Chapter Nine: John
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Rated T for language.Disclaimer:
Buffyverse owned by Joss Whedon. Supernatural owned by Eric Kripke.
Chapter Nine: John
John Winchester sat at a small round table, sipping coffee from a paper cup. As a connoisseur of bad coffee, he had to admit that this was actually pretty decent. It probably had something to do with the staff making a fresh pot every hour. One of the perks of being in a hotel that served continental breakfast, he guessed. But what they'd spent in fresh coffee, they'd skimped on more perishable items. Coming in at the tail end of service, when the small dining area off the hotel lobby was full to the brim, he'd only managed to snag a bagel and a cup of coffee.
One of the articles caught his eye as he read the local newspaper. There was an expose into a string of disappearances at the college, assumed to be first year dropouts until a local kid's parents filed a missing persons report. A police investigation turned up several others who had simply vanished from their lives, not even contacting friends or relatives.
It was worth looking into, but what he really needed was more information about the high school. Most government offices would be closed today, a Saturday, but libraries often held weekend hours. He'd often dropped his kids there to spend the day until Dean had discovered art books, specifically the naked Renaissance figures. When he picked them up a few minutes before closing, he'd gotten an earful from the frumpy library matron. After the fifth time, John stopped bringing them to the library. Dean had been disappointed, though he quickly found other sources, but Sammy had been heartbroken.Maybe the boys had more luck.
He pulled a few pages from the newspaper, folded them up, and filled his cup from the dispenser. Then he walked out the door and climbed into his truck, whistling a tune as he drove to his motel room in the seedier part of downtown.
Dean and Sammy were still asleep when he got in, but he didn't bother trying to keep quiet. He looked to the bed where Dean lay under the covers. His son gazed at him, bleary-eyed, with his favorite gun pointed at John's head. Realizing who it was, he fell back to sleep, tucking his gun under the pillow.Maybe Bobby was right
, he thought. Maybe I've trained them too hard and too much.
But he was still proud that his son's honed instincts had brought the gun up, and even prouder that those same instincts had lowered the gun down.
From his cot in the corner of the room, Sammy stirred. Another nightmare. John looked down at his youngest son, whose arms and legs dangled off the small frame of the rollaway bed. He reached down to stroke a wayward lock from Sammy's face when his son's expression changed. He's still your son
, John thought, fighting the urge to draw his hand back. Steeling himself with a deep breath, he gently laid his fingers on his son's face, tucking a bit of hair behind his ear.
"Sammy was having another nightmare."
John nodded, even though it wasn't a question. Dean always knew when his little brother had a nightmare. Maybe it came from sleeping in the same bed for as long as they could stand sharing it. Or maybe it's because they only had each other for most of their lives. The older they got, the longer he left them alone. Biting back his regrets, he leaned against the wall near Sammy's head and faced his eldest. "What did you find out last night?
"Met a girl last night that was there." Although Dean was still blinking the sleep from his eyes, he'd swung his legs so he could sit upright when addressing his father. "But we didn't get a chance to talk about it too much."
"Would it look suspicious if you went there again tonight?" John was well aware of his son's indiscretions. Hell, he'd had his share when he came back from Vietnam. But Dean ran through women like water through a sieve.
"Actually, she invited Sammy to tour the college with her and her friend. He told her he was visiting the campus as a prospective student."
"Smart thinking." He was surprised that Dean hadn't included himself in the invitation. Either he hadn't been invited, or he didn't want to see the girl again. "Do you think it's a good lead?"
"I do, sir."
John waited, but Dean didn't seem to be forthcoming with any further information. "If Sammy goes, you go."
"He'll go." There was a hint of something in his voice, but John couldn't figure out what. He'd never heard Dean use that tone in regards to his brother.
"Do you want
"If you don't need me, sir," Dean said, hesitantly, "I'll go. To keep an eye on Sammy."
So he wanted to go, but didn't want to seem eager. John didn't know if his son was trying to hide something from himself or his father. Did it have something to do with this girl they met last night?
Sammy let out a wide yawn before opening his eyes. "Morning, Dad."
"Sammy." John's watched as his son scrunched his face and stretched, the way he used to when he woke up in the back seat of the Impala. But his sons were all grown up now, and when little Sammy stood up, he was almost as tall as his father.
"Hey, Dad," said Sammy, grabbing a package of store-bought donuts from a plastic bag on the table. "I got a lead on someone who went to Sunnydale. Graduated last year and was there when the high school blew up. But we, um, didn't get a chance to interrogate the... lead before the club closed. I've got a phone number, and we talked about meeting today. So, can I give h– the lead a call and say that I can go?"
His son had spoken so quickly, John had only caught half of what he'd said. Considering his other son had his face buried in a pillow in an attempt to muffle his laughter, he had a good idea what it was about. "Your brother told me about the girl you met last night."
"Oh." Sammy hurled a pack of donuts at Dean, whose face was still planted in the pillow. When Dean looked up to protest, John watched them hold a wordless conversation with a lot of glaring and eyebrow raising. When Dean shook his head, Sammy turned away in relief.
John had an uneasy feeling about this girl. Both his boys were acting strangely. Dean was trying not to show how excited he was to see her, and Sammy was overly excited. Maybe they were under the influence of a spell. Or maybe they're jus' actin' like teenage boys
, said a little voice inside him that sounded a lot like Bobby. Of course, he'd have included that teenage boys were all "idjits
". He was probably right.
"I expect a detailed report when you come back." John looked at Sammy, then at Dean. "From both of you."
"Yes, sir," they said in unison. John spared a quick glance at his youngest. Only a few years ago, Sammy had started openly rebelling against the strict military discipline John used to raise them. Every "sir" since then had been forced with bitterness on both sides. But not this time.
"Great," Sam said, grabbing his phone and heading to the bathroom. "I'll call Buffy and ask what time we should come over."
"Buffy?" John mouthed.
Dean shrugged, then smirked and made a jerking motion with his hand. John shook his head at the obscene gesture. His son responded by ducking his head and becoming entirely too preoccupied with the package of donuts he'd been pelted with earlier.
John crossed to the table and laid out the papers he'd collected. Using a pocketknife, he cut out the section and found a few more. Dean picked up the sections and taped them to the mirror they'd been using as a board. John came up behind his son and examined the articles, looking for a pattern.
"I told her we'd meet her at her dorm in an hour or so," Sam said, coming out of the bathroom. He drew up beside his brother. After a few moments, he pointed, saying, "This one says the majority of the damage seems to be in the library, although most of the deaths occurred in the courtyard. And it makes mention of an earlier incident where there was an earthquake, but floor and ceiling sustained damage in the library that's strangely inconsistent with a typical earthquake."
"Buffy's friend Willow seems the bookish type," said Dean. "Maybe she can help."
John's eyes drifted from the board to his sons, pride filling the empty places in his heart. No, he hadn't raised them to be typical teenage boys. But he'd trained them to be excellent hunters.
Next up Chapter 10: Dean
Someone is crushing on Dean, and it's not Buffy.