Nowhere Else to Turn (Part 3/8)


( This is my entry for the @brothersapart 2016 Contest: . Enjoy! ) 

The night proceeded as normally as it could for Sam–at least for a time. Dean took a break from glancing through the Internet for their next potential case when he answered the knock at the door to receive the Chinese food he ordered.

Try as Sam might to put the girl in the walls out of his thoughts, he couldn’t. He had noticed the particular way she stood, blocking his path with everything she had. There was something she didn’t want him to see, and it was easy enough to guess that she was protecting others of her kind–a difficult thing to do without alerting Sam of their existence in the process.

Instead of watching TV from the table he and his brother were eating dinner at, Sam stared absently at the chunk of spring roll he took from the styrofoam box Dean was shoveling noodles from. Dean’s hair was still dark and damp from the shower, and he hadn’t bothered asking if Sam had found anything interesting when he emerged from behind the nightstand earlier. Probably knew Sam would tell him if anything out of the ordinary happened.

“Seem a little quiet tonight, Sammy,” Dean commented, pulling Sam’s wandering mind away from the paths behind the drywall. “Still thinkin’ about the hunt?”

Sam blinked in confusion before he caught up with Dean’s question. He gave his brother a mildly sheepish look and nodded. “Yeah. I guess I’m not as used to hunting yet as I thought. But I’m fine. Nothing’s going to top the crazy of people being turned into gold.”

Dean snorted and finished his bite. “I dunno, things can get pretty wild out there.” He turned his head to smirk at Sam, but his brow furrowed suddenly. He set the plastic fork in the styrofoam box, bracing a hand on the edge of the table as he leaned closer to the surface.

Sam couldn’t help but go rigid at the approach of his brother’s enormous face. Instincts told him to get to his feet and back away, but he swiftly reminded himself that he didn’t need those instincts at the moment.

“What’s wrong with your eye?” Dean asked before Sam could inquire as to why his personal space was being invaded.

Bringing his fingertips under his eye, Sam clenched his jaw in surprise at how sensitive the skin was when he pressed on it. It had to be noticeable for Dean to catch something so comparatively small, but then again, he has the sharp eyes of the hunter. There was little he missed.

Seeing the fierce concern lining Dean’s face, Sam felt even less sure about revealing the girl’s presence, and especially the fact that she had attacked him. Even in the event that she hadn’t punched Sam, he felt guilt stir within him at the thought of alerting Dean of her existence when she was so visibly frightened of humans.

“I, uh, yeah, I ran into a piece of wood sticking out,” Sam said hurriedly, tripping over his words and turning away from Dean, as if hiding his black eye from view would make his brother forget about it and drop the subject. When he continued to feel the tingle on his neck from Dean’s stare, Sam added, “In the walls, you know? I didn’t see one of the lower beams on the passage.”

Glancing up briefly, Sam knew that Dean wouldn’t buy it for a second.

“That’s great, but what really happened?” Dean asked, a flat tone mingling with the worry.

Sam let out a slow breath and didn’t answer right away. He knew in his heart that Dean could be trusted, but that didn’t make it any easier to betray someone Sam’s own size. If the girl knew what he was doing, she would accuse him of sentencing her to death as payback for a black eye.

“There was… someone in the walls,” Sam admitted.

Dean’s frown deepened as he put two and two together. “You’re telling me they did that to you?”

“I scared her,” Sam insisted, doing his best to shift the blame away from her. “I saw her, and she ran away. I caught up and grabbed her shoulder.”

“So she gave you a black eye for that?”

Sam shrugged, thinking about the metal needle the girl had whipped out. He got out of the situation far more unscathed than the worst case scenario. His stomach twisted at the thought of having to get his own knife out and fight her. He had no doubt he would come out victorious, but that didn’t make him feel any better.

“It’s… It’s because she saw you.” Sam looked down from the surprised raise of Dean’s eyebrows. “She saw you in here with me and thought she was acting in self-defense when I ran after her. Probably thought I was trying to get her captured by you.”

The massive chair creaked as Dean leaned back into it with a heavy sigh that rustled Sam’s hair. “Sorry ‘bout that, then, Sammy.” Something of a rueful smile quirked on his lips, far more welcome to Sam than the deep frown he wore at the idea of someone attacking his little brother. “Guess it’ll be hard for you to make friends with me around.”

Sam allowed himself to relax a little. He had already known that what he told the girl was true: Dean wouldn’t hurt someone their size. Still, it was reassuring to have that promise proven by Dean himself.

“Neither of us knew she was watching,” Sam said, attempting to hide his disappointment that his chances of having a peaceful interaction with anyone in those specific walls was impossible at that point. “There’s bound to be others out there somewhere. I’ll come across more sooner or later.”

“Right,” Dean said encouragingly, but Sam could see the guilt brewing in those big green eyes. “That bruise doesn’t look so pretty, though. Lemme see if we can make figure out how to get some ice on that.”

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