The dead guys' cellphones had proved quite useful. From them, Sam and Bobby had gleaned a good amount of information, including the exact whereabouts of Smith's Pharmacy, in the small town of Phillipsburg. They also found its opening hours and, most importantly, a phone number for the man they wanted to speak to; Doctor Smith.
They considered calling him but then changed their minds, deciding that a personal visit would have far more impact; an unannounced personal visit, no less.
The two men made the drive over to Phillipsburg without incident, and it was early afternoon by the time Sam pulled the Impala into a cosy little parking lot behind a ramshackle parade of shops.
There, on the eastern end of the parade was a particularly decrepit store. Its sun-faded awning read 'SMIT 'S, giving Bobby and Sam enough to be able to guess that this was the place they were looking for.
"It's a goddamn dump," mumbled Sam, adjusting his tie as he strode alongside Bobby.
Bobby shrugged; "Dean mentioned that it looked old; maybe Smith wants to cultivate this image of the harmless little old local pharmacist." He paused in silent thought for a moment; "plus, that cloning lab can't be cheap to set up and run." Bobby glanced across at Sam; "what d'y bet he's ploughing all the funds into that facility?"
"Not for much longer," growled Sam as they pushed the flaking wood-framed door open.
If they were expecting to find a man old enough to be the father of one of the goons who paid them a visit the previous evening, they were more than a little surprised to find a young woman behind the counter, vacantly chewing gum as she scanned the pages of a magazine with an expression of measured tedium.
Casting a brief glance at each other, they stepped forward to close the distance between themselves and the counter, opening their FBI badges as they did so.
"Hi," the young woman smiled brightly.
"Hello there," Bobby smiled in response; "Agents Richards and Moon, FBI, we're looking for a Doctor Smith."
The woman's eyes widened in shock; "oh, I'm sorry he's not here at the moment; what's wrong?"
"Uh, nothing to worry about," Sam interjected; "we just need to speak to him about a young man who we believe came in here for a clinical trial a few weeks ago."
"Oh," the young woman's eyes glimmered with excitement at the thought of some juicy gossip; "yes, I remember him, he was real cute," she paused briefly, her mind processing the agents' request; "is there a problem?"
"Not at all," replied Sam pleasantly; "it's just that we’d like to speak to this man in connection with a few reported felonies around the county and we'd just like to speak to Doctor Smith as well, to further our investigation."
"Oh," her face fell slightly; "what a shame – he was very charming; I processed his urine sample. He didn't seem the type to get into trouble."
Sam suppressed a snigger, he could almost hear Bobby rolling his eyes behind him. It took a special kind of man to charm the woman who's dipping a litmus stick in a jar of his pee.
"I'm sorry agents, like I said, Doctor Smith isn't working here at the moment," she sighed; "he's got some family – uh – stuff, going on."
Bobby and Sam swapped glances; "family stuff?" Bobby asked as casually as he could manage.
"Yes," she responded, leaning over the counter toward them; "apparently his son and his nephew went camping - or something - and although he was expecting them back yesterday, they haven't come back or even got in touch yet." Her voice dropped to a whisper, revelling in the drama of the situation; "isn't that scary?"
Sam cleared his throat, and schooled his face into a sympathetic frown. "Yes, shame, uh, real shame."
He paused for a length of time that he deemed to be respectful before continuing; "would you know where the results of that man's trial are filed?"
She shook her head glumly, "I'm sorry, I don't really get very involved in that side of Doctor Smith's work, I only work here three days a week while I'm doing my pharmacology degree."
"Has he told you anything that you think might be useful to us?"
She popped a pink bubble as she thought, eventually shaking her head; "Doctor Smith is a very private man," he shrugged apologetically; "he's a bit of a cold fish, really, doesn't talk much at all."
Bobby suppressed a disappointed sigh; "well, thank you miss; here's my card, call me if you think of anything."
Sam nodded a silent goodbye and turned abruptly on his heel alongside Bobby when a voice stopped them.
They turned back.
"I don't know how relevant it is, but when he does talk, Doctor Smith has mentioned a place – a town I think – called Kensington. He seems to spend a lot of time there, especially since the trial. Maybe he's got an apartment or some kind of office there, the trial information could be there I guess.
"Thank you," Sam replied enthusiastically; "that's very helpful."
"I don't suppose you'd have an address," Bobby prompted.
She shook her head; "sorry!"
They thanked her effusively and strode out of the store, with a renewed sense of purpose.
"Bobby, when I went to the police department to get Dean, uh, Jimmy, they said they'd picked him up in a diner in Kensington.
Bobby nodded; "yeah?"
