Dean didn't stop driving backwards until the other truck was in sight. Slamming to a halt he was out and around to Sam's side. Yanking the door open, Dean gently eased one arm between Sam's back and the seat. He did his best to ignore how Sam tried to arch away from his touch and the way his brows pulled together, pain etching his face.
"C'mon, Sammy, we're getting out of here."
Sam mumbled something but the actual words were lost somewhere in his throat. Dean caught one hand that flapped in his direction. Sam managed to get his other arm over Dean's shoulders. Carefully, Dean eased Sam from the truck.
The minute Sam's feet hit the ground his knees buckled and his weight headed down nearly dropping Dean to his knees. His leg throbbed and threatened to stop supporting them both. Gritting his teeth and tightening his fingers around Sam's wrist, Dean grunted, gulped air into his lungs, and staggered from the partially wrecked truck to the other one.
Thankfully, the door was unlocked. Dean's hands were full of his brother so busting the window and clearing out the glass would've been difficult. He shoved Sam inside. "Just give me two minutes, Sammy, then we're outa here."
"Dean." Sam's voice was a wet whisper. Dean narrowly avoided slamming Sam's hand in the door when Sam reached out and grasped his wrist. "Don't leave…please…"
Putting Sam's hand over his stomach, Dean rubbed his arm for a few seconds. "I have to. I promise I'd—"
"No, Sam, it won't. I promise. It won't. I've got it covered. Just a few minutes and we're gone." He pushed Sam's wet bangs from his eyes and combed his hair back into place along the back of his head.
Before Sam could grab him again, or offer more protests, Dean shut the door gently. Grabbing one of the bags of salt from the truck bed, Dean laid a hasty line around the truck Sam sat in. Taking an extra bag of rock salt from the truck, along with the cans of gasoline he dropped them into the bed of the damaged truck. Climbing into the pickup's cab, Dean drove as fast as possible to the spot farther along the tunnel where the skeletons were.
He spent all of a minute uncovering as much of the bones as possible and liberally coated them with salt and then gasoline. The rest of the salt and gas was spread back and forth through the tunnel and over the damaged truck. Dean started the truck, left it idling in park. Lighting a match, he tossed it onto the prepared bones. Another lit match went into the bed of the truck.
The image of the small boy appeared next to him. Ezra smiled. He moved in fits and starts and climbed between his skeleton and that of his teacher's. He sat there, watching Dean and the fire, his face calm and peaceful. Raising one hand he waggled his fingers at Dean.
Dean returned the silent farewell.
By the time he was climbing into the second truck with Sam, the entire end of the tunnel was in flames. The explosion from the other truck combined with screeching Dean recognized as the demon.
Sam doubled over, hugging himself tightly with both arms wrapped around his middle. Dean knew his brother well enough to know the scream ripped out of him was pure agony.
Slamming his foot down on the gas pedal, the tires spun for a few seconds on the damp ground before the truck jerked forward. Dean gunned the engine. He had to twist and turn the steering wheel at a frantic speed to correct the truck's fishtailing as he drove up the incline and into the open. Rain immediately assaulted the windows of the pickup.
Dean didn't stop the truck until he was on the road leading away from the orphanage. Twisting in his seat, he laid one hand on Sam's back, rubbing between his shoulder blades. His screaming had turned to hitched breathing and soft groans. Entire body shuddering Sam didn't do much to resist when Dean pulled him upright and leaned him against the seatback. Dean let his hand rest on Sam's chest.
Between the wind and rains on the outside and the fire eating away the parts within, the orphanage was done for. It crumpled, almost in slow motion, in on itself. Cracking and moaning of walls mixed with the rattle of waves crashing the shore. Minutes later the old wood of the building was claimed by incoming waves of surging ocean and pulled out to sea. Dean saw no telltale oily cloud of black leave, but Sam passing out in the seat beside him let Dean know the link with the demon was severed for now at least.
He made his way back to where the Impala was parked. Twice he'd tried to contact Concha, but the calls wouldn't go through. Sam, while he never was actually conscious for the ride, he mumbled out half words. Twisting this way and that, he wasn't still the entire time, radiating so much pain and fear. Dean gripped the steering wheel so tightly his fingers and arms cramped. He hated not being able to shield Sam.
