Fic: "Accidents Will Happen"
Title: Accidents Will Happen
Characters: Winchesters, various OFCs
Rating: PG; gen as can be
Summary: Some Goth teenagers accidentally resurrect John Winchester. No, seriously.
Notes: I have no one to blame but myself; I was brainstorming increasingly unlikely bring-back-John scenarios with a RL friend and this one ate my brain. brown_betty is the best beta ever, especially considering all the handholding she had to do to get this to be a real story.
So okay. This totally wasn't my fault: blame Noreen. Or Allie, who got the books from her uncle, or Steph, who said, hey, we're the only four Wiccans in the tri-county area, we should celebrate the equinox together. Actually, I am blaming Noreen-- she's the one who got way, way too into the whole celebrate-the-equinox thing, and wrote the ritual, and got a pentagram permanently scorched into my basement floor.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. So my parents were out of town for the weekend-- long story-- and they said absolutely no overnight guests, which, please, I'm sixteen. They're lucky I didn't go get an STD from a boy with a flaming dagger tattoo or something; three girls sleeping over is no big. Right? Right.
And since the spring equinox was that weekend, too, we decided we'd hold the ritual at my house, since Allie's parents are kind of uber-Catholic and still periodically spritz her with holy water to make sure the Goth thing hasn't gotten her possessed. Steph's parents are insane Martha Stewart neat freaks, and Noreen-- well, Noreen never gave me a good reason, actually, which is one of the reasons I blame her for everything. Anyway. She'd spent the last couple weeks putting the ritual together, and getting way too into it, if you ask me. She made Allie ask her uncle, who collects rare books, if he had anything on pagan religions or the history of witchcraft that she could borrow, and she Netflixed the first three seasons of Buffy, and she kept calling me at weird hours to ask how to spell things in Latin and if I knew where she could get chicken feet. Which, no, and no.
Saturday night, everyone called their parents and said they were staying at each others' houses, and then they came to my house. Noreen brought candles and the biggest canister of salt I've ever seen, and we all trooped down to the basement, where she and Steph spent a while taping string to the linoleum and marking off a big pentagram inside a circle.
"Are you sure we have to do this down here?" Noreen asked, as Steph started pouring salt. "Why can't we use the living room?"
"Because my parents would flip if we messed up the rug. It'll sweep up easier down here, anyway."
Noreen had me painting weird symbols on the backs of everyone's hands: protective sigils, she said. I was starting to think she was getting a little too into her role, here; I knew perfectly well that no one in the room, myself included, had so much as worn black nail polish before sophomore year, and now here we were, all gothed out and about to practice the black arts.
"Hey! 'Black arts' is totally misleading, Leah. We're summoning a protective influence," Noreen said, all snippy. "It's supposed to guide us away from harmful forces, if it works right."
"Fine, whatever, we could have just played 'light as a feather, stiff as a board' and held a seance, we don't have to get in touch with Mother Earth right off the bat." Possibly I was a little on edge. And with good reason, because right as we were lighting the candles and sitting down around the circle, the door at the top of the stairs opened, the lights flicked on, and a supremely bratty voice said "Leah, Mom and Dad said you couldn't have people over. I'm so telling."
I scowled up at my little sister. "Leslie. You are supposed to be in bed."
"Yeah, well, you're supposed to not buy concert tickets with the emergency money Mom left us." Crap. I wish I knew how she figured that out. Devil child. "Unless you want her finding out about that-- and about who spilled liquid eyeliner on the upstairs carpet-- I wanna be in your seance."
Before Noreen could start in again with the indignant defense of her syncretic religious tradition-- whatever-- Steph piped up. "You promise you'll leave us alone all day tomorrow? And not say a word to your parents?" Steph drives a hard bargain, bless her, and, as she pointed out, we really should have five people if we were gonna sit around a big pentagram. So we painted some sigils on Leslie, and lit her a candle, and put out the lights.
