(warning the following contains scenes of course language)
“So you want us to ride out on a suicidal mission in the middle of the night,” Dean began cynically at his brother Sam, “Drive to some deserted town that could be infested with a bunch of thousands of bloodthirsty stenches and rescue an unknown group of people who for all we know could be dead or worse…could be demons?”
“Dean, I don’t know but the guy on the other end sounded pretty convincing to me.” Sam confirmed pacing the living room floor after his brother while Adam and the girls settled on the couches puzzling over the bazaar circumstances. “He said it was just him and his family trapped in a convenient store with two officers from the Sherriff’s department down in Clifton Ridge. Maybe…we should check it out.”
Dean’s glare pierced Sam like a knife, giving him the-are-you crazy expression followed by a hand motion of an explosion over his head.
“What are you insane?” he barked excitably, “How do you know this call was even legit?”
“I don’t know if it is I just…I think we owe it to ourselves and to those people to look in it.” Normally Sam was critical about venturing out in the middle of nowhere, taking on blind faith wasn’t exactly his modem but from the determination pulsing in his brown eyes it was as though he had all the convincing he needed to help these other survivors. “We can’t just leave them like that; what if one of them is seriously injured? They’re like 15 minutes away from help. Dean I don’t think I can ignore this…and neither should you.”
“Sammy, we can’t just drop everything and bolt down there like friggin MacGyver.” Dean retorted pinching the bridge of his nose. “I mean what about Adam and the girls…and without a plan, Sam? I don’t like this. We could be walking straight into a trap without realizing it!”
Sam glanced over at the three other members of their group sitting on the sofas waiting until the Winchesters decided the best suggestion. Though it seemed like they’d never see eye-to-eye on this mission, it was dangerous after all….and not just for them but for the other people surrounding them.
“Then…we’ll all have to go.” Sam imputed though he could clearly see by this answer alone he’d brought out the worst in his brother, who was shaking his head brashly. “Dean I know you hate the idea and it’s risky but I don’t think we can just leave everyone behind…especially not while those things are out there.”
“You’re absolutely right, I hate it! And the answer is a big Hell-No!”
“Well then what do you suggest, cause you know we can’t leave Kay unprotected in a situation like this!” Sam roughly confirmed.
“The answer’s still no, Sam!” Dean protested, staring at his younger but taller brother combatively. “No one’s going anywhere!”
“Will everyone just shut the hell up?” Adam snapped, getting in between his older brothers. He’d been patient this far but listening to this useless arguing was enough to make him crazy. Why argue when there was obviously another solution to the problem? The teenager had been holding back for as long as he could stand and now it was his turn to jump into the conversation. “Now, instead of watching the two of you dicks stand around bickering like a couple of old ladies, we might actually have another suggestion.”
Dean grimaced at his teenaged half-brother, placing his hands on his hips temperamentally. He didn’t like people stomping over his authority in the group as he’d made himself personally in charge of every single person’s life in the house they all stayed at. Dean was also solely dedicated to protect Kay’s life with his own until he and Sam could figure out her part in the dead apocalypse, aside from her blood triggering the virus. Leaving her alone and vulnerable for some far-fetched call in the middle of nowhere was like leaving ice to melt in the sun, just too dangerous. But instead of undermining his little brother he decided to let him share his input.
“Okay wise-ass, why don’t you share your thoughts with the rest of the class then.” Dean nodded, bitterly encouraging as he tipped his head.
Adam pursed his lips, squaring his shoulders as he summarized his answer. “Alright, here’s my solution…me.”
Sam scrutinized while Dean and the girls were simply confused.
“Ah you wanna run that by us again?” Dean asked suspiciously but in a mocking tone. “No offense dude, but you hardly look like the guy we need to stitch the world back up.”
Adam smirked devilishly as his expression went sour. “No you idiot, what I meant was I could stay behind and keep an eye on the girls while you two knuckle-heads chase your phantom-phone call.”
Sam and Dean had heard a lot crazy ideas in their years as hunters; some of those careless plots fell onto their shoulders but allowing their teenaged brother, with no experience, to stay and protect a girl who could be dead at any point because of her ability? It was nonsense to the brothers and Dean refused to acknowledge the idea any further.
