THE ROAD SO FAR:
After leading a hunting raid that leads to the death of his cousin, Sam Campbell is estranged from his hunter family and tries to escape the life. He attempts to start afresh in a new town and is employed by John Winchester, but a death vision of John's wife and son under horribly familiar circumstances draws him back into the world of the supernatural. When the yellow eyed demon possesses John and murders Amanda, Sam rescues their son Dean and teaches him about hunting. Dean abandons his old life as a college student and would be musician and, together, he and Sam embark on a quest to find and rescue John, and avenge the deaths of their mothers.
In the wake of an explosive quarrel the friends are re-examining the nature of their relationship. Dean is coaxing Sam to address his intimacy issues, but Sam still has doubts and he is concealing secrets about his past and about his psychic abilities. Meanwhile the demons Meg and Ruby have appeared in disguise to Sam and Dean, and Dean has received help from a mysterious blue-eyed stranger.
Lichtburg , Wisconsin. .
He couldn't even say what it was about the boy that fascinated him so much. He wasn't a particularly exceptional or attractive child. He was much like any of the other neighbourhood kids, small for his age perhaps, with dirty blond hair and pudgy cheeks and eyes that were somehow too big for his face, and there was something ungainly about the way he walked as he followed after the girl. He was always with that girl. That meant there were fewer opportunities to get him by himself, of course, but it stirred a kind of resentment for other reasons. There was something about the way the boy looked at her, like the sun shone for her, that was both compelling and discomfiting . . . because it was something that was beyond his experience . . . Maybe that had something to do with it.
Of course they were all memorable, in their way, but Donald Helfer especially so, because he was the first. First times are always special.
Suzy had a big empty cookie tin she'd saved from Christmas. She bought a post card and wrote a message to the future, and for good measure she put a stamp on it. And she added the whole of the rest of her pocket money for that week: twenty three cents. There was a picture of her favorite pop group, too. Donald was a little jealous of those brothers because Suzy went on and on about them, but he didn't really mind because he knew they lived hundreds of miles away, in Utah, and he lived right next door to Suzy.
She was too old for him, he knew that – because he was only nine and a half, and she was nearly eleven – but Donald thought she was the prettiest girl he'd even seen. She had hair the colour of caramel fudge, and it flowed down the sides of her face in waves and ringlets and smelled of apples; and her eyes were the brightest, clearest blue – the colour of his favourite marble. And she was his best friend in the whole wide world. She didn't tease him because he was short and awkward and a bit bandy. She didn't mind that he had freckles. And he didn't mind too much that she called him Donny.
Donny put his marbles in the tin along with one of his old comics, and they both cut off a piece of their hair and put that in as well. Then they spent the rest of the afternoon taping songs from the radio onto a C60 with the cassette recorder Suzy'd been given for her birthday. Afterward Suzy went to fetch that day's newspaper: Thursday April 29th 1976.
While she was out of the room Donny rewound the tape a little way. He leaned real close to the microphone and whispered "Suzy Wayte, I'll love you forever and ever," then he hastily took out the cassette, slipped it into its case and dropped it into the tin. He was startled and a little alarmed when Suzy returned and took it out again, but she was just wrapping everything in the newspaper, and then she carefully covered the paper in Saran Wrap before placing it in the tin.
Donny dug the hole – under the tree in his back yard. It was hard work and it made him sweat, and the shovel gave him blisters but he didn't tell Suzy that. After they'd put the tin in the bottom they pushed the cool, damp earth back into the hole, patted it down with their hands and covered it over with grass clippings. They promised each other that this would always be their special secret, and they would come back to this spot on the same day in thirty years and retrieve their time capsule together. They sealed it with a pinkie swear.
Donald Helfer was nine and a half years old when he was murdered on Friday April 30th 1976.
The Way motel, outside Burkitsville, Indiana
The door banged as Sam followed Dean through it, pausing only to check the integrity of the salt line and toss the EMF monitor onto the bed.
