Title: The Air In Between
Rating/Warning: Mature (language)
Category: Gen - wing!fic
Notes: Followup to Forgetting To Fall and Learning To Fly.
Summary: - But, here's the critical thing. If you find yourself dealing with an unexpected backstory, and a preponderance of exposition, then the sequel rules do not apply. Because you are not dealing with a sequel, you are dealing with the concluding chapter of a trilogy. – Scream 3
Dead. I am so dead.
Dean was fast, always had been. He’d been hassled to try for the track team in high school, football wanted him, not to mention Lacrosse. He would always duck his head and say thanks but no thanks because he knew his father would pitch a fit. He’d seen the fight when Sam had asked about Little League.
That being said, there was always something faster.
Dean felt that something clip his heel and he nearly went down. He wheeled his arms crazily and leaned into the tumble so he was still going forward and not ending up flat on his face. Whatever was chasing him, all claws and teeth and fur, was not something he’d seen before and he hadn’t realised the damn thing would be so quick.
“Sam!” Dean hollered because really, where the hell had the kid gotten to? They’d been circling around to trap the thing when it had come charging at Dean and Sam shouldn’t be taking this-
Dean was grabbed roughly under the arms and was left pedalling his feet in the air before he realised he could stop running. There was the feeling of vertigo and then flying through the air and Dean hit solid and rolled, coming up in a crouch and recognising that he was now on a roof. He was smacked in the back of the head as he leaned over the side and watched Sam winging his way back down to the creature that was turning around in a circle and snarling in frustration, probably wondering where its Dean-sized snack had gotten to. Sam had a crossbow out and let loose a bolt as he angled downwards, pulling up just as the bolt went through the open maw of the monster that let out a wail and pitched nose-first into the ground.
“Goddamn show-off,” Dean grumbled as he watched Sam wheel around in a gentle arc and come to rest on the roof opposite. Sam was holding up his crossbow, wings flared wide and Dean could see from where he was that Sam was grinning.
They compared notes sometimes.
Sam would recount something from their childhood and Dean would either fill in the gaps or retell the story completely. He wasn’t exactly sure how it worked, but Sam seemed to have had a different life overlaid on top of his own in his memory. It was close enough to be vaguely the same life, sans wings and all the defining moments that were involved with them. It was interesting and sometimes Dean would listen to Sam’s version with all the fascination that he would usually reserve for the times Sam let slip little things about the Stanford years, a painful subject that he wasn’t likely to talk about very often.
After a while Sam did recall falling off the barn roof the first time he’d tried to fly, but in his recollection he had hit the ground and broken his arm, leaving Dean to scoop him up and run him back to the main house, screaming for their dad. He didn’t remember the period of time Dean was cutting his wings off altogether for him either but what he did recount was Dean stitching him up after a disastrous try at a solo hunt that had never happened.
Sometimes Sam would laugh along when Dean was telling him the true story but more often than not he got quiet. “In here,” he once said, tapping long fingers on his temple. “It’s not really me at all.”
Dean felt like a sap when he leaned forward and thumped Sam’s chest, saying, “Yeah, but in here it is,” but it was worth it for the quick and brilliant smile he received in return.
“I’m telling you, a shotgun will make you look more badass.”
Sam rolled his eyes, pushing the stock of the shotgun away from himself that Dean was holding out. “And I told you that the recoil throws me off. Besides, I think wings and the crossbow are badass enough.”
“You’re such a girl.”
Dean had a regularly scheduled call in with Ash on a Wednesday afternoon. Ellen was always out and Sam had gotten addicted to the older sitcoms they showed at that time and the only working television was in the attic. Pastor Jim’s attempt at wiring the house had been novel at best.
“I don’t know what to tell you, my friend. It’s like he’s vanished off the face of the earth.” There was crunching and then a loud belch and Dean grimaced.
“Can you not eat right in my ear?”
“Sorry, I didn’t realise I would be offending your dainty sensibilities.”
