Road Less Travelled

Follow up to my story Two Hunters and a Baby, so if you haven't read that one it might pay to and then come back and revisit this one, coz it might get a little confusing.

Disclaimer: Sigh nope still nothing ... hmm what to do??? Okkies I promise I will send em home after I finish playing with my boys!!

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

A faint silver light grew brighter in slow increments in Sam's hospital room. It appeared first as a tiny dot no bigger than a pin head floating haphazardly in the air, then gradually it grew bigger and glowed warmly filling the atmosphere with a healing energy.

A young woman stepped out of the light and stood for a moment to get her bearings. She stepped over to the bed, her feet moving silently on the floor as she reached over and moved her hand over the length of the body in the bed. A small gasp escaped from her lips and a tiny diamond shaped tear fell from her almond shaped green eyes it splashed on Sam's hand, 'so much pain.' She whispered aloud her lyrical voice filling the silence as she moved her hand along his torso and up to his face. 'so much pain.'

'What are you doing here?' A woman's voice came from behind the new arrival; she turned and gave the nurse a beatific smile.

'I am here to help.' She replied touching the woman's arm.

Amanda felt the warmth and calmness flood through her from the touch and smiled at the young woman, 'you look so familiar to me have we met before?' She asked as she gazed at the bright green eyes, the pale skin with masses of freckles sprinkled around her nose, the sandy-brown hair long with just a wave to kink it. Tall and lithe with a smile that had the deepest of dimples.

'No not really, Amanda if I may call you that no one, and I mean no one must know I have come do you understand that?'

'Yes, yes of course but I – I don't understand, could you at least tell me your name?'

'Michaela.' The young woman said as she turned back to the man lying so still in the bed. 'He is in so much pain.'

'The doctor put Sam in a coma until they could operate on his ears, he was given some sort of parasitic drug that is ravaging his system.' Amanda explained though inwardly she screamed at herself, she was not supposed to discuss Sam's condition with anyone or let anyone in his room and yet here she is talking to the intruder.

'Amanda can you do something for me?' Michaela asked as she touched the nurse's arm again.

'Yes dear of course.'

'Please take a seat over by the window, you look so tired I think that you need a nap, I'll look after Sam for you.'

Amanda stared at Michaela for a moment and then yawned and did as she was asked, suddenly feeling worn out, a few seconds later she was sound asleep.

'That's better,' Michaela smiled and turned her focus back on Sam, 'now where do I start?'

S—D

Dean tossed restlessly in his sleep, his dreams filled with Cornase torturing Sam while he himself was held back by unseen forces unable to do anything to save his brother and unable to call to him, his voice silenced.

It had been two days since leaving Sam in the care of Amanda and Lewis, it broke his heart to walk out on Sam but in order to help his brother he had to, he find and destroy Cornase.

Az materialised in the motel room and took in the two hunters sleeping, both in the throws of nightmares. She crept over to the bed furthermost from the door, 'Dean, Dean you have to wake up.' She whispered patting his face, 'please Dean wake up.'

'Mmm no, no go away Sam, Sam, Sam!' Dean yelled and sat up staring wild-eyed around the room, his breath coming in short sharp gasps as he fought to come to complete wakefulness. 'Az? What the freaking hell are you doing here? Where's Mickie?'

'That's why I'm here Dean.' Az cried as she started to fade from his view.

'Ah no you don't come back and tell me what's going on.' Dean ordered the spirit, 'where's my daughter?'

'I-I don't know, I had just fed and bathed her, and put her down for a nap, she just glittered and turned into a tiny silver light and vanished.'

'What!' Dean thundered and then took a deep breath, 'what do you mean vanished?' he asked in a slightly lower restrained tone of voice.

'Don't yell Dean,' Az pouted and started to fade away again.

'Sor-sorry Az please come back and talk to me.' Dean tried his damnedest to stay calm with the frustrating sprite.

'There is a weird thing though Dean, I didn't have any sense of anything bad and the wards and protections were all intact.'

'So what Az? Mickie did it herself?'

