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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Fic: One of a Kind (Supernatural/Gilmore Girls crossover)

A/N:  Thank you for the nice comments about part one :)  Some parts of the fic are more humorous than others, and some are necessarily serious (we do have some kidnapped Jareds, after all).  Also, plot?  Plot?  What do you mean I have to have a plot!  The fact that it’s not completely full of holes is thanks to Tyranusfan.  Other notes and disclaimers in the first chapter.

CHAPTER TWO

It smelled funny.

Of all the things to notice, that probably wasn’t really the most useful thing, but he couldn’t control what his subconscious mind chose to focus on.  And right now, all he could think of was that smell--must and dirt, with a hint of pine and wood, all chilled by cold Connecticut air.

That thought roused him a little.  He was lying on his side, with his nose buried in the loose leaves that littered the forest floor. 

No wonder it smelled so much.

He jerked to full awareness and instantly regretted the motion.  Sure, it got his nose out of the matted foliage, but it set the rest of his body on fire.  Pain spiked in his head and his chest constricted as he curled over in a fit of coughing.

When it passed, his face was pressed into the ground once again, but this time he couldn’t smell at all.  All he knew was pain.

He lay like that until the spasms of pain eased and when he was able to open his eyes.

Or eye.

He’d forgotten about the swelling.

He wished he could forget about the rest.

Pulling himself to a sitting position, Sam cradled his injured arm close to his body and took in his position.  He was at the bottom of an incline, one lined with branches, trees, and rocks--no wonder he felt worse than before.

Fleeing was still of the utmost priority, but the woods were quiet and lonely, and he wouldn’t get very far until he knew just what condition he was in.  He needed to know if holing up was his best option or if flight was still on the table.

Which made him turn his attention to himself.  His head ached--if he’d had a concussion before, he’d only made it worse with his trip down the hill, which might also explain the growing nausea in his stomach.  It was harder to breathe than he remembered, but that could as easily be the growing coldness as exacerbated rib injuries.  Still, the ribs warranted caution, and were he feeling more up to it, Sam could attempt to figure out if they were broken now or not.

But the idea of inflicting more pain on himself was not high on his list of things to do at the moment.  His consciousness was tenuous at best as it was, so he’d just proceed with due caution and assume the worst.

His wrist, however, was a different story.  Obviously swollen under his long-sleeved t-shirt, he could still move his fingers, and he was pretty sure it was just a bad sprain. Further up the arm, he could see the still seeping gash and figured that might account for some of the lightheadedness.

Of all the wounds, that was the one he would have to treat before moving on.  It was the only one he could do anything about anyway.

Unfortunately, Sam had no supplies.  He had nothing but the clothes he was wearing and he was reluctant to give up any of it.  The day was cold enough already and if he was still out when night came, he might be running the risk of low-grade hypothermia.

It was the lesser of two evils, and blood loss would do him in faster than the cold.  With that resolve, he took to ripping a strip from his shirt.  It was hard work one handed, and even more so with his fingers aching from the cold.  He had to use his mouth to tie it, and his arm seared in protest to the pressure but after long, painful minutes, it was done.

The entire process left him spent and exhausted, collapsed and heaving on the ground.

When he could think again, he almost wished he couldn’t.  Because all his injuries aside, he was so screwed.

And to think, only two days ago, he’d been with his dad and brother, trying to get everything he could from his last few days in Connecticut.  That was, of course, before he’d been jumped on his way home.

In retrospect, Sam should have been able to get out of it right then and there.  Not that he should have seen it coming, because really, who planned on being abducted on the way home from school, but there was no way in hell he should have let himself be taken down by two humans.

Of course, they hadn’t exactly played fair.  He’d heard them trailing him half a block before they struck.  That had given him time to ascertain that he was indeed being followed and allowed him a few moments of mental preparation.  His list of culprits was short and sweet at that point.  A few guys looking for a quick buck.  A junkie just needing enough for a fix.  Neither would be improbable.  Hartford wasn’t a huge city, nor was it known for its criminal activity, but most of Hartford liked to forget that the bad part of town even existed--which was, of course, exactly where the Winchesters had holed up for their brief stay in Connecticut.

