Summary: Dean tries, he really, really does and Sam knows this and loves his brother for it, but every time he catches Dean looking at him with relief in his eyes, he also hates him a bit. Continuation of The Missing and The First Week.
A/N: Finally I've got this typed up! Hopefully you all enjoy the ending of this mini-verse thing.
Dean doesn't understand.
Really, he means well but he just doesn't get it. It's like he thinks that making sure Sam eats and sleeps and doesn't ever hear the word rape will make him get better. Or that time will heal the wound.
Time does nothing but leave Sam feeling as though he's rotting from the inside out. Sometimes he thinks that his blood must be black by now, thick and decayed, or maybe sickly orange, blood and pus mixed together, festering under his skin.
Dean tries, he really, really does and Sam knows this and loves his brother for it, but every time he catches Dean looking at him with relief in his eyes, he also hates him a bit.
He understands it, of course. Dean thought he was dead. Hunters don't just go missing for a month and come back alive. Monsters don't usually keep their prey for that long, and Sam can imagine Dean's frantic search, the fading hope and heavy despair. Of course Dean's relieved.
But when Sam sees that look in Dean's eyes it makes him want to scream. Being alive isn't a relief. Not when it feels like this. He wishes Dean's search hadn't been quite so frantic. He wishes Dean had been too late. (He was too late. Too late and too early and there's no going back now.)
The TV screams and Sam looks up. It's a cop drama. Sam recognised the dramatic music of the theme song when it started a few minutes ago, and now a girl is backing up against an alleyway wall, clutching her coat around herself and a man, no more than a shadow, creeps forward. Sam's breath catches.
"Fuck," Dean swears from his bed, lunging for the remote and fumbling it. The girl screams again, high pitched and terrified, as the man -
reaches out for Sam's shoulder, pushing him back on the bed. Chet's other hand cups his face almost gently and he breathes his stench of stale tobacco into Sam's mouth.
"So fucking pretty," he murmurs, voice rattling like glass shards in a jar. "And I get to keep you all to myself. That's what you want, isn't it?"
Sam's mouth moves. He's like a puppet, or a robot, Chet at the controls. "I want you to keep me."
Chet smile with all of his yellowing teeth. "Good boy. I will."
Sam wants to scream as Chet slides himself closer and -
Sam blinks and Chet's gone and he's pressing himself against the wall at the head of his bed like he might actually push himself through it, it feels like bruises are forming, and his lungs feel like they're squashed up tight in his throat with his heart trying to join them.
Sam jerks and turns and Dean's right in his face. A noise manages to squeeze past his lungs, a squawk that's a mix of a scream and a gasp and he pushes himself harder against the wall, jerking his head back so it smacks against the plaster.
"Whoa whoa whoa." Dean's hands raise in surrender. He backs off a few steps and makes a gesture like he's trying to push air at Sam. "Just me, it's just me."
Sam swallows a few times, trying to force his organs back into their proper places. His eyes find the TV, blank and powerless now (just like him).
"Shit, Sammy. I'm so freaking sorry, I didn't think..."
Sam makes himself relax against the wall, though his muscles resist, still tensed. It's over. Chet is dead. He knows this. He knows this, so why does it feel like Chet's breathing over his shoulder every minute of every day?
"Sam?" Dean's looking at him with wide eyes. Sam never saw Dean so scared or helpless before he came back from Chet's, sometimes it makes him resent Dean more, for saving his life and then not knowing how to put it back together. Dean doesn't know what to do. Dean's trying but it's not enough, because Dean was gone for four weeks and two days and Sam was alone with a monster that wouldn't let him die. Sam wishes Chet had let him die.
"I'm fine," Sam says, because this is as fine as he's ever going to be.
Sam catches a glimpse of him through the window of a diner, sees his shadow in the Impala's rear view mirror, thinks he sees him in a crowd.
Chet always said there was no escape.
"Jesus!" Dean swerves when Sam almost leaps out of his skin, swirling in the passenger seat.
Empty. The back seat's empty. Of course it is. But for a second he could have sworn...
"Sorry," he mutters immediately. "Sorry." He tucks himself back down in his seat and sticks his hands under his thighs when they shake too much to hide. His blood rushes and makes him dizzy.
Dean blows out a sigh as he straightens the Impala, a great whoosh of air. The night is silent around them but for the Impala's purr, no wind to rustle the trees, no tape of Dean's screaming at them. Sam discovered that he missed Dean's music when held captive by Chet but Dean hasn't played it since he came back and Sam's not going to put it on himself.
