Last chapter! Thanks to everyone who continued to read and review this series! I hope you enjoyed this adaption to the verse. I have to send all my thanks to my friend and beta Gabi for helping me out so much with the verse ever since the end of 'Missing Piece'. She had such awesome ideas for plots and helped write many scenes and some awesome chapters (including the second half of this chapter!). We have many ideas for future stories but will probably wait until the next story is finished before posting it. That way the updates will be much quicker. Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys this last chapter. Thank you for your support in this series!
Sam was overjoyed to finally be getting out of Holton. Now they could all relax and Dean would get better. Sam looked over at Dean from the passenger seat and smiled when suddenly his brother's smile turned into a snarl. Sam wasn't sure if he should comment on it when Dean suddenly pulled off onto a dirt road. They were no longer following John in his pickup who seemed oblivious since he just kept driving.
Sam turned to Dean as the Impala picked up speed. "What are you doing Dean?" He questioned, trying not to panic.
Dean turned to Sam, his smile wicked and his eyes flickered white for a fraction of a second. "I'll tell you what I'm doing cripple. I'm going to kill you, once and for all. You thought your dear father got rid of me? Well think again."
Sam tried to scream, to reach out at the shifter-Dean but it was like his mind and body were disconnected. Not only his legs, but his whole body was paralyzed as the shifter took a sharp turn at 80 miles an hour, a tall evergreen coming in sight...any second now they were going to crash...
"DEAN!" Sam screamed, he shielded his face as he waited for the expected crash...waited for his body to go flying into the windshield...
"Woah, Sammy! Geeze, what's wrong? I'm right here." It was Dean's voice, so close and clear and Sam slowly opened his eyes. He blinked back the cloudiness out of his vision and as he focused he noticed he was still lying in bed in their motel room, they hadn't left yet. Sam quickly turned his head to the side where he heard Dean's voice and was met at eye level with his brother. Just one look into those eyes and Sam knew he was safe. This was his big brother kneeling at his side and not the shifter wanting to kill him.
Dean looked overly concerned as Sam continued to find his breath. "You okay, buddy? Please don't tell me you had another vision."
Sam cleared his throat and tried to smile. "Let's hope the shifter still posing as you and killing me in a car wreck doesn't count as a vision."
Dean turned pale and Sam had to laugh at that. "Don't worry, it was just a nightmare, I'd wake with a migraine if it was a vision."
Dean continued to look concerned for a few moments before he grinned. "That bastard didn't wreck my baby, did it?"
"Oh yeah, totally demolished, she went out in a blaze of fiery glory. You should be proud," Sam added in false details just to rile up his brother. Him and that stupid car...
"You're such an ass," Dean rolled his eyes. "Hopefully that freak doesn't haunt any more of your dreams. Do you want some coffee? I just made some."
"Sure," Sam replied, pushing himself up with his arms, about to grab for his wheelchair only to be shocked by it not being in it's usual spot. Sam looked around the room and finally at Dean who was over by the coffee machine. That little jerk! Dean hadn't been kneeling by his bedside after all, not that he could with a broken leg anyway, but Dean had been sitting in his wheelchair!
Sam tried to hide the smile on his face as he watched Dean use it with ease. Dean placed the coffee in-between his legs just like Sam did; only he started cursing because of how hot it felt. Dean then wheeled over to Sam's bed and handed it to him. He expected Dean to hobble out of the wheelchair then so Sam could get up but instead his brother wheeled himself over to the kitchen table and started cleaning off the food wrappers from his breakfast.
Sam couldn't decide if Dean was purposely being a jerk to joke around with Sam, or if he was honestly clueless because he was so comfortable with how often he sat in Sam's chair. The younger brother decided to humor himself and wait it out, see if Dean eventually realized that Sam wasn't getting out of bed because he literally couldn't with Dean using his chair.
"Just try and forget the dream, don't let it bother you," Dean was saying as he wheeled over to the garbage can and threw out the wrappers.
"I could have freaked you out and made up that it was a vision, just like I did with that nightmare I had of you dying from smoking."
Dean stopped moving and turned to face Sam. "The vision right after we found out we were brothers? It was really just a dream?"
