Hi, I'm M. I finally after much resisting decided that the call of the Supernatural was too much for me to resist. Not new to writing fanfiction, just to the Brothers. I write for Third Watch (NBC) exclusively for Bosco, some other shows but mostly those are posted on a private website and almost always only if asked to do something other than Bosco/Third Watch. I was asked to do this by one of the Sistas of the 500 Gang's website. I love her lots so I agreed, besides, these boys are so much darn fun, who could say no?
One note here, and I'm very serious. I do not do Slash for siblings, don't do incest, won't do incest. This story and any other I may ever do for Supernatural will never contain incest, if you 'think' you see it trust me its all in your imagination, not mine. I do write Slash, love it in fact, but not for siblings or blood relatives, ever. Just wanted to make that clear before the speculation could start or anyone could possibly ask for it. Thanks for understanding, because this story does contain much love, love between brothers who have been through a lot together and know they need each other to survive the kind of life they've had thrust upon them. The kind of love we all should strive for with our brothers and sisters and often don't.
Here's to Dean and Sammy, lets hope they have a long run together chasing down the 'bad things'.
Now, on with the Storytime: I usually do chapters but this story wasn't long enough for that, so its all in one shot, beginning to ending.
Tag story for:Faith
Takes place one year after the ending of 'Faith'
Place: New Iberia, Louisiana
don't own them, don't want to, just want to play with them and put them away slightly damaged. grins
Dedicated to my 500 GangSisters, Angy, Jana and our Newest Sister Chris
Of Faith and Angels
by Malinda4242 (M)
Sometimes you need more than a Miracle...you need Faith
"How are you feeling," Sam worriedly glanced over at Dean who having just woken from another nap was sitting up rubbing his eyes as he tried to find his bearings, "you know we should stop at one of these towns and let a Doc look at you, you might be getting the flu or something." He'd been driving now for four hours straight and wanted to do more than get his brother looked at, he was starving and in serious need of a bathroom stop. Checking the sign they were coming upon Sammy saw 'New Iberia, Sugar Capital of the World' written in white on a green background, some kind of white bird flying over the same kind of tall 'grass' they'd been passing since they crossed the Mississippi after getting through New Orleans. "Hey, that looks interesting, think its a decent size town?"
Yawning, Dean gave him a derisive look before shaking his head, "Sam, it says the population is sixty thousand, yea, I'd say its decent sized. I don't need a Doc, you just want to eat, again." But he was feeling a bit off lately, nothing specific just not his usual self and he could use a bathroom his own self, but nothing to eat his stomach was still not right from the food they'd eaten before they left Florida. "Ok, ok," he responded to the look of panic in Sam's eyes, "but not for long, ok? We have to get to Houston before dark," at the grin that instantly swept over Sam's face he warned, "I mean it Sam, we're not 'exploring', ok?"
"Sure, sure, whatever," Sam smirked as he pulled onto the side road making the right hand turn that would take them to the town's center. He had to chuckle, "What is it with these small towns and no imagination with street names? Center Street?" His mood had improved tenfold just knowing he was about to get out of this car and away from Metallica for a while.
Another roll of his eyes as Dean commented wryly, "Gloating is a sin Sammy." But his mood was lifting at the idea of stretching his legs some too.
"No, gluttony is a sin, gloating is um, well, nevermind, its not a sin, I know that much," Sam smirked over at him. "Hey, look, one of those fried chicken places, Popeyes, you like them, right, want to use their restroom?"
"Oh subtle," Dean had to laugh, "and since we're already here..."
"Hey," Sam acted surprised as he pulled into the parking lot and wheeled the car into a spot, "you're getting really good at reading minds, you know that?"
"Yea, whatever," Dean shook his head as he opened his door to get out, "just hurry it up will you, its already after One."
Finding the table that Dean had chosen in the busy resturant, Sam set the tray down and began dividing up the food and drinks, "Ok, spicy for me, and you're sure you only wanted mashed potatoes, this chicken smells really good. And I still say you should see a Doc before we leave town." While he was a bit worried, Sammy was more concerned at the moment with diving into his food, taking a bit of the spicy thigh he moaned quietly in contentment, "man I'm starving." Chewing then swallowing quickly, he picked up his soda and sucked the straw into his mouth to take a long drink, swallowing he cleared his throat, "wow, I don't remember it being so hot when we ate it in Indiana!"
Dean grinned as he stirred his gravy into the potatoes, but didn't take a bite, "It probably wasn't Sammy, this is Louisiana, remember? Where they started Popeyes?"
"Oh yea, right," Sam's eyes were watering and a light sheen of sweat glistened on his forehead but he dug into the moist yet fiery fowl again, "damn, its hot as hell but its good. You don't know what you're missing!"
"Not a big fan of hot foods, remember? I always get the mild, you're the fire freak little brother," he frowned a bit before sliding from the booth, "be right back, my stomachs still acting up, that alligator on a stick is messing with me again." Without waiting for Sam to respond Dean took off for the bathroom, leaving Sam to stare after him worriedly.
Staring into the mirror, Dean wiped his forehead and mouth with the brown paper towel he'd pulled from the roll on the sink, his stomach was flipping out on him, but he fought it as he hated puking more than anything. "Damn, I feel like shit," his voice was ragged even to his ears, suddenly a blinding pain hit right behind his left eye making him grip the sides of the sink as he bent over with a sharp cry, "Oh GOD..." Dean's knees nearly buckled under him but he hung on, being found in a heap on the men's bathroom floor was not on his top one hundred list. Quickly he turned on the tap, running cool refreshing water over his fingers then cupped his palm under the icy liquid before splashing a palms full across his face. Shaking as the pain left as suddenly as it had hit, he found the lights in the bathroom were too bright to do more than squint into the mirror in front of him. Wiping his face again he steadied his hands by clenching them together just as the bathroom door opened and another man entered. Giving Dean a glance and a courteous nod he headed to a stall, Dean nodded back and dropping the towel into the trash can decided he better get back before Sam came looking for him. The last thing he needed was more Mother Henning from his baby brother. It made him crazy when Sam decided that he needed looking after. Dean prided himself on being the older brother, the one who did the taking care of, he didn't let go of that job lightly or easily.
