Carmen's eyes fluttered open. Her vision was blurred and vertigo overtook her. She had no idea how long she'd been unconscious; it could have been seconds, it could have been hours. Closing her eyes, she tried to clear her head. A mac truck had slammed full force into the Impala; that couldn't have been a coincidence.
The sound of a car door slamming jolted her mind back to awareness. The truck driver stalked toward the Impala, its eyes black as ink, where her unconscious family was trapped. She weakly reached for the colt as the demon wrenched the back door open.
"Get. Away." She ordered through gritted teeth. It was not the demon that had been possessing John.
"You've only got three bullets left. You wouldn't dare waste one on me," It challenged.
"Try me," she barked with as much force as she could muster, which was meager, as she cocked the gun.
The demon stared her down for a moment, and then exited the trucker's body. He fell to the ground. The man awoke quickly, and ran away down the road.
Carmen paid him no attention. She exhaled a breath of relief and uncocked the gun. She let her head roll to the side weakly.
"Dean," she whispered as she put a bloodied hand to his face. She had no idea whose blood it was. "Dean," she sobbed again weakly, and his name was her prayer. His face was badly bruised and swollen, with several gashes painted scarlet with blood. There was hardly a piece of clean skin to be seen. She slowly put her ear to his mouth. He was faintly breathing. She faced forward and saw Sam's head tilted backward, unconscious.
Her stomach leapt. Please don't let him be dead, she willed in her mind. She called his name. There was no response. She called again, and again, nothing. She was overwhelmed; she began to cry uncontrollably.
She became aware of the smell of iron reaching her nose. It was almost asphyxiating and it made her retch. She opened the Impala door with a screech and tumbled out on to the wet ground, a cold sweat dripping from her forehead. She crawled to the driver's side and heaved herself up. Opening the door, she saw Sam's bloodied face and couldn't take her eyes off of him.
"Sam," she whispered. She ran a hand over his face, checking for damage. He was cut on his hairline, and his face was beat up, but there was no fatal damage. She checked his pulse; it was strong, much stronger than Dean's had been. She reached over and checked John's; it was faint, but present. He had taken the brunt of the impact. The smell of Sam's blood reached her again, and this time, she couldn't hold it down. She leaned over and spewed the blood from her stomach upon the ground. The sight of it sent fear through her body, and she suddenly felt so very alone. The last thing she could remember was trying to crawl back to Sam.
Carmen opened her eyes…
She was in a small dark room on a hard mattress. Sam entered with Dean's limp body on his back. She understood that he had carried first her, and now Dean from the wreckage to this cabin.
"Where's John?" She asked. The sound of her own voice, so scratchy and beaten, caught her off guard. She could still taste the metallic of blood in her mouth as she spoke.
"The car." Sam panted. Carmen went to retrieve her sweatshirt and headed for the door. She needed to get John before anything else got him. The demon that totaled the Impala would be back, she knew it.
"Carmen, it's too far. I just carried you from there are you were unconscious!" Completely ignoring him, Carmen took off. She heard Sam's frustrated curses behind her.
The night was cold and she could see her breath in front of her as she jogged. The Impala stood out in the deserted field, and it was striking to Carmen, as she got closer, how crumpled the car had become. It had hit Dean's and John's side head on…
As she ran closer to the crashed metal heap, she strained her eyes for a first glimpse of John. When she finally reached the car, she crossed over to the passenger's side.
"John?" She called out timidly. He was nowhere to be seen. "John!" She called again. Her heart sank when there was only the still night answering her calls, and once again she felt so very alone.
"He was gone."
"What do you mean, 'he was gone'"
"I mean he was gone, Sam! I got there and the window was cracked and the door was wide open and he was just gone!" Carmen could see the panic rising in Sam's eyes. Those eyes traveled to his unconscious brother lying on the table.
"Stay here." He commanded.
"What are you going to do?" She barked as he put on his khaki green jacket.
