The Blood That Binds Them

Part I

Beep . . . . . . . . . . . Beep . . . . . . . . . . . .Beep . . . . . . . .

"Dude, whatever that is, find it and shoot it," Dean grumbled from the bed he had just thrown himself into.

"You find it . ." Sam mumbled back, rolling over on his side already half asleep. They had been driving for twelve hours straight, almost as if the hellhounds they had saved Evan Hudson from were chasing them from Mississippi.

"It's coming from your bag . ." Dean said irritably, pulling the pillow back over his head.

Sam sat up angrily. Rummaging through his bag, muttering under his breath, Sam drew out his cell phone, only to see that the battery was dead. "Damn," he swore, going through the bag again looking for his charger. It was in the Impala. "This can wait," he thought as he turned back to the bed.

Beep . . .. .. . . . Beep . . . … Beep . . . .

"Sam, you're killin' me, dude,"

"Right," Sam thought, "cell phone." He plunged his hands into the bag again. "There it is," he thought, digging under the two pairs of jeans, the AC cord for the laptop and a butterfly knife.

Drawing the phone out, Sam suddenly realized that it was his dad's. He swallowed thickly. It had been five months since his dad's death. He and Dean had discussed getting the phone disconnected but hadn't since so many of John's contacts hadn't known he had died. However, as time went by, the phone had gotten fewer and fewer calls as the word of John Winchester's demise made it through the hunter community. The last time the phone had rung was six weeks ago and it had been a wrong number. Still Sam had kept it charged - just in case. Never hurt to have a spare.

Now the message envelop blinked up at Sam in the semi-gloom of the room. He considered turning it off until the morning but he was trained better than that so he reluctantly punched in his dad's access code.

"John? This is Kate McKenzie. I . . .I know it's been a while – well I guess close to twenty years. . . . but I really need your help. It's an emergency . . . a matter of life and death . .." the woman's voice quivered. "literally" she added in a whisper. Taking a deep breath, she continued, "Listen, I really need you to come to Kentucky. I'm in Louisville. You won't be able to reach me by phone. Come to St. Mary's Hospital in downtown. You can page me when you get there. I know this sounds cryptic and I know this may be awkward or whatever but I really don't want to get into it on a phone – especially a cell phone so please. . . just come. You are the only one who can help me." The call quietly clicked off.

Sam sat for a minute contemplating the call. "I guess we're going to Kentucky," he thought tiredly as he shut the phone off and crawled back in bed.

They made good time to Kentucky, pulling in to the small city about 7 p.m. the next day. Dean had a theory that their dad had worked a job for this Suzanne McKenzie and she was having trouble again. He just hoped she didn't work in the crazy wing of the hospital. After the asylum in Rockford, Illinois, Dean didn't care if he ever did another job in a hospital where the patients were crazy and the doctors were crazier.

After circling the hospital twice to find parking, Dean finally agreed to park the Impala in a garage – something he avoided doing since he always found dings in the paint afterward. Parking on the top floor and taking up two spaces, he and Sam made their way down.

Sam went to the visitor desk while Dean had a look around. Catching a candy-stripper's eye, he whipped out the patented Winchester grin, causing her to blush prettily as she turned away. Sam rolled his eyes and nudged him towards a row of seats while an announcement went out on the intercom.

"Kate McKenzie, you have a guest at the visitor's desk. Kate McKenzie, please report to the visitor's desk."

Five minutes passed before a petite woman in her late thirties came through the staff doors to the left, stopping to look around. "This must be her," Dean thought, as he took in the perfectly tailored pants suit, diamond stud earrings and short bob haircut. The woman exuded money . . . and class. Had it not been for the apprehensive look on her face and the dark circles under her eyes, she would have been at home at a country club dinner . . . on the club president's arm.

"Ms. McKenzie," Sam said, while standing. The woman turned, looking up. "I'm Sam Winchester and this is my brother, Dean. I think you called our father?" Sam said in his boy next door way.

"I . . ." the woman started and then stopped. She looked at Sam and then Dean like a deer caught in the headlights. "You're John Winchester's sons?" she asked as if she had to force the words from her mouth.

"Yeah. I understand that you need some help and . . ."

The woman's face fell into a completely neutral, professional expression as she cut Sam off. "I need to talk to your father. I appreciate you coming but you can't help me. I . . . need John's help . . . so, if you would just tell him to contact me as soon as possible, I would really appreciate it. Thank you." Turning abruptly, she headed back towards the door she had entered from.

