Disclaimer – I've never owned anything Supernatural. Supernatural belongs to Kripke and the CW.
A/N: Thanks so much to everyone who read, reviewed, and alerted this story. I was stunned at the response. For those of you who did all those things and didn't review, I really hope you'll take a moment to review the story now and tell me what you liked best. Thanks!
Dean was asleep when they brought in his effects – in the rush to surgery, his clothes and the contents of his pockets had gone astray for two days. Sam dumped out the bag and checked off ring, necklace, bracelet, wallet, paperclips, a couple of wads of paper, and his EMF meter. He signed for everything, and was once again alone in the room with his brother.
He glanced at the EMF meter and picked it up, flipping it over. Not an EMF. There was a manufacturer's name and the word Security printed on the cover. He found a switch and thumbed the thing on, watching as a tiny screen displayed a start up menu, before settling to a grid pattern. He scratched his nose. Huh.
He set it on the window ledge, and started to unfold and examine the papers Dean had in his pockets. The box suddenly let out a piercing shriek, and small lights started to flash. He picked it up warily, and almost dropped it again when it suddenly let out four more bursts of noise. Dean shifted restlessly in his bed.
Sam stared at the screen, and read 'Targets Acquired: 4'. He worked through the papers until he found a receipt for a 'child locator' from Radio Shack. He smiled when he saw Jack's name and phone number written on the reverse. He pulled out the electronic widget he'd taken off his boot earlier. His brother had lo-jacked him. He huffed out a laugh. That must be what Jack meant about rambunctious. He turned off the machine before it could squawk again.
Dean stirred again, muttering, and Sam walked to the head of the bed. He put his hand on Dean's shoulder, waiting to see if Dean would wake up. It had been less than forty-eight hours since the surgery, and he was on IV morphine. Which was good and bad, Sam had decided some time ago. Bad since Dean slept like a log on the drug, but good because when he did wake up, his usual guards were down, and he would say some of the most outrageous things.
Hell, it if hadn't been for morphine, he wouldn't know squat about his brother's life when he'd been at Stanford. He wouldn't know about Florida. He wouldn't be asked to swear like Dad. And he wouldn't have missed either for the world.
Dean's eyes cracked open, and Sam waited until they had centered on him.
"Glad to see you awake."
"Hey, Sam." Dean pursed his lips, and squinched up his eyes a little bit, before he said, "How 'ong?
Sam hit the button to raise the head of the bed up. "You've been here for two days."
Dean was looking at him intently. "You 'k?"
"I'm fine, Dean, really. The stitches are out of my arm. I'm still a little bruised, but doing really well."
Dean shifted a little bit and grimaced. "Why'm I here?"
Sam handed him the on-demand control for the morphine drip. "Here. Push this if it get's bad OK?"
Dean eyed it, and let out a sigh. "Morphine. Painkiller of … something." He closed his eyes and Sam thought he'd gone back to sleep. "Wha' happened?" Dean opened his eyes and carefully touched his side.
"I found you near the lighthouse. You had a piece of driftwood right through you." He heard Dean humming in the back of his throat. He picked up the control and hit the button. "You're supposed to hit the button if it's bad."
Dean looked at Sam. "I know that. I was, um…" he blinked lazily, "trying to hear myself."
"Oh, sorry, I gave you morphine."
Dean smiled at him. "'S'awright. Hummin' 'cause it hurt." He licked his lips and Sam helped him take a drink of water.
"You hungry? I've got lime jello here." He held up a spoon, and moved it toward Dean's mouth. "It's your favorite." Dean shook his head. Sam persevered. "It's also about the only thing besides applesauce and yogurt you can have now."
"I got stuck?"
"Yep, with driftwood. The doctor's said it had to be moving at hurricane speed to skewer you." Sam looked down at his hands, then back up at Dean. "It nicked your intestines, but missed your lumbar nerve." Sam eyed the metal stand holding several bags. "You're on morphine, which you know, fluids, antibiotics, and you've had two units of blood."
"Good. I like lotsa stuff." He brought up his arms, trailing tubing, and rubbed the heel of his palms into his eyes. "Can't believe I got run through with a piece of shit decoration."
"It's what you get for trying to run off to join the demon circus all by yourself."
"Yeah, brought down the big top." Dean frowned. "Still mad?"
Sam shrugged. "Yeah. But not so much right now. Wait 'til next week when I break your nose."
Dean huffed and smiled again. "Like you'd get a chance."
"You won't be able to find the sleeping pills next time."
Dean grunted and rolled his head to one side. "Tell me story."
Sam laughed. "As long as it's not X rated."
"Tell me 'bout demon. Why deaf?"
"If an Ala catches someone at a crossroads at dusk, she can make them deaf, blind, or mute. That's what happened at Jockey's Ridge. She could have done all three."
"Lucky just deaf, tha's whacher saying?"
Sam didn't reply.
