Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Supernatural (of course), and I'm not making any money from this fic. Any character you don't recognise from the show, I probably own. Anything you recognise from another fandom, I don't own
(Note: Big talky bit. Feel free to skip over this section)
Dedication(s): At this stage, I'd like to give a big thank you to the writers, producers, actors, everyone else involved in Supernatural – for making this series so wonderful, and for giving me a wonderful new fandom to play in. I'm being completely serious when I say that this series would not have existed were it not for them. So I'd like to dedicate this fic to those people.
Also, I'd like to thank each and every person who's left a review for this fic. Since all I had when I started this story was Dean getting shot and ending up in the parallel world, and a not-very-clear ending, it's quite possible that I would have ended up dropping this fic eventually were it not for you people. This entire fic is dedicated to you guys. I'd mention all of you by name, but I'm bound to forget someone that way.
I want to thank everyone who has this fic on Story Alerts and/or Favourites. Even if you haven't left a review, it's still great to know that there are people who like this story enough to let it be known that they like it, or to want to know when the newest chapter is posted. Again, this fic is dedicated to you.
Last (but not least), I'd like to thank everyone who's read this fic, even if you haven't made it clear that you have. I remember that I was really surprised when the fic had 10,000 hits – all I could do was sit there with my mouth open. So this fic is also dedicated to all of you – however many there are.
This fic wouldn't have come this far if it weren't for all of you.
Warning(s): Strong violence; character death; some swearing; spoilers up to and including episode ten at least; horror
Author's Note: This is the final chapter. –Waits for people to start cheering-. It really has been fun to write this, and certain things have happened that I didn't expect – but then, it would be rather boring if I knew everything that was going to happen.
If inspiration hits, I may write a sequel to this – I just wondered who (if anyone) would read it if I did write one.
Anyway… I will now stop babbling, and get on with writing.
In retrospect, Amber had had a pretty good idea that she wasn't going to survive for much longer. It had been a possibility since the vampire had bitten her – but she hadn't wanted to believe it. After all, who wants to believe that they're going to die? The survival instinct's strong in everyone.
Which was why, even though Amber felt her death was imminent, she fought to get out of Meg's grasp.
"Settle down," Meg ordered, tightening her grip on Amber's hair and causing the woman's eyes to water with the pain. "Surely you don't want to upset Dean? I mean, any more than necessary, of course."
I really couldn't give a damn about upsetting Dean…! Meg had Amber's arms locked behind her back, but she was still able to free one to try and force the knife away.
"Don't you touch her!" Dean moved forward, reaching for Amber. However, he had forgotten about the knife. Meg lashed out at him with it, and Dean had to recoil back sharply in order to avoid his face being slashed open.
Then, moving almost inhumanly fast, Meg stabbed the knife down towards Amber's throat. Amber's attempt to protect herself failed as the blade caught the edge of the arm she had flung up. But that pain was nothing compared to how it felt to have the knife rake right across her throat.
Amber tried to draw breath to scream, but all that came out was a gurgling sound. Meg let her go, but Amber could only stumble forward a few paces before her legs gave out. Dean caught her before she could fall to the ground, staring into her eyes with a look of horror. He looked like he was about to be sick as he reached a hand up to brush Amber's hair out of her face. "Amber…"
I'm sorry… Amber tried to say it out loud, but she wasn't sure Dean understood. There wasn't any pain anymore. She just felt warm, and there seemed to be a soft halo around everything. Her body felt weak, and if it weren't for Dean holding her up, she would probably have collapsed by now.
Dean held Amber close, completely ignoring Meg – who still had the bloody knife. He was looking into Amber's eyes; he saw it when they darkened. He could almost feel it when her spirit left her body.
Amber… Dean's arms loosened from around her, and the body slumped. As Dean stared at her, the rain started falling, and it mingled with the blood spilling onto the ground. With shaking fingers, he reached out and gently closed Amber's eyes, unable to bear the accusation he was sure had to have been there.
When he took his hand away again, there was blood on his fingertips.
"Why?" Dean straightened up, his eyes mostly on Amber – but he also kept part of his attention on Sam. I need to get out of this… I need to stay alive – because there'd be no use in getting myself killed… "Why did you kill her? There was no need to…" He rocked slightly on the balls of his feet, ready to leap at a moment's notice. I need to get that knife off her, then I can turn the weapon on her.
