This is it, kids. It's done! I hope you enjoy my crazy theory! Thanks to all of you who have supported me, either via reviews, PMs or just by reading. It means a lot.
Thanks, as always, to Gem for her wonderful suggestions and beta. I added a little more after she inspired me, so any mistakes are my own.
And a special thanks to Irismay who always has a smile on her face (through the internet) and an encouraging word for me. I dont think you truly understand how much that means to me. Thanks for your support through writing and all the other craziness that went on. And thanks for believing me in... Read her stuff - it's incredible. She's linked on my favorites page, along with the incredible Geminigrl11!
Here's the part one of the season finale! Let's see what happens!
Dean played the accusation over in his mind again and again as he watched her blonde hair sway back and forth with the movement of her hips. Jo walked away from him, planting another seed of doubt of the legacy of John Winchester.
Would their father really have let Bill Harvelle die?
There was no way of knowing. All they really knew was that they had worn out their welcome. They needed to get away – far away – and fast.
Jo's words still stung as they left in silence. Sam had listened with interest to Dean's retelling of their father's last hunt with Bill. The emotion that jolted Sam into oblivion outside the Roadhouse made perfect sense now. Dean was getting assaulted with their father's past – his bad decision making – on a constant basis. The hunter was learning that John Winchester was just as human as the rest of mankind; filled to the brim with wrong choices. Understanding more and more as each day passed. It wasn't an easy knowledge.
The spirit of the road seemed to ease up the tensions as the brothers made their way to Baltimore. Sam could still feel Dean's guilt over Jo's spiteful words. And Dean didn't need any more guilt. Neither of them did. But Sam was able to steer the conversation away when he could sense the emotions beginning to exude from Dean again. He became even better at reading his brother, every nuance and twitch. Sometimes he swore he could even hear his thoughts…
This is what they needed. What Sam needed. Time alone, just the two of them to try and mend the internal wounds that were tearing them both apart.
The comfort level grew and Sam's heart ached that he finally had the opportunity to really talk to Dean. He still couldn't reveal the truth, though, not knowing that it would condemn his father to an even more painful fate if he did. Sam now understood that he owed their father; that this was an opportunity to try and make things right. He had to hope that Dean would open up about the secret and they could solve it together without additional cajoling.
They crossed the border into Indiana, just past Chicago, finding a Podunk town out of the way, settling into the first motel they saw. There were too many memories in Chicago, so getting through and beyond the first night had been their main plan of action.
They dragged their bags and made their way into the poorly lit motel room with grunts and sighs. They were tired and confused and just needed some rest. With no cable, they decided to call it a night.
Several hours later, Dean was still restless; Sam could hear him tossing and turning in the bed. It made it even harder for Sam to sleep as anger from Dean hit him like a ton of bricks. This was a new step in the healing process for Dean, as guilt had been his ally through most of this journey.
Curiosity got the better of Sam as he leaned to look at this brother. Dean's eyes were closed, and he was on the edge of actually falling asleep. He took a deep sigh and concentrated on Dean, wondering what, if anything, he could get.
He had no idea what he was trying to do, but Sam thought of Dean's face. He looked into his soulful eyes, then into his mind, willing the information to him. Sam smiled to himself at the stupidity of what he was trying to do. Emotions were one thing but getting thoughts….
"Did you really let him die?"
Sam gasped and shot up in bed.
Dean stirred next to him. "Sammy?" the slurred voice asked.
Sweat suddenly poured from Sam's brow as the realization of what just happened hit him. Oh my God!
"I'm fine.. just gotta go. That burger…." Sam raced into the bathroom and shut the door, locking it behind him.
"Pussy." Dean rolled back over and settled into his restless twisting once again.
Sam sat on the floor of the bathroom, hands fisted in his soaked hair. His heart was pounding out of his skin and he was having a hard time breathing. He tried to get himself under control, taking deep breaths and closing his eyes.
He contemplated what he'd heard. Did you let him die? Dean was having an angry conversation with their father in his head, letting out the pain that had been pent up since the hospital.
"I can't believe it worked," Sam whispered, releasing the grasp of his locks and placing his arm on the toilet seat.
They had officially crossed over into weird. And the question that remained was, what was Sam going to do with his new-found skill--and knowledge?
They hit the road after breakfast that morning, well, after Dean ate and Sam pushed around some eggs with a piece of wheat toast. The lack of appetite did not go unnoticed by Dean.
"So, you were in the bathroom a long time last night. Everything come out okay?" Dean gnashed on his muffin, stuffing way too much in his mouth, washing it down with coffee. "You must've been in there for an hour."
