Disclaimer: I own nothing Supernatural. All characters belong to the CW and Kripke Scrap Metal and Entertainment Company.
A/N: This final chapter does not alternate back to pre-Series. My thanks as always to my beta's: Merisha and Scotia. This story is infinitely better because of them. All remaining errors are entirely my own. The story belongs to Merisha.
A/N 2: Thanks to everyone who reviewed! To those of you who alerted and made the story (or me!) a favorite, thank you, it's very flattering. For those of you who did that and didn't review, come on and tell me what you liked best.
ooooo December 2005 ooooo
It was only about 10 o'clock when Sam got back to the room, Dean had fallen asleep and to Sam's relief the IV lines and Foley catheter had been removed while he was collecting the car. The IV stand was still in the room, and the IV port was still taped to the back of Dean's hand, but everything else was gone. Sam called Jeremy to work out the return of his family's car and was grateful when Jeremy offered to pick up the car at the hospital. He had really hoped to see him before they left Florida, and somehow he didn't think his brother would be willing to drive back to Ormond Beach. When Jeremy and Jenny came to the room a few hours later and knocked, Sam walked to the door to greet them. Jeremy gave Sam a hefty care package. He raised his eyebrows, looking in the bag. "What's in here?"
"Cuban sandwiches, plantains, key lime pie, fresh fruit, meatloaf sandwiches, coleslaw … " He shook his head sadly, "Our cook went into overdrive when she heard Dean was in the hospital, and," poking Sam on the shoulder, "she thinks you're too thin. She emptied our pantry." He looked toward the door. "Can we see Dean?"
"Let's walk down and get coffee first. He's asleep, actually he's been sleeping a lot, but the doctor said it's the best thing for him. She gave me the green light on a cup of coffee for Dean earlier." He set the bag inside the room and walked them to the cafeteria. Jeremy told him that most of the group had decided to make this a road trip and brought several cars. They were going to visit the Space Center and then drive slowly back up the coast and get in a little sightseeing. The others had gone on to Cape Canaveral after dropping him and Jenny at the hospital but would be back to pick them up in an hour or so.
When they got back to the room, Sam said, "Let me wake him up before you come in." He stepped back into the room, closing the door most of the way, then came around the curtain. He really was glad he asked Jill about coffee on the drive to her house, but what he should have done was ask her if Dean had managed to contract some kind of sleeping sickness. He knew without question that if there could possibly be a single tsetse fly in Florida it wouldn't rest until it found and infected his brother.
He took the lid off the coffee and waved it under Dean's nose, then stood back. "Hey, dude, you have visitors."
Dean opened his eyes gradually, then took a deep breath. "Coffee?"
Sam brought the back of the bed up until Dean was sitting almost upright, then handed him the cup. "Jill said you could have a cup of the real stuff." Dean took a huge gulp, looking blissful. He turned puzzled eyes to Sam. "You said I had visitors?"
"Yeah, Jeremy and Jenny came. They're picking up his car and they brought us an enormous care package. You ready?" He watched Dean run his hand through his spiky hair. "Want a comb?"
"Oh right, like you own one. Besides, it looks better messy." He scrubbed his hair with all ten fingers to prove it. "Kind of wished I could brush my teeth though." He ran his tongue over his teeth, then looked at him worriedly. "Are you going to be OK with me and Jenny talking?"
"Of course I am…" but before he could start an apology to his brother, Dean interrupted him.
"Because, I am in bed", spreading his hands out, "in bed, Sam, a hospital bed, wounded…"
"Unshaven, unwashed, bad breath …"
"I was going to say manly and irresistible." He rubbed his stubble, then looked at Sam again and waggled his brows. "I'm just saying that she might jump my bones the instant she sees me."
"We'll pray that won't be the case." Grinning he walked to the door to invite their guests in. She didn't jump his bones, at least not while he and Jeremy were in the room. After a few minutes, he gave them some time alone by walking downstairs with Jeremy. They talked until the rest of his friends swung by. Jenny joined them in a few minutes, and once Jeremy had brought his car up from the hospital lot they left. He waved until the last car disappeared.
When he got to the room, Dean was upright and walking slowly toward the bathroom, rolling the IV stand with him. He was leaning on it, and taking small steps, but he waved off Sam who darted forward to take an elbow. He made it into the bathroom, and after several long minutes, re-emerged and shuffled back to the bed. He looked pale but otherwise OK to Sam.
"That was wonderful."
