Confession Is Good For the Soul
Author: Tara aka LovinJackson
Summary: BrotherhoodAU. Hendrickson's crusade to capture the Winchesters leaves Caleb battling with demons he had thought he had locked away forever.
Disclaimer: Supernatural owned by Kripke. Brotherhood owned by Ridley C. James. Jim's farm now owned by Dean ... (sigh) apparently I own nothing but you think I could get Jensen as a birthday present?
A/N: This story owes thanks to Angelustatt and my mother who helped out as always. And I know she'll probably roll her eyes but a big Thank You goes to Ridley. She helped more than I even think she realises and added so much more to this. I hope you're happy that this is finally being posted and I had a blast working on it. Thanks for putting up with me, girl ;)
Confession Is Good For the Soul
It felt like forever since he had stepped foot in his home. His home. It wasn't really a home or at least it didn't feel like it even though he'd had it since his graduation from College. It was more a place to store his stuff, half of which were still in boxes. Hell, his room at Pastor Jim's farm was more set up than his apartment.
He remembered back to when the Yellow Eyed Demon, the demon that had made all of their lives hell, had been killed and the three of them had all come back to this apartment after their week long celebratory vacation and just spent some time together, playing video games, annoying Sam. It had been carefree and Caleb had really thought that they had made some serious progress.
Sure, there were two hundred demons now on the loose but it was something they could all deal with because they had all the time in the world. Apparently he had been wrong. Dean had been keeping a very important secret. He'd sold his soul to bring Sam back from the dead and only had a year to live, a tiny little detail that Dean had conveniently forgotten to give.
Every time Caleb thought about the expiration date he felt like he was going crazy. They had already nearly lost Dean a few times since old yellow eyes had been defeated and now instead of working on ways to get Dean out of his one way trip to hell, his time had been taken up with searching for one particular cold hearted, skanky whore.
How Dean and Sam had allowed Bela to steal the colt out from under them was beyond him. To make the matter even that much more ridiculous … Bobby had been with them. He understood why Dean had called Bela in. He needed the dream root to save Bobby. But that should have been the extent of her visit and even that grated against Caleb's nerves.
Trust was something that you didn't just hand over lightly. It had to be earned over time. There were only a handful of people that Caleb trusted explicitly and that number had dwindled over the years as death and tragedy plagued them. He knew that the boys had never really trusted the mercenary but the fact that they had worked with her on more than one occasion made him want to scream. Now the colt was in her hands. It sucked but this was a lesson learned and if he ever got his hands on the bitch she would learn a very valuable lesson herself. You don't fuck with Caleb's family.
He ran a hand over his tired face as he entered his apartment. All his work hadn't been for nothing. He had information on Bela's whereabouts. The first thing he needed to do was call Dean and let him know that he was home and then he would sleep before he fell flat on his face.
He reached out blindly and switched on the light, looking around the room. A weird feeling came over him and he couldn't work out what it was. He reached out and didn't sense any unwanted presences inside the apartment. Shrugging, Caleb dropped his bag on the couch but continued walking until he reached the kitchen. He lazily poured himself a drink and brought it back into the living room, thoughts of turning the massive screen TV on briefly flashing through his mind before he decided that he really couldn't be bothered.
Taking a sip of his drink, Caleb then set it on the coffee table in front of him and then reached behind him and retrieved his gun from the waistband of his jeans and placed it on the table. He needed to call Dean. He looked around him before remembering seeing the phone in the kitchen. Caleb stood up with a tired groan, intent on retrieving the phone.
Just short of reaching the kitchen, there was a knock at the door. Caleb frowned, looking down at his watch and noting that it was early morning. Who the hell would be stopping by this time? He picked up his gun and walked to the door. Before he made it the door slammed open, loudly, splinters flying. Instinct took Caleb over and he lashed out, taking out two intruders before he registered the call of "Police!"
Halting any further attack, Caleb felt pain spark behind his eyes as a fist impacted his face and he was slammed up against a wall. He could feel blood trickling from a cut in his eyebrow as he was spun around, face to the wall. "What the fuck is going on?"
"Yeah …" he rasped as his gun was wrenched from his hand. He grimaced knowing that the gun wasn't going to go down well for whatever reason the cops had just stormed his place.
"Caleb Reaves, you are under arrest …"
"For what?" he asked loudly.
Caleb grunted as he was shoved against the wall again, his head connecting with the wall making him see stars. He felt handcuff's encircling his wrists and wanted to fight it but knew that he now had gun's trained on him and fighting would only make things worse.
"Aiding and abetting wanted criminals."
Caleb turned his head at the voice; a dark man came into his view, cocky countenance irritating the psychic straight away. The man looked towards his men and ordered them to check the apartment before bringing his attention back to Caleb. "I'm Special Agent Victor Hendrickson." The agent reached forward and spun Caleb around, his back impacting the wall. "And you're gonna lead me to your friends."
He didn't get an answer as he was roughly hauled away from the wall and shoved through the open door.
Dean sat in the front seat of the impala watching his brother get them some quick food from the service station. It was late … or early depending on how you looked at it and there wasn't much open.
Dean had automatically gone to get out of the car to go inside with Sam when he had been stopped by a single look from his brother. It had been half annoyed and half fondly amused. Dean didn't find the situation amusing at all. He still found he felt uneasy when Sam went into a diner by himself at night.
He remembered the night Sam had been taken by the Yellow Eyed Demon like it was yesterday. Dean had only taken his attention off the diner and Sam for a moment when static had come over the radio. When he had looked up Sam had been gone and he had rushed in to find everyone dead, lying in their own blood and Sam nowhere to be seen. What had come after that Dean didn't want to remember but he knew he would never forget. Sam's death, short lived as it was, would be imprinted in his mind for the rest of his life. Ironically enough that would be short lived also.
This time, as Sam bought their food, Dean kept his eyes on him. Yellow Eyes was dead but the need to keep Sam in his sight in this situation remained. He didn't have much time left now and he was going to make sure that the people he loved were safe before his fate took him.
He knew that Sam and Caleb had been trying their hardest to get him out of his deal with the crossroads demon, Mac and Bobby too. He knew that as the time grew closer it was killing them. He didn't want to leave either. He'd finally admitted that. He didn't want to die; he didn't want to go to hell. He didn't deserve it, but he would do it again if it meant Sam lived. He knew he would do it for Caleb too. He was scared but he was trying to come to terms with the fact that time was slipping away and they still had no results.
Bela stealing the colt had screwed things. He was still kicking himself for allowing that to happen. When, not if but when, he caught that bitch he was going to kill her. The woman had no conscience and had gotten one up on them once too often.
Bela was the reason they were an hour out of New York City. Caleb had called and told them to meet him at his apartment. He had news on the bitch but wanted to meet up with them. Caleb had been extra protective since learning of Dean's deal, after he had gotten over the whole fact that he had sold his soul. Keeping in touch had become even more important, especially with their new roles in the Brotherhood coming to light. Caleb took his role of Knight very seriously but then Caleb had always taken his role as their protector seriously.
So here they were stopping for food before meeting with Caleb before hopefully their next step of finding that heartless conniving bitch.
The theme song for Magnum PI interrupted his thoughts and 'Sam watching'. He didn't need to look at the caller ID to know who would be on the other end. He had personalised Mackland's number. He had always joked to the older man that he looked like Magnum but was still waiting for the day when he would see Mac in a Hawaiian shirt. It's something he would like to see before he had to leave.
Dean reached his hand into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. Flipping the device open, Dean put the phone to his ear and answered as his eyes remained locked on Sam at the counter paying for whatever he had bought.
"Mac, what's up?"
"Where are you?"
Dean frowned at the tone in Mac's voice. The man sounded worried. Of course the man always sounded worried lately. The whole responsibility of the Brotherhood had been squarely on the Scholar's shoulders since the death of the Guardian and the Knight, John and Jim cut down in the war against evil leaving Mac the sole survivor of his Triad.
"Just answer the question, please."
"We're about an hour out of New York. We were going to catch up with Damien," Dean told him, hoping that Mac wasn't going to hold out on him. "So, what's wrong?"
"I want you to turn around … lay low somewhere until I call you."
"What? Why? Mac, what's this about?"
"I'll explain when I call you back." Mac's voice sounded tired.
Dean watched as his brother exited the service station, food in a plastic bag. His eyes followed Sam's trek back but his attention was now on the man on the other side of the phone. "Caleb's expecting us …"
"He won't be. Just get somewhere safe, Dean, and I'll explain."
"Something's wrong. What happened to Caleb?" Mac hadn't said it but Dean was an expert at reading between the lines.
"Mac, just tell me dammit!"
There was a pause before Mackland spoke. "He's been arrested. Hendrickson picked him up this morning, but Dean …"
"He's been what?" Dean's voice rose just as Sam opened the passenger door and sat down giving his brother a quizzical look. "How the hell …"
"I don't know. All I know is that he's taken him in. Now I want you to listen to me …"
"I'm gonna kill that son of a bitch!" Dean cursed, already blaming himself. He knew that if it was Hendrickson that had picked Caleb up it was because of them.
"Dean! Listen to me! You and your brother take off, maybe head to the farm."
"Dean?" Sam asked as he closed the door, his eyes locked on Dean's face.
Dean held up a hand silently telling his brother to wait, agitation quickly forming on his face. "I'm not just gonna sit back, Mac."
