Reap What You Sow
She knew the phone was going to ring long before the shrill tone had a chance to cut through her dreams.
Around 3:30 am, Missouri Mosely had been ripped from her sleep with the distinct feeling someone was going to call her. And that it was important. Unfortunately, she didn't know who it was or when they were going to call. And because of that, all she could do was wait.
After flicking through the television channels for a while and straightening up her reading room, the psychic turned to her tarot cards. Normally she didn't need them; her gift was in reading thoughts and sensing the energies around her, not turning over cards and trying to interpret them. But sometimes, when her natural talents were less than helpful, she would turn to the cards. But this morning the cards refused to tell her anything. Anything of any real importance anyway.
Shuffling the deck once again, the woman focused all of her energy on the mystery caller. Dealing out another unhelpful card, Missouri set the shuffled stack down. The picture now staring up at her was the Reaper, and she couldn't help but sigh in resignation. Impatiently tapping her finger on the card, she wondered if her "feeling" had anything to do with psychic powers at all. Crossing her arms over her ample chest, the woman decided to chalk it up to nothing more than a case of women's intuition.
But, as it turned out, even old wives tales such as intuition were enough to keep her out of bed.
Deciding to try her hand at the television once again, the sense that someone was about to call grew stronger. If she'd been asleep still, it would have woken her up all over again. So instead of flicking on the TV, she all but ran to the kitchen. It was only a short distance from where she was to the other room, but her heart had begun to pound fiercely anyway. As her socked feet hit the tile, she knew that it was finally time.
Whether it was psychic or otherwise didn't matter anymore.
She didn't bother to wait for the phone's harsh ring to cut through the silence of the house. Missouri snatched up the phone's receiver. Controlling herself just enough to keep from barking into the ear piece, the woman confronted her mystery caller. "Well, what took you so long?"
Missouri could practically hear the unspoken question that was frozen on the lips of the caller. Before, when she'd woken up, the woman had no idea who she was waiting on. But now that she could read his thoughts and sense his energy, she knew who it was. And for some reason it didn't surprise her. "Well, Dean? What is it?"
Waiting for the older of the two Winchester boys to finally spit out what was bothering him, Missouri thought about the last time she had seen him. It hadn't been that long ago, only a few months really. But even now, she could recall with heartbreaking clarity the sadness that surrounded him.
Of course she'd sensed a similar emotion coming from Sam and the ache of losing his girlfriend, But Dean… Dean's wounds ran deeper. He could remember the night. He could remember his mother. Her voice. Her touch and gentle kisses goodnight. These were memories that Sam would never have.
Sam had only been six months old the night their mother died. He might have heard Mary's voice when he saw her spirit, but there was no way he could truly remember her or her love. Of course he knew that she loved him, but experiencing it like Dean had was a completely different thing. His scars might have run deep, but his brother's ran deeper. They always would.
"I um… I need to talk to you."
Dean sounded hesitant, unsure, and though she longed to reply with 'that's obvious,' she just couldn't. The pain in his voice wouldn't let her.
Every night before going to bed, Missouri had prepared her coffee pot for the next morning. Now, with one free hand, she was glad she did. The few words he had spoken had let her know that this conversation was not going to be easy.
Hitting the power button on the machine, the psychic sighed silently to herself. She had a feeling that this call was going to demand more than simple psychic intuition. Watching the first few wonderful drops of caffeine splash against the bottom of the pot, she realized her silence had taken on a life of its own.
"Sorry. I'm here, boy." She could hear the sadness in her own voice, and that was the last thing she wanted. "Tell me what's bothering you." This time she had tried to sound cheerful, more reassuring, but instead, she'd only manage to sound fake. Squeezing her eyes tightly shut, the woman prayed that Dean wouldn't close up because of it.
"Promise me something first…" Dean hesitated, almost as if he couldn't get the words out. "Promise me you won't give me any of that 'what they want to hear' bull. I'll hang up if you don't. I don't want it." Though his voice was now full of anger, it was the underlying fear that gripped her heart.
"Oh baby, what's wrong?" Her soft voice, tinged with its Southern accent, was full of sympathy, and she knew that he wouldn't appreciate that. Silently willing the coffee pot to hurry up, Missouri waited for the backlash that was sure to come. It wasn't until the psychic heard his response that she realized she was holding her breath.
"Promise me." His voice was stern, and it was obvious he would hang up if she didn't agree.
"Oh, all right." Missouri opened a nearby cabinet and pulled out her favorite mug. A frequent client had brought it back from New Orleans for her a few years ago. It was lime green with a saxophone-playing cat on one side and 'New Orleans' made out of little musical notes on the other. Personally, she thought the thing was hideous, but she had come to love it. Especially at times like these.
From the silence at the other end of the line, Missouri could tell that Dean was fighting an internal battle of whether to hang up or not. Where Sam was as easily read as a children's picture book, Dean was another story. His tome was sealed shut and its cover blank. Sure, she could use her God-given talents to try and read his thoughts but even then… He'd managed to bury the worst of it under multiple layers of bitter anger. There was no way she could work through all of it to find the truth. Especially over the phone.
"We were working a job, and I was electrocuted. 100,000 volts straight into my body." Even though she was talking to him over the phone, Missouri could hear the boy swallowing the lump that was blocking his throat. "They gave me two weeks."
Despite the fact that the coffee was done brewing, she didn't care about it anymore. Wide-awake, the psychic found that caffeine was no longer necessary. Or even desired. She wanted to say something, anything. But there was nothing to say. All she could do was wait.
"Sammy… Sammy took me to see a faith healer. Can you believe that? A faith healer." There was a bitterness to the chuckle that crackled through the phone, and the woman could tell that Dean didn't find the situation humorous at all. "And you know what? It worked. I'm healed."
