A/N – Here's the final chapter of the story. Thank you to everyone who's been reading and especially to those who left me a review – however long or short – it's always appreciated!
Huge thanks to my beta Adara-chan67 (TAFKA Kender Rock My World) for doing such a fab super-speedy job and for not stabbing me in the eye with a pencil for the amount of times I said things to her like, "Don't you think this bit sucks? I don't like this line, it's crap isn't it? Is the ending rubbish? Do you think I need to rewrite this bit?" Ooooh and for leaving me with two eyes – I stuck in a little scene you requested.
Warnings & Disclaimer as Part One.
Altered State – Part Three. "Our dark spots are pretty dark."
John frowns when Dean brings Katie into their apartment, his frown increases marginally as he watches his son guide the young girl towards the couch. John appears uneasy and Dean glances over at his dad, noticing the obvious outline of a shotgun hastily hidden under the creased folds of the map resting on the kitchen table.
The room is a mess. Research papers are spread out over most of the available surfaces and even pinned to the walls. Awesome. Katie's going to get a very fine impression of the Winchester family—if fine could be translated into meaning that they're a bunch of weirdoes who scrawl Sumerian protection symbols above all the doors with a black Sharpie and have a macabre interest in collecting newspaper clippings about missing persons and confidential crime scene reports.
Dean holds Katie's arm, offering support, and he steps away as she takes a seat on the sagging cushions of their tattered second-hand couch. She doesn't seem to have noticed the state of the room. She doesn't seem to be noticing much in general and Dean figures maybe she's in shock or something.
"Where's Sam?" Dean's voice is cool and calm now, the same tone he uses to talk to witnesses or grieving family members when he's working a case and wants them to believe he's a Fed or a Cop. And they do believe him, every time, despite the fact he's clearly too young or dressed wrong or his ID doesn't look quite right. That cool, calm, confident tone pulls the wool over their eyes and all they see is what they want and need to see. Someone they can put their trust in to help them, to save them. Dean's had that same tone down to a fine art even before he hit his late teens.
"Dean?" John has moved to stand by the side of the couch, narrowing his eyes as he glares at his son. "What's going on? Tell me who this is."
And for the first time in forever, Dean disobeys. He blatantly disregards an order, which came straight from John Winchester's lips. Sam needs Dean right now and Dad…Dad will have to get in the queue. If he wants to bawl him out, he'll have to do it later. Dean doesn't look at John; instead he walks straight past his dad, going into the kitchen. He fills a glass with water from the faucet and brings it back. Katie reaches up a shaking hand and takes the offered drink, her eyes staring intently at a bead of liquid as it snakes its way down the side of the glass. "Katie, what's happened to my brother?"
"Carl Booker slipped something in his drink…"
By the time she's finished talking both men are deadly silent. Katie finds their silence strange and unnerving. Imagines how her own parents would react to such news, how they would scream and shout until they were blue in the face. If Katie knew the Winchesters well, she would know there was much more going on underneath their quiet exteriors.
Shelley is busily working back at her post behind the nurse's station desk, but her mind is elsewhere, stuck like glue on the teenaged boy who's just been brought in. She's good at her job, has had more than a few years to work on thickening her skin. It's not like she hasn't seen young lives wasted before, lives which had barely even begun, and she knows she can't let this sort of thing affect her. Not if she wants to stay sane or keep putting food on the table. She can't let these things affect her, but they always do.
Doctor Baker walks over to the desk, looking worn out,but he is in the middle of a grueling twenty hour shift. He's carrying a bulging folder of paperwork in his hands and Shelley glances up at him as he passes the folder over. "How's the kid doing?"
Doctor Baker grimaces. "Whatever he's taken has messed him up pretty darn good. His vitals were going haywire, but I think he's stabilized now."
"How could anyone just dump him outside like that — when he's obviously in a bad way? I mean, where are his friends? Where's his family?"
Doctor Barker grunts and readjusts the ID badge hanging from his pocket. "He looks like a clean-cut kid. There are no track marks on his arms. He became unresponsive during checks, slipping unconscious again, but we're keeping him restrained and monitoring his heart rhythm. Can you have a look and see if you can't get some family down here?" Doctor Barker holds out a clear plastic bag, which contains Sam's clothes and a few personal belongings.
