– IV –
A hand slid over her shoulder, dragging her up from the warm depths of slumber. The unexpected delight of her younger brother’s goofy grin sent a smile spreading wide across her lips and she laughed, pushing her face into the soft pillow. “Tris, how are you here? Mom said you were working in Vancouver!”
“Came home especially for my big sister.” He leaned down and pressed a kiss to her hair. “I’ve a gift for you.”
Rolling over onto her side, she caught sight of Mina dozing in the rocking chair behind him. Tara furrowed her brow. “What’s the gift?”
Tristan, ten years her junior, sat back on his ass, tugging his phone from his pocket and pressing a button before he put the device to his ear. Tara watched him curiously, and when his crooked smile touched the edges of his full lips and he greeted the person on the other end, she furrowed her brow, realizing she’d not caught the identity of the person she knew with which she was about to converse. Tristan laughed at her frustration, and did nothing to ease it as he said into the phone, “Yeah, lemme just hand you to her.”
Tara rolled her eyes and sat up, holding her hand out for the mobile phone. “Tell me who—”
The name threw her for a loop, and she frowned. “I’m sorry?”
Tristan arched an amused eyebrow as he stood. “He don’t have much time, so get your ass on the phone. You need to speak to him.”
“I need to speak to Sam.” Her words spoken deliberately, Tara blanched. “Wait… Sam?”
“That one.” He grinned, jiggling the phone a bit. “Go on.”
Half an hour later, Tara mused as she hung up her brother’s phone. She knew she would never forget the experience, one only Tristan could have finagled. She rarely thought about where he worked or what he did, but his truck-driving job had put him in touch with some of the most amazing people over the years. Lately, he’d been driving for a production company in Vancouver… where he’d apparently met him.
Sam Winchester. Tristan had become friends with Jared Padalecki, and at some point, they had a conversation where Tris convinced him to talk to me, in character, when he called and put me on the phone. Tris understood I needed to speak to someone who could make the distinction between light and dark. Because I’d given in to the dark too easily in the past, because he wasn’t ready to live without his sister, and because nothing else they’d tried had worked; Sam Winchester was the only option Tris felt he had left. Sam was the ace up his sleeve, and he knew Sam could get through to me.
The breeze blew her hair into her face, and she looked at the Call Log once again, seeing JarPad Home 15:38, confirming the call’s existence. She’d left the bedroom during their conversation and gone outside to sit on the deck steps. She pushed the flames of her hair back over her ears, smiling softly to herself.
“How’s my girl?”
Tara lifted a merry gaze to the beloved countenance of the woman she called home. “I’m okay, pretty lady. Still reeling.”
“What was it like?” Mina asked, sitting down one step above her and looping her arms loosely around Tara’s shoulders. “You know… talking to a freakin’ Winchester?”
“Surreal. I don’t imagine many people have done that before.” Tara took a deep breath. “Unscripted, that is. Can’t believe Tris arranged this… it blows my mind!”
“What’d the Moose tell you?” Her girlfriend ran her lithe fingers through Tara’s hair and began to plait the blue-streaked red waves into a loose French braid.
“He told me death was more permanent than he or Dean like to imagine. He told me the process of dying isn’t painless, that it always hurts like hell, but the kind of pain I’d feel wouldn’t begin to touch the pain I’d put my brother through.” Tara leaned back in Mina’s embrace, her hands catching on the woman’s arms when they wrapped around her again. “He told me I was the world to a certain little brother… like his big brother was to him.”
Mina pressed a kiss to her shoulder. “I’m glad you were able to speak to him.”
Tara shifted to lift her eyes to her girlfriend’s gaze. “Me, too.”
“So… we’re going to be here for a few weeks while you heal,” Mina began, her smile warm and inviting. “What would you like to do while we are here?”
Tara leaned her temple to Mina’s shoulder. “You know I’m broken, don’t you? I-I-I mean, you know this is always going to be my fight, yeah?”
“Baby, I know this is your fight. I know you fight you on a daily basis. I know you aren’t—” Mina sniffled as tears slipped down her cheeks. “I know you aren’t going to win every battle. I know why you got the semi-colon and the AKF art—it’s your armor to wear into battle—” Mina slipped down to sit in Tara’s lap. “—but you have to remember, babe, I’m always gonna stand next to you, fight your monsters with you. You have to remember, my pretty Major Tom, you’re a goddamn hero in this story. You’re my hero.” She laughed quietly. “I’ll bet Sam said the same thing to you.”
Tara leaned in to press a kiss to Mina’s mouth, whispering, “I don’t know what to say.”
“Say your story isn’t over yet, that it really does go on and on and on and on—” Mina brought Tara’s left arm up to kiss the phoenix-winged butterfly. “—and you’re always going to live on the breath of a hope.” She lifted the right arm up to kiss the spaceman. “Promise me you’ll always keep fighting.”
Tara’s face creased with the force of the emotion swelling within her. Taking another salty kiss from Mina’s lips, she vowed, “I swear it. I swear it to you, Mina, I swear it!”
NOT THE END