Disclaimer: I still don't own Supernatural or its characters. I and am not making any money on this…I'm just having fun!
Redemption of a Lost Soul
Chapter 7 – Finding Normal
Dean tapped his leg as Bobby drove through the night. As he watched the miles go by he couldn't help but feel guilty about not being with his brother. He never should have let Sam go alone. While he'd been sleeping, his brother had been hurt and bleeding.
"Nothin' you coulda done Dean." Bobby said quietly.
"I never should have let him go on his own." Dean said as he glared at the older hunter.
Bobby just shook his head. He could see the train wreck coming and he for one didn't want to be the conductor of the train. "We'll be there in five more minutes—better keep an eye out. He said he parked in a grove of trees just off the main road."
Dean refocused on the road. A moment later he spotted the trees Sam was talking about. "Over there Bobby…"
The old hunter hadn't even put the truck in park before Dean was out the door and heading for the black car. He smiled for a moment as he noticed how well she'd been kept. It had been too long since he'd seen his baby. But as he approached he noticed the driver was absent. "Sam!" Dean called as he glanced at the driver's seat. A chill went through him when he saw the amount of blood on the seat and door. It was clear his brother was badly injured. He called for Bobby before moving towards the rear of the vehicle. A moment later he saw what he'd been looking for.
"Sammy!" Dean knelt beside the unconscious form of his brother. He could see the sweat on his face along with traces of blood smeared across the pale features. He reached forward and felt for a pulse, relieved when he found one followed by a low moan.
"That's it kiddo, you need to wake up for me now." Dean said gently as he noticed what Sam was holding onto. A small smile crossed his lips as he pulled the jacket back to check for his brother's injuries. Maybe Sam did still want him, even if he didn't need him.
"Dean?" Sam moaned as hazel eyes blinked and finally focused on the older hunter.
"Well who else would come out at this hour to save your ass. Seriously Sam, you better not have gotten any blood on her or you'll be washing her for a month…" Dean fell into the old routine faster than he thought he would. His first inclination was to ask why the hell his brother had left him behind. But he knew now wasn't the time for that conversation.
First he'd patch the kid up and then he'd beat some sense into his thick skull. He saw the belt tightened around his brother's left arm. Sucking in a swift breath, he gently loosened it and wasn't surprised to see the blood begin to flow. His brother had a nasty set of gashes running from his shoulder to his wrist. "Looks like you forgot to give the doggie his bone before you killed him huh?"
"Two of them…" Sam muttered as he winced.
Dean stopped and sat back to look at his brother. "Two of them? What were you thinking Sam?"
Sam blinked at his brother's tone and bristled. "I was thinking one wasn't a big enough challenge. I can take care of myself Dean." Sam began to push Dean aside as he struggled to get to his feet.
Dean sucked in a breath. He had forgotten how touchy Sam could be when he was hurting. "Easy little brother. I wasn't questioning your ability. Just take it easy or you'll bleed out faster."
Sam sighed as he allowed his older brother to help him to the bed of Bobby's truck. The old hunter had already gotten the first aid kit ready. "Stitches?" Bobby asked Dean without looking at Sam.
"I think so, but we need to get his shirt off first. I need to see what we're dealing with here." Dean replied as he pulled out his knife and began to cut through the top of the sleeve of Sam's shirt. Sam groaned softly as the fabric was removed from his sore arm.
"Jeez Sam, he really got you pretty good. But don't worry, we can fix this." Dean said softly as he placed a hand on Sam's shoulder. For a brief moment, Sam allowed himself to lean into the comfort being offered before he straightened up once more.
"Just clean it and stitch it up…" Sam said as he prepared himself for the pain.
Dean shook his head but did what his little brother asked. He cleaned the wounds out with holy water, wincing as he saw the smoke pour from the wounds. Sam bit his bottom lip, but remained stoic as Dean continued to clean the claw marks. When he was sure they were clean, the older Winchester pulled out the needle and thread. "You want something for the pain Sammy?" Dean asked as he checked to see if Bobby had a local numbing agent.
"No, just get it over with." Sam said through gritted teeth.
"You don't have to be in pain boy. Dean use the local while I get the idjit some antibiotics and pain pills." Bobby held up his hand at the objection he could see on the young man's lips. "I don't want no arguments from you boy. Your body is going into shock and we don't need to add to it by having you in pain."
