A/N: Well, here it is, the final chapter to this story. I just wanted to thank everyone that has been following along and for all of your feedback and comments. Each one of you is the bomb! Anyhoo, I've had a good time writing this and I hope you enjoy this last installment. :D
"Hey... quit sawin' logs over there... M'tryin t'sleep."
Bobby woke with a snort, surprised at himself for drifting off to sleep despite the standard uncomfortableness of the lounge chair he had dragged closer to Dean's bed. The kid was white as a ghost, the dark circles under his eyes only punctuating the paleness of his skin. His eyes remained closed, but the old hunter knew the boy was no longer asleep, allowing Bobby to let loose a quiet sigh of relief.
"God, Kiddo...thought you'd be asleep a while longer."
"Kinda hard...you snore even louder than Sam." Dean opened his eyes and winced a little as he shifted in the bed and tried to sit up. Suddenly aware of the pain shooting through his arm and the bulky weight of the cast encasing his right arm all the way from shoulder to mid-forearm, he took in blue, sling that held his arm tight to his chest.
"There are bed controls, you idjit." Bobby grumbled as he pressed the button to raise Dean's head up. Dean looked around the room, expecting to see one more man in the room, asleep in the other chair or racked out in the empty bed beside of him, but it was just him and Bobby occupying the space.
"Where's Sam?" Dean asked, his anxiety ratcheting up, especially after Bobby looked down at his shoes and failed to meet his eye. "What's wrong?"
"Well Sam...he's uh..."
"What Bobby?...he's what?"
"Well, he's pretty sick."
"What?" Dean threw off the blanket covering him and swung his legs of the side of the bed. "Where is he?"
"Whoa. Now, slow your roll there..." Bobby made to stop Dean from getting out of bed, but the younger man wasn't having any of it.
"Show me where he is Bobby." Dean insisted, grimacing as he forced himself up.
"Dean, you just woke up two minutes ago. You've had surgery and a blood transfusion."
"Dammit, Boy." Bobby had to grab Dean's good arm before he fell over, practically pushing him back down onto the bed. "Stay put will ya?. Sam's gonna be okay, he's in a room just down the hall."
He fought a stab of pain in his arm and the lightheadedness that assaulted him. Dean couldn't imagine sitting in the bed any longer knowing that Sam was somewhere in the hospital and needed him, but Bobby was a force to be reckoned with.
"What's wrong with him?" Dean had to know, remembering the massive bruise on his forehead and hot feel of his little brother's skin as he hauled Dean out of the forest.
"He has a touch of pneumonia and got himself yet another concussion. He's pretty out of it right now, so there really isn't much point in killing yourself to go see him yet."
Dean looked Bobby directly in the eyes and knew that there was something else that the older man wasn't telling him. "There's more than that, isn't there, Bobby?"
Bobby glanced down and dean knew he had been right. "Well...sort-of. The doctors ran some tests and they found traces of drugs in Sam's system. Ketamine, I think it was."
"Ketamine? Don't they tranquilize horses with that shit?"
"Yeah...they say the stuff is working it's way out. Kinda explains how a 5 foot nothing girl was able to tie up your ginormous brother though."
"That bitch..." Dean's face took on a whole knew expression of wrathful. "What'd you do with her?"
"Don't worry. She's taken care of. While your brother was taking you to the hospital, I took Alicia back over to my place, just to make sure wasn't possessed or anything. She wasn't, but she said some pretty...well, interesting things."
"It was weird. While I was dragging her inside, she started telling me things about myself...things that I've never told anyone."
"So, she is some kind of psychic...like Sam?"
"Yeah and that's not all she told me. Apparently, Sam saved her from the bus crash, pulled her out and she got it in her messed up head that she was in love with him, that they were somehow destined to be together. Then she said that she ran into you at the hospital and thought you might be a danger to him so she concocted her plan to kidnap Sam. But, here's the part where it gets really nuts. She said that she met a yellow-eyed man who told her to kill you if she wanted to keep Sam to herself. I'm guessing that's why she took the shot at you. Good thing her aim was bad or well... ya know."
Dean swallowed hard. "Shit..."
Pinching the bridge of his nose, Dean felt a massive headache coming on. That damned yellow-eyed bastard was after him and his brother again. The day when he could wrap his hands around that demon's throat and choke the life out of him couldn't come soon enough.
"Yeah...that about puts it mildly."
"And she just told you all of this?"
"Yeah. She wouldn't stop talking. I think she thought I was gonna kill her."
"Where is she now?"
"Well...I took her to the police." Bobby confessed somewhat sheepishly.
"What! Are you insane?"
