Disclaimer: Not mine. But I love 'em anyway.
Spoilers: This story is a missing scene/tag from the Season 1 episode Home. Pretty much the only spoilers are for that episode.
a/n: This was written for the 2007 Kazcon fanfic contest. Kazcon was a Supernatural fan convention organized by wolfpup, ABlackwingedbird, Carikube, and several others and was held in Lawrence, KS. The ladies put together a fantastic weekend of panels, tours, discussions, mixers, dealer rooms, and general Supernatural enjoyment. Thank you so much for your hard work and I, for one, hope there is a 2008 Kazcon!
The fanfic contest had parameters that included: a 2,000 word limit, missing scene/tag from Home, having to do with Lawrence. This story was voted in first place, however, there were several wonderful, entertaining, well-written fics entered. Thank you to all who voted.
Thanks to Thru Terry's Eyes and Gumnut for helping me trim my tendency to be (ahem) wordy.
I hope you enjoy.
Dean rested his head against the leather seat, his jaw tight. Missouri said it was over. He should be putting as many miles between them and Lawrence as possible. But Sam had a feeling. The kind of feeling that had compelled Dean to do the one thing he'd sworn he'd never do: go home.
"Dean." His brother's quick shove to his shoulder snapped his head up. Sam's wide eyes were trained on the house. "Dean!"
Jenny, framed in the window of his parent's old room, was beating her hands against the glass, face twisted in terror.
Out of the car before he was conscious of opening the door, Dean yelled, "I'll grab Jenny, you get the kids!"
Sam nodded, running.
Ignoring the noises reverberating through the house, Dean ran to his parent's old bedroom, jerked the knob, then pounded on the door with the flat of his hand.
"I can't open the door!" She screamed.
Waiting a beat for her to get out of harms way, he gathered himself and slammed his foot against the door. It blasted open with a ferocity that echoed the screaming in his heart. Not again… He leapt into the room, grabbing her wrist as gently as the urgency pounding through his system would allow.
"Sam's got the kids!" He snapped, pushing her ahead of him. "C'mon!"
They stumbled out into the night. As one, they turned to face the open doorway of the house. Dean watched, bands of pressure building around his heart the longer the opening remained empty, unaware that he was chanting a silent c'mon c'mon c'mon…
In seconds, Sari ran out of the house with her brother in tow. Jenny gasped, grabbing the baby and clutching him to her. Dean watched behind them for Sam, who didn't follow. The bands tightened, his breath caught, his heart was in his throat.
"Sari," he crouched before the child's tear-streaked face. "Where's Sam?"
"He's inside," she sobbed. "Something grabbed him!"
Dean's head shot up, muscles tensing to run back inside. Get your brother outside as fast as you can! Now, Dean, go!
The front door slammed shut on the silent echo of his father's order.No no no no…
Dean whirled and ran to the Impala. From the moment they'd arrived in Lawrence, he'd felt his defenses weaken, his walls begin to crumble. This is not happening… I am not losing him here, not now… We should never have come home… He jerked open the trunk, grabbing the rock salt-filled shotgun, checking both barrels, then grabbed extra rounds and the axe.
He ran to the door and planted a solid kick against the unyielding wood, stunned when he only succeeded in leaving a muddy footprint on the white-washed surface. Something crashed inside and Sam cried out.
Shit! He dropped the shotgun and laid into the door with the axe, each powerful blow carving a chunk from the wood, cutting a slice into his heart. Dammit, Dad, I never ask you for anything… CRACK. Sammy's back in this house, this town… CRACK. Never ask you for anything… just need a little help... CRACK. I shoulda kept Sam away, nightmare or not… kept him away, kept him safe… why the hell aren't you here?!
Finally splintering an opening, Dean pressed his face to the hole, yelling, "SAM!"
The sound of struggling within sent the axe blade biting into the wood again. Sweat ran down his face, the muscles in his shoulders and arms burned, but he felt only the weight of the baby in his arms. He smashed through one of the panels, snatched up the shotgun and forced his body through the destroyed door.
"Sam!" Fear and rage battled for dominance inside of him.
He ran through the house, the rooms both familiar and foreign. Sammy, where the hell are you? As Dean reached the end of the hallway, he saw the answer to his silent question. Sam was pinned to the wall by an invisible force, his muscles straining, his eyes riveted on something just beyond Dean.
Dean spun, the shotgun up before he had fully registered the threat. In the center of the room, a flaming figure approached. Dean stepped forward, placing himself between the flames and Sam. He leveled the gun.
"No, no, wait!" Sam cried out.
"What? What?!" Dean's eyes shot between his brother and the blazing figure.
"I know who it is," Sam whispered in awe. "I can see her now."
Her?! And suddenly, the fire abated.
Dean felt as if the ground beneath him disappeared.
"Mom…" The air left his body with that word. His arm started to shake and he slowly lowered the shotgun. Mary Winchester's spirit stepped toward him, her face softening with a smile that he would know anywhere. Dean felt the tremble in his arm sweep over his body until even his lips were quivering.
He wanted to reach out, touch her hair, feel her hand against his cheek. He wanted to tell her that he'd missed her, that he thought of her every day, that he'd fight to protect the baby she had given her life for.
