Thanks for reading, review if you can, and see ya in the next story. And they still are not mine…
Sam slammed into the ground, the air knocked out of him. He sat up, the room spinning, and looked directly at Amelia. She was staring at the ceiling, fire from above slowly starting to fall onto the gasoline covered downstairs. The small sparks set off the lower level, catching fire quickly.
With a vengeful look in her eyes, she snapped back to Sam. He backed up a few feet, his hand coming into contact with something solid. He looked down to see Dean's sawed-off, sitting where Amelia had dropped it.
Amelia was nearly on him, so he scooped up the gun and tried to fire. It clicked, telling him the thing was empty. That's when Amelia grabbed him by the throat and threw him into a wall. When he landed, Dean's gun flew out of his hands sliding just out of reach.
He was vaguely aware of someone pounding on the door, yelling his name. Before he could respond Amelia was hauling him to his feet again. She threw him into a table, sitting in the middle of the room. The table broke with his weight, making black spots appear in his eyes. He tried to shake them away, but smoke had hit his face and he started coughing making the black spots more predominant.
Amelia was leaning over him, his head was pounding causing the room to spin, and he was being overtaken by smoke. Things were not looking great for Sam. To make matters worse, blackness was slowly taking over. Before he could fight it, it took over and he knew no more.
Max couldn't get the door open, it just wouldn't budge. So he ran back to Dean's car, trying to find something that he could use to open the door. Then he looked at the car. That could work, he thought.
Not even a minute later, he had the car hotwired. He put it in drive and drove the vehicle at the house. It broke through the stone structure, bending the fender. Max backed the car up, making a mental note to pay for the damages, and tore out of the car.
He ran into the house as fast as his legs would carry him and stopped just as Amelia was about to pick Sam up again. The young hunter wasn't moving, didn't even notice that a ghost was about to attack him. Max scoped up the sawed-off off the floor, unloaded it, reloaded it, and fired. Amelia dropped Sam, dissipating again.
Max rushed forward, coughing as the smoke swirled around him, and grabbed Sam by the arms. Despite his aching back and protesting knees, he hauled the kid out of the burning house, through the Impala sized entryway.
"Hey, Kid," Max said kneeling next to Sam once he was outside. He didn't get a response, so he tapped him on the face, covered in ash and soot from the fire. Sam stirred but didn't wake up.
"I told you, Kid," Max muttered as he hauled Sam in a standing position. He half dragged, half carried him to the now wrecked Impala, stashed him in the passenger seat, threw Dean's sawed-off into the backseat, and ran around the still running car.
"Hold on, Sam," he said glancing over at the unconscious Sam, and squealed away from the house. Heading to the hospital.
Dean jerked awake, the motel the first thing he noticed. At first he thought he was dreaming, almost expecting Heather to be knocking on the door to tell him dinner was in ten, and then he felt pain. Despite the pain in his leg and back, he couldn't help but scramble to his feet. The room swayed slightly, but he managed to stay standing.
He ran to the mirror, next to the doorway, and nearly collapsed in relief. He was back to normal, he was himself again, he was Dean. Sammy, wherever you are, you did it, he thought half expecting Sam to walk through the door. Once he got over the relief of being back to normal, he noticed the bruise over his eyebrow. How the hell…
Deciding it was nothing to worry about at the moment, Dean limped back to his bed- the pain getting to him-and settled down. He just had to wait for Sam to show up and tell him what happened. He looked around the room to pass the time and came across the table lying on its side a few feet from the bathroom. Wasn't that table on four legs the last time I saw it.
"What the hell," he muttered painfully getting to his feet, again. He headed toward the bathroom, stopping at the threshold. The place made his knees go weak. He didn't want to think how much the damage would cost. There was a big crack in the drywall; Dean could almost see himself hitting that wall.
"Well, this just sucks," he muttered. His eyes continued to flick across the room, coming across the blood on the floor. Dean high-tailed it out of the bathroom, as fast as his bad leg would carry him, and grabbed his phone off the nightstand next to his bed.
He dialed the one number he knew better than his own and waited for his brother to pick up. He didn't get an answer. It rang four times before going to voicemail. He tried again, still getting no answer. On the third try, after working himself up into a blind panic, someone answered. It just wasn't the person Dean wanted to talk to.
"Hello," Max Lawrence's voice answered,
"Yeah, where's Sam?" Dean asked. He was pacing back and forth; unaware of the pain it was causing him.
"He's… He's okay, he's just been admitted into the hospital," Max replied. Dean had to sit down before he fell over. He had to put his head between his knees before he threw up. "Dean, you there," Max called. Dean took another minute to collect himself then put the phone back to his ear and said, "Yeah, I'll be there in a moment."
