Wine For My Men, We Ride At Dawn!
Dad used to say, drilled it into him in fact, since the age of seven and deemed ready to start combat training because soon enough Sammy, soon enough you’re going to join me and your brother on hunting trips, and you need to be ready because you know what’s out there (Yes daddy, the things that took mommy); that a thorough and complete research is the first step to a well prepared hunt. You don’t go out there blindly, you have a responsibility not only to yourself but also to the people hunting with you, we’re a team(Yes Sir).
It was no one’s fault but his. It would have made sense if he had done more, instead of doing a half ass job on it and decided it was enough. Dad used to joke back then, when they had came out of a hunt with barely a scratch on them, that soon enough, before you know it, you wouldn’t need me on this job, you two are my very own Hardy Boys. Sammy can do the research and Dean can plan, and I know I’ve taught you well enough in combat to kick some demon ass.
Sam would laugh because deep down, he knew his dad would never stop until he kill the thing that killed mom and as much as he liked being part of this team, to know he contributed something to ensure both dad and Dean came out of it alive, he knew he wanted more, knew he didn’t want hunting and revenge to consume and define him as a person (and looking back, Sam didn’t know that person anymore because these days, he embraced this, the family business) and Dean, Dean would look at dad, expression unreadable (now Sam thinks that Dean might have been scared by that idea back then, to go on a hunt without Dad because that means Dean’s in charge and at eighteen, Dean wasn’t ready and Dad’s joke wasn’t funny), as he dismantled the various weapons they had used for the hunt and started to clean them. So this, this was a disappointment, and he knew Dad would say as much if he were here, if he were still alive.
It would have made a lot of sense if he had found out that the Backstreet Boys was originally made up of five members instead of four. It would have made sense then, why they ended up at the same hotel in another state altogether, not even 24 hours after saying goodbye back at Nashville. It would have made so much sense now that the man who’s wife was going to be killed in their own kitchen if they didn’t hurry was standing right here, in front of them, like God’s gift for a second chance and a note saying try not to screw up this time Sammy.
“You think I can help you?” the man questioned with his eyes, slightly amused. “I don’t know much about the supernatural stuff but if I can help, I will.”
“I had uh…another vision on the road and it led us here, to this hotel,” Sam explained, unsure how to break the news without sounding like a raving lunatic and get himself kicked out of the suite.
Nick nodded his head, there was a light in his eyes that said he knew what he meant. “That was the vision I had earlier! The demon was here with your couple! So since my visions are always of the past, that means it had already happened.”
“And we missed it,” Dean sighed. “Held up by the crazies.” There was no malice this time around, just disappointment.
“Are you saying the couple died because some paparazzi held you guys up?” Howie asked.
“Oh dear Lord,” Brian muttered.
“That is so paparazzi,” AJ said.
“No, the couple is still very much alive,” Sam assured. “But…Kevin right?”
“Yes,” Kevin smiled.
Sam was sure he winced a little, because how do you break the news such as this knowing it would sound just as awful no matter how hard you tried to sugar coat things?
“Well uh…my brother and I, we’re from Page & Plant Interior Design Consultants and I believe we missed our appointment at 2.30 with you today.”
The smile faded the moment understanding set it. From his peripheral, he saw Dean did a double take and Nick had a little frown on his face, confused.
“Is this supposed to make any sense?” AJ asked.
“You’re the guy in Sam’s visions.” Dean exclaimed, realisation setting in.
Nick shook his head. “There has got to be a mistake, you said they’re going to kill the wife because she’s carrying a child that is going to be like us but Kristin’s not pregnant!”
Silence overcame the room, suddenly the suite became too small for everyone and Sam felt the chill wrapping them up in a tight bundle. He was sorry they had to find this out the way it did, sorry that they weren’t given the luxury of time to swallow everything in.
“Kristin’s not pregnant is she Kev?”
