Wow, last chapter! Where has the time gone? I couldn't wait any longer to post this. A final big thanks to everyone who took their time to read this. I can't imagine where I would be without your wonderful reviews!
I stared out into the blackness ahead of me—past the bright headlights of the Impala. There, in the empty void that I was driving further into, I saw an eerie, hopeless future. I should have known that nothing good ever came out of the night...out of the darkness. I suddenly became aware of Sam's soft snoring in the back seat while noticing Dean's eyes focused on my profile.
"You look like mom, " He said gently, a implication of reverence saddening his low voice. My face reddened due to the impulsive result of attention that I was given. A sharp pierce of pain ran through my bone but I did no more as wince. Dean watched as I rubbed the steering wheel with my thumb—agitated.
"You remember mom?" I finally gave in to his attempt at small talk with great uncertainty.
"Me and Sam," I rolled my eyes but didn't bother correcting his tainted grammar. "We saw her back in Kansas." Fury boiled within me as I forced myself to calmly pull the grumbling muscle car to the shoulder of the road to keep Sam from waking up.
"We made a deal that we'd never go back, Dean." I hissed, scowling so vehemently that a line formed in my forehead. "You and me. Don't you remember?"
"Sam wanted to go-"
"Don't blame Sam. He's too ignorant and stubborn to know any better. But you...I trusted you, Dean. And I thought you'd respect me enough to keep up your end of the deal."
"What did you expect me to do, Max? Dad had just died. He died because of me—He died for me." My brother seethed, his accusing eyes now burning into my helpless soul.
"I'm your sister, Dean. Stop trying to protect me from the truth."
"You can't handle the truth, Max! Every time I think I understand you you throw a bitch fit like you're reminding me that the person next to me isn't the person I knew ten years ago."
"But I am."
"No, you're not. You're some moonstruck, heartless bitch wearing my little sister's face."
"You know, in our line of work, that doesn't sound so off." Dean fumed at my sudden decline in damns given. "And you didn't have to go all Nicholson on me, Dean." My brother shot me a hard, icy stare but his facial expressions soften eventually.
"I know we said that we'd never go back to Lawrence, monkee," His voice was soothing now, as if he was trying to persuade both of us that what he was trying to say was for the better. "but I won't let you forget about mom." I nodded, easing my foot off the brake petal and continuing down the dark highway through Iowa.
The dawn was just breaking in a burst of warm colors with a deep tint of purple and blue when the Impala finally stopped in front of Bobby Singer's house. The old drunk stood on his rinky dink porch with a large bottle of booze in his hand.
"Starting the day off with a bang." I noted to myself as I geared the car to a stop, throwing my arm over the front seat to shake Sam's shoulder. "Dean let's go." I nudged my other brother with my toe.
"Five more minutes." He mumbled unintelligibly, his chin still sitting uncomfortably on his chest.
"Sam?" I looked back, hoping that I would have to carry the three thousand pound moose into the house. Sam didn't wake either. Instead, he settled even further into the leather seats. "Fine, whatever. I hope you two break your necks."
Bobby kept his aging eyes covered under his trucker hat. When I glanced over the old hat, I saw that his eyes were distant and doleful. What was up with everyone today? Too much angst. Too much testosterone. Wearily, I made my way up to the third door on the left. The small, doubled windowed bedroom was still welcoming after years and years of occasional visits. I fell into the full mattress, tucking my arms under my head over the pillow and settling into a short nap despite the sunlight that streamed through the windows. Even when I fell into a calm, resolute slumber, I heard heavy footsteps approach my bed and felt someone kiss my temple and brush my hair out of my face. It was something so surreal that I didn't bother contemplating if it were a dream or not.
I awoke to the feeling of intense heat. Propping myself up on my elbow, I kicked off a blanket that I don't remember putting over myself. My face was flushed and my steps were groggy as I stared at myself in the small mirror propped against the nightstand. There was a certain, unpleasant air that settled over the house. A feeling of supernatural involvement. Stumbling down the stairs and into the kitchen, my brothers stopped talking abruptly as I collapsed into a chair in front of Dean at the table. Their faces were reserved and made me think that something bad was going to take place.
"Here," Sam placed a packet of papers before me. "sign these."
"What is it?" I took Sam's serious face for a joke as I leafed absently through the papers clipped together.
"Annulment documents." Sam stated. "Cas already signed them."
"Wha-?" I sighed out an abrupt laugh, looking from the firm faces of my brothers to Bobby, who leaned silently against the fridge. "I thought Cas and I were on the same page now."
"Well, you're not. So sign the papers, Max." I glanced hesitantly at Dean, who nodded slightly in emotionless approval. Sam pointed to every space that I was supposed to scribble out my name or scrawl out my initials before stopping at the last page. I stared down at Castiel's immaculate signature written out in black ink. I caught my breath when I saw a smudge at the end—the size of a teardrop. Taking a deep chestful of musty air, I signed my name slowly at first before ending with messy, unattractive chicken scratch, throwing down the pen and letting out the oxygen I had held in.
