Disclaimer: The characters of "Supernatural" were created by Eric Kripke and are owned by the CW Network and Warner Brothers Studio. No profit is being made.
NOTE TO READERS: This will most likely be a long chapter story. I tend toward stories that involve hurting one or both boys, etc. and usually health related issues and/or injuries. I hope you enjoy this story as it develops.
SIDE NOTE: In this Season One/Two AU fic everything is canon up until "Salvation." Caleb still died, but Pastor Jim wasn't killed. The Impala wreck happened, but John never had to bargain his life for Dean's instead the Colt and final bullet were enough for the YED deal.
The title of this story is inspired by the song of the same title by the group "10 Years"
So Long, Good-Bye
Chapter One: The Calm Before the Storm
By Dawn Nyberg
"Sell my soul – I'll sell my soul, I've got nothing left to lose. Hurt myself -- I'll hurt myself cover my face with tattoos all of painted tears – one for each year that only could have been … anything I can do to keep you …" Lyric excerpt by Fisher, Six Hundred Sixty-Six
"Dean!" Sam screamed as he felt the force of the entity blow into the room. "Get the damn banishing spell done man," Sam squinted through the blowing whirlwind in the room.
"I'm hurrying," Dean yelled over the chaos. Dean hurriedly continued his long sweeping actions on the floor with the spray paint. It was a banishing symbol that would be followed by a brief incantation that would kill it. It was an intelligent entity and that just gave Dean the damn creeps but his geek little brother thought it was interesting … interesting was not the word Dean would choose. "Sammy do your thing man, it's done."
Sam began reciting Latin and the wind picked up and within the whirlwind was a roar of not agony but feral rage. "You kill me … I take your days … I take your days … your life," the entity screamed but Sam continued. Suddenly, the entity materialized and slammed the youngest Winchester against the wall grabbing his throat. "Your days," it whispered into his ear with a loud hiss.
"Sammy!" Dean shouted trying to make it to his brother but the entity twisted its corporeal head all the way around reminding Dean of the Linda Blair scene in the Exorcist minus the pea soup. Dean was thrown backward against the far wall and held in place like a pinned butterfly. Sam pushed out the Latin despite the pressure cutting off his air supply. The entity's head whipped back around as Sam finished the last line of the incantation. It sneered at the young Winchester. It reached up quickly with both hands and grabbed Sam's head in its' cold vice grip.
"My death will not be in vain," it looked into Sam and Sam flinched. "I take your days, your life," there was a white hot agony that seared into Sam's head and his vision flared out like a road flare and as he screamed the entity let loose with a one final feral scream both fury and agony and was gone. Dean felt the invisible force holding him to the wall lift and he was moving quickly across the room to his younger sibling.
"Sammy!" he shouted at the crumpled heap on the floor. He had heard the entity's words, its' threat. He slid to his knees at his brother's side. His finger's fumbled quickly at a frantic pace to locate the pulse on his brother's neck. He sighed in relief as he felt a strong albeit racing heartbeat. "Sammy?" his voice was softer yet urgent as he pushed back his brother's long bangs trying to evoke a response. Sam stirred. Dean breathed.
"D-Dean," Sam's voice held a hint of confusion as he attempted to move.
"Easy Sammy," Dean held him firmly to the floor. "What'd that thing do to you?"
"I'm okay," Sam blinked up into the concerned face of his older brother.
"You sure?" How many fingers?" He asked as he waved two in front of Sam's face.
"Two," he grumbled. "I'm fine got a bitch of a headache" he complained. "Damn thing tried to squeeze my head like a Florida orange." Dean frowned at the analogy. He felt compelled to still keep a hand on his brother.
"ER?" Dean asked the tentative question. Both brothers' had avoided hospitals as much as possible since the wreck over four months ago. Their father had gone back on the hunt vowing to get in touch when he had a solid lead. They had no Colt and no way of killing the damn demon. They had wanted to go with John but he slipped out into the night once Dean was released from the hospital. Now, it was the occasional text message or relayed messages through Bobby Singer who had put the boys up while Dean fixed the Impala.
"No," Sam asserted. "I'm fine … a couple Tylenol and a hot shower and I'm good." Dean eyed his brother for a hard, long moment. Sam looked a little pale but he'd seen him worse and they could both use a break.
"Okay, we crash at a motel and tomorrow how about we go to Bobby's for a couple days? The car needs a tire rotation anyway." Sam sighed but gave in. Bobby was a good family friend and both boys had known the man since they were small. Sam could remember a time he had actually called the man Uncle Bobby.
