A/N: This is a sequel to Last Plane Out. If you haven't read it, no worries. All you need to know is Sam was seriously injured in a car wreck while Dean was out of town and Dean took a plane from Houston to Vegas to get to his brother. At the end of the story I inadvertently left Dean's beloved car in Houston. I've been feeling guilty about that for a couple of weeks and finally they bugged me so much I had to get them all back together.
The urgency in his brother's voice pulled Dean from a deep sleep faster than a bucket of cold water. He sat up, ready to defend Sam from whatever danger there was before he was even all the way awake. He looked around the hotel room. It was empty. He'd better be bleeding or something. "What is it, Sam?"
"I was thinking…" Sam said looking at him a little confused.
"You woke me up to tell me you were thinking, princess?" Almost a week out of the hospital and he still gets confused. I wonder if I should worry about that? I wonder if there's anything else wrong?
"No, Dean. Where's the car?"
"Huh? Out front, where do you think it is?"
"What, no. The rental car," he said looking at his brother.
"Where's the Impala, Dean?"
"Where do you think, Sammy? It's in Houston."
"Well, I couldn't exactly put it in the carry-on, you know." What is he thinking? Where does he think I left the car?
"You left the Impala in Houston?"
"Sam, are you ok?"
"Sammy?" He looked at Sam. What's wrong, now? "I had to leave the car, I flew out, remember?"
"Yeah, that's right. You left the Impala? Where is it? Is it ok?"
"Sure, I called dad's friend and had her pick it up for me. It's at her place, waiting for us to go get it."
"Sam, I really don't like twenty questions before coffee, you know." He dragged himself off the bed and pulled on his jeans. "I'm going to get some coffee. You stay here, I'll be right back, ok?" Dean walked through the hotel to the coffee bar in the lobby. I wonder why he was thinking about the car? He hasn't mentioned it, I just assumed he knew. He ordered himself a six shot Americano and got a latte for his brother and headed back to the room.
"Dean?" Sam asked, sipping the latte.
"Do you want me to fly to Houston and get the car?"
"You heard me." Sam rolled his eyes. "Do you want me to go get the car? I could pick it up and meet you back here in a couple of days."
Yeah, Sam, nice try. Not letting you out of my sight anytime soon. "I was actually thinking that we could drive down and get it, take the rental. What do you think?"
"When? I don't know. As soon as you're feeling up to it I guess."
"You want to leave today? It's early, we could be in New Mexico before dark," Sam was smiling at him.
"I don't know…"
"Dean, I'm fine. In fact if I don't get out of this hotel soon I think I will lose what's left of my mind."
"What?" Sam said frowning at him.
"Not much of that brain left to lose."
"Bitch." Dean smiled at him. "Well, if you think you're up to it, I'd like to put Vegas behind us. The sooner the better." I hope he actually is ok, but getting out of Vegas sounds awfully good at this point.
They were on the road by 9. Early by Dean's standards, but then again he'd managed to catch up on his sleep during the last couple of weeks. There had been nothing really to do except for sit with Sam and go downstairs and do a little more gambling. He'd managed to rebuild his stash and they were fairly far ahead, money-wise, for a change.
Sam sighed in the passenger seat and stretched his legs out. "It's good to be back on the road, you know?"
"Yeah, I know what you mean," Nice to have you back, too, Sam. I missed you the last time I took this drive. "I can get back to my hunt."
"I thought you said you finished in Houston?"
"Not that hunt. The Heather Hunt."
"Heather hunt? What are you talking about, dude?"
"I have this theory," he glanced over at Sam. His brother rolled his eyes. "That the name indicates the hotness of the girl. I am testing Heathers. So far, all hot. There was this one in Tucumcari…"
"All Heathers are not hot, Dean." Sam said with a snort.
"Yes, they are. Hot girl on the plane was a Heather, too."
"What about Mrs. Taylor my twelfth grade English teacher? Her name was Heather."
Oh this is going to be fun. "She was hot."
"She so was not."
"Dude, I'm telling you, she was hot." Let's see how long it takes before he gets it.
"I don't remember her being hot at all," Sam stopped and looked over at him, his eyebrows climbing up. "Dean! You don't mean…"
He got it faster than I thought he would, good boy, Sammy. You must be getting better. "How do you think you got that A plus?" Now he'll try and figure out if I'm kidding or not. He's so much fun, sometimes.