"You know, Sam," Dean starts, and Sam doesn't look but he can picture his face, set and staring at the road ahead, because what he's going to say can't be said with direct eye contact, weary and worried and scared, thought Dean would never admit it. Or maybe he would, now that everything has changed. "Sooner or later, we're going to have to talk about this."
Sam closes his eyes and drops his head back against the head rest. "Later," he tries, as in much later, as in years later, as in never.
"It's been a month, Sammy." Sam's found that he's Sammy a lot more since Chet, maybe because he can't be bothered correcting Dean any more or maybe because of something in Dean's own head. "What are we even doing? Just driving aimlessly? We need to talk about Chet."
Sam flinches hard at the name said aloud. "No."
"No!" He opens his eyes and shoots his brother a half-hearted glare. Dean just doesn't understand. If Sam's seeing Chet now when he's doing his best not to even think about him, who knows how bad it will be is he actually talks about him? "No. Just... just no, Dean."
Dean sighs through his nose and keeps driving.
It's the next day, evening and Sam's finished his shower, sweatpants and t-shirt clinging to hot damp skin, the room cloudy with steam, when he swipes away the condensation on the mirror and Chet's standing right behind him.
Sam whirls, knocking toothbrushes and shaving cream to the floor in an erratic clatter.
Chet's still there.
Sam has just enough time to let out of a gasp of denial before Chet shoves him against the sink, white porcelain striking the base of his spine, and Chet's hands are freezing through his thin t-shirt, no no no NO! This isn't happening. This is meant to be over.
Chet leans in close (and Jesus, Sam can smell him and feel him and this has to be some sort of really vivid nightmare or flashback or something because Chet can't be here) and breathes icy rotting breath against Sam's face and smiles his leering smile.
"My favourite," he rasps, and vanishes into the steam just as Dean kicks the door in.
"He was here."
Dean looks at the kid, hunched over on the bed – on Dean's bed, and maybe that's some sort of comfort thing – with his arms wrapped around himself like he might fall apart if he doesn't hold on.
"He's dead, Sammy. Bobby took care of it, salted and burned him."
Sam's head snaps up. He's probably trying for a glare but he looks too freaking terrified to pull it off. Even so, Dean can tell that his attempt at soothing has come off more condescending. "I'm not making it up, Dean, and I'm not crazy. He was here."
Dean sinks down on Sam's bed, rubbing his hands over his face. "I never said you were crazy or lying or whatever." He shakes his head. Man, he knew this would happen. When Sam doesn't talk things through it always escalates. He's like a time bomb ticking down to the explosion, and fuck, he's not saying that the kid doesn't have the right to flip out but Sam needs to deal with this. Somehow. All this trying to ignore it so it will go away obviously isn't working.
"It's just... is this like what happened in the car? And the diner? 'Cause I was there, Sammy. I didn't see anything."
Sam's face is twisting in betrayal, and that's the last thing Dean wants but he's trying to be supportive, he's trying to help, he really is. He just doesn't know what to do with this.
"I saw something. I saw him. He's haunting me, Dean. He pushed me against the sink." Sam's hand wanders to the small of his back.
Dean pushes up from the bed and crosses the space between them in two steps. He hesitates because Sam's not good with touching, and Sam twists round and raises his shirt himself. Dean crouches down to get a good look, keeping about a foot between them.
Huh. There is a mark there. Angry red headed fast towards a bruise.
"Huh," Dean says. Kid probably fell against the sink in the midst of a flashback (It's not like those are rare or anything, Jesus, this is all messed up), but whatever makes Sam feel better, he'll do.
Dean stands and heads to his duffel. Sam watches with a small frown from under his mop of hair until Dean pulls out the EMF detector. Then his face changes, betrayal morphing into relief that Dean's taking him seriously, which makes Dean feel ten different kinds of awful because he's just humouring the kid. Chet's salted and burned. Dean doesn't believe that he was in that bathroom.
Sam follows him to the busted bathroom door, hanging back behind him in a way that gives Dean hope that maybe some part of Sammy still believes that Dean will take care of him, even though he's messed that up so badly.
The mirror's still clouded, toiletries scattered on the floor. Dean flicks the EMF detector on, holding it so he's sure Sam can see it and be reassured when it does nothing, and it lights up like a fucking Christmas tree.
