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Unmaking, Chapter 2


Chapter 2

“I need to head out to Kansas for a day or two,” Dean said as they walked back to the car. He’d been quieter, lately, less apt to flirt with waitresses or strike up an aimless conversation about anything other than hunting as Halloween approached. Not even this particular werewolf hunt could do much to raise the man’s spirits. “No hunt or anything, just something I need to do. You in?”

Bobby knew better than to ask. Dean had spilled the bare bones of his story a few weeks after they’d started traveling together, while under the influence of tequila and blood loss, but there was no chance he’d share something personal when sober. And this? Most definitely personal. “Where in Kansas? Do they even have a library, or am I supposed to just sit around like a jilted girlfriend while you run around?”

Dean smiled, a little subdued but there. “Better. Lawrence, Kansas, home to the Stull Cemetery, thought to be a gateway to Hell. Thought you might be interested.”

The thought gave the young hunter pause. He’d heard rumors about gateways, but he’d never been this close to one, and Bobby was suddenly itching to dive into the lore surrounding the place. “Kansas sounds good. Can’t believe you knew where the door to hell was and didn’t tell me.”

“A rumored door,” Dean corrected. “I’m saving the next one for your birthday.”

Bobby had a feeling he wasn’t joking.

***

Lawrence hadn’t changed much in the past six months, which didn’t really surprise Dean: same skeevy motel with the drug-dealing manager, same two-lane Main Street, and the same sleepy residential streets, which was oddly comforting to him. He dropped Bobby off at the motel and headed past the Campbell house. He didn’t go in, though part of him wanted to, and instead drove to the house where he spent the first four years of his life, starting a little more than five years from now.

The Winchester name was on the mailbox, which was a good start. The lawn was freshly mown, downstairs lights on. He sat in his car about fifty yards from the house, watching as John swung the Impala into a place in front of a white picket fence and headed in. The lights on the first floor went off around ten; the bedroom light upstairs extinguished by midnight, and Dean still waited, keeping guard over the clapboard house and its occupants as November 1, 1973 ticked over into November 2.

He was still there when dawn turned the sky pink, a little surprised that no one had called the police about the man lurking in the shadows. Mary and John left for work together, and Dean spent several agonizing moments before he swung back around to tail his mother. He knew where he could find John, but he had no memories of Mary working outside the home.

Oddly enough, she walked the two blocks down from the garage and led him to the diner where he had run into John six months ago, tying back her hair and donning an apron before hitting the floor as the second shift waitress.

Dean followed her inside after a few minutes, sat down at the counter and waited. It didn’t take long.

“You can’t be here,” Mary hissed, under the guise of taking his order. “I told you I was done with hunting.”

“I’m not hunting anything but a good cup of coffee right now,” he said, keeping his voice quiet and pleasant. “A cup of coffee and the special, if you don’t mind.”

“Promise?” She poured his coffee, still studying him.

“Promise. Got a friend who wanted to investigate the Stull Cemetery, figured I could use the time to do some research of my own.” This part wasn’t entirely untrue; he could use some time away from Bobby to work on his future hunt journal. It would be nice if he could do more hunts like the wendigo and prevent the deaths that had originally attracted him, but he had no idea how to explain that to Bobby. The man already looked at him strangely when he pulled out one of those hunts.

Dean wondered what the other man would think if he ever saw the back pages of the journal, where he’d jotted down a few other things he’d thought would be useful, like investing in Microsoft and preventing certain manmade disasters. His father had always taught him to be prepared for anything, and he aimed to take that to heart.

“All right.” Mary smiled a bright sunshine smile, the relief obvious on her face and in her voice. “You should drop by and visit my parents. My dad had some things he wanted to ask you.”

Dean shrugged. “We’ll see.” He wasn’t planning on visiting the grandparents who didn’t know they were grandparents. Too many of the wrong questions, for one, and the entire situation was just a little too strange for even him. As much as he wanted to get to know Samuel and Deanna Campbell, the idea of being shot, salted and burned if he let something slip was a fairly powerful deterrent.

