A/N – Hooray! Final chapter at last. Many, many spoilers: 'Bloodlust,' "Born Under a Bad Sign,' 'Folsom Prison Blues,' and 'Hollywood Babylon.' Thanks for reading. Peg
Sam slowly raised his head, his head ringing from the shock of the explosion. He blinked his eyes, his gaze sweeping the area, falling on the still form of his brother.
"Dean!" Painfully, Sam struggled to his feet, staggering over to Dean and carefully turning him over. His brother responded with a low groan, coughing harshly as he rolled to his side. He grimaced in pain as he fought to breathe, but he waved one hand at Sam.
"I'm okay, Sammy. Help me up." He hissed in pain as Sam pulled him to his feet, both men swaying slightly as they stared in amazement at their surroundings.
The cemetery was decimated. It looked as if a tornado had smashed through, ripping out headstones, churning up the soil, flattening the thick briars and brush. Two of the windows on the Bronco were nothing more than jagged shards of glass, the windshield sported a huge crack, and chunks of concrete decorated the hood. Even the old crypt hadn't been spared; it was now on its side, tilted at a dangerous angle. Overhead, the full moon shone brightly, the dark clouds all but disappeared, and the gusting winds had been reduced to a gentle night time breeze.
"C.J.?" Sam called, his heart going cold. He could still see her running towards the black witch, grabbing the creature's face and forcing her power into its mouth. Sam had started to follow, but Dean's firm grip on his arm had stopped him. Together, they had watched as the black witch had gone insane, shrieking and ripping at itself, its face transforming like liquid. C.J. had fallen, just a moment before the witch had exploded, the light so bright it was almost unbearable.
"C.J.!" Sam ran forward, his breath catching as he saw her small form, lying still in the brush. He froze as Dean rushed by him, his brother kneeling at her side.
"She's alive," Dean barked, his fingers feeling for a pulse in her neck. He let out a startled yelp as his hand was batted away. C.J. cracked open her eyes, shooting Dean an exasperated look as she struggled to sit up.
"Of course I'm alive, you idiot. Now, help me up," she croaked. Dean wrapped an arm around her shoulders, guiding her to her feet, his face lined with worry. She was still paper white, blood trickling from the corner of her mouth, and he could feel her shivering, probably from shock. She may be alive, but he was sure she was far from okay.
C.J.'s gaze traveled over the cemetery, shaking her head at the destruction. Her eyes were drawn to the ravaged body of the male witch, his chest ripped open and his blood everywhere. Somehow, his corpse had remained although everything around him had been destroyed. There was no sign of the black witch or the three dead half-breeds. A distant wailing reached her ears, and C.J. grimaced. The cops were coming, and a dead man lay at their feet.
It was time to go.
"Let's go home," C.J. whispered, and leaning heavily on Dean, she stumbled towards the Impala. Sam followed, pausing long enough to grab up their weapons, before sliding into the driver's seat. With a reassuring word to the kids, still huddled together in the back seat, he fired up the car, and, with C.J. and Dean at his side, drove into the night.
"Thank you, Officer. I appreciate all your help," C.J. said with a smile, leading the young trooper to the door. Outside, Bobby was unhooking her Bronco from a tow truck, frowning at the wrecked front end. The hunter absently patted Emmie, shaking his head as he inspected the rest of the truck.
"Yes, ma'am. It's the strangest thing, your vehicle being stolen, and found next to some guy who was mauled by a bear," the officer – Eric Littleton, according to his badge - said. He plopped his wide-brimmed hat on his head, and settled his hands on his hips. C.J. widened her smile, pushing open the screened door, and easing the trooper out on to the porch. They were followed by Dutchess and Jasmine, the hound sagging to the floor of the cool porch with a groan.
"Oh, that poor man. And you think he was the thief?" C.J. asked innocently as she escorted him down the steps. The trooper only shrugged.
"We can only assume that it was. Anyway, thanks for the coffee, and if you need anything, feel free to call." He tipped his hat, giving her a smile of his own, and strode to his car. She watched with a satisfied grin as he drove over the wooden bridge, disappearing in a cloud of dust.
"Well, that worked out well," she said as Bobby sauntered over. He tugged at his baseball cap, his weathered face clearly unhappy.
"You're just lucky, C.J. That's all," he growled. "From what Sam and Dean told me, you almost got yourself killed."
C.J. didn't argue. She had been as surprised as the Winchesters when she blinked open her eyes after tangling with the black witch. Beaten, battered and so far beyond exhausted it wasn't even funny, somehow she had managed to stay alive.
Yeah, she had been lucky.
Bobby was staring at her intently, and she let out a frustrated sigh. He was worse than a mother hen sometimes.
"So, you told Sam that his mother was a witch?" Bobby asked quietly. He jammed his hands into his jeans pockets as he followed her back to the house. Both Dutchess and Emmie were on their heels, the retriever carrying a ball in her mouth.
C.J. only nodded. "Yeah, I did. But he figured it out on his own, Bobby. I just confirmed his suspicions." She neglected to tell him that she had also taught Sam how to control his telekinetic ability, or that the younger Winchester had managed to use his telepathy – on his own. "Besides, they both knew something was up the second I joined with them, boosting my power with theirs."
