Summary: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
Well… we come to it at last. Thank you for sticking with me through this! I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have. If you loved it… tell me. If you hated it… lie. ;) Just kidding sort of.
"So today's the big day huh?" John Winchester asked as he strolled into the small quarter with coffee in hand. Sam and Dean were tidying the room up, making certain they weren't leaving anything behind. They'd spent almost the entire night just talking and reminiscing and sharing pieces of themselves; awkwardly and hesitantly at first of course, but after a few beers the words came with more ease. "Know where you're headed yet?" He held up the cardboard tray in his hand as he took a sip.
Dean shook his head, "Nope, that's Sam's job." He gratefully snagged the two coffees out of the flimsy tray and handed the second to his, what he assumed, unusually occupied brother.
Sam nodded a brief thanks and proceeded to run a hand through his messy hair; he didn't want to admit it, but despite last nights bonding fest… he was scared to death now. He was about to hop in a car and leave everything behind. True, he didn't have much by way of everything… but it was what he knew, it was his home. And combined with the exhaustion, aching muscles and healing scratches, not to mention only about an hours worth of sleep last night… the unknown of the road ahead was making him a little more than jumpy and nervous. He rubbed at his dry eyes in frustration as he realized he actually, for lack of a better word felt frail.
John glanced between the two boys. "I don't know what I'm gonna do with myself now that you're leaving." He'd meant it as a joke, like the thousands that came before between John and Dean; but Sam wasn't feeling particularly humorous at the moment. In fact his father's words had somehow managed to transform in his head from a harmless statement into something harsh and accusatory.
"I'm sorry," Sam quietly spoke; his back to them and feeling more than a little lame at his apology when he literally felt two pairs of eyes turn towards him, "…for getting you into this Dean… and for taking him away from you dad."
"What are you nuts-" Dean started incredulously, but was cut off as their father held up a hand in front of him. John knew that stance all too well… it was another of Mary's classics; the- I've got too much on my plate right now so just give it to me straight or so help me I will run out that door screaming.
"To be honest Sam, when Dean told me he was leaving I wanted to be angry with you…" John guiltily glanced at his oldest, "Dean's been all I've had the past twenty-two years. I mean… I'm not saying I don't have friends, but-" he shook his head, frustrated at his own words. "I guess my initial reaction was that this person I didn't know was taking the son I did know away from me." He took a deep breath and ran a hand over his head. Finally, he looked up into his youngest' guilt-ridden, uncertain eyes that were now turned toward him, and rested a hand on the young man's shoulder, feeling the tenseness. "But you are apart of this family Sammy… always have been. Just…" he swallowed, "we lost you for a little while along the way. I don't regret you," he stated firmly. "I just wish I had more time to get to know you."
"You will dad." Dean assured from the side. "We'll be back, I promise. We just need to hideout for a little bit, regroup… figure out what's goin on and how to stop it."
"You'll call?" John bargained.
John looked appreciatively at his oldest son's promise, and then back at the youngest, squeezing the shoulder still beneath his hand.
"Besides," Dean spoke up again, "we're gonna have to swindle laundry money from someone right?"
John snorted, allowing it to turn into a laugh. "Just make sure you call and let me know what you need. And keep me updated."
"We will," Sam spoke up finally. Despite hardly knowing this man, his father, he still felt he owed him something. If anything for the twenty-two years of mourning the man had done for him.
John nodded proudly at the two young men, knowing with absolute certainty that they were making the right choice here. "Then you'd better get going."
John helped his son's gather their meager belongings and weaved their way through the church towards the front door where Father Jim was waiting for them. The older man held the large door open for them and followed them out.
Dean took one of his bags from his brother first so the younger man could say his goodbyes to the Priest. He grabbed the weapons bag that Father Jim had graciously donated to their cause from his father and stuffed that far into the farthest corner in the trunk. He'd have to come up with a way to hide those somehow from wandering eyes and yet still have easy access to them; especially if what the Priest had quietly pulled him aside and warned him about earlier this morning was really out there. He unconsciously shuddered at the thought of coming across some of the nasties the older man described in detail of what to look out for.
Lastly he accepted the last bag from his father that almost pulled his arm off when the older man let go. "What in the world is in this?" He got a better grip on the duffle bag's handles and lifted it, practically flinging it into the trunk.
"Books I think," John answered with a grin on his face at his son's difficulty. "I think the Priest let your brother have free reign at his collection or something."
