A Christmas Miracle
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or Dean or Sam. Please don't sue me. I am not profiting from this story.
Author's Note: Sorry it has been so long since my last story. December has been BUSY!
"DEAN!" Sam cried as he fell through the rotten floor boards to the basement below. He heard his brother scream his name just before he made contact with the concrete floor. He landed flat on his back and for a moment he couldn't even breathe the pain was so intense.
"SAM!" Dean shouted again and quickly shone the flashlight on Sam from above. "Sammy, talk to me!"
Dean stared in terror at his brother below. Sam's eyes were open and he was blinking, but he wasn't talking or moving.
"Sam, don't try and move. I'm gonna find a way down. Just stay right there!"
Sam didn't have the strength to tell Dean that moving was out of the question at the moment. At least he was finally able to draw in some shallow breaths. Without moving his head he began to look around the basement. It was incredibly dark down here without his flashlight which must have rolled out of his hand and was still upstairs.
Strange noises were coming from the corners of the room he was in. It sounded like rats scampering around. 'Sorry to crash your Christmas party,' Sam thought to himself since it was still too difficult to breath, let alone talk yet.
'Dean is coming,' he told himself. 'Dean is coming.'
Dean tore through the house looking for the stairway down. He opened doors and found plenty of closets but no stairs. Then, in the kitchen he finally found what he needed. There was a trap door in the floor. He pulled on the rusted ring handle and the warped door lifted up and crashed down on the other side sending up a huge cloud of dust.
Dean shined his light on the stairs before him. They were steep and narrow but they looked pretty much in tact. Dean took a tentative step down praying the ancient wood would hold his weight. Once he was sure the steps were safe he hurried down them to the cellar below.
"Sam!" he called. He waited for an answer but didn't get one. He started to search the area but Sam wasn't there. He moved quickly around boxes and cast off furniture. Then he spotted a door on the far wall and took off running for it.
He noticed the door had a metal bar that dropped into two slots, literally barricading it shut. Dean took note of it but he didn't have time to really focus on the detail. He had to find Sam. He lifted the metal bar and pulled the door back. The room was pitch black but when Dean shined his light inside there was his baby brother still lying in the floor on top of a pile of rubble.
"Sammy!" Dean gasped.
"Dean," Sam whispered and rose up his hand to reach out for his brother.
Dean clasped Sam's hand in his own and immediately started checking out Sam for injuries.
"Where does it hurt?" Dean asked.
"My back," Sam ground out. "I can barely move."
Dean was terrified for a moment. "Sam, can you feel your toes?" Dean prayed his little brother wasn't suddenly paralyzed.
"Yeah, unfortunately I can feel everything," Sam groaned.
"Okay, I need to roll you over so I can see what your back looks like. I don't want to take a chance of making you sit up yet." Dean shrugged off his coat and laid it down next to Sam's head so when he rolled him over Sam's face wouldn't be lying on the dirty floor.
Dean was as gentle as he could be but still Sam couldn't stop the small moan that escaped his mouth. Once Dean lifted Sam's shirt it was easy to see what had happened. When Sam fell he landed on a jagged board and the board had punctured into Sam's back.
'Oh fuck,' Dean thought to himself but was careful not to voice his worry out loud. Sam's back was a mess of cuts and scrapes but one wound in particular was really nasty. Towards his side was a gash at least four inches long and about an inch deep and it was bleeding profusely at the moment.
"How bad?" Sam asked.
"Let's just say you won't be entering any dance contests for a while," Dean said as casually as he possibly could. "You did a number on your back, but it's not by your spine, which is good, and the wound doesn't look deep enough to have hit your kidney or anything. Still, I need to get you out of here, now."
"What about the ghost?" Sam asked though clenched teeth.
"She'll have to wait for another day," Dean answered.
Now Sam knew it was bad. Dean didn't abandon a hunt unless something was seriously wrong. Sam had begged Dean earlier to skip the hunt tonight. It was Christmas Eve and Sam had wanted to simply walk up and down Main Street and enjoy the carolers but Dean had insisted on not wasting time on nonsense.
"I'm going to try and help you stand up," Dean told him. "It's going to hurt…a lot."
"Okay," Sam replied. Dean helped him to sit up and they waited a moment for Sam to catch his breath before Dean finally pulled him up to his feet.
