The British Museum was crowded with a Saturday afternoon mixed crowd of tourists, families, and serious historians. Groups met in the marble rotunda, pockets of teenagers roving down the stairs to the restrooms, long line for the café snaking along the East wall. The gift shop was doing a brisk business selling scarves and silver pins, postcards and books. The heaviest traffic flowed into the east gallery, packed twelve deep around the Rosetta Stone, cell phones to their ears, listening to John Cleese narrate the tour's most popular stop. From there people tapered off, heading for the Sutton Hoo room or the Elgin marbles.
He walked through the crowds and people parted instinctively before his prowling steps, moving out of his way. As if he was wearing an invisibility cloak, no one noticed him – handsome, tall, curly brown hair, cerulean blue eyes, body of an underwear model clothed in jeans and a faded Queen t-shirt – their eyes sliding right past him as they jostled for a place to stop and look at the exhibits. Detouring, he stopped to gaze at the marble reliefs from a Greek temple, a smile on his face as he examined them; he reached out a hand and touched the cool stone, tracing the outline of a figure. No alarms went off, no guards raced forward, no response at all. With a chuckle, he continued on his errand, stepping through a door marked off limits and down a concrete set of stairs; no longer in the public area, the lustrous décor gave way to functionality. Small offices, hermetically sealed preservation rooms, and cataloguing stations filled the hall, but down stairs he went again, to the very bowels of one of the largest museums in the world, into an open space with tall metal shelves, crates and boxes stacked to the ceiling, row upon row of treasures stored away. He knew where he was going – he always did – and soon he turned down the right aisle, rolled a large metal ladder into place and climbed up to the wooden box in question. There was a time when he would have snapped his fingers and been done with it, but power was in scarce supply now, a rapidly dwindling amount shared among too many, and he had every intention of being surviving this new battle, for that's what it was regardless of what his lazy siblings thought.
Locks meant nothing to him; the box lid opened smoothly despite its age and, nestled in the protective packing straw, he saw his quarry. Slim and supple, the bow was well-preserved, the wood oiled and still intact; he wasn't surprised that the weapon of a goddess would look as new as the day it was made thousands of years later. What was unusual was dead feel to the weight of the short bow as he picked it up, no aura of power or echo of previous owners. With a muttered curse, he dropped the inert item back into the box and jumped down, temper flaring. Storming out of the Museum, he turned left and strode down the street, crossing Bloomsbury Square, scattering pigeons as he walked. He was too late. Someone had already been there and replaced Artemis' bow with a fake.
"I deserve a beer and a cheeseburger," Dean Winchester groused to his brother as they settled into a table near the bar. "Crawling through a spider-infested, rat-trap tunnel was so not on my list of things to do today."
"Better than getting fileted by the ghost of a jockey bent on revenge," Sam argued back, taking the plastic menus out of metal holder and handing one to Dean.
"Dude, I wish I had pictures of that little guy going after you. Munchkin vs. Goliath. Get a million hits on YouTube," Dean was grinning; in the end, they'd both gotten out with only minor scratches and a few bruises, and that was a happy ending to any case. Salt-n-burned bones, no major injuries. A win all around.
"You wouldn't know how to upload a video, Dean." It wasn't really an argument as much as the way the two brothers communicated, ribbing each other in the good times and the bad. "Porn is about all you can manage."
"Um, can I get you guys something to drink while you study the menu?" The waiter was in his early twenties, probably a grad student at the University of Kentucky just down the street. He must have caught Sam's last statement because he was trying hard not to laugh. "We've got a great selection on beers on tap."
"I'll have a Guinness Extra Stout." Dean ordered. "How's the Guido' Round?"
"Messy but good. If you want a burger, the classic O'Round is a ¼ pound of ground sirloin. Best in the Bluegrass."
"Let's do it. Medium rare." Dean dropped his menu and stared at Sam. "Well?"
"I'll have the Vegwich and a Black Lager." Leave it to Sam to walk into an Irish pub and order rabbit food. The waiter nodded at them and left to get their drinks.
"How about we take a vacation?" Dean settled back in his chair, draping an arm over the back and surveying the room. "We've done back-to-back cases for the last three months and we deserve some R & R. We can be in Cleveland by tomorrow morning. Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame."
"So, what's good? They got a cheeseburger?" Tony Stark pulled up an empty chair, flipped it around and straddled it; he grabbed a menu, waving in the general direction of the bar for the waiter after dropping his backpack on the floor.
