Thanks to everyone reading this =D I fixed a few errors in the last part, so hopefully it doesn't look as goofy. Please review and tell me if you like it *grin* (and thanks to those that did =D)
The next morning came way too quick for Dean and Torie both. Sam, however, was wide eyed and bushy-tailed at seven, waking them up with coffee and donuts. Dean rolled out of bed, feeling like he hadn't slept a wink. Torie had sat up for a minute when Sam had shaken her awake, then flopped back down on the bed, fast asleep again with her feet hanging over the side of the bed.
"Let her sleep for a little bit longer," Dean said with a small grin. "I've gotta take a shower anyway. Sam shrugged and went to load up their bags. He was feeling better today than he had in weeks. He felt like a new person, completely rested and ready to go.
Thirty minutes later, Dean tried to wake Torie again with only slightly better results. She was moving, but that was about it. She dressed sluggishly in a pair of oversized overalls and a long-sleeved t-shirt. It wasn't really warm outside, but it wasn't exactly cold either, so it was kinda weird that she put on a zip-up hoodie over it all. She slipped her socked feet into a pair of sandals. Her hair went into a sloppy pony-tail right before they left the room.
She was asleep as soon as she hit the backseat, her head leaning against the window. She'd said all of two words during that entire time. At first Dean and Sam were kinda amused, thinking that she was just exausted from the hellish time she'd endured the last few weeks. But when she still hadn't woken, even for bathroom or food breaks, by around four that afternoon, they were starting to get concerned.
"Should we try to wake her up," Sam asked as they pulled into a small diner to get something to eat. He and Dean were both looking over the seat to where she was half-laying, half-sitting in the backseat. Her neck was at a painful-looking angle and Dean winced in sympathy.
"Yeah, dude. She's got to be hungry and sleeping that long can't be good for anyone."
"Hey, Torie," Sam reached out and touched her knee, which was the closest to him, and gave it a small shake. She didn't stir. "Torie, come on, wake up."
He looked over at Dean, who shrugged and reached out to shake her hand. As soon as his skin touched hers, she jumped and woke up. She jerked away and sat up, blinking. She winced and rolled her head on her shoulders, asking, "How long was I out?"
"It's four now. You woke up once to get dressed and in the car," Sam told her, smiling slightly. She looked like a little girl, her red hair falling out of her pony-tail to curl a little around her face and her lips pouted just slightly. "We were getting kinda worried."
"I'm okay," she sighed and rolled her eyes. "I feel like I was hit by a car and I probably look like shit, but I'm okay."
"You look fine, now let's get something to eat," Dean winked at her, turning to get out of the car. Sam shrugged and grinned at her, turning to get out of his side of the car. She sat for another second before getting out slowly. She stumbled and Sam reached out to catch her. She avoided him out of habit, regaining her balance without letting him touch her. Sam looked a little confused and she knew she'd hurt his feelings, but she wasn't going to change ten years of conditioning.
"You okay?" Sam asked her and she nodded.
"Just stiff. I hate it when I crash like that," she stretched a little, going up on her toes.
"You do that often?" Sam asked, waiting for her. She rolled her head on her neck again, then twisted from side to side a couple times.
"Not as much as you're thinking, but enough," Torie shrugged, then turned toward the small mom and pop diner they'd stopped at. "I'm starving." Sam hesitated, but soon followed.
Dean had chosen a booth in the corner, by a window as usual and Torie had slid into the seat opposite him after a stop at the bathroom. Sam hesitated- something he found himself doing a lot today- then finally sat down next to Dean. It didn't take long for Dean and Torie to order, both of them too hungry to wait very long. Sam took a little longer before finally ordering the same burger/fries special his brother settled on.
"So," Dean started, taking a sip of his soda and eyeing his cousin curiously. "Last night you started to tell me how you learned you could heal people. Sorry we got sidetracked."
"S'okay," Torie mumbled, stirring her own soda. She carefully avoided his searching gaze.
"You wanna finish the story?" Dean pushed, ignoring the elbow Sam jammed into his side. "And how about adding in what side effects there are."
"Dean-" Sam glared at his brother.
