Ghosts of Christmas
A trip to the hospital brings up bad memories and some unexpected Christmas spirits.
O.K, sorry about how long it's taken to get this finished. In my defence I've just got a new job and have been given three weeks to move to another country. Anyway thanks for the reviews and please let me know if I finished this up right. Bye
Disclaimer: Don't own them, just play with them.
"Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!" Dean woke with a grunt, to Gary pounding on his chest. Dam he must still really be sick to not to have heard that coming. He looked up to see Ben and Carol giving him totally unapologetic looks from the doorway, he glared at them but had the good sense to get out of bed before the kid could continue his assault.
Looking over to the other bed he was more than a little annoyed to find Sam, Nathan and Andy sitting there smiling at him, clearly Sam had not been subjected to the same wake up call as he had.
"Morning, Sunshine." Sam grinned, repeating Kates greeting from the morning before, revenge was sweet. "Come on, the kids want to open their presents."
Dean just grunted and let Gary pull him out the door.
"He's not really a morning person is he." Commented Carol smiling.
Sam rolled his eyes. "You have no idea."
Dean walked into the childrens ward and straight into Kates ecstatic embrace, "He's alive." She laughed into his ear, trying to keep her voice down but not succeeding, she almost deafened him. Returning her embrace, he drew in a breath to ask what had happened but Kate cut him off, gesturing with her head towards the children as she spoke. "Not now, I'll tell you everything later. It's quite a story." She grinned.
She started to pull away but Dean pulled her back and whispered urgently into her ear. "Any luck." He was almost sorry he asked when Kates mood suddenly plummeted. He didn't need any other answer after that, giving her arm a squeeze he turned to the kids, there was nothing else he could do right now.
Sam entered the ward and moved to stand by Ben and Carol, as they watched the kids rip into they're presents with Deans help. He was surprised to see that Nathan and Andy both had fairly substantial piles of their own. "It was Grays idea." said Carol seeing his surprised and pleased expression. "He said Andy and Nathan should have his presents as they would get more use out of them." Her voice hitched as she spoke and Sam reached out a sympathetic hand to grip her arm but she brushed it off straightening her shoulders and giving him a weak smile. "It's all right….I'm mean it will never be all right but I guess maybe now I'm reconciled to the idea."
Turning to look him straight in the eye, she continued. "Sam you've got understand my sons been sick for so long, and the treatments have been so hard on him, sometimes it's as if the little boy I new is already dead and all that's left behind is a shell, but these last couple of days I've had my son back and that's because of you and your brother." Her eyes were filled with such a depth of gratitude it took his breath away, he felt unworthy of any of it. She gave him a faint smile at the sight of his embarrassment, still unable to speak further herself.
They were both intensely grateful when Ben took up the slack. "We're going to stop treatment, the little extra time it would buy us isn't worth the suffering it would put him through. We're just going to enjoy having our son for as long as we can."
Sam was amazed the strength of these people, they put him to shame. They stood in silence for a while watching Nathan and Gary argue about the best way to set up a small wooden train set for Andy, evidently the Barns had done more than just split Garys presents in three. Finally Ben broke the silence with a sideways glance towards Sam. "A full blooded Navaho?" He quirked an eyebrow, and gave Sam an amused and slightly disbelieving look.
"Well he was a Navaho." Smiled Sam.
"And magic potions?"
"O.K that might have just been a ploy to get us to ingest something other than junk food, Dean doesn't do vegetables." Sam laughed. "Come to think of it, it did taste an awful lot like Ellens Beet juice."
All three of the adults laughed at that, gaining them the attention of the kids, who gestured them over to help with the building project.
The children happily occupied, Dean got up off the floor and moved to Kates side. He caught hold of her arm and drew her over to one of the far beds. "So what happened? Is he alright?" He was definitely curious.
"Yes, the silly buggers, probably having Christmas dinner right now. I should have known, he always lands on his feet." She grinned happily at Dean, before continuing.
