Season Four

Episode Two: Time Won't Let Me Go

By SnSam

Part One

 


Enigma, Georgia
Gibson’s Super Pawn

If it had been any big city, Mikey Wickham was sure he and his brother, Danny, would have been caught by now. It wasn’t exactly as if they were being stealthy, having turned on a couple of lamps that were sitting on the counters. Danny had assured him they wouldn’t get caught and Mikey wasn’t about to argue with his big brother.

Luckily, they lived in a town of about 5,000 people and it wasn’t unusual for a light to be on in a business after-hours. If anything, people would just think Mr. Gibson was working late, which he did from time to time.

Still, it didn’t stop the Wickham brothers from working as quickly as they could. Danny had told him to grab anything of real value and Mikey was working feverishly, afraid that their luck would soon run out.

Looking down at their loot so far, they had done a pretty decent job of grabbing guns, small musical instruments, knives and jewelry. Mikey was more than ready to call it a night and get out of there.

“Come on, Danny…don’t you think we have enough crap?” Mikey asked, glancing sideways at his sibling.

“Dude, if we’re doing this, it’s not gonna be some half-assed job,” Danny said as he opened another jewelry case. “We’re taking everything we can.”

“What if someone calls the cops? I told you I don’t want to go to jail.”

“We won’t if you hurry the hell up. This place doesn’t have any cameras so we won’t get caught.” Danny frowned when he saw Mikey opening up the watch display case. “Dude, don’t grab those—they ain’t worth nothin’.”

Mikey sighed and rolled his eyes at his brother’s back. He didn’t know why he put up with Danny’s incessant orders. It wasn’t like he was some lackey or something; he didn’t have to take being ordered around. Yet, here he was with his delinquent sibling, throwing his life right down the toilet.

The young man was about to move away from the watches when one caught his eye. It was a gold pocket watch with floral etching, a faint film of tarnish in the grooves giving it an antique look.

It looks just like Paw-Paw Benny’s old watch, Mikey thought as he reached into the case to pick up the old timepiece. Holding it in his hand, he turned it over, smiling slightly as he rubbed his thumb over the rough surface.

Glancing quickly over his shoulder to make sure Danny wasn’t watching him, the red-headed man slipped it into his pocket. It felt oddly comforting having it there and Mikey had to shake himself as a chill raced up his spine.

A thump from the back caused the younger Wickham to jump, his heart hammering in his chest. Dammit, the police are here to arrest us!

“Danny, did you hear that?” Mikey whispered frantically.

“Man, would you calm down and quit freaking out over everything? It was probably just a stray dog diggin’ in the trash or somethin’,” Danny said, shaking his head, clearly annoyed. “I swear, this is the last time I ask you to help me.”

Anger immediately overcame any fear Mikey was feeling. “I never wanted to come here in the first place!”

“Then why did you come?” Danny challenged.

“Because you told me if I didn’t, you would tell Lindsay I went out with Gretchen!” Danny could make anyone believe any lie and when he’d threatened Mikey with that one, the young man had had no choice but to go along with it, even if it was a complete fabrication. He didn’t want to screw up anything with Lindsay, especially when they’d been going strong two years now.

“Believe me, it’ll be the last time I ever do that,” Danny said as he zipped up his bag. “I should have got Steve to help me.”
“Didn’t he stand you up to bang some chick he met in a bar?”

“Bite me, dumb ass.”

Mikey smiled in satisfaction as he got a shot in at his sibling. Danny tended to think of himself as Enigma’s greatest gift to women and he couldn’t stand it when someone else got some action if it left him out in the cold.

Another thud had Mikey turning around towards the back of the store and he felt the blood literally drain from his face. Mr. Gibson, a balding stick of a man, was standing there, pointing a rifle at the both of them.

“Put it down and get out now or I start shooting,” the older man warned, cocking the gun for emphasis. “I’m tired of you damn kids comin’ in here and robbin’ my place.”

“Mind your blood pressure, Walter,” Danny said with a smirk. “You don’t want to get your old ticker kicking into high gear, do you?”

Walter shook his head sadly. “What is your mama gonna think when she hears about this?”

“Danny, maybe we should just go,” Mikey said, a nervous tremor in his voice. “Mama will be pissed if she finds out what we’ve done.”

