The house is dark and the street quiet, by the time Deanna pulls up and parks her car along the sidewalk. The dashboard clock reads 12:57am, though that’s two minutes later than her cell phone would have her believe. She’d have come earlier, but there was traffic on the interstate, and she needed gas a hundred miles back, and the exit she’d gotten off had led to a crappy little town whose sole gas station was fifteen miles out of her way, and it took her a while to find it and get back on the highway, and the service at the diner where she’d stopped for dinner was unbelievably slow. It was one string of unavoidable delays after the next, and she couldn’t have arrived at a reasonable time even if she’d wanted to. Besides, if she had come during normal waking hours, but then her sister might have been awake to turn her away, and she is not in the mood for that. It’s much easier to pick the locks when there is no one on the other side who is actively trying to prevent her from doing so.
Deanna checks the knife in her boot to make sure it hasn’t slid out of place during the drive. She sticks her gun into her belt at the small of her back, underneath a leather jacket loose enough to hide the bulge. The lock picks are already in her pocket as she climbs out of the car and walks up the sidewalk with a swish in her step that she doesn’t feel.
The house in front of her is two stories, but narrow: a single bedroom, probably on the second floor. The blue siding is interrupted by a white porch, and there isn’t so much as an iron horseshoe nailed over the doorway to mark it from any other house in the neighborhood. She stops a few steps in front of the porch and tilts her head back, arms crossed and tongue between her teeth.
‘I don’t fucking believe it,’ she says. It’s hard to picture her gawky, rebellious sister living somewhere so ordinary. She wonders if Sam has taken up cooking, started keeping house — washing dishes in yellow rubber gloves that come up to her elbows and a frilly apron while her boyfriend sits on the couch with a beer and watches sports. The mental image makes her snort; but, faced with the depressing reality of the house, she is forced to contemplate the possibility more seriously than she would have otherwise done. And if Sam is that far gone into her charade of normalcy, then Deanna may have bigger problems here besides Sam refusing to help her.
The thought is a disturbing one; Deanna sticks it into her mental file of Things to Never Think Again and climbs the steps to the front door. The lock is tricky, not the three-twists-and-a-jab of your average American household. The fact that Sam probably got the lock for that very reason brings out a bubble of pride in Deanna, one that she squashes before it can get out of hand. Now isn’t the time.
Another thirty seconds later, the door opens with a click. She rises and slips through easily, shutting it behind her without a sound. When she turns around, she is in a short entranceway, beyond which is a vast darkness that she assumes will turn into the living room with the lights on. Her nose fills with the smell of rosemary and oranges when she breathes in, which throws her off for a moment because she’d assumed — naively — that any place Sam lived would have the same sort of old-motel-room quality of all their temporary residences.
Not important, she reminds herself, leaning back against the door and stuffing the picks back into her jacket. Right now, she has to stop and figure out what, exactly, her plan of attack is. She’s spent three days (more like four years, if she’s going to be really honest, which she isn’t) planning every step of this trip, both before and after collecting the Prodigal Daughter, but in all that time, she has neglected to plan for the collecting itself. The way she sees it, she has three options.
Option One: Arrive during the day, when Sam and Amit are awake, and hope that the desire to not look like a raving lunatic with family issues will be enough to prevent Sam from throwing her out on the spot. She’d blown this option decisively when she spent two hours walking around Kettleman City, California instead of getting back on the freeway this afternoon.
Option Two: Arrive at night, having blown two hours in Kettleman City, but knock on the door, thereby allowing Sam to maintain some semblance of a normal life. Odds of being thrown out approximately the same as in option one. This is still technically on the table — she could always leave and pretend that the whole lock-picking thing hadn’t happened — but that doesn’t appeal to the parts of Deanna that are still pissed at Sam. After seeing the house, she isn’t in the mood to indulge Miss ‘I just want to be normal’ in her fantasy any longer.
Option Three: Break in, sneak up to the bedroom (and pray that Sam isn’t getting it on with The Boyfriend, because Deanna has driven halfway across the country in three days, and the last thing she needs to see is some stranger sticking his dick in her little sister), wake up Sam, and try to buy her off with the quarter of the chocolate cake she has in the car. Her sister isn’t quite as strong a devotee of the Holy Cult of Desserts as Deanna herself, but it’s good cake and she doesn’t have a whole lot working in her favor with this one. It’s the weakest of her options by far, but follows the path of least resistance.
