No, Dean says, no, no, no--and his hands go up, up, sink down through hair and land, desolate, on the burning plain of his scalp.
The image on Sammy's laptop, grainy, doll-sized crumple in a rest-stop john;sense-memory of bloody bathtub, Sam's strangled gag over his shoulder: Charlie.
Charlie. But this is Magda.
This is what is brother saw before he left the bunker in the middle of the night, didn't leave a note, went off cocked, hotheaded bedheaded that's-my-boy Sammyfire. Bad idea.
I friggin told you. He might say. But Sam's gone and he sweeps the books Sam's left onto the floor (first rule of tracking, don't fuck up the point of origin: too late) and he calls up Cas and he calls an all-in before his little brother gets too far, gets himself whatever dead is these days.
Then he gears up and he gets in the car and he points her south, and he gets his wayward mother up on speaker.
Sam's headed south in one of their beaters (says his cell). Don't matter. ‘cept for where he's headed, he says, and Mary (Mom, that is) says she'll meet him, rest stop three exits down.
You're not with them now, are you? he says.
Ketch tried to ask me out two days ago; said no—
Yeah, Mary says, he tried that on me too.
I--Mary says, and he knows, he knows.
I just didn't want my babies to grow up to be cowboys.
They meet up under a flat prairie sky, shriveled sausandwiches and tar-black joe.
Mary leaves her ride behind, climbs in shotgun.
Drive hard, dodge the speed traps. Head south without radio.
Sammy thinks it’s on him. It is. Kevin and Charlie and Magda and the world.
Styne kid. Lindbergh baby. Same deal.
On both of them; all of them. But better than what those--
He smacks the wheel, accepts Mom’s hand on his arm. That’s where you carry it.
When Sam was was baby, Mary says—
She’s got tears and he don’t know what to feel.
And yeah—there’s his own arms, full of Sammy, and fire and fire and toys and vamps and o-dark-thirty government douchebags. Smug scotch-drinking James Bond cross-the-pond mother--
We need to kill something, Ketch said, and he meant yeah, anything (locked in her mother’s panic room, stewing in her own freak until … goddamnit, Sammy.)
Burn it down.
Piss-scent rest stop almost to 81; Mary gets out to pump, and Dean leans on the wall of the mini-mart, hits send.
He’s not with me, Mick says over the phone.
You been feedin’ us cases for weeks--
Did you really think, Mick says, that when we found out about the demon blood--
What, Dean says.
Yeah, Mick says, we know about that. Some of us now think Toni had the right idea. Not that I’m one of them. Did you really think I could protect him from that?
Dean kicks the wall, digs his hip right into it:
Seeing as he saved your bacon and trusted you after what Toni did to him--I'd say that's a yes. Did you really think we wouldn’t find out about Magda?
Well, Mick says, stalemate.
Well, Dean says, my freaky brother’s freaking pissed, and he’s headed your way.
They don’t get all the way.
Old farmstead cellar on the side, sign that read Mc-something, break of crows out of the dry grass.
Sam’s ride is fishtailed, twenty feet from a chained-off access road. Blood on the front seat. Not a lot but ominously sprayed. Mary gulps and the weapons come out.
For a dude with his hands up. Leather-jacketed. Mini-storage silo or something. Place ain’t even warded. Yet.
It's your brother we want, dude says, you can go.
Where is he?
Inside, dude says, he’s safe. We just had to--
I don't care, Dean says, and he feels Mary shift when he drops the guy, leg shot, feels something shift in the air, way the Mark did him; murderous.
Looks the other guy, one that runs out with the laughable gape on his fishy face, dead in the eye:
Bring my brother out here, or get dead.
Leather-jacket, passing resemblance to Mick, groans on the ground. Lotta red.
Your brother, fishface says, is dangerous. There’s a thin scream overhead, maybe a hawk.
Yeah, Dean says, I know.
You pick us, Mick said, or you pick the monsters.
Yourself or the monsters.
Your brother or the monsters.
Your monster. And the monsters.
Your brother or your mother (and the monsters.)
Your brother or your father or your mother.
Angel or demon or heaven or hell.
Yeah, well. Sometimes you gotta have it all.
West of Wichita, or somewhere. This is their wilderness, and civilization can stick it up its Eurotrash ass.
Sam’s got cuts and a good bruise and a dry tongue. Mary passes him water over the seat, tries to get him to lie down. Something flies up off the roadway and hits the windshield: pebble.
How’d they find out, Dean says, you movin’ things with your mind, havin' visions you haven’t told me about?
Not exactly, Sam says, but Dean, I think they already knew. I mean--
All of it, Sam says, I think … Magda. He coughs then, slumps a little.
OK, Sammy, OK.
I’m sorry, Mary says, I’m so--
Dean takes the next exit, pulls them over to the side of the road. Just for a minute. Baby breathing. Take stock.
Cas never answered.
Mom’s face is whiter than the sky.
You alright, Sam says from the back. Drop of blood in the center of his forehead.
Dean leans back and wipes it away with his sleeve.
Mary sits in shotgun; Mom sits in shotgun. Samuel too, might as well. And Henry in the back with Sam and Dad and Dad and Dad. Winchesters versus the world, Kansas sky.
Little fortress rolling towards home.