A/N: Thank you everyone for reading and reviewing. Thanks to heather03nmg for setting me out on this journey! Thanks to beta Abni for hard work with all these chapters and Dennis for the invaluable help he offers!
Behind the Wall of Sleep
Now from darkness there springs light
Wall of Sleep is cool and bright
Wall of Sleep is lying broken
Sun shines in you have awoken
The room was quiet, the muted sound of voices drifting down the hallway. The TV was on, a cooking show providing a small distraction. Not much of a distraction though. Sam still had a hand on Dean's arm. His brother had dropped into seemingly dreamless sleep shortly after the doctor had given him the injection. Sam was keeping a close eye on Dean, watching the rise and fall of his chest, listening to the soft beep of the heart monitor.
The hours had passed. It was six hours since he had woken up the first time, about twelve since they arrived at the hospital. As soon as he wakes up I am going for Charlie. We left the Impala there. It's about five miles out of town, not too far to walk, and I will have the car to come back. Maybe, oh, please, maybe Charlie has an antidote for the poison. Would he be willing to trade for it? I'll offer him his life for Dean's. I'll be lying, but I will offer the trade.
Dean sighed. Sam shifted his focus back to his brother. Another small sound, then a groan filled with pain. Dean opened his eyes, Sam saw him slump back as he realized he still couldn't see. I can go in a minute, I need to get to Charlie. Sam gently explained to Dean what had happened. The bear attack, the hospital, why the hallucinations had ended. And I was waiting to talk with you, I need to go, Dean. Charlie needs to understand that this is over. For him at least.
"I'm going to solve this," Sam said firmly, trying to convince Dean. Maybe trying to convince myself a little, too.
"Sammy…" Dean said, with his sightless eyes turned towards Sam.
"No, Dean, I am going to solve this. I was waiting for you to wake up before I left, I'm going to go talk to Charlie," Sam said. And after we are done talking, the "he doesn't get to die easy" part comes.
"Yeah, Dean, I'll be back in two hours, wait for me." You aren't going to get me to change my mind about that discussion, Dean. He pays for this.
"Sam…" Dean whispered, his voice becoming less and less audible as they spoke.
"Two hours, Dean, just wait, ok?" Please, Dean, wait.
"Promise," Sam said softly. "Promise me you'll wait till I get back."
"I'll do my best, Sammy."
Sam took Dean's hand in a tight grip. "Promise, Dean." Promise you will wait for me, Dean. Please. A promise can't be broken, doing your best can.
"Promise, Sam," Dean said. He squeezed Dean's hand a little, Dean hung on tight for a minute. Sam knew what Dean needed to hear.
"I'll be back, Dean, I promise, too." He put his brother's hand back on the bed and gave it a little pat before turning to walk out of the room. Sam paused at the door and looked back, Dean was staring into the room with blind eyes, he was humming something, Sam couldn't quite place the song although the soft melody stayed with him as he walked down the hall and out of the building.
It was cold outside, snow covering the ground, the sidewalk a little slick where the salt had melted the snow and the water had frozen into ice. Sam headed out of the parking lot and started walking along the road, the cold seeping into his clothing as he walked. He crossed through town walking at a fast pace, the song Dean had been humming still playing in his head. Sam was humming those same three bars over and over, hoping the rest of the song would suddenly appear out of nowhere. It works that way sometimes. He was so caught up in his thoughts he almost missed it. But the image, ignored at first, caught up with his brain.
The car was parked in a supermarket parking lot. Sam walked over to it, running a hand along the trunk as he reached it. Why is it here? He pulled his keys out of his pocket and dropped into the driver's seat. As he slid his key into the ignition he glanced up at the store. Bill the helicopter pilot was walking out with a grocery sack and a six-pack of beer. Should I get out and talk to him about taking Dean's car? Dean would kill him if he knew he took his baby and hotwired her or something. I should discuss that with Bill. No, I'll leave that pleasure to Dean. Got that? Saving the body for you, Dean. You can't kill him if you don't wait for me. I need to get to Charlie and get back to Dean, and if I go after Bill here someone might call the cops.
