I still don't own them, but I do like to get them to come out and play. :-)
Dean came out of the bathroom with a towel around his waist, hair still slightly dripping, and went straight to his duffle to rummage for clean clothes. Finally finding enough of an approximation of 'clean', he got dressed and toweled his hair dry. "Dude, we have to do some laundry."
"Uh, yeah, I know" was Sam's distracted answer. He went back to his screen and wrote furiously on his paper.
The elder hunter came to stand behind his brother, amazed at how much better he felt after the shower. "What'd you find?"
Sam jumped. "Oh. Uh, Martin, it seems, had a series of single ladies staying at his boarding house. He had made a deal with the town council that the school teacher could stay at his establishment for half of what other renters were charged — civic duty and all that."
"School teacher? Singular?" Dean moved to sit down in the chair opposite his brother, wincing slightly as his right thigh came in contact with the hard chair.
"Yep. At the turn of the last century and for many years after, towns of the size that this one was at the time still had one-room schoolhouses; therefore, one teacher."
Sam was seriously grateful that the one room schoolhouse was no longer a common practice. He understood the need for it at the time, but thinking about his classes and the questions he had asked, it would have been very difficult to get the kind of education he'd gotten under those conditions.
"As I was looking further into the history, it seemed that some of these school teachers went missing and were never found. It got to the point that it was no longer possible to lure teachers here. There was no school at all for a number of years until somehow a young woman was finally convinced to come here straight out of college. A Miss Lora Gregory arrived, and with the enthusiasm of a new teacher, got to work. Martin offered the same deal as before, and Miss Gregory took up residence in the mansion. This young lady did not disappear; Martin did."
The older sibling raised his eyebrows in surprise. Sam chuckled at Dean's reaction, but he loved it when his brother was as interested as he was in the information that they gathered. Dean didn't like the research, but he would listen to his brother's synopsis of what he'd found, process the information given, and almost always be able to sift through it all to get right to the heart of the matter.
Smiling and wagging his own eyebrows, Sam continued, "Yep. Miss Gregory and the rest of the residents were all questioned; all denied any knowledge of what happened. It was a repeat of what had happened in the previous disappearances, but with Martin as the victim instead of a young woman. Martin's body was also never found. The mansion became a building with enough of a stigma that none of the residents moved back in. Miss Gregory resigned at the end of the school year and left town. It sat empty for ten years until a developer bought it in the early fifties, razed it, and put this motel here."
Dean blew a breath out and sat back, raising his hands to rest on the back of his head and stared at the ceiling. Sam waited. He knew how smart his brother really was, no matter what face Dean presented to the world, and had enjoyed watching him think and process information from a very young age. Few people were privy to this side of his brother. His big brother would almost always come up with a question that would lead them to solve the puzzle.
The older hunter finally put his hands down, leaning forward again to capture his little brother's eyes. "Did the teachers who vanished all stay in the same room?"
Sam blinked. "Huh." He began moving around the website, finally looking up at his big brother, grinning. Dean grinned in return. No words were needed. All the missing women occupied the same room while the women that had not disappeared had stayed in other rooms. The boarding house had very long-term residents, for the most part, and the room would most likely be the one available at the time.
"The room on 'the other side'!" the brothers said in unison.
"Okay. So now we have the connection, but what's the problem in the basement? Why did the lawn tools go after you?"
"Maybe the teachers who disappeared are buried down there and are angry, or maybe it's the spirit of the missing owner? Hey, they just might be possessed tools that want to plant a garden or something." Dean shrugged. "I have to go back over there somehow to figure out what's going on and take care of it."
"Oh, no you don't. You're not going back to that place alone! I'm going along to watch your back so that there are no further close encounters of the pitchfork kind."
"I'm serious. You are so not going without me."
"Listen to me. I went alone the first time and was only able to get out when you opened the door and 'here'—" He waved his hand to indicate their current surroundings. "— was here. I don't know what would have happened if you hadn't done that. I might have been stuck on the other side forever. What if we're both over there and there's no one to open this door from here? I need you here, Sammy, to make sure I can get back." Dean waited to see if his brother understood and agreed with the assessment.
Sam had been glaring at Dean while he was speaking, but after a few moments he lowered his eyes, his expression one of grudging agreement. "Okay, but we have to work on this some more before you go back. You're going to take the weapons bag and whatever else we can think of." The younger brother was not happy about this at all and refused to let Dean just run off and do something stupid.
