Episode Twenty-One: Sins of the Father

By Tracer

Part One

 

Sam jerked his head back as another tightly wadded paper missile connected with the side of his face, letting a steady exhale from his nose be his only response to his brother’s childish behavior. Little brother had learned a long time ago that no reaction usually worked in his favor, but ignoring Dean was a feat of mammoth proportions, especially when big brother was bored out of his mind.

They had been cramped up in the same dirty motel room for the past week after their last hunt had left them worse for wear, and the cabin fever had set in after the first two days. Sam had found more productive uses of his time by scouring the internet for anything remotely resembling a potential hunt, but the quest was to no avail. There was absolutely nothing that needed killing, banishing, or saving this week as far as he could tell.

Soon, his search had taken him across the world web and into a gaming site where those damn numbered boxes had now perplexed him for the past four days. Easy levels were for amateurs and he’d gone to Stanford: seriously how hard could the Expert level be?

Dean, on the other hand, had taken to collecting up the mass amount of burger and convenience store wrappers littering the room, ripping them and rolling them into perfect bullets, the discarded straws scattered around meeting the standard air rifle criteria for paper wads and spitballs, serving its purpose to stellar effect.

Sam’s palm connected with the wooden tabletop, the fierce contact creating a painful, burning sensation which automatically traveled its way up his arm as another launched annoyance tactic slapped into his jaw, its spit-laden cover sticking to the protruding, clenched bone. The younger brother lifted his stinging hand amidst his brother’s uproarious laughter and slowly swiped the damp paper off his face with a grimace.

“Can’t you watch TV?” Sam suggested tersely, turning towards his brother, desperation for Dean to take him up on the idea more than evident in his weary expression.

Dean shrugged his shoulders and swatted his fingers through his rolled arsenal. “Nope, don’t want to, and even if I did, there’s nothing on.”

“Why don’t you look?” Sam grit out and fixed a pointed glare at Dean. “There’s got to be something.”

“Yea, for dirty old men and chicks,” Dean stated, loading another paper wad into his McDonald’s-provided launcher, “And unlike someone who shall remain nameless, I don’t have to watch porn, because I actually get action.”

“It doesn’t count if you pay for it,” Sam quipped, a smirk on his lips as he turned back to the computer screen, groaning as he realized he’d placed the same number twice in one box.

“Oh, to those girls, Sammy, I’m worth every penny,” Dean bragged and taking a deep inhale placed his lips on the end of his firing straw and exhaled, propelling another wad directly into his brother’s temple.

Sam whirled around in the chair, his face beet red as he worked to quell the desire to lunge out of the chair and place his hands around his brother’s neck. Composure semi-reached, the younger brother cleared his throat and offered a smug reply. “Is that what they pay you with? No wonder we’re broke.”

“Hey!” Dean exclaimed loudly, mocking offence. “Mick Jones made a sizeable donation to the Winchester Credit Fund last month. According to Visa, we still got around two thousand dollars.”

Sam shook his head in disbelief, stifling a laugh at Dean’s expense. “One of these days, someone’s gonna catch on to that naming scheme you got there.”

“Nothing like the classics,” Dean replied reverently, reloading the straw and preparing to fire.

“Don’t,” Sam ordered, hand outstretched in a warning for Dean to stop when he caught sight of his brother’s move to shoot. “I mean it.”

“What you gonna do, Sasquatch?” Dean taunted, eyes lit with mischief. “Look down at me?”

“I’m gonna kick your ass,” Sam threatened, rising from his chair and standing at full height. The promise held no value to Dean and the older brother fired at will, sending the small paper bullet sailing into Sam’s chest. “Alright, that’s it.”

Dean was off the ratted comforter before Sam’s hastened footsteps brought him to it, and the older brother quickly leaped off the bed, scrambling over Sam’s, narrowly avoiding the long arm swinging out at him. The younger brother wasn’t deterred by his premature miss, and quickly recovered, grabbing a good bit of Dean’s jeans around the older man’s ankle and jerking him onto his stomach across the bed.

