"Conversations 7: The Best Parts" by Ridley C. James

Beta: Tidia

Author's Note: Well, because even though I loved the episode [Episode 4.18: "The Monster at the End of This Book"], the great Carver Edlund didn’t have the entire story. ;-) Since the writers of Supernatural made fun of themselves, I decided to do a little of the same. grin. And the timing was perfect for a little road trip I had been planning for the boys. My very close sources tell me that today’s opening game in Boston may be rained out, but in my world, or fic world, it’s a sunny sixty for Dean and the Sox’s sake anyway. Thanks to Tidia for working on this during the weekend and for Tara who gave me the thumbs up after her read through.

Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.

~Nathaniel Hawthorne

“I can’t believe I’m not in here.”

Dean looked up from his notes. He pulled his baseball hat lower to shade his eyes. Despite having skimmed the entire collection on their drive to Boston, Damien still had his nose in one of the Supernatural books. He sounded just as indignant as he had after the first read through. “Dude, you’re in there.”

“Like for one paragraph.” Caleb turned the book so Dean could see, jabbing his finger to the dog-eared edge of the paper. “And it’s not even accurate. I didn’t die.”

“I think the point is that we thought you did.” He and Caleb had snagged a table by the window at Boston Beer Works. He could see The Green Monster across the street. It was warm for April, cloudless blue sky and in the sixties. Dean focused on the feel of the sun on his shoulders to keep his mind from traveling to the unpleasant recent events. “Chuck just didn’t elaborate on the punch line.”

“Elaborate my ass.” Caleb returned to his reading. “He forgot about me all together. It’s like I haven’t been around when any of this shit took place. Even that skank, Bella has chapters. Chapters, Deuce. How is it possible to tell the Winchester saga without me?”

“It's a mystery.” Sam had theories. One being that the books focused on their family’s linear involvement with the Yellow-Eyed Demon to the exclusion of everything else in their lives. The other was that Chuck was a purist at heart and just didn't like messing with the brother dynamic.

“It’s like the Stephen King version of your life. Edlund left out all the good stuff, the things that really make you and Sammy who you are.”

Dean tapped his paper attempting, not for the first time, to change the subject. He didn’t want to spend any more of their weekend road trip thinking about the past hunt. He’d been looking forward to this for months. They rarely had down time, something Dean vowed to change after returning from Hell. He wasn’t about to waste it. “What do you think of Albert Pujols?”

“Who?” Caleb scanned the page of the book again. “Is he in here, too?”

“Dude.” Dean sighed. His best friend was being uncooperative. He reached across the table and smacked Caleb on the side of the head. “Focus. Pujols. First baseman. St. Louis Cardinals.”

Caleb glared at him, but made the effort to at least look at some of Dean’s scribbling. “Sounds good.” He put down ‘Devil’s Trap’ and picked up one of the later Supernatural books. “You’re the manager - it’s your call.”

“I told you if you were going to be my assistant you had to keep your head in the game. The season’s basically won or lost in the draft.”

“So you explained on the drive here.”

It was muttered distractedly and Dean looked around for their waitress. The pungent smell of hops had him wanting another beer. He hoped the giant nachos they ordered would offer Caleb a distraction. He kicked his friend under the table. “Hey. First base is probably the second deepest position we have to cover. I mean generally you’d have to sacrifice batting average, but with Pujols that’s not the case. He’s a first baseman after my own heart.” Dean pulled the book down from in front of Damien’s face. “There’s always Ryan Howard, but I bet that bastard Ethan will be all over him.”

“E’s not here. Eli either.” Caleb’s frown stayed in place, his mind obviously a million miles from their first string picks. “There’s no mention of The Brotherhood in any of these fucking books, no explanation of your ring. No Mac, no farm, not one dog. Pastor Jim only shows up for his death scene and Josh gets a tiny shout out during Faith for saving your neck. It’s wrong, Duece. Wrong.”