“You should listen to your brother, Danny,” Walter said. “At least one of you has a lick of common sense.”

Danny ignored the pawn shop owner. “He won’t shoot us, Mikey. Grab your stuff and let’s get outta here.”

“Danny—”

“Move it, Mikey.” Danny turned his back on Mikey and Walter, reaching down to take hold of his large duffle.

Why does he have to be—

Mikey never got to finish his thought as they report of a shotgun blasted through the store. Everything seemed to slow down as, horrified, he watched the shot hit his sibling in the back. Danny’s body jerked before falling to the ground, unmoving.

Time resumed its normal pace as Mikey fell to his knees beside Danny, pressing his hands to the wound, hoping to do something to staunch the flow of blood. Taking one of his hands, he pressed a couple of fingers to Danny’s carotid, fear gripping him at the absence of a pulse.

Swallowing down the lump in his throat, Mikey looked up at the shop owner who was standing there watching them, his mouth agape. “We didn’t mean anything by it, Mr. Gibson.”

“I-I didn’t mean to shoot him,” Mr. Gibson said. “I just wanted you to leave me be.”

Mikey said nothing, too afraid the shopkeeper would plug him. He let out a quiet sigh of relief as the older man put down the firearm and rubbed a hand over his face.

“I want you to leave, do you hear me, Mikey?” Walter asked. “You were never here tonight—I’ll take care of it.”

The young man just looked at the shop owner in shock. He didn’t want to leave his brother alone—it would feel like he was betraying him or something.

“Go, Mikey!”

Mikey nodded numbly before turning around and darting out of the pawn shop.

*****

Mikey didn’t even bother turning on the light when he stepped into his tiny apartment a little later. Instead, he went straight for the refrigerator and grabbed a beer before planting himself on his thrift store recliner. Finding the remote between the cushion and the chair, he turned it on to the local news.

He couldn’t believe what had happened. His brother could be so stupid and his idiocy had finally caught up with him. Mikey knew he should have been mourning his sibling, but all he could feel was anger that was slowly bubbling into rage.

Glancing at the television, Mikey seethed as the scene changed to a shot of the pawn shop, Danny’s body being wheeled out into the coroner’s van. Letting out a guttural yell, he threw the bottle at the screen, feeling a little satisfied as it shattered.

Launching himself from the recliner, Mikey began to pace like a caged lion. I should have tried harder to make Danny leave. I shouldn’t have let him go through with it. Why didn’t I do more? Why did I have to be a pushover once again? It’s my fault that Danny’s dead…

Shoving his hands into his jacket pockets, wishing to rid himself of the guilt, Mikey was slightly surprised when his right hand touched something solid. Pulling it out, he saw that it was the pocket watch he’d lifted.

I forgot I even had this…

Squeezing it tightly, feeling completely drained, a sob escaped Mikey’s lips.

“I wish we’d never robbed the damn place…”

*****

Mikey jerked awake, gasping desperately for air. He felt disoriented, almost as if he’d just stepped off a carnival ride. Looking around, he was shocked to find himself sitting in the passenger seat of his brother’s old Toyota Camry.

“Yo, Mikey—what’s your deal?” Danny asked, staring at him strangely.

Mikey swung his head in the direction of Danny’s voice, positive that he was hallucinating. Danny was dead—he was sure of it. He remembered the warmth of his brother’s blood on his hands, the lack of a pulse, the way his eyes stared out at nothing. But yet, here Danny was—living, breathing and staring at him as if Mikey had lost his mind.

Maybe I have, he thought. Just to be sure, he reached out a hand and gave Danny’s arm a gentle squeeze. Oh, my God, he’s really here! What the hell is happening?

Danny jerked his arm out of Mikey’s grasp. “Man, what have I told you about personal space?”

“You’re alive,” Mikey said in wonder. Okay, clearly that beer I drank had something in it.

Danny arched a brow, looking at him as if he’d grown an extra head. “Last I checked.”

“I don’t believe it.” Without warning, Mikey reached over and enveloped his big brother in a hug. Just as quickly, Danny shoved him away, pushing him against the passenger door.

“Dude, what the hell is your problem? You off your meds or somethin’?”