He started the car, smiling with grim satisfaction when Bill looked up and then started running towards the car, yelling at Sam the whole time. Sam threw the car in reverse, heading towards Bill, the man jumped out of the way, hitting the pavement hard in his bid to escape the Impala. And I didn't actually hit him, he just thought I was going to. He glanced in the rearview mirror, a little smile spreading on his face. Bill was picking himself up off the ground, gathering rolling beer cans. That'll teach you to steal my brother's car.
Sam drove out of town, the car was sliding a little on the snowy road. If I wreck her, Dean will murder me. Dean? Hang on long enough to murder me, ok? The town fell away abruptly, the trees suddenly thick on either side of the road. Sam pulled up at the gate to Charlie's ten minutes later. Do I risk driving up? Bill might have called him and let him know someone took the car. But they probably still think we are out in the woods waiting to become tupilak food. He eased the car up beside the fence and got out. His hands were shaking. The rage that had started when he realized what was happening to Dean was now taking over. I have to find out if there is an antidote. I need to stay calm long enough to get the antidote. Just that long. God, I hope I last that long. I have to find the antidote.
As he walked up the road to Charlie's door, the white-hot rage cooled into an icy calm. The violence was just contained below the controlled surface. It might be a problem in a minute or two. His hands were no longer shaking, they were clenched in white-knuckled fists. I have to stay calm. I need to keep it together for Dean. I have to. The rage was simmering under the surface, volcanic water brushing the edge of a glacier. Ok, take a deep breath, stay calm. Dean? I'm hurrying. Wait for me. The need to get back to Dean, knowing his brother's promise and his uncanny sense of time calmed Sam. He stepped silently onto the porch and eased the door open.
"Bill?" Charlie said from the other room.
"Nope," Sam said quietly. He didn't recognize his own voice.
"Who's there?" Charlie said, coming into the room.
"Weren't you expecting me?" Sam could hear the rage in those four quiet words.
"Sam? That you?" Charlie said with a broad smile. "Made it out, did you?"
"Yes," Sam said.
"Well, I'll be damned."
Not till I'm done, and you'll be happy for hell then. "Yes, you will," he said quietly. "I want to make a deal." Or I want you to think I want to make a deal.
"Your life for my brother's," Sam said, watching Charlie. The man had edged over by a cabinet on the far wall.
"He's not dead yet?" Charlie said with a sly smile. "He screaming? The screaming is the best part. I always wondered if it was the pain or the visions that made them scream. Dean get a chance to tell you?"
"Are you willing to deal, Charlie, or not?" Sam said softly. The calm was starting to break. Sam was still watching Charlie as he reached into the cabinet. Is he going for a gun or something else?
"Why should I?"
"I might let you live."
"I don't think you'd kill me in cold blood."
"It wouldn't be in cold blood, and it won't be me," Sam said. He heard the rasp of claws on the wooden floor. The polar bear approached and stopped beside Sam. The bear let out a whoosh of breath. Charlie froze.
"What is that?" Charlie said his eyes wide with fear.
"What do you think it is?" Sam said. "Tupilaks, Charlie, once you send them out, they are set on their course, unless they are turned by another person. I think you know what happens then." Sam watched as Charlie swallowed, the man was sweating and his face was paper white.
"It comes for the original magician. But if it's going to kill me, why should I help you?" Charlie said.
"Maybe it won't," Sam said. "Maybe I figured out a way to keep it from heading out the moment I turned it, maybe I can stop it." Charlie's hand ran along the cabinet shelf, stopping briefly before moving on.
"Dean's dead, Sam, just let it go." Charlie took a step away from the cabinet.
"There has to be an antidote, Charlie."
"There is nothing, no cure. I spent years working on it."
The bear suddenly growled. Sam heard something on the porch, footsteps. He turned his head slightly and saw Bill edging through the door. He had a revolver in his hand. The bear half turned towards Bill, he froze, looking from the bear to Sam to Charlie.
"What's going on?" Bill said.
"We were discussing what's happened to my brother," Sam said softly. The bear growled in sympathy with his tone. "You might as well join the discussion."
Bill stepped further into the room, putting himself between Sam and Charlie. "I thought that was you in the car. Why I took someone else's to get out here, thought there might be trouble."
