How Long Ago Did It Happen?
Disclaimer: No money has passed hands; only naughty thoughts have passed in imagination.
Sneaks a look out from behind the computer monitor and cautiously checks to see if anyone is still there … Hellllllooooooooooooooo?
So sorry for the absence of late, been battling the flu over the last two weeks and never-ending pain from my two shoulders and neck; POUTING not meaning to whinge but it's been hard to focus on the computer screen for any length of time. So please, please, please accept my big apologies I promise I will try to be better from now on.
Flu turns into full on chest infection … pout grows, something stuffs up my FF alerts and nothing is coming to my inbox, one day here and the next all gone … to the Spam file ARGH I have no idea why but now I know it wasn't coz FF itself was not working!
So between coughs, sniffs and wheezes here is the long awaited next chapter …
'Dean?' Sam asked again fear sneaking into voice making him sound even younger, 'Bobby what happened?'
'Bullet creased me that's all Sam, I'm alright kiddo.' Bobby panted out as he pulled himself upright and then lurched over to a chair, 'Dean can ya check the doors and windows for me? Make sure the salt's down.'
'Sammy you sit here with Bobby okay?' Dean asked touching Sam's cheek gently, 'I'll be right back.'
'K-Kay D-Dean.' Sam nodded his fingers twisting the band as he tried to calm himself, 'I c-can f-feel him Dean.'
'Who Sam? Can you work out who?' Bobby gritted out through clenched teeth, he knew that Dean would take care of his leg soon enough but that didn't stop it from hurting like hell.
'Da-Dad.' Sam stammered.
'Where Sam? Where's dad?' Dean asked trying desperately to sound calm and in control, when all he wanted to do was go and confront John, to put this shit to rest once and for all. He glanced over at Bobby, taking in the pain etched lines around his eyes and paleness of his features and then he looked back at Sam, who looked like he was ready to keel over at any minute. Fuck you dad, why can't you let us be? Another volley of gunfire had them all dropping for cover, the bullets hissed through the air embedding in the walls and shattering windows.
'Gonna make him pay for that with more than just money.' Bobby grumbled as another window exploded into tiny shards of razor sharp glass. 'Boys ya'll alright?'
'Yeah think so Bobby,' Dean answered and then turned to where he last saw Sam, 'Sammy? Where are you dude?'
In all of the confusion Sam decided to stop John before he could seriously hurt Dean and Bobby. It was because of Sam John was acting like this and so Sam had decided not let his brother and friend suffer anymore.
Tentatively reaching out in front of him with one hand while balancing and crawling along with the other Sam managed to find the back door; rising to his knees he listened carefully for signs of movement but all he could hear was the gunfire. Swallowing down on the lump in his throat he knew he had to get up and moving before Dean realised that he was gone. Standing upright he took another deep breath and moved off, using the carcasses of the old cars as guides he made his way in the direction of his father. He wasn't sure how he knew but he could sense his father's presence just as keenly as Dean's or Bobby's. Although with his dad he was getting a darker feeling, sparks of black instead of silver type feeling.
As he moved closer to the older man, flashes of red and gold filled his eyes making him falter for a second. Steeling himself he straightened his shoulders and forced himself to keep going, he could feel the Symbiotes in his father as though they were in him. Swallowing he licked his lips and stopped walking, instinctively Sam knew that his father was directly in front of him. 'Dad,' he spoke in a clear voice with just the slightest tremble to it. 'Dad stop it please.'
John frowned when he heard that familiar voice from behind him; damn for a blind kid he can move silently turning slowly he levelled the gun at Sam's chest a smirk smeared across his handsome face. 'What are you doing out here Sam?'
'Please dad stop this, you don't have to do this.' Sam stepped closer by two small steps and then stopped again, with the red and gold flares flashing in front of his eyes again. 'You don't have to hurt Dean and Bobby.'
'What makes you think that I want to hurt them?' John snarled but a spike of confusion took the heat out of his voice, 'what are you doing here Sam?'
'Please daddy don't do this.' Sam stepped a little closer only to trip on a small rock and stumbled into his father. Shocked John tried to catch Sam and juggle the rifle at the same time, but Sam fell harder than John anticipated causing him to drop the rifle.
'Sam where are you?' Dean called again worried that Sam had been hit by one of the bullets he stood up and stared around panicked, 'Sam!'
Just then a single shot sounded outside but this time the bullet was no where to be seen. 'Dean go!' Bobby ordered the younger man as he struggled to get up, 'go on git.'
'Sam!' Dean roared as he sprinted out of the house, 'Sam damn it answer me!'
'Dean!' Sam's fear-filled voice echoed through the car yard, 'Dean please help!'
'Sammy?' Dean ran towards the direction of Sam's voice skidding and slipping on the rocks and mud, 'where are ya kiddo?'