"I'm not having this argument with you, Dean. There is nothing you can do about this but get yourselves caught. They can only hold Caleb for so long and if you get caught how do you think he would feel?"
"No buts. I'm serious. I'll call you when I know more." Mac's voice had taken on that authoritive tone that he had gotten so good at since taking on full leadership of the Brotherhood. It was an order. "Are we clear on this, Dean?"
Dean clenched his teeth. It wasn't Mac he was mad at. He was mad at Hendrickson for coming after someone he cared about. He was mad at the situation. He was mad that it was his fault that Caleb had been targeted. "Yes Sir," he answered tersely.
He could hear Mac sigh through the phone. "Good. I'll talk to you soon, son."
"Okay." Dean snapped the phone shut angrily, putting it back in his pocket. He turned the keys roughly in the ignition, starting the car.
"Dean?" Sam asked again once the phone call had ended. "What's going on?"
Dean tore out of the service station and onto the main road before answering his brother. "Fucking Caleb," he snapped.
Sam frowned in concern. "What's wrong? Is Caleb okay?" Dean saw and heard the fear in Sam as he asked the question. The last time Mac had called them with news on Caleb he had been calling from a hospital in Texas to tell them that Caleb had been beaten and was in Intensive Care.
Dean shrugged. "That all depends on how you define okay …"
"Hendrickson has him." Dean finally turned to look at his brother for a moment before bringing his attention back to the dark road in front of him.
"What?" Sam couldn't keep the shock from his voice. Whatever he had been expecting to hear? That hadn't been it.
"That was pretty much my reaction," Dean said. He slowed down when the car in front of him stopped with no warning so it could turn into a street on the left. He almost growled at the driver as he pulled around the stationary car. "Mac's ordered us to hide out."
Sam was still dumbfounded. "What'd they take him in for?"
Dean rolled his eyes towards his brother, looking at him as if it should be obvious. "Take a good guess, Sammy."
"Us?" Sam asked incredulously. "But he can't hold him for simply knowing us can he?"
"I dunno, Sam. You're the law student. All I know is what Mac told me." Dean's anger was growing by the minute.
"He can't hold him long." Unless of course he had something on Caleb himself, but neither he nor Sam were stupid. Hendrickson's job was to search for the Winchesters. It was no coincidence that he now had one of their closest friends in custody. "How the hell did he know about Caleb anyway?"
"I said I don't know, Sam!" Dean snapped. He didn't mean to snap at his brother but the kid kept asking questions that he didn't have answers to, questions that were running around in his own mind. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay," Sam answered quickly. Understanding showed on his face "So … so what else did Mac say?"
"Nothing. I guess we'll find out when he calls back." Dean stepped on the gas. Food was the last thing on his mind now. The only thing he cared about was getting Mac back on the phone and getting the full story.
Sam remained quiet for the remainder of the drive, not even asking where they were going, obviously trusting that his brother knew.
An hour later, Dean pulled the Impala into the parking lot of a motel, right outside of the reception doors, letting the car sit idling in park. Sam opened his door and stood up, taking a look at the motel. It was situated on the main road and looked like every other motel they had stayed at in the past. It was low key and would serve their purposes for now. He doubted they would be getting much sleep.
Sam leaned back down to look at Dean through the open door. "I'll go get a room."
Sam was walking off towards the reception desk before Dean could protest. He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel impatiently as he waited for Sam to get back. He wanted Mac to call him. He needed to know what was going on. It was driving him nuts thinking about Caleb being arrested because of them. Caleb hadn't done anything wrong but Dean was scared that they would find something to pin on him.
Sam was back within a few moments and sliding back into his seat, room keys in hand. "We're right at the end, dude. We can park the Impala to the side of the building so it's not so obvious."
Dean gave Sam a half-hearted scowl at the mention of hiding his baby. He knew it was important to cover their tracks and he knew that his car stood out like a sore thumb. He was willing to hide her from plain sight. He wasn't ever giving her up so the next best thing was to be cautious, especially now.
Both boys were out of the car as soon as Dean had slammed the car back into park and turned off the engine.
"Keys," Dean demanded, holding out his hand for room key. He caught it easily and threw the Impala's keys at Sam before heading straight for the room, leaving his brother to get the bags from the trunk. He had a phone call to make.
Entering the room, Dean flipped on the light and chucked the key on the bed. He took his phone from his pocket and flipped it open even as he heard his brother enter the room.
Sam dumped the bags down and looked up with his hands on his hips. "I thought you said Mac was going to call us?"
"He's had long enough."
Pressing the call button Dean stood in the middle of the room waiting for the doctor to pick up. It rang twice before Mac answered. Dean shared a look with Sam as he spoke. "What's going on, Mac?" There was a pause he listened and then Dean was growling again. "Then what the hell are we supposed to do?" He look about ready to explode.
Before Dean could hear anymore of what Mac was going to say Sam was there and snatching the phone from his hand.
"Dude, what the hell?" Dean asked angrily as he tried to reach for the phone again.
Sam took a few steps backwards and held a hand out to stop Dean's advance. "Yelling at Mac is not helping."
"And you playing keepings off with my phone is?"
"Let me speak to him."
Dean almost laughed at that answer. "Because? How is that an answer?"
Sam shrugged, putting the phone to his ear. "It always seemed to be a good enough answer when you or Dad used it."
Dean stood there looking more annoyed than angry now. "Fine … you two talk away." Stalking past Sam, Dean walked into the bathroom and splashed some water on his face.
Mac's tinny voice was calling through the phone and reminded Sam of what it was that they were supposed to be doing. "Mac, sorry about that."
"What's going on, Samuel?"
Sam's eyes went to the still open bathroom door. He could still see Dean at the sink drying his face on the motel supplied towel. "Everything's fine here. What's going on with Caleb?"
"As I was trying to tell your brother … I don't know much more than I have already told you."
"Then tell us what you do know," Sam asked tiredly, meeting Dean's eyes as the older hunter exited the bathroom. He could see the worry storming through Dean's green eyes and he sympathised. He was worried too.
Sam pressed the button for speakerphone so his brother could hear what Mac had to say as well. He could hear Mac sigh and what sounded like a cupboard closing before the man answered.
"I received a phone call from Caleb just before I called you. He told me that he couldn't say much except that he had been arrested and was being held at the local police station."
"Do you know why?"
"We know why, Sam." Dean growled, earning him a dark look from his brother. "What? We all know he was taken in because of my wanted problem."
"Our," Sam corrected.
He was sick and tired of Dean always taking the blame for every little thing that went wrong. It didn't matter what happened Dean should have been able to stop it or prevent it or … or something.
"We are both on the wanted list." Hendrickson was after them both now. Sure the FBI agent seemed to really have it in for Dean but that didn't make the problem any more Dean's than it was Sam's.
"Dean, the attitude isn't helping."
"Neither is sitting on our asses."
Mac sighed again and Sam felt sorry for the older hunter. Dean could be impossible when he was in these moods. "There's nothing we can do but wait and you, Dean, need to keep a clear head."
Dean crossed his arms over his chest and looked annoyed. "Fine."
Seeing that Dean had backed down, Sam allowed himself to give Mackland his full attention. "What else do you know, Mac?"
There was a pause before Mac continued.
"Caleb said that they'd picked him up from his apartment. He sounded stressed but I could tell that he didn't want to say too much … or he couldn't. I'd imagine he was worried about you two being caught arriving at his apartment."
Sam nodded thoughtfully. "Hendrickson could have the place watched if he thinks we're associating with Caleb."
"This is all wonderful but what do we do now?" Dean's focus was squarely on Mac.
"Well for now? You two need to lay low. I'm trying to get a hold of my lawyer as it is. We'll have Caleb out of there in no time."
"Should we even be talking to you, Mac?" Sam asked, looking worriedly at Dean as the thought occurred to him
The seriousness of this situation hit Sam like a block of cement. The last thing they needed was to get caught by the police now. There was no way that Sam was going to allow his brother to spend the remaining time he had left in some jail cell awaiting execution that he would probably never make. Dean's deal would come due way before his sentence would be served.
"I think we will be okay for now but the less contact is probably for the best."
The older man sounded a bit frazzled and Sam felt for him. Your son in jail wasn't exactly the type of thing you liked to wake up to but it was just one of many things that they'd had to deal with in their line of work.
"Okay …" Sam faltered in response. He wasn't sure what to do from this point. He knew that keeping his brother in one spot for so long when Caleb was in trouble was going to be a bitch. He really didn't want to have to tie him down.
"Mac," Dean spoke, this time his tone not angry or accusing. "You need to keep us in the loop."
Mac's voice seemed to soften as he spoke this time. "You know I will, Dean. You boys stay safe. We don't need any more trouble right now."
"We will, Mac," Sam assured him. "Don't worry about us."
"That, son, is impossible. I'll speak with you soon, hopefully with better news."
The phone line went dead as Mac hung up and both boys looked up to meet each others gaze. Sam could see the barely restrained tension in Dean's shoulders.
"This sucks." Sam knew he was stating the obvious but he couldn't help himself. He closed Dean's phone and tossed it to him.
"Really?" Dean snapped sarcastically. "What makes you think that, Sam?"
"Don't snap at me, Dean. This isn't my fault." With the look that crossed his brothers face Sam sighed and walked over to his bed and slumped down on it. "And it's not yours either. You need to get that through your head."