The weird thing, in retrospect, was that it felt totally normal and unmystical for a while after Noreen started. Like, if your made-up possibly-Satanic ritual is gonna actually do stuff, there should be signs of it from the beginning, right? But there wasn't anything until the bit where Noreen made us join hands to symbolize the joining of the five elements, or something, and then it was like closing a circuit-- as if something was running through us.
A draft fluttered through the room, making the candles gutter. I was watching them, nervous-- the flames were really leaping around a lot, and linoleum might not burn but people do-- so it took me a minute to notice how much else was going weird. Noreen's voice took on this really unsettling echo, like other people were following along somewhere we couldn't see. But I couldn't let go of Leslie or Steph's hands, and Noreen kept chanting, even though I couldn't even hear her voice over the others anymore, and she was looking more and more panicked. The salt on the floor was-- my hand to god-- glowing, brighter and brighter, until I couldn't see anything but white light, or hear anything but echoing voices.
All of a sudden, it just stopped-- the wind, the lights, all of it, snap, gone, and I snatched my hands free. It took a couple of blinks to clear my vision; I felt dazed, and everyone else looked it.
The first thing I realized was this: there had been five people in the room when we started, and now there were six.
Person number six? Unconscious, curled up on his side in the middle of our pentagram, and, did I mention? Naked.
Without even looking, I whipped one hand out and covered Leslie's eyes. "Hey!"
"Upstairs," Steph said, and the five of us conscious and wearing clothes made a mad dash for the exit. There was, I have to admit, some scuffling; I'm pretty sure I elbowed Allie in the face. But we managed to tumble up the stairs and through the basement door, and wound up in the kitchen somehow, gasping for breath and trying not to freak out.
Steph was muttering, quietly, things like "that's not-- how did we, what," and Leslie looked huge-eyed and terrified. Noreen kept blinking at me, and looking back in the direction of the basement, and then blinking some more. Allie was clutching her inhaler like a baby monkey clutches its mother.
Someone had to say it, so I said it. "Noreen, what did you do?"
She closed her eyes and rubbed at them with her fists, as if that would help. "What-- I didn't-- I don't feel so good," she finished, helpfully, and sat down bonelessly into a chair.
"Leah, there's a naked guy on the basement floor." Leslie stared up at me, eyes wide, still utterly freaked. "This-- I mean, that's impossible. Right?"
"The evidence would suggest otherwise," said Steph, who then started to giggle in an upsettingly hysterical way.
"Should we call the police?" Leslie offered.
"And tell them what? 'Hello, officer, there's a naked man in my basement who I summoned up with a Satanic ritual,' oh god, my parents were right, I am toying with unholy forces--" Allie took another shaky puff off her inhaler.
"Okay. Okay. We have to-- let's go back down there, and if he's still there, we'll, we'll figure something out." How I ended up in charge, I don't know, other than that it was my basement, but oh well. "Leslie, you stay up here until we know it's safe. Noreen--"
Noreen was stuffing her things into her backpack, feet shoved into her untied shoes, clearly about to make a run for the front door. "Oh my god, Noreen, are you kidding me? You cannot make a guy materialize out of nowhere and then bail!"
She just sputtered at me, looking even paler than usual-- which is pretty pale-- and bolted. "You suck!" I called after her. "You really, really suck!"
So that left four of us, one of whom was hyperventilating and one of whom was twelve. Awesome. "We have to go back down there," I said, and took the big frying pan off the hook by the stove. "But let's go armed."
Steph and Allie wound up creeping down the stairs after me, wielding, respectively, another frying pan and Leslie's lacrosse stick, but when we turned the basement lights on the guy hadn't moved at all.
"Is he... dead?" Allie asked, sounding kind of like she hoped the answer was yes. But he was breathing, shallow and raspy, so we edged a little closer.
"Allie, grab a blanket from on top of the washer for me?" Allie nodded without looking away from the guy, and backed off to get the blanket. She edged forward and sort of flung the blanket at him; it settled more-or-less over the parts it needed to cover, so I let Leslie join us downstairs. She was clutching Mom's tennis racket like a club.