Relief washed through Dean when he was finally able to get Sam into the back of the Impala. On some level his brother must have registered where he was because he quieted and stilled. Grabbing their first aid kit from the trunk, Dean crouched in the open back door, wincing at the pressure to his injured leg, and took a good look at Sam's feet and ankles. They were cut up, though most the blood had stopped oozing. Small welts and bruising covered the bottom and sides of his feet. A ragged path of red welts covered Sam's skin to just over the round jut of bone above each foot. He could see bits of glass and metal stuck into his brother's flesh.
Sighing, Dean leaned back and ran one hand over his face. A few thick swallows, soap and a soft cloth in hand, Dean took a hold of the heel of Sam's right foot, and began dabbing at the wounds. His relief at being here vanished with the kick to his shoulder he got from Sam. Gripping harder, he tried again with the same results. Holding Sam's leg as tightly as he could was no good either. Every touch to the tender skin earned Dean a reflexive kick from Sam.
His own achy leg prevented him from staying in one position for too long or give him good enough leverage to hold Sam still.
"Aw…Sammy…c'mon…dude if I don't get the glass out and get you cleaned up you'll get sick." Dean was convinced Sam was losing color and getting feverish.
He needed a way to keep his brother still for this, since Sam wasn't awake enough to be reasoned with or threatened or cajoled into putting up with it and being still. Something that was a strong enough sedative to stop Sam from kicking was what he needed. Unfortunately it was something he didn't have. He did, however, have a sizeable wad of cash.
Not sure liquor would work because he didn't think he could get Sam to drink anything right now, Dean pushed Sam back far enough into the car he could close the door. He slid into the driver's seat, every bit of him aching. All he wanted to do was sleep. Dean started the car engine and left the parking garage. Hopefully he'd be able to find somewhere to buy what he needed. If not, Dean wasn't at all above looting, except if he were caught Sam would be worse off than he was now.
The winds had died down and the rain was falling at a steady pace, but not blinding like before. The air around them was hot, muggy and dank smelling, yet both he and Sam shivered.
Driving aimlessly along the streets looking for a decent sized pharmacy or some kind of doctor's office or clinic, Dean found them back on the evacuation route. He pulled out his phone and tried Concha again, this time getting her voicemail. He left her a message.
The town was in shambles, more buildings were rubble than not. Guilt stabbed a path through Dean's middle, so many of these people lost loved ones, their homes, everything. Neither he nor Sam could have stopped the hurricane of course, but it made Dean a bit sick to see the mass of destruction and hurt it caused.
Dean could only be thankful, his family, his home had survived, battered and bruised, but they'd survived.
His cell phone jangling gave him a reason to pull to the side of the road for a few minutes.
"Concha? How's Dante?"
"In recovery. He'll be fine. We got shipped to a Naval base, but don't ask me where. You and Sam okay?"
"We're fine. How about you?"
Her response of she was fine made Dean snort, she sounded anything but fine.
"Back at ya."
"Fair enough. Sam's pretty cut up and I'm just beat, but we'll find somewhere to hole up and get patched up and be good as new in a week." Maybe two.
"I'll call you later, I have to go, they're moving him to his room. Take care."
Dean closed the phone and leaned his head back, letting his eyes shut. He told himself it was just for a few minutes. When he woke to the sound of gunfire, jerking up so fast he had to think about where he was the rain had eased even more and the sky was darkening. Not wanting to be around anyone shooting off guns right now, Dean got back on the road. He hadn't gotten too far when he spotted tents and a sign reading Red Cross.
Driving as close as he could to the area with the most gurneys, beds and medical supplies, Dean cut the engine and climbed out of the car. He was slow and stiff and had to ignore how he grunted every time he put weight on his left leg. There were people everywhere but no one was really paying attention to him or his car. Not wanting to leave Sam alone, he decided he was going to have to get his rather large little brother out by himself and over to the medical staff.
Pulling open the door Sam leaned against, Dean caught him before he flopped out of the car. Arms under Sam's shoulders and around his chest, Dean eased him out of the car.
