You Get Luck
Disclaimer: Don't own them, I'm just happy to play w/them for a while. This takes place after 4X4
Sam Winchester rubbed his eyes and stretched tiredly. They'd finished up their hunt here in Virginia four days ago and he still hadn't come up with any promising leads on a new one. They'd holed up here, because really it was as good a place as any, and decided to take some much needed downtime. That was until tonight when Dean started making him crazy.
As usual Dean gets restless easily between hunts, and when that happened his brother also became unbearably annoying. Sam had been handling it. More teasing and bad jokes than usual. Hitting the bars more looking for a few suckers to con and keep it interesting. Movies which he'd critique the whole way through. Pacing. Meticulous cleaning of the weapons. But when Dean decided to pop open his family size bag of M&M's, Sam went near homicidal.
Bored and looking for a little fun by tormenting his little brother, his only entertainment for the night, he'd started pelting Sam with them.
Sam had been on his bed, laptop across his knees, when he felt something hit his head. He brushed a hand through his hair and felt nothing. Shrugging it off, he'd gone back to work. A few moments later he felt it again on his shoulder. He jerked his head down and to the left to find nothing again.
Frowning, he looked over at Dean who was the picture of innocence. He didn't buy it for a minute. "Dude, stop."
Dean looked over at him, unassuming as he cocked a brow. "What?"
"You know what. Stop throwing crap at me."
His frown deepened. "I don't know what you're talking about Sam. I didn't do anything."
Sam kept frowning at him, Dean for his part looked at him puzzled before shrugging and turning back to the tv show he'd been watching.
Sam relaxed only slightly, observing Dean a moment then turning back to his computer. Maybe he really had imagined it. Dean acted like he had no idea what he meant. It's not like he'd caught him in the act. He hadn't even found an M&M on his side of the room.
He'd just started to put it out of his mind, when - plink. Sam growled. "Dean."
Dean kept up his pretense of cluelessness. "What?"
Sam ground his teeth together. "I mean it. Knock. It. Off."
His brother looked at him like he was nuts. "Sammy, seriously. I didn't do anything."
Thirty seconds later another plink sounded as an M&M rolled down his keyboard after bouncing off his screen. "Damnit Dean!" Sam yelled, head snapping to glare at his brother.
Dean sat smiling, hand full of the colored candy. He popped them in his mouth with a small chuckle, smiling wider as he chewed. "Problem over there, Sammy?"
Sam rose from his bed and moved farther away to the table, setting the computer down. "I so need to find us a hunt" He mumbled.
Dean grinned, figuring he'd had enough fun with Sam for now. If he poked him too much he had a tendency to grumble like an angry bear. That was no fun for anyone. "That sounds good." Another handful of candy. "Lemme know if I can help." Okay, so maybe he wasn't quite done teasing.
Sam snorted peevishly, but said nothing.
A short time later Dean broke out the weapons, it was about time for routine cleaning anyway. He needed something to do or he'd go nuts, Sam was so quiet when he worked at times. He'd managed to lose himself in the soothing repetition when Sam's voice broke the lull.
"Dean, I think I found something."
Dean laid down the knife he'd been sharpening and came to stand behind Sam. "What is it?"
Sam sat back and nodded at the screen. An article in a West Virginia newspaper was talking about the luckiest family in the city. The Luchuck family had collectively won over fifteen raffles, contests and other prizes in the past several years. The neighbors of the family continued that it didn't apply to just contests. Good luck seemed to follow the entire family around.
The oldest son of Dan Luchuck was the MVP of his highschool football team. Ever since he'd joined up, they'd won every game they played each season. The daughter, Collyn, was in the band and was renowned for her beautiful violin playing. She was going to college next year on a music scholarship. Dan was on the bowling team where he worked and they'd just taken home the regional championship trophy. The list went on. Oddly enough, the family themselves couldn't be reached for comment on the piece.
There was definitely something going on here. They shared a look, both thinking back to the hunt where they'd gone to deal with witches, only to face a demon instead. Hopefully this one played out differently.
"So, you thinkin' witches Sammy?"
He nodded. "Looks like it. There's something going on. No way a family just has a run of good luck like this."
Dean gave his own thoughtful nod. "Right. Well, looks like we're going to West Virginia."
The boys pulled into town the next day and opted to pose as officials with the gaming commission. They wanted to ask around and see what the neighbors and other people in the Luchuck's lives had to say. It was a long shot, maybe the family was just unbelievably lucky. Or maybe crafty cheaters. Yeah, they didn't buy that.
Sure enough the more people they talked to, the more they suspected the family. Speaking to some of the recent contest and raffle organizers, it became clear no tampering had been involved. In fact they were told, some would no longer allow them to enter. They'd won so many times they said it would be unfair to other contestants. Not to mention that most didn't want to enter knowing who would win. The man smiled thinly adding, "As part of the commission, you know how it is." They tipped their heads, they did know. Anyone could see how that would be bad for business.
The hit the neighbors next. They heard the same stories from everyone they talked to. Luckiest family on the block. Heck, in the city. Nice people too. No one had a bad word to say about them, though a few were rueful about their winning streak.
One woman grimaced as she told them about the money her husband had lost buying raffle tickets for a chance to win two new hunting riffles. "Of course I told him he'd wasted our money when I found out he and Dan had entered together. There was never a doubt who would win."
She smiled ruefully. "They aren't Luck for nothing." At their blank looks she blushed and shifted her feet with a nervous laugh. "I know it's ridiculous, but it's a little joke we have around here. If you take the first U and then the CH out of their last name, you get Luck."
Dean raised a brow while Sam smiled weakly. She shrugged feeling foolish. "Anyway, you get the idea."
"Yes ma'am." Sam smiled. "Thank you for your time."
They descended the steps as the door closed behind them, Dean frowning.
"It is an interesting coincidence I guess. If you think about it."
Sam bit his lip and tilted his head as he opened the door to the Impala. "Anagram?" He wondered aloud.
"Hm. Maybe." Dean said as they climbed in. "Let's see what else we can dig up. Check their background."
As it turned out, that was easier said than done. Only the past hundred or so years were available, due in part Sam posed, to a name change. But what they did find sent up more red flags. And more questions. If this was some sort of craft, it was the most extensive deal they'd ever come across. Going back generations and not limited to direct family lines. Cousins, wives, grandparents, children. Everyone who possessed the Luchuck name appeared to have the 'luck' to go with it. It was so extensive in fact, the boys were stumped as to just what might be going on.
Frustrated and tired after a long day, they decided to unwind at a bar called Kelly's Pub. It was obvious the place was rooted deep in Irish heritage. As was the rule near St. Patrick's Day, the beer flowed green as shamrocks.
Dean took a tug from his normal beer. Seeing the foaming emerald tankards, he'd immediately asked for a bottle. Green beer was just unnatural. Real beer had that warm amber glow and smooth taste. Green beer made him feel like he was drinking a pint of algae.
He did love the tradition of being pinched if you weren't wearing green though. And the ladies did too. He smirked to himself. A well placed pinch by a frisky woman started off a good evening in his opinion.
He snorted now, remembering how his little brother had taken up the habit when one night in a bar lead to him being pinched on the behind by an amours young woman. Sam had jumped and turned wide eyed to find the drunken brunette smiling widely. He'd politely turned down her interest while he had snickered in the background. As she walked away Dean pointed out it was tradition after all. Sam had glared and given him the Sammy bitchface. After that, Sam made sure to wear green whenever they were out on the holiday.
Dean wasn't about to let that pass without comment and referred to him as the Jolly Green Giant. Once again Sam didn't share his amusement. Sometimes it was hard being the big brother.
Sam interrupted Dean's inner musing at his expense as he slid in the chair opposite him.
