The Test

Chapter 5

Disclaimer: Same as always, see previous chapters.

A/N: Again thank you all for the wonderful reviews. Sorry to have left you hanging last chapter, I'm just evil that way I guess. Chapter 5 will conclude our story. Hope it lives up to what you were expecting. (got my fingers crossed), ENJOY!!

"Time of death 3:47 p.m."

His baby boy was gone. John stood in shocked silence as those words echoed through his head. "No, no, no. this isn't happening!" his mind screamed out. The atmosphere in the room had gone from the frenzied pace of people trying to save a life to utter stillness as the nurses murmured quietly, removing the leads to the machines that once helped sustain that life, only now to be a horrific reminder that not all lives could be sustained. John never heard the doctor's quiet, "I'm sorry," before the man who was at a loss as to what happened to his patient left the room. For several long minutes John didn't even hear his eldest son--only son--sobbing against the wall behind him. All he could hear were those three words: Time of death.

As the nurses finished removing the leads as well as the tube that had once breathed life into the now-still body on the bed, one of them paused. "We'll give you some time." Then she too quietly exited the room that now held so much pain.

John willed himself to move. After all he had been through in his life, all he had experienced--having to watch, helpless, as his wife was consumed by an unholy fire--he had now entered a nightmare far worse. He had to watch as one of his children died. He reached the side of Sam's bed, staring. His mind flashed to the night of the fire, as innocent eyes had looked up at him from the crib, before hell had consumed their lives, now looking at that same face; only those eyes that still held a sliver of innocence were closed forever. The child-like face before him denying the horrors it had witnessed as John released an uncontrolled sob, reaching his hand toward that now-pale face. "Oh God," he whispered. "Oh God…Sammy…I'm…so sorry." Tears ran freely completely, "I'm sorry." He leaned over and gently took his baby boy in his arms, holding him close, "I'm sorry."

John held Sam for a few moments until another sound in the room finally filtered through. It was the quiet sobs coming from Dean. Dean still hadn't moved, nor looked toward the bed that now held his dead brother. Releasing his hold of Sam, John made his way to Dean, kneeling down in front of him. "Dean," he called quietly. John knew how Dean had reacted days earlier at the possibility of his brother not making it, but he had no idea what would happen now that Sam was gone. When Mary had died a four-year-old Dean withdrew into himself, not talking for months. "Dean we need to go." John hated the idea of leaving his youngest, but knew he needed to get his eldest out of the room.

"I'm not leaving him." Dean whispered, his hands still covering his face.

"Dean, we need to. I'm sorry son, but…" John was stopped as Dean dropped his hands and John saw anger in Dean's face. That anger was only countered by the emptiness of Dean's eyes.

"He's not gone!" Dean shouted as he stood angrily, pushing past John, who had also risen. "He can't be!" Dean went to his brother's side and started yelling. "DAMN IT SAMMY…GAME'S OVER…WAKE UP!!" He grabbed Sam's shoulders and started shaking him. "DAMN IT, WAKE UP!"

Seeing Dean's uncontrolled reaction broke John's heart more than he thought it could possibly be broken. He stepped closer to Dean, "Dean, stop!" John reached for his despondent son's arm only for Dean to push him away.

Dean grabbed up his baby brother, holding him close to his chest, whispering, "He's not dead…he's not dead."

Knowing he needed to get Dean out of the room John spoke again, trying to bring an authoritative tone to his voice, but his heart wasn't in it. "Dean, let him go!"

Dean's head jerked toward his father's voice, then he looked down at his brother. "Oh God!…Oh Sammy…I'm sorry." Dean then gently laid his brother back down. He straightened Sam's arms to his sides, pushed the hair that always seemed to be in brother's eyes back. Then he pulled the blanket up to Sam's chest as if he was putting him to bed. "I won't go…I promised." Dean whispered, John just barely catching the words, as Dean gently touched Sam's face.

"Dean, please son." John had watched Dean's ministrations and a fear that he was somehow losing his oldest shot through his soul.

Looking at Sam, Dean again whispered as if he was afraid he'd wake Sam. "No Dad, I can't leave him. I promised."

"Dean!" John spoke again taking a hold of Dean's arm. He would forcibly remove his son if he had to, because he felt in his heart that Dean was slipping away.

Surprising John, Dean jerked from his father's grip. "NO! I'm not letting him do this alone!" Dean shouted, taking a step back.

Fear escalated even more inside John. "Do what?…Son we can't…we need to go, please."

