Bittersweet Memory

Author: Tara aka LovinJackson

Summary: BrotherhoodAU. To cope with a Mothers Day tragedy, Caleb falls into his own memories while waiting for help to arrive.

Disclaimer: Supernatural and the Winchesters belong to Kripke, Caleb and the Brotherhood belongs to Ridley C. James … what does that leave me with? My own twisted plots and penchant to see them hurt. I love them, really I do. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

A/N1: This once again isn't the story I was promising, although it is Brotherhood and is the longest one-shot I have written to date … which is why it is no longer a one-shot but a two parter. This idea came to me during Mothers Day. As you can see it's a little late. I had decided not to post this until my other fic had its first chapter finished but its slow going and I'm impatient. My good friend Nana56 was so interested in it that I thought I would post this as a late birthday present. Happy Birthday, Nana! Thanks to Ridley. I think she read over this more than anyone and did wonders with helping me. Thanks also to Angelustatt and my Mum who also were fantastic help. And in the end any mistakes you find are my own ;) I hope you enjoy!


Part 1

Cape Hatteras, NC

May 1980

"Mommy, don't come out!" The child screeched in panic, his small arms covering the paper on the deck table in front of him.

"What are you doing out there?" The soft voice asked from the doorway but his mother remained on the other side of the door.

"Something …" His arms didn't move from protecting his masterpiece, his eyes glued to the door.

There was an amused sigh from inside the house. "Well is your father out there with you while you're doing something?"

"Yep, he's cutting wood." The sound of the axe hitting wood just around the side of the house could be heard as if proof that he hadn't been left alone outside.

"Now you need to go, Mommy or I can't finish." Mother's day was the next day and it was important that everything was in place because his Mommy was special. She was the best Mommy ever. He couldn't wait to show his baby brother or sister just how lucky they all were.

Big amber eyes widened as the creak of the screen door preceded the door opening slightly. "Mommy!"

"Okay, okay," His Mom laughed and closed the door again. "I'll leave you to your secret plans then." The smile in his Mom voice made him smile too. He relaxed a little. She most definitely couldn't see what he was doing until it was finished.

"Tell your father that lunch will be in half an hour."

"Okay." He nodded even though he knew she couldn't see him.

Footsteps in the house indicated that his Mommy had indeed walked back into the house and it gave the little boy the chance to sit back and look at his work. There was something wrong with it. The blue was the wrong colour. The search for the elusive blue pencil, that had been stopped when his Mommy had almost caught him, continued. After a few minutes of frustrated muttering the pencil was found, having somehow found itself in a separate section of the new pencil case Daddy had bought him.

Smiling, the little boy leant forward, brushing a lose strand of black hair out of his eyes before pressing the blue pencil to the paper…

Outside of Vanceboro, NC

May 1998

"Bl..ue…" Caleb muttered, as he reality crept in, stealing the comfort of the dream. The blue pencil was no longer in his hands; instead his fingers were freezing and wracked with pain.

The memory of the dream was all but gone now a dull throb taking up residence in his head. He didn't want to leave that feeling of shelter and innocence, but it was slipping through his fingers like sand.

Caleb groaned, drawing his brows together. He could hear an engine running. "Wake up, you piece of shit!"

Caleb jerked at the sound of the unfamiliar voice, not sure where it had come from and where it fit into his current situation. He had vague memories of a hunt involving werewolves, a man and a woman that Caleb had killed, leaving two young boys orphans. He remembered driving away and then nothing. His head throbbed in time with his heart beat and the nagging pain in his left leg.

"I said wake the fuck up!"

Caleb cried out, the unmistakable feel of a boot making contact with bruised muscles - and cracked ribs - had his body trying to curl into itself for protection. The motion only managed to pull on his injured leg, which he couldn't dislodge. It was stuck under something heavy. He couldn't move it but he could fucking feel it.

He was trapped; he tried to move again, to pull away on automatic gut reaction, only managing to make himself scream as pain tore its way from the limb and up his body. His head was spinning and his mind was screaming at him to get away. Just the thought of being trapped brought back way too many bad memories and demanded he do something about it. A sense of panic came over him, feeling closed in, his mind shouting at him to getoutgetoutgetout!!

"Hurt, you yellow belly asshole?"

Words were registering in Caleb's mind, cutting through his panic and fear of being restrained and helpless, but it was the tone more than the words themselves that got through. "What the…" The psychic slurred as a hand grip his shirt tightly.

"That's right, look at me," the stranger demanded. The light was pulled away and a blurry face that Caleb didn't immediately recognise came into view. The man was old, probably about Mac's age, balding. His vision swam in and out of focus again and Caleb blamed it on the concussion he'd received from the werewolf. "You recognise me yet, son? Or did you hit your head on your way down?"

"Wha…?" Caleb asked again, coughing wetly when the old guy released him. He was sure he had hit his head again at some point because when the back of his head smacked into the ground it made him see stars, literal stars that made up for the black starless sky above him. He could almost feel himself slipping into blessed unconsciousness when the man's voice snapped him awake again.

"I'm surprised you survived the crash. But I'm glad. You're gonna know why you're dying."

Flashes of the drive away from the town, of hitting the freeway, flew through Caleb's mind, the large pick-up truck that had managed to get up beside him, ram him off the road. The memories were scattered and distorted but coming back to him slowly.

"What? You don't have anything else to say, boy?" The man was obviously angry. That was fine because Caleb wasn't in the best of moods either. Getting run off the road kind of dampened his already crappy mood.

The light moved away and the man was gone. Caleb coughed, swallowed hard and tried to move but was stopped when the pressure increased. "Arggghh!" he screamed. His leg was being severed, he was sure of it. His hands grappled for his leg while his body tried desperately to get away from the source of pain.

As soon as the pressure was off Caleb slumped back to the ground with a whimper that he would have never permitted if he wasn't in such horrendous pain.

"Let me ask you a question, kid." The light was back shining at his face again and Caleb brought up one shaking hand to shield his eyes. "What gives you the right?"

"The …" Caleb's voice was ragged and shaky. "The r-right to what?"

"You forget that easy? You murder two people and you just drive away and forget? Is that it?"

"M…murder?"

"What do you call shooting two people in the chest?" The man asked, barely restrained anger and grief was bursting at the seams. "What did my daughter ever do to you?"

"Dau…" Caleb paused mid-speak, eyes narrowing. The man's daughter had to be one of the werewolves he had killed. This man's features started to resonate in his head now. He remembered meeting the man briefly when he'd come to pick up his grandchildren on the first day he'd met the unfortunate family. Dale Sutherland. He now had a name to go to with the face.

How was he supposed to explain to the furious, hurting man in front of him that he had actually put his daughter out of her misery? How was he supposed to explain that? Your daughter and son-in-law were werewolves, Mr. Sutherland. I'm sure you understand … yeah right. How often did civilians take to the news of the Supernatural well?

"That's right. My daughter! You killed her, gunned her down like she was nothing." The confusion and down right hurt in Sutherland's voice was raw. "You've left my grandsons without their mother, without their father. Do you know what its like to lose your parents?"

Caleb wanted to be sick. The questions hit close to home and he closed his eyes and concentrated on breathing, on handling the pain to try and avoid any thoughts about his own parents. He usually kept himself separated from it all. He didn't think about it. He blocked it out. Sometimes he wasn't even sure he could remember what his mother looked like. It hurt, but it was better than remembering.

"Do you?!"

"I … I had to do it ..."Caleb rolled his head to the other side. He was pressed against something. It was hard and lumpy; blinking his eyes open he saw the door to the jeep had swung open during the … fall? That would explain how he had managed to end up outside the jeep.

A rough hand grabbed his cold chin and brought his glazed gaze back to the grieving, revenge driven father who loomed above him. "You had to? You had to? You didn't have to do shit! Her oldest saw you do it, y'know. He watched as you plugged her in the heart. He hasn't spoken but to tell me that. How would you feel if someone murdered your mother right in front of you?"

Caleb felt tears collecting in the corner of his eyes, blinking furiously to try and reclaim some kind of ground. He knew all too well what it was like to watch his mother be killed in front of him. The thought that he had somehow allowed another child to see that horrified him. "I … I didn't h-have a …have a choice," Caleb tried again but even he could hear the slow slur of his words, the muffled sound of his voice, his head filled with cotton balls … everything was getting fuzzy.

"Bullshit, man!" Sutherland grabbed his shirt again and lifted Caleb up so that they were nose to nose. He brought his hands up and wrapped his cold fingers around Sutherland's wrists, grimacing as his leg was jostled. He couldn't contain the throaty moan that broke free.

"They … god … they were dangerous. I … I had to … I'm sorry," Caleb said. He wasn't sorry that he had done the job. Somebody was going to have to do it but he was sorry for having to do it in the first place. Sandra Parker and her husband would have hurt others, probably even their sons. There was no cure for lycanthropy. "Shit!" he cursed in pain, his breath getting caught in his throat occasionally, causing his body to panic.

"You're sorry?" Sutherland laughed. "I guess you are now. I was coming out here to kill you, put you out of your misery, you sick son of a bitch, but I think I've changed my mind." Sutherland let him go with a sneer of disgust. Caleb grunted and the pain panged through him, making his head spin. "I think I'll let the natural order of things happen. You don't deserve a fast death."

