A/N I never really intended to revisit Cara after I finished Hidden Talents, as I didn't think it was the kind of situation to occur twice in the lives of the Winchesters.. But then I had a very nice review from 'The Supernatural' over at the sn.tv forum and they asked if I intended to do any kind of tag or sequel to it? And a little idea popped into my head that I thought maybe would be worth sharing.. So here it is! Thanks very much to 'The Supernatural' for giving me the idea :)
Oh yes, and if anyone is waiting for the next chapter of Unnatural Disasters, I promise it will be along very soon... Hopefully by the weekend!
"Oh my god!"
Dean slammed on the brakes and as the Impala skidded to a stop he turned to look at Sam.
Sam peeled himself off the dashboard and glared at Dean.
"Ok, thanks for the whiplash! Why did you stop so suddenly?"
Dean raised his eyebrows.
"Because you shrieked 'oh my god!' - I kinda assumed it was important?"
Sam shook his head and tried to reassemble the paper he'd been reading before Dean's sudden desire to test the brakes.
"For the record 'oh my god' does not translate as 'please see if you can go from fifty to zero in a nanosecond', Dean. I was just reacting to something in the paper."
Dean rolled his eyes and whacked Sam on the shoulder.
"Well then how about next time you don't shriek like a girl and make me think I'm about to run someone over?" he said, annoyed.
Deciding what he'd just read was more important than getting into a debate about whether Dean had overreacted, Sam pointedly shook out the paper.
"As I was about to say, there's a review here for a musical on at the theatre in the next town. And guess who's in it?"
"Funnily enough musicals aren't really my gig, Sam. I got no idea."
"A certain young lady who is apparently making quite an impression on the reviewer – goes by the name of Cara Carson."
Dean looked at Sam in disbelief.
"You're kidding? Seriously?"
Sam nodded with a big grin.
"Yep. Says here that she's dancing the lead part and she's doing really well."
Dean smiled softly, remembering the fiery young woman who'd just for a moment managed to make professional dancing seem not totally uncool.
"Way to go. That's really great. Not sure it was a reason to try and make me crash the car though."
I did not – oh, forget it." said Sam, shaking his head. "My point was as we're so near maybe we could go see her. What do you think?"
Dean screwed up his face.
"A musical? Come on, Sam – it was bad enough doing that whole dance competition in the first place, now you want me to actually sit through a musical? I don't think so."
"It's not that bad, Dean. You know she'd love it if we were there. We could watch the show, say hi - it would be nice."
Dean glanced across to see the full puppy dog eyes in effect. He wondered how old Sam would get before he finally stopped trying to use that look as a bargaining tool.
The unpleasant thought that he might not get to know the answer to that question popped into his head and was just as quickly shoved out again.
"Seriously, would it really hurt?" continued Sam, clearly not about to give up on this one.
Dean grimaced but it was mostly for effect. He was actually surprisingly keen on the idea of seeing Cara again and finding out how she'd been getting on.
Of course in the meantime it was kind of fun to watch Sam pulling out all the stops.
"I don't know." he said, managing to sound doubtful, and Sam sensed an opening and actually leaned forward.
"Please? I'd really like to see her too, you know. I'll even agree not to complain about the music for a whole week." he said and Dean tried not to grin.
"A whole week?"
"Yeah, a whole week." said Sam, watching Dean hopefully.
Dean couldn't carry it on any longer under Sam's earnest gaze and nodded.
"Ok, we'll go see Cara's show. But I'm holding you to the one week thing." he said and Sam nodded eagerly.
"Cross my heart."
Dean turned away to hide his smirk, wondering if he should let Sam know he could have gotten victory without having to hand over the music thing.
Two hours later they pulled up outside the theatre and Sam got out to see if they could get tickets at the last minute. Dean glanced around, spotting a poster with Cara's smiling face on it under her name and grinning. He really was pleased that she'd obviously managed to get her big break after all.
After a few minutes Sam jogged back down the steps, waving the tickets triumphantly.
