Disclaimer: I still don't own Supernatural or its characters. I and am not making any money on this…I'm just having fun!
A Stitch in Time
Chapter 4 – Family Remains
It had been a long ten days but as Dean removed the stitches from his brother's arms he was reminded once again how close he'd come to losing his little brother. "Hold still, I'm almost done princess."
"It itches Dean" Sam complained as he tried to scratch at the newly healed skin.
"Leave it alone, you'll make it scar…" Dean smiled at the slight eye roll he received for the comment.
"Like that matters—no one will even notice." Sam muttered as he sat back and waited for his big brother to finish.
"See that's your problem Sam. I know chicks dig some scars, but this—not cool. So sit still and let me finish."
"So when are we going to go get Adam?" Sam said softly. Dean was startled but then he should have known his little brother would be aware that something had to be done.
"Well if you're up for it, I thought we'd go over there later tonight. We need to salt and burn all the remains in that crypt, just in case. I thought we'd give Adam a proper burning though. Dean looked up and saw the question in his brother eyes. But Sam didn't ask.
"Okay, you're all set. How about we head over to the diner and grab some lunch before we leave town. I figure we can hang out at the bar until it's time to leave. I need to earn us a little more pocket change and you can start looking for out next hunt."
"Fine, but our next hunt should be to locate Lilith. We have to stop her from breaking any more seals." Sam rolled his long sleeve shirt down to hide the still visible scars. Other than still feeling a little weak, he was back to fighting fit. He had hated waiting ten days, but Dean had insisted.
Ten days and his supply was running dangerously low. If he couldn't get hold of Ruby soon—well he didn't really want to think about it. Sam stood and quickly grabbed his coat and duffle as he followed his brother out the door. The truth was, he really wasn't hungry but spending a few hours with his brother was fine. Besides, in the bar he could make some calls while Dean was busy—maybe this time Ruby would answer.
Sam sat in the Impala and waited while Dean paid the dinner bill. Neither of them had eaten much and the conversation had been almost non-existent. It reminded Sam of meals when their Dad was alive. They'd stop and grab some food, maybe talk about the current hunt but mostly they would just try to get the task of eating done so their Dad could get back on the road. A sigh left his lips as he realized how many of the things his father had done seemed harsh but now—maybe not so much.
He pulled out his cell phone as another shiver ran over his lanky frame. He dialed and watched as Dean grinned at the waitress before heading back inside towards the bathroom. He waited anxiously but once more only Ruby's voice mail answered. Sam left another urgent message and closed the phone. His hand shook slightly as he placed it back inside his coat. As he removed his hand from the pocket, it brushed against the silver flask.
For a moment it was almost as if the flask was calling to him. The urge to take a drink was impossible to ignore. As he pulled the container from his pocket, he gazed at it. Surely one little sip wouldn't hurt, just a little to get him through until he could meet up with Ruby again. As he uncapped the bottle he looked within the dark depths and shuddered as once again he realized how far from the road he'd strayed. If Dean ever found out…
As if on cue he heard the soft crunch of boots on gravel and looked up to see Dean heading towards the car. The time to indulge was past. He quickly capped the flask and dropped it back inside his pocket. He rubbed a hand over his face and once again tried to drop his mask of indifference in place. He couldn't let on how bad he was hurting, how weak he was feeling. He had to be the one in control this time. He had to step up to the plate and hit the home run because this time Dean wasn't able.
"Ready Sam?" Dean asked as he climbed into the driver's seat. His green gaze glanced at Sam briefly before he placed the key in the ignition and started off towards town. He never waited for his little brother's answer, but apparently assumed Sam's lack of answer was an acknowledgement that he was ready to take care of Adam.
As the darkness enveloped Sam, he shivered once again. The very night seemed to mirror the darkness he could feel inside him. For a brief moment with Adam, the darkness had lifted. He'd felt needed, like he could save someone again. For once they weren't fighting a demon intent on sending either him or Dean back to hell but a regular Supernatural baddie they could hunt and kill. Old times….
