IT'S ALL IN THE CARDS
DISCLAIMER: The usual, not mine to own but I love to play ... no money passes hands for this story or any other I write. I wish but nope not yet. No Laundromat washers or dryers were harmed or destroyed in the writing of this story.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the combination of three story ideas, and thanks and LovinJackson for the wonderful input and ideas for this story.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 2: Sam is 18 and Dean is 22 – 23 (set between new years day and Dean's birthday to begin with.) Before Sam goes to Stanford.
'Oh grow up Theresa,' Maggie snapped, 'you have no idea of the magnitude of what Roland is …'
'It's wrong Aunty, so wrong … Sam and Dean are innocents…' Maggie's short, sharp laugh brought Tess to silence; straightening her shoulders she fixed a stare and decided that she had to do more than just witness she had to act.
'Roland is more than a mere human, we may inhabit these meat-suits but it is only because no one can look at us in our true forms. In hell, he rules many and is truly powerful. However, there is a usurper Azazel who covets Sam Winchester as well. Roland should have been his father, as well as yours, Azazel interfered the night Roland was going to possess John Winchester and procreate with his wife Mary. Sam Winchester is the key to unlock Hell's greatest gift to the world.' Maggie's eyes shone with a maniacal glint that sent shivers down Tess' spine.
'What about you Maggie?'
'I am Roland's sister, and believe you me I will do anything to make sure he fulfils his destiny.'
'Is that why I have these…?'
'Yes, you are special child – yours and Sam's destinies will become intertwined once you and he accept them.'
'Never … I will never accept anything so heinous, so evil.'
'Ah but child it's written in the cards you cannot fight destiny.'
Bobby shifted his stance slightly he still wasn't too sure of trusting that Sid guy, but at the moment they had little else available to them, 'Jim … ready?' His whisper barely audible but enough for Jim to understand; while Pits was occupied fighting with John – literally – the pastor moved around to where Dean and Sam were huddled against the wall. At the same time, Bobby moved up the stairs and took out the guards waiting out there.
'Dean? We have to move, we have to get you and Sam out of here.' Jim whispered squeezing Dean's shoulder lightly to get the younger man's attention.
'Sam's sleeping, we can't wake him.' Dean whispered, brushing an errant hair from Sam's face, 'he's not too good.'
'No I know … Dean we have to get him out of here … Doctor Welby is waiting upstairs for him.'
'M-Mark is here?' Dean blinked furiously trying to regain focus, not only of his sight but of his thoughts and emotions.
'Yes, can you stand?' Jim asked, wrapping his left arm around Dean's thin shoulders and helped to support Sam with his right.
Pits' eyes flickered and he felt the strength of his meat-suit waning, the physical altercation had just about finished him. Pits had to admit that he did underestimate John Winchester, not only where his sons were concerned but also his fitness and brute strength.
Taking advantage of Pits' momentary lack of concentration John steadied himself and then did a powerful leg sweep taking out his opponent's left shin and snapping the bone clearly and audibly. Pits roared as he hit the floor, lifting his head he realised that the only occupants of the room now were him and Winchester.
'What the?' He muttered as he tried desperately to get back onto his feet.
'Aint that the pits,' John smirked and Pits wished he could wipe it off that arrogant face, but then he remembered his sister is only upstairs and she is just as lethal as he is. 'Margaret!' he bellowed hoping that it would reach her.
'Oh shut the fuck up, you perverted piece of sick shit.' John stood over Pits, he aimed another kick at the broken shin and then to finish off he raised his hand, now holding his silver knife with the intent on slicing his throat. But, before he could deliver the death blow, Pits' mouth dropped open and in a roar of wind, the fall of ash and stench of sulphur the demon fled the body.
Maggie stopped on the stairs as she saw her brother's true form escape without a second thought she opened her mouth and willingly gave up the meat-suit she wore and followed her brother back to the pits literally.
John limped and hurried as fast as he could up the stairs, side-stepping the strange woman's body, he had to get to his sons, a soft moaning from the living room made him detour slightly. 'Tess?' He ran over to the fallen woman and let hands and gaze roam over her, 'you hurt?'
'Not so much, where are Sam and Dean?'
'They're out the front with Bobby and Jim,' John helped Tess to her feet and together they supported each other out to the waiting vehicles.
'Jim? Where are they?' John asked hoarsely, he swayed drunkenly as the adrenaline finally gave up its hold on him and his knees buckled.
'John?' Jim yelped just as he managed to grab his friend, 'Bobby a hand please.'
Together the two hunters helped their friend over to Mark and their homemade ambulance.
'Got room for another one Mark?'
Mark paced near his van and watched the house; it was taking too long, 'something bad must be happening' He stopped and stared as the front door finally swung open, then Bobby and Jim came hurrying out with the two Winchester boys literally in their arms. With their arms linked Jim and Bobby carried Dean who in turn held Sam tight to his chest.
