Hi everyone! Okay, this is it! THIS is the FINAL chapter! I really, really hope that you enjoy it after you have stuck with me for this long. I would really love to hear some reviews of the story as a whole if you feel so inclined. If not, hey, no worries! :) I am hoping that sometime I may delve into another Dean&Sam saga, I do love this angsty stuff so! Thanks again for all your support, your kind words and lovely reviews! Thanks and I hope that you enjoy the ending of this one particular journey! THANK YOU !
The eldest brother continues to gag and just as Sam is about to head over to him to try to help somehow, he darts towards the bathroom. As Sam follows behind he can hear the sound of Dean retching, emptying the contents of his stomach, of his delicious burger, into the porcelain below. Great, so much for getting and keeping some food in you bro. As he peers into the room, Sam can see that his brother is now dry heaving as he shakily holds the sides of the toilet. Another minute goes by and then Dean rises up, heads to the sink, rinses out his mouth and splashes some water on his face.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm good Sam. Damn burger." Snicker. "So what you say Sammy? Time to hit the road?"
"Why don't you explain to me what just happened. And please, don't insult me by saying nothing."
"Uh, what can I say? You saw it right? Ate my burger too fast. Not enough room in the gut to keep it all so it decided to get rid of it. As simple and disgusting as that little brother. All better now, not gonna spew anymore."
"Oh, okay, if you say so. Well, your little upchucking scene must have tired you out a bit huh? So, I guess we better get back to bed, get some shut eye and then head out in the morning right?"
Fear. That's what Sam sees on his brother's face. Fear. But his brother really is the master because the fear is only there for a split second. If he would have blinked at that exact moment, Sam would have missed it altogether. As the younger Winchester continues to watch, he sees the look of fear be replaced by one of those patented Dean smirks, but not the 'real' smile that was shown there earlier. This one is merely a fragment, a piece of his wall shining through.
"No Sam. We should leave now. C'mon bro, you and me? The two amigos back out on the open road, travelling the exciting backroads of the USA? Can't stay in limbo for too long, where's the adventure? Where's the fun in that? You don't want to stay here too long and wake up one morning and discover that you have turned into some boring old man do ya?" Dean rushes past his brother and starts towards the main room, grabbing his gear in his hands as he flies around the room.
Sensing that his brother is on the verge of some kind of episode, Sam decides he'll give in. They'll leave, but these 'two amigos' are going to have a long, long talk as they head back out on the open road. The youngest brother has an inkling as to what is going on. Sure, his brother has been to hell and back... literally. But the demons, those demons that he speaks of, the ones that invade his waking mind, they are ones that Dean has conjured up himself. When his brain and mind and body are at rest, when he sits still just for a day, his own mind is making him suffer. It isn't an actual demon that haunts him, it's his own guilt over what he has done, both on earth and down under. Yes, need to have a very long talk.
"Okay Dean, okay. We can go. You finish packing up our things and I'll go sign us out."
"Awesome! Thanks Sammy! You are the best! So, what you waiting for princess, get your ass in gear already, time is a wasting!" And with that Dean continues on but now he has a huge, wide perma-grin planted on him. God, it's like he's brothers with a damned Yo-yo! Up and down, back and forth. Sam heads out and now starts to share his brother's urgency to leave. He's starting to feel like this motel itself is cursed.
As Sam heads back towards their room after taking care of business at the motel's office, he sees Dean, leaning up against the back of the Impala, staring off into the field beyond, his leg twitching like its crawling with ants. He really wants, and I guess needs to get outta here.
"Okay, all set Dean, we can go." The older Winchester stays rooted to the spot, doesn't move, just continues to keep his stare into that field.
"Sammy? Do you see that? Over there in the woods?" Sam follows the point of his brother's finger as he makes his way to where Dean stands. Nothing. Sam sees absolutely nothing but some woods, some trees, just hanging out in the field, nothing out of place, nothing unusual. Certainly nothing that would lead someone to wear the kind of petrified out of my mind look which his brother is sporting at the moment. So, Sam can't see anything, but what in the world does his big brother see?
Sam doesn't want to startle his brother so he uses a gentle voice to speak with him. "I don't see anything Dean. There is nothing there but trees."
