Chapter Fifty Four
Dean peers into the bag of weapons Robby's swiped from Pastor Jim and nods his approval. Kid's done good. They're about half a mile away from Edwin's place, enough distance to form a plan based on whatever Robby can see and enough firepower to look after themselves, he hopes.
"Are we close enough?" Dean asks, placing a hand on Scrap's shoulder to focus him.
"Mm," Scrap nods, already looking uncomfortable, his eyes glazed and somewhere else. After a second he breaks off, rubbing at his eyes and frowning.
"What?" Dean asks, panicked. "What's up?"
"I don't…" Robby's words trail off as the sides of face light up red and he stops again, this time with a yelp of pain.
"Scrap what?" Dean asks again as the kid clutches at his head.
"I can't see anyone," Robby replies, looking at Dean out of the corner of his eyes, his head hanging low as he pants a little for breath. "It's empty."
"Empty?" Dean panics at Robby's words. "Impossible. Look again." He knows he shouldn't be asking, knows that Robby's trying and in pain but still, that can't be right.
"I've looked," Robby argues back, shrugging off Dean's had which had been resting on his shoulder all this time. "There's no one there."
Dean shakes his head. Now what? In all the plans he'd come up with, he hadn't even thought that the guards and everyone might have left. Where would they go?
"What the fuck…" he whispers the words under his breath and Robby looks at him, eyes wide and scared.
"What now, Dean?"
Like he has a fucking clue. Dean chews on his lip as he tries to keep the anxiety away. Now we're fucked, he wants to say.
"Dean if we don't…they're gonna chuck us out, Dean. You said so. I stole Pastor Jim's guns so now it's even worse, they'll probably kill us or something."
"Look let's just…let's just go look alright? If there's no one there then at least we won't get hurt," Dean explains as he starts to walk. It's only after a few seconds that he realises Robby isn't following.
"Scrap, come on," he nods his head in the direction of Edwin's hut but Scrap just stays standing where he is, shaking his head.
"What's the point?" The kid asks, dropping the bag of weapons to the ground. "If there's no-one there, there's no one to save. There's no point in going there."
The guy has a point and Dean wants to agree with him, really he does. Maybe they've got time to put everything back how it was and get back before anyone notices. But then… then Dad and Sam will quit playing games and really punish him for beating the shit out of Sam. Then he'll be fucked.
"Maybe we can find a clue about where everyone went?" Dean explains. "We can't just go back with nothing."
Scrap nods miserably, picking up the bag again, but he won't meet Dean's eyes as they walk forwards. Dean feels like a dick.
"I know you don't want to go." He finally says, knowing Robby won't say anything.
Robby just plods on, not even looking at him. Dad thinks Sam can sulk but Robby… Robby's gone weeks without speaking to him before, Dean hates it.
"I don't want to go either," he offers. "I've got the same memories of that place that you have."
Robby glances at him, well more of a glare really, "I'm going aren't I?"
"Well, yeah, but…" but you're making feel like a bastard, Dean wants to say. Instead he just sighs and does his best to explain. "Look, you know, I said I fucked up"?
Robby nods again and Dean rolls his eyes. The kid is hard work. "I don't mean, a little bit, Scrap. I mean huge, huge fuck up. Bigger than this," he explains as he holds out his arm, the jagged scar of his name still unfaded, just under the tattoo of Edwin's initials. Scrap's eyes go wide at that and Dean almost smirks, yeah that got your attention.
"Worse than that?" Robby looks like he doesn't quite believe him and Dean nods.
"Dad told me to spar with Sam. I did, only, I kicked the shit out of him. Dad freaked the fuck out."
"You hurt Mister Sam?" Robby exclaims and Dean nods.
"I thought that's what he wanted but…it must've been some kind of trick or something. I dunno. Sammy's even worse at fighting than you."
"He punish you?" Robby asks and Dean can see the kid visually check him over for any injuries. Robby's a brat, but he's still his best friend, Dean can't stay mad at him for too long.
"No," Dean replies and sees Robby frown in disbelief.
"This is what I mean, Scrap. I knelt down all ready for him to whip me." Dean feels ten years old again. "I was good, Scrap, I was ready to take my punishment like a man. I…fucking hell, Robby I begged him to punish me and he didn't even hit me once. What the fuck is that about? He didn't punish me, Scrap, that means he doesn't care. And if he doesn't care then he's obviously gonna get rid of me, or kill me or something."
"Maybe…" Dean can barely hear Robby's reply. "Maybe he just doesn't want to hurt you? He's your father, Dean, and when you were little you used to say that your Dad-"
"I know what I used to say!" Dean cuts him off. "But…we can't take the chance, can we? If we do this, then at least we'll be sure they won't get rid of us."
"Or dead," Robby replies and Dean rolls his eyes.