A resounding knock at the door prevented Sam from acting off his current advantage as both brothers fell instantly still in waiting. The sound repeated itself and Dean turned his head back to meet Sam’s questioning stare.

“I know you’re in there,” a deep voice groused from behind the door. “Your stupid car is the only one in the lot that’s been double parked for the past week.”

Sam rolled his eyes and gave his brother an annoyed look. Dean shrugged sheepishly, “Hick town, Sammy. Don’t want any of those trucks dinging my baby.”

“C’mon, I ain’t got all day,” their visitor yelled gruffly, resorting to banging on the door incessantly until he got an answer.

Sam and Dean exchanged irritated glances and Dean cocked his head toward the door. “You’re closer.”

“And you’re an ass,” Sam retorted, releasing his hold on his brother’s pants.

Dean smirked, taking pleasure in his win. “But a cute ass.”

The dark-haired brother groaned at the comment and turned toward the door. “Alright, alright, I’m coming. Give me a second.”

No sooner had the knocking stopped than Sam cracked open the room door, the sliver of exposed daylight revealing a scruffy bearded elderly man clothed in a dirty wife-beater and wrinkled dress pants. Sam instantly recognized him as the motel manager and knowing this guy wouldn’t even pose a threat if he tried, opened the door wider.

“How the hell didn’t you hear me? I been banging on the damn door for--” the man snapped angrily, his head poking around Sam, breath catching when he saw Dean’s prostrate form on the bed, a purposefully lewd grin on the older brother’s face. “Oh. Well, uh…I can come back.”

“No, it’s not like that. He’s my brother,” Sam protested, face flushed at the insinuation. He gave his brother a ‘please, just this once help me out here’ look before turning back to the manager. “We were just messing around.”

Dean didn’t even attempt to smother his loud guffaw and the manager nodded shortly, “Right. Sure.”

Sam let out a calming breath, seeking control over the situation, and cleared his throat to recapture their visitor’s attention. “You knocked because?”

“Yeah,” the old man replied quickly, his composure shifting from stunned to businesslike in the blink of an eye. “A man came in around ten minutes ago. Told me your room number and to give you this.”

Sam waited for the manager to retrieve the ‘this’ to which he was referring, and surprise coupled with confusion played across his face as the man withdrew a folded newspaper and extended it toward him. “Uh…thanks.”

“Not a problem,” the gray-haired man returned hastily. “Let me know if you’re staying another night.”

“Oh we will,” Dean called out from the bed, loud laughter following his statement as Sam turned apologetically to the manager, but the sympathetic look was to the retreating man’s back. The younger brother really couldn’t blame him for wanting to quickly escape the situation. Hell, he wanted to join him.

Sam tucked the paper under his arm and shut the door, before stalking over to the bed and hitting his brother’s foot. “You’re a jerk.”

“I thought you said I was an ass,” Dean retorted, interlocking his hands under his head.

“Some days, man, I swear,” Sam muttered, settling in on the opposite bed and unfolding the paper. “Huh…”

“Is that an ‘I’m confused’ huh or a ‘wow, that’s interesting’ huh?” Dean questioned, raising himself to a sit as he studied Sam’s form hunched over the newspaper.

“More like how the hell did someone know we are here, and why,” Sam laid the paper out on the bed, tapping his finger against the print, “is that circled?”

Dean leaned over, tilting his head to get a better view of what Sam was talking about. Sure enough, a small article, barely noticeable, was circled in blank ink. The older brother scanned the article quickly, a grin on his face as he realized this was just their kind of thing. “A series of beatings?”

“This is weird,” Sam breathed, rereading the article, his eyes locked on the names of the past victims.

“Sure, it’s weird.” Dean returned cockily. “How many pissed off biker dudes can there be in one Midwest state?”