"I earned that grade," Sam said, a little defensively.
"I earned that grade, dude. The whole class should have gotten As, thanks to me."
"You didn't really. No, you didn't. Did you?"
"What do you think?" He said laughing at him. He's still not sure. He can be so naïve.
Sam was laughing with him, he shrugged. "Well, then thanks for the A, I guess."
"She should have given you extra credit."
"Just stop!" Sam smacked him on the shoulder.
"I'm just saying…"
"I can't believe you won't shut up."
Dean laughed. I'll let him off the hook for now. "You want to stop and get something to eat? I think we're coming up on Flagstaff."
"Sure, can we get something that actually resembles food?"
"Depends on what you consider food, Sammy." The first few places they drove past looked full, Dean finally pulled into a diner about halfway through town. The waitress seated them, smiling at Sam as she handed them menus. "Of course, now that you're back around, I suppose the hunt will just fall apart."
"What does that mean?" Sam said.
"Well, girls really love that whole thing you do, so even with my looks…"
"I don't have a whole thing I do, Dean."
"Oh yeah you do." It's good to have him back.
"Whatever." Sam picked up the newspaper someone had left in the booth. He started flipping through the pages, ignoring Dean. "Hey, check this out," Sam said opening the paper.
Dean glanced down at the story. Nope, no way are you coming anywhere close to a hunt yet. You could have died Sammy. And I am not letting you out facing god knows what yet. I need to nip this in the bud. "No, Sam."
"What? Mysterious death? Shouldn't we check it out?"
"No." He said without looking up. Can you hear me saying no?
"No, Sam. Don't even think about it." Hello? I said no three times, Sammy. Get it?
"We're not hunting. We are going to Texas to get the car." He still hadn't looked up. Sam would know something was bothering him if he got a good look at him. No, not yet, Sam. I just don't think you're up to it yet. Besides I said no.
"Dean?" Sam paused for a minute. "Dude, I'm fine."
"No, Sam." Four times Sam, I'm serious. I think I'm starting to get pissed. Not perky, Sam, pissed.
"I'm not fine?"
"No. We are not hunting. End of statement." Five times. And if you even try so help me...I will tie you in the car if you even try.
"Dean?" Sam said, the imploring little brother tone in his voice. "Come on, I'm fine and this might be important."
"NO! God damn it, Sam, I said no!" Dean shoved the plate away from him and stood, storming out of the diner. He walked out and got in the car. His hands were shaking. I might still be a tiny bit worried about him. He honked the horn. Sam looked out of the window and stood. Dean saw him come out the door. He stopped, looking through the windshield at Dean, then opened the car door and dropped into the seat.
"Dean?" Sam said looking over at him. Dean didn't say anything, just put the car in gear and pulled out of the parking lot. He managed to get through Flagstaff without getting hopelessly lost and was back on the freeway in ten minutes. He still hadn't said anything.
He pushed the pedal down on the car and watched the speed climb. The miles rolled by in silence. He felt Sam looking at him more than once, but he didn't react. He turned the stereo up and tried singing along. That wasn't a good idea. It reminded him of the flight and his complete terror, not just the thought of being on a plane, no, it was knowing Sam was injured, seriously injured, and he wasn't there. Why wouldn't he just let that stupid story drop? Did I overreact a tiny bit? Maybe a little bit. It's just that I can't let him hunt yet. He isn't up to it. It's just…Ok, honestly, I'm not up to letting him hunt yet. He still gets confused, he still runs out of energy, he…No. We are not hunting yet.
"Dean?" Sam said. He ignored his brother. "Dean?" More silence. "Dean? Hey! Dean?" He finally looked over at Sam. "You think ninety five is a little fast?"
"What?" Dean looked at the speedometer and took his foot off the gas. Ok, thanks, Sam, you can stop looking at me now.
He kept the car at eighty the rest of the day, finally pulling over in Grants, New Mexico. Well, I managed to not talk to Sam for four hours. That's helpful. Yep, really helpful. It'll make things really comfy tonight. Angry silence is always a good thing. Not.