"No, Sam-" Dean glared right back, starting to get defensive when Torie stopped both of them.
"It's okay," she interrupted, then sighed. She didn't look up from where her fingers were shredding her napkin. "I helped the police a lot. Missing persons and stuff like that. Most of the time, I just helped them find the bodies. But sometimes we'd find people alive."
She paused and looked up. Both men were watching her closely, for once both of them silent. "That's what kept me doing it- those few times I'd find someone still alive and whole."
"When did you start helping them?"
Torie hesitated. "When I was twelve."
"What? And your grandma let you do it?" Dean's voice fell to a furious whisper as the waitress neared with the food.
Torie didn't answer as the waitress placed her chicken strip dinner in front of her, her blue eyes curious as she glanced over at the unhappy looking boys. She waited until the eavesdropping waitress moved back behind the counter before continuing. "It wasn't really something she had a choice in, Dean."
"For my own health, I needed to do something with the knoweledge I had running through my brain. Besides, who are you to talk? How old were you guys when your dad drug you around hunting monsters?"
"That's not the-"
"Yes, it is," Torie stabbed her fork into her mashed potatoes, irritation overriding her nervousness. She glared at Dean, who was looking indignant. Sam looked like he was alternating between trying not to laugh and wanting to defend his brother. "Just because I'm a girl doesn't mean anything. I've done good with my gift. You tell me this- knowing that there were things out there you could protect people from and you had a choice whether to ignore it and stay at home in your own peaceful little world, would you?"
"Well-," Dean looked over at his brother, who had the grace to look a little sheepish.
"That doesn't count, because he's still here." Torie's expression softened as she looked over at Sam. "And you can't tell me you would have turned your back forever if that demon hadn't come after Jessica. It's in your blood to hunt these things. It's in my blood too, guys. You think it's just the Winchester line that bred hunters. I know better."
"What are you talking about?" Dean leaned forward, forgetting his food for the minute.
"You think your mom didn't know what was going on?" Torie leaned back and ran her fingers through her hair, pulling more out of her ponytail. She fixed Sam with a look that brought back a very, very faint memory of his mother's green eyes. "Where do you think you get the dreams?"
"You can get to the point any time now."
"Mom was like you."
"What?" Dean looked at Sam like he was crazy. "I don't remember anything like that, Sammy."
"How old were you when she died, Dean?" Torie asked rubbing at her temples. She pulled the hairband out of her hair and rubbed her scalp tiredly. She had a headache and the food she'd managed to eat was sitting like a lump in her stomach. She wasn't hungry anymore. "Five? Six? Ask your dad. He knows. Excuse me." She bolted out of the booth and rushed into the bathroom, her hand pressed to her stomach.
The boys were left looking at each other, a little in shock. Both of them had been too young to really remember that much about their mother. Dean had some memories of being held by soft arms and feeling safe. Sometimes he'd smell a certain perfume and look around as if he'd see her standing next to him. He could still picture her face, but he didn't know if those memories were his own or because of pictures. Their father clammed up when they mentioned her, so they'd learned early not to ask.
Dean signaled for the waitress and started boxing up what was left of their dinner. He and Sam could eat on the way and Torie might be hungry later, though one look at her pale face when she came out of the restroom made him rethink that. Maybe some soup when they stopped for the night.
"You okay?" Sam asked her when they got out to the car as he held the door open for her.
"I'm good," she replied with a small smile. She settled into the backseat, curling up with her feet in the seat and her head leaning against the window. "Just a headache."
"You wanna take something for it?" Dean asked, sliding behind the wheel. "We've got some Advil. I think."
"I just need to sleep for a bit. I'll be fine, but thanks." She was quiet for a few minutes before continuing, "The last case I helped the police with was different."
Sam turned in his seat to look at her and Dean glanced back at her through the rear-view mirror. Her arms were wrapped around her knees now, her chin resting on their tops. She looked like she wanted to be anywhere but right there. "The little boy was taken from his bedroom in the middle of the night, leaving behind a bloody message in his bed. It wasn't dripping with blood, just a few drops of red on the white paper. They brought me in a couple days into the search. I found him after another day."
