Okay, here's the promised last chapter. Hope you'll enjoy it.
by Nicol Leoraine
The 8-person elevator was unnervingly slow and Sam felt rather nervous. It was really a wonder it even worked and Sam had to grit his teeth at every creak it made, grabbing for the handrail every time the elevator slightly rocked. It definitely wasn't a good place to confront a pissed off ghost, Sam realised the moment Hannings appeared on the other side of the lift, growling like a mad bear. But Sam wasn't to be scared off easily. He pointed the shotgun at Hannings chest and shook his head in warning. Hannings only laughed, a wet, unpleasant sound, then lunged at Sam.
''I don't think so,'' Sam uttered before pulling the trigger. The rock salt hit Hannings in the chest where his heart should've been and the ghost gave a surprised wail as he landed on the elevator floor. ''You better hope I find my brother alive, or I swear I will haunt you to hell and back,'' Sam rasped and pulled out his father's journal with the banishing spell. He wasn't sure if it would work, he needed more than just words, but right now it would have to do. He started to read in Latin and watched with satisfaction as Hannings started writhing in pain on the floor. Sam didn't realise that the elevator was stopping, arriving to its destination. He wasn't ready for the jolt when it settled and he lost his balance, the text momentarily forgotten as he tried to keep both the gun and the journal in his hands.
The precious seconds till he managed was enough for Hannings to recover. Before Sam even realised the spook was moving, the gun was kicked out of his hand, closely followed by the journal.
''Now who's gonna go to hell?'' Hannings spat and threw Sam out of the elevator. ''Huh? Who's going to hell?'' he shouted and with a move of his hand sent Sam sprawling across the floor.
''You are, you son of a bitch,'' Sam shouted back as his hand grabbed the fallen shotgun, flipping it around towards the ghost and pulling the trigger.
Dean thought his heart would split in two when he saw Sam flying out of that damn elevator. He dredged up the last of his reserves as he tried to get to his brother, not caring how painful his gait was. Sammy was in danger and he had to help, even if the only way was to make him self a more likely target…if it would only save Sam. He was so focused on the rescue that he didn't even notice the shotgun in his brother's hands until he heard the shot and saw Hannings recoil in pain. But when did something go easily for them? The single shot couldn't keep the ghost down for long and he was once again on his feet, this time livid with rage. He grabbed at Sam with both hands, clutching his neck.
''D-dean, the journal! You have to... read it!'' Sam managed to push out through his lips, before Hannings cut off his supply of air. Dean was torn between lunging at the ghost or going for the journal, but his decision was made for him when a small figure hurled in and jumped on Hannings back, screaming blue murder. Dean scrambled for the journal and started reading. He didn't know where Sam ended so he had to start from the beginning. It wasn't easy, he had to blink in the dim light coming from the corridor and his father's handwriting combined with the Latin didn't make it easy reading. While he fumbled with the words, Sam was released from Hannings clutches, and currently he was trying to get some air into his oxygen deprived lungs.
As for the ghost, he was too occupied trying to get his son off his back. Calum clung to him like a leech, a deep wail coming from his throat.
''Get off me you stupid-'' Hannings started but didn't finish as Dean reached the passage where Sam left off, and Hannings fell to the floor, writhing. Encouraged, Dean's voice rose as he finished the banishing spell.
''Now what?'' he frowned, and looked at Sam. Hannings was still there. Although experiencing high discomfort, he was still alive in his own way. Sam had recovered from the oxygen loss and scrambled to his feet, stumbling over to Dean and shooting him a worried glance before looking back at Hannings.
''It should've worked. I don't understand, Dean. His remains were buried, cremated even. This spell should've cut all his earthly bonds.''
''Not all,'' Dean muttered, his eyes pausing on Calum, who was watching his father with a mix of fear and hate. He felt Dean's eyes on his back and looked up at him. For a moment neither of them moved. Then Dean saw something change. The fear was replaced by courage and acceptance. A small nod was all he got.
''You need to leave now,'' Calum spoke, his tone calm.
''We can't just go-'' Sam started to protest, when he heard a distant rumbling and felt the earth shake.
''What the hell is that?'' Dean asked, perturbed.