Mikey flashed his sibling a goofy grin, not caring how ridiculous he looked. Danny was back and that was all that mattered right now.

“Now that you got your mental breakdown over, are you ready?”

“For what?”

Danny nodded at the darkened pawn shop. “You said you were gonna help me. We have to do this now.”

He still wants to rob the store! Mikey could feel the panic start to rise in his chest. “I don’t think we should do this, Danny. Let’s just go home and watch a movie or somethin’.”

“Tell me you’re not gonna chicken out on me now, bro. I told you it would be a simple job—in and out. I need you to watch my back.”

“I just have a bad feeling about this,” Mikey continued, desperately willing Danny to listen to him. Come on, Danny—just believe me and listen to me for once in your life.

“I don’t have time for this,” Danny muttered before pulling the keys out of the ignition and getting out of the car.

“You stupid son of a bitch,” Mikey griped before following Danny across the deserted two lane road. “Danny, you have to believe me when I say we can’t go through with this. Something bad is gonna happen.”

“God, you really are on somethin’ tonight.” Danny continued on his path, walking to the darkest side of the pawn shop. Luckily for them, old man Gibson didn’t bother to invest in any bars for the windows. Mikey could only watch in mounting horror as his sibling pushed up on the window and it opened without a hitch.

“Please don’t do this, Danny. I’m beggin’ you here.”

Danny turned to look at him. “Look, the way I see it, you have two options: be a man and help me or be a bitch and go cry home to Mama.”

Without another word, Danny slipped inside the establishment. Sighing and seeing that he had no other choice, Mikey took one last look around the quiet town before going in after Danny.

“We need to hurry before Mr. Gibson gets back,” Mikey said as soon as he was safely inside.

Grabbing his bag, Danny moved over to the nearest display case, which housed the guns and knives. “Don’t worry—the old man is gone for the night. I’ve been watching this place all week—he leaves around ten and doesn’t check in until he opens up the next morning.”

“He’ll be back in a few minutes,” Mikey blurted out before he could stop himself. He was almost afraid to look at Danny but he willed himself to do it anyway.

“What, are you psychic or something?” Danny asked, clearly amused.

“Definitely something,” the younger brother mumbled but Danny had lost interest in him, instead focusing on the jewelry and throwing it into his bag.

Sighing, Mikey turned his head and his eyes alighted upon the gold pocket watch. Sliding open the display case, he reached in and picked up the timepiece. Rising up to study it, a sudden thud had him dropping it to the floor and whirling around.

“D-Danny,” he whispered frantically. It’s happening just like last time!

Danny waved a hand at him, still grabbing as many things as he could.

Mikey swallowed hard as Walter Gibson stepped out of the back, cocking the rifle as he did so. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Danny drop the duffle he’d been stuffing.

“Drop everything and get out—or I start shooting,” Walter warned.

“Don’t waste your breath, old man. You won’t shoot us,” Danny said smirking as he reached down to grab his dropped bag.

“NO!” Mikey yelled as two shots rang out. He watched in horror as both the shop owner and his brother were hit in the chest, both falling to the ground in tandem.

“This wasn’t supposed to happen,” Mikey muttered as he dropped to the ground beside his fallen sibling. He knew it was useless, but he felt for a pulse anyway. He wasn’t the least bit surprised when he didn’t find one.

Looking around the quiet shop, frantically searching for nothing in particular, he spotted the pocket watch glinting harmlessly in the pale lamp light.

Tripping over himself, he snatched it up, rocking back and forth while holding it closely to his chest.

“I wish we’d never robbed the damn place. I wish we’d never robbed the damn place. I wish…”

END TEASER

Lawrence, Kansas
Emerald Motel
One week later…

Sam Winchester squinted at the computer screen, willing the words to make sense—or at the very least, form complete sentences instead of rambling run-ons. It was enough to make anyone dizzy, like stepping off the Tilt-A-Whirl at the county fair.

Maybe it would have helped if green didn’t surround Sam everywhere he looked—green walls, green carpeting, green towels, green bedspreads. The only thing to break the green monotony was the wide yellow stripe on the carpet that ran from the middle of the two queen beds to the bathroom.

Follow the yellow brick road straight to the wizard.

