Well, here ya go (finally), the last chapter of THIS story. (Remember it is part of a series.)

I would like to say thanks to all the people who stuck with me through this freakishly long journey (It won't happen like this next time, I promise) and a special thanks to my most persistent ... annoying ... yet lovable ... supporter, Monkeymuse. (You rock.)

BTW, I hope I didn't make Dean too rude in this chapter, but when people try to keep him from his family he tends to get that way.

Anyway, enjoy ...


Chapter 20

Dean walked through the hospital hallway, every voice around him sounded like it was under water. He looked over his shoulder and saw Sam waiting at the end of the hallway. Part of him wanted to go back to his brother, but a stronger part pushed him on. The farther he walked, the younger Sam was when he looked back, but still he pressed on. Something was at the end of the hallway … someone who needed him. When he reached the place where the hallway turned, he found a hospital bassinet. Inside was a beautiful baby girl wrapped in a pink blanket.

"Hey." He whispered.

She opened her big green eyes and looked up at him and he knew who she was. Just when he reached out to touch her, he heard a scream from the end of the hall.

"Dean! Help!"

Whipping around, Dean saw men in suits dragging his teenage brother farther down the hall.

"Get away from him!" Dean yelled taking a step forward.

Suddenly another movement caught his eye and he saw a nurse pushing the baby away.

"Wait!" He called after her.

"Please don't let them take me!" Sam shouted, just before the baby started to cry.

Dean looked back and forth between them, torn at what to do.

"DEAN!" Sam screamed, reaching towards him.

He couldn't move, he couldn't think, he couldn't breath. The sound of the baby's wails mixed with Sam's pleas and overwhelmed him. He covered his ears wishing it would stop.

"Dean!"

He opened his eyes and looked up into the concerned face of his full grown brother.

"Hey," Sam's tone softened, "are you alright?"

He looked around to see he was laying in a hospital bed surrounded by Sam, Bobby, and a doctor who barely looked old enough to drive.

"I'm fine." He mumbled, taking note of sensors stuck all over him and the IV in his hand. "Where's Nicki."

"You daughter is in the pediatrics ward." The doctor answered.

"How is she doing?"

"She is in good hands." The doctor said quickly, rushing forward to stop Dean from pulling off all the sensors. "Mr. Gable, I am Dr. Selway, your attending and- please don't touch that!"

Gable? He must have been really out of it if he made a Gone With The Wind reference … that or Sam was being a girl again.

"Mr. Gable," Dr. Selway tried again, this time more firmly, "you have just been through quiet an ordeal."

"Uh-huh." Dean muttered, unhooking himself from one of the machines.

"And you body has taken a substantial beating." The doctor continued.

"Uh-huh."

"And, as I was just telling your family, I would ike to keep you here overnight for observation."

"Yeah, that's great." Dean smiled, peeling the tape off of his IV. "Where are the AMA papers?"

For a moment, the young doctor looked stunned, while Sam and Bobby stood in the corner trying not to laugh. Soon, Dr. Selway composed himself and started addressing Dean in a tone that he supposed was meant to convey authority, didn't work very well since he was so tiny Nicki could probably kick his a^$.

"Mr. Gable, I must strongly advise against this."

"Uh … yeah," Dean said sarcastically, "I believe that is why they are called 'against medical advice' papers."

Casting a glare at the snickering hunters in the corner, Dr. Selway stood to his full height of five foot four inches and looked down at where Dean was still laying on the bed.

"Mr. Gable, I must insist you stay."

Swinging his legs over the edge of the bed, Dean stood to HIS full height, towering over the doctor.