Missouri knew that there was a huge 'but' at the end of the sentence, and she was dying to know what it was. Before she could stop herself, her voice was filling the line that connected Dean and herself. "But?"
The woman could hear the boy taking a long drink from something that definitely would have a high proof printed neatly on the label. Anxiously awaiting his response, she began tapping her fingers on the kitchen counter. Her mouth had just begun to form the word 'well' when Dean's voice brought the phone line back to life.
"Wasn't a faith healer. Know why?" Sure it was a question, but she could tell that Dean didn't really want an answer. "'Cause there's no such thing as faith healers. That's why."
Missouri didn't need to hear the alcohol sloshing around in the bottle to know he was taking another long swig. If she were there, she'd have taken the bottle from him and poured it out. But with Dean however many miles away, she was powerless. All she could was try and get him to continue the story. "Well then, what was it?"
"A reaper." She could tell that he was trying to sound confident, un-phased, but it didn't take a psychic to be able to tell otherwise. "Someone died to save me. Some innocent man who didn't stand a chance against the thing."
Normally Missouri preferred to do readings in person. Her client's thoughts and energies were stronger and more readily accessible. But sometimes the person's feelings were like a fresh wound, raw and exposed, and she could reach them even if they were a thousand miles away. But no matter how exposed Dean Winchester was, he still managed to tuck his feelings so deep down that even she couldn't find them. "Dean, honey, what is it? What's really bothering you?"
Once again, Dean's silence echoed across the connection between them. The woman wondered if she'd gone to far, over-played her hand. After all, he didn't really seem to be the type of person to appreciate the type of sympathy that usually accompanied the name 'honey'.
"There… There was this girl. Her name was Layla. Really pretty. Sweet." For the first time since he'd called, Missouri could hear a genuine smile in the boy's voice. "She had a… an inoperable brain tumor. The doctor gave her six months to live."
Looking out the kitchen window, the psychic couldn't stop the single tear that slipped down her cheek.
"She umh, she didn't get a chance to be healed. Sam and I stopped the…" Once again there was a deep swallowing noise from his end of the phone, but this time it had nothing to do with alcohol. His guilt was obvious, and Missouri didn't have the heart to push him.
"The day after I was healed, I went to visit the healer. Reverend Roy LeGrange. I wanted answers… about what had happened. I ran into Layla and her mother outside." He paused for half a beat, nothing more, but to Missouri it seemed like an eternity. "And that woman, Layla's mother, she looked at me with such… hate." By now, whatever he was drinking had taken affect.
His speech, while not slurred, was sadder, more emotional. A sober Dean Winchester would never have let his emotions get the better of him. "You wanna know what she asked me? She asked me why I deserved to live more than her daughter. And I, I couldn't answer her. I just… I couldn't think of anything to say."
The smell that normally woke her up every morning was now causing Missouri's stomach to turn. The coffee had finished brewing long ago, but now, now she wanted nothing more than to dump it out. The sickening realization of what was going on had finally reared its ugly head.
"I don't know, Missouri. I keep going over and over it in -" She couldn't handle it anymore. The psychic didn't need her gift to figure out it was time for the woman in her to take over.
"Are you asking me if you deserve to live, Dean Winchester?" Soft and gentle, her quiet voice was rounded off with its Southern accent. There were tears in her eyes, but somehow she'd managed to keep them out of her throat.
The silence coming from Dean's end of the phone was deafening, and it was all the confirmation she needed. "You're a good boy, Dean. You're doin-"
"Am I? I mean, I don't know if I am." His voice was full of bitterness. Bitterness that couldn't possibly be caused by whatever he'd been drinking.
"You listen to me, boy. If you're looking for some psychic answer, I don't have one. But I've looked into your eyes…" She didn't know how to explain it. And really, there was no good answer to his question. Not one that would satisfy him anyway. Rubbing her forehead, the woman tried to put what she knew in her heart into words. "Don't you ever get… feelings about the things you hunt? You know, something that just tells you you're right?"
"All the time. Why?" Dean sounded skeptical, almost as if he was beginning to regret calling.
"Well, that's how I know. It's my intuition." It really was the best she could do. She only hoped it would be enough.
"Great. Women's intuition…" His voice was full of disappointment that turned Missouri's sorrow to anger.
"Listen here, Dean Winchester, you called me. What did you expect?" Deep down she had know her explanation would be nowhere near adequate. But she knew it was the truth, and that was all she could give him.
"I'm sorry. I just…"
"I know, honey." And she did. There was no way to prove to someone their worth. There was no test to take or questionnaire to fill out. It was something that he would need to figure out on his own, and unfortunately it would take time.
"Right. I shouldn't have called. Look, I gotta get going…" Dean cleared his throat before continuing, as if he were choking back the last bit of emotion that wanted to escape. "You know Sammy, he gets up with the chickens."
He tried to laugh, but the sound that met her ears was a hollow approximation of what it should have been. She could have tried arguing with him, but it would have been worthless. There was no way she could convince him of something he refused to believe. "Ok. Well… feel free to call again, sweetie."
"Right. Thanks." The emotional outbursts from earlier were under control once again, and Missouri could tell he was holding something back. But there was no way she was going to be able to get anything else out of him. "Bye, Missouri."
As the dial tone flooded through the broken connection, Missouri Mosely stared out the kitchen window at the setting sun. Dean would call back. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but eventually he would. For now, all she could was wait.
Squeeka Cuomo's Notes
- This was originally written for the LJ community spns1ficathon.
- Quack – Thank you for all of your support. I really appreciate it.