Tag to Episode 4.17 It's A Terrible Life
Summary: Dean accepts "Mr. Adler's" bonus at the end of the episode forcing Zachariah to manipulate the Winchesters a little (or a lot) more to teach Dean his lesson. Unfortunately Dean's lesson becomes Sam's punishment.
Written for the Summer of Sam Love 2010 Challenge. A HUGE thank you to the wonderful Sendintheklowns for the beta.
Word Count: 20,000 – give or take.
Original publish date: 10 September, 2010.
Author's notes are at the end.
"He's a real nowhere man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
"He's as blind as he can be,
Just sees what he wants to see,
Nowhere Man can you see me at all?"
- Nowhere Man from The Beatles "Rubber Soul" album.
Dean Smith sat working in his office, forcing the events of the previous day out of his head. He was trying to forget the ludicrous suggestions that Sam Wesson had made. It was crazy talk, brothers in arms fighting evil on the road, with no steady income, no health insurance, no address! Crazy. He ran a weary hand over his eyes, brushing the whole experience to the back of his mind.
There was a knock on his office door.
"Got a minute?" Mr. Adler, his boss, asked.
"Sure, of course" Dean replied.
"How are you feeling, Dean?" Adler came in and shut the door behind him.
"Uh, great." The question seemed a little out of left field.
"You look a little tired. Been working hard, I gather."
Dean shrugged. "Yeah," he breathed, a little self-consciously.
"Don't be modest," Adler dismissed. "I hear everything, and I'm pleased with what I'm hearing." He sat in the chair in front of Dean's desk, the same chair Sam had sat in only the day before. "That's why it's important to me that you're happy," he continued, pulling a pen from his pocket and reaching for a post-it note in the container on the desk.
Adler wrote a figure on the note and passed it across to Dean.
"How's that for a bonus?"
Dean picked up the slip of paper and looked at it. A puzzled frown transformed into astonishment. "That's very generous."
"Purely selfish. Just wanna make sure you're not going anywhere," Adler responded.
"Wow. You sure?"
"Positive. You are Sandover material, son. You'll go far, carving your own way."
"Thanks. I try."
"I see big things in your future. Maybe even Senior VP, Eastern Great Lakes Division." Adler continued, proudly as Dean shifted in his seat, pleased to be on the receiving end of such high praise. "Don't get me wrong, you'll have to work for it – 7 days a week, lunch at your desk, but in eight to ten short years, that could be you."
Dean wasn't sure what to say. That was a lot to take in and he huffed a sigh. "Uh, wow, thank you. Thank you, sir, but…"
Dean hesitated. He considered again what Sam had said to him about taking off and fighting ghosts. He looked at the figure on the note in front of him again, studying the four-figure sum. He took a deep breath, tried to get the words right in his head before saying them. This was his whole future being offered on a silver platter. This was a hard decision, an offer he should consider seriously. Dean felt torn. Was he ready to accept what Sam had said? It sounded crazy, could any of it be true? He looked back at Mr. Adler who was waiting expectantly. He shook his head and let common sense ground him.
"But?" Adler prompted, keenly watching Dean.
Dean smiled, mind made up. "Doesn't matter, it's not important. I'm honored that you have such confidence in me. I'll try to not let you down."
Mr. Adler, the corporate executive, sat with a frozen smile on his face for a moment. Zachariah, the angel currently occupying Adler's body, silently sighed with exasperation.
"Well, that's settled, then. Glad to have you aboard!" Adler's smile was more like a grimace as he stood to leave. "Oh, by the way, there's a couple of policemen waiting to see you. Something about the break-in and vandalism that happened last night? Apparently you were here working late. They want to know if you saw or heard anything."
Dean felt a cold shiver and he frowned. Oh God. What he and Sam had done the night before… this was going to end his career. Adler would take back everything he'd just promised and throw him out in the street. What could he say about last night that could sound anything but crazy?
Before he had a chance to form an answer, Mr. Adler reached across and shook his hand. There was a slight tingle that vibrated through him, and calmness settled inside him. Dean's brow smoothed out and he smiled, all memory of the night before fading like waking from a dream.
