Hey guys! Here's the last instalment of Misery. I had to seriously wrestle with this one, but I think it came out okay.
This won't make sense until later, but STICK WITH IT UNTIL THE END. Just do it okay?
Thanks to Supernaturalrenegade for getting my ass in gear and encouraging me to get this chapter done!
Also, thanks to my brillant beta, Little Miss Artist, for not only beta-ing, but doing it so quickly. You're awesome like that.
Without further ado, I present:
"Down!" John's commanding voice hollered. In perfect unison, both Winchester boys hit the ground as two shots of iron sounded off above them. There was a howl of pain, but no thump of a dead doggy hitting the ground.
"Damn it! It got away!" John shouted. Dean picked himself up off the ground and, after checking that Sam was okay, went over to his father. He took up stance, raising his weapon, and asked, "Which way?"
John pointed off to their right and for a few moments there was dead silence as they all stared off into the dense forest.
"Should we wait for it to come back or go try and find it?" Dean asked. John opened his mouth to respond, but closed it quickly. He turned around to face Sam, who didn't notice the attention now focused on him. One long arm hung down, the shotgun wrapped in nimble fingers, and the other arm was wrapped tightly across his stomach. He'd adopted a thousand yard stare which was seemingly aimed at a nearby birch tree.
"Sam!" John barked. Dean cringed slightly at the tone. Dean had to give Sam some credit, he was right in the aspect that John was often harder with him. After all, Dean was never on the receiving end of that tone, even when he did do something wrong.
Sam jerked slightly before looking up at them. Dean wasn't sure what it was, perhaps the angle, perhaps the way the moonlight hit him, but at that moment Sam looked horrible. Ill almost. There were dark circles under his eyes and his skin seemed pasty white. He looked like he'd given up, like there was no happiness left. God, he looked like he was dying.
"What?" It wasn't at all disrespectful or in any way snarky. Kind of weary like. In a what more can you possibly take from me? way.
"Should we chase or wait for it?" Dean couldn't tell if John honestly wanted Sam's opinion or if he was testing him. Knowing his father, it was probably the latter.
"Oh, you want my opinion? I'm sorry, I didn't realize I had any say in things." Dean could have groaned. Oh dear…Just had to push him didn't you, Sam?
"Samuel, do not talk to me in that tone!" Sam simply stared with one eyebrow raised challengingly.
"Look, guys, maybe now isn't the best time…" A hunt was not a good place to fight. It was a good way for someone to get killed.
"This is between your brother and me, Dean."
"No, Dean," Sam said, finally talking, "I want to hear what he has to say. Because I haven't already heard about how I'm such a disappointment and a backstabbing traitor enough times."
"Well, maybe it's time you start listening!"
"Wait, Dad," Dean interjected, "you didn't actually say that did you? That Sam's a disappointment and a traitor?"
Surprisingly, it was Sam who threw back his head and let out a cold laugh.
"Right, Dean, like you feel any different!" Sam said with a sneer. It was a scary look on his little brother, one he would be perfectly content to never see again.
"Feel any different…" Dean was shocked. He'd never meant…and surely John never actually… "Sam!"
"What? You think I didn't see that look on your face that night, Dean?"
"What look?" Dean felt like he was losing his footing and about to plummet down the side of Sam mountain.
"The look, Dean! That disappointed, oh-damn, Sam's-screwed-up-again look!"
"Sam, I've never felt like that-"
"Oh, really? You didn't exactly seem proud when you stood by and watched Dad – John," out of the corner of his eye, Dean could see John flinch as Sam called him by his first name. "screamed that I was a backstabbing jerk for wanting to leave! If I recall you just stood there and nodded! Why do you think I stayed, Dean? Because standing there listening to you guys tell me that I was dead to you if I left, I knew I wouldn't be able to live knowing you guys hated me. Hell, you'd probably rather I was dead!"
"Sam!" Dean cried in outrage. This is what had happend that night? This was what got Sam to stay?