"No kidding," Dean rolled his shoulder to relieve the strain. He reached up and pulled the trunk closed before turning towards his father. The two looked at each other for a moment before simply embracing one another.
John held tightly before giving his oldest child a pat on the back, releasing him. "Do your old man a favor and stay outta trouble will ya?"
"Seriously?" he asked, though tainted with doubt.
John tilted his head with a grin, "At least give it a good effort."
Dean nodded complacently with a smile of his own, "I will," he replied honestly.
"And one more thing," John reached into his back pocket and pulled out a wad of bills. He risked a quick glance behind him before stepping a little closer to his oldest with a conspiratory look on his face. "Do me a favor and get your brother some new clothes," he stuffed the wad of money into Dean's hand, "and whatever else he needs… or wants."
Dean looked down at the cash with a grateful smile… man he loved his father. He gave a small nod looking back up at the man, stuffing the cash into his back pocket. "Thanks Dad."
"And don't hesitate to call me if you get into a bind or low on cash," John said firmly knowing charity was never an easy thing for guys. "I'm serious."
"I know," Dean assured. "We'll call I promise… or at least I'll make Sammy call."
John snorted giving one last loving grip on his son's shoulder, before moving to stand beside him and watching his youngest son and the Priest quietly speaking to one another with familiar ease and great respect. John watched as his youngest child reached forward and tightly embraced the older man with an obvious love. He felt a spike of jealousy and envy stab at his chest. He even felt a brief flare of anger at the Priest for knowingly keeping his boy from his family all these years; but he understood why he did it. And in the end he was just grateful his son was alive.
He glanced briefly out of the corner of his eye at his eldest. He hadn't told him, but as soon as they left, he was going to have a long conversation with the Priest. His sons were lucky to be alive after last night… he didn't want to rely on luck in the future. He planned on learning everything he could so he could help protect them when the time came, and the Priest seemed to have a pretty good knowledge of what was going on around them.
Dean raised his eyebrows as his brother and Father Jim turned toward them finally. "You ready?"
"Yeah," Sam nodded with a small smile, feeling a lot more confident after his brief exchange of words with who he'd always considered a father growing up. He stopped in front of his true father and gave a shy smile. "I guess we'll call then right?"
"You'd better," John reached forward and pulled the young man to him. Sam smiled and gave him a quick hug before pulling away again. "Be good," John ordered and then playfully ran a hand over the boy's head, mussing his already messy hair, "and get a haircut."
Sam smiled with a complacent nod despite knowing perfectly well he wouldn't. "Bye," he said pulling the door to Dean's car open and sliding in.
"See ya Dad," Dean waved, "I'll call and let you know when we stop somewhere."
John nodded and gave a final wave as the younger man also climbed into his prized possession with ease.
Dean shut his door and stuck the key in the ignition glancing at his brother. He paused seeing the younger man running his hand along the leather. "What?"
Sam's head whipped around in surprise, "What- oh uh…" he went back to inspecting the car, "nothing I just… this is a really nice car."
"Yeah she is," Dean agreed shamelessly turning the engine over.
"Did you buy it yourself," Sam asked with a little bit of awe lacing his voice.
Dean smirked, putting her into drive and pulling out into the street, "No, she was gift from Dad actually. He got a good deal for her from a guy at his car shop. We just had to touch her up a bit and change out a few pipes but yeah… she's my baby," Dean said lovingly, stroking the dashboard.
Sam watched him with a growing smile. "So… why didn't you tell me- um, dad was still around," he asked, feeling a little awkward still at claiming the man as his father.
Dean shrugged, "It just never really came up yesterday."
Sam's brow raised, "Never came up?"
"Well that and I kinda wanted it to be a surprise," he admitted.
"Yeah well you almost gave me a heart attack," he accused.
Dean tilted his head with a grin on his face. "Man, I wish you could've seen the look on your face." He glanced at Sam who was shaking his head and trying very hard not to smile. "Hey," he sobered, "I need to make one last stop real quick okay?"
"Okay," Sam said curiously.
Dean slowed down in front of a large garage and pulled into the driveway. He put the car in park and undid his seatbelt, all the while staring at the building a bit apprehensively. "I'll be right back okay?"
Sam could see what he assumed was something akin to longing in the older man's expression. "You want me to come with you?"
"No, it'll just be a few minutes," he assured and then climbed out of the car and towards the wide-open garage.