Dean took on the look of a cornered animal, almost feral. His voice changed from almost broken to cold and detached. "Dad, you need to leave!"

"I'm not leaving you. We need to leave together." For once in his life John was afraid of his eldest; the expression Dean held was almost deadly. However John took a step toward his son, determined to help him through whatever he was feeling, only to stopped by a gun in his face.

It took a fraction of a second for John to realize Dean had just pulled a gun from his jeans, that John didn't even know he had on him. John's hands rose automatically, conveying that he was unarmed and didn't want to pose a threat to his distraught son. "Dean, put the gun down son." John's tone changed as well. Fear and loss turned into concern as Dean's expression took on a hollowed look.

"Dad. I. Need. You. To. Leave. Now." Each word was spoken as if to insure understanding. "Nobody is taking him away from me. Now go…please." Dean shook the gun slightly, motioning toward the door.

John took a step back hoping to defuse the situation. "Okay son, I'll step out for just a minute." Though John's heart screamed for him to not leave his eldest in this state, his mind thought by giving this concession he could get Dean out of the room before something they would both regret could happen. "Then I'm coming back in and you are going to leave with me." John backed to the door, his hands still raised.

"Dad." Dean's voice was almost as hollow as his expression, "If anyone comes through that door I'll shoot." John could tell from his son's eyes that Dean meant what he was saying.

Giving a nod of understanding, John reached for the door handle, paused, again looking at his son. "Dean, I love you son." with that John left the room. As the door closed behind him, John was already trying to figure out how he was going to get his remaining son and possibly himself out of this hospital alive.

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Watching the door close, Dean lowered his gun and quickly started pushing furniture and equipment in front of the door. He didn't know how long he'd have to stay in Sam's room, but he was going to make damn sure no one got in until he was ready to let them. Finishing with that task Dean walked over and sat on the bed next to Sam.

"Okay Sammy," he spoke quietly, touching his brother's arm. "You do what you need to, I'm right here. Nobody is going to take you anywhere until you wake up. You can't do this alone, I'm not letting you." Dean wiped a stray tear as it fell, then went to sit in the chair next to Sam's bed. Placing his gun in his lap, Dean tilted his head back and closed his eyes. This was the way Sam had come to him before, so he hoped it was the way he could get to him now. With the help of the exhaustion he'd been feeling, coupled with the emotions of the last half-hour, Dean somehow managed to fall quickly into a deep sleep.

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John had gotten a nurse's attention when he had exited the room. Without causing a lock-down of the whole hospital, John explained to her that his son was not handling the loss of his brother well and had barricaded the door. He knew this because he had heard the scraping of furniture from inside the room and tested the door, finding it wouldn't budge. John did leave out the fact that Dean had a gun with him; he figured if he could get into the room ahead of security he could remove the gun from Dean's possession. However standing there John also feared that with the way his son was acting that he would hear the discharge of said gun. Dean could very well decide to follow his brother, and take away John's remaining son by using the gun on himself. That thought alone, above all else, terrified him.

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"Dean?" Dean felt a slight shake on his arm. "Man wake up." Dean's eyes opened to an almost completely dark room except for the face before him. "What are you doing here? I told you I needed to do this alone." Dean stared into the concerned eyes of his little brother. For a second Dean lost himself, jumping up wrapping his brother into a near bone-crushing hug.

Leaning back he shook Sam's shoulder. "I told you I'm not leaving you. You've never had to face a fight alone and you're not going to start now." Dean gave his brother a cocky grin that said, "I'm older and I know best."

"Where's dad?" Sam asked not seeming to notice the complete darkness surrounding them.

"I made him leave." Sam gave his brother a 'how the hell did you do that look?'look, but didn't voice the question Dean continued. "Nobody's messing with us until you wake up."

For the first-time Sam's eyes showed sadness toward Dean. "Dean, I might not. That's why what happened--happened. I knew I needed to let go, I couldn't do this while still struggling there."

"So what?! You just give up and hope for the best?" Dean was angry, "Didn't you think what it would do to Dad?…to me?" Dean couldn't believe his baby brother had given up willingly.

"Dean, you don't understand what this is, I need to do this alone. I don't want you hurt." Sam's eyes pleaded for his brother to understand.

"Sam listen, I might not understand, but after all we have been through I can't… I won't let you go alone!" Sam almost smiled. He should have known his big brother would try and follow him, protect him. Sam silently wished he hadn't revealed the way for Dean to communicate with him while he was in the coma. He should have anticipated his brother would use it now.