Apparently, someone around here had a sense of humor and while it had been funny the first time he’d entered the room with Dean a week ago, it was now getting old. Sam still didn’t understand why it seemed that everywhere in Kansas had to do their own little tribute to The Wizard of Oz—everyone got it by now; they didn’t have to be constantly reminded that it took place there.

It also didn’t help that the young hunter had been working non-stop, researching every possible way to get John out of Stull. It seemed as if every single time he found a viable lead, it only led to another dead-end. They all said the same thing—Stull wouldn’t open again until the Spring Equinox—March twentieth to be exact.

Still, that didn’t stop Sam from trying alternative ways to bust his dad out. After all, if anyone could find an off-the-wall solution to any problem, it was Sam Winchester.

I saved Dean when he was electrocuted a few years ago. Of course, the dude was using dark magic because of his crazy wife…

Whatever the case, Sam had been able to save Dean and that was all that mattered. And he would do the same for John, even if it meant driving himself way past the point of exhaustion.

And Sam was exhausted. For a second, it had him wondering how far he actually could push himself before be reached breaking point. If history was any indication of the Winchester resilience, then it wouldn’t be until he was six feet under. But Sam had to do it—not only for himself, but for Dean as well.

Sam wasn’t stupid; he saw what this last week had done to his brother. Dean was nothing but a walking, ticking time bomb and Sam honestly didn’t know how much more Dean could take before he exploded.

Dean wouldn’t listen to reason. Hell, he wouldn’t listen to anything Sam had to say. He’d had tunnel vision since Stull—refused to do anything except stay in Lawrence and spend all hours of the day and night at the cemetery, trying to find some loophole. Sam had tried to budge him, even went so far as getting Bobby involved, but Dean remained as stubborn as ever.

When Dean wasn’t at the cemetery, he was at some bar until all hours. After the first night of trying to get Dean to come back to the motel ended with a bruised jaw, Sam had left Dean to himself. He was used to Dean going down the same destructive path time and time again and he would be there to help Dean up and give him the swift kick in the ass when he was ready.

It pained Sam to see his brother this way. Dean had always been the pillar of strength when it came to the Winchester clan. But Sam had glimpsed those brief moments of weakness on Dean’s face—he’d always been about family. It sometimes scared Sam the lengths Dean would go to in order to protect what was his.

While they’d been without John for long periods of time as they were growing up, this was different. John had never been completely inaccessible before. Unavailable, yes, but not like this. It was almost as if their dad was—dead.

“Don’t do that, Sam. You can’t go there,” Sam berated himself. If he did that, then they may as well throw in the towel.

Pushing all those thoughts behind him, Sam focused on the task at hand. Pulling up a search engine, he typed in a few words and waited for the results. Spying a potentially interesting link, he clicked on it and pulled up the Enigma Gazette.
Skimming the story, his interest began to perk up. It was an article about a guy who swore there was some magic watch that could turn back time. He said he’d done it and had watched his brother die twice as a result of it.

“That’s weird,” Sam muttered.

It was obvious the story was included in the paper to ridicule the man—Mikey Wickham. But Sam couldn’t help but be intrigued by it and he also couldn’t stop the little tingling in his head, almost as if his brain was trying to tell him it sounded familiar.

Maybe I saw something like it in Dad’s journal.

Picking up the worn leather tome, Sam began to flip through it, his eyes glancing over the familiar scrawl. He knew exactly where everything was, having memorized every detail of his father’s hunting career. Ever since it had come into their possession a few years ago, he’d spent countless sleepless nights reading it cover to cover, especially when the nightmares and visions had been so bad.

About halfway through, Sam stopped his flipping, eyes zeroing in on a sentence scribbled in the margins—“Watch that can turn back time?”

“Looks like Dad wasn’t too sure about it,” Sam commented as he sat back in thought. He’d never really paid much attention to it before. To him, it was simply a thought or something John had which he had just jotted it down.

It was the way his father worked—there were tons of notes he’d written down but they really had no meaning at all. But maybe John had actually been onto something in this one instance without ever knowing it.

Putting down the journal, the young hunter went back to his laptop, feeling as if his luck might finally be changing for the better. Typing in a few commands, he managed to crack into Mikey’s record, finding out he was being held in a mental hospital in Tifton, Georgia. Writing down the address, Sam shut down the laptop and closed it up.

