Season Two

Episode Seventeen: Forget Me Not

by Irismay42

Story by Grkgrl88 and Irismay42

Part One

 

Dora’s Diner, Sulphur, LA

“Who the hell names a place Sulphur anyway?” Dean demanded, glancing suspiciously over the rim of his coffee cup at the bored-looking bottle-redheaded waitress currently flirting her ample ass off at the two burly cops hunched over the counter of Dora’s Diner. “Surely that’s just asking for trouble? You know – our kind of trouble?”

His over-caffeinated gaze flitted skittishly to Sam, who was currently dividing his time between the local morning newspaper and the laptop, slice of toast poised halfway between his plate and his mouth as something on the computer screen suddenly seemed to demand his complete attention. “Um-hmm,” he muttered distractedly, eyes narrowing as he zeroed in on certain telling key phrases within the article he was reading.

Dean drummed his fingers on the heavily coffee-stained tabletop impatiently. “I mean, not like Louisiana doesn’t have enough of the old black magic vibe going for it already…”

Sam took a bite of his toast, eyes never straying from the screen. “Mmm…”

“And hell, they even spelt it wrong,” Dean added, figuring challenging Sam to a spelling bee might at least get his little brother’s attention. “Maybe this is where illiterate demons come to score their brimstone fix.”

“It’s the European spelling,” Sam muttered, just to prove he was actually listening to at least some of the string of non-sequiturs and inanities that had been spewing out of Dean’s mouth all morning. Suddenly his attention snapped to his older brother, whose wide eyes were skittering around the room like two moths in a closet full of flashlights. “How much coffee did you drink so far this morning?” he demanded, grabbing Dean’s raised cup and pushing it back down onto the table with a wet thunk that sloshed dark liquid all over the Formica.

Dean gave Sam his most affronted scowl. “Not that it’s any business of yours, Mom–”

“And did you eat anything?” Sam continued shortly, gesturing at Dean’s still-full plate of blueberry pancakes with his half-eaten slice of toast. “Huh?”

Dean’s expression melted from annoyance to discomfort, eyes cast down toward the little tub of sugar packets now forming an island at the center of his spilled coffee.

Sam sighed. “Dean, you gotta eat something.”

“I’m not that hungry –”

“Look, I know this vacation kinda sucked a little bit –”

“What, with that whole voodoo mojo let’s-drown-a-Winchester thing going on?” Dean interjected. “Really, I hadn’t noticed –”

“Dean.”

“Sam.”

Sam studied the dark circles still lurking beneath his brother’s eyes, his pale complexion making his freckles stand out almost as harshly as they had in the summer when they were kids. “That whole thing with the Alp,” he said slowly. “Well, I know it must be hard to get over something like that –”

“Sam –”

“But if you don’t eat –”

“I eat –”

“Mostly you just drink coffee.”

Dean didn’t reply to that.

Sam sighed again.

“I feel a lot better, okay?” Dean managed finally, eyes once more averted to the sugar packets. “Really. Believe it or not, this vacation thing actually kinda helped –” he met Sam’s disbelieving grin with a wry smile, “– eventually.”

“Vacation Winchester style,” Sam agreed. “Wouldn’t be complete without a voodoo curse and some floating coffins.”

“Now you’re talking,” Dean concurred. “Who needs dancing girls and coconut oil, huh?”

“Refill?”

The bottle-red waitress thrust the coffee pot between them, and Sam instinctively shoved his hand over Dean’s cup. “No.”

“Yes,” Dean snapped, smile turning to a rapid scowl.

Sam inclined his head towards Dean’s plate. “Not unless you eat your pancakes.”

Dean’s scowl deepened. “Dude, I’m not four–”

“Pancakes.”

Dean huffed, glanced up at the waitress, who was looking at him like he was maybe on day release from the nearest psych ward, before spearing a wedge of pancake with his fork and shoving it into his mouth sullenly.