Mary headed back into the kitchen with his order, and Dean settled down with his coffee and journal. The cases his father worked were infuriatingly vague in his memories, and the same went for most of the hunts until he was in his 20’s. He just hadn’t been involved enough for the details to stick.

He ate his breakfast when Mary brought it, then dove back into the project, hardly noticing as she kept refilling his coffee. She didn’t try to start any new conversations, and if the young woman noticed that he would look up and search the room for her with regularity she didn’t comment on it.

When the lunch crowd started to roll in, Dean packed it up and headed back toward the garage to check in on John. He knew, academically, that nothing would be coming after them now. He’d taken out the yellow-eyed demon before it could make any more deals and as far as he could tell no one had stepped up to take Azazel’s place. To the world they were just another set of newlyweds, and Dean aimed to make sure it stayed that way. Mary was perfectly capable of handling anything that the supernatural threw her way, and she could always call her parents for backup.

But still he stayed and watched over them. November 2nd had always been a private day for his family, made almost holy by his father’s devotion, and it was hard to break a lifetime habit of keeping a close key on the man when the date rolled around.

Dean had made himself comfortable on a bench across from John’s garage, journal tucked away in his car, when a young black woman with a serious Afro sat down next to him. She was cute and curvy and when she smiled he could tell that she was probably a little fiery, which made her precisely his type.

“My name’s Missouri,” she said.

His thoughts changed direction so fast he was surprised that he hadn’t left tire tracks. Dean forced himself into some semblance of order and said, “Any particular reason you’re talking to me?”

“Any particular reason a hunter is hanging around my town at two in the afternoon?”

“It’s personal,” he said, and deliberately didn’t think about anything other than the sight of the Impala, gleaming in its parking space behind the garage.

Missouri hmmphed and made herself comfortable next to him. “There’s something different about you,” she said. “Like you’re much older than you look, but whenever I try to get a little more all I see is this bright light.”

“You might want to be careful,” he cautioned. “Last psychic that tried too hard got her eyes burned out by that.”

“Why would you do such a thing?” she said, indignant.

“I wasn’t the one that did it, and trust me when I say that I was pissed off when it happened. But it’s something that can’t be controlled and that no human eyes should see.” Her presence unsettled him, and he decided to drive her off with what Sam used to call the anti-charm. “Hate for a hot piece of ass like you to have her eyeballs melted out of the sockets.”

“There’s no need for that,” Missouri said, her calm mostly restored. He must have let something slip. “I was getting ready to leave. I was just curious, is all. Never seen an aura like yours before.”

“I’m pretty unique, sweetheart.” He turned away from he and back to the garage. The young woman eventually stood up and walked away, leaving Dean to his vigil.

He didn’t have very much time to enjoy his solitude. No sooner had Missouri disappeared around a corner than Castiel was suddenly sitting in her place. The angel was silent for a long time while the hunter watched his father change oil and tires and dig into an engine block, and it wasn’t until Dean turned to look at him that he spoke.

“Your parents are protected now. You don’t have to watch over them.”

“I need to do it, Cas. I need to make November 2nd good again, and this is the only way I can think of to do it.” He leaned forward, resting his forearms on his legs. “Don’t worry, I’ll get back to hunting tomorrow. You guys have the management skills of a plantation overseer.”

“That’s not what concerns me, Dean. This place causes you distress, even though you managed to stop the deal that would cause your mother’s death. Why come to Lawrence if it causes you pain?”

“Call it a pilgrimage,” Dean finally said, avoiding the topic of a deal. That was something for another day. “My mother died in that house. The man who my father used to be pretty much died too, even if no one remembers it. This is my version of Graceland.”

“What’s Graceland?”

Dean shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. Point is, this is the town where my life as a hunter began. I need to come back and remember sometimes, and watching over John and Mary Winchester gives me something to focus on.”

Castiel tilted his head slightly in a gesture that Dean interpreted as a nod. Really, angels should understand the concept of a pilgrimage. “And the rest of the time you will continue to hunt with your friend Robert Singer?”