Smiling for the first time all week, Sam stood up and grabbed his duffle from the foot of the bed. Throwing his clothes inside, he knew the easy part was behind him. Now, he would have to somehow convince Dean to go along with his plan.
As if he had realized Sam needed to talk to him, Dean chose that moment to walk into the room, slamming the door behind him. Sam barely glanced up at Dean as his brother tossed a greasy brown paper bag onto his bed.

“What are you doing?” Dean asked as he slipped off his jacket, his voice slightly defensive.

“You need to pack,” Sam answered. “We’ve got to hit the road.”

“We’ve had this argument before, Sammy.” Dean plopped himself on the bed and looked over at him. “We’re not going anywhere.”

“Dean, would you just—”

“This isn’t up for discussion. I told you, we can’t leave until we find a way to get Dad out.”

“We’re not even—”

“Sam, just stop it. We both know this is only going to end with the both of us pissed at each other.”

It took everything Sam had not to grab his brother by the shoulders and shake him. “If you’d just shut the hell up long enough for me to get a word out, Dean, I’m trying to tell you that I may have found something that can help Dad.”

Whatever Dean was about to say was forgotten as he stared up at Sam, mouth slightly open.

“Well, dude, spit it out already,” Dean said. “What is it?”

A brief smile flashed across Sam’s face before he quickly pushed it away. “I found an article from a small town in Georgia. Some guy there swears he found a watch that turns back time.”

Dean smirked. “It’s probably some heavily medicated crackpot sitting in a padded room somewhere with a jacket to keep him warm at night.”

Sam opened his mouth to say something but closed it just as quickly, refusing to look Dean in the eyes. There really was nothing he could say to refute Dean’s claim.

Dean cocked his head. “He is some nutjob.”

Sam shrugged. “Maybe he is but Dad mentioned something about it in his journal.”

“What?”

“Well, it was just a sentence. More of question, actually—‘watch that can turn back time.’ But it’s still something.”

Dean shook his head. “You’re gonna have to come up with something better than that, Sam.”

Sam sighed. “I’m tired of sitting in this room bending over a computer the entire time. I’m tired of you driving yourself crazy with this notion that if we stay here, we’ll find a way to get Dad out.”

Dean gritted his teeth. “Sam—”

Sam cut him off. “We haven’t found jack, Dean, and we’re deluding ourselves if we think by sitting here the answer is going to fall into our laps.”

Dean said nothing.

“Look, I miss Dad and more than anything, I want to get him back. But we can’t keep doing this—Dad would be disappointed in us if he saw what we were doing.”

“Don’t do that, Sam. Don’t you dare starting batting for Dad’s team when you’ve spent almost every waking moment fighting with the man.”

“I’m not trying to, Dean.” Sam sat down on the bed opposite his sibling. “But I refuse to sit back and do nothing when we have a possible lead that could help.”

Getting up, Sam shoved a few more items into his bag before zipping it shut. “If you don’t wanna go, Dean, I’ll find a way to get there myself.”

Sam knew by saying that he’d just won the argument. There was no way in hell Dean was going to let him leave by himself. He’d just lost Dad and Sam knew his brother would do everything in his power not to lose him as well.

Sighing, Dean got up from the bed and began to pack. “Little brothers can be such a major pain in the ass.”

 

Behavioral Health Services of South Georgia
Tifton, Georgia
The next day

Dean Winchester shifted uncomfortably in the hunter green plastic chair, his body complaining loudly about the painful position. He and Sam were sitting in the small atrium of the mental hospital, waiting for Mikey Wickham to be brought to them. The bright sunlight that filtered through did nothing to improve his sour mood.

They were both utterly exhausted after the excursion from Kansas, having only slept for about five hours after driving all day and most of the previous night. This was the last place Dean wanted to be but there was no backing out of it now, especially since it would mean him listening to Sam bitch the entire time if he did.

And I so don’t want to go there.

It didn’t mean Dean had to be happy to be there though. He honestly didn’t think they would find anything useful here to help them. He truly believed they were dealing with some nutjob who just wanted some attention, no matter how he went about getting it. Why else would they have to talk to him here? If he’d had all his marbles, they could be chatting it up in some mom-and-pop diner.