Dean stares at it in disbelief.
Dean flips his cell phone shut. "Salted and burned, Sammy. Bobby confirmed it."
Sam nods kind of hazily. Damn but the kids halfway to shutting down completely, and Dean thought he got over than after the first few weeks. This is so freaking unfair.
Dean goes back to sit beside him on the bed, not too close. "Hey, it's okay. We're gonna deal with this. We know what we're doing. It's just like any other restless spirit." Except this isn't any other restless spirit. It's freaking Chet, for fucks sake.
Sam's twisting his hands together anxiously, eyes flat and distant.
"It's meant to be over," Sam murmurs.
Dean doesn't know what to say. Hell, he could write a whole frikking book on all the times he hasn't known what to say this last month.
"We have to go back," Sam says on an exhale. "Have to... find what's keeping him here."
Dean wants to deny it but Bobby broke his foot fighting off a banshee and the few other hunters he knows are wrapped up in cases so there really is no one else to do it. It's not like they can wait a few weeks for Bobby to heal and Bobby's, like, kinda old so maybe it will take longer.
Dean scuffs the hair at the back on his neck. Maybe it'll be good for the kid. Maybe it'll be, um, closure or something.
Right, and maybe Dean's gonna quite hunting to join a burlesque group in Vegas.
"What if it's me?" Sam asks quietly when they're packed and in the Impala and heading towards the last place either of them want to go.
"What?" Dean asks, even though he heard. Maybe he's hoping that Sam will change his question.
Sam shifts uncomfortably, fingers of one hand drumming an erratic rhythm on the palm of the other. "I mean... what if it's me that's keeping him here?"
"It's not." Dean says bluntly, because, crap, wouldn't that just be the icing on the icing on the icing on this fucked up cake?
Sam is silent for a while, switching from his drumming to fussing with a hole in the sleeve of his hoodie.
"I was his favourite," he says finally.
Dean glances at him, then back at the road. Sam's not looking at him.
"He used to say that... all the time. Like, when he was... was doing stuff, like..."
Like raping Sam. That's what the kid means. When he was raping Sam, Chet used to tell the kid that he was his favourite.
Dean wants to throw up.
"Look," he finally forces out, after swallowing bile and excess spit. "If that's what it is, if it's you, we'll deal with it. And Chet can go back to rotting in Hell."
Sam's head bobs in a jerky nod.
"It's gonna be okay, Sammy," Dean assures him, and this is the part where Dean would usually squeeze the kid's knee or push his shoulder or whatever physical gesture of brotherly support he could come up with, but they're teetering on flashback territory already (hell, when are they not?) and it wouldn't help right now. Maybe not ever again.
Dean just drives and wishes they were headed in the opposite direction.
It feels surreal.
It feels kind of like waking from a nightmare only to find out that the nightmare's real and you can't escape, can't ever escape, held in place by invisible bonds that choke you and there's a monster just around the corner and you know it's coming for you but you can't move, can't move, can't -
Sam jerks, almost falls but hands grab him and he's about to throw a punch, if he can, but, oh. Dean.
Dean lets go as soon as he's steady, backing off a few steps.
"You good?" Dean asks, eyeing him warily, eyebrows raised and lips pressed tight. Anyone else would think that he was angry, but Sam knows that it's the face Dean makes when he's freaked out and trying not to let on.
Sam lets his hair fall over his eyes as he nods, turning away.
The house is pretty much the same. It's been weeks since he was held captive here and it still smells of Chet, of sex and rotting flesh. There's still police tape hanging limply around the place, across the front door, the entry to the basement steps.
Sam echoes steps he's taken many times before. It feels like he was a ghost here, a vague resemblance of himself, an image with everything but fear and pain stripped away. He has to remind himself that it's Chet haunting this place and not him.
The carpet in the living room is half burnt where Bobby must have taken salt and matches to Chet's blood. The couch, the dining table, it all sits where it was left. Sam feels Dean's presence beside him, no more than a few feet away, and finds that more reassuring than the rock salt-loaded shotgun he's carrying.
"Bedroom or basement," Sam murmurs, swallowing to stop himself from screaming. It feels like the terror of this house is trying to tear him to pieces. "If he had something... it would be there, I think."
Dean looks from him to the bedroom door, left half open so a corner of the bed is visible. "You don't have to come in, Sammy. You can stay out here or..."
