Disclaimer: See Chapter One
A/N: Last chapter. Have to admit, it's a bit sad for me to post but we have to see how the story ends! Thank you so much for all your wonderful reviews. I didn't think my heart could be touched by such great words. Here we go…
Chapter Six – And My Brother
Dean was so cold, his arms hugged around his chest, his flesh goose-pimply and raw. He sat in a corner, watching, looking into the dark. It was so black he couldn't see his own hand in front of him. He could feel a wall behind him, his back was leaning against it, but there was no door that he could see, no window that he could look out of. Pitch black. He was trapped. He was cold. He was alone. He could hear, though. He heard the lub-dub of his heart, rushing blood into his body, trying desperately to warm him up. He could hear the faint screams of the Kitsune, although something told him she was dead, the screeching seemed to linger in his perfect ears resonating her taunts, haunting him. Reminding him of why they were there in the first place: Vampires. It's my fault. He hung his head down, the cold blooded sucker flinging the wooden stake again and again into his brother replayed in his mind. He'd almost gotten Sam killed, almost lost him. It was a never-ending battle. Protect Sam. Save Sam. His job was hard, eating at him every day. He lifted his head and narrowed his eyes, trying to focus on his hands. If he could only see his hands. But he couldn't, there was only the dark. The cold. There was no Sam. And if there was no Sam, Dean had no light, he had no warmth.
Fish Sticks came back in the small medical room to find Sam sitting in the rickety chair, clasping both his hands around his brother's. He intertwined his fingers and rubbed the top of his hand, talking to him, trying to ease his eyes open, begging him to squeeze his fingers, pleading for any sign that Dean was returning to him. Fish walked around the bed and turned on the overhead light so he could see the older hunter's veins better. He prepped the inner part of his elbow and stuck him, red flashing back to him right away.
"Well, that's a good sign," he said, not really meaning to say it out loud. He felt Sam's eyes on him and continued, "Good blood return, means he shouldn't be too dehydrated and since I don't have any fluids here to run through his IV, it's a good thing. I'm hoping he didn't lose too much blood from that… cut on his neck. This isn't a blood bank."
Fish had offered to fix up Sam's hand but the younger man refused. He could live with the ache for the time being. The old medic wanted to check the chest tube site but Sam's body tensed up, his hands pushing him away defensively. "It's fine." His voice stead-fast, stern. He was okay. No, he didn't want any of the Vicodin. He didn't need to sleep. He didn't need anything to be redressed. What he wanted was for his brother to open his God damn eyes, squeeze his hand, tell him to back off, tell him not to worry, he was fine. He was fine, he was fine.
Del Bert was walking into the room, Sam could hear his thick thighs rubbing together, his large boots hitting the vinyl as he made his way down the hall. He entered the small room, smiling. "Jesus, you boys, killing the Kitsunes. Jesus. Somebody send you down from Heaven?"
Sam looked away. Heaven. He stared at his brother. Sam was beginning to wonder if either of them would ever get to see the other side, see the good in the after life. Heaven was a tricky word in their vocabulary, one neither brother new how to define. Sam tried to keep his faith alive, but lately, he seemed to be losing that battle. Having faith in something bigger than him only seemed possible in one person, he kept all his faith in...
"Snapper helped me with Jewel, we've got a great big boy," John Joe said, coming up behind Del, smacking him on the back.
The three men looked over to Sam, smiling, proud, ecstatically happy. They were so thankful, so grateful, it made him want to get sick. He wanted to scream, yell at all of them to get the Hell out. This wasn't a celebration. His brother was spiritless, lost in front of him and there was nothing he could say or do that was bringing him back to him. He tried to drown their voices out, tried to ignore the baby talk, the joy of being free of the Kitsune war, the drinks were on the house, they'd meet up in the ice cream parlor. He felt his face flush with anger, tried to focus on his brother, wanted to just tell them to shut the fuck up…
"He's not waking up." Fish's voice filtered in to Sam's ears although he was talking to the other men in a hushed tone. "We'll have to give it to tomorrow and see what he does."
Del Bert shook his head in the Winchester's direction. Sam's eyes glided out of the corner of his lids to land on the big man. "Shame. They came close to making it out. The kid woulda been happy to see his car. She's comin' along."
Sam glared at the big man. "What the hell are you talking about? He's just having a hard time waking up!" His voice was louder than he intended it to be, but his body was building with blind frustration. His brother was okay. He had to be okay. Didn't they understand that? Couldn't they see? Sam still had to save him and then Dean had to save Sam. It was a horrible circle of events, a circus act without a tightrope.