(Well, except for Option Four. Option Four involves chloroforming the Boyfriend and making it look like a natural death. She can then show up at the funeral and rope Sam into her quest for Mom to get her over his tragic and untimely demise.)
As she leans against the door and decides how best to reengage with her sister, there are an array of possibilities open to Deanna Winchester. Any one of them could lead to a variety of outcomes, and she wants to consider them all with care. However, in the next moment all of those choices are taken away from her as a tall, dark figure emerges from the doorway to her right and swings a baseball bat at her head.
Twenty-two years of training give Deanna the reflexes necessary to duck before she gets her face smashed in. She throws her weight forwards, away from her attacker, and spins to face them before they can take a swing at her exposed back. The other person isn’t bulky; his limbs are spread in a wide stance intended to make Deanna think he’s bigger than he is; but he’s still got a height advantage, and more importantly, a baseball bat. He recovers well from the missed blow, and lunges at Deanna with his arms outstretched in another swing. She slides out of the way, grabs his arm, and uses his momentum to drag him into the oncoming path of her knee. The blow connects with his groin in a satisfying way, and she’s sure that he’ll be down long enough for her to subdue him.
But he shakes it off like it’s nothing, which is Deanna’s first clue that all is not as it seems. He yanks his arm in, then throws it wide, breaking her grip and following it up with the baseball bat from the opposite side. Deanna meets the bat with her left arm and seizes the fat end with her other hand, thinking as she does so. The flash of realization hits her hard enough to distract her from the pain about to sear her forearm as she makes contact.
‘Sam?’ she hisses. Her attacker doesn’t respond, and she is forced to shove them back with a boot to the stomach. It turns out to be a mistake; they grab her ankle, twisting hard to the left until she loses her balance and goes down hard on her side. She tucks her head to avoid hitting a door handle. As soon as she is down, she finds herself pinned. One hand tightens in her ponytail while another twists her arm up behind her back. A knee presses into her side when she brings up her legs, and her attacker looms close, breath hot on her neck.
‘Who are you?’ snarls her sister’s voice in her ear. Despite herself, Deanna feels a knot loosen in her chest at the sound.
‘Good to see you haven’t lost your touch,’ she says, grimacing as Sam wrenches her arm further up her back. The hand in her hair slides down and lifts up her jacket to remove the gun from her belt. It clacks against the hard wood floor. For a moment, the knee in her side presses down harder, and she can feel Sam leaning over. She can’t imagine what the purpose is until she feels fingers sliding into her boot to remove the knife. Damn it, she thinks. It’s unlikely that she’ll need either weapon here, but that doesn’t stop her from feeling naked without them.
The heat of another body above her vanishes without warning, and the hand holding her arm releases her. Deanna picks herself up, rubbing her shoulder. She gets to her feet and fumbles around until she finds the light switch in the hallway; no point in staying in the dark when the element of surprise has been lost.
Sam is kneeling on the floor when the lights go on. She’s dressed for bed, in a pair of Scooby Doo boxers and a Stanford t-shirt two sizes too large. It drapes loosely over her body, hiding her already-slight curves. That’s nothing new. It’s everything else that throws Deanna off. She takes up a lot more space, for one —she must have hit a growth spurt after she ditched for college, and the slender girl whose clothes Deanna used to be able to steal is now close to six feet tall and built like a swimmer. Her her hands are clenched tight around the knife in her lap as she stares at the spot where Deanna had fallen. And her hair: Deanna stares at the chopped-off remnants of what used to be a long braid, which now ends in rough layers around her ears and chin.
Sam catches her staring, and scowls. She stands, towering a good three inches over Deanna. ‘What are you doing here?’
Deanna plasters on a grin. ‘What, I can’t just drop in for a social visit?’
There is a murderous twitch to Sam’s face. Her hand tightens around the knife. ‘It’s one in the morning. You just broke into my house. How did you even know where I live?’
‘Student directory on the school’s website,’ Deanna explains. ‘Gives the name, phone number, street address, you name it. It’s kind of creepy, actually.’
Sam blinks at her. ‘That’s restricted to students.’
‘I borrowed someone’s ID and password. You’re not the only smart person I know, Samantha.’ She keeps her tone light in the hopes that the mood in the room will follow suit; Sam looks ready to punch her, and that used to result in bruises even before she got all tall and hulking.
‘Okay, fine. Whatever, you know where I live. Why are you here? I told you to leave me alone,’ says Sam. Deanna wonders if maybe she should have saved more of the cake to appease her, mainly because it’s an inane thought. Inane thoughts will distract her from the important ones; namely, that she should have thought this part through before coming, should have remembered Sam’s stubbornness and her cold, irrational rage when she left. She should have listened to the suspicion in the back of her mind that petty bribery wouldn’t be enough to persuade Sam to listen to her rationally.