"Pretty piss poor crossroads, you ask me. Fuckin' demon."
"She was probably pretty desperate. Alas, or Ale…" He saw Dean roll his eyes. "The plural is Ale, not Alas, Dean."
Dean snickered. "Sure, Boris, whatever you say."
Sam frowned at him. "An Ala is a demon of farmland. They devour and consume. They can eat the crops of an entire village with one storm. This area has almost nothing she's used to. That's probably why she was going after flowers, and fish."
"So, she only picked me because she was hard up?" He waved a hand at Sam. "Can't be right. Just 'cause you never get any, doesn't mean she didn't want me." He yawned, and winced.
"Can you tell me what happened? What you saw? What was it like?"
Sam helped him finish the container, and then asked again. "What was it like, Dean, fighting her? Moving the storms?"
"Superhero. Like bein' a superhero. Flying above the ground." He swooped his hand around. "I wasn't scared once." He looked at Sam with his eyebrows up. "Prolly 'cause I wasn't really flying, just thinking I was there … hard to explain. And it wasn't even like fighting fighting, you know, more pushing stuff with your head … thoughts, something. I had to look at things funny. You know."
Sam nodded, "All I ever moved was a piece of furniture. You manipulated air molecules, directed wind – how did learn to do that?"
"Must've been the Aloviti whammy. Could just do it. Like a superhero. It was amazing." Dean looked out the window, his eyes losing focus. "Don't remember the wood, though. Lighthouse was on fire … "
"Alovitis go into a trance to move storms. You were probably too far into it to notice. As soon as you beat the Ala, you must have passed out for real." Dean didn't reply immediately. After a minute, Sam touched his arm. "I didn't think there were any deaf superheros."
That brought Dean's attention back to him. "Sure, there are. Must be. One, at least. Girl, named Echo, pretty sure."
"Really. So you were like a girl superhero?" The blank look on Dean's face was priceless. Sam knew his brother would eventually work through it, he just wasn't sure how fast. He started to laugh. "What, Goofy?"
"I am not a chick superhero." He frowned at Sam when he laughed again. "Not a chick." Dean pointed at Sam. "Wasn't like one. I was like … deaf Batman." His arm dropped to his side, hitting the surgery site. Sam winced in sympathy when Dean hissed in pain.
"I know you were, Dean, you were the best superhero ever." He watched Dean close his eyes but he didn't see him relax. "Hit the button, dude. I'll be here when you wake up."
Sam brought him back to the Seaside Cottages four days later. Dean suggested they just leave, and let him recover in the car, but before he could finish marshalling his arguments, he fell asleep. Sam, the little bitch, took that as a win, and extended their stay two more nights.
"Why do you want to stay here, Sam?"'
"You mean here in the dollhouse, or here in general?"
"Don't be pissy, Sam. You spoke to Ernie, right? We're clear. And I don't want to give Pinching Priscilla in the office a bad credit card even if I do have a bruise on my ass."
"Ernie's got the hotel bill covered. And the hospital stay. I want us to see Milanka again."
Dean nodded. "Oh. Yeah. I sort of told her I'd come back to talk to her."
Sam nodded, thinking the point won.
"I also told her that I would huff and puff and blow her house down." He caught Sam staring at him. "She pissed me off, Sam. Climbed in the car without a by your leave." When Sam didn't reply, Dean continued. "What else, Brainiac?"
"I also want to see the Wright Brothers' Memorial. You should be up for that day after tomorrow. We'll do that on the way out of town."
"I love it when you take charge like this, Sam. Makes me all tingly."
"Pretty sure that's the prescriptions they gave you. Speaking of, you're due for a dose of everything, and a nap." Sam pointed at Dean's bed.
"The power trip is going to your head. I don't need a nap, that's all I've done since I got here." He did his best to quell a yawn, but finally gave in, his mouth opening so wide he could have sworn his jaw cracked. "Don't say anything. I will lie upon the bed and watch the television – awake the whole time."
He accepted pills from Sam and swallowed them. "Wide awake. No sleeping." He turned on the television, poking at the buttons until he turned off the closed captioning. "Hey, Men in Black."
A few minutes later, Sam was pulling the covers over him. "Ah hell, the Flur, flurry, pan ... pills. I left them out."
"I take care of my valuables too, bro. I'll see you in the morning."
The next day, Sam wanted to go back to the beach, and dragged Dean with him. While Sam was in the water, Dean walked up and down the shore, barefoot, and his jeans hiked up to his knees. He found a bench and leaned back, letting the sun take the chill out of the ocean breeze. Sam woke him some time later by leaning over and dripping salt water onto his face. Dean took him back to clean up before driving them back to Kill Devil Hills.
Milanka was reluctant to meet them at first, peeking around the door warily at Dean, but between Sam's emo and her housemates' whispering, she stepped out after a few minutes. She looked at Sam appraisingly, but addressed herself to Dean.
