Disclaimer: The characters of "Supernatural" were created by Eric Kripke. The show is owned by the CW network. No profit is being made.
NOTE TO READERS: This story is the ninth and final installment to this story series. If you haven't read the other installments you should … the order to read them is: Uninvited, Whisper, Going Under, Until it Sleeps, If I Could Be Where You Are, Down with the Sickness, Last Resort, and Answer.
And, sorry this installment took a while. Life has been busy.
Side Note: This story title was inspired from an obscure song from two young guys who are brothers and were one hit wonders in the eighties. The song "Shimmering" was sung by The Williams Brothers.
And, thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read and review my other stories! So, please, feel free to Read and Review this time, too! A review is a fanfic writer's only payment.
By Dawn Nyberg
"…Sometimes I say a prayer that you found your dream, the peace and quiet life didn't bring … After the end where did you go? With nothing left to pretend, nothing left to hold beyond the door. Are you returning to me? Returning once more … Is that you … Shimmering…" Lyrics excerpt by the Williams Brothers.
Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Dean sat down by the lake once again. This spot had become his refuge over the last few months since losing Sam. The last few days he had been thinking more and more about his little brother. He silently wished happiness for his brother wherever his spirit was, and he hoped that Sam had found their mother and Jessica. His brother had never really been happy with the hunting life and Dean knew it, but he had returned to the life he hated, and Dean blamed himself for that. He missed Sammy and the ache inside his soul would crush him completely if he allowed it too.
"Dammit Sammy," Dean's voice sounded small and alien even to his own ears. "God, I want you here, little brother," he spoke out loud to the wind rustling through the trees as he watched the still lake waters glisten in the early afternoon sun. "Dad called earlier Sammy," Dean felt compelled to talk to the air as if his little brother was sitting with him at the waters edge. "I don't know where he was calling from, but he said he be back in a couple days. I was worried he'd bite it on this hunt. I don't know what it was," Dean paused. "He just seemed different when he left for it. Sad, maybe?" Dean shook his head. "Man, I'm losing it aren't I? Talking to the air." he complained.
"No, you're not," Kieran stood behind Dean leaning against a tree.
"Really? I always thought talking to yourself was a bad sign." Dean replied as he turned and looked at the man. Kieran smiled.
"Hmm, I think it's if you answer yourself is when you might worry." He laughed lightly as he pushed himself off the tree and approached Dean. "Mind if I sit?" Dean leveled an amused look on the older man.
"No, pop a squat."
Kieran shook his head in amusement. "We'll that's a colorful phrase isn't?"
"I try." Dean answered as he turned back to watching the still water. Kieran joined him in gazing. He hadn't allowed himself to reach out his senses to feel John Winchester he didn't want to feel or see what had happened between John and his youngest son. He had to surmise that Sam had been killed otherwise John would not be returning yet.
"Talking to Sam, huh?" Kieran asked. Dean shifted nervous eyes to the man as a sad look washed over his young face. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything."
"No, it's okay. Yeah, I was," Dean replied. "I'm mental, right?"
"No, Dean. You miss your brother. You're still in mourning. If talking to him helps then talk. I had a cousin that died when I was nineteen in a boating accident. I used to talk to him for a while. We were each other's sounding boards growing up, and when he died I felt lost. So, I understand."
"Thanks," Dean offered a slight smile. "Does it get better?"
"What? The feeling lost without them?" Kieran asked with a soft look in his eyes. Dean nodded. "Dean, when we lose loved ones there will always be an empty spot where they once were, but the grief changes, and eventually you get your footing back and don't feel so lost." He paused for a moment and studied the silent young man next to him that he could clearly see was mulling his words over in his head. "When those we love die Dean, we are left naked and alone. Raw." He spoke evenly and with conviction. "But, I promise you it does get better."
"When I…" Dean's voice caught in his throat. It was hard to express his feelings, but part of him was pushing forward to express his pain because he felt he owed it to his brother. He began again, "When I think about him, I ache. It physically hurts."
"And, it will for a long while I suspect," Kieran spoke gently. "And, it's okay, Dean. You're on your own time table. There is no set standard to grief."
"Sometimes I think Sammy's up there somewhere telling me to get my girly ass out of this rut and suck it up. I can almost hear him saying, I'm the one that's dead Jerk, now get your ass in gear, and live your life. I have lost it haven't I?"
"No, you're completely normal." Kieran answered with a smile. "Well," he hedged. "You know what I mean by normal." Dean snorted a laugh.
"Yeah," he agreed. "Yeah, I do."
"So, your father will be back in a couple days, huh?"
"Yeah, I'm glad whatever hunt he was helping out on is over. I felt this weird vibe from him when he was leaving."
"Uh-huh," Kieran nodded. "I couldn't help, but overhear what you were saying when I walked up. You thought he seemed sad, right?"
"Mmm, hmm," Dean replied. "But, he sounded like his old self on the phone when he called. So, that's good," Dean commented.
"Yes, it is."
"I worry about him Kieran."
"I know he's broken up over Sammy, but he's pretty great with me, and I just feel like I should be giving back, you know?"