Her voice trailed off and it looked like she'd withdrawn, her green eyes dark as she examined the leather seat in front of her. Just when Dean was starting to worry she wasn't going to continue, she did.
"I can deal with real monsters," she told them quietly and they were rewarded with a flash of green eyes. "'Cause you expect the monster to try to eat you. You expect the demons to do evil. But humans- humans shouldn't be able to do things like that to other humans. He- I..." She stopped, looking for the words to continue. She'd gone through it all with the police and therapists over and over... And over and over again until she'd wanted to scream. Then, when the thought of it hadn't made her vomit, she'd tried to push it out of her mind. She hadn't spoken of what she'd found in that little shack in the middle of the woods. Without her help, they never would have found him.
She sighed and rubbed her aching temple. "I found him in a little wooden shack in the middle of nowhere, tied up with yellow twine. There was so much blood... everywhere. I didn't think a little kid could bleed that much."
Dean pulled the car over to the side of the road and turned so that he was able to look at her comfortably. He and Sam exchanged uncomfortable looks, Sam raising his eyebrows as if to ask if they should interrupt. She answered for them, shaking her head, "No, you guys need to know this. You need to understand why I need to help you. He was about eight years old. At first, I just knew that he was dead- then I could feel his heartbeat..." She hesitated, cocking her head to the side. Her eyes were distant and she avoided looking at either of them. She was looking out the far window, but was seeing something completely different.
"It was slow and so very faint, but I could hear it. I could *feel* it. Someone cut the ropes, and I was holding him." Tears started flowing down her cheeks and she started to rock back and forth. "He was so cold. I knew what to do."
"What did you do, Torie?" Sam asked her, his voice gentle and so low she could barely hear him.
"I did the same for him that I did for you, Sam." She looked up at him, the green of her eyes looking almost black in the dwindling light. She shrugged. "I don't know how it works exactly. All I know is that I can shut my eyes and... I don't know... Draw the injuries into myself."
"You take on someone else's injuries," Sam asked, guilt hitting him as he thought about her healing his shoulder. If he would've known, he wouldn't have allowed her to heal him. There's no reason she should be hurt because of him.
"Yes, and no," Torie's eyes narrowed as she tried to explain it. "It depends on how serious it is. When I healed Ryan, I was in a coma for three days, but he was nearly dead. The wounds kinda manifest on me for a little bit, but they heal really quick. That bruise on your shoulder would've hurt you for at least another two weeks, but mine is already healed. I just sleep alot and feel like shit for like a day, then I'm fine."
"Well don't do it anymore," Dean ordered gruffly, turning back around to start the car up. "If you're gonna get hurt doing it, we don't need healing that bad."
"You can't stop me from helping, Dean," Torie told him with a little edge to her tone. She straightened up in the seat, throwing a glare at the back of his head. "I'm not some helpless little girl that can be told what to do."
Dean snorted, making her angrier. Sam turned back to face the road, trying to hide a smile. "If it walks like a duck..."
"I've been doing this for a long time, and you can't stop me. Neither one of you can."
"Arguing will get you nowhere, sweetheart," Dean told her firmly. "I'm not going to budge. And you're gonna stay in the car or in the hotel when we have to take care of business. You don't need to be mixed up in this shit."
Torie slouched down in the seat, glaring at her older cousin. "Too late."
"Dean, she's got a point."
"Shut up, Sam. You're supposed to be helping me with this."
"I don't want her doing the healing thing either, but she's just gonna sneak out and come with us anyway," Sam argued, not really knowing why. He felt the same way Dean did. This business wasn't the right place for a teenage girl. But he had a gut feeling that if they banned her from coming with them, she'd just end up hurt following them.
"Whatever, we'll talk about this later," Dean answered instead of arguing, throwing his brother a look. It was two on one, but give him time alone with his brother and he'd have Sam agreeing with him eventually. He grabbed the box containing Torie's dinner and handed it over the backseat. "Eat a little bit and maybe you won't feel so shitty."
Torie glared at him, but took the box anyway. She still wasn't really hungry but after a couple bites of chicken, she grudgingly admitted that he was right. Didn't mean he was right about everything though. She'd try calling her friends again when they stopped for the night. Maybe Angel would know where they were.