WAKE

THE

DEAD

By: Karen B.

Summary: Set after the episode -- 'Houses Of The Holy. What happened back in Providence Rohde Island has both boy's faith shaken. Sam's shaken with doubt. Dean's shaken with possibility. Just a little mix of adventure, angst, humor, hurt, spooks, and maybe just a little faith.

Disclaimer: Non profit dreaming. All done for the sake of entertainment/hobby/personel experssion

I hope you enjoy...and thank you for your time very much so! Sunshine, Karen

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The long desolate road was lined by tall pine trees moving past like shadows on walls. I shivered, the night spreading its chill across my body. Wrapping my hands around my Star Bucks coffee cup, I hoped to suck in some of its warmth. I just couldn't shake the pounding headache or the despair dwelling inside of me. I truly was drowning in evil. I glanced at Dean, both hands gripped tight to the steering wheel as he took the curving road with a skill he seemed to have been born with.

It was late Friday night, and pouring rain. I could barely see out the front windshield even though the wipers were running hard. What little I could see of the dark, curving, creepy, road was faint and lit only by the high beam headlights of the Impala

I felt defeated, and discouraged. I'd been praying for years. And for what? Why? Dean was right. We could only believe in what we saw right in front of our own two eyes. Right now, I didn't want to see anything.

I shut my eyes, desperate to shut out the world. A world full of sinister creatures, set on a perilous path of destruction, and left to its own devices. There was no God.

I squeezed my eyes shut tighter thinking about Father Gregory. I was shocked when he appeared after my ghetto, Sponge-Bob-side-down séance. I was so certain that what had talked to me, what I'd seen in the Church sanctuary was an angel. Seeing the murdered priest's spirit come forth had nearly brought me to my knees. I was devastated, watching my angel turn vengeful spirit. I was even more amazed to hear from Dean how he'd watched God's will in the form of a steel pole, punch through a windshield and plug some bad guy in the heart.

It was Murphy's law. Hard at work. While my faith dissolved into a pile of dust at my feet, my doubting brother had caught a glimmer of his.

Angels -- they truly did belong filed under bull crap.

"You awake, Sam?"

"Yeah." I opened my eyes.

"Good. Because you know what happens when you fall asleep and spill coffee on my seats." Dean smoothly maneuvered the car around another corner sending my shoulder bumping into the side door.

"What happens, Dean?" I straightened, careful not to spill a drop of coffee from my cup.

"I have no idea. Guess we'll find out when you spill some," Dean laughed under his breath, while I cursed under mine.

"Hey, know what we need?" Dean sounded happy -- overly thrilled even.

"No, what?" I asked, dryly, not feeling like I needed a damn thing.

"Some tunes." Dean reached to flick on the radio. "Awesome!" He smiled. "Quiet Riot." Dean cranked the volume up and started singing, "Got no brains, I'm insane The teacher says that I'm one big pain. I'm like a lazer, six string razor. I've got a mouth like an alligator. I want it louder, more power."

Crocodile-tear sized raindrops blasted against the roof of the Impala, but did nothing to drown out the sound of the radio blasting in my ears.

"I'm gonna rock it till..." Dean nodded in time to the music's beat -- so fast and so hard, I thought his head might fall off. "Bang your head. Metal health will drive you mad. Bang your head! Bang your head. Wake the dead. Sing it, Sam."

"Not in the mood to sing," I muttered, slouching down in my seat.

I sipped my vanilla latté, cringing as I listened to Dean sing, no, make that scream the words. My brother always did genuinely enjoy listening to his own voice. When the song finally finished, I reached over and turned the volume down.

"What?" Dean took a sip of his coffee Grande, never taking his eyes off the road.

"Dean, why can't we ever listen to something calm and quiet?"

"You know I only take sugar in my coffee, Sam -- not in my songs." Dean gestured toward my coffee cup. "Bro." He shook his head. "You are so gay. How can you drink that frothy shit?"

"Not that crappy theory again." I rolled my eyes. "Dean, you are such a dork. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with what kind of coffee someone likes. You drink yours black with six packets of sugar -- what does that make you?"