Sam grinned brightly. “Good boy,” he said, removing his hand from Dean’s cup and motioning for the waitress to pour. She shook her head and shrugged, pouring more coffee before sashaying back toward the two cops at the counter.

Dean continued to scowl at his brother as he reached stubbornly for his coffee cup.

“Uh-uh-uh.” Sam wagged his finger as he grabbed Dean’s wrist. “Show me,” he added in his best kindergarten teacher voice. “I wouldn’t want to think you were faking.”

“Sam,” Dean hissed through gritted teeth, “if you don’t quit it you’re gonna be spending the rest of the day wondering whether that girlie shampoo of yours can get maple syrup out of you hair. I mean it man.” When Sam continued to grip his wrist, smiling placidly at him, he sighed theatrically before opening his mouth as wide as he could get it, just to prove he’d swallowed the pancake.

Sam sniggered, removing his hand from Dean’s wrist and holding his palms out in a gesture of surrender when Dean virtually growled at him. “Ooh, little Deany’s grouchy when he doesn’t get his nap.”

“Dean’s grouchy when his pain in the ass kid brother gets between him and his coffee,” Dean amended, finally tipping the scalding contents of the cup down his throat. “And a little less of the ‘little,’ giraffe boy,” he added.

Sam shook his head, grinning widely as his attention drifted back to the laptop. “On the plus side, I think I might have found us a new gig.”

“As long as it’s somewhere I’m not likely to drown,” Dean muttered, spearing another piece of pancake and eating it with more relish than he’d expected. Maybe he was hungry after all…

“How does Phoenix grab you?” Sam offered, grin widening.

Dean’s interest level rose a notch. “I could do desert,” he said, snatching a piece of toast from Sam’s plate.

Pleased to see his brother eating, Sam pretended not to have noticed, instead drawing Dean’s attention to the front page of a local Phoenix newspaper displayed on the laptop. “Couple slaughtered in locked room mystery” ran the slightly sensationalized headline. “Only daughter survives carnage.”

“Locked room mystery?” Dean echoed. “What the –?”

“Vincent and Flora Medina,” Sam began to explain. “Unremarkable middle-aged couple – he’s an accountant, she’s a dental hygienist. Two weeks ago their daughter Alyssa stops by on her way home from work – finds them both butchered in their upstairs bedroom – no signs of forced entry, all the doors and windows locked, no fingerprints, fibers, DNA; no evidence of any kind that anyone else was in the house.”

Dean raised an eyebrow. “Yikes. Couldn’t have offed each other?”

“Dismembered and eviscerated,” Sam informed him. “Not likely.”

“I knew this girl with PMS once –” Dean stopped when he noted the expression on Sam’s face. “Alright, Miss Politically Correct, what makes you think there’s something –” he paused as the waitress passed the table, “– our kind of something going on?”

“Their surname,” Sam replied slowly, not meeting Dean’s inquisitive gaze.

“Their surname?” Dean repeated. “That’s what tripped your Weirdometer?”

Sam seemed a little uncertain, chewing on his bottom lip as one long finger toyed with the laptop’s keyboard absently. “Medina,” he said. “Like Ernest Medina, the commanding officer of the soldiers responsible for the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam in 1968.” Sam finally returned Dean’s gaze. “The Medinas’ daughter is the same age as I am.”

Dean shifted in his seat. “You think maybe they’re one of the cursed families?” he hazarded. “Like us?”

Sam shrugged. “Maybe. Maybe they’re related to Ernest Medina somehow. Maybe Haris – well, maybe Haris is after their daughter. Maybe she’s – maybe she’s one of us.”

“By ‘us’ you mean –?”

“The psychic kids. Like Max Miller or Matthew Ismay. Matthew Teller. Kyle.”

Dean took another sip of his coffee thoughtfully. “That’s a lot of ‘maybes,’ Sam,” he mused.

