Summary: Sam and Dean finish a hunt only to find there was a witness to the showdown, a witness who makes a demand of his own…
Righto… Here you have it all finished up. I've done everything I can think of to wring a review out of y'all and I'm grateful for every last one of them. Hope you enjoyed this one. This whole story was a very lame excuse to write a certain scene in this chapter…
Dean pulled up in front of the motel room door and put the car in park. He'd gotten them out of the hospital with a minimum of fuss, leaving just as they heard a flurry of people heading toward the morgue. Mrs. Calvert had probably run for help and security or the police had come running. Dean had simply headed the other way with a very groggy brother in tow.
"How you doin'?" Dean asked quietly, watching as Sam put his arm across his eyes to block the lights from the motel shining into the car.
"My brain feels like it's about to liquefy and a dead guy just apologized for making me shoot him," Sam muttered. "I feel great."
"Glad to see your sense of humor is still non-existent." Dean gingerly shifted against the seat, mindful of his back. He'd caught a handle or something when the ghost had thrown him against the cabinets. His head wasn't doing him any favors either. Then again, a werewolf hadn't already tried to bash his head in, so Sam had priority right now.
Dean sighed and closed his eyes. Freaking ghost had tried to break him in half and knocked Sam senseless so it could apologize for treating Sam badly. Ghost logic. Had to love it.
Of course, the guy had been working with some pretty screwy logic even before he was dead. He'd killed himself so his wife would have the insurance money. She'd have a house, but no husband. Somehow, Dean just didn't think that was a good deal. In fact it was one of the stupidest things he could think of. Dean had so little time left, just days. Life, the time he had left with Sam, it was all there was. It was everything. It was all he would have to hold onto when… when there wasn't anything else to hold onto. And Joshua had given it all away for his wife to have a house. He'd given away all the days he would have had with his wife.
Dean had paid everything to save his brother. He hadn't done it to save their stuff. Because when you were dead, a house… at the end of the day it was all just crap that someone else had to figure out what to do with. It wasn't important.
Your car? That's Dad's. Your favorite leather jacket? Dad's. Your music? Dad's. But none of that was going to matter. It was going to be left behind. It wasn't going to mean a single thing when Dean was gone. The only thing that his dad had given him that would matter was also almost the very first thing he'd been given. Sam.
Do you even have an original thought? Maybe… maybe not. His dad had made a deal. So had Dean. But his dad had saved him so he could give his final order, to take out Sam if he went bad. Dean hadn't given any thought at all to whether or not Sam would go bad. All he'd been able to think about was saving Sam, keeping Sam alive, no matter what.
Maybe that was the difference. He and his dad were both hunters. But his dad had been obsessed with hunting anything evil that crossed his path. If that included Sam at some point then so be it. Dean protected anyone that crossed his path from whatever evil was hunting them. That most definitely included Sam. Dean had to save his brother because killing him at some point was so not an option.
Still, the end result was the same. A deal was a deal, and dead was dead. Maybe he and his dad were both obsessed bastards. Saving people, hunting things…family business.
Dean just couldn't fathom the stupidity of dying to save their stuff. Dean hadn't made the deal so Sam could keep the Impala. Of course, if the jerk didn't take care of the Impala Dean was going to come back and beat the living crap out of him. But he knew Sam would. It was their home. Most people mowed the grass, planted shrubs, bought a new sofa when theirs wore out. Winchesters changed the oil, patched the paint when she got scratched, took care of the brakes when they wore out.
"We gonna go in anytime soon?" Sam asked.
"You feel like movin'?" Dean shot back.
"Not so much," Sam said wearily. "But a bed would be nice."
"Sammy, Sammy," Dean shook his aching head, "always asking for the fancy stuff like food and a place to sleep."
"You know what they say." Sam grinned weakly. "The three basic needs. Food, firearms and shelter."
"Sick puppy." Dean felt an answering grin spread across his face. "You are turning into me."
Sam snorted and then grimaced as his head objected. "I haven't started naming the guns yet, at least."
Dean felt his throat constrict tightly. What was he going to do without Sam? How was he going to stay anywhere close to sane? The answer, of course, was that he wasn't. He was going to have to try though. Ruby had managed to hold onto some of her humanity. Maybe Dean could too. Maybe memories of Sam would help him hold on. Dean was keenly aware, however, that he was leaving Sam in the same fix he was, minus the actual Hell part. He was leaving Sam alone to fend for himself, which was almost as worrisome a prospect.
Dean set his hand on the shotgun sitting beside him on the seat. "You know, uh…" He cleared his throat nervously. "Once the deal's up… I mean…"
Sam turned toward him, already frowning. He looked at Marigold and then back up at Dean. "What?"
