"I have to know more than what the internet or Doris can tell us. I have to talk to both of the spirits. I'm going to wait right here. They're nearby. I can feel it. All I have to do is wait right here," Sam insisted.
"No, no you don't have to talk to them. You now know what the kid was trying to tell you. That his dad murdered him. I'm sure he's at peace now. There's nothing else to figure out," Dean said.
He again grabbed Sam's arm, succeeding this time in pulling him to his feet and partially out of the bathroom. He could feel Sam shaking in his grip.
"No, Dean! There is so much more! JUST LET ME BE!" Sam yelled as he yanked his arm out of Dean's grasp and resumed his position on the bathroom floor.
Once again, Dean had no idea what the hell to do. Once again, he had no control over the situation. With a sigh, Dean grabbed his gun, sat down on the floor in the bathroom next to Sam, and waited. He only hoped Doris would get back to them before Sam got his wish.
Chapter 10: How Will You Know
When a loud ring from the phone in the other room shattered the silence, both men jumped.
"Thank God!" Dean mumbled as he awkwardly stood up and rubbed his aching leg muscles. "I guess you're busy. I'll get it," he said sarcastically when Sam made no effort to move.
Sam, remaining in the bathroom, heard Dean answer with a grunt of a hello. He jumped again when Dean touched his shoulder a moment later.
"It's Doris. She'll only talk to you," he said in disgust.
Sam nodded and rose slowly, with a helping hand from his older brother.
"Hello," Sam said into the phone as he ran his other hand over his face.
"Sam? Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. The owner from back then is in jail, but luckily still in contact with his ex-wife. She remembered me, thank God. Anyway, he told me that Joshua Sr. was buried behind the motel, where the lawnmower shed is now. The boy was buried to the right of the weeping willow tree on the small hill to the left of the building. It's the only tree on the property. You can't miss it."
"Thanks, Doris," Sam said in a monotone voice.
"Good luck. I couldn't help him. I hope you can help him and help yourself," she added before hanging up.
"Well?" Dean asked anxiously after Sam hung up the phone receiver. "Did she tell you where they're buried?"
"Yes," Sam said unenthusiastically.
"Finally! Something actually went in our favor? It's about freakin' time!" Dean yelled happily. "I'll get the shovels and you grab the rest of the crap we'll need for the salt and burn," Dean instructed.
"We can't salt and burn the bodies yet, Dean," Sam said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Dean asked. "Let's go!"
"I'm not going anywhere," Sam said as he folded his arms across his chest.
"What, don't want to ruin your manicure, Samantha? Fine. Then tell me where they're buried and I'll do it myself!" Dean said.
"No. Not yet," Sam said as he turned to walk back into the bathroom.
"I guess you didn't understand what I said. Tell…me…where…they…are…BURIED!" Dean demanded as he grabbed Sam's arm, making sure he said each word slowly and clearly enough for there to be no confusion this time.
"Let go of me!" Sam demanded, as he tried to pull out of Dean's grasp with no success.
"No! Not until you tell me where the bodies are buried!" Dean yelled.
Sam wrestled against Dean who now had one hand grasping each of Sam's arms. They stumbled back against the nightstand, knocking the lamp onto the floor with a crash.
"Get off of me!" Sam demmanded.
"Tell me and I'll get off!" Dean yelled as they continued to struggle.
With a grunt, Sam pushed Dean backwards to the other side of the room where they crashed into the dresser. Dean retaliated by punching Sam in the face. Dean immediately stepped back from his little brother, shocked at what had just happened.
"Sammy, I'm sorry," Dean said.
Sam held his hand up to his now bloody nose, but said nothing.
"I…I didn't mean to. I'm sorry," Dean apologized again.
Sam's eyes darted from his brother's remorseful face when the spirit of the little boy suddenly materialized behind Dean. Without warning, Sam watched helplessly as Dean was flung sideways into the wall before landing in a heap, unconscious. Relieved that he could see that Dean was breathing and appeared otherwise unhurt, Sam turned this attention to Joshua Jr.
"I tried to show you, but it's already started. Can't you see?" the spirit of Joshua Jr. said as he pointed at Dean.
Sam knelt down and looked directly into the little boy's large tear-filled bright blue eyes.