"I know how you feel, Dean. I do. But, your dad is handling it in his own way, and I know he is grieving, but he's a parent," he suggested. "You're his child and you're hurting, so he's trying to do the right thing, and be there for you. But, really you've been there for each other. I don't know your father as well as you do, but I get the impression that John Winchester is a stubborn horse's ass, and has a very strong back bone." Dean laughed.
"A stubborn horse's ass, huh? You sure you don't know my father from somewhere. You're old buddies, right?" Dean replied. "But, really Kieran, all things aside. You've been in his head, I now you have. Is he okay, really?"
"He lost a child Dean. He's not okay, but I know he gets a great deal of solace in knowing he can share the pain of losing Sam with his firstborn. He loves you Dean. I feel it from him in waves. I know he hasn't always been the perfect father, but believe he knows this too. I think he's finally come back full circle in priorities, and wants to be your father again. You know be around more. Be a family."
"A family? How can we be that without Sammy?"
"You are a family, Dean. Yes, it may take a long while to learn the new dynamics, but you'll be learning together." Kieran smiled.
"Kieran," Dean began hesitantly. "I don't know what to do," he started. "My whole life since Sam was born… I've been one thing and that's Sam's big brother. And…" his voice shook slightly and Kieran put a comforting hand on his shoulder and squeezed. "And, now that Sammy's gone what am I? I don't know who I am without being his big brother." His eyes glistened with fresh tears threatening to break free.
"Dean," Kieran's voice was gentle and knowing. "You'll always be his big brother and Sam will always be your little brother. Death merely ends the physicality of a relationship, but not the emotional bonds. You have defined yourself for many years as Sam's brother first, and Dean Winchester second. Now, you're faced with putting Dean Winchester first, but that doesn't mean you're losing you Dean, you're just changing, and that's not a bad thing. Yes, you have to redefine yourself in a different way, but you have to believe you're worth the effort because you are. Sam would want you to be happy, to go on. You'll always be his big brother. Sam is a part of you and that will never change."
Dean's head dropped into his hands and Kieran could see his young shoulders start to shake as the tears came. Kieran put an arm around him and encouraged Dean to lean into him. "I'm sorry," he spoke quietly to Dean. "I didn't mean to speechify. I was wrong." Dean's head shot up, and he landed imploring eyes on the older man.
"No, you're right. I know you are. It's just that…" Silent tears ran unchecked down his cheeks as his voice cut off with a quiet sob.
"It's just that you're not ready to let go of being a big brother first," Kieran inserted. Dean nodded. "It's okay," Kieran comforted. "Baby steps, Dean," he encouraged. "Baby steps." They sat in silence for a long moment and finally Kieran lifted his arm from Dean's shoulders and patted him on the back. Dean had quieted and pushed his tears away from his face with a hand. "I say we go get freshened up, and when Samaire comes home we go out and get some food," he suggested. "What do you say?"
"I don't want you to do it on my account."
"Bullocks," Kieran chided. "I'm dying for a steak." Dean allowed a slight smile to quiver at the sides of his mouth. Kieran smiled in return. "Let's get a move on." He offered Dean a hand up and they headed for the house.
Meanwhile, Camarillo, California
Sam moved restlessly in his bed. There was a presence pushing its way into his all ready troubled dreams. "Samuel, your place is with me. Come home." There was a hissing quality to the voice and Sam knew the voice was the demons.
"No," Sam mumbled in his sleep.
"But, I had so much more to teach you my son." The voice cooed.
"No," Sam slurred a little louder. Sam watched the demon appear to him in his dreamscape. And, walk to him.
"Then I shall remind you of yourself, and what you gave up returning to that man you acknowledge as your father. I want you to remember it all." The demons hand's shot out toward Sam in his dream and grabbed his face. The onslaught of images and coupled with entire memories flooded through Sam. The pain was engulfing him, but he couldn't run from himself, from the truth of what he had become. His screams brought John running. He burst into the room followed by Joshua.
Sam was writhing in the bed, and it quickly became what looked like a seizure. John forced Sam onto his side, and held his head loosely in his hands to keep him from injuring himself. "Sammy! Wake up son." Sam was burning up with fever. His son's skin was dry and hot. "Josh, run a cold bath. He's on fire. I gotta get him cooled down quick."
"Sure thing, I yell when it's ready." Josh dashed from the room.
John held onto Sam's head as his body continued to arch back and forth. John was no longer sure if it was the throes of a bad dream or a febrile seizure. Suddenly, Sam's body went lax in his father's hands, and stopped moving. John turned him over onto his back, and felt for a pulse as he leaned over his son's face feeling for breath. He was relieved to feel both. Sam's heart rate was extremely elevated, but John could all ready feel it coming down. He stripped Sam's cloths off leaving him clad only in his boxers.
"John! The bath is ready," Joshua called from down the hall.
"Come on kiddo," John urged as he placed an arm under his son's knees and neck and hauled him into his arms and carried him down the hall.
"You need help?" Joshua asked.
"No, I got him." John answered as he placed Sam into the cold water. He expected him to buck against the cold, but he didn't. His face was lax and peaceful. John felt a pang of raw panic as he felt for a pulse and checked for breath again. Sam was alive, but clearly unconscious. "Josh, can you call Marcus and see if he can come take a look at Sam. This fever has me worried, and I don't want to take him to the hospital if I can help it."
"Sure thing, John."