''Please, you need to go,'' this time there was urgency in Calum's voice and Sam suddenly knew what was coming. He remembered it from his vision and he sure as hell didn't want to repeat the experience. Grabbing his brother's shoulder, he pulled Dean towards the elevator.
''What?'' the 'younger' Winchester protested, not understanding why Sam had the sudden urge to leave.
''Dean, water,'' Sam warned and nodded towards the chamber Dean came from, even as he was pushing the button and the elevator started its slow ascent. That was when Dean saw the mass of water, flooding the corridors and heading right at them.
''Oh shit,'' he said even as he felt the cold liquid rush through his feet. They were still too low…the water would reach them!
''Hang on!'' Sam shouted even as he practically pinned Dean to the handrail, shielding him with his own body. The spray of water made it impossible to see, but somehow both brothers knew that Hannings was still laying on the floor, his son kneeling next to him as the water filled the mines.
Dean couldn't breathe. His face was pressed against his brother's chest, the rail painfully digging into his back, when the water ran over them. The cold seeped into his bones and he wasn't sure if it was himself that was shaking or the elevator. He didn't care. All that he cared about was the body pressed against his, the feel of the chest moving, breathing. Of someone speaking. That's when he realised that there was air and that he could breathe again. For the first time in his life he didn't protest when Sam scooped him up into his arms and carried him out of the elevator, out of the mines. He was asleep before the afternoon sun could warm his wet skin.
Why was it every time he woke up in the last few days, it was with a headache and generally feeling like crap? Dean didn't know but he was sure he should find out and repay the bastard for it. Oh wait, he did…or did he? Feeling a little confused by the events his memory was replaying, Dean willed his heavy eyelids to open. It was harder than he thought and he grunted when he finally managed to take a look at his surroundings. It was too bright for his liking, and way too quiet. Dean frowned.
He recognized the motel room, the one in Pendleton. He was particularly glad he wasn't back in the hospital, knowing that blacking out on his baby brother probably wasn't the best way to assure him of his health. The thought of Sam prompted him to raise his head and take a better look around. He couldn't believe his brother would've left him alone after what happened, not until he was awake. Feeling the familiar fear creeping up, Dean slowly turned and let out a sigh when he saw Sam resting on the next bed, the bedside lamp still turned on, even though there was already daylight creeping through the window. The laptop was haphazardly balancing in his brother's lap, the monitor long black. Dean had to grin at the image, even though he knew Sam must've been up most of the night, waiting for him to wake up.
Feeling the pressing urge to go to the bathroom, Dean wondered just how long he had been out of it. He carefully scrambled out of the bed, mindful of all the bruises. Even so, it hurt to move and his progress was annoyingly slow. He tried to be quiet though and was glad when the bathroom door finally closed, without waking up Sam. Taking care of business, Dean washed his hands, then leaned over the sink and splashed his face. He looked into the mirror, surveying the damage. His lips were split and puffy, but as he ran his tongue inside his mouth, he was relieved to find that there weren't any broken or chipped teeth, thank god for that. There was also a visible handprint on his face and a rather nasty looking bruise over his left eye. Apparently he'd received no permanent injuries and Dean gave himself a half grin in the mirror. Then he blinked.
Sam leapt out of the bed, the laptop toppling over and clasping shut. For a second he didn't know what woke him, he only saw the other bed was empty.
''Dean?'' he cried out and rushed to the bathroom, kicking the door open with such force it almost hit him in the face bouncing back off the wall, only to find Dean, standing half naked before the mirror, laughing like an idiot.
But he was an adult idiot, Sam realised.
''You're back!'' he exclaimed, and he started grinning, too.
''Dude, you could've just turned the knob. No need to break the door,'' Dean snickered and Sam shook his head in disbelief.
''Next time don't scream like a girl,'' Sam advised him with sparkling eyes and got an offended look in reply.
''I don't scream like a girl, I never did and I never will,'' Dean said, sounding for all his efforts like the nine year old. Sam was about to point it out, when Dean gave him a warning glare. This time he backed off.
''Whatever, dude. Just get dressed, please.'' When Dean rolled his eyes, Sam retreated to the room, leaving him alone. Dean turned back to the mirror and quirked his eyebrows, then smiled.