Del Bert looked at the other two and then answered. "Kid, we've seen this before. The Kitsune, she took his soul…"
"No, no, no," Sam shook his head violently. "He has his heart, it's pumping so he has a life force and I checked, he still has his shadow. If he would wake up, I know... I know he would know his name. I call his name now and I know he knows it." Sam stared at his brother. "It's just…" His voice broke for a second, feeling the stinging behind his eyes and then willing them quickly away. "It's just, he's lost his person, he can't find himself."
The three Arikara were staring at Sam in odd confusion. They looked from each other to Sam to Dean and then back at each other again.
"Boy, what are you talking about?" Del Bert stammered.
Sam looked up. "It's the five parts of the human soul," he said sedulous. "Dean just lost one part, but I don't know how to give it back to him, how to help him find it again. I don't know if he'll keep losing more or… I just don't know."
The air in the small room seem to fill with heaviness, waving through their breaths like a flag after battle. It was hard to breathe, hard to take in, hard to look at the fallen hunter. As if to try to make the younger brother feel better, Fish broke the leaden silence. "You stay there, Sam." It was the first time any of the Arikara had said either boys' names. "You just keep doing what you're doing and we'll wait and see what tomorrow brings."
Del Bert turned to John Joe. "Get you that beer now, huh?"
John Joe gave him a half-hearted smile. He felt the tug from Sam, the need to be with his brother, to keep his brother safe. He felt the guilt that coming to this village had snatched something away from them. Something vital. It was evil ground, all kinds of evils lived there, nested, made homes, started families, grew strong. Stole. Fish walked by reminding Sam to come and get him for anything, he'd stay in the clinic all night. But Sam was already aware of that, there was a new soul down the hall to look after that night, too. Fish would stay. John Joe took one more look before exiting. Sam caught his eye and they held the stare for a moment.
"Waasak in kuxis kosces RAhpiis." His eyes twinkled.
"What is that?" Sam asked.
"Spirit wounded, it can be healed." He replied and slipped out to leave the brothers alone.
"Dean." Sam had waited about an hour silently, wishing, hoping, praying. But Dean hadn't moved, save for eyes darting rapidly back and forth under his lids. Fish had been in, turned on the radio for the two men, noting that Sam hadn't slept, hadn't left his brother's side, still clutching his hand, still willing him to wake up.
Fish removed the stethoscope from his ears and met Sam's anxious look. The medic's eyes were sorrowful, dimly lit, not wanting to make contact with the younger Winchester. "I don't know, kid." He said shaking his head. "His blood pressure, it's low, his heart rate… it hasn't gotten higher than 46."
"He's okay, he's okay." Sam replied. He looked at his brother's face and pushed with everything in him to repeat the words, "He's okay." If he could just say it hard enough, if he believed loud enough he could make it true. Make himself believe it was real. He could believe it for both of them.
He heard the sigh from Fish Sticks, felt him turn to leave, then he hesitated, but Sam didn't dare look up to him, seeing the denial reflect back in the man. The medic didn't know his brother, he didn't know what Dean was capable of. Sam didn't even know all that Dean could handle and Sam held on to that. That was hope. Hope of the unknown.
5:30 a.m. It was too early or too late, it was still too difficult to tell when you're running on no sleep. Sam blinked hard, trying to motivate himself to stay awake. What if Dean woke up and he missed it? He couldn't have that. There was so much to say, so many words. Sam shifted in his seat and pulled the chair up as far as he could to the bed. He placed his right hand under Dean's inert palm and cupped it gently, he reached his left hand up and pushed Dean's limp hair off his forehead, spiking it between his fingers. His hand ached from the rocks it had slipped on, the thorny branches it had tangled with. The gashes were open, exposed and beefy. Sam could feel the heat radiate from the open sores. He was so tired, if he could just lay his head down for a couple of minutes. He softly rested his forehead down on his older brother's forearm and turned his neck until his ear made contact with Dean's inner elbow. Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Sam felt the rhythm of his brother's pulse s beating slowly on the inside of his elbow and almost automatically, he could feel the deceleration of his own heart rate. The younger man's left hand fell to his brother's shoulder, inadvertently coming into contact with the sticky residue left over from the Kitsune's attack. Dried blood and mist stained Dean's shoulder and Sam's injured hand seemed to sear to the skin upon contact. His eyes closed, the words playing from the small radio filled his thoughts…
Hey Mr. Dreamseller, where have you been? Tell me have you dreams I can see? I came along, just to bring you this song. Can you spare one dream for me?
Heat radiated under Sam's left hand and he felt Dean's shoulder react, it seemed to click in place in the curve of his palm. Sam took a deep breath and the world behind his lids started to spin, wonderful hues of brown raining down.
Meet me on the corner where the lights are coming on, and I'll be there. I promise I'll be there. Down the empty streets we'll disappear until the dawn, if you have dreams enough to share.
And Sam was falling.