“Kid, you wouldn’t last ten seconds in a fight against demons trust me.” Dean protested, sliding his arm around Adam’s abrasive shoulders. “And I’m not leaving my teenage half-brother alone to go gun-hazing against a horde of dead sons-of-bitches, especially not while gambling with Kay’s life on the line!”
“Adam, that’s too dangerous of a responsibility.” Sam added more sympathetically turning to his little brother. “You could get them and yourself killed, you’re not trained to handle the things that Dean and I have come cross for years.”
“I’m not six okay, I know enough! Besides I took out that horde back at that gas-station didn’t I?” Adam barked vibrantly, the Winchester’s could almost see the determination turn his eyes red. “You’ll be like ten minutes from here and besides…I won’t be alone!”
“If you’re referring to your new cloud-buddy,” Dean warned. “Then you can forget it! I don’t trust that winged-bastard anymore than I trust leaving you to defend Kay and Sarah’s lives!”
“We don’t have a lot of options Dean! And pissing me off isn’t gonna get your ass down there fast enough to save those people!”
Sarah was starting to feel a little out of place witnessing the whole family drama, but watching her friend bobble back and forth with her ears covered made the adrenaline in her system lash out. It caused her to push herself in the middle of the Winchester brothers and kill the argument before it affected Kay any longer.
“Alright stop it all of you!” she barked alerting their attention to the conflicted empath girl, rocking against the cushions. For all Sarah knew, her friend’s head look as though it was on the verge of exploding. “Look at her! Kay can’t sustain anymore of this crap! Everyone’s emotions are on high scale and its making her sick. None of this is helping her.”
Dean’s face was grave as he watched Sarah scramble back to the couch, consoling the empath girl. The pain in Kay’s eyes when she looked back at him was vital, poisoning him with remorse. It hurt the young hunter seeing this girl in agony as much as seeing her shattered when she felt rejected by him back in the kitchen. However the damage had been done, Dean couldn’t forget how much he cared about Kay and what lengths he’d go to ensure her safety. But how could he allow himself to get so rallied up while she was in the room absorbing everything? He and Sam understand their feelings alone could kill Kay if they weren’t careful. It was absolutely careless of him on his part.
“I’m sorry.” He said voice nearly broken. It was as if Dean had meant for the apology to be aimed towards the empath girl. “I just don’t know what to do anymore.”
“You and Sam go.” Sarah insisted promptly, cradling Kay’s head on her shoulder. “We’ll be fine here with Adam and I know pretty damn well how to shoot a gun. You can’t over-think this one guys; somewhere down the line a decision has to be made and we don’t have a lot of time.”
Sam glanced at Sarah affectionately then back at his older brother who was battling his internal thoughts. Both of the hunters realized what was at stake if they left and what would be on their conscience if they didn’t leave. As much as protecting family came first…Sam and Dean couldn’t retaliate any further.
Adam, although he was young, reckless and inexperienced, had proven himself on more than one occasion that he embodied the Winchester survival gene. And Sarah wasn’t as defenses as she thought; there was definitely a lot of fight left in her. Kay on the other hand was the most vulnerable person in the group, a single drop of emotion could sky-rocket her entire body into another attack and not just that…but those who were after her posed a serious threat. Whatever it was about this girl, the Winchester brothers had promised to protect her.
“She’s right Dean.” Sam pointed. “We can’t tackle this plan any other way…except that we have to get to those survivors…before it’s too late.”
“And how do we know it’s not already too late Sam, huh?” Dean intersected. “That place could be crawling with stenches or worse… But…if they are in trouble than I guess we gotta clean up the mess.”
“Right…and if it is a trap, then you can just hit me if you want to.”
“Oh I’ll do more than clock you, trust me dude.” Dean promised vitally as he turned to Adam. “What we’re about to do is completely stupid and I know I’m gonna live to regret it…but these people’s lives are on you now.” His voice sharpened as he spoke to the teenager pointing towards the two young women on the couch. Adam swallowed hard but the stubborn fire in his blue eyes never faded. “While we’re gone you’ve got to promise…that you’ll protect these two! I’m not jamming out that door unless you do.”
