And The Hits Just Keep On Comin'
Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own SN.
Author's Note: So I started this one at the end of S2 and never finished it. With a few well placed kicks from some friends, I've finally done it. It's a departure from my usual style, I hope you still like it. I didn't have a beta, mistakes are mine. I'll be posting at least two chapters at a time till it's all up.
Sam looked over at Dean sitting behind the wheel of his beloved Impala, his fingers drumming along to the classic rock pouring out of the speakers. Sam studied his brother, as if wanting to freeze this moment in time, a precious memory. How many more times would he get to just sit next to Dean? Watch him drive, hear him laugh, see him smile or stuff his face? The most mundane things now took on a whole new meaning for him. In a year he may never get to do any of those things again. In a year Dean could be dead. Dean was going to hell - because of him.
He leaned his head back on the seat and absently watched the scenery wiz by, not really noticing any of it. It had been a week. A week ago he had died. He'd been taken along with Andy, Ava and a few others and forced to fight for their lives. Poor Andy never stood a chance. Killed by Ava. How messed up was that? She had been a flighty, funny everyday girl when he'd met her. Well as everyday as you could get being one of the psychics. How could she have turned into that? He was still having trouble sorting it all in his mind, parts of it were hazy. He remembered nothing about being dead. Just being there, looking at Dean, so happy to see him. Then pain like he'd never felt in his back. He remembered the look of horror on his brothers face as he ran to him. Then nothing till he 'woke up' in the old room with him. He had felt as if something was wrong, but couldn't place it. Dean had been acting a bit strange (Dean hadn't hugged him since he was a kid), but given what Dean had told him about how he nearly died, he let it go. As the day wore on he was more certain than ever Dean was hiding something from him. Especially when they showed up at Bobby's. The older man's total shock at seeing him and the way his brother was being so quiet made him sure there was something else going on. But they had work to do, so he shoved his doubts aside again.
It wasn't until their showdown with Jake that it dawned on him with terrible clarity what his brother had done. Dean couldn't even meet his eyes when he looked at him, trying to gage if what Jake was saying was true. He wanted so badly form him to be lying, for him to just be making it up to get to him. As soon as he saw the way his brothers face shifted away from his pleading stare, he'd felt the world fall out from under his feet. Oh God Dean. No. Please no.
Then he'd felt himself fill with rage. An anger he'd never known, not even after Jess had died had he wanted revenge so much. This smug smiling bastard in front of him had caused the most important person in his life, the best man he knew, his best friend - his big brother- to make a deal to save his life. And it had cost him his soul. There was no stopping him, he knew as soon as his window of opportunity opened he was going to kill this man without a second thought. This man deserved to die. As soon as Ellen was safe, he'd emptied seven rounds into Jake, but inside he felt a hollow victory. His brother was going to leave him, how long did they have? He was determined to fix this, whatever it took. Dean had always saved him and now he was going to return the favor.
He looked at Dean, now signing along to Bad Company and smiled sadly. His brother didn't have a half bad singing voice. Had he ever told him? There were so many things he hadn't told him. So many things he wanted to say. Of course Dean was having none of it. The past week they'd stayed at Bobby's he had tried to talk to Dean about everything that had happened. Every time he'd been shut down by "Sam, no chick flick moments." or "Sammy, the demon is finally dead. Let's just enjoy it for a while." But Sam couldn't. The demon that had ruined their lives was finally gone, their father apparently free and they hoped now with their mother, but all he could think was We have one year. It's not enough, could never be enough.
Part of him wanted to be angry with Dean, wanted to be able to call him selfish. You jerk, how could you? Your going to leave me and I'll have to go on living without you. I can't. He couldn't. As much as he wanted to be angry at his brother, he knew he'd have done the same thing if their roles were reversed. That didn't however stop the guilt that was eating him alive with every day that passed.
He rubbed a hand warily over his eyes. It was Dean's idea to get on the road again. They'd holed up with Bobby and planed out what their next move should be. A lot of demons had escaped through that gate and they needed to figure out a way to send them all back where they came from. Easier said than done. And what about Dean? Hunting took on a whole new level of danger for his brother now. If he made a mistake, if he got hurt.. Sam needed more time. He had to fix this fast.
Noticing Sam's exhaustion, Dean turned down the radio. "Hey Sammy, there's a gas station up ahead, I'm gonna stop and fill up. Maybe grab us a snack, okay?"
