This is a new fic that I am co'ing with Tree66 and we are very excited about it. We can promise you some good angst, a terrifying evil, and some brotherly love. We really hope that you enjoy this and please don't hesitate to let us know what you think! Spoilers for Bad Day at Black Rock and general Season 2 so you have been warned! We own nothing except the twisted thoughts in our head...but we're working on our master evil plan as we speak... Many thanks to our awesome beta, Bayre...she really does rock our world!
Spoilers for Bad Day at Black Rock and general Season 2 so you have been warned!
We own nothing except the twisted thoughts in our head...but we're working on our master evil plan as we speak...
Many thanks to our awesome beta, Bayre...she really does rock our world!
"You know, for a man who constantly stayed on the road, Dad sure did have a lot of crap." Sam Winchester set down the large cardboard box on Bobby's haggard-looking kitchen table. Pulling out a chair, he plopped down on it and looked across at the grizzled demon hunter.
Bobby grunted. "I'd forgotten how much stuff your daddy put in that locker." Bending down, Bobby pulled out a few letters bundled up with a rubber band. Peering at the writing, he smiled at Sam. "And I never knew what a sentimentalist John was."
Sam took the bundle from Bobby and couldn't stop the smile gracing his lips. "Old love letters…from Mom." The youngest Winchester felt a rush of sadness wash over him, immediately followed by a rush of happiness. He knew his dad always put up a front and never let anyone see his emotions, most of the time coming off as cold. But these letters told Sam differently; they told him a long time ago, his dad did have feelings and love and warmth in his heart.
"So, what's in that box?" Bobby nodded his head towards the box Sam just brought in.
Sam cleared his throat to get rid of the lump settling there. "Um…I think they're books. Maybe some papers and weapons."
"How many more you got in there?"
"I think about six."
Sam let out a laugh as he stood up and began pulling things out of the box. "Bobby—thanks again for doing this for us."
For the past couple of days, Sam and Dean had been removing things from John's old storage locker in Buffalo, New York to Bobby's place in South Dakota. It had been a long, arduous process of carefully transporting the items piece by piece, but they'd managed to do it so far. Dean was making the last trip to Buffalo to get the most dangerous of the items while Sam stayed back with Bobby and helped the salvage yard owner sort through everything, determining what should be kept and what needed to be destroyed.
"Hey, you boys needed help and there was no way I was going to let this stuff sit in that locker, especially now Bela knows where it is and what's in there. Though how she figured out that rabbit's foot was in there is beyond me."
"She told Dean she used a Ouija board—contacted past victims and they let her know where to find it."
Bobby shook his head and Sam swore it was in somewhat wonder. "That girl always had a way of getting what she wanted."
"Have you dealt with her before?"
"Not personally, no. But I've heard talk about her from other hunters. A major pain in the ass from what I'm told."
Sam huffed as he gingerly rubbed his left shoulder where Bela's bullet grazed him. "Yeah—I'll attest to that."
The two hunters, young and old, continued to sort through the boxes as a silence settled in the room.
"Hey, Bobby…" Sam's voice trailed off.
Bobby looked up from an old tome he'd been paging through. "Yeah?"
Sam shook his head. "It's nothin'."
"You're worried about him, aren't you?"
Sam looked up in mild surprise at Bobby. "How did you know?"
Bobby let out a chuckle. "Are you kidding? I know you boys like the back of my hand—you two worry about each other as bad as a mama worries about her kids." Bobby leveled his gaze at Sam. "He's gonna be okay, Sam. He'll be back soon, you'll see."
"That's not exactly what I'm talking about."
Bobby nodded and put down the book. Walking into the kitchen, Sam heard the refrigerator door open and the sound of two clanking bottles before it was closed again. He then heard the soft hiss as the tops were popped off the bottles. Bobby came back to the table and after handing one of the beers to Sam, he took a seat beside the young hunter.
"You're still obsessin' over that deal?"
Sam took a sip of the beer and shrugged. "I can't help it, Bobby. I mean, every morning I wake up, I can't help but think I let another day get away, another day I could've saved Dean."
Bobby let out a sigh. "Sam, I told you this was going to take some time."
"That's just it, Bobby—I don't have time. Dean doesn't have time." Sam slammed down his beer bottle in frustration, the foamy beverage splashing onto the table.
