The Peacock Farm - Epilogue
The Mounties only wore the famous red serge uniform when they were on parade, or during the Musical Ride, or guarding the Queen. Otherwise, they were cops, plain and simple. And, young man? Even though the murders happened almost four decades ago, this farm is a crime scene, and no, you are not going to pass the police line.
For the second time in as many days, Dean looked as though he was going to test that line. He ran a finger along the yellow tape, collected raindrops before shaking his hand of wetness and wiping it on his thigh. The rain was coming down sideways, a real West Coast soaking. Everything about the place had changed with the rain; it now looked like every X-Files episode ever filmed, green, lush, dripping with damp. The Peacock Farm was wreathed in mist, dotted with cops, a backhoe parked waiting by the memorial garden, little orange flags pushed into the ground at various points, a big 'closed' sign on the booth's plywood door.
Sam, safe and dry inside the car, watched the windows fog up. For a moment, he considered wiping his window clear so he could get a better look at whatever argument Dean was going to give the cop. Nah, not worth the bother. Instead, he extended his index finger and wrote: Dean is a rat fink. Backwards, so someone else would be able to read it.
Someone like his brother, who jumped back into the car, turned the key and checked over his shoulder all in one movement. Another thing he made look ridiculously easy.
"Any arrests?" Sam asked, daring Dean to say anything about the window. The defogger was kicking in; if he didn't look soon, he'd miss it. Dean's stare was grim, disconsolate and Sam had his answer; his brother isn't in the mood for feeble jokes.
"Aurora's clamming up, hired herself a lawyer. Rupert's in a psychiatric hospital," with a glance to Sam as if to say, what a baby, can't even take a rock salt blast to the chest. A sore point with Sam, so Dean didn't pursue it. "They're going to bring charges against him, once they've figured out how many bodies are buried here." He paused, faked a look in the rear-view mirror to cover the sudden strain in his voice. "They've been finding kids. They're not sure how long they've been there. Could take months to sort it all out."
Sam left it, not wanted to pick at a scab, not sure how to, even if he'd wanted to. Always with the kids, Dean. Fix it. But he knew his job, part of which was to get Dean past these kinds of rough spots. "Polly called."
No reaction, other than the brow. Swallowed a smile. "You'll never guess what she said."
It was like pulling teeth, sometimes. Sam sighed.
"She's going to stay with a girlfriend in the city," he laughed lightly, peering between the wipers as they slapped against the rain. "Wants to break into film."
Watched as Dean tried to bite back a smile.
Midnight came and went and still they were waiting in the line up. Dean said he wasn't worried about the border. Sam didn't believe him, didn't believe it would be that easy. The passports were on the dash, and Sam nursed a coffee, balanced between his knees because the Impala didn't have cupholders and Dean insisted the car remain as vintage as possible. Not that the sentiment extended to the tape deck, or the music, of course.
"Starsky," Dean said, throwing his empty cup to Sam's feet. He had already rolled up the rim according to the instructions on the cup, but he'd only been told to 'try again'. Sam was holding out for the SUV prize.
"What? I get Hutch?" Sam's face screwed up in distaste. "He's boring."
"What kinda car did Hutch drive?" Dean shot back as though that was a coherent argument. "I ask you. I'm so Starsky."
No fucking way he should be playing this, not with Dean. It was a fool's game.
"And Han Solo," Dean added. Oh, and he was so delighted, which was totally the point of this verbal version of Sam flagellating himself. "Captain Kirk, Starbuck, Bart."
Which left Sam holding the Luke, Spock, Apollo, and Lisa bag. And, truth be told, he didn't mind all that much. "Do I get to be Joe, at least? He was the younger brother," he sulked half-heartedly. From his grin, Dean so wasn't going to give him even that.
"But Frank was smart. Wouldn't you rather be smart, Sammy?"
"Rather than what? Stupid?"
Dean shrugged, eased the car one spot forward. "Good-looking."
"Does that mean I have to be Scully?" Sam finished his coffee, and tried to follow the instructions to win that SUV. Took him a little while to unroll the cardboard cup's rim, only to discover that he, too, should try again. "Dean?"
He wasn't listening, not to Sam, anyway. Listening to that inner voice. "Do you think the it's out there – the truth? Really?" he asked after a long moment. Sam could count on one hand the number of times he'd heard that tone in his brother's voice.
Swallowed once, and that was one moment too long, too long for Dean to stay there. "You're so Scully, bitch." Took the passports off the dash. "Win anything?"
Okay, he had no idea about the border. For all he knew, they'd be arrested on the spot. One little scenario he'd imagined over and over again, was the one where a half-dozen guards studied his passport and laughed themselves sick. Asked him to get out of the car. Then pulled out their firearms, wanting to know what a known murderer was doing back from the dead. And Sam would go that silent hurt way of his and they'd find all the guns. Dean couldn't take it past that. He'd always stop on Sam.
It didn't happen that way. The booth was lit up, and the border guard was succinct, wanting to get his shift over with, maybe. They sailed through, returning Americans. It was giving the reason for their visit that almost undid Dean. He actually choked on his sudden giddy laugh, when asked that. The reason? Oh, pleasure, definitely. Some fishing, he said, knowing the word 'hunting' would be suspect, would lead immediately to thoughts of guns and bullets. Visiting friends, he added, fighting the bubble of ill-timed laughter.
Across, and down into Washington State, heading towards Spokane, wishing he knew why.
Over his young life, Dean had driven more miles than he cared to think about, long lines of yellow and white, humps of dead skunk and porcupine, armadillo and rabbit. He'd know which part of the country he was in just by the roadkill. Driving: Dad driving, Sam driving. Then those times by himself. At least Sam was here now, crazy long body hunched over and lightly snoring. Being alone was worse than just about anything, though he'd never admit it, not even to himself. He just thought about how good it was to have Sam here, concentrated on what was, not what had been. Not what might be.
And then Dean discovered something, glancing over to see the regular rise and fall of Sam's chest, his breath fogging the passenger window enough so Dean could just see the word 'fink'. He smiled. The truth wasn't out there, it was in here, and that was enough.
A/N: Sorry if I've confused any Americans out there with the whole reference to the 'roll up the rim to win' contest that Tim Hortons runs. I don't know if there's an American equivalent to Tim's; maybe Krispy Kreme, but that doesn't begin to convey the shocking love Canadians bestow on the largely unworthy Tim's. Canada is completely lousy with them – and their advertising agency keeps pushing the Canadian 'patriotism' button with their ad campaigns. That's right: Canadian patriotism as represented by a doughnut shop chain. Think about it, my American cousins. Isn't that just plain pathetic? Be thankful I spared you the Canadian Tire Guy (don't even ask). If I thought anyone would get it, I'd have had the Canadian Tire Guy as my response to the 'Stupidest Monster – Ever' challenge on this site (Canadians everywhere are weeping with laughter right now, imagining that advertising nightmare as potential Winchester salt gun fodder). Reviews are always welcome, and I value each and every one, but especially visits from the Continuity Cops.