BlueIris's Supernatural Fanfiction (blueiris08) wrote,
BlueIris's Supernatural Fanfiction

"A Matter of Principle"

Title: A Matter of Principle
Rating: PG
Category: Gen.
Characters: Sam, Dean, Original Character, and a bit of John.
Word Count: 5300
Summary: Wherein a school administrator from days past nearly blows Sam and Dean's cover.
Author’s Notes: The setting is post-'Nightshifter/'Folsom Prison Blues.' Thanks to just_ruth   for superfast beta and the title idea.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Generic warning on all of my fics:  A small number of my stories contain character death.  For artistic reasons, I prefer not to disclose it in the headers.  If you will not read a story unless you know whether one of the Winchester brothers dies, click here for the spoiler.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Guymon, Oklahoma

"Agent Kennerly, have we met before?" Beverly asked, peering up at the taller of the two men. "You look familiar."

He tensed, almost imperceptibly, but you learn to read body language in her line of work. "I don't think so, ma'am," he answered, glancing over at his partner.

"Ms. Jackson, we don't want to take up your time," the other agent--Young--said smoothly as he flashed a diverting grin. It was the sort of grin you see only from a man who knows he's attractive enough to exploit his looks openly and get away with it.

"You mean, you don't want me to take up your time," she said with a quirk of her own lips. "I apologize, Agents. How can I help you?"

"Just a few questions. How long have you been the principal here?" Young asked.

"Three years, since I moved into the area. I don't know Adam's family well, if that's what you're asking." She tilted her head at him. "Your colleagues two days ago were adamant that this didn't warrant FBI involvement. Are you here because someone is finally taking Adam's stepsister seriously?"

"All avenues of investigation are still open," Kennerly answered, deftly sidestepping the implied criticism of his agency. "What do you think she saw?"

"Not the angry spirit of Chief Longspur, obviously," she told him, "but with this town's history, it's criminally negligent to write the abduction off as a custody dispute."

"What can you tell us about old Longspur?" Young jumped in. "What's he so angry about?"

Beverly blinked. "Excuse me?"

"You know. Pioneer days, Indians, white settlers?" He waggled his head enthusiastically when she didn't pick up the thread. "Battles, atrocities, he must be hanging around for a reason."

Beverly could have let the question itself slide, but not the unseemly zest with which it was asked. "This county didn't see a single battle between Native Americans and settlers, Agent Young. The atrocity of Oklahoma is that it was a dumping ground for deported nations," she lectured. "Someone probably made up the 'avenging chief' ghost story so he can tell himself the ledger has already been balanced when tribal councils bring up uncomfortable truths about the historical origins of modern injustices."

"Sorry, ma'am." Young backed down. "We're just looking into the local lore."

"The FBI doesn't investigate ghosts, I'm sure." Beverly steeled herself and asked aloud what half the town was thinking. "It's a serial killer, isn't it? Playing some sick game?"

"Ms. Jackson, we're trying to rule that possibility out," Kennerly told her firmly. "The FBI has every reason to believe Adam will be found alive."

Kennerly had one of those sincere, honest faces, the kind you could trust. She nodded in relief…and then that nagging sense of recognition struck again.

"Agent Kennerly, I'm sorry to be an old biddy, but I have an excellent memory for faces." She squinted at his once-again guarded face, probably sealing the 'old biddy' image in the process, and tried to imagine him ten years younger. "Where did you go to junior high?"

"Junior high?" He blinked at her and then, oh my, but he would give his partner a run for his money if he smiled like that more often. "You must be thinking of someone else," he said. "I'm from Little Rock."

"And no one would call you an old biddy,'' Young added gallantly. He wasn't quite gallant enough to keep his grin from brightening when a younger, prettier woman entered the outer office in the form of Beverly's secretary, carrying an armful of mail. Suddenly he looked familiar too, but asking would have decisively crossed the 'biddy' line and come dangerously close to 'old bat' territory.