"Honey, what happened?" The woman's voice nearly had him jumping out of his skin. Dean had never heard anything so wonderful in his life.
He pivoted on his good leg. "Building collapsed." It was close enough to the truth Dean figured.
"Does he have a head injury?" She pushed up Sam's right eyelid, then his left.
"No, I don't think so. He's cut up, and dehydrated I'm sure. It was a while before I could get him out. I think he has a fever." It was funny how demon attack and exposure sounded a like.
She had dark chocolate skin and even darker eyes that crinkled in the corners. Her hair was tight curls and mostly gray. Dean saw she barely came to his shoulders. She was probably someone's grandmother and here she was in this disaster of a mess. Stepping away, she held out one hand. "I think you're right. Stay there. Stay right there, I'll be right back."
A minute later she was back, gurney in tow. "I can help you get him out."
"Na…I got him." Dean pulled Sam out of the car and hoisted him, somewhat awkwardly and ungracefully, onto the waiting gurney. He pushed the gurney over the uneven ground as the woman directed where to go.
The woman's eyes skimmed critically over Dean. She'd no doubt immediately seen how he hobbled more than walked and how much of his own weight he leaned against that gurney. "You're hurt too."
Dean was beyond trying to hide anything at this point. He looked down at his leg, bent and flexed his knee a few times. "I gouged it a few days ago on something. It's not deep, but it smarts."
The woman nodded and patted his arm. "A doctor will check you both out as soon as possible." She headed off to attend other patients.
"He's going to need some sort of sedative." Dean tried telling the doctor who got to them an hour later.
"These are superficial; maybe I can do this without anything. Lets get him started on some antibiotics, he allergic to anything?"
Dean shook his head no and watched with amusement as the doctor grabbed one of Sam's feet. The kick he got knocked the man back a few steps and nearly on his ass. Meeting Dean's eyes the doctor gave him a lopsided grin.
"Sedatives are good. Be right back."
Dean sat on a crate near Sam's shoulders, one hand resting on Sam's head and watched while bits of glass and metal were removed from his brother's feet, then back. Nothing was deep enough for sutures and an hour later Dean was feeling much better with his brother's wounds cleaned. The woman came back and gave them both an injection of antibiotic and some blankets.
It wasn't until he was completely satisfied everything had been done for Sam he rolled his jeans up and let the doctor clean the days old gash in his leg. Dean took the doctor's offer of ibuprofen.
Folding one arm on the gurney beside Sam, Dean leaned his head down and watched the people. Most were there for food and some kind of shelter. It was a miracle more weren't there for medical care. There was food on the opposite side of the camp set up, but Dean didn't want to leave Sam alone that long, worried how his brother would react to waking up in a throng of people alone.
"How's he doing?" The kind woman was back. She shoved a Styrofoam container of something steaming into Dean's hand. "He'll be asleep for a bit yet."
Dean stared at what she'd given him for a minute before looking up at her. "Thanks." The container was full of canned chicken soup and he downed it almost in one gulp.
She patted Dean's shoulder; "You get some rest now too. Your brother is going to be fine."
"How'd you know? I never said—" Panic surged through Dean's chest. How the hell did he get trapped like this? Damn freak hunters after Sam were everywhere.
"Honey, calm down. It's written all over your face. When you've been doing this for thirty some odd years like I have, you learn to tell."
Dean forced himself to relax. Letting his head drop down again it was all he could do to keep his eyes open. When Sam rolled partially on his side, facing Dean and his arm settled over Dean's shoulders, his fingers curled into the material covering Dean's arm, Dean's eyelids got too heavy and there was no way he was staying awake.
When he opened his eyes again it was because Sam was shaking his shoulder gently. "Where are we?" Sam's voice was low and soft.
"Somewhere outside Grover's Point. Red Cross set this up."
Sam sat up. Dean got stuck halfway when he tried standing up. Grinning a bit, Sam reached out, took his arm and helped him straighten. "They run out of cots when they got to you?"
"Nope," Dean gave Sam's arm a light smack before he sidestepped and leaned on the gurney. "How ya feel?"
Yawning, Sam twisted his torso side to side before answering. "Like shit. How about you?"
