A/N: Here's that challenge I mentioned taking from Sammygirl1963. I'm pleased with the way this one is going so far and I hope you all will be too. This one would be set about three years after my last one, Silent Blood on the Bayou Waters, but it stands alone other than a mention of a promise made. Don't hate me, the first chapters are slow. I will make up for that. Again this one will be updated nightly. Thank you all in advance for checking this one out and give it a try. Enjoy!
Sammygirl! I so hope this is what you wanted. I'll talk to you soon.
Blue Peanut: you've been great for bouncing ideas and scenes off of. Hope you like how it came together.
Lost in the Dark
Twenty-one year old Dean waited in the Impala for his seventeen year old brother outside Midland Valley High School. He heard the bell ring and saw kids begin to pour out the front entrance. Eventually Sam came out, backpack slung over his right shoulder and books in his hands. He stood taller than most of the other kids in his grade and was easy for Dean to spot. A jock in a lettermen's jacket nudged Sam hard and his books went flying. "Sonofa…" Dean got out of the car, trademark squeak of the doors alerting Sam that he was there. Sam motioned for him to stop. He turned to the jock that had been harassing him and said something that Dean couldn't hear. The jock marched up to Sam and stood in his face, talking angrily and gesturing hugely before poking him in the chest and pulling back a fist. He swung the beefy fist at Sam, who dodged the blow and took the jock to his knees with one of his own. The crowd that had gathered cheered when the jock went down hard with a gasp, shielding his ribs. Sam ignored the writhing jock and leaned down to pick up his scattered books, bumping heads with a raven haired girl. Dean as he watched couldn't help but mutter "Nice."
"Ow." Sam said, standing up and rubbing the crown of his head. The person he'd bumped did the same. "Oh, sorry Rachel. Are you okay?" Rachel smiled and held out the book she'd picked up to Sam, who reached out to take it.
"You have a bit of a hard head Sam Winchester." Rachel said. "Apparently a pretty hard fist too. Mark so needed that, the jerk. Hey, the Winter Formal is coming up. Are you going with anyone?" She blushed and pulled her hand off the history book that Sam had been grasping for at least the thirty seconds that she'd held it straight out in front of her as she stared at his amazing hazel eyes. "I mean to the dance?"
"Uh, no. I'm not sure I'm even going." Sam said, taking in her embarrassment and feeling the red creep up his own neck to stain his cheeks.
"Oh, well if you change your mind, I'd like to go with you." She said. Rachel stood quickly on her toes and kissed Sam's cheek, barely catching his lower jawbone because he was a good six inches taller than her. She turned and walked away and Sam smiled, watching the short plaid skirt go the other direction.
"You sure know how to pick 'em Sammy." Sam jumped, his face blazing red as he heard Dean's voice near and slightly behind him.
"Jeez, Dean, you scared the crap outta me!"
"Head's in the clouds, Sammy. What was that about?" Dean asked, turning to face his little brother and jerking a thumb over his shoulder.
"She was wondering if I was going to the Winter Formal."
"I don't know. C'mon, I have a midterm to write." Sam cut the conversation short and headed for the Impala. He opened the door with a squeak and climbed in. Dean grinned and turned to see the short plaid skirt rounding a corner. "Nice." He ran to the car and got in behind the wheel. Firing the engine he pulled out onto the road and turned the corner where he'd seen the girl walking. She was just ahead and Dean couldn't resist slowing the big car to a crawl. "Oh, come on Dean." Sam groaned and rolled his eyes. "She's too young for you."
"Yeah, well not for you Sammy boy." Dean crowed. He watched as she turned to look at the rumbling car. She blushed and waved at Sam. Sam turned beet red and returned the wave sheepishly. "Sam-my's got a girl-friend!" Dean said in a sing-song voice and hit the gas, spinning rubber on the pavement as the Impala responded. They were pulling into the driveway of the rented house some ten minutes later and Dean was still teasing Sam unmercifully. Sam got out of the car and huffed, moving into the house and past his dad at a fast clip. He went into his bedroom and shut the door with a bang.
