A/N: Grrr. For some reason the site isn't letting me reply to reviews this morning so making for an extra long note here, I'm going to Thank you all.
Blue Peanut: This story is for you and I'm glad to know you're not let down by it. Happy birthday girl! Can't help but giggle though. "Patiently waiting" I don't think anyone is patiently waiting. LOL! Psylocke, it's good to have you back! Bobby will be alright. He's always alright. Soncnica, as always you find something to love in a fic and you let me know. This time it's everything from bitchy Sammy with a limp to Dean charging in to save the day. Thanks girl. Vonnie, who always makes herself late for work reading my stuff, thanks girl but you can read anytime. I know you're always around. And finally to Ali from Pa. Thanks for worrying about Bobby. I love him too much to kill him so he's alright. And to everyone else who hasn't caught up with that(Merisha is busy with my next story-thanks again girl) and ST who's probably on call but still making my life with the reviews she leaves... Thanks my friends.
Okay, now that I'm done with that, here's the final chapter. I hope you all enjoy and just to let you know about the ending. You're gonna hate me once again.
"You're destined to be evil Sam. Not strong enough to fight me. Give in to me Sam. You will take joy in watching the world crumble to dust beneath your feet as you take your place as Destroyer." The rattle of bones caused Sam to moan in pain, his eyebrows furrowing as his head shifted to the side on the flat motel pillow. Dean heard the small noise and walked to the bed, sitting down beside his brother and reaching out a hand, smoothing the pain lines gently from his little brother's forehead.
"Easy kiddo. Just rest. 'M sure Bobby will be back soon." Dean said, watching with a small smile as Sam seemed to calm down.
"NNuuh." Bobby groaned, reaching a weak feeling hand out behind him to pull the heavy branch off his back. He felt it scrape across his back and rip at his flannel shirt, but it finally gave and slid to the forest floor beside where he lay. He forced himself to his knees, feeling a trickle of blood run down his cheek from his temple to become lost in his beard. He picked up his ball cap and placed it back on his head. He eased upright and caught himself, breathing slowly as the world spun before slowing to a stop and resembling something normal. Memories flashed through Bobby's head and he remembered the sigils that he'd seen before being knocked out. "Aw, Damn." He turned from the place he'd fallen and pulled his cell from his pocket as he dashed through the woods as quickly as his aging body would allow. "Come on Dean. Answer your phone!" Bobby yelled to the forest as the phone continued to ring.
Dean turned from Sam as he heard his phone ring on the table. He stood from the bed and hesitated when he heard Sam moan painfully. "Sammy." Dean said softly, sitting back on the bed and running a hand through Sam's hair. I know it's probably Bobby, but he needs me. "Shh, little brother. It's okay, you're okay." Dean continued to run his hand over Sam's hair and Sam moaned again, turning his cheek into Dean's hand.
"This is Dean. Leave a message. If you don't hear back from me call my brother Sam…"
"Damnit!" Bobby cursed, flipping his phone shut, effectively cutting off the message as he pulled open the door of his car. The car rumbled to life, a puff of black smoke coming out of the tailpipe before clearing. The car was slammed into drive and fishtailed back onto the road, roaring down the blacktop. He pulled a hand from the wheel and lifted the cell phone he'd dropped on the other seat, hitting a speed dial button with one hand as he flipped the phone open.
"Thank God. Dean, is Sam still asleep?"
"Yeah. Bobby, what's up?"
"Balban. That's what's up."
"Why does that sound familiar?" Bobby heard a gasping, strangled cry come through the phone and recognized Sam's voice as the one to cry out.
"It's Sammy. He just sat straight up and… Hey, I gotta go. Get back here ASAP." Bobby heard the phone move away from Dean's ear. "Sammy? Sam?" Click. Bobby slammed the accelerator to the floor.
Dean flipped his phone shut and dropped it on the table beside him, going quickly to Sam's side. Sam was sat up in the bed, breathing in gasps, his chin nearly touching his chest. "Hey Sammy? What's wrong? Talk to me bro."
"I couldn't fight it." Sam whispered. "I can't fight it."
