Chapter One: All That's Left
Dean kept his eyes on the road ahead. He didn't look at Sam, he didn't dare. Dean's jaw was clenched so tight he thought he might break his teeth.
They had been driving for two days now and the brothers hadn't spoken to one another. Dean didn't even have to look at Sam to see the hunched shoulders, the devastated expression on his face, the fact that he swiped at his nose every so often, or the dark circles around his eyes.
All Dean wanted to do was get to Montana, hole-up in the safety of Rufus' cabin in Whitefish and just… stop… thinking.
Dean heard the soft crinkle of paper and knew Sam was looking at that damn number again. For posterity's sake, somehow his brother remembered to rewrite the number down on a scrap of paper… the number Bobby had enough time to scrawl on Sam's hand before… before he had died.
Dean gripped the steering wheel with white knuckles, feeling the joints pop as he recalled the last few moments of Bobby's life.
Dean remembered how the doctor and nurses had pushed him and Sam aside as they attempted to resuscitate Bobby, over and over again. Dean and his brother had stood just inside the room, watching the scene unfold helplessly. What must have been only minutes seemed like hours to Dean as the hospital staff tried unsuccessfully to revive the old hunter.
Dean remembered how the doctor had stepped back and shook his head.
"Do you want to call it?" a nurse had asked the doctor.
"Wait! What are you doing? Try again!" Dean had jumped into the conversation and grabbed the doctor by the lapels of his white coat.
"Son, there's nothing more we can do for him," the doctor had said in a calm, measured voice, "I'm sorry."
"You know what? Fuck you!" Dean had snapped at the doctor and shoved the man away from him.
"Dean," he had heard his brother say his name but he walked right past him, out of the room and down the hall.
Dean had gone into the men's washroom and locked himself in one of the stalls, trying to get himself together. His chest had heaved with barely contained anger and he slammed his fist against the painted cinderblock wall. Dean had wanted to kick something, someone, he wanted to curl into a ball, he wanted to scream and never stop.
Dean had leaned his forehead against the laminate-covered plywood door of the stall and took deep breaths. He had left the stall after several minutes and went to one of the sinks, turned on the tap and splashed cold water on his face.
Once he gauged he was calm enough, Dean had exited the washroom and gone back to Bobby's room.
He had seen Sam standing in the hall, speaking quietly to a young woman wearing a tasteful beige pant suit, her dirty blonde hair in a severe bun.
As Dean approached he heard some of the conversation.
"I know this must be very difficult for you, but a decision needs to be made immediately," the woman was saying. Apparently the hospital thought that a woman would have a better chance at getting to them.
Dean had seen Sam nod sadly and the woman handed him a pen.
"Hey! What're you doing?" Dean interrupted before Sam could sign the form the woman held out to him on a clipboard.
Sam had looked up and Dean saw he had a hopeful expression on his face.
"Dean… Bobby's a donor… and… maybe… some good can come out of all of this…" Sam had tried to explain.
"Good? Good! How is any of this good, Sam? The man's not been dead a half hour and you're already pawning off his organs to the highest bidder?" Dean had almost shouted as he approached his brother and the hospital representative.
"Dean, lives could be saved-" Sam had tried to speak again but Dean interjected rudely.
"No, no way," Dean had said, "there is no way I'm gonna let them cut Bobby up and give his liver or whatever to some asshole."
"Sir-" the woman had tried to speak and Dean rounded on her.
"Was I talking to you? I didn't think so. Get the hell away from us and take your fucking form with you!" Dean had shouted at the woman, "goddamn vulture!"
The woman hugged the clipboard to her chest and practically sprinted down the hall in fear.
"Dean," Sam had said quietly but he didn't answer. He was angry with his brother. He couldn't believe Sam's audacity. Bobby was a hunter and should be buried like a hunter. The thought of desecrating his body by removing organs seemed sacrilegious and dishonorable. That was not the way to treat the earthly remains of a fellow hunter, their friend and adoptive father.
Now Dean resisted the urge to grab the paper from Sam's hand and throw it out the window.
