Hey guys...wow...I'm flattered by the response this story has gotten already...so thank you all...I really appreciate it...I'm glad everyone is enjoying it so far. Ok this next chapter...well I'm happy with it...but I've never been to Arkansas and I doubt I will ever go there...I've managed to dig up some information on some motels and shopping places in Jasper because of a certain website... http://theozarkmountains.com
...however, since I have never been there and I'm not sure what it is really like in any of the places that are going to be written in the following chapter...I'm using descriptions of photos I've seen and a lot of imagination. LOL. So if any of it isn't correct...sorry. Anyway enough with the babble...moving on.
Irishgirl--I'm glad that you enjoyed the first chapter. I hope you continue to enjoy this one. Thanks for the review!
Becky--Welcome back girl! Missed ya...and I promise I will get around to getting caught up on your fic sometime...I've been slacking on a lot of stories lately...but I will get caught up. Glad you are enjoying this one...Thanks for the review!
Hobbleit--I'm glad that you liked the first chapter and I hope you continue to enjoy this one. Thanks for the review!
Denisem--I'm glad that you enjoyed the first chapter, and that you are excited about this story. This one is going to have more Sam angst than Dean...but I'll give you a little here in the beginning to get it started off...you'll see why later. Thanks for the review!
Alex--I'm glad that you enjoyed the first chapter...and as I know...you are always wanting more...so here you go...and by the way....where is more to your story? I miss it! ;) Look forward to seeing more soon I hope...hope you enjoy this next chapter. Thanks for the review!
Sarah--You're welcome for the PM...I'm glad that you are enjoying this one. I'm glad that you feel like I caught the boys characters in the months following IMTOD...I was actually playing off some of my own emotions when I wrote that first chapter...it had been a hard day and it seemed easier to get it out that way...well in writing fictional characters...than to really face what is going on. But...it seems to have worked out well. So I'm glad for that. This hunt is going to be tricky on the boys...and the consequences...well we all know what is going to happen...LOL. I gave that away in the sneak peek...big spoiler. LOL. Thanks for the review!
Holly--I'm glad that you were so excited to see this story started...that makes me really excited to hear...err...read. Whatever...you know what I mean. LOL. I'm glad that you enjoyed the first chapter...but hey no more heart attacks ok? LOL. Well at least save them until I get to the evil parts of the story...you know they are bound to come. LOL. Thanks for the review!
Oceane--I'm glad that you enjoyed the first chapter. Things are very tense between the brothers right now...but with everything that has happened after John, it is understandable. Hope you continue to enjoy it. Thanks for the review!
Nickie--I'm glad that you enjoyed the first chapter. I hope you enjoy this next one as well. Thanks for the review!
Aworland--I'm glad that you enjoyed the first chapter, hope you enjoy this next one as well. Thanks for the review!
Jenn--So you went to the convention this past weekend huh? That's awesome! Hope you had a good time...I spent the whole weekend...playing on my computer...I didn't have to work, which was nice. LOL. I'm glad that you enjoyed the first chapter to this one...how you feel like I captured the tension between the brothers well, and how Sam feels like his brother is dying right before his eyes and isn't sure how to stop it. And Dean is struggling with a lot of things right now, kind of get a little peek into what he is thinking in this one. Hope you enjoy it. Thanks for the review!
Shannon--I'm glad that you enjoyed the first chapter to this one...and that you are looking forward to where this one is going to be heading. It is going to be a hard long road for the Winchester brothers...I promise that much. LOL. Thanks for the review!
Shannon--I'm glad that you enjoyed the first chapter. Let's see if I can answer all your questions...ok first....why is Dean so pissed? He's not really pissed at Sam...you have to keep in mind that this was almost right after bloodlust, not long after actually, so Dean is still upset about the way he was acting and how he's dealing with John's death. Plus, the fact that he actually trusted Gordon and it could have easily gotten Sam killed because Dean didn't listen to Sam...he's just really burdened right now...so he is pushing Sam away. Ok question two...what did John whisper...that Dean might have to kill Sam...his last words, the last promise he made Dean make...anything else? LOL. Ok you can stop shaking me now. I gave you your answers. LOL. Hope you enjoy this next one. Thanks for the review!
Dean grumbled as they hauled their bags into the bungalow, part of the Buffalo River Bunkhouse. Sam followed him, not complaining. The rates were within their allowable budget and it was a lot roomier than the places that they usually stayed. The front porch, although not large, had a small wicker table, accompanied by two white whicker chairs, all three faded slightly with age. The field stretched beyond the porch, into bush and weed covered vastness until it reached the banks of the river where the moss, riverweeds, and water lapped at the edges.
On the other side of the river tall dead looking trees stretched to the brightly lit sky, their bare branches waving slightly in the gentle breeze as it passed. Sam took in a deep breath, enjoying the smells and crispness of the fresh air.
“Hurry up Samantha, you’re letting all the warm air out.”