Bobby remained silent, pulling open the screened door, and ushering C.J. and the dogs inside. He had been John Winchester's friend for many years, keeping his secrets and maintaining a watchful eye over his two sons. He knew if John was alive, he would be furious that C.J. had revealed this truth to Sam and Dean.
But, he also knew that there was an even bigger secret to be kept, and he broached that subject now.
"And you told them nothing else?" Bobby asked, gripping C.J.'s arm and staring hard into her hazel eyes.
Eyes that were disturbingly familiar.
She sighed and shook her head.
"No, Bobby. And I wouldn't tell them even if I could. I made a promise to Mary, and its one I fully intend to keep." Gently, she pried her arm from Bobby's hand, offering him a small smile.
"Hopefully, they'll never have to know."
"Here it is. Listen: 'The police are still investigating the return of four abducted children, found yesterday morning in a local church. The children, ranging in age from three to six, were discovered by the parish priest, Father Sean Bailey of Our Lady of Sorrows Chapel in Arlington, Kansas. The police have questioned the children about the abduction, but currently have no leads. If anyone has any information, please contact the Kansas State Police.'"
Sam lowered the newspaper, glancing over at Dean. His brother, still sporting various cuts and bruises on his face, remained silent, his eyes glued to the road.
Sam only sighed, shaking his head as he tossed the paper in the back seat. "Those poor kids. I bet they told the cops the truth, too."
Dean snorted. "Yeah, right. Imagine it, Sam. A bunch of preschoolers telling a story about how they were kidnapped by witches, trussed up like turkeys so they could be sacrificed in some dark, pagan ritual, only to be rescued after a mighty battle between good and evil. No one will buy it, least of all the cops."
Sam nodded. Dean was probably right. In a way, it was a good thing. Hopefully, the children would lose their memory of that night, and go on to lead happy, normal lives.
Unlike Dean and himself. Their lives had been weird before, but now they truly had entered the Twilight Zone. It was still so hard to grasp: their mother had been a white witch, their father had been fully aware of their mother's abilities, they both had supernatural powers. Sam was still unable to accept it all. And Dean. . .
"Dean, why aren't you freaking out?" Sam asked, his gaze on his brother's face.
"About what?" Dean asked, his voice cool.
"You know about what," Sam said. "Mom. Dad. Us. The whole witch thing. You're acting like nothing happened!"
Dean remained silent, glancing at Sam from the corner of his eye. Heaving a sigh, he pulled the Impala over, ramming it into Park, and killing the engine. He spun in his seat, glaring at his brother.
"You think I'm not freaked out about this Sam? Well, I am. And I'm pissed! I'm pissed off that Dad would keep something this important from us. But, there's nothing I can do about it. It is what it is, and I'm dealing with it the best that I can."
Dean fell silent, cursing himself as Sam's eyes widened with hurt. Dammit. His brother was probably just as upset as he was, maybe more. For months, Sam had believed that all his visions and telekinetic abilities were from the demon. His greatest fear was that he would become evil, that he would hurt someone, kill someone, maybe even Dean. The truth would have helped to alleviate some his little brother's fears.
This morning, after Bobby had left to retrieve the Bronco, C.J. had sat the both of them down, willing to answer many of their questions. She was still moving slowly, her face pale, but she also knew that both Winchesters were confused and angry. Taking her place on the couch, she told them she would answer whatever she could.
After exchanging a look with his brother, Sam had quietly told the story of the night their Mom had died, revealing that their mother had known the demon, that the demon had cut his wrist and dripped his evil blood into him. Dean had been stunned into silence as Sam quietly asked a question.
"My. . .abilities. They are from the demon, right? After all, I have his blood in me," Sam had whispered. His blue-green eyes had been bright with worry, and Dean wished he could go and blast the crap out of that yellow-eyed bastard again.
After a long moment, C.J. had shaken her head, assuring him that it wasn't true. His supernatural talents came from his mother. The demon had probably been aware of his witch blood, and had somehow used it to his advantage. And the blood the demon had dripped into him was probably just some kind of brand, a marker or locator, nothing more.
Both Sam and Dean had shared doubtful looks, although Dean was inclined to agree with C.J.. In his whole life, Sam had never once shown an inclination to go dark side. Other than the time he was possessed, that is. A couple of drops of blood, even if they were from the Yellow-Eyed Demon, would not change Sam into a monster.
"And what about Dean?" Sam had asked. "He's never done anything even remotely supernatural."
C.J. only smiled. "Oh, Dean has the power, all right. It's just that neither of you have been properly trained to use it."
Dean had snorted. "Okay, Yoda. We'll just hop into the Millenium Falcon and cruise on over to Dagobah for some training in the Force." He ran his hands across his face, shaking his head.
"Go ahead and joke, Dean, but you have great potential. And, besides, I'm sure you've used your power; you just didn't realize it at the time," C.J. had replied. She leaned forward on the couch, her eyes intense as she gazed at the brothers.
"Tell me; whenever you two go on a hunt, Dean almost always enters a room first. He's the one who usually gets bad vibes about a situation. He's the one who comes up with a plan, and when the shit really hits the fan, he's the one who bails you both out."
