Author: Cheryl W.
Disclaimer: I do not own any characters or any rights to Royal Pains or Supernatural, nor am I making any profit from this story.
Summary: Cross over with Royal Pains (1st Season) and Supernatural (2nd Season.) While working a case in the Hamptons, the Winchesters cross paths with 2 brothers running their own occasional pro bono family business, proving that sometimes the best things in life are free.
Author's Note: Sorry for the long wait for this ending!
With their victory achieved, Dean bent over, leaned his hands against his thighs and closed his eyes, fought to stay conscious, to not let the pain bring him to his knees, tried to convince his lungs that it was to their benefit to keep pushing air in and out. Instantly Sam was pressed against his side, his arm circling around his back, was his anchor in the storm.
"Whoa, hey, I gotcha," Sam said using his gentle, little-brother-in-charge tone as he stooped to match Dean's position, fisted his hand in his brother's shirt front, watched Dean's profile and grimaced. Dean's freckles were standing out in his pale complexion and his eyes were clamped closed, and that was never a good sign. "You need to sit down?" He wasn't surprised that Dean gave a sharp, if minimal shake of his head. "Alright, just give yourself a moment."
"Should I…" Hank began to offer but Sam met his eyes over his brother's bowed posture and shook his head. Though the doctor in Hank ached to intervene, to insist he be allowed to check Dean over, the brother in him conceded to Sam. There were some times that only a brother's touch would be tolerated, that only family could be counted upon.
Never liking silence, Dean rasped out, "I'm not sure what I hate more right now…ghosts, pianos or the beach."
Sam's jaw jumped as he commiserated, "Yeah, me too," hating anything that brought his brother pain.
Wrestling his pain down to a manageable level, pushing through his fatigue, Dean straightened up, drew in a breath that only hitched a little in pain and opened his eyes. And Sam was right next to him, invading his personal space, his face mere inches from his own wearing that worried expression that puckered his forehead.
Instead of facing Sam, Dean shuffled away from his brother and turned around, knew that Sam released his grip on him, that he hadn't broken it, not with the feeble strength he had. Taking in the still shocked expressions of Hank, Evan and Tucker, he groused, "Show's over folks," and he swept his arm toward the door, had never been one to think that loitering after a haunting was smart.
The response he got was a cacophony of voices.
"Dudes, that was the most frightening…awesome thing I have ever seen," Evan gushed, eyes moving from Dean to Sam back to the piano.
Pointing to the burning piano, Hank responsibly asked, "The piano's still on fire. Shouldn't we…"
"Oh man, there was no way I regret being here, seeing that," Tucker admitted with a wide smile.
"Out, out! Move it!" Dean growled, snapping his fingers and pointing to the door. As Evan, Hank and Tucker passed him, he said, "Daphne. Fred. Scrappy Doo," which earned him a glare from Evan, a good natured snort from Hank and just confusion from Tucker.
Shooting a look over his shoulder at Sam, who was smirking at his brother's sense of humor, he groused, "The kid doesn't know Scooby Doo? We're not that old, are we?"
"I'm not. You are," Sam quirked back and slipped by Dean, beginning to follow the three "Scooby Doo" characters toward the door.
"Funny. You're a laugh riot," Dean grumbled, gave one last look to the piano which was turning to ash and then turned in time to watch Evan hesitantly open the door, physically brace himself to get assaulted by another tsunami wave. As the door swung open, only a trickle of water slipped into the room.
In utter disbelief Evan quickly stepped out into the entrance hall, found that there were only a few puddles of water remaining. Taking a few hurried steps to the right, he viewed the ballroom, couldn't believe that the water was all gone, had been recalled again to the ocean. But there was proof of the ocean's claim on the Country Club by the sand, seaweed, crabs, a few flopping fish that littered the floor and by the five foot water marks on the walls. "I…There was….He almost.." he stammered, pointed to Dean, knew he hadn't imagined Dean's near drowning, the wading pool the room had been less than half an hour ago.
Dean joined Evan's side, was almost in as much awe as Evan was at the absence of the water. "I hate friggin' ghosts that can manipulate nature," he bitterly spit out. Turning, he gave Evan a companionable pat on his chest, "Let's get out of here. Unless you're up for another swim?" he couldn't help taunt, enjoyed the way Evan's head snapped toward him.