"It's just… you have to take good care of her for me. Salt and guns weren't really meant to go together." Dean was the one who normally cleaned the guns between hunts. It was a soothing, but also necessary ritual. Marigold always got special attention because, one, a jammed shotgun often meant a dead hunter and, two, she'd saved his ass more times than he could count. She meant a lot to him, in a twisted, firearms-are-the-closest-things-I-have-to-friends sort of way. But Marigold wasn't what this was really about.
"Dean, you're not-"
Dean cut him off, his gaze locked with Sam's over the shotgun. "She gets left by herself, no one to take care of her, I don't know what might happen." Sam swallowed heavily, understanding dawning that they weren't really talking about a gun. "She's special and I don't want her fallin' apart just cause I'm not there to see to her. She's got a lot of life in her yet and work to do."
"Promise me, Sammy." It was a demand, his tone all steel.
"Yeah," Sam finally managed. "Yeah."
Dean grinned, his eyes finally releasing his brother. "And take her to a movie every once in a while. She likes chick flicks, so you guys should get along great. Nothing smutty though, she gets embarrassed."
Sam let out a bark of laughter that was too close to a sob for comfort. "Will do."
They both reached for their doors at the same time. They got out and simultaneously leaned against the car for support, grimacing in pain as they looked at each other over the Impala's top. Dean was the first to smile, followed by Sam. "Dude, we suck at this job."
"Come on. My head's killing me." Sam headed toward the room, while Dean went to the back of the car to get their bags. "Key?" Sam called.
Dean threw the room key to him and Sam caught it one handed. Dean opened the trunk and started gathering their belongings, hearing the room door squeak as Sam opened it.
"Dean, get the Colt."
Dean didn't hesitate. He dropped everything else, grabbed the Colt, slammed the trunk closed and came up behind Sam who was standing just inside the doorway. "What is it?" And then Dean caught it too. The smell. That rotten, sulfuric smell that meant they were about to be in a world of trouble.
Dean scanned the room and didn't see anything amiss. Two beds with ugly bedspreads, one nightstand in between with a remote permanently tacked to it. One table with two chairs. One low dresser with a TV sitting on it, also permanently attached.
"The bathroom door's closed," Sam said quietly.
"Demon's taking a potty break?" Dean asked incredulously.
Sam looked at him, his mouth quirking up on one side. "Did you just say potty?"
Dean blinked. "I… Shut up." He pursed his lips. "What's it doing in there?"
"Maybe it's not a demon?"
"Why don't you go look and see?"
Sam frowned. "You go look. With my luck it'll be some nasty demon baby wanting to eat me for lunch."
"Like my luck is so much better?" Dean asked incredulously. "I think our numbers are running pretty close there on the Whoops,-I-Ran-Into-the-Spawn-of-Satan scale."
"You've got the Colt," Sam shot back.
"You're the Darth Vader of the Evil Demon Empire. Go order it to smite itself."
Sam huffed in annoyance. The entire time they'd been talking they'd been inching closer to the bathroom door. As they approached the smell became more and more intense, intense enough that Dean was almost starting to feel light-headed.
"Why hasn't it come out?" Sam whispered. "We've made enough noise to wake the dead."
"It's busy peeing itself in fear?" Dean suggested. "It's in the right place." He stretched out a hand toward the doorknob.
Suddenly Sam slapped Dean's hand away. "Crap. Dean, we're morons. Don't open the door."
"You hear that hissing?"
Sam grabbed Dean and began pulling him back toward the outside door. "It's a gas leak. The whole building could blow."
Dean's head began to clear as they stepped out into the fresh air. Sam was already dialing 911 and telling them about the leak while walking toward the office to tell the clerk so he could warn the rest of the motel guests. A bit belatedly, Dean decided to put the Colt back in the trunk before people started coming out of their rooms and screaming about the gunman in the parking lot.
Dean got in the car and pulled it up in front of the motel office. Sam came out a few seconds later and slid into the passenger seat.
Sam beside him in the Impala. It was where they were both supposed to be. It felt like home. It was home.
"Well," Dean asked, "you wanna try another motel or you wanna just drive?"
The sun was just starting to rise in the eastern sky and Sam smiled tiredly. He settled back into the seat and sighed in contentment. "Just drive."
Dean grinned and fished his sunglasses out of the glove compartment. "That I can do."
Well, that's it. Hope you enjoyed it. Tried for a more upbeat ending on this one since I depressed the heck out of even myself with the last story. A very happy Season Finale to you all. I'm not going anywhere near another story until after the season's over. I'll let Kripke and company do their thing before I go mucking about in their business again. 'Til then!