"No trouble," Sam said calmly. "I want the antidote for Dean. Simple." The bear lifted its paw a little. "I think your gun is bothering the bear."
"Don't do something stupid, Bill." Charlie had turned his head towards the sound of Bill's voice. "Kill the bear."
Sam laughed. "Doesn't really work, you know. I tried once or twice. It just comes back a little bigger and a lot angrier." Sam shifted a little, looking at Bill. The pilot dropped the gun on the floor.
"Fool," Charlie growled.
"The antidote?" Sam said.
"Ok," Sam said. The bear moved forward and knocked Bill to the other side of the room with a massive paw. It walked up to Charlie and stood in front of him, one paw resting on Charlie's foot, its huge head inches away from Charlie's blind eyes. "Antidote."
There has to be, come on, there has to be. Everything has an antidote. Oh, god, is he just stalling, just long enough to make sure Dean dies before I get back? "Yes, Charlie." The bear shoved at Charlie, pushing him against the cabinet, the shelf cutting into Charlie's back.
"You think you can control this thing?" he said desperately. "You can't, once you lose them, you can't control them."
"I can," Sam said, listening to the cold calm in his voice. I sound a little like Dean, like dad, right before all hell breaks lose. Too bad for Charlie I don't break that often, makes it worse, really. I am impressed with the calm. The bear lifted a paw and rested it on Charlie's face, the enormous claws spanning the entire breadth of the man's face.
"Tell him," Bill said, pulling himself up. Sam noted the pilot had blood on his face and shoulder from where the bear's claws caught him. And I don't really mind. He was involved in this too, I will probably mind later. Not now, though. "Tell him."
"Nothing to tell," Charlie said. The bear looked over at Sam and then back to Charlie, letting the huge claws drift down his face. Charlie groaned, then clamped down on the sound.
"God damn it, Charlie, tell him, it's over." Bill said, the bitter words coming out with a snap.
"No, nothing to tell," Charlie said, then cried out in pain as the polar bear took his arm in his mouth.
"There's an antidote," Bill said, desperation in his voice as he watched what the bear was doing to Charlie.
"No, you bastard, shut your mouth," Charlie yelled.
"He tried it on me first, he said he just wanted to blind your brother, and that the last time it hadn't worked." Bill looked at Sam with frightened eyes. "I went blind, but then the hallucinations started. The spell and poison took more than the eyesight, it took the mind as well, and my loving brother couldn't let me die."
Did he just say brother? "And?" Sam said.
"He came up with an antidote. I hadn't had the poison in me as long as your brother, but it might save him, at least his life, maybe not his eyes. I nearly lost mine as well, and I only had about fifteen hours of the stuff. And I never had another dose."
"Neither did Dean," Sam said with a sinking feeling. "I ate everything he did."
"Once you have the first big dose don't need much to keep it going. And it probably did affect you, just not much, exhaustion, maybe a little dizziness. I put it in the instant coffee myself."
No, no, I'm so sorry Dean, I never thought. Oh god, I killed you. I did it. He took a deep steadying breath, rage and grief nearly driving his temper over the edge. The bear picked up on his distress and calmly bit through Charlie's arm. "Yeah?" Sam said to Bill as Charlie screamed. Sam felt a tiny twinge of regret. No. He sent the bear. He did that to Dean.
"He came up with the antidote, it worked for me, it's in the kitchen, a red bottle in the cupboard," Bill said.
Sam turned towards the door to the kitchen. "Wait," he said to the bear. He walked into the small room, remarkably clean considering Charlie was blind. Although maybe Bill helps clean this up, too? Sam started opening cupboards, he found the bottle in one full of other bottles and packets of herbs and strange-smelling mixtures. There were several jars with the remains of animals. And…Oh, god, that looks like a human hand. It was missing part of a finger. He grabbed the red bottle off the shelf and headed back into the living room.
The bear had let go of Charlie's arm but was still standing in front of him, resting one paw on his chest. The bear looked over when Sam came back in the room. "Thanks, Bill. If this isn't the right stuff…"
"It is," Bill said. "It's what he used on me."
"No, no," Charlie screamed. "He deserves to die."
"Just like all the others, Charlie?"
"Others?" Sam said, remembering what Charlie had said about his friend Jim and what the doctor had said about the hiker.
