Sam woke with a groan and a feeling of urgency that he couldn't place. He blinked back the fog and realized it was smoke: thick black smoke curling through the air. He sat up with a gasp.
"Whoa, dude, you okay?"
Sam whipped around, but his heart sank when he saw that it was only Chris staring down. "Where's Dean?" Sam asked, using the table to pull himself up. His jaw throbbed something awful.
Chris just pointed at the building, eyes wide.
Sam followed his gaze and almost stumbled in horror. The building was alight. He had to tighten his grip on the table as flames leapt into the sky. "He…He went in there?" Sam asked, blinking back tears. "D-did he…did he come back?"
Chris shook his head slowly.
He hadn't screamed. Growing more numb as the flames increased, Sam turned to find Susie running onto the scene. Face pale, she grabbed her head and watched the flames in shock. "No! The symbols!"
Just as she said it, the fighting still ravaging the lawn suddenly ceased and the students stumbled and blinked, as if waking from a dream. "Oh god!" Susie cried. "Professor!" But she barely got the words out before she too gasped and stumbled, body convulsing for a second before she collapsed. That meant the spell was broken, Susie wasn't being possessed anymore, which meant…
"Dean!" Finally overcoming his horror, Sam ran for the building, using his arms as a useless shield against the heat. "Dean!" He ran the length of the building, trying to find an entrance. No, no, no, no. Please not like this.The heat and falling embers brought tears to his eyes. "No!" He dropped to his knees as his chest closed in grief.
Then he saw it. A window. Small and almost lost to the flames, but intact. Daring to hope, Sam scrambled forward, ignoring the heat making the air around him waver. Blinking passed the smoke, his heart skipped when he saw Dean's crumpled body. "Dean!"
He turned from the window and grabbed a nearby garden hose. He then pulled a cloth from one of the tables still standing and soaked the cloth. He smashed open the window and pulled himself inside. The strength of the flames almost knocked Sam backwards and he could feel his skin begin to blister, but he ignored it and ran to his brother.
Sam lifted Dean from the floor and flung the wet cloth around him. He pulled Dean's limp body close and half carried, half dragged him to the window. Not knowing what he was doing, acting on panic alone, Sam awkwardly maneuvered Dean through the window, cringing as he was forced to let his brother drop to the ground below. He quickly followed, tumbling from the building when he realized he was on fire. Once outside, he tore off his jacket and stamped out the flames. Dean remained still. Sam grabbed Dean under his shoulders and lifted him, knowing he had to get them away from this building. The blanket fell away and Sam almost cried out when he saw Dean's mangled knee.
Dammit! He maneuvered Dean so that he was able to lift him over his shoulder. "Hold on, Dean," Sam whispered, needing to believe Dean could hear him.
When Sam finally reached the upturned table, Chris had disappeared. Trying to ignore his own trembling muscles, Sam gently lowered Dean to the ground. "Dean?" he whispered, brushing a hand over his brother's face. Soot painted his skin black, but blisters still peeked through. "Dean?" Sam choked out. He wanted to feel for a pulse, but his hand refused to leave Dean's forehead: a cold had begun to emanate from Dean's skin as the effects of the heat faded.
"Dean, wake up. You don't die, man. You're not meant to die. It was Professor Linberg who Susie saw in that vision. Not you. It was never meant to be you. Her vision was warning her about him, she just mistook it for you. It was a mistake. So don't you dare follow him." Sam's voice cracked and he took a deep breath. He removed his hand from Dean's head and slowly pressed his fingers against Dean's neck, feeling for a pulse. Nothing. Wait. Was that…Yes, it was, a pulse!
It took Sam a few seconds to react, for the numbness creeping into his heart to retract. Then the relief hit and he found himself laughing.
Dean groaned softly.
"Dean? Hey," Sam said, startled by the noise. "You're okay, help's coming."