Meg laughed. "Maybe I enjoy killing? Besides… That bitch was asking for it. She's so… useless. Well, of course – I mean was." She smirked. "What are you trying to do, Dean? You won't be able to get the drop on me. Little Sammy will defend me, and I know that you won't harm your brother…"
"He's not my brother." Not at the moment, at least. And I'm pretty sure that Sam would expect me to defend myself if we were put in that situation. Of course, I realise that I didn't attack him when he shot me…
"Like you really believe that."
Dean's head jerked up as he heard the voice echo inside his mind. Sammy? It wasn't possible, could not be possible – and yet, he couldn't deny the familiar tone. But Sam can't talk telepathically… Can he? Then again, Dean had to admit that he had no idea of what sort of abilities Sam actually had.
Stop thinking, Dean. It took me long enough to get through your thick skull as it is.
No, not quite Sam, Dean decided. The words are too harsh… Despite himself, though, he couldn't help glancing in the direction of his brother… Or, well, his brother in this world. What do you want? he demanded, struggling to keep most of his attention on Meg as well as to talk to the entity who seemed like his brother, but who Dean was sure wasn't. In fact, he didn't even think the thing talking to him was human.
First of all, don't look in this direction, 'Sam' ordered. Secondly… Don't attack Meg. I'm about to send you back to your own world.
What! Dean demanded. If you could send me back to my world, then why the hell didn't you step in earlier! At least if that had happened, Amber would probably still be alive…
Chances are, she would have died anyway, the other answered. I've only just been able to get through. In my world, I look after the balance of the other worlds – along with my brother. I'm one of the Guardians.
Huh? Dean was confused – but that wasn't too surprising. How many parallel worlds are there? No, wait, I don't want to know. Why couldn't you get through earlier? He was dimly aware of the fact that Meg wasn't moving. Actually, the rain seemed to have frozen. It was like time itself had stopped.
This is so creepy, Dean thought.
Look down, Sam ordered. For me to come here, it demanded a sacrifice of blood. The woman was doomed anyway.
Dean shook his head. You sound like my brother, but you're definitely not him. Sam would never be so callous as to casually accept an unnecessary death… Would he?
But it was necessary, Sam said. And I'm just a different version of your brother. Now will you please shut up? I can't stay here for long, and if I get forced out again, I won't be able to come back unless there's another sacrifice of blood.
Dean shook his head slightly. Fine; do what you have to do. But… Is there any way you could change what happened here? So that Amber's alive, and Sam isn't possessed? Even if it means that they don't remember me being here…
I can't do that, I'm afraid, Sam answered. It's not possible to change time to bring someone back from the dead. But what I will do is let you forget the events that happened here. It would cause problems for you to remember anyway.
At least I wouldn't have to remember all of these things being caused because of me, Dean thought. He gave a mental sigh. Fine. Send me back. Now. Is there anything going on in my world that I need to know about?
I can't tell you that.
What! Hey, that's not fair! Who makes these damn rules anyway…!
The first sense that returned to him was sound. There was a loud, incessant beeping echoing through his ears. He tried to move, but something was holding him more or less still, and he couldn't move more than an inch to either side. Am I tied up? The thought filled him with panic, and he began struggling.
Dean blinked a few times, and his vision abruptly came back. The first things he saw were the white walls all around him, and there was the smell of disinfectant assaulting his nose. He could also see his brother's face that seemed to fill half of his vision. "Sammy…?" he mumbled. "What's going on? What happened?" The last thing he remembered was being shot… by Sam.
The relief in Sam's face was obvious. "You've been in a coma for nearly a week… How are you feeling? You don't remember anything?" He reached out, and Dean felt one of the wires holding him in place release him. "I'll get you out of this…"
His brother's face was so close to his that Dean could see the hurt barely masked by the relief. He lay still while Sam removed the rest of the wires, and then sat up, putting a hand to his head. "I feel like I have a hangover. You know, if I have a headache, generally I want to have done something fun the night before."
"You don't remember anything?" Sam asked.
Dean looked blankly at his brother. "Remember… what? I was in a coma – it's not like I went anywhere."
Dean was suddenly hit by a violent force that sent him flying off the bed and into the wall. He grunted, and tried to get up, but was grabbed again and thrown into the opposite wall.
Dean struggled to stand up, and, as he lifted his head, he saw the air shimmer – as though above a flame – and a demon was standing there.
Amber leaned over the toilet, and was sick. Her head pounded violently, and her neck hurt – for no obvious reason.
"Are you all right?"