"Brutally handsome." Dean smirked, eyeing himself dreamily in the rearview mirror.

"Your head is brutally big." I went back to sipping my coffee.

"Sammy, you been peeping at me while I'm showering again?" Dean chuckled.

"Shut up."

"Boy, you're bitchy tonight."

"And you're jerky." I coughed to clear my scratchy throat.

"Jerky. That reminds me." Dean slipped his coffee Grande between his thighs, reaching for the bag on the seat between us. "Want some?" He pulled out a strip of dried venison, waggling it near my face.

"No." I wrinkled my nose feeling my stomach vault over my intestines.

"What's with you?" Dean took a big bite of the dried out hide, mouth fully open and chomping "You sick?"

"No." I turned to press my nose against the cold glass, so I wouldn't have to watch the sick display moving around inside my brother's mouth. "We've been driving half the night, Dean." I made my excuse not wanting my brother to know I wasn't feeling so hot right now. "Just tired." I pressed my nose further against the glass, the whiff of sweet and spicy meat rotating my stomach like a roulette wheel.

"I know what you're thinking." Dean took on a serious tone.

"No, you don't," I grumbled.

"There's a lot of things you could give up in this world, Sam, but your faith isn't one of them."

"Whatever," I sighed, hating the fact that Dean could read me like a diner menu. He always knew what he wanted and what I was thinking.

"Sam, I don't want you flushing prayers down the toilet…you just keep praying."

"I can't," I said softly.

"I know the job isn't easy, little brother." Dean stuffed the last of his jerky into his mouth. "You…" Chomp, chomp. "Need to keep…" Chomp, chomp. "Believing in…"

"Dean," I interrupted, needing him to stop talking with his mouth full. "Like you said, we believe in what is right in front of our eyes."

"Sam." Dean swallowed. "Look…"

"That's the problem, Dean. We look. We see. We know there are evil spirits out there and all they want to do is devour us. Black eyed demons, bro. Haunting us -- while we hunt them. That's all there is," I whispered, peering out into the night.

Dean didn't say another word, but I could see his reflection in my window. Looking at me, steadily, studying.

All of a sudden there was a awful noise. A clunking, and clattering against the front windshield.

"What the…" Dean griped.

I turned, right off noting the driver side windshield wiper had come lose. "Wipers broken," I informed.

"I can see that, boy genius." Dean slowed the car to a snails pace. "Mother f…"

"Hubbard," I broke in, watching Dean slam a fisted hand against the dash pitching his usual tantrum when something went wrong with the Impala.

"Your word, Sam, not mine." Dean took a breath, pulling onto the shoulder, and turning off the engine. "Damn it." He reached across me, opening the glove box and retrieving a mag light. "Stay here," he ordered, getting out of the car before I could utter a word.

"Fine by me," I muttered, taking a sip of coffee and closing my eyes.

I really wasn't feeling up to standing in the pouring rain. Besides, Dean never trusted me much to tend to his wounded baby.

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I must have dozed off a few minutes, because the next thing I heard was a loud thumping and Dean's muffled, voice.

"Sam! Come on, man!"

"Huh?" I frowned, sitting forward, my eyes locking onto Deans through the fogged up driver side window.

"Dude!" Dean tugged at the door handle in obvious annoyance. "This is so lame. Unlock the friggin' door. I'm about to float away out here."

I frowned, not recalling playing the 'lock your brother out of the car' game. I leaned over to unlock the door when something invisible pressed hard against my chest flattening my back to the seat and spilling my coffee all over my lap.

"De…" Something cold grasped my throat cutting off air and words.

"Sammy!" Dean's tone no longer annoyed but urgent. "Sam!" He drove his fist harder against the glass. "What the hell?" Dean peered in through the window, eyes troubled and scared. "Hang tough, bro. You copy that? I'm going to..."

Blasts of wind, rain, and lack of oxygen blocked the rest of what Dean was saying. I was aware enough, however, to hear the rumble of the car as someone or something started the engine, and laid on the gas. The Impala went barreling down the dark, creepy, curvy, road -- with me trapped inside.