Sam smiled softly as he watched his old friend head for the truck to get the water. "You know, some people get more mellow with age…" Sam remarked as he looked at Dean.
"You better not let Bobby hear that—mellow isn't exactly a word I'd associate with him." Dean grinned back at the private joke between the two of them.
"What are you two grinnin' about?" Bobby asked as he passed the pills to Sam followed by the water.
"Nothing" Both boys replied in unison followed by a brief bout of giggles.
"Nothin' my ass…" Bobby mumbled as he shoved his cap back on his head and glared at the two men.
Dean looked beside him and for the first time in a while he felt a part of him heal. He was driving his baby again and his brother was beside him in the passenger seat. His leather jacket was draped over his baby brother's shoulders to keep him warm. "Just like old times huh girl?" Dean said as he ran his hand over the steering wheel.
"You two want a room?" The graveled voice said from beside him.
"You're supposed to be sleeping Sam. How's the arm?" Dean asked as he looked over at his younger brother. He could see the slight grimace followed by the sound of a curse word before Sam gave him the standard Winchester answer.
"I'm fine Dean. Just need a little sleep and I'll be good to go." Sam remarked as he looked over at his older brother. A flash of white teeth showed as a grin formed on the pain filled face.
"I tried to keep her up for you Dean. I mean, I did organize the trunk a bit. But otherwise she'd just like you left her…" Sam swallowed as he looked out the window.
"Why Sam?" Dean asked softly as he looked at his brother. He could see the confusion in the hazel eyes. "Why did you keep her the same—she was yours after I—well afterwards…" Dean still couldn't say it. It would make it too real somehow.
Sam sighed and looked out the windshield for a moment before he answered. "I don't know. I mean, part of me never really gave up Dean. I always kept looking for a way to get you back. Bobby and I had found more than one ritual that would reunite your soul. But first we had to find your body and then, well we should have had to find your soul but then you woke up and…well now you're here."
Dean swallowed as he realized his brother had never given up on him. He didn't know why, but he felt something else that had been missing fall back in place. "Thanks Sam."
Sam just nodded as he let his head fall back against the seat. "Think I'll rest for a bit—we good Dean?" Sam asked a little uncertainly.
Dean sighed. "We're good Sam. Now rest, we'll be back at the cabin in no time."
A short time later Dean pulled his car beside Bobby's truck; it took both men to get Sam inside and into bed. It was obvious his brother was suffering from blood loss and possibly shock. "Do you think we should take him to the hospital?" Dean asked Bobby as he smoothed Sam's hair from his sweat soaked forehead. Now that they were no longer wanted fugitives, it felt good to have that option again.
"I already gave him something for the pain and fever. Why don't we give it a day and see if he improves. You know how he hates hospitals…" Bobby remarked as he stood and moved towards the kitchen. "I don't know about you, but I need a strong cup of caffeine…"
"Sounds good Bobby—and Bobby?" Dean watched the old hunter turn. "Thanks…"
Bobby simply growled something about thick headed Winchesters needing to stay out trouble being the only thanks he needed as he headed into the other room. Dean smiled fondly at the man who had become like a second father to him. He turned as he heard a soft moan from his brother's bed.
"Sammy?" Dean said softly as he sat down on the edge of the bed. His brother's hazel eyes blinked a few times before they finally focused on him. "Take it easy little brother. You're torn up a bit and you have a fever but Dr. Bobby seems to think you'll be just fine."
Sam reached his hand out and grasped Dean's wrist tightly in his own. He held it for a moment before he relaxed. "Thought it was just a dream—you really are here…" Sam muttered as he licked dry lips. Dean picked up the bottle of water Bobby had left and held it to his brother's lips.
"Nice and slow Sam. Don't drink it too fast or you'll be bringing it right back up." Dean said as he helped him. "I'm not going anywhere Sam, not as long as you want me to be here…" Dean looked away for a moment, his own fears of being left alone surged forward and almost took his breath away.
He jumped when he felt his brother grab his arm. "Don't go Dean. I can't—I can't do this without you…"
Dean sighed as he replaced the cap on the bottle. "Sure you can Sam. Bobby's told me what a great job you've been doing. Hell you took on two black dogs and lived to bleed all over my car—which you will be cleaning once you feel better." Dean watched and was rewarded with his brother's eye roll. Well maybe not everything had changed. "Just rest now and we can talk when you're feeling better…"
But Sam was stubborn as usual and seemed to have more to say as he refused to release Dean's arm. "No, you can't leave me again Dean. Please promise me—no more deals, no more shortcuts to save my life. I don't know how or why you're back, but I do know I can't lose you again. Not like that." Sam's eyes drooped with fatigue but he forced them open again.
