Chapter sixteen: I'm Okay… We're Okay
The following day luck found Sam and Dean. The day started off just like any other day in the dull hospital. Dean was forced to wake Sam up from one of his nightmares, then faced with the aftermath. Sam awoke from his hellish dream and threw his arms around his brother's neck and sobbed into his shoulder. Dean placed his arms around Sam's frail body and the steady stream of words followed, he would also gently rock them back and forwards and once he had nothing left to say he would hum a soft song. All this was so familiar now; Dean knew what to do without even needing to think about it. Hold Sam; say comforting words and rock back and forwards.
Life seemed to be stuck on repeat. The days would change but the events that occurred during the day would not. It was all the same to them, but every day even if they didn't see it, things were getting better. The darkness was lifting and the light they both desperately seeked was shinning brighter. The nightmare was coming to an end, it would never truly be over but it would get better. And it was time for a miracle; it was time for a new beginning. But for a beginning there had to be an ending and the curtains would be closing by sundown.
Sam detached himself from Dean and moved away, looking down as though he was ashamed. He knew Dean sensed his distress and his thought was proven right when Dean cupped his chin in the crock of fingers. Sam stared into his brother's eyes and he couldn't help but smile, it was halfhearted but it brought a smile to Dean's face too. The smile then died away and Dean went to speak, but Sam pulled away, he didn't want to discuss this right now.
As if sensing Sam's thoughts Dean shut his mouth and looked away, not wanting to see the tears that still glistened in Sam's eyes. They had already shed too many. He cleared his thought and looked back to Sam, whom had his head bowed. Dean chewed at his lip, he really wanted to know why Sam seemed ashamed but he knew he would talk to him when he was ready. Dean heaved a sigh, searching his mind for something, anything, to talk about. But no subject seemed suitable; there was too much going on to be making small talk.
The door to the room squeaked before opening and an old lady caring a tray of food walked in. She smiled politely at the boys and Sam tried, he tried really hard not to scoot closer to his brother. But he subconsciously moved closer to Dean and had his head buried in his chest once more. He didn't look up until it was just them again. He cleared his throat and looked down again.
"Hungry?" Dean asked.
Sam only nodded, not trusting his voice right now.
Dean pulled the tray over to them, sitting it in between them. "Strawberry jam or honey?" he asked once he had buttered Sam's toast, his eyes locked on Sam.
"Jam" he replied dryly, he wished he didn't have to rely on Dean for everything. Everything in his life had been damaged, his trust, his pride, his hand, his whole life. He was useless. He would never be able to hunt again, even if he did get a prosthetic hand he would still be limited. It would make life a little bit easer, at least he could do more but he was still going to be useless. He was a broken solider and he would never again see the battlefield. Sam closed his eyes to force away the tears and he vaguely heard Dean's voice, but he wanted to block everything out right now. He felt Dean's hand on his shoulder followed by his name then Dean slipped up.
Sam's eyes snapped open and he crawled backwards, his breaths coming in pants. He pulled his knees up to his chest and wrapped his hands around himself, trying to make himself as small as possible. He rocked himself back and forwards, letting the tears flow freely as they always did. He felt Dean's arms around him, whispering apologies as he caressed Sam's hair. Sam forced back a sob and swallowed hard to dislodge the lump in his throat.
"Sam I'm sorry" Dean said and he sounded angry, not with Sam but with himself "I'm such an idiot!"
"No your not" Sam said looking up, blinking away the tears "Its ok, I know you're used to calling me Sammy but I can't stand hearing it but its ok really" he said in a rushed sentence, trying to finish it before the tears fell "I just can't be called it anymore."
Dean nodded "I understand" he said wiping away the single tear with his thumb. "Well I don't fully understand but I know where you're coming from."
"Do you want me to tell you?" Sam asked looking away "I will if you want to know."
"Know what kiddo" Dean asked, his tone soft and soothing.
"Know why you can't say it" he was speaking through his teeth, trying to repress a sob.
"Cole" Dean said forcing away the tears and blinding rage he felt when he heard or mention him.
"He shouted it out" Sam mumbled, "When he…" deep breath "raped me."
Dean felt his heart shatter "Sam I'm so sorry" he whispered the words, not able to make his voice go any louder. Then Dean wrapped his arms tightly around Sam and cried. He let the tears cascade down, needing his own release more then ever. Sam too wrapped his arms around Dean and this time he did the comforting, the steady stream of words were whispered from his mouth.
Time passed by and Dean continued to sob into his brother's chest. Crying was not a Dean Winchester thing, he always said he didn't cry but for someone who didn't cry he had sure done his fair share in the past year. But there was nothing left to say, words had no meaning to him. All he could do was cry and let it all go.
"I'll be ok" Sam whispered while pressing a soft kiss to Dean's head "we'll be ok."