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I felt sick and cold. The scent of pine and decaying worms filled the air. Wearily, I opened my eyes, but saw nothing. Something wet slid down the side of my face. Using the sleeve of my jacket, I swiped at what I knew to be blood. Gradually, the midnight black faded from my vision, and I quickly profiled my surroundings. It was still dark, still raining, and I was no longer inside the car. I was leaning against a large tree. Sitting on top of a pile of muddy, soggy, leaves. I blinked away the drops of rain and fuzziness. Through the edge of my double vision, I peered upward to see the headlights of the Impala casting downward from the dark street above. The trunk was open. Had I tried to get to the weapons before I had tumbled or been thrown from the car and now sat at the bottom of a steep gully.

First thing was first. I pushed back against the tree trying to level myself to my feet, but a sharp, burning pain in my lower right calf stilled any movement.

"Mother ffffffffffff…." I closed my eyes. "Hubbard." I sank back down to the muddy ground. Shuddering, I bent forward, my fingertips groping until…"Uhhhhh, my leg," I ground out through tightly clenched teeth feeling a warm stickiness against my palm.

I swallowed, unable to see what had caused the wound or how bad the injury was, but judging by the blood flow -- it wasn't good.

My hands were trembling as I searched my pockets, producing a knife. The pig-sticker was used more for cutting up apples then as a weapon against evil. The blade was also good for cutting up bandages. Flipping the knife open, I slit off a piece of my jacket's sleeve and pressed the material against the wound on my leg. My fingers were shaking badly, but I managed to undo my belt. I grimaced, securing the strap over my makeshift bandage, careful not to tighten the leather down too tight.

Glancing up the steep incline, and judging by the way the Impala's headlights had started to fade; I figured I must have been out awhile. Also, figured I wouldn't be doing a rewind. No way, with this leg, I was getting back up the same way I'd come down.

"Dean." Quickly searching my pockets for my cell, all I came up with was a few stray candy wrappers. "Damn it." I squinted, fingers searching the leaves. No E.T. phone home for me.

I took a careful look around. Studying the terrain and looking for what had brought me here. A demon, ghost, goblin, Blaire witch. All I saw was trees and rocks. All I heard was the pattering of rain against the leaves. Not so much as an owl hooted. Dean's advice to me right now would have been to hunker down and stay put. He'd get to me. There was no way of telling how far I'd been driven, and one thing kept repeating in my mind. That thing that hijacked me, whatever it was, was supernatural and still out there.

"Not good times, Sam," I garbled.

What if it was hunting Dean? It separated us for a reason. Like a large animal signaling out its prey for the kill.

The blood loss was making me tired and sick to my stomach. This wasn't going to be easy. I wasn't feeling great to begin with, and now blood loss, and probably shock was making me feel even worse. All I wanted to do was sleep and for a moment I shut my eyes.

'Keep awake, you pansy!' Dean's voice in my head snapped my eyes back open.

"Stop calling me that," I ground out, shoving my back hard against the tree, struggling to my feet.

Gazing up at the tips of the trees made me sway, but I caught my balance. Looking ahead, the gully stretched out like a long, dimly lit hallway -- behind me too. The mud pit was natures junkyard. Full of logs, every size and shape. Heavy brush and rocks lined the ground. If Dean did come this way looking for me, he wouldn't have trouble tracking me -- neither would anything else.

I bent down, finding myself a staff-sized stick to help me walk. "Road's this way," I proclaimed out loud.

Hoping I was right, I started off.

Blood dribbling down my leg made me feel shaky, but I forced myself to stay alert. To stay on demon patrol. Hunching my shoulders up to my ears against the driving rain, I pressed onward picking up my speed.

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Trying to stay dry was out of the question. For the last forty minutes, the wind had brought the rain that pelted hard against my face. I couldn't see much. Not that there was much to see. Shadowy trees, broken limbs, rocks poking up out of the ground, and my own mud caked shoes. I just needed to find my way back to the road, but the dark and my dizziness was scrambling the 'global positioning system' inside my brain. Or it could be that hypothermia was setting in. Confusion -- the number one symptom. Being inured, alone, in the dark, with something possibly hunting my ass, made me feel more like a mouse with a toothpick, instead of an injured hunter with a walking stick.

