Again I have been a TERRIBLE fic-er and not updated in forever. And I won't try to make any excuses this time other than that I just had writer's block.
That being said, the finale IS finally finished! Thanks for sticking with it, you guys, I hope this satisfies, and if it doesn't...well that's my bad.
I sort of swap between Sam and Dean's point of view in this chapter, so I hope it doesn't seem to choppy and that it's clear.
Please enjoy and let me know what you think.
The first howl was more than enough to get his attention. There was a quality to the croon that sent shards of cold and fear splintering straight through Dean's entire body. The second howl sent him scrambling out of bed and to the weapons bag where it sat dutifully in the corner of the room. Dean rooted desperately around in the bag until he found his 1911 Colt, chocked full of silver bullets. He was sure they wouldn't do more harm than a mosquito bite would when it came to these things, but Dean wasn't about to face them empty handed.
Rabid barks sounded right outside the door, the slab of wood itself rattling a second later. Dean spun around to face the threat. His heart pounded hard, almost gagging him where it beat in the hollow of his throat.
"No, no, no, no." He breathed desperately. This wasn't right. It wasn't time yet. He still had two whole months left. They weren't supposed to be here for him yet. Dean raised the gun at the door, his trembling hands attempting to steady the aim where they both held the gun in a sweaty grip. He flinched violently when another pound on the door was accompanied by the sound of wood starting to give and splinter.
Dean's chest heaved, his breathing shallow and raspy sounding. Where was Sam? Dean still needed to tell him so much. All the things he had expressed, but never really said before. That he was proud of Sam. How being his big brother had been the most important and joyful experience of his life. Dean hadn't even had a chance to tell Sam how much he loved him. He had made a decision to actually say the words. He had planned and practiced many times over in his head what all he wanted Sam to know. Dean had even contemplated urging the path of their hunt towards the southwest regions of the country, perhaps take that trip to the Grand Canyon that they had yet to go on. All his delusions of how his last day on Earth would be like were shattered along with the motel door.
The splintered wood fell to the ground in a puff of loosened sawdust and everything went suddenly quiet. Dean felt himself freeze as he laid eyes on what stood in the now open doorway. The gun in his hand slowly lowered as his arms no longer had the strength to hold its aim.
In all the hunts he had been on over the twenty-four years of his career, Dean had never seen anything so grotesque and purely terrifying. He had never felt such crippling fear. No words existed to properly describe the mass of raw flesh or the illusion of live fire in the fathomless eyes.
The being just stood and looked at Dean, not appearing to even be breathing in all its stillness. "This is it." The thought was a tiny island in the blank nothingness of Dean's mind. This was it: the end. No more life. No more road trips, no more singing along with Stairway To Heaven, no more enjoying the company of a beautiful woman, no more deliciously, greasy diner food. No more Sam.
"I'm not ready." The hellhound took an eerily slow step forward. No more Sam. "I'm not ready!" The words screamed through Dean's head and spurred him into motion. The bathroom door stood ajar no less than eight feet behind him. Dean made it six before the hellhound bounded into the room and attacked. The force of the creature sent Dean crashing heavily into the half opened bathroom door and sprawling dazedly on the cold tile. Dean quickly flipped onto his back. Bringing the gun still clutched in his hands back up, he aimed at the hound's right eye and pulled the trigger. The chamber clicked empty.
The fiery orbs regarding Dean sparkled with delight and he would swear a smirk curled up the saber-studded lips. Dean saw his future in the creature's eyes. The one that would be lost to him and, more vividly, the one that awaited him. Inexplicably, he found his brother's name whispering through his lips. "Sammy." If that was the last thing that Dean was to utter in this world, then at least it was the one word that held the most weight and value to him.