'Well it could … Would she go back to Sam?' Az blinked and materialised into her solid form just as Bobby stirred and started to wake after finally realising that the yelling was not part of his nightmare.

'What the f-hell is going on here Dean? Az?' Bobby demanded as he shook off his sleep and glared angrily at them, 'and this had better be good.'

'Mickie decided to disappear on Az now we're only guessing but…'

'You think that she went to Sam?' Bobby shook his head in disbelief, 'Dean she's only a baby.'

'What else is there? Remember what her mother was.'

'Or is.' Az added under her breath. 'I can take you back to the hospital.' She saw the look on both of the human faces and frowned, 'what?'

'Ah yeah about that, it's too weird.' Bobby said, 'I mean it's hard enough seeing ya pop in and out but when ya wanna do it with us too…'

'Yeah what Bobby said,' Dean nodded, 'can't we just drive there?'

'Hmm well I can pop as Bobby put it and the two of you can take the time to drive there, I guess, just how long is it gonna take for you to you know drive there?'

'Alright Az you made your point,' Dean pulled himself out of bed and headed to the bathroom, 'but it had better be … ah no we don't have to ya know go up there do we?' Dean paled and pointed skyward.

'No silly, you don't even feel it,' Az giggled, 'much.' She added under her breath.

'Well I don't care, it aint natural, I'll pack up here and drive the impala and meet yer there.' Bobby stated firmly as he straightened his ever-present baseball cap and sat back down on his bed.

'Ya sure Bobby?' Dean said as he fingered the keys to the impala.

'Dean Winchester who else can drive the impala?'

'Yeah ya got a point, so no speeding, no sharp turns, no fast braking, fill up when she hits half tank, no rubbish on the floor, no food or drink on the seats…' Dean ticked off his list of dos and don'ts for Bobby when Az grabbed his hand and held it tightly.

'Dean the car will be fine.' Bobby coughed slightly trying to hide his amusement.

Before Dean could retaliate, he felt a warm sensation and squeezed his eyes shut when he opened them they were standing in Sam's room. Nurse Amanda asleep on the chair by the window and a vaguely familiar looking young woman standing over Sam's inert form.

'Who the hell are you and step away from my brother?' Dean snarled grabbing the young woman's arm, he felt the surge immediately and loosened his grip enough for her to turn around and face him. 'M-Mickie?'

'Hey Daddy.' Michaela squealed happily and wrapped her arms around his neck hugging him tightly.

'I-I don't understand.' Dean stammered as he stepped back and tried to make sense of it all, one minute his daughter is a toddler the next minute she's a stunningly beautiful young woman who looks like both him and Sam.

'Ah it's kind of hard to explain, but I can help Uncle Sam.' She turned to look at her uncle's face and noticed the fine pain lines around his eyes, 'he's getting worse.'

'Mickie what's … how?' Dean stared at his now adult daughter and suddenly felt very old even though he was only twenty-eight. 'This is so not right.'

'I can't stay long Daddy,' Michaela smiled sadly, 'but I came back to help with Uncle Sammy.'

'Why? What happens?' Dean asked unable to help himself.

'I can't tell you everything just that – the drug that Cornase gave Uncle Sam and his intrusions … he drives Uncle Sammy mad Daddy, he's living in a home in the time I'm from. He still can't hear and all he does is sit and stare out the window mumbling about Cornase. He doesn't know you or anyone else he just retreats into his mind.'

'Oh my God…'

'And Cornase?'

'He is still hunting you, you and Uncle Bobby have to go into hiding there's nothing but violence I know that you already lead fairly violent lives but nothing here compares to what is ahead Dad.' Michaela ran her fingers through Sam's hair as she spoke. 'Cornase's drug keeps him in pain, somehow the demon stops it from killing him but injuries keep appearing on his body, the doctors don't know what to do for him.'

'What about? What about your mother?' Dean asked with a sick taste in his mouth.

'She's back and wearing a new meat-suit.' Michaela wrinkled her nose prettily, 'she's so freaking weird Dad.'

