AUTHOR'S NOTES - HIGHWAY TO HELL
I've been a big fan ofSupernatural since it started. I'm definitely Team Dean, but hey, the whole cast has some seriously awesome eye candy going on. I've been tossing around this storyline for a long time, and with 7 seasons down I'm a little hesitant to take it on now (especially when most of my inspiration is coming from Season 4!), it may be a BIG project. But I'm in the mood to write, and I have no other inspiration right now, so I'll write as I'm inspired and see how far I get.
To take you off on a little tangent... I'm also huge Sabewan (Obi-wan Kenobi & Sabe) fan from the Star Wars fanfic. Dean and Obi-wan strike me as similar in many ways. They're both bound by their duties, their sense of honour and their self-sacrifice. My favourite story with Sabewan wasFair Maiden, Shining Knight by Sweet Christabel (look it up here on FF). It's the story as I would have loved to have seen it told - it's perfect.
In this story, Sweet Christabel takes the handmaiden Sabe and writes from her perspective about the love that grew and was finally consummated by her and Obi-wan, following the six movies from start to finish, telling a story that paralleled the original. I couldn't have asked for a better writing of this. It was phenomenal - I can't watch the movies now, they just don't seem right, like half the story is missing!
It inspired me to follow on with my own take on Supernatural.I feel it's never fair to have to watch Dean battle every day to save a world, while everything he loves is ripped from him. And I love a little (consistent) romance, so I wanted to write in an OC just for Dean.
She takes the form of Elizabeth (Beth) O'Malley. Taken in by John at age 15 when her father (a minister, also a hunter) was murdered. She is raised by John like a daughter, learning their ways. But of course, feelings develop between her and Dean, and eventually are acted upon.
The first series picks up a few years after they admit their feelings for each other. Dean and Beth are a solid hunting team together, but there is something wrong with Beth, an injury from a previous job. And John is missing. They are vulnerable, and they need help. Help in the form of Sam, their 'little brother' who had left the family.
Updated: 10 January 2014
Tell them I was happy
And my heart is broken
All my scars are open
Tell them what I hoped would be
I remember years ago
Someone told me I should take
Caution when it comes to love
Tell them all I know now
Shout it from the roof tops
Write it on the sky line
All we had is gone now
WOMAN IN WHITE
Present Day – Halloween
There was a fine haze that hung in the bar, dancing with the cobwebs and spiders and other tacky Halloween decorations that were suspended from the ceiling. I stood in the corner of the little bar, a hood drawn over my features as I watched the three friends throwing back some drinks and having a laugh. I sipped casually at my drink, just a coke but could have been anything to the untrained eye. It was good to see them so happy, enjoying life.
I sighed slightly before turning to leave, melting into the crowd of party goers like a wraith into the fog. These people had no idea what was out there, they had no idea of the horrors that could exist in the dark. Sometimes I wished that I'd been allowed the privilege of this life too. But that life had been ripped from me a long time ago, against my wishes – it seemed a lifetime ago.
Stepping out into the warm night's air, I stopped a moment to take a breath. It was a little suffocating, humid and dank. I felt the rise of my diaphragm stretch, arms stretching up as I yawned. My eyes glanced up to the stars that hung suspended overhead, beautiful. While I would never truly feel comfortable in the darkness, I had at least made my peace with it.
A shadow moved just barely from its place behind a tree in the parking lot. I instantly tensed, ready for action, my hand moving casually to the small of my back where my gun was lodged in my waistband, the cool surface of the barrel pressed against my spine.
It didn't need to go further. The intruder stepped out into the light, a curious smile tugging at full lips. I sighed again, this time in resignation and crossed quickly to him. He moved me into the shadows as a group of students drunkenly stumbled past us, pushing me against the tree, the rough bark uncomfortable against my back, digging in through the light cotton shirt I wore. But his warm, hard body against mine, the way his mouth lingered over my own made up for it. I smiled.
"I told you not to go near him." He said huskily. I looked into those amazing hazel eyes. He wasn't mad, but he was concerned. I looked down at his shoulder, trying to form an answer.
"I just wanted to make sure he was okay. It's been a long time, he looks happy. Maybe we don't need to..." I stopped short as he shook his head.
"Beth..." He growled at me, an exasperated sigh parting his lips. He didn't move away, just looked at me, catching my eyes like a deer in the headlights.
"I wouldn't, if I thought we didn't need him. You think I like this any better than you do?" He asked.
"I know, I know." I sighed, my head fell forward resting on his chest, and we stayed like this for a few heartbeats.
"Fresh eyes." He said. I nodded, the hood had fallen back from my head revealing the rich, dark hair that fell in waves around my face. He seemed distracted at this, and reached out to twirl a couple of tendrils absently in his fingers. But I knew he was thinking about the job; about the friends inside the bar; about the way there were a couple of drunken men lingering over by the van parked a few cars away, assessing us. The way they'd looked at me hadn't gone unnoticed, and my companion was putting on a show for their benefit.
I lifted my head, eyes meeting his, letting him see how sorry I was that we had very little choice about our current situation.
"For Dad," I whispered, he smiled, reaching up to stroke a gentle finger along my cheek, then moved in to kiss me, gently first just a bare whisper against my lips, and then more urgent as this got the attention of the two men watching. I felt myself fall into the kiss, my hands trailing up along the sides of his body, pulling him against me as I slid my right leg in between his, catching the barest gasp from him and igniting a twinkle in his eye. The two men had a brief exchange and then stalked away, seemingly having decided to leave us alone.
"OK. So are they leaving?" He asked, glancing up with a nod toward the bar. "Or settling in for the night?"
"They looked pretty comfortable." I responded, looking in the same direction.
"Then we wait." He said. "Let's go back to the car." He said with a wink. He started to pull me away, the hunch of his shoulders was a give away for the resignation he was feeling in calling his brother back into "the family business". I fought off the feeling of despair and helplessness that was settling into my gut. As my hand dropped away from his he turned to face me.
"Dean..." I started. He looked at me questioningly.
"Nothing. I just wish things were different." I glanced down to hide all the emotion coming into my eyes; I wished a lot of things were different.
Dean sighed, and crossed the couple of feet back to me, pulling me tightly into his arms and resting his lips against my forehead. "I know." He whispered. "I know, me too." He kissed me gently on the temples, forcing a grin to his mouth.
"It's just a routine trip. Nothing to worry about. Sam will be back here soon enough, besides, you know how much we fight, he's a pain in the ass to have around!" I shook my head, forcing a grin to my face. I wanted to believe him. My gut told me otherwise.
Allowing Dean to pull me along by the hand, I followed him to the black Impala parked at the back of the parking lot between a van and some bushes. It had a hard time blending in with the rest of the world, but she was Dean's pride and joy, and I enjoyed seeing his eyes light up every time he came upon the '67 beauty. Too rarely do they light up these days I reflected sadly. Sliding in to the front seat next to Dean, I moved over to put my head against his shoulder, his arm slid around me and held me gently as we settled in for the next few hours.
Reality would be here before we knew it, when we would need to pick up the trail once more. For Sam, that reality had been something he'd been hiding from for a long time. I only hoped he was enjoying his evening out with friends, because it would all change soon enough.
3 hours later
Sam's Apartment Building
It was dark, past midnight, and I was starting to feel weary from the stakeout at the bar. I should have been able to get some sleep, but too many thoughts were going through my mind; even though I tried to meditate, pray, to push them from my consciousness, they lingered in the background, taunting me as I was left fingering my rosary, old and worn, a gift from my father. Dean thought it was silly and sentimental, a complete waste of time, but I took comfort in the worn wooden beads, capped either side with iron findings, slipping between my fingers. The prayers flowed silently through my mind. It calmed me; I think he knew that, which is why he mostly humoured me in my practice.
It was dark as I followed Dean to the apartment door, both of us slipping in unnoticed after he picked the lock. The only light in the apartment came from a single lamp and the full moon outside filtering through the windows. I allowed my eyes the time to adjust to the darkness, Dean was wandering around in the living room, not really hiding the fact that he was there, Sam would hear and be out in a moment, so I flopped into an armchair to wait for him.
We didn't have to wait long. Sam came stalking out of the shadows in the hallway, a bundle of tense energy, tall and athletic, muscles bunched as he made straight for Dean. He hadn't seen me, I let him pass. He grabbed Dean in a headlock, but it was easily broken by the other man, who was pushing Sam back, and swinging him further into the room, breaking into an attack with a front kick. Punches landed, and I flinched, wondering for a moment just how far Dean wanted to take this. There was a lot of anger simmering inside the older sibling.
Sam retaliated with a kick of his own, and Dean took the opportunity to block, bringing him in close so he could throw Sam to the ground. Sam breathed heavily, clutching at the hand at his throat before the light hit his assailant's face. "Dean?" He asked breathlessly as the face over him swam into vision. Dean laughed a hearty chuckle.
"You scared the crap out of me!" Sam growled.
"That's because you're out of practice." Dean taunted bringing a grunt of annoyance from Sam. I raised an eyebrow as Sam wrapped his legs around Dean, throwing him to the ground and pinning him under his weight to the sound of more chuckles.
"Or not." Dean laughed.
I chose this moment to step in, wrapping my arm around Sam's throat, getting him in a headlock he wasn't expecting. "Easy tiger!" I commanded, and Sam froze.
"Beth?!" He asked, turning to look at me. I laughed and stepped back with a slight bow. Sam smiled, and then looked back at Dean.
Dean grunted "Of course it's Beth, who the hell else would be with me?" He asked, shoving at Sam. "Get off me." Sam stood up helping him to his feet as they stood staring at each other in the darkened room.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Sam asked. Dean was straightening out Sam's shirt and playfully patted him on the arms.
"I was looking for a beer." Dean grinned, his laugh dying in his throat at the stoney look from Sam.
"What the hell, are you doing here?" Sam asked again, very serious, demanding answers.
"Okay, all right," Dean nodded. "We gotta talk." There was the barest hint of regret in Dean's eyes as he looked at Sam, but the younger man didn't see it, too blinded by his own anger and frustration directed entirely at us.
"Ahhh, the phone?" Sam looked at him with a slightly exasperated look.
"If we'd have called, would you have picked up?" I asked pointedly, Sam hadn't returned a phone call from either of us in over a year.
The lights flipped on before he could answer and the beautiful blonde girl from earlier was standing sleepily in the entrance to the living room.
"Sam?" She asked, looking at us all with a confused glance.
"Jess..." Sam said, choosing his words carefully.
"Dean, this is my girlfriend Jessica." Sam said. Dean was sizing her up; I raised my eyebrow with a grin toward Sam.
"Wait, your brother Dean?" Jess asked, stepping into the room. She was wearing a tight grey t-shirt with the Smurfs on it; it was cut seductively low accenting the curves of her breasts. Dean gestured with a grin, and stepped toward her.
"I love the Smurfs," he said flirtatiously. I stifled a smile and Sam looked at us both with a look of bewilderment.
