Disclaimer: Don't own anything to do with Supernatural, sigh just play with the boys and then send em home again...More or less in the same condition as when I er...
Summary: Dean is 21 and Sam is 17.
This is the continuation of my Innocence Trilogy so if you haven't read them it might pay to go and read them first and then come back here. I promise the story will be here waiting for you when you get back.
Chapter 15: The Road Far Less Travelled Home
'I hunt vamps John … gave up on that bastard years ago.'
'Yeah I know but I need yer help … the colt Daniel, I know you know about it some say that you own it.'
'Some do huh? Well guess it's gotta be right after all some are like they … some know or they know … aint nothing to do with the truth though.'
'Listen Daniel I wouldna asked ya into this hunt if it weren't important … might even find some vamps for ya to slice and dice along the way.'
'So where we going?' Daniel swallowed his whiskey and gave John a long stare, 'you look like shit kiddo.'
'Thanks so do you… so you coming out of hiding or what?'
Car park at
Deer Fields Senior High School
Blue Earth, Minnesota
Sam sat in the front seat of the impala and stared disinterestedly out of the window, teenagers of all shapes, sizes and ages milled about around the car park in front of the high school. His fingers twitched nervously on the seat as he fought to control his breathing. Dean sat behind the wheel in silent support as Sam summoned enough strength to open the door and to get out of the only real home he had: a sleek black classic muscle car.
'Ya know Sammy you don't have to go in today if you don't want to.' Dean said tonelessly. He had said the same thing every morning for the last two weeks before driving them back to Pastor Jim's rectory in Blue Earth.
'I know Dean.' Sam replied in the same toneless voice as he sat back against the seat back and glanced over at his brother, 'I have to do this don't I?'
'Only if you feel up to it Sammy, if your leg or stomach is bothering ya … Pastor Jim won't mind you staying home another day or two.'
'This is stupid … they're dead so how can they still…?' Sam let his voice trail off unable to finish the question he had asked himself every morning when he got out of bed and ready for school.
Two months ago:
Singer Salvage Yard
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Bobby knocked on the boys' bedroom door and asked them to join him and Jim downstairs for some chilli and beer, well soda for Sam and beer for the others. With painstaking slowness Dean helped Sam manoeuvre the stairs with his weakened knee and an aching body filled with sudden growing pains.
'Hey Bobby,' Sam whispered as he lowered himself into the seat and let Dean arrange his injured leg on the already prepared stool next to his seat.
'Hey Sam it's so good seeing ya downstairs kiddo.' Bobby greeted the youngest hunter warmly and then he stole a glance at the other Winchester in the room. 'You too Dean thanks for coming downstairs tonight.'
'No probs at all Bobby,' Dean gave him a small wry grin, 'anyways it's doing Sammy some good to look at something besides the ceiling upstairs.'
Jim busied himself with dishing up four plates of the steaming spicy meat and vegetable chilli and crusty fresh bread piled high on the edge of each plate. Bobby had already poured their drinks and hung back a little as he tried to think of how he was going to approach the subject he had Jim had agreed on. They wanted the best for the boys but they didn't want them to feel like they were being treated like children and getting told to do what to do when and where it was required. It was just as much their decision as it was for the two older men and that was the focus of their having this meal together.
'So Bobby what's got a looking so constipated over there?' Dean asked around a mouthful of chilli and bread.
'Dude that's just gross,' Sam interjected screwing his nose up in mock disgust.
'Yeah, yeah so what's going on Bobby? Jim?'
'We ahh need to talk to you two about a few things,' Jim started and for the first time he felt tongue-tied he had to get this right and to keep the boys, especially Sam out of the shell they had built around themselves.
'Yeah well talk we're all ears,' Dean said although all of his momentary playfulness was gone and his green eyes flashed with protective malice as he unconsciously moved closer to Sam. 'You want us out?'
'What? No, no not like that ya idjit!'' Bobby blustered as he tried to smooth his own features it all seemed so much easier and flowing when he had Jim had discussed it.
