Chapter Seven - Not Again
Two weeks later:
Dean climbed into his car as he eyed his father from the rear view mirror. A sheriff’s car eased behind his dad’s truck. Dean heard his cell phone hummed repeatedly in his pocket. He retrieved it and checked the screen. Sammy had left four voicemails. Dean pressed the call button. Sammy picked up right away.
“Dean, where are you? You were supposed to be back hours ago.”
Dean looked back at his dad who was sorting things out with the sheriff.
“Dad I ran into a little snag with that spirit on the reservation. We’re heading back now. What’s up? Is everything okay?”
Dean noticed the sheriff’s car leaving. He let out a sigh as his dad climbed into his truck.
“No dude, we’ve got a problem,” Sam answered, his voice thickening with panic.
“I just got off the phone with Buffy, she’s in trouble dude, big trouble.”
Dean rolled his eyes, “Like what? Did she gain half a pound or something?”
“Dude, I’m being serious.”
Dean sighed, “Okay, what kind of trouble?”
“She wouldn’t say, all she told me is that she was in big trouble and that she was on a bus out of town.”
“Oh shit, did she get knocked up?”
“No, I don’t think so…look, she needs help, you didn’t hear how pained she was…I need you to get back here as soon as possible because we need to find her.”
“Oh hell Sammy, she’s probably just freaking because her latest boy toy dropped her hoochie ass and moved on,” Dean grumbled, “You always play right into her hands.”
“Dammit Dean, this is serious. She mentioned something about her mom being really mad and no one understanding what she’s going through. She needs me.”
Dean rolled his eyes, “Oh, I know how she needs you.”
Sammy growled through the phone, “Dean, if you don’t get back here now, I’m walking to the bus station myself.”
“Oh good grief Sammy, don’t get your panties all wet, I’m on my way.”
Sam was waiting outside the motel room when Dean pulled into the parking lot. Sam climbed into the passenger seat, holding a pad of paper in his hand.
“So where am I taking you?”
“What? That’s fucking three hours behind us. No way.”
Dean looked up at the sound of a car horn. His father pulled up next to him and rolled the window down.
“Boys, where you off to?”
“Dad, we need to go to San Diego. Buffy’s in trouble, she ran away from home. I had to talk her off the bus otherwise she would have ended up in Mexico.”
The Winchester patriarch frowned, “I’ll call Joyce and then follow you.”
“Are you serious? Dad, she’s a drama queen, this could all be over some stupid kid in her gym class.”
“Dad, you didn’t hear her, I think she’s really in a lot of trouble,” Sam replied.
“Dean, take your brother. I’ll head out there in a little awhile.”
Dean sighed with disappointment, “Yes, sir.”
“Dean, can you please turn that down?”
“Oh, sorry, is the music too loud for you?”
Dean cranked the volume another notch higher and shot his brother a glare.
“Dean, come on. Don’t be a jerk.”
“I’m a jerk? I’m a jerk? I’ve been digging up graves for two hours straight, I’m tired as shit, my body aches in places I never knew I had and now I’ve got to tow your ass hundreds of miles just so some girl can cry on your shoulder about some meaningless teenage shit. You’re lucky that dad’s following because I’m this close to throwing your pansy ass out the window. So just shut up.”
Sam sighed, leaning back in his seat.
“Touchy subject I guess.”
Dean threw Sammy a dirty look.
“You’re not shutting up.”
It was near four in the morning when Dean pulled the car off the highway. Sam was fast asleep in the passenger seat. Dean punched Sam in the shoulder.
“Huh?” Sam said sleepily.
“We’re here you jerk. Where to now?”
Sam sat up and gathered his phone. He scrolled through his contacts and dialed.
“Buffy? It’s Sam, we just got into town, where are you? Are you safe? Okay, we’ll find it. Sit tight, we’ll be there soon…bye.”
Sam pocketed his cell phone and yawned. He reached into his backpack and pulled out a large white binder. Inside were dozens of road maps with detailed streets and recreational information. He thumbed through the tabs labeled by state.
“What is all that?”
Sam ignored Dean, flipping to the tab marked San Diego.
“You miss school that much?”
After half an hour of weaving through dark, empty roadways, Dean eased into the parking lot of a twenty-four hour Bob’s Big boy. Sam climbed out of the car before Dean could turn off the engine. Sam was inside when Dean caught up to him. There were only a handful of patrons among the minimal wait staff. Buffy was sitting in a booth in the very back of the restaurant. Sam quickly moved through the aisle. Buffy glimpsed up, her green eyes damp with tears.
“Wow Sam, you shot up like a beanstalk.”
“Can I sit?” Sam asked.
Buffy nodded, sliding over in the booth to give Sam space to sit. Dean slipped onto the seat across from them, rested his head back on the red upholstery and closed his eyes.
“Thanks for coming. I didn’t know who else to call.”
“You can always call me. Tell me what’s wrong. What’s so bad that you had to run?”
Buffy paused, sniffing back a tear. “Everything. One day I’m just a teenager trying to pass Algebra and the next I’m a –“
“Mom,” Dean muttered under his breath.
Sam slapped him in the arm.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have bothered you. I mean, you guys have your own life, your own family. I’m just – I’m just totally wiggin’ right now and I didn’t know who to turn to.”
Sam latched onto her hand and smiled, “It’s okay Buffy. You can tell me anything. We’ve always been friends.”
“Yeah, best girlfriends forever,” Dean grumbled.
Sam slapped Dean in the arm a second time.
“Don’t listen to him, he’s in a bad mood. Talk to me.”
“It’s going to sound crazy. I’m not really dealing with it all that well myself either.”
“It won’t sound crazy.”
Buffy drew out a breath, swept her eyes around the restaurant and then leaned closer to Sam.
“Do you – believe there are evil things in the world?”
Dean’s eyes opened at the question as Buffy continued.
“I’m not talking evil like slimy lawyer evil or shady businessman evil but evil like – things that hide in the shadows that you can’t see, ancient things, powerful things, things you should only see in monster movies.”
Dean lifted his head and sat up with interest. He and Sam exchanged glances.
“Evil things like – demons and va- vampires.”
Buffy regarded both of the brothers who were staring at her intently.
“Buffy, what does this have to do with running away?” Sam asked.
Buffy exhaled, “You might want to order something because this is going to take awhile.”