Shelly nods and accepts the bag. As Doctor Barker disappears in search of coffee which doesn't taste of dirt, she sits down and rummages though the contents, pushing aside a torn bus ticket and a handful of loose change to wrap her fingers around the silvery glint of a cell phone. As she starts to trawl through the contacts the phone comes to life, vibrating in her hand and ringing shrilly. "Hello?"
"Who is this?" a young male voice demands brusquely.
"I should be asking you the same thing."
"What are you doing with my brother's phone? Where's Sam?"
Sam. Shelley sucks in a breath and slips back into professional mode. "We've found this phone on a teenaged boy who's been admitted tonight."
The voice on the line falters, curses fiercely and then goes silent. Shelley glances at the phone's display screen wondering if the caller has hung up. After a pause, the voice speaks again. "Is he okay?"
"He's alive, but it would aid his treatment if you can confirm what he's been taking."
"He hasn't been taking anything. Some son-of-a-bitch moron drugged his drink. We think it was PCP."
Shelley flinches—PCP is serious stuff—but something doesn't ring true. "PCP? He's had a pretty severe reaction.Are you sure that's what your brother's been given?"
"That's all the information we have to go on." The man is growing increasingly frustrated; Shelley can sense the pent up anger even through the static-filled phone reception. "Look, you said admitted, admitted where?"
"Denton?! I'm going to kill that fuc..." His voice becomes muffled, there's strong cursing again and if Shelley wasn't such a good Catholic girl, she might have understood what half the cuss words meant. She can hear someone else in the background, an older man demanding he be given control of the phone conversation but the younger guy's voice argues back none-too-gently that he can handle it.
After another pause, the young man's voice returns to the phone. "I—We'll be there in less than an hour. Just…just please take care of him and call me, straight away, if his condition changes."
"Wait, are you…are you Dean?"
"Yeah. How'd you…"
"Sam was asking for a Dean."
Shelley listens as his steady breathing hitches. "We'll get there as fast as we can."
As Dean hangs up the phone, John is already hovering over him. "I can't believe this Dean; I just can't believe you would let this happen to your brother."
Dean shoots out of his chair as though someone had wired it up to an electrical current and pressed the 'shock' button. He positions himself nose to nose with John, not backing down despite John's fierce look, not this time, Dad. "I didn't let this happen. I wanted him to unwind, take a break. Haven't you noticed how hard he's been working lately?Non-stop, Dad, flat out. Trying to keep you freakin' happy."
Wretchedness isn't an easy emotion to identify but Dean watches it flit across his father's face. John looks away first. "You should be getting home. Do you want to call your parents?" John asks, diverting his attention to address Katie directly for the first time since she arrived.
Katie is still sitting stationary on the couch, one inch away from becoming completely freaked out by what has been the worst night of her entire life, ever. "Can't I come with you? I want to see Sam," Katie asks quietly and John doesn't respond straight away. Sam is their family, their business; it's not a simple act for John to just let someone else in. Especially someone he's only known for less than half an hour.
"It'd be better if you went home—we'll get you a cab, "John says before turning back to his son, his eyes avoiding Dean's. "We need to go, now."
"Wait." Dean pauses halfway towards the door, lost in thought and ignoring the way John is tugging at his elbow.
"Dean, we need to go. Dean?" John repeats, raising his voice because Dean's still standing there, frozen,and the look on his eldest son's face is starting to make John nervous. "What is it?"
"Something that lady said...No! No, Sam wouldn't."
"Wouldn't what, Dean?"
But Dean is already gone, hurtling out of the room and into the bedroom he shares with Sam, instantly starting to tear it apart. Clothes are flung out of drawers, Sam's schoolbooks are tossed onto the floor and Dean finally overturns Sam's bed in a whirlwind of unrestrained chaos.
The bottle is small, brown colored plastic with one of those childproof lids that Dean always pretends he can't open just to make Sam smile. It looks harmless enough, filled with pretty yellow pills which could pass for candy. It looks harmless, but it isn't. Dean pulls the bottle out from under Sam's bed and sinks onto the floor, still clutching it in his hands. John and Katie are standing framed in the doorway, side by side, both looking equally taken aback as they survey the ransacked room.
"Dean, what is it?" John's voice has softened to a low murmur.
Dean lifts the bottle and reads the label for a second time. He's not a pharmacist but he knows this is something you can't just pick up over the counter. "Oh, Sammy," he whispers.
