Disclaimer: I still don't own Supernatural or its characters. I and am not making any money on this…I'm just having fun!
Summary: WARNING SPOILERS: This is kind of a sequel to my previous story when tomorrow comes and may include things from season 4 as well as 5.01 and 5.02. As Dean walked away he convince himself that his brother would be fine, but would he?
Raven 524: We all know the boys will get back together eventually. But being impatient I decided to speed the process up. This is my take on what happens after 5.02. Tissues ready?
The Long Road Home
Chapter 1 – Road to Nowhere
The phone rang shrilly and then stopped. A long arm reached out and picked up the offending instrument as the half awake man stared at the caller id. For a moment, there had been hope in the hazel eyes but it was soon dashed as the name Bobby Singer flashed on the display. Sam Winchester replaced the phone on the old nightstand and rose from the bed.
This hotel was pretty much the same as the others he'd stayed in since he left Dean over a month ago. At first they had kept in touch using the phone. Frequent calls were made just to assure each other that everything was fine. But soon the calls had thinned out and Sam was left tracking his brother through their friend Bobby Singer and the local news reports.
He had tried calling Dean a few times, but other than leaving a message that he was okay along with his current location there was little else to say. It was like calling their Dad; messages were left but never returned. He understood his brother was busy. It seemed every day another outbreak of craziness appeared in the news. Most people just thought it was part of life, but Sam knew different.
The latest outbreak of violence had occurred in a hospital. A doctor had walked in one day and shot up the emergency room. According to the news one of the people waiting in the ER had managed to distract the doctor long enough so that most of the people got out. A few still had died but all of them praised the man who put his life in jeopardy to save them. Afterwards the mysterious hero had disappeared. The police reported the doctor had died when he placed the gun to his own head and took his life. It was random violence that had no meaning except to the one who had released this on the world; a sure sign that the demons were gaining in number and strength and Sam had walked away from it all.
He knew the mysterious stranger and for a brief moment wondered why Dean was at the ER. However the fact his brother had managed to walk out of the hospital was a good sign he hadn't been seriously injured. He had to believe the oldest Winchester showed up based on a lead rather than the need for care. It was the hardest part of their separation. Memories of his youth that were spent in similar hotel rooms waiting for his father and brother to return haunted him. The isolation, the fear that one day the door would remain closed and they'd be gone was just as alive today as it had been then. The only difference was the door may never open for him again even though his brother was very much alive.
At the time it seemed the only thing to do. War, one of the four horsemen had hit too close to home when he'd pointed out the flaw in Sam's logic. His powers, his abilities were not the way even though he still felt like they could be used for good. The price for the few lives he had managed to save was too steep. He looked down and winced as he thought for a moment he could see the blood of all those who now suffered on his hands. He had been a liability on their last hunt together. He was so busy trying to prove he wasn't affected by the demon blood that he lost sight of what was important. He pushed back when his brother raised the question of his ability to fight the very thing that called to him. In the end, he knew he'd made the right decision.
The young hunter stood and moved towards the coffee maker in the room. He paused and looked out the window into the dark night. Soon he would leave to put Mrs. Harrison to rest. The pesky ghost had been killing any man who stayed overnight in her home. Apparently she had been killed by a cheating husband who then set up house with his new mistress. He had been the first victim.
As he stirred his coffee his mind wandered back to the first night after he'd left Dean. He had no plan when he left other than to get as far away from his brother as possible. The farther he was, the harder it would be for him to give into his need to crawl back and beg Dean to forgive him. Those first few days had been the hardest. Alone with his sins and no one to talk to had pushed him to the brink of destruction. He could still feel the weight of the gun in his hand as he sat on the bed one night and thought about leaving permanently. After all, he never should have been brought back the first time right?