"Would you like to see Adam's file?" Beverly inquired instead, beckoning her assistant to the door of the Plexiglas partition that separated her office from the reception area. Maybe her vaunted memory for faces was nothing but false recognition.

"That's not--" Kennerly began.

"That'd be very helpful, ma'am," Young interrupted, staring at the low point of the vee in her secretary's sweater. Unprofessional, but she couldn't really fault him. Beverly had never discussed appropriate office attire with her secretary because the support staff always came by to make sure they had a full supply closet and working light bulbs on days Viv wore her pink cashmere top.

"She'll also know who you can talk to about the legend," Beverly added before making the introductions. "Gentlemen, this is Vivian Tasso. Viv, these are Agents Malcolm Young and..."

"Sean," the other agent supplied as she stumbled over his name.

"Agent Sean Kennerly," Beverly finished. "For some reason, I thought it was Sam."

Kennerly froze, and his partner, who had just managed to look Vivian in the eye, jerked his head around. The two exchanged a glance before Young said easily, "He's gotten called that before, actually."

Young idly stepped over to study the plaques on her wall after she sent Viv for the file. "You said you've been here three years, Ms. Jackson?" he asked. The question was casual, but a weird tension charged the air.

"That's right," she replied. She could feel Kennerly scrutinizing her as she trained her eyes on his partner. "I moved here from Michigan."

He arched an eyebrow at her. "You got fed up with the Michigan drivers?"

"I got divorced," she said curtly.

"Hmm." Young pursed his lips and joined his partner in silence.

"Every year, one of my students wants to be an FBI agent," she said when the silence got long enough to be uncomfortable. "I tell them it's not like what they see on TV."

Young turned away from his perusal of her bookcase. "No, ma'am. Everyone thinks we're profilers, but the Bureau mostly needs lawyers and accountants." He'd had this conversation before--the words were rote enough to have come from the FBI's website. "I'm a CPA, but adding numbers all day? Whew," he finished, with a whistle and another disarming, if forced, grin.

"What about you, Agent Kennerly?" she asked of his partner, who barely looked old enough to be out of college.

"I started in law," he said, and she moved her estimate of his age up as a shadow passed over his eyes. "It turned out that I wasn't meant to be an attorney."

The two men thanked her when Viv reentered the office with the file and turned to leave, both of their shoulders still rigid with tension. Kennerly bent down to murmur something into his partner's ear as he accepted Adam's file; Young nodded and turned to Vivian with a far more perfunctory version of his earlier smile.

Beverly turned away as the phone rang. When she glanced back she saw Kennerly bracing himself against the desk, head hung down, pinching the bridge of his nose. Young had him by the upper arm. Their eyes met through the glass, and another flash of recognition sparked in the back of her mind before he broke the connection and hustled his partner out of the room.

She stuck her head out the door as soon as she finished her call. "What happened?" she asked.

"Migraine, he said," Vivian answered. "My sister gets them, but they never come on that fast."

"The man could barely stand on his feet," Beverly pointed out, looking after them. "How can he be a field agent?"

Viv shook her head. "I don't know. But quick as his partner moved--that wasn't the first time it happened."

And it wasn't the first time Beverly had seen those two: she was certain of that.

~ ~ ~

Much later, after the jubilation at Adam's return had died down, some combination of the faces and words sparked her memory.

"Sam, the office isn't getting an answer at your house," she remembered saying as she hung up the phone on the nurse's desk. "Is there somewhere else we can reach your mom? Or dad?" she added belatedly. The product of an unbroken home and a wife who'd just celebrated her twenty-fifth anniversary, she hadn't been as sensitive to that sort of thing as she should have been.

Sam's head snapped up. "Ms. McHugh already called for my brother."

"Cheryl?" she asked the nurse.

"I called the high school. Sam said he's a junior there," Cheryl explained. "Sam, we need an adult. A parent or stepparent"--Cheryl was divorced--"or a guardian."

