A/N I must just say a huge thank you to everyone who has reviewed this story – I really wasn't expecting such a great response and so many of you have said it reads like an episode that I am over the moon! I hope you all enjoy the final instalment..
Sam spared a second to actually stare incredulously at Dean momentarily.
"A problem? Ya think?" he hissed, marvelling as always at his brother's gift for understatement.
The spirit was stalking towards him, splitting its attention from Sam to the demon still pinned to the ground between them. Sam's eyes widened as he saw the stake begin to rise, knowing that if the Kappa got free they were in serious trouble.
More so than they already were.
Dean had staggered to his feet now, bracing himself against the tree he'd just bounced off and shaking his head to try and clear the ringing in his ears.
"Hey, Mr Miyagi – we're not done." he said and the spirit turned to face him, the stake becoming still.
"You must not do this."
"Yeah, we got that part thanks. Look, I sympathise with what happened to your son and all, but we can't just let you carry on killing people, pal. That thing is a monster – we gotta do this, whether you like it or not."
The former Mr Okanaru was coming towards him now, almost within touching distance.
If he weren't a spirit.
Dean backed up as far as he could with the tree behind him and frantically motioned with his hand for Sam to carry on with the ritual.
Torn between helping his brother and finishing the job, Sam reluctantly began chanting again leading to increased shrieking from the Kappa. He winced as the spirit whirled round.
So much for subtlety.
Before it could start trying to interfere again Dean moved, putting himself between the spirit and Sam.
"We're not done talking here."
Mr Okanaru stared at him with deadened eyes.
"I must have my revenge."
Great, thought Dean. I always get the psychotic ones.
Aloud he said "You've had your revenge, Mr Okanaru. 31 people have died, people who mostly didn't even have anything to do with your son's death. I get that you want to avenge Thomas, I really do, but you're punishing people who've done nothing wrong. It's time to stop, ok?"
The spirit regarded him impassively.
"You do not understand."
Dean raised his eyebrows.
"The need for revenge? Oh, believe me – I understand. But this is not the way to do it. You're not getting revenge here, you're committing cold blooded murder. What was the deal, huh? One victim per year, during the same month your son died? Well, I don't think Donatello over there has been sticking to the rules cos we got a lot more dead than just one person per year. And the local thing? I'm not exactly local and it was fast enough to look at me as a happy meal. You've lost control, not that you ever really had it in the first place, but now it's just killing out of hand. We have to destroy it. I'm sorry."
Even as he finished speaking he recognised the last few words of Latin at the end of the ritual. There was an high pitched scream that had both him and Sam covering their ears and the Kappa burst into flames, black smoke billowing everywhere as it writhed in the midst of the inferno.
The spirit reacted with horror, raising his arm and flinging Dean across the clearing into Sam. They both hit the ground hard, Sam's head bouncing of the packed dirt and his elbow connecting painfully with Dean's ribs.
"This is so unfair."
Getting to his knees he watched as the spirit came towards them. He knew they had to finish this, and fast, since they were to all intents and purposes unarmed against the enraged Mr Okanaru. Who knew they'd be getting two for the price of one? Sometimes they were just too lucky.
Grabbing Sam's arm he dragged his brother to his feet and the two of them staggered backwards, trying to put some distance between them and the spirit.
"Sam, was he buried or cremated?"
Sam shook his head, not quite with it after his head connecting with the ground.
"The old guy! Was he buried or cremated?" said Dean urgently and Sam blinked as he tried to remember the obituary he'd read that morning.
"Um, cremated. Yeah, definitely cremated. No relatives to arrange a funeral, remember?"
"So if it's not bones keeping him here then what is it? We've killed the damn demon!"
They both stopped as their heels hit trees behind them. There was nowhere else to go. Suddenly Sam's gaze widened as he realised something. Reaching into his pocket he fumbled a little as he pulled out the red book. Not even hesitating he threw it across the clearing, watching as it sailed through the air in a wide arc before landing in the middle of the still burning demon.