After checking in, Sam unpacked his bag and got into the shower. Dean sat on the bed, flipping through all seven channels on the television. I need to fix this. I overreacted and now this silence. Not cool, especially after what he went through. I think this is how that whole mess started. If I had just spoken up before I let it sit—I wouldn't have left and Sam wouldn't have gotten hurt. Of course, he still might be friends with Lisa and Jason, so that is one benefit I guess. And scaring them was more than a little fun. But…
He sighed. And now Sam's mad at me again. I could feel it. He can project that really well. And he kept sighing—it got louder and louder and louder. Yep, he's pissed. And probably should be. I kind of overreacted back there. He gave up trying to find something to watch and just settled for repeats of the X-Files. He heard something thump in the bathroom.
"Dean?" Sam's voice came through the closed bathroom door several minutes later. "Dean?"
Answer him, you jerk. "Yeah?"
"Uh…" His brother's voice trailed off.
"What?" That sounded a little sharper than I intended.
"Dean?" Sam's voice sounded a little…
Dean was off the bed and opening the bathroom door before he even thought about it. Sam was sitting on the floor with his back against the tub. He had his head down. "Sam!" Dean squatted down in front of him and put a hand on his knee. "Sam?" He said softly, his heart was pounding.Ok, deep breath, stay calm. Staying calm. Yeah, not working. Oh god, no, what's wrong?
"Can you give me a hand up?" Sam said with his head still down.
"Sure, Sammy," Dean stood and Sam held out a hand. Dean pulled him up and Sam dropped his arm over Dean's shoulders, he let his weight settle on Dean a little. "Let's get you over to the bed, ok?" Sam nodded, swallowing. Dean helped him to the bed and sat him down.
"Sorry," Sam leaned back against the pillows with his eyes closed.
"What happened?" Dean said sitting on the edge of the bed. Sam? What happened? Come on, what?
"Sam?" He could hear the little note of panic in his voice. "Dizzy? Does your head hurt?" This is so not good. I knew it. We shouldn't have left yet. We should have stayed a few more days.
"It's no big deal."
"We should have waited a day or two more." Dean said, looking at his brother's pale face.
"No, Dean, we need to get the Impala."
"It can wait, Sam." You look terrible, I wonder if I should call someone? I wonder if they have a twenty-four hour clinic here.
"No, no it can't." Sam still had his eyes closed. "I'll be fine when the bed slows down and stops jumping."
"Sam, did you just get dizzy? Or did you pass out?"
"Just dizzy, Dean. Relax."
And he's lying to me, I know it. "I'm going to call a clinic, Sam."
"No, I'm fine, Dean." He opened his eyes and looked at Dean. "I just over did it a bit today I think. I haven't really been up all day yet, now that I think of it." Dean reached for the phonebook. Sam grabbed his arm. "I'm ok."
"Sam…" He could see the look of determination in his brother's eyes. I know that look. That's his "not doing it, Dean" look. The one he used to save for chores. The only way I'm getting him in that car is if I hit him over the head, and that kind of defeats the purpose. "Ok, but we stay here tomorrow."
"No Dean. We need to get to the car," his brother repeated.
"The car can wait, Sam. It's safe. It can wait. It's only one day."
"Dean…" Sam closed his eyes again.
"I'm ok, you were just moving around and spinning too much, it was making me kind of nauseous," he sighed.
"Ok, Sam. What is it?"
"Yeah, not buying it. Yesterday you didn't even mention the car and now you're bound and determined to get there even if it kills you?" And yes, Sam, I'm that worried right now.
"I hadn't thought of it till today. That's all. I guess I thought the Impala was in Vegas."
"I flew out of Houston, Sam."
"I know Dean," and he heard the catch in his brother's voice. Every time he mentioned the flight, Sam got that catch in his voice. "I know, I just hadn't thought about the car." He looked over at the table. The little Impala was already unpacked, sitting there. "You left the car, Dean."
"Yeah, I think we've established that," he said looking at Sam. What's wrong, Sam? What's bothering you?
"I…We need to get back to the Impala, Dean."
"The car can wait," he said again. "You need to rest for a day or two."
"I can rest in the rental while you drive."
"No." Are we going to start the no thing again, Sammy?
"No." Two nos, how many will it take?
"But, Dean the car…"
"No." That's three. "No, Sam." And I mean it. After four I absolutely mean it. Don't even make me say it again.
"Dean, it's bad enough you had to get on a plane, but you left the Impala. How could you do that?"
What?!? Sammy, what the hell? "I didn't even think about it, Sam." Dean said. "All I was thinking was getting to you. That's all that mattered."
"But, Dean, it's the Impala." His brother sounded like he was very close to tears.