"My brother has power of attorney," Sam answered quietly. His lip twitched and he exhaled steadily as Cheryl finished wrapping the temporary pressure bandage over the gash across his forearm, but he was putting up a better front than the other two boys had. Then again, he wasn't hurt as badly.

Boots pounded up the hallway, and an older teen slammed through the door. Spiked black leather bracelet, she remembered, a rock-band T-shirt, pretty face and tied-back long hair that he wore like a dare. He had to have come from the other side of the double campus at a dead run, but exertion wasn't what quickened his breathing.

"Sammy, what happened?" he demanded, casting a quick look at Sam and a harder one at the boys on the other two cots.

Sam caught his gaze and then flicked his eyes toward Beverly.

The other boy turned to her at once. "I'm Sam's brother, Dean," he said with a smile so smooth that she almost thought she'd imagined the raptor's gaze he'd leveled at Sam's opponents. Almost.

"Mrs. Williams, the principal," she answered. "Sam got into an altercation"--the school board apparently believed that if the word 'fight' was driven from school grounds, the act itself would soon follow--"with two of his classmates. His arm needs stitches."

"He's current on his tetanus shot," Dean informed Cheryl, who looked vaguely taken aback at both his possession of the knowledge and its cool delivery. "What'd they get you with, Sammy?"

"I told them about the tetanus shot," Sam said with the world-weary tone of a kid barreling towards full adolescence. "Hunting knife, six inches."

Dean lifted an eyebrow; Beverly mused that there was no more eloquent statement on the nature of their school district than that Sam could identify the weapon so easily, and Dean didn't ask what it was doing in a middle school. Instead he reached out to nudge up Sam's chin, studying the bruise blooming on his cheekbone. The gesture was deft and oddly practiced, and Sam obediently lifted his face for inspection, as if he were used to it.

"Beverly," she heard from behind her. She turned to see her assistant in the doorway. "The brother's authorized. He must be eighteen."

Frowning, she took the file he proffered and turned back to the Winchester brothers.

"Anything else?" Dean was asking.

"Just scrapes and bruises," Cheryl answered, though the question hadn't been directed to her.

Sam's eyes flicked subtly downward this time, and Dean let him go. "Good thing this didn't happen a couple weeks ago, huh, Sammy?" he said, clapping his brother on the shoulder.

"Dad's going to be mad, isn't he?" Sam whispered, sounding for the first time like a kid his age should.

"That you lost a knife fight with two eighth-graders and dragged me out of English class to get you stitched up? Yeah, kiddo, he's going to be mad." Dean ruffled his hair. "Next time you want to ditch school, I'll write you a note."

"I didn't lose," Sam said defensively, to dead silence from the other two cots.

"Yeah?" Dean smirked at the other boys. "You can tell me about it in the car." He turned back to her. "Mrs. Williams, there's a clinic near our place that can do the stitches. Can we go?"

She nodded agreement. "I still need to talk to your father. Is there another number where he can be reached?"

"It'd be better if I told him," Dean said, pouring on the charm. "He'll call you first thing in the morning."

Her eyebrows shot up. "There's an automatic suspension for fighting, young man. He'll be in my office first thing in the morning."

"Yes, ma'am." Dean mussed Sam's hair again. "I'll get the car, Sammy. Meet me up front."

Beverly listened to the booted feet going off in half-jog, a teenager doing adult's job. She belatedly checked Sam's file, expecting some emergency release form. Instead she found the document Sam said she would: full power of attorney. She couldn't have kept Dean from taking his brother if she'd wanted to.

She walked Sam out of the nurse's office, away from the baleful glares of the other two kids, to the front of the school. "You want to tell me what happened now?" she asked.

Sam shrugged. "I got into a fight."

She sighed and looked at the POA form again. The notarization date jumped out at her: January 24, 1997, her wedding anniversary. Less than a month earlier; that explained Dean's comment back in the office.

