Dean Winchester had heard many drum solos in his life, but nothing compared to the cacophony beating in his skull right now. It was as if the drummer had taken up residence in the center of his head and was giving it all he had and for a fleeting moment Dean swore he could make out the beats of Led Zeppelin's Black Dog.
That's crazy Winchester…no way in hell is John Bonham's spirit giving you a solo concert.
Shaking his head slightly to stop the music, Dean winced as sharp pains lanced through his skull. His head felt like it weighed at least a ton and for the life of him, he was having a hard time raising it up. Squeezing his eyes shut, he breathed through the pain, trying his best to quell the nausea threatening to overtake him.
He wanted nothing more than to cradle his head in his hands, but he found that was impossible, seeing as how they were stuck behind him. Barely opening his eyes, he saw that he was sitting in a chair, his hands bound tightly behind him. What the hell…
Testing the strength of the ropes, he found they wouldn't budge. Okay, still doesn't explain how I got here…
Then it hit Dean like the proverbial ton of bricks. He'd crashed through the floor down into the morgue. He'd found Sam unconscious in a chair and then nothing. SAM!
Dean's eyes widened as he sought out his younger brother, hoping that he was still in the room with him. He could feel the younger man's presence, and right now it was so strong that it almost threatened to drown Dean.
"Sam?" Dean looked over at the slumped form of the younger Winchester and waited with bated breath, hoping his brother would hear him. But Sam remained motionless, oblivious to the world around him.
"Sam?" Dean called louder this time and his heart nearly leapt into his throat when he got a reaction out of Sam.
Sam jerked his head up and Dean could see he was trying to clear the fuzziness in his brain, as his face took on a look of utter confusion. "Dean?" he asked softly.
"Yeah, dude, it's me." Dean let out a small chuckle. "How are you doing, kid?"
"Head hurts…feels fuzzy."
"Were you hit? Drugged?"
"Drugged." Sam shook his head. "Chloroform. What about you, Dean? Are you okay?"
"Yeah, dude. Nothing a good stiff drink won't cure."
"Where's Robbie?" Dean didn't miss the slight fear in Sam's voice as the younger man looked around the morgue.
"Not sure. Have you been tied up down here the entire time?"
"Pretty much. I tried to get away once, but Robbie stopped me before I could."
"You're getting rusty in your old age, kiddo."
"Bite me, Dean." Then Sam smirked. "Looks like I can say the same for you."
"Hey, I fell through the floor." Dean looked up above him and indicated the gaping hole. "I totally had things under control."
A small smile tugged at Sam's lips. "Right, a real bang-up rescue mission you got going on here."
"Well, if you would stop getting kidnapped by deranged humans, I wouldn't have to keep rescuing you."
"And if you would quit attracting psychos, I wouldn't constantly be put in this situation."
"Sure, blame it on me." Dean flashed Sam a small smile. "Really, it's great to see you again, Sammy."
"You too, Dean." He tried to sit up into a more comfortable position. "Listen, Dean, I don't know what Robbie's planning but I can tell you he's completely nuts right now. I'm afraid anything will set him off at this point. He was asking me some pretty weird questions earlier."
Dean frowned. "What kind of questions?"
Sam was about to answer when the door to the room opened with a loud creak. Both brothers looked up as Robbie walked into the room.
"Oh, I see that you're awake." Robbie walked to the table and set down a small bag. Reaching into it, he pulled out a handkerchief and walked over to Sam. "Now, Sam…you weren't about to tell Dean the fun games I had planned for us, were you?"
Sam shook his head. "No."
Robbie smiled a cold, cruel smile. "Yeah, I don't believe that for a second." Standing behind Sam, he stuffed the cloth into Sam's mouth and tied it tightly. "There, that's much better."
"You leave him the hell alone, you hear me?" Dean yelled, pulling against his restraints. No way was he going to sit by quietly while this psycho played out his sick fantasy on Sam.
Robbie cocked his head to the side and pulled out the large hunting knife from the waistband of his pants. Keeping his eyes on Dean the entire time, Robbie grabbed a handful of Sam's hair and wrenched his head back, while gently caressing his neck with the blade of the knife. "You see that, Sam? I don't think Dean likes it when I do this."