God, I’m starving, Dean thought as his stomach grumbled loudly, sharing the sentiment. Don’t get mad at me. Blame Sammy—he’s the one who insisted we get here at the butt crack of dawn.

If it was up to Dean, they would still be in Lawrence. He felt sure that he was on the right path. Locals were just starting to open up to him, telling him secrets of the legendary cemetery that had been long forgotten. Dean was sure if they’d stayed there just a little longer, he would have gotten John out, once and for all.

Dean refused to look logically at it; he refused to accept he was doing nothing more than chasing his tail in the dark. If he admitted he was only kidding himself, then he was defeated and he wouldn’t do that. It wasn’t the way the Winchesters operated, especially when it concerned family.

Even more frustrating to the hunter would be for him to admit that he was helpless this time around. It was a feeling that didn’t sit well with him and he wasn’t going to just stand by without giving all of his effort to the cause. If that meant running himself ragged in order to accomplish that goal, then he would do just that.

Dean wasn’t blind, either; he realized what his tireless crusade was doing to his little brother. Stress and worry were evident on Sam’s face, though the kid did his best to try to mask it. He’d been making Sam work nonstop, snapping at him and shutting him down every time he came up with an idea. It wasn’t that he wasn’t grateful for what Sam was doing. It was that he was afraid he would lose it all if he acknowledged everything that had happened. He wouldn’t allow Sam to see him that way—he had to be there for him and if that meant being an ass about it, then so be it.

Dean knew their missing dad wasn’t the only thing that was bothering Sam either. Stull played with his sibling’s head, much like it had done with his. Sam was still freaked about turning evil like his alternate double even though Dean assured him that would never happen. Even if Sam said he believed Dean, internally he would still be dwelling on it—that’s just the way Sam was.

Sam turned his head to look at Dean strangely. “Dude, quit staring at me. What’s wrong?”

Dean flinched, hating being caught. “I thought you were finished with puberty,” he said thoughtfully.

“What are you talking about?”

“You have a huge ass pimple on the side of your face,” Dean answered, smirking. “I would say I only thought girls usually got them like that, but…”

Sam reached up, touching both sides of his face in search of the blemish. When Dean only started to laugh, Sam glared daggers at the older man.

“My bad,” Dean said, clearly amused.

Sam huffed. “You are such an ass, you know that?”

Dean smiled but didn’t say anything as a young man entered the atrium. The brothers stood up as one, towering over him.
“Mikey Wickham?” Sam asked.

“Yeah,” he answered apprehensively.

“We’d like to talk to you about what happened on the night of the robbery.”

Mikey turned around to leave. “I don’t need this crap, guys. The last thing I want right now is for another person to think I’ve lost my marbles.”

“I promise, we’re not here to ridicule you,” Sam said with a pointed look at Dean. “I’m Sam and this is Dean. We kind of have experience with the strange and crazy. We just want to hear your side of the story.”

“I don’t know…”

“Just give us the benefit of the doubt,” Sam pleaded. “All we need is a few minutes of your time.”

Mikey studied them for a few seconds before slowly coming back into the room and sitting in the empty green chair across from them.

As the brothers retook their seats, Dean asked, “What happened that night?”

“Are you two brothers?” Mikey asked abruptly.

Sam nodded, slightly caught off-guard. “Why do you ask?”

“I’m guessing you’re the younger one,” Mikey said, a ghost of a grin flitting across his face. “Your brother ever convince you to do anything stupid?”

“All the damn time.”

Dean glared at them, silently promising himself he’d get Sam back for that one later.

“That’s what happened with me,” Mikey continued, ignoring Dean’s look. “Danny—my brother—made me go along with him to rob Gibson’s Super Pawn. I didn’t want to but it’s kind of hard to tell Danny no.”

“Well, sure that’s stupid,” Dean admitted. “But I’m still not convinced that’s how you got a one-way ticket straight to the loony hut.”

Mikey shot a look at Dean, slightly affronted.

“Dean didn’t mean anything by it, Mikey,” Sam said quickly, glaring at his sibling. “Tell us what happened next.”

Mikey shook his head. “It was weird.”

“Weird how?”