"You can't," Max replied quickly.
"And why is that," Dean said through clenched teeth.
"I have your car, but I'll come get you."
"Are you okay, by the way?" the question caught Dean off guard. He wasn't sure if he should lie to the old man or not. He decided it wasn't worth it to lie so he said, "My leg is killing me, my back hurts, and I feel a little groggy."
"Yeah, that's because I drugged you. Or Alex," Max replied. Dean could hear his car in the background, knowing Max was on his way.
"Because he attacked your brother, and I didn't want him to get loose and hurt other people. I don't think the cops would hesitate to check your criminal background."
"Fine, how long 'til you get here?" Dean just wanted to make sure his brother was okay. He didn't care what had to be done to him as long as Sam was okay.
"I'll be there in a few," Max replied and hung up. Dean snapped his phone shut and tossed it on the bed. He lay back, trying to fight the grogginess that was settling over him, and looked up at the ceiling. Sammy you'd better be okay, because I am not going to lose you because of this stupid hunt.
The thought was barely out of his head when a horn sounded from outside. He jumped to his feet, the room swaying and his leg screaming at him in pain, and rushed outside. When his eyes first glanced at his car he couldn't believe it was his. Then he saw the license plate-KAZ 2Y5-and nearly fell over again. He grabbed the doorframe before he went down.
"Dean," Max said getting out of the car and rushing forward to help. Dean pulled away from him, staggering toward his car.
"What…what did you…" he managed to get out in a hoarse whisper. He knelt next to the bent fender, surprised the car still ran. "Oh, Baby, what happened?"
"Dean, I promise I will pay for all repairs. But, I think Sam is more important than the car right now."
Just mentioning Sam made Dean's worry peak. He cared about his car, but his brother was his number one priority. He pulled himself to his feet and headed toward the driver side. Max grabbed him before he could make it completely over to the door, his leg nearly giving out on him.
"Maybe we should take my vehicle," Max commented directing Dean over to his old Ford.
"How much of that drug did you give me?" Dean asked as he pulled out of Max's grip and begrudgingly got in the old man's truck. Max got behind the wheel, started it, and took off down the street.
"Enough to take down someone for at least a day. But I doubt it's the drug that's screwing with you. It's your leg, your back, that head injury, the pure fact that you were eight for three days and now are…"
"I get it," Dean interrupted the man's constant chatter making his head hurt. He massaged his temples before saying, "How did Sam end up in the hospital?"
"Smoke inhalation and a head injury," Max replied without looking at Dean.
"Did…did Alex give him the head injury?" Dean asked remembering the blood on the bathroom floor.
"Fantastic," Dean muttered. Deep down, he felt a wave of guilt just thinking about Sam's injuries. If he'd just kept himself off the witch's…ghost's-whatever-radar than Sam would have had backup. He wouldn't have the damn injuries at all.
"Don't blame yourself. You couldn't have known Amelia was going to go after you," Max's voice broke into his thoughts.
"How'd you take care of her, anyway?" Dean couldn't help but ask, his last memory being him collapsing on the playground.
"We burnt her house down." Max didn't look at Dean, but the older Winchester could see how much that bothered him. People are freaking weird.
"Did you now? And Sam went along with that?"
"It was his idea," Max muttered and they both went silent. A few moments later, they pulled into the hospital's parking lot. Dean was out of the truck before it stopped, racing toward the hospital as fast as his injured leg could carry him. Max was directly behind him, ready if the kid collapsed.
"He's behind that curtain." Dean heard Max say and headed toward the ER. He drew back the first curtain and got the first glimpse at his brother.
Sam's skin was black from smoke, sweat, and grime. He had an oxygen mask over his face, helping his smoke filled lungs breathe. He had gauze covering a cut about his eyebrow, one that was slowly turning his forehead purple. Dean couldn't help thinking, we have matching cuts now.
"The doctor said he was okay. They just gave him something to sleep; he kept saying he couldn't pass out until he knew you were okay. He's a very stubborn individual."
"Yeah, he is," Dean agreed limping over to Sam. He pulled a chair up, sitting next to him. He grabbed his brother's hand, wondering how something as harmless as a spirit could put them through all this misery.
"I'm going to leave you alone," Max said and backed out of the curtained area. Dean barely registered what he said. He just wanted to stick with his brother, keep him safe, and never leave his side again. "I'm sorry, Sammy. Sorry for ever getting attacked by that she-bitch." He knew he shouldn't blame himself, but he felt partially responsible. I am so screwed up.