As if taking the name as a cue, the hellhound pounced. It's frying-pan-sized paws landed on Dean's chest, the weight roughly compressing the air out of his lungs. Dean gasped in attempts to take back the stolen oxygen, the warrior part of him forcing his hands to grip the clawed mitts and attempt to move them. Blood rushed loudly in his ears followed quickly by a distant ringing sound and an overall feeling of cold. A still lucid part of Dean's brain acknowledged that this wasn't so bad. There were worse ways to go than slow suffocation. The creature suddenly growled with pleasure and let up the weight on Dean's chest. Apparently he had had the thought too soon.
With another growl, the hellhound lunged at Dean again, its paws pinning his shoulders to the ground with twin snaps of bone and its mouth descended to his throat. Dean's scream of pain was silenced to a wet gurgle as the hell creature's jaws crushed through his windpipe. Dean was aware of only a few things. Pain, lack of air, and the giant paws continuing to grip his broken shoulders.
And something else too.
Dean's fogged and quickly shutting down mind still managed to panic at the sound of his brother's voice. "Sam, no! Stay back!" Dean wanted to warn Sam away, to safety, but only a gush of blood issued forth when he opened his mouth to speak. The paws gripped his shoulders tighter.
"Dean! Damnit! Come on, man. Breathe."
And shook him hard.
"Wake up. Dean, wake up, now!"
The paws gave him a jarring shove and the jaws suddenly released. Dean pulled in a deep, gasping breath. He immediately began coughing and trying to free himself from the thing's grip on his shoulders.
"Whoa, whoa, Dean. Take it easy, man."
Dean gasped in another breath and scrambled backwards, successfully fleeing before the back of his neck crashed into something solid. He slid down the hard surface and slumped there on the floor, heart racing and his breathing trying to keep up. When ten, undisturbed seconds followed and the hellhound had yet to advance again, it struck Dean that something was different.
He blinked, his unseeing eyes clearing a little. Dean looked around. He was still in the bathroom, but without the hellhound...and he was still alive. His shoulders no longer seared with the pain of a crushed bones and he was no longer choking on his own blood.
Realization started to dawn and another blink brought everything back into focus. Dean's eyes panned around, taking in the un-blood-splattered tile, his unsoiled shirt and...Sam. Dean stopped on his little brother crouched in the doorway of the bathroom, looking at him with startled and deeply concerned eyes. Sam looked him over slowly then seemed to allow himself a careful swallow.
"Hey." Sam croaked out. Dean blinked at him.
"Hey." He grunted back after a moment, still confused about how he'd gone from being mauled by a hellhound to being regarded by his brother's fear-shined eyes. Sam shifted his weight a little forward, as if testing the potentially dangerous waters of his proximity, then duck-walked over to Dean when they seemed safe.
"Are you alright?" Sam asked in a quiet voice as he helped Dean up into a less scrunched sitting position, gripping one hand around Dean's shoulder and splaying the other over his chest. Dean just blinked owlishly up at him. Sam's brows dipped and he moved his hand from Dean's chest to his forehead. He breathed out an exasperated sigh when he found what he expected.
"God, Dean. I leave for fifteen minutes and you choose that time to spike a fever." Dean blinked a few more times at him. His face folded in a young-looking expression of puzzlement.
"Y'were gone?" Dean slurred, his eyelids fluttering in the obvious relief Sam's cool hand brought to the too-hot skin of his forehead. Sam's eyes flicked down from the lump on Dean's forehead to his eyes, now able to identify their shiny, green stare as feverish, but not concussed. He suspected Dean's fever was just bad enough to have thrown him in the grips of a deadly nightmare or hallucination. Sam had come back to the room to find Dean out of bed and instead writhing on the bathroom floor, seemingly unable to breathe.
"Come on." Sam carefully cupped his hands under Dean's shoulders and started to heft him off the floor. "You need to get some more rest." Dean grabbed clumsily at Sam's jacket and bunched his fists in a weak hold on his lapels, managing a stronger grip when he swayed on his feet. Sam steadied Dean, voicing a quiet reassurance, and lead him back out into the room.
