WAY OUT WEST
The brothers begin to recover after their ordeal and discover a long buried family secret.
The early evening sun filtered through the grimy windows around Bobby's house as Sam wandered wearily but happily into the lounge munching on a slice of toast and honey.
He wore his relief like a comfortable old shirt; finally discharged from hospital, Dean was well on the way to recovery. A little colour was returning to his cheeks, brightening his queasily grey countenance. He was improving every day in spirit, attitude and (unfortunately) volume.
Right now, having spent a long and fruitful day resting on the couch tormenting his brother for want of anything more constructive to do, Dean had finally drifted into a deep sleep. Curled up on the couch, he lay almost buried in a blanket Sam had placed over him, face pressed into a pillow, soft snuffling snores melting into the white cotton.
Sam smiled, the peaceful sight almost making him forget the nagging pain of his broken hand; worry over his brother's desperate condition had proved a powerful anaesthetic for him, and it was only in recent days that he had really began to feel the damage he had done to himself.
It was then he noticed the other figure in the room.
Castiel sat in a faded armchair opposite the couch. Leaning forward, elbows on knees, he was staring intently at the sleeping man.
"Hey Cas, what you doin'?" Sam asked curiously, licking the last morsels of honey off of his fingers.
"I am watching him sleep," replied the angel as if it were the most normal thing in the world, without taking his unblinking blue eyes from the horizontal figure opposite him.
"Uh, I can see that," responded Sam hesitantly; "why?"
"I am sharing his dreams."
Sam stared at the mesmerised angel. "Sharing his dreams? Why?"
"I am healing swiftly," Castiel glanced up to smile briefly at Sam; "As my powers return I can feel his thoughts - or his dreams." Castiel looked both joyful and fascinated at the same time; "he is happy."
Sam's head swivelled between angel and brother; "uh Cas; is that right? You know, should you really be rootin' around in his dreams?" He scratched his head, "isn't that kinda private?"
"I can gauge my recovery by how vivid the images are, soon I will be strong enough to rejoin the battle in Heaven. " Castiel explained with a smile; "I can see his dream very clearly; he is dreaming of the Impala, the sun is shining and you are with him."
Sam's face softened from curious concern to a warm smile as saw the sheer contentment on Dean's face as he dreamed about his baby and his brother. Dean huffed out a long sigh and wrinkled his nose, shifting in his sleep with a soft grunt; "it's windows are open and the music is loud," Castiel continued.
Sam sat down next to the angel, feeling slightly guilty at hearing the intimate details of his brother's dreams. However, he couldn't hide his joy that they were pleasant after Dean's recent ordeal.
Castiel canted his head, pursing his lips as his brow furrowed in thought. "Now it is different," he hesitated, glancing at Sam; "There is a bed covered in black silk, and there is a girl. She is removing her clo …"
"Uh, okay, I get the picture;" Sam leapt to his feet, and covered his ears, glancing in wide eyed panic from the angel to his brother, as a slowly broadening smirk crept across the sleeping man's face.
Sam composed himself and glanced down at Castiel; "you know it would freak Dean out if he knew we were here watching him sleep?"
Dean cracked open an eye, "yeah, an' I'm gonna kick both your asses when I can bend in the middle."
The three figures looked up on hearing the door creak open to see Bobby stumbling through, laden down with library books.
"Hey Bobby," Sam stood up smartly, offering to help Bobby with the books, then thought better of it as his injured hand protested at the movement.
"Hey Sam, Cas … aah, Princess Fairycakes; so nice to see you finally awake," Bobby smiled.
"Hey leave me alone," Dean pouted gruffly, rocking awkwardly as he tried to sit up; "You should be nice to me. I've been suffering in pain," he groaned theatrically, "an' I've been under the knife; I was sliced open and gutted." He made a point of grimacing and rubbing his stomach to reinforce the point.
Sam rolled his eyes, and gestured something tiny between his thumb and forefinger; "two inches dude; two inches," he grinned at his sulking brother.
"Where you been all day, Bobby?" asked Dean, making a point of ignoring Sam.
"I bin down the library doin' some research, trying to find out why your little eight legged friend decided to help you," Bobby replied, dropping down into a seat at the table.
"What did you find?" asked Sam, slowly walking towards Bobby and his book.
"A great big pile of nothing with a side of squat," sighed Bobby, taking off his cap and mopping his brow with a grubby handkerchief.
The brothers sighed.
"But," Bobby dragged a big, sorry looking tome onto the table, "I did find this; a 'Complete History of Wyoming'."
Dean leaned forward to see round his brother's broad back, stifling a groan as the movement pinched his wound.
Bobby leafed through the book; then sat back in his chair leaving the book open at a page showing an ink portrait of a coldly familiar man. "This your friend, Walton?"
Sam leaned over and stared intently at the picture.
"That's him," he nodded, turning to show the picture to Dean.
"Yep, that's him, the sour douchebag," Dean indicated his agreement.
Sam read the caption that accompanied the picture; "Obadiah Walton - Sherriff of Possum Creek 1854 – 1861. Born 3rd February 1804; died 9th March …" Sam's voice tailed off; he looked up at Bobby and across at Dean who, having now worked himself upright, stood staring at him wide-eyed.
