What makes an introduction
Disclaimer: I don't own either SPN or BTVS. *Tears for me*
A/N: Full steam ahead!
Sam was waiting, again. Anxious, again. There was an unsettled something in his stomach and he was almost certain that he was going to vomit. His dad and Bobby were conferring on the back porch, talking in low tones so Sam couldn't hear them. He didn't want to hear, anyway. They'd only had three topics of conversation since Dean had called, telling them all that it was a demon who'd put Faith in a coma, and those three topics were how to track it, how to catch it and how to kill it.
Lather, rinse, repeat. Sometimes, there was punching.
So Sam was just waiting for his brother. He was sick of their fighting and they wouldn't say anything good in front of him anyway, like he was a civilian kid who'd just walked in off the playground.
Dean wasn't far away- he'd called, earlier, to say he was an hour out. When Dean got there, Sam was sure he'd be filled in on what the hell was going on, and how they were planning on getting Faith to wake the hell up already.
He'd already made up the two twin beds in the last bedroom- one for Dana, who was with Dean, and one for Faith, for when she woke up. He kinda hoped that nobody noticed that, though, because Dean already made fun of him for being Suzy Homemaker anywhere they stopped for longer than a few days.
The Impala pulled up outside just as the last of the daylight was fading and Sam yelled out to his father, excited.
"Dean's here!" He hadn't realized how much he'd missed Dean until he pulled open the front door and saw his brother clambering out of the car. He was moving like an old man, stiff and inflexible. Sam knew it meant that he hadn't moved from the driver's seat for at least six hours.
Sam threw himself at his brother and was immediately wrapped in a strong hug. It had only been three days, but it already felt like a lifetime.
No wonder, really, with Bobby and John seemingly determined to drive him freaking insane. He was so relieved to have Dean back, just for the break that his brother's presence would provide.
"Sammy, this is Dana. Dana, this is my little brother Sam." The girl was tall, slender, dark haired and dark eyed, and she held herself back, curling her shoulders in on herself. There were circles like bruises under her eyes and scratches on what he could see of her forearms. She met his gaze but said nothing, and Sam got the faintest impression that she had already decided that she didn't like him.
Which was completely not fair. What had Dean been telling her?
"Dana doesn't say much," Dean added, "but I'm sure you two will get along just fine." Sam stepped back, watching carefully as the Slayer followed Dean up the steps and into the house. She'd left the passenger door of the Impala wide open and Sam closed it, scowling, before jogging after them.
When he got back inside, Dana was standing at Dean's side, almost like his shadow- like Angel had been, at the start, maybe- and facing off against a shouting John Winchester.
Well, 'facing off' might have been an exaggeration, Sam thought, as he realized that the girl was utterly ignoring the curious Hunter and was instead staring out the window into the backyard, wearing an unreadable expression.
"I'm talking to you, girl! What the hell did you come here for if you're not going to help?!" Sam saw his brother's eyes roll and he wondered if their father had even waited to be introduced before trying to jump straight in to an action plan.
"Dana find Faith." She didn't look at any of them, but her expression hadn't changed anyway. Whatever she was thinking about, it wasn't showing.
"Dana needs to get some sleep before she goes finding anything. Come on, kid. Let's get you washed up and ready for some zzzs." Dean glared at his father when John stepped in his path, intending to stop their progress, and the elder Hunter flushed and stepped away again. Sam thought- though he couldn't be certain, because it was certainly unusual as hell- that he even heard his dad apologize. Quietly, of course.
Sam followed them, instead, watching as Dean led the girl to the bathroom and instructed her to wash her teeth and to go the toilet and that he'd be waiting right outside the door. He didn't close the door all the way, either, leaving it open just a crack so they could hear everything that happened inside.
"Heya Sammy. How's Faith?"