"Time'sit?" Dean mumbled, feeling his disturbed rest already catching up with him as he shuffled slowly towards his bed.
"Almost six." Dean made a low hmm sound of acknowledgment. Sam levered him down on the side of the bed and tugged on his shirt when Dean tried to fall back completely. "Not yet. Just wait here a second." Dean sat, listing slightly with fatigue and illness, and watched as Sam dug through their medical bag.
"W'were you?" He asked after a moment, sounding vaguely to Sam like he did the night Dean had turned twenty-one and had taken full advantage of the set, legal drinking age. Sam smiled briefly at the memory of how thrilled Dean had been that the bartender had carded him and how he hadn't even had to use a fake ID. The moment faded when Dean urged the question again and Sam knew he was going to have to answer at some point. And, sick and feverish or not, his brother was not going to like it.
"I was uh..." Sam tapered off. The med bag providing a convenient distraction and he rooted more avidly through it. Finally locating the bottle of ibuprofen, Sam shook two tablets into his hand before tossing the bottle back into the bag. He snagged a bottle of water from a nearby duffle and walked back over to Dean, holding the pills out to him. At Dean's slightly unfocused but altogether stubborn stare, Sam jiggled his hand, urging Dean again to take them. "I'll tell you, okay? Come on, just take the pills first." Dean stared petulantly a moment longer before palming the pills and accepting the opened bottle of water Sam offered him next.
Dean's steady, unbroken eye contact, even when he tipped his head back to gulp down the water, told Sam that Dean was already suspicious of where he had been. Sam tossed the empty bottle Dean handed back to him into the trashcan across the room before leaning over to guide Dean back onto the pillows. Dean complied, but continued to scowl the whole time.
"Y'went back t'the bridge, didn't you?" Dean accused finally. "By yourself." Sam sat back and bent his right leg up onto the bed, propping the sneaker against his opposite knee.
"I didn't technically go on it." Sam defended quietly. Dean growled and tried to sit up, prevented from doing so by a hand on his chest.
"Son of a bitch, Sam! After what she did to you?!" Dean said loudly, fully finding his voice again. "She could've mind-ninjaed you again!-"
"You could've gotten hurt again, or worse-"
"Just...shut up and listen for a minute, alright?"
Dean's eyes were still wide and wild and beneath Sam's palm his heart beat fast, but he stopped resisting and flopped back onto the pillows.
"Alright, fine." Dean bit out. "But you're better have a damn good excuse for me to listen to." Sam nodded his "Fair enough." and sat back when he was sure Dean wasn't going to try jumping up again. He licked his lips and took a deep breath, ready to build his case.
"Like I said, I didn't go on the bridge. I found a binding spell in Dad's journal; it's supposed to render spirits powerless. I burned oak bark, oregano, and mistletoe altogether and lined the bridge with the ashes."
Dean stared at him for a moment.
"You really expect that to work?" Sam's shoulders slumped and he rubbed at his eyes with tented fingers.
"Not really. But, man, we just need it to for a little while. One day. And maybe it will work, then we have a whole month to put Audrey's spirit to rest."
Dean lazily arched an eyebrow. "Audrey?"
Sam nodded. "I was getting around to that next. When you were asleep, I managed to dip up some information." Sam reached into the inner pocket of his coat and pulled out a folded up piece of lined notebook paper. "Her name was Audrey Someski." Sam unfolded the page and held it out to Dean. "Twenty years old. She died last October." Dean accepted the paper and blinked a few times to bring it into focus. Scribbled lines of scattered thought covered the page, some of them circled and linked by straight lines gouged deeply into the paper. Dean squinted, able to make out a few random names, locations, and dates. He flicked his eyes up to look at Sam from low under his brows.
"This is good enough to go on the fridge, Sammy." Dean cooed with a growing smirk. Sam snatched the paper out of Dean's hand, cutting off his brother's remark about chicken-scratch handwriting.