Sam was biting his lip so hard to keep from crying out that he suddenly tasted blood in his mouth from where he bit through.
"Okay, we'll take it nice and slow," Dean said. He wrapped an arm around Sam and pulled Sam's arm over his shoulder. He used his free hand to hold the flashlight. Both boys paused when the light fell on the wall of the room.
Slowly, Dean moved the light revealing one grisly sight after another. Skeletons were chained to the wall, a total for seven. By their smaller size they were either women or children.
"Dear god," Sam gasped.
Dean snapped out of the trance he had fallen into and readjusted his hold on Sam. "There's nothing to do for them now. Let's go." His primary goal was to get Sam out of that cellar.
"You need to burn the remains," Sam said quietly.
"I will, tomorrow," Dean replied.
Sam shuffled his feet slowly but surely and little by little with Dean's help they made it to the stairs that would lead back to the kitchen.
"Dean, I don't know if I can climb those," Sam mumbled.
"I'll help you," Dean said as a matter of fact. "Just take it one step at a time."
In the end Sam would raise his foot to the next step, but Dean would have to haul him up before they would repeat the process again.
Dean had never been so grateful when they finally cleared the last step and headed for the door out.
The sun was already gone even though it was only six o'clock. They needed to get out of there before the freaks that haunted the place woke up. There was no way they could do battle tonight.
Dean helped Sam to make it to the car. He opened the door and Sam sat down on the edge of the seat.
"Don't move, I'm gonna get the first aid kit," Dean told him.
He rummaged through the trunk and grabbed the white box. He hurried back to Sam's side and helped him lift his shirt.
"Sam, I don't have time to clean this properly. There are splinters in there that needs to come out but we have to get out of here. I'm gonna disinfect and wrap."
Sam clenched his jaw and nodded. He knew perfectly well was disinfect meant. He dug his fingers into his knees and prepared for what was coming next. Dean took the lid off the bottle of alcohol and gave Sam's shoulder a squeeze before he tipped the bottle over and poured the burning liquid over Sam's mangled flesh.
Sam was in so much pain that he literally started hyperventilating and passed out a few seconds later. Dean caught him as he fell forward into his arms. Dean held him for a moment hoping Sam would come too. He soon realized that Sam wasn't going to wake up and positioned Sam into the front seat but not before placing a towel over the back of the chair to protect the seat from getting covered in blood.
He placed a hand on Sam's forehead and saw that Sam was feverish and clammy, but that was to be expected. He was probably suffering from a bit of shock. He collected the baby blanket from the trunk and wrapped Sam up in it. He actually smiled for a moment at the thought of the blanket. It wasn't really a baby blanket, but that's how he thought of it. The blanket was as old as Sam was and had seen better days. Sam had even suggested replacing it a few months ago but Dean had refused. This blanket had been used to keep Sam warm on a many a night while he and his father hunted and Sam slept safely in the back seat.
Once Sam was tucked into the front seat and Dean placed his seat belt on him he threw the first aid kit in the back seat and hurried around to the driver's side. He climbed in the car and floored it out of the driveway, a spray of dirt and gravel shooting behind the car as he pulled on to the road.
Dean drove back to the small bay harbor town and parked the car in front of a small store that was all lit up and decorated for Christmas. He ignored the lights and the green pine boughs hanging from every lamp post and traffic light. He pulled out his wallet and found thirty-two dollars in it. Shit! That wasn't anywhere near enough to rent a motel room in this place.
He reached into Sam's pocket and pulled out his wallet. The action caused Sam to stir and roll his head to his side so he could face Dean. He watched as Dean opened his wallet and pulled out the three singles that was tucked in it.
"Sam, do you have any more money?" Dean asked.
"No," Sam replied.
Dean sighed. Okay, they would just have to sleep in the car tonight. He looked at the dash and cursed silently under his breath. The car was almost on empty. There was no way Sam could sleep in a freezing car tonight. His body was already hurt and he was suffering the effects of shock. The cold and the blood loss would present a real danger to Sam.
Dean's stomach rumbled but he ignored it. He knew Sam was just as hungry as he was. All they had had for breakfast this morning was a doughnut and a cup of coffee and they had skipped lunch to save money.
"Dean, it's okay," Sam said. "We'll just sleep in the car. We've done it before."