"That's him," Sam said as a black muscle car rumbled up the drive. He shouldered his backpack with his good arm and looked to her for permission.

"Go ahead," she said. "And Sam, tell your father he can come by at eight-thirty."

He hesitated, biting his lip, then nodded. "Yes, ma'am."

She walked over to the high school to talk someone into giving her Dean's file, and got an earful of stories with it. Looking over the boys' records that night left her surprised they hadn't been in more trouble. The two were lucky if they only moved once during the school year; sometimes it was twice or three times, and their father had withdrawn them from school entirely mid-year when Sam was eight and Dean was twelve. Under other circumstances Sam might have skipped third grade; instead he had to repeat it, and that explained why Dean was eighteen and still a junior. Sam's grades showed he had potential, but Dean was an "at-risk" kid. She doubted that he'd be back the next year.

She snorted to herself. It was virtually certain that neither of them would be back here the next year.

Dean's date of birth caught her eye as she closed the file: January 24, 1979. She flipped back to the power of attorney form: January 24, 1997.

Somehow, she doubted there'd been cake and candles when they got back from the courthouse.

~ ~ ~

She half-expected to see Dean in her office the next morning, but John Winchester was waiting when she arrived.

"How does Sam's face look?" she asked as they sat down.

"My son is the one with the cut arm," he corrected her. Confusion must have crossed her expression, because he added easily, "The bruises aren't that bad."

She looked him over. His eyes were reddened with fatigue and his chin had the appearance of a hasty shave. His shirt was ironed but creased, as if it had been folded up in a drawer--or a suitcase. Wherever this man had come from, it hadn't been his home.

"Do you work nights, Mr. Winchester?" she asked.

"My hours aren't as regular as I'd like," he answered. "Fortunately, Dean's very responsible."

"If by 'responsible,' you mean, he doesn't get caught," Beverly riposted, gesturing to the folders on her desk.

Winchester offered her a bland smile. "Dean says there's some kind of suspension. Does this go on Sammy's permanent record?"

That was it: no argument about who was at fault, no protestations that his son was really a good kid, nothing of what she'd soon hear from the other parents.

"It's the three-day kind of suspension, Mr. Winchester," she said dryly. Waving at the folders again, she added, "And it doesn't look like either of your sons has much of a permanent record."

Sam's father lifted his eyebrows politely and didn't rise to the bait.

Beverly knew a brick wall when she hit one. "I have the discretion to keep a first offense out of his file unless it's appealed to the school board," she said in response to his question. "You have that right, but students have a code of silence about fights. I doubt we can find anyone who'll say Sam was defending himself."

"I doubt that he was," Winchester replied. "Three days is fair punishment. We won't appeal it, as long as there's nothing else."

"Like what?" she asked.

"An apology," he said bluntly. "Sammy would be demanding home schooling, and I'd rather let someone else deal with him thirty hours a week."

Beverly refrained from either asking how many hours a week he currently spent dealing with Sam, or pointing out that he'd do well to find someone else to look after Sam in his absences if he wanted him to stay out of trouble. The man could legally leave Sam alone with his brother for as long as he liked, and Dean was the high school's problem, thank God, not hers.

"There won't be anyone to apologize to. The other two boys already had records; they'll be expelled."

He grinned. "After their parents have appealed to the school board?"

"Probably," she conceded. She slid a form noting the disciplinary action over to him. "I'll need you to sign this, if you would," she said.

Light caught a wedding ring on his finger as he reached for the paper. She subtly checked Sam's file again--no mention of a mother in his record. A father's new marriage could go a long way in explaining why his sons were acting up.

"Mr. Winchester, I don't mean to be forward," she probed, "but we need the contact information of anyone authorized to take Sam off-campus. Shouldn't your wife's name be here?"

His face closed off. "I'm a widower," he answered, pushing the signed form back.

