Dean was tired, in fact, he was exhausted. He had three weeks, two days and fifteen hours before the deal was complete and he had been running on empty for months trying to destroy as many demons he could before the hellhounds came and collected. Looking over at his brother, he knew that Sammy felt the same way. Not only had his brother been by his side this whole time, jumping into situations that would make seriously disturbed people hesitate, but had been going without sleep for days at a time to find a way to get him out of the deal. No matter how many times he had tried to get his brother to slow down, Sammy kept going, feeling the countdown as keenly as he did; feeling the pressure as if it was his own fate hanging in the balance.
"Hey Sammy" he called out waking his brother, "there's a motel up ahead, I was thinking about stopping for the night."
Looking around, Sam had to admit that even though it was still light outside, they really needed to stop and regroup. The last hunt had taken a lot out of both of them to the point that he was surprised Dean could keep the Impala on the road. "Uh, yeah, sounds good Dean. Do you think they'll have an internet connection?"
Grinning, Dean already had a place picked out; it had been the one criteria his little brother insisted on. They could sleep on the bare floor, but as long as the place had a way to access the internet then it was good enough for him. "Gotcha covered Sammy."
It took them less than ten minutes to get checked in and actually in their room which they had to admit wasn't as bad as what they were expecting. For once the beds looked as if the sheets had been changed in the last decade and there was only a slight smell that after great consideration, both believed that it smelled more like the remnants of a joint than anything else.
Flipping a coin for first shower, Dean was still chuckling as he closed the bathroom door leaving his brother to wonder just how long it would take for him to get hot water for a shower because he knew that laugh; Dean was going to use up every drop he could.
Sighing, Sam allowed himself a moment to relax on the bed to help stretch some of the kinks out before he powered up his laptop and started to check his emails hoping that one of his contacts had managed to come through. The only thing that was posted however was an advertisement for an online degree in medicine from a place in the Bahamas. Shaking his head, he quickly deleted it and started his standard search through museum archives. Before he knew it, Dean was tapping him on the shoulder and looking at him with concern.
"Dude, you alright? I've been calling you for the past five minutes." Dean asked worried about the late response his brother seemed to have going at the moment.
Sam looked at Dean sheepishly, "Sorry man, I was uh… you know."
Dean did know, it was the reason why they had two laptops now, so there could be no way that he could accidentally come across the research Sammy was doing. Smiling, he nodded. "Hey, you know what, I'm beat. I want the two of us to go out and have a good time. Grab some food, play some pool, maybe jump in a card game or two or whatever. I want to hang out with my little brother for awhile. What do you say?"
Shocked, Sam looked at Dean and realized that he was serious. In the past year, Dean had seemed to be in full throttle to either kill anything demon related, or bang anything with legs, there hadn't been too much 'brotherly bonding' to speak of, and for him to come up with this now made Sam cringe inside. He knew that time was running out, and he was determined to save his big brother, just like he promised the same for him, but there was no way he would refuse Dean this night. "Sure, sounds good. Let me get cleaned up first then we'll head out."
It was sometime past midnight and Dean had it in his head that they should visit every bar within walking distance just to make sure they got the full range of the local flavor. Sam had to admit that the he was having a good time; it was the first time in awhile that he could remember having the evening devoted to just them. In fact, the last time that he remembered the two of them hanging out like this was before he left for Stanford, and he knew that it was mostly his fault; he had changed while away, not letting himself relax as much, always keeping a part of himself reserved. Tonight though was going to be different, tonight he was going to make sure that he and Dean had a great time, one they would never forget.
Dean couldn't help but smile, tonight was great. Sammy had been relaxed through the whole evening reminding him of times that they used to hang out before he went to Stanford. He knew that his brother had to keep things from his friends, and even Jessica, he just had never imagined that his brother's new attitude would drift over to their life; so seeing the younger Sammy back in action was defiantly a nice change. He wondered if it would be too much to ask that his little brother stayed this way after he was gone, he knew that Sam would work night and day to find some abstract loophole in the deal; but if it didn't work, he wanted his little brother to be just like he is now – happy.
Joking around as they walked down the sidewalk, it took them a moment before they were able to distinguish an out of place sound off to their right somewhere. Taking only a moment to glance at each other, they both quickly took off in the direction of the noise noticing that it was coming from a cemetery. Not sure what they were running into they both were about to back off until they could bring the right tools for the job, but then they heard the distinctive sound of a woman scream and they knew they couldn't wait.
Running further into the cemetery, they saw a woman being tossed around like a rag doll by what appeared to be the ghost of a man. Not liking what they saw, they separated to try and distract the spirit until the woman could get away. It wasn't until she started yelling that they realized she was there for a reason, and she needed help in finishing it.
"I've already salted him, but he showed up before I could light him!" she yelled before starting an incantation that only seemed to piss the spirit off more.
Dean saw the lighter fluid and matches and yelled to Sam to cover him while he took care of Casper. Sam knew that the only way he was going to be able to do that was to be bait; he hated being bait.