"Anyway long story short, it seems the local Shiite militia decided four American soldiers might just be useful for something or another and came looking for them," Kates lips momentarily compressed in anger. "but the hospital staff didn't think it was very fair that they should get in trouble for trying to help them out, so they hid them."
"So why didn't they get back in touch sooner?" Asked Dean, now even more curious.
"Most of their gear was either in the truck or out of reach because they were working in the roof crawl spaces at the time, so the militia either got it or destroyed it. Plus it was a supposedly secure area in a town known to be moderate, so they didn't see the need to take any special precautions. In fact I think they were trying to avoid them, going into a hospital heavily armed doesn't exactly make you look like the good guys."
Dean had to agree, going in mob handed was usually a mistake.
"Anyway all the radio equipment they had on them was to short a range to call back to the base, so they ended up camped out in some poor surgeons living room watching Turkish knock offs of 'Friends' waiting for the local telephone exchange to be fixed. They called in yesterday morning their time but I didn't get a call until today." She gave Dean a sideways grin clearly not holding a grudge for the delay, at least not now she new her husband was safe. "Military intelligence hu(?), nothing quite like it."
Dean grinned, the whole fiasco reminded him of stories his Dad used to tell about his time in the Marines and in a strange way it made him feel connected with his father in a way he hadn't felt for a long time. Kate smiled clearly recognising something in his eyes.
He smiled back at her . "So they're back then?"
"Oh, nooo." Kate was definitely beginning to enjoy her story now.
"They're sending out a patrol to pick them up tomorrow. I wouldn't feel too sorry for them though, the surgeon they're staying with studied at Edinburgh so can do a Christmas dinner with the best of them, or at least he could if they can find the ingredients. Who knows what they'll actually be eating but then again they've got all the neighbours are feeling sorry for them because they're away from they're families for such an important holiday in their religion, so you never know." She snorted clearly on the verge of laughing now. "As if Mark's been to church since we got married. The best thing is though their commanding officer was so pleased about how the locals helped his men out, they all took one hell of a risk, he's donating one of their back up generators to the hospital, Mark and the others are going to fit it on the way out."
Dean smiled and gave Kates arm a brief squeeze, pleased things were at least working out for someone, now all they had to do was fix things for the boys.
Things were going well, they were half way through watching the 'Wizard of OZ' which was just slightly less annoying than Dean remembered from when four year old Sammy had got obsessed with the film. The witch had just sent out the flying monkeys to capture Dorothy causing the three children to gasp, and Andy safely ensconced in Carols lap to try and hide behind her hands, when the door flew violently open making them all jump.
"It's the witch." Whispered Nathan clearly scared, Dean had to agree with him. The suite was back.
"I've come for the children." She announced dramatically. Sams jaw dropped, she really did sound like the bad guy out of a panto, it was almost as if she was playing for an audience. Suspicious Sam looked back to the doorway, as three men entered the room, two were large and dressed in suites, while the third looking entirely out of place couldn't be anything other than a reporter.
"If she's brought a reporter, I'll kill her with my bare hands." Kate hissed next to him sounding entirely serious and more than a little dangerous, but it wasn't Kate he was worried about right now.
The temperature in the room had plummeted and Sam could already feel an unnatural tension building in anticipation of what was going to happen next. He edged around the group to get to were Dean stood fixing one of the two Goons with a predatory look. With one swift movement he reached out and pinned his shorter brother to his chest, backing them both away from the group before his brother could do something stupid. Dean didn't resist but Sam could feel the anger rolling off his brother, they didn't have time for this. Temporarily ignoring Dean he began to chant softly.
Kate had quickly moved to intercept the woman and was now trying to usher her into the office talking in hushed tones as she did so, but the witch wasn't playing. "I don't care what your opinion is Dr. March the law is the law, and I am after all only acting in the childrens best interest."
Kates voice rose in annoyance. "In their best interest! Did you tell your reporter friend that you intended to split them up?"