“Don’t be an ass,” Dean snapped, grimacing because he didn’t really mean to take his frustration out on Ash.
“I can be whatever the hell I damn well please when doing free research for you. I can chew loud and not wear pants.”
“Please tell me you’re wearing pants,” Dean groaned with a shudder and he could hear the grin in Ash’s voice.
“I just don’t understand why you have such a hard-on for this guy, Casen. He gave Sam what he wanted without doing anything really nasty. Sounds like a win-win to me.”
“Yeah, just… he was supposed to take Sammy’s memories but it’s like he’s replaced them completely. Ever get the feeling that something just isn’t right?” Dean mused, running a hand along his jaw, the rasp against his hand reminding him that he needed to shave. He was getting lazy with the niceties since they’d started living fulltime at Jim’s farm, using it as a kind of base of operations. They ranged further out when there was a hunt but Sam was still a colt with wobbly legs for the most part where his wings were concerned and although they’d been field-tested, Dean wasn’t quite ready to hit the road fulltime again.
He supposed it had more to do with not trusting anything Casen had given them rather than Sam’s abilities. The last thing they needed was Sam to become visible when they were strolling through a large city in broad daylight. The glamour knot was almost too good to be true and Dean never trusted anything like that.
“Well, I’d rely on your spidey sense over mine so I’ll keep looking,” Ash allowed. “There’s some people I haven’t tried yet but I gotta warn you, I’ve basically left the real baddies till last.”
“Just be careful and don’t do anything Sam wouldn’t,” Dean said, their usual sign off.
“Hell Dean, I’m rarely careful but I’m always pretty,” Ash snorted and Dean laughed out loud. He was never really sure what Ash was talking about but it was always amusing.
It was still fascinating.
Dean watched Sam navigate his way through a crowded market, people completely missing the fact that they were brushing past a six-foot-five guy with wings almost as big. At first Dean had been expecting Sam to push things over and knock folks flat but Sam had just shrugged and said, “I’m getting used to them, and it’s not like your own arms get in the way, right?”
Sam had started using the wings like Dean remembered, an extension of himself. His body remembered faster than his brain and although they would still have broken plates and smashed glasses because Sam turned around in the kitchen too fast, he was getting better. The actual flying was the last thing to come together but over the last couple of weeks Sam had improved greatly, managing to land on his feet rather than the his usual undignified sprawl which was hilarious but inconvenient.
Dean pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and hit the speed dial when he saw Sam hovering over the cereal selections. “Put the shredded wheat back and get me my Coco Puffs, bitch,” Dean said when Sam answered. In response, Sam picked up a box Dean could see was green and probably contained something that tasted like cardboard and waggled it aloft. “Oh you are just cruisin’ for a bruisin’ sunshine,” Dean warned.
“Yeah, and nineteen eighty-five called and they want their expression back,” Sam replied and hung up.
“Son of a…” Dean grumbled.
“Hey, you one of the fellas staying at the Murphy place?” Dean turned around and saw an older man standing behind him dressed in coveralls tied about his waist and a grease covered undershirt. His arms were streaked with black up to the elbow and Dean hitched in a breath because for a moment the man looked so much like his dad it physically hurt.
“Uh, yeah,” Dean recovered, squinting into the late afternoon sun.
“Heard tell one of you was good with cars,” the guy continued, eyeing the Impala Dean was leaning against speculatively.
Dean really hated small towns. There was no such thing as laying low if you stayed long enough. He’d tried to keep himself and Sam off the radar as much as possible but he knew people would be curious. He wasn’t sure where the car thing had come from and who but he didn’t really see any harm in copping to it. “That’s me,” he admitted.
“You fix this up yourself, she’s a beaut,” the guy said, putting a hand out. Dean appreciated the way he let his palm hover over the Impala but didn’t actually touch her.
“My dad actually, taught me everything he knew. Had his own garage for a while.”