"Happy to answer any questions I can, but was here in the office all evening and I didn't see or hear anything until I left and the security guys were talking about it. I heard there was an accident with the elevator, too."
"Terrible business. We'll talk again later, Dean."
Adler left and a couple of minutes later two uniformed cops came in. They asked if he'd seen or heard anything out of place, what time he'd left, and agreed that the accident with the elevator which killed the security guard was awful but they were investigating that along with the vandalism on the 22nd floor, and a break in on the 14th floor in the Tech store room.
Then one of the cops asked if he knew Sam Wesson.
Dean flinched. Yes, he knew Sam. The guy worked in tech support. He'd run into him in the elevator a couple of times. Did he know him well? No. What had they talked about? Dean flushed a little, embarrassed, and said at first he thought that Sam had tried to make a pass at him. Then Sam had asked him if he believed in ghosts. He'd given a little laugh at that answer. Had he spent time with Sam the night before? Hardly, he'd answered, he'd been here in his office working. They could check his computer log if they liked. He asked why all the questions about Sam.
"We have Sam Wesson in custody. CC footage has him with the security guard just before the accident. We believe the guard found him ransacking the store room and was taking him down to the security office when the elevator broke down. We don't know if he was involved in the guard's death yet. Apparently he came into work this morning but then quit and went a little postal."
"What?" Dean exclaimed.
"Yeah," the cop continued. "Took a crow bar to his telephone and scared everyone in Tech Support half to death. Then he stormed out. Security stopped him and called us. Well, thank you for your time, Mr. Smith. If there's anything else we think of, we may be back."
"Not at all, officer, anything I can do to help." Dean stood and shook their hands before they left.
As he sat back down, he scrubbed a hand down his face. Wow, goes to show you that you just don't know who you have working near you every day, he thought.
Dean scooped up the telephone receiver and dialed a number on impulse, something else niggling at the back of his mind, something he felt he needed to do to settle himself down. It answered after three rings.
"Mom? Hi, it's me. … No, nothing's wrong. Just thought I hadn't called in a while. How's dad? … And Jo? … That's great. Thanksgiving? I dunno yet, mom. I'll try to make it home, but work's just a killer right now…"
The interrogation room was dingy and smelled faintly of stale sweat and something unidentifiable. The mirrored panel on the opposite wall separated this room from the observation chamber, Sam knew. He was probably being watched constantly as he waited, although what they would be watching for he had no idea.
Sam shifted in his uncomfortable chair. He'd been left sitting there for over half an hour. So far he hadn't been charged with anything but it was obvious that he was considered something of a threat because they'd left him with his wrists in handcuffs that were attached to the bolted-down table. He sighed, leaned forward and rested his head tiredly in the crook of one arm where it lay awkwardly across the table. He hadn't slept at all the night before. The Adrenaline rush from taking on Sandover's ghost had taken a long time to wear off. Then he'd lain awake for the rest of the night thinking about his conversation with Dean. He'd thought Dean could feel the same connection that he did, that same pull on his senses, that being here felt all wrong. That maybe his dreams were real and hunting together was what they were supposed to be doing instead of living this cookie-cutter life that felt so alien.
And it seemed that things just got better and better. He supposed he had no one to blame but himself for landing in this predicament. He'd lost his temper, unable to bottle up the frustration he was feeling over not being able to get things right in his head, and that he couldn't seem to get Dean to fully understand. He knew he didn't belong in this life, but couldn't work out exactly where he did belong. It teased at the edges of his mind, invading his dreams, confusing him. And it really worried him that he couldn't seem to remember much of anything of his life before the last three weeks, except for vague impressions and fleeting memories.
The door opened and Sam dragged himself upright. A man in an ill-fitting suit came in, dropped a file on the table and sat down. Sam sat passively, waiting for the other man to start talking.
It wasn't a question, so Sam didn't respond.
"I'm Detective O'Brien. I'd like to ask you a few questions."
"You've been employed at Sandover Bridge and Iron for just on three weeks."
Still not really a question but Sam shrugged anyway, nodding.
"Can you explain to me, Sam, what you were doing there last night after hours?"
Sam blinked in surprise. "Last night?" he squeaked. He hadn't expected that question; he thought that he was here because of his major hissy fit this morning.