While Sam yelled and tried to keep the spirit busy, Dean drenched the grave and the remains inside with lighter fluid, and the woman continued to enrage the spirit more with her enchantments. Finally Dean jumped out of the grave and tossed in a lit match making the spirit dissolve in mid screech.
Looking at each other it took them a while before they realized that they had no idea what to do next. Finally the woman stuck out her hand and walked up to Sam, then to Dean.
"Thank you! My name's Lillian Peterson and you helped me more than you know."
Dean looked at the young woman and wondered about what he saw. It was obvious that she knew the man, but had no idea how or what she had been chanting that had him so ticked.
Sam knew what his brother was thinking, and he was wondering the same thing. Before he had a chance to think further along those lines, Lillian spoke up again clarifying the issue.
"That was my husband; he died from a drunk driving incident while I was out of the country. He and I both agreed that when one of us died, we'd be cremated, however his brother thought we were both crazy for our beliefs and before I was even on the plane home, had Frank buried instead." She paused for a moment, "Needless to say between the traumatic death and the botched service, he needed to be put to rest."
Confused, Sam had to ask, "Botched service?"
Nodding, Lillian started gathering her things while she answered. "His brother believed that a hole was as good as any other, and there was no point having a clergyman preside over the burial if the person wasn't even 'right with God' as he would say." Seeing their confusion she only answered, "I'm a witch, and although Frank wasn't even a practicing Wiccan, his brother was confident that we both would burn in hell."
Feeling some of the confusion lift, the brothers nodded in understanding. It still amazed them how closed minded some people were. "So, you were trying a binding spell on him and he didn't like it?" Dean asked suddenly seeing how things had gone down in a new light.
"I had always promised him that I wouldn't use my gifts against him – ever. Now the one time I did, he still understood what it meant, and he wasn't happy about it." She said solemnly. Shaking herself out of her thoughts, she looked at them and finally asked, "So, do I call you guys 'hey you' and 'whatshisname' or do you have normal names that you go by?"
Laughing, both Sam and Dean introduced themselves even as they wondered about the wisdom of revealing so much to a witch.
"Wait… Sam and Dean Winchester? As in, the two hunter brothers Winchester's?" she asked shocked. After seeing their hesitant agreement her smile faded, "Oh, I'm so sorry! I didn't know! If it's any consolation, I'll help in any way I can, it's the least that I can do for helping me put Frank to rest."
Confused, both Sam and Dean looked at each other, then back at the dark haired woman before asking, "Huh?"
"The deal that's almost due. There's been a murmuring in the supernatural realm that the demons are getting anxious to get their hands on you Dean."
Suddenly, the night's fun that they had been having dissipated and left a leaden feeling in the pits of both their stomachs, making both boys wish they hadn't heard Lillian's cries.
"Uh, yeah. Look, it was nice meeting you, but we need to go." Sam said quietly, leading the way away from the woman. It wasn't until they got to the gate that they heard her speak again.
"I promise I'll find a way to help you!"
Both Sam and Dean had enough of the night and decided the best course of action was to head back to the motel and attempt a few hours sleep before they got up and started out again. Walking into their room, neither said a word as they both stripped down to their t-shirts and boxers and crawled into bed. Neither said a word as the weight of their situation caught up with them again.
Across town in a small house with a white picket fence, wrap around porch and an English Garden in the back, Lillian couldn't believe what she heard. "You have got to be kidding me!... Well why would they have thought of it? It's not exactly in the most mainstream way of thinking!... No, I'm not getting pissy with you… Oh, just chew on your mouse or something."
She couldn't believe that her familiar, Wicca, had such an outlandish idea, not that it should have surprised her, but that was beside the point. If she did it, she knew that it bordered breaking the 'Do No Harm' rule, but if she did nothing then she would be standing by and allowing someone to pay a price that no one should have been asked to pay to begin with; especially since the whole scenario had been rigged to begin with. Sighing, she paced back and forth across her work room casting glances at Wicca periodically before groaning. "Come on… really?"
Seeing the truth in her cat's eyes, and knowing deep down that time was running out, she sighed and pulled a large grimoire off her shelf and started gathering her supplies. "This better work Wicca, otherwise you and I have a date with a tanner." She said, making sure there was no misunderstanding to what she meant, before she started on her spell.
Sam knew there was something wrong even before he opened his eyes. He heard what sounded like a child crying and then he felt the bed shift, shaking him out of the rest of his sleep. Before he even had a chance to open his mouth in surprise a tiny voice sounded close to his ear.
"Dee had bad dream Daddy, make it go 'way."
Sitting suddenly upright sent a wave of dizziness through Sam to the point that he thought that he'd pass out. Then it was the realization that it wasn't the sitting up that had him close to oblivion, it was the little girl in his bed calling him 'Daddy'. A little blonde haired, green eyed, freckled faced little girl wearing his brother's t-shirt and medallion, a little girl named 'Dee', a little girl… oh for Christ's sake… DEAN!
AN: Well... did you like it????