"Yeah, seven people after he tested that first bit on me, slowly strengthening the dose, seeing what repeated doses did. Seven. And all but one died screaming, the kid got away. Ran, some cops picked him up before I could catch him. He even had me hack off a hand to use to strengthen the damn stuff. It's over, let it end." Bill said desperately.
"NO!" Charlie screamed again, and before Sam could react, Charlie had pulled a gun from somewhere hidden in the cabinet. He turned the muzzle towards the sound of his brother's voice and fired several rounds in quick succession. Bill yelled in pain and dropped to the floor.
The bear pushed Charlie down on the floor as Sam ran to Bill. The man was still alive, just barely. "It's ok, I'll get you to the hospital," Sam said. Dean will kill me for getting blood, especially this guy's blood, in the car.
"No," Bill whispered. "I'm dead, let me go. I helped him, you know, I helped kill those people. I'm not worth saving." Bill closed his eyes for a moment then opened them again. "He's not worth saving either. I'm sorry about your brother." And he sighed out a final breath.
"Is he dead?" Charlie said from beneath the bear.
"Yes," Sam said, standing. "You killed your brother."
Charlie laughed, a hysterical, insane sound. "Yes, yes I did, just like your brother, and if John were still alive, I would have killed him too. You were the only one, and hell, if you had gotten dead? Wouldn't have bothered me at all."
"You killed your brother," Sam said again. How could he kill his brother?
"Call off the bear, you have the antidote."
"You didn't give it to me, Bill did," Sam said. How could he? He killed his brother.
"He was a coward," Charlie spit out. "Call the bear off."
Sam walked over to where Charlie was pinned under the giant animal. "You know how tupilaks work, Charlie. You send them out. They get turned, they come back with a vengeance. Nothing I can do about it."
"You said you could."
"I lied." Sam stood and walked out of the room. He heard the soft growl of the bear and then Charlie's screams in an increasing howl. Sam raced down the driveway to the sounds of the screams. He could still hear Charlie and the bear's deep roar as he reached the Impala, he dove in and slammed the car into drive. Hang on Dean, I'm on my way.
Sam drove back over the snowy roads, the car sliding back and forth as he pushed the speed to the safest possible limit. Nothing like having the drive wheels under the light part of the car. Makes it extra fun. It's why people drive front wheel drive, Dean. He immediately regretted the unkind thought directed at the car. Sorry, man, didn't mean it.
The roads were much easier to navigate as he approached the hospital. Luckily, there was an open spot right by the door. Sam parked the car and sprinted into the building. He nearly knocked over a couple carrying a balloon bouquet in his rush to get to the elevator. He punched the button repeatedly. Dean always says that makes it come faster. Hang on, I'm on my way. Wait, Dean. When the doors opened, he burst out of the elevator and ran into Dean's room.
"Not yet, waiting," Dean said quietly, his voice barely audible, as Sam entered the room.
"Dean?" Sam walked over to his brother's bed and put his hand gently on Dean's arm.
"Waited, Sam," Dean said.
"Dean? It's ok." I have the antidote, it's going to be ok.
"I waited, can't wait anymore, Sam."
"Dean, no." He grabbed Dean's shoulders, hoping to hold his brother there for a little longer. No, Dean, come on. I meant wait till I solved it, not just till I got back. I'll be more specific next time, if you just let there be a next time.
"No, Dean, please no, not now, not yet, I have the antidote."
"Waited…" the word sighed out of Dean, it had the sound of finality to it
"What's going on?" The doctor had followed Sam into the room.
"I have the antidote, I think," Sam said, looking at the doctor. "It might save him."
"I'm not sure…"
"He's dead if we don't, right?" Sam said, desperately. Dean was relaxing under his hands. Sam knew what was happening. No, Dean you can't go, not now, please. "Dean." The heart monitor started making odd noises. "No, hang on." Please, Dean, I made it back, I think I solved it, just hang on long enough to let this work. Please?
The doctor stepped up to the bed and looked at Sam. He met Sam's eyes for a moment as the monitor changed tone. The doctor nodded. Sam wrenched Dean's mouth open and poured the powder in. It should dissolve on his tongue, god, I hope that's enough. He's not breathing, oh god, he's not breathing. Please, Dean, hang on. Come on.