"How will we be dead if there's no one there, genius?" Robby just shakes his head.
"Just got a bad feeling, Dean. A real bad feeling."
Dean rolls his eyes and pretends like he thinks Robby's being a bitch but, really, he's scared too. His steps are slowing the closer they get, he doesn't want to go. But he wants to stay with Dad and Sam and if this is what it takes then he'll do it. Dean reckons he'd chop his own arm off it that's what it takes. It scares the hell out of him if he's honest but he can't pretend any more. Anyway, who the fuck wouldn't want to stay somewhere where they're allowed to eat enough and not get hit and… Dean grits his teeth and picks up his pace. He has to do this. He's got no choice.
Sam can feel his mouth hanging open as Missouri Moseley bent over, hands on her knees, finally manages to pant out the end of her report. Honestly, he doesn't know what he's more scared of, Dean possibly missing and hurt or Dad's reaction to Dean being possibly missing and hurt.
"Lily…told me as soon as…as soon as I got home," Missouri explains. "I ran…I ran here."
Sam would laugh at the thought of Missouri running full pelt towards them. As it stands though he's too panicked to smile at anything. And anyway, "Who's Lily?"
"Who told her? Robby? I fucking knew it." Dad's face is a picture of fury as he completely ignores Sam's question and continues on his apparent quest to say 'fuck' as many times as possible. "I fucking knew that little fucking shit was fucking up to something."
Sam doubts it, somehow. But ever since Dad saw Robby had Bobby Singer's hat he's had something against the kid. And now the kid's just a target for Dad's anger and panic.
"Why has he told Lily anyway? To get her in danger as well? How does he even fucking know her?" John hisses in a breath through clenched teeth as Missouri shakes her head.
"That doesn't matter," Sam tries again to be noticed. "We need to find them."
"Dean wouldn't go off on his own," Dad's muttering to himself. "That kid's talked him into it. Dean wouldn't just leave, he wouldn't do that…"
To me – Sam can hear what Dad isn't saying as the anger starts to give way to panic. Because, deep down, they both know – "He's done it before."
"Yeah, for that fucking kid, again. That boy is not Bobby Singer's son. He's some kind of fucking-"
"Dad!" Sam had wanted to stay calm, to be in control and find Dean and make Dad impressed, but the older man's panic is contagious and he can feel his heart starting to beat faster. "That's not important, we need to focus on finding him!"
"Don't lecture me, boy! I told you to keep an eye on him!"
Dad hadn't said anything like that and Sam bristles at the idea that this is his fuck up. He knows he shouldn't waste time arguing but… "Don't pin this on me!" he yells as he steps forward until he's toe to toe with his father. "You're the one who freaked him out making us fight each other. He's probably still scared you're going to punish him! That's probably why he ran away!"
"Dean has not 'run away'!" Dad argues back, "maybe if you had held your own then-"
Sam doesn't hear the rest of it as he feels his skull smacking into his Dad's forehead and he staggers backwards, rubbing at his forehead, watching as Dad does the same. And between them Missuori Moseley standing with a thunderous expression.
"Goddamn you two! Dean is missing and you still find time to argue!"
Sam looks at the floor, embarrassed, as he rubs at his smarting head. He can't help but smirk when he sees Dad doing the same.
"And what's this about fighting?" the woman continues. Sam gulps as he imagines Missouri's reaction when she finds out about that. For once, he and Dad agree as they echo Missouri's earlier words together.
"You know what, Sam, one of those 'visions' would be pretty handy right now." Dad looks at him with raised eyebrows and Sam feels flush with embarrassment and frustration as he raises his hands helplessly.
"I can't control them."
He'd never even thought of that. He'd had a vision of Dad when Dad was in danger, why isn't he having one now? Sam tries, clenching his eyes shut and concentrating with every ounce of brainpower he has but all it does is make his eyes hurt and probably make him look totally stupid.
"Stop goofing around," Dad growls, already moving to his weapons chest. Sam feels like he's six years old again and it's only Missouri's look of warning that stops him yelling back.
But he won't forget. He'll bring it up later, when the time is right, tell Dad he needs to stop treating him like a little kid. Especially in front of the others.
"Now stop sulking and tool up."
Sam snatches the gun Dad tosses at him and decides he's going to ignore the man and speak to Missouri instead. She's the one with the information after all, the fact that she won't speak to him like he's a five year old is just a bonus.
"Did…" Sam searches his memory for the name," Lily explain why they went?"
"Does it matter why?" Dad snaps, throwing a flak vest at him. Sam doesn't even remember them buying flak vests. "We can ask why when we find him."
"When we find them," Missouri corrects and Dad just grunts. "There's two boys out there."