Sam readjusted the weight of his duffel on his shoulder before heading into the bungalow. Inside it was like a small apartment, complete with two doors, one leading to the bedroom, and the other the bathroom. A small kitchen was set up in the far corner, complete with stove and fridge. Sam made a note that they would have to go get food for meals…things that wouldn’t be too hard to make. He wasn’t the best cook, and Dean preferred not to slave away in the kitchen when there were evil creatures taking lives out there. Besides, Dean would probably say he couldn't remember how to cook anyway...he hadn't cooked since before Sam had left for college.
“You’ve got to be freakin’ kidding me!” Dean’s voice was coming from one of the open doors, probably the bedroom.
Sam glanced around the small living room before heading towards the sound of his brother’s voice. It was indeed coming from the bedroom and Sam could see at once why Dean was complaining. There were two beds, as promised from the manager when they had checked in, but they were covered in flowery quilts.
Maroon, lilac, and forest green were the main colors of the beds. Sam held back a snicker, he had been somewhat prepared for this when he had looked this place up on the Internet but he had very conspicuously kept any details from Dean. He walked to the furthest bed and unloaded his duffel from his body, letting it fall with a soft thump to the mattress.
“At least it isn’t pink, Dean.” Sam said, the corner of his lip turning up.
Dean glowered at him, he didn’t speak as he ripped open his duffel and grabbed some necessary items before stalking off to the bathroom, letting the door slam behind him.
Sam’s slight cheerfulness faded quickly, he sank onto the bed beside his duffel, contemplating and trying to make sense of Dean’s sour mood. He understood why Dean was upset after John’s death, but Sam wasn’t sure why Dean was pushing him away the way he was. They were brothers, they were supposed to be there for each other, and Dean was doing everything in his power to make sure Sam stayed far away from him.
He heard the water in the shower running and gave up trying to figure Dean out. Dean would be a while, it would give him time to go grab some groceries for their stay here, as well as ask the manager and locals about the missing people. He scribbled a quick note and left it on Dean’s bed next to his duffel, knowing Dean would see it there, before he snatched the keys from where Dean had thrown them and walked back out to the impala.
Once on the road, he headed east on Highway 74. He hadn’t chosen the Buffalo River Bunkhouse for its looks, or even the spacey interior, he had chosen it for convenience. It was only a mile outside of Jasper, making shopping and locals close, making it easier to get information.
He decided to go to the Arkansas House Boardwalk Café Riverhouse, Salon and Healthy Food Store, or also known as the Ark House. He knew that the possibilities of finding Dean’s favorite foods were slim to none, but the closest place besides the Ark House was in Harrison. He didn’t want to go all the way down there without Dean.
So parking the inconspicuous car Sam sauntered into the shop, looking around, and frowning slightly at the very scant variety of food available. He had a feeling he wouldn’t be buying much here, and that the trip to Harrison would be necessary after all.
There was a small wall covered with dry fruits in small packages, nuts, and noodles. There were a few jars of jam and jelly as well. There was another row with seasonings and sandwich toppings, mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise and other such things…not much for quick and easy meals where he and his brother were concerned. His eyes strayed to the small refrigerated area, only two doors, like something found in a small gas station. Juices were covering most of the selves, anywhere from cranberry to grape. There was a small variety of fruits on the bottom shelf, underneath a small shelf of butter and cream cheese. The other side of the refrigerated area had frozen vegetables and more juice.
Perhaps stopping here hadn’t been the best idea after all, he doubted, highly now, that he would buy anything at all. Anything here Dean wouldn’t eat without something else to go with it, and the frozen vegetables were definitely out of the question, Dean wouldn’t touch those with a ten foot pole.
Another sweep around the small store and Sam let his shoulders sag in defeat, there was one other display and it was covered in jell-o and instant pudding. He had a feeling Dean wouldn’t take too happily to those either. So, he decided, he might as well head back to the bungalow and pack Dean up in the car so they could head to Harrison and get things that Dean would actually eat.
Dean stepped out of the yellow and very flowery bathroom, his face twisted in disgust. He had been less than pleased when he had walked into the bathroom to see the bright yellow theme, even the toilet was yellow. The towels were yellow with orange flowers spread all over them, so hideous looking that he hadn’t even wanted to touch them, although he would rather be shot a million times over before he admitted that to Sam.
The sink too had been yellow, as had the cabinet below the slightly yellowed countertop. The whole thing had been topped off with a yellow-flower-covered shower curtain. Dean swore if he saw one more flower he was going to scream. He had let out a disgusted snort when he saw the small soaps provided…flower shaped and bright yellow…they smelled of sunflowers.
So smelling like flowers, and disgusted with it, Dean stepped out of the bathroom to the empty bungalow. He was going to give Sam another purple bruise to match the first if Sam so much as mentioned that Dean smelled pretty. He was surprised to see the bungalow empty, Sam’s absence very obvious.