"Sam, we are looking at every viable option we have here, and I have to be honest with you. There's not a lot of information out there about getting out of a deal once it's been made."
"Dean was able to get Evan Hudson out of his deal, Bobby. Why can't it be that easy for me?"
"As I understand it, your brother blackmailed that demon to get Hudson out of his deal. I can tell you one thing, Sam—demons learn from their mistakes and rarely do they make the same mistake twice."
Sam ran a hand through his hair. "Bobby, it's just so damn frustrating. I have been through every single book, every single internet source, hell, even Dad's journal inside and out and there is nothing out there telling me anything."
"Sam, if it was really that easy to get out of one of these crossroads deals, you really think they're gonna advertise it?"
"No, I guess not. But, Bobby, that's not the only thing—it's Dean."
"What about Dean? Is something else wrong with him?"
Sam gave a half shrug as he took another swig of his beer. "I'm not sure of that myself. I mean, he acts as if this deal isn't anything, as if it doesn't bother him. I hate to say it, but it's almost as if he's ready to give up. He even told me that he was tired and it's not the first time he's told me that."
"When else did he tell you this?"
"A few months ago, back in Oregon when we were dealing with the demonic virus, he said he was tired of it—the job, the life."
Bobby leaned forward in his chair and patted Sam on the leg. "I hate to say it, Sam, but maybe your brother's telling you the truth."
Bobby held up a hand to stop Sam. "Now, I'm not saying that I agree with it, Sam. I'm just saying, in Dean's mind, maybe he is tired of it all. You're daddy raised him to follow in his footsteps and by God, if Dean didn't do just that."
"I know, Bobby, but I want to give Dean the chance to do more. I want him to give a crap about what I'm trying to do for him."
"You know that's not Dean—he doesn't like people giving up things for him, going out of their way for him and the same goes for you too, Sam. Dean's never wanted that kind of attention on him."
"He did it for me," Sam said softly.
"And he'll continue to do it for you until his dying breath, Sam. It's just who your stubborn, stupid, pigheaded brother is."
Sam smiled and looked up at Bobby. "But we're still going to look for a way out of this, right?"
Bobby took a hearty swig of his beer and nodded. "I'm actually working on something."
Sam's eyes instantly lit up. "What is it?"
Bobby didn't say anything as he stood up and walked into what sufficed as his living room. Sam quickly followed the older man to his desk. Once there, Bobby unwrapped a white cloth and stepped back so Sam could see.
"Bobby, is that—"
"The Colt? That it is, Sam."
"So you think—"
Bobby held up a hand to stop Sam. "Now, son, I don't want you to get your hopes up, but there may be a way where the gun can be useful once again. I've been reading up on it and I think I can get it working, but it's gonna take some time."
"But if you do fix it, you think we can use it on the crossroads demon? We can force her to break the contract with Dean?"
"I'm not promising you anything, Sam, but it's a possibility. But I don't want you to give up looking into other options, either—just in case."
"Thanks, Bobby. This—this is big."
"No promises, Sam." Bobby folded the gun back into the cloth and went back to the table.
Sam watched him walk away and couldn't help the fleeting moment of hope washing over him. Yes, it was a very big possibility that the Colt wouldn't work again and he'd be back to square one. But the hope was the only thing Sam had going for him right now and he'd be damned if he was going to let it get away from him.
"Sam, you going to get your ass back in here or not? 'Cause I'm not going through the rest of this shit by myself."
"Yeah, I'm coming, Bobby."
Dean scanned the now barren storage room one final time, walking around the empty shelves and bare workbench, double checking that every last trace of his father's work had been removed. It had taken nearly a week to cleanout and transport the myriads of collected supernatural paraphernalia, not to mention carefully dispose of the munitions the ex-marine had left behind. Each time he and Sam came back to retrieve another load had been no less surprising than the first visit to their Dad's secret cache.
Even now, even with the place vacant and musty, Dean had to smile. "You sneaky bastard, so full of secrets. Couldn't you have trusted us just one little bit? Would it have killed you to have mentioned this place over a beer?" he grumbled.