‘Sam, is everything all right? I heard voices …’
Deanna wrenches her eyes from her sister’s face to the half-naked man coming down the stairs with a heavy metal flashlight in his hand. Her stomach sinks. The dude is fucking gorgeous, even she can appreciate that. Everything about him, from his mahogany skin free of scars, to his gold earrings, to the sun tattoo near his left shoulder, reeks of comfort and security, someone who’s never had to spill blood to save his own neck. In short, he is the sum total of everything that Sam has been working for the past four years, instead of working with her own family like she should have been, and Deanna hates him on sight.
‘Yeah.’ Sam turns around, her face clearing of its stormy expression. ‘This is my older sister, Deanna.’
Deanna takes this as her cue to step around Sam and shake his hand with exaggerated cheer. ‘Hi. You must be Amit. I’ve heard absolutely nothing about you, nice to meet you.’
‘Dee,’ Sam snaps.
‘It’s okay.’ Amit beams at Deanna. ‘Same. It’s a pleasure. An unexpected one, but still.’ He sounds like he means it, too, like she hasn’t just broken in uninvited after midnight. He can’t possibly be real, and Deanna has to remind herself that she’s here to get Sam, and only that, not to launch a campaign against her boyfriend until he reveals his dark side.
‘Yep. Sorry about that,’ she says. ‘I just, I need to talk to my sister. Family business. Do you think I could steal her for a few minutes?’ She loops a hand into the crook of Sam’s elbow and pulls her close, giving Amit the smile that’s gotten her more than a few free beers at bars across the country.
A small frown creases his brow. ‘Is everything all right?’ he asks.
‘Whatever you have to say, you can say it in front of Amit,’ says Sam, with iron in her voice. Her body is tense, and Deanna feels a flash of anger sweep up from her stomach. If Sam was still smaller, she might have enough leverage to haul her out of the house in order to ream her out for putting her into this situation: trapping her and making her couch their predicament in terms that Amit won’t recognize for what they are, instead of allowing her five goddamn minutes to speak plainly.
That option isn’t available to her, however, so Deanna lets the coy smile slide off her face and hides her anger by letting to the surface the undercurrent of worry that’s been plaguing her for the past three weeks. ‘It’s Mom,’ she says, pulling away from Sam a little to watch for her reaction. ‘She’s missing.’
Sam doesn’t move. She doesn’t even flinch. Nothing about her expression changes either, which as good as screams to Deanna that there’s something going on that she doesn’t want them to see. ‘That’s normal, isn’t it? She takes off like that all the time,’ she says, and she isn’t as good at hiding the unhappiness in her voice as she is at hiding it in her face.
Deanna’s eyes flicker to Amit, who is watching Sam with a soft set to his mouth and understanding in his eyes. She wonders what he knows about Sam and their mother, whether she’s told him anything or whether he’s filling in her silence with his own imagination. Fuck him either way, she thinks. ‘Not like this. She was supposed to be on a four-day hunting trip, but I lost contact with her seventeen days ago. Her cell phone keeps going straight to voicemail.’
‘Your mom hunts?’ asks Amit, voice lifting in surprise. Sam gives Deanna a look of such fury that she can only assume the Boyfriend is one of those bleeding hearts who would repeal the second amendment in a heartbeat if they had their way. That Sam would date one of those bugs her enough that she comes up with the worst bullshit explanation she can think of.
‘Yeah. Me and our mom, you know, we hunt our own food these days, try to live off the land as much as we can. It’s a pretty new thing.’ Deanna twists the green peace sign bracelet on her wrist (a gag gift from Lisa way back when) in the hopes that it will lend some sort of authenticity to her story.
Amit tilts his head to the side. ‘That’s cool. It’s just that Sam never mentioned that. How new is new?’
Deanna opens her mouth to respond, but then Sam extracts her arm from her grip. It should have happened about three minutes ago by Deanna’s calculation, so she refuses to acknowledge her disappointment. ‘Amit, I’m sorry — can you just give us a moment alone?’ says Sam.
‘Sure. Should I get the pullout couch ready?’ he asks, setting the flashlight down against the wall.
God, he really was fucking perfect. ‘No thanks,’ Deanna says, dripping honey from her words. ‘I don’t want to take up any more of your time.’ She ducks her head and lets Sam lead her out onto the porch.