"Hey, I was just about to go looking to see if you fell in," Sam tried to retain a light mood, he knew that Dean had about reached his limit of 'mothering' and seeing his pale face as he came back to the table, Sam decided not to push it.
"Almost," Dean tried to joke as he slid back into the booth's seat, "my stomach's settled down," he realized it was true, he almost felt hungry now, taking a bite of the potatoes he grinned, "damn I love this stuff, um, pass me the salt will you?"
"Sure," Sam seemed relieved as he saw Dean digging into his food again, "here you go," he did notice that Dean seemed to be squinting a lot unless he was looking down, he'd barely been able to open his eyes when he'd looked up to ask for the salt. Sam kept his counsel, at least for now. Whatever was bothering Dean could keep until they'd finished eating, but then he was taking him to a Doctor no matter what his big brother tried to pull to get out of it.
Once they were back in the car and had driven down Center Street further into the town, which both men discovered was in fact a city although spread out in a sprawling manner they noticed some odd things about the area.
"Sure have lots of parks here," Dean observed, "check that one out," he pointed to the left as they sat at a red-light on one of the side streets Sam had insisted they explore, "sure like statues don't they, and what's that warehouse looking building?"
Unable to resist, Sammy instantly came back with, "A warehouse?" He snickered when Dean reached over pretending to hit him, "Dean, the sign on the side of the building says its a warehouse! Sugar Cane storage to be exact, oh and check it out Bro, they have a festival here, Hey, its this weekend, starts today," giving Dean one of his innocent big eyed gazes, "can we, huh, huh, can we go to the festival?"
"Forget about it," Dean grumbled, he squinted again but until Sam pulled up into the parking lot next to the building he could barely make out the wording in the bright winter sunlight, "damn I need to get some new sunglasses, glares giving me a headache."
Startled Sam looked over, commenting carefully, "Dean its cloudy, what glare?" Seeing his brothers rapid blinking and eye rubbing he added, "is something wrong with your eyes, I noticed you were squinting back at the resturant, it was kind of dark in there and you acted like it was sunny."
Covering quickly, Dean shrugged it off, "Naa, must just be tired still, my eyes always give me trouble when I don't get enough sleep." He began getting out of the car, "Hey, check out the picture painted on the building, all that tall 'grass' we've been seeing must be what Sugar Cane is, huh?"
Following behind him, Sammy gave a slight nod, "Yea, looks like it, hey wonder if we'll get to see them making Sugar!" He ignored Dean's look of disgust at his less than subtle way of asking to stay for the weekend, they didn't 'have' to be in Houston today, Dean was just obsessed with making as much mileage in one day as he possibly could. As for Sam, he was eyeing up the past winners of the Sugar Cane Queen Pageant and with a grin, rocking back on his heels he commented, "Wow, looks like bikini's might be on the horizon! Oh yea, we're staying!"
"Bikini's?" Dean scoffed, "In December? Right, keep dreaming bro." But inside he was finding himself more and more reluctant to get back on the road, his head was hurting again although his stomach was behaving for the time being, maybe Sam was right, maybe they could stay just one night.
"Its Louisiana, Dean," Sammy turned to him in triumph recognizing his brothers expression of caving in, "its warm, its suppose to be clear and sunny tomorrow, which is when the contest takes place, AND," he grinned broader as he pointed toward a group of women heading toward the building, "those look to me like the contestants, oh yea, I'm staying."
Making the rapid head move so as not to miss out on the approaching beauties, Dean gave a sharp cry just as his legs gave out on him. His hands clutching his temples, eyes watering as the blinding headache hit again, he barely heard Sammy's panicked voice shouting his name before everything went black as night.
"Dean, DEAN," Sammy yelled as he hurriedly took the two long strides to his brothers side, catching him just as his hip hit the ground Sam lowered him onto his back, "Dean, what the hell...Dean answer me, what's wrong?" Seeing that Dean was unconscious and unable to answer him, Sammy looked up frantically to see the women halted in shock and staring at them. "Help me, somebody, please, call an ambulance, my brothers sick!"
Surrounded suddenly by several of the women, Sammy pleaded again for help, one of the young women pulled her cell phone from her purse, "Its ok, Mister, I'm calling someone, what happened to him?" Her soft southern accent sounding soothing to his ears even with the anxious excitement she expressed as she quickly dialed 911.
"I don't know," Sam staring up at her responded, "he wasn't feeling good earlier, I just thought it was some bad food he ate."
"Bad food?" Another young woman exclaimed, "From one of OUR restaurants or," she spotted the out of state plates on the car they'd seen the two handsome men getting out of, "one of those roadside diners along I-10?"
"Oh Patrice, what the hell does that matter?" Another blonde piped up, "The poor man's sick stop asking his sweet worried brother such silly questions, you can get food poisoning from anywhere, remember how sick your Mama's cooking made the judges last year..."
"Mary Louise, you take that back, it was NOT my Mama's cooking, it was those bad eggs they made her use from your Uncles farm!" The first blonde raged at her.
Sam was sure they were going to start a hair pulling cat fight, and had Dean not been lying still and helpless in his lap just then, he would have enjoyed every second of the beauties arguing, but as it was, he was simply concerned now with how far the hospital was.
"Sugar, its going to be fine," the woman with the cell phone cut across the now strident arguing of the other two women, "don't you worry, New Iberia General is just a couple miles from here, and Acadian Ambulance will be here in two minutes, ignore these heifers fighting, they do this all the time, cousins."
"Thanks," Sam gave her a grateful but worried smile, "thanks for calling."
She squatted down in front of them, "Its ok Sugar, my Daddy does this all the time, has no tolerance for bad food, or pain."
Sam smirked a bit at that, "Yea, I know the feeling." He glanced down at Dean's pale and sweating face, reaching a hand up he brushed his fingers over Dean's short spiky hair, "Hang on bro, helps going to be here fast."
Sam was startled by a loud voice inserting itself into the little scene, commanding and strident, "Ok, Ok, ladies whatever is going on here? You are all suppose to be in rehearsal and I don't see any rehearsing going on, do you?" A large boned woman stepped into his sight as she parted the group like the red sea, "What's going on here, oh dear, what happened to him?" Before anyone could actually tell her, although several of the young women began talking at once, the dark hared woman spoke up loudly, her hands waving high in the air, "Never mind! Never mind! Everyone go on, go on, GIT! Shoo now, you girls get into that building and get dressed," she actually made shooing noises and movements as if they were cats or cattle, "I said GIT Mary Louise, and don't think I didn't hear you and Patrice Martin arguing again, you were warned already once that if you get into a fight on rehearsal day again like you did last year you aren't going to be allowed on stage tomorrow night, now move it!"