"It was almost sold out but we're in luck. It starts in an hour so we may as well go get a coffee or something." he said as he got back in.
Dean shook his head, still not quite sure how he managed to get dragged into seeing an actual musical, but he figured at least no one would know him here and he could always vow never to come back.
If that ever turned out to be a problem.
They parked in the town square and went into the local diner for coffee and, in Dean's case, a doughnut. While Dean paid Sam went out to the car and dug through their bags, managing to find two smart shirts that were not too creased. Heading back inside he gave one of them to Dean and shoved him towards the men's room before he had a chance to protest. When they came out - Dean muttering about having to get dressed up for the thing now on top of just actually showing up - Sam grabbed Dean's leather jacket out of his hands and, jogging over to the Impala, he pulled out their two suit jackets to go with the shirts.
There was a brief discussion in the middle of the square that threatened to get ugly until finally Sam just slammed the trunk, Dean's quick reflexes the only thing that saved him from no longer needing to buy gloves in pairs.
Taking hold of Dean's arm Sam walked determinedly towards the theatre, Dean eventually getting his arm free and hissing that he could walk perfectly well on his own.
The jacket and shirt thing didn't seem such a bad idea after all when it got more than one appreciative look from the ladies in the foyer, all of which Dean happily returned until Sam pushed him towards the doors so they could take their seats. As they passed an usher Sam stopped for a second.
"Hi – listen, we're friends of Cara Carson and we were just wondering if there would be any chance of letting her know we're here?" he said.
The usher smiled. "I could take a note backstage if you like but I'm afraid you aren't allowed back there yourselves."
It was better than nothing and Sam quickly scribbled something on a scrap of paper, handing it to the usher before heading inside.
They were pretty near the back given the last minute-ness of their tickets but they could still see the stage well enough. Sam sat there eagerly waiting for the show to start while Dean slouched down in his seat and tried not to be seen.
He did sit up a little when the music started though and when Cara came dancing onto the stage he couldn't help clapping along with Sam and the rest of the audience. The show wasn't as bad as it could have been and Dean had to admit that Cara had, if anything, got better since they'd last seen her.
And she'd been pretty good then.
He found himself tapping his feet once or twice and was grateful it was dark and therefore impossible for Sam to notice.
Ninety minutes later they filed back into the foyer, along with the rest of the audience, and were just wondering how to get in touch with Cara when a voice came over the tanoy.
"Could Dean and Sam please come to the stage door. Dean and Sam to the stage door."
They looked at each other and Sam gave a wry smile.
"She remembered not to go announcing our full names to the world." he said and Dean grinned.
"I always said she was smart." he said and Sam raised an eyebrow.
"No, you said she was scary." he said and they walked towards the stage door. Dean shrugged.
When they got there Cara was already standing next to the door, dressed now in black trousers and a green top, and craning her head round to look past the crowds of people milling around.
They'd almost reached her when she spotted them and her face lit up.
"Hey!" she said, bouncing towards Sam and giving him a big hug.
Sam laughed as he returned it, reflecting it was nice to get such a warm welcome for a change.
"Hey yourself." he said and she let go, leaning back to grin up at him.
"How come he gets the big hello?" said Dean, trying to look wounded and Cara shook her head.
"Because I knew he wouldn't shoot me if I gave him a hug in public." she said dryly, but despite the comment she held out her arms to Dean too and he allowed her to hug him.
Albeit not for as long as she'd hugged Sam.
"So what are you guys doing here? Not that it's not great to see you." she said and Dean shrugged.
"Actually believe it or not we were just passing through and Sammy spotted a review in the local paper. Figured we'd drop in and see how bad you were."
Cara elbowed him.
"I see your sense of humour hasn't improved." she said and Sam gave her a long suffering look.
"You have no idea."
As Cara giggled Dean grumbled something about them ganging up on him already and she put her arm through his, telling herself that it was the heat in the theatre that was making her face feel hot.
Still keeping in shape, she thought, before firmly telling her mind to knock it off. She was so not going there.
"So what did you really think?" she said and Dean shrugged.
"Well for a musical, it didn't totally suck."
