Disclaimer: I do not own these characters- they belong to Eric Kripke and I wouldn't have it any other way! This story was requested by Emerald-Water.
Summary: Sequel to Sacrificial Son. It's been ten years since Sarina, but a new hunt involving the bodies of teenage boys lined up on a river's edge is bringing back horrible memories for Dean; just what he needs after losing his father.
Tag to Bloodlust. WILL HAVE SPOILERS FOR THIS EPISODE!
Dean is 27 and Sam is 23.
The boys drove in silence through three towns with no other plan than to put as much distance as possible between themselves and Gordon Walker, who they left tied up to stew in his own mess for the next three days. Gordon should have realized it's not a good idea to piss off Dean Winchester, and threatening his little brother would do just that.
Dean dabbed at his split lip with the sleeve of his shirt and winced. Gordon may be a complete psycho, but there was no denying he could throw a mean punch.
I can't believe I trusted that bastard. If it hadn't been for Sammy…
"Hey, Dean? You alright, man?"
Dean glanced over to the passenger seat to find his little brother looking at him with a concerned expression on his face. He dropped his arm back down to his lap in a subconscious effort to not appear weak.
"Just a few bruises, Sammy. I think I'll live."
"That's not what I'm talkin' about. I know you and Gordon sort of bonded back there, and then he…"
"Oh, come on, Sam. Not that 'father substitute' crap again. You were right, okay? He was bad news. I shouldn't have trusted him."
"No, I get it, man. We all need someone to lean on once in a while. I just wish you'd talk to me. What does it matter that I'm the little brother, huh?"
Dean refused to look at Sam and stared determinedly out the windshield instead. "It matters," he stated softly.
Sam sighed. "I'm goin' through the same shit you are, Dean. I know how you're feelin'. I didn't even get along with the man for most of my life, but I still miss him like hell. I may not be dealin' with his death the way you think I should, but at least I'm trying to deal. I know what I'm doin' is too little, too late, but it helps me get through the day."
Dean could have interrupted at any point and told his brother to stuff it where the sun don't shine, but he knew Sam needed to vent just as much as he did, so he continued to listen in silence.
"I know you feel empty and you'd do anything to make the pain stop but it only seems to get worse with time. If you keep bottlin' it up, you're gonna explode… again."
Dean quirked an eyebrow in confusion. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Sam gave his brother a challenging look as though daring him to deny his next statement. "I saw you, Dean. In the junkyard."
Shit… "I spent a lot of time in the junkyard, Sammy. What's your point?"
"You beat the shit out of the Impala. That's my point. I know it hurts, Dean. Hell, it hurts a lot, but we're gonna make it through this, okay? You just have to trust me."
Dean cleared his throat to get rid of the lump that had settled there and tightened his grip on the wheel till his knuckles turned white. "Yeah," he answered gruffly, not entirely sure to what he was agreeing.
Sam stared at him for a few minutes, hoping he was going to elaborate. When Dean remained silent, he prodded him a bit. "Yeah? Is that all you have to say?"
"Look, I get it, alright? I promise you I'm dealin' with this shit, but you've just gotta let me do it my own way. Now can we please drop this?"
"Fine. But don't think you're gettin' out of it this easily. We're gonna have to talk about it sooner or later."
"Whatever. Any idea where the hell I'm headed here?"
"Uh… Gordon mentioned a chupacabra a few states over…?"
"I'm sure that thing's long gone by now. 'sides, I'm not lookin' to do Gordie any favors anytime soon."
Sam snorted derisively. "Yeah. As far as I'm concerned, the further we are from Gordon, the better."
Dean grunted his agreement, keeping his eyes on the road ahead.
"Hey, maybe we'll actually get some down time for a change. I mean, no offense, but you still look like hell, man."
"I think I can handle huntin' with a busted lip and a shiner, Sam. There's gotta be somethin' around here worth killin', even by your new Boy Scout standards."
"Ellen might have somethin' for us."
"Dude, seriously? What is it with you and this Ellen chick?"
"Better question, what do you have against her?"
"We don't need her help, Sam. Our lives are none of her business. Just because she apparently knew dad, she thinks she knows all about us too but she is way off base if she thinks she can…"
"She offered us a place to stay for free, Dean. I'm not seein' a downside to that. Plus, there's always Jo…"
"What about her?"
"I dunno, man. But for some strange reason, she seems to like you. Maybe you should give it a shot."
"That's not gonna happen, Sam."
"… Can't we just call Bobby? I'm sure he's got a few leads."
"Dean, come on."
Those damn puppy dog eyes are always the elder brother's undoing.
"Fine! Give her a call then. But you owe me so big for this."
"Call it even for punchin' me the other day."