"When you think Jimmy ran from the lab to the diner, he couldn't have gone too far.
"So, our friend Smith's secret hidey-hole in Kensington has gotta be the lab," Bobby grinned.
Sam nodded, "no doubt about it."
Both men climbed into the Impala and Sam floored the accelerator.
His nausea and disorientation a sudden memory, Dean half-rolled half-fell off the couch as Jimmy's knees gave way beneath him, and he crumpled into Tom's arms.
Clambering to unco-ordinated feet, Dean watched in helpless horror as Tom gripped Jimmy's barely-conscious form under the arms, holding him at a level where he could look directly into his face.
"Hey son, c'mon, it's okay, everything's gonna be alright" Tom muttered helplessly, as much to reassure himself as anyone else.
Between them, Dean and Tom lifted Jimmy up onto the couch, recently vacated by Dean, and gently laid him out flat. Clucking around measuring Jimmy's pulse, temperature and anything else he could think of, Tom desperately looked for clues, some idea – any idea - of what might be wrong. As he worked, Dean spread a blanket he had found folded in the corner over the shivering clone.
"Tom, Dean ..." Jimmy whimpered from between bloody lips that didn't seem to know how to move; "wha's happ'nin?"
"Just rest, don't speak; let us do the worrying." The crack in Tom's voice belied the frantic concern that was lurking behind the words.
"Tom's right," Dean added, giving Jimmy's shoulder a reassuring squeeze; "nothing bad's gonna happen to you while we're around." He looked up at Tom for encouragement; "ain't that right Tom?"
Tom swallowed hard, trying to force a nod as he looked at the pure, unwavering trust swimming in Jimmy's frightened, glazed eyes.
The words had tumbled out of Dean's mouth with the best intentions but without thought, and now Tom had to find a way to make those words into truth.
Dean couldn't deny that the image of his double lying there looking so frail and colourless was disturbing in the extreme, and he found himself reaching across to pull a paper towel from the dispenser on the wall and gently wiping the smear of foamy blood from Jimmy's face, just to distract himself.
"Dammit," hissed Tom; untangling his stethoscope with shaking fingers; "I hoped Sam and Bobby would be back before anything like this happened. I've got nothing to go on," he whispered under his breath, glancing desperately at Dean; "I literally have no freakin' idea."
Jimmy blinked; his tear-filled eyes, stripped of their usual excited sparkle, darted haphazardly between the two men standing over him.
"Don' send me back there …" he whispered; "please."
"No," Dean replied sternly, looking deep into Jimmy’s fading green gaze, "you'll never go back there, Jimmy, do you understand me? All four of us, Tom, me, and Sam and Bobby, we'd die before we let those bastards anywhere near you."
A ghost of a smile crossed Jimmy's pallid face; "than' you." He let out a shuddering breath as his eyes closed permanently and his head lolled limply to one side.
Tom shook his head frantically, and glanced at Dean, their faces frozen into matching masks of heartbreak as his shaking hand guided the stethoscope under Jimmy's blue tee.
"No, no, NO!" Tom cried; "his breathing, it's so shallow, his heartbeat, his pulse; it's all growing weaker, it's like his whole body's breaking down."
He scraped a despairing hand over the thinning hair at his crown; "It’s the faulty DNA integrity they were talking about. Dean, I don't know what to …"
He paused momentarily, brow deeply furrowed in thought as he glanced imperceptibly across at Dean, then down to the unconscious figure between them.
"What?" Dean snapped.
Tom released the breath he was holding, and shook his head, seemingly gathering his thoughts. "Uh, I can – um, yeah - can give him an adrenaline shot, it might help."
Dean reached across and grabbed the doctor's hand. "Tom," he barked, "you had something on your mind a moment ago; what was it?"
"No," Tom shook his head, aiming for sincere honesty and failing miserably; "it-it was nothing."
"DAMMIT TOM!" Dean's eyes, manic with desperate grief, pleaded with the older man. "You're a goddamn crappy liar. We haven't got time for this."
"It was just - just something I read about," Tom sighed; "an old druidic healing incantation. I've never seen it used, don't know anyone who has."
The two men paused, looking down at Jimmy's still body, his chest barely flickering with the feeble breaths that were barely keeping him alive; his parchment-white face marred by another thin trickle of blood.
"Okay," Dean snapped; "talk to me."
Tom shook his head; "no Dean, it doesn't matter; it's too dangerous."
"Dangerous?" Dean spat; "does it matter? He can't be much worse off than he is now. If there's even a small chance it could work …"
"It's not him I'd be worried about, Dean," Tom interrupted sharply.
"The one who would be in danger – is you."