Amber looked up at Missouri, and bit her lip against the angry response that sprang to her mind. "I don't know," she admitted instead. "I feel like… a vital part of me has been ripped away. I can't really explain." She stood up, feeling faint and light-headed. "I can't stay here. I have to go… home."
Missouri seemed to consider that for a moment, and then she nodded. "It might be the best thing to do," she agreed. "Do you want to wait until Sam comes back? I don't think he'll be that long."
Amber shook her head. "I'd rather just leave now, if that's all right. As I said to Sam – it's not like you need me around." She flushed the toilet, and then walked past Missouri and out of the room, wiping her mouth. "First, though, I need to get a drink. Of cold water. And wait for my stomach to settle."
Missouri nodded, and followed Amber out. She paused outside Jody's room, and glanced through the doorway. "Everything all right?"
Jody scowled, and didn't answer. She'd obviously attempted to pull her hand free of the handcuffs, but had stopped before drawing blood. She seemed pretty mad – but then, that didn't surprise Missouri.
"Just let me know if you need anything." With that, Missouri headed down the stairs after Amber. Instead of entering the kitchen or the living room, though, the psychic opened the front door. "Doctor Nelson."
The doctor blinked, staring open-mouthed at Missouri, his hand still raised to knock or ring the doorbell. "Oh…" Then, he quickly regained his composure. "I'm sorry… I just thought I'd come round and see how my niece is doing." He was carrying a bag slung over his shoulder, and seemed to be slightly nervous. His gaze moved past Missouri's shoulder, looking at something behind her. "Um… Hello."
Missouri knew – without looking – that Amber was standing behind her. "We're friends of Sam Winchester," she said, deciding that it was better not to go into details about who she and Amber were.
"And I'm leaving," Amber announced, moving past Missouri and then Doctor Nelson, who moved out of the way. She only just managed to avoid banging her holdall into either of them as she walked. "I'm going to get a taxi to the airport. You can let Sam know that he can get hold of me on the number of Stanford University," she called back over her shoulder as she walked out of the gate.
"Huh… She was in a hurry," the doctor commented. He turned back to Missouri. "Sam told you who I am?"
Missouri nodded, and stepped back from the door. "Please come in."
"Thank you." The doctor stepped through the door, and paused by the stairs as he set his bag on the floor and started rifling through it.
Missouri stepped forward, and closed the door. Before she could turn around, though, she was suddenly grabbed, and a piece of soft material was pressed against her mouth. The chloroform soaked into her nose and mouth, and Missouri slumped even as she lost consciousness.
Doctor Nelson caught the psychic, and half-dragged, half-carried her into the living room. He put her down on the sofa, and then headed out of the living room and up the stairs.
Sam finished reading the Latin words, his voice ending almost on a shout. Although he had been speaking as fast as he could, he had also been very careful not to get any of the words wrong. Given that the demon was in the process of trying to feed on Dean, Sam also had the added incentive of not getting his brother killed.
At least the Somnus-Nex demon doesn't seem to be able to focus on anything other than its chosen prey, Sam thought.
The demon's tentacles had let go of Dean though, and he collapsed, gasping, onto the floor. The tentacles were sucked into a swollen stomach, and the head turned in Sam's direction, mandibles snapping threateningly at him. It started to scuttle in his direction, but was stopped by an invisible force. A terrible, screeching wail came from it as indistinct arms – apparently made out of mist – wrapped around its body and pulled it through the floor.
For a moment, Sam just stood there. Then, he hurried over to his brother's side. "Dean! Are you all right?"
After a moment, Dean carefully pushed himself to his feet. He had to grab onto the edge of the hospital bed to support himself. "Dude… I figure I must really taste good."
"It didn't really get a chance to eat much of you," Sam answered. "Come on – we need to get back. The demon was working with someone, and I'm pretty sure I know who it is. I handcuffed her to a bedpost."
"Handcuffed, huh? Kinky." Dean grinned. "Is she hot?"
"Dean, she's probably evil," Sam pointed out, unable to help a slight smile. He then remembered what he had done, and his smile faded. "Come on… We really should go." He left the room, heading towards the entrance doors with barely a glance towards the reception desk. Although… "No one seems to be in a panic because of the sound of screaming," he commented.
"It's a hospital. I'm sure they must be used to people screaming here." Dean paused, and glanced towards the reception desk. "Huh. That guy looks stressed out about something."
Sam followed the line of Dean's gaze, and frowned slightly. There was a man talking on one of the phones at reception, and he sounded quite agitated. Sam could make out the name Jody being spoken, and he frowned. He sounds really worried… "We should go and talk to him…" Sam said, and headed over without waiting for a response from his brother.