“Well, not sure if you’re looking but my best mechanic up and left a couple of days back with no notice. People travel here from Jonesville and Stanton because we’re known to be good with the oldies and work’s piling up.” The guy turned and pointed up the street. Dean followed his finger and saw a large garage with blue walls and a red roof just past the church and the town’s single video store. He’d noticed the place on his way in because there was a T-bird out the front and a sixty-nine yellow Impala with its tail just hanging outside the doors.
“Cash in hand and just till I can get someone permanent?”
Dean looked back at the market for a second. They hadn’t been able to use any of their credit cards and the money stash he’d kept for emergencies was running low. Dean still wasn’t quite prepared to hit the road and had been contemplating asking around for handy work. “Sounds… good. The name’s Dean.”
“Freddy,” the guy introduced, offering a hand and grinning when Dean shook it. “How about you come by in the morning and we can see if we get along?”
Sam had appeared in the doorway of the market and was looking from Freddy to Dean. When Freddy nodded and departed Sam wandered over. “What was that about?” he asked, his voice faux-bright and Dean raised an eyebrow at him.
“Guy offered me a job. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that would you?” Dean asked.
“Me? No, not at all,” Sam spluttered, eyes too big and a hand going to his chest in a gesture that reeked of overkill. “Got your candy masquerading as cereal,” Sam added in such a blatant attempt at deflection that Dean just had to let it go.
Sam was like a damn plant. Stay still long enough anywhere and he started trying to put down roots. Dean knew they were going to have to have a serious discussion but the middle of town on a bright sunny Sunday wasn’t the best time.
“Yeah, whatever,” Dean huffed, opening the back door of the Impala and giving Sam’s ass a kick as he climbed in.
“Pull!” Dean yelled. He watched Sam get a good run up and take off and was caught for a moment. He wasn’t sure he would ever get used to the sight of his brother taking off but he had a job to do. Dean brought the paintball rifle up to his shoulder, took aim and fired. Sam pitched to the right but the paint pellet caught him on the shoulder, splattering bright green across his wing and making Sam wheel crazily and hit the ground moments later.
Sam got up slowly, dusting off his jeans and kneepads. Dean could see his brother scowling from where he was sitting. “Is this really the only way to do this?” Sam called, adjusting the strap on his helmet.
“You got a better idea?” Dean asked.
“Yeah. How about we don’t? I feel like an idiot.”
“What can I say man? You’re just a big target when you’re flying. It’s not like you can duck behind a handy wall,” Dean said, shrugging and lowering the rifle to his lap. “If you want to feel less like a dork you can take the helmet off.”
“You hit me in the head three times, Dean,” Sam snapped, scowling. Dean just grinned.
“I know, and now you’re wearing the helmet it’s less fun,” Dean snorted.
“You’re enjoying this way too much,” Sam griped, walking back to his starting position.
“Dude, I’m hurt. We’re training. This is serious business,” Dean said, bringing the rifle up again. “Pull!”
Okay, so maybe clipping Sam in the ankle before he’d even gotten off the ground wasn’t exactly sporting, but Dean flat on his stomach and getting shot in the back of the neck repeatedly by an enraged Sam was a little overkill.
“This isn’t permanent.”
Dean hadn’t meant to blurt it out. He’d meant to casually bring up the topic of their future and find a rational way to discuss it in an attempt to avoid the Sammy bitch special that was, admittedly, pretty unavoidable.
Sam bringing home a puppy had changed all that.
“What?” Sam said, jerking like he’d been physically hit. The small, squirming bundle in his arms let out a yip of protest and Sam ran a large hand over its head and scratched behind its ears to calm it down. “Dean, I thought-”
“We can’t stay here, Sam. I mean, this was only ever going to be temporary until you got the hang of things. I thought you knew that.”
“How did I know that Dean? Am I a mind reader all of a sudden?” Sam growled and put a hand up when Dean just raised his eyebrows at that. Sam hunkered down to set the puppy on its feet, what looked like a Labrador crossed with something in the mongrel family. At least its black, Dean thought.