"Audrey was an orphan." Sam began translating all that he had, admittedly, scribbled on the paper. "Her adopted parents died in a fire at an old movie theater when she was fourteen, so she went to live with her mother's mother. Four years later, she died, leaving Audrey with no other living relatives." Dean frowned. He was pretty sure he could see where this was all going. "Audrey skipped college and moved all around the country. She never stayed anywhere for more than a couple months, never met any new people. Until..." Sam paused and cocked his head, flicking his eyebrows up for dramatic emphasis. "...She moved to Colorado in early 2008." Dean returned Sam's expression of sad irony.
"Do I even want to know?" Dean grumbled, his eyes sliding closed. Sam gently bumped his knee against Dean's, coaxing his eyes back open. Sam smiled softly, a little apologetically, before continuing.
"Probably not, but just bear with me a bit longer." Dean sighed and made an effort to sit up a little straighter. Sam continued. "She moved to Cortez and met and fell in love with her first boyfriend, Patrick. They got serious quickly and got engaged just two months later."
"Always a good idea." Dean interjected.
"Yeah." Sam scoffed in agreement before sobering again. "Apparently it was a pretty codependent thing. It sounded like this girl was just lovesick and desperate and this Patrick guy treated her like crap."
"Dick." Dean mumbled bitterly. Even with his own track record of one night stands and almost non-existent history of serious relationships, Dean believed that women should always be respected and treated well.
"Pretty much." Sam again concurred. "So, a few weeks af-"
"Whoa, hold on a second." Dean put a hand up.
"What is it?" Sam asked, worry flickering in his eyes after taking in the slight shake of Dean's hand. Dean let his arm fall back into his blanket-covered lap.
"Adopted, lived everywhere, bastard boyfriend who you say sounds like he didn't treat this girl right...?"
Sam's eyebrows rose slowly. "Yeah?" He drawled. Dean shrugged.
"Where are you getting this stuff from?" Sam's confused expression morphed into a sheepish one.
"Well...articles, mostly, but..." Sam scraped his bottom lip over his teeth and dropped his eyes as color crept into his cheeks. "After I figured out who Audrey was, I Googled her name and...found her blog...on...Xanga." Sam forced out finally. He slowly looked back up.
Dean just stared blankly back, his lips slightly parted in an expression of complete obliviousness. He took a deep breath as if to speak, but paused.
"I sense that I should be mocking you so badly right now, but I gotta say I have no idea what the hell that means." Dean said after a moment. Sam hopped his leg a bit further up on the bed, squaring his shoulders towards Dean. He cleared his throat.
"Xanga is an online database. An internet diary. Sort of like...LiveJournal or Facebook." Sam paused a beat and frowned when those names appeared to mean just as much to Dean as Xanga. He shook his head quickly when Dean started to speak again. "Ju-nevermind. The point is that Audrey didn't have any friends, so she just basically poured her heart out on her blog. She recorded everything. I mean, posted an entry nearly every day of her life since she was fifteen. It was the closest thing to an autobiography she could've written. Anyway, according to her posts, a few weeks after her engagement to her boyfriend, she got into a car wreck."
Dean winced. "Jeez, couldn't get a break, this girl."
Sam shook his head and frowned sadly. "The accident paralyzed Audrey from the hips down and condemned her to a wheelchair."
Dean shook his head slowly. "And the upstanding, boyfriend-of-the-year?"
Sam puffed out a heavy sigh and began picking at the frayed pant-leg of his jeans. "Broke up with her three days after she was released from the hospital."
Dean let out a disgusted-sounding sigh. "I repeat..." He closed his eyes and let his head fall back against the headboard with a hollow thump. "...dick. What happened next?"
"Well, you can sort of figure the rest. Her blog posts dwindled down to depressed thoughts and musing of suicide. Her last post was October 23rd. Two days later, the police found an abandoned wheelchair on Charity Bridge...and Audrey, twenty miles downstream."