"You know I gotta tell you, you are completely out of my brother's league." Dean smiled at her. She shifted uncomfortably at that comment, then catching my eyes her face relaxed into a smile.
"You must be Beth?" She said, stepping forward to give me a hug. "I feel like I know you, Sam has mentioned you a lot." She stepped back with a big smile.
"Has he now?" I asked, smiling in return.
"Only good things." She nodded. "But you should keep a better leash on Dean here, before his comments get him in to trouble."
She cast a wary eye in Dean's direction, who had moved to put an arm around me, his fingers circling lazily at my back, an amused smile on his face as he feigned innocence. Sam's eyes widened a little at this gesture of intimacy coming from his brother toward me, but he said nothing.
"Oh there isn't a leash on the planet that can keep Dean in check." I answered, looking at him as he did me. He pretended to be offended, and I punched him playfully in the arm.
"Now now, don't be like that, there is plenty of Dean to go around ladies." He looked at us both with a laugh. I shook my head, he was incorrigible.
"Uh huh," I said with a raised eyebrow. Dean winked and sent me an air kiss which had me smiling.
"Well anyway, I gotta borrow your boyfriend here to talk about some private family business, but uh, nice meetin' you!" Dean said to Jess, starting to push Sam toward an empty room.
Sam tensed, looking from me, to Jess and finally to Dean before moving away from us.
"No," Sam said. "No, whatever you want to say, you can say it in front of her." He placed an arm possessively around Jess' waist and pulled her against his tall frame. She was looking back and forth between Dean and Sam, curious as to what was going on, sensing the unspoken tension between the brothers as they both tried to get their points across.
Dean threw me a look that contained all the frustration he often felt toward our little brother. I shrugged and flopped down on the futon behind me, putting my feet up on the coffee table, my arms crossed over my chest. This hadn't been my idea.
Dean shrugged and turned toward the couple.
"Okay," he said, taking a breath. "Um, Dad hasn't been home in a few days."
Sam shrugged. "So he's working overtime on a Miller Time shift, he'll stumble back in sooner or later."
Dean looked down, nodding to himself. Then, back at Sam with more force.
"Dad's on a hunting trip. And he hasn't been home in a few days." He stated more seriously, letting those words sink in. A few days was actually a few weeks, but Dean was trying not to cause too much of a panic with regard to our wayward father.
Sam stared at Dean for a few heartbeats before his eyes flicked to me. The reality of the situation started to press upon him as I could see the effect of Dean's simple words combine with the fact that both of us were here. Both of us, looking for him.
"Jess excuse us." Sam said. "We have to go outside."
Sam was trailing us as we came down the stairs from the apartment muttering to us about all his responsibilities and how irresponsible we were being.
"I mean, you can't just break in, middle of the night, and expect me to hit the road with you." Sam said.
"You're not hearing us Sammy. Dad's missing. We need you to help us find him," I said. Our eyes met briefly before I rounded the landing and headed down the next flight of steps to the ground.
Sam didn't miss a breath. "Remember the poltergeist in Amherst? Or the devil's gate in Clifton, he was missing then too, he's always missing, and he's always fine." He was shrugging into a brown jacket to ward off the coolness of the night's air.
"Not for this long." Dean answered. "Are you going to come with us or not?"
"I'm not." Sam replied, pausing on the bottom step looking down at his brother.
"Why not?" Dean asked, genuinely confused. I smiled to myself, sometimes Dean just didn't get it, he was too caught up in the lifestyle to even contemplate why Sam didn't want to join us, didn't want to get roped back in.
"I swore I was done hunting, for good." Sam said.
"Come on, it wasn't easy, but it wasn't that bad." Dean said walking off. I stepped back, better to let them sort this without me getting in the middle. I reflected ruefully that I always seemed to be in the middle with Sam and Dean. When Sam had left us to go to college it had left an unspoken void. But it had also created a rift, one that I'd tried to bridge by keeping in touch with Sam while Dean seethed at the rejection of the family. The connection hadn't really been much however, as Sam was just as angry at the events surrounding him leaving as Dean was mad at him for going in the first place.
The latter was leading the way down a short foyer toward the front door to the apartment building; it was dark, strange shadows played on the walls from the street lamps outside, reflecting patterns from the wrought-iron wiring on the door's window.
"Oh yeah?" Sam was saying. "When I told Dad I was afraid of the thing in my closet, he gave me a .45" He stopped, sighing.
"What was he supposed to do?" Dean asked, turning to face Sam, looking up.
"I was nine years old." Sam said "He was supposed to say, 'Don't be afraid of the dark!'"
"Don't be afraid of the dark?! What are you kidding me, of course you should be afraid of the dark, you know what's out there!" Dean countered. I sighed. We all knew what was out there.
"Yeah I know, but still, the way we grew up after Mom was killed... and Dad's obsession to find the thing that killed her. But we still haven't found the damn thing. So we kill everything we can find!" Shadows fell across both their faces, accentuated by the wrought iron, causing strange, tattoo-like patterns on their handsome features.
"And save a lot of people doing it too." I said quietly, stepping closer to them. Sam stopped for a moment, looking at me, his eyes softening. He placed his hand on my shoulder, we all paused. I know all three of us were thinking back to the first time we'd met. I had been fifteen, the daughter of a minister, and a demon has possessed me. If it hadn't been for the boys' father, John Winchester, who knows where I'd be.
Sam barely remembered the event; he hadn't been highly involved in hunting then. My father had been an old friend of John's, and also a hunter; the demon that killed him thought it would be fun to do it in the meat suit of his own daughter. John had arrived too late to save my father, but they had saved me. They exorcised the demon, sent it back to Hell, but it was too late, my entire family was gone.
"You think Mom would have wanted this for us?" Sam asked. He looked at me. "You think your Mom would have wanted this for you?" I looked down. I didn't know what my mother would have wanted; she was dead, just like theirs.
Dean turned, slamming his hand hard against the gate, walking up the stairs to the Impala. Sam followed him, hurrying to keep pace.
"The weapons training, and melting the silver into bullets." The last comment directed at me, ammunitions had become my speciality, after scripture.
"Beth, we were raised like warriors!" Sam said, trying to get ahead of his brother but watching me too. I set my face to impassive, my loyalties were torn. These were my brothers, my friends, my saviours. I loved them both, I saw both sides of the argument, but I had a mission, I had a destiny that was bigger than what my mother would have wanted for me. A destiny that was forever changed the day that demon entered my body and drove a knife into my father.
"So what are you gonna do? You just gonna live some normal, apple pie life. Is that it?" Dean asked, turning to face Sam. His jaw was set with a stubborn look, I shook my head, we were beyond a normal life, Sam just didn't understand that.
"No, not normal, safe." Sam replied.
"That's why you ran away." Dean scoffed.
Sam's face was soft and open, none of the experiences which had jaded Dean's existence. He tried to get his brother to look at him, to understand.
"I was just going to college." He said softly. "It was Dad who said if I was going to go, I should stay gone." I shifted uncomfortably, recalling the argument, wanting to put it to the back of my mind.
"And that's what I'm doing." Sam finished.
"Yeah well Dad's in real trouble right now." I said, searching Sam's eyes. He didn't miss the reference, John was my father too, blood or not.
"If he's not dead already." Dean muttered.
"We can't do this alone," I said. Couldn't he see that? Couldn't he see that we wouldn't be here if we didn't need him, need his eyes, his logical sifting through information, his strength?
"Yes you can." Sam said. He looked at us both, frowning. I could see he was wondering what had happened to us that suddenly the two of us couldn't sort out this simple missing person case. Dean was looking at me, I opened my mouth to tell Sam why we needed him but Dean shook his head, not the time. Instead, he played a different card, one that he knew Sam would respond to, and one he held close to his chest.
"Yeah well, I don't want to." Dean admitted.
Sam sighed, looking down. He took a few heartbeats to think about what he was about to ask, and then looked up at me.
"What was he hunting?"
Dean opened the trunk of the Impala, then propped the spare tire section open with a shotgun. The arsenal that greeted us instead of an ordinary spare tire was a strange comfort, and Dean started rifling through all the contents. Weaponry of all sorts was attached to the black interior – guns, bows, knives, charms.
"Where the hell did I put that thing?" He muttered to himself. I reached out to grab the paperwork which was tucked behind a couple of boxes of ammo. He smiled and took it from me, rifling through it.
"So when Dad left, why didn't you go with him?" Sam asked, looking at us both.
I looked down guiltily at the ground, biting my lip. Dean saw this and threw me a brief look of sympathy.
"Beth and I were down in New Orleans working our own gig, this uh, voo doo thing. She was sick as a dog on the couch, thanks to copping a whack of lightning energy bolt thing from some witch doctor. Should have seen it, puking and gagging all over the..." I kicked him in the shin and he flinched. "Yeah, well, it wasn't nice, let me tell you sugarpie." He rubbed his shin and gave me an apologetic look. There was more to that story, but he left it unsaid.
Sam suppressed a smile. "Dad let you go on a hunting trip by yourselves?"
Dean looked up at him, a raised eyebrow. "I'm twenty-six dude!" I chuckled; Sam had been gone too long. Gone were the days where we all hunted as a family, that had been three years ago. John often took solo hunts now, sending Dean and myself off to take care of things together. Even still, it was disconcerting having him out of touch for so long, we rarely went a few weeks without touching base. Dean rifled through the stack of papers I'd handed him, standing up straight and looking at Sam.
"OK here we go. So Dad was checking out this two-lane black top just outside of Jericho, California. About a month ago, this guy went missing, they found his car but he had vanished, completely MIA."
He handed Sam a printout of an article from the Jericho Herald, headlined "Centennial Highway Disappearance" and dated Sept. 19th 2005; it had a man's picture, captioned "Andrew Carey MISSING". Sam read it and glanced up.
"So maybe he was kidnapped." He stated.
"Yeah, well," Dean said dismissively. "Here's another one in April," he threw down another printout from the Jericho Herald. "Another one in December '04, '03, '98, '92... 10 of them over the past 20 years." All punctuated with a sheet of paper, all from the Herald. He snatched the sheet of paper from Sam's hand, putting the stack of prints back in the folder. "All men, all same five mile stretch of road."
I pulled out a map and unfolded it. "It started happening more and more, so Dad went to go dig around. That was about three weeks ago. We haven't heard from him since, which is bad enough," I said.
"Then we get this voicemail yesterday," Dean continued, bringing out the portable tape recorder we'd used to capture the message from his phone. He flipped the play switch and we all listened.
John's voice came over the speaker, faint, and full of static. "Dean... something big is starting to happen... I think it's serious...I need to try... figure out... going on. It may... be very careful, Dean. We're all in danger." Dean pressed stop on the recorder.
"You know there's EVP on that?" Sam asked, looking at us both.
"Not bad Sammy, kind of like riding a bike isn't it?" Dean smiled. Sam shook his head.
"All right." Dean said, bringing the recorder up again. "I slowed the message down, ran it through a gold wave, took out the hiss, and this is what I got."
