Well, this is the final installment, so thank you all for reading and favorite-ing, and thank you so much to those who took the time to review….especially Flaca514 who reviewed quite a few chapters! Your feedback was much appreciated!
Full Summary and Warnings in Chapter One…
Dean rocks up onto the balls of his feet and back down again, softly humming Enter Sandman under his breath.
God this is a stupid risk.
Dean grins wryly. He thinks that every time he comes and it's been two years now since his first visit.
He shoves his hands into the pockets of his black track pants and his fingers graze lightly over the clear plastic change purse he's carrying. Dean draws a deep breath. Did he remember to use the right fake id? Is it thirty or twenty dollars in coins he's allowed to bring in? Are they going to complain about his clothes?
He's been here nearly a dozen times now, he knows the routine; knows he's got all his ducks in a row, but he still can't help the anxiety building within him because walking straight into the lion's den like this is ten different kinds of reckless.
Dean's never really been introspective – that shit has always been Sam's gig – but he does wonder if maybe reckless isn't kind of the point. And the fact that Dad will kick his ass from here to Alaska if he ever finds out about these visits? Yeah, that's not a disincentive either. They barely talk since Sam left for college, not unless it's about a job and even then their conversations are clinical; tactical. Dean would rather have Dad's anger than his indifference, and the way he's been pulling away lately, distancing himself from Dean, he's not going to pretend that doesn't hurt.
The line shuffles forwards and Dean shuffles forwards with it.
His mind wanders to his baby and he hopes she's okay. He left her parked outside his motel room in Folsom, but the place rated less than two stars so he doubts the staff will give a damn if someone breaks into her.
Worrying about the Impala is responsible for a large chunk of the anxiety roiling in his gut, but he could hardly bring her here, what with the cache of illegal weapons in her trunk; and he hopes she doesn't feel too betrayed by the fact that he rode the bus to Represa this morning.
The line shuffles forwards again and Dean shuffles forwards with it.
Waiting has never been Dean's strong suit. Waiting patiently in the face of potential danger is almost unbearable, and it's the waiting that's responsible for the rest of the anxiety.
If this all goes pear-shaped – and it will one day, Dean's sure of it – there'll be action and he'll be okay. Just standing here, surrounded mostly by women and kids….Dean rocks up onto the balls of his feet again and starts humming Fade to Black as the Visitors' entrance at California State Prison looms closer.
Jackson Teller, VP of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle club, and one of Dean's oldest friends has called this place home for the last two years; stupid sonovabitch got himself arrested on a gun running charge and not even his good buddy Sherriff Wayne Unser could get Jax out of a stint inside this time.
Still, from a purely selfish perspective, Dean has to concede that it wasn't bad timing on Jax's part. Coming to visit Jax on a regular basis has given Dean a good excuse to swing by Palo Alto and check up on Sam on a regular basis.
Not that Geekboy has any clue that his big brother's been checking up on him. Officially, they're not talking. Not since….. Dean closes his eyes. Not going there…
Not that Dean isn't happy to visit Jax; he is. Jax is one of the few people from his completely jacked childhood that Dean bothers to keep in contact with. He's a useful person to know. Jax's step father and club president Clay Morrow put them in contact with people who knew how to make first rate fake ids years ago; good ones too, real enough to get you on to an international flight without question.
The Winchesters have purchased the occasional gun from SAMCRO as well. And, Dean recalls with a grin, SAMCRO has charters all around the country. Being a close friend of the original charter's VP has the advantage of making him persona grata in any SAMCRO club room in America and he's taken advantage of that a few times over the years. Once, he even turned up at the Nevada club rooms with a huge gash down his side, caused by Chimera claws, and the local PD on his tail wanting to arrest him for deliberately starting a forest fire. Totally not his fault; the Chimera spat fire at him and ignited some nearby trees when he was trying to shove a lead-tipped lance down its throat.
Ah good times. He got sewed up by an ex-army medic who gave him the good stuff to help with the pain, and oh yeah, Dean licks his lips, those hot blonde twins Trixie and Dixie, yeah…they helped with the pain too.
But aside from being useful, Jax is a good guy and Dean likes him a lot.
The four months the Winchesters lived in Charming are amongst Dean's happiest childhood memories.
Okay, there was some shit with the Mayans who had the audacity to get pissed at Dean for kicking one of their guys unconscious, but sparring with the Mayans was mostly fun. Sure, things had gotten out of hand sometimes and, Dean grins ruefully, he remembers a couple of occasions when he and Jax hadn't been able to sit comfortably for a few days as a result, but by and large his memories of Charming are of riding Harleys, working on cars at Teller-Morrow, and being part of a real family. He was happy there and he had a lot of fun. With the notable exception of their first week in town when Sam got snatched by a pervy ghost.
Now that Dean thinks about it he'd probably have to class that as Sam's first real hunt, even though it wasn't supposed to be. The kid did a great job with the research, got himself snatched, and then did a great job protecting both himself, and the other kidnapped kid, from the ghost.
God…what was that kid's name? Lucas…or something…
Anyway…Dean snorts, none of that mattered in the end because the only thing John Winchester had focused on was the fact that Sam had disobeyed orders. He'd gotten up and walked away from where Dean had left him; he'd been careless and let a ghost get the drop on him.
Dean frowns. Christ. The kid had been ten year's old for God's sake, what he'd suffered through should've been enough to give him PTSD, but he'd coped.
And their Dad had handed him his ass for it.
