Arthur Ketch was a man of letters, to be sure, and what he found while he philandered the bunker, as calculatingly and as calmly as Mary Winchester philandered him, was of no true surprise until he reached the private quarters of the traveling residents. Being a man of letters, he was begrudgingly envious of the extensive library he scoured through with light fingers. Clearly the Americans had not been idle in their research and recording even if they remained ineffective in the practical application of dispelling monsters. Arthur carefully photographed a few particularly intriguing pages, making a note to come back when the Winchesters were away again in order to get a more thorough look. This was a time-sensitive operation, and there was more to see than some old books.
Exiting through the kitchen and into a long corridor, Arthur firmly tugged on his already-in-place black gloves in a motion of reassurance that they remain as firm on his hands as he was in the mission at hand.
It didn’t take long for Arthur to reach the boys’ rooms, each sparsely separated by the stretch of floor between the corridor’s facing walls. Making note of how wide the door to his left was cracked, Arthur quickly ducked into the room, flicking on the light switch as he went.
The room was small, the unmade queen bed in the middle, covered with what looked like an old but cared-for maroon blanket. A pillow was on each side, head imprints indenting each downy lump. Arthur carefully stepped over items of dirty laundry in his effort to get to the bedside cabinet, one of the only pieces of furniture in the room. Pictures adorned the surface—old photographs, really, and Arthur couldn’t help but spare a moment to examine them.
There were a couple of the Winchester brothers through varying stages of life, arms slung over shoulders companionably in many of the photos. Arthur stared hard at their faces, noting a pre-teen Sam Winchester’s big, open smile in contrast to his older brother Dean’s slightly-upturned mouth, eyes intense and daring as his arm hung around Sam’s neck and protectively over his chest, a large ball of string secondary in the background. It was odd, even to Arthur who grew up knowing about the supernatural and making difficult decisions, to see a window into another’s childhood, knowing the man staring back still had that possessive, foolishly loyal spark in him when it came to his younger brother.
Eyes darting to another photograph, Mary Winchester’s face in particular stared back at him, smiling and mocking as she held her son, taunting him and reminding him of how his desires were brushed aside so recently. Firmly reminding himself of the mission at hand, Arthur tore away from the photos and opened up the side table drawer, bracing himself for whatever he would find. Unfortunately, he wasn’t wrong in being wary.
He picked up the dirty magazines featuring barely-dressed Asian women on the cover and grimaced, unsurprised. He set those aside, making sure not to mess up the order they lay in, and turned back to the drawer. A few other personal items lay within, such as unscented lubricant and something that vaguely resembled a sex toy, intermingled with fortunately less-damning items such as a short knife, some pens, and a leather-bound notebook.
On second thought, Arthur picked up the notebook, considering how damning this object truly could be. Dirty magazines were truly juvenile in leverage and wouldn’t make a high schooler flinch too hard, but this. . .
A Winchester’s innermost secrets, displayed neatly in writing, perhaps. Although the book could possibly only contain grocery lists or irrelevant doodles, Arthur eagerly settled back on the floor, making sure not to disrupt any items in the process, and cracked open the journal, somehow sensing he was about to find something monumental.
It was immediately apparent that there were a dozen-odd folded pieces of paper shoved between the cover and the first page. Arthur made sure that they didn’t slip out by laying the notebook flat on the floor and picking up the top page and carefully opening it. It was old—the creases were deep and permanent with some of the ink gone off the paper at the folds. This was a letter.
Dean, Arthur read, You know I feel the same way, but I had to. It wasn’t working. You know it wasn’t, you just won’t let yourself admit it. And I don’t have a phone yet, but I’ll try to give you a call when I can from the dorm’s pay phone. I miss your voice more than I can say, but I don’t want to hear dad’s yet and you share a phone. It’s just too soon, you know? Please try to understand. I couldn’t handle it if you hated me, too.
I’ve met some other students that could turn into friends—my roommate Brady is cool, and he’s introduced me to some new people. I have regular meals at a dining hall and study like three hours a night in the library. You would be teasing my ass off right now, big brother. Proper preppy nerd, you’d say. I even own a polo shirt now which, I KNOW, is super sacrilegious or something, but I have one now and you will just have to deal with it.
I know I’m going off about this random stuff, but you’re sort of the voice in my head, okay? I hear you all day every day and whenever I think of something funny or learn something new, I just wanna turn to you and let you in on it. A small slice of life that we can now share. That’s how it’s always been with you, and I think that’s the hardest part about being away at college now, the little things. Sharing and laughing and living with you. You’re my best friend and always will be—want you to know that. Anyway, I may have stolen a couple of Brady’s beers while writing this, so I’m gonna send this off before I second guess what I’ve written.
All my love to my favorite big brother,
Arthur eagerly grabbed the next letter, then the next—all letters from Sam to Dean, apparently while he was away at Stanford. All were addressed to different places, a testament to a hunter’s nomadic way. He had read through several more of these letters before stumbling across one that was a bit shorter than the others but stopped him in his tracks. It looked as though it had been crumpled into a ball then smoothed back out. He couldn’t decide if it was euphoria or nausea growing deep in his gut as he scanned it.
Dean, the letter started like the others, I met someone.
Put like that, I sound like such an asshole, but I can’t think of any other way to say it. I haven’t seen you in nearly two years, and I met someone. Sometimes I feel like I’m living someone else’s life, but we’ve been together for three months already, and it just happened. I’m not trying to replace you, you have to know that. You are and will always be my brother, my best friend, and my first love. I still belong to you, if that’s something you want, but I’m going to belong to someone else for a while, too.
I love you more than you could ever fathom. I hope you can forgive me.
It wasn’t long, but it still made the other letters so much clearer. The entire Winchester dynamic so much clearer. He had found pure gold. Scanning over the rest of the letters Sam wrote Dean, Arthur could find no outright declaration like the one he had found in the briefest one, but this was all he needed. Carefully folding the blackmail and slipping it into his pocket, Arthur then retraced his steps and placed everything as it was, flicking off the light and setting the door back to its ajar state. Swiftly moving across the hall, Arthur opened up the door to find a clone of the bed across the hall, although it was neatly-made with no signs of recent sleep. Arthur raised one eyebrow reproachfully, a bit giddy with his discovery. How the British Men of Letters hadn’t picked up on the Winchester boys’ gay incestuous love affair, Arthur had no clue, but he knew now, and damned if he wasn’t going to use this as leverage over their heads.
Arthur thought spitefully of Mary and her rejection. Perhaps she wouldn’t be so wary of a relationship if she knew the only fallback she had as far as family went were two scared little brothers, clinging to each other in ways so naturally wrong it could never be right.
Arthur closed the door—he had found all he needed.
He went back out to the main area of the bunker, calling upon the other men.
“Let’s go, we have what we need.”