"Well yeah. I think at first I was so freaked out by it that I was making myself believe it was a vision. But as the years went by I realized that I have headaches after each vision and it physically hurts. So that one definitely wasn't." Sam smiled, "I think deep down I knew all along that it was just a nightmare, I guess it was my way of trying to scare you out of smoking."
"You sneaky little gimp!" Dean tried to sound angry but Sam could see him fighting the smile. "All that time I had this nagging feeling in the back of my head that I might die that way."
Sam shrugged as Dean went to clean the weapons at the table, still in Sam's wheelchair. "It could have very well happened, that's the thought I had when I decided not to tell you the truth. But the one I had about the demon killing me...that one was a vision."
Dean glanced over at Sam. "Don't bother worrying about that either. We've stopped some of your visions from coming true and you know I'm going to stop that one. There's no way in Hell I'm going to let that bastard get near you."
The strong tone of protectiveness in his older brother's voice made Sam smile. "I know you will Dean. Anyway, why are you up so early? Dad said we could sleep in today."
Dean grimaced and Sam watched as he finally stopped acting like he was feeling alright. "My leg was killing me, woke up at seven and couldn't get back to sleep so I took my pain meds and by that time I was wide awake. I've been up and about ever since."
Sam glanced at the clock, it was ten. "You sure you're feeling okay? We could stay here another day until you feel like getting back on the road."
"Oh hell no! I want to put this town behind us for the last time. It's just because my leg is infected that it hurts more than the normal broken leg, but it will be okay in a few days. And hey, I'd expect you to want to get out of here as soon as possible. What are you still doing in bed?"
"Well I would like to get up."
"Then go ahead, why are you telling me?"
Sam rolled his eyes before glaring at his brother. "Dean!"
Finally something clicked in the older brother's brain. He looked down at the wheelchair he was sitting in and his cheeks turned red. "Oops."
"How in the world did you not realize that you were in it?" Sam laughed, enjoying Dean's embarrassment.
"I did realize! I just didn't put two and two together. You know I always sit in your chair when you're not in it. And besides, I've been in it for hours now." His blush finally receded as he smirked. "It makes getting into the bathroom a helluva lot easier. So you better get used to sharing it with the new gimp in the family."
Sam laughed at Dean's joke, he could just imagine Dean taking the easy way out and wanting to use his chair all the time. "Great! Now you're a jerk and a gimp rolled all into one. At least the later isn't permanent."
"You keep talking like that and you're going to turn into a permanent jerk." Dean rolled his eyes and wheeled over to Sam's bedside before gingerly easing himself up and hopping on his good leg for a second to sit on the edge of Sam's bed.
Sam stretched and finally was able to get out of bed and slipped into his wheelchair. He figured he'd grab Dean's crutches so his brother wouldn't have to try and hobble to get to them but was saved from the task when John walked in the door.
John looked over at Sam who was bent down putting his feet into the footrests. "You're just getting up now?" He chuckled.
Sam put on a pout. "Oh I've been awake, and I would have been out of bed a lot earlier if someone hadn't decided to steal my wheelchair."
Turning to an equally pouting Dean, John rolled his eyes. "How long did it take him to realize you couldn't get out of bed because he was still using it?"
"It's not my fault! My mind was fogged by the pain!" Dean called out but he was laughing too, no longer feeling embarrassed about it. If Sam dared say so, it was actually really nice knowing that Dean was just that comfortable with his chair.
John grabbed Dean's crutches and handed them over to him. "I bought some giant pillows to keep you comfortable on the ride to Bobby's," John paused for a moment when he looked over at Dean's pills laid out on the table. "Did you take that Chantix yet?" He asked, referring to the anti-smoking drug.
"Ugh," Dean rubbed at his eyes. "No, I forgot with all the other pills I have to take."
Sam went to grab the pills for Dean as he listened into John's conversation with his brother. "You look beat kiddo, I don't even know if I like the idea of you hobbling around with that infected leg. Maybe you should use Sam's old wheelchair that we keep at Bobby's."
Oh boy, Sam could just imagine all the fun and jokes he'd have with that!
After getting their last things ready, John looked at his sons. "You ready to leave, boys?"
Sam hesitated. "Actually, I have to tend to some business before we go. But it shouldn't be longer than half an hour."