As he stood shoulder to shoulder with Adam and praised his prowess with the gun, he'd realized how his father must have felt when working with Dean. Adam never questioned why he was being asked to do something; in fact he welcomed the challenge and the danger. Not to mention he'd had a natural ability. Of course, how much was Adam's and how much was the ghoul's he'd probably never know. But the emptiness he now felt was just as bad as if he'd known his younger brother all his life. For a short time, he'd been the big brother and he admitted it felt good.
Sam looked sideways at Dean and realized for a moment that he'd taken that from his big brother. Ever since he'd returned from Hell, Sam had been trying to prove to Dean how much he didn't need him to be the protector of his youth, but maybe he'd gone too far. Maybe he should have let his sibling know he still wanted—no needed him by his side. But the time for that had come too late. The way Dean treated him now, held him at a distance was exactly what he deserved. Besides in the end, it would be better for Dean—after…
The young hunter was roused from his thoughts as they pulled into the cemetery and parked next to the crypt. "Come on Sam, I'll go in and you can pull Adam up while I get the others ready." Dean didn't wait for Sam's remark but simply left the car and opened the trunk. Sam sighed and got out. He took the rope Dean handed him along with the shot gun. Some things never changed, his big brother never took anything for granted.
"Let's get this done Sam." Dean remarked as he trudged to the back side of the crypt. There Sam saw the shattered stained glass panel and the dark burial crypt below. He tied one end of the rope around a nearby tree before dropping the other end into the hole. Before he could say anything Dean had dropped the bag he'd brought with him into the hole and gracefully lowered himself into the darkness. Sam rubbed his hands together as the chill of the night seemed to sink into his very bones. He could hear the sound of his brother working below. It was the only sound that broke the oppressive silence around him. "You almost done Dean?" Sam called out, needing to hear his brother's voice; to know he was okay.
"Yeah, give me a sec—okay, I've got him tied off. Haul him up!" Dean called from below as he guided the linen wrapped body of Adam up into the night air. Sam pulled; sweat broke out on his brow as the weight increased. For a moment, he felt dizzy and the rope slipped slightly in his hands.
"You okay up there Sammy?" A concerned voice echoed from below.
"Yeah, just slipped…" Sam managed as he shook his head and began once more to pull Adam through the small opening. He gently laid the corpse beside him before he removed the rope and dropped the other end into the hole. "All set Dean." He called as he gently picked the body up and placed it over his shoulder in a fireman's carry. He knew his brother would be fine handling the rest.
A short time later, both boys stared at the body of the brother they'd never known. The pyre had been built and all that was left was the burning. A lump formed in Sam's throat as he gazed at Adam. He'd died too soon, like so many of their family. The list of relatives and friends Ruby had given him—all dead. His own parents and his girlfriend—dead. Even their friends, Dean never spoke of what he'd found when he discovered Ash's body; but it had to have been bad. The Road House, burned to the ground with all the hunters inside. So much death…
"You sure we should do this?" Sam whispered softly.
Dean broke a twig and tossed it on the fire before he reached back and grabbed the lighter fluid. "The ghouls didn't fake those pictures, they didn't fake Dad's journal—Adam was our brother. He died like a hunter and he deserves to go out like one." Dean poured the fluid over the body and stepped back.
"Maybe we could bring him back, get hold of Cas—call in a favor" Sam tried again, unwilling to let yet another Winchester feed the flames. But Dean wasn't having any of it this time. With a soft sigh he lit the match and tossed it onto the pyre.
"No—Adam's in a better place."
As the flames grew brighter both men watched; each locked within their own thoughts. Sam could see the sadness on Dean's face and wondered what was going through his brother's mind. He almost asked when his older brother began to talk softly.
"You know, I finally get why you and Dad butted heads so much." Dean paused and swallowed but still gazed into the flames. Sam wondered where his brother was going with this, but knew if he said anything his brother would close up on him. He waited to for Dean to continue.
"I mean, I worshiped the guy, I dressed like him, I acted like him, I listened to the same music…" Dean paused as his hand brushed the leather jacket he wore before he started speaking again. Sam saw the pain on his brother's face and would have given anything to see it erased. But too much had happened to them both over the past year. Dean no longer seemed to want to hear what Sam had to say—not since the Siren's attack.