Dean snorted. “So you explained on the drive here.” Dean felt exposed enough as it was. He didn’t mind that good old Chuck’s tales didn’t intersect with The Brotherhood. It kept it sacred, private and safe. Caleb didn’t see it that way.

“Like I told you before, Chuck’s going on prophetic dreams. You, better than anyone, know what visions are like. It’s the abridged version, Damien.”


Dean propped his elbows on the table determined not to let his good mood be ruined. The trip to the Sox opening game of the season against Tampa Bay was supposed to be a diversion, a weekend escape from the Apocalypse. Tomorrow’s game, besides being a high in and of itself, was also giving Dean a chance to scout for the upcoming draft. They were meeting up with Ethan, Riley and Bradley afterwards at The House of Blues. Alison was going to call in her dream roster. There might even be time to catch the Tuesday game before heading back to New York. “I could always ring the guy up. Maybe ask if he can do an online AU, make you an OC.”

“A what?”

“Alternate Universe. Original Character.” Dean worked hard to keep a straight face. “Concept is the same, but the author tosses in some other people to play off the stars of the show.”

“Are you serious?”

“Hell yeah.” Sometimes Damien was too easy. “You should see some of the shit they do on the internet. People take it serious, get cut throat even.”

Caleb smirked. “Sort of like Fantasy Baseball?”

“Don’t disrespect the sport, Dude.” If someone had told Dean a year ago he would be obsessed with a virtual game that really had more to do with math than it did actual baseball, he would have punched them. It had been Mac’s idea, a way for Dean to focus his energy to escape the scars Hell left without lying on Freud’s couch. When Dean started receiving e-mail alerts updating player injuries, Sam said Mac had created a monster. The doctor was a genius.

“In my mind, this crap is the AU.” Caleb tossed Carver Edlund’s masterpiece on the table between them. “I don’t want to be an OC or whatever you call it. Good old Cas might as well have been cast in my role of best friend.”

“Don’t get crazy, Damien. We all know you’re no angel.”

“According to Chuck I’m worm food. Prophet or not, there are some huge missing scenes in this masterpiece.” Caleb shoved the books away, picking up his pilsner. “Screw him.”

“Are you sure?” Dean grinned. “I might talk him into giving Josh his own chronicles.”

“Josh? If anyone deserves to add his two cents it’s me.” Caleb put his beer down, bringing a finger to his chest. “I’ve been in Winchester servitude for decades. When I think about all the shit I’ve been through with you two and not even a mention…”

“Okay, how about we set you up with a series? ‘Chatting with Caleb’?” Dean was laughing now. “Rap-time with Reava? Dishing with Damien?”

“Shut up.” Caleb growled, flipping him the bird. “You and your brother Fabio suck.”

The mention of Sam had Dean’s humor fading, recalling the one thing he had avoided talking about yesterday during their drive up. Last night the Black Thorn Bar had provided plenty of distraction from talk of business. Dean wished he could shove the thought to the back of his mind where he’d left it since leaving Sam with Mac in Manhattan the day before.

Their server gave him another slight reprieve as she dropped off the nachos plus a second round of drinks. She promised the fish and chips were on the way before picking up the table across from them. Dean leaned forward, unable to wrestle the pink elephant back into its box. “So, speaking of our usual conversations, are you sure there wasn’t anything my best friend meant to tell me a couple of weeks back?”

Caleb picked up a golden chip laden with jalapeños and dripping with queso. He glanced at Dean with eyes slightly narrowed in a telltale move that let Dean know he was being read. “What exactly is that arched eyebrow of yours supposed to have me confessing, Deuce?”

“As if you didn’t know.” Dean pulled the salsa closer to him, sliding the guacamole over to Caleb. He casually dunked a chip. “Sammy’s big showdown with Alistair ring a bell?”

Caleb took his time chewing. “Didn’t think it was my story to tell.” He wiped his hands on his jeans taking the guacamole. He pushed the sour cream towards Dean. “I figured the runt would get around to telling you in his own time.”