'What about you Mickie? By the way I love the look jeans and T-shirt very nice,' Dean looked at his daughter appreciatively, 'must say though you got a lot of your Uncle, you're pure Winchester. At least I managed to do something right.'

'Thanks Dad, I ah have to keep moving around we don't get to see each other much. The last attack on Uncle Sammy was to try and lure everyone back, he's on life-support in my time, Cornase is did it all.' Mickie's voice faltered as she turned to look down at her uncle, 'I did some research and back-tracked it all to here and now.'

'So what you swapped places with your baby self?' Dean blinked and tried to comprehend everything.

'Something like that, She just grew up very quickly, when this is over I'll go back to my time and the younger me will be back, by the way Dad burn that pink dress please.'

'Didn't realise that we still had it,' Dean turned to glare at Az who stood by the door very quietly. 'You're very quiet Az.'

'I'm just so proud of Michaela she's just sooo…' Az blinked and disappeared.

'Great timing Az.' Dean called out, 'so Mickie what can you do for Sam? And what can you tell me about the future more specifically do I get?'

'Ew Daddy!' Michaela giggled, 'sorry can't tell ya anymore than what I have, it could change things drastically.'

'So what about what you're going to do know? I mean won't that change things?'

'A little, Uncle Sam won't be in a catatonic state with mysterious injuries and as mad as a hatter, though the three of you might have to be on the run if you don't get Cornase now. Mind you Daddy everything can change if you manage to get rid of Cornase now. It will all be put back the way it was supposed to be.'

'Meaning?'

'Things changed too suddenly for it not to be forced, so theoretically if you save Uncle Sam and send Cornase back to hell then things will be placed back on the right path and a demon won't be virtually running the show.'

'You said that your uncle's still deaf in the future … what about the surgery?'

'What surgery?' Mickie looked curiously up at her father and then back to her uncle, 'was Uncle Sammy going to have surgery?'

'Yeah he was, so that must've been when Cornase made his move against Sammy.'

'What surgery was it going to be?'

'The surgeon's gonna place these micro-implants in his head when activated they will help him hear again.'

'Wow … that never did happen so it just goes to show that Cornase changed time now and not in the future.'

'So we have to make sure that he doesn't get his mitts on Sammy,' Dean mused, 'I have made sure that no one knows who he is, or where he is, this room is protected inside and out and only Lewis, Maggie and Amanda know anything about him.'

'Lewis?'

'Yeah the doc … why what happens to the Doc?'

'I never really knew him he was found dead when I was three no one ever found his murderer but it wasn't … it was definitely something supernatural that killed him.'

'Shit, okay Bobby's on his way.'

'Uncle Bobby? He's coming?' Mickie squealed in delight, 'he's the coolest old dude I have ever known he talked you into letting me get my licence early and to give me my first car.'

'Let me guess he gave you a station wagon he had lying around the yard.'

'Dad please! It's a mint condition 69 SS427 Impala convertible.' Mickie grinned, 'a real guy magnet I can tell you!'

'God kill me now.' Dean groaned and shook his head. 'Just shoot me, coz I don't think I could live through you driving a guy magnet.'

'Hey I'm your daughter!' Mickie laughed enjoying the banter with a younger version of her dad.

'So Mickie…'

'Michaela Dad please.' Michaela corrected her dad as she turned back to Sam, 'I had better get moving I'm running out of time.'

'Run that by me again.' Dean said arching his eyebrow 'is this you know causing problems for you doing … this.'

'No not problems as such it's just the longer I'm here the more things can change back there or something plus there's a bit of a time limit on the spell I used.'

'Damn, well do whatcha gotta do Mickie!' Dean smirked and then went over to the other side of Sam's bed, 'hang in there Sammy.'

S—D

Sam stared around in the darkness trying to make out anything but it all blurred together into shadows, he tried to move but his body refused to obey his simplest of commands. He couldn't hear anything, not even the cruel laughter that had accompanied his thoughts for so long now he'd almost forgotten life before that laugh.

'Where am I?' He shuddered when he couldn't even hear his own voice, the pain started to make itself known, he felt as though he had tiny rats scurrying through his limbs, biting and scratching as they went.