“I promise…you can count on me Dean.” Adam insisted fierily, peeking at his revolver tucked in his jean jacket. “Michael told me it was important for me to guard Kay and hell if I know why…but I know what’s at stake here.” He chuckled slightly, cocking his gun so that he was prepared, or maybe it was to impress his brothers. “I’ve got this covered.”
“Be aware of your surroundings, you might not be dealing with more zombies.” Sam added, putting his hand on Adam’s shoulder. “Demons have been known to trick people before they attack, watch for that.” He handed his teenaged brother a unique looking dagger. It was the knife Ruby had used to kill other demons…it eventually led to her own demise. “Take this just in case. It can kill just about anything, namely demons.”
“Thanks man, watch your ass out there.” Adam said as Sam and Dean shuffled to the door.
“Watch yours too,” Dean called back stealing one last glance at Kay. She was huddled against Sarah, soft eyes brimming with concern and sorrow. Deep down he couldn’t help wishing he’d at least said goodbye to her properly, though the near incident in the kitchen already made things awkward enough him so he didn’t bother.
When Dean closed the front door behind him, Kay almost got the excruciating notion that he might’ve been closing his heart to her. She couldn’t make any sense of his emotions while they bubbled beneath the surface, for a hunter this guy was definitely a complex individual. Being an empath wasn’t enough to understand him, not while she hadn’t mastered her ability. Instead of torturing herself for hours on end she sighed irritably and stumbled back up the stairway into the safety of her room.
Sarah and Adam were both confused as their eyes trailed off after the young woman disappearing upstairs.
“What’s up with her?” Adam pondered bluntly, tucking away his revolver into his jeans. Sarah gave him a mutual expression.
“I don’t know, but it’s probably nothing to worry about.” She added shuffling up the stairs. “I’ll go talk to her.”
“Okay, I’ll just maintain the premises down here!” Adam called after Sarah. “If I see anything trust me…you’ll be the first to know, just make sure Kay’s alright.”
“Gotcha!” she said quickly, pacing herself before she knocked on Kay’s bedroom door. Opening it at a crack, she peered inside watching as Kay flopped on the bed covering her face in her hands. “Kay…can I come in.”
The empath girl paused briefly brushing her hands through her dark hair, blocking out the sadness she’d been fighting against since her moment in the kitchen with the fiery young hunter.
“Yah…sure come in.”
As Sarah walked through the threshold, it didn’t take her long to realize her friend was on the verge of tears. She immediately sat beside her, draping an arm around Kay’s timid shoulders. Sarah’s contentment over the revived happiness she felt in Sam Winchester’s arms later that night became almost a distant memory as she consoled her troubled friend.
“Kay what’s wrong?” Sarah asked gently, hinting her curiosity in the matter. “Why’d you just storm off like that?”
“It doesn’t matter.” Kay replied heavily, voice nearly vacant. She tried her hardest to refrain from entertaining her emotions by pinching the quilt with her fingers.
“Common.” She urged. “Something’s up, I can see it written all over your face… It’s the same expression you use all the time when you’re really upset about something.”
Kay shrugged staring at the floor, eyes lowered very melancholy.
“I saw it…when you looked at Dean just before he left.” Sarah reminded the empath girl. Something instantly jerked inside of Kay at the mention of the young man’s name. Sarah felt her friend grow tense, pulling away from her. “Did he…did he say something to hurt you?”
Kay shivered, eyes glazing uncontrollably. As much as she wanted to surrender to the pain in her chest, the young woman couldn’t bear the thought of appearing weak and vulnerable not while her emotions mingled irritably with those she constantly channeled. It was a wonder she felt anything natural for herself and Sarah’s deep anguished concern was helping; it only pierced her with misery.
“No…it was nothing like that.” She said. Squinting she felt the quilt under her fingers beginning to wrinkle.
“But there is something…isn’t there?” Sarah encouraged biting bottom lip. Kay lowered her head, diving back into her shell. “Its Dean isn’t it…you like him don’t you?”
Shaking her head, Kay timidly brushed a lock of her hair behind her ear slowly looking back at Sarah with an obvious expression. There was no denying the truth not while it was causing her this much grief.