The brown swirled around him, tenderly creating a soft veil for him to ride, safely bringing him into the darkness below. There was black surrounding the walls, flanking the backdrop, his head swimming in the liquid browns that weaved in and out of the shadows, until he felt his legs hit solid ground and he bent his knees to regain his gait. He stopped for a moment and tried to see through the murkiness around him. It was as though he was a magician's assistant and was hiding under a velvet cover waiting to be revealed to an unsuspecting audience. Dark with light, brown with red, it was difficult to decipher, but Sam took a step, there seemed to be a light ahead of him. He felt his hands come up and push away invisible curtains, darkened cobwebs, clouding his vision, his judgment. The light got brighter, it was faint, muted by the blackness. He pushed himself forward. Whoosh. Whoosh. And felt his brother in his heart. He felt his footsteps quicken in his ears, his body pressing forward until he saw a ruined man. He sat in the corner, his knees drawn up to his chest, his arms hugging them tight with his face hanging down, buried in his own skin.
Sam caught his breath. "Dean?"
There was no response from the suppressed man. Sam wanted to react, wanted to scream, wanted to race to him, pick him up, shake him. But that's not what Dean needed. Sam approached him slowly, crouching down on his back legs so he could be at eye level with him. He considered reaching out to him, but thought twice, sometimes touch was too much for Dean, too close. "Dean." It wasn't a question, it was a plea, a quiet prayer escaping to the air.
Dean's head slowly rose, looking out, he saw the black enveloping his body, his eyes, there was something off, something wrong, his eyes… they couldn't see. He thought he had heard something, something familiar.
"Dean." Sam's voice deepened, directed. "Open your eyes."
Dean frowned. Was it really that simple? His eyes were just closed? He flittered his lashes, he could feel them against his cheeks, he felt the slits of his lids give and his eyes sluggishly opened, tints of black and gray spinning. He tried with despair to focus, tried to see his brother he knew, he felt, was right in front of him.
Sam looked across from him, the shroud of black seemed to lift and his brother's face came into his line of sight. Dean was looking ahead, his eyes sliding to the left and right, trying, narrowing in each direction, trying to find his brother's force. Sam's head cocked to the side, he watched his brother, alarmed at what he saw staring back. Dean's face was sunken, pale with traces of blood spattered on his cheeks, his forehead, his chin. His eyes were liquid black, darker than the night, darker than the cage they were currently trapped in. He looked down and saw Dean's arms, his body, sores open and bleeding from his own fingernails, scratching his skin raw and bloody. Trapped in his own Hell.
Sam looked back up and Dean's eyes were locked on him. He looked straight through Sam's blue-green orbs, confusion seemed to melt away from his face and he gave his brother a small, half-wicked smile. "Sam." His voice jarring and rough sent a quick chill down Sam's spine.
Sam nodded. He remembered his Dad coming to him in his dream, different. His eyes hadn't been his, his voice was foreign, but this was Dean. It was still his brother, he was just lost. And Sam felt him. He knew. He could help him be found again.
"I'm here, Dean."
Dean's face softened, relaxed in front of Sam. So much he wanted to say, but the words were stuck. Dean's throat moved up and down, pushing his emotion away, far from where Sam could see. "How? How are you here?"
Sam shrugged. "I don't know," he answered truthfully.
"I'm dreaming," Dean responded, abated, disappointment tumbling through.
Sam shook his head, treading carefully, quietly. "No, Dean. I don't know how, but I'm here. It's not a dream. I'm really here." He looked down and after a pause he asked, "Dean, do you know where we are?"
Dean looked around again, trying to see his surroundings. Trying to force himself to make out images, see anything but black. He looked back at his baby brother and his dark eyes seemed to fill. "In the dark."
Sam felt his eyes burn, his hands rubbed down his face, smoothing out the worry lines he knew were present. "I can see some light in here. You don't see it? To the left? Behind me?"
Dean looked in the direction Sam was speaking of, he could see colors swarming, dark brown, charcoal. No light. He shook his head, looking back towards Sam.
"Okay. But you can see me, right?"
Dean swallowed. "Yeah."
"Good. Then you must be able to see some light from somewhere."
Dean looked again. It was so hard to see in this place, it was so thick. He could see light, but it seemed to come from Sam, the source was his brother. "I just see you," he answered.
Sam sighed heavily. "Look, I don't know how long this is going to last, but Dean, out there, in the real world, you aren't waking up and I don't know how to help you."
Dean lifted his eyebrows into inverted V's, it gave Sam comfort to see such a familiar gesture from his brother's distorted face. "Did you try slapping me?"
Sam laughed. "Yeah, I've tried lots of things. Slapping you didn't work."
Dean suddenly seemed to remember where they had been. "The Kit…the Kit Kat thing…"
Sam nodded. "We, Dean. We killed it."
Dean nodded. "Good job, Sam." He took a breath. "I tried to fight her, but she… locked on me somehow."