Sam nodded. “I know,” he admitted. “It’s a stretch. But Alyssa Medina could be in trouble. She might need our help. What if Haris is after her?”

“Huh.” Dean considered that for a second. “Damsel in distress. Never could resist one of those.” He grinned lecherously. “She hot?”

Sam frowned at him before shrugging. “Couldn’t find a picture,” he admitted finally, before asking, “If she wasn’t, would you still want to go save her?”

Dean considered that for even longer. “Of course I would,” he said, an expression of mock offence twisting his features. “I’m a professional, Sammy.”

“Uh-huh,” Sam agreed, signaling the waitress for the check. “Well that’s one word for it…”


Medina house, Phoenix, AZ

“So this is it?” Dean squinted up through the bright afternoon sun, eyes quickly assessing the unremarkable two-story building in front of him. Unremarkable. Just like its former occupants.

Sam checked the house number on the mailbox at the end of the drive, noting how the lawn was rebelling against its former perfectly-manicured glory and the flowers in the baskets arranged around the front door seemed to be wilting a little, as if they hadn’t been watered in a while.

“This is it,” he confirmed, taking a couple of curious steps up the driveway as Dean headed off across the lawn, obviously looking for a way to get in around the back of the house.

“You would have thought the place would still be sealed off,” Dean commented, checking one of the first floor windows for locks and security sensors. “Unsolved double murder and all.” He glanced sideways at Sam, who was heading for the front door.

“Mmm.” Sam nodded his agreement as he navigated around a pristine bright red Mini Cooper parked slightly askew in front of a reasonably new Chevy that was covered in a thin layer of dust. He smirked at the vehicle, inclining his head in Dean’s direction. “New Impala,” he remarked with a grin, knowing, as always, the very best way to push his brother’s buttons.

Dean grunted derisively, not even sparing the Chevy a glance. “Wash your mouth out, Sam. That ain’t no Impala.”

Sam sniggered before marching right up to the front door and knocking loudly.

“Dude!” Dean jumped away from the window he’d been trying to pry open, turning disbelieving eyes on his brother. “What the hell are you –?”

Sam beamed at him triumphantly as the sound of a lock being drawn back preceded the door being pulled open to reveal a young woman scowling at them from the hallway beyond.

“I already told you leeches,” she hissed, preparing to slam the door in Sam’s face, “you are not getting in here to take any pictures for that so-called newspaper of yours!”

Sam caught the door expertly as the girl attempted to slam it shut, giving the inescapable impression that he was more than used to having doors slammed in his face.

“We’re not reporters,” he told the girl, flashing his most perfectly dimpled smile, and for a second Dean actually thought he might puke all over his kid brother’s back.

The girl considered them skeptically, twirling a long, curly lock of chestnut brown hair around her finger, dark brown eyes brim full of naked distrust. “So who are you?” she demanded, holding off trying to slam the door again until she at least had a little more information.

“We’re consultants,” Sam lied smoothly. “With the Phoenix PD. We’ve been asked to take a look at the Medina crime scene.”

The girl raked a still-skeptical eye over Sam before turning her attention to Dean, who was still standing slightly behind his brother. “Let me see some ID,” she barked, putting out her hand and clicking her fingers impatiently.

Dean raised an eyebrow before producing an immaculately presented business card and photo ID identifying him as Dean Ramone, Security Analyst.

The girl snatched the ID, checking it over carefully before glancing at the equally perfect photocard being held out to her by Sam. Her shoulders relaxed a little as she returned the cards to Dean. “So what do you guys consult about?” she asked, still showing no signs of allowing them into the house any time soon.

Dean stepped forward, retrieving his beautifully faked ID, looking the young girl right in the eye and affecting the most serious tone of voice he could muster. “Breaking and entering,” he told her shortly.

Sam made a little squeak that he managed to cover by clearing his throat, and the young woman just looked from one to the other of them in disbelief.