"Yeah, alright." Dean gave Sam a hand up. "Entity went poof?" he looked at brother. Dean smiled.
"Yep, its' ass is toast. This place is clean now." Sam nodded and offered his brother a lopsided grin.
Two Days Later at Bobby's House
Sam was finally glad to see that Dean had finally begun to stop looking at him waiting for the other shoe to drop after the entity's warning. Dean had hovered almost that entire night at the motel driving Sam nuts. He had tolerated his big brother's worried Mother Hen routine because he knew how it felt and had been in the same shoes. Now, two days later it appeared that Dean had finally stopped with the side glances and questions like, you feelin' okay? Your head hurt? You okay? Sam looked out the window and watched Dean and Bobby hover over the engine of the Impala completing some maintenance. He was fine and thankful he had dodged a bullet, so to speak.
One Month Later, Madison, Wisconsin
Sam blinked with irritation at the road map as Dean drove down the interstate. He absently rubbed his eyes as he tried to clear the blurry vision. He was very close to admitting that he may need contacts and he thought quietly to himself, that'll suck. "Come on dude, which route will bypass the construction we're gonna hit in another ten minutes." Dean looked at Sam for a moment. He could see Sam squinting at the map and blinking a little. He had noticed the blinking and squinting a couple weeks ago. He smirked to himself as it dawned on him. "You turnin' into a four eyes on me Sammy?" Dean kidded. Sam glared at his older brother.
"Bite me," he snapped. "My eyes are just tired." He pushed the map away. "You figure out the map your damn self," he muttered. "I'm not your own personal navigation system," he complained.
"Yeah, Tom Tom, you're not." Dean looked at his brother for a moment and turned his eyes back to the road. He could see the traffic backing up ahead and opted to get off at the nearest exit. They'd figure out a way around the construction traffic. "Seriously, your eyes bothering you?"
"I'm fine," Sam muttered staring out the window.
"Uh huh," Dean mumbled. "You've been doing the squinting thing a couple weeks now Sam … I'm not clueless." Sam just turned and looked at his brother for a hard moment and turned back to watching the scenery. Dean drove through the city and Sam said nothing more. An idea sparked in Dean's head as he drove and saw a sign for the local shopping mall. Within in a few minutes Sam noticed that they had actually pulled to a stop and Dean was shutting off the engine. He looked up to see where they were.
"A mall?" Sam looked at his sibling confused. Dean shook his head and flicked his thumb toward a store front they were parked near. Sam twisted his head around to look and frowned. "Eye Mart," he glared.
"Yep, come on."
There was a ten minute discussion between the brother's and it finally ended with Sam sitting in the waiting room with a scowl on his face. There were walk-in appointments and Dean made sure Sam got one. Dean sat leaning back and reading an abandoned magazine. "Sam Collins?" A young petite technician stood in her purple and pink scrubs. Sam stood up and cast a hard glare at his brother and started to leave with the tech.
"I'll be here Sammy," Dean said with an amused voice. Sam didn't turn around but Dean clearly saw his younger brother indiscreetly flip him the bird and he couldn't help but smile as he went back to his magazine.
Forty Minutes Later
Dean glanced at his watch. He wasn't sure how long eye exams ran but he was starting to admit he'd like to see his freakishly tall kid brother come down the hall. He'd give it another ten minutes and then he was asking the woman behind the check-in counter. Another few minutes later he caught sight of his brother loping down the hallway with the doctor. Dean stood up and walked toward Sam. "Everything okay?" he asked the doctor not bothering to trust Sam to tell him the truth.
"You must be the older brother that hogtied him here, huh?" Dean smirked. "He's fine," the doctor assured. "His eyes are healthy and I see no major eyesight deficits that will require any permanent correction …"
"But? I hear a but," Dean cast a worried glance at his brother who had an odd look on his face as he made no eye contact with his older brother.
"I've recommended some reading glasses for him when he's reading or doing computer work," Dean had to restrain a chuckle and now he understood the look on his little brother's face and Sam was well aware of the jokes that he would come up with to torture his younger sibling over the reading glasses. "Sam," the doctor turned to him. "Susanne will take you over to our reading glasses section based on my recommendations and you should be able to leave with a pair today to start using to reduce your eye strain, okay?"
"Thanks doc," Sam answered quietly and glanced at the doctor.
"It's not the end of the world Sam," the doctor encouraged. "It's reading glasses, no big deal."