Shaking himself into action Mark climbed into the back of the van and indicated for them to place the boys on one of the stretchers, 'don't worry bout trying to separate them.' He said immediately wrapping blood pressure cuffs around each of their arms, first Sam and then Dean, which proved to be a problem with the way his arms were locked around Sam.
The thermometer was first in Sam's ear, and then with the disposable tip changed into Dean's ear. 'They're both running fevers, low grade but bad enough, both of their blood pressure readings are low but stable,' Mark muttered away as he started his initial exam. Slipping an oxygen mask over Sam's face he watched as the teen's breathing slowly but surely start to improve, worried though about Sam's lack of response to any ministrations Mark looked up at Jim first and then to Bobby, 'we have to get them out of here, we need to get them to the clinic.'
'John should be back … ah here he comes with Tess.' Jim said as he hurried to meet them.
The clinic: a small modern clinic set a short way from the highway and traffic. For most people it was an exclusive medical clinic and resort in the countryside for the rich and wanna-be-rich to get pampered, to recover from plastic surgery or to receive medical treatment privately and without the fear of it becoming pregnant.
Although, there was another part to the clinic that was only known by a select few, a part that was set up by a doctor whose wife and children were killed by a supernatural killer. Here injured hunters could safely seek medical help when needed, the rich and celebrity clients more than covered the costs for the free treatment for the hunters. It was only small but it was fully stocked with all essential services on site. Including their own morgue, labs, a surgical unit and if needed a maternity ward.
With Bobby driving John's truck and Jim driving the van the small ragtag convoy soon reached the gates of the Casterton Family Clinic and Spa. Doctor Kevin Casterton waited for them at the side entrance to the Hunter's clinic, tall and muscular his sandy brown hair with the odd streak of silver in it sat just above his collar but flopped continuously in his face. Recently he had just turned fifty but looked as young as forty and more like a Hollywood celebrity than as a country doctor. Dressed in jeans, runners and a soft dark blue hoodie, he stood leaning against the doorway with a casual but careful air. With his crystalline blue eyes wide he tracked the journey of the two vehicles as they followed the winding driveway to the hunter's entrance.
'Pastor Jim it's good to see you again,' Kevin warmly greeted the cleric, 'our patients in the back?'
'Good to see you too Kevin,' Jim smiled as he shook hands with the doctor, 'and yes they are, at least four of them.'
'Okay we're gonna be busy then, Bobby good to see ya man.' He shook hands with Bobby who finished parking the truck next to the parked impala, the grizzled hunter, mechanic and salvage yard owner couldn't help but smirk when he saw the two pristine vehicles side-by-side again, but then his attention strayed to the rear of the van where the owners of the cars languished.
Mark worked on stabilising Dean while Kevin took Sam down to the imaging room for x-rays and scans.
'Dean? Can you tell me what happened?' Mark asked as he gently cleaned the acid and rope burns on the younger man's wrists.
'Umm he strung me up and dripped acid or something down the ropes, I dunno Doc, honestly, I don't remember much especially after the mist…' Dean trailed off, 'when's Sammy coming back?'
'He'll be back soon, Dean can you tell me more about the mist?' Mark asked as he took some blood samples, scrapings from under his fingernails, a strand or two of hair and a tiny scraping of skin.
'Whatcha doin' that for?' Dean asked as he watched the doctor gathering the specimens.
'See what they pumped into the gas.'
'The mist.' Dean muttered correcting the doctor, 'when's Sam coming back?'
'Soon Dean I promise.' Mark continued with his exam even though Dean's injuries were serious: none required surgery. He needed a lot of rest, rehydration and food.
Sam's terrified screams echoed down the hall, causing Dean to try and get out of his bed, he pulled at the IV drip, the electrodes anything he could pry loose he tried.
'Dean, no I'll go, I'll go and find out what's going on.' John said in a tone that brooked no argument.
Grumbling Dean let himself fall back against the pillows and then fixed a pointed look towards his father. 'Well go on.'
Sam opened his eyes and found himself lying on a hard surface and in some sort of tunnel, terrified he tried to calm himself down but it was of no use, he cried out for help but was sure that Pits had buried him alive.
Suddenly the hard bench was moving, Sam's erratic breathing became worse as the panic seized him as faceless people surrounded him and bodiless arms reached out to him. 'No! No! No!' Sam screamed, 'Dean!'
'Sam please you need to calm down,' Kevin tried to get Sam to focus on his face but it was to no avail.
'Kevin? Sam? What's going on?' John asked as he limped towards the MRI scan, 'Sammy?'
'D-Dad?' Sam huffed out, blinking furiously he focussed on that familiar weather-beaten face, the dimples so much like his own and the dark eyes glistening with emotion.
'Hey Sammy.' John smiled, cupping Sam's cheek in his large hand and gently stroked the high bone with his thumb pad. 'It's so good to have you back.'
'Where's Dean?' Sam asked as he scanned the faces around him.
'He's back in your shared room, in his bed,' John chuckled softly, 'he wanted to come but he has to get rest himself.'