"Wait outside," the doctor said as other staff ran in the room.
"Just hang on, Dean," Sam whispered to his brother as he turned to leave the room.
The doctor bent over Dean. "He's not breathing."
Yeah, got that. Sam walked out of the room and stood beside the door listening to what was going on in his brother's room. I should have said three hours. Would he have waited that long? I meant wait long enough to live, no die as soon as I got back. Actually, Dean, not die at all would be the best choice. Please, Dean, don't die. He was surprised by the sudden shout of amazed profanity. He ran to the door. "What happened?"
"He's breathing on his own. He just started breathing on his own, before we could do anything."
Sam sagged against the wall. He's alive. It worked. I think it worked. He pushed himself off the wall and went to Dean's bed. The doctor looked up at him with a bemused smile. "His heart is stabilizing, too," the doctor said, shaking his head.
Sam sank down into the chair beside the bed. Before I do something like falling down, that would be embarrassing. He smiled at the doctor. "Thank you."
"Wasn't me," the doctor said with another shrug and left the room.
Sam looked over at Dean, his brother was breathing better, the even rise and fall of his chest comforting to Sam. He was surprised when Dean sighed. "Dean?"
"Waited," his brother said softly.
"Yeah, well next time I'm going to demand a little more on the promise," Sam said, hearing the relief in his voice.
"Sam?" Dean's eyes opened.
"Right here, Dean."
"I'm fine, so are you. Charlie had an antidote."
"Can't see," Dean whispered.
"It might take awhile," Sam lied. Oh, no, no, no, Dean.
"K, Sammy," Dean's eyes closed again. "Sleepy."
"Rest, I'm not going anywhere."
He still can't see. No. No. It has to work. Sam put his head in his hands, pressing the heel of his palms into his eyes. No, he has to be able to see. Please? He really had no idea who the please was directed to, just outward to the universe at large.Sam sighed and leaned back in the chair. The last few hours were starting to catch up with him. He put his hand back on Dean's arm and let his eyes close. I can nap for a minute. He heard himself snoring a little even before he was all the way out, the song Dean had been humming still chasing around in his head.
The sound of a sigh woke him. I think that was me. It was quiet in the room, a TV was playing softly, just a murmur in the background. He could hear the beep of a heart monitor. Nice that it's beeping, pretty sure last time I heard it I was dead. Dean hurt, his leg, his arm, his neck. You get chewed on by a polar bear, I guess you have to expect things like that. What happened? I think I remember something about an antidote. Thanks, Sammy. He listened for several minutes more, still afraid to open his eyes. Not ready to face that yet. He could hear Sam's voice talking quietly to someone to his left.
"Sam?" he said, his voice coming out in a whisper. Ok, get gnawed on by a bear and you can't talk loud either. "Sammy?"
"Here, Dean," his brother said. Dean felt weight settle on the edge of the bed.
"We already covered that, yes, I'm fine," Sam said with a little exasperation in his voice.
Got to check, you know that, Sam. "What happened?"
"I talked with Charlie, he had an antidote," Sam said.
"Sam?" You think you are fooling me? Think I can't hear what happened in your voice?
"Talk to me."
He heard Sam swallow. "I went to Charlie's. He wasn't to give me the antidote, he said there wasn't one. I tried to persuade him."
"You hurt yourself?" Dean said keeping his voice as level as possible. His heart was pounding a little harder than it had been, he could even hear the monitor speed up a bit.
Sam must have heard it too, he put a hand on his leg. "The tupilak was there. I figured out how to turn it when I sent it away from you. It was a little angry with Charlie. That's the problem with spells like that."
So you used the big fluffy bear to convince Charlie? God, Sam, what did you do? "And?"
"Bill the pilot showed up, apparently Charlie tried the poison on him first," Sam suddenly stopped. "They were brothers, Dean."
"Sam?" He heard the soft note in his brother's voice. Something terrible happened.
"Charlie killed Bill, he killed his own brother," Sam said, his voice sounded confused.
"Sam, Charlie was crazy."
"I know, but to kill…" Sam broke off again.
"What happened to Charlie?"