'Dean please over here.' Sam called out frantically; Dean stopped and got his bearings before taking off again, 'Dean.' Sam called one last time giving Dean the last direction he needed.
'Oh God Sammy what happened?' Dean panted out as he dropped to his knees next to his brother, 'what happened?'
'Dad … Dean please is he … help dad.' Sam tearfully begged his brother, he had John's head resting on his lap, his long fingers flittered over his father's face and were stained with blood, blood smeared over John's face and all over Sam.
'He's breathing Sam,' Dean confirmed for his brother as he pressed his fingertips to his father's throat, 'what happened?'
'He … I … I slipped and … and I … think. I think that … dad dropped the rifle and … it went … went off.' Sam tried to get his thoughts together but he was fighting a losing battle.
John slowly cracked open one eye and tried to workout where he was; he was lying in a bed but not a hospital room, it was a small but comfortable bedroom, with pale blue walls and white curtains fluttering in the breeze.
But as try as he might John found that he couldn't open his right eye, panicking slightly he lifted a shaking hand and probed his face. He could feel thick bandages covering his eye, wrapped around his head was an anchoring strip of cloth. The other worrying factor was that he had no pain, he felt for the lack of a better word … numb.
Slowly he tried to push himself upright but fell back against the pillows dizziness assaulting his senses and stirring up nausea, 'what the fuck?'
The door opened just then, but it barely registered with him as he fought to regain his composure and to remember what happened.
'Dad?' Dean's voice broke through the fogginess and made him try to focus on his eldest son's face, 'how ya doing?'
'Dean? What the fuck? What happened?' John demanded his voice sounding strained and rasping to his own ears.
'I brought ya some drink and pain killers,' Dean placed the small tray on the floor next to the bed and helped his father to sit up before handing him the pills first and then the glass of water, 'I'll bring ya some sandwiches in a few.'
'Dean what's going on?' John forced himself to try and stay calm and almost succeeded until he realised that his left wrist was cuffed to the bed frame. 'What the fuck is going on?'
'What do you remember dad?' Dean asked watching his father carefully as he sipped his drink.
'What … I – I remember going on the hunt with …' John frowned as he stumbled over the most basic information.
'Do you remember what happened on the hunt?' Dean asked his voice tinged with sadness.
'Did this happen on the hunt? Is that what you're trying to tell me son?'
'Nope didn't happen on the hunt, you put Josh in the hospital do you remember that?'
'I what?' John shook his head and immediately regretted it when his headache morphed into a life-zapping assault on his brain.
'You put Josh in hospital he's gonna be okay, pissed and wanting to do the same to you when he gets out.'
'What did I do?'
'You put a knife between his ribs dad,' Dean hissed he so wanted to stay angry with his father but the pain and utter confusion written across his father's face brought him back a little. 'You knifed him and left him on the side of the road, the thing that saved him was an anonymous tip to 911 and I'm guessing that you had a twinge of guilt?'
'I – I don't remember Dean,' John fought back the rising panic, his mind feeling as though a black hole had taken up residence, 'I – I remember leaving with Josh …'
'Dad you tried to kill Sammy.' Dean blurted out unable to hold it back any longer, 'why dad? Why Sammy?'
'I what? No, no that's not … I swear I …'
'Dad listen to me, you took pot-shots at me and Sammy when he got to Bobby's place, you winged Bobby and then stalked Sammy …'
'I … please Dean I …' John sat back and ran his fingers over the thick bandaging again as he tried to reign in his rampaging thoughts and unhelpful vivid images from his imagination. His stomach decided to add to the cyclone developing inside him. 'Oh God Dean get away from me.'
'What is it dad?'
With a roar John lashed out with his unfettered right hand, pink flecked foam splattered across his lips, 'get them out of me.'
'Dad? Dad calm down please … calm down.' Dean was torn between leaving his father alone with his demons and letting him go so he could help him. 'The Symbiotes? Please don't tell me that they're still there?'
'ARGH, no not all of them … think there's one or two …' John let out a primal scream, his chest heaved as he tried to pull in oxygen, he felt as though he was being suffocated. 'Where is the snotnosed brat? What he needs his big brother to fight for him now?' The voice coming from John's mouth bore little resemblance to his own gravely tenor, it was slightly higher in pitch almost nasal and had a heavier but undefinable accent. 'Gotta end the little shit then I'll be …' John stopped speaking and a cold sneering smirk formed on his face twisting his features into a grotesque parody of his natural good looks.
'Then what dad? Or whoever you are? What do you want with my little brother?'
'He's gotta die, snivelling little brat aint worth the air he breathes.'
'Who are you?'
'Don't you sass your father boy or you will …' John screamed and bucked on the bed fighting against the restraints as he tried to regain control of his own body and mind. 'De-Dean g-get Bobby.'
'Get Bobby … c-can't hold … g-gonna kill me.' John writhed and spat out more bloodstained foam, 'now Dean.'