Sam could see a bunch of guys suddenly crowd around his brother with varying expressions of concern and worry. Sam wondered briefly what excuse Dean was going to tell his fellow fire-fighters as to what had happened and why he was leaving. He'd mentioned using a road trip or something… but what was he telling them about the stranger in his car? He sighed and self-consciously looked down as almost every head suddenly turned towards him… trying to sneak a very obvious peek at Dean Winchester's little brother.
He waited a minute before chancing a glance back up, just in time to see his brother hugging some of the guys and getting slaps on the back and farewells. Sam fidgeted with his hands and not for the first time wondered if he was making a selfish decision here. True, it had all been Dean's idea in the first place… but Sam couldn't deny that he really truly wanted the time away to get to know him and figure out together how to defeat the Fire Demon. But did he really have a right to take Dean away from all this; this life his brother had spent the last twenty-two years creating. He shoved his hair out of his face with a frustrated sigh.
Dean threw one last nod of farewell at the men he'd spent the last six years with, watching each other's back and sometimes saving each other's lives. He hadn't realized until he'd stepped beneath the shelter of the garage one last time just how much he was really going to miss the place; the routine; the downtime… the friends.
As he turned back toward the car he saw the one person he really needed to see. Marris hesitantly walked toward him from outside, holding her bag over her shoulder. Dean stopped in front of her and they both awkwardly avoided each other's eyes.
"You workin a double shift tonight?" Dean finally asked as Marris shifted her bag from her shoulder to hang from her hands before her.
"Yeah, Schmitty came down with something so…" she shrugged.
Dean nodded in acceptance, shoving his hands into his jacket pockets.
Marris glanced behind her towards the lone occupant in Dean's car before turning back to the uncomfortable situation. "So you're really leaving," she stated rather than asked, trying to sound casual.
"There's some things I gotta take care of."
She looked past his shoulder and nodded. "Are you comin back?"
"I don't know," he answered honestly. He could see the questions burning in her mind; but more surprisingly he could see something akin to sadness. It suddenly hit him again just what he was leaving behind. It wasn't just this garage; it was a lifestyle, friends, memories, familiar faces… good times.
"So your one day is up."
He sighed, knowing he'd make the same choice every day for the rest of his life if he had to. "It's all in here," Dean pulled his hands from his pocket along with a thick envelope which he handed over to her. She wrapped her fingers around it and stared at it curiously. "You're gonna think I'm crazy," he laid a hand over hers on the envelope, trying to make absolutely certain she understood just how serious he was being. "All I ask is that you give it a chance." He looked into her eyes and immediately knew she would. He leaned forward and gently kissed her on the cheek. She gave him a small, final smile as he backed away. "Oh and Marris…" he pointed to the envelope, "spread the word… they hate exposure." He grinned openly and then turned, climbing into his car with his brother and driving away.
She watched the car disappear down the road before looking down at the envelope in her hands. She curiously turned it over. Written across the outside were eight words written in black marker.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Sam could see Dean glancing at his rear-view mirror every few seconds until the firehouse was no longer within sight. He quietly sighed, staring at the bandages on his hands as he self-consciously picked at them. "You sure you want to do this?"
Dean's head turned curiously. "Do what?"
Sam avoided his brother's look by staring out his side window. "Leave all this behind," he said quietly.
Dean turned back to the road understanding what his brother was really asking. "Sam, we already went over this."
"I know- I just…" Sam shifted in the seat, minutely shaking his head, "I mean we don't have to leave necessarily, we could just hole up someplace hidden; move around town a lot-"
"Sam," Dean said knowingly.
"I mean we wouldn't even have to go out at night, just during the day or-"
"Sam!" Dean cut him off again more firmly this time. He glanced back and forth between the road and his brother, making certain he had his full attention. "We already agreed on this. Meaning you made your own decision to do this," he caught the younger man's eye, "and I made my own decision to do this… okay?" He waited a few seconds, "We didn't force each other into this so you can stop with the whole guilt trip thing. If we stick around they're gonna find us and we'll end up dead; not to mention we're endangering the lives of everyone we know just by being around them."
Sam nodded, and dropped his head a bit sheepishly at being so transparent. "You're right," he agreed quietly.
Dean nodded in approval. "So, did you decide where-to?"