Dean didn't answer; instead he turned around and picked up the weapons bag that Sam had brought inside and dumped it on his own bed. Weapons were laid out on the bed and Sam watched as his brother went through the process of dissembling their weapons in preparation for cleaning them.
Even though Dean had gone quiet, Sam felt better. Cleaning their weapons had always had a way of calming Dean down. It was good to see Dean trying to distract himself instead of pacing and snapping at him. Caleb would be out before they knew it and then they could all meet up at the farm and get on with finding Bela and trying to save Dean.
The glint from the light on his silver ring held Caleb's attention as he tried to sit still. His head was pounding now that he'd had time to settle. The hit to the head, lack of sleep and blaring ceiling lights had added up to one major headache that was hammering behind his eyes.
Caleb wanted nothing more than to just lay his head down on his arms and let sleep take him. But he couldn't. It had been hours since they had thrown him in this damn room and he knew that it was just a tactic by these idiots to screw with him. It made him even more determined to just sit still, quietly and wait until they were made to release him.
His phone call to Mac had made him feel more confident and worse all at the same time. As far as he knew, Mac hadn't known that he'd made arrangements with the boys to meet them at his apartment but he hadn't been able to tell him to warn the boys per se. He was hoping like hell that Mac had read between the lines, picked up on his concern and called Dean and Sam.
He would never forgive himself if the boys had gotten caught by the feds because they were meeting up with him.
Caleb shifted in his seat, leaning forward, dropping his forehead to his right hand. He closed his eyes and tried to massage the headache away with his fingers.
He was thankful that they hadn't kept him handcuffed. He hated being restrained and now was no different. It was probably one of the things that were keeping him sane. He was able to move around if he wanted and that was precisely what he had been doing for most of his time stuck in the damn room.
The door opening caused Caleb to tense but he otherwise remained in the same position for a few moments before casually lifting his head up, not surprised to see Hendrickson followed by another guy.
Apparently it was Showtime.
"Caleb," Hendrickson greeted as he entered the room with a smirk on his face that Caleb just wanted to swipe off. "I hope we weren't too long."
He remained silent. There was no reason for him to even talk. Not until his lawyer showed up. Mac had been going to call his lawyer friend as soon as he got off the phone. It had been a few hours now and there was still no lawyer, but Caleb wasn't stupid. He had the right to remain silent.
Remaining silent didn't mean that he couldn't use his mind. Reaching out automatically with his abilities Caleb tried to touch the agents mind. It was as natural as breathing for Caleb to nose around in someone's head, especially when in defence of himself or his family. There was no way he was vocally defending the Winchesters if he wanted to get out of here with a clear conscience but Hendrickson's mind was fair game … to Caleb anyway.
He caught a few flashes of something before the headache that had been festering intensified to the point that he had to close his eyes shut, sucking in a gasp. His hand came up quickly, pinching the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger.
The pain wasn't like when he had a vision but it was still painful and had left his head feeling even more screwed up than it had before Hendrickson entered the room. He resisted the urge to voice his pain. There was no way he would give them the satisfaction of asking for an aspirin. Even if they offered Caleb would decline on principle alone. You didn't take offerings from the enemy.
Hendrickson dropped a manila folder on the table and leaned forward, hands on the back of the chair on the other side of Caleb, looking expectantly. Was he supposed to say something now? He hoped that they weren't holding their breath.
"So, we need to have a little talk," Hendrickson started, standing up straight again and crossing his arms over his chest, looking down like he was reprimanding a child. Caleb almost felt like he was back in the Principal's office. The only difference, this time, being that this asshole wasn't some lame High School Principal; he was the FBI Agent who was trying to bring down his boys. This wasn't a game to Caleb.
"Nothing to say?" Hendrickson turned and made eye contact with the other agent in the room. "Look's like he's going to be stubborn, Reidy." He swung his gaze back to Caleb and leant forward. "Being all quiet isn't going to help your friends, Caleb."
Caleb sat up, eyes locked on Hendrickson. He cocked his head to the side as if he were contemplating his choices. He leaned forward, planning on getting something straight. "I don't know where you got your information from, Agent, and I don't really care. You have nothing on me and my lawyer is on his way. I'll be out of here before you know it." Caleb couldn't help the slight smirk that formed on his lips, despite the pain in his head. He stood up as if making a move to leave. "Since you have nothing on me, how about you just let me go now and save yourselves a lot of trouble?"
Hendrickson shook his head, looking more like those bobble head dogs people had in their cars. "I don't think so."
Caleb raised by eyebrows. "Oh really?"
"Sit your ass back down, Reaves. You're not going anywhere."
Hendrickson's stance had grown serious the moment Caleb had stood up. He got the feeling that if he tried leaving the room by himself that he would have a fight on his hands. He could take these two morons in his sleep but he doubted he would make it out of the station and any attempt to try would end up giving them something to charge him with. Mac was calling his lawyer; all he had to do was wait. But there was this part inside of him that hated the idea of allowing Hendrickson to think that he had anything over him.
Caleb remained standing. "Is that so?" he challenged.
He still wasn't exactly sure how they had connected him with the Winchesters. The thought that they might come for him or Mac for answers had been the furthest thing from his mind when the boys had first ran into trouble with the feds.
"It's so," Hendrickson confirmed, his face showing clearly what he thought of Caleb's challenge of authority. "Now sit back down before I have you handcuffed to the table. I'm the last person you want to be messing with."
Caleb shook his head and laughed a little to himself, running a hand through his hair. It went against everything that was screaming in his mind but Caleb relented and sat back down, silently repeating over and over that he needed to remain calm. His tired and frayed nerves weren't helping him but he had some semblance of control for now so he would work with that. It was the boys he had to worry about right now. If Hendrickson thought that he was getting to the boys through him then he was more of an idiot than he looked.
"Tell him a story, Reidy," Hendrickson said, turning to his partner with a confident look on his face.
The FBI agent walked away from the chair and over to the one way glass masquerading as a mirror and leant back on it with his arms crossed over his chest.
Reidy moved forward, hands on his hips as he looked down at the psychic. "The gun you had on you? Nice job, but it's not registered. We can hold you for long enough on that alone."
Remaining neutral on the outside, Caleb mentally winced at that one. He hadn't thought about it at the time but now it was coming back to bite him on the ass. This particular gun wasn't just any ordinary gun. He'd gotten the gun years before, from Dean as a birthday present during the time that Sam had been at college. Dean had used one of John's munitions contacts to get a gun custom made.
It was perfect weight, had perfect sight. The .45 was made of black chrome but the grip was made of a reddish wood which gave it a nice contrast to the black surrounding it. It reminded him of Belac, the red dragon.
Belac might have only been part of a story made up by Pastor Jim to entertain Sammy as a kid but those stories had been woven into their real lives and meant a whole hell of a lot more, to all of them.
Caleb had been so impressed with the gun when Dean had given it to him and he always kept it close but he'd never gotten it registered due to the modifications made especially for him. The gun wasn't exactly legal. He found it a little ironic that it was the gun Dean gave him that was keeping him here.
The sudden realisation that he mightn't get the gun back almost made him sick. He shifted uncomfortably in the hard chair, but tried to remain impassive. Where the fuck was Mac's lawyer?
"What? Still nothing to say?" Hendrickson asked in a mocking tone.
Caleb sighed tiredly but otherwise remained silent. He had already said enough.
Hendrickson lurched forward, coming to stand next to his partner. "How about we make a deal?" he asked waiting for Caleb to respond, only getting a blank stare. "You tell me where the Winchesters are and we'll forget about the gun."
Caleb wanted to tell this fed to go fuck himself but was proud of himself when he restrained from the urge. This idiot thought he knew everything there was to know when in reality he knew nothing. His headache was building, causing him to shift uncomfortably once again.
"You know, Caleb, we can do this the easy way or the hard way. It's your choice."
The easy way or the hard way? It was never the easy way with these guys. "You're wasting your time. I don't know anything." It wasn't breaking; he was just telling them what they already knew he would say.
"I know you're lying." Hendrickson stated confidently. Opening the manila folder he pulled out two glossy eight by ten photos and placed them on the table in front of Caleb. "Don't want to make this easy on everyone and tell us where to find your friends?"
Caleb remained silent. He wasn't going to fall in the trap of saying too much. He wasn't sure what he would have said anyway as he was faced with photo's of himself and the boys in some non-descript bar. If they had been able to get photos of them why hadn't they just picked up Dean and Sam on the spot? Caleb sat back, arms now across his chest. The drum solo behind his eyes still wasn't letting up and where the hell were Mac and his god damn lawyer?
"Okay," Hendrickson stated as if he had suspected that Caleb would react like this. He sat leaning against the table and opened the manila folder. "How' bout I tell you what we know and go from there?"
Without waiting for Caleb to acknowledge him he picked up a piece of paper and placed it in front of the hunter. "We've done our homework." He walked around the table so that he was now standing behind Caleb, reading over his shoulder. If that was a tactic? It was lame. "You might want to take a look at that. It might jog your memory."
Caleb didn't move and smiled inwardly when Hendrickson seemed to become annoyed with him.
"Look at the report."
Caleb sighed dramatically, sitting forward; he looked down at the piece of paper that had been placed in front of him. The first words that hit him were Arkansas, 1994, trailer park. He didn't need to read the rest to know where this report had come from. He remembered that incident clearly. John had left the boys in a questionable looking trailer, by themselves. Dean had taken out three drunks; put one or two of them in hospital protecting his little brother. The kid had been fourteen at the time and Caleb would never forget the phone call from Dean or a frightened Sammy clinging to him, black eye and all.