Dean opened his eyes to look blearily at the ceiling. "How'd we miss this? I thought you said the town didn't have an freakiness in its history."
"The town they found her body in, Towaoc, wrote an article all about it in their paper. Here, there was only a short paragraph in the obits." Sam laughed bitterly. "She didn't have any friends. Nobody in the town knew or cared about her. Not even enough to give her suicide a headline."
The disdain in Sam's voice mirrored Dean's thoughts and feelings on the matter. How could a person be so completely overlooked throughout their entire life? Actually, he could relate to that. For doing so much for it, he and Sam had left very small footprints on the world. A handful of friends would mourn them in death and a few un-acquaintances in the hunting community might take notice, but other than that...their passing would go unbeknownst to the world.
"She didn't have anything to stay for." Sam's tone made Dean lift his head up and look at him. Sam was staring blankly at the bedspread. His eyes were distant and shielded from view, but his pinched, haunted expression conveyed the sorrow that Dean knew he would have seen in the blue-green gaze. "She didn't have anyone." Sam said softly.
The words made Dean's breathing hitch and his heart ache for his brother. This hunt had long since hit too close to home and it was the last thing Sam should have to be dealing with right then. Dean cocked his head a little and looked sadly at the shadowed profile of his little brother. Sam wouldn't exactly have nobody once Dean's deal came due, but it would be close. His friends at Stanford were too far in the past, the few allies they'd met in the last two years had perished, and Ellen had dropped off the face of the earth just three days after the unleashing of Hell on an unsuspecting world. Sam would be left with just Bobby. And, Dean realized with great concern and a hint of disgust, Ruby, if she decided to stick around. That being said, Dean had fiercely denied all offered help back in Cold Oak and, even if Sam had dozens of friends to lend a shoulder to cry on, Dean suspected Sam would do the same. A lose/lose situation. Wasn't that just the name of their cruel, twisted game.
Dean swallowed carefully and nudged Sam with his right knee. "Find out where she's buried?" He offered quietly. Sam blinked then nodded slowly after a beat.
"In Towaoc. No one came to claim the body, so they buried Audrey in the county cemetery." Dean nodded, relieved that the obstacle of cremation hand not been posed to the hunt. Apparently Sam had finished relaying the influx of information he'd compiled, for he did not continue past that.
Dean took in a deep breath and rolled his head to the left to look at the powdery light that was just beginning to peek through the curtains. Dean watched as the light began to glow more through the moth-eaten cloth swept across the window. Lately, the swiftness with which the sun rose had started to make Dean uneasy. It used to amaze him how quickly the sun emerged over the horizon, but now Dean regarded it with the irrational fear that the ascent would continue just as fast throughout the day and before he knew it, another twelve hours standing between him and May 2nd would have fallen away.
"May the 2nd." The date stuck in Dean's head like a stubborn splinter. He'd always found it ironic but even more cruel that that had been both Sam's birth date and death date. And in a few months it would also mark the anniversary of his Crossroads deal and his own death.
It amazed Dean in the darkest of ways; somewhere between being cold and hard, life had found the time to be a bitch, too.
On the other hand...
Dean turned his head to look at Sam. His gaze was still lowered, but his expression had lightened. In fact, Sam was damn near smiling. Dean immediately felt his own mood lighten at the soft flicker of dimples and the far off gaze.
"Yeah?" Dean urged. Sam's eyes flicked back and forth a few times and his smile grew by fractions.
"Where was that cabin we lived in for awhile? The one out in the middle of nowhere. It had that family of foxes living in the storage shed." Dean's expression immediately softened to match the nostalgic glow of Sam's.
"Bemidji, Minnesota." Dean answered without a doubt. It had been one of the few times they had stayed in one place for more than a month, as well as one of the fewer places that wasn't a motel or an abandoned house they were squatting in. It had also been one of Dean's favorites. John had rented it for an extremely fair price from a seemly two-hundred year old man. The three of them had moved in right after Sam's ninth birthday, just six months before the cloak of innocence that hid him from the supernatural world had been torn away.
