Twenty-four hours later Sam Winchester was a very happy young man. He was getting released from the hospital, they were leaving town, the spirits were gone, he had his family and he was alive. What more could a kid ask for? Well, a kid living one freaky-ass, as-far-as-you-can-get-from-normal life, Sam smiled inwardly.
Dean had gone to their house to pack up their things and his dad was out taking care of the hospital bill. Wonder what alias it is this week, Sam smiled again. He often felt guilty about the credit card and insurance fraud they were constantly committing, especially when it hurt nice people like Dr. Wolcott. But on the other hand, this town owed him big time, so he'd let the guilt slide this once.
John walked up to the admissions desk and took his wallet out. He hated that the little savings he had would have to go to pay the bill, putting the rest on their emergency card, but he had no choice. In their panic to get Sam help they had used their real names. Richard Ricardo's insurance card would just have to wait.
The sooner they settled up, the sooner he could get his boys out of town. He had gone back out to the Drexler house hoping the SUV was still there but not surprised when it wasn't. John was sure it wouldn't be hard to track down. He made a plan to take Dean and Sam a few towns over, get them settled in a motel, then come back and finish the job. He fully intended to make good on his promise to Hugh and the other men for what they had nearly cost his family. He'd just have to do it real subtle-like.
The receptionist came up just then and as John went to hand her his card, she stopped him.
"Your son's bills have all been taken care of, Mr. Winchester."
John couldn't hide his surprise. "By who?"
The girl handed him a small envelope and smiled, then went about her duties.
John walked over to the seats nearby and opened the letter.
I cannot convey to you enough how truly sorry I am for all that you and your family have suffered at the hands of our town. Despite our fear and desperation, it offers no excuse for causing your son harm.
You needn't worry about Hugh Mitchell and the other men. We take care of our own here…in more ways than one. I can assure you they will never be able to hurt anyone ever again.
I have mourned the loss of my friends the Drexlers for so long, and I am grateful their spirits are at last at rest, thanks to you. I regret knowing Albert's actions – Hattie's too, perhaps – may cost their souls dearly. But wherever their fates lie, I can only hope Tommy finds peace among the angels.
Your son's bills have been settled. Again, I know it's a small gesture in the grand scheme of things, but one I hope you will accept.
We're good people, Mr. Winchester, I promise you. I pray in time you'll be able to forgive us for failing to stop certain actions in time.
God bless you, Dean and especially Sam.
John folded the note back up and put it in his pocket, glancing down the hallway toward Sam's room. He appreciated Alice and the town making the effort – somehow he got the feeling Hugh and the others weren't getting off any easier with them that they would have with John – but thinking back on the past few days and what he had nearly lost, he was going to hold onto his malice for a while longer.
On their way out of town, Sam noticed from the back seat the various townspeople watching them leave. Though they were again staring, it was different. The stares weren't haunting and full of shock as they had been before. Now they were looks of sadness and regret, and perhaps a little gratitude.
Sam was glad to be able to see David before leaving. John had wanted to get out of town as soon as possible but Sam had insisted. He needed to see for himself that the boy was okay. And David did seem alright. He honestly couldn't remember much of what had happened, which was probably a good thing. But Sam could tell David would be haunted by the experience for a long time. He knew they both would.
But Sam was okay. He had Dean and his father – well, mostly Dean, if things fell back into form as they inevitably would – to help him through it. Shifting to make himself more comfortable in the back seat, he heard Dean tell his Dad to pull over. He looked up to see Dean lean over the seat to address him.
"Wanna sit up front for a while?"
Sam was truly shocked. "In your whole life you have never asked me that," Sam said, unable to keep the surprise out of his voice.
"Yeah, well, I didn't realize just how freakishly tall you've gotten 'til I was hauling your ass out of that house," Dean said, forcing a little more snark and humor into his delivery to mask his own bad memory of that moment.
John sat looking straight ahead but smiling.
"So?" Dean asked.
Sam said nothing at first, then "Yeah, okay. I could sit up there for a while."
With a nod, Dean got out just as Sam did and as they passed each other, Sam gave him a tell-tale smile.
Dean gave his hair an affectionate ruffle and climbed into the back seat, Sam into the front. As John set out again, Sam heard Dean call from the back.
"But don't even THINK of changing the music, Geekboy!"
"Boys, what have I always told you…"
Sam and Dean shared a knowing look and smile over the bench seat and said in unison:
"Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole!"
Author's Note: Well, that's it! My first-ever story completed! Thanks again for all your kind words and support.
Already working on my next adventure, but please have patience cause it's gearing up to be a doozy! Will look forward to reading all your comments once again! Till then, Blessed Be!