John Winchester took a wash cloth and kept running it over his young son's face trying to quell the fever raging under his skin. He alternated between wiping the rag around his face or pulling the cold water up onto Sam's chest and shoulders. He could feel the heat still brewing beneath the surface. "Sammy? Come on, son," John encouraged. He patted Sam's cheek. "Open you eyes, Sam." He hesitated. "Samuel do as I say," he tried to command the boy hoping that would elicit some response, but he didn't move. "Hey, kiddo, why don't you cut your old man a break, huh? You're starting to worry me. Open your eyes, Sammy." John hated the pleading sound to his voice, but he felt fear taking hold, and it was knotting his stomach.
Sam felt consumed in a thick black that was stifling and hot. The air was so still and humid he felt as though he were being suffocated with a thick cheesecloth wetted down. "So, you know what you are now," the demon cooed. "You have been reminded of what you chose to become."
"I didn't choose," Sam spat. "There was no choice. My family would have been killed. I made the only decision I could."
"Not anymore. The ritual was broken."
"You will never escape the darkness in you, Samuel. I will never let you go. Never."
"You have no hold over me. The blood bond was broken in death."
"The bond, yes," The demon relented. "But, what was undone can redone."
"No! I will never complete the ritual again. And, you can't make me do it. Free will remember?"
"You forget your weakness."
"You'll leave me family out of this. I won't put them through this again. I will never do the ritual again. Never!"
"You know the old saying Samuel … never say never," and the demon laughed.
"I say never," Sam rasped out. His mind white hot as his psyche battled the demon. "I can let go." The man Sam had known as Logan Belial stared wide-eyed at his young quarry.
"You wouldn't," his voice held an incredulous tone.
"Watch me," Sam glared at the demon. Sam's body trembled violently.
"Sammy!" John threw the wash cloth to the floor as he struggled hold Sam's shaking body while he held his son's head with a free hand. Sam drew in a struggling deep breath, as his body fell limp and lifeless in his father's hands. "Sam? Sammy!" John eyes were frantic. He shoved his hands roughly against his son's neck, and there was comforting pulse beneath his fingers. "No, Sam!" He shouted pulling his son roughly from the cold bath water.
"John?" Joshua skidded to a stop at the open bathroom door at the sight of a lifeless Sam being laid out on the floor. "Oh Christ, what happened?"
"His heart stopped!" John shouted his voice a combination of concern and agony. "Where the hell is Marcus?"
John pushed two breaths into his son's mouth and started compressions. "Go wait for Marcus! Go now!" Josh nodded and left. "You're not doing this Sammy," John warned. "Do you hear me? Not now, not after everything that's happened." He continued his unending breaths and compressions. He felt himself pushed aside harshly, and looked up to see Marcus, his old friend who just happened to be a fellow hunter and medical doctor.
"Out of the way John," he barked. He checked Sam's vitals, "How long?" John just stared at Sam's pale face, and his lips a lifeless translucent color, almost opaque. "Dammit, John, how long?" the doctor shouted as he pushed on Sam's chest vigorously. John snapped out of his paralysis.
"Maybe five or six minutes."
"Josh!" Marcus yelled at the man in the doorway. "Open the AED," Josh nodded and bent down opening the portable defibrillator device. "Go on," he barked as he continued trying to resuscitate Sam. "Put the pads on him, you know how to do this. I need to see what his rhythm is."
Marcus stopped compressions to look at Sam's heart activity or lack there of, and saw a thin line of V-fib, he reached over to the AED and hit the analyze button. A mechanical voice spoke: Analyzing … Shock Advised.
"Clear!" Marcus yelled to make sure neither John nor Josh attempted to touch Sam. He hit the shock button and the voice spoke again: Clear Away … Shocking … the machine hummed up for a second and Sam's body jerked as the shock entered his chest. Marcus immediately checked the monitor and felt for Sam's carotid pulse in his neck. "You're not doing this kid," he grumbled. "Not on my watch." He opened up his medical bag and drew up a vile into a large gauge needle and John watched in horror as Marcus inserted the needle into Sam's chest, into his heart. Marcus thumped Sam's chest once … twice …three times with his balled up fist. And started resuscitation efforts again. "John!" the man's urgent voice pulled John's eyes away from Sam's face.
"John, I need you to breathe for your son, now!" And, John flipped a switch the same one that had flipped in that warehouse that had allowed him to strangle his son had now flipped, so he could disconnect and to his task, and that was breathe for his youngest child, breathe for Sammy, and he did. It was an orchestrated dance between the two men, each one doing their tasks. Marcus would finish his task and shout breathe to John and he would push two long breaths into his son's still lungs.
Marcus looked at the rhythm on the AED and frowned. He pushed analyze. And, the voice spoke: No Shock Advised. And, Marcus knew grimly that Sam was now flat-line a rhythm that was not shockable. "Come on," he ground out. He injected Sam once again with another amp of Epi in hopes that it would stimulate his heart. The two men struggled to save Sam. Marcus leaned back from completing a set of compressions and allowed John to push two more breaths in. He pushed the analyze button once again, even though he could clearly see on the monitor that Sam's heart was neither in V-Fib or beating.
The machines voice echoed in the bathroom: No Shock Advised. He shook his head in defeat. He pulled away from Sam. John was crouched over his son waiting for his command to breathe, but the command didn't come. It should have come by now, he thought. What's taking Marcus so long to do compressions? He looked up and saw the man's solemn face.