But a voice in the back of his mind, his brother's voice called him a coward. It was too easy to use the gun. He didn't deserve to have any peace while there was so much turmoil still going on. So he'd put the gun back in the duffle and started off on his current path. He researched for hunts that didn't involve demons. It was the least he could do since ghosts and other supernatural creatures hadn't quit just because the end of the world was at hand. It gave him a purpose and he told himself in a way it was helping his brother in the only way he could.
He cringed as he remembered their last conversation. It had been a month and he'd already had a number of successful hunts under his belt. He'd been feeling whole again except for one thing. He missed his brother more than he could bear. He remembered picking up the phone, his stomach in knots as he dialed Dean's number.
"Hey Sammy, are you okay?" Dean's voice came over the phone.
"Yeah, the poltergeist didn't want to go but I only got a few bruises…" Sam replied as he walked across the carpet.
"Good, good. So where are you off to next?" Dean asked.
"Well, I was thinking Dean…." Sam began.
"You know you think too much Sammy…" Dean's easy response came through the line and for a moment the young hunter felt something melt. It was the way his brother used to talk to him.
"Right, well I was wondering where you were at?" Sam heard the slight pause on the other end before Dean replied.
"I'm on my way to Oregon. Rufus has seen some omens and I thought I'd check them out."
"So why don't I join you Dean. I mean, it's been a whole month and…" Sam stopped as he heard a soft sigh on the other end of the phone.
"Look Sam, I know you've been doing good. I mean, Bobby has told me all the things you've hunted and I'm really proud of you little brother." Dean paused again.
"But you don't want me back…" Sam finished his voice breaking.
The silence on the phone was Sam's answer but his brother replied after a few moments. It was clear he was picking his words carefully and trying not to hurt Sam. But the silence had been like a knife to the heart. "Sam, now just isn't a good time okay. You're doing good and I know Bobby has told you he can put you in contact with Ellen. She'd be glad to hunt with you until we can meet up…"
"But now isn't the time…" Sam said quietly as the tears fell down his cheek. Dean continued to offer him hope that one day they could be together again but he never told him what he needed to do to make it happen. Before his brother could continue he decided to finish the call. "It's okay Dean, I understand. I won't ask again. You let me know when you're ready. I'll call you next week. Stay safe big brother."
"You too Sammy…" Dean's voice sounded almost as choked on the other end.
Sam shook himself from the unpleasant memory. There wasn't time for him to wallow in self pity. It was time for him to get a move on and get rid of the ghost. Then he'd move on to the next hunt and hope that somehow, someday it would be enough to convince his brother he was worth his trust again.
Dean shook Ellen's hand off as she tried to finish stitching up the wound on his arm. The possessed doctor had interrupted just before it had been his turn to get treatment for the knife wound on his arm. The only reason he'd agreed to go there was Ellen's threat to call Bobby on him and he didn't feel like dealing with his old friend.
The wound was deep and was infected, a fact that was supported by the burning heat racing through his body. He needed antibiotics and the ER had been the closest supply. So while he sat there counting the tiles on the ceiling and trying to ignore the fussy infant in the corner he'd been unprepared for the doctor who calmly walking in with a shot gun in his hands.
It was only the fact that the demon hadn't recognized him at first that gave him the element of surprise. He walked up to the possessed man and doused him with holy water before grabbing the gun. He yelled at the others to run and get out but before everyone could leave the doors slammed shut and he had been faced with the demonic dark eyes.
"Winchester, what a prize. To think I'll be the one to get the bounty on your head." Dean smiled as he turned to face the demon.
"So what! You get 72 virgins or something? I hope you also asked for the bridal suite…" The demon moved towards him but Dean already had his gun out and aimed. But before he could shoot, he was slammed against a wall. As his vision cleared, he heard the sound of gun shots and screaming. Everyone in the room had been killed and now the gun was aimed at Dean.
"You can't save them Dean, when are you going to accept defeat?" the demon said smugly as it approached the hunter.
Dean charged the demon and knocked it down. "Not today you son of a bitch! Today, you die." Before the demon could get up he finished it off with the demon blade he always carried with him. The shocked look on the man's face as the light blazed around him was satisfaction enough for the hunter.