“Because Sammy is so open and forthright these days.” The change in subject did what Caleb’s preoccupation with Chuck Shirley’s books had not. Dean felt some of the lightness since being on the road slip away from him. The shadows of doubt crept back into place. “Cas filled me in on the details.” It was all the secrets that bothered Dean the most from his father, Mac, Jim, and now Sammy. Too many unknowns had come back to bite them in the ass. Caleb should have understood that.

“Sorry.” Caleb swallowed, took a long drink. “I know it's not good when you don't know what the hell is going on with him.”

“Do you?”

“Do I what?”

“Know what the hell is going on with him?”

“I know he’s getting stronger.” Caleb took a deep breath, let it out slowly. “Offing a demon of Alistair’s rank has to take some major psychic skill and he can block me now. That’s not novice ability either.”

“But he’s not strong enough to take out Lilith.” Dean had explained about the surprise ending to the latest chapter in the saga that was their lives.

“Yet,” Caleb said.

Dean was thinking the same thing. There was no doubt in his mind that Sam was planning to go farther with his abilities. His brother’s vow to destroy Lilith was a serious one. It left Dean with little hope of discouraging the inevitable. Skipping the baseball road trip to hang out and work on Scholarly stuff with Mac was a roundabout way for Sam to say he’d be pulling nightly study sessions with Ruby. Mac wasn’t wise to the freaky tutor/student affair. It would be easy for Sam to enjoy some of the Manhattan nightlife without the doctor being any the wiser. “Just a few months ago he still had his psychic training wheels on having a hard time reading people. Does that make any fucking sense to you?”

“Not really.” Damien used a nacho to shovel a pile of black beans over to Dean’s side of the plate. “Projecting, telekinesis, whatever the hell he’s using is beyond me, man.”

“Was it beyond what you could do with Noah Seaver’s amulet?” Dean wasn’t trying to be an ass. The question was a legitimate one.

Caleb dropped the chip, leaning back in his seat with a kicked puppy look. “I told you we destroyed that necklace. There’s no way Sammy could…”

Dean cut him off. “I’m not saying Sam has the pendant.”

“Then what are you saying? That I’m holding something back?”

Dean licked his lips, wishing he hadn’t even broached the subject. “That maybe Ruby has something similar.”

Caleb seemed to shrug off the slight. “It’s possible. Sam gave Ruby credit for the leap in the learning curve, rolling with the old story that she wants to help us. He went so far as to ask if I wanted to sign on for her advanced training.”

“Are you kidding me?”

Caleb propped his elbows on the table. “Maybe I should have taken him up on it, gotten the inside scoop from Ruby herself.”

“No.” Dean’s stomach twisted, the effect having nothing to do with the spicy food. “Stay away from her, Dude.”

Caleb shrugged. ”It could be that she’s able to teach him things that I’m not privy to. I mean, I got my instruction mainly from Mac and Missouri and…”

“They weren’t demons.”

“Right.” Caleb held his gaze. “I don’t know what Ruby could show me, but I know when I was using that amulet…Man, it was like stepping up my game to a level I didn’t even know I was capable of.”

“Not knowing what Sam is capable of is what scares the shit out of me.”

“Maybe all we can do is trust him to do the right thing. Maybe he’ll open up to Dad this weekend.”

Dean shook his head. “Not now. Not the way he’s been acting. It’s like she’s put some sort of spell on him, gotten under his skin so he values her because she has been redeeming herself to him.”

"Josh isn’t buying the reformed act. I’m not either."

“Then we’re on the same page.” Dean smirked, scooping up the black beans that Caleb had banished to his side of the plate. “Now about the draft…”

“For the love of money.” Caleb pointed at him. “And don’t think I don’t realize that is why you asked me to be in on your little fantasy team, tell me what you want me to do.”

“I want you to make sure I get the first picks for pitcher, short stop and catcher.”

“You realize Ethan plans on taking the pennant and the pot. He wants to not only win, but shame The Godfather.”

