So this is it, the last chapter. I really appreciate every single review, but also the ones of you who put me on alert or favorite, thank you so much. To the ones, who just read, thanks you also. And now on to the last chapter. Hugs, Vonnie
Consequences of a Wish
It seemed like reliving the memory of this specific incident kept haunting Dean more than any of the others over the next few days. It didn't matter how much he tried to push it away into the darkest corners of his mind, something he was usually very good at, it kept resurfacing again and again. Finally he found a way that at least partially helped – keeping the music turned up at highest possible volume during work and the TV running during the evenings. Only at night, when everything was quiet, there was nothing else to do than to listen to his own thoughts. So he tried to replace them with memories of this life, memories of his 'normal' childhood, of Lisa and the kids and of working with his dad every day.
It wasn't working very well though, as the face of his wife sitting in the Impala beside him, laughing at one of his jokes changed into that of his geeky little brother rolling his eyes at him at exactly the same joke. Thinking about Ben's first day of school brought back the memory of Sammy running out of his classroom at the end of his, exited about finally getting to be a just like his big brother. Going back to the first time he was holding his daughter in his arm, turned into the day, when mom and dad brought his baby brother home from the hospital and sitting on the couch, he got to hold the tiny infant. Although only four years old, he would never forget the emotions he felt, when already hazel eyes opened and incredibly small fingers curled around his thumb. And recalling how proud his father was, when he told him he was going to be a mechanic like him, only brought back the moment, when the same man told Sam, if he would go to Stanford, he should never come back.
If he was honest, even his daytime distractions weren't working that well. Sam was everywhere. Who was he trying to kid here? His other life had been his brother; after all, he had gone to hell for him and come back. But sadly, that's when things had changed even more; Sam hadn't been the same little brother anymore. Guess he hadn't been the same big brother he had been before, either, hell had that effect on a guy. Only he seemed to have forgotten, what he had learned during that Abenaki creature hunt – things went both ways. He had made a deal to get Sam back, yet his brother never had that choice. He knew Sam had tried everything to bring him back and when he had no hope left, he had done the only thing he could, he had started to use his freaky powers to bring down the demon, which had held Dean's contract. And in his grief he had been deceived by Ruby, who had actually worked for Lilith. Demon blood or not, Dean had done a few things that he wasn't too proud of himself.
Thinking of the way he had treated his brother after he had found out and after Sam had released Lucifer almost made him sick now. He really had tried to trust his little brother again, but having been in the middle of Michael trying to make him his meat suit and Lucy doing the same to Sam hadn't been very helpful. They both had been manipulated in the worst possible way, as both sides had tried to drive them apart and almost had succeeded. And just as he had given up, Sam had shown him how wrong he had been that he had been his little brother all along.
No, that wasn't true, not really. Sam had no longer been his little brother, because for the first time he had realized that the kid was no longer a kid. He had grown into an equal and it had taken Bobby to make him realize it. His brother had made him proud by using the power the demon blood gave him to their advantage. He had gone and said yes to Lucifer and he had been able to follow through with their plan to lock the source of all evil back into his cage.
Once again he had lost his brother and even the pride he had felt for him hadn't helped. He had promised Sam to live the apple pie life both of them had only been able to dream of and he had kept this promise, yet the knowledge that his brother had been in hell had kept him from enjoying it. It was only because part of the promise had been that he wouldn't try to bring the younger Winchester back that he hadn't given it up on it within the first week.
Sam returning from hell, having his brother back, having him watch as he got turned by a vampire, finding out the kid's soul was still in hell, doing whatever it would take to get it back, even working for a Crowley, self-proclaimed king of hell, it was all like a blur, yet it was exactly, why he was here now. Death had been his last hope and when that plan had misfired, well let's just say, there had been nothing left but killing Sam and that was the one thing he had never
been able to do, not even now, when it had just being Sam's shell. How could he have ever imagined that a thought that never even came across his lips, would do this to him?
Yet it could have been worse, he could have ended up in another nightmare life. Instead he had what every American wanted. A great childhood, a wonderful wife and two adorable kids and in addition a job he really enjoyed, what could be better than that? Nothing, at least not a brother, who no longer cared about him and who tried to kill the man, who had become a second father to both of them.
And still, there was one memory that came out of nowhere, which just wouldn't be ignored.
