A/N So.. It's been a while..
I'm fully aware that the last time I wrote a fanfiction story I made it clear I wouldn't be doing any more.
Yet here I am.
There are a couple of reasons I'm doing this really; One, I have found myself (mostly) enjoying S5 more than I did the latter half of S4 and it may have inspired me just a little.
Two, when I announced I was giving up writing a couple of people requested one more visit to Jean & Toby and in retrospect it does rather feel like there are some loose ends to be tied up there, given last time the couple saw the boys Dean only had months left before he was due to die. I'm still stunned and amazed that these characters I created were so popular with the handful of folks who read my stories, so I'd like to at least give their story a proper ending.
Which brings me neatly to the dedication for this story; since I began posting stories here there has been one person who consistently reviewed every single one and was always (far too) kind with their praise.
This aforementioned person happened to be one of those who was so keen to see the boys revisit Jean & Toby too, so as a 'Thank You' for the reasons I've just listed this story is for Pandora Jazz.
Now, if anyone is still here, I shall leave you to get on with the story. I hope you like it.
At the sound of his name Dean mumbled something unintelligible and sank further down the seat until he was practically in the foot-well. Hunched against the door with his leather jacket covering him, only a few bits of hair were visible.
Smirking, Sam tried again, this time reaching over and giving his brother's shoulder a good shake at the same time. "Dean, wake up."
Growling now, Dean tried to shrug off Sam's hand with no effect. Giving up he twisted round, glaring at Sam once his face was finally visible again. "What?"
Sam rolled his eyes. "You really are such a joy to be around sometimes, you know that?"
Sitting up properly and rubbing his eyes Dean didn't even bother trying to catch his coat as it slid towards his feet. Sam did that for him instead, folding it over and throwing it onto the backseat. When he turned back he saw his brother looked slightly more alert, although no less irritable.
"So what the hell is so important that you had to wake me up when I've only been asleep for five damn minutes?" Dean grumbled, deliberately ignoring Sam's previous sleight against his sunny disposition.
Sam glanced at the clock and back again. "You've been asleep for two hours, actually."
"Oh, well, why didn't you say so? That obviously makes up for the fact I haven't slept at all before that in two days."
Sam gave him a long suffering look. "Are you done?"
Dean didn't bother answering, instead just raising one eyebrow as a prompt for further explanation before giving a jaw cracking yawn. Feeling slightly guilty, since Dean had at least been right about not getting any sleep for the last two days, Sam reached down beside the seat and grabbed a paper bag that was already starting to show grease stains. He held it out, grinning when Dean's expression immediately lightened as he snatched it out of his hand. Opening it up he sighed happily when the aroma of freshly grilled beef and hot fries wafted out of it. Pulling out the burger he took a large mouthful, gesturing with his free hand to remind Sam he hadn't yet answered properly.
Sam was just grateful he hadn't also voiced the question with his mouth full, for once.
Leaning back against the door he reached down and picked up a cup of coffee from what appeared to Dean to be a sudden endless supply of food and drink, taking a sip before he answered. "I thought you might be interested in seeing where we are, before we drove right past." he said, aiming for a casual tone.
Either he missed it or Dean just knew him too well – probably the latter – since he immediately frowned a little and lowered his burger. Swallowing he looked round, paying more attention now as he scanned the scenery. He was about to ask what was so special about this particular backwoods country road when it came to him.
His eyes widened as he glanced back at Sam, now understanding the reason for the imperceptible tension in his brother's voice and posture. "Oh."
Despite the tension Sam had to smirk at the not so eloquent answer. "Yeah. That's what I thought."
Taking another bite of his burger, partly to put off what was coming, Dean looked out of the window again. Now he knew where they were he easily recognised the trees and the landscape and rolling down the window he smelt the freshness of the air, a hint of pine coming from the woods that stretched endlessly on either side of them.
Finishing his food with one more bite he felt a nudge on his shoulder and turned round to see Sam holding another cup of coffee towards him. He took it with a quick smile, swallowing a few sips before finally shifting his attention back to his brother.
Sam raised his own eyebrows at him and he sighed. "I don't know, Sammy. Do you really think we'd be welcome after all this time? We never even let them know what happened with the whole deal thing, now we're supposed to rock up and what? Have a quick chat over the kitchen table and let slip we started the Apocalypse? I think that's going to take more than a bunch of flowers and a bottle of scotch this time."
Sam grimaced. "Well when you put it like that."
Dean snorted, taking another long sip of coffee.
Sam rubbed the back of his neck before continuing with what he'd been about to say. "Look, I know we should have kept in touch them and we definitely should have told them you were still alive. Or alive again. Whatever, we should have told them what happened. But we didn't, and I gotta admit, I feel bad about it. Maybe there's a reason we've ended up on this road again. At the very least we should let them know we're both still here."