Dean, not impressed with the brush off he had just received, was willing to let her go. Sam, however, was not.

"Ms. McKenzie, wait." He said gently touching her arm. "Is there someplace we could talk . .. a little more private . . ."

"Uh . ." she looked like a rabbit caught in the sites of a hawk. Taking a deep breath and squaring her shoulders, she finally looked Sam in the eye. "Of course. I only have a minute but I think there's a . . ." Her voice trailed off

Turning again, Sam motioned to Dean to follow as he made his way through the doors behind her. She ushered them into a small but tastefully decorated chapel. Luckily it was empty.

Standing in front of the pews, Kate McKenzie began to pace as she motioned the boys to the seats in the front. "I'm sorry if I was abrupt," she started before Sam could. "I was just expecting to see John. I do appreciate you coming and I hate that you came all this way for nothing but this is something that only your father can handle. If you could give me a number, where I can reach him or . . ."

"Ms. McKenzie," Sam insistently interrupted, "I've been trying to tell you . . . well, there's no easy way . . . my father died five months ago."

The color completely drained from Kate's face as her knees began to buckle. She blindly reached out to keep herself from falling. Had Sam not moved quickly to grasp her arm, she would have failed. Sitting down hard on the step leading up to the lectern, Kate's eyes filled with tears. She opened her mouth once – twice – and then shut it has she stared out into space.

Dean, who had been letting Sam take the lead until now, pushed up from the pew with more force than necessary. He knew the questions were coming and he had no interest in sharing painful memories with a stranger. Still unable to talk about his father's death in more than short sentences, he looked pointedly at Sam and began to examine the stained glass window as if it held some secret he had yet to discover.

Sam minutely nodded as he turned back to Suzanne. "Can I get you anything? Water?"

"No, I'm fine," she said automatically continuing to stare at nothing. "He's dead?" she said unbelieving. Sam wasn't sure she was talking to him or just digesting the information so he didn't answer. "He can't be dead – He was so sure of himself, so . . ." Kate said out loud to herself.

"Maybe if you tell me what's going on, Dean and I can help," Sam said gently, as he returned to his seat and placed his elbows on his knees so their eyes were level.

"I don't think you'll want to help," she answered quietly, darting a glance at Sam guiltily and then down at the floor.

"You never know until you ask," Sam persevered.

Kate sat completely still for more than 20 seconds. It was clear from her face that she was having an internal argument and Sam allowed her the time she needed. Coming to a decision, Kate's face settled into a resolute expression. "Will you come with me? I'd like to show you something."

Gesturing that she should lead the way, Sam shot a look over her head at Dean. Now that the subject of their father was past, Dean's curiosity and instinct to help took over as he motioned Sam with his eyes to follow her.

Moving down the hall, the trio silently made their way up three floors to the Intensive Care Unit. Kate stopped at the door and gestured the boys in. As they entered, the ICU nurse moved to intercept them until she saw Kate. Nodding, she returned to the station as Kate ushered Sam and Dean to the bed at the end of the room.

"This is my son, Jack," she said quietly, brushing the dark hair back from his forehead. Strongly built, approximately 19 or 20 years in age, the boy still looked fragile hooked up to all the machines crammed into the small space. He had dark rings under his eyes that made them look even more sunken when contrasted with the sickly yellow of his skin.

"What's wrong with him?" Dean quietly asked moving closer to get a better look.

"He has Cooper Disease. It's very rare. Unfortunately, we didn't catch it until it was too late. He'd always been so healthy. They found him collapsed in his dorm room a week ago." As she continued to stare at her son, the fear in Kate's voice was almost a living, breathing thing. "The doctors can't do anything for him until we can find a liver donor so they put him in a medically induced coma."

Sam swallowed slowly and said, "I'm really very sorry but I don't understand why you thought dad could . . ."

"We have to find a donor soon or he'll die." Kate continued as if Sam hadn't spoken. "We've tested everyone in my family but either they didn't match or they were too old. That only leaves Jack's father and his family. . . " Kate's voice trailed off as she looked up into Sam's eyes in desperation.

Sam's eyes narrowed as he looked at Kate and then down at the young man on the bed. Dean, on the other hand, had frozen, color rushing to his face.

Indignant rage began to rise in Dean as he turned on Kate, "You better not be implying what I think . ."

Kate stood her ground but continued to look at Sam. Taking the chart from the end of the bed, she handed it to Sam. "I named him after his father . . ."

Sam's stomach tightened into a knot as he looked at the name written on the top of the chart. John Winchester McKenzie.