"So what'd you find out?"
Sam took a sip of his own sweaty beer as he answered. "Bobby has never heard of anything this big either. If it is a spell, it's been cast by a heavy hitter. Dangerous too. The mojo would have to be unimaginably strong to have the effect it has. Doesn't seem to fit as a demon deal either. Those usually only span one individual. The whole family is involved here."
"So we got nothin'."
Sam shrugged. "Pretty much."
Dean gave an annoyed pout. "Great."
"Nothing left to do but talk to the family themselves now. Might get them to slip up and give us a lead. We need more to go on than this if we're going to stop it. Someone with this much power won't be content with just contests for long."
He was right. Given the right person, power could go to ones head. It made them dangerous to everyone around them.
"Yeah." Dean said, taking another pull from his bottle. He looked at Sam, eyes dark with distaste. "I hate witches."
Sam took a drink of his beer. "Yeah."
The following afternoon they stuck with their cover, going to the Luchuck home to speak with Dan who would be home alone now. They weren't sure what situation they were walking into, the less chance for ambush the better. They'd rather face one witch than a coven.
Knocking, the door was answered by a kindly looking average man. He was tall, maybe forty-two years of age, dark hair and brown eyes.
He looks at their suits and smiles politely. "Hello, gentleman. I'm sorry to waste your time. We're Catholic. Thank you anyway."
The boys faces fell to shock and Sam rushed to catch him before he closed the door. "No, sir wait! We aren't Jehovah's Witnesses! We're from the gaming commission. We just want to ask you a few questions."
The man opened the door back up and smiled sheepishly. "Sorry. It was rude to assume. It's just with the pair of you and all..." He drifted off, uncomfortable with his mistake. He cleared his throat and motioned inside. "Won't you come in?"
Sam and Dean, still caught off guard because this was a new one, walked past him. Mr. Luchuck shut the door and turned to face them. "Can I get you anything? Coffee or tea?"
"No thank you." Sam said before Dean could respond. They'd had enough setbacks by drinking things from strangers. He wasn't about to chance that again.
"So, questions huh?" Dan asked lightly. "Let's sit in the family room where it's more comfortable." Following him into the house, he led them to a large room on the right. The large stuffed chairs did look very welcoming. "Have a seat."
They all sat, Sam and Dean facing Dan with a clear view of the door, and Sam spoke again.
"We'd like to speak with you about the recent wins you're family has experienced."
Dan's smile was strained as he tried to keep both voice and expression neutral. "Oh? What about it?"
"It's just that..." Sam wasn't sure how to put it. "We're looking into some discrepancies."
"Really? Such as?"
Dean having no such qualms about being direct, leaned forward. "Like don't you think it's a bit odd for an entire family to have a streak of good fortune the way yours has, Mr. Luchuck?"
Sam cast a warning look at Dean as Luchuck lost his attempt at casual and frowned unhappily at them. "What are you implying? That we cheated? There's no proof we did any such thing." Not offended, they noted his tone, but defensive.
"No." Dean held him with a steely gaze. "That's not what we're implying at all."
They all stared at each other in a sort of standoff. The room was so quiet you could hear a clock ticking on the far left wall. Dan finally narrows his eyes and looks at them asking, "Who are you really?"
Dean's expression never wavers. "I could ask you the same thing."
His reaction was unexpected as he huffed a laugh and rolled his eyes. The could swear they hear him mutter "Hunters." before he rolls his neck back and then sighs facing them. He looks them dead in the eye with a wry smirk. "Guys, I know why you're here."
They just look at him, giving away nothing. "Really, what are we doing here?" Dean asks cooly.
Dan was just as cool, almost resignedly amused. "You won't find what you're after here. We aren't witches boys."
The boys only let their surprise show for a second before going on alert. They're both standing, guns drawn before Dan can blink. For his part, he sits calmly as if having a weapon pointed in his face happens every day.
"What are you?" Dean growls out. There was something wrong about this guy. If not a witch then he was-
Sam and Dean blinked. "Excuse me?"
Dan smiled at their shared question. It was like the brakes had been slammed on in their brains and he waited patiently for them to process what he'd said. He was put out this was coming up again, but he could tell their only hope was to explain it all to the young men across from him. He hoped they didn't have to move again. They liked it here.
Coming back to his senses first, Sam started, "You're a-" he found the idea so ludicrous he couldn't even finish the sentence.
Dan's eyes twinkled. He took pity. "A Leprechaun. Yes."
Sam swallowed, Dean blinked. "Huh." Dean sounded off handed, but his look clearly said "This is messed up." He raised a brow. "Leprechauns?" There was the doubt.
Dan's own brows lowered, he was offended now it seemed. "What? You were expecting some short guy dressed in green with an accent and affinity for gold and four leaf clovers?"
Dean shares a look with his brother, searching for help he doesn't find, before gazing back at Dan. "Well...yeah." He looks cornered. "I mean no." He's flustered now, he glares grumpily at Sam. "Help me out here, would ya?" This turn of events was insane.
"What he means I think," Sam says taking over. "Is that Leprechauns don't exist."
Dan's face goes back to his easy grin. "Yeah? Thanks for telling me. Up till now I've felt pretty real."
Okay, what the hell? Now they were getting sarcasm from a Leprechaun?
Dan huffed and shook his head, amused. "I'm as real as anything." He paused and added, "We also don't polish shoes." Why not dispel a little more of the myth while he was at it?
Sam's forehead creased as he studied Dan closer. Both Winchesters were hopelessly confused. "But they aren't supposed to be real. I don't understand. What makes you think you are one?"
"What makes you think I'm not?"
Dean looked hard at Dan, brow cocked. "You got a history of mental illness?"
"Dean!" Sam bit out.
Dan shrugs. "Look guys, I know it sounds nuts and you have no reason to believe me. But how else would you explain it?"
Sam and Dean sat back down, frowning. Right this minute, they couldn't.
"We had no way of knowing for sure. Just stories passed down by word of mouth. Old legends from our homeland. Going back into our genealogy we've found Irish roots. Ancestors who married Americans and immigrated here. As the story goes, they brought our luck with them."
"For centuries my family has been persecuted and hunted for our luck. Called evil, singled out. Fae, demon, witches, we've heard them all. More than once our ancestors had to run or lose their lives to these mobs and inquisitions. It's part of why they immigrated to the Americas. Freedom of religion. A chance to start over and maybe have a peaceful life." Dan laughed bitterly. "Not that it mattered where we went. This damn curse always follows us. Did you know we had some in Salem?"
The boys shared a look. They hadn't. "One of the times our luck came in handy. They were going to hang a great cousin of mine for being a warlock. The rope broke as he was dropped from the gallows. In the following confusion he got away. He ran with his family. Forced from their home. Again."
He leaned back into his chair. "We've done our own share of moving, even now in this town we see the looks. That damn article didn't help. We asked them not to print it. And now you're here. How long before others come? We don't want to move, we're happy here. It's a nice town. Even if some don't trust us."
"Don't trust you?" Sam asked, leaning arms on knees, hands clasped in his open way. His somber expression inviting the man to share his story. It was Sam's you can trust me face. Dean snorted silently. This story was a load. Surely Sam was humoring the guy.
"Would you? We hear the whispers. Some of the neighbors are jealous of us. Some angry and bitter. They hold our luck against us. Or worse, say we pay for it. Heck, it's not like we cheat. We don't do it on purpose, don't need or want all of the things we win. Who wants to draw attention to themselves like that?" Dan sounded beside himself.
Sam and Dean shook their heads. He had a point.