Sam glanced quickly up at Dean, making eye contact and returning his gaze to the food. "Yeah, I just, wasn't feeling too great. Still have some residuals this morning." He stopped the act and put the toast back on the plate.
"I'm not gonna have to pull over every two minutes so you can greet the porcelain god, am I?"
Sam snorted and smiled up at his brother. All the anger from last evening was gone, and he only felt concern from Dean. It was good to have that back in his life, even in baby steps. Sam shook his head and pushed the dish away.
"Don't worry, I won't puke in your precious car," Sam replied leaning back, giving every sign to his brother that he was done eating.
Dean waved at the waitress for the check while shoving the last of his muffin into his mouth. "Damn right, or you'll be riding in the trunk, sprinkled in holy water."
Sam watched his brother finish up his food as the waitress took Sam's plate. It was the most disgusting and the most fascinating thing in the world; the sheer presence of pushing all that food into that large mouth was a spectacle to behold. Sam smiled as he got up from the table.
"Be right back," he said, making his way towards the back.
"Better not be in there for two hours, Francis."
"I won't," Sam replied turning his head back to answer his brother.
"You won't what?" asked Dean, mouth still full.
"I won't be in there for two hours."
Dean's brow furrowed as he looked quizzically at the tall man. "What the hell are you talking about?"
Sam's face paled as he realized what was going on. Oh shit, it's happening again. And this time, he hadn't been trying. Had he inadvertently opened a conduit last night between his brother and himself? And if he did, how would he close it?
This was the same dilemma that Andy put him in. As much as he wanted to know what Dean was thinking, this didn't sit right, with Dean having no clue what was going on.
Bad enough if Sam could control it. But if he couldn't...he knew, if their positions were reversed, he wouldn't want Dean in his head, uninvited.
He wouldn't wish that curse on anyone.
"Nothing." Sam quickly rushed off before Dean could figure out that something was wrong.
Dean watched him speed around the corner, and then he returned to the bits of food remaining on his plate. "Did I say that out loud?"
The remaining twelve hours began with a bit of stunted silence from Sam's end. He was trying to wrap his head around what was going on. Every once in a while, he'd get a comment thrust at him from Dean's direction, and he tried his best to ignore them.
They finally pulled to the city limits of Baltimore, finding the nearest coffee shop to relax for a few, scoping out the area and reading the local news.
Sam arrived with two coffees and Dean presented a possible case: The murder of Anthony Giles. It seemed an invisible killer broke into the man's office and brutally slashed the man's throat. No surveillance tapes. No evidence.
Their kind of gig.
Quick agreement to investigate sent them to the grieving widow, pulling their black suits from retirement, playing insurance investigators. Karen Giles was understandably still shaken by the whole situation, but she remained strong as she answered their questions about the night of Tony's death. Even the weird ones.
They discovered that Tony had been visited by a spirit with pale skin and red eyes.
With more to go on, the boys broke into Tony's office to peruse the crime scene. The strangest piece of evidence was a stack of papers with the name DANA SHULPSin a constant loop. They looked through Tony's files and searched the internet, but came up cold.
No Dana Shulps anywhere near Baltimore.
Sam continued searching Tony's computer and worked on breaking his password to find the encoded files. Dean decided to head back to talk with Karen, hoping to charm more information from her, but mostly to get away from the doldrums of his brother's typing. They agreed to meet back at the hotel to discuss their findings.
The password uncovered a lot of business files, but nothing they could use to figure out who Dana Shulps was. There were a few items that Sam wanted to take a further look at, so he printed a couple off to take with.
Dean had not yet arrived and for the first time, Sam realized that he wasn't getting anything from him. No emotions, no thoughts, nothing. It was actually a welcome relief after the weirdness of the 'mind reading' incidents. He figured he was 'out of range' and breathed in a silent thank you for the break. He loved Dean with all his heart, but there was so much going on inside his own head, that he didn't need the added burden of his brother's….
Those thoughts suddenly came back to him as he thought of the days after their father died. All Sam wanted was to share the burden. Talk everything out. Unleash his own emotions and have Dean help him through, reciprocating in kind. But now he understood it; why Dean didn't open up. Why he didn't ask Sam if he was okay. There was so much to mull over and dissect; there was no way that Dean could have helped Sam. As the emotional tie grew between the two, Sam realized that the only way that Dean could survive the ambush of knowledge was to push Sam away.
That realization hurt beyond words.
After all they'd been through, Sam wanted to heal together, but now he knew that that could not be. Their plates were both piled high with different feelings and facts to sort through. Each having their own burdens. Maybe someday, sitting along a river drinking beer, they could finally open up, but for the time being, Sam knew he had to let Dean be. Let him handle things in his own way and offer his support however he could. And he would tell him when he was ready about their father's secret.