Dean pressed play again, I waited for the inevitable voice to come. We'd listened to it countless times in the last 24 hours, but it still made no sense to us. A woman's voice fades in. "I can never go home."
Dean pressed stop again.
"Never go home?" Sam said.
Dean dropped the recorder in with the weapons, pulling the shotgun out and shutting the trunk to lean on it. I placed a hand supportively on his shoulder, lightly squeezing it. Dean sighed.
"You know, in over two years I've never bothered you, never asked you for a thing," Dean said.
Sam sighed, looking away while he weighed up his options. Finally, he looked back at us.
"All right. I'll go. I'll help you find him." He was giving me a look like he wasn't quite sure why we couldn't handle it alone. I didn't want to admit that the last message from John had chilled me to my bones. I wasn't sure what it was about it, but it had a dark foreboding about it that I couldn't quite place. Like any time now our lives were going to change, and not necessarily for the better.
"But I have to get back first thing Monday. Just wait here," Sam said as he turned to go back into the apartment.
"What's first thing Monday?" I called out.
He turned back, a pensive look on his face. "I have this... I have an interview."
"What, a job interview?" Dean asked. "Skip it."
"It's a law school interview, and it's my whole future on a plate," Sam answered.
"Law school?" Dean smirked, raising an eyebrow at me. I was impressed, and let it show in my eyes to Sam. He smiled.
"So we got a deal or not?"
Dean said nothing, and Sam just shrugged and walked back into the house. He waited until Sam had gone before turning to me, a tired look in his eyes.
"Law school?" He scoffed.
I smiled again, putting my arms around his waist.
"I think it's good." I said, kissing him softly on the lips. He frowned, obviously not agreeing.
"Are you sure we need to drag him along with us?" I asked quietly.
"Yeah, you're not completely over this voo doo, flu doo, thing that witch doctor hit you with..." I started to protest but he covered my mouth with a finger. "Don't deny it; I see it in your eyes." I blew a hot, frustrated breath out of my mouth. But I didn't disagree.
"You're not leaving me here Dean." I gave him a cold hard stare and he shifted uncomfortably. "Dean…" I growled warningly.
"Yeah, okay, okay. You can come, but you're staying in the car!" He said and I grinned at him, sliding my hands down over his behind, cupping his buttocks and giving a little squeeze.
"Can't argue with that. We have so much … fun... in the car," I said suggestively with a wink. Dean chuckled, his hands sliding in around my hips to stroke his fingers under my top across my bare skin. He leaned in to kiss along my neck, softly sucking and nipping to draw a moan out of me.
"You have the worst timing sometimes," I groaned at him, throwing him a smile. Dean pulled back and grinned.
"I don't have any timing when it comes to you sugarpie, my timing is anytime I can…" I laughed and nodded, giving him a peck on the cheek before turning to slide into the back seat where I planned to ride out the trip to Jericho in complete and utter unconsciousness. Dean was right, I wasn't fully recovered, I was tired, and kept having dizzy spells, among other things. I felt a whole lot better now that Sam was coming along to back him up.
The next day
I woke up to the sounds of the Allman Brothers singing Ramblin' Man on the radio. A precursory glance around showed we were stopped at some backwater out of the way gas station getting supplies. I rolled down my window to get some fresh air, stretching a little as I looked around for Dean. Sam was in the passenger seat rifling through a box of cassettes.
"Morning Sam," I yawned.
"Hey, Beth, good morning. How'd you sleep?" He asked, smiling back at me.
"Like someone who just rode out the night in the back of an Impala..." I said, rubbing my neck where it had gone stiff from the position I'd fallen asleep in. I should have lain down before crashing, guess I was more tired than I thought.
"Hey," Dean called out to Sam, coming up to the back of the car. "You want breakfast?" He was waving a bunch of junk food around in his hands.
"No thanks." Sam answered. Dean passed me a muffin and coffee through the window. I shot him a grateful smile and he winked at me before leaning in to give me a quick kiss.
"Morning sleepy head," he said softly before heading around to the back of the car to finish the refuelling. Sam took this exchange in with another curious gaze. It would be an odd thing for him to see the exchanges between his "love 'em and leave 'em" brother and myself, who he regarded as a sister because we hadn't been openly in a relationship the last time we'd seen him. He opened his mouth to ask me a question, thought better about it and closed it again. Another time.
"So how'd you pay for that stuff? You and Dad still running credit card scams?" Sam asked instead.
"Yeah, well, hunting ain't exactly a pro ball career," Dean said, putting the nozzle back on the pump and wiping his hands on his jeans.
"Besides," he said. "All we do is apply. It's not our fault they send us the cards."
"Yeah? And what names did you write on the application this time?" Sam asked, swinging his legs back inside the car and closing the door.
Dean walked around to the driver's door, a thoughtful look on his face. "Uh... Burt Aframian..." He said, getting into the driver seat and putting his soda and chips down. "And his son Hector. Scored two cards out of the deal."
"That sounds about right," Sam said, tossing a tape back into the box with a look of contempt. "I swear, man, you've gotta update your cassette tape collection."
"Why?" Dean asked.
"Well for one, they're cassette tapes. And two," Sam holds up a tape. "Black Sabbath?" He grabbed another tape "Motorhead? Metallica?" Dean grabbed the Metallica tape off Sam protectively, looking at him with a warning glance.
"It's the greatest hits of mullet rock." Sam laughed.
"Well, house rules, Sammy," Dean said, dropping the tape back into the box. "Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole."
"What about me?" I asked from the back seat. He glanced in the rear view mirror at me with a grin.
"No backseat driving ya hear?" He laughed, starting the engine and tossing me a map. "You're navigation, like always."
"So you do want me to backseat drive then?" I teased with a smile. He raised an eyebrow at me, shaking his head and starting to pull the car out from the gas station.
"You know, Sammy is a chubby twelve-year old." Sam said, changing the subject. "It's Sam, okay?"
AC/DCs Back in Black started to play loudly over the speakers, I settled back in the seat nursing my coffee. It was going to be a long day listening to these two quarrel all the way to Jericho.
"Sorry, I can't hear you, the music's too loud!" Dean said, driving off down the blacktop.
Later that day
It was several hours later, I had a cellphone plastered to my ear as we rocketed past a sign. 7 miles to Jericho.
I finished up the phone call with a "Thank you." Dean's eyes met mine through the rearview mirror.
"All right. So there's no one matching Dad's description at the hospital or the morgue."
"That's something, I guess." Sam replied. Dean said nothing, just shot a glance at Sam out of the corner of his eye, and then looked back at the road. I sat up to get a better look at what had caught his eye.
Two police cars were parked at the suspension bridge we were approaching, several officers stood around talking into radios, or looking down the steep embankment that led to the river. Dean slowed the car, pulling over. All three of us paused for a moment before Dean, seeming to reach some kind of unspoken decision, turned the engine off.
Reaching across Sam, Dean opened the glove compartment where we kept our box of fake IDs. He started to sift through them; I couldn't see what he had decided on. But I did know that there would be ID for the two of us in there, nothing for Sam. Dean picked out an ID with a grin. I sat forward and ran my fingers through my medium length hair trying to straighten it out, waiting for him to hand me my badge. Dean absently reached out to tuck a stray lock behind my ear, his hazel eyes meeting mine with a cheeky look.
"Ohhh, no, no, no, no, no Dean. I can do some routine questioning!" I protested. Sam raised his eyebrow.
"Nope cherrypie, you promised to stay in the car." Dean quipped, "So that's where you're staying." He chucked me under the chin and then patted the back seat, turning to Sam. "Let's go."
I slumped back in my seat with a sigh, crossing my arms across my chest, letting my displeasure show clearly on my face. Dean shrugged unapologetically at me, and then turned to walk toward the gathered officers, Sam falling in behind. I strained to hear what was being said from the open window.
Sighing, I reached for my phone and called Dean, he stopped to take the call, looking back at me in the car.
"At least put me on speaker phone?" I asked.
He laughed, I saw him press a button and then slip his phone into his pocket, I heard the rustle of fabric against the mic and smiled. At least I'd be able to hear what was going on. I hated being in the dark.
A couple of officers were standing by an abandoned car talking. Dean and Sam walked straight in, just like John had taught us. No fear, we belong here. I heard the familiar sound of Dean's voice float back to me over the phone.
"You fellas had another one like this just last month, didn't you?" He asked.
The deputy looked up at this intrusion, straightening to talk to them. He looked them over before challenging "And who are you?"
Dean flashed his badge and stated "Federal marshals."
The officer raised his eyebrow. "You two are a little young for marshals, aren't you?" I heard him ask and stifled a grin. Dean took it in his stride with a laugh, glancing at Sam.
"Thanks, that's awfully kind of you." He said dismissively, not really answering the question outright. He sauntered past the Deputy to inspect the car. I found myself itching, wanting to get out and take a look at the scene laid out before me. It was no surprise Dean was being overprotective, but sometimes I just needed him to look past the young woman he had to protect and see the partner at his side. Most of the time he was good, until I got hurt.
"You did have another one just like this, correct?" Dean asked.
"Yeah, that's right. About a mile up the road. There's been others before that," was the reply.
"So, this victim, you knew him?" Sam this time, doing the questioning.
"Town like this, everybody knows everybody," I heard the response and wondered fleetingly what it was like to live in a town like that, having everyone in your business. I'd had it briefly, as a young child, before my mother had died. Then my father, a minister, had travelled around with me, doing his ministry, helping others. I didn't know it at the time, but the moving around was because of the hunter lifestyle he'd hidden from me, not his ministry. My Dad's speciality had been demons. Ironically, the very same thing that took him from my world.
"Any connection between the victims, besides that they're all men?" Dean was asking, I felt myself pulled out of my thoughts, and returned to the conversation.
"No, not so far as we can tell," came the response.
"So what's the theory?" Sam asked.
"Honestly, we don't know. Serial murder? Kidnapping ring?" I shook my head and chuckled.
"Well, that is exactly the kind of crack police work I'd expect out of you guys." Dean was giving him the attitude, I cringed. Sam obviously agreed with me because there was the sound of leather scraping leather as he stomped on Dean's food, hard.
"Thank you for your time." Sam said before starting to walk away, Dean following. I could imagine Sam was seething, shaking his head, lips tight and angry as he stormed ahead of Dean, headed back to the car. I watched for them but they were still out of range. Suddenly I heard another sound and Sam's voice coming across the cell phone.
"Ow! What was that for?" Sam asked, his voice full of venom.
"Why'd you have to step on my foot?" They weren't far from the car now and I sat up straighter, there were several mean heading across the bridge toward them, but the boys were caught up in their own conversation. I had no way to warn them.
"Why do you have to talk to the police like that?" Sam asked angrily. Dean looked at Sam, moving in front of him, forcing him to stop walking so he could look him in the eye.
"Come on. They don't really know what's going on. We're all alone on this. I mean, if we're going to find Dad we've got to get to the bottom of this thing ourselves."