The guy chose that moment to moan weakly, sounding unsettlingly like my dad with a stomach flu, and fluttered his eyes a little. All four of us backed up a step in unison.
"I have two cousins who're priests," Allie offered, sounding nervous. "And-- I can go get a crucifix from home, maybe?"
"What are you-- oh come on, seriously," Steph said, "he's just a guy, he's not even conscious."
"Pentagram, Steph! Black magic? He could be some horrible demon who just looks like a guy. He could be anything."
"Okay, fine. Before we try to freaking exorcise him, we should-- hey!"
Allie cut the argument short by whipping a rosary out of her jeans pocket and flinging it at the guy. It hit him in the face. Rather than burst into flames or turn into a hellish creature of the netherworld, he just continued to lay there, unconscious, which was actually a relief. That was when I noticed he had a nasty-looking cut on the side of his face, and also when Steph said--
"You guys, his hands and feet are all cut up. We need to do something." Stupid Steph and her first-aid training; it's not like most families would even hire her to babysit after she dyed her hair purple.
But I didn't exactly want the man to bleed out on my basement floor, and really, he was kind of our responsibility now. So I said, "Okay. Steph, you and Allie go to the drugstore, get a bunch of antibiotic ointment and bandages."
"What-- what if someone asks why we need it?"
"I don't know! Why would anyone--"
"I don't know!"
I had a feeling we were getting hysterical again. "Okay. If anyone asks, your friend tried to pierce her ears with a safety pin." Allie and Steph ran for the stairs. "Leslie, I need you to go upstairs and get a pair of Dad's sweatpants and a t-shirt."
Which left me alone in my basement with a man my friends and I may or may not have summoned up from Hell. Great. I crept up to him and prodded his shoulder, gingerly, and found that he was practically radiating heat; he must have had a seriously high fever. He was also older than I'd thought at first, older than my dad, even, with gray in his hair and a worry-lined face. As I tried to decide whether to move him, and for that matter how to move him, his eyes opened. He looked up at me, blearily. His voice was as raspy as his breathing; I could hardly hear him say, "wha'... where'm I?"
"Uh. In my basement? I'm Leah. We're not really sure how you got here? But my sister'll be back with some clothes in a minute--" His eyes were already closing, though, and by the time Leslie got down the stairs he was out cold.
I made Leslie cover her eyes again while I got clothes on the guy, by which point Steph and Allie were back. They were arguing, as far as I could tell, about whether Allie should Google the Rituale Romanum. "Allie, come on," said Steph, "you need to calm down, there's probably a reasonable explanation for everything."
"Oh, yeah," Allie wheezed at her, "what, he snuck into our glowing pentagram when we weren't looking? The whole basement still smells like sulphur!"
"I call not cleaning up the pea soup," Leslie piped up, and I shot her a look. "Sorry."
"You're not even old enough for that movie," I said. "Here, hand me the Band-Aids."
The four of us got the worst of the cuts cleaned and bandaged, which basically meant he was wearing gauze socks by the time we were done.
"So now what to we do?" Allie asked, frowning at the row of butterfly bandages she'd just finished sticking to his arm.
"Get him upstairs, I guess?" Steph looked a little dubious about it, and I could see why. Even if we could wake him up again, getting a semiconscious man up two flights of stairs was not going to be fun.
"Man, I hope we don't drop him," I said, but of course, we did. Only the once, though admittedly we also got his arm caught in the stair rail and may have hit his head going through a door. On the bright side, that woke him up long enough to get him into the guest bedroom.
Before he passed out again, he drank some water, which helped with his voice: this time, we could hear him properly when he said "You need-- call my boys. My sons," and he gave us a phone number before his eyes slipped shut again.
"So... that's good, right?" Steph didn't sound very sure. "His kids can come get him, and he'll... not be here anymore. Right?"