"Please, what are you trying to tell me? What has already started?" Sam asked.
"My daddy loved me once. But I made him bad. Made him hurt me. Then I hurt him back, like I hurt my sister. I didn't mean to. I couldn't help it. I couldn't control it like I can now. You're special like me. I can feel it. You must stop it before it happens to your brother too!" the boy cried.
"Stop what?" Sam asked, still confused as to the little boy spirit's message.
"Stop it or you'll make him hurt you again. Make him hate you. Turn him into a bad man. Please!" the little boy pleaded.
"I don't under-," Sam began.
"It only hurts for a little while, then it's all over," the boy said, tears flowing down his glowing white cheeks. "It's the only way to save your brother because there is no way for him to save you."
"What only hurts for a little while? When your father hits you?" Sam asked, unable to take his eyes off of Joshua Jr.'s face.
"Don't let the yellow eyed man win," the boy said as he held out his little hand to Sam.
"The yellow…yellow eyed man?" Sam whispered in disbelief.
"I saw him in my dreams. Told me I was special. That I will grow up to be stronger than everyone, even God. Your brother can't save you. He will die trying, or worse, you'll turn him into a killer. You have to stop it now," the boy implored, his open hand still reached out toward Sam.
Sam looked from Josh Jr. to his brother. It was all starting to make sense now. He finally understood what the little boy had been trying to tell him and took his cold little hand in his…
As the motel room slowly came back into focus, Dean was momentarily confused about why he was on the floor. Then his memory, and the pain of the unexpected attack, came rushing back to him. He rapidly scrambled to his feet.
"Sammy!" Dean yelled as he rushed through the room.
Dean felt his heart begin to pound when he quickly realized that Sam was gone.
"He's with my boy," a male voice answered from the bathroom.
On full alert now, Dean grabbed his shotgun loaded with rock salt and pointed it toward the bathroom as a male spirit that he recognized from the night by the impala walked out of the bathroom toward him. Joshua Sr.
"Don't," Dean warned. "Don't come any closer or I'll blast you straight to oblivion!"
Dean was planning on doing that anyway, but wanted to find out if the spirit knew exactly where Sam was before he did.
"I want to help you and your brother," Joshua Sr. said, but stopped just out of the bathroom.
"Like you helped your son, you son of a bitch?" Dean yelled, his gun still raised.
"I tried to help my son. I tried to save him!" Joshua Sr. explained.
"You killed him, or did you forget that little tidbit of information?" Dean said.
"No. No! I didn't kill him. He killed himself! Drank that…that poison. But I drove him to it. I know that now. I didn't understand then. You have to listen to me if you want to save your brother!" Joshua Sr. explained.
Dean's mouth dropped open at the spirit's words. The boy killed himself?
"Why did he do it? To get away from your beatings? Because he knew it was only a matter of time before you killed him? Well, don't you worry about that where my brother's concerned, asshole. I will never hurt my brother! I will never kill my brother!" Dean said.
"You don't know what you will become!" Joshua Sr. yelled as he pointed a finger at Dean. "You don't know what you'll be capable of when you get to that point when you realize there is no hope! No way to save him! You'll go crazy! You'll try anything! And I mean anything!"
"What really happened that night when the two of you died?" Dean asked, more curious now than concerned about his own well-being.
Dean continued to hold up his gun as he waited to see if Joshua Sr. would answer his question.
"I first knew that my son was different when he and his sister were in the hospital. I realized that he got better by giving his pain, his injuries, to her. Something had turned him bad. Evil. I figured it had to be whatever had put my wife on...on the ceiling and killed her. I didn't know what to do. I took him away with me, thinking that the answer was out there somewhere, hoping someday to return to Alabama. Even kept a P.O. box address and an account at the local bank. Had money in it from the…the insurance settlement. I turned to religion, hoping that God was his salvation, only I didn't go about the right way. Not even close," Joshua Sr. said before pausing a moment.
The male spirit visibly took a deep breath and continued his story.