“C’mon?” Sam threw up his hands when he stood again. “We can’t exactly drive all over the countryside anymore, Dean. I can’t fit in the Impala unless I’m lying down in the back!”
“That’s not so bad,” Dean tried although he was getting worried about where their argument was going to lead. “Did you think getting me work in town was going to make me forget that we have a real job to do?”
“We’re still hunting.”
“Jesus, Sam, not like we should be. This sitting still thing is driving me insane.”
“What did you think was going to happen, Dean? If you thought we were going to pick up where we left off then you were kidding yourself. I can’t go back on the road like this,” Sam said, flaring his wings wide, frustration evident in his tone. “I assumed you knew that,” he added in a quieter, hurt-sounding voice.
“We can,” Dean insisted. “It’ll be awkward but we’ll figure it out.”
“No,” Sam said, sounding defeated. “We won’t. If you can’t stay then…”
Dean let the silence stretch out between them. He’d been so concerned for so long that Sam would leave him that he had never even contemplated the very real possibility that there would came a day when he would be the one to go. “Hey, no Sam,” Dean said, leaning down to scoop up the puppy. “I’m not going anywhere.”
He could see Sam didn’t believe him and Dean figured that was appropriate since he was pretty sure he didn’t believe himself.
Dean lasted exactly two more months before he packed up his stuff. Sam stood on the front steps of the farmhouse, hands jammed in his pockets with Hell Hound, named after a long drawn out debate, sitting at his feet.
“This is stupid. Go get your bags,” Dean snapped and Sam grimaced.
“My wings are a cramped misery after an hour in the car, Dean. Be serious.”
“Sit on the roof or, I don’t know, sit on the hood. You can be the hood ornament.”
“Funny,” Sam sighed, yanking his hands out of his pockets only to cross his arms in front of his chest.
“Okay, from what Ellen said it sounded like a routine haunting. I shouldn’t be more than a week.”
“Sure, of course,” Sam said, nodding. His face had closed down though and Dean recognised the expression.
“I’m coming back you big dork,” Dean huffed and Sam nodded again, a quick up down of his head. His mouth had thinned down to a tight line.
“Unless you catch wind of something else and then you might have to check it out and there’ll be another case after that and before you know it, months will have flown by.”
“No, Dean. Let’s not kid ourselves. I’m not fifteen and you’re not Dad. Visit when you can. Don’t forget we’re here.” Sam didn’t give Dean a chance to say anything else, turning and shouldering his way through the screen door, Hell Hound at his heels.
“I’m coming back!” Dean yelled at the closed door and he’d meant it.
At the time, he really had.
It was four months before Dean managed to find himself on the way back home.
Home, Dean thought with a wry grin. He wasn’t going to admit it to Sam but he liked being able to say that, even if only to himself. He mulled the word over, knowing the only home he had actually ever had was the road, the Impala and his brother but a building, somewhere he could head back to that would smell of morning and grass and Sam…
He’d come to a decision on his way back. Never this long again. He’d find the hunts close by, take Freddy up on his offer for a more permanent position.
The word had once been something dirty, telling of injury or boredom or the fight done. Since Dean didn’t think even in his wildest dreams that the fight would ever be done, he dismissed even the idea of it out of hand. He’d said once though that it wasn’t worth it, the fight, the hunt, nothing without family. He’d gone back on his own words and he found he was regretting it.
Dean understood how you got caught up, how his father had always gotten caught up. One hunt would lead to another and another and another. There wasn’t always time to stop in at home, even if you had kids that were tired, hungry and on their last five dollars and an empty Lucky Charms box.
He could blame the wings or he could see them for what they were, a catalyst of sorts. Something to make him stop and stay. It would be the same if either he or Sam had gotten hurt enough to not be able to hunt anymore. He wouldn’t want Sam to leave him behind and he wondered how he’d ever thought he could do the same.
