Author's note: Short disclaimer: The setting of this story is based on a real place but I've made some adjustments for the sake of fiction... okay a lot of adjustments :) For this story I wanted to explore what Sam and Dean might do after the events of the last episode and this kind of evolved from there. There will be about 15-18 chapters to this story and I hope you enjoy. Now, on to misadventures!
Chapter 2 - Another One Bites the Dust
Dean Winchester was pulled from his dreams by the unmistakable sound of shattering glass. Shooting up from his slouched position he instantly scanned the room for any sign of threat but found only an empty glass in pieces on the floor beneath his boots. Unsure of where he was at first, it took a few moments to realize he was still in the kitchen and then only a few more moments after that for the memories of what had happened last night to push him heavily back down onto the bench.
"No, Dean, I wouldn't. Same situation... I wouldn't,"
The words were like heavy rocks in the pit of his stomach and Dean rested his head on a forearm, riding out a wave of nausea. The whiskey bottle sat on the table near his head, as empty and hollow as he felt. Somehow in his sleep he'd managed to knock his glass off the table and onto the floor and light blinked back up at him from the shards. Like the glass, his world had been shattered with no real way of putting it back together again. Duct tape and superglue were no match for the fissures he could now feel running through his soul after what his brother had said to him last night. He was Humpty friggin' Dumpty again, and this time there were no horses or king's men left to try and put him back together again. They were all gone or dead now.
You know, Sam, I saved your hide back there. And I saved your hide at that church... And the hospital. I may not think things all the way through. Okay? But what I do, I do because it's the right thing. I'd do it again."
"And that... is the problem. You think you're my savior, my brother, the hero. You swoop in, and even when you mess up, you think what you're doing is worth it because you've convinced yourself you're doing more good than bad... But you're not. I mean, Kevin's dead, Crowley's in the wind. We're no closer to beating this angel thing. Please tell me, what is the upside of me being alive?"
"You kidding me? You and me - fighting the good fight together."
"Okay. Just once, be honest with me. You didn't save me for me. You did it for you."
"What are you talkin' about?"
"I was ready to die. I was ready. I should have died, but you... You didn't want to be alone, and that's what all this boils down to. You can't stand the thought of being alone. I'll give you this much. You are certainly willing to do the sacrificing as long as you're not the one being hurt."
"All right, you want to be honest? If the situation were reversed and I was dying, you'd do the same thing."
"No, Dean. I wouldn't. Same circumstances...I wouldn't. "
Some of what Sam had said last night was true. As far as he was concerned, it was human nature not to want to be alone or left behind and Dean was man enough to admit that keeping his family going was at least part of the reason why he often did what he did. That was no problem to admit. But to have his brother, the kid he'd spent his entire life protecting and keeping alive, tell him in no uncertain terms that he could care less about Dean and could (and would) let him die if the tables were turned, was like a sucker punch to the gut. No, take that back, it was like a knife in the back.
Slow going in and murderous in its intent.
In the span of one evening, everything Dean had ever held true had been yanked out from under him and he wondered where he was supposed to go from here. It was a crossroads and Winchester's never had much luck at crossroads. He could go left and go in search of his brother, find out if the kid had really meant what he said. Or, he could go right and run for his life. Then there was the need for a drink beckoning from behind, but his rolling stomach kept him from heading in that direction. The memories of Sam's words bitter on his tongue, Dean dove head first towards the kitchen sink and puked his meager stomach contents out into its depths. If only the heaving would take along the dark, ever growing knot in the pit of his guts. Like he'd ever be so lucky.
Even after his stomach had given all it had the heaves continued dry and Dean fought to keep himself under control. He was pretty proud of himself for not drinking himself to death last night when Sam had left him to trudge about in the wreckage of the bombshell he had dropped, though he was quickly becoming sorry he hadn't been finished off. Each exhalation of breath held a whisper of breakdown and Dean put his arms around his midsection to keep himself from coming apart at the seams. Despair is a funny thing and Dean's heaving half sobs continued on even though his eyes stayed dry. There were too many uncertainties out there at the moment and to get himself under control again meant he would have to face them. Better to stay bent over the kitchen sink in the grey haze of his hangover, hyperventilating. But in the end even that escape left him and he was abandoned beside the basin, knees wobbling and threatening collapse.
The tap made quick work of his mess and he closed his eyes and tried to imagine the outward signs of his pain swirling away to disappear down the pipes along with the evidence of his weakness. He pulled out every tool in his arsenal and palming water to his face, Dean pushed Sam's words down as far as they were willing to go. When he looked up again, his eyes found the clock trapped behind its steel cage and mounted to the concrete block wall. It read 6:30. AM or PM he couldn't be sure, not after the night he'd just had.