"You can hear me now?" When he nodded, she asked, "Why are you here, Aloviti?"
"Not an Aloviti anymore, Milanka. The Ala is gone."
Her eyes widened. "Gone for ever? Or back to Serbia?"
Sam looked at Dean expectantly, the question apparently surprised him a little as well.
"Gone forever, should be. I banished her." He looked up, reciting the dispersement in his head. "I sent her 'into the mountain cloud, where no rooster crows, where no dog barks, where no cows bellow, where no sheep bleat' … lots of farm animal stuff. She won't be going back to Serbia or anywhere else."
Milanka was still watching them carefully, but she squared her shoulders, and smiled. "We are all grateful. Do you want to come in?"
They were treated to lunch, smoking hot sausages and potatoes taken straight from the grill and dropped onto their plates. Dean was sprawled back on a chair, sucking his burned fingers, while Sam talked to a group of kids about their lives in the US. He looked up at the expanse of blue sky overhead, and found himself gazing at the single cottony cloud in the sky. He thought about what he'd done. No more digging graves in the rain would be great. He smiled to himself before quirking an eyebrow and telling the little cloud to move left. It was so ridiculous, he huffed out a laugh, and chuckled until the cloud moved. To the left.
Just coincidence. That's all it was and all it was ever going to be ... before he could try again, he caught movement out of the corner of his eye.
Milanka set up a chair right next to him and sat down.
He cleared his throat. "I'm sorry if I scared you, that time in the car."
She nodded, but continued to gaze at him with wide brown eyes.
"I wouldn't really have blown this place apart." He motioned with his arms, encompassing the houses and the back yard. "I just had to get back to Sam. He'd been hurt." His eyes involuntarily turned to his brother, confirming that he was still not in any danger.
"What the hell?" He was on his feet glaring at her, one hand pressing against his back. He gritted his teeth, and didn't yell when he replied. "By me? Is that why you got in the car? You thought I'd hurt my own brother?"
She'd leaned back in the chair, making herself smaller, but answered, hissing the words out in a half whisper. "Yes. Aloviti are as dangerous as any Ala. They aren't human. You could have done anything to him, or to all of us."
"No, Milanka, I couldn't have. Not to Sam. Not to you. Not to anyone."
Sam walked up and stood by him. "You about ready to go?"
Milanka stood up with him, and smiled. It transformed her face. "Are you going to be here long? I'm off tomorrow night. And I have a friend who would like to go out with you, Sam."
"Sorry to miss that, but we're leaving tomorrow."
Sam drove them back to Bob's for dinner that night. They took the same booth as before, and welcomed Ernie to the table when he joined them a few minutes later. Dean ordered an immense platter of fried seafood, heaped with onion rings, hushpuppies, and french fries.
When Dean finally started to hesitate over his next bite, Sam nudged him. "This is your diet?"
Dean looked at him innocently. "Fish is good for you, Sammy."
Sam looked up at Ernie apologetically, shrugging. "He's a growing boy."
Ernie laughed, thanked them both again, and pressed a roll of bills into Dean's hand. They both tried to refuse, but half-heartedly at best. "Look, boys, it's a thank you from some of us in the real estate business here. You saved our hineys. This is the least we can do."
Sam gave Ernie his cell phone number to add to Dean's, not because Dean's wasn't going to be available in a few weeks, just … so that he would have it. Ernie clapped them both on the shoulder, and left the restaurant.
Before they left, Sam did as Dean had suggested that first night, and walked back to check the ceiling in the corner. He barked out a laugh just as Dean came up next to him. Dean handed him a magic marker.
Sam stretched his arm up and shook his head. He added his signature under John and Dean's on a tee shirt that read 'Winchester Pest Removal Service, Inc.' He thought for a minute and carefully printed an addition, 'A Family Tradition since 1983'.
As they left the restaurant Sam said, "Wright Brothers tomorrow, then up to Erie. All right with you?"
Dean's head came up, and he looked at Sam seriously. "More deal research? Another professor?"
Sam smiled briefly. "Something like that."
Dean grinned back at him. "Anything further away from Florida is fine with me, Sam."
The buried golf course is real, as is the single turret visible above the sand. Bob's Grill's is real, and its motto: "Eat and Get the Hell Out" is very real. The young restaurant workers from Eastern Europe - Serbia, Bulgaria, etc., are also real. Harley's Biker Bar, however, is not.
One alert reviewer, Moe, pointed out that I'd moved Kill Devil Hills north of Kitty Hawk in Chapter 3. Ooops. Sorry!
And finally, while it was fun to keep most of you guessing, 'OBX' is nothing more than the location of the story. It's the three letter abbreviation for Outer Banks, NC, and I see it on stickers adorning 5 out of 10 cars where I live. I originally planned to name the story 'Outer Banks', but I referred to this as the 'OBX story' in my head for so long, it just stuck.