…died 9th March 1861," Sam whispered. "The day we were rescued."
Bobby nodded again; "carry on readin' son."
Sam continued to scan the page; and visibly paled; "died of …" he looked up at Dean, "... venomous spider bite."
Putting the book down, he stared at his stunned brother.
"That's why he was so quiet," Sam spoke to himself trying to rationalise the situation, "when it was real bad, when I thought it was the end of the road. There was no sign or sound of him."
He turned back to Bobby.
"I thought he'd gone out and left us, but he was already dead. She killed him before she rescued us."
Bobby smiled, "So not only did she rescue you, she made sure your persecutor got his just desserts."
Dean huffed, rubbing the back of his neck; "that's one seriously impressive creepy-crawly;" he looked at the assembled figures around the room, "friggin' glad she's on our side."
Awakening slowly the following morning, Sam tiptoed past the unmoving lump under the blankets in the other bed; he paused briefly to satisfy himself that all was well. The only visible signs of life were a tousled knot of dark blond hair sticking out of one end of the bedclothes and a bare foot hanging off the other end of the bed.
The blanket swelled around a long sigh and Sam smiled, reassured that all was well. He turned to walk out of the room and heard a muffled voice behind him.
"Make the coffee, bitch."
Dean wandered uncomfortably into the kitchen clutching his sore belly, scratching his head and stifling a yawn all at the same time. He stopped, mid yawn, when Sam dashed out from the lounge, and grabbed him by the hand.
"Dude, you need to see this."
Still not quite awake, and in dire need of caffeine, Dean followed his agitated brother into the other room where Bobby and Castiel both stood side by side silently and intently studying the wall.
Dean joined them, peering at the wall between the two men's shoulders and immediately saw the source of their fascination. A big spider slowly working it's way along the junction between the ceiling and the wall.
"That looks like …" Dean began.
"What's it doing?" Bobby asked, without taking his eyes off the wall. All four stood and watched as the spider changed tack and scuttled down the wall, coming to rest on the top of a picture frame.
The picture was one of Bobby's favourites; a battered wooden frame containing a faded photograph of a rare moment of leisure. Featuring a much younger Bobby with his arms across the shoulders of a shy, timid looking ten-year-old, standing together with his old friend John Winchester, the picture was completed by a grinning, gap toothed six year old. All four figures stood in front of a tumbling creek clutching fishing rods.
The spider scuttled along the top of the picture frame then stopped halfway across.
Watched by the three fascinated men and one fascinated angel it clambered over the top edge of the frame, clinging to the glass, and stopped; it's front legs resting on John Winchester's forehead.
"What's it doing?" Sam whispered to no-one in particular.
There was a long pause which was eventually broken by a loud gasp.
"Holy crap," Bobby turned, wide-eyed, to the brothers.
"She said she wanted to help her family?"
"yeah," came the response.
"What if you were her family?"
Dean shrugged, "but we're not - we ain't indian - d'y see us wearin' feathers and dancing' roun' a totem pole?" He looked at the older man as if he'd gone mad.
Giving a long sigh, Bobby tried a different approach; "you know everything about ya momma's family, but how much do ya know about ya daddy's family?"
Sam looked at his brother, then back to the older man; "not a lot Bobby, He never spoke about them much, but I know he wasn't native American."
Bobby continued, "he wasn't, nor were his parents; but what if it was in the blood somewhere; somewhere back from before 1861?"
They fell silent, watching the spider as it scuttled back up along the wall and disappeared into a crack in the masonry, seemingly happy that it had made it's point.
The brothers looked at each other in silent disbelief.
"Remember" Bobby continued, "we're talking seven or eight generations back. Those were hard times, people weren't as broad minded or as tolerant as they are now.'
He looked at the brothers.
"I'm guessing, the child of such a pairing might well have been rejected by both societies; perhaps it ended up raised in some mission or orphanage or something like that but whatever happened, doubtless they wouldn't have wanted to advertise their origins - if they ever even knew about them."
He hesitated; "I'm guessin' ya daddy wouldn't have even known."
He looked at the brothers with a smile.
"… and here she is, a hundred and fifty years on still looking after her boys."
The brothers stood staring at the picture for the longest time; eventually it was Dean that broke the silence. Slapping Sam on the back he grinned, "well then Kimosabe, there's a nice research job to keep you busy while I'm out of action."
"What?" Sam's brow furrowed in confusion.
"You can look back an' see if you can find our Uncle Hiawatha."
Bobby shook his head with a smile, and walked back toward the kitchen, dragging the smiling angel with him.
"An' what are you gonna do while I'm huntin' out our family history?" asked Sam, folding his arms irritably across his chest.
Dean gripped his sore belly and settled down on the couch with a wince, pulling the blanket up over his knees.
Glancing up as his brother loomed over him he grinned; "I'm gonna wait for the coffee that Bobby's gonna make me ..."
He flicked the remote and the theme tune to Bonanza blared across the room.
"… an' then I'm gonna do my own research an go' back to my roots!"
To Brightshadow-Chi ... thank you for the idea, I hope you enjoyed the tale, my friend :)