I started this story back in Season 1, after Shadow aired. I've worked on it on and off ever since, but it never seemed to be able to find a conclusion.
I plan on posting in several chapters. (I probably won't make it to 10)
I hope you enjoy the read.
Her name was Lisa Holland.
Sam slapped a piece of paper down on the table in front of his brother and stabbed a finger at it as he squeezed his tall frame into the booth Dean had schmoozed out of the harried hostess. It was half price appetizer night. The restaurant was packed and she hadn't wanted to give up a whole booth to just two people. He had turned on the charm and she'd caved. It did not escape his attention that she'd made sure she seated them where she watch him from her station at the front of the joint.
He lifted his bottle of beer and toasted her before he drank. She blushed and looked coy, but she also winked back at him from beneath a fall of auburn hair. Niiiiice. There was definitely a potential for sex in Dean's near future and he didn't need Sam's foresight to tell him that. What he did need was for Sam not to be a shit when he snuck out to meet the luscious Denise at the end of her shift.
It was time to be nice to the little brother.
"Okay," he said. "What?"
"Read it." Sam scowled at his brother, but grinned at the waitress. "Can I have a cola?"
"With a slice of lime, thanks."
Dean rolled his eyes. With Sam drinking sugar and caffeine instead of alcohol there was no chance he would mellow out over Dean's rendezvous with Denise, nor conveniently pass out and be oblivious to it. If Dean wanted to get away easily, he was really going to have to humor Sam.
So, with a sigh, he read the article. Lisa Holland of the frizzy brown hair and large round eyes, was a psychic operating out of a small town in Arkansas. Specifically, she possessed the ability to see future events with startling accuracy. Several minor accidents, a trio of deaths, and other local events, had been foretold by Lisa days, even months in advance. Blah, blah, blah, Dean had heard it all before.
Another sip of brew, and Dean pushed the article back across the table. "No," he said, and as he expected, Sam took offense to the decision.
Dean felt Denise slipping out of his grasp because humoring Sam on this point stuck in his craw. He shook his head. "No, Sam. I know you want to find some sort of daisy chain connection between yourself and that Max guy and every other mind freak out there, but it's a waste of time. If we took time out to investigate every quack psychic that comes down the pike we'll never get anywhere."
Sam waited until the waitress was gone again before responding. He hunched across the table with a wide eyed expression, his hands wrapped around his glass as if it were a talisman. "I know, I know, but how can we just blow off what happened to Max? I mean come on, Dean. It's got to mean something. It's all got to be connected somehow!"
"Yeah, maybe," Dean muttered.
The admission was hard. Dean had looked Max Miller in the eye just before the nutjob nearly killed him, and he had seen quite clearly there was nobody home. Something had gone south, way south, in the guy's head and Dean didn't want Max connected with Sam in any way, shape, or form. When Sam had revealed that they could add telekinesis to the list along with his already established precognative abilities Dean had nearly pissed himself. His comment, "Well I'm sure it won't happen again," had not been to make Sam feel better.
"If this was just some chick with a crystal ball and a deck of cards it would be one thing, but she's been almost a hundred percent accurate with her predictions, it's obvious from the way this article reads that she hasn't gone out of her way to seek publicity, and..." Sam jabbed at the paper again. "Her parents died in a fire, Dean, when she was an infant."
"A lot of people die in fires."
"How many of their kids turn psychic?"
"I don't know, but how come I get the feeling that you're gonna want to get up close and personal with all of them?" Dean snorted and took another swig from his beer.
Sam leaned back in his seat, staring intently at his drink. He plucked the lime off the rim of the glass and squeezed it into the cola."It's not like we're doing anything anyway, and we could be there in a day."
"That's not the point, Sam."
"What is the point?" Sam's intense stare moved from his drink to Dean's eyes. "If this stuff is connected to the thing that killed Mom..."
"Which Dad is on top of," Dean interjected. "He told us to stay out of it. You go messing around with these 'maybe connected' people and you could screw everything up for him!"
Sam's eyes narrowed angrily. "And it would be his damn fault for not telling us what is going on! We have every right to know, Dean!"
"Oh, here we go..."
"And I have a right to know what's happening to me. It's my head that's messed up, not his!"
The retort Dean had on the tip of his tongue dissolved in a wave of self doubt. Sam hadn't pulled this card before, and it was hard to deny that he had a point. If Dean had suddenly found himself seeing the future, he'd probably want to figure out what caused it too, mainly so that he could get rid of it.
He spun the beer bottle around beneath one finger, silently daring it to tip over completely. "You should have told him."
"Like he gave me time before he took off."
Dean shrugged. "There's always voice mail."