“Yeah. Like you said, all those people that we saved before are back where they were, and someone has to take care of it.” Dean watched as John clocked out and climbed into the Impala. The angel was gone when he glanced over to his side again, and Dean shook his head and got into his own car.

The Winchesters headed straight for home after leaving work, making them one of the more boring newlywed couples in existence. Not that he particularly wanted to see his parents as swingers or party animals, but this was all just so very normal that he couldn’t quite comprehend it.

Dean sat in his parked car just the way he had the night before, watching as the lights inside the Winchester home were extinguished and the clock ticked over into November 3rd. Then he started the engine and headed back to the motel for some much-needed sleep.

***

Dean looked down at the spikes that had become embedded in his leg. “Fuck,” he said, spitting out the curse word and scrambling for his duffle.

Bobby looked over from where he was studying the corpse of the creature, recognizing that particular tone of voice from his time in Vietnam. They only had a faint idea what it was they’d just killed, which was usually a recipe for disaster, but they’d packed consecrated iron and silver and salt and gotten lucky. “What’s wrong?”

“Recognize it now.” Dean was rifling through his possessions with desperation.

“Let me guess, this wasn’t enough to kill it.”

“Oh, it works fine for killing it. But these things are poisonous.” He gestured down to his bloodstained jeans as he pulled out what he was looking for. “The poison won’t kill me, but I’m going to start hallucinating pretty soon and trust me when I say you’re gonna want me tied up for that.”

“You gotta be kidding me,” Bobby groaned. “We’re out in the damned middle of nowhere.”

“Better out here than someplace where the locals can hear and get the wrong impression,” Dean said, shrugging out of his leather jacket and tossing it on top of the bag. He walked over to a sturdy-looking tree and handed over a set of handcuffs to the friend trailing behind him. Bobby accepted them, though he wasn’t sure exactly how his friend was planning on using the things. “No matter what happens, don’t come within kicking distance until you’re sure it’s over. Should take me a few hours to ride out the worst of it.” He sat down, his back settling against the trunk of the tree, and stretched his arms backwards.

Bobby caught on fairly quickly and slipped behind the tree, fastening the cuffs around the other man’s wrists and making sure they were tight. One of the first things Dean had taught him when they started traveling together was how to get out of handcuffs, either by picking the lock or, in cases of desperation, by dislocating or breaking the bones of the hand. He really didn’t want to see an example of that last one, and the best way to avoid that was to make the cuffs so tight that even that bit of lunacy wouldn’t set him free.

He stepped away and was getting ready to ask if his friend needed anything when he caught the expression on Dean’s face. Bobby could only identify the emotion because of recent experiences hunting; it was absolutely foreign to see terror on Dean Colt’s face. The poison started working damned fast.

The corpse burned easily enough, although Bobby found himself muttering imprecations on his friend for missing out on the least-enjoyable aspect of the hunt. When the fire burned down to embers, he stomped them out and then settled down across from his friend.

There wasn’t a lot he really knew about Dean. He liked women, all kinds, and not always just for sex. There was a great fondness for pie and solid American-made cars, along with loud music. He got friggin’ morose in early May, watchful in early November, and fidgety in September. Good with guns, better with his fists, and one of the best he’d ever seen around an engine. But it wasn’t like they sat around in a motel room at night, braiding each other’s hair and sharing their greatest hopes and fears. Bobby had no idea what to expect.

Dean was already beginning to struggle against his bonds when Bobby hunkered down, using the tree behind him to push up until he was standing. He was talking to whoever or whatever he was seeing, his voice a growl as he threatened the hallucination. Bobby only recognized one name out of every three that his friend uttered, but those few names made the hair stand on the back of his neck. Everyone with a teaspoonful of demon knowledge had heard some permutation of the Lilith legend, but Dean spoke of her like she was his personal nemesis.

When Dean lurched forward and down, Bobby couldn’t help but jump back. He watched in sick horror as his friend hung suspended from his now-dislocated shoulder, Dean’s scream of rage and pain making him glad they’d stayed out in the middle of nowhere. “You let me go, you sick bastards. You leave my brother alone! Sam!”