"And I must insist I leave."

~~~~~~~~~~~Sam's POV~~~~~~~~~

Fifteen minutes later, Sam was still laughing at the image of the tiny doctor trying to intimidate Dean, while his brother was finishing up getting dressed.

"Did junior give you the forms yet?" Dean asked, tying his shoe.

"My name is Dr. Selway," the physician said crossly, entering the room, "and I would appreciate the respect that title entails."

"And I would appreciate a doctor that is out of puberty." Dean mumbled.

"I assure you, Mr. Gable, I am old enough."

"To drink or vote?"

The man glared at him and held out the forms, leaving as soon as they were signed. As soon as he was gone, Dean turned to the amused hunters that waited in the corner.

"So, what do you know about Nicki?" Dean asked, pulling on his leather jacket.

Bobby had managed to find Dean's things stashed in the cabin before they left, but most of the clothes were beyond repair. Thankfully, his favorite jacket was not one of them.

"Her doctor said she has a lung infection." Sam explained. "They want to keep her overnight, but she'll be fine."

"Where?"

"Second floor."

Dean nodded and led the way to the elevators, but did a 180 when he reached the corner.

"Dude, 5-O." He whispered, pushing Sam the other way.

"Mr. Gable?" A voice called from very close behind them.

D^%& it. The brother's turned to see two plain clothes cops walking up to them. One was short and stocking, with thinning black hair. The other was average size with cropped blond hair and smokey gray eyes.

"I'm Detective Hatcher," the short one said, "and this is my partner Detective Jones. We understand this has to be a difficult time for you, but we were wondering if we could ask you a few questions."

That was different, Sam thought to himself. Usually when the cops wanted to talk to Dean it ended with an assault or an arrest. Guess things were different when you were just a victim.

"Well, since you asked nicely …" Dean started, "no."

Dean stepped around them and pushed the button for the elevator, but the cops just followed him.

"WE know this isn't easy, after what you have gone through-"

"How the h&%^ do you know what I have gone through?" Dean questioned.

Sam had been wondering the same thing. Neither he nor Bobby had so much as seen the police before now. Where were they getting their information?

"We spoke to your daughter." Jones explained.

"You want?" Dean glared. "What were you doing talking to her?"

"She was willing to do it," Hatcher assured him, "and her mother was with her the whole time."

Her mother? Oh s#*^! Sam hadn't talk to Caroline since before Nicki disappeared. She was going to kill them. And speaking of Caroline …

"Dean?" She called, stepping off the elevator.

Before any of the hunters had a chance to react, Caroline threw her arms around Dan in a tearful embrace.

"Thank you!" She cried. "I thought … I don't know what I would have done if … thank you for saving my baby!"

Dean shot Sam a bewildered expression over the nearly hysterical woman's shoulder, but he was just as confused as his brother.

"What all did Nicki tell you?" Bobby questioned.

"That she had been abducted by the Night Stalker and her father got himself taken trying to save her." Jones began, flipping through his notes. "He managed to keep them both alive for the next few days, until he finally managed to escape and call his brother."

D^&%, that kid was good.

"And Sam," Caroline wiped her eyes, pulling away from Dean, "I understand you were out of town with your uncle, but don't you think you should have called the police at some point?"

A cover story for him AND Bobby? That kid was SCARY good.

~~~~~~~~~~~Dean's POV~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After managing to get away from the cops, and Caroline, the hunters finally managed to get into Nicki's room. When they saw her, Dean let out a small sigh of relief. Aside from an IV and a couple of monitors, she looked perfectly healthy. In fact, when they stepped in the room she was sitting up in bed, doodling on a napkin, with the hospital phone pressed to her ear. Typical Nicki.

"I'm telling you, Julius, this will work." She stated, concentrating on her drawing. "Just get rid of the Tabasco sauce exactly as I said, and it will never be traced back to you. Trust me."

"Make sure he wipes his prints." Dean suggested.

She looked up, a large grin spreading across her face.

"First thing I told him … no, not you, Dad's here … Yeah, I'll tell him … Later." She hung up and turned back to her picture. "Julius is glad we aren't dead and wants Uncle Sam to call him when he gets the chance."

"What did you tell him?" Sam wondered.

"The truth … well most of it." Nicki answered with a shrug. "Since he hadn't heard from you for a while, he thought something had happened. I told him the ghost got us and Uncle Sam saved us. No muss, no fuss."

"And the Tabasco sauce?" Bobby questioned.

Nicki smiled innocently, but didn't answer. Sam pulled out his cell phone, muttered something about being right back, and headed towards the exit.

"One more thing," Nicki said, pushing her artwork aside, "I told the cops that, while making our escape, we accidentally burned the cabin down, so you might want to go torch it before they find it."