"What?" Dean asked, not quite hearing Sam's barely there, choked out words.
Sam's head whipped up meeting Dean's gaze with hazel eyes ringed with silver gray, like molten lead. A strong hand came up faster than Dean could back away and locked itself around his wrist in a painful, vice like grip. "It told me I can't fight what I'm meant to be." Sam said, in a monotone. Sam stood from the bed in one fluid motion, keeping his grip on the wrist that Dean no longer had feeling in, forcing his brother to take a step back as Sam's body filled the space where Dean's had been.
"Sam. No. You can fight this. Whatever this is, you can fight. Let me help you fight."
Sam's odd eyes glazed briefly, Dean's words sinking in. "I don't…," he took a ragged, sobbing breath, a single breath that ripped through Dean, "wanna hurt you." Sam's head dropped, his grip remaining locked tight, before his head lifted again, revealing his eyes, his silver ringed eyes. "It said I can't fight it." Sam gritted out between clenched teeth, his cheeks puffing just slightly with the force of the words.
"NO!" Sam's face distorted with rage and he reached out with the other hand, ripping Dean's hunting knife from its sheath before throwing Dean backwards, the bruising grip on his wrist turning to deep scratches from Sam's fingernails. Dean was lifted off his feet by the force of the throw, slamming backwards into the corner of the doorway to the bathroom. The door trim impacted his spine up his back and to the back of his head with enough force to slam the open bathroom door into the wall, burying the knob in the drywall. Dean managed a grunt before sliding, unmoving, down the wall, his prone body resting half in and half out of the bathroom.
Sam held the knife to his chest as the rattle of bones echoed throughout the silent motel room. The only thing louder than the rattle was Sam's breathing and pained groan as the noise spiked a shaft of pain through his head. Sam turned to the shadow man as he appeared in the room, the darkness clinging to all but his eyes. Eyes that now held the same color as Sam's, silver ringed hazel. The shadow man, the same height as Sam turned to face him, lifting his face to the light for the first time. Sam held the point of the knife to his chest, poking a hole in his shirt that slowly turned red with the blood brought by the knife.
"No." Sam shook his head vehemently, grip on the knife tightening. The door to the motel room burst open, an engine running in the background, as Bobby burst through, gun raised. The shadow man turned slightly, solid in the room now, as Bobby looked at Sam with the knife to his chest.
"No! Sam fight it!" Bobby screamed as he leveled the gun on the knife Sam held to his chest. "Don't you give into him, son!"
The dark man turned to Bobby, his head lowered once again, and waved a hand nonchalantly. Bobby's gun flew from his hand and the older hunter flew backward with another wave. Bobby grunted and slid down the wall into a dazed heap. The shadow turned back to Sam.
"Destroyer." He said. "Now you know why I'm so sure you can't fight me." The shadow man pulled the wide brimmed hat off his head, showing Sam his face, the fabric of the duster swirling with his movement. "You can't fight yourself, Sam."
"You don't think so?" Sam said, fury marring his features as he shifted his eyes to his brother, who was just starting to stir on the floor. Sam turned the knife and lunged at his counterpart. The knife came down and sank deep into his chest through the coarse fabric of the duster. Sam's doppelganger screamed in pain and a ball of flame erupted from where the knife entered his chest. Sam screamed as the flame engulfed him for a split second before going out with a whoosh, shoving him back from the other in the room. Sam's legs folded beneath him and he crumpled to the floor, unmoving as ash drifted around him. Raspy breath broke the silence of the room until a groan drowned it out.
Dean pushed himself upright, Sam's screams echoing in his ears as he forced himself to ignore the pain running through his back and head. He half crawled, stumbling to Sam's side where he dropped back to his knees. Dean groaned again as he took Sam's weight, rolling him over in his arms. Sam's skin was red, his hair singed and lips dried out from the flames. The bandages on his right hand, which was still gripping the knife, were blackened, fresh burns showing through the holes in the material. Dean shifted Sam onto his lap and pulled the injured hand up onto Sam's chest, turning it over to look at the knife still gripped in his hand.