"I learned to rely on how quickly he healed from the beatings that I gave him to know whether or not my 'treatment' was working. That if the bruises healed normally, that he would then be normal, cured. I didn't know what else to do! How else to save him. Then one day, I...I left him alone just for a little while to take a walk. When I came back, I found him...he was on the floor of the bathroom...he drank an entire bottle of cleaning solution. I made him throw up, but it didn't help. I watched him…I watched him dying on the floor. I told him to do it, to take my life in return…and he fought it. But then..then he started to do so, albeit involuntarily. It was not enough... once again I was not enough. I died and then...he died," Joshua Sr. explained sorrowfully.
"I'm sorry about your son. And I understand your desperation, to an extent. I do. But I have to find your boy. He has my brother. Take me to him! You know it's the right thing to do!" Dean insisted as he waved his gun at the spirit of Joshua Sr.
"I can't face him," the man stated as he shook his head and started to walk back into the bathroom.
"Yes, yes you can. I know you want to end this and finally have peace for you and your son. This is the way to do it. To tell him you made a mistake so he won't convince my brother otherwise," Dean said, hoping he was getting through to the spirit.
Joshua Sr. nodded "yes" a moment later, but still continued to back up into the bathroom.
"You may find them by the weeping willow tree on the left side of the motel. I'm sorry about your brother. I'm so sorry, but I can't...I can't," the spirit said before disappearing mid-stride.
Dean cursed under his breath and dashed out of the motel room, not even bothering to shut the door behind him. Would he be enough to convince the boy spirit to leave his brother alone? To convince Sam that Joshua Jr.'s wrong about whatever twisted crap he told him? Remembering what Joshua Sr. had told him, he ran full speed around the motel, past some guests and staff that, not surprisingly, did not seem startled at the sight of a man running around with a shot gun. Dean increased his speed as a weeping willow tree rose into view. When he saw Sam step around the tree, Dean felt instant relief until he saw he was holding the hand of the little spirit boy.
"Sammy!" Dean yelled to him as he continued to run toward them. "Get away from him!"
Sam looked to where he heard his brother yelling and shook his head.
"Don't! Don't come any closer, Dean!" Sam yelled.
Dean stopped about twenty feet from his brother when he saw Sam pull a hand gun out of his pocket and point it at his temple.
"Don't you get it Dean? I will hurt you! I'll hurt you like I hurt Mom, Jessica, and Dad. The boy is right. It all leads back to me, to children like me. We are the next generation of evil. Without us and the yellow eyed demon has no power," Sam said tearfully, the gun still held tight against his temple.
"Sammy, step away from the boy and put down the gun. Look, I'm going to do the same," Dean said as he gently put his shot gun down on the ground, hoping he wasn't making a big mistake. "Let's talk about this. Please."
"There's nothing to talk about, Dean! I understand it all now! He doesn't want me to make the same mistake with you that he made with his father!" Sam cried as he pulled back the trigger.
"No! No," Dean yelled before closing his eyes to calm himself down. "The boy killed himself, Sam, yes, I know. Why? Because he thought it would save his father, give him peace? Well, that didn't work out so well, did it? The father's spirit is still here. And the boy. He didn't find peace either, did he? And we both know that the yellow eyed demon will always have plenty of kids to contaminate. Your death would solve nothing. I want you to know that you are what has saved me, Sammy. I don't know what I would be, what I would have become, without you. You kill yourself and that's... that when I'm afraid that I will become something evil. Don't take away my chance to save you, please. I can do it. I know I can do it!" Dean pleaded, tears in his eyes as well.
Sam's hand holding the gun began to lower a bit as he looked back and forth from Dean and the boy.
"Do it!" the boy yelled. "It's the only way out! He'll never understand!"
"Joshua. No!" Dean heard Joshua Sr.'s voice say from somewhere behind him.
Dean turned to see the spirit of Joshua Sr. standing behind him.
"Dad?" Joshua Jr. cried. "What...what are you doing here?"
"It's not the right thing to do now anymore than it was then, with us. I don't want history to repeat itself with these two men. What I do want is peace for you and for me. I want you…to know… that I blame myself for everything. I hate myself," Joshua Sr. explained as he walked closer to his little boy.
"I know. Because of what I turned you into," Joshua Jr. finished.
"No. No. For what I turned myself into and drove you to do. You did nothing wrong. You had no control over what was happening. Do you forgive me? Please forgive me, son," Joshua Sr. pleaded with sorrow filled eyes.