The group scattered like leaves, leaving Sam and Dean behind, the young woman with the phone standing and facing the older woman alone, "Mrs. LeBeouf, this young man fainted dead away, I called for Acadian to come help him." She glanced down at Sam, a small twinkle in her eyes as she added, "Perhaps I should stay? Just until they get here, I do have medical training..."
Huffing but the frown on her face not really reaching her eyes, Mrs. LeBeouf briskly nodded, "That's fine Mariel, but as soon as they get here, you come inside, we can't have this years winner missing the rehearsal now can we, it just isn't done."
"No mamn," Mariel smiled sweetly at her, as Sam tried to hide his own smirk, ducking his head he noticed Deans eyes fluttering, "and the winner's not been picked Mrs. LeBeouf so lets not get ahead of ourselves, its bad luck, remember?"
"Hump," Mrs. LeBeouf in obvious disagreement turned and headed back to the large building, "don't dawdle Mariel, as soon as they get here."
Sam was speaking quietly to Dean when Mariel turned back to them, "Hey, take it easy bro, helps coming, just stay still Dean, its going to be ok."
Dean moaned softly, his head pounding as his eyes slowly opened. A small cry erupted from him as he spotted the woman standing over him, but as his sight cleared the vision faded and a young brunette stood before him, beautiful and angelic looking but not the woman he'd seen when he first came to.
"Hey," Sam held on to him tightly, "take it easy," he worried that Dean would make a comment that would make her suspicious of them, but Dean quickly relaxed and catching his eye started to speak but seemed unable to. His mouth opening and closing only a groaning attempt emerged then his eyes fluttered again and he was once again unconscious. Sam was now really starting to panic, with the others gone he felt for the first time in a long time really alone and afraid. Dean's brush with death a year ago had made him even more aware of how fragile his family ties were. Blinking back a tear, he clutched his brother even more tightly, "Dean, Dean don't you dare, you hear me, helps coming..." the sounds of sirens rapidly approaching made him glance up to see a white and green ambulance bouncing up into the parking lot and heading their way fast, "look, look they're here, Dean, hang on ok?"
There was no answer as he glanced back down, then he felt a small pressure on his shoulder, looking up he saw Mariel's sympathetic expression, "I'm sure he'll be fine, don't you worry so much, ok?"
Sam wished he could be as optimistic as she seemed to be.
Sam paced as the Doctor examined Dean just beyond the curtain, his brother lying so still and silent just wasn't natural and it was to tell the truth getting on his nerves badly. Watching the shadow of the Doctor move around the bed, the soft voices of the nurses and others as they converged upon Dean's prone form again and again Sam was getting more nervous by the minute, finally just as he could take it no longer and began to walk with purpose around the curtains edge the Doctor emerged.
"Whoa, ok young fellow, take it easy," the Doctor put his hand on Sammy's arm briefly, "we don't know anything yet, its going to take a few tests which I've already ordered to find out what's wrong with your brother." Instead of allowing Sam to pass by him and see Dean he cupped his hand around Sam's triceps and turned him to lead him from the room. One anxious look back at the figure shrouded by the curtain and Sam followed the Doctor out into the hallway watching him now in expectation.
"What, why can't you tell anything now," even though he knew how hard it was to diagnose illness especially in someone you've never treated before he was still upset that they seemed as baffled by this as he was.
"Because," the Doctor shoved his hands down into his lab coats pockets before he sighed and continued, "for one he's unconscious and his vitals are all over the place, two we have no medical history on him, even you said you aren't sure what that history is. With the age difference its not unusual, you said you were in college for the past few years until a year ago, right? Has he had any illnesses that you do know of?" The Doctor knew more than he was saying but wanted as much unbiased information from Sammy as he could extract.
Shrugging in frustrated helplessness, Sam responded with equal resonance, "No, I mean he did have a heart condition a year ago, but it was..." he stopped as he realized this man would in no way believe anything else he could add to that besides, "well, I think they were wrong because when he was checked out later the Doc said he was fine. Other than that he hasn't even had a cold."
Now the Doctor was intrigued, "What made them think he had a heart condition Sam?" He waited patiently for an answer.
"He got shocked and they thought he had a heart attack," Sam blurted out before his nerve left him, "but later they decided they had been wrong, I'm not really sure of the details." His fudging the truth hurt him as it always did, but he had gotten really good at it over the past year and a half, better than Dean was that was for sure.
"I see," the Doctor nodded, more than a little doubtful that they'd found anything to begin with, heart attacks in twenty something's of Dean's good physical condition didn't just happen or go away, even with a shocking, "well, ok, lets get those tests run and then we'll talk more." He checked his watch, "I have a surgery in a few minutes, it won't be long, just repairing some broken stitches. I'll be in touch with the nurses down here the entire time so don't worry, if anything happens that I'm needed for," he glanced over at the desk where another Doctor was standing, "Doctor Wilson will take over, she's very competent, Dean will be in good hands until I get back. The cafeteria is down that way if you need something, and the nurses will point you in the right direction for anything else." He patted Sam on his arm, "take it easy Sam, I'm sure he'll be just fine."
Nodding as the Doctor walked off, Sam called out softly, "Thanks Doctor..." he hesitated as he realized he didn't even get the Doctor's name, even though he knew he'd told him earlier.
"McInnis," the man smiled back at him, "Michael McInnis, but you can call me Mc for short if you want, we're kind of informal around here." With the smile in place he stepped into the elevator and was gone.
Sam turned and went back into the room where Dean was lying, one of the nurses glanced up and smiled gently at him, "Hon you can come over here and sit with him if you want, until they come for him."
"Come for him," Sam was confused for a moment then realized that not all of the 'tests' would be done here in the room, "oh, sorry, I guess I'm kind of tired, been driving all day."
Moving around the bed, she adjusted the IV in Dean's arm, Sam noticed a slight wince on Dean's face as she did so, quickly moving to the bed he touched Dean on the shoulder, "Dean? Hey Bro, its ok, you're in a hospital, everything's going to be ok now."
