A/N: Well this is the last chapter, and I have to say that I am honestly amazed at the response this fic has gotten! Thank you all so much! I didn't expect it at all…So let me know if I should continue this story any more. Thanks again! Comments have been/are loved :D
"Good to have you back kiddo."
The sun reflected off the new fallen snow and streamed through the curtains. The light fell across Sam's peaceful face; he pushed his face further into the pillows to escape the bright light. The movement irritated his bruised cheek, forcing him the rest of the way awake. He groaned and moved his uninjured hand to rub at the bruise before moving it to his eyes to block the sun.
The other aches of his bruised and battered body slowly made themselves known. It took a few minutes to adjust, but Sam finally became aware of more than just the dull throb running through him. Dean's voice floated in from what Sam guess was Lisa's kitchen.
"Yeah babe. Um, still not sure on that yet. He's been working on it. I'm thinking about. Really?" Sam's brow furrowed in confusion and interest. He knew he shouldn't listen in on Dean's conversation, but he couldn't help but be curious. "Thanks babe. I'll see you soon. Yeah, love you too. Tell Ben I said hi. No, don't wake him wake. I'll see you both in a couple days. Bye…"
The sound of boots against the hardwood floor echoed into the quiet living room. Sam tried to sit up and turn to see where his brother was, but his body wasn't quite ready for that much movement. Instead, Sam ended slamming his eyes shut against the pain, whimpering, and burrowing back down into the couch cushions. When the pain eased up enough, Sam opened his eyes to Dean sitting beside him with a glass of water and painkillers in hand.
"You with me now Sammy?"
Too sore to care about the use of the nickname, Sam only nodded and gratefully accepted the pills and water. "Thanks."
"Take it you don't feel much better this morning?"
Sam sighed. "Not really."
"You feel up to food?"
"Definitely," Sam said with more energy. He honestly couldn't even remember the last time he had ate something.
"I think we still have some bacon and eggs in the fridge. Coffee is brewing right now." Dean stood up and walked back towards the kitchen to start breakfast.
Dean poked his head through the doorway between the rooms. "New York. Her and Ben went up the day after Christmas to visit her mom. They got stuck with all the snow though. Should be back in a couple more days. I talked to her this morning and she said it was starting to clear up some."
"You didn't go with them?" Sam had of course been worried for months that Dean and Lisa wouldn't work out and that his staying away was a mistake.
"Hell no dude!" Dean walked back in with a mug of coffee for his brother. "They flew, and I don't do airplanes!" Dean said before going back to the kitchen.
Sam laughed around the mug of coffee from which he was sipping. "Trust me, I haven't forgotten that." The image of Dean freaked out and humming Metallica easily played across his mind.
Dean walked in with two plates full of food. He set them down on the coffee table near the couch. "Exactly!" He nudged one plate closer to Sam and started piling his own food into his mouth.
Sam pushed a few pieces of eggs around on his plate, seeming to have lost interest in the idea of eating.
"What's wrong? I'm not that bad of a cook."
"Nothing Dean. It's fine. Thanks…"
"Ok, what's going in that freaky head of yours?"
"It's just…" Sam set his fork down and glanced up at his brother. "Are you and Lisa happy?"
Dean was a little taken aback by the question. "Yeah. Why?"
"I didn't know! I mean, I told you to come here, and I wanted it to work for you!"
"It has. We've had our bad days, but overall we work pretty well together. Ben's been awesome too."
"Good." Sam knew the answer should've relieved him, but he still felt nervous and tense.
"Seriously Sam, what's wrong?"
"I shouldn't have come here." Sam started to push himself up from the couch, but he didn't pay attention to his burned and cut hand. The second he put pressure on it he immediately remembered the injuries. He flopped back on the couch with a pain filled grunt. He would've kept trying to get up however if Dean hadn't decided to climb back on the couch and gently pin his brother down.
"Sam stop!" Dean practically screamed in his face. "You need to stay put damn it! Now what the hell are you talking about?"
Sam was shaking from the pain and exertion he had put himself through. "I'm gonna screw it up for you…"
Dean looked into the tear filled puppy dog eyes of his baby brother. "Sammy…"
"You have a life here. All I'm going to do is ruin what you have going for you. I can't…"
"Sam! Listen to me kiddo." Dean lessened his grip on Sam's shoulders so that he could gently rub his brother's back to comfort him. "My life hasn't been all the great since you left. Yeah, I love Lisa and Ben. But I didn't really love my life without you. It isn't the same."