"John, I'm so sorry. He's gone." He attempted to reach out for the man's shoulder, but he pulled away violently.
"No!" His scream was primal. And, Marcus saw the feral look in John's eyes, and he moved his outstretched hand away from the man, he had long called friend. John began compressions on Sam once again. He could feel his son's cold skin beneath his hands as he pushed down on his chest. He bent over pushing air into his son as he ignored the coldness of Sam's now completely lifeless face. He had no color. It was as if he had been drained of his blood. He compressed and he breathed until his arms and lungs burned. "You push that damn button," he growled. Marcus knew this was a father on the edge, and he complied, only because he knew John needed to know that everything had been done. He had to wait for John to decide enough was enough.
The machine spoke: Shock Advised. Marcus shifted his eyes to the monitor.
"I'll be damned." He pushed the shock button.
The machine spoke: Clear! Shocking… and Sam's chest arched up as the shock traveled into his body. A choking gasp filled the room as Sam struggled to breathe. Marcus pulled out a small portable oxygen supply and placed a large plastic mask on Sam that covered his mouth and nose.
John sat silently beside his son with tears streaming down his tired and worn face. "Sammy?" His voice broke as he watched his son struggle back into this life. Marcus checked Sam's vitals, and studied the monitor. He was stabilizing. "How is he?" John pulled himself from the reverie of watching his son's chest rise and fall on its own.
"Stabilizing," Marcus replied. "Sam can you hear me? Open your eyes," he commanded. He rubbed his knuckles across Sam's sternum in an attempt to elicit a response, and he was happy that it did … Sam groaned trying to retreat from the pain the sternum rub caused. "Come on you heard me," his voice more commanding. "Open your eyes!"
John leaned forward and decided that maybe his stubborn son would hear his father's voice. "Sammy, you need to wake up." His son didn't stir. "Samuel Winchester that's a direct order, you open your eyes now! That's an order!" Sam's eyes fluttered as he fought toward consciousness. "That's it, Sammy," John encouraged. "Come on." And, then it happened, Sam's dark eyes fluttered open and his they were glazed and unfocused. It scared John. Marcus moved in to examine Sam.
"Sam I need you to focus for me, okay? It's Marcus." He snapped his fingers trying to get Sam to respond. He rubbed his sternum again, and Sam groaned and tried to move away from the pain. "Come on Sam. I need you to focus." Suddenly, his eyes cleared as if the fog that had settled over them lifted. His eyes shifted sluggishly in search of his Dad's face.
"Dad?" His voice sounded exhausted and confused as he looked into his father's blood-shot, tear filled eyes.
"Hey, kiddo. You gave your old Dad one hell of a scare." He ran his hand tenderly through Sam's hair pushing back his bangs in a repetitive movement that was lulling Sam back to sleep. "No, Sammy," he encouraged as he stopped smoothing his son's hair. "You have to stay awake until Marcus says you can sleep." Sam eyes opened again, and he complied with his father's wishes.
"Dad?" he whispered, his voice was a mere scratch.
"I had to do it." John looked at his son confused.
"Do what Sammy?"
"The demon didn't think I could." John's eyes went wide.
"Could what Sam?"
"He said it'd never be over. So, I let go." Sam coughed and Marcus moved in.
"Okay, enough chit-chat. I need to examine him. Plenty of time to talk in a while." John sat back against the bathtub as his mind fully grasped what had truly happened in this room. The battle that had been waged, the battle that had been won, and the prize was Sam alive and breathing. He felt a chill work its way through his body.
"Marcus?" John looked at his friend as he examined Sam and listened to his chest with his stethoscope.
"His heart's okay isn't it? It's just after the warehouse, and before that there was another arrest back in Maine due to a seizure. He's okay, right?"
"His heart sounds fine John. I could take him in and give him a work-up if that'd make you more comfortable." The doctor offered. John hesitated knowing Sam didn't like medical facilities.
"Dad, no…" Sam's voice scratched out. John stroked his son's hair reassuringly.
"Sammy, I'd feel better, okay? I just need to be sure. Marcus could we do it tomorrow?"
"Sure," he replied. "I'm going to stay the night here and monitor him, and then we'll go tomorrow. I can get him right in. I'll do the tests myself, okay?"
Later the Next Day
John walked with Sam out to Josh's car he had driven to the local hospital where Marcus intended to run some tests on Sam. Marcus was on staff at the hospital, and put Sam through the paces of a complete blood work-up, an ultrasound of Sam's heart, and a few other tests that he felt were appropriate. John opened the passenger door for his son. "Dad, I'm not an invalid" Sam groused. "Marcus said the old ticker was fine. No damage."
"Sammy, until you reach my age you aren't allowed to use the phrase 'old ticker', you're twenty-three, a babe in the woods," he suggested with a smile. Before he closed the door, Sam looked up to his father and smiled.
"You're not that old dad." John smiled.
"Fingers and toes inside?" He questioned before closing the passenger door on his son. Sam laughed. Both men were silent on the drive back to Joshua's house. "Sammy?"
"You know we have a flight leaving tomorrow for Maine, maybe I should change the reservations," he suggested.
"What? Why?" Sam's voice sounded alarmed.