"What else was I supposed to do with her?. I couldn't keep there and I wasn't about to let her go. Told 'em I caught her stealing my truck, which is at least partially true. Though once I took her into the station, she started ranting and putting up a fuss. Enough so that one of the deputies told me that they would be taking her over to Penfield for a 72 hour psychiatric hold. I'm assuming that's where she is now and given the state of mind or lack thereof she was in that that is where she'll be staying for quite some time."
"Does Sam know she's a psychic or that she met Yellow-eyes?"
"I don't think so. He was still in and out of consciousness last time I checked on him."
"If he doesn't ask. Don't tell him, 'kay, Bobby? Please. He doesn't need to know that another one those kids like him has gone off the deep end. We got enough to worry about without him thinking that he's gonna become like them. 'Cause it ain't gonna happen, not while I'm still breathing."
Bobby nodded. "Sure, Kid." Bobby stood up from his chair and stretched some of the kinks out of his body. "Look, I'm gonna go check on Sam again..."
"I'm coming with."
"Hey, what part of stay in bed don't you get?"
"Shut up, Bobby and just help me get there."
Bobby saw that there was no way he was going to be able to keep Dean laying in bed when he knew that Sam was ill. So, the older hunter just grumbled "Fine, but you're not walkin', let me get a wheelchair."
After tracking down a wheelchair and a coercing a nurse to help him with Dean's IV's, Bobby started pushing Dean down the hospital corridor towards Sam's room.
Dean hated being so weak that he couldn't walk, but as they passed under a sign announcing that they had arrived at the ICU, his worried hitched up, his pain and fatigue forgotten. "ICU, Bobby? I thought you said he was doing okay?"
"He is. He's stable, but the doctors were pretty worried about the combo of head injury, chest infection and drugs so they're keeping him here until he's completely coherent so they can keep a close watch on him."
Dean wasn't totally relieved to here that. He needed to see for himself how Sam was before he'd believe that his brother was going to be okay.
"Just get me in there."
Bobby did as he asked and pushed Dean into a room surrounded by monitors and equipment, it's lone occupant lying still and motionless in the bed. Pale faced, the massive bruise on Sam's forehead shone brightly against his whiter than normal skin while a nasal canula fed oxygen into his lungs. Dean choked back the lump in his throat as Bobby pushed the wheelchair up to the bed.
Dean reached his good hand up and gently brush a lock of stray hair out of Sam's eyes, feeling the heat of his skin against his fingertips. "He feels hot." Dean commented.
"It's the fever." A voice informed him, Dean turned to see a man in a white coat walk into the room. "Sorry. You must be Dean. Bobby here has explained to me how you two ended up here."
Dean looked over to Bobby with questions in his eyes and the older man began to fill him in. "Dean, this is Dr. Accolay, we've known each other for years. He knows a thing or two about the work we do."
"Really?" If Dean's eyebrows could have raised any higher they would have been in his hairline. Bobby's connections never ceased to amaze the younger man.
"Yeah. George here has been patching me up longer than you've been alive. I called him in on a favor and he's taken on you boys' care, especially since you were shot and Sam had all of those drugs pumped into him, we didn't want the police to get involved and he's been covering for you two."
Dean looked back and forth between the two men and saw the shared nods. Dean had never been one to trust doctors, but if Bobby put his confidence this one then Dean could as well, especially if he could help Sam.
"My brother...He's gonna be okay?" Dean turned his attention back to Sam, still laying asleep next to him.
"He's already doing a lot better than I would have suspected." Dr. Accolay replied. "I was worried at first that the blow to his head might have caused some bleeding into his brain, but the scans were clear. His fever is going down as well, but he's still confused when he wakes up and doesn't seem to remember much of how he got , soon he'll be a little more lucid, but he just needs some time to rest and heal. As do you, you should be back in bed."
Dean sighed and growled in frustration. Now he could see how he and Bobby were such good friends, they were like two peas in a pod. "Screw that, Doc. I'm staying."
Bobby shrugged his shoulders and shook his head at the doctor. Once Dean's mind was made, nothing short of a nuclear explosion could change it and Bobby knew that arguing would be pointless when it came to Sam's care. Bobby just worried that one day, Dean's obsessive drive to protect Sam might get him killed one day.
"When can he get out of here?" Dean asked.
"You're both going to need a few more days."
Dean shot him a dirty look. "I'm good to go, Doc. You just get me my walking papers and..."
"Dean, don't be moron." Bobby cut in.
"I'm not leaving him. I need to be here when he wakes up again."
"Alright. How about a compromise. " The doctor offered. "I think Sam is doing well enough to be moved to a regular room. He can move to your room, but you stay in the hospital until I think you're ready to be discharged. How's that sound?"
"I like my idea better." Dean grumbled.
"Dean..." Bobby again grew exasperated.
"Good. I'll arrange for Sam to be moved."