"Yeah, no, not tonight. My hands get all pruny and my hair…it's just a mess in the morning, won't do a thing I want it to," Evan quickly replied, was already turning around and stalking for the door, nearly beat Hank outside, certainly beat his big brother down the stairs.
Giving the ballroom one more scowl, Dean turned around, found that Sam was standing in the entranceway, waiting for him. Without a word he went to Sam's side and together they left the Country Club house, matched strides down the stairs and onto the safety of the parking lot.
With the relief of being out of the Country Club, Evan began unleashing an excited rush of words, "Does it always happen like that? I mean the way he…he re-fleshed and then you two…kicking him into the flames..the way…"
"Yeah Ev, I don't think we need the blow by blow recap," Hank interrupted his brother's flow of words. Latching onto his brother's arm, he turned Evan to face him. "Hey, are you OK, were you hurt?" Seeing the flash of hesitation in his little brother's features he realized that Evan was contemplating keeping the truth from him, recognized that same reaction when he had grilled Evan about what Boris had to do with shark attacks. Tightening his grip and stepping closer to Evan, he said, "Evan, maybe you forgot but you swore you wouldn't keep an injury from me like Dean did to Sam. So you tell me right now if you're hurt."
Evan nearly squirmed under his brother's intense focus, gave a careless shrug of his shoulders. "I hit my head," raised his hand to rub the lump on the back of his head. But Hank was faster.
It wasn't hard for Hank to find the lump on the back of Evan's head, winced when Evan did as he lightly traced his fingers over the injury. "Is your vision blurry or are you seeing double? Do you have a headache? Any nausea?" Hank rapidly fired out the questions even as he inspected his brother's eyes.
"No. But I have seen a ghost. Yes. No," Evan gamely answered his brother's numerous questions, enjoyed the scowl of reprimand in his big brother's eyes. "I'm alright, doctor. And I'm not paying for this exam," he firmed stated, pointing a warning finger at Hank.
"You'll have to take that up with my CFO," Hank jokingly returned, the worry in his eyes fading to relief. Sliding his hand from Evan's head, he squeezed Evan's shoulder and smiled. Then turning around, intent on checking over the rest of Scooby Doo's crew, starting with Scrabby Doo, he found that Dean was already on that.
"You hurt?" Dean inquired, his hand lightly resting on Tucker's shoulder and his eyes holding concern as they held the teenager's.
"No. No," Tucker stammered, tried to instill strength in his second declaration. "I'm not hurt."
The look Dean bestowed on Tucker softened as did his tone. "Horace wasn't pulling any punches in there, if anyone knows that, it's me. So if you're hurt, you need to tell me."
"I'm not hurt," Tucker assured quietly as he unflinchingly met Dean's eyes. "Not even bruised. Thanks to you," his gratitude shinning through, for once not objecting to being protected. Not at all.
Dean's lips spread into a proud, relieved smile. "You did good for your first and last ghost hunt."
Tucker gave a shy smile and then bowed his head in a measure of shame at the obvious reprimand.
Ruffling Tucker's hair, Dean stepped back from the kid only to nearly run into Sam.
"What you told Tucker, same goes for you?" Sam quietly said, his eyes boring into Dean's as if Dean were the errant school boy. At Dean's raised eyebrow expression, he clarified, "You need to tell me how badly you're hurting."
"Nothing a hot shower, a bed and an ice pack won't cure," Dean lowly answered as he brushed by Sam's hovering figure intent on making a beeline for the Impala.
"You mean nothing an IV bag of antibiotics, a few stitches, pain medication of a decent strength and bed rest won't cure," Hank corrected, taking a stand between Dean and his getaway vehicle.
"Seriously, I got like one nerve left…" Dean warned. In truth, he wondered if he was too numb to realize if that last nerve had already snapped.
Instead of backing down at the threat in Dean's eyes, Hank stepped into Dean's personal space, "I'm not feeling real tolerant myself, what with a ghost trying to kill us all, a freak hurricane and a bullheaded patient who can't admit he's on his last leg…not nerve."
"Same thing," Dean smirked, wasn't in the mood to admit how close Hank's prediction was.