Sam carefully reached down between his feet and the dashboard, pulling out a crisp, brand new map. He unfolded it with a sigh, "Well… I thought maybe we could head south a little; maybe try out Kentucky or Tennessee?" He turned an uncertain look towards his brother. He didn't know why those two places had stuck out in his mind. He guessed they just sounded like peaceful, quiet places to hole up at for a while.
Dean thought about it for a second before shrugging, "Kentucky it is." He grinned, "Sammy wants to see some horses!" he announced loudly in a horrible southern accent. Sam snickered and shook his head. Still grinning, Dean glanced over, "You know which turn-off I need to take?"
"Yeah, it'll be a few hours though," Sam sighed as he re-folded the map and turned to place it in the backseat instead of cluttering the floor where his already too-long legs were trying to fit. As he stiffly turned to drop it on the back seat he noticed an old box filled to the brim sitting on the floor board. "What is this?" He asked with a smirk.
"What?" Dean turned his head as best he could to see what he was looking at.
Sam reached down, wincing as he pulled his injured side slightly and plucked one of the many cassette tapes from its resting place and held it up for Dean to see with a humorously skeptical look, "Motorhead?"
Dean's brow quirked, offended as he snatched the tape out of his brother's hand and proceeded to take it out of its casing.
"You're kidding right?" Sam tried again.
"House rules Sammy," Dean shoved the tape into the deck, "driver picks the music," he looked at his brother, "shotgun shuts his cake-hole." And with that Dean turned back towards the road with a grin on his face as harsh cords suddenly blared from the speakers.
Sam frowned a moment, watching his brother's triumphant smile before reaching forward and ejecting the tape. Dean's head whipped around as the younger man tossed the tape into the back seat. "Shelter rules Deano," Sam slouched down into a comfortable position with his head resting on the seat before turning to look at his brother, "shotgun doesn't give a shit."
Dean ignored the road entirely as he glared openly at his younger brother who had closed his eyes with a smirk on his face. "We're gonna have to work on this chain of command thing," he informed.
"Whatever," Sam dismissed tiredly.
"I'm serious dude."
"Is there something about my position right now that isn't screaming, hey- sleeping here," Sam retorted.
"Hey, how's this position for ya?" Dean held up his favorite finger.
Sam peeked an eye open and snorted, "I'm telling Father Jim on you."
"Not unless you'd like me to inform him of Sammy's Shelter rule."
"Wake me up when you wanna switch places," Sam pleasantly ignored him.
A loud bark of a laugh escaped Dean's throat, "That's funny!" he overly-mocked. "Yeah, you're not getting behind this wheel kiddo, uh-uh think again." Dean's eyes shined along with his smile as he looked over at the younger man. He glanced back and forth between the road and his brother, his smile hesitantly and stupidly dying away, "Hey… did you hear me? …Sam?"
A soft snoring filled the silence of the car, and Dean rolled his eyes in annoyance knowing full well the younger man was faking. He shifted in his seat getting comfortable for the long drive ahead. "Brat."
The corner of Sam's lips lifted slightly before truly falling into a safe feeling and allowing the blanket of sleep to pull him in.
The dull, yellow light of his office dimly lit the hidden chamber as he carefully and quietly slid the trick-door closed again. He reached to the side and flipped the switch, casting a softer light across the room. He slowly took a seat at a small table and rested a large, obviously very old book upon its surface with a quiet reverence. He stared at it for a few moments, his fingers running along the tethered edges. Finally coming to a decision, he down into his pants and pulled out his cell phone, dialing a number he knew only by memory and then waited.
"Caleb, it's Jim… listen," he ran a hand over his mouth with a sigh, "I'd like you to put out a word for me with the others. There's some newcomers on the scene and I'm requesting you all to keep an eye out for them." He listened to the other man's question knowing even before he'd called that it was going to be asked. "I don't know if they're the ones or not Caleb," he sighed picking at the edges of the book beneath his hand once more. "But I can tell you that even if they aren't… they're going to become very powerful allies. …Yes, two brothers… the Winchesters."
Such a bittersweet ending… I'm glad it's over – but at the same time I'm sad. If you liked this story- yes, I am continuing it in a sequel. However, a plot bunny beat me up in bed earlier this week and made me promise to write a quick side story. So I've got something else I'm working on right now and then I'll jump on back to the other story. Guys… thank you again so very much for all the reviews!! You have no idea, well- some of you do, just how much they mean to me! I hope this turned out to be everything you were waiting for. Here's looking forward to the upcoming episodes!! EXCITED :)