It caught almost instantly and the spirit stopped in his tracks, staring at them furiously for a moment before he burst into flames and disappeared. Sam sagged against the tree, reaching up to touch the back of his head gingerly. Beside him Dean leant forward, resting his hands on his knees.
"Well that was fun. Nice call on the book there, Sam." he said, turning his head and grinning at his brother.
"It was all I could think of. I figured since he probably used it to summon the demon there was a lot of him bound to it. I'm just glad it worked."
"You and me both."
Dean straightened, wincing as yet more bruises made themselves known, and walked towards the smouldering pile of ash. It was all there was left of the demon, or Mr Okanaru. He stared at it contemplatively for a moment.
"Hey – you ok?"
He turned as he saw Sam had come to stand beside him and was now looking at him with concern.
"Yeah, of course. Listen, you're gonna be pleased about this,"
Dean lifted his blood covered shoulder.
"I think I'm gonna have to let you stitch this after all." he said, brightly.
Sam stared at him, then shook his head.
"You're absolutely right, Dean. I'm thrilled."
"Knew you would be."
By the time they'd reached the cabin again it was almost dark. Sam had cleaned Dean's shoulder and neatly stitched it, managing not to say 'I told you so' somehow, and after a hot shower each they'd been asleep before 10 o'clock again.
It was Sam's turn to be up first the following morning and he had the coffee and toast ready by the time Dean surfaced a little after 8 o'clock.
"So we should go back and torch the house." said Dean, chewing his last piece of toast, and Sam looked grim.
"Yeah, I know. Seems such a shame though. It'll be like he and Thomas never even existed."
Dean raised his eyebrows.
"Oh I wouldn't go that far – I reckon there's a body count that more than testifies to the fact they were here."
Sam sipped the last of his coffee.
"You said yourself you couldn't blame him, Dean. He was trying to get justice the only way he knew how."
Dean stood, taking their plates and mugs into the kitchen area.
"That's all well and good but he was killing a hell of a lot of innocent people along the way, Sam. Only one of those people who drowned were actually involved in Thomas's death and ok, maybe the town did help cover it up. But are you seriously telling me you think all those people deserved to drown?"
Sam sighed, avoiding Dean's gaze.
"No, of course not. But we of all people should understand about vengeance, right?"
Dean watched as Sam went into the bedroom to get their stuff together, a concerned frown on his face. He really didn't like where Sam was going with this one.
They packed the car before hiking back to the old house, Dean still complaining now and then about his uncomfortable left boot.
"We'll buy you a new pair, ok? When we replace your phone. Now would you please, for the love of god, quit bitching about the boot?"
"They won't be the same." said Dean, petulantly, when his brother had turned round again to carry on walking.
Sam counted to ten in his head.
He really did wonder sometimes which of them was older.
When they reached the house, a mercifully short while later, they didn't waste any time. Dean poured some gasoline around inside while Sam added some salt to the outer walls just to be on the safe side. Standing a short distance away Dean threw a match and there was a whoosh as the place went up instantly. They stood for a moment, watching the flames.
Sam glanced at him out of the corner of his eye.
"You do see that this guy was wrong, don't you? I mean look what happened – he wanted revenge but all he got was a ton of dead bodies and nothing to show for it. It was never gonna bring Thomas back and all he did was end up hurting innocent people, and himself."
"I know that. I'm not stupid. Doesn't mean I don't understand why he did it."
Dean sighed, not exactly satisfied with that answer.
"Alright, but then you gotta understand how pointless it is too, right? Look at us. All our lives Dad was on this quest for revenge, teaching us to live exactly the same way and for what? We killed the yellow eyed demon. But at what price, Sam? I mean really, was it worth it? Worth losing Dad, worth losing Jess. Worth losing you. Cos I don't think so."
Sam looked down, shifting the dirt with his boot. Dean was right, he knew that. And he agreed, wholeheartedly, especially since it was ultimately going to lead to him losing Dean too within the year. He had a feeling he knew where his brother was heading with this though and he also had a feeling Dean wasn't going to like his answer.