Sam nodded in acknowledgement and let some of the tears fall down his bruised cheek. "But I don't want you to have to give this up because of me."
"Who says I have to?"
"You will! You know I can't stay here. After I get healed up I need to get back out there. I have to figure out what the hell is going on with Samuel and whatever brought me back! But I don't want you to come with me and give up everything because you think you have to help me!"
"Sam! Who says I can't have both? I already talked to Lisa." Sam looked back up at that. "You're staying here til you feel better whether you like it or not. Then, I'm going to head back out with you. You need someone to watch your back with Samuel out there doing God knows what. And I want to be back out there with you! Lisa knows that, and she understands, Sam. As long as I come home every once in awhile, she's fine."
"But, I thought she didn't want to date a hunter?"
"Well, she's put too much into this now. She's too damn stubborn to give up now." Dean smiled. "Besides, I think she kinda loves me…"
That managed to elicit a laugh from Sam.
"Shut up! I'll have you know I'm a very lovable guy!"
At the moment, Sam couldn't bring himself to argue that whatsoever.
"Here," Dean pushed Sam's plate back into his hands, "eat up. Then get some more sleep. You looked wiped man."
Sam nods before digging into his food. The exhaustion and the food weighed him down, but Sam barely noticed. The conversation with his brother had left him feeling lighter than he had in months.
The days went on in much of the same fashion. Sam lay sprawled on the couch during the day; at night, Dean helped to maneuver him into the guest bedroom to crash on the bed. Dean cooked meals and shoved them at his brother, complaining that Sam's Sasquatch ass had lost too much weight as it was.
On the second day, the snow had stopped enough for Dean to run out to Sam's car and gather up his stuff. As much as Sam loved Dean, he didn't think he could stand one more day in Dean's borrowed, and too short, sweats. The trunk took a lot of effort to get into, what with the ice sealing it shut. But once open, Dean found Sam's duffel, cell phone, and laptop bag safely tucked away there. He quickly took the items back to his brother. Sam fretted over the freezing cold laptop, pushing it as close to the fireplace as possible while silently praying that the computer gods would take mercy on him. Hours later, most of which the laptop had spent by the heat of the gas fire, Sam lay on the couch happily pecking away at the keys.
His cell phone had to be charged before the device would even turn on for him. When he finally got it back to working conditions, he found several voice mails and text messages…all of which were from Samuel.
"Just delete the damn things! Nothing he could say can make up for what he did!"
Sam agreed with Dean, but starting going through them nonetheless. "I know, Dean. But they might give me some clues as to what the hell he's doing. Could help us down the line." About half were messages filled with apologies and half assed remorse. A lot of them contained Samuel's ranting and screaming about everything he had done for Sam. But on the last one Sam was able to pick up some background voices coming through Samuel's cell. "Oh my God!" Sam quickly replayed the message.
"What?" Dean quit pacing and was now at his brother's side.
The message finished and anger played across Sam's face. "Damn him!" He gave Dean the phone. "Listen for the voice in the background."
Dean held the phone up to his ear and listened carefully. "Son of bitch! He's working with that prick!"
"Seems like it."
"But why would he be working with Crowley?"
"I don't know, Dean! But I guess we'll find out when we catch up to them."
"You bet your ass we will!"
Sam didn't see Dean much for the rest of the day. Dean spent it in the garage going through the Impala's arsenal, preparing for their departure.
The following afternoon, Sam was dozing on the couch when the sound of the front door opening woke him. His eyes still blurry from sleep could only just made out a fuzzy looking thing running down the hall. He tried to blink away the haze. When he succeeded, Sam opened his eyes to see a pretty woman leaning over him. He jumped at first, and then realized it was only Lisa.
"Hi," he mumbled sleepily.
Lisa sent him a sweet smile and gently brushed a few stray hairs away from his eyes. "Hey Sam! God, it's so good to see you."
"You too Lisa," Sam smiled. He was finally more awake than he had first been.
"No, Sam," Lisa said as she sat down on the couch. "You have no idea how good it is to see you. Dean was…let's just say having you gone took a lot out of him." Sam nodded sadly. "It was hard to see him have to going through it. So I'm really glad he has you back now." With that, Lisa threw her arms around Sam's neck, giving him a gently hug. Sam relaxed into the embrace easily.
