“This stuff, let me tell you,” Henriksen said, triumphant, “it’s a freaking miracle. Developed after 9/11, right? Sodium pentothal dreams about working a tenth as well as this little injection.”
Dean was busy being annoyed that they’d taken his jacket off to roll up his sleeve, so he didn’t bother even looking up at the agent. Dean didn’t know when or how the dude had been resurrected, memory-wiped so that he thought the Winchesters were crazytown again, and plunked back into his job as if nothing had ever happened. The choices seemed to be God and I-Am-God Cas, neither of whom were taking questions, or possibly a third player on the field with the power to bend time and memory. All of those options were disturbing enough that Dean didn’t have much mental energy to worry about Henriksen himself.
“I want to talk to my lawyer,” he recited. He got why so many guys confessed: you started to sound really dumb, saying that every time instead of reacting to the one-sided conversation.
“Yeah, about that. A blown-up police station says you’re a terrorist. Now maybe when you eventually get that lawyer, none of what you tell me will ever show up in court, but we’ve already got enough on you to kill you five times, and there are a lot of open cases you might be able to explain. Families we might be able to give some closure.”
Dean snorted. Figured that he’d found a cop who just wanted the truth, and it was kind of sad for Henriksen that the man was never going to believe Dean’s almost literal gospel. Then he had to clench his jaw, because whatever was in that syringe stung like fucking drain cleaner going in.
“So when does this kick in?” he asked. “I’ll admit I’ve worn women’s underwear, but I’ve never actually done a mother and daughter together, no matter what anyone tells you.”
Henricksen smirked at him just as he felt a rush of warmth, something like a really good drunk without the insulating power. “Well, let’s start with something I’ve always wondered about. Did your daddy touch you in a bad place?”
Dean opened his mouth to cast aspersions on the nature of Henricksen’s obsession with this question, but what came out was: “Dad might’ve fucked me up, but not that way.” He snapped his mouth shut, but almost before he could form the thought shut up shut up he was talking again. “Shitty truth serum if that’s the best you can do. Ask me six years ago and I’d’ve said he walked on water.”
Henriksen sat now, across the table from him, leaning forward. “It’s true that we can only get your truth. But I’m prepared to live in your messed-up world, Dean, so talk to me about St. Louis.”
And, no Heaven to help him, Dean did.
Dean would’ve expected Henriksen to get fed up pretty quickly with Dean’s delusions of the supernatural, but it turned out that he was interested in the completeness of Dean’s alternate world, or something. Then Dean realized that he was probably just interested in the human victims’ names, which were all going to go on Dean’s tally—or Sam’s. Henriksen just nodded when Dean said that, then asked about a town in Florida where Sam and Dean had taken a detour to get rid of a nest of vamps a couple of years back. And still Dean blathered on.
Somewhere after Lucifer rose, there was a pounding on the door. Henriksen looked like he wanted to ignore it, but he was too good a rule-follower for that.
Sam punched him so fast he didn’t even have time to raise his hands, then caught his crumpling body and lowered him to the floor.
“Sammy!” Dean said happily. “I am so glad to see you! You sure took your time though.”
Sam scowled and bent to unlock the manacles from around Dean’s ankles, then his wrists. “Sorry if it took a while to clear out an entire field office, Dean.”
“S’okay,” Dean conceded, wobbling as he stood. “I knew you’d get there. Fuck, I hate this truth serum shit. I’ve had curses on me didn’t work this good.”
Yeah, see, drunk Dean got numb and silent. So the drug wasn’t much like being drunk at all.
“Truth serum?” Sam asked, with his usual skepticism when it came to Dean. Dean shook off his stabilizing arm as they entered the hallway and hotfooted it towards the exit.
“I hate it when you don’t believe me,” Dean whined, and then clapped his hands over his mouth in an attempt to shut himself up while still making time.
He kept his hands there until they were at the car, and then they had a fight over who was going to drive in which Dean was severely compromised by using only his left hand; Sam ultimately won with his gorilla arms and his argument that Dean was obviously impaired enough to drive them straight off a cliff.
Sam looked straight out the windshield when he said, “So, truth serum.”
“Yeah,” Dean agreed morosely. “It’s been maybe four hours and still going strong. I gave everybody up when he asked, Pastor Jim and Caleb all the way to Bobby and Cas. Only good thing about everybody we care about being dead is that Henriksen’s not going to be paying any nasty surprise visits, even if he believed me. Fuck, he’s probably gonna write down that we killed them when they challenged our worldview, or whatever. I’m used to people thinking we’re the monsters—I pretty much am, after what I did—but it’s worse if they think we killed Bobby, you know?”
Sam blinked, but wouldn’t look at Dean. Dean hoped against hope that Dean’s word-vomit had convinced him to wait out the drug. But Sam, like Henriksen, was a scab-picking truth-seeker. “Do you still think I’m one?” he asked, low, like it hurt him to speak.
“One what?” Dean paused, trying to figure it out. “You’re a grown man, not a baby,” he tried, though he had the feeling that wasn’t right.
“A monster,” Sam said, his knuckles white on the steering wheel. “Do you still think I’m a monster?”