Allie huffed out a breath. "Well, sure, if they get cell phone reception in hell. Who knows if his sons are-- are even human, or if they want to come get him, or--"
"Allie?" Leslie took both Allie's hands and made her sit down. "Breathe."
While Allie and Steph bickered, I went out into the hall for the cordless. The number was long distance, but that was so the least of my problems at that point. I dialed; it went, of course, to voicemail. Then again, it was the middle of the night.
The recording was short, too, just "This is Dean Winchester, leave a message, I'll get back to you." Great.
Before the beep, Steph called me back into the guest room.
"Hold on, I'm leaving them a message!"
"Do it later, Leah. This is kind of urgent."
I sighed, and hung up.
She and Allie were peering out the window; Leslie was fussing over the blankets on the bed. Unconscious guy looked the same as before. "What it it? And it had better be so urgent, because one long distance call is bad enough, but two--"
"I don't want to alarm you, but a police car just pulled into the driveway," Steph said, and I dropped the phone.
The doorbell rang. Allie squeaked and clutched her inhaler. "Oh god. You guys, do I have blood on me anywhere? Anything suspicious-looking?" I didn't, and the doorbell rang again-- oh god-- so I clattered downstairs and flung open the door.
The cop was young, and looked almost as nervous as I felt. "Miss, are your parents home? We had a call about an intruder."
"What? No, there's-- who called? Oh my god, Noreen, that bitch," I said, before I realized I just swore at a cop. "Sorry. Sorry. It was probably just my friend Noreen, she was over earlier. We were having a seance in the basement, there were noises in the backyard-- she freaked out. She's such a wimp." I rolled my eyes, trying to convey the general loserness that was Noreen. "We've had raccoons in the trash cans for ages, it was probably nothing."
Apparently I shouldn't make my Oscar bid anytime soon, because he didn't look convinced. "Miss, I'd really like to talk to your parents," he said, and squinted over my shoulder, looking into the house. I tried to remember if we'd left the frying pans where he could see them.
"They're out of town, actually, my grandma broke her ankle mountain biking-- no, seriously," I said. "I know, but she really did. And they'd flip if they knew I had people over, please don't tell them--"
Apparently I looked scared-of-parents desperate, not possibly-summoned-a-demon desperate. "Well. You tell your friend she shouldn't call the police unless something's really wrong, okay?" He actually tipped his hat at me, which was sort of cute. "You have a nice night."
I shut the door, turned, and slid to the ground in a heap. From the top of the stairs, Allie called down, "Are we getting arrested?"
"What? No. I'm officially not speaking to Noreen, though. Give me the phone, I have to call Dean Winchester."
"Is that his name? The son?"
"Yeah. Just-- phone, please? The sooner they come get him, the sooner I can start pretending this never happened." She went and got it. Then she ducked into my dad's office, and sat down at the computer; I could see her opening up Google. "Allie," I yelled over the ring tone, "we are not qualified to perform exorcisms!" She waved over her shoulder at me-- yeah, yeah, I know-- as the voicemail message played again.
The leave-a-message beep made me yelp in surprise; possibly I was still a little tense. "Um. Hi? Your, um, your dad gave me this number, he said I should call you, but he's kind of unconscious in my guest room and my parents are getting back on Monday and they're gonna want to know why there's a guy unconscious in my guest room-- uh. Sorry. Please call me? I live in Ohio." I gave my number and address and hung up, hoping I'd gotten the actual important information across in all the nervous babble.
Allie burst back into the hall. "Leah! Put down the phone!" She was clutching a bunch of printouts. "I Googled the guy-- the son-- he's like a serial killer! An actual serial killer! He-- it says he was reported dead, but he's not, he robbed a bank a few months ago--" She shoved the papers into my hands.
I read the top page. "Allie." She was wheezing, wringing her hands, muttering something about how her youth minister had been right all along. "Allie! This is, like, some nutty conspiracy theory website. It says the bank robbery was committed by a shape-shifting robot." I shuffled through the rest of the printout. "And the rest of this is just asking for PayPal donations in memory of some guy named Ron. This is insane. Look, it doesn't even spell 'Winchester' right."