"But you are more like him than I will ever be and I see that now…" Dean paused and swallowed as he looked into the flames. He never once looked at Sam; it was almost like he was talking to himself and not the man who stood beside him. Sam swallowed, a slight tear formed but refused to fall as he realized his brother no longer looked up to his Dad and by proxy, no longer believe in him. He wanted to argue, to fight back but the desolation on his brother's face stopped him. They'd come too far to go back now. The young hunter squared his shoulders and gazed at the fire that had consumed so much of their lives. "I'll take that as a compliment." Sam said simply.
Dean shook his head and replied, "You take it any way you want…."
Dean glanced over at the sleeping form of his younger brother as they drove down the highway. He had no destination in mind, no direction. Lately, that's all he'd been doing—just riding the wind and hoping he wouldn't fall. As he watched Adam burn, he mourned what could have been. The life he could have had if the demon hadn't latched onto their family. He still remembered the family life he'd had for such a brief time. It was slowly faded now, but still remained.
He should be angry with his Dad for not telling them about Adam, but he understood. He and Sam never had a choice and their Father understood it. He'd known Sam was targeted from birth and had taken the steps he felt were necessary to protect them all. He'd trained Dean to take over and protect Sam should something happen to him. Yes, he'd done what he could and it took its toll on the man. So Dean couldn't begrudge him the brief moments of happiness he'd managed to find. He just wished his Dad had trusted him with the knowledge of his other son.
A soft moan from the seat beside him brought him back to the present. Sam was tossing slightly, his brow furrowed and a slight sheen of sweat showed on his face. Dean reached over and gently touched his brother's cheek, checking for fever and smiling when he found none. It was a dream then that was making his brother scowl. He watched for a few more minutes before Sam curled back against the door and fell once more into a fitful sleep.
The older hunter stretched tired muscles and decided it was time to find them a hotel to spend the rest of the night. Sam was still recovering and he could use the break. He searched the road ahead and found a small hotel just off the highway. He quickly registered them and returned to the car without Sam waking. He could see small shivers in his brother's frame and wondered once more if it was just the injuries he'd sustained or something more. Deciding he didn't want to deal with any more tonight he pulled up outside room 103 and parked.
"Sam—time to wake." Dean said softly as he shook his sibling's shoulder. Hazel eyes blinked at him before a hand wiped away the sweat that had gathered on his brother's face.
"I'm not sure Sam—just another hotel and another bed for us to stretch out in. We'll just spend the night and decide where to go tomorrow…" Dean got out and opened the trunk. A moment later he heard the passenger door open as he handed Sam his own duffle. The two tired hunters entered the room and grimaced at the dirty brown carpet. The room smelled of smoke and stale sex but right now as long as it had a bed and a working shower, neither cared.
"I'm going to grab a shower Dean." Sam called out as he dropped his bag at the end of his bed. He grabbed a change of clothes and his kit and headed into the bathroom. Dean simply shook his head and sat on the end of the bed, too tired to even respond. Normally he'd switch on the TV and wait for Sam to finish but the silence in the room fit his mood.
He was sitting in the same position when Sam came out of the shower. "I left you some hot water." Sam offered. It was an olive branch, brother speak for 'are we okay' but for once Dean just couldn't play the game. He simply nodded and grabbed his own clothes and headed for the shower. He heard the soft sigh behind him and for a brief moment, guilt stabbed his heart. He turned and nodded at the door.
"Be sure to lay down the salt Sam and get some sleep. We'll get an early start tomorrow." His voice sounded flat even to himself, but it was the best he could do for now. It would have to be enough as he headed into the shower to cleanse himself of the smell of death that always seemed to cling to him these days.
Sam blinked as he watched Dean disappear into the bathroom. It was clear his brother was retreating behind his wall again and had put out the do not disturb sign. He dropped his dirty clothes into the bag, placed salt around the door and windows, and pulled down the covers on the bed. The sheets were thin and the mattress was lumpy but he'd slept on worse. He sat on the edge of the bed and waited until the sounds of the shower filled the room. He moved quietly towards his coat and grabbed out his cell phone. He could tell there were no messages.
His anger flared as he dialed Ruby's number. As usual, her voice mail was all that greeted him. He figured leaving another message was useless as he slammed the phone shut and returned it to his coat. He pulled the flask from his pocket and sighed as he quickly dumped a small amount of blood onto his hand. As he licked the viscous fluid into his mouth, his conversation with Chuck came to mind.
