Hello everyone! I have been in Canada for about a month and a half and without Internet service :(, but I definitely continued working on this and I finished it! We crossed back over into the US last night and now I will start posting the remaining chapters. There is one more after this one, but I may break it in half because it's pretty long. Also, I have several sequels planned and may make this into a series. Anywho, sorry for the wait, I was living it up in the British Colombia wilderness lol Happy reading! You guys are awesome! P.S. anyone going to comic con? I've got four-day passes! PM me if you'll be there!
"You have twenty missed calls and five new messages…"
"Hey Dean. It's Bobby. Call me back."
"Dean, it's Bobby again. You were supposed to get to Buffalo last night, just curious bout' what you found. Call me when you get this, idgit."
"All right, I ain't a worrier, but you two sure give me a run for my money. Would ya just answer your damn phone, dumbass!"
"Not to sound like a jealous one night stand or anything, but I'm about five minutes from getting in my car and tracking you down myself."
"That's it! I'm getting on a plane. You idiots better not be dead, cause when I find you you're gonna wish you were! Damn it."
By the time I had called Bobby back, he'd already hotwired a car outside of the airport. He'd wasted little time chewing me out, describing his awful flight, and then chewing me out some more. After I told him where I was, he'd promptly shut up.
"Sam?" There was a hitch in his voice. A knowing.
I'd audibly swallowed, blinking away the burning in my eyes. The silence was a short one. "Aw, Dean…" his voice was softer, sadness mixed with disappointment. It struck me how he must be as tired as I am. "Sit tight. I'm coming."
And then he'd hung up. And I'd stood, phone to my ear, staring at Sam's lax, wan face. At the oxygen tube and IV lines. At the blinking machines and bright white sheets. At the stark bruises and hollowed cheeks. If I could have looked away I would have.
But we never look away.
It says too much.
It says things we don't mean. So we look. And that's the way it is.
Bobby gets here in fifteen minutes. I hear him pause in the doorway, his breathing labored as if he'd been running. There's a sigh, more like a puff of air, and I see the blue flash of his baseball cap reflecting in the shiny railing of the hospital cot. I've settled into the hard plastic chair next to my brother, scooted so close the tops of my knees knock against the bottom of the bed frame and I can rest my elbows next to his hand.
I don't look up as Bobby approaches. I don't want to miss anything. A blink, a breath…everything bad happens when I'm not paying enough attention. I'd left my post, and the wolves had eaten the herd, plundered the village, and burned it to the ground.
There's a hand on my shoulder and the scent of engine oil settles in my nose. It's comforting and familiar; a facet of the only place that provided us normalcy growing up.
"I take it things didn't go too smoothly." Bobby leaves his hand where it is, squeezing softly.
I shake me head and snort, but it sounds more like a sob. "Yeah," I murmur, licking the dryness from my cracked lips, "turns out Dad liked his booby traps more than we thought."
Bobby moves into my line of sight, as if realizing I am not going to willingly look away from Sam, and I perceive the confusion on his scrunched face. He's waiting.
He's waiting and I can't talk about this. I clench my jaw, blood and angry words ringing in my ears. My knuckles ache.
If you could die of self-contempt I'd be on the floor.
"Trip wire…shot gun mechanism."
Silence reigns one more, and I think about how much I can say by not saying anything at all. I think about all the days I sleep, eat, shower, shoot, maim, and kill without a single word. I think about all the things I didn't say, all the things I couldn't say, and all the things I say instead.
I think about how maybe…I ought to change.
Before it costs me everything.
"Trip wire?" Bobby's incredulous now, dark round eyes suspicious. He's known us practically our entire lives. He knows me. He knows when I'm hiding something, when something is eating me alive, or when I've done something so wrong I think I should be crucified.
Except this time I know he won't be able to talk me down. I'm not sure I want him to.
"Sam knows better than that. Hell, you both do." His gaze is searing holes into my forehead, "What did you do?"
Ah…and he's made the jump and stuck the landing.
I get as far as the stubble on his chin before I look away again. The knobs of my spin scrape against the backside of the chair and the blood crusted on my hands suddenly becomes extremely interesting. "Dean—"
I cut in, "I pushed him, okay? I pushed him into it."
We are staring at each other now. I'm a wreck and I see it in Bobby's face, in the way his ear tilts to the side. But he's trying to understand, he's trying not to interrupt. He may want me to talk, but I'm not sure what will happen once I do.
Will Sam wake up if I say things out loud?
Will I wake up?
It happened. And when I say it…it will be real.
"He started talking about…Dad." I start, voice hovering above a whisper. Bobby continues waiting. "I got mad. Just…so angry. I haven't really been dealing, and it all just kind of…exploded."