"No change." No change was probably good news at this point, because it meant she hadn't slipped any further away from them. "What did she mean, she's going to find Faith?" Dean shrugged, nonchalant, but Sam knew his brother well and he could just tell that Dean had an idea what it meant. "When I was in her dream, man, I couldn't find her. The first Slayer was too strong for me… but maybe another Slayer could do it?" They had the dream-root, after all. Maybe it would be different for a Slayer, in Faith's head.
"I don't know, man…" Dean glanced back toward the bathroom door, considering, "it's up to Dana. I'm not gonna make her do anything she doesn't wanna do."
Sam wasn't sure what had happened to Dana- Bobby and John refused to tell him, even though he knew that she'd been in a mad house and she'd been there since she was a kid, so something must have happened. But Dean, refusing to push her to help Faith, when Faith was one of the most important people in his world?
Sam swallowed hard, not wanting to think about it. There was nothing he could do to fix it, any of it, so what was the point in dwelling? Yeah. As if that ever worked for him before.
"So how are we going to get Faith back?" Dean must have heard the crack in his voice because his brother turned back to him, concerned.
"Dana knows how, Sammy. I don't know how she knows and I'm not sure what it is, exactly, but she knows what she needs to do." He sounded sure, but Sam couldn't see how he could be. Dean had been the one who called home, telling Bobby that the new Slayer was cracked. How could he know that she even knew what she was saying? How could he trust someone that he'd only just met?
Sam didn't like it, but he'd give her a chance. He'd try anything if it meant getting Faith out of that cold, empty, desert. The house wasn't cold, but Sam shivered, wrapping his arms around himself to stop the shaking.
Dean, turned back to the bathroom once again, didn't notice. Sam couldn't just stand there- not when he didn't know what they were waiting for- so he just walked away, back down the stairs to where the other Hunters were still arguing.
"Do you two ever stop fighting?" He muttered, rolling his eyes and walking past their sentry positions at the foot of the stairs. "You're like an old married couple." Not that Sam knew many old married couples for comparison, but it sounded like something Dean would say, so he said it anyway.
Besides, it made them pause for a second and his dad complained that he was growing a smart mouth, just like his brother. As if. Dean rarely spoke back to dad, even when he should- this whole coma thing would never have happened if Dean hadn't let Dad send them off alone.
They should have been there, too, and then maybe Faith would never have been hurt and there wouldn't be a strange girl upstairs, getting ready to take her place.
He clamped down on that thought, refusing to let it grow. Dana was not taking Faith's place- even if Dean was already treating her like family and looking out for her the way he usually did for Faith and Sam. Dad wouldn't let her stay, anyway, and she was crazy. Not normal crazy, but crazy-crazy, and everyone knew that a crazy Hunter was a liability on a Hunt. The girl would do her thing and wake Faith and then she'd be gone, back to the nut house where she belonged.
He knew he was being irrational- hell, he could feel the frustration bubbling up inside and he couldn't help but resent the girl that could supposedly fix everything when he hadn't managed to fix anything. He'd been inside Faith's friggin' head and he hadn't even been able to find her, and suddenly this kid comes out of nowhere and says she can make it all better? How? She didn't even know Faith. Or Dean, either.
Angry with himself, Sam slammed through the kitchen and out the back door, stomping his feet and relishing the thump when the door swung shut. He had to get a grip- Dean would kick his ass if he knew what Sam was thinking.
He wasn't sure how long he stood there, staring out over the backyard, but eventually the door swung open and Dean came to stand next to him.
"What's eating you, Sammy? You look like shit." True, and Sam could hardly deny it. He hadn't been sleeping and it was starting to show on his face. Even his grades were suffering, not that any of his family would appreciate that he'd gotten an A minus on his last quiz.
"I miss Faith." He blurted out, reddening as he heard the words. He sounded like a child, certainly not like a grown man. Dean didn't tease him about it, though. In fact, Dean threw one arm over his shoulder and pulled him into a half-hug, letting Sam rest his head on Dean's shoulder. Sam was sure that he'd be taller than his brother one day- even John said so- but for now, he could rest there comfortably and he was tired enough that he wasn't even embarrassed. "She's all alone in that stupid desert and I couldn't find her."