Dean watched his father for a couple more seconds and then he turned and left without uttering another sound pulling the door closed behind him. As he took a deep breath Dean pulled out his cell and rang Bobby, without any preamble he filled his friend in with what John had said and rambled, he asked for help and then hung up before his voice cracked and his emotions bubbled over. He had to stay in control for Sam's sake; he had to keep it together until they found out exactly what was going on with John.
Suddenly feeling more than just tired, Dean sauntered down the hallway in search of his younger brother, he headed towards the first place he could think of, a small smile played on his lips when he went into their bright living room and found Sam sitting against the wall with Khan virtually wrapped around him.
'Hey Sammy,' he spoke quietly but clearly so he wouldn't startle his blind brother.
'Hey Dean, how is he?' Sam asked as he buried his face in Khan's thick fur.
'Not sure what's going on, it looks like the …'
'The Symbiotes are still there, there's two still in him,' Sam cut in lifting his face up he seemingly looked at his brother.
'How do I know that?' Sam smirked humorously, 'it's weird Dean but I could sense them?' Sam shook his head and tried to find the words to explain the sensations he had felt. 'The Symbiotes are still in dad trying to control him, it was like two gold sparks and I could feel a heat come from them when I was close to him.'
'Wow … Sam … wow.' Dean combed his fingertips through his spiked hair and blew out a deep breath, 'it's kinda like a Shining thing going on huh?'
'Can ya sense anything? Or just spooky shit?'
'Dean!' Sam whined, 'don't …'
'Aww come on Sammy just think about what we could do … the money…' Dean teased pleased to see a small smile on his brother's face, 'actually it is pretty cool Sammy.'
'Do you think Bobby will be able to help dad?'
'Now how do you know I called Bobby?' Dean stared at his brother in shock, not sure at all about this shining thing Sam's got going on now.
'Can hear his truck,' Sam giggled as he climbed to his feet, 'too easy Dean.'
'Coffee Bobby?' Sam offered the older man still mindful of the fact that Bobby's arm was still bandaged, 'I've just made some.'
'Thanks Sam,' Bobby nodded and winked at Dean, 'sounds good, so whatcha idjit of a daddy up to now?'
'He doesn't remember anything after leaving to go on the hunt with Josh,' Dean answered all signs of his initial good humour gone; 'he has no idea about what happened with Josh, shooting at us or stalking Sammy.'
'He aint just sayin that?'
'Nope, and geeze Bobby when I was talkin' to dad and the Symbiotes tried to take over … his voice changed actually it was like a voice coming out of his unmoving mouth, he was trying to keep it under control but started to spit up this bloodied foam. I believe him Bobby, but I thought that the ritual …'
'Seeing as though there was a helluva lot of em, it might notta been strong enough to git all of em.'
'So what do we do now?'
'Repeat the ritual and strengthen the magic a little more.' Bobby took the proffered mug of coffee from Sam and watched in awe as the younger man gave Dean his coffee, brought a plate of sandwiches over and took his own seat at the table with his own coffee in front of him. 'Thanks Sam.'
'Yeah thanks dude … you'll make a great little housewife one day.'
'Hardy ha Dean, now was it salt or sugar in the blue bowl?' Sam teased before becoming serious again, 'Bobby I could sense the Symbiotes in dad, there's two left.'
'Yer could sense them?' Bobby asked as he repositioned his cap a couple of times, 'how if ya don't mind me pryin?'
'It was like a heat when I went near him and I could see two gold sparks.' Sam explained making air-quote marks when he said see. 'Maybe that's why they …'
'They what Sammy?' Dean asked although he had come to the same conclusion.
'They want me dead … I mean if I can sense them or whatever it is I get then they can't hide in their hosts.'
'And breed as easily ya might be on something there Sam.' Bobby praised the teenager, just as he was about to add to the theory a loud crash and animalistic screams came from inside the spare bedroom. Khan sat up and positioned himself in front of Sam, his hackles raised and fangs bared as he felt the presence of something unnatural and evil.
'Dad.' Dean and Sam spoke in unison.
'Dean go and see what the hell is goin on in there, Sam I need ya to git on the computer for me.'
'Bobby…' Sam started to argue, 'I don't need to be …'
'Sam I need ya to look up a few things I need for the ritual and I aint that good with Braille.'
'Dad?' Dean cautiously opened the door and peered inside the room, his father sat on the floor with his wrist twisted awkwardly where it was still cuffed to the now upturned bed, 'what's going on?'
'Dean? Let me go son, I gotta get outta here before …'
'Before what dad?'
'Before I kill Sammy, I remember … well they forced me to remember what I did to Josh and then to Sammy.'
'Dad … just need ya to hang tight Bobby's here and working on a new ritual.' Dean said as he crouched down in front of his father but far enough away to stay safe. 'Dude what did ya do?'