Dean felt the tears subside, because hearing Sam say those words opened up a window and the light streamed in. Hope for brighter days washed over him and he felt some of the darkness lift.
They'd be ok…
Midday found Sam and Dean in a better mood then this morning, a better mood then the last couple of weeks. Everything was falling back into place, Sam was healing, Dean was healing; they were healing. The road back still had a few bumps but no more pit stops. The darkness was lifting, the light finally able to seep through the curtains. Everything was not yet the way it was, they way it should be but it was heading that way.
One day, one day in the not too distant future Sam and Dean would be laughing, they would be hunting and they would be ok. The mess was finally getting cleaned up; the wounds had been cleaned and now they had to heal. Together, together as brothers they would heal each other. The future would bring better days for both Sam and Dean. Brighter days.
Though just because the future was brighter didn't mean it would stay bright. Sam and Dean had ups and downs coming and something was going to change forever. But right now the future was bright for both Sam and Dean not even Evan's visit could dampen their spirits.
He did the usual. Checking Sam's many injures, the scars on his back, chest and inner thighs had been healing nicely but they would forever be a reminder of Sam's worst nightmare. A reminder of Cole himself. Sam could never forget Cole completely. The big scars on his body were not as bad as the ones inside. They in so many ways were and always would be more painful. They held the worst of the nightmares, the worst of the memories.
His scars inside and out would never leave but they would fade, they would fade just like the terrifying memory. Never completely gone but never the same as when they were first inflected.
"Well Sam" Doctor Evan said "your injures have really healed well" he offered a smile but it came out half hearted "of course you'll always have scars but they will be faint, some might be more noticeable though."
"Chicks dig scars" Dean said with a grin "right Sam" Dean fought of the urge to say Sammy; it was hard not to let it slip. It was something he always said but now saying it seemed wrong. How could he say it when it had been used in such a disgusting manner?
"Right" Sam mumbled, looking away from Dean.
"Um" Evan cleared his throat "I would also like the forms back please" he said eyeing Dean.
"I haven't signed them" Dean said nonchalantly "thought there could be another way."
"Dean there is no other way!" Evan said sullenly, "I get it! I do. You want to save Sam's hand but you can't" he took a deep breath and composed himself "you can't make everything better Dean no matter how hard you try."
"Wanna bet?" Dean asked with a grin and Sam looked up.
"Dean please" Evan pleaded.
"Dean what are you thinking?" Sam asked ignoring the Doctor.
"I was thinking we could try something different, something supernatural."
"Supernatural?" Evan repeated.
"Yeah a spell" he said looking up at the doc "you do remember me telling you about the supernatural right?"
"You said a ghost hurt Sam last year" he said avoiding any harsher words "you didn't say anymore then that."
"Oh sorry" he looked away from the doc "whatcha say Sam?"
Sam swallowed hard "I don't know."
"C'mon Sam" Dean said slapping him playfully on the leg, he was trying to keep this light "I got Missouri looking up spells and when she finds one she's gonna tell us" he reached out and placed his hand on Sam's "wouldn't you like that huh? To be able to use your hand, to be able to do things again?"
"I would" he said dryly "But its not that simple… spells can go wrong."
"We will make sure it can't" Dean said firmly "Sam I wanna fix your hand, let me fix it?" he gave Sam his best shot at puppy dog eyes.
"Ok" Sam said with a sigh "I'll let you try" he let out a sigh "but if it fails-"
"Let me finish" Sam said, "If it fails you have to promise me that you will sign the form."
"Sam" Dean's shoulders dropped "I… I promise" he swallowed hard. He couldn't.
"Where are you going to do this little spell anyway?" Evan chimed in.
"Well Doc I was hoping you could give Sam permission to leave the hospital."
"Dean I can't-"
"-Just for the night" he interrupted "though I would like to be able to take Sam home soon."
Evan sighed "I will let you take Sam home for the afternoon but he has to be back here at six on the dot ok."
"Done deal," Dean grinned.
"And I will see about getting Sam home" he said, these boys had already spent so much time in here and they didn't need anymore. "I will talk with Ross about it."
"Great" Dean grinned.
Evan sighed again "you boys are going to get me in big trouble one day."
"Sorry" Sam said "But we really appreciate what you've done for us, what you've done for me," Sam offered Evan a smile, a genuine smile "I can't thank you enough."
Evan blinked his eyes feverishly "thank you Sam" he gave a smile, mirroring Sam's "oh one more thing, your STD has cleared up."
"Really?" Sam asked and his face lit up.
"Really" he said nodding with a smile "but you will have to have check ups every now and then."
"Can do Doc" Dean said with a beaming smile. Today was the best day in a long time.
"Well I will let you guys be and I'll see about getting you out for the afternoon."
"Thanks Doc" Sam and Dean said in unison.