Sam glanced up and I breathed a sigh of relief as he cleared his throat, looking over Dean's shoulder. Dean turned to look at the Sheriff now standing before him. The Sheriff was of small stature, broad shoulders, and a belly that had seen a few too many donuts on duty; he stared Dean and Sam down from behind dark shades, seemingly none too pleased to have yet more outsiders involved in his case.
"Can I help you boys?" He asked.
"No sir, we were just leaving." Dean replied. The other two men, dressed in black suits, white shirts and ties started to walk past Dean, they were obviously FBI. He nodded to them as they passed.
"Agent Mulder. Agent Scully." I shook my head in amusement, he was always the joker.
Without a word, the boys walked past the Sheriff and back to the car, the Sheriff was watching them from his place on the bridge and I scooted further back into the car so as not to draw attention to myself.
"So what now?" I asked as they settled back into the car.
"Now, we got a distraught girlfriend to find." Dean said, starting the car up, it was only a few miles to town.
The young girl before us was wearing a deep brown leather jacket, fringe hanging from the sleeves. Her dark brown hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail. She was reaching inside a messenger bag, pulling out flyers which were being taped to the theatre wall she was outside of. We watched this scene for a moment before I started to cross the road, leading the way.
Dean and I had argued about my "leaving the car", but I couldn't stand the waiting, and he knew it. I never liked to wait, or be put on the sidelines. He didn't push his luck.
I walked up to the girl; the boys were following me. I took deep, calm breaths – in through the nose, out through the mouth. I belonged here. Game face on.
"You must be Amy?" I asked as I reached her side. The girl looked me up and down before her eyes flicked to the boys behind me.
"Yeah." She responded, obviously not recognising us.
"Yeah, Troy told me about you. I'm his cousin, Beth. These are my brothers, Sam and Dean." The boys nodded at her, she turned and kept walking down the street, throwing a comment back at us.
"He never mentioned you to me."
"Well, that's Troy, I guess. We're not around much, we're up in Modesto." I replied with a shrug, trying to play the part of estranged family.
"So, we're looking for him too, and we're kinda asking around." Sam stepped in. A girl came up to Amy at this point, looking warily at us. I couldn't blame her, we were strangers in town, and locals tended to watch out after each other, especially during times of missing persons. She asked if Amy was ok. Amy nodded at her, a smile flicked at her friend.
"Would you mind if we ask you a couple of questions?" I asked, she looked at me and then nodded.
Sam and I were in a booth side by side, opposite us sat Amy and her friend Rachel, the girl from earlier. Dean looked bored, sitting in the booth behind Amy and Rachel; his legs stretched out in front of him, boots hanging off the end of the seat. I could tell he was far from it, alert from the set of his shoulders. He was listening, but also taking in the other diners, leaving the questioning to Sam and I. Amy was talking.
"I was on the phone with Troy. He was driving home. He said he would call me right back, and...He never did."
"He didn't say anything strange, or out of the ordinary?" Sam asked, giving her the puppy dog eyes that nearly always melted the heart of the girl receiving the look, and got her to spill her guts. It was something that I admired, I had my own compassionate way of getting people to talk, but it didn't really work on the girls the same way that Sam's handsome face and shy smile did.
"No. Nothing I can remember." Amy replied.
"I like your necklace." I said, pointing to the pendant she wore. It was a pentagram in a circle. She looked down at it, fingering it, and muttered.
"Troy gave it to me. Mostly to scare my parents with all that devil stuff," she laughed, looking up at us.
Sam laughed a little, looking down.
"Actually it means just the opposite," I interjected. "A pentagram is protection against evil. Really powerful. I mean, if you believe in that kind of thing." Dean looked across at me from behind the girls giving me an incredulous look like he didn't quite believe I'd just started talking occult with this young girl.
"Okay. Thank you, Unsolved Mysteries." He shook his head at me, and I shrugged as they turned to look back at him.
"Look, here's the deal ladies," Dean said from behind them. "The way Troy disappeared, something's not right. So if you've heard anything..."
Amy and Rachel looked each other at that comment; it didn't go unnoticed by the three of us.
"What is it?" Dean asked.
"Well it's just... I mean, with all these guys going missing, people talk," Rachel said.
"What do they talk about?" Sam and I said in unison, bringing their attention back to us.
"It's kind of this local legend. This one girl? She got murdered out on Centennial, like decades ago," I looked at Sam, he was watching Rachel intently, as if willing her to go on with nothing other than his eyes.
"Well, supposedly she's still out there," Rachel said, looking slightly uncomfortable and as if she expected us to not take her seriously. When Sam just nodded, she finished. "She hitchhikes, and whoever picks her up? Well, they disappear forever."
I looked at Sam, who met my eyes. Now it was getting interesting.
The lights of the library were practically non-existent. I sighed, plopping down into a chair next to Dean.
"Wouldn't kill them to open a few curtains, or turn on a bloody light. A little sunshine for Pete's sake," I muttered grumpily. I hated the dark.
Dean smiled at me, typing away at the computer in front of him. He kissed me quickly before turning back to the computer and I allowed myself a moment to lay my head on his shoulder, feeling his warmth enter me. I reminded myself to breathe, we were in a library, and it was a good day. Any day with Dean, safe, was a good day. We sat that way, comforted by each other's presence, for a few moments. Finally, breaking contact, I leaned forward to see what he'd put into the search box of the Jericho Herald. "Female Murder Hitchhiking". Dean hit enter, the little hourglass on the screen indicated it was searching for articles matching the query. It came back with 0 hits. Dean replaced the words with "Female Murder Centennial Highway", again, 0 results.
Sam was pacing behind us, watching everything from over Dean's shoulder.
"Let me try." He said, reaching over him, pushing me to the side a little. I allowed my chair to roll away and waited for the inevitable. Dean smacked Sam's hand.
"I got it." He said.
Sam shoved Dean's chair out of the way in the other direction, pulling up his own chair and taking a seat at the computer.
"Dude!" Dean exclaimed, punching Sam in the shoulder. "You're such a control freak."
Sam ignored him, taking over. "So angry spirits are born out of violent death, right?"
"Yeah," I answered.
"Well, maybe it's not murder," Sam said and replaced the word 'murder' in the search box with 'suicide' and hit enter.
There was one article, dated April 25, 1981 titled "Suicide on Centennial."
Sam started to summarise the article. "This was 1981. Constance Welch, twenty-four years old, jumps off Sylvania Bridge, drowns in the river." We all glanced at the picture of Constance with the article, a pretty brunette with deep brown eyes and a happy smile.
"Does it say why she did it?" Dean asked.
"Yeah," Sam replied. "An hour before they found her, she calls 911. Apparently her two little kids are in the bathtub. She leaves them alone for a minute, and when she comes back, they aren't breathing. Both die."
Dean raised his eyebrows; I clasped both my hands under my chin, straining to get another look at this woman who had so tragically lost her children.
Sam scrolled down to photos of a bridge and a man standing near it, his head resting in his hand.
"'Our babies were gone, and Constance just couldn't bear it,' said husband Joseph Welch." Sam finished. Dean inclined his head to the photograph.
"That bridge look familiar to you?" He asked us.
We both looked. It was the same bridge where Troy's car had been found.
It was dark. We walked along the bridge, stopping to lean on the railing and look down at the river. The full moon overhead lit up the water below us, shimmering as the current rolled over rocks below. It was a fair drop to the surface. Not necessarily a kill drop if you were lucky, but if you were to hit the rocks, or land closer to the embankment where it was shallow, well, then it would be a suicide drop.
I was starting to think too much about things like this. The life we led. Absently my mind started to wander, to think about a life without the hunting. Dean and I, just the two of us, having a romantic stroll over a bridge under the full moon, hand in hand, looking out over the beautiful water below... not having to think about the darker aspects of such a place. I shook my head to clear my thoughts, Dean glanced at me briefly, a look of concern flashing through those hazel eyes – he thought I was suffering from the Voodoo attack three weeks earlier. I managed a weak smile and shook my head at him, I was fine.
"So this is where Constance took the swan dive," Dean stated the obvious.
"You think Dad would have been here?" Sam asked looking at Dean.
"Well, he's chasing the same story and we're chasing him," Dean said with a shrug as he continued walking along the bridge while Sam and I followed him.
"Okay, so now what?" Sam asked, blowing a sharp, frustrated breath out.
"Now we keep digging until we find him. Might take a while," Dean said simply, striding ahead of us.
"Dean, I told you, I've gotta get back by Monday—" I threw Sam a smile in support, getting a smile back. Dean turned around and I thought I could see a little regret in his eyes. It was quickly masked, probably not even noticeable to someone who didn't know him so well. I sympathised with him, I was just beginning to like having Sam around again too.
"Monday. Right. The interview," Dean said, deadpan.
"Yeah." Sam said.
"Yeah, I forgot. You're really serious about this, aren't you? You think you're just going to become some lawyer? Marry your girl?" He threw me an apologetic look again; it seemed I was getting a lot of those these days. We'd never had this discussion. Leaving the life. We didn't know anything else, nor would we even know where to start if we had wanted to step into simple, civilian life.
"Maybe. Why not?" Sam asked, glancing at us both.
"Does Jessica know the truth about you? I mean, does she know about the things you've done?" Dean asked.
"No, and she's not ever going to know," Sam said quietly, a warning behind his words.
"Well, that's healthy. You can pretend all you want, Sammy. But sooner or later you're going to have to face up to who you really are." Dean stopped, turning around and walking again. Sam glanced at me, a look of frustration in those eyes then turned to follow Dean.
"And who's that Dean?" He asked.
"You're one of us," Dean replied simply.
Sam hurried to get ahead of Dean, intercepting him, making him stop walking by grabbing his arm.
"No. I'm not like you. This is not going to be my life," he said.
"You have a responsibility to—"
"To Dad? And his crusade?" Sam interrupted. "If it weren't for pictures I wouldn't even know what Mom looks like. And what difference would it make? Even if we do find the thing that killed her, Mom's gone. And she isn't coming back." I flinched as Dean grabbed Sam by the collar, shoving him roughly up against the railing of the bridge. I stepped forward, my hand going instinctively to Dean's arm, tempering him, willing him to calm down. He was holding Sam, breathing a little heavier than usual, staring his younger brother in the eyes, as he debated what to say next.
"Don't talk about her like that," he whispered forcefully before releasing Sam and walking away, shrugging off my hand, leaving Sam and I standing at the side of the bridge.
Something caught Dean's eye, I could see it in the way his demeanour changed, and he straightened, his breath catching. I looked beyond him and saw her. A lady in a tattered white dress, standing on the railing. I started forward, joining Dean's side in an instant.
"Sam." I said, getting the younger man's attention. Sam joined us, stepping a few feet ahead of us, trying to get a better look.
The woman looked over at us, her long dark hair blowing in the wind – only there was no wind, it was an eerie sight, and then, just like that she was gone, stepping forward off the edge. We all broke into a run, coming to the railing and looking over. I don't know what we expecting to find, it had all been so sudden, I don't think any of us had actually expected her to just show up like that.
"Where'd she go?" Dean asked.
"I don't know," I whispered.