Sam looks like a corpse, his skin tinged grey. Dark shadows frame closed eyes that are normally wide and expressive, virtually overflowing with emotion—eyes which take in every fine detail. You can't slip anything past Sam; he sucks it all up like a Hoover, storing it away to muse over later, to laugh or brood on in turn.
There's no vent, thank God, just a cannula fixed under his nose. Someone—probably a well-meaning nurse—has pushed Sam's bangs to one side. Strands of brown hair are tucked curling behind his ears. It looks wrong. Sam would freakin' hate it and Dean wants to scream at the next nurse who comes in the room because Sam doesn't belong to them, they don't even know how Sam likes to wear his hair. Dean pauses, counts down backward from ten and then sticks out a hand to brush Sam's hair into place.
The restraints had been used for Sam's own good, the doctor had said, to stop Sam from hurting himself if he was still hallucinating when he came round, but Dean removed them the minute he walked into the room, because he'll not let Sam hurt himself. He'll never let his brother hurt himself ever again.
John hasn't said a whole lot since Dean found the bottle, hidden away, shoved deep beneath Sam's bed. 'Methylphenidate,' a drug primarily used for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder but also used as a performance enhancer. Not a performance enhancer for bodybuilders but rather one used to increase cognitive function. It's not beneficial to a person's health, especially not when mixed with another toxic substance like PCP. Sam's doctor had looked stern as he had taken the bottle and disappeared with it.
It had been a whole three hours before they had been allowed to see Sam, only to be reminded that he was still deeply unconscious and it had taken the doctors quite some time to stabilize his erratic heart-rate and dangerously high blood pressure. It had been enough information to make Dean feel ready to puke.
After almost two hours of sitting by Sam's bedside, Dean gets up, stepping out of the room to fetch some coffee. The inertia physically hurts Dean; he's been coiled like a spring for hours and if he gets any tighter, he might just snap.
When Dean returns John is leaning over the bed, pressing a kiss to Sam's forehead. He looks up as Dean opens the door and scrubs a calloused hand over his bristly chin. "You boys..." He mutters, at long last making himself look Dean in the eye and hold his son's gaze. "You boys will be the death of me."
Dean is suddenly oblivious of the fact that the thin plastic cup he is holding is red hot, burning at his fingers. He's too busy being floored by how lost his father looks.
Joe arrives at the hospital around six AM and spends a good deal of time standing in the corridor directly outside of Sam's room. A couple of times he almost makes it to the door before he shuffles away again and instead ends up taking a seat opposite the door, on one of the universally uncomfortable sludge-colored hospital chairs.
It's Dean who finds Joe sitting there in the corridor. Dean, who had been heading out in search of the nearest men's room but instead finds Joe McCormick, sitting alone and staring at his feet as though someone had written the meaning of life right on the top of his brown Converse sneakers.
They've met a handful of times before—Dean might have said "hey" and Joe might have tried to engage Dean in a conversation about the latest Bill Murray movie—but really they're strangers, and Sam is their only true common ground.
"Can I see Sam?" Joe asks so quietly that it takes Dean a few seconds to realize the kid is talking to him.
"He's not awake yet, Joe." Dean replies, really wanting to go take a piss so he can get back to his brother.
"I know. I spoke to one of the nurses. I just...I just need to see him for a couple of minutes, please."
Dean sighs. Katie had explained what happened, why Joe took off, and while part of Dean wants to punch Joe in the nose, the other part feels sorry for the kid. Dean lets his fingers glide over the door handle and then, decision made, he pushes the door open, holding it like a hotel doorman as Joe slides past him and walks inside.
Joe's eyes instantly fall on the motionless figure laid out in the bed. John is asleep in the chair to Sam's left, his arms and legs bent at awkward angles and his head tipped forward, chin resting against his chest. Dean waves a hand, motioning in John's direction. "It's been a long night, he's pretty beat."
Joe walks hesitantly over to Sam's bedside, his fingers latching onto the bed rail in a fierce death grip. He leans in close to Sam's ear, not wanting to wake John and not really wanting Dean to hear him either. "I'm sorry, Sam. I should have done something to stop Carl. I shouldn't have run away and left you. You wouldn't have left me."
"You know where this Carl Booker guy lives?" Dean asks out of the blue, not because he was eavesdropping but because he's just realized that Joe might be able to help.
"Wanna take your car?" Joe replies without hesitation, and seeing Dean's surprised expression, adds quickly, "Only I hitched to get here. Caught a ride with a scary looking trucker who kept calling me Alice. I think he was a nut job." Joe twirls his index finger in a small circle next to his head.