"All right," Sam breathed out deeply, "But you HAVE to follow my lead. DO NOT interfere, no matter what. I call the shots." Sam prayed his brother would listen. "Dean you do understand what could happen if I fail?"

"You won't fail." Dean knew, without Sam telling him, that if Sam failed at this there was a good chance neither one of them would be making it back. Giving Sam a reassuring smile Dean spoke again, "either way, we're in this together, no matter what."

Sam shook his head, "Okay, let's go."

Almost instantly they were in what appeared to be a large warehouse. "I'M HERE!" Sam shouted out as he turned his back to his brother, facing the surrounding darkness. Dean stayed a few steps behind, scanning their surroundings.

"You were supposed to come alone." a voice called from the darkness.

"It doesn't matter!" Sam again spoke loudly, his voice echoing in the large space. "He won't interfere."

"What?!" Dean whispered through clenched teeth.

"You need to stay out of this Dean. I mean it." Sam whispered back, just barely turning in his brother's direction.

As Sam turned his attention back forward both brothers watched as a Figure emerged from the darkness, its face hidden by shadows, but its eyes unmistakable.

"Sam?"

"Dean please."

"Let's see what you've learned," came the sinister voice as Dean saw a blur of movement and suddenly found himself again thrown to the ground. Only this time Sam had landed next to him, who quickly rolled, getting to his feet while Dean made it to his knees, stunned as he watched the tail lights disappear into the darkness.

"What the…?" Dean nearly shouted, getting to his feet facing his brother.

"He's testing me Dean." Dean stared as Sam continued. "I didn't react fast enough before."

"React to what?" Dean didn't know if he really wanted the answer.

Sam was the one now continually checking the surrounding darkness as he started to explain to Dean what happened. "Dean, outside the diner I had a vision." Dean looked dumbfounded. "It was meant for you, that car that hit me was meant for you. I reacted when I saw it, but I was too slow."

"What are you talking about? Sam you're not making any sense." Dean could see frustration on his brother's face as Sam knew he wasn't explaining things clearly.

"Okay," Sam frantically put his hands to his head, as if trying to gather his thoughts. "The vision, it was of you getting hit by the car. I should have understood it and reacted quicker. It took me a few seconds to process what I was seeing, then it was suddenly happening. Dean He was trying to get to you in order to get to me."

"Who?" Dean felt stupid, because he already knew the answer to the question.

"The Demon." Sam's voice turned solemn. "I've been too well protected. You and Dad have protected me so well that the only way it sees of getting to me is to come after those I care about, the ones I love. First it was mom; then Jessica and this time it was after you. But it didn't understand the sacrifice I was willing to make to protect you."

Sam could see disbelief on his brother's face. Dean was realizing that this Demon was purposely picking off people his brother cared about to get to him. "Why is it trying to get to you Sammy?"

"Do you remember when I was in the closet at Max Miller's and I moved that cabinet to get out?" Dean nodded, "Dean that…that ability had gotten stronger. Dean I've been afraid to tell you, to tell Dad. Hell man I've just been plain afraid." Sam knew the hint of that ability had freaked his brother out when he had told him about it all those months ago, that's why he had hidden it since then.

"What? How?" Dean didn't seem to be able to put a coherent thought together as Sam, himself, struggled to continue.

"Dean when that car was coming at you and Dad yelled…I held him on the sidewalk. Do you understand? I forced him to stay where he was, and you… Dean I never physically touched you. My instinct to run toward you when I saw you in danger, overrode what I knew my abilities could do. By the time I realized I had gotten you out of the way and stopped I was in the path of the car." Dean just stared, not knowing what else to do. "It was trying to see how far my ability had developed. It didn't count on my need to protect you to override those abilities. It didn't expect me to put myself, physically, in harm's way to protect you. It doesn't understand love."

Dean's mind was trying desperately to process that his brother had an even more powerful ability then they had ever imagined and that he had kept it hidden. A sudden flash of movement, again, drew both Winchester's attention as another car materialized from nowhere. However instead of moving Sam turned to face it.

"SAM!" Dean yelled as the car came to an abrupt halt two inches from his baby brother. Dean was taken aback by the look of focus and determination on his brother's face, it was almost frightening. Dean watched as the car continued to rev its engine, back wheels spinning. He was stunned when he realized that Sam was holding it in place. He then watched as Sam slightly jerked his head to the right and the car went flying into the darkness.

"Oh yeah," Dean said numbly, "this is way beyond visions and moving cabinets."