Only some of Sutherland's words really sunk in, but it was enough for Caleb to understand the implication. The man was going to leave him here to die. "Wait …"

"I don't think so, boy." Sutherland actually laughed as he stood. "You didn't give my daughter any such chance. You're going to die out here … alone. It's what murdering evil bastards like you deserve."

Caleb didn't even see the boot coming but he sure as hell felt it as it connected with the side of his head. His vision whited out to nothing. It felt like a small explosion had gone off in his head and he wasn't sure that the end result would be such a pretty picture.

Cape Hatteras, NC

May 1980

"Caleb!"

The little boy whipped his head around at the sound of his father's voice, eyes sparkling in excitement as his plan was coming together just the way he wanted it to.

"Daddy, can we go now?" Caleb asked, running down the porch steps to the beach house and straight into his father's arms.

"I'm ready if you are, buddy." His Dad's smile was bright on his face and it even reached his eyes. This made Caleb practically bouncing with energy because his Daddy had been sad lately. His Mommy called it grumpy. Whatever it was, it wasn't affecting his Daddy today and Caleb was happy.

"Right then, go and tell your Mom we're going for a walk so she doesn't worry about us."

His Dad lowered him to the ground and tapped him on the backside as Caleb bounded back up the steps and stuck his head in the doorway. "Mom! Me and Daddy are going for a walk!"

Caleb didn't wait to hear her answer. He had told her where they were going and now she wouldn't worry and he could begin the final part of his master plan with his Daddy's help of course….

Outside of Vanceboro, NC

May 1998

"Dad…" Caleb's tongue slid over his dry and cold lips, his brow furrowing in confusion. Gone was the smell of seaweed and his father's warm hand holding his smaller one. Caleb's hands were cold now, one of them lying on his stomach in a subconscious effort to protect his broken ribs, the other lying on the ground wedged between him and the open jeep door.

Reality bit, chasing away the memories that had been plaguing his mind ever since he had arrived in Vanceboro. The town had gone overboard with the Mother's Day festivities for the year. Caleb had no idea if this was an annual thing or not and he really couldn't have cared less. Mother's Day wasn't his favourite day in the world and he pretty much ignored it unless Dean or Sam were having difficulty with the day. But even then he focused on them, on Mary Winchester and pushed Amelia Reaves as far away as he could. By the time he had finished the hunt he had really needed to get away from the build up to Mothers Day considering he had in fact just killed someone's mother.

The Parker boys were now without a mother and to know that one of them had seen him do the deed? It sickened Caleb. It didn't matter whether it had to be done or not. He should have been more careful. He shouldn't have let the fanfare distract him with morose thoughts; he shouldn't have let the sudden memories plague his dreams. If he had of been more alert and ready maybe he could have done something to avoid screwing up a kid for the rest of his life.

Caleb opened his eyes slowly to find that he was still shrouded in darkness. The air was cold and brisk and he was sure that if he could actually see much of anything he would see his own breath.

He could just make out the tree tops above him. He was shaking. He tried valiantly to stop because even the tiniest shiver reminded him constantly that he was in serious trouble. He tried to shift his head to look behind him, try to work out where he was. The rough ground grazed against the goose egg on the back of his head. He wondered if it was bleeding. It was hard to tell when the ground was so damp. Pulling his arm out from where it had been sitting between his body and the door, the psychic brought his hand to the front of his head. He felt wetness there that in his haze before he had assumed was sweat. But Caleb wasn't sweating so much as he was bleeding. He knew the feel of it. He guessed the back of his head wasn't the only part to take a beating. No wonder it felt like he'd been hit with a sledgehammer.

"Concentrate," he admonished himself quietly. He clenched his jaw in an attempt to stop his teeth from chattering. "The road … I was on the road," he panted, trying to recall details of the moments before he'd crashed the jeep. He'd been on the road heading out of Vanceboro. His head hurt so much and he quirked his lips in a lazy smile as he thought that thinking really did hurt. He told Dean that all the time.

"Deuce." His voice was barely audible but it was better than the silence of the woods or wherever he had managed to get himself. He had been going to meet the Winchesters the day after Mothers Day in Chocowinity, North Carolina. Dean had picked the meeting spot because it was only 20 minutes from Caleb's latest hunt … and he had thought the name of the town was hilarious. Caleb remembered rolling his eyes at the younger man. Now he would give anything to be on the receiving end of Dean's unique humour.

If Caleb wasn't there when John and the boys got to the motel then they would know something was wrong. They would probably head to Vanceboro and look for him. They would have to come past where he had been slammed off the road. The odds that he would be found were really good. The odds that he would be found alive? Not so good.

He didn't want the boys to find him like that. He didn't want to do this to Mac. No matter what memories annoyingly resurfaced right now, Caleb's father was Mackland Ames. The doctor had been his father for almost fifteen years. The man was his father no matter what their blood said and he hated the thought of what this death would do to him. Caleb had expected himself to go out in a blaze of glory, on a hunt, facing down some creepy ass evil thing … not in a hit and run.

His mind was straying. "God … I n-need to c-con…concentrate," he stuttered. He moved his cold fingers down his body, both hands searching for his cell phone. His jacket pockets, his jeans, they were all empty. Where the fuck was his phone? "Fucki..inng Hell." He breathed shakily, his lips pressed tightly together to stave off the pained noises of distress that wanted to break free.

His phone was on charge. He vaguely remembered plugging the small device into the jeep's cigarette lighter before leaving town. He needed to find it. Caleb brought his head up, his chin touching his chest and tried to get his elbows under him. The growl it elicited turned into more of a sob, his chest heaving under the strain. Pain lanced up his leg. His vision greyed out and he slumped back to the earthy floor beneath him.

His whole body shuddered, his clothes not really giving him the protection he needed from the elements. All he needed now was for it to rain and he would just give up now, shoot himself in the fucking head. He could … his gun. He could use his gun to fire off shots; maybe someone would hear them and come.

The psychic moved, not even stifling the pain it caused and attempted to get the gun that had been tucked into the back waistband of his jeans. But something was wrong. The gun was gone. Or Caleb had lost all feeling in the lower part of his body. But no, he could feel his jeep trying to crush him. He still had feeling. His searching hand came up empty, confirming his latest damning revelation. Sutherland must have taken it.

"Dammit!"

His curse was loud to his ears but he knew the sound hadn't carried very far. He didn't have the energy. Fear, frustration and pain all mingled together. He felt sick and his chest felt like it was getting tighter. He needed to calm down and breathe properly. But that was easier said than done when your jeep was using your leg as a pillow.

"Help!" He cried out again, hating the feeling of helplessness as he could do nothing but lay there and scream and shake. He hoped it was more to do with the temperature and not him going into shock. Both were real dangers the longer he stayed there.

Help! He screamed in his mind, automatically without conscious thought seeking something through his powers. Everything was murky in his mind. He thought of Sam. The kid was fifteen and they had all known the boy was special right from young. He needed to contact Sam. He blamed the concussion for having not thought of this sooner.

He purposely pictured the lanky Winchester in his head, trying to find the normal tendrils of a link that he shared with the boy. His head was screaming at him to stop, his thoughts sluggish and clumsy. He fumbled along, mewling as the pain was creeping to unbearable levels. He saw it, Sam was close by and it was a testament to how bad he was doing that it had taken that much effort to search for the boy's familiar presence.

Caleb meant to say something coherent but the pain in his head had finally crested at the top of what he could stand. He screamed in pain in his mind hoping that he caused enough waves for Sam to get the message that he was in trouble. They could figure out the rest. It was only as his body couldn't fight anymore that Caleb realised he had been screaming for real. He felt wetness in his ears as his eyes rolled back in his head and consciousness was swiftly taken from him.

Burlington, NC

May 1998

Dean jumped up from the soft but scratchy sheets and twisted around. Had he just heard a scream? His favourite Bowie in hand, Dean was ready for whatever unholy thing had woken him from the rather unsettling dream he'd been having. He couldn't remember the details but something in his gut was telling him something wasn't right. But it was just a dream. It didn't matter. His still sleep foggy brain tried to play catch up, his eyes darting around the room. Nothing out of the ordinary, it was the same crappy apartment they had been renting for the last two months in this crappy town. Dean was over North Carolina. Sam however wasn't.

His next thought became of Sam and his green gaze immediately searched out the other single bed in the small bedroom that he shared with his over-grown geeky little brother. Sam wasn't in the bed. It wasn't a surprise. Sam often pulled all nighter's when he could get away with it since hunting apparently didn't leave enough time for his school work.

Another scream sounded throughout the tiny apartment and Dean was on the move, throwing aside the covers and jumping from his bed. That was Sam. He'd know that scream anywhere because it never failed to make his gut clench making him want to spring into action. Sam was in pain and Dean should have been able to stop it. He hated it when he couldn't.

Dean reached down beside his bed for his gun and then raced to the door; gun in hand, bare feet padding softly over the carpet. Rushing out of the bedroom door, Dean collided with the solid form of John Winchester.