Hendrickson's finger came into view as he pointed over Caleb's shoulder at a certain name on the page. Caleb Winchester. "That's fraud."
Caleb remained silent. They couldn't prove that was him just because he happened to have the same first name.
"You want to tell us anything now?"
Caleb shook his head, looking nonplussed about the whole situation. "Nope, there's nothing to tell." The headache was making his patience run thin.
"I see." Hendrickson licked his lips and picked up another piece of paper. "Seventeen years ago Guardianship for Samuel Winchester changed over from John Winchester to Charles Conner. I don't suppose it would surprise you that Winchester's lawyer was connected to Doctor Mackland Ames. You're adoptive father."
Caleb looked thoughtful for a moment. "Is this going somewhere?"
Hendrickson looked to Reidy and the man moved again and spoke. "You've been involved with the Winchesters for a long time. I think the evidence speaks for itself."
"To you maybe."
"What's that supposed to me?"
"It means, Agent Hendrickson, that you have a photo of me in the same bar as these Winchesters, whoop-de-fucking-doo! News flash, I share bars with lots of people I don't know. My name is not Winchester and my father's associates are probably connected to a lot of random people we don't know. If that's proof to you then I think maybe you aren't as good at your homework as you like to think."
Hendrickson smirked. "I was beginning to think you had no voice."
"I don't like to waste my breath … are we done here?"
"Far from it, actually." Hendrickson was on the move again, sitting on the edge of the table. Reidy had yet to move from where he had been standing. "All these coincidences got us curious, right Reidy."
"Yep, they got us curious."
Caleb raised an eyebrow but otherwise remained silent. Hendrickson would proceed without his permission, of that he was sure.
"You see we've looked into your past and your association with the Winchesters starts to make a whole lot more sense."
Hendrickson picked up the folder and took a moment to look through the contents casually as if he were waiting to see if Caleb would comment. He shared a look with Reidy before bringing his gaze to Caleb's pinched one.
Caleb leant his head in his hand, pressing his palm against his forehead in an useless attempt to quell the thumping ache behind his eyes. It was getting a little hard to concentrate but he found himself raising his eyes and meeting Hendrickson's gaze as the man continued talking.
"It would seem that you're as dangerous to know as the Winchesters are …" The black agent pulled what looked like more photos from his collection and smiled a little as he placed them down in front of Caleb.
At first all Caleb saw was red. There was so much of it. Hair, tangled limbs-big and small, faces frozen in horror. It was like looking at stills from a slasher film and Caleb couldn't drag his eyes away from the grotesque image of what he now saw was a mother and children. He swallowed thickly as another photo was placed on top of the other ones. It was another crime scene photo and Caleb fought the urge to be sick as he stared at the dead and bloodied body of his friend.
Moose's death was still fresh in his mind. The guilt and anger he felt at the big man and his family being slaughtered like they were nothing still stifled him, but he had been sparred seeing the garish scene. By the time he had arrived, the bodies had been removed, the only evidence that the murder had occurred had been the blood still marring the floor and furniture.
Caleb pushed the photos away, sliding it to the end of the table, turning his eyes back up, glaring at the FBI agent. He could see the macabre sight of the bodies in his head, Moose's eyes starring at him, screaming at him that it was all his fault. The only thing the man had ever done was befriend Caleb Reaves.
"What does this have to do with anything?" Caleb's voice was toned in a low husk as he tried to keep his emotions in check. He hadn't seen this coming, he hadn't been prepared.
"Ah so you recognise this?" The subtle insinuations in the man's voice made Caleb want to jump up and strangle him. "Oliver Havers worked for your company and more than that he was a friend of yours."
"I'll ask again … what the hell does this have to do with anything?"
Hendrickson looked to Reidy and what looked like silent communication passed between them and Reidy spoke up.
"The Havers family murder was never solved, they had no enemies, and there was no motive …"
"But there was his connection to you." Hendrickson finished off Reidy's sentence with a pointed look to Caleb.
Moose had been taken out by Meg to keep Caleb distracted, to separate him from the boys and it had worked and Sam had died. His head was spinning as the gravity of it all hit him in technicolour. He had tried to convince himself that being spared the sight of the family's massacre hadn't made him feel any less guilty but he had been so wrong. The sight of Moose, his wife and his children, throats slit would now be engraved in his mind forever, adding to the torment of his fault in their deaths.
His eyes were drawn back to the sick photos that he had pushed away. He didn't want to look at them but he couldn't look away, his minds way of punishing him. Moose should never have died … Caleb should have been more careful.
New photos were slapped down in front of him and he automatically looked down as Reidy's hands obstructed his view for a moment, spreading out the photos so that Caleb could see them. They were older and he was confused. For a moment he wondered what they were from.
Something in Caleb snapped as a voice from deep inside his memory screamed his name and suddenly everything came back into focus. His lungs seized up as memories assaulted him; the photo's giving imagery to the long repressed torture of watching his world shatter.
Placing his hands on the table, his hands pressed so hard they looked white; Caleb could feel his heart beating a mile a minute, Goosebumps raised on his skin, and nausea erupted in the pit of his stomach.
"No! Please … Isaac!"
He watched the scene unfold again, as if from the closet in his parent's bedroom. Their room had always been a safe haven, somewhere to go after a bad nightmare. Now that bedroom was the set of its own nightmare, one he had thought he had remembered in detail … until now.
"Why are you doing this?"
His mothers sobbing as she clutched protectively at her pregnant stomach had Caleb's heart twisting in agony. He felt frozen to the spot in fear like he was a kid again.
There was so much blood. Caleb swallowed thickly, his fingers closing on the photo of his mother lying there in a pool of blood, her dead eyes still containing enough shock, pain and betrayal to haunt him. She had been so beautiful but now he was sure he was never going to get this image out of his head. He didn't want this to be the way he remembered her. He didn't want to remember this moment.
He shut his eyes tightly but only found that the picture re-presented itself in the dark and that there was no escape. His eyes snapped open, stinging with moisture. He crunched the photo in his hand as his headache pounded fiercely in time with his father's attack, with each stab of the letter opener. He was going to be sick.
Caleb's six year old self watched as his father, covered in his mothers blood, turned to look directly at his hideout, like he could see through the wardrobe and knew that his little boy was there ... petrified and scarred for life because of what he had just witnessed.
The man he had loved and looked up to his whole short life had just brutally stabbed his mother to death. Isaac Reaves smiled in Caleb's direction; put a gun to his head …
Caleb's voice was little more than a whisper. In his mind it had been a scream, a scream of denial and incomprehension. He'd broken out into a cold sweat and could feel himself trembling as he looked down at the crunched up photo in his hand.
A sudden surge of anger raced through his veins as he remembered where he was and why he was there. Hendrickson's voice filtered through from behind him.
"…weren't the only ones. Years later and your foster parents met a similar death … not to mention poor Oliver Havers and his family. I don't know about you, Caleb but I think I see a pattern." Hendrickson's voice got closer, like he was leaning near his shoulder. "Murder seems to follow you as much as your friends and I don't believe in coincidences."
With a loud growl Caleb swept his hand angrily across the table sending photo's flying off before standing up and turning to look wildly for the cause of his distress.
Hendrickson wisely took a step back. Caleb took some small amount of satisfaction at the man's reaction but only allowed it for a second before boiling hot rage took over him again and he took a step forward.
"What the fuck gives you the right?"
Hendrickson pulled his sidearm out fast, Reidy following suit, both agents training their weapons on the furious psychic. "Stop right there! Reidy cuff him."
Caleb could feel Reidy approaching him from behind and his mind registered that he was about to be restrained.
Moving fast and with precise skill, taught to him by non-other than John Winchester himself, Caleb spun, lashing out and knocked the gun from the agents hand. The force of the hit spun Reidy around and knocked him off balance.
Already forgetting about the downed agent, Caleb lunged forward, catching Hendrickson off guard. Hendrickson's own gun was wrenched from the man's hand as Caleb's forearm pressed against his throat. Leaning in close, Caleb snarled, gritting his teeth as he spoke in a low dangerous voice. "You sadistic sonofabitch!" he growled, shaking Hendrickson. "Is this fun for you? A joke?"
"I … ugh …" Hendrickson coughed, his throat straining to get the words out with Caleb's arm lodged against it. "I … assure you. This is no … game."
Caleb stood there, limbs trembling with fury he hadn't felt in so long, even as he maintained his strong hold on Hendrickson. Time seemed to still, like he was stuck in some time dilation field. He could feel himself losing it, control slipping from him more with every second that past. He wanted to let go and just destroy everything in his grasp and Hendrickson was at the top of that list. He wanted to do all that and more but instead he just stood there, holding his tormentor to the wall, breathing in harsh pants of breath, his fingers clenching and unclenching around the gun in his hand. His face was inches from Hendrickson's as his heart beat fast and loud in his chest, resonating in his head with his headache.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, Caleb realised that Reidy was calling for help and with this realisation came the knowledge that he had just made things worse for himself.
Time sped up to normal speed again as he felt rough hands dragging him away from Hendrickson, pushing him into the wall … hard. Caleb closed his eyes on instinct to stop himself from fighting back, the gun ripped from his grasp as the cold metal cuffs encircled his wrist once again. Just like before, his parent's carnage flashed through his mind behind his closed lids. Caleb squeezed his eyes tightly shut before forcing them open. He couldn't erase the images, sounds and memories played on repeat in living colour. Would he ever be able to sleep again?