Dean looks at his father sound asleep in the chair, knowing that he'd be leaving Sam with the only other person in the world he'd entrust with his brother's life. "Don't go anywhere kiddo." Dean mutters as he runs a hand through Sam's hair. He waits, watching the hypnotic rise and fall of Sam's chest for the briefest of moments, and then nods at Joe that they should leave.
Dean puts a cassette tape into the stereo the instant they get in the car, partly out of habit and partly because he hates awkward silences almost as much as he hates making small talk with people whose surname isn't Winchester. Joe listens to the opening Metallica track, hums a few bars and starts singing along under his breath. Dean smiles—maybe Joe doesn't like awkward silences or small talk either.
Joe waits in the car while Dean picks the lock. Carl's house is silent; it's not yet seven AM. There's meager sunlight filtering in through the windows, enough for Dean to forego risking a flashlight. Dean heads straight for the staircase. He keeps his movements swift and agile, like a predator, like a hunter. He climbs to the first-floor landing and tries a couple of doors before he finds Carl's bedroom. As he steps into the room he can see Carl spread out on top of his bed asleep, dressed only in a pair of boxers. Dean clears his throat, loudly and Carl jerks awake. His eyes are almost popping out of their sockets and he's unmistakably crapping himself at the sight of a stranger—a fucking furious-as-hell stranger—standing at the end of his bed. "What the hell!"
Dean leaves Carl hogtied on his bedroom floor, still clad only in his boxers but with the addition of a swollen black eye and a few loose teeth in his mouth. It hadn't taken Dean long to find Carl's stash, a mix of pills, acid tabs and a couple of white powder baggies that Dean leaves spread out on Carl's bed.
A little later, Joe and Dean sit in the car, watching Carl's house from across the street. Joe's not sure what they're waiting for until he sees a police car pull up and Carl's own dad, Chief Booker, jumps out and hurries inside. Half an hour later and the Chief emerges—his face set with anger—as he escorts his own son to the police car, in handcuffs.
Joe glances at Dean, stunned. "Wow!"
"You know them finding Carl's stash is one thing but to make certain he doesn't get away with what he did to Sam..." Dean stops and twists his head, gives Joe a hard look.
"He won't get away it," Joe says, with full confidence because he knows now that he can make things right again. "I'll make a statement. There were other kids at the party, who saw what went down. I'm sure Steve Hutchinson could be persuaded, too."
"Well, if needs must, I got more rope in the trunk," Dean replies with a grin.
Dean's cell rings, tinny synthetic notes of something Joe recognizes as a classic Deep Purple song. Dean's grin vanishes as he reads the caller ID. It's his dad and the irrational side of Dean's brain can already hear his dad saying, 'Dean, Sam's dead.'
But when he does press the phone to his ear—his hand badly shaking—Dad just sounds exhausted and there's relief woven into his low-timbre voice. "Dean, Sam's awake. He's asking for you."
Dean drops Joe off at his home and then drives back to Denton as if speed limits were never meant to apply to Chevy Impalas.
When Sam opens his eyes, he expects to see terrible things. He's barely cracked open his lids before his body starts tensing in preparation for another onslaught of the kind of horrors Sam has grown up around and learned to accept in a way, but never had to face alone before, never had to battle without his father or brother at his side. But this time, with his groggy eyes slowly adjusting to the dazzlingly bright light, all he sees is a white expanse of bare ceiling.
His whole body feels heavy, pushed down by invisible weights, limbs aching like he's been stretched on a rack. As he lifts his head from the pillow he sees his dad, leaning over him. John smiles—but it doesn't reach his weary eyes—sticks out a hand to squeeze Sam's shoulder and for all their arguments, all their bitter disagreements and heated harsh words, he loves the man. Needs him more than he likes to admit. And seeing his dad now, knowing he isn't going to be alone anymore; Sam rolls his body into his dad's touch and takes hold of his father's outstretch arm, pulling John down towards him until John is almost bent double with his head resting against Sam's own. "Dean?" Sam croaks out, the attempt scratches at his painfully dry throat.
"He'll be back soon, Sammy."