So he’d anticipated something quick and kind of sloppy or maybe just a severe bout of paranoia on his part.

He dodged the first blow before it came, ducking and rolling away before following up with a kicked that landed hard to the attacker’s midsection.  The guy went down pretty hard and Sam had every intention of cutting and running when he saw the second guy.

And that had been a bit of a surprise.  Two-bit criminals didn’t usually mug in pairs.  Probably because there wasn’t enough loot in that kind of thing to split between two people.  Though, Sam had never really put much thought into why humans would even do that kind of thing to begin with.  Spirits and monsters, they couldn’t help it if they were evil.  People--their irrationality was nearly incomprehensible, because humans had the choice.  And why someone would willing choose something evil when there was already so much bad stuff in the world?

In retrospect, Sam sort of wished he’d thought about it.

The second guy had been a little harder and the hand to hand went on a bit longer before Sam saw a window of opportunity to cut and run fast.  He made it two feet before he was tackled from behind.

It wasn’t a technique he’d been expecting, nor was it one that he’d particularly practiced at home.  The pavement was rough and tore easily through his hand-me-down clothes. 

The impact had jarred him well enough to the point where he wasn’t able to roll through it and found himself flat on his back with his attacker perched on top of them, a smirk of a smile on his face.

That was when Sam figured out that this wasn’t a random mugging.  These guys weren’t junkies looking for a quick fix.  No, this was something else, something personal--

The guy had just grinned as Sam struggled fruitlessly, wishing like hell that his dad was here, that Dean was here, that someone--

He’d been knocked clear into oblivion at that point--for the first time of this ordeal, anyway, and it hadn’t been his last.

The area he was in now was a far cry from the rundown Hartford streets and for a second, Sam realized he couldn’t even be sure he was still in Connecticut.  After being knocked out on the street, he’d awoken someplace else--some kind of cabin, secluded in the woods.  These woods.  These never-ending, cold, miserable woods.

He sighed, letting his head drop to his knees.  He was so damn tired right now.  He just wanted to sleep through this part.

But sleeping through it would probably kill him.  And he’d gotten this far...

He jerked his head up, blinking dazedly.  This far.  Wherever this was.  He didn’t even know how far he was from the cabin, how close he was to any kind of town or road or any hint of civilization.  He didn’t even know if they were still looking for him.

They had been pissed, Sam remembered that clearly enough.  But who were they exactly?  Sam had figured out that they weren’t professionals or anything, that kidnapping probably wasn’t their day job.  They were too sloppy for that, too prone to discussions over pointless things like whether or not to let Sam use the bathroom, how to feed him, and other such things that Sam figured kidnappers, if they knew anything, should have really figured out before having their hostage tied to a chair.

When Sam had come to, he’d quelled his panic by going into full-on research mode.  He’d taken solace in knowing Dean would call him his geekboy and count on him to figure the background crap out.  And since Sam had been tied to a chair at the time, listening seemed like the only productive thing he could do.

And this is what he had figured out: these guys were brothers.  They didn’t say they were hunters, but they clearly knew his dad, and so far as Sam could know, the only people who knew his dad were people they’d met on hunts.

That would also explain why they were pissed all the time.  His dad had that effect on people, and so when the bigger guy started taking swipes at him, the only plausible reason Sam could come up with was some kind of revenge.

Which, of course, had sucked for him, being tied to a chair and all.

Things had gotten hazy for a bit, probably those stupid head wounds that kept adding up, and when the fog had cleared enough for him to think again, all he could think about was getting the hell out.

He had never doubted his dad and Dean would come.  He would just rather still have some brain left when they did.