Dad ignores the second statement as well as he starts barking out orders like he's still in the marine core. "These questions are just wasting time. Dean's gone because that little fucker has put some stupid idea in his head or something. What matters is finding him. Missouri you go to Jim's, Sam you go to Secuirty, I'll meet you-"
"I'm going with you," Sam interrupts. "To find Dean."
Dad narrows his eyes and Sam fights not to gulp, comedy style, at the death glare he's getting.
"You're going to fall in line, boy, and follow the orders I'm giving you. Go to Security, tell Hendrickson-"
"I'm not going to Security. I'm going to Edwin's place, with you."
Sam hadn't even noticed that he and his Dad were edging closer and closer to each other until Missouri steps in the middle of them again.
"Your Dad is right, Sam" she says calmly. "We will need back up on this."
Sam clenches his jaw in annoyance - as if Missouri is picking Dad's side on this!
"But he's a damned fool if he thinks I didn't think of that already. God almighty you Winchesters are so determined to martyr yourselves you can't think outside your own little circle. Rufus is on his way to Security and I found one of Jim's boys on my way here. Garth's already halfway back by now and if you two could stop bickering for five damned minutes you'd be five minutes closer to finding Dean."
For the second time, Sam watches as Dad's expression matches his own, jaw hanging open as he tries to process Missouri's lecture.
"God damn it's no wonder you two hunt alone, don't know how anyone could put up with the pair of you, don't know how I put up with the pair of you. Lord it's no wonder Dean's scrambled…"
Missouri's rambling fades in the distance as Sam sprints after his father. Déjà vu, they're both chasing Dean back to Edwin's camp, again. Like a moth to a flame, Dean can't seem to stay away from the place and Sam wonders if they'll ever get Dean to trust them enough to stay home. Unlike Dad, he's not in denial and he doesn't need to blame Robby. Sam knows the fact that Dean's bolted probably has something to do with them. And if…when they get him back, Sam will make it up his big brother, whatever it takes.
Dean can feel Robby hovering behind him as they finally approach the door to Edwin's shack. Last time he was here Robby was chained up outside, bleeding and hurt. The time before that, Edwin had knelt him down and pointed a gun at his head. Not this time though. This time he has the weapons. This time he's strong and fed and… Is this what it's all about, really? Maybe he just wants revenge. Maybe he's dragged Robby out here just so he could have some back up to fight any of the fuckers that were left. Or maybe, there's a part of him that just wants to get it over and done with, put himself back down here before Dad and Sam force him to go. Fuck knows. Dean doesn't know how anything works any more.
Dean tries to ignore the fact his hand is shaking as he pushes the door open. Inside it's just like he remembers; there's a little room, a big table covered in papers, maps and other stuff, a bed in one corner… Just looks like an ordinary room. But it's not.
Dean turns to Robby. "This is where he died," he doesn't know why he's saying it and Robby doesn't look like he does either. "Edwin," Dean explains as he lowers himself to the ground. "This is where Dad killed him."
Robby looks at the floor, where Dean's crouching down, fingertips brushing the floorboards. "Yeah?"
"Yeah," Dean doesn't even glance up as he stares at the wooden boards. "He murdered him, you know? Did you know that, Robby?" Dean can't control what he's saying, or the water starting to well up in his eyes. Can't stop either and it doesn't even bother him.
Robby shakes his head as Dean looks at him for an answer.
"He shot him Robby, you know why? Ask me why."
Robby's voice comes out a whisper, asking out of obedience not curiosity. "Why?"
"Because he hated Edwin for hurting me and taking me away from him. Like I hated him when he hurt you. He killed Edwin out of revenge, he killed Walker to save me…He fought all those people to try and save me." Dean shakes his head as the words come trickling out, just like the tears falling from his eyes. He feels desperate as he looks up at Scrap standing over him.
"Robby?" His voice is quiet as a whisper now as well.
"I think I fucked up, Robby. I think I fucked up, coming here."
"We can go back?" Robby's voice is tearful as well. Dean flinches when he feels the younger man's hand on his shoulder. "We can go back and say sorry and maybe your Dad-"
"Dad won't hurt me," Dean replies as he stands up. Somehow, it doesn't feel like it's him saying the words but he knows they're true all the same. "Not like Edwin used to. He killed all those people, because they hurt me, you see?"
"Because you're…family?" Robby checks, saying the word like it's another language almost, and Dean can't help the tearful smile that comes over his face. And then he feels guilty, because Robby doesn't have that. Robby will never have that. But he does and he wouldn't give it up for anything. Dean shrugs off Robby's hand and takes a deep breath in, he seriously needs to man up right now. His voice, when he replies to his friend, is hoarse and his words blunt.
"Let's go home."
He's only halfway through turning around when a new, unfamiliar voice stops him, frozen in surprise and fear.
"But, you are home….Bait."