"Sure." Sam answered distractedly.
Dean turned the music back up and tried not to let his concern show. He was worried about his brother and the half hearted sure hadn't eased it any. Sam had been acting like this ever since Jake had opened his mouth. So much for keeping his deal a secret. He expected Sam to yell, heck he'd wondered if he'd cash in his raincheck, but after their initial talk Sam seemed to quietly accept it. Or so he thought. The week they'd spent at Bobby's to rest and regroup had been anything but restful. Sam was determined to save him and followed him constantly wanting to talk. Dean had tried his hardest to avoid those talks, even taking to avoiding Sam a few times. He didn't have the heart to tell him there would be no breaking the deal. That trying to get out of it would mean losing him again, something Dean wasn't going to do. He'd accepted it. Yes he was scared (not that he'd admit it), but he had made a sort of peace with his future. Or lack there of. Now he just needed to get Sam to do the same.
Sam had spent most of his spare time buried in Bobby's huge book collection, reading anything he could find that may help. Becoming frustrated when nothing turned up. Dean had noticed he wasn't eating properly and several times he'd woken to an empty bed across from his own. Panicked, he's raced downstairs to find his brother slouched over the old desk, researching in the dim lamp light. Then there were the times he'd find Sam simply sitting and staring off into space. It freaked him out. He didn't believe the demons words to him for a minute, "Are you sure what you brought back is 100% pure Sammy?"
He knew it was messing with his head. Okay, so the way he had ended Jake worried him a little, but after what that SOB had done to Sam, he felt his brother was justified. Still it felt like he was losing Sam somehow. He as withdrawing into himself, a shadow of his Sammy. He didn't laugh at Dean's jokes anymore, instead he'd try to give Dean a fake smile that ended up looking painful and out of place on his face. He didn't snark or bicker at him like usual. Dean found himself often trying to instigate a fight or say a stupid comment, just trying to get a rise out of him. Nothing. It was like the life was slowly being sucked out of Sam - and it scared the hell out of him. He couldn't help wonder if it was all his fault. He noticed how closely Sam watched him now. Like if he took his eyes off him he might disappear. He hated that he'd caused that in his brother, but he had to do it. He had to make that deal. He couldn't lose Sam. But now it was like he as losing him anyway and he didn't know how to stop it. He didn't want Sam worrying and researching this year away, he wanted them to have quality time together. Though they were still hunting, they had an army of demons to stop and he couldn't help feeling that was their fault too.
If they had moved faster, done something different maybe... No. He'd been in the game long enough to know you don't second guess yourself. They did everything they could. Sometimes the outcome just sucked. He doubted the other hunters would feel that way. Some of Bobby's contacts had been less than happy with the news. Then came the chore of how to track them. You would think horde of demons, the hunter network should be lit up like a Christmas tree.. In truth most of them were smart, powerful and escaping detection. The yellow eyed demon had said they were the best of the best and wouldn't that make the job more fun?
He looked over at Sam again. At least he was safe now. That yellow eyed bastard was dead, he could go when his year was up with that weight lifted from his heart. His brother would be safe to live his life now, however he wished. He hoped to have a talk with the kid before he went. Tell him to be happy, to settle down somewhere and find a nice girl to marry. Maybe Sarah. Have some kids. He also hoped someday he would forgive him.
Pulling into the parking lot he turned to Sam. "You wanna go grab us something to eat while I fill up?"
Sam shook his head. "I think I'm gonna head to the restroom."
"Okay then, I'll pick something out for you when I'm done here. Any requests?"
"Alright then, sugar is mine." Dean said with a grin.
Sam tried to give a convincing one in return and stared off toward the bathroom. He needed to get a grip. He hadn't missed the shadow of concern in Dean's eyes. He knew his brother was worried about him. Looking in the mirror he took in the paleness of his skin, the dark spots under his eyes. No wonder he's worried, look at me. Sighing, he ran water into his hands and rubbed his face. The cool liquid revived him a little. Shutting the tap off he watched the water drip from his nose. He had to try harder. He needed to take better care of himself, Dean had enough on his mind without worrying about him too. He only had a year and no matter how he tried to play it off, Sam knew he was afraid. Then there were the demons. Those hunts weren't going to be a cake walk. He had to be on top of his game. He couldn't risk not being in a good position to watch Dean's back.