“I never thought that,” Dean told him. “Came close, maybe, but making terrible and stupid decisions doesn’t make you a monster, it makes you a Winchester. Jeez, Sammy, the ideas you get in your head sometimes—”
“But you said it,” Sam said, and Dean could hear a much younger Sam, angry and terrified at the revelation that everything scary in the world was real. “When I was headed to the convent, before I killed Lilith. You left me a message and you said I was a monster.”
“Hunh?” Dean remembered most of those events with painful clarity, but that didn’t ring any bells.
Sam’s face closed in on itself. “You don’t even remember,” like maybe he thought he didn’t mean enough to Dean for Dean to keep track of what he’d done to Sam.
Dean searched his brain—“I remember you nearly choking me to death, and I wished you’d finished the job. But then Bobby told me I was being an idiot—actually he told me I didn’t have to be Dad, and then that dick Zachariah showed up and man-napped me, and I realized, you were what mattered. So I told your phone I was sorry, which might’ve been easier then telling you live, and even thinking about all this is gettin’ me mad again, so can we stop?”
“You called me a bloodsucking freak,” Sam said. “You said you were going to kill me, because I was a monster. You said there was no going back.” The words had the sound of something Sam had repeated to himself every day since.
“The fuck I did!” Dean protested. “I said I was gonna kick your ass, ‘cause dude, you fucked up, trusting a demon. But I said you were my brother, Sam, and that never changed, not even when I couldn’t stand the sight of you. What, did you have that demon bitch checking your messages for you?”
Sam looked kind of like he’d been flash-frozen, minus the carbonite, his mouth open and his skin pale and his eyes like burning fuses. Dean started to worry that he was going to have to grab the wheel to avoid flipping the car into a ditch, but then Sam took a breath and turned them smoothly onto the highway. “Yeah, maybe,” he said, and didn’t explain.
“I hate it when you do that,” Dean said, and remembered too late to put his hand over his mouth again.
“What?” Sam asked.
Dean’s, “Act like I wouldn’t understand if you explained so you’re not gonna bother,” was not muffled enough by his palm, at least not for someone who’d spent a lifetime listening to him, often under non-ideal conditions.
“Sorry,” Sam said, and he sounded heart-meltingly sincere, talking-to-a-witness sincere. Dean kind of wanted to punch him, except not really since Dean wasn’t saying that out loud; it was just that he fell for Sam’s open-faced pleading every single time and he hated that vulnerability almost as much as he thought it might be the best thing about him. Sam cleared his throat. “Just, I have to revise about three years of my life now, and I need a little time to process.”
“Shit,” Dean said with great feeling. “I don’t get it.” And now his face was burning, because he was the idiot Sam took him for. “How could one message—?”
Sam jerked the car over to the shoulder and slammed it into park. “It wasn’t one message!” he snarled. “It was a message from you! I thought you thought I was a monster, Dean.” His voice was smaller when he continued. “I thought you never took it back.”
“Oh,” Dean said. “I don’t know how to apologize for that. Ordinarily I’d buy you some of those stink-awful black licorice whips you pretend not to like, but that’s for when I actually did something dickish to you.”
“God,” Sam groaned, putting his gigantic hand over his face, “could you just shut up?”
“Nope,” Dean informed him, cheered by the thought of aggravating Sam even if it was with uncontrolled discussion of his inner feelings. “Gonna have to knock me out, I think.”
Sam raised his head and his eyes were wild. “Or,” he said.
Dean had his mouth open to ask when Sam grabbed him by the collar and dragged him forward until their mouths collided. Only a last-microsecond maneuver on Dean’s part kept their noses from smashing together hard enough to draw blood, and his lips were mashed against his teeth by the force of the kiss, but the surprise did shut down his vocal cords.
Dean’s fingers went up to his lips automatically when Sam released him. “Tell me you haven’t thought about it,” Sam said, hushed.
“Thought about it? Hell, I’ve jerked off to it. Hey!” Dean complained. “Now you’re just taking advantage of my condition.”
Sam turned away—somehow making the motion smug, the fucker—and started the car. “I’m going to find a motel, and then I’m going to show you taking advantage,” he promised, and that alone was enough to make Dean shift uncomfortably in his seat.
Dean wasn’t without weapons of his own, though. “Yeah? You gonna give me something else to do with my mouth? I never had any complaints. Well, except that one time when I was fifteen, but that was bullshit—anyway,” he hurried to interrupt himself, “I will, you know. I’ll get on my knees for you. Any way you want it. I’ll be so good, you won’t be sorry—”
This time it was Sam’s hand covering his mouth. But Dean sucked on his fingers, so that was fine too, though it did make for some bouncy driving. Sam might be a genius and a giant, but he’d never beat Dean handling a car.
Dean thought it was probably a pretty good thing that he wasn’t talking any more.
As it happened, the truth serum took two days, three blowjobs, and a very hasty exit from a Biggerson’s to wear off. Dean sent Henriksen a thank-you note. Not because of the sex, and not even because of how much the card would piss Henriksen off (he was still hoping to re-convert Henriksen to the truth, now that the guy knew what to look for). He was just so happy to see Sam with his eyes clear and his shoulders un-hunched, walking like he’d lost a thousand pounds of regret.
Dean would never admit to such a sentiment. But he felt it, and that was more than enough.