'Uncle Sam?' A soft lyrical voice sounded in his mind startling Sam at first, 'Uncle Sam?'

'Mickie?' Sam called out though he couldn't believe it was Mickie, his tiny little niece calling him.

'Uncle Sam it's okay I'm here to help you.' A young woman came into his sight, with long sandy-brown wavy hair, almond shaped green eyes, freckles and his own dimples.

'Mickie?'

'It's Michaela now, hey Unc Sam.' She smiled and wrapped her arms around his frozen body.

'Mic-Michaela what's going on? Where are we?'

'We're in your mind Uncle Sam I've come to help you to save your life.'

'You can't change the past Mickie.'

'No I can't, but Cornase did, he changed things in this time that is still affecting my time. I have to help fix this and help you.'

'How?'

'I can't fix your hearing problem but I do know that Cornase stopped you from having your operation and that's how he started to change the future.'

'So what can you do Mickie?'

'I can take the parasite from you, I can heal your injuries. I can't heal your soul or your mind Uncle Sam only you can do that.'

'Michaela what is it costing you to do this?'

'Dad asked me the same thing ya know.'

'Your Dad … you've seen him?'

'Yep he's here holding your hand, Uncle Bobby is on his way back too.' Michaela smiled brightly.

'Michaela you said, you said that Cornase stopped me from having the surgery and changed the future outcomes. What … what happened to me?'

'He sent you insane, Dad and Uncle Bobby are on the run, Doctor Lewis is dead nothing is right anymore.'

'I'm insane?'

'In a catatonic state, you just sit and stare out a window in … in an institute, you have mysterious injuries that keep appearing but you can't tell anyone.'

'And I'm still deaf?'

'Sorry.'

'So what do we do now?'

'Now, you just relax and let me work.'

'You, you're a healer?'

'Yeah amongst other things, I kind of got psychic stuff going on too.'

'I'm sorry Michaela.' Sam said in a heartfelt and wrenching tone.

'Ah it's okay, I got demon blood in me too remember.' Michaela winked at him.

Suddenly Sam became rigid, 'get out of here now Michaela.'

'Uncle Sam what's wrong?'

'Cornase.' Sam gasped out as he started to convulse, 'break the connection now!'

S—D

Michaela gasped and sat upright, blood trickled from her nose and her eyes looked cloudy and unfocused. 'Uncle Sam?'

'Mickie what is it?' Dean rushed to his daughter's side just as she listed to her right side.

'Uncle Sam kicked me out … ah my head.'

'Why?'

'Cornase he's realised I'm here.' Michaela whispered, she fisted Dean's T-shirt and rested her aching brow on his shoulder, 'I gotta go and help him.'

'Dean? What's going on? Who is she?' Bobby fired off the questions when he rushed in with Lewis close behind him.

'Hey Bobby, Doc say hello to Michaela my ah daughter.' Dean grinned and pulled away just enough to allow Michaela to make eye contact with the newest arrivals.

'What happened to Amanda?' Lewis gasped when he saw his nurse sleeping soundly on the chair by the window.

'Ah that'd be me, I umm did a sleep spell she's fine and won't remember anything except feeling really refreshed and awake.' Michaela said looking a little sheepish.

'Michaela? Little Mickie?' Bobby mouth dropped open and he stared at the young woman in front of him. 'Damn me, she's the spitting image of both you and Sam.'

'She sure is.' Dean said proudly, 'we can do the catch up later though, Mickie just tried to connect with Sam when Cornase cottoned on to what she was doing.'

'Sam?' Lewis blinked and then visibly pulled himself out of shock and went to check on his patient.

'I managed to talk with Uncle Sam and was about to start the healing process when he started to convulse and pushed me out, he said that Cornase was there.'

'Healing process?' Lewis frowned at the young woman, 'exactly what are you talking about?'

'Ah how clued in is he Dad?' Michaela looked back to her father; she still kept her hands fisted in his T-shirt reminiscent of a little Sam clinging to his older brother.

'He know everything Mickie, he's fine.'