A noise to his left made the young hunter spin around, .45 immediately out and fanning the dark room. He grimaced slightly, lowering the weapon as he spotted the rat skitter underneath one of the shelving units. Dean startled again when his cell phone warbled alive in his pocket. Retrieving it, he tapped the call on after seeing it was Sam.
"How's it going, Dean? You almost done?" his brother's voice questioned.
"Yeah, just finished loading the last box into the Impala. I was giving the place the once over before I leave. Don't want to accidentally leave anything behind for that bitch Bela to get her paws on. Hmm, except maybe that…"
"What, Dean? Did you forget something?"
"Yeah, a box of rat poison. Do you think if I lock it in a curse box, she'll come and get it? Probably couldn't be that lucky could I?" Dean mused.
Sam's chuckle sounded through the phone as Dean paced back toward the sliding door to the storage room. He looked over his shoulder once more, feeling as though a set of unseen eyes were on his back, sending a chill down his spine and making him want to be free of this place and the secrets that it held.
"Ya' know Sam, I just can't get over how Dad kept this place for so long and never said a word to us about it. Do you think he had any others?" he asked, standing in the doorway and turning to look one last time at the interior room. He shivered unconsciously, and for the briefest moment, his mind's eye tricked him into visualizing his dad working in the dark quarters, prepping for a hunt or even doing his own strange version of debriefing following one.
There was still so much they didn't know about their Dad. Would never know now, not unless there truly was an afterlife, in which case, Dean still wouldn't know thanks to his impending one-way trip to the pits of Hell. Still, he'd seen his Dad crawl out of the Gate, seen him fight the yellow-eyed demon, even seen him erupt in brilliant, sparkling lights and fly heavenward. So, if he never stood the chance of catching up with dear old Dad in whatever passed for the hereafter, at least he'd given Sam a chance at it. That was good enough, he'd convinced himself.
"Dean? You okay?"
"Yeah, yeah. Sorry. Just one last check,' he replied quickly, pulling the door closed. "I'm heading out, bro. Should be there by tomorrow afternoon, okay? Just tell Bobby to have a couple of cold ones waiting for me."
"You got it. And hey, call me if you want. If you get tired or something," the younger sibling offered.
"Okay Mom. Seriously, dude, I'll be fine. Been driving a helluva lot longer than you and um, lets see, I've never gotten the Impala smashed to bits by a demon-driven semi," Dean teased.
"Whatever! I'll see you here tomorrow then," Sam snapped back.
Dean replaced the phone in his pocket and slowly walked down the empty hallway to the awaiting Chevy. Stepping outside, the morning sunshine had given way to a cold afternoon drizzle, the sky an ominous gray that alluded to an oncoming storm.
"Just friggin' great!" he bemoaned, pulling the collar of his jacket up closer to his neck and dashing towards the waiting car.
The drizzle turned into a full-fledged downpour and then, just to spite him, mixed with an icy slush that clung to the Impala's windshield and defied the wipers to remove the freezing precipitation. In and of itself, Dean wouldn't have minded the change in weather, after all the years behind the wheel, he was used to driving in nearly anything. But the detour off I-90 just outside of Buffalo, courtesy of a ten car pileup, had been more than just an annoyance. Forcing him onto the mountain roads in northern Pennsylvania, it added at least an extra two hours on to the trip back to Bobby's, not to mention that the remoteness took him away from anything that resembled a decent place to get something to eat.
His stomach growled, reminding him that now was not the time for Dean to become "picky" about what he chose to shove in his mouth. He stretched across the front seat, reaching into the glove compartment and rooting through the contents until he came across the half eaten one-pounder bag of peanut M&M's. He couldn't remember when he put the bag in there, but they weren't stale, although peanut M&M's never had the chance to go stale when in his possession. That was just sacrilegious after all. Tossing a handful into his mouth, he crunched on them mindlessly as the wipers continued their staccato beat, completely out of time to ZZ Top's Sharp Dressed Man.
He leaned forward and in a rarely occurring move, turned off the music, unable to stand the cacophony of noise any longer. As he blindly reached for another handful of candy, his hand brushed against the small shoebox sitting on Sam's vacated shotgun position. Containing a smattering of smaller items that he picked up from the shed, it was the last of the trinkets their dad had sequestered in the secret place.