Dean grinned, rubbing his hands together. They would all offer up a couple of C-notes to be in the league. Whoever had the most points at the end of the season got to keep the windfall. Ethan had been bragging for weeks, texting Dean smack as soon as the spring training stats started rolling in. “I think you can keep that from happening.”

“So you’re calling in Luca Brasi on this one?” Caleb took another gulp of beer. “You know the Corleone saga wouldn’t have been the same without all the ‘minor’ characters. Right?”

Dean refused to be drawn back into talk of the books or work. “I think you can do him a favor and get me what I want without putting his horse to bed with him.”

“Damn, Deuce it would be easier if I bought you your own fucking real team. I can’t afford a piece of the Sox action, but we could look at smaller organizations. Cullen’s always wanted to own a team.”

Dean laughed, appreciating the lengths his friend would go for him. “Ethan has it bad for Heidi.”

Caleb set his drink down. “Not my car. He got her involved in some kind of drug raid last time. I’m not going to tell you what I found under the front seat, but it could have got me ten to fifteen in the joint.”

“Just a few weeks. You’ll never miss her.” Caleb had no interest in baseball. He was completely vested in Dean’s ‘recovery process’ as Mac called it. It was underhanded; however Dean was using his power for good. “It’ll give you a chance to blow the dust off Dad’s truck.”

Caleb reclaimed the nachos, pulling them to his side of the table. “You’ll still have Bradley and Riley to contend with.”

“Are you kidding me? They haven’t gotten their rings yet.”

“There’s Eli. Don’t discount the mathlete in a game of numbers.”

“Eli might know the stats, but he’s got that goody-goody disposition that just cries underdog. He’ll fall for the rookie hopefuls, the sleepers. I spent years in the dugout. I’m jaded in all the right ways.”

“Alison won’t fall for that shit.”

Mac’s militant researcher was the wild card. “I tried to get Josh to shake her down for me. He’s still pissed about the dog. But Carolyn is willing to go the extra mile.”

“You’re obsessed, Dude. You have no right talking about the fans of Supernatural.”

Dean rolled his eyes at Caleb’s one-track mind. “Get Melissa Stark and Erin Andrews to cover our draft in person and I’ll make sure you have your own fan gathering, Damien. Maybe even a RPG.” In Dean’s opinion the hot female sports reporters needed to cover more baseball. They could put the ‘F’ in his fantasy league anytime. “Flash some cash. Work your title as Manhattan’s most eligible bachelor.”

“The Mansion wasn’t enough? Heff’s twins ringing a bell for you?” Caleb pointed a chip at Dean. “You professed your undying gratitude to me. You said you would owe me forever. How soon they forget…”

Dean laughed. “You’re right. I am pushing my luck.”

“You are.” Caleb sighed. “But we both know I’m going to do it.”

“Really?” Dean perked up. “Erin and Melissa?”

“Screw over Ethan all in the name of brotherhood.”

Caleb’s concession heralded the arrival of their lunch. The promise of deep fried perfection and the prospect of another round of beer putting an end to Dean’s scheming. Damien beat him to the ketchup so Dean grabbed the tartar sauce.

“I was thinking after we were done here, we’d swing by Fenway,” Caleb said. “We have to pick up the tickets Cullen scored us and I hear they do those cheesy tours of the ballpark like every hour on the hour.” He glanced at Dean. “Sounds like something a lame-ass fanatic of the Red Sox Nation might enjoy.”

“Dude?” Dean mumbled around a mouth of hush puppy. “You serious?”

“Why not?” Caleb shrugged. “We have time to kill.”

“That would be…” Dean caught himself before he said awesome. He swallowed, cleared his throat. “Good.”

Caleb uncapped the ketchup with a knowing grin. “Good.”

Dean watched his best friend drown his food in the red condiment, realizing that maybe Damien had a point about the books. “Damien, about Carver Edlund?”

Caleb placed the ketchup back on the table between them. “Yeah?”

“You were right.” Dean slid the tartar sauce into Damien’s reach. “He really did leave out some of the best parts.”

The End

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