Knowing that too many people had seen him, Dean quickly picked up the gun and without thought placed it under the man's chin and pulled the trigger. It would hide the knife wound and hopefully the police would just write it off as a suicide and not investigate further. Wiping the knife, he quickly put in its sheath before he exited the emergency room. He blended in with the crowds as the police arrived and then melted away.
This is why he was now sitting in a hotel room with Lizzy Borden who was trying to sew up his infected arm. He could have been lying in a nice hospital bed with a pretty nurse giving him a sponge bath instead. "Ow!" Dean cried out as a stitch caught more skin.
"I said hold still Dean. I swear you're worse than your Daddy!" Ellen smiled softly as she continued to sew.
Dean took another sip of whiskey before he replied. "Well at least I know where Jo got her bedside manner from…"
A sharp slap to his head made him hide his own grin. A moment later a couple of pills were placed in the palm of his hand. "Next time I send you to get some antibiotics, maybe you should try the normal way and actually get treated instead of taking a demon down and lifting the drugs."
"I'll try to remember that…" Dean grimaced as the bandage was finally taped in place. He kicked off his boots and stretched out on the bed. His eyes were half closed when Ellen's voice sounded at his ear.
"So do you want me to tell Sam? I'm sure he's gonna see it on the news and wonder if you were hurt." Dean opened one eye and gazed at the woman before he closed it again. Ellen knew what had happened and surprisingly she had not been shocked. She hadn't condemned his brother either which was why he called her when he found himself too injured to help himself. He steered clear of all the other hunters because he didn't want to answer the obvious question of where his brother was at and why they no longer hunted together.
"No, I heard the report Ellen. They said the hero walked away. He'll know…"
A soft sigh sounded before he heard the woman rise and walk towards the door. "I'm going to get some supplies and then I'll be back to check on you. Stay in bed and don't move you hear me?"
"Yes, I'll be good…" Dean replied as he felt himself drifting. He never felt the covers being drawn up or feel the light hand that touched his forehead before a cool rag took its place.
His mind however didn't shut off. A twinge of guilt surfaced when he thought about his last conversation with Sam. He had been expecting the question and even thought he had figured out how to handle it but in the end all he had done was hurt his brother again. He still remembered the wounded look when he agreed that Sam and he should part ways. It had been one of the hardest things he'd ever done, letting his brother go.
The truth was he had been thinking the same thing as his brother. He'd meant it when he said he couldn't be worrying about Sam while he hunted. A divided mindset was dangerous and could ultimately get both of them killed. Until Sam was free from the addiction, he would have to worry that the temptation was too great for his little brother to resist. At first the phone calls had been enough. It helped him keep tabs on his sibling and allayed his fears that he was hurt or dying someplace. It also let him know his brother was not sitting in some bar or lonely hotel room wasting away from his guilt.
No Sam had managed to pick himself up and start hunting again. It was something Dean was proud of and had told his brother often. But then the dreaded question came up and he'd blown it. He could hear the pain in Sam's voice and knew he'd hurt him again. It was the reason he no longer took his brother's calls but relied on voice mail and Bobby to keep him in touch. He felt bad because he could hear the need in the message, but if he talked to Sam he'd have to tell him he still wasn't ready.
"So when are you gonna let the kid off the hook Dean?" Bobby's voice echoed in the darkness of his mind.
"It's only been a couple of months Bobby. You know how many demons I'm facing, how can I put him in that position? It would be like me putting him in a bar if he was an alcoholic. No, I won't do that to him again."
"You keep pushing him away and eventually he will get the message you don't want him back. You do plan on bringing him back don't you?"
"Of course I do, it's just—I have to be sure. I can't just think of him now, I have to think about people who might get hurt if I give in to what I really want. I did that once before and look at where we are now Bobby."
A sigh filled the air as the sound of wheels on the hardwood floor sounded. "You both did the best you could. I 'aint sayin' you both weren't idjits but you both were brought back and that has to mean something."
