Well, here it is, guys…the final chapter. I have to say I'm really sad this is coming to an end but I feel good at the same time because it means another journey we've been on together. Arguably, a terrifying, edge of your seat kind of journey, but an exciting one nonetheless.
I want to thank each and every one of you who have taken the time to read and let me know what you think. You were the ones who kept me on track this entire time and I thank you for sticking around with me even when I wasn't doing my best at updating as often as I would have liked.
I have to give my deepest thanks and round of applause to my amazing beta, Mizpah. She really was my guiding force and she kept me focused even when I wasn't sure I was doing right by this story. She's my coach in the corner, always giving me words of encouragement and a sounding board when my rambling goes off the deep end. You truly are a wonderful person, Mum, and someone I am so proud to call a dear friend.
Please, please let me know what you think about this story as a whole. I'm not sure when my next story will be because I am currently finishing up the Virtual Season but I do know for those of you who are also reading Livin' on the Edge, my co-author, Tree66, and I will be updating that one as soon as we can get to it.
Thanks again, everyone!
Sam Winchester was exhausted and he hurt all over. The young hunter honestly didn't know how it was he was getting around when, with every single movement, pain blossomed up and down his fatigued body.
The brothers had only returned to the motel room a couple of hours ago, having spent the last day and a half at the hospital where Dean had craftily dodged questions pertaining to Sam's gunshot wound. Sam couldn't be sure since he'd been pretty much out of it at the time, but he thought he'd heard Dean say something about a carjacking gone wrong. Which was pretty tame, considering his brother could come up with some tales if given the chance.
With one shot shoulder, a set of bruised ribs, and not to mention all the other bruising and cuts peppering his lean body, Sam figured he could have doubled as one of Evander Holifield's boxing opponents—the losing opponent. The doctors had wanted Sam to stay around for a little bit longer, but after some wheeling and dealing and promises that he would return if a problem arose, they'd grudgingly let Dean take him out of there.
Which was good, considering Dean was particularly wanted after the bodies of Gordon Walker and Robbie Mallette were found. Somehow, luck had been on their sides, since no one seemed to notice Dean's picture plastered everywhere, from the television to the newspapers. Maybe they just pretended not to notice him or maybe, just maybe, someone was looking out for the brothers for once.
Sam thought it was a little too late, considering how close they'd come to dying, but he would take it. He would take any small miracle at this point.
"Hey, you feeling okay over there?" Dean asked as he stopped packing his duffel to look over at Sam.
Sam grinned. "I'm good." He tilted his head towards his wounded shoulder and arm that was now resting in a sling. "Just moving a little slower than usual, thanks to this."
"If you need help, Sammy, just ask," Dean said. "You get a free pass on acting like a girl—but just for today."
Sam chuckled. "I'll keep that in mind for later—thanks."
A small grin flitted across Dean's face. "Seriously, dude—are you okay?"
The younger Winchester let out a deep sigh. "Yeah, I think I am. Everything feels over now, you know? Like I can finally breathe for the first time in a few days."
Dean nodded. "Yeah, I know what you mean." He rubbed the back of his neck as he slowly sank down onto his bed. "I never meant for it to get that far, Sammy."
Sam frowned. "What are you talking about, Dean?"
"With Gordon and Robbie…I should have gotten there sooner," Dean admitted softly.
"Dude, don't tell me you're seriously gonna shoulder the blame for this one," Sam said as he moved to sit across from Dean.
Dean went on as if he didn't hear him. "It's just when I heard that gunshot…I freaked. I mean, hell, Sam—I just got you back again and I thought I was losing you all over again. I thought for sure Hell was trying to have the final laugh on me, you know? That what I'd done for you was gonna be all for nothing."
Sam felt a lump rise in his throat and somehow he managed to push it down. "Dean…"
"And when I saw you with Gordon—I could feel nothing but this burning rage. I knew what I was gonna do even before I did it," Dean admitted. "No matter what happened, Gordon was dead No way was he walking out of there. I wasn't gonna give him another chance at you. I just knew it was the one thing I was gonna do before my bill came due."
"You're not doubting what you did, are you, Dean?"