Dean remembered he and Sam had had fun in that cabin. The house had had an attic and a basement, both of which had provided fantastic hiding places for all day games of hide and seek. At the time, Dean had been thirteen and felt himself to be too old for the game, but the ear-to-ear grin Sam always got after finding him in the most unlikely places never failed to make Dean agree to another round. When it came his turn to seek, Dean had always been able to figure out where Sam was hiding within five minutes. "It's a magic power all big brother's have." Dean used to explain to a baffled Sam after finding him crammed up in an old trunk or under the row of loose floorboards in the attic.
Dean remembered the one time he had not been able to seek Sam. Having been given the burden of knowledge at an early age, Dean had naturally overreacted and feared for the worst. After a half hour of searching every inch of the house and most of outside, he'd turned at the triumphant call of "Give up?" and spotted Sam peeking over the ridgepole of the roof. Dean had ordered him to come down, scolded Sam for going on the roof in the first place, heatedly told him never to go up there again, then had pulled him close into a tight hug.
"Yeah, Bemidji. That's right." Sam breathed out, sounding impressed that Dean recalled it so immediately. He finally looked up at Dean with nostalgia-shined eyes and a smile. Dean smiled back, feeling the comfortable pull of genuineness on his lips.
"I loved that busted up, old place." He said quietly. Sam chuckled and nodded firmly.
"I know. Me too." Sam ducked his head to scratch at the back of his hair. He dropped the hand and laced it with the other across his right shin. "Hey." Sam piped up again after a moment of twiddling his thumbs restlessly. "You uh..." He laughed and raised his head to look at Dean again. "You remember that night we wanted to go camping?" Dean felt his heart warm at the memory.
"Dad wouldn't let us go in the woods, so we just set up the tent at the foot of the porch, right next to the Impala."
"And Dad made you take your shotgun." Sam finished off the retold memory with another laugh, closely followed by Dean. "You taught me how to recognize the constellations that night." Sam said more soberly after their chuckling had died down. He fixed Dean with a grateful, loving smile.
The smile and expression looked so much like they did when Sam was younger that it was not at all difficult for Dean to be able to picture the memory as if it were yesterday.
"Yeah." Dean said with a smile, the single, slightly-choked word seeming to speak a thousand. Truth be told, Dean thought of that moment often, especially lately. He and Sam had spent that entire night staring into the heavens.
"See that grouping of stars right there? The one with the three stars in a row?"
"Yeah." Came the eager reply from next to Dean.
"That's Orion. The hunter."
"Cooooool!" Dean smiled at the truly amazed sound and looked over at his little brother stretched out to his right. The brothers had pulled their sleeping bags to the front of the tent and put their pillows right outside the doorway so they could look up at the stars. "What does he hunt?" The look of amusement on Sam's face made Dean wonder briefly if Sam knew what their father did if he would be just as impressed. But as Dean then contemplated just how often Sam might want to go camping again after learning about what beasts and nasties might be camping with him, he decided Sam's knowledge of hunting should be limited to that of Orion.
"Oh, he hunts all kinds of stuff. Black holes, Deahtstars..." Dean looked slyly back over at Sam and grinned. "...little, green martian dudes." Sam's face split into a grin, sea-green eyes twinkling and dimples blazing.
"Nu-uh!" Sam challenged.
"Oh yeah." Dean continued with a forced, serious expression. "Why do you think no one's ever seen an alien?" Dean snapped his fingers and poked one at the sky. "Orion wasted 'em all."
"He did not!" Sam grinned, nudging Dean's shoulder before looking back up at the sky. "And people have seen aliens before."
"Oh yeah? How do you know that, Al Einstein?" Dean nudged Sam right back.