"Well then you wouldn't have to always save my sorry ass," he said, adding air quotes around the last four words. Dean cringed. Had he said that in this version of that night? "You guys just don't get it do you? I hate hunting. I hate this life. And I hate that you make me choose between my family and my dreams. You really think I want to spend the rest of my life praying that we all live to see tomorrow? You think I want to be dead before I hit twenty-five? How many brushes with death have we each had? A lot, that's how many. And some day our terrible luck is going to catch up with us and one of us won't make it. And you know what? I would rather die that keep doing this!"
"Sam!" Dean hoped he'd stop soon, he didn't know how much more he could take.
"You like hunting, Dean, you like it. But I don't. And I can't get up every day and do something I hate, especially knowing it'll never end. That hunting is what I'll do until I die – probably from hunting!"
"Sam Winchester, so help me God-" John started.
"Go ahead, Dad. I give up. You'll never understand. When we're hunting, all you do is point out my flaws, make sure I know what a failure I am. But you won't let me leave either! I mean, what do you want?"
They never got to know what it was John wanted because before he could reply, a huge black mass came sprinting out of the woods behind Sam.
Two monstrous paws landed squarely on Sam's shoulders and he let out a cry as he was forced forward onto his stomach, one arm snapping beneath him. His eyes went wide and for a moment Dean could see the young child, still afraid of the monsters of the dark in the those wide, hazel eyes.
"Sammy!" Two weapons went off simultaneously. One hit the dog in the shoulder, but besides a small jerk, the canine took no notice of the shoulder shot. It had to be a shot to the heart. The other shot went wide.
The dog sprang backwards and clamped Sam's calf firmly between his jaws. Taking off at a run, the dog dragged Sam into the underbrush and away from their view.
"No!" Dean yelled, taking off at a run. He could hear John crashing about after him. "Sam!" Regret for things he'd never actually done flooded him. Whether this was his Sam or not, this Sam wasn't going to get hurt on his watch and this Sam was going to keep living thinking his brother thought such awful things of him.
Suddenly the ground was gone beneath his feet and Dean had to fall over backwards to avoid falling down the steep hill. There was a sickening squelching sound and Dean spotted the black dog leaning over something, his brother no doubt.
Dean brought his weapon up and took careful aim. He only got one shot, if he missed the dog would know they were there and he'd lose the element of surprise. John knelt down beside him and took aim as well. That way he could get off a quick shot if Dean missed, hopefully before the dog had time to react.
The dog lifted a paw above its head – Dean tried not to think about how that paw would be coming down to deliver a potentially fatal blow to his little brother – and Dean pulled the trigger.
With a howl, the black dog jerked back, staggered slightly, then dropped the ground, unmoving. Heart pounding in his chest, Dean leapt to his feet and jogged down the hill, coming to a stop besides his fallen brother.
The ground was stained a horrid red from all the blood. His wrist was a gross purple and the bone bulged beneath the skin. But the worst was his chest. The shirt was torn in several different places and blood leaked seemingly from everywhere. The deepest gash went all the way from the left side of his collar bone to just above his navel.
"Oh, God, Sammy," Dean said frantically as he pressed his hands against the gash. John dropped to his knees next to his sons and joined Dean's efforts.
"Alright, hang on, Sam." Sam just groaned and rolled his head slightly. Dean felt bile rush up his throat…this was bad, the slash went right over Sam's heart…this was really really bad!
"S'cold," Sam moaned.
"I know, little bro, but don't worry, we'll get you taken care of, okay?" Dean pulled off his jacket then his shirt, which he ripped in half and tied the pieces around Sam's chest. The air was cold, even once he put his jacket back on over his bare skin, but he ignored the sharp sting.
"We need to get him to the hospital," John said firmly. Immediately Dean gripped Sam under his back and his knees and hoisted him up. "Are you sure you can…"
"Yeah, Dad, I got him," Dean said, perhaps with a bit more ferocity than was necessary. A day would never come when Dean couldn't carry his brother. Through hell and high water, Dean would always be there to catch Sam. Just so long as there was a Sam to catch. John simply nodded and took back off through the woods.
The hill was a bit of a challenge to get up while holding Sam, but he managed – how could he not when his brother's very life probably depended upon it? – and once he crested the hill, they were able to travel at a faster pace.
"Dean…" Dean glanced down at the faint call to see Sam's eyes staring at him. "S-sorry."
Sam took a shuttering breath then fell silent.