"It's too cold to sleep in the car," Dean spat. He was angry, but not at Sam. He was angry at the entire situation. Sam was hurt…again…reminding him that he had failed once more to protect his baby brother. They were cold, hungry, and at the moment, without shelter. Yep, life was pretty much fucked.
"I'm sorry," Sam said. This was his fault. "I should have paid more attention to where I was walking. I should have known the floor wouldn't hold."
"Sam, I had just walked over the very spot you stepped on a moment earlier. It looked solid. It wasn't your fault."
Dean started the car and drove to the gas station at the corner of the block. He put four dollars worth of gas into the tank. He spent another three dollars on Sam to get him a can of coke and a deli sub from the cooler. He didn't get anything for himself. With Sam being hurt he needed it more. He still needed to stitch up Sam's back and remove any splinters still embedded in his flesh.
Dean ran a shaky hand through his hair as he tried to hold the worry at bay. Once more he wished his father was there to help. He needed his father desperately, tonight more than ever. It was Christmas for crying out loud. Couldn't the Winchesters catch a break just once? Did the cosmos or the powers that be really hate them that much?
"Suck it up," he told himself stubbornly. He didn't have time to stand there and wallow in pity or self doubt. Sam needed him. He was in charge now. Dad wouldn't want him to fall apart.
He needed a plan. First, he needed to find a place for Sammy to rest and be warm. Second, they needed money. Then he would be able to get a motel and take care of Sammy's back. He was halfway to the car with Sam's food when he stopped and went back into the gas station.
"Hey, is there a shelter around here somewhere?"
"Yeah," the attendant said. "Go down five blocks to Willis and turn right. It's about four miles further and you'll come to St. Bart's. It's not in the best neighborhood but that's the only shelter I know of."
"Thanks," Dean replied and jogged back to the car. Inside Sam had fallen back to sleep but jerked awake when Dean pulled the door shut. He cracked open the coke and held it up to Sam's lips. Sam took a long drink of the cold liquid.
"I got you a sandwich," Dean said. He pulled the wrapper off and handed it to Sam.
"Where's yours?" Sam asked.
"I ate inside," Dean lied. Sam didn't buy it for a minute. He pushed the sandwich back to Dean.
"You need this," Sam said.
"Damn it, Sam. You're hurt and you're going to get sick if you don't eat."
"We share it or I don't eat," Sam insisted, even though he was starving.
Dean frowned and let out a pissed off sigh of frustration. He ripped the small sub in half and passed the larger piece to Sam. Finally his brother took the food and started to eat. Sam kept an eye on Dean to make sure he ate his piece. It wasn't much but it was better than nothing.
"I found a place for you to sleep. There's a church shelter not to far from here." Dean started the engine and drove down to Willis St. and turned. They stopped at a light and Dean watched as a family across the street was arriving at what looked to be the grandparents house. People in the house ran out side and women were hugging as men pulled out large wrapped packages from the back of an SUV.
The house was decorated outside as well as inside. Dean could see the living room through the large picture window and through the open front door. He could imagine the food that was probably cooking in the kitchen and the children that were huddled around the Christmas tree. Dean had had that type of Christmas once, long, long ago. Sammy on the other hand had never experienced the scene that was unfolding in front of him.
There had never been a giant tree for Sam, or a pile of presents wrapped in shiny paper with bows. He had never sat at a table surrounded by cousins and aunts and uncles with a giant turkey in the middle. It wasn't fair. Sam shouldn't have to spend his Christmas like this. But then, Sam had begged him not to go on a hunt tonight. Why had he been so insistent that they go to the house tonight and battle the ghosts inside? When exactly had Dean started to grow more like their father?
Actually, Dean knew the answer to that one. It was the day Sam left for Stanford. Sam had been the thing that reminded Dean that there was good and innocence in the world, and Sam had kept Dean from going to the dark side, but then he left, and there was nothing to keep Dean from finally building that wall around his heart. Dad had only encouraged Dean to build the wall higher and thicker until even the return of Sammy couldn't fully penetrate it anymore.
Dean continued to sit at the traffic light, even though it had changed from red to green several times. The family was now inside the house but he could still see them through the picture window and the smiles on their faces were like a knife cutting into his heart. He felt a longing so deep, so powerful that it scared him. All his life he had said he never wanted to be normal, but at that moment he wanted nothing more than to grab Sammy and go knock on that door and beg the family inside to let them in, to let them belong somewhere.