Dean shook his head. "No. He deserved to die. Hell, they both deserved to die."
"Then what is all this about?"
Dean looked over at his brother and gave a little shrug. "I still think they got off a little too easy. I mean, what they did to you, to Adam's family and who knows how many others, they deserve to rot for that. I can't help but think they got a martyr's death."
"That's not true, Dean," Sam said softly. "Sure, they may not be spending the rest of their lives in prison like they should be, but at least now they can't hurt anyone else. We're gonna be giving Adam some kind of closure and believe me, that will mean a lot to him."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Because it's the same way I felt when we killed the Yellow-Eyed Demon. I finally felt like I had closure from Jess's death…Mom's death. And I know you felt the same way, too."
"We may not be able to bring Adam's mother and brother back to him, but we can give him a life free from fear of Gordon and Robbie," Sam went on. "It's not like we ever set out to kill them, Dean. I know what I said before about wanting them dead, but if there was another way around it, I know you would have found it." He smiled gently. "You know, Gordon actually said something that was true."
"He said you weren't a killer, Dean." Sam knew it was hard for his brother to hear sentimental things, especially when it concerned Dean, but Sam thought he should hear it every once and a while. Dean needed to believe everything he did for everyone wasn't in vain and it was appreciated.
Sam slowly got to his feet and moved back over to his duffel. "Now, I say we get out of here and put Oneida behind us."
Dean smiled. "I think that's the best idea I've heard in a few days." He stood up and reached for Sam's bag before grabbing his own and the weapons duffel. "You think you can carry your laptop bag?"
"Dean, I can carry my duffel," Sam protested. "I do have another arm that's completely functional."
"Dude, this is the closest thing to a chick flick moment you're gonna get out of me," Dean said as he headed towards the door. "Take it while you can."
Sam grinned. "Yeah…okay."
"Close the door on your way out."
Sam did as he was instructed and followed Dean to the Impala, where his brother was loading up the bags into the trunk.
"So, you ready to get out of here?" Sam asked as Dean shut the trunk.
"Not quite," Dean admitted. "There's somewhere I wanna go first."
Pulling up to Adam's grandparents' house, Dean shut off the engine and sat there staring at the front door. He wanted to do as Sam suggested, put Oneida and everything associated with it behind him, but he felt he couldn't do that to Adam. Especially after his talk with Sam.
Dean needed the teen to feel some sense of closure, even if it was just a little, because he knew if the roles were reversed, he'd want the same thing. Hell, he'd wanted it after his mother and father had died and look at how long it took for him to finally get it. There was no reason for Adam to have to go as long without it. Not if Dean could provide it for him.
"You're doing the right thing, Dean," Sam said softly from the passenger seat.
"Yeah." Dean pushed out of the car and walked up the path towards the front door. He heard his brother following him and waited until Sam joined him before ringing the doorbell.
"Detectives," Jonah Jennings' tone was slightly surprised as he opened the door to the Winchesters. "We thought you'd forgotten about us."
"No sir," Dean answered. "Is it all right if we come in? There's something we'd like to discuss with you."
Jonah stepped back, opening the door for them. "Please, come in."
The brothers followed the elder man to the living room and were taking a seat on the sofa, just as Alice walked in.
"Jonah, who was at the—" She stopped as she noticed the young hunters sitting on the striped sofa. "Detectives! Is something wrong?"
"We wanted to come by to give you an update on your daughter and grandson's case," Dean explained.
"Did something else happen?"
"No, ma'am," Sam answered softly. "Actually, we brought it to a close."
Alice brought a hand to her mouth as she looked at Sam, noticing his shoulder. "Oh, my goodness, Detective! Are you okay? What happened?"
"Occupational hazard," Sam said with a faint smile. "But it's fine," he assured her quickly.
"Detectives, you said you had some news for us," Jonah prompted, getting the conversation back on track. "What is it?"
Dean looked around the room. "Is Adam around?"
"He's upstairs in his room," Alice answered. "Would you like for me to call him down?"
"No, that won't be necessary," Dean said. "Is it all right if I go up and talk to him alone?"