"But that wasn't the only-- I mean, there were other hits--"
"You get like eighty-four people who aren't me when you Google my name, okay? And didn't you find someone with your name once who scuba dives with sharks? You need to calm down." I steered her up the stairs, back into the guest bedroom.
Leslie, in the meantime, had gotten a damp washcloth from the bathroom, and put it on our guy's forehead. "What?" she said, off my look. "They do it on Little House on the Prairie."
I decided not to point out that they also went blind from scarlet fever on Little House on the Prairie, and also wished my parents had better taste in old TV shows. "Bed, Leslie," I said. "He'll still be here in the morning. Or possibly not, but either way-- bed."
Leslie scowled at me, and said "You're so lucky I'm not telling Mom," but she went.
I turned to Steph and Allie. "You guys should get some sleep, too," I said. "I'll stay up for the next few hours, and then one of you can take over."
So it was just me and mysterious appearing unconscious guy. "Well," I said, "at least I've got a last name for you. Winchester, huh?"
"John," he said, his hoarse voice making me jump. Still tense. "John Winchester. Did you talk to my boys?"
"I just got their voicemail," I said, "but I left a message?"
"Thank you," he said, and his eyes started to drift closed again.
I couldn't really think of a better way to put it, but really, I had to at least ask. "Wait! Your sons-- they're, um. They're not, by any chance, serial killers, are they?"
That woke him up some. "What? Oh. That. No, they're-- they're good boys." And he was out again.
I got Steph up a few hours after that, and managed a little uneasy sleep; I woke up in the morning to the sound of the phone ringing. "Hello?"
"Who the hell is this?" He sounded like the voicemail message, only much angrier. "You think you're bein' funny?"
"Uh. No! Why would I-- he's here, your dad told me to call you, I swear. He says his name's John Winchester," I added, hopefully.
There was a long pause. "That's... I don't know who you've got, but that's not possible. My dad's dead."
"Well, he says he's not, and he'd know, right? I mean. What does your dad look like?"
I could hear scuffling noises over the line, the muffled sound of another voice trying to get at the phone. "Tell me what the guy you've got looks like."
"Um, well, dark hair, dark eyes, beard with a lot of gray in it-- oh! he has a tattoo on his arm! His left arm."
"Okay, yeah, that sounds--but, look, how'd he even get there?" I tried to think of a good way to tell Dean Winchester that his father had materialized in my basement. "Hello? You still there?"
"Yeah, I just-- look, it wasn't my fault! Noreen made up the stupid ritual. It was supposed to be for the spring equinox, not for making guys appear out of thin air!"
There was a long pause. "He appeared. Out of thin air."
"Yes? But we didn't-- he isn't-- Allie hit him in the face with her rosary."
"With her-- okay. Listen to me. We're on our way, we'll be there soon, but you need to get out of the house, all right? You could be in danger. Even if he looks like a person, he could be-- something else."
"But he hasn't-- he's been asleep almost this whole time. Or possibly unconscious. He has a pretty bad fever, and a lot of cuts-- and anyway, I can't leave, I'm here with my sister and our parents are out of town. I already practiced black magic and, and made long-distance phone calls, and if they find out I drove with Leslie in the car they'll totally lose it."
Dean sounded like he was trying to be soothing. It didn't so much work. "Then I want you to lock whatever room he's in, and keep out of it. And pour a line of salt in front of the door. Can you do that for me?"
"I-- yeah. Okay. Just get here soon."
"We're trying, but if we're not there in an hour, or anything happens-- you get out of there. Okay?"
"O-okay. Yeah." He hung up.
Leslie leaned out into the hall. "I think his fever's getting better," she said, "but he's not really waking up. Did you talk to the guy?"