His break had come when they untied him from the chair.  They’d tossed him in some kind of room instead, with thick wood plank walls and no windows and a lock on the door that could stop just about anything.  It had been cold there, and lonely, and he just wanted to sleep--

Sam’s eyes snapped open again.  Reminiscing wasn’t going to keep him awake.  He needed to move.  Needed to keep going.  At this point, where wasn’t even as important as just going.  True, moving around aimlessly would make it harder for his dad or Dean to find him if they even narrowed their search to these woods (they would, though, they had to) but at this point, staying still was too much of a danger for himself.  He needed to move slowly enough to mind his injuries--puncturing an internal organ at this point would be sure death.

But he needed to move.  The ground was too cold and the need for sleep was too dangerously pervasive.

Groping around slowly, he found his way to his feet, where he wobbled.  A wave of nausea almost took him down, but he swallowed hard against it.  He hadn’t gotten this far to give up now.    

Squinting up at the sky, he looked for the sun shining between the barren tree branches.  Sam had a pretty good sense of direction, but if this flight was going to get him anywhere, he needed to keep moving in one direction.

He couldn’t be totally sure of the time--his watch had been broken in his haste to escape--but it was probably about midday, given the height of the sun.

Midday.

Thinking made his head hurt.

Scratch that, breathing made his head hurt.

East.

He’d go east.

That way he’d know he’d gone too far if he ran into the ocean.

Sam took a lurching step, then steadied himself.

He could do this.  He’d gotten out of the cabin, hadn’t he?  And he couldn’t let a trip down a hill be the end of him.  Not a trip down a hill, not two brothers looking for revenge, just--no.  None of it.

His hurt arm still pulled close to his body, he took another step, and continued his flight.

-o-

Dean was dreaming.

Dean was dreaming about the market, about stocking the frozen foods.  The frozen peas, the frozen pizzas, even ice cream and canned juice concentrate (on sale for 88 cents this week).

He was stocking and stocking and stocking until his fingers felt numb and his entire body ached.  He stocked until his eyes watered and he just wanted to stop but he couldn’t stop.

Nope, he couldn’t stop because Taylor was there waving his hands above his head, saying, “We have to be ready.  We just have to be ready because we never know what’s going to happen!”

And of course Miss Patty was there preening and Babette was there clutching at an orange saying, “Oh, just wait until East Side Tilly hears about this one, I tell you.  It’ll be the talk of the town!”

And Lorelai.  Lorelai was there, laughing and drinking coffee and slapping Dean on the backside.  “That a way to do it,” she said.  “Best damn stock boy in all of Stars Hollow.  We can’t lose you, no sir-ee.”

Dean wanted to stop, wanted to tell her that he was too cold for this, that he hurt too much, but she was grinning that grin of hers.  “You know, I had a dream once where I was kidnapped by giant lima beans.  Which, really, is less of a dream and more of a nightmare.  Because have you ever eaten a lima bean?  Very not good.  And apparently they’re no better to be kidnapped by than to eat.  Seriously, the entire time the lima beans kept singing and poured me in a pot and slathered butter all over me and tried to boil me.  So just think, it can always get worse.  Because at least you’re not being buttered and boiled by a lima bean!”

Lorelai was making his head hurt and he sort of wanted to cry and everyone was leaving, they were walking out the door and leaving Dean there, and he didn’t want to be alone, he didn’t want to be there at all.

And Rory.  Her reflection in the glass door.  Smiling.  He wanted to turn, to look at her, but he couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything but stock.

“It’s a shame, Dean,” she said.  “But it’s not your fault.  I know that.  You can’t help it.  But I’m a little bored, you see, of waiting.  Tristan is waiting and so is Jess, and it has nothing to do with you.  You’re just nobody, kid.  So don’t think this is personal.”

Dean opened his mouth to scream, to stop her, to stop this, and abruptly woke up.

He was panting, which hurt more than he thought it should, and it took a moment for him to get past the confusion and realize that he was cold.  He was cold and stuck and achy and oh, God--

He wanted his nightmare back.

Because awake, he was still tied to the chair.  Tied to a chair in some cabin.  Only now it was hard to see out of either eye and his entire body throbbed with pain. 