Kevin turned towards Nick and Sam thought the older man didn’t have to say a word, because that look (a torn between grief of what was to become of his wife and unborn child if they screwed this up and the elations of knowing he was going to be a daddy) would have confirmed as much and he knew Nick knew this, saw the acknowledgment in his eyes (although Sam could see that tiny plea, the one that seemed to cry out please tell me I’m wrong) but Kevin found his voice nonetheless.
“That was supposed to be the big news,” Kevin smiled, and Sam wondered how in the world did this man does that? “But we didn’t get that far into our conversation, seems like the on going pattern we have for today huh buddy?”
Sam watched as Nick reached over and hugged the older man, was reminded by the countless times he had wanted to envelope his own brother the same way (especially when Dean managed to get himself half killed trying to save him; that’s what big brothers do Sammy so chill), but screw Dean and his personal space, never mind if big brother didn’t even think twice to hug Dad after he went missing for months, hugging little brother (who had been gone for four years, excuse me) for some reason equates to a chick flick moment.
“I’m so sorry Kev.”
“I think what you should say is congratulations Kevin.”
“Is safe, for now,” Kevin assured Nick. “Sam and Dean are going to make sure it’ll stay that way.”
“I’m going to help too,” Nick declared. “You’ve got to let me help Kev, you can’t make me wait by the sidelines for this.”
“I won’t.” Kevin replied. “We’ll all work together and we’re going to kick this son of a bitch ass back to hell.”
Dean caught Nick’s eyes and offered a smile. “I like him.”
Sam smirked. “Well that’s good bro, you’re going to be part of the family soon after all.”
Someone cleared his throat and whatever smart ass retort Dean was going to throw his way was lost from his lips. Everyone turned back to the still wide opened door. A man stood by the door with a cart. A bottle of champagne half deep in a bucket filled with ice and two champagne glasses decorated the top.
“Mr. Freddy May requested the complimentary champagne from front desk?” The man said as way of greeting. Dean groaned.
“Thanks man,” Nick said casually and gave him a tip and closed the door. “If there isn’t a bigger issue at stake here, I’d be going completely crazy over this whole me and you stuff.”
“I’m already there,” Dean sighed and then shook his head as he tried to focus only to find himself distracted again. “Dude, did KMart has special on salts or something?”
"What? Um...not exactly."
"Hey, we take this salting the window and doors very seriously," AJ defended. Dean raised and eyebrow and nodded. "I can see that..."
Sam shook his head. “Okay so focus." Dean nodded his head and tried not to take another glance at the cart of salts. "Yeah, first up, we need to do some research, know exactly what we’re dealing with. No mistakes, we only have one shot at this.”
And there was no way Sam was going to let this demon win, he was going to make sure Nick’s brother was going to come out of this ordeal with his wife and unborn baby alive, and untouched by evil.
It was awkward. Okay, so it was all he ever asked for (and more) but still, when it all came down to this, he felt well, awkward. Sam and Dean didn’t look awkward though, in fact, it was the first time where he had seen both brothers really putting their energy into a single thing – planning. They worked swiftly, when one talks, the other listens and totally gets it, sometimes without even saying a word, they just seemed to know; and it had baffled him, given him an out of the body experience in fact, outside looking in, thinking fuck, but this is another level of weirdness and he was doing it.
Only a few weeks ago he couldn’t make out what the fuck was going on with his life. Wondered if karma had finally paid a visit and handed him his freakin’ brain tumour along with his death certificate. He didn’t think he’d ever felt that alone before (definitely not lonely, he had the guys constantly at him), heck, he thought he was going crazy.
But meeting Sam (and Dean of course, but it was knowing that Sam was like him, had that extra ability, that had changed things for him, hadn’t it?) and learning what it was he had and the fact that he wasn’t the only one (the only freak) that had given him a new lease on hope.