Sighing, he watched as Denise led a young couple past and seated them at a nearby table. She grinned at him when she went back to her podium and Dean turned his head to get a good look at her shimmy shimmy shake. It was mighty fine, and damn if he wasn't going to get a piece of it.
He turned back to his brother. Sam was giving him "the look."
"All right, we'll go," Dean muttered, and then grinned as Denise passed by on her return trip and purposely brushed up against his shoulder. "But under one condition."
Sam didn't understand.
Twenty four hours had passed since Dean had picked his brother up in front of the hotel and Sam was still acting pissy. He'd been late, not arriving until close to noon and Sam had been in a foul, foul mood because of the delay.
"Where the Hell have you been?"
Dean had been sleeping off a night of too much drinking and a couple rounds of sex with what turned out to be the nearly insatiable Denise. Oddly, her over-enthusiasm made him miss Cassie even more, and Dean did not want to go there.
With Cassie on his mind, Sam's criticisms of Dean's one night stands were like bamboo slivers under his nails. He cracked jokes and blew it off before driving through a fast food joint to get Sam the food and coffee that would shut him up. It was all right for Sam to be critical, sure, he'd only been in a stable relationship for nearly two years with Jessica and Dean knew he had a couple of relationships, of only slightly shorter duration, prior to meeting her.
So Dean didn't want to hear it. Sam didn't understand how it worked when you never stayed in one place more than a week. He had struggled with not being able to be completely truthful with Jess but when you were on the job twenty-four seven like Dean was, it was impossible to reveal anything at all. The one night stand made it easier. He didn't have to tell anyone squat, nobody cared, and nobody got hurt.
The hurt was the hardest thing. He'd learned that with Cassie, and like most things that caused Dean Winchester pain, he vowed never to let it happen again. She was enough.
She was more than enough. If things were different...
Sam's voice drew him out of his reverie before it went deep enough to start hurting.
"Turn right at the stop sign. It's 438 Sundown Dr."
Dean eased the Impala around the corner onto a narrow street lined with small tract houses of the type built in the late fifties, early sixties. The little cracker box houses with their weed choked yards and crooked porches did not give an impression of affluence. Number 438 was no different from any of the other homes on the block save for a large tree in the front yard and the neat little flower boxes under each window. Someone had made an attempt to brighten up the place.
They pulled up into the driveway behind another Chevy, a black '84 Cavalier with a dent in the rear quarter panel. Sam peered out at the house. "This is it."
"You'd think she could at least predict the winning Power Ball number and get out of this neighborhood," Dean muttered. He eyed the neighbor's house warily. A man stood on the porch smoking a cigarette and eyeing Dean just as warily. A second guy sat on a step drinking from a bottle concealed inside a paper bag. Both of them looked as if they hadn't bathed in a month. "I wouldn't give those two the time of day, let alone borrow a cup of sugar."
"Mmm," Sam pushed open his door. "Come on."
"Actually," Dean added, as he got out of the car (making sure it was locked, although he feared for his hubcaps) "Maybe you should predict the winning Power Ball number."
"What the hell would you do if I did, Dean?" Sam asked, turning around to walk backward up the walk. "You wouldn't buy a new car, you're too into 'the job' to settle down anywhere so you wouldn't buy a house, you dress like a bum..."
"Why do you need money?"
Sam stopped walking and gave Dean a quizzical look. "Stuff?"
"Stuff," Dean repeated.
"What kind of stuff?"
"Guns, weapons, computers...do you know how much easier this would be if we had the latest technology? No more busted up Walkmen! They have EMF meters now that'll freakin' tell you a spirit's name, rank and serial number..."
Sam shook his head. "On a good day you scare the piss out of me." He turned around and went up the steps to the porch, ducking under a hanging planter on his way to the front door.
Scowling, Dean nearly hit the planter, swinging his head aside at the last minute. "What? I can't have stuff?"
"Like tasers?" Sam asked archly.
"Dude, not even close to funny." Dean said with a sniff. "Anyway, that was a fluke."
"Yeah, a fluke that nearly killed you. You're dangerous to yourself and others when you have stuff."
"I'm dangerous, period. Ha!"
"More like delusional." Sam reached out and pushed the doorbell.
They heard the chime from somewhere inside the house, followed immediately by barking. Seconds later the door shuddered in its frame as something heavy hit it from the inside. There was a window in the door and in it suddenly appeared the madly barking and growling face of the biggest German Shepherd Dean had ever seen. Its lips were drawn back in a hideous snarl. It barked incessantly, saliva flying from its mouth to spatter upon the window glass. Its paws, each nearly as big as Dean's hand, battered at the window as if it were trying to break free. If it did get out Dean had no doubt it would happily sink its huge white fangs into their throats.