Sam scratched his head, his face pensive. “The supernatural part would be the whole ‘it happens on the same property’, Dean. This whole thing is weird. What’s the significance of this case? I mean, I haven’t been able to find anything the last week. Why does this show up today? And from the manager of this crappy place no less, all because some stranger gave it to him?”

“I bet you were that kid in class who made the damn thing run late every time with all your questions,” Dean joked, nudging his brother’s arm before snatching the paper off the bed. “There’s your answer,” he stated, closing the paper and tapping the title. “You really think something called the Haroldian Gazette is a massive publishing? My bet is its local, as in you got to live in the town to even know it exists.”

“Then how’d it get here?” Sam questioned, rubbing a hand across his face. “The town’s in Iowa. We’re in Virginia.”

“I don’t know,” Dean replied honestly, setting the paper down. “But I think we should check it out all the same.”

“Why?” Sam asked in baffled irritation. “For all we know it could be a trap, and don’t you think we have been caught in enough of those?”

“Or one of Dad’s contacts doing a favor for the man,” Dean offered with a shrug, “He hasn’t called in a while.”

“Maybe,” Sam conceded, dropping his hands in his lap and popping his knuckles idly. “Okay, at least we won’t be cooped up in here.”

“Ain’t that the truth,” Dean muttered, lifting his head and raising his eyebrows at Sam.

Sam’s brow furrowed at his brother’s glance. “What?”

“Nothing,” the sandy-haired brother replied, “I was just thinking that you should probably go tell the nice man that we won’t be staying the night.”

“Oh hell no,” Sam protested vehemently. “If anyone should, you should.”

“Why me?” Dean gaped, hand splayed against his chest.

“Because you’re the one who…you know what? I think our not being here is going to give it away,” Sam reasoned, sliding off the bed and grabbing his duffle.

Dean copied the movement, shuffling over to his own bed and retrieving his bag. “That’s a little rude, don’t you think, Romeo? The man’s been so tolerant.”

“Dean,” Sam warned tightly, not amused at all by Dean’s bad idea of humor. “You’d better stop or you’re going to regret it.”

“Ha, bring it on, Sammy,” Dean challenged, cramming his less than clean clothes into the bag.

This day was getting more interesting by the second.

 

 


* * * *


Dean’s knuckles were whiter than any albino’s skin as his fingers wrapped tighter around his baby’s steering wheel. Why big brother had so easily forgotten that little brothers were known for their ability to annoy with their stellar ability he didn’t know. But for the last three hours, Dean had heard every anecdote Sam could dredge up from their twisted life stories and just when it would seem that the dark-haired man had run out of new topics to ramble about, he would go off on another tangent without even pausing to breathe.

With another twelve hours to go, Dean seriously regretted that he hadn’t just opted for another prank war instead of good ole’ brotherly annoyance; and that he hadn’t picked up a pack of sleeping pills at the last gas station.

“And then that thing got you right in the ass. You remember that?” Sam asked, clearly rhetorically because Dean didn’t even get a chance to answer before the younger brother plowed on. “Man, I think even Dad was laughing at you. He told Caleb that story at the cabin in we stayed at in Tennessee that one summer. That was a cool place--”

“Sam!” Dean interjected loudly, swallowing back the overflowing exasperation and waning patience. “I know. I was there, remember?”

“It’s not nice to interrupt when people are talking, Dean,” Sam chided, a smug smirk on his face. “Now, where was I? Right, the cabin.”

Dean dropped his head in defeat, his teeth grit painfully against the onslaught of another venture down memory lane. A few well-aimed spitballs didn’t deserve this kind of torment, of that he was sure. His desperate hazel found solace in the quiet music console and wordlessly Dean stretched out a hand to connect with that blessed button that would issue a flood of screaming metal over his brother’s continuous prattle.