"What the hell was that all about?" John asked; eyeing the closed door to his youngest's bedroom.
"Aw, spoilsport there can't take a little ribbing." Dean muttered, going to the fridge and pulling out a Pepsi.
Sam opened his history book and moved to his bed. As he sat down a scrap of paper fluttered out and landed gently on the rug in front of the twin bed. He reached down and picked it up, knowing it wasn't there before. It was pale blue and folded in half. He opened it and inside were the words, 'If you change your mind 455-3926. Rach.'
Sam smiled and gave it some thought. The dance is Friday night. I can rent a tux in town and get her some flowers at the gift shop because I have that money saved. Dean seemed okay with it, I wonder if he'll let me use the Impala? "Oh, who the hell am I kidding?" Sam shook his head and opened up his history book, going to the needed chapters for his midterm paper. Twenty minutes later Sam found himself staring at that little blue scrap of paper, his book still on the first page and his writing tablet still empty.
He pulled his cell phone out of his bag and dialed the number on the paper, swallowing his nervousness.
"Hello? Anderson residence."
"Mrs. Anderson. This is Sam Winchester. I go to school with Rachel. Is she in?"
"Yes, hang on a second." He heard muffled taking in the background and then the crackle of the phone being placed on hold. Another click sounded.
"Hey, are you still interested in going to the formal?"
"Why do you ask?"
"I think I'm going. Was uh… was wondering if you'd want to uh… go with me?"
She giggled. "I'd love to."
"Great. Uh, I'll make some plans and talk to you in school tomorrow."
"Bye." Sam quickly flipped his cell phone shut and dropped it to his bed, a smile forming on his features. "Oh crap. Tomorrow's Thursday." He bolted from his bed and ran into the living room to find Dean sitting on the couch with his feet propped up on the coffee table, flipping through TV channels. "Hey Dean? Can I borrow the Impala Friday night?"
"What? Why?" Dean asked, not stopping his channel surfing. "You got a date or something?"
Dean turned to face his happily fidgeting baby brother and his jaw dropped. "Seriously?! The hot plaid girl?"
"Rachel. Her name's Rachel. And yes. Her. The Winter Formal actually."
"Wow. Geek boy's goin' to a dance with a girl. Clear it with Dad yet?"
"No, but I'm goin' anyway. Now can I borrow the car Friday or not?"
"Why do you want the car Friday, Sam?" John asked, coming into the room.
"I'm going to the winter formal. I'm taking Rachel Anderson from school."
"Were you gonna clear this with me Sam?" John asked, crossing his arms over his chest."
"Dad, it's a school dance. I'm not movin' out."
"No, we all are."
Sam swallowed hard. "What?" He asked quietly.
"Tomorrow's your last day of school. I pulled you this morning. There's a hunt in Washington State and we're moving closer to Bobby. He's had a hit on the thing that killed your mother."
"And when were you gonna tell me about this Dad?" Sam said, his hands clenching at his sides into tight fists that shook slightly.
"Since when do I have to clear things with you?" John said, his voice rising just slightly. Dean sat on the couch and looked worriedly between Sam and his dad. Not again. Dad, you ass. Why?
"Whatever happened to anything I wanted to do Dad? Huh? I haven't been able to finish school in one place in two years. This is my freakin' junior year Dad!"
"Do not take that tone, young man!"
"Why the hell shouldn't I? You're doin' a bang up job of making me miserable! Again!" Sam turned to walk away. John spun him and grabbed him by the arms.
"Do not turn your back on me! We're not done here." Dean stood and pushed through to stand between his father and Sam. Sam pulled out of his dad's grasp and stood, chest heaving and pissed, glaring at his dad.