“Breaking and entering?” she echoed, hand moving to one jean-clad hip. “You’re kidding, right?”

“I never kid about my work, ma’am,” Dean said, still convincingly serious. “We’re here to try and figure out how the Medinas’ assailants could have gained entry to their home.”

Sam glanced sideways at his brother, almost convinced of Dean’s legitimacy himself.

“And in that capacity,” Dean continued authoritatively, “I have a couple of questions. First, why isn’t this crime scene sealed? And second, who the hell are you?”

The girl drew herself up to her full height. “To answer your first question,” she said with an equal amount of authority. “Hecked if I know. They kept the – the room where it happened sealed off, but released the house back to Alyssa a couple of days ago.”

“You’re a friend of their daughter?” Dean pressed.

The girl nodded. “Yes, to answer your second question,” she confirmed. “Maisie. Maisie Malone. Alyssa and I went to high school together, then we both wound up at Arizona State.”

“And where’s Alyssa now?” Sam asked casually.

Maisie looked at him for a second. “Why would you need to know that?” she asked suspiciously, eyes narrowing.

Sam shrugged. “We need to talk to her. We understand she found the – found her parents, and we need to ask her about the condition of the house when she got here.”

Maisie rolled her eyes in exasperation. “She’s already been through that a hundred times with real cops,” she pointed out.

Sam remained completely unruffled. “Still, we might have different questions.” He smiled disarmingly, dimples coming into play. “It never hurts to get an alternative point of view.”

Maisie sighed, finally giving in. “She’s staying with her aunt in New Mexico,” she admitted. “I’m house-sitting for her – keeping all the scumbag newshounds out of her garden.”

Dean raised an eyebrow. “Kinda grizzly living at the scene of a double murder, don’t you think?”

Maisie shrugged. “Hey, I’m a grad student,” she told them. “Free rent’s free rent, right?”

Dean tried his damndest not to laugh, smoothing out his features as he inclined his head in the direction of the hallway behind the girl. “So,” he said, trying to regain Serious Face. “You want us to stand out here all day or are you going to let us in?”

Maisie considered them for a second longer, frosty exterior finally seeming to melt just a little bit. “All right,” she said with an exaggerated sigh, opening the door wider and motioning for them to come in. “If it’ll help catch whoever killed Alyssa’s parents.” She held the door as they moved towards her, shaking her head and adding under her breath, “It’s a good thing you guys are hot.”

Sam smiled awkwardly at her as he passed, shuddering slightly at the sudden dip in temperature as he crossed the threshold into the house, Dean following with an amused grin plastered to his face.

Glancing back once at his brother, Sam moved toward the lounge which branched off the hallway to the right, ostensibly checking the locks on the big sash windows while Maisie’s eyes were on him, and surreptitiously pulling his EMF meter out of his jacket pocket when she turned back toward Dean, who was looking toward the staircase at the far end of the hall.

“I can take you up if you want,” Maisie offered, following the direction of the older brother’s gaze.

“Yeah,” he began, “that’d be –”

“You know, if you need someone to hold your hand.”

Dean tried to ignore the rather unsubtle snigger that emanated from the direction of the lounge, instead treating Maisie to his most innocent smile. “Aw, honey, sorry to disappoint, but I haven’t done hand-holding since grade school,” he told her. He grinned rakishly. “If you’ve got anything a little more adventurous in mind, though, I’d be more than happy to oblige.”

He kept his face purposely neutral, and for a second Maisie just looked at him before bursting into a wicked chortle. “Are you sure you guys work for the cops?” she asked, turning and beginning to make her way up the stairs.

“Scout’s honor,” Dean insisted, following the girl a little more closely than was strictly necessary – or polite. “To protect and to serve.”

“You’d better not be checking out my ass,” Maisie warned him, a definite wiggle to her hips as she continued to climb the stairs.

Dean didn’t alter the direction of his appreciative gaze for a millisecond. “No ma’am,” he assured the girl. “I’m a complete professional.”