"It's unfortunate but it is for the best in the long run, it will increase their chances of being adopted and allow them to put this whole terrible incident behind them." The witch gave Kate a pitying smile. "In the end Dr. March you must see that this is your fault?" She said gesturing not only at the Winchesters, but at the general chaos that had taken over the ward. "This could hardly be considered a safe environment for any child, I had to act." There was an open threat in those words and she never took her eyes off Kate as she gestured for the two men to get the small brothers.
Suddenly an icy wind howled through the ward seeming to scream with anger as it shook the curtain, it sent lances of pain through Sams head and threatening to reduce him to his knees. Gritting his teeth he continued to chant. Oddly no one else seemed to be being affected the way he was.
Goon number one walked over to Nathan and placed a heavy hand on his shoulder intending to lead him back to his bed to get ready, the little boy was biting his lip stubbornly trying to keep from crying but as the hand fell on his shoulder a small sob escaped his lips. This was clearly too much for Gary who kicked the man in the shin with all the force he could muster causing him to grunt in pain and turn angrily towards the boy.
The whole room erupted into motion. Ben was at his sons side in an instant pulling the boy behind him, looking more than ready to hit the man himself.
The other Goon obviously expecting further trouble all but yanked Andy out of Carols arms, causing the little boy to cry out in fright which in turn caused Nathan to start squirming in Goon number ones grip, as he cried out for his brother.
Then the room began to shake, scattering toys across the floor with a horrendous clatter until Sam who was now almost doubled over in pain managed to choke out the final words of the blessing. Then the shaking stopped but the pain inside Sam head only intensified, he could feel the Cartwrights rage as a physical presents inside his head, the blessing had done nothing to appease them but at least it had stopped them killing anyone which was now clearly their intent.
The Goon holding Nathan evidently sick of the childs squirming gave the boy a hard shake, rattling his teeth and causing him to start crying openly. Dean shrugged out of his brothers grip and surged across the room towards them, he easily broke the mans hold on the boy and pulled him round to face him in one fluid movement.
Sam dropped to the floor with a cry his head exploding, but his eyes never left Dean, he couldn't see his brothers face but he new his look, the elder Winchester was not a man to be messed with lightly. Fortunately the Goon seemed to recognise this and backed off, cowed by the dangerous looking man who broken his grip as easily as he would a Childs.
Dean dropped to his knees and Nathan instantly buried his head in his shoulder sobbing.
"Nathan. Nathan. Look at me." The boy emerged sniffling form his shoulder to look him in the eye. "Remember what we talked about yesterday, about Andy needing you."
The boy nodded.
"Well right now he needs you to be brave because he's really scared." In fact the child seemed frozen in fear and hadn't moved a muscle since the other Goon had picked him up.
"You have to go with these people, for now." His heart broke to say those words, but a least there was still hope, however small. He new Kate wasn't going to give up. "But we're all going to fight real hard so its not forever. O.K?" He reached out and touched the thin leather band than now encircled the boys wrist, willing him to remember what it stood for and hoping that if there was any real magic in the bracelets it would work for the brothers as well as it did for him and Sam.
The boy nodded and touched his wrist, understanding. Then drawing himself up to his full height he moved to walk back to the Goon, as Dean shot the man a 'you hurt him and I kill you' look over the boys shoulder.
The tension in the room ramped up another notch and Sams nose began to bleed from the pressure in his brain. Kate rushed to his side obviously worried.
"Noooo." Carols heart broken sob, cut through the terrible silence like a knife. "Ben please." She pleaded needlessly with her husband.
Ben swallowed hard and he nodded, pulling away from his family to come and stand next to Nathan, preventing the child from reaching the Goon. Placing his hand on the Childs shoulder and turned to face the witch. "We'll take them, both of them."
Sam gasped as the pressure in his head suddenly released and he pitched forwards into Kates arms, Dean rushed to his brothers side.
"It's not that easy Mr. Barnes it takes months to vet potential foster parents."
"I'm not talking about fostering them, I'm talking about adopting them." Gary let out a happy cry bouncing at his mothers side. Nathan and Andy both gasped, looking at Ben with desperate hope in their eyes. "We have more than enough money to look after two extra children and I think you'll find our standing in the community impeccable."