SN SN SN SN SN
Dean woke up with another headache. They had become his daily companions lately and not because he was drinking too much either. He wished that was the reason, but he hadn't been drunk for weeks, not since he'd found out about Sam being soulless and he had to be his brother's moral compass. Couldn't risk being off his game for even one second anymore. Peeling himself out of bed, he stumbled by his brother, who was sitting bright-eyed at the table, typing away on the lab top, into the bathroom. Curse this whole 'I haven't slept since I came back from hell and I'm always on top of my game'-thing his brother had going on now.
After taking care of business and a hot shower, he felt slightly more human and halfway ready to face RoboSam. They planned to meet up with Bobby this afternoon and then head to Montana to check out a werewolf sighting, another one of their 'jobs' for Crowley. Half an hour later they were sitting in the car, both of them armed with coffee and donuts. It was going to be a long drive, because he was really not up for any conversation. Sam never got the punch line of his jokes or understood anything he was trying to say. Heck, using his standard sarcasm drove Dean up the wall, because his soulless brother never understood any of it. So it was better to just shut up and listen to his favorite music, and yet, even this wasn't the same since Sam didn't complain about it.
Four hours later they stopped at a gas station. Leaving Sam to feed the Impala, Dean went to the diner across the street. He noticed the huge sign, advertizing "The Best Burger in the Midwest" right when they rolled into town and was unable to resist its lure. For a moment he fought with the decision to let the other man touch his baby, but the thought of missing out on what could possibly be a few moments of talking to a real person was worse. After all, even Sam couldn't mess up putting gas in the car. He just hoped, he wouldn't regret his decision.
Although the diner was full, it was lunch time he got his order in right away. The woman behind the counter, who was maybe a little old for him, but nonetheless pretty shapely and easy on the eyes, he guessed her around mid-forties, even found time to shamelessly flirt with him, cougar, which he returned just as openly. It was a nice change from the tense silence, while in the car with Sam and he was glad he gave in to his urge. When he finally left with the food, he actually was in a much better mood.
That changed the moment he walked across the street and saw his brother talking to some hot chick, while gas ran out of his baby tank and onto the concrete.
Pausing in the middle of the street, he yelled, "Damn it Sam…"
The response from the younger man was instant, yet instead of looking at the car, as Dean had hoped he would, he turned and stared at him. It was clear that he didn't have a clue what he did wrong, like always lately, this very fact by itself being a constant source of irritation to Dean.
"The gas pump…"
The older Winchester lifted his hands up, watching as Sam's eyes went to the pump and then back to him. Expecting him to move towards the car, he was surprised, when his brother instead started towards him with lightning speed. What the heck was the idiot doing now?
The next thing that happened was Sam plowing into him and tossing him backwards, at the same moment as the roar of an engine filled his ears. There was a loud thump and a screeching sound and he realized, he must have blacked out for a moment, because the next thing he knew was that he was lying on the ground and several people were standing just a few yards away from him.
Struggling to a sitting position, he felt a hand on his shoulder, "Slow down, I think you hit your head, when the other guy pushed you out of the way."
"W…What happened?" Dean tried to clear his head.
"You would have gotten hit by that car, but the other guy saved you!"
In his anger over another careless act committed by his machinelike brother, he'd missed the sound of the car speeding down the road towards him. Yet his emotionless brother hadn't.
Getting to his feed, he stumbled towards the small crowd. Pushing them aside, he made his way to his brother, who was lying on his stomach on the ground. Instead of attending to him, everyone was just standing around and staring. Getting to his knees, the older man carefully let his hands glide over the stricken man's body, assessing him for injuries, before gently rolling him over. Sam was unconscious and bleeding from a head wound, but as far as Dean could tell, there were no broken bones. Still, there was no way to tell, if he suffered any internal injuries.
"The ambulance is on its way!" A voice from the crowd called, but Dean hardly noticed it. He suddenly had this sense of déjà vu, but how could it be? There was no reason for him to think this Sam would even consider giving his live for him, or was there?
It took three hours, before he finally got the opportunity to talk to a still groggy Sam. As it turned out, his brother was lucky, suffering only a moderate concussion and an laceration on the head, which the doctor fixed with twelve sutures. Besides that he had plenty of bruises to show, which was really not much considering his run in with a SUV going down the residential street at a way too fast speed.
Now that the younger man was finally awake, Dean couldn't hold back the question that was burning on his mind for the last few hours.
"Why Sam? Why did you save me? I thought I didn't mean anything to you?"
The injured hunter shrugged his shoulder, an action that he clearly regretted, as a moan of pain escaped him and dizziness almost pulled him under. After recovering, he looked up at Dean and the older man saw something in them that almost resembled his little brother.