Maisie snorted. “I’ll just bet you are,” she commented, finally making it to the landing at the top of the stairs.

“Good thing you’re hot though,” Dean added, to which Maisie glanced back at him with one raised eyebrow and he grinned flirtatiously.

“No way you guys work for the cops,” Maisie muttered, taking the hallway off to her right, Dean following her until she came to a dead stop at a doorway sealed with garish yellow crime scene tape.

“There,” Maisie said, pointing, expression sobering considerably. “That’s where – that’s where Alyssa found them.”

Dean nodded, approaching the doorway and pulling out a pocketknife which he used to carefully cut through the yellow tape. “She was on her way home from work?” he asked, glancing over his shoulder at Maisie, who nodded, folding her arms across her chest as the temperature seemed to dip still further.

“Her mom always calls her when she’s on break, so when she didn’t call that night, and didn’t answer Alyssa’s calls either, she figured she’d swing by and check everything was okay.”

“Which it wasn’t,” Dean observed, carefully pushing open the door and taking in the scene before him.

“No, it wasn’t,” Maisie agreed, averting her eyes from the dimly-lit room.

Dean swallowed, for a second vividly reminded of Meredith McDonell’s apartment back in Chicago after the innocent waitress had been eviscerated by Daevas just so that Haris could get their attention.

He pushed down the horrible thought that suddenly occurred to him amidst the sense of horrific déjà vu, cautiously stepping into the room and taking a deep breath as the coppery smell of dried blood assaulted his nostrils.

The room was a mess, furniture upended and ornaments broken, the carpet thick with bloodstains and darkened by the Luminol applied by the CSI team in what had amounted to a futile attempt to reveal hidden footprints in the sticky liquid.

There was more dried blood splattered liberally up the walls and all over the furniture, and although the bed had been stripped of its bedclothes, blood spatters covered the headboard and the base, and also the nightstands on either side, one of which had been pushed over and currently rested at a crazy angle against the adjoining wall. The drapes had also been removed from the windows, which were peppered with dark red streaks and splatters, a coating of fingerprint dust causing smoky sunlight to filter through the glass onto an area of carpet thick and rigid with heavy bloodstaining.

“That’s where she found her dad,” Maisie commented from the doorway, not having crossed the threshold into the room. “Her mom was on the bed.” She swallowed. “Well, most of her was, anyway.”

Dean nodded, navigating around an overturned table as he made for the nearest window, dead flowers and a broken vase scattered at his feet in the muted sunlight. “And they didn’t find any DNA? Fingerprints?”

Maisie shook her head. “Nothing,” she confirmed, as Dean’s attention was drawn back to the wreckage surrounding the upturned table.

A glint of silver caught his eye, and he took a step closer, crouching to look at a broken picture frame sticking up from behind one of the larger pieces of the shattered vase.

He inclined his head to one side, grimacing at the trail of blood smeared across the broken glass which had fallen from the frame, the photograph inside skewed slightly to one side. Three smiling faces beamed up at him, and he immediately recognized the man and the older woman as Vincent and Flora Medina from their picture in the newspaper he’d seen on Sam’s laptop.

Bending further, he squinted at the dark-haired young woman standing between the couple, a prickle of dread beginning to creep up his spine as realization hit. “Wait a second –” He began to turn, but was prevented from saying anything more by a blinding white flash that suddenly bleached all color from the room, scorching his retinas and driving all thought and all sensation from every corner of his brain.

He knew nothing else as darkness claimed him.

 

* * * *

There was nothing here.

No EMF. No residual signs of a haunting. Nothing to indicate any supernatural presence or phenomena of any kind.

Nothing.

And Sam was beginning to wonder whether maybe humans had been responsible for the brutal slaughter of Vincent and Flora Medina. It was a horrible thought, but not unheard of.