"Just make yourself at home." Dean scooted his chair over to make room as the waiter returned with their beers.
"You have Glenmorangie? Bring the bottle and three glasses," Tony ordered. "And I'll have an O'Round, rare."
"So, how are my two favorite male model crash test dummies?" Tony toed the pack further under the table and took the bottle the waiter, who had obviously recognized the billionaire, brought quickly. "I saw the news of your handiwork this morning; desecrated graves and burned bones scream Winchester party time."
"And you just happened to walk into the bar we're sitting in?" Dean kind of liked Stark, in a strange sort of 'he's as annoying as Gabriel but might be useful' way. The fact that SHIELD, and it seemed the Avengers too, knew far too much about their lives still pissed Dean off, but Stark was more likely to use the information to annoy them.
"Let's see, cheap motel, black sexy muscle car, good burgers … not that difficult when you've got a supercomputer that taps into the street cams." Tony didn't sip, he took a good drink of his whiskey; Dean worked on his beer.
"Your need for greasy food is well known," Sam offered, grinning; Dean kicked him under the table, hard.
"Indeed," Tony laughed. "Love the food blog, BTW. Next time you're in New York, Donovan's. I'd like to see you tackle their cheeseburger. Speaking of which, when was Clint's last entry?"
Say what you will about Tony Stark, he could turn from joking to dead serious on a dime. Dean didn't have time to answer as the waiter brought their burgers, fries gleaming with hot oil straight from the fryer. Guess being a famous superhero meant better service. The young man sat their plates down – Tony rolled his eyes at Sam's vegetarian order – and then nervously looked at Tony.
"Excuse me, Mr. Stark, I'm sorry to bother you, but I'm a big fan of Dr. Banner's work on cosmic radiation wavelength variations. I know there are internships at Stark Industries … are any of those specifically working with Dr. Banner?" At the first work, Tony started to preen under the attention, but this his eyes widened and Dean didn't hide his smirk.
"Actually, I'm not in charge of internships – Pepper won't let me, something about lawsuits – but I can give you the right name to ask." Tony jotted down some info on a business card he whipped out of a pocket and handed it over.
"Thank you. Really." As if he realized what he was doing, the waiter blushed and started to stammer, then turned and went back to the bar.
"Okay, insert joke here and let's move on, shall we?" Tony stalled Dean's quip. "Clint. Heard from him?"
Digging his phone out of his pocket, Dean tried connecting to the internet. It took a couple of tries to get the page to load, what with his older phone and slow speed. "18 days ago. Sweet Pea's BBQ in Knoxville, Tennessee."
"Mac-n-cheese, right? Nothing since?" Tony pulled a Stark tablet out of his pack and it instantly booted up.
"Look, damn it, if something's up with Clint, just tell us." Dean didn't have time for Stark's shit; a cold knot was tightening in his gut. It's not that Clint didn't go AWOL for months at a time – the man was a secret agent type, after all – but Dean had been feeling that they were all living on borrowed time. Artemis' bow was still out there and Morgan was only temporarily defeated; the psycho bitch didn't seem like the type who'd let a defeat go unpunished if she could.
"Problem is, according to SHIELD, Clint's undercover and out of contact," Tony sliced his burger in half and picked it up to take a bite after he refilled his whiskey glass and poured shots for both Winchesters. Dean took his and slid his beer aside. "Not unusual for Fury's little club house to tell us nothing, true, and I do so enjoy crashing his party. Seems they don't even know if he made it to the location; he hasn't checked in since receiving the orders. Again, nothing to worry about; it's happened before."
"So what makes you think he's missing?" Sam asked.
"You remember Stephen Strange?" was Tony's response. Oh, yeah, Dean knew that guy; magic woo-woo stuff, Strange had helped them lock Morgan out of this universe back in D. C. The man creeped Dean out, knowing shit no one else did; plus, magic equals witches and Dean hated it. "Strange called and said Clint was in trouble, and you were the ones to talk to about it."
"Us? Why?" Dean wasn't enjoying his burger, which was a shame because the food was really good, but he picked at it, his whole body tense; he was ready to go right now, jump in the car and get on I-75 South. Knoxville was only a couple hours down the road.