Dean started and opened his eyes. His fever had finally broken but the emptiness that had been inside him since Sam walked away was still there. He saw the bag of food on the table, a sign that Ellen had come and gone. He decided it was time to get up and showered. He didn't have time to feel sorry for what could have been—he had to deal with what was going on now. The only thing that kept him going was the knowledge that Sam was somewhat safe and some day he would figure out a way to bring him home.
Sam sat at the bar and stared into the amber liquid in the glass in front of him. It was funny how old habits died hard. After many hunts he and Dean had hit bars much like this one to relax and increase their cash flow. He didn't need the cash right now but the noisy bar patrons reminded him he wasn't totally alone.
The salt and burn had gone easy for a change with only a brief tussle that ended up with some minor bruising. It would have been better if he'd had some backup but then he'd gotten used to working alone—again. Besides his father had done it for years and he was every bit his father's son. It was just the time in between he was having difficulty with. He couldn't team up with anyone else even if he wanted to. How would he explain the absence of his brother?
No, he was left with just his own thoughts and regrets most of the time. So he came to a bar and blended in with the others who were just seeking refuge from life for a short time. He jumped as a hand landed on his shoulder.
Sam placed a hand on the knife he always kept concealed in his jacket as he turned slowly. Recognition brought relief but also concern. "Wade Tucker, what are you doing here?"
"I got a lead on a demon that's causing some problems not far from here. Just stopped in to get a quick pick me up before I moved on. Where's your brother?" Wade looked around for a moment before his gaze landed back on Sam.
"He's on another hunt. We've been splitting our resources—covering more ground." Sam said softly as he turned back to the bar and grabbed his drink. He had to get out of here, pack and move on. It wouldn't do to stick around. He'd hunted with Wade once while Dean had been down under and knew he was a good man. Still, he couldn't get past the dread of his secret getting out. Once hunters knew that Lilith didn't break the final seal both he and Dean would be on the top of the most wanted list.
It was a measure of how much Bobby Singer was trusted in the hunting world. He told everyone what happened except for the part that Lilith was the final seal and that Sam was the one who opened the doorway. He had told the boys no good would come of it and in a way that is what happened. So other than Ellen, no one else knew exactly what went down that day. Even when demons told hunters of Sam's role, all Bobby had to do was confirm it was a lie and it was accepted. Sam was jerked from his thoughts as Wade continued.
"So how about you team up with me? I could use some help tracking this son of a bitch down." Wade took a sip from his beer and leaned back against the bar.
"I don't know, I'm supposed to meet up with Dean…" Sam hedged.
"I'm sure he'd understand. Besides last I heard he was with Ellen working that demon doctor thing. He was a little dinged but I understand he's on the mend and should only be laid up a couple of days. While he's resting you could help me out. So what do you say?" Sam shrugged and tried to pretend the information didn't hurt. He should have been there to take care of Dean, not Ellen.
"Sam? Is something wrong?" Wade looked concerned.
"Huh, no—just thinking I need to check up on him to see if he's following Doc Ellen's orders." Sam grinned but the smile didn't reach his eyes.
Wade laughed. "Knowing that brother of yours, she's had to hog tie him to keep him down."
Sam nodded in agreement. "So what do you say Sam?"
Sam drank the rest of his whiskey and sighed. He didn't have another hunt and maybe it was time to test the waters. "Okay Wade, let me grab my stuff and I'll meet you outside in twenty."
The hunter watched the youngest Winchester leave the bar. He made a quick call to alert the others. It was just pure luck that he'd found the illusive hunter. He still wasn't sure he believed what he'd been told but before this time tomorrow, he and the others would know the truth about Samuel Winchester and his demon blood.
Raven524: Okay, here is the next story. I've actually got a few chapters in as this was part of what I originally had written in When Tomorrow Comes. It will probably be AU in a few weeks, but who knows? So should I continue?