"Sam? I would have left the car in a ditch if it had meant getting back to you a little sooner." He sighed.
"You don't mean that."
"God, Sam, you don't…Do you really think the car is more important…?" I know I don't say it aloud Sam, but I would burn the damn car if it would help you. I would sell it in an instant or leave it behind without another thought. He put his hand on his brother's leg. "Sam? What?" What is it? Something's bothering you, what?
"We—Lisa, Jason and I, said some pretty lousy things about the car Dean."
"I'm pretty sure they said that stuff, Sam. I never heard you say anything."
"I didn't, but I didn't stop them either."
"Well, I think we got even for that a little," Dean said smiling, trying to pull his brother out of the mood he was in.
"You totaled one of their cars." Oh, my god, the car was totaled and burned up at the scene. You could have died, Sam. And you wonder why I don't want you to hunt yet, why I want you rest?
"I hadn't really planned that."
"That's comforting." Dean said with a laugh. "We'll get to the Impala, Sam. Don't worry. I just need to know you're ok."
"Thanks, Dean," Sam said. He opened his eyes and looked at Dean. "It's just…"
"Well you left the car…"
"Sam? Are we starting over with this?"
"No, I don't know it's just that…well…" The tears that had been threatening to start were suddenly there in his eyes.
"Sam, it's ok."
"But Dean, don't you see?"
"The car. I never thought about it a lot until today, after we left the restaurant…"
"Uh, Sam?" Out with it, I need to…
"Sorry about, well you know…" He paused "I overreacted a tiny bit. I've been a little worried and it's just—I don't think you are ready, quite yet."
"Yeah, and passing out in the bathroom proves that. But about the Impala," he paused for a minute. "It just occurred to me, you know."
"Sam? I don't know. What?"
"The Impala, Dean. It's home."
"What?" What are you talking about Sam? That's how I feel, but I never thought you…
"The car. It's more home than anyplace we've been, anyplace we've ever stayed. Since I was a kid, it's really the only thing I ever thought of as home. The car was to me what other kid's houses were to them. I've known that for years, I just never really consciously thought of it until today, but it's true. And I just really want us to be home, Dean." He looked at Dean. "And that you could leave that behind Dean…just because…" He swallowed and wiped his eyes.
"It's ok, Sam," he said smiling at his brother. If I tear up I'll kill myself. I swear, after everything that happened, if this gets to me I'll kill myself. He felt tears in his eyes. Great. Just freaking great. "One more day is ok."
"You sure, Dean? I'll be fine tomorrow. I was just a little dizzy."
"Very sure Sam." He frowned. Wait a sec, what did he say? What? Sam? "Did you say you passed out?"
"Pretty sure you did, right before the stuff about the Impala." He looked in his brother's eyes. Both pupils looked the same. Still worried, still a little worried Sam. Ok, more than a little worried, actually a little frantic.
"I'm ok," Sam said smiling at him
"I don't know…I'll just call the clinic," he reached for the phonebook again. Sam stopped him. "I might be overreacting again."
"Maybe a little," Sam laughed at him.
"I won't call the clinic." As long as you promise…
"I'm fine Dean, but if it makes you feel better I'll rest tomorrow." Good boy, Sammy.
"Good. Don't worry, we'll be there soon." Dean smiled at him.
They got rid of the rental at the Houston airport three days later. They had decided it would be easier to take a cab from the airport to the house where the car was stored. They had called their father's friend and she left Dean's keys, the ones he had sent her, in her mailbox. The Impala was sitting in the driveway and had a car cover over it.
"That was nice of her," Sam said pulling one corner off.
"Yeah, it was." Dean said smiling.
He kept his eye on Sam, but his brother seemed to be feeling better. He had admitted to Dean he was still dizzy off and on, especially if he was on his feet for awhile. But it was getting better. I bet he just forgot to mention that while we were still in Vegas. One of these days I'm going to strangle him.
Dean unlocked the doors and they got in the car. He turned the key and she roared to life. He pulled out of the driveway reveling in the purr of the engine. This feels right, this feels normal.
"Welcome home, Sammy," he said softly.
"It's good to be home, Dean," Sam said smiling at him.
"Yeah, it is." He grinned at his brother, Sam smiled back and pushed a tape into the stereo. "Where to now, Sam?"
"Doesn't matter Dean, let's just go."
Dean turned the stereo up and pushed the pedal down a little more. Yep, it's good to be home.