Dean smiled. "Believe me, little brother, I'm not anxious to go back, but we have to take care of this problem, find out what's there, and deal with it."
"I know, but I just don't want to take a chance on losing you like that."
This was getting uncomfortably emo, but Sam's fear was pushing on Dean's 'big brother' button. He leaned forward. "Look, we'll figure this out, come up with a real plan with all the bases covered, and there'll be no danger of me getting caught over there. Okay?"
Sam nodded. "Okay, what are we going to do to get you there?"
A couple of hours later and with a plan in place, the brothers were cleaned up and ready to go. By now, it was dark outside and they felt there was a pretty good chance they could connect with the other room. Taking the weapons bag outside with them, they made sure there was nothing they'd forgotten.
Dean looked at his baby brother. "I guess we just keep trying this until we get the other room, huh?"
Sam shrugged but indicated he had no other suggestions, so the older hunter put his key card in the slot. The green light came on immediately and he opened the door . . . motel room. Letting the door shut on its own, he tried again with the same result. This was repeated the next ten times and Dean, never the most patient person, was getting ticked off.
From their right came a familiar voice. "You boys having trouble with your room key? Do you need me to make you another one?" Rusty asked. Smiling broadly at the brothers, he looked specifically at Sam. "I see you found your brother okay. I was kind of worried last night."
"Yeah, me, too. He'd just gone for a long walk to work out the kinks from the road, you know? Thought I was down for the count, so he didn't worry about a note. Thanks for your help, Rusty. I'm sorry, I should have come back to the office to let you know he was okay."
The motel clerk waved a dismissive hand. "Don't worry about it. Just glad to see you in one piece, Mr. Wilbur. About the key…?"
Dean spoke up, "Nah, the key's fine. Thanks, dude. We're just goofing around out here. Sorry if we disturbed you."
"Not a problem at all. You know where I am if you need anything." The older man waved and headed back to the office.
Sam, who had been sitting on the hood of the Impala, saw his brother's frustration and came forward. "Let me try that for a while. You're going to blow a gasket before you get over there and won't be any good to yourself. You've got to be sharp and not angry."
Dean frowned, shaking Sam's hand off. "I'm not going to blow a gasket. I'm cool, okay?" Belying his own words, he slammed his fist into the door jamb in frustration when the next two tries produced the same result.
"Uh huh. Go sit down, I've got this." Sam gave his brother a little shove, and Dean allowed himself to be moved out of the way. He knew Sam was right, but he didn't want to be defeated by a door with a plastic key.
Sam put his key card in the lock and the green light blinked on immediately. Opening the door to find the motel room, he looked at his brother and shrugged. When the door closed again, the process was repeated several times; each time produced the same results. Dean sighed as he leaned back on his car to zone out, letting Sam deal with the frustration. He's better at that, anyway.
The older man was just beginning to relax when his brother's cry of success brought him bolt upright. "I've got it! I know what we have to look for when we open the door!"
Dean came over to stand next to his brother, raising his eyebrows at Sam's excitement. Keeping his foot from letting the door close again, Sam pointed to the door lock. "When we put the key card into the slot and pull it out, the green light comes on and we open the door, right?" Dean nodded as he shifted on his feet. "Usually, the light comes right on and we go into the room. This last time, when I pulled the card out, the light hesitated a second before coming on, and when I opened the door, I found this." Sam pushed the door the rest of the way open showing the room 'on the other side' there to welcome them.
His brother smiled and slapped him on the chest with the back of his hand, "I knew you could do it, College Boy. At least now we'll have some warning when we're trying to just get into the room."
Sam smiled, basking in his older brother's praise. He turned serious, though, as Dean began to walk into the room. Putting his hand up to stop him from stepping across the threshold, he said, "Are you really sure about this? I'd still rather go with you."
"Sam, we've been through this. I need you on this side."
The younger man nodded, letting his hand drop to his side as his brother walked past him.
Dean turned back toward the room and gave his brother a little salute. "Now close the door, so I can get to work, okay?"
Sam nodded and let the door close. Waiting a second to see if Dean would reappear, he put his keycard in the slot, the light came on immediately, and Sam opened the door into their motel room. Entering, he sighed and sat down at the table to wait. He hated waiting and wished he was over there to watch his brother's back; he didn't like Dean going off on this job without him.