An unexpected mediator entered the fray.
"Dean," Tucker gently entreated as he reached out to grip the ghost hunter's bicep. He hesitated when he was instantly earned Dean's eye contact. "As far as doctors go, Hank's as good at his profession as you are yours." Encouraged when Dean rolled his eyes at his double edged praise instead of getting angry, he tagged on lightly, "And besides, I've tried to brush Hank off but he's like a pit bull, won't stand down until he gets what he wants."
"That I've figured out myself," Dean grudgingly admitted, his eyes shifting from Tucker's pleading expression to Hank's set features, could feel Sam at his back, knew which camp Sam was in: not his. "Fine, go get your little black bag," Dean conceded, waving a hand toward Hank's SAAB.
"No, follow us home. We have two guest bedrooms…"
"Now you want a sleepover?" Dean snapped, his pain quickly souring his humor for Hank's demands.
Evan interjected, "Trust me when I say our view and décor is way better than the Hamp Inn's. Hank will proved the drugs…"At Hank's glare, he qualified, "prescription of course, and I'll lay out a breakfast spread tomorrow like you've never seen before."
Clamping a hand on Dean's shoulder, Sam overrode Dean's reply. "Sounds too good to pass up."
"Sam," Dean hissed, turning to confront his brother but Sam's stubborn expression was even more fierce than Hank's.
Knowing when to leave a battle while a surrender was called, Hank prodded Evan and Tucker away from the Winchester brothers toward their respective cars. Then, biding Tucker goodnight, he invited the boy over to their place in the morning.
"Come on," Sam ordered, but his tone had slipped to gentle coddling as he carefully maneuvered Dean forward toward the Impala. He dropped his hold on his brother as they parted at the trunk of the '67 car. His head snapped up when Hank's sharp voice carried across the parking lot.
"You don't seriously think you should be driving?" Hank incredulously demanded, having stumbled to a stop at his own car door at the sight of Dean heading for the driver's side of his car.
Giving a dark laugh of frustration, Dean boasted, "I have driven in worst shape than this." And without offering up a further defense, Dean sank into the driver's seat of the Impala and slammed the door with force.
Meeting Hank's protesting look over the roof of the Impala, Sam meekly declared, "I have to pick my battles," before he claimed the passenger seat of the Impala.
Running a hand over his mouth, Hank glared at the black classic car before he got into his own car. "Patients like Dean Winchester are the reason every doctor over forty has grey hair," he grumbled and Evan smartly didn't put in his two cents.
The Impala skidded to a stop as Dean slammed on the breaks. "Holy crap," the brothers exclaimed together at the sight of the mansion at the end of the long driveway. The castle put Tucker's glass house to utter shame. "Hank and Evan probably stay in a shack out back," Dean theorized but the look he shared with Sam said that neither one of them believed that as he put the car back into motion.
When Dean cut the Impala's engine, Sam couldn't help throw Dean a cocky smirk, "You were saying," as he jerked his head toward Hank and Evan's shack.
"We are so in the wrong business," Dean murmured as he leaned forward in the seat to get a better look at the guest house.
Sam gave a snort of laughter, "This the first time you realized that." He laughed harder when Dean punched him in the arm.
Opening the door for their guests, Evan greeted, "Mi casa es su casa. Or well, Boris's casa es su casa."
Having grabbed his and Dean's bags with their extra clothing from the trunk, Sam slipped by Evan and then whistled, "You are really suffering, spending time with your big brother."
"You know a little brother's duty is sometimes harsh but we must preserve it in the name of family," Evan smart-alecked back, grabbing one of the bags from Sam's shoulder and leading Sam upstairs.
Having stood outside and taken in the tennis courts, the pool and the big looming castle to the left, Dean shook his head. 'Wrong business.' Entering the guest house and scoping out the interior, he shook his head again. "Totally wrong business," he lowly grumbled, spun on his heels as Hank trotted down the stairs, a larger black bag in hand than he had been toting the last two days Dean had seen him. "You give a new meaning to Pro Bono benefits" he teased, hands outstretched to take in the lavish surroundings.