Dean saw Sam's Adam's apple bob up and down against the blade of the knife and the thin trickle of blood that oozed from the small cut.
"Get away from him, you bastard!" Dean's feral scream echoed all around the room. He bucked wildly in his chair, trying his best to break free. He needed to get loose, get to Sam before Robbie could kill his brother. He knew Robbie wanted to kill Sam, he could see it in the crazy clerk's eyes. "It's me you're pissed at, not Sam!"
Robbie chuckled. "I wouldn't be so sure of that, Dean." He kept the blade at Sam's throat for a few seconds longer, then pulled it away. "But I'm not ready to end it yet. Like I said, I have a game for us to play and it would be a shame for all this hard work to go to waste."
"Oh, yeah…a real shame," Dean muttered in disgust.
Robbie ignored him as he walked back over to his bag. "I really think you're going to enjoy this game, Dean." Reaching into the sack, he pulled out an old revolver and caressed it lovingly. Looking up at Dean, he said, "See, I'm not sure you really know Sam as well as you think you do and I'm going to prove it to you."
"Yeah, and how's that?"
Robbie shrugged. "Simple—I'm going to ask you a question about your brother."
"Sounds simple enough." As soon as the words were out of Dean's mouth, he knew it couldn't be that simple. Nothing in their life ever was.
Robbie chuckled. "You're only going to wish it was." He emptied all the bullets from the revolver and then held one up so Dean could see it. "Every question you get right gets you and Sam closer to getting out of this alive."
"And if I get them wrong?"
Robbie put the bullet into the chamber and spun it before smiling at Dean. "Every time you get it wrong, I take a shot at your brother."
Dean's eyes widened and he saw Sam straighten up in his chair. He didn't even have to look at his brother's face to know his sibling was freaked. Hell, Dean was just as freaked, but somehow he managed to keep the fear out of his voice. "This is one game you're going to lose, Robbie."
"I wouldn't count all your eggs just yet, Dean."
"What, is that some kind of backwoods redneck saying?"
Dean smirked. "Yeah, I am pretty funny."
"Let's see if you'll be laughing when you cause your brother's death."
Dean sobered up and glared at the clerk as Robbie reached into the bag and pulled out yet another handkerchief. "Now, to make sure you and Sam don't have some secret code or whatever, I'm going to cover up your eyes." Walking behind Dean, he put the cloth over the older man's eyes and tied it tightly behind Dean's head.
"Son of a bitch," Dean muttered. He didn't like this at all—he wanted to be able to see Sam the entire time, to reassure his little brother that he was going to find a way to get them out of this mess. Dean began to rub against the ropes, seeing if he could work any slack. He could hear Sam grunting softly and from the sound of it, Sam was trying his best to hold it all together. Come on, Sammy…stick with me here. I'm not going to let him kill you. I'm going to protect you little brother, please believe that.
"There—now we can begin." Robbie stepped back and smiled as he looked at his two captives. Picking up the revolver, the clerk walked over to Sam. "Like I said, Dean, I'm gonna ask you some questions. You get them right, Sam lives and if you get them wrong, then Sam dies."
"Yeah, yeah—I got the rules the first time you explained them," Dean bit off. Giving up on attempting to build some slack in the ropes, Dean tried to keep the smile off his face as he remembered the small pocket knife in his back pocket. Carefully reaching down in his pocket, he tried not to let Robbie notice what he was doing.
"You mind telling me what the point of all this is?"
Easy—I'm going to prove you don't know you're brother as well as you think you do. I'm going to show you that you and Sam aren't meant to be brother."
Dean huffed. "You're one sick puppy, you know that?"
"Maybe I am, Dean." Robbie smiled as he glanced at Sam. "You ready, Sam?"
Dean heard Sam grunt through the rag and could only imagine the look his brother was giving the psychotic clerk. If there was anyone who could send a message across with their eyes, it was Sam.
"Not sure what exactly you said there, but I think you were giving me the okay." He looked over at Dean. "What about you, Dean?"
"Get on with it already."
Robbie nodded. "Now, just to show you how the game's played, I'm gonna ask you a simple question first: where did Sam go when he left you?"
Dean didn't hesitate. "Stanford."
"Very good, Dean. How long was Sam gone?"
Dean sighed. "Two years—are they really gonna be this easy?"
