Hey there, so this is it. The final chapter. I'm sorry for the slightly long-ish wait, but you see, I went on this skiing trip and kinda packed the laptop that didn't have the first part of this chapter on it, (but that gave me the chance to start this other fic that you should totally check out ;) ) but anyway, here we go. Hope you guys like my finale. Drop me a final review on your way out. ^^
Dean clamps his fist tightly around the Zippo in his right hand. It's against the sudden cold. Not because his hand is shaking violently and his palm is clammy and he thinks that he might just drop the lighter if he doesn't cling to it with all he's got. Nope. Definitely the cold thing.
The wind is getting stronger, making a few stray leaves and gravel inside the pentagram swirl skyward. Dean squints against the freezing breeze that's whipping his button-less jacket in every direction.
The ear piercing howl rises in volume and timbre until Dean wants to clutch his hands over his ears. Problem is, he kinda only has one hand right now and that's busy holding a lighter and anyway, he isn't some whiny little girl that's scared of the things that go bump in the night.
"C'mon you rabid son of a bitch." Dean growls and as if on cue the wind and the howling stop and there's the qiqirn standing in the middle of his carefully painted pentagram.
It cocks its head slightly to the side in a classic dog-like show of confusion. Again, it reminds Dean of Cohen, Bobby's old guard dog and he makes a mental note to stay away from the salvage yard in the near future. He might just succumb to the overwhelming need to trap one or all of the dogs inside the barn and set it on fire.
Speaking of setting things on fire.
Time to torch the fucker. Dean hasn't come here tonight to play patty cake or make polite conversation. He's here to burn the thing and be done with it.
He tries to step closer to the qiqirn. He sees a flicker of recognition in the beast's eyes and then, remembering its failed hunt, it lets out an infuriated screech and lurches itself at its prey. It doesn't get far. The jump continues for about one foot, then it crashes against the invisible walls of the pentagram, holding it firmly trapped.
But that doesn't matter, because Dean is a whiny little girl and the moment he hears the screech and sees the thing flying towards him, the Zippo slips from his fingers and he is stumbling backwards and he wants to do nothing more than crawl all the way back into the Impala and hide under the emergency blankets with Sammy while their daddy takes care of the big bad wolf.
Images from last night are flashing through Dean's mind in no particular order, screaming with bright colors and the qiqirn screams with rage when it still can't get past the walls of the binding spell. Dean's heart is working itself into a frenzy, beating against the compounds of his chest, trying to jump out through his throat and he figures that he might be well on his way to giving himself a stroke. If strokes are caused by an overly erratic heartbeat. Dean isn't really sure.
His right arm, still immobilized by the sling suddenly feels like shards of ice are trying to slice through the skin and broken bone, all the way up to his throbbing shoulder. The flesh is burning cold and feels like it might be wrapped too tightly over his bones.
The qiqirn makes a new whining sound low in its throat and the cold gets ten times worse and Dean feels about ready to pass out.
Dad said he was going to be his backup, Dean remembers and shoots a quick, panicked glance across his shoulder. Dad is standing rigid against the backdoor of the Impala, effectively blocking Sam's view from the inside. He has a death grip on the flamethrower and a giant iron dagger in his right hand, but he isn't making any move to venture over and give Dean a hand anytime soon.
His lips are moving though and Dean is vaguely aware that he should be able to make out his dad's voice, hear something, but everything gets drowned out by the sound of blood rushing though his ears and the qiqirn's furious howling.
Dean needs to end this. Now. Because he's pretty sure that he doesn't have much time left before he embarrasses himself even more and actually faints.
One last look at Dad. Still not able to hear one fucking word he's saying. Just pretend it's something encouraging, okay? C'mon, son, you're almost there. You're doin' real good. The sucker doesn't stand a chance against you, dude. There you go.
John has spent a good portion of his life locking away his heart behind a series of iron clad walls. It's what made him get through Vietnam, helped him keep on living after Mary. It's what makes him a great hunter and most of the time a piss poor father. Right now though, it's saving his son's live. Because if John let his feelings get the better of him for just one second, he'd be across the meadow, wrapping his terrified kid in a giant hug and send the motherfucking dog on its way to hell. And then Dean would be safe for all of one day and then he'd lose his arm and it'd all be John's fault for being too damn emotional. So he digs in his heels and holds on to his emergency weapons and yells over the qiqirn's ruckus for Dean to keep going.