"Yes you are. Cool it! Both of you!" Dean said darkly, glaring at first his father and then his rebellious little brother. Dean turned his attention back to his father. "What's in Washington State?"
"Something is killing cavers that are trying to map out uncharted caves in the area around Everett and Leavenworth. The spelunkers are going in and researching a system of connected caves in that area and something is making them disappear. Another team with rescue techs goes in and all they find is bones. The equipment is trashed and everyone is dead. They're calling it animal attacks. Looks like a Wendigo."
"Can we handle it and then come back here?" Dean asked John, pointing between himself and his father and excluding Sam, who stood glaring at his father's back.
"No! We're moving closer to Bobby. He has a lead on whatever killed your mom and…"
Sam interrupted. "If it's so concrete a lead, how come you don't know what the hell it is?!"
"NO! It doesn't matter what killed mom and whether or not we kill it. She's gone and she's not coming back! Why do we have to put our lives on hold for your obsess…ungh!" Sam's head whipped to the side as John's fist flew, clipping the lower jaw of the seventeen year old boy that stood nearly an inch taller than him. Sam's hand shot up to his mouth and wiped the blood from his lower lip. He glared, tears still building no matter how hard he fought.
"Dad!" Dean cried, turning to glare at the man. Sam took off out the front door, his hand still on his mouth. "If I ever see you do that to him again…" Dean turned away from his dad and followed his brother out the door.
John stepped after Dean and then stopped. "Dean, tell him I'm…" The rest of the words were cut off by the slamming of the screen door.
He found Sam leaning against the tree in the side yard. Dean walked up to Sam in time to see him spit out a mouth full of blood. He grimaced. "Sammy, let me see." Dean reached for Sam's jaw. Sam shied away.
"Back off Dean." Sam turned away and looked across the street, trying to keep the tears that had surfaced at bay. His jaw was throbbing and the copper taste in his mouth was making him nauseous.
"Damn it Sammy. Let me see." Dean grabbed Sam by the shoulders and stopped him from flinching away again. Dean raised his brother's jaw with a gentle bent forefinger. He ghosted a hand over the swelling near Sam's lower lip and then gently as possible he turned down Sam's lip, seeing the cut inflicted by his bottom teeth. "You're gonna bruise. Let's go get you some ice."
"I'm not goin' back in there."
"No Dean. Not yet." Tears shone in his hazel eyes, making them appear bright with pain. His words were slightly slurred because of the burn in his jaw.
"Okay. I'll be right back alright? Just stay here. Okay Sam?" Dean watched his brother for signs that he was about to take off. He didn't move. "Sam?"
"Okay." He muttered, turning away to lean against the tree, staring across the street. His shoulders slumped and he put an arm up to the straight, rough barked trunk, curling his arm over the back of his neck and resting his cheek against the back of his forearm. The sting in his mouth turned to a burning fury that seeped through his body.
Dean went back into the house and set about getting the things he needed to help Sam. He pulled a gel cold pack out of the freezer and worked it in his strong hands, making it soft to go against Sam's jaw. Next he laid it down and moved to the sink, filling a small glass with warm water. He stopped at the table and grabbed the salt shaker. Taking the top off he dumped a generous amount of table salt into the water, swirling the glass to dissolve the white crystals that gathered in the bottom of the glass. Dean looked up to find John come slowly into the room, taking in what Dean was doing with a horrified look on his face.
Dean turned and glared at his father, putting the stuff down on the table as fury radiated through him. "Don't. Just…not to me. You wanna apologize you do it yourself. To him." Dean picked up the cold pack and the glass and banged back through the screen door, going out into the unseasonably warm December evening. He stopped when he saw his brother clad in the long sleeved brown shirt he'd worn to school, so still he almost blended into the tree he leaned against. Dean started walking again, wondering how he was going to fix things this time. "Here, Sammy. Rinse your mouth." Dean said as he handed his brother the cup of warm salt water.