Dean groaned quietly as he came back into consciousness, his head was splitting but the room was dim and he could open his eyes somewhat and not feel like he had to puke, "Wha," his voice was weak with the pain as he tried to ask what had happened, "Sam?"
"Yea, I'm right here Bro," Sam was so happy to see him awake he almost kissed him, Dean showed his 'mind reading ability' as he looked up to see him grinning over him.
"Don't even think about it Sam," he gave a look of pure disgust as he pushed half playfully at Sam's hand on his arm now, "you kiss me and I'm going to throw up for sure."
The nurse grinned at the joking as she moved over to Dean, "Well welcome back handsome, how are you feeling? I know this brother of yours has been about to climb the walls around here waiting for you to wake up." She held Dean's wrist in her hand as she checked his pulse even as she watched the monitor over the bed for his other vitals.
"Like my heads about to explode," Dean slowly answered her, "I can't open my eyes good, the lights killing me." The nurse nodded as she finished her count waiting for him to add to his symptoms, which of course he did, "I feel sick, like I might puke again."
At that Sam straightened up, giving the nurse a look that spoke his lack of knowledge about Dean's comment which she instantly asked about, "You threw up or you feel like you did?"
Realizing he was giving himself away, Dean blushed slightly and tried not to look over at Sam, "Well, I ate some bad alligator in Florida, you know, that 'on a stick' meat thing? I puked a few times in New Orleans when we were at a truck stop getting gas, but mostly its just a sick feeling."
"You never told me you got sick," Sam instantly jumped in, "Dean damn it I asked you..."
"Yea, Mother hen," Dean groused as he closed his eyes, "exactly." Leaving the nurse somewhat confused by their conversation.
"Well, ok then," she wrote on his chart quickly, "someone is coming in a few minutes to take you to get some tests run, a few x-rays and some blood work that they want to double check on, but they'll do that upstairs when they get the x-rays done." She checked the list again, "Doc Mc has you down for an MRI after the x-rays, wants to see if anything is going on in your noggin," she winked at Sam, "most often I think he just wants to see if there's anything at all inside to begin with."
Dean gave a coughing laugh that was cut short when he groaned against the pain, but Sam didn't think it was funny at all. Dean had scared the living shit out of him earlier and he was damn afraid of a repeat. He kept silent and just gave a polite smile before staring down at his brothers pale and sweating face again. Looking up at him before he closed his eyes, Dean without knowing it exposed his own fear to Sam. Lately there had been more than just their imagination going on when it came to Sam being able to 'read' people and it was getting strongest with Dean, they figured it was because they were together all the time and in a way he was using Dean as practice without even being conscious of it. Instead of saying anything Sam simply nodded and touched his brothers shoulder again in comfort, Dean closed his eyes at the touch visibly relaxing under it.
Several long hours later Dean was being placed into a semi private room on the sixth floor, the critical care ward for patients who weren't on vents but who needed monitoring around the clock. He'd been given pain medications and was asleep even as they moved him from the gurney he'd been on into the bed.
Sam stood watching with disbelief from a corner of the room, still not comprehending what Doc Mc had explained to them downstairs after he'd seen the test results and consulted with the radiologist and the neurologist that had been called at home to come to the hospital. Tears sparked his eyes, which he both blinked and swiped away in case Dean woke up and saw them. Sam realized his hands were shaking as he shoved them tightly against his side and clamped down with his arms over them to stop it.
Finishing up with Dean, the nurse from earlier turning saw Sam's pale and stricken face staring at his brother. Sympathy for him swept over her as she approached him, "Hun, why don't you go get something to eat, he'll be fine, he's asleep and we'll watch him good. You need your strength and some rest yourself." She hesitated a moment as Sam seemed lost in a fog before he glanced down at her, then added, "And a little Faith wouldn't hurt right now Sugar, it can do wonders." Patting him on the arm she turned and left the room, the other nurses already having gone on to other patients or their stations.
Staring a moment after her Sam turned his gaze back to Dean, he just couldn't put two and two together and come up with four this time. Faith? His brother was suddenly without warning dying from a malignant brain tumor that was attaching itself to his optic nerve, a tumor that had infiltrated nearly a full quarter of his brain without symptoms, was inoperable because to try to take it out would kill him and he needed a little Faith?
No, what he needed was a damn Miracle, and soon.
Staring at the cell phone in his hands, Sam again began to press in the numbers that he prayed would connect him to his Dad. Three tries and each time he'd hit the disconnect key before he heard his Fathers voice, three tries to tell him that Dean was dying and that this time there wasn't a demon or spirit or whatever else was out there waiting for them to kill to stop it. Sitting in the parking lot, in the passenger seat because to sit in the drivers seat was just too full of irony and heartache at the moment, Sam took in a shuddering sigh before hitting the disconnect button for the fourth time then dropped his head back against the headrest, hot tears rolling down his cheeks slipped from beneath tightly pressed lids to fall from his jawline onto his jacket sliding a short ways before being absorbed by the brown suede. He hadn't the strength or the energy to wipe them away, how could he tell Dad that Dean would be dead before he could even come to him? Before Sam could even reach him through the elaborate phone tag game they played with each other. A game that supposedly protected Dean and himself from whatever their Dad was after but in reality only left them blind when he was needed or needed them.
He startled, sitting up quickly now wiping his face on the inside of his jacket when a soft voice hesitantly asked, "Sam? Are you ok, um, how's your brother doing?" It was Mariel the woman from the Sugar Festival pageant, she was standing just on the other side of the car door looking at him expectantly but with real concern in her eyes.
Quickly standing up, Sam stepped away from the car and closed the door before facing her, clearing his throat he answered her carefully, "Not so good, they're keeping him here," he almost lied and told her 'tonight' but even he wasn't that good, he saw in her eyes that she already knew more than she was going to say unless he spoke of it first, 'smaller town than you thought bro' was his first thought as he continued, "not sure how long he's, um why are you here?" It was a rude question but he wasn't in the mood for flirting anymore.