"I got it." Bobby said, slipping out of the room.

Dean snagged a chair and pulled it up next to Nicki's bed.

"So, you doing okay?" He asked.

"Yeah, but the doc says I have a stupid lung infection and can't get out of here until tomorrow morning." She grumbled. "Man, I hate hospitals. How come YOU get to check out AMA but I can't?"

"Perks of being an adult."

"No," Nicki shook her head, "I think it's the perks of being six foot and scary."

"Yeah," Dean chuckled, "there's that too."

She dropped her eyes, fiddling with the edge of the thin hospital blanket.

"So … um … I'm no good at this touchy feely crap …" She started, "but I just … I wanted to say thanks … or know … for fighting for me."

"Any time … bat girl."

Dean smiled as he saw realization spread across her face.

"You jerk!" She exclaimed, nailing him with her pillow. "You read my diary!"

"Hey," Dean laughed, raising his arms to block the blows "you started it."

~~~~~~~~~Sam's POV~~~~~~~~~~

The next day, the hunters packed up, ready to hit the road, but they had one last stop to make. Caroline had begged the three of them to come by the bar for lunch before they left. Walking in, Sam scanned the room and spotted Nicki at a table near the stage.

"Hey guys!" She waved.

"Nicki, what are you doing in a bar?" Sam asked.

"Well … technically it's a saloon," she corrected, "and minors are allowed in until ten."

She passed out menus as they sat down.

"Mom said to order whatever you want and she'll put it on her tab. Also, her boss said drinks are on the house."

"Nice." Dean muttered, scanning the menu.

They were about halfway done with their meal when Caroline went on break.

"Hey, hows the food?" She asked, stepping up behind her daughter.

"Great." Dean said around a mouthful of steak.

"Oh, that's gre- Nicki! What are you eating!"

Nicki set down her hamburger and tilted her head back so she could see her mom.

"Food." She mumbled, before swallowing the bite. "Dad said I could."

She glared at Dean, but before she had a chance to open her mouth she was summoned back to the stage.

"You may want to bail before her next break." Nicki whispered.

Dean nodded in agreement, polishing off the last of his meal. He was just reaching for his beer when Caroline got to the microphone.

"I would like to dedicate this song to my daughter, Nicki." She smiled towards their table, as a spotlight shone on Nicki. "This is for you, baby."

The teen turned red and sunk low into her seat, muttering something about payback that was drowned out as the music started.

"In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes …
"

As she sang, Sam caught a glimmer of pain on his brother's face.

"Hey," he whispered, "you okay?"

"Fine." Dean muttered back, suddenly fascinated with his beer.

"This miracle God gave to me gives me
strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand
around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about

It's hangin' on when your heart
has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes …
"

Suddenly, Dean got up and headed out the door.

"What's wrong with Dad?" Nicki asked, concern all over her face.

"Don't worry about him," Sam gave her a reassuring smile, "I'm sure he's fine."

Excusing himself, Sam found Dean leaning against the side of the Impala.

"What the h&%^, man?" Sam threw up his arms. "What was that?"

"I just needed some air." Dean shrugged, a calm mask firmly in place.

"What's going on with you?" Sam questioned, leaning against the car next to him.

"Nothing." He stated firmly. "I just was tired of listening to that country crap and needed a break."

"Dean, you have been like this for way longer then we've been here." Sam pointed out. "What's the deal?"

"Nothing, alright." Dean stepped away from the car. "Nothing is wrong with me, nothing is bothering me, so just drop it."

"Dean, I-"

"Forget it, Sam." He cut him off, giving him a hard look. "Let's go say goodbye to Nicki so we can hit the road. Maybe Ellen has a job for us."

Sam nodded and followed his brother back inside, but there was no way in h*#^ he was letting this drop. Dean had carried this pain alone for too long, and Sam was going o help him … whether he liked it or not.


I hope you all enjoyed it, and I really hope you will join me in the next story where we learn Dean's big secret. :)

COMING (as) SOON (as I get a couple reviews in the first chapter is ready): Story #3 ~ "Nunquam Indulgeo , Nunquam Alieno"