"But we can't help it. It's the luck of the Irish, you know? We win things we don't even sign up for! It's maddening. Our cousin was walking into the store once and won free food for a year. Poor Bastian. All he did was go in for groceries and suddenly he's won again."
Dan looked genuinely upset. Dean frowned. He didn't know what to think. Sam though was looking very sympathetic. He knew his brother was going over the details in his head. He only hoped he kept his heart in check. He had a soft spot for people like this, affected supposedly beyond control. People, Sam felt, like him.
Dean's heart went out to the kid. He understood Sam's need to find others like himself and for those people to be good. But it didn't always work that way. Like Jack. Dean didn't want Sam to set himself up again. He couldn't bear Sam being hurt again, he'd moped for weeks after that case. And he didn't know how to make it better.
"And my Maggie," Dan continued. Sam remembered his wife's name was Maggie. "She loves bingo. Thinks it's fun. She started going just to relax and have some time to herself. One night she won $2,500. She hasn't been able to enjoy it since. We can't go anywhere or do anything without wondering what we might win next."
To anyone else the idea of someone being upset about that kind of luck was laughable. But being hunters and knowing what unwanted attention it brings, it took it to a different level. They may not be Leprechauns, as Dan believed they were descended from, but something supernatural was going on.
Sam latched on to that choice of words from earlier, thinking maybe they had a clue after all. "Brought back? You mean like a family heirloom?" This could explain it. Enchanted, cursed, whatever it could be a start.
Dan smiled apologetic at Sam's excitement, and he felt the short lived hope die when he said, "You mean like some old coins? Trinkets? No. Nothing like that I'm afraid. From what we've found, each of us would have to have a part of it to have the luck. Sorry boys. I know it'd make your job easier if I said yes, we all had a coin each."
Sam bit his lip. That was true too. It wouldn't make sense for one item to blanket the whole family with luck. Too extensive; intensive spell work. And who'd want to work a spell of this magnitude anyway? It was bound to bring mountains of unwanted attention on the entire Luchuck clan. So what then? Believe his story, that Leprechauns really exist? He shook his head. He just couldn't do it. Not yet. They needed to take Dan's story and do more research. Dan truly believed it, but there had to be another explanation.
Dean on the other hand had taken to his own brand of testing. He pulled the EMF hidden in his pocket out and turned it on. Nada. Dean frowned. Then he looked up at the man. "Christo."
"Huh?" Dan was looking at him like he was possessed.
He shrugged. "Just checking. Look man, not that I'm calling you a liar, I'm sure you really believe all the stuff you told us. But we've run in to a lot of things in this line of work. Leprechauns isn't one of them. We need to get back to you." He stood up. "Don't leave town, 'kay?"
If these people were witches trying a whacked out cover story, he didn't want them taking off. He didn't, however, expect them to stay because he said so. He and Sam may need to split up on this one. Someone had to keep an eye on them while the other researched. If they found another damn mojo bag in their room...
Dan looked uncertain, but agreed. "Sure. No problem." He didn't like the way the older one looked at him. He felt like he was being studied. Then again, could he blame them? He hoped he'd made the right choice telling them the secret. He knew they didn't believe his story, but he had to know, "Can you help us?"
Sam and Dean both looked at him in surprise. He pushed on. This may be their only chance. He had a feeling about these two. Maybe they could stop it. "Can you make our luck go?"
"You want your luck to be gone?" Sam asked in a confused tone.
"Not gone, just, you know normal. So we can be like everyone else." They were looking at him strangely. He felt his desperation build as he tried to make them understand the hell this 'luck' had made of their lives. " Do you know what it's like to be good at something and wonder if it's on your own merit or if it's genetics? Or to be studied under a microscope by people because fortune follows you around like a lost puppy? We just want it to stop. We want to be free."
Sam felt the need to swallow. Dan's words affected him on a personal level. He did know of things like that. Only the puppy following him around was pain and death. He knew he couldn't do anything for himself. No matter how hard he tried, he could never change what he was. But maybe he could help these people and give them the release he himself craved and never found.
"I don't know if we can." Sam said and Dan's eyes dimmed in disappointment. "But we'll try. If we can find a way, we will help you."
The words were said with a determination coming from a deeper level. Sam had just made this his own mission of mercy.
Dan looked as if he'd just been given the world. His shoulders lost the tension that always clung to them and he smiled gratefully at the men. "Thank you."
Dean knew that look. He stifled a groan. Damnit Sammy, don't get too close. This may not be what you think. Yet even as he thought it, he knew it was pointless. How could he ask Sam not to try if this guy's story turned out to be real?
Looking at his little brother's face, he had his answer. You can't. Crap. He hated being boxed into a corner. Freakin' emo little brothers.
As they walked out of the house, Sam looked at him. "Don't say it."
Dean's brow puckered. "Say what?"
"That we shouldn't try and help him."
"I wasn't going to say that."
Mmmhm. Sam just looked at him.
"Alright, maybe I was thinking it, but I wasn't going to say it."
Sam sighed and shook his head. Having reached the car, he leaned on the top and stared somberly at his brother. "I know to not take it personally Dean." Not like last time. You nearly died. I wanted to be right so much you near paid the price. Never again. "But we have to look at it from all sides. He could be telling the truth."
"Or he could by lying. I'd expect a witch to be more creative, but I don't know man. Leprechauns? I'm not buying it."
They slid into the Impala and drove away. Sam tapping fingers on the door frame. "I don't either."
Dean looked up in surprise. Given Sam's expression in there, he thought he'd taken it hook, line and sinker. Reading that on his face, Sam smiled. "I'm not saying he isn't telling the truth - as he sees it. He believes it. I'm saying maybe there's more behind this. We need to do more research."
Dean smirked. "Excellent suggestion. And while you're doing that, I'll keep an eye on Danny boy." He pulled to the curb a block away from Luchucks'.
Sam sat forward and stiffened, unhappy with this plan. He may feel Dan was telling the truth, but he didn't want to test that with his brothers' safety. "Dean, no. I don't think it's a good idea for you to be alone. They could be a coven of witches. No one will be here to watch your back." I won't be.
Dean smiled. "I was doing a little hunting on my own while you were at school little brother. I can take care of myself. Besides, getting kidnaped is your thing."
And getting hurt is yours. "Dean, I don't like it."
He sighed. "I know. But we can't stay together on this one. One of us has to watch them and make sure we don't end up with another damn bag in our motel room. You're best with research, it'll be faster if you go and I stay."
Sam's shoulders sagged. His brother was right, much as he hated it. He turned to face him fully with a determined frown. "Be careful. Anything happens, you call me, don't go in alone."
Ahh, Sammy worried. He knew the fight this could be. Better to just agree. "Deal."
Sam nodded jerkily and Dean smiled fondly. "Get going Sasquatch. They could be making those bags while we're just sittin' here."
Sam rolled his eyes and huffed, grabbing his bag, he got out.
"Later." Dean said as he drove out of sight.
Sam stared after him. He really hated this plan. Splitting up never seemed to be a good thing. Grudgingly he started walking. The faster he worked, the better off they'd be.
Dean crunched on another handful of M&M's as he watched the house. Dan was still home and had been joined by his wife. Collyn was due to be home soon. The son was, as far as he could tell from a snippet of conversation as he helped her carry in groceries, at a friends.
He sighed and glanced at his watch. Three and a half hours. He'd shed his suit jacket and tie to be a little less conspicuous. Not that it appeared to be necessary. They didn't show any interest in him at all. They seemed like an average family. Another handful of candy. But looks could be deceiving. For Sam's sake though... the kid needed something to believe in.
He'd called to check in two hours ago. Nothing to report, much to Sam's frustration. The family history still wasn't turning up much and the lore he could find on Leprechauns, even less. The bright side, no red flags. Sam had been checking the places they'd lived before, no strange deaths or missing persons. Lots of contests and raffles won, but no witchcraft.
