Okay, finally, here is the long-awaited Chapter 4. I am sufficiently ashamed of myself for leaving you all off with a cliffhanger for five weeks. That's my fault—and the fault of school. Stupid college.
Special thanks this chapter (and all future chapters) to my best friend Tracy for all of her help and her beta-ing services, which she offers freely, and I love her for it and can't thank her enough. And, really, she should have been recognized LAST chapter, but I was in such a hurry to get it out that I forgot. (hangs head) So special thanks to her, and I'm dedicating this chapter to her as well.
Disclaimer: I don't own Sam, Dean, or Supernatural. It saddens me to say it, but it's true.
Pileup Chapter IV
Sam seemed to hear his voice, because his fight, too, increased, "Dean!"
"Don't!" Dean cried. "Stop!"
"She's helping him." One of the girls told him. Her grip intensified, and he had to grit his teeth to stop a cry from escaping.
"Stop!" He commanded again, ignoring her.
And, miraculously, she did. The twins and Christina disappeared, he felt the pressure holding him back vanish, and Sam sat straight up with a cry. Without hesitation, Dean flung himself across the room to his brother.
Sam was still thrashing, caught somewhere between nightmare and waking. Dean caught his arms gently, mindful of the still-tender spot that marked his run-in with Christina and her gun the night before. "Sam! Sam, can you hear me? You okay?"
His brother's eyes snapped open and he caught Dean's elbows, gripping them like a lifeline, panting hard. "Dean!" He breathed. He was shaking, gasping for air, hair drenched with sweat. He dropped his forehead to his older brother's collarbone, taking comfort in his solid, reassuring presence. Dean was alarmed and slightly panicked by this very un-Sam-like behavior. "Hey, hey! It's okay, I'm here." He said hesitantly, trying to keep his voice even and supporting, despite his own unease. "It's okay." He repeated.
Sam released a long, shaky sigh, and Dean tightened his grip reassuringly. "I'm here."
The younger brother nodded against Dean's shoulder, taking several long breaths. Dean sat still rigidly for several uncomfortable moments as Sam tried to compose himself. Finally, the youngest Winchester pulled back, but Dean didn't release him. He wasn't quite ready to yet. "I'm okay." Sam assured him hoarsely. He scrubbed the sleeve of the sweatshirt he'd worn to bed over his eyes. Dean pretended he couldn't see the tears, and Sam tried to pretend that they hadn't been there at all.
Slowly, uncertainly, Dean released his brother, "Are you sure?"
"Yeah." He kicked his feet off the bed and leaned over to rise.
"Hey, hey!" Dean caught his arm, "Take it easy, man. You look like absolute crap."
"Thanks." Sam gave him a glare. "I'm fine, Dean. Really."
"You don't look fine, Sam." His brother said truthfully. "And if you stand up and pass out, you're laying on the floor until you wake up, because I am not going to try to lift your ass onto this bed."
"I'm not going to pass out." Dean was relieved to hear the irritation in Sam's voice. It was some kind of a reaction, at least. A normal one. Sam rose and wobbled unsteadily for just a moment. "See?"
"Yeah, I see." Dean growled good-naturedly, "Do you know what happened?"
Sam pulled his sweat-soaked sweatshirt off his head, mussing his already-untidy hair. "I don't remember." He fibbed, avoiding the green gaze that could see through every one of his lies.
"It's just a dream."
"No, it wasn't." Dean, still seated on the bed, shook his head. "There's something much bigger going on here than a couple of pissed-off little kids."
"I know." Sam nodded. "They're not evil. They…they want something from us." Sam pulled a clean tee shirt over his head and stiffly ran his hands through his sweat-soaked hair.
"Like what? They're not exactly little heaven-sent angels, Sam." He said thoughtfully, rubbing the still-chilled marks on his arms where the ghost girls had caught them earlier.
"I know that."
"You having a vision moment?" There was no mocking in the older man's tone.
"No…it's just a feeling. Intuition." He leaned heavily against the wall for support.
"Hm..." Dean said thoughtfully. "Would you lie down?" He finally barked as his brother tried to push himself upright again.