Dean was still two days out from the Jim’s farm though and the Roadhouse was only a slight detour. He hadn’t managed to speak to Ash while he was travelling and Dean was dying to know if Ash had gotten any more information. Dean knew the extra three hours would be worth it and Sam wasn’t exactly going anywhere. Dean pushed through the Roadhouse doors and yelled a greeting.
“Hey sunshine, where you been hiding?” Ellen asked, a deep grin on her face. Dean smirked and swaggered over, knowing this dance. She was tough and resistant to his charm but she liked him anyway, probably despite herself and Dean always found that endlessly entertaining.
“Hunting,” Dean replied, pulling himself up onto one of the barstools and slapping his hand down on the worn wood, scarred and warm. “Too early for a beer?”
“Definitely, but I’ll make you a coffee with something extra as a compromise,” Ellen offered, raising an eyebrow at Dean. “You lookin’ for a job? I got a couple of things that seem interesting.”
“Nah,” Dean said, waving off the lead and resisting his curiosity. Maybe you could just look at them a little voice inside Dean said and he slammed down hard on it, knowing you could never just look. “Heading back to Sammy.”
“You got a girl now then? I never would have thought I’d see the day,” Ellen remarked as she disappeared behind the bar to pour the coffee.
Dean snorted. “He’d just love to hear you say that.”
“He?” Ellen set the coffee down in front of Dean and the smell of whiskey hit him hard. Ellen never did anything by halves.
“Yeah, Sam. You know? Tall guy, messy hair, puppy dog eyes?” Dean said, taking a sip of his coffee and fighting the urge to cough. Ellen was still looking at him strangely though and Dean noticed and set the cup down carefully.
“I didn’t know you had a partner,” Ellen said with a shrug. “You should bring him by, introduce him.”
“Ellen,” Dean said slowly, feeling the grin freeze on his own face. “If it’s too early for beer it’s too early to be messing with me. I’m talking about Sam. My brother Sam.”
“Now who’s foolin’?” Ellen said, waving a dismissive hand.
“Greetings traveller,” Ash said, dropping down on the stool next to Dean. He turned and clapped Ash on the shoulder.
“Hey, got anything for me?” he asked, forgetting for a moment the very surreal conversation he’d been having with Ellen.
“Was I supposed to?” Ash asked, looking blank and Dean threw up his hands.
“Okay, this is all very hilarious but I’m just passing through here and I need to get going. You said you would tap your more underworld connections for Casen’s whereabouts.”
“Son of a bitch,” Dean grumbled, stomping down the front steps of Jim’s place when he’d been through the entire house and saw that there was no trace of Sam.
A low, pitiful-sounding whine had Dean down on his belly in the rough grass and looking under the house. At first he could see nothing but shadows, until one of them moved, humping forward. “Hell Hound?” Dean breathed as the dog came into view, looking mud-spattered but otherwise okay. Hell Hound licked the fingers that Dean held out tentatively and gave another low whine.
Dean grabbed the dog around the middle and hauled him out into the sun, standing and cradling him against his chest. The small creature was trembling and Dean wrenched the door open to the Impala and dug through his duffle until he found one of his emergency food cans, only setting the dog down long enough to crack open the can of frank and beans and fish one of the franks out. Hell Hound wolfed it down and snuffled for another.
Something cold clenched in Dean’s stomach. It was possible that Sam had left the farmhouse but what was impossible was him abandoning the puppy. Sam just didn’t have it in him.
“Where are you?” Dean murmured, worry and dread sparking through him.
“That was my question,” a voice said behind him and Dean didn’t need to turn around to know who it was. Didn’t need to see Hell Hound hunkered down on the ground, growling low. Dean reached down and picked up the puppy, depositing him in the front seat of the Impala and shutting the door before he turned around.
“I’ve been looking for you,” Dean said, turning to see Edgar Casen, looking exactly and unsurprisingly the same as he had the first time Dean had met him sitting in their kitchen.