Max was in the elevator, heading toward the third floor-the pediatrics ward-wondering if he should get coffee. The elevator doors opened. He was barely out the doors, when a loud voice called, "GRANDPA!" he looked up, just in time to see a little blond boy run at him. He bent down and scooped Alex into his arms.
"Alex, are you okay," he asked giving the kid a hug.
"Yeah, just a little tired," the kid replied. He had changed out of the hospital issued pajamas and into the clothes he came in. Max almost believed he was still Dean. "How's Sam?"
"Sam's fine. He's downstairs with his brother," Max replied setting the kid back onto the ground.
"I want to go see him. I need to thank him," Alex said quickly. Heather was walking toward them and the kid knew it. He, like Max, didn't want Heather to know anything about the previous few days.
"Alexander, why are you out here. You should be lying down," Heather said, scolding her son half-heartedly.
"Come on, Mom. I don't want to lie down anymore. Can't I just go for a walk with Grandpa?"
Heather sighed, close to rolling her eyes, and said, "Yeah, go. Tell those boys thanks from me." Max had no idea how she knew, he was sure him and Dean covered their tracks perfectly, but she knew. She must have seen the look on his face because she said, "Dad, Alex has never been able to eat like that. That was someone else. Plus, I noticed the folder full of newspaper clippings, and I heard you call Alex 'Dean' once. I'm not stupid, Dad. Just be sure to thank them from me." Max nodded and directed Alex to the elevator.
They went back down to the first floor and headed toward the curtained areas. When Max pulled back the curtain to show Alex the two Winchesters, he found not only Sam asleep but Dean, too.
"Do you want to come back later?" Max whispered closing the curtained again.
"Yeah, that would be okay." they started walking back to the elevator, when Alex stopped and asked, "Can we get ice cream?"
"I'm sure the cafeteria has some," Max replied and they headed down the hall.
The first thing Sam was aware of when he woke up was a light snoring. He looked over and saw his brother-back in his own body-head buried in his arms, arms resting on the bed, sound asleep. The second thing was the pain. His head hurt, his back hurt, his chest hurt, there wasn't much of his body that didn't hurt. And to make matters worse, his brother had a tight grip on his hand and it had gone to sleep. The last thing was the oxygen mask covering his face.
He lifted the mask and said, "Dean," or he tried to say. It came out as a hoarse whisper. He cleaned his throat, the action sending a searing pain through his trachea, and tried again, "Dean." His voice wasn't much louder than before, but it was loud enough to wake Dean. His head shot up and blurry green eyes focused on him.
"You okay, Sammy," Dean asked before Sam could say anything.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Sam managed to get out. The attempt at a full sentence made him have to cough. He didn't want to, afraid of how much pain it would cause, but he couldn't hold it back. A cough erupted out of his mouth, making his chest and throat hurt.
"Easy, easy," Dean said sitting up but not letting Sam's hand go. He pulled the mask back over his brother's head, telling him to breathe. The coughing subsided as a nurse came walking into the curtained area.
"I heard coughing had to check to see if you were okay," she said checking over Sam's vitals.
"I'm fine," Sam said through the mask, voice muffled.
"I'm sure," Dean and the nurse said at the same time. When the nurse was satisfied that Sam wasn't about to die, she scribbled a couple things onto his chart and headed back to the nurses station.
"I'm assuming Alex is awake," Sam rasped out.
"I don't know," Dean replied. "Do you want a drink of water?" Sam nodded, talking starting to hurt his already tender throat. Dean got to his feet and disappeared behind the curtain. Sam tried to watch him go, but sitting up made him dizzy. He was debating whether to doze off again or not when he heard the curtain pull back.
Dean," he called in a whisper, opening his eyes. Instead of his brother there were two familiar people. "Hey guys."
"Hi, Kid," Max said with a smile. Alex stayed back, looking slightly ashamed. He, like Dean, blamed himself for Sam's condition. Even if it was Alex controlling the body and Dean's body, it was not their faults.
"Alex, you okay?" Sam asked looking at the boy he had never seen, but had gotten to know.
"Yeah, thanks to you," Alex replied quietly. He walked closer to Sam but stopped before he reached the bed. "My mom says 'thanks,' too."
"How does she…?"
"Hunter's instinct never fully dies," Max replied just as Dean came back, carrying a cup of water. He nearly dropped the liquid when he spotted Alex just standing there.
"Hey, Kid," he said softly.
"Hi," Alex responded smiling slightly.