Behind us, the Impala's engine suddenly roared to life, the headlights turning on to shine down the bridge at us.
"What the—" Dean started, confused.
"Who's driving your car?" Sam asked.
Dean pulled his keys out of his pocket and jingled them. We both glanced at them, curious. Then the Impala jerked toward us, roaring down the stretch of highway along the bridge.
"Guys? Go! Go!" Sam called out, pulling me with him as we started to run away from the car down the length of the bridge. I glanced back, the car was moving faster than we were, and there was only one option.
"Jump!" Dean yelled, pushing me toward the edge of the bridge.
In an instant we were all hurtling over the edge, I had a brief moment to panic, looking around for a handhold, something to grab on to, but there was nothing. I felt myself hurtling toward the water, and then someone grabbed my wrist, jerking me to a stop. I grabbed them with my other hand and hung on tightly. The car came to a screeching halt, and I was left dangling precariously from the edge of the bridge, held only by Sam.
"You okay?" He asked, starting to pull me up on to the large round structure. His muscles strained under the effort until I got my feet under me and helped. We clung to the edge of the bridge looking down into the water.
"Dean? Dean!" I yelled, panic in my voice. I searched the top of the water; he'd gone in, failing to grab a handhold on the bridge. "Dean!" I called out again.
A lone figure pulled himself out of the water, covered in mud.
"What?!" Came the reply from below. I sighed in relief, smiling at the sight of him, lying on his back at the edge of the water, chest heaving.
"Hey, are you all right?" Sam asked. Dean held up a hand in an A-OK sign.
"I'm super," he answered sarcastically.
Sam and I laughed, relieved to see him in high spirits. We scooted away from the edge of the bridge, climbing over the railing to inspect the car.
Dean rejoined us in a few moments; I had a towel from the car ready for him to wipe off some of the mud. He grimaced as he came up to me, shivering from the wet. I wrapped the towel around his shoulders, draping it over his head, and started to rub his hair with it. He protested only slightly, his hands moving to my hips to steady himself against me. I tutted my tongue at him and gently rubbed the mud from his face. He groaned, seeing that his hands had left muddy prints on my shirt, and flicked mud off his hands.
"Don't worry about it," I said quietly, searching out his eyes, needing to know if he was all right. I was checking him over with my hands as I wiped him down with the towel and he allowed me this little thing, breathing heavy and throwing his arms up in frustration.
"Well she doesn't want us digging around, that's for sure!" He growled. I stood up to look at him again.
Sam had opened the hood of the car and was looking at the engine. Dean stalked over to look himself, to reassure himself that his pride and joy was unharmed.
"Is it okay?" I asked, joining them.
"Yeah," Dean answered. "Whatever she did to it seems all right now. That Constance chick, what a bitch!" The last part was yelled back at the spot we'd had to jump over to get away from the car.
"So where's the job go from here genius?" Sam asked, looking at his mud covered brother, Dean slammed the hood of the car down, and they both settled against it. Dean threw his arms up in frustration, flicking more mud off his hands.
Sam sniffed, bringing attention to what I'd been trying to ignore. Dean threw a questioning look at me, and I shrugged.
"You smell like a toilet," Sam stated, deadpan. Dean looked down.
"Looks like Hector needs a bath," he grinned at me. I laughed and nodded, it was time to find a motel.
Dean was waiting in the car, still covered in mud. I'd insisted. I grabbed the MasterCard from his wallet and headed into the reception of the motel lobby, Sam hot on my heels. A night clerk was at the desk, reading through the ledger. I flicked the credit card down on top of it and smiled.
"One room please." I said lightly.
The clerk picked up the card and looked at it, glancing up at me, then at Sam. I shrugged, "Hubby's paying." I nodded as way of explanation for the masculine name on the card. I made a mental note that I really needed to get my own card, just in case. It had never really seemed to be such a big deal, I was always with Dean. But after tonight, I was seeing how quickly things could change.
"You guys having a reunion or something?" The clerk asked.
"What do you mean?" Sam asked from behind me.
"I had another guy, Burt Aframian. He came and bought out a room for the whole month."
I looked back at Sam, raising an eyebrow. A break. Finally.
It only took Sam a few seconds to pick the lock to John's room. The motel door swung open and he stood, stepping into the room. Dean was playing look out, but he seemed a bit distracted. I gave him a little shove into the room, and stepped into the darkness, flipping a light switch as I closed the door.
"Whoa." Sam breathed, taking in the layout of the room. My eyes adjusted to the light and I stopped to look around. Every wall was covered in some kind of paper, be it newspaper clippings, maps, pictures, or John's familiar writing scribbled on post it notes. There were books sitting on the desk and pieces of junk littered the floor and bed. I reached for the light by the bed and turned it on, there was a half-eaten burger just sitting there, I sniffed and grimaced.
Sam stepped over a line of salt and I noticed a thin layer of dust covering all the surfaces.
"I don't think he's been here for a couple days at least." Dean said, voicing my own opinion.
Sam had bent down to the line of salt and seemed deep in thought, running the salt through his fingers.
"Salt, catseye shells... he was worried. Trying to keep something from coming up." He stated. I crossed my arms over my chest, fighting back the feeling of foreboding that I'd had a few days earlier when we'd heard John's voice on the message. I walked over to look at the papers covering the wall.
"What have you got there?" Dean asked, coming up behind me, his hands coming to rest on my shoulders, kneading the muscles in my neck. I relaxed into him, allowing his body to support me as I looked at the clippings.
"Centennial Highway victims" I answered, glancing at the headlines.
We took a moment to look over the photos in the articles.
"I don't get it," Dean started, "I mean, different men, different jobs -"
Sam walked up behind us, Dean continued.
"-ages, ethnicities. There's always a connection right? What do these guys have in common?" He paused his hands, now just resting them on my shoulders.
Sam was looking at the papers taped to other walls. I glanced over, moving away from Dean to join him. My eye caught a piece about the Bell Witch, of two people being burned alive. A note simply stating Mortis Danse stuck to it. There was a column about Devils + Demons, more about Sirens, Witches, the possessed." A note in John's handwriting said Woman in White, it was stuck above a printout detailing Constance's suicide. Sam regarded this for a moment. He turned on the desk lamp, illuminating a sketch from an old book of a woman in a white dress, looking haggard, dark eyes staring at us as if looking into our very souls.
"Dad figured it out." He said finally. Dean turned to look at us both.
"He found the same article we did. Constance Welch. She's a woman in white." I answered.
Dean turned to appraise the photos of Constance's victims, a grin settling on his face. "You sly dogs." He muttered, turning back to us.
"All right, so if we're dealing with a woman in white, Dad would have found the corpse and destroyed it." He said. I looked at him, pondering.
"She might have another weakness." I said.
"Well, Dad would want to make sure." Dean said, crossing the room to Sam. "He'd dig her up. Does it say where she's buried?"
"No, not that I can tell. If I were Dad, though, I'd go ask her husband."
He tapped the picture of Joseph Welch pinned to the wall. The caption said he was thirty years old; the article dated to 1981, I did a quick calculation in my head. He would be 64 I thought ruefully.
"If he's still alive." I mused out loud. The boys turned to look at me.
"Only one way to find out," said Sam. I nodded.
"All right. Why don't you two, uh, see if you can find an address, I'm gonna get cleaned up." He said, heading for the bathroom door.
Sam turned to regard his brother. "Hey, Dean?" He called out. Dean stopped before the door, turning back.
"What I said earlier, about Mom and Dad, I'm sorry." He apologised, holding his arms slightly out from him. Dean held up a hand to him, glancing at me, then back at Sam.
"No chick-flick moments." He said. Sam laughed and nodded. I stifled a laugh.
"All right. Jerk." Sam retorted.
"Bitch." Dean smirked.
Sam laughed again as Dean disappeared into the bathroom.
"I dunno how you put up with him," he mused to me and I raised an eyebrow. The door to the bathroom opened briefly, Dean stuck his head out, already half undressed, his muddy chest bare. He caught my eye with grin.
"Catch!" He said, tossing something at me before closing the door again. I reacted instinctively, looking down at my hands. His muddy leather jacket. I turned it over in my hands, studying it, before looking up at Sam.
"Must be love," I quipped, before heading toward the bathroom myself. I'd need water from the sink, and a wash cloth.
Sam laughed, and then something caught his eye. I watched as his smile disappeared, and looked past him to what had caught his attention. A rosary hung from the room's only mirror - it was identical to mine. Stuck into the frame of the mirror was a familiar photo. I knew it without even having to look at it up close. It was of John, sitting on the hood of the Impala, a much younger Dean next to him wearing a baseball cap, Sam, just a young boy, maybe 7 or 8 sat on John's lap. Next to it was a more recent one, taken on my eighteenth birthday - it showed John standing behind me, arms around my shoulders in a hug, Dean was looking all thoughtful on one side of us and Sam was smiling on the other side. Sam took the photos off the mirror, holding them in his hands. I sighed softly as a look of sadness crossed his face, despite the smile. It was good to have Sam back, but I wondered what cost it was taking on the man who was just a few years younger than me. He reached out and handed me the rosary and photo of us all together.
"Why would he leave these?" He asked, I shrugged, taking a look at the rosary before slipping it into my pocket. I dismissed it from my mind and opened the bathroom door to a suggestive comment from Dean who was in the shower, washing away all trace of his late night swim in the river.
"Coming to help?" He asked, grinning at me from under a head full of shampoo. I shook my head, letting my eyes run the length of his body and licking my lips.
"You wish," I said with a smile, grabbing the washcloth from the sink and wetting it. Dean laughed and nodded, stepping back under the water to rinse off.
Sam was pacing in the motel room, holding his phone. With a sigh he sat down on the bed listening to a voicemail message. I was sitting on the bed, back to the headboard, wiping the remaining mud from Dean's jacket that I'd missed last night and drying it off with a towel. The sound of the shower had stopped a few minutes ago; Dean would be towelling off, refreshed and ready to go for the second time in twelve hours. My stomach rumbled and Sam turned to me with a chuckle while still listening to the voicemail message. I shrugged. I was hungry. Hurry up Dean.
Dean came out of the bathroom, clean again, and I tossed him the jacket without a word. He smiled at me in thanks. "See, there is a reason I keep you around!" He taunted. I raised an eyebrow but didn't respond.
"Hey guys, I'm starving, let's grab a little something to eat at that diner down the street." He said, coming to tower over me. I was relieved to hear of the food, and went to push myself up off the bed, stars suddenly coming into my eyes. I shook my head and slumped back into the pillows. Dean, suddenly concerned, knelt down next to me, looking into my eyes.
"What's wrong?" He asked, hands gently cradling my face, soft and tender – so unlike the shell he showed to the world. Sam turned to look, now also concerned.
"Nothing." I said, trying to sit up. He forced me back to the position I'd been in.
"Liar." He accused. "What's wrong? Headache? Fever?" He asked, holding his hand over my forehead. I shook my head weakly, but it only made the dizziness worse.