He swept the kitchen one last time with the EMF meter, preparing to report his findings – or lack thereof – to Dean, who was still upstairs at the crime scene, when a loud thud reverberated through the ceiling above him and he instinctively looked up, just as a piercing scream rent the chilly air all around him.

Unsurprisingly, Sam’s first thought was “Dean,” and he was halfway up the stairs before he’d even realized he’d moved, taking the last three steps in one bound before skidding down the hall toward Maisie, who was standing in the doorway of the unsealed crime scene, shaking hands drawn to her pasty face as she stared into the room before her.

“Maisie?” Sam quickly drew level with the girl, who continued to stare into the bedroom, barely breathing. “Maisie, what’s wrong?”

“There – there was a bright light,” she mumbled, clearly shaken. “And your partner –” She pointed vaguely into the bedroom, and Sam followed the direction of her trembling finger, stomach plummeting when he saw Dean collapsed onto the bloodstained carpet, hands raised in front of his eyes as if to protect his head.

“Dean!”

Sam shoved Maisie none-too-gently out of his way, diving across the bloodied carpet and falling to his knees next to his brother. “Dean! Dean!” Sam shook Dean’s shoulder urgently, but was met with no response, releasing a breath when he felt the strong pulse at his brother’s neck, then moving on to check him over for injuries: No holes, lumps or bruises. What the hell…?

He glanced back at Maisie who was chewing on her fingernails, clearly distraught, hopping from foot to foot anxiously. “Is he okay?” she asked frantically. “Should I call 911?”

“Maisie, what happened?” Sam demanded, turning his attention back to Dean and gently prizing open his eyelids, checking his pupils for a reaction to the sudden influx of light.

“I –” Maisie faltered. “We were just talking. And then – then there was this blinding flash of light that – that I think came from the other side of the window.” She gestured vaguely beyond Sam’s shoulder, and he turned toward the dusty glass.

“From outside?” he queried.

“I think so,” Maisie confirmed. She shifted uncomfortably. “You think this is what got Alyssa’s parents?”

Sam opened his mouth to reply just as Dean suddenly began to moan, mumbling incoherently under his breath. Sam leaned closer to him, trying to make out what he was saying – odd, disjointed words and phrases that Sam could only just catch. “Too bright. Too hot. Fire. Where is she? Dad –?”

“I really think I ought to call an ambulance,” Maisie began to insist, fishing her cell phone from her jeans pocket and sliding it open.

“No.” Sam held up a hand, tone softening slightly at the frightened look on Maisie’s face. “It’s okay. I’ll get him to the hospital myself.”

Maisie raised an eyebrow. “But he’s unconscious,” she pointed out. “And he looks kinda heavy.”

There was no denying the truth of either of Maisie’s observations, but something about this just didn’t feel right to Sam. He needed more information before he was prepared to trust Dean to the care of strangers.

He looked to his brother, whose eyes were moving rapidly beneath his tightly-closed eyelids, odd words still mumbled in a barely audible stream of randomness. “I got him, Dad. I got the baby. It’s okay, Sammy…”

Sam swallowed. “Can you help me get him to our car?” he asked gently, and Maisie nodded, instantly at Sam’s side as he struggled to get one arm beneath Dean’s shoulder and haul him to his feet.

Maisie positioned herself on the opposite side of the unconscious Winchester, wrapping an arm about his waist as Sam tried to take the majority of his weight.

“Hot,” Dean mumbled. “Something’s burning…”

“What’s wrong with him?” Maisie asked, as Sam began to maneuver his brother toward the door.

Sam would have shrugged if he’d been able. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “I just need to get him out of here.”

With Maisie’s help, Sam somehow managed to half-drag, half-carry his unconscious brother from the house, struggling a little at the threshold, but eventually able to get him out to the waiting Impala, where he gently laid him on the back seat before turning back to the ashen-faced girl behind him.

“That’s your car?” Maisie asked, as if trying to distract herself from what had just happened in front of her. “Not the usual PD-issue.”