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It had been silent for several minutes inside Sam's room. John was relieved that he hadn't heard the discharge of Dean's gun, but he needed to find out what was going on inside with his son. With the help of the two security guards that the nurse had called, John pushed against the door, inching it open. He asked the guards to give him a moment to see if he could talk his son out and reluctantly they agreed. John did a quick peek first, hoping he didn't get a bullet for his trouble.

John noticed Dean was in the chair near Sam's bed, apparently sleeping. The sound of the door hadn't woken him and John prayed it was just slumber. He slowly approached, seeing Dean's gun lying in his lap, John reached, taking it, quickly pocketing it before the guards could see it. He then raised a shaking hand to his son's neck, almost fearful, but grateful to find a strong pulse there.

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Dean watched as Sam slowly turned to face the Figure that was again emerging from the darkness, clapping. "Very nice, very nice indeed." The Figure spoke coldly. "But it seems to me you still have some distractions." An evil grin crossed the Creature's face.

Suddenly a noise was heard behind Sam, who turned to find Dean dropping to his knees, hands at his throat. "DEAN!" Sam shouted, rushing to his brother, catching him as he pitched forward. "No Dean!" Dean's eyes were wide with fear as he gasped for air that refused to come.

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John jumped as Dean's body arched, as he suddenly started gasping for air. His eyes wide, staring blankly at the ceiling as he struggled for breath that wouldn't come. "I NEED HELP IN HERE!" John shouted, "No, Dean, God no!" John grabbed his son as he started to slide from the chair. Security pushed the door open wider as a doctor and two nurses quickly entered. One of the nurses moved the chair as they eased Dean's struggling body to the floor.

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Dean continued to struggle, eyes pleading with Sam. "Leave him alone!" Sam shouted as he held Dean.

"Make me if you think you can," the Figure laughed back.

Sam, tears forming in his eyes, watched as his brother's struggle eased and Dean fell silent.

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"I need to get a tube in him now!" the doctor shouted as a nurse grabbed one from a drawer along with the ambu-bag as the other nurse started chest compressions. John sat back on his knees in devastated shock at the scene playing out before him.

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Sam laid his brother down gently. Tears fell from his face and landed on Dean's. All his fear of not being able to protect his brother rose to the surface, "Dean?" He whispered as he looked at Dean's lax face. As he was looking at Dean other pictures flashed through Sam's mind; his mother's smiling face in the few photos that existed. Jessica's warm, loving smile from the photo he carried in his wallet. Then his eyes focused back on his brother's, wishing for that cocky grin his brother loved to flash so much. This loss was more than Sam could fathom. He loved his mother, even though he never knew her. He had dearly loved Jessica, but the love he carried in his heart for his brother made that love pale in comparison. It was his love for Dean that had caused him to physically put himself in harm's way on that street outside the diner and it was that love that fortified his resolve now. Sam dried his tears and stood slowly.

Yes anger and fear filled him, but love was the focusing factor as he set his face with furious determination and turned on the thing that had taken so much from him. A ghost of a smile crossed Sam's face as he saw the figure before him flinch and step back as Sam faced it. "Let go of my brother!" Sam said calmly, but with a chill that was even noticed by the Creature in front of him. At the moment the words passed his lips, the Figure went flying backwards, slamming heard into the wall several feet behind.

"Oh Sammy," the Demon couldn't help but smirk, "that's my boy, let your anger feed your power." The smirk quickly left Its face as It realized It couldn't counter Sam's hold.

Fear seemed to flash in Its eyes as Sam, in turn, gave his own smirk. The facial expression had been made perfect by years of watching his big brother perform it. "I said," Sam stepped closer, "let him go."

The figure struggled against Sam's force, "How?" This time it was confusion in Its voice.

"You'll never understand. I have something that, allows me to fight whatever you throw at me. It's what will make me do anything to protect my family, my brother." Sam got right into the Creature's face. "I may not be able to kill you with it yet, but someday, I will; I promise. Now I said…" Sam slowly raised the figure up the wall, "Let my brother go!" with that Sam turned his head sharply and the Creature flew into the darkness, disappearing.

Sam stood a second breathing hard, still shocked himself at what he had just been able to do. He then turned and ran to Dean's side. He dropped to his knees as Dean gasped, eyes shooting open, looking around wildly until they landed on Sam. "What…happened?" He barely whispered.

"I'll explain later, let's go." Sam helped Dean to his feet.