A triumphant grin spread across the older brother’s face as his fingers graced the deck, only to become a window on a crushed spirit as Sam knocked his hand away, ejecting the beloved music quickly and tossing it in the back seat. “You’re not getting off that easy.”

“C’mon, man, this is ridiculous,” Dean whined, hands twisting on the steering wheel. “I mean, I shot those things at you for like ten minutes.”

“Fine, Dean,” Sam complied far too easily. “I’ll stop rehashing family memories.”

Dean gave his brother a wary glance but nodded. “Thank you.”

“Can I drive?”

“What?”

“You heard me,” Sam replied, crossing his arms, “Pull over.”

“No,” Dean objected, and pressed his foot down on the gas pedal just for spite.

Sam heaved a sigh and tapped his brother’s shoulder. “Let me drive.”

“Get your hand off me, Sam,” Dean warned, his eyes drifting to the offending appendage draped on his shoulder.

“What’s the matter, Dean?” Sam questioned innocently, although far from innocent in his refusal to remove his hand. “Does that bother you?”

“Dammit, Sam!” Dean cursed, pulling the car off onto the shoulder and grabbing his brother’s wrist in a death grip. “If, and I mean, IF, you drive, you don’t talk or touch me for the rest of this damn trip, you hear me? Calling big brother law here, the game is off until we reach Iowa and I get my chance to get your ass back. You got me?”

Sam scoffed, but nodded in agreement all the same because all signs told him he’d won this round. “Deal.”

“Good, now get out so I can slide over,” Dean ordered and Sam complied quickly, circling around the car and sinking into the driver’s seat within seconds.

Dean reached over the bench seat and retrieved his music stash from the back, carefully bringing the old battered box to rest on his lap. True to his word, Sam stayed silent as Dean selected a tape and popped it in the deck. Sinking back into the seat, Dean shut his eyes and let the lead in riff soothe his frazzled nerves.

His bliss was cut short when a deafening click resounded through the car and Dean’s eyes flew open when the radio announced some band named The Killers and Sam started singing along.

If he hadn’t wanted to kill Sam two minutes ago, Dean sure as hell wanted to now, especially when Sam gave him a smug look and threw his big brother’s words right back at him.

“Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole.”


* * * *


Haroldian turned out to be the smallest damn town either brother had ever stepped foot in. The painted sign welcoming visitors bore the number four hundred and twenty five, and Dean wondered if just because they were here, some townie would run out and tack the total up two more.

Sam seemed to be pleased with the Victorian style town as he eased the Impala down the street. Not that something like that startled Dean in the least. The town reeked normal, sheltered existence and came complete with a literal Main Street hosting a diner, post office and corner store.

Dean rolled his eyes at the suburban dream and turned his attention back the paper in his lap. “Okay, so these attacks started in the summer and have become more frequent now. So what? Some kind of creature? A werewolf, that kind of thing?”

“Do the words ‘lunar’ and ‘cycle’ mean anything to you?” Sam asked pointedly, scrunching his forehead in thought.

“I don’t know. Do the words ‘jack’ and ‘ass’ mean anything to you?” Dean returned, and Sam comforted himself in the fact that he was pretty sure that was meant as a joke.

“Well, I was just saying werewolf doesn’t fit.” Sam clarified, clearing his throat, “And we crossed the town line. So the game is afoot, Watson.”

Dean’s eyes widened and he laughed openly. “What?”

“Sherlock Holmes,” Sam informed, shaking his head. “Never mind. Its on, bro.”

“To your terror,” Dean quipped, straightening in the seat.

“You wish,” Sam laughed, pulling off the main street and following the signs to the town’s hotel.

Both brothers gaped in something akin to horror when they saw their only choice for accommodations for the week. Sally’s Bed and Breakfast Inn was the picture of frills and lace with a touch of a passionate love for gardening. Dean nearly retched at the sight of it all, and Sam smirked at his discomfort before exiting the car.