When he finally managed to keep his head in an upright position and squint through the better of his two eyes, he could see that he was in the same room as before.  There was an assortment of open bags on the table, stained with grease, and Dean could make out McDonald’s wrappers and the distinct smell of fast food.

Blinking again, he managed to turn his head enough to take in more of the room.  It was nondescript overall, barren wood walls and simple, mismatched furniture.  There was a table and a few chairs in front of him and to the side, a small kitchenette.  The room was dusty from what he could tell, but not in disrepair.  There was a door and some windows, but all were obscured with curtains and shut up tight to the outside world.

He tried to put the pieces together again.  He’d been abducted, that much was still perfectly clear.  Taken right off the streets of Stars Hollow.  As for how long ago that was, Dean had no idea.  But he liked to think they’d miss him by now.  His parents.  Rory.  Taylor at the market.  Someone.

Because he needed that much.  He needed to believe that there was a chance someone might find him before these two lunatics had a chance to do whatever it was they were planning to do.

Which, coincidentally, had very little to do with him.  That was the part his aching head was still having trouble parsing.  They showed no indication that they knew who he was at all.  All they did was talk about some other guy--some other guy and some other kid and how the original plan was spoiled and Dean was just a stand-in.

Oh and it wasn’t personal with Dean.  They were going to choke him in his own damn hometown, throw him in a car (which he didn’t even remember), tie him to a chair and then proceed to beat the crap out of him.  But it wasn’t personal.

Well, Dean was sure as hell taking it personally, no matter what they said, not that he would ever have a chance to tell them since the gag was still biting into the corners of his mouth.

He tried to move but found the bonds as tight as he remembered.  His fingers were numb now and his backside had a cramp that was shooting through his left leg at this point.

A camera.  One of them had gone to get a camera.  For what?  To document this?

Of course to document it, Dean realized suddenly, feeling stupid for being this slow on the uptake.  He was a stand-in for some other kid and the point wasn’t just to use him as a punching bag.  But to get back at some other guy.  So pictures would be evidence, clues, something to draw the other guy here.

It sort of made sense, in a whacked-out, psychotic kind of way.  Imagine the fun they would have with this story on Dateline.  Over the top and ridiculous.  Rory didn’t even like Dateline, so maybe she’d never see it.

Problem was, the bad guys didn’t want him.  And whoever was supposedly coming didn’t want him either.  He was a nobody.  Richard Gilmore was right in all the worst ways.  After all, if someone kidnapped Rory, it would be because of who she was, because of the money to her name, because of what she was worth.  Not just because she was a fair approximation of someone else.

Dean felt his throat constrict and the inevitable urge to cry.  He’d read the papers with Rory.  He’d seen the headlines on the nightly news with Charles Gibson.  What was it they said?  If a missing person wasn’t found in 48 hours then the chances of finding them alive were slim?

How long had it been?  A day?  Two?  More?

If he was no good as leverage, if he wasn’t worth saving to whoever was supposed to save him, then was he going to die?  Would they just beat him until there was nothing left of him?  Leave him here to starve?  Or do it quick?  A shot to the head, stabbed in the heart?  Would they leave him here to rot?  Or bury him?  Cut him up?  Burn him?  Would anyone ever find him--alive or dead?

The thoughts were coming quickly now, too quickly, and he hiccuped painfully against the gag as tears spilled over his bruised eyelids.

He didn’t want to die.  He really didn’t want to die.  He just wanted to get out of here, to go home, to see his parents and Clara and Rory and--

The door opened, throwing his thoughts off track.

It was hard to recognize the man at first, but after squinting, Dean saw that it was the smaller guy, the nicer one (and nicer was such a relative term): Ryan.

As the door shut behind the guy, Dean caught a glimpse of sun and trees.  It was day now.  Surely someone knew he was gone by now.

The guy was looking at him nervously, glancing at him over his shoulder while he absently collected the trash on the table.  He shoved it in a can in the corner before turning back to Dean and running a hand over his mouth.  “I imagine you got one hell of a headache.”

Dean didn’t know what to say to that even if he could talk.