For the first time, Hank blushed, felt ashamed of the lifestyle he had grown accustom to. "Dean…I…this…"
But Dean held up his hand, forestalled Hank's explanation. "I'm not begrudging it to you, just a bit…Ok a lot jealous. Is that a golf course on the far hill to the left?"
"Yeah but Boris made if off limits for Evan after he tore up the green trying to prefect his 'winning stroke'."
Dean smirked. He could picture that.
"Have a seat," Hank said, indicating his couch, purposefully made it sound like an invitation not a demand.
Eyeing up the leather couch, Dean looked down at himself, "Yeah, you don't want me to sit down. I'm still wet and salt water's really not kind to materials like leather. This Boris guy probably wouldn't like having to replace the couch."
"Worst thing Boris could do is kick us out," Hank nonchalantly revealed, like that consequence didn't matter compared to his desire to take care of Dean. "But you're right, I should have offered you the use of our shower. It's upstairs to the left and towels are in the closet in the hall."
Dean tilted his head at Hank's reaction, unaccustomed to someone putting themselves out for him.
"What?" Hank asked, couldn't interpret the expression in Dean's gaze.
Dean shrugged but it turned into a wince and a growled curse of annoyance as he bent over, curled his arm across his chest.
Crossing to Dean's side, Hank steadied the wounded man, felt encouraged when Dean recovered enough to raise his head and level a heated glare at him. "I've met a lot of stubborn people but you're taking the cake," he announced, beginning to lead Dean toward the stairs.
"My dad used to say either do your very best or don't bother trying," Dean retorted. But, giving into Hank's own stubbornness, he slid his arm around Hank's waist and let the doctor help him maneuver up the stairs.
"Funny, my dad told me to not do something myself that I could get someone else to do for me," Hank parried, gave a small sad smile at Dean's commiserating look. Fathers and sons, it was always a loaded mix of good and bad, of nurturing and scarring. Maybe that was why God gave out little brothers to some lucky few.
This round, Dean wasn't stoic, he was whiny. "Ow! You cutting into me with my own knife hurt less than you stitching me up," he scornfully accused as he winced away from Hank's ministrations.
"That's because your body was shutting down..in layman's terms…you were dying," Hank bluntly pointed out but when he turned to get another instrument off the table, he winked at Sam.
Instantly Sam's panicked features softened into a smirk, realized that Hank was purposefully baiting Dean to distract his brother from the painful procedure. Because, as bad as Dean's bloody torso looked, it wasn't cause for a hospital trip. Dean's mottled colored back, though it was painfully bruised, it wasn't hiding internal injuries…this time. And Dean's ill humor wasn't a symptom of a concussion but of exhaustion and lingering pain even after the pain meds Hank had forced Dean to take. Pain meds that were going to knock Dean out for hours when they took affect, which might not be quick enough if the look in Dean's eyes were any indication.
"So I was thinking…" Evan began, earning him the attention of his brother and both Winchesters. "You really …really need to get paid to do what you two do. And I can help with that. I've been structuring some price modules for you. You know, ghosts that toss things around, throw a harmless but destructive tantrum can be one price and homicidal ghosts like Horace, well, that range can vary dependent on the severity of its actions. And if you sustain an injury, we go into a whole other bracket of fees. Hospitalization, medications…."
"Sammy's the brains in our partnership, show him your modules," Dean broke into Evan's spiel, patting Sam on the knee and nodding his head toward the computer on the far side of the guest house's first floor.
Recognizing Dean's desire to distract him, Sam scowled a moment before he turned to Evan. "Yeah, can't hurt to hear your ideas."
"Really?" Evan nearly squeaked in surprise. "I mean they are rough numbers and I don't know the other….things you hunt," he stammered even as he got up, eagerly made his way toward his computer.
Sam followed on Evan's heals …but only after Dean gave him a reassuring nod, promised, with a look, to let Hank patch him up.
Alone with Hank, Dean watched the doctor work in silence. "What is it?" he prodded quietly, received Hank's troubled eye contact but not a verbal reponse. "I feel a lecture coming on."
"No lecture," Hank shortly replied, leaned closer to tie up the last stitch.
"Sammy does that too, the brooding silence. I always wear him down, so what is it?"