Thirty Minutes Later, the Mall Food Court
Sam squinted at the posted food menus at the various vendors and Dean did chuckle then. "Use your glasses Sammy," Dean laughed.
"Shut up Dean," Sam growled.
"Whatever, I'm gonna go look at the Greek food." Sam watched his brother go. He frowned and then went back to squinting. He sighed and pulled out his glasses, so he could read the posted menu behind a plexi-glass case. He slid them on and cast a worried glance toward his brother's direction and there Dean was across the court watching him with a huge amused smile on his face. Sam frowned and went back to the menu.
Two Weeks Later, Somewhere outside Terra Haute, Indiana
"I wrote it all down for you Dean … how the hell is it my fault you couldn't get the Latin right?" Sam shouted as they walked away from the abandoned house they had just exorcised from an evil presence that had been attacking curious folk interested in the legends of the old farm house.
"Have you seen your writing lately … damn this is some kind of chicken scratch. You could have got us killed. Look at this mess. It's like you didn't give a damn toward the end and it's just a bunch of scribble. Damn it Sam, get your fucking head in the game."
"Screw you Dean," Sam huffed. He had to admit his writing had experienced some deterioration over the last week and sometimes it was even difficult for him to actually write but it wasn't every day, however it was more often than not over the last week. Maybe he'd start typing up everything on the computer that had to be easier, right? He went to quicken his step to further his distance from Dean and almost tripped but caught himself. Dean frowned at that.
"You okay?" he couldn't help himself. He could be pissed at Sam but no matter what nothing ever overrode his big brother radar.
"Fine, I just tripped," and that was the end of that.
"Bobby called last night while you were getting burgers," Dean said suddenly switching the subject and trying to smooth things over a little.
"What he'd want?"
"He'd like us to come to his place for Thanksgiving, man. He might not be a chef but it's a hot meal and it beats eating at some dive and sleeping in a sty. It's not like Dad's gonna call and have us meet up with him," Dean said solemnly. "So, what do you think?" Sam nodded and it was decided. They'd go to Bobby's and stay for a couple days or so. Sam couldn't deny his brother a decent meal and a clean bed at Bobby's. After all, he knew how much it ate his brother up to know that their Dad had abandoned them the moment Dean was going to be discharged from the hospital after the wreck. They knew about the deal for the Colt and last bullet to save Dean's life but their father's absence still hurt them both.
One Week Later, Bobby's Place
The older hunter had convinced the boys to stay a little longer especially since the weather had turned sour and he didn't think it was wise for them to be out driving. A South Dakota winter could be very unforgiving and brutal, anyway who needed to hunt during winter unless it was a real emergency. He had convinced them to stay on until at least after Christmas.
Bobby's Place, December 20, 2005
Dean stood at his brother's doorway with concern. Sam's sleeping patterns had become a little off, okay, a lot off in the last couple weeks he was waking up a lot and when he did sleep he had started having some repeat heavy duty dreams like he first had after Jessica. The last couple days it had seemed to regulate itself but Sam was worn out from the couple weeks of poor sleep and even now it was almost 11 AM and his kid brother was still curled up sleeping.
"He okay?" Bobby asked quietly as he spotted Dean standing in the threshold of Sam's bedroom. When the boys stayed with him they had their own rooms if they wanted them but sometimes they seemed to crash in the library or in one room, but this time around they had opted for their own space.
"Yeah, I think so," Dean answered quietly and pulled himself out of the doorway and eased the door closed. He started walking with Bobby down the stairs. "I'm glad it looks like he's finally getting some decent sleep. I don't know what's been going on with him the last couple weeks.
"So, you've noticed, huh?" Bobby said gently. He hadn't wanted to say anything just yet, but he had noticed something was off about Sam ever since they showed up for Thanksgiving … it was subtle then but now it was more glaring.
"What?" Dean stopped dead and looked at the older hunter. "What do you mean?"
"Well, he's been getting a little on the apathetic side in the last couple weeks or so, he hasn't been wanting to do much and this is Sam we're talking about, he's not even scouring books in my library feeding that book worm brain of his. You're right about his sleep, his sleep patterns have been a little wonky to say the least even more extreme than I'm used to seeing." Dean nodded. "He's been a lot more impatient and irritable and if you ask me Sam's always had the patience of Solemn but now…"
"He just has some bad days Bobby," Dean tried to calm his own fears.