“What are you talking about?” Kay flew at Sarah with a bitter chuckle.
Sarah nearly felt guilty for ambushing her friend though she didn’t see the harm in allowing Kay to confide her truth feelings while there was no one else for her to go to. They’d been friends for three years and all Sarah ever wanted was for Kay to feel comfortable enough to trust her with her own secrets, desires or pains. The young woman didn’t want anything to interfere in her friendship with the empath girl. Not even the Winchesters.
“It took me a while to recognize it…but I’ve been noticing how close you and Dean have been getting ever since this whole thing started.” Sarah bluntly admitted. “And just now when he was leaving…I saw the way you looked at him…the way he looked at you. I mean…if I didn’t know any better I’d say it was as if you were…”
-“almost as if I were what?” Kay swallowed hard, grimacing at Sarah’s unfinished sentence though she internally dared her not to speak it.
Sarah exhaled, pulling Kay closer to her shoulder. “It’s almost as if you…more than just like him. Did something happen between you two or…what?”
“He…almost kissed me…back in the kitchen.” Kay confessed, closing her eyes picturing the moment in her mind.
“When?” Sarah sputtered brightly.
“Just now…before you and Sam came upstairs about the call on the radio…Dean and I were sharing a sandwich, talking and the next thing I know we were… And then he didn’t even say goodbye to me before leaving on his suicide mission…”
Before Sarah could approve of anything her senses snapped her back into the realization of what the Winchester brothers were all about…which was they had no attachments. Sam tried to warn her after they’d been together but she’d been in denial the entire time, relishing the moment they shared before it disappeared. Now more than ever it hurt Sarah to think of Sam walking out of her life again forever and now Kay was on the odds with Dean…a guy who seemed to be the last person on earth who’d ever want to commit to anyone. No wonder Kay had been feeling so torn up inside.
“I’m sorry.” Sarah said lightly. “I know how it feels to pine for someone who isn’t all there…trust me. But don’t let it affect you Kay… Maybe Dean isn’t the right guy you’ve been waiting for your whole life…but there is always going to be someone better.”
Kay just scrutinized her friend.
“Oh really so…did this ‘someone-better’ happen for you yet?” Sarah was stunned but also understanding towards Kay’s critical response considering she’d never gotten over Sam. The look on the empath girl’s face merely stated “what-right-do-you-have-to-say-that-to-me?” She was altogether silent until Kay decided to throw water on the flames.
“I know you’re still in love with Sam.” Kay interjected vitally. “You haven’t given up on him and yet…I can feel how much you’re suffering inside whenever he’s around you. This ability I’m strapped with…forces me to drown in endless emotions from other people…but what I’ve started to notice is the emotions of those closest to me are what affect me the most.”
“I’m sorry Kay.” Sarah said through teary eyes against her sleeve. “I didn’t mean to sound so hypocritical back there. I just don’t like seeing you torture yourself over someone that may or may not feel the same way about you.”
Something inside Kay snapped, her soft brown eyes were like fire.
“Well at least it’s something human, which in case you haven’t noticed I’ve been feeling less of lately!” the empath girl stood up scrunching her dark hair in her bitter grasp. Sarah immediately sensed the room going dark. “Sarah you just don’t get it, I don’t care if it hurts! I’d rather die inside with this feeling than be denied of it… I hate what I am you have no idea the kinds of crap I have to deal with because I can’t control everything I channel. I feel like a machine sometimes…like I’m not really a person and it scares me…” she paused swallowing back the tears as Sarah offered her a shoulder to lean against though Kay refused to be coddled. “I’ve never had this feeling about anyone my whole life…this connection I’ve been sharing with Dean is more than just some simple school-girl-crush… I can see things inside him that I don’t even think he understands…”
Sarah waited until Kay had settled down next to her before mentioning; “Even so…is it really worth all this pain…? I know you want to feel alive with someone but Dean isn’t to be counted on. He’s a good person but there is darkness in both Sam and Dean that we can’t even brake through. Wouldn’t you rather…save yourself the trouble before it’s too late?”
“Sarah…” Kay said, tears tracking down her porcelain cheeks. “It’s already too late…”