"And if you say you're fine again, I will kick your ass. Get over here and lie down."
With a huff, Sam obeyed. Dean studied his brother's pale face for a moment, and Sam avoided his gaze by closing his eyes. "Did you have fun with Sara?" He finally asked to break the uncomfortable silence.
Dean cursed, "Sara! Dammit, I forgot!" He hurried from the room to find his cell phone, the sound of his brother's exhausted laugh following him as he went. When he was safely out of Sam's sight, he took a moment to lean against the wall and try to calm himself. /What a night./
By the time he had called Sara, apologized profusely for leaving her at the bar, and hung up, Sam had fallen back to sleep. Silence reigned in the cabin—an unearthly, unsettling silence.
To ease his discomfort, Dean moved down the hall and stood in the doorway of his brother's room, leaning heavily on the doorframe and studying the twenty-two-year-old. Sam's hair was tousled, and he tossed and turned restlessly beneath the covers. Concerned, Dean limped across the room and hesitantly rested a hand on his brother's forehead. As when they were children, Dean's touch instantly reassured his brother, who stilled immediately. The older Winchester sank to the mattress next to him with an amused smile. Watching his brother visibly relax in the moonlight, he thought back over their last few days and tried to piece together the puzzle that seemed to be plaguing them.
The door creaked open, interrupting his thoughts, and he reached automatically for the gun Sam now kept leaned against the wall next to his bed. The doorway, however, remained empty. He sighed—he really was getting too jumpy.
He rose and padded across the hall to settle down in his own bed, taking the papers off of Sam's nightstand as he passed. There had to be a connection he was missing, and he wasn't going to be able to sleep until he figured it out. Fifteen minutes later, with the lights on and the papers still in his hand, he was fast asleep.
"Would you please shut up?" Dean roared, pounding on the wall above his head. The giggling and playful running feet that had woken him for the fourth time that night ceased momentarily, but started back up again an instant later.
With a weight-of-the-world sigh and a couple of under-the-breath mutterings about how reproduction should be a crime punishable by death, he rose and hobbled down the hall. As he reached the doorway separating the living room from the darkened hallway, something told him to turn around, that inner voice that warned him when there was danger. He knew better than to ignore that voice.
He did as it commanded, turning as quickly as his cramped quarters would allow him. He didn't see anything, but his well-trained senses told him that there was definitely something there.
"Oopsie…" The faint, breathy word was accompanied by a sweet giggle—definitely girlish.
"Yeah, I'll give you an oopsie, you little—" Dean muttered. He sighed and moved down the hall, "Hey, Sam, can you give me a hand with this?" He called as he approached the bathroom.
"Hey, Sam! Don't ignore me; I can't do this by myself!" He moved out of the tiny cubicle serving as the cabin's bathroom and across the hall, flipping on the light switch inside Sam's room. His brother was the lightest sleeper Dean had ever known—surely that crash would've woken him. He was irritated, too. Sam was supposed to be helpful…where was that insistent, incessant hovering when he needed it?
He stopped short as he realized Sam wasn't ignoring him; that he was, in fact, in a deep sleep. Shaking his head in disbelief, Dean turned and checked: yes, the mirror really had fallen and shattered just on the other side of his brother's flimsy bedroom wall.
"Hey, Sammy?" He said softly, concerned now. "Sam?"
He made his way across the wooden floorboards and leaned over his brother, gently shaking his unbruised shoulder, "Sam?"
The younger brother shot up, narrowly missing colliding with Dean's face. Reflexively, his left fist shot out—even with an injury, he was much stronger with his left arm—and Dean only barely managed to duck aside.
"Dean, what the hell? I almost hit you!"
"Tell me about it!" His brother panted, glaring. "What's your issue?"
"You sneak up on me in the middle of the night and scare me half to death and you want to know what my issue is?"
"Didn't you hear me calling you, man?" Dean raised an eyebrow. "Or the mirror falling?"
"Come on." He motioned to the doorway, "I'll show you."