He tapped out the rhythm of a Cream song on the steering wheel. If this went on much longer, he was going to need some coffee. And some food. He was starving.
A rapping on the passenger side door had him jumping and he jerked his head right. A pretty young girl with green eyes and auburn hair smiled sheepishly. "Jeeze." He groaned.
She blushed. "Sorry. Didn't mean to startle you. I just wanted to say hello." A backpack was slung over her shoulder. A claddagh ring on her right hand. It all screamed, "I'm Irish!"
"Collyn?" He guessed.
She nodded. "Yes. And you're one of the men Da told us about. The ones who are going to try and help up?" Dean looked at her curiously. She hadn't yet been inside. Seeing his expression, she held up her cellphone. "He called me and my brother to tell us."
Dean wanted to smack his forehead. Of course they could have organized something via phone. So much for covering all the bases.
She smiled again and gestured to the empty seat. "May I?"
Dean shrugged. If she wanted to kill him, she wouldn't introduce herself and ask permission. "Sure."
"Thanks." She got in. "Nice car. My brother loves the classics. '67 right?"
A girl with taste. These Luchucks might not be bad after all. "Yep."
"Sweet." She sat her pack on the floor and fidgeted after a moment of silence. "Sooo..." Glancing at him she gave a wan smile. "Watching us huh?"
"Uh." What the hell did he say to that? Why yes, care to tell me about your possible coven?
Seeing his discomfort, she smiled brighter. "No, it's okay. Really. It's not the first time." He watched her silently, sensing she had more to say. "I wanted to let you know I appreciate this. You giving us a chance. Not everyone is as understanding or accepting. They don't want our explanations. If you're different, there must be something wrong with you."
Dean thought of Sam instantly. His sad face popping unbidden into his mind as they stood in that motel room where he knew he'd taken a chunk of Sam's hope. "If I didn't know you, I'd want to hunt you." He shook himself and let the pain fade from his chest as he cleared his throat. "Must be hard."
"It is. We're good people. We just want to live our lives." She stared wistfully through the windshield. "Normally." She sighed. "What we'd give to be normal."
She shook off her own thoughts and smiled again. "That's why I had to come say thank you when I say you. We were so excited when Dah told us we may finally be free of it."
Her hopeful grin was blinding and he found a smile on his own face as he teased. "You sure you aren't a decoy? Send the pretty witch to butter me up and hide a mojo bag in my car?" He'd been watching her closely. He knew she'd left nothing.
Collyn laughed. "No. You don't have to worry." Then catching on to that compliment, she blushed. "You think I'm pretty?"
Dean shifted in his seat. Now why had he said that? "Uh." He coughed. "Yeah. But you're a bit young for me." And the job.
She shook her head, smiling shyly. "I didn't mean it that way. Thank you though." Quickly she leaned over and kissed his cheek. "You're sweet."
Dean sat in shock. "Um...thanks?"
She laughed again and gathered her things to go. "I hope you can help us Mr...?" She'd held out her hand for him to shake and paused.
"Winchester." He replied, taking it. "Dean."
She nodded. "Thank you, Dean."
"Don't thank me yet. We still aren't sure we can do anything."
"It's the thought that counts." Hopping out of the car, she turned to toss over her shoulder. "Oh, my mom wanted me to invite you and your friend to dinner to thank you both proper. It's at six if you like. She's making Shepard's Pie. Will you come?"
Dean was floored. So much for keeping their distance on this case. They didn't appear to be dangerous, but was it safe to eat with them? He wasn't certain. "Er, I'll have to talk it over with my brother. Can we get back to you?"
She understood his hesitation and winked. "We won't poison you. Promise. But I understand. That'll be fine." She waved. "Good to meet ya Dean."
"Likewise." He watched her walk over to the house where Maggie met her at the door and kissed her cheek. As they disappeared inside he shook his head. "Just when I thought this hunt couldn't get any stranger."
As Dean pulled up to the library, Sam stood with an unhappy scowl on his face. Great. Still pissed.
He'd called him to see if he was ready to go and to fill him in on his chat with Collyn. Which his brother had instantly chewed him out for. After only a few sentences Sam had launched into a rant about splitting up and Dean taking chances with his life. Apparently Sam felt he should have, and could have, called him earlier so he could come back him up. Even though they'd cleared them as witches. Or rather, Sam had just this afternoon. He knew it all boiled down to Sam being worried for him, so he tried not to let it get to him. He was finding immediate anger and annoyance his primary response to Sam these days and he didn't like it. Unfortunately, he didn't know how to stop.
He also felt annoyance and a little hurt at him treating Dean like an amateur. He'd settled the call by saying he was a big boy who knew how to do his job, if he'd needed backup he would have called. "Now do you want the damn story or not?"
There was a hostile silence as Sam sat quietly, jaw clenched he was sure, listening to the meeting with Dan's daughter. When he was finished, he asked, "What do you think?" Stiffly Sam answered he wasn't sure either and they could talk about it after they went over what he'd found. He'd wait outside. Then promptly hung up on him.
Dean sighed. When had everything become so hard? When little brother grew up to become a hunter while you weren't looking. He hated to admit part of the problem was Sam had changed when he was downstairs. He'd been on his own and grew into his own man. Not the little brother who mostly went along with what he said. The were both getting used to being partners again.
He pulled up to the curb and Sam got in. "Any luck?"
Sam snorted at Dean's choice of words. "Not what we'd been hoping."
He ran a hand through his hair and leaned back to try and relieve the tension in his body. Hours of nest to no headway in research, then Dean's call had stressed him out. He was glad his brother was okay, but he still wanted to bitch at him for not calling sooner. If he was honest though, mainly he'd been scared, it had nothing to do with how Dean handled the situation. Since losing Dean and getting him back, having him taken once more was his greatest fear.
Shaking it off, he pulled out his notes. "I found a pattern of family members doing frequent moves. Looks like Dan's story of often being on the run is true. It goes back generations. And so does the luck. A great, great grandfather was as ship salver. He made a small fortune, but his best haul came when he found an old shipwreck to discover gold."
Dean whistled. "Damn." He wasn't sure luck like that would be so bad.
"Yeah. There was also a relative who survived the sinking of the Titanic."
Sam met Dean's wide eyes. "You're shitting me."
"Huh." The things you find on a job.
Sam stretched out a leg. "There was also a midwife in the 1800's who never lost a baby or mother during a delivery. Back in those days childbirth was pretty touch and go. A lot of fatalities. It was almost unheard of that a midwife wouldn't lose at least one during her career."
Dean nodded thoughtfully. "I'm seeing a pattern here."
"It does lend credence to his story. But still, how do we prove the existence of Leprechauns, let alone decharm one? Or an entire family? The lore I'm finding is all on little green clad dudes. Nothing like this."
Dean shook his head. "I still can't believe this. I mean, the wee folk? I had my money on witches." He looked at Sam and smiled a little. "Still, you must be happy. You were right. They aren't the bad guys."
Sam nodded slightly. There was that. He'd been hoping he'd be right and that he wouldn't have proof shoved in his face again that once more evil was evil. There is no black and white. No matter what you do, it will never be good enough and you can never prove yourself. Yeah, he'd taken this case personally.
He'd wanted, no needed, to be right about this family. But not that it looked like he was, he was faced with the same problem he had. How do you stop what's in your blood?
Sam mulled this over all the way back to the motel. Every train of thought took him to the same dead end. He didn't know. If it was one person, even a few, they could try a binding spell. But on a whole family? No way that would work. Oh well, it had been a long shot anyway. Great for witches, not so much for Leprechauns. So then what?
