Author's Note: Um. Late. Sorry. *blushes*
So this is the end of this story. I have a one-shot to post after this and another one planned after that. And then maybe, finally, the sequel to Dies Felices. Let's see how it goes.
I haven't replied to reviews yet – no time, you know the drill. I will, as soon as I can, and I appreciate and treasure each and every one.
For anyone following this fic on LJ, I know I'm behind – I'll try to get it all updated tonight.
Epilogue: Quit Being a Girl Now, Sam
Sam curled up in his sleeping bag, shivering a little until I rolled my eyes and leaned over to zip it up.
"Happy now, princess?"
"Mmmmph," Sam muttered incoherently, which I took to mean, "Yes, Dean, thank you for being an awesome big brother."
(What? Yeah, yeah, you and your freaking dramatic unities.)
Sam says I can't go into that without explaining what happened earlier. (Like you didn't just do that exact thing, Aristotle.)
So, once again, let's go back in time a bit. Sam found Fitch's body. The old gardener had committed suicide. Sam and the other two kids went to Summers. Summers called the cops in, called the other kids' parents, and called Dad. The other kids' parents came. Dad couldn't be reached because he was tracking down some apartment where he'd discovered that Jacobi lived when school was out, making sure there was nothing left that might come back later to bite us in the ass.
When the police came, Summers told them they could interview Tom and Dennis but they'd have to wait to speak to Sam until his father could get there.
Is something wrong with that picture?
Yahtzee! In all the calling that was going on, neither Summers nor Sam thought of telling me.
Sam claimed he didn't want to blow my cover (I was Dean Peters) and Summers, when I got up in his face and asked him whether he'd gone senile and what he thought he meant by even putting Sam in the same room as the cops without my permission, stuttered and looked like he'd faint.
What happened (I heard later, because nobody called me then) was that Summers put all three boys in the staff room, left Ms. Gomez to keep an eye on them, and called the parents. Dennis and Tom both had their parents very close by – a lot of families had come down because of the mystery epidemic, and nobody really wanted to leave until they were sure their kids were safe. Within an hour, Dennis' and Tom's parents were there, and Summers sent them to the staff room. Then he sent the cops up to the staff room.
They did the good-cop-bad-cop routine. And the guy who was playing bad cop decided to pick on my brother.
Can you tell where I'm going with this?
The rumours of Fitch's death were all over the school. Those, coupled with my big-brother radar going off insanely, were enough to send me scurrying to the staff room, where Victor told me the principal was meeting the authorities.
The door was shut and whatever (Sam said it was locked), but I really didn't notice. Sam was on the other side of that door, needing me. I could sense it. I pushed the door; it opened. And if the hinges broke and the wood splintered around the lock – well, really not my problem. Summers should've known better than to put a locked door between me and my baby brother.
I went in to find the bad cop (I think his name was Norton, or possibly Norris) browbeating Sam.
Seriously. And I cannot emphasize enough that Sam, at the time, wasn't the size of the house. He was tiny, his head not even reaching my shoulder, and skinny, and a kid.
And Norton (or whatever his name was) had him pretty much trapped in a chair and was leaning over him threateningly. (Not touching him, which was just as well because if he'd laid a finger on Sam I would've killed him before anyone could think of getting a lawyer to sue for harassment of a minor.)
Sammy – my Sammy – looked exhausted and vulnerable and sad, and Officer Nor-whatever was being a jerk to him.
What do you think I did?
You're wrong, then. I did shove the creep off Sam, but I didn't shoot him with his own gun or introduce him face-first to the desk. I pushed him away, got between him and Sam, and said, "Who the hell gave you permission to interrogate Sam? Like that?"
Norton scowled at me. "Who the hell are you?"
"I'm Sam's older brother. The person who is going to kill you if you've upset him. Oh, and since our Dad doesn't seem to be around, I'm also his legal guardian."
Norton turned to Summers. "He has a brother? Why didn't you tell me the brat had a brother? We could have dealt with this so much sooner."
Summers met my eyes. Then he had the sense to make some excuse about forms he needed filled and hustle the officers out of the room before I slugged someone.