"But you don't need me Sam. You can do this on your own now. I'll understand if you want to continue fighting on your own—I won't like it, but I understand." Dean wanted to demand that Sam never hunt alone again, but he knew that wasn't fair. His brother had grown up and deserved to be treated as an equal.
He heard his brother sigh before he looked away. "I hunted alone because no one could be you Dean—if I can't fight beside you then I fight alone."
"Then why did you go by yourself tonight Sam? Why didn't you wait for me?" Dean finally asked. "Why did you call Bobby instead of me? The hurt he'd felt finally broke free for a moment as he tried to understand his new role.
"Dean, I didn't ask you to come with because you're still hurt and I knew it was a black dog. After last night's nightmare, I didn't think you'd want to face one so soon—I mean it might remind you of what happened. Believe me; I would have loved to have you there, especially after the second one decided to make an unannounced appearance." Sam paused and wiped the sweat from his face with a shaky hand. Dean could kick himself for forcing his brother to have this conversation now. He needed to rest.
"Sam, we can talk about this later. You need to get some sleep." Dean tried to stand but once again his brother grabbed his arm.
"No, you wouldn't let me talk before and I never got a chance. Never got to tell you how much you mean to me Dean, how much I appreciate everything you've given up and done. You're my big brother and nothing can change that." Sam's eyes shown with unshed tears as he looked at Dean.
"I know kiddo—I've always known. You don't need to tell me." Dean was getting uncomfortable and tried to deflect the feelings like he'd always done. "Sounds to me like you've been listening to too much of that emo music on my car stereo." The older hunter saw his brother's sigh but still continued. "You did! Man, I'm gonna have to exorcise the car of that demon music before we go on our next gig."
"I'm serious Dean. I didn't call you because I—well when you were gone there was only Bobby. I'm sorry, it wasn't done to hurt you." Sam looked away for a moment and groaned softly as he shifted his sore arm.
"I know kid, don't worry about it. Just close your eyes and get some sleep. We have plenty of time to discuss this." Dean smiled as he realized that what he said was true. For some reason, he'd been given a second chance. A chance that meant he and his brother would have time to figure this out. As he saw a small smile form on his brother's face and he realized Sam knew it too.
"My coat Dean—can you bring me my coat?" Sam tried to sit up but Dean pushed him gently back onto the bed.
"No way Sam, you're not going anywhere for at least a couple more days." He stood back and crossed his arms. Sam may have grown up, but he was still the big brother.
"Please Dean; I just need something from it. Then I'll rest—I promise." Sam closed his eyes briefly but opened them again to gaze at Dean.
"Okay, just a minute." Damn puppy dog eyes still could get him to do things; something else that hadn't changed. Dean walked across the room and grabbed the coat from the pile of clothes Bobby had dumped their earlier. He shuddered at the blood stains that covered the front. "I think you're gonna need a new one kid."
Sam didn't respond but took the jacket and dug inside the inner pocket. Dean looked on curiously as he saw his brother's fist close over whatever it was for a moment before he motioned for Dean to come closer. "I kept this for you—I think it's time you took it back."
Dean felt his heart in his throat as he saw the small pendant in his brother's large hand. His own hand moved to his throat as if he could still feel it hanging there. "Thanks Sam" Dean said simply as he slipped the leather cord over his neck. The pendant Sam had given him when he was a small boy was back where it belonged and so it seemed was Dean.
He watched as Sam nestled down in the bed and closed his eyes one more time. Dean pulled the covers up and couldn't resist running his hand lightly over his brother's long hair. "Sweet dreams Sam—I'll be here when you wake up."
"I know Dean…Thanks" Sam mumbled before his breath evened out and he was asleep.
Dean knew they still had a lot of things to work out and that there was bound to be some issues before they would get back to normal. Too much had happened to both of them. But for now Dean was willing to live in the moment. He had his car, his tunes and most of all he had Sam. It was all he'd ever need.
Raven524: Thanks again to everyone who has read and responded to this story. Don't worry the next story is already in the works. It will be dedicated to sendintheclowns who had the dubious honor of winning me in the auction. It will be called Thief of the Night and should be posted soon.