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Taking Root 19

Authors: Marina and Casey
Story: Taking Root
Challenge: Coconut 13 (am not), Tangerine 1 (panic attack) [Marina] Blueberry Yogurt 24 (hold my hand), Apple Pie 3 (tradition), Blue Raspberry 28 (the scenic route) [Casey]
Toppings/Extras: Caramel, Chopped Nuts, Hot Fudge, Smoothie
Word Count: 2,718
Rating: PG-13 (child kidnapping, also guns)
Summary: Dean and Chase make a plan.
Notes: Yes, we are still doing this. I know it’s been a while, but Casey was on the ship for eight months, which made it hard to cowrite often. Luckily, she’s done with Green Tea and we have the freezer now, so we’re dragging these flavors back out for the last third (which is completely written, but needs to be edited and posted. The previous eighteen installments and some side things can be found at the index.

"Get in the van," Dean’s grandfather ordered, gun held steadily on Chase's face. Chase had his eyes squeezed shut and his fists clenched.

Dean had no doubt that the slightest wrong move by either of them would result in a bullet between his friend's eyes. He swallowed hard and hesitated a second anyway. "Leave Chase out of this, please."

"Too late for that," Edward said, with a cold smile. Dean shuddered. "He's coming too, as...let's say incentive. Now in." The steel in his voice made it clear that Dean was out of options and time.

The boy put a hand on Chase's shoulder and carefully turned him towards the van, not wanting to make a fast move and startle his grandfather. Edward's aim shifted to Dean and held steady.

At the touch, Chase opened his eyes and glanced at Dean, terrified. He stared back, sure his own terror more than mirrored Chase's.

"I'm not a patient person," Edward snapped.

Shaking but unable to help it, Dean slipped past Chase and climbed into the back of the otherwise empty van. "Now you," Edward told Chase. Without a word, the other boy scrambled in after. The older man stepped forward and held out two strips of cloth. "Tie them over your eyes tightly. No trying to fool me."

Chase took one, stared at it a moment, and then complied. Dean did as well, squeezing his eyes shut as Edward grabbed his wrist tightly and snapped something around it that felt like a handcuff. The sound of metal on metal confirmed his suspicions. Automatically, he tugged at it, and found his arm secured. Then Edward's hand was in his pocket, fishing out his cell phone. He heard a crunch and then, "Give me your cell phone, Mr. Mitchell."

"I—I don't have one," Chase stammered.

Dean had no warning of the fist until he had slammed into the side of his face and he yelped, trying to duck away in case Edward decided to do it again. "Tell me the truth, boy," Edward snarled.

"He doesn't have one," Dean managed, cradling his cheek with his free hand.

"I don't!" Chase sounded frantic now. "I never did, I hate them."

There was a short moment of silence. Edward must have believed them, because he did not try to hit Dean again. "Fine," he said, then. "Mr. Mitchell, if you so much as shift, I will shoot both of you, understand?"

Chase’s voice trembled as he replied. "I understand."

"Good."

Dean winced as their door slammed shut and then a second time as Edward presumably got back in the driver's seat. The van rumbled and then smoothly pulled back onto the road. At first, Dean tried to pay attention to the turns but, being unable to time anything, he doubted it would be any help. Beside him, Chase was silent and unmoving—at least, Dean assumed there was no movement, as he didn't feel any shifts on the seat.

"Chase?" he tried, keeping his voice low, hoping the sound of the engine would drown it out. At the same time, almost instinctively, he reached out with his free hand to try and find the other boy.

"Still here," Chase mumbled. "Obviously."

Dean squeezed his eyes shut again behind the blindfold. "I'm so sorry," he whispered, finding Chase's hand almost by accident, but he hesitated anyway, starting to draw it away.

To his surprise, the other boy latched onto his fingers and gripped them so hard that for a second, he thought they might fall off. "It's okay," Chase said softly, although his shaky voice indicated that it was not remotely okay at all.

Despite the intense pressure, Dean couldn't say he minded the physical contact at all. "No, it isn't. I'll get you out of this somehow, I promise."

"Only if you get out, too," said Chase.

Dean turned his head toward Chase, even though he couldn't see a thing. "I...that's the plan," he said lightly, although he somehow suspected that would never happen. His grandfather had been trying to do this for years and Dean honestly didn't expect to walk away.

Chase's hold on his hand tightened. "Don't lie."

"I'll do my best," he finally said, not wanting to lie further in either direction.

"Okay," the other boy whispered.

Dean fell silent. There wasn’t much else he could think of to say, and he didn’t want their words to alert Edward or make him think they were trying anything. Neither did Chase say anything, after that, and the next minutes passed in quiet dread.