Setting down the needle, Hank dropped his eyes to his hands resting on his knees, struggled internally on whether or not he should let his feelings go unsaid. But he couldn't, it wasn't his nature to let someone hurt themselves, knowingly or unknowing. Raising his eyes to Dean, he exhaled and then plunged forward. "No money, no job references, no gratitude. Nearly getting yourself killed, Sam could have died.How do you keep doing this? Why?"
Unprepared for the straightforward inquiry, Dean looked away for a moment, knew that a deflection would not work on Hank. When he met Hank's eyes a moment later, there was no misgiving lurking in Dean's eyes. "It's what I know. What I'm good at…most of the time," he depreciated, knowing his current physical state wasn't the best proof of his professionalism. Hank didn't protest his claim, seemed to be waiting for more. Dean cleared his throat, hated that he was getting choked up. "People, they might not know what Sam and I have done, but they are safer because of it."
"And that's enough? That's worth…everything you risk?" Hank asked, not with censor but awe, knew the answer already, had come to know Dean and Sam enough to know the answer each brother would give, collectively and separately. Hank shook his head, "I…I've been selfish…most of my life. I mean I care about saving, healing people…but I also cared about money, about my ego, and Evan…he didn't fit into the new life I was building for myself. If things hadn't fallen apart in New York…." Hank broke off, felt a lump lodge in his throat. "Wherever I would be right now, Evan wouldn't be with me. I wouldn't be doing anything Pro Bono."
"On the bright side, you wouldn't have almost been killed by a ghost," Dean pointed out, slipping humor into the opening he saw.
"No, I guess not," Hank laughingly agreed before he sobered. "The relationship you and Sam have, no matter what came before, it's incredibility strong, Dean. And I hope Evan and I can get there."
"Watch what you wish for," Dean darkly predicted. "You're seeing Sam and I on one of our good days."
"Good days?" Hank scoffed. "You almost died, you faced off with a ghost, you had three novices screwing up your job…"
Dean smiled broadly. "Yeah, and that's one of our good days."
Hank laughed out loud.
"Evan," Sam gently broke into Evan's explanation about how they could set up a credit card payment plan for their clients, "you know we're not going to get paid, not for what we do."
Exhaling, Evan nodded, knew that it was just wishful thinking, nervous ramblings. "Doesn't mean you shouldn't."
"Hank should too," Sam countered, a thumb gesturing back to the doctor.
"I was scared. Really scared," Evan confessed out of the blue.
Sam was about to say something comforting about meeting a ghost was supposed to be scary but Evan's next works derailed his response, made him realize that they weren't talking about the same thing.
"Hank…he's always been the responsible one. And I've been…well, the little brother. But tonight, with Dean…he needed me and I knew you were counting on me to save Dean if I could. And I didn't want to fail you, either of you." Evan nervously ran his hand through his hair, "I don't see how Hank does it, having people's lives in his hands."
"But you did save Dean, just you. And if anyone knows what it's like to be in big brother's huge shadow, it's me. Dean's the leader, Dean's been my protector…my whole life and when things get turned around, when I have to lead, when I need to protect him….I'm more than scared Evan. I'm terrified."
"They make it look so easy, like it comes naturally," Evan snapped back but a smile was turning up his lips.
"Yeeaahhh, tell me about it. Fakers, both of them," Sam agreed, his own smile making an appearance.
"Being the youngest, it's not the worst fate," Evan lightly stated.
"No, not at all," Sam readily concurred. "So, I'm dying to know, how did you two land in this guest home suitable for a rich playboy?"
"Oh, Sam, it's a wonderful tale with a very happy ending," Evan drawled before he began his tale with his more than willing audience of one.
"My compliments to the chef," Dean saluted Evan as he got up from the table where he had consumed every morsel of the bountiful breakfast the Lawsons had laid out for the Winchesters and Tucker. "Guess Sammy and I should hit the road," he drawled as Sam climbed to his feet, stood at his side. But he couldn't help feel a little spike of sorrow at leaving, of maybe never seeing the two brothers who were so much like he and Sam again.
"You should stay another two nights, let your body heal up," Hank refuted, was still toting the same logic he had since Sam and Dean had come down the stairs that morning, their bags slung over Sam's shoulder.