Dean makes Denton in record breaking time. Barely lets the Impala stop moving before he's opening the driver's door and heading for the hospital entrance. Sam's room is in semi-darkness, blinds drawn against the sun. Dad is sitting back in his chair by Sam's bedside. Dean looks at Sam whose eyes are closed, breathing deep and slow. John shrugs apologetically. "He's just dozing. He wanted to wait for you but..." John pauses runs a hand over his face. "I'm going to go make some phone calls. I'll not be long." John gets up, walks in the direction of the door but stops and looks at Dean. "You dealt with it?"
John knows he doesn't really need to ask. Dean doesn't disappoint. His son smiles a little and John recognizes the smile for what it means. He sees the way the raging fire which had been burning in Dean's eyes has withdrawn leaving only smouldering cinders. John nods his head, satisfied and leaves the room, closing the door behind him.
Dean looks at Sam. His brother, his responsibility and remembers all the monsters they've fought. All the evil things they've battled and yet it was an entirely different type of danger which could have cost him his brother's life. Sam's eyes are moving underneath their lids as he starts to wake up. Dean feels abruptly overwhelmed, unsure how he can protect Sam, not from the supernatural but from real life.
Sam blinks heavily as he struggles to focus on his brother's face. He doesn't speak, waiting instead for Dean to tell him everything's okay and make things better again. Dean always makes things better again. But Dean just stares, his face blank, and then he marches out of the room.
Dean surprises himself. He gets a full ten yards down the corridor before he stops, swings a fist at the drywall, turns and stalks back in the direction of his brother's room.
Dean returns to find Sam sat bolt upright in bed trying to yank out his IV. Sam's head shoots up and when he spots Dean, he relaxes. Dean can visibly see the tension ebb away, a tide going out.
"You feel better?" Sam asks, eyeing the split knuckles on Dean's right hand as he lets go of his IV tube as though he had only been playing with the thing to pass time, nothing more.
But Dean still doesn't get it, how anyone as incredibly smart as Sam could do something so incredibly stupid and Dean can't shake the nagging guilty feeling that maybe Sam had been trying to tell him and he'd been too preoccupied to notice. Perhaps he had even been secretly relieved that it wasn't him, lumbered with all the research and piles of school homework and that outside of hunting, he still had free-time for kicking back in a bar, or shooting pool. And if that doesn't make Dean feel all kinds of low...
"Don't do that." Sam says. His voice is still hoarse, as gravel-like as Barry White. And the kid must be psychic or something because Dean doesn't remember saying anything out loud.
"Don't blame yourself. I did this, Dean. I did it."
"You didn't stick a roofie in your own drink, Sammy."
Sam sighs, shivers a little in his wafer-thin hospital gown and huddles down deeper under the blanket. "You know what I mean."
"Where'd you get the bottle of pills?" Dean hasn't quite satisfied his blood lust—he can hammer his fists into more than just Carl Booker and a defenseless plaster wall before the day is over.
"Elm Springs, back in Arkansas. He—he told me they would help me focus, stop me from feeling so tired all the time. And they did help—at least, for a little while."
Dean grimaces, knowing he should be trying to work out how long it'd take him to drive to Arkansas to beat the crap out of whoever sold this shit to his brother, but all he can think of is that they left Arkansas over six months ago, six months and Sam's been self-medicating to try and cope with everything his school life and his hunter's life have been hurling at him. Jesus.
"This is screwed up, Sam. Seriously screwed up. Even for our family. You're smarter than this."
"I'm sorry, okay? I'm really sorry, Dean. I won't ever do it again."
Dean's eyes grow deadly. "You're damn right you won't because I swear Sammy, if you ever do anything so stupid ever again...I—I swear to God…"
Dean shudders and tries hard not to think of what might have been.
Their apartment is still cluttered with abandoned research papers when the three Winchester men return home. Sam takes a seat at the table, leaning forward to rest his aching head on his folded arms. He's still too pale and unsteady on his feet as though a gentle breeze could topple him like a tree caught in the eye of a hurricane.
Dean sets Sam's rucksack down and goes into the kitchen to rustle up something to eat while John seats himself opposite his youngest son. Dean busily clangs pots and pans as he works at heating up some soup and fixing some sandwiches, but he keeps sparing a glance over his shoulder, keeping an eye on his family.
"I want you to tell me why you did it, Sam? Why you felt like you couldn't come talk to me?" John asks.
"I—I wanted both worlds. We're hunters and I accept that, but my school work...it's important to me. It's not to you and I'm not mad about that, I understand, okay?"
