Author's Note: Well, this is it people. Lucky last chapter. It's been an awesome ride, thanks for reading. This is just a teensy chapter to bring it all together nicely. Can't end a story on the brothers unconscious now can we.
So, once again, thanks. And see you in my next story!
Chapter 26: The Last Time I Held You
Chapter 26: The Last Time I Held You
"Come here, you little munchkin."
Jess giggled as her dad lifted her up with one arm, holding her close. She wrapped her tiny arms around his neck, careful not to squash her baby brother while she did. Caleb rested in Sam's other arm, asleep and unaware of the commotion. Jessica giggled again as Sam gave her a tickle, the nightmare of the other night banished from her mind.
Not from Sam's.
His stomach was like a dead weight, tense, but he refused to let it show. Still, he could feel it, his own doom somewhere over the metaphorical horizon. Something was going to happen on this trip. Hopefully now that he was warned, he could get out of it, but he was definitely going. This guy was an old friend of their fathers, or so he claimed.
And to be honest, he wanted to find out if Jessica was right. If she was psychic.
So he held his kids tight, hoping it wasn't going to be the last time he held them. He held on tight, and smothered their foreheads in kisses, and just prayed that in a few days, he would be back to do it all again. He hated leaving them, and the thought of doing it permanently was too much to bear.
Sam hugged his kids even tighter.
Off to the side, Dean stood beside Lily as they both leaned against the Impala, his baby still going strong after all these years. His arms were crossed, and he watched Sam with some worry. Yeah, usually the guy went all Dr Phil when they left, hugging and kissing as if he were never going to see them again. But this time there was a desperation to it, as if that whole danger of not returning thing had suddenly become all the more real. And he really didn't want to know why.
"He's freaked about something," Lily suddenly muttered, not looking at Dean, just frowning at the scene her husband was making. "And he won't tell me. Has he said anything to you?"
Dean shook his head. "Nothing. I'm sure he's fine," he added, trying to comfort her.
Lily bit her bottom lip. "It started the other night. Jess had a nightmare, and when he came back to bed, he was quiet, and he wouldn't say what Jess had the nightmare about. He usually does, but he pretended to be asleep when I asked."
"I'm sure its nothing, Lily. You know, he's a dad now, he's bound to be getting… nervous about going out and hunting."
She turned to him, unsure, and anxious. "Or it's a premonition, Dean. What if he's had a premonition that he's going to die? Our kids can't be fatherless so young."
He faced her, grabbing her arms. "Hey, Lily, relax. I will look after him. I always do. I won't let him die. Besides, he wouldn't go if he thought he was going to die." Or so Dean hoped. Sam could be a stubborn bastard sometimes.
She glanced around at Sam as her husband dropped Jessica. "Promise me, Dean."
He nodded. "I promise, Lily. I will never let anything bad happen to Sam."
He dropped his grip as Sam ambled up, giving the two of them a curious look before smirking. "If Dean wasn't so goddamn old, I'd be worried."
He took the good-natured punch and grinned. "Ready to go, Dean?" he asked, handing Caleb to Lily. The older man nodded and Sam swooped on his wife.
The usual quick peck on the lips turned into something more passionate almost faster than Dean was prepared for, and he took a step back, eyebrows raised as Sam kissed his wife hard for several long seconds.
Then, in silence, the two brothers got in the car and started on their journey, both now sporting their very own anxious guts.
Sam woke with a smile on his face, relief too much to bear as he realized he wasn't gone. He was alive, and that had to mean the world was still spinning.
Slowly he opened his eyes, and with sight came everything else. Every muscle ached, and his eyes seemed to burn, as if he had been focusing them for a long time. His head throbbed, and his chest pulsed where the demon had stabbed him. He felt old, and exhausted, and he welcomed every minute of it. Because the weight, both mental and physical, of the key had gone. He was free.
He took a deep breath, and rolled over onto his back. Two sets of round eyes met his, and his face split in a grin.
"Jessica and Caleb," he breathed, and as if that was all the permission they had been waiting for, they both tackled him, uncaring of sore spots, just holding on tight. He didn't care. He hugged them back just as hard, tears leaking from the corners of his eyes.
"Oh, kids, I've missed you so much," he whispered raggedly, emotion overcoming him.
