A/N: We've finally come to the end. Thank you to everyone who stuck with this to the end. Thanks for all the wonderful reviews. I never thought the end would make itself known. Or that real life would give it the time. But here it is, all from Sam's point of view.
Sam was glad when Dean walked up to the house. There were a couple of questions he wanted to ask that he didn't want his brother to hear. He was relieved to know there was something to do to help Dean with his car. Now he needed to know if they could help with him. Sam knew his brother was trying very hard not to let on, but the level of trust they had in each other wasn't back yet. Any time he handled a loaded gun, he could see Dean tense a tiny bit. It would be imperceptible to anyone else. Sam wanted Dean to stop being afraid of his little brother. It had taken so long after the incident at the asylum for the haunted look to leave his brother's eyes. He wasn't sure he could handle it again. Sam needed his big brother back.
"Darla, can I ask you something? Possibly about another spell."
"Sure, kid. What do you need?"
"Is there one to restore trust in another person? Can we do a spell to get my brother to trust me again?"
"Unfortunately, people aren't as easy. We can try to remove negative energies, but that's about it. The only way to get back trust with a person is time and talking things out. Why would you think he doesn't trust you?"
"Something happened recently." He wasn't sure how much he should say, decided on the truth. Bobby trusted them, so he would too. "I was possessed by a demon we'd previously exorcised. She used me to hurt several people, including Dean. Especially Dean. I shot him. Now he tenses when I pick up a gun. I can't blame him. But I don't want him to worry that I'll hurt him again. I'd do anything to fix that."
"Sorry, I wish I could do something. Maybe you should tell him what you just told me. He should know how you're feeling."
"Yeah, that's what Bobby said too. Guess I was hoping for an easier fix. Dean isn't the easiest person to discuss feelings with. No chick-flick moments is his cardinal rule."
"You could try one of those trust exercises popular in all the self help books."
"Because that is SO much better. No, but thanks." He didn't want to hurt her feelings, didn't mean to be so abrupt.
"Relax, Sam. That was just a joke. You couldn't pay me to actually read a self help book. Though poor Hannah has to shelve that garbage all day long."
He smiled sheepishly and said, "Sorry. This whole thing with my brother has us both on edge. Dean's been through so much the last couple of months. I only want to restore his faith in something, even if it isn't me."
"What happened with the car that has him so stressed? You didn't say much about it last night."
"We were working a case down in Glen Rose, a haunted intersection where two people died in a car accident. Turned out there were several spirits involved. One of them, the older brother of the kid who died in the accident, ended up taking over the Impala. He tried to kill both of us. Almost succeeded in killing Dean by running him over with his own car."
"Damn. It's no wonder he's freaked about his car now. I'd be afraid to go near it. I hope we can help in some small way."
"I'm happy he even agreed to let you help. He usually doesn't trust witches. At all. So there isn't anything we do for me? Maybe a spell to make him talk?"
"I don't think you really want that. What if it does work and he never shuts up? Don't worry. I'm sure, given time, that will work itself out."
"Yeah, but time is the one thing we can't afford. If he can't trust me in the middle of a hunt, that could have dangerous consequences."
"All the more reason to talk it out with him. Now let's get the car fixed first. Then we can work on that hottie of a brother."
Sam would never figure out how Dean attracted women just by being there. Following her up to the house, they went inside just in time to see something made Sam wish he had a camera on him. His big, bad-ass Hunter brother had two little black and white kittens perched on his shoulders. He tried not to laugh out loud, but couldn't resist, which earned him the death glare.
"You think this is funny? Here. You can have their little razor sharp claws digging into your skin for a while. Sam, meet Bobbi and Corbett."
He realized quickly Dean wasn't kidding about the claws. Even through three layers, they dug in painfully. "Ow! Damn it, Dean. That's not funny." Though the smile it brought to his brother's face, the first genuine smile in a long while, was worth a little pain. "Can we get back to business now?"
"Sure thing, Sammy. We were about to come outside with the stuff when you guys came in. Did you two have a nice time out there?"