"I am well aware of who you are Mr. Barns, but adoption is a very complicated process and even if you do decide to go through with this once you are thinking rationally." Both Carol and Ben bristled angrily at that comment. "Adoptions are lengthy processes the children would have to be taken into care anyway during that period."
Dean was surprised when Sam got and spoke, wiping blood from his nose as he did so. "A judge could grant an order of temporary custody to cover that period, if he felt it was in the childrens best interest."
Everyone in the room turned to look at him. "Surely, Miss……" He waited expectantly.
"White." She snapped clearly annoyed by this further interruption.
"Miss. White, I'm certain as a conscientious professional dedicated to the well being of these children you would agree that it would be in their best interest to be placed together in a permanent home as soon as possible, so that they can better recover from the tragic events that have brought them under your benevolent care."
"Well yes, but.." Sam cut her off.
"And I'm sure everyone would agree that finding these children such a home under such very difficult circumstances, is nothing short of a miracle and speaks volumes about your commitment to your profession, a fact which I know will not go unnoticed." He gestured towards the reporter who nodded emphatically; the man was evidently too young and to green to be entirely jaded yet, or fortunately for them entirely impartial.
Dean was grinning with pride, he had never heard his brother in full Lawyer mode before, dam he was good. "He's good."
The witch was faltering as she started to consider how much better the scenario Sam was offering her would play to the public than the one she originally envisioned, but she also didn't like being crossed.
"Yes he is," Agreed Kate who was still squatting next to him watching the scene unfold, "but I think it's going to do us about as much good as complimenting a Vogons poetry."
Dean bit back a laugh at the idea of Miss. White as a Vogon, it fit perfectly. "They'll appreciate the compliment, but still kill you just on principle."
But since neither of them could come up with a better idea the two of them just sat there side by side, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Sams head was still killing him, the Cartwrights had backed off for now, seemingly content to remain silent if the Barnes got their sons, but he could still feel them at the back of his mind and their agitation was rising with each word out of Miss. Whites mouth.
"I will certainly see that Mr. and Mrs. Barns adoption application is given proper consideration but until then the children will be moved to a group home." She gave the Barns who were now sitting huddled on one of the beds with all three kids a look of false benevolence before turning to give Kate a disgusted look. "It would be unconscionable of me to leave them in such a dangerous environment. I will also be asking that the hospital board launch a full investigation into Dr. Marchs conduct in this matter. I'm sure that the board will be particularly interested in how those two came to be hanging around on a childrens ward." She said gesturing to two Winchesters.
"No hospital board can be convened without my agreement and I don't agree." Dr. Williams had entered the room unnoticed and was now clearly pissed, but then so was the witch.
"I don't think you understand the seriousness of the situation, your employee has falsified medical reports to include fictious disease in order to circumvent hospital and CPS policy, and as if that wasn't enough her judgement seems to be so impaired that she's letting vagrants like those boys onto a childrens ward."
Kates face drained of blood, she new that everything the woman said was true, if a board was convened, the fact that everything she had done was to protect those under her care would count for nothing. Dean and Sam moved to stand either side of her, offering their silent support.
They both new what they owed her, the temperature hadn't risen above freezing in the last week and the roads were still down right dangerous. If Kate hadn't taken them in they could be dead by now, and she was probably going to loose her job for it.
Dr. Williams lips compressed in anger, whatever his personal opinion of Dr. March, he had never had reason to doubt her commitment to either this hospital or her patients, but more importantly she was his employee not hers and nobody pissed in his pond. "That boy as you put it, went to Stanford which is hardly known for producing vagrants." The little man huffed indignantly. "As for his brother, your hired thug assaulted a child, under the circumstances I think he showed remarkable restraint and I'm sure if asked anyone in this room would testify to that fact."
Everyone, except the Goons nodded emphatically.
"Very well, I'll just take the children and be on my way." She straighten her suit jacket, pointedly ignoring the threat that underlay the Doctors words.