"No, you did good. You fought her."
"I think she took part of me, maybe. I feel…different."
Sam carried those words, knew that was hard for his brother to admit and Sam was there, too. Always trying to be normal even when normal wasn't prevailing. Ignoring the differences, embracing the lies. "Okay, well, she's a soul stealer and you still have four components of your soul…"
Sam flicked his fingers. "Ib, sheut, ka, and now I know you know your name so you have ren."
Dean's head fell backwards. "So that leaves ba."
Sam nodded. "Yeah." He waited a moment for Dean and when there was no response, he lowered his body to the floor, sitting Indian style opposite of his big brother.
Dean looked back to him. "Ba. The person. The personality, right? What makes me… me."
"What makes you unique, how you perceive yourself…"
"She took that?"
Sam shrugged. "I don't know, Dean. It's lost, though, somewhere, in here."
"In where?" Dean balked.
"Dean, I think we're, you know, in your head, your thoughts." Dean opened his mouth, but Sam stopped him. "I don't know how, but that's what it feels like."
Dean was silent. It was his greatest fear. Someone seeing his thoughts, someone seeing everything Dean kept secure. His secrets, his insecurities. He was vulnerable now and that scared him more than anything, more than selling his soul, more than the possibility of Hell.
"Great." His voice sarcastic.
Dean just stared.
Sam looked down, he understood.
"We don't get to take a rollercoaster through your head, do we, Sam? I don't get to poke around trying to find you, what goes on inside of you. No, it has to be me. The stories of a soulless soldier."
Sam squinted. "You're not soulless…"
"And I'm not the one hiding things."
Sam eyes turned, glaring. "What are you talking about, man?" His voice alarmed, surprised.
Dean looked at him, liquid eyes seeing everything. "Lillith. Intestines on a stick."
"What else, Sam? Visions? You're here with me, that's not… normal."
Sam looked away. "Maybe I'm not normal…"
"Yeah? Could have fooled me, this whole year I thought…"
"We all have our reasons."
"Secrets and lies, Sam. That's all it is."
"I never lied to you. I wouldn't lie to you."
"Not telling me something, especially something this important, isn't exactly being truthful, Sam."
Sam shook his head. "Look, I don't even understand it myself, okay? But right now, we have to focus on getting you out of here. I'm sorry for not telling you about Ruby, about Lillith, whatever. But we aren't going to get past all this until you wake up out there."
Dean sighed, his head fell backwards again and he let out a nervous sigh.
"It's just me, man," Sam's tried. "I won't look if you don't want me to. I just," his voice broke for a second, "I need you back with me, Dean. I can't do this without you."
Sam spread his arms out. "Do this. The job, our lives. I'm not okay without you, Dean." He waited for Dean to take that in, to give him permission, give him a sign that he was ready but Dean only looked forward, seeming to look through his brother. "You have to remember why you're alive, what makes you important in the world, why you want to be a part of it all."
Dean slowly nodded, the words sinking in. He closed his eyes and rolled his mind backwards, looking for something, a constant, something that kept him grounded, something that gave him purpose, gave him a reason to wake up every morning. There was only one thing he could think of, one thing he could always hold on to. Sam.
"Don't. Don't do that." Dean's eyes opened up at the sound of Sam's voice. His younger brother was staring at him, scolding him with his stare. "Don't make this about me. You need to find you, Dean."
Dean looked at his Sam, his brother and shook his head. How could he find himself when so much of him was Sam. He blinked his liquid eyes and dark tears streamed down his cheeks. Sam swallowed in response to his brother's pain, reflecting the feeling back to him.
"Dean Winchester is a hunter. He saves people, saves lives. He works hard, loves his job and doesn't get paid squat," Sam chuckled. "He's smart and he won't ever give up. Ever. He lives by his own code," Sam's chin quivered, "and he has integrity. More than me. He won't sell anyone down the river, he'd do anything for his family. He doesn't put blood on his hands that he can't wash off. He's made a difference in so many lives and so many people are grateful to him. But Dean Winchester, he never asks for anything in return. He's a great man, he's a great hero. He's my brother."
Dean stared back at Sam, the dark liquid from his eyes starting to lighten, graying, the tears changing, hints of silver glistening back. Dean swallowed hard, his brother's face shining brighter now, the dark seeming to lift, colors punching down from above, from the sides of his mind's eye. He nodded back.
"You gotta find it, Dean. You gotta find your core, what you are." Sam reached out with his left hand and placed it on Dean's knee and he was falling backwards again, spiraling through beautiful browns spinning around him, carrying him back to where he had came. Leaving his brother with words unsaid, needing to tell him he was his light. Without Dean, Sam would be consumed by the dark and then there would be no going back.