"Aw, god." Dean cried, smoothing a hand gently over Sam's fire stung face. He pulled his little brother close, ignoring the pain that jumped up and down his back. "Hey kiddo, need ya to wake up Sammy." Dean glanced up as he heard a groan from across the room. Bobby stirred and sat up, putting a hand to his head as he reached for his ball cap with the other one.
"He's out cold. Bobby, whatever he did… He's burned pretty bad. His hand… the knife's freakin' burned fast to his hand. Face and hair's singed too. Bobby, what the hell was that? I mean, I don't know what the hell hap- happened. I was awake enough to hear him scream, b-but that's it." Dean's voice broke twice trying just to get the words out. Bobby came over and crouched, his knees popping, beside the fallen Winchester. He eyed the knife clutched in Sam's clenched fist and could smell the burnt flesh of his hand.
"Damn." Bobby said, gently easing Sam's fingers from around the knife, seeing the line of livid blisters and red flesh across Sam's palm and the pads of his fingers. Bobby dropped the still warm knife to the floor. "Balban." Bobby said, looking Sam over for other injury as he lay silent in Dean's arms. "The demon of delusion. Said to twist reality with a person's worst nightmare to bring on madness. Think Sam's was goin' darkside an' hurtin' you in the process."
"That name seems familiar." Dean said, looking down at his brother.
"It should. Couple weeks after the gate opened an' we faced the sins I started researchin' demons that hadn't walked the earth for millennia. It was sketchy, ancient books, lots a translatin'. Tryin to prepare for what we gotta send back ta hell. I read enough about him ta place the ring of skulls and the sigils on 'em. I saw the bastard in the woods. Didn't see a face."
"I think Sammy did."
"Yeah. Think so too."
"Nnn." Sam's head moved against Dean's arm.
"Hey Sammy, ya with us?" Hazel eyes opened to slits.
"'m sor…" he whispered before they closed again. He went limp in Dean's arms.
"Sam?" Dean shook him before stilling with a wince and trying again. "Sammy?"
"He's exhausted Dean. Let's get 'im to bed." Dean looked up, slightly lost.
"Don't think I can lift all his weight Bobby. Took a hit, my back's shot."
"Never told ya to Dean. I can help." Dean angled Sam so that his little brother was sitting up. Bobby steadied him and allowed Dean to shift from his knees into a crouch, noting the grimace that crossed Dean's face. Together, they stumbled with Sam between them to the bed, situating Sam on it. Dean bent to retrieve the med kit from his duffle and was unable to disguise his moan of pain.
"I'm done with you forgettin' to take care a yourself an' puttin' everyone else first! I'll take care of Sam after I get a look-see at your back."
"Shuddup and get yer damn ass on that bed before…" Bobby broke off his sentence and crossed his arms over his chest. "Boy, don't you think for a minute that I can't whup it fer ya. NOW!"
"Yes, sir." Dean gingerly shrugged out of his over shirt and lay down on the bed. Keeping as much of his pain to himself as he could, he grit his teeth and shoved his fists up under the pillow beneath his head. Bobby retrieved the med kit Dean had been unable to and sat it on the table between the beds.
"Can ya get outta your tee shirt Dean?"
"Don't think so. Just cut it off." Bobby nodded and pulled scissors from the kit, cutting away Dean's shirt, revealing a solid vertical line of bruising an inch to the left of Dean's spine. Bobby gingerly probed the surrounding areas, grimacing when Dean groaned.
"Gonna getcha some ice. Just stay put."
"Don't think I could get up to go party Bobby."
"Good. Keep yer ass still for once an' let somebody look after you two chuckle heads." Bobby grabbed the ice bucket off the door side stand and left the room. Filling the bucket, he returned to the room and took one of the large white towels from the bathroom, stretching it out on the bed beside Dean. Bobby dumped the ice in a line down the vertical length of the towel and flipped the other half up and over the ice. He folded in the ends and used bandage tape to secure the ice bag shut. The long compress would cover the bruising and help with the swelling. Bobby pulled the sheet over Dean's back and settled it just below his neck before laying the compress over the covered skin.