Wearing only an old pair of grey sweats and nothing more but a gun in his hand, John stood there looking dishevelled but amazingly alert. He straightened Dean and then continued on the short few steps that separated the hall from the main living area. Dad didn't need to give him orders. Dean was already on alert.

As soon as John approached the door and looked into the living room all tenseness dropped from the ex-marine's shoulders and he rushed in. "Sammy!"

The panicked sound of his brother's name on his father's lips had all calmness leach from Dean as he followed quickly on his fathers heels. John was already there; dropping the gun on the table amongst the messy assortment of text books Sam had lain out. The older hunter dropped to his knees beside Sam who had curled up on the floor, holding his hands to his ears.

"Sammy?" Dean wanted to go to Sam, make sure he was alright himself but Dad was there. "Shit, Dad. What?" Dean shut his mouth and kicked himself for sounding like an idiot.

"Check the salt lines, Dean," John ordered as he pulled Sam's upper body into his lap, wrestling with the kids strong arms.

"Sammy? Sammy? Come on, Bud, snap out of it." It sounded like an order coming out of Dad's mouth but Dean could hear the worry in the older hunter's voice. He heard it every time one of them got hurt.

Dean stood there for another second, staring at his brother before he did an about turn and did a check of the salt lines they had laid out the night before. Dean had salted the doors and windows himself when Sam had bitched about leaving yet another school and something about having to study extra hard to make sure the move didn't hold him back.

All the lines were in place so Dean rushed back over to his father and brother and knelt down on one knee, absentmindedly snapping the safety back on his gun and dropping it to the table along with his father's.

Sam had stopped thrashing and moaning but as Dean grabbed hold of the kids chin he could feel him shaking. Sam's eyes were open, but barely, like he had the mother of all headaches. Almost like Caleb after he'd suffered through one of his freaky death visions.

"Dude, you with us?" Dean asked cautiously, giving his father a fleeting look before bringing his attention back to Sam.

Sam's expression was one of confusion as he stared back at Dean. It took him a few moments but he seemed to realise that he was lying in his father's arms on the floor. "I'm okay, I'm okay. Let me up."

John reluctantly let Sam go, keeping a hand on the kid's arm as he and Dean helped Sam to his feet, only to push him into the chair he'd had his ass parked on all night. "Sammy?" John asked, obviously not settled with the whole 'I'm okay' thing.

Sam leaned forward, resting his elbows on his school books on the table and he rubbed the palms of his hands into his eyes. "Oh this is not good," he groaned.

Dean shared a look with his father. "Yeah, I think we got that with all the screaming, Dude."

"Dean," Sam finally looked up, his eyes red from the hard rub he'd just given them, his expression earnest and … scared. "Something is really wrong."

John sighed and pulled out the other chair from the table set and sat down in front of his youngest son. Dean perched his hip against the table. He was concerned more than he was before. Sam's face was a myriad of emotions. He looked like he was still trying to work out what had just happened.

"What's wrong, Sam?" John asked, not letting up, forcing Sam to look at him.

"It's … its Caleb," Sam finally spat out, his voice shaky like he been told some horrible news.

"What about Damien?" Dean asked, his stomach dropping at the sound of his friend's name.

"I think he's in trouble, Dean."

"Wait." John held up a hand halting any further conversation between the two boys, cutting off Dean's next question. "How the hell do you know this?"

"I don't know. I was reading and I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I know I am woken up by this scream, like someone was in real pain."

John looked uncomfortable and Dean wondered silently what his father was thinking. But John kept his gaze on Sam. "Do you think you might have been dreaming, kiddo?"

Sam shook his head before John even finished the question. "No."

"You have been burning the candle at both ends lately," Dean pointed out. Sam dreaming up crazy things was a lot better than thinking the kid was right. If Sam was right then Caleb could be hurt. Uneasiness formed in the pit of Dean's stomach as he saw a resolve come over his brother.

"I'm not imagining things and I wasn't dreaming. I heard what I heard," Sam told them adamantly. "But it's not just what I heard. It's what I felt."

"What do you mean?" John asked warily.

Sam looked up at Dean. "Caleb showed me how to do it when we were kids."

John looked more confused and glanced to Dean for some answers. The only thing was that Dean didn't have any answers because he didn't have a clue what Sam was on about either.

"Like when we would play Hide and Seek and I couldn't find you. He told me that all I had to do was close my eyes and think of you and imagine a piece of string attached to you. All I had to do was follow that string and I would find you."

"I knew you'd started cheating! No way could you find me so fast on your own every time."

Sam rolled his eyes. "Dean, that's hardly the point. The point is that it worked. I could always sense you if I tried and I think the same goes for Caleb."

"So what? You're some kind of psychic now?" Dean asked, not sure where all this was leading.

"No!" Sam balked. "Don't be stupid."

"You want to get to the punch line, Sammy?" John asked impatiently.

Sam paused, looking at both his father and his brother. "I heard someone call for help and then this incredible pain hit! Like take your breath away kind of pain. I couldn't think … I … I know I felt something and I just know it was Caleb."

"Caleb called after he'd finished with his hunt, Sam and he was fine," John argued, looking down at his wrist for his watch only to find that he'd taken it off when he'd showered and headed to bed on a rare early night for the Winchester Patriarch. He shrugged off the annoyance of his missing watch and met Sam's gaze once more. "That wasn't more than a few hours ago." He looked to Dean for clarification.

"He was heading to the hotel in Chocowinity."

Sam huffed and stood up, frustration emanating from the teen. As soon as he was on his feet the higher altitude didn't agree with him and swayed dangerously, catching himself on the table, not unaided by John's quick reflexes.

Dean stood, watching his brother warily. "Take it easy, Cochese," he warned, ready to be of assistance if Sam needed him. "Sit your ass down and I'll go call him."

It wasn't like Caleb hadn't reached out to one or both of them before. Dean couldn't discount the fact that maybe Sam was right especially when the sickening pit in his stomach was growing the longer he stood there making sure Sam was okay.

As soon as the younger man was seated and in the care of their father, Dean turned and rushed back into their bedroom. Snatching his phone up from the bedside table, Dean punched in the speed dial for Caleb and pressed the phone to his ear.

"Come on, Damien, answer your damn phone," Dean muttered as the phone continued to ring and ring with no answer.

He let it ring out as he walked back to where he had left his father and brother sitting at the kitchen table. John was standing at the sink filling a glass of water while Sam sat in the same position with his head in his hands.

"Dammit, Damien when you get this message call me!" Dean demanded before flipping his phone shut.

He sat down in front of the younger hunter as John lightly padded over, handing Sam the glass of water. "Here, drink this." It was an order and one that Sam obeyed without question. Something that you wouldn't think was so abnormal but the oldest and youngest Winchester would, and had, been fighting over the most inane things that it made Dean grateful and worried at the same time.

He flipped open his phone again. "I'll keep calling til he answers." Dean told them unnecessarily. The phone continued to ring like it had before and it definitely did nothing to calm him. If Caleb was simply busy with a certain kind of company and ignoring his call he was going to kick the psychic's ass.

"Maybe we should just head out now," Sam suggested after swallowing a sip of water. He looked up at John. "We were going to leave anyway, right? What's the problem with leaving a little bit earlier?"

"It's three, Sam."

"So? Are you telling me you are just going to go back to sleep when you don't know for sure?"

"Just hold …"

"He's still not answering," Dean stated after his second attempt. He immediately dialled again, looking nervously at his Dad. He was getting worried now. Caleb always answered his phone eventually even if he was in the middle of something he would rather not be interrupted in, especially when Dean continually called.

John sighed, looking at both boys but he couldn't hide the growing unease he was feeling. Dean could see it written all over his father's face. Running a hand through his dark hair, John waited, keeping his eyes glued to Dean's as the phone rang out for a third time.

"I told you something was wrong," Sam looked at his father pointedly.

"Alright, go get your shit together. We move in ten," John finally conceded.

Dean stood, stubbornly calling Caleb yet again despite the lack of answer. "I'll be ready in five."

Cape Hatteras, NC

May 1980

"What about that one?"

Holding the material of his t-shirt in his small hand in front of him, Caleb reached down to the shell his Daddy pointed to. It was a creamy brown colour, swirling to make a cup of sorts. His Mommy liked those kinds of shells the best and this was the first one they had come across since they had started their walk.

"That's perfect!" Caleb told him, turning the shell over in his hands. "I needed one of Mommy's special ones."

"I told you that you'd find one."

Caleb sighed happily, placing the discovery on top of the pile he had collected in his shirt. "I was beginning to worry that maybe there was none left at all," He confided, taking his Daddy's hand again.

"Do you think you have enough now, Caleb?"

Looking down thoughtfully at his collection of shells, Caleb nodded. "I think so. You're gonna help me, right?" When he had first spoken to his father about his plan the man had agreed to go along with it as long as Caleb allowed him to help make his special mothers day present. His Dad had said that his Mommy wouldn't be happy if he hurt himself and Caleb knew that he was right.

"Sure I am," His Dad assured him, squeezing his hand. "Come on, Kiddo. We better get back before it gets dark."

Caleb smiled as he felt his Dad's hand run through his dark hair; it was large and strong and warm. It warded off the chill of the ocean.