It seemed like hours before they finally stopped, although Dean supposed it had been closer to forty or fifty minutes. After a stretch of twists that made him feel extremely unbalanced, the van made a hard left and came to an abrupt halt. The engine cut, and then the driver’s door opened, followed a moment later by the one closest to Dean. He stiffened as he felt Edward close by and then his grandfather yanked off his blindfold, followed a second later by Chase's. Dean blinked rapidly, trying to adjust to the sudden brightness after the time in the dark. They were in a dilapidated garage, strangely bare and clean-looking. A quick glance out the rear window showed that the garage door was already closed, so they had no way to tell where it might be located.

He returned his gaze to Edward as the man reached past him and undid the cuff attached to the interior of the van. Then he looked up and met Dean's eyes. "The question is: do I still need these?"

Chase tightened his grip on Dean's hand still further at that. Unable to speak, throat painfully dry with terror, the boy shook his head quickly.

"Good, I hope not," Edward said pleasantly, "but I think I'll leave it half on for now, just as reminder, hmm?" He stared at Dean, obviously expecting a response, so Dean managed a numb nod. "Out," Edward ordered, backing out as the gun reappeared in one hand.

Chase immediately scooted toward the door, waiting for Dean to slide out first. Dean quickly did so, wincing every time the dangling handcuffs jingled.

Edward smirked. "We're going to go inside, turn left and go downstairs without any shenanigans, right, boys?"

Chase nodded as he stepped up next to Dean.

"Good. Go," Edward said, waving the gun at them.

Dean clutched Chase's hand, unwilling to let go, and headed for the side door leading to the house. He pulled open the front door and stepped inside, eyes instantly alighting on the staircase on their left.

Chase's steps faltered at that point. "C'mon," Dean murmured, glancing back at Edward to see the gun come up slowly but meaningfully.

They inched forward and peered into the dark basement. Dean reached up to flick on the light, but suddenly, Edward's hand covered his, making him jump. He hadn’t heard the man enter the house. Heart pounding, he stood frozen.

"You don't get all the lights." Edward pressed a small penlight into his hand and then offered another to Chase. Looking baffled, Chase accepted it and glanced at Dean.

"Ed—" Dean started and this time he saw the fist but had nowhere to go as it caught him in the same spot as before. He cried out, almost overbalancing down the stairs.

"Dean!" Chase cried, scrambling to help him.

Edward's hand shot out first, grabbing Dean by the shirt collar and hauling him up. "I am your grandfather," he said icily, "and will be addressed as such, understand?"

He swallowed. "Yes, Grandfather," he muttered, cheek on fire.

Chase kept a grip on Dean's arm, although he seemed at a loss otherwise. He glanced between Dean and Edward uncertainly.

"Downstairs, now," Edward ordered, voice still frosty.

"Yes, sir."

Chase stuck close to him as they gingerly felt their way down into the dark. Dean kept his free hand on the railing until they reached the bottom. Once there, Chase turned on his pen light and pointed it into the black unknown. His shaking had only gotten worse as they walked down.

"I have to do a few things. We will chat soon, Dean," Edward called down to them and then slammed the door.

Chase whimpered at the noise and dropped right to the ground. In the faint glow of the penlight, Dean could see that he had hunched into a ball with his hands over his head. He stood there for a moment, feeling terrified and inadequate and so very, very stupid. Then he forced himself to drop down at Chase's side and cautiously touch his shoulder. "Chase?" he asked, voice cracking with even the single word.

"I'm sorry," Chase gasped out. He was hyperventilating, as he had been the day he'd found out that Dean and Carrie were on their way to dating. "Can't help it. I'm so sorry."

"It's...Jesus, Chase, don't apologize to me. It's my stupid fault we're here in the first place." He hesitated and then, "Is...is there anything I can do to help?"

"Talk. Usually helps." Chase pressed his face into his knees.

"I, um, what do I talk about?" Dean asked, feeling silly for it. He shivered, momentarily certain things were sneaking up on them in the dark before reminding himself the worst monster was upstairs. As if on cue, a floorboard creaked.

"Anything. Um." A moment of wheezing passed. "If he's...your grandfather...why'd...he kidnap us?"

Dean sunk to the floor next to him, keeping his hand on Chase's shoulder as much for himself as his friend. "The simple answer is that he's insane," he said heavily. "The full answer's a bit more complicated. He...he feels my dad took my mom away from him. She was his whole obsessive life until she met Dad and ran away. Then I came along and it only made her devotion to us stronger...until she died."

"How?"

"Edward was trying to kill Dad, at least as far as we can tell. He's said as much, that he was aiming to get Dad out of the picture so he could reclaim my mom and get me in the bargain." He shrugged, forgetting for a moment that Chase wasn't even looking at him. "Instead, it killed my mom and Dad took me and ran."

"That's horrible," Chase said, after a long pause, as if he wasn't sure what else he could say.

"Yeah, I guess," Dean said. "I don't remember my mom. Still, he wouldn't've caught us if I hadn't been so abominably stupid."

"What'd you do?"

He let out a thick laugh. "Everything...and nothing. I know his warning signs that he's close and they were all there and I just did not want to listen because...because I couldn't leave. Not this time."