He could have cared less about the numbers that Bobby had written, for all they knew it was just the dying ramblings of their last ally, and meant absolutely nothing.
Dean's anger at Sam had died down to a simmer once he had time to think things over. He still didn't have to like the idea that Sam had almost signed the lady's form but Dean didn't want to stay mad at his brother, now his only friend.
Dean didn't speak to Sam though. He just didn't know what to say. He was afraid of his words coming out wrong and making things even worse than they already were.
Dean listened as Sam folded the paper with a sigh and put it back into his pocket.
It was getting dark and Dean thought they should find a motel for the night. They were nearly in Montana but their destination was closer to the western side of the state which would probably be another fourteen hour's drive.
Without saying anything to his brother, Dean pulled off the interstate and into the next town they came across.
Dean didn't even notice how small the town of Bison was as he searched the streets for a motel. He didn't really care where they stayed as long as it was quiet.
He pulled into the parking lot of a 'Country Inn' motel and let the car idle while he checked in.
The lobby of the motel was small but meticulously clean. It had a southwestern theme with Navajo rugs, cream-coloured tiles on the floor, and the heads of pronghorn antelope on walls painted terra cotta orange. No one was at the reception desk so Dean rang the little silver bell, its chime cut through the silent lobby.
"Hello," a voice behind the desk spoke up and a short, middle-aged woman strolled over.
"Hi, I'd like a room," Dean said and the woman smiled.
"You're in luck, we've got one left," she replied.
"Great," Dean answered without enthusiasm.
"Sir?" the woman asked. Dean hadn't even noticed his gaze had gone to the pronghorn antelope head staring down at him with glass eyes.
"Oh, uh, yeah," Dean muttered and pulled his new fake ID, courtesy of Frank Devereaux, and handed it to the woman.
She took a couple of minutes to type the information into the computer than returned his card with a room key, "There you go Mr. Smith. Enjoy your stay."
Dean gave a halfhearted shrug and left the lobby.
He got into the car and realized he hadn't even asked if the room came with one bed or two.
Oh well, I'll sleep on the floor if I have to, Dean thought as he pulled the car around to the far end of the motel and parked in front of the room.
Both boys got out of the car and grabbed their duffel bags from the trunk. Dean unlocked the door and they peered inside.
Dean frowned. There was only one bed.
Sam noticed and offered to sleep on the floor.
"Nah, you take the bed," Dean argued, "it's not like I haven't slept on the ground before."
Sam didn't want to start an argument and so he consented and set his bag down on the bed. He was a little surprised that Dean didn't actually put up a fight as to which one of them would be sleeping in the bed, something his brother always did whenever they were faced with such an event.
The room continued the southwest theme and the floor was covered in brown carpeting, the walls a cream colour that had been sponged over with darker terra cotta red (to give the guest the feeling that they were in an adobe hut, Dean assumed), the bedclothes had Navajo rug designs and a taxidermy bison head stared out at them from over the single bed.
Dean bit his lower lip and turned away from his brother to peer out the window. He knew they should start talking again. Normally Sam would be the one to initiate a conversation, especially after an argument but he probably thought Dean was still pissed at him.
They needed to talk, they were the only ones left, they only had each other and Dean knew they could not continue with the silence for much longer.
"You hungry?" Dean spoke up, "there's a place called the Prairie Dog Café across the street that might be good."
Dean didn't even really have that much of an appetite but he knew that if he went in search of food, Sam would follow and he wanted to make sure that his brother ate something.
Dean turned to face Sam and his brother shrugged, "if you're going."
Dean grabbed the room key and Sam trailed behind him as he exited the room, locking the door behind both of them.
They jaywalked across the street and Dean opened the door of the café. A bell chimed as the Winchesters stepped inside and looked around.
The place was pretty normal looking, the floors were scuffed hardwood that had seen better days, and there were dark wooden booths and tables covered in green plastic cloths. What stood out about the café was that it was packed. Almost all of the tables and booths were occupied.
Dean raised an eyebrow. I guess this is where the locals eat.
The boys stood awkwardly for a moment, waiting to be seated.