So looking back, yeah, he was grateful things had turned out for the better now, his friends, brothers, the people who mattered most to him, understood what was going on with him and had embraced everything as if this was a minor hiccup they could battle head on together. But now, now that Kevin’s wife and unborn child’s lives were at stake, he felt the immediate danger that this new found ability brought along with it. That this wasn’t just a game, wasn’t just a gift as much as it was a curse, and Kevin’s child was going to grow up (because no one’s dying anytime soon damn it!) having to always look over his shoulders, knowing that there are things that go bump in the night, would grow up with the knowledge that salt isn’t just for seasoning on your food and that headaches would be as close to him as his bestfriend.
“I think it’s cute Howie’s playing understudy,” Kevin whispered, all secretively, as if they were sharing some major top-secret demonic banishing information.
He had been sketching pieces of memories from his latest vision. Brian said it would be helpful if everyone knew how this demon and the child looked like, as fair warning, (it would have helped Sam if we all know it was Kevin he had been having visions about before) everyone agreed and so while things were being researched and planned, he was busy sketching.
The kid couldn’t be any older than fourteen. Big brown eyes like Howie’s, curvy lashes like AJ’s and slightly long, dark hair like Sam’s. Thin lips like Brian’s and sharp nose like Kevin’s. He wondered if his mother was killed in a fire when he was only six months old. Wondered what happened to his family that had ended him being this demon’s helper.
Howie was learning the latin verses to exorcising a demon (or whatever else, he guessed), just in case something happened to Sam and Dean (what do you mean if something happened to you both! Howie had panicked) that would hinder them from finishing the exorcism. AJ was studying the protective symbols they were going to start decorating Kevin’s house with while Brian learned a few things from Sam about hacking sites for information, which was funny to them because isn’t that a sin? Brian said they’re doing this for the greater good so it’s okay, which only made them laugh even louder.
“Yeah? I think it’s hot.”
“Careful now, Dean might not like to hear that.”
He knew this would be an ongoing joke for them for quite a while. Dean was half listening to Howie’s pronunciation while his eyes fixed on pieces of papers laid before him – information that both Sam and Brian had managed to get and printed.
“Nah. I think he’d like a threesome.” Kevin raised an eyebrow and smirked. “AJ said the fans actually like Dean, go figure that one. I think they really want me to be gay Kev.”
“I think your hormone raging female fans just find Dean hot, that’s why they approve. And is AJ still harassing LD?”
He smirked and decided not to answer that question. He promised AJ he wouldn’t rat on him, because harassing LD is a two Backstreet Boys job, and he was the other half of the team. “Did I tell you, your house is the shit?”
“The shit huh?”
“Yeah, dude, how huge is it?”
“I can’t remember. Kristin’s in charge of the numbers. It’s just huge to me.”
“This has to work Kev, it’s the only option.”
“I wish I’m as confident.”
“Have a little faith little man.”
“Are you going to tell Kristin about this?”
“I’m not sure about that yet. Maybe when this is over, I’ll tell her.”
“Maybe it’s not a good idea, she can’t be stressed or it might risk the pregnancy.”
“I think I’ll break it to her slowly with time. We’re gonna have to be ready when the kid’s six months old, probably might get a little demon visit who knows?”
“Definitely something you don’t find in those first time parents self help books huh?”
“I should write one.”
“Well, if life’s gonna be a little bit shitty for the kid, at least he has awesome parents to protect him.”
“You turned out all right,” Kevin smiled genuinely. “I have a feeling he’s gonna be very close to you.”
He smiled. He’d like that, very much.
“Hey, think Brian’s gonna shit his pants if I say Baylee and my son can grow up and be demon hunters just like those two?”
“You say that as if you know your child’s a boy.”
“You’re right, maybe it’s a girl. Maybe I’d call her Buffy.”
It was awkward because tomorrow, things were going to change, in a big way, for all of them and because right now, exactly twelve hours, four minutes and thirteen seconds, the Richardson’s living room was the den to seven men, preparing for a battle that wouldn’t make sense to most people, yet if they take out the supernatural out of the equation, this right here, seemed normal to the naked eye. Almost relaxed. Peaceful.
The deep breath before the plunge.
Disclaimer: that last sentence is taken from LOTR, so credit to JRR Tolkien.