Alice traded an uneasy glance with her husband, but Jonah gave her a slight nod, indicating it would be okay. "Straight up the stairs—first door on your right," the woman said.
"Thank you," Dean said as he rose. "My partner can fill you in on everything."
Sam nodded at his brother before focusing on the two anxious adults. "We want you to know that…"
Sam's voice became softer as Dean ascended the staircase, in search of Adam's room. Coming to the landing, he went to the door indicated and knocked softly.
"Who is it?" Adam's voice asked.
"It's Detective Owens. Can I come in, Adam?"
There was silence behind the closed door before the teen softly replied, "Yeah, you can come in."
Opening the door, Dean spotted the boy sitting at his desk, playing Solitaire on his computer. "How are you, Adam?"
Adam never looked up from his game. "I know you didn't come all the way out here to see how I was doing, Detective. You could have called me on the phone to ask that."
Dean chuckled. "It's Dean—and I would like to know how you're doing."
The teen shrugged. "I'm okay."
Taking a deep breath, Dean took a seat on the trunk that sat in front of Adam's twin bed. "I thought you would like to know we found who was responsible for your mom and Micah's deaths."
Adam's hand froze around his mouse. "Really?"
"Yeah, dude…we got them."
Adam turned in his chair to finally face Dean. "How many?"
"There were two of them."
"Did they tell you why they did it?"
Because your little brother happened to look like mine and they wanted revenge against us.
Dean shook his head. "They didn't have a reason, Adam."
Adam frowned as he looked down at his feet.
You've got to understand that there are people out in the world that will do these kinds of things because they look at it as some kind of thrill. They don't care who they hurt and innocent people get caught in the crossfire. Like your mom and Micah."
Adam sniffed, but still remained silent.
"I wish this kind of evil had never touched you, Adam. I would give anything in the world to give your family back to you, but I know I can't do that," Dean gently continued. "The only thing I can do is assure you that they won't hurt you anymore."
Adam glanced up at him through teary eyes. "Did you arrest them?"
Dean could have lied and saved the kid from any more tales of bloodshed, but he felt Adam deserved the truth. "They're dead."
"Did you…" Adam's voice trailed off.
Dean nodded. "They were about to kill my partner—you remember the guy I was with earlier, right?"
Adam nodded. "Is he okay?"
Dean's lips quirked into a faint grin. "Yeah—he got hurt a little bit, but he's gonna be okay."
"I'm glad—he seems nice."
"He is," Dean agreed. "You remember what I said before about blaming yourself, don't you?"
Adam nodded again.
"I want you to keep that in mind. I don't want you blaming yourself for any of this, okay? Like I said, I know it's not gonna bring back your mom and little brother, but I'm hoping this can start to give you a little bit of closure," Dean said. "Now, I never got to meet your mom, but I know she would have wanted the best for you. She would want you to have a good life So make sure you do that, huh?"
The young teen sniffled as he nodded a third time. "Thanks, Dean."
Dean smiled. "You're welcome." Standing up, the hunter moved over to Adam's desk and jotted down something on a sheet of paper. "That's my phone number right there—if you ever need anything, you give me a call, okay? Even if it's just to talk…I'll listen."
Adam picked up the piece of paper and smiled.
Dean left the teen to himself and made his way downstairs to join Sam, who was waiting by the front door with Alice and Jonah. Alice reached out and grabbed Dean's arm, giving it a gentle squeeze.
"Thank you for what you've done for us," she said softly. "I know it won't bring my daughter and grandson back, but it's a start."
Dean nodded. "I'm just glad we could help."
He and Sam said their good-byes and made their way back to the Impala.
"Is Adam okay?" Sam asked as soon as they were seated in the car.
Dean didn't say anything for a while as he thought about the boy whose life had been destroyed so viciously and violently. It wasn't going to be an overnight fix, but just from sitting up there with Adam, Dean could tell the teen would eventually be okay.
"He will be," Dean finally answered.
Starting the Impala, Dean exchanged one more look with Sam before taking off.
Everyone will be okay. Even you will be when I'm gone, Sammy. Maybe not immediately, but I know someday you'll be okay, little brother.