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Twelve Steps

Chapter 2

I can’t say that everything was perfect after we hit the road. John insisted on having me help with research only before going out to actually hunt. He also ran me through intense training exercises to keep me up to par in the meantime. Dean, on the other hand, insisted they return me to where they found me. His reasoning was that they hadn’t picked up strays before, so why start now? He had a point, but it still hurt to hear.

In fact, once on the road, any compassion Dean may have had towards me was gone. I know being around me the first week or so couldn’t have been easy for either of them. Spending extra to make sure our room had a couch or a pull out, hearing me cry in the middle of the night from nightmares. After the first couple nights, John had come to the motel with a leather bound journal. Light brown with ties to keep my darkest moments hidden or to capture my new adventures to savor later. He said that after his wife died, it was a book very much like the one he had given me that got him through his roughest months. Looking back now, I can understand Dean’s coldness; the moment I shared with his dad was one he never had.

Despite the Winchesters’ disagreement and the bickering between Dean and me, I made surprising headway on my journey to becoming a hunter. I learned to utilize the weapons I already had in ways I never imagined. My grandfather had introduced me to knife and sword skills after my parents died. I had always thought his insistence that I learn the art of throwing knives strange until I left my less than perfect world behind. What I had seen as the eccentricities of an old man morphed into vital skills of survival. I couldn’t help but feel that this had been my grandfather’s plan which lead me into my own research project: who was Eugene Edwards really?

“What are you doing?”

“Looking something up.”

“We already ganked the ghost, Lara. What else could there be to look up?”

Dean had come into our little motel room on the edge of a quiet town that needed saving. Rumor had it that Lion Manor was haunted by a deranged father that killed his wife and children. Local teens thought spending the night in the old house was a good idea. Father Dearest disagreed and the teens were found hanging in the attic just like he was a 100 years prior.

After I had done the necessary digging, John and Dean had found the proper grave to salt and burn the bones. Simple enough case, so I used my extra time to look into Grandpa Eugene. Finding information on just him wasn’t as easy as I hoped. Articles about my parents’ death kept popping up. Grandpa had always said it was an unfortunate camping accident and I had never felt the need to know more.

Dean came to stand behind me at the table where I was working.

“Who are Adrian and Lina Edwards?”

I tensed when I realized Dean was leaning over my shoulder, his breath grazing my ear. I got up, wrapping my arms around myself. Finally, I brought myself to look into his eyes.

“They’re my parents.”

“One of the strangest wendigo cases I’ve heard of,” John said from the doorway.

“A what case?”

“I remember that one! A couple hunters tracked it down in the Black Hills. That was a tough one, they didn’t make it- “

Dean’s eyes widened as the light bulb went off.

“Oh shit! Lara…I-I’m- “

“It’s fine. So you knew my parents, John?”

“I met them once when I took a job involving a vamp nest. You look like your mother.”

I was stunned. My parents had been hunters, what about my grandfather? Is that how my father learned? My head spun.

“So did you know my grandpa? Eugene?”

“Lara-“

“You did! He was a hunter too. Wasn’t he? Wasn’t he!”

“Yes. I met you, too. You were five, like Sammy. Dean was nine. Eugen was showing you how to fight,” he chuckled, shaking his head.

“There you were kicking and hitting the mats like the Energizer Bunny, braids bouncing away.”

“Is that why you let me come with? You recognized me?”

“When we got you to the motel, I had myself convinced I was seeing things. But then I checked your purse, and sure enough there you were, all grown up.”

By this point, I was in tears. I couldn’t tell if I was upset that they knew, rather John knew, and didn’t tell me or if I was just overwhelmed.

“I’m sorry. This- it’s just a lot to process.” I closed my eyes and started a breathing exercise I learned to calm down.

“Dean, we’re gonna grab food and stay another night. Lara, take this time to sort it out. I’ll take the couch tonight.”

I heard the door close as I continued breathing. Slowly, my body relaxed one muscle at a time. I came to the conclusion that things had unfolded the way they needed to. By this point I had laid down. My last thought before drifting off was that I hoped Dean wouldn’t be even colder now.

I woke up to the sound of male voices speaking in hushed tones. As the fuzziness of sleep cleared, I could start to make out bits of their conversation.

“Why didn’t you tell me that was Gene’s girl?”

“It wasn’t important.”

“Not important! Dad, for the last month we’ve had this girl with us and you didn’t think it was important to tell me who she is! Hell, you didn’t think it was important to her who she is! She has a right to know where she comes from, that she isn’t alone.”

“Why do you think I’ve been taking cases in this area? When I found out Gene died, I wanted to check in. I didn’t think it’d come this far. She is definitely her grandpa’s girl,” it was hard to mistake the pride in his voice. Almost like he was proud of me and not my grandfather, well if Grandpa were alive.

“Why her? Out of all the people we’ve saved, why her?”

“This conversation is over Dean, get some sleep. We have an early morning.”

“No, you tell me. Why her? You gave her a journal; we’ve spent how much extra money so she can be here. You tell me, what makes her so frickin’ special!”

It was silent for a moment and I thought John wouldn’t answer. Dean had a good point; why me? I had been asking myself the same question. Finding out that John knew my family sort of made sense, but there was still a piece missing that bothered me.

“She reminds me of your mother. Of my Mary,” John’s low voice carried over to me like a lullaby.

Hearing you remind someone of their dead spouse wouldn’t normally be comforting, but coming from John, it was the highest form of praise you could get. He never told me himself and Dean never mentioned it either. To be honest, I’m glad that we never had that conversation.

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