“Great, we’re staying at the Betty Crocker Inn,” Dean griped, grabbing his bag out of the trunk and shouldering it.

“Beats the Roach Motel,” Sam replied to his brother’s back, silently grinning at what had to be a shoe-in at bettering his chances at getting on Dean’s nerves. Dean always trumped him in pranks. This was his area of expertise and if he weighed out the times their father had to break them up from this versus prank wars, he’d be hard-pressed to find a winner.

The inside of the quaint establishment was no disappointment. Lace decorated every patch of wood, the patterns covered with figurines ranging from frogs to painted people. Dean picked up a glass dolphin jumping a wave and scoffed, showing it to Sam who merely rolled his eyes at his brother’s lack of attention span.

“You like that?”

The sweet voice nearly shocked Dean out of his skin, and the figurine dropped out of his hands as a woman appeared at his side. For an elderly lady, she was quick and she easily saved the precious figurine from meeting a shattering end.

“Grandchildren. Helps you stay alert,” she explained lightly, her voice carrying a bouncing quality Dean found grating. No one was ever that happy. “I’m Anna. I own this place with my sister Sally. You gentlemen need a room?”

“Yes, that’d be great,” Sam answered respectfully as Anna circled behind the desk, retrieving a reservation book.

“Just need you to sign here and then pay. It’s forty-five a night and breakfast starts at six thirty every morning. Runs ‘til eight,” the woman informed them, her eyes lingering on Dean as the older boy hovered over her precious trove of porcelain.

“Credit okay?” Sam asked, snapping the woman out of her staring and back to him.

“Yes, that’d be fine,” Anna answered, looking down at the ledger. “You only want one room? They’re are all singles with queen beds.”

Sam opened his mouth to reply but Dean seized the opportunity first. “Well, ma’am you see, Sammy, he has some problems and it’s just easier for me to keep an eye on him if we’re together. Can I bother you for some spare sheets, just in case? I wouldn’t want to inconvenience you.”

The dark-haired Winchester’s mouth dropped open in shock. “Spare-?”

“Don’t be embarrassed, Sammy,” Dean stated sweetly, patting his brother’s shoulder, and turning his attention to Anna, his voice lowered to a whisper. “He hasn’t been the same since the accident. I’m sure you understand.”

“Of course, sweetie,” Anna replied, handing the key to Dean on top of a pile of sheets, then the credit card to Sam, a warm smile on her face. “I think you’ll like it here.”

“Oh, I think so too,” Dean said, giving the woman a killer smile before turning back to Sam. “Alright, bro, lets get you to the room.”

Sam picked up his bag and trudged after his brother, waiting until he was completely out of Anna’s eye and ear shot before kicking the back of Dean’s shin and using the older man’s stumble to his advantage as he turned Dean around to face him. “Problems, Dean? Problems?”

“Looks like little Sammy doesn’t like the game anymore,” Dean shot back, entering their room and grimacing at just how small the bed really was. Not that it mattered. Sam was sleeping on the floor anyway. “Or maybe he just needs his nap.”

“Shut up,” Sam spat out, letting his bag drop to the floor when he realized there was no way Dean was letting him have the bed. “I’m hungry.”

“Yeah, me too.” Dean stated, his stomach growling in agreement. “You saw that diner right?”

“Yeah, it’s about a block away,” Sam answered pitifully. He so was getting Dean back for that little display downstairs.

“Great, let’s go.”


* * * *


Freddie’s Family Diner was just as quaint as the Inn, and just as empty. Only a few patrons littered the small establishment and the brothers gave them each the once over, but only one caught and locked their attention.

A dark-haired man sat in the farthest booth, his leather jacket wrapped tightly around his plaid shirt. He stared hard at the brothers, and his dark eyes and warm smile as their gazes met nearly cut off the boys’ air supply.

Dean found his shaking voice first, the word he uttered full of disbelief but brimming with hope.

“Dad?”

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