I knew Dean hated leaving Sam alone at the house. If anything happened and we didn't get back and Sam didn't wake up - well, maybe if anything did happen to us, to Dean, it might just be better if Sam never woke up.
It was a good ten hour drive from my place to Cas' little rendezvous point. We'd gone about fifty miles, with Dean fuming and worrying and twitching to be in two places at once, when his phone rang. He pulled it out and gave it a look then flipped it open and shouted "SAM!"so loud it made my ears hurt.
So - our boy was back among the Living.
Dean was still among the Bossy.
"Sam - where are you? Are you okay? What happened? What're you doing? Did you find the address? You are? Yeah, Bobby left that car out front for you. It's all gassed up, the keys are in the - NO. No, Sam. You eat something first. There's sandwiches in the fridge. No, what I know is that taking three minutes to eat a sandwich makes more sense than you passing out from hunger on the way here. Fine, eat it while you're talking to me, but eat it. And take the rest with you. And water. A lot of water. Sam - it's a ten hour drive here and you've been out of it for - . Yeah, I'll shut up when you do what you're told. Are you listening to me?"
Then, for all the shouting he'd been doing, his voice dropped.
"Yeah - yeah - Sam, we're okay. Bobby n'me, we're both okay. Don't worry about us. Are you okay? Are you - can you drive? Don't drive if you can't. Are you - ? Are you sure? Yeah? But it's keeping in the background? Yeah? Are you sure? Yeah, I'm going to keep asking until I know I've got the real answer, what d'you think? Okay, did you pack up the sandwiches and that water? Got your wallet? You're going to need to stop and get gas. I Mapquested the directions and left them on the front seat of the - "
Whatever Sam said back to him, Dean 'pft' and shook his head.
"You're such a geek, you know that?" He said over the phone to Sam, and I'll tell you, I've been on the receiving end of more than one 'I love you' that didn't have half as much fondness in the words as Dean had in his voice right then. "Sammy, only you would come back from hell and immediately download a GPS app onto your Ipad. Okay, so you've got the car, the directions, your phone, your wallet, food and water. What else do you need?"
Then he got quiet and cleared his throat and kind of glanced over at me like he was afraid I heard something he'd rather I hadn't heard.
"Yeah, same here. But don't kill yourself getting to me. You got that? Sammy, I mean it. If you need to pull over, if you need to stop or to rest, you do it. I don't want you to even think about getting in that car if you're not one hundred percent - what do you mean you're already in the car? You're driving? And talking on the phone? Do you wanna get yourself killed? No, I am not bossy, you're - oh, you are so going to listen to me, Sammy. You will take it easy. You will mind the speed limits. You will take care yourself."
Then his voice dropped again.
"Just - get to us as quick as you can, all right? I need you on this. Yeah. Yeah, I know. I will. Yeah. Call me when you stop for gas. Call me if you need anything, okay? Yeah, I will too. Okay. Okay. Yeah. Sammy? Take care of yourself."
He hung up then and looked at the phone for a bit before he put it back in his pocket.
"He doing okay?" I asked.
"He's awake. Oriented. Pretty much alert."
Dean shrugged and I could tell he didn't like the question or the answer.
"It's there, but Sammy said he's keeping it pushed back. I could hear it in his voice though - he's just barely keeping it pushed back. If he gets to us without wrapping himself around a phone pole, I'll be amazed. Grateful, but amazed."
I didn't say it out loud, but I sure agreed with him.
The trip passed fast and quiet. Every once in awhile Dean took his phone out and looked at it, checking I suppose in case he somehow missed a call from Sam, but he didn't call Sam. Probably didn't want to distract him, probably just as well.
We stopped for gas and coffee and a bathroom break at about the halfway point of our trip. If Sam was coming the same way as we were, I figured he'd be hitting the same place in about forty five minutes. But it couldn't have been thirty minutes later that Dean's phone rang again.
"Sam? Where are you? Already? We only just left that gas station. How fast are you driving? Yeah, it matters. Did you eat some more? You drinking the water? You will drink the water, Sam. Well, I guess that's why they invented trees, isn't it? How're you doing? No, Sam, seriously, how are you doing? Yeah. Okay, but if you have to - would you please just let me finish the - Sam - I'm warning you. Yeah, well there's a lot I could do to you that has nothing to do with hell so don't even try me. Just - just - tell me how you are."
And then he was listening for a little bit. Phone to his ear, hand on the wheel, eyes staring at something that couldn't be seen on the road in front of us. Then he chuckled and ran a fast hand down his face.
"You are a geek, you know that? Okay, as long as it works. Just - stay safe, okay? Okay, you getting back on the road now? You're back in the car? Doors locked? Yes, I'm really asking that. - are your doors locked? Good. Eat a sandwich and drink some more water. Sam. I'm not kidding. Eat. Yeah, right. Prove it. Which sandwich are you eating? You are so lying. I did not make a sandwich with - really? It is?"
And then a comment got tossed my way.
"You have havarti cheese?" Dean asked me, but didn't wait for an answer before he was back to Sam.
"Okay. Okay. You're eating a sandwich. Okay. I believe you. Don't talk with your mouth full. Okay, I will. You too."
He hung up and put the phone away and shook his head with a huff. An amused but proud huff.
"He's got Itunes on his Ipad. He said when he needs to, he drives with rock music blaring in the car to keep his mind off of hell. What a geek."
The rest of the trip passed, quiet, fast, tense. Tense and getting tenser. Especially when hell's fury upended the car and shook our brains and rattled our bones. When it was safe, we crawled out of the car and assessed our situation. And it wasn't pretty. Dean cursed and actually kicked the car, he kicked his baby, so I knew he was pissed. One last time he grabbed his phone and punched up his brother's number.
"Sam? We're here. How long before you get here? Good. Look - uh - we're okay, okay? We - uh - we had a little trouble with the car, but we're okay. We're going inside. You come in quiet, okay? I'm not gonna let Cas know you're up and running. I'm gonna let him think you're still down for the count, back at Bobby's. That might be our only advantage. So, come in quiet. Okay? Okay. We'll see you soon."
He hung up, and we headed inside.