'Huh?' John blinked his good eye and then stared at his rapidly swelling limb. 'Dunno.'
'Dad … you got flash burns in your right eye when the gun went off between you and Sam, the bullet grazed your temple but your eye got burnt. The Doc said that ya'll be fine but for a while it'll be like ya blind in that eye.'
'Just like Sam, exceptin' that your's is only temporary and only one eye,' Dean answered flatly, he hoped that by keeping his father calm and talking the Symbiotes wouldn't be able to take over again. 'I need to help you dad, your wrist might be broken.'
'Hunhh.' John squinted at his eldest's face, 'doesn't hurt though.'
'Owkay, dad can I … I need you to sit still and let me help you.' Dean moved with slow and deliberate movements keeping a close eye on his father as he undid the cuff from around John's wrist and then helped his father get up. He guided his father towards a wooden chair in the corner by the window, the only other piece of furniture in the room besides the bed. With a small shrug he reproduced the cuffs and with a flick of his wrist he had his father's good arm cuffed to the handle of the built-in-robes. 'Sorry dad.'
'Get yer paws off me ya little punk,' John snarled, 'what took gutless to finish me off? Need to tie me up? Didn't know yer were into bondage Dean.'
'Shut up.' Dean snapped, 'okay dad if you're listening your wrist is sprained but not broke so I'll strap it for ya.'
'Aww does little Deanie need to fix daddy?' John taunted his son, 'come on Dean man up, let me go and then we can finish off the brat whatcha say? Just be you and me then kiddo.'
'Shut the fuck up.' Dean snapped, 'dad I'll be back,' he added wearily, he was starting to feel bone tired, no not just tired, he was feeling a bone deep exhaustion.
'D-Dean?' Sam's tentative call came from just outside the door.
'Sammy? Come on kiddo … come in here and we can all play together.' John called out the voice now so child-like sing-songed, 'come on in and play a while Sam-my.'
'I said shut the fuck up.' Dean snarled pulling his fist back he went to punch his father, in the last nano-second he pulled it and his fist became embedded in the plaster wall next to John's face.
For a heartbeat no one moved or said anything, shocked at his own actions Dean slowly pulled his fist back and cradled it against his chest, without another glance at his father he turned on his heels and escaped the room.
'Dean? Dean what happened?' Sam reached out tentatively seeking his brother, 'Dean?'
'Here Sam,' Dean finally answered him and gently took Sam's hand into his own; 'I'm okay.'
'You don't sound it,' Sam pulled away slightly when he heard the pain-filled hiss coming from Dean, 'what happened? You hurt yourself? Did he hurt you?'
'Ah dammit, my fist had an argument with the wall,' Dean shrugged, internally squirming when he saw the frown deepen on his brother's face, 'dammit Sammy you got that shining thing going on again?'
'No I just know you.' Sam replied, 'Bobby's ready with the ritual.'
'No I am not going anywhere.' Sam said stubbornly crossing his arms and tried for a full on death glare at his brother, 'I'm not moving.'
'Sam it's too dangerous for you to be here.' Dean argued back, 'what if something goes wrong and he gets free, I don't want to risk it … risk you.'
'Not your decision it's mine … and that won't happen anyway.'
'What you got a crystal ball now?'
'Nope I just know that you won't let anything happen to me.' Sam grinned, 'I've got Khan, you and Bobby protecting me … I have to Dean please I have to make sure.'
Dean shook his head in disbelief, Sam still managed to pull off the forlorn puppy eyes perfectly, the glazed over unfocused blindness adding to the effect. 'Dammit Sammy, this is no game …'
'It's my life Dean.'
'Listen ya two yahoos, I aint getting' any younger, an' the ritual aint gonna last for-eva so if ya finished bitchin' can we git on with it?' Bobby interrupted the brother's escalating argument. Both boys closed their mouths and both managed to look chagrined and suitably chastised.
Although the boys lived next door to the salvage yard, Dean drove Sam and Khan the short distance to Bobby's house, Bobby had already taken John back there, after giving him enough sedative to keep him pliant but conscious. Adding to that Bobby cuffed the big man's hands behind his back and gagged him, making sure that the Symbiotes couldn't give him a headache on the way home. The older hunter was paranoid enough not to take extra precautions even for the extremely short trip.
By the time the two boys arrived, Bobby had John lying on the floor in the middle of an unbroken circle, surrounded by candles and bowls of pungent homemade incense. Around the outside was a thick circle of rock salt, John was bare-chested with intricate designs drawn on his skin with chalk for now the gag firmly in place.
'Bobby?' Dean called out as he came inside with Sam and Khan close behind him.
'In here idjit,' Bobby muttered loud enough for them to hear, 'ready?'
'Yeah … ah whatcha doing with that knife?' Dean asked as he watched Bobby sterilise the silver blade.