By the time they pulled into the space in front of their door Sam had a headache. Dean noticed him rubbing his forehead and lifted a brow. "You okay?"
"Yeah." Sam mumbled distractedly.
Dean continued to stare at him. "Sam."
"Don't do this."
Sam looked at him, confused. "Do what?"
"Don't beat yourself up. I know this job is important to you, but we're doing all we can. If we don't find anything..." Dean looked uncertain how to continue. "Just don't take it too hard, 'kay?"
Sam recognized now Dean was concerned for him. Maybe his brother had noticed the shift in him after the Rugaru hunt more than he'd thought.
Noting his silence, Dean pinned him with a glare. "Dude, not hearing a "Yes Dean." here."
Sam smiled wide with fond amusement. Being a smartass, he parroted back, "Yes Dean."
His brother snorted and shook his head. "Bitch." He bucked Sam in the shoulder. "Let's go in and figure out what to do about that dinner invite. I'm starving, but this might be a conflict of interests."
Sam rolled his eyes as he said, "Ya think?" He stretched and climbed out after his brother. "I'm gonna call Bobby and see what he has to say. Maybe he'll have an idea what to do."
Dean shrugged as he opened the door. "He doesn't have that big ass library for nothing." He smirked. "I know it does it for you, freak. Bobby's house is like geek nirvana for you."
Sam narrowed his eyes at Dean's back, following him in. "Bite me."
A flash of teeth followed by a chuckle was his only answer. Sighing, Sam took out his phone and dialed from his contacts list. Bobby answered on the second ring. "Singer."
"Hey Bobby, it's Sam."
"Hey Sam." The man greeted warmly. "How are you boys doin'?"
He smiled as he slung off his jacket and sat in the chair. Dean puttered about in the bathroom, eager to get back into his normal clothes.
"We're good." He appreciated the genuine interest in their well being. Bobby was like a favorite uncle to both boys, family. "We actually have a problem I'm hoping you can help us with, we're at a dead end."
Sam took a deep breath and went for it. "What do you know about Leprechauns?"
There was a long pause before a skeptical voice answered. "Leprechauns? Are you sure you're alright boy?"
Sam closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Look Bobby, I know it sounds crazy-"
"Crazy don't begin to cover it. There are no such things. It's an urban legend."
Bobby sounded about as impressed with this suggestion as he had when Sam had called him about evil Santa. He'd felt about four inches tall then too. How was it that tone always made them feel like kids again?
"Maybe, but we think we have proof."
Another pause. "Proof?"
"Yeah, we've been looking into a family and I have to admit their story sounds legit. We can't find any other explanation."
"Leprechauns." Bobby repeated. Then came a soft chuckle. "Well, I guess if anyone was gonna prove the existence of the wee folk, it'd be you and your brother. Alright kid, tell me what ya got."
Sam spent the next twenty minutes filling him in on every bit of info they'd collected. "Huh." Bobby still sounded awed tinged with disbelief. "Never heard of anything like this before." He raised his ballcap to scratch his head. "I'm not sure what to make of it, but I'll try and find you something. Go over my books. But Sam, the chance of finding a way to stop this if it's real-"
He didn't finish, but Sam read the doubt in his voice clearly. "I know Bobby, thanks for doin' this."
"Anytime. You boys know that. I'll get back to you."
Sam hung up and drew in a deep breath. Blowing it out, he got up and went to his own duffel to get a change of clothes.
"So anything?" Dean asked.
"Not yet." Sam snorted. "Once I convinced him I wasn't nuts, he said he'd dig up whatever he could for us." Sam didn't look up from his bad as he reluctantly admitted, "He, uh. Didn't sound hopeful."
Dean could tell Sam was becoming disappointed. He nodded. "Well, if anyone can find it, it's Bobby."
Dean cleared his throat. "So okay, get changed and let's roll. I'm hungry."
Sam raised a brow. "We're going?"
"You cleared them. No reason why we shouldn't go. Be rude not to."
Sam looked at him in surprise. "What happened to conflict of interest?"
Dean grinned. "My stomach told it to shut the hell up."
Sam choked on a laugh. Only Dean.
"Besides," Dean continued. "They're making Shepard's Pie. Pie Sammy. Any kind is okay in my book."
Sam shook his head. Of course. Dean would be excited. It was a blend of his two favorite foods, meat and pie. "You have a sick obsession, you know that?"
"You just have no appreciation for the finer things." Dean snarked.
"Right. I mean you are the authority on fine food. What was that thing you had last week at that dive in Virginia? A Tacarrito? All the taste of a burrito with the fun of a taco, wasn't that what the menu said?" He diplomatically left off the Frito Chilli Pie from the state before.
Dean frowned. "You don't know what you missed with that one Sam. It was good stuff."
It both annoyed and pleased him Sam didn't appreciate his food. While he often caught crap from him for not eating healthy enough, it was fun to tease him. He'd take this secret to his grave, but sometimes he only ate questionable things to bug him. It was fun watching Sammy get bent out of shape over mystery meat.
Sam wrinkled his nose. "I'll pass thanks."
He shrugged. "Your loss. But this is home cooked goodness. How often do we get those, eh?" He raised a brow as he tried to cajole Sam into accepting. He could see him crumbling, three, two, -
Sam sighed. "Fine, we'll go."
Dean smiled wide. "This'll be awesome. And maybe we can work on the case during dinner." Sam's brow went up now. "What? I can work and eat at the same time."
Sam shook his head and walked away to take his turn in the bathroom. "I can!" Dean called behind him.
Pulling up to the home, the boys got out and walked to the door. They'd decided to see if maybe they could find out more of the family history over the meal. Maybe something they'd missed. Sam had done some pretty through digging, but word of mouth in families could sometimes last longer than written records.
Sam knocked on the door and the wait was short. It opened in seconds to reveal a smiling Maggie. It was clear Collyn and her mother shared many genes, as her daughter was a younger version of the woman.
"Oh wonderful, you came! Please," She gestured. "Come in."
They walked in and smiled politely. "Thank you, ma'am."
They had been cleared as witches, but were still a job so this was a bit awkward. Okay, that was the second reason. The main one was this was a situation they didn't often find themselves in. Aside from a few home cooked holiday meals prepared at Pastor Jim's when they were kids, they'd not been part of anything close to a family dinner. It made them feel off balance.
Seeming to sense this, Maggie smiled reassuringly. She was a woman of strong family values, and as such, loved to mother. Looking at the two bashful young men in front of her, she had the urge to do just that.
"Don't be shy dears. Make yourselves at home. Dinner is ready to be set on the table, why don't you go on in and sit down? Do you want to hang up your jackets?" She motioned to the hall coat rack.
"Um, sure." Both boys handed them over and she placed them on hangers.
She smiled again. "Well now, this way." She lead them to a nice diningroom with a large mahogany table. It was laid out in fine china and a pristine white lace table cloth.
"Wow." Dean said, his discomfort upping a notch. This was a much fancier set up than he'd expected. People really ate like this?
Sam was feeling much the same as he complimented her on her efforts. "This is beautiful. I hope you didn't go to too much trouble for us."
"Nonsense. No trouble at all. Truth is I don't have much occasion to use my Grans place settings outside the holidays. I'm glad you've given me the excuse to get it out." She winked. "Have a seat. Be with you in two shakes."
They looked hesitantly at the table, she realized their unspoken question. "Anywhere is fine. No assigned seating in our house." She laughed and they nodded, smiling slightly as she bustled off toward what they guessed was the kitchen.
The smells coming from it were delectable and their stomachs rumbled in response. A heaping basket of homemade rolls, oven fresh if the steam rising up was anything to go by, was sitting in the middle of the table along with a tossed salad.