"Gah!" Dean grunted.
"Easy son. Just give it a minute."
"'m alright Bobby. Check Sammy. Please." Dean said as he sighed and his eyes slipped closed, the events of the last days catching up with him. Bobby ran a comforting, calloused hand over the back of Dean's spiky hair and turned to face the youngest, still unconscious, Winchester.
Bobby gently cut away the remains of the bandage and redressed the wound, putting ointment on new and old blisters alike, but paying closer attention to the line of ugly blistering of burned tissue that centered in his palm and across the fingers of his right hand. That done, Bobby went to the bathroom and grabbed a warm washcloth, cleaning the soot from Sam's face and hair as he sat on the edge of the bed. "Your hair'll need a trim kiddo. 's pretty singed." Bobby chided gently as he brushed the locks back from Sam's forehead. Bobby let his hand rest for a moment when he noticed the heat coming off of Sam. "Crap." The older hunter bolted for the bathroom again and ran the cloth under cold water, returning to Sam's side. Bobby placed the cloth on Sam's forehead and ran his water chilled hand over Sam's cheek. "Please, kid. Be alright." Bobby pulled the chair away from the desk, putting it close to the bed and sat down on the worn upholstery. He watched as Sam's eyes moved behind their lids. Sam made a small noise and Bobby heard the rustling of sheets on the other bed as Dean's head turned to face his brother. Dean remained asleep. Bobby carded his hand through Sam's hair and then reached up and removed his ball cap. He scratched his head and put the cap back, settling in for a long night of watching over his boys.
"What the hell?" Dean asked aloud as he spun a tight circle in the clearing he remembered from the other night. "How did I get here?" He looked up into the ring of trees that surrounded him, pressing in on him. They reflected the red light of the moon off the shiny surfaces of the leaves, blinding him as the light flickered in the breeze. He turned again, slower, as he felt the hairs rise on the back of his neck. A voice reached his ears, weak and raspy.
"…can't fight anymore…" Dean strained his ears and picked up the voice again as it repeated the words.
"I can't… can't fight anymore…" Recognition dawned on Dean.
"Sammy?" Dean turned and caught the words one last time, zeroing in on the direction of the sound. Dean walked under the red moonlight towards the sound of the voice he now recognized as his distraught baby brother. A quiet sob drifted to Dean's ears and he broke into a run, dodging tree limbs and jumping boulders as he ran down the obscure trail he recognized with heart stopping clarity. Dean broke into the clearing and stopped dead in his tracks.
Bobby pulled the now warm washcloth off of Sam's forehead as his head shifted on the pillow, the youngest Winchester groaning softly. "Easy son. Be right back." Bobby stood from the chair and went into the small bathroom, re-wetting the cloth with cool water. He pulled one of the covers off of the plastic cups on the counter and put a small amount of cold water into the glass. He took it to the bedroom and opened the med kit and pulled out three Tylenol gel caps. Bobby pulled the tiny capsules apart and dumped the powder into the water, swirling it until it turned clear once more. He lifted Sam's head and tipped the water to his lips. "It's gonna taste like ass, kid, but it'll help." The water pushed its way past Sam's lips and he swallowed reflexively. A small amount dribbled down his chin and soaked the collar of his tee shirt, darkening the already soot stained gray fabric. Sam choked a little before quieting. Bobby ran a calloused hand over Sam's forehead, brushing his hair back, before he resettled the cloth in place. He moved to Dean's side and pulled the slowly melting compress from Dean's chilled back. Dean sighed and worked his head deeper into the pillow.
Dean saw his brother on his knees in the leaves that covered the floor of the clearing. Sam's head was bowed, his shoulders hunched. Inaudible sobs caused them to shake. Dean went to his brother's side and crouched down, reaching a hand out to grip the top of Sam's shoulder. "Sammy?"
"I can't…" Sam whispered, a tear falling from his face to land on a leaf in front of his left knee. The drop glinted red in the bizarre light of the moon.