'Okay short story even shorter, I swapped places with my younger self, I have hmm certain gifts you might say. One is healing but I am limited in what I can do, the spell used to send me back has a time limit so if I don't do this soon it'll be too late and Cornase wins.'

'What do you need Mickie?'

'It's Michaela Dad.' She shook her head in mock disbelief, 'okay I need to know if Sam is stable enough for me to try again, this time I won't be contacting him as such I'll just go in and get the parasite.'

'You know where it is?' Lewis frowned still unsure of this young woman.

'Yes, can you tell me if he is stable again? Please?' Michaela took a deep breath, wiped the drying blood from her nose and upper lip with the back of her hand and reluctantly pulled away from her father's comforting embrace.

Lewis nodded and continued to monitor his patient as Michaela once again placed a hand on Sam's cheek and the other at the base of his sternum. Bobby, Dean, Lewis and an invisible Az watched in awe as Michaela let her eyes flutter shut and made the psychic connection. Dean chewed his lower lip and flickered his worried gaze between Sam and Michaela, he felt so useless and yet so proud of his daughter, the young woman his baby was going to grow into.

Michaela cried out and pulled away from Sam severing the connection she held a small wriggling creature in her bloodied right hand. 'Get rid of it.' She hissed dropping it distastefully into a dish Lewis grabbed and held under her hand.

'What is it?'

'Whatever Cornase injected into Sam, that's the living drug.' She shuddered, wiped Sam's blood from her hand and then turned to bury her face against her father's chest. 'He's so scared and so alone, the deafness has made him feel so isolated.'

Lewis placed the creature into a sealed sterile container, marked it toxic, before he cleaned his hands thoroughly, and then gave Sam a thorough check up. 'I don't … I don't believe this whatever you did young lady it's working.' Lewis gasped as he took all of Sam's vital stats. 'His pulse and blood pressure are coming down, he still has a temperature but it is lower than before. His breathing has eased … Dean I think we can bring him out of the coma.'

'You sure Lew?'

'Yes I am, and I believe that we can schedule the surgery.' Lewis smiled for the first time since he came into the room.

'Wait what about Cornase? Didn't you say that he prevents Sam from having the surgery?' Bobby demanded his gaze pinned on Michaela.

'For the moment he has lost his connection to Uncle Sam, that … thing was the way he could invade Uncle Sam and manipulate his thoughts and more or less control him.' Michaela winced and rubbed her forehead, 'the spell … I'm gonna have to go back soon.'

'So we still keep Sam's presence a secret and get that surgery done ASAP.' Dean decided, 'Mickie?' He stared down at his daughter, he could literally feel her body start to dissipate. 'Honey?'

'It's time Daddy, say good bye to Uncle Sam for me, tell him that … that I'll see him very soon.' Mickie hugged her father tightly before she went over to Bobby and hugged him, 'thanks for the car too Uncle Bobby.' She whispered mischievously before kissing his cheek, 'see ya soon Unc.'

'See ya soon Girly.' Bobby's voice sounded rough with emotion and confusion.

'Bye Az for now.' Michaela said without looking directly at the sprite she felt the hug and kiss on her cheek and it made her smile even more.

'Thank you for whatever you did for my patient Michaela.' Lewis said with a nod of his head and a smile for the young woman.

'No probs Doc, I hope that, I hope that I will see you again soon.' Michaela said, 'oh and the nurse will wake up soon.'

'Thanks for that.'

'Bye Daddy.' Michaela hugged her father tightly she could feel her tears threatening to fall, 'I love you and I love Uncle Sammy.'

'Love you too baby girl.' Dean said his voice husky, 'so does Sammy, we'll see ya soon.'

Michaela nodded and started to fade from view her gaze locked with her father's as she left and a little girl appeared sitting on the floor clapping her hands.

'Daddee.' She cooed putting her arms up to her daddy, 'Daddee.'

'Hey baby girl.' Dean whispered and picked her up, 'you are Daddy's special girl you know that?'

'Unc Sammee?' Mickie smiled toothily, 'no owies.'