"The polar bear got him," Sam said simply. Dean heard a lot in that statement. What did you do Sammy?
"There's more," Dean said, hearing the hesitation in his brother's voice.
"The coffee, Dean, they'd poisoned the coffee, I gave you more of the poison," Sam's voice broke. Dean could hear the tears there.
"You didn't know, Sam. You couldn't know."
"Damn it, Sammy, you saved my life."
"It wasn't enough Dean, I should have gone sooner, I should have realized about the coffee…"
Dean recognized what was coming. The full on "I should haves" it's not enough to save my life, he has to stop for a minute to kick himself a bit. Must be a family trait. "Sam." He opened his eyes. Tears were running down Sam's face, there was a large bruise on the side of his head. Dean's eyes met his brother's.
"Dean?" Sam said, meeting his eyes.
"Damn it's good to see you," Dean said with a smirk, feeling the tears start and then spill down his own cheeks.
"Dean?" Sam said with a little frown, tears still running out of his eyes. A slow smile started spreading on his face. "Can you…?" he whispered, without really needed the nod from Dean. Sam reached out and pulled Dean up to him in a fierce hug. Dean returned the embrace before his brother set him down gently on the bed again. "Hey," Sam said as he scrubbed the tears off his face.
"Hey," Dean said, looking around the room. He brought his eyes back to his brother, Sam was grinning at him. "Thanks," he said around the lump in his throat. I can see, I can see, I can see.
"Yeah," Sam said, still smiling.
"When do I get out of here?" Dean said, changing the subject. Before I really lose it again, hug you and then, god knows what, make cookies or something.
"They want to keep an eye on the bear injuries before they let you go."
"Then after they let me out, how about Vegas?"
"Vegas, Dean? Why?"
"It's about as far away from cabins in the snowy woods as we can get," Dean said with a grin. Sam nodded and grinned in response. "As far as possible."
"Good plan, Vegas it is," Sam said shifting off the bed. "Want to watch TV?"
"I'd be happy to watch mold grow right now, Sammy," Dean said, it came out with more emotion than he had intended.
Sam squeezed his arm. "I know." His brother settled in the bed beside the chair, then slid the safety rail down, so he could lean against the edge of the bed. Dean shifted just enough so their shoulders were touching. "Jethro Tull," Sam said suddenly.
"A little random," Dean said.
"The song you were humming, it's Tull," Sam said.
"What song?" Dean said, hearing the melody playing in his head again.
"I can't believe it."
"You get eaten alive by them, and you see what song pops into your head," Dean said with a grin. He nudged his brother's shoulder with his.
"Moths," Sam said, shaking his head.
Dean looked at Sam for a minute, then turned his attention to the TV, the song now playing in his head. He hummed softly.
Oh the leaded window opened
to move the dancing candle flame
and the first moths of summer
Sam was humming as well, Dean turned to look at him again, Sam met his eyes with a little smile. Dean shifted his glance to the window, the sun had finally broken through, lighting the snow to a near blinding brightness. He sighed and turned back to the bright shift colors on the television, and leaned against Sam a little more.
"You should get some sleep," Sam said gently.
"I want to watch for a little while, Sam," he said.
"I understand, but you need to sleep."
"Soon, I'll sleep soon." He finally drifted off, the colors on the TV going with him into his dreams, Sam's shoulder warm against his and the light of the sun still bright against his eyelids.
A/N II: As we have all heard the CW has pulled our beloved show from the lineup as of Feb. 28. There are many reasons being bandied around, whatever the actual reason, we still need to let the network know how we feel about this show—so here's an idea, simple, and doesn't require a long letter. Buy one (or more) postcards (postcard stamps are only 26 cents) from your hometown and just write:
I am a fan and support Supernatural AND those advertisers that purchase time during the show
A partial list of advertisers is available on my bio. Several of the biggest are AT&T, Victoria's Secret, Pantene, Crest, HP Computers and Kellog's. Make sure you sign your postcard! Send your postcards to:
President of Entertainment
The CW Network 411 North Hollywood Way
Burbank , California 91505 USA
While you're at it, drop a postcard to Eric Kripke and let him know how much you appreciate the show as well.
9465 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills , California 90212 USA