Tony handed the tablet to Sam. "Four deaths in the last two months. Reeks of your kind of weirdness. Looks like they simply went to sleep, all peaceful like, but no traces of drugs or any history of illness." He clicked another tab and the M.E. reports filled the screen. "Nothing in common between the victims – a young mother, a middle-age deer hunter, a grandfather, and a seventeen-year-old drop out." More documents, more open tabs. Sam was impressed, his mouth slightly open; damn man got a boner for techie stuff, and he was practically drooling at Stark's computer. "Here's the fun part, kiddies. Their brains were shrunk to half the normal size, and there were tiny little puncture marks on the back of their necks, little needle marks." He pushed the tablet over to Sam who wasted no time picking it up, giving the side a little stroke, looking to see if Dean noticed. Dean just grinned at his brother.
"These are in Clinton, Tennessee, just north of Knoxville. Not a wraith with the multiple marks and the peaceful bodies; they usually only leave one, just behind the ear." Sam read quickly. "You think this is where Clint went?"
"He sent Natasha a quick text not long after he posted that image for Dean, and GPS puts him heading north on Highway 25W, which goes right through Clinton. It's a place to start."
"Okay, but why don't you or Carol or someone check it out? Why would Strange want us?" Dean had been wondering that. SHIELD and Stark had many more resources than the brothers did; finding Clint should be a snap with Tony's tech.
"Strange said it had something to do with the psycho bitch from D. C. and the world ending which is your bailiwick if I remember. Who knows, the man must have done a little too much LSD; he's always tripping when I talk to him." Tony shook his head as Sam started to pass the tablet back. "Nope. Keep it. Carol's been after me since D. C. to get you something reliable; this puppy's got all the bells and whistles plus some that haven't been released yet. Permanent satellite Wi-Fi, for one; should work even underground and I know the reception's great in the middle of the Atlantic. Completely unhackable, except by me, of course, and logarithms to get into almost any database as long as there's a net connection." He drew two phones out of his bag and tossed them on the table. "Starkphones 7.4. Pretty much the same. I programmed in direct lines for Clint and Carol and me, plus Agent … Phil Coulson. Gets five bars at the bottom of the ocean, so you should be okay."
"Tony, these are …" Sam started, turning the tablet over with a mixture of awe and reverence.
"You think we're stupid? It's a way to track us, Sam, know our every move. No thanks." Dean eyed the phone as if it was a snake that might bite him.
"Oh, Deano, you think I can't do that now? Would you like me to tell you exactly what kind of pie Clint bought in D. C. and just how much you enjoyed it?" Tony laughed. "Who do you think set up the secure line between the two of you for your little chats? Want a copy of the security camera video?"
"Damn it, Stark, you can kiss my ass. Come on, Sam, we don't need his shit," Dean pushed back, angry now, starting to stand and storm off. The man was getting personal; there appeared to be no such thing as privacy from Tony's prying eyes.
"Sit down, Dean," Sam ordered and Dean, surprised, sat back down. "You already knew people were tracking us. I'd rather have Clint and Carol at the other end of the information than SHIELD, and we both know Tony is no fan of the government types. We're keeping it." To prove his point, he pocketed the phone and moved the tablet out of Dean's reach. "Besides, I know all about the pie and the video. You keep forgetting to clear your browser history."
"My own brother," Dean huffed, but he picked up the phone. "We're getting in deeper and deeper, Sam. I don' like it."
"Dude, you already made that choice when you got deep in Clint … I mean in deep with Clint." Tony winked and finished off his burger in one last big bite.
"I knew he was going to be trouble," Dean grumbled for show, knowing he was going after Clint and he'd take whatever help he could get. The man had been nothing but a problem from the second he'd swung down from the rafters of a barn right in front of Dean – he'd wormed his way into Dean's life in a way very few people had done. And connections … emotional ones … were a weakness neither Clint nor Dean … nor any of them really … could afford.
"Every damn day, I say the exact same thing," Tony said, picking up his pack and dropping enough money on the table to cover the whole bill plus an outrageous tip. "He maybe a pain-in-the-ass …" he paused meaningfully and looked at Dean, "…but he's our pain and I'll damn well not let anything happen to him on my watch."
Ace's Sporting Goods store was deceptive; square red brick, the building's main entrance was a battered wooden door, tiny windows on either side too small to see much of the interior. The wooden floors were in need of refinishing, wide planks shifting and moving, creaking as he stepped down the two stairs to get inside and avoided the giant stuffed buffalo head and life sized black bear. Small hand lettered signs pointed to the left for guns, to the right for fishing and up to the second floor for archery. Taking the steps two at a time, Clint emerged in a large room crammed with racks and display cases, stopping to take it all in. Dark wood paneled walls made the space seem confining, and every section not covered by bows or row after row of arrows was plastered with awards and certificates, photos and medals. This place was Nirvana; he recognized all the top brands plus some special orders that he'd love to get his hands on, vintage first generation compound and recurves.