"I'll heal up on the road, like I always do," Dean assured, knew that, as hard as it was to leave, if he and Sam stayed longer it would only get harder, would give them a teasing taste of what their lives could have been but would never be.
"But you're going to come back, visit, right?" Tucker asked from beside Dean, was looking at the Winchesters with a tinge of hero worship still in his eyes.
Dean wasn't a liar. Ok, he was but only in the line of duty…never to friends, to the ones he cared about. And he cared about Tucker, about Evan and about Hank. And he wasn't going to stand there and lie to them.
"Sure…maybe we can…" Sam began, was too kindhearted to shoot down the hope in Tucker's eyes.
"Sam and I would like to but…chances are, we won't," Dean cut off Sam's fairytale, not with harshness but with solemn regret. Meeting Tucker's hurt expression, he explained, "Doing what we do means we're on the road 365 days a year, that taking a vacation…it just doesn't happen. Not unless one of us is out of commission."
"I understand," Tucker muttered and headed for the door. After all, he had heard the speech before, how busy his dad was, how important what he did was, how it was always more important than he was. But Dean stepped into his path in the driveway before he reached his Ferrari.
"Yeah, I don't think you do understand," Dean gently stated, his eyes meeting the teenager's. "You almost got killed because we showed up on your doorstep, got you involved in our job. I won't risk your life again, not yours or Hank's or Evan's. And that best way I can do that…it to stay away from you. It's not the way I want things but it's the way things have to be."
"My dad thinks the same thing, that if he stays away from me, doesn't touch me he can keep me safe," Tucker fired back, was again cursing the notion that everyone's idea of protecting him was to leave him, to stay away from him.
"My dad thought the same thing," Dean admitted, saw the surprise in Tucker's eyes. "He was off hunting things my whole childhood, protecting me and Sam from things we didn't even know existed. And when he was around…he put us on lockdown, restricted us from doing anything he thought would put us in danger. And I …I didn't rebel, I did everything, everything he asked me to, thinking that…if I didn't, he might decide not to come home." Seeing the effect his words had on Tucker, Dean rested a hand on Tucker's shoulder, "Your father loves you, just like my father loved me but having someone like Hank around that cares for you, that's there when your dad isn't, that's a real gift too. I know because I had someone like him looking out for me and Sammy."
Tucker nodded, his eyes shimmering. "I don't know how I would have survived this summer without Hank, literally, since he saved my life."
Dean chuckled, "Yeah, me too. Guess it wouldn't hurt for us to show a little gratitude."
"Sure it wouldn't be too unmanly?" Tucker joked back.
"For studs like us, we can openly weep and it'll only bring the women flocking to us," Dean boasted, enjoyed the happiness that was gleaming in Tucker's eyes. Releasing the boy's shoulder, he nodded his head and watched Tucker head back inside before he followed.
When Tucker re-entered the room, his mood transformed, Sam smiled, knew his brother had worked his magic on the boy. And he was wearing a goofy expression of brotherly adoration when Dean strolled back inside and met his eyes.
Giving an eye roll to Sam and a visual order to "stop being such a girl" Dean crossed over to Evan and Hank, was almost instantly joined by Sam.
"This has been the craziest experience of my life," Evan announced.
"But in a good way, right?" Dean replied, with a twinkle in his eyes as he reached out, shook Evan's hand.
"Absolutely," Hank sarcastically answered. "Best days of my life," but there was warmth in his gaze and in the grip he had on Dean's hand. "You need anything, a doctor, a guy to carry your shotgun, a place to crash for a night or a month…you call us."
Dean nodded and then he stepped away, let Sam to his goodbyes.
Shaking Evan's hand, Sam said, "If we change our minds about charging people, I'll call you for your modules."
"I won't hold my breath," Evan returned, smile in place. "You take care of your big brother and I'll take care of mine."
"Sure, give me the easy task," Sam good naturedly grumbled and then Evan stepped away, left him alone with Hank.
For a beat, Sam hesitated, wasn't sure of his footing with Hank. But it was Hank who put out his hand, initiated the hand shake and Sam readily took up the peace offering. "I know you think I put Dean in danger by letting him go into that club and you're right…"
"And I know there was no way you were stopping him, Sam," Hank interjected, his conversation with Dean the prior night cementing the truth in his head. "Dean does what he thinks is right, no matter the risks. You did the only thing you could to protect him, you went with him."