"Oh, wow – you have to write that down so I can put it with all my other reviews." she said dryly and he just smirked at her.
"Ok, since you're here you have to let me treat you guys to dinner – I insist." she continued and Dean glanced at Sam.
"Well, if you insist. We're never ones to turn down free food." he said and Sam shook his head.
"Nice, Dean. What he means is we'd love to have dinner with you." he said and Cara grinned as she linked arms with Sam too.
"Well then what are we waiting for?"
They walked arm in arm for one block before Cara stopped, pointing them towards an old looking hotel.
"They do the best food here – it's where a lot of us come after shows." she said.
Dean didn't look all that convinced and Cara nudged him.
"They do a mean steak, nothing too frilly." she said and he gave a mock bow, holding one arm out to let her go up the steps first.
"Why didn't you say so?"
Sam raised his eyes skyward at the antics of both of them, and wondered why it had seemed a good idea to put them in the same room again.
Inside the hotel wasn't as stuffy as it looked and the dining room was nicely laid out with real tablecloths, candles and a dance floor at one end with a stage behind it, currently curtained off.
Cara insisted they have whatever they want, wryly pointing out that being the lead in a show actually paid not that badly after all, and so Dean went for the steak and Sam the chicken.
As they waited for the food Cara looked at both of them, noticing that there were dark shadows under both their eyes.
"So how are things with you?" she said and Sam tensed slightly.
"Oh, you know. Still taking care of the monsters." said Dean casually. A little too casually, Cara thought.
Glancing between the two of them it wasn't hard to see the tension that radiated from both of them. Clearly something had happened in the last twelve months and equally as clearly it was something they weren't in the mood to discuss.
Not wanting to spoil the night, she let it go. They spent the next two hours eating good food and laughing at the stories Cara told about what went on backstage. Hitting the 'big' time had done nothing to dampen her sharp wit or her sense of humour, and Dean found himself relaxing for once. A quick glance across the table told him Sam was too.
If the tears rolling down his face and slightly hysterical hiccups were anything to go by.
Dean took another sip of his soda – they did have a few more miles to cover before dawn unfortunately – and looked up as the curtains on the stage swished apart to reveal an old time band. There was a smattering of polite applause and the conductor nodded before turning to the musicians and counting them in.
As the song started Dean recognised it as 'Moon River'. Cara suddenly grabbed his arm, her fingers digging in so much they were sure to leave bruises.
"Oh, I love this song! Come on, I want to see if you remember any of the moves I taught you." she said and Dean held his hands up.
"Oh no – no way, Cara. Been there, done that."
"Got the medal." said Sam with a smirk, earning himself a kick under the table.
"Pretty please?" said Cara, giving him a look that was almost a carbon copy of Sam's earlier attempt at manipulation.
Dean rubbed the back of his neck, switching his gaze from Cara's pleading look to Sam's attempt to look innocent and stay out of it.
"If either of you ever mention this again I will shoot you both." he said finally, getting up and wincing at Cara's high pitched squeal of excitement.
There were a couple of other people on the dance floor by now, which made it a little better at least. At first Dean felt awkward but with Cara there in his arms and the music floating round them it was surprising how easily it all came back.
This was a lot slower and less involved than their previous dancing experience but it was no less good, at least from where Sam was sitting. Watching Dean glide Cara round the dance floor, seeing her laugh and Dean's relaxed grin, he felt a lump in his throat that he took a sip of his drink to try and shift.
It wasn't just the thought that occurred almost on a daily basis now, that this might be one more thing Dean never did again, it was the fact that this was a glimpse of how a 'normal' Dean Winchester might behave. One who'd had a chance to settle down with a girl like Cara, and spend time in nice hotels with nothing more pressing to do than relax and dance to old time music.
It was a life Sam wished his brother had had the chance to have. More so now than ever.
Hearing the song come to an end Sam coughed and carefully schooled his face not to show what he'd just been thinking. He watched with a slight smile as Dean bowed to Cara and she daintily curtseyed in return. As they made their way back to the table Dean was shaking his head.