Joshua Jr. looked absolutely confused.
"I wish you could forgive me!" Joshua Jr. cried
"There's nothing to forgive. I love you!" Joshua Sr. responded emphatically.
Sam and Dean watched as the two spirits ran to each other, both crying, and hugged. A moment later, with a flash of light almost too bright to look at, they both disappeared.
Dean walked over to Sam, who appeared to still be staring at the spot where the two spirits were only a moment ago, and gently pulled the gun out of his hand that Sam had since lowered. He put Sam's gun down on the ground and hugged his brother. Sam didn't hug back, instead dropping to his knees.
"You weren't really considering killing yourself. You were just stalling until the boy and his father made up, right?" Dean asked into Sam's ear as he continued to hug him.
When Sam didn't answer, Dean spoke again.
"I won't give up on you, Sammy. Don't you dare give up on me," Dean whispered.
When Dean felt Sam finally nod his head in agreement, he breathed a sigh of relief. He had his brother back. Sam let Dean help him up and lead him away from the tree, but Sam couldn't help one last look back. Had he made the right choice? Would Dean ultimately be the one making a sacrifice for him? Only time would tell...
Dean was happy to let Sam sleep while he salted and burned the bodies that night. The next morning, when Sam was still dozing away, Dean watched him and thought about what could have happened. What may happen in the future...Dean was snapped out of his thoughts when he heard a knock on the door. Dean got up from the desk and opened it to see Doris looking back at him.
"Look, lady, I'm not in the mood to argue with you, okay? I'm-," Dean said, before his sentence was cut short by her grabbing him into a hug.
"Sam called me last night. I just wanted to tell you thank you, " Dean heard her whisper. "Tell your brother goodbye for me, okay? It's time I move on, too."
Dean shook his head, a bit taken back by her words. He watched her walk away before again looking back at his still sleeping little brother. Could he and Sam move on from all of this too? Well, if nothing else, it was time they moved on from this place. He walked over to the bed and shook Sam awake. Without a word, Sam slowly rose and headed into the bathroom. About a half an hour later, after Dean had packed the car and Sam was settled in the passenger seat, Dean made his last trip to the lobby to check out. Sal was at the front desk this time. Dean almost missed the chance to ring John's bell. Almost.
"We're out of here, Sal. Thanks for the memories," Dean said.
"So?" Sal asked.
"So, what?" Dean asked. "You want a hug goodbye?"
"What's the verdict?" Sal asked with a big smile.
"The verdict?" Dean asked, confused until Sal's meaning hit him. "Oh. Sorry, Sal. Your place isn't haunted after all."
Not anymore, Dean thought.
"If someone should happen to have a...a...serious accident in the next few minutes or so, would they turn into a ghost and then this place would be haunted?" Sal asked hopefully.
"Uh," Dean said as he thought of how he could answer that so very wrong question. "No, sorry. Doesn't work like that."
Jeez, Dean thought. The lengths people will go to to get some female attention. He almost felt sorry for Sal. Almost.
"Oh, okay then," Sal said, obviously disappointed. "But if you boys ever want to come back here and check again, feel free to bring your pretty ghost talker friend with you, okay?"
"Sure, Sal," Dean said with a smile.
A few minutes later, Dean joined Sam in the impala. Sam's head was leaning against the headrest, his hair blowly slightly from the cool wind that had started that morning. Looked like the heat wave had finally broke. Sam had slept so much, but somehow still looked completely wiped out to Dean.
"I'll wake you when we get there, okay, Sammy?" Dean said as he turned the key in the ignition.
"How will you know when we get there?" Sam asked seriously.
Dean sighed, knowing that his little brother wasn't talking about their next motel. He knew what Sam meant. How would he know when they got to that point of no return? When he finally knew that there was no way to save Sam? That he would have to…. Dean couldn't even think it. For now, he had Sam back and someday he would find a way to permanently keep it that way.
Sam watched as the motel shrunk smaller and smaller in the mirror as Dean drove them out of the lot and onto the road. It was over, but Sam knew he would never forget what the boy had said. He knew he would never forget what Dean had said either. Dean had told him that he was afraid that without him, he would become something evil. Funny thing was, Sam was afraid of the very same thing. If he didn't have Dean, who or what would he become?