"Can I help you, son?" Wearing a John Deere cap and with his long salt-n-pepper ponytail, the man wore a plaid shirt that snapped up the front, tight to his thin body, old worn jeans, some cowboy boots that looked lived in and well-loved, and a belt buckle that proclaimed he was a Vietnam veteran. His beard was neat and trimmed and he looked Clint up and down with his green eyes.
"Yes, sir, you can. I need to spend as much money as I can before my soon-to-be ex-wife gets her hands on it; been putting off getting a good rig … bow, arrows, whole nine yards … so now is the time." Clint offered his hand to the man. "Name's Rick and I see you have some Hoyt TDs over there that look pretty damn good."
"Bill Oakes," the man's grip was firm and his eyes sparkled. "I've got TD 3s and 2s. What length?"
"Not the TD3, the adjustable tiller's shit. A TD 2B, 64 inch would do unless you've got something better. Needs to be left handed." Clint followed Bill over to the counter where he opened a case and took out one of the many bows, laying in front of Clint.
"Got a Bear Kodiak Special Edition if you just want to blow money, but if you want a good bow, the regular Bear Take Down's a work horse." He laid a few more out. "You sure about that 64 inch? Might not have a lefty at that size."
"I'll take a 62 if we can adjust the risers." Picking up one, Clint ran his hand over the curve, took an easy stance and drew it back, the light pull no challenge. When he eased the string back, Bill was looking at him.
"Well, if you've got the interest, just so happened to get a brand new model, not really supposed to sell it yet, but we could give it a look see." Smiling, the man headed to the back room. "New Hoyt."
"The GM? Hell, yeah. Bring it out. Got a range to test fire a few?"
Clint spent a very pleasant two hours not only trying out bows, but a couple very nice firearms before settling on his favorites. All too happy to help out, Bill turned out to be an inveterate gossip; the time was well spent learning the lay of the land, and all of the workers loved the story about the vindictive woman leaving him for supposed greener pastures. He was sure Bill would be telling the tale for a long time to come … the man who bought hunting gear to spite his wife.
The total … two bows, a dozen arrows, three different types of broadheads, quiver, arm guard, a Glock 17, and a Winchester 70 … brought grins to everyone's faces, and Clint played it up, handing over the gold American Express card he'd copied off an unsuspecting traveling business man eating at the truck stop out by the interstate. He watched as Bill popped the card in the silver holder, covered it with a form, sliding the black rectangle over it and back before handing the form to Clint to sign. Filling out the paperwork was a snap with the fake driver's license, and Clint walked out with his purchases, no one the wiser.
He'd had two days now to think through how to survive since he'd fallen through the rabbit hole and woken up to Michael Jackson's "Beat It" on the radio and acid washed jeans with Izod shirts wandering the streets. So much in 1983 worked to his advantage: no computerized background checks or credit card machines to automatically check for theft which gave Clint leeway to figure out what was going on. Thank God for Tony's paranoia and the emergency pockets filled with cash and other necessities; identity theft was easier, but Clint was glad to have the choice.
He doubted anyone had noticed he was missing yet. On his way to Cincinnati for a mission, he'd stopped to top off the tank and grab a cup of coffee at a little convenience store, but had never made it back to his black SHIELD issued sedan, the one with his gear in the trunk. All he could remember was the sense that someone was watching him and then, BOOM, glitter gloves and ripped up sweatshirts. First thing he'd done was hitch a ride into the little town of Clinton … the irony of the name didn't escape him … and find a used car lot where some cash had gone towards a 1974 Chevy Nova SS. Damn fine car if not in the best condition; Dean would be jealous and that lead to some interesting little fantasies that distracted him for a few minutes as the engine growled. He argued them down since someone had painted the muscle car a nasty puke green.
Along with his new car and weapons, Clint now knew that there had been three mysterious deaths that were right up the Winchester's alley … and might just provide an answer for his own predicament. At least it gave him something to do. Starting the engine, and revving it once until she protested with a rattle, he headed over to the police station to check in. There was SHIELD in the 1980s after all, and Clint thought if anyone would understand, they would. Maybe Tony too, but Stark had never mentioned any earlier meeting with Clint. Of course, he might have kept it secret … nah, not Tony. Damn. All this thinking about the rules of time travel was threatening to ruin Clint's good mood. So he revved the engine one more time, patted a hand on her dashboard, and peeled out of the parking lot.