"Good," Sam sniffed, gathering the heavy paperwork into his swanky leather folder, while sharing a knowing look with Dean. "I'm taking this to the courthouse." Then, Sam Winchester leaned over and placed a soft kiss on my cheek. "I'm doing this because I care about you, Mackie."
"I know, Sam." I forced a smile, squinting to block the swell of burning tears. "I know."
A part of me broke away entirely as Sam left Bobby's house. I turned back to glance at the glass of untouched whiskey in front of Dean, twisting the familiar sapphire ring off my finger. Dean watched my face keenly as I set the Celtic ring at the center of the table with a metallic clack, that shook the weak foundation on which my heart was built upon.
"Crowley showed up at Philly," Dean grunted, sitting up straighter in his chair, his hazel eyes still set wholly on me.
"Why doesn't that surprise me?" I scoffed.
"He wasn't lying, Max. Something big is coming and it's coming for us."
"What's coming, Dean?"
"That doesn't matter, Max. All that matters is that it's coming for me and Sam and not you."
"What are you trying to say?"
"I'm telling you get out of here, Max!" I jumped slightly as his voice rose. "Get out of here. Change your name. Ditch the Charger. Go to the suburbs and get that apple-pie life you've always dreamed of. Just don't come back."
"Where do you want me to go, Dean?"
"I don't care where you go, Max. Just don't let me watch you die again." I turned back to Bobby, hoping he'd reach out and support me but the old drunk just lowered his head.
"Are you serious, Dean?"
"What did Cas say about it?"
"Cas signed the papers." Without a word I walked up the creaky old stairs one last time and opened the third door on the left one last time. It had never been home. Even I had known that deep down. I knew where home was. But I knew I could never go there.
Bobby and Dean looked up to see me standing with all my belongings in a olive green surplus duffel that I had saved from my military service. My eyes inspected their unusually calm expressions. I smirked bitterly to myself when I realized that Sam had weaseled his way out of this goodbye. I emptied my pockets and placed Bobby's house keys and the keys to the Charger beside Cas' ring. Turning back to the only family I had left, I said,
"I'll see you two on the other side, then."
They didn't stop me. Hell, they didn't even say goodbye. I gently shut the back door as I stepped out into the sunlight, casting one last glimpse at the Impala and the Charger. As I trudged through the cool day I didn't grow tired. I didn't get tired because I knew that I'd have to save my strength to get where ever I was going.
A few truckers gave me rides to where ever they were going. Like I said, I had no idea where I was heading to. But the truckers were pretty swell folk if you ignored the smell and the empty beer bottles. God knows I was used to it. The old timers would tell me stores about when they were young and crazy. They'd tell me about their time in Vietnam or Grenada. I'd listen to the way they talked about their soldier buddies because I knew exactly what it meant to be close to brothers. I laughed when they laughed and I cried when they cried.
Middle-aged drivers would mostly talk about their families: ex-wife, kids, grandkids. Whatever crossed their fancy. I shut my mouth and listened—realizing how good I had it. I may have lost my parents and my half-brother but these men had lost everything. By the time we reached whatever company the trucker delivered to, I was sorry that I let their stories into my conscience. I knew that I would miss them.
The last fast-food eating trucker was sweet enough to let me off in a shopping complex beside the local bus station in Falls City, Nebraska.
"Here," He said with a toothy grin behind his dark stubble, tossing me a folded fifty dollar bill. "take care of yourself, pumpkin." I cringed inwardly when I heard the nickname Bobby had once called me.
"Thanks, Chuck," I smiled warmly, composing myself. "you too." Shutting the high door with a final thud, I didn't turn around to wave goodbye or to watch the large truck fade out into the sunset. That's just make me feel sadder than I already was.
After I had organized a complex bus route—that I was bound to forget—through my head, I walked into a small Chinese restaurant. Diamond paneled mirrors decorated either side of the wall and I glanced at my travel worn face before ordering a small meal. Setting my duffel beside me, I sat exhausted in a hard cushioned seat next to the wall. The wait wasn't very long, maybe a half hour or so. But what was I going to do? Might as well kill time, I figured.
I ate my meager portioned meal alone without a care in the whole world. That is, until I met a pair of brown eyes in the reflection of the mirror. He came over and sat in the seat opposite me, a surprised, pleased sign of happiness brightening his face.
"Didn't think I'd see you again." I shrugged in response, crushing my napkin in my my hand. "Where're your brothers?"
"I'm on my own now."
"Oh, where're you heading to?"
"Anywhere but here," I admitted, with a shy glance at his face. "I'm thinking Boston. The family business wasn't my brand of whiskey."
"You could come with me."
"Would you sleep better at night if I did?" He chuckled and nodded, watching me open the fortune cookie that came with my meal. A smile spread across my face as I folded the strip of paper after I had skimmed over it.
"You gonna read it out loud?"I looked up, grinning into his eyes.
"Naw, I think I'll keep this one for myself."
It had read:
The hard times will begin to fade.
Joy will take their place.
Part 2 is up! It's called The Family Winchester-Sins of a Father. It would have been ever so hard to find if I hadn't said :)
The Road So Far...