Robbie chuckled. "Just trying to build up your confidence there, Dean. But you want a hard question? Fine, I can do that. What was Sam's favorite class?"
Dean lost his grip on the knife as a cold fear wrapped around his heart. He honestly could say he had no idea what Sam's favorite subject was at Stanford. Sure, they'd spoken about Sam's time there a couple of times, but never got that detailed into it. Come on, Dean…think! History? Algebra? Biology?
"Literature," Dean finally answered.
Robbie hissed as he took in a deep breath. "Sorry, Dean—the answer we were looking for was Philosophy."
Dean felt a cold wave wash over him as he heard Robbie cock the gun, and his brother's panicked breaths from across the room. "No, Robbie! Don't do it! Sammy!"
Dean's cries went unanswered as the clerk pulled the trigger. He literally felt like sobbing as the hollow click on the gun echoed throughout the room. Sam's okay…Sammy's still alive!
"You still with us, Dean?" Robbie asked, coyly. "Because I gotta say, Sam looks like he's about to pass out over here."
"You bastard," Dean growled, trying to mask the fact his heart was beating a spastic and unsteady staccato in his chest.
"Now that you know what happens when you answer wrong, I bet you'll do everything to get them right now, huh Dean?" Robbie spun the chamber again. "Let's move on to the next question."
Dean didn't say anything as he continued to dig for his pocket knife. Finally his hand, grasped around it and he pulled it up between his fingers as Robbie asked his next question.
"What was Sam's nickname at school?"
How the hell would I know that? "I don't know…Stretch?"
"Wrong again." Robbie didn't even give Dean time to protest before he cocked the gun and fired.
Dean could only imagine the horror on Sam's face and he had to admit it, the thought alone scared the shit out of him.
"Luck must really be on your side, Dean. Of course, luck can only be with you for so long."
"I swear to God I'm going to kill you."
Robbie chuckled. "Is that before or after little brother's brains are splattered all over the place?" Dean heard Robbie take a few steps around the room. "You see, Sammy…Dean thinks he's going to find a way to get you out of this. Little does he know, the game keeps going until I say it ends. And when do you think that's going to be?"
Sam grunted in frustration.
Robbie nodded. "That's right, Sam. The game ends when you die." Again, Robbie turned the chamber and snapped it back into place. "Next question: What is Sam's password for his computer?"
As Dean fingered the blade open on the knife, he couldn't stop the laugh bubbling from his chest. "Easy—Jessilee." He then shook his head. "You're gonna have to do better than that, Norman."
Robbie didn't say anything as he cocked the revolver and took another shot at Sam.
"You son of a bitch! I got that right!" Dean thrashed around in his chair, wishing he could get his hands around the deranged man's throat, especially when he heard the sob coming from his little brother.
"Yes, you did get that right, Dean, but you also pissed me off." Dean heard rapid footsteps, as if Robbie was pacing in front of him. "Maybe you're not getting the picture here—my game, my rules. Why don't you ask Sam what happens when you don't follow my rules? Or better yet, why don't I show you what happens."
Robbie stepped in front of Sam and backhanded him, causing the younger man to groan in pain.
"You get your hands off of my brother, you piece of shit!"
"Piss me off again, Dean, and I really do shoot Sammy."
Dean ignored him and focused his attention on Sam. "Sammy, you all right?"
Sam grunted in response and it was good enough for Dean. Maneuvering the knife around in his hands, Dean pressed the blade against the ropes and began to saw through, trying his best to stay quiet. He had to get loose, now more than ever. Sam was right when he told Dean Robbie was losing it very quickly.
"Does Sam have any scars?"
"Sam has a lot of scars." Dean felt a small twinge up hope as he felt the ropes around his wrists begin to fray.
"What about the one on his left arm?"
"What about it?"
"Where did he get it, Dean?"
Scar on his left arm...Where the hell did he get the scar on his left arm? All of a sudden, it hit Dean what Robbie was doing. He was purposely asking questions Dean wouldn't know the answers to. He was throwing the two years they were apart back in his face, knowing there was no way in the world Dean would know all the answers. You slimy little bastard…you had this planned the entire time.
"You think you're clever, don't you Robbie?"
"What are you talking about, Dean?"