The brothers had compared the time that had passed on both 'sides', discovering the time on the normal side went faster than the time on the other side. Sam was glad of that, at least, as he debated how long to wait for Dean before going after him. No matter what they had agreed, he was not going to leave his brother over there by himself for more than a couple of hours on this side.
Dean allowed the door to close, waiting a few seconds before cautiously opening it again. The door opened onto the dim hallway. Adjusting the weapons bag on his shoulder, he went into the hall and made his way to the door at the end, once again feeling the oppressiveness he'd felt earlier. Turning the flashlight on, he opened the door and shined it down the stairs. To his amazement, there was no indication that he had been there before. He expected to see tools lying all over the place or stuck in the walls where they had landed as they were launched in his direction, but there was nothing. Wincing when his right leg complained about having to go down the stairs, he slowly descended, keeping the flashlight beam in constant motion to avoid surprises.
As he reached the bottom, he shone the light in the corner onto the stack of tools that had been there. They were back in their original positions. Huh. Weird. Moving the light around the rest of the basement, he found that everything was back in its original place except his shotgun; that was right where he'd dropped it on his last visit. Ooookay.
Once Dean again made sure there was no action from the tool corner, he moved to the right of the stairs and prepared to open the old padlock on the heavy wooden door. Putting the weapons bag on the floor and propping the flashlight under his chin, he retrieved his lock pick kit from his jacket pocket. As he began to work on the padlock, he could hear some noises from the corner where the tools were stacked. Feeling somewhat pressured now, and angry at the lock — which seemed to be far more rusted than he originally thought — the hunter was finding it more difficult than he imagined to get it open. The more he struggled with the lock, the more noise came from the tool corner. Suddenly, a trowel hit the heavy wooden door just as it had done during his previous visit.
"Shitshitshitshitshit!" Dean continued to struggle with the lock, but the tools were now very active so he decided to live to pick locks another day. Grabbing the weapons bag and the rest of his paraphernalia, the nervous hunter headed toward the stairs. The pitchfork came sailing across the room, but Dean was prepared this time; he stepped back and the fork hit the wall. Breathing a sigh of relief and yanking the fork out of the wall to get past it, he ran up the stairs as fast as his wounded leg would allow. When he reached the top of the stairs, he grabbed the door with his free hand and pulled it shut behind him.
Backing away from the door a couple of steps, he listened as the sounds of garden tools hitting the stair wall and the door came to him. Staring in disbelief, Dean began moving further down the hallway as the sound changed to resemble the sound of someone pounding on the door with a heavy fist. He stopped his backward movement and stood facing the door, waiting for the sound to continue. There was one more loud bang on the door which made him jump back. Waiting just a few seconds for any further activity, Dean slowly turned and headed back down the hall. Tired and in pain, he just wanted to get back to Sam. This was going to be a two-man job. They had figured out how to get to this side; now they had to figure out how to get them both back to the real world from this side.
Dean made it back to the wooden door of 'his room', and with a glance back down the hall, pushed the door open and went in. He ran his fingers through his short spikes as he blew out a breath and glanced around the room. His leg was complaining loudly, so he hobbled to the bed to rest. He was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to lie down while he waited for Sam to open the door to let him out. Managing to climb the footstool, he flopped in the middle of the bed, lying there for a few minutes, staring at the canopy and willing his injured leg to shut up. When he began to get the pain under control, Dean's eyes slowly closed and his breathing evened out as he relaxed into sleep.
Sam was worried. It hadn't been all that long, but he was still upset that his stubborn brother had gone alone. He knew his sibling would be angry, but he wasn't going to wait and let him get hurt again. The question was whether he was going to go outside to try the door lock again or see if he could find another way to join Dean. Sitting there on the side of the older hunter's bed, Sam began chewing on his thumbnail as he tried to come up with a plan.
Sitting with his head in his hands and willing his brain to come up with some sort of plan, he shut his eyes and began gently rocking back and forth as his mind strained for some ideas. The young hunter didn't see the lighting in the room change from motel room light to subdued oil lamp light, didn't feel the change of the cheap hotel bedspread into the deep, luxurious spread of the other room. The change was nearly complete when he realized that something was different because his feet were no longer resting on the floor, and he felt like someone was in the room with him.