"Sam?" Praying he'd just fallen unconscious, Dean slid one hand out further and managed to grip Sam's wrist while still supporting Sam's back. The pulse was there, but faint.
"Dad, we're not going fast enough…he'll bleed to death by the time we get to the car."
"Alright, alright," John said distractedly as he tugged a hand through his hair. He looked haggard and, dare Dean say it, panicky. "Okay, I'll go ahead and call for help – get a helicopter sent. Then I'll get the med kit from the car and come back and we'll do what we can until they get here. You wait with Sam; keep him warm and try to keep the bleeding under control."
"Hurry, Dad." As John took off into the darkness, Dean sat down and leaned up against a tree, pulling his brother to his chest. He wrapped his arms around Sam and pressed against the wounds.
"Hey, Sammy, you awake?"
"I know, hang on just a little bit longer."
There were a few minutes of silence, where every breath could be the last and every space between was an eternity.
"Love ya, jerk."
"No, Sam, no, don't do that. You're gonna be fine."
"Liar." Dean pulled Sam closer to him and rested his chin on his little brother's shoulder. After a couple moments, Dean realized that Sam's chest was no longer rising under his fingertips.
"Sam?" He cried as he laid Sam out on his back. No breath, no pulse.
Dean forced Sam's head back and pinched his nose before starting CPR.
"Come on, Sammy, come on!" More breaths. More compressions. Repeat.
"COME ON, damnit!" Salty water dripped down his cheeks. "You know what? I wish you had gone to Stanford. Anything over this! Hell move to the moon if you want, just so long as you stay alive!" This wasn't working. CPR was apparently a lost cause. Dean buried his head in his brother's chest and choked on the sharp air in his lungs. "Sammy."
When John returned two minutes later, that's how he found Dean. And when paramedics arrived twelve minutes later, Sam was DOA.
Dean jerked up so sharply his nose almost hit his knees.
"Dean?" a voice asked in alarm off to his left. The edges of his vision clouded black and his breath doubled. Sammy…
Sam was gone. Sam was dead. Dean's other half…
This was so much worse than losing Sam to Stanford. There, he was just a call away. There he was alive. Alive and not dead and how could Sam possibly be dead? Was that possible?
"Dean?" Oh dear God, he was hearing Sam. Was he already that far gone? "Dean!" A hand jerked his shoulder back, causing Dean's head to roll back and face the owner of the hand.
"Sam?" he gaped. This wasn't possible…was this possible? Was Sam here? Was Sam here and not dead? Jeez…
"Yeah, Dean, you okay?" Dean lifted a hand a placed it on Sam's shoulder, soaking in the feeling of Sam's warmth beneath his finger tips. Warmth of life, not the cold of death. After a moment, his arms came up and pulled Sam to him in a hug…scratch that, a manly embrace.
"Uh, Dean?" Now Sam sounded worried. Why was Sam worried? He was alive, wasn't he? And that was a miracle in itself, wasn't it?
Dean pushed Sam back at shoulder length and just drank in his appearance, his not-soaked-in-blood appearance.
Sam was clearly older again. And even though he looked weary and tired, Sam didn't look ill like he had when…when they went on the hunt.
"Dean, what's going on?"
"I was just going to ask the same thing." Now that he looked around, he recognized the motel they had been staying at when Sam and him had gone out to hunt the witch. And…and…the rock!
"Well I couldn't wake you up." Dean was slightly taken aback, that wasn't at all what he expected. "The day after the witch hunt, I couldn't wake you up. You had a fever and you kept mumbling things. Then a little while ago you kept started screaming my name."
Dean paused a moment while Sam fiddled with the edge of his sweatshirt.
"Sam, I…I'm sorry I was so hard on you about going to Stanford. I mean, it was a pretty damn big accomplishment and I get that you...you know, had to do it."
"Um…okay…" Sam stared at him as though he had three eyes.
There'd be a lot of explaining to come, but for now Dean was simply glad to be back. He'd gladly help Sam continue to fight on without Jessica.
After all, a Sam, sad and miserable from his girlfriend's death, yet still struggling through the days, was better than no Sam at all.
So, there you have it! Please please REVIEW! They encourage me to get going on new and old stories! Not my best, but still one I like quite a bit.