"You're asking me questions I wouldn't know a damn thing about. You had this game rigged from the first minute."
"Like I said, Dean—it's my game."
"Yeah, well your game sucks." Dean hid his smile as the ropes snapped, but he managed to hold on to them so they wouldn't fall to the floor and alert Robbie.
"Do you know the answer or not, Dean?"
"Doesn't matter how I answer it, does it? You're gonna do whatever the hell you want anyway."
Sam grunted and Dean could only imagine the exasperated look on his brother's face. Just hang in there, Sammy…I'm working on a way to get us out of here.
"You're right about that, Dean. Humor me here, will you?"
"What was the question again?"
Robbie sighed. "Where did Sam get the scar on his left arm?"
Dean figured he had nothing left to lose. A voice in his head was screaming at him that their luck was up. He didn't know how he knew it, but the next shot from the gun would be the fatal shot for Sam. "Hunting accident."
Dean knew as soon as the answer was out of his mouth, it was wrong. He knew every single hunting scar Sam had, memorized every single one of them, and had tended to every one of them. He needed to catch Robbie by surprise, though, and this was the best way to do it.
As soon as Dean heard the revolver being cocked, he sprung into action. Tearing off his blindfold, Dean launched himself at the troubled man, jerking Robbie's arm up just as he pulled the trigger. The bullet lodged itself into the ceiling as Dean and Robbie fell to the ground in a tangle of limbs.
"You can't do this!" Robbie screeched as Dean tried to wrestle the gun from him.
"Watch me, you little bastard," Dean ground out as he banged Robbie's hand against the floor repeatedly. Finally the gun fell from his grasp, and Dean pushed it away.
"You've ruined everything, Dean! Don't you see that?"
Dean shook his head. "You messed with the wrong brother when you went after Sammy, Robbie." Grabbing the clerk by his jacket, Dean shook him once before delivering a solid right hook to his jaw. Robbie's head jerked back and he went limp in Dean's grasp.
"You're nothing but a waste of space, Robbie." Dean threw him to the ground and rushed over to Sam who was looking at him with wide eyes. Dean patted his brother's cheek and removed the gag from his mouth. "You okay, Sammy?"
Sam nodded shakily and looked down at Robbie's unconscious body. "Yeah, Dean," he answered hoarsely.
If Dean wasn't so exhausted, he would have punched Sam right there on the spot. He knew Sam wasn't okay—far from it, as a matter of fact. His brother's face was covered in bruises and cuts and he could see Sam was visibly shaken from everything that had happened to him in the past few hours. Sam was barely holding it together and any idiot would be able to see that.
Walking back to his chair, Dean picked up the pocket knife he'd discarded and cut the ropes around Sam's wrists and ankles. Helping his brother out of the chair, Dean was caught off balance as Sam violently pushed past him.
"You're not okay, Sammy." Dean could see that by the way Sam quickly put distance between himself and Robbie, even though the clerk was lying unconscious on the floor. "So, don't stand there and pretend that you are."
"What do you want me to say, Dean? Huh?" Sam let out a shaky breath and ran a hand through his hair. "I just had some psycho playing a game with my life! The same psycho that I'd been warning you about for days now!"
Dean held out a placating hand. "I know that, Sammy, and I'm sorry, okay?"
Sam shook his head vehemently. "No, Dean—it's not okay. You should have listened to me! You should have trusted me!"
Dean let out a growl as he kicked a small metal trashcan across the room. Dean instantly regretted the action as the loud sounds echoed throughout the room, causing Sam to jump and retreat further away from him. "Sammy, you have to believe that I'm sorry, okay? I never wanted this to happen to you, I swear to God."
Sam was silent before he finally asked, "Is he going to be okay?" He nodded towards Robbie's prone form.
Dean sighed—Sam was closing him off and it cut into Dean worse than a knife ever could. Sam was pissed at him now and the elder Winchester was going to have to deal with that—but later. He wanted nothing more than to get Sam out of the hotel, and back into their own room. "You're kidding me—after all that he did to you and you want to know if he's okay?"
Typical Sammy… "Yeah Sammy, he's going to be fine. I managed to hold back."
Sam chuckled and instantly winced in pain.
The left side of Robbie's face was already forming a large purple bruise and his busted lip was still bleeding.
"What are we going to do with him?"