"Whew, that's good news. I don't know what we would have done if that..." a distinctive point "...if THAT was actually real." Shakes his head in relief. "Damn demons, they almost had me going again." Chuckle. "I mean where would we start? Who would we have time to save? Someone? No one? It's a good thing we won't even have to try."
"I don't see anything bro but it is kinda obvious that YOU do. So, let's have it Dean. What do YOU see over there?"
"Me? Don't see anything either Sammy. I was just foolin with ya, you know? Just a test. And you passed with flying colours bro." Dean claps his brother on the shoulder. "Well done."
Sam sighs, comes to stand in front of his brother and grasps both his shoulders and looks him straight in the eyeball. "Sorry man, not buying the act. You are freaked out by something right now. By something you saw. Can't hide from me anymore, you have spilled way to much. So, I KNOW that you are seeing something over there. Out with it Dean. What?"
Dean gulps and looks at his feet. "Oh, you know Sammy, the usual stuff." His gaze then lands on the exact spot he was pointing at just moments ago. "Fire. It's all on fire. Burning. Souls. Burning. They are in that field, on fire, burning, screaming. I can see them. Staring at me from a distance as they burn. As they scream. on fire. always. burning. screaming..." Dean's eyes are transfixed on that damned field and Sam can feel his brother's mind being sucked right into his hallucination. His older brother is starting to pant as he stares blankly, terrified but also mesmerized by the scene playing out in his mind.
"DEAN!" Sam stands right in front of his brother's face to obscure the field from his view. He cups Dean's face in his palm and tilts it to bring his eyes away from the sight which is consuming him to meet his younger brother's face instead. "Dean, come back. Listen to me. There is no fire. Nothing is burning. You and I are safe. We are just hanging out by the Impala getting ready to head back out on the road remember? Right, the two amigos?" Dean blinks and the cloudiness once evident in his eyes slowly clears, and Sam knows he is once again with him on this journey he likes to call reality.
"Yeah, I know Sammy. Not real. Got it. Can we leave now?" Sam nods and as Dean pushes off from the Impala, his younger brother notices him take one more long, unwavering gaze into that damned field. Yeah, time to go.
Odd. No fight over who gets to drive Dean's baby? The only conclusion Sam can reach is that his brother is definitely not in the all the way better, or maybe not even in the almost getting to be almost better in his head category yet. The Impala. When Dean is at the top of his game there is no way he would letter his baby brother drive. Can't wait for that day to come again. And soon.
Sam and Dean lapse into a pretty comfortable silence, Sam gazing at the road ahead and his brother gazing anywhere but outside into the fields that blanket each side of the roadway. As Sam starts to contemplate the events of the past day he feels like his temper ramps up a notch. He knows that Dean is still exhausted and hurting and not quite right in the head yet but he needs to let some stuff out. Maybe it's better if he starts off now instead of waiting until it builds and builds and then has some kind of explosion. Neither of the brothers would come out unscathed if that was to occur. So, what should Sam start off with in this conversation. Yeah, he knows.
"So Dean?" He glances over and sees his older brother looking at him. "Just how long has this sort of thing been happening to you? And, let me be really clear cuz right at this moment I am not in the mood for any of your evasive bullcrap. I want to know how long you have been seeing things, while you're awake, like what you just saw outside the motel? How long has this been going on for?"
"C'mon Sam, we're both tired and obviously as least ONE of us is Mr. Crankypants so can't this wait until later? Maybe sometime WAY later?" Well, the anger is now bubbling up in his veins and if Sam doesn't let a little bit out he really will explode. Hold on!
"NO DEAN! GOD! I have just about had enough! You have no idea what all of this is doing to me! You are all over the place. I don't know which Dean I am going to be talking to from one minute to the next, you change at the drop of a hat! So please, HUMOUR ME! Do this for ME! Because I asked! Because I care about you, I am worried about you and just how the hell am I supposed to do one thing to help you if you can't even answer one simple FRICKEN question when I ask it? GOD! You are such an ASS sometimes Dean!" Hmm. That felt pretty good. Damn, here comes the guilt again. Before Sam can whisper a half-apology to his brother he feels the glare before he sees it and knows he is himself about to get torn a new one.