'Uncle Bobby? Pastor Jim? What's wrong?' Sam asked as he seemingly shrank in front of them.
'Nothing is wrong I promise boys, it's just … we're not doing this well.' Jim sighed and decided there and then to tackle the subject head on. 'Bobby and I have been talking and only if it's alright with the two of you, would you like to come back to Blue Earth with me and live at the rectory while Sam finishes school.' Jim paused and made sure that he had clear eye contact with Dean and then with Sam while he spoke. 'I know it's not something that you want to or need to do right away but you will have to go and at least finish this year Sam and we want you to feel as safe and secure as possible to do so. Bobby has a couple of hunts lined up helping Caleb and Joshua mainly but he didn't feel right leaving the two of you without a safe haven. The house is big, too big for just me and you know how my housekeeper Eileen feels about you boys she would love to fuss over you two. When you're ready Sam we can enrol you in eleventh grade at Deer Field Senior High and Dean I thought perhaps you wouldn't mind doing some odd jobs around the parsonage for me, until you feel up to working either as a hunter or in the workforce doing whatever you wish to do. It would be my honour to have the two of you live with me for as long as you wish to. If you feel like you need to get back into hunting then that's fine we can work on that or if you want something completely different then we can work on that too.' Jim stopped and drew in a deep breath as he watched the Winchester siblings carefully. 'We only want what will be the best for the two of you in the long run.'
'Pastor Jim … Bobby I – we don't know what to say.' Dean started clearly shocked and slightly overwhelmed at the generosity from the two men in front of them.
'Yes please Dean could we?' Sam whispered looking at his brother with an imploring puppy look about him. 'I love it here at the salvage yard but Blue Earth … a new start Dean where they haven't …'
'I know Sammy, so it looks like you're stuck with us Pastor Jim.'
'Uncle Bobby I am so sorry I didn't mean for it to sound like that …' Sam exclaimed cutting into Dean's acceptance of the offer. The teenager looked at his adopted uncle with such a heartbreaking look that the grizzly no-nonsense salvage yard owner and hunter of the supernatural pushed himself out of his chair and hurried over to Sam and then in a completely uncharacteristic move he pulled the younger man up into a smothering bear hug. 'Aint nothing to 'pologise for Sam ya hear me! Nothing … it aint yer fault that all that stuff happened here could've been anywhere yer were stayin'. Anyways this way I can honour my hunts with the other idjits and still have the two of ya in my line of sight.'
'Thanks Uncle Bobby … I love you.' Sam whispered in Bobby's ear, barely loud enough for the older man to hear him but the choked breath was all that was needed as an acknowledgement of his understanding and hearing it.
'I do too kiddo … both of ya but don't go tellin' that brother of yours.' Bobby whispered back before breaking the contact, 'so how's about we finish this grub afore it gets cold.'
The move was easy enough with the boys in the impala following Jim in his own classic ford while Bobby squared away his auto salvage yard, organised his casual offsider Lloyd Game to come in and work and look after the property as well as feed the guard dog a Rottweiler named Rumsfeld.
The drive from South Dakota to Minnesota was uneventful and more or less silent with Dean and Sam preferring to keep to their own thoughts while they drove or sticking to benign and very generic conversation topics until childhood memories surfaced often with the pastor himself when they stopped for meal breaks. Without the boys realising it these forays into the happier parts of their childhoods with Jim were healing and therapeutic for both of them helping them to slowly ease their way back to life.
'I want my Deanie!' the shrill scream echoed through the rectory as the two year old threw himself down onto the thick carpet and started to kick out with his little feet and toss well aimed punches with tight little fists. 'Want my Deanie now!'
'Sam please Dean will be back before you know it,' John pleaded with the distraught toddler, 'he has to go to school.'
'No, no daddy meanie! Skool meanie! I want my Deanie!' Sammy screamed his chubby cheeks stained red with the exertion shone with sweat and tears as his tantrum moved into top gear.