"Your life is important to me, Sammy. My job is keeping you and Dean alive and finding out what killed your mother to stop it from hurting other families like it hurt ours, and if I sometimes focus solely on that,then..." John sighs heavily, at a point beyond despair because somewhere along the line he's screwed things up, pushed too hard and finally realizing it doesn't make it any easier. "What you want out of life is important to me. But I've got to ensure that you keep your life. I know I put too much pressure on you, on Dean,too. Sometimes all I see is the hunter in you boys. Sometimes—sometimes, I forget you're my sons first and foremost."
"I'll never do it again, Dad." Sam whispers, and John reaches out across the table top to squeeze Sam's hand in a firm protective grip. They stay like that, only moving to break contact when Dean's voice hollers from the kitchen.
"Soup's up," Dean shouts as he carries two bowls over to them.
Sam takes the steaming bowl gratefully but then pauses and sniffs at it. "Tomato?" His tone verges on suspicious.
Dean smirks, quickly guessing what Sam's worried about. That little brother must be remembering a bitterly cold December seven years ago when they were short on cash and John had been unable to get back to them, snowed in a few towns over. With barely enough money to cover their rent, Dean had resorted to making tomato soup by mixing ketchup with boiling water and Sam is still clearly carrying scars from that taste experience. "Tomato soup— from a can, dude." Dean waves the empty tin at Sam's face.
"Eat up boys, we're packing up and moving on today," John states as though it was the most normal thing in the world for him to announce they're bailing on a hunt.
Sam stops eating, a full spoon halfway towards his parted lips. "We're leaving?"
"You want to stay, Sam?" John asks, sincere.
Sam pauses, thinks of all the kids who saw him freaking out at the party, about having to face Carl Booker again in the school hallways. "No...but what about the hunt?"
"Caleb's agreed to finish the hunt, simple salt and burn, seeing as a certain someone cracked the research side of things."
"Anyway, we can't stick around." Dean interjects, smiling as he slurps up a mouthful of his soup with gusto. "Because I'm just too damn pretty for jail. Speaking of which, I wonder if Carl Booker's made friends with his new roomie yet?"
Sam stares wide-eyed at his brother, guessing the answer but still asking anyway. "Dean, what did you do?"
A knock at the door interrupts Dean before he even gets to open his mouth—a gentle knock, not like the frantic pounding from the night before—and Sam gives Dean a look which says "Tell me later because I want to hear all the details," and Dean winks before going back to making short work of the rest of his soup.
Sam opens the door, peering through the narrow gap allowed by the door chain. It's Katie, dressed in torn jeans and a crumpled sweater but still beautiful. Sam unlocks the chain, drops his knife out of sight so that it falls behind the door and slips outside.
It's raining and her hair is wet. It's little more than a light shower, a gentle spray which ghosts across Sam's face so he can barely feel it. The air has grown cool, a welcome break from all the dry heat. Even the yellow parched grass which surrounds the apartment looks refreshed.
"I'm sorry I didn't come by the hospital. My parents grounded me after they found out about what happened at the party," Katie begins, pushing a few damp strands of hair out of her eyes.
"You were grounded?"
"I still am. Joe told me you were home and I guess a girl's not lived unless she's climbed out of her bedroom window at least once, right?"
"You're amazing." Sam mutters and then rapidly reddens at his words.
Katie smiles, reaches out to take his hand and Sam soon forgets to be embarrassed. "So I guess I'll be seeing you at school, when you're feeling well enough?"
Sam shakes his head. "We're leaving...my dad's job, we move around a lot."
"Jeez, Sam, you've been the best thing about living in this dead-end town." Katie looks momentarily stricken but she squeezes Sam's hand and lets a small smile tug on the corners of her mouth. "But if you move around a lot, maybe you'll be back?"
"Maybe," Sam echoes and really hopes they will be.
Katie leans forward, kisses him swiftly on the lips. Her face is flushed as she pulls away, perhaps from the cold or perhaps from something else. "Don't dare forget me, Sam Winchester."
Rain water pours like a fine curtain off the end of the porch roof. Sam watches Katie walk away down the street and knows he won't forget her. He'll store her somewhere safe. Bartonville, Texas. Another town to add to the long list of places Sam has called home over the years but now when Sam looks back and thinks of Bartonville it won't dredge up dark memories of failing his family—just soft stolen kisses and sweet summer rain.
Thanks for joining me for the ride. Please review.