This has been constant since they rolled into town. 'You don't have to...' But Sam can't risk being alone with Chet's ghost. Doesn't Dean realise that he's the only thing stopping Sam from flipping out completely?
So Sam just ignores him, stepping forward with more confidence than he feels.
Dean catches up quickly and he's the one who pushes the bedroom door open.
Sam looks at the bed before he can stop himself and follows the invisible track from it to the adjoined bathroom and -
the waters too hot but he can't complain about it. It's not the worst thing in the world, considering. The worst thing in the world is standing behind him.
Chet's arms are clumsy as he fumbles soap against Sam's chest. He tells him to kneel so he can wash his hair. It's almost soothing, fingers working shampoo into his locks, rubbing roughly against his scalp and the back of his neck but it's all wrong.
It's all wrong and Sam can't move, can't talk, can't do anything, and every day is worse than the one before.
Chet tilts his head back with a hand under his chin to rinse the suds off under the showers stream. Steam makes the air moist and muggy and hard to breathe. Sam looks unwillingly up into Chet's eyes as the man smirks.
"Since you're already down there," he drawls, moving Sam's head so that he's perfectly positioned to -
Sam's head snaps up, away from the bathroom, and he realises he's pressed against the wall. Dean's beside him, one hand hovering uncertainly near his shoulder, the other gripping his gun.
"Sorry," Sam gasps.
Dean shakes his head, frown firmly in place. "I knew this was a bad idea. C'mon, lets just get out of here. I'll come back later-"
"No." No. This needs to be finished. "No, I can do this. We just need to find whatever and it'll be done."
"We don't even know what we're looking for," Dean argues.
Sam bites his lip. "Please, Dean."
Dean hesitates, then huffs and rolls his eyes. "Fine. Lets just do this."
Sam doesn't look at the bed now. He moves off to the side and starts pulling open drawers, sorting through the contents with ruthless efficiency. It's easier if he doesn't think. He heard Dean's rustling nearby and can feel how tense his brother is. The air in the room is thick with the horror of half a dozen victims. They search in silence.
Sam is a few feet further away from Dean than he'd like when he hears Dean's sharp inhale. His head jerks up.
"Find something?" Please let this be it. They can burn it and leave. Please.
Dean's at the bookcase, a woefully bare one – Chet wasn't much of a reader – with the largest book open in his hands. Sam can see from where he's standing that the pages have been hollowed out, and inside -
Sam's at Dean's side in a flash, yanking the book from his grasp, too rough, and the photos spill out and scatter on the floor. Sam drops to his knees.
"Don't," Sam spits, sensing his brother freeze in place behind him. "Don't look."
Shame burns his face and down the back of his neck as he hastily gathers the polaroids together.
It's not only him in the photos, though most of them are. He was Chet's favourite, after all. It's the others too. Thomas, Melanie, Kelly, Francis, Michael, on Chet's bed, in Chet's shower, half dressed or naked, in the middle of some sexual act, in the basement, rotting.
Sam feels tears stinging in his eyes and he still thinks that the worst part of all of this might be that he's the only one who didn't get to die. He kind of wants to curl up on the floor and never get up again.
Dean clears his throat. "Do you think these are what's keeping him here?" he asks quietly, almost reverently.
Sam's fingers tighten around the stack of photographs, holding them face-down.
"Maybe," he chokes out.
He doesn't look at Dean as he stands, keeping his back to him.
"Bathroom? Or do you want to burn them somewhere else?"
"Just do it." He turns a bit to hand the photos to Dean, suddenly wanting them out of his hands so badly he almost drops them again, then folds his arms around himself. There's a physical ache, somewhere between his stomach and his heart, as if someone (Chet) reached in and tore something from him, something he can't live without.
"You can wait here, if you want," Dean offers hesitantly.
Sam nods, still avoiding Dean's gaze.
"Just be ready, okay?" Dean's hand motions to the shotgun, almost forgotten in Sam's grasp.
Sam nods again and raises it. He's ready. If Chet shows up, he's going to blast him back to hell.
Dean's footsteps travel away, carpet switching to tile. Sam hears the shaking of salt in a tin as Dean gathers what he needs.
He really hopes that Dean doesn't look at those pictures.
Sam spins, staring down the length of his gun at each corner of the room. It's empty.
(Put the gun down, boy)
Sam doesn't want to but, oh shit, oh shit, he lays the shotgun on the bed, then stands there staring at it, longing to pick it up. He tries to call for Dean but his mouth won't move.