"Dizzy..." He said knowingly. I'd been like this since New Orleans. It was why he'd wanted to bring Sam along on this trip. It came and went, some kind of side effect from having taken the brunt of whatever Voodoo energy attack had been sent our way. He looked at me expectantly; I nodded weakly, a sigh coming from my lips.
"Dammit" Dean whispered.
"I'm just hungry." I offered, lamely. The look in his eyes told me he didn't buy it for a minute, but he knew better than to argue too much with me. He knew I was as stubborn as him, maybe more so, when it came to babying me.
"Just grab me some soup from the diner, maybe?" I asked, smiling at him, stroking a finger along his face. He paused, considering, and then nodded.
"You rest," he said, kissing my forehead before standing up.
Sam was staring at us, taking it all in, he wasn't used to seeing his brother this way, all hard on the outside but with a soft centre willing to nurture someone, least of all with me. When he'd left for college we'd been hot and cold with each other, angst-driven in one moment, hiding our secret little moments of affection and at each other's throats the next. As teenagers John had kept a short leash on all of us, and it had taken Dean and me a long time to get to a place where we were able to admit our feelings for each other, let alone act on them. It finally happened around the time Sam had walked out. A culmination of events had led to me finally being able to let Dean in, instead of pushing him away like I had been for years, and it had changed our lives forever.
Sam threw me a look that said he was waiting for an explanation, and I knew that I'd have to fill him in as soon as we were alone. Dean left the motel room with a quick glance back at me, I offered a little wave and smile, he nodded and closed the door. I closed my eyes for a moment, welcoming the darkness for a change, sighing.
Sam's ear was still plastered to his phone, listening to the message playing. Suddenly he looked at the phone, pressed a button and put it back to his ear.
"What?" He asked. I sat up, curious.
There was a silence as the person on the other end of the phone spoke briefly. My attention was drawn to the scene unfolding outside the front of the hotel room, catching a glimpse of Dean through the curtains, there were deputies approaching him. Sam stood up at the same time as I struggled to my feet, still talking on the phone.
"What about you?" He asked. It was then I noticed Dean was also on his phone, it was him talking to Sam.
Dean hung up at the same time as Sam, we both stood frozen in place, looking out the window at Dean as he shrugged at the officers. There was a brief exchange between them, they glanced up at the window and we stepped back into the shadows, Sam's hand on my arm, steadying me.
There was an officer headed our way. Sam was grabbing a couple of things, but my head was spinning, I couldn't concentrate, the dizziness coming back. Outside, I saw Dean being slammed over the hood of the cop car, the deputy was cuffing him. This brought me back into my body with a gasp.
"Time to go." Sam said, pulling me to the back of the room where he'd opened the other window. Without a backward glance, I crawled over the sill, jumping into the back alley. Sam followed and took my hand with a concerned look. I nodded that I was ok, and together we started running down the alley, away from Dean.
Sam and I were standing in front of a grimy old building, the paint was peeling from the door in front of us and I looked around at all the rusted junk in the yard. Scrap yards. Seems like we're always finding our way to places like this. Just once, I mused to myself, it'd be nice to end up in Beverley Hills or something nice. I shook my head, trying to clear my mind from the dizziness earlier. It had passed for now, but I was still feeling weary. Sam rapped a couple of times on the window and an older man appeared, looking at us through the chain link covering the window. I recognised the man as Joseph Welch from his photo. He was much older, but it was definitely him. He opened the door, peering out at us.
"Hi, are you Joseph Welch?" Sam asked as a formality.
"Yeah," the man confirmed.
"Mind if we take a walk? I just have a couple of questions I'd like to ask you." The man looked at us both, then shrugged and stepped out into the sun.
"What's this all about?" He asked, leading us out into the junk yard.
"Do you recognise this man?" Sam asked, holding up the photo from the motel room.
"We believe he might have called on you not long ago." I said, moving to stand next to Sam. Joseph took a moment to look at it, and then nodded slowly.
"Yeah, he was older, but that's him. He came by three or four days ago. Said he was a reporter." Joseph replied.
"That's right. We're working on a story together." Sam said.
"Well, I don't know what the hell kinda story you're working on. The questions he asked me?" He paused to shake his head, looking forward but still walking.
"About your wife Constance?" I asked without meeting a beat.
"He asked me where she was buried," Joseph said, looking at me.
"And where is that again?" Sam asked.
Joseph frowned, "What, I gotta go through this twice?" He was looking at us suspiciously, and I couldn't say that I blamed him.
"It's fact-checking." I said, resting a hand on his arm. "I hope you don't mind." Smiling up at him.
Joseph regarded me with a stony look and then sighed. "In a plot," he answered. "Behind my old place over on Breckenbridge."
"And why did you move?" Sam asked. We all slowed to a standstill.
"I'm not gonna live in the house where my children died." Joseph said, a sadness passing behind his eyes.
"Mr Welch," I ventured. "Did you ever remarry?"
"No way. Constance, she was the love of my life. Prettiest woman I ever known." Came the reply. Not pretty enough, I thought to myself ruefully.
"So you had a happy marriage?" I asked, looking him deep in the eyes. I saw a flash of something there, guilt perhaps. Joseph hesitated to answer my question. Maybe not so happy, I thought to myself.
"Definitely." Was the answer he gave. Liar. I glanced at Sam. He seemed lost in his own thoughts.
"Well that should do it. Thanks for your time." Sam said, turning back toward the Impala. I hesitated, staring at Sam's back retreating from where we'd been talking.
"Mr Welch, did you ever hear of a woman in white?" I asked on a hunch. The look on his face told me outright that he had no idea what I was talking about.
"A woman in white, or sometimes a weeping woman." I continued. "It's a ghost story, well really, it's more of a phenomenon really." I stopped. And just where was I going with this?
Joseph just looked at me, not comprehending the question. Sam started back to me at this new line of questioning.
"Um, they're spirits." Sam interjected. "They've been sighted for hundreds of years, dozens of places, in Hawaii, Mexico, lately Arizona, Indiana." He came back to stand in front of Joseph.
"All these are different women you must understand, but all share the same story." I continued, reflecting on stories. Joseph's eyes took on a guarded look, and he stepped back from us, his eyes going from Sam to me.
"I don't care much for nonsense." Joseph said, turning on his heel, walking away.
"See when they were alive, their husbands were unfaithful to them," Sam pushed. "These women, basically suffering from temporary insanity..."
"Murdered their children," I called out, finishing the sentence. This got his attention. He turned to face us; the shadows of the past seemed to flicker behind his eyes. I could see the regret, the torment sitting there.
"Once they realised what they had done, they took their own lives. So now their spirits are cursed, walking back roads, waterways. And if they find an unfaithful man, they kill him. And that man is never seen again." Sam finished.
"You think... you think that has something to do with Constance? You smartass!" Joseph growled at us.
"You tell us." I said softly.
Joseph looked at Sam, as if sizing him up, but we'd gotten to him.
"I mean, maybe...maybe I made some mistakes. But no matter what I did, Constance, she never would have killed her own children. Now, you get the hell out of here! And you don't come back!"
Joseph's face was shaking, lips quivering as he fought down emotion. He looked at Sam for a long moment and then stalked away. Sam turned to me with a sigh.
"That went well," I grinned. Sam's mouth turned slightly up in a half smile before looking up to survey our surroundings, the sun was starting to set, it would be night soon, and there was the issue of Dean to consider.
Sam and I were waiting out the day in another motel, the Impala parked behind the building where it couldn't be seen from the road. I was eating a sandwich I'd managed to convince the owner to make me for a fistful of dollars. I was famished. It seemed to do a lot for my mood, and I could feel that encroaching darkness get pushed back at bay for a moment.
"So, Beth... " Sam started carefully. "You and Dean?"
I raised an eyebrow, "Like you didn't expect that one Sammy," I laughed. Sam joined in with the laugh; it felt good to hear it echo in the room. I looked him in the eyes, my little brother of sorts, but more than that. Only a couple of years separated us in age, but I felt as if I was a decade older than this wide-eyed not-so-innocent boy in front of me. He'd gotten out early, going to college, and it seemed to have removed some of the jaded feelings Dean and I carried around.
"Well, yeah - you guys were always kind of hot and cold with each other, but Dad...he..."
"... would never approve." I finished for him. He nodded. His eyes said it all, John had taken me in as a daughter, he had been very clear about his group of horny teenagers not getting involved - he'd even made us promise one afternoon after he over-reacted to a completely innocent moment Dean and I had been having. I sighed.
"It was the night before my 21st, well, that's when we got serious - right before you left for Stanford," I said. Sam nodded. "After that we were in Kittanning, Pennsylvania to deal with a poltergeist, simple enough job. Dad left us at the house and went out to do some routine questioning." I paused, recalling the clear summer day, how the heat had hung suspended in the empty rooms of the house. I recounted that fateful day to Sam, speaking as if we were right there.
3 years ago
Dean and I had been fighting, again. I'd been furious with him over whatever it was he'd said, something about not being up for the job and too distracted by Sam being gone, and then he'd implied I was letting my emotions run away with me. I'd gone to punch him. He'd tripped me and I'd landed painfully on my back against the tiles underneath our feet. I lay there, starting up at him, winded and a pain shooting along my side.
I was hurt, but I wasn't going to let him know. I struggled to my feet, hurting, not just a blow to my body, but my pride too. I never thought Dean would hurt me, especially after the last four days we'd just spent together.
I glared at him as I got to my feet and he hesitated, reaching out for me. "Oh Beth..," he said, his eyes looking worried and apologetic. I just shook my head and stormed upstairs. Dean started to follow and as I reached the first landing I turned on him, holding my hand up.
"Just... don't, Dean. Just don't. Leave me alone." I said loudly and backed away running the rest of the way up to the second floor. Dean watched me, arms crossed as I walked along the open plan hallway at the top.
"Come on, Beth! I'm sorry; I didn't mean to hurt you." Dean called out to me and I stopped, looking down at him.
"You know, if you don't think I'm any good to do this job, maybe I should just leave. Maybe I should do a Sammy, and cut and run!" He flinched when I said it and I wanted to take it back immediately, but I was too upset, and I just started walking toward the back of the house.
Suddenly I felt myself lifted in the air, and winded, like someone had socked the air out of me. I gasped and it caught Dean's attention. His eyes panicked when he saw me lifted up and then I was hurled backwards toward the window at the end of the open hallway. I felt the sharp cuts as slivers of glass sliced through me. I fell so quickly, all I had time to realise was that something broke my fall and then I was on the ground, some twenty feet away.
I rolled to my side crying out in pain, and then I reached down to find a broken off piece of timber jammed into my left side. I held it, wanting to pull it out, but I couldn't do it.
Dean was at my side within minutes, his eyes full of distress and panic.
"Beth!" He said as he reached my side. "Oh, Beth... you're gonna be okay. You'll be okay." He said, looking me over. I tried to move but my shoulder was dislocated, I moaned into his side as he pulled me off the ground slightly, holding me in his arms, half laying half sitting in his lap, my head against his chest.
