I wake up lying on the floor of the front hallway. My mouth feels like it's been stuffed with cotton. My shoulder aches. It takes me a minute to remember how I got here. I'm not sure how long I was out- it's hard to tell with drugs. It doesn't feel like long, but I'm not sure if that means minutes or hours. Those men- Sam and the Winchesters' accomplice-
Nothing about them makes sense. They had me down, but they left.
"Dexter!" It's Rita. She kneels down besides me, awkward in her speed, the pregnancy throwing off her center of balance. I push the Winchesters to the back of my mind for the moment. "What happened? Are you okay?" Minutes, then. Even Rita would have trouble missing the fact that I was lying unconscious on the floor. "Uh, yeah." I hold a hand to my head and rub at my temple. I smile at her. "Just slipped. Nothing bruised but my pride."
"Those two men-" she starts. It's clear she's not sure where she's going with it, because she stops and lets the words just hang in the air
I get to my feet. "They were FBI agents. They wanted to know about someone who came into my office a couple days ago." I shrug. "They couldn't wait until Monday."
"Are they coming back?"
"No." I'll make sure of it.
"Good." Such firmness was rare in the old Rita. Today, that might be a problem. They'll be back, I know they will. I need to get her out of the house before they do. Otherwise, it might get...messy. She'd hate it if I got bloodstains in the grout.
I lend her my hand and help her up. "Where's Cody?"
"Winding my garden hose back up," she says with rueful fondness. "You were right about the mud pit."
"Are you kidding? He's been talking about it for days."
She shrugs. "Must have been a boys-only secret. Mom didn't get to hear about that one."
"Ah, but I told you. You've got an in." What will they do? They didn't kill me when they had the chance. They left. Was it too public? Too many witnesses? Or do they want to make it special, like I did with Dean? I need answers. I need some time to figure out my next move.
"I guess I do." Rita says, smiling up at me.
"Hey, I've got an idea," I say.
"Oh yeah, and what's that?" She leans in against my shoulder.
I inject some cheer into my voice. "I was thinking- why don't we round up Cody and go to the movies ourselves? Astor's movie won't start for another hour or so. We'd probably all get out around the same time. What do you think?" Say yes, Rita.
She obliges. "Let's do it," she says, "We won't get many opportunities once the baby's born. Not for awhile. It'll be good to get out."
She's right. It will. I'll fake a call and leave them in the theater, where they'll be safe. At least for a while. "Let's make it a double feature, then. What do you say?"
Rita turns her head away, playing coy. She peeks at me through her eyelashes. "The last time I went to a double feature, I was 16 and it was just an excuse to make out with my boyfriend."
"Huh. Will he be there today?" She smacks me playfully across the shoulder, then walks down the hall.
"Cody!" she calls. "Go get dressed. We're going to the movies."
Cody shouts something back. It's brief and joyful. I slip back out to the front door and go outside.
I'm not sure what I'm looking for- trained assassins lurking in the hedges?
"This is the problem with improvisation," Harry says. He stands next to me and loosens his tie. "You've put your family in danger, Dexter."
"I can handle it," I say, scanning the street. "I just need some time-"
"You don't have it."
I look away from the street long enough to glance at him. "You don't know that."
He shrugs. "And what will you do, son, when your family comes home, but you haven't yet taken care of the problem?"
"It's not going to be an issue," I tell him. "I'll deal with it." It sounds less than convincing, even to my own ears.
He shakes his head, disappointed. "They can't stay at the movies forever."
I close my eyes. "I'll think of something." I'll have to.
"Some things, Dexter, should be left in the dark."
That's when I hear it: a dark rumble, echoing up the street. This doesn't make sense. They just left- they can't be returning now. I open my eyes. The black behemoth rolls by, slowly enough that I get a good view of the sole occupant. I'm dreaming- but I don't dream. Not like this.
The driver waves. Dean.
There's a tingle running down my spine. I feel like I've just grabbed hold of a live wire- numb for now, but when I let go...
And just like that, the car is gone. He disappears around the corner.
Rita comes up from behind me. "Dexter, who was that?"
I can't think. Everything- all my plans, all my intentions- die away. "What?"
"The man in the car. He was waving." She sounds odd, but it's probably me. Not a dream- not a dream? How can the dead come back? He should be at the bottom of the sea. I should know, after all. I made sure of it.
"I thought you didn't know anyone here," she adds.
"I don't," I say. I should lie, but at this minute, I can't think of a single one.
"Oh. Um. Well, are we going?" She brushes a strand of hair out of her eye. I don't answer her. "Dexter?"
"Wash your hands of it, Dexter," Harry says.
"Yes," I say at last. "Let's go."
A/N: Thanks again, guys. If you enjoyed this, please, please, please check out the master post at my lj (see my profile homepage link) and get the link to the art post. Attempt_unique did some stunningly awesome art for this story, and she deserves a million comments telling her how amazing it is. She also created an epic fanmix for this fic (available for download), and I probably wrote a good 2/3rds of this story while listening to it. And after you do that, stay tuned. Just for , I've got a deleted Dean POV scene I'll be posting. (Possibly two).