"I read it in one of Dad's books." Dean allowed a moment to be thankful Sam had chosen to look at the less-seriously taken book about alien encounter and not one of the two dozen or so others from John's collection that could have given him nightmares for the rest of the month.
"Uh huh, well don't believe everything you read, Sammy." He paused a beat before reaching over and mussing Sam's lengthy hair. "Ya bookworm." Sam giggled and pushed Dean's hand away.
They lay in a comfortable silence. Crickets chirped happily and frogs from the lake a half mile into the woods croaked a throaty chorus to add to the pleasant cacophony of sound. The first day of summer was a few days away and the night air was at that perfect temperature that's neither hot nor cool. It was the perfect Minnesota night to be camping.
Sam had wanted to go down by the lake with the frogs, but John had declined and Dean had ended up having to beg their father just to let them set up camp in the driveway. Sam didn't seem to mind. Apparently to a nine year old, sleeping outside was sleeping outside, regardless of location.
"What's beyond the stars?" Sam chimed in suddenly. Dean shrugged, the sleeping bag making the sound only polyester can make as it rubbed against his t-shirt.
"Don't think anyone really knows. More stars, probably." Sam was quiet for awhile.
"What about Heaven?" Dean tensed. Faith and the afterlife were not something that he had taught Sam about, however that didn't seem to stop his little brother from bringing them up from time to time. Dean had remained aloof in all the previous, mostly one-sided, discussions, not confident in his beliefs on the matter and not wanting to shatter Sam's.
"What about it?" Dean posed coolly. He heard Sam shift next to him and Dean suddenly found himself under his brother's curious gaze.
"Do you believe in it?" Dean swallowed carefully, retracing the same light treads he'd taken during Sam's previous inquiries about angels and where their Mom was.
"Do you?" Dean diverted. He heard fabric rustle again after a moment and looked down to catch the end of Sam's nod. Sam flipped onto his side facing his big brother and Dean suddenly knew he was not going to be able to magician his way out of this particular conversation again. Sam was in his full-on, AskJeeves, curious mode.
"Dad told me that's where Mom is." Dean felt his eyebrows raise. John had told Sam about Heaven? Dean had just assumed that Sam had read about it in a book or something, but never would he have guessed that their jaded father had been the one Sam learned of it from. Dean couldn't believe he'd never thought about it before, but he suddenly wondered if all these years John had had faith, and Dean hadn't realized it.
"What else did Dad tell you?" Dean asked, turning on his side and propping his head up in his hand, his elbow braced against the ground.
"He said that the good guys go to Heaven." Sam said with a small, almost triumphant smile on his little, round face. Dean nodded and tentatively asked.
"What about the bad guys?" He held his breathe and let it out when Sam just shrugged innocently.
"Didn't say." Dean was glad for that. He would've had a thing or two to say to John if he had taught Sam about Hell along with Heaven. Dean wasn't Sam's father, he knew that, but he had been responsible for a large portion of Sam's raising and teaching him about fire and brimstone at such a young age was not something Dean was too keen on. "Where do they go, Dean?" Dean smoothly shifted onto his back and looked up at the sky again.
"Don't know. Never really thought about it before." The subject of the general area of darkness and evil was the only one in which Dean was able to lie to Sam. Anything else and one inquiry and single, curious look from Sam worked better than an extra strength dose of sodium pentathol. But when it came to the world of hunting that Sam would inevitably learn about and begin living in one day, Dean did everything in his power to stall that revelation to Sam for as long as possible.
"What do you think Heaven's like?" Sam's voice cut back in after roughly five minutes of frog-filled quiet between the brothers. Dean sighed and looked over at Sam. The youngest Winchester's gaze was completely transfixed on the sky, eyes wide with wonder. Dean smiled fondly, seeing exhibit A of just why he wanted Sam to remain oblivious to their family profession for as long as possible.
