"Dean!" Sam's voice flew through the devouring flames to greet the empty window ledge.
The chant had done what it had been meant to do; the fire spirit had flickered from existence once and for all, yet the flames still chewed through Harden. He could hear yelling and footsteps rushing by outside the door and heard screams from the ground. The screams were those of fear and shock and Sam's heart froze in his chest. His breath caught around the smoke and, still coughing, he stumbled to his feet and ran to the window, afraid of what he might see.
The fire roared behind him, but he didn't care, his gaze was focused on the ground where people were gathering around the bottom of the building and looking up in horror. There was a struggling breath from below him and he looked down to see Dean holding the ledge with a single hand, while the other grasped thin air for the man he had pushed.
The blonde was struggling to reach for Dean's hand from where his fingertips were shoved into a wide crack in Harden's outside wall. Finally the young man made contact with Dean and grabbed on, the fingers of his other hand slipping from the crack. Dean was yanked down a bit, but somehow managed to keep a hold on the ledge. However, the older brother's hand was slipping quickly; it slid across the cement of the ledge, the fingers groping for a firm handhold.
"I've got ya!" Dean yelled to the panicked man he was holding. The young man's bright grey eyes pleaded desperately with the older brother.
"Hold on!" Dean shouted as his grip slipped a bit. The young man Dean was holding yelled out and a couple of screams echoed from the ground below.
"Dean!" Sam yelled again and reached to grasp his brother's quickly slipping hand.
The action jerked Sam toward the window and both Dean and the male student yelped. Sam's shoulder felt like it was being pulled from its socket as he grabbed with the other hand as well. Now, all his strength was going into keeping Dean and the young man from plunging to the waiting ground below. Pained tears welled in Sam's eyes and he grimaced at his slipping hold.
The sirens of fire engines droned in the distance, coming toward the billowing smoke in the air, but Sam's attention didn't waver from his brother, even as the trucks pulled in and a flood of fire workers spilled from them with hoses in hand. Sam tried desperately to pull his brother back to safety, but his arms refused to let him do so. His muscles burned with the exhausting effort that it was taking just to hold on, let alone pull up. The weakening grasp slipped a bit more and Dean's wide eyes locked with Sam's frightened ones.
"Don't you drop me, Sammy!" Dean shouted, his voice was afraid and anxious.
Sam didn't answer. He was struggling to keep a firm grasp on his brother, while ignoring the flames biting into him. The youngest brother pulled up a bit, it was weak, but it was progress. He clenched his teeth as he continued to hold onto the extra weight and not slip any further.
The door to the room slammed open and a man rushed through the flames to where the young man was holding onto the other men. Even from a distance, the fire worker could see the dark haired boy struggling and he could hear the groans of effort to keep the other two from falling. He reached out the window and grabbed onto the hand of the struggling man. The man next to him shuddered a bit as some weight was taken and he sagged.
"Don't let go!" The firefighter yelled to him. Almost immediately, Sam regained the failing grasp he had and helped to pull Dean and the other man to safety.
Sam slumped to the floor as soon as the second boy was through the window and Dean grabbed him around the waist to haul him to his feet. Sam coughed as the smoke continued to assault him.
"C'mon!" The firefighter yelled.
"Let's go, Sammy." Dean said and helped his brother out the door to 315 as the fire worker and the blonde followed close behind.
All three staggered from the fire, the worker following close behind and Dean pulled Sam away from the flames that were devouring Harden house. The Winchesters watched as the flames slowly died away, leaving Harden undamaged. A flurry of excitement rippled through the gathered crowd and the fire workers stared at the building in disbelief. There had been a fire, hadn't there?
As workers rushed in to scan the halls, students watched in disbelief at the lack of damage done to the house. About ten minutes later, those that had gone in came out with confused looks on their faces.
"It's all clear, there's no damage." One of the men replied.
"It's like the fire was never really there." Another replied.
"Maybe it wasn't." Came a whisper from next to Dean. The older brother looked to see Sam watching the residence with anxious eyes holding shadows of question.
Dean's eyes continued to search Sam's face. The younger brother looked like he was going to say more. Sam saw the curiosity on Dean's face and drew a breath of the fresh, night air.
"I saw it, Dean." Sam replied, pulling Dean out of the earshot of the large, gathered group.
"The demon? So it did have something to do with what happened?" Dean asked.
"No, it was just there, watching. It opened the door so we could get out." Sam replied.
"Why the hell didn't it just kill us? Isn't that what it wants?" Dean questioned.
"It's waiting, Dean."
"Waiting for what?"
"I don't know." Sam spoke and then fell silent.
Dean's eyes wandered back to the open window of room 315 and nothing but darkness greeted him. He swallowed and then turned back to Sam, without speaking. The night around them was dense with an eerie thickess that grew from Sam's words and settled in the pits of their stomachs.
"We'll find out, eventually and when we do, we'll be ready. Until then, we just keep doing what we've been doing, saving people and hunting things." Dean replied.
Sam nodded and followed Dean back to the flashing lights of the fire engines and the gathered people with confused faces.
Sam placed his laptop, along with his duffel bag into the back seat of the Impala and his eyes scanned the campus that was lit by the arrival of daylight. After a few hours of checking and rechecking, students were allowed to go back into Harden and the night had passed slowly as Sam and Dean watched the dark ceiling above them.
When morning began to peek through the curtains, both had hurried from bed, taken showers and packed the car up again. Now they were going on their way. Dean watched his flushed reflection in the glass of the window and sighed. The red had become more pronounced after the last bout with the fire ghost and now it was a deep set flush covering his entire face and splotching the rest of his body. Sam hadn't fared much better, he looked much the same as his big brother. However, there was a scarlet red circle in the younger man's palm where the penny had been forced against the skin, and a deeper red on his cheek showed where Isaac had backhanded him.
"So, I'm presuming, you're not going to be attending school here, what with all that's happened and stuff, huh?" Came Dana's voice from the sidewalk.
"Um, no, we're going to take some time and look into other campuses." Dean replied.
"I figured as much. So the whole fire thing, is it over?" Dana asked.
"I think so." Sam replied with another glance back to where Harden stood. The large residence looked oddly innocent in the sunlight.
Dana nodded and smiled a bit.
"So, I'll see you around?" She asked.
"I don't think we'll be coming back this way." Dean admitted.
"The world works in mysterious ways, we might meet up again." Dana replied.
"We'll find out." Dean said and ducked into the car. Sam followed suit and shut the door behind him.
"You might want to stop at the drug store and get something for those burns, I'd hate for them to scar." Dana said simply.
"So would I." Dean replied, his face shadowing over. He cast another look at his reflection in the mirror, sighed and started the car before pulling away from Harden.
In the passenger seat, a soft chuckle escaped Sam's lips as the amusement of the words fell upon him. Dean cast a suspicious look to his little brother, who shook his head and pointed to the drugstore that sat next to the road ahead of them. Dean immediately pulled into the parking lot and Sam continued to smile at his brother's eager behaviour.
A/N: Well, that's it for this story, what'd you all think? Let me know! Until next time!