A recent one too, by the look of it. Beverly could have said any number of things about support groups and grief counseling and resources available to help the boys, but it would have been a waste of her breath and his time. Instead, she just gave the universal signal that a meeting is over: "Is there anything else I can do for you, Mr. Winchester?"

He looked her over thoughtfully. "Yeah," he said. "Be straight with me, Mrs. Williams. You and me"--she cringed inwardly at his grammar--"both know this is a bad area. With these two boys gone, you're expecting fewer schoolyard 'accidents' this year, aren't you?"

Most parents would have made that point before discussing the suspension. Beverly figured she owed him an honest answer for that, if nothing else.

"Yes," she responded, and saw him lift an eyebrow at her candor. "But to be straight with you, Mr. Winchester, the school board considers it a matter of principle. The day we rely on students to keep order is the day we admit that we've given up doing it ourselves."

Her intercom buzzed. "Officer Calder is here," said her assistant, who was probably as pleased by the prospect of never saying those words again as she was about not hearing them. "He says he can't wait."

"Of course he does," Beverly answered wearily. "Send him in."

Sam's father took his cue. "Sam will see you on Monday, then. I'll find a few ways to keep him busy in the meantime."

She couldn't help but ask, "Those ways will not include meditating upon the wrongs of fighting in school, will they?"

"I'm not happy with Sammy right now, and he'll hear about it." Winchester picked up his coat. "But with all due respect, Mrs. Williams, one thing I'll never tell my boys to do is walk away from someone who needs help."

The door banged open and Rob Calder's father stormed in, wearing his full trooper's uniform and a choleric expression. He nodded at her with the strained civility he wore when forced to address someone with her skin color as a peer rather than a suspect, glared at the office's other occupant, and pointedly let the door slam shut. Beverly sighed inwardly.

"You Winchester?" he demanded.

"Yep," Sam's father told him. He didn't ask for a reciprocal introduction.

"Name's Calder," Rob's father told him anyway, looming in and using to full advantage the height and bulk his son was inheriting. "Do you know what your son did to my kid?"

Winchester planted his feet apart, chin tilted up. "Nope," he answered cheerfully. "Is he the concussion or the broken wrist?"

Beverly sighed again. Calder was a fool if he thought that Winchester would be intimidated, but if he'd guessed the man wasn't mature enough to walk away from a staring match, he was right.

"Mr. Winchester," she called.

He turned back to her, a smirk playing across his lips. "Ma'am?"

"Please tell the younger Mr. Winchester that we will be checking up on any notes he writes for Sam," she told him.

He winked at her before snapping off a salute. Beverly could recognize the difference between a trained salute and an imitation one; if nothing else, virtually everyone of her race and generation had seen a color guard give the real thing over a flag-draped casket. The crisp motion showed Winchester to be a man who could be dangerous if he wanted, not one who wanted to look dangerous. Calder's bravado faded, and he backed down.

Winchester smirked again. "Mrs. Williams," he said by way of farewell as he reached for the doorknob and looked back to Calder. "Didn't anyone ever tell you to take off your hat in a lady's presence, son?" he fired as a parting shot.

~ ~ ~

She had names, then, but no reason why they were here, carrying forged government badges. Beverly booted up her old desktop and started looking.

Twenty minutes later she pushed back her chair, sickened by what that smiling young man had become and what he had led his little brother into. They didn't go after children, that part made no sense, but Viv had clearly caught Dean's eye, and God knew who else they'd charmed into trusting them.  She reached for the phone, thinking of Dean's mocking smirk in his mug shot, thinking of brutalized young women.

And then she thought about the ten-year-old boy with a wild tale of two men with shotguns who'd snatched him from the grip of a monster. She thought of how there were more fights when the Winchesters were in her school, and fewer kids walking around scared.

She put the phone back down.