"You know it's wrong…" Chuck had admonished.
"I wish to God I could stop…" Sam had replied and he'd meant it
Even now, he could feel the familiar burn as the blood traveled down his throat, the warmth flowing through him along with the feeling of power it always brought. His mind went back to the clandestine meetings with Ruby, her knife cutting into her milky flesh until the dark red blood boiled to the surface. The pure ecstasy he felt when he fed from her and then the release when they had finished. The pure need that had scared him at first, but now drew him to her like a moth to the flame.
He quickly capped the flask and returned it to his coat pocket. He checked to make sure there was no sign of his transgression before he returned to the bed and switched on the TV. The local news was playing, but he didn't hear it as he tried ignore the blood now swirling inside him. He felt strong, more than capable of taking down Lillith and any of her minions who were nearby. Why couldn't Dean understand?
They couldn't kill her with the knife, he'd tried and failed. If it hadn't been for the Archangel's appearance, they all would have died that night. He also sensed her fear, not of Dean but of him. She knew what he could do and was willing to barter for her life. The Angels may be backing Dean, but the demons feared Sam. Once he'd killed Lillith and stopped the breaking of the seals, then he'd explain it all to Dean. That is if he made it through. In the end, all that mattered to him now was to end it for both of them. If he didn't survive—it would be worth it.
Dean would have Bobby this time around and with the distance that had grown between them, probably would be relieved if Sam died. He'd no longer have his little brother holding him back from the life he deserved. Yes, Sam was doing the right thing and even if it meant losing Dean because of it—at least his brother would be alive.
The door opened and Dean emerged from the bathroom. His hair was still damp as he dropped his dirty clothes on the floor and climbed into his own bed. His hand reached under the pillow before he reached up and turned out the light. "Night Sam…" Dean said simply as he turned his head and proceeded to fall asleep.
Sam continued to watch his brother for awhile before his own exhaustion drew him into troubled dreams where he glimpsed the monster he was to become—if he wasn't one already.
The lake rippled gently against the shore as the bobbin gently rocked on the waves. Dean sat on the dock, his fishing pole held loosely between his hands. He gazed up at the perfect day and let the sun bathe his face. The peace and tranquility of the setting healing that part of his soul that thought it would never see this again.
Suddenly he felt another presence. "We need to talk." Cas said softly.
Dean grimaced but looked up at the Angel standing beside him. "I'm dreaming aren't I?" Of course, it was a dream—his real life was never peaceful or serene.
"It's not safe here; someplace more private." The angel remarked as if it made perfect sense for him to be here.
"More private? We're inside my head!" Dean quipped as he tried to get his mind around the fact that the Angel was able to talk to him in his mind. He wasn't sure how much he liked that idea. If Cas could read his thoughts then who else…
"Exactly, someone could be listening…" Cas replied as if it was common sense. Dean shook his head and noticed the worried look on the Angel's face. Since when did Cas show emotion? Sitting up straighter Dean asked.
"Cas, What's wrong?"
But the Angel refused to answer other than to pass him a folded up piece of white paper. Dean glanced at the location before he looked questioningly up at Cas. "Meet me here—Go—Now!"
The urgency in the voice along with the sound of the truck horn jerked Dean from his sleep. He gazed around the room and almost went back to sleep but something in the back of his mind refused to let him ignore the command. Sighing he sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the bed, the peace of the lake now replaced by the dark dinginess of his life as he stood and reached for his brother's still form.
"Wake up Sam—we gotta go!" Dean called out as he grabbed his clothes. "You can sleep in the car…"
"D'n? Wha?" Sam muttered as he sat up and stared at his fully dressed sibling. Dean continued to stuff their things into their bags. He threw some clothes at Sam before going towards the bathroom. "Get dressed, we leave in five…"
"Why?" Sam asked as he reached for his own clothes. "What's wrong Dean?"
Dean returned to the room and headed for the door after grabbing his bag. He paused at the door and sighed. "Everything Sam…."
Raven524: Well hopefully the ending on this didn't disappoint you all. Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed the tale. *hugs* to you all!