He opened his eyes, back in the safety net of the small room in the clinic. He lifted his head quickly and looked to his brother. Dean's eyes were still closed, fluttering aerobically back to him, his face seemed stressed, searching. Sam noticed his left hand had left his brother's shoulder and was resting on the pillow. He pressed it back on Dean's shoulder and leaned his head back down, closing his eyes. Come on, come on. But Sam stayed in the room, the sun starting to peek it's rays in through the window. Whatever it was, whatever connection they had held, Sam had lost it.
Fish Sticks had came in and checked Dean's vital signs again, noting they hadn't changed much since the last time, which wasn't good and it wasn't bad. Del Bert had been by, bringing Sam some coffee and then retreated to the garage at Sam's begging to work on the Impala. John Joe had sat with Dean for a few moments while Sam used the bathroom and cleaned up. He looked in the mirror, his was gravely, disheveled. He felt like shit. Jewel had stayed the night with the baby, the sweet coos and small cries trickling down the hallway to greet Sam's ears bitter-sweetly. He kept his vigil at his brother's side. The three Arikara men taking turns to check on them, none of them wanting to tell Sam that they'd seen this before, they'd seen men and women fall into combat with their own bodies and not ever wake up again. The Kitsune always took more than she stole.
"Fish!" Sam yelled from the chair.
Fish Sticks clamored down the hallway and appeared at the door frame, racing up to Dean's body as his body twitched in the small bed. Sam had his arms around his brother, pushing his rocking body back onto the table. John Joe followed through the door and ran to the bed, trying to catch Dean's legs from flying into the air. Fish came over and checked Dean's pupils, felt his pulse. The jostling started to slow and his body found rest. Sam pushed back, standing shocked, looking up to the medic.
Fish shook his head. "It was a seizure. His body… it's getting tired of fighting, tired of compensating for the pain…"
"No, Dean doesn't get tired of fighting," Sam squabbled back.
Fish Sticks' eyes plowed into the younger hunter. "Everyone gets tired of fighting when they aren't winning, Sam."
Sam sunk in the chair then, his arms falling loosely around his body, he was drained. His head was swimming, twirling with thoughts, prayers, his heart was pounding with emotions. "He's fighting," he stated, his voice cracking, "because he is winning." Sam wouldn't give up, he wouldn't do that to Dean. Not to the one person in this world who ever believed in him. Believed he could be more than his predetermined devilish destiny.
The two older men shared glances with each other. They could feel the strength the young man had within him, the stubbornness he held onto. The faith he kept alive. It was pointless talking sense into the boy, he couldn't see the body in front of him withering away.
"If all you're going to do is just stand there, you can just get the hell out." Sam said, his eyes snaking over to the two astonished Arikara. They looked back, stunned, saddened.
"Snapper, I know he's breathing but he's coming to an end. We've watched it here before. You just have to see…"
John Joe took at step forward, his arms spread, showing he meant no harm. "See it's almost over."
Sam stared back at them. "Get out." It wasn't a request and they knew it.
John Joe lowered his voice like he was talking to a crazed animal. "I know he's your family," he took another step forward placing his hand on the footboard of the bed, "but you have to be realistic…"
"Don't fucking touch him." The younger Winchester's voice was daring, his eyes gunning down the older man.
Sam's head snapped over in his brother's direction, slits of green staring back at him, blinking slowly. Dean licked his dry lips, moving the muscles of his mouth, warming them up. "Play nice," he teased.
Sam wanted to speak, wanted to say something, wanted to scream "I told you so!" He wanted to jump up and down and yell. He could have danced, he could have done the salsa, the samba. But he was tired and his mind was beyond full capacity, his heart was broken, ripped apart and mended back together again, his back ached, his hand hurt, his lungs were still on fire, and his brother… his brother was there with him. Through it all. He felt the burn build fast behind his eyes and his hands came up to cup his face, shielding his pain from all in the room. A sob escaped him, hot tears trailing down his cheeks. He tried to breathe, tried to stop it, but it was racking his body, the pressure of this hunt coming to a head with one call of his name. He fell forward, hiding his face into the blankets on Dean's stomach, his arms falling forward, grasping at the covers underneath, fisting them tightly. Comforted in the only place he could find safety, peace.
Dean's felt his own chest tighten. He made eye contact with the two men still standing in the door frame. He didn't need to speak, his expression said it all. They removed themselves softly without a word. Dean pulled his right hand out of the blankets and put a warm palm on the top of Sam's head. He cleared his throat. "Sam. Stop it, Sam."
But Sam couldn't hear him. Dean had seen Sam cry, had been there to get him through the tears, watched as his brother had broken down before, but this, this was bawling, gut wrenching sobbing. And Dean wasn't exactly sure what he was suppose to do. He felt a hitch in his chest, felt his own eyes sting and was surprised by the salt betraying him as two silent tears inched down the side of his face, splashing onto the pillow below. He waited a few seconds for Sam to breathe, for Sam to catch himself, for him to quiet down. Dean grabbed a clump of the younger man's brown shaggy hair in his fist and playfully pulled them into tufts. "You're a fucking awesome brother, Sammy." His voice was ginger and cinnamon, sweet to Sam's ears.