"Yeah," I said, "they're coming to get him. They'll be here in like an hour." I tried not to sound like I'd gotten a whole new reason to panic; I didn't want to scare Leslie, and Allie was basically on the verge already. "We should-- they said we should leave him alone until then. And Allie, Steph-- you guys can go home as soon as they get here."
From inside the guest room I heard Allie whoop, "Oh my god, this nightmare is ending! I-- I have to go say a Hail Mary," and she rushed past me down the stairs.
It actually only took them forty minutes. I was on my way to the kitchen to put back the salt when I heard them, standing at the front door and arguing. "Dean, I don't know why you're being like this," a voice was saying. "I mean, if there's even a chance--"
I opened the door. Two guys were standing there, both older than me, in their twenties-- and, yeah, I could kind of see them being John's kids. If he married the tallest lady in the world, holy crap, because hi. Tall.
The shorter and, yow, hotter one said "You're Leah, right? We talked on the phone. This is my brother, Sam."
Sam nodded at me, and smiled in a way that I guess was meant to convey not being some sort of hell creature. Or axe murderer. My answering smile was, I'll admit, kind of faint. "Hi. I mean-- hi. Come on in, he's upstairs." They followed me up to the guest room. The salt line was still in front of the door, but it was open, which, "Wait, I didn't leave it open--"
The Winchesters rushed past me, flinging the door wide; I caught it on the rebound as I entered and saw Leslie--
Perched on the bed next to John, who was awake and smiling, if still a little groggy-looking, and sitting propped up on pillows. "Leslie! I told you to stay out of here!"
She gave me her best bratty preteen eye-roll. "I just brought him a glass of water, jeez, don't spaz on me." She stomped out.
"Leah," the tall one-- Sam? Sam-- said, "you go downstairs, all right? Keep your sister there, too." He was taking books out of his bag, and little cloth-wrapped bundles, and Dean had produced incense and a lighter from somewhere. "Send your friends home, and if you hear any loud noises, any crashes or thumps, I want you to take your sister and go, okay?"
"What-- what are you going to do?" I looked back and forth from him to Dean, who was stone-faced, lighting incense, and to John, who gave me a tired, sad smile.
"It's all right. They just want to make sure I'm who I say I am. Go on downstairs."
"Okay. Just-- crack a window when you're done with the incense." Leslie was waiting in the hall, her arms crossed, eyeing the door as I closed it behind me. "What were you talking about in there?" I asked her.
"I just told him how he got here," she said. "He says thank you, but we probably shouldn't do that again."
"Uh, yeah, no kidding, I think Allie's gonna become a nun," I said. "I should go tell her and Steph they can go home."
Allie just said "Oh, thank you Jesus," and ran out the door, but Steph hung back.
"Hey," she said, "for Midsummer, you want to do something really boring, like bowling or something?"
"Actually, that sounds awesome," I said. "Maybe miniature golf?"
"Great," she said. "I gotta go home and throw out all my death metal CDs."
After twenty minutes, we still hadn't heard any crashes or screams or, I don't know, explosions, so I let Leslie put the TV on. Wile E. Coyote was doing that up-and-down accordion thing when I heard the guest room door open and close, and after a minute Sam came into the living room.
"Is everything okay? I mean, your dad's your dad, and not a zombie or anything?"
"A zombie?" He looked confused for a second, but he just said, "No, as far as we can tell he's-- he's himself. He's alive." He sank down onto the loveseat, and stared at his knees.
"You don't seem all that happy about it," I said. His head whipped up to look at me. "Not-- I mean, he's your dad, of course you're happy. Sorry."
"It's fine. Just complicated, that's all."
We lapsed into a really awkward silence. Which made it all the more uncomfortable when I blurted out, "So how'd your dad die?" But before Sam could answer, I started apologizing: "Oh my god, that's that worst question ever. I'm sorry, you totally don't have to answer it."
Leslie piped up, "Actually, I kind of want to know too."