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John watched his eldest son gasp as the doctor stopped compressions. Moving next to him, John watched as Dean slowly opened his eyes. "Dean?" John's broken voice called to his son, whose eyes seemed to be searching. The doctor quickly removed the breathing tube from Dean's throat. "Oh God, Dean." John pulled Dean into a hug, slightly rocking him. "God son, I thought I lost you too." John cried out as Dean's breaths evened out and he felt Dean's hand twisting onto his shirt.

"Dad?" Dean's voice was hoarse from the effect of air being force down it. "Sammy?"

"Dean," a raspy voice was heard behind those still on the floor as a nurse and the doctor quickly got to their feet, their attention drawn to the bed. John's head also shot up, looking bewildered toward the bed.

"Sammy," Dean again whispered as he struggled to get out of his father's grasp and to his little brother.

"I don't understand." the doctor mumbled as both he and the nurse started checking the vitals of a very much alive Sam.

As John helped Dean get to his feet, he too looked on in shock as he saw his baby boy's eyes blink and a lop-sided smile grace Sam's still-pale face. Dean stumbled toward his brother as John found his voice, "How?" He looked at the doctor, then back to his son.

"I don't know," the doctor answered. "But initial vitals look normal. I can't explain it." The doctor backed away allowing John and Dean closer to the bed.

Sam reached his hand up and Dean grasped it tightly with his own. "Told you I wouldn't leave." Dean smirked, still trying to get his breath as he sat on the edge of the bed.

John reached, touching Sam's head, "Sammy." Tears rolled from John's eyes.

"It's okay Dad," Sam looked from his father to his brother. "We're okay." Dean nodded.

The doctor and nurses backed away as security also left the room, allowing the once-broken family to begin to heal.

Epilogue:

Over the next few days Sam attempted to explain to his Dad everything that had happened, including how Dean had become a part of the struggle. John was still reeling from loosing both of his sons then miraculously being given them back all in the space of an hour--the longest hour of John's life.

The third day after the whole horrifying ordeal, Sam was released from the hospital with crutches and orders to take it easy for several weeks. That night as they got resettled at the motel, resting before making the drive to Bobby's so Sam could recoup, John sat at the table in the room the boys were sharing. Dean was cleaning their small arsenal , while Sam had his leg propped up and his lap-top on a pillow across his lap.

"Sam?" John's voice broke the silence as both Sam and Dean looked up toward their father. "How did you know?…How did you know your ability was stronger if you hadn't used it?" John was still confused about learning of his son's new ability. At least new to him, because other than knowing about Sam's visions the boys had neglected to mention the whole, 'moving objects' part of the deal.

"I don't know really," Sam said almost shyly. "It was just something I could feel inside." He looked at John then Dean. "I was scared at first…Hell I still am because I don't really know exactly what control I have." Lowering his gaze to his lap-top, Sam seemed lost for a few seconds. "It's always been emotions that serve as the trigger. Especially…" Sam again looked at his brother, "especially if I think something is going to happen to you." His voice was just above a whisper.

Silence filled the room as John watched his boys. Each was so determined to protect the other no matter the cost to himself. He was proud of them, but saddened as well. As John had witnessed at the hospital, loosing one of his boys would, in a very real way, almost guarantee the loss of the other. John prayed he would never live to see that happen.

"So do you think Bobby will be able to help explain what happened?" Dean asked John, who seemed lost in thought. "Dad?"

John snapped his attention back to Dean, "What?"

Dean and Sam exchanged glances, each unsure what to make of their Dad's zoning out; that just never happened. Then again a lot had happened lately that should have never happened.

Dean cleared his throat and asked again, "Bobby? You think he'll be able to explain what happened with Sammy?"

"I don't know Dean." John stated as he stood, crossing the room toward his boys. "Right now all I care about is that you two are alive and safe." He glanced at Sam, "We'll worry about the rest once we get to Bobby's."

The two younger Winchesters exchanged glances again at their father's unusual openness about his feelings toward them, but again it had been a rough couple of weeks. They had each found subtle ways of being near one another without seeming to be. "Dad you okay?" Dean asked.

Sam and Dean watched as their father blinked back tears, "Yeah, I'm good." John turned from them, heading toward the door. "I'll go get us something to eat," he said exiting the room. As he closed the door he paused and glanced back. John knew the war wasn't over by a long shot, but at least the Winchesters had won the battle; this time.

A/N: The End. Thank you all again for reading and reviewing. Hope it came together satisfactorily enough for everyone. Thanks again to FraidyCat-you're wonderful as always. Until next time.