His thoughts were brutally interrupted when the door to the motel suddenly burst open with a barrage of SWAT personnel, guns trained on him. He immediately put his hands into the air as several sets of eyes were ready to take him out. A petite woman weaved her way to the front of the line, dwarfed by the men around her.
"Going somewhere, Sam?"
Sam was cuffed and thrown in the back of the detective's squad car. He listened to conversations around him, but the only thing he was able to ascertain was that Dean was in custody as well. At least that meant he was safe, for the time being.
Maybe he freaked out Karen again and she called the cops. But why would they arrest us?
He took a breath to try and calm himself. The detective, Diana, sent knowing glances in his direction every so often, tormenting him with the hidden knowledge she held. Sam knew better than to say anything, especially since he had no idea what was going on.
They approached the Baltimore police district and Sam suddenly felt Dean again. It was cocky arrogance masking fear; definitely his brother. Sam closed his eyes to try and concentrate on it, but he was whisked from the back seat too fast to maintain the tenuous connection. He obeyed and followed the police into the building to a holding room on the same floor as Dean. They pushed him into the space without a word and locked the door behind him.
Sam paced the room and was frankly shocked that they hadn't taken his watch or other personal, non-lethal belongings. They did snake the lock pick, but that was to be expected. The rest of his effects were still in his possession. Why look a gift horse in the mouth?
Left to his own devices, he could once again feel Dean's emotions riding high. Sam figured that if ever there was a time to figure out what this connection thing was, it was now. He sat himself at the table and closed his eyes.
He felt himself let go completely, and it scared him. His mother's face drifted softly in front of his face, reminding him why he had this gift.
"Months went by, you and I continued to grow," she stopped to squeeze his hand, "and Dean got healthier by the minute. The tumor was disappearing on its own, little by little, until one day – six months into the pregnancy – it fully vanished. Not a trace."
"Six months?" Sam turned to look at her, swallowing hard. Why is everything based on six months? "Mom, what are you saying? That I cured Dean? From the womb?"
He shook off the memory and opened himself up, inviting Dean's thoughts in, solidifying the connection that was created from that moment. The young psychic didn't have time to really realize how freaked out he was by all of this, especially after he got the word 'murder' associated with Dean.
Karen Giles was dead too, and Dean was caught at the scene.
Sam opened his eyes a brief moment to re-synch himself. He needed to know what Dean had told the police. Their stories had to match or they would both be in even deeper shit.
He listened, he felt, and after fifteen minutes, Sam had the story, loud and clear.
Tony was a war buddy of their fathers.
They came as soon as they'd heard about his death to comfort Karen.
They went to get a picture from Tony's office – something about Paris.
Man, Dean is good! I hope I can justify his story.
Sam rose, feeling a little drained at the connection, and looked around the room. He knew he was going to have to find a way out and the more information he gathered, the better off he'd be when his chance came. As effective as the cast was at pummeling people, he didn't think it would be such a good idea to use it as the weapon of choice at a police station. He'd find another way.
The door opened and the female detective walked in with a cup of coffee, setting it in front of Sam.
These were the times where Sam was glad he had that bit of acting background. He knew he could play the sympathy card and used his sensitive facial expressions to drive home what he was saying. He also knew that Diana was smart. She asked all the right questions, trying to trip him up. She even offered a plea bargain if Sam would turn on his brother.
But Sam had a few tricks of his own. Once he knew the story, he knew he could sell it, getting angry at just the right moments, forlorn at others. And he had the knowledge from all those law books he loved so dearly, spitting the circumstantial evidence back at the woman.
The bantering went back and forth for a bit longer, but ultimately the detective left, seemingly a little frustrated. Sam knew he hit the story perfectly.
As the door slammed, he began to pace the room again, knowing they were missing something. This definitely seemed like a vengeful spirit, but there had to be more. And who was Dana Shulps? Why couldn't they find anything on her at all?
The only way to save his brother was to solve the crime. That meant getting out of there – fast!
Dean was concentrating hard on the name and the jarring came through loud and clear. Sam grabbed a notepad on the table and wrote DANA SHULPS across the top in response to the onslaught of information he was receiving from Dean.
"Maybe it's not a name…"
"Anagram, maybe?" Sam connected again to Dean, nodding at his assessment, and he started to pick apart the name to see where it would lead him.
A short time later, a short man in a cheap suit entered shyly through the door. Sam knew upon appearance he was the public defender here to save them.
