Summary: A vision brings Sam and Dean to Sawyer's door
Spoilers: SPN: Set after "Nightmare," but spoilers for all of S1; Lost: "Outlaws"
Note: For arabella_hope for all her tremendous work organizing this year's lostsquee luau! This doesn't fit your prompt today, oh queen, but I did start this early! More to come. ;) Input welcome! Thanks to ficangel and inthekeyofd for betaing!
The house is just as he pictured it -- two-story, white clapboard with a dirty white picket fence half-heartedly circling the property. Except he saw it at night, the windows wreathed in fire, instead of sitting here quietly under a clear blue sky dotted with the odd, errant cloud.
It’s a hot, airless day and he pulls at his collar. They’re supposed to be cops today, detectives actually, because they haven’t bothered with uniforms, but they did go for the button-up shirts. With ties -- a special torture any day but when the thermometer hits 90 and the humidity hovers around 60 percent, he starts to think ties are an invention of the devil. There’s probably documentation on that, somewhere.
They climb the front porch, but before they can even knock, a dog starts to bark its head off inside. The mailbox reads “J. Ford.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Sam sees Dean tense. His brand of charm is mostly lost on dogs.
Curtains in the front window are pulled aside for a second and then fall back. “Hush!” comes a loud order and the dog is magically quiet.
The door opens a crack and a tall man with dirty blonde hair and cold blue eyes sticks his head out. In deference to the heat, he’s wearing a white T-shirt and cut-off jeans. And no shoes. Like a normal person.
“Yeah?” He holds the dog’s collar -- it’s a big, yellow Lab -- like it might lunge at them if he doesn’t. They probably have about 60 seconds before the door slams shut again.
Sam forgets his practiced spiel. This is not the man he saw in his vision, but he could swear this was the house.
“Mr. Ford. Howdy,” Dean says, all smiles, and Ford winces to hear the word delivered in that midwestern accent. He probably has a shotgun in readiness, hidden behind the door. It is the rural Deep South, after all, and old ways die hard.
Dean plunges on, undeterred. “I’m Paul Rodgers, and this is my partner, Simon Kirke.” He flashes a phony badge and, a beat behind him, Sam does the same. The stranger is regarding them now with tempered amusement. “We’re hoping you can help us out...”
“We’re looking for someone who may have lived here before,” Sam cuts in. “A man and a woman. With a baby.”
The amusement fades from the stranger’s face. “No babies here,” he says with a frown and starts to pull the door shut.
“Wait!” Sam jumps forward, grabbing the door and holding it open. “They could be in danger. If you’re a friend of theirs, if you know where we can find them ...”
The dog starts to bark again but Ford ignores him. His eyes flick coldly over Sam’s face. “What kind of danger?”
“There’s a serial killer who preys on families with newborns, “ Dean butts in with his most authoritative tone. “Strikes when the babies are six months old.”
They see the information sink in. He knows these people, whoever they are.
“And you want me to tell you where they are so you can warn them?”
“Yes,” Sam nods with relief.
Unbelievably, Ford starts to laugh. He leans against the doorframe, mirth lighting up dimples in both cheeks. “Well, that’s a new one at least. Look, you wanna shake down us survivors, you’re wasting your time. And Paul Rodgers?” He quirks an eyebrow at Dean and shakes his head, “Didn’t figure you were even old enough to know Bad Company.”
While Dean starts to mutter an explanation, Sam zeroes in on that one word. “Survivors?”
“Show and tell’s over, boys,” the man sneers. “Best be on your way.”
Sam shrugs and turns to go when another one hits. His head is splitting and he’s reaching blindly for the railing, unable to stand. He’s dimly aware of Dean grabbing his arm.
All he sees is a small blonde boy hiding under a bed. He can feel his fear. Can hear the arguing in the next room. He jumps at the sound of the gunshot, followed by the footsteps. The bed creaks heavily and then another gunshot. Then, nothing but ragged breathing. He can’t get any air ...
When it fades, he’s sitting in the kitchen, a glass of cold water in his hand. He can still hear the dog barking, but farther away, as if it’s outside or in the cellar or something. Dean is sitting opposite in a mismatched chair. Ford is leaning against the kitchen sink, that habitual scowl back in place. “OK, good act, kid, but I’ve been running cons since before either of you were born, so ...”
“It’s not a con ...” Sam says with a wince. He presses the heel of his hand into his forehead, not that that ever really helps. He doesn’t have time for this, not when this guy is about to call the cops on them or worse.
Sam looks Ford straight in the eye, straight through him, and there’s the shock of recognition there. “She told him you were at your grandparents’ house. That’s why you’re still alive.”
“What?” The scowl drops. Underneath, there’s fear. If he wasn’t sure before, he’s sure now this is that little blonde boy.
“She saved you,” Sam continues, ignoring Dean, who’s pulling at his arm, since, by the look on Ford’s face, that barely contained storm brewing in their host is going to break all over them any second.