(Good boy. My favourite)
He can't tell where the voice is coming from, everywhere and no where at the same time. Maybe it's inside his head. No no no no, not again. Come on, Dean, hurry up.
Phantom hands weave through his hair and the room wobbles with his terror. Cold spreads down his hair all the way to his feet. He hears salt scattering against the sink just a few feet away. All he has to do is yell and Dean will be there but he can't even do that.
(Come on. Quietly now)
Sam turns, feet carrying him from the room against his will. This isn't supposed to happen. The spell is supposed to be broken. Chet's only an echo so why can't he fight this off?
The basement door looms closer, and the basement is even more frightening than the bedroom. It's where he woke up, where he first realised that he had no control, where Chet told him, in detail, exactly how things were going to be from now on. It's also a tomb.
` Sam watches his hand brush aside the police tape, reach for the door knob.
"Sammy?" he hears, from too far away, just before he shuts the door behind him, fingers twisting the lock in place.
He stands at the top of the stairs, his chest tightening. It's like his skin's shrinking, his head's spinning and every step he walks down makes his stomach roll, but he can't stop, can't take control, can't scream for Dean.
It's almost pitch black down here, a single grimy window struggling to let the meagre light of mid-evening into the room, so when Chet appears, his unearthly glow is impossible to miss.
The bullet holes are visible in his transparent chest, raw and dark. He flickers out and reappears inches from Sam's face. Sam wants to recoil but his muscles are locked, waiting for orders.
Chet's hand brushes the side of Sam's face. It feel like ice, trailing down his chin.
"My favourite," he growls, echoing across the veil between the living and the dead. "Mine."
"Sam?" Sam hears Dean's voice, distant through the solid door at the top of the stairs, followed by thumping. He must have burned the photos by now but Chet's still here and damn it, sometimes Sam hates being right. It must be him Chet's connected to. It must be -
Chet leans forward and kisses him, ghostly lips burning with the frost and Sam feels it enveloping him. He can't think, can't breathe. It's worse than when Chet was alive. It feel as though Chet's spirit is seeping into his pores, invading him intimately.
Chet pulls back and leers at him. "Lose the shirt."
Sam's fingers find the buttons unerringly without him looking. He feels like he's suffocating. The fact that Dean is just upstairs isn't a comfort because right now Sam is in the basement, alone with Chet.
His shirt falls to the floor behind him. He hears Dean's muffled cursing between kicks to the door.
Chet's fingers trail an icy path up his chest, stopping at his heart. Sam imagines he can feel his organs trying to shrink away from the uninvited touch.
"Eyes on me, boy," Chet murmurs, and Sam's gaze rises to meet Chet's hollowed and soulless eyes.
He can't breathe. He doesn't know whether it's Chet's doing or his own panic but the end result is the same.
"Gonna keep you forever," Chet rasps, and suddenly his hand is inside Sam's chest. Agony flares red hot, racing along his veins. He literally feels it as Chet's fingers tighten around his heart, one after the other, and now he really can't breathe, he can't see, the pain has blinded him to all but sharp white flashes of pain. His heart tries to beat, straining around Chet's hold but it can't. He's dying. He's dying and then he'll have to stay with Chet forever, no, Dean, anyone...
He falls to the floor suddenly, hitting the bottom stair hard, and it takes him a moment to realise that he's still alive.
He blinks through the haze that has covered his eyes, frantically seeking out Chet, and it takes him another moment to realise that he can move, although his chest's on fire and it gets worse when he tries.
Finally his vision clears enough to make out the basement and Chet's faintly glowing form.
They're not alone any more.
It's not Dean, as Sam expected, and Chet looks frightened. It takes a moment for Sam to recognise the ghosts that now fill the room, only old Missing Person reports to go on. Chet's other victims.
They stand eerily still in a semi-circle around Chet, cutting off his access to Sam, grey and flickering like old worn out film.
They say nothing but their rage is so intense he can almost hear it. The air in the room seems to thicken and fill with energy, like air during a thunderstorm, full of electricity.
Chet appears to panic, looking from one victim to the next. "No-" he starts to speak, but the group surges forward as if that was their cue, and the ghosts all slam together.
The 'boom!' threatens to burst Sam's eardrums, the almighty crash vibrating through his bones. The basement lights up in a shower of exploding sparks. It's like being at the very centre or a fireworks display. He's blinded as the hot white light threatens to burn out his eyes and he throws himself to the ground, covering his head with his arms, and lies there, desperately praying that the moment won't tear him apart.