Sam smiled weakly. “My brother’s pride and joy,” he muttered, indicating Dean with a jerk of his thumb.

“He’s your brother?” Maisie asked. “Wow, I’m so sorry. I wish I knew – I wish I could help.” She chewed on her lip. “I mean, do you think – do you think that whatever did this to Alyssa’s parents is the same thing that did this to your brother?”

Sam frowned slightly, head tipped slightly to one side. “‘Whatever?’” he echoed uncertainly. “Don’t you mean whoever?”

Maisie laughed nervously, covering her face in embarrassment. “I’m sorry,” she said, voice incongruously high-pitched and almost giggly. “I’m studying local legends and urban folklore and sometimes – well sometimes I just get carried away.”

Sam’s frown deepened. “You know of any local legends that could explain what happened to the Medinas – to my brother?” he asked hesitantly.

Maisie seemed somewhat taken aback at the question. “N-no,” she admitted. “Not really. It’s just –” she sighed. “Sometimes it’s easier to believe in monsters than to believe a person could do something like this to another person.”

Sam nodded, reluctant to admit he’d had the same thought. “Will you be okay?” he asked eventually, opening the driver’s door with a creak. “In there I mean.” He indicated the Medina house, and Maisie glanced back over her shoulder up the driveway.

“Maybe I’ll stay with friends tonight,” she conceded, once more meeting Sam’s concerned gaze. “Don’t want to push my luck too far in one day.”

Sam agreed silently, pulling a battered card from his pocket and quickly writing down his cell phone number on it. “Listen,” he said, holding the card out for Maisie to take. “If you think of anything – or if – if you just need to talk, call me, okay?”

Maisie nodded. “Thanks,” she said, taking the card awkwardly. “I will.”

Sam smiled briefly, before making to slide into the Impala.

“Hey,” Maisie added, causing Sam to pop his head back out over the roof of the car. “I hope your brother’s gonna be okay.”

Sam nodded, swallowing. “Me too,” he agreed, again smiling just a fraction before getting into the car and starting the powerful engine.

Maisie took one last look at the little card in her hand as the big Chevy pulled away from the curb and rumbled out of sight down the street.


Rest Stop Motel,
Phoenix, AZ

Sam stood in the bathroom doorway of the tiny motel room, watching his brother as he lay on one of the uncomfortable-looking beds, tossing and turning as if in the throes of some terrible nightmare.

Dean still hadn’t regained consciousness, and it had been almost three hours since Sam had gotten him back here from the Medina house, dropped him onto the bed and begun this long, nerve-wracking vigil. He’d pulled off his brother’s jacket and boots and placed a cool washcloth on his forehead. But there was little else he could do but wait; wait and wonder and worry that his brother might never wake up.

His fingers felt the solid shape of his cell phone through the denim of his jeans, and for the sixtieth time in the last hour he wondered whether he ought to follow Maisie’s advice and call 911.

But it just didn’t seem right. He couldn’t abandon Dean to strangers, to faceless people in white coats who would shake their heads sympathetically but ultimately have no clue what to do for his brother.

Because this wasn’t some sudden-onset illness that had befallen Dean. Sam was sure of that. No. This was something else. Something a doctor wouldn’t have any idea how to deal with.

“Fire. There’s a fire,” Dean mumbled, and Sam moved over to him, bending down and repositioning the washcloth on his forehead before settling himself on the edge of the bed and trying to resist the urge to grab Dean’s hand.

He would never hear the end of it if his big brother woke up to find Sam hanging on to him like he used to when he was four.

“It’s okay, Dean,” he said soothingly. “It’s okay, you’re okay, you’re safe.”

“Fire. She’s on fire.”

“Dean –”

“She’s burning. He’s burning her.”

Sam blinked. “Dean?”

“He’s burning her.”

“Who –?”

“Yellow eyes.”