"Sammy, hey. Look at me kiddo. Please?" Dean chucked his knuckle under Sam's chin and lifted his face with a gentle touch. Sam's eyes closed as his head rose, the twin tears falling from them to course down his face, one being slowed just slightly by the mole next to his nose. The salty liquid finally made it past the obstacle and rushed ahead to come in a close second to the other in it's descent to the leaves.
"Sam, please." Dean pleaded.
"I told you… I can't fight it…anymore." Sam's eyes snapped open and Dean pulled back, a cry flying from his lips as he landed on his butt in the leaves. Sam stood in a fluid motion, looming over Dean, looking down as his molten silver eyes bored into Dean's frightened green ones.
"No. Nonononono. Sammy? Sam, come on, ya gotta fight. I know you're stronger than this."
"Am I? I don't really think so. See, it's so hard… so hard to keep up the pretense that I'm normal. I'm not. Never have been. Not since I was… Six. Months. Old."
"No Sammy. You're my brother. My family. As normal as we get."
Sam threw back his head and laughed, a harsh, guttural sounding laugh that echoed throughout the moonlit night and sent night birds flapping through the trees. Dean jumped, his eyes going to his brother's face as he shifted in the leaves, feeling something cold bite into the small of his back. Dean stilled, his face going emotionless.
Sam's laugh died off, still ringing in the stillness of the night. He raised a loosely fisted right hand, free of burns and bandages. A noise built as Sam shook his hand slightly, building from a whisper to the rattle Dean was familiar with. A rattle that sounded like dead tree branches clicking together in the winds of a hurricane. Pain shot through Dean's head but he refused to flinch as he watched the air shimmer slightly around Sam's hand as the noise grew to painful intensity. Dean watched as black ash accumulated in the air around Sam's hand, coalesced and shaped itself into a ring of tiny skulls. Foreign symbols glowed with an indigo light before the skulls appeared to bleach out, the black fading to the white of long exposed bone as if the color was running off of the skulls.
"Sam." Dean said, looking deep into his brother's eyes, searching for some remaining part of his brother that he could reach.
"Sam's not here right now." A smirk graced Sam's features, twisting them with darkness as more ash filtered through the red light of the night and gathered around Sam, cloaking him in shadows as it thickened and formed itself to Sam's body, becoming heavy, rustling fabric. The little brother Dean knew began to look like a stranger; his face twisted with cruelty, black cloak and white skulls looking like a grotesque extension of his body, his hands, as he rolled his shoulders and accustomed himself to the feel of the heavy duster.
"I won't let you give up Sammy." Dean snarled, reaching quickly behind his back. Silver metal glowed blood red in the moonlight before a shot rang out. The shadow clad figure of Sam lurched with the impact of a bullet, giving a choked off grunt. Dean scrambled to his feet as Sam changed once again. The black ash fell away, red light arching through it as it rained to the ground. The white ring of skulls slipped from Sam's boneless fingers and fell, bursting into a cloud of white ash as it hit the leaves with a clatter. Sam stood still for a second before he looked down at his chest, a blood soaked gray tee glinting darkly in the moonlight. Hazel eyes looked back up at his brother, full of relief.
"Dean." Sam breathed, just before he slid to his knees. Dean lurched forward and caught Sam before he could hit, easing him the rest of the way down. Sam sagged into him, the warmth of his blood sending chills coursing through Dean's body.
"Sammy!" Dean lifted Sam's lolling head off of his shoulder, running shaking hands back through his hair. "Hey, you stay with me. Ya hear me?"
"Dean." Sam said, shifting himself to lean fully against his big brother, a grimace crossing his features.
"Yeah Sammy. 'm here."
Sam smiled and reached up a hand, gripping the amulet that rested over Dean's heart. Sam's eyes shifted away from his brother's face to look at the night sky. "It's over." He whispered, nothing more than the movement of his pale lips. Dean saw through moist eyes and leaned closer.
"It's over now." Sam repeated, slightly louder and for Dean's ears alone. "The moonlight." Dean pulled his eyes away from Sam and looked up to see a white moon shining brightly down on the clearing, bathing the brothers in brilliant, opaque light. Dean looked down again as he felt a change in his brother. Sam breathed and went limp in Dean's arms, his eyes sliding closed.