Hunting again with Sam is … good. Deanna refuses to analyze it any more than that, because why question a good thing? Sam’s presence in the passenger seat sets her mind at ease; for the first time since Mom’s disappearance, she starts to think about the situation with some optimism.
Which isn’t to say that it’s a barrel of laughs from the get-go. The drive begins with Sam thoroughly rehashing their childhood — which Deanna doesn’t need because she was there — and using it to justify why she is only coming along for this one thing, and she’s doing it for Deanna, not for their mom. When she’s run out of breath, Deanna fills her in on everything she knows about the case. After that, they fall silent.
Fifty miles from their destination, Sam says, ‘Pull over.’
Deanna takes her eyes off the moonlit road to give her a puzzled scowl. ‘Why? Are you okay?’
‘What? No, not at all, but that’s not what I mean.’ Sam laughs a little, without mirth. ‘Just pull over. I’m gonna change.’
Deanna gives her a once-over: jacket, t-shirt, jeans and boots, perfectly ordinary as far as she can tell. ‘What’s wrong with what you’ve got on? It’s a little butch, yeah, but that’s never bothered you before.’
She can tell from the way that Sam goes still that she’s said something wrong. Again. When they were teenagers, back when Sam first started dressing weird, she’d tried so hard to be careful about what she said. It was an effort on her part to counterbalance the way that their mom took every piece of teenage rebellion as a personal insult, and didn’t make an effort to disguise the fact. After a while, though, she’d stopped trying, because she could never get it right; and Sam would always treat her like she was as bad as their mom. It begins, she thinks.
‘There’s nothing wrong with what I’ve got on, but it’s not useful. Mom was after a spirit who kills young men at night, right? So we need a dude.’
Deanna continues to stare, heart pounding. ‘You want to use yourself as bait? We don’t even know what we’re hunting.’
Sam shrugs. ‘Could still be useful.’
‘You just want to play dress-up,’ she accuses, when no further explanation is forthcoming. Sam clenches her jaw. ‘Fine. Pulling over,’ says Deanna. It’s not worth the argument; not here, in the middle of the woods at night, and not so soon after they’ve finally gotten back on speaking terms with each other. She pulls off onto the shoulder. Sam climbs into the back seat, scattering books, maps, and an assortment of amulets onto the floor as she does so. Deanna fixes her eyes on the trees ahead, keeps her hands on the steering wheel, and presses her lips together. She’s not going to say anything that Sam could possibly misconstrue. She won’t ask why her sister picked now to do this, she won’t bring up her continued insistence on being the exact opposite of inconspicuous, and she won’t wonder what the hell Sam has been getting up to at Stanford that she thinks this is a good idea.
She hears a heavy thump in the back seat. ‘Am I going to have to come back there and rescue you?’ she asks.
‘Shut up.’ Sam’s voice comes from the vicinity of the floor behind the driver’s seat, and Deanna smiles. She feels the seat dig into her back as Sam works her way up into a sitting position. Shortly thereafter, she climbs over the armrest, narrowly misses Deanna’s face with her knee, and settles back into her seat. She looks over at Deanna’s general vicinity with a barely-contained smirk on her face. ‘What do you think?’
As far as Deanna can tell, she hasn’t changed much; swapped her t-shirt out for a looser one, put on a terrible, terrible plaid t-shirt over it, and changed the part of her hair. But she’s sitting differently, knees spread wide and arms loose, eyes narrowed. And … something else occurs to Deanna. She reaches out and splays her hand against Sam’s suspiciously flat chest. Under her fingers, she can feel the edges of a coarse, tight vest that hides the curves of her breasts beneath her shirt.
Deanna cocks an eyebrow and removes her hand. ‘That cannot be comfortable.’
Sam shrugs. ‘It works. I don’t have much to hide,’ she says, smirk breaking free of her attempts to not look like the self-satisfied freak that she is.
Deanna purses her lips. ‘You’d better hope we don’t need to pull out the park ranger schtick,’ she says, easing back onto the road. ‘You’ve got some serious lipstick on in that ID.’
‘Yeah, and? You’re a forty year old black policeman in Minnesota,’ Sam reminds her, with a slight smile.
Deanna grins. ‘Good times.’ They’d been fresh off a vampire hunt, and Mom had gotten pulled over for speeding, when she picked that one up. The officer in question tried to give their mom a hard time about a poltergeist-related missing tail light, so Deanna had picked his pockets while Sam looked on in silent delight and mimed encouragement. She could kiss Sam for remembering the incident nearly six years and one estrangement later, if overt displays of affection were anywhere close to up her alley. That, and her sister looks like a goddamn trucker right now. Still, it’s nice to know that as much as Sam professes to hate her childhood, she remembers little things like that.
