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Tougher Than the Rest (15/15)

Title: Tougher Than the Rest
Chapter Title: Rocky Ground
Word count: 864 this chapter
Rating: T
Characters/Pairings: Sam, Dean, OMC with appearances by Castiel and Crowley
Warnings: None
Spoilers: It's set in the second half of season 6.
Disclaimer: If you recognize the character, it's not mine
Summary: Sam and Dean are checking out a mysterious death on the Jersey Shore. After a long day of research, all Dean wants to do is put up his feet and relax with the TV. The two men waiting in their motel room put an end to that.
A/N: This is a sequel to my first SPN fic In Spite of All the Danger The setting is the Jersey Shore, where I lived for 9 years (1978-1987). My sister coquillagement still lives there and helped me out in a few spots. The wonderful msninacat heard my plea for a beta and jumped right in. Thanks ever so!
A/N 2: I'd like to thank everyone who's read this (even though there are no comments). The overall title and chapter titles are all songs by Bruce Springsteen in keeping with the New Jersey theme. The Essex and Sussex is real as were the shark attacks of 1916, the inspiration, some say, for Jaws.

One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Eleven Twelve Thirteen Fourteen

Dean found a classic rock station out of New York and they sang along on the drive back, even Sam. Dean hadn’t felt this relaxed and, well, happy in ages. He knew it wouldn’t last. Tomorrow he and Sam would be back on the road to try and stop Eve.

He wasn't ready to call it a night. “It's not that late. We could still probably catch a show at the Stone Pony.”

Alan and Ryan seemed onboard with the idea but it was Sam who shot it down. “We have to be on the road tomorrow morning and I do not want to deal with your hungover ass.”

“Fine, but we're going next time we're in Jersey.” Dean pulled into the hotel parking lot.

They clambered out of the Impala and strode into the hotel room. Dean flopped onto his bed and stared at the ceiling for a few seconds, luxuriating in the rare feeling of contentment. “Guess we’d better call Cas so he can send you home,” he said reluctantly as he sat up.

“Yeah, I guess.” Sam didn’t want this camaraderie to end either. “Oh, Alan, I got one for you: Uncle Ben.”

“Why are you talking about rice?”

“What? Dude, no. We were talking about quotes. Spiderman?”

“So you were quoting movies? Sounds geeky to me.”

“Not just movies. Books, songs…” Dean just looked at him and Sam’s argument died on his lips.

“Hey, Cas! Got two passengers for Angel Airways!” He had barely finished and Cas was there. Thankfully remembering personal space.

“You are ready to leave?”

“Yeah. The longer we stay, the better the chance that we’ll screw things up,” responded Ryan.

“Intended or otherwise,” added Alan.

Dean didn’t miss the look Alan aimed at Cas. It really, really bugged him that Alan had it in for Cas. He was an angel for Chrissakes! History could be wrong. He looked over as Sam said goodbye with firm handshakes and manly slaps on the back. Sam would probably call Bobby as soon as he could manage time away. He had his doubts and knew Dean wasn’t going to be “receptive” so he’d turn to someone who would listen.

Next thing he knew, Ryan was there pumping his hand. “Dean, an honor to meet you. And I don’t think I said it before but thank you for saving my life.”

“Uh, yeah. No worries. I know what he was going through.”

“Yeah, you’d do anything for those pesky little brothers,” commented Alan.

“Minutes younger,” Ryan argued.

Alan ignored him. “Are we good?”

Dean didn’t have to think. “Yeah, we are.” He shook the proffered hand. After all, Alan didn’t know Cas like he did, didn’t have the faith – for lack of a better word – in the angel that he did.

“Right, then, we’re ready.”

Cas raised a hand to both men’s forehead and Alan had time for one more quote. “Sam, Lord Acton.”

Sam kept looking at the spot where the three had been, a pensive look on his face. It wasn’t one of those looks that would send him looking for the information, it was one that said he had the info but had to figure out what to do with it.

“You okay, man?” Dean asked.

“Yeah, just wondering how we’re thought of in the future, you know?”

“Heroes, going by the way they reacted to seeing us.” He headed for the bathroom. He closed the door and listened for the tell-tale sound of the outside door opening and closing. He’d have about ten minutes while Sam called Bobby. Dean left the bathroom and went straight for the laptop. The quote “game” Sam talked about, that was when he and Alan talked about Cas. The quote from Spiderman was a gimme: “With great power comes great responsibility”. It would be safe to say that Alan’s counter-quote would also have to do with power. He typed “Lord Acton quotes” into the search engine and each link told him the same thing. It seemed that Alan was blaming circumstances and choices, not Cas himself. And the quote wasn’t that far off, considering what happened with Sam when he started tapping into his abilities. Okay, a big chunk of it was Ruby but it wouldn’t have worked if Sam hadn’t wanted it. He sighed and fell back against the chair.

That’s how Sam found him when he walked in. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah, um, I just looked up Lord Acton.”

“Oh.” Sam just sat on the bed, not saying anything, though it was plain on his face that he wanted to.

“I know you and Bobby have your suspicions about Cas and I refuse to think anything like that until I see it myself. I don’t want to hear anything more about it unless you have absolute, concrete proof, capisce?”

Sam nodded and Dean felt better. He stated his own position while letting Sam know he was aware of his. And if he did find out that Cas was doing something…un-Cas, he’d talk him out of it, prove Alan’s history books wrong. That’s what you do for family.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Lord Acton


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