Dean rolled his eyes, but obediently followed Sam.
"As soon as you get this, you need to get out of the house!" the man ordered into the phone. "I don't care what you're doing. I'll be over there as soon as possible." He put the phone down, and then turned, pausing as he saw Dean and Sam.
"Is something wrong?" Dean asked, raising his eyebrows.
"Is it something to do with what's been going on here?" Sam's question was more direct. "And with Jody?"
The man hesitated, glancing around a moment. Then, he sighed, and closed his eyes for a moment. "I suppose it's about time I told someone this. I was a photographer who worked with Melissa Williams. When she wrote her articles, though, we agreed that I would be anonymous. Which is why – when she was killed – no one knew about me. Well, apart from a friend, Jody."
Sam frowned, wondering at the man's words. If Jody was working with the demon, then I wonder why she left this man alive…
"So why were you calling her?" Dean demanded. "I heard you say her name – I'm guessing you got the answer phone."
The man glanced between Dean and Sam. "I don't pretend to believe all of that stuff that they supposedly found out," he said. "It all sounds crazy to me. But… I've been investigating the goings-on in the hospital. I know Melissa. The autopsy said that she was driving while drunk – but that's not like her. So I found out who did the autopsy on her – and discovered that it was Doctor Nelson."
"Jody's uncle…" Sam ignored the questioning look Dean shot him.
The man nodded. "I didn't think too much of it at first. But when I found out about the death of that receptionist – Min-Li – I let Jody know, since they were friends. But, again, the autopsy was performed by Doctor Nelson…"
That would explain why Jody was outside her house… Sam thought. He looked at Dean. "We've got to go back. Now."
Jody had just been drifting into a light doze when she felt the bed dip suddenly, as if someone had sat down next to her. Her eyes flew open, and she glanced around in confusion a moment, almost expecting Sam to be there. Then, she felt cold metal against her throat, and looked up into the dark eyes of her uncle.
"Uncle…?" Her limbs felt heavy. She knew that she should try and get away, but she felt so tired…
"Don't try to escape," the doctor said – taking Jody's arm anyway. "I've injected you with a sedative, enough to make you sleepy. Unfortunately, you have to be awake for this."
It was you… Jody tried to get her tired mind around the implications of this. "Why…?" Her speech was slurred, almost as if she were drunk. She would have tried to escape, but the handcuffs still held her – not to mention the dagger against her throat…
"You don't know?" He petted Jody's hair gently as his expression turned almost thoughtful. "I was diagnosed with a brain tumour a while ago. I was so close to despair… And then, she came to me. It was such a simple deal," he continued. "I just had to find the victims and make sure there was plenty of time for her to do the work. None of them were people who would be missed."
Jody's eyes widened and she began trying to pull her wrist free of the handcuff, ignoring the pain as the sharp edges dug into her skin. I guess that, if I cut myself, at least the blood might make it slippery, she thought. Meanwhile… I've got to keep him talking. She could barely focus enough to pull her thoughts together, though… "Melissa…?" she whispered. "Min-Li…?"
"Your reporter friend was getting too close to the truth," Doctor Nelson replied. "It was a simple matter to cut the brakes on her car, and who would suspect? And as for Min-Li? Well, she needed some extra food." He smirked. "Did you know that daddy longlegs are extremely poisonous? There has always been that theory going around, but I proved it. I used an aerosol can to spray the poison right into her face."
Jody flinched, as much from her uncle's words as from the pain she felt as the handcuff drew blood. Somehow, she had to get the dagger away from her neck, though. "Why… me…?" she asked.
"Because after Dean Winchester's death, she needed only one more sacrifice. So… it's going to be you." Doctor Nelson took the dagger away, but took Jody's free wrist and placed the blade against her skin there. "Only a shallow cut will be enough. The blade's coated with the poison. As soon as it enters your bloodstream, you'll die."
"It's too late for that now."
Doctor Nelson's head jerked up, and he stared at Sam, who was standing in the doorway – his brother close behind him. As he did that, the dagger moved away from Jody's wrist.
Jody yanked, and her other wrist came out of the handcuff. She couldn't help crying out, though, at the pain that flared through her. With difficulty, she rolled off the bed, struggling to stay conscious.
"What are you doing alive!" Doctor Nelson demanded of Dean.
Dean smirked. "Hey… I'm too handsome to die."