Outside of Vanceboro, NC

May 1998

The ringing was as persistent as the pain stabbing from where his leg was caught and Caleb wished that whoever was calling would quit it. The annoying ringing allowed the cold to seep back into his skin, mingling in his head with his father's voice, Isaac's voice.

It stopped suddenly and Caleb moved, his head rolling to the side. It didn't take seconds to realise that it was a bad idea.

Moaning, Caleb stilled and somehow found the energy to pry his eyes open. It took a few attempts but eventually the memories of the beach and his fathers hand faded out. He wanted desperately to hold onto it. He hadn't thought of his father in any sense in so long that the thought of losing such a calming memory tore at him.

He looked around, blinking a little as his eyes adjusted. It wasn't pitch-black anymore but it hadn't really hit daylight either. How long had he been lying there now?

The ringing started again. Caleb gasped as he moved, his body screaming at him to stop. "Oh…"he puffed. "This s-sucks." Where the fuck was the ringing coming from? His phone obviously, but where had it ended up? It sounded close, maybe closer than he had originally thought. Caleb lifted his head, barely managing the movement as it felt like it weighed a ton.

Despite his difficulty in that simple task the phone continued to ring, giving him a surge a hope. He lifted his head again, searching for the elusive phone. Pain spiked in his neck but it was worth it. He saw the buzzing phone, lying on the overturned roof of the jeep. Light glowed from the screen, almost demanding angrily at Caleb to pick it up, to just answer the fucking thing. But what he needed to do and what he could do were two entirely different things.

His head dropped to the ground, his chest rising and falling fast. He didn't know how close he was to the road still. He didn't actually remember the crash itself. Multiple hits to the head had a way of making a guy forget even the most important things. He'd definitely had enough experience to know that.

He wiped the sweat from his forehead, bumping his elbow in the process eliciting a wince as it only seemed to highlight his other injuries. Bringing his hand down, Caleb glanced at it, taking in the mixtures of brown and red – dirt and blood. The skin above his right eyebrow was stinging. He returned his hand to his head and found the source of the blood. He traced the cut along the top of his eyebrow until the friction of his hand on the tender broken skin made it burn.

Suddenly Caleb was shrouded in silence. The phone had stopped again. Caleb waited a few moments but nothing happened. "No …" He muttered. What the hell had he been doing? Lying there while his salvation was buzzing on the jeep roof next to him? Way to go, Caleb, he thought. He needed to concentrate but it was so fucking hard when it felt like his brain wanted to explode, splattering grey matter all over the forest floor. Wasn't that a pleasant thought?

He needed to contact someone and he really didn't want a repeat of what had happened when he had tried to use his abilities because that brought him right back to the brain matter … that or passing out again. No, passing out wasn't an option. He could feel his strength dwindling and was actually kind of afraid that if he did pass out that he wouldn't wake up again. He needed to stay awake … or get to his phone and call for help before his body finally slipped into oblivion.

It wasn't long before the phone started up again, the sound drilling into his head. He cursed, knowing that he had to move if he wanted to get anywhere. "Okay …" Caleb spoke to himself, not sure whether his own voice was a comfort or not. "I'll … I'll count." He would count to three and then drag himself up, just enough to get that fucking annoying phone. That's all he needed to do, just enough to get his hands on it.

Caleb licked his dry lips. "Okay … one … two … arrgghh!!" The animal like sound was loud in his ears and it almost surprised Caleb that the sound had come from him.

He pulled himself up, arms shaking with strain. He could have sworn someone was trying to rip off his leg. A fire like sensation ran up the limb like someone was running through yelling at all the other workers in his body to just stop, for the love of god, STOP!

He only briefly had time to realise how insane his thoughts were becoming. The rest of his attention was solely on the pain and holding himself up in spite of it when all he really wanted to do was curl up and die.

His vision blurred out as soon as his eyes locked onto the phone. He sat there clutching the bottom of the door, begging himself not to let go, not to lose it because he wasn't sure if he could do this again. "Come on, you path…pathetic loser," he berated himself. His chest was tight and the shift in his ribs was almost unbearable. He just needed a moment. "Jus' a m-moment."

Using the door to hold onto, Caleb stretched his arm out, the appendage shaking uncooperatively. His fingers brushed the casing but didn't reach far enough to get a good hold on it. "Damn it!" he coughed, feeling his whole body shudder, his ribs twinge. "C-Come on …"

Breathing heavily, wanting to give up and lay back down, Caleb stared blearily at the phone; sweat trickled down the side of his face to run down his neck. He needed to pull himself up further or he wasn't going to accomplish anything. The thought of that was enough to make him tired let alone actually attempting it.

The phone went silent again and Caleb leant his head on his arm, releasing a breathy sob. God, he just wanted to rest now. His arms were shaking so bad. The metal of the jeep groaned as if in sympathy with him.

He wasn't sure how long he stayed there like that, just hanging on, afraid to move in case he lost his grip and came crashing back to the ground. The cool morning breeze made the dampness of his shirt seem even colder on his skin. He shivered, sucking in a painful breath, trying to psyche himself up to move, to take the chance and push himself to grab the phone.

Biting his lip, Caleb once again stretched out his arm towards the cell phone. He used as much strength as he could muster to pull his upper body further forward. His fingers brushed the device again, this time nudging it.

In a moment of frustration, Caleb released his lip and clenched his teeth. An animalistic growl left his throat as he practically jumped, his hand slapping down on the cell phone. His fingers immediately closed around it, not willing to give up what he had worked so hard for.

He tried not to fall back, he really did. His hand slipped, before he caught himself again, pained whimpers left him all of the way down, until his back hit the ground with a thud. Whatever oxygen he'd had access to was now ripped from him as he hit a little harder than he'd intended.

He couldn't breathe. His chest shuddered and seized as pain rampaged through his body in rabid waves, hindering any chance for his lungs to recover. He could hear his own wheezing muffled in his ears. Everything was over-sensitized, throbbing and aching.

The cell phone was clutched so tightly in his hand that he half expected it to break into tiny pieces. But he wasn't letting go and as soon as he was able to form a coherent sentence, let alone a coherent thought, Caleb was going to make use of the lucky break he'd been given.

Caleb started when the cell phone came to life again, having almost zoned out, and he brought the phone up to his face. His hand was heavy and he nearly ended up smacking himself in the nose with it.

With a shaking hand he flipped it open and tried to focus on the display screen, the small digital writing blurred in and out. Caleb brought it to his ear, his hand resting on the ground, helping him to hold it in place. He shuddered again, biting cold rippling through him, momentarily distracting him from what he knew he was supposed to be doing. He was so tired. His eyes slipped to half-mast.

"Damien?!!"

Caleb's eyes widened, his head lazily rolling to where he heard the voice coming from. He didn't remember Dean being with him. His ear pressed onto the phone, locking his hand into place between the cell phone and the ground. Dean wasn't with him, but he was on the phone

"Damien? You there?"

"Deuce…" Caleb tightened his hold on the phone. Dean sounded worried … almost panicked. Caleb couldn't remember telling him what happened.

"Damien?!"

"I'm here," Caleb responded louder when it was obvious Dean hadn't heard him. He coughed wetly. "I'm here."

"Thank God." Dean's voice sounded further a way for a moment, like he is speaking to someone else. "He answered."

"D-Don't …go…" He hated the pleading tone in his voice but he couldn't control his fear at the thought of Dean leaving, not when he was trapped and alone.

"Not going anywhere, Damien. You've just had us a bit worried. You know how Dad gets if you don't answer on the first ring."

Caleb smiled slightly before his body's misery stole the moment of levity. "I … I need … h-help." Those three words weren't spoken a lot, not common in the John Winchester Hunting Manual. "Deuce …" A spasm ripped through him making Dean's name come out sounding like a desperate plea.

"Hey … its okay, I know. We're coming, man. Can …"

Caleb winced. "You know?" It was getting harder to pull in the air his lungs were demanding. His mind was foggy making it hard to grasp what was going on outside of the fact that he had fucked up big time … and needed help because of it.

"Sammy screaming about you in the middle of the night sort of gave it away. What happened?"

"Sammy?"

There was silence for a moment and Caleb's heart skipped a beat in fear that he had lost the connection. "Yeah, otherwise known as the biggest pain in my ass? You connected with him, remember?"

Caleb swallowed hard, his lungs working overtime to keep dragging air into his damaged body. "I tried … I didn't think it…"

It had hurt so much when he had tried that he was pretty sure it had knocked him out. He'd almost forgotten he'd tried, only knowing subconsciously not to try that again. His head had apparently had enough abuse and Caleb didn't even want to think about what could have happened if he'd connected with Sam without control over what he was sending. A moment of fear gripped him as memories of another time he had tried to connect with Sam. The kid had associated him with the demon that had killed his mother and it … it hadn't been good.

"Deuce ..." Caleb stopped to catch his breath. "He okay?"

"You gave him a headache. But he claims you give him that all the time so it doesn't count, right?"