Stealing a glance inside, Dean spotted Sam's soccer trophy peeking above some of the other pieces. Dusty and slightly tarnished from years of neglect, he could still remember the day his twelve year old brother had received the award. A gangly, dirt-covered, but grinning from ear to ear, Sam, rushing off the soccer field proudly raising the trophy as he scurried to his waiting family on the sidelines. The real magic in that day hadn't been that the kid's team had won the division championship, the real wonder had been that for the moment, they had almost seemed like a normal family. Settled in one spot long enough that Sam could participate in team sports, even John managed to take the time to make an appearance at what was one of the most important moments of the young boy's life at the time. Hell, they'd even gone out and celebrated afterward, eating pizza, going to a movie, acting like any other middle-class American family. At least, any other family that hadn't lost a wife and mother to demon fire and then spent the rest of their days hunting down and disposing of every thing that went bump in the dark.
He pulled the trophy from the box, balancing it on top the steering wheel while he looked at it more closely. Part of him was surprised that Sam hadn't snatched the thing up on one of their previous trips. He knew his brother had cared about the keepsake, knew that in their vagabond childhoods, items like the award were few and far between. He also knew there were a few things that Sam had fiercely clung to no matter how many times they moved or how much Dad had insisted they didn't have the time or space to be toting extra items around. The trophy had been one of those items. Had been, that was, until just before that fateful argument and Sam stormed off to California. When he left for Stanford, it had been with little else than the clothes on his back and the spares in his bag. Things like the trophy were casualties in the battle of wills between John and Sam Winchester. Trophies and Dean.
Broken from his memories by the music from his cell, Dean gently replaced the trophy to the box before answering. He glanced at the caller ID and groaned. Sam again!
"What Sam?" he snapped.
"Just checking to see where you were. Did you stop to eat yet? Is it still raining?"
"I'm still in the Impala, yes I've eaten, well sorta and no, it's not raining; now it's sleeting. Happy now, Mom?" Dean replied in one breath.
"You don't have to be a smart-ass, Dean."
"Well, that beats you calling me a dumbass I suppose. Seriously, Sam, its sleeting, the weather sucks, the road sucks, and I haven't seen the first sign of life for the past fifty miles."
"Are you lost?"
"I'm not even gonna dignify that with an answer, Sam. Is Bobby with you?" the older hunter asked with irritation.
"Yeah, why?" Sam questioned suspiciously.
"Cause you better get him to build one of those boxes around your ass to protect you if you ever ask me a question like that again," Dean warned.
"It was just an honest question. It's not like the Impala has a GPS in it and I know how some of those old highways up in the mountains can be. Besides, it's my job to be worried about you," Sam refuted.
"No, actually Sam, it's your job to be going through all that stuff from Dad's locker. How are you guys coming with it?"
"We're plugging along. Bobby's been dealing with some of the curse boxes. We're saving the disposal of the grenades and landmines till you get here. Bobby figured you'd enjoy that."
Dean chuckled. "He knows me too well. Just tell him to have a picture of Bela handy. I want to blow it all to hell. Actually, go to Kinkos and make several copies, Dad had a lot of grenades to get rid of."
There was a moment of silence before Dean heard his brother's voice again.
"So, um, I've been kinda going through some papers of Dad's too," Sam began.
"Oh really? Notes on hunts?" Dean asked.
"What are they then?"
"They're letters from Mom to Dad and vice versa. Love letters, some of them."
"You're reading Mom and Dad's love letters? Dude, isn't that kinda… I dunno, personal. I mean, don't you think its kinda weird reading that stuff now?" Dean questioned.
He pictured in his mind those times when his dad would sneak in the backdoor, grabbing his mom around the waist as she stood cooking dinner. He could hear his mother squeal in surprise, whirling around and feigning anger just before she would throw her arms around his strong neck and be swept up in a passionate kiss. Dean could remember the two of them, frequently kissing, always holding hands when walking, secretly whispering in each other's ears only to be followed by a soft giggle by his mother or even a warm embrace from his dad.
Had there ever been a doubt about the fact that his parents were madly in love? Hadn't he seen the agony in his father's eyes for over two decades every single time his mother's name was mentioned? Yeah, he knew they loved each other, he didn't need to read letters to prove it.