We look at Sam simultaneously. The pit in my stomach grows, its hunger seems insatiable. Bobby is quick. I know he has connected the dots already; I suspect he might have the moment he entered the room. "I said some really awful things, Bobby." I feel the quiver in the words, the tremble in my lip. I stare up at him, desperate, pleading, and lost at the same time. I'm not asking for anything, because god… I shouldn't be. But I think I'm asking anyway.
My fingertips touch Sam's wrist. His skin is flinchingly cold. "The way he looked at me, Bobby…" I shake my head, the memory plastered in front of my eyes. "I can't even...I don't even know…"
Bobby remains where he is for an unusual length of time, as if considering me, as if making sure he does it right. Finally, he moves to stand beside me once more. "Yes you do, Dean."
My head snaps towards him, eyebrows rising. The man only nods towards my little brother, shrugging one shoulder, "You've never not known when it comes to Sam."
It's the first thing anyone has said in a long time that makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.
"So…yes," and I'm still looking at him, and he's still looking at me, "You can, and you do."
I don't know what to say. I don't feel better; but that isn't his intention. At least…I don't think it is.
Bobby breaks away first, pulling up the second chair from the corner of the room and dropping heavily into it. I can't help watching the heart monitor across from me, catching the miniscule, offbeat wrongness about it. It's taunting and torturing.
Throwing a sheet over the equipment is probably frowned upon.
"Dean…you remember the night I chased your daddy outta the house?"
The topic only surprises me more than the influx of sound. He is staring intently at Sam, obviously remembering something. "Yeah…was my twenty first birthday. We hunted that black dog." My brief smile quickly melts away, " I woke up to you and Dad having it out in the kitchen. We didn't see you for years after that." I pause, almost expecting an interjection. When none comes, I add, "Dad never talked about it, and we knew better than to ask."
"And Sam? He never said nothin' about that night?" Bobby appears only a bit surprised. I see something else too…it looks a lot like regret.
Suddenly, I don't much like the direction he's pointing me, but I've no way to change course. "No," I reply, shaking my head, "Never."
Bobby sighs, "Didn't think so." He looks at me again, piercing and painstakingly serious, "Dean, John was a hero. He was the best hunter I've ever known and he loved you boys more than anything." Hearing Dad's name on Bobby's lips is akin to a razor blade tearing away a threadbare scab. "But…that doesn't mean he didn't have his flaws. He wasn't perfect, and he made mistakes. Not just as a man, but as a father. I ain't gonna preach about parenting, because I don't know jack squat about raising a kid, but…"
I'm practically at the edge of my seat when he trails off. "What, Bobby? What happened that night?"
The older man leans forward, his forearm tilting across Sam's leg, pupils tracking the rise and fall of the kid's chest. "You remember the hunt, right? Your daddy let ya take the lead and Sam was the look out?"
I nod, briefly recalling the excitement of being trusted, how proud Dad had looked, and how after I'd killed the beast he'd pulled me aside and even said so. It was one of the best nights of my life. "Yeah, Sam's gun had jammed though and the thing threw us round' a bit before I could get a shot off."
Bobby bobbed his head and I almost glimpse the story unraveling in his shadowed orbs. "John was pretty pissed. I didn't think anything of it, though it really wasn't Sam's fault. Kid didn't seem too upset, more annoyed than anything. I could tell something was wrong though...he was hurtin. I tried to talk to him later that night, but he kept insisting he was fine."
I'm having trouble matching up Bobby's words with my memories of that night. Up until their argument, I only have a happy picture of that day. Wouldn't I have noticed if Sam was injured? "And that was that. You went to bed, after stuffing yourself with the apple pie John had picked up," Bobby smiles softly and I grin sheepishly. His gaze darkens and he frowns, "I was just bout' to head up myself when I heard your dad start in on Sam again. Now, I'd heard him and John argue plenty of times before, but this one escalated pretty quickly and was less of an argument and more John unloading some unnecessary crap on your brother."
The lump in my throat is back. I know what is coming. "I debated whether or not to interrupt, but they knocked over some stuff and I'd be damned before I let the idjit break Karen's china." Bobby quiets, tone drifting, "But…then I heard Sam…." he trails off, shaking his head minutely. Nevertheless, he starts back in faster than I think, "By the time I got there, John had a hold of Sam's arm and the poor kid was practically writhing."
I feel like we've stopped breathing. The entire room has become a vacuous space of frozen time. "I grabbed the shotgun by the front door, pointed it at his chest, and told him he could either get off my property or eat buckshot."
Numbness bleeds across my lips and the skin on my face feels taut, stretched too tight over protruding bone. "Then I came in…and he told me take Sam and pack up the car, that we were leaving because we were no longer welcome."
We stare at my little brother, the man who I know everything and nothing about. We stare and we don't say anything. Then we stare at each other. "And I did."
Bobby swallows, and then swallows again. "Because he said so."
Silence. The heart monitor beeps, the clock on the wall ticks, and someone coughs outside in the hallway. "Because he said so," I echo. It's empty now…laughably meaningless.