He smiled confidently, and handed Sam a piece of paper. "Your brother asked me to give this to you," he said as the yellow sheet was passed across the table.
It's a street. Ashland.
Sam crumpled the paper. Dean figured it out and he needed Sam to get the hell out of there. He didn't need to read his mind to know what characters from The Great Escape meant.
Dean was going to confess and make a huge scene, oh and his brother knew how to make a scene, to provide cover for Sam to get away.
"I hope that was meaningful. But I'd like to discuss your case now."
"Sure thing, Matlock," Sam replied, hearing Dean use that name earlier, thinking it was funny.
"You two really are brothers, aren't you?" He sat down and took out a pad to gather the facts of the case from Sam's perspective when the door opened to reveal the detective again.
"We need you. With the other one." Her face was solemn with just a hint of excitement behind her eyes.
Dean was going to confess.
Sam looked to her with questioning eyes, pretending like he had no idea what was going down. He watched as the lawyer rose and followed her from the door.
Sam jumped from the seat and looked out the window on the door. While the glass was frosted, he could still see movement in the room. He studied for a few moments and noticed there were only a few dark blobs left in the light. Sam knew he'd never make it out the window in his room since the fire escape was a few rooms down, but he could get there from another one.
The crooked blind offered some resistance as he pulled it haphazardly, cranking the window half-way. He took a last look to see if he there was another way, but realized he'd have to be Spiderman to walk that wall, especially with a cast.
Sam would've loved to have his lock pick, but the lawyer had left his pen and he still had a paperclip in his pocket. They'd learned that lesson a while ago. He made his way to the door, seeing the last of the blobs leaving the room through the glass. Dean had a reputation already, and the officers knew they were in for a treat better than coffee and donuts.
The paperclip unfolded and slid to the top portion of the door while the pen served as the base mounting. Sam fiddled for a few moments, then finally heard the 'click' of the release. He slowly opened the door, praying that everyone had left and slid out the frame, closing it behind him.
The fire escape window was already ajar in the open space and Sam looked below to see where it would land. The Fates were with them as it opened into an alley, away from public view. He turned one last time to make sure no one was around, only to see their confiscated items in a sealed bag a few desks down. Knowing he was really pressing his luck, he ran back and purloined his picks and Dean's wallet, seeing the matchbook that had led the police to him. Sam snorted and ducked out the window and made his way three floors below.
Sam followed Winchester protocol after breaking out and checked into their slated hotel – first listed in the phone book. His surname was Rockford. Jim Rockford. Now that he had the street name to narrow the search, Sam pilfered the mug shots and crime scene photos from anyone associated with Ashland Street. He was sorting everything when he heard a gentle rap on the door.
Before him was their arresting officer, Diana. She had found him, and that could only mean that Dean gave him up. And she believed them. But why?
She lifted her hands to Sam to reveal the strangle rings around her wrists. Diana told of her encounter in the washroom and what the spirit looked like. Clearly, she was scared, but she tried to pull it together to solve the mystery
They worked through the crime photos finding the mug shot of Claire Becker, a heroin dealer who disappeared on Ashland Street. Now they knew their next stop.
Sam and Diana followed the lead to the old warehouse where Claire made an appearance to the woman after Sam left the detective alone. She led them to shadows on the wall that stated 'Ashland Sup,' an anagram of Dana Shulps.
Behind an unsteady brick wall, they found Claire's body, and the discovery of a necklace upon her that fit the pieces together. Leading them to Diana's partner, and lover, Pete as the culprit.
They jumped back into the vehicle and Diana called into the precinct looking for Pete, wondering what she would say to him once she was face to face. What she learned was that he had left, and taken Dean with him.
Sam's instincts kicked into high gear. He had been so engrossed in finding Claire's body that he had let Dean's presence slip from his mind, even if it was just a glimmer. Now, he felt nothing.
His heart dropped to the floor as he realized he'd let his brother down, again, and now he was with the murdering psycho cop, ready to pin his whole mess on Dean. And Dean had no idea what had really happened.
They were able to track the county vehicle based on the LoJack system. It was now stopped and Sam took off in a sprint the minute he felt the panic from Dean.
"We have to hurry."
Sam pushed them in the right direction and soon they saw Pete holding a gun to Dean's head, ready to shoot.
She was in shock that her lover was about to shoot the man in front of him pushed to his knees. All to cover up his crimes. Diana listened to him confess the whole scenario – killing Claire because she was going to turn him in. Killing Tony and Karen Giles because they wanted out. Diana stood in awe as he unloaded his story.