"Then…" Dean's eyes were still shut and his voice was so low that Sam had to lean closer to hear him. "Then…why are you l-laughing at me…jerk."
Dean's eyes fluttered open. They shone bright against his black face.
Sam grinned and shook his head. "Guess I'm just insensitive like that."
"You…you woke me up from a good…good dream."
Sam laughed again despite himself. "Sorry."
"H-help…me up, would you."
Sam hurried behind Dean and gently lifted him, wincing as Dean groaned with the movement. One arm keeping Dean steady, Sam scooted back to his side and watched as Dean sluggishly held out an arm and looked at the blisters running along it. "My face still pretty?"
"When was it ever pretty? Seriously, man, are you okay?"
Dean glanced at him and even though he was cringing with pain, he still managed to look annoyed. "Y-you asked stupid questions." He glanced away and Sam swore a smile touched his brother's lips. "R-ready to skip out on college a…a second time?"
"If you let me take you to the hospital," Sam said, trying to sound firm but knowing the relief was ruining his efforts.
Dean shrugged slightly. The movement looked heavy. "Not…not really a fan of m-my knee being on the outside, so… sure, why not."
Sam helped Dean up, wrapping one arm tightly around his waist so that Dean didn't have to lean any weight on his damaged leg. Dean was shivering and still felt limp, but he was standing, and that was enough for Sam.
Dean looked over his shoulder, towards the lawn. "The kids, the fights, has it…is anyone still…"
"It's over, Dean," Sam said softly. "You ended it."
Dean nodded and grabbed onto the table, cringing as his burnt hands made contact. He nudged Sam away, nodding to their bags. "Grab our wallets and shit, lots of pissed off students saw us torch that place."
Sam nodded and went to retrieve them. "How's your jaw?" Dean asked. He didn't sound guilty.
Sam turned to face him and gingerly felt the bruise, though more for show than anything. "Sore, bruised, sore. I've had worse."
"Doubt it," Dean said, a cocky smile emerging from the soot.
Sam opened his mouth to respond but found that a gasp emerged instead, a second before he was splattered in blood. Dean's blood. And like stuck in a nightmare, he found he couldn't move, couldn't do anything but stare in shock at the large spear protruding from Dean's chest, shining red, dripping red. Then it was ripped back out, the sick sound mixing with Dean's strangled cry.
Dean and Sam just stood for a second, staring at each other in shock. Then Dean fell to the ground, revealing Susie standing behind him with the bloodied spear in her hand.
Dean heard the tear and saw the blood dripping from the spear's end before he felt the pain. Somewhere, in the back of his mind, he knew something should be hurting like hell, but for a second all he could to do was stare in confusion at the tip of the spear protruding from his chest. Then it was torn from him in a blaze of hot pain.
Dean cried out and he was falling. He must have been because the world spun and tilted, then flashed white. Then a flash of his brother slamming the door and leaving for college, of his dad's back as he left for that last hunt, of a ball of fire exploding from high up in one of the windows of their old house.
Dean! Sam's voice. Dean blinked. He was staring up at Sam's stricken face and he tried to respond but found himself choking instead.
"Dean!" The sound of Dean's body hitting the grass and the small gasp of pain that followed snapped Sam out of his stupor and he scrambled to Dean's side. He ripped off his jacket and gathered it into a tight ball to press against the Dean's chest. Dean's clothes were already stained a shiny crimson, the blood running from him in rivulets, staining Sam's hands and the grass beneath them. "No! Dean!"
Dean's body convulsed in response, his breathing hindered by the blood and cries of pain getting caught in his throat. His good leg dug grooves into the grass and his shaking hands reached up to claw at the jacket. Dean was panicking.
Susie laughed, her eyes wide and rimmed red. The bloodied spear was still clutched in her hand, Dean's blood dripping off it. "I wasn't possessed, you fools! I wasn't like the others; Damien never needed to cast a spell over me: I was his freely! I believed in their cause!"