"Okay, but I stay here until he wakes up." Dean insisted. The doctor just shook his head and gave Bobby a sympathetic look before he left, understanding a little more why the old hunter was always complaining about the two boys.
"Guess, you won't have to wait long then." Came a scratchy, hoarse and quiet voice from the bed. Dean turned back again to see two hazel eyes peeking out from narrow slits, blinking slowly as though his eyelids had lead weights attached to them.
"Hey, Sammy...How ya feeling?" As if in answer Sam began a rough round of coughing.
"Wonderful." Sam replied sarcastically after the fit subsided. Dean reached across to pour some water for his younger sibling, but with only one hand, he had a difficult time of trying to get the water into a cup without spilling everywhere. Finally, Bobby grabbed the pitcher of water out of Dean's hand and poured the water for him.
"It's like the blind leading the blind here." Bobby grumbled before he pushed a straw into the cup and handed it over to Sam.
"Thanks, Bobby." Sam responded before he took a few sips of water then laid back down on his pillow, looking exhausted from the effort it took it. Sam's eyes slid over to his brother, taking in the cast and sling that decorated his arm.
"You look terrible, Dean. I'm awake now and I'm fine. You should go to bed."
"Nah...I'm fine. Had worse." Sam wasn't buying it even a little bit. Dean looked about three shades too white and on the verge of collapse. "And you're about as fine as a horse's ass."
"Shuddup, Jerk" Sam came back softly, his eyes closing again, giving himself over again to sleep.
"Just make me, Bitch." Dean replied with a soft smile, ruffling Sam's shaggy hair.
It wasn't but a half hour later before Bobby was following Sam's gurney, wheeling a half-asleep Dean back to his room. The two brothers would stay there for the next three days, driving the poor old hunter nuts the entire time until he was able to finally take them home.
While the two of them seemed to be recovering nicely over those days physically and their brotherly bonds were reinforced by the close proximity to each other, the two still were far from being healed and they both still had buckets of issues to work out.
Bobby knew it would take time for the two of them to come to terms with their father's death, but at least they had each other and when the Winchester brothers were together, no force on Earth could break them.
Dr. Emily Rodriguez' heels clicked loudly, echoing across the walls as she walked down the cold, spartan hall of the hospital. Two interns and a nurse followed closely behind before she stopped and turned on the others behind her.
"So, who's our next patient, Dr. Michaels?" She asked.
The petite young woman she asked pulled out a chart and scanned it quickly, not wanting to upset her mentor by being unprepared. Dr. Rodriguez could be a hard one to please and she didn't want to be on her bad side this morning.
"Uh...Alicia Summers, age 23. She was dropped off here about a week ago by the Sioux county sheriff's department. She presented in a psychotic state and had deep bruising to her chest and a slight concussion. We're still not sure how she got the injuries, but both have healed nicely. Since she's arrived, she refused to speak to anyone for days and she's had a few incidents where she attacked some of the orderlies. But, she finally spoke yesterday to one of the nurses and told her that a man with yellow eyes asked her to kill a man named Dean and she's also been asking to see another man named Sam, but she couldn't give us any clue as to who they were or if they're even real. Given the delusions and hallucinations, my initial diagnosis is that she's suffering from schizophrenia. We currently have her on lithium and Xanax, but time will only tell if they have any effect."
"How about her family history. Any family that had Schizophrenia?"
"Not I could find. However, there were several reports with the police over the years about bruises the girl showed up to school with and CPS had a number of complaints on file regarding the grandmother that raised her. None of the claims of abuse were ever fully investigated and Ms. Summers' grandmother died last month. That in itself, could have been a catalyst for the psychotic break."
The older doctor nodded her head, apparently satisfied with the patient's history and went to the door. Peering inside the window, she frowned at seeing the room empty.
"Dr. Michaels... care to explain to me why the patient is not in her room?"
"What?...But she was in there only an hour ago before we began our rounds. She hasn't been cleared to be released into the general population yet." Dr. Michaels turned to the nurse and asked for the room key. Turning the key in the lock, she cautiously opened the door. Having dealt with violently psychotic patients before, she wasn't about to go bursting in there, but she gasped when the door fully opened and nothing was in the room save for one messed up bed. The patient had just vanished.
The cold, wet ground soaked through her thin, cotton scrubs and she shivered violently. She had no shoes on and her toes were unbearably cold. The miserableness of her situation hit her when she opened her eyes to see a grey, clouded sky above with a light drizzle falling onto her face. Confused as to how she had gotten there, she wondered if she was having some kind of hallucination. The doctors had been telling her that she been having them, so maybe this was one.
Plus she had been on enough drugs the lately that she hardly knew what was real and what was imagined anymore. She stood on shaky legs and looked about her. She was alone.
"Hello?" She called out, shoving her hands under her arms in an effort to keep war. It did little to stop the shaking. "Is anybody here?"