"That's the second time you've had me dancing in front of people. There is seriously not going to be a third." he said and Sam winced at the choice of words that echoed what he'd just been thinking.
Cara was unconcerned by the moaning.
"You enjoy it really. I still think you should take it up seriously, you are a hell of a lot better than some of the idiots we have in the company."
"Careful, that was almost a compliment." said Dean dryly and she rolled her eyes.
"Quit fishing, you got a medal last time didn't you?"
"Yeah, well – I still don't see it becoming a regular thing I'm afraid. The dancing demon hunter? Not really confidence inspiring is it?" he said, turning round to pat Sam on the back, his brother having just snorted soda out of his nose at the 'dancing demon hunter' comment.
"Thanks." said Sam, coughing. "You couldn't have waited till I'd finished drinking?"
"Nah, that way was much more entertaining."
Cara hit him lightly on the shoulder.
"Don't torment Sam, it's not nice." she admonished and Sam smiled.
"Thank you." he said, ignoring Dean's muttered 'suck up' that was said just in hearing range.
Glancing at his watch Dean realised it was pretty late. Cara noticed and sighed.
"You have to go, don't you?" she said and he nodded, a little sadly.
"Fraid so. Places to go, things to kill." he said and she blinked a little, surprised at how sad she was to see them leave already.
She quickly signalled for the bill and, once it was paid, walked them back to the Impala.
Having arrived at the car they stood there a little awkwardly, none of them that comfortable with goodbyes.
Sam made the first move, hugging Cara tightly again.
"It really was a great show. I'm glad it all worked out for you." he said and she smiled warmly at him.
"Thanks. It was great seeing you again. Take care of yourself, ok?" she said and he nodded, getting in the car to give her and Dean a little privacy for a moment.
"Sam's right, it was a great show." said Dean seriously and Cara silently cursed as she felt herself blushing again.
"That means a lot. I'm so pleased you dropped by, I've been wondering how you were getting on." she said slightly shyly and Dean ducked his head. He had a feeling hearing how their lives had really been going wouldn't be a good way to leave things.
"So. We really do have to go." he said reluctantly and Cara nodded.
Throwing caution to the wind she threw her arms round Dean and hugged him tightly. After a second he hugged her back and she swallowed the lump in her throat. She just couldn't get past the idea that somehow this was the last time she'd see him and it wasn't a feeling she liked one bit.
Stepping back after a moment she cleared her throat and tried to look nonchalant. A thought occurred suddenly and she scrabbled round in her purse for a pen and paper, scribbling something down and handing it to Dean.
"That's my number. Just in case you're passing by again. Or you want to chat. Or, you know, anything." she said, mentally cursing the fact she was all of a sudden unable to form coherent sentences.
Dean smiled at her, tucking the piece of paper into his jeans pocket.
"Thanks. I'll bear it in mind."
"Ok. Well, take care of yourself won't you?" she said and he nodded.
"Always do. You too, Cara." he said and she nodded, watching as he walked round the car and got in the driver's side.
As they drove off they both waved until they couldn't see her anymore. Sam glanced at Dean, noting the thoughtful look on his brother's face.
"You ok?" he ventured and Dean glanced at him before nodding.
"Course I am. I gotta admit it was kinda nice seeing her. I'm glad she's done so well." he said and Sam smiled.
"Yeah, me too. You two still move pretty well together as well." he couldn't resist adding and Dean glared at him.
"Unless you want to sleep with one eye open tonight, Sammy, I'd quit while you're ahead." he warned and Sam just smirked.
As Dean flicked the switch on the radio, shooting Sam a triumphant look as a reminder of his earlier promise, Sam turned his gaze to the passing scenery.
It had been nice to take time out, even if only for a few hours. And watching Dean with Cara had, if anything, made him even more determined.
He was finding a way out of this situation. No question about it.
Even if only to have enough time to enjoy the 'dancing demon hunter' tee shirts he was going to get made for them.
Chuckling to himself he glanced at Dean.
That was something definitely worth living to see – for both of them.