"Dean, stay still," Sam ordered, trying to see passed his own panic, trying to keep Dean's arms at his side while holding the jacket firmly against Dean's chest. The blood had now reached the knees of Sam's jeans.
"I believed in it!" Susie screamed. "I believed in it! You ruined our work! Centuries of their work!" The blood continued to drip from her spear.
"Dean, please," Sam begged as Dean choked out a sob that brought fresh blood flowing from his mouth, staining his lips a darker red. "Stay still."
Sam's voice cracked as he tried to hold Dean down, but Dean arched more violently and his face drained of colour and his fingers clawed at the red grass.
"You ruined everything!" Susie screamed.
Sam's head was swimming as police sirens clanged in the distance and as the red from their lights illuminated Dean's scared face, disappearing for a second before lighting up again in an endless circle of red and dark. And Dean gaped and Susie continued to scream and Sam's head kept growing heavier and heavier.
"I believed in their cause!"
Then a loud shot rang out and the world spun into silence as Susie hit the ground, dead. And Sam found himself pointing a smoking gun where she had just stood, the cold from its hilt stealing the heat from his body.
Sam turned back to Dean, still clutching the gun. "Oh god, Dean." The jacket sat heavy and useless on Dean's chest and a circle of blood slowly spread out. Dean's body had stopped arching and he now just lay trembling as small convulsions shook his body. His glassy eyes bore into Sam's and his mouth opened and closed a few times.
Sam choked back a sob and clutched at Dean's shirt, pressing his forehead to Dean's in grief. Dean felt cold and Sam could hear his struggled attempts to breathe. Sam leaned back and let his eyes travel Dean's body as the trembling slowed. He took Dean's hand and held it tightly, forcing a smile as he brushed the hair from Dean's forehead. He wanted to promise that it'd be okay, that it would all turn out fine, but he knew he couldn't.
"It's going to be okay, Dean."
So he lied.
Dean's eyes continued to bore into his. "I'm…I'm…."
Sam clutched Dean's hand tighter and blinked as tears fell. "Please, Dean…please, just…don't talk, okay? Just save your strength."
"I'm…I'm….so…so haunting your ass."
Sam laughed despite himself, the tears rolling freely now.
The sirens and lights grew louder and closer but it didn't matter: Dean's hand had gone limp. In the distant someone shouted something about putting the gun down, the sound of footsteps running, another shout, more footsteps.
"Dean," Sam sobbed. Scooting closer, he reached to lift his silent brother into arms, but found himself tackled to the ground instead, arms pinned behind his back, the gun wrenched from his hands. "No!" Sam yelled, trying to turn him head and look at Dean. "No! Help him! Help him, please! Dean!"
Dean remained motionless as Sam was dragged away, the moonlight reflecting gently off his pale face and the circle of blood surrounding him.
There were witnesses who had seen Susie stab Dean with the spear, who saw Sam and Dean attempting to rescue people, and Chris had stepped forward saying it'd been in self-defense that Sam had shot Susie – a good kid, that one. The police weren't going to arrest Sam. So he just sat by Dean's bed in the ICU, waiting. Chris and Brenda had brought a bright bouquet of flowers and a Get Well card the day before. The gifts sat on the night table, looking oddly displaced against the white furniture and dark bruises and welts covering Dean's skin. Sam slowly stood and walked around Dean's bed. He picked up the flowers, stared at them for a second, then let them drop into the waste basket. He returned to his seat and waited.
He kept seeing flashes. A flash of his brother slamming the door and leaving for college, of his dad's back as he left for that last hunt, of a ball of fire exploding from high up in one of the windows of their old house.
Then a flash of his dad running from their house with baby Sam bundled in his arms. And Dean found the strength to fight.
He opened his eyes.
A/N: Sorry about the wait between chapters, but there you go...the end. Please review if you've stuck with me and let me know you're out there! And thank you so much for reading :D