A horn honking behind them caused Dean to flinch and pulled himself from his daze and continued on towards the shelter glancing now and then at the twinkling lights that graced the houses he passed. As he drove further and further away from Main Street the area grew less opulent. The pretty town houses and large family homes gave way to smaller houses with the shades drawn and then to houses that would be called fixer uppers.
He crossed a street called Harbor Bend and then the area suddenly became down right slummy. Two bums were standing on the corner with a bottle they passed back and forth. The buildings and apartment complexes were old and run down, some windows were covered with plywood. Dean felt hesitant to leave Sam alone in a place like this but he really didn't have any other choice.
A couple of streets further and Dean found St. Bart's. He parked his car and prayed no one tried to steal it while he was inside.
"Sam, wake up bro." He gave him a gentle shake on his shoulder.
Sam opened his eyes and attempted to stretch out his muscles but gasped at the pain movement caused.
"Come on, we need to get you inside," Dean coaxed. He got out of the car and hurried to Sam's side and helped him to stand up.
Sam took a moment to look around and shuddered. "Dean, are you sure we're safe here?"
"It'll be okay. I'll make sure you have a gun with you while I'm gone."
"Gone?" Sam jerked. "You're leaving?"
"Just for a little while," Dean explained. "I'm going to run to the bar and see if I can get us some more money."
"Let me come with you," Sam begged. He didn't want to be left in this scary place by himself.
"I already told you, it's too cold for you to sleep in the car. You'll have a bed and heat here." Dean was half carrying Sam inside the building, not because Sam was injured but because Sam was resisting being led inside.
Inside the door sat a large man wearing a security guard uniform. "The two of you?" he asked.
"Actually, just one," Dean said. "I'm not staying."
"What's wrong with him?"
"Oh, he had a few too many, ya know…Christmas and all."
The guard just shrugged. "Fine, there are a few beds at the end. If he needs to throw up the bathroom is also in back and to the right."
"Thanks," Dean said and helped Sam down the long corridor of beds. They both looked at the men who were lying in those beds. Some were old and frail, but many were large and burly looking. They passed two men who were fighting over a five dollar bill that had landed on the floor.
Dean tried to pretend that the smell of urine wasn't there. He tried to believe that Sam would be just fine here for a few hours. He tried to pretend that he didn't feel Sam trembling next to him as he continued to pull him along.
Finally they reached an empty bed and Sam stared at it. It was dirty and lumpy looking. A paper thin pillow sat at the top and an even thinner blanket was rolled up at the bottom. A few feet away was the bathroom and they could hear someone inside retching. The sound made Dean want to gag.
"Dean, please don't leave me here," Sam begged again. "Don't leave."
Dean sat Sam down on the dirty mattress and slid the gun into the back of his pants and pulled his coat down to hide it.
"Sam, I promise it'll only be for a few hours. Once I win some money I'll be back and I'll take you somewhere better."
Sam's eyes were glistening with moisture as he accepted the fact that he was indeed going to be left here…hurt and alone and hungry…on Christmas Eve no less.
"Just lie down and go to sleep," Dean pleaded. "If you're asleep the time will fly by before you even know it." He lifted Sam's legs off the floor and pushed him back gently so that he was laying flat.
"If I sleep I'll dream," Sam said, sounding very much likethe small child Dean remembered from years ago.
Dean closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Sam was not making this any easier, but then Dean would be damned if he wanted to be left here by himself either, especially if he was in the condition Sammy was currently in.
"Then don't sleep. Just close your eyes and relax, okay?" Dean unrolled the blanket and draped it over his baby brother.
Sam finally nodded his head. Dean was about to stand up and leave but Sam's hand shot out and grabbed Dean's arm. Dean looked back at Sam.
"A couple of hours?"
"That's right; I'll be back in a couple of hours."
Dean forced a smile. "I will, and you too." He ruffled Sam's hairbefore standing up and hurrying out of the church back to the car. He had to get out of there. He couldn't believe he had just left Sam in that rat hole, but what choice did he have? He jumped into the driver's seat and pulled himself together. Okay, he needed to find a bar. Even on Christmas Eve the bars would still be open.