Sam ignored the comment and the eyebrow waggle that went with it. "Is there anything you need us to do?"
Hannah responded as she handed a few things to Darla. "Nope. Just pay attention so you can do this again later. Of course, you're always welcome to come visit and let us refresh the spell. Now what else do we need? Darla, any idea where you put the cinnamon oil?"
"Me? You were the last to use it."
"No, the last time I used it was for that couple a few weeks ago, remember? They wanted the passion spell. You used it last week with the lottery tickets we bought. You didn't use the last of it, did you?"
"Crap! Maybe I did. But peppermint oil will work too. Do we have any of that?"
Sam was inwardly amused at the "discussion" between the witches. It reminded him of many of the argument he and Dean had, mostly over who's turn it was to do laundry and talk to victims families. The younger one, Darla was really a lot like his brother in some ways.
"Yeah, it's in the kitchen with the spices for baking. I bought some to make Yule cookies."
"Oh, I love your Yule cookies. You guys will have to swing by Bobby's around Christmas and try them. We send him batch every year, those and her shortbread cookies are to die for."
"Ok, ok, Darla. Just get the peppermint oil so these poor boys can be on their way some time this century. I swear, you get her on the subject of food and she'll talk your head off."
That made Sam laugh out loud. "Yeah, I know what you mean. Dean's just as bad."
"Hello! Standing right here. And I do not. Well, unless there's pie nearby. Do you make pie?"
Darla came back, peppermint oil in hand and they all headed out to the car. Sam and Dean stood back and paid close attention to what was going on, Sam making mental notes, glad that Darla would give them written instructions before they left. They'd barely started when Hannah, obviously frustrated and trying not to show it, questioned Darla about their supply of holy water.
"Oh, no. You aren't blaming that on me," Darla said, pointing back towards the house. "That was your sister. She used it for this exact same spell on her new station wagon. Maybe we can do the spell without holy water."
"You know we can't." Hannah looked ready to strangle her friend, but managed to control the urge. "Remember the last time we tried a spell out here without holy water? I don't want the spirits out here getting pissed at us again for messing up the energies around their garden. The spell will have to wait until we've made more."
"Actually, that's the one thing we can supply. We try to always have holy water on hand." Sam was glad they'd restocked right before their trip to Glen Rose, though not thrilled at the reason they'd run out in the first place. He wasn't sure how long it would take them to make a new batch. "Let me get it from the trunk."
Darla followed him over to get the holy water and whistled as she caught sight of the contents of the trunk. "Sweet collection you got there. Let me guess, that pretty little sawed-off is Dean's right? A crossbow? What good is a crossbow against ghosts?"
"Yeah, has a name for it and everything." Sam chuckled. She eyed the weapons like a kid in a candy store, like his big brother. "It's not. Works great on the corporeal stuff we hunt. Though truthfully, we've never used it. Dean just had to have it."
"Hey, I can hear you, you know! And I got the crossbow because you never know when we'll need it. Like the flare guns. Didn't think we'd need those until after that Wendigo hunt."
"True. So you have ghosts here? Anything you need us to take care of? It is what we do." As Sam reached for the holy water, he decided the shotgun loaded with rock salt wasn't such a bad idea.
"Nah, they're mostly harmless. The worst they've ever done is knock over the statues they don't like and chase away the coyotes." Darla paused, eyed the shotgun with caution as he handed her the holy water. "Don't think you'll need that, Sam."
"Don't worry. It's only got rock salt rounds. Gotta take precautions where spirits are involved." Sam wasn't taking any chances. Winchesters were magnets for trouble, lately Dean even more so.
"Just be careful and don't get the rooster. Stephen's already been kicked out of the backyard."