"How's your head?"
"Fine. Really. It hurts but nothing a couple of aspirin won't fix at this point."
They eventually stayed through Saturday morning, not so much because Dean couldn't walk for five minutes on Friday, he did, just not as well as the doctor wanted him to. It was a free bed, free food, free wi-fi, and the safest place Sam could think of to guard Dean until they left Florida. He hadn't left at night since he'd arrived on Wednesday, even though he knew he had a bed at Jill's house, just in case some damned spirit or chupacabra was drawn irresistibly to his brother. Jill had pulled some strings and had a cot placed in the room for him.
After check out, Sam drove them very carefully to Jill's house in Cocoa Beach. Jill apologised profusely for forgetting Adam's bracelet and reassured them that Adam was under orders to leave anything with ape fur in the garage, vacuum the house, and keep his room's door closed, but she still pressed an antihistamine on Dean as soon as they arrived. It was just them and the McDevitt's – not loud, more food than drink, comfortable and to Sam, homey. The McDevitt's were interested in their 'full time jobs' but they carefully limited what they would talk about to animals and shapeshifters, deliberately going for the humor and not the kill. Dean told a story about their father and a flock of possessed geese that had Sam laughing so hard he started to cry. Sam gave their one exception to the animal rule that evening and described driving the car into the house in Jericho, and he finally found out what had happened in that cave in Ocala.
Dean and Adam retired to the family room for a private 'man to man' discussion, where Sam found them a few hours later, Dean snoring on a recliner, and Adam on the floor in front of the TV. He wasn't sure who had fallen asleep first. Adam's dad carried the boy to bed, and Sam coaxed and prodded Dean into the guest room.
To Sam's surprise, they ended up staying until Monday because, as he said, Dean was positive that not even Florida could outmojo Jill. Before they left, Jill helped restock their first aid kit, and wrote the promised prescription for epi-pens, as well as for good sized bottles of Vicodin and a broad band antibiotic. An hour after breakfast, Dean was practically pulling Sam to the car he was so anxious to leave. Their goodbyes were brief, but the sincere affection the family had for his brother was obvious. Dean got behind the wheel and headed for Route 1.
"We should make good time out of here. We'll make Waycross in four, four and a half hours tops if we don't stop." He glanced at Sam. "And I'm not stopping for anything. Not for food, not for bikinis, not for a shuttle launch, wildlife, or for you, Mr. Tiny McBladder, to take a piss. Unless a fucking Florida thunderbird picks up the car and carries us off, we'll have our next meal in Georgia."
They were about three hours into the drive, joking and carefully not talking about anything important, when Sam decided it was time to talk about Dad. They still hadn't heard anything and now that Dean was OK, he had the opportunity to concentrate one hundred percent on being pissed off all over again that Dad wasn't talking to them. He took a deep breath and looked at Dean.
"I'm fine Sam, still awake."
"Uh, good, but I want to talk about what you said in the hospital."
"About being sexier in bed? About time you asked me for advice. I can give you…"
"No, Dean, what you said about letting me go."
"Old shit, old Florida shit. We need to drop this and move on. Did you find us a hunt?"
"I need to talk to you about this. I need to know what you meant. How could Dad be right about us not talking?"
Dean rubbed his face. "You serious about this?" He cut his eyes over. Sam was prepared – he was wearing his 'determined' face, or at least that's what Dad always called it. Dean called it his god damn pouty face. He sighed. "You and Dad, Sam, you and Dad are the stubbornest people in the world. OK, look, we'll do this once and then we won't talk about it again. And we'll do it while we are still in this fucking state, and then we'll leave all of this crap behind us and never come back. Deal?"
"Deal. Tell me about letting me go."
He didn't respond at first, clearly planning what he would say. "You remember the call when I called you a Skunk Ape now, right? I was in the hospital, high as a kite on morphine." Sam made a noise, "Yeah, I know, you thought I was drunk. Still I screwed up and you were pissed. So you called back to ream me out. Do you know how long it had been since you last called?"
"Over two months, almost three." He pulled up at a light. "I didn't mind Sam, you were busy, and I got that. But I was calling you maybe two or three times a month for two years – and no matter when I called, you never picked up, not once, until I called from the hospital phone and you didn't recognize the number. I'm glad I made that call now – if you hadn't have been so pissed off, I probably would have died right there in my car. You saved my life that night in Canaveral, and I'll never forget that."