Hendrickson coughed, massaging his throat as he watched the police officers shove Caleb back into the chair. "Cuff …" he coughed again, swallowing as if to get his vocal cords working again. "Cuff him to the chair. I don't want him moving from that seat."
Reidy was behind him in an instant, taking his own set of handcuffs out and connecting Caleb's bound hands to the back of the chair.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. Leave us. We're not finished."
"If you're sure …"
"We're not finished here by a long shot. No interruptions."
The door to the room closed again and Caleb focused on a point on the window, a smudge on the surface. He wondered how it had gotten there and how often were these interrogation rooms cleaned? He thought of anything to keep his mind from what was happening around him. If he allowed himself to listen, to pay attention to what Hendrickson and his cronies were saying then he might just say something he would regret. He couldn't fail Dean and Sam like that and he couldn't risk his own sanity like that. As much as he tried to put it out of his mind he couldn't. It was like the lock that had held all of those memories had been blown apart, leaving them pouring out in his mind like water over a destroyed dam.
"That was foolish." Hendrickson's voice filtered through but Caleb continued to stare straight ahead.
He wasn't giving this bastard one more ounce of satisfaction. If Hendrickson wanted the Winchesters so much then he could damn well find them himself. He wasn't doing his fucking dirty work for him.
"Why don't you tell us where your friends are and maybe we might forget about what just happened."
Caleb's jaw was clenched tightly in an attempt to keep his mouth closed. He wanted to lash out again, wanted to tell Hendrickson just what a total dickhead he was. To Hendrickson, the man really believed he was hunting down some nasty piece of work but right now, Caleb didn't care. The agent would never be the kind of man that Dean was.
"You're not protecting anyone, Caleb. These Winchesters, they're bad news … monsters, monsters that need to be stopped."
Monsters. Caleb almost snorted at that. What would Hendrickson do if he were faced with the real monsters that they faced everyday?
Blood … screams … waves crashing … his father's eyes … BANG!!
Caleb tried not to flinch as the scene he had been desperately trying to keep out of his mind came back to replay in vivid clarity. Where the fuck was Mac?
"You know some say that confession is good for the soul and I think we both know that yours could use all the help it can get."
Caleb glanced up from his study of the smudge on the window, eyes hard and glaring. He could still feel his body shaking and he hated that his body had betrayed him. He was stronger than this dammit. He knew what Hendrickson was getting at. He could still remember the visions he'd had of his foster parents before he'd finally run away. He had taken off because he was sure that they would die because of him, just like everyone else and he had been right.
Mac had made it clear that it hadn't been his fault and Caleb let Mac believe that he believed that but the guilt would never leave him. That couple would have been alive today had he never come into their lives. Death followed him. Everywhere. He was tainted, cursed just like his father and his father before him. It didn't matter how Mac tried to paint it, Caleb couldn't ignore the evidence.
Before Hendrickson even had the chance to make any more demands or accusations the door to the interrogation room creaked open again and the black man raised his eyes with an annoyed expression at whoever had interrupted them. Caleb allowed his own eyes to lower to the table top and felt his heart seize painfully in his chest as the edges of the crime scene photos could be seen poking out the of the manila folder.
He didn't want to look but he couldn't pull his eyes away.
"I believe this interrogation is over." A new voice pulled Caleb's attention back from the dark place it was starting to fester in.
"I'm sorry, Sir, they insisted."
"Who the hell are you?" Hendrickson snapped at the newcomer.
"I'm Mr. Reaves Lawyer. It's time for you to leave, Agent Hendrickson. I need some time with my client."
Caleb swallowed thickly as he heard Mac's voice calling him in the background. He closed his eyes trying to regain some control again. Mac's voice got closer and when Caleb opened his eyes the folder was gone and Mac's face came into view. It was over. Mac would get him out now.
He should have felt relief but all he felt was numb.
"You know staring at your phone isn't going to make it ring."
"You talking isn't going to make you less annoying either but you don't hear me complaining."
Sam shook his head and continued to run his fingers through Boo's fur, the new addition to their family resting his head comfortably on Sam's leg. Harper Lee sat in front of the fireplace. "I'm just saying. Mac already called. He said they were on their way."
"Sue me if I'm a little worried." Dean picked up the remote from the coffee table, intent on changing the channel before his remaining brain cells died as the late night infomercials started. "You know how many of these things we have sat and blindly watched over the years … the wasted hours."
Sam knew exactly how much time they had wasted over the years. He knew how much time he had wasted over the years. He wouldn't take back Stanford. He couldn't regret meeting Jess; making friends that he got to keep for more than a few months at a time. But when he thought of all the time he wasted not contacting his brother during that time he felt like a fool. He could have had both.
Dean flipped through the channels, although it was obvious he wasn't really watching. The older hunter was just going through the motions. They had been lying low and taking it easy ever since arriving at Pastor Jim's farm and Dean was slowly driving Sam mad. Mac hadn't been able to tell them exactly when Caleb would be released at first. There had been complications, something to do with Caleb's gun.
Sam had to smile at how careful Mac was when being badgered by Dean about the situation. Dean was looking for any reason to go off, to yell and rant but in the end Mac's carefully worded explanation had only assured them that Caleb would be fine and that they were to head to the farm and wait. That phone call had been a day and a half ago.
Downtime in which Sam had used to work in the Hunters Tomb, looking through books and journals, scowering the internet for a solution to Dean's deal. It was the first time in the last few weeks that Sam had been given the chance to sit down and do nothing else. Mac had called again a few hours earlier to tell them they would be there soon.
"Oh great," Dean sighed in exasperation. "Letterman's on."
Sam sniggered. "You're just upset it isn't Oprah."
Dean's head turned and his eyes actually met Sam's, glaring for a moment before the hint of a smile crept up. "Whatever, bitch."
"Jerk." The familiar banter was good. It kept Sam above the water when he felt he could drown.
Gravel crunching outside put a stop to the moment and Dean shot out of his seat in the arm chair, picking up his gun from the coffee table and went to the front door. Sam patted Boo on the head in silent apology and then moved after his brother as Dean pushed open the screen door.
The night air was crisp but not freezing. Sam crossed his arms over his chest in a self hugging, self warming motion as he walked behind Dean in the direction of the two vehicles.
Caleb excited his truck first, glancing at him and then resting on Dean for a few moments before he avoided their gazes all together. Mac pulled up next to the black GMC and didn't waste any time getting out. The Scholar's eyes were trained on his son, creases of concern marring his forehead.
"Damien." The relief in that one word spoke to how much Dean had been worried about Caleb. "What the hell happened?"
Sam wondered what Dean was talking about for a moment until he came to stand beside him and got a closer look at Caleb. In the minimal lighting still coming from Mac's headlights it was easy to see the cut in Caleb's eyebrow and the bruising branching out around it.
"You know what happened." Caleb's voice was tight. He didn't want to talk about it.
"I'm talking about your face."
"It's not nothing."
Caleb huffed and took his bag out of the truck before slamming the door shut and turning to give Dean a tired look. "They caught me by surprise, I fought it, this happened." He pointed to his head. "Like I said, it's nothing."
"You okay?" Sam asked. There was something off and it had more to do than a small head wound but he couldn't put his finger on anything specific.
They were bathed in darkness as Mac finally shut off his lights and made his way over to them with his own bag in hand. "How about we take this inside, boys? It's been a long drive."
Sam stepped out of the way as Caleb brushed past him towards the house without another word.
"Mac?" Dean's voice demanded answers to the same questions running around in Sam's mind.
"I promise you once we're all settled I will answer your questions." Mac reached out and placed a hand on Dean's shoulder as he passed, giving it a slight squeeze.
Sam followed behind his brother who had a permanent frown on his face. He could see the tension in his brother's shoulders as he walked up the steps. He had thought that as soon as Dean saw Caleb that he might feel better but it hadn't exactly worked out that way. If the physical evidence of Caleb's stay in the hands of Agent Hendrickson wasn't enough to piss Dean off, Caleb's actions since arriving would be sending signals to his brothers internal alarm system.
Re-entering the house, the sound of glasses clinking and water running could be heard from the kitchen and Sam followed Mac and his brother in the direction of that sound. He glanced over at the dogs. Boo had his head up and watching them with curiosity. Harper Lee remained lying by the fire, basking in its warmth.
"So how did Hendrickson know to come after you?" Dean was standing by the kitchen bench, his eyes on Caleb's back as the psychic drank steadily from a glass of tap water.
Sam took a seat beside Mac as the older psychic ran a finger across his brow. The man was tired, not just from this latest disaster but from everything. Sam could tell that the fatigue and stress was bone deep and had been weighing Mac down for way too long. It saddened Sam to know that it would not stop, not for a good while. Not until they knew all of their family was safe and sound.
"Someone tipped him off." Caleb spoke quickly and quietly.
Caleb turned and glared at the younger man. "How the hell should I know? They weren't exactly handing out useful information." He grumbled, running a hand through his hair.
"Caleb, sit down."
Mac's order was soft but an order none the less and Sam watched as both Dean and Caleb turned to look at the scholar as if he had interrupted him. Caleb looked like he wanted to be anywhere but where he was but he sat down at the kitchen table anyway, elbows on the table and his fingers massaging his forehead tiredly.