Sam grimaced and rubbed between his eyes. The past few days he'd been feeling off. A headache was working it's way closer to team with the uneasy feeling him his stomach. With his lack of sleeping and eating, he figured his body was trying to tell him something. It was getting worse. Fingers moving to massage his temples, he noticed this feeling was awfully familiar. His breathing quickened. No way, it couldn't be. The demon was dead, Dean killed him. His visions died with it. No demon to connect to, no freaky psychic powers. Yet as much as he tried to deny it, the pain intensified until he cried out and everything went white. He grabbed for the sink as he fell to the floor and the vision overtook him.
Dean glanced again at his watch and frowned. Where was Sam, he'd been in there forever. Screw it. He leaned off the car and started walking toward the restrooms. Approaching the door he heard a groan from inside. The frown became a smile. He couldn't resist, after all teasing his baby brother was one of his pleasures in life. Pushing the door open he called out, "Hey Sammy, need me to go back in and buy you some pepto...". The rest of sentence died in his throat when he saw Sam on the floor.
"Sammy!" Running over he knelt down and gently turned him to face him. Sam's eyes were closed tightly in pain. A softly grunted "De..." was all he got. What the hell had happened? He looked Sam over. Aside from a red spot where his head caught the sink on the way down, he looked unhurt. His breathing was quick though and his brow sweaty. Had Sam's body finally given in to exhaustion? In the back of his mind he knew the anser, he refused to accept it. There's no way, it's dead, it's over. This is exhaustion, that's all. He'll open his eyes and tell me it was nothing. He passed out. I'll laugh at him for being a girl, I'll laugh at myself for worrying and everything will be fine.
Rubbing Sam's shoulder, Dean spoke softly. "Sam? Hey Sammy, you okay buddy?"
Sam's breathing evened out and slivers of hazel showed as he cracked his eyes open. "Dean?" His voice was rough.
"Yeah Sam. Let's get you up, the floor is no place for a nap." Carefully he eased him up and together he managed to raise off the floor and lean against the wall. "You okay man?"
Sam's closed eyes opened to take in his brothers concerned frown. You think he looks worried now, just wait. He swallowed hard, adams apple bobbing. "Let me get back to you on that."
Dean's heart sped up. That didn't sound good. He pushed his fears aside, he needed to make sure Sam was alright first. "Come on, let's get back to the car so you can sit down. They're probably wondering what we're doing in here." Dean quipped.
Sam groaned at the joke and tried to roll his eyes. Oh. Bad idea. His head pounded. Leaning a little on Dean for support, they made it back to the car. Sam sank into the seat closing his eyes once more. Damn the light hurt.
"Here. Drink this."
Sam looked over to see Dean holding out a bottle of water to him. With a shaking hand he took it and chugged a few swallows. Sighing he handed it back. "Thanks."
Dean nodded. "So you wanna tell me what the hell happened in there?"
No, not really. Tipping his head back on the seat, he wondered how to tell Dean.
"I'm waiting Sam."
Taking a deep breath, he looked over. "What do you think happened?"
Dean smirked. "Well being the girl you are, I'd say you passed out princess."
Sam snorted. He should have expected this. Dean was trying to gloss this over in typical fashion. "Dean, man this is serious. I had a vision."
"No, you didn't."
Sam's brows shot up incredulous. "Excuse me? I think I know what a vision is better than you do."
Dean's lips pressed into a thin line and his jaw clenched. Sam watched the muscle tick as he ground out, "No Sam. You didn't. You couldn't have. Your visions were connected to the demon and it's dead. You're free now. It's just exhaustion, you're tired and you're imagining things."
Sam took in his brothers determined posture and felt guilt race through him. He hated doing this to him. He could see how much Dean wanted to believe it wasn't true, and he wished with all his heart he could agree. But what he'd seen... He knew better. He had no idea what was going on, all he knew for sure was that the visions were back - and he was scared as hell.
"No Sam. It's not possible."
"With what we've seen, how can you be so sure? I don't like it anymore than you do, but they're back."
Dean's shoulders drooped and Sam couldn't miss his crestfallen look. Damnit Dean, I'm sorry.
Not one to give up, Dean tried one last time. "I still think it's fatigue."
Sam looked at him. "You really believe that?"
A shrug. "I will if you will."
Sam couldn't help it. It was totally inappropriate given the circumstances, but he began to laugh. A deep belly laugh that took his breath. Dean smiled, then joined in. A minute later they calmed down and Sam sighed. "Ah."