"Wow." Dean said again.
"Yeah." Sam was just as awed as his brother. They'd not expected such a reception. "Nice lady." He added after a moments silence.
"Yeah." Dean replied.
They'd both elected to sit on the right end side next to each other. The other chairs were empty and waiting on the rest of the family, who'd yet to make an appearance. Slipping back into a quiet, they near jumped when Maggie seemed to pop in out of nowhere, dish in hand.
"Sorry about the wait. Dan's in his office finishing up some paperwork. I haven't called the kids down yet."
With what could only be called perfect timing, Collyn walked into the room. She smiled at them as her mother placed a large dish of rosemary glazed potatoes on the table. Sam and Dean stood as she entered.
To the side Maggie muttered almost to herself, "Such good manners." She sounded impressed.
"Hello again." She addressed Dean, then turned to Sam. "And hello..?"
She shook his hand. "Pleasure."
She looked at her mother. "I came down to see if you needed any help."
Maggie smiled at her daughter. "That would be nice, thank you dear. You can help me carry out the rest of the dishes. But first, would you call your father brothers to the table, please?"
"Sure." She left the room.
Dean and Sam looked at her. "Can we help?"
She grinned wide. "So polite. You boys were raised right." Dean wondered what Sam made of that statement as she went on. "No, thank you. You're our guests. Wouldn't be right if I put you to work." With that she was gone again.
Dean was eyeing the potatoes, he could feel his mouth watering. "Some spread, huh Sam?"
Sam could only agree. "Smells amazing." Why did he not want to come again?
A set of thumping foot falls coming down the steps had them looking to the hall. A pair of boys trooped in. The Luchuck siblings obviously. The taller one had dark hair and brown eyes, about sixteen or seventeen by the look of him. At around 5'9" he towered over the smaller boy who was maybe 5'3" and twelve years old. He was a cute kid with freckles on his nose and cheeks. He had the same dark hair, but green eyes. They lit on the brothers with interest.
Dean nearly smiled. He knew that look. It was the same one Sammy got all the time as a kid. Full of questions and the need to know everything.
The eldest boy nodded at them. "Hi. I'm Patrick." He nodded to his little brother. "This is Petie"
The younger boy scowled at his big brother and the nickname. He looked at them, quickly correcting, "Peter."
Ah. The age of independence. Dean did smile now. "Dean." He said, motioning next to him. "And this is my brother, Sam."
"So are you really going to help us?" Peter asked.
"We're going to try." Dean answered, amused. This kid didn't pull punches. He launched right in to what he wanted to know. Also like Sam.
Patrick elbowed the boy gently in the arm. "Don't be rude. Mom told us not to be a bother."
Peter was indignant. "I wasn't! I just asked a question."
Patrick snorted. "On your way to being a pest is more like it."
The younger boys eyes narrowed and he opened his mouth to retort. Dan walked in and said, "Now boys, behave. We have company." He continued on to his seat nonchalantly. Sibling squabbles apparently something broke up often.
"Yes Da." They chorused.
Dan joined them at the table and smiled. "Boys. Glad you could make it."
"Thanks for inviting us." Sam said.
Dan grinned. "As soon as Maggie heard the news, there was no stopping her. She made plans to cook a feast as a thank you."
Sam and Dean fought the urge to squirm. This family was so warm and they felt the weight of such comments on their shoulders. There was a chance they couldn't help them at all.
Knowing this, Dean said again, "We've done nothing to deserve a thank you yet." He'd meant to follow that with, 'We may not be able to do anything for you.', but couldn't get it out. The faces gathered around looking at them were so hopeful. He hated to dash that hope unnecessarily.
Dan brushed him off. "Just the same, the thought that counts."
Further conversation was put on hold as Maggie and Collyn stepped into the room laden with food. Wondrous aromas filled the air. "Here we are." Maggie crooned.
Both women sat things down around them and the boys looked at each dish, trying to make them out. There was what looked to be a green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, the Shepard's Pie, and a pasta salad. Maggie laughed as she saw their eyes bulging at the spread. "And we've blackberry cobbler for desert."
"Wow." That was Dean's word of the evening. He managed to add, "This looks great."
"Thank you." She and Collyn sat and she glanced at Dan. "Care to do the honors?"
He nodded, clearing his throat he bowed his head and held out his hands. Maggie and Patrick who were on either side of him took them and a chain of linked hands went around the table.
Sam and Dean weren't exactly comfortable with this custom, but were not about to offend their hosts. When in Rome right? They'd done this whenever they'd dined with Jim. Joining hands, Dean took Sam's in one, Collyn's in the other. Sam took Peter's hand with his free one.
"Lord, we wish to give thanks for the bounty before us and for the new friends offering hope. Amen."
Amens went up all around, the boys again feeling guilty. Hope. So easy to come by, so hard to hold on to.
Dan looked at them and smiled. "Let's begin, huh?"
The boys were already digging in and Maggie laughed. Sam and Dean quickly followed suit. After everyone had been served, conversation began to flow. It started with the youngest set of brothers.
"So how was school today boys?" Maggie asked.
"Good." Peter chirped. "Mr. Rickter thinks I might win the science fair."
She smiled in pride. "That's great honey. I know you worked hard on it."
"Yeah." He grinned, but it fell a little when he looked in his brothers' direction. "Patrick helped though."
Seeing his little brother deflate made Patrick feel the need to remind him he'd not helped much. "You did most of it on your own, Squirt." Peter's smile brightened again.
Dean felt a smile on his face watching the boys obvious closeness. It was followed by a pang in his chest. He and Sam used to be like that. Not that they had ever stopped caring for one another, but they'd been drifting apart of late. He knew it disturbed Sam as much as it did him, but neither of them knew how to stop it.
Little starts and stops on both their parts were taking a toll. And Dean hated it. It's part of why he was glad they'd taken this job. He'd enjoyed them bantering like they use to. And if he was honest with himself, he was glad Sam was right about this family. It wasn't smart, but he was growing to like them.
Sam was feeling the same as he watched. It brought back thoughts of similar times with Dean. Helping him with his homework, teaching him to play baseball. Treasured memories. They'd always been so close. He wanted that back. And he would get it too. Somehow. He also wanted to help this family, who in a way was like his own, like him.
He'd been trying to figure out what questions to ask ever since they'd decided to go. Here we go. No time like the present. Before he had a chance to open his mouth, Maggie beat him to it.
Looking serenely across to them, yet he could tell she was dying to know, she asked calmly. "So boys, how is it?"
Sam deflated a bit. Ah. Dinner. Not what he'd expected her to ask about. He could see Dean's quick smirk his way, apparently having caught his deer in headlights look when he'd assumed another question. He fought the urge to scowl. So he was nervous. Like Dean wasn't. Jerk.
Dean saw his little brother's annoyance. Score. He smiled wide at Maggie, holding in his snigger. His brother was so easy. "It's great, thanks. Been a while since we've had a home cooked meal."
She nodded. "I wondered about that. You are away from home a lot then? Your family must miss you while you're gone."
They both felt a pang at the thought of home and family. Dean's smile fell a notch as he cleared his throat. "It's uh, just me and Sam."
The eyes of each Luchuck grew somber as they looked at them, they each other. Being such a tight nit group, it was difficult to imagine a sadder thing than not having family. Even with the curse they felt they carried, family made everything easier. Wanting them not to feel out of place, she let the subject drop with a quiet, "I'm sorry."
"It's alright." They assured.
Collyn also did her part to dissipate the mood with a subject change. "So how is the research going? Found anything yet?"