"Hey, the view is nice," Dean said as they dumped their bags the Ridgeview Motel room. The décor left a lot to be desired, but it was the only motel actually in the small town; the rest were out by the interstate. Dean had wanted to stop at the Christmas Tree Inn in Caryville because Christmas Tree Inn, he'd argued, but Sam had vetoed it as too far away. Sam had been busy on his new tablet as Dean drove over Jellico Mountain, oohing and aahing until Dean had to smack him in the shoulder to shut him up about that damn computer and the Wi-Fi. Dean suspected Sam would be going on about it for days if not weeks; he'd gotten into the police files, pulling up docs that they normally would have had to lie and steal to get their hands on, reading through them all.
"The main detective on the case said she'd be working late, and we could come by after we meet with the M.E." Sam's fingers tapped on the tablet; he hadn't let the thing go for over two hours now. "We can split up and cover more ground." He tossed Dean a small compact mirror. "Don't forget the silver knife."
Like Dean would do that. Last time they'd run into a wraith, they'd been in a sanitarium and the bitch had almost gotten Sam and had left both of them delusional. Even though the reports on the victims didn't mention those going crazy or seeing things before they died, it never hurt to be prepared. Boy Scout Dean always prepared. Which reminded him, he needed to restock the wallet for when they found Clint. Despite his best efforts, Dean seemed to have little to willpower when it came to that man.
A short drive and they were at the county courthouse right near Main Street – yes, the town had a Main Street with an honest-to-god drugstore with a lunch counter! – and both the police and the coroner's office were in the same complex of buildings. Sam took the M.E. and Dean headed into find Detective Oakes, a middle-aged woman with soft curly brown hair, tortoise shell glasses, and a little bit too much weight around her middle. Her desk was cluttered with paperwork, an older model computer, and pictures of a golden retriever and a Siamese cat. She looked up as he approached and slid her brown eyes over his body, cocked an eyebrow and lifted the corner of one side of her mouth.
"Can I help you?" She seemed highly amused as she stood and offered Dean her hand.
"Agent Simmons, F.B.I. My partner, Agent Stanley, called you earlier; he headed over to talk to Dr. Hardin since we're getting a late start today. I wanted to ask you a few questions about the recent spate of deaths you're investigating." Dean knew the second he finished his spiel that she didn't buy it because she actually laughed out loud and squeezed his hand before she let it go.
"Nice one, Gene. But I was a big AC/DC fan when you were still a baby." She offered him a chair. "I was told to expect the Winchesters this evening and ordered to talk to them. You're Dean, by the description I got."
"Expected?" He asked, perplexed as he sat down, thrown off his stride.
"You have friends in high places it seems. The State Police Commissioner called my boss." She pulled open a file folder. "Doesn't really matter. I'll take all the help I can get on this case. It's personal to me."
"You know one of the vics?" Dean asked, leaning over to see the crime scene photos she laid out for him. Four bodies, looking for the world like they were sleeping peacefully, each in a different location.
"Small town, so, yeah. Angie Canady, just had her first baby last fall, goes to my zumba class. Murray Martin fell into drugs a couple years ago, was trying to get clean; I went to high school with his dad, Bernie. Robert Tomsic, pillar of the community, deacon at Second Baptist Church where I teach Sunday School. And Todd Anderson, works for my dad." She passed over each file as she named them. "But that's not why. 1983, six people died from the exact same wounds over the course of one summer. A mother, a middle aged man, a grandparent, a teenager, a little girl, and a cop. My brother was the teenager who was killed."
"I'm sorry," seemed the right thing to say. "Must be difficult to look at these."
"Trust me, I've poured over my brother's case file so many times, these look familiar. That's one of my problems. I need some fresh eyes to see what we missed. In '83, there killing simply stopped; the theory was always that the murderer moved on to somewhere else, but I don't buy it. Soon as the FBI's new database came online, I ran the particulars through to look for matches and got a series of hits, every four years, always six victims in small towns. But 1983 was the first set of deaths, and now it's happening again here."