"Wouldn't you have done the same for me?"
SN SN SN SN SN
Right then it hit Dean like lightning. No matter what, Sam had saved his life, even while without a soul. He might not have the emotions and the morals of his brother, but he had the memories and although Dean had pushed that fact away at the time, it had obviously been enough for Sam to do the 'right' thing and not just save his brother, but be ready to give his own life.
No matter how desperate he had been at the time, he had been wrong to wish for a different life. If he could take it back, he would. Lisa, his children, his parents, they all didn't matter without Sammy. Even if it was RoboSam.
"Guess it's too late now." The young man thought, turning over in bed, "Never should have…" He didn't finish the thought, knowing that it was of no significance. This was all he had left and he just hoped that the people that surrounded him here wouldn't have to suffer the consequences of his wish, just like his brother had in his other life.
SN SN SN SN SN
"No, no, you can't do this, stay away from me! Nooooo…"
Loud screams brought Dean back into the present. His eyes flew open and the first thing he realized was that he was no longer lying in bed. The second was that he was leaning against a cool metal door frame. It took a moment, before the scene unfolding in front of him made sense to his brain and understanding started to dawn.
He was in Bobby's basement, leaning against the door frame to the panic room and the screams were coming from Sam. His brother, who was restrained to the cot, was desperately trying to get away from a tall almost emaciated, yet still distinguished looking man, who was holding a ball of light, so pure white in his hand, it hurt to look at it.
"No, Dean, you can't let him do this to me, please don't…"
The desperate plea reached the older Winchesters ears and he watched in awe as the ancient looking man moved the bright light closer to his brother. Plunging his hand and with it the light into Sam's chest, an even louder scream escaped from the young hunter.
His body convulsed upward and blood started to drip from the metal cuffs on his wrists as he strained against them. Only when the hand, minus the light, was removed from inside him, did his struggling seize and his screaming die down, as his body relaxed into unconsciousness.
The tall figure, Death, looked at Dean for a moment then he disappeared.
Sam, Death, it could mean only one thing - he was back.
Walking over to the cot and adjusting the chair that Death abandoned only a second ago, he sat down and watched. Watched the limp body of the sleeping man, took in the relaxed features and steadiness with which his chest rose and sank and just couldn't make his eyes look in any other direction
Confusion, disbelief, surprise, maybe even…joy? He really didn't know what to feel. He had given up on this life; thought he would never get it back, never see Sam again. And yet here he was, standing only a few feet away from his brother, his once again complete brother.
He had been ready to take Sam any way he could get him, soul or no soul, realizing any Sam was better than no Sam. Maybe that's what Death had wanted. He was sure now that it was him, who'd made him live the other life to make him appreciate what really mattered. He had been ready to deal with soulless Sam, take him away, maybe find a cabin or something and train him. Kid was smart, had all the memories, he was sure with enough time he could have gotten him to learn all the rules and even play by them. Sure, it wouldn't have been the same, but he had been determined to give it a go and maybe one day…, who knew? But he'd thought he never would get the chance and he'd certainly never expected this…
Dean sat for hours, staring, hoping and…fearing. He refused to take a break, sipped the coffee Bobby brought without tasting it and more than once burned his mouth without noticing. He ate sandwiches with the same attitude and only took his eyes off his brother to occasionally scrub his hand over his face and a couple times for an urgent bathroom break.
It was almost 24 hours later, when he noticed dark lashes flutter on pale skin and eyes move below still mostly closed lids. Leaning forward, he reached for the hand closest to him.
As he held on to it, he felt the pressure returned ever so slightly and immediately he started to coach, "That's it Sammy, you can do it, open your eyes. Let me see you're really in there."
When it finally happened and the lids lifted enough to expose hazel orbs, Dean was almost overwhelmed by anxiety.
For a long moment the expression was almost blank, before it changed into confusion, followed by something so Sam, there was no doubt in the older man's mind that his brother was back. And even if he had any reservations, the moisture that appeared in those eyes, followed by the slight quiver of his lips, before his brother pressed them together hard enough to hide it and finally the long arm coming up and curling around Dean's neck, pulling him down and close to the younger man, holding him with a ferocity that almost stole his breath, but at the same time filling him with a deep warmth, were enough to convince him.
He let go of the hand, only to feel it wrap around his body with the same intensity as its mate, as he in turn snaked both of his around the younger man, returning the hug.
All of who Sam was came out in this one word and no matter what the future would hold, for now it was enough to know, who they were - brothers and so much more. No one and nothing could ever take this away from them again.