He laughed a little at that, and scrubbed a hand back through his hair. He looked tired, I noticed for the first time-- worn out. "It's a long story. Short version, a demon killed him."
"A demon." He nodded. "Like, an actual demon." Another nod. "The kind that... don't exist? Right?"
"Hey, you're the ones practicing the black arts here. Are demons that big a leap?"
"So... demons are real," Leslie said, wide-eyed, "and they kill people. And you guys, what? Try to kill them back?"
"That's about it. And other things, but that's-- you don't need to know about that."
I tried to decide if I really wanted to know what "other things" meant, and came up blank. Which probably meant no, but then again--
Dean came thudding down the stairs, calling for Sam. He jumped up-- wow, tall-- and said "Everything okay?"
"Yeah, Dad wants to talk to you, is all. And I wanna know more about this ritual of theirs." He looked past his brother to me, and it occurred to me that "other things" could be the kind of things that made people think you were a serial killer.
"I can get you the papers and stuff Noreen was using," I said, "just hold on--" and I grabbed a broom from the hall closet on my way to the basement stairs.
Once I got the patio doors open-- Allie was right, the whole basement totally reeked of sulphur-- I started sweeping, trying to get the salt still on the floor into a pile, and made a really, really unfortunate discovery.
"Oh, crap," I said. "Mom and Dad are going to kill me."
"Is that likely?" Dean Winchester said from the top of the stairs. I jumped about a foot in the air. "Sorry."
"No, no, it's-- hoo-- it's fine, I'm just kind of on edge still." I prodded at the burnt-black lines in the linoleum with my broom. "On the bright side, my three-month grounding should be very relaxing."
He crouched to give the burn marks a closer look. "So this is where you..."
"Accidentally raised your dad from the dead? Yeah. Still kind of wondering how that happened, by the way."
"Well, this is why you don't mess around with black magic. I mean, I'm glad you did, but... seriously, never try again."
"But, I mean-- it shouldn't have worked." I realized I was using the broom to gesture, kind of wildly, and set it down. "Above and beyond the whole magic's-not-real issue. That wasn't even-- Noreen made the whole thing up out of a bunch of weird books and some episodes of Buffy. I think I recognized a little Lord of the Rings in there, even. It shouldn't have done anything."
"Well, it might not have been your friend. Does this house have any history? Any murders, disappearances? Did any of the girls here last night have anything like that in their families?"
"No!" I said. "No, nothing. The whole development used to be a horse farm, and we've lived in this house since it was built. I don't think there's even been a murder in the whole county in ten years, much less of someone we know. We're really normal."
Dean gave me a skeptical look. In fairness, I was wearing a black t-shirt printed with little bats. "What? At my high school, your options are basically goth, punk, or J.Crew. I'm just making a statement."
"Yeah, well, that statement might be 'unholy powers, I am your vessel' unless you watch it, okay? You don't know what you're messing with."
"I do now! Hi, pentagram scorched into the floor." I pointed at it, for emphasis. "The only thing remotely not mundane about any of us is that Leslie and I are adopted. And that's not even mystical-weird at all, my mom used to give us pamphlets about how there are like a hundred and twenty thousand kids adopted in America every year--"
"Whoa, okay, I don't need statistics!" Dean said, holding up a hand. "What do you know about your birth parents?"
I didn't really know where he was going with this, but I said, "I know plenty. My mom and my birth mom were cousins, and I remember both of them a little anyway; I was almost four when they died. Our house burned down. Leslie's night-light shorted out, or something, they never figured it out. That's all. It's not some weird thing."
But Dean was already halfway up the stairs, yelling for his brother.
I followed him up, feeling useless, and watched him thunder up to the guest room. Leslie wandered out of the kitchen to watch.
"What was that all about?" she asked.
"Apparently it's a big deal that we're adopted? Or something." I shrugged, and sat down on the bottom stair. "Have you noticed they don't actually explain things, like, ever? I'm starting to get frustrated."