The door shudders violently as an explosion bursts forth from behind it, and Dean feels his insides freeze and contract.
"Sammy!" he screams.
This is all his fault. He should have insisted that Sam stay behind in the motel, safely surrounded by half the salt content of the ocean. He never should have brought the kid here. How could he be so stupid?
He rears back and slams his booted foot into the door. He's done it a dozen times with no results but this time the weight of his absolute panic is behind it and the door swings open, splintered wood screeching and flying in all directions. The door rebounds off the wall and almost smacks him in the face as he moves forward in a rush.
He shoves it aside thoughtlessly, already halfway down the stairs before his eyes adjust enough to see Sammy crumpled in a heap at the bottom.
"Sam!" he calls automatically, taking the stairs three at a time by swinging on the banisters, which probably looks ridiculous but whatever, and stumbles to his knees beside his brother.
Very gently, he nudges Sam onto his back, surprised to see that the kid's eyes are open. Dilated with shock and dazed but Sam's awake and that's a lot more than Dean dared hope for.
"Sammy?" he asks, leaning in close and patting him down, searching for injuries.
Sam mumbles something in reply that might have been 'Dean' but it's not too clear, and then Dean's brain catches up with his fingers and he realises that Sam's not burnt. He looks around. Nothing's burnt. There's no sign of an explosion at all.
"Something exploded," he says urgently. It's a question. He watches Sam hazily figure out the answer.
"Chet," he says finally, trying to get up. Dean pushes him back down when he gasps. "Chet exploded."
"You mean, like, the burning bones kind of exploded?" Dean asks. "Where are you hurt?"
Sam blinks at him, like two questions at once is too hard for him to process. Dean picks the most important one.
"Where are you hurt, Sammy?"
Sam's hand rises and flutters over his chest. Dean yanks his t-shirt up (and wasn't Sam wearing a button up too? A quick glance around locates it on the floor a few feet from them and Dean's not even going to think about why Sam's not wearing it right now). Sam's chest is clear though, no bruising or gashes. Dean feels gently for broken ribs and finds none, though his ministrations cause Sam to whine low in his throat.
"What happened?" Dean asks when he can't find anything obviously wrong himself.
Sam drops his hand over his eyes, moaning. "Put his hand in me."
Oh. Yeah, that always hurts like a bitch, and fuck, as if the kid wasn't traumatized enough, that sort of thing gives you chills for a week.
"He coming back, Sammy?" Dean asks. A blast that big shouldn't have come from dispersing a spirit with iron or salt, but you can never be too careful and ghosts have been known to play outside the rules.
Sam shakes his head, hand still covering his eyes. "Don' think so. The others... they were mad. Think they took care of him."
"Others?" Dean asks but Sam just shakes his head. Okay then, so enough of the twenty questions. Time to ditch. Well past time to ditch, actually. He can find out what happened later, once he's taken Sam far away from this house.
It's actually another day before Dean gets the full story because as soon as he finds a motel a suitable distance away from Chet's house, Sam crashed hard and sleeps for twelve hours, only interrupted up nightmares. But when he wakes, he talks, which takes Dean by surprise. Here he thought they were going to be in for another round of silent shell shocked Sammy.
"Think they're all gone now?" Dean asks when Sam finishes telling him about how Chet's other victims exploded along with him. Sam glances at him and he knows the kids caught on to what he's implying. If there's a group of restless spirits tied to that house, even if they're not crazy yet, even if he owes them for saving Sam, Chet's basement is no place to spend the afterlife and time will eventually twist them until their humanity is lost. Salting and burning is better for everyone.
"I think they were only waiting for him"
"Okay." Dean's gonna trust Sam on this one.
Sam fiddles with the bedsheets, mug of soup Dean brought him sitting untouched on the night stand. "Think it's over now?" he asks after a moment of silence.
Dean doesn't answer right away. He thinks that maybe this is never really going to be over, not in Sam's mind and not in his. He also thinks about Sam after Chet was taken down, letting Dean assess him for injuries, letting Dean help him from the house and into the motel, without flinching or drawing away, and Sam now, talking to him, a little haltingly, but talking nonetheless.
Sam's not okay, not yet, but he will be.
He sinks down on the bed beside his brother. "Yeah," he says, because he's going to make sure it is. "Yeah, I think it's over."