S—D

Dean paced the waiting room with Mickie snuggled against his shoulder sleeping soundly, her thumb fixed firmly in her mouth and tiny dribbles of baby drool leaked from the corner of her lips down his shoulder.

Three hours had passed since they took Sam to surgery, with no word he was starting to get more than impatient. The only thing that has kept him calm is the presence of his little girl. He couldn't stop thinking of the visit from Mickie as an adult, she looked so much like both him and Sam, it was weird, but there was something about her, something almost angelic. 'What do you do Mickie? I knew you were special but baby girl you are one in a million.' He whispered as he brushed his cheek on her downy soft hair. 'But darlin' we're so gonna talk about that car your Uncle Bobby gives you. A guy magnet huh? I guess you're like your old man in that department and looks like there's nothing of your mother in you. Thank God.'

'Dean?' Bobby handed him a cup of coffee, 'want me to take her for a while?'

'Thanks she's getting quite a weight now.' Dean sighed with relief, his arm instantly feeling lighter.

'She's an angel though Dean, so I guess she grows up despite having a dad like you.' Bobby chuckled.

'Yeah well Uncle Bobby you and me we're so gonna talk about that car you give her.' Dean growled enjoying the playful banter. 'And quit teaching her to drive when you're babysitting.'

'Exactly what did that girl of yours tell yer?' Bobby hugged the sleeping toddler a little tighter, 'I wouldn't do that yer eedjit.'

'Yeah right old man, you'd do it coz she's gonna have ya wrapped around her pinkie.'

'She already has.' Bobby mumbled refusing to meet Dean's cocky stare.

'Uncee Sammee.' Mickie cried out and sat up staring at her uncle and then at her father, 'Uncee Sammee bet-ta.'

'Mickie?' Dean blinked in shock at his daughter and then looked over at the door as Lewis came in with a big smile on his face.

'For once I have good news guys.' He beamed, 'Sam came through the surgery without a hitch, the implants are in and as soon as he's awake and coherent we'll test them.'

'Wow and the drug?'

'No residual affects by the look of it, it's almost out of his system we're giving him another blood transfusion just to build up his strength.' Lewis grinned down at the giggling toddler, 'whatever she did, I don't understand but I can honestly say that your brother is going to be well on his way back to full health, physically anyway.'

'Thanks doc for everything.' Dean said his voice thick with emotion. He tried to block out the memories of his and Sam's assaults from Merci and Cornase, it was time to go forward not to dwell in the past. Physically shaking himself he took his daughter back from Bobby and went to sit down, all of a sudden he felt so tired.

'Daddee?' Mickie pressed her chubby little hands on his face and stared up into his eyes, 'Daddee sads?'

'Just tired baby girl just tired.' Dean said as he hugged her and buried his face in her soft hair breathing in the scent that was his daughter.

S—D

Sam sat up in his bed his head swathed in white bandages, he watched Dean pace the room impatiently, Mickie play with her teddy on the floor at Bobby's feet and then his gaze fell on the older man as he snoozed lightly in the chair under the window. He had had a late night with Maggie the night before and wasn't used to it.

'Dean you're going to wear a hole in the floor.' Sam spoke finally gaining his brother's attention.

'Huh? What's taking em so long Sam, they're late.'

'Only a couple of minutes, will you sit down you're making me dizzy.' Sam said with a small smile.

With a huff Dean sat down and picked his daughter up giving her a ride on his jiggling knee.

'Hi Sam, Dean.' Lewis said brightly coming into the room carrying a clipboard and a thick file. 'So how's the patient?'

'Wanting to get out of here.' Sam grumbled.

'So let's test the implants, Doctor Owens is on his way.'

'Hey Bobby you awake there?' Dean patted the older man's knee and when he didn't get a response he stood up and placed Mickie on Bobby's knee, giggling she started to give him sloppy kisses until he woke with a start and grumble.

'Wha? Dean!' Bobby grumbled but couldn't help smiling at the little girl tugging at his beard. 'Hey little One.'