Sam felt a renewed wash of guilt remembering all the times Dean had called and he had watched as the call rolled over to voice mail. He just couldn't answer it, whether it was fear of being sucked back into the life, or anger at his Dad and Dean, he didn't know. It seemed easier not to have to deal with whatever Dean had to say in real time. And there wasn't one thing he could say to Dean that wouldn't be some kind of excuse or rationalization so he kept his mouth shut.
"Dad was, um, angry that I was still calling you, and to top it off I was going to be out of commission for at least a month, so he left… anyway the point is that Dad and I talked when we finally hooked up again. Calling you was just pulling you back into the life. And trying to pretend that by not talking about hunting it would change anything ... what a crock." He trailed off as he merged onto 95 North off of the Jacksonville beltway. "Dad was right, just like that teacher was right. If you wanted Stanford, if you wanted normal, you needed a clean break. You needed both of us out of your life, not just Dad. You knew that when you left. Dad knew that and it made him crazy that I didn't get it fast enough."
"How long were you out of commission? How long before you saw Dad again."
"Had to be six weeks. He tracked me down at Bobby's." He cleared his throat and ran his hand through his hair. "That's when Dad and Bobby, they, argued. Bobby threatened Dad with a shotgun. I don't think they've talked since."
"They were always arguing. What made this … were they fighting about you?"
"Hell, no, they were both out of line. Like two grizzlies fighting over a prime fishing spot." He thought about that a second, "and before you say something, no, I wasn't the fishing spot or anything like that." He laughed a little and shook his head. "Might have been one of the fish. Dad and I left, and my shoulder got better, you know, working out."
"The Panama Canal?"
Dean looked kind of sheepish. "Oh, I said that? It wasn't much, just a scale version. And he let me use a hubcap." He looked at Sam again. "OK, we done?" Sam nodded. "That's the Florida talk. We aren't going to talk about this again whether it's your 'determined' face or not. And if you ever bring this up again, if you mention it, if you want to get all emo about it, I'll kick your skinny ass right back to Florida and leave you."
Sam was quiet for a few minutes. No matter how much he denied it, fought it, screamed and yelled about it, his Dad was right. Maybe. He'd have to think about it. But he'd been relieved that Dean hadn't called back, God forgive him, relieved.
He took a deep breath. "Dean, you said not calling me anymore was better for me, and better for Dad. Was it better … was it better for you not to call me anymore?"
He was met with a stony silence. He risked a glance over, and saw Dean's hands gripping the steering wheel so tightly his knuckles were white. Dean finally turned his head minutely toward Sam, eyes still wary but a slight smile on his face. "You are aware that we are still in Florida, right? I could pull over right now and put you out on the side of the road and leave your ass here."
He huffed out a laugh, and stretched his back a little bit, releasing a build up of tension in his back and shoulders he wasn't even aware he'd had. He'd eventually come to his own conclusion on that question. He smiled, and followed his brother's lead. "You wouldn't."
"Oh, yes, I would."
"A chupacabra could bite me."
"Welcome to my world."
"A Skunk Ape could run off with me."
Dean fished in his shirt pocket and handed Sam an antihistamine. "Enjoy the love fest."
"A tsetse fly could give me sleeping sickness. I could be caught in freak orange juice factory explosion…"
"A what? A fucking tsetse fly? And now you're scared of orange juice? Suck it up, pansy."
"Besides, you couldn't put me out on the side of the road. You only got out the hospital a few days ago. And I'm taller than you, and stronger, and I know how to fight back." He crossed his arms and nodded. "And you can't stop since we're still in Florida." He grinned.
Dean pointed at the 'Welcome to Georgia" sign as they passed it. "You know what this means, you skinny freak?" Not waiting for an answer, he pulled into the parking lot of the Georgia Welcome Center. He looked at Sam with what could only be gleeful anticipation. "Stronger than me? You think you're stronger than me? And that a little concussion will slow me down? Do you really want to find out if I can't force you out of this car, bitch?" He opened the door and stepped out.
My next story, OBX, should start posting in the next few weeks.
Shameless Reminder #2 – if you have not already, I hope you'll check out the fanfic auction K Hanna Korossy is running June 28 - July 12, 2008, to benefit a fellow writer, publisher, and friend who is in need of a wheelchair. The auction can be found at www (dot) thefreeauction (dot) com, under Miscellaneous-General, and registering to bid is fast and free. Donations are also gratefully accepted. For questions or to make a donation, please contact K Hanna Korossy.