Hi guys, well, thanks for following this one. My first chaptered fic. Quite daunting. Not sure I'll do another one, since the weight of your expectations can get...(gulp) a bit scary. Loved all your reviews though – big thanks for taking the time to write me.

Chapter 3

Dean could see the anguish in Judes face as she watched Louise head back through to the bedroom.

"He's sleeping…with his eyes open…it's weird…" she told Christopher. Dean walked passed them all and into the bedroom.

Louise leaned over Sam, smoothing his brow. His eyes were half opened, his breathing steady but wet, like moisture was collecting in his airway. His palor grey. He seemed lifeless.

Christopher tugged at Deans jacket.

"Go on, you have to take him,"

"What? Now?" Dean breathed, his heart beating somewhere near his throat at the sight before him.

"Yes, now!" Christopher snapped back. "Dad, tell him."

"But, what if he…what if he dies?" Dean reached for the bed post, to steady himself.

"He'll die anyway – but if you can get him out of here, then maybe…maybe…"

"Maybe it'll break whatever it is that's made him like this," Michael added.

He turned to Dean. "He's right. You have to try. And if he dies, well…at least he'll be with you."

Dean nodded, suddenly fortified by their combined determination. "OK, someone get out to the car and open the back doors. I'll need a hand here," he said as he approached his brother.

"Louise," Dean began. "I'm gonna take him now." Louise nodded, her eyes wet with tears. She suddenly leaned over and kissed Sam's forehead, twice…three times, before moving back to let Dean and Michael in.

They sat Sam up, his head lolling backwards, and swung him round to sit at the side of the bed. With Michael supporting Sam's back, Dean bent down and rolled Sam onto his shoulders in a fireman's carry. As he did this, the room darkened, as if the sun had suddenly dimmed. Michael glanced out of the window.

"It's the storm!" he exclaimed.

"The what?"

Michael shook his head. "Doesn't matter, just get him into the car and keep driving, drive until you get out of this town," He watched Dean move quickly and smoothly through the hall and into the lounge, Sam's arms swinging limply at his back.

"It'll get darker…like really scary," Christopher shouted after them. "That happened last time."

Dean made his way down the steps, a sudden gust of wind making him gasp along with the effort of carrying Sam. Dark clouds had suddenly amassed and the horizon dipped into a magenta haze that warned of darker things to come. He stumbled on the uneven ground, but Michael was there to catch him, a steadying arm to guide him back up straight again.

Jude's high pitched voice shouted for Mercy to come back to her. She saw the child and rushed to pick her up from her bike.

Michael helped Dean manoeuvre Sam into the back seat, his legs bending stiffly so they could close the door. Before he closed his side, Michael bent down briefly and kissed Sam's forehead. "Bye, Dad," he whispered. "Thanks for everything." He looked up at Dean and nodded.

"Keep driving, Dean!" he shouted above the wind. "No matter what, don't stop!" His voice a mere wail in the distance. Leaves and twigs battered onto the car now, as Dean fought to close his door and he glanced back at Sam. His head turned towards Dean, his eyes still half closed. His bony chest still rising and falling with the effort it took to keep breathing.

Dean turned the engine over and she growled into life. A half smile covered his lips as he gripped the wheel and pulled away from the farmhouse. Things were hardly ideal, but at least he had Sam back in the car with him, and he'd break through this...this spell, if it was the last thing he did.

By the end of the drive, the car was being buffeted by giant gusts of wind, rain and hailstones battered off the roof and hood, the noise almost deafening. Squinting into the darkness ahead, Dean swung the car out into the main road – the hailstones forming an icy surface for the wheels to negotiate. The wind screen wipers squealed in protest, the ice building up from the hood, the engine revving as Dean skidded and swung out with every gust of wind that assailed them.

"Come on!" Dean growled at the car, white knuckles on the steering wheel, his head snapping back to glance at Sam in the back seat. "Just a another mile, come on!" The car lurched forward, winding and sliding across the road, Dean pulling at the wheel wildly to keep her straight. Then the lights went out. Darkness. Hail, wind, debris and accumulating ice. And darkness.

"No!" Dean screamed as the car lost it's traction, it's engine revving in defiance. The car merely rolled to a stop. The noise beating into Dean's brain and mind.

It was winning, he thought. Whatever it was, it wasn't letting them leave. He had lost. Lost Sam. Lost everything. For a beat, he stared into the blackness of the raging storm.

Then he turned around and clambered over into the back seat, and slid down into the foot well. He lifted Sam gently and slid himself behind his brother, Sam's head and shoulders on his chest. He couldn't see Sam anymore. He couldn't hear his breath.

But he could feel his warmth. His weight against his legs and chest, and as the noise of the storm seemed to rise in intensity, he lowered his head and tried to cover his brother as he lay there in the dark. He thought about Sam's family back at the farm. Hoping that Dean had made it. That he had broken through the spell. Michael had been right. At least they were together.

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Light.

Brightness. Shining brightness.

And heat. Not a comforting, warming heat. An airless, sticky, stifling heat. The kind you get in an enclosed space on a hot, sunny day.

Dean opened his eyes to stripes. Pale green and blue stripes on cotton cloth. He pulled back, his eyes trying to focus. On his lap with his head fallen back, lay Sam. Serene, at peace...and young again. No wrinkles, no liver spots. Brown thick hair and fully formed muscles. Dean blinked hard.

"Sam? Sam...hey..." Dean shook his shoulders gently. A hand behind his head, lifting up his face. Sam inhaled suddenly, dark hazel eyes blinking open. He turned to look up at his brother.

"You did it. It worked." He whispered.

"Yeah," Dean returned in disbelief. "It worked." He lifted his head and glanced around the car. They were on a deserted road. At an angle, almost in the middle of it. Sam sat up and swung round to sit beside his brother. He looked down at himself. His hands. His striped pyjamas. He reached for the door handle and stepped out into the road.

Dean had moved the car, had examined the hood and the roof for dents. There was nothing. Her body was as smooth and as sleek as ever. Around them the country side seemed as normal. No hints of debris or excess water that a storm would bring. He glanced back at Sam, standing a little way back up the road, barefoot and still in his pyjamas. He followed his gaze up onto a distant hill. The farmhouse.

"I can never go back," Sam said, as soon as he became aware of Dean standing beside him.

"Well, I wouldn't want to risk it," Dean ventured. He frowned at Sam's sadness. Flipping out his phone, he handed it to him. "See if it works," he said quietly.

Sam looked down at the phone in his hand and frowned. He pressed a few buttons and then hesitated for a beat.

"No." He whispered. "I can't remember the number...it's...it's..." Dean took the phone from him and slipped it back into his pocket again. He raised an arm and placed a hand at the nape of Sam's neck.

"Come on," he said quietly. "Let's get out of here ."

With a nod, Sam slowly turned back towards the car.

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Mercy's little legs worked the pedals of her bike furiously as she built up some speed on her way up to the barn. On the slight incline she slowed to a stop, smiling to herself at her achievement. Every day, in every way, she was getting faster. She looked out over the countryside, and in the distance, she could see a black car, it's tyres picking up dust as it sped across the horizon. Shining and sleek, she could make out it's shape, and another little half smile crossed her lips.

With a swipe of her foot, she turned the bike around and stood on the pedals hard so that the bike rolled down the incline for one more spin.

"Granma!" she hollered at the top of her voice. "Graaan-maaaaa!"

The End