Dean shifted so he was facing Sam, moving closer to try and get his brother to meet his gaze.
"Sam, I need you to promise me you aren't gonna be like Mr Okanaru when I'm gone. I mean it, it's not worth it."
Sam did raise his head then, eyes flashing.
"Not worth it? Right, I was forgetting – it's only you after all."
Dean mentally slapped himself for the wrong choice of words.
"I don't mean it like that, I mean it won't change things. You have to let it go – forgive the demon, forgive Dad. Hell, forgive me for making the deal. You can't let the need for revenge eat you up inside, Sam. Otherwise you'll end up just like him."
His eyes pleaded with Sam to understand, to make the promise, but Sam couldn't.
"I'm sorry, Dean. You're asking me to be ok with you dying and I won't be. I just won't. However you want to flower it up, or give noble speeches about dying for a good cause, I'm not giving up. I'm not gonna stop trying to save you, but if I do fail? I'm not sure if I can forgive you for making that deal. And I'm not sure I can forgive Dad for putting us in this position in the first place. And as for what I'm gonna be like when you're gone, well I'm afraid you don't get a say in that. Cos you're not gonna be here to see it. I'm sorry."
With that he turned and walked away. Dean stood there, swallowing as he tried to get rid of the lump in his throat. He'd had a horrible idea that Sam felt that way, but hearing it out loud was somehow so much worse.
Worse still, his brother was right. He wouldn't be here. And he found himself wondering just what kind of man Sam would become without him. Taking one last look at the burning house he swiped a hand over his eyes to clear the tears that threatened to spill over and followed Sam back towards the cabin.
Sam was already leaning against the Impala when he reached him and he looked up as Dean approached, giving a slightly tentative smile. He'd meant every word he'd said but he regretted how much they'd hurt his brother. Now he just wanted to forget all about the conversation – he was tired of this atmosphere that seemed to come between on an almost daily basis now.
Dean recognised that Sam clearly wanted to move past their latest discussion and he returned the smile as best he could, trying to put aside thoughts of what would happen to Sam when he was gone. There was nothing he could do about that, all he could do was try his best while he was still alive. And for now that meant pretending their last conversation never happened.
He unlocked the car and they both got in, Sam glancing at him to try and gauge his mood.
"We should stop at the next big town we come to, replace your phone." he said and Dean shrugged.
"And your boots."
Dean looked across and saw Sam was grinning, a genuine smile this time, and he found himself joining him.
"You can quit finding this so funny you know, at least I didn't lose my shoe because of my own stupidity." he said, without any heat.
"Hey, mine was because of that rabbit's foot."
"You keep telling yourself that, Sammy."
As always it was the affectionate use of the nickname Sam pretended to dislike, although not so much these days, that truly lightened the atmosphere and Sam felt the tension that had been sitting across the back of his neck relax.
As Dean started the engine and pulled round the cabin to get back on the track he frowned.
"Can you hear that?" he said and Sam gave him a quizzical look.
"That noise. I swear the engine doesn't sound quite right."
Sam listened but honestly couldn't hear anything.
"Sounds fine to me." he said and Dean rolled his eyes.
"Says the expert mechanic. Think I'll have to check it out next time we stop. This damn track probably knocked something loose." he said and Sam just smirked.
As they headed through the trees and back towards civilisation, Sam found himself saying a quick prayer for Mr Okanaru and his son. And for any innocent victims that had been caught up in the quest for vengeance. Dean was right about that part. It was always the innocents that suffered.
He glanced across at his brother, taking in the familiarity of the way Dean casually gripped the wheel, the look of mild concentration as he searched for the track he wanted on the stereo and the quick grin he flashed Sam when he realised his brother was watching him.
As he turned his gaze back to the passing trees he found himself wondering if he really would become like Mr Okanaru, without that solid presence beside him. He swallowed. Whether Dean liked it or not, Sam was going to find a way out of this deal for him.
He had to.
And hopefully that way, he'd never find out the answer to his question.