"Ahhhh." Dizziness hit harder, and I stopped to lean my back against a large bolder, my chin dipping to my chest.

I closed my eyes to rest for a second, using the thick walking stick to keep my balance. Dean would come soon, unless he was already dead. I groaned, shaking away the awful image. Despite the pressure of the belt, I could feel warm blood drip down my leg into my sock. How much farther could a path leading back to the road be? There had to be a place less steep, so I could crawl out of this hell pit.

My leg hurt worse now. Wicked, red-hot pain ripping through me. Like that time when I was twelve. Me and my brand new, mid-night blue bicycle took a spill and I ended up with a wheel-spoke from my bent tire jammed into my thigh. Except that time, Dean had been right there beside me. His shiny mid-night black bicycle skidding to a halt next to me; so fast the gravel popping out from under his tires bit into my face adding more injury. I'd never forget the look of fear in Dean's eyes. We'd been racing like the wind to the burger joint down the street from our current motel. I was in the lead. Okay, so big brother let scrawny kid brother take the lead. Dean always did watch out for me in everything I did.

An ambulance ride, eight stitches, a few days later, and bicycles on lockdown, we sat alone in the motel room. Dean staring at me from across the great divide -- that was our two beds.

"Sammy," Dean started.

"Don't say it." I turned away.

I didn't want to hear his apologies because I'd gotten hurt. He was always treating me like a baby. Like a tiny puppy who walked around with his tail tucked between his legs all day long, and pissing when he saw his own shadow. I was twelve- years-old, been on more then a dozen hunts, and killed my fair share of monsters. The race was cool, and I'd had fun, even with the spill and stitches. Now, I'd be lucky if Dad didn't melt both bikes down for ammo -- they were one of the few normal childhood things Dean and I owned.

"Dad's never going to let us ride our bikes again," I pouted.

"Let's go out and race," Dean said with a huge smile on his face.

"But Dad said…"

"Einstein." Dean paused. "Dad's not here. Get off your duff."

"Huh?" I frowned completely taken off guard. Sine when did Dean disobey an order from dad.

"Sam," Dean yelled. "Get … off… your duff!" He screamed louder.

My eyes snapped open wide. I was back in the woods, but still could hear my brother yelling at me.

"Sammy!"

I strained to see what was only inches from my face. Some sort of huge, dark, shaggy brute, with black as pit eyes, razor sharp claws, pointy ears, and a half-human face. With a howl, its nostrils flared, mouth gaping.

"What the?" I scrambled backward.

"Sammy, drop!" Dean's voice finally pushed me into action.

Blindly following orders, I slipped off the rock to the muddy ground. In a heartbeat the loud boom of a sawed-off split the air.

"Damn." I cringed, feeling the hot blast of salt spray hit the side of my cheek.

I was breathing hard and shuddering. The touch of the rain against my face, burned. The bits of white granules having left behind tiny salt-buck shots embedded in my skin.

"Hey, hey, hey." A palm cupped my cheek. "Sorry, man, I know that was close. You okay?"

"Huh?" I was stunned.

"You can hear? Can't you, Sam?"

"No." I screwed my face up, barely conscious. "Dean?"

"Yeah."

"That was close," I gasped.

"No shit." Dean let out a relieved sigh, in a rush pulling me to my feet. "Can you stand?" he asked after the fact. "Here." He handed me my walking stick.

"Do I have a choice?" A spasm of pain curled around my calf. "My leg," I ground out as the world titled left then right.

"Easy." Dean adjusted the rifle slung over his shoulder and wrapped one arm around my waist. "C'mon, man!" My head lolled. "Sam!" Dean took a few steps. "Walk," he ordered. My head drooped against his shoulder. "I know you can walk, Sam. You got this far." Dean pulled me closer against him. "Lets say you and me get off this big, bad, candy mountain."

"It's a ditch, Dean."

"Whatever, c'mon."

The first few steps, both my feet tangled. But with the walking stick on one side and Dean on the other, I managed to move.