Tom, Dennis and their families followed. Sam was about to get up, but I shoved him back into his chair.
He sighed. "Dean, I –"
"Can it." I considered crouching to his eye-level, but decided against it. First I needed to give Sam hell for not calling me. Then I'd see about making him feel better. "What do you think you're doing, moron?" Sam had the nerve to look politely puzzled. I crossed my arms and waited. When he didn't say anything for a minute, I prompted, "Well?"
"Well… I thought I was going to go deal with whatever crap Norton wants, but I'm guessing that's not the answer you're looking for."
Right. Enough games.
"You didn't call me," I growled, stepping right into Sam's space so he had to crane his neck to look at me. (Doesn't mean you have to make me do it now to demonstrate, Sam! How was I supposed to know you'd grow into a human giraffe?) "You're supposed to call me when things go sideways."
"I didn't want to blow your cover," Sam mumbled, not meeting my eyes.
"Even you can't be that stupid. The case is over, Sam. How the hell does it even matter if my cover gets blown?"
Sam flushed and ducked his head. "Sorry. I wasn't thinking."
He looked like a sad little puppy (and if you think the eyes are bad now, you should have seen them back when he was littler than me), so obviously I couldn't yell at him like he deserved. "Come on, kiddo," I urged. "Talk to me. What's wrong? You don't usually get this upset over cases."
"He shot himself," Sam whispered, voice shaking.
"Fitch? That must've sucked, but it's not like you've not seen blood before. Or corpses. What's wrong?"
"He saved my life." Sam's hands came up and latched onto my jacket. "He must've known it would kill Jacobi when we reversed his ritual. He saved my life and I never even checked on him."
"You've been very sick," I pointed out. "Couldn't even climb the stairs on your own until today. And you were going to check on him. Not your fault he offed himself before you could."
"If I'd gone sooner –"
"Wouldn't have changed anything." I slipped off my jacket and wrapped it around Sam. "What did he have to live for, Sam? He gave up everything in his old life to come here." I squeezed Sam's shoulder. "Do you regret reversing Jacobi's spell?"
Sam thought about it and shook his head. "No. A lot more people would have died – and they're alive now because we did it."
"Then all you regret is that you didn't prevent Fitch from eating his gun?" Sam tugged my jacket tighter around himself. "Sammy… He made his choice, kiddo. I'm not saying it was ideal, but I understand how he felt."
"It still sucks."
"Yeah," I agreed, running my fingers through Sam's hair. "It does. Some hunts are like that. I'm sorry this one was." He leaned forward, forehead on my ribs. "But we got the bad guy and saved a lot of people and you're alive to be a pain in my ass, so I'm counting it as a win."
Is that where I'm supposed to end?
Oh, but I haven't explained the sleeping bag yet. It's fairly straightforward. I'd promised Sam a weekend away, just the two of us, to celebrate his first successful hunt. I offered him his choice of place, but he left it to me, and I had plans to surprise him.
Before that, Dad wanted to do something with us to celebrate, too, so the weekend before my big plan he announced that we were all going camping. Camping camping, not Wendigo-hunting. The kind of camping where you tell scary stories and roast marshmallows over an open fire.
That was how I wound up zipping a drowsy Sammy into his sleeping bag, thanking my lucky stars for the fact that he was still with me. It had been close.
Anything else? Oh, yeah, that cheerleader who had her eye on Sam. Sherry or Cherry or something. I did talk her out of hitting on him. I really didn't have a choice there. She was much older than Sam, and the kid, despite his rebellious tendencies, was a total innocent in some ways. I knew her well enough to know she wasn't serious, and if she'd broken his heart or something I'd have had to salt and burn her. And that would've been messy. I didn't tell him about it because it would piss him off. I had no idea that idiot kid would tell him.
Anyway, too much else happened for Sam to get worked up about that, so we're good.
And that really is the end of the story. Or, at least, the end of this story. There's the weekend celebration I had with Sam later, but that… Well, that's another story altogether. And we're not getting into that story until Sam's told me how he learnt to hack.
What did you think? Good? Bad? Please review.