"It was there. You got me out." Sam looked up at him.
"I…you shouldn't have—"
Sam cut him off with a hand on his arm. "You got there. That's what is important to me." He looked around at the others in the camp for a minute before coming back to look at Dean. "What about it?"
Dean shrugged. "I don't know. The orphanage is gone, totaled. I heard it, but never saw it after I got you away from it. I'll take you back there, you can see for yourself." He motioned to Sam's feet dangling off the gurney. "Think you can walk?"
"They hurt, but yeah. Might need some help. I sure don't think I'm going to be wearing anything but tennis shoes for a while."
Hooking one arm around Sam's middle, Dean guided him to the ground. Sam hobbled along, leaning some of his weight against Dean as they made their way to the Impala. Once Sam was safely tucked inside, Dean leaned in the window. "I'll be right back."
Sam's eyebrows rose, but he stayed quiet, nodding once.
Making his way back through the many people, Dean found the woman who'd helped him get Sam treated. Taking her hands in his, Dean leaned down and kissed her cheek. "Make sure this helps the right people." He folded her fingers around the wad of money he'd taken from Calgary's truck, winked and disappeared into the shadows before she could say or do a thing.
The sun was burning off the early morning dew when Dean stopped the Impala as close to the shoreline as possible. Sam was walking slowly, but he was walking unassisted finally after three days. They stood watching the surf, still white capped and high, as it splashed against the sand and rocks.
"Ezra's gone." Sam broke the silence.
"He showed me where his bones were, and the woman's. He helped me find you. There were trucks left by Calgary and Malloy. I dumped salt and gasoline on the bones and the truck and set the whole thing on fire."
Sam laughed from deep in his chest. It was a wonderful sound that made Dean relax and spread warmth through him. "You just had to blow something up."
"Hey! The building was starting to float away anyway. Heck, I did the county a favor and got rid of the debris."
"What about Calgary and his men?"
Dean turned and pointed to the trees. "Left one guy tied up there, the others were in the orphanage, I don't know if they got away or not."
Sam shrugged. Bending over he snatched a branch from the ground and flung it at the ocean. "There'll just be someone else in their place. My face is on a video and it's a sure bet others saw it too, even if those guys didn't make it."
"We have to be careful, Sam. Not let our guard down."
"It wasn't you."
Sam smiled, "I know that too. Some days I have to tell myself that a few extra times, though. I have to remind myself it wasn't my fault." He stopped and drew in a breath, looking out at the ocean. "The demon isn't here anymore. When the orphanage went, the demon must have too. Or it was destroyed."
"This one might have been, but there're others, Sammy." Dean scuffed one toe in the thin grass sprouting out of the sand. "Sam, listen—"
"No. Dean, you listen. Please, listen to me and believe me. You got me out of there. Those men didn't kill either one of us and you got me away from that demon. You can't keep it away forever, and I know that. It's okay, Dean it really is."
"But what it did, Sammy. I understand now, I saw some for myself."
"The minute you were there the things it did and I saw, they weren't real anymore. I could tell as soon as you got there, it sort of lost some power. It was almost as if it panicked. I'm not going to kid you, it hurts me and scares me, but it doesn't have the power over me it did at first. Maybe neither of us can stop it, but it sure can't stop us from protecting each other. It can't keep you from looking out for me, not ever. That's what is more important to me."
"There isn't anything that can do that, Sammy."
"That I've always known. I'm sorry for what I said, about you being obsessed. You're not Dad, not even close. I know now you'd never turn into what he did. You're better, and I really mean that."
Sam's eyes slid at him, but Dean just smiled and patted his brother's arm. He knew Sam intended it as a compliment to him and not anything against their father. He understood what Sam was trying to say, what he was struggling to make up for. Dean felt better; Sam's efforts were more than enough.
This demon and this storm were part of history now, but Dean knew it was only the first rumblings of rougher weather ahead. Sam nudged Dean's side with his elbow as he slowly made his way back to the car. Dean took another few seconds to watch the ocean before following his brother. Another day and they'd be leaving, heading straight into another brewing storm.
More importantly they'd be going there together.