All of the ingredients collected, Sam stood back, Dean several feet from him and watched the witches work. First they walked a salt circle clockwise around the car. Next time around the car, they sprinkled the holy water in various spots on the car, quietly speaking words of protection. As they started the final circle around, noises came from the garden and yard around them. Sam saw a figure begin to coalesce near Dean and raised the gun. A look of fear from Dean made him stop suddenly. Before he could reassure his brother and take care of the spirit, Dean lunged at him, grabbing the gun and throwing them both to the ground. Sam heard a loud thump and a quiet curse from Dean. When he sat back up, he couldn't look his brother in the eye. However much he didn't want to believe it, he was proven right. Dean still didn't trust him, might never fully trust him again. Even grabbed the gun to make sure he couldn't shoot him again.
"Sam? You ok?"
The fear in his brother's voice was the final piece of evidence he needed. He was afraid to look and see the fear, that haunted look again. He was determined not to make a big scene in front of strangers. "Yeah, Dean. I'm fine. I'm sorry."
"Sorry? Sorry for what? It didn't hit you, did it?"
"Huh?" Sam looked up at the question, not the one he was expecting. "How could it hit me? It was right next to you." Looking at Dean's expression, he realized the fear he'd heard wasn't fear of Sam. It was fear for him. The same look he always had when Sam was in danger.
"No, look. One of the spirits must've been pissed that you brought the gun to play. They threw a statue at you."
Sam looked to his left and saw the statue. Of course it had to be the Bigfoot statue. It was embedded in the ground just a few feet from him. "I thought..."
"You thought what, Sammy?" Dean looked genuinely confused. He also had a small gash on his temple that was bleeding freely. He took another hit meant for Sam and was only worried above his welfare.
"It's stupid. Forget it."
"Nope. Can't do that. You thought what?"
"There was a spirit right next to you. When I raised the gun to shoot it, you looked scared. I thought you were afraid I would shoot you again. I know you still don't trust me to have any guns around you. I've seen the flinches. I'm sorry."
"Damn it, Sam. How many times do I have to tell you before you believe me? I trust you. Always have."
"But the flinching..."
"I was afraid that it would bring up too many bad memories for you. You were a complete mess after Meg. I thought the guns might make you relive it all."
Sam should've known. Should have remembered how strong his brother was. Too much time away, wasted on a life he wasn't meant to have, made him forget that Dean's trust wasn't broken so easily. It would be tested on occasion, but not broken. He whispered a quiet thanks and tried not to tear up in front of the girls. Dean would never let him live that one down.
"You know, I miss when you listened every word I said, when big brother could do no wrong."
"Dude, I stopped being fooled by your crap when I was ten."
"Whatever, bitch. Keep telling yourself that. You might eventually believe it."
From behind them, Hannah said, "Touching boys. Now can we finish this? Before you start anymore trouble."
Dean stood and offered Sam a hand up. They stayed out of the way and watched as the girls finished. The last time around the car, they drew pentacles on the hood, doors, tires, all the vital parts of the car and said the last few lines of the spell.
"Here," Darla said as she handed Dean a small crystal. "Keep this amulet in the car as added protection. It doesn't have to be visible. As long as it remains inside the car, it'll protect this beauty. The instructions on recharging the crystal are there on the page with the cleansing spell. That'll be a hundred and fifty bucks."
"What? You didn't say anything about payment!"
"Gotcha again, Sam. You're too easy." Sam blushed and laughed. He heard Dean laugh too.
"Always told you to lighten up little brother. Never did know a good joke when you heard one."
"That's only because you never tell a good joke."
They thanked Darla and Hannah for everything and gave them their phone numbers, in case they ever needed a favor in return. Sam was thrilled to see Dean look more relaxed than he had in a long time. Maybe they would be alright after all. As they left the little farm, Dean turned to Sam and said, "Thanks, Sam."
At a loss for how to respond to an honest thanks without the layers of sarcasm, Sam just smiled. "So, where to next?"
"I thought maybe you'd like another trip to the bookstore, one without a time limit. I know you didn't get to stay nearly as long as you wanted."
"Really? You don't mind."
"Nope. Then we can go to that auto plant. You know, take my baby to see where she was assembled."
Just to hear Dean call the car his baby again, to see the joy it brought him again, made the trip worth all the worry. And he knew once and for all that Dean trusted him as well. They were going to be fine, or as fine as a Winchester could be.