The young hunter opened his eyes and realized, with a shock, that he was in the 'other room', but he hadn't done anything. He looked down at his feet, saw that they were just a couple of inches off the floor, and there was a little step to his right. Suddenly, a hand slapped him on the back. He jerked around and tried to come to a defensive pose, but in the process lost his balance with no foot support and fell off the bed. The surprised hunter landed hard on the floor with a little yelp as pain shot up his right elbow into his shoulder. He lay on the floor for a second, waiting for something to come off the bed after him, knowing he wouldn't be able to defend himself well with his right arm struggling to recover. Instead of a monster coming after him, he heard chuckling. Chuckling? Then Dean's grinning face appeared over the edge of the bed.
"Whatcha doin' down there, little brother?" Dean asked, barely able to contain his mirth.
Sam looked around in confusion as his brother gave up trying to hold in his laughter and rolled back on the bed to let it go.
Finally realizing what had happened, Sam sent a glare toward the sound of Dean's laughter and struggled to get off the floor. The hard smack his elbow had taken rendered the right arm still useless, however.
"What, Sammy?" Dean barely managed to get out as he struggled to bring himself under control.
"A little help, please?"
The older man immediately stopped laughing and crawled back to the end of the bed to see what the problem was.
"You hurt, Sam?"
"Just smacked my elbow on the floor, and my right arm is useless. Give me a hand, will ya?"
Dean reached over the edge of the bed to grab Sam's offered left hand to help him stand up. Sam nodded his thanks and the older sibling, after making sure he saw no other injuries on his brother, began to chuckle again.
Aggravated and scowling, Sam punched Dean in his arm but began laughing himself. He couldn't help it. Dean's laughter had always been contagious, and Sam was really relieved to see his brother in one piece again. The younger hunter lay on the bed next to Dean as they let themselves relax and settle down.
After a few moments, Dean returned the earlier punch his brother had delivered. "Why did you come after me? You were supposed to stay in the motel, wait for a couple of hours to pass, and then get the door open. I'm sure not enough time has passed, and here you were sitting on my bed, not holding the door open for me to get out."
Sam put his tingling right hand up as he rose up on his left elbow to get a better look at his angry sibling. "I didn't come after you, I promise. I wanted to, but I didn't. If I had, I would have figured a way for us to be able to get out easily. I was worried about you and was sitting on your bed with my head in my hands when I suddenly realized I wasn't in Kansas anymore." A beat and the younger man scowled at his brother. "How did you know I was here, and why did you slap me?"
Dean's expression changed from a frown to a grin as he put his hands behind his head. "I always know when you're around, Sammy. I'd fallen asleep, but the shift in the level of the bed woke me up, and there you were. You're kind of hard to miss, you know?"
The younger hunter chuckled, shaking his head and glancing back at his brother. "Seriously, dude, what happened here?"
The older brother took a deep breath. "It's going to take both of us, Sam. I went down there and it all started again almost immediately. There really was nothing I could do." Dean told his younger brother what had happened in detail. "It was pretty scary, dude. I got my shotgun, though." Dean grinned.
Sam nodded as his big brother finished telling his story. "Okay. So we need a new plan. It's possible this bed is a conduit back to our world, too," he said, patting the spread and swinging his long legs to the side so he could sit up. His brother sat up, too, watching Sam with interest.
The youngest Winchester continued, "When you were gone the first time, I came into the room and found the weapons bag on your bed."
Dean's eyes lit up. "I'd put it here —" He patted the spread. "— to go through it!"
Sam nodded. "I was sitting on your bed when I ended up here."
"Okay, we can use this." Dean got up and began limping around the room. He couldn't stand to just sit, wanting to keep his leg muscles from stiffening too much, too. It hurt a lot with the initial steps but began to ease as he continued.
"We can't get stuck over here." Sam wrinkled his forehead. He knew he didn't have to tell his brother that, but he had to say it out loud anyway.
Dean came to a stop and nodded. "I know, Sammy. We won't, I promise."
Sam relaxed a bit. Even though he was a very capable hunter with complete faith in his own abilities, it always made him feel better to hear his big brother promise. He knew Dean couldn't really pull off a miracle, but sometimes it seemed that was exactly what he did. It had been a long time since the young man thought of his big brother in terms of hero worship, but together they could handle anything.
The shorter hunter came back to the bed and put his hand on Sam's shoulder. "We have to figure out what activates the change here and on the other side; does there have to be someone or something on both beds, that kind of thing."