~ ~ ~

Beverly didn't believe in signs: coincidences were nothing but coincidences. But when she saw a black muscle car pull past her on her way to work, she yielded to an instinct and tailed it back to a cheap motel. Dean got out, carrying two cups of coffee and a bag from Starbucks. His head turned toward the patrol car manning one of the police department's favorite speed traps at the motel's other driveway, and he limped quickly into the room in front of him. Beverly parked a few spaces away and followed him.

"--sending the gimp on the coffee run," she heard Dean griping over the sound of the television.

"Shut up and ice it, dude, you're the one who wouldn't drink instant," came the response. It took her a minute to place the voice as Sam's--he was laughing.

She rapped on the door, causing the laughter and the TV to cut off instantly. A moment later the door opened just wide enough to reveal one side of Sam's face, fringed with damp hair. She met his befuddled gaze coolly until he opened the door wider. His shirt was half-open, but he seemed to be fiddling with the back of it instead of doing up the buttons. Dean was sitting on the edge of the bed opposite them, a rolled-up towel on a chair in front of him and one hand under the bedspread. After a second's hesitation he rose to his feet, easing his hand from beneath the covers as he stood, and Sam let her in.

"Thank you, but I won't be staying," she said as Dean gestured toward the chair. He sat back down with a groan, hoisting his foot onto the seat and settling the towel--a makeshift icepack--on his knee. Sam shuffled over to stand next to him, fastening his remaining buttons as he went.

"What can the FBI do for you, Ms. Jackson?" Dean asked.

Not find a missing child, she thought wryly. Aloud, she said, "The FBI told the sheriff that none of their agents were in this area yesterday."

Dean's face closed off, and Sam flicked his gaze over to his brother, then back to her. She still had a chance to retreat, but she'd never been one for backing down. "You had a shiner last time I saw you too, Sam. I'm sorry to see you're getting headaches now," she said, studying his wary face. "Or were you called 'Sammy' then?"

Sam's expression shifted from wary to resigned, and the shadow she'd seen in her office crossed over his face again. She realized then why she hadn't recognized him sooner. Dean looked the same except for the suit and hair: overburdened and too old for his age. His brother, though, was different. Sam Winchester had been a solemn boy; he'd grown into a haunted man.

"They're an occupational hazard," Sam said opaquely after Dean offered him a fatalistic shrug and a nod. "And I was sort of in transition."

"Most kids that age are," she responded, before discovering herself at a loss on where to go next. She had no idea how to phrase the question, and besides, she wasn't sure what answer she wanted to hear. She settled for gesturing at the flickering TV screen and asking, "Is Adam telling the truth?"

The two men exchanged another of their glances before Sam started, "All that matters--"

Alternating blue and red lights flashed in the parking lot. Sam broke off and spun around, twitching open the curtain to peer out. Silver glinted at his waistband when the tail of his untucked shirt rode up. Beverly's pulse quickened as she realized why his hand had been behind his back when he answered the door, and why his brother had kept his own hand hidden until he recognized her.

Dean's jaw tightened when he caught her looking at the rumpled bedclothes next to him. "Dude, it's just a cop with a radar gun," he said.

"Then why isn't he pulling out?" Sam asked anxiously. "Listen!"

A siren wailed on the road leading to the motel.

"Shit." Dean snapped alert, throwing the icepack to the floor. "Does anyone know you're here?" he demanded, shoving his hand under the covers.

Beverly's heart slammed against her chest.

"Does anyone know you're here?" he repeated.

Beverly had hesitated too long; a lie would be obvious. "No," she answered.

Dean yanked out his weapon and lithely unfolded himself from the chair. His face was cold, hard. Deadly. What in God's name was she thinking when she knocked on the door of a serial killer and his accomplice, trusting only a hunch and a father's decade-old promise?

He jerked his chin at her and Sam--Sam, how could he possibly obey his brother so blindly?--immediately yielded his place at the window and approached her. He didn't have his own gun out. A man his size didn't need a gun against a woman her age.