He watches as Dean bends on trembling legs to pick up his lighter from where he dropped it on the ground. The boy takes a shaky step towards the trapped spirit, then another. It takes him several tries to open the Zippo and keep the flame burning in the ice cold wind. The qiqirn yelps a terrified bark, realizing that it can't escape, that its prey has finally gotten the upper hand. Dean throws the Zippo on top of one of the gas drenched hemlock branches and for a few moments the world is engulfed in the dying screams of the burning spirit and John feels his feet running in the direction of the black, burned circle on the ground before he ever makes the conscious decision to do so.
Within seconds he's at his boy's side. He is lying on the ground, curled into a tiny ball, shaking, clutching the arm that is still trapped inside the sling.
John tries to get him to sit up and gets a quiet whimper and more trebling in return. He scoops the bundle that seems entirely too small to be his brave, almost grown soldier up in his arms and impossibly, the weight seems even lighter than last night.
Once they have reached the safety of the Impala, John manages to coax Dean into uncurling enough to get rid of the sling and bloody bandages. Other than that, Dean's eyes stay closed, his mind somewhere between passed out and too terrified to move.
Sam turns on the headlights and scrambles out of the car to clutch his brother's good hand.
John takes in the state of his kid's arm in the new bright light and he figures there's enough damage to make even the most hardened of warriors pass out. Much less a seventeen-year old boy. The stitches from last night have been ripped out of the skin in all but two places. Blood is running down the arm again, but they'll deal with that later. The banishing ritual has gotten rid of the curse, but it hasn't undone the damage that has already happened. The flesh looks dark and dead in some places. They'll have to cut it out. In the same places the blood has already turned into ectoplasm that is, now that the qiqirn is dead, oozing lazily out of the open wounds, leaving behind sickening, black trails down Dean's arm.
Sam is babbling again and John works on ignoring him. Dean is fine. His arm is fine. Well, a little south of fine, but it'll get there.
John wipes away all the ectoplasm he can reach and empties another flask of holy water over the open wound, relieved when this time there is no burning, hissing flesh in response.
Dean's eyes flutter open while John is working on resetting the sling. Green orbs, clouded and glassy with exhaustion and fear and pain. Delirious doesn't even begin to describe it.
"'m sorry…" He mumbles, voice so much like a little kid, John feels his heart get ripped to pieces. "s'll my fault…"
"No" John all but shouts, clutching his boy against his chest. "No, no, no, no, no, no, no. It's okay now. You're okay."
He figures he's sending mixed signals to the kid what with what he told him just an hour ago, but he couldn't give a fuck about that right now if he tried.
Why is it that he can only show affection to his boys when they are dying or out of their minds with pain? Something to do with that whole locking away his heart business he guesses. Well, if that's the case then he might as well go full out while he's at it.
John scoops him up again and deposits Dean on the backseat, wrapping their blankets tightly around him.
"It's okay, Dean-o. You did real good."
Dean makes a sound that's vaguely reminiscent of a content, sleeping child and what the fuck if John presses a quick kiss on top of the kid's head. The short locks haven't seen a trace of hair product in days and except for the part behind his left ear, where it's all spiky and dark with clotted blood, it feels soft and fair and slightly curly and Mary.
John gives him a last pat on the cheek, then follows Sam into the front seat and John turns the key in the ignition. Sam has put in a Black Sabbath tape. That's certainly a first.
It's straight back to the crappy rented house, John decides. Put the boys to bed, cover Dean in any and all available blankets, smother him with M&M's and chicken broth and hot chocolate once he wakes up, take care of the arm again and then get the fuck right out of fucking Alaska.
John has had enough of Alaska to last a lifetime. The boys pretty much had enough of Alaska the moment John announced they were going there.
"Hey, kiddo" John whispers, turning around, one hand on the steering wheel eyes on the backseat (because it's nobody's fucking business how he decides to drive on deserted back roads.) "Caleb's working a poltergeist gig in Venice Beach. Waddaya say?"
And Dean smiles that bright, though slightly loopy, smile of his that says 'Sun? Beaches? Chicks in bikinis? Where do I sign?'
He shivers slightly and shifts under his blankets and starts humming along to 'Fairies Wear Boots'.