"JESUS CHRIST SAM! Relax man! FINE! You want to know the truth, you want to be HUMOURED? OKAY THEN! You FRICKEN asked for this!" Pause. "Remember a while back Sam when I went for a trip? Well, in case it's a bit foggy for you let me refresh your memory. I took a trip down under. And no silly, I am NOT talking about AUSTRALIA! That would have been nice though. But anyways, remember? When I WENT TO HELL SAM? Yeah, I know, such an easy thing to forget about but believe me it happened, I got mauled up by a hellhound and ended up in the pit." Pause. "Well, I was miraculously brought back, who knows why, really, but I digress. So, I came back, had some nightmares, some flashbacks, and thought that I could handle it, you know like I ALWAYS DO! I was trying to protect everyone that I care about from the darkness that consumed me while I was on my 'vacation' so I just suffered alone. Sure, I talked about it a bit but never REALLY talked about it. You know, left out all the goriest of the gory and such. You know why Sam? TO PROTECT YOU FROM IT! Because, believe it or not I CARE ABOUT YOU! And I NEVER wanted you to know ANYTHING of the details of that awful place!"
Sam isn't sure how he feels. He is about to say something but as he turns to glance at his brother, Dean holds up his hand to him as a warning, a message that his big brother is just not quite done yet.
As he starts up, Sam can tell his brother's anger has subsided, replaced by palpable pain. "But you're right Sammy. Yeah, you are. There is something wrong with my head. And yes, I do see things. I have ever since I came back. Every so often, usually when we were having some down time. You know, maybe, heaven - ha, I mean Hell forbid, doing something remotely resembling fun it would happen in an instant. At a pool hall, we would be having a game one minute, the next minute the whole bar would be ablaze, including YOU Sammy, but you'd just keep on playing and talking to me so I knew it couldn't be real. I mean really Sam, if it was real I don't think you would be able to play or talk to me while all of your skin melted away from your body." Pause.
"Dean..." oops, sorry, still not done I guess as the hand comes up once again. Sam pulls of the highway and stops the car. He turns to face his brother, to look at him while all of this pours out of him.
"Don't you get it Sammy? I didn't want you to EVER know. This is something that is inside me. Demon of mine. Of what I've done. There is no reason for you to get pulled down into that fricken pit too bro. It's okay Sam, I have learned to live with it. I'm just sorry that you ended up having to witness it first hand this past little while. I just didn't. I didn't want you to know."
"Dean, please, you need to listen to me for a minute now okay?" Sam receives a nod from his brother. "First of all, I want you to tell me whatever you feel you want or need to tell me. I'm not asking for every gory detail Dean but I need you to trust me. You need to start to let me know when you see these things. I can help. I can. Earlier, at the motel, when you saw the burning of that field, I was there, I helped you come back from the images in your mind to the here and now. I can do that for you Dean. Maybe we won't be able to stop these visions of yours altogether or even stop them from happening at all, but we can at least deal with them, together."
Dean's eyes look into his brother's. And Sam sees it. Wow, he didn't think it was possible but it's almost like he can actually see the light that has finally gone on in that thick, stubborn skull of his older brother. Yeah, he finally gets it. Finally, Dean is starting to understand. He doesn't have to let everything out, he doesn't have to share all the horrors of his darkest secrets. But, he can share some of his pain, some of the demons that haunt him. He can tell Sam about them when they happen. Before it comes to this.
"Together huh? Yeah, Sammy, I think I can do that. I think that will help. Thanks bro, for everything." Pause. Well, that's all the misty-eyed crap that is forthcoming from the older brother at this particular moment. "Now, let's get moving because I don't know about you but I am starving over here!" Dean glances once more into his brother's eyes and Sam can feel the love, the trust, the care, the special connection to each other that they share, all sown up in just that one look. And, most of all, he feels some kind of peace. For both of them. The journey of course will still be a long one and because they are Winchesters it will be tough and filled with more emotional upheaval he is sure, but right now, Sam feels content and satisfied that his brother will come to him for help when he really needs it.
"C'mon, let's get going. Bitch..." And with that, Sam hears the faint hum of the machines again, construction of those walls has begun.
"Alright alright, we're going. Jerk." But, as Sam stars up the Impala and heads back out onto the open road, he knows those walls are no where near as tall or as strong as they were when this latest hunt began.
Sam takes one more glance at his brother and is sure, that in that moment, both of the Winchester boys are wearing the exact same, ear-to-ear cheshire grin that looks and feels so damn good.