'Dean I need ya to hold yer father's legs, whatever happens don'tcha let go of em,' Bobby ordered as he ignored the question and look on Dean's face. 'Sam you stay back there with Khan, I can't do this if I'm watching ya too.'
'Yes Sir.' Sam mumbled.
'D-Dean?' John moaned under the gag as he started to stir, his gruff voice muffled by the cloth.
'Right boys we doin' this?' Bobby asked as he carried two bowls over to the circles and placed them just outside them.
'Yes Sir.' Dean and Sam answered in unison, with a supportive squeeze to Sam's shoulder Dean steeled himself and got into position.
Swallowing deeply Dean placed his hands over John's ankles and leaned down with his own weight effectively pinning them to the floor. Bobby waited until Dean gave him a nod confirming he was in position and then he gave Sam one last glance before he started the chanting.
The flawless Latin fell from Bobby's lips as he mixed the ingredients in one of the bowls, as he continued with the chant he smeared the concoction over John's abdomen. He paused to catch his breath and for the anaesthetic attributes in the herbs to work, and then he picked up the silver knife and held it above John, he started to speak again but this time the language was unknown to both Sam and Dean so they could only listen and hope that it was going to work.
With a flick of the blade Bobby pierced the skin just above John's naval and cut an incision about two inches long. He heard the harsh intake of air when Dean realised what he was doing but thankfully the younger man said and did nothing but tighten his grip on John's leg.
Bobby worked with precise and efficient movements as he slid his fingers into the cut sweat poured down his face as he continued to utter the strange language and work his fingers into John's abdomen.
Suddenly, John's back arched and a muffled scream filled the now silent room, forcing himself to ignore the writhing of the big man, Bobby kept his fingers in the incision probing until he found his quarry. With one fluid movement he pulled his fingers free dragging a small slimy sack out of the incision and dropped it in the empty silver bowl. He started to pray in Latin once again as he doused the sack with the rest of the paste and for good measure holy water. He plunged the knife blade into the sack and sliced it open. A foul stench permeated throughout the room, choking the three men. With watery eyes Bobby focused on the contents of the bowl one last time as he finished the ritual. Exhausted he slumped his shoulders and sat back on his haunches taking a moment to gather his thoughts and emotions.
'Ya can let him go now Dean,' Bobby croaked out, as he lifted his head and looked at the younger man a weary look on his craggy face, tears brimming in his eyes he gave Dean a curt nod and then slowly stood up. Before he could finish working on John, Bobby had to destroy the contents of the fouled bowl. Slowly he climbed to his feet and carrying the bowl to the fireplace he shuffled stiffly and slowly before crouching down to poke at the fire. Without another thought he tossed the bowl and its contents directly into the flames.
'Getting to danged old for this shit,' Bobby muttered as he got back to his feet and made his way to his position next to John once again. 'Why don'tcha see to Sam while I finish up here?' Bobby inclined his head in Sam's direction but kept his gaze fixed on Dean's face, 'we got em Dean, they're finally gone.'
Dean blinked and tried to focus on Bobby's face, 'you cut em out?'
'Had to make sure this time Son, go and git to yer brother he'll be getting frantic over there on his own.'
'Thanks Bobby,' Dean rasped as he climbed to his feet and went over to explain things to his little brother.
Sam and Dean jogged together along their driveway their band held loosely between them, Khan trotted along in front of them acting like a bodyguard, making sure that no one was going to surprise them.
It had been a week since Bobby did the ritual and cut the Symbiotes out of John's abdomen, Dean had taken Sam home to their place, wanting to put a little distance between Sam and their dad until it all calmed down completely.
Now, now they were going to host a small BBQ, with Bobby, John and Josh as their guests, 'I have to go and do some shopping Sammy, wanna come with?'
'Yeah okay,' Sam nodded as they slowed to a walk, 'Dean?'
'Yeah Sammy? You okay? I mean we can put this off for another week or so if you like.'
'No, no it's okay … Dean do you … do you think that dad will stop being mad at me?'
Dean came to a complete stop and stared at his younger brother, with an incredulous look on his face and a blank mind. After two aborted attempts at speaking Dean swallowed and knew that he had to give Sam an answer. 'Sammy … Sam … dad was never mad with you.'
'He wasn't always affected by the Symbiotes Dean …'
'Yeah I know Sam …'
'But dad he always seemed mad with me, like he was … like he wanted to send me away and blamed me for being blind.'
'Sam no … no that's not …'
'It's okay Dean I'm not upset or anything I understand it, him more now.'
'Sam listen dad never blamed you … he blamed himself more than anyone else.'
'Coz he couldn't protect you when you were a baby with the accident.'
'Oh,' Sam said simply and then he started to walk again, scuffing his toes as he shuffled along their driveway, stopping suddenly he turned and lifted his face slightly towards the sun, 'I'm fine Dean … just a little tired.' He answered before Dean could ask the question.
