The Way Home
Disclaimer: Winchester's are Kirpke's. The Brotherhood is Ridley's. It's like a library, we can check them out for a while, but eventually we have to return them.
A/N: A segment of Williamson Scott's story 'Stranded' is mention in this chapter. For those who don't know Stranded is an excellent story that covers Caleb Reaves background and how he came to the attention of the Brotherhood, well worth the read!
The stomach dropping feeling of the ground giving out for under you was all he had time to grasp as his body hit the unforgiving ground and started it's downward tumble. His mind only had time to process the first rock he hit, stealing the breath from his lungs along with any fight he may have put up as he tumbled helplessly down the thirty foot embankment. He didn't feel his body come to a stop, he didn't feel the broken arm or the dislocated shoulder, nor the broken ribs that were threatening to punch a whole in his lung. He didn't feel the blood that slide down the side of his head, staining the decaying leaves beneath him. He didn't feel the cold that had started to seep into his body as the late afternoon sun cast long shadows through the trees. He wouldn't be missed for at least six hours, that's when he had promised to call Bobby with an update on his search of the wooded area about ten miles from Singer's Salvage. But between the soon to be freezing temperatures, his injures and the illness he had been ignoring, John Winchester could very well be dead within those six hours.
Driving the back roads that led to Pastor Jim Murphy's farm in New Haven, Kentucky were a big change from maneuvering the city traffic in New York. Here on the quiet stretch of blacktop you would be lucky to see a car every thirty minutes. Having lived in major cities nearly his whole life; first New Orleans with his grandmother, then New York with Bird, his grandmothers friend who took him in after the older woman's death, then finally with Mac, who saved not only his life, but possibly his soul as well. Caleb knew the hassle a drive through the city could be. That's why he didn't mind the drive from New York to Kentucky, he could travel as many back roads as he wanted and they all led him to the same place, home.
The first time he had come to Jim's farm was when he was twelve and had just been taken in my one Dr. Mackland Ames. The Doctor, along with Jim Murphy had rescued him from a Psychiatric Hospital he had been sent to after a terror induced attempt to take his own life in front of a police station full of cops, his social worker and a family court judge. Neither the scared boy, nor those inside the precinct fully understood exactly what Caleb was, a very powerful psychic who was prone to death visions, the last of which had allowed the child to see the murder-suicide of his new foster parents of only two days. In his blind panic he thought he had caused the death of the couple who died exactly like his parents only six years before. Caleb had been able to get a gun away from an officer, then proceeded to put the barrel to his head. Only the quick movement of his case worker saved Caleb's life, setting in motion the judge's actions that brought him to the attention of Mac.
Saving him from the Knight of the Brotherhood, Daniel Elkins, who believe the boy to be possessed and nearly killed him during an attempted exorcism, Mac sought and was rewarded temporary custody of the pre-teen and within months formally adopted Caleb. The first visit to Jim's farm had been like torture to youth, he felt he had nothing to do, it was a small town, the Pastor owned an ancient looking television, but had no cable and only allowed it on about an hour a day, just to catch the news. The rest of the time was spent working the small farm or the Pastor would spend hours hold up in his study preparing his sermon for the following Sunday. Not something Caleb found interesting to say the least, the boy would spend his time sulking in or around the barn, usually with his sketch pad and walkman blaring in his ears.
All that changed shortly after he turned thirteen, the teen was at the farm on the day a big, black monster of a car came rumbling down the gravel driveway. Caleb had heard Mac and Jim talking of a new hunter that had turned up, the man had called on Missouri Mosley for help after his wife's death in an unnatural fire, she then put the younger man in contact with Jim. The teenager had heard the concern in the older men's voices when they talked that the newcomer had two young children with him, a baby not even a year old and a virtually catatonic five-year old who hadn't spoken since the night of his mother's death.
Caleb watched from his place near the barn as the Chevy Impala came to a stop near the farm house, Jim and Mac descending the stairs to great the man, a John Winchester, if the teen remembered correctly. He watched his father and the Pastor exchange hand shakes with the man, who then turned to retrieve a screaming baby from the vehicle. But it was the other child the quietly climbed from the back of the car that drew Caleb's attention. The fear, pain and sorrow he immediately felt from the child was like nothing he had ever experienced from another person before, it reminded him so much of himself right after his parents had died.