John nodded. "No problem. We can do it on our way out. I guess we have the same business."
"Really?" Sam raised his eyebrows. "I just want to say good-bye to the Mendels. And I want to talk to Cara. I think I owe her that much."
"Absolutely. And I want to talk to your foster parents."
"Um-" Sam glanced at Dean, looking for help, but Dean just shrugged. "I don't think that's a good idea, Dad."
"Why not? I want to thank them for taking care for my baby during his childhood."
Sam frowned. Somehow, he doubted his father's good intentions.
Their stay at the Mendel's place was rather short. Anne made quite a fuss about Dean's leg and Coconut came flying straight onto his shoulder. Dean petted the bird and Anne smiled broadly. "I think I have to apologize for my behaviour a few days ago," Dean began.
Anne dismissed him with a wave of her hand. "No need. We all have bad days."
"Yeah, but what I said…"
"We didn't take it seriously. It's okay. We're glad you're feeling better now."
"Yeah, I do. I'm feeling more like myself."
Sam was still chuckling as they were on their way to the Duncan's place. "You're feeling more like yourself? That's a way to put it."
"I was kinda nervous," Dean admitted. "I had no clue what I was apologizing for."
"For being a jerk. So nothing unusual."
Dean scowled at his brother. "Maybe you should have kept the shifter as your brother."
"Oh yeah, the way he treated me felt so familiar. It reminded me of my foster parents." Sam smiled when he glanced at Dean. "I'd hug it out with you but I'm driving. Rest assured, you're the best brother in the world." Sam waited for Dean's smile back, then he added: "Which is exactly what you wanted to hear from me."
Dean huffed and looked out the window in mocked offense.
Sam changed the subject. "Cara wants to meet you. I honestly don't know why, but she thinks you're cute."
"That's because I am." Dean turned to face his brother, but then he frowned. "Hey, how would she know?"
"I showed her the picture Dad took at Niagara Falls."
"You did?" Dean huffed.
"Anything wrong with that?" Sam glanced at his brother.
"No, it's okay." Dean sighed. "But actually, I think I'll pass. I'll wait for you in the car."
Sam stopped at a red light and looked in the mirror to assure himself that their dad's pickup was still behind them. Then he turned to Dean. "You'll pass? Just a few days ago you wanted to go and kill my foster parents. What happened?"
Dean just shrugged, staring out of the window to avoid Sam's inquiring gaze.
Sam's astonished look turned into a smirk. "I can't believe it. You don't feel embarrassed because of your broken leg, do you? Hey dude, I'm going there in a wheelchair, what's wrong with a pair of crutches?"
"Yeah, right," Dean muttered. "Sam and Dean Winchester, the cripple team."
Sam laughed out loud, but when the lights changed he had to concentrate on driving again. "We're the damn best team in the world, Dean, you know that? Cripple or no."
Dean only smiled and looked out of the window. Sam frowned when he glanced briefly over to his brother. "Okay, so it's not that. You don't feel embarrassed to get out there on crutches. So what is it?"
Dean sighed deeply. He seemed reluctant to share his thoughts, but eventually he started to speak. "You know I really would like to tell your foster parents how I feel about the way they treated you. But then again I'm pretty sure Dad will take care of this. You don't need a father and a brother getting at their throats with you standing beside us. They would think you can't stand up for yourself and told us to read them the riot act. You would feel humiliated and it's not worth that. Besides, you're going to have your hands full with keeping dad from killing them."
Sam looked at his brother as long as it was possible without crashing the Impala into one of the neat garden fences that lined the road. He was touched by Dean's consideration.
"Dad said that he only wants to talk to them," he answered.
Dean snorted loudly. "Yeah, right."
Sam was still chuckling when he approached the doorstep of his former home. He didn't feel much better than Dean. He would have loved to meet his foster parents standing on his feet, towering over them. But maybe they weren't at home.
No such luck. Susan Duncan answered the door. She frowned when she saw Sam, but didn't seem to recognize him. "Can I help you, Sir?" she asked politely.
If he hadn't been so nervous, Sam would have laughed out loud. She really didn't have a clue whom she called Sir here. "I'd like to speak to Cara," he said instead. "Is she at home?"
The frown deepened. "What do you want with Cara? What's your business with her?"