"Maybe, give you some more time to recoup."
"I'm fine Dad. Marcus said so."
"Yeah, I know, but still…"
"I want to go back."
"All right," John conceded. "I gotta get you some new jeans and stuff. I just realized you don't have any clothes. Aside from those sweat pants and t-shirt Joshua gave you."
"Only one pair Dad and maybe a new shirt or something," Sam agreed as he eyed his current clothing. "My stuff," Sam began hesitantly. "Do you and Dean still have my other clothes and stuff?" John cast a solemn look at his youngest son.
"Your brother does," he spoke softly. "He keeps them in his room at the cabin."
"Is he okay?" Sam questioned with soulful eyes. John glanced at Sam. It was the first time he had broached the subject of his time away.
"He's grieving Sammy. Even though I knew the truth, I still grieved, too. I thought we had lost you."
"Why did you let him think I died?" Sam's voice was soft and held no anger.
"I though it was better than the truth of the situation," John relented. "But that's over now, and you'll see your brother tomorrow."
The delved into silence once again and was quiet for long moments before Sam broke it with a single sentence.
"I remember it all." John's head snapped toward his son, and Sam remained staring out the passenger window. John pulled off onto the shoulder of the road near a field adjacent to a kiddy park. He put the car in park and turned the car off.
"What do you mean you remember?" John felt fear. He hoped that Sam was still clueless to his past six months away in the clutches of the demon. He had found great comfort when Sam first awoke and his last memory was before the ritual took effect.
"Last night in my dreams," his voice sounded broken. "The demon showed me. I know what I became," his voice trailed off. John reached over and grasped his son's shoulder, and squeezed.
"You became nothing Sammy, it wasn't you." John urged. Sam shook his head.
"I won't run from the truth Dad," Sam's voice caught in his throat. "I told the demon, never again, and I meant it."
"It's over Sammy. Over and done," he tried to soothe.
"Dad," Sam turned tear filled eyes to his father. "It'll never be over. He may never be able to control me like he did, but he will always want to. He's in my head still. It can never be done, not truly." Sam's voice hiccupped suddenly as the onslaught of emotions hit him. "It was over…" his voice strained through the tears streaking silently down his cheeks. "It was over for those few minutes I was dead. It would have been over and done then, but now…"
"Sammy…" John felt at a sudden loss on how to handle his son's pain.
"Maybe you should have let me go Dad," Sam suggested softly staring out the window.
"Samuel Winchester!" John bellowed. The sudden booming voice of John Winchester filled the car and rattled against Sam's head. Sam turned wide eyes to his father. "Don't you ever say that again. Do you understand? Do you?" He shouted. His dad's voice was angry, but his eyes betrayed him, and Sam saw fear there, and anguish.
"Dad," he began quietly.
"No, Sammy," John's voice grew softer. "I don't want to ever be at your side again begging you to breathe. You were gone Sam, and when Marcus said, 'I'm sorry. He's gone.' I don't want to ever have to hear those words ever again. If I lost you or your brother … I don't know what I'd do. You boys are the most important thing in my life. You two are the best things in my life."
"I'm sorry Dad," Sam's lower jaw quivered. John reached up and cupped the side of his young son's face. Sam leaned into his father's warm touch. "I just don't want to be the reason you or Dean get hurt or killed. I couldn't handle that."
"We're going to be okay, kiddo. Hey, you've said more times than I can count that we're stronger as a family. Hell, you even got your brother believing that, and you're right. We'll be okay."
"How dad? You want to hunt this thing and kill it, but…" John shook his head.
"No, it's done. If it comes knocking again we'll deal with it then, but I'm done with the revenge, okay? I lost you for six months only to get you back and almost lose you again last night. And, Dean hasn't been the same since you died." John studied Sam's face. "Six months ago I lost two sons," he replied. "Tomorrow we'll be together again, and I'll have my boys back under the same roof. And, tomorrow Dean gets himself back."
"But the dreams," Sam began.
"You'll train more with Kieran, okay? You'll learn to block the demon, just like you were able to before. He'll get you back on the right road Sam." Sam smiled and nodded.
"Sam," John's voice was tentative. "I want you to be able to talk to me or your brother is that's easier. If you want to talk about the last six months…" He saw Sam shaking his head slowly.
"No," his young voice was quiet and broken. "I'm not sure I'll ever want to talk about it," he offered. John reached over and gave Sam a reassuring squeeze on his shoulder saying more than words could convey.
They sat in companionable silence for a few minutes with John keeping a comforting hand on his son's shoulder. Finally, he took a deep breath and started the car. "Let's get back to Joshua's," he started. "I'm sure he's wondering where we're at. And, he's making us his specialty tonight as a farewell dinner…"
"Barbeque Ribs." Sam saw the hungry glint in his father's eyes.
Boothbay Harbor, Maine
"So, Dean?" Kieran spoke as he entered the kitchen where Samaire and Dean sat at the kitchen table. "Any idea what time your dad's plane arrives?"
"Nah, he didn't say. I don't even know what airline. I just know he said he'd be in sometime late afternoon. Hey, you want to use that psychic radar on him and find him," Dean suggested with a playful smile. Kieran was glad to see that smile because although brief it was genuine.