She didn't seem offended, simply stating, "I came to check on you, see how he was and if there was anything I could do to help? Maybe offer a place to stay if you needed it, my Uncle," she was quick to add, "has a small apartment he keeps here in town for when he comes in for the weekends, its empty right now..." She moved closer to him, "Sam, look this is a small place despite what the population sign says, one of the nurses is my Sister's husbands Aunt, she told me about Dean. I'm so sorry."
Nodding but unable to look at her now, Sam simply shrugged, "Thanks, but I'm going to stay with him, um," he looked off to the side his voice choking up, "they don't know when, I mean they don't think..." he couldn't finish. A wracking sob tore through him and he found himself bending with the pain as he leaned against the cars side. Gentle arms wrapped themselves around him, carefully holding him as if he would break.
"I'm so sorry Sam," her soft words only making Sammy's grief more palatable not less, but somehow though she was a stranger he took comfort in her sincere efforts, "I wish I could help. You need to have Faith, Sam. That's all it takes sometimes, Faith that everything will be ok, somehow."
A scoffing laugh erupted from him, "Faith? Faith? Why does everyone keep saying that? I have Faith, Dean had Faith." Staring at her through bleary eyes he saw something inside her that startled him, it was there then gone in a split second, unsure what he'd seen he dismissed it as he continued angrily, "he didn't always you know. Have Faith, but then someone he met showed him what it was to really have it." Sighing heavily, "not that it matters now, she's dead, he's dying, Faith. I'll take a Miracle over Faith any day, no, no I'll take 'proof' over Faith any day."
"Proof?" Mariel asked in confusion, "Sam, I don't know what your Faith is, but mine says that you need Faith, not proof to believe. If you 'know' and believe then its not really trust is it? You have to trust that all of this will come out the way it should, that's Faith, and maybe the Miracle isn't your brother being cured but instead his believing and trusting that it will be ok, no matter what. Maybe you should trust too." She sounded so sure of her convictions that Sam almost relented in his anger, almost.
"I'll believe when my brother walks out of that hospital on his own two feet," Sam stood straight again as he moved away from the car and her, "and not wheeled out in a casket." Returning to the hospital he glanced back once to see her gone and a small car pulling out of the lot onto Center Street. He felt bad suddenly that he'd been rude, but for once he couldn't help his reactions.
"Sam," Dean's raspy voice woke him and sitting up in the uncomfortable chair Sam leaned forward to place his hand on Dean's, "I'm thirsty."
Instantly up, Sam reached for the small tan jug of water and poured a small amount into the cup on the table next to the bed then placed a straw into it before offering it to Dean. As he watched him weakly take a sip, Sam struggled for the right words and found none but, "You're going to beat this Dean, don't you give up on me."
His pain filled eyes connecting briefly with Sam's, Dean let go of the straw and swallowed before responding, "I don't think so this time little brother. I've been thinking about it," as Sam narrowed his eyes in concentration on understanding the softly spoken words that were barely above a whisper in sound Dean frowned as he spoke, "remember when we were trying to break the spell on the Reaper?" Sam nodded that he remembered afraid to interrupt in case he couldn't continue. "I didn't tell you then, I didn't think anything of it, that it mattered..." He closed his eyes in pain again, but continued to talk as Sam leaned closer in the darkened room, "at one point the Reaper, when Layla was being 'healed' by La Grange...he put his hand on me, it wasn't long you know, but maybe, maybe that's why she got all that extra time?"
Sam's eyes widened in shock, he'd known that Dean was being chased but not that the Reaper had touched him, "god Dean, why didn't you say something..." cutting himself off as Dean continued to talk Sam felt so angry suddenly, anger he knew was misplaced.
"I didn't think it was important," Dean worried, "it was only for a few seconds. Remember they told her she would be dead in a couple of months, but she lived almost eight more...you think I gave her that Sam?" He opened his eyes again and Sam was surprised to see a small glint of hope mixed with awe in them, "You think because he might have given me some of her cancer that she got that time with her Mom, Sam?"
Suddenly Sam was crying, his anger dissipating like vapor, gripping Dean's limp hand in his, he answered softly so as not to cause him pain, "I don't know Dean, could be?"
"I'd like to think she got that, you know, I mean if I got some of it, if it helped her," he smiled at Sam as if he didn't see the grief and tears, "then its ok, right, think that's what she meant when I said I was going to pray for her and she said my saying prayers for her was a miracle? My getting enough Faith for saying them when I didn't believe enough before to pray?"
He went quiet then, barely breathing to Sam's ears, panic quickly set in but then Sam realized he was sleeping again because the monitors remained quietly beeping, no alarms going off to state his brother was dying on him. Letting Dean's hand go, Sam stood up swiping at his face then without knowing where he was heading, left the room and the hospital. Before he knew it he was driving, the small city seemingly abandoned until he reached the area around the park they'd met Mariel and the other pageant women at. There it was crowded with cars and people all heading to the festival's fairgrounds. Loud music unfamiliar to his ears filled the night sky and Sam found himself parking then walking with the rest of the crowd toward the building in the center of the park. Wandering slowly he nodded to a few people he passed, offers of exotic looking foods waved off as he looked for something unnamed yet yearned for.
Rounding one of the aisles of booths he saw the stage for the pageant ahead, only instead of the expected competitions for the crown of Sugar Queen instead he saw a young woman standing alone on the stage. People clapping and talking loudly as they responded to something she'd said, his feet seemed to have a life of their own as Sam found himself not only among the crowd but quickly near the front until he saw to his surprise it was Mariel who was speaking. She wasn't looking his way, but Sam again saw something there that he'd only caught a split of a second earlier. She was glowing, not like in some of the movies he'd seen but as if she had some inner light that was shining through. For several long seconds it almost seemed as if she had both brunette and blonde hair, then suddenly she turned and saw him and the 'vision' was gone and she was just Mariel again. He knew he should be freaking out, knew there had to be a demon that was in her or around her, but somehow he felt peace instead of fear and loathing like he usually did when confronted like this with such visions.