Sam groaned and a light breeze blew through the ward, the affects of the blessing were already beginning to ware off.
"I'm afraid I can't let you do that, the children are still quite contagious." The balding Doctor gave her a humourless smile. "I'm sure you wouldn't want to be responsible for introducing a contagious disease into a childrens home because you refused to follow medical advice, the press would have a field day."
The witch stiffened with anger, things really weren't going her way. "What the children are.."
"Recovering nicely thanks to Dr. Marchs expert care, but we would want to take the risk now would we. I assure you this contagion is quite dreaded in the U.K and I would hate to see a similar outbreak that place here, simply because the proper procedures weren't followed."
The witch opened and closed her mouth a couple of times for all the world looking like a freshly landed fish. "I must protest, this is highly irregular." She spluttered.
The muscles in Dr. Williams jaw twitched, clearly he was getting tired of the witchs little game and was no longer willing to play. "I suggest you take what have been offered Miss. White, you may be able to threaten Dr. March but you have no such sway with me and you will do as I say or I will have you removed from my hospital."
She could recognise defeat when it stared her in the face, but that didn't mean she had to accept it gracefully. "I can find the door myself."
"Then do it now." The little mans voice was low and dangerous, he seemed to swell in size. He had certainly grown in Sams estimation.
The woman turned and stormed out, trailing the three men in her wake, the reporter still writing furiously. God only new what he made of all of this.
The room relaxed marginally and the tension in Sams head released entirely, he could no longer feel the Cartwrights. However Kate at least still had things to worry about and no one was going to relax entirely when she was still in trouble.
"Dr. Williams I.." The little man gave Kate a hard look and cut her off.
"Dr. March I wanted to thank you for volunteering to run the flue clinic for the next two months."
"Yes, sir." She said meekly, running the free clinics, or the flue clinic as they became nicknamed in winter was a nightmare. Under staffed and under resourced, running the clinic was the most frustrating and thankless job in the hospital, it was also one of the most worthwhile and important jobs in the hospital because for most of the people who used it, it was there last hope. Which made it a strange sort of punishment.
The odd little man nodded at the acknowledgement and began to leave the room, clearly considering the matter closed. The subject wouldn't be mentioned again, but then something seemed to occur to him and he turned back.
"Mr. Barnes do you play tennis?"
Ben blinked in surprised but the nodded his head.
"Good, I need a forth for tomorrow, we'll be playing my brother and Judge Martin." The little man began walk out of the door, calling over his shoulder as he did so. "We're meeting at two at the Hayworth club, don't be late."
When he left the room was quite for the longest time, everyone was in shock, finally it was Ellen who had been hiding in the office for most of the incident who spoke, her voiced awed. "Did he just do something nice?"
Kate just stood pale and wide eyed, her mouth slightly open. She couldn't shake the feeling she had just dodged a bullet. "The dreaded Lurgi." She whispered.
"What?" Ben asked confused and more than a little worried about the doctor.
"He quoted the Goon show, he made a joke." She still looked to be in shock and kept looking around as if she expected the world to suddenly end, or at least the theme music of the twilight zone to start.
Dean grinned and threw an arm over her shoulder giving her a half hug while Sam, now slumped on one of the beds gave them both a tried smile, briefly meeting his brothers eyes letting him now that the immediate danger at least was over.
Letting go of Kate the elder Winchester moved to his brothers side, pulling to his feet. "Come on Francis lets get you cleaned up."
"You boys want to tell me who you are and what's really going on?" Kate ran a gentle hand over Sams temple pushing his hair out of the way as she cleaned the blood off his face. She didn't sound angry or even particularly worried, just curious.
"The earthquake yesterday, it wasn't an earthquake, it was a couple of angry ghosts."
"Sam." Warned Dean, surprised at his brother.
Kate glanced up at Dean before turning back to checking the reactivity of Sams pupils. "You're telling me we have a couple of poltergeists. That the boys' parents are still hanging around and they're pissed." She sounded surprised and a little incredulous but not particularly shock, which made both Sam and Dean stare at her.