"Hi, welcome to the Prairie Dog Café," a petite hostess with straight brown hair and large brown eyes said.
Dean cleared his throat, "hi, two please."
The hostess nodded and led them to a booth at the far end of the restaurant.
The brothers sat across from each other and the hostess handed them menus before walking away.
Sam looked out the large window they were sitting beside, his expression distracted.
Dean opened his menu and looked at the list of food items he wasn't interested in at all.
A waitress came by- a large girl whose nametag read 'Charity'- and poured them glasses of water.
"Is there anything I can get you right now?" Charity asked, eyeing both boys curiously.
"Two beers," Dean spoke up, wondering if maybe Sam had suddenly lost the ability to speak.
"Great, I'll be right back," Charity smiled and waddled away.
Dean leaned his forearms on the table and looked intently at his brother.
"Hey, Sammy, you okay?" Dean asked quietly.
"Yeah," Sam all but sighed his response.
"Look, if this is about the donor thing… I'm not angry at you," Dean said.
"I know you're not," Sam answered.
"Then what?" Dean asked.
Sam didn't bother to answer because Dean already knew what the answer was: he was grieving in his own way. While Dean got angry, Sam would go distant and often feel guilty.
"Other than that… how are you feeling?" Dean asked.
Sam just shrugged and stared out the window again.
Charity returned with the beer but since they were not ready to order, she left once again.
Sam watched as his brother perused the items on the menu with less conviction than he usually would have.
Sam didn't even want to think about food but he knew he needed to eat… he could not neglect that.
With his hands on his lap and his eyes scanning the laminated pages of the menu, Sam's right hand drifted to the left, his thumb pressing down on the new scar on his palm. A headache throbbed behind his eyes but he hadn't pointed it out to his brother, forcing himself to not pinch the bridge of his nose or squeeze his eyes shut because than Dean would see. Sam grabbed his bottle of beer and gulped down some of the cold liquid.
When Dean wasn't looking Sam surreptitiously rubbed at his left palm and sagged inwardly with relief.
"Ready to order?" Charity's voice caused both Winchesters to jump in surprise.
"Uh, can you give us five more minutes?" Dean asked.
"Sure," Charity answered but looked slightly annoyed that they were taking so long to order.
Dean finally decided to get a pizza burger and fries. Maybe eating comfort food would make him feel better.
When Charity returned Dean ordered his burger and Sam ordered the Soup-of-the-Day and a turkey sandwich.
The boys ate in silence, not really tasting their dinner at all, thoughts a million miles away from tiny Bison, South Dakota.
Dean just wanted to go back to the motel and sleep. He was exhausted. He guessed the anger that had followed him from New Jersey had something to do with it.
He noticed Sam looked as tired as he felt, if not more. He didn't doubt that Sam was beating himself up about Bobby's death.
Heck, he felt guilty about it too. But mostly he felt rage. Dean wanted nothing more than to find that fucking Leviathan, Dick Roman, and rip his head off with his bare hands.
Dean knew he wouldn't go chasing that son of a bitch down though. Maybe two days ago, maybe if Bobby was sitting with them, but not now. Dean was done. He was finished. For good. Dean hadn't said anything to Sam but he had an idea that his brother would follow his lead. He knew Sam wouldn't want to continue hunting if he wasn't by his side. They had officially run out of friends and there were just too many enemies for Sam to go off on his own.
All Dean really cared about now was getting to Whitefish and falling off the grid altogether. Dean hoped he and Sam would be able to keep their newfound haven for as long as possible, if and when the Leviathans came for them.
Dean had been done with hunting a long time ago. He wasn't sure exactly when he'd decided he didn't want to keep going but he thought maybe it was when his Dad had died. Sam's plunge into Lucifer's Cage had certainly cemented Dean's decision to give up hunting for good- he didn't want to continue if his brother wasn't with him. Although Sam was with him now, they had no one else, literally. Now it seemed like a David and Goliath story where the giant simply squashes the poor, tiny Dave and goes on his merry way.
Dean knew that Bobby hadn't wanted them to give up if anything had happened to him but this was just one promise Dean didn't think he could keep.