“Again, you stole the words right out of my mouth,” Edgar said and his voice was like oil, making Dean grimace and want to flinch away. What he didn’t understand was how his father had ever brought this man into their lives, into Sam’s life. How he had ever thought anything good would come of it.
Dean wanted to kick himself for letting them tempt fate twice.
“What do you want?” Dean asked, itching to put his hands on the revolver tucked into his belt but not knowing what good it would do. Edgar still had the violet, cat-slitted eyes Dean remembered and he knew that when you made deals with the darkness the eyes were the first thing to go, windows to the soul and all. The fact that Casen looked like he hadn’t aged a day was another giveaway. Dean wasn’t quite sure what he was dealing with.
“Just the last of my payment,” Casen said, spreading his hands and tipping Dean a smile that had gooseflesh prickling the skin on Dean’s arms.
“What are you talking about? You took Sam’s memories already,” Dean snapped, feeling tired and scared and wanting to know where the hell his brother was and why exactly the fuck no one at the Roadhouse seemed to know who he was. It was all beginning to make a horrible kind of sense and Dean really didn’t like what it was all adding up to.
“Ah, but I only took the first instalment. People never read the fine print.”
“You can take the binding back, the glamour knot too. We don’t want it anymore,” Dean said, letting his fingers trail up to the gun anyway. Was worth giving it a shot, pun intended.
“No return on purchase,” Casen snapped, shaking his head. “You see, I found out a little something interesting the last time you got in contact with me. Turns out Sam is important to a lot of lower beings and I was planning on buying my way into their good graces before the war. It was very unwise of you to have your friends try to dig me up after all this time. Leaving them with their lives was the last favour I will do you.”
Casen was looking at his nails, as if the whole conversation bored him. “Sam is my last stop and when I wipe him clean and build him back up again to serve me I won’t be left scrambling and begging in the dust like the rest of humanity. I will be the red right hand. Now, I need to know where Sam is and I’m assuming you won’t just tell me so this will hurt, quite a lot.”
Dean was reaching for the gun when he felt something arc out towards him and wrap around his mind. A hot spike of pain lanced through his temple and Dean went to his knees, fingers scrabbling at his head like he could make it stop. At that moment something blotted out the sun, a shadow screaming like a banshee and Dean felt the pressure on his mind release as Casen was hit and sent tumbling back towards the house.
Dean retched into the dust and then tried to get his feet under him, seeing Sam and Casen smash through one of the front windows on the farmhouse and disappear inside. “Sam!” Dean called raggedly, making his shaky way around the Impala to the trunk. He stabbed his key in, missing on the first few tries and finally got it open, pulling everything out that would be even vaguely useful.
Dean got as far as the steps when Casen emerged, dusting himself off and scowling. His face and arms were bloody, sliced up from going through the window and he was looking thunderous. “You think you can hurt me,” he spat when he noticed Dean bringing up a shotgun. He gestured sideways and Dean felt the gun ripped from his hands. Dean went for the knife in his boot but didn’t reach it before the horrible and invasive pressure was back in his head. Dean’s legs went out from under him and he fell to his hands and knees, panting raggedly.
Casen put a boot on Dean’s shoulder and pushed him over onto his back. “You don’t get to derail my plans, boy,” Casen sneered.
“Your plans sound kinda half-assed to me,” Dean croaked, talking through the blood in his mouth. He spat sideways and breathed deep, trying to claw his way through the pain in his head long enough to raise his arm and the knife he was still clutching weakly. Casen chuckled, bringing his foot down on Dean’s wrist and Dean groaned, hearing something snap.
“The lower beings enjoy drama. Otherwise I would’ve taken my due when I first met your pathetic family. They like a little flair when humans are brought low and what would be more poetic than causing a winged man to fall? Has a sense of the old school biblical about it.” Casen kicked Dean, who cursed and tried to curl around the pain. “What will be even more fun is that I will ensure Sam’s first kill will be you and he will have no idea who you are.”
“Go to hell,” Dean growled.