''Oh yeah, little brother. I am definitely back.''
''So, are you sure Hannings is gone?'' Dean asked a little nervously. It was almost two days after the events in the mine, one day from when Dean got back to his proper age. He was still annoyed by the fact that his injuries didn't vanish with the nine-year-old Dean, but they hadn't, so he was stuck with them. He wasn't sure what was more annoying though – the pain, or the constant fussing of his baby brother. Probably both.
''You're back to your old self, aren't you?'' Sam replied to the question and took the lead, when he thought Dean was going off the track. They were once again in the forest, this time heading for Susan Stockhart's cabin. They wanted to tell her what had happened, as well as get a few answers. The events in the mines were still a little fuzzy for Dean. It wasn't like he didn't remember them; he just couldn't quite understand what had happened, although it all became much clearer once Sam found that article about the accident in the mines.
''I still can't imagine how it could happen. I mean... I saw those pillars and they were huge. No way a little water could wash them out.''
''Well it wasn't just a little water, Dean. It was raining a lot that year and the rivers were full. The underground water found it's way into one of the lowest chambers and flooded it. It was a tragedy that Calum choose that place to hide. If he had chosen a chamber at a higher level, he could've been still alive.''
''Or not,'' Dean mumbled. ''Hannings would've killed him sooner or later.''
Sam didn't comment on that. He thought about how Hannings, crazy as he was, managed to pull the boy's body out before the supporting pillars were milled out and the roof collapsed, closing off the dome. It was a pity the boy's soul was trapped inside.
''So you're saying that the water in which we almost drowned was only some psychic play?'' Dean asked bluntly, having maybe the biggest problem comprehending that last part of their rescue.
''Yeah, kind of.''
''So we wouldn't have drowned at all? There was no threat?''
''No, the threat was real enough. You remember that case with The Hangman? All the victims had rope burns around their necks, all the signs that they were hung, but they were found in their own beds, on the water, the backseat of a car. There was no rope, but their minds thought it was real. So they died. Down in the mines it was the same. We would've drowned.''
''But Hannings was already dead,'' Dean argued, unable to let the topic slide.
''So?'' Sam only shrugged. ''Calum just made him see and feel what he experienced, how he died. That combined with the banishing spell was enough to convince Hannings that he was indeed dead.''
''He deserved a worse death,'' Dean snarled and Sam shot him a look.
''I think this was bad enough Dean,'' he said quietly, remembering his vision, the terrifying incapacity to take a breath. He wouldn't wish it on anyone.
They walked in silence then, each lost in their own thoughts until they arrived at the cabin. They noticed the changes almost instantly. There was nothing too visible, just the grass being a little taller and the windows darker. There was dirt on the porch and dust. When they knocked on the door, it opened with a creak, a gaping hole showing where the lock had been. The brothers looked at each other, already knowing they wouldn't find any answers, just more questions. As they walked in, the dust rose and Dean coughed, while his brother tried hard not to sneeze…unsuccessfully.
''Are you sure we're at the right cabin?'' Dean asked cheekily and Sam glared at him.
''There are no other cabins. I checked the map. We're in the right place.''
''Well then, care to explain?'' Sam only shrugged and walked over to the hearth that was in the living room. There was only a photograph lying there, without a frame. Sam picked it up and sighed.
''No dust,'' he stated as his finger trailed the surface.
''Who's in it?'' Dean asked even as he was looking over Sam's shoulder.
''Susan Amely Stockhart,'' Sam breathed out as he turned the photograph and read the name written there.
''Dude, there's only Susan,'' Dean said, then paused and his eyes got wide with the realisation. ''Damn it, it was her all the time, wasn't it? She knew the whole time what was going to happen, she probably jinxed me just as we set foot in town.'' Dean shook his head in disbelief and Sam started laughing.
''Dude, what's so funny?'' Dean frowned, a little hurt that his brother could laugh at his expense.
''Oh boy, I am so glad it wasn't me,'' was all Sam managed before the hand smacked him upside his head. 'But I am even more glad that you're back, big brother,' he thought when he saw a matching grin on Dean's face.
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