"And how come I'm only hearing about this now, Dean?" he demanded.
Dean sighed. "Oh, I don't know, Sam. I've had a lot on my mind. O.K? I guess between the fight, and the other fight . . . and the other other fight, it just slipped my mind." He couldn't believe it. Not more than an hour ago they'd been having sex . . . great sex . . . phenomenally, transcendentally great sex . . . and now they were arguing again. Had nothing changed at all?
"And what about that, Dean? You got into a bar fight? What were you thinking?"
It was pointless explaining that he wasn't thinking. Actions that had no rational basis weren't something Sam could wrap his head around. "Let it go, Sam," he snapped. "I'm fine. I was fine. Turns out I can take care of myself."
Sam's mouth dropped open and he expelled a short gust of air, a mockery of laughter. "You spent the night in a jail cell, trapped, unprotected, alone . . . with demons circling you like wolves. How is that taking care of yourself?"
"So the guy with the blue eyes, he was a demon?" Dean pressed, hoping to bring Sam back to the point.
"I don't know, Dean. I've never heard of a blue-eyed demon." He shrugged. "But six months ago I hadn't heard of a yellow-eyed demon either."
"Bailing me out of jail doesn't exactly seem like a demonic act," Dean suggested.
"I don't know." Sam shrugged again. "You should have called me, Dean. Straight away, when it happened, you should have told me about it."
"I was going to, actually." A residual pang of hurt washed over him with the recollection. "But then I got your 'goodbye, have a nice life' message – " Low blow, Dean recognised, as soon as it was out of his mouth.
"You were the one who walked out, Dean," Sam reminded him quietly.
"I know," Dean acknowledged. "I know . . . Sam . . . let's not . . . "
Almost to himself, Sam muttered "I should never have let you leave."
And there they were: right back where they started two nights ago. No lessons learned. Nothing. "You tried to stop me, remember?" Dean growled. "And look how well that turned out." He stood up and turned his back on Sam, started emptying his pockets, put the holy water and his gun back on the nightstand.
"What was I supposed to do, Dean?" Sam cried. "You won't listen to reason when you're like that!"
Fair comment but "it doesn't matter, Sam. It isn't your call to tell me what I should and shouldn't do, even if you think I'm being a jerk. That's on me. Doesn't give you the right to just bully me into doing whatever you think's right." This conversation was going from bad to worse, Dean realized, as Sam's face crumpled and his eyebrows tried to pile into each other. "Not bully. I didn't mean bully," he corrected hastily. (Kinda did, though). "Look, Sam, I know you think you're just looking out for me but you've kinda got this thing where, so long as your motives are righteous, you don't worry too much about your means and method – jus in bello and all that – "
"That's not true, Dean – "
"It is sometimes."
A wounded silence followed. Sam sat down on the bed, shaking his head and staring into space. He was moving into angry and brooding mode now, which was kinda worse than angry and shouting. Dean scrubbed a hand over his jaw and took a seat on the bed opposite.
"So, those footprints we found over there . . ." He inclined his head toward the window. Residual EMF readings had led them to the trees across the road where they'd found sulfur deposits and, according to Sam, two sets of footprints. "Were either of them Dad's?"
Sam looked up and the anger in his eyes faded a little, but he shook his head. "John's a big man, and it's been raining. His feet would have left bigger prints, deeper impressions. I'd say they were women, or young men."
"Or one of each," Dean speculated.
Sam nodded acknowledgement. Then another thought seemed to occur to him. "Dean, you used Gemma's phone to call me; did you delete the call history?"
Dean sighed impatiently. "Yes, I deleted the call history," he confirmed. "I always do, and I always star 67 my calls, like you taught me."
Sam bristled at his tone. "This stuff is important, Dean."
"I know, but we've gone over it like a million times. I'm not stupid, Sam!"