Seeing him there, Mariel smiled at him for a moment, then turned her attentions to the crowd, "Today I met someone," she began, the crowd hushed as soon as she began speaking, "a stranger and his brother. They were just passing through when they saw the warehouse and decided I guess to check out the festival. But unfortunate circumstances met them," Sam heard a few worried sounds emerging from the crowd now, sounds she shushed as she continued, "I cannot speak of what happened, that's their private business, but I will ask that you, every one of you pray for them this night. I won't ask that you pray for a miracle, or a healing, I will ask that you pray for Faith, because its not the miracles, or the physical healing that bring us to where we need to be, its the Faith we have when we don't get them that takes us to our Lord and Savior. So friends, I ask for a prayer for Faith from you. Please, a private prayer now and when you get home, and any time you wake this night say a prayer for these two men." The crowd murmured among themselves quietly now, nodding in agreement but no one was shouting or fainting or any of the other things Sam was use to seeing at 'revivals'. Instead they were smiling and listening again as she went on speaking about someone else, much in the same way as she'd done about he and Dean. Sam stood entranced for what he realized later was nearly an hour as she changed again and again her pleas for prayer, sometimes one of the crowd would raise his or her hand and Mariel would nod and add them to the list. Nothing specific was ever said, but the sense of peace that fell upon the entire crowd was lasting even when she finished with a small prayer of thanksgiving for the 'Lord' having heard her and the others. Instead of the again usual shouts of praise and other demonstrations of 'faith' they moved off to continue enjoying the fair.
Sam also was about to move away when he again came face to face with her, "Hello Sam," this wasn't the same woman he'd met this afternoon, this woman was more mature and more, well just more somehow in a way he really couldn't fathom, "is Dean doing better?"
"Not really," Sam gave a small shrug, "he fell asleep and I kind of needed some fresh air. I just ended up here." He was looking for any sign of what he'd seen earlier but there was nothing, it was as if it had not happened and if she was aware of anything unusual she was good at keeping it to herself from what he could tell.
"I see," she smiled again at him, "hungry? I know a few booths with some really good Jambalaya and one with great boudin balls if you're game."
His stomach growled even though he had no idea what she was talking about, "Um, sure ok, when in Spain right?" She laughed lightly as she took his arm and began leading him around the fair, Sam couldn't help but ask, "Um, so are you some kind of faith healer or something?"
Another laugh, "No, I wish sometimes I was, no I just got the calling when I was a young girl, can't heal anyone but people hear what I have to say and many a soul has come to the Lord from hearing me. I really don't know why, its not like I have some special knowledge or words of wisdom, I just tell them..."
Jumping in right away, Sam regretted his words but couldn't stop them, "what they want to hear?" He blushed as he knew from having heard her that wasn't the case, he realized he was getting as jaded as Dean had been, was. A stricken look came over him as it hit him he's spoken in the past tense even if in his head.
Studying him but no anger on her face she replied calmly, "No, never, Sam. I never promise anyone anything, that's not my 'gift', I simply help them to find their way." She saw his expression of horror, "Are you lost Sam, or is Dean, or both of you? Have you lost your way?"
Right in front of his eyes she glowed again, her hair sparking gold for longer than a few seconds, he was sure everyone standing around them at the booth they'd stopped at could see it, but no one else reacted. Her light brown eyes shined dark blue at him as she stood waiting, then he saw them, wings, slowly fluttering behind her and a cool wind swept over his face, wings, she had freaking wings was his first thought. Sam was frozen as if time itself had stopped, the sound of the fair faded away in those long seconds. A beatific smile swept the face superimposed on hers and he heard his name spoken as if from a long distance away, "Faith Sam, you need to have Faith, we are with you always, you and your brother Dean have not been abandoned."
"Sam? Sam!" Mariel was gripping his arm as he broke from whatever spell he'd been under and looked down at her worried face, "Hey, are you ok? When was the last time you ate, Sam? Or slept?"
"Um, I ate right before we met you," he responded as if he were coming from a deep sleep, Sam felt hungry suddenly and yet the tiredness he'd felt was gone just as suddenly.
"Well no wonder you're spacing out on me," she laughed, "Sam its after ten, come on you need to try some of this roast pig, its really good." Turning to the vendor whom she called by name, she ordered two bowls of Jambalaya which looked to be a rice mixture of some kind and the pork, "Oh and two sodas Dad, my friend here hasn't eaten our food before and he hasn't had anything to eat since lunch." Sam startled as the man she called Dad grinned before handing over some of the food on a small platter.
"Is this the young man you were telling me about Mariel?" he asked with a smile to Sam, "I hear you're brother isn't doing very well? Don't you worry too much," he gave his daughter a glance, "Mariel seems to think he's going to be just fine, all you need is Faith."
Accepting the platter, Sam wryly commented, "yea that's what everyone keeps saying." Soon they had the food at a small table and while they ate it seemed that almost everyone who passed knew her and had to speak or say hello before they went on their way. Sam grew more and more intrigued with her until he glanced down at his watch and saw the time, "Oh man, its after midnight, I've got to get back to the hospital!" Standing up quickly he reached into his pocket, "how much was the food, I want to pay for it."
"No," she stood with him, "its ok, Sam, besides, I know the vendor remember?" Her smile was infectious, "I'm glad you're feeling better, Sam," she put her hand on his arm, "would you be offended if I came back with you? I'd like to say a prayer for Dean, if its ok that is?"
"I thought you didn't have to pray like that," Sam felt a small spark of suspicion.
"No, I said I don't 'have' to, I didn't say I couldn't," she cocked her head at him, "so, can I come or not?"
Despite everything he'd been taught about not trusting strangers who 'glowed' and had 'wings' Sam found himself agreeing to her coming, "Sure, ok, can't hurt right?" Then he grinned, "Have Faith will travel? So, do you drive or fly?"
She laughed as they tossed the remains of their meal into the trash bin, giving him a curious look, "Cute Sam, real cute, no I drive or walk. Last time I checked flying wasn't in my list of abilities, unless you consider flying with Southwest that is."
Floating. Odd, he felt as if he were floating above himself. It wasn't as if he could look down and see himself lying there, it wasn't like that, and the ceiling above him was a blurry dream his vision had deteriorated so badly so quickly. Dean somehow knew he was rapidly going blind, but the sensation was still there. Floating. He could hear voices surrounding him, make out shapes and even some colors but he really couldn't tell much else of what was happening.