"What?" Dean was looking at her as if she had just slapped him in the face.
"What I'm British, we have more than our fair share of ghosts, we're an old country. Besides you're right that was no earthquake."
"So you guys ghost busters or something?"
Both brothers were staring at her now.
"Whaaat? Sam was chanting in Latin." Sam did a fairly good goldfish impression, his chin still trapped in Kates hand as she pressed a digital thermometer into his ear, frowning at the results. "I'm Catholic, I even understood half of it. As for Dean here, my husbands a Marine, I've spent a lot of time around dangerous men, I know what I saw."
"Yes, I guess we kind of are. Ghost busters, I mean." Sam was just plain ignoring Deans protests now.
"Oh, that's actually a job." Kate was going a little wide eyed.
"Yeah, it doesn't pay very well though." Commented Dean, smiling at her now, amused.
"Oh." There really wasn't very much more she could say, other than. "Is it over? Have they…..well, moved on."
"We don't know, but I don't think they are going to be causing any more trouble, not now their boys are safe but if anything happens we'll be back." Replied Sam and Dean nodded.
"O.K, that's good. I think." She blinked a couple of times, before focusing back on Sam. "Here I wanted to give you this." She pressed an envelope into Sams hand. "Merry Christmas."
Sam opened the envelope and gapped, the envelope was full of money, it looked to be at least four hundred dollars.
"We started a collection about a month back, to provide toys and entertainment for the kids stuck in here over the holidays, but with one and another we never got around to doing anything with it." She smiled at both of them. "Put it this way, you boys have been very entertaining."
Sam started to protest, pushing the envelope back into her hand, but she stopped him.
"Sam, Dean what you to did here, it was nothing short of a miracle. This," She gestured at the envelope. "this is nothing, but if it helps you it has meaning." She shrugged. "We just want to help you, the way you helped us."
Dean moved to put his hand on his brothers shoulder, squeezing it. "Thanks." He meant it, with all his heart. This money would literally save their asses.
Kate smiled. "Come on, lets get Sam to bed. I don't like his temperature."
The rest of the day was pretty quite, if you didn't count screaming kids and the fact that Carol would sporadically hug them both, looking as if she was about ready to burst into tears, or laughter, or both. It was a good day, but both men new it was time to move on, they would leave in the morning.
They packed up and said their goodbyes just before the kids went to bed intending to get an early start in the morning, it was emotional for everyone. Andy all but refused to let go of Sams leg and when Nathan trying to appear all grown up solemnly shock Deans hand, only to end up with his head buried in older Winchesters neck, along with Gary who was doing his best to comfort his new brother.
Sam woke to the EMF meter screaming from inside Deans bag, his brother was already trying to dig it out. Turning it to silent, he motioned his brother to the door and together they headed towards the childrens ward.
Dean stiffened at the sight of the two softly glowing figures standing between the two Cartwright boys beds, as Sam entered the room behind his brother the ghost of Liz Cartwright looked up at them and gave them a grateful smile. Her husband who was bending over to brush a gentle kiss over his eldest sons forehead, moved to join her. Acknowledging the Winchester with a nod, he took his wifes hand and the two of them began to fade, their faces serene.
"Wow." Whispered Sam.
"You think they're really gone?"
Sam nodded the sense of peace in the room was amazing and so was the sense of closer.
Looking back at the boys beds he saw Andy staring at them, sucking his fingers. The two of them moved silently to the little boys side as he regarded the solemnly, Margaret was nowhere to be seen. When they were both squatting by his side, he pulled his fingers out of his mouth and spoke. "They've gone to heaven."
The brothers stared at the boy in shock.
"It's all going to be alright now." The little boy announced with absolute certainty, before turning over to go back to sleep.
Still in shock, Sam tucked the little boy back in. Exchanging looks with his brother, they got up and headed towards the door, feeling oddly calm and for the first time in a long time completely happy.
Dean gave his brother a sideways grin. "Merry Christmas, little brother."