The guy licked his lips, smiling a little.  “We had to do it, though,” he explained.  “I mean, we couldn’t let Winchester see that we’d lost his kid.  If we did that, then we wouldn’t have any leverage whatsoever.  I don’t see why you have to worry about much of anything.  We’ve got nothing against you.  Nothing at all.  We just got to get Winchester here, then we’ll--I mean, then we won’t have to use you anymore.”

If that was supposed to be reassuring, it failed miserably.  Because what would happen to him when they didn’t need him anymore?  Would they really just let him go?  Would it be that simple?  Go missing for a few days, get beat up, and then be sent on his merry way?

This was just like a bad movie, a terrible movie, with bad acting and plot holes that Rory and Lorelai would tear to shreds and there weren’t even any funny accents worth imitating.  Except Dean was already pretty sure how this movie would ends--for him, anyway.

Ryan chewed a fingernail.  “Anyway, you’ll be okay for a bit yet.  If this all takes too long, we’ll think about feeding you and stuff.  And the bathroom.  You don’t have to go to the bathroom, do you?”

Dean’s bladder was really the least of his concerns.

Ryan laughed uncomfortably.  “I’ll bet this is kind of like when the dentist always asks questions with his hand in your mouth.  He knows you can’t answer, but he keeps yammering away.  I’ll have to be nicer to my dentist from here on out.”

Dean didn’t care about this guy’s dentist.  He didn’t care about his own dentist.  He just wanted to feel his fingers again, to take a full breath, to be safe.

The door opened again, this time with a resounding bang, and the other guy clomped inside.

Dean couldn’t help the shiver that shook his body or the whimper that escaped his muted throat.

The guy glowered at Dean then at his brother.  “Winchester’s coming.”

Ryan straightened, eyes wide.  “He is?  How can you be sure?”

The guy rolled his eyes, “How do you think, dimwit?”  He pulled a cell phone out of his pocket and threw it on the table.  “He got the picture and then demanded his boy back, just like planned.  I sent him the drop coordinates and told him this evening, right around dusk.  That should give him time to come up with his great rescue plan and give us time to get ready to take him down.”

Ryan cast another uncertain look at Dean before looking back at his brother.  “What about him?” he asked, jerking his head toward Dean.  The gesture was hardly reassuring.  At this point, Dean would almost prefer having no attention paid to him.  Neglect would be better than the not personal treatment he’d been given so far,

“What is it with you and this kid?” the big guy muttered.  “Still our leverage.  You know one of them will come to the drop point.  The other will come here for the kid, to make sure we don’t double cross them because we all know we’d be idiots to show up with the kid.  So one of us has to stay here and ambush the one who comes here.  That way we make sure Winchester suffers good and proper.”

“I thought we were just going to kill him,” Ryan said.  “You know, quick and easy.”

The guy just shook his head clearly exasperated.  “He didn’t let Dad die quick and easy,” he seethed.  “You act like you don’t really get it.  Like you don’t remember.  Dad trusted Winchester, he trusted that son of a bitch to have his back.  And what did Winchester do?  Winchester left him out to dry and while Dad was getting ripped alive by those damn spirits, Winchester was laying a ring of salt for himself.  Winchester didn’t give a damn about Dad or about us.  That’s what this is about.”

Dean’s eyes darted between the brothers, trying to make sense of that.  Rings of salt, ripped alive, spirit.  None of that computed, and Dean was pretty sure it wasn’t his lack of a Chilton education that was the problem.  No, these two were crazy.  They were simply out of their minds.  And worse, they were bent on revenge.  Insane and vengeful and it wasn’t personal with Dean. 

Ryan’s jaw clenched and he looked pale.  “Just Winchester,” he said.  “You promised me that.  We got nothing on the kids.”

The guy laughed mirthlessly.  “And what exactly do you think happened to the Winchester kid?”

“What?”

“What do you think happened to him?  Do you really think I was keen on just letting him get away, run around in the woods until he finds the road?”