"Now, now," he chided in humor. "Your father finds out you wanted him psychically low jacked as it were, I'm sure he wouldn't be pleased," Kieran replied with a warm smile. Dean burst out into a loud chuckle.
"Low jack, huh? I didn't even know you knew what that was," Dean commented with a glint in his eye. Samarie's lilting laugh joined Dean's boisterous one.
"Hey, young man," Kieran admonished. "I may not be from your generation, but I'm not over the hill." Dean just continued to laugh. "You want to help your husband out here?" He turned imploring eyes to his wife. Samaire simply joined Dean in his laughter. Kieran broke a smile and chuckled, too.
"Kieran, sorry, man, I just couldn't help it," Dean explained. "You know it's no different, I mean, if my dad were to suddenly compare his music with … I don't know something like the stuff you listen to in your den. What's his name? Pava … something."
"Pavarotti," Kieran supplied. "and, it's opera, Dean , not stuff." His face held a humored smile.
"Yeah, him. I mean, if my dad were to compare that guy to Charlie Daniels or something I'd laugh to. Because well, frankly it'd surprise the hell out of me if my dad even knew who that Pava guy was."
"Pavarotti," Kieran inflected once again. Dean nodded.
"I mean my dad would probably see that name and think it was some kind of pasta or something."
"I can see where this is headed," Kieran replied. "It's okay," he assured. "You just simply think you're father and I are both old timers. So, I guess we should just sit back on the porch and talk about the good old days when there were still milk trucks doing home deliveries, huh?"
Dean quirked up an eyebrow, "You're not that old are you?"
Samaire began laughing so hard that tears were streaming down her face. Kieran just rolled his eyes. "Well," he spoke trying to change the subject. "I thought the three of us might go have a light lunch in town before your Dad gets back into town," he suggested. Dean acted hesitant. "I doubt he'll be here before us," he offered.
"Doubt or know?" Dean had a sly smile slip across his face.
"I can sense him getting closer, but I refuse to actually search him out," Kieran offered. "I won't invade his privacy like that, since there is no cause for alarm."
"Okay," Dean conceded.
"Dean," Samaire spoke. "I'm making some Irish dishes tonight as a welcome back dinner for your father, so tell me does he like corn beef?" She asked as she stood up from the table and grabbed her purse indicating to him to follow them out to the SUV.
"Well, anything with the word beef in it will probably work for him. Corn beef, huh? I've never had it before."
"Well, tonight you will," She smiled at him.
Two Hours Later
"You nervous," John asked as he watched Sam move restlessly in the back of the taxi headed to Kieran's cabin. Sam cast his father a slight smile, but he could see the apprehension in his young son's eyes.
"Yeah, a little, I guess. Aren't you?"
"I know I should be, but I'm just more excited I suppose."
"Dad, there's gonna be a lot of questions," Sam spoke softly.
"I know, and I'm sure your brother is going to have it out with me over the lie." Sam shook his head at his father.
"No, Dad. You're not coming clean with Dean on this one," he replied.
"What? Of course, I have to. Look, I know he'll be mad, but…"
"No way, Dad" Sam asserted. "He'll never trust you again. No, the truth would do more damage than keeping the lie."
"No, Dad, look…" Sam suggested his voice quiet. "He doesn't have to know that you knew I was alive when we last saw each other before we were separated at the warehouse. Just say you found me on this last hunt. You can come clean about the hunt involving the demon, okay? You told me you lied to him about that too, when he asked if you were going after the demon. Just tell him that the demon wasn't there, only some of his associates and me."
"You make it sound easy Sam, but you know it isn't that simple." John commented.
"It can be," Sam replied. "He can be told I was under the demons control, but you broke the bond, and now I'm free from the demon's influence."
"He'll have questions about the last six months Sammy."
"I know, and I'll tell him what I told you, that I don't want to talk about and I may never. He'll let it go Dad. He won't want me to dredge up anything that I don't want too. Please, Dad follow my lead on this one," Sam's voice pleaded. "Just don't tell him the truth not now not ever." John studied Sam's face intently and he could see how sure Sam was that this was the right decision to make, and he acquiesced to his young son's request.
"Fine, I won't tell your brother the truth," he looked at Sam sincerely. "I promise," he assured.
"Thanks," Sam replied. The taxi turned down the long driveway to Kieran's cabin and Sam smiled as he could feel the blocking protection of this land surrounding the house, and he felt a peace settle over him that he hadn't felt in a long time.
"You ready for this?" John said quietly as they exited the car, and John grabbed his large duffel out of the trunk of the taxi. He paid the driver and they both stood looking at the familiar cabin that had become a sort of wayward home for the Winchester family.
"Ready as I'll ever be," Sam answered. They approached the house and walked up the stairs to the front porch. Sam felt the butterflies in his stomach and he stopped, holding back. John smiled reassuringly and patted Sam on the back.
"You okay Sammy?"
"Yeah," Sam's voice was tight.
The walked into the front room and things were quiet. John picked up the distinct noise of clinking pans coming from the kitchen and then his sense of smell followed. He knew Samaire was in there cooking. There was a sharp intake of breath that came from behind Sam and John, and they turned to see Kieran.
"Holy Mary Mother of God," the man exclaimed. The color drained from Kieran's slightly olive complexion. He stood stock still as he stared at Sam who still stood by his father.