'Sam Winchester do you want me to paddle your bottom? Because I will if you don't stop right now.' John yelled his patience all but spent after the last hour of non-stop screams, kicks and punches from one tiny little toddler.
'John please this is the first time the boys have been separated.' Jim tried to defuse the situation although the high pitched screams were starting to wear down his own defences, 'Sammy do you think that Dean would like to hear you make such a noise?' the preacher asked as he knelt down near the distraught little boy although far enough away to make sure that he didn't find himself on the receiving end of misplaced punches or kicks. He was already sporting a couple of decent bruises from the morning hysteria.
At the mention of his brother's name Sam took a shuddering breath and stared at the preacher as he mulled over the words with all of the logic a two year old boy had and then he opened his mouth and let out another eardrum shattering wail; he had finally broken his own record for tantrum throwing. In loudness and violence, only stopping until he felt something warm and wet dripping from his nose and it tasted funny.
'Ahh Sammy now you've given yourself a nosebleed.' John growled angrily as he went to pick the sobbing and scared child up only to have him crab-crawl backwards across the floor until he hit the couch with his back. 'Dammit Sam stop right now.'
'That's enough John you're scaring him even more.' Jim chastised the hunter as he picked Sam up and cradled the small boy to his chest, 'come along Sam and let's get you cleaned up.'
'I's got an owwie Pasty Jim I want my Deanie.' Sam cried his breathing hitching even more when he saw the red blood stain forming on the front of his favourite transformer t-shirt. 'Optie-Prime all icky now.' He hiccupped.
'How about a bath?' Jim asked as he carried Sam past the exasperated young parent, 'John what are you intending on doing now or are you just going to stand there?'
'I'll take Sam while you run his bath,' John said looking suitably humbled, 'it's okay baby boy daddy's not angry anymore.' Sleepily Sam held his hand out to his father, too exhausted from the emotional and physical exertion to fuss anymore, 'it's okay son, daddy's got ya.'
'Sam really gave himself a nosebleed?' Dean gasped in mock horror, 'wow all I had was a boring first day of nursery school and the little dude had both you and dad dangling on a string!'
'Laugh it up Dean I seem to remember a certain six year old running through the doors, and straight to his brother before he would look at anyone else, which included taking time to check for any cuts, bruises, rashes, fever, basically any injury of any kind because he had to leave said little brother behind with the grownups and if I remember correctly a certain older brother announced that no one else was capable of looking after Sam.'
'Damned right and the marathon nosebleed inducing tantrum was living proof of that!' Dean chuckled.
'Ya know I remember getting upset coz I ruined my Optimus Prime t-shirt but that's about all.' Sam rasped a small smile played on his lips, 'and that I got dad carrying me everywhere for a while.'
'That's right until Eileen got stuck into him about spoiling you.' Jim shook his head and laughed out loud, 'the funniest thing was that Eileen was worse at spoiling you than your father and myself were combined.'
'And she still is,' Dean finished for the preacher, 'thanks Jim we really appreciate you taking us in like this.'
'Don't mention it Dean or you Sam … you're family no thanks needed.' Jim finished his sandwich and looked at the two young men who were like the sons he had never been graced with, 'we had better get going I guess … do you boys need to go to the bathroom or anything while I pay the tab?'
'I can pay for us Jim.' Dean said with his wallet already in hand.
'I know that Dean and thank you but I have this one covered.' Jim grinned as he headed towards the checkout.
'Dean will you?' Sam asked shyly as he adjusted his crutches under his armpits and balanced evenly on them.
'Lead on McDuff.' Dean felt himself relax slightly, this was the most Sam had spoken and engaged in a conversation for a long, long time and it felt right again.
As the boys moved through the diner towards the bathrooms at the back they passed by a smallish balding man, who wore his remaining hair in a long thin ponytail reminiscent of a rat's tail. He ran his sweaty palms down his jean clad thighs as he watched the two gorgeous young men work their way through the tangle of bags, chairs and protruding limbs of the customers as they wound their way through to the back. After a few seconds of openly leering at them he sat up and stared more intently at the faces rather than their juicy denim clad asses. 'Well I'll be!' He exclaimed as recognition hit him, the younger one with the gimpy knee was the selling point, he'd remember him forever. 'Wonder if they'd be interested in being my meal again.' He muttered as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and nudged his travelling companion. 'Come on got some prime ass to shake down.'