"Why not?"

"Because of Dad's job, and you and Carrie and the others, school and I like it here." He dropped his head into his hands. "He's run my life since before I was born. I just wanted it to stop so I got sloppy."

"S'not your fault," Chase said quietly. His breathing had calmed somewhat. "S'his."

"Doesn't matter. If I'd just done what I should have done, we wouldn't be here."

"Don't blame you."

He sounded miserable, but not in a way that meant he was being insincere. Dean glanced up at him. "Thanks," he said quietly, not sure what else to say. "I meant it too, we'll get you out of here."

"'m not leaving without you," Chase muttered.

"I'm not sure we'll get that option," Dean said, without thinking about it.

"Don't care."

"Chase," he started, and then subsided, not sure what to say. He felt very touched, considering—here he glanced at his watch—only an hour before, Chase had barely been able to talk to him.

"Couldn't live with myself," the other boy said. "Especially since..." He shook his head without lifting it. "Can't think about it now. We have to make a plan."

"We don't have much to work with."

"No, but my dad will...my dad..." Suddenly, his hand shot out and grabbed Dean's wrist. "Did you see what he did with our backpacks?"

Dean jumped violently, handcuffs jangling. "What? Um…" He thought back, and remembered catching a glimpse of both packs in Edward’s hand right before they had gone down to the basement. "He had them with him when we came in, why?"

Chase's breathing began to speed up again, but in excitement this time, not panic. "My bracelet," he whispered, "the tracking one? Front pocket."

Dean's eyes went wide and he glanced back at the stairs.

"We gotta get to it," said Chase.

His brain started to move again as he saw a spark of hope. "Edward would just forget about them once he put them out of his way..."

Chase nodded. "Cause he smashed your phone, and I don't have one."

"Right. He wouldn't imagine we had some other way of reaching our parents."

"So if we can find them..." He broke off and buried his face in his knees again. "Ugh, why wasn't I wearing it?"

"I don't blame you either. He won't have put them far." Dean stood, grabbing the dangling end of the handcuffs so they wouldn't make noise. "Stay here, I'll be right back," he said, flicking his penlight off. He slowly headed back up the stairs, fairly certain that none of them had creaked as they were walking down, and hoping against hope that he had been right about that. Thankfully, the only thing he heard as he went was the sound of Chase's breathing at the bottom of the stairs.

He reached the top and carefully closed his fingers around the knob and tried it. He was unsurprised to find it locked and pressed his ear against the small slot between the wall and door that let a miniscule amount of light in. He could faintly hear what might have been a television in the background but nothing else, even as he counted to twenty. Flicking on the penlight, he shone it at the doorknob in an attempt to find the lock. Once he had, he studied it, trying to remember what Resh had told him about locks. Then, he turned and carefully made his way back down.

"Anything?" Chase asked quietly, looking up.

"Not sure. It's an older lock and seemed a little loose, although I didn't want to make any noise jiggling it. If I had something thin and small enough, I might be able to pick it. I've practiced on a few with Resh this week."

Chase stared at him. "He taught you how?"

"He has a surprising fondness for Jello. I figured it was a fair trade," Dean said with a shrug. He had also figured it wouldn’t hurt to distract Resh a bit after Carrie had practically screamed at him—not that he blamed her at all, given how Chase had reacted to the news, but he also knew that Resh felt very sorry for the whole mess. Resh was as much his friend as Chase and Carrie were, especially after the "badass" lessons.

"Huh. Well, that's really convenient."

He nodded. "I make no guarantees, though. Resh says I'm a natural, but it's only been a couple of days."

"We'll make it work," Chase said firmly. His breathing was mostly even by this time, and from what Dean could see in the dim light, his expression had gone from despairing to determined.

Dean shone his penlight on his watch and then flicked it off, figuring they should conserve batteries as much as possible. "It’s almost six," he said, by way of explanation. We should wait until Edward's hopefully in bed, in case we can get out too." He absently rubbed his jaw, glad Chase's light was directed away from him. Edward's fist had left it feeling swollen, and his headache was slowly strengthening.

Chase nodded. "Okay."

He settled back in next to his friend and, after a moment's hesitation, held out his hand again, hoping Chase would take it. He needed something solid to hang on to for a while before he could start a search around the large, dark basement for something to use as a lock pick.

Chase readily took it in a tight grip. Dean let out a silent breath, and held on.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
ichthusfish
Jul. 15th, 2012 12:55 am (UTC)
Wow, Dean's grandfather is a little way beyond nuts. A scary person to be on the loose in suburbia. Hopefully the boys can find a way out and get their plan to work, though, slightly concerned about what happens when Chase's dad comes face to face with a gun toting Edward... :-/
niee87
Jul. 16th, 2012 10:17 pm (UTC)
Yeahhh, writing him creeps me out big time. You'll see. It does have a distinct ending with a confrontation!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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