Bobby took another step back and bumped into something solid and unmoveable. He thought he’d run into a tree until two hands grasped his arms, picked him up and moved him out of the way. He barely had enough time to aim his shotgun at the trenchcoat-clad figure before it reached Dean.

The shotgun blast had absolutely no effect, even though he was positive he’d hit the thing. The creature stepped up to his friend with absolute disregard for Dean’s thrashing and rested two human-seeming fingers on the man’s forehead. “Rest,” said a gravelly, not-entirely-human voice, and Dean sagged down bonelessly. He was caught and gently lowered to the ground before the being turned around, revealing a human face. “I am not a threat to him, Robert Singer. Nor to you.”

The shotgun didn’t waver or lower. “I’d be more inclined to believe you if I knew who and what the hell you are.”

There was a curious tilt of the thing’s head, oddly reminiscent of a bird. “My name is Castiel. I’m an angel of the Lord.”

“Ain’t no such thing,” Bobby spat.

There was a soft exhalation, which Bobby would discover later was the equivalent of a drawn-out sigh combined with eye-rolling, and then lightning flashed and he saw the shadow of enormous wings spread wide against the backdrop of trees. “He did not believe either, at first,” the angel said, his voice oddly curious. “Humans have become very skeptical in the last two thousand years.”

“Why are you here?” Bobby had dropped the weapon down to his side, but he reserved the right to keep it at hand while he talked to this ‘Castiel’ guy.

“I am here because I felt his pain.” Castiel did not elaborate on this topic, nor did he begin a new one. Instead, the angel dropped down to the ground by Dean, watching his sleeping form with an odd lack of expression.

“He’s been slashed open twice and dislocated that shoulder at least once since I’ve known him. That wasn’t enough pain for you?”

“That was physical. Dean knows how to handle physical pain. It was the emotional pain that brought me here.” He reached around the tree and produced the now-open handcuffs, setting them aside before passing a hand over the quills still embedded in Dean’s leg. When Bobby got another look the quills were gone and the leg was whole again. “The Hystrix carries a poison that makes a person see his worst fears and memories, and Dean has a lot of those to choose from.”

Bobby was suddenly presented with a dilemma. It was a pretty sure bet that the angel knew the answers to every question he’d ever had about Dean, questions he’d never dared to ask his friend. It seemed unwilling to lie, possibly even unable to do so. The problems with this were two-fold: only a sneaky bitch would go behind a friend’s back like that, for one, and how do you interrogate an angel, anyway?

“Why him,” he finally asked, deciding that was a fairly non-invasive question that probably wouldn’t get him struck by lightning or shot by Dean.

“Because we have work for him,” Castiel said. “He is a righteous man.”

Bobby snorted. “In case you haven’t noticed, the man’s not exactly a saint. Guy gets more tail than the backseat of a cab.” He realized that he’d said this to an angel a moment after the words had left his mouth, and felt himself redden. “What I mean is, Dean’s a great guy, but not exactly who I’d think of as holy.”

“Righteousness is defined as purity of heart,” Castiel said, and Bobby didn’t think the stiffness in his tone had been there quite so much earlier. “Doing the right thing for the right reason. We had priests. We needed a warrior.”

“All right,” said Bobby, hoping he wasn’t about to earn himself a righteous smiting. “Why you?”

“Because I was the one who gripped his soul and raised it from perdition.” The angel settled his hand on Dean’s dislocated left shoulder, fitting slender fingers over the burn scar Dean made an effort to keep concealed. “His pain is my pain, until the end. That was the price for the privilege of raising him.” The shoulder slipped back into place with no fanfare.

“That’s enough, Cas,” came a rough, weary voice. “Gotta leave me some mystery.”

The angel frowned. “You should not be awake yet.”

“Eh, you know how it goes. Places to go, things to kill.” Dean sat up with a groan. “Thanks for showing up. I wasn’t looking forward to spending the next ten or so hours reliving any of that crap.”