"Look for him, Carmen." It was a sarcastic remark.
"And what if the demon has him, Sam? It wants you; it's luring you right to it!"
"All the more reason to go."
"All the more reason for me to go with you!"
"No, stay here with Dean."
"No, Carmen!" He bellowed at her. Carmen jumped, caught off guard. "I don't want you with me! Stay here in case Dad comes back and watch Dean. I know how much you love being with him."
And then he was gone, leaving Carmen staring after him with a stinging heart.
She turned her tortured eyes to Dean. Pulling up a chair next to him, she placed a hand on his bare chest (Sam had cut his shirt when he was cleaning and stitching him up). Sam had lit a fire, but it was nonetheless freezing in the cabin. Although she was already shivering, she pulled off her sweatshirt and placed it over him. He looked unnaturally peaceful. Dean was never peaceful.
They needed him. Carmen felt so lost without him. He would know exactly what to do to get John back. He would come up with a reckless and dangerous plan that would definitely be successful. She gently took his hand in hers.
"We're lost without you here, Dean. I'm lost. I don't know if you can hear me…but I need you to come back to us. Who's going to call me out on all my bullshit? Who's going to piece me back together every time Sam breaks my heart? Who's going to fight endlessly with me about things that don't even matter? I need you back, Dean. I love you so much." Fresh tears pricked her eyes once more. "So much." She kissed his hand softly before lying it back down, and rested her head on his chest. It continued its slow, albeit steady, rise and fall.
Before she knew it, Sam was shaking her awake. It was rare that Carmen let herself sleep so much; she thought she must be concussed. Upon awakening, she immediately placed a hand over Dean's chest to make sure he was still breathing, still with them. He was…but Carmen thought the motion had become shallower.
"Go get some sleep, Carmen. In a bed." Sam whispered to her.
"No. I'm fine. I'll stay up, you can sleep."
"I can't with Dad missing." Sam took out his cell phone and dialed John's number several times. No answer. "Dammit!" Sam cursed.
Carmen put her hand over Sam's to stop him from dialing. "He'll be okay Sam. Don't assume the worst. He's disappeared on purpose before."
Sam pulled his hand away from hers in an obvious gesture. It stung Carmen once again.
"Sam, we need to talk about the things The Demon said last night."
"No, we don't." Sam cut across her. "You have feelings for Dean. There's not much to talk about."
"No," Carmen tried her hardest to be gentle. "I love Dean, but I was never, at any time, in love with him. I took comfort in him. He's my best friend, and when I had a broken heart and soul, he was there for me the way I needed him to be. He didn't abandon me. Sam, you dated Jessica for almost a year. I never once gave you shit for that. You can't fault me for taking comfort in my best friend."
Sam said nothing for a long time. Carmen thought it was possible that he was choosing to ignore her. But finally, he heaved a long, deep sigh.
"Jessica wasn't as important to me as Dean is to you."
"But Jessica filled a different role in your life than Dean filled for me. Jessica was your lover. She took my place. Dean never took your place, Sam. And he wouldn't have had to be there for me like that if you had stayed with me. There was nothing else in the world that would drive me to need Dean's comfort that way except your betrayal."
"I didn't betray you."
"What? Sam, I gave you everything I had, my heart, my mind, my emotion, and you took and it LEFT!"
"Okay, okay, your right, I'm sorry." Sam placated her before she could get too worked up. "I understand why you and Dean…. It just hurts. And I can't help but picture it…"
"Don't. The moment you were back in my life, Dean wasn't even a thought in my head. It's always been you, Sam. That's the kind of power you have over me, don't you know that?"
Sam look at her hard, and after a breath, said with a slight smirk, "I do, actually."
Carmen broke into a laugh as well, relief flooding her at seeing Sam's smile. She crossed the room and melted into his arms.
It was early morning when they finished talking, and a faint gold light spread over the grey room. Just as Carmen and Sam broke their embrace, the door to the Cabin creaked open, and John stood in the doorway.