“I’m trying to, don’t you see? I’m just making sure to secure myself a first class ticket.”
“Hey!” a voice called from somewhere above and to the left. Dean saw Casen look up and there was a sharp report. The man pitched backwards with a cry and Dean felt something like warm rain on his face. Worn sneakers appeared in Dean’s line of sight and then the rest of Sam’s body, his face swimming into focus last.
“You still with me?” Sam prodded, crouching and putting a gentle hand on Dean’s shoulder, rolling him carefully to his back again. Dean noticed the shotgun set across Sam’s knees and raised an eyebrow.
“Where’s your sissy crossbow?”
“I don’t know. Someone once told me that a shotgun made me look more badass.” Sam grinned.
“Is he dead?” Dean asked.
“Not sure, but I’m not going to take any chances. I’ll shoot him and stab him with everything in the trunk and then see if he gets up.”
“Good idea,” Dean agreed, letting darkness sweep him under.
“He’s still mad at you,” Dean observed, watching Hell Hound duck away from Sam’s attempts to snag him.
“I didn’t have a choice,” Sam grumbled. “Casen hit the farm house a couple of hours before you did and just stayed. I knew what had happened to Ellen when I called the Roadhouse because I couldn’t get you on your cell.” Sam huffed, watching with frustration as Hell Hound ducked behind Dean’s legs and stayed there. “Great, he’s your dog now. That’s just not fair.”
“I’m sure he’ll come around,” Dean chuckled, scooping up the errant puppy. “I may not forgive you though,” Dean added.
“Because you wrote Dean Winchester sucks balls on my cast,” Dean snapped, juggling Hell Hound into the crook of his left arm so he could hold up his casted right one indignantly.
“You can’t prove a thing,” Sam said airily.
“So, what are we going to do?” Dean asked, setting the puppy down and waving a hand in the direction of Sam’s bare wrist. “We’re back to you only getting to go out one night a year.”
Sam shrugged, a full roll of the shoulders. “Missouri said she’d look into it for me but not to get my hopes up. The kind of power Casen used to create the first one… let’s just say I don’t want anyone using the same methods.”
“Everyone remember who you are now?”
“Seem to. I’m not sure how it works but Missouri said Casen kind of harvested memories before he used them for god knows what. I’m still pretty much swiss cheese but I’m hoping eventually…” Sam shrugged, spreading his hands in a helpless gesture.
“You know, Ellen thought I was-”
“-talking about my girlfriend when-”
“-I said Sammy. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one that thinks you’re a giant girl.”
“A giant girl who saved your ass.”
“So you agree with me. You’re a giant girl.”
“I hate you.”
“I find that hard to believe.”
“You suck balls.”
“You hide the body?”
Dean almost snorted coffee out of his nose when Freddy leaned over the hood of the mustang he was working on. Dean set aside his cup carefully and wiped his hands on the rag he had tucked into his back pocket. “I’m sorry, what?”
“We haven’t seen your brother around town much. I was just wonderin’ if you killed him and hid the body.”
“Uh, no?” Dean said, trying not to sound as choked as he felt. Freddy was looking at him mildly, nothing in his face to say he was particularly concerned, just curious.
Freddy reached into his own pocket and pulled something out, setting it by Dean’s hand. Dean felt his stomach drop out when he saw it was a white feather. “We all liked Jim Murphy around here,” Freddy said, his tone still conversational. “Especially when he got rid of a bad Red Cap infestation in the old saw mill. Lost three kids to it before we figured out what was happening. Whole town turned out to watch him toss those little buggers on the fire.”
“I… uh… I…” Dean managed, truly at a loss.
“We get all kinds here,” Freddy continued. “What? You thought Sanctuary was just one of them quaint, bible-belt names for a town?” Freddy was smiling now, eyes bright.
Freddy was heading back to his office when he paused, looking at Dean over his shoulder. “Your brother’s about six foot five, right? Wing span about the same? You can spot him from miles away when he’s up high enough. Just something to think about.”