Both brothers backed up a pace.
"Hello, Cujo." Dean leaned forward and tapped the window glass. "Nice puppy."
The dog went berserk, rattling the door with even more ferocity.
"Well, at least we know how she protects herself," Sam muttered. "Nobody is gonna bother her with him around."
They heard a woman's voice from inside the house. It gave a word of command and the dog immediately stopped barking. Dean saw motion behind the curtains, and again heard a woman's voice, but this time he very clearly heard her say, "Derek, get down."
Locks rattled. The door swung open just enough to reveal the diminutive Lisa Holland and the dog, Derek presumably, there on the threshold. She couldn't have been much more than five feet tall, with course brown hair in what could be described as "mousy" and large, pale gray eyes. The paleness of her skin indicated someone who didn't get outside much. Derek, Dean noted, was slightly more than half her size from his huge paws to his long pointed ears. He sat at her side quite calmly as if he hadn't been a salivating monster just seconds before, but his gaze had settled on Dean and his eyes clearly said that one false move would be all it took.
"Hi, uh," Sam smiled, turning on the charm. "Are you Lisa Holland?"
She looked suspicious, wary. "Yes."
"My name is Sam Winchester..."
Dean rolled his eyes. He didn't know if Sam purposely gave out their real names or if he just forgot, but one of these days his honesty was going to get them in trouble. They had between them a half dozen fake I.D.s - Sam needed to learn to use them.
"This is my brother Dean. We read Missy Carter's article in the St. Stephen's Gazette and wanted..."
Lisa's suspicious look changed to one of annoyance. "If you're looking for a fortune teller there's one in town, Madam Mim. You're wasting your time here."
She started to shut the door but Sam quickly put a hand on it to stop her. Derek immediately stood up and growled. Wisely, Sam snatched his hand back. He did not, however, give up that easily. Even with the dog growling at him he took a step forward to plead his case. He had balls, Dean had to give him that.
"Wait, wait! No. I just want to talk to you, about what you do."
The woman frowned. "Missy was an old friend. I don't talk to reporters."
"No, I'm not a reporter. I'm a student. I'm studying parapsychology at the University of Arkansas." The dimples came out and Sam chuckled a little. "You know, the whole untapped potential of the human mind thing."
"I'm not interested in being a test subject," Lisa snapped. "Get off my porch before I call the cops."
With that, before Sam or Dean could say another word, she slammed the door in their faces.
Seconds later Derek resumed his frenzied attack on the door, having been released from his command. His dark eyes bore into Dean's and the message, again, was crystal clear. "You're dead meat buddy."
"Mangy mutt," he growled back, and turned on his heel, falling in behind Sam who was already on his way to the car. "What now, Einstein? She's not going to tell us jack, especially since you gave her that story." He unlocked Sam's door, and then his own, snorting derisively. "Untapped potential of the human mind..."
"I didn't want to tell her the truth," Sam said quietly. He gazed intently at the house as Dean started the car and began backing it out of the driveway.
"That's a first."
Shaking his head, Sam tore his gaze away from the house and looked at his brother. "Something isn't right there, Dean."
"I don't know. I just...I picked up some really weird vibes."
Dean stopped at the stop sign, and then turned back onto the main road that would lead them back into St. Stephens. He'd seen a motor lodge on the far side of town. They'd been driving all night. It was time to put down anchor and rest for a while, and decide where to go next, although Dean definitely had a feeling Sam wasn't done yet.
"Hard not to pick up bad vibes with the canine version of Charles Manson sitting there looking at you like you're a prime rib. Who names a dog Derek?"
"It wasn't the dog, it was her."
"You think she was hiding something?" Dean nodded. "She's probably lying, Sam. You heard her, that reporter was an old friend of hers. They've cooked up this story as some sort of publicity stunt."
"For what gain? You saw how she lives."
"I dunno. Maybe this Missy gal is trying to promote tourism, get this hick town on the map, or maybe she was looking for a story that would put her on the map; something to put on her resume."
Sam was shaking his head. "No. It's something else. Something darker."
Dean raised an eyebrow. "Demonic?"
"I don't know." He looked at Dean with a grave expression on his face. "But I definitely think we need to dig a little deeper into this, Dean."
Sam's abilities might have been outside his control, unpredictable as to when they would manifest, but when they did they were startlingly on the ball. If Sam said something was wrong, something was wrong.
"All right. Let's get a room, have some lunch, and work on it. You see what you can find out about Ms. Holland, and I'll go talk to the reporter."