Title: Forget Me Not
Summary: Dean's recent odd behaviour sends Sam out in search of the only other person he thinks can get his brother to seek help
A/N: Thanks to Lexophilia for the Beta-ing
Forget me not
He finally found her in a Scottish pub called "Brigadoon's" in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was near the door and the bar was at the back. Even with her back to him, he had no problem spotting her. She had grown quite a bit and her hair was now tickling her shoulders, but she was still as broad as the wide side of a barn, just like her dad. Genetics was something even she couldn't outrun.
He slid up to the bar slowly, as not to scare her away, and sat down on the empty seat beside her as quietly as possible. He folded his hands in front of him and lowered his head before he called to her.
He noticed her posture changed almost immediately, but had to hand it to her when she didn't walk away. The drink she had been happily nursing before he'd appeared was quickly forgotten and pushed away as she slid off her stool. She turned away from him as she shrugged on her jacket. He noted what the jacket was made of with a self deprecating smile, worn brown leather. "You shouldn't be here, Sam." Her voice was low but he was sure he could have heard it a mile or so away. The venom it held would have made it so.
He sighed before spinning the stool to face her back. "Your dad. He wants to see you. He's been talking about you for a whi-"
She turned so abruptly, he nearly choked on his own saliva. Suddenly, he was staring at a livid Dean clone, complete with seething eyes and an over abundance of freckles, and he could do nothing but blink. "Did he say it?"
Paula's lip curled as she bit out "did the words "I want to see Paula," come from his mouth?"
He stared back at her for a couple seconds before lowering them.
"Yeah, didn't think so." he said hearing the triumph in Paula's voice, but didn't dare look up incase she thought she was being challenged. He watched her feet side step the stool beside hers and then turned towards the door. He raised his head just as she waved half heartily over her shoulder and called to him over the screeching sound of bagpipes and screamed, "See ya around, Uncle Sam."
Before he knew exactly what he was doing, he was outside the bar and staring Paula down through the windshield of her car. A quick check of his surroundings found him straight in front of her car, blocking her way out of the parking spot, with his hands on the hood of the rumbling car. "Here me out." He called to her quickly.
Rounding the car as quickly as his long legs would carry him, he got in the unlocked passenger side and closed the door behind him.
She had her seatbelt on, her hands on the wheel and was staring straight out the windshield.
"What do you want?"
He took only a couple seconds to gather his thoughts because he knew Dean's daughter did not like to wait, especially when she had that look on her face. She looked like she'd much rather run him over than talk to him. "Your dad's been screwing up a lot lately-"
"Not my problem." Paula spat. "Thanks for coming," she motioned at the passenger side door with her head quickly before turning her attention back out the windshield. "Now, get o-"
"He couldn't remember if he had loaded the rifles."
Paula's rant died there. Her dad wasn't one to forget something like that. Even concussed and bleeding profusely, her dad always remembered which guns and when he had loaded them. Maybe there was- no! Her walls rose again as her grip on the wheel tightened. "Maybe he didn't."
His head turned to stare at her profile. "He had." He countered. "Right before we left for the gig. He cleaned them right before loading all four of them, one after the other." He let the new information sink in before continuing. "He couldn't remember doing any of it."
Her grip on the steering wheel loosened dramatically as her resolve started to slip. Anger started to disappear as fear took its place, coiled deep in the pit of her empty stomach. Forgetting was not something her dad did, especially when it pertained to his weapons or his car. On a scale of one to ten of unusual, this was a fifteen.
Paula's eyes dropped to her lap. "He needs to be looked at then." She refused to acknowledge the fear which had somehow snaked into her voice in a matter of seconds.
"I know," he sighed long and pained, as if all the weight of the world balanced vicariously on his aged shoulders. "I tried to get him to go."
"Well, try again." She ordered, sounding every bit like her dad. "He can't-"
His mask cracked ever so slightly as he told her that he had. "In every town we have gone to since November." His voice started to quiver, "he doesn't think anything's wrong, refuses to waste time."
A single tear burned its way down her cool cheek as she turned her head, but failed to make eye contact with her uncle. She couldn't. Not anymore. The unspoken truths within them would hurt far too much. Paula opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. She closed her mouth and tried again. "I-" she snapped her mouth shut almost as soon as she spoke when her voice cracked. "I don't know what I could do." She began to play with her lip to hold the sob building in her throat at bay. "What do you want me to do?"
Silence was the only thing that met her question as he took in the quivering girl beside him. She had gone from weathered hunter to frightened little girl so fast it literally made his head spin. How she had lasted by herself on the road for three and a half years he'd never ever know. Her head rose just enough to make eye contact with him through her bangs and he blinked away the confusion.
"Come talk to him, Paula. Maybe he'll listen to you." He could only hope. "Then we can get him some help. I think he just needs to hear it from someone other than me."
As soon as her emotion clogged brain took in his request, she shook her head vehemently.
It broke her heart to see the hope in her uncle's eyes die so suddenly, but she couldn't help that.
"Truthfully?" she laughed, choking back a sob as she eyed her fidgeting hands as they played with the frayed stitching of the Camero's seat, "I'm not strong enough."
"Paula, don't say th-"
"Why do you think I've stayed away so long, Sam? I can't face him. He was right. I haven't been ready I-"
"You're just stubborn, kid. Just like your dad." He laughed softly. "Hell, if you weren't you wouldn't be a Winchester."
Paula felt his hand come up to cradle her chin before she could stop him. "Don't ever think you're not strong enough."
It took everything she had not to lean into the familiar touch, the first of which she'd had in almost 4 years. It felt good. It felt like home. He thumbed wiped away the traitorous tears on her face as his hand gently forced her head up.
"Your dad needs you, kid."
Without so much as a minute wasted, Paula nodded and sucked back hard on her tears. "Okay," her hand came up to wipe her cheeks free of the tears as he moved his hand.
He had just moved to get out, knowing she'd stick to her words, before her voice pulled him back.
"But you have to let me get to you on my time, clear?" Paula's voice no longer quivered with withheld emotion. It was back to being the strong, self-assured snap he had heard in the bar an hour before.
"Deal," he agreed as he forced his body up and out of the Camero. He bent to peer back in the car at Paula and smiled. "We're in Quartzsite." He slammed the door harder than he really had to before treading towards the car he had come in.
If he floored it, he could make it back before Dean woke up and noticed him gone.
Paula had been on the highway for almost two hours and had played the same CD twice before turning off the radio and rolling down her window. Now, as the brisk wind whipped through the car causing every hair on her body to stand on end, she smiled for the first time since leaving the bar in Scottsdale. She had just finished thinking that nothing could ruin the moment when her cell rang. She flipped it open with a few deft movements and held it to her ear.
She blinked away the shock. She was poised to ask how he had gotten her number when she remembered just who he was - just who she was and closed her mouth and smiled.
"Drive like me, not your dad." Her uncle advised. "I'm too old to handle two wounded Winchesters again."
Paula bit back an amused snort as she said, "I'll keep that in mind."
"Okay, kid. Bye."
She closed the phone and put it on the passenger seat again.
A sliver of white gleamed in the light of the streetlamps above her as she smiled and pressed her foot down on the gas a little bit harder.