A tall and thin man came striding into the room with a flurry of student doctors around him, 'so this is Samuel Scott awake I see.'

'Sam this is Doctor Owens he did the surgery.' Lewis explained making sure that Sam could read his lips.

'Well young man let's see if this worked.' The older doctor gave Sam a smile and instantly made his patient relax slightly. 'Alright gather around everyone but don't block the family of our patient, I have heard of his brother's temper.'

Dean said opened-mouthed at the surgeon, and then laughed he liked the man. 'Nice to meet you too Doc.'

'So anyone care to start?' Doctor Owens turned his smile into a glare as he looked around at the students with a menacing stare. 'Burkitt.'

'Ah yes Sir, twenty-four year old man, severe hearing loss after ah abuse.'

'Good next?' Owens turned his piercing blue stare to a young woman clutching her notebook tightly to her, 'Wilson what else?'

'Umm micro-implants were placed and he was brought out of an induced coma.'

'Today is the first testing of his implants.' An eager faced young man finished for her, he gazed up at Doctor Owens with expectations.

'Yes well let's see how we're going.' Owens looked over to Sam, Lewis had removed the bandages while he was quizzing his students. Sam watched the doctors moving around him with mixed feelings of dread and a tiny amount of hope. He shifted his gaze to his brother and niece and took strength from them; startled he jumped slightly when Lewis put a hand on his shoulder and got him to look back to the doctors, 'okay Sam we're going to switch the implants on and do some tests.' Owens said and watched Sam studiously reading his lips. He worked in silence for a few moments adjusting a few switches and checked the readouts before he touched Sam's arm, 'Sam I need you to close your eyes; I know you can lip read and I need to know if you are truly hearing anything, and not rely on your reading anything.'

'Kay.' Sam whispered and tried calm himself as he shut his eyes, his hands clutched at his sheets, twisting his long fingers in the thin material.

Dean came over to stand next to Sam's bed; Mickie watched everything with wide eyes for a small child she seemed intuitive enough to remain silent during the tests.

The oppressive weight of silence made Sam want to scream, he couldn't hear or see anything and the sense of isolation started to choke him.

A buzzing and strange noises sounded and Sam winced, sure that it was Cornase playing games with him again, slowly though, the sounds changed and lowered in volume. He cocked his head to his left as he tried to workout what it was when he heard a strange voice in the distance.

'Sam?' the voice spoke again this time a little clearer and he shifted his head and turned to the direction the voice came from. 'Sam can you hear me?'

'De-Dean?' Sam cried out desperately needing his brother's touch as panic set in, he didn't know the voice. 'Dean?'

'Sam hey dude calm down it's okay.' Dean's voice sounded like it was coming through a really bad cell phone connection. 'Sammy?'

'De-Dean?' Sam took a deep breath and concentrated on listening to his brother's voice, 'say something else.'

'Sammy dude, we are so going out and getting drunk after this.' Dean said with a big toothy grin forming as he saw Sam's smile start of its own accord. 'What ya think bitch?'

'Jerk.' Sam replied his voice thick with unshed emotions.

'Be-i-tch.' Mickie gurgled out clapping her hands.

'Uhhuh baby you don't say that word.' Dean chided her gently.

'J-yerk.' She added clapping her hands happily.

'She's your daughter Dean.'

'She's your niece Sam.' The two brothers spoke in unison. Sam opened his eyes and grinned at his brother and then he turned his head slowly and a little stiffly to face the doctors, 'thank you.'

'We've still got a way to go and your hearing may not become one hundred percent again but we'll get it as close as we can.' Owens patted Sam's arm and turned to usher his students out of the room. 'I'll see you tomorrow morning.'

S—D

Later in the day, Dean watched his baby brother and his baby daughter sleeping contentedly in the hospital bed both worn out from the events of the day. Dean scrubbed at his face and stretched his aching back. He so wanted to sleep but he knew that Cornase was still lurking and he couldn't afford to slacken off not now.