Dean reluctantly took a seat as well and all was quiet as all four men were allowed a moment to breathe and think. Sam wanted to touch Caleb's mind. It was tempting but with the way Caleb was feeling and the fact that he wasn't all that stealthy with his power yet made him stop. Caleb would be likely to strike out and he wanted to give the older man a chance to work through what happened before he took any drastic measures.
"Do you think that they'll be keeping an eye on the both of you now?" Sam asked breaking the silence and earning him Mac's attention.
"I think we should take extra precautions."
"So what we're supposed to steer clear of each other? Indefinitely?" Dean asked. Sam knew that would never fly with his brother, not at this point of time, not with his year dwindling down to short months.
"I didn't say that."
"So what are you saying?"
"I'm saying I want you boys to be extra careful," Mac clarified. "All of you." He looked pointedly at his son.
"If I ever find the son of a bitch that snitched to that bastard …"
"You don't know it was a guy," Sam corrected, interrupting his brothers tirade. "It could be anyone."
"Sam's right," Mac agreed. "There are factions of the brotherhood and you still have enemies out there that would benefit from your incarceration."
"You two really know how to make a guy feel so much better," Dean said dryly, rolling his eyes. He looked to Caleb and frowned when he saw that the older man hadn't moved from his position hunched over at the table. "Dude, you okay?"
"You're kinda making it hard for me to believe that." Dean shifted so that his body was fully turned towards his friend. "Hey … I'm sorry for dragging you into this mess …"
"Shut up, Deuce."
"Will you stop blaming yourself for every fucking thing out of your control?" Caleb stood and walked around the table towards the doorway. "Look, I'm tired. I'm going upstairs. Goodnight."
Without giving anyone a chance to reply Caleb left the room and the stairs could be heard creaking under his weight. Sam was still looking in the direction Caleb had left when he heard a chair scrape back as Dean stood. He turned back to his brother as Mac placed his hand on Dean's forearm, stopping him from going after Caleb.
"Let him be, son. He's had a rough couple of nights. Sleep is probably the best thing for him."
Dean seemed reluctant to stay put for a moment and Sam could almost feel Dean's need to go check on Caleb vibrate from him.
"Dean." Sam said his brother's name and with a look he told him that Mac was right.
They needed to give Caleb his space. Caleb could be cagier than Dean when something was bothering him, especially when it was something that hit especially close to home. It made Sam wonder what exactly had happened while Caleb had been in custody to make him so withdrawn.
Dean nodded reluctantly and then stepped away to the coffee pot he'd had brewing for hours in preparation for Mac and Caleb's arrival. "What happened in there, Mac? I mean I've been up close and personal with good ol' Vic myself and it didn't leave me like … that," Dean asked as he poured three cups.
"I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't get there nearly as early enough as I would have liked." Mac accepted the coffee from Dean. "I had some difficulty getting a hold of my lawyer."
Sam took his own coffee from Dean's outstretched hand, sticking his nose up at the simple black coffee. He had never really liked the taste much but it would do for now. There were more pressing matters at hand than whether he had milk in his coffee. Meeting Mac's tired gaze across from him, Sam sat the coffee on the table and sat forward.
Once Dean was seated, Mac spoke again. "By the time we got there Caleb had been under interrogation for hours. It took a while to get him released due to the unregistered gun he had on him."
"What gun?" Sam asked.
"The gun I gave him." Dean's voice held resignation and annoyance in it. Again blaming himself for the situation. It didn't matter what anyone said Dean was always going to justify shouldering the blame. Sam hadn't known anything about the gun in question.
"Yes," Mac replied.
"Damn it …"
"Agent Hendrickson wants to bring you in and I get the impression he will stop at nothing."
"Charming guy, huh?"
Mac sighed. "He believes he's doing the right thing."
"And that's an excuse? His ignorance?"
"No, and after his treatment of Caleb I don't feel like giving any allowances at all, but it's the truth."
"Did Caleb say anything to you?" Sam asked quietly, looking down at his hands being warmed by the contents of the ceramic mug and then back up at Mac.
"No, he's been especially quiet. He almost bit my head off when I suggested we travel together. I thought I would give him some space for now. I was hoping being here will help with whatever is on his mind."
"No!! Stop!!" The scream was wrenched from Caleb's throat as he bolted up in bed. "Stop …" he whispered. His throat felt raw.
Caleb blinked furiously as he panted for breath, his eyes darting around the room, looking for the familiar wallpaper, listening for the sound of the waves breaking on the shore. But there was nothing, no smell of the ocean mixed with the scent of his family's blood.
The psychic puffed out a whimpered breath that he couldn't hold in while in the privacy of his own room at the farm. He was at the farm and the farm, for all intents and purposes, was safe.
It had felt so real. It was real; at least in that moment it had been real for him. He had felt it, smelt it, heard it like he had been back there hiding as he watched the train wreck that was his parents.
His hand was trembling as he brought it up to wipe the sweat from his face and out of his eyes. "Okay … okay …" he breathed shakily.
The room was still dark and the house was quiet but he could still hear the remnant sounds from his dream. Normally bad dreams faded the longer he was awake but this one didn't leave. It stayed cemented in his mind and Caleb wondered when he would ever lose the image, the image that blended with all of the other atrocities that had followed him through his life.
A wet nose wormed its way under his arm and the psychic jumped. Looking down, Caleb frowned a little in confusion as he found Boo next to him on the bed. He didn't remember the dog being in the room when he had finally fallen asleep. Dean or Sam must have let him in.
Caleb bit his bottom lip, absentmindedly patting the top of Boo's head, as he tried to get a hold of himself. He was better than this. He knew he was better than this but he couldn't seem to move past it and it was making him angry … and sick.
He felt the nausea rise up from the bottom of his stomach and tried to push it back down. He was not going to lose the minimal amount of food still remaining in his stomach, not to this.
After sitting there for a few moments swallowing thickly and listening to his heart slowing down to a more normal speed, Caleb felt himself lose the battle. Apparently his stomach didn't agree with the idea of not expelling its meagre contents.
Pushing his bed covers aside, Caleb stumbled to his feet, hand against stomach. Opening the door that separated his room from Dean and Sam's, Caleb made his way quietly across. He could hear Sam's light snoring as he opened the bathroom door and flipped the light switch, squinting in the harsh change of light.
His knees hit the floor and his hands gripped the porcelain of the toilet bowl, his stomach giving nothing more than a few dry heaves before it settled.
"Jesus …" Caleb spat into the bowl and then wiped a hand over his mouth. The psychic closed his eyes as he remained on his knees waiting to see if his stomach had indeed settled.
"I don't need this," he whispered in a groan of frustration.
After everything that had happened, with everything that was still set to happen Caleb needed to be at the top of his game. Dean was counting on him, Sam needed his help and here he couldn't get past issues that he had thought he had buried a long time ago. The problem with burying issues meant that they always had a chance of being dug back up and he hated that Hendrickson has been able to get to him the way he had. He didn't want the others finding out what happened in that interrogation and he most definitely didn't want to talk about it. He didn't think he could if he had to do. What could he say? He just needed some space to work through this himself and then they could get back to business as usual. Soul saving detail was a lot more important than any personal demons.
Using the toilet bowl to push himself up to his feet, Caleb glared at his reflection in the mirror. He could still see his fathers face as he smiled and pulled the trigger against his own head and it made him shudder. Mouth dry, Caleb picked up the glass sitting next to the sink and gripped it tightly in his hand before turning the faucet on.
Caleb held the glass under the water until it was filled, preferring not to look at Dean, whose eyes he could feel on him. "I'm good, Dean. Go back to bed."
"You called me Dean."
Caleb kept his back to the younger hunter as he took a long drink of the cool water. He wiped the back of his hand over his mouth when he was finished, squeezing his eyes shut to block out the searing images still flashing off and on through his mind. "Last time I checked that was your name, Dude."
"You never call me that unless you're pissed or out of it."
"I'm not pissed." Caleb slammed the glass onto the sink; it's shattering a dramatic punctuation.
"Damien..." Dean started forward.
"Goddamnit." Caleb hissed. He opened his hand letting the jagged shards of glass fall to the porcelain top. Blood seeped from a long gash across his palm and he clenched his fist to stop the flow.
"Don't do that." Dean grabbed a towel off the floor. "There could be glass in the cut."
Caleb jerked under his touch, but Dean didn't release the grip he had around the other hunter's wrist. He forced Caleb's hand under the still running water, looking up at his best friend as the liquid turned a garish pink. "So you're not pissed."
"What's going on?" Sam stepped into the small bathroom, crowding it further with his looming presence. He rubbed at his eyes. "Why are you two up?"
Caleb sighed. "You're brother thought I needed someone to keep me company."
Dean turned off the water, pulling Caleb's hand up to take a better look at it. "Obviously I was right."
"It's fine." Caleb pulled away. "I'm fine."
"Sorry if the screaming led me to think otherwise."
"I wasn't screaming."
"Dude, Old Man Hensen probably heard you across the holler."
Caleb took the towel Dean thrust at him and pressed it over the cut in his hand. "Sam didn't hear me."
"Yeah, well Sammy could sleep through World War III. I on the other hand have a lot experience in being woken up by nightmares."
Sam stepped further into the room, studied Caleb. "You had a nightmare? Was it a vision?"
Caleb shook his head, slid down to sit on the side of the tub. "I didn't have a nightmare. Both of you go back to bed."