"C'mon over here, Ms. Jackson," Sam said.

He cupped her elbow and tried to usher her away from the window, from the door, from escape. When she didn't move, he laid his other hand on her shoulder and nudged her with incongruous gentleness. Mutely, Beverly stepped backward. His hands were enormous, and her bones were getting frail...

"Ms. Jackson? Hey. Beverly. Don't worry," Sam was saying. He ducked his head down until he was looming over her instead of towering, squinting solicitously. "If anything goes down, you're just going to say I carjacked you, okay? They'll believe you."

"Sam…" Dean started as Beverly looked up at him, uncomprehending.

"My turn, Dean," Sam growled. "Shut up."

"Sam Winchester, annoying baby brother of dashing fugitive Dean Winchester, carjacks middle-school principal. News at eleven," Dean intoned. "Chill out, man. It'd be silent running if they were coming for us."

A horn blasted along with the siren, which was almost upon them.

"That's a fire engine," Beverly realized. Sam released her and half-turned back to the window.

"Give the lady a prize," Dean said, dropping the curtain. "Cruiser pulled out after it. Drama queen," he shot at his brother.

Sam scooped up the soggy, discarded towel and threw it straight at Dean's head. "Dude, it had you going too."

Dean caught the towel and staggered on his bad leg. "Goddammit," he muttered. Sam wrinkled his eyebrows in a credible imitation of Beverly's best sixth-grade teacher and tilted his head toward her. Dean fidgeted uncomfortably.

"Uh, about the fugitive thing," he said, limping to the ice bucket, "Sam and me, uh..."

"I know," Beverly informed him when he faltered.

"And you still came?" Dean whistled admiringly. "Old man Williams is one stupid son of a...gun."

"He wasn't the only reason I left Flint. That would have been my third carjacking." Beverly patted her chest, as if that really could slow her heart back to normal. "For the record, Sam, a polite carjacker says, 'You old bitch.'"

Dean looked up from filling the towel with ice. "What does a rude one say?" he asked curiously.

Beverly and Sam both stared at him.

He blinked and stumped back over to the window. "About Adam," he started, pulling up the chair.

"What matters is there won't be any more missing children," Sam picked up.

"At least, none that the FBI can't handle," Dean finished derisively.

They were liars, imposters, fugitives, and God knew what else. Beverly had no reason to believe them, but she did.

"That's good," she said. She didn't thank them. Thanking them would have made real something she didn't want to believe in.

"Not to be rude," Dean said as he checked out the window, "but you might want to get while the getting's good."

Beverly hastened to the door. The last thing she wanted was for someone to remember seeing her here later, after what she was about to do.

"Speaking as a taxpayer, Agents, I'm appalled that the Bureau loses track of where it assigns its personnel," she said as Sam reached for the doorknob. "That's certainly what I'll tell your colleague when he arrives this afternoon. I assume you'll have left town before he gets in."

The two men exchanged another one of their glances. "Yeah, I'm afraid we'll miss him," Sam answered. He opened the door for her. "Thanks," he said awkwardly.

"Ms. Jackson," Dean said as she stepped over the threshold. He winked when she looked back. "Stay out of trouble, now."

Beverly was forty years past the age where a roguish grin, however handsome, could make her feel twenty again. She smiled back anyway.

She wasn't smiling by the time she reached her car. A felony this morning, and lying to an agent this afternoon would be at least a misdemeanor. Maybe she'd round it out by committing a moving violation on the way home from work.

A "Missing Child" poster with Adam's picture was tacked on the fence in front of her.

Beverly checked for the police cruiser, got out of the car, and tore it down.


Feedback and concrit are welcome. And Google Sam's name, 'cause I worked hard on it.

A quasi-sequel to the flashback scene, in which the fate of Dean's ponytail is revealed, is here.  All my fic can be found here.

Tags: author's favorite, dean, flashback/pre-series, gen, john, medium length, outsider pov, sam, standalone

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