Splashing his face again for good measure, Dean cleaned up the broken glass from the floor with a broom, trying to find some normalcy in the plain household task, then headed out to the bunker's library. If Sam was determined to upend the world he'd just put back together after Kevin, then he was going to have to be ready to work because if there was one thing Dean Winchester did to deal with shit, it was to find a hunt and throw himself at it.
Sam's laptop sat open on the table in the library in a shaft of soft morning sun that was filtering in from one of the bunker's high windows. The sun was comforting and the old wood of the table was warm beneath the open palms Dean pressed against it. The whole atmosphere held an element of calm and Dean wondered if the moment was maybe the universe extending him some sort of olive branch. It was like some momentary truce and Dean didn't quite know what to do with it. The Bunker had suddenly transformed itself into home and everything radiated the same word (from the leather of the books to the hum of the light bulbs above his head):
Whatever had changed, he was sure it wouldn't last and he bet by the time the sun's path had traversed the window frame the universe would reopen its jaws and continue its never ending quest to swallow him whole. Safe might be in the sun in the library in the early morning, but it certainly had never visited the kitchen and had definitely not been there last night.
The moment ruined, Dean brought up his favorite search engine and put in a few keywords that were usually pretty good at getting him some bites. He briefly thought of returning to the kitchen to make some coffee, but doing that would risk waking Sam and Dean really didn't think he could face his brother at the moment. He was strangely focused in his little block of sunlight. Based on the amount of alcohol he'd consumed last night, that was saying something, and he trudged along merrily through the hits his search had brought up, happy that the dread conjured from last night's conversation with Sam was staying where he had put it. Down and out of sight.
Dean lost himself for a while in a few favorite internet haunts and on the websites for several major (and some not so major) newspapers and was startled when the front door of the bunker banged open. Flicking his eyes to the left he watched as Sam stretch at the top of the stairs having just returned from a run. Dean had been stupid to think that he'd get any time away from his brother, especially a brother who had the innate ability of always being around when something needed to be aired out between them. Well, Sam had done enough talking for the both of them last night and Dean would be damned if he was going to be the one to bring it all up again.
Sam hadn't noticed him yet and was humming tunelessly has he came down the stairs, ear buds still in place from his run. Dean felt the sides of his mouth curl up when Sam finally spotted him at the table and did the best 'dear in a headlights' impression Dean had seen him do in a while. His brother pulled the buds from his ears and Dean quickly checked the smirk. He may have pushed the pain and anger down somewhere it was staying put for now, but that didn't mean he was going to act as though nothing had happened between them. Dean focused his attention back to the laptop with a scowl and ignored his brother.
Sam stood in the connecting space between the map room and the library for a few awkward moments, shifting from foot to foot apparently trying to decide on his next move. Dean clicked away in his best impression of nonchalantness and waited for his brother to decide how they were going to play this.
"What are you doing?" The question was posed beautifully and Dean almost wanted to stand and applaud his brother. It was equal parts aloof, conspiratorial, genuinely interested and questioning. The games had apparently begun and it was Dean's turn play. He wrestled with several moves in his head, contemplating how Sam would respond to each one in kind and what counter moves he could expect. In the end he decided the truth was best.
"I'm playing around on the internet." Dean didn't look up when he said it but kept his eyes trained on the laptop screen instead. Sam was quiet for several more beats.
"Find anything interesting?"
"Not really." if Sam's eyes had been lasers, Dean would have surely have been dead by then. He could feel the heat of Sam's gaze on him but didn't dare look up, afraid of what he might see on his brother's face. Dean wouldn't be able to handle it if Sam wanted to unload more crap on him or if he was looking at him the same way he had last night before he'd left him alone in the kitchen with nothing but the whiskey to keep him together.
"Fine. I'm going to go shower." If there were any emotions flitting across Sam's face, his words didn't betray them and Dean forced his eyes to stay focused on the screen and not search out his brother like they wanted to. Dean scarcely dared to even breath until he felt and heard the familiar rush of water beneath his feet that signified someone had turned the showers on. It was a familiar sound and Dean realized why as sorrow sliced across his heart, drawing blood.