"Hi Kieran, long time no see," Sam offered lightly as he cast his eyes down toward the floor briefly before raising them again to look at the man's stunned face. Kieran reached out his senses and felt Sam and his light. He was back, the boy was alive and here. He sensed a great heaviness in his memories, but those things could be worked through. He crossed the distance between himself and Sam quickly, and pulled him into a strong embrace.
"Sam?" His voice edged in a kind of hysteric happiness. He felt giddy. "It's good to see you lad," and he pulled him into anther bear hug. Sam embraced him, too, and let the man's calming nature fill him up, and he let some of the tension bleed away from his muscles.
"Missed you, too," Sam quipped lightly.
"Oh!" the shocked exclaim was followed by a Tupperware bowl colliding with the wooden floor and skittering and bouncing to a stop at John Winchester's feet. He bent to collect the container that Samaire had dropped. "Sam?"
"Hi Samaire, sorry I startled you," Sam offered sheepishly.
"Uh, I'm sorry…" she replied. "I just, I …"
"Its okay honey, I'm as surprised as you Kieran walked over to her and put an arm around her. "It really is Sam." She walked forward and hugged Sam to her, and squeezed.
"Sam? Are you okay?"
"Fine." His voice was quiet and she didn't press any further. She scanned John's face quickly trying to pick up any indicator that the boy was hurt, but she saw nothing. "Where's Dean?"
"Walking the dogs he should be back any minute now. He wanted to get back before you got here," she looked at John and he nodded.
Ten Minutes Later
Sam stood silently in the corner with his back to both men as he stared out over the property through the large window. He had forgotten how pretty the lake looked in the dropping sun of late afternoon. John and Kieran sat talking waiting for Dean to return. They could hear the dogs barking as they ran up the stairs toward the front door. "Geez, you two are so wound up. You'd think you'd be worn out." Dean released them from their leashes as they entered the house, and they ran off for the kitchen. He looked up and saw his dad and John sitting on the couches across from one another. John smiled. "Dad!" Dean smiled. "Hey, sorry I wasn't here when …" his voice drifted off as he caught sight of a tall figure in the corner that turned from the window. He squinted at the light rays arching in through the multiple windows. The sun was blinding when it was starting to set and drop behind the tress. The figure moved slightly away from the window, and Dean studied the shadowy silhouette, and then his eyes focused on the face, and those eyes. He hadn't seen those eyes in six months; they were eyes he never thought he'd see again except for in pictures his only visual mementos left of his brother, his Sammy.
"Sammy?" His voice came out sounding like a choked whisper as he walked a few feet more into the room on unsteady legs.
"Hey, Dean," Sam answered softly with a lopsided grin. Dean felt his world shift under his feet, as he stared at his brother. His very much alive, and still too tall little brother. His vision tunneled and white and black spots danced in his peripheral, and he felt himself falling into oblivion. The last thing he heard before darkness claimed him was his little brother yelling his name.
"Dean!" Sam shouted as he watched his brother pass out. John and Kieran made a valiant effort to reach Dean before his head connected with the hard wooden floor, but their worries were quickly ended because Dean's body or head for that matter never touched the wood floor. They stood transfixed as they watched Dean's lax body supported by invisible hands, and they turned to Sam who was staring at his brother. "Get him," he instructed both men snapping them into action. Sam relinquished his hold on Dean only after he knew they had him safely in their hands. "Check him," he looked at Kieran. "Is he okay?"
Kieran looked over Dean as he lay unconscious on the wooden floor. He nodded to an anxious John and Sam Winchester. "His pulse and breathing are fine. I think he simply fainted. I believe you may have been a little more than he could handle, and his body just simply let his mind take a break. He may be out for a while. Here let's get him to his room." Kieran helped to sit Dean up, but John insisted on carrying his own son.
"I got him." John confirmed as he slid an arm under Dean's knees and his arms picking his son up with a small grunt in one fluid motion.
Three Hours Later
The sun had set and Dean's room was cast into darkness except for one small lamp on in the far corner illuminating the room in a dim warm light. Sam sat in the corner in a chair against the distant wall. He had been sitting alone with is brother since they settled him in the bed. He watched Dean's eyes move rapidly underneath closed lids. He knew his brother was dreaming, but what about he wasn't sure. He didn't feel comfortable probing his brother's mind.
Dean felt like he'd been running for hours and his voice grated against his throat tissue. He had been yelling for his brother for what seemed like hours. He kept running up and down the banks of a raging river scanning the water and its edge for any sign of his little brother. "Sammy!" He had some recollection of Sam falling into the light the setting sun. He remembered Sam's smile, that goofy lopsided grin the kid had had since they were small.
He heard Sam's words, simple, "Hey, Dean," and then he was gone. The only thing Dean could remember was darkness came, but what wasn't clear was did it come for him or swallow his brother. There was something missing, and because Sam wasn't here by his side where he should be he knew Sam was in trouble. He had to get to his brother. And, then he saw something at the waters edge up stream and he ran. He knew the lanky body, and the dark chestnut hair, he bent down and turned his brother over, so he could see his face. Sam's face was pale and lax in the dimming light and Dean knew before he even felt for a pulse that his little brother was gone. "Sammy!" He screamed.