"Um, here's your water, Sammy." Dean walked toward his brother, helping him sit up. He lifted the mask and poured the water into Sam's mouth. The water soothed Sam's tender throat.
"I'm sorry," Alex said in an anxious voice. He looked close to tears, seeing Sam in such a vulnerable position.
"For what," Dean, Sam, and Max said at the same time.
"It's just… Ghost or not, I caused this. Kinda. I mean, I attacked him. I was the one that caused him to hit his head… If he wasn't hurt by me, well he would have been able to take on that ghost and he wouldn't have been hurt worse by her." Alex took a shuddering breath, trying to hold in his tears.
Before anyone else could say anything, Dean set the cup of water on a nearby table and crouched down in front of the kid. "Listen to me, Alex. You are not to blame for this, never, for one second, believe that you are. Do you understand me?" Alex nodded, averting his eyes from Dean. "Good. Because it's not our fault Sammy is a stubborn buffoon." Alex smiled at that comment as Sam said, "Takes one to know one."
Max laughed at that comment, amused at how much the two could rag on each other. He never seen them together before, and now that he had he actually wished he knew them earlier.
"Bitch," Dean said softly getting to his feet.
"Jerk," Sam muttered and drifted off to sleep again.
Max had been good on his promise and when Sam had been released from the hospital the following day, Dean's Impala was being looked at by the local mechanic. Both brothers went back to their motel room, where they tried to clean up as best they could. Instead of getting in trouble for the huge crack in the wall, the owner merely told them that it wasn't an uncommon thing, that they could have done worse to the room, and reassured them they didn't have to pay for the wall. "What is insurance for if not to pay for little things like that," he had said wearily.
It took another day before the Impala was ready. The mechanic drove to the motel personally, commenting on how the car drove and how much he wished he could find something like that.
Dean and Sam were planning to leave at noon that day, just wanting to get back on the road. They also didn't want the cottage burning pinned on them. Dean was just packing up the car, throwing their duffle bags in the trunk, when he heard a truck pull into the parking lot. He looked up in time to see Max pull up next to him.
"Hey," he said opening the door. Alex slid out after him, his mother following. Max had a folder under his arm which peaked Dean's interest.
"We wanted to say good-bye," Heather said standing right behind her son. She had her hands on his shoulders, watching Dean curiously.
"Well, let me get Sam." before he could head toward the motel, Sam walked out locking the door. He carried the keys, intending to drop them off at the office, but stopped when he saw the Lawrences.
"Hey," he said walking over to them. His bruise was still purple, but wasn't as bad as when he first got it. He was walking slower than normal, the rock salt giving him a wicked bruise on his lower back and hurting him when he walked. Dean called him gramps for a few hours before his own back pain caused him to stop.
"Just wanted to see you two off," Max said before Dean could say anything. He was still holding the folder and Dean was so close to ripping it out of his hands. He wanted to know what was so important about the folder.
"Oh, that was nice of you," Sam said leaning against the car. He crossed his arms, eyeing the folder, too.
"Alex has something he wants to say," Heather said quickly and gently pushed him forward.
"Thanks guys," Alex replied. He broke the distance between them and hugged Dean then Sam. He then retreated behind his mother.
"Thank you," Heather said softly and heading back to the truck. Max was bouncing on the balls of his feet, aware of the two Winchester's looking at the folder. He smiled slightly and held it out to Dean.
"Something that had me intrigued. It sounds like a shapeshifter, possibly a demon, but I can't be sure. It's in Milwaukee, a long way from this place, and I was wondering if you two wanted to check it out."
Dean flicked through the folder, taking in the contents, and then handed it to Sam. Sam looked through the contents, too, and then set the folder onto the Impala's hood.
"I guess we could check it out," Sam said politely. Dean could tell his brother didn't exactly want to do another hunt so quickly, but what else were they going to do.
"See you boys. Whenever you're in Georgia again you should come stay at our house. Maggie can make dinner, you'd enjoy that." Max then nodded, opened his truck door, and got in. "Oh and that fire was pinned on some boys from the town over. We were there to check for any stragglers." The engine roared to life and he pulled out. The family waved at the Winchesters and then they were gone.
"Well, they were nice," Dean commented heading toward the driver side of the Impala. Sam nodded as he walked toward the office. He was back in seconds, picking up the folder before getting in the car.
"Do you honestly want to check this out?" Sam asked flipping through the folder again. He looked up at Dean, who was giving him an incredulous look.
"Dude, come on, it's probably just a shapeshifter. What's the worst that could happen," Dean asked and started the car. He backed out of the motel's parking lot and sped down the road…