Sam sat up, his face ruffled from the blankets, his hair flurry from Dean's grasp. He took in a deep breath, wiping the wetness from his cheeks. "I'm glad you're not lost anymore."
Dean nodded. His Sam, no matter what. He always wore his heart on his sleeve. "I'm glad you found me."
Two days. It had seemed forever to wait. Dean had been up walking, gaining his strength back. The injuries to his body had not been so much external, Fish had noted, but internally. The Kitsune had ravished him. He slept 18 hours the first day, Sam falling asleep quickly in the bed next to him. They had woken early the second day, around 4:00 a.m. and neither could go back to sleep. Their internal clock was off, day was night, night was unimaginably still. Del Bert had worked sleeplessly on the Impala, his son helping out, Billy Mac lending a hand. "It takes a village," he told Sam. Dean would want to be there, want to have his hands all over his baby, but he was still resting his body, recuperating, repairing his soul.
"Coffee. Lots of coffee." That was Dean's only request for food. Sam had brought him in donuts, eggs, ice cream and corn dogs. "Just coffee." He really wanted a cheeseburger, slathered in mayonnaise, topped with bacon and lettuce. He needed real food. Well, their kind of real food. On the second night, Del had came in and promised the Impala would be able to drive the next morning, "She's still bashed up, but you'll be able to get her to Rapid City and have a real garage fix her up. I did the best I could, she'll get you on your way, though." The sun had came up both days, the snow was melting fast and there were patches of the actual street visible when Sam walked around town earlier in the day.
Jewel had came in, bringing with her the new baby. She looked oddly small to the boys, without her stomach guiding her way. She pulled the blankets down around the baby's face and the brothers smiled back.
"Cute little guy," Dean commented.
Sam gave her the characteristic, "Aw."
He was cute. He had short dark hair, almost like satin draping his head, which curled at the end, softening his neck. His nose was too big for his face and his eyes stared out, dark and full of light. Wondrous. It was amazing something so small could hold so much power to the evils of the world as well as to the good of the world. He looked at Jewel and cooed at her.
"Looks like Topaz will fit right in with the family," Sam observed, watching the two of them connect in ways he felt he never did with his own mother. He held an emptiness inside him from those missing memories. Missing touches only a mother can provide. A void he'd carry with him forever.
Jewel glanced up, branding her award winning smile, dimples and all. "I didn't name him Topaz," she announced. She looked back down at her little one. "I'm calling him Sam Dean."
Both Winchesters blinked back at her. One didn't know whether he should laugh, the other didn't know whether he should cry.
"Seriously?" Dean finally asked.
Jewel looked back and nodded. Pride filling her eyes, obliged to the men who saved her baby, saved her family. Helped them to be whole.
Dean looked at Sam and then back to Jewel, shrugging. "What's wrong with Dean Sam?"
She laughed. "Sam Dean sounds better," she simply replied. She locked eyes with Dean for a moment and he looked away, afraid of her eyes, frightened of what she may still see there or what she may have saw once but wasn't there anymore. It was still a puzzle for him, fitting the pieces back was hard enough without someone there watching it all unfold, scrutinizing. He glanced back and saw that Jewel had drifted back to the baby. She swayed with him letting the brothers join in a quiet moment with them. When she looked back up, there were tears in her eyes, she started to walk to the frame and stopped once more, her back to them, her chin tilted towards her shoulder. "Thank-you. Our whole town, we'll never forget you."
And the black night fell. It brought with it a starless sky, the howls of nearby coyotes, and the cold. The darkness fell on Dean like a suffocating blanket. He laid awake in his bed, listening to the outside, listening to the radio, listening to Sam in the other bed, talking about Rapid City and getting an internet connection, ideas he had on how to break the deal. He could hear Fish Sticks walking the hall, Jewel was still there with the baby. She said she wanted one more night just with the baby before she had to fight off five other kids for sleep, but Dean thought maybe she felt safe here for the time being. Sometimes what we imagine in our minds of what could have been is more frightening than the reality of it.
"Baby mine, don't you cry. Baby mine, dry your eyes. Rest your head close to my heart. Never to part, baby of mine."
Sam and Dean lay in the dark listening to Jewel's voice climb over the volume of the radio as she walked with Sam Dean, hushing him to sleep.
"Well, she shouldn't try out for American Idol," Dean quipped.
"Rejects show." Sam laughed. "The Kitsune could probably out sing her."
Dean listened as Jewel continued on, getting more quiet as the baby calmed down. "You still hear her screams?"