Sam tilted his head in confusion. "Why the change of heart? Yesterday you were chewing me out and today you're ….all mr. understanding."
"Yesterday I dragged my own brother into danger, did it because it felt right…us being together. I get why you didn't go alone, why Dean wouldn't let you go alone. That you couldn't wait a few days until Dean was better, not when lives were at stake."
Sam nodded but swallowed hard, "If you think it was easy…."
"I don't," Hank bluntly reassured, knew the fear that nearly consumed Sam when they both thought Dean had drown. "But I've come to realize that, sometimes doing the right thing means you have to risk everything you care about." Because when he saved that boy's life in New York, he had done the right thing and had unknowingly put everything he valued on the line.
Sam's eyes glimmered as he nodded, "Yeah, sometimes doing the right thing is overrated."
"Well then it's a good thing that Dean and I have little brothers to come save us when doing the right thing costs us too much," Hank said, smiled, knew that doing the right thing, saving that boy's life, it hadn't condemned him, had instead saved him. Had saved his brotherhood with Evan, had saved him from a life without much meaning, had taught him the merit of Pro Bono work, of helping others, not just because they needed it, but because he could help them.
"Sam, today would be nice," Dean lightly huffed from his position by the door, antsy to be on the road, to say his goodbyes and slip into the comfort zone of the Impala.
Smiling at his brother's impatience, Sam called, "Coming Dean." Winking in wry acknowledgement at Hank's words, he gave a wave to Evan and Tucker. Watching Dean give his own nod of goodbye, he followed Dean out the door.
"I never thanked you, not really," Hank broke the silence at the dinner table, looked up to meet Evan's surprised expression. "For bringing me here, for standing by me when everyone else was jumping ship like I was the Titanic. After I didn't return your calls, didn't have you over for Thanksgiving or Christmas…you had ever right to call me up and gloat, tell me it was only what I deserved for being such a ….
"Goober," Evan supplied, humor in his tone instead of anger.
"Yeah, more than that. Why didn't you? I mean besides you would never lower yourself to gloating," Hank asked with lightheartedness but there was an earnest need in his gaze.
"Because, no matter what trouble I got myself into, you never gloated, never left me high and dry. Not once. Guess some of your good traits rubbed off on me."
"I saw you the last few days, how considerate you were with Sam when he was worried about Dean's surgery, the way you helped Dean yesterday. Maybe some of your good traits rubbed off on me, ever think of that?"
"Ah…" Evan contemplated a moment, "Nope. Maybe we both got influenced by Nanny Heather."
"Ev, she was there a week when you were what, twelve?"
"But what an impression she made on me. The sweaters she wore, the way she poured my cereal."
Hank threw a spaghetti noodle at Evan, which landed on Evan's shirt front. "You're hopeless."
"Hopelessly original, you mean. So, let's make a pact, the next client that mentions old country clubs, research that they need to do from years ago or say, a ghost, let's just drop them off at the hospital, no questions asked."
"Hey, you're the one that insisted on following Dean to the hospital," Hank pointed out.
"I got sentimental, it wouldn't happen again," Evan vowed but he was fighting down a smile.
"Sure, it won't. You're so cold hearted, that's why you saved Dean's life."
"Solely an act of self preservation. Sam would have killed me if I let Dean die."
"Yeah, and I threatened Sam when he said he got split up from you."
"No you didn't. Sam, seven foot, muscle brimming, gun carrying Sam. You threatened him?" Evan incredulously said.
Hank shrugged, "Well yeah, he was messing with my CFO. They aren't so easy to replace."
"Oh, you're going to pay for that…" Evan vowed as he pointed his fork at his laughing brother. "When you least expect it, I will have my revenge."
"Bring it on little brother, bring it on. After all, I taught you everything you know."
"Did not," Evan refuted, already plotting his retaliation, wondering if it was fair game to call Sam up for pointers on besting big brothers, because, after all, little brothers had to stick together..
"So…" Sam began, let that hang in the air of the Impala until Dean faced him from the passenger seat. "What's next? A werewolf in New Hampshire, a goblin in North Carolina?"