Two nights and one unsolved mystery later, Deanna is standing in the middle of a long-condemned house with a puddle of bath water at her feet, more water dripping over the edge of the stairs at her back and giving off a stale, metallic odor. In the living room, Sam is behind the wheel of the Impala, looking boyish and shell-shocked but otherwise unharmed. She can’t say the same for the house. Smashed bits of wall and ceiling litter the floor around them, covering the car with dust and splinters and a couple of broken boards. Sam grins at her from behind the wreckage. It’s the most gorgeous tableaux that Deanna has seen in months. ‘Nice one,’ she says.
Sam climbs out of the Impala and brushes dust off the hood. ‘Thanks.’
Deanna steps over the water — it’s ordinary water, but it’s still a little creepy — to help her clear the wreckage from the path. Part of the roof collapsed in the wake of Sam driving the car through the wall (and Woman in White or not, if that stunt damaged Deanna’s baby, Sam will be the one paying for the repairs). The house is isolated at the end of a long driveway, but they’d be better off clearing out as soon as possible. It isn’t possible leave the scene of a case too quickly, in Deanna’s opinion. They work in a silence that is very nearly companionable, hauling away the rubble until the hole in the side of the house is big enough for the car to fit back out. When they’ve finished, Sam hands over the keys, and they hit the road.
‘So the Woman in White came after you because she thought you were a dude?’ Deanna asks on the drive back.
Sam grins, wide and toothy. ‘Told you, it’s useful,’ she says.
Deanna shoots her an amused look. ‘Yeah, sure.’ She could do without any more crossdressing in her life, even if it did help them with this case. Though she supposes it’s better now that Sam has the height and voice to pull it off, instead of looking like the baby lesbian she did in high school. And she seemed to be enjoying herself, making her voice all gravelly in a way that suggested she’d been practicing. ‘You do this a lot, these days?’
‘Just sometimes. It’s fun. Amit’s okay with it,’ Sam says, adding it on like a challenge. ‘It’s nice to not … not have be the same person that I was, all the time.’
Deanna could say a lot of things to that, most of which she knows would just piss off Sam. Since that isn’t the goal here, she chews her tongue and stares for a moment. ‘So long as you don’t crack a rib or anything,’ she says at last. ‘And we’d need to fix up your IDs.’
‘I’m going home now,’ says Sam, but without her earlier rancor. ‘I told you already.’
‘Right.’ Deanna nods. She watches Sam’s profile, letting her mind wander, until Sam shouts and she has to swerve hard to avoid crashing into a telephone pole.
‘Watch the road, Buffy,’ says Sam, when all four wheels are once again on the pavement.
‘Sure thing, dyke.’
‘Bitch,’ Sam returns without missing a beat.
Deanna bites the inside of her cheek, because behind the insults, she can hear warmth in her sister’s voice that she hadn’t thought she’d get back anytime soon. To cover for herself, she shoves a cassette into the tape deck and cranks the volume over Sam’s protests, sallying forth with the overdone warble that caused a hundred backseat fights when they were younger. ‘I’m the one who can please you,’ she belts out. ‘Ain’t that what you said. You seemed so aloooone,’ —
‘Turn it down, Dee,’ shouts Sam, flailing at the dashboard.
‘Bite me — I showed you my love …’
Deanna drops Sam back off at her house with as little fanfare as possible. If she pretends that this isn’t a big deal, then eventually it won’t be. She tells Sam to have a good life, good luck with her interview, and Sam smiles and thanks her and says she’ll keep in touch. She watches Sam’s back until the door closes behind her; then she drives away alone.
She’s a mile and a half away from Sam’s house when she hears the sirens. They start off ahead of her, and her first thought is, Aw, no, I am not pulling over for you bitches. Then they wail past her, two fire trucks and an ambulance, and turn down the road she just left. It’s late, and she’s gotten maybe eight hours of sleep in the past three days, so it takes her a few seconds of blinking and staring to recognize what she’s seeing. When it hits her, she can barely breathe for the panic clawing at her throat. She brakes so hard that she nearly puts herself through the windshield and lets loose a stream of curses, then ‘Oh god Sam no, no come on Sammy, don’t do this to me,’ as she turns in the middle of the road with her wheels screeching to peel back the way she came.