Dean ignored him, grabbing the first aid kit from under the sink. "No can do. Injuries are a first priority."
"Damn it, Deuce." Caleb flinched when the younger hunter pulled the towel away, uncapping the peroxide. "Leave it alone. Alright. Just...leave me alone." His emotions were too close to the surface, grief and horror mixing badly with Dean's presence, his own concerns.
"Have I mentioned lately what a hypocrite you are?" Dean growled, pouring a heavy stream of the antiseptic over Caleb's wound. He took morbid satisfaction in the psychic's slight yelp. "You never let up when I'm sitting in the hot seat."
"Well, that's you."
"And that's different how?" Dean tore open a package of gauze.
"I don't need to be hovered over."
Dean pressed the sterile bandages harder than he needed to. "And I do?"
"On occasion..." Caleb jerked his hand free, cradling it to his chest. "Watch it, Nurse Hatchett."
"Stop your whining." Dean reclaimed the injured appendage, armed with antibiotic cream. "It's just a scratch."
Caleb rolled his eyes. "That's what I said. It's nothing. Go. Back. To. Bed."
"Not until you talk to me." Dean tossed the bloodied bandages in the trash. "You haven't said shit since you got back from your stay with the NYPD, and now you're pulling your post trauma routine."
"Fuck you." Caleb stood. "I'm out of here."
It was Sam who stopped him, blocking the doorway. "You were dreaming about the interrogation."
"Get out of my way, Sam."
"What? Did Hendrickson go all Dragnet on your ass?" Dean came up behind the psychic. "You said you got banged up when they took you into custody."
"How many times do I have to say I can take care of myself. I'm the fucking Knight. No pansy-ass fed is going to mess with me."
"Not physically," Sam said.
"What?" Dean asked.
"Stay out of my head!"
"That son of bitch." Sam ignored Caleb, met his brother's gaze. "He showed him crime scene photos."
"It was nothing...drop it."
Sam held Caleb's gaze, a far off look on his face. "Moose and his family...the kids."
"Sammmy..." Caleb swallowed thickly, unable to keep enough of a block to maintain the backwash of images.
"God..." Sam choked.
"What?" Dean demanded as his brother suddenly looked as pale and shaken as Caleb.
The younger Winchester took a step closer to Caleb. "Hendrickson had the photos from the beach house...the crime scene pictures of his mom and dad."
"Sonofabitch!" Dean growled. "I'm going to kill that bastard."
"No you're not." Caleb glared at him. "You're going to stay as far away from him as you can. Cops in general. Do you hear me?" He pointed a finger at Dean. "And I'm going to bed."
Caleb didn't give them a chance to reply before turning and storming out of the bathroom. They heard his bedroom door close and Dean turned to his brother.
Sam ran a hand over his mouth. "Bad."
Sam hesitated. He knew his brother blamed himself, would take every detail personally, turning it over and over in his mind until it somehow all came out as his fault. "Dean..."
Sam rubbed his eyes. "Hendrickson didn't tell him what they were. He showed him Moose first, shook him up, then tossed in the ones of his parents."
"Is that legal?"
Dean licked his lips. "Damn." He started past Sam. "I need to talk to him."
His brother caught his arm. "I think you should give him some time. I've never seen him like this."
"I have." Dean didn't explain further, giving Sam a grim smile. "See if you can dig up some of Jim's stash, will ya."
"I don't think getting him drunk is going to help."
"No. But it'll sure make me feel better." Chick-flick scenes always made him feel the need to get shit-faced.
Both boys walked back into their room and Dean rubbed at his tired eyes as Sam went to his bag and pulled out a sweater. Dean found that the faster time surged forward, the more tired he became. He was running out of time and he was scared, everyone knew it and even he wasn't denying that any more. The only thing keeping him together was his family. Knowing that Sam was alive and safe was keeping him sane, knowing that when he had to go their small family would band together.
Dean wasn't blind; he had seen how Sam and Caleb had been with each other since learning of his deal. They had each other. But right now? His best friend was hurting and hurting in a bad way. Caleb had never failed to be there for him, even when Dean had pushed him away and Dean was going to do everything in his power to be there for Caleb in return.
Sam walked past him to the door. "I'll see what I can find," he assured his brother, giving him a small smile that looked more like a grimace before leaving the room.
"Is everything okay up there?"
The voice startled Sam as he bounded from the last step, entering the dimly lit kitchen. Mac was standing at the sink, looking dishevelled and older than his years. Sam imagined anxiety, fear and worry took its toll on everyone.
"What are you doing up?" Sam asked even though he already knew the answer.
"Sleep hasn't exactly been a good friend of mine for a while, especially when I hear my son screaming."
Sam winced and walked further into the room. "He's having a bit of a hard time," Sam supplied.
"How bad is it?"
"He wouldn't talk to me, Sam, wouldn't let me in. It's been a long time since I've seen him even close to the state I found him in. At that point I was thinking more along the lines of your father's methods of dealing with people."
Sam sighed. If he went into details Mac wouldn't feel any better and he didn't feel like he had the right to spill everything he had seen to Caleb's father even though he had just done so for Dean.
"Hendrickson didn't pull any punches. He used anything he could find to try and break him … Dean's up there with him now." If anyone could help Caleb it was his brother.
"You're not going to tell me are you?"
"You don't want to betray his trust."
"I didn't exactly ask when I pried," Sam admitted meekly, looking down.
Sam looked up at Mac's comment and found something that looked like pride in the man's eyes. John hadn't allowed Mac or Caleb to coach him with his powers; he hadn't wanted Sam to know or anyone else for that matter. Sam now knew that it had been a bone of contention between his Dad and Mac while he was growing up.
Sam nodded, allowing a small smile. "With yours and Caleb's help," he replied.
Now when he looked back he knew that Mac and Caleb had tried to subtly help teach him without being obvious about it and since coming back into their lives he'd been trying to accept his powers, trying not to fight them and he was getting better at using them but he also knew that if Caleb hadn't been already so weakened he would have never gotten as far as he did in the older man's head.
Mac chuckled. "You know there was a day when all we had to do was slip you a five and you would tell us all we wanted to know."
"I've grown a lot since then, Mac."
Mac nodded. "That you have, Samuel and I couldn't be prouder. I know Jim and your father would feel the same."
Sam felt his throat lock up at the mention out his father and the pastor. "Thanks," he forced out. God, he missed them.
"Let me guess? Dean has sent you on a quest for Jim's cure all? That his idea of a remedy?" Mac asked.
"Yeah, although I think he just wanted to get me out of the room." Sam shrugged into his sweater. "I was on my way out to the barn."
"If anyone will get through to Caleb it will be Dean, "Mac said. "But he worries me."
Sam frowned. "Who? Dean or Caleb."
"Both." Mac admitted with a sigh. Sam could tell that every instinct in the older man's body was telling him to go up there and see to his son.
"Me too," Sam agreed.
The Scholar and future Scholar shared a moment of comfortable silence before Sam shoved his hands in his pockets, scuffing his feet. "So...you want to join me on a quest?"
To Sam's relief, Mackland smiled. "Scholar and protégé?"
"You never know what we might run across on the way."
"I'd like that." He grabbed Jim's old barn coat from the back of the door, before turning to waggle his eyebrows at Sam. "Besides that gives us first dibs on the cure all. I've been feeling rather under the weather myself these days."
The door clicked shut behind Sam and Dean sat there for a moment, collecting himself. His eyes travelled around the room. Sam's toy dragons, his baseball glove, little bits and pieces of their childhood were littered around the room, giving Dean a sense of home.
Dean's eyes rested on the backpack hanging of one of the posts at the end of his bed. Caleb's hand-me-down. That bag had served its purpose for many years and turned out to be better than anything his friend could have bought him. The fabric was worn and he doubted the backpack would ever be used again, but he couldn't bring himself to actually toss the thing away.
Taking a deep breath, Dean stood, listening for sound from the psychic's bedroom. He heard nothing but Dean knew better than to think that Caleb had gone back to sleep.
Dean raised his hand and knocked on the door before taking the door knob in hand and pushing it open. Caleb spoke before he had a chance to say anything.
"Go away, Deuce."
Dean didn't hesitate as he entered Caleb's room. The older hunter was sitting at his desk in front of one of the old model bridges he and Sam had put together years before.
He crossed to the bed where Boo was lying, head on his crossed paws. His tail thumped on the mattress as Dean took a seat. "I'm not going anywhere until we talk about this."
Caleb glared at him. "Because talking about our feelings is a regular past time for us."
"It's not our high spot, but sometimes it's a necessary evil."
Caleb ran his hands through his hair, rocked back in the chair. "I don't need this tonight, man."
If his voice hadn't broken Dean might have given in. "No can do."
Caleb whipped his arm out, slamming into the model knocking it from the desk, sending it crashing to the floor. "Goddamnit, Dean! Don't push me."
Dean stayed where he was, his fingers threading through Boo's fur. "I remember you telling me that sometimes talking about the big bad took its power away."
"You have selective listening."
"I always listen to you."
Caleb leaned forward, rested his head in his hands. "Nothing destroys that kind of power, Kid."
Dean stood, going to kneel in front of his best friend. "I thought the same thing until I told you about my mom, about the fire and the heat...her screams. After that...I didn't feel so afraid."
Caleb closed his eyes. "You were five, Deuce."
"I'm willing to bet you felt five again when you saw those pictures."