“Sam.” Dean says his name low, so only he can hear, a warning and a question. Whatthehellareyoudoingletsgetthefuckouto
“She died saving you.”
“OUT.” Ford’s face has gone from white to a livid red. He’s pointing blindly towards the front door.
Dean has Sam up now and is pulling him away, towards safety, but Sam pushes him off. “I see things, OK?” Sam shouts. “I can’t help it. I saw you just now. I came here because I saw your friends dying in a fire. And you’re the only one who can help us stop that from happening.”
“Bullshit,” Ford says, eyes narrowed, but he’s gripping the edge of the sink like it’s the only thing holding him up. “You’ve done your research is all.”
“No,” Sam shakes his head firmly. “I swear, we don’t know anything about you. Or your friends. That’s why we need ...”
“Knew my name,” Ford’s accusing glance sweeps over Dean now.
“I read it off the mailbox,” Dean says with a dismissive sweep of his hand. “Look, Sam’s vision led us here. That’s it. Whatever your story is, it’s none of our business.”
“You’re tellin’ me that you’re not here from Dharma or Oceanic. Not some goddamn curiosity seekers?
“No, sir,” Dean says firmly. The names mean nothing to either of them.
Before Dean can spin some elaborate new lie on the spot, Sam just blurts it out.
“It’s just ... this thing that’s after them. It killed our mother.” He chokes on the last word a little and Ford catches it, flinches on the same word.
It’s this moment that will decide everything. Either Ford believes them or someone else dies. Sam holds Ford’s gaze, because if he looks away, if he listens to Dean, who is hissing in his ear, everything will be lost.
“We can’t let that happen to anyone else,” he adds quietly. Those intense blue eyes bore into him for another beat and then Ford looks away abruptly.
Sam glances at Dean, but he’s standing perfectly still, no outward sign of his anger but that clenched jaw and a look that promises the first free second he gets, he’s going to throw Sam against the wall and tear him a new one.
No one speaks for a minute. The oppressive heat of the day is like another presence in the room. The tap is dripping and Sam’s head feels like it’s going to split wide open.
Ford makes a sudden movement and Sam jumps, thinking he’s finally going for him. Instead, Ford sticks his head under the tap and runs cold water over the back of his neck for a minute or two. He slowly stands up and slicks his hair back, ignoring the water trailing down his shirt, and joins them at the table like nothing at all strange has happened. “OK.” Ford leans back in his chair, looking from one to the other. “Tell me about it.”
Dean lets out a surprised snort and then he leans back too. “Why don’t you tell him, Sammy?” he says, with a pointed smirk. “Seeing how you like to talk so much.”
“In case you had any lingering doubt, yes, we really are brothers,” Sam says with a pained smile. "His real name's Dean, by the way."
Dean shoots him a look of exasperation and Ford's mouth twitches. "So, Sammy, why don't you fill me in?"
So Sam starts talking, revealing as much as he can. As much as he dares. He keeps glancing over at Dean for an indication of how far to go.
When Sam’s done, Ford looks like he needs a lot more convincing.
“Don’t know where they are,” he says at last, scritching the stubble on his chin. “Don’t think I can help you.”
“But a phone number ... anything?” Sam insists.
“Got a letter a while back,” he says with a sigh. He closes his eyes for a second. “Lemme see if I can find it.”
He leaves the kitchen and when he’s out of earshot, Dean grabs Sam’s arm, fingers digging in hard. “Mind telling me what the fuck that was all about?”
Sam shrugs. “It got him to listen to us, didn’t it? Usually we’re being thrown out on our ear about now.”
“I can’t believe ...” Dean stops short, like he’s too disgusted to even finish his thought. He takes a second, like he’s literally biting his tongue. “So, what? Now you’re seeing into people’s pasts? Like Missouri?”
Dean still has that look he has every time Sam’s “abilities” come up. It’s well-masked, but there’s that doubt, that thought: You’re not my brother. When Dean gets that look, Sam half expects to get a face full of rock salt.
“Yeah, whatever. Psychic Boy.” Dean’s sigh is equal parts impatience and condescension.
Ford has been watching their little exchange. “Yeah, here’s this,” he says, tossing an envelope onto the table. Dean pulls out a letter, two sheets with tightly scrawled handwriting and a photograph. There’s no return address. Sam grabs the photo. It’s of a man and woman, both smiling broadly. They have dark hair -- his is cropped close, hers in curls past her shoulders -- and so does the baby cradled in the woman’s arms.
“That’s them,” Sam nods, tapping the photo against the table.
“Jack. And Kate.” Ford volunteers their names at last. “So, how much time have we got?”
“We?” Dean glances up from his perusal of the letter with a frown.
“Comin’ with you,“ Ford says, crossing his arms and leaning back against the counter, the look on his face daring them to say no. “And for Christ’s sake don’t call me Mr. Ford again. Name’s Sawyer.”
“Great,” Dean says with a forced grin. He kicks Sam under the table, even though he didn’t say a goddamn thing.