He decided to go back to the middle class neighborhood he had passed through to find a place to gamble. If he found a bar near here there was a good chance he would be shot if he got caught cheating.
It didn't take long to find a local tavern and he parked the car. He counted his money once again. He had twenty-eight dollars. He would need to win a few hands right off the bat. If he lost the money he had they would really be screwed.
Inside there wasn't anyone playing poker, but there were several pool tables with games in full swing. Perfect. Usually he would lose on purpose to sucker someone into bigger and bigger bets but tonight he decided to just win out right and make a quick buck. Then he could hop to another joint and try for a better hustle.
He walked up to a table where two men were playing. "Mind if I join?" Dean asked.
"We're playing for money," the blond guy said. He looked to be about Sam's age, maybe a college kid.
"Perfect," Dean smiled.
"Put your twenty on the table," the kid said.
Dean laid the bill down and picked up a stick. Ten minutes later he was twenty dollars richer. After that he played the kid's friend and was another twenty dollars richer.
"Another game?" Dean asked.
"Nah, I think we've had enough," the blond kid replied, pouting much the way Sam did at times.
'Okay, well thanks for the game," Dean said. He stuffed the money in his pocket and headed for the door. As he stepped outside he noticed that a block down was another bar. Perfect.
He left the car where it was and walked down the street and entered the new place. This bar was a bit skuzzier than the last. There was a large group of bikers at the pool table. Dean decided to avoid the Hell's Angels but smiled when he saw a poker game going on at a table in the corner.
He sauntered over to the table. "Is this a private game or can anyone join?"
"Piss off," came a reply from an older man who was clearly drunk.
"Hey, sorry, I meant no offense," Dean said as he pulled sixty dollars from his pocket. "I simply wanted to play."
"What the hell," another player said. "If you want to lose your money I'll be more than happy to take it."
"Cool," Dean said and had a seat.
"Hey, Martha, get this lad a beer, will ya?" the friendly gambler yelled.
The cards were dealt and Dean lost twenty dollars in the first round. His luck improved with the second round, for which he was grateful since he had put in his entire forty. He won the hand and suddenly had $200.00. He would have loved to have gotten up and left right then and there but he knew that would look bad. He'd need to play at least three or four more hands. He'd just make sure to fold if the hands were less than perfect.
Three hands later he was down to $185, having lost five from placing a bet each time. The next hand however he decided to go for it when he was dealt three aces. He raised the bet several times and soon there was several more hundred dollars in the pot. It took every bit of control Dean had when he got his two new cards and was given two eights to go with his three aces.
Dean's winning hand was met with several curses as he scooped up his winnings and bid his fellow gamblers good night. He didn't count his money, one never counted the money at the table, but he guessed he had almost four hundred dollars. He shoved most of the money into his pocket but palmed the rest in his hand. He bent down to tie his shoe and in the process shoved several twenties inside of it. It was an old trick his father had taught him. He then tied the other shoe and again slipped several more bills into that shoe.
It was time to go and collect Sam and get him a real place to stay for the night, and get him some real food.
Dean was half way back to the car when he heard the footsteps coming up behind him. He turned and prepared to fight but was caught off guard when he saw three of the bikers from the pool table standing there.
"Hand over the money and we won't kill you," one of them said.
"No way," Dean said.
"Fine, we do this the hard way," another said and cracked his knuckles loudly.
The fight was a sight to see. Dean had managed to hold his own for several minutes, breaking one's nose and cracking another's jaw, but then the three managed to get the upper hand Dean took a blow to the head that knocked him to the ground. He lay there face down in the snow and he felt them rifling through his pockets but he was too dazed to stop it.
"I got it," one called and they walked away from Dean and just left him there.
Slowly Dean pulled himself to his knees and shoved his hand in his pocket. The money he had had in there was gone. Fuck! At least he had the little bit he had hidden in his shoes. It wasn't much, but it would get Sam into a motel.
Dean made it to the car and locked the doors. He drove down a few streets and then pulled over. He took the money out of his shoes and counted it. He still had a hundred dollars. It was more than he thought he had.
He looked at his watch. It was now going on nine o'clock. He drove back to St. Bart's and hurried inside. Once more he was greeted by the security guard and the obnoxious odor that permeated the place. He hurried past the beds to where he left Sam but something was wrong when he got there. The bed that he had left Sam in was empty.