“Well, I--”

“The kid’s dead, Ry-no,” he said.  “You saw the trail of blood he left.  You know how cold it is outside.  Hell, you know how hard it is to find this place at all and that it’s miles from anything.  Even if that kid survived the night, he’ll be down with hypothermia or blood loss before he can clear three miles of this place.  Why the hell do you think I didn’t go after him?  If I thought he could survive that, I’d know he’d spoil everything.”

Ryan looked truly horrified at the thought, but Dean had to admit, it wasn’t making him feel much better.  If the Winchester kid was dead, if the kid who he was replacing was gone and dead and they didn’t care about him at all, then what hope was there for him?  Miles from anyone.  In the woods.  Tied up and beat up and achy and scared and Dean was probably going to die here.

“This isn’t what I agreed to, Kenny,” Ryan said.  “I agreed to revenge on Winchester, plain and simple.  I was willing to use his kids to help get back at him, but they were never part of the plan beyond that.”

“No, little brother, you agreed to get back at Winchester at any cost.  Well, this is the cost,” Kenny said, pointing so roughly at Dean that Dean actually flinched.  “We’ll get Winchester where it hurts most.  We’ll take his kids from him, let him know he failed his precious little Sammy and make him watch as we kill Dean, too.  Then and only then will he know what we went through.  And then we’ll kill him.”

Dean was crying by that point, he couldn’t even try to stop himself.  His entire body was shaking, trembling uncontrollably.  He wanted to go back to sleep.  He really wanted to go back to sleep.  Unconsciousness, sleeping, anything.

This was worse than trying to stock to Taylor’s standards.  This was worse than being degraded by Richard Gilmore.  This was worse than seeing Rory talk to Jess.  This was worse than babysitting Clara and have her watch the Lion King for the fiftieth time in a row.  It was worse than anything and everything and no one was going to find him here.  No one.  Just some Winchester who wasn’t even really looking for him.

His vision blurred and he felt himself losing control.

Not that he could do much about that.  Even his ability to panic had been taken from him with the tight bonds and effective gag.

“--you’re scaring him,” Ryan seemed to be saying, but the voice sounded distant.

“Yeah, and that’s high on my list of concerns right now,” Kenny said.  “At least the damn Winchester kid had the presence of mind to keep his crap together.”

“Well, that kid at least knows about this stuff.  Knowing damn John Winchester, he trains those boys like nothing else.  This kid doesn’t even know what we’re talking about.  All he knows is that we’re talking about killing people and he’s tied to a chair and that’d scare anybody.”

“And maybe it should,” Kenny said nonchalantly.

Someone was touching him, a light hand on his shoulder.  “Hey, take it easy, okay?  You don’t want to breathe too quickly with the gag in.”

And that was just great advice.  About how not to hyperventilate when you’ve got a gag in your mouth.  Yeah, that was exactly the comfort Dean needed.

The very thought of the gag and breathing and hyperventilation suddenly made it worse and his chest began to burn with need and exertion.

“Crap, he is hyperventilating.”

“Oh for goodness sakes,” Kenny’s voice came closer now.  Another hand roughly grabbed his shoulder, shaking it good.  “Shut the hell up, kid.”

As if Ryan’s attempts to soothe him had done any good, Kenny’s threats certainly weren’t doing anything for his oxygen deprived brain.  He was going to die anyway, so what did it matter?  It wasn’t personal and he wasn’t anything to them and Dean didn’t have to be a genius to figure out that two plus two equaled four and that he was just plain screwed.

“I don’t have time for this,” Kenny muttered.

“Crap, Ken, don’t--”

Dean barely even felt the punch this time that took him to blessed oblivion.

-o-

It wasn’t hard to find his dad.  

No, his father was the only other sane person in that God forsaken little town.  And that was saying something.

His father looked sorely out of place, perched on a bench in the town square, his face drawn and tight, shoulders hunched over, the rigidity of his body evident even under the sturdy jacket.  Shoving his hands in his pockets, Dean made his way across the street toward his father, hoping like hell that his dad had some kind of good news to share.