Sam nodded. "We'll have to experiment, I guess. Put something on the bed and wait to see if anything happens." He got up to join his brother in pacing while he tried to think the problem through. "So far we have the light hesitation in the key lock and the bed as ways to 'cross over', for lack of a better term. When I found the weapons bag on the bed in the motel room, there was nothing else on that bed."
"Okay." Dean nodded. "So both beds don't have to be involved." He walked over to one of the chairs and sat down; his leg was telling him it'd had enough exercise for probably a whole day. He winced as the injured area came into contact with the seat. Sheesh! You'd think I'd remember that.
"You okay? Why don't you let me look at your leg and check the bandages?"
"I'm fine, Sam." Dean figured a little white lie would be okay at this point; he didn't want Sam in mother hen mode.
"You'll tell me if you need anything, right?"
"Of course!" Came the second white lie as Dean grinned.
"Uh huh. You will, of course, forgive me if I don't bet my retirement on that?"
"Good point." Sam sat in the other chair and leaned forward. "Seriously, dude, we need to be at our best for this, and I'd prefer your leg not give out at a crucial moment."
"Fine. I'll let you know."
This time, Sam relaxed. He could tell his brother meant what he said. "Okay. What do you think we should do first? I'd really like to get back to my laptop and do some more research."
Sam snorted and gave his brother a one-fingered salute, causing the older hunter to grin.
"How about we both lie down on this bed and wait a while? We both need to go home anyway, and we know one object lying there can do it or one on both beds."
"That's a good idea. No kicking, though, and you stay on your own side of the bed."
Sam frowned, giving his pain in the ass older brother a shove as they headed back to the bed. Dean used the little step stool to get on the bed while Sam hopped up onto it. Settling down with the weapons bag between them, they waited.
"How long do you think it will take?"
"I don't know. How long were you on the bed before I joined you?"
"No idea. I dosed off."
Sam shrugged. "Okay, I guess we have to lie here and wait."
Dean smiled. "Okay, Samantha, come on over here and let's cuddle." Dean patted the bed as he moved over to the side.
Sam scowled at his brother. "You keep yourself on your own side. There's a reason why I always wanted my own bed." Sam smiled as he settled down; it wasn't true and Dean knew it. They'd shared a bed out of need until Dean was in his teen years and their father had left them in motels while he hunted. Sam had always wanted to stay and go to school whenever possible, and since they could only afford a room with two beds, Dean slept in their father's bed when he wasn't there. Neither boy had really minded, but it made for some fun banter over the years.
"Aw, Sammy, come here," Dean offered in his most sultry voice.
"Buzz off." Sam lay on his side facing away from his brother, hoping to stop the whole thing before it really got started. Dean never seemed to know when to quit.
Both brothers settled down with smiles on their faces.
As time passed with each man lost in his own thoughts, their breathing evened out and they dozed off. Neither brother saw the light in the room change to what came in around the cheap drapes or felt the bed change back into a regular motel bed. As the transformation became complete, they continued to sleep, worn out from the events of the day.
Sam was the first to awaken and had been for years. It came from never wanting to be late for school while growing up and needing to get an early start every day at college. It was just part of his make up. He opened his eyes and glanced around the room, unable to see much due to the darkness. Turning his head to the right to look at the clock that should be on the nightstand there, he was surprised to see there was no clock and no nightstand. He could see the outline of the door from the light in the parking lot and frowned. 'What am I doing in Dean's bed?"
Jerking up into a sitting position, he turned to the left where the nightstand and clock were. It's 3:00 a.m. Where's Dean? His mind suddenly returned to the night they'd arrived when Sam couldn't find his brother. He started to panic but finally noticed he wasn't alone on the bed. He blew out his relief when he realized that his brother was right there with him, the weapons bag between them. Sam rubbed his eyes, sending his hands up through his hair. As he began to remember what had actually happened, he sighed and got up to get into his own bed. Stopping short, he turned and stared at his sleeping brother. He hesitated only a second before heading back to the older man's bed and poking his brother's arm. "Dean. Come on, man. Get up and get in the other bed. It might not be the traveling variety. Hey! Let's go." He continued to poke and prod the older hunter, determined not to take a chance on his brother going back to the 'other side' without him.
The older man grouched and grumbled as he woke up enough to get himself to the other bed, fall onto it, and settle down immediately, leaving Sam to get the weapons bag. The younger man dropped the heavy bag onto the foot of the bed between them and got himself back into bed, scooting around until he found a comfortable sleeping position. Soon there was no sound except the soft snores of the young hunters.
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