The rumble of the Impala was a welcoming feel for Sam. The sound of Metallica was soothing; the purr of the engine made Sam relax, giving him the chance to let his walls down. He felt completely safe. The Impala in a way was his and Dean's only home, they only security they had ever really known. It was nice to be back in her, to feel the soft familiar seats, to hear the familiar music. Sam for the moment felt like himself again, he felt safe. Ready to face the world, ready to hunt but the feeling disappeared once he was outside again.
He stood in Bobby's front yard and he felt so small. The world around him felt so big, so huge and he was so small and weak. He felt his hands trembling and he bit his tongue to force back a sob. He tried to tell himself that he was safe but now that he was out in the open he felt afraid. Anyone, anything, could be waiting for him, waiting to hurt him, waiting to tear apart his life.
Piece by piece.
Bit by bit.
He felt Dean's hand in his, his fingers twining with Sam's. He turned his head and faced his brother, who wore a reassuring smile, he squeezed Sam's hand for emphasis. Sam smiled back and they walked up the stairs together. Sam knew he was safe here but he couldn't help the fear that swelled within him but having Dean with him made it easier.
They walked into the lounge room, Dean's fingers still entwined with Sam's. Missouri had a small table set out in the middle of the room; four white candles made a circle and in the middle was a gold bowl. She gestured for Sam and Dean to take a seat, as she lit each candle. She then sat herself down on the seat opposite Sam and Dean. She lent in, her elbow resting on her knee.
"So what do we do?" Dean asked before she could speak.
"I have all the right herbs in the bowl now all I need is something to focus the spell on" she pulled out a small athame, Sam winced at the sight of the blade and tightened his grip on Dean's hand. "Relax Sam" Missouri said softly "you're safe but I need some of your blood and flesh to make the spell work."
"O… Ok" he choked out.
"You're safe Sam" Dean assured and the words coming from him held more meaning. Because Dean wouldn't say Sam was safe unless he was.
"Now unfortunately I need the blood and flesh to come from your wounded hand," she said apologetic.
"Why?" Dean demanded.
"Because it has to have more to concentrate on," she said steadily "I'm sorry Sam but it's important."
"Its fine" he mumbled, not meaning what he said.
"Sam you don't-"
"-I said its fine Dean!" Sam interrupted sullenly.
"Ok" Dean backed down.
Sam tentatively unwrapped the bandage from his burnt hand. His fingers shook so bad that Dean had to do it for him, though Dean's own fingers trembled. Once the bandage was removed Dean let out a gasp of horror, he hadn't seen Sam's hand since he first rescued him and it looked terrible. His fingers seemed to bend in different directions, the bones looked so fragile beneath the burnt flesh. The burns themselves had been treated and replaced with skin grafts but it still looked hideous, not that Dean would say anything. The burns went from Sam's fingers to his wrist; the bones underneath seemed to be visible through the thin layer of skin.
"He burnt all the skin from my hand" Sam sobbed "after breaking my fingers."
Dean automatically wrapped his arm around Sam's shoulder and pulled him closer to him, pressing a soft kiss to his forehead. "We're going to fix this Sam, you're going to be fine."
Sam only nodded, not trusting his voice right now.
"Lets get this done" Dean said reaching for the knife. He nervously took the blade into his hand and turned to face Sam, his ruined hand resting on his knee. "Sam look at me" Sam obeyed and looked up at Dean "This gonna hurt so try and think of something else, ok" he nodded while forcing back tears. Dean's hand trembled and he had to take a deep breath to calm himself. Just do it Dean he told himself the quicker the better. He tentatively placed the blade to Sam's skin and with a quick movement of the wrist he had slid the blade across, taking skin and flesh with it.
Dean handed the knife to Missouri the moment he'd finished, waiting to discard the object that hurt his brother. He saw the tears running down Sam's face and he pulled him onto his lap, letting Sam sob softly into his chest. Dean caressed Sam's hair while offering the soothing and comforting words that he repeated every day.
"Does he need to do anymore?" Dean asked gradually.
"I need for him to bleed into the bowl while I say the spell" she said tossing the flesh into the bowl.
"I can do that," Sam mumbled.
"You sure?" Dean asked, looking down at his baby brother, he looked pale.
"I'm sure," he said getting up, his body swayed slightly so Dean jumped up after him, wrapping his arms tightly around him. Together they moved towards the table, holding each other up. Sam placed his hand above the bowl and let the blood run down over his mangled fingers. When the blood hit the bowl Missouri started chanting in Latin but the words were just a distant echo to the brothers.
Sam closed his eyes as a strange tingling feeling took over his hand, taking away the pain that never really faded. Soon the tingles turned to pain, he could feel the hot poker against his skin, hear him laugh. He felt a sob escape his mouth followed by a whimper, the pain was dreadful. He tried to block it out but it was no use, the pain wasn't leaving. He could hear Cole talking to him, saying how he deserved it, deserved to be punished.