"I know you're not, Dean, but it only takes one mistake – "
"I didn't make any mistakes, Sam!" Dean cried, rising to his feet again. "All this time I've been following all the rules, all the procedures you've taught me, and they still knew where I was! Where I'd be! Two years ago they knew that! Or do you think it's a coincidence that a demon just happened to possess Vince Parker's sister two years before I wind up in the town that killed him?"
Sam shook his head. "I don't believe in coincidence," he acknowledged.
"And she knew about us, Sam! Personal stuff, I mean. She was playing me, making up shit about her life and her brother that totally matched what was going down between us. It's like she knew what I was thinking!" The enormity of it began to take hold of him, the magnitude of what they were up against. In his heart he began to understand they were all just pawns in some huge monstrous game that they couldn't possibly win. He leaned against the partition, staring unseeingly ahead of him. "We are being played, Sam," he breathed. "How the fuck do you fight something like that?"
Sam stood up and laid a hand on Dean's arm but Dean shrugged him off. He swung away from the partition and started packing stuff into his duffel, just to have something to do. "Doesn't matter," he growled.
"Dean – "
"No! It doesn't – . . . It's like Angel said: if nothing that you do matters, then what you do is all that matters. I've never forgotten that."
Sam stared at him, completely confused and bewildered. "What . . . ? Dean, what are you talking about? An angel said that . . . What?"
"Not an angel, Angel. It's a TV program – " and as Dean watched Sam's expression shift to incredulity and exasperation he shouted. "It doesn't matter where I got it from, Sam! It's still valid!" He pushed the duffel away for emphasis. "Dad's still out there! And I've still gotta find him. Even if I'm screwed to Hell and back, I have to try! He's my dad!"
There was a tense silence in which Sam was probably concluding that Dean was finally falling to pieces, and Dean couldn't say for sure that he wasn't right. He pulled the bag back and continued packing. "Sam, I know what we said before," he began, trying to hold his voice steady, "but you didn't sign up for this. This doesn't have to be your fight. He's not your dad."
Sam looked like he was going to reach out to Dean again, but he hesitated . . . and Dean didn't want to admit how much he wanted him to.
"Dean, I've always known what I'd signed up for," he insisted. "You're just starting to really get what it means to have demons on our tail; I've always known. They have powers, abilities: they have foresight, they read minds."
Sam moved closer and Dean felt the pull, the urge to fall into him, but he resisted it. He'd had it with looking weak in front of Sam.
"It doesn't mean they're omniscient, Dean. Doesn't mean they're invulnerable. It doesn't mean there's no hope."
Dean lifted his eyes and met Sam's gaze. "What are the odds, Sam?" he asked, but then he laughed and shook his head. "No, never mind. Don't tell me." He forced a grin onto his face. "Never tell me the odds." Sam wouldn't get that reference either. Didn't matter. "I'm gonna go take a shower," he said, and turned toward the bathroom.
"Dean wait a minute . . ." Sam was fishing in his jacket pocket. He pulled out his cell then looked up at Dean. 'You didn't star 67 the call you made to me . . ." He turned it on and started scrolling down the screen.
"Well, no . . ." Dean acknowledged, hesitantly. "But I was calling you . . . Why would I . . .?" But he'd been using Gemma's phone. His gut tightened. Had he screwed up?
But Sam didn't look pissed. In fact he was very nearly grinning. He turned the cell toward Dean and showed him the screen. "I've got her number."
Dean stared at it. "So . . ." he prompted, for clarity.
"So I can use it to track her cell, track her movements," Sam confirmed.
Dean moved back to Sam and gazed at the number over his shoulder, as if it might yield more information just from being looked at. "Sam, this doesn't sit right. I don't buy that this was an accident. She wanted me to make that call."
Sam nodded. "You're probably right. And I'm not suggesting we should go running after her unprepared. She wants us to know her movements for some reason. But at least we have a chance of finding out why." The light from the screen caught Sam's eyes and they flashed blue for a moment. "Dean, this is a lead!"