"Sammy?!" Dean shook him urgently. "SAM!"
Bobby jumped nearly out of the chair as both brothers sat straight up on their respective beds with twin gasps.
"What the hell?!" Bobby said as he lowered the gun he had automatically drawn. Dean looked at Sam from his bed, breathing heavily, his eyes burning with tears.
Sam turned his head slowly, his bandaged right hand pulled tight to his chest. Hazel eyes met Dean's swimming with their own moisture. "It's finally over." Sam whispered, swallowing hard.
"Boys?" Bobby asked, settling back into the chair and looking from Sam to Dean and back again.
"We beat it." Sam said, as he pushed himself back against the headboard, wincing just slightly at the pull against his scabbed shoulder and singed skin. Dean heaved himself off his bed stiffly and sat on Sam's to face Bobby a little easier. Dean too leaned gingerly back against the headboard.
"Balban. He's history." Dean said as he pulled up his right knee and rested his wrist on it. His shoulder bumped Sam's and Sam leaned into the contact, dropping his gaze to the bed.
"I don't wanna hear how you're sorry."
Dean turned his gaze sharply to his brother, the movement jarring his sore back but he refused to groan. "Sam… It's over. We're okay. Both of us. That's all that matters, little brother. That's all that's ever mattered."
Sam's cheeks dimpled slightly as his lips turned up at the corners. "Jerk."
"Bitch." Dean said the familiar term of endearment with a grin on his face that reached his eyes. "Hey Bobby?"
"How bout we get some coffee and hit the road? Swing by your place for a couple days?"
"That's fine boys." Bobby tipped his ball cap back and looked at the brothers. "Do I wanna know what you two were dreamin' that freaked ya both out?"
"Not really Bobby." Dean said as Sam wordlessly leaned a little closer.
The brothers stood from the bed and Sam slipped into his sneakers, quickly following Bobby to the door. Dean stood a little more slowly and put on a tee shirt before stooping to pick up the over shirt he had discarded the night before. Has it only been three freakin' days since we hit this hole? When Dean gripped his shirt and lifted it he heard the dull thunk of something hitting the carpet. His eyes found his pistol. "What the hell? I didn't have that last night."
The smell of burnt gun powder drifted to Dean's nose as he picked up the gun. Dean pulled the clip from the gun, paling. "No." I loaded that gun. Lucky thirteen. The clip still held the twelve brass encased shells. The chamber, however, was empty. Dean swallowed hard.
"Hey Dean? Ya comin'?" Sam asked, poking his head back through the open door. Dean stuck the clip back in the gun hurriedly and tucked it into his waistband.
"Yeah Sammy." Dean said, slightly breathlessly as he fought down bile. "Coffee." He said, plastering a smile on his face. It didn't reach his eyes.
"Ya okay?" Sam asked, turning from the door again as Dean emerged into the sunny morning.
"Yeah Sammy." Dean said, his thoughts on the cold steel biting into the small of his back.
A/N: The Latin, although kind of just pieced together, is a type of binding prayer. I have no real knowledge of the Language or what it may mean to use the prayer. It roughly translates as "I ask the mark of evil to be revealed. I bind its grasp. Allow of that which we know to be bound by our skill. Cast that which is revealed out of ours. We bind its evil influence." That was the first bit of Latin Bobby used in this fic to reveal the demon's mark on Sam. The second Latin roughly translates as "I shout "I'll fight you" so that he is free for me. I bind your energy to that ring which ends your reach by this lasting line." Which is where Bobby binds the demon's control to the lasting line of the salt circle. Again, I know no real Latin or the use, just found a cool translator through the recommendation of a friend. Thanks girl. It made your story that much better I hope!
Also, I deliberately left this story open ended. I had no idea where to take this from here. If someone wants it just let me know. I'd like reading someone else's angst fest. If not I might come back to it once again. I do love the thought of Sam coming into some kind of power that could turn him dark. Let me know if you'd like to see more. How long could Dean keep the fired bullet a secret from Sam? Please review!