I was crusted in mud, and freezing cold. I huddled as close to Dean as I could. Trying to stay awake, trying to keep walking. Blood still slicked down my leg, and even though Dean's flashlight lit the way, we were cloaked in darkness. The swaying trees seemed to grow taller, limbs reaching out toward us. The air was heavy with fog, making me feel heavy. I tried not to stumble, or betray my weakness to Dean. I really was starting to worry I wouldn't be able to go much further.

"Don't worry, Sam. The road's not much further." Dean's whisper buzzed like a thousand flies in my ear.

I didn't know how long we'd been walking. Dean calmly urging me onward, but with each step I was feeling weaker and weaker. I looked up into the canopy of trees. At least the rain had finally stopped, but I was freezing, the shakes getting worse.

"You going down?" Dean glanced at me.

"No." Another stab of pain caused my whole body to go stiff, and my knees buckled. "Ahhh!" Both feet dragged the ground.

"Bro!" Dean stopped walking, pulling me upward. "I thought you said you weren't going down."

"I'm not." I kneaded my fingers into his jacket and tightened my hold on the walking stick.

"Good, because we gotta beat-feet out of here." Dean glanced back over his shoulder. "This place has got less charm than Mr. Rodger's neighborhood."

My laughter ended on a groan.

"Shh," Dean soothed moving us along. "Sam, you ever take off in my car like that again…and I'll…"

"What, Dean?" I tried to take on more of my own weight. "What will you do? 'Cause it's not my fault Herby the Love Bug went all Christy on me."

"What the hell, Sam? My car is no man, man. Christy -- I can handle. But Herby?"

I stumbled.

"Want a piggyback ride?" Dean gave a light chuckle, holding me upright.

"No." I sucked in a breath.

"That's a relief. You know you're not six anymore. What have you been eating?"

"Crap."

"Crap sure weights a ton."

"Ha…ha." I sneered. "What was that thing, anyway?"

"Son-of-a…" Dean slipped in the mud nearly going down to his own knees. "Damn Wookie."

"What?"

"A wood-troll," Dean offered, righting himself. "Super-sized."

"Yeah, I think you're right." I nodded my agreement struggling to walk in the thick mud. "They're skilled hunters, Dean. More skilled then us." I glanced nervously around. "They live inside the trees and have the power to manipulate things, like the weather."

"And my friggin' car, dude."

"Yeah, guess so." I swiped strands of wet hair out of my eyes. "They are usually dominant this time of year," I grunted from the sharp stabs of pain coming from my leg wound. "I think the 'bang your head' music woke the thing up, Dean." I bit into my lip, fighting the pain.

"You're forgetting the most awesome thing about wood-trolls there, Sammy."

"What's that?"

"They eat meat. White, dark, leg, thigh, human, non-human -- doesn't matter."

"Ewwwww," I gagged.

"Yeah, man. They're also not your typical groovy, vinyl, fuzzy color haired, ugly faced mothers meant to be good luck," Dean continued to haul me along. "Wood-trolls are a nasty subspecies, can disguise themselves as anything. Perfectly camouflage into their surroundings. A rock, a dead tree. Only way to kill the rotten smelling, bloodthirsty freaks, is with a silver bladed axe to the heart." Dean looked at me. "Real close and personal like."

"Delightful," I grumbled.

"Sam," Dean groaned, tugging me up a small incline. "D-delightful is a cold beer and a hot chick on your arm."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot."

The moon slipped from behind a cloud, sending its silver beams down to light the path.

"Dean, which way to the road?" I asked, feeling myself losing strength, everything fading into shadows.

"Not to sure. Think this way." Dean shoved his flashlight into his pocket. "Don't you worry, little brother. I'm getting you out of here -- before you faint like a girl." Dean tried to laugh but the chuckle was gruff as he hauled me faster up the hill.

The wind blew, the trees creaked, and my steps faltered. For a moment there was a huge, black void around me. My chin dropped against my chest and both feet once again drug the ground.

"Sam!" Dean's voice nearly shattered my eardrum.

"What?" I pulled my head up.

"You okay?"