“I mean, I watched Danny die and I got the hell out of there. I went back home and I was so pissed at him. I felt the watch I’d swiped in my pocket and I just lost it.” He looked at the Winchesters in turn. “I just made some offhand comment about wishing we’d never gone there and all of a sudden, I was back in Danny’s car and he was sitting right beside me as if nothing ever happened.”

“Was he…different?” Dean asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Did he look…” Dean trailed off, not sure how to ask it without freaking the kid out even more. Aw, screw it—he’s already seen crazy. Why not add a little more to it? “Did he seem dead to you?”

“No,” Mikey said, unnerved by the question. “He was normal. He was Danny.”

“So, it was like you got a second chance with him?” Sam asked.

“Right.”

“But I’m guessing it didn’t work out for you like you wanted it to,” Dean said.

“It got worse,” Mikey admitted.

“How?”

“Everything happened exactly like the first time except Mr. Gibson was killed along with my brother.” Mikey shook his head in bewilderment. “I didn’t even know that Danny was packing heat. I swear to you, he didn’t have it the first time.”

Sam and Dean exchanged a look but neither said anything.

“Can you tell us what the watch looked like?” Sam asked, changing the subject.

“It was gold—had flowers etched all over the casing. It looked ancient, like something your grandfather or great-grandfather would carry around in his pocket.”

“Do you know where the watch is now?” Dean inquired.

Mikey shrugged. “It should still be at the pawn shop. I dropped it after it wouldn’t work again.”

“You tried to use it again?” Sam asked.

“Yeah. When nothing happened, I thought for sure I had just imagined the entire thing.”

The boys stood up, signaling the end of the conversation.

“Thanks for your time, Mikey,” Sam said.

“Hey.” Mikey stopped them before they could get out the door. “Do you think I’m crazy?”

Dean shook his head, slightly surprised at himself. “No, we don’t.”

Mikey flashed a genuine smile. “Thanks. I really needed to hear that.”

Sam waited until they were walking towards the Impala before speaking. “So, do you really believe that?”

“Believe what?” Dean asked as he pulled the keys out of his jacket pocket.

“The kid’s not crazy.”

Dean shrugged as he opened the door. “We’ve heard crazier.”

Sam nodded as they got into the car as a unit. Dean turned the ignition and put the old Chevy into gear, heading back towards Enigma. They drove in silence for a while, each lost in his own thoughts.

“What if it’s real, Sammy?” Dean asked suddenly.

“The watch?”

“Yeah. This could be our way to get Dad back.”

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Dean,” Sam cautioned. “We don’t know if this thing really works or if we’re being duped.”

“Yeah, I know. But it’s something—more than we’ve had so far.”

Sam nodded but didn’t reply.

Dean couldn’t help but be encouraged by the prospect of the watch. Sure, it seemed hokey but they’d seen and dealt with stranger things in their storied hunting career. But this offered more hope than anything else they’d come across lately.

A few minutes later, Dean pulled into the parking lot of the pawn shop. A neon “Open” sign was flashing in the window and a big black bow hung from the door, announcing it as a place of mourning.

“It didn’t take them long to bounce back from a double homicide, did it?” Sam asked as they walked up to the door.

Dean shrugged. “It’s the small town way of life. They can’t afford to sit on their asses like they could in the big city.”

A bell chimed overhead, announcing their arrival as the boys entered the shop. A kindly, silver-haired woman looked up from the counter she was standing behind, smiling at them invitingly.

“Do you boys need help with anything?”

Dean nudged Sam, indicating he should do the talking on this one. Sammy always did have a way with the little old ladies.
Sam stepped forward, flashing the woman a warm smile. “We were actually interested in your watches, uh…”

“Carol Gibson—this was my husband’s shop,” the woman supplied. She walked down the length of the counter before stopping at a display case near the end. “Is there a particular watch you were looking for?”

“Well, the one we’re interested in is old,” Sam began. “Um, it’s gold with a floral etching—a pocket watch.”

Carol nodded, looking thoughtful as Sam described the timepiece. “It does sound familiar.” She then looked at them apologetically. “I’m sorry, but I believe I sold the watch you’re describing late yesterday evening.”

The brothers turned their heads towards each other, both mirroring the same look of disbelief. Their first real shot at getting John back had just slipped from their grasp before they’d even gotten their hands on it.

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The Winchester Chronicles

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