"What about the slurring last Friday," Bobby pointed out. "It was like he couldn't get the words out and had trouble speaking. If I didn't know him like I do, I would have thought he was drinking in the afternoon."
"It went away," Dean said quickly. "He was exhausted Bobby, he was just tired that's all. He'd been up a couple nights in a row."
"You sure that's the only reason … maybe …"
"No maybes there is nothing wrong with Sam that a little solid sleep and some good healthy meals won't fix."
"You trying to convince yourself there kiddo," Bobby replied. "Look you boys are like family to me. I've known you both since you were little. Maybe, it wouldn't hurt for him to get a check-up that's all I'm saying." Dean offered a slight nod.
Later that Day
"I don't need a doctor Dean," Sam was irritated.
"Sammy, all I'm saying is that maybe a doc should take a look at you … even Bobby thinks there is something not right going on here. Please…"
"No, I don't want to. I feel fine, okay? Look if something else happens that you or Bobby thinks is off as you put it then I'll consider it, okay? That work for you?" Dean didn't like the compromise but it would have to do for now. He nodded.
January 2, 2006, Greene Memorial Hospital, South Dakota
13 days since he'd had the conversation with his brother about something being off but he never thought he'd be sitting in the ER waiting with Bobby while his brother was taken for a CT scan. It was two days after Christmas that Sam started having trouble sitting down or getting back up from the couch. He couldn't seem to lower himself into a chair or couch gently he just started plopping down. His walking was a little unsteady and sometimes Dean found himself walking behind his kid brother to catch him if he took a nose dive. He had actually tripped on his own feet a couple of times and had fallen. He bobbed and weaved a little like he was walking on a boat in choppy water. Sam had tried to say it was an inner ear infection or a little touch of vertigo but Dean had thought it was crap. Sam put up a fight but finally lost when Dean walked into his room the morning of the day after New Year's and caught him trying to dress himself but he couldn't manage the zipper on his jeans and he was fumbling with the buttons on his flannel shirt. That had sealed his fate right then and there with his older brother. Dean and Bobby hauled him to the hospital that morning.
Dean and Bobby didn't care that it appeared the sudden difficulty had apparently abated as Sam demonstrated he could now work the zipper on his hoodie that he was putting on. It didn't matter … both hunters had Sam by each arm and were pulling him through the house to get him to the car.
Two Hours Later
"Family for Sam Collins?" Dean was up and walking quickly toward the doctor.
"That's me doc. How's my brother?" The physician looked at Bobby. "This is our uncle. How is he? What's wrong with him?"
"Well, the CT scan came up normal and his physical exam didn't come up with anything out of the ordinary and his blood tests came back normal."
"But he isn't normal there is something wrong," Dean pushed. He wanted some damn answers. This was his little brother and he'd see that Sam got what he needed, no matter what.
"Yes," the doctor conceded. "He experienced some slurred speech and difficulty speaking right before the CT scan. I was worried we were looking at some kind of cerebral event like a mini-stroke," the doctor saw Dean's eyes go wide in fear. He was quick to assure. "There was no evidence of that Mr. Collin's"
"Call me Dean … anything else happen?"
"I gave him some short cognitive neurological tests and there were one or two moments that I detected some cognitive delay …"
"Cognitive delay? Sam went to Stanford on a full ride scholarship, what the hell does cognitive delay mean?"
"It was transient and he passed the rest of the exams with flying colors…"
"But, there is something wrong," Dean asserted.
"What's the plan doc," Bobby chimed in.
"He needs a large scale medical center with a state of the art diagnostic department and a neurology department. Greene Memorial is a good hospital but we're small. I've done what I can and I'm recommending he be taken to another facility. I'm going to make some calls and see where I'd like to refer you, so in the mean time I'm going to release him into your care. If there are any more changes, please bring him back in."
"You're releasing him?" Dean was both relieved and angry.
"He isn't in any immediate risk and his CT and other exams were clear, so there is no reason to keep him, but should he become confused or experience some more sudden onset issues, please bring him back."
A short while later Sam was brought out to the waiting room in a wheel chair and then he was allowed to leave. Sam looked at Dean and Bobby, "don't look so worried guys. I'm alright," he tried to assure. Dean offered a tense smile and just squeezed his brother's shoulder reassuringly. They were all quiet as they walked to the car. Dean kept one hand on the small of his little brother's back. The doctor had told them he would call tomorrow with referral information. It was going to be a long night.
To Be Continued
Well, that's chapter one. I hope you liked it. I'll post again soon. Thanks for reading, I appreciate it!