Dean jerked awake with a small gasp. Sam sat silently afraid to do or say anything. He watched his brother adjust his eyes to the dim room and glance toward the light. He could see his brother acclimating to where he was, his room, the cabin, and the knowledge that whatever had propelled him up from sleep was simply a nightmare. Dean lay quietly for a long moment, and then he felt eyes watching him, and he turned his eyes slowly expecting his dad to be sitting in the chair on the wall. Sam leaned forward out of the shadows. "It's okay Dean," his voice soft and quick to assure. Dean's eyes were wide.
"No, no," he jerked up in the bed. "You're not here, you're not real." He struggled out from under the quilt placed on top of him.
"Dean, it's me, please." Sam pleaded his voice raw with emotion. Dean stood separated from Sam by his bed. When Dean only stared Sam decided he should speak before the silence pushed his big brother further away. "I know you thought I was dead, Dad too," he began slowly placing his words as carefully as he would if he were trying to cross cracking ice on a pond. "Dad, found me by accident on his hunt. His friends had a lead on the demon, but he didn't want to worry you by telling you he was going after that evil bastard again, so soon after…" his voice trailed off for a second. "The demon wasn't around, but I was when Dad showed up. I … I've been with that thing since it took me. It controlled me all these months. But, Dad he figured out a way to break the bond. It's really me, Dean."
"Sammy?" Dean questioned, as if he were just now truly seeing Sam, and as if he hadn't heard a thing his brother had just said.
"Yeah, Dean," Sam smiled. "It's me." Dean studied his brother for a moment, and with a joyously crushing realization he knew this was his little brother. He skirted around the bed in one sweeping movement, and without pretenses or the Dean Winchester stoicism he grabbed Sam roughly and pulled him close.
"Sammy," came out sounding strangled and cut off as the tears and six months of grief tore out of Dean. He held Sam tightly as a hand reached up a cupped the back of his brother's head. Sam could feel the tremors cascading through his older brother, and he held on. Each boy was the others life line. Suddenly, Sam could no longer hold onto his emotions. He had wanted to be as strong for Dean as he could, but his own mental state was quickly slipping away under the onslaught of his brother's tears.
"I'm so sorry I hurt you," Sam choked out. "If … if I'd known. If I had been strong enough to know he was controlling me … I could have broke the bond" his words started running together as his breath began to hitch high in his chest, and a choked sob escaped his mouth. "I'm so sorry…" The sound of his little brother's distress flipped a switch in Dean almost instantly, like a reflex. Sammy was hurting, Sammy was upset, make it okay, and Dean stepped back into the role he had never wanted to relinquish; he was Sam's big brother. He caught his little brother easily as his legs buckled and he pulled Sam with him and sat him on the edge of the bed.
"Shh… Sammy, it's okay," Dean soothed. "You've done nothing to be sorry for, I promise. It's okay," he comforted. There was still some part of his mind that couldn't quite process the fact that his brother was really here. Sam felt his brother pull him closer as he put an arm around him to comfort, and Sam leaned into the show of affection.
"It's been a long time, huh?" Sam said as he took in a shaky cleansing breath.
"Too long," Dean agreed his voice thick with emotion. His hazel-eyes met his brother's warm dark ones, and smiled.
Two Months Later
John stood outside the taxi ready to take him to the airport. "Now, I'll call you boys in a day or so, okay."
"Yes, sir," the boys answered in unison.
"Not sir," he encouraged. "Dad," he prompted with a smile. "I thought we had decided I was no longer your drill sergeant and was back to being your father." John Winchester smiled.
Dean and Sam returned their father's smile. John leaned in and hugged each boy individually.
"Now, Sammy," John spoke warmly. "You keep up with your lessons with Kieran, okay? Do what he says, the man knows his shit." Sam grinned.
Dean lowered his voice before he spoke, "watch your back with those werewolves, Dad," Dean commented.
"Always, son," John replied. "And, anyway Joshua and the boys are all in on this hunt too, so it'll be a piece of cake." Dean nodded. "You boys look for each other." Dean and Sam cast each other a look and then nodded to their Dad. "And, like I said, I'll call in a day or two, I promise. But, if you should need me or something comes up…"
"We know Dad," Sam spoke confidently. "Call you."
John Winchester smiled at his boys as he got back in the car. He was happy that they had understood his need to return to hunting, but he had promised to stay in touch, and to come back and see them before they headed off back into the world. And, he was keeping his promise he made to Sam back in California, he would not be hunting the demon unless the demon came looking for them. But, for now he knew his son's were safe at Kieran's and Sammy was getting more training and working through the memories of those dark six months. Sam never spoke of them to Dean or himself, but he hoped one day he would, but he was happy that his youngest child seemed to finding his way from the shadow. And, Dean had been born anew when Sam returned, and John was leaving with the knowledge that his firstborn was whole once again, and at peace.
The hunt would go on for the Winchester family as a whole, and their call to duty would pull them toward their destiny once again, but not today, soon though … soon.
Well, let me know what you thought. It's been a long road, and I hope it gave you the reunion you were looking for, and you liked its conclusion. Thanks for sticking with it this long, and sorry this last installment took a while. I appreciate every review and comment I have received since this "Uninvited" series began. Thanks for everything! And, now I hope to read your final reviews and comments as you finish this series. Read and review! Many, many thanks.