Caleb nodded, forgetting that Dean couldn't see him. He closed his eyes, relieved that Sam was okay. He trusted Dean not to hold out on him. The pressure on his leg demanded he move away from it but every time he tried he was reminded that he was trapped. It was unsettling. He hated being held down.

"You still with me? None of that matters, okay? Talk to me, how bad is it?"

That was a good question. "Y-You're not …" He coughed and his breath hitched. "…not gonna l-like … it."

"Since when has that stopped you?" Dean asked, his voice a false calm. "We need to know, man. How're you doin'?"

The pain in his leg was becoming unbearable. He tried to shift, almost dropping the phone in the process. His neck was stiff and the strain on it wasn't eased when he finally slumped back against the door. His free hand pushed at the jeep fruitlessly.

"What are you doing?!!"

Caleb heard Dean's voice, but the intense need to relieve the mass on his leg overshadowed the refuge his best friend was offering. The Jeep didn't even creak for his efforts and he slumped back down with a breathless sob.

"What the hell doesn't he understand about taking it easy?"

"And Dad wonders where you get that from?"

The second voice wasn't Dean's. It was Sam's. It was good to hear the Runt's voice even if it was muffled and barely audible through the phone and Caleb wondered where John was.

"Shut up, Sam. Damien? You with me still?"

"I'm … st..stuck," he panted his eyes slipping closed. He opened them again in an effort to stay awake. "God … shit, it's h-heavy, Deuce." Caleb clutched at his leg, the awkward position preventing him even a brief reprieve from the agony..

"What's heavy?"

Caleb chuckled brokenly, the movement bringing on more uncontrolled coughing. He tasted blood and was sure he had some internal injuries. "J-J-Jeep."

"Shit! Hold on, man."

He heard muffled voices through the phone and then Dean was back.

"You doing okay there? You better not be checking out on me. We have a date scheduled, remember?"

Caleb laughed again, hysteria hitting him suddenly. He did remember. They were taking a weekend off, despite what John wanted. It was a rare occurrence that they won an argument with the Knight and they had both been looking forward to just be spending some time off together. Caleb had wanted to give Dean a breather from normal Winchester family life.

"Damien?"

"Mmmm?" Caleb's eyes fell shut; his face crumbling as another wave of agony washed over him.

"Hang on. We're coming, okay? I haven't seen Dad drive this fast in a long time. But you gotta stay with us. Can you tell me where you are?"

Where was he? "Uhh North Carolina?"

That was probably what had made the Mothers Day fest get to him so much. He wasn't anywhere near the beach but he was still in the same state, on Mothers Day, practically on the twenty year mark. Caleb wasn't sure when his mind had worked out that fact but everything came rushing at him at once and totally left him unprepared and distracted to the point that he had ruined Mothers Day for two other boys.

"No shit, Sherlock."

Caleb could imagine the worried, anxious smile on Dean's face, for a moment his best friend's features overtook the ones of horror. He held onto that desperately.

"I mean did you leave Vanceboro? Do you know how far you got?"

"I ... uhhh …" Caleb coughed. It rattled his chest and left him heaving for air.

"Take it easy."

"I dunno … t-ten … may..be fifteen minutes?" It had all happened so fast. He should have seen it coming.

"Good … that's good, dude. Sammy, call 911, get them to send someone out there. You hear that, Damien? You're gonna be okay."

"I … I killed her, D-Dean."

"What?"

The confusion in Dean's voice at the change of topic was obvious. He needed to explain. He hadn't even looked at the kids' mother as a possible werewolf. She hadn't even been on his suspect list and once he had killed the father he had thought it was over. He'd been so wrong.

"She begged m…me …" Caleb's voice cracked and he closed his eyes. Sandra Parker, pleading tearful eyes invading his vision behind his closed lids. "Deuce …"

"Hey … hey, man, take it easy …"

"I should have kn…known. She … wasn't even wolfed-out. She …" That was what killed him the most. If he'd been smart enough. If he'd done his job he would have gotten to her when he'd first seen the change. He could deal with that, just another evil creature of the night. It was what he did. Killing soccer-moms? Not so much. "G…God …" Caleb choked, not being able to get the look of her out of his head, the look of absolute fear despite her giving him permission.

"But … but it didn't m-matter … s'no cure, right?"

"You did what you had to, dude."

Caleb shook his head, lights exploding behind his closed eyelids as the bump on the back of his head scraped on the dirt ground. His head felt like it just might split open. He opened his mouth and sucked in a gasp of crisp air. He swallowed, the dryness of his throat making it harder to do so. His voice croaked when he spoke again. "What d-does that make … me?"

"It makes you a good man."

Caleb didn't feel like a good man. He had shot a woman point blank in the chest while she looked up at him with tears in her eyes. It made him feel like … like a monster. It reminded him of a time hiding in a closet and watching something similarly horrific happen before his own eyes. And now he had just put another little boy through that. That wasn't a good man. It didn't matter that she couldn't be saved … he should have been more on his game instead of his head swimming with messed up memories of the past. It should never have happened the way it happened. He should have never been caught off guard in the first place.

"No," he stammered. "...saw it all. I fucked up."

"Listen to me. It doesn't matter right now but I will gladly kick your ass if that's what you want."

A shiver ran through his body again making his muscles cramp up. He clenched his eyes even tighter and all he wanted to do was crawl into himself, curl up in a ball, try and get some body heat … any at all would be nice right about now. There were no breaks now; he constantly shook with cold ... and most likely shock. His system was starting to lock down and he could feel his mind start to stray…

"Caleb?"

Opening his eyes at the sound of his name, Caleb for a moment wondered if he had slipped into one of his escapes. He peered blearily into the sky above him; it seemed even lighter again through the blurry leaves of the tree tops.

"Caleb, dammit, answer me."

"D…ad?"

He looked around and instead of finding a beach all he could see was bush and trees and dirt and leaves. He longed for the warmth of his father's hand and the security in his presence. His teeth chatted as a groan was forced from him. The cold might have numbed him a little but it hadn't relieved the pressure on his leg, it was constant and throbbing.

"No … it's Dean … Deuce. It's me, man."

"Deuce of spades," Caleb mumbled. His father's voice was soft in his mind as he explained why he was adding the playing card to the others a six-year-old Caleb had used to represent his family once upon a time. "Deuce?"

"That's right. You gotta stay with me. No zoning out."

Dean was on the phone. Isaac's voice faded again. He had a sudden desire to hear Mac's voice. He wished he had of spent the weekend with his father like Mac had asked instead of taking another case. God, he couldn't die out here. He couldn't do that to Mac. He owed the man, loved him. "…s'cold," he shuddered.

"Can't be worse than the time Porter took us on a trek through the snow, right? It's not even winter anymore."

Caleb knew what Dean was doing. He was deflecting and he didn't want to stress the kid out but it wasn't really working. He felt weird, woozy. A tear of pain, frustration and a little regret slipped out as his body continued to shake in minute tremors. He just wanted to sleep, escape the pain. "… tired."

"Yeah? Well tough. You can't go to sleep so just suck it up."

"Y-You s..ound … like … J-John…"Another cough shook him, his fingers fumbling with the phone before dropping it to the ground.

"Caleb!!!"

He could hear Dean yelling into the phone and he desperately wanted to answer him but his vision was starting to grey around the edges, the tree tops were spinning, bile reaching his throat.

"Caleb, for fuck sake, pick up the god damn phone!!"

Caleb's hand reached out blindly for where he'd dropped the phone, needing to quell the fear in his best friend's voice. His movements were clumsy. His eyes kept closing of their own free will. His hand finally found the device emitting Dean's frantic voice.

"…s-sorry," he apologised.

"Don't scare me like that."

"I'm …sorry…" Caleb tried again. He could feel himself slipping. He was trying so hard to keep with it. He didn't want to leave; he didn't want to leave Dean hanging on the other end.

"…don't care, asshole. … to me. You stay awake."

Dean's voice was wavering in and out. He was missing chunks of it he was sure. Consciousness was something that was slipping away from him and a part of his brain, the part that was so tired and sore, welcomed it. A part of him desperately wanted to go back to the dreamland where his mother and father were there. He had fought those memories off for so long all these years but now they were the only comfort he had … that and Dean's voice. But he was losing his hold on that.

"'m tryin'" Caleb admitted, slurring in absolute bone weary tiredness. "Sorry."

"Stop apologising and fight. Damien?!"

Caleb could hear Dean but his hand slipped limply to the ground, his fingers going lax, the phone sitting in his hand. Everything was slowing down and it felt like hours before he finally felt his awareness fall away…

"Caleb!!"

Cape Hatteras, NC

May 1980

"Caleb!"

"Coming, Mommy!!" Caleb called back in his high pitched little boy voice.

His mother's voice sang out as his father helped him thread the needle into the last seashell. His Daddy had told him that the seashell necklace was a great idea for a present, as Mommy loved the sea but there had been conditions. Caleb wasn't allowed to make it by himself because needles were sharp and he could hurt himself. He had whined a little but in truth Caleb was happy to let his Daddy help because he loved working with him on anything.

"I think we're done, little man."

His Daddy held the newly made shell necklace up for inspection, a proud smile on his face that filled Caleb with happiness. Caleb brought his much smaller hand up to inspect the shells, all threaded evenly, the curled special shell hung from the middle. It looked really pretty. "It's perfect!" It was exactly what he had envisioned when the idea had first come to him.