“Please be more careful,” Castiel said, his expression stern. “I must return to my duties.” Then he was gone between one blink and the next.

Bobby looked at Dean as the other man climbed to his feet. “That’s it. You’re telling me everything.”

***

No matter what Bobby said, Dean had no intention of telling him everything. Especially not the time travel. Highlights of the last few years maybe, (my brother died, I sold my soul to bring him back, went to hell, had an angel yank me out by the arm) but he’d come to like this younger version of Bobby for his own merits and was definitely not planning on tell him that a lifetime ago, Dean had thought of him as a second father. He had to leave out most of the details to keep all that a secret, but just the overview was enough to send a sane man screaming and he had a feeling that Bobby wasn’t anxious for details.

“So that ‘His pain is my pain’ thing?”

“A new one to me,” Dean admitted. “Castiel’s pretty close-mouthed about that angel crap.” He finished tucking away the weapons in the false bottom of the trunk before closing both the inside and outside lids and hurrying into the car and out of the cold, unfortunately into the passenger seat. Bobby had insisted, even though his injuries were gone, and Dean couldn’t really argue.

Bobby nodded, absorbing the information as he followed Dean into the car. “And Hell?”

“Don’t remember, not really.” This was the first outright lie Dean had told to his friend in the whole tale, but that particular piece of information was no one’s business but his. Forty years of memories that revolved around torture didn’t belong in any conversation that he felt like having.

His friend looked contemplative as he started the engine and started driving down the rutted dirt road, which worried Dean a little. Nothing good ever came from such a look on the face of Bobby Singer. “So, angels are real.”

“Both real and really annoying, most of the time,” Dean confirmed.

“And that means that God is real.” It was less a question and more a statement.

“They seem to think so,” Dean said, shrugging. “Never met the guy myself.”

Bobby would probably have been surprised at Dean’s casual disregard of the matter if it hadn’t fit right in with everything else he knew about the man. “And what does Castiel think about that?”

“Never asked him.” Dean dug out a battered canteen from beneath the seat and took a drink. “Surest way to end a working relationship is to talk politics or religion.” He drank again, deeply, before passing it over to Bobby. “Mostly he shows up to tell me to do something or to see if I’ll explain some weird aspect of human behavior. It’s not like we’re hanging out at the Central Perk with Ross and Rachel.”

“Who?”

“Don’t worry about it. Point is, we don’t spend much time together. He keeps pretty busy doing . . .whatever it is that angels do.” Dean couldn’t quite manage to keep out the bitterness as he indirectly quoted what Castiel had told him the second time they met. “You think the armies of heaven should just follow me around?”

There were a few seconds of silence, long enough to become awkward, before Bobby said gruffly, “I don’t think even that could keep us out of trouble.”

Dean laughed and the discussion moved on. “Let’s head a few towns over, see if we can’t find another case.”

“You mean your angel buddy didn’t give you one before he left?” Bobby chuckled at the idea before frowning. “Wait, is that where those weird cases come from?”

“What weird cases?” Dean tried his best to look both bored and innocent, but he was pretty sure he hadn’t managed it.

“The one’s like the Wendigo out in Colorado,” Bobby said, a little impatiently. “Where you know more than you should about what’s responsible and where to find it.”

Huh. Dean hadn’t even thought of that, but it was pretty much the perfect solution to the problem of hunts that came from his memories of the future. “Yeah. Sometimes Cas passes along stuff like that.”

“Well, you could have just told me, ‘stead of mucking around digging up research you didn’t need.”

Dean snorted. “This coming from the guy who probably didn’t believe in angels six hours ago.”

“Yeah, well, seeing is believing.”

“That it is.” Dean forced himself to settle back against his seat. He’d never made a good passenger. “No angel-approved hunt. We’ll find our own.”

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
heartlessbytchh
Sep. 21st, 2010 09:59 am (UTC)
I'm really enjoying your story. Thank you.
faithburke
Sep. 21st, 2010 11:02 am (UTC)
Thanks for reviewing! I'm glad you are enjoying it.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )