A/N: Thanks to everyone that has read, commented, favorited or alerted this story. I hope you enjoy this final chapter. Cheers! :D
Part Five: My Wild Calling
Dean would have jumped if he wasn't driving when the phone suddenly rang next to him. He had tossed it earlier into the passenger seat when he had become too frustrated with repeatedly calling Sam to only getting his voicemail and had to scramble for it, accidentally dropping it onto the floorboard.
Swearing, he pulled the car over to the shoulder and stopped, reaching over the seats to find it and grimacing when the action of bending over pulled at the sores on his chest and reminded him that the pain from his run-in with Kubrick wouldn't be going away anytime soon. Finally finding the phone, he checked the caller ID quickly, but was disappointed to see that it wasn't Sam's number. However, he still held out hope that it might be his wayward brother.
"Hello?" He flipped the phone open and answered hastily.
There was no response on the other end for a fraction of a second and Dean's heart sank thinking that it might just be someone calling the wrong number. "Who is this?" he asked
He heard a sharp intake of breath and then a meek "Dean?"
Sinking down in his seat, Dean sighed heavily in relief. "Sam?"
"Oh thank God." Sam breathed a shuddering breath. "Where are you? You okay?"
"I should ask you the same, but I'm alright...I've been looking for you everywhere, dude. Where are you...you hurt?" Dean asked, not liking the tone of Sam's voice. He could recognize his brother's sick or injured voice anywhere.
"M'okay..." Sam's replied, sounding oddly breathless and strained, sending out signals to his older brother that he was anything but. "What happened to you?"
"Long story...I'll tell it when I get to you. Where're you at?"
Sam gave out the directions quickly and after Dean hung up, he was flooring the accelerator and barreling down the wet stretch of highway leading out of town. He hadn't bothered to ask how Sam had ended up so far out, but right then he didn't much care. Getting to him was more important.
Sam hung up the phone, relieved to hear Dean's voice and his assurances that he was on the way. Feeling a great burden lift off his shoulders just knowing he was alive, but still worried by the way his brother lied to him about being alright, he turned to Tom. "Dean's coming...but he didn't sound good. He could be hurt."
"How can you tell that over the phone?"
Sam shook his head. "I just could." Taking a step back from the phone, Sam was suddenly and unexpectedly attacked by a wave of light-headedness.
"Good God, Sam." Tom grabbed his arm again and led him over to a bench, sitting him down. "Sit down before you eat the sidewalk."
Now that the adrenaline that had been fueling him to find Dean had gone, Sam could feel every ache and every pain that wracked his body. Shivering as he sat, he pulled the coat in on himself closer and bowed his head as if it might chase away the throbbing in his head and body.
"I'm going in to get you water." Tom explained as he headed into the Gas station's store.
Sam lowered his head even further and closed his eyes thinking to rest them for just a minute and was surprised to find someone slapping his face what he thought was only moments later.
"Sam?...Sammy?" Pulling weary eyes open, Sam peered up and into a welcome if not a little battered sight.
"Dean?...you look like crap." He pointed out, taking in the black, puffy eye, swollen, red cheek and scabbed lip.
"Right back at ya, man..." Dean retorted, looking him over. "what ya doing sleeping out here? And what the hell are you wearing and where is your shoe? " He asked.
"Lost my shoe...Was tired." Sam explained as if it wasn't obvious. Coming around fully, Sam looked about. "Where's Tom?" He asked.
Dean looked confused. "Who's Tom?"
"He was just here...he went into the store."
Sam felt Dean's cool hand land on his forehead. "You're burning up, Sam. There's no one else here except for the attendant."
Sam shot up. "No..I wasn't hallucinating. He was just here...he's gotta be around somewhere." Brushing off Dean's restraining hand, Sam got up and looked from left to right, seeing no sign of him "We need find him..."
"Whoa, Sam...wait." Dean tried to stop him, but Sam was already moving towards the entrance of the store and walking in, going straight to the counter.
"Have you seen an older man come in here?" Sam asked the attendant when she looked up from her magazine.
"You mean old Tom?" She asked. "Yeah...I think he went to the bathroom. Come to think of it...he's been in there a while..."
Dean followed as Sam darted for the restroom and opened the door, hurrying in. On the floor, Tom lay face down in front of the stalls, a small puddle of blood laying under his temple.
"Tom!" Sam called as he came to the older man's side and felt for a pulse. Feeling it was strong and steady, he was relieved to see him begin to move, groaning as he came to.
"Tom...Tom? What happened?'
"Uhhhh..." Tom groaned, trying to sit up, swaying a little. "Something pushed me into the sink." He grabbed his head then pulled his hand away, seeing the blood.
"Brad?" Sam asked and Tom nodded. Dean came nearer then grabbed some paper towels, handing them to Sam so he could use them to staunch the flow of blood from Tom's temple.
"Who's Brad?" Dean asked.
"Who're you?" Tom came back at him.
"Tom...this is Dean, my brother. " Sam began the introductions. "Dean...this is Tom, he helped me and I promised we would help him in return."
"Ooookay..." Dean on confused. "Someone gonna tell me what's going on here?"
Sam looked up at Dean as he helped Tom from the floor. "Brad's an angry spirit, Dean."
Still perplexed, Dean asked sharply. "Wait...you telling me that you go missing for a few hours and manage to pick up a ghost?"
"Basically." Sam shrugged somewhat sheepishly. "Yeah."
Dean shook his head and threw up his hands, but didn't seem all that surprised by the improbability of it all.
"Magnet, Sam...You're such a magnet."
Tom held the wad of paper towels to head while Dean helped him into the backseat. Sam came around and took his usual spot after grabbing the bag with his extra clothes and shoes in and as soon as he was in, he looked back at the older man.
"I thought he wasn't able to leave the woods." Tom started. "Why is he out here now?"
Sam shook his head, pulling on dry pair of socks and shoes, almost sighing in contentment as they warmed his chilled feet. "I can only guess that he's latched onto you somehow...must have heard us talking about taking him out for good and followed us out of the woods to try to stop us."
Dean had taken his seat behind the wheel, listening to the exchange. "Guess this means we need to find this Brad guy's body then."
"Yeah..." Sam agreed. "Tom...you know where Brad is buried?"
"Forest lawn cemetery, just north of town. He was a foster kid and no one claimed his body, so the state had him buried here in town...so we're gonna do this now?"
"If this Brad's onto us like Sam thinks, then he's just gonna follow us wherever we go and seeing as how it's the dead of the night, we might as well get this over with before daylight." Dean explained, taking a long side glance at Sam.
Sam could almost feel his brother's eyes on him and asking questions about his ability to do the job right then. Sam felt like crap, that was sure, but waiting until he was 100% wasn't going to happen if Brad was going to keep popping up unexpectedly and going after Tom. Better that they got this over with now. Plus, he was also worried about Dean. He looked like had been through the wringer and once all this was over with, they could find a room, far, far, far away from here where they both could recoup from these horrible, terrible last few days.
"So...you gonna explain all of this?" Dean asked Sam once they were on the road. Taking a deep breath, Sam started from the beginning and told his story about going out to look for Dean, falling in the water, finding his way to the camp and etc. Sam demanded the same from his brother, needing to know the whole story behind his disappearance as well. Dean was rather matter-of-fact about his run-in with Kubrick and Cready, leaving out several of the details, especially the whole battery/electrocution thing, not wanting Sam to get all guilt-ridden about him being kidnapped and tortured because of him.
Dean would recover and was already feeling somewhat better now that he found Sam and the physical sores on his chest from it he would be careful to keep hidden from his little brother. He was already all in knots knowing that Dean was going to Hell for him, why add to his little brother's feelings of complicity.
Sam eyed him, knowing he was holding something back, but Dean turned back to look at the road, driving on. The highway was dark and wet while it continued to drizzle out, the only light illuminating it came from the Impala's headlights when suddenly a figure appeared before him standing in the middle of the road, his pale face lit up by car's high-beams.
"Dean!" Sam shouted.
"Shit!" Dean cursed as he stomped on the brakes, the wheels of the car sliding on the slick asphalt and fishtailing.
Dean fought for control of the car while it spun towards the shoulder, but he was unable to stop it's momentum before it went front-end first into a ditch, sinking into it's soggy bottom.
The impact sent all three forward, Dean taking a header into the steering wheel while Sam braced himself against the dash. In the backseat, Tom was also flung, but stayed mostly secure in his seatbelt.
When everything finally came to a stop, Sam groaned at the new jarring his shoulder had taken, but was grateful his seatbelt had held, but when he glanced over at his brother seeing him slumped over the steering wheel, his heart began to race.
"Dean!" He shouted, unbuckling himself and reaching over to feel for a pulse. Fortunately as soon as Sam touched him, Dean started to stir and moan softly before attempting to lift his head up. Turning to look over at Sam, he peered at him with glassy, unfocused eyes.
"Dean?" Sam asked, trying to get him to respond. Blinking several times Dean turned back to take in the sight of his car's front end stuck in the mud of the ditch. "Dean?" Sam asked again when he didn't say anything.
Dean finally faced back to his brother. " You okay?"
"Yeah" Sam came back in a short clip, but grabbed his shoulder where it burned in pain.
"Tom?" He asked his backseat passenger and got coarse "I'm fine" in return.
"S' that was Brad?" Dean asked and Sam nodded.
Looking back out the windshield, Dean's face tightened and his jaw clenched. "That kid is so toast."
Sam put the gear into reverse once again while Tom and Dean leaned into the front end, gritting their teeth and exerting all of their strength into freeing the car from the ditch. Sam gunned the engine, spinning the back wheels.
"C'mon...c'mon." He encouraged the car to move, fearing that it would only fall forward back into the ditch like it already had several times before. However, this time the back wheels caught onto the stony shoulder and took hold. Tom and Dean pushed with all of their might and Sam pressed down on the accelerator until the front end started to come free of the mud, the back wheels pulling it out completely until the whole car was back on the pavement.
Sighing and completely spent, Sam slid the gear into park then slumped back into the seat, taking a moment to compose himself before Tom and his brother came back up. He didn't want to admit how tired, chilled and achy he felt because if he did, Dean would notice and he would worry, most likely deciding that he would have to stay behind while he went out alone to torch Brad's corpse. Given the way Dean moved stiffly and the way his eyes held a glazed look that spoke of concussion, he wasn't about to let him go it alone without back-up.
Closing his eyes for a brief moment, Sam shored up his reserves and pushed aside the weariness, bracing himself for work they still had to do.
Dean opened the car door, his face a mix of exhaustion and irritation.
"Alright...let's get this crap over with." He grumbled, making gestures for Sam to scootch over so he could drive.
"Can you even see straight, Dean?" Sam asked, not about to let his concussed brother drive. "I'll drive."
"Not a chance, Sam. Have you looked in a mirror yourself lately?" He argued back.
"Are you two like this all of the time?" Tom snapped. "Why don't you just let me drive and quit your bickering?"
There really wasn't any arguing with the older man as he shooed them both away from the front seat
With Tom at the wheel after that, it wasn't too long long before they were through the gates of the cemetery. It was large and the road through the graveyard took them through many curves. "You know where his grave is?" Dean asked, peering through the dark.
Tom just nodded gravely and led them to a lonely, forgotten area covered with weeds and overgrown grass. Parking the car, Dean looked over at Sam, who was looking worse with each passing minute. He wasn't happy about taking Sam out to go dig up a grave in the cold when he looked like he could keel over at any minute, but true to his nature, Sam stubbornly refused to be fussed over and was out of the car before Dean could even stop the engine.
Coming around the back to the trunk, Dean joined Sam in gathering the supplies they would need. Sam loaded the shotguns with rock-salt, grabbed a couple of iron knives, putting one in his pocket and handing off the other to his brother while Dean pulled out a couple of shovels then grabbed flashlights, salt and kerosene before shoving them inside his carry-all.
Slamming the trunk lid, Dean took another good look at his brother and saw him staring at him as well, giving him as much of a critical once over of his physical condition as he was giving him. Seeing that neither of them was going to allow the other to go on with out the other, Sam turned and looked around for Tom.
He saw him standing in front of the gravestone they were targeting, his face grim and sad. Sam headed over to him and stood by his side.
"Can't believe I'm doing this. It feels like he'll be dying all over again and its all on me." Tom spoke up.
"Better this way." Dean said as he dropped the shovels on the ground and handed a flashlight over to Sam. "He won't be able to hurt you or anyone else after this."
Tom eyed Dean, but took up one of the shovels with determination and started to dig into the earth. Silently, Sam and Dean agreed on their jobs, Sam's arm was just to painful to dig, so he stood watch, shotgun at the ready while Dean helped Tom with unearthing the grave.
For the most part it was quiet while they dug, the only noises the scraping of the shovels as they removed the dirt and the occasional grunt from Tom and Dean as they strained.
While he held the flashlight and let the other two men work, Sam kept a scanning eye on their surroundings, trying to stay alert for any sign of Brad showing up, but his body was opposed to the idea and he found himself taking a seat when his weary muscles threatened to betray him.
His eyes wanted to close, to rest for just a second, but he resisted that temptation. Even so, the slow progress Tom and Dean were making coupled with steady buzzing going on in his head had him losing the fight.
"Sam!" Dean called out and he snapped back to alertness. Looking down, he found Tom and Dean still in the hole, his brother casting a concerned yet irritated stare his way. "Hey...you're dropping the flashlight."
"Sorry." Sam shook his head, clearing away some of the cobwebs in his brain. Standing up again with a grunt, he decided it best to keep moving in order to stay on his toes.
Hearing a thunk as his shovel met some hard resistance when he struck it into the ground again, Tom called out. "I think we have something here."
Sam looked down into the grave form up above while Dean quickly helped Tom clear away the dirt from the top of the coffin he had just struck.
Dean was just about to pry open the lid when the flashlight beam from above cut out again. "Sam...the light!" He called out, needing it to see what he was doing. However, when the light didn't return and Sam didn't respond, Dean felt a tingling go up and down his spine. A cold wind kicked loose leaves and debris into the grave and he knew right away that they were in trouble.
"Open it up fast!" He shouted at Tom, his pulse ratcheting up. "And no matter what you hear up there, get the body salted and lit as soon as you can."
Without allowing Tom the chance to ask what was going on, Dean climbed out of the hole as quickly as he possibly could, but far slower than he would have cared for thanks to his pounding headache. Once on the surface he found the flashlight discarded on the ground, but his brother no where in sight.
"Sam!" He called out, dropping his shovel and reaching for his shotgun. But, before he could even get another breath in to shout for his brother one more time, he was tackled from his blind-spot and sent flying, wrenching the shotgun from his hands. Falling to the hard ground on his back, Dean felt all of the air in his lungs escape, leaving him momentarily breathless.
There was no time to recover before his attacker was on him again, this time with the shovel he had dropped in his clutches. The dead kid's face practically glowed with anger as he advanced with unearthly speed and swung the shovel's heavy spade toward Dean's head. Rolling sideways and jumping to his feet, Dean barely escaped having his head caved in when the shovel hit the ground with a loud thud.
Brad quickly raised the shovel once again and faced off with Dean, his lip curling into a snarl while he took another wild swing at him. Ducking, the shovel whipped over Dean's head close enough for him to feel the displaced air under it blow his hair, but seeing an opportunity open up when Brad left his mid-section unguarded from his move, he sprung forward like a line-backer and barreled into his chest, catching the incensed spirit by surprise and causing him to drop the shovel.
Brad growled in terrible anger, shoving Dean in the chest and flinging him backwards with all of his paranormal strength. Crashing backward and striking a large stone monument, Dean felt a blinding pain lance his side when a bone in his ribcage shifted, but before he fell forward he managed to catch himself from face-planting by throwing out his hands. On all fours, Dean looked up to see Brad coming towards him again, however his body was in full-on rebellion mode and he knew he was too beaten to put up much more of a fight.
Darkness was edging in on Dean's vision while he struggled to pull in air through his battered ribcage and passing out from the pain was imminent. Brad's eyes filled with hatred as he bent down to retrieve the shovel he had dropped earlier, his intentions towards Dean clear.
Suddenly a shot-gun blast filled the air and echoed across the grounds of the cemetery and Brad disappeared, the shovel falling the ground with a clatter. Standing behind the space the spirit of the teenager used to occupy, Sam lowered the still smoking gun, wobbling a little unsteadily.
Struggling to his feet and clutching his side, Dean breathed heavily, fighting the dizziness and thumping pain in his head to make it over to his brother.
"Hey...you okay?" Dean asked. Sam's temple bled profusely, but looked mostly superficial, however when he got close enough to touch him, he suddenly pitched forward. Dean was almost not fast enough to catch him, but did, dragging his half-conscious little brother back to the grave despite the pain he himself was in. He could feel the heat coming off of Sam, sending his anxiety soaring, but they still had a spirit to send packing before he could come back and strike again as he didn't think either one of them would be able to fight him anymore.
Practically collapsing beside the grave, Dean set Sam, who was blearily looking up at his big brother now, against the headstone.
"Dean?...sorry...let him get the jump on me..." Sam muttered, his head sinking and eyes slowly blinking.
" S'okay, Sam." Dean quickly absolved him of any guilt before he scooted over to glance down into the open grave.
Tom was in the middle of dousing the body with the lighter fluid and finished off the rest of the bottle, dropping it aside.
"Is it salted?" Dean wheezed out to the older man while he scrambled out of the hole.
"Yeah...used the whole bag."
"Good..." Dean stonily replied, pulling out a book of matches and lightening them up. He tossed them into the coffin and watched with grim satisfaction as the fire took hold and turned into a raging inferno. "Sayonara, brat." He added just before the world went black.
Sunlight streamed into his face and he wished the light would just go away and let him sleep. When it didn't, he gave up any further efforts to rest, especially since the dull ache he had been feeling before in his ribs was becoming too bothersome to ignore any further.
Cracking his eyes open and squinting where the sun hit his eyes from the open curtains, Dean looked about the unfamiliar room in confusion. He knew from experience that he was in a hospital, but the details of how he ended up there were still fuzzy. It wasn't until and grizzly face came into his bleary view that he finally remembered what had happened.
"Hey kid." Tom greeted him. "Good to see you awake."
Dean groaned as he tried to sit up a little further, but Tom stopped him. "Don't try move, you cracked some ribs. Let me put up your bed." Tom reached over and pressed the button on the side-rails of the bed that made the head rise.
"Thanks." Dean croaked back, taking another look around. "Where's Sam?"
"Right over there." Tom pointed to his side. A curtain was drawn up between them, blocking Dean's view of his brother.
"Yeah..He's sleeping right now. He has a pretty nasty infection, but the antibiotics he's on should clear it up soon. You were the one we were most worried about...grade five concussion...doctors said it doesn't get much worse without there being some bleeding in your brain. Damn lucky if you ask me."
"Lucky?...man, that is not how I would describe my life." Dean grumbled mostly to himself, but he still had more questions for the older man. "You brought us in?"
"Yup...I didn't think I could treat you both myself, so I drove you here straight from the cemetery. Wasn't easy. Had to clean up the mess in the graveyard first then haul the two of you out of there, but I managed. I told the doctors and the police that I found you guys like this and they pretty much bought it. It was a little harder trying to explain away Sam's gunshot wound and the burns on your chest, but I played dumb...kind of I figured that the truth was better kept just between the three of us. But, I figure the police might be back to ask questions now that you're awake."
Dean nodded his thanks for the head's up, neither he nor Sam needed the police looking into their injuries, so the sooner they could both get out of there the better.
"By the way...how did you two end up in such a state before I even met you?" Tom asked inquisitively. "I don't think you either one of ya has been telling the whole story."
"You don't want to know...let's just call it bad luck." Was all Dean replied with.
"That's all Sam said too...guess you ain't gonna tell me, so I'm not gonna press it." Tom got up from his chair and grabbed his coat. "Well...I better be going...Just want to say goodbye to Sam first."
Tom walked over to the curtain and pulled it back. The motion and the noise next to his bed stirred Sam from his sleep and he opened his eyes.
"Hey, Sam." Tom greeted him. "Someone's awake and wants to say hi." He moved out of the way and finally got a good look at his brother. Considering all that they had been through the last few days, he didn't look too bad. He still had dark circles under his eyes and his arm was slung up across his chest, but otherwise he knew that he would be alright which made Dean sigh in relief.
Sam too appeared to have a weight lift off his chest and he grinned a little seeing him awake. "Dean...you were out for so long..."
Dean waved off his concerns. "I'm okay..."
"Well, I'll let you two catch up." Tom began to excuse himself. "I just wanted to thank you both for helping me..you've given me my freedom back and for that, I'm in your debt." Tom started to back up and head for the door.
"Wait..." Sam called out to him just before Tom's hand could reach for the door. "Ya know, Tom. Now that Brad's gone I think you should seriously think about forgiving yourself. It wasn't your fault that he died and now that he's moved on...maybe you should too."
Tom gave Sam a melancholy grin and nodded. "I'll try...I've already been thinking about selling the camp and moving back to the city. Guess it's about time I joined the rest of society." He took a deep breath and blew it out before reaching again for the door handle. "Anyway,...you two take care now."
Without another word, Tom was out of the room leaving Sam and Dean to themselves. As soon as they were alone, Dean stripped his blanket off and groaned as he rolled out of bed, clutching his side tight while he searched for his clothes.
"Ready to blow this popsicle stand, Sammy?" He asked as soon as he found his pants.
"Do you even have to ask?" Sam replied, taking off his blanket as well while trying and failing to suppress a yawn. Sticking around in a hospital when the police might come at any time asking questions really wasn't an option no matter how lousy either of them felt.
Dean was careful to write down Sam's antibiotic prescription before they left, but decided that a trip to the pharmacy again in this town was out of the question to which Sam readily agreed.
Hightailing it out of town, their initial rush to get out of Dodge quickly lost steam and they only made it as far as the next county before both of them were too tired to keep going much further. After picking up Sam's antibiotics and plenty of painkillers for the both of them at a grocery store pharmacy thirty miles from the hospital, they settled for the nearest motel and both collapsed on their beds.
Dean was almost asleep when Sam's voice floated across the room.
"Wha?" He answered blearily.
"I was just thinking..."
"You're always thinking, Sam."
"What if our bad luck is actually good luck for other people."
"What are you talking about?' Dean grumbled, rubbing his aching head.
"It's like this..., if you hadn't been taken by Kubrick and Cready then I wouldn't have come looking for you, fallen into the water and met Tom. It was all by chance that we were able to help him. Sure it sucks for us, but at least some good came out of it."
"Is there a point in you keeping me awake, Sam?"
"I'm just saying...ya know...sure, we may be cursed or just chronically unlucky, but in the long run we do a lot of good, so maybe we're not so unlucky after all. I mean, you always got my back and I'll always have yours...so...I guess what I'm saying is...well...I feel pretty lucky to have you as my brother."
Sam finished speaking and was met with silence. "Dean?" He turned his head and frowned. Dean's eyes were closed and his breathing had evened out into the smooth rythyms of sleep. Sam sighed and sank down into his pillow, feeling kinda silly for opening up to his brother like he had only for him to not hear it.
Closing his eyes, Sam himself decided he might as well get some sleep too when just before he could drift off, he heard Dean mutter beside him.
"Me too, Sammy."