A/N : Okay, okay, people, because you kept persisting that I write more, here it is. The anticlimactic end to Sic Transit Gloria! In a way, I like it, but I'm not totally satisfied. Because it's been so long since Shadow aired, and with the new season underway, I'm just not able to get back into the mindset I was when I wrote this. Knowing what I know it's too hard, and ... well, I'm just not in it like I was. To drag it out any longer would be cruel, and I really thing it needs to end.
So here it is to all of you who yelled at me for not having it finished when I posted a new story. Seriously... you're still yelling at me. cries
Let me know if you like it, love it, or hate me to death. It's not what it could be, but it IS, and that's all I can hope for.
When I was young, and I got sick, the real cure wasn't fluids and whatever nasty medicine the doctors made me swallow twice a day. The real cure wass getting to sit in Dad's bed, and have him pay more attention to me than the hunt at hand. It was getting to watch TV all day and eat chicken soup Sammy had watered down with sketchy tap water, and served cold because we didn't have a microwave.
It was getting touched, constantly. A hand to my forehead every time he passed, to make sure the fever hadn't spiked, or to smooth my hair, to rest a comforting hand on my shoulder.
I'd take that over the medicine any day. And not just because the stuff tasted like crap.
Sam must have picked up on something watching Dad's rare mother hen moments, because after he decided I wasn't dying, he wouldn't leave me alone. If he wasn't looking at me like I might fall over, he was taking my temperature every hour, shoving orange juice down my throat, reminding me it was time to take my pills or asking me how I was feeling.
I heard somewhere that we learn by doing.
I wish he hadn't paid so much goddamn attention, because being mothered by the kid you practically raised, can get old fast.
Well, there's something I learned, too.
It was a pattern, and well rehearsed.
Fight, bleed, heal, pack up in the morning and move on. Now more than ever we had to keep moving, never staying in one place long enough to let it bite us on the ass.
I woke Sam at dawn the very day I felt like I could sit for more than an hour without passing out. I turned a deaf ear to his protests that I still had a fever that I couldn't manage to get rid of, and stitches that would kill me ten minutes into a drive. I shoved our shit in the car, and I handed him the keys.
He looked at me for a full minute, just staring with those huge brown eyes of his, trying to say a million things I had no intention of hearing.
It was hard enough having to be in that damn tiny room with everything we said and left unsaid hanging over our heads like a rain cloud.
So we left.
It was that easy. We left everything back in that hotel room, and we drove on.
Only this time, I had no idea where we were going, or what we were fighting for.
The future was uncertain for the first time in my life, because for the first time there was an emphasis on it.
Before, I stick to what I knew : find something to fight for, a monster to kill or a demon to exorcise, a regular salt and burn once a week when things got boring. Wake up the next morning and move on to the next job.
Now I had to wonder what the future held for us. For the first time, this fight had an end in sight. Even the remote possibility had been, up until now, a dream, Dad's life quest, a fight handed down to us whether we wanted to take it on or not.
We had come together as a family, stronger as a unit, and lost. We had come up against the demon's minions, not even the real thing, and we were slaughtered, almost killed in a matter of minutes.
Leaning against the door, I sighed out loud.
"You okay?" Sam asked, pouncing on me. "You want me to pull over?"
I cursed the silence in the car, wanting nothing more than to crank up the stereo and drown out his question.
Instead, I shook my head. "I'm fine, Sam."
He raised a disbelieving brow, but to his credit, said nothing.
"You think we should call Dad?" he asked after a moment. "Make sure he's okay?"
I sighed again. "He won't answer."
I didn't have to try to know that. His resolve would be even stronger now, with the Chicago incident to back his belief that we were better off without him.
Sam opened his mouth to say something, faltered.
"I'm sure he's fine," I said, knowing without him saying it. "Don't worry."
"I wasn't," he said softly.
"I just wish..." he said finally. "I wish we could be a family."
I eyed him sharply. This was different.
I didn't reply.
What could I say?
It'd sure be nice, Sam?
The thing about gathering all your eggs in one basket is, no matter how much easier it is to carry, no matter how nice it is for all the eggs to be together, fitting in so nicely with each other, one big happy egg family... you drop the basket, and everyone's dead.
That's why we can't be together now.
And Sam's why we won't be together later.
And maybe I'm at fault here, for wanting us to be that happy family. Maybe it's stupid and I'm selfish, and maybe I still don't care.
We're a family now, hundreds of miles apart, bleeding and broken from trying to reunite.
We'll be a family when we're dead and gone.
Maybe that's the lesson this all is supposed to teach me.
But all I know in the end, this is what we do.
We bleed together.