"I didn't know it could all come back like that." Caleb exhaled heavily. "I thought I remembered what it was like...but what I thought I knew was just impressions, blurry out of focus like a fucking Monet painting."
"I don't know about the painting, but I know what you're talking about with the memory. That night with Mom...it doesn't seem real any more-like a movie I watched years ago, maybe even made up bits and pieces of it."
Caleb met his gaze, swallowed hard. "It was real, Deuce. I saw it all in black and white. Her face..."
Caleb blinked. "I didn't recognize it at first. The wallpaper with the birds..." Caleb twisted his silver ring. "There was blood everywhere." He laughed, but it came out sounding more like a sob. "I didn't even remember my own parent's bedroom, the place where they both died. How fucked up is that?"
"You didn't want to remember it. There's a difference. You were protecting yourself." And Hendrickson had cruelly torn away all Caleb's safeguards.
"Too well." Caleb nodded. "I didn't even see it coming. My damn head was hurting, then seeing Moose..."
"Hendrickson is smart. He set the board like a pro, man."
"Yeah. He played me like a fool. I was primed and ready when he threw down his trump card." Caleb pinched at the bridge of his nose, squeezed his eyes shut. "Her eyes...her face...I can't get it out of my head now."
Dean reached out, gripped his best friend's wrist. "Damien..."
"It all came back, like a fucking flood, man. I could hear her screaming my name...smell the blood. Then he was there."
Caleb opened his eyes locking gazes with Dean. "Isaac was looking at me. He smiled before he pulled the trigger...I was too scared to move. I didn't even make a sound."
Dean gulped, not able to tear his eyes away from his friend's face as Caleb spoke. There was nothing he could say to make this right, and there was nothing Dean hated more than being powerless to help those he cared about.
"I don't want to remember them like that." He pinched at the bridge of his nose trying to block out the movie-like replay flashing on and off behind his eyes like some bastardized vision. Caleb knew his panic was rising along with the pounding in his skull, seeping through well-honed defences. He should be stronger; he owed them that much. John would have been so disappointed. "The look on Isaac's face...it was pure evil."
"Dude, take it easy."
Caleb felt Dean's touch on his arm, blinked to erase the images of his mother's bloodied body; the flashback complete with sounds and smells-his father's smile. He tried to calm his breathing, swallowed back bile knowing there was nothing left in his stomach to come up. He had to get a grip. The last thing Dean needed was for the future knight to have a fucking melt down.
Caleb clenched his fist, letting the pain of his sliced palm anchor him to the present. Taking another gulp of air, he lifted his head to meet Dean's gaze. "I can't make it stop."
Dean started to stand, fear now reflected in his green eyes. "I'm getting Mac."
Caleb shook his head. Obviously not a good idea because the room moved with him, wavering as blue paint morphed to a sandcastle beige wall dotted with tiny black birds. "No...I'm good."
"No you're not." Dean growled. "Did you have your head checked out?"
Caleb was pretty sure he might need his head checked out and not the way Dean was implying. Dean made a move to get up again but Caleb grabbed his arm, keeping him in place. "Deuce, stop. I'm okay...it's just...I don't want him to know. Okay?" Mac had enough problems running The Triad single-handedly. "I just need to figure out how to shut it off, stuff it all back in that closet."
"I get that," Dean lowered his voice. "I've been there, Damien."
"Your mom?" Caleb knew his 'barely holding it together' gaze was really tearing into Dean. He hated he was adding to the kid's guilt.
"No. The night that Sam died."
The answer caught him by surprise. They hadn't really talked about the details of Cold Oak, and Caleb was pretty sure he couldn't handle them presently. When he didn't respond fast enough, Dean continued.
"When Sam died it was the worst moment of my life. Every fear, every nightmare, rolled into one fucking horrifying moment, an instant when I wasn't fast enough to save him. It kept replaying in my head over and over again, and no matter how I tried to change it, or make it go away, it wouldn't. I thought I was going to go fucking insane."
"You don't have to tell me this," Caleb protested, the unchecked tremble in Dean's voice threatening to rob him of what little control he had left.
Dean looked up at him. "I know it's not the same, because I brought Sammy back; but for weeks after that, I didn't sleep worth a goddamn."
"Selling your soul might have had a little to do with that." Caleb couldn't help himself.
Dean frowned. "I wasn't thinking of myself, Dude."
"You going to let me finish?"
"Is there a relative point?" Caleb looked down at his hands, twisting his silver ring, his jaw muscles jumping. He didn't want to think about Dean being in that kind of pain, especially when he had done nothing to stop it.
"The point is that just like with Mom it took some time, but eventually that nightmare faded to the background too. I made new memories to replace it, sort of like how I paint over a knick or scratch on the Impala. I mean, I still know it's there, but after a little glossing over, I don't notice it so much."
Caleb was breathing easier, the images not as pronounced. "But what if I'm not supposed to forget it? Maybe I should remember that look in Isaac's eyes because..."
Dean gripped his wrist. "If you say you could end up like him, I will so kick your ass right here and now, kicked puppy look or not."
"It's not a far reach, man."
It was said quietly, the admission something that he hadn't spoken of since Wyoming because he knew that no-one liked to hear it. None of them had ever wanted to believe that Elkins had been right about his heritage but they had been wrong and Caleb wasn't even sure what was worse, all those years of speculation or having proof that he was tainted by evil.
He unclenched his fist, focusing on the blood stained bandage over his palm. "I wanted to kill that prick Hendrickson. The gun was in my hand...I thought about pressing it to his temple, just like Isaac and blowing him away. Anything to make it all stop. Just like Johnny taught me, kill the things that scare you."
"What are you talking about?" Dean asked.
Caleb blinked, wetness clinging to his dark lashes. He cleared his throat. "They made the mistake of not keeping me cuffed. I guess they thought I was some pansy-assed architect they could poke with a stick. I got the upper hand, took Hendrickson's prick of a partner down with one punch, and then I got my hands on your man." Caleb shook with remembered fury. "It would have been so easy, every inch of me was screaming to 'just do it'. End it all. Finish Hendrickson, his buddy, then shoot my way out of there."
"That doesn't mean you're evil." Dean paused until he was sure he had Caleb's attention. "It just means you're human."
"Right." Caleb held his gaze. "Murder and suicide is a natural instinct. Proof of my sparkling people skills."
Dean shrugged. "In our world it makes sense."
"In our world, everyone we love dies, Deuce." Caleb rubbed his eyes. "And you're up next on the goddamn list."
Dean avoided the mention of his deal. "In the end, you didn't do it. You held back. That's the difference between you and Isaac."
Caleb took a shaky breath. "I only stopped because of Dad. And Sam and you, Deuce. I couldn't do that to you."
Dean nodded. "Another difference between you and your old man. He didn't have The Brotherhood, or a family quite like ours."
Caleb took a deeper breath, exhaled slowly his racing heart beginning to calm. " "Nobody has a fucking family quite like ours, man." Caleb's mouth twitched. "Except for maybe the Munsters."
Dean grinned. "Sammy is so that normal blond chick, Marilyn."
Caleb laughed, feeling the first hint of relief since his ordeal with Hendrickson began. "Bobby's got to be Uncle Fester."
"That was the Adam's Family, Dude."
"Another fine comparison."
"Nah, we're in a league of our own." He slapped Caleb's leg. "How you doing?"
"Better. Thanks to you."
"Good." Dean stood. "I was about to suggest we head out to the barn for some John Winchester therapy."
Caleb groaned. "Sparring? You'd really take advantage of my delicate state that way?"
"Nothing like a good ass-kicking to get your mind off things." Dean held a hand out to help him up. "Besides, what are best friend's for?"
Caleb gripped his wrist and hefted himself from the chair. "Thanks, but I think I'll pass on the beating."
"Then how about you let me buy you a drink?"
"Jim's finest?" Caleb asked.
"My favourite kind of therapy. I sent Sammy out to the barn."
"Mac's probably up," Caleb said. "I'm betting he didn't sleep through my little episode."
Dean's smile faded. "It will get better, Damien. I promise."
Caleb nodded. It would take some time, but he had a reason to get through it. There was no place for weakness, at least not while Dean's life was at stake. He forced a grin. "As long as you stick around just in case I need the occasional ass-kicking."
"I'm not going anywhere."
"Good." Caleb slapped him in the stomach as he moved past. "Now let's get down there before the Scholars start without us."
A/N-2: Thanks to everyone that took the time to read this and reviews are always more than welcome and loved if you have the time :)
There is less than a week to go until the Supernatural Season 4 Premiere and I admit that I have watched, looked at and read probably every single spoiler I can get my hands on. I admit it. I am weak as hell when it comes to spoilers especially after this long wait hehe Considering my 24th birthday is on the very Sunday after the premiere I feel like I am getting a very special birthday present in having the boys back hehe. Plus I am getting Friday off work (my friday is thursday night lol) I just hope that there isnt a delay for us Aussie's to download like there was with the finale ... wish me luck :)
I wanted to take this chance to tell you about my new website. It has a proper address and everything. This is my new site and what I will be using from now on. And since I just paid for the domain name I will be keeping it updated :)
Website: w w w . lovinjackson . com (just join that all together) If you do swing by dont be afraid to leave me a message :)
Again, many thanks to all that sat through and read this :) Thanks to Ridley (i really did have a blast, girl and your input was cherished)
Hope everyone has had an awesome weekend ... bring on Thursday (well Friday for me lol)