Jim glanced down at his watch again and then at the diner door, Dean and Sam should have been well and truly finished in there by now and heading back outside to the cars. With a feeling of dread settling deep in his stomach Jim went to go back inside when he heard what appeared to be a gunshot and was nearly "bowled" over by two greasy looking men as they ran literally for their lives.
'Dean? Sam?' Jim called out as he went back inside and pushed his way through the gathering crowd in the centre of the room. 'Boys?'
'We're right here Jim,' Dean called out from the middle of the melee, 'just gotta get through here.'
'Come on guys break up and let em through,' their waitress Sarah waded through in front of the embarrassed and shaking brothers.
'What happened?' Jim asked when they finally got through, 'those two running out of here … Dean did you happen to have a gun?'
'Nope I did Reverend.' Sarah said as she brandished the old rifle. 'Filthy bastards tried to take the young one here, poor kid barely able to walk and they're trying to come on to him.'
Jim looked at the fifty-something old woman with a blond "Marilyn-Monroe" wig perched precariously on her grey hair and topped with a waitress' cap, her well washed and ironed faded pink uniform clung to all of her curves, the tiny fake apron bore the marks of years of service and her nurse-style shoes had matching stains although it was the black mole on her right cheek bone that had caught the preacher's eye to begin with. That and the artfully applied makeup and trendy rectangular glasses perched on her nose; it was as though she was caught in two different times, the present and the fifties.
'He was at the dinner party run by Claude and Ed, the rat-faced one.' Dean explained quietly as he took in Sam's demeanour and paleness oblivious to the attention Jim was giving Sarah, 'dammit Sammy please dude don't check out on me again.'
'I'll never get rid of them will I Dean?' Sam asked tearfully, he ignored the muffled voices and prying stares of the other diner patrons, 'and you they'll always come after you too what chance do we have of having a life? Any life at all?' Sam cried out as he pushed his way out of the building, his good leg wavering under the strain and effort of moving.
Slumped against the impala's front end while he waited for his brother and 'uncle' to come outside; Sam knew that he should be embarrassed with his emotional display and owed both Jim and Dean a big apology. Dean hadn't behaved like a squalling tantrum throwing two year old and they had attacked him as well as Sam.
'Well well look who's come outside to play,' a cruel sounding voice came from near his left side twisting his waist slightly Sam looked down at the rat-like man from before.
'What do you want?' Sam asked as he tried to slide away from the clammy hands running up and down his arm. 'Get off me.'
'Aw now that's no way to act, especially seeing it's been so long Sean.'
'My name is Sam not Sean.' Sam said as something in him snapped, 'get off me!' He repeated slowly and without raising his voice.
Bracing himself against the impala and relishing in the coolness of the car's exterior beneath his heated flesh Sam straightened himself up and towered over the little man. 'Leave me alone.' Using his left crutch to steady himself Sam lifted his right one and used it as a weapon. Neatly he took a half step to his left feinting slightly he made it look as though he was giving up when he swiped his attackers legs out from under them with one swoop of his right crutch. Panting slightly he lifted the crutch again this time he used it as a club, neatly knocking out both of them. Panting heavily he slid down the car until he was sitting on the ground, his bad leg stretched out in front and his good leg bent and pulled up to his chest to rest his aching head on.
'Sammy?' Dean's voice cut through the fog and Sam looked up into his brother's eyes, 'hey bro what's going on?'
'Hey Dean … huh? Oh just took out some garbage.' Sam shrugged, 'broke my crutch.' He muttered as he jutted his chin towards the broken aid.
'You okay bro?' Dean asked as he did a cursory examination searching for any new injuries adorning his brother's already scarred body.