Lisa carefully pulled away and patted him on the shoulder. "So where's that brother of yours anyway?"
Sam was about to answer when Dean walked into the room with Ben on his back. "Hey!"
He helped Ben slide of from his back before going over to greet Lisa with a sweet and passionate kiss.
"Ewww!" Ben exclaimed causing Dean to continue to kiss Lisa and Sam to just laugh.
"You mean you're not used to my brother's disgustingness yet?" Sam joked.
Ben just laughed at Sam before launching himself at the young hunter. He wrapped his arms around Sam's neck, hugging him gently. After the initial shock, Sam returned the hug with just as much strength.
"Careful, Ben," Dean warned. "Sam is still pretty sore, bud."
Ben let go of Sam and looked back at Dean. "I'm just glad he's back. I know having him gone really sucked for you. And now you seem really happy."
A lump formed in both Dean and Sam's throats at Ben. Sam pulled the boy back in for a hug, and Dean ruffled his cropped hair.
"Why don't you go unpack sweetheart?" Lisa asked her son. "I need to talk to Dean and Sam for a minute."
"But I wanted to show them the awesome stuff Gran got me!" Ben put on his best puppy dog eyes and pouted.
"Ben," Lisa lightly scolded. "It's just for a few minutes then I'll send these two in to look at it all."
"Fine," Ben huffed, but still shuffled out of the living room towards his bedroom upstairs.
"So," Lisa turned towards the brothers, "what's the plan?"
The Impala sat on the salted street in front of the house. The weapons had been cleaned and stored in the trunk. Two duffel bags had been tossed across the back seat. And the two brothers stood inside the house saying their goodbyes.
After two weeks, Sam finally felt well enough to start traveling and hunting down Samuel, Crowley, and any other son of a bitch along the way. Bruises and newly healed scars still marred his body, but his spirit felt better than it had in years. He smiled as his brother gave Ben a giant hug and whispered comforting words into the boy's ear. Ben had come to love having both Dean and Sam in the house. He finally got to see the real Dean now that Sam was back from the dead, and he loved it more than imaginable. Ben let go of Dean and walked over to Sam; he wrapped his arms around Sam's waist. Sam bent down and picked Ben up for a proper goodbye hug.
Dean felt tears well in his eyes at the sight; he never imagined being able to see Sam and Ben together. Lisa's arm around his waist brought him out of his musings. He could see the sadness in her eyes, but she did not cry. She smiled and pulled his chin down for a kiss. Passion and devotion practically emanated from her to Dean. Minutes later, they broke apart.
Dean cleared his throat of all emotions as best he could. He reached into his jacket for a handgun to give to Lisa. "Now I know you don't really love weapons, but I wanted to make sure you were safe. So…and it really isn't too hard to…"
Lisa smiled as she took the gun from Dean, stopping him midsentence. She proceeded to load and cock the gun swiftly as if she had had years of practice. Dean's eyes widened at his girlfriend. "What?" Lisa asked innocently.
"Where did you learn that?"
"I grew up with brothers and a father you know." Lisa clicked the safety back on before setting the gun to the side.
Dean realized that is was all happening…he was leaving to go back on the hunt and Lisa was staying here to hold down the fort with only a handgun and a few bags of salt. "Maybe I should stick around a few more days. Just to make sure you.."
His words ended when Lisa's lips smashed into his once again. "Go Dean." The blunt words were filled with love. "Ben and I will manage. Just make sure you get your ass back here in a couple of weeks or I just may shoot you myself."
Dean barked out a laugh as he pulled Lisa in for a final embrace. "You ready Sam?"
"I'm coming." He placed Ben back on the ground and ruffled his hair.
"You both better come back ok!" Ben yelled as they walked to the door.
"You bet your ass we will kiddo!" Dean yelled back.
With that the brothers walked out of the house and climbed into the Impala. Both sank into the familiar leather as the engine purred to life. Metallica blared from the speakers before Dean had the chance to reach the volume knob.
"You ready to do this?" Dean asked as he pulled away from the curb.
Sam glanced back at the house then took in the comfort and familiarity of the Impala. "Yeah. I'm ready." And he meant it. His brother sat beside him and the car underneath him as the highway blurred through the frosty windows. Sam was ready. He was more than ready…He was finally home.