How was it you could feel grateful and put on the spot at the same time? Sam wondered. He swallowed his potatoes and answered. "It's going slower than we'd hoped, but we're checking every lead we can find. There isn't much reliable lore out there. There was one thing we found that talks about maybe stealing or ridding a Leprechaun's power by taking all it's gold. Which you have none, so there goes that theory."
Dean added, "There was one about running to the end of a rainbow and renouncing your luck, but since it's not possible to reach the end of one, we're busted."
They were disappointed but tried not to show it. "I see." She said.
"Not that we've given up." Sam continued. "I called a good friend of ours to help us on this." They didn't need to know said friend at first asked if he was crazy. "He's got a lot of experience and resources. If anyone can find us something to work from, it'll be him."
She tipped her head sideways thoughtfully. "Yes. Let's hope."
Maggie nodded. "And boys, we'd like to thank you for doing this. Most hunters would have considered it a waste of their time to try and help us." As she recalled, the only one other time one would be bothered enough to listen to their story, he'd said they were daft and stormed out. Angry he'd wasted his trip when he realized they weren't witches.
Sam brushed it off. He didn't want them feeling beholden. "It's our job to help people. This is a little different from what we're used to, but-" He shrugged. "You still need us and we'll do what we can."
Dean felt a surge of pride. Atta boy, Sam.
She glanced around, seeing everyone was finished, she stood. "Let's have desert shall we?"
Collyn popped up too and helped her mother clear the table. While they worked, Peter looked over at Sam and Dean with admiration. "How'd you guys learn to fight monsters and stuff?"
He had only the vaguest notion of what hunters really did, but it sounded cool. If he didn't want to be a scientist when he grew up, he'd be a hunter. How awesome would that job be? They were like cops or firefighters, only undercover. Like a TV hero.
Patrick rolled his eyes next to him. They'd gone over all this the night before last. His little brother had a case of hero worship and a romanticized notion he knew what hunters did. He thought he'd shut him down when he pointed out Buffy wasn't real.
Seeing the Winchesters squirm, Dan looked sternly at Peter. "Now Peter, don't be rude. That's a personal question." He imagined no one got into this profession as a result of good happenings. Observing their faces, he'd say anything but.
"No, it's okay." Dean said. "Just, um. It's complicated."
He left it at that and the boy decided to let it go. The question seemed to make them sad.
All the men around the table looked up as the women returned. Maggie carried a huge pan of cobbler while Collyn had a gallon of ice cream and a tray holding desert plates and spoons. The boys felt their mouths water.
"Wow." It was Sam's turn now.
Laughing as they unloaded their hands, Maggie winked at him. "This is an old family recipe. You might be thinkin' cobbler is cobbler. You've had it once, it's all the same. But not mine." Sliding a thick, juicy piece on each place, Collyn then scooped some vanilla ice cream next to it and set one in front of everyone. "Let me know what you think." She said grinning.
Sam and Dean tucked in at once and then closed their eyes, a joint groan came from their side of the table. Maggie laughed while the others smiled, amused. Her cooking had that effect on everyone, but her baking was untouched. She was best known for her cobbler. Not too sweet, not too bitter, it was the most delicious thing either brother had ever tasted.
Dean's face held rapture as he opened his eyes and looked at her. "This is incredible."
She smiled. "Thank you."
"I've never tasted one this good." Sam agreed. And Jess had been a pretty good baker. Jess. Nope. Not going there.
"I'm glad you like it."
"Mom's the best cook in town." Collyn bragged, smiling at her mother.
"I believe you." Dean said, heaving another bit. Ah. Ambrosia. And to think it wasn't even pie.
They ate and chatted amicably for a bit longer, then after desert and coffee, the kids bid goodnight and wondered off to finish homework.
Sam sat his cup down and looked at the couple. "Can you think of anything else you haven't told us that might help? Anything at all, even something you feel is a small detail could help."
Dan bit the inside of his cheek and mulled it over. "No. I don't think so."
"Nothing else in your family history?" Dan shook his head and Sam sighed. "Okay. Well, we'll keep looking."
Dean stood up, just stopping himself from patting his full belly. Sam joined him. "We should get going too. It's getting late." And they had work to do. "We'll keep you updated."
Dan stood as well and reached out to shake their hands. "We appreciate it."
Maggie walked over to them and surprised them both by giving them hugs and a gentle pat on the back. "You two drive safe now. Thank you for coming."
Dean felt shy yet warmed by her generosity. Both boys, unfamiliar with such freely given affection just nodded. They walked them to the door and waved. "Goodnight."
As they continued down the walk to the car, both reflected on the evening. They were quiet on the way back to the motel, lost in thought. When they stopped instead of getting out, they sat there looking out the windshield.
"They're nice people." Sam said softly.
"Yeah. They are." Dean agreed, just as quiet.
"I want to help them."
With luck, they could.
As it turned out, it was not on their side. Wasn't that just the Winchester way? They had a love hate relationship with Lady Luck and today she hated their guts.
It had been three days since dinner with the Luchucks. In that time they'd exhausted every resource and done every search they could think of. No results. Their last hope had been Bobby, but Sam had just hung up with him and Dean could tell by the look on his face it was bad news.
"What'd he say?"
Sam ran a hand through his hair and huffed. "That he was sorry." He met his brothers eyes, his own sad. "He said he tried, but there's just nothing. He's as blank as we are. He looked in his books, did searches, called some buddies. No one has ever heard of this before, let alone dealt with it."
He sank to his bed, face drawn. "We can't help them."
Crap. Dean wore his own frown as he sat on his bed across from Sam. He blew out a breath. "No what?" They wanted very much to help this family, but they couldn't stay here forever working their case. If they had nothing to go on, they had to admit defeat. And damnit, he hated admitting that. He knew his brother did too.
Sam sighed, voicing what Dean had been thinking. "Nothing to do. We have to tell them." He looked at the cellphone in his hand. "Can't call though." They'd been keeping the family appraised by daily calls.
"They deserve us telling them face to face." Even if it killed him to do so. Once again he'd let his hopes ride on an impossible situation. He felt like a fool. Another let down to add to the list that was his life.
Dean could tell Sam was taking this hard. "Hey, we did all we could."
"Yeah." This didn't make either of them feel better.
Dean rubbed a hand over his face. "Well, no point waiting." He looked at Sam. "I'll call and set up a meeting for tonight, okay?" It was bad enough they couldn't help, he wanted to do the little he could to protect Sam. He wouldn't make him suffer the call too.
He shrugged. "Sure."
His brother patted his shoulder as he stood and walked over to the side of the room to place it. Sam stared into space. Damnit. Why'd this have to happen? Why these people, why him? It wasn't fair. He snorted inwardly. When was life ever fair? They were all victims of destiny.
His hand clenched in a fist. He couldn't tell them to give up hope, he couldn't. It was wrong, cruel. He knew what it was like to live a life that felt devoid of hope. But would it be just as cruel to give them false faith? Or would it really be false? It looked bad now, but who's to say someday that wouldn't change? He bit his lip. He didn't know what to do.
Dean hung up and caught his eye. "We're waiting on the kids to get home. Two hours."
Two hours till they killed hope.
They approached the house this time as if walking to a gallows. Their hearts were heavy and jumped in their throats when an always chipper Maggie answered the door and let them in. They felt like they were facing a firing squad when they went into the family room to find everyone sitting there waiting.
"Well?" Dan asked. "What's the news?"
Sam swallowed. They'd talked about who would break the bad news on the way over. Dean had offered to go it alone, but Sam wouldn't let him. They'd do this together. However it helped that Dean started because he couldn't seem to find his voice.
His brother looked at the eager faces before them and silently cussed Lady Luck again. He hated this part of the job. "We're afraid it's not good."
Five faces became tense as Dan nervously asked, "How not good?"