'Yeah m'fine,' Sam answered tiredly, 'need help getting up.'
'Nice and easy that's it Sam,' Dean helped his teenaged brother up and tenderly ruffled the kid's hair, 'great work there Sammy.'
'It's Sam Dean, not Sammy.' Sam muttered but still managed to blush under Dean's praise, 'where's Uncle Jim?'
'Still in there talking to the waitress … whatcha think Sammy? Possible hook up for them?'
Dean asked as he waggled his eyebrows suggestively, his stress levels dropping when he heard that magical sound of Sam's soft giggles.
'Are you alright Sam? Sarah's called the police and they'll be right here.' Jim said breathlessly as he hurried towards his two charges.
'M'fine.' Came the only reply Sam would give as he let Dean ease him into the backseat of the impala.
'Stretch out your leg as much as you can Sammy,' Dean said tenderly as he cupped Sam's cheek with the palm of his hand for a second, 'get some rest and I'll take care of the rubbish now.'
Sam sighed and looked over at his brother, 'would you walk in with me?' he asked and immediately hated himself for asking.
'No probs at all,' Dean grinned patting his brother's arm, this was going better than he could've even hoped for. Sam was slowly coming out of his shell around strangers even to the point of initiating conversations with some of Jim's parishioners as they dropped by the church and rectory.
Walking slowly, side-by-side the Winchester brothers walked into Deer Fields Senior High School, Blue Earth, Minnesota their hyper-sensitive sensors working overtime as they watched and studied every student, teacher and worker at the school.
Memories of that fateful day when Sam was snatched from school still fresh in their minds as though it only happened minutes ago instead of months, and months and months.
'Ya know I can come to class with ya for a while if you want Sammy.' Dean offered although he was internally wincing at the thought of sitting through high school again.
'Nah I'm good Dean but you'll be here to pick me up won't you?'
'Promise Sammy, you sure you want to do this? We can come back tomorrow?' Dean asked when they came to a stop in front of Sam's classroom for his first class back.
'Thanks Dean, for everything.' Sam said with a soft sad smile, he knew that if he could take out two attackers with his crutches in a diner car park then he could tackle his first class back at school.
'You're gonna be fine Sam, you'll ace this like you always did.'
'Excuse me are you Sam Murphy?' a young woman came towards Dean and Sam with a big smile on her pretty face. 'I'm Andrea Hastings, I'll be your guide and general …'
'Ah thanks Andrea is it? I'm sure I'll be fine Andrea but thanks anyway.'
'Sorry Sam but you're stuck with me,' Andrea's smile faltered slightly but she kept it fixed and placed a dainty hand on Sam's arm, 'I'm sure that having a friendly face here will be a great help while you settle in Deer Fields.'
'So Sammy I think you're in capable hands I might…'
'Dean I ahh forgot my pain meds I might leave it for today and come back tomorrow.' Sam said in a rush of words. He couldn't explain it but there was something about Andrea that was setting his 'spidey-senses' off.
'Huh?' Dean blinked up at his younger brother and then straightened his shoulders and nodded, 'no probs at all … guess we'll see ya tomorrow Andrea.'
'I'll be here guys I hope that the meds aren't for anything really bad Sam and that you're feeling better tomorrow.'
'Thanks Andrea, and nah it's just for my bad knee it's been acting up a lot lately,' Sam said his cover story sliding from his lips easily, 'hurt it in a car accident.'
'Oh I am sorry,' Andrea gave him the appropriate look of concern and then turned her attention to Sam's older brother Dean. 'Will I be seeing you again tomorrow Dean?'
'Sure will I'll look forward to it,' Dean matched her smile before giving Sam his full attention, 'so ready to get outta here for today Sam?'
'Thanks Dean.' Sam muttered his gratitude evident on his handsome face.
Slowly the two brothers made their way back down the hallway and out of the doors towards the school car park. Andrea stood just outside the classroom watching their retreating backs as her eyes flashed a silvery colour and then she moved as though to enter the classroom only to disappear from view completely.