"You did a good job. Your Mom is going to love it, Kiddo."

"Thanks, Daddy."

Caleb launched himself at his father and wrapped his small arms around his torso. The man grunted but wrapped his strong, warm arms around his son's body. His Daddy's hand cupped the back of his head, ruffling his dark hair before he let go and Caleb pulled back.

"You're welcome."

"Caleb! Isaac! Someone's going to be in trouble if this dinner gets cold!!"

"Coming!" His father shouted back and then chuckled at his mother's threat and winked at Caleb. "I'll take the fall if she goes on a rampage."

"But you might hurt yourself," Caleb warned, his excitement turning into worry … and then turning into confusion when his father simply laughed a little harder. "Why are you laughing?"

"Because I love you," his Dad answered and then stood up; putting the necklace in the box they had hand made and storing it away on the bottom of the bookshelf hidden away from prying eyes. Caleb stood, still looking confused but with a hint of a smile.

"Come on, Son. I'll explain at dinner. It wouldn't be wise for your Mom to have to come and get us."

Caleb headed towards the door, nodding his head seriously. "I agree," he stated. "I wouldn't want you to fall."

Outside of Vanceboro, NC

May 1998

"Shit!"

"Calm down, Dean."

"He's not answering, Sam." The silence on the other end of the phone had put Dean in a sense of panic and unease. He'd know if Caleb was....

"I know that, but you getting us killed? Is not going to help him."

"He hasn't answered in what?" Dean looked down at his watch, his right hand still on the steering wheel. "Half an hour now?"

"Something like that … Dean, keep your eyes on the road." Sam clutched at the door with his right hand as Dean took a corner particularly fast, not unlike the massive black GMC in front of them.

"Dude, I know how to drive my own fucking car!"

"Yeah and the shining example of that is driving just as crazily in the truck in front of us," Sam slapped his hand on the dash board as Dean braked suddenly, slowing their momentum so as not to ram into the back of their Dad's truck.

"Damn it, Sam. He's hurt … and he's alone!" Dean snapped, his patience with the whole god damn mess not getting any better with Sam bitching about his driving.

"I know," Sam said quietly.

"You're the one that pleaded with us to come looking for him! Well you should be happy, Sam! You were right," Dean continued angrily.

"That's not fair!" Sam sounded more hurt than angry. "It's not like I wanted it to be true. I wish it wasn't. I wish I'd never connected with him at all."

The fifteen year old crossed his arms over his chest and turned slightly so that he was facing the tree-caked scenery rushing by them. The car suddenly became deathly quiet, not even the radio was on and Dean was reminded again just how much he hated the silence.

Sam was right. That had been unfair and uncalled for. He didn't for one minute think that Sam didn't care or that the kid would ever want for something to happen just to prove a point. God, what was wrong with him?

Dean sighed. He knew exactly what was wrong with him … his own guilt was festering with a vengeance and then was only made worse as his best friend's voice faded and eventually stopped altogether. Maybe if he had of moved faster instead of questioning Sam in the first place? If he had of listened to the bad gut feeling when he'd first woken up and put two and two together with Sam's vision about Caleb then maybe they wouldn't have wasted precious time. He should have acted as soon as his brother had told him Caleb was in trouble. And now he was taking his guilt and fear out on his brother. He was a jerk. It was himself he was really mad at … not Sammy. He should have known something was wrong.

Opening his mouth to say something, apologise to his brother, Dean stopped when he saw his father's truck slow down even further. Dean leant forward and looked at the area around them as the truck finally came to a stop on the side of the road. Dean pulled the Impala up behind it. "Dad's found something," he stated unnecessarily.

Sam untangled his long arms and pulled on the handle, opening the Impala's door with a familiar creak.

Dean reached out and snagged the material of his jacket, making the teen pause and turn to look at him. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean …"

"I know. I'm sorry too."

Dean held onto the jacket sleeve for a few extra seconds before releasing it and nodding his agreement. That was all that was needed between them and all the time they could afford to spend.

Dean exited the car and both boys met John at the back of his truck. "Tyre tracks, just up there," John explained before either boy had a chance to ask. "Looks like there was an incident."

Dean looked around his father and the truck to where he could just make out the black tyre marks on the road. His father's keen eye hadn't diminished over the years. Dean started off towards the skid marks, stepping out onto the road, his heart beating a little faster as it made a slow progression up to settle in his throat.

"Dean…"

"Got it covered, Dad." Dean called back but didn't slow down.

John had ordered them to make sure silver bullets were ready and waiting in their guns. Caleb had finished the hunt and that could only mean that he had taken care of the werewolf problem ... but that didn't mean they shouldn't be prepared for surprises.

Dean's hand went to the back of his jeans, pushing his jacket aside in the process. He let his fingers grasp the handle of the .45 sitting there but didn't take it out. His eyes scanned the area, searching along the obvious scattered trail. By the looks of things it started quite a bit further up the road which made sense since Caleb would have been heading in the opposite direction to what they had just come.

Dean picked up speed as he approached where the skid marks ended. There was obvious damage to the plant life by the edge of the road. Small trees were snapped in half and bushes flattened and Dean suddenly felt sick. He really didn't want to look over the edge of the road, suddenly afraid of what he would find. His heart was pounding, demanding he stop but his legs didn't listen, he continued on and suddenly he was on the side of the road, looking over the slight incline.

The sight that met him had him frozen for all of two seconds. The jeep was lying on its roof halfway down the hill, branches sticking out everywhere like it had rolled, stealing leaves and branches on its way down. He could hear his brother and father coming up behind him and shouted before he even realised the sound had left his mouth. "Caleb?!! Dad, I found the jeep!"

Dean didn't wait for a reply, only barely registered the sound of running footsteps behind him as he launched down the side of the road. He slipped on the loose dirt and broken plants, his hand reaching out and using the roots of plants and the longish grass to keep himself from ending up falling head first down the bottom. "Caleb!" He called again. He didn't expect an answer but it didn't stop him from desperately wanting one.

"Dean, be careful!" Sam called out from above.

He could hear their rushed footsteps and their own slipping and sliding. They were on their way down and Dad would have Sammy's back. It gave Dean the chance to concentrate making it to Caleb's jeep in one piece; it gave him the chance to focus on his friend.

Dean skidded to a stop as he reached the jeep, latching onto the blue vehicle's upturned tyre to stop his momentum. The metal creaked under his sudden weight. It seemed a contrast to the quietness of the woods around him.

A groan confirmed Dean's fears. Taking his hands away from the jeep, Dean edged around it, one arm out for balance. He held his breath as he rounded the corner.

Caleb's upper body was on the ground outside of the jeep, while the rest of him was still inside … or stuck under the jeep somehow, if his earlier conversation with his friend was anything to go by. His right hand rested at his side away from his body, his fingers lax with the cell phone resting in his palm … right where he'd left it when he'd gone silent on Dean. It put a shiver down Dean's spine as he thought about Caleb slowly succumbing.

"Dad! Sammy! He's down here!" Dean managed to shout, before he reacted on instinct and need.

He rushed to his friend's side, sliding to his knees, his hip against the older hunter's side as he placed both of his hands on either side of the psychic's blood and dirt covered face. He was alive. That much was certain. Caleb's breathing was fast and erratic. His friend was freezing, shaking. Dean had no idea how long Caleb had been stuck out here … shock was more than a possibility but for the moment Dean was simply celebrating the fact that Caleb was alive. They could fix this. They would.

"Caleb?" Dean called, his eyes zeroing in on the nasty long cut above his friends eyebrow, obviously the cause for all the blood dried up on the side of his face. "Caleb? Damien, I'm here, man. We found you."

Caleb's eyes remained closed, his forehead creased in obvious pain even in unconsciousness. Dean cringed at the weak moan from the injured hunter. "Come on, sleeping ugly. Open your eyes."

Dean brushed aside a long strand of black hair that had escaped his loose pony tail before smoothing his hair back. The psychic's skin was cold and clammy and Dean could now feel the tremble running through his friend. The more his brain accepted that he had Caleb there in front of him the more he was taking in about his friend's condition … and the more he grew anxious.

"Shit, man…" Dean muttered as he twisted around to look behind him. He could see it now, Caleb's leg disappearing underneath the wrecked roof of the jeep, his other leg bent slightly at the knee, resting just inside the interior. "Jesus, Damien," Dean cursed quietly. "You don't do anything half-hearted, do you?"

Dean twisted further around, trying to get a good look at the leg. He leant back and reached his hand out and pressed on the injured appendage. He snapped his hand back when Caleb's whole body flinched, a pained whimper immediately following.

Dean turned back around fast and placed one of his hands back on Caleb's face, palming his cold cheek while his other hand rested on the man's chest. The position served to both comfort Dean and monitor his friend's breathing at the same time.

"Dean!"

Sam's voice echoed around them and Dean could hear his rushed footsteps but he kept his focus on the hunter before him. "Around the other side, Sammy!" he called out to his brother.