Sam jabbed his brother in the ribs, and addressed the doctor: "The demon's gone. We exorcised it. It's too late now."
Doctor Nelson didn't seem to be listening to reason, though. He ran at Sam and Dean, the dagger in his hand lifted. However, before he even got to the brothers, he hit what appeared to be an invisible wall.
"What's going on?" Dean asked quietly.
A mist formed between Sam and Dean and the doctor, and coalesced into the form of a young red-haired woman. Melissa swept through the doctor's body, and he froze as she ripped out the other side. Then, slowly, his lifeless body collapsed to the floor, and Melissa's spirit simply dissipated.
Jody slumped backwards, holding onto her injured wrist with her other hand, widening her eyes and trying to stay awake.
A battle which she was fast losing.
"You don't have to leave, you know," Sam said.
Sam, Dean, and Jody were standing in the departure lounge of the airport, waiting for Jody's flight to be called. Although Jody had said that she didn't want them to put themselves out, Sam had insisted on seeing her off – and Dean had come with him. They'd already seen Missouri off – who'd told them to be sure and come and visit her, including Jody in that comment.
"I know," Jody replied. "But… There aren't the greatest of memories here anymore. Besides, I really didn't want to follow my family tradition and work in a hospital anyway."
"So what do you plan on doing?" Dean asked.
Jody shrugged. "I'm thinking of going to Stanford University… I'd like to open my own shop, actually."
"Good luck with that," Sam said. "And… I'm sorry for believing that you were working with the demon – and for handcuffing you to the bedpost." He made sure to keep his voice low – just in case anyone was bored enough to want to listen to someone else's conversation.
"I'll get over it." Jody glanced down at the healing cut on her wrist. Then, she looked up at Sam and Dean – but mainly Sam. "You know… If you're ever at Stanford. Come look me up. You still have my cell phone number, I believe. Just give me a call whenever."
"I'll do that." Just as Sam spoke, the announcement for Jody's flight was made.
"You'd better go," Dean commented, seemingly happy enough – but then, as long as he didn't have to actually get on a plane, he was fine.
Jody nodded, and turned to walk away, glancing once back over her shoulder and giving a slight wave.
"So… Let's get on with finding Dad," Sam said as soon as Jody was gone. He blinked as he realised that Dean was looking at him oddly. "What?"
Dean shrugged. "Nothing."
"Do we need to talk about what happened with Doctor Ellicott?" Sam asked, wincing even as he said it. I managed to avoid dwelling on this while Dean was in a coma, and again with the whole demon thing…
"Nah," Dean replied. "I'm not really in the mood, you know. Besides," he continued when Sam opened his mouth again, "I don't blame you."
Sam shook his head. "Dean… I shot you. You can't honestly tell me that you're not mad about it. I should have been able to fight it. I'm the one having the dreams, after all…!"
"Sammy, if you try to turn this into a chick flick moment, I swear I'll kick your ass," Dean warned. "Besides… I know that those were feelings you've always had. It's not like you've ever made an effort to hide your thoughts from me before."
"But this was different. This time, I shot you. I picked up the gun, and fired it at you… It was only by luck I didn't hit anything vital."
"Yeah, you shot me," Dean agreed. "But you've forgotten one thing, Sam. I handed you the gun. I goaded you into shooting me. And, you know, you did hesitate. Besides… you're a good marksman – not as good as me, of course, but still… And yet, you still managed to avoid killing me."
Sam shook his head, refusing to believe his brother's words. "I shot you," he repeated.
"And you're not gonna do it again, are you?"
Sam looked at his brother like he was crazy. "No, of course not."
"Then we're good." Dean pointed a finger at Sam, managing to look stern. "Now – we're not gonna talk about this anymore, you hear me? And if you do anything stupid because of this, then I really will kick your ass. Understand?"
"Yeah… I hear you." For some reason, Sam's heart felt lighter. Dean wasn't good with emotional talk – but Sam knew that his older brother had just told him, in his own way, that he was forgiven.
"Good. Then let's go."
The next morning, Sam was woken up by the sound of his brother's cell phone ringing. He let out a groan, and sat up slightly in the bed, blinking a few times as he struggled to recall just where they were. In a motel…
Dean didn't stir. Sam was worried, but only for a moment. After all, Dean had had a tiring few days.
They both had.
When the phone continued ringing, Sam sighed and picked it up, fully expecting it to be some girl calling. "Hello?" He then sat up, shock registering on his face. "Dad?"