'Is, is Dean okay?'
'He will be Sam, you both will be.' John smiled again, unabashedly happy and teary, his sons are back, they're his and no one else's.
Two weeks later
Singer Salvage Yard
Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
'Sammy!' Dean's voice carried through the house as he went in search of his errant little brother, who was supposed to be upstairs in his bed resting. Limping slightly he burst into the library ready to lecture a certain sibling on the need to rest when he found said sibling sleeping, his head resting on his arms on the table, his laptop still open next to him, one of Bobby's demonology books open on his other side. Curiosity getting the better of him, Dean crept closer to the book and glanced down at the page, 'aww Sammy,' Dean uttered, Sam had researched the demon who called itself – Pits.
Dean looked down at his sleeping brother, it was touch and go for the first week after they were rescued, Sam languished in his hospital bed, wracked with fevers, infections and the after-effects of the mist. Blood tests on both boys showed no permanent damage done to their systems from the drugs, though no one will ever know for sure just what the mist contained. After two more surgeries Sam finally turned the corner and started to improve steadily each day.
The most amazing thing for the small Winchester family was that John stayed around, he didn't disappear on another hunt, he stayed close to his sons and stayed in contact with Tess. Something had changed in the Winchester patriarch, and at least it was something positive. He remained calm with Sam's stubbornness, making his son eat when he should and to rest when he was tired, it worked perfectly for John, as Dean needed to heal and rest too. Taking the pressure of having to look after Sam off Dean for a few days, allowed both of the brothers to heal emotionally and physically and also allowed them just to be brothers.
Though, two days ago John decided that he needed a break and slipped off to Arlington to see Tess leaving Dean doing what he does best, protecting and looking after Sam. Mark went back to the clinic to work with Kevin and promised to stay in touch, Jim was called back to Blue Earth, he promised to be back as soon as he can.
'Hey Sam come on buddy let's get ya to a nice soft … couch.'
'Huh?' Sam wiped the drool from the corner of his mouth and stared blearily up at his brother, 'what's wrong?'
'Nothing just thought that you might like to get a bit more comfortable.' Dean watched as Sam slowly unfolded himself and tried to stand. This was one lingering issue for Sam; whenever he tried to stand he'd have to take time to gain his balance and then another minute before he'd be right to move off. Dean hovered close by but let Sam dictate just how much help he needed.
As they shuffled out towards the living room, Dean took a quick look at his brother, he was looking better but there was still a haunted look in his green eyes that gave him a look that was too old for his tender years. 'You are doing okay Sammy?'
'Yeah I guess m'tired so much.' Sam sighed and tried to give his brother a small smile but it came out more as a grimace.
'Hey boys I heard ya coming so got some coffee and snacks so go and get settled, John Wayne marathon in ten.' Bobby grinned as he headed back into the kitchen. Sam grinned when he saw the lounge, Bobby had already set up the blanket and pillow for him, the big ottoman for Dean and of course Bobby's favourite chair already to go.
'Thanks Bobby,' the boys said in unison and then Dean helped Sam lower himself down before covering his legs with the blanket.
'Dean?' Sam asked watching as Dean got himself comfortable on the couch next to him.
'When you asked me if I'm doing okay …'
'What is it Sam?'
'That red web is still there, I still see it when I think of Tess and dad, dad is staying with her.'
'Whatcha talking about Sam?'
'I dunno I might be wrong and it's just me.' Sam shook his head before immediately regretting it. It sucks big time being so tired and unsteady, he was so over it all.
'It's gonna take time for everything to settle down for ya kiddo,'
'yeah I know …'
'You have another vision?'
'No, yes I dunno Dean it's just … whenever I think of Tess, I get that red web and bad feeling bout her. Might be just coz dad's with her.'
'Yeah true,' Dean gave Sam a crooked grin and a wink, 'wanna bet to see how long Bobby stays awake?'
'I heard that boy, I'll outlast the pair of ya,' Bobby said coming from the kitchen carrying a large bowl of still warm popcorn, dripping in melted butter.
'Make it official then?' Dean smirked glad to see that Sam was smiling and taking in the fun.
'I'll take the bet, whoever loses has to do dishes for the next week.'
'Oh and laundry, dishes and laundry for a week,' Dean added, grimacing at the thought of doing anymore laundry, 'I'm so gonna win.'
'In yer dreams kiddo.' Bobby laughed and hit the play button on the remote of his video player.
Sam sat back and sighed happily, his eyes already starting to droop. It felt good to be back with his family – his real family.
'Room for one more?' John asked as he slammed the front door behind him.
'Not if yer break me front door,' Bobby grumbled, 'coffee's in the pot and it's a John Wayne marathon … ya idgit.'
Once again Sam rested against his pillow and cast a furtive glance around at the three men who were more than family to him. His father, his 'uncle' and his brother, family and best friends; he closed his eyes and listened to the affectionate banter going on over the movie, the snacks, the hunts and laundry.