"Thanks Dean." Sam said quietly, moving slightly away from the tree. Sam took a mouth full of water and held it for a bit, letting the burn start. Then he spit the pink water and rinsed again. He turned and stepped back to the tree to slide down the bark and sit in the grass at the base. Dean followed him down, touching shoulders with his brother. Dean turned and raised the ice pack to Sam's jaw. Sam grimaced at the contact the cold gel had with his throbbing face and took over control to hold it gently.
"Man, I'm sorry."
"Don't you apologize for him Dean. If he told you to you just don't. You didn't do this and I'm not accepting his apology for it if it comes from you."
"That's what I told him. I'm apologizing for me. I should have seen this coming. He's been researching again. We've been here since school started in August and I know he's gettin' restless, man. Then Bobby called with that hit…"
"Does Bobby know what killed mom?" Sam asked.
"Not for sure, no."
"Why Washington State? That's not the thing that killed her so why do we have to go after it?"
"It's killin' people Sammy." Dean stood and stepped back once. Sam looked up at him, hunched against the tree with the gel pack against his face.
"I get that. I'll tell Rachel that I can't go to the dance after all. I'm not talking to him though. Not unless he comes to apologize. I know I was out of line…"
"Hey, man." Dean said as he pulled Sam to his feet and put one hand on each shoulder. He turned Sam's head and pulled the ice away to look at the already darkening mark on his angular lower jaw bone. "Not enough to deserve to be clocked for it. No one deserves to be hit for just smartin' off. C'mon, let's go back inside. It's gettin' dark and chilly."
Sam and Dean went inside, Dean staying between John, who now sat at the kitchen table engrossed in research, and Sam who quickly made the escape into his bedroom. Dean walked by the door to hear Sam talking on his cell phone. He went into his own bedroom just down the hall. Closing the door he leaned against it; his heart going out to Sam even as he remembered the promise he'd made all those years ago about giving Sam the freedom to do what he wanted to do. His dad had made that same promise and had stuck to it for the several weeks that they has spent at Pastor Jim's and the all seemed forgotten as Sammy had gotten stronger and older. Now their father was back to square one, driving a wedge between himself and Sam and making Dean choose once again between the two. Dean slid down the door to sit on his floor, sad that that was a choice he couldn't make and knowing Sammy would again suffer for it. He pulled his faded denim clad knees up and buried his head against them, laying his forearm over the back of his neck as the house grew quiet around him. He heard his brother's muffled voice coming through the thin wall.
"Hey Rachel, it's Sam again."
"Sam? What's wrong? You sound…off."
"Uh, I really hate to do this Rachel but I just found out that I'm not gonna be able to go to the formal." Sam sighed and sat back down on his bed from where he had been pacing.
"What? Why Sam?"
"Tomorrow… uh, tomorrow's my last day of school. My family is moving. Friday. I have a lot of packing to do." Sam choked out the lie, looking around his bedroom at his belongings, which would easily fit into his duffle bag and the backpack he used for school.
"You're moving? No! Why?"
"Um, my dad got a different job and he has to start right away. So anyway, I'll see you tomorrow at school, y'know to say goodbye."
"Oh. Okay. I'll see you tomorrow then."
Sam shut his phone without saying those words again. He tossed it onto his nightstand and flopped face first on the bed. His fury died and he buried his face in the pillow, reaching both hands up underneath. Sam raised his head sometime later to find it totally dark outside. He salted his window, changed into his sweats and t-shirt that he wore to bed and moved to the wall that separated him from his brother. He knocked softly, two raps, with his knuckles. Two answering raps sounded through the thin drywall. "G'night, Dean." Sam called, leaning his forehead against the faded wallpaper.
"Night, Sammy." Came Dean's muffled voice from the other side.
A/N: Well, here's the first chapter and no one died! No cliffie this time either! I'm going to have to see what I can do about that! Catch you tomorrow.