'Dude will ya stop doin that.' Dean complained, 'sometimes Sammy that shining of yours.'
Dean pulled the impala into the empty park for the disabled, their brand new sticker displayed on the windscreen helped make life a lot easier, especially with Sam still so skittish when amongst large crowds of people.
Although, for this shopping trip Dean decided to go t the smaller local grocer than the larger one at the mall, he didn't want Sam stressed about anything and Khan was welcome in the store without question. 'You coming Sam or you wanna wait in the car?' Dean asked as he watched Sam, his brother sat quietly absently twisting his fingers in the strap of Khan's harness, 'Sammy?'
'Dean when Bobby … when Bobby did the ritual and cut the Symbiotes outta dad.'
'Yeah what about it?'
'Ya know I told you about the heat and gold sparks?' Sam asked as he finally slipped his sunglasses on and readied himself to get out of the car.
'Yeah what bout them?'
'I felt the heat go but the gold didn't go straight away, it ahh took a while after he burned them for the gold sparks to disappear.'
'What about now Sam? Can you feel them now?'
'No, Dean do you think that dad … what if dad didn't want to get rid of them?'
'What? He … No, no Sam he definitely wanted them gone, they were driving him crazy Sam.'
'Oh okay.' Sam smiled in his brother's direction and gripped Khan's harness a little tighter. 'Are we gonna do this?'
Sam tightened his grip a little more and felt himself relax slightly when Khan pushed himself against his legs. 'Thanks boy.' He whispered.
'What a gorgeous dog,' a girl's voice startled Sam but he managed to cover it enough and tried to ignore her when he smelt a strong but sweet floral perfume. 'What's his name?'
'Khan,' Sam replied wrinkling his nose at the strength of the girl's perfume.
'Wow he's gorgeous oh I'm Jordan by the way.'
'I'm Sam,' He tried to sound more confident but all Sam could do was secretly wish that Dean would come and save him.
Dean frowned when he realised that Sam had wandered off while he was talking to the owner of the store Karl Stone. Giving his apologies he set off to find his errant brother and to give him a lecture about not staying close when he rounded the end of the aisle and found his brother talking to a very pretty brunette with bright blue eyes, a sexy smile and was nicely endowed with an amazing pair of breasts. 'Ah Sammy … What am I gonna do with you?' he chuckled when he saw the blush creeping up Sam's cheeks and the "deer trapped in headlights" look written over his face, 'time to save ya kiddo … from ya self.'
'Hey Sammy been looking for ya dude.' He said loud enough for both his brother and the girl to hear him coming. Khan snuffled and stared at his pack brother with an almost amused look in his brown eyes.
'Dean?' Sam called out the sound of relief palpable in his voice.
'Hey little bro who's this?'
'Dean this is Jordan … Jordan this is my brother Dean.' Sam introduced them with a shy smile.
'Oh nice to meet you Dean, I was just telling Sam what a gorgeous dog he has,' Jordan smiled a little too brightly for Dean's taste and his own smile slipped a little.
'Yeah same here Jordan is it?' Dean put his hand on Sam's shoulder and squeezed it gently, 'we gotta get going dude, if we're going to get this done.'
'Huh? Oh yeah, nice to meet you Jordan,' Sam held his hand out but the girl ignored it when Sam's glasses slipped a little and she could see the strange glowing red and gold rims of his sightless eyes. Dean watched as her demeanour changed completely, she dropped her hand and patted Khan's head, scratching behind his ears, 'nice to meet you too Sam.' She said before she turned and hurried away.
John slowly stood up and with a shaky hand reached for his jacket, the long arduous task of dressing now complete. The last few weeks were certainly an eye opener for him, and even John had to wince with that thought. His thick white bandages were replaced now by a black eye patch and with his unshaven face and slightly longer than normal locks did make him appear very pirate like, much to Dean's amusement.
The last week had allowed him to spend time in Sam's shoes and it had changed his opinion of his younger son forever. He had always been in secret awe with his youngest and the way that he had dealt with his failing eyesight over the years. But now, now he had had a chance to experience exactly what Sam was going through and what he had gone through, even if it was just a sample, a brief glimpse into his life.
Squinting John tried to focus on the door knob, a simple enough task to place his hand on the handle, turn it and open the door. Something he had done thousands of times in his life and yet he struggled. With only one functioning eye everything seemed off kilter as though he was cross-eyed with only one eye. Cursing under his breath he finally gripped the porcelain knob and opened the door, step one done now the next step to actually walk down the hallway to the stairs and then the fun was going to begin.
Standing at the top of the stairs John took a deep breath and tilted his head slightly so he could keep his gaze fixed on the steps, one at a time he made his way downstairs, once again he was amazed where Sam was concerned. The kid could navigate simple things with such ease and class it floored John just thinking about it.