There was a piece of paper sitting on Dean’s bed next to his duffel, ruffling his still damp hair Dean made his way to the flowery bed and picked it up, quickly reading through Sam’s scrawl before balling it up and tossing it in the general direction of the small trashcan with the flower on it, not caring if it made it in there or not.
With Sam out, supposedly picking up groceries, Dean wasn’t quite sure what to do with himself. He was sure that he could watch some TV, finding out what crappy channels this place would pick up, but…Dean’s mind trailed to the outdoors, and the mysterious deaths that occurred practically outside this bungalow…he could scout the terrain…check out the local areas for their upcoming hunt.
He wouldn’t have to go far, and he’d have his phone on him in case Sam returned before he did. Making up his mind, Dean scribbled a note for Sam and pocketed his phone, before stepping outside the bungalow, not bothering to lock the door behind him. There was no point…no one else beside the managers and employees were here, and he had already specified that their room was to remain untouched during their stay.
A light rain had begun to fall, making the river’s scent even heavier in the air, the dirt was turning to mud quickly. Dean pulled his jacket tighter around himself and stepped off the covered porch, heading in the direction of the river since that was where the last body had been found.
Rain splattered against his forehead bouncing off his lashes and dripping down his cheeks. Within seconds his hair was plastered to his head in a dark mess, his hands were shoved into his jacket pockets, his boots were quickly getting covered in a thick sloppy mud as he trudged forward.
The river lapped against the rocks and edges of the bank, taking bits of earth with it as it sloshed noisily back into its wet depths. Dean studied the area, his eyes scanning for any signs of things that shouldn’t be there. But besides a whole bunch of prints that probably belonged to the local wild elk, there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
Discouraged Dean glared down into the murky water, his image distorted in the rippling water. His usually handsome features wavy in the choppy river, blurred even further by the pelting raindrops that were now coming down in torrents. Dean didn’t seem to notice, he was totally content to stand there in the rain, letting himself become thoroughly soaked to the skin, the rain managing to make its way down the crease of his jacket and down his neck.
So lost in his own thoughts, his own fears, and anger he didn’t hear the return of the impala or Sam’s frantic yelling a few minutes later…he just stood there, looking down into his reflection, not noticing the shivers that shook his body, making his knees buckle slightly. He was alone, set on a path he never wanted to be on, one that John had put him on before John had kicked the bucket.
He was spiraling down a dark hole, into a bottomless pit without a parachute, and no one could save him. He didn’t know how long he could keep on the brave face for Sam, his armor was already cracking, and he was loosing the race of being able to repair the cracks before more appeared, and Sam could see right through him.
Dean’s knees finally gave out on him, making him fall to the muddy ground, his hands landing in the icy water near the bank. His hands were now covered in mud and guck, but he didn’t see that, all he saw was the broken and fuzzy face staring back at him from the water…his own reflection.
He was so disgusted with himself for being weak, for letting this hole inside of him consume him. Sam was right, or he had been back when they had first met Gordon Walker. Dean had tried to fill that hole with Gordon, had wanted so badly to want someone to look up to again, and Gordon had seemed like the one to fill that position.
Gordon was strong, vigilant, and wary. He was well trained and had no regrets for killing the things he hunted…much like John had been. It was something that Dean had connected to right away, Gordon hadn’t been one to see the shades of gray that other people saw, like Sam. Gordon was seeing things in black or white…no regrets.
And then there was Sam, constantly pulling Dean into the gray areas, showing him the difference between the two. It had been Sam that had shown him that not all supernatural beings were evil, and that sometimes people can be deceiving. Sam had made Gordon reveal his true colors when Gordon had snatched Sam away from Dean’s side and sliced his arm open with the blade, holding it out for the blood drinker to smell, and tempt her by holding Sam’s arm right over her head.
Dean’s jaw clenched as he remembered Sam’s desperate and angry eyes scanning back to him while the knife was held at his throat and his blood had dripped onto Lenore’s face. It had been because of Sam that Dean had let Gordon go, had merely tied him up to the chair and called the authorities three days later to let them know that Gordon was tied up at the old farmhouse. He wasn’t going to loose himself to the anger eating him up from the inside out, he had to hold on for Sam.
The voice was distant but close at the same time, it didn’t make a lot of sense in Dean’s foggy senses, but still he looked up to see Sam’s concerned face swim into view. Sam’s eyebrows were high on his head, partially hidden by the bangs that constantly drooped into Sam’s eyes. Sam’s lips were pulled into a tight line as he grabbed Dean’s shoulders and helped Dean to his feet once more.
“God, Dean. You’re freezing!” Sam wrapped an arm around Dean’s waist while he dragged one of Dean’s arms across his broad shoulders. Dean offered no resistance, merely sagged against Sam as though he had lost control of his body.
Dean’s hands were like ice, his skin deadly pale, his eyes lost in some far off time and place that only Sam could draw him back from. Sam ground his teeth together and slowly but surely headed back to the bungalow, his older brother at his side.