"Yeah, last night. Security at Sandover has given us CCTV footage of you destroying valuable property on the 22nd floor of the Sandover building. There's also the matter of some damaged equipment in one of the store rooms on the 14th floor, footage of you being escorted from the 14th floor by a security guard just before that same guard was killed in an elevator accident."
Sam shuddered at the memory of the guard being cut in two by the falling elevator car, and of getting sprayed with his blood.
"Well, Sam?" The other man prompted.
"I, uh… I don't think you'd believe me if I told you." Not even with the camera recording. Would a ghost even show up? Maybe, but it would be totally unbelievable without the evidence. And Dean was there, he'd have Sam's back, if only they could work out a story together. Sam felt it wouldn't be the first time.
"Try me. What were you doing in that store room?"
Sam cleared his throat, not knowing how to explain it. Best not to then. "I was looking for something."
He shook his head and spoke softly, staring at his hands. "Doesn't matter."
O'Brien cocked an eyebrow, clearly not satisfied with the answer but realizing he wasn't getting any more. "What can you tell me about the security guard's death?"
Sam paled, and swallowed thickly. He could still feel the blood on him. "That was… um, that was just awful. He reached in, and… I tried to stop him. I tried." Sad eyes silently pleaded to stop talking about it.
"Okay." O'Brien changed tack, perhaps not entirely satisfied with the answer but moving on. "What about the damage on the 22nd floor?"
Sam shifted nervously, picked at a cuticle on his thumb and avoided O'Brien's intense gaze. He shook his head again. He couldn't answer. It would just sound nuts.
"You're not doin' yourself any favors here, kid. Tell me the truth."
The truth. Riiight.
"You wouldn't understand."
Another sigh from O'Brien as he sat back and folded his arms, giving the impression he would sit there until Sam gave him some kind of explanation.
Out of habit Sam tried to raise his hands to swipe back his long bangs, the movement thwarted by the handcuffs.
"Look, I know it sounds crazy, but we had to burn the gloves that belonged to P.T. Sandover. I just can't tell you why."
"Uh huh. And who is 'we'?"
"Me and Dean. If you ask him, he'll tell you what happened. Then you'll believe me."
The detective uncapped the pen he'd been fiddling with and opened the file. "Dean?"
"Dean Smith. He's the Director of Sales and Marketing at Sandover."
O'Brien scribbled a note in the file. "Alright. I'll see what Mr. Smith has to say. You want to tell me why you took a crowbar to your desk this morning?"
Sam sighed again, "I don't know. I was… kinda frustrated." He pulled a face, wincing at how lame that sounded. "That was probably a mistake."
"That's an understatement," O'Brien answered. "Okay, we'll check your story and we need to talk some more to Sandover management to see whether they want to press charges." The cop stood up to leave.
Sam brightened up for the first time since security had jumped on him earlier that morning as he'd stormed out of the Sandover building. They'd held him until the police arrived. He'd then been handcuffed and shoved him into the back of the squad car before being driven to the police station and dumped here in this room.
"I'm free to go?" he asked hopefully.
"Not yet. Someone will be along in a minute or two to take you down to the holding cells. We'll check this all out and let you know what happens next."
Russell O'Brien juggled a half dozen files, a cup of coffee and a paper bag containing a Swiss cheese on rye sandwich as he sat down at his desk. It was well over an hour since he'd talked with Sam Wesson and the first opportunity he had to sit down and review what the uniformed guys had brought back from their visit to Dean Smith at Sandover.
The incoming email alert was flashing madly on the computer screen. O'Brien typed in his password to read his email. He read the notes left on his desk by the uniforms as he waited for his email to load. He snorted a little, not really surprised that Dean Smith had not said anything to verify the things that Sam Wesson had told him. The CCTV footage report from Sandover security had pretty much already told the story that Sam was alone when he went on his little rampage.
O'Brien scrolled down through the two dozen email messages he had, stopping to fully open the one that caught his eye. It was the response to his search request on Sam Wesson from the central law enforcement database.