"You really don't remember me, do you?"
Sam sighed. "I'm Sam."
"Yes. Sam Winchester, actually, but I used to go by the name of Duncan when I lived here. It seems like it didn't take you long to forget me."
Susan Duncan's eyes grew wide and her chin hit the floor. "You're Sam? We thought you were dead."
"What's going on here? Who's that?" Looking around his foster mother's form, Sam could see Charles Duncan approach the door. His wife turned to him.
"Charles, do you remember Sam? The crippled boy we took in more than twenty years ago?"
Charles looked down at Sam. "Yes, I remember. So, you're back? What have you been up to during the last few years? You look well."
"No thanks to you," an angry voice came from behind.
Sam looked over his shoulder. He had asked his father to stay behind, but apparently John hadn't been able to restrain himself any longer.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Charles inquired, angrily furrowing his brow. "Who are you?"
John approached until he stood beside Sam, casually laying his hand on his son's shoulder. "My name is John Winchester. I'm Sam's father. His real father."
"He's an orphan," Charles objected. "He doesn't have any family. We took him in because no other family wanted to have him."
John felt his son tense under his hand and squeezed his shoulder to comfort him.
"My dad and brother wanted me," Sam told his foster parents.
Charles looked at John, inquiringly. "So you kidnapped a crippled boy and made him believe he'd found his real family? Why would you do something like that? I don't understand what there is to gain with him."
Suddenly Charles Duncan felt himself pressed against the doorframe, with the face of a furious John Winchester just about two inches from his nose. He heard his wife give a loud cry beside him and heard the crippled young man that had been his foster son try to calm this angry man.
"Let him go, Dad," Sam said. He wanted to add that Charles wasn't worth the effort, but he didn't. Seeing the frightened expression on his foster father's face felt good.
John removed his hands from Charles's throat, but he didn't step back. "He really is my son and I can prove it," he grumbled, and straightened out Charles's collar in a patronizing gesture. "It's nothing short of a miracle that I got my boy back. My baby boy who I thought was dead for fourteen years. I guess you don't know how it feels to lose a child and you have no clue how it feels when you find them again. To realize your kid isn't dead at all. But I take the way he was treated in this house very personally."
"We gave him a home," Susan piped in with a hushed voice.
"Yeah, you did." John nodded gravely. "You cared for him when he was a baby and I'm grateful for that, I really am. What is it with you people? You want to have babies but when they grow up you don't care for them any longer? Why did you take a disabled boy in when you weren't willing to meet his needs? You didn't even bother to adjust the bathroom door so he could get in with his wheelchair."
"That's not true," Susan whispered.
"Is it not true that he had to crawl into the bathroom most of the time? And what about those two jocks that bullied Sam all through the years? Is that a lie too? You just didn't care. You told him he had to fight his own battles. A disabled boy had to put up with two jerks taller and stronger than him, and you just told him to get out of your hair? What great foster parents you are." John shifted his eyes between the man and the woman, who seemed rather intimidated by now.
Out of the corner of her eye Susan noticed Cara standing there, looking onto the scene with great interest. "Cara, honey, this man is threatening us. Call the police," she said in an urgent tone of voice.
"Honey?" Cara huffed. "You haven't called me that for more than nine years. And why should I call the cops? This is Sam's father and in my opinion he has every right to be angry."
Susan stared at Cara agape, disbelief showing clearly in her eyes.
John turned to the girl and managed a smile. "Sam wants to say good-bye to you."
"You're leaving?" Disappointment washed over Cara's face as she pushed past her foster parents. She hugged Sam fiercely. "I was hoping you would stay for a while."
"You knew he was here?" Charles asked. "Why didn't you tell us?"
"Why should I?" Cara didn't even make the effort to turn around.
Before Charles could answer, John took over. "It looks like your foster children don't trust you very much." He watched Sam and Cara strolling along the driveway, already lost in conversation. A smile formed on his lips and his anger vanished. At least a little bit. "You know, I'm not the best of fathers myself," he admitted to Susan and Charles. "But I'm trying my best. And I don't understand why you take kids in and then don't bother to care for them."
"We do care," Charles argued. "But these kids can't live here forever. They need to grow up fast to stand their ground in this world."
