Dean was enraged and back to his full strength now, a formidable sight in front of the old hunter.
"What the hell do you mean it might not be that easy?" He asked and Evan blinked as if Dean were just some annoying gnat in his way rather then the angry Winchester that was something to be feared.
"What I mean is, you've been dead for a while, son, I pulled you out because I felt bad, but getting back up and going back might just be too hard." Dean squinted at the old man and determined that he was probably speaking from experience, but it didn't matter.
"Nothing is too hard if it means I get to see my brother again." Dean said and he marched towards the door. Evan smiled at Dean and shook his head,
"You are just like your father" he said and that stopped Dean in his tracks. "He just won't give up either, won't call it a day. Hell, he won't call it a lifetime, there is no way I could coax him to leave his boys when it was his time, it must be a family trait." Dean wanted to turn around and sit across from Evan again, wondering what power this old coon hunter had that Dean was unaware of. How he had the ability to pull people in and out of the current of life so easily, a skill that could take hundreds of years for a demon to learn. Dean narrowed his eyes once more, a demon he thought feeling his coat pockets for any weapons that he might have with him, anything that might aid him on his way out. "I'm not evil" Evan said interrupting Dean's thoughts. That's what they all say. "I work for the good guys, I promise" he said and Dean tilted his head up to look at the man who was standing in front of him now. "You just have to trust me, I'm not perfect, but I'm on your side." Dean found it hard to believe what the old man was saying but when he looked into his eyes there was no evil there, just warmth and hope, two things that had been snuffed out in Dean a long time ago. Well, snuffed out in regards to everything but Sammy.
"I-I have to go" Dean said twisting the doorknob of the little cave-like house and stepping out into the air. Evan was right, it was hard. Every cell in his body screamed out to crawl back into the darkness that they had been accustomed to, but Dean forced them back into the light and trudged on, what felt like miles was actually four steps and Dean realized that it was going to be a lot harder without a car.
"Hey!" A woman's voice called out to Dean when he had managed to take ten steps into the world, his body aching to be back in the house with Evan, but he refused it and looked up.
"Cora?" He squinted through the sun light and managed to see a blue Corvette waiting outside for him.
"You need any help?" It was Collins who was asking and Dean felt a pang of pure white hope run through him at the sight of the other man who was thought to be dead.
"No, I can walk this one" Dean said finding newfound strength in his legs he took the next ten steps with a lot less difficulty and was soon in the back seat of the car, severely proud of himself. "How'd you know where I was?" He asked and Cora waved a silver cell phone in his direction,
"I got a call from this old man, Evan. He said you were at his house….I don't know how he got my number though." Dean didn't want to think about it, he just wanted to see Sam.
"Can we go to the hospital now?" He asked and Cora smiled revving the engine and turning around.
"Forty-five, forty-six, forty-seven" Sam had counted all of the ceiling tiles twice and was now triple checking his work as boredom ate away at his skull. Every second felt like a minute, a minute like an hour, and hour like a day…and it had been god knows how many days. He could feel the footsteps outside of his door, waiting for the confident swagger that he needed to hear approaching but none came, and he waited. "Seventy-one, seventy-two, seventy-three" and then he heard what he thought were the right footsteps coming ever closer. His breath got caught in his throat and he quickly lost count. The footsteps stopped and Sam's heart cried out for his door to open, but his lips remained pressed tightly together as he waited. The doorknob turned and Sam prayed to anything that would listen to not have it be the old nurse who asked him everyday if he'd like a sponge bath. He shuddered at the thought as the door opened and in popped the one person he had been waiting to see.
"Dean!" He said a grin spreading across his face as his older brother walked in, looking a little battered but alive.
"Hey Sammy" he said his voice coming dangerously close to choked up territory. He walked over to his brother's bed slowly as if he wasn't sure if the floor could support him now with the new weight he carried on his shoulders. He reached his brother's bed and smiled, "you ready to get out of here?"
They were an odd foursome standing in the parking lot of the hospital, no one knew quite what it was they were supposed to say as they lined up to say their goodbyes. Dean had been a little wary about getting back in the Impala but he figured that the crazy mojo surrounding it would have worn off, plus he couldn't stay mad at his baby. Sam was looking fine, no worse for his stint in pre-purgatory, and Collins actually looked better, purer somehow. Cora was standing across from Dean and she looked like she hadn't slept in years, Dean gave her a quick hug and nodded, no verbal goodbye but he told her, in his way that everything was going to be alright. Collins stood across from Sam and they shook hands, the only two people to ever share an experience like theirs, and they would probably never see each other again.
"Take care of yourself, Sam" Collins said and Sam smiled ant him,
"You too Drake" And then they switched, Collins shook Dean's hand and the eldest brother actually smiled,
"You know, you're alright Collins" he said and Drake grinned,
"You're not so bad yourself, Dean" he said and he knew he had made a powerful ally, if you help save his brother; you've got Dean on your side for life. Once Cora and Sam had said their goodbye the two pairs of siblings got into their respective cars and waved to each other one last time before turning in opposite directions down the highway.
The car was emerged in a comfortable silence, but a fidgety Sam just had to break it,
"Dean" he said softly and Dean looked over at his brother, "how?" Dean didn't need an explanation he just sighed and shifted in his seat.
"Evan" he said and Sam raised his eyebrows but didn't look too surprised,
"But how….I mean, how could we….just how?" He asked and suddenly an image of five year old Sam flashed in front of his eyes, the one that wouldn't stop asking questions, and he was so glad. But he wasn't nine anymore, he didn't need to have all the answers, Sam would understand, and Sam would still feel as safe as he ever has, which, when he thought about it, wasn't much.
"I don't know" he said with a small sigh not wanting to look at his brother yet, not until he accepted things, he didn't think that he'd ever uttered those three words together to his little brother and he didn't catch the impact that they had on his previously porcelain face.
"That's okay" Sam said sinking down in the passenger's seat and looking out the window, "just drive." Dean smiled and nodded revving the engine and continuing on, "Hey Dean?" Sam said in a small voice.
"Thanks" Sam said a little sheepishly, "you are the only person I know who would take two trucks in the face for me…and, I want you to know how much that means to me."
Dean raised his eyebrows and twisted around to look at his little brother,
"How did you –"
"Cora told me" Sam said interrupting and Dean looked down, nodding a silent
You're welcome. "Here" he said taking out the necklace from his pocket and
handing it to Dean.
"Thanks…I mean; well…it's just…." Sam laughed and cut off his brother in the middle of his sentimental moment,
"I know, man….I love you too." Dean's startled face looked over at his brother like he had just been sucker punched.
"Wha- dude…I…" Dean heaved a heavy side and his shoulders looked like they had deflated a little, his façade falling away from him in one foul swoop, "good to hear." The silence fell over them again and Dean was supremely glad, unfortunately Sam wasn't quite done yet.
"oh and Dean, are you okay driving now…I mean after all this, we could…I dunno, walk?" Sam asked with a small smile threatening to cross his face.
"Trust me, Sammy, I'm good" Dean said pushing the gas a little harder the dashes on the road leaping up at them in a flicker of yellow.
"Good" Sam said "please, just try not to crash."