"John said his wife died when his kids were our age, too," Leslie said. "And in a fire. Maybe there's-- I don't know, a fire monster?"
"Okay, you're gonna have to tell me all of what you guys talked about, because you are so clearly withholding," I said. "But anyway, why us? We're not--"
--special, I was going to say, but that's when the doorbell rang. "Oh, what now," I muttered, under my breath, and flung the front door open. Noreen was standing on the stoop, looking contrite.
"Noreen!" I scowled at her. "I can't believe you called the cops. What the hell, seriously."
She tried giving me the guilty eyes, which, please. "I'm so, so sorry, Leah. I totally suck. I do. I just wanted to make sure you were okay. Can I come in?"
On the one hand, suck. On the other, well, Dean would definitely want to talk to her. "You owe me so huge right now, I can't even begin to tell you," I said, shutting the door behind her.
"Well, she said, "I know payback can be a bitch," and-- oh. Holy shit. Her eyes--
Noreen grabbed me by the collar and threw me, hard, into the wall. I gulped for air as I landed, the wind knocked out of me, but that wasn't all of it-- there was something else--
But just as I figured out what a silver knife handle was doing, sticking out of my chest like that, everything went dark.
I woke up feeling surprisingly calm, all things considered. My first though was: okay, I'm conscious, my head hurts like hell, therefore I'm not dead. And I could tell I was lying on the living room sofa, so I wasn't in the hospital either. I risked cracking an eye open.
The living room looked like I'd actually thrown the raging kegger my parents had jokingly forbidden before they left for the weekend. Totally trashed. "Oh, god," I moaned, and tried to sit up. "I'm gonna be grounded until I die."
"Possibly," Dean Winchester said, from somewhere behind me, "but on the bright side, that'll be a long-ass time."
"Oh, yeah, great," I groused, propping myself up on one elbow. I twisted around enough to see over the arm of the sofa, to where he sat in my dad's recliner. That's also when I saw Noreen, unconscious, curled up on the loveseat, with a split lip and a cut on her forehead. "Hey, wait, what's she doing here--"
Then I remembered being stabbed. But there wasn't a mark on me, even though there was a neat little hole in my t-shirt; the black didn't show blood, but the whole front of the shirt was stiff and a little tacky. "You had a close call," Dean said, "but that sister of yours fixed you up fine. Don't worry about it."
"Don't-- that may be the worst advice anyone has given me, ever, and that includes the time in seventh grade when my mother told me to just be myself and people would like me the way I was," I hissed at him. "Are you insane? I clearly remember being stabbed, and unless someone in this house has some sort of magical E.T. geranium-healing superpowers, we have a serious problem!"
In the doorway, Leslie burst into tears. "Oh," I said. "So you-- sorry. I'm sorry! You have superpowers! That's great!"
She flung herself at me, still bawling. I caught a "thought you were dead" and a "didn't know what to do" in the torrent, but I didn't really feel up to much more than soothing back-patting. I back-patted like a champ, though, considering.
"Look, we made a lot of noise getting your friend here exorcised," Dean said. I stared at him numbly, still back-patting. "We're gonna hit the road, in case someone called the cops. But you call us if anything else happens, okay? And kiddo--" Leslie raised her teary face from my shoulder to look at him-- "you remember what we talked about."
From my vantage point on the sofa, I could see John, his arm slung around Sam's shoulders, being maneuvered down the stairs. John managed a weak wave and a smile for us. "Wait a minute," I said, "You can't just--"
"I left your sister Sammy's email, he's gonna get in touch, you just tell the cops you had a break-in, okay?" Dean flashed us a quick grin. "And, hey, you see anyone with yellow eyes, run like hell." He grabbed John's other arm, and the two of them hustled their father out the door.
So that's how I ended up with a trashed living room, an unconscious ex-friend, and a pentagram burned into the basement floor. Oh, and a brand-new set of superpowers for my baby sister, which she insists on demonstrating on every goldfish and papercut she comes across.
And you thought you had problems.