Sam answered now. "We exhausted our last lead. Our friend called back today. He did all he could, but came up with nothing, as we did."
He could see their faces falling and he fought to keep from looking at his shoes as he went on. "We're at a dead end." He met Dan's eyes. "I'm sorry." He was. God he was.
Dan's own eyes lost their sparkle as he acknowledged the news. "I see." Maggie and Collyn were fighting hard not to cry in front of them, the boys looked aged suddenly beyond their years. Sam and Dean hated that, having seen the same look on their own faces many times over their lives.
Dan stood and offered his hand to Dean. "Thanks for trying. It means a lot to us."
Dean shook his hand somberly. "I wish we could have done more."
Dan turned and offered the hand to Sam.
Sam felt a surge of anger. No. He would not condemn them to fate. This wasn't over. His firey eyes met Dan's and the older man's brow rose up.
Dean noted the change also. "Sam?"
"This doesn't mean it's over." He told him with conviction and determination. He included the whole family in his gaze now. "Just because we can't find a way now, doesn't mean we're giving up. Or that you should." The family held their breath, rapt by Sam's words.
"We travel a lot. We come across a lot of things every day. We'll keep our eyes open and maybe someday we'll come across what you want to know. If we ever find it, we'll come back. I promise you."
Dean smiled softly, proud. He should've known sam wouldn't give up. He never has.
Dan smiled slightly. The young man certainly had a passion about him. "I guess maybe is better than no hope."
Sam nodded. "It is. And there's something else you should know." He carefully made sure he had the focus of every family member. "There may be nothing we can do right now, but don't let this dictate who you are or what you do. You can do something. You can use this curse for good, make it work for you, not against you. Let it help you bring luck to others."
Dean sucked in a breath. He knew where the roots of this speech came from and it moved him. Aw, Sammy.
"If you win free groceries, donate them to food banks. If you win money, donate it to charity. Whatever happens, make it work for you and for others. Just because you can't control it, doesn't mean you have to let it beat you down."
He took a deep breath, feeling his fury burn down and heat rise in his cheeks. He hadn't meant to get so worked up. He saw them all looking at him with grateful, amused smiles and shrugged. "That's uh, just what I'd do."
Dan nodded. "It's sound advice. We'll do that." He shook his head in wonder. "Never thought of it that way before."
Sam had had a lot of time to think of it that way. He'd not been speaking only of the family's situation. Catching Dean's eye, he saw his brother knew this also. He hoped this loss of control didn't lead to another lecture. He didn't want to fight with his brother anymore.
Maggie, tears in her eyes, raised and threw her arms around him in a crushing hug. "Thank you, lamb." She said. Precious lambs these boys. "For everything."
Dean received the same hug while Dan traded off with her to give Sam a handshake. He clasped him warmly on the shoulder. "I don't know where your family is now boy, but I know wherever they are, they're proud of ya." He looked at Dean. "Both of you."
Sam and Dean were touched. "Thank you." Sam whispered.
Dan was nearly pushed aside by Collyn seeking her turn to hug the boys goodbye and thank you. He chuffed a laugh, shaking his head at his little girl. Just like her mother.
The younger boys both took their turns next, shaking hands as their father had. "You guys are awesome!" Peter grinned up at them. They laughed and Patrick smiled at his brother, silently agreeing. Maybe he was right. There are superheroes after all.
As the farewells wrapped up, Dean turned to them. "If you ever need us again, for anything you know?" It was his way of saying call anytime.
Maggie smiled. "We'll call. And maybe..." She bit her lip tentatively and looked to Dan, who smiled and nodded in a form of unspoken marital communication. She looked back to them. "Maybe you'd like to call and catch up once in a while?"
Just to check in. They got it. Sam and Dean smiled at each other then her. "Sure. We'd like that."
It appeared they'd made new friends. Who knew, maybe having a family of Leprechauns on their side would come in handy someday.
Waving to the troop gathered in their front yard, Dean pulled away and started down the road. They'd be on a new hunt soon enough. They were both in a lighter mood leaving then they had been in coming.
"I'm glad it worked out." He said, glancing at Sam who'd been quiet in his seat.
"Me too. Even if it didn't turn out as planned."
Dean let the silence fall around them for a moment, enjoying the peace. He didn't like to think what he was going to say next may disturb it. But he had to say something, this was important. "So, uh. About what you said in there."
Sam groaned and rubbed his forehead. Tense already after only one sentence. "Dean, can we please not do this?"
Dean frowned, confused. He hadn't said anything yet. "Do what?"
"I don't want to fight." Not again.
Dean looked at his brother and saw for the first time how weary he was. Everything that had happened these past months had taken it's toll on them. When what he'd said got through to Dean, his shoulders drooped. "Can we please not do this?" "I don't want to fight."
Had it gotten so bad between them now that Sam automatically expected a fight whenever he wanted to talk? The tightness around Sam's face and shoulders said yes. Crap. He didn't want this. He hated that he and Sam were falling apart. They always had their bond, always had each other to fall back on. But lately it was like that connection wasn't as sturdy as it used to be, and both were afraid to lean on it for fear of falling on their faces. It was not something he wanted to let continue, but he didn't know how to fix it.
He was worried about Sam. He also missed him and the way they used to be. But he wouldn't be doing his job as big brother if he didn't watch out for the kid. He wouldn't stand by and let anyone take his little brother from him. He wouldn't let Sam put himself in harms way.
"I know what you meant when you said all that. But Sam, it's different for them. You're different." Please understand. I only want to protect you.
Sam laughed, the sound bitter and dark, sucking the brightness from the daylight streaming in the car. "Yeah, I'm different alright. Like anyone would ever let me forget." Dean frowned. "I'm the next generation of evil."
He looked across to him. Expression bitter, but eyes hollow. Haunted. Breaking. "Isn't that right Dean?"
"Sam." Dean's voice was low and pained. Damnit. His brother was the best person he knew. Sammy had always been kind, sweet, full of laughter and life. Now the man looking back at him was a husk of the brother he knew. And it scared him. "No. It's not right. You aren't evil Sam. Just misguided. You just gotta stop this and it'll be okay." Somehow I'll make us okay again.
Sam shook his head, his eyes liquid with pain. "How do you stop what's in your blood?" Dean didn't answer. He didn't know what to say. "It will never go away, Dean. It will always be inside me. It'll always be a monster."
How can I be anything but when even the people closest to me can only see it? When angels are against me? Nothing I can ever do will make them believe in me. Dad died thinking it. You think I'm losing it. I can see it when you look at me. Freak.
"You're not a monster, Sam" Dean snapped. Stop it. Stop looking at me like that. Stop thinking that way. "You're not being careful. I don't want you to make a mistake. That's all." I don't want you hurt.
My life is a mistake. "I have to try. You can never understand. It's not in you. I can't let this beat me. I'm going to make some good out of it. Somehow. I can stick it to the yellow eyed bastard every time I use it to save someone." Like I should have saved you.
Dean stubbornly shook his head. "It's not worth it, Sam. Not like that. There's another way." A safer way. Just stop. Please. I didn't go to hell and back to lose you now.
"Right." Sam sighed out, resigned.
The car slid into tense silence and they both knew the conversation might be over, but it was still waging in things unsaid between them.
A/N This one has been kicking around in my head for a while now. It's based on a real family, since St. Patricks Day just passed, I thought I'd go ahead and post it. And I also wanted to say, I have nothing against green beer or Jehovah's Witnesses. I just thought that part would be cute to toss in, b/c they do often go door to door in pairs. I got to thinking, 'I wonder why no one ever thinks that when they show up?' So there you have it. My brain on crack. Lol. Hope you enjoyed it.