"Hey, I gave you the chance to return the favor, but you shut me down."
"I'd rather take the hit…" Dean grumbled under his breath.
Sam smiled as he pulled his cell from his pocket and gave Ellen a call. Dean zoned out, thinking about his father and the final words John said to him, as his brother chatted on the phone. He was brought back to the present when Sam hung up.
"She says she might have somethin' for us."
"Maybe there is a god after all. Couldn't she just tell us what it is over the phone?"
"Fine! Roadhouse it is."
As far as Dean was concerned, the ride wasn't nearly long enough before he was parking in the Harvell's lot. He took his sweet time getting out of the car and received Sammy's impatient bitch face for his troubles. Nevertheless, he sauntered his way up to the front door that Sam was already holding open and slid inside without a word.
The Roadhouse was filled with people who were just passing through and a few hunters discussing their latest gigs in a corner. Dean made a beeline for the bar, eager for a beer, then remembered who was tending it a bit too late.
"Welcome back, Dean." Ellen did a double-take when she realized his face was a mottled mess. "You alright? I've got some more ice packs in the back if…"
"I'm fine, thanks," Dean jumped in, quick to waylay her concern.
Ellen nodded her understanding and changed the subject for the elder Winchester's sake. "You boys made pretty good time."
"Yeah, well… Now that I've got my baby back, I wanted to test her limits. She's purrin' like a kitten."
Sam joined them and took the seat next to Dean. "Hey, Ellen," he said with a warm smile.
"Hey there, Sweetie. Can I get you boys anythin'?"
Dean jumped in, eager to finally get his drink on and numb the empty feeling in his chest. "A beer would be gr…"
"Actually, we're good thanks," Sam interrupted, ignoring his brother's death glare. "Any chance we can take a look at that case you mentioned on the phone though?"
"Absolutely. Hang on a sec."
When Ellen turned her back to get the file, Dean smacked Sam in the chest with a "what the hell, dude?" expression on his face. Sam just frowned at him and shook his head.
"Here it is." Ellen dropped the file on the counter between the boys, regaining their attention. "Ash noticed the pattern, but couldn't make heads or tails of what's behind it. Might not be supernatural at all, but I figured it could be worth lookin' into. By the way, do you boys know where Gordon took off to?"
Knowing Gordon, she had a feeling the bruises on Dean's face weren't from the hunt they had shared, and her gut was telling her the boys didn't exactly part in the best of terms.
The brothers exchanged a quick glance before Dean answered, "Nope. He was still there when we took off. Why do you ask?"
"Some guy named Kubrick was in here earlier askin' for him. No big deal. Glad you're both okay though. Gordon's a piece of work."
"He's a piece of somethin' all right…" Dean threw in.
"Yeah, I don't think we'll be workin' with him again anytime soon," Sam added.
"Can't blame ya there. Well, let me know if you're takin' this case. If not, I'll see if the boys in the corner want it."
She moved further down the bar to refresh a few of her patron's drinks, leaving Sam and Dean to skim through the folder before them. Sam flipped it open and started to read the articles inside.
Dean stared longingly at a half empty beer bottle just a few feet away before forcing his attention back towards his little brother. "So what've we got, Sammy?"
"Looks like five bodies have turned up within the past ten years, all along the same river, but there's no pattern to the dates. Autopsy records show that they were brutally beaten, so I think it's safe to say we can rule out accidental drowning."
"Any connections between the victims?"
"Lots, actually. According to these articles, they're all males with similar appearances, all from the same town, and they were all between the ages of fifteen and eighteen."
Dean flinched at the age bracket as his mind started making uncomfortable connections to the Rusalka attack he suffered at age seventeen. It can't be… She's dead. "I dunno, Sammy. This sounds more like a serial psycho than our kind of gig." Denial… Ain't just a river.
"Maybe, but we've looked into less, Dean. We're not far. If we find out that it's not something that goes bump in the night, we'll hit the road and leave it to the local law enforcement."
Dean could tell Sam had already made up his mind. He sighed. "Alright. Tell Ellen we're takin' the case." He gave one last glance to the big biker's beer bottle, debating on whether he could take the guy or not before deciding against it, then rose from his stool. "I'll meet you in the car."
Sam frowned as he watched his brother's retreating back. He could tell something was bothering him about this case, but he doubted Dean would ever admit to it.
As Dean made his way towards the door, he accidentally bumped into a timid looking, bespectacled man in his mid forties.
"Sorry," Dean grunted without looking up, then continued out to his awaiting Impala. He had no idea the man continued to stare at him well after he was outside. Dean had more pressing thoughts in his mind, none of which were comforting.
Please review! If you have any ideas for upcoming chapters, I'd love to hear them, and thanks for reading!