Dean shakes his head sadly. He remembers when they found Sam, remembers begging him never to disappear on him again and Sam had promised that he wouldn't.
But he did.
Ran away in Flagstaff when he was fifteen years old.
Dean swallows. Yeah, not going there. That was a bad time.
And then the kid ran away to Stanford when he was eighteen.
Okay, technically he went to college, on a full ride no less, but that was deserting your family in John Winchester's book and their Dad had given him the 'you walk out that door, don't you bother coming back' speech.
Sam had walked; and Dean misses his little brother like hell.
Dean blinks and realizes that he's at the security booth.
He notes the CDCR's reluctant concession to today's festival - a miniature Jack-o-lantern and a nearly empty bowl of candy - as he hands over a California State driver's license in the name of Dean Remington.
He flashes Corrections Officer Lashonda Jackson his most flirtatious smile, running his tongue across his bottom lip and letting his pupils dilate. It's second nature now and he probably wouldn't have even realized that he was doing it if he hadn't just been thinking about his Dad and the way he and Sam were raised.
'A hunter uses every weapon in his arsenal, boys,' his Dad used to lecture, 'And your good looks are a weapon. It's like sleight of hand. If a pretty smile and some casual flirting distracts the target from whatever you don't want them to notice, then you smile and you flirt like hell.'
And Dean really doesn't want the CDCR to realize that he's been flashing a fake id at them for the last two years. Or that almost everything on the Form 106 that he submitted is a complete fabrication. Except for the finger prints. Not much he could do to fabricate those, and he just knows that's going to come back and bite him on the ass one day.
But not today.
CO Jackson hands the license back to him and waves him through the metal detectors and into the screening area. Dean knows the drill. He toes his Nikes off and then stands still, legs apart, arms up and a little out to the side and lets another CO wave the hand wand over him before patting him down and asking him to turn out his pockets. He's not carrying anything he shouldn't be (not even the knife he's worn at his ankle since he was ten) and he almost hates that part the most, the fact that he has to come in naked.
Before he's even had time to heave a sigh of relief he's through screening and into the Visitation Room, neck craning to see Jax.
"Dean! Over here, man!"
Dean's always surprised when Jax pulls him into a hug, despite the fact that he does it every time they see each other.
"Been to see Sam?" Jax enquires as they sit down at the small plastic table.
Dean shakes his head.
"Just finished a job out at Crater Lake. Heading down there after here."
"A job, huh. Do I wanna know?"
About the Devalpa hijacking hikers?
"You gonna talk to him this time?"
He means Sam, not the Devalpa.
"Dunno," Dean shrugs, "Maybe."
Jax stretches out his legs and holds Dean's eyes with his own.
"I know it's none of my business," he begins, and Dean cuts him off, eyes hard.
"You're right," he says, "It's none of your business."
Jax backs off. He's good like that, doesn't push things. He'll think things through and say his piece, but he won't push.
"So," Jax smirks after a moment, "Met any hot yoga teachers lately?"
Dean rolls his eyes.
"Man, I should never've told you about Lisa."
Jax laughs, "Yeah well, not like I'm getting any action. I gotta live through you these days!"
"Really?" Dean can't resist teasing, "You got all that gorgeous blonde hair and you're not getting laid in here?"
Jax laughs good naturedly. "Sounds like you wouldn't mind a slice of this yourself. I'd be flattered only your brother always did say you'd hit anything with a pulse."
Dean grins back at him and the ache in his chest eases just a bit.
"He's just jealous coz I'm the good looking brother."
Jax drags his eyes over Dean.
"Uh huh. Gotta say, I'm lovin' the yuppie jogger look. Really."
"Dude, 98% of my clothes are denim!"
And there's no denim allowed when you're visiting California State Prison; it's too close to the inmate uniform.
They talk shit for a while and it's simple and uncomplicated in a way Dean's life never really is.
"How's John?" Jax asks eventually and Dean stills.
"He's, ah," Dean runs a hand through his hair, "He hasn't been home in a few days."
"Not unusual this time of year. He's probably just holed up somewhere with John, Jack and José."
Dean wants to take offense at the words but he can't because it's not like that's never happened before. The anniversary of his wife's death is always hard on John.
"I dunno, man," he says, "he was on a hunting trip. Zipped out right in the middle of it. Left me a creepy-ass message, distorted as hell by EVP, about us all being in danger and…..I haven't heard from him since. That was weeks ago, Jax! And he hasn't checked in with anyone. Not once. I gotta tell you," he meets the biker's eyes, "I'm worried."
"You gonna tell Sam?"
Dean is silent for a moment, then he nods.
"Yeah. Dunno if he'll care; but yeah."
"Guess I'll start looking for him. Check out the job he was working, see if I can pick up his trail."
Jax looks steadily at him for a moment, says, "Gonna ask Sam to check it out with you?"
"I can do this by myself," Dean retorts harshly.
Jax stares at him again.
"Yeah," he says, "Maybe you can. But you don't want to."
And Dean's got nothing to say to that because he's right.
Saving people. Hunting things. It's the family business. And if Dad's gone (Dean's brain stutters at the thought) then Sam's all the family he has left.
As All Hallows Eve turns into November 1st, Dean sits silently in the Impala, camped outside the darkened apartment that Sam shares with his girlfriend.
He nearly turns the key in the ignition a dozen times; maybe more; but eventually the fear of having to go it alone finally propels Dean out of the car and back into his brother's life.
And in the darkness a man with yellow eyes chuckles. Pawn to E4.