Caleb's expression of distress deepened and his head rolled to the side, into the warmth of Dean's hand. "No, keep still," Dean whispered, frowning in concern when Caleb coughed.

"Damien … hey, come on, wake up." Dean looked up as Sammy joined him by the injured hunter's side, their father close behind.

"Is he okay?" Sam asked, his know-it-all teen voice sounded small and scared and Dean spared him a glance, trying for a reassuring look that he didn't think he was that successful at.

"Jesus, Junior."

He glanced up at his father who was staring down at the three of them, his dark eyes on Caleb. John's voice was full of worry … and maybe even a little bit of guilt? Dean didn't have time to analyse what was going on in his father's brain if it had nothing to do with fixing the problem.

"Dad?" Dean asked, snapping John out of whatever world he had been in right then.

"Try and get him awake and talking, Kiddo. I'll see what I can do about this damn jeep." John turned away, a purpose set in his shoulders as he inspected the situation with the jeep.

Sam took off his own jacket, goosebumps appearing on his skin immediately. He handed the hoodie to Dean.

"He's gonna be fine, Sammy." Dean sat back and shrugged out of his leather jacket before draping it over Caleb's quivering form, over the top of Sam's.

"Why isn't the ambulance here yet? They should have gotten here before us." Sam pulled the first aid bag's strap over his head and placed it on the ground between them and then proceeded to unzip it, pulling out a thermal blanket. It was tightly packed and it took a few seconds to shake it out straight before Sam spread it over Caleb as well.

"I don't know, Sammy. Call 911 again and ask them what the fuck is going on," he ordered, not having to watch his brother to know that he was doing as asked. He felt the kid get to his feet and then heard him take a couple of steps away as he made the phone call.

Dean watched Caleb while Sam spoke on the phone. It wasn't freezing temperatures but it was cool enough to wreak havoc on a man who has been lying injured for hours wearing nothing but a t-shirt and over shirt. The best thing to do for Caleb at the moment was to keep him warm. He hoped the jackets and blanket would be enough.

That brought Dean back to the same question. Where the fuck was that ambulance? It was a very good fucking question. Shaking himself out of questions he had no hope of answering, Dean took up his former position and tapped the man's cheek. "Caleb? Can you hear me?"

Caleb twitched and his eyelids fluttered for a second or two. His body jerked and he cried out at the same time the jeep's twisted frame creaked. Dean's hands pushed against Caleb's chest to keep him from moving around too much. "Dad, careful back there!" Dean snapped.

"Arghh…" Caleb's chest was heaving as he fought to pull in more oxygen. His eyes snapped open and Dean tried not to panic at the lack of focus in his friends usually bright eyes.

John was by his side in an instant, his hands hovering before one of his large calloused hands rested on Caleb's head in a tender move that wasn't displayed that often. The action also served as a way to keep the psychic from moving too much. "Sorry, Kid."

Caleb stared up at John, confusion written all over his face. "J-J-Jo..hn?" he stuttered, his shaking increasing.

"In the flesh," John smiled but it was forced, for Caleb's sake. His father's actions only made Dean feel his own anxiety rise. "You know between you and the boys I'm surprised I don't have more grey hairs by now."

"I…I'm s-ssorry …"

John cocked his head to the side in confusion. "For what?"

Caleb coughed before he could get another word out; the action spurred his body to jolt. His cry of pain wasn't as loud as before but it was no less gut wrenching.

John gripped Caleb's shoulder with his other hand, rubbing his thumb over the hunter's forehead in a comforting motion. "Hey … take it easy."

"I c-crashed … the j-jeep."

"We kind of noticed that, genius," Dean spoke up, garnering an appreciative look from his father while Caleb struggled to look in his direction.

"De…Deuce?"

"I told you we'd make it. Just take it easy, okay? We're gonna get you out of here."

John started to stand; an audible pop could be heard as his knees straightened. "Sammy?"

Sam came back to stand next to John, phone closed. "They're on their way again."

"Again?" Dean snapped, looking up at his brother.

"They got intercepted, told it was a false alarm."

"What? How? By who?" Dean asked. It didn't make sense.

"I didn't ask. They're coming now, that's all that matters."

"Right," John agreed, giving Sam's shoulder a slight squeeze.

There was something more to this and they were all thinking it. There was another player in the works here and it made Dean uncomfortable because beyond that? They knew nothing. Dean brought his attention back to his friend. "You hear that? We'll have you fixed up in no time. You want to tell us what happened?" Dean asked, hoping for a distraction while collecting the facts

"I d-didn't mean … it…. Ahh … God … it hurts." Caleb clenched his eyes shut and Dean gripped his hand. He bit his lip in concern. Caleb's grip on his hand was so weak that Dean felt the need to squeeze it a little tighter.

"I know, man. I know. But, you'll be kicking back in bed with all the happy juice you could want real soon. You just gotta hold on a little longer." Dean waited for some kind of reaction, getting nervous when he received nothing but quiet sounds of suffering. "Damien?"

John leant back down and gripped Caleb's chin. "Look at me, Junior." John's voice had taken on a harder edge and it got the desired result. Caleb's opened his eyes, his face full of panic as he tried to breathe through the pain. His eyes locked onto John's.

"J-Johnn … get it off… p-p-please," Caleb begged and Dean held on tighter yet again.

John let go of Caleb's chin and looked regretful. "I'm sorry, kid. I can't do that just yet."

"F-Fuck, just … just take the p-pressure off …"

"I wish I could."

Dean looked at his father in dismay. "What? Why cant you? It's killing him."

"Because if we move it now it will probably kill him," Sam interjected, standing there looking down at them with his arms wrapped around himself for warmth. "His leg has been pinned under there for God knows how long. If we release the pressure now … it'd be bad."

"Sammy's right," John acknowledged, resting his hand on Caleb's trembling shoulder on top of the jackets and blanket. "It's only a little longer, tough guy."

Dean sighed and dropped his head forward. Of course they were right. He knew that. He hadn't grown up with Mac for a surrogate uncle without learning a thing or two … he just hated the helplessness of the situation. They were here now. They were supposed to be helping him. Dean raised his head again. "I guess painkillers are out of the question too?"

John appeared torn, the suffering coming from his protégé, clearly hard to bear but he shook his head regardless. "I don't want to risk it. Not when help will be here any minute."

"I c-cant … itss too h-heavy …hard t-to bre..ath." Caleb growled through clenched teeth, his muscles cramped and he flinched.

Dean just continued to hold onto his friend's cold hand, giving the only support he could. "It's going to be okay." The sun was starting to shine a little in the sky. It hadn't quite risen completely yet but a little ray of warmth wouldn't have killed anyone.

Caleb huffed, sounding like a sob. "Pl..please … just untie 'em. J-Just let me …go…"

Dean frowned at that. What the hell did he mean untie him? He looked up worriedly at his Dad to see John's expression mirrored his own.

"…I'll b-be good …promise," Caleb mumbled, his eyes slipping closed. Caleb wasn't here with them … not right at that moment. He was most likely in some warped version of a restrained torture the psychic's brain had cooked up. Restrained or trapped under a car … it meant the same thing.

John reached out and palmed Caleb's face. "Hey!" he barked loudly. "Caleb, open your eyes!"

Sirens could be heard in the distance as Caleb snapped his eyes open at John's order once again. Dean thanked the powers that be that help was finally on its way..

"I'll go wave down the ambulance," Sam suggested and took off before anyone could disagree. Dean was anxious. Was the threat still out there? Was Sam putting himself in danger? Dean watched the kid rush off, climbing the unsteady ground back up to the road. He hated this, hated it with a fucking passion.

"You need to focus. Keep talking. You understand me? Caleb?" John asked slowly, his voice softening a little bit

It took too long for Dean's liking for Caleb to focus on what his father was saying but eventually the psychic nodded his head, his face dissolved into a grimace before softening again. His breathing coming in short painful gasps. "G-Got it." Caleb responded but then remained quiet.

"Hey, you wanna tell Dad what happened?" Dean nudged him a little, trying to help focus the hurting psychic.

"D-Didn't th…think I'd f-find … find it."

Dean caught his father's confused gaze. There seemed to be a lot of that going around over the past few hours.

"Find what, Buddy?" John asked.

Caleb frowned and licked his lips. "Uhh, the … the shell."

Okay, now Dean really did have no fucking clue what Caleb was on about but he didn't have time to wonder because Caleb stiffened in pain again, breathing hard and fast. "John … please? H…help me…"

"What about the shell, Caleb?" John asked, playing along with Caleb's previous train of thought to try and keep Caleb focused on something else.

"Ahh … it ..." Caleb gasped, throwing his head back, his eyes widening, blinking furiously. "It doesn't … matter."

"Dad! They're here!" Sam called as he rushed down the hill again; this time with two paramedics following him, carrying a stretcher between them.

Dean felt hands on his shoulders. "Son, give them some room to work." He knew his father was right. He needed to move so that the professionals could take over, get Caleb out of there but the thought of moving away from his friend scared him. "Come on, Dude," John said calmly, urging Dean to step back again.

"Damien, help is here. You're going to be fine." Dean told him confidently, attempting to pull his hand from Caleb's. "I'll just be …"

"N-No … don't …" Caleb stammered, and felt a slight increase of pressure on his hand. It still wasn't particularly strong in any form of the word but it spoke volumes. He squeezed back.