"I got it," I gasped, forcing my feet and legs to keep moving.

I shook my head clearing my vision. A shiver ran up my spine, and somehow, I could sense something behind us. Stalking us, invisible like the wind.

"Not good," Dean said, glancing over his shoulder, his hold on me stronger.

The icy rain started up again, and the gusty wind blew sending dead leaves scattering every which way. Lightning struck down from the sky, coiling around tree trunks and shaking the ground.

"This can't be good!" My brother shouted over the roar of wind.

"Dean." I took a step, sweaty and swaying. "It's coming." A deep breath, another step, and my feet hit the rough pavement of the street.

"I know." Dean shoved the car keys into my hand, and nodded toward the Impala only a few feet away. "Get in the car. Lock the doors."

"No way…"Dean was gone before I could finish my protest, already peering inside the Impala's open trunk.

"Dean." I did my best, with the walking stick and what was left of my strength to hobble toward him.

"Sam, get in the damn car!"

Squeezing my hand around the keys, I decided to do as ordered, when something cold and sharp plunged into the back of my shoulder. Claws gripped tight, and without a sound pulled me down to my knees. My walking stick flew one way, the keys the other, skittering across the wet pavement somewhere under the car. The hook-like fingers in my shoulder disappeared as fast as they had come.

Confusion whistled around me like the wind. I pushed up to my feet, reaching a hand around to touch the dribbling wetness. I brought my hand down, and peered at my fingers. What I'd thought was rain water, was red -- like blood.

"Shit." I staggered.

"Sam, behind you!" Dean running at me with an alarmed look on his face, brought me back to reality.

I turned around to see the pissed-off bastard staring me down, thick, yellow slobber hanging from its lower lip.

Before I could move, the wood-troll gripped my arm and threw me to the ground, tearing at my clothes. Flat on my back, I struggled to break free, while being dragged by my injured leg toward the woods where we'd just came from.

"No! No! No!" I heard Dean cry out, half -panicked, half-pissed off.

"Dean!" I called to my brother in horror.

The troll moved at breath taking speed. I tried to slow us down. Getting my bearings, I grappled to latch onto a branch, anything. But my fingers were numb, and everything was racing by in a blur. If the troll drug me back into the woods, Dean would never find me again. There wouldn't even be a blood trail to follow. I could hear Dean in the distance, calling my name, his feet slapping against wet pavement. Feeling my back slip across the muddy ground, I knew Dean wasn't going to make it.

"D-D-Dean, the word dripped out like the blood dripping down my leg and back. "I'm sorry," I choked; thoroughly exhausted I gave up trying to grab at anything to stop my momentum.

Suddenly, a bright, white, light in the shape of a stag appeared on the path before us.

The wood troll stopped in its tracks, and almost seemed to shudder with fear. The wind stopped blowing. The rain stopped driving. There wasn't a leaf blowing as the ghostly, monster-sized deer stood stalk still before us.

The white light didn't just encircle the twelve-point trophy buck -- the light was the animal. The stag held its head high, not in the least bit skittish. It was incredibly beautiful, almost angelic.

The deer apparition took a graceful step forward, within a nose reach of the troll. The standoff didn't last long as the Wookie reared up several feet with me still in tow.

The white stag, grunted once, stomped its foot, then disappeared as mysteriously as it had come.

In the bucks place, seemingly to appear out of nowhere was Dean, silver axe in hand. With a single whistling blow he struck the hairy brute in the heart. Clawed fingers released their grip on my leg, and the beast fell backward. I watched in wired, hazy fascination as the bloody mess splattered the surrounding trees, just before everything went dark night

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I opened my eyes with a start. The last thing I remembered was my body being dragged back into the woods. I bolted upright, expecting to be devoured or worse.

"Ouch!" The top of my head hit something hard.

"Hey, hey, hey." Fingers snapped in front of my eyes. "You're okay, remember?"

Raindrops hit metal, echoing in my head and slipping down glass in a rush. Dean was sitting right beside me, a bloody cloth in his hand.

"Dean?" I frowned realizing I was inside the car. "How?"