“You find anything?” Dean asked as he approached.

His father barely moved.  Didn’t even look up to meet Dean’s eyes.  “Sam’s been kidnapped.”

It was said so plaintively that Dean wondered if he’d imagined it.  Stopping short of his father, Dean just looked at him.  “He what?”

His dad finally turned his eyes to him, his face grim.  “Sam’s been kidnapped.”

“They tell you that at the police station?”

“No, they didn’t know anything,” his father said.  “But the kidnappers--they sent me a message.”

That news buckled Dean and he sunk next to his father on the bench.  “What kind of message?”

His dad pulled the cell phone from his pocket and held it out to Dean.  Taking it, Dean felt his heart fluttered as he looked at the small screen.

The picture clarity was bad, and the snapshot was small and blurry, but it was good enough. 

It was Sam, tied to a chair.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, the kid was unconscious, head lolled forward, the mop of hair disheveled on his head.  But it was Sam.  The hair.  The long build.  The curve of his nose, the set of his lips.

“They sent coordinates, too,” his father continued.  “Told me to get my ass there tonight and then they’d tell me where Sam was.”

Those were answers.  Hell, they were the answers they’d been looking for over the last two days.  But now that Dean had them, he sort of wished he didn’t.

Just like that, Dean’s fear turned to anger.  “Who has him?”

“They won’t say,” his father replied, taking the phone back.  “But, I figure this is personal.  They’re not asking for money, not that we have any to give them.  Whoever took Sam, they took him because of me.  Because of us.”

“Hell, Dad, you pissed anyone off lately that I don’t know about?”  Because it wouldn’t surprise Dean if he had.

His dad took a measured breath, pocketing the phone.  “Maybe the family of a victim we couldn’t save.  The hunt in Detroit was pretty messy.”

“But how would they find us way out here?  With the string of aliases we’ve been using?”

“I know,” his father agreed.  “I think they’re hunters.” 

“That would explain how they tracked us,” Dean said.  “And how they got the drop on Sam.”

And that was a thought Dean didn’t relish.  Knowing that Sam was gone was one thing; knowing that he’d been abducted--well, that took things to a whole new level of pissed off for him.  Nobody--nobody--laid a hand on his kid brother and got away with it.

“Bobby’s not too fond of me at the moment, but he would never take it out on you two.  Any of the others would have done something sooner, even if they were inclined this way.”

“What about Tallahassee?”

John just nodded.  “That’s my best guess.”

Dean swore, dropping his head into his hands while he tried to make sense of it.  “I told you I should go with you on that one,” he said, raising his head again.  “You needed back up.”

“I had backup,” John countered.  “Jeremiah was my backup.”

“Yeah, well, Jeremiah ended up dead which is how we got in this mess.”

His father sighed, his face flashing with anger before resolving wearily.  “There was nothing I could have done.  We’d counted on the three spirits, that’s why we went in together.  No matter how many years you’ve been doing this kind of thing, a job like that, with a death count like it had, you don’t do it alone.  Jeremiah knew the plan.  We did as much prep work as we could in advance but when push came to shove, one of us had to cover the other.”

“You said Jeremiah was too slow,” Dean ventured, trying to recount the stories of that hunt.  He’d been angry at the time--angry that he hadn’t been allowed to go.  He was twenty now, and been hunting full-time since he graduated high school.  He was used to being his dad’s right hand man, to training Sammy.  To be denied to go on a hunt--well, it was needless to say that sometimes Dean wasn’t above a little petulance.

His father raised his eyebrows impassively.  “We had to stick to the plan.  I offered to play bait; Jeremiah refused.  Damn bastard that he was, wanted to prove he wasn’t too old to keep a spirit guessing.”

Dean swore again.  “He was wrong, wasn’t he?”

“I stuck to the plan.  That’s how we get hunts done.  Let him deal with the spirits, I had to finish the bones.  By the time I was finished, it was too late.”