Sam nodded in the dark. "It's like my ears are ringing and…" he stopped.
"Yeah." Dean knew.
The baby let out a little cry and then seemed to hiccup and all was quiet, except the radio, which Dean complained about every chance he got. No Aerosmith, no Zeppelin. Nothing worth hearing.
"I helped her, you know, when she was giving birth to the baby," Sam said from the other side of the room.
Dean turned his head in his little brother's direction. "What?"
Sam glanced back. "You know, I held her leg. Saw the baby come out."
Dean smiled. "Was it all cottage-cheesy and gross?"
Sam was quiet.
"Oh, Jesus, what? It was a miracle?" Dean asked. Classic Sam.
Sam turned over on his side, facing his brother's bed. "Yeah, it was. It was… unbelievable."
"I've never seen that. I've never seen a baby be born." Dean responded.
"Yeah, well, chances are, that was my first and last time," Sam answered, his voice hollow. Empty. Sad.
They lay quiet again, absorbing the meaning behind the words. Neither knew what the future held, but right now, the way their lives were, the brothers knew that what lie in these beds could very well be the end of the Winchester line. They did not have a 9-5 job, they didn't have lives that guaranteed them home for dinner, they didn't have room in the Impala for a car seat.
"I remember when Mom and Dad brought you home from the hospital." Dean's voice suddenly floated across to Sam. He waited for Dean to continue, wanting Dean to continue. "I thought you would never get here, it seemed like Mom was pregnant forever. And then there you were. Mom came in the front door and she had you wrapped up in blankets and I wanted to hold you so bad. So they had me sit on the couch and propped me up with all these pillows and they put you in my arms and..." He stopped talking. Sam watched him as his Adam's apple bobbed up and down in the shadows. "And you were really ugly." They both chuckled. "I mean it. You were bald and your head was ginormous. But you looked at me and I didn't care. You were my little brother. And I just felt, even then, like I was made to be your big brother."
Sam couldn't respond. He felt wetness fall quietly down his nose. He quickly bat it away, even though he knew Dean couldn't see him. There was still so much he wanted to say. Three months would never be long enough to say it all and he knew Dean would never allow him to say it anyway. He closed his eyes and images flashed in front of him, losing Dean again and again, the trickster laughing at Sam, egging him on, giving him a bizarro episode of It's a Wonderful Life. Life without Dean. Life in the dark. He felt the walls closing in on him, it was hard to breathe, his heart picked up speed. It was wrong. He was wrong, something was not right if Dean wasn't there. Sam could feel it deep inside, building. He had to save Dean. If he didn't, no one would be left to save Sam. And Sam knew he had to be saved.
Sam's eyes flew open. He looked over at Dean, his face was turned towards him, their eyes locked.
"You still awake?" Dean gazed across the distance between the beds, seeing the shine from his brothers eyes, full, teary.
Sam could only nod.
Dean gulped. "I'm sorry that I never gave you anything. You know, there's nothing really in our lives that is yours."
"I got the car, you have to listen my music... you gave me the necklace and you… I never gave you anything."
Sam's eyes pinned on him. I got to go to college, get an education, have a normal life, fall in love, and even then I felt like I was made to be your big brother… "Dude, you just did. You just gave me something. Just because you can't touch something doesn't mean it's not a gift."
Dean knew what he meant. He nodded in the dark, his brother holding his gaze. "Sam, when you were… when you were in my head, what did you see?" Dean held his breath. Secrets and lies. There are just some things I have to keep to myself. Dean sat on mounds upon mounds of shit he needed to keep buried, keep away from eyes that could read too much.
Sam thought back to his moments with the older hunter. He took in a breath. The black liquid eyes, the face, the blood… "Just you." Just my big brother.
"Yeah. I swear, I didn't go looking for anything. I was just there for you. I only saw you." Another tear slipped out, rolling quietly. "You did the rest."
Dean watched his face, saw the tears and felt his breath catch up to him. He turned his body in the bed and flung his arm over his eyes, hiding anything that might be there. "Okay." He paused a moment, letting the night sink in. Tomorrow they would leave, tomorrow they would put this hunt behind them. And start all over again. "Sam?"
"Did I tell you you're a fucking awesome brother?"
Sam smiled. "Yeah, I think you might have mentioned that."
"Good. 'Cause I really wanted you to know."
Sam rolled over. "I just wanted…" No, that was wrong. He tried again, "I want you to know…" he lost the words before he even thought them. They were gone.
Dean waited. "Good-night, Sam."
The Impala was definitely not fixed, the front end was still smashed up, the hood had been pounded back down and smoothed out, the engine had been pulled back into shape, new parts aligning the front end, a new-used bumper, new-used radiator.
"You go to Mike's in Rapid City. Only about 25 miles to the East. He'll get her back to feeling like herself. She's a good old car. A real beauty." Del rubbed the top of Dean's baby affectionately.