'So you gonna git yer ass down here or what Winchester?' Bobby groused without any heat behind his words as he watched John make his way downstairs. Since they had finally rid John of the Symbiotes he had seen a marked change in the man but he was wary enough to know that it wasn't going to last. Once the man healed and had his sight back completely Bobby knew that John will rush back to the hunt and most likely to the detriment of his relationship with his boys. Especially with Sam, Bobby shook his head when he thought of the more than strained relationship of father and youngest son. 'Are ya coming or what?' he added not wanting to sound as though he was softening in his old age, 'man could die from starvation while waiting for ya to git yer idjit ass into gear.'
'Yeah, yeah keep ya cap on Singer, or whatever hair ya got left.' John shot back as he finally reached the last step and took a moment to catch his breath. 'How does Sammy do it?'
'The kid is one in a million John, bout time ya realise that.' Bobby said as he led the way to the truck parked right by the front door.
'I do Bobby,' John said as he shuffled towards the front door, 'believe me I aint gonna forget it … those boys mean more to me than …'
'Yeah, yeah come on ya big girl.' Bobby shook his head knowing that John was just going to talk himself into a big fat corner.
'Out with it Sammy,' Dean had finally had enough, all the way home from the shops Sam had fidgeted, tried to get words out and generally made Dean feel like twitching with frustration. 'You got something to you wanna get off yer chest before we get home?'
'Yeah that's mah name, don't wear it out,' Dean grinned and waited for Sam's comeback but it didn't happen. Seconds later he had pulled off the road and cut the engine, Khan looked between both of his human pack and then settled on the backseat intent on sitting this one out. 'What is it Sammy you feeling okay?'
'Yeah I'm fine it's just …'
'Just what Sammy you gotta give me more than that.'
'Why did she hurry off like that? What did I have something hanging from my nose or what?' the words finally tumbled free from Sam's mouth and after a second of trying to understand what or rather who Sam was talking about Dean sat back and tried not to laugh.
'Jordan?' he asked and grinned when he saw Sam's hesitant nod, now this was going to be a tight-rope balancing act. 'She ahh … you didn't have any boogers hanging loose Sammy.'
'So why did she leave like that, I mean we were talking and it seemed okay, she sounded nice…'
'Dude she was okay but you can do so much better …'
'What spooked her Dean, I know it was …'
'Dude can ya take your glasses off for a minute?' Dean asked knowing that this was going to be the part where he has to be very careful or he was going to set Sam's progress back years.
'My what? Why?' Sam asked confused as he slipped his dark sunglasses off and turned to face Dean, his sightless eyes eerily fixed on his brother's face. Twin circles of glittering red and gold rimmed his normally bright green irises.
'Dude I dunno how so I'm just gonna tell ya, your eyes are … ahh how much can ya see?'
'Just blurred outlines unless I really concentrate hard but that usually just gives me a killer headache … why?'
'This is hard to explain Sammy, but since your shining kicked in properly your eyes have a new feature.'
'Dean what are you trying to say?'
'You have these glittering red and gold rings around your eyes dude, so they're like tri-toned or something, red and then gold and then green.'
'Oh? Is that it?' Dean shook his head and swallowed on the urge to giggle, Dean Winchester does not giggle. 'You okay Sammy?'
'Did she see my eyes like that?' Sam asked as he slid his glasses back on.
'Yeah she did and I guess that they spooked her a little.'
'Do they spook you?' Sam asked softly as he started to twist his fingers together and let his chin drop hiding his freaky eyes from the world and from his brother. 'I really am a freak aren't I Dean?'
'First … Sammy hey don't you ignore me,' Dean leant over and hooked his finger under Sam's chin making him lift his head up and then he snaked Sam's glasses once again exposing his brother's unique eyes. 'First, they do not spook me! Second you were born a freak so get over it and third … that Jordan chick don't know what she's missing out on. So we done with this chick flick moment? We got dad and Bobby coming for BBQ and we're sitting here like a couple of girls, well you're sitting here like a girl I'm still an awesomely handsome dude.'
'Whatever Dean,' Sam huffed a chuckle, 'can I get my glasses back?'
'Yeah when we get home,' Dean laughed as he started the car and peeled away from the side of the road kicking up the loose gravel in his wake.
'Sammy?' John called out to his son as he shuffled towards his son, they had finished eating and Sam had decided to take Khan for a walk while the others cleaned up and break out the beers.
'Hey dad,' Sam turned his face to his father's direction and smiled shyly, 'whatcha doin' out here?'
'I got kicked outta the kitchen,' John grinned, 'seems that I'm a little clumsy lately.'
'Yeah it does help when it comes to washing up.' Sam grinned at his father knowingly, 'Dean falls for it a lot.'
'So does Bobby,' John laughed as he watched Khan run around the front yard chasing a white winged butterfly, 'how you doing son?'