Sam stopped dead, hand still hovering over the washcloth. “Dean?” He paused, barely daring to breathe, barely daring to hear what else would slip from Dean’s mouth when he had no control over his memories. He sat forward slightly, edged closer, could almost feel the heat radiating from his brother’s fevered brow…

“No!”

Sam jumped to his feet with a start as Dean’s eyes suddenly snapped open and he sat bolt upright on the bed like a jack-in-the-box whose spring had been coiled too tightly.

“Dean?”

Dean blinked at him, looking at him, looking about him, blinking furiously, clearly disoriented and uncertain where he was. “What –” he muttered, voice scratchy and rough with unsettled sleep. “Where am I?” He grabbed at the comforter atop the bed, hands curled into tight fists as he scrambled back against the headboard, chest heaving with panicked breaths.

“It’s okay.” Sam again fought the urge to grab Dean’s hand. “It’s okay.” He held up his hands, hoping he sounded reassuring. “You collapsed. I brought you back to the motel. Everything’s okay.”

Dean continued to stare at him as if not quite seeing him, eyes huge and blinking continuously, breaths coming quick and ragged.

“Just breathe. It’s okay. You were – you were dreaming.”

Dean met his gaze uncertainly. “There was a woman,” he said slowly, breathing gradually beginning to even out a little. “Something was burning.” His eyes locked with Sam’s for a second before he looked away again skittishly. “Someone was burning. There – there was a woman in a white nightdress. And… And there was a man. And a baby.” He looked up at Sam again. “I had to save the baby.”

Sam gulped down air like it was going out of fashion. Dean didn’t talk about this stuff. Not ever. “It’s okay,” he repeated hollowly, although he knew deep down inside of him that it was no such thing. “It’s okay. The fire. You were dreaming about the fire. About Mom.”

Dean just looked at him. “What fire?” he asked.

The shadow of a concerned frown ghosted across Sam’s face. “The fire,” he said slowly. “The one that took Mom…”

Dean’s mouth opened and closed soundlessly. “It’s – I don’t…” He trailed off, examining Sam’s face closely and squinting as if into a bright light.

“Dean –”

“Why do you keep calling me that?”

Sam’s frown twisted still deeper. “Dean –”

“Stop,” Dean shook his head, eyes beginning to dart around the room frantically. “I don’t – where the hell am I?”

Sam reached out to place a calming hand on Dean’s shoulder, but his brother shook it off, pulling away suddenly and scrunching himself back against the headboard as if he was truly afraid of Sam’s touch.

“Get away from me!”

“Dean –”

“Don’t touch me!” Dean insisted, shooting Sam a warning scowl of such feral intensity that the younger brother actually retreat a stunned step. “I mean it.”

“Dean, take it easy –” Sam reached out again, causing Dean to scramble further backwards, almost falling off the opposite side of the bed in his haste to get to his feet.

“Stay away!” Dean repeated, forehead crumpling into a confused frown as he backed up against the far wall, warily keeping the bed between himself and his brother, one hand held out in front of him as if that would keep Sam away. “Don’t – I don’t –” He shook his head, swallowing hard as his eyes darted to the motel room door, and Sam actually began to wonder whether his brother was going to try and make a run for it. Then, all of a sudden, Dean’s eyes locked with Sam’s again, his shoulders squaring as he raised himself up to his full height and set his jaw defiantly before demanding, “Who the hell are you?”

Sam stepped back as if slapped, grabbing hold of the footboard of his own bed to steady himself, the world tilting precariously, as if someone had just pulled a rug right out from under his feet. “Dean – I – what do you…?”

Dean shook his head, pressing his palms into his eyes before suddenly pulling both hands away and staring at them as if he’d never seen them before.

Slowly he looked back up into Sam’s concerned blue-green eyes, a terrified look of desperation stealing the color from his face. He took a breath, exhaled slowly, before finally asking, “Who the hell am I?

 

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The Winchester Chronicles

 

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