"It's okay Sammy, you did your best. I know that and Dad knows that, and you should know that too." Dean even managed to sound convinced, but Sam wasn't. He was supposed to be the smart one. There had to be something that he'd missed. How could he have been in her head and not be able to find her? It didn't make any sense.
"I should have been there, Dean, I'm so sorry. I should have been there with you, but I wanted to go to school and do a stupid presentation and Faith could die and I wasn't there to stop it and-" He cut himself off, pulling back the words that were threatening to spill out. Dean tugged him closer, resting his other hand in Sam's hair and patting his head like he was five years old again.
"There's nothing you could have done, Sammy. These are demons we're dealing with- we're lucky that we have any kind of chance to get Faith back at all." Dean was shaking, too, and Sam wondered if his brother was actually crying. He hadn't seen Dean cry in years. "And you know what? I'm glad you weren't there, so that you didn't have to see that shit. I can't close my eyes without seeing her just laying there, and I'm happy, every second of every day, that you weren't with me to see it too."
Dean, for his part, felt overwhelmed. He hadn't realized that Sam was carrying all that guilt around. Hell, he'd never even thought about it. Faith was the injured one; she was the one who needed help right now. Dean had just kind of assumed that Sam would be okay with everything. It's not like there was even a reason for him to feel guilty- there was nothing he could have done, and there had been no reason to think that they'd even needed him on the hunt in the first place.
But he supposed he should have known, because Sam's reaction was John Winchester 101. All that was missing was the vat of whiskey. Dean pulled his brother closer, tucking the boy's head under his chin and doing his best to reassure him.
After all, it was Dean's fault that Faith got hurt and that was why he was so determined to fix it. She had to wake up, and she would, even if it was the last thing Dean ever did. He was her big brother- it was his job to protect her, and he'd made her a promise once. He'd let her down this time and he had to fix that. Somehow. That wasn't on Sam- it had never been on Sam.
He told the boy that, willfully ignoring the crack in his own voice, and hoping that Sam would actually listen.
He wasn't sure how long they stood there- Sammy was clinging to him like a limpet, though Dean had to ignore the voice in his head reminding him that Sam was also holding him upright. It had been a long drive, after all, and he was friggin' tired. Dana wasn't the only one who needed some sleep. He was opening his mouth to ask if Sam was feeling any better when a shout from inside, followed by a loud crash, had the brothers jumping apart.
Sam reacted first, dragging open the door and racing inside, alarmed.
"What's happening? What's going on?" John was on the ground, at the foot of the stairs, and he had his weapon drawn. Bobby did, too, and they were aiming up the stairs, faces grim and focused.
Dean couldn't see, but he was pretty sure what they were aiming at. Or not what, exactly, but who.
"What the hell are you doing?" Bobby startled, but his father actually jumped, and Dean cursed himself- he shouldn't have shouted, because his dad had an itchy trigger finger.
"Don't you take that tone with me, boy. The Slayer just pushed me down the friggin' stairs." John climbed to his feet slowly, but Dean could tell just by looking that there was nothing broken.
"And what were you doing on the stairs? I thought I told you to leave her the hell alone!" If anything, Dean's tone was more insubordinate than before and he could see the irritation lighting in his father's eyes. "Jesus, dad, give the kid a break." Dean stepped around him, brushing off the hand that grabbed at his shoulder, and took the stairs two at a time.
"I just wanted to take a leak."
Sam had never seen his father defeated, but he thought this might be it- he was pale despite his beard, shoulders slumped and yeah, he looked angry, but he looked… something. Sad or something. Sam couldn't pin it.
"Don't worry, Dad, Dean won't be mad." John glanced over at him, almost bemused, before shaking his head slightly and smiling. Just a bit. Sam couldn't really read that, either.
"You Winchesters and your friggin' drama are gonna be the death of me."