I'm sorry Bobby, Dean thought, I just can't do it, ya know? This is just too big for the two of us.
Dean hoped that Bobby would forgive him and wondered if he could forgive himself.
Thirty minutes later Dean opened the door to their motel room and stepped inside.
Dean sighed and grabbed his duffel bag from where he had set it beside the bed and stepped into the bathroom, closing the door after himself.
Sam sat on the edge of his bed and turned on the ancient, box-shaped television. He picked up the remote and flipped through the channels, not intending to watch anything. He stopped on a re-run episode of Fear Factor and put it on mute.
Sam's head throbbed in time with his heartbeat and he rubbed at his temples, wondering if he had any painkillers in his duffel bag.
Sam was tired and all he wanted to do was take a shower and get some rest. He had barely slept during the past two days- his mind didn't want to shut down when it should have- all Sam could do was go over the events leading up to Bobby's death over and over in his head and ponder the mystery of those numbers.
"Sammy, bathroom's free," Dean's voice startled Sam out of his thoughts and he stood, nodding his thanks.
Sam gathered his duffel bag and closed the door after himself. The bathroom was full of steam, humid from Dean's boiling shower. Sam got undressed and turned on the shower- an icy jet of water greeted his waiting hand- Dean had also used up all the hot water.
Nice. Whatever, wasn't gonna spend all night in here anyway, Sam thought and stepped under the cold torrent.
Dean looked up when Sam stepped out of the bathroom, dark hair damp and his bangs plastered to his forehead. Dean had to admit he had felt a lot better after his shower- something about standing in the warm rush of water had seemed to wash all his negative feelings away and he was looking more optimistic about things.
Sam dumped his duffel bag on the end of his bed and sat down with a tiny huff. Picking up on the sound, Dean looked at his brother expectantly.
It took Sam a moment to realize Dean was watching him and he turned his head, "what?"
"You…okay there?" Dean asked.
"Yeah, I just want to get to Whitefish," Sam muttered and Dean nodded.
Dean stood and stretched, making his way to the bathroom once again.
As he passed Sam, Dean dropped a red and white bottle of Tylenol onto his brother's lap. Dean hid a grin. Kid thought he could keep me in the dark?
Just because Sam hadn't performed his usual mannerisms didn't mean Dean wasn't aware of the headache. Dean had seen the way Sam's eyes became dark and pinched- a telltale sign that his brother was in pain- and knew sooner or later Sam would be taking painkillers on the sly like they were illegal just so he wouldn't have to tell him about the headache.
Dean didn't sleep at all that night. Sam gave him one of the blankets and pillows from the bed so he could make himself at least somewhat comfortable. Dean felt tired, of course he did after driving all day, but his body wouldn't let him sleep.
He lay on his back, arms under his head, supported by the pillow and the scratchy wool blanket pulled up to his chest. Dean listened to the sound of his brother's breathing.
Dean listened as Sam's breathing slowed and evened out as he fell asleep and he smiled. At least one of us is getting the rest we need.
It was after midnight when Dean noticed a change in Sam's breathing. It became faster and shallow, punctuated by tiny whimpers of distress.
Dean sat up and looked at his sleeping brother. The room was dark but the numbers on the alarm clock illuminated Sam's face enough for Dean to see he was having a nightmare. Not an uncommon occurrence for Sam, Dean knew, but it put him on edge anyway.
Dean continued to watch his brother for a handful of minutes before lying back down. Sam's breathing was even again and though he gave the occasional mumble, Dean didn't worry too much about it.
Dean bit his lip and tried to fall asleep again.
He was actually in that twilight state between waking and sleeping when Dean heard his brother say his name.
Eyes snapping open Dean peered at Sam. When his name was no longer forthcoming, Dean repositioned himself and closed his eyes and tried to get as much sleep as possible before their 5 AM wake up call.
1. Beta read by BerserkerHellHound- Thanks a bunch, Sis!
2. Still working on Devil On My Shoulder but I really felt like this story needed to be published.
3. As always, reviews are greatly appreciated.