Dean's throat cleared. "Ugh. Yeah."
Both sat still smiling slightly, heads resting back on the seats. It had been a while since they'd laughed and the irony of it being now wasn't lost on either of them. Dean's smile faded as he turned his head, still resting on the back, toward Sam. "So they're really back huh?"
Sam sighed softly. "Yeah."
"But I don't understand. How is it even happening? That yellow eyed bastard is dead, we both saw him die when I shot him with the colt."
Sam bit his lip. "We always assumed they were connected to the demon. Maybe they aren't." He really didn't know, his mind was racing.
"No, every one you ever had was tied to it in some way. Why would it change now? Unless he isn't..." Dean didn't even want to finish that thought. The idea that this wasn't over after all made him sick to his stomach.
"I don't know man." Sam knew just how Dean felt, he was thinking along those lines himself. "The colt kills anything supernatural, he has to be dead. It's gotta be something else."
"Well, what did you see?"
Sam thought back, trying to recall the limited details. "There was a woman. Early 30's. Blue eyes, blonde hair pulled back in a pony tail. Jeans and a purple top." He tilted his head picturing it in his minds eye. "The top had something on it. A logo I think."
"Any idea what it was for?"
He shook his head. "No. There were no words, just a picture."
Dean reached into the back seat and dug into his duffel. Pulling out a notebook and pen, he handed it to Sam. "Here. Try to sketch it out while it's still fresh in your mind."
Sam took it and flipped it open frowning in concentration, he began to draw tentatively. After a few seconds his hand became more sure as the bits of memory came back more clearly. Turning it toward Dean he said, "This is it."
It was a sun with bright rays coming off it. Much the way a child would draw it. In the background there was a silhouette of three children playing jump rope, a tree off to the side. The whole thing was very simple looking.
Dean's brows drew down as he frowned. "Well that's vague."
Sam lowered the notebook to rest on his lap. He huffed. "Yeah."
"Maybe it'll make more sense when we put it together with everything else."
Sam's fingers tapped agitatedly on his jean clad knee. "I didn't see much more. There were a lot of papers strewn around the room."
"What, like scattered in a struggle?"
"No. More like something she'd been working on. There were folders and notebooks too. Student maybe?"
Dean shrugged, he had no more an idea than Sam. One thing was for sure, they were gonna need more than that to find this woman. He looked at Sam willing him to continue. At Sam's blank look he asked, "That it?"
Sam shook himself and nodded. He had lost himself in thought, trying to think why it was that this vision was so short. He'd never had one like this before. One so incomplete. It made him feel uneasy. What was going on? And the over all feeling of the vision itself, that didn't feel right either. It didn't feel like it was something that was going to happen, it felt like it had been happening then.
"What the heck, Sam? Don't you usually get more to go on than this?"
Sam understood Dean's frustration, it matched his own. He still didn't know what this woman needed saving from and the details he got weren't that helpful. Plus he still had no idea why he'd had one in the first place. What was it connected to? Why was it different? All this added to how poorly he was feeling caused him to snap at his brother.
"It's not like I didn't get the details on purpose Dean. I'm not a high def tv. I get what I get."
Dean raised his hands defensively. "Ok. I wasn't trying to say it was your fault Sammy. We'll try to work off this in the meantime, see if that logo turns up anywhere."
"Yeah. Alright." Sam raised a hand to work his temples. He still had a helluva headache. He really hadn't meant to raise his voice, he was just so tired. He felt like crap. "Look man, I'm sorry I snapped at you. I'm just... I don't know what's going on you know?"
Dean took in how pale his brother still looked, he hadn't recovered from the vision yet. Why was that? It was so short. It mean, it didn't even tell them what they were up against. First Sam gets his visions back, now they're incomplete? Whatever was going on, it didn't sit well with him.
"Don't worry about it man. I get it. We'll work it out. Right now though," he said as he pulled out the first aid kit, "you take some Ibuprofen for that headache. You look like crap."
Sam gave a small smirk as he took it from Dean. "Gee thanks." Opening the bottle, he shook two into his hand and tossed them into his mouth, swallowing them dry. Shifting in his seat he tried to get comfortable. He just needed to relax a minute. Maybe rest his eyes...
The events of the day combined with the past week were enough to have him asleep in minutes.