Name: Samuel Wesson
DOB: 02 May, 1983
Place of Birth: Lawrence, Kansas
Parents: John Wesson (deceased June 2006), Mary Wesson (deceased November 1983)
Siblings: Dean Wesson (deceased February 2006) – see St Louis MO PD report – suspect in 2 murders, 1 attempted murder, case file still open.
Marital Status: Single -
Fiancée Jessica Moore (deceased November 2005)
Fiancée Madison Owens (deceased July 2008)
Criminal record: No convictions.
Suspect (arson/murder/manslaughter) in the death of Jessica Lee Moore, no charges laid, ruled accidental death. November 2005.
Suspect (murder/manslaughter) in the shooting death of Madison Owens, no charges laid, unsolved file open. July 2008.
Other related: See UCSF Medical Center Psychiatric Unit record of admission, Dr. David Grace, August 2008.
Under normal circumstances medical or psychiatric records didn't get attached to this kind of report unless they were considered relevant. O'Brien knew he'd have to check this out further. He also noted that the poor guy had lost three of his family including his first fiancée in less than an 18 month period, then lost another fiancée less than a year ago. No wonder the guy had a psychiatric record, and maybe those deaths needed a closer look because here he was just a short time later with another trail of dead bodies surrounding him. He was either the unluckiest son of a bitch to walk the earth or a very clever killer.
O'Brien picked up the phone and dialed the number he'd looked up for the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center.
The file on Sam Wesson was getting progressively thicker. A lot thicker than any normal misdemeanor property damage file had a right to be. And the profile of the young man currently cooling his heels in the holding cells downstairs was revealing a very troubled history.
The deeper O'Brien dug, the less he liked what he found.
According to the St Louis PD file, Sam's brother had been bad news – a cold-blooded killer. Looking further back into the family history and using a few "unofficial" contacts, O'Brien also discovered that there were numerous CPS reports, dating from the late eighties until 2001 across several states, detailing what looked like a history of suspected abuse or neglect, although never proven because the small family always moved on before any follow-through could be done. It seemed that what little there was known about John Wesson painted him as an obsessed, overbearing man who raised his sons as if they were in the military rather than just kids. Following the suspected arson death of his wife (another possible murder?) when Sam was just six months old, Wesson senior had hit the road and the bottle, never settling in any place for more than a few months. And it seemed like a trail of death followed the family wherever they went. John Wesson's name came up a number of times in the investigative reports of deaths across the country.
Sam had escaped his family's clutches to go to college on a full scholarship, with another full ride to continue on to study law, but didn't graduate as planned. After the death of his first fiancée in 2005, he dropped out and went road tripping with his brother until St Louis. After the brother's death, he went back to college and studied computer science, graduating with honors in June 2007. He landed a Silicon Valley job, and became engaged to Madison Owens, a PA to a corporate lawyer in San Francisco. He'd suffered a breakdown a month after Madison's death, for which SFPD had Sam listed as the prime suspect initially, and was hospitalized for three months. SFPD could never prove any connection to the murder of Ms. Owens, but Sam was still on their radar as a suspect.
After being released from the psych ward, he had gone back to work, still seeing his psychiatrist regularly on an outpatient basis until he abruptly left San Francisco a month ago and moved to Chicago and came to work at Sandover. Just maybe the guy had been cut loose a little too soon, O'Brien thought.
Sam's doctor at UCSFMC had been of the opinion that three more deaths in just a few days might be too much for Sam to handle and might be the reason he'd apparently had another meltdown. It was suggested that Sam might be a danger to himself and it might be best to have him re-evaluated, since it appeared likely that Sam was off his meds, and having missed his last two appointments at the clinic after going AWOL. Dr. Grace had a contact at St. Elizabeth's in Chicago and, if Sam was willing, he could arrange for Sam to be admitted there.
It was getting late in the day. O'Brien still needed to call Mr. Adler at Sandover and explain the situation. Maybe he'd be lenient and not press charges if Sam was getting some help. Then he needed to get a hearing scheduled, which meant calling in counsel for Sam and getting one of the clerks in the DA's office off their butts to get things moving. O'Brien didn't think it would be in Sam's best interest to spend the night in Holding, and he certainly couldn't be cut loose if things were as bad as Dr. Grace thought they might be.