Only the flapping wings and loud caws of a flock of crows nearby answered her.
She looked about her. She was in some kind of old, ghost town. Dilapidated buildings with rickety, wood porches surrounded her, looking more like a cheesy set out of a Hollywood western than a real town.
Taking a few tentative steps forward she called out again, hoping for a human voice to answer her this time. She was scared, more scared than she had ever been in her whole life.
"Well hello there, sweetheart." A man's voice behind her had her spinning on her heels
A blond haired man wearing faded jeans and a denim work shirt stood behind her with his arms folded across his chest, a smile playing at his lips. She shivered again, but not from the cold, but from the strange yellow eyes he stared at her with. She felt her heart begin to race.
"You again?" She managed to get out. "How did I get here? What am I doing here?"
"Oh, I brought you here. We're gonna play a little game...kinda like survivor, except without the tropical island and you're just the first of many contestants to play. " He held out his hand and waved them around the abandoned town. "Welcome to Cold Oak, Sweet cheeks."
"God fuckin' dammit!" Dean wrestled with the socket wrench one handed, demanding it to bow to his will, but when it slipped through his fingers yet again he sounded off another loud echoing curse.
He stooped to pick it up once again from the ground, bumping his slinged up shoulder on the way down. "Ahhh...for cryin' out loud."
Two large boots crunched along the gravel and stopped next to him and picked the wrench up for him. "Here, let me get that."
Dean looked up half in worry and half in irritation. Sam was still way too pale for his liking, but being born a Winchester meant he had inherited a stubborn streak a mile wide and getting him to stay in bed had been nearly impossible.
"You should be resting."
"So should you."
"Fixing my car is restful."
"Doesn't really look like it."
"You just don't appreciate the fine art of restoring a classic beauty like this to life."
Sam snorted. "If you say so."
"A couple more weeks and she should be purring like a tiger again, just you see."
"Need any help?"
Dean snatched the socket wrench away from Sam's offering hands. "Nah...doin' just fine."
As if to prove his point wrong, Dean went back into the engine and tried again to settle the wrench over a stubborn nut and once again it fell out of his grasp and he let loose another string of cuss words. Sam chuckled a little at his plight.
"Yep...looks like you're doing just fine on your own." Sam sighed after that, Dean once again didn't need him around. "Guess I'll leave you to it then."
Dean watched as Sam turned his back to head towards the house. He knew he was doing it again, pushing Sam away, keeping him at arm's length because he was too afraid to face the emotions and the words of his father still echoing loudly in his head. It was to his surprise own surprise when his mouth began working before his brain could catch up and he called out, "Sam wait...."
Sam stopped and turned back around, Dean's eyes locked on his as though pleading with him to stay. "Guess it would have been too much to ask for that girl to shoot me in the left arm, but it looks like I could use a hand...or two." He pointed to his immobile arm, a grin sneaking up on his features.
Sam couldn't help but feel a smile growing on his own face as he walked back to his brother,
"Ya know...I owe you a big apology." Sam started as he grabbed the wrench from Dean's hand.
"For leaving...For doing that again. You may have noticed a pattern here with me, but, sometimes, it's just so damned easy to get up and walk away when things get rough, ya know? But I was wrong, I shouldn't have gone off like that. None of this would have happened if I'd just stayed."
Sam sighed heavily before continuing. "This whole thing was my fault. I shouldn't have gone after Dad's truck anyway. Turns out it was sold at a police auction last week.
Dean sighed and ran his free hand through his sweaty hair. "Forget it, Sam. You wouldn't have left if I hadn't practically kicked your ass out the door. You know as well as I that Dad's truck was just an excuse for you to get out of my blast radius for a while."
The younger brother gave Dean a little nod then turned his attention towards the engine. "So, what am I doing here?"
"Just unscrew that nut there so I can take out the carburetor."
"Which one is the carburetor again?"
Dean sighed and pointed to the part in question. "This one, genius."
Sam began unscrewing the nut as Dean watched on until he cleared his throat and began to speak again, bridging the span of the gulf that divided them lately.
"Ya know, I don't do the whole Oprah thing, I now that you want to help, but I'm dealing with things in my own way and I'm not ready to really talk about Dad. But he was your dad too, so if you want, I'll listen, I can't promise I'll talk, but I'll listen."
Sam lifted his eyes connecting them with Dean's and gave him a ghost of a smile, more of a twitch than anything, but it was an acknowledgment of his own pain in losing their father and Sam took it for what it was worth. He wouldn't be able to get Dean open up completely. Not yet anyway, but it was a baby step forward and that's what he decided they had to take: baby steps.
Thanks, Dean. That means a lot to me."
"So...you think we're gonna be okay...we good?"
"Yeah. We're getting there."