He wanted her to speak to him…
Aw, God… Something inside of him broke at the sound of her voice.Shaking, he tried to force something, anything out between his trembling lips, but there was nothing left inside to carry the sounds his heart out into the world. His eyes and body followed her as she stepped past him and approached Sam.
Sam, still pinned to the wall, tears spilling from his eyes, gazed at the woman who up to now had been only a name, a cause, and a few faded pictures.
Dean's gut clenched as she spoke again.
His brother's chin trembled and Dean felt his lungs freeze. He couldn't breathe.
Mary tilted her head slightly. "I'm sorry."
Sam's brows drew together in confusion. "F-for what?"
She turned away without replying, darting forward; the jerking, staccato motion cutting a furrow through Dean's heart as he watched his mother move in a manner he associated with creatures he had dedicated his life to destroying.
Mary raised her eyes to the ceiling and spoke. "You… get out of my house."
Her voice rang with authority, with protection, with a barely-concealed threat. Dean swallowed. She sounded like… Dad.
"And let go of my son."
She'd died to save Sam, and as Dean watched, she closed her eyes and surrendered her spirit to do so again.
Dean shielded his eyes as heat blasted over him and through him, brilliant orange flames bursting upward to engulf the ceiling in a final act of ferocious defense against the evil that threatened her boys.
And then she was gone.
"Mo—" He couldn't finish his plea. Sam stumbled forward, taking a full breath as he was released from the wall.
Dean blinked, working to still his trembling hands, working to steady his breathing.
"Now it's over," Sam said in a weak, teary voice.
Dean looked over at his brother. Sam's face was a visible battleground of emotions. Sorrow warred with peace to control confusion. Sam dropped his eyes from the empty space in the room where their mother had stood to meet Dean's eyes.
It'll never be over…
"C'mon, man," Sam said, motioning with his head to the door of the room.
Dean simply stood there, watching him. He didn't realize he was actually panting for air until he saw Sam's eyes narrow with concern and felt himself sway.
I remember what I'm supposed to do now, Sam. I kinda forgot for a little bit… but I remember.
"Dean, say something."
Dean looked down at the long fingers that were curled around his upper arm. What could he say? His mother had given everything to save her son, and Dean felt the weight of that gift once again back on his shoulders where it had rested for over twenty years.
When Sam had left him for school, the weight had shifted, changed, thrown his balance off and left a hole inside of him. When he'd gotten Sam back, he hadn't known how to move the weight back to where it belonged. Sam wasn't just his little brother anymore. He was a man who had his own life, his own loves, and his own unimaginable loss.
But with one last sacrifice, his mother had settled the weight back where it belonged, and Dean was dizzy from an odd mixture of relief and fear.
Sam leaned over and carefully removed the shotgun from Dean's numb fingers. Dean allowed his brother to turn him and moved obediently toward the door of the room, then out of the house into the Kansas night.
He slid silently in the passenger seat as Sam drove Jenny's small, shaken family to Missouri's house, watching with empty eyes as Sam carried Sari in for Jenny. His mind clicked automatically through the necessary steps to clean up from this hunt; his heart worked to untangle the emotions that simply being in Lawrence had wrenched from the deep recesses of his soul.
The one peace he felt was that he had once again found his purpose: Sam. Not just hunting… not anymore. Sam.
"Hey, man," Sam said softly as he slid back into the car. He shifted sideways in the seat, wincing slightly from the result of the spirit's efforts to turn him inside out. "You with me?"
Dean looked at his brother. Hell no, I'm not okay. We're here, Dad's not… Mom's spirit… Christ, Sam, Mom's spirit saved you… How can I ever do less?
"Let me get back to you on that," he said, the raspy sound of his own voice surprising him.
Sam turned to face the steering wheel, dropping his gaze to the keys held loosely in his hand.
Dean looked over at him. What are you thinking, Sam? What was it like for you, seeing Mom… watching her give herself up for you?
"She did it, Dean," Sam said softly. He looked over at Dean, his eyes full of memories and hope. "It's over."
It'll never be over, Sammy.
"Let's go get some rest," Sam said. "Come back tomorrow to clean up."
Dean nodded, resting his elbow on the edge of the door, rubbing his fingers across his burning eyes as Sam navigated the darkened streets of Lawrence. He tiredly directed Sam to a motel he remembered on Iowa Street.
As they walked into the room, Dean glanced back into the night at the town that had once been their home. In a moment of chaos it had become the place where his childhood had ended and his nightmare had begun.
Sam dropped his bag on the floor and fell face-first onto the bed, shoving his long arms under the pillow and burrowing his face into the white cotton case.
Dean heard him groan with fatigue and though he echoed that sentiment, he couldn't bring himself to move from the doorway. He stood silent and still, staring at Sam.
After a minute, Sam turned his head against the pillow to look back at him.
It'll never be over… She gave up everything for you... and then he gave you to me… and I swear, Sammy…
I swear as long as I'm around…
"Hey, Dean, you okay?"
Nothing bad's gonna happen to you.
Nodding, Dean shrugged out of his jacket and sank onto his bed, switching off the light.
"You look like her." Sam's sleepy voice came at him from the dark.
Dean worked to breathe around the lump that was suddenly lodged in his throat at his brother's words.
"I can't believe she saved us, man," Sam mumbled.
Dean heard him sink further into the bed as he gave in to exhaustion.
"I can," Dean whispered.
It's not over… but I'll be here between you and whatever comes at us.
Because she was.