Dean didn’t need to know the details.  He’d done enough legwork on hunts to know what too late implied.  It was gory, but it was true.  Hunting was dangerous.  People died in this kind of gig, and Dean had never taken that for granted.  Hell…that was part of the thrill.

His father hadn’t said much about Tallahassee when it happened.  Had glossed over the facts, called him to tell him he’d be a few days late to deal with the loose ends.

The loose ends of Jeremiah’s body going home to his boys.

“So you think it’s his kids?” Dean asked, almost incredulous.  He understood being pissed.  Really, he did.  After all, he’d watched his father for the last sixteen years make a life based on being pissed.  Wanting revenge.  But on the supernatural.  That was why the hunting.  To get back at what had hurt them.  They killed things that deserved to die, evil things--not humans.  Not for accidents.

“Only met them the once, but Jeremiah said they were hunters, but still new at the whole thing.  They didn’t take the death so well.”

That was an understatement that made Dean want to kick over a trash can or rip the stupid white lights off the damned friendly looking gazebo.  “So they took Sammy?” Dean asked, trying to wrap his mind around it.  Trying to make some freakin’ sense of kidnapping his brother because of an accident.  A hunting accident. 

“This is about me,” John said tightly.  He turned his steely eyes to Dean.  “They’re using Sam to get to me.  It has nothing to do with Sammy, it has nothing to do with you.  If there’s one thing I understand, it’s revenge.  And I understand what some people are willing to sacrifice to get it.”

The tone of his father’s voice, the iciness of his eyes--it was heavy stuff, even for his father.  But Dean got why.  Dean understood.  He had seen the picture.  He’d seen Sammy’s head hanging forward, the way the ropes cut tightly into his brother’s frame.

A surge of anger welled within Dean that made him not just understand his father, but agree with him.  Dean wasn’t so big into revenge, not like his dad was.  But this was Sammy they were talking about.  Sammy who had been kidnapped.  No matter how screwed up these two hunters were over their father’s death, they would see nothing like the wrath of the Winchesters.  There were few things sacred in Dean’s life.  Protecting Sammy, though, was one of them.  Maybe the only one.

“How are we going to do this?” Dean asked, the fear and speculating gone from his mind.  There was only one thing that mattered now: getting Sam back.

“They’ve given us a drop point and a time.”

“So we’ll be there with more ammo than we know what to do with?”

His father actually laughed a little at that.  “Not quite.”

Dean’s brow furrowed.  “Huh--?”

“You think we’re going to walk in blindly to a meeting that’s only purpose is to kill me--hell, maybe all three of us?”

Dean should have thought of that.  His eyes narrowed.  “So what then?”

His father pushed to his feet.  “The meeting is at five.  We’re going to need every second we can.”

That wasn’t really the answer Dean had been looking for, or at least not all of the answer.  His father’s cryptic behavior made for persuasive negotiations, but was hell when there was something important Dean really wanted to know.

Suddenly, just for a moment, Dean’s determined facade wavered.  “Dad?”

“Yeah?”

“We’ll get him back, right?” he asked.

The coldness in his father’s eyes melted, just for a second.  “Yeah, Dean.  We’ll get him back.”

For now, that was all Dean needed to hear.

Next

Comments

Posted by: sendintheclowns (sendintheklowns)
Posted at: April 6th, 2009 12:54 am (UTC)
not good enough

I adore everything about Sam and Cute!Dean. And at least Other!Dean cares enough about Sam to worry about him in this fic.

This crossover is pure love!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: April 8th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
broken together

Other!Dean. Heh. I just love how we try to figure out what to call him since he is decidedly NOT cute!Dean.

Thanks :)

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: April 6th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)

I love this! I love that cute!Dean is scared out of his wits (as he should be) AND that Sam managed to get away!

I pity the kidnappers when John and Dean finally get ahold of them!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: April 8th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
dance

For as much of a guy as cute!Dean may try to be, he's still just a regular kid and getting kidnapped and beat up? Would be terrifying!

Thanks :)

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: April 10th, 2009 07:13 am (UTC)

I know! I'm not at home at the moment so my review will come later!

*hugs*

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