Dean smiled and arched a brow. Instead of answering Sam, he reached down and grabbed Robbie under his arms. Pulling the unconscious clerk into the chair Sam had just vacated, Dean nodded his head towards his green duffel bag sitting where he'd fallen through earlier. "Grab the rope from in there, will ya?"
Sam nodded and did as his brother asked. Handing the coil of rope to Dean, he stepped back and watched silently as Dean made quick work of tying Robbie securely to the chair. Just as Dean finished the last knot Robbie started to come around.
"Wha—what the hell?" Robbie's eyes widened as he saw the two Winchesters towering above him.
"You only wish this was Hell, Robbie," Dean said, a malevolent glint in his eyes.
Robbie instantly shrunk back against the chair. "What are you going to do with me?"
Dean smiled and nodded towards Sam. "That really depends on what Sam says. You better hope he's feeling slightly more compassionate than I am at the moment."
Robbie turned pleading eyes on Sam. "Please, don't kill me. I'm sorry, okay? I'm sorry that I hurt you Sam, but please don't kill me."
Sam remained silent for a couple of tense minutes and finally shrugged a shoulder. "I'm not going to kill you, Robbie, because if I do that, I'm no better than you are."
"Oh, thank you! Thank you so much!"
Sam shook his head. "Don't thank me yet, Robbie, because I'm going to make sure you pay for what you've done. Not so much for me, but for Matthew."
Robbie opened his mouth to argue, but Dean stopped him. "Found an interesting thing when I went to your house, Norman." The elder Winchester glared at him. "You keeping Matthew around as a souvenir or something? You couldn't stand for him to be away from you, is that it?"
Robbie shook his head. "I couldn't let him leave me."
"He was never yours!" Dean roared. He leaned down into the chair, his face mere inches from Robbie's. "His family deserved to know what happened to him. You at least owed that to them."
"He—he was my—my family," Robbie stuttered quietly.
"He never was your family, Robbie." Sam shook his head sadly.
"You were a selfish bastard, Robbie. What gave you the right to decide when Matthew's life had to end? Who gave you the right to mess with his life?" Dean glanced behind him to look at his brother. "With Sammy's life?"
Robbie began to sob. "I just wanted a brother."
"Yeah, well you went about the wrong way of doing that." Dean pushed away from the chair and rubbed a hand across his face. He wanted nothing more at that moment than to throttle Robbie and if Sam wasn't there, Dean wasn't sure if he'd be able to stop himself from doing just that.
"So, are you going to turn me over to the police?" Robbie asked his voice barely audible.
Dean shrugged. "Eventually. But first…"
Robbie looked up at him, tears in his eyes.
Dean smiled. "I think you need to stay the night in here, think about what you've done."
Robbie shook his head, a panicked look settling in his eyes. "No, please! Please don't make me stay in here! Call the police! I'll turn myself in!"
"Aw, what's the matter, Robbie? You afraid of some ghosts?" Dean mocked.
Robbie struggled in the chair. "Please, you can't do this to me!"
Dean ignored him and looked back at this brother, who looked like he was ready to bolt at any second. "You ready, Sammy?"
Sam nodded. "Yeah." Walking towards the door, Sam turned his head to glance at Dean. "Can you get my gun for me, Dean?"
"Sure thing, Sammy."
Sam nodded his thanks and disappeared out the door.
"Don't worry, Robbie. We'll call the police sometime tomorrow and let them know where they can find you." Dean patted the clerk's shoulder and grabbed his small bag from the floor. Then, walking over to the small table, he retrieved Sam's 9mm and the large hunting knife Robbie had taken.
"You can't do this to me, you hear me?" Robbie shouted, but the panic was gone from his voice. Instead, it was nothing but anger. "You can't leave me like this! I'll find you! Don't think for a second that this is over!"
"Yeah, yeah—sing a new song, why don't you?"
"Sam is never going to be safe, Dean! You think I can't find him again?"
Dean stopped walking and turned to fix Robbie with a piercing glare. "I better never see you around my brother, because I can guarantee you, next time there won't be anyone or anything to stop me from killing you."
Robbie smiled cruelly and chuckled. "You're both going to pay!"
"Whatever." Dean shut the door behind him and smiled to himself as Robbie's shouts were muted out.