"I was thinking of maybe stopping at Bobby's," Dean suggested almost timidly.
Worry spiked in Sam, had him looking to Dean in alarm. "You're feeling that badly?" Because lately, Bobby's had been only a weigh station when the worst stuff was hitting them, was where they went when they were too weary to drive another mile down the road, when they had to lick their wounds. "We can find a motel, stay holed up as long as it takes until you feel up to hunting."
"I'm fine Sam I just thought…" Dean reassured but there was still unease in his tone.
"Thought what?" Sam gently prodded.
Meeting Sam's gaze, letting down his guard, he admitted, "Just we haven't seen him much lately."
"Ok," Sam drawled out, knowing there was more to Dean's urges than he was saying.
"I don't know, talking to Tucker, remembering how much Dad was gone…how many times Bobby was there for us, then and now. I guess I want to tell him thanks…that I appreciated it, appreciate him."
"He'll think you're possessed, you know that right? He'll try exorcising you, right under the devil's trap," Sam only half joked.
"Shut up," Dean muttered but he couldn't help smiling. "He will, won't he."
"Ah, yeah, definitely."
"So maybe I go into it a little more low key," Dean suggested and he got out his phone, hit a speed dial number and smiled cockily at Sam.
"Hey, Bobby its Dean."
"Why do you always assume we got ourselves into trouble?" Dean put umbrage into his tone but he wagged his eyebrows at Sam as Bobby played right into his hands.
"Would it put you out if we stopped in, stayed a night or two."
Bobby's grumbled return of outrage Sam could hear clearly through the cell phone, "You idjit? Put me out? You gotta ask? Stop talking stupid and get your butts to my place."
Shutting his cellphone, Dean turned to Sam. "Yeah, he's Mr. Sensitivity," he sarcastically said, but he couldn't help wonder how Bobby would have really reacted if he had said something as simple as thank you.
"You'll get your chance," Sam quietly stated as if he knew what was running through his big brother's head. And maybe he did.
And Sam's kindness, his kid brother's decision to side with him, even after all the crap they had gone through lately, had Dean nervously clearing his throat and vowing to be truthful with Sam. "Sam, about last night, I put you at risk, put everyone at risk hunting when I wasn't at 100%. You have every right to be mad at me, to want to ditch me again…"
"What?" Sam exclaimed incredulously, anger tingeing his outburst. "You think I want to bail on you?"
"I would understand…"
"No, apparently you don't," Sam shot back, eyes tracking from road to brother back to road. "When I left before it wasn't about me not trusting you, it was about me not trusting me, about keeping you safe…from me. And my going with you last night to the club, it was about having your back more than it was about stopping the ghost from hurting people I've never even met." Seeing the surprise in Dean's eyes, he stammered, hoped he hadn't ruined his brother's image of him, "I mean, yes, helping people, it's what we do, and it matters. A lot. But we're in this together, Dean, from here on out. And that means where you go I go, that whatever hunt we're on, we face the things together. All we have is each other and you promised me I wouldn't lose you and I'm holding you to that."
Dean raised his hands, "I'm not trying to renege, Sammy. I just…didn't mean to put you in more danger."
"But you told me as a kid that danger was our middle name," Sam taunted, happily watched as a slow smile pulled up one side of Dean's mouth and then the other. "You weren't lying, not to your kid brother who idolized you, were you?"
"Idolized?" Dean snorted, "More like terrorized," but there was joy glittering from his eyes as they met Sam's joy filled eyes.
Suddenly Dean realized that the bond he and Sam shared, it wasn't in fear of shattering like he thought it was. No, instead the recent gale winds that they had faced side by side had only caused it to grow stronger. It had him believing, for the first time, that there was a good chance that, just maybe, if they stood shoulder to shoulder, it would prove strong enough to endure the storm ahead, would prove that his father's dark prediction was wrong, in a thousands ways. Because John Winchester had forgotten one important factor: He and Sam, they were brothers and no one and nothing was going to undo that.
Thank you so much to everyone who gave me encouraging reviews throughout this story, to everyone who took a chance and read this crossover! I was able to finally complete this story because of your loyalty.
Have a great day!