'Git some sleep boy, I'll watch over ya'll.' Bobby said coming back into the room, he looked rested and tidy, after a shower, sleep and a decent meal. 'I know I can't get yer to go sleep at the motel so got the next best thing.' Amanda came in with a foldout bed just behind Bobby followed by Maggie armed with pillows and blankets. 'And we aint taking no as an answer.'

'Bobby…'

'Nope yer gonna sleep or we'll git the doc to give ya something.' Bobby threatened Dean and then gave a contented humph when the younger man eased himself onto the freshly made bed and instantly fell asleep.

Az appeared briefly and left food and milk for Mickie before vanishing again she had placed herself on a supernatural stakeout. She had found the lair Cornase was using where he sulked and waited for the Winchesters to leave the warded room.

Az was not going to let him out of her sight, leaving her own spies to watch when she popped in and out of the hospital room.

S—D

Two weeks later, Sam sat in a wheelchair with Mickie perched on his knee and Dean pushing them haphazardly through the hospital to the front entrance. They were going to meet up with Lewis and Maggie at the clinic, after the young doctor gave Sam tentative discharge papers, he still wanted him as a patient at the clinic but for now he could leave the hospital.

Sam chuckled softly and ran his fingers through Mickie's hair, he felt stronger for the first time in a long time and no longer so alone. A lot of sounds still seemed distorted but Sam could clearly hear the words spoken to him now but he still had to concentrate on background noises to distinguish them.

'What's so funny dude?' Dean asked squeezing Sam's shoulder gently.

'Nothing, just feels good to be outta there.' Sam glanced over his shoulder and smiled up at his brother, 'and to hear … I wish I could have thanked the adult Mickie.'

'Ah remember she wants to be called Michaela… Sammy.'

'Yeah, Dean what about Cornase he's still out there.'

'He'll keep, we get you fixed and we'll be on the road again in no time.' Dean said as he looked for Bobby and the impala.

'What about Mickie though Dean? Az seems to have disappeared.' Sam cradled Mickie closer, the toddler happily indulging her uncle and rested her head on his shoulder, her fingers twisted in his shirt.

'We'll work it out, so hey here comes your ride.' Dean said relieved that, that conversation had been interrupted, he worried non-stop for the animal spirit she never answered any calls and there were no more signs of her since her last visit to the hospital.

'Dean?' Sam reached up to grasp Dean's arm with his free hand.

'Yeah dude?' Dean crouched down next to the wheelchair and looked at his brother, taking in the gauntness of Sam's face and almost transparency of his flesh.

'Just, thanks dude for not … for not giving up on me.'

'You're so not doing a chick-flick moment here and now are ya?'

'Nope, never would do that to you.' Sam grinned cheekily and then sobered slightly. 'I'm scared Dean, we have no idea where Cornase is, and what about Merci what if she comes back? Michaela changed things back and Cornase is not gonna be happy.'

'Sammy can you still hear him in your head?' Dean asked glancing up at the concerned look Bobby gave them and gave him a small hand signal to wait a second.

'Sam?'

'No, no it's weird if anything there's nothing but buzzing now.' Sam frowned and shook his head, 'I – I know that he's gone from in here.' He brushed his fingers on his temple. 'And I know that Michaela got rid of that parasitic drug thing for me but … I dunno maybe it's hard to believe that things are going right for now anyway.'

'Yeah I understand exactly Sammy,' Dean said, 'but hey remember who has your back and what an awesome young woman Mickie turns into, so it can't be too bad in oh twenty years or so.'

'Nice Dean, so it's gonna take twenty years for things to actually go right for us?'

'We gotta do what we do, don't look too far into the future and don't dwell on the past. We just live each day as they come.'

'Wow very insightful Dean I'm impressed.'

'Yeah well don't get too cocky bitch.'

'As if … jerk.' Sam smiled, he waited for Dean to settle Mickie in her car seat, for the briefest of a second, he thought he saw a glimmer of black eyes watching him, but when he blinked, they were gone and Dean was standing in front of him ready to help him.

End for now.

Author's endnote: I have no idea about the intricate details of bionic-ear implants or any micro implants; this was all made up out of my warped imagination so please forgive me if there are any glaring medical discrepancies.