Mac had been working with Caleb who soon figured out that beside the death visions, the teen could also easily pick-up on other's emotion, as well as, with a little effort, read other's thoughts. Though he was still working on the finer technique of the later, Mac and Jim both describing his ability as like being hit in the head with a sledgehammer. However, something about this boy seemed to hone in his abilities as the small child turned and look in the direction of the barn, locking eyes with the teen. In that instant Caleb felt his breath hitch as the child's thoughts flooded his mind. They were of an unnatural fear of losing his father and brother, the terror of being brought to a new place, being around people he didn't know, and an overwhelming need to protect his baby brother. In that moment Caleb felt a connection with the small, quiet child and going against every teenage instinct to not care, he was drawn to the child. He soon became the only person the quiet boy would verbally talk to, it taking several more months before the child spoke to any of the adults that were a part of his life.
Driving along, the ten year old memory playing in his mind, the young psychic felt the overwhelming need to get to Jim's that much sooner. The twenty-two year old and his fifteen year old best friend had hit a rough patch lately. It had been a few months since they had seen one another; the last time was actually at Caleb's graduation from Auburn. Since learning about the Brotherhood, Caleb had wanted to be a hunter, he wanted to be like John, whose whole life was immersed in the hunt, but Mac had insisted that he pursue a life in the 'real' world too. After all Mac and Jim were examples you could do both, Mac was a Neurosurgeon and of course Jim was the Pastor of a small church in New Haven.
During Caleb's time at Auburn he would hunt over breaks and focus on his studies while at school, his major was Architecture. Dean had been worried from the time his best friend left for school, he thought he was losing another person he cared about, it took several talks by Caleb to explain to the kid that he was still only a phone call away and would be there if Dean ever needed him. However, with his graduation, Caleb had started to put into motion a dream he'd had since starting college, it was the dream of owning his own Architectural firm. It wasn't a dream Caleb had discussed with anyone, not even his father. It was something Caleb wanted to do on his own, only telling other's when the venture was up and running. The business end of everything had been started a few months before he graduated and since graduation Caleb had been meeting with lawyers, backers and potential clients, the end result being that Tri-Corp, finally, had its first solid project lined up. That was the reason he was on his way to Jim's, he was meeting his father there, as well as, Dean and Sammy. John was due to show up in a few days, after he looked into a possible hunt in South Dakota, where Bobby lived. He was planning on telling his family about his business and hopefully smooth over any ruffled feathers with Dean.
He had just passed the sign welcoming him to New Haven, he was only a few miles from Jim's, it was mid-afternoon and as usual there weren't very many cars on the road. He allowed his mind to drift to how he would tell his family about his new business, his Jeep almost able to drive itself as his tires ate up the familiar road. But then pain shot through his head, stole his breath, darkening his vision as the tree-lined road faded in front of him. His visions usually had precursors, tell-tell signs that it was coming, but this one hit with no warning, no building pressure, no time to pull his vehicle over as his consciousness faded, the vision consuming him.
Caleb could see John slamming the trunk of the Impala, a small duffle hanging from his shoulder. He watched as his mentor check his weapon and returned it to the small of his back, then the older man headed off into the woods. The psychic didn't know what John was looking for, or why he was on a hunt alone, that was John Winchester Rule Number One: Never Hunt Alone. He could feel John's alertness, but also the man's exhaustion, his friend was tired, unusually so, but in true Winchester fashion the man trekked on, his steady pace pushing him further into the woods. A coughing spell stopped the older man as Caleb watched John place his hands on his knees, it taking a minute to regain his breath. Caleb could feel his own fear increasing as John shook his head slightly and continued on, as if nothing was wrong. Bare trees were all around, the ground covered with fallen leaves, the late October air cooling quickly as the afternoon sun started to cast long shadows through the forest. The Psychic couldn't tell if it was the dampened, leaf-covered ground, or John's distraction by another round of coughing, but Caleb felt the moment his mentor took a misstep, then could only watch as the older man slipped and tumbled, helplessly down the embankment. Caleb felt his breath catch as he watched John's battered body come to a stop, blood trailing down the unconscious man's head, he felt his mouth open, the echo of his own voice yelling, "JOHN!"
A/N: Yeah, I know, I just finished Vision and here I'm throwing Caleb into another vision. It's just a fun way to totally mess with the boy. But I'm hoping as this story progress's the little twist I'm hoping that will work makes it a good enough story. Wish me luck!-Montez