"Dad?" Sam breathed. But Carmen was careful. She jumped up and grabbed the colt.
"Carmen, it's me." John rasped. She just narrowed her eyes. "Run the test," he commanded.
Sam slowly retrieved the holy water flask from inside Carmen's bag. He handed it to John, who first poured some out onto his skin for them to see, then took a greedy gulp. He smiled down at his children. Carmen lowed her gun and heaved a relieved sigh.
"Dad, I looked everywhere for you. What happened?"
"Well I woke up and you three were gone. I got out and tried looking for you; we must have just kept missing each other. I saw the light on in the cabin this morning and figured it was you. How's Dean?"
Carmen glanced over to Dean's limp body. She thought he looked paler.
"I stitched him up, but I don't know…" Sam trailed off.
"He's going to be fine, son." John said calmly. Why was he being so nonchalant about his son on the cusp of death?
"So, the demon… it never came back?" Carmen asked, suspicious.
John just shook his head. "You both look like hell. Make a bed by the fire and get some rest. I'll take care of Dean."
"Dad, are you sure? We can stay with you."
"Don't argue, Sam. Get some sleep." With that, John took his seat next to Dean and didn't say another word. Carmen pulled the blanket towards the fire and covered herself and Sam with it. It provided little warmth.
In the bright afternoon light, Carmen awoke. The heat from the fire had not been sufficient enough in warming her through the night, but Sam's body had. She found herself wrapped around him, and detangled herself with dexterity. He stirred anyway.
An ominous feeling overtook her, penetrating to her soul and pounding in her heart. The feeling was gripping, something she had never before experienced. It was almost painful.
"Dean," she whispered to herself, and jumped up from her place next to Sam to check on him. She discovered the table, which had been his bed, deserted.
Her heart dropped out of her chest.
"Dean!" She called frantically, like a mother who had lost her child. "Dean!"
"What?" Dean called from behind her. She whipped around and saw him emerging from the darkened hallway.
"You're okay," she breathed, and leapt into his arms.
"Jesus, Carmen, I'm alive, but I did get hit by a mac truck last night. Easy."
"Sorry," she laughed. She felt such relief at seeing him that she felt unnaturally light. "You scared me so much! I thought you were…I didn't know if…"
"It's okay, Carmen, I'm fine." He soothed her, half laughing. "What the hell happened last night anyway? What happened to the son-of-a-bitch demon?"
"Got away," Sam's gravelly voice croaked form the corner.
"Was it yellow-eyes who hit us?"
"No," Carmen answered. "It was just one of his goons. I aimed the colt at him for a second and he bolted. He was much less powerful than yellow-eyes. He must have been afraid when John fought him off last night. Speaking of John…where is he?" Carmen cocked an eyebrow at Dean.
"You're asking me?" He asked, confused. "I don't know, I was unconscious, remember?"
"He wasn't here when you woke up?" Sam questioned from the corner once more.
Carmen's jaw dropped. No…the ominous feeling had returned, and it was biting into her soul once more. It nauseated her and made the room spin. John…
"I'll be right back," she mumbled shakily, turning towards the door. "I just have to go check something."
"Carmen?" There was worry in Sam's voice, but she ignored him and left the boys alone.
"What happened with her? She okay after the crash?" Dean asked his brother.
"I think so. She was really worried about you. We both were. But physically, I think she's fine. She scared the demon away, but after that she lost consciousness. I woke up and saw her on the ground lying in a pool of blood. It was scary, Dean. The whole night was scary."
And, as if on cue, a terrible, mind-numbing scream sliced through the air. Sam and Dean both sprang up and bolted out the door. Another horrifying scream ripped through the brothers' chests.
"Carmen!" Sam called. He found her around the back of the cabin, leaning against the wall for support. They ran to her, and realized she was sobbing. When they followed her gaze to where her wide eyes were glued, they saw what caused this painful screaming.
John's dead body lay helpless in the tall green grass.