"Dude, I'm getting good at hauling you around."

"What are you doing?" I breathed.

"Trying to get you to stop bleeding all over my seats." His tone matter of fact.

"What about the coffee?"

"Forget about that." Dean frowned, looking pale and worried.

"I'm okay."

"Sam, you really should learn the difference between okay and not okay. Right now…you…" Dean jabbed a finger at me. "Are not okay."

"Did you see it?" I grimaced.

"I not only saw it, I ventilated it." Dean smiled, easing me forward, he placed a cloth against my shoulder. "Lean back hard against that, Sam, it'll help slow the bleeding until I can get this car started and get you to a motel."

"No. Not that 'it'," I said, feeling dizzy and dazed. "The other it. Where'd it go?"

"You mean Bambi's father?" Dean shrugged. "Gone."

"Gone?" I shifted, looking out the front windshield, searching for any sign of white light.

"Yeah, Sam. Gone. Allakhazam." Dean waggled his fingers in thin air. "Gone. Just sit still and let me finish cleaning you up."

"I thought I was dreaming." I sat back pressing hard against the cloth and wincing. "What was that? A deer that swallowed a jar full of lightning bugs or wandered by mistake onto some secret, governmental, toxic waste site?" I ventured, knowing that was far from the truth.

"I don't want to say." Dean cleared his throat, and bent back down to tend to my leg.

"Why not?"

"Incase I'm wrong."

"Dean, it saved my life." I paused. "If it…if the deer hadn't stepped in front of the wood troll, blocking the path, you wouldn't have gotten to me on time. I'd be…"

"Lunchmeat." Dean looked up briefly. "I know," he said quietly going back to cleaning my leg.

"So, you think it was some sort of…"

"Seraph."

"Dean." I struggled not to laugh at my normally doubting brother. "A.k.a…."

"Also known as an angel." Dean pressed his lips into a thin line.

"Dude, the only higher power you believe in is Oprah." I took a breath, staring in disbelief at my brother for a long time before I opened my mouth and said, "Just because of some fluke accident…you don't think..."

"I don't. I Didn't. Maybe," Dean sighed. " I don't know anymore." Dean rubbed the back of his neck. "I mean after what happened back in Providence -- and now this." Dean waved his hand in the air. "I'm not ready for the Dr. Suess hat and glow-sticks, Sam, but something happened. Something I can't explain."

"Something," I muttered, leaning my head tiredly against the window.

I was blood-soaked, rain-soaked, sweat-soaked, and mud-soaked. But I was also soaked in something else. After seeing the apparation, knowing its presence saved my life -- some of my lost faith seemed to soak back into my heart. Maybe all things in this crap world weren't evil. Maybe things weren't all sinister. Maybe there still was some beauty and light left among the ugliness. We just needed to look harder. I took a breath trying to let the tension in my body dissipate. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Dean staring at me.

"D-Dean..." I could hear the tremor in my voice, and took a breath. "Thank you for… you know…for…"

"We going to have a Kodak moment, Sammy?"

"No," I snorted. "Don't worry…I…Damn." I pressed thumb and forefinger to the bridge of my nose.

My leg and shoulder hurt, but now some little guy with a sledge hammer was taking the insides of my skull down to the studs.

"Hang on." Dean silently shrugged out of his jacket. "Here," he said quietly, sliding the soft leather between my head and the glass. "I have Tylenol." Dean leaned over the backseat, and rummaged around in his duffle bag. "And don't think you've done a good job of hiding that cold from me, Sam. For the next few days it's bed rest, orange juice, chicken soup and..."

"Vanilla latté." I grinned.

"Gay." Dean glanced over his shoulder.

"Dork," I said, taking the Tylenol Dean handed me. "Ready to bounce, kiddo?" He slid behind the wheel.

"Two words for you, man." I snuggled deeper into the jacket, and closed my eyes.

"What?"

Breathing in the scent of leather, I listened to the rain falling in sheets against metal.

"Swimming trunks."

"Why?"

"Keys."

"Where?"

"Under the car."

"Just, peachy."

The end

Thank you for reading...I hope you enjoyed this little tale.