"Ahhh, god, Dean pull it out!" I groaned touching the piece of wood. He looked down and went pale.
"No, no leave it in. Just in case," he said, pulling a cloth out of his jacket pocket. He packed it around the wood, pressing it firmly to staunch the blood flow and I groaned.
Dean cradled my head against him, his hand lifting my chin up, his eyes only inches from mine. I tried to take in a deep breath only to have it turn to a coughing fit.
"Beth... Beth..." He whispered, his voice frighteningly panicked.
"I'm sorry..." I coughed, "I didn't mean it..."
"Stop, forget it, I'm an ass." Dean said to me, kissing me on the forehead.
"Dean..." I had sought out his eyes. I thought I was dying, and be damned if I was going to die without saying it to him, just once. "...I love you." I whispered softly. His eyes widened at this declaration, and I closed my eyes against the pain, against any possible rejection. I'd said it, I didn't care, and I was dying anyway.
"You're not dying." Dean said, as if reading my mind. I answered with another coughing fit.
"You can't," He continued. "You can't leave me." I opened my eyes and looked at him, tears in my eyes.
He grinned. "Who else is going to call me on all my bullshit?" He shrugged, but his eyes said it all. 'I love you too'.
He lay down beside me, taking me gingerly into his arms, forehead pressed against mine, our lips hovering over each other.
"Dad's on his way." Dean promised. I lay there, taking in his warmth, not entirely sure I wasn't dying, or maybe I had died and this was God's idea of Heaven. I don't know how long we lay there, it may have only been a matter of minutes, but it felt like a lifetime. I was fighting to stay conscious as Dean talked to me about whatever came to mind, trying to keep me positive as I shivered, freezing from the blood loss. I didn't want to move.
The quiet of the afternoon was interrupted by John's truck roaring up the driveway to the house. In that moment there was vulnerability in Dean's eyes as he looked in to mine. "Everyone I love leaves me," he said quietly.
"Not everyone." I whispered.
"Promise?" He asked, serious for the first time in a long while.
My thoughts came back to the present moment, sighing at how it seemed a lifetime ago. Sam had grimaced when I'd recounted what I'd said to Dean, my comment about him, but he was listening without saying a word, giving me the space to continue.
"I never saw it coming." I said, looking him in the eyes. "The poltergeist, just lifted me in the air, and this... presence... of pure evil washed over me. I hadn't felt that... well since, you know." I left it unspoken, but the implication was there. Since, the demon. Sam nodded his understanding, grasping my hand in his and giving it a squeeze. I sighed.
"It picked me up as if I were nothing more than a ragdoll, and threw me out the second storey window." Sam flinched, visualising me being thrown to my death.
"A garden shed broke my fall, or I might not even be here." I continued. "Dean watched it all; I'd been on the upstairs landing. He was following me and I'd screamed at him to leave me alone." I closed my eyes.
"Dad got back to find me twenty feet from the house, concussed, bleeding, couple of broken ribs, dislocated shoulder where I'd hit the shed, skewered by a wooden pole, or something. I could barely breathe. Dean wouldn't leave my side; I've never seen him so worried." I smiled, reliving the memory.
I had left the last bit out, it was such a vulnerable moment for us, and it didn't need to be voiced. Sam was looking thoughtful, taking in everything I'd said.
"Dad must have been freaked..." he said quietly.
"It was like something changed in him after that Sam. Something I had never seen in him. He'd always been so hard on us all, still is, with Dean; probably always will be. But something about you leaving, wanting a normal life, then seeing me like that. It hit him hard. He started to see the lives we'd all given up for hunting. One night he told me he felt that he'd failed my Dad, failed me, bringing me into this life with you all..."
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
3 years ago
It had been three weeks since the poltergeist, I was still sore but healing, we'd just finished up a hunt in Wisconsin for a water spirit, and afterwards John had hit the bottle hard. Years of regret and unspoken words lingered in the motel room we'd stayed in, and he was fighting his emotions around another issue too, one he didn't want to talk about. One night I'd woken up from a bad dream, it had just gone midnight. Dean, who had actually started the night out on the couch this evening - completely platonic as far as John was concerned, had moved in to bed beside me once John fell asleep. His arm was wrapped protectively around me as he slept, a serene look on his face that you only ever saw when he was unconscious.
I glanced over to our left, John's bed was empty. I sighed – it wasn't unusual for us to share a bed, brother and sister way, I always used to with Sam before he went to college, but to have Dean wrapped around me, that was new and John would know something was going on. I decided to get some fresh air, and look for John, to try and explain away the embrace he would have seen us in.
The Impala was parked outside the motel room, Dean and I had taken to driving it around more and more. John had his truck too, sometimes we travelled together, sometimes we went in separate cars to work the same job - depended how frustrated we were with each other at the time. I had a motorbike too, but I hadn't ridden it much lately, Dean found it too lonely in the Impala by himself now Sam was gone. I slipped outside and there he was, sitting on the trunk, a beer hanging loosely from his fingertips as he sat hunched over, a defeated slump to his shoulders. Even though I'd been quiet, he'd heard me; there was no sneaking up on John Winchester. He turned his head slightly to indicate he knew I was there and I shrugged into my jacket, pushing myself up on the trunk next to him, leaning comfortably against his side with a smile.
"I never wanted this life for them." He said quietly. I looked down at my hands, clasped in my lap.
"I know." I whispered, "They know that too."
"Do they?" He asked, staring up at the stars. "And you, what kind of life did your Dad want for you? Have I let him down, bringing you with us?"
I shook my head. "You did what had to be done. Lord knows it wasn't easy for you, you already had two boys... you didn't need a daughter to complicate the situation..."
He smiled, placing a hand on my knee, patting it a couple of times. "I always wanted a daughter." He smiled sadly. "So did Mary." I smiled back at him.
"Do you ever want something else? Like Sam?" He asked quietly, looking down at the ground again.
"No." I said, not even hesitating. He looked up, surprise behind his eyes. "My place is here with you, and Dean." I said simply. "I want no other life."
He paused, glancing back at the door to the motel room. He was thinking. I stared up at the stars taking in their sparkling splendour. A comfortable silence filled the night's air as we leaned against each other, giving the other support.
"You're a grown woman now Beth." He said, smiling. "I'm proud of you, of who you've become."
"Thanks." I smiled back at him. Such declarations were rare from John. Dean never got them.
"Dean..." This got my attention. I tried to hide it; but I knew it had been coming.
"He's not your brother, you know that right?" He said.
"I know..." I said, I wasn't a Winchester, I never would be. I sighed sadly.
"No..." John said, "No, I didn't mean it that way Beth." He said. I looked at him quizzically, not understanding what he was getting at. He blew out a breath and slid from the trunk of the car, standing to face me. He put the beer on the trunk and took my hands in his.
"You will always be my daughter Beth. Nothing will change that. But Dean... he's not your brother." I paused, taking this in. Was he serious?
"I'm not blind Beth. I see how you both feel about each other. I won't say I'm not concerned, but only because I don't want either of you to get hurt. When you were teenagers... well hormones take over. But now, I've seen you both grow with each other, and you've both done your best to live by my rules on it." He paused and I held my breath, not knowing what to say.
"You've both sacrificed a normal life to this world. The least I can do is not stand in the way of what little comfort you can find in each other." He finished. My jaw felt like it had hit the floor and he chuckled, those dimples forming in his cheeks as he looked at me, a sparkle in his eyes. I did have to wonder how much of this new attitude was based on his own new relationship - the one Dean was in denial about and we didn't discuss. I decided now wasn't the time to bring it up, I'd just had the best news I'd heard in years.
"Just don't go all mushy lovesick on me … the pair of you have to be able to do your jobs!" He warned. I nodded and grabbed him in a big hug, tears threatening to fall out of my eyes. I grimaced as my shoulder twinged at the action, but I wasn't letting him go.
"Thanks Dad." I kissed him on the cheek. He smiled at the name, I don't know when I'd started using it, but he'd never told me not to, the boys thought it was great, it made us a family, and that's exactly what we were. He helped me down from the car and we moved back into the motel room. Dean woke with a start as we entered.
"Huh? What?" He muttered, then his eyes widened as he caught sight of John standing by the side of the bed. "Dad!" He was clearly searching for an excuse to explain why he was in my bed, busted, and started to sit up only to have John push him back down on to the pillow.
"Go back to sleep Dean." John said simply, and then shrugging out of his jacket, John climbed into his own bed turning his back to us and covering himself with the blankets.
Dean was half sitting up still, looking back and forth to John and then me. He frowned, clearly unsure at what had just transpired. I dropped my own jacket to the floor with a thud, and slipped under the covers, wrapping my arms around Dean as I put my head on his chest, allowing his warmth to seep into me.
"Go back to sleep Dean." I echoed John's words, closing my eyes, sleep coming swiftly to claim me.
"What the hell..." Dean muttered to himself, but he relaxed, his arm coming around me to hold me close to him, his lips resting against the top of my head. It just felt right, how it always should have been.
"Wow." Sam said. "You never told me". I shrugged; I had no answer for that. I'd been happy for Sam when he left, I really had been - just not the circumstances, there'd been a massive fight that split us all into polarities - those of the family and extended family who supported Sam's decision - and those of us who didn't. There had been a sadness in knowing that our little family was broken because of it. It had taken a long time for me to reach out and contact him. He smiled a little apologetically at me; I knew he was probably feeling guilt over not having been there to help. I squeezed his hand to let him know I was all right.
"And New Orleans?" He asked.
I took a deep breath and blew it out slowly.
"New Orleans... we were following some report of zombies, if you can believe it. Didn't find anything, but did stumble across some bad Voodoo going on with a witch doctor. We got caught up in a confrontation and next thing I know I'm blinded by this light and an … energy...I don't know how else to explain it, hit me, knocking me to the ground.. Dean got me to the hospital, and I was sick, really sick, for days. It felt like I was being eaten up from the inside. Dean couldn't find anyone to help, they steered clear of us, so we just waited it out until he could get me in the car, then we started looking for Dad. I'm mostly over it, but I just get these moments of weakness, dizzy, like I'm going to pass out. I'm no good to Dean if I can't back him up Sam." The last sentence was frustrated and angry, my hands balled against my legs.
"Hey, hey, Beth, you'll figure it out. Likely it'll just pass as time does." Sam said comfortingly. I smiled.
"I hope you're right."
Outside the Motel
"You're sure about this?" Sam asked again, for the third time.
"Yeah, we've already lost too much daylight. I hate digging up graves in the dark, you know that." Sam chuckled, that was about the only time we did dig up graves: too many chances of being seen otherwise. But he wasn't going to argue with me, the sun was creeping down under the horizon as we talked. It would be dark soon enough anyway.
Sam nodded, giving me a long look, as if sizing up my ability to stay upright on the motorcycle I had 'commandeered' for the next couple of hours. I was suddenly overtaken by a whim, I just went with it. I grabbed his hands, and taking my rosary from around my neck, I wrapped it around his wrist. He looked at me in surprise, he'd never seen me without it. I shrugged, I couldn't say why, I just felt he should have it.