Dean had barked a laugh, shaking his head, but Sam had nodded, his face thoughtful. It was true. Dean jokingly called it his Spidey sense, but nine times out of ten, it was Dean who kept the both of them safe, even when their Dad had been with them.
C.J. flashed Dean a smile. "And I bet you can fit in anywhere, adapt to almost any environment or situation with ease." I
Images of prison and a Hollywood movie set flitted through Sam's mind, and he gave C.J. an affirming smile. Dean had always been like a chameleon, blending into the background, taking on different identities like he was a born actor.
C.J. sagged back against the couch, a brief flash of pain crossing her face. "Face it, Dean. You're a protector, like me. Yes, the training your father gave you was important, but all those qualities – knowing when there's trouble before it happens, the ability to get out of a messy situation every time, reacting immediately when things are going wrong – are due to your witch blood."
Dean remained silent, a pessimistic frown on his face. But his memory was racing, recalling all the times his father told him to protect Sam, to keep him safe. Even as a child, Dean had been responsible for his toddler brother, their father confidently leaving Sam in Dean's care as he left them to go on a hunt.
Protecting Sam – hell, protecting anyone from evil – had always come naturally to Dean.
"And Dad?" Sam asked. "Why didn't he ever tell us?"
C.J.'s eyes clouded over for a moment. "Your father was afraid of two things. First of all, he was training you both to become hunters, to seek out evil and destroy it, and that included witches. Could you have killed another witch, knowing that your mom was of their kind? Granted, your mom was a white witch, but the fact of the matter is, she was a supernatural being. She wasn't entirely human, which, according to every hunter I've ever met, meant that she should be destroyed. Your Dad didn't tell you because he didn't want you to have any doubts about killing these creatures. His greatest fear was that you would hesitate, and that would get you hurt, or killed."
Dean sagged against the cushions, remembering the vampires that only fed on animals. He had been adamant about killing the entire nest, but Sam had convinced him that these vampires should be spared. Ironically, it had been another hunter who had proved to be the bigger threat, not the vampires. It had been the first time that Dean had truly been conflicted about his job – and the first time he let evil escape unharmed.
"Yeah, there have been a couple times when deciding what was evil became fuzzy. I guess Dad thought ignorance was bliss," Dean said.
C.J. nodded. "And the second reason he kept you both in the dark was that he was afraid you would want to use your powers, which could draw some unwanted attention. Even though you are descendants of a white witch, there are hunters – and others - who would kill you anyway."
"Just because we're. . ." Sam started.
"Not completely human," Dean finished. He cringed; C.J.'s words had hit a sore spot. He himself had been one of those hunters, at one time.
They had discontinued their conversation as Bobby roared into the yard, warning them that the police were on their way. Since Dean was wanted by the F.B.I., they had shot to their feet, hurriedly packing their clothes and Sam's laptop, and giving the dogs quick, affectionate pats on the head. C.J. had shoved some money at Dean, wrapped them both in hugs, and told them they would always be welcome – anytime. Quietly, Dean asked Bobby to keep an eye on C.J., and then the two brothers rushed out the door. Two minutes later, they were roaring over the bridge, leaving family legacies and the little town of Haven behind.
Now, parked on the side of the road, Dean ran a hand through his short hair. He knew C.J. had held some details back, but, the truth was, he was glad. He wasn't sure he could handle anymore secrets. And right now, he needed to reassure Sammy that they would be okay.
At least for the next 339 days, anyway.
"Listen to me, Sam. You and I, we've had this. . .witch thing. . .all our lives. Just because we know about it doesn't mean that things will change. You and I are still the same people we were last week, with a job to do and people to save." He paused, grateful when Sam gave him a slow nod, his face thoughtful.
Dean was right. Things really hadn't changed, at least not between them. They were still brothers, no matter what. And Sam did have a job to do. He did have someone to save: Dean from the Crossroads Demon. All this witch stuff could wait.
"You know, Dean, I hate it when you're right," Sam said reluctantly.
Dean laughed. "Dude, when are you going to learn? I am always right!"
Sam just rolled his eyes, sagging back against his seat as Dean fired up the Impala and pulled out on to the highway. Not everything was resolved between the brothers, but, for the first time in a long time, they seemed to be on the same page. That thought was confirmed as Dean offered Sam a small smile – one that finally reached his eyes. Sam returned the grin, folding his arms across his chest as he shut his eyes, the soft hum of the car's engine lulling him to sleep.
Dean drove easily, for once not feeling like the weight of the world was on his shoulders. His future remained uncertain, what with the whole Crossroads Demon deal, and there were still a whole slew of evil creatures to be hunted down and destroyed, but, all things considered, he felt. . .okay. Still, he couldn't quite believe that once again, he had succumbed to Sam's need for emotional venting.
A chick-flick moment.
Shaking his head in disgust, Dean floored the Impala, his brother sleeping peacefully by his side as they drove into the sunset.
A/N – Okay, okay, the ending is as corny as they come, but I like corny. Thanks for
reading, and I always appreciate any reviews – good or bad.