"There's a big difference between encouraging them to grow up and neglecting them. You can't tell me that letting those dickheads steal Sam's food all the time helped him grow up."
Susan bit her lip. "Sir, maybe you should take into consideration that not everything Sam has told you might actually be true."
"You're saying my son is a liar?" John's eyebrows drew together threateningly.
Susan backed off. "I'm not saying that. But he was a child, and children often exaggerate."
"How would you know? Do you ever talk to your kids? Did you make the effort to look at Sam just once, back then? Didn't you realize how skinny he was? Did you ever notice the bruises he got from his foster brothers' friendly treatment?" John bitterly huffed.
Charles opened his mouth to defend himself, but John cut him off. "Look, I don't care about your excuses. But I'm pretty sure CPS would be interested in knowing how things are handled here. If you don't want me to tip them off, you better start treating these children with respect. And take care of their needs. Am I clear?"
The Duncans nodded reluctantly. John smiled grimly. "Don't make me come back."
"Did he scare you?" Sam asked Cara when they walked out of earshot of his father's angry voice. "He can be pretty intimidating."
"Your dad?" Cara shook her head. "No, he didn't. I would love to have someone stand up for me as he did for you."
"You do have someone."
"Yeah, but you're leaving." Cara wiped the tears from her eyes.
Sam was deeply touched by her affection. "We'll stay in touch, Cara. I'll give you my email address and my cell phone number, and you can contact me any time you want."
"That would be great." Cara smiled sadly. "I don't want to lose you again."
"You won't," Sam reassured her. "Hey, you up to meeting my brother?"
"The cutie? Of course I am." Her smile grew bigger. "Where is he?"
"He's waiting at the car. He broke his leg a few days ago and is still trying to handle the crutches properly." Sam chuckled. "He's used to looking after a gimp, not being one himself."
When they approached the Impala, Dean had got out and was leaning on his crutches. "I heard that," he grumbled; but then he smiled at Cara. "So, you are my brother's little sister. I'm Dean. Nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you, too." Cara blushed and looked shyly over to Sam, who gave her an encouraging smile. "How's your leg?"
"Not too bad," Dean told her. "The worst thing is that I can either walk or use my hands, not both at the same time." Dean ignored Sam's loud snort and sat back down on the passenger seat. "It's not easy to be a gimp, you know?" He smiled broadly at Cara.
"It's not easy to be a jerk either, and you manage quite well all the time," Sam chimed in.
"Shut up, gimp," Dean growled. "I'm talking to your sister."
Cara chuckled. "Will you come back?" she asked.
Dean shrugged. "Maybe." He looked up as John approached. Their father nodded at his boys and then turned to Cara. Giving her a piece of paper he said: "Here are all of our cell phone numbers and Sam's email address. If you need anything, or if those ridiculous wannabe foster parents treat you badly again, you call us, you hear me? You do it, and I'll be back and become their worst nightmare."
"Thank you, Sir," Cara whispered; and took the paper from John's hand. "That's very kind of you."
"We care for our family," John said. "And you're Sam's family." He took his wallet and gave her two 100 Dollar bills. "Go buy yourself and your siblings some new clothes and a few things you need."
Cara's eyes went as big as saucers. Her mouth moved but no sound came out. Maybe she never even knew what a 100 Dollar bill looked like. "It's okay," John smiled. "Just don't tell your parents. I have their promise that they will treat you right in the future, but I'm afraid they're not gonna change much. So you have to look after your siblings."
"I'll do," Cara whispered. "Thank you so much, Sir."
"Drop the sirs, please." John nodded at her. "I'm afraid we have to go now."
"Yeah, I have to go too." Cara smiled. "I promised William I would pick him up from a friend's house." She bent down to hug Sam. "Take care, big brother."
Sam stroked her cheek affectionately. "Take care of yourself. And if anything happens…"
"I'm gonna call you." Cara nodded and watched how Sam heaved himself into the car. While John put the wheelchair on the back seat, Dean said good bye to Cara and stowed away his crutches. Stretching his broken leg very carefully, he looked over at Sam. "Let's get out of here."
Sam nodded and revved the engine. As he drove away, in the mirror he could still see Cara standing there and waving them good-bye. He smiled. This town hadn't been that bad, after all.