"You know I'd be happy to take a look at your car for you," Dean said, surprising Sam yet again. "I work on them in my off time." He told the half-truth smoothly. "It might save you a little trouble." And money, was the unspoken addition.
For a moment, she looked at him warily, but beneath it they could both see her daring to hope that someone might be able to help her.
"It wouldn't be any problem at all," Sam told her. "Dean's happiest when he's elbow deep in motor oil." To be honest, Sam was more curious about Dean's real interest in helping the couple. Whatever it was it had certainly caught Dean's attention.
"That…" she hesitated again, but finally nodded. "That would be very nice of you."
"I'll run back to the diner in the morning and see if I can get it running well enough to bring it back here. Then I'll take a good look at her," Dean said.
"Thank you," she smiled, as if a burden had been taken from her shoulders.
"There's really just one thing I need to know," Dean told her.
Dean's eyes shifted from Hannah to Paul and back again. "The real reason Paul couldn't come and pick you up…" Dean's tone was somber, grave even. "Hannah, how long has Paul been dead?"
More tomorrow. Just as a random useless point of interest, many Amish do get to have buttons. The Elder in our county doesn't like them though. Everyone uses straight pins.