'I'm okay dad, what about you?' Sam asked nervously, 'dad I'm so sorry I – I didn't …'
'Don't Sam, please don't it was all on me all of it … you were the victim in all of this.'
'But … but if I hadn't …'
'Sam … Sammy … damn it's harder than I thought it'd be.'
'What is dad?' Sam sat down and waited for his father to join him on the thick grass, 'you leaving?'
'No, no not just yet anyway,' John answered truthfully he knew if he was going to make this work then he would have to start with honesty above anything else. 'I will probably go back to the hunt soon, but not until my eye is working properly … Bobby took my truck's keys won't give em back until I get the all-clear from the doc.'
'Ha, that sounds like Bobby,' Sam laughed relaxing slightly he turned to smile at his dad his dimples making an appearance, and even though he could only just make them out John felt as though his heart was going to burst.
'Anyway Sam I just … I wanted to let you know Sam that no matter what I've said to you in the past, especially when I – I hurt you.' John took a deep breath and kept going before he lost all of his nerve, 'I should have taken you to more doctors when you were younger, I should've made sure that you had the best medical help. I let you down Sammy and because of me you're blind Sam.'
'No dad, no it's not your fault. It was just a dumb accident that's all.' Sam's smile disappeared and was replaced with a look of pure anguish and acceptance all mixed together. 'It was never your fault dad.'
'If I had found out about the shards in your eyes we could've … it's down to me Sam I'm your dad and I let you down.'
'Dad my whole life I knew that I was going to be like this, it was never an issue for me because I had you and Dean looking after me and watching my back. Yeah at times I wish things were different but we can't change them so we have to deal with them instead.'
'How did you get so smart?' John shook his head, 'Dean told me about your ahh what does he call it? Your shining, and how your eyes have added colour now.'
'Guess I'm a real freak huh?'
'No, no son you are no freak.' John stated firmly, he watched Khan trot up to his young master and place himself strategically next to Sam and under his hand enough to get an automatic pat and scratch around the ears. 'I have only got temporary sight loss in one eye and just a taste what you have to go through every moment of every day. You are no freak kiddo, you are amazing and – and I just wanted to tell you. I love you kiddo.'
'Christo.' Sam shot out with a cheeky grin, 'love you too dad.'
'I just don't know how you do it Sam, you make it look so damned easy.'
'Nah not easy dad it's just life.' Sam shrugged.
Dean stopped in mid-stride and after casting a guilty glance around settled in to listen to his father and brother talk. He hated the thought of breaching their privacy but he just wanted, no he needed to know how things were between them.
He knew that Sam still had a few issues around their dad, his nervousness was not obvious to an untrained eye but to Dean who was so proficient in Sam-language it was out there, bright, loud and very clear. He had to smile when he heard Sam mutter 'Christo' that was his brother alright. Somehow he knew just then that no matter what the three of them were going to be alright. Not great and not a hallmark card picture perfect family but they're gonna be alright.
Dean pulled up in front of the Blind Institute and chewed his lip while he waited for Sam to make an appearance. He dreaded giving Sam his news; his younger brother had improved so much in the last months, especially after the heart-to-heart with their dad.
John had even managed to drop by between hunts just as he promised Sam or hunted with Bobby, Caleb or Josh to take some of the pressure off the small family.
The boys themselves had done a few simple hunts; Sam's uncanny abilities to pick up on supernatural entities became an invaluable tool as did Khan's presence. They stayed with ones easily accessible to their home and only ones that they knew Sam could cope with. Mainly salt-and-burns but it kept them busy and staved off Dean's need to hunt.
Khan's bark brought Dean from his musings and was able to pull his thoughts together before Sam reached the impala. 'Hey Dean what's up?' Sam asked as he slid into the car behind Khan the big German shepherd settling between the two boys.
'Ah Sammy we gotta talk.' Dean scratched the back of his neck and glanced at his brother before continuing. 'Dad … Dad he ah.'
'What Dean what is it? What's happened to dad?'
'Dad's missing Sam … I didn't want to tell you until I knew for sure but Caleb rang me he found dad's motel room.'
'He found all of dad's stuff, including his journal.'
'He hadn't been there for a few days … it's just…'
'So what we doin' sitting here then Dean?' Sam asked turning his glittering eyes to his brother, his fingers twisted tight around Khan's collar.
'You sure dude? I mean we can get someone else …'
'Its dad … let's go Dean.'
'Okay, well I've got our duffels packed and one for Khan as well, Bobby's gonna keep an eye on the house and I got some personal time from work so we're set.' Dean reached over and gave Sam's knee a squeeze, 'we'll find him Sam.'
'I know we will Dean, let's do this.' Sam sat back into his seat and let out a big breath, it felt so right being back on the road, with his brother by his side, music blaring and the impala roaring.
This was their life.