"I guess it just helps me know them better," Sam justified. "I mean, I know Dad loved Mom, but he never really talked about her. I don't really know how they met or anything about when they first were married. Hell, I don't really know that much about Mom at all. Getting Dad to talk about her was about like getting Dad to talk… well, about anything."
Dean didn't reply, still absorbed by the memory of his parents before that fateful night Sam's nursery.
"Dean? Hey, if it bothers you, I mean, I don't have to read them…"
"Nah, it's alright. Go for it, Sammy."
"Well, if you're okay with it"
"SAM…" Dean's voice rose, irritated. "Just read the friggin' letters. It's no big deal. Hey look, it's getting dark and the roads are turning to shit. You mind if we wrap this up for now?"
Dean cringed inwardly when he heard or rather didn't hear his brother immediately answer. He hadn't really meant to snap so sharply at Sam. He knew that he was the ever present source of mental and emotional anguish for his younger brother, the crossroads deal and all, but that didn't excuse him for being a callous ass in other things as well.
"Sam, look, I should be coming back up to I-80 before too long. I'll call you when I get there and stop for gas, okay?" he suggested.
"Yeah, okay, that sounds good. Just be careful, alright," his brother implored.
"I will. Talk to you later," Dean finished, ending the call and sighing with relief as he tossed the cell onto the seat beside him. It struck the small box and bounced onto the floorboard on the passenger's side of the car causing Dean to curse.
With one hand on the steering wheel, he leaned over to the right, straining to reach the phone. His fingertips grazed the edge of the Motorola, but couldn't close around the thin cellular. He sat back up to catch a quick glimpse of the road before diving down after the phone again. Grunting with the effort, the cell was still just barely out of reach.
Dean was about to give up when the phone slid ever so slightly toward his hand. He would have been grateful except at that same moment, the shoebox slid over and smacked into him as well. Had the movement been some generous twist of fate, Dean might have just figured this to be his lucky day. But no, if there was one thing he knew to be true, cursed rabbit's feet aside, was that words like "Winchester" and "luck" were rarely used in the same sentence.
As he bolted upright in the seat, he immediately knew what accounted for the sudden shift of contents in the car. The Impala itself was shifting on the roadway, the tires losing their grip on the wet pavement. Dean's hands automatically tightened on the steering wheel and his foot lifted slightly off the gas pedal. He knew better than to react by pressing on the brake, that would only make the Chevy's slide much more exaggerated.
He waited for the car to come back under control and for a moment, he thought it was going to happen as the speed began to decrease, until he saw the sharp curve ahead of him in the road. With no choice, he was forced to brake now, his foot pressing intermittently but firmly on the pedal as he silently prayed for the heavy muscle car to stop.
Dean cursed again as he realized that the sleet that had been pelting his windshield had created black ice on the highway and his Winchester luck had managed to find it. The Impala fishtailed violently, the back end swinging nearly around and dangerously close the mountain of rock that loomed on the right side of the highway. Dean managed to steer the car back around but not before the rear fender glanced off the guardrail with a screech of metal on metal.
He pressed down on the brakes again, feeling the car respond, lacking anything that resembled traction and angling off to the left this time. Panicked as the edge of the road loomed ahead of him, Dean steered back towards the side of the mountain, preferring to run into one instead of off of one.
The Impala struck the guardrail again, throwing him forward violently into the dash. He felt his left shoulder strike the side of the door just before he slammed into the steering wheel. Ahead of him, he saw the road disappear into nothingness as the pavement gave way to dirt and then open sky.
With the car's momentum still being perpetuated by the slick road and carrying him dangerously closer to the edge, Dean jammed both feet down on the brake pedal using all his weight, strength and desperation to get the car to stop as he tried to force the metal beast to change directions.
The Chevy hit the dirt shoulder of the highway still skidding but slower, yet not enough to prevent it from rupturing the last line of protection as it tore through the guardrail at the edge. With both legs still extended, Dean sucked in a deep breath as he watched the terrain in front of him vanish, bracing himself for the impact that he knew would be painful, even if it was only for the briefest second.
"So much for that friggin' deal…" he mumbled just before his head, chest and a good portion of the rest of his two-hundred and six bones, slammed forward against the dash.