Dean pulled a face. "You do realise that telling me it's fate we've ended up somewhere is not exactly the best way to convince me to do something, right?"
Sam shook his head, knowing all too well what a touchy subject it was, the constant manipulation they were facing these days from both angels and demons. That said he couldn't help but think it was somehow fortuitous that they'd had to pass by this way on the trip back to Bobby's.
Still considering the issue, Dean tried to decide what kind of reception they were likely to get from the old couple who'd practically adopted them before. Each time they'd visited they'd always felt completely at home and nothing but welcome. Even at Thanksgiving, when Jean and Toby's sons and their families had been there, they'd still been made to feel like they were a bona fide part of it all.
But that had been then.
When they'd last left the threat of the deal had been hanging over their heads and he'd been convinced he'd never get another chance to see them again. After coming back from hell things had gone downhill so fast there'd been little time to think about getting in touch to let them know what had happened. And now; now it just seemed ridiculous. The very idea of turning up on their doorstep and having to explain that they may have kicked off the end of the world, albeit without really meaning to, brought him out in a cold sweat.
Sam was still studying him, his expression caught somewhere between hopeful and anxious. Dean wondered sometimes if he knew he was doing it, or how effective the look was. He decided given they'd only just sorted out a whole host of trust issues between them it was probably best not to find out.
A thought did occur to him though and he looked down at the bag of fries still on his lap and back at Sam, shaking his head slightly. "That's why you stopped and got food and coffee before you pulled over, isn't it? You were trying to put me in a good mood before suggesting we go visit Jean & Toby."
The flash of guilt that Sam quickly tried to cover up made Dean both smirk and wonder how exactly his brother had managed to deceive him for so long when he was sneaking off with Ruby. Pushing the thought aside he waited for Sam's answer, amused by the way he was now fidgeting as if the seat was red hot.
"I wouldn't exactly say I was trying to put you in a good mood. But I'll admit I figured you'd be less grumpy if you'd eaten and had a caffeine fix first."
"Hey, I don't get grumpy."
"Sure you don't."
Aware they were getting sidetracked Dean settled for a glare as he tried to steer the conversation back to original topic. "I just don't think it's a good idea to show up unannounced after so long. At the very least they're gonna be pretty upset we never kept in touch. Did you even call them to let them know I died?"
Sam winced visibly and Dean wished he'd phrased that better. Before he could say anything though his brother answered the question, his voice so quiet he could barely hear it. "No, I didn't call them. I didn't call anyone. They called me, once, about a month after it happened but I didn't answer. I couldn't. Even the thought of saying the words out loud just.." He tailed off and Dean reached over and rested his hand on Sam's shoulder without even thinking about it. Giving him a small smile Sam took a deep breath before continuing. "I think they tried maybe once more but after that my phone got wrecked when I was taking down some vampires and I lost their number. Not that I was really bothered about talking to people then anyway. After you came back, I guess it just never crossed my mind."
Given how hard Sam had just found it to dredge up memories of the time after his death, Dean chose not to call attention to what had actually been on Sam's mind at that time. Instead he moved his hand away and took some fries out of the bag, chewing them absently as he tried to work out the best course of action.
Sam meanwhile sat there and tried to stop fidgeting so much. He was deliberately avoiding thinking anymore about what it had been like for him after Dean's death, purely because even after all this time it was still enough to make it feel as though someone had shoved a hot poker in his gut. Instead he tried to decide just what Toby and Jean's reaction to seeing them again would be. A sudden horrible thought came to mind and he grimaced without even realising it.
Looking up he guessed Dean had seen and shook his head. "Nothing."
Dean continued to look at him and after a moment Sam sighed as he gave in. "Alright, it's just that we don't even know if they'll be there. It's been a long time, you said so yourself. Anything could have happened."
It was Dean's turn to pull a face as he acknowledged Sam was right. Whilst their own lives were undoubtedly more dangerous than most, there was still a chance something had happened to the old couple instead, from accidents to sudden illness.
Abandoning his food, given his appetite had suddenly disappeared, he rubbed a hand over his face. "This is getting us nowhere. Much as I'd like to just drive on and pretend there's nothing here I can't, not now we're on their doorstep. We might as well get this over with. Hard as it's going to be, we owe them that much."
Sam nodded, already shifting in the driver's seat and starting the Impala's engine again. As he checked the road and pulled out he saw Dean gathering together the rubbish, throwing it into the backseat with a distracted air. Picking up speed, he felt his stomach churning.
He really hoped they were making the right decision.
A/N Pt 2 – I don't intend for this to be too long but I realised it will be more than just a one-shot, given I'm 2000 odd words in and they've only just decided to visit... It's taking me a little while to get back into the rhythm of writing the Winchesters but, that said, I do promise to try not to be too long with the next update (if anyone is actually interested in reading more). I'll be back as soon as I can…