"I'm guessin' you've already got your own idea, huh astro-boy?" A slow smile spread across Sam's face and he nodded. "Well?" Dean prompted, always fascinated by the way Sam's mind worked and his vivid imagination. Sam's dimples deepened to soft craters in his face and he turned back onto his side, again facing Dean.
"I think it's whatever you want it to be. Like...a whole bunch of your favorite stuff all in one place. Like...your own perfect world." Sam giggled after a beat and punched Dean's right shoulder. "Yours would probably be filled with Zeppelin and Ginger from Gilligan's Island posters." Dean returned the gesture by pushing Sam's face into his pillow.
"Yeah, and yours would just be a dusty, old library, smartass." Dean's smile turned to a grin at the amp in Sam's laughter, but quickly found his mood turning serious again. John had never explained Heaven to him. Dean wondered briefly if maybe he would have more faith if his father had encouraged it. Mary hadn't really had a whole lot of time to impress faith on him, but she had tried. Dean remembered her always telling him that he was always being watched over and protected. That had been the last thing Dean remembered her saying to him. "Sleep in your own bed tonight, baby. Sam will be just fine by himself. Angels are watching over you both." Perhaps that was where Dean's faith had been lost before it had even been found. When Mary's faith hadn't been able to save her life.
Dean had never told Sam about that. Partly because he did not want to talk about it, but mostly because he didn't want Sam's young faith tested. Truth was, Dean envied him for it. For Sam's innocence and complete trust in whatever it was that he decided to have faith in. Dean realized that he himself was probably a cynic at the young age of thirteen and, as far as he could see, there was nothing in sight that would change that. And he wasn't sure if he ever would have faith or not. From what he'd learned about various religions, he knew what that meant for him. And, admittedly, the idea didn't appeal to him at all.
Dean didn't feel that he had earned himself the same fate as the "bad guys", but, without faith, he wasn't sure where that left him.
"You really think I'll get into Heaven, Sammy?" Dean asked quietly. Sam's smile slowly faded. His eyebrows twitched down a little and he blinked at Dean.
"Yes." He said, his tone holding a slight puzzlement that suggested that there was never any other possibility in his mind. It wasn't exactly a spiritual breakthrough, but Dean felt a strange sense of comfort at Sam's belief in him. He smiled warmly at his little brother before looking back up at the night sky.
Dean sensed it before Sam even asked.
"You think I will?"
"Oh, you're gonna get the VIP suite, Sammy. Big, feather bed, chocolate milkshake fountain, the works." The ear-to-ear smile returned brightly to Sam's face and Dean couldn't help but feed it. "Blueberry pancakes with hot, maple syrup every morning for breakfast."
Because Dean didn't know if there was a Heaven.
"And more books filled with random, useless facts then you could ever read."
But if there was, Dean had no doubt that Sam would get in. Apparently, it was likewise with Sam. And maybe that was enough. Because if there was one thing that the Winchester brothers had complete faith in, it was each other.
Show of hands, how many people remember/had Xanga?:D
Alright, first off, I know I didn't really wrap up the Audrey thing, but that's because that wasn't the point of this story. The hunt wasn't the point of this story, it was the reminiscing and the boys. And I already hinted to what's gonna happen next: the binding spells gonna work, Dean's gonna get better, and they're both gonna go down to Tomawhatever and burn Audrey's bones. So there.
I felt I may have overdone the last part and perhaps rushed it or left it a bit incomplete, so let me know how you guys feel about that.
I wanna thank everyone who stuck with this, even when I was bad...a lot and didn't update for months at a time. I hope this was at least a little bit worth the wait and that y'all enjoyed this story alright.
Also, I'd like to say that due to the fact that I will be attending college this fall, I will probably not be posting any new stories or updating my crack!fic very often. Though the possibility is not non existent, for I have four more fanfics in the works. So stay tuned, but...don't hold your breath.
Reviews are like doing goofy things that fuel the fandom's J2/Wincest kink...and I am Jared Padalecki.