When he opened his eyes again he saw the concerned face of his big brother. He had tears in his eyes and he looked frightened which was a rare sight for Dean Winchester. Sam knew he was talking to him but the words seemed far away, to far away to hear. It was like he was underwater and Dean was hovering above the surface and Sam was unable to reach him. He was sinking, sinking because of what Cole had done.
And in that moment Sam decided that he wouldn't sink, he would swim. He would break through the surface and find himself in his brother's arms, find himself in a safe place. Cole would not ruin his life, he would not drain Sam in fear and he would not shadow him in fear. He threw his arms around his brother and the light spilled in, chasing away the darkness. As he breathed in his brothers scent he felt a new beginning, a new dawn was on the horizon.
He pulled back from Dean and smiled at him, his eyes lighting up for the first time in long time "I'm gonna be ok" he breathed then took a quick glance at his hand, the scars were gone, the skin completely healed. He looked back up, a beaming smile on his face "we're gonna be ok."
Dean smiled back and pulled Sam back into his arms, "I know," he whispered into his ear "I always knew."
The late afternoon sun flittered through the tacky curtains that hung in Bobby's lounge room. Dean lay on the couch with Sam half lying on top of him. Dean's fingers whispered over the faint scars on Sam's wrists. He traced the line with his fingers, remembering last year, remembering that it could have gone a whole different way. If he hadn't gone to find Sam he wouldn't be here right now. The sad thing was that if Sam died that day he would have avoided a whole world of pain. If Sam had died then none of this would have happened and despite all odds Dean was glad Sam hadn't died.
It seemed a selfish thought. But if Sam had died that day so would have Dean, he couldn't live without Sam, he couldn't even bear the thought. A life without Sam would be meaningless. Pointless. So even though Sam had suffered pain beyond belief Dean was still glad he was here, he was so proud that Sam had fought his way through the darkness. He'd found the light and now the healing could begin.
Dean smiled down at Sam as he scooted closer to him throwing his arm over Dean's chest. Dean stared at Sam's know healed hand; he felt pride in knowing that he had managed to fix at least something. Though Sam still couldn't move his fingers properly Dean knew he would be able to soon. The spell had helped Sam's hand heal faster. It healed months of surgery in a matter of seconds. Now time would have to do the rest.
"Dean?" Sam asked groggily.
"Right here kiddo" he replied while brushing a stray hair away from Sam's eye, he really needed a haircut.
"I don't want to go back," he whispered.
"I know" Dean sighed; he didn't want Sam to have to go back to the hospital either. He'd seen those stark white walls far too much for his liking. "But you have too."
"I won't hurt myself again," he whispered again.
"I know" Dean said repeating himself.
"Then lets just leave" Sam eye's opened and he stared up at Dean with a pleading look.
"Where do you wanna go?" Dean asked, thinking over Sam's plea.
"Doesn't matter" he murmured "jus' as long as you come."
"Always gonna be by your side."
"Please don't make me go back."
"Sam" Dean chewed at the inside of his lip.
"I think you should go."
Both brothers looked up to see Evan standing in the doorway, Missouri beside him. He crossed the threshold and took a seat on the opposite seat; he held a duffle in his right hand. "Missouri called me" he explained "said you guys were better and that it was time to hit the road" he grinned at the last part but it faded quickly.
"Do you think Sam's ready?" Dean asked.
"I don't know" he sighed "do you?"
Dean looked at Sam who smiled, a true genuine smile. The life had returned to his eyes, he had a glow to his skin that hadn't been there since he found him beaten and broken. "Yeah I do."
"Then you may go" Evan said clearing his throat "but if you need me don't be afraid to call. Ok!"
"No worries doc" Dean grinned up at him.
"Well then" he stood, blinking away tears "guess this is goodbye."
Dean and Sam both sat up, then embraced the doctor in a group hug "Goodbye and thank you" Dean and Sam whispered in unison.
Evan stepped back and gave a firm nod.
"Hope I never see ya again" Dean smirked.
"Back at ya" he said, "be safe" he the departed from the room.
As Sam and Dean watched the doctor leave they felt like a part of this nightmare left with him. The worst part was now over. The ending was here and the beginning was just around the corner.
"You sure your gonna be ok Sam?" Dean asked.
"Yeah I'm sure" he smiled.
"Good" Dean grinned, "cause I knew it."
And he had always known it. It may have not always been clear to Dean but he knew it was there. He knew that the new beginning would come and the light would flood in and they would no longer be cloaked in darkness.
He'd always known they'd be ok…
I'd like to thank everyone who read and reviewed this story :) I love you all and your reviews kept me going, I loved knowing how you felt about this emotional story. It was a challenge to write but it was worth it. Thank you all again and I can't thank you enough for those amazing reviews :) Goodbye, 'til next time.