Dean's brain was working on connections; they'd seen this before, monsters that came back to the same feeding grounds, even creatures who repeated at intervals of years at a time. Usually, that meant they had a connection to this place. 1983 must be important – like a rugaru who came of age or a vampire newly made, something had happened in this town in that year. He glanced up to see the detective watching him with suspicious eyes; she sensed he knew more than he was telling her. A woman driven by her brother's death, probably right into a job in law enforcement to find justice, might turn out to be a problem.
"I did find some other cases of deaths with decreased brain fluid and one puncture mark behind the ear, but there were signs of drug use in those cases." Marie turned and pulled up another screen; Dean didn't flinch when he saw Ketchum, Oklahoma. He already knew everything he needed to about that case. "That's why you're here, right? You think the same thing or something similar did both of these?"
"Thing? Don't you mean person?" That little word choice didn't slip past Dean; Marie was already jumping to the logical conclusion most people avoided. When you do away with the probable, what's left, no matter how improbable, must be the answer. Sherlock Holmes, Dean thought, that's who said it. In a world were monsters lived next door, most people didn't want to see the truth in front of them because, as a wizard-for-hire Dean had run into once liked to say, monsters aren't real. They can't be. If they are, people would have to spend their lives in a state of constant fear.
"I'm open to all possibilities." Marie leaned forward, a serious stare aimed right at Dean. "Heaven and Earth, Horatio, as Hamlet says."
"We've ruled out the same perpetrator," Dean leveled with her. "No delusions and insanity; the thing that killed the people in Glenwood Springs Psych Hospital liked to play with them first, feed on their fear – different brain chemistry. This is too peaceful and there are multiple marks. But I'd bet anything there's going to be two more who fit the pattern; we just have to figure out who."
"Before a little girl dies, yeah, I'm aware of that," the detective said as fatigue wiped across her face. She'd been working hard and it showed. "I just don't know where to start."
"Actually, I have an idea." Dean's words revived her; the possibility of a new lead to follow grabbed her interest. "Can you find out if a black Dodge Charger, 2013, government plates, has been found abandoned in the area in the last couple weeks?"
She tilted her head and gave him a quizzical look, but didn't ask the obvious question, instead picking up her phone and dialing an extension. "Harry? You still there? Anybody impounded a black Dodge Charger …. Yeah, government plates … with what? A bow and arrows? …. SHIELD ... Thanks, I'd appreciate it … where? … okay. No more than 15 if we do … Yeah, I'm on for carpool Tuesday and Thursday … Get your own, buddy." She made her goodbyes and hung up and sat quietly waiting for Dean to fill in the blanks.
"SHIELD Agent Barton was last heard from traveling on 25W." That was enough for Dean to offer.
"SHIELD? That explains the Commissioner's phone call. You could have just said so," she seemed miffed by Dean's lack of trust. "Mark out at the Git Go on Old Clinton Highway called it in twelve days ago. There was very little to go on, just a corporation name on the registration and insurance; it'll go up at auction if no one claims it. Along with the very expensive equipment inside the trunk."
"Ah, hell, that'll piss him off. You couldn't let me take it?" God, but Clint loved his bow and he'd rip a new one to anybody who messed with it.
"I was told full cooperation, whatever you need. Want to take a stroll back to the motor pool?" She rose and stretched. "I've been sitting here far too long. A drive out to the Git Go sounds like a plan; they installed video cameras last year after that string of robberies; just kids after drug money, but they did some serious property damage."
"1983. Marie is copying the files now. Meet me at the car and we'll put it all together." Dean carefully loaded the bow case into the back of the Impala, swinging in the black backpack with Clint's tablet and extra set of TAC gear. Man traveled light, almost as little as Dean and Sam. Came from being on the road all the time; Dean didn't need much, in truth, and having to pack and unpack all the time made paring down necessary. "Yes, I'm sure you can find them on your new girlfriend. You going to sleep with her on the first date?" Shutting the door, Dean laughed at Sam's response. "No, I've got a perfectly good phone. Why do I need a new one?"
The smallest of sounds, a tiny stir of air – Dean dropped the older flip phone from his ear and turned his head; the street lamp cast a bright spotlight on the parking lot, glinting off of the light bars of the patrol cars.
"Dean?" Sam was saying. "You still there?"
"Something's up. I'm going to …"
A flutter and a breeze, Dean blinked, and he was on his back, looking at the late afternoon sun. Gravel crunched and a pair of black boots stopped by his head; shielding his eyes, Dean squinted as someone leaned over him, blocking the light.
"Dean. Miss me that much?" Clint smiled and offered him a hand up.