"I'm not going anywhere. I'm right here but I gotta give them room to get you out."

"Okay." Caleb swallowed, held Dean's gaze for a long moment before he relaxed the pitiful grip he'd had on Dean's hand.

Almost immediately time seemed to speed up and suddenly Dean was being practically pushed out of the way. His father's strong arms helped him to his feet just as he heard more voices. Dean turned to see two other men make their way around the jeep to them. They weren't wearing the same uniforms as the paramedics. They were some form of emergency crew, there to help in the extraction.

"What can we do?" Dean called out to them, shrugging out of his father's grip.

"Just stay out of the way and let us do our work."

How was he supposed to just stay out of it when his friend was lying there hurt? Dean once again felt a hand on his bicep and his legs moved on automatic as John led him over to where Sam was standing looking on with a fearful, concerned look on his face.

As soon as they were out of the way, John let him go and then turned back to the emergency crew and began speaking with them as they inspected the damaged jeep. He wasn't being turned away and Dean felt a rush of relief at that, that at least one of them was being useful right now.

Sam's eyes were glued to where Caleb was lying, their view obstructed by the paramedics. The boy was shivering since he'd handed over his hoodie for Caleb and at that moment Dean realised just how freaking cold it was. But there was a hint of warmth on the horizon, telling him that the day itself wasn't going to be so bad. Once of those nice crisp, yet warm, pre-summer days. Of course none of that mattered right now because they wouldn't be out there for much longer. They were getting Caleb out of here.

"You okay, Sammy?" Dean asked, laying a hand on his brother's shoulder, still silently amazed at his brother's growth spurt in the last year alone. It was almost hard to remember the little kid … until now when despite his size Sam looked like a scared little kid.

Sam looked at Dean, slightly stunned. "Me? I'm fine. I'm not the one lying under a ton of Jeep." Sam shrugged, his eyes briefly meeting his brothers before concentrating back on where Caleb was.

Dean was silent for a moment as he stood closer to his brother, his shoulder brushing up against the younger boy. It was the only source of comfort he had at the moment, the only source of comfort he hadn't even actively been aware that he needed.

The cry of pain from his injured friend changed all that. Sam jumped at the sound and seemed to want to crawl into himself. He couldn't just stand there.

Dean grabbed his brother by the arm. "Come on."

"Dean, what …"

Dean ignored Sam's alarm and dragged the kid over to Caleb. With a paramedic on either side of the psychic the only place remaining was by Caleb's head. Dean got down on his knees, feeling the damp earth seep through his jeans. Caleb had been laying on that for who knew how long without any cover. The thought was a little terrifying.

A foam neck brace had already been put in place and there was an oxygen mask over the older hunter's nose and mouth. He looked about ready to fight against everything despite having no energy whatsoever and Dean wasn't sure whether it was the feeling of still being trapped by the jeep, or the complete strangers hovering over him in his confused state.

"It's okay, Caleb." Sam tried to soothe as he knelt beside Dean.

It took a few moments but eventually Caleb's pain filled eyes travelled up and met with both boys. He shuddered but looked relieved to see a familiar face. Dean smiled and nodded at his friend, trying to give him the only support he could for the time being.

An IV had already been started and Dean watched as the paramedics did their job, talking fast and talking in a language that Dean was only half able to grasp from the amount of times he or his family had found themselves in strife in the past.

Arrhythmia. He knew what that meant and even though he had felt for himself how fast Caleb's heart had been beating it sent chills through him and his eyes travelled up past the commotion on the ground to his father and the other two men working on moving the jeep.

Caleb's hand moved up to the mask over his face and attempted to dislodge it. The first paramedic, around his Dad's age, stopped his attempt with a large hand wrapped around the injured man's wrist, pulling it back down. Caleb's breathing seemed to become more erratic, pulling weakly at the hand encasing his wrist.

"Dude, let him go." Dean told the man, inching forward a little and resting his hand against the top of Caleb's head.

The paramedic spared Dean a glance. "He needs to keep still and the oxygen needs to stay on. I can't afford …"

"Look, just give him a minute."

"I'm sorry, but …"

"If you just give him a fucking minute he will calm down." He didn't know how true that was but one thing was for sure, feeling tied down and restrained would not be helping. Dean moved then, glad that the paramedic on his side shifted a little to allow him space.

"Fine." The paramedic moved away and Dean was vaguely aware of shouts between the men working around them but he paid them no mind. Instead he focused on Caleb's fight for breath, despite the oxygen mask and Sam's continuous litany of support.

Dean took hold of Caleb's hand once more; hating the way he was really struggling, yet still trying to speak. "Dude, no more talking, just hold onto me, okay. That's all you have to do now."

Caleb's gaze finally focused onto Dean's, the look in them begging Dean to just make it stop. He couldn't though. The quickest way to make this all just stop for his friend was to get him out and to the hospital. Caleb was in no means calm but he seemed to be a little more focused having a connection there. "Think of all the nurses you're going to have there waiting on you? That's something to look forward to, right? Even if I think it's a bit lame that you have to go to this extent to get a girl to pay you attention," Dean joked and was rewarded with a hint of a smile before the grimace returned.

The paramedic beside Dean placed his hand on the middle of his back and leaned in. "Son, we're getting ready to lift this thing off him now."

Dean nodded distractedly. "Okay."

"We need you to …"

"Hold on a minute," Dean demanded. He didn't want to step away. He didn't want to let go, almost like if he was physically connected to his friend then he wouldn't lose him. Caleb's hand wrapped around his own hand and again the strength in that grip, or lack there of, was disturbing.

"You ready, dude? It's gonna hurt like a bitch but you're always crapping on about how tough you are, right?" Dean rambled, watching Caleb's eyes as the psychic tried to focus on something other than the pain and distress his body was going through. "Damien?"

Caleb nodded as much as he could with the neck brace on. "G-Get … it … off."

"Will do." The fire inside all the pain lit a spark of hope through Dean. That fire would get Caleb through.

"Son, we can't wait any longer."

"Yeah, yeah, sure … just get on with it," Dean replied, waving the paramedic off. He knew the implications of what was about to happen and how important it was to act fast.

Dean smiled and then let go of Caleb's hand and scooted back, Sam following suit. They stood side by side, close enough to Caleb but not so close that the paramedics didn't have room to move.

Looking up back to the jeep, Dean locked eyes on his father who was standing on their side of the vehicle ready to try and brace it in case something went wrong. The other two men had set up a rope pulley system using the trees. Everything was in place. John nodded at Dean, making him feel more confident. They were all here and that had to mean that Caleb would be okay.

"Okay, are we ready?!!" The shout came, making Dean's heart skip a beat. His eyes sort out Sam's and he saw that his brother was just as anxious, worrying his bottom lip.

"Ready," one of the emergency guys shouted back.

"Okay," The paramedic's shifted and made sure everything was ready for the move. "Okay, pull … now!!"

The emergency guys pulled and John pushed, growling along with the creak and groan of the straining metal. All that sound seemed to wash away as soon as Caleb screamed. It wasn't quiet whimpers or a simple shout of pain. The sound he made now was long and agonised.

Dean hovered, his heart fluttering in his chest as the paramedics didn't waste time in pulling Caleb from the wreck. Dean's eyes were wide as he happened to glance at Caleb's injured leg and then back up to his friends face.

He didn't think he'd heard anything so terrible before … and in their line of work he'd heard some pretty fucking horrifying things.

"He's clear!" The younger paramedic yelled and moved to Caleb's leg as soon as they had him situated on the ground again.

The sound of the jeep being gently lowered barely even registered as he moved closer to Caleb. He reached the older man just in time to hear a choking breath and then nothing more. Caleb's eyes rolled up in his head as his body shuddered in aftershocks of pain.

Dean felt like he'd been sucked into a vacuum, like everything was running in slow motion. He saw the efforts of the paramedics, saw rather than heard their alarm that was oddly calm despite the circumstances. That's why they were professionals in the field.

"He's crashing!"

"Damn it, I was afraid of that."

"Dean?" Sam's voice tore Dean's attention away from the men working to keep his friend alive. Dean turned his head slowly until he came face to face with his brothers expressive, frightened eyes. He couldn't find any words to appease his brother. He'd been wrong … again. The worst wasn't over.

TBC …


A/N2: So have you missed my cliffhangers? No? Well I'll be posting the second and final chapter over the coming weekend for anyone who is still interested in reading :) Thank you to everyone who read and I really do hope you enjoyed it so far and if you feel the urge to leave a review? Well they are like Jensen … I can never get enough :P

For anyone who is interested. I along with my Mum, my friends Angelustatt and Ephiny63, went up to Sydney in April to attend the Australian "All Hell Breaks Loose" Convention. We met Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki and Misha Collins *sigh* It was SO good.

You can read about the experience at:

h ttp : / / lovinjackson . livejournal . com / 31456 . html (Paste this address in without the gaps)

Or just visit my site or Facebook for the photos …both the links are on my FanFic Profile Page

Hope everyone is having a good week so far!

Tara x0x