Pain. His head was splitting open, it had to be. Had he fallen? Was that why he hurt so much? Was he shot? Did he and Sam get into something they couldn't get out of and he'd been shot in the head? His eye hurt so fucking much he couldn't stand it, he'd scream if he could catch his breath enough to do more than gasp for oxygen. Someone was shoving something on his face, 'Oh God, please, I don't want to die, please don't kill me...', just as he thought he was being attacked cool sweet air flowed into his nose and mouth, filling his lungs. Dean tried to relax, he had to be in a hospital, right? God please, make the pain stop! Someone was screaming, please help them, they're making my head hurt so much, please, please be quiet, please...
Sam. 'Where is Sam? Was he hurt, did he come with me, Sam, where are you? Does Dad know, Sam? Does he? Is he coming? Please, Sam tell Dad, tell him for me, ok?' Sam would be aright, 'Dad I watched over him, I tried Dad, please, don't be mad ok, Sam's ok, Dad. Dad? Dad where are you, are you ok, Dad I need you, Sam needs you...'
Walking into the hospital again, Mariel at his side this time, Sam worried that Dean had woken to find him gone. Briskly heading to the elevator he punched the button and waited anxiously for the doors to open, when they did he ushered Mariel in before him then stood at her side as the doors closed before hitting the Sixth floor.
"He'll be ok, Sam," Mariel touched his sleeve, "not matter what happens you have to believe that."
Nodding as he smiled down at her, trying to hide his worry and fear, Sam replied tensely, "Faith right? I just need to find Faith."
"Yes, you do," Mariel answered, not seeming to notice the sarcasm he inserted into his comments, "and when you do, you'll see, it will all be ok, no matter what." She sounded so sure of herself as he gazed on her that he was tempted to believe it himself. Swallowing his retort down, Sam gave a nervous sigh and found himself oddly grateful when she cautiously and gently took his hand in his as they waited for the elevator to reach Dean's floor. Glancing down at her, he was again startled to see soft white wings gently moving through the air, then with a small shake of his head as she glanced up again at him they were gone. A small frown on her face at his astonished expression she asked, "Sam, what's wrong?"
"Nothing," his attempt to reassure her sounding hollow even to himself, "nothing, just trying to find that Faith I guess."
Stepping out of the elevator he was shocked to see Doctors and nurses rushing in and out of Dean's room. "What, Oh god no," Sam raced the several feet down the hallway but was blocked in his attempt to enter the room when a strangled scream erupted from the room, "DEAN!"
"Son, no," a large man admonished him as he gently pushed him back, "you can't go in there, let the Doc and nurses work, I take it you're his brother?" He was holding Sam in a firm grip, preventing him from even seeing into the room, "Come on, Sam right? Step out of the way son, I'll try to explain what's going on."
"What, what happened, why is he screaming like that," Sam was beside himself with fear, Dean sounded like he was begging someone, he heard his name yelled among random and unintelligible ramblings then he heard Dean call for their Dad.
"Its the tumor," the man shoved him another few feet further away from the room, "its growing at an unbelievable pace, its pressing on his optic nerve, that's what's causing the pain. I'm sorry, but he's most likely blind now, at least in his right eye. They ran another MRI while you were gone and I've never seen anything like it, its half again as large as it was when he was brought in. At first I thought it was fluid building up, but now, now, well I have no explanation for this. If it continues..." he stopped at the stricken expression on Sam's face, simply adding, "I'm sorry, there's nothing we can do except try to keep him comfortable now."
Sam didn't need an explanation for 'why' he knew why, he needed something else, he needed a spell, or incantation or something that would make the reaper take back what he'd done to his brother. Only he had nothing. No hope. No...no Faith. Tears again sparked in his eyes as he came to that conclusion, he had nothing. In only a few hours he'd truly have nothing. Dean would be gone forever and he had no idea where his father was. Shock was written on his face now, hopelessness and grief shared its space. Sam could find nothing in his heart or mind that allowed for anything else.
Standing near him, Mariel saw this, it broke her heart to see anyone so broken but this man had somehow in only half a day gotten inside her like no other had. This was killing her, seeing him grieve for his brother like he was, giving up hope before he'd even prayed for him.
"Sam," she spoke softly to him, the man noticed her finally and smiling greeted her as if he knew her but seeing her expression he silenced himself and quietly stepped aside, "Sam, please," she turned to the man as the sounds in the room fell silent and the majority of the staff inside walked out. Looks of pity on their faces mingled with frustration at not being able to do more than what they could do, which wasn't much other than medicate the young man for pain, as much as the horrible disease would allow them to do anyway. "May I come in with you?"
Unable to speak, Sam simply nodded as he started forward to the room without waiting for her, or for the Doctor to tell him he could enter. As soon as he stepped inside he wished he could run, run and hide. Dean lay pale and soaked with sweat as a nurse carefully adjusted yet more lines of medication and oxygen that lay on the bed around him, Sam gave a strangled and instantly clamped down on sob as he approached the bed. Picking up Dean's hand as carefully as he could he stroked the back of his brothers hand with his thumb, "Hey," the words he wanted to speak died in his closed throat before they could be formed, nothing in his life had ever hurt as much as this did, nothing. Losing his fiancé was at the time the worst thing he'd ever thought 'could' happen, but this was so much worse. His left hand found his eyes as he bowed his head, covering them as a wracking sob tore from him in his grief. Mariel was instantly beside him, her hand on his arm, silent as she tried to lend him strength.
Dean heard his name being called, far away and faintly the voice repeated its call. He wanted to answer, needed to tell it something but he grew afraid and instead hid from it. He wasn't ready, he didn't want to answer it anymore, he wasn't ready for this, a mistake had been made, this wasn't how it was suppose to be. The voice grew louder, only a little bit but he could tell it was closer than it had been. He had to get away, before it was too late. He'd forgotten something, what was it...turning he looked behind him, it was back there, he had to go back and get it, what, what was he suppose to remember, what did he need to find...
As he stood feeling like everything he'd ever loved was gone, he finally called out to God, Sam reached out with his heart, his mind and everything in him and asked for help, help for himself and help for Dean. He wasn't 'sure' if anyone was even there to hear him, him who had told Dean just a year ago that he couldn't understand how he could believe in the bad things they hunted and doubt there were also good things out there. How had he gotten so far from that? What had changed in the last year to make him become the doubter? He knew in his heart, there were just so many bad things, so many things that had tried to take so many lives, including their own that he'd stopped believing, he'd stopped having...Faith. Instantly as he realized just what had happened to him, Sam felt a peace sweep over him, a peace like he'd never felt before. Opening his eyes he saw Dean looking at him, staring at him like he'd just found him. No, he wasn't, he was looking past Sam with the widest eyes he'd ever seen on his brother. Sam furrowed his brow in confusion at what Dean could be so in awe of, was he seeing something in his mind? The Doctor had said he was blind, was he not seeing anything, simply not aware he was staring?