The older Winchester couldn't complain, it was free. The town refused to charge them for anything. They had rid them of the evil Kitsunes and the Vampires down the road in less than a week and the town had a magic they never knew was there before restored back to them. Dean jotted down Sam's cell phone number incase they ever needed anything in the future. He had stopped giving his own cell number out, not knowing what the future held. John Joe's eyes twinkled back to him, his hand extended to both hunters. "Thanks, Whipper. Snapper." It was all he said, but his voice, his face spoke everything to them.
"Stevie Ray's got some food for ya." Del Bert announced.
The brothers looked up to see the stocky kid walk up, handing them a zip lock baggie with four corn dogs stuffed inside. Sam took them, grimacing a little. Dean looked at the kid, odd he had never caught his name before.
"Stevie Ray, huh?" Dean commented.
The stocky kid looked at him and smiled, toothlessly. "Yeah. After Stevie Ray Vaughn."
Fish Sticks handed them a bottle of Vicodin for pain and a bottle of Zithromax to keep the infection in check. "Just take the antibiotic for the next five days," he instructed. "And the rest, save for later, God knows with the two of you, one of you is gonna need it." He smiled at them. Dean grabbed the keys from his pocket, opening up the driver side door, Sam taking shotgun. They turned to nod a farewell to the town. "It really just the two of you?" Fish asked as they started to climb in.
Dean glanced over at Sam, his brother looking back. "Yeah," Sam answered. "And that's okay. It's enough." They held the stare, the connection. Dean smiled back.
Fish tapped the top of the Impala then and nodded back. "Safe travels." And the town gathered one by one and touched the top of the car, rubbing wishes to the brothers inside. Dean saluted two fingers, Sam nodded and the crowd dispersed behind the car, as the brothers settled into their home, felt the smell hit them, leather and fast food, guns and grease. They owned it, let the comfort take them. Just like they imagined most kids felt when they walked in their front doors to the smell of their Mom making cookies. This was their smell. The smell of boys.
Dean jingled the keys in his hands. He skimmed over across the seat and caught Sam looking out the window, his face anxious, apprehensive. Dean hesitated, thought about letting it go. Sam had his secrets, his demons… "What is it?" he asked.
Sam glimpsed over to his brother. He had the lump still caught in his throat, he felt like it had been there since the Kitsune. It clogged his wind-pipe, making it hard to breathe still, hard to talk. And there was still things he wanted to say, needed to say. He could say. He looked at Dean, his eyes strong, holding meaning deep behind them. "Dean, I..."
Dean sighed. He closed his eyes. His body slumped forward for a moment, he knew if he didn't let Sam get it out, it would just keep eating him, which meant he would keep bothering his older brother. He opened his lids and looked across the seat. "What?"
Sam swallowed hard, the lump moving down, he swallowed again. "I just, I need you to know…" he paused and then, without another thought, he blurted it out. "I don't hate you, man." A look of relief rushing over his face.
Dean broke into a grin. He put the keys in the ignition. "Good," he answered back. "'Cause I don't hate you, either." He turned the key and let the engine roar to life. "In fact, I kinda like you."
Sam let out a small laugh, his smile big, dimples galore. "I kinda like you, too."
It was as close as they would ever get. For now.
Dean pressed his foot on the accelerator. "Hear that, Sammy?"
Sam nodded. "Yeah, I hear it."
Dean turned the knob of the volume control up. Head East blared from the speakers. He turned it up even more.
I've been walking behind you, since you have been able to see. There's never been any reason for you to think about me. Save my life, I'm going down for the last time. Save my life, I'm going down for the last time.
"Hear that, Sammy?"
Sam nodded. "Sounds good."
"Good?" Dean shook his head. "That's music!"
He threw the gear shift into drive and took his foot off the brake. "Giddy-up, Baby!" And the wheels spun in the snow, finding patches of cement underneath, the Impala purring to life, rumbling out of the small village, away from where evil nested, back on the road towards soul saving. The losing had been the easy part, a decision made without haste, the finding was going to take everything from them but if they succeeded, they could gain everything. Redemption. Salvation. Brotherhood.
Translation: Waasak in kuxis kosces RAhpiis. Spirit wounded, it can be healed.
Play List: Meet Me on the Corner from Lindisfarne
Baby Mine composed by Ned Washington and Frank Churchill
There's Never Been Any Reason from Head East
FYI: It is said the soul has five components, they are:
Ib – heart
Sheut – shadow
Ba – individual person(ality)
Ka – life force
Last A/N:Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it. Thank you again for all your great reviews, it totally makes me feel like I actually found a place out in cyberspace where I kind of belong. It is a fantastic feeling. Let me know what you think about the story, hopefully I wasn't too off the mark! Thanks so much!