"We missed you too, Dad," Cal mumbled against his chest, before pulling back, wiping his face. Jess soon followed, and Sam sat up, wincing and putting a hand to his chest. He looked down and found a fist sized bruise there, dark and purple.
He looked back up at his kids. "Dune's dead, isn't he?" he asked. Jess nodded sadly.
"Yeah, but he died saving us all."
"He's a hero," Cal added, and Sam nodded in agreement. It seemed like the right thing to do, though to be honest he felt like it was what Dune had owed him.
"I guess he is." He looked across at the other bed, seeing Dean sprawled over it, asleep. "Is Dean okay?"
"Just tired," Jess answered. "It's been a couple of long days. He has woken a few times though, so that must be a good sign. Bitching and moaning, but he's okay."
Sam chuckled softly. "That's just like him. What about you two? Are you okay?"
Jess grinned, her eyes sad. "Better now we've got you back. I just wish Mum were here to have you back with us."
Sam pulled them in again, holding them gently. "Me too, Jess, me too." He breathed them in deeply, closing his eyes. "God, it's been so long since I could hold either of you."
"Do you remember?" Jess asked, and Sam nodded against her head.
"Parts I do. Some things I remember it, and I wish I had paid attention to you. I'm so sorry you had to go twelve years without a father."
"It wasn't your fault. Those creatures would have taken you anyway. They still would have given you that damn key."
"I'm going to make up for it," Sam told them, pushing them away slightly. "I'm not leaving either of you for anything. Ever again."
"Aw, that's sweet, Sammy."
Sam grinned and turned to face Dean where he was slowly sitting up in bed, wincing. "Goes for you too, jerk."
The older man seemed to jump with the familiarity of the insult, before standing and grinning.
"Whatever, bitch. God, the motel's going to need more tissues before you lot are done."
Sam wiped his face as he stood, looking down at Dean. "Come on, big brother. Surely you can have one chick flick moment. You've got twelve years to make up for."
And he grabbed Dean, pulling him for his own hug. Dean didn't hold back either, grabbing on just as tight and nearly refusing to let go when Sam began to pull back. But they parted, and sat down on their respective beds, smiling contentedly. Sam looked around again.
"So where are we?"
"Motel in Deakin Hill, Colorado. Dump of a town."
Sam frowned. "Why here?"
Dean went still, face paling in anger. "It's where Lily died, Sam. A man named Kris Lane betrayed her to the demons who were after the key." He shook his head. "Apparently when the cave spat us out, it spat us out right near the Impala."
Cal nodded. "It did. Me and Jess were thankful for that too, cause we never would have been able to carry both of you. We dragged you into the car and drove to the motel."
"How long ago was that?" Sam asked, thankful his voice worked even with the lumps in his throat.
"Two days ago," Jess answered softly. "We weren't sure you were going to wake after that long. But here you are."
"How are you feeling?" Dean asked, studying his little brother without once moving his eyes.
Sam thought about that for moment, trying to think of how he really felt. "I'm tired, and sore. That was the first time I've had a decent sleep in five years. But the key's gone, I don't even feel it anymore… and I've got all you lot back, so that counts for something." He grinned slowly. "I feel good, Dean. For the first time in twelve years, I feel good."
Dean nodded. "Good. That's good, Sammy." He sighed. "It's so good to have you back."
There were no tears or hugs, or broken voices this time. A comfortable silence followed, before Sam rubbed his eyes. Dean broke the silence though.
"Anyone else starving?" he asked. "I don't know about you three, but it's been a few days since I ate."
Sam nodded, not mentioning it had been far longer for him. He got to his feet again. "Only if you've got some clothes for me besides these pants though. I've been kind of low on stocks recently."
Dean agreed, becoming serious. "We'll take care of all that. We'll rest, get back our strength, get back to something kind of like normal…" He looked over at Jess and Cal, and they nodded. "And then Kris Lane has some things to answer for."
Sam raised his chin, a dangerous light in his eyes. But he smiled. "An adventure for another day, brother. For now, let's eat."
Five minutes later they were out the door and on their way to a diner down the road, two brothers, and two kids, slowly getting back to their very special, whacked out version of normal.
So, what did you think? Sappy ending? I think they needed it though. Don't be afraid to let me know!
Until next time…