The name bounced around in Dean's skull like a ping pong ball fired from a cannon and he couldn't' stop his eyes darting to the place on the floor where his friend had fallen. Kevin had been a creature of habit you could set your watch by in the end and every morning he'd been up at the same time to shower and get ready for the day. The bunker had been as good to Kevin as it had been to Dean and Sam and offered the homeless, motherless wretch some semblance of normal and he'd taken to it like a horse to hay. It was only now, after he was gone, that Dean had realized just how hard he'd actually rode Kevin, how much they'd depended on him, and how the kid had always remained constant. Constancy was something not often found in the life of a Winchester and it was in small moments like these when he missed his friend the most. The sound of the shower going on every morning at 7 am sharp. Research done and in hand before it was even asked for. The quirky smile when Dean got exasperated at Kevin for his oddities.
The memories of Kevin saturated his thoughts and he paused in his typing to think on his friend a moment longer. His eyes strayed again to the spot on the floor just as the sun disappeared behind a cloud and just as soon as the happy memories surfaced, they were yanked away along with the sun. Laying in the corner, as vivid as if he were still stuck in the moment, doomed to forever relive it in, was Kevin's body, eyes still smoking. Dean shuddered in the loss of the sun's warmth and the vision before him disappeared as the sun reemerged from behind its cloud. He thought to shake his head, maybe try to dislodge the vision from his memory, but in the end he didn't. It was his fault Kevin was dead and if he had to relive the moment he had been killed over and over again for all eternity, so be it. It was his cross to bear.
God, he needed a hunt.
Focusing back on the laptop a link on the search engine caught his eye and he pulled up an article in the New York Post.
Oneida County authorities are investigating what they believe to be a string of homicides today after a construction worker discovered another body Thursday at the Old Road Bed and Breakfast in the historical village of Oriskany, New York. Earlier in the week the body of David Briggs, a local construction worker doing Restoration work at the Bed & Breakfast, was found mutilated in the building's basement.
The second body has been identified as Samuel Briggs, David Briggs' 18 year old nephew who worked with his Uncle on the construction crew. Local Police Chief Ronald Zerbak told reporters yesterday that the young man's body had also been mutilated but was reluctant to release further details. An anonymous source within the police department told this reporter that both men had allegedly disappeared from their homes under mysterious circumstances had been found crushed to death in the middle of an empty room. How the bodies got to the construction site and why is still a mystery though authorities are urging residents to stay indoors and have enacted a city wide curfew.
This was promising. It was a little vague but had all the right hints in all the right places and that was really all Dean Winchester needed. A quick search for the town showed it to be about a 24 hour drive away in the middle of New York and that news had the anticipation dying in his throat. While the prospect of a long road trip across the Midwest and to the east coast was oh so appealing, there was no way he and Sam would be able to handle days in the car alone with each other. No way in the world and especially not with how things currently stood between them.
Dean put a hand in his pocket and played with the car keys still in his jeans from yesterday. The road was calling to him, the need for wind in his hair and the pavement beneath his baby's tires sang in his blood and held a promise of freedom from everything determined to pile up on top of him until he suffocated. Maybe that's what he needed, an excuse to just get away from it all.
Away from Sam.
Dean sat up and thought through the plan forming in his brain. Sam was going to be furious but the brother's needed time apart and that was perfectly clear. Their brief separation while Dean had tried to hunt down Gadreel apparently hadn't been enough, so maybe he needed to go this one on his own. After last night there was no guarantee that they would even be able to continue on as they normally had anyway, so maybe this idea wasn't so crazy after all. Dean felt the exhilaration of doing something he knew Sam wouldn't approve of run red hot through his veins. If he really was going to do this, he would have to make it fast least he be caught and his plans dashed to pieces by his soulful eyed younger brother.
Decision made, Dean scrawled a quick note for Sam and left it on top of the laptop where he knew his brother would eventually see it. Sam would be able to track him down if he really wanted to and Dean left a breadcrumb or two in the note just in case. He wasn't about to give up on his brother completely and if Sam followed him to Oriskany, NY (wherever the hell that was) Dean wasn't going to turn him away. Besides, if he really did follow Dean then that would mean he still cared and maybe there was still some hope that they could salvage their relationship. Dean needed a 'coworker' as much as he needed an enema.
Dean made a hasty trip down the hall to his bedroom to grab the photo of his mom and the clothes he would need for the trip. His duffel was still full of clean clothes from yesterday and he shoved in his own rarely used laptop on top of the clothes. And as Sam stood under the spray of the showers below contemplating what to say next to his brother, Dean fled the bunker for the comfort of the Impala and the wide open road.
Please take a minute to leave a review. It helps motivate me to post faster :) Show didn't really go into how Kevin took to the bunker and I thought, losing his mom and being on the run so much, that he'd take to the place really well.