Then he felt it, the cool breeze from before and Sam looking down at the small hand on his arm saw the glow and knew, he knew what Dean was staring at, he knew as if he'd always known but had refused to acknowledge.
Faith. How stupid could he be, he knew that Faith was an Angel of God, he knew she/he/it was sent to remind man that God existed and 'was' looking after them, after him and Dean. He knew that, how could he be so blind not to see?
His eyes locked on the vision before him, Dean felt the pain rise to unbearable heights even as the beautiful glowing angel standing next to Sam smiled and reached out to him, Faith. He didn't know how he knew her name, but he knew he knew it, Sam had done it, Sam had found Faith. He'd found her and he'd brought her here to him. Agony swept over his body as it convulsed then the room seemed to fill with the golden light she carried with her like a beautiful shroud and he cried out to her for help.
Sam felt and saw what Dean was going through, not in the way his brother was, but it tore into him as hard as anything he'd ever felt before. Dean's scream of agony brought him to his knees next to the bed and he felt Mariel's hand on his shoulder as he called out in his mind to God to stop his brother from dying. Mariel took his hand in hers and placed it on Dean's, "Sam, the gift is yours, it always was, you just had to find Faith to see it, to use it, to believe in it."
One moments confusion became more clear than the sharpest shard of crystal as the room exploded in golden light. Sam felt the power both enter him and pass through him as he called for his brother to be healed, then just as suddenly everything went dark and it was over.
The next day Sam stood still and quiet at the bottom of the steep bank, staring out over the Bayou Teche located behind the park, deeply lost in thought it seemed, somewhere far away from here. Behind him the sounds of the festivals fair gaily went on as if nothing had happened to him or Dean as if his life had not been irrevocably changed forever whether he wanted it to or not.
Behind him walking up slowly, just as confounded by everything that had transpired he heard a voice that reflected everything he felt in its tone, "Hey, see anything out there interesting or are you just going to stand here and miss seeing Mariel win this stupid contest, dork."
Despite his life being tossed into some place he didn't feel he was ever going to be ready for Sam found a smirk slipping over into its usual place on his lips, the same smirk he wore every time Dean tried 'not' to be affectionate but instead seemed to scream his love for his brother in his retarded insults. Turning to him, his hands stuffed down into his jeans, Sam for the first real time played the game Dean seemed incapable of breaking out of, "Keep calling me dork, butthead, and I'll take back your miraculous healing," he pulled his right hand out of his pocket and held it palm up, "feel like a little headache, bro?" The smile on his face and the twinkle in his eye belied his words, but the startled look on Dean's face was worth every ounce of the false threat.
"Um, no," Dean backed off, hands held up before him, "that's ok, I'm good." Pretend panic was quickly written on his face but his eyes twinkled back at Sam.
Walking up the steep incline slope, Sam threw his arm around Dean's shoulders, calm love in his words as he squeezed him despite Dean throwing his own arm up in an attempt to avoid the physical affection, "yea, you are aren't you?" Refusing to release him, Sam made him turn toward the warehouse where the pageant was already underway, "come on Dean, lets go see our Angel get her crown," then keeping his arm draped over Dean despite his tensing up he led him back down the grassy area through the tall ancient oak trees draped with moss, the moonlight shining down on them as they went.
Dean as they approached the crowd they needed to pass through to reach the warehouse's doors finally shrugged off the arm guiding him, "Ok, ok already, get a grip, I know you saved my life and all and I'm real damn glad, and grateful, but do we have to do the whole Hallmark movie here?" Brushing his own jacket off; 'no doubt', Sam thought, 'of cooties'; Dean couldn't help but grin, "You think she'll win, there are a lot of great looking girls in there, I mean have you seen those cousins, Patrice and Mary Louise!"
"Those heifers," Sam scoffed, "have no chance, remember our girl has Faith."
"Oh yea," Dean laughed, "I almost forgot," he sobered as he looked up at Sam, serious suddenly, "do you think she knows? I mean that there's an angel hanging with her all the time?"
"I'm not sure," Sam shrugged, "she didn't seem to really be aware of her, more like she feels the power and knows things are different for her, but she seemed kind of oblivious really."
"Well," Dean commented as he pulled the door to the warehouse open, clapping heard as they began to walk through, "she sure knew that you had 'the gift' and could heal me."
"Yea, she did," Sam followed him in and saw Mariel up on the stage among the other beautiful women she stood out like a shining beacon, somehow sensing he was there as she turned to him and smiled brightly, he smiled back as he finished his thought, "damned if I know how though since she says she didn't see the light like we did."
As they reached their seats and sat, Sam watching her was somehow not surprised to see Faith in her eyes smiling back at him, "But she feels it Dean, she feels it." Just like he now did. The power flowed in him now, released by Faith and Mariel's help. He only hoped he could be responsible in its use. Glancing over at Dean who was making eyes at and waving at the cousins Sam could only shake his head and grin.
Maybe now things could get back to normal, then he gave a short laugh, 'well as normal as they ever would be for two brothers who hunted 'bad things'. But now he knew they weren't alone, they would always have Faith and Angels on their side, always had he realized with a start.
"Hey," Dean whispered over to him, a devilish grin on his face, "um, look after the contest is over think you could get lost a while?" Both cousins were waving back at him, just before Patrice seeing Mary Louise waving at Dean also elbowed her hard in the ribs. Sam really began to laugh as Patrice gave a shout and turning to her cousin reached up and yanked her hair hard. Within seconds both were wrestling across the stage, yelling and screaming as both hair and sequins flew. He really almost fell out of his chair when Dean instead of being shocked exclaimed, "Now that's what I'm talking about, where's the mud!"
'Normal, yea,' Sam thought as Mrs. LeBeouf raced onto the stage yelling at the women as she tried to break up the fight, 'as normal as our life will ever be.'