He led his brother to the bathroom, and Sam's eyes widened at the smattering of glass shards scattered across its floor. "I slept through that?"
Sam gazed thoughtfully at the broken mirror. "You know, the other night, when Christina shot me, I thought it was pretty weird that you didn't wake up when she fired the gun…something's going on here."
Dean gave him a dumbfounded look. "You think!"
Sam cast a dark look over his shoulder and knelt on the floor. Dean attempted to join him, but Sam waved him away, "I got it."
"I'm not an invalid, Sam."
"I know that." The younger Winchester's voice was calm and collected, but Dean could easily hear the barely-restrained frustration. "But we can't both be on our hands and knees on this floor and avoid coming out of it looking like we've been through a war."
After a moment's thought, Dean grunted his acknowledgement and leaned against the frame. "Hey…something wrong with your head?" He asked as Sam's hand drifted, seemingly unconsciously, to his forehead.
"Huh? Oh, no. Just a headache. Probably from being woken up too fast." He shot his older brother one of his best innocent-yet-winning smiles, and Dean sighed. In lieu of a sarcastic answer, he watched his brother's movements.
Sam had always been slightly ungraceful—probably owing to the fact that, at fifteen, he'd grown almost a foot in the span of a year and a half—but tonight, his actions were even more uncoordinated than usual. Jerky, clumsy, and slow, he picked up the sharp shards one at a time and piled them in his palm. When his hand was full, he dumped it all into the shattered mirror frame and began again.
"So, this Evelyn." Sam had, apparently, had enough of his brother's concerned gaze. Overhead, a buzzing sound began. The brothers exchanged confused glances before Dean tipped his head back to study the glowing bulb in the fixture overhead. It grew brighter and brighter, then began to pulse. Sam chose to ignore it, "Do you think we'll be able to get anything from her?"
"If we find her." Dean answered, straightening slightly and wincing at the sharp blows of pain to his ribs. "I'm sure she'll be helpful. She's the only one who knows what's been going on."
There was a pause in which the flickering from the light grew brighter, faster, sharper. Dean saw his little brother wince from the assault on his already-aching head. "Well, that's some freaky wiring." Dean remarked sardonically.
"I don't think it's the wiring…" Sam commented. Just then, the bulb decided to explode, showering the room and the brothers in broken glass. The younger Winchester exhaled a huge sigh of relief. No more brightness, no more flickering. As soon as he'd gotten the glass cleaned up, he could go back to bed. Sleep. Yes, that was what he needed.
"I'll find Evelyn in the morning." Sam promised, shaking shards of lightbulb from his messy, sleep-tossed hair. Above him, he could feel Dean doing the same, and he could hear the tinkling sounds of broken glass hitting the linoleum.
Sam pulled his tee shirt over his head (the second one of the night, he mused as he did so) and dropped it to the floor. "Change your shirt before you go to bed." He reminded Dean. "I don't want to be digging glass out of your shoulders all morning."
It was too dark to see Dean's face, but Sam could feel the glare. "Yes, mother."
"Good." Sam piled the final bits of glass in the mirror frame. "I'll sweep in the morning. Get some sleep; I'll head to the library first thing and see what I can dig up on Evelyn."
"Behold my joy." Dean replied sarcastically, watching Sam climb slowly to his feet. "Go back to bed. You look awful." With that, he turned and limped back down the hall to his own room.
"Yeah, good night to you, too." Sam called after him. With a roll of his dark eyes, he returned to his own room, latching the door behind him with a resounding snap.
There you have it…so so sorry this took so long, everyone. It's been crazy, getting ready for finals and taking unscheduled jaunts to New Jersey with the family. (Sighs)
I specifically left this with a semi-solid ending…which, any follower of my earlier works will know, probably means that I won't be able to update for a while. The next two weeks are finale week, finals, and the last two weeks of work for me, which means I'll be helping to train whoever is taking my place. What does this mean for all of you? Probably that you won't hear from me until the middle, perhaps the end, of May.
But thank you SO much for all of your reviews. I do intend to respond to every one I get. I really do.
Take care of yourselves!
Love to all,