"I'm fine. Go, I'll be right behind you." I said to him with a nod.
Sam nodded again and then went to the Impala, sliding in to the front seat he sent me one final look before driving off toward the outskirts of town. I slid a helmet on over my head and started the bike up, the familiar hum of the engine settling between my thighs. I loved to ride, never seemed to get much of a chance when it was just Dean and I on the road – my own bike, a '74 Moto Guzzi V7 Eldorado was in a storage unit in Idaho, we'd last left it when we went to New Orleans, and I hadn't collected it yet. I eased out the throttle and got my balance, testing out the pick-up of the bike before zipping around the corner, looking for my destination.
He was already slinking out of the police station, phone up to one ear, talking to Sam I assumed.
"Fake 911 phone call? Sammy, I don't know, that's pretty illegal." I picked up him saying as I eased up next to him, removing the helmet to let my long hair fall down my back.
"Need a ride?" I raised my eyebrow at him. He gave me an approving look and grinned back.
"Yes ma'am." He answered with a smile. I threw him a helmet of his own and he deftly caught it one-handed, still on the phone.
"Well, that's what I'm trying to tell you. He's gone. Dad left Jericho." He said for both our benefits. I could almost hear Sam's questions over the phone.
"I've got his journal." Dean replied, tapping his chest where something bulged under his jacket.
"He doesn't go anywhere without that thing." I said, frowning.
"Yeah, well, he did this time." Dean replied to me. I frowned, he'd left the photos, the rosary, the journal... what was going on?
"What's it say?" I heard Sam's voice over the phone asking the same thing as me.
"Ah, the same old ex-Marine crap, when he wants to let us know where he's going." Dean replied. Co-ordinates. I sighed.
"I don't know where to yet." Dean said to the unspoken conclusion. I started to voice my next question when Dean's facial expression changed.
"Sam? Sam!" He called into the phone. Nothing. Something was wrong. We pulled our helmets on simultaneously, as Dean swung his leg over the bike to sit behind me. His hands relieved me of the shotgun at my back, before holding on to my waist. I kicked the bike into gear and without a spoken word we were on our way to Sam.
I knew where to go, I'd looked at the maps, knew this was where Sam had been headed. The Breckenridge Road Farm where Constance Welch was buried. It only took us a few minutes to get there, I'd been speeding, but no one was going to catch us.
It was dark but the lights from the Impala led us to Sam. We ditched the bike away from the car, hoping to get the drop on whatever was going on. Dean tossed me the shotgun, and then started to sneak up on the car, going for the trunk and the other weapons.
There was a struggle going on in the front of the car. Sam was talking to someone we couldn't see. Suddenly I heard Sam yell out in pain and I ran the remaining steps to the car. I could see her now, a ghostly flicker on top of Sam. He swiped at her with the hand I'd tied my rosary around, she flickered at the unwelcome touch of iron against her incorporeal form. It gave me a moment to get to Sam and when she reappeared I took aim, not hesitating, and fired. The window shattered and Constance let out a ghastly scream before vanishing. She reappeared near me, outside of the car and I adjusted my aim and fired again, and again, until she disappeared.
Sam was struggling to sit up in the car, he'd ripped his hoodie open and there were red welts forming across his chest. Dean was digging in the car for his own shotgun when we both heard Sam mutter, "I'm taking you home!"
What? The look on Dean's face was priceless as suddenly the Impala lurched forward, smashing through the side of the house. He took a moment to process what had just happened, and then I remembered, Sam was in the car! We took off at a run into the house.
"Sam? Sam? You okay?" Dean was calling out to his brother while I surveyed our surroundings, the shotgun resting comfortably at my shoulder, ready to be fired should it be needed. Sam was struggling to get out of the car.
"Can you move?" Dean was asking.
"Yeah," Sam replied. "Can you help me?"
Dean leaned through the window of the car, grabbing Sam's hand and pulling him toward the door. I turned, white catching my eye. Constance was standing nearby, but her attention was on a broken picture frame on the floor. She picked it up, then spotting Dean and Sam she threw it down, stalking after them. I felt something slam into me; the force of the attack caused the shotgun to go sliding across the floor away from me. I was pinned to the wall behind me by a table. Dean and Sam were in a similar position, a bureau having pinned them to the car.
The lights flickered to life; Constance looked scared at this, and glanced around. Water began pouring down the staircase, it caught her attention and she walked over to where it was starting to flow into the room. At the top of the stairs were a little boy and girl, they joined hands and spoke in unison.
"You've come home to us Mommy."
Constance looked distraught, and started to move away, but they reappeared behind her, wrapping their arms around her as she screamed, her white light flickering as they held her. A pulse of energy surged through the room, causing the hair on my arms to stand up as I watched the three of them melt into a puddle before my very eyes. The items pinning us suddenly eased, and I pushed the table away so I could join the others.
"So this is where she drowned the kids." Dean said.
"That's why she could never go home. She was too scared to face them." Sam said, nodding.
"You found her weak spot. Nice work, Sammy." I laughed, and Dean patted him on the chest where he'd been injured. Sam laughed through the pain and raised an eyebrow at me.
"Yeah, I wish I could say the same for Beth. What were you thinking shooting Casper in the face, you freak?"
"Hey!" I chided playfully. "Saved your arse." Then I winked. Dean was busy looking over his car.
"I'll tell you one thing. If you screwed up my car?" Dean turned to look at Sam. "I'll kill you."
Sam laughed. The look Dean gave me said we were clearly going to be having words over shooting out his window. I shrugged, throwing him an apologetic look, it wasn't as if it was the first time that had happened.
A lonely highway
I was in the back of the Impala again, lying on the back seat, eyes closed and listening to the music. I had Dean's jacket draped over me and for the moment I felt calm, content even.
"OK. So the coordinates point to Blackwater Ridge, Colorado." Sam informed us.
I opened my eyes long enough to see Dean nod.
"Sounds charming, how far?" He said.
"About 600 miles." Sam replied.
"Hey, if we shag ass, we could make it by morning." Dean was smiling at Sam.
Sam glanced at his brother, a hesitant look on his face. I closed my eyes again, the calm was about to be shattered.
"Dean, um, I..." Sam stuttered to get the words out. The words that would take him away from us again.
"You're not going." Dean said quietly.
"The interview's in like 10 hours. I gotta be there." Sam replied
I glanced up at Dean again, he nodded, clearly disappointed.
"Yeah. Yeah, whatever." He glanced at Sam again. "I'll take you home."
I sighed sadly, my heart was breaking for Dean, someone had to feel it for him, Lord knows he wouldn't allow himself to feel it.
A handful of hours later we were in front of Sam's apartment building. I got out with Sam, pulling him into a big hug, hesitant to let him go. He squeezed me before releasing me and holding the door for me to slide into the seat he'd just vacated. Closing the door behind me, he leaned in the open window, his forearms resting on the window ledge.
"Call me if you find him?" He asked Dean.
Dean nodded, silent.
"And maybe I can meet up with you later, huh?" Sam offered, trying to keep things light, and to renew that friendship that had been strained for a while.
"Yeah, all right." Dean replied, his voice doubtful. Sam patted the door twice, giving me a quick kiss on the cheek.
"Take care of him Beth," he said to me.
I smiled over at Dean who rolled his eyes, "Oh I will. Stay safe Sam." Sam turned to go and Dean leaned across me to the window.
"Hey Sam?" He called out. Sam turned to look back at us.
"You know, we made a hell of a team back there." Dean said.
Sam smiled sadly. "Yeah, we did."
We were half way around the block when I realised I'd forgotten it. My rosary.
"Dean! We have to go back!" He looked at me confused. "My rosary, I loaned it to Sam, and I forgot it."
"Jesus Beth, what is it with you and that damn thing?" Dean growled, but he was teasing, he knew it had been a gift from my father, I just hadn't realised how important it was at the time.
Dean pulled the car around, circling the block to where we'd come from. We were coming up on the apartment when we both saw it. Fire!
"What the...?" Dean's question died on his lips. It was Sam's apartment! In an instant we were both out of the car, racing toward the apartment. Dean got ahead of me and I watched as he deftly kicked the door in only to recoil at the heat spilling out of the building.
"Sam! Sam!" Dean ran into the building.
"Dean no!" I called out, clutching at the door frame.
"Sam!" I heard Dean calling out as he stumbled into the burning building. In just seconds, but what seemed an age, I could see them; Dean was pulling Sam out of the bedroom. Sam was struggling all the way. He was screaming for Jess, and I realised that the girl had been in the inferno. I grabbed Sam by the arm as they reached the door, all of us stumbling out into the night's air. Sirens already pierced the quiet of the evening as they raced toward us.
"Jess..." Sam was mumbling to himself, I had my arms wrapped around him, holding him close so he couldn't run back into the building.
An hour later I was sitting on the pavement by the Impala, picking at the grass beside me. Dean was watching the busy scene behind us of fire trucks, firemen, police and a handful of spectators wanting to see what was going on. As he turned back I followed his gaze to where Sam was standing behind the open trunk, he was loading a shotgun. There was a resolute look in his eyes that chilled me. I'd seen it before, in Kittanning when John and Dean had gone back into the house to finish off the poltergeist that had nearly killed me.
Unlike Dean who had known I was going to be all right, Sam knew Jess was dead, his eyes held a quiet seething anger, tempered only by the sense of desperation I felt coming from him.
Sam looked up at us, sighing. Then, as if reaching a decision, he nodded and tossed the shotgun back in the trunk, slamming the door down with a thump.
"We got work to do." He declared.
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy Beth, I think she's going to be an interesting addition to the Winchester dynamic :) Please leave me a review and let me know what you think.
The song for this chapter is Impossible by James Arthur. Poor Sammy :(
MORE ABOUT THE DEAN & BETH SERIES
Obviously this story means I'm going to have to change a bit of the Canon storyline. Clearly Lisa and Dean are not going to develop as much, though she is in there - some of the story with her will be replaced with Beth. And Anna... well, I never liked her anyway, so she doesn't get to do the deed with Dean ;) Dean is still a bit of a flirt, I'm not taking that from him, but it's a more harmless flirtation with women, it's his nature, but he's loyal to Beth, he loves her. Beth understands that and accepts him for who he is.
So I hope you enjoy it. I'm mostly writing this for me, but reviews are most welcome, especially if you're liking the story - I'm more inclined to keep going if I know people are enjoying it!
This is Beth's story.
P.S. I might not get through all the episodes, some may end up being shorter than others, and so on. But if there's a particular episode you really want me to do and I skip it, let me know, if I can see it to write it, then I will :)
P.P.S. I'm from Australia, but I lived in the US for eight years, so I try to keep with the US terminology as much as possible because of the series being based there - ie. in Australia it's not "trunk and hood" it's "boot and bonnet" on a car ... but you'll probably see the spelling kind of more Australian from habit... sorry about that, I just can't get my head around changing s to z and so on. Also, if I put a date on something, it'll be in DD/MM/YY format, also an Oz thing.