The emergency vehicles are parked on the street outside of Sam’s house by the time she arrives, and the yard is swarming with people: firefighters in bulky gear, neighbors, Deanna doesn’t know who the fuck else. They’re not important, not compared to the house beyond them. Its upper floor is ablaze, burning away faster than she would have believed was possible. She flings herself out of the car and halfway across the street almost in the same instant, not bothering to cut the engine. The smoke hits her then, reeking of sulfur, and shivers run down her spine and arms as she takes a second glance at the house. The fire licks the roof and walls in dense, bright yellow coils that Deanna has only ever seen once before in her life; she had hoped never to see them again. ‘Sam!’ she screams, and runs towards the house, four years old and choking on the same fears all over.
Several figures on the lawn turn when they hear her. She scans them frantically now: man, woman, woman, dog, firefighter, firefighter, firefighter, and no sign of her sister. A vise clamps around her chest. She’s tough,, she reminds herself. Sam, she was awake, she’ll be okay … In her haste, it’s another few seconds before she notices the figure standing, ramrod-straight and hands jammed in her pockets, on the sidewalk. All of the breath leaves her lungs with relief. Sam just fought off a murderous monster and survived; there’s no way she would die in a house fire a few hours later. Deanna jogs over and puts a hand on her shoulder. Sam jumps at the touch.
‘I heard the sirens,’ says Deanna, struggling to keep the sheer panic still humming through her out of her voice. ‘What happened?’
Sam tears her eyes away from the flames to look at Deanna. A splatter of blood is busy making its way down her cheek, like some bizarre, viscous tear, but it doesn’t appear to be hers. Her expression is blank, different from the mask she uses to hide inner turmoil. It’s as though she’s forgotten that she can operate the muscles of her face, and it scares the daylights out of Deanna. Part of her knows it’s probably shock, but it still looks like something inside her sister is missing, which means that she needs to find a way to fix it, now.
And speaking of missing … a knot forms in her stomach as she looks around at the bystanders. ‘Where’s Amit?’ she asks.
Sam reaches up to touch the blood running down her face. ‘He was on the ceiling,’ she says. ‘Just like I …’ She trails off. For an instant, it looks like her face is going to crumple, and Deanna panics; but she doesn’t cry. She hovers between stone and tissue paper, awful to watch but less worrisome than motionlessness, while her mind clicks back into gear. Deanna averts her eyes. She watches the sprays of water as they slowly extinguish the demonic fires in plumes of thick, purple-grey smoke that sting her throat. They resists the deluge, but as the minutes tick by, the curls of flames lose their energy, and eventually die out, leaving darkness behind.
The second floor of the house is a smoldering wreck, when the smoke clears enough to see it. The roof is all but collapsed, sagging in around a large black hole over the bedroom; more black gaps in the ash-streaked siding only suggest that they might have been windows only an hour ago. The sight gives Deanna feelings that she’d rather not think about, so she looks away. In looking away, she catches sight of one of the neighbors; the woman looks between Sam, the wreck, and the house next door, and Sam again, as though thinking of coming over to offer a place to stay. Deanna lowers her chin and shifts a little bit closer to her sister. She doesn’t quite glare at the woman — just enough to warn her away. Sam doesn’t need her help.
With the fire out, the paramedics move in, breaking down the front door; presumably to find Amit’s body. If there’s anything left. Deanna doubts it. There wasn’t any trace of their dad, not even ashes they could separate from the rest of the damage. They’d held a funeral without a casket, and then they’d sold the house, sold their things, and started gathering information on the yellow-eyed demon.
Kill off the Boyfriend and whisk Sam away on a hunt to get her over his death, she remembers suddenly, and wants to throw up. Her hand clenches in Sam’s shirt. It was a joke, it was a stupid joke, I would never …
Sam rolls her shoulders, shaking off Deanna’s hand. The lines of her face are smooth and clear once more under the street lamp. ‘It was the demon, wasn’t it?’ she asks. ‘The same one that killed Dad.’
Deanna thinks of their dad, of the confusion and anger on their mom’s face as she herded them out of the house twenty-two years ago and packed them all into the car. ‘I wish it wasn’t. Sam, I’m sorry,’ she says, because she is. She sometimes resents her sister for not remembering their dad enough to miss him, and she may have hated Amit for the five minutes that she knew him, but that doesn’t mean that she wants Sam to feel that misery, too.
Sam nods once. Then she turns, away from the smoking house and towards the road where the Impala is still running. ‘Okay. Let’s get going.’