Meanwhile, Sam and Dean had their own conversation going on. It was clear that Sam wanted to create a diversion for his brother to get away, but Dean seemed confident that things would roll in their favor. At least he hoped they would. But it was all an act. A chance to make sure his little brother didn't get hurt. The one person whom he truly loved in this world and could never tell; at least not with words.
The brotherly protection flowed through Dean to Sam, overwhelming him with dedication, and it made Sam stumble a bit. He held himself together as he watched the scenario unfold, waiting for an opportunity to free Dean. Sam was ready to pounce, but Dean shook his head, fearful of a sudden burst from the gun in either of their directions.
They watched and listened.
"Diana, please. I still love you."
She gave in and lowered her gun.
"Thank you," Pete replied, turning to the side and aiming his gun at Dean once again. "Thank you."
And in a split second, Diana raised her gun and shot Pete in the leg, dropping him to the ground. Dean rolled instinctively away from the commotion as Sam stood behind the detective waiting for her direction.
Pete gathered hidden strength and he dove at his partner, grabbing her by the knees. Diana's gun flew from her hands and Sam raced to try and retrieve it, only to be met with the gun pointing in his direction.
Pete was wounded prey. He desperately shoved his gun from one person to the next wondering whom he should take out first. The gun finally landed on Diana and she watched in awe as Claire appeared behind Pete to finish their business.
The death omen had come.
It was all the distraction Diana needed to pull the trigger and drop Pete to the ground.
The sun rose an hour later as they stood over Pete's body. Diana was still in shock, but handling the information much better than they thought she would. She explained that Pete had confessed to her and that she could probably get the Winchester name off the Giles cases.
The St. Louis charges were a bit more of an issue. They'd still have to stay on the lam. But at least, in an unexpected turn of events, Diana had been willing to let them go. It was more than they had hoped for.
"You wouldn't happen to know where my car is by chance…"
Diana shook a finger at them, warning them away from the impound yard. Sam quickly jumped in to state that they would improvise for transportation, and smiled. Knowing that improvising meant that they would be in the impound lot before sundown, the Impala back in their hands.
They walked away from the detective and Dean started on the pangs in his stomach. Always with the eating. Sam's heart felt light again as he realized they were truly on the road to recovery. He shoved him a little in a playful manner to let him know that he was there. Really there.
Sam realized that they never would have made it out of there if the connection hadn't been established. As much as he hated to think about it, he was grateful, just this once, he had the gift.
He was able to save Dean's life.
The conversation the demon had with their mother from that fateful night bulldozed its way to the front of Sam's mind again as the brothers walked in amiable silence back towards town.
"What do you want," Mary answered through gritted teeth.
"I've come for my payment. Remember, in the chapel? When you said that you'd do anything? Anything for poor, young Dean?"
"What. Do. You. Want?"
The Demon looked down at the cooing infant before him and back to Mary.
"Sammy," he stated, "he's mine."
"No! You can't have him. I never agreed…"
"Oh, dear woman, but you did! You said you'd do anything."
"No," she gasped, "I never meant one for the other…"
"Well, those details were never worked out, were they?" The Demon chuckled at his game. "I held up my end of the bargain. It's time for you to pay." He looked down to the child, and smiled. "With Sammy."
The young infant looked up at the man before him; no fear in his eyes. A familiarity.
"See? He knows me? But why wouldn't he? We were acquainted when you were six months pregnant. You remember the day, don't you, Mary? How Sam reacted to me then? I knew I had made the right choice seeking you out. Strong genes. A strong child." He reached into the crib to pick up Sammy. "My child."
A chill hit Sam as the evil of that moment unleashed its fury on him, wanting nothing more than to tell Dean everything. To confess his knowledge and apologize for their mother dying. To let him know about their father and that Dean could finally let go of the guilt he held from the secret that burrowed through his skin and ate away at him.
Sam shook visibly; trying to hide it from Dean, but he couldn't get away from the stare-down.
"Need a blanket there, Princess?"
Sam could feel the concern from Dean, making an effort to keep his brother's actual thoughts out of his head.
But he couldn't resist one last stab.
"Naw, I just figured I'd take a long walk on the beach with you at sunset. You'll keep me warm, just don't get too frisky. I don't put out on the first date."
Sam pushed ahead of Dean, bumping his shoulder on his pass, knowing that he'd hit all the right nerves.
"Sam?" Dean said, floored at the videotaped confession being thrown back at him. "How did you…"
His laugher filled the air as he turned back to his brother and smiled.
And it felt good to have things back to 'Winchester normal.'
They would always have each other, and all the secrets and untruths buried deep within their souls would have to stay there.
At least for a little longer.